3 Helpful / 1 Not
9-hole park golf with some character
- decent character for a 9-hole
- Discatchers, concrete tees, decent tee signs
- elevation throughout, mostly with sideways slope but with a memorable downhill on hole 2
- easy navigation
- beautiful park environment overlooking the city
- parking lot pretty small
- too many fairways sloping sideways
- significant interaction with park path (could be especially dangerous on that hole 2 downhill), somewhat alleviated by not being too busy
I played this at the end of a long disc golf day, including Deer Lakes, Schenley, and some less impressive 9-hole courses. Phillips Park was a nice breath of fresh air, and I enjoyed both the park atmosphere and the disc golf. Even with a bit of elevation change, it wasn't overly strenuous and felt relaxing even though I broke a sweat.
As far as the golf, know what you're getting into! This is a bit more than you might expect if I you heard "9-hole park course." I ran into a newer pair of players who were slightly overwhelmed by this park's unexpected challenge. The sloping greens are not typical for a 9-hole park course, and there is some decent technically challenging distance from the long tees, especially on holes 3 through 5. Other courses are better if you're looking for relaxed pitch-and-putt round or for open distance shots.
As far as the park, it's a nicely treed and relatively quiet park. The small parking lot was a bit crowded, possibly due to a local group presenting Much Ado About Nothing (possibly another Shakespeare play?). A park path borders the course for most holes, but I didn't have issues with safety and didn't have to wait for walkers to get out of the way.
Rating: I was tempted to give it a 3 (good) simply because its character impressed me and I'm not used to so much elevation and some particularly memorable shots. 2.5 (decent/typical) is about right. I didn't find the holes repetitive, though I started to tire of the lateral slope on holes 3 through 8. I don't regret my round here and wouldn't mind coming back.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pony, One Trick
A chance to focus on your up/cross slope game.
Holes 3-9 are only slight variants of each other.
Course is set on a steep slope in a small public park, a few miles south of Pittsburgh's downtown. On this slope is a smattering of large hardwoods, not so much as defining throwing lanes, but as random objects to avoid.
Two tees per hole provided some choices. Concrete at all the whites, and teesigns are sufficient. I played from the whites.
After hole-1, a straight shot up-n-over a small rise, and hole-2, a steep-short downhill control shot, the last several holes are very similar, as you'll be throwing up/across the slope as you make your way to one end of the park, then doubleback, as you regain the altitude as you make your way to basket-9.
The variables are the up/cross ratio, typically much more across than up, and distances, although these, too, didn't vary too much - about half were in possible birdy range for me, and half were simple drive/approach/putt. The trees are fairly spread out, and hitting one simply lengthens the approach, but not posing any other difficulties.
The size and topography limited what could be done, but maybe increasing the up-slopers, so that there could be some down-slopers, too, would have been better. too
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Small Hilly City Course-Rollaway Discs A Distinct Possibility!
Pros: Phillips Park is a small city park located across the street from Carrick High School. There is a sign which says "Course created by teachers and students of Carrick High School. The small park is built on a steeply sloping side of a hillside. There doesn't seem to be much other activity in the park. The course starts at the top of the stairs near the recreation center. There is a small parking lot here with space for maybe 10 cars.
The colored tee signs list a distance for both the red (shorts) and longer white tees. The reds are marked with a small pole with the hole number on it. Then each basket has both an A and a B position. The whites generally just seem longer. The white have a smallish concrete pad while the reds are just played from a bare spot on the ground. The baskets are a very pretty blue Discatcher.
The challenge is probably recreational level. The biggest problem for me was the constant walking on this steep hillside and quite a few rollaways. I could be like some rookies and list the trees as a Con since I happened to hit a tree or two on every hole but in actuality, the trees are pretty and wonderfully spaced. I just mostly sucked this morning!
A deer went wandering through the park this morning...In downtown Pittsburgh! Very cool!
A hole by hole description.
1. 243' across the sloping fairway. Some branches force you to keep your shot low off the tee. Watch for rollaways.
2. 243' downhill with the basket just barely visible. You gotta Annie your drive around some big bush. This basket sits probably a foot too low.
3. 291' slightly upward along hillside. Rollaway and the neighbor's backyards are a concern here.
4. 420' along hillside. I could see it being fairly easy to Annie one into someone's backyard here and the ever present threat of rollaways.
5. 285' along hillside. Backyard threat, rollaway threat but a very cool basket placement two large trees.
6. 255' starting back toward the beginning. Also along hillside.
7. 285' on hillside. Rollaway threat. Basket has no pole. It sits on the ground. Gee, I hope no-one thought this was a clever idea, like a raised basket in reverse.
8. 222' on hillside. Rollaway threat. One big tree directly in your line.
9. 249' back to start. Another hole on the hillside, another rollaway threat, uphill with a low ceiling.
Cons: How do you design a 9 hole course on a steep, sloping piece of land and only manage to have one hole playing downhill? I would find a way to incorporate at least three fun little downhill Ace runs here.
# 2 basket is set low.
# 7 basket is set on the ground.
Neighbors yards could be in play on 3-4-5.
Other Thoughts: I should have been liking this course but frankly, I grew weary of navigating the steep hillside. I kind of grew bored with the course in general. I liked # 2, the short, downhill anhyser throw. I liked the cool basket placement on # 5. My favorite hole was an unofficial one. I played # 1 backwards, back to the # 8 basket. Now that was a fun, longish downhill throw along the hillside. I didn't have time to pursue that idea anymore but I think it might be a fun possibility, perhaps playing the entire course backward. I know I would have found ways to create a few more downhill holes.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Nice course for a quick round.
Pros: Nice course in a quiet neighboorhood not far from the city. Course was easy to navigate and had nice signs that show the layout of tee to pin placement. There are two tee pads on every hole. Not much rough on this course being more city park setting.
Cons: Most baskets are on hill's so getting discs to lie can be a problem. There are some dead trees/branches that need trimmed for safety purposes. I think the parking lot had only 8-10 spots for parking which could cause a problem if the course was busy.
Other Thoughts: Overall this is a nice short course for a quick round. We were the only ones on the course and seems like this park don't get as many players as some other nearby courses. This isn't such an amazing course that one should travel for 2 hours to get to but definitely if your in the area its worth playing.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Small Park - Fun Peaceful Course
Pros: Phillips Park is located in a peaceful setting in a residential neighborhood away from the busyness of downtown. It is in a small park and the area that the course is in is primarily dedicated to the course. There is a small playground and basketball courts next to the course if your family wants to pass time while you're playing a round. There is a bathroom and water fountain inside the rec area, just tell them that you're playing the course and they will let you use the facilities.
The course has two sets of tees (concrete for the longs) that offer appropriately different looks and challenges and two pin positions that seem to be changed at a decent rate. The blue DISCatcher baskets are easy to spot and in great shape. The tee signs give a very nice depiction of the lines available and the pin positions.
The course designers did a great job of maximizing the park's full potential and created some fun shots using the elevation and trees. The aspect I enjoyed the most about playing here was how every hole offered multiple lines off the tee. This allows the player to be creative in how they approach the holes the different times they play this course, and it's a good quality to make a short course like this more interesting. It's hard to pick a favorite hole here since they are so similar, but I liked hole 2 a lot for its extreme downhill shot and hole 4 for its length and the many lines offered.
The course flows well and it is very easy to navigate the short walks to the next tee. Also, there is virtually no rough at all on the course which is unusual for the area. Couple these two things together and the course makes for a very quick play: took me 25-30 minutes to play a round.
I've never seen anyone else playing here so I'd say you would generally have the course to yourself, which is nice compared to Schenley.
Cons: -Not a whole lot of parking space available
-You have to drive on some very thin, windy roads to get here which can be tough to travel on when cars are going in opposite directions. Nothing alarming, but something to be aware of.
-School traffic could cause problems since it is right across the street from the park. Plan your round time accordingly.
-Not much variety - all 9 holes have a similar feel to them and their distances only range from 165-345 feet between both tees. This is not the course to go to if you like to air out every drive.
-Holes 2-5 play right next to a jogging path and dangerously close to people's backyards. I lost a Stag in someone's backyard on hole 5 - my fault for sure, but the course plays uncomfortably close to their properties.
-The course plays on a steep slope, which can make for some fun risk/reward putts. However, the constant chance at roll-aways makes for some frustrating upshots and drives. It gets old after awhile and holes 7 and 8 are especially steep. Again, fun for a little bit, but not something I want incorporated on every hole on a course.
-The red tees are natural and often positioned on sloping terrain.
Other Thoughts: It was enjoyable to play a course that was made by the faculty and students of Carrick HS; we need more of these kinds of courses throughout the country. According to the course's page, J. Gary Dropcho - one of the leading course designers in the area - designed this course. So, I am guessing it was a collaborative effort between him and the high school, which is cool to see.
I definitely recommend stopping to play this course if you are in the area. It's a quick round and surprisingly technical for being a short course in such a small park. Kudos to the designers for turning this small piece of property into a fun little course.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
A pleasant surprise.
Pros: Elevation and sloping greens were a challenge, but a fun one. I enjoyed that there were well-defined fairways, but not a lot of "rough," which is usually not the case in SW PA. Also, a huge plus for one without an automobile: this course is right on the 51 bus line, so is accessible by public transportation
Cons: Only nine holes. The short pins placements would be too short to be much fun, but they are in the longer configuration at the time of this review. There aren't any really hard holes on this course, though in extreme wind with the super steep greens, most of the holes could turn ugly.
Other Thoughts: If this course were 18 holes (presuming that these fictional extra holes were similar in style to the pre-existing 9), it would be better than Schenley Park, in my opinion.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
It is what it is
Pros: Phillips is almost always empty -- very quiet for being in the middle of a crowded neighborhood. It is a quick 9-hole round with as much variety as is possible on the patch of land. Good place to drive with a mid-range and practice narrow 200-240 ft. shots through a heavily wooded area.
Cons: Nowhere to unwind a long distance driver. Many of the holes play laterally on the hill which is hard on the ankles and makes for frustrating skips/rolls. The course is heavily wooded so it is somewhat dark, even on a sunny day.
Other Thoughts: One or two open holes would make this course a lot better, but there is not much room for it.
There was an open area around the 1st or 2nd pin that is not used. You may be able to get creative here and create your own holes using existing baskets and random tee-off positions that are more open. No one ever seems to be playing here, so you can probably do stuff like that without being rude.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The technical nature of the course has helped me shape my playing style and learn how to get out of a jam. The new baskets and added pin placements give even myself (who has played the course thousands off times) a refreshing look and lots more playability
Cons: Rollers are frequent and very frustrating, a common round killer. The course is also very short and so most tee shots are the same with slight changes.
Other Thoughts: While I admit to being sentimental here, this course really makes the most out of the space that is there. Not really worth going out of your way for but a fun way to get a workout while reading your accuracy!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 5 Not
Watch for rolling discs
Pros: Relatively short course is pretty good for beginners. Great use of the space available to them.
Cons: Entire course is played on the side of a hill. Easy to get punished for a decent shot because of the hill.
0 of 5 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Great Practice Course
+Nice baskets, concrete tees (whites), nice tee signs
+Multiple Pin Positions/Multiple Tee Pads
+Good Variety of shots even though it lacks distance
+Generally well maintained
+Football field nearby if you do want to air out your drivers. Although even that is limited to almost exactly 360 ft by a fence.
-Holes 2-5 are affected by a trail and properties near the fairways. Can't do much about this, but there is some risk of hitting a bystander or tossing a disc into someones yard.
-Most holes are similar distance and somewhat short.
-Roll-a-ways can get pretty ugly.
I consider Phillips Park my practice facility. The course itself requires just about every shot you could ask for and utilizes the trees to create just enough of a challenge that it won't get boring. Add to that that the baskets get moved around occasionally and there is more variety. The only thing the course lacks is more distance. While the holes aren't chip shots, I have only ever felt like pulling a driver on hole 4 and only when it is in the long position.
My favorite hole is probably 5 when it's in B position. I usually play it with a touch of anhyzer (to get around trees) and try to land where I can get a good view of the basket which is tucked neatly between two trees.
Overall, Phillips is a nice course to get in a couple quick rounds after work or to get a mid/putter workout. I wouldn't say it's completely passable, but it's definitely not a must play. It's just a solid 9-holer. If you live close by, like me, you'll probably play it regularly. If you have to travel a bit, play it once or twice before heading to Schenley sometime.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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