A Great Course Remembering a Great Kid Who Was Lost 20 years ago today.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Seth Burton is the first of 2 course put in at the 112 acre Morris Park in 2003 and designed by Johnny Sias, a former world champion from West Virginia. Orange Crush waa added 5 years later to complete the disc golf complex. Plan on a half day if you come here since there's a lot of serious disc golf between these two courses.
The illustrative tee signs are great. The concrete tee pads are excellent. And the Discatcher baskets are more than adequate. Each hole has two permanent baskets and three tees.
The tees and baskets are thoughtfully placed so that you could repeatedly play Seth Burton from different tees to different baskets and it's a significantly different course.
Morris Park provides a beautiful setting for disc golf, which reminds you that you're in West Virginia, where the college mascot is the "mountaineers." Just walking through this park is breathtaking.
Seth Burton is more open than Orange Crush but you still need to find your line and deal with elevation. My favorite hole is number 9, which is "Over the Top." From the long tee you are throwing blind to either basket over a cliff and the baskets are only about 200 feet away. I emptied my bag from the short tee, hoping for an Ace, but wasn't successful even though I was close. Most of my discs either ended up in the brumble or in the road, which is just past the baskets. Straight down shots like this are fun.
Cons: Finding the second hole was a little challenging for me. It's no problem if you remember two things: Seth Burton's second hole is on the other side of the road from Orange Crush and goes counterclockwise. Orange Crush winds around the lower side of the park clockwise and begins below the big sign which includes the layout of both courses.
Since Seth Burton is the upper course in the complex you are likely to encounter people walking on the sidewalks that wind around the park. Although I saw many people enjoying the park during my round it was not a problem, I just had to wait a few minutes once or twice.
In addition to the sidewalk with people there is also a road with cars that comes into play. The road plays OB and I had several discs end up there, but never had to deal with a car, other than a friendly couple who stopped and wanted to talk and talk, and talk.
The biggest CON is that most of you will never get here because it's so far away from everywhere and not really on the way to anywhere. If you can get here, however, you'll be glad you came.
Since this is the Seth Burton Memorial Complex and there's a quality PDGA event here each year, I included an article below from Sports illustrated that tells some of Seth's story. His mom kindly sent it to me after my review of Orange Crush in August. I wasn't there for the memorial tournament a few weeks ago, but I heard they played the song I wrote in my Orange Crush review.
Seth Burton (1980-1998)
A YOUNG ATHLETE REMEMBERED
On Oct. 14 two vehicles carrying members of the Fairmont (W.Va.) High boys' cross-country team to a meet collided head-on, killing one teenager and seriously injuring three others. The accident made the national wires, another tragedy boiled down to a dateline and a few grim sentences. But there's always more to the story.
Seventeen-year-old Seth Burton, with his spiked blond hair and his personal Web site, was different. He was a vegetarian. He was student body vice president. He'd been to Russia to help build orphanages. He performed plays for elementary school kids. He wasn't Fairmont's No. 1 runner, but he had still been chosen captain of the Polar Bears' undefeated team, the defending state champs. Skaters liked him. Jocks liked him. Even parents liked him.
Seth was in a Ford Fiesta with four teammates. They were two tenths of a mile from the site of the meet at Apple Valley Golf Course. Some witnesses say the 16-year-old driver of the Fiesta was going too fast down a hill when he smashed into a Ford Windstar driven by a teammate's mother. Seth was thrown halfway out, and the Fiesta rolled on top of him. As emergency workers cut the roof off the car, people arriving for a race that was never going to be run encountered a scene that they will never forget.
There's an old toast: May your house be too small to hold all your friends. Seth couldn't even fit all of his in a church.
Hundreds of people lined up for three hours to view his body last Saturday at Fourth Street Methodist Church in Fairmont.
Seth even figured out a way to lead after he was gone. On his Web site, friends posted hundreds of messages of sorrow and memories. But the best item was already there.
Dear Dad Upstairs,
Please hear our prayers
If you want it to be
You can count on me
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Now Overshadowed by Orange Crush - a Johnny Sias Masterpiece
7 Helpful / 0 Not
- concrete tees (two per hole), good Discatcher baskets (two permanent baskets per hole), good tee signs, good navigation
- great park course, very challenging both due to distance and technicality
- beautiful park! (Fall here is amazing)
- some interaction with park road (alleviated by lack of busy traffic)
- several tee signs are beat up or broken
A QUICK NOTE ABOUT THE SETH BURTON MEMORIAL DISC GOLF COMPLEX: The funding behind the courses is provided in memory of Seth Burton, a young local who passed tragically but whose memory is alive and well. The courses have been around for years, but they are still loved and benefit from locals' (including Seth's dad, Phil Burton) tender loving care. These are courses that the local community takes pride in, and this shows at every visit. Course condition is always good, whether in the peak of summer growth or immediately before the annual A-tier. I've recently moved to the Morgantown area, and I've adopted these as my home courses. Each course has its particular character, and I've enjoyed the distinction of one manicured and more open (SBM DGC) and one wild and super tight (OC).
Orange Crush seems to have earned recognition even outside the region, explained by its inimitable and enviable combination of extreme woods and extreme elevation changes. Seth Burton Memorial DGC, the original and central course, is less well known but is no less formidable and respectable. I think the only real knock on the course is that it feels less special because it plays largely along the park road. It is, nonetheless, a great design; and this Johnny Sias masterpiece was here well before its famous neighbor. It's far from open, but seems incredibly so simply because of the unavoidable comparison to Orange Crush. Actually, the need for decision making on this course is probably better than that on Orange Crush, since there are often more lines to the basket. On Orange Crush, you usually have a line you need to hit, so it's all about execution. Here, I find there's more choice between two or more options (often with plenty of risk) before executing said shots.
As I mentioned, the park road is always close to the course. Whereas your curses of frustration and celebratory shouts will be heard only by trees and animals on Orange Crush, they will be on full display for park users here. (I still feel bad for a walker who was startled by my loud exclamation after I threw a shot straight OB on #6 a few weeks ago!) Even though the park road is ever present, the park is far from busy. You will still enjoy a relaxed and refreshing round, and you will rarely need to wait for vehicles or pedestrians to pass.
Road OB really only comes into play on half of the holes (especially on holes #2, #5-#7, #9-#11, #13-#14, and #18). That OB makes you think and pay a price for missing shots, but the real challenge is provided by trees and elevation (though milder than Orange Crush). When playing the "championship layout" of long tees to long baskets, there are very few opportunities for two. I still haven't figured out what par is on most holes, but there are really only two holes I have a chance at two (#9 and #10, maybe #14 and #18). I enjoy that challenge, but ask me again after the 8th annual Seth Burton Memorial tournament this weekend. That championship layout definitely adds difficulty to the course, whether it's the longer gold basket (6 holes are 100-200' longer, often farther up or down a hill) or the tee placement (especially #4's steep uphill). Even the short to short layout provides precious few easy shots, so anyone will have to work to score here no matter what layout.
One interesting course feature is the particularly challenging tee "situation" on several holes. Many of these holes present challenges that are good for the golf, but simply aren't comfortable to throw. On #3, an initial tree corridor isn't lined up toward the basket and makes for difficult shot selection. On #6, the road embankment to the left of the tee makes the tempting but risky line over OB even more challenging. On #17, the straight and narrow fairway runs along a fence (tennis courts) with a sloping cliff on the other side of the fairway. All in all, I appreciate the decisions this course forces me to make, but it's just a tad less aesthetically pleasing than Orange Crush.
The course is very beautiful, and a few of these holes are just as unique and memorable as Orange Crush. E.g. hole 4's steep uphill and basket placement (probably the signature), hole 9's blind downhill, the beautiful and long hole 11. But overall this course is challenging and long, without the plethora of signature holes present on Orange Crush. My hunch is that Seth Burton is as good or better at separating the best players than is Orange Crush, but I haven't gathered evidence to back that up. It's fun and challenging, as I've said, but following the park road means it's simply not as beautiful or rugged as OC.
Rating: Excellent (4.0). It gets less recognition than Orange Crush, but it's a well-designed, challenging, and fun course. Let's be honest: you came for Orange Crush. Play this one, too, and you won't be disappointed!
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Hillside Disc Golf
Pros: Really cool layout. Great variety of options with two tee pads and two baskets on each hole. Plenty of challenge, and plenty of variety. I would imagine that folks who REALLY like woods courses would downgrade this course a little, but it was a really nice layout and use of land for me. Signage was unbelievably good.
Cons: It was a little hilly. I played mid morning and the ground was still wet, and I had a very difficult time getting around the course at times. Most of the holes are set up on the side of this hill or that hill, and that can get annoying at times.
Other Thoughts: I don't live anywhere near this course, but I would love to check out Orange Crush sometime to see how it compares.
Better be Burton!
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: This course is the more open, OB filled older brother of Orange Crush, a course that can, and should, be played in tandem with Seth Burton.
The Seth Burton Memorial Course weaves its way through a very well kept park in the city of Fairmont West Virginia. Every time I have played, the course has been mowed, trimmed and pruned, providing a very relaxing round when it comes to disc finding.
Each hole has TWO concrete tee pads, something many courses cannot say, TWO baskets on most every hole, clearly marked by distinctive color. This provides a layout that can be playable by the lowest of Ams to the highest of pros, as evident by the coveted Seth Burton Memorial Tournament each year.
The tee signs are helpful and informative, providing a map and distance, and navigation of the course is fairly easy.
For an open, park style course, there is a good range of shots. Uphill, downhill, forced left, forced right, short, long. This is very beneficial for players who want to test the different shots of their game without playing in the dense forest.
OB road on a lot of holes provide a very ominous challenge. These roads kicked my butt a few times during my rated round, so I could put this in cons, but it was executed nicely.
Cons: If you have read my review before, you know my love and appreciation for wooded golf, as well as park golf. This course pretty much nails park golf, but lacks in woods golf.
No matter how well executed an open course may be, you get repetitiveness. Open courses can be great, and there were very nice holes designed here, but when you throw the same drive half the time, it gets boring. To solve this, play Orange Crush.
No wow factor. I really wanted there to be one, with so many open shots, but it wasn't there. The course is very solid, very good. Nothing to write home about, but nothing to be mad at.
Course plays around a park. The park does not get too busy, but roads and trails are in play. Be careful when throwing, Don't hit anybody, lawsuits are not fun.
Other Thoughts: I really enjoy playing disc golf in this park. It is really easy to spend a whole day here. Some nice lunch spots nearby, two courses on site, and a great park atmosphere.
I highly recommend playing Seth Burton and Orange Crush. These two courses are easily a favorite of disc golf destinations, as you can walk from hole 18 of one, to hole one of the next!
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Nothing Spectacular, but Very Solid
Pros: -Seth Burton Memorial DGC is located in Morris Park just south of Fairmont. This park is always in top shape and is very well manicured. While there isn't a whole lot to do in the park, there are various playground areas, pavilions, and walking/running paths which are often used. The best part of this park is that it plays near Orange Crush, both starting at the same spot in the park. Both play around the mountain in opposite directions - Seth Burton winds counter-clockwise around the park, while Orange Crush winds clockwise.
-Only about a half-mile off I-79 for easy access
-Signs are in top shape and they tell you everything you need to know (except for pars, for some reason) - holes lengths from both tees and to both pins. There are L's and S's posted on each tee sign's pole, as well as on every tee, to guide you to your tee of choice. Two tees per hole, as well as two pin positions per hole, give a good variety to the course. Each tee and pin position offers a significantly different challenge.
-Baskets are DISCatcher and in top shape
-Tee pads are in great shape, concrete, and are a perfect length
-A good variety of hole lengths: 5 200-300', 10 300-400', and 3 400'+, including a 665' long hole from the white tees, and 1 < 200', 1 200-300', 7 300-400', 7 400-500', and 2 600'+ from the blue tees.
-While this is only a moderately wooded course, it it surprisingly challenging with the tree positions in the fairway and elevation. Elevation is present on almost every hole, which definitely affects your upshot selection. Most of the holes slant hard down to the right, while 8 goes hard uphill and 9 goes hard downhill
-There is some shot selection on most of the holes
-The road is O.B. and plays a factor into many holes
-A lot of chances to bomb a disc and a lot of chances for fairly tight navigation through some trees. Maybe the most fun aspect of this course is the emphasis it puts on drives. On a lot of drives, you have to make it past some close trees to the tee and in between a few in the fairway. If you hit the line you are in a good spot for an upshot but hitting an early tree can and will hurt you score big time. I can specifically think of 1, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 13, and 18 that offer this type of look.
-Navigation is a breeze and your chance of losing discs is very minimal, almost 0%. Rough is hardly present except on a few holes.
-The course circles around the park and right back to your car.
-Every hole is solid but*
Cons: -There is no parking lot here, but there are a few spots for parking alongside the park's road when you first drive in. On crowded days (usually just weekend afternoons), it can be hard to find a spot.
-There are no bathrooms when you first enter. The only one I've come across are after hole 7
-Because the course plays in the same direction around the mountain, the fairways are usually slanted in the same direction. It depends how you look at this, as it can be seen as a challenge or it can be annoying. I've thrown near-perfect upshots that rolled 20-30 feet down to the road. Again, it can be viewed as upping the challenge but also comes across to me as a limitation to the course.
-Course can seem repetitive at times, not a whole lot of hole variety.
-Most holes play close to the road, where people walk and run. Not an overly crowded park, just pay attention to non-discgolfers.
-*None of the holes really stand out as amazing.
Other Thoughts: This is a very solid course and always serves an enjoyable round. This course in itself doesn't offer anything spectacular, but it is a great course to play a league with it's awesome upkeep, cleanliness, and lack of a chance to lose discs. The best part about Seth Burton is that it is right next to Orange Crush. Playing or combining both courses in a day is a lot of fun, and since they go around the mountain in opposite directions, you can break the courses up playing the front 9 of one and the back 9 of the other. This gives tremendous variety for a day of disc golf. Be prepared to see wildlife, as I've seen big snakes and deer a few times here.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
At Its Best in Tandem with OC
Pros: This easily accessible course is situated in a picturesque, well-tended park. Parking is obvious and plentiful, and bathrooms are well positioned throughout the 18 holes.
Seth Burton features a good variety of possible play-throughs, with two tees and two pin positions on every hole. The white tees are beginner friendly while offering an engaging round for intermediate players, and the blues are a good step up in challenge that will give even the most accomplished DGCR stud a run for their money. The course overall strikes a nice balance on difficulty.
The course is well designed given the limitations of its placement around the park's perimeter. Thoughtful pin positions help break up the generally counterclockwise motion of the hole progression, and there's a good variety of distances and elevation changes, even though a few elevation changes (such as hole 8) seem more gimmicky than anything else. OBs further shape many holes and color their challenges without seeming unfair or too plentiful. I got a kick out of the old tennis court OB off of 17, which prevents the easy-way-out overhand throw (or at least makes it a much more challenging shot).
Navigation from one tee to the next is a breeze; very thoughtful layout in this regard.
Good-sized concrete tees are in great shape.
Cons: The biggest con for me on this course is how much its location and terrain dominates certain characteristics. All of the holes feel narrow or constricted to me, caused by a combination of the ever-present drop offs and the woods that border them. Yes, this adds a challenging aspect that spices up otherwise conventional holes. But it gets redundant after a while. Variety is one of the most desirable aspects of a course for me, and having to be wary of the slope on pretty much every hole detracted from my experience.
Relatedly, there is the potential for some massive drop offs that surpass the challenging and enter into the absurd, particularly on the back nine as the holes rise up the mountain.
I would agree with the sentiment that a few holes in the woods would have done wonders to add variety to this course. I like that Seth Burton is so different from OC, but even two wooded holes could contribute a welcome change of pace.
There are a few instances where a blind throw is disconcerting at the least and potentially dangerous in relation to park foot traffic. I'm especially thinking of hole 9 here.
A few of the tee positions make it hard to safely/comfortably drive due to elevation changes. These are the exception rather than the rule, however.
Other Thoughts: This is an enjoyable course that gains strength when considered in tandem with Orange Crush (which I didn't factor into my rating). It provides a nice warm up or reprieve from the demands of OC. While my instinct was to use it as a warm up for OC, depending on what time of day you arrive you may want to do the opposite, since the overhead foliage in OC means that it will get darker earlier than on Seth Burton.
Give yourself time to play this and its sister course - my rounds with a partner here have lasted six hours, including a short break for lunch. We weren't hurrying ourselves, but we weren't lackadaisical, either.
I haven't had any problems with non-disc golf foot traffic here, even when playing on a Sunday afternoon.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
A Memorable Memorial Course!
Pros: Let's start off by saying that this isn't Orange Crush, but that's a good thing. That course is fine as it is, and this serves as nice open-air complement to its tight-fairway/technical sibling course.
I say "open-air" with reservation because it's not like you'll be ripping drives way open in fields every hole. There are a few like that (#4,7,12,14), but the vast majority of holes traverse up and down hillsides with many trees in play. These holes have precarious tree placement, and many provide two different lines to the basket.
The road comes into play on a few holes, and the tennis course comes into play on the last few holes. I think this characteristic forces the thrower to thread the fairways with lazer accuracy. I used my fairway drivers a lot during this round and found myself getting a lot of practice of controlling my drives.
My favorite hole was probably #9, a very short and blind RHBH anhyzer drive downhill to a basket placed right on the hill. Even though the hole isn't long, the blindness and possibility of discs rolling onto the road made this one stick out in my mind.
Nice use of red and blue tees to welcome people of all skill levels. Overall, I would suggest bringing a new player to this course without him/her getting too frustrated.
Bathrooms available, as well as many benches. Parking is plentiful.
Cons: I know it was a Saturday, but there were a TON of non-disc golfers walking around the holes. Because of the elevation on many holes (especially the blind ones), it's important to look before you throw here.
A few of the ponds in the park are dried up. It'd be great to see them come into play as water hazards.
I'd like to see a couple of the insanely-wooded holes like Orange Crush in this course. Not a whole lot, but 2-3 would be nice.
I wish there was a way to realistically throw off the hill to the first hole for #18. I realize this is a safety hazard, but it would make a memorable last hole. I thought 18, a short anyhzer drive to the basket, was a big let down compared to many of the other holes--notably the last few back nine ones.
Other Thoughts: Between Orange Crush and Seth Burton, this park has the complete disc golf package. While it took me a long time to play both rounds, I can't think of too many better places to get a complete and diverse golfing experience. The elevation, OB challenges, and mix of open-air and moderately-wooded fairways make for a nice course.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: This is an unreal disc golf course and I feel lucky to be able to live so close to it! I mean really it doesn't get much better than this. Mowed fairways, tee signs on every hole, Pro & Am pads available for every hole, challenging layouts, multiple pin placements on every hole, water available on a couple holes, old growth, & plenty of shade. WVDGA is really to thank for course with on going maintenance and upkeep. This course is in my top ten for sure and you would be crazy not to play it if you have the chance!
Cons: The only thing I would have to say is watch for joggers, walkers & pets. They are around and the course is built on a walking loop so please be aware of other people discs hurt!
Other Thoughts: I wish there was a 2 day tourney here once a year.
0 of 5 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
More air on the topside!
Pros: 18 holes with dual concrete tees, nice tee signs and dual color coded Discatcher baskets on each hole. Good use of elevation, available trees, and ob for a mostly open course. Navigation is fairly easy and course map in parking lot/ pavilion. Water fountains. Bathrooms .25 mile left down park from pavilion. Course is well maintained. Course is easy to get to off the highway and the town has food and amenities within few minute drive.
Cons: There is some car and hiker traffic along the ob road that plays across much of the course. There was a copperhead eating a squirrel between hole 16's basket and hole 17 tee. I got attacked by some bees around hole 11.
Other Thoughts: The Seth Burton Memorial course offers a nice balancing out to the Orange Crush. It plays around the top side of the mountain and plays counter clockwise to the Orange Crush, so it slightly favors RHBH although there are some holes that favor RHFH. It's refreshing to be able to air out some drives on this course, but still provides an excellent challenge along with some fun ace and birdie runs. This is a great course for any skill level with the dual tees and baskets which provide quite a variety of playing options. Check out the course vid in the media tab for a good idea of what to expect. There is some good disc golf to be had at Morris Park, WV!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Well kept 18 hole course that wraps around a park and the hill it sits on. Great signs and maps to show you the layout. 2 tee pads at most holes with work being done to add alternate pads to the remaining holes.
This course has a nice balance of holes and shows no favoritism towards RHFH or RHBH type shots. Most holes offer multiple lines and routes to the basket.
Good use of elevation. There are holes that play along the hill, up the hill, and down the hill. And even a hole that uses the steep hillside as a great risk/reward feature.
Mostly a nice walk in the park without and brutal climbs or hikes. This would make it a good place if you had a less comitted friend or spouse playing with you.
Cons: No big draw backs. One could nitpick something, but there was nothing that stood out to me as a negative. Probably the largest negative is that the is nothing that stands out as exceptional either. I didn't have one hole that really stood out to me.
Other Thoughts: This course is the type that plays through mostly open fields with just enough mature trees to force some shot making. This can be fun as it leaves you with several ways to tackle a hole. You are never really forced to make one certain shot. This is good in a fun-factor kind of way, but it also make the course a little easier than some others. Most of the holes are from 300-400 feet, but there ae a couple longer holes for those that really can rip a disc. The few shorter holes offer a little more heavily treed fairways to keep things fun also. There's even a nice short downhill ace run mixed in with an OB road directly behind it.
The other aspect of this course is that there are really no super memorable holes. There is just a bunch of decent holes on a well-cared for course. There is also new pads and signs being installed to help make this course even better. combine that effort with the Oragne Crush course on site, and you have a must play experience. It makes for a tough day, but this is simply half of a great two-course location. If you are travelling on I-79 make sure you get here.. It is wellworth a stop.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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