This could be a great course...
Pros: Thompson park has 27 holes, with a good mix of open and wooded, short and long holes. There are a few very unique shots here as others have said, throwing off of cliffs, through a creek bed, and some really cool elevation changes.
Cons: Very confusing layout, was difficult to navigate even with a map, and there are several long walks.
Some of the holes could be sweet, but there's no line from tee to basket. Hole 10 comes to mind here. It would be an awesome downhill shot if there was a line.
No teepads, and many of the teeshots are not on flat ground.
Other Thoughts: Seems like whoever designed this course just popped in tee posts and baskets and never really put any other work into it. The design isn't very intuitive, with several very long walks between holes where you're not even sure if you're going in the right direction. There's a lot of potential here for a great course if someone puts the work in. I drove 1.5 hours to play here and will not be making the trip again, or recommending others play here.
Almost a great course
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: 1) Beautiful scenery
2) Cliff shots
3) Good mix of wooded and semi-wooded holes
4) Elevation changes
Cons: 1) No concrete tees
2) Only one set of tees
3) Difficult navigation
4) Subpar signs
5) Lack of discernible fairways on some holes
Course design: 3/5
This course is mystifying because it seems like it should be outstanding, but it falls short.
The course's front nine plays way different than the rest of the course. Here, the course is on well manicured grass, dotted with some trees throughout. The majority of the holes are 250' or so. Nothing special here.
Once you hit hole 10, however, the course changes dramatically. From here on out, there are some very challenging holes, and the majority are in mature forest, with fairly significant elevation changes throughout. The setting is gorgeous back in here and there are some amazing tee shots from cliffs that are a sight to see. Some of the holes are both challenging and fun, but some of them are just plain frustrating because there is no discernible path to get through the woods to the target (hole 10 comes to mind).
While the course has some appeal, the negatives quickly outweigh this appeal. From the get go, I found myself lost and wandering around to find the next hole...and this was so even though: 1) I had a map; 2) there was yellow tape on the target pointing to the next hole; AND 3) sometimes there were arrows on trees pointing in the direction to travel. Something needs to be done to address this problem because it really detracts from the enjoyment of the game; especially because this course has so much elevation changes, that it will exhaust you. The last thing you need is to walk an extra mile or so up and down hilly terrain just looking for the next hole or trying to find the target.
Next, the lack of concrete tees made it particularly troublesome as some of the tees were on uneven ground. This made it difficult to get a run up, on top of the fact that it can be slick in spots because the grass is worn down to dirt (which was muddy when I was there).
Last, the signs looked old and many of them had the hole number obscured by a screw used to mount the sign onto the sign post. This just added to my navigation woes.
The bottom line...This course has so much potential to be great. It just needs some tweaking and some TLC and it could be a 4 star course. I can't say that I'd recommend taking a road trip to this course until they get the above issues fixed, especially since there's such high quality disc golf just over the border in Pittsburgh.
The average rating for the course was 2.6, which I'm rounding up to 3. Really a 2.6 should be rounded down to 2.5, but I felt there was enough there to warrant a 3 just because of the setting and the potential.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Great Variety, Lack of Course Flow
Pros: Thompson Park Disc Golf Course is located in a huge city park that has numerous pavilions, a pool, tennis and basketball courts, football and baseball fields, and hiking trails. There is plenty of parking space here and there is a bathroom, water fountain, and garbage cans near the parking area. It is located on top of a hill in East Liverpool, and is only a few miles off of I-30 and I-68. There is a board with local tournament info. near the first tee. The course uses sturdy Chainstar baskets that are in good shape and have hole numbers on them. The designers did a great job utilizing a lot of the park's land and the course is largely spread throughout.
-The outback 9 is the most up to date part of the course featuring numerous next tee signs that are very helpful and make that part of the course easy to navigate. The tee signs are newer and include arrows pointing to the next tee. There has also been a serious amount of deduction of trees in the woods on holes like 19, making the fairway more reasonable.
-The best aspect of the course is the great variety of hole types with many open holes that give you a chance to bomb your disc, numerous super tight holes in the woods, and everything in between. There is a nice variety of hyzer, anhyzer, and straight shots in the open and in the woods. The course also offers huge differences in difficulty. The front 9 are all pretty simply, fairly short holes that are good for beginners. You could call some of these border-line throwaway holes as there is not a lot of line shaping or diversity to the front 9, but they can serve as a nice warm-up for the rest of the course. If this was my home course, however, these holes definitely would be boring. The back 9 start out with a few super tight holes in the woods and offer a great variety of elevation and hyzer, anhyzer, and straight shots. Holes 11, 13, and 14 play over a ravine and have a stream running through the holes. Then the holes open up and offer a lot of distance. The outback 9 mostly features super tight holes in the woods and offer a few tunnel shots through hiking paths and have a few open holes (22 and 26). The elevation is greatly utilized throughout the course as there are a few shots off cliffs (13 and 21), extreme uphill holes (15), and holes that play on significant slopes (10, 16, and 17).
Cons: While the course offers a ton of variety, there are numerous - pretty serious - problems that detract from the overall experience of playing here.
-First off, the tees here are awful. The front 9 have very thin and narrow tees that are useless in giving any sort of comfortable run up for your drives. The natural tees for the back 18 holes are often on uneven ground, so they are not too comfortable to drive from either. I enjoyed the drives off cliffs, but they can certainly be dangerous for someone who is young or not coordinated.
-Navigation is pretty horrendous for the front 18, and the course overall does not flow well. There is a lot of back tracking on the front 9, and there is not any flow to the next tee. This caused me to search a lot, even though the front 9 all play in the same section of the park. A few times I went to the wrong tee at first, so next tee arrows would help a lot here. Traveling through the back 9 can be somewhat dangerous if it is wet at all, as it requires you to hike down very thin and steep paths in a few parts. You have to walk over a moss covered tree on hole 13, and if wet at all it is very slippery. I like the hiking/nature aspect of this course but it would not suit players who aren't in good shape and have good balance. This greatly limits some part of the course's playability and should be taken into account. Some of the next tees of hard to spot in the woods due to the small wooden tee signs. There are also many long walks to the next tee for holes 10, 12, 18, 19, 21, 22, and 23.
-Holes 10 and 20 have nonexistent fairways. I appreciate tight holes, but these two holes require total luck as there are way too many trees. Arguments can even be made for hole 26's fairway and 27's upshot to the basket that those shots require luck and do not have distinct lines. Again, I thoroughly enjoy tight, wooded holes, but these shots require luck only. Simply put, there are parts of this course that are beautiful, but do not have good topography for disc golf and are sometimes even unsafe.
-The front 9 also play very close to and in one case across the park's walking loop, which was highly congested the two times I played here. There were numerous times I had to wait to the throw.
Other Thoughts: As I stated above, I appreciated the course's diversity of open and tight holes, something a 27-hole course needs. The tees (or lack of) and navigational problems on the front 18 are what hurt this course's score for me and are certainly below average. The variety of hole types offered here are great, so that balances out the rating as being "typical". My favorite holes were:
13- Very tight shot through trees and you drive off of a cliff
16- 600 ft. anhyzer of a slope that plays through a few trees. A nice chance to air out your disc after playing the tight shots in the woods
21- Another straight shot off of a cliff with a tight line
23- Super tight and long tunnel shot
Took two hours to play by myself
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Disorganized & Underwhelming
Pros: This course contains a very large variety of hole lengths and levels of woodedness and difficulty, meaning there's something for everyone. The front nine would be great for playing a round with someone new to the sport, and personally, I don't think they're total throwaways, either: there's enough variation in elevation, obstacles, out of bounds, and pin placement to keep you going, even if there's nothing particularly memorable about them. Holes 10-15 play in dense woods, and 16-17 across a broad, sloping fairway before 18's relative openness. I didn't make it to 19-27, unfortunately.
Amenities (water fountain, bathrooms, and parking) are very accessible.
The staff that we met were very nice and eager to help.
Cons: I feel that there are a lot of drawbacks to this course that impede the overall experience.
First and foremost, navigating the first 9 is indeed horrendous. We had several extended searches to find the next hole, causing the front 9 to take at least twice the necessary time. Perfect course flow isn't always possible, especially in a more open area that lacks obvious directionality; that said, the layout on these holes is a downright head-scratcher that can easily frustrate. The fact that these holes play across the park's central field also has the potential to lead to major conflicts with non disc golfers. There was no visible attempt in the course's layout to avoid such a problem, when there seemed to be space to do so.
There were several kinds of tees on this course, but all had their problems. Most if not all of the front 9 were concrete, but they were exceedingly short and narrow, making them unusable for me (and I don't have a big run-up by any means). Furthermore, their positioning often prevented me from driving in the grass next to them. This hindered my ability to play and enjoy these holes.
The tees for holes 10-15 had a completely different problem. They were natural tees that felt unsafe for a variety of reasons: 10 was at an absurdly steep angle, 11 was from atop a slippery (at the time I was there) rock overlooking a steep drop off, etc. This kept me from getting any legitimate run up on my drives, severely limiting how I was able to play these holes. I understand that it's harder to establish quality tees within a wooded setting, but seemingly no effort was made to do so on these holes. I've seen it done elsewhere in the area (Orange Crush, Moraine, etc etc) enough to know that it's more than feasible. The poor quality of these tees really detracted from my experience here, since I couldn't play these holes to the best of my already-tenuous ability.
In general, the wooded holes felt built around a desire for pizzazz more than quality; they came off as gimmicky and lacking of substance to me. Yes, the playing environment is gorgeous, and potentially interesting, but this portion of the course seemed very raw. There was an absence of lines and general effort to shape these holes or provide them with any form of a path or fairway. Paths/bridges/etc were also missing, which would go a long way to making this section disc golfing friendly. As is, I had some precarious moments trying to navigate the severe elevation and unsure/rocky footing. I'm fit and experienced at hiking through rough conditions, so if my sense was that the environment these holes play in was dicey, I can imagine that they'd be impassable for more than a few disc golfers. I can think of a lot of folks I've played with who I wouldn't take through here. My complaint isn't so much the natural topography as it is the lack of any visible effort to improve the conditions.
Based on the size and proximity of the creek that cuts through 11, I'd guess that it would flood after a decent rain. In such a condition, I imagine 11 would be wholly unplayable, and other holes might be affected, too.
The fact that none of the holes I played (1-18) stood out to me is itself a pretty bad sign.
Other Thoughts: I feel obliged to further highlight that I did not play the final 9 holes: we ran out of light, unfortunately. I initially hesitated to review the course because of this, but I had strong opinions on the safety, playability, and organization of the course that I wanted to share. The last 9 holes had little chance of impacting these opinions. In general, I would not recommend this course to others if they asked me: it's not terrible by any stretch, and it has some potential, but it also has some real problems IMHO. Coupled with the fact that there are such quality courses nearby that offer better versions of the same basic experience - if you have a hankering for woods then play Two Mile Extension, 11 miles away - I doubt I'll make an effort to try Thompson Park again next time I'm in the area. As always, YMMV, folks.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Like many 27 hole courses, this can be basically broken down into three 9 hole courses. The first set of nine appeals to beginners and families playing disc golf, as the shots aren't very long or difficult (they play wide open with a few trees here and there).
The middle 9 holes (10-18) are the best IMO. Some holes play through dense woods with a giant ravine in the park. Thus, nearly every hole plays with steep elevation changes uphill and downhill. The holes proceed out into the open with #16 and 18 being 600 and 400 foot drives, respectively. It's a nice balance of steep wooded elevation and wide open bombs on this set of nine. Hole #18 is kind of a unique hole, throwing the whole way over a baseball field from a top a hill. Can you hit a home run?
The last nine holes, called "The Safari," aren't bad, but they're not as memorable as the middle nine. Some of the holes play open in the open park space, while others are wooded fairways with varying lines to the basket. I feel like in an effort to get the last nine to wrap back to the first tee, they sacrificed some uniqueness and challenge for the sake of looping.
Cons: - There's a long walk from #20 to 21. Navigation in general is kind of iffy in the sense that it's not intuitive and some holes aren't right next to subsequent ones. I was definitely happy I had a map.
- The park was pretty crowded when I was there, but no people really came into contact with the holes. I'm not sure how often this could be an issue with joggers and other park patrons.
- The first nine are comparatively boring compared to the other 18, but I'm glad to see some variety--especially for less experienced players.
- The tees on #1-9 are too narrow and short, and the rest of the holes have no real tees to speak of at all. A set of concrete tees on #10-27 would be awesome.
Other Thoughts: I've been meaning to play here for quite some time and I'm glad I did. In addition to a quality 27-hole course on site, there are other recreational opportunities in the park, such as a nice swimming pool, pavilions, tennis courts, etc. In fact, Thompson Park has that big city park feel, like I was in Denver or Indianapolis or somewhere. In fact, without overstating it too much, this park kind of felt like a very short and slightly less challenging version of Water Works in KC, MO.
IMO, I think the course does a nice job of accommodating both beginners or experienced players. The first nine satisfy the former, and the last 18 satisfy the latter.
Nearby Chester City Park and Tomlinson Run State Park are other opportunities for disc golf in the area. Play all three in a day for a fun experience and a sore arm!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Thiscourse offers a big variety for anyone. If you want big wooded holes or short shots across a field you can get a little bit of everything here.
Cons: The signs aren't great so be prepared for some walking through the woods. Most tees are ok, but some spots are uneven and have roots sticking up in the way.
Other Thoughts: This course is definitely worth taking a trip to go play. If you aren't up for a huge day the front 9 holes could easily get skipped and just move right into the heary of the woods.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
A Long Day Of Fun
Pros: The baskets are great. There are a ton of fun elevation change holes. There is a mix of shorter and longer holes throughout the 27 different holes. The pars on the signs were very fair. A couple tee shots off of these huge rocks were awesome.
Cons: Some tee pads were iffy with roots and uneven ground. The course is very confusing to navigate because the signage is not very good and it does not tell you were the next tee is on most holes. You will spend a bunch of time wandering looking for the next tees. We only found "The Outback" (19-27) on accident because we just took a guess after walking around for 5 minutes. It is across the road on the left of #18 basket in the woods.
Other Thoughts: It has a great mix of holes. With better signs this course would be even better because of the use of elevation. This course would definitely be worth driving an hour to go play on some weekend because it is that good.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Dr. Jeckal and Mr. Hyde
Pros: Front 9 in a clean and well kept park
Back 9 has some of the best disc golf I have ever played, in Ohio or elsewhere
Out Back 9 (As they call it) is excellent at times
The land, absolutely perfect for Disc Golf
Good mix of distances
Great mix of shot selection
Fantastic mix of Open to wooded
Amazing use incorporating natural features into the game
Combination killer Disc Golf Course and killer nature hike
Cons: I found the front 9 while pretty to be somewhat boring.
Flow is big problem here, even with a map it will give you fits
Tee Pads were beyond bad, either way to small or non-exisistant.
Growth and brush are out of control
This course will wear you out if you not in shape
Other Thoughts: My recommendation would be to skip the Front 9 all together and go straight to the back. I know most of you will ignore my warning, I know I would. But at least save your arm for the back 18 and do it first. Save the Front 9 for last.
I found the front 9 very Ho Hum and extremely frustrating to navigate, even with a map. It weaves around a very nice park. The Tee Pads are worthless and don't allow for anything other then a flat footed release. Don't give up on this course though once you get warmed up here your in for a treat.
Some of the early holes in the back 9 are Disc Golf at its finest. Beautiful setting, you'll play off natural Tee Pads (which I prefer) around ravines and streams and boulders. I say this a lot but I really mean it here, this is a combination Disc Golf course and gorgeous nature hike. I loved it, I can wear you out but you'll love every second. The back 18 tails off a little after the first few holes but not much. It's really well designed.
The wooded fairways are a little to tight. I'm all for tight and I love the challenge of shaping a great shot but leave us a line. Slight flow problems on the back 18 but not as much as the front. Also the growth can be difficult to manage, not just OB but the fairways as well. Be ready to spend a lot of time searching for your discs. I rarely lose discs but I left two good ones behind there.
I wouldn't take a person with a lower skill level out here, it may be a bit much for them but I would definitely recommend this place for a road trip. I know I trashed this place a little in my review but trust me when I say that the positives far out way the negatives. I loved it here. If your a fan of the nature aspect of disc golf like I am then run to this place. It has it's problems but with some work this place could be phenomenal.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Beautiful scenic course with plenty of challenging holes. 27 holes in one location. Creative use of space. Very friendly course supervisor.
Cons: Some trees need to be removed to make a few of the fairways a little more reasonable. (I'm not being a baby go play it and you'll see what I mean) Tee pads would be a great addition.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Lots of potential, but needs attention
Pros: Located in a beautiful park, with a creek that comes in to play on many holes.
27 holes- if your goal is to get a lot of throws in, this is a good place to do it. Holes provide a good mix of open and wooded shots.
Good use of natural features- I love it when course design incorporates the natural landscape. Two holes on this course feature medium sized boulders as tee pads, which is great. Also a good use of elevation with holes that go both steeply up and down hill.
Cons: Tee pads!!! The tee pads are horrendous on this course, making a run up nearly impossible on several of the wooded holes. Natural tees are not always a bad thing, but the tees at this course need to be leveled and generally cleaned up.
Lack of maintenance. A few of the holes on the back portion of this course are nearly unplayable from the tee- you will be standing on the tee and looking at a wall of forest between you and the basket. I am all for difficult, technical holes that weave through trees, but the golfer must be provided with some sort of line to aim for. Many of the holes require some tree removal and trimming to make them realistically playable- there is more to designing a golf course than just placing a tee and basket 400 feet apart in a forest.
Single tee and basket locations. In fact, the baskets lack a "female piece" in the ground, and instead the poles are just buried in the ground, which makes the target 8-12 inches lower than a typical basket. A minor issue, but something I noticed nonetheless...
As already mentioned by other reviewers, but worth reiterating, the course has little flow, and the golfer is faced with several long walks from basket to next tee.
Other Thoughts: Despite the problems of this course, I still enjoyed my round. However, if you are traveling from the Pittsburgh area to play this course, as I did, I would advise sticking to Deer Lakes/Moraine/Knob Hill, as these are all far superior courses in my opinion. If you are looking for a wooded course and want to venture away from the city, I would suggest the Orange Crush course in WV, which provides a challenging, but better maintained, wooded golf experience.
This course has a ton of potential- with better tees and some course maintenance, this could easily be a course with a four disc rating, but as of right now it is only average.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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