12 Helpful / 0 Not
Must play but a couple problems
Pros: If it weren't for the couple of minor cons below this course is easily a 5 rating. With just one play it's now in my top 3 with Lincoln Ridge/Banklick in KY and Cedar Hill in Nashville.
I like it so much because it is in such a beautiful park. The scenery is just what I'm looking for: lots of rolling hills and trees and even a small stream on a couple of holes. The woods holes (1-6, 13-18) are probably my favorite of the course because of both the look and the challenge they offer, but even the open holes are not easy due to no completely open field shots. 13 and 14 are the stand out holes of the course for me because of the shots, especially 14's tee shot: a great view which opens out to a clearing only to have the basket nestled in some trees at the end. Some people mention the walk from 14 to 15, but I didn't find it overly long or that strenuous, but if you are not in good shape it definitely could be a strain.
Each hole has two tees and multiple basket locations for variety. One of the best things I can say about this course is I found it challenging but fair. When I had a bad score I felt it was due to my mistakes rather than the course punishing me for my disc being a foot off of where it should have been. In other words, I didn't feel there were any forced pitch 'n pray shots when you stayed on course.
The course is well maintained and I didn't have a problem with any of the baskets. Each standard had a flag on top to assist in locating it. The grass was kept short and the woods are mostly clear of undergrowth.
Cons: I managed to navigate the course without a map or assistance thanks to "next tee" pointers and hole # markers by the pads. However, I can definitely see the navigation being tricky, especially if you're new to disc golf, because there's some crisscrossing going on through the middle of the course area.
Because the pads do not have tee signs that show the hole layout, par, and length, I had to run ahead in a few places to find out where I should be throwing. Combining the map and the scorecard would help fill in the gap here, but two different documents is a bit too much on the player's part in my book. Note that there are a couple of holes with old tee signs; I'm not sure if they are completely accurate anymore. The baskets have orange tape with the hole number in black on the middle pole inside the chains, but a couple have the hole number on top and--I may be remembering this incorrectly so forgive me--I think a couple of these top signs had the wrong number. Only a couple of times are you unsure of which basket to throw at so this isn't too big of a deal, just run up until you can read the tape. The holes I recall having this problem were 9 (I could see 27's basket) and 10 (again, 27's basket).
Finally, as I've mentioned in other reviews, I'm not a fan of parks that pay for entrance. I understand the need, but I don't have to like it. I played on a weekday and fortunately did not have to pay, but a few bucks to play this course is worth it in the end.
Other Thoughts: Seneca Creek is a very large park with lakes, hiking trails, picnic areas, etc. Very beautiful place, I'd like to explore it more if I'm ever in the area again.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Technical and Physical
Pros: I played it for the 1st time after the 27-hole layout was installed, and I was impressed by the transformation from a roller-dominated, cedar-shrouded course to a diverse gem comprising numerous technical holes, several air-it-out long holes, hyzer holes, anhyzer/turnover holes and, yes, even a few roller holes. Accuracy is key on most drives, with trees of various sizes lurking to take your drive out, but the predominance of cedars that defined the old course has been expertly reined in. The course is popular,so there should be a pretty good chance that you could just show up and have someone to play with.
Even with the number of people, the 27-hole layout in 3 loops provides separation: I played the first nine all alone and only saw or heard a few other people on the adjacent loop(s). The course is well-marked, and the paths between basket and next tee are well-worn, so it's pretty easy to find your way-at least on the first loop.
Cons: The older baskets are prone to cut-throughs - I had two in the first 9 holes plus a ring-job bounceout that cost me three strokes. Of course, I could blame it on my putting.
Other Thoughts: I found it handy to carry the course map (on my Blackberry, along with all of the course photos from this website). The 2nd loop has a number of elevation changes, including the honker-of-a-hike from 14 to 15 that reminded me of hiking Yosemite: just look down and keep putting one foot in front of the other until you reach the top! I'm glad I hooked up with some regulars on the middle 9, or I might have been walking around a lot more looking for the next tee. All-in-all, lots of fun and pleasantly challenging.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I'll reluctantly resist the temptation to peg this course as a 5 since that should be reserved for epic tracks like Paw Paw but there's just nothing not to like about this course. Gorgeous setting, challenging layout, multiple tees and pin settings, private feel, elevation changes, active group of volunteers and supportive Park management all make this a must play. Beautiful at any time of year, if you can catch it in late April/early May you'll get to enjoy the native Dogwood trees (even if you hit one or two). Each of the three 9 hole loops have a different character and allow you to work of different parts of your game. My favorite holes are #13 (old #11), #6 (pinball alley), #3 (gravity sucks) and #22 (open, or is it?). Trail is marked nicely in most places and where it isn't obvious there are signs to the next tee. Course is kept very clean.
Cons: Most holes tend to slightly favor the lefthand backhand line, but as mentioned earlier there's plenty of room to shape other shots. You may have to shoo deer out of the fairways. The walk from 12 to 13 isn't intuitive and there's a busy intersection after #7 and #24 but the signage is improving. Long walk from #14 pin to #15 tee (there was to be a hole or two in there that weren't permittted due to environmental concerns), lack of the epic downhill shot (see environmental concerns).
Other Thoughts: UPDATE; alcohol is no longer permitted (as of April 2009) in MD State Parks without a permit. Please help maintain the course's good standing with management by complying.
The old layout favored the roller on on most holes if you didn't have a monster air to take all the trees out of play. The new layout still has roller opportunties but generally offers more chances to fly. Maryland has four gems in Seneca, Patpasco, Rockburn and Druid with Seneca being the crown jewel imo.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
18 Helpful / 2 Not
Course designer review
Pros: Multiple tees and pins allow for accessibility by all skill levels.
Loops starting and finishing at parking areas makes getting on the course easier for everyone during busy times of the year.
Hard surface teepads (almost finished!) keep maintenance and erosion to a minimum.
Elevation changes on 15/27 holes.
Flags on all the baskets is a great addition - vastly improving visibility.
Dedicated area to disc golf means zero conflicts with other park users. Scorecards and maps are usually available in a box mounted to the course information board, but can also be downloaded and printed from the course website at senecadg.net
New tee signs have just been installed and are some of the nicest tee signs anywhere! Check the course info for an example of what they look like. These should help tremendously in navigating the course - we have plans for additional wayfinding markers to make it even easier.
Cons: A few teepads still need to be built
No permanent shelter or bathrooms
Other Thoughts: This course has been a labor of love for me. I designed and installed the original course in 1990 with John Powell. And did the re-design in 2007 with John Gregory. The course remains one of the highest SSA courses in the world relative to its length. Where most other high SSA courses rely mostly on distance, Seneca relies on a combined distance and accuracy seen in very few places. I've played upwards of 250 or so courses, and there are several I rank above Seneca, but through all my discoveries of other wonderful places to play, Seneca has remained amongst my top 10. I take no greater joy than seeing a players game develop and be influenced by the challenges this course presents. If you are ever in the DC area and are looking for a place to play - don't pass this one up!!
18 of 20 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Seneca Creek State Park DGC is a gem of a course nestled in an absolutely beautiful state park on 30 acres of rolling hills, winding streams, towering forests and cedars solely dedicated to disc golf. This course is 27 holes of excellently planned disc golf. Seneca features 27 holes divided into three - nine hole loops. Each of these loops begin and end at the parking lot making playing different combinations that much easier.
The course offers a wide variety of holes including wooded shots, open drives and the famed Seneca cedars. There are some absolutely beautiful wooded holes including my personal favorites, holes 13-14. These wooded holes on the green loop play with Seneca creek as OB on the left and dense wood on the right. 13 is a long right dogleg from the pro tee to the far pin positions - a very challenging shot. 14 plays pretty straightforward, but the hole is very picturesque. The most striking aspect of Seneca is the numerous holes covered with cedar trees that eat your disc if given the opportunity. These somewhat open holes tempt you to air it out, but hitting a cedar could cost you strokes with the 2m rule. These holes truly are a roller's heaven if you can throw an accurate roller.
Seneca is one of those courses that require you to show up with all of your shots ready to use because it will require your best game if you are to do good, whether right or left handed you will be tested throughout the course. This is evident in the great variety at Seneca. There is a good balance of open/wooded, right/left turning, and elevated/flat.
Overall Seneca is an excellent course and one of the better Mid-Atlantic courses, one of the must plays for those in the area.
Cons: I played Seneca Creek right in the middle of renovations so I am trusting that some of these cons have been fixed and will soon become irrelevant.
First some of the new tees had not been put in (although they are supposed to be finished soon) Also there was a need for the signage to be updated and added on many of the holes. There are several areas where it is easy to get lost without a map and the shear length of several of the holes and the fact that pin placement can be different every time beg for tee signs to be on every hole. (I am assuming that new signs will be installed as the renovations are completed) Some of the holes needed to be cleared of debris and brush, but I believe this was done prior to the Seneca Soiree. ((Once these cons are fixed this course will be amazing and much, much better off))
Some personal dislikes were the presence of garbage (I mean an old car, washers and big stuff) on a couple of the back wooded holes, I just don't think this looks good on a course. Also I know beer is allowed in the park, but people seriously need to not leave cans and bottles around on the course.
Other than these few easily fixed things this course doesn't really have many cons. It really is an awesome course.
Seneca is a serene peaceful place to play DG and the wildlife in the park is amazing! There is nothing like having a 4 pt buck stand 10ft away from you and watch as you tee off. Just incredible! While out for the afternoon I saw countless different types of wildlife on the course. The park itself is beautiful and well worth just taking a drive/walk around the lake. There apparently is a fee ($3 out of state/$2 resident) to enter the park, but I didn't have to pay the day I played. There are a ton of restaurants within minutes of this course and it is also within easy driving distance of several other good Maryland courses. Seneca also hosts some premier tournaments throughout the year including the Seneca Soiree. (Check out http://www.md-discgolf.com
/ for more information on Seneca and its tournaments)
When you play, take a map and enjoy one of the premier courses in Maryland and in the mid-Atlantic region. Seneca truly is a must play course.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 2 Not
Must play course of MD
Pros: This is the best course in MD, play it when you get the chance.
Three loops of 9 holes with two tees for each hole, and multiple pin positions.
Before the Fall 2008 Soiree they finished enough tees so that the tournament was played completely on concrete tee pads!
Lots of variety, from tight fairways to more open, elevation changes, tight OB lines, etc.
Cons: A few tee pads remain to be completed before it will all be 100% concrete tees.
MD residents pay $2 entry fee on weekends ... still worth it or get the $75 / year State Park permit and play Patapsco too!
Other Thoughts: 2007 Soiree White tees to long SSA: 88.22
2007 Soiree Red tees to long SSA: 80.30
6 of 8 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Wish I was Ambidextrous - and more Accurate!
27 holes, three 9-hole loops, each loop starting and ending at the parking lot.
Two tee pads per hole. About half are new/concrete, half old brick or asphalt.
Multiple pin positions
Practice area - two baskets, and open area to loosen-up for drives
Back area of park, i.e. not "competing" with other park patrons.
Requires a wide variety of shots - not a "simple" long-drive-followed-by-moderate-approach-followed-by-reasonable-putt course.
Large yellow flags on to of baskets make them easier to spot.
Favourite hole: #22 - go straight a good distance, then turn right, with the famed cedars waiting to interfere with your disc. You then must approach, via a narrowing opening, the basket set amongst a scattering of trees.
$3 fee to enter park
While signage at holes and direction between holes is steadily improving, there still are some areas that are confusing: going from #12 to #13 has you walk right past #6 tee; going from #24 to #25 takes you close to #8 tee; from #8 it is hard to see the hole (to the left), #11's basket (to the right) is easier to see, so you might drive in the wrong direction! Some holes lack signage or need updating.
Least favourite hole: #6 - long, fully-wooded, sloping to the left. I was thrilled with my '4' the other day; last time I played it, I scored a ... well, can't count that high! :-)
Practically every hole will involve some minor change in elevation - some up, some down, some both
Practically every hole will involve some trees, anywhere from the entire length of the hole, to just affecting a single "stage" (initial drive, secondary drive, approach, or putt).
A very fair balance between in left/right "advantage" holes, some being more extreme than others.
Only a few holes are of the type throw-it-as-far-as-you-can-then-have-a-slight-fade. You will need to throw an an(hyzer) or S-flight on nearly every hole.
One of the top, if not the top, courses in the Baltimore-Washington area. Anyone who lives in say, Laurel, i.e. has a reasonable drive to Seneca, Patapsco, and Rockburn, has it made!
I find the back nine (19-27) to be the easiest, the middle nine (10-18) a bit harder than the front nine. #13/#14, in the back positions, are brutally long (relatively speaking), then after having them wipe you out, you have a long up-slope walk to #15!
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 0 Not
Glorious rollers and devilish cedars are an amazing pairing!
Pros: Seneca is a spectacular course, and unlike any other I know of. This is the only place I know of where the 2-meter rule is still in effect, and will always be in effect. And before people start grousing that the 2-meter rule is an unnecessary or unfair penalty, let me explain a little about Seneca:
Hole design at Seneca is dependent on an amazing number of really beautiful and devilish cedar trees. About half the holes are strategically designed so that cedar trees become a serious obstacle and a penalty to shots that miss the fairway or miss the right line to the basket. And these are sticky, sticky cedars. I'd estimate that 1/3 of discs that hit cedars stick in the cedars. So there is a sharp incentive to avoid them. And the risk/reward of having the 2-meter rule in effect on these cedars adds immensely to the challenge of the course.
To offset the effect of the cedars, Seneca is the best rolling course I have ever played. The holes with cedars almost invariably have amazingly well-groomed fairways with well-trimmed grass and very, very few roots or other debris on the ground. Rollers are glorious here, and the rolling hills throughout the course meant that rollers have to be carefully placed -- you can't just huck a roller out and hope for the best -- you have to learn finesse. And I know of no other course in the country that will be so helpful in teaching you how rollers should work and what discs can do when they hit the ground.
The half of the course that isn't cedars/rollers is mostly beautiful shots along a shallow creek with 150' trees towering overhead. Wildlife is plentiful -- I've seen countless deer, as well as foxes, beavers, racoons, turtles, snakes, lizards, etc... around the course -- most of them near the water. These shots don't have cedars to worry about, but the OB creek forces precision.
Other reviewers have mentioned that the 27-hole layout favors lefty throwers, and I have to disagree with that. Seneca does require a good balance of right-and-left turning holes, but the holes that are "lefty holes" almost always have very high-ceilings and wide enough fairways that there is no trouble throwing an anhyzer shot. To me, the only time a course becomes a "lefty" course is when there are a lot of low-ceiling, right-hooking holes that mandate a lefty-shot to have a birdie-run. Here, that's not the case. Holes are fair to every player and usually offer plenty of room to get to the hole by several options. And there are a lot of very hard-3s (or easy-4s), where shot placement for the 3 is much more important than trying to hit a deuce. From the long pins, you can shoot ~970 golf here without every taking a deuce. Which is just awesome.
Other pros for the course: Three nine-hole loops, multiple tees and pin-placements for every hole, incredibly-well maintained, good parking, dedicated disc-golf-only area, so there are never any hikers or other folks competing for space, and perhaps foremost: a great bunch of locals dedicated to the constant improvement of the course.
Seneca is the closest A-list course to my house (about 45-50 minutes without traffic), and in the two-years I've lived here, I've seen it go from an okay set of 18-holes to a Pro-level 27-hole course that improves every time I make it out.
While there are still some holdouts who favor elements of the old layout, the redesigned course improves many elements of the course and has also served to provide a stronger draw for players of all skill levels.
The volunteers who maintain and continue to improve the park (can't name them all here -- I don't want to leave people out) have done an amazing job, over the last year especially, continuing to improve what was already an epic course. New signage (AMAZING) and a few more pin placements secure the course a 4.5-star rating, placing it among my favorite places to play in the country.
Each hole has an average of 3 teeboxes (though the yellow novice pads are VERY short and not always well marked (though that is getting better), and usually 2-4 basket placements, which means there is a lot of variation to the course. The recent addition of screws/hooks to indicate current pin position is a huge help.
The park itself is incredibly well maintained and has lots of other activities as well -- a perfect place to spend a day with a family or plan a family reunion, company picnic or other large get together.
Cons: It's hard to find many cons for Seneca. The biggest one for me is that there are not multiple baskets on every hole. That could take this course to a 5-star rating. The course has so many possibilities that it just begs for a permanent "longs" layout (similar to Patapsco, also in MD). The long-to-long layout on this course is truly awesome and a tremendous challenge. But with only one pin per hole, it is never set up in it's most challenging layout except for occasional tournament rounds. This is in keeping with the goal of appealing to varying skill levels of players, which is a great goal. But in a perfect world, this course would have permanent long pins.
Other minor issues are inconsistent signage. The new signs are among the best I've ever seen at a course (check out the pictures), but they are not on every teebox, and are not consistently on a certain teebox (sometimes reds, sometimes whites).
From what I can tell, the course is still working on completing some of the blue teepads. I know this is a work in progress, to eventually have 4 teepads per hole -- a true yellow(novice)/red/white/blue set of options, but this isn't done yet. Completion of these holes will also help with a 5-star rating; especially if they update the signs to reflect the new teepads.
The novice teepads are now sometimes "marked" with red arrows on trees pointing to the teepads (similar art on the signs). It is confusing at to whether these are mandos or not. I've learned that they are not intended to be mandos -- just indicators of where the novice teepad is located -- but it's not clear when playing the course.
No trashcans on the course. Seneca is a pack-it-in, pack-it-out park. This is actually good in that locals do a great job keeping the course clean, but it's just something to be aware of.
Another minor con is that -- to some degree -- there is a lack of "signature holes." There are some great holes (6, 10, 12, 13, 14, 22, 26 are my favorites), but there are none that light up my memory and make me dream about them at night like some signature holes other places. Seneca's closest holes to "signature" status are probably 10 and 13 (if you only have time for one loop of 9 holes, definitely play 10-18), but they just aren't quite there.
However, the overall balance of holes and the "fun to play" factor makes up for the lack of signature holes. I'd rather have 27 very good holes than the predicament at courses which have one or two epic holes and a lot of filler.
Only other small cons I can think of: the park opens late (around 8 or 8:30) and closes at sundown, so dawn golf and glo-golf aren't possible.
And: despite being a large state park, there is no camping at the course, which would be just make it that much more awesome.
State park with a $3 fee per person to enter -- a pretty minimal fee if you ask me. I'd gladly pay a lot more to play this course and to support the state park -- it's totally worth it -- but for the sake of people coming to play, it's worth mentioning up front to have a few bucks on you in cash.
Other Thoughts: The teeboxes are good -- not great -- but good. Plenty of traction and adequate in size, if not always perfectly flat. These are volunteer made and laid paving stones, scuffed for better footing. Some people will be picky, but I like them. Occasional teepads are holdovers from the original course, and are smaller slabs of poured concrete (also adequate).
Seneca should be on your "must play" list if you are in the DC area. This and Patapsco share the crown for top MD courses, and are both A-list courses on a national scale, comparing favorably with the best that any state has to offer.
If you want a course with more epic, memorable holes, go to Patapsco and play the "Green Monster" layout. If you want a relaxing, fun, challenging day of disc golf that will encourage you to try new shots and expand your game, go to Seneca. Better yet, go to both.
Seneca is a course that has grown on me over time. The more times you play it, the more you forgive the lack of "stand out" holes and the more you appreciate the incredible balance and consistent challenge that will shape you as a player and force you to reconsider and improve your mental game as well as just your throws.
If you have a chance to play the Seneca Soiree, held every spring, it's one of the best PDGA Pro events in this part of the country. It's worth coming back for.
The Mid-Atlantic Am Championship (MAAC) is on the short list of best am-only tournaments in the country. Any am who can should try to play this every year. Before I went pro, I played several big Am events, and this and the WVAC (West Virginia Am Championship) are among the best I know of anywhere in the country.
I know Seneca is local to me, and I'm biased, but there are few courses in the country that are as much fun to play as this one. It is beautiful and relaxing -- unlike some tournament-caliber courses that can leave you exhausted, this one is more like a gentle, friendly hike in the woods, that just happens to have some amazing disc golf. Seneca soothes the soul in a way few other courses come close to. I hope you get a chance to play -- you won't be disappointed (unless you don't have a roller, then you'll either have to learn one -- like I did -- or start cursing the cedars). In short: an amazing, one-of-a-kind course.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 2 Not
My home course
Pros: 27 holes! Excellent flow between holes. Each round of 9 begins and ends at the parking lot. Sparse vegetation means that discs rarely get lost. Course is in a serene area dedicated to disc golf so there is no playing near roads, picnic areas, etc.
Cons: Not much elevation change, a disproportionate number of holes are right-curving, some areas get muddy during rainy periods, some OB areas are not well marked.
Other Thoughts: This is a very nice course with a mix of wooded and open field holes. The first 9 are mostly wooded and the back 18 are mixed between wooded and open, though the open holes still have plenty of trees to play around. There is plenty of opportunity to use a wide range of discs and throws, though many holes curve right, favoring forehand and left-hand backhand throws. The course is free of charge at all times except weekends during peak season (approx. April through October).
7 of 9 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 7 Not
Beautiful. I'll be back!
Pros: This course will be amazing when all of the tee boxes and the new placements are in. The new holes seem to be a wonderful addition (I've never played it before.) Good challenge with the trees. Good balance. Perfect holes to be a challenging par 3 course.
Cons: Not quite done yet. Old tee pads will be confusing before new signs are in.
Other Thoughts: Played with Sean and Bird, they were very friendly and showed me around the course and even gave some pointers on some of the holes.
2 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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