Exceptional Ravine Play on B9
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -Pratt Park a very scenic course is a tale of two 9's. The F9 meanders with some downhill and uphill tee shots, moderately wooded holes, an open hole, and thru some meadows where you can find picnic tables and grills.
-The B9 the pace picks up with an open tee shot on 10, a tunnel on 11, and from that point ravine play the rest of the round.
-Holes 12 thru 18 are exceptional with Ravine play, and I rank #1 for a finishing 7-hole stretch and very scenic with foliage and the creek coming into play. Some elevated tee throws, Elevated tee to elevated basket, baskets protected by guardian trees and the creek, heavy trees with gaps, and intentionally the creek is being used as a fairway on 17, and 18. Hole 15 offers respite as a sloping uphill hole. Number 12 is the only hole with a long tee.
-#16 for holes less than 200 feet I rank personnel #1 an elevated tee shot of at least 40 feet.
-15 of the 18 holes are very memorable.
-From the tee used mid's, fairways, and drivers. I used a variety of discs from my bag and had several "think about it" holes at the tee. I threw at least 4 times up in the canopy, more so than any other course I've played.
-Most tee pads with turf are in good condition, and baskets catch well. Tee signs are located on the leg of benches and have hole number and distance.
-Navigation is in the form of a snake mostly counter-clockwise. There are some navigation signs to find the next tee.
-Beginners and Recreational this could be a struggle, but also can be fun. Intermediate and Advanced will find the ravine portion fun and a challenge, and the F9 a good warmup.
-After you pickup your disc from the 18th basket, there's a physical fitness test waiting for you.
Cons: -Pratt Park seems to be very popular to the local area, and there could be course difficulty on some busy days. On a Tuesday morning a few dozen people using fairways for their walks, except for #9 all on the B9. I even had someone walk up #18 with me. Even the walkers find the B9 exceptional, nobody on the F8. Had to do some waiting, and a disc buzz past a walker that couldn't be seen.
-From hole 4 thru 7 there are picnic tables and grills in the fairway. I wonder how possible its to play these holes on a busy weekend, let alone the increase of walkers. There was a festival still set up from the previous weekend, and I wonder if it was even possible to play the course? There was a picnic table to the left of 12 basket outside C2, but for the most part out of the way except for a wild to the left approach or big drive.
-Teeing across a park road on #1 a straight downhill throw, and jogging/walking trails 9, and 10. There's a parking lot to a business to off the 11 fairway to the right.
-Holes 5 thru 7 very blurry thinking back. Pretty much moderately wooded with grills and picnic tables.
-A few tees just carpet, and lumpy, #10 was the worst.
-A few more navigation signs would be helpful from 12 basket to 13th tee, and 13 basket to 14th tee.
-Disc lost is going to be high. On the F9 heavy trees and brush off some fairways. B9 you can be saying good by to your disc in the deep portion of ravines and brush. However, where the creek comes into play very shallow, and a disc can be played from the water just a few inches deep.
-After heavy or sustained rain. May want to wait a few days to play the ravine, the creek seems to move quickly.
-It's about a 5-minute walk back to the parking lot after 18. If I lived in the area, there would be times when I would want to get 9 in on the back.
-Need some strong legs, there are some steep inclines and declines. Also balance to cross footbridges. That physical fitness test is a leg burner to get out of the ravine, and #13 is straight up hill to tee using roots as steps.
Other Thoughts: Pratt Park was pure fun! Ravine play has become my favorite, and the 12 thru 18-hole experience will be unforgettable. Cannon Ridge is less than 10 miles away with ravine play holes 1 thru 11, add in Pratt's 12 thru 18 and I would be in Disc Golf 18-hole Ravine Heaven. Pratt Park does separate itself with a unique creek fairway on 17 and 18, only one other hole I've played has that feature #16 Lake Marshall Lair Course. My focus has been on the B9, but the F9 does get you warmed up. The biggest con for me is the course availability on a busy day at the park or how big of a distraction with other park goers. Holes 4 thru 7 also doesn't help the overall rating. I really wanted to favorite the course but can't do it for only 1/3rd of the course. I tried to reason out a 4.0 rating, but the cons drag it down and I just thought the front was okay, so here we are.
My overall rating is anchored on a 5.0, focused on the 12 thru 18-hole stretch offering a unique playing experience. My time to play was 70 minutes with some waiting here and there.
That physical fitness test after picking up your disc from the 18 basket. There's a steep set of wooden steps waiting for you to get out of the ravine and having to pick up your knees for about 50 steps. It's the first time on any course I had to pause because of the burn to my swimmer legs, and that includes playing Lake Marshall, Hawk Hollow, and a few others.
-No. 4 an open tee lining up to a tree gap about 120 feet out and only about 15 feet wide. If you miss the gap its possible to power your way thru the branches. The most difficult gap on the course.
Notable Basket Placement:
-No. 9 an open throw to the basket. Behind the basket are heavy trees. Just past C1 a straight drop to the ravine. Overthrow you're not getting disc back easily.
-No. 10 a par 4 with an open tee with heavy trees on the left and the basket hooks to left into the tree line. I had thought #9 was the only ravine behind the basket play. So, on my approach I went for the basket and hit a "good" tree, the disc would have been lost into the ravine which is about 15 feet behind the basket. That same tree would influence my missed birdie.
-No. 13 Par 3 at 189 feet is a straight tee to basket over the ravine, basket a little higher up than tee. The tee on the edge of ravine, to cross about 70 feet. The issue is the heavy trees, canopy, and branches when I played in early October. You can hit a tree anywhere, very narrow gap to the basket. I found a hole up in the canopy on the left side, took it and parked it from about 10 feet. You can retrieve your disc from the creek in the ravine but will take some time to get it. Very scenic hole.
-No. 14 Par 3 at 328 feet is an elevated tee shot on a slight dogleg left with heavy trees both sides. The creek borders to the right and swings to the front of basket within C1. Beautiful green setting with basket elevated above creek and a roller, behind basket set of stairs leading out of ravine and brush all within C1. A foot bridge crosses the creek for you just before the basket, and a few trees in C1. From my early release tee shot to C2 putt such a lovely site, small target, and a little concerning. Ran a birdie and missed.
-No. 16 Par 3 at 175 feet a highly elevated tee shot at least 40 feet up to an island green below. Teeing off on the ledge with plenty of trees and canopy ahead. The creek passes below and in front of basket, meanders to the left of basket and turns behind it. Some trees and brush behind basket early October. Such a beautiful sight! And not one to be forgotten about. No straight line to the basket for myself. Saw a hole in the canopy way out left center to far and up for putter and mid. Threw an easy TL3 and found the green after passing thru leaves. I'll call it lucky.
-No. 17 Par 3 at 278 feet straight down fairway following the creek which was shallow. Trees here and there but not narrow. Heavy trees on the bluff both sides. Basket is just around the corner right side sitting on a ledge and a roller back in creek. In the creek fallen trees, boulders, and pebbles. Another scenic look from tee. Threw an awful throw to the right deflected into the creek. Lofted a harp outside C2 into the basket only seeing its top. I could only laugh with the back-to-back luck throws.
No. 18 Par 3 at 258 feet kind of sort of looks like 17 but narrower and more trees in the creek bed fairway, and does have its own look. More dead trees and boulders laying in the creek as well. Instead of bluffs, has hills that lead into the creek area. The basket is also tucked into the right behind a hill with a guardian tree and a roller. Behind the basket is that physical fitness test leading out of the ravine, and another beautiful hole. Then the oddest stick from the tee, disc went right into a dead tree, basket high left into an old wedge, couldn't do that again.
No. 12 Par 4 at 432 feet long tee is a dogleg left that starts down slope until about 150 feet out where at the turn starts to run down hill and then 120 feet from basket a straight drop. Heavy trees, brush, and mounds both sides of fairway. A clump of trees in the middle part of fairway about 200 feet down giving two lines, the one on the right more difficult. The basket area is compact dirt and several guardian trees. Behind basket a roller into the creek within C1. From the tee a blind shot and if you lose track where the disc is flying too, you maybe doing some looking. It would have helped to of had a hole map. Only hole where I took a walk down fairway and decided left gap and caught some brush out of sight. Very scenic look toward basket which I couldn't locate because of guardian trees. Mistakenly thru up in canopy on right side and dumped putt because of roller back to the left.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Fun ol course
Pros: An old course here with tons of history.
It is the site of the largest frisbee tournament in the world once a year. "Virginia States"
Fun little tight lined front 9, all par 3s.
Back 9 is the same but with added elevation while navigating around a stream.
Great teeboxes also On most holes.
Cons: Some of the holes on the front 9 are sort of throw and hope you "get lucky" to have a chance at 2.
Baskets are almost as old as the course, putt easy my friends.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Super varied course
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I like that the front 9 is really for skilled beginners and the advanced people to warm up and that the back 9 is really for the advanced people. It means you can play this course without boredom for a long time. Indeed, I think one will never be bored here. The back 9 is mostly in an adjacent park. Very creative tract to use disc golf to "bridge" the two parks. Pratt and the other park (St Clair Brooks) are both lovely and well-maintained with a beautiful creek winding through them. There is a waterfall (sometimes dry) behind the basket of 18. For a true beginner, holes 1-11 are no pushovers. Offer plenty tightness, barring blast-off hole no. 1 and the drives and first approaches of nos. 9 and 10. Among the front 9, there is some elevation change --if peanuts compared to that of nos. 12-18. I've played the course several times now and often pair it with another of the area courses.
Cons: The gorge holes are tough and unforgiving to anyone who is not an advanced player. You can easily lose your disc on any of the back holes. I have played no. 16 several times now but still not 13. There is just too much dense rough to throw over or get through. Seems like a surefire way to lose a disc. I wish there was a drop zone for it beyond the creek, but there is just too much wilderness to place such.
You should expect to get into the creek at least once in the gorge holes. Bring your retriever and wear hiking boots. Truth be told, you are scrambling through it from the 16 green onward.
Another reviewer warned about the fall-offs behind holes 9 and 10. If you have a weak arm like me, play to the edge of the large field and then lay up to each basket with your midrange or putter. If you are a bomber, bomb to the edge of the big field and then lay up. If your disc rolls off no. 9, I believe it is curtains. If it rolls off 10, you have steep steps to go down and pick it up. Or wait until you play 18 to pick it up.
In the gorge area, there are some slick places you need to be careful scrambling over. The descending fairway of no. 12, for example. Climbing up to the 13-16 plateau is quite steep. Coming back down is easier if distinctly precarious.
BTW there are several narrow "plank" footbridges you must navigate. Need to be careful on those to avoid an injurious fall.
The arrow to guide you to 14 is pointing the wrong way. When you finish the 13 basket, walk to your left down the paved pedestrian path. Before crossing the bridge over the creek, the 14 tee is to the left in the woods.
On one summer outing, when I got to the 18 tee, the father of the party ahead of me was just standing there in the fairway. Finally he called out to me to warn me about a copperhead snake on the final approach to the basket. I decided not to play the hole, walked up to him and out of the hole with him, tiptoeing around the deadly snake.
He is a regular. Says the copperheads and water moccasins are for real here in the summer. Keep that in mind. I think I will play fall/winter here and pass on spring/summer. Certainly will not play beyond late spring.
There are picnic grills in the fairways of nos. 5 and 6. Another reason to play the course in the cool/cold months.
Other Thoughts: I was attending (as a spectator) the USWDGC 9/21-9/22 weekend (rounds 3 and 4) in 2019. A Spotsy disc golfer told me about Pratt while we were waiting for the third-best card to tee off of no. 16 (at Hawk Hollow) during round 3. I am glad he did. I played the Pratt course around the final round of the tournament: holes 1-3 before Round 4 of the big event (at Loriella Park) and holes 4-18 after the tournament ended.
The Jekyll/Hyde nature of Pratt is real. True beginners really need to only play holes 1-11 and then walk away. Hole 12 is when the gorge comes into play in a major way. You throw blind down into that pit and then climb up to 13, which is on a plateau of a sort with 14, 15, and the tee of 16 (16 plays back down into the 12 gorge). You scramble across the creek many times from 16-18. Then climb steeply out of 18 to the 10 basket and the big field.
The rest of Pratt Park is very nice. Soccer on one end of the field, many practice goals. Open space for dogs to run around in. Many sports can be played simultaneously in the big field (football, volleyball, virtual disc golf with a practice basket, etc.). There is a circuit around the big field to walk, run, or bike. Playground for kids. Picnic stations throughout the park, some with grills. Tennis and basketball courts farther east. An amphitheater for performances near the park entrance. Jewel of a recreation space.
Do be forewarned (if you don't know) that sometimes there are multiple soccer matches played on the top field and that (during such events) the hole 1 fairway becomes a parking lot. The first time I encountered this, I did come late enough and played 2-18 and then 1 after all the teams had left.
On your final approach to no. 18, please try hard to miss right. If you miss left of the waterfall, you will be dealing with super slick rock trying to fish out your disc. Incredibly dangerous, but after 30 minutes of trying (on one outing, trying one side and then the other), I managed to get the disc back with a disc retriever. Stayed seated on the ground to not fall and kill myself.
The gorge area is really something. Despite its dangers, you do have to play it with some abandon and looseness in your body to have any success. The drop-offs, dense rough, creek, steep elevation are all significant distractions. If you can maintain some degree of tunnel vision, I think you can be success.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 3 Not
This is a fine course for all levels
Pros: It's a great course for newer players, the first 9-10 holes are pretty solid and well marked for players to figure out the technical aspects of their game. It's an easy play and you can get a few rounds in during a single day. The back nine is generally a bit tougher and there's quite a bit more elevation that comes into play.
Cons: For advanced players, you'll eat this course up, but after 2-3 rounds, you'll start to see where the challenge lies. I wish it had a couple more open throws to keep the round balanced, but it still plays very well.
0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This course is pretty technical. There are only really 3 open holes and the rest is wooded. The front nine is pretty good and there is a nice diversity of elevation and pin placement. This course is a bit older, however for its age, is in great shape. Once you have reviewed the map and played through once, navigation is cake. The back nine is my favorite. Make sure you wear shoes that you would do a serious hike in and bring water.
Cons: The tee boxes are a bit worn, however as I mentioned, for its age this course is pretty awesome. Take the map with you. Hole 12-15 can get a little confusing and is not always marked too well.
Other Thoughts: The cliff off the back of hole 9 and 10 are pretty wicked so do not overthrow those pins.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: 18 natural tees with mach 2 baskets. Fairly tight and technical old school Steady Ed course design highlighting the elevation changes through the wooded ravine. Lots of variety. Good enjoyable holes here through nature. Great course for beginners and more experienced players. Located just off I-95 if you get stuck in local traffic.
Cons: Natural tees, couple holes may interfere with other park users/picnickers and a couple holes play close to each other. Lacks signage and navigation on the back 9 was a little confusing and rough. I'm allergic to bees and there were yellow jacks on the tee of hole 2 and there was another ground nest near one of the walking paths on the back 9(not sure which because I was lost). No loop back to parking lot. Traffic can be bad.
Other Thoughts: Pratt Park is your typical Steady Ed design course using the natural elevation and terrain features very well on par 3s. Even though it's an older course, it still plays challenging and fun. Really enjoyed hole 1 to start, a number in-between and hole 18 was a great finishing hole by the waterfall to top it all off.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Course plays like 2 seperate 9 holers. First nine are a little more technical and tight. Back 9 are a lot more fun and deeper in the woods. Great scenery and challenges. Good mix of short and long shots.
Cons: After 10, it becomes difficult to follow where your next tee box is. The last time we played here the basket for 18 was missing. Plus there are 2 holes that if you over shoot them, there is a 30 foot drop that are hard to get down and get back up if you lose you disc.
Other Thoughts: Still a fun course, but it could use some love from the park staff to help maintain and update.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Awesome use of landscape!
Pros: -Tough and technical
-carpet tee pads
-Holes 12-18 are some of the most creative, challenging, and beautiful that i have yet to play.
Cons: -No signs explain the par and the direction of the next hole
-hole 18 ends about a quarter mile from the car
Other Thoughts: Drove an hour and a half to check this place out and i was not disappointed. Really loved the back 9 with its hills, streams, waterfalls, and valley shots. Definitely wish it was closer to where i reside. Very impressed to say the least.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Excellent use of natural land scape - There are holes that have you shooting over ravines, under fallen tree, around waterfalls.
Fredericksburg area is home to many great courses - If you've got the time, I recommend you hit up Loriella park in Spotsylvania, just a couple miles away from Pratt
Course makes excellent use of different throwing styles - Really brings out the strategic element of DG.
Scenery is beautiful
Course traffic seems to be not an issue
You'll get to use a lot of muscle, and at the same time many holes are tight lines that reward precision and control - course really rewards perfect shots
Holes are well designed - With each hole you can see which kind of shots the designer had in mind as there are some clear windows and some sweet risk/reward scenarios.
Holes get progressively more challenging and interesting - The back nine are all amazing, and hole 18 is one of the coolest holes I've ever played
It's very easy to skip holes without noticing and some of them aren't numbered. There is nothing guiding you to the next tee but little white bands on trees, which only serve to confuse you as the course criss-crosses like 5 times.
Also on many holes, the rough is very thick and unforgiving, and you will often find yourself with an impossible shot or a lost disc - on hole one, if your disc so much as touches the edge of the rough DO NOT take your eyes off it.
A couple of the field holes shoot over one or more parts of the running trail which is always in heavy use. People usually know whats up though and take care not to get hit
The first couple holes are a little boring and can be quite frustrating - The fairways may be wide, but the rough is REALLY rough and if a shot turns over on you you'll be disc hunting for a while.
Most holes lack tee signs
The first time I played here was the first time I had ever played DG, and me and my buddies got SO lost on numerous occasions in between holes 12 and 15, and ended up trekking trough the mostly dry creek for about an hour before we realized we had accidentally walked out of the park hahaha.
Also, it says on this site that water comes into play on 6 holes, but don't worry, you won't be losing any discs to the water, its just a little creek thats only a few ft deep.
All in all, this course is gonna take you a while to get through, but It's a good experience and as far as the actual holes go, they have everything I look for in a course.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
The Back Nine
Pros: This course is a wonderful course that is located around the edge of a well kept park. Holes 1-9 are primarily located in/around the woods and steer clear of most of the walking paths. The first nine require some technical skill as there are a fair amount of left and right hand alleys.
What makes this course a phenomenal course would be the back nine. The back nine starts with a monster hole ten that leads you into the woods. Once in the woods, get ready for the most beautiful and skilled use of landscape that I have ever seen on a disc golf course. Just about each of the back nine holes plays through a ravine that has a creek in the bottom. There are countless elevation changes and challenging technical shots and the scenery will take your breath away. You've got to see it to understand.
Cons: Tee pads are mostly natural with white 4x4 blocks on the ground marking the hole number and distance. If the ground is wet this can be challenging as the tee pads get muddy. Finding the next hole can be challenging at times as usually the only thing marking the way is white tape on trees. There are no maps of the hole at each tee pad so finding the basket before you tee off can be difficult.
Other Thoughts: Though the tee pads are rough and the lack of signage is a negative, the course layout is what makes this course amazing. If you get the chance, and have the energy to do some hiking, you must play this course. You won't regret it!
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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