3 Helpful / 0 Not
You Gotta at Least Play it Once
Pros: Whispering Falls is a unique disc golf experience, literally testing your mental and physical durability throughout the entire round. This is truly one of those courses that you should at least experience once. This is due to its unique setting. It starts and ends like a typical town park, but for most of the course, you are deep in the woods playing daunting holes that allow little room for error with heavy rough, thick tree lines and constant elevation changes. I also feel this way because it's worth playing just to test where your mental game is, to see how much you can hold it together when things go bad.
With 27 holes, you will get a ton of different looks and shot types. There are plenty of holes that play through super tight paths, ones that are more moderately wooded but have risk factors to it, and plenty of chances for long open bombs at the end of the course. A huge difference in hole lengths and multiple par 4's are offered. There are even chances to get wet on 11 and 17. The variety is good here.
Hole 1 is a great hole and was actually my favorite. A 685' par 4 that starts out in the open and plays downhill through different patches of trees. I wish more holes were like this one, playing from the open into the woods and vice versa.
There is moderately elevation change on most of the front 18, which raises the fun factor in the woods. Hole 10 is a huge downhill shot that plays through a lot of trees. 15 is another fun downhill shot, an ace run with a steep slope behind the basket.
Since the setting was so cool, I actually enjoyed the hiking aspect to the course. It just needed more navigational aids. If I always knew what path I for sure needed to take, I would've paced myself and enjoyed the scenery more. I didn't mind the walk from 12-13 like others, it was a cool hike. I can see how some wouldn't like the length of the walk though.
Multiple pin and tee locations add to the variety of the course. The pin positions are so different that I'm sure locals really enjoy the changing aspect to this. The tee signs where the most detailed I've ever seen in terms of explaining where the pin was and how to get to the next hole. With the challenging navigation here, I really appreciate the effort put into the tee signs.
It's a long, exhausting round, so I also appreciated that it looped back to the parking lot after 9 and 18.
Cons: Ok, so I don't want to beat a dead horse, but the navigation here is something else. Definitely the toughest course I've played to navigate through, and I had a map. The tee signs were tremendously detailed with information to get to the next hole and I really did appreciate that. But, when it takes a paragraph to explain how to get to the next hole, navigation's an issue. There were a few signs pointing you in the right direction, but there were also times where multiple paths intersected and there was no way of knowing for sure which way was correct. I read that vandals take the signs down, and that's tough to deal with. But when I played, more signs were surely needed.
As I said, I liked the hiking aspect here. Physically and aesthetically, it was enjoyable. There just needs to be more clarity. With a map and reading the tips on the tee signs, I still had a few extra long searches.
There is definitely a push to play this course with someone else for the first time through. With the amount of heavy rough present right off most fairways, the challenging navigation, and the length of time that it will take you to play this course, having another person present will help keep you sane. Playing this course alone definitely hurt my experience. I know, some people think, "Just make sure you play with a local - problem solved." But the fact that this course is designed in a way that heavily favors having a partner with you hurts it for out of towners and first-time players. I generally travel to and play different courses on my own, so that isn't always an option.
Hole 27 finishes nowhere near 1. Since the course loops back to the car after 18, I recommend driving to 19 by the basketball courts so you'll be closer to the finish.
The finishing holes offer more variety to the course, but they didn't do much for me. They are pretty much wide open shots with a little bit of O.B. here and there.
Other Thoughts: If I am just rating the quality of disc golf holes offered here, I would give the course a 3.5. There is nice variety with some unique holes thrown in. However, with the problems that are present with the navigation and serious rough factor, I feel that the experience as a whole is a 3.0. It's not very often that I base much of my rating off of "experience", I generally try to focus on the golf holes offered since that is what I most enjoy in my round. However, the experience here is too much of a factor - especially for first-time players - for it not to be counted in my rating.
Maybe someday I will return, but I will definitely make sure I am playing with someone else. Make sure you give yourself a lot of time to play here, this isn't a course you will blow through.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 3 Not
you need a guide
Pros: clearly people are taking care of the course.
it has a lot of potential.
am sure they run some wicked fun tournaments there.
Cons: well, when i found hole 19, i parked my car thinking, "i'll just start here and end on 18 at same place". that was never going to happen. holes 19-27 are fairly open and decent but unexciting. the real problem was the 30 minutes i spent walking from hole 27-1, eventually giving up on hole 1 and starting up again on hole 2. no bueno.
Other Thoughts: am sure if you are local or with friends this place is a blast. dual tees are always helpful (assuming they can be found!)
1 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Nice, but too much
Pros: 27 holes. The holes are very well designed. Lots of variety with some very long distance holes and some short ace opportunities. Some holes are open and some are densely forested. Very challenging and difficult. A course for experienced players. The park is nice and the scenery and trails around the course are very nice. Score cards are available in the mailbox at the kiosk near hole 1.
Cons: By far the biggest con of this course is the lack of signage, and directions. This course also has the longest walk between holes I have ever seen, Hole 12 to 13 has a walk that seems at least half a mile or more long, all uphill. Very easy to get lost for a first timer. Not worth the lost discs in the summer. Rough is VERY dense and even good players will struggle to stay out since many trees deflect discs in the wrong direction. Hole 5 is a nightmare for losing discs. There are a few walking paths that overlap the course and I almost hit a few people going by when they stepped out of the woods. A few holes have no tee signs or are in really bad shape. A few holes have tables, benches, or other places people might be in them. The tee maps usually show multiple baskets but sometimes there is only one or the others were very hard to find.
Other Thoughts: I usually don't mind if a course has poor signage or maintenance, but this was the one exception. I got lost many times and never finished because i was wondering around the trails in the woods trying to find the next hole. What makes this worse is that I had taken a picture of the course map on my cell phone (I would recommend this) and that still wasn't enough help. The gap between hole 12 and 13 was not only like a half mile walk up hill, but it has many unmarked trails that branch off to the sides which make this even harder to figure out if you're a first timer. I really would like to give this course a better rating because it had some good holes and decent variety, but I know I am probably not gonna play here much again since I can just go to nearby Hagerstown Md and play a better course with less of a chance of losing discs. This course is still good though, just be aware of getting lost as a first timer and the potential for losing discs.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
This Course Wasn't Designed For The Likes Of Me!
Pros: Because of it's extremely challenging terrain with narrow fairways, some fairly dense rough, lots of elevation changes and long distances, this course was made for the advanced to pro player. Or maybe at the very least, the Gung Ho, young, physically fit intermediate player looking it challenge himself both physically and disc golf wise. I, however, do not in any way resemble that young fit stud of a player.
I am an older, noodled armed, total recreational level player who attempted to play the course early one July morning By MYSELF.
First problem, I arrived about 7:15 am and the park observes banker's hours doesn't open until 8 am. So I had to park outside the gate and hike around trying to locate the first tee pad. Upon reaching and playing the # 1, a 685' monster, I proceeded to look around about 15 minutes trying to find # 2. By the time I reached # 5, I realized that this course was not a course to tackle alone. With it's long, narrow fairways and my erratic arm, a spotter or two is a must. Then I promptly got totally lost and proceeded to wander up and down these steep paths through the woods. I finally came out at the picnic area at # 9 and gave up the fight. I feel lucky to have found my way back to my car.
Cons: For me, the navigation was a nightmare. There were paths leading every which way and very little in navigational aids. And I had the on-line map.
The course is limited in it's clientele. It's a great challenge for the upper range of players but is way too much course for us average disc golfers.
Park doesn't open until 8 am.
Other Thoughts: I can give this a course a 3.0 rating with the understanding that the young, strong and skilled players are thrilled with the challenge they will receive here. I've thrown with them before and it's a joy to watch them match their skills with a course like this.
I just want to warn other average golfers or those not in peak physical condition. This course will kick your fanny! It's a major hike with lots of serious ups and downs. Don't bring the newbie here.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Bring your "A" game
Pros: This course is extremely challenging,but makes you strive to perfect your game. You have a mix of everything imaginable. Water, elevation changes, and narrow, tough fairways. Yes, there is some long hikes between holes, but if you wnat to complain, quit and go ride your couch. YOUR disc golfing. Playing alone is not recomended(you need a spotter), but if your in the area with some friends, stop in and play a round.
Cons: The long walks between holes can wear you out(but I'm a glutton for punishment, personally) and the rough is ROUGH(hence, a spotter). The tee pads could be more level.Besides that, the intermediate to advance player should appreciate what a fine course this is.
Other Thoughts: The only change I recomend is hole 17(way more OB than inbounds) but, I'm sure that change is in the makings. Otherwise, I love and sometimes hate this course(yes, I'm a local). It is one of the most interesting and challenging courses I've played in southcentral Pa.!
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The amount of work put into this course is evident. I have a particular appreciation for recognizing the kind and amount of manpower it takes to put a course in on a piece of property like this. Very few areas can be reached w/ a vehicle, so whatever tools and materials you're hauling in - you're hauling in.
It's a visually appealing piece of property, long sweeping hills, in the PA mountains, but it's a difficult site for a DGC - very spread out.
Lot's of elevation (extreme in places), and a nice mix of Open and wooded holes. There are some pretty scenic/dramatic shots, which leave a good impression after playing, and on the first time through - a general "what's next" sort of anticipation. Generally, the course is long, but with multiple pin placements for most holes, it could obviously be set up in an easier configuration than I played it.
Hole 10 is perhaps the most dramatic, shooting down a steep ravine w/ maybe 50-60' change in elevation - pretty tough with the wind sweeping up in your face.
Cons: There are a couple long walks on the course. between 1&2 is nearly 1/4 mile, and between 12& 13 is at least 1/2 mile - all uphill - woof. This is testament to the difficulty of the property. While separation is a good quality for general course design. Whispering Falls version is a little extreme, and is one of the drawbacks in this instance. Sometimes (and this is one of those times) - you just don't have a choice.
Another CON is the rubber tee mats. Normally these are not a CON but, when you take the mat and just stake it to the ground, they deteriorate quickly, as has already happened to several of the pads. They need to be properly laid on a prepared, compacted stone dust bed. This would improve footing, and the life of the pads significantly.
Be prepared for a hike - its along - bumpy walk through the woods, and you must navigate some extremely steep areas - I can imagine in a couple weeks when is starts to thaw out, it will be a teacherous, muddy mess.
Other Thoughts: Signs aren't bad, but I question some of the posted distances. Plus a few have suffered from local kid vandalism. Lots of evident work, with a few sets of steps in key places, a guide rope for navigating the really steep hill going down to the extended pin on #3, and the nicest raised pin placement I have seen yet on #15.
There are several holes that utilize old logging roads which aren't my favorite kind of holes. While the fairways are ready made - in order to make the road in the first place, the people doing the clearing just shove all the junk off to the side, creating a virtually impossible cleanup job for folks like us that come in and want to use the roads as fairways. Makes for really rough rough - with lots of briars - something that'll take huge amounts of time to overcome.
Overall I like the course. There are some really good qualities here. It's only a year or two old, and is obviously still being broken in. With the distance and variation offered, this course should generate some good players.
One of several courses that has sprung up in south central PA in the last few years - good to see.
If you're doing a tour through the Mid Atlantic - definitely worth a visit.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 3 Not
I REALLY want to like this course!!
Pros: This course is on a GREAT piece of property. There is a good variety of holes, elevation changes and natural beauty. VERY challenging and not necessarily a place to take a "first timer" to try to get them hooked on the game.
Cons: With all due respect to their dedication and hard work, it seems that the designers let the existing park structure dictate the course design, instead of using the natural lay of the land to create the most challenging course possible. Too often the holes seem to follow/share the already established trails. This can put other park users unwittingly in harms way, and potentially view the sport as something that is "encroaching on their park experience."
With one caveat, I would say that 1/2 to 2/3 of the holes are well designed - the remainder could use some work. Unfortunately, that might require a radical redesign of the course! (Some new park development might make hole #17 unplayable?)
The "caveat" that I mention is that while there are 2 pin positions on each hole, there is but one tee position. Too many of the "B" pins are just longer, more "strenuous" versions of the "A" pins. I believe pin positions should be scattered in roughly the same general area - each more difficult/challenging than the previous - but not just "a longer shot." The tee pads should be what add length to the holes. Additionally, I'd agree that more signage is necessary to navigate the course.
Also, while the stream is a beautiful part of this course, the death defying descent down #9 fairway, and the confusing trek from #12 - #13 thoroughly detracts from the stream's added benefit.
Lastly, one quick and easy improvement: get a brush hog and/or a couple of scythes and clear a fairway swath 20-30' wide through the ravine on #4. "A good shot should be rewarded, and a bad shot punished." A beginner, or younger player, might have a good shot that doesn't clear the ravine, but goes straight. I believe it's counterproductive to "shorter throwing" players to make them wade through the briers just because they can't throw that far! And, they have no choice but to "go for it." There's no alternate route! Furthermore, it would eliminate the wide walk around just to get up to the basket!
Other Thoughts: I grew up just miles away from this course, and began playing while living in the area. At that time, it was an hour drive in any of 4 different directions just to play a course with baskets!!
Don't get me wrong, I HAVE THE UTMOST RESPECT for the 717 crew, and all that they are doing for Disc Golf in Franklin County and the Cumberland Valley!!! Any criticisms I give here are meant to be constructive! Living in Pittsburgh, and helping to build several of the courses there, has perhaps spoiled me to high-quality course design.
Overall, this course is worth playing, and even going out of your way to play! I would just love to see it live up to the potential of the plot of land that it inhabits.
6 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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