2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The work being done on the course to clear out the overgrowth is unbelievable. It is night and day from just six weeks ago. I can't say enough for all that has been accomplished. Great course with a lot of variety in terms of elevations and the types of shots required.
Cons: Would have been the overgrowth and the ease with which you could lose a disc. That is changing now.
Other Thoughts: If you haven't played this course in the past two months, I highly recommend going out for a round. You won't recognize many of the holes.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Beautiful and Thorny Challenge
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: +Phenomenal variety of challenges here. S/S is good for reasonably-experienced players (note: *NOT FOR BEGINNERS*) or as a warm-up/getting accustomed to the layout of the course; S/L will challenge almost anyone - these are the two layouts I played back-to-back. From what I've heard, L/S and L/L will challenge up to the pros, and I can believe it.
+Tee signs, tee pads, and baskets are all terrific and in great shape. A local from the NOVA DGC recently updated all the tee signs and they are likely the best I've ever seen (with regards to information and detail). Two tee pads and two baskets permanently per hole.
+Holes present a variety of challenges - big uphills and downhills, tunnel shots, OB, etc. Mostly plays through a meadow, with - uh - death on either side of it. Definitely not repetitive. A few (at least on S/S and S/L) will give you a bit of a breather before the next monster.
+Beautiful setting with some nice panorama views, especially on 15 long pin and 16 short tee.
Cons: -Well it's been documented before, and I'll document it here: I have never seen thorns so bad in my life. The OB is there for a reason. This course will eat your lunch and your discs. Despite playing solo, I managed to only lose one disc in two rounds...but I got lucky. At least 3-4 other times I got off the fairway by 2 feet and was **lucky** to find my disc. This is part-and-parcel with Giles (know what you're getting into), and the OB is there for a reason, but still it's a little TOO unfair.
(Note: NOT FOR BEGINNERS. They will become utterly discouraged and/or lose all their discs before the end of hole 7.)
-A few pretty long hikes between holes, particularly 2->3, 7->8, 14->15, 15->16S tee, and 16->17. Don't start a round with less than 90 minutes to go before sundown - you might finish a perfect round without hunting for a disc, but c'mon, it's Giles...you're hunting for a disc.
Other Thoughts: Park in the gravel parking lot in the middle of hole 2, just downhill from the guard tower and traffic circle.
WEAR LONG PANTS AND BOOTS. Twelve months of the year. Or else make peace with losing discs that you can see in the rough but will never be able to retrieve (with all your skin on). I've realized that this will only be a September thru April course for me...too hot in May-August for the apparel required.
I struggled a bit with 3.5 vs 4.0 overall. As long as you know what you're getting into - and can make peace with the thorns - this course is pretty fair. With the exception of 16 L/L, if you get lost in the rough, it's because of a bad shot and not because the course is too tough. And it really is a fun, challenging course to play with differing layouts that present differing challenges.
Again - DON'T. BRING. BEGINNERS. Or else, skip the holes with death thorns surrounding them (well over 50% of the course).
Play solo at your own risk. You will almost certainly lose a disc (or else play some supremely boring golf).
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Attack of the THORNS!
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Other Thoughts: Very challenging course and by far the hardest in the NOVA area. Lots of long shots that test how far you can throw the disc with out of bounds on either side. The out of bounds consists of very dense thorn bushes and high grass which can make getting your disc out of it extremely difficult. Also the course involves a lot of walking. One hole was a 1/4 mile from the one before it. You'll want to pay attention to the tee signs indicating the location of the next hole. I found several ticks crawling on us throughout the course so you'll also want to check for that before you head home. The fairway grass is not well mowed.
Overall this was a beast of a course. Can be fun but be prepared to walk, bring water, and wear long pants for when your disc goes OB. Don't miss!
2 Tee Pads for each hole
2 Baskets for most holes (Both are set up at once)
Terrain: Mostly open
Out of bounds: EXTREMELY TREACHEROUS
Tee Signs: Excellent
Navigation: Moderately hard
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Challenging for a beginner
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Beautiful, real hike in the woods, lovely stream, challenging in length and layout, constantly sloping fairways, solid pads, two pads and two baskets per hole for variety, solid baskets. And I believe some patio chairs on the back 9 still remain (thank you!!).
Cons: Thorns, thorns, thorns!! Always wear (even August) long sleeves, long pants (denim!), hiking boots. Bring a stick or cane. Bring garden gloves. Poor directional signage. Print course map here; take it with you if this is your first outing. Hole layout signage is good, however. Hole 3 (old no. 4) is a conundrum for me; hardest to even approach par. A careful but strong hyzer flip, I think.
Other Thoughts: Steep terrain in both groups of holes: 1-7 with 17 and 18; 8-16. Expect to climb up and down continuously. Old big parking lot now converted into condos. Smaller lot near hole 2 green still available. Can come into the course from Lorton Rd. If preferable, one can still enter from Silverbrook, driving through Liberty Village (previously, the DC Reformatory). Or can park in the area further north off Lorton Rd (more below). Open meadows don't necessarily mean a wide, strong shot will be safe. Constantly sloping fairways! (smile) Lock-grip is deadly. Slopes mean discs can easily roll into the thorns. Be aware of other trail users: Walkers, runners, mountain bikers.
I consider myself a beginner still; shall for at least a couple more years. This course is not for the faint of heart, and you have to take some risky shots often to make par or bogey. Consider the lesser evil and aim there!
There isn't much conservative play to be had and make a decent score, particularly on holes 6-16. Once I have better skill, I suspect I have a different opinion. However, I found that I sometimes just needed to throw that bomb to the lesser evil side of the fairway,
Long sleeves, long pants, garden gloves, some sort of stick. You can get your disc back.
UPDATE: Old nos. 1-2, 4-7 are now 1-6. New no. 7 is left of old 7. It has a sloping, partly open fairway; trees to contend with mid-flight. If the fairway here is regularly mowed, this will be a sweet drive. The new park area near nos. 12 & 14 offers better, more parking, picknicking, and a small, paved circuit trail to walk or run. If parking here, play nos. 12-18, then 1-11. Starting with 12, 14, 15 (have been good to me) is just fine. And if I can regularly dare to hyzer wide down the 16 fairway, I can make a good score there as well. While 10 is a bear, ending a round on no. 11 also would be optimistic (another hole that has been good to me).
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 6 Not
Too many thorns!!
Pros: Fairways clearly visible.
Multiple tee pads and baskets to change things up.
Cons: Too many thorns. If you miss the fairway and want your disc back, you will get absolutely shredded by thorns. I've played coursed with thorns before but this was the worst. I am a fairly decent player, but this was my first and last time playing and my towel was spotted with blood from my hands retrieving some shots that barely missed narrow fairways. I would imagine it's much worse in the summer.
Also, we got lost around the 16th hole or so and did not have a lot of time before we had to be at my son's soccer game so we had to head back to the car but got lost and wandered in the woods forever.
I guess if we played a few more times and got a feel for the layout and wore kevlar it would be a fun place to play. But, it wasn't and we won't be back.
0 of 6 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
You know nothing disc golfer.
Pros: Multiple layouts for in treating play.
1. Play short to short the first time through.
2. Second time through either short to long or long to long.
These are the layouts to play if you have the time. Distance comes it play but skill is much more nesessary
Cons: Don't play late late I the day. Back 9 can get difficult to find a disc if you land off fair way.
The rough is like 1970 porn brush, it's thick, and messy. Bring a good stick to wack the brush to find your disc If you go off course. Next tee signage at pins is misleading
Other Thoughts: Keep your throw in your line of sight. It's really important here to land on the fair way. Ease up and throw your mids, or fairway drivers, it's mostly a short course.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Best course in NOVA.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Gorgeous land. Two tees and two baskets allow every difficulty level from very simple (red to red) to incredibly challenging (white to silver).
Creative and varied hole design. Switching tees/baskets makes many holes completely different.
Has beat in well regarding ticks and mosquitoes, which are still present in summer, but less oppressive than a few years back.
The only course in NOVA where you can really air out your shots (but still requires you to play placement golf).
The best lost and found box/system of any course I've ever been to.
[UPDATE]: The Giles Run Meadow Park Volunteer Team, the legitimate successor group to the guerilla-style (but beloved!) Thorn Divers, has made huge strides in making OB reasonable, reclaiming fairways, and battling invasives. In addition, the park is adding more currently-rough areas to the mowing schedule for 2021. Tree planting gets the course closer to the original vision.
Cons: The rough, in spring and summer, is very rough. This course was carved out of 10' tall blackberry bushes. The park has kept the invasive thorns in place to serve as bird habitat [although this is changing; see update in Pros, above].
Wear long pants and bring a grabber.
Can be very discouraging to beginners.
Other Thoughts: Most locals play red to silver or white to silver. Locals also play tournament OB, where the rough is out-of-bounds (general rule is if it's in thorns, it's OB).
Spray DEET on your bag as well as yourself to keep ticks from hitching a ride.
Please place any found discs in the Lost And Found mailbox near hole 3's red basket.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Embrace the Thorns!
Pros: I thoroughly enjoyed playing this course; it may be the best in NOVA or the DC area as a whole for a number of reasons.
I played 36 holes from 9a-2p on a Saturday in March, it was cloudy and cool. II played Rec Tees-Silver baskets on the first round, Pro Tees-Red Baskets on second. Crowds (including one group of 7!) didn't emerge until afternoon. I would classify this course as a moderately strenuous hike, by east coast standards, and players should definitely wear decent shoes or boots and long pants.
*In my opinion, one big difference setting Giles Run apart from nearly every other course in northern or central Virginia (and many in nearby MD) is that this course does not have many ticky-tack or unfair tee shots. The course is expansive and is more like a hike than a walk in a muni park. This course is fair and sensibly scored, as well.
Cons: Not for the faint of the hear with the thorny thickets throughout the meadow.
Wayfinding between a few holes can be tricky at first, but folks are very friendly and glad to point the way. Or, retrieve a disc twenty feet from a tree like a dude did for me when I played (!)
#15 and #16 are very, very long (like +600 feet) from the pro tees to the silver baskets.
I lost two drivers off the tee to the thorns. I expected this to be an issue before I played here.
I could see ticks/mosquitoes being an issue with warm weather here.
Encroaching development is an issue here, including a mixed-use commercial and retail center-is currently taking the place of historic buildings across the street from the parking lot. How did the Fairfax County Park Authority allow this massive residential community to be sited so close to this incredible green space??
There are several points on the course where one can witness the encroaching residential development that does take away some peace and quiet but a beautiful course overall.
Other Thoughts: (The) George Washington surveyed and likely hunted these woods as a young man, so enjoy! And yes, that beige tower you see in the distance is part of a prison (Lorton Federal Supermax). In fact, the course is built around what remains of part of the Lorton Workhouse prison for women that operated through the 1970s.
I really enjoyed playing here. It is the one course in the DMV I would suggest to out-of-town DG friends.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 4 Not
a coarse well worth playing ALLTOUGH
Pros: A great track of land. rolling hills a lot of open spaces Coarse is designed to accomidate the long thrower as well as an average player. there are two sets of tees as well astwo baskets per hole.
Cons: On a windy day I would not play here.If your disc goes into the ruff you may not be able to get it the thorn bushes are herrendise through out the coarse. to play a round you will walk about 3 miles+. It is possible to get lost. If you could get a map or talk to a local. to find trouble spots there is between I think it is 6 and7 or 7and8 it is along walk and you have to cross acreek
Other Thoughts: I though a lot of the coarse.It was fun to play.Control is a must.Fairways were more than fair.If your disc goes into the brush. You will find that you unable to go into brush to get it thorn bushes are really that bad.
2 of 6 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Nice course, but thorny as hell! Fairways are wide open but keep it straight or you will end up in the throny bushes that remind me of the movie SAW. Good mix of holes, up hill, down hill, lefties, righties, lunch eaters, aceables.Playing with a pair of grabbers is advised.
Cons: Um, the thorny bushes that will eat your discs. It's a long course to walk, no the distance of the holes but more so some of the walks between holes. Be mindful of throwing your favorite discs out here. Your sign that this course will wreck your day and game is the lost & found box, it's an old postal mail box. And it's jammed full. The only thing that I didn't care for was the Out of Bounds lines, they're painted with white paint, at least when I played, and seemed to change depending on who paints them. I would like to see a more permanent OB line with stakes and rope, so there's no guessing and wasting time.
Other Thoughts: I liked the course when I played in an Ice Bowl tournament there. I will definitely try it again when it warms up.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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