Challenging for a beginner
5 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. Basket 3 pin eternally missing. Poor directional signage. Print course map here; take it with you! Hole layout signage is good, however. Hole 4 is a conundrum for me; hardest to even approach par.
Other Thoughts: Steep terrain in both groups of holes: 1-6 with 17 and 18; 7-16. Expect to climb up and down continuously. Big parking lot now being converted into condos. Not sure how much parking will remain for disc golf. Can now again come into the course from Lorton Rd. If preferable, one can still enter from Silverbrook, driving through Liberty Village (previously, the DC Reformatory). 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 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 7-16. 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.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Too many thorns!!
0 Helpful / 6 Not
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.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Best course in NOVA.
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.
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.
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 4's red basket.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
12 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.
12 of 12 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.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I really like courses that use two pins and two tees well. Giles Run does just that. Each of the four layouts provides a new way to play the hole rather than just adding distance. Unfortunately, I only had time to play one layout, so I chose to really test myself on the longest layout. The long layout features a number of well laid out multi-shot holes that can challenge even the best while the shorter layouts provide some relief for less skilled (or less masochistic) players.
Although the course is mostly open, it uses the available features (rolling hills, tress, and yes, thorns and thick brush) to set up some interesting shots. The course really never feels especially repetitive.
Cons: There is one consistent feature that seems to steal the headlines at Giles Run: impenetrable, thorny rough. It's not just the thorns that cause problems, it's also the sheer density. This is some of the thickest rough I have ever encountered. It's not enough to know where your disc landed, if you want any hope of retreiving it, you have to figure out how to get to it. We even sent spotters ahead on especially risky shots. I had one land no more than 10 feet from where the spotter was standing. He was able to point out exactly where it landed, and where it will likely rest for a very long time. There was absolutely no way to get to it.
Playing from the rough is an important aspect of disc golf, but Giles Run takes that element of the game largely out of play.
The fairways are certainly fair, without the rough encroaching too much. But none of us are immune to bad shots, and the risk of losing a disc is present on nearly every shot at Giles Run. This can change the mentality of the round, where the thought process is more about keeping discs in your bag, rather than trying to hit a nice line. This takes a lot of the fun out of a round. With the distance, fun elevation change, and relative openness, this would be a really fun course to play super-aggressively, particularly in casual rounds where score isn't as important. But if you're playing with discs you're at all attached to, conservative is the way to play.
Navigation can be tricky for first timers. Hole 7 is tucked away behind the pond by itself, and then the long walk to 8 has no markings to assure you you're heading in the right direction.
The signage also leaves a lot to be desired. A few holes had map and distance info, but most have only the hole number marked. Especially on the longer layouts, where the basket is often not visible from the tee, more info at the tee would be really helpful.
Other Thoughts: I really want to be able to rate this course better, but I have to settle for a "good" rating. The layout is really done well, but when the signature element is the rough, it's hard to give the course more credit.
Be prepared, bring a map, wear long clothing that you don't mind getting a few tears in, and use discs that you're not especially attached to.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
She's a disc eater!
Pros: This is a beautiful course! One of the reasons I started playing was to get out in nature, but not just hiking. This course is perfect! You will walk a bit, but the scenery and layout is beautiful!
I really liked holes 4 and 13/14. Hole 4 is elevated tee across a narrow ravine to a basket off to the right. You have to have a straight shot to get there. Reminds me of ball golf tees. 13/14 is really open, but the baskets are guarded by the woods - 13 the woods are on the right hiding the baskets and ditto for 14. But there is also an old abandoned barn and silo which are beautiful and very scenic!
This is a technical course, especially for beginners. It requires a lot of different shots and approaches, which helps me as I'm learning.
Cons: So the other reviews say it, and I'll repeat it: thorns and ticks. The front 7 holes are easy to access lost discs. Once you cross to 8-16, if a disc rolls into the woods, it isn't pick it up, it's chop it out. I wish I would have taken a picture. It isn't little thorns plants that you can brush aside. It's thick, woody, tangled masses of thorns. One guy who was playing saw his disc and said, "Nope." I looked and it would have literally taken a chainsaw not to rip your skin off.
Also, when you get to the 4th hole baskets, you will see about 5 sets of baskets. 4/5/6/17/18 all share a field. Make sure you use a map (TAKE A MAP!) to figure out which baskets you are shooting at.
In addition, I only saw 2-3 signs. The boxes are nice concrete and all of them have posts with white boards, most have numbers, only a few had laminated course maps. I would pitch in to help buy nice map signs even, as it would really make things easier with some blind baskets.
Other Thoughts: This is a beautiful course in a nice park. The prison is literally next to it - you shoot towards the prison on #2.
Don't be a hero on this course - don't make this the course you swear you're hitting 400 foot drives on, because you will be like me and make a trip to the store to replace the 4 discs you lost afterwards.
The pro tees to silver baskets are serious stuff. Especially 16 - anyone who says they even pared that hole is a pro or a liar. It's 910 feet with two blind throws in narrow (see: 15 foot) gaps.
I would recommend tall socks, bug spray, lots and lots of water, extra discs, and something to poke through rough with - I took a 4 foot piece of 3/4" PVC pipe and that helped a lot. I met 3 other groups and all of them were searching for/had lost discs. The rough is rough - no forgiving.
As others said, there is a near 1/4 mile walk (1300 feet) from #7 to #8 and then from #16 to #17. But it goes down in a ravine with a little creek and is quite nice actually. There are some jaunts from various tees to tees (#14 to #15 to #16 come to mind) with some doubling back. But take a map and you should be good.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 4 Not
Wait till winter or pack in a machete
Pros: It is a beautiful course with a great mix of up and downs, long tight fairways and short open holes. Very challenging for the beginner.
Lost and Found dropbox
Lots of walking
Most holes missing yardage and hole diagrams.
No water fountain
Lots of walking
Other Thoughts: The worst of the thorns are on holes 8-16. You can play an short 9 holes hitting 1-7 and then go to 17 & 18.
Lost 3 disc playing #9&10. Found four ticks when I got home, picked three of my clothes while playing. I was wearing long pants, long shirt and hat.
I'd go back on a nice winter day probably take a machete as well.
4 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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