2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Signal View is a course that has potential to be good. Judging by its lack of upkeep, I'm thinking the course isn't going to be consistently meeting its expectations.
- In a vacuum, I like most of the course's holes; its overall design, and the flow of the course throughout the park. In the grand scheme, the parts are greater than the sum, leading to some frustrations.
- The first 6 holes were a solid beginning to your round. #1 is a great warm-up hole: a 363-foot uphill layout that lets you stretch your arm right off the bat. Rough on the left, and some well-placed trees closer to the basket add in a little more challenge.
- Hole #4 is a fun downhill, wooded layout. #5 is a dogleg right that plays up a hill once you're around the bend. #6 is then another slight downhill that starts open and ends in the woods. Unfortunately, it's a while before you get another stretch of good holes.
- The front nine plays mostly in the woods. The back nine is mostly in the open. On a 90-degree summer day, I felt that stark contrast in the layout.
- Course does require players to pull out all the different shots, and discs, throughout the round. Based on the course design, you may only need a certain disc one time during your round, but you'll be glad it's in the bag when you need it.
- The course only plays 5432 feet from the white (normal) tees. I say only because the course feels much longer. Between the elevation variances, and some thick field grass that eliminates skip shots or rollers, it felt considerably longer than that.
- #17 is a fun shot simply because of the pond you must throw over or around. The last 5 holes are all open layouts. The pond is about the only thing that gives any of the closing holes any identity.
Cons: The course hasn't gotten a lot of attention and/or regular maintenance. That, or some holes are just poorly designed. I'm looking at #7 as the biggest culprit. The fairway is either designed to only be a couple feet wide, or the underbrush has grown up that there isn't a true landing area for tee shots. I guess it's good it only took me 5 minutes to find my disc 15 feet to the right of the 5-foot wide fairway.
- The baskets all have the incorrect numbers on them. Once you start playing, you figure it out. At first, I had to keep checking out my map to make sure I was on the correct hole/throwing to the correct basket.
- The grass in the open-field (mainly #15 - 18) is of the thick, heavy variety. Why's that matter? It means no skip shots; no rollers; no bounces. Once the disc hits the ground, it's stopped. Also, you'll feel it as you walk through the grass as you're taking bigger steps just to make your way through it.
- What is Par? Well, according to the designers, par is 2 on holes #4 & 9. #4 is a downhill, 239-footer; #9 is a slight uphill hole (either 309 feet according to this site or approx. 240 feet according to the tee sign). Why aren't #2 or 3 par 2s when both are shorter layouts? It's simply a gimmick and a bad attempt at one, at that.
- For a course that wasn't that long - average hole length 302 feet - there are a lot of blind tee shots. Just off the top of my head, I had to scout the basket on holes #3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12 & 13. If the fairways were in better shape, perhaps I'd be okay if my disc went off-line. Instead, this made for a very slow round.
Other Thoughts: This is another above average course along the northern Virginia I-81 corridor. For such a sparsely populated area, it's impressive how many courses are in this region. And they're all good to very good. The downside is that it's hard for the local disc golf clubs to keep up maintenance at these courses. That's evident at Signal View.
- The course has a couple of distinct feels throughout the round, based on terrain and typography. The first 8 holes are a typical wooded course. Holes #9 - 13 are slightly wooded with a different type of tree and look. #14 - 18 are your wide-open holes. By the time I'm trudging along on #16, the first couple holes were a distant memory.
- A simple way out breaking up the open holes? After hole #1, make the current #16 - 17 your next two holes, then begin your stretch in the woods. You'd then finish the course with only 3 open holes, breaking up the monotony. There would be almost no additional walking (if any) and it'd make for a better flow throughout.
- I thought #11 could be the course's signature hole. Signage is needed to know exactly where you're throwing as there seems to be several openings in the tree line, any of which could be the fairway. Either scout it first, or take your chances. Simple arrows could help improve the feel of this hole.
- Signal View seems a course that should be highly regarded. With a couple of workdays, lots of man hours and, ongoing attention, this is the makings of a 4.0 rated course. In its current makeup, it's far from that.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Lovely start, lackluster finish
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The use of elevation is one of the positive attributes during the front half of Signal View. Hole #1 offers a nice warmup with a fairly open fairway that starts downhill and then proceeds uphill to the basket. Holes #4, #5 and #6 incorporate excellent elevation changes as well.
Several short tricky holes (such as #2, #3, #12 and #13) prioritize accuracy and will punish an errant shot.
Three different teepads for each hole provides a challenge suitable for the disc golfer's skill. While the rubber tees aren't completely level, the traction seemed pretty good. (However, the red teepads were much smaller than the white and blue teepads.)
The park was clean and the course appeared well maintained.
Cons: According to the PDGA, "designing par 2 holes is not recommended." This recommendation should have been heeded. Instead, Signal View features three holes listed as "par 2." In a previous review, Big Al suggests that the reason for the par 2 holes was so that the course could remain at a par of 54. If he's right (and evidence would suggest he is), this is a terrible reason. Hole #9 is the most ridiculous of the "par 2" holes, as the length and obstructing trees mean it's hardly a "gimme" hole. And after a long hike from Hole #8 that might take your breath away, arriving at Hole #9 and discovering that it is a "par 2" might lead to convulsions of horrified laughter.
The last four holes of the course are boring and disappointing. Not only are they wide open, but Holes #15 and #16 feature a barbed wire fence as a right-side border. Errant shots won't likely be retrieved. Plus, considering the length of Hole #15, it should be listed as a par 4, not a par 5.
Hole #14 is described as having a "mock water hazard," which is a fantastic example of egregious design and is the epitome of unnecessary gimmicks. Either dig a pond or leave the fake hazards to miniature golf.
While navigation wasn't too difficult (though I struggled to find the white teepad for Hole #6 as the sign is missing - the pad is past the corner of the fence on the hill), the course map sign may be difficult to follow. The course would benefit from a few "Next Tee" signs.
Other Thoughts: The current rating of Signal View is inflated due to its reputation as a nine-hole course. Doubling the number of holes appears to have made the course worse. The negatives of this course - par 2 holes, barbed wire fences and its lackluster finish - affect its rating.
However, there is some enjoyable disc golf at Signal View. The first 13 holes provide quality challenges and good diversity with solid use of elevation.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Now 18 Holes
Pros: Great variety. Great scenery.
Cons: Rubber mats for tees, and the Red tees have only mini mats.. Long walks between some holes.
Other Thoughts: This course recently expanded from 9 to 18 holes. The 9 hole course was championship quality and several original holes remain. The new layout shows a lot of imagination. Every hole has Blue, White, and Red tees and 2 basket positions but only one set of baskets. There is a mix of open and woods with dense
briars. There is a large sign with the new course layout and scorecards near the parking area. The course map on the scorecard is really too tiny to be useful but there is adequate on-course signage with nice tee maps and helpful Next Tee signs. Nice use is made of the rolling terrain and conflict is avoided with other users of this narrow multi-purpose park.
A staggering range of skill testing is available with the widely spaced multiple tees plus alternate pin placements and beginners to pros can find satisfaction and challenge. Some holes on the back nine seemed a little dull after surviving the narrow wooded sections but I assume summer rough and frequent winds
on this ridge will bolster the course's defenses. #17 makes for a nice signature hole and winds will ask questions of every thrower regarding laying up before the water hazard, taking a route around it, or going for it. I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of wrong answers. There is a cover photo for all time waiting if a talented photographer can catch a disc in flight amid rising waterfowl with the basket and the stunning ridge beyond as the backdrop.
The most controversial feature of the expansion will no doubt be the creation of several par two holes. I suspect the legitimacy of a hole which is an ace run from Red tee to near pin and nigh unreachable from Blue tee to far pin being an across the spectrum par two will be questioned, as well as should par twos exist in disc golf?
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Hilly course but nice
Great tee boxes, well marked, nice baskets, course well maintained.
Cons: Lots of hills, poison oak all over the woods on the course. Easy to wind up having to get your disc out of those woods bc they are so close to the baskets.
Other Thoughts: It is very spread out to only be nine holes.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
I liked it
Pros: This is a very well cared for course with excellent signs and amenities. It is a quick nine holes that neatly starts and ends with open shots near the parking lot and wraps through woods and fields around a multi-use park. Other park activities do not generally interfere with the disc golf course.
The tees are not concrete, but are clean, grippy, thick, rubber mats. They are pretty decent. Benches, trashcans, restrooms, and directional signs are everywhere that you need them. Alternate pin placements add variety when they are moved (though their current location is not marked anywhere; you'll need to wander down the fairway and have a look.) Multiple tees add difficulty. Red tees run around 250 feet with clear views of the pin. Blue tees range around 350 feet with more difficult angles. Blue tees range mostly in the 400s and often offer no clear shot to the pin.
What I mostly like about the course is it's general charm. Most of its shots are well framed and there is no real bramble. It is a lovely, easy walk though woods and fields. It is beat in but not beat up, well cared for, and scenic.
Cons: The course has only nine holes. Adding another nine pins permanently in the alternate placements would provide a full 18 shots and help the course tremendously. There are a few long walks between holes - particularly between 6 and 7. The red tees are only grass, and the other tees slope and bend with the ground.
The course has some good shots, but they are fairly simple - more enjoyable than challenging. I don't recall any risk reward decisions or tricky pin placements (except for the fake water hazard on the 9th hole.) Elevation challenges are moderate. Technical woods shots aren't really tight or demanding. There is no water. The park's trees and location keep wind to a minimum, and only one blue tee is longer than 500 feet.
Gnats were swarming in the fields rendering the course less enjoyable. #8 requires throwing over a gravel road, and joggers were running the disc golf trails - which is, you know, dangerous.
I would have preferred level tees and an indication of each pin's current placement, but those are minor complaints.
Other Thoughts: Fairway maps and distances are at the blue tees only, and the tee signs are small and near the ground. If you don't know where to look you might miss them.
You'll need a mighty thumber to hit 3A and 7A from the blue tees.
The course played very fast.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 1 Not
Leaves You Wanting More
Pros: Three tee positions per basket. Long rubber teepads for the two longer tee locations. Great example of how to create a course for all levels of play by having multiple tee locations.
Signs at each hole showing path and distances. "Next tee" location signs after each basket.
Good variety - start and end with fairly open shots, playing in/out of the woods holes #2-#4, amongst the woods holes #5-#6, openish left-turning holes with some trees for #7-#8. Some changes in elevation, some right-turning and S-shaped flights needed, too.
Absolutely stunning views of the neighbouring hills.
Practice basket. Room to take some practice drives.
Cons: Only nine holes.
Not enough time in the open to enjoy the great views! :-)
Other Thoughts: The whites average just under 200', require mostly just straight shots, and provide only a minimum of obstacles for the beginning player. The average distance from the reds is just over 300', brings more obstacles (trees) into play, and requires different turning flight paths. The blues stretch the average distance out to about 425', requires even more complicated flight paths, and, of course, increases the number of trees to work around.
3.5 miles from I81. To find the start after entering the park, keep going left until you can go no further.
Excellent course. Hopefully the desginers/builders can find a way to create nine more holes (or more!) of equal quality and variety.
Update 11/8/14: An Excellent 9er Becomes A Good 18er:
Nine new holes (2-3, 10*, 12-13, 15-18) were recently spliced onto the original nine (1, 4-9*, 11, 14).
The new holes generally fall into two categories. Numbers 2-3, 12-13 are short, carved out of dense small tree/brush areas, and require either straight (red), some shape (white), or awkward shape (blue) throws from the tee. Numbers 15-18 are long, straight, and open. Barbed-wire protected fields full of cow patties run along the entire right side of fairways 15-16, while a pond must be thrown over on #17 (bailout area to left, aka #16's fairway), and finishes with downhill #18 (to the dual-purposed practice basket).
While the new holes add sheer numbers,and some variety, as a whole, they are all weaker than the original nine - added quantity has diluted the overall average quality.
* Original #7, an excellent hole, was cannibalized to create new #9 and #10, two good holes.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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