7 Helpful / 1 Not
Ahh, Mountain Golf
Pros: Basic dirt tee pads, basic hole maps, good baskets (for having cursed rejection bar). This course has many interesting features. I haven't played too many mountain golf courses before, but it makes for many interesting elevation changes and lines I havent see in the Midwest or Southwest courses ive played.
The course has an amazing view of the rest of the giant YMCA complex, which in turn is surrounded by the Rockies, beautiful year round IMO, so this course gets bonus points for scenic view, and the amenities and cabins on site are a nice plus. More accurately, the DG course is a huge plus in this really cool resort (dont let the name fool you, this is NOT your local YMCA, see pictures) amongst its many other activities.
This course starts off small, weaving through a wooded area with shorter, more flat holes through the trees. Then it steps across the road to longer, more open holes with more elevation changes coming into play. Thats the first nine, and it plays in a nice loop down by the main building.
The newer back nine spirals off through the rest of this massive complex, and steps it up a notch. It ups the distance and throws in more extreme elevation, up down and crosshill shots, with big pine trees in the mix. It starts off a hole shooting straight uphill from basket #9 area, and follows with one up with a squeeze shot with scattered trees then a wall of them with one gap, to open basket area. It plays a series of up and downhill bomber holes before entering a canyon it plays through for the rest of the course. The canyon holes do a good job bringing the crosshill with rollaway potential into the extreme uphill/downhill mix that this course is already throwing at you by this point.
The back nine of this course, especially the par 4's, force interesting risk reward shots, and birdie (even eagle) opportunities for a player of my level (for whatever thats worth).
On both nines the terrain, and especially trees, are used very strategically to force interesting and sometimes tricky lines. Whether the more tight tree shots on front nine, or more scattered with some big clumps like on the back, few holes are wide open.
A perfect example of both the risk reward and tree usage is an early hole on back nine, it uses the old raised area of a house foundation for a challenging hilltop pin, past a line of trees with one gap (recurring theme here). The line is 270ish from the tee, and pretty tall, then a way to the hilltop, so it forces an interesting choice, and offers birdie opportunities.
Another is hole 17, which is a huge left downslope from valley side to valley floor. The trick is you have to get through a line of trees to get left to valley floor where basket sits. Theres a R-L line that you cant see from the basket. Its like many others on this course: the birdie opp is there, but it forces an interesting AND longer shot, which I haven't seen that often and really enjoyed.
One thing that still amazes me about this course, not sure whether its good or bad: The front nine is all short, def par 3's & the back nine is definitely longer and tougher, with worthy par 4s and tough 3s. However our whole group (me especially) found it much easier to shoot well (rel to par) on back nine than front nine. Thanks to the par, there are birdie opps on virtually every hole of this course (except maybe 18), and it makes for an easier and less frustrating feel, vs the blanket par 3 city courses.
This course throws a variety of rights and lefts at you, with the holes all having some intrigue, even if it is just elevation with a convenient tree or two, which makes for an interesting round. The tight technical holes are mostly short, and the long holes force some accuracy while being more open, so its not the hardest course to shoot well on, but its got a nice variety and many interesting holes.
Its a nice mountain course with par 4s that has clever shots, but really isnt super technical or too crazy tough, despite being long and/or having tight lines at points. It keeps it pretty fair while still challenging
Cons: Despite its many good traits, this course's particular rough, rugged nature has drawbacks too.
One of the big differences I noticed is the fairways. In WI its mostly grass or dirt, and you take the skip shots and roller lines for granted. Not so here. The fairway is a tough mix of dirt, rocks, low shrubs and long, unmown grass, which puts a soft floor on your lines, rather than a clear fairway where you can hug the terrain a little more, and amplifies the slope of the terrain.
That is a good thing, and adds challenge to the course, but its a pain for many reasons: it makes disc finding much harder, and can really scratch you up. This course is not mowed (its in the mountains) so some spots have deep shule that just eats discs, and is painful to walk through.
Also, the teepads are quite basic, dirt affairs. On such a steep course, level teepads are a luxury, especially dirt ones, and in most cases they are pretty good, but some are bumpy or sloping and make the teeshot tougher than it needs to be.
Navigation on this course could be better. The front nine forms a nice little loop, and the back nine have decent flow, if a little spaced out sometimes, but they go away in a straight line with 18 leaving you on the other end of the park from where you started. However, the back nine are great, and they made use of available terrain between cabins and roads very well, which wouldnt have allowed a nice loop like front nine, so better to have the great holes and have a hike afterwards, though it is a definite con that keeps this from being a better course.
Many of the holes on the back nine are across roads from the previous, so some next tee arrows would be nice here, otherwise its hard to find w/o a map. The map is a neccessity to play this course, and even then, with the evil shule spots and several blind baskets, its not super FTF.
In some cases, there are cabins and roads close enough to the holes that they sorta come into play alongside one fairway. I skipped one across a road and onto a cabin roof, and in other cases there is a spike hyzer line over a cabin off the tee that makes sense, which to me is a broken window (car or cabin) waiting to happen.
Also, several teepads seemed like they could be a little close to the previous basket, meaning not really protected from it, or even downhill of basket landing zone, but with these elevation changes, its hard to tell
This course doesnt seem to get a lot of traffic, due to its isolated location, so these last two potential dangers haven't become an issue. They werent when we played, but there were a few other groups out there both times (sunday and monday) which tells me its more a steady trickle of players on this course rather than the regular crowds you see in city courses.
You will want a spotter on this course, unless you dont mind spending some time having to find yours, and as long as u stay out of the worst shule, you should be ok.
Despite the many interesting wrinkles this course throws at you, I feel like its mostly a little open for my liking, and the long shule makes it more painful than it has to be. The tight lines it throws at you, sometimes fell a little like pinball. I like them, but I can see how some might not. That, combined with the lack of navigation signs and design flaws (some unavoidable and worthwhile), keeps me from rating this course higher.
This is a very fun course if you have a spotter, but its too rough to really make me want to come back. Its not a bad course, but I know mountain courses can get alot better. This course is worth playing and in a great location, but I think if you are hitting the highlights of CO, there seem to be others you should visit first, though I haven't played them, so I cant say for sure.
Worth playing, fun, not outstanding.
Other Thoughts: This course reminds me of the other course I've played in the rocky mountains: Whistler DGC in Canada. This course adds some longer par 4s into the mix, the one thing Whistler really lacked, which was nice to see for me. However, this course is a little rougher and less isolated, also less technical and more open, thus whistler is still a better course, just nice to see the possibilities here of long mountain golf holes.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Just Look Around You
Pros: This disc golf course plays through the amazing property of the YMCA near Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. The setting is simply beautiful. Just look around you and you will just get a sense of incredible peace. There is some decent course design though nothing spectacular. Staff on site seems to know something about disc golf and there are good maps available in the Sweet Memorial building, near first tee. The baskets are all in spectacular condition, with numbers facing tee boxes in most instances. Even when camp is busy there seems to be little to no traffic on this course. The course seems to stay clear of most major walk ways through the camp so there is little cross traffic. It is possible to play just 9 holes, front or back and not be too far away from anything. There are plenty of other activities for the rest of the family to do around the YMCA, including putt-putt golf amongst other things. There is also lodging right on site.
Cons: Tee boxes need some serious help, even for natural tees. Many are not level and some are just crazy short. The layout has a couple of confusing spots. After hole three, you should go down the hill to hole four even though hole six seems to be the closest tee. It is not always obvious which direction the next tee is. holes 13 and 18 were particularly bad. The design is not consistent from front 9 to back 9. Hole 18 ends forever and ever away from hole 1 as well as where one might typically think to park. Hole 18 has some very thick bushes and grass so you will want to be sure to watch your drives very closely on this hole. Distances on the signs and map seem to be horribly inaccurate, trust your sight and not the numbers. The tee signs are so close to the tee boxes, and right at the front of them that there were a couple of times that I was scared my hand would catch them as I pulled through. Hole 18 was missing a sign though there is a post there for a sign.
Other Thoughts: This is not your typical mountain course, and that is not a compliment. While there are a few tight holes and a couple unique holes with interesting terrain, I struggle to call this a mountain course. Most of the front 9 seems to be set up for families as the holes are all shorter and fairly straight forward. Most of the trees on the front 9 are short and you are able to play over the top in many instances. The back 9 is more fo a beast and more typical of mountain courses with some very unique land features. There are only a couple of baskets that are hidden in trees. Still, this is a good course that is designed to a specific, more family oriented crowd. There is still some great challenge on the back 9 for better players. This is far from one of my favorite courses but worth palying if you are in the area. If it is possible you may want to run a two car system parking one near 18's basket in the parking lot immediately on your left as you enter the YMCA property and parking the other up by Sweet Memorial. And for those wondering this course is back to its full 18 holes.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
high and mighty
Pros: great course in a great setting, i was happy to have this course at my disposal during a family reunion at the ymca resort. not a beginners course. the holes were pretty well laid out and offered a challenge. i played the course 8 times in 4 days, and it wore me out.
Cons: most of the holes were righty hyzer shots, the wind and altitude were the major factors as far as difficulty go. some of the distances were off by alot on the tee signs. hole #18 ...after finishing this hole i had to walk back up to our lodge, the altitude kicked my ass...
Other Thoughts: hole #15 and #17 were my favorites of the course. i played early in the morning and after lunch everyday i was there, and saw deer and elk every morning. for a ymca course i was very impressed with the course
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 1 Not
By FAR the poorest of the mountain courses on my vacation
Pros: The surounding scenery is amazing. But, you don't play the surrounding scenery, you play in a YMCA commune on a subpar course which I will begin to outline in the CONS. There are nice new Discatchers in most instances (a few are the old style with only one outer band of chains). There are tee markers with distances but I think they are WAY off.
Cons: First off, the flow of this course is AWFUL. As mentioned, holes 1, 2, 11, 12 are gone. I saw baskets 2 and 11 and tee 12, but the rest of the hole is gone. Yes there was some construction, but if they would have put any effort into this course, they could have easily reinstalled the baskets very close to the remaining layout, and easily added a new tee (because the existing tees suck so bad, new ones couldn't possibly be worse). Anyway, when you finally start on #3 (if you can find it amongst the congested traffic and one way roads) you will find that as you wind around the course, after you finish 18 you'll be roughly 1/2 mile from the start (or further if you parked where we did due to no available parking). Second biggest con is that the tees SUCK. They are natural, short, EXTREMELY rutted, and very uneven. Most of the holes are relatively unimaginative and do not utilize the terrain to the fullest. There are a few on the back nine among a neat valley piece of terrain, but the hole is not designed the way a professional disc golfer would appreciate. What I mean is that there are sporadic trees blocking any type of controlled fairway shot. The holes are just random in my opinion with no thought put into throwing some specific tee shot to execute and navigate the fairway. And once again (as I've seen on many of my colorado courses) the baskets are simply plunked in odd locations like right behind a tree, or in a clump of bushes. These are no risky or rewarding greens, just oddly placed. What I liken it too is limited long term planning. No one wanted to build a long term championship or even high quality course here that would stand the test of time. As the trees and shrubs grow, there are holes here that will HAVE to be redesigned. I think that is idiotic. Once again, I believe disc golf here was just an afterthought, just some employees or camp patrons who got approval to put in a course - by amateurs. All of this is placed among the surroundings of lots of cars and pedestrians that make you wait to play your round as they leisurely make their way around the complex.
Other Thoughts: This one was the poorest overall of all the "sweet" mountain courses I had planned to play while in the Denver and Fort Collins areas. While Winter Park was much more rough and pretty horrible as far as BAD tees, unmowed fairways, ridiculous greens, non-creative use of the hill, and no signs, YMCA is a HORRIBLE course. This is not a disc golf course, this is simply tossing a disc on a poorly designed layout, among poorly designed holes, with no effort put into reconfigutring tees or baskets after construction, all within an overcrowded YMCA commune. For those of you vacationing, sure you'll get a chance to fling here at YMCA Estes, but PLEASE do not go out of your way to play here, true disc golf fanatics will be SORELY disappointed - I was!!! It just lacks solid and long lasting design. I bet every year it changes - it almost HAS to! This will NEVER be a destination kind of course for large groups of travelers.
UPDATE: This is better than other courses I have rated 2. Bumping up to 2.5
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 2 Not
played under construction
Pros: This is a nice mountain course with some tight holes in the trees, some up and down shots, some open, and fairly well played. I was glad to find it and hope to play it again sometime when it is back to 18.
Cons: 17 and 18 are in amongst the Thistles. My disk fell short of the road and the thistles were so thick I gave up looking for it. Unfortunately the sign post are starting to fall down. I guess that is what you get with pine poles. You end up down hill from where you start and it is a bit of a walk to get back to refreshments.
Other Thoughts: Along with the construction has come a lot more car traffic. The course may need to move further into the woods and get renumbered.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 3 Not
Will be great when finished.
Pros: Great and varied challenges. Good distance variances and terrain challenges between the holes. The greenery makes for a different sort of difficulty between the trees and scrub brush. The layout would be pretty easy to figure out even without a map if all the of the holes were in play.
Cons: Holes 1, 2, 11, & 12 are NOT playable right now due to construction. There are some pars that seem off, but that's pretty normal for a course. No facilities that seem to be public.
Other Thoughts: I think the only thing that made my experience sub-par was the lack of holes. This course will be wonderful once the construction is finished though. I was amazed that it was free considering the campground that it appears to be in.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 2 Not
a great Mountain course
Pros: CONSTRUCTION IS OVER, newly designed course is taking shape, Tee boxes are getting a major lift, still dirt but bigger, level, and not rutted (taking a bit of time, one man job here.) New map posted soon. Great setting. You'll get lots of exercise.
Cons: lots of trees, but luckily it's in the Rockies so there's no shortage of rocks to get your disc out of the trees. The wind can get pretty bad. Natural tee pads for now, a glimmer of hope for concrete pads.
Other Thoughts: There are NOT any holes that cross roads, or even run too close to them. Updated hole signs, with proper "laser" distances, on the way soon.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 2 Not
Used to be a great course!
Pros: A beautiful setting in the rockies makes this course a scenic experience as well as a fun and challenging disc golf round. It is not uncommon to see deer walking around during play. The course layout is great with a few open holes, and the rest being technical, hilly, and moderately wooded holes requiring various skilled shots shots anywhere from 240' to over 520' in length. Some big elevation changes give this course a lot of character. This is a good example of what disc golf can offer in the rockies. Maps are provided if needed for hole layouts and a score sheet. You can even check out discs to use if you don't have any. There is a small place to eat as well as a convenience store for snacks in the main building.
Cons: With all of the construction going on, hole #1, #2, and a few other holes are unplayable. Construction waste is being littered heavily in some areas. The tee pads are natural, and really not that good. It is hard to get a run up for a great drive. I drove from standing position for a majority of the holes. Without the recent construction I would easily give this course a 4 out of 5 for its layout, technicality and visual appearance. You have to watch out for residential cabins on some holes. Be careful on the last few holes. The trees are known to gobble discs and the thick brush at the bottom of the ravine on the last hole is the worst place for a disc to land. Bring hiking shoes and warm clothing just in case of stormy weather.
Other Thoughts: This course would be one of my favorites if it had some work done on the tee pads and the construction was over with.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Course has changed!!!!!
Pros: The new lay out of the course is awesome. All of the holes that were under construction have now been moved to new locations. No more along the road shots, will know what I am talking about if you have been there since they have put in a new road and a couple of new buildings, and Holes that were directly affected by construction are now in new obscure places.
Cons: The Construction is done!!! But now there is a new road that plays through the heart of the course. It creates a busier atmosphere.
Other Thoughts: This is the most scenic course I have ever played. While playing make sure to stop and take in your surroundings to fully enjoy this course. For awhile the construction seemed to take out the flow of the course but now that they have re-arranged the holes(Old Hole 3 is now Hole 1 and they added Old Hole 1 and 2 to between Old Hole 5 and 6---they also moved 10's location. Put in a new Hole 11 and put in a new pad for 12 which plays to Old Basket 11. They have moved 13's Basket and Pad location and 18 no longer plays over the canyon but now through it---Left to right... I love this course and now that it has been re-done it is better than ever. A bit too many people camping during summer weekends for a relaxing round but still a good time regardless.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: This course is in a great setting, with beautiful mountain views. There is elevation changes on nearly all of the holes, as well as a significant number of difficult tree shots. Holes 14 through 18 are very nice. It plays through a series of mountain cabins, that line many of the holes.
Cons: A large number of holes play over paved streets, number 13 throws directly down a street. Construction has pretty much destroyed hole 1 & 2, we didn't even play them. A huge hill of loose dirt was placed directly in front of the basket on number 12, and playing around it ruined the hole. A construction fence kind of crowds the tee shot on hole 17. The tee boxes are dirt and many are in bad shape, which makes it difficult to get that full power in your drive. Some of the tee boxes are difficult to find, and it's impossible to know where to throw on some of the drives.
Other Thoughts: While the setting is spectacular I was not very impressed with this course. The course seems slightly out of place, playing over roads right next to cabins kind of takes away from the experience. Maybe three stars before the construction, but in the current state barely two.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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