9 Helpful / 13 Not
Pros: The course was easy to find and navigate. Even with 3 tees and 2 baskets per hole, everything was relatively easy to locate. The location of the next tee was easy with the numbers painted on strategically located rocks. Tee signs were informative and of high quality, as were the concrete tee pads (which were gigantic). The fairways were easy to see and were fair, the rough was tame enough to limit the potential for disc loss. The par listed on each hole seemed accurate and fair. All the little things I like to see on a course that people have control over were here: signage, navigation, tees, tee signs, benches. All top notch.
Cons: I traveled about 90 minutes from PA to play the course. Based on the reviews, I left feeling disappointed. A buddy and I played the gold tees to the Discatacher baskets. Looking back, there was nothing truly memorable about the course. Every hole felt like a 550-600 ft straight shot that was a par 4. Granted, the variety here can allow for a better mix if you change the tee and basket you play on the different holes. However, as a first time visitor, there was no way to really know. Granted, I could see that the length of the holes off the gold tees were similar, I couldn't know they would all feel so repetitive. If I was more local, I can see how a league or tags round could be a lot of fun by mixing the tees and baskets played each week.
Other Thoughts: There were definitely some silver baskets I saw as I walked through that were pretty neat looking and would have made for a more interesting play, had I known. As someone else said, there is just no wow factor here. The woods are beautiful and make for a good round of golf, but there was nothing I took away worth talking about to golfers near home. The stairs on 17 to the basket were awesome and made for one of the few interesting basket locations I recall.
Part of the course design is the land you have available to you, that to me was the limitation here. Everything was thick woods with relative little elevation change. Again, if I was more local, I am sure I would find one tee/basket combo on each hole that I found enjoyable, but as a destination, that was not an option. This isn't somewhere I will drive 90 minutes to go back to when I live near similar courses that are just simply better, like Jordan Creek and Nockamixon.
9 of 22 people found this review helpful.
25 Helpful / 3 Not
A Fun Challenge For Big Arms
Pros: I went through some previous reviews and pulled out a few adjectives that really sum up what I was expecting to find on my first trip to Iron Hill: Hard, Long, Beat Down, Difficult, Intimidating, Scary. As a glutton for punishment, I was eager to experience this for myself.
What I found was not what I expected. I don't consider Iron Hill to be a hard, intimidating beat down. Sure, it's long, but it's fair. In my experience, truely "hard" courses are ones that use water, OB, and elevation in ways that force players to think long and hard about how to make the safe shot. Often times, these kinds of courses require a lot of luck to score well.
To the contrary, Iron Hill presents players with wide, clear fairways. The lines to the basket are well defined. Success at Iron Hill comes not from finding the safe shot, but rather from execution and placement over long distances. The fairways themselves are not overly hard to hit.
While this makes Iron Hill sounds easy, don't be fooled. The difficulty, and most of the score separation, comes from the subsequent fairway shots. With a par of 72, the course is designed with 18 fairway shots. That's 18 additional opportunities to make mistakes on shots without the benefit of a teebox from which to throw. With fairways that twist and turn throughout the woods, placement off the tee is critical. Hitting the fairway off the tee is not enough, to succeed, you need to be able to hit a spot on the fairway that sets up the second shot. This is a unique challenge that is rare in disc golf.
Cons: My comments above refer primarily to the gold layout. And they really only apply to players who can hit 350' with accuracy on multiple different golf lines. The fact is, that's who this course was built for, and that's who gets the most enjoyment out of it. Most players find this course difficult simply due to the fact that they can't hit the intended landing zones to set up the second shot. Lower power players simply will not have the same kinds of looks at the second shot that stronger players will. Some of this can be overcome with pinpoint fairway accuracy, but that leaves little room for error.
The shorter layouts provide some relief for players with less power, but these layouts feel second-rate compared to the gold. The short tees are not nearly as well kept and are a mix of natural and flypads. The silver baskets, although new and in great shape, are very difficult to see in the thick woods. I frequently had to walk most of the fairway just to get an idea of where to throw. Some sort of visibility aid (flags, colored tape, etc) would be really helpful.
Other Thoughts: This is a very difficult course to assign a single rating to. For top level players that can hit the lines and distance required consistently, this is a must play. Iron Hill will provide a unique style of play that is hard to find anywhere else.
For lower power players that don't have the skills to truely appreciate what Iron Hill is, the course is nothing special. There are no real signature elements that set it apart from other courses. It's certainly fun to play it as a measuring stick to see where your game stands, but it's nothing special outside of that. And the shorter layouts that will cater to these skill levels better lack the polish that the Gold layout provides.
25 of 28 people found this review helpful.
Designer Response by: jimimc
I gave a positive to your review, which I felt was pretty dead on. The White tee pads and Silver baskets have under gone many changes to make 4 distinct courses. This is why they're not all done. It been done in a very deliberate, calculated manner to get the best out of them. This has led to multiple changes and delays on getting them complete. I thought your review alone would have ranked 4 stars, but I'll take positive and negative feedback over ridicules bashing and blind praise. The Gold course is designed for 1000+ rated players and I don't mind be reminded of that at all.
7 Helpful / 18 Not
A few good holes
Pros: Top notch construction and pretty good signage. Even on my first time playing there was no getting lost, and I couldn't help but be impressed by three tee boxes and two baskets on every hole. If I was a regular at this course, I don't think there would be much problem keeping it fresh.
The first three holes were really fun, and varied. Some defined fairways, some cool rock formations, and nice elevation.
Cons: After the first three holes the course just became one long, tight wooded fairway after another. I don't think any course is complete without a couple tight, technical holes, but this course has at least twelve of them.
From the long tees there are numerous 500+ holes, which would be fun if there were fairways to accommodate those kind of big-arm drives. But there aren't. You get the same 20' line through the trees as every other hole.
A good course should be a challenge, but should also be interesting and varied and memorable. This course is just challenging to no greater purpose.
Other Thoughts: I guess there aren't many good open spaces in the Iron Hill park, so they've made the best of what they've got to work with. But, as someone who prefers a mix of open and tight, as opposed to being in the trees on every single hole, this course doesn't seem worth the trip.
7 of 25 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 6 Not
This is going to be a great tournament course
Pros: Tons of length. Almost impossibly narrow fairways. Perfect teeboxes and baskets. Easy to navigate. Two open holes that let you air it out and are a ton of fun. Winter play is less punishing as you can actually throw from off the fairway.
Cons: I would hate to play this course in summer. Some holes are 500 feet long with a 7-foot-wide fairway. There is little variety on the back nine... every hole seems to require a straight and long shot with no fade. Beginners tees and alternate baskets not ready yet.
Other Thoughts: This will undoubtedly become a 4-star course once it's broken in and the extra tees & baskets are ready. As for now, it's punishingly long and brutal... so if you think Nockamixon isn't challenging enough, give it a try. It was easy for me to find each tee and basket, so that's not a problem.
12 of 18 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 3 Not
If you like trees...
Pros: All of the holes have very nice tee pads. They are large, concrete, rough.
Nearly all of the holes require a lot of skill in each shot. Rarely do you just throw a disc without aiming and thinking.
The holes have doglegs or little 'hitches' in the fairways, so there aren't many straight fairway holes.
There are large boulders throughout the course, which adds a lot to the scenery. They are near tee boxes, in fairways, around greens. Adds a nice touch.
A few of the greens are really pretty cool, with slants ('fast greens,' if you will), rocks, trees, etc.
It is a very long course, though I noticed there are alternate pin positions for a shorter length.
In my opinion, #3 is the best hole on the course, requiring a long and accurate drive through a tree canopy into an open field. The pin is tucked back by a little creek and will require a good 2nd shot to reach. By far my fave.
Cons: There are a lot of blind throws around corners into a bunch of trees. That makes it difficult to find your disc often because you have no idea where it went or how far you actually threw it, what it hit, etc.
Towards the end the doglegs were getting a little repetitive. The course felt the same to me. Maybe all the trees just looked the same to me. Just look at the pictures from the tees...
Extremely hard to recover from an errant shot. Many of the fairways are access roads, meant for one vehicle, which means they are only about 10 feet wide. Since the fairways are so tight, people will often be looking in the heavy undergrowth for discs.
At the moment no signs at all at tee pads and bright orange stakes in the ground to show the direction to some of the next tees.
Other Thoughts: In a way, I am not sure this is a very fair review. First and foremost, I am pretty sure they are not finished with this course. Some of the fairways were just so crowded with trees that no one could navigate them all. There aren't any signs, which made this course very difficult to play. I would have played some holes differently if I would have known where the pins actually were. The map is helpful, but some of the holes are different than what they have drawn.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the epic length of hole #17. I really feel like this is a pro par 5. Yes, I said it - pro par 5. (Some people see this as awesome; others see it as complete overkill.) It was insanely long, through woods, to an elevated green.
In the end, I had a good time on this course, but it felt a bit "too much." Too much length, too much vegetation, but I don't generally like the woodsy courses, so take this review with a grain of salt. It may thin out over the next year, and I fully expect signs to be placed soon.
13 of 16 people found this review helpful.
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