True Championship Course
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Iron Hill is a true championship caliber course. This 18 hole course plays through the Delaware woods and includes two sets of targets and at least two sets of tees on all holes. Tight wooded course requires good skills and good decision making to score well. I played this course at part of a disc golf road trip playing 12 States in 12 Days. Iron Hill is the only course I played in the state of Delaware.
I used bullet points for those that don't want to read the entire review.
The Gold Tees to the Gold Targets definitely provides a Championship level challenge. I normally choose harder tees when I play new courses as I am up for a challenge. However the Gold tees at Iron Hill are truly designed for 1000 rated players and not some advanced hacker like me. For the most part, Iron Hill had ample fairways that required good shot selection. I like courses that force a player to think ahead when making shots. It is not always about how far you can throw but if you can land your disc in the right spot to set up the next shot. I thought the white/blue tees to the Gold targets provided plenty of challenge.
Two Tees/Two Targets
Where I live, courses may have two tees and two pin placements. However, it is very uncommon for courses to have two targets installed at the same time. Iron Hill has 18 DISCatcher targets installed along with 18 silver DGA style targets at all times. Along with two sets of tees, this course provides an endless number of combinations. On my visit, I played the shorter tees to the DISCatcher targets. Even from the shorter tees, this is still a very challenging course and is not really meant for new players.
Signs and Tees
Wonderful full color tee signs with informative graphics. Both sets of tees are developed. The Gold tees were all made of concrete. The shorter tees were framed and filled with crushed rock or had rubber mats. Except for some run off from recent rains, all the tees were in excellent shape on my visit. Dont forget the map. Some walks to next tee that are not intuitive.
18 In a Row or not
The course is technically two 9 hole loops. After you play the front nine, the tee for Hole 10 is close enough to the parking area to get back to your vehicle to pick up more water or supplies.
Clean and well maintained
The entire course was clean and in great condition. All the tees, signs and targets were clean and free of vandalism. There was no garbage lying about and I don't recall seeing any butts. I was impressed how well the fairways were maintained.
Kids, Carts and Strollers
I would likely say no to kids and no to kids in strollers. This course covers a lot of ground for walkers and it would be tough to push kids in strollers on the uneven terrain. An all-terrain disc golf cart might be up for the challenge. This course is simply too long for younger ones to play along. There is an opportunity to stop after nine holes and take a break at the restrooms located off the parking area.
There was record rainfall in the area the day before I played and some lingering showers during my round. Despite the record rainfall, the course was in excellent condition. While there was some sand and gravel washed up on a few tees, there was virtually no standing water or mud on the course.
Bugs and Poison Ivy
I don't recall seeing any poison ivy, and there were no bugs when I played in the rain.
I am really trying to think of anything negative to say about this course. I wish I wouldn't have left my map and cell phone in the car as I did miss a couple of turns to the next tee. A few more navigation signs or next tee arrows would have been most helpful. As this is a Championship level course, it may not be suitable for total beginners, but I can't knock it for that.
Is it too much?
I am not sure this dual tee course needed two sets of targets. Some of the silver target locations seemed to be afterthoughts. The Silver targets seem overshadowed by the Championship caliber of the Gold course. It seems easier and less expensive to move a single target between a few pin placements for variety. I would personally rather have more benches, signs and navigation aids on every tee instead of double targets.
I played this course as part of my 12 States in 12 Days disc golf road trip. I am glad I had the opportunity to play this top rated course. This is not just the top rated course in Delaware, but one of the top rated courses in the world. A true Championship course that is fair and fun for all. I hope I get the chance to play it again someday.
Updated to correct errors and typos
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This review is for the Gold Layout. Extremely challenging, features long, tight woods holes and a few open field crushes that will test almost every aspect of your game. Hole 1 is a left-right shot with a relatively narrow passageway that opens towards the pin...don't finish early right...super trouble! Hole 2 is a right-left with plenty of trees to navigate that the top arms can reach for a rare deuce opportunity. Holes 3 and 4 feature open field tee shots to set-up approach shots into the woods. The rest of the course consists of woods holes with lengths of about 300-800 feet. Tee shots are critical, and if you get "off-line" you will need to be creative. Grueling and technically challenging. Distance markers are present on several holes (assuming you are in the fairway!)
Tests you mentally and physically. Roots and rocks can turn that perfectly placed drive into a tree filled scramble. Prepare to get f****d, now deal with it! Great course to hone your tournament skills, both physically and mentally.
Cons: A large number of holes have the same tee shot....straight and as far as possible. This is a good shot to have, but it did become somewhat repetitive.
Other Thoughts: The course shows a ton of love...Jimi Mac and the crew deserve super kudos for all the hard work and dedication...it shows!
Cheap hotels near the course...if you are staying in Elkton, Md DO NOT get on the freeway unless you want to pay a hefty toll. Take the back road (Old Baltimore Pkwy) for travel N/S of the course.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Thrill on the Hill
Pros: Iron Hill is set in a great park for disc golf. On my list of favorites, though some would not agree. The fairways are primarily wooded, fair but not easy. Long concrete and short rubber or gravel tees, and two sets of baskets make it that much better. Not entirely flat, with gradual to noticeable elevation change on several holes. I liked the jagged boulders littering the first hole, and many places thereafter. Hole 3 and hole 4 are the most open and grassy, but tees and baskets play near the edge of the woods. Number 7 was one of the shortest holes, and it humbled me with the basket perched on a five foot tall pile of rocks protected by a cluster of young trees. Number 14 actually yielded my only birdie that round. Nailed the drive on 15, but I 3 putted my way to bogey. I played the (silver layout) long tees and short (Discatcher) baskets, and took a good whipping. Finished with a +8 (70) and felt like it was ok, for an over 8000 foot course. Only playing one round, I feel like I could play closer to par if I had been putting better. I had some really solid, long drives. There were chances for some par saves or birdies that I gave up through bonking trees approaching the target, or flat out missing makable putts. The consistent makeup and quality of this course is what I enjoyed. Layout was easy to follow, and markings are pretty good. Not any hole that I found boring, all fitting together very nicely. I will give the bump from 4 to 4.5 rating based on the extra baskets, good tees and signs, however a better than excellent, yet sub phenomenal, 4.25 is my true feel.
Cons: I didn't see the second basket on one or two holes, might have overlooked them. Not a signature hole, that shines above the others, despite high overall quality. Slightly repetitive, but not in a very bad way. Dogs are required to be leashed, if I remember correctly. Not that its a bad idea, but my dog protests.
Other Thoughts: I loved this course first time out, one great course for Delaware, to go with the others across the way in PA. The park was pretty clean with trash cans near the parking lot. A good size BBQ was going on, but the disc golf course was not busy on this beautiful evening, save for a few dog walkers. A young dude named Chris played the first 10 or 11 holes with me, providing some guidance and company. Iron Hill has some natural beauty that can be harsh in a disc golf sense. If you make shots, it can also be very satisfying. Solid all the way, for sure. Iron Hill is hardcore, and left me wanting more.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Iron Hill is a course of subtle pleasures. I appreciated it much more after having played it a few times. While the course is long and challenging, it never feels unfair -- there are clear fairways and landing zones. It rewards (or punishes) you based on your being wise enough to know when to be guts and when to play it safe. There's no gimmicks -- weird mandos, OBs, three foot wide gaps, etc. It's just you and the trees. Even if you play perfectly, there's lots of different shots and shapes and terrains -- uphill, downhill, low ceiling, etc.. And while going into the woods sucks, getting out of a bad lie is not just possible, it's essential to keep your bad holes from turning into disasters.
The longs tees are huge slabs of concrete, most have benches and good signs. Navigation is fairly clear. There are two baskets for each hole, a silver and a gold. The gold baskets are all business -- challenging, seriously holes. The silvers are where the course let's it's hair down a bit: baskets in trees, behind big boulders, and what not.
In a world of par three discin, it's nice to have a course with so many multishot holes. And ones that aren't just about how far you can chuck in a huge field.
Iron Hill is a great course for tournaments, and there are lots of well run events each year.
Cons: While Iron Hill is a nice, secluded trek through the woods, it doesn't have the awe inspiring scenery of some courses. The only holes out in the sun and grass are 3 and 4. The variation in holes is subtle -- up or down, doglegs, playing around different tree patterns, etc.. If you like big, loud holes you might find it a bit repetitive. (But seriously, pay more attention to the golf and less the kitsch.)
The shorter tees also feel like an afterthought. They're pretty good holes, and they've improved over the last couple years. But let's be honest, the gold (back) tees are the main event, and it shows.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 0 Not
It's a good thing.
Pros: Iron Hill's reputation is starting to precede itself. It's gold to gold layout as it stands at this writing is the most difficult (highest SSA) permanent 18 baskets in the country (world? Probably!).
The setting is what makes this kind of a course possible as the woods that hold the course are old growth trees with "fair"ways the norm. The length of the course makes the fairways close in on most golfers since even though they are wider than the norm for wooded courses - it's just that you're continually attempting to maximize distance. Spaces that would be a lazy putter throw on a 220' foot basket become pin-holes on 500' par fours. If you're not getting off the tee safely with distance, you're score is taking a beating.
The challenge is big since Iron Hill doesn't really have any let-up from 1-18.
The gold tee pads are brushed concrete and about as good as you can make tee pads for our sport.
Baskets are top notch. Signage for the 1st time player is only at the long tees - if you're playing the shorts get a map or a guide.
Iron Hill rarely has issues with traffic since the lay-out has been done with tournament golf in mind. Even with several groups on the course you don't hit other groups since the distance from basket to the next tee is adequate to allow you to keep the flow going. There's ample area between fairways so there's no congestion waiting for someone to throw coming the other way or something.
Iron Hill also doesn't have a lot of casual players since even in its shortest configuration the walk alone is like 3 rounds at your local pitch and putt.
There's no admission to the park even for out of staters.
The steps that Adam Harris built on 17 are just too cool not to mention as a "pro".
Cons: Iron Hill doesn't have any actual water in play. There's a couple little streams that may hold water at various times, but they're really not an issue and the locals don't play any of the water out of bounds anyway.
While the woods are gorgeous there's really no "breathe taking basket" like Nockamixon's 6, or Flyboy's 3.
It's a function of the park that it's in so really can't change this, it's just a con that other courses have that IH just doesn't.
Other Thoughts: I have completed 200+ gold-to-gold rounds at Iron Hill. It's difficult to write a review since to me it's bizarre that more locals don't make the trek more often to play at a world class track in a gorgeous park, but it's nice to not have to fight the crowds.
I'm not sure if it's a plus or a negative so I'll add it here - the distance and difficulty of the layout really changes the importance of the drive over putting. If you're not getting off the tee you're not really going to shoot a good number at Iron Hill, and if you're driving well, you can go several baskets without having to make a putt. For example, even for distance-challenged players like me, if I make three good drives on the par 5's and the par 6 at Iron Hill I'm most likely dropping in a birdie. If I hit early on one of them I'm scrambling to save par, while 2 trees leads me to bogey-land.
On a personal note, of the 200+ rounds (3600+ baskets . .  ) of disc golf at IH from gold-to-gold I have zero eagles. Never have I scored 2 under par (course par) on any of the baskets. I've birdie every basket (#18 once . . .it's a real beast of a par four, it would be the 1 handicap basket for the ball golf literate out there) but I have yet to get an eagle. I get lots of aces on the pitch and putts but for some reason the IH eagle has eluded me . . .some day . . .some day . . .
Several golfers either on line or in person complain that IH is too repetitive, I just don't see this as the case. Unless you're requiring every course to have open baskets and wooded ones -- which IH really doesn't. It's a wooded course. Now as for the throws being the same, even a not so far thrower like me I use several differents discs from the tee in addition to an even amount of fore-hands versus backhands . . . where's the "repetitive" in that?
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
18 Helpful / 0 Not
Iron Hill, a Bunny's perspective
Pros: Iron Hill is hard. It's long and wooded. It's well designed, and lovingly maintained. Like really lovingly. Baskets moved inches to adjust SSA, constant improvements, extra clever placements.
It's got gorgeous 6X12 concrete pads for all the long tees and a variety of fly pads and natural pads for short tees. The concrete pads are pretty flawless even in wet weather.
Baskets - longs are DISCatchers, shorts are Chainstars (I think....). Either way, the shorts don't have that icky band around the top. (Can I tell you how much I hate those bands??)
Anyway, the course is a series of mostly long or longish, hilly, wooded shots. Fabulous natural elevation changes, large rock formations, and about a billion trees.
The following is a general description of the whole, not any specific layout.
Hole1 - anhyzer, wide tunnel to wide rocky fairway. But don't lose your line cause the rough is not nice. Mean even.
Hole2 - Hyzer into wooded fairy glade. (Ok, so I never actually saw a fairy disc golf, but I always think a fairy would like it on hole 2 whenever I'm there).
Hole 3 - open. Ok, open-ish. Possible roller, especially since they removed this big dumb stump from the middle of the fairway.
Hole 4 - Open. Then not. Ok really. it's an open fairway field down into a tunnel. This is what passes as open at iron hill. But you gotta love it. Kiss it on the lips. Love it.
Hole 5 - Uphill technical challenge. Straight. Wooded hallway. Basket in rock form. Did I mention technical?
Hole 6 - Slow Hyzer across a ditch. Basket is behind protecting trees. Trees like jail, only a jail made of wood.
Hole 7 - Down hill tunnel. Short basket in a tall, super protected boulder. Long basket probably easier.
Hole 8 - mean. My name for this hole is Mr. Meanie McMeanerstein. I will try to describe all the mean...Long. Up hill. Rocks. Tight. Slope drops off left which clearly acts as a disc magnet. Anhyzer. Trees. Longer. Keep going. Ugh.
Hole 9 - Long straight with slight dog leg right. Straight forward.
Hole 10 - Big ole Hyzer tunnel. Long. Finishes at the parking lot. Great place to end for a short loop.
Hole 11 - Pretty, wooded, flat. There isn't a lot of flat out here. It's kind of fun for a change. Until I get a 7 on the damned hole because of all the trees. But still it's pretty.
Hole 12 - Straight with a late Hyzer. Look for the boulder on the side of a hill. You know the one that would make a crazy fast 40 ft rollaway green with basically no lay up? Ya, that boulder. Put the basket there...
Hole 13 - Big down hill Hyzer. Just added this crazy tree basket devil thing surrounded by pavement that should be OB. If I didn't loose my temper I would have 6 putted this bastard. I picked up. I'm a quitter.
Hole 14 - Think opportunity. You can 2 it. Straight. Flat.
Hole 15 - Choices. Straight or Hyzer route. 2 fairways. Uphill. Another great opportunity to deuce (or find the rare par for me and my less distance-y friends).
Hole 16 - Start of the gauntlet of terror... Final 3 holes designed to make disc golfers cry. Hallway then anhyzer. Tight, long, mean off the fairway. Some trees came down making it a bit more approachable. Just a bit.
Hole 17 - Long, up hill, tight. Topped by a gorgeous stone stairway that always reminds me that nature is pretty much my church. I'm always so damned glad to see those steps. Gold to gold is a par 6. Who knew they even made par sixes. It's crazy town.
Hole 18 - Our final wooded tunnel shot. Finished with a basket behind a big rock. But finish is always cause for celebration.
I love Iron. I mean I hate her too... she's mean, but she's awesome. I want every disc golfer to come here to learn trees and control. Whenever we travel, Iron Hill is the first course I mention.
Cons: Porta-potties here are clean and well maintained, but a girl likes permanent rest rooms.
It's intimidating. Scary even. The Longs are more of a challenge or responsibility then actually fun (for me). But it's like lima beans, it's good for you. Makes you stronger.
But you know who this course isn't good for... My dx stingrays. I swear you could beat in brand new dx in a single round. One. Round. My poor stingrays will never be same.
Other Thoughts: Gold to gold is super popular, especially with all you boys, but I wish more people would remember that there are really 4 courses out there. Try the short pads, or short baskets. Shoot, even short to short is fun!
Iron Hill is where the awesome lives.
2 words to conclude...
18 of 18 people found this review helpful.
21 Helpful / 2 Not
My white whale, finally slayed
Pros: Course Design is superb. Navigation is easy, signage is spectacular, variety in shots, consideration for various levels, use of terrain, and maintenance were excellent.
Tee Signs were perfection, they even included elevation changes.
2 different styles of baskets to denote shorts and longs. Large concrete tee pads. Great variety and some nice elevation changes. (upto 70 feet of elevation change)
Course has great aesthetics with rocks shooting up out of some of the fairways.
a few fun novelty placements on the short baskets.
immaculate maintenance. There were freshly blown paths in the leaves to every tee and basket.
Benches on every hole.
17 is a signature hole very reminiscent of Nevin. 860 foot zig zag with 60 feet increase in elevation with the basket finishing on a large set of stairs.
If you want a challenging course that requires every shot you have, this course is perfect. This is a must play in the midatlantic region, one of the few that caters to elite level players in their gold to gold layout, while providing fun shorter holes for C Tier level players, and shorter tees for rec players.
Cons: Chance of disc loss on several holes. using a spotter is very helpful.
Severe punishment for kicks off the fairway. a beautiful drive ending with a bad kick can be heartbreaking.
Nearly all gold baskets are protected by dozens of small trees to the point where it becomes gimmicky.
Several shared tees (gold/blue) White tees are in disarray.
Holes 11 and 15 were way off on distance.
14 had no short basket.
Not a beginner friendly course. Take the kids somewhere else.
Other Thoughts: Just because you play long to long at your home course and you think you are a skilled player, you may want to check out the shorter lay out your first time through. Long to long is a very challenging course, but several other options are offered for a variety of levels. The shorter holes had lots of character and will still provide a challenging fun course for a variety of skill levels. No point in getting frustrated unless you are truly their to challenge yourself on this championship level course.
I tried to play this course on several occasions and numerous events cancelled my plans every time. I finally played it and was shocked that it did not live up to the hype about how physically grueling this course is. This course is technically tough and nearly 10,000 feet, but is no more physically demanding than Brandywine or Nockamixon.
I felt this course was a 4.25, but the blown paths, no trace of storm damage, and lack of garbage showed that the locals really pride this course and the effort they put into makes it very easy to round up.
21 of 23 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: I am a "Long Bomber" and this course indulged that to the MAX though the holes avaraged 600 feet. Multiple options/per tee make this an excellent course. Well mapped at each Tee Box. This is a wooded course that is a total of about 2 miles of walking, if you make it through the whole thing. I was hampered by the weather (rain) but we go to play the first 9. Loved this course and can not wait till I get back to play again.
Cons: Some of the holes could use some fairway markers, the pins are pretty hidden, I don't think there is one that can be seen from the Tees.
Other Thoughts: Bring Drinks, though this is a course, mostly covered by trees, this is a LONG WALK and you should be well hydrated for the day!
5 of 9 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Very pretty. 2-3 tees and 2 baskets on most holes. A few open holes in the beginning. Very well-marked tees and next-hole signs. Very close to I-95. I've never seen a crowd here. Some elevation ups and downs. No matter how frustrated you get, at least play #17 just for the walkway up to the basket. This is a perfect course for a serious pro or someone like me who needs to be reminded that you're not a serious pro. Very challenging mentally. No real water hazards and surprising few lost-disc issues. Also the tall trees cut out most of the 25+ mph winds the day I played.
Cons: Repetitive. Mostly very long, straight, tightly wooded shots. Not a lot of left/right shots, no horse-shoes, just a tee, 600 feet of woods, and then a basket. You can't see many baskets from the tees, so there's a lot of walking the fairways before your drive.
Other Thoughts: The rough can be brutal. The primary obstacle is trees, not as much underbrush. Lots of rocks everywhere - watch your step and don't expect your disc to skip upon landing.
This really is a pro course. It reminded me of getting to play in an NFL game - sounds like fun until you've been hit by Ray Lewis a few times. It also reminded me of one of those jigsaw puzzles that are entirely black. It's do-able but after a little while, as an average player, you get frustrated. If you're out for a fun, easy round - this may not be the course for you. Rec players may rate this a 2 (after walking out 6 holes in) but for great players - this is as challenging a course as I've found. If you want an exceptional challenge, this course is as good as it gets.
Also, map this course on GPS to find short-cuts from the highway.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
20 Helpful / 1 Not
Tough wooded challenge
Pros: The course provides a long and tight wooded challenge that will test even the best players. There are three tees and two baskets in place on most holes, with nice tee pads for the gold and blue tees and decent natural pads for the whites. Having 4-6 different options on each hole really adds to the variety and replay value here, especially since many times the alternate tees and pins offered a different look and feel to the hole.
The course is pretty long overall, with only a few reachable holes from the tee. There is a great mix of hole shapes on drives and on later fairway shots, you'll need a diverse shot selection to score well here. The fairways are fair, but can be narrow with some punishing rough. There are some areas that have lanes to throw creative recovery shots but most of the rough is thick enough to make you really pay for errant shots. The course uses the elevation quite well with some fun but tough downhills and some brutal uphills. The signs at the gold and blue tees are very descriptive and make the course pretty easy to follow.
Cons: There are some navigation issues at times, a few more next tee signs would go a long way. The white tees felt like an afterthought, with limited signs and rutted out natural pads I can't imagine them getting much play even though they're the most appropriate for intermediate and lower players. There are some areas that hold water, and others where erosion has made some of the hills slick and muddy.
Other Thoughts: From the long tees to either set of pins (but especially the long pins) this course will test the full skill set of even the best players. The shorter tees offer different options for less experienced players and a ton of variety to keep things interesting through several rounds. Even the shortest tee and pin combination isn't all that beginner friendly, the distances are more reasonable but there are still lots of tight fairways and thick rough.
20 of 21 people found this review helpful.
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