Fe Hill, Au Layout
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: As a rec to intermediate level player, I was hesitant to play the Gold Layout at Iron Hill. All the people I talked to claimed that it was one of the hardest courses you could ever play, especially if you only have a 300 foot arm like myself. However, I was absolutely surprised to have played well, but also get beat down by the brutal Golds.
The gold tees were nice, long, grippy concrete, with knowledgeable tee signs with map, distance, and par. The gold baskets were Innova Discatchers that were both very visable, and caught well.
The rocks that were placed in the fairway, on the green, under the basket, and around the tee. They were a great form of natural beauty, with a definite added challenge to the course. I can't be the only one who thinks rocks on a disc golf course is the coolest thing ever. Just so natural.
The course flowed throughout the beautiful park, with navigational signs that guided you along the way, as well as beat in paths along the way. These are things that you love to see at park courses, well, all courses, but it really shows that the people in charge of this course care.
Adding to that, the course itself was in great shape. The fairways were clear of grass and weeds, the rough was clean enough to not lose a disc, but also rough enough to penalize bad shots. The people in charge of the park make sure that the course is in the best shape.
Although I did not play any holes from the shorter tees, they looked worth a try if you have time to play multiple rounds, however, they do look like a possible work in progress.
The holes themselves were tremendous. You had holes that were perfectly carved throughout the thick Delaware woods. You were playing down and up steep hills, throwing each and every shot that you have in your bag and then some.
The real way to shoot well at this course is to hit fairways. If you can't throw it 400 feet, you can still be okay. Throw shots in the fairway, and par can be made However, it rewards well placed distance shots, creating score separation for the strong and weak players.
There were a lot of holes I found very enjoyable, most of the par 5s come to mind. They were true par 5s, rewarding distance and accuracy, and as stated by many before me, punished bad shots.
The Gold Tees are a legit par 72, something you rarely see. The possibilities for a 85+ round are definitely there, but you can also shoot mid 60s with a solid game. It is a course that plays differently every time you are there, as you will get into different situations on every hole.
Cons: I believe that Iron Hill has one of, if not the best gold layouts in the country. I felt like you can easily play countless rounds here without getting bored, but even the best courses have cons.
First of all, the short tees. They looked like a great option for someone who is not up for the challenge of the golds, or someone who does not have the time to play the longs, but they were not in great shape. None were concrete, none had separate tee signs. They were definitely there, and I would not mind playing them, but I know that the course could really benefit from the addition of a permanent set of short tees.
When I played, the silver baskets were not in the ground. I was not going to play the anyways, so it didn't affect me, and it is really just an added bonus anyway, but I was confused as to why they were not in the ground.
There was not a single hole I felt was filler, or really remotely close to filler, but there was not really a spectacular feature hole either. Nothing you wanted to empty your bag on.
There were some repetitive holes, not overly repetitive, but somewhat. I loved all of the holes at the course, but there was opportunity for more variation that I believe they missed.
I saw a snake, and I don't like snakes. I didn't know what kind it was, but wasn't about to ask it to ID itself. Just watch where you are stepping. Not a con, just a precaution.
Other Thoughts: This course is honestly so close to a five for me. It is most definitely a destination course, and an easy 4.5.
I can not wait to take another trip here next year, hopefully to play a tournament, that way it is in the best shape. Hopefully in the years to come, this gem of a course continues to grow and get updated enough to reach a 5 star status!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Designer Response by: jimimc
Thanks. The Silver pins are pulled once a year for the A tiers. They will be going back in next week.
Iron Hill: Magnificent test of mettle
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: If you inquired about the best disc golf course in Maryland, you could forgive someone for jokingly responding "Iron Hill." Just a couple miles across the Delaware border is a disc golf course that offers tremendous design, worthy challenges and excellent multi-teepad, multi-basket layouts.
The smorgasbord of teepad and basket choices - from the short red layout to the mammoth gold layout - means that every disc golfer will find a reasonable challenge at Iron Hill. In fact, the gold layout includes 11 holes that are 600 feet or longer. Also, the baskets - the "silver" Chainstars and "gold" Discatchers - are usually in significantly different areas, offering a diversity of targets and obstacles instead of just simply a longer hole.
While a map might be helpful in navigating in between holes, the "traversability" is excellent. Even off the fairway, the number of terribly sticky spots with briars and brush are few. Enough trees have been removed to ensure that most of the fairways are fair and even the areas off the fairway are bearable and allow for recovery. In fact, several gentlemen were in the process of removing a couple of unnecessary trees when I played. I appreciate that the course is regularly maintained.
The signs are detailed and nicely designed, though the signs were only at the long teepads.
The silver basket on Hole #14 is in a tree. But the basket is positioned perfectly and doesn't feel gimmicky.
Cons: With most of the course situated in the woods, the course does feel slightly redundant by the end. A lot of the holes are fairly straight, though several holes offer changes in elevation.
The short teepads aren't perfect - some of them are little more than dirt and stones. But despite the condition, I didn't have any issues with them.
Other Thoughts: I played the white tees - short teepad to long basket - but I thought that the par of 72 was a little on the generous side. (Even though I still finished over par.) All four holes that were par-5 or par-6 seemed one throw too high. A par of 68 for the white tees seems about right.
If you like wooded courses with big trees but reasonable fairways, Iron Hill is an excellent selection. I walked around the course with a huge grin on my face while enjoying the challenge and ambiance. As nice as the DGCR photos are, the course is even better than the images show. And if you're seeking to snag a course in "The First State," the easy-to-reach and peaceful Iron Hill is definitely the best choice.
6 of 6 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.
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