8 Helpful / 0 Not
Takin' it up a few notches
Pros: There is a review noting comments on every hole, so I won't bother with detail to this level.
I had a blast at this course. I grinned so hard and for hours, it hurt. The course is very well and lovingly cared for. The design and layout was carefully thought out and implemented. The signs and hole to hole directions are very easy to follow. Once you find hole 1, the rest is a piece of cake. There are also two, count them, two practice baskets.
To characterize this review, I am a player who picked up the sport three years ago on a lark. I was a long time ball golfer (so I understood the game), that has developed and continues to develop skills with a frisbee. I typically hover around a 960 round on courses that are routinely used for A tier events.
The first statement that needs to be made about this course is bring your 'A' game and water, irrespective of layout chosen.
There are four challenging and fun layouts on one course, with the multiple tee pads and pins. Each one provides different elements. The long pad to long tee positions are technical with a distance element as well. I had the opportunity to play this course two days in one week, 72 holes total and three of the four layouts. The first day, long to longs got my goat a bit. Day 2 needed a replay of long to longs for a bit of redemption.
I used every shot developed for my game thus far. So...forehand and backhand, hyzer and anhyzer, a few skamahawks, thumber flops and skips, flicks and tomahawks. It is rare that I pull out every disc in my bag on a course, however over the two days and four rounds, everyone got a go at something. Part of it was trying different strategies on the same layout/hole and some of it was due to circumstance.
A few of the holes you can fairly safely risk a full on driver push. The key is to throw with-in your accuracy limits of drivers. Be sure to consider placement over distance (depending on the layout played and the extent of woods encountered), as it will save you strokes. To that point, getting off the fairway on some of the holes can create very difficult recovery situations.
I very much look forward to playing this course again. If you are in the area, do not miss this one!
Other Thoughts: I played two different afternoons, with wonderful low 70's weather. A concern about this course reputation and being by U of D, is it would be very very busy. In two days and 36 holes each day, I was held up once by a foursome. I would guess on both days combined the top number of players during my play was about 40 other golfers. This number was due to a doubles event. At one point on the first day, I had the feeling of standing on this monster course and there was not a soul around for miles.
I did meet three separate groups and one individual that live locally. All were very friendly, respectful, and open. I got some great tips, advice, invites to play along, and information on other events in the near future. On top of that, I happened to meet Jimi Mcllvain as well on the course. I consider him and Disc Golf Monthly responsible for bringing this course to my attention.
Meeting other friendly disc golfers is not always the case, unfortunately. The fine locals at this course certainly helped cement a stellar experience. Thank you to each of you!
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.
25 Helpful / 1 Not
In My Top 10
- Championship Level Golf. I played Iron Hill from the Gold Tees and it was AMAZING. One of the best championship level disc golf courses I have ever played... on par with Nevin and Idlewild in terms of the extremely demanding shot requirements and extreme punishment for poor execution or decision making. There were plenty of Par 4's and 5's with very precise landing zones; I LOVE this kind of golf!
- Short Tee / Long Tee / Short Pin / Long Pin. Iron Hill had permanent long and short tees and pins on every hole, or nearly every hole, giving 3-4 ways to play each hole. I played the long-to-longs, while my girlfriend played the short-to-shorts and we were both able to have a great time while playing at relatively the same speed.
- Navigational Aids. The course had great tee-signs at the long pads that really help explain the hole, distances, OB's, etc... I never questioned the information on them and the hole diagrams accurately represented the shape of the shot. The tee-pads had painted rocks with numbers to easily identify them as the Gold or White pads. There were plenty of next tee-sign arrows around each green pointing the way to the next appropriate tee-pad, be it the short or long or both.
- Beautiful Park. The course plays through an old set of woods with some really large trees, huge tulip poplars and oaks lined nearly every fairway. The course also had some great rock outcroppings, and they were used well in the courses design.
- Right Over the Border in DE. If you're a course bagger and a state bagger and you want to bag Delaware while driving past Baltimore or DC or Philly... Iron Hill is the place. It's the first exit on your way into Delaware off the 95 - What a way to be welcomed to Delaware!
I really can't think of any. This course was phenomenal and blew me away. If I had to get technical, I would say:
- Short Tees need Enhancement. Some of the short tees were natural (if I remember correctly) and did not have the added amenities of benches and tee-signs. Players playing the shorts would have had to visit the long tee-pad on every hole to verify hole information from the tee-sign there.
- 2 Feet One Way or the Other. It seemed like 2 feet one direction or another often made all the difference in the world. I would seemingly throw a perfect drive, only to arrive on-site and find that my next shot would have been easier if I would have landed a couple feet away... the difference between having to thrown an easy hyzer vs an s-turn, a soft anhyzer vs a sidearm skip shot, or simply a regular shot vs some kind of forced overhand. However, that's woods golf and I enjoyed the shot-making requirements I was presented with.
- I'm in Love. I really enjoyed Iron Hill. I could easily rank Iron Hill from the Golds in my personal Top 10, which is definitely a testament to the courses quality. The championship level of the course: length + difficulty + shot shaping requirements + opportunities for punishment + Par 4's and 5's + above average amenities = AMAZING disc golf course... and then you add the beautiful natural setting of the park itself and you get a top level course.
- My Disc Score: I'm going to go as big as the holes at Iron Hill and give this course a 5'er. In DGCR, a 5 Disc course is defined as the best of the best... Of the 200+ courses I have played, Iron Hill ranks in my personal Top 10 which must make it one of the "best of the best". On my 10 day, 10 state, 16 course road-trip (which included Maple Hill, Tyler State Park, Sabbattus, and Warwick), Iron Hill was my personal favorite course, which again would make it the "best of the best" when you consider the reputation of those courses. Therefore, for all the reasons I mentioned above, to help bump its disc score and reputation a little bit, and simply because it deserves it - 5 Discs.
- My Score: I proudly finished +1 with a bogey on Holes 17 and 18.
25 of 26 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 22 Not
Pros: This is a long and very challenging course from long tee to gold long baskets. There are 2 tee pads and 2 baskets for every hole, making 4 possible layouts and infinite combinations. This review focuses on the Gold (long/long) layout. The signs are fantastic and are my first experience with signs that give you the elevation changes in addition to what we hope and expect: hole map, obstacles, distances, and pars.
Shooting par here is close to a 1000 rated round, which not many courses offer! It seems to me most courses calculate par based on either an 900 or 950 rated round, so this is a great metric/reality check to measure up your game. This course is challenging but fair. Most luck is removed from the equation and the thrower is given opportunity to calculate their throw and succeed if they execute.
Competitive players can play this course one of 2 ways: throwing a ton of controlled mid-range shots that sacrifice distance, but lend to fairway placement to set up good approaches on the par 4's and 5's, or throwing drivers for big distance through the woods and hoping for the best.
The terrain can be tricky, as the property is more or less a big boulder field, so don't be surprised if you need to "stand and deliver" a lot. Run-ups are harder to come by here except on tee shots of course.
Cons: I don't have much bad to say about Iron Hill. It's my favorite course, features an incredible design, and the different layouts allow for endless fun and frustration both!
Other Thoughts: Apparently the hardest permanent course in the world...that should tickle your fancy!
16 of 38 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 9 Not
Nice hard course
Pros: Nice course well maintained lots of trees but they are tall trees so you arent hitting low limbs all the time. loved the course
Cons: Only pro tees are concrete pads, the others are a mix of mulch, dirt, ect. signs at easy pins would begreat too.
Other Thoughts: Can't wait to throw another game here...
2 of 11 people found this review helpful.
23 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: As on of the many volenteers at Iron I'm very biased (no hiding that). Yet I'll be honest as possible to give a fair review. Iron is finally nearly completed, and has 2 full sets of baskets and two full sets of tees.
Iron Hill is a pro par 72, designed for Gold to Gold, with A tier tournaments in mind. Gold to long(Gold baskets/Innova yellow bands) is a TRUE par 72 (SSA is very close to 72).
Over the first 8 years, holes have been lengthened (and some shortened) to get each hole close to its stated par, and tournament SSA on each hole as possible. Not kidding, baskets have been moved 20-50-100 feet, some even moved only 5 feet for looks and sight lines - lots of thought and adjustments have happened over the last 8 years.
Awesome large concrete pads, great grip and some surrounded by natural rocks/gravel for erosion and beauty. Fairly accurate tee signs with footage to both pins (as stated, some pins have moved and signs are close but not perfect at this time). Signs have a nice touch of including elevation changes.
Tee pad markers - Gold/White painted rocks to designate what player level that tee is designed for - AND the hole plays to that level player PAR as stated on the signage!
Directional markers - Every hole has painted sign (or rock) in white with arrows pointing towards next Tee (addition and improvement based early review comments). Each tee is a safe distance from the previous pin, no waiting for the next group to tee; also no long hikes between holes.
Fairway Markers - some of the longest/blind holes have white signs pointing up the fairway in the direction of the long pins to help navigate and guide those monster drives. These white markers are 12-15 ft up trees and visible from the long Tees
1st Tee is off the top parking lot in the park, Hole 4 Tee is at the lower parking lot. Old bottom entrance to the park is now closed, as the park opened a new entrance directly off Old Baltimore Pike.
Very long and tight with a lots of elevation changes. Designed to separate scores and skill levels - and it accomplishes that well(See results of any tournament played there for examples).
Players must decide aggressive or safe throws every time you address your lie. This is where skill separates the men from boys, and your lack of skill/consistency will eventually get punished. To many this is the beauty of Iron Hill, she can crush you one hole and reward you handsomely the next.
In the last year or so the volunteers have done a wonderful job in completing short tees with pavers, polishing the rough stone walkways around tee pads by leveling them, removing stones and making small rock walls, adding in mulch and giving several tees a much easier walk around and looking better ascetically.
Additional efforts to prevent erosion have begun, adding in water diversion, mulching areas that had heavy runoff, digging small trenches to allow runoff, etc. Lots of hard work that gets little notice, unless it never happened and then it would be muddy in places... Great job guys!
The back 9 has changed significantly over the last 8 years, and was a cause for some of the repetitive comments and just pure beat downs on players - that is not the case any longer and the course is fantastic on every hole. Wonderful to see a course grow with time, improve with time, and get polished by hard work and attention to detail.
Two practice baskets about 150/175 ft apart near top parking lot. Great to warm up!
Cons: Difficulty - To some, this is where they just can't man up and subsequently hate the course.
Mental strength is a must for multi-round tournaments here based on above comments.
Am players that falter will be chewed up and spit out. I've played with a lot of Ams that love the challenge, and some that just went home in tears... But they always seem to come back for more. Even seen some total Noobs cut their teeth here, and have become good players. But the Hill is often rough on the Ego...
Since the entire back 9 is heavily wooded and long, some percieve repitition from hole to hole. It offers the Gold players different shots, but a shorter thrower will have similar 250ft lines on many holes because they simply can't reach the doglegs from the tee...
Iron lacks the natural beauty of Nockamixon's streams and lake view, lacks fields and lake of Carousel, and lacks the city skyscape view of Wickham, (yet it has shade all summer long) and the lack of those natural features may keep it from being 5 rated course by some - and that's a shame as the golf is the best there is anywhere.
Other Thoughts: Playing from the correct tees will help each skill level appriciate what has been designed. Friends of mine - (good open player and his girlfriend) play from Gold/white tees and shoot similar round scores. The course was designed to playing par 72 for everyone.
Gold tees first went in first to work with the land and improve the overall course layout. The white tees are being finalized and will make the course play more Am friendly. We have even dug up some of the original short tees (wood frame & stone base) and moved those shorter tees to accomplish the "play to your level par" idea of Iron Hill. Work in progress.
Great dog park, child playground, pavilion with grills. Portapotties and running water in season. Overall nice park that the county has improved greatly since 2008.
This course was designed, and built to use the land available and incorporate great aspects of other parks. Tyler length and fairways, Morraine lines in the woods, stonework from Nockamixon and Borderland. The "Stairway To Heaven" on Hole 17 was inspired from seeing Borderland in MA specifically. Additional stone work has improved the look and feel of the course, like the slightly elevated basket on 16, the path and rock wall around 12s basket, and cleaning up around 9s tee.
This course's overall rating is just a shame - other courses in the area are a 4.4 that are not where near the course Iron Hill is - is despicable that a 1.5 and 2.0 rating are given to this course. Those reviews are dragging down the overall rating, and are no where near an accurate review of the course, just a review of the lack of ability to play Iron.
Iron Hill should easily be a top 25 overall course, easily... It my personal #2 course behind Maple Hill, and fairly equal to Deer Lakes which is rated as a 4.63 - - This course is easily a 4.5 and deserves a better overall rating, period.
Enjoy the Hill!
23 of 23 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 17 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 24 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 21 Not
My Favotite course
Pros: Great tees, tight fairways, great baskets, amazing baskets, par 3's,4's,'and 5's the list goes on. this course is perfect and a challenge.
Other Thoughts: Im so lucky to live within ten min. of this amazing course
1 of 22 people found this review helpful.
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