Pardon My French Creek
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: + All 18 tee pads here are great! Each one is a stable and sturdy slab of thick rubber anchored atop a bed of crushed gravel housed by a wooden frame. Plus, they are extra long for people like me who take needlessly drawn-out windups.
+ Two pins per hole make for two wildly different difficulty settings, and they are visually distinct. Gold baskets for expert/pro players have an eye-catching yellow flag on top and the silver baskets for anybody else are more readily seen in the first place because they are positioned closer.
+ White wooden arrows are attached to all baskets to guide the player to the next tee.
+ From start to finish, all tee signs are bright yellow for visibility within the woods. They clearly feature the layout ahead with hand-carved and painted planks of wood. The distances to each pin are prominently shown.
+ The venue is peaceful and contemplative. I had the whole course all to myself and felt dwarfed by the immense trees, steep hills, and muffled silence all around.
+ Those hills and trees combine in different amounts at this course. Trees are always around you, and there are a few big elevation challenges.
+ Virtually every tee area has a bench for players to sit and relax as they wait for their turn or just to recover a bit from the strenuous walking.
+ Hole 7 ends right next to the parking lot in case a player needs something from their car or has to leave early.
+ The parking lot is enormous.
Cons: - Every single hole takes place in the woods, which means no real chances to let rip at full power. And with nothing really memorable outside of the occasional elevation shift to differentiate the holes from one another, they felt very interchangeable. Very little about the course sticks out in my mind.
- Why don't the tee signs have pars on them for the two pins?
- Some of the fairways seem a little too constricted in my opinion. Holes 4 and 6 jump to mind as examples of that.
- Most holes are flat or, more accurately, the elevation shift is gradual enough to make them feel and play flat.
- Any slight deviation from the fairways leaves little to no chance for a recovery. The course is quite unforgiving with the density of its forest.
Other Thoughts: Before I go any further, I'd like to make it known that this review is based upon my experience with the long layout (golden baskets).
My favorite hole at this course might have to be hole 17. It was a nice downhill glide with a wide tunnel that felt equal parts fair and challenging. My least favorite hole here might be 6? It's hard to be sure when they feel like different variations of the same hole.
But as for the course in its entirety, French Creek State Park is a great place to train for wooded disc golf. Every throw needs to be spot-on, or you'll have a tough time fighting out of the rough. This is the kind of course I wish I had regular access to. And maybe I ought to have played the silver layout for my first time here. It certainly would have been easier. I could tell that I would have made par on most of them, but I won't be back this way for awhile, and I wanted to have the full experience. So, golds it was!
The tight wooded corridors and occasional elevation obstacle force the player to get better on the spot. It would certainly provide excellent training for the disc golfer to deal with just about any wooded course out there.
It is a double-edged sword, though, because there is absolutely no wiggle-room. One error, and you've got an instant bogey at best. But something tells me that's the whole point.
Wide open courses challenge the power players to throw their farthest each time. Courses like this one challenge the precise players to throw intentionally each time. But even when a player goes in equipped with this knowledge, it is no less frustrating to smack into the skinniest tree in the whole forest fifty feet away from where you just were. I hope the squirrels will forgive my choice of words during such times.
And it's rinse repeat, really. Holes 1 through 18 are different plays of wooded disc golf. Some tunnels are wide, others narrow. High ceilings, low ceiling, a few no ceilings. Left, right, center. Uphill and downhill. It's all here in different combinations deep in the woods.
Bottom line: French Creek State Park has a very good disc golf course that excels at forcing the player to plan ahead instead of just throwing for maximum distance. Such an approach will get the player into trouble. Sometimes, it is best to break up the hole into digestible chunks.
If you find yourself at French Creek, forget about flinging your furthest and instead have fun dealing with the immediate things in your way.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
The World’s Largest Disc Golf Parking Lot!
9 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: French Creek State Park is a huge state park where one the main attractions seems to be this humongous swimming pool. Actually maybe, some of these parking spaces might be for the swimmers. The disc golf course seems to e painstakingly well taken care. Someone cares about this course. At the start is a kiosk complete with map, info, etc.
The tee pad area is pretty amazing. Besides the benches at just about every pad, the rubber mat tee pads are a thing of beauty. They are "absolutely center plum level." I think some person used a level to make sure every pad is perfect, not a dimple on any of them. Plus many of them are surrounded by a perfect crushed gravel border and then a board. And a broom to sweep as needed. The yellow tees signs are hand written but easy to read. Each hole has two baskets, the longer championship Golds and the more intermediate Silvers. The Mach II baskets have the next tee arrows hanging below. The Golds play much longer and with these tight wooded lines, can sometimes make for treacherous, dangerous holes. An extreme example is # 3. It's a fairly simple 295' hyser to the Silver but a whopping 930' to the Gold baskets. That's has to be one of the biggest discrepancies between the Long and Short on any hole in the disc golf world.
No one hole completely blew me away. Rather, they are a series of wooded, technical holes not really ridiculously but more along the line of fair. There's always a line available. Hitting it is up to you.
I was kinda impressed with the bench on # 17. The back rest is composed of old tee signs from holes 2-11-12-18.
Another benefit here is there is no entrance fee for the state
Cons: Not enough available parking.
I did see a bottle cap and one plastic bottle deep in the brush. They really need to work harder keeping this course clean.
Not much elevation.
No water hazards.
Doesn't have that one memorable hole or basket placement.
Other Thoughts: French Creek is a beautifully maintained course that with the use of two baskets is like playing two different courses. It would make for an interesting tournament format playing one round Silver and the next on the Gold baskets. Might separate the men from the boys. I could have nightmares playing some of Gold basket holes.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Very Challenging course with multiple pin locations
(Gold and Silver). Tee signs and arrows effectively display holes and direct you throughout the entire course. Requires most or all of your shots to complete a subpar round.
Cons: Some lanes off the tee are narrow and go into blind landing spots, creating more opportunity to lose discs when leaves are on the ground. #1 tee is far back if you are not familiar with the park layout. Local groups occupy the course most of the weekend.
Other Thoughts: I have played this course, both gold and silver since its inception. This place is well manicured and mentally tests you throughout. One of the best courses in Berks County.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
All Gold Everything
Pros: I played this course blind, in a tournament, all gold baskets, and in the middle of a hot summer day.
And I loved every second of it.
French Creek is a perfect example of Pennsylvania woods golf, with magnificent rock structures, thick trees and punishing rough. Every hole winds through the forests withing the wooded walls of French Creek State Park.
The rubber tees were the best of the kind that I have played on, because even after a slight rain the day before, they stayed very grippy allowing for safe drives when you need both power and accuracy.
The baskets were older Mach III's that caught well, and with two per hole, you have a large variety of layouts that are available to play!
The design of the holes was amazing, as you were throwing shots around all different trees and rocks, with different lines to hit on every hole. You played up hills and down the hills, and with left turning and right turning shots.
Navigation was quite easy, with some signs to lead you down the mostly well marked paths, and the flow of the course was well done, with no holes leading to a super long walk afterwards.
The rough was clear, and the lines were there, even if they were small. You had a lot of different ways to get throughout the hole and escape with a par, and if your lucky you could get a birdie, as some of the holes are able to be gotten!
Cons: There is nothing too major that keeps this course from turning into a true destination, but maybe within the next couple years, we could dust off the old gem and turn it into a diamond.
The Mach III's are fine baskets, but when you have tight lines through the woods, an extra color could go a long way towards fixing any navigational issues. Maybe even new baskets?
Tight lines through the woods are some of my favorite holes in disc golf, but some holes led to me being very angry, with many trees causing severe problems for the less skilled player.
Also, tight lines on every hole can lead to some repetitiveness, which there isn't a whole lot of, but there are some holes that seem similar to each other. The design is well done, but there are a few holes that are just the same throw and pray type shot, especially for the shorter silver holes.
The gold tees are hard. Not a con, but more of a warning if you are hoping to come here and shoot under par, you won't, unless you are somewhere in the 1000 rated range.
Other Thoughts: I really enjoyed the course at French Creek State Park! A lot of tight fairways and sneaky lines lead to a fantastic course, a course that I could see becoming a true destination along with the other fantastic courses in Eastern PA!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Great challenge for all skill levels
Pros: Multiple pin positions for all skill levels, technical, a wide variety of fairways (uphill, downhill, dogleg left, dogleg right, tunnel, low ceiling), peaceful location, scenic, well maintained, nice tee pads/baskets.
Cons: Course can be frustrating and unforgiving for some, poor cell phone service!
Other Thoughts: This is a great course for those looking for a technical challenge. Placement is the key here. The club does a great job on the upkeep and holding tournaments. Although this is a great course, I still miss the old courses.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Great getting better
Pros: The course is a tournament style course. Single rubber tee pads on packed types of gravel which are never muddy, slick, or slippery. They drain very well and the maintenance is top notch. There are two baskets per hole, silver "short", and gold "long", which gives a great variety of options for all playing skills. It is a tight wooded course, but there are plenty of fairways, lanes, and approach shots, so do not be deterred. there have been many improvements to help enjoy your round. There are next tee signs under each basket which helps at this place as the next tees are not directly next to the last basket every time. There are brooms at every tee pad to clean them before throwing which is a great idea due to dirt, stones, and leaves in the fall. At the kiosk at hole one, there is a box with score cards, and each one has a map of the course on the reverse side. Very little, if no trash at all, which only shows the type of volunteers that come through on a regular basis. The round plays in basically three loops, 1-7 / 8-12 / 13-18. Top notch course. There are benches scattered throughout to rest when needed.
Cons: Signage at the park office and in is needed to show where to go inside the park to easily get to hole one, but a local club member said they are working with the Sate Park on that. The walk from 7 to 8 is not far but is up a decent hill. The walk from 18 back to 1 is a BIG parking lot with a hill, as the course plays over a very large portion of the park. if you carpool, have someone park at 18 so they can drive back to your car at 1.
Other Thoughts: This course is what it is billed as, a PRO Style Disc Golf Course!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Amazing tee pads
Great tee signs
Cons: The walk back up the hill to where I parked by hole 1.
Other Thoughts: I played my round early in the morning the day after a tournament in late February... The course was in perfect condition. I have never seen flymat tee pads looking so perfect. The upkeep of this course is top notch, the paths between basket and tee were clear and some even seemed 'decorated' with lined up stones.
I'm a rec/am level player and didn't find anything about this course to be unfair or impossible, but it is relentless! I played the gold pins and the only time I felt in any way frustrated by this course was when I parked the silver basket with my drive, my scorecard would have looked A LOT better with all those birds on it. With that said, these are some of the tightest fairways I have ever seen and they just keep coming.
Holes 1 & 2 play down and then back up a pretty steep slope. I was a little concerned that this might be foreshadowing of the entire day, but was happy to see the elevation changes were a little more gradual over the next 16. I don't mind throwing the ups and downs (love throwing the downs), but it would have made for a tough hike.
Hole 3 is about as open as it gets here, almost 900' along what was probably a fire road with a steep drop off to the left. My second throw missed the fairway right, I was only about ten or fifteen feet out and when I say I had no shot to even get back to the fairway, I mean I had NO shot! I threw horizontally to the fairway giving up a shot just to get back and it still took me 2 throws to get out! Behind that wall though, the rough is wide open, I had no trouble finding my disc and my movement to throw was unrestricted, there's just no clean way to get back to the fairway... It's damn impressive! Eventually the fairway turns gradually left and goes downhill to a basket tucked off to the right inviting one of the coolest forehands I've ever thrown.
Hole 4 is might be the longest, tightest perfectly straight fairway I've ever thrown (after the initial curvy bit off the tee). After 4 or 5 throws and still having half the hole left, I finally realized what kind of course this was going to be and I pulled out my star leopard (the only premium plastic I had with me and a straight flier that will hold whatever line I put it on) and pretty much threw it for the rest of the day.
Hole 8 is farther up the hill than it looks on the map (just keep following the road)
There were a couple of times on the back 9 that I had to look at the map to find the next tee, but nothing that took more than half a minute to figure out.
Final thoughts: This course is rocky! Wear good shoes. Don't bring the cheap plastic, I did and several of my discs were a lot less stable after my round. This is a Great course if you like tight throwing lanes with a major premium placed on accuracy. I would say based on the tightness of the fairways and how thick the forest is around them that this is not a beginner friendly course. But if you're up for a challenge, this course is on par with some of the best I've played. I don't think a course needs big open holes peppered in to be considered a 'great' course, French Creek is tightly wooded and unapologetic about it. I thoroughly enjoyed my round and will certainly be back. I'm looking forward to seeing what it looks like in the summer when the lines get even smaller and errant shots wont make it through like they were today. I'm giving it 4 discs after one time around, I have a feeling that will go up after I play here a few more times and also see what this park is really like with the pool open and a concession stand after 18 so I can fuel up for the hike back up to where I parked... or more likely, another round on this awesome course!
Edit: I played another round and a half at French Creek this week and I'm already bumping my review up to that 4.5 just based on how great this course is. I wish I lived closer!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 4 Not
One of my All Time Favorites
Pros: Overall, this course is amazing.
This course has a great deal of diversity and some elevation. There just a few open holes, however majority are wooded.
-The tee-boxes are in amazing condition. The rubber pad is virtually brand new and provides excellent traction for driving. On each of the tee-box markers, there is a broom handy to brush off any debris. These were the first thing I noticed and its always really nice to not have to worry about footing off the tee.
- There are multiple pins (silver/gold) for additional difficulty if desired. Par information can be found on each tee-box for the different pin placements.
-The baskets are in great condition and have crisp yellow paint to guide you through the course.
-The navigation was OK. Hole 1-8 are extremely easy to follow but 9-18 was a bit more challenging. Not a "Con" but I wanted to be clear that we followed the map and had no issues, but if you do not have a map you could get turned around easy.
-I really liked the diversity in length and shape of the holes. Some were really straight narrow and wooded, while others were of the dog-leg variety.
-RHBH Players: this is definitely a course you want to check out. There are several really straight holes that just finish to the left. A nice long hyzer and you are dropping the disc in the basket for a bird.
Cons: -If you have never played the course before, a few of the holes can get confusing but download the course map here and you will be just fine.
-Wish there were a few more open holes to just break the course up a bit. I played this course back in 2005 and it was a bit different since it has been redone.
- Should be a few other signs near the main park to show where the course starts. Once you find the swimming pool its really easy to locate. (top left corner if you are standing in the pool facing the parking lot)
3 of 7 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Newer Review to Show Course Progress
Pros: Teeboxes look brand new. Very nicely maintained. Good new signs with both baskets easy to find. Download the course map from DGCR and you are all set.
There is one teepad and two baskets per hole (long and short). Fun to play.
Cons: Rocks. Not just mountain stones (which there are alot of), but the grushed gravel in the fairways is not cool. To keep the weeds down, mulch would have been better here. Giving your discs road rash on every throw is just not right.
Other Thoughts: It is the woods. Getting off of the fairway can lead to some thick underbrush.
Very pleasantly surprised with the cleanliness and upkeep. I will make many return visits.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The course is really well maintained and have good tee pads. Being almost entirely in the woods makes for a very fun and scenic round. Another positive is that despite being heavily wooded, French Creek lacks the brush and bushes making disc finding relatively easy. Also some fun variations of holes with some fun hills both up and down early on. Fun enough to offset the frustrating aspect of the difficulty level.
Cons: The biggest con about French Creek is the lack of directions after holing out. If not for playing with an experienced friend, I may still be looking for hole 8. Only other real complaint is the 'silver" baskets are sometime hard to locate from the teebox, the simple orange tape around the post isn't always enough and you really have to look. Not an actual con, but as a beginner this course is very challenging. Some holes can be downright frustrating.
Other Thoughts: This is a really technical course that's really hard to negotiate. But despite the frustration from playing, the course is a lot of fun to play, even as a beginner... because your more experienced friends will probably be slamming trees as well. Definitely go out with someone whose played before to work as a guide because the next tee isn't always given.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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