7 Helpful / 3 Not
Stop in and play all day
Pros: Wide variety of challenging holes, course all to yourself, basecamp nearby for refreshments if you get tired, thirsty or hungry, cheatsheet that gives you the best strategy for how to play each hole, nice and shady.
Cons: Extremely steep climbing and descending--I personally like this aspect of it but if your crew isn't somewhat fit and up for the challenge they'll NEVER make it. Our group started with 4 and ended with two before we even reached the 7th hole.
Owner was super friendly but went on for 20 minutes (you're a captive audience) as he explained what seemed like each and every one of the 39 holes on the course, during which time he subtly (as in not so subtly) kept reminding us that donations--in addition to the $20 donation that is mandatory at the start--are appreciated. Here's my issue with this: I'm surrounded by beautiful landscapes with awesome baskets and killer challenges everywhere and I've got my discs and I want to throw. Cut it down to 5 minutes please because I'm drooling over the course and I'll be mentally checked out after that long anyway. We crisscrossed near the owner's house a half dozen times and there were plenty of opportunities to ask him questions if we needed. Maybe pin each basket on a Google Map so I'll know where to go if it means I can skip some (most) of the intro. And I don't need reminding about donating. If I enjoy myself I'll very much want to add a gratuity (which we all did--it was important to us to do so and any decent guest would feel the same way).
One tee time a day, FOUR MONTH WAITING LIST if you can only make the 9am tee time on the weekends.
Other Thoughts: Is the kind of course you would imagine heaven would have. Put it on your bucket list.
7 of 10 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 8 Not
Ultimate day of disc golf
Pros: Variety of hole types that utilize the elevation changes of the land.
Frankenbasket (made from a wine cask and a wagon wheel).
Good signage so you never get stuck looking for the next hole.
You get a cheat sheet with tips/recommendations for every hole.
Benches on every hole, and you loop back to the main area every 7ish holes, so you can rehydrate or grab some food.
Cons: Some of the tee pads could be a little longer
Other Thoughts: Totally worth the $15, there is nothing that compares to this anywhere.
2 of 10 people found this review helpful.
24 Helpful / 3 Not
Must play resort style experience.
Pros: This is a total package. It has been in my wish list for 4 years and did not disappoint.
you have all 36-39 holes all to yourself, so you play at any pace and take as many shots as you want with out ever being rushed by another player.
I am a huge fan of unique baskets and Phantom Falls was a sampler platter of baskets. There was the iconic pine basket, classic wind chime, a hot pink basket, Disc Nation Liberties, Innova DiscCatchers, a beaver ranch style basket, and even FRANKENBASKET.
The shot selection and variety is great. it is beginner friendly and still fun for experienced players.
Course flow and navigation is idiot proof. signs point the way to next tee sometimes every 10 feet.
Tee signs do not have pictures of the holes, but they are unique flagstones that you will only find here, anymore than the hole and distance would look cheesy.
Plenty of benches , which you will need while playing at over 8,000 feet of elevation. The benches are mostly made out of snowboards, which adds character to an already charismatic course.
you will receive a cheat sheet with hints on how to play the holes and which basket to throw to.
Plastic discs on every hole labeled the best throw of the year and best throw ever. This is the first time I have ever seen anything like this and I loved it. There are very few courses where this idea could work so well.
Course strategically loops so you can be back at the house or your car very frequently. you don't need to carry as many discs or drinks because you can loop back around so many times.
Pro shop had great selection, Where else can you find a used Puma, Bulldog, and Pegasus as well as brand new Vibram. Bring cash.
Cons: Some holes share baskets, which does not mean much because no one else is throwing on the course.
Lots of baskets are visible on certain tee pads. Use the cheat sheet to eliminate any frustration, it is very clear which basket you need to throw to.
DARKSIDE, I HATE YOU!
Hole 23 starts what is called the darkside of the course. This is where i was introduced to roll aways.
Nearly every hole 23-30 I had a good shot land near the basket and roll 40-200 feet. On a short downhill hole (29 I think) my drive landed under the basket and rolled 150 feet behind the basket and down a hill. My upshot hit the basket and rolled 80 feet towards the road. Third throw hit the basket a second time and started rolling, but a sharp rock stopped it at 30 feet giving me the scariest 30 foot put of my life.
Big arms will not get too many opportunities to let it rip, this is a shorter finesse course.
Other Thoughts: This course must be on your playlist. get the reservations with Paulie and plan on spending the day here.People ask if you can play another course in the same day, the answer is yes, but it will become more work than fun. I played solo and then when to Beaver Ranch and I hit the wall at Beaver Ranch and do not think the course was as enjoyable as it should have been. I highly recommend you stay nearby for several days and play Phantom Falls one day and Bucksnort another without playing anything else those days.
24 of 27 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 4 Not
Sweet Pro Course
Pros: Custom Baskets (one of them is even a wind chime), 36 holes, privacy, cool pro shop, Hole designs are excellent, the level of difficulty is most challenging, Paulie is a great guy- we even got lunch after the first 18 holes.- Wow what an awesome layout for a course.
Cons: Not much scenery to be enjoyed here for being in the mountains. Also, not a lot of ground vegetation and no water (ponds, streams, etc.) when we played. Lots of dirt and the hike was extremely intense
Other Thoughts: Overall this course is one of a kind and we had an amazing time playing it. I would just say to be prepared for what you are getting in to- a really exhausting hike. It was hard to play the last few holes well because I couldn't catch my breath after 25 very steep elevation changes. The awesomeness of the course does make up for it though and the pro shop has sweet discs in it.
3 of 7 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 7 Not
Mountain DG at it's finest
Pros: This course was designed to be the private playground of Paul and his buddies. The rest of us should be grateful that he decided to share because this is a unique DG experience. The course winds around Paul's house, never going too far in any direction but always offering new shots and challenges. The greens are fast and it is easy to overshoot any of these holes. This course has all the character of a "homegrown" course but also has flat tees, great baskets and it is meticulously maintained. Paul is a great host. All the comments from previous visitors are spot on. The ability to have the course to yourself means never waiting or throwing near another group. We had a foursome and 2 of the guys are regulars and very skilled DG players. The 39 holes still took us 5 hours and I loved every minute of it. You play some baskets more than once and you throw across fairways but you would never know it by looking at each tee shot. Each shot is unique and fair, making you think it's not that hard before reality slaps you in the face like a 150 foot pine tree. I have never seen more signage and most tees are just a few steps from the last basket. The course flows so nicely and is so much fun that your round will be over before you realize how tired, whipped and satisfied you are.
Cons: Really? None..............Refer to PROS
Other Thoughts: I'm jealous and I wanna live in the CO mountains. The only thing that makes this course better is knowing there are at least 4 more world class mountain DG courses within a 30 minute drive. #bestDGtripever
4 of 11 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 2 Not
PF, A Truly Unique Experience
Pros: -Awesome elevation. There were many uphills, downhills, side hills, etc. The only holes that didn't have some elevation gain or loss usually had a large valley running down the middle or a great risk/reward green.
-Risk/reward- Definitely the best risk/reward course that I have ever played. You need to think about every shot or you will end up 100 feet down a ravine or across Pine Valley Road. Lots of fun, challenging holes and greens.
-Navigation is 2nd to none. There are many marker rocks with directions to the next tee even though you probably don't even need those. The next tee is almost always very near the last basket.
-Baskets- (see cons as well)- there were some very unique baskets. Hole 1 is a pine basket and is one of the most photographed baskets ever. Paulie will take your picture next to it. Other cool baskets include the prototype of the one that Paulie's company makes, the one made of the barrel, wheel, and tree trunk, hot pink basket.
-The tees are natural but they are well maintained and I had no issues with them.
-Only one tee time per day. You can run aces over and over, take a break at any time, stop for beers or lunch, and do whatever you want to do during your round. It is exclusive.
-Very tight wooded course. There are large pines all over the place and they provide plenty of challenge.
-Character- this course has it's own character that is hard to find at other courses. From the differing baskets to animal skeltons laying around to the ski and snowboard benches.
-Benches at every single tee
-Markers for best drive ever and of the year.
-Definitely some ace runs here but if you go long, you are often fighting for a bogey.
-Scorecards and guides provided at beginning of round with lengthy and informative orientation of the history of the course.
-A great local club- Foothill Flyers along with many other great courses in the area. This area of CO is definitely among the ultimate destinations for disc golf in the world.
-Pro shop located on site with lots of cool discs and other items.
-Paulie is a great host and a great guy. He is passionate about disc golf and it is awesome that he opens up his backyard to strangers nearly every day.
-I went in as a solo player and had the opportunity to play with 2 great guys- Ben and Aaron, thanks for the round guys!
Cons: -Some of the baskets are poor. Single layer of chains and they will spit out discs more frequently than better baskets. As a private course, I understand that it would be very expensive to fund 28 top of the line baskets but I have to include this to be as thorough as possible.
-Pay to play- this will be included on both pros and cons. $20 is a bit steep for disc golf.
-One tee time per day. It can be hard to get on this course.
-Crossing fairways, crammed. 39 holes on 15 acres is pretty crammed. As a result, this is not a tournament course. You would have to have few groups on the course at a time and be very careful. Some holes also share baskets.
-This course is long and is constantly up and down steep hills with sometimes poor footing at high altitude. This course isn't for everyone.
-Natural pads- some may complain about these. One of the guys that I played with likes to follow through over the end of the pad sometimes and that is very hard to do here due to the wood and the drop off that usually occurs in front of the tee pad. Paulie doesn't want 39 pieces of concrete laying around his yard in case he has to sell the property someday.
-Not many (hardly any) open holes. This is a fairly tight wooded course. You will use your drivers but you always have to hit some kind of line and don't really have a chance to just truly let it rip.
-You could lose a disc here. The underbrush is limited but due to the huge elevation changes, your disc can travel a long way, including off of Paulie's property.
Other Thoughts: -I had to list all potential cons in order to give people the best idea of what to expect when they come to PF.
-There is free camping about 10 miles beyond PF in the Buffalo Creek National Forest area. This is a popular area in the summer, especially on weekends. If you don't get into a free spot there is an official campground just down the road and another at Wellington Lake. If you do something like this, then you will have time to play the other esteemed courses in the area including Bucksnort, Conifer Park, and Bailey.
-Like my title says, PF is truly a unique experience and is something that I recommend to anyone who can handle walking up and down the hills all day. It has an enormous fun factor for me. It was very challenging and you literally had to use every disc and think about every shot. There were always big penalties for carelessness.
-This course is a solid 4 hours (minimum) of entertainment and is worth the $20. Every disc golfer who is able should experience a course like this at least once in their lives. I hope to return and bring some others that haven't played here before.
13 of 15 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 2 Not
I love it!
Pros: This is a 39 hole private course that is fanatically maintained by the owner. Tee pads are clearly marked and right next to the previous basket you holed out on. Course layout is great because there is no one else on the course; no waiting for people in the fairway and you can unload your bag at each basket. Course design in fun and challenging with a majority of close shots but don't let that fool you. You will need all your discs including your drivers. This course is long and you will play it all day; don't rush and enjoy this gem. Read the hole descriptions of the each hole you are shooting at it will explain the hole and where to avoid.
Cons: Not that many cons on this course, some of the shots require you to lay up instead of going for it. You can find yourself down a canyon in "bogeyville" very easy. Be careful of the road on a couple of shots your disc can hyzer of the mountains and right on the road. Please spot for each other and keep everyone safe.
Other Thoughts: The owner of this course will take you through about an hour tutorial that is well done, informative and very casual. He has pride for his course! Listen to what he says he wants the fun factor up and the frustration down. Signature hole "phantom fall" is a gold basket that can be aced from many different tees. There are also two sets of discs per hole; one for best drive ever (usually aces) and best drive this year. Very fun idea and keeps it fun in the group. Not only are you competing against each other you are also competing against everyone else that has played that course. Please support phantom falls and related disc courses they are phenomenal. Try to buy a disc from his pro shop it helps support these backyard courses. Enjoy!
6 of 8 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Really fun layout. Great mix of shot, definitely will use every disc in your bag! Don't be fooled by the hole distances and think its a poke-n-putt course. This course has very extreme elevation, like a 222ft hole that only 6 people have ever reached for instance. Has straight shots, hard hyzers, tight annys, winding fairways, most of them tight and some blind. If you dont bring your drivers, you might have an aggravating round. Course is impeccably maintained, and offers wonderful views of the Rockies. You come into close proximity of the clubhouse very often so if the altitude gets the best of you, it wont be long before you can head back for a few and get some food/rest. You have all day long and the entire course to yourself so play your own pace, take your time, empty your bag on every hole if you want to. Every hole has two 5-inch moveable plates, one red and one blue. Red reads best drive this year and blue is best drive ever, makes for a very fun and unique feature (I got to move a red! It really is exciting lol) This course is built for very fun and challenging disc golf, and it delivers! The proshop has a very large selection of new AND used (nice collectors for unbeatable prices), and has a ton of coats, hoodies, hats, and shirts with their logo and info screenprinted/embroidered for crazy cheap prices. The course is also in very close proximity to four other highly-rated courses so that is a pro in my book. Call Paulie and he will hook you up! You wont be disappointed.
Cons: The natural teepads can be a bit challenging to throw from if your not from the area, im used to concrete or grass, this course has neither so the ground up granite and dirt took awhile to get used to. Thats really the only con I can gather.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 11 Not
An absolute must play
Pros: Beautiful layout , Beautiful location , of all the courses I have played this is by far the best. A true test of a golfers endurance . This was a very well setup course playing back on the club house every 7 holes or so. A lot of fun with lots of challenging shots up and down the mountain
Cons: Train for this one its a challenge at 38 holes
Other Thoughts: Book several weeks in advance but its all yours once you get there.
1 of 12 people found this review helpful.
20 Helpful / 1 Not
Best Backyard Ever
Pros: Privacy - As with magic Meadows, you can enjoy a day at Phantom Falls without feeling rushed. Take your time, rest at the car as the course loops back there at least 3 times. In essence, you'll enjoy yourself more if you pace yourself since the course is pretty physically demanding.
Navigation - I completely understand why Paulie doesn't want all these crazy navigational signs in his backyard, and even without them, this course is very easy to play. It's pretty simple finding the next tee. Sometimes the tee is really close to the basket, which would be bad for tourneys, but this is not designed to be a tournament course.
Lack of undergrowth - Maybe this is just assumed for this area, but the lack of undergrowth is really nice. You shouldn't lose a disc at PF. You have to be really errant in order to do so.
Creativity - Paulie clearly explains during the intro that there are only 15 or so baskets, and 39 holes. Which means you're playing to the same basket from different angles two, sometimes three or four times per round. Before starting the round, I thought this would get old, but there were numerous occasions where you hole out, and look around thinking "this is familiar...wait...how did I get back here?" Additionally, it is absolutely astounding that Paulie was able to get 39 holes onto about 15 acres.
The Wooden Basket - With the addition of hole 39, you begin and end the course throwing to the signature PF basket. Very cool. While #1 is straightforward, putter/mid from the patio to the basket, you better not go long. Not an easy shot, though it looks that way. #39 actually throws across a small valley back to the same basket leaving you right by the house to end the round.
Cons: Redundancy - There was usually a very straight-forward option off the tee...but there are many ways to get to each pin. In essence, you could get comfortable with an understable driver, a soft mid (to prevent rollaways) and a putter ...and play about half of the holes at PF. There is still some variety, of left and right, but when you're going so far uphill, you're simply trying to get it up the hill. I would wager that I used no more than 5 different discs off the tee for 39 holes. Bottom line, and this is my only "con", I think the best courses occasionally make the player execute a shot with which they're not necessarily comfortable. If your "bread-and-butter" is a slight hyzer or perhaps a flex-shot, you'll have no trouble attacking the pins at PF.
Other Thoughts: The amenities at PF are great. There is a lounge area at the patio where you can snack during breaks. I suggest you pack a lunch, though Paulie does have options, if you so choose. The pro shop is well-stocked.
Some see the cost as a big negative, but I don't. Paulie seems very willing to barter to get the costs down for people interested in playing his course. I know he accepts old snowboards, skis, and used discs that you can trade.
The hat tree is a pretty cool idea. I didn't take one because I didn't have one to leave, but still a cool idea.
As far as the design, it's definitely not an easy course. Some will look at the posted distances and write this course off as not challenging. I'm pretty decent and I shot a +2. I was under through about 24 holes, but your legs start tiring and closing strong is not easy. Hole 10A is 442 feet and uphill...tough 3 for anybody. In short, the average round, according to Paulie is around +13. I believe the course record is -14 .. so the best round ever shot at the course averaged approximately a birdie on 36% of the holes. (38-39 holes) The equivalent at an 18-hole course would be about -7. My guess is that most courses have yielded rounds better than -7. Why bring that up? Simple, it's not as easy as most people think.
The CTP markers are really cool. I was within inches of getting to move one on the hole that plays down the driveway and into a hidden carve out on the other side. (one of the few blind shots on the course) I was probably really close to an Ace, which would have been sweet, even though I wouldn't have been able to visually see it go in. Anyway, it's a very cool idea and there are markers for both all-time and year-to-date.
To conclude. Phantom Falls is an "excellent" course. Paulie takes great care of the course and his guests. The design is intended to be intermediate, so simply understand that going in. It is one I think most should go out of their way to play, but if it's not your cup of tea, then so be it. It's still a very cool place. Honestly, I know Paulie doesn't care for them as he likes ease of play, but if there were some more blind shots which required a player to work their discs, then I'd bump it's rating even higher. That's the main thing PF is missing, and that's just my opinion.
If you're going to the area, contact Paulie and let him help you set up your itinerary. We didn't get a chance to play Bailey or Bucksnort, but I have read good things about both. I highly reccomend Phantom Falls, Magic Meadows and Beaver ranch. All are great courses and in a beautiful region.
20 of 21 people found this review helpful.
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