Heaven East of Cleveland
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Do you live in Ohio? What about Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Indiana or even Illinois?
What the heck, no matter where your from you should come play disc golf here.
This was one of the most enjoyable afternoons hiking and huking plastic that I've ever experienced.
Kudos to the designer, builders and I am sure the local disc golf crowd that made it possible for me to play from the reds twice today.
You've built something really special here.
The play. What shots do you have in your bag? Bring them all. Uphill left and right, downhill left and right. Straight (both up and down) is a state of mind, but bring those shots too.
Are you a short shooter? The reds are great. Longer shooters will have plenty to brag about if they choose to throw from white or blue and park it.
The Equipment. Three tee pads pads, luxuriously long, wide and grippy greet you at the beginning of every fairway. Basket number, distance and either sponsorship of fairway or a fairway name or local advice are given on pad integrated plates. Hard to see? Drip a little water on them.
The baskets, DGA Mach 3's, catch well and are in great shape. A few fairways have multiple baskets in place.
The playing field. I took a look at some aerial maps of the gameplay area. I'm in awe of what the designer did here. Maybe on a crowded Saturday afternoon you would feel the size of the parcel but today it felt spacious and each fairway was somehow well separated from the others.
I'm not a 400 footer. (If you are, you will be just as impressed with the design as I) That's why I played the reds, but I love to hike a course and this course is a great hike. I earned the Italian calories I consumed after playing two rounds.
The fairways are mostly wide, but also well shaped. The terrains undulations meld perfectly with the shape of the course, using them together like was done here offers a large variety of shot choices. OB and hazard areas as well as drop zones are well marked. The putting surfaces, well thought out with good use of water, OB and slope make you think before you run.
Navigation. The best I've ever seen, bar none. You don't need a map. I will admit a bit of confusion as some of the older signage can give momentary pause. But just follow the fish. Redfish, whitefish, even blue, point the way just right for you. Again, use the pad embedded signage to confirm your spot.
Scenery. Gorgeous, and in spots you'll really want to take some snaps, and It's early in the season. Wait till the canopy kicks in.
Cons: I'll put these in the cons spot. They're not.
It's late April, and the ground cover off the fairway isn't grown in yet, so my multiple angiosperm and coniferous contacts were easily retrieved, that might get tough over text couple months.
Like many other plots of land available for courses this one also has some drainage issues. This issue may be exacerbated here by the natural contours of land that drain rainwater into the natural lake that is the centerpiece of the park. I see that efforts are being made to mitigate some of the worst areas but good form like trying to avoid natural water paths when walking can also help.
It's clear that some very good folks are lovin up on this park.
I see new bench's, a new bridge going to the island hole and I think a completed throwing deck from the island.
Empty garbage cans, stacks of cut wood from clearing the fairways and the new bathrooms going in also speak well for course evolution.
Thanks again for a stellar afternoon and giving me another course for my son and I to play as a destination.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
First Class and Improving
Pros: 18 Holes with 3 Tee Pads on each hole.
Red Pads are perfectly fine for beginning players.
Long baskets on holes 2, 9, 12 and 15.
Dedicated and active club maintaining and improving the course.
#2 Island Hole plus Gold Tee platform for hole #3 now.
The different tee pads can completely change how a hole is played, they are not just a little longer.
Cons: Mud, particularly on the walk from the parking lot to the course. There are supposed to be plans on addressing that by the park.
Other Thoughts: Plans currently in the works to add some alternative pins and/or tee pads to create a 27 hole optional layout.
After playing other courses in NE Ohio, plus some of the best around Nashville, TN on a recent trip, Punderson stills stands out as a top tier course. Elevation changes, technical shots, but no throw and pray shots. There is a line on every hole IMO.
The local club is continuously making improvements, and is very active with leagues year round, and several tournaments at the course each year.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Awesome woods course
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: I don't even know where to start. This course is awesome. Challenging but fair, makes you think about what you're going to throw. Huge fairways cut out in the woods, and you're punished if you miss your lines. Elevation used well, almost every hole has an elevation change. Three sets of teepads which change how each hole plays. Course is secluded in the park.
Cons: Some of the long tees are placed in spots where it's more challenging than it is good - not really golf shots, a couple are tough to make any shot down the fairway. Place gets really muddy in the spring.
Other Thoughts: There aren't really many aggressive lines here. The risk pretty much always outweighs the reward. Good rounds from the long tees can be kind of boring, throwing your layups on most holes. Hole 15 is one of the best holes I've ever played.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
A High Quality Disc Golf Experience
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -Excellent location, scenery (this would be a great place to simply go on hike in, let along play disc golf)
-Great use of land in the park-elevation is well used
-Course is well laid out; flows excellently from hole to hole
-Tests a variety of shots from each of the three teepads on all 18 holes
-Large concrete teepads for each red, white and blue distance on each hole
-Alternate baskets on many holes
-Signage looks great and is well maintained-no navigation issues
-Benches and trash cans near a number of teepads
-Fairways and greens are quite fair
-Numerous risk reward shots-i.e. ability to simply play for par or go for lower scores and rewards/punishes reasonably
-OB is always marked with rope and well placed to aid in the risk/reward
-A dedicated and attentive local club
-Easy to get to near major roadways
Cons: Really nothing significant.
-More parking might be cool
Other Thoughts: Overall this course offers a consistent experience that is equally challenging as it is fun. From all three tees this course is wooded but a quite fair course. There are a variety of ways to successfully navigate the fairways here; its refreshing to find a course the allows for multiple ways to make it the green and doesn't force players into specific types of shots over and over again. The variety offered here is what really elevates this course. If you were to play two rounds in a day from two different tee pads it wouldn't be unlike playing 36 different holes.
With the dedicated local club always looking to improve the course I see no reason why this course won't get even better with time; like their plans for an alternate basket on hole two.
I would highly recommend anyone passing through Northeast Ohio to stop by here, it will not disappoint.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Walked In a Skeptic, Left a Believer.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Wow! Punderson is an incredible course here in Northeast Ohio that is really underrated here on DGCR. Punderson is painfully technical, but not so much so that you become frustrated to the point of quitting. That is the beauty of this course. Almost every hole has multiple lines to hit, with a high risk-reward factor in every choice you make. I like to call this course "The Flappy Bird of Disc Golf". You know you will never beat it, but you keep trying new tactics to get a better score(If you don't know what Flappy Bird is, ignore what I just said). The course flows really well, therefore a map isn't really needed to navigate around. Even though pretty much the entire course is wooded, there are many unique holes throughout the course that would be signature holes on some NEO courses. The park, being a state park, is beautiful, and will appeal to both the disc golfer and non-disc golfer. There are three sets of concrete tees. All three are challenging and very fun to play. This course feels like it is meant for high caliber tournament play. The blue tees would challenge the best-of-the-best in all of disc golf. The course looked trash and debris free. Kudos to whoever keeps this beautiful course in the perfect condition. The baskets were vey nice, and caught well. The tee signs were very informational, and the distances and maps were spot on. A player who prefers more technical play rather that "Rip it and grip it" play will find Punderson extremely fun. For me, it's a preference thing. There is plenty of parking, all of the time. There were benches and trash cans throughout the course.
Cons: While Punderson is one of my favorite courses I have played, there are still a few things that pushed me away from giving the course a perfect 5/5 rating.
A few holes were really tough to navigate if you are playing the course for the first time. Even if you take a good look at the awesome tee signs, it can still be tough once you start throwing. Even from the shortest tees, this course is still a beast. Not really a place to take the kids, or a beginner. There were a few patches of gnats and other pesky bugs, but nothing to extreme. Bring bug spray!
Other Thoughts: I didn't really want to make the hour trip to play here, but it was well worth it. The 3.5 rating made me a little skeptical, but I am now a believer! After playing the course four times from both the white's and blues, I realized what a special, hidden gem Punderson is. Come out and play the course if you are anywhere near Newbury. Trust me, you won't want to play it just once...
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
~Great location, amazing use of the land
~Easy to navigate
~(3) sets of huge concrete tees
~Ample benches & trash cans throughout the course
~Extremely clean and well maintained
~Challenging and fair with risk/reward on every hole
~Tons of elevation throughout a wonderful wooded area
~The best course I've played to date
*Nothing I can really complain about overall, but some nitpicking nonetheless:
~Areas immediately off the fairways are very unforgiving
~Concrete tees have a rough uneven finish
~Some fairways could be widened
My 1st visit to this course was for a tournament in which we played two rounds from the Blue Tees (longs), and the second round was played to the long baskets. First and foremost the Friends of Punderson Disc Golf folks are some of the best people you'll meet and they have done an amazing job on creating and maintaining a top tier course. Layout is 18 epic holes with great elevation throughout a beautiful wooded area near the lake. While water isn't too much of a factor it adds to the gorgeous scenery this course provides. All 18 holes are wonderful, and not one would I consider anything less than great....that is to say there isn't a dud or filler hole on this course. From the Blue Tees it is both a lengthy and extremely technical challenge. Fairways are fair, but land outside the intended path and you will be scrambling. Plenty of curves and undulation, you will need every shot in your arsenal. Solid scores are earned here, and the course will test your mental and physical toughness. Punderson is a phenomenal course and deserves to be considered as one of the best in oHIo!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
This could be the best course you've never heard of
Pros: Friends of Punderson is the most underrated course I have played, both in terms of its rating and in the recognition (or lack thereof) that it receives on here. It is always enjoyable when a course far exceeds your expectations - that is exactly what happened when I played here. The course is located in a big, beautiful state park that is filled with many other activities. This is definitely a place you could spend all weekend at.
This section of the park is fully dedicated to disc golf, so the course has a very enjoyable, peaceful ambience to it. If you like playing courses that make you feel in the middle of nowhere and are distraction free, this is your course. It is also evident that a ton of care has gone into the course, as it has a practice basket, course map, bulletin board, and a porta-potty near the first tee and is very well groomed.
It has three enormous concrete tees on every hole. The tees do a great job of changing up the hole and providing different levels of difficulty. The red tees (comparatively) offer more simple shots, the white tees are very hard but still allow for some birdie opportunities, and the blue tees look just insane. The Mach 3 baskets are in great shape and there are even a few holes that offer multiple permanent pin positions.
This is definitely a thinking man's course. If you enjoy having to really think about every shot you take, this is the course for you. Because the lines are so unforgiving, placement is important on your drive, upshot, approach, etc. in a way that few courses can match. Holes like 2, 4, 11, and 16 are prime examples of these unforgiving lines, whether its hitting a turn-over shot through a super tight gap, avoiding the O.B. that winds around the entire hole, or hitting a crazy sharp dogleg while risking the possibility of fading back into the water. The luck factor is pretty much cut out completely here.
Elevation and water are often present and do a great job of making the course more appealing. There are no jaw-dropping downhill or water-carry holes, but it definitely is present in a fun, exciting, and technical way. There are some great downhill shots like on 1, 6, 11, and 15 that look completely different from each other and challenge different skills, while the water holes all felt completely different as well.
Which brings me to another great quality about Punderson - it has an awesome variety of shots and holes within this heavily wooded setting. There is a nice distribution of pars and hole lengths, even more so when you account for the different tee and pin positions. You really will use many different discs in your bag.
There are a lot of navigational aids that are very helpful in pointing you to the respective tee.
Cons: None of these cons are major detractors, but they did hurt the course in small ways:
One thing that makes this course so great is the high level of technicality that it has on every single hole. While each hole has been thoughtfully designed, most of them are very line-specific. It would have been nice to have played a few more holes that allowed the player to be creative and have multiple lanes to choose from.
It wasn't a big deal, but the navigation could be a little better in a few spots. Navigating to 4 and 15 can be a little confusing since you cross near holes 9 and 1.
This course truly has great variety within its wooded setting, but it is in this same setting the entire time. It'd add to the course's appeal if there were some more different types of holes.
Because the holes were often very narrow, long, and complex, I had to scout where the basket was before I played the hole a good bit, adding to the time it takes to play.
Rough wasn't present on every hole, but when it was present it was pretty nasty.
Other Thoughts: I've only played about ten courses around the top 25, so I can't say for sure, but I truly think that this course is on that high of a level and deserves to be in the conversation. I think it has more consistency and is better designed than a few of the other top courses I have played. This is also a course that I would love to see the pros play as it tests and rewards extreme accuracy and which allow for some nice score separation.
I encourage you to go out of your way to check this course out. It truly has the makings of a top course.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 1 Not
A Top Tier Course You've Never Heard Of
Pros: Friends of Punderson is a course-bagger's dream: that top-tier, well-groomed, challenging gem that you've never heard of. I knew little about the course entering my round, and left truly impressed. There is a ton to like here.
The course plays entirely through the woods, integrating the lake at several points, providing some scary approaches, a risky over-the-water route or two, and a few mid-fairway OBs. There are several signature-quality par 4s that demand an exhausting degree of precision from drive to putt, as well as many lengthy, challenging par 3s from the blues and whites. Birdie runs are in the minority here, and even these are technical enough to go wrong fast, with OB, elevation, and numerous fairway and pin-guarding trees. There isn't a true gimme hole at Punderson, and even breathers are hard to come by.
Punderson forced me to play it safe in a way that few courses ever have. The lines are so specific and so demanding that throwing a safer, more controllable shot was almost always was the wiser decision. A near-perfect shot isn't always good enough, and while sometimes that demand is to Punderson's detriment, it's nevertheless a defining characteristic that I can appreciate. The lines and landing zones are generally well thought out and extremely varied, which keeps things fresh.
The tees are fantastic: three sets of large, level concrete tees on all 18 are in at this point, with all three offering a challenging round. Duel pins on several holes allow you a much-needed say in controlling the challenge. Signage is great and helps with navigation: there are a few quirky spots (such as how the back 9 loops back to cross behind 1's tee), but it's all easy if you grab a map at the helpful information kiosk at the course's entrance. Practice basket with marked distances is a nice plus. Parking is prevalent, and a portapotty is nearby.
Grooming is *extremely* well done. This course is carved completely out of the woods, and a ton of effort has clearly been put into cleaning up fairway and rough alike. While there are still some spots where your disc can be swallowed, these are minimized relative to the thick woods the course plays through. Lots of nice touches marking pathways and fairways.
Cons: Punderson is probably the first course I've ever played that I really thought a slight widening of fairways at points would go a long way towards improving the course. It's always a fine line between demanding and lucky, and that line varies between players, but there are some shots here that if slightly widened or trimmed would maintain all of their challenge and lose a lot of their luck factor. Many are just so particular and so intensive in their combination of angle, window, elevation, and landing zone that they punish anything less than perfect execution. The result is that aggressive play is discouraged, since the odds of something going wrong far outweigh the potential benefits. This detracts from the mental game and gives the course a claustrophobic feel that it doesn't always benefit from. It also deters you from attempting some really interesting shots in the name of preserving your round.
An ideal version of this course would for me do a better job of more evenly changing up its pace. The first eight are all extremely demanding and focus on long, multistage holes. The easier change-of-paces begin to appear starting at hole 9. One or two birdieable par 3s earlier in the course would go a long way towards mixing things up. Hole 4 has the distance to be one, but its unnerving OB and tree-studded fairway prevent it from serving as such. The change of pace is there; I just wish it was better distributed.
The challenge found on even the red tees makes this a pretty beginner-unfriendly course. That's not a huge con; it just limits Punderson's appeal a bit.
Other Thoughts: Friends of Punderson is a fantastic wooded monster-type course that doesn't get talked about enough. It stands with the best in the region, on par with stalwarts such as Moraine, Deer Lakes, and Orange Crush in character and sophistication. I was really taken aback with how great this course was, and nixed plans to play elsewhere during my travels that day in order to take in another round. The low rating on here is clearly a product of an earlier stage in the course's development. Don't let it deter you.
I do think the cons I mentioned keep Punderson from being truly elite, but it's close enough to be unable to call. I'd encourage you to make the trip and see for yourself.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: -Big championship style course
-Great hole designs
- Awesome elevation changes hole to hole
-Very large tee pads
-Pars and distances stamped into the tee pads
-A few holes with alternate pins
-Very accurate tee signs
-OB's are clearly defines
-plays pretty well during wet conditions
-Benches and trash cans all over the course
-Very scenic along the lake
Cons: - Some white tee pads were still being worked on but still playable
-Parking lot is kind of small but didn't have any issues
-A few bugs but thats nature
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
An Addicting Challenge!
Pros: This course is a wooded technical romp through beautiful state park grounds complete with mature hardwoods, a pond, multiple tee-pads for each hole, and tournament ready play.
The Reds are themselves rather technical and challenging. With only a sprinkling of gimmie-ish birdies (4,10,11,13,17), the course is primarily made up of great number of tough but fair par 3's which make for solid, feel good, deuces. The layout flows nicely from hole to hole. Three difficult par 4's add some variety.
The Blue layout is par 69 and a fun, fair test for any ambitious golfer. By far the defining type of hole for this layout is a par 4 from 450-600 feet (1,2,3,5,6,10,16). These par 4's twist and wind all different directions and require a good variety of shots off the tee. Many of the holes offer you a chance to match or advance the position you would start at from the Red's (with an extra stroke added to par of course). There is a fair degree of risk reward as many birdies require two great shots, while on the other hand one can assure a par or at worst a bogie by playing more conservatively. This layout also offers some very demanding par 3's and three very legitimate par 5's. The Blue pads here at Punderson are a wicked, yet sweet test of disc golf and makes me glad to visit the area.
Both layouts highlight land which is highly accommodating for disc golf, both in terms of variety and interest, as well as accessibility.
Cons: The Red layout has some virtually un-twoable mini par 4's (but labeled as threes: (7,14,15 short, 18). Also I would say that as the Red layout stands now it is more challenging than a traditional Red layout. The SSE estimate for this layout on this site (46?) does this layout no justice as I would estimate the SSA to be closer to 52 (par 57). I do see this likely softening some over time though so it is not a huge knock for me.
There is still a lot of Poison Ivy on the final four hole loop which to me is the biggest con of the course.
Other Thoughts: As of this review the front (Red), and back (Blue) pads have been poured (no middle pads). Earlier in the summer when playing here only the Red were in so it is great to see some quick progress.
This course has some big walks between holes as well as many long holes depending on the layout you play. Grab a map and watch for the bright green signs so the layout is easy to navigate.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Join Disc Golf Course Review
for free to add your review. Have an account already? Sign In
to add a review.