3 Helpful / 0 Not
The Mighty Gaw sounds so much better than "Black and Blue"
Pros: This course is the big boss version of the smaller green course. Located on the Camp Gaw ski hill, you have crazy elevation challenges on most every hole. You will go up the hill in thick forest, then down the hill in thick forest. Then you will go up, down, up down on the grassy ski slopes that still have many trees to contend with. If you like throwing down big hills and seeing your disc fly a long way - you will get your wish on holes 15 & 18 (the latter goes from the top all the way to the base of the hill).
You will need your A- game, endurance, and plenty of water to complete the 9000' + course. The holes early on combine pins from the Green course. (For example, you tee from Green #1 and play to Green pin #2 for your first hole). Later, this course completely breaks away from Green by going up and down the ski slope. I HIGHLY recommend playing the Green course first, as you will be doing a lot of hiking to find pins that are unnumbered, but are more easily spotted if you have played the Green course. Also, you should take a picture of the maps on the kiosk.
That said, getting around is much easier due to the upgraded signage being quite nice, which guide you to the correct tee pads and also have signs at the tees which tell you distances, etc.
Cons: As I just mentioned, navigation is much trickier if you play this course before trying Green - many of the pins are very far away, invisible from the tee, and have no numbers.....
Though I thank Skylands for their hard work so far, it surprises me that they can't complete the deal with reasonable tee pads. These are rutty and just inadequate for any run up that such long holes require. This is a rare exception where my score is less due to poor tee pads.
Other Thoughts: Quick Tip: You will get a really nice view once you reach #15, but if you aren't patient, you can cut over on the right side of fairway #6 and get a sneak preview of 15 - OR if you're plain tired or losing daylight, you can play the loop of 15-18 once you finish 5 or 6.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 2 Not
Needs more local support
Pros: I agree with all previously commented positives about the course. Also, signage has improved significantly, which greatly improved overall playing experience.
Cons: - poorly maintained tee pads, the majority of the are full of rocks and roots and are just dirt (often mud except summer).
*with tee pads this place would easily be a 4+ star course, but without them it's a 3 for sure.
Other Thoughts: There would be nothing wrong with this course and I would love to rate it higher but the lack of a consistent and safe throwing surface for tee pads, more than anything else, is a major issue.
The signage has improved significantly especially since their are 3 layouts in place during the summer (black/blue & green), however, unless they do a bit more I would still recommend a map until your a regular. Even with a map it can be a fun but frustrating experience, this course will push you to your limits in every area of your game, I don't care who you are.
One important piece of information I've learned recently is that this course is maintained by the Skylands Disc Golf Club, whom are also responsible for the lovely courses in Warwick, NY and West Milford, NJ. Most of their club is based in and around the Warwick, NY area, and they have much less club membership and active participation from Northern NJ area around Campgaw Reservation. It has made it very difficult to divide their time on all of these courses and they have chosen to focus more on the courses closer to their home.
It's my opinion, that Northern NJ resident members of the club should really form their own off shoot club and focus on increasing participation and awareness of disc golf and the course/courses @ Campgaw. I grew up in Oakland NJ, it's a 5 minute drive, and this course existed the whole time I lived there, but I never even heard of the sport till I was in the army and was taught by a guy from Iowa. The whole region would benefit from an expansion of the sport here.
In fact, there is a large tract of land between the Shoprite in Oakland, NJ and Indian Rd in Wayne, NJ that should really be looked into for another course in the region. It's a virtually undeveloped public park with a small amount of walking trails, that would be perfect, except there is no way that the Skylands club have the resources to take on another course, especially one so far from there home base.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 3 Not
Needs More Signage And Mowing
Pros: - A good physical challenge since you're climbing a mountain while you play and doing lots of scaling of rocks and trees.
- Decent mixture of looks on most of the holes
- Heaving it down the hill at the end of the round was fun.
Cons: - Impossible not to get lost several times. Signage was spare, to say the least. Really, really needs more indicators of where to go next. It's a heavily wooded mountain with hiking trails all over, so I found myself often guessing at where the next tee was.
- Because there are several courses overlapping each other (Black/Blue/Green) but not consistently, it's always a guess as to if you're on the right course. I tried to play Black, which has uses the Blue/Green teepads sometimes and sometimes has its own, but there's no way to tell when. Also, you could be on Hole 8 Black, but the teepad says Hole 16 Green. Yes, this could work and other courses do it too, but there is so little consistency and so little signage, it really took away from the enjoyment of the round.
- I played in June, which should have been "summer course", but playing the Black tees sucked after about the 10th hole because all the upper slope fairways were covered with waist high tallgrass, making even clean, simple drives into the center of the fairway a game of "find the disc". It was more of a slog through the high grass and mud than a disc golf round.
-Really wasn't worth the drive for me (3 hours).
Other Thoughts: - This may have once been a cool course when first created, but it really doesn't seem cared for and eventually that feeling made me just want to enjoy the strenuous hike and skip the constant disc-hunting that I had to do.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Blue/Black = Heart Attack
• Tremendous shot variety
• Interesting forest scenery
• Interesting wildlife here and there
• A bold set of courses
• Tees are mostly dirt
• A little tricky to navigate in spots
• No restrooms/water that I could see
• Lotsa bugs (could be seasonal)
• The ski run area has high grass that is VERY WET (again, likely seasonal)
• Bring a map
• When you arrive, park and head towards the ski lifts. When you see buildings, walk in front of them and go all the way to the left into the forest to find tee #1. This wasn't totally clear to me on the map(s).
So obviously you need to read both the Green and Blue/Black reviews to know what you're getting out here although this is one case where the three courses really are quite different. To start, this was my first 'ski lift' course and I was really looking forward to seeing what that would be like. Overall I was not disappointed. Fortunately, this was a small ski lift so it was more attainable from a physical exertion standpoint. Having said that though, be prepared. This is a good 2-3 hour hike, and I said 'hike' back there, not walk. It's pretty steep and pretty rocky in places, so wear proper foot wear and take care where you step. As for the course, my first bit of advice would be, don't think you're going to play more than one course at a time. Despite the sharing of some fairways and baskets, it's really not realistic considering the distances involved with the Blue/Black courses. Just stick to one and play another round if you have time, and I mean a lot of time. Like play a round, have a lunch, and come back for another, kind of time. The Blue/Black courses are truly epic in scale. I've played some long holes before but these are long COURSES. I started off playing the Green and immediately started noticing how long the Blues and Blacks were and how I'd be on #4 or 5 Green but only #3 Blue/Black. I mean DAYUM these holes are long. The baskets are nowhere in sight, and you better have 2-3 good/great shots in your bag per hole. These are the not f-ing around holes. That means 'beginners' stay on the Green. You're having no fun here. But for the above average set, I really think you'll like what you've got here. Just the pure ambition of setting up a multi-shot strategic course is pretty cool to me. Intimidating, but cool. I also liked that they were fair about par. They're not asking you to throw a 600' double-S shot in 3. It's a par 4 or 5. What's also nice about these courses is that you can see the 'fairways' pretty well, even though you can't see the baskets. It's well scouted out. Now, full disclosure, I did not play every hole. I ran out of time and had to pick and choose, but I did my best to at least look and walk each hole so I could see what was asked of the player. Of course, I did finish by playing the top of the world/ski lift shot which just makes you chuckle. You bomb the snot out of it and......you're not even halfway down the hill. So you bomb it again....and then one more shot to get within range of the basket. Funny good times.
Ambitious as all hell. Bring your A game, lotsa water, lunch, and some sort of emergency beacon should the course consume you. Even though the amenities are missing, I really feel like this sort of design should be encouraged and rewarded. Good job folks!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Fun but unkempt
Pros: The course begins in the woods surrounding the ski hill and finishes on the more open slopes of the ski runs. The first 10 holes follow the 18 hole green layout, and are technical shots through fairly thick forest. There are enough trees and brush to punish errant shots, and the rocky hilly ground makes for tricky roll aways and tough greens. The wooded portion of the course offers longer and more challenging shots than the green layout, with several holes that require two good shots to get into putting range for most players. There is nice elevation throughout the course, and the mix of tough uphills and fun downhills offers a lot of excitement and variety. There is a good balance of hole shapes with left and right turning holes and a couple that call for s curves to have a chance at the birdie.
The final 8 holes use the open ski hill with some baskets and tees tucked into the edge of the woods. A few steep uphills and a huge downhill bomber finish the course with nice views and epic shots. It's always a bonus to finish the round with a top of the world shot, and this one doesn't disappoint. There is a kiosk at the first tee with maps for both layouts, and the baskets were fairly new and in great shape.
Cons: The tees are gravel for the most part, and are in pretty poor shape. Most are eroded and rutted out, and all are fairly small. I don't remember a single tee that offered a solid tee surface and that gets frustrating on the longer holes. This layout was more difficult to follow than the green, especially with two sets of tees. Some are shared with the green course, but that isn't always clear on the tee signs. It's also difficult to find some of the tees on the last 8 holes, they're not nearly as well marked or worn in as the earlier part of the course.
Some of the holes were pretty eroded and muddy, making the steeper hills difficult to traverse at times, not a huge deal to me but people with mobility issues should be aware if they play after a recent rain. The wooded holes were mostly well cleared, but the open holes were very overgrown when I played. It's not all that much fun to spend a while searching for your disc that landed in the middle of the fairway.
Other Thoughts: Beginners will find the course fairly long and tough, the green layout is much more beginner friendly. More experienced players will enjoy the variety and challenge, and the great use of elevation makes this course a lot of fun if a bit tiring for anyone not in good shape. Make sure to print the maps available here or have them pulled up on your smartphone, it would be a long day trying to find your way around this layout without them.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Mighty Gaw & Campgaw = Super fun!
Pros: -Great Parking Area
-Well Labeled Tee Signs
-Good course to get a workout in.
-Good Baskets (Including the new Mighty Baskets)
-Both courses offer an outstanding mixtures of challenging holes.
-Mighty Gaw is the toughest layout I've played, some just amazing views and just cool holes.
-Great help of locals to keep the course up to date, and are always willing to provide info on the course, that's choice.
Cons: -Teepads are gravel. There is one that is concrete. If they were all concrete this course would be 4.5.
-Some of the holes are super steep, some guide ropes to provide more safety would be good.
Other Thoughts: Overall these two courses are awesome, some of the best holes I've played. I personally judge a course by the memorability of the holes played, do I remember the cool & tough holes and did I enjoy playing them, I can say that both layouts provide great holes to remember which will make me come back year after year or anytime I'm in the area.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
WOW! The Ultimate Challenge
Pros: Pros and Cons of this course could be very subjective as this is not a typical DG course. Depending on what you like you may love or hate this course. So I will review this course, assuming you are an experienced player that wants a true test
* a PREMIUM on accuracy
* short/long tees on nearly every hole
* will require a large variety of shots and the ability to get out of trouble
* baskets are in great shape
* some spectacular views and amazing use of topography
* plenty of parking and the row closest to the woods is designated specifically for the disc golfers.
Cons: Some cons:
* tees are worn in some areas
* signage is not permanent, and has been known to be missing or damaged
* navigation is definately challenging, despite Next Tee signs
* rough is very heavy in some areas, finding discs can be very difficult on several holes
Other Thoughts: I find myself loving and hating this course throughout any given round. There is minimal reward for good drives, but serious punishment for bad drives. Most of the fairways are very rugged so prepare for alot of standing shots. And being off the fairway may mean settling for bogey to get back on to avoid triple bogey.
This course is NOT for beginners. The Mighty Gaw layout goes up and down the ski hill 2 1/2 times, so plan on double the amount of time to play a full round, especially from the long tees. Prepare for rugged terrain and dress appropriately. Wear hiking boots and be careful!
Because this is a course that is superimposed on a rugged landscape, clear definition of fairways and nest tees isn't always obvious, so print out the map. There are "Next Tee" signs, but it's easy to get disoriented. There are several hiking trails that are utilized, but some of these trails are not part of the course and can lead you the wrong way.
There is plenty of parking. Walk from the lot, past the ski lodges at the bottom of the hill to the first tee. There will be a large sign on your way that will have the current layout posted, as the layout changes from the long Mighty Gaw (spring and fall) to the shorter Camp Gaw (up-over-down layout)
Both Campgaw (short) and Mighty Gaw layouts (long) are in place. Tee signs are shared, but holes numbers differ in many cases so check both sides of the sign, depending on which layout you are playing.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 5 Not
Mighty Gaw only for the Mighty
Pros: This challenging, physically exhausting and at times intimidating 18 hole course is fun for the casual gamer and pro.
Great variations from hole to hole with doglegs, straight shots, uphill, downhill and an awesome 18th.
Cons: Don't be too attached to your discs as they are easy to lose on certain holes and in the high grass of the ski slope.
Other Thoughts: Check for tics after you play and don't litter the course.
0 of 5 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Best Course In New Jersey
Pros: Uniquely featured on and around a ski slope, Campgaw Reservation DG course is a challenging exercise in disc golf. Most of the 18 holes are densely wooded, yet fair. No real copycat holes; a wide variety of shots needed for success here. Many signature holes- a nice uphill hyzer (hole 4), a tight tunnel shot from a 30 foot elevation (hole 9), a nice hole with the basket behind a mammoth boulder (hole 6) and of course the two bombs from the top of the ski slope (holes 15 and 18). Has two different layouts depending on the season. Nice baskets and multiple tee pads at most holes. Navigation is pretty easy with helpful 'next tee' signs spread throughout the course. Signage with distance and projected disc flight path posted. As with most top flight facilities, Campgaw has a loyal following and local club actively involved with year round maintenance and ventures.
Cons: The absence of cement tee pads and professional grade signs- two elements essential for any 4.5 or 5.0 rated DG course- is a bit disappointing and really the only things to complain about. Dirt tee off areas and terrain is brutal to travel after heavy rains.
Other Thoughts: Campgaw is the best course in New Jersey- a state devoid of many good disc golf facilities. Picturesque views, a unique layout and the novelty of throwing multiple times off a mountain all add to the allure of playing here. That said, this is not your casual afternoon round of disc golf. Rocky terrain, heavy repetitive climbing and steep shots are all part of the experience here and are not ideal for the novice player. There is no doubt, however, this course will help your game. A great experience which is totally worth your while.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: --Two teepads for each hole.
--Lots of different types of shots required.
--Woods are difficult but not usually punishing.
Cons: --Teepads are often in bad shape. They're working on getting cement teepads, but it's been a long process.
--The Mighty layout is only available to play in the Spring and Fall. There isn't really anything that can be done about that: in the winter, there are people skiing, in the summer the parks department won't mow the grass because of nesting animals.
Other Thoughts: The course has two layouts: Winter & Summer is the Campgaw layout and Spring and Fall is the Mighty Layout.
They call it mighty for a reason: You'll climb up and down this ski hill almost three times during the course of one round. Lots of trees and rocks to beat you (and your discs) up. Lots of elevation change. This course will really test your abilities.
It is very likely that you will lose a disc at some point on this course. Be prepared with extras.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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