Could be great
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Other Thoughts: Roland Park, or "Akron" as many locals call it, is a 27 hole course (10 in the open, 17 in the woods) with a bit of elevation change and a small pond that comes into play on a couple of holes.
In my opinion, the course plays best short to short. It seems like that was the original design, as many of the long baskets simply continue past the fairway into the woods another 20-30 feet, some in the middle of tall grass or undergrowth that isn't kept down. The same holds for the long tees, many of which simply extend the hole backwards another 20-30 feet, often into the trees and through a gap, forcing you to throw straight shot after straight shot, whereas from the short tees you often have enough space to shape a line (but still have to throw different shots depending on the hole shape). Some of the long tees are overgrown as well, to the point where a couple are unplayable. The map, tee signs, and what is actually there do not always match up either, so you may find yourself looking for a tee or basket that doesn't exist.
Back to the short to short...
The open holes all come right at the beginning. There are a couple of interesting shots, but also a lot of wide open holes. The course improver greatly once you get into the woods, where you will need to be much more accurate. This is not one of those all too common wooded courses where every shot feels the same (unless you play from the long tees). There is a good variety of lengrhs, hole shapes, and challenges.the course ends on a solid downhill tunnel shot.
The course maintenance could be better. I know there is at least one person who puts a lot of work into the course, and most of it looks great, but 27 holes is a lot to take care of.
All in all, it's a great course. Could be improved with some tweaks for the open holes and the long baskets / tees, but definitely worth playing.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: 27 holes of well designed, thought out disc golf. Good mix of open holes to get warmed up, and the wooden holes for the most part are fair. Nice use of elevation. Baskets are mostly decent. Tees are either concrete or flypads, and all are in fair to good shape. Water holes are not too intimidating. Well maintained. Signage not too bad in most places.
Cons: The gripes I had were that there was no silver basket on hole 22, so you had to play to the gold. The signage in the woods pointing to the next hole should be like arrows that are on the open holes, that could be added and I would give this another half-disc. The one hole in the woods is very unfair, your "pinball" hole. Open holes are prone to flooding but were not when I was there.
Other Thoughts: The redesign is very well done for the most part and is definitely a worthy stop in this beautiful part of Amish country, PA. The course redesigners did a great job expanding and redesigning the course and have to be given many props. This was a gem several years ago when I first played it, now it is even better!
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Remarkable potential -- some outstanding hole designs
Pros: This course has some outstanding, 5-star holes on holes 12-27. Some of the gold-to-gold layouts are the kind of challenging, well-designed, par 4/5 holes that are what are bringing disc golf to the next level. This isn't just power disc golf--it involves shot planning, precision, and--most importantly--risk/reward. Tight gaps, tough landing areas, interesting approaches and some fast greens have the potential to eventually bring this course into league with world other world-class PA courses like Moraine, Deer Lakes, and Jordan Creek.
I never saw the old layout. But I think I can safely say that if you haven't played the new layout, it's a must. Of 200+ courses played, this has some of the most fun and well designed holes I've seen.
Cons: Signage is rough. Hopefully this will (continue) to improve. Fortunately, the map is helpful--definitely print a map before attempting to navigate this course.
Front nine is not bad, but lacks the interest or challenge of the rest of the course. Feels like a warmup, but since it's also where most of the easy birdies live, you can't just ignore this section if you're trying to score well across 27 holes. Would be better to separate out the two courses as a 9 and 18 sharing the same piece of land.
Long walks between some of the woods holes. This exacerbates the weak signage--if you head off in the wrong direction, it can take a while to find the right path. Also, without good signage, I spent a lot of time walking up fairways before teeing off since baskets were seldom visible from the tees (at least gold-to-gold). Not a deal-breaker by any means--many great holes are blind tee shots the first time through, but without good signage, this can be frustrating.
Rough is rough. Many of the back holes have violent and unforgiving rough with lots of thorns and close ground cover, making it time consuming to recover discs that kick off the fairway. Hopefully as the course wears in, this will improve. For the time being, I definitely recommend playing with a friend and using a spotter on some of the blind tee shots--will save you a lot of time in the long run.
Other Thoughts: This course--especially the redesign--is obviously the product of a lot of love. My one visit there, I was stopped as I was getting out of the car by Bill, the course designer. He had been driving out of the parking lot, but noticed my out-of-state plates and wanted to answer any questions and give me some tips on layout and finding my way through the course since it was my first time there. I appreciate this type of investment in a course, and in making sure people have a good experience. Based on talking with Bill, I have faith that the course will continue to improve rapidly, and that challenges are being addressed. I expect this to be a truly world class course--at least the back 18--in the next year or two.
For the sake of ratings and for encouraging players to play holes appropriate to their skill level, I'd segregate the course into a front nine, "recreational" course using the open holes, and a second, 18 hole "advanced" course using the back 18. Obviously, keep multiple tees on all holes so groups of different skill levels could play all 27, but the open front holes are so different from the rest of the course that they hardly feel like the same park.
I expect, if I get a chance to play here again within the next year, that this course will easily earn a bump to a 4.0 rating. As it stands, it is a much more fun course (for adv/pro/masochist players) than almost anything else with a similar rating. I'd skip over a lot of 4.0 courses to play here. But I try to rate comprehensively and honestly, and it's got a lot of room to grow and improve. Someday I can see a 4.5 being totally appropriate if things continue the way they've been going. Tremendous work so far, and tremendous potential. My kudos and thanks to Bill and the other volunteers that are investing their time, labor and love into this course. I can't wait to come back.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: The course/park is very well maintained. Some holes have 2 baskets, some holes have 2 tees, and some holes have 2 sets of each. The course is a mix of open/ wooded holes with most being wooded.
- elevation used
- risk/reward with water hazards
- fun and challenging
- beginner and long time player friendly
- opens early closes late (6am - 11pm)
- 27 holes!
Cons: The navigation isn't too hard but it does have it's tricky spots. I would check or print the map especially if you want to play the different tees/baskets.
- some tee areas are not great
Other Thoughts: This is Amish country, watch out for the horse-drawn carriages on your drive in and out of town. Overall I was very impressed with Roland and I hope to be back some day.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Worthwhile Playing Experience
Pros: Nice balance of 27 wooded and open holes featured in a well-maintained borough park. Open holes play out over pretty, rolling hills while the more technical holes are challenging yet fair. Multiple tee boxes and basket placements exist for most holes. Navigation is pretty easy with "next tee" arrows assisting throughout the course. OB areas- mostly walking paths- are numerous but not overly restrictive. Water and elevation add to the challenge at several holes (long tee # 3 is excellent). Baskets are older but work well. Roland Park has amenities like benches at some holes, water, a porta pottie and a "lost disc" box near the pavilion.
Cons: Elements of the course are very uneven. Some tee boxes are adequate, others are too short. No uniformity with the tee pads, which are made up of four different surfaces (cement, rubber, dirt, carpet). Benches exist at some holes but not others. No bag poles. Trash cans are located by the pavilion but not on the course. Below average or non-existant signage at most holes. Hole 11 is a ridiculous "throw and hope" hole for the average DG'er.
Other Thoughts: Nice locals, a scenic park landscape and a variety of holes all contribute to a positive playing experience at Roland. The good far outweighs the bad. That said, course upgrades remain very much a work in progress. Signage- in my mind a huge component to a top flight disc golf course- is a big disappointment. And others in the area must assist Bill G. at helping Roland realize it's vast potential. Much of the course plays away from pedestrians and other park traffic, which is a plus. Roland and Buchmiller Parks provide two good disc golf venues for a day spent in the Lancaster area.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The previous reviews on here are right on and describe Roland perfectly. I will try and add more to them from my perspective. It was our (3 of us) first visit to Roland and I had this course on my wish list. I was hoping this course would add to Buchmiller to make it a full day trip to play both. I like Buchmiller but it's not a course I would travel from Baltimore often due to the lack of quality courses (non-mini) around the Lancaster area. Well after playing Roland I have completely changed my thought process on this. Although Roland is not a polished course just yet, it is well worth the travel to play it as it stands now. As the previous reviews indicate, you will have "fun" and you will be challenged. I will be coming to Lancaster to play Roland more so than Buchmiller.
Scenic Park setting complete with Bathrooms, pavilions, courts, walking paths. The lake adds to the scenery and being able to play over it and around it makes this course unique over other courses.
As a Amateur here with about 1 yr experience, I figure I would try playing the open field holes (1-11) on the gold or pro baskets & tees and wooded holes (12-27) on the AM baskets & tees.
Open holes (1-11) were very challenging for me but not overly difficult playing the gold's. The first few holes are laid out just right so that you can warm up your arm with some short & long shots without getting into to much trouble. I was able to reach within putting distance on most holes playing Gold (pro) baskets. There is opportunity for an ace on a couple of the holes. The open holes really offer a nice change of pace from the wooded holes. Maybe It would of worked out better if you could have designed the course to play a few of these holes after like 18 wooded holes but that may be asking to much due to the way the property is laid out. There are also advantages in keeping them separate as well.
The thought of so many wooded holes can be intimidating to a Amateur player but I was pleasantly surprised how fair the wooded holes were. Several of them open up to what seem like grass fairways. Kind of hard to tell with so many leaves on the ground but it was nice having some sun coming through on many of the wooded holes. As previous reviews mention, holes 12-27 offer every type of throw lane, elevation, left-right turning fairways & wooded density that you could ask for. As an Amateur player I did not feel like the trees won and I lost after playing thru them. Oh sure there were a couple holes we just laughed at while standing on the tee (hole 18) while trying figuring how the heck were going to get thru the trees. Holes like that one actually added to the fun and seem to come at the right time after playing some not so difficult holes. The Flow of difficulty of the holes seems to be just right, lighten up when needed and difficult at times. We stopped to talk to another group playing and I said to them, whoever designed this course must known what they are doing because they are some well designed, well though-out holes.
Cons: Navigation - Okay so it is not a polished course just yet, it is still a work in progress and needs some signage and tee pads and a map. Well the map will be uploaded to the web site very soon, which takes care of that. If I can remember correctly the last 9 holes lack signage and tee pads the most. (Not 100% sure about that). Overall, you still should not have too much problem navigating as most holes flow right into the next one. If there is any confusion just follow those little orange flags to the next tee. With a map in my hand I really did not have much problem finding the AM tees and now that I walked it once I don't see a problem finding them the next time. From 17 to 18 and 22 to 23, I had to spend a just little bit of time finding.
Parking - I got there at 11am, not many at the park. I was not sure where I could park other than the lot by the baseball fields which would have been a short hike back to the 1st tee. I ended up parking a little closer down by the lake on that small circle lot. I guess it was okay to park there. There was some event going on in that hall/building next to hole 11's tee. Unfortunately, cars were parked all the way down and across the fairway on hole 12 so we decided not to play over them and moved up into the grass behind them to tee off.
This is nit picking but being that its winter, the rough was not a problem. There is a lot of sticker bush around some of the (20-27) wooded holes that I imagine the spring-summer season will present an issue and require clearing. This is a problem on every course; it just takes a long time and effort to remove them.
Think it was hole 25, the support under the carpet has a hole and with the carpet there you don't see it but you step into it. I would remove the carpet until you get a more stable tee or build up the front section to make it more secure.
If at all possible I would keep Amateur distance right where its at and lengthen the distance on the Gold-Pro holes via baskets or tees on holes 1-11. Not sure you have the room for it but it just seems like it to me that it could be longer. Maybe the plan is already in place in the future when the funds are there to do just that with additional baskets.
Other Thoughts: Its exciting to know that once this course gets more polished its going to be a real gem. I see this course completely taking over Buchmiller. After comparing the two its easy to see where players will out-grow Buchmiller and grow into Roland. If you plan to come to Lancaster area, I suggest you play Bushmiller first then play Roland. If you do it the other way around you will be disappointed you left a second round at Roland to play Buchmiller! Don't let the fact that its still a work in progress stop you from coming to the course as it is now. Its very playable and you will enjoy it.
Hole 18- It made my day that I somehow was able to throw right through the tight corridor of trees to the right and out into the clearing to set up a easy approach shot for par.
Nice job to all who have helped to re-design this course, I am looking forward to the improvements. I am rating this course 3.5 although I feel like it is a 3.8 until the signage and tee pads are in, once that happens I will upgrade my review to 4-4.5
Returned one year later and there are noticable improvements to the course. Most notable, new t-pads on holes where non-existant or needed replacing. Also new hole signs, although laminated paper type they were very usefull and look nice. Some were missing, probabbly due to windy conditions that blew off. Course navigation seem flawless using the orange flags when lost, however future wood hole arrow signs would be an improvement. I now rate this course a 3.8, only due to non permanent hole signs. At the rate this course is being upgraded, I can see it has potential for a 4+ rating. Again your missing out on a true gem of a course if you have not played it. Its 1-1/2 hr away but well worth the drive.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 4 Not
worth trip now, not before
Pros: To those who put in all the hard work on this place in 2010..thank you very much. The new back nine at Roland is flat out awesome. I live an hour away, been to old Roland once, been to Buchmiller a lot more. From where me and my friends live you could make a nice day trip out to Lancaster and hit up both Buchmiller and Roland. But I've only ever played one course or the other when venturing out that way, and usually I prefer Buchmiller.
After playing Roland once last year, I'd rather go to Dutch Wonderland than play it again. Why? Because it was confusing as hell. But when I heard there was a new layout I was curious to go back and check it out. Bedsides, at least I knew there was that one cool over the pond hole that I kinda-aced last time. Kinda because it wasnt on my real drive...its one of those holes you want to throw every disc in your bag on.
A newcomer will still have a tough time navigating this place. Once you know the layout then its a fantastic place to play a round. Like I mentioned in my scorebook, the next tee signs and orange flags helped me find every hole but they werent great. Ultimately I found every single tee and basket, but there were still many times I had to walk ahead and do some re-con.
Previous reviews actually helped me navigate, so this next part might help others. I dont play here regularly so forgive me if I'm not totally accurate, but this is what I found here when I came:
Tee 1 was up on the hill overlooking the pond. There is a pavillion and a red port-o-potty there. I parked down by the pond in the cul de sac shaped lot and walked up the hill to the first tee. Basket 1 is about 320 and slightly downhill. Very ace-able, great starting hole. I also threw several discs here to warm up.
Tee 2 is to the left of basket 1. A short left to right fairway with a mando left pole on the right side. Probably 250 feet slightly uphill.
Tee 3 is new since my last time here. Its up past basket 2 and has you throw your drive out into the open field from an elevated perch. One of the longest holes here, probably more than 500 feet across the open field, corn field on the left..prob why I kept turning my drive over, if you go left its gone. Might also be a short tee for this one down by basket 1.
Hole 4 tee is to the right of basket 3 and brings the pond into play. The basket is located up over the edge of the pond, about 300 feet from the tee. Between the trees.
Hole 5 you walk back towards tee 4 and follow the edge of the pond. Tee 5 has the pond to your back and a yellow basket in the left corner of the field, a drive of about 300 feet gets you there, with some nasty rough behind the target.
I believe hole 6 is the first one with two baskets. Tee is straight behind basket 5. You will see tennis courts to the left of fairway 6. This hole has some rough in the middle, a choice for your drive to go to the left or right side. Short basket is maybe 400 feet, long one is about 90 feet past it.
Go to the left to find tee 7. There is one basket up past the volleyball court and towards the road. A good drive on this one can net you a nice deuce-putt opportunity. Not sure if there is a long basket for this one. Theres a bunch of nice land across the road that seems ideal for inclusion in the course.
Hole 8 I assume you use the road as the tee. Its a big open drive to a basket that is maybe a little over 400 feet from the tee area. The pond is to the left so be careful, the basket is out in the field to the right of the pond. I had a nice anhyzer throw with my stalker land 20 feet away. Missed the putt tho (of course)
Nine throws over the pond. No long tee to my knowledge, and the tee itself is a very short concrete slab.
Hole ten has a short tee to the right of basket 9, and a long tee back and to the left. This is the old number 1, I think. Basket on top of hill to the left of tee 1.
Tee ll is to the left of basket 10. A downhill drive to a basket that is reachable from the tee on a good day..and certainly a nice chance for a deuce. Just dont hit that house.
I believe 12 has two tees and two baskets? Long tee is straight past basket 11 near the road. There is an old rusty basket about 400 feet back up the hill into the woods. An un-numbered basket is installed another 60 or so feet past it.
Hole 13 also appears to have two tees and two baskets. The to the left of fairway 12 I found the long tee for 13 and played this hole through the trees and to the left about 600 feet to the second basket.
Seems 14 has two tees and one basket. Tight uphill shot.
Following the orange flags to the left, 15 is your first taste of what the back nine will be like. A gorgeous mowed fairway with a few scattered tree obstacles, and thick and disc-eating rough on both sides. I only found one tee and one basket for 15..its a straight shot about 350. Got a deuce here.
Hole 16 seems to have two tees and two baskets. Long tee to long basket is probably over 500 feet...you go straight through a tight wooded fairway then downhill where I found one basket on the right and a longer one about 75 feet past it.
Hole 17 seems to have two tees and one basket. From basket 16, walk up to the left to find two tees on the same fairway line. A tight tunnel shot turns to the right to reveal basket 17 sitting atop a slight hill with a very dense background of trees. A very fun hole.
Hole 18 is one of the most intimidating tee shots Ive ever seen. Uphill through a wall of trees. A short basket is waiting about 300 feet up, and the long basket is about 75 past it.
Signs and orange flags bring you to the tees for 19. I believe there are two tees and one basket. The fairway goes slightly downhill than back up, tightly wooded. Basket is old school, yellow tray and rusty chains.
Follow the orange flags uphill to the left to find tee 20. One tee, two baskets. You def wanna stay on the fairway here.
Same advice for 21. Tee shot needs to bend slightly right..another hole with one tee and two baskets that I found. An S-Turning fairway with dense rough for those who stray off it.
The next few holes are real easy to find and navigate. A few of them dont have the tees built yet it seems... but I teed off from the spots where it looks like they will be built.
Hole 27 has a new tee box looking down a fantastic fairway. A downhill tunnel shot through the tree will be your last drive on this course. I couldnt find a basket, I think people are currently using the long 18 basket for 27. Its down the hill and to the right, maybe 500 ft from the tee. There is also another basket in that vicinty, and there is no number on it. Its the one I assumed was the long 12 but I'm not sure.
This is the layout I played, not sure if its right or wrong but I think that this course is a lot more fun to play when you dont have to wander around figuring it out. I hope its helpful if someone needs it. I played the course as a par 3 x27, total par of 81. Shot 88 first round and 86 second round.
Pros include a very scenic park with rolling hills and nice views of Lancaster farm land. A far cry from the city and suburbs I'm used to.
Great variety on the 27 hole layout..open holes, wooded holes....short and long, you get it all here. A very fun course to play.
There is a water fountain near hole 7 but it was out of order. Not sure if there are bathrooms but I assume there are
Cons: Cons- Still a little confusing, only because a newcomer doesnt know which holes have multiple tees/baskets and which ones dont. Its no reason not to come here though. I imagine they are making constant progress. There were a lot of non-dgers on the front nine..kids playing soccer, volleyballs, picnics. No big deal tho.
Some of the tees are in rough shape. Ive never been a tee nazi tho so it doesnt matter that much to me. But some of the newer tees make you with they were all that nice. Same thing with the baskets..some are seasoned but they still work fine. Some are new and shiny. Most are numbered, some are not.
Other Thoughts: Considering the wide variety of holes you get to experience here I would say that Roland is well worth the trip for me now. If I lived closer I would love to get invloved, because this place has the potential to be 4 star course in my opinion. Thank you to everyone who works on this course, your hard work is very obvious and I can honestly say its one of my favorite places to play golf in pennsylvania.
7 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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