I Loved The Buddha On # 11.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The Roche Harbor course shows right from the start that it has received much love and hard work from the local group. There is a rustic type shelter at the beginning complete with practice basket, course map and plenty of old donated chairs and tables. Because of the words old and donated, the course takes on this folksy, rustic feel which permeates throughout the course. It works here as it feels charming not junky. The teepads are rubber. Most are long and level. Just a couple are shorter and uneven. The baskets are Discatchers with the number facing back towards the tee. The tee signs are small and inconsistent with their information. On the front nine, the tee signs and the DGCR hole info sheet did not agree. There was no hole distances for the back nine.
The course is fairly short, recreational distances but has some difficult, wooded fairways. It's mostly flat but plays in and out of the woods giving you some different looks and challenges. There are two raised baskets. # 9 basket sits atop a 6 foot high stump while another basket on the back nine sits upon a 3 foot high stump. There are oodles of homey touches on this course. Especially on the front nine, there is seating galore, some of them cleverly engineered. There are just enough next tees signs, markers and ribbons to make navigating the course fairly simple. # 5 has a small tree with the branches trimmed and shapen to act as a perfect bag hanger.
I can't decide on a favorite hole. Several are in the running starting with # 9 with the 6 foot elevated basket. # 11 with the Buddha, # 14 where you're trying to thread your tee shot through this miniscule gap in a patch of multiple trees and # 15, which is just a very pretty hole. I also liked #18 with just the top of the it's basket just barely visible.
Least favorite hole: # 12 (250' estimated) which has you throwing uphill with a thick ground covering of salal making for some searching for your disc.
Cons: Short distances make this a recreational course.
Lots of good holes but probably no great holes.
# 17 is just a 325' (estimated), wide open hole. I'd love to see a few poles driven in the ground in front of the basket. I've seen this done effectively at other courses that have wide, open holes and are trying to increase the difficulty on a particular hole.
As always, I have to agree with my buddy sillybizz about the effort and expense needed to get out and play this course. It cost me $70 for me and my wife to take the ferry out here from Anacortes. Then you probably will need a room and sillybizz is right on about the ferry boats schedules in the summer. Book well ahead of time as the ferries do fill up early and it's problematic getting off the island on Sundays.
Other Thoughts: Hole # 11 has this little Buddha perched on a log beside the teepad. There was a scattering of change around this Buddha. I instantly felt this incredible need to donate some change. I dug around my bag looking for some spare change. I just had this feeling, that if I didn't pony up to little Buddha, I was sure to lose my disc on this hole. I finally found a Canadian quarter in my pocket and offered it up to the Buddha, which is strange because I'm not a Buddhist nor am I Canadian. So what am I? I think I'm a Muslim. No, those are the dudes trying to kill us! So I guess I'm not sure. After talking to a local course honcho after my round, he informed me that this Buddha was placed there to remember a local who had adopted this hole but has since passed away. I loved this clever, little tribute to a fellow disc golfer, sadly gone.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Fun Course on San Juan Island
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Course Map in Parking Lot.
30 Minute walk from Roche Harbor.
Decent mix of straight, left, and right holes.
Large ferns made me feel like I was in Jurassic Park.
Most holes had arrows point to trail for the next hole.
Rubber Tees were well maintained and fairly flat.
Large crowds are not an issue.
Cons: Some of the holes didn't seem to have clear lines, a little too much relying on getting lucky and missing trees independent of which line you take.
After holes 8 and 10 you cross local hiking trails to continue to the next hole and there are no arrow signs but there is red plastic ribbons on the trees where the next hole branches off from the trail.
Not a lot of variety in length of holes.
This course requires technical well controlled lines (could also be a pro).
Brush is fairly heavy so be careful what color discs you play with.
Tee signs were not obvious, just little wood stumps with numbers and sometimes distances. All holes were fairly short so not a huge issue.
Other Thoughts: Most holes had well designed fairways that suggest one or two routes. A few holes could probably have a few trees removed that would help reward well placed shots. The use of elevation complemented the course well and added to the variety of shots. while I was there some locals said they were going to be working on cleaning up some of the brush in the following weeks so hopefully the rough won't be quite so rough.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Fun course with lots of challenging shots. This was my first time coming here and it was quite the trip fro
The greater Seattle area. Once we figured out the flow of the course it was a lot better
Cons: Map was stolen at the parking lot and we spent about 10 minutes trying to find the first tee. Played through 9 only to find out the first tee is really the 4th? Tee? Really confusing for someone that has never played a round here. Also, as others have mentioned there is some extremely thick rough on some of the wooded holes.
Other Thoughts: All in all me and my son had a great time and if we had a chance we would definitely play again!!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Beautiful, Challenging, Not much traffic, Shot variety, Hole length Variety, Great Tee Pads and Benches, Great locals, Hot Sauce shop in Friday Harbor.
Cons: Some Holes are THICK (i.e. 14)
Other Thoughts: This is my favorite course in Washington. Its a bit of an adventure to get here, which makes it all the better. I've always driven or brought my motorcycle across on the ferry, but I hear its pretty easy to hitch a ride to the course if you flash some discs. Plan on making it a day or better yet, stay for a few. The course is not close to stores so stock up on what you need in Friday Harbor before you go. Cant say enough good about my experiences here. It is a "must play" in Wa.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This is a very nice course That is about as far out in the San Juan islands as you can go.You can tell this is really a labor of love by local golfers. I wish I had a camera to get pics of some of the benches at the holes, some of the prettiest and most unique that I have seen on a course. Please, Whirlybird, get some pics up.
The course started as 9 holes around a field and 9 holes have been added in the surrounding woods. This is kinda a pro and a con. It's good that they have been able to make it a full 18 and all the holes are good, but the new holes are kinda spread out. They went to where there was a good shot instead of forcing holes so that leads to the new ones being a little spread out. Signs leading to next tee are well placed and forest is thick enough that it is easy to follow the trails.
New in 2015: Tees are better and course is wearing in nicely.
Oh, yeah, couple of pins are elevated for a different look. Good use of the land available.
Cons: No signs on tees or map on site. There is a map at the kiosk(which they will hopefully put here, hint hint! :-)
New in 2015: signs are missing or hard to follow a couple of times. One on back, I believe 10, was especially tough to find. Only newer con.
Other cons are that many of the holes are shorter, altho still challenging due to trees and narrower fairways. Roughs are REALLY rough, which is good, but so are some of the fairways. Shot selection was a little repetitive, but not too bad. Members have been doing alot of work trimming to clean up fairways and greens, again good, but seem to have opened up a couple of the holes too much, 16 in particular. Nice thing in this area is that it will grow back fast.
Last con, and not fixable by golfers. Ferry ride to island is expensive but worth it.
Other Thoughts: This really was a fun course that I greatly enjoyed playing. This would be a great area to go camping, check out whales, and catch a couple rounds on one of the coolest courses I have played in the Puget Sound. With some polishing it is an easy 4, 4.5 with a couple of longer alt tees. I really look forward to visiting this course over the next couple of years to see how it grows. Having talked to a couple of locals I think their passion will lead to this being a beautiful destination course.
New in 2015: Still really like this course and will gladly play it again. Map was stolen at beginning of course. Earned an upgrade.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Young and Growing
Pros: - Variety in Hole Design
- Distance Variety
- Moderate Elevation
- Various Terrain Used
- Fun basket placements
- Mediocre Rubber Teepads
- Rustic and Secluded
- Beautiful Scenery
- Solid tee-signs, but still confusing layout (see cons)
- Baskets were in good condition
Cons: - Rough was really thick in spots
- Some of the wooded holes were repetitive
- Some of the fairways could use a bit more clearing
- Needs one tee sign per hole, the tee signs from the old 9 hole course still remain and makes navigation a bit confusing the first time around.
Other Thoughts: Overall, Roche Harbor disc golf coure surprised me in a good way. My family traveled out to San Juan Island and one of the main reasons was to play this course. The course designer(s) is definitely knowledgeable and passionate about disc golf. The course design reflects that as you will need every shot in your bag. There were open holes, tight wooded holes, moderate wooded holes and holes that transitioned between these settings. Many shots required the thrower to hit a line, while others were more forgiving. It was a solid blend of challenge and fun. One hole even had an elevated basket on a tree stump that changed a simple hyzer ace run into a hole that had a higher risk/reward green.
The course was however very overgrown and it was difficult to locate errant shots. It became especially frustrating when the shot went errant because of a bad tree kick. I'd imagine this is not much of a problem in the Spring Winter or Fall. My only gripe about the course design is that some of the wooded holes in the middle get repetitive.
As far as the course equipment, the teepads were manageable, concrete could be better. The tee signs were good, but confusing. They left the tee signs from the original 9 holes in the ground. With that said it would not be a problem if we were to play the course again. the baskets were in good condition.
With the clearing of some of the overgrown fairways, clarification with the tee signs, and concrete pads the course could easily be a 4 or 4.5. Its tough to call this course a destination course because of its access-ability. As others have mentioned it is on San Juan Island and must be accessed by a ferry. Looking back, I personality thought it was worth it and would take the ferry to play it again if I was in the area.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Well worth the effort to get here
Pros: Lets just start out by saying that Roche Harbor is one of the most fun disc golf experiences I have had in 17 years of playing. As soon as you pull into the parking lot and see the sign for the course and the shelter that the locals have built, you know that you made the right choice to come and play disc golf here.
The course is very well maintained. Beautiful wood bridge takes you to Hole 1. There are amazing hand-made benches at every hole. Nice wooden walkways to keep you out of the wet areas between holes. Nice hole designs. Really a nice course all around.
Cons: My biggest con is that some of the newer holes have some really nasty rough off the fairway. I imagine that this will be addressed over time. It really appears that there are some dedicated locals who go out of their way to make this course as nice as it it.
Have to take a Ferry ride to get there which is kind of expensive. But if going to the island, make sure you take the time out to play here.
Other Thoughts: I loved this place. I love San Juan Island and this course has a beautiful feel to it. Really nice piece of land on the island. I think this is one of the most fun places that I have ever played at. In a year or two, I bet the new holes will really turn out beautifully. Great course. Don't miss a chance to play here.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Roche Harbor Disc Golf Course
Pros: There are a lot of good qualities to this course, and I will try to remain unbiased in listing them. The baskets are new and in excellent condition. The rubber tee pads are holding up well and provide good traction. Unfortunately some brooms kept on the course were blatantly broken and tossed aside this summer by less conscious players. There's always a few right? The fairways located in the field were well mowed for most of the summer but should be hit once more before winter.
The new 9 holes have brought some elevation and shot variance that were surely lacking. Most shots have the room and foresight to be lengthened in time without interfering with the next hole. There is a good flow to the current design though changes are anticipated. Most of the new holes are shorter for now but technical. As obstacles are chosen to be removed, holes will be lengthened and alternate tee pads will be provided. Also, nine additional pins have yet to be placed but will allow for changing it up a little once set. There are some beautiful old second growth trees on the course and it really makes for a good walk. Just walking the course is good exercise and could be as enjoyable as playing. Large, glacial boulders scattered throughout the property remind one of our smallness and are beautiful additions to an already awesome landscape. Many a round is played with Mother Nature the only witness. As time goes on the course will surely get better as the people caring for it learn more of what the property has to offer. Litter is minimal, though present. No trash cans are provided on the course but trash and recycling containers are in the parking lot. Pack it in Pack it out is preferred but impossible to enforce. Most local players will pick up trash someone else left behind. The place is too nice to leave trash lying around and most people realize that. The islands are full of kind, helpful folks and the disc golf community is no exception. BBQ's happen often, breakfast is shared before tourneys and newcomers are always welcomed and offered tips and direction on the course. I'd say that the group of people playing on and caring for the course is the best thing it has going for it. Without all their efforts none of it would have happened and the future goals would never be fulfilled. This course has the potential to capture the imagination of all skill levels and will only improve with time, energy and the feedback from new players.
Cons: Current flaws are few but worth addressing. Seasonally there are issues with water on the course. Luckily it can be managed and used to add character to most affected holes. It does make for some muddy trails at times but that can be easily fixed. Also, some holes are fairly short and not as challenging for better players. In time though, these can be lengthened. Signage is present but could be better and there is currently no map of the course as a whole. Once playing it's easy to navigate but the parking lot should provide better info on course outline. Another drawback is the time and distance most players will need to spend in getting here. Ferry expenses will detour some but I assure you it is worth the trip. Carpooling is a great way to share the cost and it gets more people on the course.
Other Thoughts: First and foremost, appreciation. I feel very lucky to call this course home. I've spent many hours working and playing at the course and will spend many more. There is a beauty in the islands and disc golf fits right in around here. A thousand thank you's should be sent to Roche Harbor Resort for the land use and funding for the baskets and tee pads. Without them who knows what we'd be throwing at. To show our thanks and respect we ask that all players abide by conduct that is considerate to Roche Harbor Resort, to all the ferns and the trees, and to the San Juan Disc Golf community. Enjoy!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Roche Harbor DGC
Pros: The Roche Harbor Disc Golf Course is located on the Roche Harbor Trails system just off of Rouleau RD. The course is easy to find and baskets are visible from the road as well as the entrance sign which was build by hand. Once you park, you'll see a gate, go through the gate and you're on your way to hole number one. The first things you will notice are the rubber fly pads that are in excellent shape as well as the tee signs that were built from hand that have flight path of the hole as well as the distance of the hole written on every tee sign. Almost all of the holes have benches that were built by gathering the surrounding area stumps, sticks and logs and nailing them together. Trails are a little muddy and this was addressed by taking sticks and building pathways above the muddy trails spots. Navigation is very easy and the few walkouts have a little white arrow directing you where to go. There is even a practice basket on site and it's a MACH III which is better than the DISCcatchers in my opinion. here is a walk through guide to the course:
#1: This starts out in the open field with the tree line on your right. There is a small gap about 220 past the tee pad in the tree line and another 20 feet to the basket from there. The safest way to play this hole is to lay up in the open field and throw in to the gap and if you are short or long of the gap you are more than likely getting a bogey; this is risky hole to attempt a birdie.
#2: This is a slight tunnel shot down hill into the open field with the basket tucked behind a large bush in the open field. going left on this hole is not recommended and will guarantee you a very tough putt.
#3: This hole starts in the open field and plays towards the tree line on the left and the right; you must keep it straight here.
#4: This is one of the more funky holes on the course and one of my favorites as well. This is an extreme low ceiling shot that's only 200 feet and incredibly tough to ace or even birdie. I think the best shot on this hole for a birdie is a RHFH roller shot since the hole ends up a hill this will slow down the rolling of the disc and this shot will avoid the low ceiling.
#5: This is a downhill semi tunnel shot that must not go long as this will effect your putt coming back up the slight hill.
#6: This is another fun hole! The basket is tucked way back behind a lot of trees and this is a tightly wooded straight shot with an ending hyzer; oh did I mention another low ceiling shot? Also much trouble off the fairway as well.
#7: This is an open field shot with tall bushes in front and to the right of you and you must throw a hyzer to clear as well as lay up in front of a tree guarding the basket.
#8: This is the only straight forward shot on the course. This is the longest hole on the course and it is wide open with no obstacles in the open field.
#9: The last hole is an uphill hyzer and another low ceiling shot with a serious WALL of trees on the left. Must stay straight until the wall and then the disc needs to hyzer, this is the shortest hole on the course and there is danger of a bogey or worse.
Cons: This is not a tournament caliber course so there are no real long bomber holes on the course and the more experienced disc golfers will be able to shoot under par most or all of the time. The grass in the open field holes is way out of control and it looks as if they don't mow the course very often so finding discs here can be a little frustrating especially on hole number eight. If you don't live on the island then it's a pain in the butt to try and go play this course; from Anacortes it's $66 for a car and one passenger and getting off of the island on a Sunday is near impossible and you will be waiting for room on a ferry all day! Very little amenities on the island other than a couple of small local restaurants and businesses.
Other Thoughts: I'm not exactly sure when this course was put in but on the baskets we saw people writing their aces that were dated back to 1999. I find it hard to believe that this course has been in that long and no one I know of has ever heard of this place. I recommend taking a significant other to the island for other things and then stopping by to play the course as the views just from the ferry are worth the trip alone. I was there on a 75 degree sunny Saturday afternoon and there were only two other groups there that we saw in our two rounds of golf so I don't think the course gets used very often. I also saw a sign for a Sunday ace pot that starts at noon and costs $3. There was also another large sign warning of open containers and recreational drugs; they are very clear that kind of thing will NOT be tolerated on this course. The one thing I really liked to see was there was NO litter! They didn't even have garbage cans on the course except for near hole one but still no litter, I wish all courses were this way!
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
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