8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Slippery Rock University's disc golf course is characterized by long, open shots with treacherous elevation throughout and numerous out-of-bounds. Water hazards of various forms are intermittently scattered through the course, and clumps of woods change up play at a few points, namely on 9-10 and 15-17. An open style emphasizing distance drives, placement, and negotiating elevation predominates, but there are also some dramatic lines, technical windows, and challenging landing zones to navigate. The course favors big arms, especially from the gold tees (where 400'+ of controllable D is basically mandatory), but does stress alternative skill sets at points. Aggressive distance can be punished given the water, elevation, and out-of-bounds, especially on a windy day, so there's a lot of weighing conservative versus assertive play.
One of Slippery Rock's advantages is that its open style complements the region's tendency towards technical courses. Nearby Moraine, for instance, plays much tighter. While I think Slippery Rock would have benefited from a few more technical holes, it does open distance and placement golf very well, and there aren't any courses like it in the greater area. That makes it a novel offering in a region blessed with great courses.
I found navigation to be easy owing to the excellent signage. The layout is quirky, with several long or unintuitive transitions, but these were made seamless thanks to prominent and extensive signage. Kudos to the designers on this front, as the navigation could have easily been rough.
Three sets of tees on each hole accommodate a variety of skill levels. Some holes feel clearly built for the golds, but many do a good job of maintaining interest across the whites and greens as well.
My favorite stretch of holes was 15-18. 15 is an awesome open-to-wooded transition with a guarded pin that is especially tricky in the C position, where it's really tucked away and makes for a challenging approach. 16 is a short left-to-right shot in tight confines. 17 is quirky, playing around a bend, up a hill and through a tree line, with both placement and tight windows to deal with. And 18 is a great finisher, with a prominent water hazard factoring in both off the tee and on the approach. A great series of holes that does a lot to round out the course.
Cons: The course's openness is a limiting factor that impedes variety. It becomes repetitious, especially in the middle, with lots and lots of hyzers in the open, especially if you have a passable forehand. There's enough change in distance and elevation to cause you to reach for different discs, but the lines they'll be flying are often the same. I heard one prominent pro comment at the end of his second SRU round at this past year's Worlds, "I am so disenfranchised with this course." I can understand why.
As mentioned above, distance is largely mandatory. I throw 350' with accuracy and can push 400' on distance lines, and I felt as though I couldn't appreciably play at least a third to half of the holes from the gold tees. This wasn't always an issue, but the design of some holes is really geared towards the golds. At a few points, there's a sense of distance for the sake of distance; 11 is a good example of this.
Related to this occasional push for distance just for grandiosity's sake is a sense of the design aspiring to be more than it can be given the land that's available. Hole 4 tries to provide a scary water carry for even pro arms, but its lack of alternative route means it either plays recklessly or awkwardly for many even on that level. The short tees are an afterthought that make for an underwhelming hole. 12 is one of the best completely open holes I have ever played in its tiered descent towards the pin via carved-out plateaus, but between the distance excess and blandness of 11 and 13 it can easily seem like just another series of hyzers. I can't fully fault the designers because SRU seems tailor built for Worlds 2015, where its length and focus on the gold tees makes more sense, but for everyday play by everyday players it often seems a bit too big in its britches.
There's lot of road OB that comes into play. These are mostly campus roads, but main roads also abut fairways at one or two points. The course also plays near dorms, buildings, sidewalks, and sports fields, bringing about lots of potential conflict with campus goers. My early August round was pleasantly unobstructed, but I see that as being the exception rather than the norm.
OB which is integral to some holes is probably not often well-marked. I benefited from playing while the course was set up for Worlds.
Other Thoughts: I'm of two minds about SRU's course. It's got some fun, unique holes, especially for the area, but also lots of shot repetition and focus on the pro game. Throw in the potential for conflict with campus goers and its hard to see this course as more than good not great. Definitely worth a visit, but only after you've played the mainstays in the area: this isn't a Moraine/Deer Lakes/Knob Hill level course in my eyes. Of course, not many are.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Crush and Watch
Pros: This review refers to the 2015 Worlds Gold layout. Beautiful setting with plenty of wide open crushes mixed in with some OB (strings and water) to keep you on your toes. Most of the holes are relatively open and favor the biggest arms, but a few touch shot holes are included for variety. Holes 1-5 can be tricky, especially with the water OB on 1 and 4. Hole 4 made me wish I was young again, as those of us with average arms are forced to throw across the short part of the pond and then play a scary left-right shot around trees with thirsty OB water near the pin. The big armed youngsters throw a crush straight across the pond...much more fun! Holes 16-18 provide a great finishing stretch with a variety of tee shots ranging from easy putter (16) to crush roller or air shot (17) to a finesse mid-rangy tee shot to set you up for a scary pond shot onto a small peninsula (18). Great fun (and sphincterizer).
Cons: Can be very hard to follow with some very long walks between holes. Hard to judge distances...markers would be great on this course!
Other Thoughts: I did not appreciate Slipper Rock fully until I walked it during the Worlds 2015 Finals. This course is made for spectating, with beautiful views that combine aesthetics with technical appreciation. The view from behind the pin on 4 with the pond and trees was breathtaking, as were the rolling hills and sculpted landscape from the tee of hole 12 (the finishing hole of the Finals). This ranks among the top of the most beautiful venues for watching Disc Golf that I have ever experienced.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Slippery Rock's campus course. I was pleasantly surprised. Especially after the first 5 holes, how the final 13 turned out. There is a great variety of holes here, L,R, Straight, with risk reward. Hole 1, great looking hole and a nice way to start off the course. 2-5 didnt really do much for me though. The rest of the course, wow, what a workout. Up and down hills, weaving in and out of sparse woods. I found the wind difficult to read, what a great scoring separator. There are so many epic up and down hill throws, its not worth mentioning them all specifically. There are a number of holes where water comes into play. It looks like discs in those areas are retievable, this reviewer did not have to test that theory. Additional risk/reward. Make sure to stop here on your way down 79, and bring your whole bag!
Cons: I found issue with a number of things on this course. First and foremost, directions kind of get you to hole 3. To find hole 1 from there proved very difficult and it would be much appreciated if better turn by turn directions were provided.
Hole distances were off, additionally there were 3-4 pin locations per hole. Many 60' apart...it was very difficult to determine distance especially with all the ups and downs. Better signage and information on where the pin is set (at the tee box) is needed. Asside from that...distances appeared to be quite off on a number of holes.
No bridge access from 2-3 and to get to long #5 tee. That leaves you balancing across river rocks.
I was unclear on some of the OB.
A number of the pin locations were 5-10' from where Tall grass appears to be in the summer. If all those pin locations are necessary, give a decent putting area around them.
it looks like #10 is new or getting a make over. To make that sharp of a turn ESPECIALLY from the long, that tree in the center will need some pretty high up limbing. If not you will have a really nice hole that everyone will score a 3 on with no spread. Also on the transition path from 9-10 trees were cut 4" off the ground, dangerous trip hazard. Either cut 3' or flush to earth. never that height.
#12 That cafe area at the bottom of the hill probably needs netting. Throwing that far downhill, I had an overstable disc turn over and scream into that area. A very dangerous situation if people were outside.
No tee pads at the moment makes it really hard in the muddy uneven ground to throw as far as some of the holes require.
Other Thoughts: I reviewed as if it were a sunny summer day not dreary winter. Review would go up with concrete tee pads.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Great work in progress
Pros: •Front 9 are beginner friendly holes
•Around campus, so all of the holes are well groomed
•Great use of the landscape
Cons: •The first time to the course can be difficult to find your way around the course.
•Natural tee pads :/
UPDATE 5-26-2016: Rubber mats are installed for Gold tees, and there is one rubber mat (hole 6) for the white tees.
•Hole 2 intermediate tee pad is directly along the walkway for students. There is a lot of foot traffic and at times it can be a struggle waiting for clearance to throw.
•Walking to hole 3 intermediate tee requires going underneath the ARC building and crossing a small creek. There is currently no bridge or anything to get across, so you have to be careful walking over loose rocks.
•After hole 6, you have to walk across the road, though a parking lot, and up a hill to get to hole 7. During the day, there is a lot of traffic on campus, so be careful crossing the road
•Hole 10 intermediate tee pad has a lot of roots in the ground, so a full run-up is difficult to say the least.
Other Thoughts: This summer they have been working on converting the 9 hole course into a full 18. The baskets and tee signs for the beginner and intermediate levels are all installed, but the pro signs are currently just wooden sticks marking where the signs will eventually be placed. UPDATE 5-26-2016: All signs are now installed. Hole 10 needs a lot of work. They are working on installing a retaining wall for the pro tee pad. Hopefully when they finish that, they can dig up all the roots where the intermediate tee pad is. Right now it's too easy to trip or sprain an ankle attempting a full run-up. Other than that, the rest of the course is in great shape to host the 2015 World Championships. UPDATE 5-26-2016: A retaining wall is in progress for hole 10 white tee. I really enjoy how they incorporated the woods on the outskirts of campus for holes 15-17. It almost makes you forget you're at a university. Also, you can definitely tell how the course was designed to be beginner friendly on the front 9, and much more difficult on the back 9. And with the front 6 right in the middle of campus, it is designed to teach new students how the game is played without becoming discouraged.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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