Incredible WOW factor!
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: "Phenomenal" is the perfect word to describe this experience. From beginning to end, there is a staggering presence to this ranch. Amongst the top of the pros is the hospitality of your hosts here. They host a get-away style ranch which I could never afford to stay at, but they genuinely cared about their course, and their disc golfers. That was a huge bonus for me.
But onto the course itself:
This is a championship caliber course from the long tees. It's still difficult from the short tees. I played this one in the long tees, then Creekside in the short because I learned my lesson. The fairways are fair, no judgments there, they're just long. And the woods are a little forgiving. But there is a lot of water (for here, a pro). I love a good aquatic challenge, and big lakes are some of the most scenic disc golf elements.
The most unique pro Selah can offer: Golf carts! They're pricey, but goodness are they worth it. So worth it. Even driving between every hole, and to all my shots, this round was still close to 2 hours. I can't even imagine how long it would take and how tired I would be if I walked.
I love the interplay between lake and forest. A few holes here, a few holes there- much more exciting than clumping all the water holes together at once on your way by the lake.
Hole 7. The island hole. LITERAL island hole. You have to go up and down a bridge (on your cart if you dare) to get to the basket. I was actually kind of tired of hearing about it before I played this course, but it lives up to the hype. It is the epitome of the decision-making design Houck is known for.
I'm coming from the Gulf Coast, so I especially appreciate the hills and elevation. I actually don't think there's anything spectacular about it here, but it's still nice.
Do I have to say it? Can't it just be assumed at this point that because it's a Houck course that the tees are full size concrete, the signs are beautiful and detailed, and the baskets discatcher? All the bells and whistles.
Cons: Well. I'm not a huge fan of starting off with a par 5. I could just warm up some more and take some warm up drives, but that would make a long round longer. Also hole 1 isn't interesting until the last couple throws.
Selah Ranch was the most expensive disc golf day of my life. You have to account for travel expenses, $20 greens fee, $40 cart rental, and any discs you lose that day (it was a depressing amount for me) (luckily my roommate got me a gift certificate to an online disc vendor that weekend).
Other Thoughts: This course is a great play. A historic, challenging, exciting round. Why the 4.5 and not the 5? The cost > the experience for me, and the lack of glorious elevation mean there's just a little more "want" out of that day. It's definitely in the 4.7-4.8 range. And I'm doing my part in the average game.
I played this course as part of a huge road trip which included the Selah's and Trey Ranch courses, Harmony Bends, Idlewild, Harmon Hills, and hell I'll throw in Harry Meyer's because that course is pretty great too, and it really put a lot of things in perspective when trying to differentiate top-tier courses. It can be muddy in the 0-2.0 range, but no one really cares. It can also be tricky to tell the 4.5-5's apart, and everyone cares a whole lot. And for good reason.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: -Great tee boxes
-Great tee signs
-Scorecards with map
-Good mix of long and short holes
-Painted reference points at 200 and 300 ft from goals
-Well maintained course
-Ranch has a diver that collects discs from water and the pro shop will hold them for you to pick up
-Very few mandos in play because it was well designed.
-Pro shop on site
-Very friendly staff
Cons: -Costs for play and golf cart
-There is some water in play that will eat disks
-Closest place for lunch is 8 miles away
Other Thoughts: This was the more difficult of the two courses at the ranch. I think it was fair, but challenging. The golf carts are a definite must due to the terrain and length of the course. The longer holes are not just bomber holes. They required proper placement to get through the hole. Holes 2, 4, 7, and 18 really bring the water into play. If you want a difficult course, the blue tees here are for you.
I was torn on how to rate this course. It was the first time I have ever paid a significant amount to play disc golf. At $20 to play and $40 for a cart, I just don't think the value is here other than to say you played one of the highest rated courses in the world. I have played courses that were just as well maintained that I enjoyed just as much as this one. I think a few steps could be taken to really ratchet up the allure of this venue. First, I would suggest putting water coolers in every few holes where people can grab some water. Second, I would recommend offering a sack lunch (for a fair fee) that could either be delivered to golfers on the course, or made available at the Inn or pro shop. This would let golfers play more and increase the value to playing at this pay for play facility.
I would definitely recommend playing this one and its sister course on site if you get the chance, but, while it is very good, there is not really anything going on here right now that is "next level."
6 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Excellent GOLD course (2nd of the 4)
7 Helpful / 11 Not
Pros: - Excellent GOLD level course with a good variety of shots and use of water. I found myself enjoying every hole as a unique challenge.
- Solid tee pads and signage for both blue/red positions, Discatcher baskets gobbled up putts and were easily visible.
- Beautiful property, many holes look really cool over the water
- Easy to navigate with the provided scorecard maps
Cons: - No benches, and remember these are LONG courses
- Not much elevation change
- *Some* of the staff extremely rude (most were nice)
Other Thoughts: When we played the course was in poor condition due to rain, which made two 9,000 ft rounds extra grueling as carts were not allowed. From strictly course layout I'd rate this 4.5/5, but with the lack of amenities there are many courses that do more than Selah. Of the 4 Trey/Selah courses we thought this was 2nd best to Trey Deuce.
7 of 18 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 9 Not
Pros: - one of two beautifully designed 18 hole courses
- big property that's really well maintained
- Great mix of all kinds of shots like long/short, wooded, water hazard.
- golf carts!
Cons: not too many cons I can think of really, other that it's pretty far out in the middle of nowhere.
Other Thoughts: Had the opportunity to play this legendary course designed by John Houck. It was designed as a Christian retreat or at least with that in mind. Beautiful clubhouse/ mansion on the property with rooms i believe you can pay to stay in (didn't get the chance to do this). Overall amazing course and golfer should have on their bucket list.
3 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Fantastic Disc Golf Experience
18 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: After playing 190 courses, I finally made it to Selah, and it was as good as I had hoped. This is only the second 5.0 I've given.
There is a tremendous variation in hole lengths from 180' out to 890'. The short holes are technical wooded holes requiring careful line and distance control. The longer Par 4 & 5 holes demand precise placement of one drive after another while you make your way to the basket.
There are seven Par 3, seven Par 4, and four Par 5 holes. Having a course with this many quality longer holes holes is special. Both courses are long, at 6378' from the red tees and 8854' from the blue.
What stood out for me was the playability of the course for an 850 rated player like myself with a 300' max drive. I chose to play the red tees for my first time out, and thoroughly enjoyed all 18. They were good fits for me and I didn't feel hopelessly outgunned.
The course features lake holes, creek holes, moderately wooded, tightly wooded, and even more tightly wooded holes. The variety in terms of hole distance, par, and amount of woods is well distributed throughout the course. You are driving along the lake-shore one moment, and in the woods the next.
Like many others I found Hole 7 to be the signature hole. Playing out to a basket placed on an island was a special treat. I shot a four on the hole without trying anything heroic, but I can see losing a few discs if you decide get aggressive.
The course infrastructure is top of the line. Two excellent concrete tee pads for each hole. Both have excellent Houck signs with detailed hole diagrams, lines to the basket, distances, par, etc. Innova DISCatcher baskets show up well in the more shadowed pin positions and catch great. Clear paths from hole to hole make navigation a breeze.
The provided scorecards include an excellent overall course map, and hole distances and pars for both tees at each hole.
Cons: Very hard to come up with any as this is an outstanding course. I was a little surprised not the find any "Next Tee" indicators, but honestly navigation wasn't an issue.
The second half of Hole 14 borders on poke-and-pray and might benefit from removal of a few trees.
Other Thoughts: This is a first class pay-to-play facility. Course fee is $20 for the day, and cart rental is an additional $20. I played both courses in one morning and can't imagine taking them on without the cart.
Had my wife along and she really enjoyed the beautiful ranch and traveling around in the cart.
18 of 20 people found this review helpful.
Best of the best
1 Helpful / 12 Not
Pros: What a fun and challenging course, it really just challenges you in every way and just makes you push your game to the next level especially with all the times you throw over water. You can tell the course has been made by a professional because you need your hole bag. Not to mention everything is clean and the tee signs and pads are perfect, it's worth it for sure.
Cons: It's not cheap, the road can be bumpy.
1 of 13 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 20 Not
Pros: ** Well maintained.
** Owner and caretaker are very nice.
** Lodging on site, but a bit pricey
** Golf carts. More of a novelty. If I ever play it again (which I probably won't) I would opt not to use the cart.
** 2 courses on property which makes a day of it rather going somewhere else to play another round.
** Pro shop, but not much of one.
Cons: ** Not much elevation change.
** Sometimes long distances from basket to next T
** Very little risk/reward that required decision making (see other thoughts)
** Signage could be better. It was adequate but not up to a 5 star rating.
** Not much variety. A lot of open holes with few or no obstacles (trees, etc.)
** Personally, I found the course itself mostly ordinary.
Other Thoughts: ** There is not much difference between Creekside and Lakeside. I wrote the same review for both.
** I've played about 75 courses in 14 states and would not rate this course in the top 10 of the 75 I've played.
** Risk/reward: If you are throwing across a lake and can throw that far then there is not much risk. If you can barely throw that far there is risk. If you can't throw that far it is pointless. There is not much decision making in that case. When putting toward a lake or stream that is 20 ft. past the basket, you have to decide how likely you are to make it from the distance you are putting. But what's the worst that can happen? You are putting for a birdie 2 and miss. Your shot rolls into the lake or stream. You take a penalty stroke and make an easy putt back for a bogie 4. So you could get a 2 (if you make it), a 3 if you miss and it doesn't go OB, or a 4. On the other hand if 20 ft. past the basket is a 60 ft. deep tree filled canyon, that missed putt could turn into a 6 or worse. Now the decision you make as to whether to go for it or lay up becomes very important.
** If you like a grip and rip course then this place may be for you. It offers some opportunities to shape shots around obstacles, but mostly it is just throw long.
** If, on the other hand, you like to walk up to the T-Box and analyze what type of shot is needed to get the lowest score (do you throw a hyzer, a forehand flick, a thumber, go straight at it, layup in the fairway for a high percentage approach shot, or any number of other options) then this course may not be for you.
** It is a good place to practice long drives without much regard to what direction the disc goes. But then so is a football field.
10 of 30 people found this review helpful.
Yeah, It's all that!
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: From the wonderful property to the country club style setting, there is nothing I've experienced in Disc Golf that compares to Selah Ranch. The best of their courses is Lakeside. All of the holes require a thoughtful drive that will hopefully result in a successful approach to the basket. Hole 7 is just magnificent.
John Houck designed courses in a well maintained ranch with thoughtful owners. John took the best land and created a truly great disc golf course that can be played using a golf car (needed) where every hole is a challenge. This isn't a course for any "one trick pony" kind of player. You'll need a complete game to score well and have a great time here. All the holes are fair, but each one has challenges for you. We played from the short (red) tees. It was fun for our group of grandmasters and we all shot from under to a little over over par.
This isn't a "get there and throw" course. It requires thought and planning. Thanks John!
Cons: $20 to play and $20 for half a cart is pricey for disc golf. This isn't your every day course to play. It is a destination course that will probably cost you the $40 (plus tax) along with gasoline, lodging and meals on the road to play.
It's worth it.
Other Thoughts: I played this course a few years ago during the fall. Cookie was with us then. We stayed at the Corral House (great by the way) and it simply couldn't have been better. Good guys and disc golf...
This time we played the Trey Texas courses on Monday and played Selah on Tuesday... staying in a motel in Mt. Pleasant. Not as great (lodging), but we played two other awesome John Houck courses (met Mom) and enjoyed the peaceful East Texas life.
This is a trip worth taking. Play the four courses and if you can afford it, stay at Selah Ranch for the best in hospitality. If you want to save a few bucks... call Mom at Trey Texas Ranch. She'll set you up.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
It's worth the top rating.
19 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Number 7 is the signature hole. Both short and long tees are next to the Lake, throwing over water at a basket on an island. The short tee is designed to challenge an amateur, which I am on my best day, and the long tee will challenge any pro since it goes over nearly twice the water. I lost my first disc of the day here.
SPACE! This place spreads out over a large area. When I started out with the scorecard I was shocked by how many par 4s (7) and 5s (4) there are. But this turns out to be one of the greatest parts of the course! Before I started I had never heard of the designer, John Houck, which exposes my lack of knowledge in this sport, but I soon realized this guy is a disc golf course design genius, or artist, or both. This course uses the space and landscape in an incredible way that you are constantly challenged. I played Hart Park (Shark Tooth Mtn and Suicide Flats) in Bakersfield. CA, which have a lot of space but it just wears you out, without the challenging experience. In other words, space alone is not enough. The only other course I've given 5 discs (oddly enough I also gave Selah 5 of my discs on the 3 most challenging water holes) was Milo McGiver near Portland, OR, since it's the only other course I've felt used a vast amount of space so I never felt crowded. I really liked DeLaveaga in Santa Cruz and Golden Gate park in San Francisco, but I always felt crowded there. So as I was grasping for the right word to describe why I liked this place I came up with SPACE and it's ingenious use by an artist who used this remote ranch with a lake as his canvas.
In addition to number 7 there are several baskets that are near the lakeside (1, 2, 3, and 18). These baskets all require careful throws or your plastic is in the lake. Many baskets are at the end of tunnels (5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14). Number 15 is a good dog leg. All these force you to keep some accurate lines.
A golf cart! What a benefit! Unless you are young and with unlimited energy, like I'm not, I can't stress enough to take advantage of this option. It's $40 for the day, unless you spend the night, which I did not, but I was told you get a free cart with the $700 package which is for 2 nights in a 3-bedroom house with a full kitchen and a reduced course fee from $20 to $15.
Maybe it's a con that it's not free to play, but it may contribute to the fact that you don't see a flood of people on the course. Most good courses I've played have people I'm waiting for or who are waiting for me. The day I was there the weather forecast called for rain but it did not and the beautiful day did not see many disc golfers. Whether it's the remote location, the cost, or the bad weather forecast, I don't know, but it made for a special day for me.
One of the design aspects I REALLY like is that every hole is carefully thought out for par. Most courses are ALL par three. That's a cop out in my view from a design perspective. La Mirada, CA for example has 2 courses that I've played more than a few times. All 36 holes are par 3, but there's no way that's equitable. I have mentioned this inequity to other disc golfers I respect who are way more serious than myself and really good at the sport, and their response is, "it doesn't matter since you're really playing against other people and it only matters in the rare case when you're playing against the course, like if you're alone." Well, maybe this is a philosophical comment but why can't it be both LIKE SEALAH IS?! Maybe this small point was so appreciated by me since I got five birdies (1, 2, 10, 15, and 16) and ended 2 under from the short tees. And I'm convinced better players would be legitimately challenged from the long tees to do the same.
I strongly favor a RHFH and drive exclusively forehand if possible. On some of these holes I found myself throwing backhand, especially 17, which was not a complete disaster since I parred or birdied most of them. My point here is that the design of this course forces you to use certain shots and it's very difficult to successfully force a forehand where a backhand belongs.
It's nice that the 18th tee takes you back to where you started. Sometimes I take such a small part of the design for granted until I'm reminded by a course like Griffin in Oklahoma City that finished at least a 5-minute walk away from the first tee.
Number 4 is a difficult shot over water. My disc cleared fine and I parred it, but I found a guy's disc in the water and could reach it without entering the water. When I texted the guy, who lost the disc, he was still on the course so I left it for him with Dave, the nice guy who runs the place. There's signs prohibiting disc diving and before you play you're required to sign an agreement that you won't swim or go in the water for discs.
Cons: There are NO multiple positions for the baskets. This surprised me since I've come to expect this on all of the top tier courses. But after thinking about it I'm not sure this is a CON at all. For example, I played a really nice course in Menifee, CA that is actively maintained by a local club called the Rattlers. I liked that course so much that I took a friend back about a week later. On one of the holes in the gulch, I think it was 10, there is no way to see where the basket is. I told my buddy that it was nestled way off to the left among some trees. He made a great shot to where I told him, but when we got there the basket had been moved and it took us awhile to find it way off to the right halfway up the hill leading out of the gulch. Most good courses with multiple pin positions explain that clearly at the tee with proper signage (The Rattlers need to work on that) but why do this at all? Apparently, John Houck did not think it was necessary. There may be some course design philosophy behind this decision, but I personally prefer it. I played another course by Houck, Harry Myers, and it's also a great course WITHOUT MULTIPLE PIN POSITIONS.
The only legitimate CON I have for this course is that the next tee marker is not on the basket but on the prior tee's signage. I understand this is commonly done, but I don't care what Houck's philosophy is for this decision IT IS A MISTAKE. Why can't there be an arrow in the basket, like at Huntington Beach, CA and so many other quality courses. My goodness, are you really expecting me to remember every single time I move to a new basket where the next tee is. Most of the times it's intuitive, but when you are winding through the woods it's not clear, or at least it wasn't to me, and more than once I regretted not remembering where the tee signage said the next tee would be. By the way, the tee signage does give 2 arrows for the next tee, a red one for the short tee and a blue arrow for the long tee.
Other Thoughts: When Dave handed me the scorecard he said Lakeside is the number 1 disc golf course in the world, as selected by the players. And sure enough it is at the top now with a 4.91 disc rating. I was told by those I respect that Selah's Creekside is better, even though it only has a current rank of 4.77, which is still in the top ten. Even though Lakeside is not the perfect course due to no next tee arrows in the baskets, there's no way I can give it a 4.5, especially due to the awesome spaciousness and design utilization, as described earlier.
If I go back I would try to stay overnight AND visit another two Houck courses, Trey Texas Ranch only 20 miles south of here, which are rated 4.5 and 4.55 on this site. These two ranches are both so remote yet relatively close together so that it would seem worthwhile to tie them together into a greater disc golf experience. The $20 fee per person at Selah is unlimited use for a day and that includes Lakeside and Creekside.
For a less expensive lodging experience at Selah there are cabins and camping available on the ranch. When I was there a group had tents set up in a camp to the left of the 4th fairway. At first this bothered me because it would ruin my day if I nailed someone with my long-distance driver. But as I worked my way around them on 4, and later on my way back at 14, I was impressed that they could actually be having a campout and I never felt they were at risk. This was either a good design or a lucky coincidence.
All said, Selah deserves 5 discs. My only other score of 5 discs was for Riverbend at Milo McGiver State Park in Oregon, but I didn't spend near the amount of words to explain why, as I've done here. As a result, most of those who read that review found it not helpful. If you've read this far and don't find this helpful then I still haven't figured out how to review a course.
19 of 20 people found this review helpful.
Beautiful, Challenging Course
0 Helpful / 15 Not
Pros: Good variety of shots. Good variety of hole length and difficulty. Good flow. Good signage.
Friendly, helpful attendant at the pro shop. There's a pro shop.
Cons: My brother can tell how how this course might make you split your pants.
Other Thoughts: The island green on 7 was worth the whole round and the disc I lost trying to reach it. Whoever finds my unmarked, pink tie-dye champion Wraith, enjoy it.
0 of 15 people found this review helpful.
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