From The Rec Player Perspective
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -Awesome beauty of the location. Set in a wooded island paradise adjacent to the Hillcrest Farm with meandering streams and gently rolling hills populated with a wide variety of trees.
-Impeccably designed challenge from the Red Tees that will put demands on both the player's shot making and shot selection skills. Each hole was unique, with a wide variety of shot shapes and distances in play. Most holes have multiple clean lines, with various risk / reward opportunity. Every hole is par-able by a player with "Rec" level skills or better, and there are several birdie opportunities out there. But screw up and bogie or worse beckons. I only played from the Reds, which was appropriate for my skill level, but looking at the blue tees I can see where it will offer a stern test to advanced players.
-Unlike some of the courses in Maine I played on the way to PEI, this course has true par four and par fives. The Reds have 7 par 4's and 2 par 5's.
-Full amenities include a clubhouse with a working toilet, free bug spray and sun screen, a sitting area with board games, and benches and trash buckets on every hole. Even a nice planting of tulips around the first tee. This is a private course and I certainly felt like a guest not a customer. I wish that I had gotten a chance to meet and thank the owners.
-Great foot bridges over the streams and low areas throughout the course.
-Pleasant walks connect the holes. Lady Slippers common here, which I like because my backyard course is full of them too.
-No trash/litter anywhere. I found this true on all of Prince Edward Island.
-Despite the fact there are no other courses from many miles (kilometers) around, there is a vibrant friendly group of locals that cherish this course. They invited me to stay to play league (Thursday nights), but unfortunately my schedule didn't allow it.
-Solid, well-built trapezoidal cement tee pads on every hole but the short #11, very grippy and plenty big for a good run-up / follow through. The fairyland wonder of hole 11 has PEI red sandstone cobblestones, I worried they would be too uneven and slippery in the dampness, but on a 191' hole they were fine, and very much in keeping with the natural terrain of this unique hole.
-Off fairways was heavily wooded, but without excessive underbrush. Didn't spend too much time looking for disc, and chances of losing discs wasn't too high. Water came in to play on two holes, but a big net retriever is available and the water pretty clear and not too deep.
-All baskets are well maintained, solidly mounted DiscCatcher Pro's. All of the greens are fairly clear and un-gimmicky within the 10 meter circle, with the exception of the peninsula hole # 7. NOTE: Many of the greens are on slopes and missed putts tend to role away. Putt with confidence or lay up!
-Most fairways are fairly tight, every tree either defines the fairway or defines the line to the hole. I didn't feel like "luck" was too big a factor. Pick a line, if you hit it you made a good shot, if you hit a tree, and I hit many, your throw was wayward or you picked a line too tight for your skill.
-Great use of elevation. No much completely level, even though no dramatic elevation changes of a mountain course the rolling hills made for some interesting challenges. Of special note is some of the across-hill fairways, one memorable dogleg left to right while the terrain fell off right to left.
-Top notch signage and wayfaring. From the clubhouse to the 18th basket never had any problems getting around the course. Event the course itself is easy to find! Coming from the Confederation Bridge towards Charlottetown on Rt 1 just look for the Disc Golf Basket.
Cons: -Course can be wet in spots and PEI can have lots of rain. The first day I played with in some mist after a couple weeks of rain and my boots were soaked with the island's red clay mud. I played again 3 days later under cloudy skies but the rain held off and thinks were much better.
-Mosquitoes hungry and gang up in swarms. I did mention the complementary bug spray? Use it!
-The summer is short and sweet on PEI, cool spring rains can linger well in to June, but I think that just is some of the charm of Prince Edward Island. The locals tell me some years things warm up earlier than others.
-Complicated metric system can confuse math-challenged Americans? Nope, signs printed in both feet and meters. Moo-ing cows in the distance? Don't stumble in to the electric fence? Really reaching to find some "cons" here.
Other Thoughts: My wife has been wanting to explore PEI for years, and when I read some of the reviews of this course I knew I had to make the 14 hour drive from Massachusetts. PEI and this course did not disappoint, even if we happened to arrive during the coolest and rainiest June the island had seen in many years. The island and the course are both beautiful and unspoiled. The people are invariably helpful, polite, and friendly. Seemed like every time we stopped somewhere people were offering us biscuits and jam. There is a variant music scene on the island, and the food was invariably great. By the end of the week we were leafing through Real Estate brochures thinking this would be a great place for a summer home once we retire.
Hole-by-hole (Red Layout)
#1 - 430' toboggan run, downhill dogleg left par 4, a little twist at the end that doglegs back to the right to a basket on a slope. Well treed on both sides of the fairway, better be on your game from the start!
#2 - A shorter par for at 330' but straight uphill, a fair gain in elevation. A few good lines up the hill to a basket protected by some well-placed trees.
#3 - Dogleg left, fairly tight lines, only 225', a good birdie opportunity if you can turn it.
#4 - 315' par 3, down then up, then up and a bit to the right, trees at the bottom of the hill to the left, then trees in front of the basket to the right make this an interesting hole. Shouldn't be that tough a par 3 but those trees seem to attract discs, at least of rec players!
#5 - 368' par 4, uphill, then flattens, plays longer than the posted length, have to hit a gap in the trees at the top of the hill, then flat to a basked tucked away in some trees.
#6 - 262' par 3 (Blue and Red play together) fairly open, but a tall pine and some beech and maples guard the basket.
#7 - Signature hole, 523' par 4. Beautiful, downhill, wooded on both sides though not overly tight until you get within 100' of the basket, then it closes off to mostly force an approach from the right side. Green a little too small for my putting skills, with water with 12' of the basket from 3 sides.
#8 - 214' par three with the basket tucked off the right on a slope. Not excessively tight, but easy enough to get a run-away on a missed birdie attempt.
#9 - 424' par four, slight uphill, not long but very narrow, takes two well placed shots for a rec player (If you can reach the basket in one why are you playing the red course?), then the challenge is to get close on the sloped green.
#10 - 428' par four, dogleg right. 250' to hit the dogleg, then the last 200 go uphill with the fairway slanting right to left. You are fighting the terrain to make the disc turn for the dogleg. Subtle effect makes this hole much more difficult then it seemed.
#11 - 191' (both Red and Blue) One of the more enchanting holes I have ever played! Tee off the cobblestones with a narrow green carpeted fairway with a small brook winding back and forth... with the signature Hillcrest foot bridges. Feels like it should be a setting for Shakespeare's Midsummernight's Dream. I'm sure magical creatures live here... and play disc golf under the full moon.
#12 - 346', par four, with a pond not clearly seen from the tee. Best bet for me was to throw a mid on the "right" line, and lay up short of the pond, then have about 190' slightly uphill to the basket. There is a left line here that can avoid the pond, but it's very tight and the hole is well protected by trees from that side.
13- 182' (both Red and Blue), Maples line the entire fairway. Tight left and right and a straight line, but a very wide line left to right line if you want to throw a big turner. Good birdie chance if you can avoid trees, but that might be a big if.
14- 533' from the Reds, much longer from the blues. Undulating with a couple of gentle turns in there. I think the designer was inspired by the Confederation Bridge!
15 - 236' par three, not really a dogleg but it does play right to left. Some trees to miss, but there are some good lines in there if you are careful.
16 - 297' from both the red and the blue, across a "gully", but narrow with a low ceiling. I threw a tomahawk to play for a safe par, even though this is short it's no easy par for a rec player.
17 - A very short 280' downhill par 4 from the reds. Found this to be the most generous (easiest) par four on the course. Should be a good shot at birdie if you avoid early trees and can finesse a short approach around the protective trees.
18 - 468' par five. A fine finishing hole. A big uphill drive will dictate the path taken to the hole. I found that going long and left was a much easier line to the hole. There is a "shortcut" if you go right, but that's a pretty tight line to hit. I can think of several ways to play this hole and it looks to me like a worthy hole to decide a close match. I played the hole twice... first time I caught a bunch of trees and struggled to make bogie, the second time I chained out on a 35 foot birdie attempt and dropped in for par. I can imagine a two shot swing is not uncommon.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Disc Golf Nirvana
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This course has held legendary status since it opened a couple of years ago. Friends told me of this course was a must play when in the region (not just in the province but when in the region its worth stopping at). Driving to Halifax I took the hour detour to stop and check out Hillcrest.
This course is out of the way unless you are going to Prince Edward Island but it is worth it. The people who designed this course wanted it to be long and as tough. Not tough as in crazy hard lines, but tough for course management and mentally tough (especially mentally tough). Every 200'-300' there is another throw and a different choice towards the basket.
No two holes have the same game plan, highly creative design.
The toughest part of this course are the basket placements, probably two are not on an incline with roots and ground down stumps around the basket. The perfect storm for discs that want to roll away from the basket.
Some say Delaveaga in Santa Cruz has difficult pin placements and hard rolling greens. This takes it to an all new level.
Large cement tee pads, great signage and direction markers to find your way between holes.
This course is a hike. After 18 holes my Fitbit said I'd climbed 25 flights of stairs!
Cons: None. I found the basket placement on 7 a bit much sitting on a finger of land 10' wide and 20' long. No great landing area around the basket. But that is a personal preferance.
Other Thoughts: Love love this course! A must play for any disc golfer and should earn a reputation as the best course in Canada. It is less than an hour away from the Trans Canada Highway (at the New Brunswick/Nova Scotia border) and a $40 bridge toll to get to PEI but it worth it.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
I Was Blown Away On PEI By This Course!
18 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Clubhouse-Named Dragonfly Clubhouse is simply amazing. It's homey, welcoming, has a comfy couch, game table, toilet and a deck complete with barbecue. There are probably 20 disc golf bags, each with a couple disc inside for rent for $2 a day. There are tubes of sunscreen and cans of insect repellant for you to use. The lost discs are sitting there.
Amenities-Large color course map at beginning. Colored metal tee signs by John Houck at both blue and red pads. Large (6' x 12') concrete pads which are roughened for better traction in adverse weather at both blue and red pads. Many little metal next tee signs pointing the way to both red and blue tees. Four or five benches placed at different holes. Discatchers baskets with the yellow band. Hillcrest DGC actually uses a Discatcher basket out on the Hi-way to help point you in the right direction to the course. The lane driving to the course is called Frisbee Lane. There are a number of little bridges crossing creeks each with wire meshing for additional traction help. On hole #17 where it gets a little wet/marshy, there are several small wooden boardwalks built over the wettest areas. Only one other course in the country that I know of might have better amenities than Hillcrest, that's Bryant Lake in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Course Design-It's a John Houck design isn't it? Giving Mr. Houck this wonderful piece of land to design a course on, is akin to giving Michaelangelo the Sistine Chapel ceiling to draw on. There is so much delicious elevation to tackle here. It seems you're always throwing up, down or over valleys, often on the same hole. The course features eight par fours and two legitimate par fives (one of 891' and one of 811'). The blues and the reds play from the same tee on seven holes. On others, the blues can be as much as 350' longer.
Setting-The hilly, wooded terrain is just about perfect for a disc golf course. The underbrush is mostly kind of sparse, making it easy to spot or locate errant throws. There is water on the course in the form of two small ponds and they both sneak up on you if you haven't played the course before. #7 is 604' from the blue tees down a fairly narrow fairway. As I fired up my approach shot (after two poorly thrown ones), I was shocked to find the basket I was aiming at was sitting on a small peninsula maybe 15' across with water on three sides. I never would have been so aggressive with my approach shot had I realized the danger lurking thereabouts.
Cons: I would guess this course would be quite wet and boggy much of the year.
I stand corrected on this point. I love this course and have absolutely no problem paying $10 to play but for some younger/unemployed/homeless types who would like to play it quite often, that might present them with a problem. Is there a monthly or seasonal pass available?
Other Thoughts: I have two main thoughts here. The first one, I'm going to disagree with everyone here, reviewers and the course description in DGCR, who call this a championship level course. I love this course but I don't think it plays at a championship level. Those courses totally kick my behind (plus 15-20) Yeah, I know I'm old and not very good). I'm talking about championship level courses like:
Blue Lake-Portland, Oregon
DeLaveaga, Santa Cruz, California
Hornigs Hideout-North Plains, Oregon
Blue Ribbon Pines-East Bethel, Minnesota
And the three courses at the IDGC in Appling, Geogia
WR Jackson Memorial
Steady Ed Headrick Memorial
Jim Warner Memorial
Hillcrest plays about 10 strokes easier than these championship courses. If an old weenie armed man like me can shoot plus 7 from the Blues, I can't call that a championship course. What to call it? I don't know? How about the best course in Canada? One of the best anywhere?
My next thought. I've played over 1000 courses and I've only given five courses a rating of "5 stars". Well, this is a 5 star course all the way. Easily one of my five favorite courses I've ever played. I just wish more players could get out to PEI and experience Hillcrest DGC.
18 of 18 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Top quality championship course
Welcome to the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island, the vacation capital of Canada. Come for the disc golf, stay for a vacation of warm ocean currents, perfect white sand beaches and attractioins for all.
All pads are concrete probably 6'x12', excellent! There are two concrete pads per hole.
Professional looking signage with a sign at both the short and long tees. There are also markers beside the green pointing to the next hole.
Course is in excellent shape. Owners get out once the snow is gone and prep for the year. No compaints about course conditions.
The quality of design is by far the best part about this course. Wow. This course demands everyshot you have. The design has ample shots favouring both left and right handed players. At 8000' this course will challenge the longest of arms. Garunteed you will use every disc in your bag. Truely this is the complete course.
Prince Edward Island is 4 hours from the US-Canadian border but don't make this a reason to stay away. This course is worth the trip.
Wetness. The land can get soggy so bring a pair of waterproof shoes just in case.
Other Thoughts: This is the 'complete' course. Unlike most park courses that are limitted in what you can cut, the course designer was given 'the keys' to the property. The course is a gem. It is creative, demanding and exceptional. Expect to use every shot in your bag.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
This One has It All
Pros: The Setting.
Prince Edward Island is simply one of the most beautiful places in the world and this course accentuates that beauty. The trees, the foliage, the hills, the water, and the secluded location... Everything combines to make this one of the best places I can imagine to play.
This was such a pleasant surprise! It is a great place to hang out before or after a round, with a great view, board games, a bathroom, and even a deck with a grill outside. Not only that, but there are discs and bags available for rent. There were about a dozen Fade bags hanging on pegs, each with a few discs inside and a sign asking just $2 per day for rental! What could be more perfect for beginning players?
The Tees and Signage.
The tee pads are first rate concrete runways and are well placed (more on that later). The signs provide accurate descriptions of the holes, with obstacles noted and distances given in both meters and feet. They all are planted in spots that make the direction of the hole clear, but will not interfere with run-up or follow-through.
The Course Design.
There is no uninteresting, ho-hum, transition hole on this course. Every hole is well thought out and all require shot planning and accuracy. There are risk/reward decisions to be made not only on every hole, but often more than once per hole. There is a great variety of distances and variation of right/left backhand/forehand favorability. Even on the very long holes (and there are several), accurate shot placement is necessary to stay out of trouble, but the landing zones are fair and not arbitrary. There are many elevation changes. Trees line all the fairways, but the woods are not so thick that no routes are possible out of there. You don't want to be off the fairway, but recovery is possible in many places without just a pitch out. Water comes into play on at least two holes and is used in creative ways. The course par from the long tees is 66.
The Multiple Tees.
The short tees on this course are not just a way to give less experienced players shorter distances to throw. They change the approach to each hole, sometimes offering the option of a completely different route to throw to the pin.
The Added Touches.
There are many wooden bridges placed throughout the course in places where the ground may become marshy. At least one hole has a heavy gravel pathway up the steep incline of the fairway. The gravel was made of granite! (I know granite is much more plentiful here, but we were still surprised!)
Cons: The remote location and the fact that relatively few disc golfers will get the opportunity to place this magnificent course is the main "con" that comes to mind. Absolutely the only thing I could think of that might improve the course would be multiple pin placements. However, the way the course is designed I think moving a basket would only give the advantage of allowing someone who plays the course regularly to have some variety. It probably would detract from the character of the hole while the basket was in the new and less optimal position.
Other Thoughts: My wife walked the course with me as I played and took lots of photos. When we were driving away, I said, "That course is definitely in my top five." She asked, "What course beats it?" I didn't have an answer. As I reflected on that question over the next week or so, and compared it to other great courses I have played, I realized that no course I have played does, in fact, beat it. It has everything. I have never rated a course "5" before. This one is it. Go play it if you can.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The Clubhouse...is an actual house/cabin.
It has washroom, tables and chairs if you need to take a break or lunch. It also has a selection of (beginner) discs and bags that can be checked out.
There are excellent hole description signs at each tee showing the hole layout and distances (as you would expect with a full meal deal Houck course). There are also arrows and signs on the course to direct you to the next tee box. As a result actual course navigation is a breeze.
Large concrete tee boxes are present on each hole. There are long and short positions.
The holes are what you would expect of a top quality Houck design. Mostl holes are a Par 4. There are some long tough holes coming in at close to 900 feet from the longs. The holes are very well designed with various widths of fairway, some getting narrower others opening up and then funnelling down again. As you would expect placement and shot selection is important and being an accurate thrower is better rewarded than a person who throws far.
The course makes great use of elevation with holes that play both up and down within the same hole.
As for shot selection you will mostly use backhand. Forehand will also probably be required at times. Given the trees and canopy there probably isn't a massive need for Overhand shots. Other than the odd get out of trouble when off the fairway this is likely not a course where you will need to use a roller.
Cons: I can't think of too many. The wetness of the course might be one issue. Perhaps there could be a few more benches on the holes.
Other Thoughts: You might want to wear goretex shoes. The course was a little wet when we played it. PEI gets its fair share of rain and there are streams on the property so it is quite soggy in places.
There are 2 holes that a pond comes into play on. Very thoughtfully there is a swimming pool net at the pond for disc retrieval. The water isn't overly deep but you can sink in the mud making an otherwise retrievable disc not so. However, all discs that find their way into the water should be reachable with the net.
The "Hidden Gem" hole (hole 10 I think it was) is an absolute beauty. Not long. Just very very pretty.
Overall this is an excellent course that is very challenging.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
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