12 Helpful / 3 Not
-Blue Lake has excellent signage, they're well built and look great.
-Every hole has a bench at the tee which is nice since it's such a long course.
-There is pretty nice kiosk with a map of the course including all the pars and distances.
-The OB is marked really well with red wooden stakes at the edge of the fairways.
-The fairways are kept mowed, however if you're not in the fairway it's very rough.
-The park has lots of parking.
-Many holes have a risk/reward element.
-Long mostly open holes for those of you who really like to throw those power shots, this is the place for you.
-This course has some of the roughest rough I've ever experienced. Thorns, bushes, trees and tall grass are waiting just off of every fairway. I have left several discs in the thick rough after looking hard and only finding bloody shins and pricked fingers. Its so frustrating it's not even worth my time/plastic.
-First timers may have a hard time finding their way from basket to box in a few spots. The course could use some 'next tee' signs.
-I'm not a fan of this type of course, wide open and long may be fun for some people but I much prefer tighter technical holes.
-The line of cars to get into the parking lot on the weekends can get very long - come earlier on weekends to avoid this or come during the week.
-This course was built in the wetlands, if you're planning on playing in the heat bring lots of water.
12 of 15 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 1 Not
Big Arm Paradise
Friendly locals, Large grippy tee pads, Great tee signs, Nice DISCatcher baskets, Kiosk, Good use of OB, Well maintained/Clean, Benches on every hole, Risk/Reward opportunities and Challenging for any caliber of player.
Cons: $5 fee to park, No practice basket, No water, Crowded at times, No alcohol, one restroom centrally located on the course and the ROUGH
Other Thoughts: Street parking near hole #8 is FREE! This area originally slated for a ball golf course instead designed into a disc golf course giving it the 10,000 ft in length. The course is challenging with the length of holes compounded with windy conditions at times and OB placed throughout and a gnarly rough. It is not a beginner friendly course and advice all players to simply keep an eye on your disc. The rough will cut you up and leave you with swelling and itching let alone spending time looking for discs instead of playing disc. I have seen the police make people empty out their beer cans since there is no alcohol and smoking allowed in the park, please respect the rules.
Like others have mentioned the course length is challenging enough let alone the OB. I don't have a big arm, my drives avg. 300- 330ft. I have lost many drivers in the rough here with not a single return or call back. I have learned that choosing to throw a midrange (ROC) has lowered my scores and helped from losing any plastic.
The course has enough space to add shorter tee pads and multiple pin placements for all holes, but for now only holes #17 &18 have multiple pin placements.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
OB, Legnth, Thorns and Rough
Pros: Located in Blue Lake Regional park, this is probably Portlands busiest park, great use of land.
-Challenging shots, with the combo of length and well placed OB you really have to think your way through a round here, there might only be a few throws you can just try to bomb and not worry too much about where they land.
-Roller friendly, I love throwing backhand rollers, and this course offers multiple opportunities to use it.
-Tee Pads/Signage, the pads are well maintained and the signage is super useful. If you pay attention to the signs it is very easy to navigate this course.
-Benches, just about every pad has a bench behind it.
-Crowd, as with most portland courses my experience is almost all of the dg'ers out here are friendly and helpful, ive even had random folks from the group infront and behind jump in to try and help find lost discs.
Cons: -Line at the gate! It costs $5 to park, which is not horrible and I have a year pass anyway so no biggie there, BUT if you get to the park between ~9 and noon on a weekend you will often find a LONG line of cars waiting to get in and pay, be prepared to wait.
-Punishing rough, plastic wasteland, currently the rough isnt horrible (end of summer) but even now it is frustratingly easy to lose a disc even on a mostly well-thrown shot.
-Speaking of rough the blackberries are vicious out there, the thorns will tear and cut up your legs, ive found a number of discs that I think a few people just said F' it to rather than trying to get into the rough.
-Bee's/hornets, especially on 16-17 be careful before wading to far into deep areas, ive seen more than one person get stung.
Other Thoughts: This is a course I only want to play every once in a while, and at that with a minimum group of 2 other people for disc finding purposes. On the other hand it greatly challenges me to lengthen my throws and be WAY more accurate than I normally would have to be.
Overall a positive experience but with alot of potential to be a downer of a round.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
19 Helpful / 0 Not
A Test For Whom?
Pros: I'm going to try and add my own feelings and thoughts on this course without saying what's already been said in previous reviews too much as we all know by now that it's long, has tall grass/thick rough (I call a pro for about 80% of the course) and was designed by Dave Feldberg. So here we go.
There are some holes here that are not obviously figured out right away which is a good thing. You play the hole and after you think about a new line to take or a different shot or approach all together. The long grass that is used as out of bounds on some holes is a psychological obstacle as well as a physical one. I like the way the course is broken up in a sense in that you get a par three then a par four then a par three again and then a part five, etc. Not many people factor this into the difficulty of course as it it keeps you from getting into a groove and makes you unbalanced just like when a pitcher in a baseball game changes speed by throwing fastballs and then curve balls. The course is also hard because you think it's hard and you play the course as a long course and try to do too much and over throw your disc when a controlled 300 foot mid range throw will be better for you score.
I really like the concrete pads, tee signs and baskets although I believe it would be better if the hole number were painted on the basket to ease with confusion. There were signs saying there was a trash can every three holes and it looks like the players are keeping the trash in those bins at least so far let's hope they keep that up.
Cons: I'm a little confused as I kept hearing that this was a course to challenge the gold and top tier players but the par for the course (69) is designed much more for a player of my caliber (900 rated) or even lower. On some of the par four holes I was making two average or even below average throws and finding myself putting for birdie, I feel like some of these holes are either too long or too short for my skill level to be challenged so I can play the hole 100 times and have the same score maybe 95% of the time which makes it a boring hole for me. A good example would be hole one where I make two easy throws and can get a three no sweat but I'll never get a birdie because I can't throw 450 feet in one throw. A top level player however can throw that far but it's more of a par three hole for them. Lots of "tweener" holes. I guess I'm saying that this course isn't designed for me so why is the par designed for me?
There are a couple holes that use the long grass effectively as a nuisance and/or an out of bounds area but there are still a couple of blind throws over the long grass to a raised position or dogleg that makes tracking where you threw too more than a little difficult.
A few holes (especially the long open ones) felt like someone said something to the effect of "Let's put the tee pad here and the basket way down there, and that hole is done". Like there wasn't more of a consideration of what different lines and ways to play it and what makes a good length for the par they were going for.
I got a little confused on some parts of the course and it seemed to flow strange in parts taking me back to the fairways and and tee pads I had played already and hadn't played yet. The tee pad for six is right near the basket for four and I found it a little crazy walking back 800 feet for hole five just to play back to where I just was. I think if this were my home course I would skip hole five most days.
Other Thoughts: As always Oregon parks are charging $5 to get in and I'm not sure if there is an annual pass or not. I think I had very high expectations going in being that Dave Feldberg was involved in this project so I believe my disappointment is showing through along with my thoughts. If you like more open holes and length I think you will like this course quite a bit but for my money I like a more wooded challenge instead of just outright chucking your disc all over hells half acre. I would be very interested in seeing the scores of the top tier players during a tournament here.
19 of 19 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 1 Not
Blue Lake Was Not Designed For The Likes Of Me!
Pros: Knowing ahead of time that this course was going to be way out of my comfort zone, I was mentally prepared to not enjoy it. But I found some design features here that really qualify this as a unique disc golf experience. The unfortunate part of this experience is us less gifted players just don't have the physical attributes (distance and accuracy) it takes to real appreciate and test our-selves here. Spending precious amounts of time hunting for lost discs in razor sharp rough isn't anyone's idea of enjoyment.
The course starts out with clearly marked course and parking signs. There is ample parking across the street. A course map is posted at the the beginning on the kiosk. Blue Lake features the ABSOLUTE BEST Tee Signs EVER. Firstly, they are a very pretty blue with great information, but more importantly they are totally vandal proof, small concrete pillars (roughly two ft. tall) with the hole sign, map, etc. bolted onto ( actually slightly into) the pillar. If the sign gets painted or trashed, it can get simply be unbolted and replaced. This had to be costly but worth every penny.
The course is an unworldly long 10,000 feet but features a couple of most interesting holes such as # 3, where the really skilled player has to really shape his shot and be thinking a shot or two ahead. It would be fun to watch the top players attack these holes. It was comical to watch me butcher them.
Other holes force players to decide whether to "go for it" by throwing over the OB tall grass or play safe by laying up around the sides. Once again, players with more normal arms or accuracy issues don't always have these options.
I thought # 9 was a most interesting hole. It's a 400' Par 3 where you're teeing off through a tunnel of trees with the tiniest of gaps. It's only about 7 wide at it's most narrow point and then the basket is nestled into a grove of small trees.
I was glad to see a few fairways have been widened and some rough has been cleared and narrowed somewhat.
Cons: The length of course is daunting to all but the most advanced players. As I was leaving, I saw a young lady attempting to take on the course with one of the huge old Whamo freestyle frisbees. Good luck with that, young lady! I'll take Blue Lake and give the strokes on that match-up for a $100 please.
The rough features some of the gnarliest, most hostile, most un-penetrable mix of thorns and berries and other prickly plants I've ever had the misfortune of shedding my precious type O blood with.
I love natural scenic beauty on my courses. It's why I hold Whistler's Bend in such high esteem and others such as Pier Park, LL Stub Stewart and Dexter. They're all such naturally lovely places to enjoy. Blue Lake is just OK. It has no elevation to speak of. No water. I like it better than downtown Portland or the Tucson desert.
Other Thoughts: Mr. Feldberg and the other designers certainly put together a course to challenge the upper level players. They accomplished that with a unique design featuring holes one doesn't encounter on many courses. I applaud their efforts for that. I wish they could have built some beginner tees for us and maybe the thorny plants will be taken care of in time. My hands, arms and legs would appreciate the efforts of anyone who helps.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Long, did I say really long!
Pros: Championship course. With exception of hole #17 which stunk. Fairways are nice right now. Players that can throw long and tight will do well here. If you are not consistent and curve here and there this course will give you a major challenge...see cons. Couple of bathrooms located throughout course and a few trash receptacles. Very good parking, nice sign at the beginning---take a picture on your cell you might need it to find your way around...it works. Mostly out in a meadow (could get windy) but there are some holes that have stands of small pole type trees that give you a different feel and a different type throw or approach or putt. Most of the trees are big maples/oaks.
Cons: Did I say hole #17 stunk? 17 looks like it's under construction...grass is no were to be seen but there is some poison hemlock (sign posted) on the right in the first 100 feet from the tee pad. It is one of 3 900 foot holes but this one plays longer. If your a beginner and don't mind a large score AND a lot of time looking for your disc in very tall grass (2-3foot) which oh by the way is OB and has signs saying KEEP OUT...which no one pays attention to. If your disc is heading to one of the tall grass areas pay attention to landmarks taller blackberrys or other sticker type weeds) that might help you in your search...it is challenging to say the least. So I guess this isn't a con if you are a major thrower...not a weekender or amateur.
Other Thoughts: I shot an 18 over the first time and then I played a few more holes and started bringing that number down. I'm looking forward to playing here again whenever I'm in Fairview/Portland area. ONE thing that would make this course more open to all would be another set of pads for maybe a 7000 foot course instead of 10500, ouch that's long! I like one review where the player said it reminded him of a ball type golf course...I totally agree. I felt that way right from the start. FORE!
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: - Nice Long Tee Pads
- Bench at every Tee Pad
- Concrete Tee Signs
- Lots of distance
- Tough to par, with links style golf
- Easily one of the best new courses around
- Well mowed and maintained in the spring, summer, fall
Cons: - Tough to par
- Can get muddy in winter
- Cheaters parking at hole #8 cut in on you.
- Lots of OB red stakes, seam unecessary
Other Thoughts: Love this course, very tough, very long, will test every shot in you bag, leaves you feeling terrible about your game. Play the OB's as marked and test your real skill.
4 of 7 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Course of the future...
Pros: - Nice, unique signage (all blue)
- Grippy concrete teepads
- Trash cans/recycling every 3-4 holes
- Good baskets
- out of bounds stakes give a nice feel
- LONG (6 par 3s, 9 par 4s, 3 par 5s)
- Good balance between easy/difficult holes
- Excellent use of all park features : woods, water, elevation, and length
Cons: (This is being nit-picky)
- No amateur tees (not designed for it, but will frustrate some)
- No practice basket
- Not the most scenic course
Other Thoughts: When Dave Feldberg and others designed this course, they did it with A-tier tournaments in mind. Between the length (only 6 par 3s), the openness, the designs of the out of bounds stakes, and the swirling wind that comes off the nearby Columbia River in summer, this place might turn into the disc golf equivalent to British open ball golf: instead of guys being 30+ down after 3 rounds, they'll be 10 - 15 down.
The course is pretty much a giant field, with trees surrounding the outside and long grass in the middle. Fairways are mowed down (nice) and red stakes line what is out of bounds. Holes 1 - 12 pretty much follow the outside west - south - east parts of the course (which shifts between wooded and open); Holes 13 - 16 move open grass bomb throwing holes, with some decent elevation (nothing extreme); and holes 17 and 18 are more wooded to finish.
I played in winter, so the long grass that lines the links style holes (usually OB) isn't growing as much, but it has been beat down to the point where I never felt in danger of losing a disc. My playing partner (who was my guide) told me that he had never played there on such a calm day. During the summer, the strong NW wind comes off the Columbia might make some of the more open holes soul crushing.
12 - You have an 80 foot tunnel of trees (15ft wide?) which opens up, then funnels back to a wooded basket.
7 - A thickly wooded par 5, with the road on the right. You have to hit three tunnel shots for distance then an approach to the basket, which is an island surrounded by a moat (there is an easier, closer position). That ties for the hardest hole on the course with....
17 - another long par 5 that's unique to the course in that it was the only hole that carved out the woods. You have to accurately crush a drive down the middle, then have three low ceiling shots to laser through to the basket. Both of these holes are made to destroy the scores of the weak.
I think my favorite part of the course is the transistions from easy to challenging holes. Great mix of unique challenges, but not much that I would consider unfair/ridiculous hard. Keep in mind that have a big arm and it wasn't windy. I'm sure the wind would make this course exhausting.
Even though the length and lack of shorter tee pads will turn off some of the weaker arms, my hope is that the construction of this course inspires others to make similar higher par, long courses in the future. This course is 10,000+ feet long, almost twice the size of most courses I've seen (except Milo). It was a real treat and I will most definitely play it again...
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: *Location - short drive from Portland, great parking.
*Layout - requires every shot you've got, many interesting risk/reward shot opportunities. One of the best thought out course layouts I've seen.
*Difficulty - challenging for all, still accessible to intermediate players.
*Aesthetic - Attractive site with pleasant views, well groomed and maintained
Cons: *Rough - thick brush is one thing, thick brush with thorns... well, it is risk/reward. That said, playing in late fall/winter mitigates this somewhat
*Single Layout - No shorter tee placements for beginners. This is likely by design though.
Other Thoughts: *Signage - neither a pro nor a con, there could be better indication to the next hole, but the signs are good overall
This course is a fantastic addition to the already strong group of courses in the greater Portland Area. It is particularly well suited to experienced players, and i will certainly be back.
With fewer thorns it would be a 4.5 easy.
Perhaps this will be the case as time goes on.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 5 Not
The Future of Disc Golf
Pros: Design, Course Flow, Baskets, Teepads, Course Atmosphere.
Cons: Thick Rough, No Rope, Tee Signs
Other Thoughts: This course is setting the standards for the future of disc golf. OB on every hole (there is no rope, but you can tell what the OB is with the cut fairways) with a perfect mix of par 3's, par 4's and par 5's. If your a player who appreciates the "golf" aspect of disc golf, you'll love every second of your round. It feels like the way disc golf is supposed to be played. As a pro who can throw accurately up to 400-500ft, this is one of the best courses in Oregon. It forces you to throw every type of shot and it is pretty much wide open with 75-100ft wide fairways, so it's not really challenging to hit the fairway. But if you do decide to "go for it" you can easily find the rough, which is extremely thick with grass and blackberries and likes to eat your plastic. I would recommend playing it safe off the tee and then going for it on your second shot.
The first 10 holes are relatively simple if you take what the course gives you while the final 8 holes are long and challenging, so get ready to grind out some pars. The tee signs could use a little more work. They don't show the OB at all and they could outline the entire hole better, instead of just showing a line through some trees. There are only a few spots where it would be nice to know which way the next hole is, but it's pretty easy to find your way around. This isn't the best course to learn how to play disc golf on, but once you get serious about disc this is a great course to learn how to throw every shot in the bag.
Blue Lake is definitely worth checking out, but you better focus on every shot or you will probably lose a disc in the deep rough. Once this course get fully established, it will rival Milo McIver as the best course in Oregon but as of now it's a close second.
Can't wait for Worlds in 2014!!!!!!
7 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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