Little brother course is plenty good
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -- Just like Whitetail, the beauty of the land is perhaps the biggest pro for Dogwood. Elevation changes abound.
-- While I saw more deer on Whitetail, I did see a deer between the No. 1 tees for both courses.
-- You can't help but compare this course to Whitetail. This one is shorter, but has tighter lines. From the long tees, Dogwood has 2 holes under 200 feet and 4 over 400 feet. From the shorts, there are 6 holes under 200 feet and 3 that are 400 or longer. Seeing the short holes, you're thinking birdie fest but beware: If you miss your lines, you'll have to scramble for par and likely end up with a bogey.
-- Getting off the fairway will hurt your score, but the rough isn't so thick that you will likely lose a disc.
-- Restroom (and water to refill a bottle) available at the park entrance near hole 1.
Cons: -- Cell phone reception is all but non existent. Free WiFi is available, but that wasn't much better than the cell phone reception.
-- Natural tees. They might be appropriate for the course, but they are showing signs of wear. As the newer course on site, Dogwood has likely been played less, so its tees are not showing as much wear as Whitetail's, but before long, those tees are going to become a real problem.
-- Navigation and tee signs. The tee signs look very much like the ones at Whitetail with one notable exception: The signs at Dogwood don't list distance for the shorter tees. The distance listed on No. 14 is 263, but it's really under 200 feet. Also, finding your way from 12 to 13 can be a challenge.
Other Thoughts: -- I rated Dogwood and Whitetail both as 4, but Whitetail is better. If there were 1/4 discs, Dogwood would probably be 3.75.
-- The beauty is stunning and the walk alone would be a nice workout. Speaking of that walk, come prepared. The walking itself will be a workout.
-- With lake in the name, you would expect some water, but there is none on this course.
-- The cabins are great. They are showing some signs of aging, but I understand that updates/redesigns are coming in fall 2018.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
An Awesome Little Brother
8 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: (3.659 Rating) The slightly shorter version of two similar awesome courses.
- RAW BEAUTY - As with Whitetail, Dogwood is personally one of the more beautiful courses I've ever played, and I'd place it in my top 10 (286 courses played as of this review.) Similar to Whitetail, I'd say every hole on this layout looks above average and bunch would be signature looks on 85% of the courses out there. Carved mostly through pines, but what makes this course a treasure is the constant rising, sinking and twisting of the elevation. Several downhill tunnel shots, although not quite as epic looking as a couple holes on Whitetail. Hole (2) is the first of many beautiful downhill shots. Anyone like me who's a sucker for beautiful courses will love this place.
- ELEVATION - Lots. Anyone who enjoys constant elevation change will be thrilled. Hole (6) plays down at least 50 to 60 feet, and then back up at 30 to 40 feet. Hole (9) plays down about 30 feet and then back up 40 feet. Hole (17) is wicked tee shot over a ridge and then plays into the base of a narrow valley with 30 degree slopes.
- UNIQUENESS - In addition to elevation, there's some good variety on Dogwood, but quite a bit less than at Whitetail. Four par 4s. Three of these are doglegs, two to the right and one to the left. Lots of defined tunnel shots of varying widths twisting every which way. For example, hole (6) plays along the power line path and is 50 feet wide. On the flipside, other lines are razor thin. Hole (14) for instance, can't be much wider than 6 feet on the optimal line. As for noteworthy variety omissions, no true open shot, no par 5s, and no water elements other than dry washes.
- CHALLENGING - The back tees read Intermediate level and the front tees read Recreational level. This course with the two tee configuration should work for a wide swath of skill levels, 750 to 925. I'd say that the challenge is above average but short of what I expect of a highly ranked course.
- SIGNAGE - The back tees have gorgeous tee signs. No doubt they would make my top twenty on artistic appeal. It has almost of the info one would except next tee direction.
- NAVIGATION - Some basic omissions but still easy for a heavily wooded course. No course map was posted yet for this layout. The park office has a map, and although its diagrammatic, it still helps. Lots of navigational cues between holes and intuitive pathways. I personally only looked at my map once on Dogwood. Between (14) and (15) I didn't find any navigational cues.
- CHARACTER - Average. In addition to tee signage and adequate navigation, I appreciated the few picnic tables along the layout. Tee shading was on all 18 holes and there are restrooms and shelters in the park. Glaring missing items are tees (see cons) and multiple basket placements and a practice basket.
Cons: A stellar course needing better tees and an amped up challenge.
- THE SAME THING - Lake Claiborne was the 9th time I've ever played multiple courses at one site. This was by far the most similar pairing among these multi layout parks. Thankfully IMO, it's an awesome style, but once completing both, it felt like something was missing. Still a great experience, I just wish the pair offered some different looks.
- TEE AREA - I knew coming in that both the courses here had natural tees, so my dissatisfaction was not a surprise. I also came the day directly after tournament which probably didn't help. The tees were not in good shape. Some mild pitting, some roots and unevenness was observed. A course this good deserves proper tee pads. They don't even have to be concrete if that's an issue with the environmental sensitivity within the state park. Turf or rubber tees are an acceptable alternative that's better than natural ground. The tees here are just going to get worse over time if a different option isn't chosen. In addition, I also wanted to mention that due to the elevation on this course, benches should be on every hole. 4 evenly spaced picnic tables on a layout this hilly is not enough.
- NO ADVANCED CHALLENGE - Very similar in difficulty to Whitetail offering a solid intermediate challenge and I ended up throwing one over from the back tees as an intermediate level player. From looking on the DGCR scorebook, it appears everyone is throwing higher than normal rated rounds here. The course is listed as heavily wooded, but these lines are often wider than normal for what I would define as a heavily wooded hole. To become an elite course, Dogwood is going to have offer up more to advanced players.
- BASKET LOCATION INDICATOR - It really irked me having to run up the blind fairways to check basket placements on this very hilly course. They are gravely needed for both courses.
- TERRAIN - If you have bad knees or ankles I'd stay clear of this course. As stated above, lots of elevation changes and also rocks and roots to stub a toe or twist an ankle on. Although not the best course for the disc golf cart, it looked doable for the hardier models.
- PARKING - Very few parking spots next to the course. I think I counted five. Perhaps all the course traffic comes from those at the camping locations and the spots don't fill up here.
- TIME PLAY - Dogwood is going to take a chunk out of your day. Not quite as time consuming as Whitetail but expect at least 75 minutes to complete solo playing the back tees. I could see a group of four seasoned players playing the back tees at around 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
- LOCATION - This gem is unfortunately out in the middle of nowhere.
- PAY TO PLAY - Only $3 the day I arrived to enter the park. 100 percent worth it.
Other Thoughts: As with Whitetail, Dogwood is an awesome course. The courses are not quite identical twins, but I'd stay that 22 of the 26 chromosomes are the same. For those that look closely at both of my reviews at Lake Claiborne, there's a little copy and pasting with a few word alterations here and there. Like Whitetail, players that love beautiful courses and aren't too concerned with amenities or an advanced challenge, will love this place. If dogwood were to add some decent tee surfaces and would tweak the back layout to be 3 or 4 throws more difficult I'd consider bumping this course up to a 4.0 rated course. I currently have Dogwood behind Whitetail by 0.417 rating points. The biggest reason for my score difference between the two courses was variety. I scored Whitetail at roughly a 4.8 and Dogwood roughly at a 3.6. Whitetail has more elevation, a water play, a par 5, more variation in par 3 distances and more par 4s.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful.
The gnarlier of the two
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Challenging wooded course with some testing lines and elevation changes. Good variety of length and type of shot.
Beautiful scenery; lovely park.
Long/short tee pads and some alternative basket positions.
Cons: Although clearly still a very good course, this was less fun to play than the other course on site (Whitetail) - the lines are mostly tighter (and less like the flight of a disc!) and the rough mostly rougher. This section of the woods felt more overgrown and there weren't as many scenic views.
It felt like on at least half the holes the basket is not visible from the tee - even on some quite short holes. This made playing solo quite frustrating as the aforementioned tight lines and thick(er) rough meant that I spent quite a lot of time searching for discs (although I didn't lose any).
As with Whitetail, the dirt tees might be difficult in the wet or if you're used to massive flat concrete tee boxes.
Other Thoughts: $3 all-day entry to park = bargain.
Lovely picnic area by the lake.
Fantastic to have two quality courses like these in one place.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
The little sibling course
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: I'm a sucker for the tight, technical courses that make you pick your line, and rewards you for hitting it and punishes you for missing it. I was severely punished many times on this course. You need almost surgical precision if you want to make par on your whole round.
The forest itself is quite lovely, and the holes carved out of it are inventive. The holes are not as lengthy as Whitetail, with no par 5's. Some people took this is a con, which I understand, but for me it was just the nature of having a different course. Dogwood is more humble than the Whitetail course, and doesn't need the par 5's to be as interesting. Each hole stands alone as complete without you ever thinking, "man I wish I could take another stroke here."
It may go without saying, but navigation was pretty easy here. I'm a navigational idiot, and I don't think I ever had to look at the map. I include this because a big part of "flow" of a course is when you can tap out, and just walk to the next tee. Usually wooded courses are more clear about where the next tee is, but a lot of this course isn't in the woods. Or runs concurrent with other walking trails. But it just flows and you get in rhythm.
Cons: The tightness of the fairways is just a litttle too tight. If they were widened out a bit on the tighter holes to match whitetail, and preserve the same lines, this would be another 5 disc course.
The dirt tees aren't such a big deal, but having some level, root free tees on a couple holes would just give it that extra touch.
I found a tick on me when I got back to the hotel. That's not a course con and in no way affected my rating, but I felt like I should just let someone know in case I get Lyme Disease.
Other Thoughts: Dogwood plays much more tightly than Whitetail, the other 18 hole course in the park, and I think that is the main difference between the two. You are in the same forest, similar elevation, but enjoy it slightly less with the more restrictive fairways, which seem almost suffocating after playing Whitetail. That being said, as a stand alone course, it alone is enough to divert me from I20 if I'm driving by to play. There are some incredible holes on this course. It's a great compliment to the absolute model of a course right next to it.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Lake Claiborne's Dogwood course benefits from the same rich terrain that Whitetail does: it's full of elevation changes and disc-vexing-but-beautiful tree cover. Dogwood makes good use of such terrain; the elevation is particularly welcome, especially in a region where it is so uncommon.
Dogwood focuses on shorter holes than Whitetail, measuring in about 1500 feet shorter than Whitetail's longs and 600 feet shorter than Whitetail's shorts, with half of the holes under 275 or so feet from the long tees. This difference is not insignificant, as Dogwood carries a definite sense of being more preoccupied with shorter, birdie-able par 3s. There are a lot of tight, up-the-gut shots here made varied by the nature of the accompanying elevation. It's a great course to test the accuracy of your short game. Even so, there are enough longer holes to cause you to break out your fairways sooner or later. Distance drivers need not apply. Next to the longer Whitetail, I appreciate Dogwood's clarity of focus: it's consistent enough to have an identity, but not enough to get overly repetitious.
Navigation is smooth. Course is well-groomed. The environment is beautiful. The course obviously benefits from having Whitetail right next door.
Cons: Like Whitetail, I felt as though Dogwood's design was a bit conservative. I actually noticed this less here given the aforementioned apparent focus on shorter, technical holes - the presence of a "theme" seems to justify it - but still would love to see a bit more ambition or quirkiness to the design. As it stands the rich terrain helps counteract repetition and keep things fresh, but the hole layout itself is still so many straight shots. To this end, many of the longer holes seem more gratuitous distance than featuring novel design that justifies their greater length. If anything I feel Dogwood would benefit from being a bit shorter and even more focused on this theme, providing greater contrast to Whitetail and exploring more variety within such shorter hole lengths.
The course is definitely a hike, so bring plenty of water and don't be afraid to take breaks. Between this and Whitetail you're in for a decent workout no matter what shape you're in.
Other Thoughts: Dogwood is a bit of a humbler animal than Whitetail but I think that suits it well. Both courses benefit from the awesome land here. I found them to be slightly overrated here on DGCR, but still great courses that sit among the best in Louisiana. They're definitely worth a visit!
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
2nd Best Course in Southern United States
1 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: Completely different feel than white tail
tight, technical and difficult
Cons: it is possible to get lost in the woods looking for the next hole
Other Thoughts: This course is just as beautiful as whitetail, with more elevation changes and tighter technical lines.
for being shorter this is the harder of the two courses and it can drive up a score quick.
The combination of the tight, technical, highly skilled shots required and the amount of elevation changes of dogwood
and the long big arm holes of whitetail, easily make this the number on destination course in america.
1 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Designer Response by: teamudgp
Thanks for the review. Navigation signs are getting made soon.
2 Helpful / 5 Not
One of the best courses ive played
Pros: This was one of the funnest courses I have played. Excellent layout with difficult lines and variety of shots.
Not many long holes, but the lines make them play much longer then listed. Also a lot of elevation changes make this course a real challenge.
Cons: Dirt tee boxes not all level.
Other Thoughts: This course plays as I wish all would play. Good distance but not too long. Layouts make you use every disc in the bag with both left to right and right to left holes. Not many holes to stretch the drives out on. But that is ok cause it will test your ability to throw good lines.
2 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Beautiful Technical Wooded Course
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Two tee pads and basket positions for holes..
Technical wooded course. Very beautiful, and fun to play.
Very well maintained and makes good use of the terrain.
Cons: Natural tee pads, same as Whitetail course. Not sure its a con, but they are hard to keep in excellent throwing condition. Also no way to know what pin position is being used without doing some scouting.
Other Thoughts: Played the short tees here the same day we played the long tees on Whitetail. It seemed like the layout wasn't quite as spread out as Whitetail. Just like any wooded course if you get out on the rough you are going to have tough time at making par! Hit your line and you have a great shot at birdie!
Also there is no water hazard to contend with if that makes you nervous. These are both great courses and I don't know how you could decide what course to play if you only had time for 1 round.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
A test of skill and endurance
Pros: I'd like to walk this course even if I wasn't playing disc golf. The beauty is stunning and the walk alone would be a nice workout.
You can't help but compare this course to the "Whitetail" course that's also on site. This one is shorter, but has tighter lines and steeper hillsides. It also has a little more variety of trees and other plants to enjoy as you play.
The course isn't long, but it will test your disc golfing skills and ability to scramble. The lines are fair, but not forgiving. If you are a pretty consistent player, you'll have a blast on this course. We found it a great doubles course due to the tough lines. The scores are less consistent that most courses in doubles. This made it a lot more fun.
The hills are steep. This made them fun for a guy from the flatlands of Texas. Lots of high risk/reward shots on this course.
Cons: Cell phone reception is spotty at best. Free wifi available, but not "fast".
Natural tees, but they seemed appropriate for the course. If you let maintenance know of any problem, they will fix it before your next round. They're proud of their courses and it shows.
Other Thoughts: The park overall is spotlessly clean. We saw deer at sunset all over the park. The cabins are awesome. If you stay in them, you'll feel at home. The views are stunning, the people are friendly, the pace is laid back.
This park isn't only a disc golf destination, it's a vacation destination. Bringing the family will only enhance the experience. Everyone will have a good time.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: +very hilly and very wooded
+four par 4s mixed with 14 birdieable holes
+secluded, spotlessly clean
+shady to keep the sun off players in hot Louisiana summers
+very well maintained, with practically no dead trees, fallen limbs, or thorny brush within 50 feet of either side of the fairways
+two sets of tees
+easy to navigate
+nice tee signs on the blue (pro) tees
+Innova Pro 28 baskets
+a few holes have alternate pin placements and more are being added over time
Cons: -hole 17, while an awesome par 4 shaped like a clockwise half-circle around a hill that is perhaps 40-50 feet tall, is showing signs of erosion and could be dangerous to traverse in rainy weather.
-cell phone coverage is spotty or nonexistent on the course, though it seems like you can usually get a signal in the clearing between the ranger station entrance building and hole # 1.
-this is nitpicky, but while a nice hike through the woods, isn't quite as scenic as the adjacent Whitetail course, and doesn't have par 5 holes like Whitetail either.
-dirt tees, which are actually pretty good as of this writing, will eventually erode exposing roots, or become muddy in rain, although this course is so far out of the way it will probably take years before the tees are a real problem.
Other Thoughts: The Dogwood at Lake Claiborne is a pretty big hike through the woody hills of north central Louisiana. Numerous pine and hardwood trees are everywhere on the steep slopes and valleys of this challenging course. Its fairways are about as tight as they get without being unfairly lucky, so Dogwood really rewards those who can keep their focus and torments those who can't. Scrambling skills are a must. The good thing about Dogwood is that the rough off the sides of the fairways isn't going to hide discs or cut you up with thorns, but there are plenty plenty small trees to complicate advancement towards the basket. The hills are steep in many places and this course will definitely test players' ability to throw down, up or putt downhill or uphill too.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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