Very good park course with a dose of woods
8 Helpful / 0 Not
+ Great concrete tees, very good signage, basket selection indicators on the tee posts
+ Multiple baskets on some holes
+ Hole #4 is the first really good hole at Laurelain. There's OB water along much of the left, and the fairway narrows and climbs up a chute at the end. A good, difficult birdie and a rewarding par if you stay out of trouble
+ Hole #5 has woods left off the tee, and the short basket is tucked among trees on a rise on the right (ignore the fact that the basket has a #7 on it!). The long basket is straight out
+ Hole #6 is open, but challenges you in a couple of ways. It's a healthy 300+ par 3, and features an elevated basket
+ Holes #7 - #9 are largely open, making the most of the scattered trees and rolling hillside. The real fun of Laurelain starts after this stretch...
+ Hole #10 takes you into the woods with a big drop in elevation, with one basket location slightly left in a clearing, and the other across the creek to the right. Good hole because it challenges your ability to "steer" the disc compensating for the dramatic change in elevation
+ Holes #11 and #12 are short back-and-forth with an OB line dividing them. You're playing in the flats where the stream overflows, so there's lots of scrubby trees (and the stream) to avoid. Note the interesting piece of artwork hanging on one of the trees approaching #11(an old mirror frame?), and avoid the stream running behind the 12th green
+ Holes #13 and #14 continue in the same area of the course - down in the river flats. They're not long (though the far basket on #14 is a bit of a pump), but the trees make for narrow lines
+ Hole #15 is a complete change of pace: wide open hyzer, lengthened with an optional long tee and a possible long basket placement. Feels good to air it out after poking so carefully around in the woods for the previous five holes
+ The finishing holes are open and truth be told, a little dull. The course designer spices up the 300ish #16 with an island green (marked by a circle of bricks buried at ground level). Missing the island is treated as hazard and not OB - so it's loss of stroke played from where it lands
+ Playing the long basket on #18 adds challenge and length. The short position is guarded by a stand of small trees (it almost looks like you're throwing into somebody's garden), but the back basket is up across the road
- There are a fair number of forgettable holes in an otherwise very good course (#2, #3, #7, #8)
- Navigation is a little tricky. There are a few spots where the next tee isn't obvious, and there are a few misnumbered baskets. Nothing awful though, and once you've played the course it becomes easy
- Hole #1 is a par 4 that uses a double mando to make you consider where you're going to place your drive. There are three different basket positions, but I don't know that they really change the hole all that much - because the hole is all about making the mando
+ Hole #17 is close to 400' par 3, but it's really open. The only danger is the stream if you go too far left, or long. The hole doesn't really thrill though, because you have so much room to the right to work with
~ I understand the 18 hole layout is relatively new - the course started out as a 9 and has gone through a redesign. The designer(s) and the Berks Disc Golf Club deserve a lot of credit - I feel like they're halfway to an excellent course. They've brought water into play on a third of the holes. They've designed improvements into otherwise dull holes by adding things like multiple basket positions, raised baskets, an extra long tee and an island green. When I finished my round, I wanted to play the course again.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This course is nearing completion. All 18 holes have cement tees and quality signs. Multiple baskets are located on numbers: 1,2,4,5,9,10,11,and 15. Number 9 has three baskets ... the longest being for a 460 foot par 4. These multiple baskets were purchased to keep beginners, intermediated and Advanced challenged and the Berks Disc Club is proud to help promote the sport to all levels of golfers. The club usually has league play Sunday mornings at 10 am. See us on Facebook. Laurelain's course offers wooded holes, water hazards, raised baskets and mando routes. 16 is short but the hazard is an " island " circle and a stroke penalty to those who don't hit it. Hole 18 long basket is a par four that is located over the parking lot. Use of 18 is only for tournament or league play.
Cons: Holes 11 and 12 have water drainage issues that should be corrected this Spring. The course is located in a Park and please respect walkers .... They have the right of way.
Other Thoughts: Berks Disc Golf Club maintains this course. There are trash cans on number 10, on the walkway going toward 18 tee and in the parking lot. Feel free to help us keep our course clean and leave nothing but footprints. Please place found discs in the box located under the bulletin board at the parking lot. Thanks.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 2 Not
The Wait Is Over
Pros: Great changes to this course appear almost complete. 18 holes with some fun challenges. Many of the hole are right in front of you but provide low ceilings, double Mando's, and elevated baskets among other hurdles making it an enjoyable round.
Cons: Only downfall is a long walk from 17 to 18 to finish up the round.
Other Thoughts: With a few final touches still happening around the course this is becoming a favorite of mine.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 2 Not
Diamond in the Rough
Pros: The course at Laurelain is a work in progress. In its original 9-hole state, the course hosted a few events and weekly leagues, but the ultimate goal was to expand it into a full 18 holes. Of course, hurdles exist. The small group of organizers have been trying to generate more interest among the community. They've developed leagues and a few events, and they've even helped to maintain the course landscaping. Parks & Rec can only do so much mowing at Laurelain since several of the newly implemented holes are plagued by Japanese Knotweed, one of the most invasive plant species (think bamboo, folks!). Yes, the course needs some polishing. But that small team of volunteers (most of whom have full-time jobs and families) can only do so much. Rabid disc golfers need to be patient. The tee-signs signify all 18 holes, and the baskets (some sporting the wrong numbers) are now in their proper places. I'd like to point out that most of the basket/tee sign relocation is the work of one man--a very dedicated, community-minded volunteer. Yes, the course needs better signage. Yes, the course map needs updating. And, yes, Japanese Knotweed is not our friend, and eradicating it will be an ongoing process. Hopefully, with some luck and more volunteers, Laurelain Disc Golf Course will become an added gem to the already terrific Muhlenberg Parks system. For those who have visited during this transition or are planning to do so, I would highly recommend keeping an open mind and taking it in for what it is--a very pretty course that will promote this great sport for years to come. And to those who feel too frustrated with the course, please consider revisiting in mid-summer. I think you might have a different experience.
Cons: For impatient disc golfers, the course's growing pains may cause frustration.
Other Thoughts: The reason the Lancaster and Lebanon courses thrive is due to the terrific volunteers/organizers who have devoted a great deal of their time in order to promote disc golf, and if you ask them how long it took to develop their great clubs, I'll wager they'll say something to the effect of, "Years and years." UPDATE: Each basket now has a sign pointing to the next tee. The confusion has been eliminated.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Laurelain Park DGC Is Undergoing Major Changes!
Pros: First designed and constructed as an Eagle Scout project by Skylar Radka in 2015, the course at Laurelain has proved popular and has received the support of many folks in the community including a city councilman/commissioner who is very active in the course's growth.
So I show up here on a beautiful May morning expecting to play this simple little 9 hole beginner's course. I figure to get through in about 20 minutes tops. Well, after about 45 minutes of frustration, wandering, lots of bad words, backtracking and a little bit of throwing discs, I had reached had my fill of Laurelain and was trying to get back to my car and move on to my next course. As I was standing by one of the tee pads, probably with mayhem in my eyes, when this guy walking his Goldendoodle politely asked if I could use some help. So I unleashed some built up frustration and starting to tell him everything I thought about this screwed up excuse for a course.
So he told me the whole story. The simple little hole course had added a back nine which has constituted changing the entire design. The old signs are still there but none of the information is correct! There is an older gentlemen who is slowly working in getting new signage up that will actually match the course's online map. Knowing this earlier would have great. I could have just played a safari type round and drove off into the sunset. Instead I yelled, screamed and raised by blood pressure to dangerous levels.
The course has Discatchers, natural pads with a front board and nice looking metal signs. The park features some lovely rolling hills, a creek and lots of lush, green grass.
Cons: Currently, the online map is incorrect.
Currently, the tee signs are incorrect.
Currently, the numbers in the baskets are incorrect.
Sometimes, the signs refer to the White tees and the Blue tees. Except at hole # 4. The sign here refers to the White baskets and the Blue Basket, but the baskets they've referring to are both yellow Discatchers. And oh yeah, this hole # 4 is now hole # 10. And I'm Professor Emmet Brown.
I found myself down in the area where some of new holes are located (I found 13 and 14) but couldn't find a way to cross the mighty Ohio River and had to back track all the way back again.
Other Thoughts: At the height of my frustrating round, I was ready to give this &*+#$&@ 3.0 rated course a 1.0. After extensive sessions of yoga, zen meditation and countless therapy appointments, my counselor tells me that I'm now capable of making a rational decision on the rating of Laurelain Park Disc Golf Course. And I'm still giving the #-%$@+ course a zero! Nooooooo, only kidding, I'll go with a 2.5 with the expectation that ALL the needed changes are forthcoming. And I'll never be back to see them implemented.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Premium Community Course
Over a short amount of time, I've seen this grow from a good niner to a premium community course. The layout has been modified several times and holes have morphed in improvement. There's an involved player community behind it and that's what it takes to elevate even well-planned courses from good to something special. Otherwise they tend to just sit there and accumulate problems or never get needed adjustments. Nothing's perfect right out the gate.
Laurelain has no real special topography or scenery, is mostly flat and open with several forest or stream holes, but what it does have, it exploits to fullest extent possible.
Without a doubt, #10 is its signature hole. Teeing off from a cliff down into a circular valley bisected by a stream. There's a choice of two baskets left and right, the one across the water and vegetation nastiness, during the summer. The four forest holes that follow are my favorite section too.
It's good for beginners and intermediates alike, has mostly concrete pads, is generally easy to navigate.
This is a good template for what a community course should be.
About the biggest con for Laurelain is me having to update my review to reflect changes every time I visit, heh. I wish I got to go here more. Beyond that, it's picking nits.
The signs, still seeming temporary, often show two baskets, when there is only one. Perhaps they're waiting to finalize. Perhaps it's a tournament/league thing. If it's the latter with several possible pin positions but only one basket at a time, I suggest they look at how Tyler State Park does it. Each possible pin has a letter number (A1 for instance) and a dial on the post indicating which is current at the moment.
A lot of the fairways cross the winding park path for the first nine. Especially the tee off at #5, with bushes blocking the view on the right and the path 50 feet ahead seems like it could be dangerous.
Last summer, the field holes for #15-17 were somewhat unmowed. Will that change?
#18 seems subbar and boring, a hole thrown in to make the course technically loop back to the parking lot and cut down the walk from #17. I wish they did something by the stream instead.
Having an involved DG community making it so good also means it will be busy and you will encounter other players, especially on weekends. Other Park Crowd itself wasn't bad though.
Starting Point: First tee is uphill on the right side of the middle point of the parking lot as you drive in, about 40.386289, -75.945855 on Google Maps.
Amenities: I see a Portapotty at the end of the parking lot most of the year, sometimes nothing.
Layout: The course loops back around. It plays towards the trees (going over the path) and then back again. It goes downhill for #3 and reverses back into the forest near the stream. #5-9 play in the fields south west of the parking lot before going into the forest again for #10 and crosses the stream. #11-14 are forest. From there it follows the stream into the empty fields east of the parking lot going north until #17. For #18, you have to cross the concrete bridge on Hain Avenue back to the main park, and immediately go left onto the path. Take the first right and the last tee is by the trees on the right near the curve. Last basket near the park sign.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Has some interesting holes.
Has a white tee that is good for kids.
Makes good use of the land available.
Hole #4 has two baskets and can be played as a simple par 2 or a pretty challenging par 3.
Good course for beginners but even an experienced player can have some fun here.
Porta potty there during the soccer seasons.
Cons: Grass tees.
Throwing over a walking path on some holes so just watch out for walkers/joggers.
All holes under 400 feet.
Other Thoughts: Hole 2 and hole 4 are my favorites here after playing here twice.
Hole 2 is a drive into an opening in the woods with a creek to the left and the basket to the left in the back of the woods.
Hole 4 is a drive down a hill to either a par 2 basket which is pretty simple or across the creek for the par 3 basket.
The park has some walking paths but were not overly busy when I was there.
Most holes have 2 different places to put the baskets not sure how much they change them. A few holes have a shorter tee and I know hole 1 has a longer tee for a little more challenge.
Most holes have at least one tree you have to deal with which is more fun that just playing in an open field.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Good for a Quick Casual Match
Pros: Good layout
-holes are relatively interesting
-spaced out with little overlap
-holes are not extremely challenging
-not many places to lose discs
Makes for a good, quick round
-with only 9 holes, this is great for the casual player looking to play a quick round
-the park is well-maintained and enjoyable to be at
Cons: There is a popular trail that runs through the course. It is not uncommon to take a break to allow someone to unknowingly stroll across the middle of your game.
Not very challenging for veterans due to short holes and lack of obstacles.
Other Thoughts: Highly recommended to anyone looking to take up the sport and to any casual players looking for a quick and simple round.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Nice local course
Pros: New course with Innova DISCatcher baskets. The course is in a simple layout with clear tee signs and "Next Tee" arrows on baskets. Short fun course good for practice. Most of the holes have alternate basket locations (A white and blue for short and long pin placement). Some elevation changes and lightly wooded.
Cons: Holes are on the shorter side and tend to be less challenging. This is only a 9 hole course, but there are plans to rearrange and develop into an 18 holes.
Other Thoughts: An enjoyable new course with the potential to develop into a full 18 with more challenge! It's great to have another course in Reading, PA!
2 Helpful / 2 Not
Excellent Course for Beginners
Pros: This is my first experience playing frisbee golf so to me this is the best course and only course I played. My 8 year old son can play this course and does well (he scored a hole-in-one on the 4th hole). The park is close to our house. Never crowded- seems we have the course to ourselves.
Cons: Can lose your frisbee in the brush with a bad throw... (not the courses fault)
Other Thoughts: I am sure many experienced players will find this course easy, but for new players this is a great straight forward course. I love the layout and I don't mind the back-track from hole 4 to 5. I have yet to score under par on this course.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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