So Much Potential
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The layout and variety is world class. It is a long course and a tiring walk in the woods.
Cons: The course is minimally maintained. There are no benches at the holes, no clear signs or walkways between holes. The fairways are overgrown and losing a disc in the middle of the fairway is possible. It is expensive to play but that includes lunch. It is closed in the summer because of the summer camp.
If this course had more maintenance then it would live up to its world class potential and would earn a 5.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Well designed "red" course for intermediate players.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Good design for intermediate women players. A great workout, many uphill holes.
Distances from 108' par 3's to 820' par 5's.
fairways were clear and well defined when we played on 10/20/18. No one lost a disc or had trouble finding wayward drives off course.
Tee Signs were good.
Tee pads were great, large enough to accommodate any players launch style.
#16 was everyones favorite, big open field downhill with target to the right behind a few trees. Only hole with a view.
All others in Catskill woodland.
Cons: Next tee signage could use improving.
Luckily there were paper signs still readable from a tourney in Sept, otherwise path was not clear to next tee at times.
No easy way to play 9 holes, you are pretty much committed to all 18 unless you are familiar with the trail system. Could be improved with proper signage on trail system that intersects with course.
NO benches! This is a mountain course, a heafty workout and hike. Benches should be installed at most tee areas.
Other Thoughts: It took our group of 5 players 3&1/2 hours to play all 18. Everyone played the "red" course, and played it well. But.....it was a workout.
No belly aching, we loved it!
We stayed at Lakeview Lodge and it was fine. Frost Valley was full that weekend and the dining situation was crowded and not very good.
If I play this course again, I will go as a day guest. Seems like a good deal to play with lunch included for $25.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
First round at frost
2 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: Nice lines from the tee pads.
Cons: Signs to next tee need revisiting. Hole signs were accurate and helpful. Height of fairways, very rough. However was being cleared for Labor Day tourney. Paths to each hole were at times confusing and rather difficult. Not a course for a first timer.
Other Thoughts: Run ups at times can be difficult due to uneven terrain. Welcome to disc golf! Nice lunch given when paying $25 to play. Staff very helpful.
2 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Was hoping and expecting more
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: It's a great property in the woods. Multiple tees and multiple baskets on a few holes. We knew we'd miss the hot lunch, so they gave us box lunches, very nice of them. Lunch included: two turkey sandwiches, an apple, banana, chips, granola bar and a capri-sun! We were the only people on the course, it was quiet and peaceful...besides occasional outbursts due to errant throws. The 3.5 hour drive was mostly curvy, tree-lined back roads. Of course, it's fall so leaves were banging.
Cons: Maintenance doesn't exist and that essentially killed the experience for us. The course doesn't look like the pictures at all. We struggled to find tees and baskets often. Everything is overgrown with ferns and other underbrush. Don't get me wrong, I love looking at ferns and stuff, but underneath the ferns were rocks and holes between the rocks, which made walking a pain in the butt. I don't mind rocks, but like being able to see them instead of stumbling around. One hole was a literal swamp for 75% of the fairway, hole 9 if I remember correctly. Hole 16, the signature hole at FV, shined a little but that light was dimmed by the maintenance issue. Yes, there was a single next tee sign for each hole, but the trails to some holes just didn't exist so you're left to bushwhack of ankle breakers again and again. As with many courses that have multiple tees, the short tees didn't offer that much different of a look to be worth it. some holes had multiple "fairways" but one option would typically be next to impossible
Other Thoughts: It's a Houck designed course, yippee, but you need to maintain it. Houck should make people sign a contract saying they will maintain the course for x number of years, so people don't associate the Houck name with a bad experience. I don't mind paying to play, but at $25 I'd like to see maintenance, benches at each hole, maybe a trash can somewhere, great directional signs...
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
A gem that needs polishing
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -Tee pads (Concrete front and back)
-Baskets are new innova and quality.
-signage is very good and had little problem navigating for the first time.
-Course design is absolutely nop notch and will use every shot in your bag. A great use of the terrain, options on many holes (including completely different fairways sometimes), great pin placements, and all around perfect example of what a master designer like Mr. Houck can bring to a project. No doubt with repeat rounds the subtleties of the great design would shine through even more.
-Scenery is gorgeous in the middle of the catskill mountains. Moss covered rocks, beautiful stream, trees, and views. An absolutely gorgeous hike.
-2 layouts for expert and beginner players.
Cons: -Maintenance is non-existent and calf to knee high ferns in the middle of (and all over) the fairway makes searching for discs obnoxious. Off the fairway was worse. I literally skipped a couple holes cause i didnt want to launch a disc into certain loss. I played mid October.
-Safety. Nothing too serious, but the hike is ungroomed and very raw. Full of plenty of places to roll an ankle or fall. Loose rocks, steep terrain, rotted tree trunks that break underfoot, hidden holes under leaves, and the fact that there is zero cell signal should bad luck occur is something to consider.
-Layouts for expert and beginner, but not really for the rest of us (see 'other thoughts').
-$25 to play.
Other Thoughts: Next tee signs are very good but have a map handy. You may need it once or twice.
It seems a shame to have such a gorgeous course go unplayed and unmaintained. I understand that given the remote location and price to play, the course will not get heavy traffic, but if you are going to have a destination course that is championship level, by a championship designer, on championship grounds, and charge a championship price... it needs championship level maintenance. It seems to have none.
From a certain point of view it seems that the YMCA (or whichever body officially responsible) has shelled out a lot of money to get this course in the ground, and forgotten about it. Given the level of groundskeeping and maintenance needed to take care of the rest of the (vast) campground, it would seem very feasible to hire a small crew of one or two (or give a raise to the current grounds crew), get some weed whackers and basic tools, and keep the course looking beautiful. Instead it appears that a very small effort has been put in place. One basket is even bent because a limb fell on it, and it appeared that the limb had been laying there a while (I finally moved it off the pin).
As for the 2 layouts... They are great, but the red is apparently designed for the novice (<850) level player, with some par 4's being under 300' and would normally be par 3's to the 900 level player. The Blue course appears to be a design for mostly 950+ rated player.
What about the rest of us who are 850-950? This would be most people I know and play with. It seems you have 2 options. Either play red and have a fun time getting lots of birdies to feel good about and have a nice relaxed fun time without any real challenge, OR play blue and have a tremendous challenge (which is certainly good and needed to get better), but ends up being an experience that is a bit over your head and is very demoralizing. It's like there is Goldilocks' momma bear's "too soft" and "papa bear's" too hard, but where is the all essential just right of "baby bear"? It seems a third layout is necessary, either by adding another pin or tee to some holes, or by adjusting par for others. One could argue that we can "just make our own pars, and turn some 4s into 3s", but then we are making our own course, and not playing the one intended.
The Y was also in general very friendly, but are clearly not used to seeing an "outsider" on the land, particularly in the mess hall for the included meal. I literally got asked, "not to be rude, but, who are you?". You can sit here but not there, and eat from this line but not this line. Lots of confusion. Like you are clearly an outsider in their world.
It is gorgeous though, and especially if the ability levels of the 2 layouts are in your wheelhouse, it is a prime example of excellent design to be envied and sought after.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Doesn't get any better
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Outstanding setting in the southern Catskills! Nice clear creek in or near play on several holes, wonderful mature trees all over the course, boulders, lots and lots of elevation, outstanding views in several places including an absolutely epic downhill hole (16) with a great view over the valley and across the next ridge... That's a great start, wonderful land, and good views.
On to the design, what can be said? This is possible the best course design I've ever seen/played in my 27 years of disc golf. There are great lines on every hole, easily could be 10+ signature holes that all fit nicely together that would easily be the best hole on most other course. There are several holes that have multiple lines - shot selection options as well as unique fairways to play (yes on the same hole you can play up the left or right fairway on many holes)!
The greens and tees are excellently thought out, excellent utilization of the land features. My person favorite hole is #5, great dual lane par 5 down hill, playing to a green that is just amazing use of the slight uphill and boulders near that pin. There could easily be other holes I could highlight - but go find out for yourself. #6, #16 both are vert steep downhill holes that you might favor, one gree is built into a side hill near the creek that is just epic (and on any other course would be the feature hole).
Construction is outstanding - the tees a massive concrete launching pads that were built in the parking area with rebar to reinforce, then brought up to graded areas that were waiting in the woods. Tee signs are great, baskets are excellent. WHat you do not see very much in disc golf is "graded fairway landing zones". There are areas that were built into the design to allow for a great shot to be hightly rewarded with a nice landing zone cleared of trees, and graded flat so you are rewarded for excellent distance and placement on several of the longer par 4/5s. Just so well thought out!
There are 2 layouts, Red for a more recreational player, and Blue for a more tournament level player. I personally feel the Blue course plays much closer to a Gold (1,000 rated Par) than Blue.
There is even a practice "area" with 3 baskets to warm up on, this is also an ADA accessible 3 holes course in the relatively flat area just off hole 1.
What else? Well, its on a fully functioning YMCA camp that has a nice lake, hiking, horse riding, bird watching, camping, and many other activities on site.
Cons: Not too much here.... Seriously, maybe a con is that this course is a real "billy goat" course with a lot of elevation and can be tougher to get around for those not in decent shape.
And to nit-pick, there is really only one 18 hole loop with no chance to only play 9 holes, you are pretty much committed to a long walk in the woods once you get going unless you turn left after hole 6 and follow the creek back... And that is not really a con as much as a heads up, take a lot of water and be ready for a long walk
Other Thoughts: Print the course map ahead of time, you are int eh Catskills with little cell reception and you won't be able to look it up.
Bring lots of water, snacks (but no nuts as the YMCA camp does protect the campers from nut allergies and not allow them on campus).
Play smart your first time through, look around for the other lines and fairways to see if you might prefer those routes... It takes a few times to really see what is available out there.
Take pictures!!! I mean there are just some places that are gorgeous wooded terrain.
There is a fees of something like $20-25 per day. Sounds like a lot, but this includes cafeteria lunch and dinner! The place is so remote that there is NO WHERE to get get food or drinks in the area without a 30 minute drive. So go up for the day, look online and see when the meals are served (they are prompt on opening and closing times for meals), and play a round, eat lunch, play again, eat dinner & make a nice day. Or stay for the weekend and camp there, stay in the hotel style lodge, or even in the epic "Castle" - yes I said Castle. The antique rooms and furniture in the Castle are yet another aspect that you just can not find anywhere else.
Overall, it is so worth the trip to FV!
The course is my favorite in over 275 course I've played in both design and level of difficulty. The camp has a lot to offer, read up on it online and plan accordingly. The accommodations are awesome with so many options to choose from - pick wisely and take a group up for a weekend!
If you are going to make a trip to play a destination course, put this on your list for sure!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Is this Disc Golf Heaven?
Pros: • Natural beauty of the property: Clear mountain creek, vistas of the Catskills, Huge moss covered boulders, dramatic elevation changes, stately hardwoods and pines.
• Options! Every hole has at least a couple of lines to hit... risk / reward decisions. True par fours and par fives, with target landing areas. Play for a safe par, or take a risky shortcut where you can make birdie but risk ending up down a ravine hoping to save bogey.
• With the use of elevation, fairway options, mix of par 3's, 4's, and 5's, this requires strategy and shot making to succeed.
• Plays equally well as a challenging tournament course from the back tees or a rec level course from the fronts. Every hole except #6 has either an alternate tee or an alternate basket (12 & 14). If you don't throw 350' with accuracy I'd recommend playing this course from the short tees.
• DisCatcher Pro baskets, firmly mounted, with clear greens with the 10 meter circle. Most greens are protected by trees, boulders or drop-offs, so there are no "gimme" approach shots.
• Large well-built concrete tee pads for both shorts and long.
• Immaculately clean, pristine Catskill woodland
• Next to the 1st tee is a kid's mini-course with 3 baskets makes a great family area or a nice little loop to warm up your putt and approach game.
• Interesting YMCA activities not far off... like that giant swing past the 1st basket.
• Top notch signage. The tee signs are colorful and give accurate information. Course navigation is a good, though in a few points you might have a bit of a hike to get to the next tee and you may need to pay attention to the orange makers until the paths "break in".
Cons: • I played this course in early October, 2015 and there were still bulldozers operating on the back nine while I was teeing off on the first hole. There were still spots that were pretty rough and tumble and the paths from baskets to the next tee weren't cleared. There were also no benches, trash cans, or porto-potties on the course... but there is a five star hotel in a castle near the first tee.
• This isn't necessarily a con, but you are at a YMCA, so keep it kid friendly... no beer or other adult indulgences while out on the course. Also, course may be closed to the public during some periods. Check the FrostValley.org web site or call before you plan your trip.
• Very remote. No cell phone coverage, and several miles from gas stations and restaurants so plan your day carefully. (You can purchase lunch/dinner at the YMCA dining hall, though check the serving hours.)
• Winters are long, cold, and snowy in this part of the world. You might want to check local weather / road / course conditions before you head out, especially in late fall or early spring. I'm guessing it's called FROST Valley for a reason.
• Rugged walking up, down, and around the layout. Even in some of the landing areas you can have some awkward footing on approach throws. Can be a challenge for very young or older players or anybody not in good physical condition. Lots of loose rocks and slippery conditions, especially when wet. Be careful coming down the hill after teeing off from the back tees on 16. Look for the alternate paths down on some holes (15 comes to mind). The short course is a bit less physically demanding than the long, but even the red layout is no stroll-in-the-park chip and putt.
Other Thoughts: There are cons to this course... but they don't take away from this being the closest thing to disc golf heaven I've ever seen. I missed the "Flyboy" experience, but this place is the most compelling disc golf venue I've ever played. If there is a better course than Frost Valley out there I'd love to see it. It was so worth my 3 hour drive and whatever the YMCA wants to charge for day use.
#1- From the back tees it's a bit of a right turn to a landing area, then maybe a little left to right to the elevated basket, though other lines might work. From the shorts it's a straighter drive to the basket (just find a line that misses the bigger trees), then an approach to a basket up over a stony ridge. Green protected by some large trees. Kids may be screaming from the giant swing behind the hole, but they aren't close enough to worry about hitting. The giant swing looks like a blast, but resist the temptation to go for a ride, there's plenty of disc golf to be played.
#2- An across the gully shot from the back tees, with plenty of options for lines, just pick one and avoid the trees. From the short tee it's much shorter but plays up hill. A big left to right or a slightly less drastic right to left is available, or a narrow "down the middle" line.
#3- From the back tees a narrow uphill shot to a landing area, then still a lot of work to do to get up the ridge to the basket. The short tee is a much shorter and more open drive to a landing spot, but a rec arm will still need to get a good upshot to get up the ridge to look at birdie. The weird UFO-looking water tower at the right edge of the fairway seems to attract discs.
#4- Another uphill but slightly shorter par 4 from the back tees, a choice of lines on a wooded fairway. The short tees take out a lot of the distance and elevation, but you have to hit lines or you will catch an "early tree". If you miss badly to the left you still have a chance to try turn one to save par. (Yes, that is from experience... twice)
#5- An epic par five! Measures in at 933' from the backs and is still 737' from the front tees. Throw a bit downhill to a landing area, then up and around to the basket protected by a couple of giant moss covered boulders. One of the best holes in the disc golf universe?
#6- A big narrow downhill ace run! 287' with one tee for all. If you do catch the trees you can usually still find a line to make your par.
#7- A bit of an around and over walk to the tee. A scenic par 3 that plays along a rushing creek. The creek only comes into play if you pull something badly to the left or get a roll-away. Right to left approach to the basket is most sensible, though I suppose you can work a left to right if you want to risk the drop-off to the creek.
#8- Par three with a steep drop-off to the left of the hole. Left to right can work if you throw over the drop-off, but I suspect most will opt for the right to left, just don't overthrow. From the short tee right to left is the obvious option. Not a hole I'd use for a round of Glo, that's a pretty big drop off left of the basket.
#9- Another interesting par 5. The back tee is a bit of a hike from the #8 basket, with a tight drive to a couple of different landing areas. Second shot is little less tight, and if you have the arm you might be able to turn it off to the left up the hill toward the basket. The basket is up a rise, with some trees protecting errant shots. The short tee is off in a completely different direction from the #8 basket. From the shorts, it's a much shorter and more open drive, then a straight look up the rise at the basket. A big arm might have an eagle opportunity from the short tee... but if you have a big arm why are you playing the short tee?
#10- A left to right slightly up hill par 3, 317' from the longs, and about 250' from the short tee. Fairly wide fairway but tall trees prevent cutting the dogleg.
#11- A bit of a walk back down the hill to the next tee box. A fairly short wooded par four, uphill to a rocky and well treed green.
#12- Uphill, narrow, heavily wooded and rock strewn par four, to a basket well-guarded by boulders. Takes a couple of well places shots to get a look at birdie. Short uses the same tee pad which plays to a basket much shorter and off to the left of the long fairway. A much easier hole for the rec player. The short basket makes for a short walk to the #13 short tee.
#13- Downhill, right to left to a basket guarded by some trees and boulders. A drop-off past the basket can lead to roll-ways on an overly aggressive birdie run.
#14- Another epic par five, this one playing gradually uphill. Multiple landing areas via some fairly tight lines through tall trees. Rocky ground can lead to some awkward footwork if you miss the landing zones. Basket protected by some big boulders. Playing from the shorts is a big break here, it's a fairly short right turning par four from the same tee-pad. After playing #14, the #15 tee pads are a short walk from the appropriate basket... but the short and long tee pads for #15 are far apart in different directions.
#15- A downhill par three through a narrow fairway from the back tees. The front tees is a very short uphill shot from the opposite direction. The short basket on #14 and the tee pad on #15 are a very creative way of keeping younger/older rec players from having to walk up all the way up the rugged fairway on hole #14.
#16- A big downhill bomb off the back tee down to a generously wide landing area. Think ski slope. From the landing area you may have a bit of a right to left approach to the basket. Scenic views of the Catskills. From the short tees it's a much shorter and only a slightly downhill shot to the landing area. In the fall the colors are riotous, one of most beautiful holes I've ever seen.
#17- A long serpentine slightly downhill par five with several options. Pretty heavy woods border the narrow fairway on a 988' hole. From the short tee you have fewer options and have "only" an 820' hole to deal with. I can imagine it will be easy for a couple of shot swing in scores in a tight match. For the rec player with a 200' range, a par will be a tough score here. Even the big arms could get in trouble with a careless throw in the woods.
#18- A birdie-able 320' downhill finishing hole, with a hyzer, straight, and anny line available, enforced by well-placed trees. From the short tee it's a 180' ace run... if you can avoid the guarding trees.
The cost might seem high but his is really a world class experience, well worth the drive and the cost. The fee goes to support the course and the YMCA, and includes an all-you-can-eat lunch. The food is decent (think college dining hall) with plenty of options.
Frost Valley is remote, cell phone service gets spotty, and gas and other food options are at least ten miles away, so plan accordingly.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Frosting on the Cake!
Pros: Phenomenal private property set in the heart of the beautiful Catskill Mountains with Red and Blue course layouts catering to the skill levels of recreational to expert players. Course consists of 18 holes featuring large concrete tee launchpads, nice signage and DisCatcher baskets.
The course design incorporates the massive mountain woodland wonderland to the WOW factor for scenic beauty, hole diversity, risk and reward decisions, technical challenge, and fun! Par 3s, 4s, and 5s with multiple fairways play through the mature forest of huge pines and hardwoods, and along the Biscuit Brook. The course plays up, down and across some serious mountain elevation and cliffs formed by glaciers that left some big boulders scattered about which makes for some interesting unique and technical greens and some spectacular tee locations.
There is also a mini practice course that is ADA compliant by the main course consisting of 3 baskets and multiple tees in the 100-200' range. I was told the mini ADA course tees will be upgraded from gravel to concrete in the near future. Cafeteria and bathroom facility available. Hotel and Lodging on the property. Lake Cole, several water falls, hiking trails, zip lines and other fun activities on property.
Cons: Things to plan for... Only one loop of holes - bring plenty of water. Navigation between holes 8-14 can be a little tricky - they give you a map when you check-in. Rocky mountainous terrain can make playing and traversing the course difficult in places - wear appropriate gear for hiking.
White and yellow color discs are seemingly camouflaged against the natural ground color. Annoying flying insects - bring bug spray. Zero cell phone reception in the vicinity(could be a pro as well)*there is Verizon cell service in the welcome building.
Stretching to find things here, some may list no open holes, no pond(although hole 7 does have water in play to the left). No benches(yet?). Course availability, may be closed at times. Pricey to play for a day although it includes lunch before 1230(recommend as nothing else in area), membership is very reasonable(basically twice the day fee) and tempting even living 5 hrs away. You have to wear a wrist band for your stay. The food in the cafeteria is decent for the most part, but a couple meals I had were not very appetizing and there is no soda.
On my journey to Frost Valley my GPS decided that the course is 6 miles short of where it actually is, it took me up one of the craziest back mountain roads or long skinny gravel driveways I've ever been on, and eventually figured there is no way this could be right and turned around which is was scary enough and put the vehicle in low gear and foot on brake back down all the way. Had no cell phone service, so I headed back to the last "town" and found a runner, and asked where the ymca was, and it's obvious after crossing the bridge to continue on the paved road(ignoring GPS) and then you will see signs to it.
After finally getting to the course destination, the joyous journey had only yet just begun. Had I known before hand what I was about to embark on - I probably would not have decided to bring my video camera/tripod with me. I played the Blue course and holy crap this course is massive! I physically paid the price toting extra equipment around and having to probably double my total hiking to capture this video footage, although I think it was worth it in retrospect. I'd do a hole by hole breakdown, but I think the video says enough although it doesn't do the elevation justice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3VSGMi_D88
Highlights(too many really):
As I walked down the fairway of the signature par 5 - hole 5 to scope out where the basket was, I nearly crapped my pants because I got the butterflies and adrenaline pumping about to play this beauty - probably well over 100' of elevation downhill from the top of the mountain with 2 different fairways and cliffs to the sides and the basket 933' away down the tunnel of pines and then hardwoods with huge boulders protecting the raised green with a pit in front of it. When I finished hole 5 I got temporally confused when I saw the #5 on the basket because I thought I had played at least 9 holes already or felt like it physically at least.
The death approach and putt to the long basket on hole 12 will get your heart racing, it's quite steep and tight and then on top of that has a cliff behind it!
Hole 16 is another picturesque signature hole, this pretty par 4 is framed out with hardwood trees to the sides, you tee from the mountain top cliff to the basket straight ahead downhill with the backdrop view of the neighboring mountain top. Probably well over 100' of elevation drop and 784' long. If your approach shot goes 40' or so long you risk going down the cliff behind the basket.
In conclusion, out of the 150+ courses I've played, Frost Valley is a destination course easily worthy of best of the best rating. The Catskills are quickly becoming the premier disc golf region although it's spread out a bit from Warwick to Mine Kill and J-park to Stoney Kill. If you live or stay near Kingston NY you are about equidistant to some of the best disc golf you will find anywhere. I'd recommend playing Frost Valley last though on a road trip since everything else will seem blander afterward. It would be like having Charlotte McKinney as your first girlfriend. I played Walnut Mountain in the morning before Frost Valley which is a good pairing as it's currently a quick fun more open than wooded 9 holer, although it could be epic as well expanding to 18. Mine Kill is another option to pair with the same day although both in the same day would be equally epic and tough and you could easily want to spend the entire day at either course, they do compliment each other very well with MK providing more open style course while FV is heavily wooded. **Update** I returned to FV for the NY State DG Championships and stayed at the lodge for 3 nights. I had an absolute blast taking in the surrounding wildlife, the camp fires, and the stars! The rooms in the Castle were really nice compared to the lodge and there are other housing options available and cabins, so staying at the YMCA is totally worth it IMO especially with everything that have facility wise at your disposal and getting 3 meals/day included. So I've played the Blue course 5+ times and the Red course once. I still haven't explored all the different routes on the Blue course from the tees. The Red course is not as easy as I thought and had some real tricky holes, like 8 and 9, but there are a number of ace runs. If you have a bucket list or only have time for one course to play though Frost Valley would absolutely be the ONE!
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
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