Pros: - Elevation change
- Excellent variety
- Right off of I-95
Cons: - Rough is really nasty in places
- Disappointing finishing holes
- Wooded holes aren't as interesting as the open ones
- As of the last time I was there, some of the signage was broken or missing, and navigation is tricky at a few places
Other Thoughts: Rockburn Branch is a solid course, with some really cool holes and others that aren't so great. About two-thirds of the course is park style with some really open fairways (not just a basket in a field type holes, though) and a couple of holes with tunnel type tee shots that open up towards the basket. The remaining third of the course is wooded, including one hole that plays down through the woods and across a small creek.
In my opinion, the park style holes are much better than the wooded holes, many of which feel like the generic "wooded" holes that can be found on any mediocre wooded course. That being said, there aren't very many of them, and they still do provide a nice contrast to the more wide open holes on the rest of the course. The park style holes are a good mix, with some tighter fairways and some longer, more open holes.
As others have mentioned, there is a lot of elevation change, which makes for some fun shots - although the downhill holes are more controlled shots rather than distance holes. There are also a few holes with basket positions located on down slopes or side slopes, which makes for a tricky landing zone.
Overall, I think the variety is excellent, with the exception of a stretch of wooded holes at the end that gets a little repetitive - kind of going out on a whimper rather than on a bang.
My biggest complaint about the course is the rough, which can be downright nasty in places. There is one hole in particular with a tight fairway lined with nasty rough until you get about halfway to the basket, which I am just relieved to get through without losing a disc. Hole 18 also has some nasty undergrowth (and a blind landing), and I've had a couple rounds ruined by spending a half hours searching for a disc on the final hole. But, there are only a couple of spots that are really bad.
Overall, I think Rockburn Branch is a solid course. It's one I wouldn't mind having in my backyard, but not one I would go too far out of my way to play. It is located not far off of I-95, though, so it's worth considering if you are passing through the area.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Map and Navigation file need updating
Pros: Nice variety of holes with a mix of open, wooded, elevation changes, and some minor water hazards.
Cons: Difficult course to navigate.There are changes not reflected on the map nor the "Navigating Rockburn" file on this site. Specifically the tee for #4 has been removed and relocated forward and right into the woods. There is no tee for #15 and the "house" no longer exists, just a foundation. A spotter is useful on many of the holes.
Other Thoughts: My buddy clanged his tee shot off the porta-potty on #3 (a really bad throw) and a "helpful" foreign lady picked it up and threw it back. We laughed so hard we made him
play his second shot from where the potty lady's throw landed. Too bad she didn't open the door a couple seconds earlier, we'd have made him play his shot from inside the loo.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Nice mix of open, tight, uphill and downhill fairways. Water near a couple of baskets adds a nice obstacle. Hole #15 was most memorable. Lots of birdie holes! Very long tee pads allow for a good run up.
Cons: Many signs missing from tees and most of the baskets were not numbered. Somewhat difficult to navigate, but not impossible. I found all the holes eventually. The rough on some holes is nasty - sticker bushes and such - like hole #11. I would expect to lose a disc or two if I played here often.
Other Thoughts: Walking though the back nine was quite scenic, especially around the barn and orchard. Definitely would play again next time I fly into BWI.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 4 Not
Worth a visit
Pros: Great variety of holes. Uphill, downhill, wooded, open, tight fairways, etc... You have to use all of your shots in your bag.
Cons: Easy to get lost, some of the signs are no longer effective. Some of the rough is really rough. A little more maintenance is required.
Other Thoughts: Definitely check it out if you are driving on 95 and looking for a break. It is close to the freeway and the design is really interesting. My favorite part is the section of the course that incorporates some old buildings and downhill holes. Grab a map out of the sign-box before you go. I missed about 4 holes during my round of 18.
0 of 4 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The course plays through a secluded park with a mix of grassy fairways bordered by thick rough and some technical wooded shots. There is a mix of hole lengths, with a few chances to air it out and some ace runs. The wooded holes call for mostly straight lines but you'll need to work some left and right turning shots along the way too.
Several holes have nice elevation changes including a couple fun downhill shots and a memorable uphill drive through a gap in an old fence. The old farmhouse is a cool piece of history to play next to. There are multiple pin placements that change things up quite a bit, and the padlock and eyelet system on the tee posts is a clever way to display current pin positions.
Cons: The tees are terrible for the most part. Other than a few improved pads, the tees are rutted out sandy spots that are neither level nor flat. Most have deep enough holes and ruts that you risk twisting your ankle with any kind of run up. The signs look like they were decent at some point, but are in sad shape now. Most are unreadable, and no longer give much useful information making the blind holes a little frustrating. There are a couple spots where navigation is tricky, the course map comes in handy.
Several of the long pin settings seemed a bit silly, like they were just added on to make the course longer and tougher without regard to how discs fly. The rough in some areas gets pretty nasty with lots of thorns and poison ivy, along with thick enough brush that it's easy to lose discs and impossible to use any creativity on recovery shots. There are lots of spots that don't drain well, so many fairways had mud and standing water to contend with.
Other Thoughts: There are some really nice holes here, and it's a pretty good layout overall. The tees and signs really hurt the playability, and the rough and drainage take away from the fun factor somewhat. Most beginners won't enjoy the combination of technical shots and thick rough. More experienced players will find some nice tests of different disc golf skills.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
A great home course
Pros: Considering Rockburn my home course, I have played it in many times in a variety of conditions and every pin placement.
This course gives a variety of shots at a with different lengths. Set around a park it makes good use of the elevation change, some open shots, and some wooded shots. It is a great course to get out and play over and over again without really getting bored. The different pin placements really change some of the holes to be much more challenging. For the most part navigation is not a problem (more on this later).
The course really allows you to open up your bag and use all of your discs at some point in time.
Cons: Navigation is a breeze between all of the holes except between 2 and three and 10 and 11. Otherwise the course flows very nicely.
The course lacks a few signature holes. Only number 15 is very memorable with a long down hill shot over a stream into a protected green. The other holes are nice holes but they lack that special feel.
The course can also get some really bad thorns in the summer. It has been better in recent time, but some of the underbrush is very unforgiving and will eat up a disc as well as your legs if you try to retrieve it. There have been many rounds where I watch my disc enter the underbrush but still fail to find it. With some very dense thorns and bushes, an errant disc disappears very quickly.
Other Thoughts: I would not recommend this course as a drive out of your way just to play, but with so many other great courses around it, it makes a good day of disc golf even better. If you are looking to polish up your play without the thrashings that come at some of the densely wooded course, Rockburn is a great choice.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 2 Not
B = Nice, But Begs for Better
Pros: Since I rate courses from the longest tee/basket combinations and then try to back up my rating with my verbiage, I feel bad that I'm seeming to slam Rockburn Branch for all the bad long basket locations, especially since most of the other locations are wonderful. See below for more.
What I personally like and how this course stacks up in my list of 18 hole courses (over 180 played):
1) Holes with good risk/reward. Fair, but harsh punishment for bad decisions or execution. == B-
(There are plenty of wooded holes with harsh punishment for bad throws. The problem with most of these is that the punishment is so disproportionately high, that you are foolish to go-for-it on the long baskets. That makes them boring putter-putter-putter par-3 holes. There is very little decision making imposed on you by this course - very rarely do you need to choose the best route/line to the basket.)
2) Holes that have rewarding birdie opportunities for me (I rate only from the longest tee/basket combination). I'm a Blue level player (950ish skill) who throws 300' accurately, 360' max. == D
(This course has lots of really cool holes if set up correctly. But for the long positions, only 5 and 13 are rewarding holes due to distance and shape. Both happen to be really fun downhill holes too. But those good holes are offset by all the other holes that are either too long for me (450' throwers will like some of them) and others that are just quirky extensions of god holes that do nothing but add a boring or inaccessible 50-150' to an otherwise decent/good/excellent hole).
3) More wooded than open - lots of variety of shots required caused by hole shape and topography == B+
(There is a good mix of woodsy holes and open holes. Maybe slightly more open than my preference, but still pretty good. Great use of available terrain as to where the holes are placed (hole design for scoring purposes is another issue). There are some fun opportunities the course forces on you; making you have to work your disc from right to left and left to right in interesting ways (16 & 17 come to mind), but overall this course is more about throwing basically straight and accurately.)
4) Natural beauty (Appalachian beauty preferred) and seclusion. == A-
(Seclusion from the hustle-bustle is fantastic! You hardly see modern civilization at all from the time you walk out of the parking lot to tee 1 until you pop out of the woods after holing out on 18. The exception is the abandoned farm house and barn that holes 11-15 surround. But for me that is nice nostalgia, not a big distraction.
There are lots of beautiful spots on this course, but overall it is just nice....not full-on beautiful. I would describe the course as "rustic".....very much the feeling of playing on an old ranch. I like!)
5) Bonus points for multi-throw holes with defined landing zones, good risk/reward and multiple options to play them. == 2 bonus points for this.
(There are a lot of holes that are tweener holes - boring par-3's that you would really be pushing to call par-4's. They are par-4's if you are considering players with max D of 275-300'. But, the only par-4's I think are legit are #1 which at 539' is two boring open throws (ie 300' + 240'), and #12 which at 720' is too long for me to ever birdie and whose obstacles at the bend and at the basket make it probably more challenging than it needs to be for anyone except maybe 1000 rated players. Still, I applaud the designers for including at least a couple multi-throw holes! The world needs more of these.)
PS: I grade courses on a school grading system...60-100 with no F's and the average/center point being a B-....been doing that for a long time and started transferring my ratings list to the similar 11 level rating system here when this cool/amazing site came online.
Other Thoughts: I suppose I do not read too well since I thought it was Rockburn Ranch (not Branch) when I made my visit. I was pleased with the east coast Ranch feel of this course. Very rustic reeling - complete with the fences and farm house. But the playing experience makes me believe that Branch is more like it. It seems like almost every single long basket location was added as an unnecessary Branch to existing holes....making them unreachable. The vast vast majority of holes in the longs are simply not very good disc golf holes.
I could go hole-by-hole and defend what I am saying, but I won't since I do not even know how often things are set up in all long positions. What I will say is that if this course is set up in the "best of" basket locations, it is bumping up on a 4.0 (A grade) course for me. This is one of the few courses that I end up slamming with my rating (and verbiage defending my rating) since I rate a course from all longs (I cannot figure out how to objectively rate courses that have hundreds of setup options due to flexibility afforded by 3 basket locations per pin - all of which make the hole quite different). I really want to grade it an 82 (B-/2.5 discs) but I found it in my heart to grade it an 83 which is a B/3.0.
16 of 18 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Location, only about 5 min from the house. Challenging pin locations, recently moved longer. Requires variety of shots. Holes are in good shape, grass not too high and leaves not overwhelming.
Cons: Tee pads are getting better. Some are natural, some are rubber and some are green mats. Mountain bikers seem to think its funny to ride on the holes while your playing. #3 has a play ground very nearby and sometimes little kids are playing in the fairways nearby. Par on some holes seem to be for the pros or something.
Other Thoughts: #4 is pretty challenging, blind shot over the hill then pin is through a cut out in the wood down the hill on the right. 2nd shot is critical
#6 is my favorite hole. Its a down hill tunnel shot, if you dont have a solid drive down the fairway making it to the pin through all the trees is going to add at least 2
#7 has a nice rubber raised tee mat. Trees directly to the right keep the fairway narrow. Straight shots are rewarded. Pin location is pretty deep on this one.
#9 Downhill heavily wood tee shot easy to have a bum drive. Keep it low and fast, pin is just across the river
#10 has a nicer green tee pad
#12 nicer green tee pad, haunted house is broken down now. Ideally you want to shoot straight past the end of the fence post. Pin is up the hill to the right. Good tee shot or you miss par.
#14 Rubber tee mat. Seems like an easy uphill par 3, usually it is. Make it past the fence and 3 is easy.
#15 Super Long down hill hole. Aim towards the right for RHBH throwers and you should land in the middle for a direct shot at the pin.
#16 Rubber tee pad. Pin blind to the left
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 2 Not
look at the map!!!
Pros: good variety of shots required
baskets are in good shape
decent mix of open bombs/tight technical throws
Cons: consult the map especially on the back 9!
tee pads are not in great shape - some are missing altogether
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Mutile pin locations, mostly secluded from the rest of the park, nice mix of open and wooded shots, get to use all your shots on this course, nice elevation changes, decent layout, located in big park with plenty of other activities to keep the family busy while you play
Cons: natural pads, blind pins from i-pads, signs were ok although they didn't tell you the location, no amenities.
Other Thoughts: This is a pretty good course. I would recommend any first timer to print the map and hole discriptions. After shooting #2, I followed to the next tee sign, and threw from the next pad I saw which turned out to be #6. It took me about 15 minutes to find the pad for #3 and after 20 more minutes of searching for pad #4, i said forget it and skipped it, went straight to #5. Can be difficult to navigate your first time out. So hook up with a local or print the documents on the links tab. Overall this is a great course that will definitely challenge your physical and mental game. Will play this course anytime I am in the Baltimore area.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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