Not worth the hype
1 Helpful / 10 Not
Pros: Well maintained
Cons: Almost all of the shots were blind. You're just throwing your disc without any sense of where you're going.
If your disc rolls at all, be ready to go to the very bottom of the course and all the way back up (a pretty steep, big hill)
Technical, but not in a fun way.
Other Thoughts: Play this course if you want to suffer
1 of 11 people found this review helpful.
The Tail of the Dragon, Disc Golf Edition
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I gave it a 4.5. I have no doubts it will rate a 5 after a few years to mature. I'd rate it a 5 now, but I know it's only going to get better.
I am writing this a week after playing in the North Boundary Flex Start, which was the first PDGA event held there, and the volunteers who readied the course for the event truly did a fantastic job, abating most of the negative comments you might find in the older reviews.
That said, the pros:
+The meticulous care that went into the design, which delivers on form and function.
+The teepads are all concrete and exist for all tees: whites, blues, and golds
+Benches, benches, benches!
+The baskets have interesting variety, and some have really cool aesthetics, such as a terraced tower.
+Permanent, clean, and plumbed bathroom facilities are in the parking lot between the practice baskets and the baseball field.
+Very clear signage. Tee signs have elevation marked on it and the basket is indicated by a moveable pin. The next tee markers are also helpful, as there is a walking path that runs through the course which might otherwise confuse a visiting player.
+Ample variety of shots are required. It rewards good decisions and punishes iffy ones with extreme prejudice
+You get one heck of a hike out of it, regardless of tee. The short ones (white) is still a 7500 foot walk up and down a lot of hills
Cons: I don't have any true cons for this course. As of this writing, the course is in amazing condition. I will say this: the course is tough and unforgiving at times. And if it's your first time playing it, you should play with a friend and spot each others' shots. Even in its current (excellent) condition, really good players are losing discs because a fantastic blind shot is still a blind shot. The number of shots you have to make like this is worth noting, but if it's truly a con... that I'm not sure.
Other Thoughts: If you've ever driven (or even heard of) the Tail of the Dragon, it is a road that folks go to just to drive it for the thrill of driving it. It is technical and you best not drive it while drowsy. North Boundary is a course that you have to be alert and cognizant of what you can do with a particular disc and you have to trust your line because you are going to have to go find your disc without seeing it land from time to time. Get ready to throw over a treacherous gulch, but don't nose up on it or you'll hit the tree branches which will guarantee a drop to the bottom of the gulch. Hyzer forehand or turnover backhand? NoBo knows the right choice, but will you make it? Roll-aways abound and running a C1x putt could end in total disaster here, but that means the challenge is what will separate the champions from the rest of us. This course is a beast.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
A significant challenge, still getting better
Pros: A wide variety of holes and hole types to challenge all aspects of your game. If you can't throw forehand, backhand, high arcing spikes and rollers, you're going to be in trouble on at least a few holes.
A mix of par 3, 4, and 5's, each true to par (and a couple bordering on "should be higher"). Several long holes requiring three solid throws through gaps and tunnels.
Up, down, blind, gaps, tunnels - even a token wide open tee shot on Hole 1 to draw you in.
Three tees and three basket locations allows you to face something new every time, if you want. Tee pads and baskets are best of the best.
Detailed signs tell you length, elevation, location, direction, etc. Next hole signs with arrows so you don't get lost.
25+ benches now installed
Cons: Not for the beginner. Learning the sport here could be frustrating. I suggest Knob Hill, down the road, after mastering the Learn To Play, before taking on the big course.
Gets muddy after rain.
A workout. This can be a pro or a con. I enjoy the challenge, but this isn't a Sunday stroll among the trees on level ground.
Still a work in progress - leftovers from tree cutting, trimming, etc. will clear over time. I think a few more trees could go on a couple of holes that are Plinko from many locations (8, 17, maybe 16). A few stairs are in, and stones have been dumped in locations where stairs and raised baskets will eventually be.
Big, long, complex. Takes several rounds to fully see and understand the locations, directions, and options. I'm still trying to work out two holes.
Other Thoughts: I'm rating this on what it's growing into, and relative to other courses, given only 5 rating levels above "Decent". I don't think a "perfect in every possible way" course exists, so my 5 means a top course, in discussion with others as among the best, certainly in the top few percent.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Beast of the East
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Every attention to detail was thought out when designing this course. Designing a course this size is an amazing feat in itself. It's easier to list the pros instead of trying to babble on.
~ Cement tees on all three sets of tee pads throughout all 18.
~ Amazing tee signs with pindicators (best signs I've ever seen)
~ Very visible and abundant next tee signs to hep with navigation.
~ Innova Discatcher 28 baskets.
~ Amazing real stone raised baskets on several holes.
~ Valve boxes to cover all pin anchors.
~ Stainless steel benches throughout
Cons: First and foremost this course is as much of a hike as it is a round of golf. I was literally exhausted after playing all 18. Make sure you know what you are getting into before playing. The elevation changes on almost every hole make for a strenuous round. The course is still a little rough around the edges but seasoning in takes time. Other than the couple mentioned above (which are more of warnings not really cons) I really can't think of any.
Other Thoughts: I will not list hole for hole the details and layout of them all. Just know that every hole however listed is true to its par. No filler holes on this course. I think it's hard to explain in words the sheer magnitude of a course this big. This course is on a level I don't believe any of us are used to. It's something you have to experience yourself. I am at a loss for words to explain it any better than I did. I know in time after this course seasons in it is going to be world class with more things planned in the future to make it even more epic and unforgettable. This will test the best of the best.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
North Boundary is another gem in the Pittsburgh area!!
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The North Boundary tee signs are great and I think this review is the first since they were installed. My first impression of the tee signs was not that good since they are just mounted on a metal pole and don't have the impressive appearance you see at Deer Lakes or Moraine. But after taking a moment to look at these signs closer they are full of valuable information.
Each hole has 3 unique signs for each tee: gold is long and full scale professional distance with more difficult locations. Blue is the middle tee and still too challenging for me. White is the shortest and placed about right for my game. Thank you J. Gary Dropcho and Doug Cloutier for giving us an equalizer tee when we play with professional and intermediate players! In my Deer Lakes review I comment in detail about my appreciation for this design.
Each tee sign lists the distance in both feet and meters to each of the 3 basket positions: A, B, and C.
Each sign lists the elevation change in plus or minus feet. This is really nice since there is elevation in play on nearly every hole.
All 54 tee signs have a well illustrated picture of all 3 basket positions so you are never really "throwing blind" even though you can't actually see the basket, but the basket IS where the sign says it is and this is especially not an issue after your first round. I only played one round and never felt lost. Some of the previous reviews complained about throwing blind from the tee and that is understandable since they played before these excellent tee signs went up.
Each tee sign has a marker peg to let you know which location the basket is in: A, B, or C.
Next tee signs are extremely helpful to navigate this course. These nice metals signs are anchored on trees easily visible from the baskets.
The roughly finished concrete tees are great in every way. They are long enough for a good run up as well as rough enough to prevent slipping in wet weather. All the gold, blue, and white tees are equally well constructed and level, pointing in exactly the right direction according to the tee sign's illustration, which really help you pick your line.
I liked the layout of nearly every hole. The downhills are great but even the uphill shots present many challenges. Number 17 winds down, around, and up to the basket. I made, what I thought, was a great approach shot to the bottom of the knoll where the basket was placed, only to discover that there's a little swampy area there where my Leopard disappeared. When I finally located it and went in for extraction my hiking shoe sunk completely in the mud and came off when I tried to pull it out. Boots! Wear boots for this place; it's no fun in a swamp in a sock and digging your shoe out of the muck. But it was worth it to get my Leopard back.
The baskets are high quality disc catchers.
North Boundary Park is surrounded by the Cranberry Township. So you are basically in town, not like Moraine or Deer Lakes, and yet you feel like you are in a secluded remote area most of the time you're on the course. At 11's basket a full size red tail hawk sailed right by me, within 10 feet, and perched on a nearby branch. I took pictures until it flew away, showing off it's pretty red tail. Cool!
Cons: Your energy level will be tested here, but people pay money to burn calories at a gym and you will likely sweat a lot here and there is no fee..
Some of the basket positions were in the B position and some were in the C position and some were in the A position. I suppose this isn't a big deal if you're paying attention to where the peg is on each tee sign, but I'm not used to playing a course where the basket positions are not consistently in the A, B, or C location.
The transition from 11's basket to 12's tee was a little precarious when I was there right after a heavy rain. I tried to walk up the slope and kept sliding backwards. I eventually gave up and walked around. This spot is begging for some steps, which I'm pretty sure will eventually show up as the course matures, especially if the Pittsburgh Flyers are involved. But this isn't the only spot that could use steps, it's just the most needed.
I don't like hole 13's white tee layout, which is harder than the blue and gold tees since both blue and gold have real fairways to give a clear line to where the basket was today, in the A position. I played 2 discs and both hit trees.
Other Thoughts: I am the 5th reviewer for No Boundary. The first reviewer gave it a 3.0 and the only reviewer for the 6 hole beginner course on site gave it a 4.0. I suppose that is a quirk in our rating system, that a 6 hole course could be rated higher than a championship level course.
If the PDGA decides to hold Worlds in the Pittsburgh area again then I would be surprised if No Boundary was not included. In time it will be at the same level as it's big brothers: Moraine and Deer Lakes, upholding a great disc golf heritage in this part of the world.
The gps location led me to a private driveway. A nice guy, who lived at the end of the driveway, came out and explained that there has been a gate installed at the end of the private drive so there's no longer access to the park that way so I needed to go around the corner to the park's main entrance. I plugged in the address for the course and it led me there. When I went in the entrance I decided to take the fork in the road to the right, which led me to the 6 hole beginner course with the statue of a disc golfer. That is an okay place to park if you want to play the beginner course but it's a pretty good walk to hole one of the main course. So take a left as you pull into North Boundary Park and work your way around to the Veteran's Memorial Statue. Park there since that's where both the front 9 and the back 9 start. You might want to refill your water bottle after your first 9.
My final thoughts: This is a great course, even if some people think that Gary Dropcho lost his mind. I think his design of this course is spectacular! I suppose it means that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. AND THANKS PITTSBURGH FLYERS FOR INSTALLING MUCH NEEDED BENCHES!!!
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Beautiful and Beastly
16 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: I really enjoyed the shotmaking challenges and strategy that this course demanded. It combines dramatic elevation changes and mature forest into a championship-caliber course that is rather unique. You have to hit gaps and shape lines to progress forward on these long holes through the woods. So many of the angles through the woods linger in my head days after playing it, which is much of what makes disc golf fun for me.
This is a brutal but beautiful course through the tall trees that will take you up and down both sides of a steep ridge several times.
I really like throwing flippy plastic, so this course was a lot of fun for me with its numerous uphill shots and lines to shape through the woods. Even though I carried a full bag, I used my flippiest driver for my teeshot on 10 holes and a somewhat flippy driver for four other teeshots.
Favorite holes are 2, 6, 11, 16, and 18. Three of those are Par 5s, which reflects how much I enjoyed winding my way through the woods several times for the approximately 1000-foot holes.
Cons: My biggest criticism is lackluster Par 3s, or at least the lack of a really special and fun hole. Holes 4 and 12 registered as the same hole in my mind (and also the same as Hole 5 at Deer Lakes). Maybe I'll end up liking Hole 9 more when I see the other pin positions or once more limbs are trimmed.
There are a couple spots on the course where there wasn't a clear tunnel, but not too many.
Other Thoughts: Imagine Holes 13 and 14 at Deer Lakes; No Boundary is basically a whole course of holes like that. Or maybe it's like Iron Hill if an earthquake created a steep ridge 200 feet above the base through the middle of the course.
Looking back from the basket, no hole really seemed as hard as it looked from the tee. Some of the Par 5s seemed really intimidating when you see how much is left after your first drive, but two shots later I was at the basket and feeling much better about playing the hole in the future.
I played a full-round from the middle tees with the course designer, and we finished in 2 hours and 45 minutes (compared to about 2 hours for either Moraine or Deer Lakes).
16 of 17 people found this review helpful.
J. Gary Dropcho has gone mad!
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: So, the rumors were true. North Boundary is one of the most physically demanding courses in PA, and maybe the entire northeast. This wild journey will take you up and down steep hills, through thick woods and open fields. This place is NOT for the lighthearted, as it's nearly 10,000 feet on treacherous terrain!
+ This is a championship level course, and it is advertised as such so there shouldn't be any surprises. It'll test every element of your game from start to finish.
+ Trecherous climbs are usually rewarded with fun downhill shots soonafter. #9 was an awesome, air it out hole after a grueling 8 holes.
+ Three sets of concrete tees that provide unique lines and angles. Short tees are probably intermediate difficulty, middle would be advanced, and long would be championship level.
+ Brand new DISCatcher baskets on every hole, with 3 pin positions. Front 9 loops right back to the parking lot (Restrooms located there as well).
Cons: - The course is open to the public, but still under construction. No tee signs are up yet, and there's definitely some rough areas as far as footing is concerned. These issues will obviously be resolved as the course matures.
- A few too many blind approach shots for my taste, but it's really a preference thing. Some will love it, some will hate it. I'm somewhere in the middle.
- I'm warning you ahead of time, this course is exhausting. It's probably only playable for intermediate to advanced level players and higher.
Other Thoughts: I'm giving my rating based on the assumption that signs will be installed soon and fairways will get cleaned up. In its current state, it's probably around a 3.5. Be prepared to have a map pulled up and a few buddies at the moment but it'll become much easier to navigate as it matures.
North Boundary is a great course that will be suited perfectly for championship-level play soon. While I don't think it will ever be on the level of Moraine and Deer Lakes (Western PA's best), it's going to be a unique staple in the local scene for a very long time.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Long and Blind
8 Helpful / 11 Not
Pros: Very challenging, tests almost all shots in your arsenal. World championship level. If you like the hiking aspect of disc golf, this course is for you!
So I've been playing this course a bit more lately and want to add a few more pros.
Par is a great score. The gold tees are worth the challenge.
Cons: There are a ton of blind shots. Almost every par 4 and 5 you will not be able to see the basket until you're close to the pin. Although it's not hard to navigate, locating the pins on each hole will require you to play with a guide until you become familiar with the layout. It takes very long to play this course, our group of 4 with a guide took us 4.5 hours. A lot of walking up and down steep hills. More uphill shots than downhill shots.
Other Thoughts: My first attempt at playing this course was a bit frustrating. Although we had a guide, almost every shot you throw will be blind. It will take many rounds to figure out the landing areas for each shot on any given hole. If you're looking a workout and for a long day of disc golfing on one course. Look no further.
The course is still technically under construction but even when finished I don't see any of the many blind shots going away. It's extremely challenging. I would not recommend this course for a casual round or for any novices to the sport of disc golf.
Par is a great score!
Gold tees are extremely challenging but worth it. Now that I've become a bit more familiar I'm addicted to the challenge here.
Sometimes bad shots are rewarded and good shots aren't.
A key takeaway I've learned over my last few rounds here are only take what the course gives you!
8 of 19 people found this review helpful.
The Third Jewel in Pittsburgh
17 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Perhaps it is too early to review this course, but people need to know about it...I am a huge fan of J. Gary...Deer Lakes and Moraine are my favorite courses (and I live in Buffalo, NY)...had a chance to play with him a few days ago on his newest epic design...
Tee Pads - Great, long, couldn't be better...three sets of them, recently poured on every tee...
Design - Incredible...tons of elevation, more than Deer Lakes or Moraine, really a workout...over 10,000 feet from the back tees...holes 3 and 7 are really steeply uphill...nice mix of par 3,4, and 5 holes...hole 4 reminds me of hole 5 at Deer Lakes..steeply downhill through a maze of trees..
Memorable Holes - Many...let's start with 1, 6, 8, 15 and 16...but many more...there are no filler holes...
Lines - Absolutely perfect and challenging...thoughts put into both lefty and righty backhands...
Scenery - This course is beautiful and mainly wooded...
Epic - This course is a beast and from the first tee you can see that this is a championship level design and course...
Cons: It is still quite rough around the edges and there are no tee signs which can make it a very difficult test if you are trying to do a blind round...
Other Thoughts: I am giving this course a provisional 4 rating but when fully completed and broken in, this will be a 4.5 or 5 star course on par with Deer Lakes and Moraine...
Update (4/13/19) - Just played for the second time today and survived...this course is that hot, psycho chick that you ask out and then wonder a few weeks later how you ever let that insanity in your life... thisr course smacks you in the face and punches you in the gut on the first three holes and then asks if you'd like fifteen more of the same...I wish that I had my hiking GPS with me to track, but the course felt like I walked from Cranberry, PA to Morgantown, WV with the elevation gain and loss of a section hike on the Appalachain trail...the course is half brilliant and half bat shit crazy, hard to imagine any course with a more extreme elevation profile...last track of how many throws I took, but there were only 18 of them that were on anything resembling flat ground (J. Gary did an amazing job with the concrete tees)...
Some amazing progress on the course but it still has a ways to go...some real highlight holes...6, 8, and my personal favorite 16...
17 of 20 people found this review helpful.
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