21 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: < Yes, that's who this course is intended for.
• Variety: Excellent - Very well to moderately wooded for the most part, with just a few holes open enough to strike some balance. All sorts of fairway shapes, with a bunch of them playing to landing spots. Distances range from short enough for noodle arms to ace (with some downhill help); to full oomph.. followed by another full oomph. White, blue and gold tees are challenging, more challenging, and you better have a cannon. The difference between gold and white tees is huge on some holes. Many legit par 4's and a few 5's. 3 pin locations on each hole, some providing very different approach lanes.
• Elevation: BIG TIME - Elevation is the theme throughout the course, employed in every way imaginable. Uphills, downhills, rollaways, elevated baskets, precarious pin placements, and even some fairways that slope left or right. I can't recall a course where topography can affect your round in so many ways. The terrain often makes runups on your 2nd or 3rd shot difficult, placing a premium on being able to stand and deliver at times. The hills can definitely take their toll on you physically, especially on a course this long. Nothing really prevents you from pulling a cart here, but I honestly think you'd regret it.
• Challenge: Phenomenal - Truly championship caliber. You'll be forced to make all sorts of decisions about angle, lines, and speed coming in as you approach the basket. Several holes really make you think about what the ground is doing where you want to land, and what you need to do to land softly without sliding/rolling away. Does a great job of challenging you off the tee, in the fairway, and inside C1-C2. Requires distance and finesse to score well.
• Equipment: Excellent - Concrete tees are grippy, spacious and level. Yellow Discatchers are easy to see from a distance - excellent choice for this course! Some of the best tee signs I've seen provide current pin location, distance to all 3 pins, net elevation change from tee to pin, and if you look closely, points you toward the next tee. Gold, Blue and white tees each have their own sign. Benches at most (if not all holes). Clean bathrooms with running water, as well as a large pavilion with picnic tables convenient to parking.
• Aesthetics: Excellent - I found the front 9 particularly eye-appealing, perhaps because it's more open than the back, with longer site lines and vistas. A few pin placements are ensconced in handsome stonework, dressing things up and combatting erosion. The back nine is nice hike through mature woods. I bet this place is a stunner dressed in fall colors.
• Fun-Factor: Excellent - Won't be everyone's cup of tea, but the shot variety and way it made me think my way through the round really hit my sweet spot.
• Memorable holes: You'll have your favorites. 1, 5, 6, 9, 11 & 18 stood out to me.
• Routing/Nav: Good /very good - Pay attention to the "Next Tee" arrows on the tee signs. Also Next Tee signs in a few key spot to help you along. Tee markers are easy to spot from a distance, but there are a few spots where the first tee you see may not be the next hole. Finding the next tee is usually pretty easy, but course is pretty spread out, so expect some long walks. Front 9 loops reasonably close to parking.
• Holes this long, hilly and wooded mean you'll want to scout ahead... on holes this long and hilly. Even with signs showing pin's current position, I still needed to look a while to spot the yellow chastity belt.
• Given the distance, terrain and woods, it's quite possible to throw on players out of your sight line (or be the player getting thrown on). There's just no way of knowing who's over the next rise, or around the next bend, and you can't scout every fairway.
• Drainage: Not a big problem, but the course's ability to hold water in a few spots might make you rethink the order in which you play the area courses the day after a good soaking.
• Blind shots: Personally, I don't mind ' em and think they're part of the "Championship Caliber Package." But, if you don't like 'em, you'll hate NoBo. That's a fact.
• Chance of disc loss: far from the worst I've played, but... bad kicks, around a turn, down a hill...
Run with the big dogs and you might get bit.
Other Thoughts: Truly an epic course, rivalling Moraine and Deer Lakes for best in the 'Burgh. On a road trip that included Idlewild, Mt Airy and Lincoln Ridge: NoBo's the one that stood out to my son (who's played some pretty standout courses himself).
Toboggan-esque in terms of the how much climbing/descending you do over 18 holes... with similar distance, and more trees - which perhaps makes it more challenging consider the lines are tighter than Toboggan (but the rough's not as bad). Would DEFINITELY require at least a couple of practice rounds for visiting tourney players to card a good 1st round.
Someone put some real thought into designing this course. Then put some $$$ into it, and it shows.
Nice, large park, in nice part of town. Only about 10 minutes away from a bunch of suburban eatery chains.
21 of 21 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: NoBo focuses on wooded conditions, dynamic elevation, and multistage holes. The land the course sits on is beautiful and prime for disc golf, providing some interesting interplay between open and wooded shots on some holes. Elevation changes constantly throw wrenches into the mix, especially in the case of the few par 3s like 9, a ~400' downhill shot through some patches of trees that is a true par 3. The course is at its best in the middle stretch, holes 8 - 14 or so, when there's the most variation in hole style and length from one to the next.
As woody as the conditions are, grooming is great and goes a long way to encouraging you to lean towards the aggressive end of the spectrum. The chance to lose discs is definitely mitigated.
Signage, tees, and amenities are great. Small touches like the indicators of pin position are very welcome.
Cons: It feels to me as though each hole was rendered with little regard as to what precedes or follows it. As such there is little rhythm or sense of consciously varying the pace. Sure, there's variation, and some of it is significant, but the emphasis on par 4s and 5s for the apparent sake of it became monotonous for me: the final five holes for example all exceed 450' from the middle set of tees. I'm a lover of long and technical courses, but I found this course's length to exceed its offering and start to drag. I rarely if ever feel this way and never to the degree I did here. The fixation on "championship level disc golf" seems to have resulted in an overwrought design that failed to maintain my interest. What's left is challenging, but more pedantically than excitingly so.
In part this is because I think there's a lack of polish in the design that undermines the course's ability to deliver on its high-caliber promise. Landing zones are often rendered irrespective of many reasonable flight paths that would bring your disc there: even killer drives can lead to bad lies that are not simply unlucky. Elsewhere the promise of multiple lanes is often undermined by the lines and gaps in play, often leading to a false appearance of choice in which there is a single clearly best decision that may or may not be flexible depending on your game. I spent more time trying to sight the pin than I did making critical decisions, off the tee or otherwise, as the shots were often straightforward, which absolutely feels out of place on a course with such richly varied terrain and evolving lanes. The terrain is great and really makes this course worth playing, but I find the design to be carried by it rather than equalling it.
While I don't think this course is a monster or anything, it's at the harder end of the spectrum for sure and even the short tees don't fully alleviate this. So consider this if you're trying to determine whether you fit its target audience.
Other Thoughts: To be perfectly honest, I flat-out disliked this course, which really surprised me because it checks all of my boxes. While writing this review helped me put my finger on some of the reasons why, I more broadly just did not feel as though its length held my interest, and the round dragged. In an area overflowing with noteworthy disc golf destinations, I can't think of anything that would lead me to recommend No Boundaries over not just Moraine or Deer Lakes but also Knob Hill, Two Mile, and Linbrook for starters. Slippery Rock even offers a fundamentally different feel than most of the courses in the area, making it the right choice for a certain kind of player. So it's hard to know where NoBo fits in, for locals and visitors alike. The course is certainly worth playing, but if you're visiting the area I'd emphatically recommend the other courses I mentioned over it, as they are either stalwarts or sleepers.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
NoBo is No Joke.
18 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: No Boundary is a beast of a course. Possibly the hardest course I've ever played. Maybe not the hardest shot wise, but the most physically taxing. But the golf is great. It's a little intimidating pulling up to the course and seeing this giant hill looming. It doesn't get any easier. This review is based on playing the middle tees, which are well over 8000 feet in length. And after having played Knob hill and Deer Lakes earlier in the day. I thought, well, it can't be THAT hard right? Wrong. So wrong.
The course design is exceptional here. The front and back 9 end close to the parking lot, which is great because you'll get a chance to fill up on fluids. The course has extreme elevation that is used tremendously. Many uphill and downhill shots and a few playing across the side slopes. I lost count how many times you go up that godforsaken hill. It felt like twice the amount you went down it. Great, but tight, lanes through the woods define the majority of the fairways here. They're multiple options/routes on many of the holes. Built up areas for a couple baskets and many perched precarilously on the edge of a dropoff. Death putts and rollaway potential galore. Championship caliber course and design.
There are 3 concrete tee pads on every single hole. The pads are probably 5 feet wide and 12 feet long if I had to guess. All are level and grippy. Or at least as level as can be expected. The differences between the 3 sets of pads is pretty drastic on every hole. The couple more open holes mostly add distance, which is to be expected. But the majority of holes in the woods alter the look at the pin drastically.
The baskets are DISCatcher pro-28's. I haven't got to play on these too much, but man are they fantastic. Couldn't ask for better baskets for a course of this caliber. One basket per hole, but 3 possible placements, again, on every single hole.
The tee signs are excellent, one at each tee pad. They have a basic diagram of the shape of the hole, all basket positions shown, all tee locations shown, distances to every pin, hole number and par. Also next tee arrows pointing you to the next hole. And the elevation changes for every pin position. Color coded Gold, blue and white to help locating the right pad. There's also big white next tee sign scattered throughout the course. These helped tremendously with navigation. There are trails and a gravel road that run throughout so the signs did a great job of pointing us in the right direction.
There is also 6 hole beginner course on site along with many other park activities for the family. I used the 6 hole course as a warm up after the 45 minutes drive from Deer Lake (and, obviously to bag it). The course is free and permanent. Kind of rare to see such quality courses not being pay to play. You're lucky Pittsburgh. Nice restrooms right by the lot too.
Cons: The main con for this course in my opinion is the inability to see the baskets until, often times, you're practically right on top of it. There were numerous times I walked a few hundred feet up the fairway to see where I was trying to get to. Problem was I still couldn't see it so I just went back and tried to manuever a shot through the forest. It's already a brutal hike. It got a little tiring walking extra to find the pin.
I honestly don't have much else Negative to say about this course.However, It can't be stressed enough that this course is a workout. You need to be in pretty good shape to tackle this course. Me and the wife played a round, and we're pretty fast players. It took almost 3 hours, with no breaks and surprisingly little time searching for discs.
Speaking of searching for discs. I guess you could say that losing a disc here is a very real possibility. There are so many blind shots that a tree kick you can't see can end up sending you a LONG way of the fairway. If you can spot for others, I'd highly recommend doing so. It'll save time and plastic.
Other Thoughts: I was shocked how great this course is. I was equally as shocked how physically demanding it is. I also hadn't realized that it's only been in the ground since 2019. I'm glad I didn't come to Western PA before this one got up and running. Pairs well with the others in the area. This course makes the others almost seem quaint. I mean they're still great, but this bad boy is crazy. I'd highly recommend this one to any serious disc golfers. Once again, I'll be adding another Pittsburgh area course into my favorites.
18 of 18 people found this review helpful.
Not worth the hype
4 Helpful / 18 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
4 of 22 people found this review helpful.
The Tail of the Dragon, Disc Golf Edition
12 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.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
8 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.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Beast of the East
9 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.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
North Boundary is another gem in the Pittsburgh area!!
16 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!!!
16 of 16 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 1 Not
Beautiful and Beastly
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).
17 of 18 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 1 Not
J. Gary Dropcho has gone mad!
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.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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