Dream 18 - Holes 13 to 18
The way that a disc golf course finishes can leave a lasting impact on how we remember the course and our desire to play it again or recommend it to others. Does the course get more difficult near the end, or does it swing the opposite way and become more scorable? Another thing to consider is how well the course wraps up its use of the land and property to get you to a memorable conclusion and move you towards the start. Today, we are going to look at six pretty memorable finishing holes.
As you may remember, earlier this year, I challenged myself to come up with my dream 18 holes to make a disc golf course. These holes were selected based on how much I enjoy playing them and not necessarily as to whether I think they make for the “best” or “most professional” hole. The only other rule I had was that I could not repeat a course once I selected a hole from it. Let me tell you what, that made things a lot harder than I anticipated, but we were able to complete the challenge. Here are the final six holes.
Hole 13 – Ship Rock – Par 3 – 303 ft.
Sometimes, the most fun holes don’t need to be the most interesting, most beautiful, or even the most challenging. There is beauty in simplicity, and hole 13 at Ship Rock is a prime example of what simplicity is. It’s 300 feet and straight ahead. You can play right at it, swing it out with a wide backhand hyzer, or push out a smooth forehand. Heck, you can throw a roller, grenade, thumber, or chicken wing. Whatever you have that is 300 feet, pull it out for this hole. My nickname for this is the “Stock Hole”. Just throw your stock shot.
One of the other things I enjoy about this hole, as with many course design essentials, is its placement on the course. Before you play hole 13, you are coming out of 3 holes in the woods that can feel restrictive. Holes 11 and 12 are great examples of making players uncomfortable on the tee shot. You come out of the woods and get to shake things off with this hole. You get to open up on a shot and not fear the creek, brush, or ceiling of trees.
I used to like throwing a pushing backhand hyzer on this one. Not super wide. Hard left finish. As my game has developed and I’ve started pushing my power, I’m not approaching this hole with a full send Zone shot. It’s been giving me a circle 1 putt almost every time, and I’m good with that. Although, I’d be lying if I said I don’t sometimes enjoy throwing 2 or 3 extra tee shots on this hole to experiment with other angles and lines.
Hole 14 – Codorus State Park: Purple – Par 3 – 492 ft.
Yes. You read that correctly. That’s a long par 3 for the average disc golfer. What you might be able to see in the photo is the downhill slope to the basket far off in the distance. This is an open bomber hole. You’re throwing downhill into a fairway that narrows as you get closer to the basket, but honestly, you’d have to really saw off your shot or turn it over badly to find that OB line. The final stretch of the hole contains a few large trees that guard the basket, making approaches more difficult when the leaves are grown in.
What makes this hole interesting is the wind. With the lake not too far away, some very interesting winds can sweep their way up, down, or across this fairway. Since you’re teeing off in a more shielded area, you may not have a good feel for what the wind is doing here. Not being the first player to throw certainly comes with advantages on hole 14.
I love this hole because it lets you experience the magic of disc flight. In my opinion, other than cashing a big putt or hitting a narrow gap, there is nothing more satisfying than getting your release angle correct and throwing a shot with a full flight. Depending on the wind, I’m pulling out my slightly flippy Lucid Sheriff and throwing it with a slight hyzer release, letting it flip flat and turn, riding the wind down the hill. Just thinking about the flight pattern makes me happy.
Hole 15 – Lakeview DGC @ Moraine State Park – Par 4 – 826 ft.
This hole is a doozy. It presents you with some of the best views in the Pittsburg area, overlooking Lake Arthur. The hole is designed with a slight curvature and pivot point in the middle, requiring you to throw a massive tee shot that pushes forward while also moving slightly right, allowing for another big second shot that attacks the green in a slightly protected green area. If you fail to make it to the pivot point on the fairway, the birdie is most likely out of the question, barring any ridiculous Simon Lizotte-esque line over the trees.
I’ve only been able to play this hole a few times, and I’m looking forward to getting back out there to try it again. Hole 15 here is a perfect combination of difficulty, beauty, design, and fun. Few holes are as memorable as this one.
Hole 16 – Faylor Lake DGP – Par 5 – 885 ft.
First things first. Look at that majestic fairway with the grass. Looks can be deceiving though. What is beautiful is also tricky. This hole is a par 5 because it requires some technical throwing to navigate the fairway as it winds its way down to the basket. With trees interwoven throughout the hole, you are constantly needing to pick out your next line and dissect different angles and shot types.
As the picture shows you, you might notice that you can kind of go over the top off of the tee shot. Well, you wouldn’t be the first to think that. If you want to see what that looks like and a real shot at an eagle on this one, go check out Simon Lizotte’s YouTube channel where he plays Faylor for the first time and crushes an unbelievable drive that single-handedly made other people start trying the same thing.
What makes this hole fun for me, even though my experience on it has been hit or miss with my score, is that it feels a bit different every time you play it. Having 2 identical shots land only a few feet apart may result in 2 very different requirements for the gaps on the next shot. This hole challenges you to think creatively and take chances.
Hole 17 – Iron Hill – Par 5 – 860 ft.
If you’ve ever been to Iron Hill, it’s a course that exits in a different world. There is something so special about walking onto a fairway and seeing trees so tall that create such a high ceiling and beautiful visuals. This course is unlike any other I’ve played at before and is, in my opinion, a great example of what woods golf should look like. Hole 17 might be one of the most memorable holes I’ve ever played.
Without 3 incredibly technical and powerful shots, birdie is out of the question for most of the public (gold layout). A par here feels very special and should be celebrated. This is another one of those holes where your tee shot is crucial. You need to push forward off of the tee and finish left, but don’t go too far left. The landing zone isn’t very large and being only a few feet off takes away any chance of pushing it far on the second shot. What makes this hole special is the final approach to the green which is up on a mound in a pedestal of sorts where you need to take steps up to the top as you pray and hope that your shot stayed close enough to hit your putt.
Hole 18 – Princeton Country Club (Am Worlds Layout) – Par 5 – 1,127 ft.
Yeah. I know what you’re thinking. That is 3 holes in a row that are over 800 feet. There is no way he can top that. Well, guess what, welcome to the country club. This behemoth of a hole was the closing hole for the country club course at the 2022 Amateur World Championships, and let me tell you something, I actually got a par on it. Shocking. I know.
This hole is the perfect way to end a round and creates exception scoring separation. You start out needing to get your drive to the top of a hill defined by the fairway of the golf course. From there, your second shot will be a decision as you try to land on the front side of a large “gully” in the fairway or try to clear it. Being in the depression makes for rough footing to go for the green or even see the green.
Once on the other side of the gully, after about 150 feet, you come to a pond that protects the green with a water carry of no less than 250 feet. Add onto that some trees that guard the green and knock down errant shots into the water, and you’ve got yourself one nasty way to finish the round. This hole tests your decision-making and shot execution. Will you go for the birdie and risk the double-bogey or take your par and strokes on half the field?
This list was a blast to make, and I’ll definitely be doing things like this in the future. What do you think of the holes above? What are your favorite holes that you’ve played? Let me know in the comments below and stay tuned for more content in the future!
Gary Daddario III - www.thumberlife.com