Monday, August 24, 2009

Beaver Ranch Disc Golf Course – Conifer, CO

A couple of randoms I played a round of golf with on Saturday suggested I play Conifer while I was out here. I wasn’t impressed with the Johnny Roberts course, so I was looking for something a tad more adventurous. I hooked up the GPS and headed out into the mountains.

Which is funny because the GPS hates mountains.

I ended up using the directions posted on the PDGA course directory. Thankfully, the PDGA does this because I never would have found the place.

I pulled into the parking lot and read the last part of the directions on the PDGA directions which says you’ll have to walk a half mile to the first hole after you leave your car in the parking lot. Surely that couldn’t be right! Sadly, it was very accurate.

I walked out into the hills along the trail and eventually made it to the first tee. I could tell this course was going to be a winner. It was a fairly short hole, but it was at a 60 degree angle straight up. I threw my first shot straight into the woods on the right. Excellent start to the day. When I found my disc in the woods (and on the side of the hill), it was covered in sap, and no w it was all over my hands. Hahaha. Perfect.

Please don’t get the wrong impression. As I said in my review of Johnny Roberts that I played on Saturday, I haven’t played much this year, so I’m bound to be a little sporadic. But that isn’t the course’s fault. I won’t go through this course hole by hole for you, as much as I want to (and I DID take pictures on every hole), but the long and short of it is, I love this course.

This course is not terribly long at all. Every hole out here is driveable as long as you are accurate. That being said, this course isn’t easy. There’s tons of elevation changes (oddly, most of them are uphill – haha), and lots of narrow fairways. Not ridiculously tight fairways, but still visually intimidating. If you would have tried to describe this course to me before I played it, I might not have been excited to play it. But now, after I’ve seen it, I loved it. Perfect level of difficulty for new players and experienced players alike.

There were lots of fun touches on this course. For example, some of the holes with steep slopes behind the baskets, the players have erected small tree-trunk walls to stop errant discs from rolling a thousand feet. You’ll still roll 100 feet, but not much further than that.

Also, there’s a small picnic area with actual outside furniture at the top of the mountain and an outhouse right next to it. I saw ZERO trash on this course which is rare for a public course. Not even cigarette butts. The grass is either stomped down or cut every you might throw a disc. The walks between holes are very well defined so you don’t get lost at all. Whoever maintains this course needs a pat on the back and raise. It’s in GREAT condition.

I’m going to disc-geek-out here for a second: There’s the usual “discs don’t turn over at high altitudes” thing that I completely forgot about. Not sure what elevation that starts at, but apparently, this course is high enough that you can’t get even the most understable discs to turn over. I was throwing leopards and an occasional stratus and they weren’t turning over even if I crushed them. Just a warning.

And of course, there’s the altitude issue on your lungs when you’re climbing hills like this. Seriously. I had to stop and catch my breath waaaaay too often here. But it’s worth it. Especially when you see some of the views.

Be careful pulling into or out of the parking lot at this park. There is a huge speed bump that you can’t see (because it’s the same red gravel as the road), and I brutalized my rental car on the way in and the way out – because I forgot about it on the way out. Wow. Just play this course if you come to Denver. You’ll like it, even though it’s not a championship/grueling course. It was simply FUN to play.

Top 5 things about Beaver Ranch Disc Golf Course
1. Incredible course design overall
2. Fences to stop rollaways, but not errant shots
3. I love playing in pine trees
4. Perfect weather – 70’s and no wind and just a little sun
5. Picnic area with restrooms

Bottom 5 things
1. It’s 45 mins from downtown Denver, so I’m guessing this place doesn’t get as much play as it deserves
2. Lots of elevation means your calves and thighs burn after playing
3. High altitude affects the stability of your discs
4. High altitude affects your lungs
5. Half-mile hike was long, but worth it

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