All three 18 hole courses played
on June 29, 2016.
Hideout has three 18 hole disc golf courses. The Highland Course is for "beginners," the Meadow course is
for "experts," and the Canyon Course is for those people in-between. These are private courses, but
it is a slick operation. They ask four bucks per person, per day, regardless of how many courses you play, or how many
times you play them. They don't have a collection box, like many private courses. They have a machine that issues
"parking" passes, and it takes cash or credit. The courses, for the most part (especially the Canyon and the
Highland courses) are very well maintained. Apparently they use the property for several events, including concerts
and weddings. Restrooms are plentiful, as is running water and parking.
And did I mention the peafowl? You know, peacocks, peahens, and
peachicks? They are everywhere, very tame, and very loud. But they're also a lot of fun. There were a few
holes I had to be careful and not get an actual "birdie."
The Highland Course is truly designed for beginners. The fairways
are relatively short, and there is nothing really technical, such as tight fairways or blind shots. Elevation comes
into play, as it does with every course (and just about every hole) at Horning's Hideout. There is also some water,
with one hole throwing across a small pond. I imagine quite a few discs have been lost in that lagoon, though it's not
a long shot to clear it. For the most part, though, if you are anywhere close to proficient, this course is not much
of a challenge at all, making it perfect for beginners.
Finding the Highland Course is a bit of a challenge, though, and it shouldn't be.
Sure, there are maps for each course at the kiosk near the parking lot, but they lack relativity. The maps show the
courses, but they don't show where you are at relative to those courses. A simple, "You are here," would've
made a huge difference. I walked around a bit before I found the first hole on the Highland Course. The tee pads
are just dirt, though they're not bad, and each hole and its corresponding basket are marked, but there is no clue where the
next tee pad is. Luckily it's fairly obvious.
I actually played the Canyon Course first, only because the first tee pad, and basket,
were right by the parking lot. This is probably the best course of the three. It's a fun course, with some tight
shots, some water, and lots of change in elevation. The shots are longer, too. Heck, 18 is over 700 feet, and
some of that could be over water, depending on the time of the year. The course has concrete tee pads, and the tee pads
and baskets are marked. However, finding the next tee pad is not always easy. Had there not been others on the
course, I would've been lost a couple of times. Seriously, how hard is it to put up an occasional arrow pointing in
the general direction of the next pad?
The last course I played was the Meadow, though for the life of me I don't know what
meadow they're naming it after. By the time I got ready to play this course, I knew better than to try and find it on
my own. I asked another person in the parking lot, who pointed me in the general direction. Getting there was
quite the walk, which should've been my first warning.
Whereas the other two courses were good, this course is just bad, and that's not because
I'm not an "expert." The entire course is an endurance test, and that's not why I play disc golf. There
is a lot of very steep climbing, both up and down. In itself, that doesn't make a course bad. What makes this
course so bad is that it quickly becomes a mystery course. Sure the tee pads are marked – usually – and
the baskets are, too. But where the next tee pad is... who knows? It doesn't help that the next tee pad may not
be anywhere near the previous basket. This is especially true for holes nine and ten. Had I found nine right away,
I probably wouldn't've thrown it at all. But after taking the time (and the effort) to find it, by golly, I'm going
to throw it. It's on top of a hill, a very tall hill, nowhere even remotely close to the basket for number eight.
And if you don't hit the very narrow path below, the chances of finding your disc are slim. I thought I had my disc
marked, but by the time I wound my way down to where I thought it should've been, I no longer had a clue. It's a yellow
Valkyrie. Let me know if you find it. I found the basket for ten... but I would've probably given up on the tee
pad had not two other players found it for me. I then followed those two out of the park, or I still might be there.
Sure, I took a picture of the
course map with my phone, and I tried to use that map to locate the next tee pads. But here's the thing: You need
three points of reference to find anything with a map. That's just the way it works. At best, that map only provided
two, making it all but worthless. Arrows. Arrows pointing to the next tee pad. Yeah. Those would've
helped a lot. But I know how hard it is to stick a few of those on the trees.
The Meadow Course is also unique in that it doesn't have alternate
tee pads, but alternate baskets. Sure, a lot of courses have alternate pin placements, but this course has two baskets
in the ground for each hole. One basket (for the shorter placement) is the homemade baskets they have throughout the
rest of the park – made from truck wheels welded on poles with chains and such (which works fairly well). The
other basket is a newer DiscCatcher. So which do you throw at? Yeah, you can say, "I'm throwing at the longer
one on this hole, or only the long ones or only the short ones," but that's not always easy to do, especially when your
second shot is right under the shorter basket, and you're not even sure where the longer one is. And what would you
do if you were throwing at the longer basket, but aced the shorter one? Would you count it?
I could see going back to Horning's
Hideout, but only to play the intermediate course. The beginners' course is just too easy, and the "expert"
course is just too... stupid. Even so, there are better courses that are closer and that are free (though four bucks
isn't that much to pay).
Directions: There are signs for Horning's Hideout just about everywhere,
so I know they know how to mark the way well. From Portland, take Highway 26 west. There will be a sign for Horning's
Hideout at the exit for Glencoe Road. Take that exit and then go right (north) on Glencoe. Then take a right on
Shady Brook (there's a sign) and in about a mile, take a left on Pumpkin Ridge Road (there's another sign). You will
wind around on Pumpkin Ridge Road for about 5½ miles, before taking a right at Brunswick Canyon Road (and, yes,
there is a sign). Follow the gravel road for one mile into the canyon. They warn you to drive slowly... as if
you have a choice. If you miss the course, you might as well turn around and go home.