ZealousGolfer.com Review: Frosty Valley Golf Links, Pittsburgh, PA

As you've probably read, I have covered a lot of different courses from around the U.S. and Europe in my recent course reviews.

One thing I have noticed about golfing in my hometown of Pittsburgh is that there aren't many reviews of local courses. This summer, I hope to build a sizable database of reviews of Pittsburgh golf courses.

I am going to kick off this feature with a review of the Frosty Valley Golf Links in Upper St. Clair, PA.


Frosty Valley is a nine hole course located in Upper St. Clair - a suburb outside of Pittsburgh. With three sets of tees, the course plays at 3,121 yards from the tips, 2,863 yards from the middle tees, and 2,371 yards at the shortest.

Though not a full 18 hole facility, the nine hole course plays at a par of 36 unlike some other nine hole courses (that substitute par fives with additional par threes).

When I played in May of 2010 (for anyone who comes across this article in the future), it was $13 to play 9 holes. However, the course also offers both golf carts and pull carts for an additional charge.

The Good:

One thing that often disappoints me about nine hole courses is that they often choose to not only skip the back nine but cut out par fives and rely on short par 3's instead. Fortunately, Frosty Valley is a pretty typical public golf experience in its own right - aside from lacking a back nine.

At the very least, advanced players will face challenges from a few lengthy holes, the many trees that border the fairways, and a number of shots that encourage you to work the ball. It's not Augusta, but the experienced golfer can be tested at this course.

That said, perhaps the greatest strength of Frosty Valley is its accessibility. Relatively inexpensive and often uncrowded, this is a great place to have a round with the family. Not only will it be a short round (great for any new golfer), but most of the holes don't require players to traverse tricky hazards or bunkers.

Nonetheless, there are a few holes that will definitely test a golfer's mettle. The third hole, a short par four, puts water in play off the tee. The par three 7th hole requires a
mid-length shot over water to hit the green.

(I also encountered some interesting wildlife. This is probably the first time, surprisingly, that I have run into a turtle on a golf course).

Finally, one problem I have run into is the lack of solid practice facilities in Pittsburgh's South Hills. Frosty Valley's range is fairly flat and uses actual grass rather than mats. The practice green is also in good shape. Even if you don't intend to play a round, Frosty Valley is a great choice when looking for somewhere to practice.

The Bad:

Two complaints. First, the greens aren't going to knock your socks off. They tend to run pretty slow, which may be an advantage for the new golfer who doesn't want to be intimidated on the short grass.

Second, many of the holes have bunkers around the greens, but (at least from my most recent experience) they are not well kept. The sand is usually pretty hard and finding a rake afterward is a challenge. This is just a pet peeve of mine, so I felt like it is worth mentioning in the article.

The Ugly:

If you live or golf somewhat frequently in Western Pennsylvania, you won't be surprised by this conclusion. This course is pretty hilly. If you are in good physical condition, walking only nine holes will be fine. However, if you aren't used to walking with your golf bag in the sun, it would probably be best to invest in a cart. This course has the potential to tire you out.
One issue I have run into in the past is that play can get pretty slow during crowded weekend rounds. Maybe because some golfers have to return to the first tee to play their second nine, the course can back up relatively easy and lead to a snail-paced round. However, calling the pro shop beforehand should prevent this problem.

The Conclusion:

If you are in the area and want to play a quick round (i.e. with the family or a recreational nine), Frosty Valley is worth a look. For more information, they have a website up.

For a fun golf experience but without some of the sophistication of other courses in the area, Frosty Valley scores a 3 out of 5 stars.

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