Not for the faint-hearted
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The Blind Squirrel Mountain DGC, or Elk Mountain, as it was once called, is an absolute monster of a course in the mountain village of Plumtree, NC. This course is not for everybody. I repeat, this course is not for everybody! In thinking about this review, I had to think about the most physically demanding courses I've played. Blind Squirrel Mountain tops this list of calf-crushing, mountain monsters:
1. Blind Squirrel Mountain
2. Highland Hills
3. R.L. Smith
Nothing else that I've played really comes close to these three...and in truth, Blind Squirrel Mountain is in a league of its own. Pro's...
+ If you like extremely strenuous hiking, I can't think of a better course for you than Blind Squirrel Mountain. The first 10 holes play up a mountain, and a steep one at that. The holes themselves are difficult and well-designed, but the physical component is the bigger challenge.
+ The setting is fantastic. This is a home-grown course at the Blind Squirrel Farm Retreat. I stayed here with my family and we all had a blast. The cabins are rustic, but nice. There's also camping. There is a stocked trout pond (hole 1 plays over it), as well as volleyball, board games in the cabins, tubing (for $10 a person), and zip-lining (for $70 per person). It is very remote. I didn't have cell coverage at all. But if you're looking for a true escape, and a disc golf retreat, I highly recommend it. Also, the staff here is absolutely top notch. Very helpful, nice, attentive, and go above and beyond.
+ The course is very challenging, but I thought it was fair also. The fairways are wide enough for the length of the hole. I never felt like I was playing "poke and hope" golf at all. Now, the rough is REAL rough and the drop-offs are REAL drop-offs, but if you play good golf, take calculated risks and execute, you'll be fine.
+ My favorite hole on the course was #13, one of two valley holes. But 13 is the most extreme valley hole I've ever played. It's only 220 feet, but the valley in between the tee and the basket must be 50 feet deep. As with 16 or 17 of the other 18 holes, it's heavily wooded. I was fortunate and threw my best drive of the round, parked under the basket. If you aren't as fortunate, what could be a nice 2 could turn into a double-digit number!
+ There are lots of great death putts on this course, as well as other risk/reward elements. I feel like the course is designed to force you to make good decisions. If you do, you'll score well. If you take high-risk shots, you're going to get punished severely. The con side of this, for me, was that I took a lot of safe 3's. I threw a lot of drives in the fairway that still required an upshot and then an easy putt.
+ Of course, elevation is insane on this course -- unlike most courses you're ever going to play. I was a little disappointed there wasn't a massive downhill hole coming down the mountain, but still, there are lots of very tough uphill holes, some good downhill holes (just nothing too crazy), and two valley holes.
+ The opening and finishing holes here are terrific. To open, you throw over the trout pond, up a hill. It looks so serene and peaceful. Then the rest of the course punches you in the teeth. And the 18th hole is a good signature hole, going downhill, anhyzer to a basket on a peninsula in a mountain stream. The rough on this hole is a big con -- nettle bushes everywhere -- but in terms of design, challenge, and scenery, it's awesome.
Cons: The con's, in my opinion, are fixable, it's just a question of whether or not the owners of Blind Squirrel are able to invest the time and money. I think with these few changes, this would be a 4.5 course for me. But, I will say that will the flaws are few, they would require a good bit of money or man power to fix...
- The rough is the biggest thing for me. I mentioned #18. I threw an OK tee shot, not a great one, that went past the basket about 20-30 feet. I was completely engulfed in nettle bushes. That reminds me, wear long pants! Other than this hole, I mostly stayed on the fairways. But I noticed bad rough elsewhere. This change is definitely the hardest to do, and will take a commitment to constant upkeep, but this alone would definitely be enough to move this to a 4.0 course for me, if not a 4.5.
- The tees could use some work. Many of the tees are made of brick. Most of the tees are pretty short, although I was mostly throwing 50-75% drives, safe shots, instead of big drives with x-steps. But if the owners decided to install top-notch tees, again, I think that takes the course up a half point.
- The only other issue for me was the signage and navigation. I got turned around a little, but nothing too bad. But installing nice signs with distance, hole layout, and arrows to the next hole would add a lot to the course. This is probably the easiest fix they could make, it just requires some money.
- Finally, the baskets are of the home-grown variety. Some consider this a pro, others a con. It didn't bother me either way, but I list it here for full disclosure. Despite the baskets being all old single-chainers, I didn't have any spit-outs.
Other Thoughts: This is a great course that borders on phenomenal. I recommend it to anyone who is intermediate and above and in good physical shape (no knee problems, heart problems, etc.). If that describes you, make plans to play Blind Squirrel Mountain!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This course has been resurrected, and the fairways are all mostly cleared now. The Blind Squirrel management advertises this course and as of this review, it is both playable and enjoyable.
This is an above-average home grown course. The designer Will Young clearly had an eye for hole designs. Combined with the steep and tricky topography, this course will challenge even the highest level players.
The first 3 holes are open, but afterwards you'll traverse the side of the mountain through switchbacks and steep gullies. Rigorous yet stimulating. The forest is chiefly hardwoods and offers excellent Appalachian biodiversity.
-Homey feel-- camping options available here as well.
-Navigation above average, though I did get turned around briefly once or twice.
-No crowds, just peaceful mountainside.
-Creative basket placements.
-Variability in difficultly and par on a hole-by-hole basis.
-Brewery..Need I say more?
Cons: Not too much to complain about. I was impressed with this homegrown course's setup. I'd say the $5 to play was definitely worth it. There were a few cons:
-Chains are old
-Some tees are short (yet still offer run-up room behind them at least)
-Ground is very rocky and/or steep, making foot placement difficult.
-Rough is VERY rough. Steep drop offs into nettle-like undergrowth as of time of this review. Play conservatively.
Other Thoughts: Very glad I stopped by through here in Plumtree. The company offers excellent recreational tourism, from the Brewery and its' riverside course to the Farm Retreat and its' Mountainside course.
If this course was once dead, it's back at it again and worth the trip if you're in the area. Even if your friends/family aren't into disc golf, this course is a great hike on its' own merit.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
20 Helpful / 4 Not
What have you done to yourself?
Pros: Great course for those with strong imaginations, that enjoy picturing what a course could have once been like. You can walk up to a tee and picture what throwing the fairway must have been like. And there are some potentially epic holes here. Huge climbs and descents. Fairways that are strenuous just to walk. Extreme risk/reward with chances for severe roll-aways on almost every shot. Incredible basket placements.
Also, come here if you want to gain appreciation for the maintenance done on other courses. It's amazingly how quickly a course can go from a four-star course to essentially the Mayan ruins of disc golf courses.
Cons: Fairways covered in waist high weeds. 4-7 were merely overgrown. From 8 on most holes were unplayable. This isn't a few weeks of growth. I'm aware that there is new management here. I'm not sure when the sale took place but it is clear that nothing has done for the course since last summer.* I got a hint of this when the person as the desk told me that there were no maps but that I could "hunt" for baskets, and was surprised that anyone would be playing.
*Someone had taken the time to place handwritten signs on some of the tees and next tee arrows that did not show much weathering. As if someone would want to play the holes that were labeled.
Absolutely miserable navigation. Not from basket to tee so much as from tee to basket. This is mostly because it is frequently impossible to tell the fairway from the not-fairway. A long hole is impossible to follow. You can identify the first landing zone perhaps but if there is a bend, the direct is impossible to figure out. And if you miss one basket, you are wandering around looking for another tee. This happened a number of times, where I eventually stumbled onto a different or basket and could backtrack.......sorta. There are also a ton of what seem to be abandoned pads.
Bottom-line. It's an absolute mess. Not only should players not travel to reach this highly-rated course, but locals would be better of making an hour drive to a nine-hole school course than playing here.
On the other hand the last six holes are very playable. I'm not sure if they were the original final six here because I can't imagine this set being a third of a highly rated course. They run either down a gravel road or through a campsite. Again, there are some nicely placed baskets by a running stream but the rout there is beyond bland. Or dangerous. I'm unsure because though those seem a bit much. Even the original 5 is a boring fairway down a dirt road and the original 3 is essentially on someone's driveway with buildings in play. On the other hand, there could be more overgrown holes somewhere else on the mountain.
Tees are holding up well but they are about a quarter of the size that most would want. The tees should perhaps be in pros as it adds to the archaeological feel of the place. Wandering around in the jungle saying, "look, this is where the ancients played disc golf."
Other Thoughts: Could this course be resurrected? Yes. I just don't don't think it's likely. It should probably be listed as unplayable for now, but technically masochists might want to play here. I'm not exaggerating for effect with the 0.0. It is by far the worst experience I have ever had on a course and three baskets in a field would be a lot more fun.
20 of 24 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 10 Not
Great location and course
Pros: Course is nestled in the most beautiful wooded mountain terrain. It is well maintained and all fairways are clear and well marked. All holes have signs, although some of them could be improved. The course has many very difficult holes that go straight up the mountain. Most holes are also highly technical with a very tight path that must be followed. There is an even amount of left and right turns, and even some that force an S-turn. Camping is available right onsite and is worth it just to play this course a couple of times on a weekend.
Cons: The trails are very steep in places and will wear you out. Some of the teepads are rather short and require you to stand and deliver a 300 foot shot, down a very narrow path. It can get frustrating.
Other Thoughts: The location couldn't be prettier. I stayed in a tent campsite for 3 days. I met Sean, the owner, and talked with him about the property, He is a super nice guy and is quite proud of his place. Besides tent camping, they also have cabins and even a lodge. I highly recommend taking a long weekend trip out there, staying a few days and soaking it all in.
1 of 11 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Great experience, great people
Pros: This is a serious mountain course. Tons of elevation change, especially the uphill shots early on, to challenge you. Absolutely beautiful setting. Decent baskets, and most tees are great. There are benches and paths all over. Super well maintained, especially given that it's privately owned.
Cons: Can't say much about it except that it's exhausting. You just have to be prepared for that. Otherwise, can't complain at all.
Other Thoughts: The guys running this course are super nice and put a lot of work into it. We weren't really sure if it was open to play so we just showed up and they accommodated us even though we were inconveniencing them a bit. They let us play and then gave us some of the beer they brew there--and I can honestly say that the nut brown ale was the BEST brown ale I've ever had. A full adventure, well worth the trip.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Fun track, tough hike!
Pros: This is one of the most interesting courses I have played. It isn't particularly difficult in terms of the shots required; however, the hike is just brutal. The first 11-12 holes play almost straight up the mountain, making you work for even short par three's. The last 8 play more or less down the hill with some very interesting blind shots (we had a guy throw a putter on a 200 ft par three and go 200 ft past the basket!). They claim 20 holes but there are quite a few that are "off the map" - we found at least 5 additional holes (including pads, benches, baskets) on the back side of the mountain, including one basket suspended between two trees by a steel cable. The campgrounds and facilities are quite nice and the course, given it's remote and not-well-trodden nature, is pretty well maintained. The first hole might be my favorite in all of DG.
Cons: As previously mentioned, the hike here will absolutely exhaust you. 6 of us played a morning round; only 3 could muster the energy for an afternoon round and we struggled to get through it. It's difficult to overstate the importance of a good pair of hiking shoes and extra water- you'll definitely need them. WEAR PANTS, regardless of the temperature! There is stinging nettle all over the course and it will light your legs up. Baskets are of relatively poor quality but they are at least consistent. You can get confused/ lost easily since there are numerous holes that are technically not in play but still very much in existence. The extreme elevation of this track also means that a bad kick off a tree can send your shot hundreds of feet down the mountain. Once or twice, no big deal, but when you are chasing your 15th shot down a 60 degree incline with no path back to the fairway it gets a little frustrating. The tee pads are generally quite small which was challenging for some players with longer run-ups.
Other Thoughts: With the right expectations this is one heck of a fun track. The distance on the tee markers is almost irrelevant given the extreme changes in altitude- you definitely have to think about how throwing a shot 45 degrees up/down will affect the flight path. There are logging trails that wind around the mountain so I'd personally love to see ATVs added for transport.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
I Have Seen the Mountain Top, and it is Good!
Pros: Elk Mountain DGC is a KILLER 18 hole course on some of the most extreme terrain I have seen yet. Don't get me wrong, it's not Everest, but extremes in elevation change is a strong theme. It seems like uphill holes outnumber downhillers 2 to 1. The fairways are fair, but numerous trees will make you define a line and hit it on most holes. This course starts with a couple of uphill holes that take a good long drive to get a chance for two, but they're relatively open. Three takes you uphill even steeper, and into the trees. Then the lengthier holes with woods and elevation begin. Pin placements also start to get more and more interesting: rocky hillsides, hanging basket, down in a hole, atop a 5 foot stump, and finally down to the banks of the creek. Hole 11 is the crescendo of pain on a 770 foot monster. After this, the back 9 gets back to more average distances, and trends downhill. Get your shots in the bank where you can. I could only manage two birdies, both on par 3's. My girlfriend, her two tween girls, our dogs and I all enjoyed the hike around the campground and mountain side. Beautiful land and nice people working at the lodge and campgrounds. The layout and the physical challenge of the course was quite formidable.
The equipment is not the finest, but is totally adequate. The tee pads are not consistent, but they are flat and generally all roomy enough. The baskets are pretty good, but not top of the line by any means. Posts mark most tees, and arrow signs point direction to the next hole nicely. I understand the course has evolved to this point, and will continue to do so. I'm sure it will only keep getting better.
Cons: You have to pay $5, and sign a release form to play the courses. The remote location doesn't make for quick access. The tee pads, baskets and signage could all be upgraded. Physical exertion is a must to finish this bad boy, wimps and geezers beware.
Other Thoughts: For once, I finished a great new course, and didn't want to play it over again right away. This was a great one, but too hot and physical for back to back on this summer day. Wish I could have talked the girls into letting me play the other shorter course, though. Lace 'em up tight, cause this Elk Mountain's a real doozy. As well as disc golf, camping, fishing, and zip lines, are on this site. The other course is just over a mile away at the lodge, which offers discs, food and drinks, and more for sale. Very unique, matched by few other courses I have played in terms of difficulty, and totally worth checking out.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 2 Not
I love mountain golf!!
Pros: The new layout is extremly long and challenging! I love getting out there for a good workout and this course fits the bill having holes 1-11 going uphill with number 8 being like a 50 degree angle up the hill to a hanging basket. A tomahawk is the way to go on this one, was playing two weeks ago and a buddy of mine tommyed off the tee and was still about 100-125ft out. decided to tommy again and flew it right in the hole! One amazing birdie I will not soon forget!! Good sinage on the new design and the length has to be a total walk of like 3 miles. Even though the fairway on most holes is an old logging road, it is still ultra challenging. I have yet to break par on this course, and im always trying to do so but it is really tough.
A great course always makes you use all of the shots you have, and I guarantee you will play many left-to-rights, right-to-lefts, over the top shots, shots from your knees, everything...
Cons: Number 11 is quite ridiculous. A 770 ft uphill par 5 with a mando in play about 200' away from the basket, be ready for the best bogey of your life and thats even if you can make a 6.
-Some of the brick tee-pads can get slick so watch your step, especially if it has been raining within the past couple of days. Was playing with a buddy that turned his ankle on hole #4 and tore several tendons and was out of DG for nearly a year. We all want to keep playing so anytime you are playing mountain golf (Simple Pleasures, Elk Mountain, Sugaree, Ashe County) always be aware of your rocky/steep/slick footings.
-In spring and summer wear pants cause their is stinging nettles everywhere.
#16's green is insane, most likely you will get a rollaway with no roller barrier to stop it..
#14 will make you or break you, a short downhill ace run really but if you drift right 5 ft of the pin your literally off the side off a STEEP mountain with no chance at salvaging par, bogey, or maybe even double
Other Thoughts: Favorite holes-- 5 is a great uphill legitamate par 5, if you dont hit a tree at some point you will proabably have a look at bird at a pin nestled in front of a HUGE boulder, one of the most epic holes in WNC in my opinion
8- Although I cant say the elevation is my favorite, this is still a very picteresque hole.
12- Basket perched atop a stump provides a difficult, but super fun putt
17-There is just something about this hole that I love, I cant quite figure it out. Its your basic hyzer off the tee hoping you clear a tiny collection of water that Will said is a hazard. Left is dead, and right is no good and there is a couple of boulders mid-fairway all the way to the green. Its just a downright good for real par 3, you wont see to many two's on this one.
Overall Elk Mtn is a great disc golf course if your in the mood for a challenging workout and course. Im not so sure the course itself is as tough as the neighborly mountain course Sugaree, but the terrain is most defiantly
7 of 9 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 8 Not
Cool Course !!!
Pros: This course is definitely a true mountain course. Love the par 5 and all the unique pins. Accuracy is a must. Hoping to go back when there are leaves on the trees. I'm sure it will play tougher.
Cons: The only cons might be the short tee pads on some holes. Oh yeah maybe the rollaways possible on many holes could also be frustrating.
Other Thoughts: Courses like this one make you a better player so just keep throwing!!!
0 of 8 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Really fun up/down mountain course.
Narrow fairways and sloping lies make hole distances longer than posted length
Cons: Short tee pads
Difficult to see baskets from tee - required extra walking to overcome blind shots
Other Thoughts: This is a cross between disc golf and backpacking
0 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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