Well worth the drive
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Reading about this, I found it hard to believe that a resort dedicated in large part to motorcyclists and driving enthusiasts has such a wonderful disc golf course. Yet, there it is. It is a challenging course with beautiful scenery and relatively well-kept grounds.
The course is long. With the exception of hole #1, which is the disc golf equivalent of mini golf, the are many long holes with mostly open fairways. However, there are also medium to long holes with decorative trees or tree clusters in the middle of things. Holes 2 and 16 are good examples. You are driving over a landscaped area with dogwoods dotting an otherwise open lawn.
The course designers took advantage of the elevation changes. Hole #4 was a love/hate sort thing. You are throwing off the edge of a very steep hill, through the trees, and down to level ground at the basket. Hole #8 has a wonderful long drive down a hill with a right turn out of the trees into the open. I birdied that one and was thrilled to have done so.
No two holes are alike. Most all of them represent a challenge, yet nothing that should scare away new players.
Cons: Whatever you do, stay on the fairway. Maybe it's because I'm a yankee and not familiar with the vegetation in the south, but I lost one driver and we were lucky to find a few others. The "fairway" under hole #8 is a narrow bike path cut from a slope covered in waist-high briers, vines, and ferns. Any disc that fades too hard and lands in the woods may also fall down into a 40 ft deep ravine.
Footing can be treacherous. If it has rained within the last 24 hours, slopes will be muddy and your feet will slip out from under you.
Signs on the course itself are weak. Take a course map with you and you will have no problem. My group forgot the map and walked a few extra miles going in the wrong direction.
Other Thoughts: The tees are reasonably well maintained. Most have a rubber mat covering either a crushed stone base or a plywood platform. The only exception that I can recall is #8, which is bare earth and in the middle of a bike path.
The road leading to the course (US129) is nicknamed The Tail of the Dragon. It is famous for tight curves and switchbacks. If you have a choice between taking the Camry or the WRX, drive the WRX. Just stay between the painted lines, please.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Beautiful mountain course
0 Helpful / 12 Not
Pros: Scenic course in a mountain setting with great course design! Friendly staff and golf carts fof rent! This course truly will leave you telling stories over the years!
Cons: Weather is unpredictable and is very difficult to get to and locate. Tucked away in the mountains away from Everything!
Other Thoughts: Truly remarkable course from start to finish.
0 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Scenic with Variety
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Overall hole design is Fontana's greatest strength- I would use words like variety, scenic, challenging, and fun to summarize it. Look at the pics, they will make you want to play here, and you won't be disappointed!
It offers a great mix in the following: hole length, required shot shape, and degrees of elevation. There are no two holes the same. It is challenging without being frustratingly impossible to non-pros, which is how it should be since this course is part of a family style resort. Some of the challenges include length, elevation, strategically placed baskets, single trees, dense trees, thick rough, ravines, creeks, roads, and even a storage building. The grounds were well-kept, no trash, and the grassy fairways appeared to be regularly mowed. And who doesn't love a course with several elevated tee-shots!
It is located in a beautiful setting in the Appalachian mountains (but not completely out in nature as many of the buildings are nearby and rarely out of sight.) Despite this, the course still has several peaceful scenic holes. I would also theorize that this course rarely gets crowded, being so far away from any dense populated area. The course itself is nicely spread out, each hole gets its own space, so even a lot of people were playing you won't feel crowded.
Along with the course is the really nice Fontana Village facility- offering cabins, an inn, mini golf, game room, restaurant, etc. Large and beautiful Fontana Lake is just across the street for boating, skiing, and fishing. And of course nearby in the App. Mtns you are close to hiking, camping, rafting, etc. Fontana Village is a great place to take the whole family or have a group retreat as there is plenty to do, the disc golf is only 1 activity. And I would encourage anyone coming to this area to definitely do more than disc golf.
Cons: Rubber pads are ok, but I prefer concrete- for footing and a more professional and permanent look. Website and scorecard said there were 2 tees, but they were not there- there were a couple of Innova ground markers on a couple holes, but most of the time they were at the concrete tee. So it would seem that the "2nd tees" are temp natural tees, probably only set-up for tournaments.
The 1st hole is weak- a super short shot straight into a hill/cliff covered in overgrowth, this hole is out of place, and does not fit the style of the rest of the course. (Good news is you get the worst hole out the way first.) But then the best hole is #2- great hole, but it stinks to get it over with this early- would love to see this hole much later in the round.
#8 is a unique challenge- sharp downhill C-shape moving from woods to open and blind- takes a specific well played shot to hit the required line, but it was so overgrown in mid-summer that the tee was practically blocked by super tall (over my head) plants taking away from the desired shot shape- I was forced to throw it really high making it impossible to play the hole as intended. Would like to see a little bit of regular fairway maintenance here.
Roads are in play on several holes, always a danger there with cars, walkers, and golf carts.
Other Thoughts: The best course in a very wide radius.
Pretty exhausting. I am in decent shape and the elevation is not insanely steep, just a lot of it.
Offer golf carts- not for the course, but for the whole complex, but they can be, and are often, used for disc golf. I was pretty tired after 1 round, could be worth to split the cost of one if planning on playing the whole day.
Supposedly pay the play. The workers that day said that since I had my own discs and did not need to rent, then just go play.
Allow for more time than usual both driving here and playing. Curvy mountain roads always take way more time than it looks on a map. The course is spread out and hilly and takes longer to play than most standard 18 hole courses.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Fontana Village People! D-G-C-R!
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Very fun course at Fontana Village Resort. I stopped at the desk to sign in, they were very nice offering frisbees without charging or signing in. The disc golf shots are magnificent on several holes. Elevation is significant on every hole. Started with an easy birdie on one, and got another longer birdie on nine. Had chances for a few others, could not convert. Hole two is a doozy, three and four are nice also. Distance is longer on the majority of holes. Six is a shorter hole, and seven was longer but reachable, both uphill. Not a lot of gimme deuces. Woods are prevalent on a few holes, but way more open than I was expecting. Eight is a fun RHBH anhyzer steep downhill out of the trees. Nice baskets, and signage. Solid rubber mats mounted on plywood. Made a good par save on ten, and eleven is another real toughie. Maps are printed on the scorecards available at the desk. Fifteen is a short one that got me for a lost disc, mountain style. Sixteen is epic, long and downhill with trees in the middle, road left and water right. Benches on most holes. Seventeen and eighteen are both solid back up the other side of the road.
Cons: Footing was extremely slick on slopes, grass was consistently boggy, and tee boxes were covered with slippery condensation in freezing cold conditions of the season. Concrete might have been preferable. Wind was there but not terrible. I went out of bounds in the water 3 times. I also lost a double ace TeeBird with a low drive that bounced into the boulders on the 15th fairway. Water was sadly very low in the lake, but high on the course. I think it may have snowed the previous day there. I think hole two would have made a better opening hole, and finish up on number one instead. Maybe better still, start at three, finish two The lay out crosses itself and roads many times, and is not to hard to follow, but maps are available.
Other Thoughts: I loved it. In nicer conditions, and with upgraded tees, I could argue for a 4.5 rating. Lengthy but not super technical. Shot a 61, and was pretty happy with it. The drive there is slow and curvy mountain roads, and worth making the trip to me. The resort personnel was friendly, and disc golf was terrific. Reminiscent of Mars Hill, or Meeks Park but less wooded. Good birthday road trip, and Sunshine noted the small, pretty flowers on the scorecard.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Not bad overall
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Quite a few long holes, with just enough obstacles in the way to balance making it fun and giving you fits.
No heavy crowds, depending on vacation season, I guess.
Cons: There may have been *one* hole where I saw the alternate short tee pad (#4, I think). Aside from that, I couldn't tell if they were all supposed to have alternates, or if the distance was dependent on the pin placement.
The signage on the tee pads doesn't have a hole layout, just the distance. Especially on holes like #11 you'll be walking around trying to figure out where the pin is.
The walk from #1 to #2 is ridiculous. Not a good way to start the flow of the course. Afterwards, some holes aren't clearly marked, though if you walk in the direction you think the teepad *should* be you're likely to find it.
Some holes play really close to each other, such as #3 and #4, #9 and #11.
Holes #16 and #17 play down and back up the main driveway, so depending on the time of year, you may have to deal with a lot of cars coming and going.
Other Thoughts: So apparently the way to get to the course is called "the Dragon" and is one of the more famous roads for motorcycle and sports car enthusiasts. News to me. The last 10 miles of my trip took about 45 minutes, between going 15-20 mph around the mountain and pulling off to the side constantly to let groups of bikers go through. Be prepared.
Also, you don't have to pay the $5 if you bring your own discs.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 11 Not
Nice course, but.....
Pros: Nice terrain, well maintained, and baskets in good shape.
Cons: NO short tee pad markers that I could find except on hole 2 and that was really hard t see where the placement was next to a bush. I think I found another short tee marker somewhere.
There are no basket position indicators and no visible wear on the short tee areas where ever they are..... So the course is really long playing from the marked long pads.
Other Thoughts: The problem I see here is a nice course that rarely gets played and Those factors make the course harder than necessary to navigate and play. You would think an innova sponsored course would do a nicer job on the signs and install short tee pads. It truly is in the middle of nowhere with very limited routes to get there. I'll never go back mainly because from gat
I burg it takes about TWO hours to get to despite only being 30 miles by air.
2 of 13 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This was an all-day disc golf resort experience. Early round of disc golf (with carts!), lunch at the wonderful and reasonably priced on-site restaurant (they had Asheville Brewing Company's Shiva IPA, my personal favorite beer, on tap, and we got a free pitcher to boot), and then a long afternoon of swimming at the big pool/lazy river. The prices were more affordable than advertised. We rented 2 carts at $7 an hour each, and they didn't charge us extra when we brought them back half an hour into the 3rd hour. The advertised fee was $5 a round, $10 a day, but instead we paid about $8 a person (adults) for an all-day recreation pass that included disc golf, the pool, the game room, putt putt and whatever else we wanted to do. Great deal.
Onto the course. Truly beautiful, challenging and a great mix of hole types, from totally wide open longer holes to far more technical holes. Even on some of the more open holes, the designer was careful to make use of whatever guard trees were available. So many great holes on this one, from the long and obstacle-laden #2 hole that ends over a stream/dam to #14 that winds around a mound and island of trees. Tee boxes are great, and the course is clearly marked where it needs to be with guide signs. Holes find some way in each case (less #1) of challenging the player, either with distance or risk or obstacles. No pedestrian or vehicle interactions, though a few holes run along side the roads, though those are not much in use except for light resort traffic.
Oh, and did I mention that the course is absolutely gorgeous, meticulously manicured and in the middle of one of the country's most beautiful areas? Worth the drive. Get a room or cabin. Eat. Drink. Play DG.
Cons: Fontana is out in the middle of nowhere, but luckily I live just a little east of the middle of nowhere. If you're coming from another state or say, Charlotte, get a room, it's a long drive and the miles belie the time if you get caught behind slow traffic on the one lane portions of 28.
The course itself is a little too open in some places. Holes 9, 12 and 13 are a little too simple, and prevent this course from a rating higher, along with #1, which I agree with another poster as far as that hole not fitting in. The only decent rationale is that a hole where visitors to the lodge can see tee to basket (it's the closest hole to the lodge) could stir some interest.
Other Thoughts: Despite a small minority of lackluster holes, this course was a joy to play. Carts were a major bonus (I don't mind walking, but the novelty was worth it), and the amenities at the resort were affordable, high quality and lots of fun. For me, this was the first time that I was successfully able to integrate my family (wife and two younger kids) and my disc golfing passion in a way that everyone had a blast. The family loved riding on carts, loved the restaurant and my kids loved the pool. It was awesome to be able to enjoy one of my favorite hobbies with my family in this way, which was the truly one of a kind service that Fontana DGC and Resort provided.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Fontana Dam good course
Pros: Fontana Village is an awesome mountain course. It's right up there with the best mountain courses in the region (Sugaree, High Country in Jefferson, etc.).
- True feel of playing in the mountains. Lots of elevation throughout gives you a great mix of uphill, downhill and level holes. There are enough chances for you to let your disc fly on downhill open holes (3 & 11), while also giving you downhill holes that force you to throw accurate, or face some serious punishment (#2 - road/cars on left & thick rough on right; #12 - rough & serious drop-off behind basket).
- There are some great hole layouts on this course. You have some solid doglegs, wooded holes and other challenging basket placements, and it just gets magnified with the elevation. The two I'm going to point out here are #8 & 15. #8 starts out in the woods, and is a dogleg right, 315 foot hole. You have to clear through the opening in the trees to a downhill shot to the basket. With a little skill/luck or a bad bounce off a tree, anything from a birdie to double-bogey seems likely on this hole. On #15, it a 256 foot, slight dogleg right basket. You throw over a rock-laden drop-off to a basket protected by trees. A buddy had a bad bounce off the trees and into the rocks. It was a journey getting down to his disc. Again, a birdie seems just as probable as a high score. My favorite hole, however, was #2, but I'll get to that later.
- Good variety in length - from the long tees, six holes under 300 feet, five from 300-399, seven at more than 400 feet. Of course the elevation changes make some holes play longer or shorter than their listed lengths. The only slight blip about this is that there isn't one truly epic, long hole, in the 600 - 700 foot range.
- Good tee signs and scorecards. It's easy to navigate your way through the course with a map.
- I'm usually a fan of concrete tee pads, but in this case, I really like the rubber ones used here. They're in very good shape and they blend in better with the natural feel of the entire course. Concrete ones would have stuck out like a sore thumb.
- Amazing scenery throughout. In terms of pure views, both the views throughout the course/resort, and the drive in, this is even better than Sugaree & High Country. You're really out in nature in Fontana/the resort/the course - pure beauty throughout.
Cons: Both tee pads weren't clearly visible on every hole that has dual tees. Also, it wasn't always clear with basket locations the cages were in - long or short. It was pretty self explanatory on most holes; however, on at least one hole, it was hard to tell because of the depth perception. On #12, it's 222 for short vs. 332 for long. Throwing into an open, downhill basket throws off your depth perception. With woods and a deep slope behind the basket, you don't want to be wrong on your guess.
- Also, the distances on the tee signs and scorecards didn't match. Most were relatively close, so not a major problem. Again, on some holes, a 40-50 foot difference could pose a problem if you're aiming for one distance over the other.
- There's a disc valley of death to the right of #14, and to a lesser degree, the left of #16. On #14, it's a steep drop to thick, thick, thick underbrush. My buddy had a disc land in there. We didn't find his disc, but I found two others and some angry yellow jackets, so it was a mixed bag.
- This is a slow playing course. The holes are spread out (though no major walks between holes) and you're going up and down hills. With that said, prepare for a longer than normal round.
- This has nothing to do with the course itself, but it has to be mentioned. This course is in the middle of nowhere. Yes, that puts you out in nature, as stated above; but, it also means it's a long drive to get here. It's about 1:30 from both Asheville and Knoxville, the two closest major cities. Along those lines, the Knoxville route includes a a long stretch of winding roads. If you get car sick, this is a rough stretch, and even if you don't normally, you'll feel 20 miles of hairpin turns.
Other Thoughts: Fontana Village is a special course. The resort itself seems to have a lot to offer, so you could easily spend a fair amount of time here. It also doesn't hurt that the gal at the front desk let us play for free.
- As I mentioned above, it would be nice to see a truly epic hole. There's enough room to extend some of the holes to add distance. Either #10 or 11 could be pushed further up the mountain - basket for #10, tee for #11.
- I really like the flow of holes here. There aren't many lazy transitions, meaning you don't go uphill for one hole, and turn around and go downhill the next. It's easy for some courses to do the back and forth flow way too much. #10 & 11 was the only back-to-back like this.
- My favorite hole was #2. The longest hole on the course - 538 feet - is a tight, downhill shot with danger on both sides (as state above, road on left and thick rough/dropoff on left). If you took away the elevation for this hole, making it flat, you'd have #7 at Hornets Nest in Charlotte.
- #11 was a close second in terms of the best holes, especially because of the tough approach shot. It's a slight drop-off for the first 80 - 90% of the hole, until there's a steep drop-off down to the basket. If you're more than 100 feet out, it's a blind second shot. It's very easy to have your approach shot sail long.
- I loved every part of the course. There wasn't a bad hole here - a couple of average ones, but not a dud in the bunch.
- This is a notch below Sugaree and a slight, slight notch below High Country. So, to differentiate, I'm giving this a lower rating than both of those. Still, this course should be getting a 4.25, if that rating were available.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 3 Not
Let 'er Fly!
Length and elevation changes.
Some baskets near other baskets, tees, roads; some fairways close to roads.
Course plays up, down, and across sections of open space defined by various roads that compose the Fontana Village complex. Elevation changes are in abundance as nearly half the holes play downhill, some quite significantly, and nearly half also play upslope - flat holes are quite rare here. Because of all the elevation changes, your legs and lungs, in addition to your arm, will receive a workout.
The holes are definitely on the open side - about 2/3rds could be described as wide open, or with only a large tree or two to avoid, typically near the basket. Other groups of large trees provide obstacles for the remaining holes, although no hole could be described as tight.
Long, continuous right-turning, downslope number-16 offers the toughest challenge, with scattered trees to avoid the entire ~500', the road a constant companion on the left, and a small stream near the basket. The easiest hole has to be toss-across ~140' number-1.
Tees: 6x12 rubber mats on plywood for the long tees, could only find short tee-4. The sign for tee-11 was missing the day I played, but was easy enough to identify. Signs list distances to basket, but does not identify in which pin position the basket is.
The map is quite good, showing the tee/basket locations relative to the roads winding about the village, and various buildings - navigation was fairly simple.
A bit off the beaten track - a pro, or con, depending upon your tolerance for driving on windy roads.
If playing a course which is offers plenty of length, openness, and elevation changes is your preference, you should enjoy this course.
4 of 7 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Makes me want to come explore NC!
Pros: Fontana Village has a surprisingly high quality and well maintained course laid out on the Fontana Dam Resort property. I've always loved the Southern Appalachians, so playing disc golf in this kind of terrain is a real treat. The mountain views, the pleasant weather (at least this time of year), and the lush green mountain foliage, combine for a lovely environment to throw in. Given the mountainous setting, there is a lot of elevation to keep things interesting throughout the course, including many holes with elevated tee pads either playing long, sailing, downhill drives or drives across a valley. There are also a number of holes that play uphill the whole way. There is no chance of getting bored on this course.
You will need to pay careful attention to your drive placement here, not just because of elevation, but because of the high-risk shule just beyond the well-maintained grassy fairways. The fairways are plenty wide and clear on every hole to reward good shots with good lies, but if you miss the fairway, prepare to be punished. This course is long and open enough to reward long, powerful throws, but only if they are well controlled. If you can't throw over 400', there are a limited number of birdie opportunities from the long tee pads, but a player throwing 300' to the choice landing spot is going to beat a big arm who doesn't keep it in the fairways. This is the kind of thinking man's risk/reward tradeoff that we should see on a disc golf course.
There are several holes that might be considered "signature" holes, but probably my favorite is #2. It is a looong, steep, downhill hole that I could probably reach with a driver, simply because of the steepness of the hillside, but my preferred shot is to sail a midrange or slow fairway driver down to a landing spot that gives me a comfortable approach to the basket for a 3. This course will really show off the flight of a disc, especially on this hole. #16 is a similar hole, but its fairway has a bunch of trees down the middle, so you really have to think about placing your drive before running down to the basket. 16 is probably the toughest hole on the course.
Another favorite of mine is #13, about 350' across the crest of a hill. The fairway slopes away sharply to the left, with terrible shule below it. There is also big danger on the right, with the hillside dropping even more steeply towards the road below. With these dangers on either side of the fairway, which itself narrows to a point near the basket, you have a decision that matters: how close to the basket can I risk throwing my disc? Getting to within a putt is a legitimate, fair option, but the closer you try to put your drive, the riskier the shot gets. Once you're safely in the fairway, the approach and putt is no problem, so it all rests on the accuracy of your drive.
Pardon me while I try to rein in my long-windedness. The only underwhelming hole on this course is #1. Clearly the designer is a disc golfer and knew what he was doing, though as another reviewer commented, it looks like they laid out 17 holes and oops, they needed one more. There is a lot of room for creativity, but you'll be playing real disc golf lines to real landing spots, not pitch-and-putt, poke-and-pray, or boring flat upshot after boring flat heave. I could almost give this course a 4.5, but for the cons below.
Cons: The most significant downside to this course is related to one of its best features, the terrain. While I love throwing from elevated tee pads or up long slopes to a creatively set putting zone, I don't so much like some of the walking paths that get you from tee pad to fairway. There are several places where I would have liked to have had my trekking poles with me, or at least a good walking stick. I didn't fall, but I slid or nearly slipped several times, and that was in the fairways. The rough shule would be even worse in many places. To graduate towards a 4.5, this course would need to get some steps or better trails installed in a number of places.
While the rubber tee pads are well installed and level, I played on a rainy Friday and the following sunny Saturday. Not only are the rubber pads dangerously slippery when wet, but many of them seem to take a couple of days to dry out. In the Smokies, you may be waiting a long time for a fully dry, safe set of tee pads. Brushed concrete pads may have been a better choice here, or perhaps some kind of rough or astroturf-like surface on the rubber pads. The tee signs also listed distances for two tee pads at every hole, but I only found the "long" ones where the rubber pads are. Eventually I figured out that the "short" pads are supposed to be natural pads marked by a couple of Innova brand stakes in the ground, but many of these have gone missing or have been misplaced. With this situation, you'll basically only have one option on the course. That shows a bit of neglect, even though the fairways themselves are generally very well cut and maintained, and the baskets are in good condition.
Other Thoughts: Walking this course is a workout, but you may be able to mitigate the effort of walking by renting a golf cart on site at the resort. You can do a 5-hour rental or an all-day rental of the cart, which will get you all over the resort property, as well as into most of the disc golf course, since there are roads and cart paths snaking throughout it. It won't take you right up to every tee pad, but would get you close to most. There is also a pretty good restaurant on the property, so you can break for lunch if you're here all day. You can also rent discs with a bag at their rental building. The fee for renting equipment is $5, and is good for a full day of playing, but if you bring your own equipment, nobody is going to charge you $5 to play here. I literally had the course entirely to myself for two days.
There is a lot of other stuff to do here besides play disc golf. In addition to the nearby hiking and site-seeing, the resort itself hosts a miniature golf course, features a couple of game rooms, and has daily activities to keep your whole family entertained. If you're staying overnight with family or significant other, you might give these activies a try.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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