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.
3 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Great rubber tee pads, nice hole signs, and very well kept grounds. Good mix of long rips and tight shots. I love the elevated tees on 2, 3, 4.......lots of really fun drives.
Cons: No hole layout map on tee box. If you haven't played here before, it's hard to tell where the basket is located on 5 or 6 holes. Once you have played the course a time or two, this should no longer be a problem. Also, there are a few holes where you can miss the basket and way down in a ravine....a little warning would be nice.
Other Thoughts: One of the most fun courses I have played. The drive up to the Fontana resort is a lot of fun too.....if you have a sports car, you are in for a treat!
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 1 Not
An Everyone's Course
Pros: Wonderful diversity
Varying lengths and angles
Stream runs throughout course
Gorgeous, well maintained land
All proper amenities present
Cons: Some rough was very dense - I did loose a disc on hole 13 (pink Stalker, if you find it, show it love)
No obvious faults for me
Other Thoughts: This course will provide fun and challenge for any level player.
The advanced player can play it all 3's and have his/her hands full, while the beginner or intermediate player can play course par and be challenged but not abused.
The layout winds up, down and through a very beautiful park. There are plenty of guests on site that have other interests, however, there was no interference whatsoever on the course.
The blend of open to tight holes is quite nice. I would have to say it is more of an open course, but certainly not plain. The elevation, stream and rough kept even the most open holes interesting. You rarely shoot flat here. You gotta love the NC terrain! This ground was meant for disc golf.
I loved the length. I threw mostly drivers off the tee. None of the holes had "2 drive" type length and there were very few pitch and putts. Don't be fooled by hole one, it is by far the most simplistic hole on the course. I used every disc in my bag. Booyaa.
This is a high recommend. Bring the family. There is a lot to do here. The natural beauty and course design is worth a road trip.
14 of 15 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
What a great course
Pros: Well, I think the best part of this course is the diversity of the holes. I used every disc and every technique in my bag to finish off this course at 1 up on the pro par. I do not think there was one hole on this course that I disliked. I really liked hole 3 for the beautiful valley that your throwing across and the cool placement of the cage. Hole 8 was very unique and technical. A serious hyzer flick and getting it through a small window in the trees to come crashing down over a road to the cage was a teeth clinching experience. Great hole! 9 and 11 were great grip and rip holes. Hole 10 had a sweet putting challenge with rocks and trees partly in the way. 14 had some nice plateaus going upward towards the basket. 16 was by far the toughed hole for me. downhill with trees and elevation change, creek and rough high grass made this hole extremely hard. 18 was really cool too with pocket fairways and nice scenery. Best course I've been to yet.
Cons: Wish the golf carts were more affordable. 35 dollars for 5 hours is to much to me. They could move hole 1 closer to hole 2 so you do not have to climb all the way to the top of the hill. As short of a hole as one is.... they could easily put 1 above 2. whatever, its a great course.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Top 10% of all courses I've played. Great shot variation, good distances make birdie or boogie possible for the advanced player on many holes.
Cons: big arm course, if a 350-500 foot shot doesn't excite you you might want to stick the the pool.
Other Thoughts: Overall excellent resort in the smokies. If you fly fish, get a campsite, evenings are killer for trout on the adjacent river.
0 of 6 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Excellent use of terrain for a course. Friendly staff. Beautiful setting. Quiet, peaceful and remote. If you are in a hurry to get to this place, it is not for you. Take your time and enjoy the mountains.
Cons: The grass could have been cut. It was getting a bit tall.
Other Thoughts: I drove 2.5 hours to play here. It was a muggy 75 degress since it had just rained. The drive up Deal's Gap was great. They did charge me the $5 even though I had my own discs. Well worth 5 bucks. I will be back again.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
20 Helpful / 0 Not
A Wonderful DG Experience!
- This is GOLF. This course is set up like a ball golf course. It gives the feeling of ball golf... manicured, beautiful, resort atmosphere, open fairways with punishment for poorly placed shots, etc...
- You are in the Smokies and the scenery is amazing.
- There is a considerable LACK of Poison Ivy. Someone had to have been hard at work to eradicate it so meticulously. I only saw it in a few places.
- The Par 4's. The Par 4's were nicely done. 500+ footers where 3's are extremely gettable with two excelent shots... Holes 2 and 16 were awesome - creek right, OB road left, and moderately treed fairways where accuracy and power are rewarded. Eagle 2's could be likely.
- Great uses of elevation. I think Hole 1 is the only hole where the basket is on the same elevation as the tee-pad... everything else is up or down at least a little bit.
- Even though this course is a little wide open... there are opportunities to be punished for poor shots. Baskets on hillsides, OB roads and creeks, and thick disc eating brush on some of the holes.
- This course could be a little bit too open. However, I like the manicured grass fairways and ball golf feel of the course.
- A few of the Par 4's could be 3's. (Hole 18 and 11). However, in a resort where there are lots of people who are being exposed to DG for the first time... there is no need to discourage them by calling everything a 3 when they're shooting 6's and 7's. And, since the other Par 4's are legit, it adds a nice flavor to the course giving it that ball golf feel.
- Hole 1 is probably the biggest con. It just doesn't fit in. However, after thinking about why they put it there and trying to contemplate what else they could have done, it makes sense. The only other option would have been to split Hole 2's fairway into two holes; but, since Hole 2 is a gem... Hole 1 turns out to be in the best spot.
- The food at the woodside grill is awesome. One of the best French Dip sandwhiches I have ever had. Take the road to the right side of Hole 1's tee-pad over the hill and the restraunt is on the left.
- The Random Sunday tournament they threw was extremely fun. They had a golf cart with a pony-Keg rolling around to the various groups and filling up cups. And it wasn't some crappy beer either... it was great beer - Pizgah Pale. The beer was included in the entry fee. If you haven't been out here, I highly recommend coming up for the next tourney. The beer tournment is definitely worth the 2+ hour drive from Aseville; I'm coming back.
- The locals were super cool.
- My Score: -10 (using the Par 4's)
20 of 20 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 1 Not
Absolutely worth the trek
Pros: * A great layout in
* A beautiful place with
* No crowds
The layout itself features some really great holes, with variety from multi-shot to birdieable. Many, even the open holes, have thoughtfully-placed obstacles or pin placements to keep them challenging. A couple of par-4s are on long downhill fairways full of trees, with reasonable gaps to reward accuracy along with power. There were only 2 holes I didn't particularly care for.
The resort itself is a small town of cabins & hotels set deep in the mountains and a long way from anything. The course is mostly on land away from the main resort activities, with a few holes along entrance roads. It is beautiful and peaceful. Even if you're not staying there, as we weren't, there's a country store and several restaurants right on the premises.
We played on a 75 degree saturday in summer, presumably a busy time, and only saw 2 other disc golfers.
The baskets are new and signage is great; you can almost always see the next tee from the basket.
Cons: Unless you're staying there, it's a LONG way from anywhere. More than an hour away from Cherokee, the closest tourist area. Of course, this remoteness is also part of it's charm.
Hole 1 will start you off on the wrong foot---a very short shot, then a fairly long walk to Hole 2. It gives you no idea of what the rest of the course has in store.
Other Thoughts: We too asked at the lodge and they weren't sure, but thought there was no charge if we had our own equipment. Had they charged us $5---it would still have been a bargain!
Though tucked deep in the Smoky Mountains, it's not a mountain course in the sense of a ski-slope with huge steep hills. There is elevation on almost every hole, but more like what you'd find in a very hilly area.
Praises to the designer who acquired rights to a great piece of property, where anyone could make a good course, but tweaked the tee and basket locations into an excellent course.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
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