Short & Technical
4 Helpful / 0 Not
- Makes great use of elevation change, creating some unique shots (3, 4 and 6 come to mind)
- Lots of ace runs & birdie opportunities since most holes are short (150'-200')
- Practice basket near parking area
- Course is maintained & all paths are well-worn & easy to navigate, benches throughout
- Park is dedicated to disc golf, no conflict with other park users
- Four tee pads (blue, white, red, gold) on most holes allow for variety. Have only played the white tees so I can't comment on quality of other tees.
- Bare dirt tee pads don't provide much traction & can become an issue if wet
- Gets very crowded, especially on weekends (VT is only 10 minutes away)
- Long walk between 15 and 16, but I don't think this could have been avoided
Other Thoughts: This is a fairly challenging wooded course with lots of shorter, technical holes. Definitely leave your drivers at home. Great course to work on your midrange game. There are enough uniquely-designed holes that make the course very interesting to play.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Not bad for SW VA
Pros: - very interesting, well designed course that presents challenges even for experienced players, yet is approachable for beginners
- most holes are very short yet heavily wooded. It is rare you get a straight shot to the hole. Therefore, this course is technique course. If you have good control you can get many birdie opportunities.
Cons: - There tends to be some trash build up throughout the course, especially when VT is in session
- On the same token, lots of students play this course. It can get a bit crowded at times.
- the course is starting to show a little ware; it has been quite a while since there has been regular maintenance. For example, steps and containment barriers on some of the sloped holes are falling apart. The tee pads are natural, but still in ok shape
Other Thoughts: This is my home course, it's where I learned to play DG. This course rewards control and accuracy over long drivers. The first 2 holes are relatively open, with holes 3-17 in heavy woods. As others have mentioned, there is significant elevation and plenty of benches. Look for ace opportunities on 3 and 17.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
There is plastic in them thar Hills!!
Pros: loved the views. Really great use of elevation changes, especially on hole #3. Not a really long course but it makes up for that with tight shots. There are still plenty of birdie shots available and even an ace run or two. Hole 1 and 2 are about as "open" a shot as you will get here, maybe 18. A really good "workout" with all the elevation changes. You can pretty much leave your drivers at home. A solid Buzz/Roc and maybe a comet work real good for me here.
Cons: This course is hard on a fat guy (me). whew!! Lots of "steps" put in place that are easy to fall over if you're not extremely careful. There has been a lot of work done here with all of the "steps" but they could be given some more "TLC" with the stakes that hold them in place. Some holes feel like they require the legs of a mountain goat to play with the drastic elevation changes.
Crowded. I repeat, crowded! We had a group of four that were playing at a reasonable pace and we had to let a few groups of 2/3 play through. When we finished up around 5:00ish, there was a line 20-25 people long at the first tee. If I had encountered that earlier, I would have just turned around and drove the hour+ back home.
Other Thoughts: All in all, a great course to play. Enjoy...
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Hiking in the Hills
Pros: Landscape, hills, distinct challenge of most holes
Cons: Short, natural tees, overall length
Other Thoughts: Golden Hills is one of the most distinctive courses in Virginia, though it may not be to every disc golfer's liking. On the plus side, it's extremely hilly, with a bunch of interesting downhill, uphill, and across gully shots. It's a decent workout to play the course, and the landscape is beautiful. It has tees to fit any skill level, and most every hole places a premium on control and shot selection. On the negative side, at least for some tastes, the tees are natural and carved into hillsides in many cases, thus your X-step will not get used a whole lot out here. The longest set of tees are not at all apparent for first timers, and thus playing from the maintained, signed tees makes for a short course that doesn't require too many shots with a driver, especially for the big arm types. Fifteen of the holes are entirely in the woods, and tree or undergrowth trouble figures prominently into the other three. Finally, it's not particularly beginner friendly; shots that get away from you could end up way way downhill from where you want to be. Even good players may end up doing a bit of scrambling when a shot gets off course out here.
For a player like me though, with a game that's all about control as opposed to distance, that loves the space where hiking and disc golf overlap, and enjoys the challenge of standing on the tee and having to really analyze which disc I want to throw here, and how exactly do I want to throw it, Golden Hills was the perfect challenge. The course starts out a bit open with a steep uphill, average length hole, and follows that up with the most open hole on the course, a nice little birdie run going down a slight grassy incline. Then you move into the woods for #3, which sets the tone for the rest of the course. It's only 180 feet from the white tee but it is the steepest hole I have yet to play anywhere, just straight downhill with no room for error on either side. No other hole was unique in this way, but from #4 to #17 is all holes that are mostly less than 200 feet and at their easiest have little room for error on either side due to the woods or more interestingly, played along such steep inclines, or across a ravine, such that the scoring spread is probably two to five, but with not many results right in the middle. #18 comes back out in the open (sort of) and right next to the parking lot and is the longest hole on the course, though still is only a par 3 (IMO). Appropriately, #18 follows up the ultimate touch challenge of #17, 154 feet straight across a half moon decline, with nothing but steep trouble downhill to the right, and thick woods uphill to the left.
To be clear, though, every one of these fairways is totally fair. This is not hiking trail, single or even double track, disc golf. There's a fair route on every hole, there's just no room for a chuck and pray mentality on this course, and precision is the premium skill. Birdie opportunities abound for those that pick the right disc and get their speed and release point just right. For those with a mid-range kind of game, that don't mind getting the heart rate up and getting a bit messy, Golden Hills is a great course, and is well worth adding to your wish list even if it's outside of your taste a bit, if only for the experience.
Favorite hole - #3 - very steep downhill toss into a ravine
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
A Technical Challenge.
Pros: The location of the course makes it equally easy to get to from Blacksburg or Christiansburg, and any other nearby town.
It's definitely a fun challenge. There are a lot of trees, and it feels great when you pick a line and try to thread the needle, then watch your disc weave between some tall hardwoods on the way to the basket. Nothing like it.
The baskets are in good condition, and once in a while they will be moved to alternate locations.
The elevation changes make for some interesting holes, particularly on #3 (shooting down an almost 45 deg. slope) and #4 (going back up a similar hill to end up at roughly the same elevation). The hills also add their own sort of "risk vs. reward" element because sometimes the shortest line to the basket requires you to throw over what is practically a gorge off to one side or the other of the fairway.
If you're a college student, you'll enjoy running into other college-age players pretty often. That might be a nice way to say, "it gets pretty crowded," but I actually enjoy the atmosphere. If you manage to play while there are very few others on the course, however, the course has a pretty rural, backwoods feel to it.
The home-made signs at each hole add to the rustic feel of the park, and (while VERY simple) are detailed enough to get an idea of where and how to shoot.
I think it's a great-looking course, and it's interesting to play in the different seasons.
Cons: Unfortunately, all the college kid traffic means a lot of beer cans lying around. There aren't really any garbage cans along the trail, so I guess it's too inconvenient for some people to just carry their trash back to the pavilion. There are a lot of responsible players who go pick up trash as they play, so that's good to see.
If you're a raw power kind of player, you might get frustrated by this course. Unless you shape some pretty creative lines and can execute them, you'll likely be hitting some trees. Plus, if you do get a huge distance shot off that manages to maneuver through all the wood, you might end up overshooting the basket and risk losing your disc in some brush or under a bunch of leaves.
The tee pads aren't much to speak of. Aside from a few the are out in the open, nearly all of the boxes are dirt with a wooden tee. Of course, although they're a little crude, I think they also add to the rustic atmosphere.
Other Thoughts: Don't let the 3.5 score fool you; I LOVE this course. It's where I learned to play the game, and I consider it the reason I am more of a "finesse" type of player than an all-out distance kind of guy. I think this course presents a unique challenge at every hole, and it is just as fun to come back and try to hit that perfect line or search for new ones. It does seem a little under-maintained, though, and some people might not appreciate the constant threat of trees and elevation shanges.
To do well on this course, you will need to know a variety of different throws. If you go there frequently, you'll definitely see improvements in your finesse game.
For as much walking you'll do to get through the course, it really doesn't take much more than an hour tops (unless you end up spending a lot of time disc searching). It's definitely not a day-long outing.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Golden Hills Disc Golf Course is a short hop off the major roads near Blacksburg and is very easy to get to. Despite being so close to the 460 and I-81 expressways, when you get to the course, the serene, natural setting takes over.
The "double whammy" of the course is the way in which both trees and elevation was factored so elegantly into the design. The Virginia mountains are put to good use at this course. The combination of these elements make the course very technically challenging without being needlessly punishing. Despite being densely wooded, there are clearly visible lanes from most tees.
The course features four tees on each hole...four tees. This makes the course accommodating for all player levels. The tee signs are hand made and show the positions of each tee, the distance and elevation change from the white tees, par, and the expected lane. Additionally, tee signs have a spot for players to sign the post any time they ace the hole. This is a great way to keep baskets and tee signs from being vandalized while allowing people to take credit for their winning throws.
The baskets at Golden Hills are old and showing signs of wear, but they're still well kept.
Given the elevation changes, paths and stairs are a necessity and they are both abundant and well-kept at Golden Hills. Additionally, benches are present at each hole and frequently at each tee. This is a big plus when hiking up and down the hills of the course. Bridges are present throughout the course and are also in great shape.
The third hole is short horizontally, but has a severe vertical drop with a very tight fairway. Some may consider this hole as a novelty or as gimmicky, but given the finesse required to place the disc near the basket without landing in dense foliage or rolling out of sight, this hole is a highlight of the course. Likewise, the following hole requires a controlled drive across a ravine and up a hill toward the basket. On this hole the designers did a beautiful job terracing logs up the hill. Not only does this help when climbing to the basket, but it also act as a roller dam to prevent a 10' roll from become a potentially crippling multiple bogey approach from 40' below.
Cons: Although there are four sets of tees, they're all natural and can get muddy and water-logged. Further, the paths between some of the holes are somewhat steep and can be dangerous when wet.
Even with having multiple tees, there were very few holes that were long enough to require a solid drive over a controlled approach. This is usually the appeal of a technically challenging course such as Golden Hills, but having more than one or two holes with a possible long distance drive would do a lot to shake things up at this course.
Despite the appeal of the hand-made tee signs, Navigation between holes can be difficult. There are numerous hiking trails that converge throughout the course but no signage at these intersections to direct the players to the next tee.
Although there were several signs emploring golfers to take their trash off the course with them, trash (mostly empty bottles and cans) was visible on numerous holes and is disappointing.
There are streams that criss cross the park, however, the possibility of a water hazard only appears as a subtle backdrop on a few of the holes. Factoring the water into the design would help push the risk vs. reward aspect of the game.
Other Thoughts: This course has many holes that have strong birdie potential and are potential ace runs.
Despite being so heavily wooded, the fairways are mostly clear of thick underbrush so traversing the course and finding a stray throw. That said, the extreme/severe elevation changes will give you a workout. Anyone that is not in decent cardiovascular health or those with bad knees may have some trouble hiking through Golden Hills.
The Hokie community built a solid course and their efforts clearly show through in the course construction and maintenance. All things considered, Golden Hills is a great play and I'd recommend it to anyone that happens to live or travel through the area.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Lots of tees
Pros: The course is mostly set in a secluded piece of Virginia forest with only a couple holes at each end that feel like you're anywhere near civilization. This course has a great amount of elevation, with every possible type of hill shot you can think of.
There are four tees marked on each hole, making for a ton of different shots to play (I played the middle two sets of tees, white and blue). Including all the tees, there is a good variety of lengths and hole shapes, with all kinds of shots required. There is a sign at each white tee showing all the tees on each hole.
It's very clear that there is a ton of work that goes into this course to keep it clean and solve erosion problems. We played shortly after some rain, and even the steep paths weren't too muddy or slippery, the course seemed to drain well.
Cons: As a few others have said, the middle of the course gets quite repetitive. Though the elevation changes things up a little, the holes are just too similar throughout this part of the course from each set of tees I played.
The tees were the one place where the maintenance of this course really fell short. They were mostly very small and uneven, often with roots that made any kind of run up very dangerous on ankles and knees. It's clearly difficult to get real equipment back into the woods, but some leveling and clearing would go a long way. The white tees seemed to be in the best shape, with the reds and blues in slightly worse shape, and the golds seemed mostly overgrown and rarely used.
The signage was lacking here, both in navigating between holes and at the holes themselves. Without signs at each tee, you do a lot more walking up and down hills to see tee signs and play any other set of tees.
Other Thoughts: This course is a great workout, with lots of walking, great hills, and some tight and tough woods shots. It'll test your accuracy and your line shaping, especially from any of the longer tees. Beginners might find this course a bit daunting, while more advanced players will find a lot of fun challenges, but not quite enough variety.
This course is certainly worth a stop if you're in the area, I had a lot of fun playing here. With a little work, this course has potential to be even more fun and more of a destination course.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Unique course -- all elevation and lots of fun shots
Pros: Course is like nowhere else I've played anywhere in the country. This is -- for it's distance -- one of the most challenging courses in the country. From the reds/whites/blues, most holes are pretty short -- 200-300' -- but there is so much elevation change that almost nothing is easy. I love elevation on courses, and this has 10x the total elevation change of most courses... and there is a lot of elevation that you hike through between holes that adds to the overall workout. This is one of the best examples anywhere of a hiking trail that's been dotted with teepads and baskets.
Locals have done an immense amount of work putting in stairs, logs, retaining walls, etc... to make this course playable and to keep the holes from eroding away.
Signage is decent on the white tees -- not great, but it does help with navigation. If you are going, print a map/scorecard for your first few times through -- it will help, since there are many baskets you can't see from the tees, even though they are short. Having four sets of tees marked is a plus.
The course has a lot of very unusual shots, and many that are incredibly memorable. Hole 3 is definitely a show-stopper -- the hole is 180' with a 60+' vertical drop to the basket -- it's a challenge to get any disc to drop without going to far, no matter how softly you throw it; a very cool hole. Hole 17 is a short, tight uphill ace run with all sorts of danger if you kick down the hill and off the path -- it can easily be a deuce or a double bogey, depending on your line. Many other great holes as well, and the threat of rolling down a hill on errant shots or putts places a premium on accuracy on EVERY shot. You have to really be on your game to not take any rollaway strokes.
Overall, a very fun course, and the short distance makes it playable for all skill levels. Advanced/pro players will likely spend most of the round with a putter, maybe a midrange as well... Also a wicked-fun course to play with SuperClass discs.
Cons: Signage is weak. There are a couple of places (notably after holes 3 and 15) where the trail divides several ways and there are no arrows telling you which way to go -- it would take very little work to fix this navigation issue.
Gold tees are a plus to have throughout the course, but many are overgrown and very difficult to find. Tees in general are a mixed bag, and quality varies from hole to hole, with some being very muddy, and none but the whites having anything other than dirt that I saw.
Great tees and better signage would go a long way towards improving this course. Combine that with some more course upkeep for the gold tees, and it would be worth adding another .5 or whole star to the rating.
In my opinion, the biggest drawback to this course is the repetition that happens on a lot of the holes. The course starts strong, and the first four or five holes are pretty different from each other, and the last few holes are different as well, but the middle of the course really starts to feel like you are throwing the same shots you've already seen. I know some repetition is inevitable, but here it seems more pronounced than many places. The relatively similar distance on most of the holes exacerbates this feeling of repetition. I used the same TeMoko (like a Zephyr) off of almost every tee in the middle stretch of the course, and it really did feel like the middle of the course was just designed to force the same shot over and over. It's possible the gold tees help this, but I haven't yet had the chance to track down and play all the gold tees.
The other drawback to this course is the trash that's present -- more beer cans than I prefer to see on a course, especially one that is in such a beautiful setting. The beer cans and other trash aren't overwhelming, but they do distract from the feeling that you are out for a tranquil hike in the woods. Less trash would definitely improve the aesthetics of this course, and the aesthetics are already one of the most amazing elements of this course.
Other Thoughts: Port-o-potty provided. Excellent practice green (practice basket is in a place that allows for all kinds of elevation putts (and you'll need that practice when putting on the course).
This is a great place to stop if you're in the area or if you have a reason to travel up the Hwy-81 corridor -- I travel often from the NoVA/DC area down to western NC and SC, and Hwy-81 is my preferred route -- not just for the scenery but for the great courses along the way that help break up the trip.
For what it's worth, my GPS is a couple of years old and had a lot of trouble navigating from the course back onto Hwy-81 -- if you're GPS dependent, make sure you're careful when you visit here, and never let the GPS overrule your common sense of direction.
It's worth playing this course at least once just to see some of the unusual holes -- it is not the kind of epic course you dream about at night, or the kind that will challenge your whole disc golf game, but it is a truly unique course, and one that you will be very glad you took the time to play.
In short: Highly recommended; but you can leave most of your drivers in the car.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Cool course...but not for beginners
Pros: This course is very unique because it goes through a heavily wooded area. This course is very technical because you will have to analyze every shot before you throw to ensure that you don't lose any discs. Every hole seemed to be well built. The trails were well built and designed.
There are multiple tees for more experienced players to the most novice. Actually there are 4 tees in all for every hole. This is a huge plus but the only tee that had concrete was 1, the rest were natural but they were all in pretty good shape other than a few. Favorite Hole has to be 3 because of that shear drop from the tee. Magnificent Hole
Cons: There was so much trash at every tee!! If beer cans were worth 5 bucks a piece this place would be a gold mine but it is near 2 college campuses so I guess it fits. Also this course is extremely easy to lose a disc during the summer season because there are vines a bushes that will eat your disc without mercy. Also there are no bathrooms which can be a hassle for some people. Not too many cons but the ones that are here are big ones for me.
Other Thoughts: good course, I have friends who go to Virginia tech so I bet I will be playing this course pretty often in the fall.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Nice variety of elevation and tree coverage. After Virginia Tech's "Big Event" in 2009, all holes have either mulch or stones at the tees, making it much easier to tee off. Also, mulch at the pin on most holes
Cons: Very wooded. Some holes don't allow you very much room to tee off from (or there are trees in the way)
Other Thoughts: I really enjoy this course. After playing this course several times, I'm starting to be able to experiment different ways to play each hole. Enjoy the course more and more each time I play.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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