Not a Round, and Experience
18 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: A lot of times people claim courses have variety, because they feature holes of different lengths. They have holes that finish in different directions and maybe some elevation changes. And that is one type of variety. There are courses that feature a few different landscapes. Those courses typically weave in and out of the trees, offering both wooded and open holes. That's another type of variety. At Stoney Hill, there is yet another level of variety. When each hole is significantly different both in feel and throw from all the rest. That's true variety and this course has more of that than any I've seen to date. It would be tough to identify a signature hole at Stoney Hill. It's daunting to even pick highlights. That's because they're pretty much all highlights. Most of the holes here could be a signature hole at another course.
I will mention a few holes, not to single them out as the best, but to try and represent the type of challenge that awaits. 1, the third Quartz hole, tees off on top of the hill. It's a long way to the bottom, and some real air can be put on a disc here. It's wide open, but it's not as straightforward. The basket is tucked down a small tunnel into the woods, so unless the drive is placed well, there won't be a smooth approach shot. The next hole is another favorite: it's a narrow tunnel that opens up to some space where the disc needs to go up and to the right.
I'd also like to mention 12, a long, straight, narrow, downhill that leads to a basket partly surrounded by a small creek. It kicks off an amazing stretch of holes that feature the creek. 13 is a shorter woods hole that wants you to fade it right over the creek, while 14B is a long open hole that leads to an opening in the woods. It's downhill through that opening to a basket that's perched in the center of a bend in the creek. Actually, that one may be my favorite.
But enough with the specifics. I want to get back to that variety. There are holes that are somewhat open, and holes that are in channels. There are also a ton of holes that have sections of each. (Most of my favorites, as described above) There are uphills and downhills, (some serious elevation) and one on a tricky slope. And yeah, there is a variety of distances. My favorite feature though, is how there are fairways of all different widths. I said before that each hole stands out. Each hole is memorable. Yet somehow it all comes together. Each hole flows naturally to the next. I think it's that rawness. Though very-well taken care of, the course feels pristine, natural. I know that nature doesn't groom that way, but maybe it should?
If there is one signature of Stoney Hill, it's danger on the green. Places where a disc can slip away are frequent. From the last basket, perched on a mound where any missed putt is likely to lead to a throw as equally tough as the one just missed, to one on the side of hill, where a slide away might find you down the embankment and into water, there is tons of peril even after navigating the fairway. There are pin placements with water behind them and targets just before of a significant drop in elevation. The clever basket locations mean that almost any shot requires some thought and even a parked drive isn't necessarily "parked."
And there are water carries, significant ones, as well as an additional layout with even tougher holes. There's a lot here, but I think, or hope, that I've painted a fairly accurate picture here. It's one of those courses that you really should see at one point. I can't imagine you'll be disappointed.
Cons: Well, it's not that accessible. It's out there. A long way from most places. And while the hosts are very hospitable, it's not a course you can play on a whim. You do have to plan ahead. Both in terms of availability and in terms of bringing all you need to play. It's not an easy course, it's not one that can be played without thought and it's not a course that will go down well for the inexperienced. It's also not likely one that you could play everyday. It's too long, too grueling and too much a test of skills to be the course that you could play several times a week after work.
But as for the course itself, the only thing I didn't love was the faux island hole. I know some love the challenge that can be added with holes like this but they just aren't for me. Especially considering how raw, real and natural most of the course is, it feels a little out of place to pretend that you can't stand in certain areas.
Other Thoughts: There isn't much in the way of navigational aid at Stoney Hill. The tee signs are minimal. The hole number. The distance. But this isn't a course that you pull over and play in an hour. It's an experience. Your host guides you through the course, and owns more knowledge of the course than could ever fit on a sign. Pin locations, target landing zones, alternate lines. And history. Of course history. Without having to find your way, it's easy to escape here. More often than not on the course, I lost track of the hole I was on. I guess if you played here enough times, a round would eventually just be a round. But your first time, as I said before, it's an experience. And one I can't recommend enough.
18 of 18 people found this review helpful.
Glad I made the trip!
10 Helpful / 0 Not
• Good variety with a mix of wooded/semi-open fairways, L/R/straight, up/down hill and varied terrain, long and short.
• Wonderful terrain is well-employed to bring elevation into play on most holes; both off the tee (making holes play longer or shorter and step up challenge) and on putts and approaches (increasing risk/reward).
• Judicious but reasonable use of OB makes you place shots rather than simply chucking down the fairway in hopes of a decent lie.
• Many well-tucked placements also make you place shots. Still other pins feature guardian trees which force you to find and carry a line on upshots if you want to score well.
• No filler holes - each hole stands on its own and presents a legitimate challenge and forces you to execute or make a difficult recovery. Fairways are reasonable but the rough can be nasty in spots, costing you a stroke if you miss the fairway badly or cut corners leaving yourself a bad angle to the pin… but shouldn't bad shots be reflected in your score? ;)
• Multiple layouts to suit most skill levels. Quartz and Diamond layouts share several holes but each has several holes unique to that layout. The holes unique to Quartz make it well-suited to intermediate players, with the Diamond layout being a reasonable challenge for Advanced and Pro players.
• Wind can raise the stakes and was a definite factor on the longer, semi-open holes during my visit. I had to change my disc or shot to compensate on quite a few holes (often unsuccessfully). :(
• Nice to play a round at your own pace, without having to wait for other groups to finish or worry about pedestrian and other non-disc traffic.
• Several memorable holes, including The Island Green, Hole 14 (plays differently on both layouts) Diamond hole 5, and 18 is a unique finishing hole where a couple stroke lead may not be safe. Well conceived water caries that offer shorter bail-out routes round things out nicely.
• Hard to knock them for not pouring concrete, because temp tees allow them to update things on an ongoing basis, but I recall wishing I had better footing off the tee a couple of times.
• Not conveniently located near other destination courses. Unless you already have a reason to drive past on I-26, you'll have to go out of your way to play here.
• Thorns and briars - unfortunately, I found some spots where they were pretty nasty… but you're supposed to stay on the fairway, right?
Other Thoughts: You'd be hard pressed to find nicer hosts anywhere. David and Chris are quite proud (and rightfully so) to share their creation with you, and do so hospitably, sharing their insight, likes and dislikes about many of the holes. It's nice to hear how a hole evolved into to what it is today. One of the great pluses of private courses is that almost all owners are players, and can change things they don't like to improve the course over the years... obviously the case here, and something that isn't a big priority for most Parks and Rec departments.
I played the course the first day of winter, while the course was probably looking about as drab as could be, and it still had quite a bit of visual appeal. I can only imagine how beautiful Stoney Hill looks at the peak of fall color or how lush it is mid-season.
Likely to prove too frustrating for beginners, but that's not what they were shooting for. People don't drive for miles to play beginner courses. This is most definitely destination discing - take the time to play both layouts and really enjoy all this gem has to offer.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Diamond in the Rough
22 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Layout - Stoney Hill is a premier disc golf course set on private land in the back country of SC.
It starts with two layouts, Diamond and Quartz. Quartz is 24 holes and incorporates a few more ace runs. The Diamond layout combines and adds on to some Quartz holes to make longer par 4's which gives you a more difficult course.
To understand the course you first need to get an idea of the landscape. It's big rolling hills with a few dramatic elevation changes. The fairways are carved out of thick woods comprised of thin and compact trees in between the larger ones. There's a pond and a creek running through the property that adds some dramatic and more pleasant views on the course.
The design put it in to all of the holes is top notch and easily one of the top 5 courses from a straight design perspective that I've played. There's a combination of placement and gap hitting throughout the course that makes you constantly consider your options think about each shot.
There's a superb mixture of more open and technical holes throughout the course and it's all sprinkled in to give you constant variety.
The multi-shot holes here are incredible and combine technicality with an openness to choose how to attack each throw. In most cases you'll have a defined fairway that's open enough to work a few different lines or shots but the landing zones are very well placed and make placement accuracy a key.
To me the real beauty of these multi-shot holes is that when you nail the drive you're set up for a second shot that is still challenging but much friendlier than if you were off. However the other great thing is that there's usually risky but doable lines if you didn't get in the right place.
These lines, which are also available on many of the drives on the par 3's as well, usually include going over the top and bending the disc which introduces tons of risk/reward in to the course because being off the fairway here is absolutely punishing.
The par 3's here are an assortment of super fun open shots to more technical multiple route holes. The ability to take different lines on a lot of these holes adds layers to the course than most places just don't have.
There's some par 3's that are more straight forward and almost must birdies if you want to score well overall. These holes usually throw in a fun factor that helps break up the challenge of other holes.
The greens here and basket positions to me are exquisite. The baskets always seemed to be tucked right in to that corner, cove, hill, creek and drop off that makes your placement on drives and approaches vital.
On top of all that you have the water holes. There's no long water carries but they're not short either and not being on point will leave you wet along the pond. Some of the funnest and best looking holes on the course can thank H20 for the assist. There's a few holes where the creek come in to play that are just awesome not only from a visual standpoint but from the design angle as well.
There's two or three holes that stand out as some of the absolute best holes I've played. The signature hole to me is the finishing hole which is a par 4 out of a gap and out in to the open, that gives you a second shot with two gaps then over a chasm and on to a peninsula surrounded by OB with the basket perched on a knoll... yea it's sweet.
Atmosphere - This is private land and it gives you this remoteness that I strive for every time I play disc golf. It's not the most polished landscape or course out there but it's got some great views and beautiful holes mixed in that just makes you feel good about playing disc golf.
The Sauls are incredible hosts and it's obvious how much they care about making your experience at Stoney Hill great. The amount of work that has gone in to this course is second to none; when you realize what they carved it all out of you just have give it up to their commitment.
Equipment - The baskets are all in good shape and catch well. There are signs that give you the hole # and distance of each hole. The pads here are carpet and to me they were sufficient but not ideal.
Cons: Layout - There's no major cons here at all just some nitpicks and most of it is not controllable.
As I said before the woods here are super thick. Getting off fairway is in many cases a pitch-out or an OH with a prayer.
There are a few crossing fairways and one shared tee pad area. Due to the private nature of this course it's not really a problem but it's still a con.
There's only one pad and basket position per hole on each layout. No real biggy considering how well done everything is but the addition of those things would put this course over the top.
This course is not beginner friendly which isn't a con for me but something to think about if it applies to you.
It can also be a hike; It's not strenuous but coupled with the amount of time and shots you'll need to finish it's something to consider if you you're limited in mobility.
Atmosphere - Again this isn't a polished course, it's rough out there. There's bumps, ditches and rocks in the fairways and off fairway it's really thick and you'll run in to briers if you stay in there long enough.
There's also some areas where runoff has carved some tiny ravines in the ground which you need to watch out for when walking.
Equipment - The tee signs are simple and don't give you a map of the hole; not a big deal because you either know the hole or you're playing with a guide.
As I said above the carpet pads are sufficient but not ideal.
Other Thoughts: It took me about 5 holes to realize I was playing a truly great course. I can't say enough about how well the design elements are combined throughout. The Sauls have truly done amazing work here and they deserve all the praise you can heap on them.
Stoney Hill is a destination course and worth the drive out in to what many would call the middle of nowhere to play it. I suggest anyone in the area make plans to get out there and experience it.
22 of 23 people found this review helpful.
One Stoney Hill
19 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Stoney Hill, quite simply, is a special course. If you're not careful, it'll beat you down, eat you up and spit you out. Yet, I'm betting you're like me, and wanting to do it all over again.
- The course offers one good hole after another. Maybe it's because I played the quartz, 24-hole layout, but there was a much slower, grind-it-out feel to my round than what you'd expect at most courses. Because of that slower pace, and the fact it's easy to lose track of hole numbers (hole numbers don't align up properly for the quartz layout), there was a lot more time to focus on the hole at hand rather than looking ahead. David and Chris did an amazing job taking advantage of the land, and the wide variety of terrain, to create some great holes. You can tell a ton of hours have gone into this making this place what it is.
- The course offers a ton of variety. Holes with elevation? Check. Open holes? Check. Wooded holes? Check. Holes with water? Check. Risk/reward holes? Check. Holes that might require a smidgen of luck? Check. About the only thing the course doesn't offer is a lot of chances for rollers. But, so what?
- There's a very natural flow to the course and each hole. No holes really felt like they were there simply as filler or transitional holes. All offered different looks, from one hole to the next. Of course to achieve that, there were some long walks between some holes; but, I think most disc golfers would rather have to walk an extra minute to play a great hole, than have no walk between holes and play lesser ones.
- Solitude, solitude, solitude. No sound of cars or highways. No airplanes overhead. No park goers to deal with. It's you and nature out on this course. When you have to drive on two dirt roads to get to the Sauls' property, you know you're in the middle of nowhere. See how many hunting stands you can locate while playing.
- This might seem very contradictory, and it probably is, but the course will reward both aggressive and conservative play. For smart, conservative play, if you throw straight and stay out of the rough/trees/water, you're going to see a ton of easy pars, along with some real birdie chances. For aggressive players, many holes are either open, or open enough (if they're wooded), that you can see some real birdie chances if you're willing to throw big. Even on some of the narrowest holes (fourth hole on the quartz layout), you can throw over the trees to reach the basket.
- Then, there is the level of genuine risk/reward, perhaps best exemplified on the course's shortest hole (13th hole on the quartz layout). The 167 foot hole has a creek running along the left side of the fairway, with the fairway sloping towards the water. You can play safe, throw to the right, and have a relatively easy chance for par. Or you can make a run at the basket, but also bring the creek/OB into play.
- Now to the best part of the course, the whole reason to come to this course, the quality of the holes. A quick disclaimer that the number system is somewhat out of whack. Because there are two different layouts, with a different number of holes, hole numbers don't necessarily mean a lot until you play the course. You'll see 1a, 1b, 1c, etc. on the quartz layout. You'll also see the final hole listed as #18, when it's the 24th hole on the quartz layout. For the sake of my review, when I list a hole, it's in the order I played it, and may not necessarily match the number listed on the tee sign. For example, when I talk about how much I loved the long, downhill hole, with a basket in an opening to the right of the fairway, it's listed as 1c on the tee sign, but I'm referring to it as the third hole, as in the third hole I played. To add to the confusion, the pictures on this site also don't all match up to the correct hole numbers, so you'll already be lost if you haven't played the course before.
- That said, here are some of the goodies. I've already mentioned the 3rd and 13th holes:
4th hole - 285 foot, uphill, slight dogleg right. It's a tight, tight fairway off the tee, but it opens up halfway down the fairway. Steer clear of the trees, and you can really be aggressive.
5th hole - 315 foot, downhill, dogleg right shot. Hole includes the first hunting stand you'll spot on the course. You can be aggressive, but don't go long, or you'll end up in the shallow creek.
12th hole - 236 foot, uphill shot. Tee off in the open to an opening in the woods. Basket is at the edge of a drop-off towards a creek.
17th hole - My favorite hole on the course. 476 footer, tee off from an open field to a wooded basket on a peninsula green. A well place tee shot gives a chance to reach the basket in two shots. Having a creek on three sides of the basket add a huge risk/reward element to this stellar hole.
24th, and final, hole - 492 footer to a basket on a hill, protected by a large hole, a la #18 at Renny. A well placed tee shot gives you options on how to play your approach shot. Even with two great shots, you'll still have to nail a put up the hill. Just a wonderful finishing hole, one of the best I've played anywhere.
Cons: I was hard pressed to find any major problems. These are all small, potential nuisances that may be problems for some.
- This is a rugged course, lacking some of the basics a lot of courses offer. The biggest example of this I noticed is the taller grass. David & Chris cut it only several times a year. It only poses a problem because it eliminates rollers and a lot of skip shots. This is going to reduce a lot of distance that many might be accustomed to.
- If you don't play with one of the Sauls' or someone who's played here before, course will be difficult to navigate for first timers. There's a fair amount of overlap between holes, and even with a map, it wouldn't be hard to miss a hole. Along those lines,
- As mentioned, the hole numbers don't match up. As long as you can remember how many holes you've played, you'll be fine. If you're overly particular, you'll be fine.
- The Sauls property is in the middle of nowhere, so come prepared. While the location is great for disc golf, hunting, fishing and camping, it's not so great if you've forgotten to bring food, drinks or bug spray. You'll have to drive more than a couple minutes to the nearest store to stock up if you've forgotten anything. The drive is even worse if you're coming the south, from the Lexington/Lake Murray area.
- Along those lines, be careful for snakes, black widows, ticks, fire ants, poison ivy and bristles. You are out in nature, so plan accordingly.
Other Thoughts: Stoney Hill is under-the-radar great. Even while I was playing, I didn't have that blown away feel. But about two-thirds of the way through my round, it dawned on me that I've been playing one good-to-great hole after another. This place is the San Antonio Spurs of disc golf courses. Very solid, one of the best around, but isn't very flashy.
- Out of the 24 holes on the quartz layout, there were only two that I felt were just so-so. The most 'normal' or 'non-exciting' hole on the hole course might just be the first one. It's a no frills, straight ahead, downhill shot to a large island green, landing area. It's a solid warm-up hole, so it does serve its purpose.
- I can't speak enough to how much time and effort the Sauls' have put into this course. Even from little things, like placing OB and drop zone markers, you can tell there's been countless hours of work and thought put into this place. On top of that, David is a great host, a disc golfer to the extreme.
- In some ways, this course has grown on me more in the days since I've played. Or maybe that's just the poison ivy. Either way, I'm more eager to play it again now, than immediately after, or during my round.
- This course is not meant for everyone. It's not beginner friendly. A lot of walking, and endurance is required for here. Beginners and casual players may get overly frustrated. For everyone else, never mind the drive, and check this place out. It's a must play. One of the best I have played anywhere. Just keep on driving until the road turns to dirt. Then you know you're getting close.
19 of 19 people found this review helpful.
19 Helpful / 1 Not
I'm so lost without you..
Pros: Elevation...so much of it, so much glorious land to throw across. Uphill, Downhill, Sidehill, crazyhill and all other hills known to man exist on this property. It makes for some extremely fun and challenging greens.
OB. Why do I like the OB on this course? Because it was executed and used perfectly, the OB on this course forces you to play golf, or at least strongly suggests it, if not, you end up shooting scores like I did, you don't want that.
Tee's - Some of these tees were extremely grippy, even though it had rained a good portion of the weekend, the course was in excellent shape and I had a great time.
Pin position - this kind of goes hand in hand with the OB thing except, wait, what is this...? Is this a pin hanging off a tree limb with a creek OB in front of it? Well i'll be damned, this gave me a shit-eating-grin like you couldn't believe, this is not only challenging golf, but it is freaking fun.
Design - This is my biggest pro for this course, every single type of shot is required here, literally, there are long holes, there are short holes, there are downhill hyzers and uphill annys, everything I have learned about disc golf in my short career thus far was required here.
#18's green is one of the best green's in disc golf.
Cons: Tee's - Yup. Some of these were not so grippy, they were all some sort of carpet type tee's, some worked extremely well, but others seemed to absorb the water and were incredibly slick, i lost my footing on my teeshots once or twice, and a playing partner who will not be named ate grass..lol. I think Chris(Thank you for letting us come play!) mentioned this is something they were trying to take care of soon, hats off to the Saul's for such an incredible course.
Other Thoughts: I want to give this course a five so badly, for me this course was amazing, I had so much fun even when the course was kicking my ass, it is FAIR, I made the mistakes to have a poor score.
I hope next time I come here, it is slightly less windy(30-40ish all round) and it is drier outside. Regardless though, this course is an incredible time. Go play it.
19 of 20 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 0 Not
Superb variety and balance, even with single tees and pins
Pros: Stoney Hill is a private course, on an amazing varied piece of land, that offers up a design that rivals the best as far as balance and variety. Amongst all the quiet, peaceful, and secluded beauty you'll get wide open ripper holes, downhill bomber, across water holes, downhill touch shots, across hill, tight short wooded holes, long wooded holes, creek in play on multiple holes, some par4/5 holes, ace run holes, and plenty of OB.
Memorable holes galore. Let me do a quick run through of my favorites…
#18 a 500'+ bomber across hill (although it crosses #1). You must first drive through a wooded 'road' and across the t-line ROW, then some gaps through trees that you must hit in order to approach OVER an OB pit and up to a super risky elevated pin. Rollaways are common and also include rolling away into OB for another stroke. I loved the challenge and ultimate beatdown, I had approached over the pit for a shot at 3 on the safe side but uphill to that pin. I nailed the yellow band and rolled just over the edge of OB and took my 5.
#12 a great downhill tunnel touch shot needing to cross an OB road and land on a tree riddled green.
#13 a decently long sweeping RHBH anny, across a creek, to a hanging basket (hang it over the creek!)
Over the pond throws on #16 and longer on #17A.
#4 is a tightly wooded curving hole completely bordered by a creek on the right.
#10 and 11 have risky greens sloping down to a creek OB.
#14A has a cool arched tree off the tee, and #14B has a great peninsula green surrounded by creek.
#9 a touch downhill along the t-line ROW with OB along the left.
#1 to start it all off is a downhill bomber along the t-line right of way.
Water OB. A creek cuts through many of the holes and is used perfectly from every angle and direction to induce suffering and penalty strokes on RH or LH players and any type of throw. A huge pond is in play and must be thrown over without any real bailout zones on two holes. String OB lines define lots of other OB areas throughout the course.
Risky greens. I don't know if I can count them all, but many pins are perched in precarious locations, on the edge of drop-offs or creeks, on a slope, on a mound, and protected my trees or other OB. Still some wide open greens for those people who hate running at it and being punished for a miss.
A desire to replay holes, after shanking my way down the fairway on the longer ones, because I just couldn't hit what appears to be a simple landing zone for easy pars. This is an attribute to a great psychological design that messes with players heads (I like it, anyone who plays with me knows about 'psychological warfare').
The tees are outdoor carpet but worked perfectly well. Seeing as how they were outdoor carpet, I'd suggest adding another tee for lesser skill level players (and to get the wives and kids involved and not discouraged).
Cons: Just one tee. This is one of the biggest cons I will always list. Not only as someone who travels with family (wife and young kids who could use shorter tees), but as someone who seeks more variety and balanced offerings on a course. Since only one pin is in the ground at a time (despite multiple placements) one tee lets you play only one layout. For some variety, that second tee offers another complete hole, and as many more options per tee pad as pin placements per hole. Multiple tees can greatly increase variety as far as design/layout, as well as skill variety.
Just one pin placement (although the pins are portable models I believe). Multiple placements could showcase even more of the amazing terrain and offer a good overlay of the multiple course configurations, rather than playing so different layouts (or maybe that's their intent).
Quite a bit poison ivy. I will always dock for these types of ecological problems when they are rampant, which it is not here, but especially the power line holes have a lot. Not only because the stuff is in all sorts of locations everywhere that you can walk through, land in, or set your bag in, but because I am a travelling player and it sucks to have to quarantine a set of shoes/clothes because they are full of poison plants oils, and even worse to get a rash while on vacation. We played this at the end of our vacation and must have gotten into some because we brought rashes home.
Hole 1 and 18 cross one another.
Hole 6 and 9 share a tee.
Other Thoughts: I think the private nature, guided tour, warm weather, and worn out family members took away from my experience as a whole. I'd say we prefer our quiet and leisurely rounds, but playing with David was great in pointing out landing zone distances, and offering tips on shot selection. I left there feeling like it didn't live up to my expectations, but as I think about it and rank the course analytically, it has every bit of design elements, variety, and balance that I could ask for. One could argue that #1 isn't like a true downhill bomber ski hill type hole, but its close, and then you add in all the creek OB, across pond shots, and OB in precarious places like the killer #18, and you've got a disc golf players paradise.
I would play here again, definitely. We played the course in the midst of a roadtrip from WI to SC. It was hot, we all walked around the course as a family, my wife and I played, and despite having to constantly keep the kids from walking through the poison plants, we had a good time and did not regret playing here.
The course ranked out as a 4.2 in my spreadsheet, but it was amazingly high in the Design and Setting section that I weight the highest. Despite me rating it a 4.0, the design, balance, and offering here is an excellent course without question. You should play if you love a challenge and are anywhere near the area. Being private, some amenities were missing from that 'disc golf country club' style/feel like benches, mowed/manicured fairways, kiosk, etc. But the biggest downfall that I score on is lack of multiple tees, and second most is lack of multiple pins. Stoney was punished in my scoring for having neither. Gold/Diamond/Quartz layouts are neat and all, and something that can be done on a lesser used course, and something that will be done if you have a disc golf fanatic who owns the place, but they don't change the available variety on a specific hole like multiple tees and pins can do.
Thanks to David for playing along with us, and Chris who would have if our schedules worked out.
10/11/2011: BTW, I LOVE the design, variety, and balance at Stoney Hill. If you look at my quantitative spreadsheet, this course tied for the highest score in the 'Design' category (course design accounts for 63 of the 100 points I give). I know without a doubt I'd play here again and again and love it. I'm bumping to a 4.5 - and there are only 1 tee and 1 pin placement on each hole here.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
King of the Hill
Pros: Very challenging course with a lot of variety, designed more for the advance level and above player. In a remote location, so there isn't any non disc golf traffic to deal with. Plenty of practice baskets to warm up before the round. There was some type of seating at each tee area.
There is a great use of elevation changes. Many holes have you either throwing up or down some elevation, from steep to mild. A perfect balance of open, semi-wooded and wooded holes. Nothing outrageously tight, but accuracy is important on those holes.
There are some long holes (true par 4s) as well as reachable deuces. However, to get the deuce, you are usually having to make a pretty tough shot, no luck here. Each hole is unique and the balance of lefty/righty is about the same.
The course is designed to be either 18 or 20 holes. You can make the decision on the back nine how you want to play it. The 18 hole configuration tends to have the longer individual holes. Either configuration has you battling water, whether it's throwing over the pond, or staying out of the OB streams that line some of the fairways and greens.
The gracious hosts, David and Chris, are two very dedicated and talented disc golfers, who have built a top flight course on the perfect piece of property for disc golf.
Cons: The availability to play is limited, since it's a private course, so plan ahead. In a remote location, so get your supplies, gas, water, food, etc before getting to the course. There are also no bathrooms.
The following cons only matter, when the course is crowded, most likely during a tournament, because they would slow down play. As previously mentioned, fairways 1 and 18 cross. Also tees 6 and 9 share the same location.
Other Thoughts: This is one of the best courses I've ever played on. It has everything that I look for in a course. I'm very impressed with the hosts time and dedication to build and maintain the course, without the luxury of a public parks crew and equipment.
There seems to be a consensus from previous reviews about the carpeted tee pads being a con. I have a bum knee, so I'm very aware of tee pads, and I didn't have any traction problems with them.
This is a must play if you are in South Carolina. Schedule a tee time, bring your discs and some water, and be prepared to play one challenging course, while playing with two of the best disc golfing hosts.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Challenging and fun!
Pros: The course plays through a hilly forested piece of private property. There are a few open holes, all of which bring elevation and/or water into play. The rest of the course plays through various widths of fairways through dense rough. The shorter holes often make you thread tight lines while the longer wooded holes offer more generous but still difficult alleys. You will almost certainly pay in strokes (and blood) for an errant shot that leaves the fairway, think carefully about how much of the hole you want to bite off.
There's awesome variety here, not a single hole felt repetitive, and there are no filler shots. You'll need all kinds of shot shapes to score well here, and the way they're mixed throughout the course keeps you thinking. With the pond and creeks, ob comes into play on lots of holes. It's used very creatively, so that you're sometimes bringing it into play on the drive over the pond or along the creek, and sometimes leaving yourself a scary putt with water lurking right behind the basket (or under a hanging basket.
Every property feature I saw was used to make challenging, interesting, and fun shots. There's even a diamond layout that offers a couple more multi-shot holes including one that plays over the pond twice. There are fun downhill shots mixed in with tough uphill shots, and many holes give you options on how you want to play them.
Cons: The course has limited availability. David is a great host and a lot of fun to play with, but you do have to plan ahead to make a tee time that fits with the Sauls' schedules. The signage here only shows hole number and distance, not a big deal since you'll have a course guide that describes the hole much better than a sign could.
Holes 1 and 18 cross fairways, it's done in a way that minimizes the safety and flow issues though. The rough is some of the roughest I've seen, I like being punished for errant shots, but you'll definitely find thorny nasty spots on nearly every hole.
Other Thoughts: I had a blast playing here, and would definitely play it again if I was in the area. The property has been used to the fullest, leaving a course that challenges every part of your game and makes you think hard about every shot. Beginners will be frustrated by the difficulty and punishing rough, it just wouldn't be a fun course for a new player. Experienced players will find the course fun and difficult (but fair).
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
An Owners Perspective
Pros: Private Course in a country setting. Uncrowded, quiet, and very challenging. The course was designed for the players that can throw forehand and backhand. Thumbers also play a big part in scoring well out here.. Sorry, you will not find any roller holes . However, you will find that you will use every shot you have + some you've never really tried while getting around this layout. There are tight wooded hyzer shots, anhyzer shots, and straight shots. There are big bomb shots off hills, medium downhill, and short down hill shots. Several uphill shots to keep it even, and a handful of level shots surrounded with O.B. Although the length may discourage some, just about all of the par 3 holes are reachable by anyone that can throw 275'. The fairways are generous but the rough is....rough.
Bring a towel. A decent size creek comes into play on about 9 holes and 3 holes wrap around a large pond with the first 2 of these 3 involving a water carry of 220' or so.
Cons: CARPET TEES - While they are grippy, they can become uneven with ground erosion and bumpy. They are leveled out about once a year.
SIGNAGE - Very little but enough to help you find your way around. More could be done to help mark where the holes are on some of the blind shots.
LOCATION - We are 5 miles or 10 minutes from the nearest store in Prosperity. It seems close to us, but my seem like a day trip for most.
THE ROUGH - Can be extremely difficult in the summer to retrieve discs that miss the fairway on some holes.
SEASONAL - The course is well groomed from Sept - April but can be come shaggy in the summer months, but not completely unplayable.
SCENERY - Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You will not find a course where this statement is more true. I still see the debris piles and remains of the clear cut forest from 7 years ago. Others may find a diamond in the rough.
Other Thoughts: First of all, I'm one of the owners and designers so let that be known. However, I also know the course better than anyone so hopefully my review is based on my unbiased opinion....
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 1 Not
A Phenomenal Mess
Pros: Excellent use of the available land has been made. There is a terrific variety of left/right and up/down along with short and long. There is also a great mix of wooded and open, along with a few throws over and across a pond. I think the variety is the course's biggest strength. There is wonderful golf to be played, on multiple layouts. The course flows as well from hole to hole and shot to shot as any that I've played.
The course owners/designers are extremely dedicated to disc golf and very gracious hosts. Many thanks to Chris and David for letting us play on their land. They sought out a piece of land to buy and live on with the main purpose being to build a course. They even built a small pond to make the course better. The amount of work that has gone into the course shows, and is appreciated.
Several of the holes leave you wanting to empty your bag, particularly hole 1. I really enjoyed the occasional multi-shot holes, such as holes 5 and 6.
I'm generally not a huge fan of forced water carry type throws, but the Sauls have done it well here, and I enjoyed those holes here. None of the throws are ridiculously difficult, but all will make you think in a way that only having to throw across a pond can do.
The courses challenges you to do your best on nearly every throw, whether it be a putt with a precarious pin placement, a tight fairway, or a pond in front of you.
Cons: Don't throw off target. Part of the challenge is the really thick punishing rough on some of the holes. Errant shots will be punished at Stoney Hill, some times maybe a little too much due to how thick some of the woods and weeds are if you get off the fairway. Keep a good eye on errant throws that go off the fairways, particularly on hole 2.
Also, fairways 1 and 18 cross, but it's not a big deal, being a private course that doesn't see much traffic, that's not much of an issue,
Other Thoughts: There are benches at most, if not all tees. There are also signs with hole number and distance at the tees. The tees are level, big, and flat, and are made of carpet, providing excellent traction, even in the odd snow shower. (I was fortunate to get to test this in the "mess" that was the 2010 Chris"mess" Bash.) There aren't any trash cans out there, so as always pack it in, pack it out.
Stoney Hill is a must play. A great road trip could be made combining Stoney Hill with Crooked Creek, and more so, the not too far away IDGC. I'll be back to Stoney Hill.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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