11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Great variety, not just in the shots but in the layouts you can try. A 24-hole layout, two 18-hole layouts, etc. They often change the layouts, so you can play a year later and it's a new experience.
While there are tight holes (and some thick rough, and water), many of the fairways are open enough to let you air it out and play for placement.
The owners are very friendly and accommodating, a couple of cute kids running around give it a nice family vibe.
Beautiful lake, stream, trees, hills, etc.
Cons: Can be hard to follow, but the course owners are extremely helpful with guiding you. A few times you see a basket but have to throw to a hidden basket. Again, can be tricky but the guides help.
There are carpet tee pads, though they worked fine for me. I played after a hard rain and didn't slip any more than I would on a concrete tee.
Other Thoughts: The course is pretty remote. Stock up on drinks and snacks before you come. Lots of back-roads ways to get here. I went through Chester State Park on my way back to Charlotte - didn't take any longer than I-77 (so you can hit that new course if coming from Charlotte). The Sauls told me they have a pro-shop with hundreds of discs in Columbia, in case you're coming from that way. The reviews pretty well nailed it. I read a lot of them before playing and they were very helpful. It's hard to add anything new but I had this idea - no one lists the best place to take a leak on a course. On this course, walk behind #10's tee pad, behind the bench, and you've got a great view of this beautiful little stream hidden back there in the woods.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Diamond in the Rough
21 Helpful / 0 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.
21 of 21 people found this review helpful.
Some of the best Golf around.
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Private Course, built and set up by the Sauls, and from the drive in to the last hole, you are reminded how much work and BEAUTY this course has.
Everything in disc golf is here, from longer to shorter holes, Elevation, water back drops, water carriers, great basket placement, hyzer, anhyzer,
This is really some of the "Best" Disc golf I have played. And not in me playing well, but just all out good golf. Every hole here is worth while to play, no fillers.
Two lay outs, both of them are covered on the map shows them well.
Great use of land to fill to make some of the best golf holes ever.
One of the coolest last holes ever, and the floating basket on
Cons: This course has three things bad with it, and really it's just getting nit picky.
1. The grooming could be a little better to make this place more pretty. (Once again the course is groomed nicely, but it's rough around the edges, but for a private course this is really just getting nit picky)
2. Carpet Tee Pads (Once again this is really nit picky) - when we played it rained the day before and they got slippy on about 3 holes.
3. could be a confusing course to find your way (Once again this is super nit picky as there is a map, but I played with someone who knew it, if I had to check the map every time it may take an extra 30ish minutes)
Other Thoughts: I took a 3 day disc golf trip where this was the 3rd course I played. I loved every bit of this and thank the guys for putting in the time and making one of the best courses I have ever played.
I would say that I can completely understand when people give this course a 4.5 because of the teepads, however I think because of the overall course play it makes it an even trade.
When you play hole 1 A you can see the road in the distance, once you have turn to 1 B you will be alone in the course with no one else, and no other things left besides the course.
I would plan on bringing water and food if you come here, because it is out there and will take about 2.5 to 4.5 hours depending on the pace of play.
Don't have to pay to play here, however I paid ten bucks and I feel like I should of left more. This place easy makes my top 3 favorite courses played and is hard to really place because I don't know if I will ever play another course like this. Great Time! and Thanks for everything!
If you do not like my review, please give me a PM on what I can improve. Thanks!
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
One Stoney Hill
18 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.
18 of 18 people found this review helpful.
Best Course in SC
17 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Let me preface by saying that I have played this course at least 6 times and the most recent was yesterday. I have not reviewed it yet because I like to write a review right after I have played it.
Now. This course is the most well designed course I have ever played. I was lucky enough to play a round with David and Chris as well as an out of towner. having the Sauls brothers there brought new insight into why they did what they did.
This course has 2 layouts. both equally challenging.
Diamond is an 18 hole beast with multiple holes over 700 ft. long water carries and overall punishment.
Quartz is a 24 hole layout with some of the longer holes being split up into multiple holes. dont let that fool you. you will still need every shot imaginable to shoot well.
they also added 4 new holes to this layout and changed a hole since the last time I played.
Here are some of the highlights of these changes and additions,
Hole 1a is a tough island hole. just how you want to start your rd. its a very fair sized island but the pressure is on from the get go.
Hole 1b is is a placement shot followed by a narrow fairway to the basket.
Hole 1c is like the Diamond Hole 1, you still get to bomb a drive down the hill, but instead of going to the left, the basket is in on the right. ( I got a three!!!)
no other changes for me until we get to 15b.
this hole is a low gap off the tee to a basket behind the dam.
this is not a change, but a highlight of my day out there; I parked the first water hole and hit the putt for a 2 for the first time. even though the carry is only 240, its still a scary throw and can make even the most confident player think twice.
17c is the last new hole, it starts near the top of the hill and plays to the basket for 17 Diamond. this basket sits on the dam, and has a large drop off behind it.
Ok, now that I have described all the changes, what else can I say. These guys have put so much thought into this course its amazing, every hole is designed with the utmost care. they also try to alternate throwing styles. while the first few holes are lefty friendly, the next couple go the other way. If you do not stay on the fairway you will be punished, and the best thing to do is pitch out. trying to make up for a bad shot by throwing something you are not comfortable with will result in more strokes added to your score.
OB is everywhere. but its not there just to be there. It serves a purpose. It prevents you from just winging it. you need to think before, during, and after each throw.
Cons: Nothing that I can think of. except that it isnt closer to my house. The Sauls brothers have really made something special here. anyone who loves true Disc Golf, played the way it was meant to be needs to pay these guys a visit.
Other Thoughts: Hole 18 is one of the coolest holes i have ever played. the green is a giant mound with the basket on top of it. there is a giant ravine on the backside that is all OB. Treacherous, but fair. a perfect finishing hole!!
17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
I'm so lost without you..
19 Helpful / 0 Not
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 19 people found this review helpful.
Another great private course!
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: 1) Another property bringing an easement into play. There seems to be a lot of good disc golf land around these easements and you can use the open area as some of the more forgiving fairways. This is something I am going to keep my eye on in the world of disc golf course design.
2) Signs with Hole # and distance on them.
3) The carpet they use for the tees is actually the best carpet I have ever played on and makes me think twice about being such a proponent of concrete. If done right, an all weather carpet would be the best option if it can play consistently. Not once did I feel like I was going to slip so my confidence was high with my plant foot (which is something I need in order to play well).
4) Benches are available in a few places around the course and appreciated because it is not the easiest walk in the world.
5) Private course that doesn't even "require" a fee. I gave David $5 because I believe that is the least I could do to thank him for opening up his private land to me and other people. I hope no one abuses this course by just coming out without permission.
6) Excellent variety in hole distances out here. There is a huge differential between the shorter holes and the longer holes, but there are many different distance holes in between. This allows you he opportunity to throw all sorts of different shots and discs.
7) The final basket location and green area is by far one of the coolest things I have ever seen. It rivals Renny Gold in how extreme it is, and is well done.
8) Excellent course design taking full advantage of all the key spots on this awesome property. They have excellent variety of shots needed which makes this course that much better. You need to be able to throw all sorts of shots
9) Water is in play on a few holes and a they are not simple shots, there is true risk reward. There is also a creek that plays as OB also and comes into play on a handful of holes.
10) Elevation is used very well here to alter some shots and make the holes tougher to judge. They go up and down and a few lie on sidehills making a standstill throw necessary on occasion. Some might consider that a negative, but it truly helps to test all your skills (like balance and being able to adjust to no runup).
11) David is a good guy and fun to play a round with. He was very complimentary to me and is a better disc golfer than he would have you believe. What more can you ask of a private course host?
12) Some artificial OB on roads and a couple of fenced areas to help create a tougher hole. (see also cons).
13) This course is appropriately named, because the hills here do have a lot of stones and rocks. It just adds to the character because they realize it is there. It is also a con because of conditioning but it is "part of the course' in this instance.
Cons: 1) #1 and #18 fairways cross. The only time this would really be an issue is during a tourney as I doubt there are ever that many people out here at one time. This could have been avoided by tucking the #1 tee against the woodline just below the fairway without losing a whole lot of distance and actually creating a slightly tougher hole because of the risk of losing the disc left into the woods more quickly.
2) This course is on an awesome property but it lacks the polish I see on a lot of the top courses. I understand this is a private course and it is only a couple people doing any maintenance so I am not sure it will ever get that polish. It isn't like David is trying to make this a top caliber pay to play so it shouldn't be of any concern of his. He wants the course for himself and can only dedicate so much time to it and that is understood. With this said, I do respect David for the design, the hard work and installation, and I appreciate the fact that it was available for me to play. This is only a negative because the course is that good as a design, it might not even be worth mentioning if it was just another public course. I doubt this comment would offense David, and I hope it isn't taken that way, but if I am comparing my top courses to each other I need to mention it.
3) Obviously this place has a lot of shule because the course was carved out of these areas in a lot of places. There isn't much that can be done to thin the areas out because it is all invasive stuff that will just fill right back in. This is a negative in my book, but it also should force you to just play smart and keep it on the fairway.
4) I would say this is not a beginner friendly course. I don't think it was really designed to be friendly but I do like to see all courses accessible to people of all skill levels. With that said if I had my own private course, I probably wouldn't worry about it being accessible to beginners either unless it was a pay to play course where I wanted as much traffic as possible, so I do not blame David.
5) I like the OB idea on one of the holes that falls away to the left, but I wish there was a way to be able to see the OB. I ended up 1' out of bounds here and if I knew exactly where the line was I could have played much safer. I don't normally mind artificial OB's but I like to be able to see where they are.
Other Thoughts: This is such a well designed course on a property that had apparently gone to hell. They were able to find and use the best spots on the property and overcome the issues with the really thick underbrush. I love the balance of the course in terms of shots as well as challenge, but I also like the variety of the water, the contrived OB, the elevation, and the unique basket locations. All in all this is a really well done course and it is quiet and private and I love it. I will come back if I ever head back to this part of the country and hope to play another round with David.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Beautiful course and very challenging!
David and Chris are excellent host and guides.
Some of the most challenging holes in any of the area courses.
Water need I say more, very intimidating to throw 250 feet over water.
Some very tight wooded holes and some awesome very open holes to rip on!
Cons: I have no cons about this course, I loved it and cant wait to play again
Other Thoughts: I heard complaints about it not being maintained and if what we played today is what people complain about thats just sad. I did not have any problems with it at all!
4 of 10 people found this review helpful.
16 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.
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Up on the Hill
Pros: Stoney Hill DGC is a terrific course that will test your skills, even playing the shorter quartz layout. Elevation changes are a factor on most holes, which is evident from the first tee box. There are some open fairways, and some with tighter lines. Nice mix of left and right, with most baskets tucked out of sight from the tee pad. All baskets were in decent condition. Pins were often placed on the edge of a ridge, dropping off behind the basket, or in close proximity to O.B., forcing good approaches. "The Quarry" on hole 18 is one unique feature, a large O.B. pit in front of a tall mound where the basket is perched atop. Each tee box had a bench, and a sign noting distances. Tees are not concrete, but are consistently level and firm. David Sauls guided us through the course, giving pointers on each hole and posting the best score out of our trio that day. He claimed to be the worst disc golfer to live on a course, but I'm not convinced that is true.
Cons: This course is not perfect, but most of the issues that frustrated me were shortfalls in my game that left me in tough spots. The elevation means wind comes into play on occasion. My drive from the first tee was blown way out of the line I had picked out. That brings me to the rough, that is very dense and full of briars. Keep two eyes on the disc. I spent too much time searching for my disc after an errant throws. There are spots where the layout might cause delays during tournament play, such as fairways crossing, or two holes sharing a tee box. These spots shouldn't be a problem most of the time, I imagine.
Other Thoughts: The land Stoney Hill occupies is remote, but my GPS accurately lead me there after many twists and turns. The summer growth shrinks some of the fairways and windows, and I'm told the course is better manicured in the fall leading up to a tournament. However it is still very playable in July as well, if you can take the heat. I had a great time on my first trip to Stoney Hill, and would like to play there again soon. David was a friendly host, and the course did not disappoint.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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