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.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
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.
11 of 11 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.
3 Helpful / 6 Not
Stoney Hill = Lots of Stones and Hills
Pros: >>>You'll use every shot in your bag over the course of 18 or 20 holes (depending on the layout you play); long, short, left, right, up, down, over, under, and more.
>>>The course web site invites you to call one of the owners when you want to play. I'd recommend taking them up on the offer. Having a tour guide for at least the first round is a great benefit.
>>>Stoney Hill, if you're looking for it on a map, can be found waaaay out in the sticks. That's a plus if you're up for a long day (2+ rounds) of golf. Probabaly a negative if you have only time for one round.
>>> The pond is pretty cool. It's an intimidating shot but not unreasonable for most players.
Cons: >>>While the property is huge and private it isn't very scenic. There are a few holes in a not-so-densely-populated hardwood/evergreen grove but otherwise there's plenty of open space with small trees, LOTS of thorns, rocks and dirt.
>>>I mentioned the pond as a positive above but it's a bummer if you don't get the plastic across the water. It's not clear water. And it gets deep fast. If you're more than 1' off the shore line say goodbye.
>>> If you insist that the courses you play have permanent, all the same type of baskets, then you're out of luck here. It's a mix and match set up.
Other Thoughts: Bring your own drinks and food. There's not even a gas station "down the road" from this place. You're 20 minutes from anything when you play Stoney Hill.
3 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Awesome course and Private
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: In my top 3 courses played and I would have to say the best course I have ever played which includes 2 of the current top 10 courses on DGCR. Some of my favorite holes in golf including,
#1 - Elevation is great for a short thrower like myself. I have made about 100 feet short of the creek before which is by the far the farthest throw this old guy has ever had.
#3 Really cool challenging short downhill anhyer shot with ob behind
# Prettiest hole on the course and lots of danger on the hole. Pierce the small gap and put for a 2,miss it and hope to make 4 if in the water.
#5 one of the best hole in golf. Teeshot is a placement shot, a perfect shot will five you a chance a birdie, a bad shot will have you hoping for a bogey.
#12 Funnest hole on course, short and straight downhill to an island green,
#14 long - One of the best holes I have played ever and is a par 5 with a tight island basket placement.
#16 long- you cross the water twice, if you have a perfect tee shot you can go for the green in two for birdie. This hole can really change a tournament if you do not play it smart and take not only the water but the wind in play.
The Sauls do a great job on this course and make it more challenging on a consistant basis. Par 3s, 4s and 5s with short and long tees. Spectacular views.
Cons: Nothing ,just suggestions which may be out of line (please don't ban me Sauls this is my favorite course on earth). I have been reluctant to say anything about this course negative but I am not a big fan of #11. I will say it is a very good hole but accuracy and some luck on this hole is a must to birdie it and not end up in the creek. I also wish the tee on the hanging basket hole was a little closer to see players have a better chance of trying to go for the green. Not sure if anyone has ever made it but currently that would be a great shot.
Other Thoughts: This course is ever changing due to David and Chris's vision for perfection. Each sanctioned event it seems the course has something new to make it even better. The camping the weekend of a sanctioned event is epic from hanging out with lots of golfers to dinner at Roma's Friday night and dinner on the property on Saturday. Also, Chris has started a casual mini golf round after the Saturday rounds of the April event which is a blast when hanging out with friends and Roscoe the dog who loves to camp with everyone and hangout. This is a must visit destination whether you are local or living out West,in the NE, MidWest, Southwest, etc.. If you have a chance to play in this area when visiting I would plan to visit the IDGC for a couple of days and camp and then contact the Sauls to camp and play at my favorite course in the woods. If you are attending the USDGC, there is usually a 1 day sanctioned event the Sunday after the USDGC finishes the day before and a perfect end to a great week.
1 of 5 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.
0 Helpful / 10 Not
Pros: very challenging, with open and medium wooded areas. and the area is well kept. and it has a lot of cool features like a hanging basket, and on 18 there is a huge gulley with the basket right next to it on a hill. and it has a lake, and it has alt. tees/holes,
Cons: lots of chances to lose discs, and when its hot, those hills feel steper. and they could put in more benches.
Other Thoughts: on number one, be careful to not take that wide fairway for granted. and sometimes on 18 it is best to lay up.
0 of 10 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Excellent course and owners
Pros: Great mix of different types of drives and approaches. I love the feel of the land and the way the tee boxes are laid out. No one in your way, like I have found on other courses. Great views, elevation changes, and some intimidating tee box shots. The #16 pond drive had me on my toes, happy I did not get wet though! Hanging basket was something I have never seen. Both Chris and David (owners) guided me on a 95 degree August late afternoon day. Extremely nice guys, I can't wait to get a chance to go back again.
Cons: I came back with chiggers, but I was in the country. Briar patches. I have nothing else to say that would be a con.
Other Thoughts: The course is not maintained the entire year. Recurring annual tournaments and fall weather probably determine how well kept the course is. This is not a con, just FYI. I to also maintain and modify a course in Camden, SC, so I understand how much work it is.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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