We are up there...
9 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Ashe County has a signature hole all right and it's so fun they found a way to do it twice. 9 and 18 close out their respective nines with the sickest downhill tunnel you have ever imagined. Even from the am tees, it is a tough challenge to keep a disc straight through for the amount of distance it is going to travel as it rips downward along a slope you need to use switchbacks to walk down. If you can clear it, there is an open approach to the pin. (a long approach on 18 though.) That is a big if, though. Word are not sufficient how steep the decline is. You need to stand on the top to imagine how far down it is.
It's 8 that sets the stage, at least from the pro tees. Am 8 is at least uphill and is a nice improvement over what came before, but pro 8 takes that uphill, gives it a tunnel start and keeps climbing uphill past the am basket through a narrow channel on a double curve. From that point on till the end, the elevation changes are thunderous. Up down, all around. With the exception of one filler hole(10) it's non-stop great holes. I'm not going to describe any of the individually, because that has been done before but the design is impeccable throughout.
The pro tees provide significantly more challenge, especially when the pro baskets are also used. They provide a little variety for second playthroughs as well as just adding to the epic flavor of the holes. It's awe-inspiring to reach the yellow basket and see the blue basket higher still, and additional climb left to make.
While there are some long walks between holes, there is rarely doubt that one is on the right path. Navigation is intuitive, even with multiple tees and baskets. In keeping with the quality of the course, tees, baskets and signs are all that could be wished for.
Lastly, it's one of the most picturesque parks that you will ever play in. Wonderfully scenic. Wonderfully atmospheric and just really makes you feel like you're in the mountains. It's a hike to get there. It's a hike and a half to play it. But completely worth it. And the back nine might just contain the best 8-hole stretch I've ever played.
Cons: As much as I like variety, and appreciate when a course has a few open holes, the first seven here are a little on the bland side. A couple of them could be considered rolling hills but there is not much hill in that roll. There really isn't even much distance to them so they aren't the air it out sort of open holes. Even the water carry doesn't do much for me here, though I can't put my finger on why. 5 across the depression and stream and towards a tucked away basket is probably the best of the bunch, but it's not especially memorable. The hole are gets points for extreme aesthetics with the pond framed by a solitary peak in the distance, but ultimately, that view is more interesting than the throws. Don't get me wrong. This course gets great, with epic holes that you won't see any place else. But it takes until hole 8 to get good.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 2 Not
The course everyone can enjoy!
Pros: This course is well designed and offers a little bit of everything- open, grassy fairways with few trees, and denser technical woods; holes of all lengths; right, straight, left; holes with options and holes with only 1 way to go; flat, moderate hills, relatively steep up and down; ace runs to hard-earned par 3's to maybe even a couple of legit par 4's due to strategic shot placement.
2 sets of tees, a couple holes had a pro (UNC blue) in addition to regular basket. Two 8's and 9's- the 8-9 to the left is more advanced, the 8a-9a to the right is easier, but still good and challenging holes (no good way to play all 4 in a single round without a long walk). These aspects are what make this course accessible to many different skill levels.
The front 9 is more open playing around the pond and a creek, then the back goes into the woods and up the mountain, with #18 playing all the way back down to the bottom and out into the open- fun finishing hole. I like that each hole is unique and has its own challenge, and that the difficulty seemed to increase overall throughout the round. This course is a great test of your skills and you will need a solid variety of shots.
Great baskets, tees, signs, scorecard, practice basket, kiosk- it is all here. The course was clean and I don't remember any signs or baskets missing or broken. Navigation for first timers is pretty good, a little confusing in some spots due to the multiple tees and the optional 8a-9a loop, but not hard to figure out with the map on the scorecard. Great explanation of grounds rules on the scorecard about water, roads, OB, etc. for each hole. In fact- this is the best scorecard I have ever seen- and thanks to the sponsors (I was shocked to see the sponsor for hole 1 and 18 was from the town of my home course- Smyrna, TN about 350 miles away!)
Before you get to the course parking lot there is a really nice restroom in the lot on the right- a welcome sight after the very long and curvy mountain drive to get here.
Cons: Though I appreciated some of the easier holes to give me a break, there are a couple of holes that are just not up to the level of the rest of the course- 1, 4, and 10 for example (but I do like that the weakest holes are the first of each 9 and not a filler in the middle or, even worse, a terrible finishing hole.)
#11 Advanced basket makes no sense. There is no way to get there, and you will not find it on your first round there until you walk to the next hole- maybe. A helicopter would be helpful to drop you down into the area where the basket is if you happen to throw a blind tomahawk that lands near it. I recommend playing the regular basket as this is still a tough hole.
Lots of people swimming and fishing that could get in the way of a few holes on the front.
This course is hard to get to from any Interstate, and there is no great road to get here- the road we took was up and down the mountains and curve after curve- pretty time consuming and could be nauseating for some. Allow plenty of driving time, the Internet and GPS may say it is only 20 miles away, but those 20 could take up to an hour!
Other Thoughts: Though in a park on the outskirts of the small town in the mountains of NC, you still never get that alone and out-in-nature-away-from-it-all feeling because of all the other park activities and people that never really get out of sight for long. However, this is one of the best parks courses out there. It just did not have that epic wow factor or extra special feel that would have me give it a 4.5+, but it is no less than a 4.0 for me, and I see why others have rated it higher. (Although if you go in thinking this is a perfect/top 10 course, you might be disappointed as it is not quite up to that level in my opinion.)
I would recommend this course to any disc golfer (other than beginners) as you can choose the level of difficulty on each hole that best suits you. Duvall did a fantastic job of building a course that is both fun and challenging for almost any skill level disc golfer- this is not an easy thing to do for sure. So, if you don't mind the drive, then come on and play!
8 of 10 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: Nice course layout.
Great use of little pond for water hazards.
Came back to parking lot at 9th.
Very challenging course.
Loved all the distance shots. We played the long pads. Can't wait to try the shorts next time.
Cons: If you landed off line and had to look for your disc, on most holes i was in total thorn bushes. Round Up Brush Killer PLEASE!!! My group of three lost 5 disc in one round.
Most other Mnt. courses i have played had a more foregiving rough area.
Other Thoughts: Over all loved the course and enjoyed the rest of the park. Hats off to the parks and rec...depo they do a wonderfull job.
1 of 6 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 10 Not
Pros: Picturesque, well thought out, maximum use of land, challenging, rewarding, unforgiving,,,, fair and unfair at the same time!!!!!!
This course beg's you to throw the shot of your life,,,,,because it will....."EAT IT ALIVE"!!!!!!!!!!! BLAH,,,HA,,,HA,,,HA!!!!!!!!
Cons: Disappointed that there were no "golf cart refreshment babes".....???????
Other Thoughts: Bye Bye Blizzard discs!!!!!!!!
0 of 10 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
The two-page map/scorecard is excellent, giving you a really good idea of the shape/tightness challenges you'll encounter before you ever play the course.
Two tees (most) every hole, 6'x12', either concrete, or rubber mat.
Two nine-hole loops. Practice basket.
The popularity of the fishing pond can make holes 3, 6, and 7 unsafe to play.
No fairway the last ~200' of long-basket #11 - have to go over huge rhododendron and nearby trees, while also trying to obey signs warning to not damage the flora!?
The course plays up, down, and across both the open space, and within a wooded ridge, of a large, scenic, multi-purpose park. The holes combine the various degrees of tightness-options with the elevation changes to create a wide variety of challenges. The first nine holes play in a clockwise direction, away and down from the parking lot, before returning, while the back nine plays in a counterclockwise direction in the trees slightly up from the lot.
Elevation challenges: There are only a few flat holes. Some extremes - both up and down. Steady slopes, both up/down/across, for which to account. Up-n-over rises, across valleys/pits - pretty much every standard type of change.
Tightness: ranges from completely open to quite tight the entire duration, and everything in-between. The front is definitely more open than the back, but uses the scattered trees and pond to increase the challenge. The trees are tall and plentiful on the ridge hosting the bulk of the back nine, but most throwing paths are quite fair.
Distances: From the short tees, nearly all the holes are under 300', the exceptions being numbers 9 and 18, which are fairly similar - from the midpoint of a steep, wooded ridge, throw straight down and out, exiting into the open space for the last half of the hole. The long tees certainly add to the difficulty, increasing the overall distance by nearly 50%, with most holes over 300' in length. Numbers 9 & 18 become that much harder, needing to hold a steady line while dramatically losing elevation, as trees on both sides of the flightpath are more than happy to knock down a disc which strays of the straight and (fairly) narrow.
Shot-shapes: Straight and true, especially from the shorts, will serve you well on most holes, although a variety of right-turners, and a few sharp lefts, will be required at some point
Navigation was fairly simple. Some items of note:
• Both tees for #7 are actually on the pedestrian path - look for a sign on the tree, and stripes painted on the walkway.
• There is an alternate tee-8, with alternate basket-8 in the general area of long tee-3, above the pond.
• There is an alternate tee-9, near the road/before parking lot, which plays to basket-9
• You may think long basket-11 is a myth, until you reach long tee-12. :-)
• There is, indeed, a short tee for #15 - it is a long walk around the rim to the right, look for a small path, on the right, up to a bench, after you've seemingly walked almost all the way to the basket!
• There is, indeed, a long tee for #17 - follow the small path behind/left of basket-16, the tee located just above long-tee #9.
Some holes - 8, 11, 15, 17 - have an alternate, Carolina-blue, long basket. Only one tee location for numbers 11 and 16. Teesigns primarily at short tee only.
Overall, an excellent course. Very nice variety/range in the tightness, and when combined with the omnipresent elevation changes, makes for a broad experience.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 1 Not
Hail to the King, Baby (short tee review)
Pros: Elevation. It's darn nifty. This is another solid gem of a course from Harold Duvall. Virtually perfect variety in landscape terms; open, wooded, high to low and vice versa, and even some water in play makes it a lock as a must play. The wooded fairways are perfect examples of tough but fair, many were reminiscent of Castle Hayne style in terms of open enough to execute a variety of different lines but tight enough to punish poor throws, which I consider integral to a good course. Very well maintained park and course as the grass was nice and trim, practically litter free. Tee signs and next tee signage helps you navigate the separate tee layouts (short and long/am and pro) nearly flawlessly, and the tees themselves were excellently installed, smooth, level, and space-ish, which consisted of both cement and rubber mats. The alternate holes for 8 and 9 is a great little loop for a quick 9 to leave you near the parking lot, a great touch.
The hole variety was very good in terms of distance and L-R, encouraging golfers to be able to hit different lines like turnovers, hyzers, flex shots, FH, etc.
Cons: Mandos. I like mandos overall but the one on hole # 7 is just plain dumb. It prevents you from hyzering over the pond and forces you to squeeze a difficult TO or the less difficult FH up and over a hill plus a low ceiling provided by a pine tree branch. The result is a window that is really short for TOs to hit and the slope of hole makes it really easy for FHs to skip into the pond. I think the easier but more intimidating hyzer over the pond route would have given the course more character and versatility. I presume the mando is there to protect swimmers and fishermen but there were hardly neither when I played.
Unrealistic/awkward fairway shape on hole #13. It's an L-shaped hole that goes right but the turn is less than 50-60' it seems in front of the tee and it's very difficult to throw an anny and make it go 90 degrees to the right for ~200' for a chance to hit the basket. I don't think it's an impossible hole b/c it seems doable via a very high anny that floats forever or maybe a roller but it's just a strange, unconventional fairway design. It does look much more conventional/manageable from the long position though.
Flow was kind of sporadic, it was confusing where exactly the basket for #12 was at first, I thought it was a huge anhyzer but it was actually tucked away in the gap in the forest straight ahead. Not a big con since the next tee signs helped immensely.
Long walks between holes, especially on the back 9. I usually don't mind these too bad, especially if the walks take me to sweet holes which they do in this case, but most of these were up and down the mountainside so if you fit the stereotypical "Comic book store guy" from the Simpsons profile of discgolfers (hey, I'm almost there myself), you are going to get a workout.
Rollaways: It's a hilly, rolling mountainside type of course, so obviously there's some pins on hillsides, are precariously placed near dropoffs. So be wary of this, you might even want to bring out the Blowfly. This isn't really a con, just a warning really. It's much less brutal than many Charlotte area courses that seem to get off from denying you simple, non-scary putts on every hole (*cough, cough* Renny, Nevin).
Not the most secluded, get-back-to-nature type course, you feel like you're in a park virtually at all times.
Other Thoughts: I've heard some complaints about some holes being gimmicky but I didn't really see it that way, but I only played the short tees for a full 18 and then the longs from 1-7 and then the alternate loop 8 & 9.
Feels like: The Front 9 feel like a more hilly Cedarock or a more open Glenburnie and the Back 9 feels like a mountainous Castle Hayne or Hornet's Nest.
Score Justification: Phenomenal is a strong word. The course is very good and the views of the mountainsides are splendid but I feel like the cons I listed hold it back ever so slightly from being a 4.5-5.0. It's definitely a must-play and I'd be very proud of this course if it was my home though. I will definitely hit this course up from all the longs eventually and then the rating might scoot up but for now I think it's the best 4.0 course I've ever played, more like a 4.40.
Side Note: I ate at the Hardees in Jefferson and I think every dude in there had the circa 1988 Jose Canseco style bowl-cut. Pure awesomesauce.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
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