13 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - The natural beauty of this course cannot be overstated. The mountains alone add a scenic backdrop to just about any hole, but the view looking down on the pond was equally breathtaking. I can only imagine how it looks in the fall with the leaves turning or in the winter with some snow on the ground.
- The course has a great flow. Getting from one hole to another was no problem, even on the wooded holes.
- Tees, signs, and baskets were immaculate. I love the flags that help you locate the baskets - that did not go unappreciated on a course as hilly/mountainous as this one. You can tell that this course is the High Country DGC's "baby" and they put a lot into maintaining it.
- Another great byproduct of the course design is that there are so many different combinations of tees/baskets/holes to play. Between the pro and amateur tees, the three holes that have blue (pro) baskets, and the alternate holes for #8 and #9, you could play the course many times through and actually be playing a different course each time.
- I appreciated the numerous benches in the back nine portion of the course. After climbing up to #18, you almost have to sit and catch your breath and appreciate the moment.
I liked that the back nine, particularly holes like 15-18, had cut logs positioned down the mountainside to catch roller discs. You're punished enough if your disc starts rolling - there's no reason you should have to walk all the way down to the bottom of the mountain and back up to finish off the hole.
- Also, the elevated and intricately cut log tee pad "borders" throughout the back nine were impressive. You could tell that a lot of work went into them.
- The scorecards available at the start were, as always, a nice touch.
Cons: - Any issues I had with the course are more with course design itself than anything else. Let me reiterate that the course is in immaculate shape and is obviously a product of a lot of thought and hard work, which is very much appreciated. So, anything mentioned here is more out of being picky than anything else. I feel like a course of this magnitude deserves the highest level of criticism. So, that said...
- The double mando on #10 seemed a little forced to me. It was almost like there was nothing else about that hole to set it apart, so the designers said, "Hey, let's just make it a tight double mando." I guess it's better than nothing at all, but it just seems a little gimmicky.
- #1 seemed like another wasted hole to me. It was too bland compared to the rest of the course. I realize it was meant to be a warmup hole, but I didn't think that was necessary. The course might as well have started with #2, with another hole added in the woods.
- This may be more a criticism of the park than the course, but there was an area on the back side of the pond - I think around hole #6 - that looked a little run-down. It was almost like a drainage/overflow area that hadn't been filled in a long time. For a course and park with so much natural beauty, that part detracted from it a bit.
- I didn't even play #11 pro - for reasons mentioned below - but it also seemed a little gimmicky to me.
Other Thoughts: - Our plan for this course was to play the first 18 holes from the amateur tees and then play another 18 from the pro tees/baskets. Unfortunately, we got rained out before we could start the second 18, so we never got to experience pro #11 or pro #15, as well as the other pro holes. Luckily, we had thrown from pro #18 the day before just because we had to see it - and that is an experience unto itself.
- #9 and #18 are what I consider the signature holes for the course - well, at least for a course like this that really has many signature holes. They are both looking down off a mountain at a steep dropoff into the valley below. I can only imagine that they both would make for great spectator holes for folks down below.
- #9 isn't quite as deep a drop, but the drop is (in my estimation) a little more steep. Also, it's more open. So, you can get your disc through without much worry, and it's easier to just let it fly and see where your disc ends up below. It's 553/660, but obviously plays much shorter than that because of the drop-off. This is just a fun hole to empty the bag.
- #18 - especially from the pro tees - is a much deeper drop, although not quite as steep. Also, it's a very tight shot. All of that makes it much tougher to get out of the woods if you can't throw straight. You really have to be smart with your shot here. I'd say that the nature of the hole along with the elevation - causing shots to dig into the ground upon impact - make this an easy hole to lose discs.
- I can't wait to get back here and finally finish off what we started. This is the kind of course that leaves you itching for more. It's definitely a must-play for the serious disc golfer.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This course is absolutely stunning. The course is set in a lovely park in the middle of the mountains. The baskets are in great shape and most of the blind baskets have tall flags showing you were it is. The teepads are large and in excellent shape and almost every hole has pro and am pads. There are signs on every hole with distances and signs all over the course telling you were to go next. It was very easy to follow for a huge long course. There were scorecards with a map on the back of them at the first tee.
We played the pro pads and the course starts out in the open with throwing over a hill to a basket on a downslope. Then you have a great anhyzer hole that if not thrown well with bring the lake into play due to the slope. Then a 410 ft downhill water carry on the next hole. You play the first several holes mostly in the open with some well placed trees and water to impede your progress. #7 is a very interesting short hole that is easy to blow up on. Then you start up the hill with a brutal #8 hole on an extreme slope going up into the woods. On #9 you are throwing literally off a mountain side to a basket 600+ ft below. The hole is absolutely stunning.
I hope you scored well on the front because the back nine is much harder. #10 starts with an extremely tight double mando then you go to #11 which is the most unique hole I have ever played. You have to trow to spots because the fairway is sectioned off by huge bushes. You just have to play it to understand it. I noticed several people complained about it but if you don't like it just play the short basket. You do not have to play the brutal long one. Personally I loved it. From there you start throwing in and out of the woods Some are in the open down hill into the woods. Some are up hill, and some even start at the bottom of the hill and go over it down the the other side. #15 was my favorite hole on the course. It is a great long drive in thick woods over a large valley. A bad throw could really be punished here. From there you have a few more tough ones in the woods then you finish out throwing off the mountain again then a long dogleft right hole. We could not find my drive on th #18 so I had to hike back up the mountain and retee after looking at the bottom for 30 minutes. My lungs were on fire!!!
I can't imagine how much work went into putting this course together. The amount of signs, steps on the hillsides, etc must have taking a ton of work. The variaty of shots from the long tees coupled with the mix of woods and open make for a great round of golf. This course is extremely tough and bad shots will be punished severly. The par is very accurrate and only a really good player is going to sniff it from the pro tees.
Cons: There is not really any cons that I have other then some poison ivy. Not much you can do about it if the course it in the woods though. The course is a brutal hike for the pro pads so bring plenty of water and be in decent shape or you might die on the mountain in the summer. Watch your discs like a hawk. The holes are long and it is easy to loose track of them on some of the downhill throws
Other Thoughts: This is the only course I have given a five and I think it is a must play if you are anywere close at all. We drove 6 hours to play the course and it was worth it. I promise you we will be driving to it again at first chance. I personally rank it just ahead of idlewild because of the elevation changes and the landscape is just unreal. It is so unique to any other course I have ever played.
Just go play it!!! But be warned about the hiking and expect a long tough round.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 12 Not
A for Awesome!
Pros: This is based on original 9 holes (and lots of feedback on the rest....I want to make it our there again badly!)
What I personally like and how this course stacks up:
1) Holes with good risk/reward -- A
2) Holes that have rewarding birdie opportunities -- A-
3) More wooded than open - lots of variety of shots required caused by hole shape and topography -- A-
4) Natural beauty (Appalachian beauty preferred) and seclusion -- A
5) Multi-shot holes with defined landing zones, good risk/reward and multiple options to play them -- B
Other Thoughts: I ranked this course subjectively based on my own personal enjoyment factor…more accurately my "personal addiction factor". Since I have played a decent number of courses (115 18-hole, 50 9-hole as of early 2009), my hope is that players/explorers who have similar tastes will find my ratings list helpful as they chose courses to play and explore.
Over time, I expect to fill some of my reviews in with more descriptive verbiage…if what I say adds anything to what has already been written. For now, my list is more important to me than the verbiage of my reviews.
I fully expect others with different tastes/philosophies to disagree with me. See my profile for my rating philosophy.
6 of 18 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Climb every mountain…
Just driving to the course in the rustic beautiful mountains of western Carolina builds your anticipation, and once you get there the mountain views all around don't disappoint. The view looking out over the pond with the hills and trees behind is spectacular. A few inches of snow on the ground completed the idyllic setting.
With two sets of tees, this Harold Duvall designed course will challenge players of many skill levels. Three holes (8, 11, 17) also have an extra blue basket for the Long layout. The elevation changes are the course's most memorable feature; there are lots and some are quite hefty. There's a pretty even balance of up and down, with some holes that are down-then back up, and some up-then back down. On a few holes if you get a bad kick you might be way down in a ravine and have to claw your way up a steep hill. Holes 1-7 are moderately hilly, but then 8-18 start the real ups and downs. For example, Hole 8 Long is +45 ft. uphill, then on 9 you have a big downhill drive (Short: -54 ft/ Long: -72 ft). There are also alternate fairways for holes 8 & 9, though, for those who don't want such a strenuous hike, so there are actually 20 holes on the course. To give you an idea of the huge elevation changes consider this string of holes from 14-18 on the Long layout: 14 is +45 ft, 15 is +25 ft, 16 is -45 ft., 17 is +42 ft. Then you get to 18. This hole has the distinction of having the greatest elevation change in North Carolina-- a 140 ft drop! The course's terrain also has excellent variety with slightly more woods holes, balanced by many with mixed trees and grass. The woods are mostly on 8-18, while 1-7 are more open mixed terrain. Only hole 1 is wide open. There's also fantastic length variety. (The Long layout should challenge the Big Arms: 4<299/ 7 of 300-399/ 5of 400-499/ 1 of 660/ 1 of 818.) The greens are excellent too, with many treacherous side slopes to be careful on. Add in rhododendrons and other woods foliage and it's a beautiful setting. The front and back nines both start and end near the parking lot, so it's easy to just play 9 holes if you want to. Nice. Oh yeah, there's a great shot over the scenic pond on hole 3 too. All in all, several holes are epic, and the Long layout is especially tough.
The Basics are pretty well covered. Very good double chain DISCatcher baskets with the 3 extra Carolina blue longs. The lower holes each have 2 sets of raked concrete tees that are quite long, and the higher holes (9, 11, 14-18) have large rubber mats. It must have been a huge amount of work to get those frames and mats up the hills!
As for Amenities… much care was taken to put up lots of navigational signs and bricks pointing the way to the next tees. Very helpful! There's a great map and score card online, and some at the course too. There's also a good message board, a warm up basket, and lots of benches. I'm amazed at how much they've done here in a relatively short time!!
-Hole 11. Ahhh yes… without a doubt this unique hole will generate more reaction than any other hole on the course. Hole 11 Long is one of the most unusual holes I've ever played. From the tee you can't see the blue basket because the fairway ends abruptly at a high wall of rhododendrons that you have to go over with a thumber or tomahawk shot. Clear this, then there's after another short section of fairway ending at a second high rhododendron wall to go over, then you finally get to the blue basket. Also, if you go off the fairway you're in thick woods, so you may have to pitch back out to a spot where you can get up over the wall. I didn't like the hole, but YMMV. They need to post good directions on where to find the basket and how it plays, though, because you can't even figure it out without walking the entire hole. Even the walking path to the long basket was hard to find and needs to be better marked.
-I was disappointed the regular holes 8 & 9 were closed when I was there, and I hope that this won't be a regular occurrence.
-A small quibble- the online map and score card need to be updated on a few holes to show the current layout.
Course Level: Long layout = Blue (most suited for Advanced players rated 950).
Short layout = White (most suited for Intermediate players rated 900.)
-Restrooms were locked (maybe locked for the winter?).
-If you play in the winter you may well have some snow on the ground.
-I can imagine that the foliage in the woods can get pretty thick in the summer.
My favorite hole- Long 18-- drive down a corridor in the woods with the huge 140 ft elevation drop.
All in all, this is a classic mountain course with many epic holes. It's one of the best in North Carolina, so it's worth making a trip to play. Don't miss it!
A note about my rating: My rating is a subjective measure of my enjoyment of the course, on the day I played it, and it is NOT intended to be a measure of the quality of the course. My ratings are given "on the curve" in relation to all other courses I've played.
-More detailed "Overall Rating" notes and "Hole-by-hole Ratings" are available in the Files section.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Great mixture of open and wooded holes. This course is perfect for both beginners and and pros. The back 9 is very hilly and you constantly are walking up and down the mountain so be prepared for a workout. The course is very well made and professional looking.
Other Thoughts: Course is big and if you play all 18, it will take a while but trust me its definitely worth it
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Fun and Challenging
Pros: Great mix of wooded and open holes that requires a wide variety of shots. Separate amateur and pro tee pads made of either concrete or rubber, which are long and adequate size. Course is easy to navigate with helpful signage directing you to the next hole and nice benches at most holes. Most of the back nine holes are located on the side of a mountain, which makes for some huffing it but well worth effort. There are several drives where you can get some serious distance due to the extreme elevation change. Water comes into play on hole 3: the pro tees requires a 400' drive over the lake which will test out the ol' nerves.
Cons: A couple of the rubber tee pads on the back nine were a little slippery and it was difficult to get good leverage on the drive.
Other Thoughts: Playing this course was well worth the hour and a half road trip and two lost discs and I will definitely make more trips to this course. If you're not used to playing mountain courses you will enjoy and appreciate what this course has to offer. Very well designed and very fun/challenging to play.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Cream of the Crop
Pros: This course has an excellent blend of open and wooded holes. The front nine flows nicely out in the open, around a pond with rolling hillsides and fast greens. The back nine is mainly wooded and is routed beautifully on the mountain with some extreme elevation. The High Country has it all where holes range from short and technical to long bombers. There are nice long concrete tee pads on most holes and good rubber mats on the others. The course is located in the Ashe County Park, so all of the amentites are availiable here including bathrooms, picnic area, information board, scorecards, practice basket, etc.
Other Thoughts: The overall experience from this place is second to none; with more exposure, this course could become one of the best courses in the world.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 13 Not
play this course
Pros: great elevation !!! chalenging and exciting. without a doubt worth the trip. The course description is accurate.
2 of 15 people found this review helpful.
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