1 Helpful / 5 Not
B = Better Than Average
Pros: What I personally like and how this course stacks up (From the long tees):
1) Holes with good risk/reward -- B (Too may holes have a wierd shape that makes no sense to go for it. That leaves a strategy of putter, putter, putter....not so hot. Risk is too high to go for a next-to-impossible reward.)
2) Holes that have rewarding birdie opportunities -- B (half the holes seemed good, the othter half....see #1)
3) More wooded than open - lots of variety of shots required caused by hole shape and topography -- A- (Great use of topography.)
4) Natural beauty (Appalachian beauty preferred) and seclusion -- A- (very nice!)
5) Bonus amount for multi-shot holes with defined landing zones, good risk/reward and multiple options to play them -- C- (The 1-2 I remember did not add any thing but more length - nothing in the "strategery" department)
Other Thoughts: It's all about feeding the addiction, so I ranked this course subjectively based on my own "personal addiction factor". The grades above tell how well the course will draw me back to itself again and again and again. 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 addiction tastes will find my ratings list helpful as they choose courses to play and explore.
Over time, I expect to fill some of my reviews in with more descriptive verbiage...if what I can add 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....that's the fun of things here. See my profile for my rating philosophy.
1 of 6 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
One of the best in Triangle
Pros: Valley Springs is one of the courses I just feel the urge to play frequently, even though it's a longer drive coming from Raleigh. It's a quiet park without too much traffic on the course. Lots of elevation change to make holes interesting and there are red, white, and blue tees (the latter two sometimes being together). On several holes blue even has a separate (longer) basket. Pin positions change fairly often to keep you coming back and the park and course are well maintained.
Last year (2008) four new holes were added that are longer than the average for the original 18 and provide some much needed right-to-left doglegs to spice up the bit of staleness in the 12 through 16 designs (see cons below).
New signs were added earlier this year (2009) that are quite good. Clear and accurate hole diagrams with distances and pars. Next tees are not marked but the course flows well so this should not be too much of a problem. Being wooded it is usually easy to see the path to the next hole, and where it is not clear there is a small marker sign near the pin pointing you which way to go. Also, the first tee sign has a box for scorecards, but it doesn't seem to be consistently stocked.
The pro tees here are really excellent and provide a great challenge. Be warned that they are indeed a challenge and can make your life miserable, many of the shots off of these tees are through very narrow corridors (<5ft sometimes).
Cons: It's going to sound like I have a lot of cons here but overall I don't feel that they are not major enough to warrant too much of a rating penalty.
12 through 16 are all fairly similar hole designs, mostly straight or very slightly left or right pin positions relative to the hole. The blue tee on 16 being the exception, it's a very tough hard turnover that must quickly come back to straight or overstable flight pattern (assuming RHBH) and is extremely hard when the trees are in full leaf during the summer. Fortunately I find that the holes before and after more than make up for the minor variety complaint here.
The tees are often raised concrete or are on slight downhills. Either way, this means that the front of the tee is raised from the ground. For a person with a long run up it is easy to step poorly and get your foot to overhang the front edge and turn your ankle a bit as you go forward off the tee. Similarly, it is often hard to make a long run up (to make sure you don't step off the front) because the tee is raised, making you concentrate on stepping up onto the tee rather than your shot flow.
Though there isn't much undergrowth, the trees themselves are pretty dense. There are a lot of small, thin trunk trees between the larger ones. If you go off of the fairways this course is somewhat punishing depending on time of year, often you will not have a desirable shot to the pin and may have to pitch out to the fairway.
Other Thoughts: The park has a large soccer area that can be used for practicing your drives.
The difficulty of this course increases quite a bit in late spring and through the fall when the trees and vegetation are in full bloom. At any time I think that this course is not the best for a beginner still struggling with getting a disc to fly straight. In Durham Cornwallis is a better choice as well as Kentwood in Raleigh.
Most hole layouts favor left-to-right or straight shots, so make sure you have control, turnover, and sidearm discs when you play.
The holes of the back nine (meaning 10-18) have some small-to-fist sized rocks on the fairways. Be careful when walking not turn your ankle on them and they can be a bit rough on your discs also.
Holes 19-22 are still fairly new and appear to be a work in progress. Only white tees, no red or blue. The fairways were mostly cut out of woods and there are many small stumps that need to be removed.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 1 Not
One of the Area's Best Organized & Maintained Courses!
Pros: Valley Springs is an extremely well organized DGC with three tee options (Red, White, & Blue), which provide different distances and angles in which you can play the course. The red tees are rather short in distance, but are great for beginners.
Some of the holes have seasonal/monthly baskets, so you'll have to refer to the maps at each tee as reference. The great thing about this setup, is that each month the course is slightly different from the month before.
This course features plenty of signage, including course layouts and information documenting seasonal/monthly basket placement. There are benches at the start of each hole for those requiring a resting area. There were even safety considerations built into the course, for example, one of the fairways cuts a 90 degree angle to the tee of the next hole, and they've added a net to protect players on the next tee.
Cons: - Heavily wooded course which has a tendency to beat up on softer discs.
- Varying elevations with the course taking you up and down hills, so bring your comfortable hiking shoes.
- The course seems to be kinda hazardous in the fall/winter due to the heavy coverage of leaves on the ground, which create a slipping hazard.
- The baskets are kind of difficult to distinguish from the surrounding terrain and woods. Do your best to locate the red tape on the pole of the baskets.
Other Thoughts: This is a great course in the Durham, NC area. The park has a playground for kids, and some baseball fields for the members of your group that don't feel like playing disc golf.
I am truly amazed at how well organized the course is, especially after reading the reviews from 2008 about there not being any signs. As of currently, there are plenty of markers and signage to assist players to navigate the course.
The course is a well designed course, however, if you're looking for a truly scenic DGC, you're better off going to Buckhorn DGC, which has a great mixture of open and wooded areas, as well as quite a few lakeside holes.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Now with signs!
Pros: Great signs have just been installed that make each tee and basket position very clear. Some pins are moved monthly, but the signs will tell you what position the pin is in. Plenty challenging for me from whites, but blue tees and long baskets should challenge bigger arms. Red tees also give different looks at many baskets, often giving you a more difficult line than white would have (hole 1 is a great example). Good variety of hole types, especially if you play "fore moor." Good elevation changes. Cool locals, and close to Cornwallis and UNC courses.
Cons: Woods and rocky terrain will eat up softer discs. A couple of tees and baskets are close to softball fields, so beware of homeruns. Easy to lose discs in the fall, and ticks are BAD in the spring. Older style baskets that are a little more shallow. Other than woods, no hazards (water or OB)
Other Thoughts: Buckhorn is a little more fun because of the water holes and lake views, but the woods holes are tighter at VS and the chance of losing discs is lower.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 2 Not
FORE MOOR are cool
Pros: Playing the blue tee's makes the course a real challenge. Shot the course blind and was able to navigate to the next hole quite easily. Very tightly wooded. Take out your roc for a lot of shots so to avoid less ricochets. Fore Moor holes were a lot of fun, gives you more open shots than the previous 18.
Cons: A lot of walking to see where the basket is for the hole. Maps of the hole by the tee pad can't hurt - google satellite can usually help
Other Thoughts: Had to play in the rain so didn't have the best grip, but the tree's held back the rain most of the round and didn't make things too difficult.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 1 Not
My favorite course in the Triangle
Pros: Because of the quality of it's 3 layouts this is my favorite course in the Triangle. Many would give that distinction to Buckhorn, and it may well be that on the White layout shorter throwers, such as myself, have more fun at the Valley because they can get more deuces with a hot round. Some longer throwers think that the White layout is too short to be challenging enough for them. Regardless, Valley Springs offers a challenge to all skill levels amidst a serene walk in the woods. There are 3 sets of concrete tee pads on most holes, and all 3 layouts offer very good elevation changes. All fairways are well cleared and reasonable. There's also great fairway shape variety-- White has 4 St/ 7 Left/ 7 Right. Kids and shorter throwers will love throwing from the concrete pads of the Red tees. The White layout is wooded and tight, so you can score well if you're shots are accurate, but your score can also easily blow up if you keep tagging trees. The Blue layout offers much longer, and even tighter lines that will challenge any Blue level player. Also, in the Blue layout, 4 holes (5, 9, 12, 17) have long baskets instead of long tees.
One more thing, for added diversity holes 7, 7, & 14 have Alternate basket positions. They alternate positions on the even and odd months.
After the regular 18 you can also play four very good and rather long extra holes called "Fore Moor". Three are in the woods and one is more open mixed terrain. All four offer good elevation changes. These are an added bonus, and one more reason why this one of the top tier courses in NC!
The diversity may be kind of confusing to people playing the course for the first time, especially the Blue layout. Make sure to check the message board for an explanation of the Long tees, Long baskets, and Alternate basket positions. Just keep in mind to always play the long tees except for these holes: 5, 9, 12, 14, 17. You can also check my Valley Springs Course Notes
page for an explanation.
Course Level: Blue layout = Blue (most suited for Advanced players rated 925-975);
White layout = White (most suited for Intermediate players rated 875-925.);
Red layout = Red (most suited for Juniors and Intermediate players rated 825-875)
For years there's been a core of dedicated volunteers who have worked hard to make this a great course! I give many thanks to one and all!
I highly recommend that you play this course. If you have time to play both the White and Blue layouts you'll be rewarded by the full experience.
You be the judge
My favorite hole: 7. A long straight downhill alley that has to get through a gauntlet of trees then go back up again to a basket among cool rocks.
You can read more of my reviews at the Yahoo group DG Course Reviews
, Look in the Files section there for my Overall Rating notes and Hole-by-hole ratings.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: This is one of the few courses where both beginners and advanced players can enjoy themselves. The red, white, and blue tee placements all have their own concrete tee pads, and providing an ideal challenge for beginners (red), recreational/amateur players (white), and pros (blue). The blue layout is challenging, but fair as there are distinct paths to the baskets on each hole. The course is almost entirely shaded, and is usually not too crowded. The layout is separate from the rest of the park. If you're lucky, you could spot a deer. Top-quality tee signs were recently added on all holes, including the four extra holes; that was the course's biggest weakness up until then.
Cons: Now that tee signs have been added, the only real "cons" are the mosquitoes in the summer (bug spray is recommended), and the lack of open, "let-er-rip" holes. (Experienced players won't mind, but novices might.)
Other Thoughts: Four new holes have recently been installed, although these holes only have one concrete tee pad her hole. They are some of the most challenging holes on the course from any tee, so novice players beware. The tee pads are "white", but they play more like blue tees when compared to the first 18 holes.
I think this is the best course in the Triangle. But that's only my opinion, one that is not shared by everyone.
7 of 10 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
It's now 22 holes...
Pros: The blue tees provided an excellent challenge as apposed to the red tees which were entirely too short...I especially like the first 3 holes with the elevated tee pads...there are dual baskets on at least 6 of the 22 holes...the last 4 holes are much more challenging than the first 18, but if you're willing to subject yourself to them they are very worth it, both in length and technique...there are now tee signs that rival even the best tee signs at a ball golf course. Seriously they're attention to detail is astounding, distance to both blue and regular basket from each tee and a pretty close approximation for each fairway...although the holes at the front of the course are close to each other the locals have taken great care that safety comes first with a net placed behind one particularly vulnerable tee (4 i think)
Cons: there aren't too many benches, or trash cans, and some of the tee pads are a little on the skinny side...also, only one bathroom but unless i got to drop a duece it's not really a con...
Other Thoughts: my favorite thing about this course is that when I was done with 18 there was a sign on a tree that read "Play 4 more" with an arrow pointing right...and the 4 more were basically brand new, at least it felt like it, they also varied from the short, technical of the rest of the course...for me, it was a perfect bonus for a difficult round...if the tee signs and pin placements were better marked this course would be at least a 4...oh wait, they now have way better tee signs, in fact, some of the best i've seen, damn i should have taken a picture and put it up on the site as an example, next time...anyway, i've played this course 4 times in the last 3 months since moving 20 minutes closer, it's an unbelievable course, like Olorin says it could be the best in the Triangle (although Buckhorn might have something on that)...i can't imagine the score i'll be getting come summer when the trees are in...i played white tees this last time just to feel better about myself and still ended up at +6 for the full 22...it's brutal course, but i need the pain...
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 2 Not
Very Nice Woods Course
Pros: Nice woods course with multiple tee pads and pin positions on every hole. Many different throws required. Very good use of elevation changes. Every hole is secluded from each other. The original setup is a little short but very fun and still chalenging due to how tight it is. The longer tee pads are quite a challenge and anything under par is admirable. There are also a set of short tees for each hole which are great for beginners or kids. There is not usually much traffic on the course except for the wildlife.
Cons: Hard to find discs this time of year due to the leaves.
Tee signs are missing or homemade and are one of the biggest negatives of the course.
Other Thoughts: Very fun tight woods course that you should make time to play if in the area.
There is another layout called the Bluffs course which is currently being installed. It is going to be a lot bigger and longer with several new exclusive holes.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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