Bring your wading shoes
Pros: - Fantastically maintained course, clean of both brush and trash. Its in a mature pine forest, so you don't really get much of that nasty underbrush problem that a lot of heavily wooded courses have.
- WATER! Not many courses utilize water hazards, so its a treat to play one that does with some frequency. Makes for great scenery and a new sort of anxiety on your drives.
- Played with a friend who hasn't played much disc golf. Holes were reasonably distanced and reasonably open so both of us had a good time, while still presenting some decent challenge
- Favorite throw was #17 over the pond. Straight shot through some open woods, hit the gap near the pond and make sure you put enough mustard on it to make it over the water. I missed acing it by a foot or two and ended up about 8-10 feet behind the hole, but its a nerve-racking throw until you see it land.
Cons: - Not much variety in hole design from the white tees, which is what we played. Almost entirely straight or RHBH hyzer, almost all in the woods. There are a few RHBH anhyzer holes thrown in, but not many.
- While I love the fact that water is in play, several baskets are in my opinion unreasonably close to the water hazards that make this course unique.
- #8, I believe it was, is short, has water directly behind the basket, and a big fricking bridge directly in your path to the basket for what seems to me to be no good reason. There is simply no comfortable way to go around that stupid bridge. Really ruined what would have otherwise been a good hole.
- #9 is so swampy its not really fun. Not a whole lot of truly dry ground to work with once you're out of the woods near the tee.
- #15 needs warning signs that there is deep water DIRECTLY behind the basket. Do NOT try to ace this hole, because unless you throw a 1 in a million shot if you clear that hill looking for an ace on the fly your disc WILL end up going for a swim and be gone in that nasty, and immediately deep pond. Buddy lost one of my discs behind it because we had no idea that a mere yard or so behind the basket on top of the steep hill that pond was lurking.
Other Thoughts: All in all, a very enjoyable course, and if I lived in the southern Raleigh region I would probably play Buckhorn quite a bit. Just be prepared to lose a disc or two, any mistakes near the water hazards will be punished severely by this course.
Oh, and if nuclear power plants creep you out or something, stay away. Directly across the lake is the massive Harris Lake nuclear power plant, billowing huge clouds out of the stack. I thought it was pretty awesome looking, but I know some people don't want to be anywhere near one of them.
5 Helpful / 3 Not
Want to return
Pros: Great wooded course in almost total isolation from the rest of the world. There was almost no undergrowth and the fairways are more than adequately wide. From this perspective I would equate Buckhorn to be an equivalent of Kilborne in Charlotte EXCEPT there is water that comes into play both with carries and along a few of the fairways. Water almost always acts as a magnet for my discs!
I played the short tees (alas I had tweaked my back a few days earlier and was operating at about 60%). The longer pads simply added distance (30' to 150') and challenge for most of the holes but did not radically change the shape of the shot; hole 16 was the exception which was an acute dogleg from the long and a relatively straight shot from the shorts; hole 10's short pad allowed a non-water carry but water still was a major factor.
The course was exceptionally clean despite a lack of trashcans (only few were near the beginning); it was obvious the frequent players were responsible to keep it clean. AND, there actually were score cards available at the first tee (always nice)!
Cons: Most of the holes felt like they had about the same shot shape for the drive favoring the RHBH hyzer; those that required a little turnover were near the end of the fairway (approach shots for me). Many repetitive feeling shots.
I found myself searching for the next tee on many of the holes (and I had a printed schematic map). There was one next tee directional sign I noticed on hole 14 or 15.
I found the concrete tee pads a little lacking--they were plenty big enough but were more that roughly textured (not brushed but textured by the work end of a rake), I nearly tripped on a few of them.
Other Thoughts: Although not really close to any of the other "triangle" area courses, it is a very solid course that should be on the itinerary of any serious disc golfer when in the area. I want to play it again when my back is in better condition (I might bump the rating up another notch if I felt better).
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Feels Just Like Carolina
9 Helpful / 18 Not
Pros: There are so many courses like Buckhorn in central North Carolina, though none as well imagined or constructed. Nice, clean lines on well defined fairways. Perfectly delineated paths leading from hole to hole. It doesn't bring much that hasn't been done before. It just does it a bit better than most.
The one thing that Buckhorn has that other similar courses don't is water. There's not a ton of it. Most holes look like the shore might be miles away. But what it has comes into play quite a bit. The water here is not just aesthetic. There's a pair of holes down by the edge of the lake, where the best path is to hang the disc over the marsh and then fade it left. There is one where a small pond will punish you for being too aggressive towards the basket. Finally, you throw directly over that pond, in a shot which gives you the chance to make a long carry from the tee or lay up to the water's edge for an easier toss across the pond.
Other than that, there aren't a lot of memorable holes here but they are almost all solid. Challenging and fair, it will be tough to stay in the fairway but if you do, there are no single trees left in the middle of your flight path. Good play is rewarded.
It's a bit out of the way. It's farther from the cities of the Triangle than many courses. But it's definitely worth the extra travel.
Cons: At the same time, while all the holes are solid, few are memorable, and there is a lot of sameness about many of them. This can be a good thing, if you like what you see. But you should know after the first fairway what the majority of holes will be like.
16 and 18 are both strange holes that I did not really care for. They turn at very strange angles (16 is extremely sharp at a very early juncture) essentially to "get to" certain places. 16 takes the path to get from 15 to 17, the two holes that use the pond. 18 is the only way to get from said hole to somewhere near the beginning. It's probably a net positive as it allows the two more memorable holes, but it makes for a strange ending to the course. (And the OB on 16? I say if someone wants to go through those woods and avoid the oddly shaped fairway, it's on them.)
Other Thoughts: The two sets of tees actually does a nice job of providing two distinct difficulties. Those far tees are far. They probably the most challenge that a player will find for 50 miles in any direction.
9 of 27 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 2 Not
Nice Woodsy Course
Pros: A nice, secluded course that plays 100% in thick hardwood forest and around the edge of a lake a small pond. It's an advanced course that has narrow fairways and demands accuracy. The choice of two tee pads per hole is very nice for variety.
The water makes things interesting, and it seems that you can avoid it half the time if you choose the short tee pads (except on 15 (see cons). Hole 17 sends you downhill directly to the water's edge, and the smart player is going to lay up short then pitch across the pond for shot 2. The hard thing is to lay up short on a smooth downhill slope without going in the water! I look forward to trying this one again.
Cons: The water is really only dangerous on about 4 holes, but it can be a bugger for losing discs. Hole #15 is a bit sadistic as the pin sits on top of a little hill with deep water about 15 feet behind it. If you flub your drive, you will have a very touchy approach that cannot go long!
Other Thoughts: I played in the winter time and am anxious to see how it plays with all the foliage in full thickness - I'm sure the rough will be a little testier.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Great remote location. If you like to fish bring your gear and your NC license. Lots of tight wood shots. Lots of water risks. 17 if you don't throw 300 and straight you need to lay up or throw an old disc. 15 is really neat where you are shooting uphill at very little landing area. An overshoot and your disc is in the pond. You may also have a disc roll back down and pass you after not staying up top. You have got to see the curved tree in front of, as I remember, hole #2. I would love to know the original cause.
Cons: In the winter due to the leaves a bright disc is a plus.
Other Thoughts: What a lovely country atmosphere. Saw chipmunks, wild turkeys and 2 deer. Since I was playing by myself I could just stop and observe and enjoy nature. I do not have much distance. I played around the pond on 17 for a bogey.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Secluded beauty, lots of woods, good water risk
Pros: The location is the number one pro. It is remote, peaceful, quiet, beautiful, and it even smells great. 100% under a canopy of large old growth forest, this property is amazing and throws in a lake and pond to boot!
The curved tree on #2 looks like it was made for a disc course. Great job of incorporating it into the design.
There are two to three tees on every hole (#8 has just one tee for all). This spread in skill/challenge is great for courses.
Memorable holes galore on this course. #8 is a short putter drive over a bridge and at a pin perched on the edge of the lake (here's a tip, the water is shallow and clear, run at the pin!). #17 is a downhill 400' throw across a NASTY pond and the pin is perched 10' from the other edge. There is also a bunch of low branches which force you to 'tunnel' through the downhill and straight at the pond while trying to get enough lift to get over. #10 and 11 are decently long hyzers (RHBH) almost entirely over the lake. Lots of reeds and weeds make finding waterlogged discs tough (I shanked my surge in on #10 cus it had too little LSS). There is no decent short bailout area, and the greens each slope back down to the water. #9 is probably the most difficult water hole because you need to be straight and accurate through a 20' wide, 175' long wooded tunnel before sweeping over the lake (shallow bay) and finishing left to the pin very near the edge. #15 is a great short hole from atop one side of a ravine, throwing across the low spot to the elevated pin on the other side with a pond 5' behind it (hint, DON'T go long here). #16 has a great 120 degree dogleg left design. You can pitch up to the short tee and then down the main fairway for 275', you could try and punch through the narrow openings in the trees straight at the pin like I did (and missed). #18 green is under a ton of huge old trees that frame it perfectly.
OB water and fairway edges are in play on a number of holes.
There are no benches and trash cans. Yes this is a pro because sitting on a bench just promotes lazy losers to begin vandalizing or tagging things, and trash cans in this period of cutbacks especially in parks are NOT NECESSARY. Why pay a parks employee for his time to collect your trash when you can take it home yourself (afterall you had room to bring it in) and you can also recycle it then!
Cons: Only one pin placement. While many of the pins were extremely risky, having alternate pins just increases variety and shot shaping that much more and makes for an even more rounded experience in terms of available variety.
Most of the tees were unfortunately above grade. These can cause you to roll your ankle off the front and they limit longer approaches from the back. However, most are long and wide enough and texture is good.
Unfortunately many of the holes are all the same repetitive, non glamorous wooded style. Essentially every hole is wooded and the only mix you'll get is via distance or right/left/straight turn. But that balance within the wooded holes is very good. If you crave variety of all kinds of holes like I do (at least 1-2 of every type of hole imaginable), then Buckhorn falls short.
Other Thoughts: I played blue tees here, and there was just one pin location. Once again I'm torn on this rating, but at a different threshold. I'm thinking 3.75 would be perfect, but need to fit this into the existing scale. While Buckhorn is an excellent course that offers plenty of challenge, a ton of watery risk, and some very unique features, I'm afraid that it is variety that I crave on my courses. You don't get any big elevation here, but there are lots of neat wooded ravines and ridges. You have 6 holes with water definitely in play. You have the very long wooded holes 4 and 6 and some short narrow ones. You get a more than 90 degree bend in fairway 16 but a peak at an alternate fairway throwing straight at the pin through a 4' gap. Oh wait, I can't forget to state once again that Buckhorn is remote, quiet, peaceful, and beautiful. Yeah, I guess for a 100% wooded course Buckhorn offers some amazing variety and plenty of great risk that I love. It's not like it's flat. It doesn't feel as repetitive as Valley Springs. Having an alternate pin location on each hole would have made it a 4 without question, but lack of long/huge downhill and a few open rippers would still keep it from a 4.5. More holes here along the access roads would allow you to open it up a bit and rip on some. Maybe a second 18 could even work its way into a clear area somewhere and also utilize more elevation. Then we'd be looking at a destination course.
There are cross country mountain bike trails all over the park as well.
I'd say this is a Blue skill level course (from the long tees). There are plenty of forced shot types with the water and all the trees. I never play as well my first time through a course, but it did challenge me much more than others in the area with a mix of length, water OB, and tight woods.
(The order of favorites on my Raleigh trip is as follows - UNC, Leigh Farms, Harris Lake, Cedar Hills, Zebulon, Middle Creek, and Valley Springs. UNC and Leigh farms were runaway winners but with vastly different reasons. Harris Lake was repetitive being almost all wooded, but real fun to play and lots of risk. Cedar Hills, Zeb, and Middle creek were all tied around the average for different reasons. Valley Springs was very fun, but repetitively grueling.)
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: -Challenging but fun course
-Aesthetically pleasing w/ views of Harris Lake on several holes
-Other water holes w/ smaller ponds
-Score cards available at hole #1 (sometimes)
-Variety of shots can be utilized and are needed. Anhyzers, hyzers, thumbers, tomahawks, etc...
-Low traffic. Meaning you do not feel pressure to rush through holes. Usually you can take your time and enjoy all the course has to offer.
-Pro & Am tee pads (concrete). Regardless of whether you play from the Pro or Am tee boxes the course will challenge your skills. Each hole changes significantly depending on which box you choose to throw from.
-Course is wooded which provides shade in the summer
Cons: -Can be a morale crusher to less experienced players due to the length and difficulty of many of the holes. Actually it can be a morale crusher for any experience level. Several water holes do provide quite a challenge.
Other Thoughts: Fun course but your first trip or two can cost you some discs. A friend and I played the course for the first time a few years back. By the 9th hole we were forced to leave because we had lost all of our discs except our putters. We lost what was our entire disc supply at that time except for two puters:) A day I will never forget! Not a beginners course per se but all skill levels should enjoy. More advanced players may have a better appreciation for the challenge. GO PLAY THE COURSE
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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