A step in the right direction
4 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: This course is a step in the right direction for many reasons. John Houck is responsible for easily the strongest design on the IDGC grounds and clearly has his finger on the pulse of the future of disc golf course design.
Lucky for me, I was in the area for a wedding last summer and was able to visit the IDGC for an extended afternoon. As a dg lifer, I was pretty excited at the prospect of playing these courses and seeing the museum. I'd been following the development of the facility online for years and was anxious to see the finished product for the 1st time.
The museum was certainly small but cool at the same time. It was great seeing the first golf discs and Steady Ed's Tribute. Also, Stevie's statue delivers.
I started my day on the Steady Ed course but that only lasted for about 5 or 6 holes as the "fairways" were riddled with trees and near impossible, flukey gaps. I wasn't having it.
I quickly made my way to WR Jackson and found what I was looking for.
This is the best course I've played thus far. It's well balanced, safe, and fair but it goes far beyond that. This course represents the next level of disc golf course design. Par 4's and 5's outnumber par 3's to create a challenge worthy of carrying the name "golf". I think it was a shame they couldn't squeak a par 70 out of this track but that aside, this course was a pure joy to play.
For the most part, the fairways are ample and on many occasions, offer options of attack. The landing zones are quite generous and I feel like they really nailed the correct proportions and distances for the blue/gold level player. The tee boxes, signs, and baskets are all top notch and the bridges that span the creek crossings add a touch that helps elevate this place from excellent to memorable. This course is a must play! I can only hope designs like this become the norm in the future. Golf is not a par 3 game. It's nice to see that concept recognized and a solid design executed.
Cons: There aren't many cons to speak of. WR Jackson delivered on many levels. That being said, holes 11-13 don't belong on this course (at least not together). This series of holes represents a weak link in the design. These holes are sub 300' par 3's and feel like they were all kinda stuffed here because the builders were running short on space. Hole 13 really isn't a bad hole but after playing 11 and 12, it just seemed redundant. This may sound nit-picky but this series of holes was kind of a sore thumb on an otherwise delightful course.
Other Thoughts: Aside from the problem of holes 11-13, the only way to improve this course would be to add lower level tee boxes, add multiple pin placements, and shape greens for added challenge. Overall, very well done indeed!
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: the day I visited the IDGC, I woke up at 6:30. I didn't need to leave for several hours but the anticipation kept me from returning to sleep. It would be cliche to liken the experience to Christmas morning but in this case it was, in fact, the day after Christmas. It's a long drive to Appling, GA. It seems like it's a long drive to the Augusta area from anywhere. Then you take that left off the main park road, catch a glimpse of a few baskets and even before you park, you see the gates. Jim Warner. Ed Headrick. WR Jackson. Intoxicating.
I managed a few throws at the putting green before the lure of the gates called me and I walked into WR Jackson. The view from the first tee makes an impressive promise. A long, tough hole. A wooded, clearly-defined fairway bending to the left. Trees interspersed along said path to the basket. Tree-lined rough that will definitely force a pitch-out but isn't that nasty to walk through.
The rest of the course delivers on the promise. This is a long, tough course. At over 9000 feet in distance from tee to target and plenty of space between holes, the walk along can be grueling for the unprepared. These fairways are wide enough to offer different lines to the basket, but narrow enough so that it will be a challenge to consistently keep it in-bounds. True par-fours, with doglegs at the appropriate points and multiple opportunities to choose the right or left route to the basket.
Many of the fairways have trees in the middle here, and this is something I usually dislike. Often mid-fairway trees can introduce randomness to the outcome of drives. Not so here. These trees are spread out enough, and thick enough that all can be seen and lines can be carved around them. It makes the course tougher, but it in a fun, challenging way, not in an aggravating way.
While many of the holes maintain a similar look, the third hole introduces the ravine. It's a small creek that was dry when I was there. It winds through several of the shorter holes and on 3 it bends so that you pass over it twice on the way to the pin. Dry or wet, you don't want to land down there, as it's a hazardous climb and it's OB as well. It adds a aesthetically pleasing challenge to several holes and they're some of the best on the course. As much as this course boasts length, it's the shorter holes that often have the most ingenuity. 13 is probably my favorite. Over the ravine/creek and hang right all the way to the basket.
There may not be a standout hole here, but I think the way that 1 sets the tone for the rest of the round is enough to make it the signature hole here. With the anticipation provided by those amazing gates, its great to settle into a hole that represents just what the rest of WR Jackson will provide.
Cons: That said, it's hard not to compare it to Rock Ridge Park, the only other Houck design that I've played, and I feel that it didn't quite live up to the newer course. The terrain was probably better here but it wasn't carved through as exquisitely as at the course I'd experienced previously. I freely admit, however, that specific imperfect is not much of a con.
A slightly bigger issue is the flow. The hole-to-hole flow is a little out of whack here, and though there were plenty of naigational aids in place(except, oddly, at the place they were most needed, the 2-3 and 7-8 jumble) it still takes away from the pure enjoyment. And again, it's hard not to compare it to Rock Ridge which, unfinished, flows intuitively without map or sign.
And as much as I like the ravine, maximizing it's use means that the OB area for some holes is the fairway or green for others. This is particularly an issue for 15 and 16. It also creates the situation where unless you have eagle eyes that can read the numbers on the basket from a hundred yards away, you will likely target the 13 basket when teeing off on 11.
Other Thoughts: This course is not for the novice, and it is clearly intended for upper-echelon players, but I do feel that it is very playable for rec players of some experience. It will not be easy. They will be sorely tested, and likely worn out. But they should enjoy their time, and won't be too frustrated.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
My arm fell off..........
Pros: Challenging. If you can get good at this course, you'll be good anywhere. Keeps you out for a long time. Benches have been put in.
Cons: LONG!!! my arm fell off, still waiting to get it reinstalled. We were planning on playing this one and another while we were out at the IDGC. However, after we finished this course we were done.
Other Thoughts: I'd definitely play this course again, not on a day that I had anything else to do though. Some of the par 4's should be 5's in my opinion. I can launch a disc pretty well 320' about, and there were a few par 4's that are impossible to birdie i believe.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Serious Disc Golf
Pros: When you're ready for a challenge, W.R. Jackson is ready for you.
This course is cut through tall pine forests, both level land and big hills. Most fairways are long, but fair. There's a lot of fairway management here, not just hitting the fairway but the sweet spot in the fairway to line up the next shot. True par-5s.
....with a break in the middle, a series of short, rather technical shots clustered along a deep ravine.
And, since it's at the IDGC, you have all the amenities---pro shop, restrooms, water, air conditioning, multiple practice baskets. You also have 2 other courses you can play, if you've still got the energy.
Front and Back 9s loop back to the HQ, so you can break halfway through if you need it.
No water, little underbrush, little risk of losings discs.
Cons: About the only bad thing I can think to say is that this course will wear you out.
Oh, and it takes a long time to play. I think my tournament round there was 5 or 5 1/2 hours. Casual play is quicker, of course, but you can't sneak it in on a lunch break.
Not especially scenic.
No benches---and if ever a course needed them, it's this one. (I've heard that bench installation is pending some design tweaking).
Other Thoughts: I think I'm in the minority of liking this course better than the Steady Ed---despite the mismatch of my 280' arm on this 9000'+ course. It's just one great challenge after another, particularly on 2nd & 3rd fairway shots.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Truly A "Holy Shit" Course!
Pros: This is one of the three courses here at the PDGA International Disc Golf Center. This course isn't as picturesque as the Ed Headrick Memorial Course but it will take you for a ride. I call this an "Holy Shit" course. As in, you walk up to the tee and say, "Holy Shit! What madmen designed this hole?" I mean that in good way that there are players in this game who are so strong and accurate that they need a course like this to challenge them. Everything about this course from the over-whelming length to it's always narrow fairways to the constant elevation ups and downs make this a Gold level course. It has the best signs, teepads and baskets anywhere, just like the Ed.
Cons: I have to agree with the previous reviewers who asked when two more sets of pads were going in so that all the players who aren't pros can play and experience this amazing course. And while it's an amzingly difficult, challenging disc golf course, IMO, it's not a beautiful course. There's no water in play other than a small mostly dried up little creek and you're still playing in the Georgia woods with the bugs and ticks and not in a beautiful, green park somewhere.
Other Thoughts: I've played a couple of the monster courses around the country which are considered amongst the toughest, Paw Paw in West Virginia and the Circle R courses in Wimberly, Texas. While they were totally long and brutal and completely over my head, I don't think they in any way compare to the overall constistent challenges presented by the WR Jackson Memorial Course. Play it and Good Luck!
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Beast of a Course
Pros: The WR Jackson Memorial course is on the grounds of the PDGA International Disc Golf Center with two other 18 -hole gold courses. As you would expect, the course is very well taken care of and the tee pads, signs and baskets are the finest. It has lots of topography and forces you to compensate for elevation differences. There are lots of trees (and shade), but, the course is so well maintained that a disc from even a very errant shot can still be located. Water is a non-issue and is only in the form of little streams (i.e., you won't loose the disc but you might loose a stroke).
Cons: This courses only real drawback is the lack of shorter (or alternate) tee pads (there is only one set). It would be nice to have another set of pads that would allow players of lesser caliber to enjoy the same wonderful course the big boys do.
Other Thoughts: The WR Jackson Memorial is very similar to the Jim Warner Memorial except it is considerably longer. The WR Jackson Memorial is a very long course that is fairly heavily wooded. The course is around 9,325' long (as of July 1, 2009). So, the average hole is 518' and fairly heavily wooded. The WR Jackson Memorial is a course that was designed to challenge pros, and that is exactly what it does. There really are true par 4's & 5's for top notch players (i.e., 970+ rated). Two great examples of the extreme length in a wooded course are hole 8 (915' par 5) and hole 18 (810' uphill, par 5). In order to score at the WR Jackson Memorial you must not only possess a big arm, but you also must be able to control it. That being said, the course is fair. There are adequate holes, but they are long and once you are offline, it is hard to get back on. Being a recreational-intermediate golfer (i.e., 840-860 player) it really did eat my lunch. If you are in the area I would recommend it to anyone, but if you aren't a very skilled player, I wouldn't travel to it unless you have time to play the other courses as well; as you will be frustrated.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Awesome! True par 4's and 5's on a championship layout. Requires skill, endurance and smart shot selection. #8 (I think?) is a monster of a hole! Course plays through thick woods and in and around ravines and creeks which hold running water when levels are high.
Cons: I've only kept it under 70 once (68) and I felt damn good about it. Not the courses fault though. Not much forgiveness. Can be punishing! I played this course in heavy, heavy rain for one of the monthly''s and the elements were brutal. I felt like Survivorman. The IDGC is still fairly new and the courses are slowly but surely taking shape. more seating and better signage would be a plus.
Other Thoughts: If you live in GA or anywhere near it, and have not gone to the IDGC, what the hellare you waiting for?
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: A true championship caliber course, fun and challanging holes. Well marked.
Cons: The course flow and the proximity of several holes close together really hurt this design. On the surface each hole is well thought up of, and is correct given the nature of the course. However, several holes are too close together and make play 'clunky', obtrusive, and out of sequence. Namely these holes would be #6, and #'s 12-17.
My next con would be that there is not a lot of gray areas on the course , and that if you miss landing zones often you only choice is to do a short pitch-out. I also noticed that some of the landing zones require shots of well over 300+ ft to be near the next turn of the hole.
Other Thoughts: This course is a good course, NO, a great course. However it seems that some of the holes are too close for comfort. At the IDGC it is my least favorite course...but I still like it.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 2 Not
My 999th course
Pros: -Designed by John Houck
-Part of the IDGC disc golf complex
-Cement tees, well marked
- Clean cut woods holes through nice forest, featuring a steep creek throughout that's usually dry but was muddy and fast today. Minimal rough- lost discs not a worry even when you go way off fairway.
-Tough design forces you to throw anything you got and more than you can, with placement key or you cannot score well.
Cons: -Very, very hard to figure out for the first time, not to find the holes or anything, but to judge them and decide where to throw and how to play it. Often you still can't tell where you need to be even after the 1st upshot, so bad scores first time around for sure.
-Gets wicked wet in a day long thunderstorm, but I'm the only fool who'd be out there in that anyways.
Other Thoughts: Expect to shoot 2-3 higher here just due to the baskets being Discatchers.
13 of 15 people found this review helpful.
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