One of the best of the best
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I've played some beastly courses in my 10 years in the game. There very few courses on the planet that can compete with Jackson's length and difficulty, and of that elite crop of courses I'll take Jackson over the field. This is the best monster course I've ever played. The fairways are decently sized, while still punishing poor throws. The rough is a pain and will make you scramble, without wishing you'd have brought a machete. Most of the other championship level courses have at least one hole that made me say "No effing way... this is impossible". Jackson is challenging but fair from 1 to 18. This is the one course I've played that I can't pick out a signature hole, because so many of them are so good. (1! 2! 5! 8! ...I give up)
I can't rave enough about Houck's design of this course. It is virtually perfect. Every tree is there for a reason. Almost every shot has multiple approaches, with a risk/reward factor that will make you question how much fairway you really want to bite off every throw. Blind guardians are frequently lurking around corners to punish guys who want to bomb, but the more you lay up the longer it'll take to get to the bucket.
This courses is heavy on the par 4's and 5's, which is a direction I love that the sport is heading it. Even the 6 par 3's are not easy by any stretch of the imagination.
Speaking of par 3's, I like the 3 in a row aspect of 11,12,13. It makes for a really nice change of pace from all the big holes to have multiple tee shots in a row that you can get to the basket in 1. Especially coming off of the monster #10, throwing midranges from the tee for a bit is welcomed respite.
This would normally be the part of the review where I single out particularly nice holes I haven't mentioned yet, but they're all great.... so.... yeah.
The facilities and amenities at the IDGC are great, as is the fact that you can get a classic golf style pre back nine break back at the club house. Refill your water bottles before teeing off on 10, you're gonna need it!
Cons: I only have 2 incredibly minor nitpicks.
1) Hole 10 is very close to too hard. Having the teebox 100 feet back from the already challenging fairway tunnel makes getting off the tee brutally difficult. Even the professionals struggle mightily with this tee shot. Its already a beast, the tee being set so far back makes it cruel and unusual punishment.
2) the 11-13 cycle is a shooting gallery during tournaments. I love these holes during casual round, but it sucks when there are 12+ people piled in that small area.
Other Thoughts: If you can't throw at least 300 feet accurately with control (350+ would be better) this is NOT the course for you, and I don't think you'd have much fun.
Pack lots of water, snacks, bug spray, ect. This is a lot of golf and it will wear you out. My buddy and I have a rule: No Jackson on Sundays, because we can barely make it through work on Monday.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
So good that Chuck Norris wears WR Jackson pajamas
31 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: WR Jackson is a whole new level of disc golf course than I've played before. Take a great course, make everything bigger, and you have this course.
- From the first shot off the first tee until the final putt, this is as close to 18 great holes as I've played. The first 10 holes is the best stretch of holes I've yet to play. Things only slow down for several holes before picking up for a challenging stretch.
- The best way I can describe this course is that it's a great course that is then expanded by 50%. For example, two very good to great courses I've played are Hornets Nest (in Charlotte), which plays at 6100 feet and Fox Chase (in Albemarle, NC), at 6500 feet. Stretch those out by about 50% and you have WR Jackson at 9300 feet.
- To its credit, Jackson doesn't feel like a killer long course. The fairways are, for the most part, wide enough that you can pull out driver and attack this course. The course lets you be aggressive without penalizing shots that are less than perfect. You see this displayed on hole #8, the longest at the IDGC at 916 feet. The course has a split fairway, while giving you plenty of room to chop it down to size.
- Plenty of chances to make up for mistakes here. One of the benefits of having so many par 4s is that you can still salvage par even with one poor shot. On hole #4, a 642 foot, winding fairway hole, I played a perfect tee shot, my best at the IDGC, uncorking one in the 350 - 375 range. Don't worry. I'm not bragging. That's also the number I bench. That shot was followed by a dud that smacked a tree 125 feet down the fairway. I was still able to salvage par with a good up and down, thanks to this being a par 4.
- Course takes great advantage of the terrain. #5 is an awesome looking, but somewhat intimidating tee shot. It's a downhill, 631 foot, dogleg right. Don't worry, there's an even more intimidating tee shot on the back 9. #15 is a tight fairway to land on this 524 foot, par 4. From there you have an uphill shot to the basket.
- One of the best things I can say about this course is that it's tough but fair. I've played tough courses where it seems the designer was just trying to stroke his ego, making holes and pin placements comically tough. This course almost penalizes shots that are too cautious. In that vein, this is a course clearly aimed at experienced players, not one for the faint of arm. Or noodle-armed. Or one-disc owner. Whereas Warner is a mental and physical grind, I could enjoy this course while playing it.
- I enjoy the station-to-station hole layouts on this course. By that I mean there are holes that you want to hit a certain distance to set up your next hole, often on doglegs. You get a good sense of this on #2, a 499 foot dogleg right, #17, a 512, uphill dogleg right and #18, a 716 foot, par 5, multi-station-to-station layout.
- There are plenty of benches throughout this course. You'll need them quite often throughout the round. Also, these are the best tee signs, and most useful of any of the IDGC courses.
Cons: The biggest con, and it's relatively minor, is the three-hole stretch of #11 - 13. They're the three shorts holes on the course, all between 238 - 285 feet. All three have the same basic vibe to them - wooded and tight gaps to hit. Maybe because they were clumped so close together, and were all in a row, they felt a little repetitive. Ideally they would be spread out a little more, and not in such in such a tight awkward loop. They feel like they had to be squeezed in between #10 and 14, so they jump clumped them together.
- There were two long transitions and places where it could get easy to turn around. Going from #2 to 3, you go past #7, and then from #7 to 8, you (naturally) go back past #2. The hardest hole to find was #3, simply because it seemed to need another 'next tee' sign or two.
- This is going to be a copy and paste comment for all three IDGC courses. The overall difficult of the courses, terrain and elements are going to be a negative for some players. Basically, if you're not a good enough player, you should not play here. Know what you're getting into before you tackle this three-headed monster.
- Another copy and paste note. These courses probably present a higher than normal 'lost disc' factor. For errant throws, be prepared to spend considerable time searching or be prepared that you might lose a disc or two while playing.
- Final copy and paste note. Be prepared when playing. Pack plenty of food, water, bug spray and other essentials. You can purchase some items inside the center. Besides that there's one gas station a mile from the park. After that, it's another 15 minutes back towards Augusta and restaurants, gas stations, etc.
Other Thoughts: There are courses one plays when you can tell it's something great. I've only played a couple that seemed like they have access to the VIP room. Jackson is part of that club.
- This course seems like it's so effortlessly great. You see Usain Bolt blow past the field in a 100m race, and it seems like he's not running hard. Courses like Renny, Stoney Hill and Sugaree are great (and are also in the VIP room), but those are all grinders. If a course could seem great without appearing to try too hard, this is it.
- There are about five or six holes on this course that would probably be the signature hole on a majority of courses. At Jackson, a couple of those are nearly forgotten.
- This course wasn't the most challenging, and didn't have to be. I really enjoyed that pars were all tough, but fair expectations. For the intermediate-level player that I am, getting par after par was a good thing. It beat the alternative.
- It goes without saying that the IDGC is a must play, must visit for any serious disc golfer. While the museum, shop and other courses are all great, this was the highlight of my visit.
- Jackson did seem to have the best mix of everything on any course I've played to date. I've played courses that were more fun, courses that were more challenging, courses that were more scenic and courses that had other small aspects that were better. Despite all of that, this seemed like the best overall course I've played. It's the new standard bearer in my book.
31 of 32 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: As most people have said this course along with all the other courses on this land have the basics plus. Great Signs, Lots of benches, huge practice area, pro shop, grills before the course, maps/scorecards for all the courses and a power aid vending machine.
But lets get to WR Jackson
I will start with saying this I played doubles on this course and as a very bad REC player this may be to much of a course for me to play by myself.
Of all the long courses I have played, this one is the most fair, without being easy. There are multiple looks on almost all holes, and a good amount of short to help make things go well.
A good amount of Benches around the hole course.
Disc Catcher baskets with the charity belt, although not my favorite, still great baskets. Also they have next tee pointers on the bottom of all baskets.
A huge Pavilion (I forgot which hole, but I am pretty sure it's half way through the course)
This place is groomed to a tee, all courses here are groomed, and groomed well. They are all truly gold level courses.
Elevation on some of these holes were probably my favorite use of it over all.
Cons: Playing solo as a rec player makes this course very hard.
Not very many trash cans.
Other Thoughts: This course was by far the best over all course on the land to me. It's long, but fair, good short holes and a lot of great stuff. I can understand how others may not like it, but I think all three of the courses on the land are good in there own way, and two people who play the exact same, may think that others are better or worse.
Once again no drinking here, but that isn't a huge deal.
Camping close by in the same park.
The IDGC is worth coming to from anywhere. Great Pro Shop, and all three courses are of the Gold Caliber.
If you do not like my review, please give me a PM on what I can improve. Thanks!
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 1 Not
John Houck: Disc Golf Course Design God!!!
Pros: This is the longest of the three courses on site and also the flattest and has more holes with open lines and less rough. Don't expect to be able to grab your high speed disc and throw some huge distance lines because you are going to need to throw in the fairway or pay the price. John Houck knows his double fairway/double landing zone holes and he has utilized this here. Unlike some of my fellow reviewers I actually like the starting six holes all being par fours of varying length and bend. I also like how some of the middle par fives were sandwiched in with the longer par three holes and followed by the shorter par three holes. This creates a strange flow which I actually like as it kind of keeps you off balance and out of rhythm. This is one of those courses where you start to figure it out over time as to where you need to land and which holes to be aggressive at to score well. Fairways are much more defined on this course than some of the holes on the other two, especially the Jim Warner course and punishment here is swift, strong and fair in my opinion. The variety of distances and doglegs with fair landing zones were all well thought out and more closely resembling Golf (ball) course design ideas.
Cons: Really the only con, as minor as it might be is the 370 feet or so par four hole three. This is a dogleg left with a tight fairway that doesn't really allow elite players to showcase what they can do off of the tee. This is really the only clunker on the course and it is annoying. You can't really do anything other than layup and then throw another short approach to the basket. It is listed as a par four but any advanced player will recognize what kind of hole it is and be able to get a three on this hole very frequently. Either some trimming for another route needs to be done or the basket should be moved in to create a better hole and be a par three as well which would cut the six par fours in a row to start the course in half to alleviate some of the people complaining who aren't fond of the way the course starts. Really I don't have too many more cons really worth mentioning and I'd rather not get extremely nit-picky.
Other Thoughts: This is an amazing course and a must play for any serious golfer looking for challenge. This course is amazing by itself but combined with the other two courses on site it makes for a really fun day or weekend. I think I like this course just slightly better than the Steady Ed course but it is really close for me. Either way you really can't go wrong here unless you can't take the distance or punishment. This course actually makes me want to rate other courses a half a point lower!
15 of 16 people found this review helpful.
WR Jackson and the IDGC
19 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: [The WR Jackson Course]- It is the closest thing to the feel of a ball golf course (not that disc golf needs to, but here it just made disc golf seem perfect). Like ball golf there are pars of 3, 4, and 5. The fairways are long, but pretty wide for a course cut through the woods, and have many giant trees all lining both sides of the fairway. Several holes play along or over a creek that tends to bring discs down to it. The fairways were neatly mowed, and off the fairways was not disc-losing rough, but stroke-losing pitch out rough. I am a huge fan of the flags on top of the baskets to help you find the target, especially at those distances- again like ball golf. (Look at map II on this site and it looks like a ball golf map!)
The first thing you will notice is the total length, but don't be intimidated, treat the holes as par 4's and 5's. It is not just a contest to see who can throw the farthest, but you must place each shot carefully to set up the next one. This prevents the length from becoming mundane and actually makes it very interesting. Long bombers will have no advantage here if they play careless or miss their lines. And there are some shorter holes mixed in to give you a little break. This is the best variety of length on a single course that I know of with holes ranging literally everywhere from 240' - 920' including some in the 200's, 300's, 400's, 500's, 600's, 700's, 800's and 900's!
Every hole is high quality and there are no throw-aways or fillers. It loops back to the clubhouse after 9 holes, which is nice because you will need a little break! When you finish your round you will have feelings of both accomplishment and satisfaction. You will be a little tired, but you will want to play it again because you know you could have done better or at least have tried some different approaches.
[The IDGC Complex]- The IDGC is just a short 30 minute drive north of Augusta. You know you about to have a special experience upon entrance of the large and beautiful park and you see big signs pointing the way to the disc golf area. The courses are in an area of the park that is dedicated solely to disc golf- no other activities come close to interfering. The clubhouse here includes scorecards, maps, merchandise, restrooms, and of course the Museum and Hall of Fame (so plan some time to spend inside as you take a break between the courses). Inside there are places to sit and relax and watch disc golf DVD's if you want, and during certain times there appears to be a snack bar. I recommend bringing a lunch in case the snack bar is closed and relaxing at one of the picnic tables at the tournament pavilion. There are several restaurant options just a few miles back south on the highway to the IDGC as well.
Behind the clubhouse is the largest putting practice area I have ever seen. It had about half a dozen baskets of all types spread out (reminded me of a putting green for ball golf). The 3 amazing courses here all begin and end at the same parking lot, so once you park your car it is literally just a few steps to everything. The start of each course is clearly marked with a decorated entrance way and a large color commemorative sign inviting you to play it. Concrete tees and detailed color tee signs are on every hole. I love that each course here is extremely well-designed and well-maintained, yet each has its own personality. Each course uses a different style/color of basket to differentiate it from the others (and to give some representation to multiple companies.) Every hole was completely fair as the fairways were mature and well-defined (which is amazing and shows how much work has been done here since these courses are not that old.)
Cons: [The Course]- On some of the shorter holes along the creek some of the fairways were a bit steep and it seemed that both luck and skill was needed to avoid the creek. There are a couple of longer than normal walks to the next tee (like 7 to 8), but use the map, and there are more than enough signs pointing you in the right direction.
[The Complex]- You do have to pay to enter park and then pay to play courses, but this is such a nice place and it has so much to offer that it will easily be worth it for most people. In my review in 2011, the hole distances did not seem accurate at all, and there was a lot of discrepancy between the scorecard, tee sign, and course map. However, I felt this had been addressed and improved upon. I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to exact distance this time since few baskets are reachable from the tee anyways.
Other Thoughts: [The Course]- It was not my favorite course at the IDGC (Ed for me was #1), but I objectively think is the best course here. Challenging, demanding but with well-manicured grounds keeping on and off the fairways. I personally do not just hand out ratings of 5.0, but I can see absolutely no reason why this course is not worthy. It is the complete package of excellent design, in a great setting, challenging for the pros but not impossible for us amateurs, plus the amenities and other courses on site push it over the top. As a bonus, it is rare that all this (like Idlewild) comes on a public course, where it seems so many of the better courses emerging now-a-days are privately run.
[The Complex]- I was exhausted when I finished all 3 courses, but I thoroughly enjoyed my day here. You can play them all in one day or plan on spending a couple of days here. The courses are open all day, but the clubhouse is only open certain hours (from 9-5 I think). During off-hours there is place to pay on the honor system. I highly recommend the IDGC as a national disc golf destination. (I liked it better than the complexes at Lemon Lake, Mason County, and yes even Highbridge.)
19 of 19 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 1 Not
THIS is what golf should be!
Pros: The quality of the course can pretty much be summed up with the number of times I said to myself: "THIS is what golf should be!". From the start to the finish, almost all of the holes on this course are solid. Solid design, solid distances, and just plain smart design. If you have a slightly easier tee shot on a par 4, be sure that you will need to land in a smaller landing zone or that your approach shot will be a bit more difficult. When you have to hit a super tight window off the tee, rest assured you will reap the rewards when you hit it.
One of the techniques Mr. Houck uses frequently is a moderately narrow, but open fairway with a landing zone between 300 and 350' and then a sporadically treed fairway between 250 and 350' to the pin. This is a really great formula for rewarding those who can A) Keep their drive on the fairway and B) Achieve adequate distance while doing so. I really wish I had multiple rounds on this course so that I could start figuring out where my ideal shots should land and how aggressively I should pursue my tee shots.
This course would easily stand on its own (5.0) but being in the IDGC facility elevates this course amongst the best out there.
Cons: My cons almost entirely rest in the stretch of holes 11-13. My two points about this strech is firstly that having 3 of the total of 6 par 3 holes consecutive just throws you for a loop right in the middle of the course. Similarly, you begin the course with 6 par 4's in a row - while the design might not have accomodated it, more temporal variety of holes would have been ideal.
More importantly, while they are fun to throw, several of the shorter holes (mostly 13) in this strech are on slopes which make safe landing a spin of the roulette wheel. While there are methods for sticking to the steep slope, off the tee, I feel like some of these landing areas are a bit unreasonable.
Pretty few cons for an amazing course!
Other Thoughts: Although I think I prefer the Steady Ed long course, I think a strong case could be made that this course is the best of the bunch. With slightly more forgiving fairways, this may be the least stressful course at the facility.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful.
20 Helpful / 1 Not
WR Jackson, A Championship Caliber Course
Pros: Every hole on the course is a winner, each uses the beautiful land to great effect. There is not one filler hole. Lots of variety is on offer, with a variation on length, turn, and elevation. More of the holes are multi-shot par 4's and 5's than par 3's, with properly challenging fairway shapes. This course is all about shot placement, and that, in my opinion, is the future of disc golf. The fairways are fair, and aren't very tight, providing multiple throwing lanes on several holes, and a few trees left in the fairways to provide proper challenge. Getting off the fairway will cost you strokes, but not too many, and properly punish bad shots. If you can execute the good shots that the holes were designed for you to throw, you will score well here, if not, your scores will suffer. This is a championship level course, and a fine example of such. Thanks to John Houck for the great design, and to the PDGA for maintaining such a great course.
The tee pads, hole signs, baskets, and benches at every hole are all top notch. These are the kinds of amenities all courses should have. Every basket has a flag on top, making it easier to spot through the trees, and giving you an indication of what the wind is doing. There are next tee signs at every hole, as well as maps and scorecards readily available on site, so navigation is a breeze, even with a couple of long-ish walks between holes.
An awesome club house with well stocked pro shop, selling anything you would need for disc golf is on site, and includes a really cool museum, and the PDGA headquarters.
There is a large area behind the clubhouse with several practice baskets, as well as an adjacent covered picnic area with several picnic tables.
The last time I played it was a chilly overcast day, after a little rain, and there were no issues caused by the wet weather, so the course holds the moisture well. There were also no signs of erosion on the course.
Cons: Holes 6, 11, 12, and 13 play fairly close together, and hole 16's tee is a little close to 17's fairway, but it's not so close that it's a real problem.
You can see 13's basket from the tee on 11, but 11's basket is to the left, sitting a little lower, so don't throw to the wrong basket. This is clearly indicated on the tee sign.
There are a couple of long-ish walks between some of the holes, but they're easy walks, with signs pointing the way the whole time.
A very minor point is that there are no trashcans on the course, but I also didn't see any litter, so I guess people are smart enough to pack out what they pack in here.
Other Thoughts: With all the par 4's and 5's, it's a long course (around 9400 feet) and will take time to play. You will also make a lot of throws at full power, probably twice or three times as many as at a typical par 54 course, so it can be tiring. Trying to play all three IDGC courses in one day can be a bit much. It would be a great place to spend a weekend camping out and taking your time with the courses.
It costs $5 to play at the IDGC per day, if you aren't a PDGA member or resident of Columbia County.
There are restrooms inside the clubhouse, as well as a water fountain outside on the deck behind the pro shop.
The museum is worthy of an article of it's own. If you're interested in the history of disc golf, and Frisbees in general, it's a must see. There is an impressive collection of discs from the last 100 or so years, as well as memorabilia from the last 35+ years of disc golf.
There is a cool campground inside the park just down the road from the clubhouse, so a camping weekend would be great, if you're into that sort of thing.
The nearest store or restaurant is about five miles down the road from the park entrance at Highway 221.
Everything about the IDGC is done right, and is an example of how courses would be in an ideal world, from the amazing piece of land it sits on, to the tees, signs, and baskets.
Bottom line: The W. R. Jackson course is a destination worthy course on it's own, but combined with everything else about the International Disc Golf Center, it's a must play for any disc golfer who enjoys traveling to new courses, and wants to play the best of what's out there.
20 of 21 people found this review helpful.
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