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.
9 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The course plays through rolling hills in a dense forest. There are enough trees and underbrush that errant shots are definitely punished, but the fairways are reasonable and offer plenty of room to hit your line. The course is long, with lots of multi-shot holes which makes it a different challenge than most other courses. I love having to throw a second drive on a hole, it makes you think a lot more about shot placement and setting up for your approach. There are some shorter holes mixed in for variety, which keeps the course from getting repetitive.
There's a great mix of hole shapes, you'll need every shot in your bag to be successful. Distance is rewarded, but not over accuracy, every hole punishes a missed line. Many holes have multiple fairways, offering very different ways to approach the hole, each with it's own risk/reward to consider. A stream comes into play on several holes, and makes a few pin placements tricky with lurking ob. There are good signs showing alternate pin placements and hole layout and distance, and the concrete pads were in great shape.
Cons: There are some long walks between holes, most were well marked but it definitely breaks up the flow. There were a couple sections of the course where multiple holes in a row were similar lengths making it feel just a little repetitive, especially the three short holes in a row in the middle of the course.
Other Thoughts: This is definitely a tough course, and will wear you out. Beginners will find it long and tough to the point of frustration, I don't know too many new players that would have much fun on this one. Experienced players will find great challenge and variety, you'll need long controlled distance on a variety of lines to score well. Combined with the other great courses and the amenities at the IDGC, this is a wonderful disc golf destination.
9 of 10 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.
3 Helpful / 5 Not
Favorite course at the IDGC
Pros: i wish more new courses were designed like this one but I understand the terrain and amount of acreage really makes this course spectacular in addition to the vision from the course designer. My favorite course at the IDGC with a great mix of par 3s, 4s and 5s and continues to improve. #8 can be brutal if you do not play it smart and during my visit in May 2013 a shelter has been built on #8 teepad which is a good place for a rest prior to playing this long and sometimes frustrating hole. Also #18 is a beast if you do not get off the teepad. I have watched some of the top players in the world play this hole and they appear to only try to get through the initial treeline in a safe spot to get to the turn at the top of the hill for a chance at a 4. Regardless 5 is a great score for me on this one. Course appears to be for big arms but I feel it is played better by players who understand placement shots instead of throwing 500' on every hole. #14 is my favorite hole and the transistion of short holes with birdie opportunities between #11 - #13 helps with diversity after some previous long holes.
Cons: Note really a con but after rain there are some slick spots which can appear in fairwarys due to the hills so be aware of footing. Also, it appears difficult to get a run up when you are in #18 fairway after the tee shot because the grade of the slope is severe. I am not a course designer but I image there is nothing that can be done to prevent.
Other Thoughts: This is pay to play. Nothing is more frustrating than seeing people who do not check in to play on pay to play courses so please pay the greens fee to ensure courses like this will be around in the future. Also, plan to spend a few days in the area. The campground is great and close by. Worth the daily park fee.
3 of 8 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.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: This is the premiere course at the IDGC and is designed for the pros. Yet a patient amateur can play here.
With its mostly long fairways that are lined with big trees it is a beauty. Though they are mostly long and mowed there are obstacles to work around such as single or clumps of tress, doglegs, "s" curves, water,and elevation.
Baskets 11, 12, 13, and 16 are under 300' and provide a chance at an ace run. Albeit a slim one, but a chance.
You will encounter water via a stream that is situated down in a gulch on holes 3, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, and 18. These are some of the best water hazards I have played. Long slopes with the basket often in a spot where the disc can and will roll into the water. A lot of O.B.'s will be had here. The reason I liked them is because they flowed with the course. Many water hazards seem to be just thrown in so the course designer can say there is a water hazard.
Concrete tee pads, plenty of benches , and trash cans make the course workable.
Pin placement was phenomenal. Each pin provided a huge challenge without being a pain in the @!#$% to get too. Again they did not just stick the pin in some trees to make the putt difficult. The placement flowed with the hole but required plenty of work to get you into a good putting position.
Cons: With the fairway on 8 along a road and the tee for 18 below the 16th tee on "Steady Ed" I could not go a 5 here.
Have a map. There are some directional signs to the next tee but some are missing and the next tee is not always in sight.
Other Thoughts: This course achieves its goal. It is a Gold level Pro course.
As a decent amateur player I can play this course but my score will reflect my play level. So be patient and you will enjoy it here.
Bring plenty to drink.
With this being here at the International Disc Golf Center the atmosphere and amenities add to the course.
8 of 9 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.
10 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The longest course at the IDGC was truly designed as a pro-caliber championship course. At over 9,000 ft., be prepared for a workout physically and mentally. The course plays through the Georgia pines on the most moderate of elevation changes and along a creek bed later in the course.
The primary attraction is that it plays much like ball golf mixing in par 4's & 5's, making placement on the fairway the most important aspect. It will get into your head- "Boy, this hole is long, I'd better crush it way down there!". This makes it likely (as I modestly found) that my accuracy suffered, and I would be losing strokes by pitching out of the rough. If these mistakes would be transformed into modest 250-300' drives into the fairway, I would have had a reasonable opportunity for par on most holes. The mental part is just as important as the technical here. The fairways are very reasonable - stay in them, because the rough can cause many (bogey-causing) pitch out shots. Risk vs. Reward at it's best.
Cons: This is not a beginners course- even if they installed shorter tee pads, it's a really long walk and the rough would discourage these folks anyway. Go play Steady Ed for more fun.
Hole # 3 is kind of goofy, being such a narrow, sharp dogleg- it's hard seeing a great "drive" here- it's more like a pitch, pitch hole. Also, the tee at hole #11 looks right at #13 pin (which you would think IS # 11, but you can't tell until you walk up to it.). I love this series of holes (11-13) but it's kinda weird to have 3 of the shortest holes together on such a long course (minor complaint).
Other Thoughts: I played during a week of heavy rainfall and there were many little runoff steams everywhere, but surprisingly was very little mud on the course. Beware, though, of the creek (when raining) on holes 11-13 & 15. It can get quite deep and murky- I lost two discs in one round, which won't appear until the rains subside.
10 of 11 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.
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