Short and sweet
Pros: -Bonclarken retreat is a disc golf course at a church camp that I go to. It's easy and short and good for beginners and recreational players.
-The course has some elevation. Most holes you can tell if they are uphill or downhill.
-Not everyone loves very easy holes so #12 is a very challenging hole. It's uphill and past the road and on the hill a big herd of trees is in play. Birdies do not come often but it's a great challenge.
-There is a gift shop. Where you see #16's tee, go right past the playground and go to the second right and go straight until you find a big building. Giftshop is inside of it and it has discs. Great staff members! At the gift shop.
-#13 in my opinion is the best hole on the course. It's straight downhill and across the road. My dad aced this and then I teed off and almost aced it.
-Lot's of OB is in play (Water, woods, the road) It doesn't seem to be a lot but there is a bunch of it. Perfect for disc hunting.
-Nice diagrams of the holes and a kiosk is beside #1.
-Amazing camp with great houses to stay at. My family and I come here often too.
Cons: -No tee pads and the course has been around for a long time. Just woodchips.
-Baskets #2 and #3 are not in good shape. It's because of those crazy nutballs playing paintball. There is a paintball field in the woods where 2 and 3 are. I've played paintball and it was awful.
-I don't like #8's design. It's 80 feet and the tee shot is throwing throw a small gap. It would be better in my opinion if the teeshot was open and the basket goes into the woods past #9's tee.
-If you camp here then then people will probably be in your way. Also there is a zipline on #18's fairway and it goes down to #10 and #11. It's annoying when a bunch of really good looking teenage girls ask you to skip a hole or wait for a few moments to tee off.
-I like that there is OB in play but discs are lost frequently because there are too many woods. If you lose a disc then go disc hunting. I found my neighbor's groove on 13 and my friend from church, Tyler's eagle and his twin brother Hunter's eagle as well on #14. Disc hunt on holes 4,9,10,13 and 14 but watch out for snakes.
-Crabby staff members. There is this weird guy who made me leave so he and his little kids could play their stupid paintball game and wreck holes 2 and 3.
-Not well maintained at all.
Other Thoughts: I started playing disc golf at this course while I was at the spring retreat with my church. I saw some baskets and I really wanted to play disc golf and I got obsessed with it quickly. This is a good course for beginners. My grandpa played with me a few times here and he actually birdied a couple holes.
Hole by hole
#1. Easy and short and woods are in play to the right but a lot of land is to the left. Sidearm a bit to the left or throw an anhyzer.
#2. Could be lengthened but it goes into the woods and the paintball net is in play. You can open it and have an easy shot if it's too hard for you. There's two routes so any throw will do.
#3. Downhill and super short and debris is everywhere. It's better for a sidearm since trees are everywhere right.
#4. Really needs to be cleared out and if you don't hit the fairway then you're going disc hunting and thorns and everywhere. RHBH cleanly if you want a birdie and sidearm if you want to play safe.
#5. Great ace run with trees in the middle of the fairway. Go right or left. The left is a better ace opprotunity.
#6. RHBH hole because it's to the left. It goes in the woods a little bit. Another fun hole.
#7. Pretty much a miniture hole #1. Woods are to the right and lots of fairwayis left. Sidearm a bit left.
#8. Bit of a gimmick because you throw through a small gap. It's very short and any throw will do.
#9. Nice par 4 that is slightly downhill. Woods are to the right but the opening is left. RHBH is a better choice since woods are to the left as well.
#10. The only reason this is a par 4 is because water is in play left and the woods are in play right. Sidearm or throw an anhyzer and throw a disc that floats in water like a hydra or wahoo or dragon.
#11. Nice par 3 that has water to the right of the tee and it's fun to throw a big hyzer since the basket is right of the water.
#12. You will hate this hole if you are a beginner. It's more than 243' feet because it's across the road and goes steep uphill. Avoid the herd of trees in the middle of the hill.
#13. My favorite hole and obviously my dad's favorite too. It's 211' feet and across the road. A RHBH can get you super close but woods are all around to the right. My dad sidearmed and made an ace.
#14. Another test of your skill. This is across the creek and the creek is over 200' feet from the tee. Use a disc that floats and rip it.
#15. Some people don't get across since trees are past the water. Basket is on a hill and it's crazy that Gill aced this. It's over a creek and trees are hit frequently and a building is straight ahead. RHBH will get you a birdie.
#16. One of the 2 or three holes I hit the basket on. It's straight downhill and across the creek. It's a great hole and the right gap has trees blocking it now. Anhyzer or sidearm.
#17. Great par 4, it's the longest and a ditch is to the right and the basket is right of the ditch. Another hole that allows you to rip it.
#18. Used to have a fence behind the basket that was a great challenge. It's gone and now a super easy birdie. Needs to be lengthened and over the ditch past the basket.
-Really 3.5 is really a bit too high for this course but it can easily be a 3 with some work. Just to warn y'all, again, #4 is really a tough hole to avoid all the weeds. I never said I didn't like it but I lost a DX Cobra in there. It can really cut you up. So can #1, #9, #10, #13 , #17 and #18. There is a ditch dividing #17's fairways and it's to the right of #18. If it's summer, SCREW IT! Don't go in there, I've seen poisonious snakes in the water and tall grass ditches. Since this is updated, this course is lowered to a 2.5 because it was a real jungle. Sometimes it's completely playable and sometimes, it's not. It's closed to the public and some people here are not very polite.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
A gem of a disc golf course nestled in a gem of a town.
Pros: - Peaceful Powerhouse is what I'd like to call Bonclarken DG Course. We were the only disc golfers our there making this much like a private disc golf experience. Play was never halted for and aside from poor shots, stress was almost non existent. It really was just a relaxing time of disc golf. This course can really challenge your game.
- The flow was good and tee boxes, although woodchips, were not that bad. Signage was fantastic for the most part.
- This is a shorter course but as I said before, it has some challenging aspects. Holes 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10 provided some unique qualities. And most holes had either trees, bushes, creeks, street signs, OB roads, tiny disc sized gaps (hole 8), etc...
Cons: - The course rough was well rough! We played it in the morning with the grass not cut. By the end of our round they were starting to cut the fields. So our afternoon rounds had shorter grass. HOWEVER, the more wooded holes were grown up quite a bit, making shot selection more difficult and errant tee shots a nightmare.
- Finding a disc from any of the areas around the ditches was sticky as mud and muck would quickly swallow your shoes. I imagine rain would make those creeks really bad.
- Finding a disc from any of the briar areas was near impossible. And on hole 15 the tall grass was not cut back from the basket enough. If you missed right or left you were searching. I see the difficulty the designers were trying to make but it isn't worth losing a disc 10 feet from the basket.
- Could use some trash cans. I'd say every three holes would be good. I did not see any trash out there which is probably due to the course being closed to the public.
Other Thoughts: - I really can't find much wrong with this course other than tall rough and thick briars. I shot -5, -8, -6 my first time every playing there so it isn't a super difficult course.
- My favorite holes were 2, 11, 12, 13, and 16.
- All in all, get permission and play Bonclarken. Then eat lunch at the bakery there in town. Great pizza there. Although we didn't partake, there are other great things to do in Flat Rock.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
This Course Make for a Good Time
Pros: -Ace runs aplenty! This course offers several opportunities for aces for more experience players.
-Great place to introduce people to the game.
-Decent amount of variety in shots. Bonclarken offers left-to-right, right-to-left, straight-on, elevated tees/baskets, etc.
-Different skills required to score well. The front 9 forces you to hit tight gaps and avoid OB, while the back 9 tests your length, as well as, your ability to stay inbounds.
-This course is never crowded! Plenty of time to line-up and think about your shot.
Cons: -Single chains on most baskets
-No concrete tee pads.
-Relatively easy for an experienced player to score well.
-Lack of amenities such as bathrooms, water, etc.
Other Thoughts: This course was made to provide challenge to inexperienced players and it does that well. However, as an experienced player, you will not find yourself bored here.
I was first introduced to Disc Golf here over 3 years and have visited a few times since. It is fun to come back and see how much I have improved.
Definitely check-in at the office as this course has been "closed to the public" for some time now. However, if you let them know that you area there and are respectful, then you should get by without an issue.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 3 Not
*A course at a camp is a good way to introduce kids to disc golf. The course level (Red) is appropriate for this demographic.
*The hole lengths are appropriate for kids.
*Tee signs have a colorful map and are pretty good.
*Navigation is pretty easy.
*A stream provides a little bit of water in play on 5 holes.
-Fairway shape variety is lacking. Most of the holes are too open and too many are straight. There are just too many bland holes. 11 St/ 5 Lt/ 2 Rt
-Terrain variety minimal. 1 Woods/ 4 Grass/ 13 Mixed. The mixed foliage holes feel rather repetitive
-Elevation changes minimal on most holes, except for 12, 13, and 16. 10 Flat/ 3 Up/ 5 Down
-Length variety lacking. 1 of 80/ 6 of 100-199/ 9 of 200-299/ 2> 300 (335, 375)
-Tees: too short, natural with wood chips. They were muddy and rutted, so I didn't even use them on most holes.
-Beauty: some holes play near camp buildings and most are in view of the camp buildings, so this takes away from the feel of being out in nature.
-Almost no amenities. No restrooms, score cards, warm up basket, or benches.
-It's a pretty long drive out of the way just to get there.
Course Level: Red (most suited for Juniors and Intermediate players rated 850). That's good for a camp course.
~The back 9 is longer, and therefore more difficult, than the front 9. The front is 1580 ft and the back is 2415 ft.
~The only amenity was a course map and that was bare bones. It was functional, but very basic.
It may have just been me, but I kept wondering if someone at the camp was going to ask me to leave, so I played quickly. Please be respectful so that you don't ruin it for others who want to play there. The course may be pretty good for campers, but there's not much to draw more experienced players back to it. For me the course is in the category of "check it off as played and drive on to the next one".
A note about my rating: My rating is a subjective measure of my enjoyment of the course, on the day I played it, and it is NOT intended to be a measure of the quality of the course. My ratings are given "on the curve" in relation to all other courses I've played.
~My more detailed "Overall Rating" notes and "Hole-by-hole Ratings" are available in the Files section.
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: The course was quiet and was pretty straightforward (or so I thought)
Cons: it may soon be closed to the public. Unfortunately in the area there are a LOT of smokers and drinkers... so the park has found beer cans and cigarette buts all over the place (place meaning along the course). So
Other Thoughts: unfortunately one group has mussed it up for the rest of us.. but luckily I know the owner so I will be able to visit from time to time (better than driving all the way to Fletcher to play those 9 holes)
2 of 6 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - This course had a laid-back feel to it, which was really kind of nice. Maybe that's due to the "retreat" aspect, but I really felt like I could play it at my own pace and not really get stressed out. It was a much more relaxing round than usual.
- The flow was good. You don't have to walk all over the place to get to the next hole, and the layout makes sense. Along with avoiding confusion, this keeps the round much shorter.
- I don't know how crowded it normally gets, but the course was deserted when we played it. I think we saw maybe two other guys playing the entire time, and you can see a good portion of the course from any hole.
- For a short course, it definitely provides some surprising challenges. I wouldn't call it difficult by any stretch of the imagination, but most holes have something - trees, bushes, water, street signs, softball fence, etc. - to provide an obstacle. That helps keep holes from running together as well.
- The designers did a good job with what they had to work with. There isn't a ton of land devoted to the course, but it all fits well. The holes don't crowd each other much, and - as noted before - somehow the holes are fairly unique relative to one another.
Cons: - The course map is a little misleading in some areas. Upon first glance at the map, it looks like a row of trees separates the baskets for 9 and 17. But, as you can see from the photos, it's actually a ditch between the two. That's probably what the map is trying to depict, but it's a little confusing with the dark green coloring for both.
- Also, beware of retrieving a disc from any of the areas around the ditches. They were muddier than they looked the day we played and immediately engulfed my whole foot, which made for a "fun" rest of the round.
- Aside from the nice tee signs, there weren't any other amenities/perks that really stood out about the course. That's to be expected with a private course designed for campers, but it's worth noting for anyone making the trip to play it.
Other Thoughts: - I played this course with heelboycraig, so you can read this review in tandem with his because they pertain to the same round.
- I definitely agree that the three best holes were the three with elevation. Aside from #8, they were the only three that really stood out in my mind.
- #16 is just a fun hole to play. We chatted with some guys walking by on the road as we were about to tee off, and I can imagine that there are often curious onlookers passing by this tee. It definitely creates some good conversation.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Nice, mostly open course. Several wooded holes on course add some variety. The second half of the course is actually pretty fun and, more challenging (relatively speaking).
- Nice tee signs. Good descriptive pics on signs.
- Course is easy to navigate. There's a map on the kiosk (and on this site), but didn't really need it.
- Open field, and longer open holes, are good to unleash some drives. Good area to practice throwing.
- Plenty of birdie chances. You take lots of short holes and lots of open holes and you should be seeing birdies.
- Course is definitely aimed at beginners. Being a retreat facility, you can tell the course was built to give people another activity. If you get bored playing, you can always scale the climbing wall near #1.
- Course does a very good job, about as good as possible, taking advantage of the very limited obstacles. Strategically placed baskets around sharp doglegs, good use of elevation, baskets near the creek, baskets placed behind trees are the spices added to an otherwise bland meal.
Cons: There aren't a lot of major cons simply because the course does what it does pretty good. Back in school, if you only answer 5 questions on a test question test, you'll fail the test even if you answered everyone correctly. That's kind of what I feel about this course.
- Too many easy, or unimaginative holes. A lot of short holes, including the epic 80 footer #8. In its "defense", you have a really narrow opening to get through to reach to the basket. You can see the pic to get a feel.
- Course is aimed too much at beginners, so any advanced player will not be challenged.
- Unless you're staying here, no water fountains or restrooms. You can play a round in 45 minutes, so that shouldn't be a huge issue.
- Dirt tee pads with some wood chips.
- Holes #2 - 3 are played in their paintball area. Obviously they're not played at the same time, but it looked bad having the tee signs covered in paint from being hit so much.
- For a beginner course, I was a little surprised they had some baskets so close to thick rough, underbrush. An errant shot could easily lead to a lost disc, especially from beginners using loaners from the center.
Other Thoughts: This is a tale of two course. Holes #1 - 8 offered little to no challenge. Everyone of these holes is birdieable. Suddenly on hole #9, the course gets much better, with more challenge.
- The portion of the creek near #9 & 10 is surprisingly deep. It's ankle to knee deep near #15 - 16, but here it's a good 4 feet deep. So be prepared, if you throw a disc in here, you're really getting wet, not just taking off your shoes & socks.
- My 3 favorite holes were the 3 that best used elevation - #12, 13 & 16.
- #12 is a solid 300ft + uphill shot (the tee sign is wrong) to a basket behind a mass of trees, brush, etc.
- #13 is a short down hill shot. Don't sail your shot long or hit the street sign.
- #16 was my favorite hole. Short, downhill shot over the creek to a basket protected by trees. This is probably an easy shot when there are no leaves on trees, but much more challenging the rest of the year. Most aesthetically pleasing hole as well.
- I'm still wondering how this course has been rated so high. I'd say 1 - 8 rank as barely a 1.0, 9 - 18 a solid 3, so overall this is a 2. If 1 - 8 were as good as the last 10 holes, this would be a very good, under the radar course.
- I had no problems playing this course. I passed plenty of people and employees and was never questioned. As long as you act decent - no drinking, smoking, pets, don't be loud - you'll be fine.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Straightforward birdie runs
Pros: Fairly wide open with minimal obstructions in the fairway, a definite Pro in my book compared to the vast majority of tightly wooded courses here in NC that offer limited long, air-it-out shots.
Birdie runs on every hole, tree trunks, OBs, and the occasional vegetative ceiling/barrier certainly keep things interesting.
Pin placements often have high risk/reward as they're placed close to water hazards.
Cons: Mostly wide open and short with several holes under 200'. Keep your putter close at hand.
The odd vibe of being a private retreat area kept me on my toes - I tried to check in but no one was there. I didn't see another soul the first time I played, and only a couple the second time. No one around to witness my ace on 15 - definite Con!
Other Thoughts: Loved the shape to some of the holes, but as a previous reviewer said, safari out here would be pretty sweet - I originally thought pad 5 to hole 6 was the actual hole, which would be fantastic.
Not a terribly challenging course, but it is pretty fun and I didn't mind the single chain baskets or natural tees. Clearly some thought was put into this course and it's worth a play, especially if you're staying at a cabin at Highland Lakes (my shameless plug!).
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The course was easy to navigate because of the easy to see informative signs at every hole. The front nine was pretty short but that didn't bother me too much because most of the holes had one or more tight gaps to hit and/or out of bounds close to the basket. The back nine opened up and had better length. Even though it was more open, out of bounds and the few obstacles kept it interesting. I liked 13's basket placement. It is a downhill shot to the basket that has an out of bounds road that curves around the basket. The basket sits right at the transition of a bilevel green so that one side of the basket sits about 6 inches above the ground while the other side is at regular height. 16 is also great for the same reason DSCJNKY mentioned. Everybody I met was really nice and I saw several groups of kids obviously experiencing disc golf for the first time.
Cons: Great signs, not great tee pads as mentioned in other reviews.. Even though it didn't bother me there are a bunch of holes under 200 ft, you might mind. Some of the tees are within 30 feet of the previous basket and the fairways cross on 17 and 18. You are definitely near other camp activies. I don't think you could play hole 1 or 18 if campers are playing baseball. Holes 2 and 3 are in the paintball area. The creek on the back nine is deep and has grass through most of it so if your disc goes in you can't see it even if the water is running clear. The rough is thick in spots and if you inlcude the creek lost discs are definitely possible.
Other Thoughts: Overall a fun course with lots of good risk reward shots. I read the other reviews and decided to go to the registration/information desk and find out what the deal was. The lady at the desk gave me a score card and a map to get to the course (I didn't see any signs for the course but there are signs for the registration desk. The course is pretty far back on the grounds and there are lots of wrong roads). She told me my dog was welcome as long a he stayed on the leash. She did say they would prefer you stopped by the desk and see if the campers were having a tournament in which case you would not be able to play. I would call and ask if you have much of a drive to get to the course 828-692-2223. Other than that she made it sound like the public was more than welcome to play. Other reviewers are right, it is a christian related kids camp/convention center so you are going to have to stay low key and respectful.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Don't Be Surprised by Your Score
Pros: Convenient, intuitive, well-marked layout. Nice mixture of wooded and open holes, with disc-eating hazards and water in the summer. For those with the right combination of physique and skill - big, accurate BH and FH, and accurate putting from 10m in - every hole can be birdied. (12 is tough because the basket is perched 20 feet above the fairway and behind a massive stand of mature weeds. 17 simply is long.) Easy to play within an hour, even in the summer, if you avoid the brambles, the creeks, and the bogs.
Cons: Short. Tee pads are terrible (mulch, uneven). Private Presbyterian camp; BUT, don't let that deter you. Come in, be quiet, keep your shirt on, obey the law, and no one will question you. Folks pretty much keep to themselves, even the groundskeepers. Be a steward, and you'll have no problem.
Other Thoughts: The beauty of this course is that you feel like you should shoot 18 under every time and you never will. My best is -11, but I infrequently shoot -6 or better because of the bedeviling bogeys caused by eaten discs. Get off the fairway in Bonclarken and you're toast, not to mention scratched up by some of the fiercest thorns you'll ever encounter. Watch the weed maw on 12; it's a magnet. Also, I don't play OB, and I should. If the water and the pavement are OB, expect your scores to be more restrained.
This is a great workout course, which provides opportunities for all sorts of shots. It doesn't prepare you for fast greens, though; the baskets, save for 12, are on level ground.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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