20 Helpful / 0 Not
BEST course in NC
- Private Property. It's probably no coincidence that all the courses in my Top 5 are private courses (Harmon Hills, Sugaree, Area 74, Bud Hill, Brackett's Bluff). Private courses just have an ambiance... a uniqueness... an extremeness that makes them special.
- Orgasm Golf. I don't know how to sound un-biased when I try to describe how good the holes are... they're that good. Without describing every single Hole, I'm just going to say this: by simply standing on the tee-pad of Hole 1 you get a hard-on, and by the time you've finished Hole 2, you've jizzed in your pants. And then, on every other Hole, for the rest of the course, you have a disc golf orgasm. Orgasm holes for me: 1, 2, 4, 7, 10, 12, 14, 15, 17... not to take anything away from the other Holes, they were just really good foreplay.
- Pin Placements. Sugaree has some of the most amazing pin placements I've ever played (and, I just returned from playing Diamond X, a course renowned for exotic pin locations). Almost every hole has an extreme risk-reward pin placement. From the edge of cliffs, to behind clusters of rock outcroppings, to even the seemingly simple pin positions, Sugaree places a premium on shot placement and precise putting.
- Rich (Mando). Rich has been very accommodating during all my trips to Sugaree. From the PM's discussing potential dates and times, to his willingness to guide me around the course last minute, to his stashing of an ice chest on Hole 7 for that mid-round break, to his expert guidance around his crazy creation, to the ride up the mountain on the 4x4 golf cart... Rich is willing to go out of his way to make your experience at Sugaree the best ever. Thanks Rich.
- Beer Drinkers Course. Not only is the course on private property, which makes it legal to drink while playing... the course layout plays back to a central area, allowing you (or Mando) to leave an ice chest full of tasty brews on the course for that mid-round refreshment.
- Baskets. Let me start off by saying that Mando's homemade baskets catch wonderfully... too good actually. And, while I understand that Mando was able to make his baskets for about $27 each, there is something to be said for DiscCatchers (or most any other type of formal disc golf basket) - the sight-ability from the tee-pad, the sound they make when the disc hits the chains, and the "completeness" of the course with standardized equipment.
- Lack of Open Shots. Sugaree is a North Carolina mountains course, meaning trees shape the fairways and there are very few opportunities for open shots. However, because the course is located on a Christmas tree farm, I was hoping for a few more Christmas tree field shots like the ones I've seen in the video of the Vibram Open.
- The Best Course in NC. Trust me when I say that I don't take this lightly when I say that of the 45-ish disc golf courses I have played in the state of North Carolina, SUGAREE IS THE BEST!!! And, I have played a lot of the great NC Courses (including Ashe County and all the Charlotte big names). The totality of the shot requirements, pin placements, risk reward opportunities, extreme punishment for bad shots, and picturesque fairways create what I think is the best disc golf course in North Carolina.
- Come Prepared. Bring food and beer with you as opportunities to get those items on the mountain are limited. There is a small town nearby with a McDonalds and Hardy's, but for the most part there isn't a large selection of food and drink choices nearby.
- My Disc Score: According to DGCR's disc scale, a 5 disc course is the best of the best. Since I am calling Sugaree the best course in North Carolina, that must make it the best of the best and therefore a 5 disc course... even with the non-standardized equipment and lack of open shots.
- My Best Score: even / 57
20 of 20 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 1 Not
Don't come here...
Pros: Secluded mountain course set off the beaten path. You won't hear planes, trains and automobiles here. You can play a round without the distractions encountered at many courses.
Landscape, landscape, landscape. It seems that on every hole some unique feature is used in the hole design. It's not phony or contrived like some courses. There's just that many good features here. It's very wooded and technical with huge rock outcroppings everywhere.
For a private course this remote, the tee pads are great. They are all platforms that have been carpeted. I'm sure they'll wear over time, but even in heavy rains I had no problems with them. I've been on several private courses that offered far less for tee pads.
Guide Service. If you are able to play Sugaree and have Rich guide you, consider yourself lucky. His love of this land, and his joy for disc golf are always evident. There's never a bad day on Sugaree when Rich is around.
Technical disc golf lines. If you like wooded courses that force you to make shots and hit lines, this is your place. There are risks and rewards on every hole. Even a few of the seemingly 'easy' holes have some hidden dangers. Basket positions are almost always perfect adding to the challenge and fun of each hole.
Course flow. No long or brutal walks between holes. Just enough time to put on your bag, grab a quick swig of your favorite frosty beverage and tee off again.
Ingenious design. This course plays around a large hill in the Western Carolina Mountains, but there are no brutal uphill shots or climbs. And there is a remarkable number of downhill or slightly downhill holes. It's like some kind of cosmic trick the universe is playing on you to make sure your round is more fun. Just incredible.
Cons: Signs. You don't need them for navigation with Rich as a guide, but some of the baskets aren't visible from the tee. Even with Rich's guidance it's sometimes easy to get yourself in exactly the wrong spot. Signs showing the hole layout would be great.
Too far from my house. I'd play it every week if I could.
Other Thoughts: And now for the things some people really care about. Don't come here...
...if you need huge benches.
...if you need bag hooks.
...if you need a trash can at every hole.
...if you need a clean restroom with TP.
...if you want paved paths and mowed grass.
This is not a city park. This course is not designed for children and strollers. Adults only. Wear good shoes or boots. You're in the wilderness. There's rocks, rocks and more rocks. There are weeds and rough. It's the woods. There is not perfectly mowed grass fairways. Yet. You never know with Rich. He's constantly getting ideas and trying to improve his course. More holes are in the works, and I'm sure they'll all be up to his standards.
Sugaree has holes from 205' to 535'. Total length is around 5773 depending on what holes you play. There are a few new ones in their infancy. Every hole plays technical with no real air it out bombs. You need to control your disc and hit lines. Basket positions are great. Even on the shorter holes the hanging baskets are placed in areas to add risk or challenge. In several places if you miss your putt or approach it's down the small cliff with your disc. Or down the hill into the woods. There are few gimme shots here.
Yes, I said hanging baskets. Don't be afraid. They are homemade and catch great. I've never had a putt bounce out that I felt should stick.
Enjoy Sugaree. Enjoy Rich's company and land. It is simply a great experience.
Local Amenities: If you're going through Boone while in the area there is lots of food and drink available. Peabody's has almost every kind of beer you can imagine. It's across from the Hampton Inn, or next door to the new Courtyard. And I always try to get to the Coyote Kitchen while in town. Great bottled beer selection, and Mex-American food to match. Chips and a variety of salsas, Kobe beef tacos, jerked chicken, etc. It's all good. Make a weekend of it. Sugaree and Boone might just be the #1 disc golf destination on the East Coast.
June 2012 Update:
There are 7 new holes at Sugaree. Now you can start your round at the base, and work your way up the hill. These new holes keep with the Sugaree tradition of tight, technical lines and great basket positions. A few are also longer than many of the original 18. #25 also adds the dimension of an awesome downhill bomb to this course's features. It's a little tight so it is not truly a top of the world shot, but it is a beautiful hole. One of the best finishers around. There are also some nice wood-carved signs showing hole shape and line on most of the holes. Once the new holes beat in a little they shouldn't be too much more challenging than the original 18. This course continues to be a great example of mountain disc golf. A must play.
16 of 17 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 3 Not
THE disc golf Experience
Pros: First off this course is currently the higest elevated course in NC. I looked on google earth it sits atop a high plateau at 4,080' from sea level which is amazing! Now to mention the huge carpeted tee-pads that are so comfy to gip and rip on, hanging baskets on every hole and an awesome course owner
Amazingly shaped fairways with mature hardwoods, and rock outcroppings on well over half the holes which adds such a peaceful factor to the round
Careful basket locations hanging over those outcroppings, the list goes on and on and on..
Everybody has already hit the nail on the head with the other reviews, not much more I can add but ill try
Every hole has some sort of wow factor, just for example #8 has the wildest S shaped tree that sets up for a "S" curve for a birdie. 15 basket is perched atop a 35' rock outcrop so park it dont putt it! Every hole except number 1 has some sort of ultra-scenic rock outcrop that comes into play, whether its the rock 'mando' around the approch of number 2, or the rock 'mando' around the bend on the infamous 17 (bet you wont make par on this one hehe). The handcrafed rock bench on number 7 is worth pausing on and taking in the view of a heavily guarded fairway and yet another hanging basket over a 20' rock outcrop. Two sets of tees for the ladies and beginers give different lines and still not gimme birdies for more experienced players. If you can tommy or thumb it your chances for recovery are higher just because of the height factor on some of the boulders you will encounter if you hit an early tree of the tee. You can get sneaky out here as the rough is somewhat spaced out, but really focus on your intended line as the peaceful mountain atmosphere embraces you. Just stop and realize how beautiful this place is and be thankful for such a creation. Along with the great course owner, pure scenic beauty that surrounds you the entire round, and the most phenominal Risk/Reward on every hole this makes Sugaree by far the greatest creation of a disc golf course that can ever be!!
Cons: Absolutely None!!
Other Thoughts: Sugaree also has a great putting area with 3 handmade baskets spaced about 100' apart, which is usually not in the amenities of private courses.
Lets just say this is the Augusta national/Pebble Beach/St. Andrews of Disc Golf!!
4 of 7 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: The other reviews say it all. This is my 2nd mountain golf experience living in South Florida and playing one course on FLAT terrain only. That said, I absolutely loved every second of my round and the owner Rich was a gem of a host/guide, and an excellent player. Spectacular setting and mostly shaded. Also, not nearly the steep elevations of Elk Mountain which is the only other Mt course I have experienced.
Cons: Absolutely None!
Other Thoughts: Rich was most acomodating when called a day in advance. This is a very special place and you should not hesitate to "Shake it Sugaree" (just don't tell him you know me)
1 of 8 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 2 Not
Sweeter than it Sounds
Pros: Hands down, the most gorgeous course I've ever played. If Heaven had a DG course, it would pale in beauty to Sugaree. Huge, scenic boulders and rocky outcrops abound and all are cleverly utilized by the designer. You know how some courses feel like they went out of their way to use natural feature, and many holes preceding and following really suffer for it? There's none of that here. We even played it out of order to be near the vehicles if the weather got too bad and it still flowed very well.
The course has fantastic golf lines. Not a single bad hole really, variety is amazing. The best thing about Sugaree is that for a mountain course, it doesn't make you walk/play uphill that much. Just superb design.
The baskets are hand made and they catch better than some production baskets. Really cool, they all hang I believe.
The tees on the established course are I believe framed dirt covered by carpet. Pretty good tees in good weather I imagine. They were soaked with rain when we played and they were still quite serviceable.
Mando is extremely gracious as a host, I cannot thank him enough for putting us up, showing us the course, and even fixing us breakfast (sorry I couldn't partake, my stomach isn't very friendly in the AM). His family has instantly become some of my favorites I've met in the DG world, just a swell group of people.
Cons: Signage, there isn't any really. Of course, not really necessary since you need Mando to guide you anyway.
The fairways could use some foot traffic, there's some vegetation that needs to trampled down.
Some of the tees have quite a little drop off in front of them, so those who like to carry themselves off the front during their drive should be careful.
Some stickers, nettles, briers, and other disc golfer unfriendly plants pop up here and there.
Other Thoughts: We played in a torrential downpour and thunderstorm and I still had a ton of fun. That's a big reason why they got a 5 from me. It's pretty rough, especially if you're used to well manicured park courses, but for a private it's pretty amazing and the perks of being private way outweigh any roughness.
I love all the holes, including the new ones, but I think the course would benefit more from a cessation of tinkering with hole designs in favor of smoothing out the roughness, especially in the tee department. I don't imagine it's common to play there during a monsoon but some flush, concrete tees would go a long way in making even the worst rounds that much more enjoyable.
So, if your idea of fun is playing disc golf in the jungle from Jurassic Park, sans dinosaurs, I say that Sugaree is right up your alley.
16 of 18 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 1 Not
Every day is Christmas at Sugaree
Pros: Sugaree is as close to a disc golf destination as I've ever played. A private course, set in the mountains, with tons of challenge and amazing views, plus an awesome host. What more could any disc golfer ask for?
- I waited a week after playing to let everything sink in, and I still had a hard time identifying the best part of the experience. Normally, I list things in order of importance, for Sugaree, it'll be sequential.
- It all starts with the pre-round setup. Rich is a gracious host, quick to respond to e-mails and very flexible in setting up times. Above all that, I think he just is looking for an reason to play as many rounds as possible at the course.
- One of the first things you'll notice is the setting. Ranging from the breathtaking view of being surrounded by mountains, playing in and around, and over Christmas trees, to taking in the smells. Above all that, no sounds of cars, roads or anything else. You're in nature hear.
- Finally the course. As if you didn't already know you're at a Christmas tree farm, #1 eliminates any doubt. Your tee shot is over rows of trees, followed by a walk through them. As the trees grow each year, it's going to make an increasing challenge on the throw, never mind looking for a tree that lands in the trees.
- #2 could easily be one of the signature holes of this course. At more than 600 feet, it's the course's longest. It's a downhill, dogleg left, to a basket that plays slightly behind, and next to, the first of large rocks that comes into play throughout the course. Another pattern that starts here is the abundance of trees. You might hit a tee shot 100 feet away, 200 feet away, or you might clear them all and have a shot sail forever.
- One of those "best features" about the course is the challenging, but fair, hole layouts. I don't mind a hole being difficult, as long as it's fair, or there's a reason for it being difficult. You'll see that on most holes at Sugaree. For example #3 tees off from the top of the rock that was next to #2's basket, and plays to "relatively" easy basket that's 10 - 15 feet from a drop-off. A great tee shot can lead to an easy birdie putt, a bad tee shot, or bad putt, can roll away.
- There are some great holes with baskets next to slopes/edge of rocks. Nothing tests your mettle like an otherwise easy 10 foot putt than knowing if you miss, it could roll 50 feet, or more, past the basket. You'll see these on #3, #7, #12,14 &15.
- I love the big rocks that come into play. On some holes they can be your friend, and you can use them as a wall to bounce your shots off of. On other holes, they're your worst enemy. Nothing's worse than being directly behind a 20 foot rock and not being able to advance your shot. Some of the better holes that incorporate the rocks are #2, #4 (awesome hole), 7, 8 (potential skip shot off the rock for an ace), 15 & 17.
- The overall scramble factor here is tremendous. Sugaree has a real (ball) golf feel to its layouts. I had tee shots where I was punished for throwing too far, and others in the group, who were 50 - 75 behind had much better approach shots. On some holes, the correct shot is going Roc (or any midrange)-Roc - tap-in for 3, versus trying to be a hero and pull driver out on the tee.
- And to make things even better, an 18-hole course wasn't enough for Rich, so he's adding new holes. I was able to play a rough version of some of the extras, and was very impressed. They'll be tough, they'll be fun, they'll be all things Sugaree.
Cons: Nothing major here. This course is great for a reason. Consider these more of suggestions, or observations, than real problems.
- It'd be nice if there was one more long hole. Another kick-you-in-the-pants par 5 would have been the cherry on top.
- It'd be cool to see an uphill hole that plays to one of the big rocks. Trust me, I got plenty of practice throwing uphill towards the rocks with bad shots.
- Potential for frustration exists here. Between the potentials of discs rolling down the hill, bad bounces, searching for discs for too long, slow pace of rounds and high scores (especially for people who aren't used to double bogeys or bogey streaks), one could easily be getting too worked up during there round here. Lucky for me, I tend to have those problems on EVERY course I play, so that wasn't a problem for me.
Other Thoughts: This was a destination course if I've ever played one. All the quirks, new experiences, and other happenings are all just part of one big ol' adventure. I felt like a kid in a 100-acre, Christmas tree, mountain farm version of a candy store.
- I wasn't going to list this under cons, because I didn't think it was one, but it needs to be mentioned. Some people, and you know who you are, are going to have problems with the homemade, hanging baskets. I feel they fit the course perfectly.
- Four holes stood out a little more than others. Not that the others were bad, just think of it as picking the four best of your 18 children. #2, which I listed above, #4 (awesome dogleg right around, or over a big rock), #8 & #15.
- This is an absolute, no-excuse, must play for anyone in the area. I thought this course would be good, but it blew away all expectations I had. On a 10-course disc golf, it says something to me when one course stands head and shoulders above the rest, which did include an impressive list. It's worth driving hours to play here. My guess is you'll get hooked. Hats off to Rich and all the effort he put into making one the best courses I've played.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 2 Not
This IS disc golf
Pros: Challenging. Excellent tee placements. Excellent basket placements. Wonderful variety of holes. Q: How can you almost always be throwing downhill?! A: ingenious and passionate course designer/owner. Rich is awesome. He is the kind of disc golfer I want to be when I grow up (whenever that is). Great company. This course is what disc golf is meant to be. It's tough, it's fun, it stretches you to use shots you didn't know you had. It's gorgeous...and I've mostly played it after the leaves fell for the season. I feel like part of some elite yet welcoming club when I play there. I literally dream about this course and the natural beauty there.
Cons: Not for the beginning player. You want to be on your game and you need to be in decent shape. This course is on Rich's land, and he is graciously sharing it with us. Not meant to be a "con" but meant to caution the player that this is not your average public course, and you must be respectful of this fact.
Other Thoughts: I am blessed to be among the list of people who have played Sugaree. It is easily my favorite course for a variety of reasons. Thanks Rich for allowing me to play.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 2 Not
Shake It, Sugaree
Pros: The tightly wooded course sits on the most beautiful piece of land I've ever seen used for a disc golf course. Big old trees, cool rock outcrops, and scenic vistas are all around. You feel like you're really out in nature. Other than the tees and baskets, and occasional benches and steps, the only sign of anything that resembles civilization are the Christmas trees you see on a few holes. Because of its private nature and remote location, it will never be crowded, and I can't imagine it would feel crowded even with a tournament going on.
Amazingly, nearly the whole course plays downhill. Only two holes play uphill, and one only marginally so, yet there aren't any crazy climbs or hikes between holes.
The course is full of great golf lines. There are no gimme holes, just holes asking for quality golf shots to be thrown. Nearly every hole is a signature hole. The fairways are fair, will punish you for bad shots, but not too severely, and reward your good shots. There are plenty of birdie opportunities for those who can execute great golf shots, with a good variety of long and not too long, and left and right turning holes. The overall quality of each hole is perhaps the biggest strength of the course.
Some of the most precarious pin placements you'll ever see are at Sugaree. The baskets are an innovative design, all are hanging, and they catch well. Because they are hanging baskets, they can fairly easily be moved, giving the course a little different look. The hanging baskets also allow for many of the more challenging placements. The tees are all nicely done carpet, giving a comfortable feel under your feet, with plenty of traction.
Probably the biggest pro is the course's owner and designer, Mando. He is a great guide and gracious host, with an evident love for the game, his course, and the land on which it sits, an absolute joy to play disc golf with. It's really cool to see how much work he's put into the course, and I feel blessed to have had the chance to enjoy it.
Cons: Not much, but here goes. There are two fairways that cross, although you're throwing well over the top of hole 2's fairway when driving on hole 6, which is a valley shot, and the course is never crowded, so it's really a non-issue.
Several of the holes are blind shots so a spotter is a good idea on those holes. There's also a chance of losing plastic due to thick leaves in places in the fall, along with the possibility of a bad kick off a tree sending a disc out of sight.
It's also a seasonal course, and you need to set up a tee time with Mando, so you can't play it just any old time. With that in mind, it feels like a special treat when you do get to play it.
Other Thoughts: There's not much else out here. The nearest store is miles away. There is no restroom or water fountain, so plan ahead. Bring sunscreen when the leaves are off the trees. I got cooked when I played here in April, not realizing there wouldn't be any foliage on the trees yet. Bring your hiking boots and A game, and enjoy the scenery, it's beautiful in Western North Carolina, and this hilltop is a fine example of Appalachian Beauty. Sugaree is a destination worthy course, one to plan your summer road trips around, if you get the chance.
Thanks to Mando for the great course, and letting me enjoy it.
17 of 19 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I'll start with the aesthetics. This is one of the most beautiful places I've ever tossed a disc. The course is set on a hilltop (or mountaintop), almost all in a lush hardwood forest, with huge granite outcrops. 35' sheer cliffs, boulders rising 15' tall and 60' across, everywhere. Though on a Christmas tree farm, only on a couple of holes do you encounter the trees, throwing over them and having a rather fragrant walk from tee to disc.
As a private course, you're likely to have it to yourself. It is absolutely peaceful, far from the highway or other human sounds.
Not normally part of a course review, but Rich is such a great host and guide that he's one of the amenities, too.
The layout is very fine. Unlike most mountain courses there are not a lot of huge uphill & downhill shots. It mostly consists of tight wooded shots more or less along the contour, some elevation but not extreme. Half the course is "signature holes".
And some of the most memorable basket locations you've ever played. Baskets located near, or on top of, boulders, and near steep slopes or even sheer cliffs.
There are great benches, steps, and teepads (though they are 10', and I have a 12' runup). A lot of work has gone into them. There is no signage, but that is by design.
Due to the course's altitude, and perhaps its shade, its much cooler than neighboring regions. Rich claims that some summers it never gets over 85 degrees; our visit was probably 15 degrees cooler than our home in South Carolina.
Cons: The cons are generally minor, and mostly aspects of being a private course, and new, and a one-man project. I mention them for those to whom they may matter.
Starting with the fact that you need to schedule a tee-time. The owner is very accommodating, and you're going to need a guide, anyway. No chance you could navigate this course without one.
There are also places with random trees in the fairways, or a few awfully tight gaps. As time goes by, this will surely ease up.
We visited in July and the undergrowth was knee-high in the many fairways---but not real dense, so hardly affected play. Bearing in mind, again, that there's just one person doing the maintenance.
If you have a strong desire to "grip it and rip it", you won't find much chance here. No real open shots; this is a wooded course.
All 18 baskets are homemade, hanging baskets. They catch fine but some people may have problems with non-standard baskets, or the fact that hanging baskets may sway in the wind or spin after the previous putt.
Other Thoughts: This is a new course; 2 years old; much re-designed; and undergoing constant improvements. Within a year or two it will surely be a 4.5 to me. They're also working on a 9-hole "super course"; essentially combining two regular holes into one monster hole, that should provide as much wooded challenge as any disc golfer might ever need.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 8 Not
Pros: Beautiful setting. Placement of unique hanging baskets is challenging and interesting. Great flow from one hole to the next. Fun to play with the designer/owner. How many courses are you able to do that?
Cons: Rich is hard to beat in doubles. It was my first time, however, so there is always a new day. Should be able to make up 3 shots next time.
Other Thoughts: Awesome time. Don't let Rich carry the cooler. It is his secret training/warming up for each hole strategy that gives him the edge.
1 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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