2016 update-New Baskets
17 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: 2016 re-opened after being closed for 3 years.
Secluded, disc-golf-only mountain top farm in WNC located within an hour and a half from several other great courses; Harmon Hills,Elk Mountain,Richmond Hill,Mars Hills,Warriors Path,Black Jack, the Spine,Simple Pleasures,Ashe County Park and Highland Hills. A nice side trip for northern dgers heading to Charlotte or a worthy destination for anyone looking to beat the summertime heat.
The unique feature of Sugaree is the topography which is very gradual for a mountain course, but includes numerous ledges, cliffs and boulders. These come into play on the vast majority of the holes, providing elevated pads, framed fairways and precarious basket locations.
The course plays predominately through a middle aged maple/hickory forest, but is accented by pockets of old growth oaks and hemlocks. The understory has been thinned and cleaned over time making finding your disc easy except on holes with rhododendron or Christmas trees. There is also an abundance of visually appealing groundcovers since the course does not see much traffic. The combination of all these things provides off-the charts aesthetics.
After leaving the practice area, you more than likely play in total seclusion and at your own pace. Navigation is now easy, with green arrows pointing to the next tee. Signs and scorecards verify your location. The course flows well with short walks to next tees. Tee pads are carpeted on the original 18 with leveled pea gravel on the new holes. There are now 25 holes and no two are remotely alike. The baskets are MVP Black Hole Pros, purchased in 2016.
The completely wooded layout features a dozen holes which are frequently mentioned as "signature" holes by our guests; 1,4,6,9,10,11,15,18,20,22,23 & 25. Multiple lines are a popular theme and the course remarkably only has four uphill holes on the course. Basket locations compare favorably with any course I've played (in the east), if risk and reward is your thing.
Benches are in place where they are needed most, with more on the way.Practice area is next to parking area, on the way to hole #1. On site camping available. On site lodging may be available in the future.
Cons: The course does not loop back to the parking area before finishing 25 and is a hike. Pack water or arrange to have a cooler dropped and retrieved from a central location (#10 teepad).
Other Thoughts: The goal in designing Sugaree was to incorporate the most visually appealing natural features on 100 acres and tie them into a challenging but fun course with flow. Benches, signs and rockwork were all added within the framework of the existing aesthetics.
17 of 21 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Stellar Views, Stellar Pin Placements, Stellar Tee Pads, Stellar use of Time & Property on top of the ridgeline. Playing Sugaree was an absolute treat for this long time disc golfer. The integration of large rock outcroppings into the course layout is both stupendously appealing and stupendously butt-puckering when making putts outside of 25 feet. No need to repeat what all the other's have said about this course (I agree with comments in PRO's section)....just PLAY This Course if you can (and have skills and love of the game). Your ability, imagination, creativity, course management, and patience will all have opportunities to be tested while hiking this wonderful course and if you're lucky you'll have a personal tour with the course architect. We played several mountain courses over a long weekend and this course gets my vote for most aesthetically pleasing (so many 'signature holes' to choose from).
The homemade baskets are just one more, very positive, signature element. THANKS to Rich & his kids and all the folks that put their time into making this gorgeous course!!!
Cons: I didn't experience any cons on this course. Some comments from other's I just consider part of playing a true mountain course and/or a private course. One thing I didn't get at Sugaree that I did enjoy at some other mountain courses was the tee shot looking out over an extreme elevation drop. These shots can be perplexing for disc selection, initial direction and thrust. However, Rich has incorporated equally challenging downhill shots that require precise distance control which may be a better test of skill (with stroke choking consequences for miscalculations or poor execution). Any course that can put a smile on your face at the same time you're thinking 'double bogey will be good after that drive' makes my A-list.
Other Thoughts: If you're coming from the flatlands allow plenty of extra time to complete a round in the mountains, especially if it's a new course to you. This course has a great South & West exposure which makes for an excellent afternoon on a sunny winter day. I will definitely play this course again and again as often as I can arrange to get there!!
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: This course is AWESOME! The hanging baskets and carpet tee pads give you the vibe of a private homegrwon course, but the layiout and function are as good as any course that I have played. The holes are laid out as challenging but playable. Rock formations were used as pin locations and provided great scenery. The tree farm provides a surreal setting for DG and every hole was a top notch DG hole. No throwaways or contirved holes on this course. If you throw a well thought out drive and manage the course, every hole can be parred but there is trouble lurking everywhere. Rich and Cory were fantastic hosts and the round was truly enjoyable.
Cons: Lack of sigange and the need to play with the host. No big deal, but it does require some planning-the course is well worth it!
Other Thoughts: Private courses rule! Thank goodness for the dedicated disc golfers who spend the time, money and labor to make these courses some of the best in the nation. Thank you!!
3 of 8 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 8 Not
Sugaree - Most Excellent Course
Pros: Well layed out and challenging course. Baskets are all hanging and homemade, but catch the discs well. Almost all the tee pads are carpeted and are prenty big to get a good throw off. This is definitely a course worth driving a couple hours to play.
Cons: Needs some hole signs with distances and sketch.
Other Thoughts: This course was one of 4 that we played over a 3 day trip. It's a very scenic course with lots of rock formations. Very much enjoyed playing this course and would paly it again in a heartbeat.
0 of 8 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Amazing topography, beautiful rock formations, hospitality beyond belief. I loved this course. We played as the sunset, the ridge faces west so we got amazing optics as we explored this magnificent course. Not a long course but ultra-unique, very fun and somewhat challenging.
Cons: It is still evolving, it will just get better as Rich, the owner, refines this masterpiece. Not really a con, but I thought I'd try.
Other Thoughts: I love the fact that Rich has the dedication and vision to build a DG course in such an amazing place. Disc golfers are great people and Rich exemplifies what I love about this sport. Thanks!
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 1 Not
Jewel of the Blue Ridge Mountains
Pros: Sugaree is probably the most beautiful course I have every played!! Rich Minford, owner and visionary of Sugaree has created the ultimate mountain course that uses the shape of the land perfectly. I had the pleasure of playing doubles on Rich's team against my two friends Slim and Charles. I guess you could say we had a slight advantage since the architect was on my team. Rich walked us through each hole and explained the layout and what shot was preferred. This was a great help since many of the holes feature blind shots, steep terrain, huge rock outcroppings, cliffs, millions of trees, and oh yeah I forgot to mention, the basket are HANGING. Rich being a Christmas tree farmer has created hanging baskets out of tree holders, chains, rope, and some elbow grease. At first I was slightly skeptical, but when I was practicing behind Rich's house (warm-up area) I found that they were actually more receptive and forgiving than standard baskets and they could also handle a hard shot. Once you drain a few putts, you'll forget that the baskets are even hanging, until you play the course and see a few of the nasty pin placements on rock outcroppings and some even on small cliffs. Rich also spent a lot of time on the tee pads. They are unlike any that I have played and they are by far the best. The pad is made out of a mulch mix that is covered by carpet. The pads are longer and the carpet provides better grip. Many of the boxes are also elevated and I was amazed how many rocks were moved to each box to level them out. The main holes that really stood out to me were holes 1, 4, 8, and 15. Hole 1 is a long hyzer from an elevated tee pad over the Christmas tree farm. The view is spectacular, especially in the fall with the mountains bleeding yellow, orange, and red. Rich threw a great shot and I drained a 90 foot putt to start out with a birdie. Hole 4 is a challenging par 4 that gives two options on how to play it. The hole bends to right and follows a huge rock wall on the right side of the fairway. A good drive down the middle will leave you with a long flick (forehand) around the wall up to the rock garden where the basket is OR you can throw a Rich "HAMMER" or thumber up over the huge rock wall and park it under the basket for an easy birdie. Your choice. Hole 8 is an excellent par 3 that bends left to right with a rock wall on the left (backstop) and the pin hanging just above a 30-40 rock out cropping. A great photo hole and it really shows the amazing terrain the course is on. Then there is Hole 15. A tuff par 3 the break from left to right through a few tree to a basket tucked into some rocks. The hole looked pretty straight forward until Rich showed what lay beyond the basket, which was a 40-50 cliff maybe 3-4 feet behind the basket. Needless to say we all threw short and took par.
Cons: Bring toilet paper or you're using leaves.
Other Thoughts: Rich has made an awesome course and I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to play a first class disc golf course. If you are not distracted by the beauty of the landscape, a good score can be made if you "STAY HUMBLE". What I mean by "STAY HUMBLE" is that you must use good course management and always be aware of what is behind the baskets. I would say about 70-80 percent of the holes have huge drop-offs behind the holes which will lead to bogies and much worse. Accuracy and distance control are more important than aggression at this course. I would also recommend playing the course around the month of October the leaves changing in this area turn the mountains into a sea of gold, yellow, and orange. Make sure to stop by a store and load up on snacks and drinks. Also proper foot attire is necessary to tackle the extreme terrain here. My thanks go to Rich for all the hard work and the hospitality. This is truly a Jewel of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Where it's Christmas everyday.
Pros: - Intimate mountain setting. Not only is the course memorable, but the drive off the beaten path to get there is also a neat journey.
- Goes with the flow of terrain... doesn't try to manufacture difficult uphill shots as many other courses do.
- Soft and comfortable unique teepads. I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but these pads are actually better than concrete. They consist of a base filled with mulch with carpet on top. This allows the carpet to be removed (it's screwed down) to re-level the mulch anytime it needs it. Teeing off on mulch is a welcome change of pace.
- Baskets are another unique feature. They were designed by Rich's kids utilizing baskets that would normally hold trees. They hang from the air and are a bit wider than a conventional basket but still catch discs like a charm. I didn't have any problems with them.
- Several different routes can be taken on a few of the holes. One that sticks out in my mind is hole #9 where you have the choice of shooting on to the top of a fifty foot tall rock or playing through a narrow fairway with a steep dropoff.
- Rich grows Christmas trees on this property; they're integrated seamlessly into play and give the course character that you won't see anywhere else.
- The elevation of the course allows it to be 10-15 degrees cooler than the surrounding area.
- Four or five benches along the course allow you to take a load off every once in awhile.
Cons: - No restrooms. Make sure to stop at a gas station on the way in to prepare yourself and get something to drink.
- No tee signs. These aren't really necessary, though as Rich seems more than happy to guide visitors.
- Some may consider the lack of concrete tees and standard baskets as a con, but I don't believe they are in this case.
Other Thoughts: Rich has created a unique disc golfing experience deep in the Carolina hills. The course has only been in the ground for a couple of years and will continue to improve as Rich makes subtle changes to it. He seems to have a vision for each hole and is more than happy to listen to input from visitors regarding the fairness of shots. I recommend this course to anyone driving through who wants to spend an afternoon totally immersed in a unique and challenging environment. Rich cut a vacation with his family short by a couple of days to play his course with me. Drinking a beer with him and his friend Burt before the 12th hole will be one of the defining moments of my summer 2009 roadtrip.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Shake It Sugaree
Pros: The course has been designed with much thought as to the aesthetic qualities of the mountainside location. Each hole is unique, with many opportunities to use multiple types of shots. Except for putting, almost every drive and approach requires a different technique to pull off. Although quite challenging in overall layout, alterations have been made over the last month, or so, to make the course more fair. Basket locations are so interesting, it is difficult to describe. There are holes that provide great distance driving opportunity, holes that require fades, draws and precision on drives and approaches. Basket areas have recently been upgraded with mulching providing for softer landing areas, especially in locations with a basket located on steep slopres. The views form some holes are breathtaking and the wooded course is like taking a hike through a National Forest.
Cons: Some holes can be very difficult because there are too many trees that require being avoided, causing a hole to get very tedious, very quickly. A couple of holes with uphill approaches provide little reward for good precision shots. The lack of signage and distances make driving decisions difficult on some holes; however, it is my understanding this will be addressed soon. The terrain is, at times, steep and challenging, requiring a concentrated effort to avoid tripping. On a couple of holes, a trip could mean a fall down a slope! Many shots must be taken while out of breath and it can be less than relaxing, at times.
Other Thoughts: This course is well worth visiting, for the views and walk alone! It will make one home skills rapidly, in order to make it around, and will allow for a variety of different shots to score well. It appears tee boxes are being upgraded, which will definitely improve the course. Overall, its a great track!!!
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Sugaree is sweet!
Pros: Update 4-10-12. Course is now 25 holes, soon to be 27. All of the holes have terrific signs with the hole #, distance and layout. Green arrows between the baskets and T's guide you to the next hole when it's not obvious. Park left and below the house, don't forget to drop a donation and pick up a scorecard! Warm up at the practice baskets in the back of the house. Then, a short walk (about 50') up the left road takes you to the first tee (on your right) and you can find your way around without a guide. Be sure to take water, snacks and prepare for war..... if you play all 25 holes you'll be whipped! I HIGHLY SUGGEST that first time visitors play the original 18 holes. The course plays remarkably easy in the original configuration..... here's how to do it. (The original hole #'s are on the bottom of the scorecard so you can play 18 by cutting out the new holes.) To start, walk up the road passing hole #1. Watch on your right for #1 basket on top of a 8' rock wall. After passing the basket, watch on the left side of the road for # 2 Tee. Play # 2 as a warm up or just walk thru. Hole 3 is the same as original 3 so start your round here. Play 3 and 4. Skip the 5,6,7 loop and go to # 8. It's just up the hill from the #4 basket and plays back parallel to hole 4. Then play 9 thru 23 and you'll have the 18 holes in playing original 1 and 2 to finish. Then you can walk back to the parking spot or play 24 and 25 if you are game for more. If you like this plan, I suggest you print this out to help you navigate.
The hole references below are for the original 18 holes.....
The layout of this challenging course is remarkable. It's obvious the owner Rich Minford, designer, tree cutter, basket maker, brush hacker, maintenance man (well you get the drift) really knows the lay of the land. The variety of holes seems endless and each has its own dastardly but fun feature to foil your good round. It's all in the woods so poor shots cost dearly and you can't always make the safe play and expect to par the hole. (but that's good, right?) As noted before, it's a mountain course but it follows the contours keeping the up and down to a minimum. 9 of the tee shots are elevated or have a downhill throw and only two have a uphill feel. You'll need every shot that's been devised if you don't keep it down the middle (and most of them if you do). Many of the tee shots leave small margin for error. There are more than a few epic holes on both the outer loop (holes 1- 13) and the inner loop (14- 18). Talk about a terrific start, the first tee is elevated about 15' and looks out of the wood over a field of Frazier Fir 'Christmas' trees. A long hyser (RHBH) drive will re-enter the woods 200' or so on the other side, hopefully hitting the 30' wide gap - if so, you'll glide down the alley toward the basked hung 100' from the woods edge. Hole 2 par 4 starts with a moderately open, downhill hyzer tee shot. A good drive leaves you with a long shot to a basket just past the rock wall. Hole 4, par 4's plays around (or over) a continuous 20' rock wall with an amazing elevated rock garden island finish. On the inner loop, hole 15 starts with a anhyzer drive and approach into a rock cove with a very exciting finish. A putt too high and a few feet long will put your disc over a 35' cliff!, 17, a long anhyzer tee shot off a 12' rock outcrop, over a gap thru another rock outcrop, right and under a huge tree and wheew, did I say it has to be long? These are some of my favorites but there is not a bad hole on the course! All of the tee pads have been improved and are longer than most with a carpet surface. It will take some effort to get to Sugaree but since it's not near any large city, it's likely you'll have the course to yourself. I caution you to resist the temptation to utter wow or cool as you step up to the first tee. As the course unfolds, the features get better and better and you need to save some G rated explicatives if you want to avoid showing off the crude side of your vocabulary.
Cons: The course is cut out of rugged mountain terrain and is under continual improvement. The fairways remain in a natural state, covered with well-drained loam but you must tread carefully. The numerous rocks can be slick when wet or covered with leaves and there are numerous large and small stumps to trip you up. Since the # of rounds on the course are low, some of the shots you make that land off the fairway will be in pine thicket or stinging nettle. (much of this has been cleaned up and the course just keeps getting better with each passing month) Nothing dangerous but you'll want to wear long pants if your skills are not near par. The baskets, though quite ingenious are homemade and can be a little temperamental. Most hang from tree branches and move upon impact, so you often have to remove your disc before the next player putts to keep them level. They do an excellent job of stopping a disc (I've personally seen three hard thrown aces). No bathroom so go before you go!
Other Thoughts: Whether you walk away feeling euphoric or frustrated, you will not forget playing this course anytime soon. If your idea of a great course is mowed fairways with all the amenities then you might be happier playing somewhere else. But if like me, you can appreciate a trek off the beaten path and seek a real challenge, you'll want to pitch a tent and move in till you've mastered every hole. At Sugaree, you'll throw thru some amazingly beautiful mountain glades and impressive rock outcroppings - some as high as 35 feet. Carved out around the contours of the mountain, each hole has it's own unique beauty and only the most focused disc master will be able to concentrate on the game the first time around. There is simply to much awesome nature to see to make it all about getting the disc in the basket in as few throws as possible.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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