Blue Brutal Beatdown
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Armco Park is a very big park filled with playgrounds, nature trails, pavilions, two disc golf courses, and other family activities. However, the Blue Course is not made for the entire family to enjoy. It is surprising that this town park offers such a behemoth in the Blue Course, which offers huge elevation changes, a wide array of lines to choose from on virtually every hole, and a true mental/physical beat down. This course is designed by one of the best in the region, who sure knows how to combine length and precision when designing holes. It has some of the most intimidating holes I have ever played, which is pretty amazing considering there isn't any water here.
Purely from a course design standpoint, this is one of my favorite courses that I have played. My favorite kind of hole is a par 4/5 with rolling hills and many trees that allow you the option to choose your line. Well, this course has ROLLING HILLS and tons of trees throughout. The pictures don't do this course justice whatsoever, and since they are from the short tees, you don't get much of a preview of the multi-stage aspect of hole design. Since the course plays in this unchanging setting throughout, it was amazing to me that the holes didn't blend together. This is a testament to Sias's design, that he used the elevation and tree lines in many creative ways. Hole lengths range from 258-718 ft from the long tees, so this also is a big factor for why the holes feel so fresh and varied.
Risk/reward design is tremendous here, and with 9 par 4's and a par 5, there are many chances for score separation. There are no gimme birdies here, with no basic shots to an open pin. Trees are present throughout, but not to the point where you feel you're playing plinko. Distinct lines are thus offered, and there are many of them of most holes. Holes 3, 7, 11, and 14 offer very scary approaches with pins on steep side-hills or in front of big drop-offs. With the constant elevation changes, rollaway potential is often there. Huge downhill shots on holes 1, 6, 7, and 15 allow for some fun chances to watch your discs soar, but are also a tree kick away from a disaster.
I loved how there was no rough on the course, which I felt gave me more opportunities to be bold on a course that calls you to be bold.
It is nice having dual tees and two pin positions on a course that is as challenging as this one. The two tees really offer a difference in difficulty.
Navigation is good for the most part and there are a bunch of next tee signs that are helpful. I would bring a map just in case, but I hardly ever had to consult mine.
Cons: I guess one of the main cons is that the course plays in much of the same setting throughout, which isn't a big deal if you love this type of setting. Still, on a course that doesn't let up one bit and doesn't change its style, it wouldn't appeal to everyone. It is a big hike as well, so I'd recommend only playing here if you are in at least somewhat decent shape. Not a course you can quickly play through.
The tees sometimes felt too short, were above grade, and were often set to the slope of the hill you are throwing on, which was uncomfortable.
There are no maps on the tee signs, which would definitely be beneficial here. I often had to scout out where the basket was.
While hole design isn't typical city park style, there are some drawbacks to being in a park setting like this. Some of the holes play very close to and even across park roads. Also, some of the holes run close together. Nothing too scary, but a bad tree kick or gust of wind could have you landing in another fairway.
Be aware that bathrooms are closed out of season.
Other Thoughts: Hovering around a 4 disc rating the past few years, I was curious to see how I liked the course. I usually rate courses lower than their average, but this one looked very appealing to my taste. It even surpassed my expectations, with some of the most fun/intimidating holes I have played. I preferred the Blue Course well over the White Course, but I still appreciated that the park offers a lesser course in difficulty and length but similar in setting. A decent warmup for the Blue Course or simply a better option for less serious players in the area.
While some of the amenities don't match the best of the best courses, the Blue Course does give a great challenge for a full 18 holes. The level of design and difficulty is up there with some of the top courses I have played. Armco Park definitely doesn't fit the bill of a city park. It truly has the feel of a course in a huge state park or located on private property far away from civilization as far as the type of holes offered. It just has that "epic-ness" about it. It is probably the most fun I have ever had getting beat up.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
These hills are alive (& might eat you up!)
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: When our girls were quite a bit younger, they'd hear a promo for 'The Sound of Music', the older would grin, and ask, "The hills are ALIVE?" The younger would sometimes get a little frightened at the idea. Well, the Blue course at Armco Park could appeal to you in either of those two ways.
There is no way the pictures on here can present to you the sheer scale of elevations you will encounter on this course. Almost every hole plays down (yay!) or up (ugh!) 60 feet or more in elevation (so I really enjoyed just about half of them, even though we played short tees to long baskets for the inaugural Oil City Classic today). If you venture here, to this part of the country, you will learn a thing or two about playing smart with uphill and downhill lines through park trees, and very forgiving (to no) underbrush.
There are two sets of tee pads and two basket positions for every hole. If you are looking for variety, trees to force a massive choice of lines to the the best landing zone, then the basket, and enormous replayability, you've found it.
With holes ranging from 318' to 718' (in the longer basket positions…see scorecard: somebody has a fondness for the number eight!) this course is a competition level Johnny Sias challenge, nicely placed in a large, wooded, community park, with bathrooms, water fountains, shelters, decent parking and great maintenance. The blue DisCatcher baskets catch great (you'll appreciate the deeper baskets on this model saving you from bounce out, rollaway putts). Tee signs are great, and there are occasional 'next tee' and 'mando' signs. The concrete tees are adequately sized for the distances involved (see below), and this course will present challenges to the competitive disc golfer from Intermediate and up. Folks at Recreational to casual will be sorely tested.
Cons: The aforementioned tee pads were cast above grade, and too often follow the slope of the ground, rather than having been landscaped level and flush with the ground, leading to some awkward run-ups.
In the long basket positions, there are some times when you will be crossing the one-way park drive, and need to keep an eye out for cars and pedestrians. There are some places where folks using the park shelters might be parking a bit too close to the course's lines of flight.
Finally, the only other con I have is a personal preference, more than anything, in that you'll occasionally have a relatively long walk to your next tee, have to climb an extra hill, and possibly get a little lost/ confused the first time you play here. Good: bring a map. Better: play with a local guide the first time. (An aside: my crappy car Navigation system couldn't find the park! Go south out of Ashland about 6 miles on route 60, & look for the tank, cannon, sign, then the police barracks on your right, turn right, then right into the park).
Other Thoughts: This is a brutal, hilly course if you're not in decent shape for it. You will fatigue & potentially dehydrate, especially in the summer, so pack in some extra fluids, take your time and enjoy the challenge with a grin. Or avoid it, if you fear the Hills being ALIVE!
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Very Beautiful Course
Pros: There is so much to love about this course. Built on the side of a mountain, it is gorgeous. The elevation changes are challenging without being too overwhelming. The park-like nature of the course keeps it from being too punitive while placing a good emphasis on and rewards good shot making. It's one of those courses where you just love to see the disc fly.
Other Thoughts: This is a special jewel. I love the enormous trees. It gives you a feel of getting away from it all. I met some very friendly players who made me feel welcome there. Ashland has a small town feel to it.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: Very nice well maintained public park. Numerous water spigots and bathroom facilities(seasonal).Garbage cans in numerous places. Various elevation changes and variety. Trees on every hole force you to throw long and accurately. Innova discatcher targets in new condition.
Cons: Multiuse park adds some conflict with other users but is very minimal.
Other Thoughts: Very beautiful and fun place to spend a couple hours. Of the courses I've played I have seen nothing that I would say is outright better. Some courses I would say are comperable but nothing outright better.
1 of 6 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 8 Not
Pros: This is an amazing course. The beauty of the natural setting, the vertical elevation changes, course condition and maintenance, the many large trees all make this course one of my top five favorites.
Cons: I have nothing bad to say about this course. I would play it all the time if it was in my hometown.
1 of 9 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 4 Not
Hitting all the lines!
Pros: Excellent challenging lines, long distance, and tons of trees...
This is definitely a challenging course, not on par with Idlewild, but tons of fun.
I took a two on holes; 2,3 and 17
Took a four on; 4 and 7
Threes on everything else...
- I shot an excellent round of 53! With witnesses.
My trick is to make certain you hit the line with good form, distance comes naturally.
Cons: No pets allowed.
Difficult navigating the course, signs would remedy the situation.
There is broken glass everywhere... (Good thing no pets...)
The park road weaves in and out all over the course, I was expecting some of the privacy most courses have but couldn't have a "break."
THIS COURSE WOULD DEFINATELY PISS OFF A BEGINNER.
The white course is short (all about 200')
0 of 4 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 1 Not
Excellent course that will only improve!
Pros: * Adequate Bathroom facilities / shelters / parking.
* Short & Long Teepads at every Tee.
* Multiple pin locations(2) for every hole.
* No underbrush - Beautiful fairways through mature trees and well maintained park
* Alternate throwing lanes on almost every hole that test your accuracy but give you the opportunity to choose your shot.
* Course is long and gives you a chance to launch some drives but ONLY if you hit your line. Miss your lines and all the distance in the world won't save you from the trees.
* Distance and accuracy are equally important and extremely well balanced. The best balance of distance and accuracy of any course I have ever played!
* You better know how to play elevation changes because it comes into play on almost every hole both off the tee and with some creative(some may say cruel) pin placements.
* Plenty of Paved roads/paths (OB) that when added to the trees make this place a complete test.
* Some lovely holes :
#4 is a ~ 720' shot around the hill, past the mando, through the trees to a 350' uphill (2nd drive) shot to a basket set back on a flat plateau protected by more trees.
#8 ~625' uphill with a paved road OB on the left the entire way.
#1 is a great starting hole, 400'+ downhill through numerous mature trees with the basket protect either short or long(depending on pin placement) by an OB road.
#3 around the hill about 400' with a nasty slope down to the right to take errant throws over 100' over the hill. Oh yeah, You better miss the trees.
#18 - You finish on a 400'+ uphill shot through the trees with the basket on a slight slope protected by trees.
* Once you finish the Blue Course from the Long & Short pads (good luck with that), leave your car in the same spot and tee off on the White Course in the same park. The #1 holes on the two course are about 75' apart. White also has twin tee pads and alternate placements for every hole.
Cons: A few tee pads were uneven or had a slight slope. Other than that it looks great!
Other Thoughts: Don't go here expecting to take 2's and 3's on every hole or you are in for a frustrating day. This course should be right up there with Idlewild for "must play" courses in Kentucky. It's already one of my favorites. Thanks Johnny Sias & the Ashland/Huntington guys for getting this in the ground!
10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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