You'll be hard pressed to find a better course anywhere!
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Pros are almost too numerous to list. The reason this course is as highly touted as it is, is namely the shot variety and challenge. HH has as much shot variety as you'd ever need in an 18-hole course.
There are some VERY steep elevation changes, more subtle rolling hills, flat shots, etc...There are several shorter holes for variety and potential 2's, but most holes are longer shots which will challenge you with plenty of OB (on almost every hole). HH does favor bigger arms, but smaller arms can compete just as well with precision.
You'll start on the crest of a large hill, overlooking the valley and large creek below. Almost every hole seems to be a mixture of wooded and open, with only a select few being exclusively one or the other. It's impossible to give the design too much credit, it simply is amazing.
The creek is really the defining feature of the course. It's almost a stretch to call it a creek, it becomes very wide and semi-deep in spots. This becomes your main obstacle to avoid on nearly 3/4 of the holes at HH. The pins are precariously placed near the creek when possible, requiring your approaches to be conservative and precise to award a birdie. In addition to the creek, there are several barbed wire fences in play which are OB's as well. In a tourney situation, this course plays like USDGC where you're concerned with your landing zones on almost every hole, but less so on drives and more so on approaches. There is OB everywhere, and that's a good thing.
The course is technically two 9-hole loops, but you shouldn't plan to go back to your car or anything between 9's as it's another small hike to the parking lot from 1 and 10.
This really is one of the pinnacle's of our sport. It lives up to the hype and the exclusivity perhaps exacerbates that. Pictures don't do this place justice. Just do yourself a favor and try to get here as soon as you can. If you don't enjoy HH, it's likely the case you need to switch hobbies.
Cons: Here's where my review gets a little interesting. Those who've followed my reviews know that I'm a stickler for aesthetics and amenities. I often write at length regarding tee pad design, material, etc... I appreciate the little details like navigation signs when needed. I've let a lot of those concerns go with HH, for reasons which I've listed below in "Other Thoughts". Please take a moment to read that section of my review, but I'll still be listing the "cons" here as I would with any course, just know they didn't result in any point reduction.
Firstly, the tee pads. They're natural and/or carpeted areas. That is 100% to be expected in an operating cow field. I don't really see how this could be remedied at HH, but is a con none-the-less.
The signs at HH are, well, dilapidated, for lack of a better term. This is a privately owned/funded course with support from tourneys/clubs who sponsor baskets etc.. The more of you that support these events, the better these signs could become. The maps provided at my event were ample for the information necessary to play, but the signs could be improved.
There are obviously no permanently installed seating at the course, and it's a LONG course with many hills that will wear you out. Again, can't feasibly be remedied, so plan to bring a stool with you.
The only non-amenity complaints I could come up with are the following items:
1) The course has several spots (holes 6/7 as an example) where during a heavy traffic day (like a tourney) you'll need to be mindful of errant shots coming near other tee pads. This also leads to some delays in play as you'll have to wait for others to tee/putt out as to not distract them.
2) The baskets are a hodgepodge of different manufacturers. Almost all are in perfectly acceptable condition, but you'll be throwing at multiple types of targets, which is strange but not terrible considering the baskets are almost all totally funded by events/clubs and are purchased 1 at a time.
3) The exclusivity of the place is a pro and con. It helps build the lore of this place, for sure, as you can't play it very often. People flock in droves during tourney time here and they fill up within 24hrs of posting. For the traveling player just looking to hit this on a road trip, it's not likely to happen. Thus a con.
Other Thoughts: DISCLAIMER: This review is a 5/5 because I've "overlooked" detractors I've previously factored into many courses which resulted in them getting a 4.5 vs a 5. The reason Hawk Hollow is an exception is as follows:
A) Hawk Hollow's design, course features, shot features, landscape etc.. are all worthy of the accolades that have been assigned to it and are superior to most other courses in this aspect.
B) Hawk Hollow was the first course where comparing it to EVERY other course I've given a 4.5 blow-for-blow just didn't seem fair. This is a private course, opened only several week a year, operating entirely on a working cattle farm. This isn't a typical course by any stretch of the imagination and for that reason, I'm holding it to a different standard as far as "amenities" goes. I'll still list them in the "cons" with the understanding that they'll likely never be remedied and with just reasoning.
C) I simply couldn't let a 4.5 vote help drag down the current rating of this magnificent course, which is over 4.65 as of my writing.
I hope my followers can understand my reasoning when it comes to this 5/5, only the 2nd such rating I've ever given out. If you don't agree with me, feel free to PM me to speak further.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Wish I would have found this place sooner
Pros: There are very few courses out there that are truly great courses. This is one of the great ones. The property is some of the most beautiful that you could ask for on a disc golf course. Water runs through the course, there are big hills, rolling hills, views in all directions. You are in a paradise for disc golf. Sure there are lots of cow patties around, and you will walk and throw into them, but that's no big deal. Actually part of the fun.
There is just about every type of shot to be thrown on this course. One of the few courses that makes you throw many different drivers off the tee. Backhand, forehand, uphill, downhill, all of the shots are there, and the fairways are fair. The course tests all of your skills as a good course does. You might feel the pressure of a tight wooded gap, or the wind howling as you are about to launch your drive off of one of the large hills, hoping it doesn't flip over. It's all here, and it's all done in a spectacular way.
Cons: Some debris on the course, but I know it's a lot of work keeping up with a private course and winter was pretty bad so I imagine there were more limbs down this year than in the past.
A few of the tees are in dangerous spots in relation to previous holes or other fairways. But not really a big deal if you are aware of the certain trouble areas.
Other Thoughts: I will drive 6+ hours here year after year because of the pure enjoyment of being here. It's one of those must-play places. And one of those places that you will not forget after playing it. Every hole has a place in my heart and mind and I will never forget my experiences at Hawk Hollow. I couldn't imagine a better place to get together and play disc golf with some friends.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Have to agree with all the pros in previous reviews. Although its been 5 yrs since I threw this monster, I spent the past few days (March 2013) in caddying/supporting friends during the recent Virginia Team Invitational (team match play). Walking this course during the VTI only reinforced my opinion/rating.
It is one of the best courses anywhere. The big armed bombers will love some of the holes and hate most of the technical ones. To score well, you'll need 450'+ open field throws and 300'+ tight wooded threaders.
Every hole gives you a challenge.
Cons: Natural tee pads (not really a con), limited signage (presumably you'll be with the owner or another course veteran), and avoiding cows and their droppings.
Other Thoughts: This will be one of the most amazing courses you will play. I found it more interesting and challenging than Winthrop Gold or Renny Gold.
I wished I took a full series of photos, but photos do not do justice to what awaits..
4 of 8 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Layout - Amazing. Giant bombs, huge elevation changes, holes that weave in and out of the woods and hug the creek. It's just a great mixture of hole types and distances.
The wooded holes help offset the giant open bombs, many have tricky and fast fairways by OB. They're not extremely tight or technical but they get the job done with difficult basket locations and forcing accuracy over distance.
The open holes are usually huge bombs off a hill or back up it. Though most will still require a good amount of accuracy to score well, especially on approach.
The greens here are very well done, the basket will either be on a slope, near a drop off or by the creek most of the time.
A lot of fairways weave in and out of the woods often forcing a technical shot in/out and then a long bomb. A lot of downhill and then a lot of going back up; makes every shot feel so much bigger.
The fun factor here is ginormous on top of a lot of risk/reward which makes for a great setup.
The course flows well in most places and the open/wooded is blended nicely. Some truly great par 4's out there.
Atmosphere - Beautiful property, there should be more courses on cow farms in that part of Virginia. Has a real special feel to the course when you're out there. Some great looking holes. The creek is bad ass and beautiful.
Great hospitality from Biscoe and the locals.
You're not worrying about chuckers and other distractions getting in your way here.
Equipment - Good signs, some baskets were in good shape.
Cons: Layout - As fun as it was going off the hill, throwing straight back up it 3 times got a little old.
There's a few weird transitions, nothing major.
Atmosphere - Cow patties and mud, it's there and you'll find one or the other at some point.
A lot of walking up big hills, bring water. Be prepared.
Equipment - The natural tees are really not great in a few places. Some ruts have formed in a few making the footing hard for some big bombs; plus there's a lot of tees on hills.
Some of the baskets were in the best condition either.
Other Thoughts: This place is really bad a$$. One of the best courses I've played by far. It's a true gold level destination course. It has some of the best holes in disc golf (Thinking of 3, 10, 15, 16)
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Beauty in the Boonies
Pros: This course has it all
-A great ix of holes ranging from 970ft - 250ft
-The course is private which is always a bonus (no trash)
-The people here (biscoe and others) are all very good people
-I like that even though some of the holes are long that "most" of the longer holes actually don't favor the long arms "too" much
-ELEVATION- this course uses the property's elevation to the fullest extent. Most of the holes are either playing uphill or down. When I say up hill or down I mean huge changes in elevation. Some holes you are throwing straight up a hill and others straight down.
-The use of the trees on the property keeps the course fair to the the "lesser arms". (e.i. 4, 6,8,9,12,13,15,16, )
-The course isn't lefty or righty friendly it's pretty well balanced with holes that cater to both hands.
-OB comes in to play on 16 of the 18 holes making it more of a challenge which is always fun when your home course is pretty easy
-The course design makes it so that most of the holes are just placement shots, which again evens out the difficulty of the course
Cons: This course only has one
-Cow pies everywhere. Just forget they are there and they really won't bother you much
Other Thoughts: I don't really know what else to say that hasn't been said, just keep reading the other reviews and you got it. Also if you know where to go there are 9 letter holes that are not always in play due to not having enough baksets.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
19 Helpful / 1 Not
What can I say.
Pros: WOW! I turned 50 one week prior to playing here and I felt it after 5 rounds in 2 1/2 days.
For a disc golf purist this is heaven in a cow pasture. There was not one thing left out that can be put on a course.
The use of elevation is evident everywhere. Downhill bombs (1) to Uphill tunnels (9) and big uphill annies (2 & 5) (RHBH).
The water comes into play several times as there is a stream (about 20 to 25 feet wide in some spots) that meanders through the course. There are several bridges to cross that are nicely made and strong. It is on your left the whole way on 8 and behind and around the basket on 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, & 15. It is on your right on 12.
For those who like heavy woods you have it here (14 & 16). If you like open let it rip bombs that is here also (7 will test the "best" arms).
There are a couple that can be aced (11, 13, & 9) Although none are drop in aces.
You even have a hazard no one else has. COWS and cow pies. They are everywhere and are used to people. You leave them alone and they leave you alone. Just bring a towel for some awkward lies. Hitting one does not bother them. Don't do it on purpose but do not worry about it either.
I know I have left something out. If you are in the area just remember to contact John ahead of time and if he approves you will have the time of your life throwing plastic the way it was meant to be.
Cons: Nothing that will take away from a perfect score. Carry some tissue (TP) and be willing to use a tree to hind behind. Bring bug spray although they are not a big bother.
The letter baskets are only in use during the VTI (Virginia Team Invitational) and one other tourney of which I do not remember the name. That info is straight from the owner.
Other Thoughts: Bring PLENTY to drink.
I have to admit a bit of a struggle rating this course. I usually am real big into amenities and such (do cows and sow pies count). But I cannot get past the pure high grade pleasure playing this course gave me. Yes it was a big weekend with the Mid-Atlantic Meet and everyone was wonderful putting up with the oldest and most cantankerous person there. All of that can influence things considerably. But that is why I have waited just over a week and debated my decision. This course is a 5 (just remember to bring TP and try to find a place the cows won't be watching you).
19 of 20 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Hawk Hollow is a beautiful, well designed, physically punishing disc golf course on a private farm. All of the holes are memorable and interesting. I think my favorite hole is 10...or maybe 15. Both really great par 4's.
The course is full of punishing OB and it is not artificial in any way. There are two kinds of OB: a stream that meanders throughout the course and barbed wire fences.
Cons: I guess it would be understandable to dock points for this course's lack of amenities, but I actually think the rawness of the course adds to its charm. There is one basket position and one tee per hole.
Still, be aware that there are no restrooms here. Bring your own snacks and water. Be ready for cow pies all over the place. On the bright side, the cows and cow pies seemed to act like a magnet for the bugs. I don't think I got bit by a bug all weekend.
Other Thoughts: I just got back the other day from the DGCR Mid Atlantic meet that took place at this course. I played the course four and a half times over the course of that weekend, and I think the conditions were just about perfect. There was great weather and the course is prepared for the Hawk Hollow Open, which will take place in a few weeks.
I have played some excellent courses like Iron Hill, Deer Lakes, and Moraine. Hawk Hollow blows them away. This course is unapologetic about its simplicity. It is just raw disc golf in a beautiful, rural setting. The shots are challenging, and the terrain is very hilly.
This is the first private course I've played, and the ambiance is completely different than public courses. I've never had a disc returned at Deer Lakes (or any other public Pittsburgh course), although I play there all the time. At Hawk Hollow, we were the only group there all weekend. People lost discs on Saturday and they turned up on Sunday. This kind of experience is not uncommon there, from what the locals were saying. People don't just wander onto this course. You have to talk to Biscoe.
Regarding the difficulty of the course: I'm not a PDGA member, but I think I'd have around an 850 (rec) rating. I shot a 71 and a 73 for the two singles rounds I played.
16 of 18 people found this review helpful.
36 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: I won't get into detail about each hole (That's been done already *wink wink*) but what I really love about John's course is the utilization of the land and how multiple elements come into play on any given hole. Hole 15 is the best example of this. At first glance it appears to be a downhill 300+ bomber. Then it becomes quite apparent that a wayward shot will punish you. The open field quickly turns into dense tree coverage...and there's only one good line to the basket...and the entrance to this line is only about 20 feet wide...and it's a good football field full of trees to the basket...and there's a water hazard behind the pin. *sigh*
A lazy river runs through the course and forces you to utilize restraint or massive bravado. Either way, if you screw up, you've got some strokes coming.
Each shot is important at Hawk Hallow. There is little opportunity to shank a drive and make up for it with an upshot. I felt like I was playing chess with discs.
Cons: I would say nothing here but I understand that some people care about the following:
There are no private restrooms, perfect tee signs, perfect tees,benches, stable bridges, or mommies to heal your bruised ego.
I would also rather go backwoods camping then veg out in a KOA.
Other Thoughts: Before I went to the course I read there was a 975 flat-ground hole and make the assumption that it was designed by a thoughtless big-arm looking to impress the wayward "professional" golfer. I couldn't have been more wrong. Hole 7 and every hole on the course requires that you throw every shot exactly were it needs to go...or you have a stack full of "get out of jail free" cards.
Hawk Hollow is an excellent example of course design. "Risk versus Reward" is a necessary requirement of a great course and it's very apparent that a lot of thought went into every hole.
36 of 39 people found this review helpful.
52 Helpful / 12 Not
Hawk Hollow: My disc golf thesis on near disc golf perfection
Pros: Preface: Hawk Hollow is my favorite course out of the 350 or so courses I have played thus far; the design is fantastic, the scenery beautiful, and the aura is friendly and relaxing. If you are looking for an unbiased review based on the number of trash cans or benches and tee signs on the course - read someone else's review because I don't have what you are looking for. If you want hole by hole accounts of 18 holes that I think comprise some of the best disc golf out there, enjoy.
Hawk Hollow is going to test you no matter where your game is. The course has been clearly developed for the gold and near-elite level players but many holes offer challenges to silver and below as well. You aren't going to conquer this course because you can throw 500 feet or through your ability for technical drives and par saves - although both will certainly help. To beat this course you need a well rounded physical and mental game. The physical demands of the course require mastery of a variety of shots including big distance, short & mid range technical, high angle uphills, and big, often windy downhills. On the mental side, the course frequently offers up 'true' risk/reward (not just reward/no reward) scenarios and you'll need to find places to attack and other places to patiently hang back depending on your play, conditions, and abilities. HH usually does not forgive poor or even half-decent drives and is frustrating in this respect. Holes that appear simple and easy during casual play take on a life of their own during tournaments. Everyone frequently remarks how easy it should be to break par on this course but in reality, it rarely happens.
Cows - This property is a working cow farm so you will encounter the cows while you are out playing often right when you need to lay down a roller J For the most part, they'll just spectate from a distance but other times they'll be surrounding baskets, blocking tees, etc.
Baskets/Tees- The baskets are a mix of just about everything you can imagine from rusty homemades to Mach III's and Discatchers. Some catch well, some not so well. The tees out here are all natural and are marked by painted rocks - some have a little bit of old carpeting but most are just straight on the dirt. I prefer natural tees because I can bring out cleats for great grip on drives and approaches; but if you don't have cleats, you may become frustrated with slippage.
Private - The course is private and you will need to contact the course owner before playing. Fortunately, he's an all around great guy. All that said, clean up after yourself and be careful with the barbed wire because no one is getting paid to fix your mistakes out here.
Hole X Hole
Hole 1 - The course starts out with perhaps one of the most innocent holes on the course, a long open 429' downhill drive with a small OB creek behind the basket. Besides going long, which is not hard to do, there isn't much trouble to be found here. A putter can often reach this basket on a calm day, while mids and drivers can easily make it there.
Hole 2 - Hole 2 plays back up the same hill as a booming 320' turnover shot. The distance for this hole is challenging for silver and gold level players as it will require nearly full power and a disc that will hold a turnover all the way to the basket. Any flex out here is almost a guaranteed par. Again, there is little danger here - go for it!
Hole 3 - Hole 3 is where the course first offers up its first challenge. 462' feet with a slight downhill. There are large OB zones lining the left side of the fairway which slopes off down hill and another zone which runs perpendicular to the fairway at the bottom of a sloping ravine and which separates you from the basket starting at about XXX feet out from the tee and continuing to within 40' of the basket. This is a hole where you SHOULD be able to somewhat consistently make it across to the "island" green, but few do or even try to on the drive. In fact, this drive on this hole is often called a 'forced-layup'.
As I see them, there are four options off of the tee (one go for and three safety), all of which have their own dangers and rewards.
Option #1 The Beauty - "Stunning when done right, but no imitators accepted"
The Beauty is the obvious "go-for" shot which is a rolling turnover low-ceiling shot which attempts to clear the OB ravine. If you have the line and height right and enough distance, you will likely make it across - but if anything is off you are pretty much guaranteed bonus strokes and a second potentially precarious shot over OB.
Now to the safety shots.
Option #2 The Cutie - "Short and sweet but better look good"
Safety shot #1 utilizes the same fairway as the eagle attempt shot but is thrown with a mid range or putter that lands just short of the downward sloping ravine. Again, any left finish on this shot will land OB and anything that floats for too long will also skip down into the ravine. This is perhaps the most difficult safety shot to execute but also the one that offers the easiest 3 when done properly. If successful, you will leave yourself with an 80-100 foot open putter shot over OB.
Option #3 The Cow - "Clumsy and dumb but gets the job done"
Safety shot #2 is a bit easier off the tee but usually results in a slightly more difficult upshot and potentially a bit of luck. This shot utilizes the 'second fairway' to the right of the first tree of the tee. It is a controlled hyzer or hyzer skip shot that bends around the line of trees that separate the two fairways and lands near the safety shot #1 landing zone. You are unlikely to end up OB on your drive unless you roll down the hill, but if you encounter a bad skip or straighten the disc too much, you are frequently left with a more difficult turnover or sidearm from 100-170 feet over the OB and under a constrained ceiling. Tick a tree or hyzer out on the backhand approach and you are looking at OB again.
Option #4 The Bull - "Raw, stupid power"
Safety shot #3 is the "duh" shot of this hole and exchanges much of the skill for raw power and probability, but don't write-off this approach as it can be quite effective under the right conditions. This shot utilizes the same fairway as the Cow but instead of fading to the left, this shot is thrown at full power flat at the treeline well to the right of the basket. With any luck the shot will break through the treeline or at least part of it leaving an approach which is likely somewhat technical through trees but mostly OB free. When the odds strike you well, you can be looking at a wide open putt from 30-70'; when they don't, you'll likely be finding extra strokes without even touching OB.
The awesome thing about this hole is that all of these approaches work and I've used all of them at some point while playing this course. I'll try to throw the Beauty on calm days where I'm feeling confident and relaxed (usually not tournament day). I rarely throw the Cutie but this is probably the most popular choice off the tee for other golfers. The Cow is my go to for tournament situations because I can to relax on the tee shot and I have a forehand that performs the upshot well even under pressure - I rarely bogey with this choice (and also never '2' with this choice) but it saves mental energy during tournaments. I bring the Bull out on days that are really windy or days were I just don't feel confident in my other shots because it minimizes the skill needed and instead relies on probability. To make the Bull work though you have to have strength in converting short technical out shots from the bad lies that this route will often leave you with. I've deuced the hole several times using the Bull so I'll also bring it out in situations where I would like to have a go-for birdie opportunity but can't afford OB such as match play.
Hole 4 - Hole 4 is one of those that really separates the elite pros from the rest. Its not a super technical shot but being able to execute it with a controlled midrange seems to greatly enhance the odds of getting a birdie 3. The hole is a moderate downhill of 421' feet which has a slow right to left turn - perfect for a middle stability roc or similar disc. Directly behind the quick green and basket is a straight drop into the river - so long floaty putts beware. Not having good control of midrange discs I feel like I have a huge disadvantage here compared to others - I get some birdies but much lower % than others. This is a hole that challenges every skill level for birdie.
Hole 5 - The concept behind this par 4 hole is fairly simple. You throw a steep uphill shot through a small window to land on top of the hill and then usually have 200-260 feet for your approach shot. After you are on top of the hill, you need to throw a left to right working shot which catches on the downward sloping hill where the basket is. There is OB to the left and beyond the basket but this rarely comes into play because of disc grabbing tress. What may not be so straightforward at first is the importance of every inch you can get off the tee. Shots that land on the incline of the hill (not all the way up) are nearly impossible to convert for 3 - the distance just too long and the runup too uphill to get an approach to the basket and even when you do throw the upshot far enough from here, a driver is unlikely to stick on the hill anywhere near the basket. If you can view any part of the basket on your second shot you are at a huge advantage and of course, the slower disc you can throw on the approach, the better your chances for 3.
Hole 6 - This is another pretty straightforward hole which employs a classic dual fairway and a steep (10 or so foot) drop off behind the basket which is perched on the edge of a large protruding rock wall. The most obvious route is a simple putter shot down the center which the player will either try to land at the basket or just bounce over the rock on which the basket is perched for a short but extremely uphill putt. There are a few trees to navigate and this route is relatively easy - the hard part is not throwing too short, setting up a really risky putt, or too long in which case it is easy to fly 50-70 feet past the basket. The other choice is to throw the left fairway with a sidearm or lefty backhand. This fairway is not as clean and technically slightly more demanding but offers a clear advantage in that you usually don't have to worry about flying too far or too short of the pin. Offsetting this advantage is that when you execute properly, you will almost always have a 15-25 foot putt which is uphill, sideways, or just plain dangerous. This is another hole which offers some pretty cool strategic tradeoffs and allows players to think about their personal strengths.
Hole 7 - This is one of the classic and probably most talked about hole on the course and at an even 975 feet, its also the longest. It is a true par 5 although huge arms can get down for a putt at 3. From the tee, it's a straight gut shot that has to clear a slightly elevated riverbank at about 225 feet. Trees evenly line both sides of the fairway and restrict the ceiling slightly as well. 30 feet after the river bank the hole opens up into a treeless field which is flat in elevation change but bumpy - so rollers don't work particularly well. The emotional result of this setup is an intimidating tunnel of trees with a clear visual of the target/success. I find that when I'm thinking about the relief I'll feel when I make the field, the drive is likely to fail. I succeed when my mind can just "sit" with the anxiety of the drive and focus on the shot rather than the hoped for result (perhaps this is just me). After you break into the field, the hole is really formality only - if you can throw a clean 400-450 on the second drive, you are pretty much home free for an easy putter or short sidearm to the basket and a birdie 4. Long hyzer approaches to this pin are made more difficult because of perfectly situated low-hanging branches to the right side of the basket; hyzer approaches must be low and strong. There is an OB creek behind this basket as well but usually does not come into play unless someone throws very long or a lefty skips quite hard and long.
Hole 8 - This is a tricky little shot which has a river running down the entire left side of the fairway. At about 291 feet, it is not particularly long but any error here tends to end in penalty strokes as righties tend to almost exclusively kick off left into the river. The hole does offer three choices off the tee, each of which have tradeoffs in terms of resulting lies and OB strokes. The only route which really offers consistent chances at birdie is the main window which runs parallel to the river. It's a high turnover roc, aviar, or driver that must maintain a left to right finish - any left finishing shot is likely river bound because of the skippiness of the fairway and the downhill slope towards the river. The second, somewhat more safe option is a hyzer line which runs to the right of the second tree on the right from the tee - this shot looks pretty ugly and tight but can offer easy pars with the occasional 30 footer for birdie. Kicks here usually stay in bounds and leave only marginally technical upshots for par thus mitigating some of this hole's danger. The really safe route is one tree to the right of the route just described. Its even tighter than the first route and plays almost out into the field on the right side of the fairway. Choosing this line pretty much abandons all hope for birdie in exchange for a pretty much guaranteed par if you have ability to make a somewhat technical upshot through trees.
Hole 9 - Hole 9 is a short uphill punch up a tight tree-lined hill. At 210' feet, its not very long but you will likely be throwing a driver or midrange as the hill prevents shots from going too far past the basket and clubbing down offers little benefit. There isn't too much to think about on this shot, if you hit one of the obvious gaps, you will have a putt, if not, hitting early trees often results in a difficult uphill approach with poor footing. The other really interesting thing about this hole is what happens after you drive - you hike straight up the hill. For those who aren't in triathlon shape the walk up the hill to the basket will likely leave you a bit out of breath and/or may tax the quads a bit leaving you with a much different body sensation while you are putting. I've noticed that there is a huge advantage in being CTP on this hole in terms of putting as you get to compose your self and relax before it is time to putt out - get up there quick and then take your full time to prepare yourself. Those who have to get up the hill and quickly putt out first often leave putts short probably due to diminished leg drive or general fatigue. Its not a big hill, but it is big enough to make a difference.
Hole 10 - Hole 10 is one of the classic holes that makes HH so great. This par 4 measures 804 feet in length with a tree-lined creek running perpendicular to the fairway, completely dividing tee from basket. The creek is located approximately 500 feet from the tee, which is an open downhill bomb to a narrowing triangle of land which is created by two converging creeks (the one running perpendicular to the fairway and another running parallel down the right side of the fairway).
On the tee you have to choose to layup short of the creek or try to cross it based on the distance you throw, the wind conditions, and your tolerance for risk. Getting across the creek on the drive is not easy to be sure. I would estimate that to cross it, you would have to make the equivalent of a 450' flat level throw AND make the opening between the trees which line the banks of the creek. The opening is large enough at around 100' wide but hitting it cleanly is complicated by the downhill nature of the shot and the frequent winds on this open hill. Any shot that flips over in the wind and doesn't come back is either OB across the creek to the right or is in such a position as to demand a huge turnover over the treetops which fades right for the entire length of the shot. Shots that hyzer out to hard either run into the trees lining the creek, the creek itself, or land so far left of the opening that a back hand throw to the basket is impossible. Players who have hyzered too far and are trying to throw over or around the trees from the left of the opening face a nearly impossible challenge unless they have a very long flex sidearm or a Schwebby-like thumber which MAY be able to get up over the high stand of trees. I don't think I've ever seen a birdie 3 from a player anywhere on the left side of the opening who did not have a clear sightline to the basket. If you went for and made the opposite side of the creek (I've only ever seen 3 players make this shot in competitive scenarios), you have a relatively open turnover shot of less than 300 feet which should be easy to convert for a birdie. Because of all the danger involved on the drive and the low probability of clearing the creek, most players opt to purposely lay up short of the creek bed in a large flat field at the bottom of the hill. From here, the birdie is difficult but doable with a controlled turnover driver or a long flexing sidearm.
Hole 11 - Along with 17, this is my least favorite hole on the course even though I usually score well here. There is just not that much to this shot other than managing wind and distance. The hole is a hard left-to-right shot around a stand of trees. The basket is set about 20 feet in front of a creek and the green is rather fast so the OB creek comes into play frequently. There are two main options: turnover putter, midrange or an overstable sidearm. For newer players this is a great hole to learn about how wind can and should dictate shot selection off the tee. When there is headwind on this hole, the backhand turnover is preferred because it will pan slowly around the corner and will fall quickly at the end before the stream behind the basket. When the wind is from behind (or if the wind is coming in from the left side across the open field), the sidearm will yield an easy 2 if you have the distance; the backhand in this situations is less effective as the disc will fall quickly and will not fade right as far as is needed.
Hole 12 - Hole 12 is one of the most evil disc golf holes I've ever encountered. Normal scores here can range from 3-8 or more. This hole is notorious for ruining otherwise great rounds; I know I'm always breathing a sigh of relief at the next tee with a 3 or sometimes, even a 4.
The fairway itself off the tee is lined by OB barb wire fence about 10' to the left and an OB creek which runs the entire length of the fairway on the right side - again about 10'. The OB and trees on either side of the fairway create a tunnel for about the first 180-200 feet. After about 220 feet, the tunnel runs into thick pencil trees and the fairway turns slightly right - its at about this point most players want to land their drive. Assuming you've made it there, its another 80-90 feet up a small rocky hill to the basket.
The real danger of this hole is just how many ways you can find OB here. Hitting any of the trees on either side with any velocity usually results in a kick into the creek or beyond the fence. Likewise, anything that skips is likely to find edge and end in trouble - a sidearm off the tee here looks really enticing the first couple times you play the course but the probability of skips or rolls into the creek makes this shot extremely difficult to score well with over the long term. From up on top near the basket, it is not uncommon to see rollaways that end up down in the creek either so be sure to land your approach shots and putts flat.
Off the tee, you pretty much have three options. The most common option is a slow left to right turning midrange or putter which, if executed, leaves an easy three opportunity. You try to land this shot at the base of the hill that leads up to the basket. The second option is to throw a driver on a high, tight flex line and try for the extremely rare birdie. It almost goes without saying that if you throw high for the birdie, any tree hit is going to net you some 'p's' on your scorecard. The third option which is becoming more and more available is a short hyzer directly over the creek bed off the right corner of the teepad. This hole never used to be there, but over the two years that I played the course, seemed to be opening up more and more. The shot here isn't hard, but it has to get a little lucky to make it back to the fairway. Any tree/branch is going to send you to the creek and because you started your shot OB, your best option will likely be to retee throwing three.
Hole 13 - Hole 13 is one of the most straightforward holes on the course. It's a really short 228 foot tunnel shot with the basket dead ahead at the end of the tunnel. Not much strategy or route options here, just grab a putter or a mid and thread the needle being sure to not throw long because a large creek runs about 20' behind the basket. Better get the two here because it is really the last good opportunity of the round.
Hole 14 - Hole 14 shoots out of a short tunnel of trees into an open field and then to a basket tucked about 50' back into a moderately wooded tree line. The fairway slopes downhill from right to left and there is a moderate elevation gain from tee to basket which is a bit deceiving. Another thing to consider on this hole is an OB barbed wire fence which extends perpendicular to the fairway about 15-20' beyond the pin. I find the distance a bit awkward because although the hole itself is only 435 feet, its uphill and requires more distance than I could throw. My best shots at full power landed right at or a few feet short of the tree line which left putts which were really too long to have much of a chance for birdie. Instead, I often play one of the two layup drives which work well for this hole. These two options are just characterized by whether they end up on the right side (higher) of the fairway or the left (lower) side of the fairway. From the left side of the fairway, most players throw a straight or turnover putter shot anywhere from 90'-180' through the obvious window through the tree line. It's probably the most popular way to play this hole but there is a real possibility of landing OB either by hyzering out on the approach, hitting a tree and kicking left, or throwing too far. In my opinion, the second layup option from the right side of the fairway is superior if you have a sidearm which you are confident in. The drive itself isn't any harder or different with the exception that you finish straight instead of hyzering down the hill. From there, it's a short sidearm skip shot through the trees to the pin. The main benefits of this shot is that it is much harder to go OB on the approach. First, you are approaching perpendicular to OB rather than parallel so kicks are unlikely to go OB and for the same reason, hyzering out doesn't result in OB either. Throwing too far becomes the only real potential for OB. The main tradeoff for this shot is that you usually have to throw through a smaller window than the approach from the left side, but to me it still seems well worth it.
This is a hole which will probably benefit from new, high speed disc technology. As drivers can be thrown further, LHBH throwers especially will be able to throw a long flex shot to the pin. As it is now, there isn't much to scare you from just gripping and ripping something right at the pin unless you are prone to shank, in which case you'll probably miss the window off the tee and be in a world of hurt. If you can bomb it with some degree of accuracy, that option would probably outweigh either of the layup shots on most days.
Hole 15 - One of the best holes on the course; a true par four hole with the drive/approach through a rolling, open field. The left side of the hole is bordered by an OB fence and the right side of the fairway is bordered by a treeline which narrows the fairway the closer you get to the natural 'dogleg' turn. At about 350', there is a 25' wide opening in the trees which leads down a large dropoff to the basket which is straight ahead another 250' and bordered on the right by an OB creek.
This is another one of those holes that seems easy on paper but in reality is only very rarely birdied. The first part of the fairway is through a wide open field with an OB fence which runs down the entire length of the fairway starting about 10' to the left of the tee. By far the most obvious way to play this hole for the RHBH player is to throw a 300-350' layup drive which lands somewhere near the mouth of the opening of the dogleg turn. The only trick here is that, in general, the closer you can be to the OB fence and the closer you can be to the mouth of the dogleg, the better your odds for birdie 3. On the other hand, shots that miss to the left go OB and shots that are close to the opening but off line have virtually no legitimate chance of making the straight approach shot because of the odd angle. It's a true risk reward scenario - trying to make it closer to the ideal landing zone are more difficult but more likely to be rewarded while drives which are safer or shorter are somewhat more difficult to convert for birdie. This hole really goads people into trying to land right at the mouth even though it may be beyond the player's skill level to execute a high percentage of the time. For the vast majority of players (including myself) the wiser shot is to try to land in more comfortable 40-90' range from the opening and leave yourself some options for the approach shot, which is quite difficult.
Assuming you have landed somewhere near the intended landing zone, you now have an arrow straight approach shot straight down the hill to a fast skippy green and with thick trees on either side of the fairway. To add to the complications, the hill slopes sharply upwards on the left side which means many shots that hyzer out too much at the finish will end up rolling down the hill into the creek which lines the entire right hand side of the green and fairway. Bad tree kicks and shots which fade right will also likely end up OB (remember, throwing downhill requires an extra bit of disc stability than throwing level).
As a side note: there are some pro players who will play this hole like the "bull" (see hole #3) and basically just pound a hard drive somewhere near the opening and hope for a good kick. It may or may not be effective, I've never really tried as it just seems too far and random to be worthwhile. For lefty's you may want to try a big bombing hyzer that enters the treeline to the left of the dogleg opening and filters down. Again, I don't know many lefties who throw quite that far and so don't know how this shot plays out over multiple rounds.
Hole 16 - This par 4 always seems a bit out of place to me because in my opinion it lacks a lot of the strategy present on the other par 4 holes here; but what this hole lacks in strategy it makes up for in its technical demands. The hole itself basically runs straight down the center of a long spine of hill for the first 300' and then drops off gradually to a flat pocket where the basket is located. On either side of the fairway, there is a moderate dropoff and along both sides of the whole fairway there are loads of thin trees. A creek runs behind the basket and is especially in play for righties whose drives or approaches hyzer off down the hill. The one component that will make you successful on this hole is the ability to finish somewhere towards the center of the fairway. Even the best of drives will still likely have to contend with thick trees on the approach shot., but being high on the hill and within sight of the basket will offer a huge advantage.
Hole 17 - This is a hole definitely designed for the elite pros. At 400 feet, its not that long but for the large majority of players, a three should be considered a birdie. From the tee, you have to throw through a tight, low ceiling window out into an open field. A thick treeline runs down the length of the left side of the fairway with the right side being completely open. At the end of the treeline on the left, the basket is set on the rise of a hill about 15' or so above the tee. If you have the ability and distance, it is possible to throw straight down the treeline and hyzer off towards the pin. Increases in disc technology will/has probably brought this hole "in range" for many more players. For the rest of us mortals, a good shot will clear through the window and BE ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE FAIRWAY. Much easier said than done, not because it is a tough shot, but because your gut will tell you to just throw straight and long. If you hyzer out and land anywhere on the left side of the fairway, you are pretty much guaranteed a four because of the angle your approach shot needs to take. The best option is to sacrifice a bit of distance and leave yourself a nice open hyzer to the pin.
Hole 18 - A great finishing hole which is losing some of its luster due to high speed discs. At 693' it is a long par 4 but plays shorter due to the downhill tee shot. This hole is almost completely wide open and treeless with an OB creek which runs the entire length of the right side of the fairway, narrowing as it approaches the pin. An OB fence runs the left side of the fairway but is usually not in play unless you really shank one. The challenge on this hole is a large hill which splits the fairway and a basket location which is hidden behind the hill until you are within about 100'. The drive is a big downhill bomb on which most players try to land somewhere on the right side of the fairway, close to the creek. From there it is a big hyzer around the side of the hill to the pin. Throw this hole with a Teebird, Eagle, or other fairway driver and you get an appreciation for its design. A Boss or Destroyer, and its just getting too easy to score a birdie 3 - in my opinion, unfortunately, a tee change or basket change is already due to keep this hole relevant.
Cons: Skill level - My opinion is that this course plays great for the high-silver through elite level players, those players at slightly lower skill ranges (<900) might not see large scoring variation or rewards (birdies) for good drives on some of the holes where longer drives are needed to set up birdie opportunities. For example, if you can't throw around 320', it will likely be difficult to score birdie on a hole like #5 where an uphill drive of this length and an upshot of around this length is needed. Scoring variation for a player like this will probably be very low with the vast majority of scores being 4.
Navigation - Because the tees are all marked with painted rocks, it can be difficult to find the next tee. The course flows logically in most places but finding tees like 1, 3, 8, 10, 16 might prove challenging for first-timers
Safety - When the rivers are high, the bridges here often get washed out. I know there are lots of volunteers who are building new bridges, but be ready to balance on logs, rocks, etc. to cross in some places.
Another safety note: Despite what the course owner will tell you, the cows CAN be aggressive (during calving season is when I have noticed it). I have had them full out charge a group of us to the point where we had to run and dive under a barb wire fence.
Poop - Yup, there's cow poop out there and your disc just landed in a fresh one. It'll happen, bring a towel...
It could be worse - There are sometimes dead and decaying cows out there, which are much less pleasant to extract discs from.
Other Thoughts: Almost 2 years ago, this course permanently became a full 27 holes. I've kept this review to the original 18 because I know them best and didn't want to have to add more to the novel that has already been written here. To summarize, most of these holes complement the course very nicely and offer some great challenges. On the other hand, there are also a couple of filler holes in this new 9 which don't add much in my opinion.
Watch out for the 'melty' cows, they're nothin but trouble!
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