11 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Have you ever judged a book by its cover? I certainly have. I had heard a lot about the Black Course before I decided to veer off the highway and make a trek to the course. I decided to play the Yellow Course first to get all warmed up and then walked over to the first hole of the Black course, which shares a hole with the Yellow Course. I was confused....this hole is on the Black Course? Like, the Black Course that I have heard is as hard as walking up the slopes of Mt Doom Black Course?
Yes, yes it was. I began to judge the book by its cover. Holes 2 and 3 were harder but pretty open so I still was confused. I had gone 2 3 2 up to that point and so I was feeling good about myself. I began thinking to myself, "What's the course record?"
MISTAKE. Hole 4 goes into the woods and shows its black, charred teeth. Any thoughts of comparing this course to the Yellow Course (a 3500 foot course) go out the window. Easy? Hole 4 was a winding par 4 through the woods that spit me out and gave me a 5. Was it fair? Yes. I birdied hole 5 and tasted the sweetness of a deuce. It was the last time I would taste that number for the day. I had 16 2's at the Yellow Course (who's counting?) so Moundsville, WV decided I had enough.
Hole 6 was another winding par 4 with some tough rough. It was a fair hole and I took another 5. Hole 7 was easy but I found myself unable to throw it fair enough up the hill. Its only 188 feet but my putter didn't have enough in the wind that day.
Whatever...I figured hole 8 would give me a chance at redemption. No. Redemption would not come. Hole 8 was a marvelous, downhill MONSTER. Rough to the right? Check. OB to the left? Check? Massive downhill drive? Check. Tough green? Check?
I caught my breath enough to look at hole 9 and say, I should deuce this hole. It was a neat hole with a cool green (turnover hole). It was only 228 feet but I was still exhausted from hole 8 and didn't get the deuce. Holes 10 through 12 were some nice holes with HARD written all over it. Hard has nothing on hole 13 though, especially when it was 25 MPH wind IN YOUR face. This hole is actually pretty much wide open but 848 feet is 848 feet. Into the wind? I am pretty sure I threw three straight destroyers as hard as I could and somehow made a 4.
Once again they teased you with a short hole as 14 was a wide open fairway with a brutally difficult green to access. There actually wasn't a huge gap to get to the green but it was an interesting hole. Its best for a RH flick shot (low skip at the end). 15 and 16 were more of the same....LONG, HARD and mostly open with enough obstacles to not make it boring. 17 was a breath of fresh air, but unfortunately I was so hot and wind exhausted (try playing this course in 20 MPH winds) that I misjudged how uphill this hole was and didn't make a deuce. But as Gandalf said in the Return of the King...."Its the deep breath before the plunge."
And by plunge I mean hole 18. Wow. That is all I can say about this hole. 1000 feet? Check. Massive downhill driving opportunities? Check. Amazing views of the mountains? Check. Sweet view of some random red barn? Check. Being able to see the basket from 2/10's of a mile away? Check. Throwing a MASSIVELY overstable destroyer into a 30MPH headwind on a vertical hyzer angle and not having the disc go left? Check. Getting down to my drive and having no wind after climbing down the mountain and then throwing a 500 foot destroyer over the woods to the right and fading back inside the circle to make an eagle 3? Priceless.
Cons: Not a lot of cons but here are mine:
1) For being such an epic course the course had a few dud holes. Hole 7 seemed better fitted for the Yellow Course, as did hole 1. Hole 1 is actually part of the Yellow Course and it maybe should have just stayed there. It was kind of nice to have a few easy holes but the Black Course was designed to be an eternal beast and it would have been nice to keep it that way.
2) The tees were not up to the standards of what a championship level course should be. If the tees were concrete I would immediately raise this course to a 4.5. The tees also need to be a lit longer.
3) The back nine was brutal. Brutal as in "I want to go home I am not having any fun" brutal. It was so epic in the distance and if you play on a windy day...well....its tough. Actually, its beyond tough in the wind. Make sure to have overstable plastic if you play in the wind. Its not unfair but its just not a ton of fun. Since there's only one set of tees there are no options for easy. If you want easy go play the Yellow Course. Do not subject yourself to the Black Course if you can't handle hard.
4) The back nine does not offer a lot of protection from the sun. It literally BAKED my body. I felt like I was walking on the plains of Mordor and the great eye of Sauron was shining on me and trying to force me to melt into the ground. Be prepared to sweat. Bring lots of water. Bring lembas bread, wrapped in sweet green leaves. I ran out of water on hole 12 and it was not pretty when I found myself panting on 17.
Other Thoughts: This course, paired together with the Yellow Course, makes for a great adventure. The Yellow Course is so easy and short that it makes the Black Course feel like 20,000 feet. Its not, but bring your A game. Don't play the Black Course expecting to have fun. Play the Black Course expecting to say....I survived.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Mr. Sias Means Business
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The Black Course is big - over 9,000'! the longest course in West Virginia! - but don't let that fool you into thinking it gets by on sheer spectacle. There's a lot of nuance here, and some particularly great usage of elevation and OB that make for a fantastic and challenging round.
Variation is abundant, with some tightly wooded par 3s that can turn from birdie to bogie in the blink of an eye, but The Black Course's bread and butter is its monstrous par 4s and 5s. Many of these are relatively lightly wooded, but use their constituent obstacles extremely well, forcing a specific angle off the tee or requiring good placement to have an advantageous second shot. The elevation on many of these holes further constrains your options, as does OB, often found on the RHBH-unfriendly lefthand side of the fairway, and rough, which is an effective deterrent that isn't overly thick. Big arms will find rarely-encountered opportunities to carve huge lines here, but even us mere mortals can appreciate the placement-challenging and hazard-rich golf. I've never played a course built to such proportions. These massive holes lodge themselves in your mind's eye, be it 8's scarily tight downhill shot, 10's hillside lined with disc-snatching trees, 13's gradually sloping fairway with a big drop off, or 18's spectacular downhill bomb that requires good placement and decent distance. The Black Course's big but technical air is really unique.
Navigation is pretty transparent, thankfully helped by consistent signage. The course was extremely well groomed on my visit. The raised gravel tees aren't perfect, but they get the job done; I rarely thought about them, which is a good thing. Parking is plentiful, bathrooms are available, and the course is easy to find within the park itself.
Cons: The Black Course has a few duds, such as 7. These occur almost uniformly when the course steps outside its comfort zone of the long open par 4s and 5s. The effort to break things up is very welcome, as the back 9 can get very grueling - holes 8 to 18 only have three holes under 488 feet! - but it's not always successful, unfortunately. While the variety is good here, the course flow and occasional throwaways could be improved. The course presently leans a bit too heavily on its standout long holes.
Speaking of which, the grind is a real thing on this course: it's long, the elevation is significant, and there are a lot of open stretches where the sun can beat down on you. Come prepared for a hike, and to stay hydrated: water is only found at the course's beginning and end.
With only one set of tees, The Black Course doesn't provide any beginner-friendly options, although it's understandable that a course built around length and par 4s and 5s wouldn't want to compromise. The result though is a course that is decidedly newbie-unfriendly. Players without a lot of distance might also struggle to appreciate The Black Course, though my ~350' arm did fine. Beginners at least have The Yellow Course on site.
The road comes into play a lot: you're throwing over or along it at many points. Traffic isn't hopping out here but it wasn't desolate when I visited, either; I had to wait for a vehicle to pass on several occasions. On holes with extreme elevation such as 18, it's important to make sure the coast is clear before you go throwing, as the wind and long way down can cause a disc to fly unexpectedly (take it from me).
The tees could be a bit longer in a few spots, and having them level with the ground would have welcomely allowed for longer run ups on many of The Black Course's distance driver tee shots. That said, they got the job done.
Other Thoughts: Park officials seem to be proud of this course, and with good reason. I had the opportunity to chat with someone who works at the park, and they were both knowledgeable and enthused about the course in particular and the sport in general. That investment shows, as this course is a standout, and really unique. They also said that there are plans to put in a new course lying somewhere in between Black's challenges and Yellow's casualness. Just one more reason among many to return!
I hope the West Virginia disc golf community is making a push to host World's: The Black Course, Orange Crush, and Seth Burton would make for one heck of a tournament.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 2 Not
Great, but needs a little tweaking to be awesome
Pros: There are lots of really fun holes with major elevation changes. There seemed to be tons of other stuff to do at the park, including a massive zip line course. The layout makes great use of the land. The only lame hole was #1, but after that it's all good.
Cons: The teepads could use some improvement as they are currently blacktop which is falling apart and lumpy. Also, they are kinda small/short.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Wild AND Wonderful
Pros: The Black Course presents a unique challenge with some massive elevation changes and very long holes. The course is spread throughout a huge, superbly maintained park that has a ton of activities available. The park consists of two disc golf courses, a ball golf course, a high-ropes course with zip lines, and has a dozen or so newer cabins that you can stay in. This really is a property where you can spend the entire weekend.
The course offers many nice amenities with benches and trash cans throughout, three different sets of rest rooms, very nice course maps and scorecards, and discs for sale at the main office. The Yellow Course starts at the same spot and is a good warm-up.
A ton of thought and effort have been put in to make the course the best it can be. The fairways have been freshly mowed and the rough trimmed every time I've been here and there are landscaped greens around most of the pins to add to the aestheticism. The tee pads are now longer and smooth (which is a big upgrade from before). Black DISCatchers have flags on top, which is very helpful in spotting them from a distance. Multiple signs pointing to the next hole make navigation easy.
Best of both worlds in that it is located on secluded, scenic property rather than your typical city park setting, but has the upkeep to rival the best maintained public parks out there. It's pretty awesome when you first drive into the park, a kind of other-worldly feeling.
This course is a beast, with a lot of risk/reward due to the fast elevation changes and several very long holes. There is a great variety in hole length - ranging from 178-1,008 feet -and pars with 4 par 4's and 7 par 5's. There is also a great mix of open holes with vast elevation changes and tight holes in the woods. My favorite holes on the course come from both of these kinds of holes, from 5, 6, and 9's tight lines, to 13 and 18's wide open shots with massive elevation changes. Using the road as O.B. also makes some of the more straight forward bomb shots more interesting like on holes 8 and 16.
Did I mention the elevation yet? It is used in so many great ways, whether it is by throwing straight up steep hills on 7 and 17, playing on side-sloping hills on 3, 10, 13, and 15, or launching down enormous hills on 8 and 18. This is one of the finest course designs using elevation that I have played. There are not many real death putts here other than the huge drop-off behind 9's basket, but fast greens will challenge your approach game on many holes.
Cons: -There aren't really any major detractors on this course. Mostly, the cons of this course are based upon my personal preference of course design and some are a little nitpicky. No huge negatives here, more just a reflection of the type of golf I enjoy.
- I would have liked to hit more specific lines on some of the long shots instead of playing on so many wide open holes.
-To continue along the same lines, a few holes are pretty bland. I think the reason I feel this way is that, again, at least half the holes on this course are for the most part wide open. The elevation presents a great challenge for the open holes, but I would have liked to have had more specific line options to choose from.
-Some holes play dangerously close to or across park roads. Believe it or not, this park gets busy in the summer with cars constantly passing through. Not a big deal, just play carefully when the park gets busy.
-This is a hiking man's course with a lot of long walks and elevation. Not a con in my eyes but may be for some. This course can be brutal in the hot weather so bring a lot of water, more than you usually would.
-The course is in somewhat of an inconvenient location. You most likely will be traveling a out of your way to get here, depending on what direction you're coming from. Roads are a little rough and windy. Nothing that should stop you from coming here, just something to keep in mind.
-Holes 1 and 2 share tee pads with holes 2 and 3 of the Yellow Course
-It'd be nice to have a pictured layout of the holes on the tee sign, especially for the longer holes.
Other Thoughts: This is a terrific course that I would encourage any golfer to play, as long as they don't mind the hike. It is a unique experience that will challenge your long game and cause you to battle fast elevation changes. I think that it is worth going out of one's way to play because there is no other course like it, at least that I have seen. It has great design using the park's woodenness and elevation, just too many straight-forward holes for me to bump its rating up any higher. With the Yellow Course also on site, Grandvue Park truly offers the player a satisfying day of disc golf. Come enjoy some of WV's finest golf!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: just a great fricken course!! had a blast with a couple of buddies, didnt have any trouble finding where to go on the course. Awesome use of the beautiful west virginia hills, truely a sight.
Cons: tee pads were a little different than im used to. with wood border and gravel in the middle my buddy almost twisted his ankle.
Other Thoughts: i would have given this course a better score if it had concrete pads. other than that there is nothing to complain about from my standing
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: (This is for the Black Course)
- Lots of long holes. (seemed like 4-5 holes were 500ft+ ...Great for big arms.)
- Great scenery!
- Nice course flow, didn't have to refer to map too often.
- There are 2 courses here. A shorter Yellow Course, all the baskets have yellow tops. And the Black Course which plays quite long 9000'+ I believe, and is amazing.
- Lots of other things to do here.
Cons: - Figuring out where to start your first time is confusing. Thankfully there was a Park Office that had brouchures, maps, scorecards, etc...
- Too far away from me :P
- Bog mud on hole...5? I think the narrow shot through the woods.
- Bring water you'll need it, lots of elevation changes lots of walking on slanted hill sides.
Other Thoughts: Great destination course! They had zip lines installed all over the park, looks like it would be a blast to try that out.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
The Black Monster
Pros: 1. The course has MAJOR WOW factor! Punishingly long holes with major room for errant floating throws.
2. Very unique disc golf experience that pure West Virginia mountainside signature
3. Very clear Black topped Innova baskets with long flags on top for the Black course (Yellow topped baskets mark the yellow course).
4. Fairways are mowed and signage is decent.
5. The park is amazing in and of itself and tons of room for more holes or even another 18 holes. There is already 36 holes between the yellow and black.
6. Bathrooms are nice in the park (closed bathrooms at hole #1) and benches at each hole were a welcome rest.
Cons: 1. Tee Boxes are small (4x8ft). They have been extended with another box but the extension is a distraction and you can trip over it.
2. Until the construction of the new zip lines is finished, part of the course(between 3-4) is a bit dicey) This should be finished soon.
3. The low brush outside the fairways is very challenging to find discs. Even though is it low to the ground, it is thick and eats discs.
4. Windy days could be disastrous on this course
Other Thoughts: Driving into the park was a welcome surprise. Being from out of town, the residential area prior to the park was slightly concerning. The park however opens up into a true beauty with a very safe feeling throughout the park.
I can't underestimate the size of this course. Over 9000 ft in length. This is huge with 5 holes over 500 ft, 2 more over 700 ft, 1 more over 800 ft and the grand fanale Hole #18 over 1000ft. Reaching #2 basket, you get to see the tee box of hole #18 which makes you drool with excitement that you will finish your day with that monster downhill 1000 footer. It is however a VERY physically challenging course up and down the hilly West Virginia terrain.
The course is a good mix of tightly wooded holes which force you to be VERY accurate to wide open bomb shots that runaway turned over drives can find you miles away from where you want to be.
The tee boxes are a real problem. They were originally constructed 4ft x 8ft which were way too short so they extended them by another 4 ft but there is the wood box around the extension which gets in your way. I found this to be a big distraction during tee off.
Signage was decent but if it weren't for the kindness of a great man named Craig who works there, I would have definitely struggled through the first few holes. At tee #1, there is a mailbox with the nicest scorecards I have ever seen on a DG course. The Black course maps were out but then I met Craig who went and got one for me.
I was amazed at how many throws that barely left the fairway became a wild hunt due to the thickness of the low brush/ground cover around the course. While I didn't lose any discs during this round, I thought I was going to lose about 5 but just as I about gave up, it would appear. Keep you eye on errant throws as what seems like it would be easy to find, may not be so easy.
This course has potential for being professional caliber. Being fairly new and the interest seems to be growing in this area, I see only great things to come for the ongoing development of this course and the rest of the park in general. They are currently installing amazing Zipline towers which look like a blast. While the multiple wide open bomb shot holes can get a little repetitive, Hole #18 IS WORTH the entire trip. If it doesn't make you drool with excitement, check your pulse, you might be dead.
Make the trip. It's well worth it. This is a very unique disc golfing experience.
Thank you Craig for your help and guidance to this out of towner while I was there.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Be consumed by The Monster
Pros: When driving to a course I've never played & finding the road morph into an exclusive park entrance as it narrows and traverses a steep, winding incline, my eagerness builds anticipating a potential monster ready to consume all who dare enter its realm.
And The Black Course is certainly monstrous with over 9,000ft of length, mammoth elevation changes, brutal wind to contend with, fast greens with severe roll away probability and deep gullies with thick rough/woods that slope and gulp up errant throws. Add in the sheer physical challenge of climbing up and down the hillsides and at times it was more reminiscent of survival than disc golf.
The course is primarily open and the first two holes provide an immediate and lasting impression of what's in store. The first tee behind the barn is a deceptive short ace run but be cautious as once the disc clears the structure, the wind will wreak havoc on the flight path & coupled with the left side's drop off (which is part of 18's fairway) it's a risky endeavor especially for a RHBH thrower. #2 while mostly open continues with the drop off/18's fairway on the left but adds a few trees to navigate leading to a parking lot/road with a precipitous hill to ascend culminating in a super fast roll away green. With the wind raging and swirling causing the disc to dance erratically, it's every bit of a par 5 - even though just over 500ft in length, it plays more like 700ft.
Continuing on the front 9, I really enjoyed the holes either in or in between the woods (#'s 4, 5 6 & 9) as they offered some reprieve from the open/wind holes and presented a more technical dynamic which for the most part is lacking here.
#7's little 188ft transition hole once again plays longer than advertised as it's another uphill toss which leads to the epic downhill of #8's 818ft par 4. However this is no mere huck and chuck hole. With the parking lot on the left, thick sloping woods on the right, the ever present wind & finishing with a basket surrounded by woods on a fast green, the slightest mistake could easily cost a player multiple strokes & should be a sufficient deterrent to blindly hurl your disc. Definitely a stand-out/signature hole that will entice multiple drives off the tee for the sheer joy of watching discs descend.
Holes 10 & 11 play along an open, sloping hillside and while the tee to basket elevation change may be minimal, the deep gullies in between are vast and wayward discs will be gobbled up and sent deep into the chasm's depths.
Holes 12, 13, 15 & 16 play on, along and at the bottom of the hillside intersected by the parking lot near the back of the park. These are all mainly open, big arm holes with a cumulative length of 2,037 ft. (three of the four being over 700+ ft.) and echo the familiar theme of the previous holes - deep drop offs, wind, gullies and roll aways throughout. There's some relief in a couple shorter holes with the little downhill anhyzer of #14's tree jailed pin and #17's uphill drive across the OOB parking lot/road.
If your arm is still attached and total physical exhaustion has yet to take its toll, the blockbuster finishing hole awaits - a 1,000ft bomb from the top of the hill, over the parking lot to an open meadow below. The entire left side after the parking lot, which borders holes 2 & 1's fairways, is OOB which adds some challenge to an otherwise fantastically fun-filled hole. Top of the world ending holes astound & this one doesn't dissapoint.
The park was gorgeous, secluded & very well maintained (as was the course). There were unlocked restrooms by the barn/first tee, scorecards/maps available, a pro shop on site (closed when I was there) and very little pedestrian traffic or other park goers to speak of - which, considering the fantastic setting, surprised me.
Additionally, the tees appeared to be in near to newly constructed condition - some of which had much needed benches nearby. Navigation was fairly easy with a map along with the next tee indications and while arduous, the course has a reasonable flow.
While I did not play it, there's a pitch/putt course on site (The Yellow Course) for practice/warm up.
Cons: Keep in mind that many of the below statements are more of a 'be aware of' rather than a 'con' in my book:
Some of the tees were odd. For example the wood bordered, large gravel based tee appeared to be regulation size but in front of and attached to the tee box (where someone may do a run up - especially on such a long course) there was another 'tee' with the same large graveled surface but about 1/3 the size. While I did not experience any problems with the tees, they appeared to be a potential safety issue and I was perplexed as to why they would be constructed in such a manner (perhaps not finished?).
There were several sets of holes that played similarly but specifically 12, 13, 15 & 16 used the same general area(s) and had a repetitive feel. I kept thinking how nice it would have been to use some of the elevation for downhill or pitched drives into & utilizing the woods which border the bottom of the hillside. This may have added a more interesting dynamic as the excessive length & re-occurring themes of these holes just felt redundant and overstated.
The physical punishment of having to walk up/down these hillsides can be quite taxing on the body (similar to a ski area course). I can imagine in the summertime baking in the heat as most of the course is exposed to the elements. Hiking shoes and plenty of provisions are recommended.
The lack of technicality, wooded holes and water hazards is noticeable but doesn't necessarily detract from course enjoyment.
The wind is treacherous - for example, I threw an over-stable disc RHBH on a sever hyzer angle and the wind stabilized it and turned it over deep into the edge of a gully. You're basically fighting the wind on many of the holes so be forewarned.
Although there were no real conflicts, I wasn't thrilled about throwing over/around roads & parking lots, near walking paths and near/by contending fairways (1&2 with 18 and 11, 12 & 13 using similar land) - especially considering what the wind here can do to a disc.
I will say the black bands on the basket tops make them more difficult to see. However there were orange flags on a handful of them to aide in spotting.
There was poo all over the place - mostly dog and deer. It's a mess to negotiate in places and watching your step is a must unless you want an excrement reminder emanating from your shoe sole during the round....and possibly beyond.
Other Thoughts: This is a pro caliber course that will test many of the power/endurance facets of your game but at the same time demands consideration in placement, putting and perseverance. Inexperienced players will most likely find this place frustrating and exhausting while more seasoned players....will probably feel similarly but should have the experience & determination to endure.
I was heading west on I-70 out of Pennsylvania, drove the 10-15 min or so off the exit to play here (a 2+ hour course investment for two people) and was able to experience a unique and different style West Virginia disc golf course than the two I played previously. This is just another testament to the amazing disc golf terrain to be found in West Virginia parks and you owe it to yourself to be consumed by the Monster.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
10/12/11 Course Update
Pros: Everything said before.
Cons: Working on getting this list down to nothing but it does take time and patience.
Thank you to the entire GrandVue Park staff for everything y'all have ever done and continue to do for the game of disc golf here in WV. It often goes unsaid how fortunate we are to have such a great opportunity with disc golf and GrandVue Park. Thank you again.
The course is in fantastic condition. The leaves are turning colors and creating sensational views for you to enjoy
as you hike your way around the course. We now have alternate 't' pads on #8 & #18. As for the pads, they have all been extended and are filled with crush and run. If this is not your preferred surface, it is what it is and it's the same for everyone.
Permanent signage is in the works. We do have temporary signage for events and tournaments. Speaking of events, on Nov. 5th, 2011, the Disc Golf Farm will be hosting a tournament on Nov. 5th, 2011. For more information visit www.DiscGolfFarm.com.
I look forward to seeing you on the course!
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Better have a big arm!
Pros: * The holes were challenging, but usually beatable.
* Players are given once in a lifetime views and shots with the long drive holes.
* DISCatcher baskets are brand new and in wonderful shape.
* Holes 6, 11, 14, and 18 were my favorites and 14 and 18 could be considered the highlights, while being very different from one another.
* Smaller course on site for beginners or warming up.
* New main office building with very helpful employees who supplied us with a scorecard and map and housed nice, clean restrooms.
Cons: * Out in the middle of nowhere; there is not a good route to get there.
* Extremely long, bring your big arm for this course.
* Parking lot by hole #1 is not in good shape.
Other Thoughts: I really enjoyed this course. It's 2.5 hours away from home, so I probably won't be playing it much, but it was a lot of fun, even in the poor weather conditions. Hole #18 was awesome, it was fun to play a 1000 foot hole. There were quite a few signature holes and the views on some holes were incredible. It was a great experience and if I am in the area, I will be back again!
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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