3 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.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Mr. Sias Means Business
5 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.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Great, but needs a little tweaking to be awesome
0 Helpful / 1 Not
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 1 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: -Great elevation to throw from.
-Well maintained park.
-Fairways were mowed when I was there.
-Nice variation of distances on the holes.
-Has legitimate par 4s, and par 5s.
Cons: No cons really other than a map of the hole on each sign would be nice.
Other Thoughts: This is the longest course in WV. It WILL test your game and hiking. Bring plenty of water and time. A must play course for any serious golfer.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Wild AND Wonderful
1 Helpful / 0 Not
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 / 1 Not
Pros: - This course has every type of drive needed. A lot of the holes are very long and require a long shot or 2.
- The baskets are great and have the black strip around the top to know you are on the black course.
- This course uses its elevation changes amazingly. There are uphill shots and a ton of downhill shots which are great.
- Hole #18
Cons: - Tee boxes are ok. Made of asphalt but some is chipping away.
- Tough to find the first hole because the Black Course's first hole is the same as the Yellow Course's second hole.
Other Thoughts: The final shot on 18 is awesome. You are literally throwing off of a mountain to a basket that is 1008' away. It is impossible to only throw once from up there. The pictures barely do it justice. The park is nice having the 2 courses to play on.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Black is a GrandVue Indeed!
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Championship level 18 hole course with single boxed gravel tees and black banded Discatcher baskets. Phenomenal use of the elevation and terrain and OB. Excellent variety of pars, from ace runs to par 5s. The Yellow Course offers something for beginners and is a nice warm up for the Black Course and there are plans for 3 more courses in the park! Restrooms and pro shop. Zip lines! Cabin rentals. Lots of wildlife, even saw an albino deer. What a Grand Vue from the top of the mountain over looking the town!
Cons: -WARNING- the Black Course is an extremely difficult course which we only recommend for the highly skilled golfer.
The boxed gravel tees aren't that great, but they didn't bother me. Moderate potential to lose a disc either into the abyss over a cliff or tall grass areas in the summer. Plays over and around park roads on a few holes, but I doubt it's much issue since traffic is very low volume here. With all the deer, there's lot's of poo, but whatever, look at the view around you and not at the ground.
Other Thoughts: The Black Course is a difficult and challenging course that should be played only by low-handicap golfers. The course is for walkers only and its slope rating is one of the highest in the northeast. Anyone who has played will tell you it is a true test of golf skill and physical endurance. This is one of the latest courses designed by master golf course architect Johnny Sias, and is said by many to be his finest work.
The elevation and length are used to the extreme as it's a mostly open course. Don't let that fool you though, as there are a couple heavily wooded holes, and the open holes have treacherous slopes and OB galore. Many of the baskets on the open holes are tucked into woods making the drive more important to setup an easier approach to the basket which is most likely on an insane slope. If your disc goes right of the fairway on hole 9, it's gone into the abyss baby! It falls off a couple hundred vertical feet just a few feet from the basket, and you can't even see the ground!
If you are serious about disc golf, you should play here. I would love to see a NT tourney here with all the top pros. It would be awesome if it could be included in the Worlds at Pittsburgh, but it's probably just too far. The locals I played with were all great guys and golfers! Thank you Paul aka DiscGolfFarm for the tour! I was still dreaming about the course the entire 5 hr drive home. I can't wait to come back and hopefully the other 3 courses will get approved.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Good mix of a few short holes with plenty of opportunities to really unload some serious drives.
Cons: Signs weren't great. they told you where to start from, but not very specific about where the baskets were. especially on some holes where you cant see the hole
Other Thoughts: hole 18 was a lot of fun to basically throw off of the top of a mountain
1 of 4 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.
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