Makings of something special
10 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Highland Hills is a good course with untapped potential for greatness. The holes with elevation offer fun, challenge, and general greatness. It's the other parts of the course that need to play catch up.
- You get a sense of the quality of the course as soon as you get out of your car. Hole #1 tees off from the parking lot (unless you're playing the short tees) and plays to a downhill wooded basket. As with many holes, there's a definite risk/reward factor on this hole, but there's also a bit of the luck factor - hills = potential rolling shots.
- Great wooded, elevated course overall. Very good natural beauty, especially on the front 9. I also like how the Yadkin River comes into play on #2, 4 & 5.
- #7 might offer the most natural beauty of any hole I've played. Amazing view of the water, hills, woods standing on the tee pad. I was skeptical about the hole after reading about the fairway was the creek, but they pull it off. This hole wouldn't work if it were longer, but it's set up perfect the way it is.
- Great tee signs. If they're not the best I've seen, definitely in the top handful. I haven't seen (or can't remember) ever seeing tee signs even mark where they are in relationship to the tees. Very, very helpful, especially on the holes where the three tees are spread out.
- I was a big fan of the bright orange baskets. They were very easy to spot, which is always a huge plus on wooded holes.
- Course is easy to navigate. When you're standing at the baskets on many holes, you can easily see the next holes tees.
- Lots of work and effort has gone into amenities. The warning sign and ropes on #4 are a good safety precaution. Lots of benches. Good specific OB signs on certain holes. I like how they explain what's OB and where to re-throw from. Also, the "welcome disc golfers" and "come back soon" along the park road are a nice touch.
- I've never seen a course have an honor system for loaner discs. Granted they're written all over and couldn't get sold anywhere, it's a great way to reach out to newbies.
Cons: I had such high hopes for the course, and even though it was mostly great, there were a few glaring problems that couldn't be overlooked. I hope, and feel, all of the problems are due to the course being so new, and still in the "work in progress" phase.
- Too many holes are uninspiring, short, and feel too cramped. Here's why it was frustrating. Based on the rusting, ancient playground equipment and one basketball goal in the parking lot, I'm guessing the park isn't used for much other than disc golf. That said, some holes could be lengthened, toughened and spread out. The problem area was #8 - 13, with the exception of #10. All of these holes were a combination of flat, short, relatively straight and/or relatively challenge free.
- #18 simply needs to be removed. I know this course has 20 holes, but if you don't play the extra 2, you need something better than this to close with.
- A little more TLC throughout the course. Some hills and paths could use more steps. I played 2 days after it rained and had an interesting time navigating some of trails up and down hills.
Other Thoughts: Highland really felt a lot like Glenn C. Hilton in Hickory, with a little bit of Timmons (Greenville, SC) mixed in. This course has more elevation to work with, and could one day be just as good, or better than Hilton, if it's utilized.
- I thought it was interesting they offer an alternative loop to the first six holes. On the tee for #6, there's a sign directing you back to #3 if you're playing the alternative loop. As slippery as the steps to #3 can be, and after reading other reviews, maybe this alternate loop should be the real loop.
- Others may disagree with me, and I'm sure I'll get enough thumbs downs, but I think the negatives that were listed above are actually good problems. I don't expect the problems to go away overnight, but it's a realistic expectation that over the next several years the club will see what works and doesn't work on the course, and how some holes could be improved. I expect this course to look very different several years down the road.
- This course has all the makings of a hidden gem. Just down settle for good, when greatness is possible. Based on the several filler holes, I'm "only" giving it a 3.0. With a little more work, a 4.0 or higher seems very realistic. Still, everyone in the area should be checking this place out.
10 of 12 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - The people responsible for putting this course in the ground (and maintaining it) deserve plaudits. Fast greens, crazy elevation, raised pin positions, water, great risk/reward, and awesome amenities are brought together in a secluded and lovely park.
- Outstanding use of elevation throughout. Perhaps the best I've seen in terms of squeezing out every last thrill from the awesome land available to the designers. Risk/reward is maximized on almost every green. The landing zones often are miniscule, yet always fair. Aggressive players that hit their lines will be rewarded with deuce opportunities, but the ever-present risk of rolling away lends a certain legitimacy to a more cautious approach, if executed well. Putting skills are tested throughout, often with unsure or uncomfortable footing due to the elevation.
- Three sets of tees give pretty much each hole three unique looks at the pin. Rarely did the tees add merely distance. One could mix and match their favorite tees on each hole to "customize" a round. With so many different looks and angles, one could play this course a long while before it became old hat.
- Great diversity between hole types, although extremely long holes aren't included. Each hole brings some surprise, from #1's green to the hole with the mando and bamboo wall designed to force a particular shot. #7 actually throws up a small waterfall. Outstanding!
- Spectacular amenities: incredibly descriptive signage throughout the course never leaves doubt as to the location of the 3 sets of pads for each hole, pin positions, mandatories, out-of-bounds, or the direction to the next tee; large bright rubber-coated hooks upon which to hang bags; stairways to ease passage; and perhaps most importantly due to the elevation, benches. Score cards found by #1.
Cons: - I do not consider this a con; however, there are many people who might, so I'll mention the fact that this course will give you a work out. Expect a lot of ups and downs, and if it has recently rained, slippery slopes upon which traction is dicey at best. Nothing is egregiously dangerous though, and the addition of stairs in the worst areas largely mitigates any true problem.
- A lot of old junk can be found lying about in certain spots. Sometimes more interesting than off-putting, actually. Again, not so much of a real con as an off-beat characteristic of the course.
Other Thoughts: - An interesting and charming quirk to this course can be found in the remnants of what appears to be a 1950's park replete with ancient playground equipment in the form of a large metal turtle as well as the eerie ghost-like elephants and horses upon which to ride.
- The park that Highland Hills is located in seemed extremely DG-oriented. It didn't appear as though any other sort of park activity occured. The ancient playground equipment certainly hadn't attracted any children for probably a generation or two, and there wasn't much of a walkable path for people with dogs, at least that I saw.
- This course was played before the addition of the 19th and 20th hole, so this review reflects the old 18 hole layout.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: This is a great course. You have the option to play from 3 different sets of tee pads. The scenery through out the whole course is beautiful. The bright yellow and orange baskets are very easy to spot. Best signs, nice man made bridges, and a bench on every hole.
Cons: It can be a little slick on holes 3 and 4, especially after a rain. Shoes with good traction is highly suggested.
Other Thoughts: This course is great because it offers some relaxed holes, and some more challenging holes. I would recommend this course to anybody.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 2 Not
Manly Man Disc Golf
Pros: Best par 54 course I've ever played. Beautiful scenery, terrific elevation, clever hole design that never seemed repetitive, the works. You've got 3 sets of tees and the long tees aren't just the regular tees except farther back, they actually give separate lines. You've got to navigate slopes and hillsides, creeks, valleys, and avoid a river and some designated OB (road mostly).
The course plays mostly in the woods, with downhill bombs, across valleys aka hillside to hillside, and along valleys, creeks, and slopes. Not really any "uphill march of death" holes where you feel like you're trying to scale Mt. Everest. You've got for your discing pleasure a hanging basket (#13), elevated baskets, mandos, a bamboo wall, etc. The baskets themselves are extremely visible, fluorescent orange Disk King's with chartreuse poles. These baskets catch perfectly.
The hole variety is great, no two holes seem the same. Big hyzers/anhyzers, hyzer-flips, flicks, OH and any other tricks up your sleeve can be called upon. The only playing variable that's not really present is length, all the holes are honest par 3's, no long 4's or 5's. It's basically a pitch and putt for mountain men.
Amenities: Top notch. Bench on every hole, bag hangers everywhere, a bathroom at the shelter, tee signs are ridiculously helpful, next tee arrows keep you from wasting precious energy looking for tees. They've even got loaner discs to borrow @ hole #1, don't be a cad and return them b/c they operate on the honor system. Not much for the rest of the family to do, there's a couple of sad playgrounds that look like they're from the 1950s (I felt like I was at one of the model towns they used for nuclear bomb tests out in the desert), a short basketball goal (~9' tall) and that's it except for nature to look at.
Cons: Update: See Other Thoughts.
Fat guy advisory: Course is a workout if you eat as much as you disc. It's not terribly hard or exerting if you play flawlessly and stay on the fairway but it's very easy to get treejected down the hillside.
The course is not super hard but feels that way thanks to 2 things: Elevation and natural tees. The long, steep walking you do b/w holes and retrieving discs wears you slap out. The white tees were pretty playable but a few of the blue tees were just spots on the hillside to throw from, impossible to x-step. Some steps cut into the trails up and down the steeper hills would be a welcome addition.
Be careful on the slopes, much of it is soft dirt and gives away easily. While the course is very well maintained, it's easy to throw or have a disc roll into a brush pile of felled trees and briers on a few holes, removal of these would be perfect.
Hole #8 is the only dumb hole, it smacks of a filler hole. There's no line all the way to the basket, it's a mando enforced L-shaped hyzer through several skinny trees. You also have to cross hole #6's fairway to go to #3, though it shouldn't be a safety hazard unless Stevie Wonder is teeing off on hole #6, drunk. Also, I question the necessity of the blue mando on the bamboo hole.
These little green plants that grow all over the place smell kind of musky, almost like body odor.
Some of the holes have some leftover garbage (80's beer bottles, tires, etc) from when apparently there was nothing to do in the park but toss some junk away.
Other Thoughts: Update: Why now a 4.0? Haven't seen much progress in the tee department and nature is trying to reclaim the fairways. On a positive note, the steep fairway on #4 now has a zig zag trail cut into it. Some branches could use some trimming as well but it's still similar to the butt-kicking I got at Renny but actually fun and a heck of a lot prettier to look at. You could argue that there are no holes over water, not enough open holes, and no long, par 4's or 5's and you'd be right but I didn't miss them, not one bit. Every hole had a bit of clever to them, the terrain/obstacles were never monotonous and it's as pretty of a course in a public park (a park where only DG'ers seem to inhabit, mind you) as you can get.
Fave/signature hole: Probably #1 b/c it sets the tone, both in fun factor and in challenge. It's a downhill bomb that makes you contemplate the best line. Hole #7 is also gorgeous, a short but sweet hole along a mountain creek. The river is nice too, but you can definitely toss a disc into it, as my brother found out.
14 of 16 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Need that ace!
Pros: This course is a wonderful, overall course. Most complain about the treacherous walking but if you aren't dumb and you take your time you will have fun and enjoy the hike on this course. That is one of my favorite things about this course; the hike. The scenery is great and now that it is spring time things are looking even better. This course is full of potential ace shots. Getting my first ace on hole 7 a week ago, I am looking forward for other ace runs on many of the other holes. The baskets are amazing here, along with the hooks to hold the bags and the man made bridges are a must!
Cons: Some of the holes do not complement this course. Hole 18 is a terrible way to end a round. An ace is possible (as with almost any hole) but I think 18 takes the fun away from the rest of the course. I don't know if it is other players but i'm getting tired of finding beer bottles and trash being left in the park and out on the course.
Other Thoughts: Aside from the few cons that I listed this course is awesome to play. I have played this course over 20 times and with each time out I keep getting better. Hope you enjoy!
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Many challenging holes that require the use of a variety of throws. Many holes that are possible to ace. I threw it in the basket on 18, but the chains did not hold it and it barely fell out. Other holes I have hit the basket on multiple times. Great scenery along the way and the benches along the tee boxes is a nice accommodation as well. The hooks on the tree are also nice as well as the bright color choice used for the baskets. Red, white and blue tees allows for a variety of tee-shot options. Already has a hole #19 and it appears hole #20 is in progress already.
Cons: The first few times I played this course, the hills and all the climbs wore me out; but since I have played it over a dozen times now, I am use to it and the Big Hairy Route also makes play easier. Hole #5 along the river needs some of the orange plastic fencing put up along the left side of it to prevent discs rolling into the river.
Other Thoughts: Wish people would stop bringing alcohol and marijuana out onto the course. I get tired of seeing beer bottles/caps every where and marijuana defiantly has no place out there. Respect others and do that stuff on your own property if you are going to do it.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Hunting for Birdies
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Beautiful wooded course. Nice mix of holes. Relatively short if anything. Some tight, technical tee shots. Great use of elevation changes. Not too many level holes out there, which is using the terrain well. Some nice mix of risk and reward on plenty of holes. You could make your fair share of birdies but you can also have the errant bogey or worse. Good ace runs. Baskets are nice. Easy to spot in the woods, which becomes a problem at some courses. Three tees, all of which provide a unique look at the hole. I prefer the whites, which I've played basically every time. From the reds, the entire course is nearly ace runs. It would be a great starting place for beginners and others to improve their game and then move back, however. The blues provide a good challenge, though you can find a couple tees that are much more appealing from the blues and open up certain holes.
Cons: While the terrain isn't so treacherous to me personally in terms of being able to physically walk the course, be careful when it's muddy. The hill between 3 and 4 can be slippery. They've attempted to make some paths for walking but the angle is quite steep. Number 10 can also get a bit tricky once you get up toward the basket. The mando on 8 is somewhat of a crapshoot. From the whites you're forced well right of any path to the basket. At best, it's a forced layup, approach shot, and par putt. I also see 16 as the finishing hole. It's signature material. Sadly, 18 is a short swinger that isn't much of a pleasure to finish on.
Update: A better path is now on #4 along with a rope to grab. Makes things much easier.
Other Thoughts: For the most part, this course is filled with great holes. There is the possibility of shooting a low round if you play your shots right. Definitely several holes that can pose a threat. I enjoy it because it does bring most shots out of my bag and there are plenty of birdies and ace runs to be had. You just have to keep it in the fairway and near the basket to do so.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Love the terrain
Pros: I really enjoyed the course... Best Signage, nicest baskets, best benches, well made stairs and bridges over rough terrain.
Some of the holes have terrain that made watching the disk fly a thing of beauty ... or frustration. I'm sure you know what I mean.
Cons: The only problem was that it was a little muddy, making some of the hillsides rather treacherous when recovering some disks from where the trees decided to send them.
Other Thoughts: I'm an old fart, and it was a challenge for me, but for the younger guys it was perfect.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This course has it all doglegs straight tunnel shots wide open holes plenty of ace opportunites.
- very hilly and may suprise you when you go after you look at the hole lengths.
-alot of casual water which is great cause it can be kind of hard to avoid it.
-bag hooks and great tee signs on every hole
-a great work out
Cons: Very hilly and wooded but that just adds to the challenge.
Other Thoughts: Great course you should come out and check it out because it will be worth your while no matter what swoop disc says.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: excellent scenery, skill building course, long shots, as well as ace runs
Cons: wooded, somewhat hilly
Other Thoughts: this course is brilliant, I can finally avoid a 30 minute drive just to play dg (i live in wilkes), this course has everything
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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