A Perfect Harmony
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Harmon Hills is one of the most memorable, enjoyable and greatest courses I've ever had the pleasure to play. Even with all the accolades it receives within the disc golf world, because of its relatively remote location, it really feels like a hidden gem.
- This course has a tremendous, challenging layout to it. With 16 par 4s and one par 5, compared to only 10 par 3s, this course is designed for the multi-shot hole format. A solid tee shot on the par 4s puts you in excellent position for birdie putts, while a poor tee shot can still be salvaged with solid recovery shots. I got so accustomed to the par 4 trend that many of the par 3s felt tougher because everything rested on the tee shot.
- This challenging, par 4 style of disc golf was such a refreshing change of pace from the par-54 (18 hole) emphasis. This style of disc golf allows the non-big throwers (present company included) a chance to still see birdie putts, even on challenging holes.
- Within the first three holes, I could tell this course was going to be one of the most special I've played. The next 24 confirmed that notion, FYI. Hole #1 is a fun start to the round, a dogleg right, downhill shot to an opening through the trees. This hole presents a birdie chance, while at least offering a solid, simple par 3 start to the round.
- Hole #3 might have been my favorite hole on the course, or at least one of my favorites. I could nominate several others as well. This is a 505 foot, par 4, that starts open, gets wooded part way through, doglegs slightly left, over a slight dip, back up to the basket. Again, the beauty of being a par 4 is that a great second shot can cover up for a poor tee shot. Would have liked to make a birdie here, settled instead for a solid par 4.
- This course is so spectacular throughout that so many great holes get lost in the shuffle. I thought hole #4 was great. I really liked #6. The same for #5, 9, 10, 12, 14, 17, 19, 20, 23, 24 & 26. On many above average courses - say in the 3.0 - 3.5 range - any of these holes could be the course's signature hole, or at least one of the best two or three. At Harmon Hills, one of these holes is only the 13th best on this course. How is that possible???
- Scenic, scenic, scenic. Peaceful, peaceful, peaceful. Isolated, isolated, isolated. This land is nothing but disc golf. In the 2 ½ hours I was playing, I only faintly heard one airplane. I heard more tractors than that. Even if you're taking a beating on the course, the walk alone seems like something out of a nature preserve. Now, it might not be that way for a weekend tourney with people camping out, but it still can't be that bad.
- I love having 3 distinct 9-hole loops. In my book, the front 9 is the easiest (relatively) and most scenic; the middle 9 is the most grueling (uphills and downhill layouts) with the trickiest set of pin placements; and the final 9 is the wooded, rocky stretch that puts the most emphasis on accurate tee shots. For people who play this course on a frequent basis, it'd be fun picking two of the three layouts for different 18 hole looks to shorten round times. For anyone making the drive here, play the entire 27 hole layout. Better yet. Play it twice.
- The upkeep here is amazing. I had the pleasure of meeting Aaron, one of the two owners. He and Kyle (the other owner) do an amazing job keeping this entire course in impeccable condition. At points, this looks like you really could be on a ball-golf course, the maintenance is that good. It makes you wonder if two guys can do this much work maintaining a course of this magnitude (granted, some other volunteers help some, but these guys do the majority of the work), how can any local disc golf clubs complain about maintaining their courses because they only have 6, 10, 20, etc. volunteers?
Cons: I'll throw out the only two true somewhat arbitrary 'issues' I could spot with this course.
- Having better tee signs would be a huge plus. For a first time player, I had to walk many fairways to spot where the basket was located. After a while, I gave up and choose to just play the hole blind, aiming for the middle of the fairway. Tee signs with maps would save my legs, which would have come in handy on the final 9.
- Maybe this is due to the course's abundance of excellence, but I felt this course lacked one true, killer/signature hole. The average hole length is 421 feet, with the longest 'only' being 646 - #27, the only par 5 on the course. With the hole length being so long, it was slightly surprising that there are only six holes longer than 500 feet. Or, that's just a testament to this course's overall consistency.
- This was my biggest issue while playing, but it had nothing to do with the course itself, rather the 'players' themselves. For such an elite-level course, it was disgusting to see that people would litter on this course. Yes, having more trash cans would be nice. Still, if you can't respect the course, and Aaron and Kyle's property, you don't deserve the privilege of playing here. If I were one of those guys, and I saw you littering on my property, you'd be gone and not welcomed back.
Other Thoughts: Harmon Hills is an amazing testament to the life and memory of the course's founder, Jerry Harmon. For the impact he had on the game throughout the Southeast, building this masterpiece is his enduring legacy. I also want to make sure Aaron and Kyle receive the proper acknowledgement for keeping this course thriving. The story of this course's life is special, and it made me appreciate playing here that much more.
- I'll mention one other hole as being special. #20 is a 403 foot, wooded, dogleg left that starts out downhill to a gulley and heads back to an uphill pin placement. This one ends up being only a par 3, but it still takes one amazing drive or two solid shots to get a 3, or better. This is a very fun layout, and probably does the best job using the mix of woods and elevation on the final 9.
- Baseball Reference's website has a section where you can who one player compares most similarly to. For example, at this stage in their careers, the three players who are Mike Trout's closest comparisons are Mickey Mantle, Frank Robinson and Hank Aaron, all three Hall of Famers. Throughout my round at Harmon, three courses kept popping in my mind as being most similar: WR Jackson; the classic Bracketts Bluff layout (RIP), and Sugaree. Those courses are all in my top 5 (as of 2015), with none rated lower than 4.5. To me, that might be the course's ultimate compliment.
- I was surprised to learn that this course doesn't get much traffic from the Charlotte area. To my fellow Queen City disc golfers, and others in this area, you're missing out on something special that's relatively close by. We're spoiled in Charlotte, but this takes disc golf to a level that can't even be approached in town. If you loved classic Bracketts, you need to make the drive.
- I feel like I could write a review three times as long, and it still wouldn't do justice to this course. Every kind word and glowing review about this course is absolutely correct.
- This course was consistently spectacular. There wasn't a single bad hole (although #13 was closest to the hole I disliked the most) and there was only one easy par 3 - #16. You can find longer and more challenging courses elsewhere. You'll be very hard pressed to find many courses better than this, especially in the southeast. I've yet to find a better course than Harmon Hills. Thank you Jerry!
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
awesome from the start
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Aaron and Kyle were nice enough to let me sleep in their house when a big storm was coming through. I was planning on camping, but ended up staying inside. It was more than I could've asked for.
The course had some very cool and challenging holes though out all 27.
Some good elevation changes and longer holes make it fun play.
Hole 24 was just awesome. Throwing a blind tee shot over a hill covered in rocks then down a hill upshot with a crater in front of it. You have to see it.
challenging for everyone
accuracy and length are needed
Cons: Tee markers were confusing but the course is pretty straight forward.
Other Thoughts: I have playing disc for about 12 years and this was the BEST experience I could've had. The people who run it are awesome and the course is spectacular. Wish I wasn't about 1000 miles away or I would play it constantly. MUST PLAY!!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Close to heaven
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Hank Williams has a song..."If heaven ain't a lot like Dixie, I don't want to to." You can change this up to..."If disc golf heaven ain't a lot like Harmon, I don't wanna go!"
Even the drive in was sensational. Long winding, twisting roads that climb higher and deeper into the mountain. This just whets the appetite of what is to come. Then you crest the hill and like a magical house rising out of a field, there it is: an old farm house with baskets in the yard. Upon seeing this another of my favorite lines came to mind, this one from Saturday Night Lives 'Wayne's World" - I'm not worthy!
Enough of the praise on to the course...
If you want to be remote, no sounds of traffic, planes or people, you're in the right spot. Harmon Hill is SECLUDED, pack in food or drink 'cause there ain't no close store. And eat before you come 'cause this place is LONG and HILLY and EXHAUSTING! And not just the physical part. Your brain will get a serious work out trying to hit lines that are at times tight and long. And even the open shots take some reading of the land and wind to land to hit the landing zones.
You'll be throwing up and over, down and through, so patience and accuracy is a huge virtue. The woods are for the most part open, but there are sections that can be really dense. An errant shot can have you searching for a while in the thick, green brush. I wouldn't recommend bringing anything green to this course, not unless you are a sadist.
Navigation, for the most part is easy, even for someone who's never been there. A few holes are tricky. It took me a moment to find #7's tee pad (back behind 6's basket) and #12 is kind of hidden, with #18 being where you'd expect #12 to be. 12 is down and to the right, set back in the woods.
And with the holes being really long, for the most part you can't see the basket, sometimes not even on the 2nd drive. If you have a chance to play with someone who's been there, that is a HUGE plus. Plus a spotter can speed up your round tremendously.
There are small signs that give a rough estimation of the hole design, but not much. I found myself throwing in the approximate direction on a lot of holes only to find out I was not real close. I find that there were more for showing if a course went left/right but not much after that.
I believe all the holes had benches which really helped to rest the legs. And you'll want to rest. I was completely gassed after 18 holes (I walked a lot of extra steps figuring out holes and walking back to the tee)
Cons: This is like saying you don't like the blue pin striping on a 'vette, but...I really wasn't fond of the short tee pads. In the early morning dew, even though they looked rough and grippy, they were very far from it. I was afraid to really crush a shot for fear of slipping. And even through I'm relatively short 5'8", I take long strides and had to start off the tee to throw. Might be better playing later in the day.
Also, several holes come close to sharing fairways. I believe 4 & 6, 6&7 along with 10 & 18 come close together. A flipped shot on 4 could nail someone setting up their 2nd shot on 6. 7's drive uses a tough of 6's approach/lading zone, and a hyzered out shot on 10 could nail someone on 18.
Other Thoughts: Because of the tee's and shared landing zones/fairways I had a hard time giving 5 stars. .4.75 would be spot on, but due to this being a private course and gorgeous terrain, I felt I should give the benefit of the doubt and give my first (think it's my first) 5-star rating
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
Near perfect course
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Harmon Hills is easily the best course I've ever, and that includes Idlewild and Hornets Nest. My only regret is that I played it blindly by myself. This especially came into play on the final 9. No baskets are visible from the tee so I found myself teeing off with a putter on every hole and just playing the fairway, next time I intend to go for some of those throws. That being said I was happy with my 102 3 over par. The course forces you to throw every disc and shot in your arsenal. For the amount of land and being a private course it was in great shape. The rough if you missed the fairway was punishing but I feel it should be. Tee pads while short were perfect for me as I dont use a huge run up. As I work in the tri cities a lot this will be my go to course when I'm in the area.
Cons: Only cons I can think of is I had a slight navigation problem on hole 12 as I ended up going up 17s fairway into the woods instead. Also i don't advise playing this course for the first time alone. I did and it really came into play on the final 9. No baskets could be seen from the tees so I found myself teeing off with a putter on every hole just for placement for my second shot. Now that I've played I know I can go for it on some of those holes.
Other Thoughts: Everyone needs to play Harmon Hills at least once in your life. It is as close to a perfectly laid out course as I've ever played. It is the kind of course that will beat your ass but you still enjoy every second of it.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: Harmon Hills gives you everything you could ever want in a disc golf course! Long holes, placement shots, short holes, and it will test every level of your game. The new owners of the course and the property have done an amazing job keeping Jerry's dream alive. The course flows extremell well; every section of 9 holes ends at the parking area/house.
Cons: No real cons at all.
Other Thoughts: If you are ever traveling through East Tennessee Harmon Hills is a must stop!
0 of 7 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Makes my top 3 courses ever played no problem. Plenty of shot diversity during this scenic 27 hole course. Elevation change and well laid out holes make this course very enjoyable to play. Great use of all the old sink holes and rock formations. Met and played with one of the locals which was very beneficial for getting around the course. Thanks Jason Grubb.
Cons: Not really a con but I will say to all the beginners out there with this course on their wish list..... Step your game up before you even try.
Other Thoughts: Putting a sign by the house with a map and course info like " it's ok for anyone to play this private course as long as you respect the property " just so newcomers who aren't as lucky as I was to run into a local feel welcome.
1 of 7 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: My home course is Richmond Hill in Asheville, and I have played roughly 70 courses all over the United States. Harmon Hills is like no course I have played anywhere.
The course is super scenic and creative - you will play throwing over a cornfield and the teebox on two is concrete poured between two huge boulders - the natural beauty of the landscape will present a welcome distraction when the course is trying to shove a fat slice of humble pie in to your face. And you might have to eat that pie because Harmon Hills is a challenging course.
But the course is challenging in a super fun, fair way. I think there where about 3 holes that were aceable - hole 1 and a couple of others. But generally, this course will have you working to get in the basket in three throws with lots of holes requiring two pretty perfect drives to get within putting range. I definitely had a couple of 3s that I was very proud of.
The first 18 holes play over rolling farmland and you will have to the opportunity to crush some drives - a welcome change of pace for me from Richmond Hill where you pretty much never need to throw the long rip. The holes meander in and out of the woods and offer stellar variety and fun factor. Navigation was intuitive, although due ot the length of the holes, you will have to scout out some baskets.
The last 18 holes play through the woods and you will be punished if you can't hit tight, long lines. Hole 27 is an insane horseshoe shaped hole through the woods, and you'll impress me if you can get below a 5.
Play this course if you are anywhere in the area - I shot a 104 and can't wait to go back to improve on that score. Update - went back and shot a 97 and can't wait to play again! The fun factor is immense and I can't recommend highly enough. Oh, and after each set of 9 holes, you end up back at the parking area which is really nice!
Cons: This course will make all of the 'normal' courses seem like pitch and putts.
I feel like I'm nitpicking but a couple of the holes on the last 9 could use signage showing distance.
6 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Great Challenging Dynamic Course
0 Helpful / 12 Not
Pros: Course is in great condition. Could use some new teepads on a few holes, but is a long Champion-style course. Par is 33 on each 9 so you're allowed some par 4s. Great dog course because so few roads around. Very dynamically built as to fit all RHBH and LHBH style throwers.
Cons: Off the beaten path...that's it.
Other Thoughts: Everyone leave behind some donations so they can keep the place looking so great and build another club house!
0 of 12 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: Amazing use of the whole property with elevation changes, rocks, open fairways, tight wooded shots, this course has it all. The course design forces almost every type of shot possible. The land owners are very friendly and welcome anyone. Please remember to leave a donation... There is alot of grass on this course to keep up with.
Cons: Nothing very important here....
Tee signs are a little off so find your basket before you throw.
Alot of high grass and posion ivy.
1 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Harmony in the Hills
16 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Private course featuring some scenic rolling elevation, pits, and rocks while playing in and out and through the woods over 27 holes, 3 loops of 9 holes back to the parking lot / house / practice basket. Phenomenal variety of the types of holes and shaping required. There's some long bomber holes and short technical holes. The navigation was a breeze for the most part and has decent signage and some benches. The fairways were manicured nicely and not much underbrush off the fairways. Primitive camping available.
Cons: Beware rather than con, the concrete tees are quite grippy, and there is poison ivy about the trees.
Other Thoughts: I could play Harmon Hills everyday, it's just a fantastic place! I would actually rate this a 4.75 if I could, the only thing it really lacks in my book is not a fault of the design but the land doesn't provide a truly epic shot near water or have huge elevation, but it gets bumped up to a 5 because it's an awesome private 27 hole course with great vibes!
The front 18 reminds me of some of the holes at the Woodshed and Whipping Post in Paw Paw WV, but Harmon Hills is much gentler in regards to the elevation, length, and fairways.
The back 9 reminds me of the Darkside at the Blockhouse(formerly The Grange) in Spotsylvania VA, but Harmon Hills features better elevation and length with true par 4s and fairways.
This is a course that anyone can play and have a great time. It's not to rough for beginners and there's enough challenge for open players on the same layout. I'm guessing the design is for more intermediates because some of the par 4's seem a bit generous or tweeners for open players. The super gold players might shred the course, but I'm sure they would have a blast!
I detoured my trip to Charlotte away from the I-95 corridor to the I-81 corridor to play Harmon Hills, Black Jack, and Mountain Lake Resort and was not disappointed although it made the rest of the trip seem rather bland in comparison. Highly recommend!
16 of 16 people found this review helpful.
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