Disc Golf Wonderland
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: It starts out with the practice basket. A basket made out of an old tire, and enough chains that make it perfect way to start out the best course. After that, you pass by the donation box, which l think should be full every time you go. You see the teepad short, but grippy, concrete tee pads. The tee signs are rustic looking, but it gives enough information to help you out. The one tee pad per hole makes it a challenge for newer player, but it adds to the unique peacefulness of Harmon Hills. The baskets on the first 18 catch nicely and are always in a great position to make the course the best. All holes are difficult, but fair. I never got lost on my way, I always felt there was a line, even if I missed it. There was a mix of tight wooded and bomber holes, left turns and right turns. I used every disc in my bag and I wish I had more. I would play this course every single day for the rest of my life if I could.
Cons: The back 9 did not have any tee signs, and it could use a little more clearing out. It is quite hilly, so it is harder to walk if you are not able bodied. The lack of directional signs and multiple teepads are a con, but it adds to the aesthetic.
Other Thoughts: This is top ten for a reason. All of the people were great, the scenery was great, the disc golf was great. I cannot complain at all. I had the best disc golf experience of my life. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed my experience. Please bring water and snacks, but bring your trash back to the car. The course loops around after each 9, so it shouldn't be a problem. Everything was perfect for me.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 13 Not
Pros: This is what disc golf should be. Laid back, beautiful setting, just a nice walk in the woods and fields with friends. Thanks to all the folks that make this possible. Slow down and enjoy it's the bomb!
Cons: Some complain about signage but chill and go with the flow. Just poke around it will become clear.
Other Thoughts: If you are ever within 4-5 hours of here you should probably bring a disc or two and play HH!
0 of 13 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 8 Not
Pros: This place has it all except for short easy baskets. Be ready to be tested. This course will challenge you ,and you will love it. the 9th 18th and 27th (19 - 27 are across the street) holes all end near the starting position so it is a very well designed course. The 1st, 10th and 19th holes start near the house. Pack a lunch and enjoy the exercise this course is sprawling.
Cons: Signs could be a little better, but would have to be very detailed to explain the layouts.. Some Tee Pads are a little hard to navigate to for beginners, and a few of the tee pads could be a little longer.
Other Thoughts: Please leave a donation in the mailbox at hole 1 if you go. These folks do a great job of taking care of an amazing private course.
2 of 10 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 12 Not
Pros: Big course. Every shot you could imagine. Wide open field shots, super tight wooded shots, tough course. If you can play this course well, you can play any course well. Probably my favorite course.
Cons: There isn't a brewery onsite. It's a bit out there. But if it did, I might try to live there.
Other Thoughts: Plan on spending some time playing this course. Even if you fly through it, you'll want to stay and play more.
1 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Great stop to stretch the legs!
6 Helpful / 11 Not
Pros: 27 holes of secluded disc golf on private land! Lots of fun challenging holes. Accommodating hosts.
The terrain on this land is simply awesome and what you expect from eastern Tennessee. Plenty of rocks jutting from the ground, ravines throughout the course, and elevation. Both of the ravines I remember were blind from the teepad.
Cons: Some of the teepads were short. Signage was non-existent or if it was there, wasn't really helpful for first time players. Next tee signs would be great on several holes.
All the holes were long which could get boring for lesser skilled players. I remember maybe one hole that was deuce-able.
Other Thoughts: Harmon was a great course and a great stop on our long road trip. Glad we played it in the fall. This course would be brutal with all the foliage on the trees!
6 of 17 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 14 Not
Pros: A great place to play if memory is correct not far off of interstate hwy.A realy nice place for a few guys to make a road trip to.After playing one round you basicly can figure out how to play course.
Cons: I forget things easie nothing comes to mind.Although it is important to play course to understand how to play your tee shot and upshots.
Other Thoughts: Although course is wooded in spots the trees are mature and there is a lot of open spaces between tree trunks. I only played 18 holes I did not play the other 9 holes
0 of 14 people found this review helpful.
19 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Harmon Hills is a premiere disc golf destination and certainly deserves the hype it receives on here. As we made our approach from the country roads onto the property, my excitement grew - nothing better than purely secluded land that is dedicated to and made for disc golf. And, I'd imagine with its remote location and the course being so spread out, that you usually feel like you have the course all to yourself. Just the setting alone is worth experiencing. But let's be honest, you come here to play quality golf. And that's what you get here throughout the entire round.
The greatest quality to HH is its consistency. It offers such a consistently solid and varied round and that says a lot for 27 holes. No two holes were designed similarly and none feel like throw-away holes just to move you along. While the setting maintains a similar feel for the front 18, there is a great variety of looks, shots, and risk factors. You have holes where you have the opportunity to reach the green from the tee (though not easily), like hole 1's downhill shot through trees to a tight pin position among rock outcroppings. You also have multi-staged holes like 3, 6, 12, and 17 that change dimension from tee to the basket; these kind of holes at HH are what really make the course stand out. And with 14 par 4's, 1 par 5, and holes ranging from 177-646', you get a blend of everything in between.
The variety on this course really is amazing. There are plenty of chances to navigate through short, tight holes in the woods, like 5 and 8, as well as numerous opportunities to open up on a wide fairway, like 2, 7, 10, and 18. But really, you have a combination that equals "all of the above" at HH.
Elevation is a huge variable in the course's fun factor with the constant rolling hills. There are too many downhill, uphill, side hill, and across-the-valley shots to count. Add in the many sink holes and some sketchy pin positions (like 7's drop off right behind the basket) and this aspect of your game will be greatly tested. Hole 20 is a fun one that stands out, playing steeply downhill and sharply to the left, almost making a horseshoe. It's fun being able to watch your disc soar down the fairway but it's still very tight and technical with little room for error.
While 1-18 are challenging and IMO the more enjoyable loops, 19-27 offers probably the toughest stretch of holes I've played. It's not like there were too many trees without clearly defined lines either. The holes are nicely carved with purpose out of the thick woods. They just provide some crazy tight and distinct lines, massive sink holes, and long multi-staged holes that require you to hit necessary landing zones. Definitely a stretch of holes you have to experience to understand and play if you love to challenge your game.
For being an enormous private course run by two guys who have other jobs (along with not charging a mandatory fee), the course was in tremendous shape. I was a little worried about the course conditions since we showed up after only a day's notice, but the fairways were freshly mowed.
The course is conveniently set into three 9-hole loops that take you right back to your car. This is definitely a place where rest and refueling is needed throughout the round, plus it gives you the option to play each 9 in the order that you'd like. If I played the course again, I'd probably play the last 9 in the middle of the other two loops.
Again, just a beautiful, peaceful, special piece of land that is dedicated to disc golf.
Cons: Normally I wouldn't mind having simple tee signs - it does add to the rustic charm and I'm not one to knock a course just because it doesn't have John Houck-level tee graphics - but players would benefit in having more descriptive tee signs. We had to do a lot of scouting before we threw. The back 9 would really benefit in just having tee signs. The tees could've been longer in a few cases too with the long, open shots. I understand that this is a private course and these factors hardly took anything away from my experience, just things that could be improved.
With there only being one set of tees, you're forced to tackle head-on the beast that is HH. I think this limits who would enjoy playing here a little bit. I wouldn't bring new players here. While this speaks for the entire course, I'm especially thinking of the last 9.
Other Thoughts: HH's current rating very accurately defines the level that the course is at. I'd give it a 4.75 if I could and I can see how many have given it a 5-disc rating. It wasn't like I was disappointed when I played here, but I also wasn't completely blown away like I have been when playing courses I've given a 5. I didn't feel that there was anything too transcendent about HH, but it does offer a consistently awesome 27 holes. I really enjoyed my round here and it is one of the more memorable disc golf experiences I've had. I just don't quite think it's in that top echelon. Still, I encourage you to head to the hills and play this great course. I really can't see any avid disc golfer not enjoying their time here, regardless of personal taste.
19 of 19 people found this review helpful.
A Perfect Harmony
22 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!
22 of 22 people found this review helpful.
awesome from the start
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Fun to play
The course had some very cool and challenging holes though out all 27
good elevation changes
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: 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. 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!!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: If there's a common theme among Harmon Hills' extensive and varied challenges, it's an emphasis on precision placement. Be it a safe spot within a wooded fairway, a must-hit zone to set up your next shot, or a door step that allows easy (often in air quotes) passage through a gut-clenching window, where your disc lands will never have more impact on your round than at Harmon. The difference between success and failure is often a matter of a few feet, yet the landing zones here remain very fair: they are well-conceived and make excellent use of the terrain's abundant riches. These landing zones come in many forms, entering out of or into the woods, before or across harrowing elevation changes, along fairways or as part of challenging greens. Woodedness is well varied across Harmon's 27 holes, which helps counter the constraints of the emphasis on precision, even though there's still a bit of feeling hemmed in: precision is highly emphasized over distance, and the course is largely unforgiving. The intensive focus on placement lends the golf a wonderfully high level of strategic thinking. Forethought is a must; Harmon's mental game is to be relished.
Hole length is another characteristic mined for variation at Harmon. With an average distance of 421', the course certainly tends towards technical par 4s (16 of the 27 holes are par 4, and there is one additional par 5), but in practice this distance is sensitively implemented with an eye towards changing the pace up. The shorter par 3s provide well-timed relief from the longer par 4s, and there's a qualitative difference between the birdieable par 4s and the longer, more threatening ones. A few longer and challenging par 3s round out what is the virtual spectrum of hole lengths and pars.
The terrain lends some spectacular views and unique conundrums. Unexpected valleys force wary shots on holes such as 12 and 25, trees thwart your approach on 13, 14, and numerous others, and the ever-shifting elevation twists your shots into previously unconceived lines from start to finish. If a course with good shot variety uses every disc in your bag, Harmon's kaleidoscopic assault on your game requires you to add some new ones in.
The course was excellently groomed during my early June visit. Navigation is intuitive on the well-signed front 18, and only minorly less so on the final 9. The three loops of 9 allow you to recharge your batteries with gracious frequency.
My favorite back-to-back holes were 12 and 13: finding a landing zone to safely pass into the valley on 12 is a heckuva fun challenge, and once in you're forced to either play wide to the right and navigate around the numerous small trees or play left along a rough-strewn slope; 13 provides a lovely contrast with a super tight midrange shot fading left downhill into an unseen valley, wherein you have to scratch and claw back uphill in approach of the basket. The variety of terrain and challenges found in these two holes is Harmon at its best.
Cons: Harmon's emphasis on precision landing zones and tight windows is a bit undermined by its numerous blind shots. There are a lot of these, and they do add a bit of luck to how the course plays. You can't always set up your next shot as much as the abundant obstacles seem to suggest you should, owing to the fact that many landing zones and next stages are unseen. In the aforementioned 13 for example, hitting the already tight lane to the landing zone isn't enough to ensure a safe approach. With such precision required and so many unique lines, it'd be nice to see where you were throwing to more often.
Despite the immense variety of tree cover between holes, I think Harmon would be helped by even one or two more open holes. Even in instances where there's a lot of space to maneuver, tight windows or precarious elevation really reign in your shot. In general I vastly prefer technicality of the sort Harmon offers, but with such significantly varied tree cover it seems a shame to not have one or two opportunities to let your disc fly with impunity. 10 might have scratched this itch if not for the inadequate tee pad.
Speaking of which: some of the tees are short enough to or bordered by drop offs that will impact your run up. It's not the norm, but it does happen, and it's noticeable in instances where precision at longer distances is required.
The back 9 is less easy to navigate than the front 18 owing to a lack of signage. It wasn't terrible, but we found ourselves scouting ahead a lot just to find where we were headed.
This back 9 is an immensely unique and immensely difficult set of holes: it is the first stretch of 9 I've ever played whose collective challenge began to undermine my ability to appreciate it. It's a very unforgiving stretch of especially tight lines and abundant obstacles that offers little room to calibrate risk versus reward: the holes are largely one lane, see it and attempt it type shots. In retrospect this 9 has some of the most memorable holes of the course, with a manipulation of the inherent elevation that surpasses that already expert and dramatic usage on the front 18, but the challenge factor is seriously through the roof. It wouldn't be a bad idea to play these as your second 9, after you've warmed up on the first 9 but have yet to be ground up by 18 already-tough holes.
Other Thoughts: Harmon is a heck of a course on some bountiful disc golf land that begs to be visited. The challenge factor is real here, so be advised.
Harmon struck me as the spiritual sibling to West Virginia's Woodshed and Whippin' Post courses, which are also private, sit on similar terrain, and offer unique, outsized challenges. If you've played and loved one of these, consider this a mandate to play the other.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
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