A Perfect Harmony
20 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!
20 of 20 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.
14 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.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
Close to heaven
16 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
16 of 16 people found this review helpful.
great terrian and private course
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: PRIVATE course located on terrific scenic land. Being private, no other park activities get in your way such as joggers, playgrounds, picnics or dog walkers. Very secluded and simply peaceful.
This TN landscape included rolling hills, woods, sink holes, rocks, open fields and tons of elevation all around. I can't think of one flat hole.The variety of shots required; downhill, uphill, open, tight, right or left.
The unusually high number of par 4's throughout the course, I love throwing a driver twice on a hole.
(or were they hard par 3's for this grand master aged player?)
Hi-lites for me:
#1 - might be the best hole on the course.
#3 - great par 4 that's partially open, then downhill and wooded and ends up slightly uphill.
#4 - elevated tee shot.
#6 - great downhill right to left tee shot down towards a valley which leads to an uphill drive to get to the basket.
#9 - another great par 4 looping back to the start.
#10 - bombs away tee shot, it looked intimidating to someone who rarely throws 300' but I got my par 4 with a well placed 3rd shot.
#12 - tough par 4 that I didn't play well but once saw the line where you should play, it's great.
#14 - loved this right to left hyzer hole, simply beautiful!
#15 - tunnel tee shot over lower terrain which leads to uphill wooded location.
#16 - token birdie shot.
#18 - another great par 4 hole leading back to the start.
Cons: No map or scorecard was available during a weekday when I played between 11a-3p.
Short cement pads.
No water came into play.
A few next tee signs would help first timers.
#17 basket was hard for me to find over the ridge and much longer than I thought.
#9 and #10 seemed to share part of their fairways.
The third nine located across the street 19-27 were unmarked...no tee signs with the distance or numbers on the baskets. One hole 25(?) was insanely difficult left to right with huge elevations thru the woods and included larger sink holes than the other ones. I probably wouldn't play this nine again with the top notch other 18 across the street.
Other Thoughts: The back nine was mowed better than the front but
since it's private, I can't imagine the work ever being done. Please use the donation box!
I played this course solo while losing my map after 6 holes. It's a great challenge and deserves it's many accolades.However, I can't give it a 5 star rating with the cons I listed. Hope I don't bring down it's overall rating with a 4.5. I did add Harmon as one of my favorites.
I'm rated below 900 and shot a decent 34 on the front, a bad 37 on the back and worn out tired as hell 43 on the last nine.
This course is not easy and can wear you out, I took a 30 min break after each nine.
Being in a rather remote location, my Verizon cell service was sporadic.
Bring food, water and bug spray with you, there is no commerce nearby even back at the highway exit.
I look forward to returning someday and meeting the locals who maintain this special course.
11 of 11 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.
Best Course for hundreds of miles!
14 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Being in the DGCR top 10, I had high hopes for this course when I made my first stop to play. It didn't let me down entirely, however it had a few minor stumbling blocks I'll explain later. Overall though, easily the best course anywhere close to East Tenn/WNC.
First off, this course is long and demanding. If you're playing the full 27 for the first time, or even repeat, you'll need close to 3 hours to finish. I appreciated the challenge but a newbie could be demoralized by it.
The front nine had more of the memorable shots on the course, including hole 1 which was one of my favorites. I didn't have to walk the front nine twice to see the shots, which was nice being the first time I played the course. There was an even mixture of right/left shots on the front 9 with plenty of elevation change to boot. Most shots are formed with both the tee and the basket in wooded alcoves and the fairway being open. I thought that front nine was the easiest of the 3 9-holers, but it wasn't a pushover. You'll need precise drives to make it out into the open where your disc will hopefully fly for days.
The second 9 holes felt a little more open from the start at hole 10. I liked this 9-hole run a little less than the first, mostly because some of the holes felt contrived. Hole 11 simply felt like a connector hole to get to hole 12, which was a sweet shot! 11 did break up the pace of long drives leading to more long drives, however, so that was nice. Many people seem to like hole 17, I however did not. It was difficult for sure, but I didn't feel like you had a legitimate first shot to get you to the fairway. It felt too closed off from the tee, requiring too much luck that doesn't become a course of this caliber. No matter though, hole 18 makes up for it once you reach the fairway and see the beauty of the basket resting just past the tree on the hill.
The final 9 holes were certainly the hardest on the course. Every single shot was tight and wooded, some were also very long with elevation. Unlike the front 18, you won't be able to open up back here, and you'll likely need to walk many holes before throwing as they are blind shots in the woods. If you lose a disc at Harmon Hills, it will likely be back here. The final hole left a bad taste in my mouth for some reason but I'm sure others really enjoy it. My favorite part of the final 9 was hole 25 (If I remember correctly) which was an up and down rocky dogleg right that felt like it was out of Lord of the Rings. I know this kind of rocky atmosphere is also present at Morristown Kiwanas and Warriors Path nearby.
There were also plenty of benches to rest while playing this long course, which is an obvious plus.
Cons: The tee pads are a little short, especially for some of those shots that require you to turn it up a notch on the front 18. I understand the budgetary concerns of putting in a course like this on private land though.
There isn't any water in play...This is probably the main reason I can't award this course anything higher than a 4.5. I can't honestly say a course has everything it needs to be perfect without the fear of losing a disc to a splash zone.
The tee signs were minimal, but again, I understand this is a privately maintained course so funding extremely nice amenities isn't easy.
There was a few times where navigation became a slight issue, but that was mainly on the final 9 holes, which still seemed kinda roughed in at the time I went. I'm sure signs will be added in the near future to help with this.
A minor comment about the cleanliness of the place. I know when I played it was sort of in a transitional period between owners, however there was a fair amount of trash and general upkeep that needed to be taken care of. The day I played the fairways were not as manicured as I've heard mention that they typically are. Knowing that this was during the ownership transition I tried not to let it effect my rating.
Other Thoughts: Definitely worth stopping to play if you're driving on 81 and even making a special trip to play. Keep in mind that the course is in the middle of nowhere. I didn't have any cell service and navigating back out of the place wasn't easy without it. Coming prepared with written directions wouldn't be a bad idea.
14 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Join Disc Golf Course Review
for free to add your review. Have an account already? Sign In
to add a review.