Let's Have A Hand For Handyman
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Handyman is clearly the crown jewel of Dayton-area disc golf, and stands as a testament to modern design in an area primarily comprised of older courses. Nearly every hole is memorable in some fashion, either because of the fantastic strategic design or the 8 you carded in a moment of John Daly-esque weakness.
Great design can be found throughout HAH, with holes that require both hyzer and anhyzer shots off the tee, as well as creative approaches that rely heavily on good placement (holes #1, #6, #14, and #18 are some of my favorites). Many holes are par 4's because of strategic difficulty rather than sheer length, which makes for a much more interesting and rewarding experience. Every birdie at Handyman is earned.
Two large and sturdily constructed concrete pads can be found on each tee, along with superior tee signs that are both attractive and informative. Routing could be confusing for first-timers, but visible next tee signs help put players on the right track. Every hole plays to Innova baskets with the potential for multiple basket positions.
In addition to the top-notch amenities, the course is well-maintained and drains well, with occasional mud but nothing that will ruin your shoes.
Cons: While the design of Handyman is the course's greatest strength, it's also HAH's greatest weakness. Disclaimer: although many (if not all) of my complaints were a result of the designers being handcuffed in some capacity, they still negatively affect the course.
There are a couple throwaway holes in #4 and #12, but without them it would be a VERY long walk between the front and back sections of the course. As it stands, some long walks to the next tee remain, but nothing that will leave you in agony or throw you out of a rhythm.
Holes #6-9 (especially the locally infamous #8) feature a "water" hazard that stinks to high heaven, and takes away from the otherwise pleasant woods. Hole #8 requires a not-insignificant carry over the widest part of this smelly creek, and if you throw your disc in the drink you'll have a very difficult time getting it out due to the 18 inches of muck beneath the shallow water. Don't throw a disc you can't afford to lose.
Finally, despite the thoughtful design, I personally feel that the course lacks the aesthetic "wow" factor. Unlike regional favorites Pike Lake and Idlewild, there aren't any breathtaking tee shots that make me pause and admire the natural beauty. As a discer who gives nearly as much consideration to the view as the gameplay, Handyman comes up a bit lacking.
Other Thoughts: Although I gave the course a 4.0, it really feels like a 4.25. Valid but nitpicky items keep HAH from a 4.5, but there's no doubt in my mind that Handyman was created as well as it could possibly be based upon the available land and restrictions placed upon the designers.
Bottom line: this is a SW Ohio must-play, and succeeds admirably as a difficult yet highly enjoyable wooded disc golf experience.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
I got Manhandled by Handyman
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Very challenging course in a clean, well-maintained suburban park, pleasantly free of graffiti when I visited.
Great variety featuring densely wooded holes, varied terrain, and perhaps a couple of holes open enough to provide a break from playing lumberjack. Wonderfully designed to bring all available elements into play; uphill, downhill, over troughs/gulleys, pins on or near slopes or water to increase risk/reward possibilities. Water comes into in play a couple of different ways, as do OB, a mando, and a flat open field.
Fairway shapes run the gamut with left/right doglegs, fairways that hook hard, straight shots, some requiring more complex lines and more than a few blind pin placements. I wouldn't recommend playing solo your first time through. Some holes pretty much force one or two obvious lines. Others offer more choices, but all of them make you choose a strategy and execute off the tee.
Good mix of distances, but the Handyman doesn't offer up easy birdies - they gotta be earned. The Handyman works hard for a living. If you wanna earn his respect, you better work hard, too.
Dual tees offer different looks, lines and levels of challenge in addition to changing distance considerably. The whites were very challenging, often feeling longer than posted distances given the well-wooded nature of many holes - think placement over distance on these. The blues in the woods looked brutal for all but the most skilled players, requiring both distance and finesse - somewhat reminiscent of Nevin in that respect.
About half the holes feature pin placements which rotate from A to B periodically. I'd say the B's were tougher to reach than the A's more often than not.
Seems designer(s) brought the pond into play as best they could on hole 5 given the constraints they had to work with (apparently not allowed to have a hole play over the pond), and the OB created by walk/bike path makes sense and creates additional challenge given that wind can play a factor on that hole. Likewise, the Mando on hole 12 makes sense as well (see cons).
Equipment was in tiptop shape. Tee signs present at both sets of tees; blue markers show the hole in its entirety, with position of whites and both possible pin placements. Whites show both pins, but only white tees. Bright yellow Discatchers look new and are easy to spot anywhere. Concrete tees were in good shape.
Routing/Nav was a bit confusing a few times, but nothing you shouldn't be able to handle with the color scorecard w/map (and pencils) available at the kiosk near the parking lot. Good use of Next Tee signs and the easy to spot tee markers help keep you moving along.
Course is aestheically pleasing with hardwoods, hills, fields and creeks. Several bridges get you across the creek and add a bit of charm and ambience.
Cons: Way more right than there is wrong,but:
I'm all for well-wooded, challenging courses, but I thought some of the wooded holes were a bit unfair at points. I like the idea of making you hit a window off the tee, but hitting a window off the tee limits the trajectories you can put a disc on. It's frustrating to hit your window off the tee, only to run into a pinball machine further down the fairway - maybe I just picked the wrong window.
A sign at the kiosk (next to the parking lot) indicated the pins were in the "B" position. Great idea, except the pins were in position "A." Not a factor in my ratings as this may be a one- time deal, but there's no substitute for spotting the pin yourself.
Hole 12: anything right of the tree line is OB. The mando makes sense (keeps discs out of backyards), but the OB doesn't. Keep in mind that the pin's directly in line with a long, very straight line of pines. If you run at the pin from inbounds (i.e. left of the tree line) and it goes anywhere behind the pin, it's OB, and essentially forces a layup for a lot of upshots unless your drive puts you in position to putt.
I'd have preferred 1 or 2 more open "bomber" holes around the field, if only to privide a more complete, well rounded course.
There's nothing like the thrill of throwing over water. The powers that be may have prevented it, but that doesn't change the fact that it's not present - it merely explains/forgives it. I'm not beating anyone up over it, or blaming the designers for something they couldn't do (kudos for using it as best they could). It doesn't make the course worse, but there's no denying the course would be better if "they suddenly changed their minds." It's just frustrating to see it there and simply walk past it onto the next hole.
Other Thoughts: More challenging than it is fun (at least IMO), HAH is a championship caliber course that's well executed for the most part, and sure to frustrate beginners - thus I'd only recommend it for intermediate players and above. Keep in mind I played in the fall, with no foliage, and had some recovery shots that wouldn't be availble in the spring and summer. That said, I was also too aggressive off the tee.
Even if it left me a bit butt-sore, HAH shows what you can do when a great piece of property receives great treatment. My biggest gripe might turn out be one of this course's greatest strengths years down the road - it should age nicely and maintain its intimidating personality over the years as time and weather inevitably claim trees.
Not a quick round - expect to walk a few fairways the first couple of times you play here.
A few long walks between holes, but it seems they opted for that rather than connecting good holes with "meh" filler holes.
While I don't like the stagnant water on holes 7-9, the designer couldn't really do anything about it and overall, I'm actually glad it was brought into play on those holes.
An excellent course overall, HAH scores very high on my list in terms of shot variety (which forms the basis of my ratings) but falls short of phenomenal because of the way you can thread the first couple of needles off the tee and still end up playing plinko further down the fairway. If I come back to see this has changed over time, so will my rating.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Ya Better Think It Through!
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Some of you might know about Toby Keith's "Songs from the back of the bus". One of the tunes has to do with 'complimenting' Willie Nelson for the potency of his, ahem (something that we're not technically supposed to discuss on this site). The title is, "I'll never smoke (ahem) with Willie again". Well, when it comes to this course in Fairborn, OH (just East of Dayton), I feel like Toby: I've just not developed the tolerance for how strong this course is. Don't get me wrong, it's amazing, but, as a sub-900 rated player, I'll paraphrase
"in the fetal position, with drool on my chin, I'll never play long tees in Fairborn again!" ;)
Handyman Ace Hardware DGC is one of the best supported in the region, has an incredible website (see links), and is intentionally being developed and refined to compare with other great Midwestern courses used for major competition, like Mt. Airy and Idlewild in Cincinnati, the Brent Hambrink Memorial in Columbus, and Seviren Lang or Charlie Vettiner in Louisville. From the long tees, and in the neighborhood of 8000 feet, this course is a true challenge to the talents of Advanced to Open disc golfers. Even from the short tees (over 6200 feet), it can be difficult for Recreational to Intermediate arms to get anywhere near course par (forget par 54, that's just going to bruise your ego).
From the kiosk (including really nice scorecards with a map) and practice basket at the spacious main parking lot, to the large, level, concrete tees (occasionally with a durable bench and trash receptacles), to each of the DISCatcher baskets, H.A.H. shows off the ongoing effort and commitment needed for a quality course. The holes have variety galore, considering there are already multiple tees and pin positions setting up entirely different lines as early as the second hole. Signage is excellent, showing each option, along with the obstacles, distances, and directions you'll need to reach the often blind baskets. You will work your way into and out of woods many different times, and even face water hazards on more holes than you expect. You'll see the pond on 5, but with or without tree hits on 6-10, you could go into one of the drainage/creeks. Even the long drives you'll face coming out of the woods on holes 3 and 4 demand very precise release points from the long tee.
The long tees will give you a number of memorable holes: 2 seems to have more wood than air as you try to fade left off the tee, and finishes hard to the right in the tricky pin position. 9 has a really challenging tee shot through a narrow gap, over a blind creek, and then a wide fairway zone to the basket that leaves a grove of trees to navigate, and the deep creek long to the right. Oh, and a ridge top basket with a smaller creek beyond. 11 is tight as heck if you take the direct route, while the short tee sets up a more generous second fairway to the left. The basket is still a couple of hundred feet beyond where these fairways converge. 18 long is a true finishing hole downhill through the woods with challenges galore if you don't have the skill to handle this one.
Cons: This course is improving as it gets into it's early maturing years, and some of the trees that made it formerly impossible, have been cleared to make it merely difficult. The trees that remain can be extraordinarily frustrating for players below advanced level skills (see below). And you do still need to watch out for the little stumps (now buried in fall leaves) as you work your way down the fairways. I only stubbed three toes my last time there.
The one thing that keeps striking me here is the occasional long walks transitioning to different parts of the course. I know however, that inserting an uncharacteristically short hole here and there might change the flavor of the place. Maybe there are some thoughts toward branching out in the future with a few letter holes (a la Idlewild?).
I know the design always has to work with what is given, but the deep water along holes 7-9 is kind of nasty, still, and a little trash-filled. If the parks department can ever do anything about making that a fresher body of water, the course would certainly benefit.
Other Thoughts: As a player making the transition from recreational to intermediate skills, this course requires me to play almost every hole for position. That is, with the exception of holes 8 and 16 short, I can only keep my score down by thinking, "what kind of tee shot is going to best set up a good approach for a three, and not get me into 4-5 (6, ugh 7?) territory?" And I believe that's what they intended to do here: to bring out a strong mental game for the majority of the competitive disc golf community. And maybe to set up a course where it would be fun to just watch the top tier players go after some real risk-reward opportunities (they have the skill set to attack this course in an entirely different way than the rest of us!).
So, a final thought: if you love a really challenging, woods course, and have really good control of all the different types of shots, plus the 'D' to shoot out through a tight gap and carry over 400', this may be the course for you. If you're just starting out, I might say wait to play this one until your skills match up to the potency of this (ahem).
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: 18 holes
An actual section, dedicated to the sport
good use of the landscape and woods.
lots of benches
decent mixes of wooded to open
one real water hazard
Cons: Too much walking from basket, to next tee on some holes.
One hole played to small pond, but could have been used better...
Other Thoughts: Yes, in my opinion, multiple tee pads are a waste of effort, and materials. why? As an old school player, I like a course to have a stationary starting points. when there are two tees it causes a debate every time, when we really need the decision made for us. I like multiple pin placements to keep us on our toes, but multiple signs and tees are still an expense, when more baskets/holes could have been added...
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Designer Response by: hendersondayton
Just a thoughts...the pond hole is as good as it's was allowed to get. There are multiple fishing tournaments there so moving the pins back beside the pond was out of the question.
Curious to know how else we could have crafted #5 with this in mind..
HAH - An excellent challenge
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Course is very well designed, with most holes having multiple tee pads and multiple pin locations. The course itself plays primarily through the woods of the park, with hole 5 offering one of the better ace runs on the course, and hole 12 offering players the chance to really air discs out.
The course overall is very technical, forcing players to spend a moment or two on the teepad evaluating the lines available to them. Hole two is a signature of this on the course, with a well defined fairway that will greatly reward players who are able to shape their shots. This theme is repeated throughout the course, as nearly all holes will reward players who take care in shaping their shots.
Cons: The only real downside to this course are the three holes which play along the so-called "scum creek", 7-9. Hole 7 plays parallel, with one position being on the opposite side of the bank, forcing players to take care in how they approach the hole when it's played to the B-pin. Hole 8 offers extreme risk/reward for players who successfully run it, however it is very easy to misjudge and lose a disc here. Hole 9 is not quite as bad, with heavy rough guarding the creek from the fairway, however it's still possible to lose a disc past it.
Other Thoughts: While HAH offers a great deal of challenge even for experienced players, newer players shouldn't be quick to discount the course. This is absolutely a championship caliber course with a great deal of challenge, and that means that it can teach a great deal to newer players, encouraging them to develop shots they might not work on otherwise. Additionally, the course will practically force you into learning how to properly shape your throws, and as you take these lessons to heart, you'll become a much, much more skilled disc golfer.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Great difficult course
0 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: White and blue tee pads makes this course playable for a wide variety of players. This well maintained course is always beautiful. Better bring your A game here.
Cons: There is some nasty water in the the woods, that discs rarely come out of.
Other Thoughts: Great course !!! Have a good round.
0 of 5 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Professional layout, requires strategic placement, balance of right and left, clean with great signage. I played this course for the first time and can not wait to go back. Shall i go on....opportunities to bomb, elevation, straight up strategy holes, ace runs....the finish through the woods is fantastic and fun
Cons: I cant decide whether to give cons or other thoughts...how about a few suggestions...and some of these are just preferences...even with all the signage the 1st time through sans guide will be a little frustrating. Maybe i did not understand the a b setup and had to walk ahead to find the basket and cipher and a line. Number 6 is train wreck....
Some of the smaller trees are a detriment...they are not risk reward just hope you miss them
Other Thoughts: Awesome job....y'all should be very proud of your creation....and the blue tees...well...they are for 950 plus players in my opinion....
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
One of Ohio's Finest
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: + A Challenging but Fair Course
+ Whether a pro from the longs or an am from the shorts you'll find the distances very respectable.
+Healthy amount of Shot Variety
+Excellent Signage Makes Navigation Easy
+Quality Scorecards and Pencils for Free
+ Short/Long Tees and 2 Pin Placements on All Holes but a Few
Cons: - A Couple "are we there yet" long walks
- A few trees could be trimmed or removed to improve the fairways, if I'm being nit-pickey.
Other Thoughts: A truly beautiful, fun, and challenging course. 3 holes in I was thinking it was well worth the hour+ drive, by the midway point any doubt was removed. Set in the far back of a very clean and attractive community park, HAH (much love to anyone willing to sponsor a DG course, but it is a cheesy name if I'm being honest) starts you off on right foot with a prominent message board where you can survey the map and grab your complimentary scorecard and pencil. The first tee pad is clearly visible from the parking lot, and while there are couple times where you might question if you're on the long or short pad it should be fairly obvious on all holes. The signage is amongst the best I've personally seen on a DG course, in terms of easy to read/understand and visually appealing. Never did I have any question as to the layout of the each hole or where to start walking to find the next. I was never left wanting a bench as there were plenty, or a trash can. These factors that aren't course design related, go a LONG way towards improving a players experience. So for these "small things" alone those responsible deserve a high five and a hug.
On to the course design ...
The rhythm of the course was superb, I can't even say I really minded the extra long pauses between a few of the holes. So much of this course weaves through the woods, that it was appreciated that the first handful of holes were relatively open to allow one to warm up and get their crosshairs dialed in. Really starting with hole 6 the layout starts to make most of us to think in terms of landing zones, even from short tees. And thats something that I can't say I've seen much in my homestate. Holes 7 and 11 were excellent examples of this I thought. Where 7's basket is reachable if you want to take the risk of a semi blind through across a wide creek, its certainly much smarter to throw straight down the fairway and find yourself a nice clearing to throw across the creek to the right to reach the basket. On 11 trying to reach the basket is just out of the question and you've got a tricky proposition in front of you to snake through a tight alley of trees to reach the first landing zone, or go the longer but more open left to right route to find the landing zone. Even from there you've got a legit shot to make to start thinking about putting. There are certainly other examples but these were the two that really stuck out to me.
Find yourself complaining about courses favoring one type of player? Not here as you'll need to be able to go left, right, and straight. One aspect of this course I really loved is the options you'd have from the tee. Few holes were ever "wide" open for the players choice of shot, but most had at least 2 legit lines to take if not more.
In summation this is a course absolutely worth your gas money... really thats probably
**I would sincerely like to hear from the person who thought my review was not helpful. How could I improve this to the point you would have found it helpful.**
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Designer Response by: hendersondayton
There is a practice basket behind the Long Tee for #1. By the softball fields.
1 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: This is an amazing course situated in a beautiful park. Since I'm a local, I'm fortunate and proud to be able to call this my home course. Always well maintained. Lines getting better every time I go. Perfect tees, signs, and pins. Having played many other courses in the area, I'm always eager to get back to handyman for the perfect mix of risk and reward. Great elevations. Amazing use of the park acreage. One of my favorite things is some of the walks between holes. I could go on all day about handyman. It just doesn't get any better than this one!
Cons: the bog of eternal stench doesnt smell so good sometimes but it really doesnt bother me enough to consider it a true "con".
Other Thoughts: since im in the local area, i would love to find out how i can help out around the course.
1 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Designer Response by: hendersondayton
That is the estimate the city got to restore the creek. Hefty price! I am not sure if/when this can be achieved.
Thanks for your review!
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Great layout. Very challanging and makes for a beautiful hike.
Cons: Still a bit to many trees on some holes with no defined lines/fairways. With so many trees, a good score on some of the holes is more based on luck rather than skill. However the course is new and constantly improving
Other Thoughts: Course is improving all the time.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Designer Response by: hendersondayton
Thank you for your review of HAH!
Can you remember what holes you are referring to that you felt had no defined lines? Also, did you play from the White Tee's or the Blue Tee's? This makes a huge difference as we are still working on the blue tees.
Join Disc Golf Course Review
for free to add your review. Have an account already? Sign In
to add a review.