7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: First, it's beautiful. I played it while the leaves were changing. The pics cannot do this place justice. There are typically beautiful sights near and far, everywhere you look. It really does play on a Christmas tree farm, so you'll throw a top-of-the-world shot down a Christmas tree slope and onto a perfectly manicured green, surrounded by another Christmas tree slope. (obviously words don't do it justice either). I've explored much of the NC mountains and this is one of prettiest places we have.
It's got every kind of shot, as mentioned in other reviews. Some reviews say that you'll use every shot and every disc in your bag. This course required shots that I do not yet have. While I love RL Smith and Stumpy Creek in the Charlotte areas, the mountain shots here are a completely different league than the huge hills you throw up/down/over on those courses. Don't let that discourage you though, you can hack your way up and down these hills and end up with a respectable score.
The fairways were actually "fair." There were often several lines to choose from, and I don't remember there being any holes without any obvious line. It's impressive how manicured this course was, considering how rugged the terrain was. It's not just baskets set up in the mountains, the lines would be great even without the terrain, scenery, etc.
The baskets - supposedly they're homemade but you can't tell it by looking at them. They caught several of my iffy putts.
The tee pads - totally adequate. Not brushed concrete but long enough for each shot and grippy.
I don't remember if there were signs on every hole but I do remember several signs, showing the long and the short layouts, and they did the job just fine for us. I played in a group of four, none of us had played the course before, and we found everything just fine (disclaimer - it was a tournament, we did have some folks in front of us).
Probably 20+ people out there and everyone was friendly, even during competition.
I usually talk about a course's vibe. I've only played once but I can't see this course being crowded. It was also very litter-free, which can be a good indicator of the overall scene.
Great variety of open/wooded, long/short shots.
Cons: Some may demand concrete tees, better next-tee navigation, and some may not like the hikes (on the course, and just finding the course)
No amenities like a pro shop or bathrooms or water fountains. Plan ahead.
Remote, and hard to get a tee time.
Other Thoughts: Other reviews describe it pretty perfectly. I'd read about this course (and tried to play it) for years. I think the most helpful description would be - I read the 5-star reviews just before playing and it still exceeded expectations.
Typically what I like/dislike about courses include the scenery, the variety, the vibe, the playability for visitors, and I like a good hike. This had all of it. It's also not that far from Boone, but definitely stock up on drinks/snacks back in town.
I've said it tons of times before - I'm shocked that so few Charlotte people have played the area mountain courses. It's about 2 (beautiful) hours from Charlotte, and there are other courses nearby and on the way. You never know how long private courses will stay open, I'd highly recommend calling the owners and trying to set aside a Saturday to road trip up here.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
As close to perfect as they come.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Scenic location.
Challenging, but not impossible lines.
Great use of elevation changes.
Cons: Physically demanding course.
Other Thoughts: I live in Charlotte, NC, and I am surrounded by great courses. Black Jack completely and utterly blows each and every one of them away. Nothing compares, this course is simply as close to perfect as any course I have ever seen, played, and dream to play. I would happily pay $100 or even $200 a year to be a member here. This is one of those rare places that you will dream about, and hunger for, long after you leave it. It really is that special.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 14 Not
Great Private Mountain Course
Pros: Extremely well designed and challenging course on a gorgeous Mountain Xmas Tree Farm reminiscent of Bill Boylans in Laurel Springs ...open long airshots with serious elevation changes requiring an understanding of how to negotiate that type shot..good mix of mountain woods as well...definitely top notch scenic disc golf play..Mountain Style ~~
Cons: Got to be in shape to handle rugged terrain..but thats also part of the challenge
Other Thoughts: Worth the visit..will be back
3 of 17 people found this review helpful.
A League of It's Own
19 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The Layout- The elevation changes demand a flight plan BEFORE you go and throw that disc. Starting at hole 1, if you're not thinking about elevation change you will not be accurate in your distance selection. This is true for the entirety of the course- a big arm can expect to throw high speed drivers less than 300' and more than 700' from the amount of elevation change.
The Equipment- These are homemade baskets that catch well in my opinion. They were professionally made using DisCatcher specs and perform to that level- I had no complaints with the equipment whatsoever. There are also multiple baskets on certain holes where the long and short layouts share a teepad, and if there is not another basket, then there is another pad for the longs in almost every case.
The Lines- There are multiple options on almost every hole for those that may be RH or LH, or enjoy throwing FH or BH. While the course may seem RHFH or LHBH friendly at times, having played it a couple of times convinced me otherwise. It is a fair course that demands a good shot no matter what you choose.
The scenery - Hands down the most beautiful course I have ever seen, and will probably ever see. Set around a Christmas tree farm in the secluded Appalachian mountains, this course provides gorgeous view after gorgeous view. You also have a fair mix of open and wooded holes, from very wooded with tight hallways to mildly wooded but still protected, and wide open let 'er rip to hit this line and watch it fly for days. This course offers everything any player could ask for.
Cons: There aren't many, and the ones I could come up with do not change the rating of the course.
The teepads - Some people aren't a fan of packed gravel because they "Are not concrete" First of all, it's impossible to get concrete to some of the spots on this course, and secondly, you simply don't need concrete out here. The gravel pads perform just as well in my opinion, and are in excellent condition. That being said, some of them are rather short...not a big issue for me, but for folks that enjoy long run-ups, you might have a problem on a few of the tees.
Some of the long tees ask a little too much out of one shot (hole 1 long comes to mind) where if you miss your landing zone you are going to have some serious trouble, then again, they are the pro tees for a reason.
A DG'er that is not in decent physical condition will have a very hard time playing this course. I would say that 60% of the distance walked is the amount of elevation change you'll see. Not for the faint of heart.
It's a mountain course - If you hit a tree and ricochet down, it's going down- way down, so be prepared. Not so much a con, more like a warning. Also, be prepared for unexpected rollaways, as these greens are super quick and almost always unlevel. Also the nettle and briers can be brutal if you miss a line poorly.
Other Thoughts: One of those courses that if you are on your A game, can be extremely rewarding. A 3 on 17 or 18 from the longs is a great feeling of elation, and a definite score separator. If it is your first time out there, play the reds 100% of the time. You'll need the experience before moving to the blacks for sure.
19 of 20 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Layout - Epic comes to mind. Black Jack delivers not only the highs but the lows and I'm not talking about the elevation. You can in one shot go from sheer elation to complete disbelief.
I don't know exactly why they named it Black Jack other than the 21 holes but the fact that every shot is a gamble comes to mind. There are no routine shots here. You can be 40' from the basket knowing you're going to lay up and be completely zoned in to that shot because you know one tiny misstep can leave you way down a slope.
The greens here are the fastest I've ever seen, mostly because this mountain course is mainly under forest cover so the fairways and greens are largely compacted dirt. Little roots and small stumps are all evil little accomplices in the scheme.
Don't let the hole distances fool you. There's two hundred something foot holes you throw driver and five hundred foot holes you throw a mid.
All of this combines to one insane experience of disc golf. The first time I played I couldn't even comprehend what had just happened. If you're not used to mountain golf this course will serve up shots you have no clue how to play.
The lines for the most part aren't overly difficult from the shorts. The problem is your more concerned about exactly where and how you're landing than the gap you have to hit. It delivers a level of complexity to holes I wasn't used to experiencing.
There's a really nice balance throughout the course in terms of open/wooded and length. There's also a great mixture in shot selection and multiple paths and options on how to approach each hole.
The design overall does an incredible job of balancing out the ups and downs so it doesn't leave you completely exhausted. Big hikes are rewarded with some flat shots and then a big shot off the top.
Oh yeah do you like shots off huge elevation? Yeah this course delivers. There are 4 holes that just let you chuck something off the mountain and each is beautiful as the next, well almost... 14 is right up there with the most beautiful holes in the world. You're throwing off the top down in to a picturesque green bordered by the growing christmas trees.
Wait did I mention this course plays out on a christmas tree farm yet? Yeah not only are you getting true secluded private Appalachian forest there's fields of christmas trees in the mix and yes you get to throw up, over and into them.
The Reds are a 21 hole collection of par 3's except for 8 which I'm convinced goes up higher than it does long.
Though if that wasn't mentally challenging enough they put in some Black tees and baskets. The Blacks have 6 par 4's and they trade in those doable lines for placement shots through tight early gaps that will make your head explode. Some of the toughest holes I've played are on the Blacks.
I can go on and on about this course. The layout itself isn't the best but when you factor in that those holes play out over huge elevation changes and you throw in a handful of signature holes that anyone would write home about you have one of the best courses in existence and maybe the best overall course in NC I've played to date.
Equipment - Discatcher copycat baskets painted red and black. Framed gravel pads that were flat and actually worked well for the most part. Tee signs with rudimentary maps and distances.
The hills are terraced, the greens have logs to help stop rolls, and paths are framed to not only help with walking around but also stop rolls.
Atmosphere - An incredible amount of work was put in to this place to not only get it in pristine condition but keep it that way. It's the most beautiful course I've played to date and I've played some gems.
I played during the Sugar Grove Shootout and not only were the hosts incredible but other locals came to help spot and give us lifts when needed. I camped on site and the entire weekend was truly magical.
Cons: Layout - There are some holes that purely on layout of the hole aren't all that. There's some simpler holes mixed in when you take them at face value however when you mix in the elevation it creates the difficulty in a way I'm not used to. The simpler holes in a way balance it all out; also if you think the reds were to easy just play the blacks.
I'm hesitant to label holes or courses luck based and I won't do so here. However due to the fast greens and elevation changes good shots can end up bad. It changes the way you think about the course and approach every shot.
The following two things I'm mentioning are not cons for me personally but should be taken in to consideration.
For some the hike can be hard, especially if you're not used to the atmosphere this high. If you can make it up to 3 you should be good for the rest of the way.
There's a lost disc potential here because on some holes you're throwing a huge shot off the top and there are some possible blind landing areas if you're off. Also in some parts you're throwing right at thick christmas trees and cedars that suck up discs. Then there's your disc just rolled way down the hill and we can't see it.
Equipment - The gravel pads aren't the best even though they were flat and work. I did slip and saw other slip several times that affected the drive.
Some of the baskets don't catch all that well because some have non-standard chains.
Atmosphere - Stinging nettle and brier. It's not everywhere but if you land in it you'll know it.
Other Thoughts: This course is insane and incredible. I've never felt such a mix of emotions throughout a round before. You'll have moments of elation followed by moments of fear and then disappointment. At any moment you're one bad kick from being screwed.
Though all of that is balanced out with spectacular beauty and some of the most amazing holes you'll ever throw. Black Jack is mountain golf on another level. I played Ashe Co the day before and thought it was awesome but when I got to Black Jack it overshadowed Ashe in a way I didn't think possible.
The day I played Harmon Hills and Black Jack back to back will always go down as one of the best days of disc golf I've ever experienced.
16 of 18 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 2 Not
How Couldn't This Be A 5 Star?
Pros: Some of the most unique holes you'll ever thrown. Over the course of a round, you will more than likely use every disc in your back and see every line imaginable. Baskets are homemade, but are sooo well made that you wouldn't be able to tell if someone didn't tell you first. Amazing mix of wooded and downhill bombs to satisfy any disc golfer's appetite. This is probably the most well kept private course I've ever been to.
Chad was a wonderful host and a great disc golfer. He told us about the history of the course and how a lot of the holes were thought up.
I GUARANTEE you will throw more than one disc at #14. There really isn't an option. Most amazing view I've ever seen on a disc golf course
Cons: Nothing....absolutely nothing....maybe the crazy back roads to get to the course, but otherwise nothing
Other Thoughts: Schedule a day off NOW!! This course is the best course I've ever played hands down. I can't believe I've lived just an hour away and never played this jewel of a course.
Be sure to play a wooded course as a tune up before you venture here. Some of the most rewarding miles driven to a course ever. Absolutely a must play course for every disc golfer
10 of 12 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 5 Not
Wow...doesn't get any better...
Pros: Unique holes designed to optimize the rugged terrain on this masterpiece of a course!!! Clean, well cared for by some great people. There is a hole on this course that will challenge you and make you rethink how aggressive you get at putting. Rollaways are killer!! Most holes have some sort of rollaway risk. Bring a camera.
Cons: Too far away from me to play regularly!
Other Thoughts: I would happily pay to play this course, definitely worth it. If you don't like moderate to strenuous hiking conditions, this probably isn't the course for you.
2 of 7 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Got to start with the landscape. It's Appalachian wonderfulness. NC mountain golf never disappoints in this regard.
There's good tee signs, well defined fairways (for a rugged, private course), and nice Discatcher-esque baskets. The holes are solidly designed, no two felt monotonous. There's even an elevated basket to give the course that special dash.
Definitely a workout, more so than neighbor Sugaree, because it force feeds you a steady diet of steep down hill bombs and uphill climbs as well. Most holes had a fair amount of "mid" danger as opposed to early near the tee or late near the basket, giving you some nice breathing room w/o slacking on the challenge. Most challenge comes from avoiding the scary roll away that's nearly ever present.
Cons: The tees are gravel and framed with logs. Tees tended to be a little rutted out but the main con is that a lot of small tree stumps were not flush with the ground, making it a very real danger to trip. The logs in front of the tee are also hazardous to those that like the propel ourselves forward off the tee in our follow through.
There's quite a bit of low lying green vegetation on some holes, you probably want to leave your green discs at home. Some briers and poison ivy but I've seen much worse on park courses.
Other Thoughts: I was fortunate enough to play here while the owner's son had his wedding recession on site. We were very graciously hosted and I can't say enough about how much fun I had.
I had a drive land less than 10' from a baby fawn curled up in the brush, trying to "disappear." That's the kind of magical fun you can have here.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Bear Tree Cabin is on a beautiful piece of land and quite secluded.
With multiple great downhill bombs, you'll want to unload your whole bag on a few.
Nice variety uphill and downhill, with a few flattish holes and valley holes, too. I really liked the way the holes were mixed, you played a few uphill, a few wooded, a few open, a few downhill, not all uphill at once, not all open then all wooded, it is mixed together well, giving you a great sense of variety.
The baskets are locally made clones if DISCatchers, I've been told, and work well. The "Chastity Belts" are painted black, letting them better blend in to their surroundings.
There is a practice basket near where you park.
None of the holes were ridiculously long, and pretty much all are reachable for a deuce. Some of the downhill holes are longer, but still reachable with a heroic throw.
Wooded holes are well thought out designs requiring quality golf shots for good scores. They're tight but fair.
Cons: Lost disc potential, but there's a great chance you'll get it back when it's found, with a lost disc box near practice basket/parking area
Tees were gravel framed in logs, didn't allow for long run ups and posed tripping potential if you ran too far, and some were a bit rutted not offering ideal footing. This is by far my biggest con, as the others are rather inconsequential.
Remote location, it's really off the beaten track, which can also be seen as a good thing.
There is a little potential for errant drives to go near other tees with some of the big downhill bombs.
Other Thoughts: Adequate tee signs, on every hole, giving distance, par, and layout, and a few benches scattered throughout the course.
I don't recall seeing any trashcans, or litter, for that matter, and please folks, lets keep it that way. Pack it in, and always pack it out. It's a beautiful place, and deserves to be treated with utmost respect.
No restrooms or water fountain, so plan ahead, and be prepared.
The mix of wooded and open holes requires good sun protection.
Fairly extreme topography requires sturdy footwear, it's an up and down hike.
The combination of playing this course and Sugaree makes for an amazing day of disc golf. Hopefully I'll be able to do just that again many more times.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
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