Better course than it is a nature trail
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Located right smack dab in the middle of a high school campus, but a hilly campus surrounded by mountains. If you go to this school and play DG, you're pretty happy. 9 solidly done holes offer a little of everything for the space allowed. The tee signs are great and perfect for this course, in addition to nature facts than anybody can enjoy, they have DG tips that surely the many beginners this course is aimed towards will appreciate.
The holes are mostly sub-200 footers but 1 starts you off with a 495', open challenge sandwiched between two parking lots semi-protected by a row of trees. Even the short holes keep you on your toes a bit, either with OB looming near or quick greens or both. And obviously, the course is pretty well maintained being on a campus.
Cons: Located right smack dab in the middle of a high school campus.
Awkwardly long walk to hole 5. Hole 3 has broken window potential, particularly with the awkward teenager beginner in mind. I played with a Tangent and a Summit but wish I had a driver for hole 1 and 9. The only problem is hole 1 is between school parking lots so an errant bomb could conceivably go into these areas. The course is only open after school hours though so it's a minor con since these lots aren't likely to be full.
For a nature trail, there isn't much in the way of nature or a trail. Name doesn't strike me as apropos is all.
Natural tees (always a con in my book, sorry). Also, noticed a fair bit of litter already which was disappointing. Hopefully it's from the students and not my DG brethren.
Whole course is pretty open.
Other Thoughts: Actually a pretty fun round. The designer did a really solid job and this is something I'd like to see gain popularity on other campuses. It's just a logical first introduction of the game to young people, marrying the challenge of hitting basic DG lines with environmental awareness. The use of OB and pin placements on slopes really spruces it up. I actually went OB twice on hole 7, the first from griplocking my Tangent (my bad) and the second from a missed putt rolling away (d'oh!). Parked hole 5 with a Tangent though, suck it haters. : p
Nice place to stop if you're in the area or want to warm up a bit, get some approach practice in.
Hole 8 is probably the most fun hole, being a short downhill putter shot through a tunnel. Everyone enjoys those. But for me, I think I liked hole 1 the best. Something about blasting a drive down the front lawn of a school seemed oddly satisfying.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
What a Jewel!
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: What a great disc golf experience! The course is well-planned, set in a beautiful setting, requires a variety of shots, yet does not require a rocket arm to score well and have some serious fun. The school is located on a hilly setting, and the course reflects good use of that feature. Every tee has a Nature trail fact which is fun and informative. I never knew about the outside edges of the poison ivy leaves for example. The Seven Sisters mountains and the Blue Ridge are some fine sights, especially for a flatlander from South Louisiana. Discatcher baskets. 1 is 495' and a flat, hyzer hole. 2 goes up a hill and 3 goes down that hill. Not long holes but if you land wrong you will roll a long way. Did I mention I got my first ace ever on 3? Then the second time around I glided down the hill and ended up with a 4. The course can bite you in a heartbeat, as well as reward you. 4 comes back with a glide downhill if you fade too much. 5 is on the other side of the baseball field and a long walk. It has a steep hill to the left and another long roll potentially. 6 is around a small hill. 7 goes downhill a bit but straight. 8 is a tunnel through trees way downhill. Really fun. 9 is back up that hill, and is open. So for a RHBH it is mostly hyzers, with some annies and straight holes mixed in. Sometimes you have a risk-reward choice as well. You'll have to craft your shots because margins of error are sometimes not too big. Nice tee signs with the Nature tip on them. With the front gate open parking was a breeze. You'll be about 25 feet from #1 tee.
Cons: The tee boxes were overgrown a bit and uneven, but summer maintenance is going on at the school and I am certain they will get to them. They work fine. Print the map on DGCR so you can find #5. The gates were locked and we had to walk around the outfield side of the baseball field to get to the tee on 5. Walking down the slope to that tee is pretty steep. There is no water or rest rooms available that we saw. #1 is the only long hole. If you want some 500' tests, this is not your course.
Other Thoughts: I have favorited this course because it was a lot of fun, even without an ace. Kudos to the guys who planned and built it, and to the school for having the vision to put it in right there in front where it is showcased. Nice shops in town on State and Cherry Streets. We also ate at, and recommend, My Father's Pizza, which has much more than pizza. We also liked Okie-Dokie's BBQ in Swannanoa a few miles back toward Asheville. A play, shop, and eat arrangement with the gals is a win-win deal. I am looking forward to getting back to Black Mountain.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Nice little 9-hole course
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: - Well designed and executed 9 hole course.
- I love the tee boxes. It's awesome how they are open ended on the back side.
Cons: - It isn't immediately clear how to get from #4 to #5. Get a map and you should be good.
- Some steps or grading going down the hill to #5 would be nice.
- As of 12/26/11 most of the mulch has been washed out of the tee boxes. There is no mulch in the #6 tee box which has caused grass to grow up in it...this is not a con though. The rest of the boxes which are turning to mud is a con. Also, #5 has some roots which can mess with your footwork.
- The basket on #7 was bent and the pole on #9 was crooked. I guess that comes with the territory when you have bored teenagers around who get pleasure from messing up other peoples' property.
Other Thoughts: Parking at the 2nd gate (without blocking the gate) is a little tricky now that they've placed some rock landscaping on the sides of the gate. If you have a truck you would be fine (you'll see what I mean if you go there). Otherwise, if the gates are closed I'd park near the main gate off to the side and place #6 as #1.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Very good for a school course
Pros: Owen is a nice, little 9-holer with an amazing view all around. And thanks to information nuggets on each tee sign, I know I can see the Seven Sisters mountain range, and Mount Mitchell.
- Nice course on the outskirts of the high school campus. For the most part you're removed from the school, but 2 holes do get very close to school buildings (#2 & 3).
- Decent set of holes. None are epic, but there isn't a bad one either. Instead you're left with a nice flow of holes that will challenge different parts of your game.
- Course uses the terrain very well. Several downhillers (#3, 7 & 8), uphillers (#2, 6 &9), plus some other nice layouts. Every hole is birdie-able, especially if you play #1 as a par 4, but none are overly easy 2s, as is often seen at other nine-holers.
- Great, descriptive tee signs. I've never seen tee signs with more info on them than here. The map is an actual picture of the hole, plus hole info & par. Each sign also has a disc golf related tip for newbies - how to throw backhand, forehand, hyzers, and make sure to practice. The final feature of the signs is the nature-related info. These range from listing different trees on the hole/area, talking about the surrounding mountains (the already mentioned Seven Sisters), or other info about the area's mountains. I almost feel like they were trying to sneak knowledge into my disc golf round.
- Course is relatively easy to navigate. Only possible confusion is the walk from #4 to 5. If you print a map, you'll be fine.
Cons: Being on a school campus, course (obviously) is closed during school hours.
- Lack of amenities here. Restrooms, water fountains, etc are inside the building. Again, this is standard for school courses, so you should know that in advance.
- There's an overall lack of variety for the holes. No true wooded holes, although #8 uses trees as an obstacle nicely. Most holes are in the 250 - 300 foot range, with only #1 being substantially longer.
Other Thoughts: For a school course, this is at the top of the list. The Charlotte area (Rock Hill) has courses at a lot of high school and middle schools, and Owen is better than just about all of them.
- Course is clearly aimed at beginners, casual players or students. I hope this course gets students hooked on disc golf. Advanced players should also enjoy playing this, at least a time or two.
- It would have been nice to see one challenging, signature hole. There seemed to be some places that holes could be tinkered with to be lengthened/toughened. #5 could be really fun by pushing the basket further back, and/or make the hill on the left more of an obstacle.
- This is a nice addition to the Asheville region. Maybe one day it will become a full 18, then it'll be the best course in Black Mountain.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
An extensive project
There is a lot about this course which is very extensive besides the name. Before even starting to play the course kiosk shows the extensive coordination between the school, area businesses, disc golfers, and the nature communities. This course will do a huge amount of education in one of the most enjoyable ways immaginable. To accomplish this there are two different scorecards, "birdies" and "greens", which help one to identify birds or plants which may be seen on the course. Indeed, I spotted an Eastern Bluebird perched on the first basket! The scorecard also invites the player to join the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation's www.kidsinparks.com
program and register the round and even earn some prizes. The double size tee signs themselves are extensive. On one side is a hole picture with a route path, the hole length, and any OB's or mandos listed. On the other side there is information about flora or fauna or the topography, and under that a "Pro Tip" towards playing better disc golf. Hole #1 is the longest hole on the course at 495'. With a slight elevation rise and a tree lined OB parking lot to the right it is the only par 4.
The course has a good mix of long, short, up, down, and several quite memorable holes, and a mostly easy flow.
The course has 9 nice new Discatchers.
Cons: My only serious criticism is the total lack of "NEXT TEE" signs. In spite of a this, I had just started believing that I did not need the map when I finished hole #4 and couldn't see hole #5 anywhere. A map, or a guide is needed here. I had the same problem of missing hole #6 at first when I did not use my map.
The tees are 5x8 timber frames on grade with woodchips on the surface. Check each tee sign for mandos or OB' as this is the only place they are listed. There are no benches, trashcans, or restrooms out on this course.
Although 5 holes favor a RHBH hyzer. Only holes 2 and 8 favor the LHBH thrower.
Other Thoughts: This course has the feel of an open city park. I liked the nice mix of shots and the skills needed to do them. The use of OB in places where it comes into play without a real serious lost disc hazard helps teach control without it being too painful. Along that line there is no water to use or not on this course. Also, though I listed the tees as a "con" I feel pretty neutral about them - they're OK, they just are. My favorite hole was #8 which is an ace run for everybody at 180' downhill between two huge trees - I emptied my bag there.
What is really exceptional about this course is the total outdoors learning package that has been developed. It is a worthwhile and fun course for anyone, but the total package puts it into a special category. For Owen High students, this is a treasure. For the rest of us it's at least a really good thing.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Innova-tive course concept
Pros: Located in the beautiful Swananoa valley with long-range views of the surrounding mountains, this is the nature trail dg pilot.
Really nice informative tee signs and scorecards describe the local flora and fauna as well as identifying specific mountains as you weave around the course.
We were lucky to play the course with DSCJNKY who provided lots of background info on his brainchild, the nature trail dg concept. The layout is mostly open to park-like, but with lots of nooks and crannies around the high school to add challenge.
The quality of the layout was defintiely influenced by the extensive number of courses played by the designer.
New discatcher baskets.
Same exit as Black Mountain DGC and a great restaurant, My Father's Pizza.
Cons: Limited hours open. We arrived saturday morning and school was in session making up a snow day. Course is closed when school is open.
Other Thoughts: When we arrived later in the day, the course was being enjoyed by a group of students(new players) and a teacher. When we finished, a pro -level player was teeing off on #1. That gives you an idea about the job that James and Jason did designing the course, they nailed it. The nature trail concept is pure genius and could open the door for several more courses in WNC.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 2 Not
Best use of space
Pros: Fun little course at local high school. great use of available space. elevation changes and open landscape leave you wide open to the prevailng wind.
Cons: long walk to 5...no biggie. the challenge is great for those first learning the game.
Other Thoughts: many places try to cram a course in. this one is different. sure there are challenges space wise, but they did a great job of making it fun.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
My kind of school!
Pros: Great little 9 hole 'school' course playing mostly in open mown grass fairways. Good mix of short & long, up & down, left & right shots. Large, mature trees dot the landscape. Easy walk with beautiful mountain views surrounding you. Brand new Innova DisCatchers 7 out of 9 are set on a roll away hillside (testing your placement skills). To the left of #1 tee box is a large white horse statue. Very cool mascot!
Cons: Small, wood framed tee pads filled with mulch (I prefer cement). Long walk between hole #4 & #5. Parking: Plenty of parking inside but the last couple of times I've played the course (weekends) the front gate was locked. We had to park down the street. No benches. No bathrooms. No water. The tee signs were primitive but were to be replaced soon.
Other Thoughts: A ton of thanks has to go to Jason (DSCJNKY) who almost single-handedly got this course in the ground (& in record time!). If you have to park in the street, start at hole 9.
#1 starts you off with a good long open hole. OB parking lot to the right.
#2 is a short steep little uphill shot. Low hanging branches add challenge. Basket set on rollaway hill.
#3 is a short, slightly downhill shot. The hillside runs steeply right to left.
#4 is a picturesque shot shooting slightly downhill, medium length. Low hanging branches obscure the fairway. The basket is surrounded by trees.
#5 is a 300 foot blind shot that goes left around the hill. A thick tree line runs all all the way down the right side.
#6 is a medium length drive up a narrow fairway. OB on both sides the whole way!
#7 (my favorite) is another medium length drive across a road to a pin set on the side of a roll away hill with OB directly behind.
#8 is a short downhill shot through a gap in the trees.
#9 is a 300' open shot that drives uphill to a basket set on the flat.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Owen High Nature Trail Disc Golf Course... First of its Kind
-Nature Trail Disc Golf. As far as I know, this is the first ever purposely designed Nature Trail Disc Golf Course in the world where the tee-signs and scorecards have been designed to help connect people with the resource - what a concept.
- Fun Golf. For what we had to work with, the course turned out great. Considering the terrain is fairly wide open, and that it's not overly long, it's pretty challenging. There's lots of OB to keep you honest… and simply put, you have to throw a few golf shots to earn your birds.
- The Swannanoa River Valley. The scenery of the surrounding mountains and valley below are phenomenal. This is what Dave242 talks about when he says "Appalachian Beauty". From one tee-pad, you can see the Blue Ridge Parkway (the most visited unit of the National Park Service) cutting across the shoulder of Mount Mitchell (the highest mountain east of the Mississippi River). Awesome views.
- The Students. We put the course in the ground, and within a few days the students were playing. Now they have a club with more than 30 kids.
It's hard to come up with a list of cons for a concept (Nature Trail Disc Golf Courses) you conceived and a course that you designed and installed yourself (with help from some friends)… but, I'm fair, so here goes:
- Fairly Wide Open. There weren't a whole lot of trees on the school's property to work with. We did what we could to make them come into play (because after all, it is a Nature Trail Disc Golf Course and trees are an important part of nature), but still… It's not a Woods Course.
- Long Walks. After Hole 4 there is a 800' walk to the tee-pad for Hole 5 (to get there, walk between the baseball and softball diamonds. Tee 5 is behind home-plate). And then, after Hole 5 there is a semi-long walk to Hole 6's tee (walk to the other side of the driveway and up the hill).
- Keep Your Shirt On. This course is installed at a High School, so keep your shirt on. No smoking, drinking, cursing, etc… Let's keep the course in the ground.
- Course Hours: The course is open during non-school hours. 3:30-Sunset Weekdays. 8:00 - Sunset Weekends. Closed during school and major sporting events.
- My First Course. This is the first course I have ever designed from scratch. I wrote the grant, met with the school staff, coordinated the removal of a mountain of debris, designed the tee-signs and scorecards… and designed and installed the course. Putting courses in the ground is hard work, this experience will definitely change the way I view courses.
- Why Nature Trail Disc Golf? Seeing a trend in families spending more time indoors connected to electronic media, and less time in the great outdoors connected to nature… and seeing a relationship with childhood obesity (1 in 4 kids in NC is overweight /obese)… the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation created a program called Kids in Parks, of which I became the Director. Seeing a need to reach out to the teenage population to try to attract them to the outdoors, I decided to try to build Nature Trail Disc Golf Courses at three of the areas local high schools.
- Shout Outs. I have to give a "Shout Out" to the people who worked with me to make this possible: Buncombe County Parks, Greenways and Recreation Services for giving us the grant funds; James Nichols for helping with the design and installation of the course; Don Johnson and Darin Chaplin of Owen High School for seeing the vision; Asheville Arborists, Landmark Landscapes, GDS Waste Management and the Buncombe County Landfill for helping dispose of the mountain of debris at no cost to the project; my boss for letting me explore this new concept in outdoor recreation; my girlfriend for putting up with it; and everyone else who volunteered time: Nate Kellar, Kevin Vinez, Thom Williams, Paul Smith, Brett Moore, Mike Rush, Lee Reading, Craig Fender, JohnThelen, Don Wallace, and Alan Ward.
- On a side note, if anyone wants to convert their course into a NTDGC, please contact me… I'd love to be involved.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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