Down Home Rustic Fun
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Even though I was just joining the tournament and playing his course for the first time at the Goat Path, Greg mentioned to me that there weren't any new reviews since he changed seven holes on his home, 'private' course in central Kentucky, so he really wanted to know how his changes would be received (I've added a link to the new map and the Goat Path singles Facebook page). Personally, I think they're a hit!
The Goat Path is a unique, rustic experience for avid disc golfers who venture into the region around Mammoth Cave national park. It's within striking range of all the great courses in Bowling Green, and should be added to your wish list if your travel plans bring you here for a spell. The course is mostly hilly and wooded, but not overly punishing in either way, IF you can hit your intended lines. The woods holes range from 175 to 280 feet in length, and use the elevation tremendously well. There's a 190 footer that looks reachable uphill, until you realize it climbs at least 50 feet up there (making it play more like a 340 footer). One of the signature holes has to be the "shot off the rock" (now #8), which requires a zippy, straight, controlled putter shot off the top of a beautiful rock outcropping.
Adding a lot of variety, there are seven holes mostly out in the open, but cleverly chosen to force a variety of lines: a huge (400') downhill, right to left hook into a narrow finishing gap on 1, there's a sweeping left to right, easily reachable shot on (new) 11, BUT there's a dropoff beyond the basket and a fenced pasture 40' to the right, hole 15 is an uphill S shot that's only 250', but is not as easy as it looks, and then there's a 357' up-slope hole 17 that finishes with a really mean basket position between a pair of small pines.
In fact, one of the memorable aspects of the Goat Path is the occasional (dare I say sadistic?) tricky basket position. Hole 13 shoots out of a pretty tight gap, and is only 237 feet, but Greg stuck that basket JUST under a falling tree trunk. Nasty! In all, if you've got skills at the Intermediate level and above, you might really thrill to the challenge level of this course. It seems that it could be a little frustrating below that, because of the tree kicks you will experience in these woods.
There are obviously multiple tee options for almost every hole, and the tournament lengths chosen this year each had a very nice wooden sign, hand painted with the general layout and distances. There were a smattering of nice benches along the course, and the flow cycles back near the start after 10 and 17-18, so you are never an impossible distance away (even if there are times out on the course you might feel like you're really out in the woods). The nice thing about the baskets and signage is that fluorescent tape and paint is used on baskets and arrows so you can readily see where you need to go.
The character of the course (starting and looping back to the goat pens and the barn) wasn't really lost by not using the pond/goat pen shot. You can still interact (carefully!) with that big billy goat there. Besides, the options are still there, if Greg's got the time to mow the hay down for disc golf. I'm sure none of us would want to work that hard year round. This is still a goat farm, not just a disc golf course, after all.
Cons: Clearly, when I say 'rustic', I mean that this is a mostly wooded course that doesn't get your usual quantity of year-round foot traffic. So, when (not if) you kick off a tree, you will encounter some briars, and often a really difficult recovery shot. I was lucky enough to come for the winter tournament, so these weren't as tough as they have to be in the summer months.
The tees are level, but natural and mulched, so some folks might include them in the 'con's section. I actually found them to be very adequate. In the same vein, the baskets are really varied, and often home made out of a piece of an old grill, a cut-off barrel, or a wheelchair wheel. There are good practice quality baskets mixed in, and some older, shallow, single ring of chains baskets that can frustrate you as much as the others, but they're the same for everybody playing, and they often make the most unique clunking sound. They aren't exactly going to ring out in the satisfying way a $400 piece of equipment might. On the other hand, these catch well enough that there were at least three aces (that I heard of) out of 71 players for the 2014 Goat Path tournament.
I don't have any major complaints about the course flow, but caution needs to be taken in a couple of places. Hole 1 is (very) blind from the tee, so wait for groups in front to clear. Likewise there's a little fairway walking and/or backtracking on 5 and 14. And when you throw on 9, watch for folks on the 2nd tee.
Other Thoughts: The thing that impressed me the most about the Goat Path is the fact that Greg obviously isn't just a guy who thought it would be cool to have a home course, and looked for lines to suit his game. Knowing that a huge number of players are right hand back handers, it felt to me like the flight lines were intentionally chosen to add a little challenge, without being overly mean. The straight-ish, thread-it-through-the-trees shots often finished just slightly right of the 'best' lines. When he 'rewards' the rhbh-ers with a right to left fade, the lines have to be spot on to park the shot, and then there's usually a tricky green.
If you get a chance to play in a Goat Path tournament, bring a few extra bucks for the tip jar because the included lunch is amazing. I've played in a lot of tourneys already, but this is the one of the nicest food and fun combinations I've ever had (shout out to the folks who do the Redneck Open as well: what is it about the more remote, country courses being so hospitable?).
...and this course would get a much higher numerical rating with more of the 'bells and whistles' folks are coming to expect. So I hope folks are paying more attention to the reviews' text than to a numbers game. The Goat Path isn't about a number. It's about enjoying our sport to its fullest.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Literally on a Goat Farm
Pros: 1) The design on this course is awesome . . .it felt so natural and it looked like it was. I asked Greg about when he put the course in and he said he only really cut down a few bigger trees the rest were all small caliper trees.
2) Fortunately the couple of open holes have some interest still. One has the rolling hills, one has a stand of some aggressive growing shrub that forces you to try and throw over it (including a pond that it can knock you into), another one has an open first shot, but a tightening fairway at the end with a basket tucked around some big trees that will catch a poor approach or a long errant drive, one has a low ceiling (fallen tree across the fairway and it is also uphill) off the tee forcing you to just get out of the chute to start and throw an upshot to wide open basket.
3) Excellent variety of hole out here, there are wooded holes and tunnel shots, some holes that start in the woods forcing a straight shot out of the gap, and also some that finish in the woods forcing you to make your disc fade or turn at the end of its flight.
4) Elevation is used well on this course, while not super dramatic except for a couple of holes, the slight elevation changes of the rolling terrain is also a big plus. There isn't a single hole on the course that is dead flat.
5) The short tees would definitely make this more beginner friendly, but the long tees are pretty challenging for mid level players so beginners would struggle. It clearly is not a recreational level course and that is ok.
6) Handmade tee signs on every hole with Hole #, distance and a general layout of the hole.
7) Greg is a really nice guy and he obviously is passionate about the sport. This is his second private course as he had built one on his old property before he moved here. To know he built another one after all the work it was to do the first is awesome! And he has decided to share his course with people all asks is he gets notification in advance. If you get the chance play a round with him, listen to his stories, and then drop him some a little money and say Thank You.
8) Distance variation is great . . .the long downhill over the pond shot is like 500', there is another longer somewhat open hole. There are holes around 200' and ranging all the way up to upper 300's. I really had to think about my strategy on each hole.
9) Greens with potential punishment are plentiful. Greg even said himself that he likes putting baskets on hills. This is a real factor in the risk/reward . . .layup for the drop in or go for the putt and risk a basket hit or a chain out rollaway.
10) There are another couple of shots that are really risk/reward and what is odd is that they are on two of the more open holes. #1 throw up and over the trees to try and get close for the death putt down to the basket and #11 the long open prairie hole, you can bite off as much of the distance as you want but risk going OB with a short drive or one that fades too far left at the end of the flight.
Cons: 1) Obviously the inconsistent baskets are the biggest negative here . . .but truthfully I figured out how to putt at them right away . . . hard and firm right at the middle of the chains (the chains seem to be tighter than most regular baskets and the plastic baskets seem to be slightly smaller diameter, so a soft putt will often hit the edge of the basket and fall out. While this is a negative I do not blame the owner, he has put all of his time into the course and if everyone gave him some money that would help him put in a few permanent baskets.
2) The second biggest negative would be the teepads . . .they are mostly all dirt, although some of this is due to a recent storm that washed a lot of the woodchips away. While dirt tees are always less desirable than concrete or another consistent surface, these tees are at least level and I truthfully never felt uneasy with my runup or my plant foot. It surprised me a little when I realized they were natural tees, but they played just fine.
3) There are quite a few areas of thorns and underbrush on this course. Some of these areas are near the fairways and punish even just a slightly errant shot.
4) Some of the grass fairways are a little thin, perhaps it is just because it is the offseason and the grass is dormant. This also seems to be the case as everywhere in Kentucky that I have played. I also know these are hay fields so it isn't like fine turf, so maybe this can be expected. It didn't affect my footing, but it did make for a slightly muddy feel.
5) Some barbed wire in a few spots and fences you might throw over, I think there are ways around all of these fences, but I didn't encounter any of them personally as I played very well here, but playing poorly could lead to frustration about retrieving discs too.
Other Thoughts: A+ for effort, A for the course design, A for the variety, A+ for the owner putting this course out there for others to play, B+ for maintenance, C for the tees and the baskets. Overall Greg has done everything in his power to make this a great course and all he needs now is some money to put in tee-pads and improve the baskets.I gave him $5 even though he said he normally doesn't charge people because he doesn't have real baskets or concrete tees. I think that this type of course is the future of disc golf, private courses put in by passionate people, and the only way it is feasible is with donations from the outside, I know if I had my own course teepads would be the last thing I would spend my money on, baskets would be the first. I know it is a lot of work to just keep up the course (falling trees and limbs, washouts, safety hazards, even just the regular mowing of the fairways, etc etc etc.) so I can appreciate what he has put into this course. I was shocked to hear more locals don't come out there (Greg even scoffed when I said "locals", he said I am the only local! If there was a course like this near me I would play it regularly and be happy to pay $5 a round to play it, especially since you can make a nice day of playing here, Holler in the Hills and any one of the other nearby courses like Chalybeate Springs, Freeman Lake, Muldraugh, Radcliff, etc.
Put in permanent baskets, find a surface for the tees that is consistent and clear a little of the underbrush and fallen trees that are only in the way and this course would be a 4.5 . . . with that said, I would come here any day of the week. This would be a perfect place to operate a coop . . .rather than charging for them to play they earn those funds on work days. If you want to play here all year round for free . . .put in some service on the course cleaning things up, removing brush and branches and helping install teepads. There will be plenty of people who won't want to do any work, so they get charged and that money can go towards the permanent baskets.
One thing that made my experience even better . . . was a drive through Mammoth Cave Park . . . I didn't know the GPS was going to send me that way through the park, and I was supposed to arrive just on time so when I came to a river crossing the road I wondered what to do . . . all I saw was the road leading right into the water, I didn't see the ferry at first so I thought I was going to be late. I certainly would not have expected that in the middle of Kentucky, but I enjoyed my ferry crossing and I still arrived on time.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The Goatpath plays over rolling Kentucky hills. The course plays about half of the time in the open and half of the in the woods. The more open holes are generally longer and most have elevation, either rolling hills (9, 16, 18) uphill (8, 17) or downhill (1, 10, 11). The wooded holes are all shorter and technical (the longest being right around 280ish) and are a great test of a player's finesse game. Two tees on 16 of the 18 holes allow for a more beginner friendly course from the shorts
The course uses Out of Bounds areas extremely well and mostly for safety purposes. 11 and 18 are great examples of how to use OB to make challenging but fair risk/reward. On 11, the player has the decision to either bailout early over the pond and have a long downhill layup shor or to risk a long S shot over the OB goat pasture and pond for a fairly routine layup 3. On 18, the player looks directly at the OB goatpen and then 60 ft left of that is more OB, and has to make the decision to either be risky and throw a long (350'ish) R-->L shot splitting the OBs for an easy layup or to lay up short of the OB and have a tricky upshot with guard trees that are in OB.
If you get off the fairway in the open holes, you are generally screwed and all the open holes have areas that you can get off the fairway...so long, SAFE shots are at a premium in the open.
The technical holes are all very good tests of a player's short game. There is a good mix of straight, L to R and R to L holes. There are good uphill (4, 14) and downhill shots (6) in this part of the course. Accuracy here is at a premium as well, if you get off the fairway there is a lot of thick brush around. So generally low and safe shots are recommended. A couple of holes have the teepad placed just right for me where the first few trees cause me great distress when planning my route to the tee. A good example of this is hole 2, where the first big tree is just in my error zone (I hit it in the first round and dueced in the second round)
A lot of good, either fast or well protected greens are here. Fast, rollaway greens on 1, 7 and 15 make for nervous, puckered putting. Well protected greens on 13, 14, 16, 17 make the player throw smart and accurate layup shots.
There are several unique parts of this course that add to the ambience as well. 6 is the signature hole out here, it is a short downhill hole with a ton of elevation change, and the kicker is that you throw off a a large cliff-style boulder(this is one of my top ten holes in Kentucky). The basket on 7 is sitting on a knoll on the ground and it is in your head the entire time you are putting at it.
Some of the homemade baskets are cool and creative. The basket on 11 is an example of a tough homemade basket that looks and sounds cool (someone called it the R2D2 basket on my card.
Nice homemade signs at each hole (I think all holes had signs, if not all, then most)
Cons: Some of the tees can be slick at times, but overall they are good natural pads.
Most of the baskets are homemade, most catch well. I felt like I had to putt gingerly at most though.
Other Thoughts: Greg and his family are great hosts. I played the course for the second and third times at the goatpath x-tier Dec 10 and he and his family and other volunteers made a most excellent feast for 70 folks, I highly recommend this tourney to any player, it was probably the funnest tourney I played this season. Greg has put a lot of love into the course and you can tell. If you get a chance check out the photo album. Give Dave the goat a scratch on the head when you go there.
One thing I thought would improve the course slightly is to lengthen one of the wooded holes. Not any hole in particular, just a beast through the woods is the only kind of hole this course lacks.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The Goat Path is a nice, private course on Greg's property. The course design is solid with good basket placement that utilized the surrounding land and its features. There's a great variety of open, lightly wooded, and wooded holes, it has an excellent variety of hole lengths as well. The design included a good amount of risk and reward, and you even have to think about shot placement on a few holes. The rolling hills and elevation changes on the property have been used well and make you think about the shot. A lot of thought has been put into the design of this course (and plenty of work too) and it shows.
Cons: The course has dirt tee and some home made baskets, but I didn't have an issue with either. The tee areas were plenty flat and the baskets seem to catch just fine. I'm putting this in the con section because it's something to be aware of, but it certainly was not a problem for me.
The rough is pretty rough in a few areas when you get off the fairway, but for a private course it make sense not to go to all the effort to clear it out. Play it safe and you'll be fine.
Other Thoughts: This is a private course so be sure to email Greg in advance before you come. He was a wonderful host and seemed happy to have someone to play a round with, so stop by and see him when you're in the area.
Holler in the Hills just a short ways away and I would recommend play both these courses together.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 1 Not
Home Grown Disc Golf Fun
Pros: The Goatpath shows how the work of one man can transform heavy woods and a couple hay fields into a hidden gem of a disc golf course. Located literally in Greg's backyard, the environment is quietly welcoming and the surroundings are beautiful, goats included. The layout exemplifies that if you throw a good shot and hit your line, you will be rewarded. Bad shots, well, just stay away from those. The woods off the fairways is thick, the brier patches thicker and the downed trees thickerest. There's a great mix of shots and distances with most of the shorter holes being in the woods with the longest ones being in the open. Almost every hole has dual tees but for the total experience, I'd recommend playing the longs. There are some very nice wooded to open holes with very defined gaps you must hit to have a chance at a birdie. Each hole provides a chance to go up or down in elevation, and no two holes play alike in this manor. Though you're almost always changing elevation, the natural tees are mostly flat with good footing in dry conditions (haven't played it in muddy/wet weather). They are marked by little flags, homemade signs and a bit of mulch at the ends. There's not an abundance of OBs, the rough is punishment enough. But you can find yourself out if your disc strays into either pond, the barn or the goat pen. With the length of a lot of holes, the birdie ops are there waiting. Several of the longer shots require some planing on where to land to provide a birdie chance. Beyond the first few holes that had regular baskets, the rest were homemade. They caught great and no one had an undeserved spit out. I feel that these added an element to the course that you wouldn't find at other courses.
Cons: I played here literally a day ago and the ticks were ridiculous. Between two people we pulled off a dozen of those little bastards. I'd highly recommend pants, possible long sleeves, bug spray and a good eye at spotting these parasites. I mention that the rough is thick here with several downed trees, but you're not suppose to go into those anyway so it isn't really a definite con, just something to be aware of. As with the overpopulation of ticks, this course is almost a seasonal place to play. Also, for Greg its not worth it to try to cut the hay in several of the fairways during the spring/summer/early fall so they get overgrown (almost too tall when we played). With all the tee pads being natural with some wood chips down near the ends of them, they can become muddy and slippery after some rain.
Other Thoughts: If you're looking for a guide on this course, call/email Greg and set up a time. He'd be happy to show you the course and get your two cents on it. He might even show you a few hidden routes. He's always looking for people that would be willing to help clean up a little bit here and there as well. Four hands are better than two at moving limbs and logs. In the right time of year when the course is manageable, this is a great course to play in the same day as Holler In The Hills. They're only about 25 minutes apart and both completely worth the time. Also with this being a private course and at Greg's family home, please be respectful. He has a daughter that occasionally plays the course so don't leave any beer bottles, butts or any other disc golf associated recreationals on the course.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
The Goat Path Experience
Pros: - Nestled in the rural hills of Kentucky, The Goat Path, designed and maintained by Greg Shearer, embodies the DIY ethic that may best exemplify the roots of disc golf. Although perhaps a bit unpolished in places, The Goat Path is so damn FUN to play that any minor flaws are easily and quickly forgiven and forgotten. While situated on a very nice piece of land, it certainly isn't the most stunning private course I've seen in terms of raw terrain and pure aesthetic beauty; however, it's obvious that a lot of love and devotion has been painstakingly ingrained into it. The Goat Path isn't merely a disc golf course, it's a way of life lying at the heart of our game that can't be experienced at some public park-style course in the 'burbs.
- The course layout is cleverly designed with a tasty mix of open rolling hills, woods with tight short fairways (both uphill and downhill), a small pond, and mixed holes with both open and wooded areas. Scrub, long grass, and the general schule provide a deterrent to missing the fairway, while the mature deciduous and coniferous trees do their best to feed discs to the rough. Hole #9 leads players back to the house before starting the back nine.
- The course flows well from hole to hole and from style to style. At no point does it feel repetitive or cliche. A refreshing amount of holes captured interest throughout for one reason or another: one pin placement might be particularly tricky, or a stand of pine blown over by a storm captures the eye, or the novelty of avoiding an OB goat pen, or throwing off a mossy rock outcropping to a basket 50-60' below with only the narrowest of windows available through the tree branches.
- The baskets are a mix of homemade as well as brand name practice baskets. The homemade baskets are (in most cases) comprised of fairly heavy chains, wheelchair wheels, and plastic barrel bottoms for the bucket. They played surprisingly well, and were a blast to see in action. At no point during our round did they do us wrong, and that was with a group of six. The tee signs are also hand-made, and provide the hole number, distance to pin, next tee info, and a good map of the hole. Greg admitted the distances listed are estimates only, but at no point did they seem grossly inaccurate. Tee pads are natural and marked with brightly colored flags. Am and pro tees available on most if not all holes. Benches, stumps, and chairs are located throughout.
- Greg designed the Path to fit his particular style of play, while still catering to other players' strengths on certain holes. As such, much of the course will consist of shorter technical holes that play much longer because of the tight lines required by the fairways. Several longer open holes allow for the big guns to air it out a bit, while still having to contend with some sort of trick of elevation or vegetation.
- A couple of baskets are sheltered by fallen trees that have been incorporated neatly into the layout.
- As this is a private course, be sure to contact Greg prior to play. Greg's hospitality and guidance throughout the course completes the awesome experience.
Cons: - Greg closes the Goat Path during the late spring and summer months because of the large amount of apparently mutant ticks infesting the open holes' grassy areas as well as some wooded holes. Although I realize Greg is only protecting players from having a bad experience, the fact that the course isn't open during most prime discing months must detract somewhat from the overall rating.
- On some wooded holes, cuttings haven't been cleared from the sides of the fairways.
Other Thoughts: - This is a unique course; as such, I found it extremely difficult to assign a rating. In the end, I chose to rate the Goat Path a little differently than I normally do. The fun factor was too large to ignore completely. Also, as this course was designed for Greg's personal use, I factored in how successful he was at designing a course that suits his style of game. Thus, I ranked The Goat path a bit higher than I would by my normal rubric.
- Be sure to say hello to Greg's Dog-of-Many-Names (a sweetheart of a dog) and keep an eye out for the discin' kitty that might follow you around for a hole or two.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: Fun course
mostly homemade baskets,that was fun to play on.
long and short tees.some of the short tees are a little easier to get a duece on..There's a great variety of open, lightly wooded, and wooded holes, it has an excellent variety of hole lengths as well. The design included a good amount of risk and reward, and you even have to think about shot placement on a few holes.
Cons: Can't really think of a con, unless you just don't like playing on the homemade baskets.
0 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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