Epic Setting and Course
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Some courses just have that unique feel about them that differentiate themselves from any other course out there. Richmond Hill has this feel. You have to drive through a residential area to get there, but once you make the turn into the parking lot the environment changes immediately. This seemed like its own disc golf sub-community set off in the mountains. There's a huge parking lot, practice basket, porta-potty, and bulletin board with a course map and local club info located near the first tee. The course also conveniently winds its way back to the parking lot to make two 9 hole loops.
It plays up, down, and around the mountain through various degrees of woodenness, with bookend holes that play more in the open. Even though you're mostly in the woods, there's a nice variety of really tight shots as well as lines that are more forgiving. There are elevation changes throughout, sometimes subtle and sometimes DRASTIC. The ravine is very cool and offers some truly epic shots, both extreme uphill and extreme downhill throws. Even the more subtle elevation changes cause you to carefully choose your disc, like 13. It doesn't look too scary from the tee, but the green drops off about 15 feet and continues to slope down past the basket. Elevation factors in interesting ways like this throughout the round.
Pin positions are really well thought out, often tucked away in a corner, behind a patch of trees, or located near a scary slope. The baskets are in great shape and the blue rims do a nice job of standing out among the trees. Multiple pin positions do a nice job changing up the shot off the tee and approach.
It's clear that a lot of care has gone into designing and maintaining the course. I couldn't imagine trying to create and carve holes on this type of land - well done. Great efforts have been made to build the tee areas and steps that help you get around, without which it would be very hard to navigate through. There are 'next tee' arrows pointing you in the right direction.
Plenty of mandos and double mandos make things interesting. 18 is a great finishing hole in that while it's more open, you have to hit one of two sharp lines. Both of which can easily fade way down over the hill. What an awesome view from there too.
Cons: There's not much wrong with the course, as long as you like this type of setting. I really enjoyed my round but must take into consideration that the course offers a pretty specific type of round. Not everyone would enjoy playing here with the combo of some really tight lines and drastic elevation changes.
Even with the steps there are still times where footing is kind of sketchy, particularly if you land on a slope near the ravine. I'm sure it gets very slick after rain. The worn in tee pads also can be a little uncomfortable. They are big enough but the carpet was slippery at times. There are sometimes steep slopes at the end of the tee too, so you don't want to slip off past the end.
The fairways are very well maintained, but the rough gets thick in places.
When we pulled into the parking lot, I said, "There's no way all those cars are here for the course." Sure enough, there were just that many people playing. Definitely one of the more crowded courses that I've ever played. Be prepared to get stuck behind multiple groups. Though, it's very cool to see such a dedicated disc golf community.
Other Thoughts: I can see why Richmond Hill was ranked so high back in the early years of DGCR, it's definitely a unique course with a faithful following. I would love to have this as my home course and appreciated the balance of difficulty. You're bound to hit a few - or maybe a lot of - trees and fade further down a slope than you intended, but recovery is fair and the holes aren't too brutal. This is a course you have to play if you're in the region.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: many uphill/downhill shots
free to play
Other Thoughts: This course was very fun to play and you are rewarded greatly after a good drive. Elevation change on just about every hole, tight fairways so accuracy is very important. I have never played a course like this and I highly recommend this course to everyone.
0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Traveling in Asheville
2 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Lots of different lines possible on many holes.
Good but not overkill use of mandos.
Challenging without being punishing for a casual/amateur.
Cons: Blind tee shots require some scouting for a first timer.
Poison ivy was out in force all around the course.
Course was a bit backed up on a Sunday, a few large groups.
Other Thoughts: Played this course on a weekend trip to Asheville. It is not to be missed for disc golfers in the area! I met some chill local players on hole 5 or so who helped me navigate the course. A real WNC winner!
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Excellent, fun, hilly and challenging.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Well-thought out holes. Well-maintained course. Lots of variety and challenge while not being frustrating. Very friendly locals.
Cons: None I can recall.
Other Thoughts: I played this over a year ago so my recall is hazy, but I do know I loved playing this course even though I played like crap. The course asked for more than I was ready for that day! Good mix of challenge and fun, leaning towards the challenge side. I do recall some confusion on hole-to-tee navigation a few times.
All I can say is a year later, I may not remember if the course even had tee signs but I do know I want to play it the next time I am in Asheville.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 2 Not
One of the best in Western NC
Pros: This design is the epitome of a course that is challenging while still being fair. There is a lot of variation between the holes, even though the course is entirely wooded (with the exceptions of 1 and 18). The designers made excellent use of the terrain, with varying elevation changes throughout the round. Errant shots will have consequences when you find yourself deep in the woods, but the fairways are large enough for semi-accurate drives. Also, this course is maintained with plenty of signage, benches, and minimal litter.
Cons: Even though this course has a great design, I prefer more of a balance between wooded and open holes. So many of the holes cross back and forth over the ravine, and it seems a bit repetitive.
Other Thoughts: Richmond Hill is without a doubt the most elite course in Asheville. It's no fault of the course, but this place gets way too crowded! Several times I've left mid-round because the pace of play was so slow. If it's a nice afternoon and you're playing by yourself or a group of two, good luck finishing in less than two hours. There is a large population of golfers in the area, and the city should seriously consider adding at least another course.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
From Asheville With Care
Pros: There are a few basic reasons for a course to be considered amongst the elite. The natural terrain could be so fantastic that you could throw up baskets anywhere and the course would scream to be thrown on. It could have a killer design and impress with the creator's genius. It could also be how well the course is cared for. That attention to detail and dedication to maintenance. Now, Richmond Hill may have some quality terrain, especially that valley that runs through half the course. It also boasts a quality design, with memorable holes that take full advantage of the terrain. But where the Asheville course stands above the rest is that third category. From the the first hole, it is obvious how much is put into these fairways.
Unless this is the first review of Richmond Hill that you have read, you know about the valley. Four holes cross this valley, each an incredible shot from high on one side to high on the other. Tremendous reward if you make it across. Great risk if you don't, because if you end up on the bottom, it isn't likely you can get up in just one throw. Fantastic natural landforms. But these holes aren't nearly as playable without the hundreds of steps carved into the sides of the valley because the players, unlike the discs, can't fly across the gap.
Beyond the valley shots, there are some fantastic uphill lines that are made all the better by a lattice of logs, keeping rollaways from rolling too far away, and helping the new players keep their cool on some difficult holes. My favorite hole might be 16, in which after descending to the valley floor, the hole follows the valley as it climbs oh-so-gradually towards 18s top-of-the-world viewpoint. It's great and made all the better by the complete lack of brush creeping into the low-lying area. There's plenty of brush at Richmond Hill but thanks to what I assume must be absurd maintenance, it stays where it should be and the often generous fairways remain free for play.
Cons: While the first two valley shots were perfect, the second two would be better off with a few trees removed. There is just not big enough a window to reliably make it across and it would be nice if somewhere along that gap, there was a specific aiming point to ensure landing on the other side. Maintain the risk/reward factor but take away some of the chance for bad luck to knock a good drive to the bottom of the ravine.
There also seems to be an excess of straight shots, though different basket positions might have changed that. I used my straightest driver for a majority of the holes and a little more left and right action would be welcome.
Other Thoughts: Asheville seems like a place that would have a ton of disc golf courses but it really doesn't so I would be recommending this course even if it was mediocre. Richmond Hill is not mediocre. It's a well-kept gem of a course over some pretty terrain with a ton of elevation and some memorable holes. It's also that rare course that could be enjoyed by people of any skill level. Beginners can play here without feeling overwhelmed but vets should find challenge here too. If you're in the area for any length of time, you really need to get out there.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 2 Not
The valley through the middle of the course is the hero!
Pros: + Off the beaten path, very worthwhile 18-holer in Asheville
+ Fun hike featuring many scenic, dynamic throws over a valley
+ In fact, a highlight of the course is definitely the dynamic hole layouts and terrain: island greens, hillside pins, up and downhill valley shots, tight woods, gnarly roughness
+ Well-defined lines with a mix of tree coverage and moderate to thick bushes
+ Very visible baskets: blue Discatchers > yellow or Chainstars
+ Not overly challenging first round with pins in a mix of short/long spots
+ Lots of logs and steps to help prevent rollaways and to keep stable footing when climbing up and down the hills
+ Although I did see a little poison ivy/oak (might help to review how to identify), we wore shorts and didn't have a problem
+ Great wood chipped holes #1 and #18 (really liked 18 as the hilltop finish)
+ Busy, but not crowded
+ Great parking/portapotties on site
Cons: - Lots of straight shots with baskets in full view
- No directional signage (sometimes really needed), especially for navigation from 6 to 7 and 13 to 14
- Some of the slipperiest tee pads I've ever thrown from
- Only one basket in place for each hole in a random short or long position
- I liked the simple painted log tee signs way better than the full color printouts
- Short pin locations really minimized the risk vs reward
Other Thoughts: We decided to add Richmond Hill into our last day in Asheville and we were very happy we did. Even after two full days of hiking, this hilly course was exactly the right amount of challenge for my wife and I. Although, there were a couple holes my wife didn't want to throw because she was nervous about the reports of poison ivy/oak (#7 especially, but #13 short as well), she didn't really have any problems throwing the rest. For a quick take-home message, I have to say that Richmond Hill was a highlight of the city of Asheville itself, one that I would consider a must for any visiting disc golfer no matter their skill level.
In terms of scoring, you'll enjoy the round most if you plan accordingly. As an intermediate level thrower, I threw two over par on my first round here with the pins in their current locations. I think perhaps the short position of the pins reduced the challenge a lot. I brought my full bag, but only threw three discs the entire round. My advice for other first time visitors (like we were) is to bring stable to understable discs and throw straight and safe. The holes aren't very long even with the pins in the long positions and even on the two(?) that hit 400' you'll benefit greatly from just keeping your throws as straight as can be. You'll also benefit from not having to navigate around what might or might not be poison ivy/oak.
I have to agree with the reviews saying the tee pads are a bummer. I would rather throw from natural tees than the turf tees, which were slippery even though they were dry. The tee boxes themselves are very nice, so if there is one way this course could be greatly improved, it would be by pouring concrete tees. I'm also a big stickler for directional signage. If it's not obvious which direction to walk, put up a small arrow please :) #7 is straight behind #6's basket in line with the fairway, and #14 backtracks to the right a little. I do see arrows in pictures here on DGCR, but didn't see them in person. Anyway, there are two types of tee signs here, maybe half were full color and kind of cluttered, and the other half were minimalistic. Just a cut log with the hole #, distances, and intended lines/pins painted in white. I liked the minimal tee signs better.
There's an awesome valley running through here and the slight elevation change it gives the terrain is the biggest hero for Richmond Hill. As a whole, the course plays slightly downhill at the beginning, then slightly uphill at the end, with back and forth valley shots sprinkled in the middle (the hikes down, up, and back down again were a nice little workout). I did miss throwing dramatically uphill and downhill, though. The throws over the valley are basically straight across. I suppose if you hit a tree in the middle of the valley you'll get that kind of throw, though. I didn't pay much attention to the distances on the tee signs, but the valley holes are a lot shorter than they look. Also, it's good to note how much we liked that the holes in the middle play back up towards the parking lot (and portapotties). Considering the overall flow, Richmond Hill is a breeze to play. We were surprised how quickly we got to #18.
All that said, labeling Richmond Hill a "mountain course" hypes its size and difficulty unnecessarily. And you can't see the surrounding mountains from anywhere on the course. The course does shine with a charming taste of the hills of the Appalachian Mountains, but it's not huge or extreme the way "mountain" implies. Especially after you go out for some of the hiking that Pisgah National Forest has to offer. Anyway, even though you can throw straight and score low, the diverse use of the terrain and valley was awesome and memorable and would prompt me to play this course again on a return visit instead of hitting any of the other much lower rated 6, 9, or 18 hole courses around Asheville.
Thanks for reading!
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Hiking meets disc golf...perfect combo
Pros: Excellent course. It was nice to see many disc golfers out and enjoying the course. Often when I play, I'll have the course to myself mostly. My wife and I played this course on our way to SC and GA for a road trip which involved a ton of disc golf ;-) Richmond Hills was one of our favorites because it seemed to have more elevation change than we've played yet, (was a great mix of hiking and disc golf) and all of the signage, tee boxes, benches and baskets were in excellent shape. I would highly recommend this course to anyone visiting the Smokey Mountain area....it will definitely put your skills to the test!
Cons: A couple of holes seemed nearly impossible to make par (to me).... and seemed to depend more on luck than skill to have even a shot at par.
Other Thoughts: Would definitely love to play this course again if in the area.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Hope you like wooded holes!
Pros: -Multiple pins! I don't think I have played this course twice in a row where the pins were in the same place.
-They have new signs that show the different pins and the footage.
-The tee pads are nice but there is a problem I'll address in the cons.
-It is laid out like a traditional golf course where the front nine and back nine start very close to each other, so if there looks like a large group teeing off on hole one you can start on hole 10
-Nice, light blue Innova Discatchers
-Not too difficult to navigate by yourself but I would still suggest a guide if there isn't a group ahead of you that you can keep up with
-A great mix of elevation and distances throughout the course
-Nice stairs on the steeper parts of the course.
Cons: -There are a lot of muddy areas if has rained much any time fairly recent
-The tee pads can be very slick even if hasn't rained very much at all, so do a mock run up if you think they may be wet (I have about slid off the front of the tee pads a few times)
-There is a walking trail mingled in with a few of the holes, so keep that in mind and watch for non disc golfers
Other Thoughts: I like the challenge this course provides. If you don't have consistent accuracy you will start working on it after playing this course a few times. You will also get worn out if you aren't used to hiking up hills on every other hole. There has been some vandalism on the mirror on hole 6. If you haven't played before, you can look at a mirror behind the tee on hole 6 to see if the basket is clear. It is still usable, but it ticks me off that some punk would do this.
I feel that I rated this course a little higher than I normally would, but there is not much of the course that is shared with something else in the park. I can really only think of 1 or 2 holes that the trail is in play. I really like courses that I don't have to worry about throwing into pedestrian areas. That adds another half to full point in how I rate courses.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 2 Not
Play disc golf while you hike!
Pros: Nice tee pads, challenging even for the best of players, lots of change in elevation and different looks at the baskets, *if you enjoy hiking then this is the best of both worlds as you will be climbing up and down many steep hills throughout the wooded course.
Cons: Almost too challenging for scratch players, course was somewhat hard to find, even with course map some holes were difficult to find, *if you are not a fan of hiking then you may hate this course as it requires lots of trekking up and down steep hills throughout.
Other Thoughts: Overall interesting course as it provides a very tough challenge. I would not take a newcomer here for their first time as I could see them getting discouraged quick. I would also recommend using the premium plastics here as your cheaper plastics will get dinged up pretty quick due to the amount of trees on this course.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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