It's getting there
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This was my first time playing the "new" layout. I was fortunate enough to play with Thom, the course designer, who really has a passion for the sport and the improvement of this course. The new layout is 1000X better than the original back and forth layout of the front 9 and most of the wooded holes stayed the same with slight improvements to the tee pad locations. It's quite obvious more thought went into the new layout than the previous. There are 2 tee pads for each hole, currently labeled white and blue, but probably plays more like red and white. There is room for a third tee on most every hole which could then be blue level. While the holes arent terribly long they do take thought and execution to play them well. There are picnic tables placed near a lot of the tees and some trash bins also. Holes that stood out are the new #4 which is a tight uphill hyzer line, #5 is a tough left to righter with the pin guarded by pines, #13 is an open right to left shot in the open after a long run of wooded holes, #17 is a long straight shot that has to stay straight or you will be in trouble on both sides.
Cons: - Number one con is still the grass. It seems Thom is a one man show and just doesn't have the time or the equipment necessary to keep the course in good shape. He is forced to use a brush hog instead of a real mower which doesn't really get the grass down to where it should be.
- In addition to the grass are the briars, they are everywhere. I agree with punishing bad throws but I want the throw to suffer, not my legs.
- Keeping with the maintenance theme, on a lot of the new holes the greens have a lot of brush, saplings, and trees very near the basket. I am a huge fan of a couple trees in the putting circle to make placement a premium, but on most of the new holes there was thick brush and copses of trees in the circle.
- The course does need better signage which I am certain it will come as the courses layout becomes finalized. There is no need putting in permanent pieces when its not finished.
- Not really a con but more a pet peeve... with all the elevation that there appears to be on the property, it wasn't utilized at all. Where there was elevation the holes went across it instead of up and down it. I personally love severe downhill shots and uphill shots. I think there were a few instances where this couldve been taken advantage of.
Other Thoughts: I never reviewed the previous layout but if I had it wouldn't come close to this one. Original layout would've been lucky to have gotten a 2 from me. This is a very fun and very challenging layout. The only thing keeping it from being a great course is the upkeep and landscaping. I think once a club is established Thom will get more help, and with more help will come a better course. Kudos to Thom for getting it to where it is and to where I know it's going. He turned the course from one you'd most likely read the reviews and skip to one where you will want to stop and play. I know I'll be playing it any chance I get now. I hope the course starts getting the reviews it deserves so people will want to play and grow the disc golf scene in the Beckley area.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Beware the Jabberwock
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Wonderland is a work-in-progress, improving layout. When it's complete, this has the potential to be a very nice addition to the region's disc golf scene.
- There is some excellent variety at Wonderland. The first six holes are mainly open, followed by a stretch of wooded holes before closing with a couple more open holes. Throw in some nice elevation, varying degrees of tight fairways and some great risk/reward layouts, and I was generally pleased with the variety.
- There is good use of the terrain to create elevation and other natural challenges. The course felt pretty compact in its 18-hole layout, so much so that I wonder how (or why) they had 21 holes in this same piece of land. The only hole I wish was still around - at least based on the pics - was the old #14. Other than that, it seems to be solid the way it is.
- I enjoyed the overall flow of this course. You start with a simple open hole, followed by another enjoyable open hole. #2 goes down a slight hill, over and through trees (that reduce your angle) to a dogleg left basket. A couple so-so holes on #3 & 4 are followed by two more enjoyable open holes; highlighted by #6. It's almost the exact opposite of #2, this time throwing in an open field to set up your second shot to a basket back up the same raised elevation from where you teed off on #2. There aren't any wide openings in the small trees/growth, so you either have to throw high or be accurate throwing through the stuff.
- The wooded holes, as is the theme, were mostly solid. I loved the back-to-back stretch of #11 & 12. #11 is the course's best hole in my opinion. It's a slight downhill, slight dogleg left mid-range shot in the woods. To the right and long of the basket is a steep drop-off. The basket is right next to the drop-off, as in a matter of feet, that it even makes you question how aggressive you want to be on a 15-foot putt - play a safe lay-up two putt versus going for it and risking disaster. #12 is then a tightly wooded, straight 215 foot layout. The drop-off to the right isn't as bad as the prior hole, but with that side of the fairway so thick with trees, a roller down the hill is going to be a major problem. My buddy's tee shot was sailing right until he got a lucky kick off one of the last trees, ending up with a 10 foot birdie putt. So, the trees could also work in your favor.
- This course, as highlighted by #11 & 12, has a generally high risk/reward factor. For an aggressive player, when you're on your game, you're going to do very well here. And when you're not, the scoring range will be pretty extreme.
Cons: The biggest cons for the course, at least for spring 2015, are the problems and inconsistencies being caused by the re-design. Some holes have easy to spot tee pads while others don't. I never could find a short tee pad for #6, or at least an explanation if there was only one tee for that hole. Some have great tee signs while others have hard-to-interpret, handwritten (and turned sideways) tee signs, as was the case on #2. Some parts of the course had great signage from one hole to the next while other parts were a guessing game. For example, after playing #10, you follow the path to the next hole, and the tee sign says #12. That's good, except that was now hole #11. The info is accurate on the course map, just make sure to carry a copy with you, instead of just seeing the one near the first tee.
- For being a mountain course, I actually was surprised how little the elevation was incorporated into the course. I'm not saying it's not used, just that there were opportunities to do a better job of it. In the wooded stretch of the course, more often than not the holes play across the elevation instead of going up or down. Add to that, the hole that did appear to have the greatest elevation in the old layout - #14, from the pics - had been eliminated in the redesign.
- With such a high risk/reward factor, course can test your mental game. Add to that there are plenty of spots on the course where you could be searching for a disc longer than normal - lots of tall grass on the open holes, the drop-offs in the woods, bad bounces off trees, etc. - and this course can get frustrating at times.
- The course isn't the easiest to get to. Once you get off US 19, you drive on some narrow roads just to get to ACE. Once you're at ACE, had a couple real close calls with cars driving the other way on what's essentially a two-way, one-lane road. And it's a long drive from the home base up to the course. Just bring your patience, and maybe an aspirin or two.
- The course is lacking amenities. I don't recall seeing any trashcans or benches. I'm not sure whether the bathhouses are open all the time. And it's a good haul back to town for drinks or snacks. If you come here to play, come prepared.
Other Thoughts: Wonderland's overall quality impressed me. Based on its rating and with so few reviews, I didn't know what to find in terms of course quality. I was pleasantly surprised the amount of work going on to make this course even better.
- One concern I have for this course will be the general upkeep. If the numbers on this site are a reflection (and maybe they're not), I don't know how much foot traffic this course gets. We only saw one other person playing there. That said, I'm wondering how often the grass will get cut, how often will trash get picked up, how often will there be general course walkthroughs to make sure signs are accurate and everything seems to be in proper order. It would be a shame for the improvements to be wasted.
- This is a course that can be played more effectively if the driver is left in the bag. For starters, there isn't much length on the course. That was a disappointing aspect of this place. This course is essentially a mid-range course with lots of premium being placed on accuracy.
- If it is feasible, it would have been nice to find a way to break up the wooded holes more throughout the round. Instead of just one long stretch of all the wooded holes, find a way to flow the course more consistently between open and wooded. It would also possibly add to the course ending with more challenge than the current closing stretch.
- Overall, I liked this place. I'll like it even more when the entire redesign is complete. I'm feeling good about giving the course a 3.0. In its 'in progress' phase, it's probably playing a little lower than that. When it's complete it might merit a slightly higher rating. Regardless, the Wonderland 18-hole layout is above average and is a solid part of the West Virginia disc golf scene.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Not quite there yet
Pros: - Beautiful landscape
- Good variation of holes
Cons: - Long drive to get up there with little signage for the disc golf course
- Very tall grass
- Tee pads were non-existent and sometimes difficult to find
- Basket placement was pretty terrible on the back 9-12.
- Easy to lose a disc with awkward use of hills and poor landscaping.
Other Thoughts: This course definitely has some potential. The land is beautiful and there is some good elevation change. I enjoyed the front 9 but I wish I had skipped the back 12. There were some awkward tee shots and the poor landscaping on the course left me disappointed. I came away with some scratched up legs and burrs all over my socks.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
A super fun work in progress
Pros: Wonderland DGC is a much needed new course in Southern WV that offers 21 Mach 3 DGA baskets (plus Innova practice basket) with a variety of terrain and shot style. For full disclosure I may be slightly biased as I did design the course with the help of another ACE employee. That being said I will try to keep my emotional attachment separate from my observations.
-a mailbox with course maps inside awaits along the road right next to the practice basket.
-super nice custom powder coated baskets, painted in ACE's trademark yellow/blue colors for good visibility
-multiple tees to accommodate various skill levels and multiple pins for variety
-22 holes if you finish with the throw to the practice basket (we call it the tiebreaker) - so you can play it all or break the course up into countless different versions
-great change of elevation throughout with several super fun downhill launches
-great variety of terrain as the course starts out in a wide open pasture(#1), moves into more trees and tighter fairways with a meadow like feel (#''s 2-8), before entering the woods and weaving near a historic graveyard (#'s 9-13, 15-17). #'s 14 and 15 offer tremendous change of elevation and rugged pathways along the woods for the typically nimble dg'er but can be skipped straight thru to 16 when pinched for daylight or time or when playing with those who are aerobically challenged or just plain lazy. Finally #18 reemerges into the meadowy/pasture style of fairways with sweeping views of the mountains to the south.
-lots of space to expand in the future
-good access to restrooms and water spigot near #'s 8 and 18
-functional yet simple signage currently at one tee per hole and soon to be at both blue and white tees. (includes next tee direction, hole #, name, map, distance, and par)
-simple bolt on each tee post indicating A (shorter) or B (longer) pin location
-good variety of shots, not too righty-centric
-free to play even though located on a private Outdoor Adventure Resort where pay-to-play would be typically expected
-several wood benches and picnic tables in scenic areas with some trashcans strategically located throughout
-lots of other activities to do on site both guided and independently
-gear shop next to the lake at the bottom of the mountain sells beverages, discs and a great variety of other outdoor stuff. A small store with beverages, discs and paintball supplies will open next to the barn right near the course starting in July.
-the course already has a signature stamp logo'd disc designed by the "famous" river/superhero artist Tommy Hood (available in Champion Valkyrie, Champion Kitana, DX KC Roc, and DX Aviar Putt Approach)
-disc rental also available at Welcome Center
-a wide variety of lodging available on site including the Blackberry cabins and camping right next door to the course.
-restaurant and bar on site as well, located at the bottom of the mountain near the play lake.
-can't forget the friendly employees and locals who will gladly point you towards the next hole.
-they have doubles every Tuesday at 5:30 and all the participants are friendly and approachable
Cons: The course has great potential but has not fully met that potential thus far. There are several challenges that leave the course with an unfinished, rugged feel (fine for many dg lovers but frustrating to others).
-the course was designed on top of a former horse pasture so there is a lot of tall grass to mow, burrs to eradicate, and pockmarks from horse hooves to smooth
-mowing and brush hawgin' have been inconsistent thus far (although great improvements as of late) as the resort adapts to the new acreage needing managed (ACE spans over 1500 acres and already must mow and landscape several hundred acres of camping sites, communal areas and recreational fields)
-there are large wood piles dotting several of the fairways, sometimes obscuring views of the basket or blocking lines. These will be chipped and burnt over time.
-challenging rough on several holes so you better watch your disc and send a spotter on a couple blind holes such as #2 and #20
-varied tees ranging from gravel, to grass, to natural and a couple still muddy- all in different stages of leveling. None are fully satisfying; none are finished, yet all are quite playable at this time and have never given me any problems. Long term, ACE hopes to add concrete tees but level, gravel tees are a more realistic goal in the short term.
-several areas could use steps, terracing, better pathways and other advanced landscaping techniques that are unlikely to occur any day soon.
-easy to lose a disc if you're not careful and diligent but I've always enjoyed the "sometime ya find one and sometime ya lose one" nature of dg in general. Of course we givem' back if they have I.D or contact info
-course lacks the figure eight double back to the cars after 9 set up that is appealing but not always available based on the geography of the area
Other Thoughts: Wonderland DGC has already been a tremendous addition to the disc golf arena of Southern WV. After the recent losses of Songer DGC and the Flying Squirrel on the north side of the NRG Bridge, this course has offered a much needed boost of energy to the local scene which remains quite small in relation to the rest of the state. The Tuesday Doubles event has grown steadily throughout the spring and many guests from such disc golf mecca's like Charlotte and Cincinnati have shown sincere excitement for ACE's newest amenity.
Like many courses that show up on DGCourseReview before they are entirely finished and arguably prematurely, Wonderland has experienced a variety of opinions and expectations expressed towards the course as it currently plays. I for one have gotten a lot of enjoyment from playing the course in the short time since its introduction and look forward to the continued improvements that I discover nearly every time I come out to play.
Several people have put a great deal of effort into bringing the Wonderland Course to fruition but the dg community remains small and lacks the significant volunteer man power that is often available in more populous dg locales. That being said, Wonderland is already one of my favorite courses in the Mountain State and will someday compete with the more polished gems across the region as it ages and gets worked in.
I look forward to updating my review to a 4 when the kinks get worked out with regards to the tees and fairway management. Before that though, I wouldn't hesitate in recommending that others get out there and check it out for themselves. Drop on "Into the Rabbit Hole"-just remember to bring plenty of water and maybe a spare disc in case one gets away.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Give it time
Pros: -Great baskets
-good mix of open and woods shots
-multiple tees & pins
-signage started and map available
-not all "rhbh" shots, good mix of flicks and "lhbh" too
Cons: -Long Grass (although more mowing happening)
-not the greatest "beginner course" / that could be under "pros" too
-tees need improvement (in the plans)
Other Thoughts: This is the only 18 (plus) hole course in the area. I know I will change my rating as improvements are made and I believe it will be a 4 (at least) in the future. This is my first review but I have been playing for over 10 years, in 10 different states and I have played in multiple PDGA tournaments (advanced level) The local disc golf scene has been slowly building but we need more people committed to the sport to get our courses in better shape.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: > New Course
> Size for improvement
Cons: > Grass extremly high
> Rough Terrain
> Tees are not sturdy
> Easy to lose next tee location
> Time consuming to find disc
Other Thoughts: I was seriously wait a year to allow time for improvement on the course.
ACE is a great place but has to much going on to concentrate on the disc golf course.
1 of 7 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
This Made Me Smile
Pros: - Beautiful area scenery.
- Awesome terrain with never a flat shot.
- Great variety in lines/shots.
- Nice mix of somewhat open and heavily wooded.
- Blue and gold Mach 3's.
- Multiple teepads.
Cons: - Some of the tees aren't very flat or sturdy.
- Signage was poor. There were a few places I had a really tough time finding the next tee.
(The course is new, so both of the above are supposed to be improved in the near future.)
Other Thoughts: I had a really great time playing this place. It was just something about the layout that made me excited to throw on alot of the holes. If they improve the tees, that would definitely raise my rating to a solid 4. Better signage would be nice (and easy to do), but after playing here once or twice, you should be able to find your way. Also, they have a tee after basket 21 that throws to the practice basket, which kind of makes this 22 holes. Being relatively close to Charleston, and in such a cool area, this is one you shouldn't miss if you're in southcentral West Virginia.
(To clarify, I played this course in late winter when the grass was all short.)
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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