4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I know a course is something special when I literally stop in my tracks to soak it in. This can be a product of a well constructed shot or the environment in which the course is placed. In the case of Mountain lake, there was plenty of both!
You'll drive up to the resort area which is basically at the top of the mountain, but don't be fooled, you still have to drive up another paved-then-dirt road to reach the course. If you're looking for seclusion while playing, this course is for you. You know, usually I prefer to play golf with others, but in the case of Mountain lake I honestly enjoyed the solitude.
Words can't really describe the beauty of the place. Suffice it to say, you need to see this for yourself. Now for the golf.
Hole 1 opens up with a basket placement in the back of a grove of trees. A cool hole which may or may not be blind during summer. I knew from the onset that I was in for a treat.
If I wasn't already on cloud 9 (literally?) by the time I made it to hole 3, my ace run was sure to elevate me even further. I wasn't let down from there, moving on to the most eclectic hole on the course, 4, which is precariously placed on a rock formation high on the hill.
Thinking back, there seemed to be a fairly even amount of wooded and open holes, with many being combinations of the two. If I had to guess, I was throwing downhill more than uphill, but not an overwhelming amount.
Dual tee pads allow for Intermediate through Open players to be challenged. This course may be a little tougher than average for a rec player, to whom I'd suggest practice a little more before heading here in order to get the most out of the course.
Despite being on the top of the mountain, there aren't many spots to lose plastic. Just like any wooded course, you could become buried in leaves, but the undergrowth isn't overbearing. I can't speak for how thick it is in the summer.
There were a few benches in the right spots, but honestly on a course of this caliber I'd like to see every hole have a bench. It's a literal hike to play this thing and it can take a lot out of you.
Cons: The course, despite the accolades I listed above, does suffer from a few downfalls. If these were to be corrected, this course could easily be a 5/5.
Firstly, in typical Southwest Virginia fashion, the tee pads are a combination of natural/gravel-rock mixture. Although amply sized, they still lend themselves to poor form and potential injury. I'm a sucker for concrete pads so it's always a bummer throwing from something else. To get concrete to these pads, however, would require mixing on site as I highly doubt a concrete truck could make it up the road.
There was a slight feeling of repetitiveness. Not overwhelming, just present. The entire course careens through a solitary field (apparently cut out for a ball golf course) which makes you see double.
There aren't any tee signs at all. Zero. Surely with some of the money the course generates they'll be able to remedy this, certainly a lot easier than concrete.
There are a few "filler" holes. Namely hole 11. I was really disappointed with that hole, as others have pointed out as well. It sticks out like a sore thumb in an otherwise well laid out course. I highly suggest a redesign.
There may have only been 1 sweeping dogleg (6). Many of the shots felt too "straight" although you typically had to throw hyzers to reach the basket.
Although there are white/blue navigation arrows posted on trees, without a map you might walk up to the wrong tee pad (I did on a few instances). Just consult your map before you walk.
Other Thoughts: Be sure to stop at the gift shop to pay before playing the course. You'll want to stop to get directions anyway and the staff is friendly and will provide info, a course map and trail map.
Another thing to note, if you're expecting lunch directly before/after playing you better pack it. In fact, a picnic would be really awesome with the views from the course. Other than that, there isn't any food other than what may be available at the resort for at least 20 minutes.
One last thing that may matter, remember you're going to the top of a mountain. It will be significantly colder up there than down in the valley. Dress appropriately as well as have the right plastic in case it gets windy.
I really wish they allowed camping on site because this place would be perfect for that destination golf getaway. It's the only time I've truly felt alone with nature on the course and man was it an awesome feeling. Soak it in!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: 1. Peaceful and serene. I felt like we had the entire course to ourselves (we did). We played the entire round in the fog and it was awesome! i can wait to come back when visibility is over 400'. The natural beauty alone makes this course a must play in my book.
2. The course is very well maintained. My hat is off to the folks that maintain the course. Grass was short in the fairways and long in the rough. There is very little underbrush.
3. Length- there is a great mix of long and short holes.
4. Variety- Bring all your favorite discs you will need every shot in your arsenal. There was so much variety, I just could not wait to see what the next hole would bring.
5. Elevation- The elevation is managed well. There is a lot of climbing but it always complemented the hole design.
6. Benches- beautiful benches on several holes
Cons: 1. No trash cans. I know the park staff must work their tails off to keep the course in such great shape and unfortunately a few rude players decided not to carry their trash out. Maybe a couple of trash cans would encourage those folks to put trash in its proper place.
2. Golf course road- It had been raining all morning which made it fun. Several muddy spots and low clearances were a challenge for my Sentra but we made it just fine. The road could use a little help.
Other Thoughts: We like to stay properly "hydrated" on long rounds but carrying all that extra "water" gets heavy on a long course. We carried our little coole rto the 2 basket and were able to park it on the #8 tee pad then leave it on the 18 tee to pick up at the end of our round. It was nice to have ice cold water to start the back 9.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Lake Lodge Lover
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Mountain Lake DGC is outstanding. I talked to the friendly staff at the Mountain Lake Outfitters next to the lodge before hitting the course. Glad I did because they gave me directions to the course, a nice scorecard/map, and I learned that Dirty Dancing was filmed there. I liked disc golf way better than their cinematic history. The course has a good bit of spacious wide open meadow with trees on the edges or rough patches, and it also has good woods holes also. You know with "Mountain" in the name it will have elevation change, it is a considerable factor on most of the holes. The second hole is a great example, 701' and -51'. Third hole is under 300' in distance, and -41' of elevation, another really fun hole. 4 is not the toughest, but maybe the most memorable. The basket is uphill 35' on top of a big boulder 185' away from the tee. Great pin position. Holes 5 and 6 are also really great holes, lengthy and with wooded fairways, 5 way downhill, and 6 uphill. 8 comes into more open area up a hill. 9 is epic, 1045' par 5, starting in open, and moving into trees. A long way through both, and dropping 63' downhill. 13 and 14 are also very good holes. The last few are set in the more open areas, but still using the edges of the trees and change in elevation well for strategic purposes. There are multiple tees, I played the longer blue tees, and refer to those distances. The DISCatchers are in nice shape. There are ruins of an old building after hole 15, that are on a scenic overlook, worth stopping for a look.
Cons: You can drive to the course, but the dirt road was muddy when I was there, narrow and pretty rough in places. It does save you a hike up the hill. The tee boxes could be improved, but are not terrible.
Other Thoughts: Overall I was impressed with Mountain Lake DGC and would say it is a must play for serious disc golfers, if you are close enough to swing by. It is out of the way, worth the drive for sure. Pretty challenging on the blue tees, a par 65 course. I made two birdies (holes 3 and 7) and I finished at five over par (70).
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
A Great Course
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Fair and interesting length with a nice mix of long open holes and short wooded with every other combination in between.
- Scenic, it does overlook the blue ridge mountains.
- Occasional benches
- Relatively easy to find lost discs due to less dense foliage, which mostly consisted of ferns.
- Multiple tees
- Well Maintained
- Markers (on trees and on the baskets) for the next hole were easily understood and makes it hard to get lost.
Cons: - No signage at the beginning of the hole (but you can pick up a map at the front desk)
- No trash cans
- The drive up the mountain from the lodge is a bit much for most. It's one lane, steep and heavily wooded, if you encounter someone along the way I hope you have fun. Would not recommend without 4-wheel drive, but it's not impossible for cars without, it could just pose a challenge especially if the road is muddy.
- gravel/dirt tee boxes
Other Thoughts: I highly enjoyed this course, it's challenging but fair. Some really interesting holes and some great scenery on hole 15 and 16. Hopefully they plan on finishing it with signage and possibly concrete tee boxes.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Design - I'd like to buy the person who installed this course a beer. Fantastic use of the property.
Elevation - Lots of it made for a fun and challenging round.
Scenery - It is the most isolated place I've ever played disc golf and I loved it. I kept looking around expecting to see bears looking at me like what are you doing here. At times I felt like I could have been in a rainforest. Thousands of ferns everywhere. We bumped into 5 wild turkeys who quickly ran off. Exploring the old rock clubhouse building and surrounding views was enjoyable.
Length - I never felt like the long holes were too long or the short holes were too short. I liked the differences between the blue and white tees (we played the whites).
Navigation - Couldn't have been easier.
Condition - The grass was cut nice and low in the fairways and on walkways to each hole. It also seems that someone cleared the fairways on the wooded holes of knee high undergrowth. This is clearly an impressive amount of work and was very appreciated!
Friendly shop employees - They even offered to let us borrow discs to play!
Cons: Teepads - While the current dirt/rock mix were the best natural tees I've ever used (and never really affected my throws or bothered me) I would still always rather have large, flat, level concrete pads. This would be a bigger problem if it rained.
Variety - I didn't experience any sweeping hyzers or turning par 4's. Mostly straight-ish shots (maybe playing from the long pads would add this?).
Ferns/grass - Right off many of the fairways (and covering one fairway) are knee high grass and ferns. They look nice but can make finding a slightly errant shot tricky so take careful note of where your disc lands or you could be walking around an area until you walk by it.
Bears - I didn't see any but I know they were out there. Probably. Maybe not, but still... bears! And maybe even mountain lions!
No camping - I would enjoy a weekend of camping and playing here. C'mon, let us camp!
Flies - Lots of some sort of black flies that would land on you (not the biting kind). They don't fly away when you swat at them. At one point I had 10 or 15 on me at once and it was annoying. Maybe a seasonal thing.
No cell reception - Is this really a con?
Other Thoughts: The road up to the course wasn't difficult to traverse in my sedan at all. I just took it slow and never had any issues driving right up to hole 1.
The weather was 10 degrees cooler than the bottom of the mountain. Fantastic.
TL;DR All in all the course was well designed (difficult but not ridiculous) and easy to traverse with the scorecard (with map) from the shop. I felt like I was on a disc golf vacation during the round. Just away from it all. I will definitely take the chance to play here again and after playing around 150 courses I can say the overall experience of playing Mountain Lake puts it solidly in my top 10. If you have the chance to play here you should not pass it up. Just watch out for bears!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Baby? Not in the corner!
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Scenic: The course is set atop a ~4100' mountain plateau, originally cleared for a ball golf course. Nice views across to the neighbouring mountains, and the view down into the valley, from the stone remains of the former clubhouse behind basket-15, is most impressive.
Your car will hate you for the final mile - the dirt "road", barely a car wide, with potholes, ruts, exposed rock, nearby tree branches, etc., Minimal amount of parking. I had no cell phone reception.
This nicely presented course is one of many outdoor activities offered to the guests ($5 for non-guests) of Mountain" Lake" (its size varies greatly, depending upon precipitation) Lodge. While food might be available at the Lodge, cheaper food (aka Subway) and petrol are found ~6 miles down the hill in Pembroke.
The course is located upon a mountain plateau, and was originally a ball golf course. The disc golf course uses the fairways cleared for the ball golf course, the copses of trees used to define/separate these fairways, and the forest of hardwoods which formed the border of the ball golf course. Plays in a counterclockwise manner, with holes 1-14 zigzagging their way down the landscape, while the final four holes return you directly along the opposite side. Some of the baskets are located on the edge of the former ball golf greens.
Two tee locations per hole, averaging ~320' from the whites, and ~425' from the blue. Tees are long-n-wide, framed by logs and/or stones, and natural (dirt and/or bits of gravel). Only tee-7 was poor, i.e. a protruding tree root in the midst of the box. Excellent, easy-to-follow course, which includes both distance and elevation change details. Blue/white arrows pointing towards next corresponding tee.
The design uses the available assets well, Even blend of completely open holes, completely wooded holes, and holes that begin one way, and end the other, combined with elevation change on most holes. Basket-4 set upon an impressive rock formation, basket-14 nestled, at the end of a narrowing tunnel, underneath the few evergreens to be found within a mass of deciduous trees, and white tee-18 cut out from the hedgerow separating fairway-2 from fairways 8, 9, and 18, are all nice touches.
Score/challenge-wise, as a middling-advanced player from the whites, I faced good variety: some birdy opportunities, some cut-n-dry par-3s, some challenging par-3s, and some holes that essentially were par-4s for me. Birdied open 8&11 both rounds, took 4s on rolling-elevation/twisting-and-turning wooded #6, and open, upslope 639' #15. The most difficult hole (for me, popped me with a double bogey both times) was 669' number-9 - open initially, you then enter a narrowing and descending tunnel, needing to be straight for a long duration.
The title? Much of the movie "Dirty Dancing" was filmed here.
A bit out of the way, and a bit rough (the final section of "road", especially), but quality disc golf in a scenic environment will be your reward if you make the trek.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Play on the Mountain Top!
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Private 18 championship caliber holes on the mountain top featuring 18 Discatcher baskets with dual white and blue natural/gravel tees. The course has some excellent variety of holes with par 3, 4 and 5s over lots of elevation with a nice mix of open and woods holes and plays in and out of the woods, Phenomenal use of the unique land features, terrain and elevation. Once on the course navigation is pretty breezy, there are blue and white arrows on the trees and paint on the baskets to point you in the right direction to the next tee. There is nice bright orange tape around the trees to mark the intended fairway of the hole for you to see from the open tees that play into the woods as the baskets are blind and far away. I liked the elevated tee on hole 18, guess it used to be a ball golf tee, and the green is slightly raised from the slope. Seems to be well groomed and has little underbrush. Lots of wildlife and bugs I've never encountered before, there was a giant hawk soaring over the course most my round. Remote mountain location with views!
Cons: Just a warning that you are in the middle of nowhere and unlikely to see other players or people and on top the mountain that is hard to access, so if there is an emergency you may be SOL. No tee signs although its really easy to figure out with everything else well marked. There is a little deja-vu on some holes, especially the last 4 all going back uphill with the basket to the right. The course is basically one giant counter clockwise loop although you could hike back to the golf parking lot after hole 8 and might as well play hole 18 back if needed for refreshments. If you hike it from the outfitter store you best prepare with everything you need for a very long round and long hike, bring lots of H2O.
Other Thoughts: I don't think I've ever driven uphill non-stop for 8 miles before let alone to get to a course. Make sure your brakes are in good condition for the drive back down. The drive features many blind curves and switchbacks up the mountain with drop offs the side you don't want to think about. Once you get to the resort, you still have to go another mile uphill OFF ROAD either by HIKING or driving if you can. If you hike it from the outfitter store it is a HIKE! For some reason my GPS thinks the speed limit is 55mph going up the mountain, yeah right, I could barely go 25mph with the turns. Follow Mountain Lake Road all the way up until the first turn and the outfitter store is right there.
Mountain Lake Resort reminds me of the Black Course in the Moundsville, WV but Mt Lake is fairer with the basket placements and has less dramatic elevation slope on the course although it's still plentiful and just as extreme if you somehow venture off the fairway/course. It's pretty cool to play around on top the mountain and there are some spectacular views, especially the overlook by the basket of 15 with the old golf club house. Apparently there used to be a ball golf course there, follow the signs to the golf course/golf course rd when you see them and I think it was the signs to Blue (Ridge or blue something) on the off road path before golf course rd.
This monster course is definitely worth the 45 min or so detour from I-81 in Blacksburg and probably the best course in a 2 hour or so radius. There are lots of other fun adventures to do at the resort as well. I would definitely play again and recommend to anyone that likes championship style golf with gorgeous views!
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Best course in area
1 Helpful / 10 Not
Pros: beautiful scenery and course layout,a little bit of everything.When permanent tee pads installed will be a epic course
Cons: only con is the drive,a bit of a haul from Roanoke,road has blind corner after blind corner
1 of 11 people found this review helpful.
One to Watch
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: 18 hole course with nice new Innova Discatchers. Course is in a secluded section of Mountain Lake Conservancy. I'll stick to the course Pros here and discuss other features in the Other Thoughts Section:
2 tee postions for each hole. Blue tees are long and challenging. White pads provide a break for us humans. Right now pads are clearly marked with painted wooden stakes. They are all very large, and have been cleared and tamped in a nice firm space. Many of them also have a nice gravel base at this point. All were flat, level and playable.
Tremendous landscape variety. There are lush, grassy meadows, long sloping downhills, steep uphills, and thick woods. Tons of great variety for a disc golf course. And beautiful views top it all off. Just a great location.
A nice blending of open holes and technical holes. There are some long, tight wooded holes here as well as long open bombs. And being up on a mountain be prepared for wind to add to the fun on the open holes.
Maintenance was excellent. Grass was low, paths cleared, and tee pads were in good shape. It was obvious that tons of work has been done to get a nice foundation started for this course.
Front 9. I felt that the front 9 might just be one of the better stretches of disc golf I have played in a long time. Variety, challenge and beauty. Just well done.
Hole #4 is an awesome 185' hole that rises steeply up the hill to a basket perched on a gorgeous rock formation. Reminded me of something from Holler in the Hills.
#9 is a 1027' monster that is just really cool. You tee off out in the field, and need to throw somewhere around 600' to reach a gap in the trees. Then the fairway slopes downhill through the trees to the basket. It is a tough hole, but beautifully constructed.
#3 and #12 are both cool down hill shots that play mostly open, but end at a basket either in or near the woods. Fun shots to make your long range ace run. #3 is 303' and 12 plays 433'. Both are empty your bag kind of holes.
Overall hole lengths go from 185' all the way to 1027'. Lots of variety and challenge. Total course length from Blue tees is 8158' so bring your arm and some good shoes.
Cons: Natural and gravel pads. An upgrade is certainly possible.
No tee signs.
#11 seems like a lame filler hole. It just doesn't belong among the other nice holes.
Lots of straight shots. Length seems to be favored over line shaping. If you throw 500' maybe this isn't a con.
Some of the design seems repetitive. Lots of throw out the woods into a field, and back into the woods holes.
Other Thoughts: Ok, now for the rest. The Mountain Lake Resort offers a hotel with restaurant and bar. There are also really nice looking cottages you can rent. There is a pool. There are virtually unlimited hiking and biking trails. There is a zip line area. IT's huge and diverse. If you like the outdoors this is a great destination course. It is pretty great looking all the way around.
Stop at the outfitter store and pay your $5. They have trail maps, scorecards and course maps there. If you park by the outfitters it is about a 2 mile walk up the hill to get to the course. They will direct you to a road that will get you to the first tee pad if you want to drive. The last 1.2 mile of road is dirt, gravel and washed out rock. Be careful if you have a Smart Car, Prius, Fiat or other small, low clearance car.
The temperature is about 10 degrees cooler at the course than your smart phone App will show you for Blacksburg or Pembroke. Dress appropriately.
This course is a work in progress. It was opened in June, and has had a heck of a lot of work done already. Very impressive. Despite my cons and comments I could see this course being as good as they want to make it. Yes, all the way to the mythical, magical 5 disc course. It has everything you could ask for in landscape, and an excellent start already. I can't wait to get back again, and see what progress has been made. It is a definite must play if you like mountain courses.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: Long course in a beautiful location.
Good hole variety with wooded and open fairways.
Blue and White tees.
Course map available at first tee.
Cons: No signage yet.
Other Thoughts: This course is a blast. Some wooded holes and some open with long fairways through a mountain top meadow. Bonus scenic overlooks. Check it out bro.
0 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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