Worth a Round or Two
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I have to admit, Ballou was an afterthought. It wasn't on my original Saturday plan but after finishing up in South Boston and realizing we had the time, a spontaneous side trip to Danville was in order. I wasn't expecting much but I was more than pleasantly surprised with the course I found. As I would likely have never otherwise played the course, I have to say that it was one of my better spontaneous decisions. (at least disc golf related)
Ballou rolls over a variety of terrain, including light woods and rolling hills. Between the landscapes and the elevation changes, each hole manages to present a different look.
There are some open holes that let you throw over distant hills to baskets that you can only locate by reading the tee sign. There are gaps that you have to hit all over the place, some far down the fairway, a few right in front of the tee.
For many, the favorite hole is going to be one of the over-the-valley holes, although I couldn't single out one of them over the others. They're all fun and challenging in slightly different ways.
There is a newish looking walking path in the park (Don't worry, you never throw over it.) that probably is the reason for the slight redesign and if so, I'm grateful, because the new 4 might be the best hole on the course. The blue tee takes off from elevation by the sidewalk but both run parallel to a winding creek for one of the longer holes at Ballou.
The changes likely coincided with new tee signs which are excellent and show the distance, the elevation change and uniquely, the "plays like" which combines the first two numbers into an useful bit of information.
Throw in easy navigation supported by next tee arrows on the baskets, and two nicely-sized tees per hole and you have a course that is certainly worth a round or two.
Cons: What there isn't is a ton of length. Only one hole over 350 feet, and only four over 300. There are no real water holes, and really not too much challenge for advanced players. For intermediate, blue level players, this will be a great course but beginners and experts alike may be disappointed.
I'd also say that the finish is not great. I've grown a bit tired of the last hole is the longest thing that a lot of courses have. I need a bit more than length to cap off my round these days, and 18 here is just a longish hole through the center of a city park.
That said, this isn't a course with specific flaws. If it's not great, it's just because it's not great. It's not standout. It's merely above average. But for the land available, I'm very happy with the result.
Other Thoughts: This is a course that is worth checking out. Worth the trip from Greensboro. Worth the trip from Burlington. Worth the trip from the triangle if in combination with Edmonds.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Side Trip Recommended
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Other Thoughts: Course is situated in a park of about 110 acres, the second largest in the stable of Danville city parks. For a city of this size, Ballou Park is an unusually well appointed and maintained example in the English landscape tradition of parks, and the disc golf course is already very polished and playable for being so young.
The course winds around the park's north side in more or less a clockwise fashion, and is mainly sequestered from other park activities, however walking/biking trails are threaded through several holes and the nature of the park itself promotes 'wandering' from other park goers. Alertness and consideration, as usual, are good practices. Course does not feature returning 9's.
Equipment and amenities are superior, including a distance marked practice green and an ornate and very sturdy information kiosk. Creek fords are first rate and sturdy throughout. It should be noted that policing one's own refuse is required on the course. Tee pads are above average but some may feel the blue tees slightly undersized. Way finding could be a minor issue, as the only 'next tee' indicators are on the previous tee and there are several instances where adjustments to the course have left 'spare' tee pads to find. Small colored directional arrows that hang from the basket's bottoms would solve this first timers' problem quite easily. In the 5 cases of a shared tee pad, the addition of blue stripes to complement the white ones, both on the pad and sign, would also be more consistent/less confusing.
Average hole distance from the whites is about 260' with 11 holes between 200' and 275'. From the blues, the distance variability is more evenly spread, the average hole distance is 335' and only 3 holes are 480' or better. From either set of tees, there are plenty of scoring chances due to the general openness of the course, light forgiving roughs and very few ob areas. Penal rough exists on about 1/3 of the course, but reaching them requires a large mistake (usually greed) and thus your penalty is 'fair'. Ballou #2 is very forgiving of even middling mistakes overall and gets high marks for encouraging learning while retaining a challenge and for venue appropriateness. I found it very fun to play and not as taxing as some of my own local courses. It has a light-hearted, playful mood.
Ballou #2 has excellent use of elevation changes, with every type except 'over-the-hill' represented (#14?) and exhibits excellent variety as well, as the design also includes 4 essentially flat holes. Balance would be the only formal design sticking point as the course strongly favors stable counter spin shot shapes from the tee, especially the blues. Greens are generally open, unobstructed and flattish; only a few exhibit significant slopes or drop-offs and are balanced overall regarding spin receptivity.
Ballou #2 has one very exceptional hole, #16 blue, which is one of 4 'cross-the-valley' type holes here. A 480' right-to-left par 4, one is faced with the 'how aggressive can I be' question off the tee, as landing zones both before and after the creek ford are solid plays. I venture to say the hole is nearly un-pinnable from the tee, even for those with great power as the hole sits about 20' higher than the tee and both sides of the narrow fairway are bordered with some fairly penal rough (the London Plane trees here tend to soak up a disc rather than allowing penetration, but only when in leaf). 60' or so down from the pin a protective cluster of large oaks/maples will catch weak up-shots. Most golfers need to play 2 very good smart shots here to get a shot at a 3. Rollers and the 'over-the-top' approach on this hole are so risky that success with it (them) would be an anomaly. Prove me wrong and show it on YouTube.
The course's routing is very mild, with a low-key start that eases you into the more technical areas of the course. The turn is punctuated with good scoring chances and the round ends with a bittersweet difficult sequence (#15-18). Overall, Ballou #2 is a very solid effort and a course the local club can be very proud of. Should you be passing through, I strongly advise stretching your legs here.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 10 Not
Pros: Course flows well, very natural setting right in the middle of town. The signs were simple but helpful. Good use of terrain and vegetation.
Cons: There were several trees down. The tee for 4 is hidden by a down tree. Look up the hill to the right from 3 basket. Lots of up and down.
Other Thoughts: Saw a couple of deer.
0 of 10 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Multiple Tees
Color Signs with hole and next tees
Nice use of elevation changes
Couple unique holes
Hole 18 puts you out right at the parking lot
Some of the holes aren't well cleared out or maintained.
The wooded holes don't have much of a fairway so good luck.
Woods aren't forgiving.
Other Thoughts: This is a long course with a lot of walking. However it is a very nice and fun course. Baskets can be hard to spot but overall this was a great course to play and would recommend it to others.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Good local course
Pros: -Nice flow to it. Not much walking between holes. Wooded and open mix is nice.
-Concrete tee pads - both white and blue have very nice tee pads. Well done.
-Good use of elevation and natural surroundings (let it grow).
Cons: -No alternate baskets.
-Nothing really screams at me as drastically different between a lot of the holes. No big heizer/anhezier holes (maybe 13). Most are dead straight or a slight bend.
-Tee signs. A picture of what i'm already looking toward? Useless.
-No beginner pad. Some holes may quite tough for beginners. (3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 12, 13, 18)
-Disappearing trees and bushes. Every time I come back trees/bushes are gone. Drop in difficultly level.
Other Thoughts: Local course for me so I enjoy it. Good improvements over the last year with the blue tees and concrete everywhere. Still lacking something worth a challenge. Maybe alternate baskets can bring that for a few holes. Definitely needs something to challenge pros.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 5 Not
Professional Clean and Challenging Course
Pros: Absolutely wonderful course that has varying distances, approaches, and obstacles that will test just about every type of shot to play well. Some open and some tight shots, but even the tight shots have well established fairways that will reward a well directed throw. Nice long concrete pads on both am and pro placements, along with large veneered digital pictures that not only show the shot and distance to the tee, but also the elevational change and the "equivalent" distance based on elevational influences make this one of the best (if not the best) course anywhere in the country.
Cons: None that I have observed or encountered.
Other Thoughts: An extremely well designed and well maintained course! Many kudos to the hundreds of hours (and money) spent making it one of the best in the nation to play.
0 of 5 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Great Signs
Awesome changes in elevation.
Nice use of woods.
Cons: Mostly middle range 300-350ft.
Confusing to get to, played the short par 9 next to it by accident first.
Could use more trash cans.
Other Thoughts: I played this course in the winter so I'm not sure what it plays like in full foliage, but I've got to say I'm surprised it has such a low rating. I think people are being overly picky. This course is sick, I wish it was in my home town.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: multiple concrete tees on almost every hole
course flows well
variety of shots(short/long, H/S/A, up/down)
next tee indicators painted on baskets and on signs
Cons: a few trees need to be removed to make actual lines on some wooded holes, a little luck will get you out.
basket for 11 hard to see from either tee.
the rough is very rough
Other Thoughts: overall the course has come a long way and many attempts have been made to correct its flaws
0 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: -Just added pro level tees that bring some more thrill to the course.
-Nice use of woods and elevation.
-Challanging course all together.
The new blue pads are nice becuase it gives you a total different look at each hole.
-Nice course for leftys, and rightys with fairness along the whole course.
Cons: -All the holes except 16 and 18 are short so no grip and rip on this course unless you play the blues.
-Unforgiving thick woods with poison ivy.
-Not a huge fan of the tee signs just because of new players or beginners that haven't played the course can't really see where the basket is or the view around the basket just a red dot in the middle of a tree or in a hill if the basket isnt straight ahead, but thats just being picky.
Other Thoughts: -Only reason I don't 4.5 star this course is because they could really get some alternate pins going with the layout and land.
-Good mix of wood holes and open field throws, but not enough distance difference on the holes.
-On a lot of holes you are forced to throw on one line alone, but there is no OB or mandos. because of unforgiving trees...
-I like the course for an accuracy skill shot course.
-A practice basket and new billboard sign for information and directions along the course is a plus!
- Locals are very nice and they play on Thursday evenings.
- Tournaments are fun with lots of prizes for everyone even raffles!
1 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Ballou Park has somewhat of a variety of holes. Most noticeable is the park's use of elevation. Many tees have you throwing down a hill between some huge trees, while there's a couple holes where you can't see the basket because the elevation in front of it. You'll throw into and across many ravines. Distances vary somewhat as well. There are a few long holes between 300-400 feet. Most holes are between 175-275 feet. There wasn't that one hole that really stood out to me, but there were quite a few neat holes. If I had to pick a hole, it would be Hole 5 as you thrown through a ravine, and the basket is up on this very steep hill. Makes for a fun putt if you don't clear the hill. Main pros for this park: well kept, variety of holes, good use of terrain, plenty of bathrooms, and just consistent. It's nothing groundbreaking, but it's just a good, consistent course.
Cons: This course is well designed for the most part. The layout can be confusing at times, but not too often. I went with a friend who had played the course before so I didn't wander around, but I would have on two or three holes. There are tee signs at every hole, but not all the signs give you a par! I suggest writing down the par numbers from the hole info. page before you go so you can get an accurate score. Not all the tees where concrete, somewhere like that packed dust/gravel and some of those tees where very small or sloped, which makes throws a little more difficult. None of the cons are a huge disappointment, but show the park could use some improvements.
Other Thoughts: Overall, the park is pretty good. It's not great, but it's not your typical disc golf park. It's got some neat holes, variety of holes, and the usage of terrain is a lot of fun. It's not like you're throwing over mountains, but for a park on the outskirts of a small city, it's nice. It's a well manicured park, but it could be a very good park if some improvements were made. (ehh hem...get some new tees.) It's a worth a stop if you're looking for a fun place to play that's not anything groundbreaking, but a good consistent course.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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