7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Layout - Fontana is primarily what I call park style golf with the exception that the park is a beautiful mountain resort with almost no foot traffic throughout the area of the course.
2 pads on every hole and many holes had two possible pin positions. How the long pads change the shot, length and challenge of each hole is done superbly here. It's perfect for this place because you want to give more novice players at the resort something fun yet challenging to introduce them while also layering in a stiffer challenge for better players on top of it.
You could say this course is open and compared to most NC courses it is but the beauty of the design is how well the landscape is used to create variety and challenge. Each hole has a unique look as you go through and offers up the chance to be really creative with how you attack the hole.
It balances long/short holes nicely and also makes you focus on being precise over distance due to the elevation changes, slopes and OB provided the resort road. You do get a handful of holes to really let one rip which is always fun.
The greens here are designed nicely. When possible the basket is tucked in to some wooded areas that makes you consider placement and often you'll see the basket on a slope or near a drop off.
As I said earlier the rolling hills give you some great elevation changes and it's used very effectively to make you shape shots and consider what angle your landing in places. There's also some areas with huge drop offs and those are used well to keep you from attacking some of the holes super hard.
There's some par 4's mixed in and this also adds a nice element from the longs (I don't consider the short pads on those holes to be actual par 4's). A couple of these really make you place a shot while throwing over elevation changes and these are a solid challenge and good addition.
Course flows well through most of it, no super long walks or awkward transitions.
Equipment - Dual pads on every hole (mostly concrete, sometimes off the asphalt). Baskets in good shape. Tee signs on both pads that show a hole map, distance. Benches scattered throughout. Scorecards with course map are available at the recreation hut by the mini golf.
Atmosphere - Again, this is a resort in the mountains. It's a beautiful place comprised of mostly sparse cabins, a lodge, some stores and food options. The course utilizes a lot of area that doesn't seem to be used for anything else so you really do get the place to yourself it seems.
The course is maintained well and overall you almost feel like you're at a nice country club playing ball golf due to the amenities, beauty and space you're playing in.
Cons: Layout - I do wish they could of utilized some of the forest on the property to create some true wooded holes. As is there's a few filler type holes that are a bit boring in comparison to some of the other holes. If they could of snuck in some wooded holes instead that would take it up a notch.
A couple of the par 4's are not the best in the world if you have big D. I get you want to cater to a wide demographic but that's what longs are for. 10, 11 and 18 are at weird distances to be true par 4s from the longs. 10 should back the basket up more and 11 I was on the green from the tee (long to long).
Where there is rough here is very rough. There's some thick brush and a ravine/creek running with a few holes you want no part of but could easily end up in if you're off. In a way it adds challenge and could almost be considered OB because you can lose your disc if you go in.
You do play near the resort road quite a bit but it should be noted that I saw very few people driving/walking on it and it was never a problem for us to wait and let them pass.
There's a couple spots where tees are near each other that can be confusing for a second, just remember to grab a map or look it up on here for reference.
Equipment - It would be nice if they could indicate which pin position is in on the tee sign because there's quite a few blind shots here where you're not really sure where to go.
Atmosphere - The thick rough is all I can really think of and honestly it's excusable when you consider how much maintenance it takes to keep this course open.
Other Thoughts: This might be the best park style course I've ever played, right up there with Bryan Park in Richmond, VA. It's way out there but it's definitely worth the trip, not just for the dg but for everything else you can do while in this gorgeous part of the world. Fontana Lake is right there and is one of my favorite lakes in the world.
On top of all of that the course is just super fun and a really good place for people of any skill level to play disc golf. I brought my 7yo son on this trip with me and this is his favorite disc golf course so far. He loved throwing off the hills and having all the space to let discs fly in comparison to the wooded monsters we usually play in NC.
So treat yourself to a vacation and get out to this neck of woods and play this course. I didn't stay in the resort but it looks like a super cool place to stay.
I'll also note that I'm not sure if this is still pay to play. I tried to pay but was told it wasn't necessary.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Something for everyone. Long and short tees change the course nicely. Great condition, great scenery and tons of elevation changes.
Cons: Nothing about the course itself. Tons of poison ivy around if you get off the paths, but that is to be expected on a mountain course. Did not effect the excellent rating.
0 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Great Mountain Course
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Beautiful scenery and a cool little mountain stream!! The drive from Gatlinburg is very windy. You will be taking a drive on Deal's Gap. It is a road race cars and motorcycles take.
Cons: Chiggers/High grass wear long pants!!! You will need a extra bottle of water(s).
Other Thoughts: We didn't know it was a pay course. Maybe a sign that states that and where to pay.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -18 well designed holes. The course flow is good and fun factor very high.
-Great variety. The elevation changes are used on almost every hole. There are a number of awesome down hill bombs. There are long holes and short ace runs. The par 4s are fair but require two good shots for a bird. Some holes are wooded while others are very wide open.
-Risk vs Reward is what this course is about. Several holes feature large drop offs near the baskets which make you think twice about full on runs. There are more than a few pin positions that also have roll away potential.
-Short and Long pads. Very nice concrete pads for the majority of holes. The designers did a great job making the short pads very different and much easier than the longs. The long pads will challenge anyone while the shorts provide fun ace runs on almost every hole.
-Top notch tee signs. All the needed info.
-The maintenance is great. Regularly mowed since its located on resort grounds.
-A bonus is the great mountain view you get on hole 11s tee pad.
Cons: -The location while awesome is in the middle of nowhere. Gas up and bring supplies.
-Some of the dropoffs here are very sketchy. The large ravine in the middle of 15 is prime example and pretty crazy. Risk vs Reward!
Other Thoughts: Fontana is among the best courses I have played. There are so many fun and challenging holes. This course also challenges you physically. Lots of mountain climbing! If you have time check out the Dam. Its right down the road and pretty cool.
UPDATE (1 year)- The recent upgrades made to the course are amazing. New baskets, pads, pin positions, and retaining wall on hole 1 all are great additions. Tons of clearing has been done in needed areas. Best of all are the new tee signs. All the hard work has resulted in a truely awesome disc golf experience.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Great course, glad we drove there
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: We played this course while on vacation in North Carolina. The drive was near an hour and a half from where we were staying. Let me just say, it was well worth it! If you are from out of town and want to see not only a good disc golf course but beautiful scenery on the way, make the day trip to this course! The roads are so fun to drive the trip flies by.
As far as the course itself, it has every shot you could want to throw. Short straight putter shots to long downhill anhyzers. You throw near small creeks that add to the tranquility of the course but won't lose your disc in the water. The grass was being cut as we played and it's on a resort's property so I imagine they keep up with it pretty often. My friend forgot to bring discs with him on the trip and he was able to use a set from the resort. I was slightly worried about it being at a resort but at no point were we throwing anywhere near people. I really don't want to type resort again. Resort.
Elevation. I'm from flat land so it was awesome to experience some elevation. I will say, my legs were cramping towards the end of the round.
There's a restaurant on site that has good local tap beer and decent food. We took a break at hole 12 and had a bite. If you aren't renting a room there you can pay a small fee to use their pool and other amenities. How nice to get all sweaty and take a nice dip afterwards! There were lots of bikers in the area so as we walked to our disc we often got to see some neat bikes and sports cars. Great disc golf course and great experience too.
A couple different times as you play you get back near some of the buildings. We used the facilities and enjoyed a quick hit of AC :)
Cons: No mapping of the hole layout on the signs. Just distances. This led to a lot of figuring out where to throw and slowed us down considerably for our first round there.
I think we may have missed a couple long pads or the signs were missing, couldn't really tell.
Some baskets were looking beat up. (10 especially)
Some baskets are near other fairways. If it was a busy day it may be an issue. We were the only disc golfers when we played.
Other Thoughts: If you parked your car by the check-in area, move it to the bottom of the hill by hole #1 before you play. Your legs will thank you when the course is over and you don't have to walk / crawl up that big ass hill to get back to your car. =]
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Fontana Dam beautiful!!
Pros: -Fontana is secluded! Far from civilization! But it's a gem. Both the course and the place. My family and I stayed there for a couple of nights. This is definitely a family place, particularly for vacation! About the course, it's awesome! It's very scenic! It's maintained well. It mostly has concrete pads, some are rubber but I'm fine with that too. There is a general store, a good dam restaurant, an outdoor store, and there is also a mini golf course that has scorecards and discs for the dg course.
-Benches on many holes, some trash cans which is good enough for me.
-Dual sets of tees. They are either marked by rocks or tee signs.
-The restaurant down the road past #1 is really good! The spicy dam burger is especially good. There is also a convenient store down the road past #16's fairway and to the left.
-Good variety and elevation. Course kicks off with a short #1. The hole is only 162' long and is a pretty simple putter toss, but the basket on the hill adds a bit of challenge but is still an easy birdie. A par can be frustrating but if you roll down the hill, you probably will settle for that. Things get awesome with #2! A big downhill drive onto a wooded green. It's 538' from the long, I have a big arm and I stayed in the hotel room literally beside the long pad so l had a blast bombing understable drivers and trying to make it to the green. Things get even more interesting throughout your round with the steep downhill on #4 and the dangerous green with the OB road 15' past the basket, the elevated rock green on #6, the major downhill flick on #8 and so on but then, the back nine comes and really gets tough....
-#10 is a huge uphill drive. It's barely over 400' from the long but it feels like a par 4! The short is like 230' and I could barely make it up with a mid. #11 is back downhill and turns left at the last 100' feet.
-#16 is a legit par 4! By distance, it seems like a doable 3 but there is OB on both sides. The hole is pretty wooded from both sets of tees but it isn't too difficult if you play safe.
-Tim. Guy who works here. Very cool guy, very friendly, also hosts disc golf lessons here. He works very hard around the course, keeping it well maintained. He is also planning on having a tournament here around fall.
Cons: -Can't really do anything about this but this course attracts snakes in the summer! There was a snake on the mini golf course! I saw a few on the course, luckily they were all black snake but they all snuck up on me which was frightening.
-Construction could be somewhat better. Course is really steep in some places, #7 and #8 play on a very steep hill. I'm 18 and I'm really slim! Skinny by many standards so I didn't have trouble but if you are out of shape, you may slip!
-"Ravine of blood" The ravine on #2 and #11 is steep, thorny and dangerous! Don't take my advice on bombing a stalker down #2's fairway unless you can throw 400+ on flat ground! It's very deep and it comes to play on #15. #15 isn't a problem because of the ravine being close to the tee pads. But #2 and #11 take a bit of thinking. I don't think pain is part of the fun and I don't think it should be the consequence for being a bad throw.
-Some holes are too close to each other. #10 and #11 basically face each other! #3's long pad is also in front of #12's pad.
Other Thoughts: -My cons are really just nit picks. This place rocks! The whole course rocks. It's just the ravine that should really bother you. Everything else isn't a big deal because it's secluded. I would recommend this course to anyone, at anytime. I would especially recommend staying here, sure it's a little pricey but it's totally worth it due to the scenery, food, arcade and how nice the lodges are. There are even guitar hero tournaments up here sometimes. I never could find it in the arcade but they did insist on having them. Which is always fun for me.
-I went here on a birthday vacation. There is a girl I'm very close with and that I hang out with all the time that is on a mission trip in Cherokee so my family and I stayed there on Thursday night. The Smoky Mountain area is awesome and if you were to have time, I would recommend you hang out around the whole area! Not to mention, I'm thinking about going to Western which is maybe an hour and fifteen minutes from Fontana.
-You can also camp out here for $15 and you don't really have to pay to play here. That is just if you want to rent a few discs.
Favorite hole: #2. Narrowly beating many others like #4, #8, #10, #11, and #16! I don't have a least favorite either. If the ravine was less rough, I'd give this course a 4.5! I wish there was a 4.25 rating.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This is one of my all time favorite courses! Long, tight, open and short...bring a full complement of plastic. Oh, and you'll want to bring a spotter. There are several holes (the approach on 2, the drive on 8 and 17) that can save you from pulling your hair out searching for lost plastic
And you can't beat the drive in or views around the course. Just absolutely beautiful at times. You will also want to bring snacks. This course is serious up/down and across hills. Fatigue factor is a biggie on this one.
Course is fairly easy to Navigate and flows well. No real issues with finding yourself around. Though the transition from 1 to 2 is odd. 1 is by the Fontana Disc Golf sign, but 2 is way up the hill from it.
Hole 3 took us a few minutes to find, but after that it was easy.
Cons: No real cons. Course can get really shaggy off the fairways with lots of gnats and other bugs. But if it's windy, that helps.
There is a major, major disc eating ravine between holes 2 & 11 (I think) that had devoured much of my plastic. The drop off is near straight down off of 11 with think foliage. Off hole 2 it was briars, briars, briars (as of June 2014). Use extreme care when searching in this ravine (and same off 16/17. Lots of slippy rocks that move and have gaps between them covered with leaves. I still have heavy scars from my last foray through the rocks - seriously.
Other Thoughts: No easy way to Fontana dam (unless you stay in the village!) but worth the drive no matter how long/far you are away.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Rounding into shape
Pros: -Setting. Wow factor. Hard to beat really.
-Facilities. Meals-Lodging-Bar-Pool etc.
-Gorgeous course in The Smokies...nice. .
-Improvements keep coming
-No 2 holes alike w/ Up-Down-Left-Right etc
-Many Risk vs Reward Birdie/Bogie holes.
-Brand new concrete pads- both Pro and Am.
-Lots of elevation without TOO much hiking.
-Quality Baskets, decent signs, benchs etc.
Cons: -LOCATION. Really isolated. See below.
-Some pads too short for full run-up.
-Confusing Resort Map. Get the new map.
-Steep/tangled ravine in middle of course.
-Hard to play when wet. Bring real shoes.
-Not currently Beginner friendly...but soon?
Other Thoughts: Fontana is a huge, full service 3-4 season resort. Disc Golfers will seldom be in the majority here at this Christian Family Retreat, but with the pool, the lake, the hiking, the Smokies, and so much more, it is hard to believe that players won't find something to fill the rest of the day here after a round.
Fontana resides near the imfamous 'Dragon', simply one of the most thrilling stretches of road in the world. Pictures 100s of turns on quality pavement in the woods and you'll understand why Harleys and Corvettes often frequent the area. But get real directions and figure on an hour longer than it looks and it looks like a long way from anywhere.
I really loved this course. LOTS of changes have been made, including especially the concrete pads on both Pro and Am. They're not as long as you'd like for a 5 step run-up. However, having just played a round with 'The Course Bros' JP and Rob, they assure me they will have a run-up area behind the pads that need one soon. They had lots of ideas for other changes and this sort of hands on 'Love' means a lot to me. They are looking at BOTH some longer pins up in the woods AND some beginner friendly third teepads. This will be a 4.5 star course pretty soon if they get that done.
GETTING AROUND: Don't bother with the old map found on the resort site. It is obsolete. Hole 1 has been moved to a better location. While JP and Rob just park at a central point near #12, 15, and 3, guests need to know that you can just walk out the Lodge Room's Hallway directly to the #2 Pro tee. This alone would make me think about the lodge rooms instead of the dozens of cabins. Remember...this place is huge. Can't describe how cool it was to play a round.... grab a shower... have a gourmet lunch.... crash.... and play round 2 totally rested.
Seasons: I here there are skeeters of course, and summer days must get pretty hot with all the climbing around here. But for me, early November was a little too late. Lots of slick leaves and the Lodge was kept pretty chilly considering how few people were around. I'll aim for October next year.
I believe in the Wow Factor. There are at least 6 great holes here and only 3 or 4 'whatevers'. Throw in a unique and beautiful setting and this place is worth the considerable 'Destination Drive'.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Fun in the mountains
Pros: Nice course. Laid out well with lots of variety....Long and short holes, up and down. Enjoyed the challenge of it a lot and would love to go back.
Cons: IF by some chance you think you want to play there because they rent golf carts, forget it. The entire resort only has 4 and they rent them to people for their kids to drive around so good luck ever getting one. Anyway, this course would not lent itself to driving one on several of the holes. The rubber mats on the tee boxes are covered with mossy slime from being under trees and can be very slippery. They could use some cleaning.
Other Thoughts: It had rained a lot the night before we played there. That made footing on the slopes of the fairways very tough. Also, the grass had not been mowed for quite a while...it was about 4-5 inches high. I will go back though. I would love to play this course after freshly mowed and dry. It would be wonderful. I did not realize until signed on today that we were supposed to pay to play but that would not stop us from going back. Lastly, the map is critical to help you navigate because signage lacks some.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Well worth the drive
Pros: Reading about this, I found it hard to believe that a resort dedicated in large part to motorcyclists and driving enthusiasts has such a wonderful disc golf course. Yet, there it is. It is a challenging course with beautiful scenery and relatively well-kept grounds.
The course is long. With the exception of hole #1, which is the disc golf equivalent of mini golf, the are many long holes with mostly open fairways. However, there are also medium to long holes with decorative trees or tree clusters in the middle of things. Holes 2 and 16 are good examples. You are driving over a landscaped area with dogwoods dotting an otherwise open lawn.
The course designers took advantage of the elevation changes. Hole #4 was a love/hate sort thing. You are throwing off the edge of a very steep hill, through the trees, and down to level ground at the basket. Hole #8 has a wonderful long drive down a hill with a right turn out of the trees into the open. I birdied that one and was thrilled to have done so.
No two holes are alike. Most all of them represent a challenge, yet nothing that should scare away new players.
Cons: Whatever you do, stay on the fairway. Maybe it's because I'm a yankee and not familiar with the vegetation in the south, but I lost one driver and we were lucky to find a few others. The "fairway" under hole #8 is a narrow bike path cut from a slope covered in waist-high briers, vines, and ferns. Any disc that fades too hard and lands in the woods may also fall down into a 40 ft deep ravine.
Footing can be treacherous. If it has rained within the last 24 hours, slopes will be muddy and your feet will slip out from under you.
Signs on the course itself are weak. Take a course map with you and you will have no problem. My group forgot the map and walked a few extra miles going in the wrong direction.
Other Thoughts: The tees are reasonably well maintained. Most have a rubber mat covering either a crushed stone base or a plywood platform. The only exception that I can recall is #8, which is bare earth and in the middle of a bike path.
The road leading to the course (US129) is nicknamed The Tail of the Dragon. It is famous for tight curves and switchbacks. If you have a choice between taking the Camry or the WRX, drive the WRX. Just stay between the painted lines, please.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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