Visually Stunning, Physically Demanding!
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: If playing golf in the mountains isn't enough to get your mouth watering, then your're a zombie! After climbing the mountains to Jefferson NC, you exit the car into cooler, crisp air of Ashe County Park with mountains ringing. Man, it really don't get no better than that. First tip...STRETCH. You are going to need to be seriously prepared. The non-mountain side holes are elevated enough to get your blood pumping. The mountain side holes will send you into cardiac arrest if you're not prepared!
I would suggest playing the 'short' white tees. Don't let all those 200-250' holes trick you. Once you leave the open area, the holes begin to grow. Before long you are seriously tired. Once you hit holes 13-18 you better have eaten your Wheaties as you climb higher and higher up the mountain. But when you reach #18 and see that 300' down hill tunnel shot, it's like, 'Man, I can die not a happy man (or girl!)". But don't! You haven't played the Blue tees. And those tees separate the weak from the strong.
But back to the short white tees...Navigation is simple, holes 1-9 wind around a nice pond, dancing perilously close to the water before pulling away. #3 is a gut check toss no matter which arm you throw with. Basket is on the corner of the pond, on a dam. Be off a bit, and bye-bye buzz. To much power and your're chasing it another 400'
Hole #6 plays from the bottom of the dam to a basket (not #3) in the center of the dam. And it's a STEEP climb! Over power your drive and it's history. Chain out and you're chasing plastic again!
#8 begins the climb. Playing to the blue-tee basket is recommended. It's a climbing, dogleg left that will wear you out.
Then comes the first dive bomb hole...#9. GRIP AND RIP!! just make sure you exit the tunnel. Errant shots can be hard if not impossible to find..
#10 from the Blues is better than the whites since it is a triple Mando! From the whites it's ho-hum. From the blues it's OMG! Great hole from the Blue tee
And then #11...TIGHT slight dogleg left to a wall of mountain laurel. Pitchover to a landing zone, pitch over again to the basket. Sounds easy...it's not! A 7 is not a bad score. A 5 is great and a 4 will get you a sponsorship! CRAZY HOLE!!
Once on the mountain the course winds up and down, going from tight shot down hill shots to mind blowing uphill climbs.
If you don't end up playing the blues, at least play #18 from the blue. You'll not see another hole like this very often...818 downhill shot...just dang!
If you play the blues, some notable holes...
#8 is insane...Tiiiight cap climbing high and right to an opening. And unless you really uncork your drive, you're going to be running up a steep heel to get enough velocity to power you drive (now turning left and climbing) toward the basket. And it's hard to generate power when you're barely able to get any serious forward momentum
#13 is a CRAZY RHBH anyhzer shot. I've never seen one like it before. Just aim for the clouds, keep it tight and let it rip.
#15 almost makes you want to cry. The basket is straight out, 300' but along a ridge with the mountain dropping off to your left. Throw a laser beam shot to the basket and you're safe. Hit ANYTHING and kick left, and you might was well leave a forwarding address for your disc. It can go a LONG WAY DOWN!! Extremely intense shot
#17 is another HIGH climbing RHBH shot. Tight gap up through the woods at about a 45-degree angle. Should you land in the fairway, it's like #8, can't generate enough forward momentum to throw at the basket. And like #15, you hit and kick left, its 'see ya later alligator'. You might be chasing that one for a while.
Then there's the previously mentioned #18...take a breath and enjoy that MASSIVE downhill chunk. Once at the bottom, look up the 'fairway'. Hope you don't suffer from vertigo 'cause it's overwhelming
Cons: Except for the stunning and distracting beauty, none. Great course. Actually not a fan of the plastic mesh tees pads on the mountain, but that's being picky.
Other Thoughts: Extremely strenuous course! Be very prepared for it. Also, bring a spotter or 3. Too many shots for discs to vanish. You could easily leave with half a bag on the mountain
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The pro's of Ashe county park are numerous. Firstly, The course is an almost perfect mixture of left/right/straight, up/down, wooded/open and long/short shots. If my memory serves me correctly, there was at most a difference of 2 in any of those categories. Having a course this well-rounded means you'll test (almost) every shot in your game.
There are 2 tee pads for each hole, I chose to play the longer tees. The Pro tees are definitely championship level and have hosted some big name competition in the past. From the looks of the shorts, they appeared to be at least accessible for rec/intermediate and I even saw a few seemingly rec players enjoying themselves.
The thing that really sets Ashe County apart from a lot of other courses is how memorable/unique some of the holes are. Holes 9 and 18 are both HUGE downhill tunnel shots off the mountains. No pictures can do them justice, you just have to experience it to believe it. Hole 11 was another first for me, as it starts as a typical tunnel shot through the woods but then you run into two distinct rows of shrubbery BLOCKING the fairway. The only way to reach the basket is by going over them, either both at once with a big arm, or hopping the first with a placement shot, then hopping the second. Oh, did I forget about the lake shot? At any other course, Hole 3 would be the signature hole (at least from the longs) as it's a BOMB 400ft+ shot with over the lake with the basket only 10ft off the water on the other side. If you watch some of the videos of this shot, many of the MPO players even fall short of land on this shot. An absolute beauty. There are even a few more delightful shots including a screen over the top of the fairway of 16 to prevent overhands, a triple mando on 10 (which some say is contrived but I kinda liked it) and much more!
There were tee signs on the short tees only, but they also had plenty of scorecards in the mailbox which had the course map on them. You'll need this, not so much for navigation, but for determining which lane to take as some of the pro tees play to a separate permanent basket while others play to a single one. The course also had ample seating at most if not all holes and trust me, you'll need to rest. This course is a beast of a hike!
Lastly, the setting of Ashe County is one of the more scenic in disc golf. You'll appreciate your surroundings and you'll feel like you're off the beaten path (you kinda are) but there is still civilization with opportunities for food/gas not far down the road.
Cons: I'm going to be stretching for some cons of Ashe County as it is simply one of the best courses I've played thus far. But no course is perfect and my review style will only award a 5 if the course has virtually nothing missing. I've seen all of the pieces of a 5, but no course has yet to put it all together so far.
First, Ashe is missing an open bomb hole from a teepad. Sure you'll likely get to air out an approach on holes 9 and 18, and even hole 12 feels like an open bomb, but there isn't anywhere to absolutely open up and crush a drive for pure distance, something i think every course should have at least 1 of to test that aspect of your game.
Secondly (here's where I'm reaching a little further), there aren't tee signs on all of the pro tees. This is why the map and scorecard come in handy for the pro tees. Navigation wasn't too hard but I would've appreciated some additional signage on the course. The signs that were there also appeared to be a little older. If course maintenance were to spend a few hundred bucks on some new (and more) signage, this place could go to the next level. Just down the road in Wilkesboro, Rolling Pines has EXCELLENT course amenities and signs, which should be an example for us all.
Lastly, and this is of no fault to the designers or anyone else, Ashe county isn't convenient to nearly anywhere. If this were the only "flaw" it had, I would've given it a 5, so don't think I'm completely heartless. Heck, it's sometimes refreshing to get off the beaten path, but if you're planning a road trip this is a tough place to hit.
Other Thoughts: Ashe County is in the upper echelon on disc golf courses with only a few minor details that gave me pause. I haven't played many of the world renowned "elite" courses yet but if the masses think they're better than Ashe county, they're probably doing something right.
Don't hesitate to drive out of your way for this one. Just pack a lot of fluids and get ready for a hike. Playing 2 rounds of this in one day may be too much for most people. I'd recommend driving down the road and playing Wilkesboro courses as well.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
From the Ashe Rises the Phoenix
Pros: Dual tees on most holes and a couple holes had two baskets providing excellent variety of challenge and length. Good mix of open and wooded holes and use of the elevation and terrain. Good navigation and flow with 2 loops of 9 holes back to the parking lot. Beautiful views and wildlife. Shelters and bathrooms near parking lot.
Cons: Not much. Long tees have no tee sign. Underbrush although not bad was a little thick in a couple places and had some poison ivy. Chance to lose a disc in the pond and conflict with other park users fishing. Some steep elevation causing random roll-a-ways and maybe hard for some to hike.
Other Thoughts: Ashe County has one of the most stunning views with Mount Jefferson towering up 1600' in the backdrop of the pond. I can understand why many people have this course rated so high. It's hard to nitpick on a couple things that were more just personal preference than things that are cons. I liked the variety of lines the open holes presented, providing challenges via the elevation changes and few trees and the pond. They are fairly simple par 3 holes. Everything is fairly straight forward throughout the whole course and I think that is where it feels like something more is missing. Maybe if the open holes were interlaced between the wooded holes it would feel more whole, but that's nobody's fault. The fact that the open holes are all around the pond and easier holes makes it great for getting beginners to play here, and there's not much else around the way here, so that's also good thing here.
The long tee on hole 8 was not my favorite as you have a tight gap to hit through a low ceiling of pines with a massive uphill slope. Hole 9's underbrush seemed to be the worst, but is one of the most fun if you don't hit a tree and have to search for a disc.
Two holes left me scratching my head. The first was the long tee on hole 10 with it's triple mando over the line, I didn't like it because it's unnecessary and a bit contrived. The other was hole 11 and the hidden long basket. I still don't know what to think of that position. Part of me loves the idea of the giant hedge wall, it's one of the most unique features of the course. The other part of me didn't like it because after I teed off I just played to the short basket because I didn't believe there was another basket. Even when I got the long tee on hole 12 and I saw the basket over there, I still didn't believe that could possibly be for hole 11.
Holes 12 through 18 were all phenomenal wooded holes carved through the woods and awesome elevation although very straight forward and fair shots off the tee(minus some roll-a-ways). Hole 18 ends the course as one of the best finishing holes in disc golf even though you basically played a shorter version 9 holes earlier. Humungous downhill tunnel through about 400' of woods into the open another 400'.
Overall Ashe County DGC is a stellar course that anybody will enjoy, even if you don't play disc golf, the scenery can be enjoyed alone. The 2 extra alternate holes make an even more beginner friendly loop of 9 holes. I arrived at hole 1 the same time as a father with his 3 boys ranging from 10-17 in age. They let me tee off on hole 1 before them, I was playing the longs, and they played the shorts. I took a couple extra drives on some holes and a very short break after hole 9, and they caught up to me after I teed on 18 long and were teeing off on the short pad as I hiked down toward the short tee. I was surprised they were able to catch up. They were sending out spotters on some of the holes, very smart of them and everybody looked to be having an awesome time playing!
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 7 Not
First Time but not Last
Pros: Challenging, Well labeled, Multiple bathrooms, both open and wooded holes
Cons: Random dead limbs in fairways (I moved now)
Other Thoughts: Bring your big boy pants and a bunch of water if you play the pro tees. This is probably the most demanding course physically I have played. Lots of terrain changes. I loved the course and when I am in town I will definitely play again. I watched the 2014 Tourney on the homepage before playing and it helped greatly.
1 of 8 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 8 Not
Father and Son
Pros: Great tee pads, signage, landscaping. Course can play different every time you play based on the wind.
Big elevation changes with trees and ponds to play around. The front nine is open and allows all skill levels to play while the back adds some more challenge
Cons: Pro pad 11 has a hidden basket and can be misleading if your playing it for the first time. Weather changes quickly and where you started playing in the sun you can easily be finishing in the rain
Other Thoughts: Me and my son play this course a few times a year and really enjoy it. He's 7 and has been playing here over the last 2 years. The elevation changes make it fun place to throw but can wear him out pretty quick.
1 of 9 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 2 Not
We are up there...
Pros: Ashe County has a signature hole all right and it's so fun they found a way to do it twice. 9 and 18 close out their respective nines with the sickest downhill tunnel you have ever imagined. Even from the am tees, it is a tough challenge to keep a disc straight through for the amount of distance it is going to travel as it rips downward along a slope you need to use switchbacks to walk down. If you can clear it, there is an open approach to the pin. (a long approach on 18 though.) That is a big if, though. Word are not sufficient how steep the decline is. You need to stand on the top to imagine how far down it is.
It's 8 that sets the stage, at least from the pro tees. Am 8 is at least uphill and is a nice improvement over what came before, but pro 8 takes that uphill, gives it a tunnel start and keeps climbing uphill past the am basket through a narrow channel on a double curve. From that point on till the end, the elevation changes are thunderous. Up down, all around. With the exception of one filler hole(10) it's non-stop great holes. I'm not going to describe any of the individually, because that has been done before but the design is impeccable throughout.
The pro tees provide significantly more challenge, especially when the pro baskets are also used. They provide a little variety for second playthroughs as well as just adding to the epic flavor of the holes. It's awe-inspiring to reach the yellow basket and see the blue basket higher still, and additional climb left to make.
While there are some long walks between holes, there is rarely doubt that one is on the right path. Navigation is intuitive, even with multiple tees and baskets. In keeping with the quality of the course, tees, baskets and signs are all that could be wished for.
Lastly, it's one of the most picturesque parks that you will ever play in. Wonderfully scenic. Wonderfully atmospheric and just really makes you feel like you're in the mountains. It's a hike to get there. It's a hike and a half to play it. But completely worth it. And the back nine might just contain the best 8-hole stretch I've ever played.
Cons: As much as I like variety, and appreciate when a course has a few open holes, the first seven here are a little on the bland side. A couple of them could be considered rolling hills but there is not much hill in that roll. There really isn't even much distance to them so they aren't the air it out sort of open holes. Even the water carry doesn't do much for me here, though I can't put my finger on why. 5 across the depression and stream and towards a tucked away basket is probably the best of the bunch, but it's not especially memorable. The hole are gets points for extreme aesthetics with the pond framed by a solitary peak in the distance, but ultimately, that view is more interesting than the throws. Don't get me wrong. This course gets great, with epic holes that you won't see any place else. But it takes until hole 8 to get good.
14 of 16 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 1 Not
Holy Hills Batman!!
Pros: Full 18 hole course in small County park. Multiple tee pads and basket positions.
Ok, you all know about the mountains. You've heard of this course before. But after playing it a few times I am also impressed with the variety. The course warms you up nicely with a simple little 325' open shot over a small hill. But with the wind that seems to always be here it can be some fun. Hole 2 plays along a nice slope with some pines near the basket to add some risk. Then the fun starts. #3 is 400' over a pond from the longs. IMO the trees in front of the pad could use a little trimming because even if I had the arm for that shot I don't think the room is there. There is a short pad for your disc's safety.
Holes 4-7 all play mostly in the open with a few trees mixed in and the pond adding some excitement to the basket positions. A really nice set of fun, basic open holes to start the round. Very underrated. You could play a nice little 9 hole loop without ever venturing up the big bad mountains.
But why the heck would you come here if not for the mountains? Starting on #8 up you go. 8 plays to the tune of 443' of uphill fun. Challenging, but fair. From there you get a sweet 660' downhill bomb. Simply awesome. Out of the hills and into the field. The rest of this course takes you up and down and around the hills. It is a great workout, and offers a tremendous mix of shots. And yes, the chance to hike right back down after a bad roll or bounce. Mixed in there are some nice tunnel shots and some truly unique features. The rhododendrons on #11 have caused me to shake my head every time I play here. From the tee you are forced to throw a shot straight somewhere around 250' or so and lay up in front of a wall of rhodo's. Then you have an open zone followed by another wall of rhodo's, followed by the basket. It's a strange hole that seems to beg for a thumber or tomahawk. But even that can be tough. I wouldn't want to face a bunch of holes like that, but once is OK. It is truly unique.
The other nice aspect of Ashe County's variety is the hole length and shape. It never gets repetitive. There are lefts, rights and straight tunnel shots. There are shots totally in the woods, and shots that start in the woods and come out to open grass. There are shots that go from woods to open to woods again. There are baskets by water and basket on hillsides. There are baskets you can reach from the tee, and holes most of us won't ever dream of even hitting in 2 shots. Just well done.
Cons: I am not a big fan of the net on 16. I completely understand nets or mandos for safety, but to cover a perceived course design flaw is kind of weak. It doesn't spoil the hole, but just reeks of a know it all trying to dictate the shots at that location.
Quick Update - Rumor has it the net might be to contain errant discs. Seems there might be a problem with errant throws going into a neighboring property. I didn't see it, but that may be the case.
Other Thoughts: It seems to me this course gets forgotten a little when people talk about NC mountain golf. There are a lot of great options and Jefferson can be a little out the way. Sure there's more to do in Asheville when playing nearby Richmond Hill. But if you are simply looking for a great mountain disc golf course in a public park this is it.
When you are up in this area be sure to check out the Ashe County Cheese Factory in West Jefferson. It not only has tons of cool unique cheese, it has salsa, sauces, jerky, and snacks galore. Plus a candy shop for the kids. If you are looking to clog some arteries it is your spot! Plus right down the road is Boondocks. It is a cool little brewery/bar and grill. They usually have several good local brews plus a handfull of other craft beers. And rumor has it the burgers are tasty too.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: This is, by far, one of my favorite courses to play, thus far in my disc golf game. The scenery is beautiful and the course is amazing. A great variety of distances and baskets. I'm pretty new to disc golf and while I found this course insanely tough for my skill level, I enjoyed the challenge and look forward to playing it again. Expect to go swimming on 3 if you don't play it to the left bank unless you can park it right under the basket, which is merely a few feet from the water's edge.
Cons: Nothing that I found detrimental to this course. There were a few areas that were a little swampy and a few others that were very thick with thorns but that's what happens if you go off the lines here. Finding discs is tough.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
23 Helpful / 0 Not
The High Country
Pros: Layout - Ashe is a very solid course played out on a mixture of terrains that gives you a little bit of everything and a few moments of pure awesome.
2 sets of tees and multiple pins on some holes. I played the longs for reference.
I think the best thing about Ashe is how balanced the course is. The front 9 plays out in a more open/sparse tree, rolling hills type terrain. The back 9 finishes with a more wooded and mountain type terrain.
The entire course also has a nice balance in terms of hole length. The front 9 is mostly par 3's but mixes up some shorter shots with more open bombs. The back 9 mixes in more higher par holes but demands more accuracy on those lengths.
Great par 3's that are very well designed. The real strength of this course is in the par 3 designs. Everything from the angles of the lines to how the greens are shaped seems exactly how it should be. The lines force different shots and make you think about how the disc is landing while also giving you freedom to be a bit creative.
Solid par 4's. With the exception of 9 & 18 the par 4's and 5 are nothing amazing but very solid and force an accurate gap hitting shot off the tee with good placement for the next shot.
As I've mentioned the elevation here is used in multiple ways. The rolling hills area was designed nicely. When you get up in to the more severe slopes you get some lines over valleys, up, down and way way down.
I liked the greens and basket placements, made you think about where to land but wasn't overly fast causing unlucky rolls.
The course blends in two elements I like but rarely see on courses. There are some holes that force low lines along elevation that makes you think about the height of your disc more than the lateral positioning. It also has a hole that forces an up an over shot.
There's also the small pond that comes in to play on three holes. It's used well in the design and mixes it up. One shot over, one up to and one along side.
Really good flow to the course for the most part, there are a couple weird walks for first timers and a few uphill hikes but it comes with the territory.
Multiple signature holes. The first is 3 with a huge bomb over the pond. The second is 9 with the top of the world shot. Really you could make the case for others but those were my top two.
Equipment - Concrete pads in the lowlands and the rubber hexagon pads in the hills. I really like this mixture because the concrete pads would be slick up in the wooded mountains. They're large and work great.
Great tee signs with pictures of the hole and good directional signage letting you know which path to take. There's also a course map and amazing scorecards at the beginning.
Benches, and yes you will be using them after some of the walks.
Atmosphere - One of the nicest public parks with a course I've seen so far. You've got the beautiful lush grass on hills at the bottom with a quaint little pond then you get up in to some prime Appalachian terrain at the top.
The park also has a lot of other amenities and features that would be great for the whole family. I wish I could of spent more time exploring the rest of it.
Cons: Layout - There are a few less inspiring holes on the course but they're still very solid in design. I do wish a par 4 could of been squeezed out in the open area.
Like many I'm not a fan of #10 the mando hole. It's a gimmick and takes away from the place.
It can be quite easy to lose a disc here, not only because you're throwing off huge hills but because off the fairways there is dense vegetation.
Some weird transitions and walks but the course points them out nicely so you don't get lost.
Equipment - The tee signs are nice but I wish they had something at the long pads as well.
Atmosphere - The briers and poison ivy are rampant in parts. You might find some people in your way in parts of the course, especially around the pond.
Other Thoughts: I had a great time at this course not only because it's so beautiful but because it has a bunch of really awesome shots. I highly recommend playing this course, it's probably the best public mountain course NC has to offer.
23 of 23 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 10 Not
Pros: This course is set in a beautiful park with an extremely broad range of shot requirements. The High Country Disc Golf Championships made the whole experience of playing this course multiple times from shorts and longs an absolute blast.
Cons: There is a lot of climbing. Not so much a con considering the payoff.
Other Thoughts: If you were asked by a new player what the best disc golf experience could possibly be, playing this course is what you would describe.
0 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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