4 Helpful / 2 Not
The problem isn't that it's short
Pros: Nice signage; a pretty, leafy course; multiple tees; good grooming; plenty of ace runs for shorter arms; often tight shots and good difficulty from the long tees. The designers packed a lot of course into a very small area. The newer holes (19-22) and 18 are excellent additions: necessary in fact. You won't lose a disc on this course. It plays quickly, so you can get a couple rounds in.
Hole 18 from the long tee is excellent, and the extra 4 are pretty good, hole 21 probably being the best (because it's the least typical in terms of this course).
Cons: Very repetitive. My issue with the course isn't its length (it's not a long course until you get to 18-22, though a couple of the long tees add significant difficulty), but there are only three kinds of holes, and they're repeated pretty often (with a couple happy exceptions): there's a 180-270' dogleg left, a 180-270' dogleg right, and a 180-270' straight ahead. And these more or less repeat in that order. Many of the holes are beautiful, but expect to throw the same hole and the same shot over and over. The elevation plays about the same: most of the time you're throwing from a slightly elevated tee across a depression to an elevated green. Sometimes that changes. But there's not going to be a lot of variety for better players.
Don't get me wrong: some of the holes are hard, with very small gaps between trees that you have to hit, especially if you play the long tees, but I really wish they'd have found a way to vary the challenges more to provide a more rewarding experience.
Even when you get to 19, you're excited to see a 450' bomb hole with a big ole dogleg left. That's an excellent hole with a little stream before the green. But then you get to hole 20, and guess what? It's ANOTHER 450' dogleg left. Really? At least you can air a few long shots out, but disappointing. I don't know what land was available, but it seems to me there's probably a way to make a much better and more various 18-hole course given the land available and cleared out. Also the holes are so tightly packed together that it's easy to throw on the next teepad or onto the previous fairway if you're not careful. They have nets up in a few places to protect the tees, which is a good idea.
Other Thoughts: As one of only the two (at the time) 4-star-rated courses in the triangle area, I played this one, but it's hard to buy this as a four-star course. Probably should have played the UNC course which looks more various and challenging, which is what I'd recommend if you're in town and want more variety. Still, it's a good enough course. If I lived here, I'd play it. Probably fun to play doubles and ace run holes here.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 11 Not
BEST COURSE IN DURHAM
Pros: 3 sets of pads, short is womens pad. back pads are awsome, so tight it hurts your mind. has nets to protect you from errant shots from others. long slight elevaton changes just great for the long woods game
Cons: back pads are not as defient as the should be. but none the less REAL HARD
Other Thoughts: locals in durham are great doubles tourneys are fun as heck
0 of 11 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Learn to play in the woods!
Pros: Multiple concrete tee pads on all holes except #19-22. Only one pad for the last four long holes. Course is in a small park, but it is secluded from the sports fields well. There are not only good tee pads, but alternate tee pads to either give you variety or a break. This course has everything you would expect in a wooded course. There are some short ace runs and some longer holes that make you use a landing area and plan your approach. There is also excellent use of the hills and elevation. Additional 4 holes are a nice change form the first 18. All four are basically long holes where you can take out any frustrations from the previous 18. Course flows well and is easy to navigate.
Cons: This course can make you feel like less than a man. From the long tees there are some so-called fairways that are just brutal. There is a line, but you need to be just about perfect to get through the gap. Several of these are virtually chuck it and pray holes. Some people I have played with think those holes are unfair. Some of the tee pads are a pretty small. If you have a long run-up be careful. The baskets are fairly old and can be very hard to see. They blend in to the woods too well. The signs could be a little more consistent and informative.
Other Thoughts: This is one of the toughest courses I play in the Raleigh/Durham area. From the long tees it is as challenging as you can get. If you are not throwing accurately your score will go through the roof. Trees and tight fairways can be brutal. From the short tees the course does play much easier. It is a good option if you are not feeling confident in pinpoint control of your discs. No water features so you don't have too much of a chance of losing any discs. #19 through #22 are the most recent additions and are still have that new hole feel to them. The fairways are cleared but the woods are a little thicker if you throw off line. Those 4 holes are also much longer than the rest of the course. This is a good course if you enjoy a challenge in the woods, or if you want to be forced in to learning multiple shots and techniques.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Best course no one talks about
Pros: Three sets of clearly marked teepads provides three distinct courses that range from birdie fest all the way up to a big challenge to hang around par. None of the courses provides really long shots but the narrow, wooded fairways requires precision off the tee to have any chance at birdie. I can play this course over and over and not get bored. Additionally, you can spend all day here and play each of the red, white, and blue tee pads and not see the same shot twice. On top of it all, the "Fore More", holes 19-22, are new additions that are very tough holes. They don't have the same personality as the rest of the course, but are a fun way to wrap up a normal round of 18 holes.
Cons: Some could argue the course is a bit too short but aces are very tough to come by as well. Several of the blue teepads are borderline "chuck and pray".
Other Thoughts: Great for dogs to run off the leash. Several pin placements change every month. Great group of guys play doubles here every week.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Tight, but Fun
Pros: What I like best about this course was the length of the holes and the tightness of the fairways. Most holes were 200-300 and the fairways were tight, but not too tough to throw down. This isn't a pitch and putt course like Cornwallis. The course was well maintained with nice signs and THREE tees for every hole. The tees weren't really alternate placements, but were really just for varying skill levels. I played the white tees, but I could tell that you would have to have some serious skills to play the blue course and shoot par. Most of the blue tees not only added distance, but also added a lot of elevation. There were alternate pin placements that change every month, so it keeps you coming back. In my opinion, this is one of the better courses in the Chapel Hill-Durham area to play if it has just rained. It was a little muddy, but it drained much better than Cornwallis or Leigh Farm has in the past. 22 Holes in all! The 4 extra holes at the end were a lot of fun, especially 21 which is the only open hole on the course.
Cons: I played in the winter so there was very little brush, but I can see where in the summer errant shots could definitely be punished. The tees were kind of narrow (at least they were concrete).
Other Thoughts: You can play a quick round from the white or red tees here. I played through the first 18 holes in about 50 minutes.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Legit Woods Course
Pros: Valley Springs represents Woods golf in NC. Tight but legitimate fairways to test all kinds of players. The addition of holes 19-22 brings par fours to the course for the first time. Lots of elevation change and good distribution of shots make this course stand out.
Cons: The addition of Pro and Beginner T Pads to the regular layout is o.k., but just cause you can does not mean you should. In a town with super short Cornwallis DGC just minutes away, did we really need 54 T Pads??? It muddles the course a little.
Other Thoughts: I truly love this course. It was my home course for years and I have 389 rounds on it. I have a great tight woods game because of this course.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 5 Not
B = Better Than Average
Pros: What I personally like and how this course stacks up (From the long tees):
1) Holes with good risk/reward -- B (Too may holes have a wierd shape that makes no sense to go for it. That leaves a strategy of putter, putter, putter....not so hot. Risk is too high to go for a next-to-impossible reward.)
2) Holes that have rewarding birdie opportunities -- B (half the holes seemed good, the othter half....see #1)
3) More wooded than open - lots of variety of shots required caused by hole shape and topography -- A- (Great use of topography.)
4) Natural beauty (Appalachian beauty preferred) and seclusion -- A- (very nice!)
5) Bonus amount for multi-shot holes with defined landing zones, good risk/reward and multiple options to play them -- C- (The 1-2 I remember did not add any thing but more length - nothing in the "strategery" department)
Other Thoughts: It's all about feeding the addiction, so I ranked this course subjectively based on my own "personal addiction factor". The grades above tell how well the course will draw me back to itself again and again and again. Since I have played a decent number of courses (115 18-hole, 50 9-hole as of early 2009), my hope is that players/explorers who have similar addiction tastes will find my ratings list helpful as they choose courses to play and explore.
Over time, I expect to fill some of my reviews in with more descriptive verbiage...if what I can add anything to what has already been written. For now, my list is more important to me than the verbiage of my reviews.
I fully expect others with different tastes/philosophies to disagree with me....that's the fun of things here. See my profile for my rating philosophy.
2 of 7 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
One of the best in Triangle
Pros: Valley Springs is one of the courses I just feel the urge to play frequently, even though it's a longer drive coming from Raleigh. It's a quiet park without too much traffic on the course. Lots of elevation change to make holes interesting and there are red, white, and blue tees (the latter two sometimes being together). On several holes blue even has a separate (longer) basket. Pin positions change fairly often to keep you coming back and the park and course are well maintained.
Last year (2008) four new holes were added that are longer than the average for the original 18 and provide some much needed right-to-left doglegs to spice up the bit of staleness in the 12 through 16 designs (see cons below).
New signs were added earlier this year (2009) that are quite good. Clear and accurate hole diagrams with distances and pars. Next tees are not marked but the course flows well so this should not be too much of a problem. Being wooded it is usually easy to see the path to the next hole, and where it is not clear there is a small marker sign near the pin pointing you which way to go. Also, the first tee sign has a box for scorecards, but it doesn't seem to be consistently stocked.
The pro tees here are really excellent and provide a great challenge. Be warned that they are indeed a challenge and can make your life miserable, many of the shots off of these tees are through very narrow corridors (<5ft sometimes).
Cons: It's going to sound like I have a lot of cons here but overall I don't feel that they are not major enough to warrant too much of a rating penalty.
12 through 16 are all fairly similar hole designs, mostly straight or very slightly left or right pin positions relative to the hole. The blue tee on 16 being the exception, it's a very tough hard turnover that must quickly come back to straight or overstable flight pattern (assuming RHBH) and is extremely hard when the trees are in full leaf during the summer. Fortunately I find that the holes before and after more than make up for the minor variety complaint here.
The tees are often raised concrete or are on slight downhills. Either way, this means that the front of the tee is raised from the ground. For a person with a long run up it is easy to step poorly and get your foot to overhang the front edge and turn your ankle a bit as you go forward off the tee. Similarly, it is often hard to make a long run up (to make sure you don't step off the front) because the tee is raised, making you concentrate on stepping up onto the tee rather than your shot flow.
Though there isn't much undergrowth, the trees themselves are pretty dense. There are a lot of small, thin trunk trees between the larger ones. If you go off of the fairways this course is somewhat punishing depending on time of year, often you will not have a desirable shot to the pin and may have to pitch out to the fairway.
Other Thoughts: The park has a large soccer area that can be used for practicing your drives.
The difficulty of this course increases quite a bit in late spring and through the fall when the trees and vegetation are in full bloom. At any time I think that this course is not the best for a beginner still struggling with getting a disc to fly straight. In Durham Cornwallis is a better choice as well as Kentwood in Raleigh.
Most hole layouts favor left-to-right or straight shots, so make sure you have control, turnover, and sidearm discs when you play.
The holes of the back nine (meaning 10-18) have some small-to-fist sized rocks on the fairways. Be careful when walking not turn your ankle on them and they can be a bit rough on your discs also.
Holes 19-22 are still fairly new and appear to be a work in progress. Only white tees, no red or blue. The fairways were mostly cut out of woods and there are many small stumps that need to be removed.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 1 Not
One of the Area's Best Organized & Maintained Courses!
Pros: Valley Springs is an extremely well organized DGC with three tee options (Red, White, & Blue), which provide different distances and angles in which you can play the course. The red tees are rather short in distance, but are great for beginners.
Some of the holes have seasonal/monthly baskets, so you'll have to refer to the maps at each tee as reference. The great thing about this setup, is that each month the course is slightly different from the month before.
This course features plenty of signage, including course layouts and information documenting seasonal/monthly basket placement. There are benches at the start of each hole for those requiring a resting area. There were even safety considerations built into the course, for example, one of the fairways cuts a 90 degree angle to the tee of the next hole, and they've added a net to protect players on the next tee.
Cons: - Heavily wooded course which has a tendency to beat up on softer discs.
- Varying elevations with the course taking you up and down hills, so bring your comfortable hiking shoes.
- The course seems to be kinda hazardous in the fall/winter due to the heavy coverage of leaves on the ground, which create a slipping hazard.
- The baskets are kind of difficult to distinguish from the surrounding terrain and woods. Do your best to locate the red tape on the pole of the baskets.
Other Thoughts: This is a great course in the Durham, NC area. The park has a playground for kids, and some baseball fields for the members of your group that don't feel like playing disc golf.
I am truly amazed at how well organized the course is, especially after reading the reviews from 2008 about there not being any signs. As of currently, there are plenty of markers and signage to assist players to navigate the course.
The course is a well designed course, however, if you're looking for a truly scenic DGC, you're better off going to Buckhorn DGC, which has a great mixture of open and wooded areas, as well as quite a few lakeside holes.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Now with signs!
Pros: Great signs have just been installed that make each tee and basket position very clear. Some pins are moved monthly, but the signs will tell you what position the pin is in. Plenty challenging for me from whites, but blue tees and long baskets should challenge bigger arms. Red tees also give different looks at many baskets, often giving you a more difficult line than white would have (hole 1 is a great example). Good variety of hole types, especially if you play "fore moor." Good elevation changes. Cool locals, and close to Cornwallis and UNC courses.
Cons: Woods and rocky terrain will eat up softer discs. A couple of tees and baskets are close to softball fields, so beware of homeruns. Easy to lose discs in the fall, and ticks are BAD in the spring. Older style baskets that are a little more shallow. Other than woods, no hazards (water or OB)
Other Thoughts: Buckhorn is a little more fun because of the water holes and lake views, but the woods holes are tighter at VS and the chance of losing discs is lower.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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