Deer In Limelight
Pros: Here I am, visiting family Easter Weekend for the second year in a row. Last year, I had played Harmon Hills (WOW!!!) and Warrior's Path (So-so...) and this year, I did something similar and played Sugaree first (WOW!!!) and then Winged Deer (So-So...)
After a very long and tough round at Sugaree, I was heading back to Bristol, but wanted to hit another well regarded course in the area, not to be distracted by the two Wow courses I did play.
I was pleasently surprised. Winged Deer sits in a nice looking park in Johnson City, and is very accessible for out of towners. Navigation served fairly easy, and the tee signs served their purpose.
The baskets were older Mach IIIs but caught well, not that I had any putts that should have spit out, but I have played places where those putts have been spit out.
The course weaved it's way through the woods, with different shots able to be thrown. There were twists and turns, ups and downs, which was nice, especially on a primarily par 3 course.
Also, don't get me wrong, for a park course. It was tougher than I thought it would be. It beat me up more than it should have, but it wasn't easy in the longer pin positions that it was in.
Cons: Winged Deer is showing some battle wounds from it's many years of service to the Tennessee area. The baskets, while functional, were beaten up a bit, and sometimes hard to see through the thick woods.
Some of the holes presented what I thought was too much of a challenge. The lines below the trees were a lot less appealing than the ones above, and for a player who does not throw hard, or has a lackluster overhead throw, these could be frustrating.
At a park course, in order for new players and casual groups to have fun and appreciate the course, I think there should be multiple tees. Playing in mostly B pins provided a rough course on a par 3 layout, frustrating people on seemingly good shots.
The tees in question were concrete, which is nice, but they were somewhat short, and cracking from age and repeated use.
There was one hole with a tall elevated basket on a metal pole. On a tight hole through the woods, I'd like to think that making the gap should reward a birdie, but having a fifteen foot putt on a 7 foot tall basket was silly.
The course could definitely get crowded with the occasional chuckers and others. Some holes are near each other, and with an errant throw, or impatience, it could cause trouble. It also can make a quick round longer.
Other Thoughts: All in all, I enjoyed playing here. It reminds me of what a clean, park-style course should be. Relaxing fun in the woods and fields. It was a nice change if pace from the monster courses in the area. I like playing tough par threes and courses that challenge everybody. It was definitely worth the stop!
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The course is clean, and it is dedicated without crossovers by pedestrians or other rec activities. There are 2 basket positions per hole, and are rotated fairly frequently. It has enough variety to keep you interested throughout. Most tee's have signs, and can mark the basket position. The city keeps it mowed frequently, and you rarely have to deal with high grass.
Cons: It can be easy to lose track of your disc with a wild throw. Especially on 4,13, and 14. Hole 4 has a huge sink hole down the right side, and growth in it is very thick. 13, and 14 are very densely packed with trees, and I usually just try to rocket over the tops of the trees. It is much harder to do this in the summer time when the canopies of the trees are full. Some of the tees need repaired, or should be a little longer.
Other Thoughts: Hole 10 has a very narrow corridor to get through but opens up into an easy to get to basket. Hole 16's sign is incorrect due to a downed tree that caused a re-positioning of the 2nd basket position.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Challenging for a par 3 layout
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Winged Deer Park offers a pretty unique setting. It has the feel of a city park at times, while other sections of the course make you feel like you're deep in the woods far off on your own. This offers a variety of holes and shots, with chances to run the basket on more open fairways as well as playing some really tight, multi-staged holes in the woods. The course definitely serves its purpose in this regard.
A variety of shots and hole types are offered throughout the course, which weaves its way in and out of the woods. This gives it a great mix of holes in terms of woodenness. It starts out with a few tight holes and then starts to open up a little bit on hole 5. From there it begins to take you through tightly and moderately wooded sections, with a few more open fairways here and there. For being mostly a par 3 and somewhat shorter course, it's surprisingly difficult. There are no gimme birdies here, you really have to be accurate on your drives. This ups the course's replayability, having to fight to get birdies.
Elevation isn't a constant contributor to the round, but is incorporated up to its potential. There are some steep uphill shots on 6 and 7, while 14, 17, and 18 offer a couple downhill throws.
Amenities are nice with brand new looking tee signs, great concrete tee pads, and quality baskets. Multiple pin positions do a good job of changing up the look of the holes, and the current position is indicated on the tee sign. There are a good bit of 'next tee' signs located throughout the course as well.
This huge park is very well maintained and the course seems to get taken care of as well. No interference with other park activities as this section of the park is dedicated to the course. Only on holes 11-12 will you be able to see the main part of the park, but there shouldn't be any conflict.
Cons: While not quite the typical old school style course that Warriors Path is, Winged Deer also plays primarily with a par 3 design. It could've used more than just one long par 4, and having only three holes greater than 400' limits its appeal and disc selection a little bit. Nothing stood out to me as being too memorable.
Navigation and signage is good for the most part, but is confusing between a few holes (7-8 and 16-17 in particular for us). I'd recommend bringing a map.
Hole 14 felt way too tight to me. It could be a cool hole if some of the trees were knocked down. The sharp downhill hyzer to and elevated basket was a good idea to change it up, but it felt hard just for the sake of hard.
Other Thoughts: Winged Deer Park is nothing spectacular, but offers a solid round without too many big detractors. You won't be blown away by too much, but this challenging par 3 course is one I could play on a weekly basis. Set in a huge, popular city park, the course conveniently takes you away from the crowds and gives you your own space. Not a course worth coming to play on its own, but certainly worth combining with the nearby Harmon Hills and Warriors Path for a full day of disc golf with little driving.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Winged Deer Park DGC is at its best at its most extreme moments, in which thorough tree cover and prominent elevation come together to challenge your game. This can take a variety of forms, such as 7, in which a snaking fairway through pines tempts you to make a run at its landing zone at the risk of crashing into serious rough, or 12, a tight corridor with a drop off either before or after the pin depending on its position. Winged Deer's most memorable holes make smart use of such rich topography.
There's a nice variety of woodedness throughout that mixes up both style and level of challenge. Some holes require precision, some will cause you to weigh pushing distance versus the associated risks, and others are much more laid back while allowing for enough creativity to avoid boredom. If you have an array of shots such as rollers, thumbers, and forehands, they'll be put to use here. The multiple pin positions only enhance the variety, putting different, quality spins on many holes.
Course is well signed and seems well groomed. While it does play out into more public areas of the park, much of it is nice and isolated. Little room for conflict with other park goers here.
Cons: A few of the more wooded holes seem to enter into unrealistic territory in their search for a challenge. 14, for example, is a perfect example of poke and pray, and comes off as gimmicky. Given that there are some smartly designed and well-balanced holes elsewhere on the course, these such holes stand out and feel forced.
Alternatively, there are some gimme holes that, while allowing for a pleasant variety in how you approach them, let off the gas too much. Combined with the above, Winged Deer feels a bit all over the map with its varied challenge factor. On the one hand the variety is nice; on the other hand most everyone is going to encounter at least a few holes that clash with the kind of round they're after. This is exacerbated by the single set of tees: rec players can't tone it down and more advanced players can't turn it up. The challenges are significant enough at points to frustrate some but low enough at other points to disappoint others.
Conflicting with the sense of a casual city park round is the threat of dense foliage at certain points. It can be a positive in enhancing the challenge factor but can also really bring your round to a halt and force you to search if you have an unfortunate landing. This is more due to dense trees than unkempt shule, as the course feels quite broken in.
Other Thoughts: Winged Deer comes off as a largely casual park course, but there are still plenty holes that are worth your while. The mild schizophrenia is real, but, it's worth a visit, especially given its proximity to Warrior's Path and Harmon Hills.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Love this course! A very well thought out course in the beautiful TN mountains! It's challenging without being discouraging and has a great mix of shots. Some potential for a lost disc, but surprisingly low for such a large, wooded course.
Cons: None that I can think of. I only played it once though so I was more focused on learning the course.
0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Tough and Fun
Pros: This is the toughest course I've played (#2 is Warriors Path and #3 is Richmond Hill) and it is still my favorite. Almost every pin rewards accuracy instead of simple brute strength throwing. There are a number of pins here which could be "the" tough pin elsewhere and while there are some distance shots, none of them are across a wide open grassy field (although some look deceptively like they are). This means that even on the long throws people have to maintain control.
There are a variety of fairways which will expose you to just about anything you would want in a disc golf course.
Uphills: 1 & 6 - Both of these in the long position are challenging. 1 has the steeper incline with small trees to shoot around; 6 has a rocky hill to shoot up with a large tree in the middle that knocks a lot of discs down. 6 is almost always in the long position. Unfortunately, 1 seems to spend more time in the short.
Downhill: There are a number of downhill shots, but the best of the lot are 4 & 8. Both of these have a tee up on a hill overlooking significant rough which you have to throw over to get to an open, grassy field and then shoot for the basket. I really like these pins because there is a significant incentive to make that throw off the tee (roughs here are actually rough), but you generally don't lose your disc if you don't have the arm or screw up.
Flat: 5, 15, & 16 are most representative of this class. Yes, there are some pins you can uncork that massive cannon of an arm that I hate you for. However, you need to be accurate too. You can't crank out a huge throw off to the right and count on the disc to hook back into the basket. That way leads to lots of tree strikes and shooting from wherever the ricochet lands. 5 is something of an exception to this, but even it requires you to shoot under an overhanging branch so that you will probably be forced to throw flatter than you might like.
Tough: While there aren't any pins here I would call cupcakes, there are several that separate the men from the boys, women from the girls, and pros from the ams.
On 13 and 14, if you get par you should pat yourself on the back. An average player can do it, but it ain't easy. On 13 you do a short shot just to the curve in the fairway. Then you shoot over the hill. Then you putt. On 14 I've had some luck shooting just up into the trees and then throwing overhand to get an uphill roll to the open area. If it works, I putt for par. BE ADVISED: This only works for me about every 3rd time; yesterday, my whippet rolled perfectly between the trees, into the open area, and then turned around and rolled about thirty feet back into the woods (as I yelled obscenities at it).
A pro player can high-hyzer both these pins for a shot at an ace or birdie. Although I've never seen it, I've heard of several people doing it on 13. I didn't think it could be done on 14 until I saw a guy do it about three months ago. He threw that disc high enough that it must have hit clouds. Then, it came down right smack in the middle of the open area. Of course, that was mid-winter. There are a lot more leaves in May, so I'm not sure he'd be able to do it now (after all, it's always possible someone slipped him some kryptonite over the last couple months).
16 is almost always in the long position (577 feet). It looks like it's going to be just a series of heaves. However, the trees on both sides are closer than you think and that tree in the fairway on the right means you aren't going to be able to just heave it down the right hand side. This is the only par 4 on the course and I have never gotten anywhere near par.
Cons: 1 (in the long position) - I think this is a solid pin which takes skill to play, but I've talked to people who did 1 in the long position and left to go play somewhere else (usually Warriors Path). The tough uphill shot combined with a climb that winds anyone older than thirty can be rough. I think this is the reason that the basket seems to be most often in the much easier forward position.
4 (the pit) - After you clear the rough and you are on the grass, there is a large drop off on the right hand side. If your disc goes in there, you have to decide whether it's worth the risk to try to climb down and get it. I left a DX Shark there yesterday which was on top of shrubs ten feet from the edge of the pit and the only "path" near it would have qualified for mountain climbing training. Given a choice between buying another $10 disc and possibly falling and breaking my neck, I left the disc where it was hanging.
Could use some signage. I play this course every week, so I can find everything, but there are a couple places where signs would be helpful: 6 to 7; 9 to 10 (the natural place to go seems to be 11).
Finding the course: A lot of people complain that they have trouble finding the course. There are signs as you drive up. Don't go to the ballfields; instead, follow the signs to the lake (Carroll Creek Road). The course is across the street from the parking lot for the boat ramp.
Other Thoughts: I play this course almost every week. It's the most frustrating, enjoyable course I play. To give you a point of reference, I've been disc golfing for a little over 9 months now and most places I get a few more pars than I do bogeys. In contrast, at Winged Deer I'm shooting bogeys with a smattering of double bogeys (see notes above about 16) and a few pars. This is the one course I play regularly that I've yet to get a birdie on (missed one on 2 yesterday by the skin of my teeth).
A lot of people bypass this for Warriors Path. Winged Deer is a little tougher and a little more apropos for a more serious disc golf crowd. The way I'd describe it is that at Warriors Path you're playing to beat the person next to you while at Winged Deer you may have someone playing with you, but you're both playing to beat the course.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This course is away from most of the other activities at the park. It is in a wooded area but has some open holes that give it a nice variety. The rough was well traveled enough that I did not lose a disc. It is a fun course that requires a variety of shots which did not seem to favor lefty's or righty's. Navigation was not that difficult and there were plenty of benches and trash cans. The course was well maintained and no other park activities interfered with the course. They used the land they had available very well and incorporated as much elevation as possible.
Cons: The pin placement did not always match where it said it was at the tee, which is not too big of a deal. This is not a gold level course however it poses enough challenge that both intermediate and advanced players will have fun. Met some crazy rednecks in the woods that were not even discing and I have no idea what they were doing there.
Other Thoughts: A nice secluded park that offers a wide variety of shots. As with any course that is rated around a 3.5, you will have a fun round. I would definitely play here again due to the variety of open and wooded holes. If you are in the area you should come play it at least once and you will not be disappointed.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Better than warriors Path
Pros: - Beautiful teesigns
- Little bars that indicated what pin it was in
- Grass was freshly mowed
- Hole #8 was just a brilliant hole (500 ft downhill)
- No litter
- Disc golf course secluded from other park amenities
- Some DGA Mach 3's that were pretty new.
- Concrete tees
- Nice elevation changes
- Difference of hole types (right, left, up, down, wooded, open)
- Benches at most or all holes I can't remember.
- Some of the areas were mulched
- Beautiful scenery (MTNS.)
- This is a biggie for me... diferent types of trees (Pines, Maples, etc.)
Cons: -Tees were a bit small on some holes
- Holes 13 and 14 were kind of weird, but if you have an arm you can just launch it over the trees
- Warm up basket isn't the same type of basket as the course
- No bathroom on site.
- some of the rough was well Rough!
Other Thoughts: It is a much better course IMO than Warriors Path. If I'm ever in the area I'd play Winged Deer again.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: It's obvious that this course has been around for a while- the places where a bad shot would normally go into the woods have obviously been well traveled and are relatively free of undergrowth, and i played in the most "growth-y" time of year(early summer in the southeast). Also, well-worn paths from baskets to next tees that were fairly obvious.
Of course, a REALLY bad shot will go into some bad rough, but how would that be different from any other woods-y course?
UPDATE: whoa was i wrong about the rough! there's crazy rough on many of the holes that will eat your disc on a bad shot. to the right on #4 is probably the worst- i can only imagine how many discs are in that crazy ditch!
great variety of shots, and the shorter holes were technical enough to not be giveaways.
#16 is a really challenging hole for a good RHBH drive: uphill, 570+ft, fairway sloping from R to L, made it feel like my anhyzer was broken, so I played this hole about 10 times before I was satisfied!
Nice benches on every hole next to the concrete teepads made finding the tees easy for this first timer, and many tee pads had trash cans.
nice signs with hole layouts/distances/location of next tee.
Grass had recently been mowed, and fairways were very nice.
The layout of the holes starts and ends you at the parking area, which is nice.
Cons: #13 and #14(if i remember correctly) were dumb to me- way too many trees in the way for a drive, and the pines here are very thick so throwing blindly up and over the trees seemed like a good way to get a disc stuck way up in a tree in an undisclosed location.
UPDATE: there is a legit sky-hyzer shot for a RHBH on #14. i still think 13 is dumb.
I thought it was odd that a course this old even kept these two holes around, or didn't at least cut some trees down(I mean, it's not like we're dealing with pristine old-growth trees here)
the signs didn't indicate pin position, so on many of the holes I had to walk to see the pin- not really a big deal to me, and would be a really easy upgrade to the signs. Some color on the baskets would help with that as well.
there is a lot of trash in the woods on this course. not much in the open, but it's pretty ugly in the woods. with trash cans on almost every tee pad, there is no excuse for this.
Other Thoughts: Not very far from mars hill(my favorite home course), winged deer is a great, challenging, and fun course that I will be visiting again soon!
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Little bit of everything
Pros: Full 18 holes tucked into a mostly wooded park. Concrete tee pads and signs at every hole. Signs were pretty accurate, and showed the multiple basket positions. There was a peg system in place to indicate the proper basket position, but that had been vandalized on many holes.
Good variety of left, right and straight shots. Nothing repetitive or over done. There is also a good mix of tightly wooded holes, and some open spaces to throw through.
Mostly 200-300' wooded holes, but there was also a 577' and 443' thrown in to keep things fun for bigger arms.
Course was well kept. Trails were clear, benches were available, and there were no issues with other park users.
I played with a local so navigation was not an issue. But it seemed to be pretty intuitive. No long walks or crazy paths to follow.
There is a good use of the elevation here. Nothing extreme, but you do need to throw up hill and down hill on a few occasions.
Cons: Not really too much to complain about. There are a couple blind shots that are very tough for the first time player. Without a guide I would have had to walk the whole fairway. Tough holes if you don't know them.
There are also some holes that appear to have no clear route, but after a brief explanation from my playing partner I understood. But they are not typical lines, or shots easy to figure out.
This course could probably use more length in spots. I really enjoyed it, but it doesn't offer the longer fairways requiring multiple good shots to score well.
Other Thoughts: Most of this course is tight, wooded and technical. It is fun since you need to throw a lot of different angles and shots. But if you are clean off the tee you can rack up some birdies. There are multiple basket positions to help change the look from time to time.
Most of the course is under 300', but #16 is a 577' uphill monster that can really challenge your game. #15 has some length at 443', but it is mostly a typical straight golf shot. #12 looks like a SOB from the tee. When I played it was in the short position (229'). The fairway was a very tight tree lined route all the way to the basket. Fortunately for me there is also a thumber line over the trees, and I was able to drop my XXX right under the basket. Tricky hole since the basket was elevated about 15' up on a pole while being positioned on a small hill side. Some might call it gimicky, but it worked well on that short hole.
This is a nice course to play if you are in the area. The locals were friendly and helpful, and navigation shouldn't be too difficult for a first timer. I wouldn't drive a long ways out of my way to get here, but once you're here, it is a fun round. While there are no unique or top of the World shots here, there is a lot of fun disc golf holes.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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