Hallway Wooded Golf
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -On James Conrad's MVP page, he's asked favorite event "Anything at the Blockhouse Disc Golf and Country Club".
-The Darkside is an 18-hole where 14 of 18 holes are heavily wooded with canopy, tight fairways and gaps, and gentle up and down hill climbs. Most of these holes are straight away, and other doglegs. The other 4-holes have elevated tees hitting gaps into a valley, then back up hill to a wooded basket placement. A few holes have water hazards, and a few roller greens.
-Holes 13 thru 16 are unique with elevated tees flying thru gaps lined with branches, where your line is into the fairway on the other uphill side where basket is placed in the woods. The valley is briefly open. Despite short distances, can be difficult to reach C1.
-The Darkside is a woods player paradise, from tee 1 to basket 18 it's a grind with a variety of discs played. I teed with putter, mid's, fairways, and a few drivers.
-At a distance of 5578 feet and a par 54, it's the most difficult course to score on at that distance I've played.
-Baskets catch great, tees are turf and just about all are in good shape.
-Navigation is a figure eight with holes 1 thru 9 counter-clockwise, and 10 thru 18 clockwise. A few signs to point you to the trail and next tee. Didn't need UDisc help.
-Beginners and Recreational will get an introduction to woods golf like no other. Intermediate and Advanced if you know your bag, you're going to be using just about all of them.
-There are two other 18-hole courses on the property Sunnyside, and a Tiki putter course. Camping is offered with other activities.
Cons: -Holes 1 thru 12 play very much alike tight wooded fairways, and will seem like a blurr. Before looking at pictures for this review I could only remember holes 7 where you can see the highway, and 11-12. However, each hole has its own uniqeness and variety in difficulty, it would just take a few visits to remember the course.
-A few turf pads are wearing down, but still enough good turf to find your spot. #14 tee sign was damage.
-Lost disc will be high on holes 13 thru 16 with thick brush lining fairways and three of the holes with water. The other heavily wooded holes not so bad, the rough is sparse and I was able to walk up to my disc without looking for it. I spent some time disc looking on hole 16.
-The course is private, there will be times when it will be difficult to get permission to play.
Other Thoughts: The Darkside course offered one of the best heavily wooded course experiences and had my juices flowing. The Darkside will make you think on the tee pad, some holes you're going to be looking straight down a hallway to the basket and wondering how to get there. I didn't pull out an 11-speed until hole 12 when I saw a line for a Wave, up to that point putter, 5, 6, and 9 speed discs to stay on fairway. Discing up on some holes for approaches where I might normally use a putter, instead to glide a 5-speed to avoid guardian trees in the Circle's. Holes 13 thru 16 I used driver where your line is at the dirt on the other hill hoping to skip up to basket. I found unique variety with each hole making me think about disc selection. The course was a joy to play and a grind, and an easy one for me to favorite. I have no personnel cons on the course, and no personnel preferences. I hope to come back and play again.
My overall rating is anchored on the extreme wooded play, the variety within the woods, and the relentless play from tee 1 to basket 18 at a 5.0. The 4.0 rating just seems a good place to rate the course at this time. The time to play taking pictures was 85 minutes, longer than normal for a course of its length.
The Wooded Holes:
-The hallways narrow from 10 feet wide to no more than 25 feet. Some are clear to the basket, others have trees in the fairway, and guardians in the circles. A few roller greens. It's intimating, pick a gap, first impression disc, and love it!
The Valley Holes:
-All are elevated tees shooting out of gaps with branches sticking out, gaps wide enough but no wavering. Except for 14 offering a smaller gap. The lines will take you into the hill side on the other side of valley after crossing water. Baskets are back in the woods.
-#11 Par 3 at 314 feet narrow gap of 15 feet up slope for a hundred feet, turning into a down slope, doglegging right at 200 feet, with the fairway sloping down left to right. Fairway opens up some to the basket. Per tee sign there's supposed to be water past the dogleg, but I only saw high thick grass and not a good place to land a disc. I threw an easy six speed staying short of water.
-#14 Par 3 at 348 feet is elevated down the hill thru the valley, and back up hill to the basket in the woods. There are trees protruding into the fairway 120 feet down from the left, offering a 15-foot gap to pass into the valley that opens up. Water is behind the wall of trees to the left, not likely to pass thru the trees to reach it. Wall of trees all the way down the right. Tree kissed a protruding tree from the left and into the woods on the right. Pitched out to save bogey.
-No. 16 Par 3 at 303 feet is one of the most scenic/difficult holes I've played. Elevated tee shooting out of a gap of overhanging branches crossing a brook with a pool of water in the valley, and up the next hill to a basket with guardian trees all the way up. From the tee the fairway slopes down left to right towards the brook. A gap of overhanging branches about 70 feet down, and one of the oddest gaps I've seen. The gap of branches moves up from the ground and curves left to right arching, creating an odd window to the fairway, the window is only about 15 feet wide. Cross the far end of the brook at about 190 feet down, at that point the fairway shoots back up hill with a lazy dogleg left and sloping right to left towards the brook. The bank on the far side of the pool of water in the middle of fairway that filters into the brook, hit it and your disc is likely to fall into the water and a little deep. The brook is no more than 10 feet wide, and in a few places a few feet deep. Guardian trees protect the basket with a rolling green. On the tee I was stumped on how to hit the gap, decided to throw my straightest driver deflected off a branch left out of sight, and after a little bit of looking found my disc in one of the deepest parts of the brook. Took my penalty stroke, pitched back into fairway for a double.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Excellent woods golf
Pros: The Blockhouse is a phenomenal disc golf "country club" located a few miles off I-95 in the Virginia countryside. If you are in the area, passing by, or if you reside a drivable distance from Fredericksburg, make plans to get here! You can read my reviews of Sunnyside and the Tiki Course. Of the three, Sunnyside was my personal favorite. But I can see why certain people would prefer Darkside. I thought that Sunnyside was more fun, but Darkside was more technical and challenging. I'm an intermediate player and preferred Sunnyside, but I could see some advanced players preferring Darkside.
+ Sunnyside and Darkside are both technical, mostly wooded courses. I would say that the difference between the two, and the reason for the name choices, is that Sunnyside does have some open holes. Darkside is straight-up woods golf. And tough. The fairways are fair, but there are some long, wooded holes. And missing your line could be fatal, depending on the kick.
+ Great course design and variety. Even though it's heavily wooded throughout, there are uphill holes, downhills, valleys, hyzers, anhyzers...you name it. There are multiple ways to play certain holes. Put your thinking cap on when you play Darkside.
+ This is what disc golf is all about. This course is super fun, extremely well designed and challenging, and aesthetically beautiful.
+ Did I mention challenging? I thought Darkside was a lot tougher than Sunnyside...and one of the most challenging woods courses I've played. If you're looking for a course that will really test your game, you've found your course.
+ Navigation is simple and intuitive, for the most part. It's not quite as good as Sunnyside in this category. After hole 9, walk past the hole 1 tee box to get to hole 10.
+ I should mention the other amenities at the Blockhouse. You've got to play all three courses. There's also an arcade with old school games.
Cons: Not much to mention as far as cons. This whole facility is what disc golf should be.
- I wish there were some more par 4's on this course, as there are on Sunnyside. As an intermediate player, there were a lot of tweener holes that I had no chance at birdieing. Alt tees and/or more par 4's would be amazing here.
- Don't be an idiot like me: bring bug spray.
- I played Sunnyside before Darkside, so keep that in mind for this con: I was pretty well whipped halfway through Darkside and didn't have as much fun as I did on Sunnyside. Perhaps that would be reversed if I played Darkside first. But I still believe Darkside is the more punishing course and Sunnyside is the more fun one.
Other Thoughts: Make plans to get to the Blockhouse. You can make a case for why each of the 3 courses are the best. All 3 are fun and worth the trip in their own right.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 2 Not
One of my All-Time Favorites
Pros: This is one of my favorite courses that I've ever played. It's a great technical course that allows even the most advanced players to really test their limits. The holes are big arm throws that require a bit of precision. You'll need to have great control of your hyzer and anhyzer throws for both forehand and backhand throws. The course is extremely well maintained and is very playable. The experience received from the hosts is phenomenal. This course is a must play for anyone traveling to the area.
Cons: I don't like paying to play, but this course is totally worth it.
Other Thoughts: Say hello to the hosts for me, they are great people. Bring bug spray and expect to play all day.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Darkside of the Moon
Aesthetic-- plays on a DG exclusive property.. 'nuff said.
Baskets-- all in great shape with flags to help visibility in the woods. I didn't see LED's here like Sunnyside for night golf.
Teepads-- large turf pads with long blades kept the surfaces tight and not slippery.
Teesignage-- large, full color and descriptive. Only thing I can say is that "exit" arrows could have been used to help guide you to the next hole.
Routing and nav-- not really an issue. Paths were well worn and easy to follow. A couple of places were the "exit point" wasn't crystal clear but not a big detractor.
Challenge factor and variety-- high. We felt completely at home in this dense wood. Being from Michigan, we are used to more technical courses and this truly fit that bill. The holes around the sink holes #15/16/17? were a unique blend of awesomeness with a little splash of water hazard I wasn't expecting. Expect to pull out all the tricks on this course.
Facilities--benches, shelters and water jugs throughout were welcome on a very sticky june day.
and these are nit-picky.
Signage leading you to the course-- there really is no signage from the driveway leading you to the start of the course.
Uncontrollables-- Holly heavy in the rough and deer flies abound.
truly a special place and an honor to be able to throw here. I am hoping by them "closing" the courses that some of the BS that has ruined parts of this course can be laid to rest and they can re-open to one of the top destination courses in the country, as they should be...
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 2 Not
Your Feeble Skills are No Match for the Power of the Darkside!
Pros: Private course with 18 very tight and technical holes to test your mental game and needle threading skills playing through thick Virginia woods, rolling elevation, creeks and ponds. The Darkside is very straight forward, hit this line all the way to the basket or else you are taking a stroke, and then the basket is often on a fast green with OB lurking nearby. Every hole here is solid with a defined fairway.
The large astroturf tees here are my favorite, nice Mach III baskets with flags, navigation and signage, tee area shelter and interesting nicknacks. Very little underbrush, which is surprising given how thick the woods are.
Other amenities on site include a second professional 18 hole course, awesome Tiki course, arcade, concerts, camping, pool and bathroom.
Cons: Some of the seating like couches were home to some bugs. Holly in the rough. Deer flies.
Not really a con for me, but the Darkside will absolutely destroy beginners and even many pros like the fully operational Deathstar. There is going to be a war between your discs and the trees. If your X-wing veers off the trajectory of the fairway, which is fair/well defined, and trust me you will veer off it, you are most likely facing a pitch out recovery shot and hoping for bogey unless master yoda can levitate you from the muck with the force.
The course can feel repetitive as it's all par 3 and you are forced to hit a certain line on every hole, the front 9 is mostly straight tunnel shots, and the couple "open" holes on the back 9 don't really change things much. There's no real signature hole, no chances to air a disc out, no holes to mentally relax on.
Other Thoughts: I find your lack of faith disturbing as you have no idea the power of the Darkside, it's a true mental challenge and one of the toughest courses you will play. You are probably best off playing with Han Solo's attitude and telling yourself before every shot, "Never tell me the odds!" You can typically see the basket, it's right there and it's reachable from the tee, but trying to actually force your disc to the basket is another story, as the tunnels make them play further than they appear. You will be forced to use lots of midranges and understable fairway drivers off the tee because you can't afford to have your discs fade off of the line.
The Darkside course has a place in disc golf history when Brian Skinner shot a 41, first ever 1100+ rated round, and still one the highest ever at 1117, and IMO that is the best round ever. Having played with Brian, I can attest he is well deserving of that record. I can't even imagine shooting a 41 on this course, I'd be stoked to just shoot a 54.
The Blockhouse(formerly Grange) is a true country club experience for disc golf. If you get the chance to play here, consider yourself lucky.
14 of 16 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Nice Tees and signage. Well layed out technical course. Some especially fun shots over swampy valleys full of OB.
The course flowed well. No long walks and no chance of getting lost
Cons: No real monster holes.
Other Thoughts: This and sunny side make for a great day.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: With two 18 hole courses on the property this place is very cool. The Darkside is appropriately named as every hole plays in the woods. It has some minor elevation in places.
The course has some great tee signs. Very descriptive.
The tee pads are very large and astro turf. They were great throwing off of.
The DGA Mach 3 baskets were in good condition.
Although this entire course is in the woods locating discs was not a problem.
There were several water coolers on the course.
There were some great seating areas throughout the course.
Cons: Navigation can be an issue in a few places. Bring a map.
This course gets repetitive as every hole plays in the woods. There are 9 holes in the 297 to 317 foot range.
This is traditional par 3 golf for the most part. There is only 1 hole over 400 feet.
Other Thoughts: This was well worth the stop during vacation. With the 2 permanent courses on site and the super fun tiki course you have to check it out.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
You'll need the Force
Pros: Layout - It's appropriately named the Darkside and for good reason. It offers up very challenging fairways and fast/guarded greens. Going off the fairway leaves you in fairly thick stuff as well.
You'll need to be very accurate and be able to throw straight up to 300' to have looks at 2 on most holes. The back 9 offers up more variety than the front with some more open holes and a slightly wider fairways.
The open holes still require you to be accurate through gaps either near the tee or basket. Plus most of those have water/OB coming to play.
The greens here will give you problems, many are heavily guarded by trees or on fast slopes. There is some slight elevation on the front and a bit more on the back.
The course flows pretty well and once you find it the paths are well beaten in and easy to follow.
Equipment - Large tee pads. Benches (more like cushoined seating and couches) and cool decorations all over. Good signage.
Atmosphere - Themed holes and some cool stuff set up around the course that adds to the experience. Definitely gives you a dark vibe at certain points.
Cons: Layout - Biggest con for me was the repetitiveness of a lot of holes, especially the front 9. Most are straight shots through tight gaps in the 250-330 range. Even the more open holes require a straight shot through a gap at some point.
Some greens were maybe to guarded and tight at the end, definitely an experienced player type course.
Not many holes really stand out when I think back, this course is definitely the lesser of the two on the property.
Equipment - Some of the pads were a little rough in places. Some of the baskets were old and not up to par.
Atmosphere - Not an incredibly fun course, especially in comparison to Sunnyside. It gets a little monotonous. Lots of prickly holly bushes and hornets on the course... watch out.
Has good facilities such as an arcade, tiki course, pro shop, bathrooms on the property.
Other Thoughts: The combination of this course and Sunnyside gives it a boost, definitely a yin/yang type setup. The Blockhouse as a whole is a great experience and a must hit if you're in the area. A lot of work has gone in to the place and it definitely paid off.
Courses are pay to play but it's worth it.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: This is a fun course for all. Not too difficult, but not simple either. It was me (intermediate) and a friend who had never played before, and if was fun for us both. The holes were thought out nicely and played well. Awesome use of elevation change and left/right doglegs. Plenty of seating thourghout.
Cons: Tee pads were horrible. They were all of different materials and it seemed like none of them were the same size. Some were dirt, some artifical turf, some carpet. Kind of annoying, especially when there isn't a place to the side of the tee to throw from...so even if the tee was muddy or wet etc, you couldn't even throw from the side of the tee box to prevent ingury.
I didn't see any trash cans. Not a big deal, but might be nice.
$5.00 greens fees is a little pricey for this course. I wouldn't go to this course again if I had to pay $5 every time.
Other Thoughts: Overall it was a nice course.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Nice layout and well signed. Easy to navigate and has a lot of shot variety with some water coming into play on a few holes. Liked the rest areas at each tee box with the car bench seats and the fish themed hole. Really fun course.
Cons: Not many open holes, almost all of them are wooded, but thats why its called the darkside I suppose.
Other Thoughts: Nice private course with 2 other courses on site. Not quite as good as the Sunnyside but still one of the best courses I've played.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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