This is Something Special
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: I am blessed to have played many great courses, even with only twenty-five at the time of writing this played. I have given two other five disc reviews, (Harmon Hills, Deer Lakes Park) and some 4.5 reviews. This is the definition of a five.
I was severely disappointed when I had found out that Harmon Hills was closed Easter weekend, and even more saddened by the fact that Sugaree would not open until May. I checked the website daily, holding on to the bit of hope that just maybe the course would open one month early. Luckily, that day came. I immediately messaged Mando (Rich) and he told me that I could play. He gave me his personal phone number so I could ask him questions. I probably messaged him too much, but even through that he was very helpful, and I was grateful for his hospitality. He's a very nice guy, and I encourage you to donate to the course, and help out with all he has done.
Okay after a lengthy introduction, I guess we should talk about the main event. The course. Sugaree. If Heaven was on Earth, it's on a Christmas Tree Farm tucked in to the secluded mountains of North Carolina.
Walking through the course, you are presented with many beautiful sights. Their our two story boulders, trees the size of semi trucks, plants that screamed natural beauty. Of course, on top of these boulders, next to these trees, and over the flora are disc golf baskets.
The quality of golf keeps you awake as well, You have shots that need to go right, you have shots that need to go left, up, down, you name it. I can honestly say I threw every shot in my bag, and even then it was not enough.
The holes were challenging, weaving through carved paths on the side of the Carolina mountains. Trees and rocks were eminent, as well as steep drop offs, providing risk and reward opportunities all the time.
These holes were perfectly designed, making you think about a ten foot putt, which side of the fairway to land on, and even whether to throw a driver vs. a putter. You had to decide. Par threes and fours, long and short. It had everything.
Navigation was fairly easy. Painted green arrows pointed to the next tee, and they were never very far away, This is definitely a perk of having a private course.
Tee signs were wood, not too descriptive, not that they really needed to be, and aesthetically pleasing. Carved wood plaques, hung to trees near the teepad. Easy to decipher.
I came to Sugaree for a fun, relaxing, round of amazing disc golf. And that is exactly what I found. I love playing a course by myself, just to be alone in nature with trees, rocks, and the occasional metal basket.
Cons: Cons were few and far between. I would rather not include this section, because I don't want people thinking there is really anything wrong, but I have to because anything can be better, even the best.
The walk, although scenic, was grueling. Even as a young, fairly athletic man, (Not to brag ;)) I was sweating bullets after the round, even in 60 degree weather. Make sure to bring lots of water, snacks, and energy, because you will need it. I would not suggest a disabled or elderly person to try to play, but if you can, do it.
Some of the tee pads were a little rough, carpet or natural rock/gravel, but I never felt unsafe. You can't always have three concrete tee pads, and to be honest, I think it would hurt the course to do better. Concrete tee pads in the middle of a secluded property? Not for me.
Holes sometimes ran together/crossed paths. I can't imagine that Rich would let so many people out to play the course to make this dangerous, but it sometimes seemed confusing, not too bad, but the baskets were not numbered and you sometimes had to walk a fairway.
Rough was rough. Some tall grass and random foliage, but guess what. You are in the middle of the woods. What do you expect? The fairways were cleared, and definitely had defined lines, but we did lose a disc.
I only played once. Is that a con? Always... I wish I stayed here. I can't wait to come back.
Other Thoughts: This course proved to be a wonderful experience. I cannot express how much I enjoyed the layout, the scenery, the appreciation and dedicated work that goes into designing and maintaining such a wonderful property. I would drive double the hour and a half I did to play the course again. Maybe triple. I absolutely love mountain golf, and if you don't, well, you're wrong. And we are not friends.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: Beautiful mountain setting with an exception course design that will challenge players of all skill levels. This really is disc golf at its finest. Mostly wooded holes but plenty of variety off the tee to get use of every disc in your bag. Good mix of par 3s, 4s, and 5s. Shooting anywhere under par is a good score. Good course flow and good signage on each hole.
Cons: Nothing much to report here. Playing here everyday wouldn't be a bad thing. Very few eateries and beverage stores close by. Pack it in and pack it out.
Other Thoughts: Get out to play this course. You will not regret it.
2 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Mountain disc golf at its finest
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This course is a prime example of what a "backyard" private course can be, and should be a benchmark for others looking to do the same thing.
The work and dedication that has gone into making this course what it is is apparent, and it is a blast to play.
Challenging tight wooded shots, longer distance holes, shorter ace runs, it has it all. This course should use every shot in your bag. Left to right doglegs, Right to left doglegs, straight laser beam shots, uphill, downhill, you name it!
Plenty of extremely challenging greens, offering a fair approach, but huge penalty for error. (Baskets on boulders/cliffs) And also some beautiful scenery for a disc golf course.
The usual 18 hole course always seems to leave me wanting more. But to play it again is too much. In the most recent layout, this course is 26 holes! The perfect amount of disc golf, where at the end, I didn't want anymore. Not in a bad way, just worn out.
The course design uses every available terrain of the mountain side, bring your hiking shoes as you will be throwing uphill, downhill, along the side of hills etc. Fantastic use of the available terrain.
Most baskets make great use of the natural terrain and were my favorite part, some are nestled between trees, others are on the edge of rock ledges or up on a boulder. It's rare to say that putting was my favorite part.
The risk/reward factor is high on this course, and it favors a smarter more cautious shot over the aggresive "go for it" shots. An errant throw off the fairway can make it a struggle to save a bogey.
The owner/proprietor is also extremely helpful, nice and welcoming in general! We were greeted on the first tee as he was working on the green for #1 and tee for #2.
Fun Fun Fun
Cons: There are only a few minor things keeping this course from being the perfect 5. All in all adding up to only a half point deduction for me.
The course navigation was mostly adequate, but in a few places left me questioning where to head next. As this course isn't a public course and doesn't see nearly as much play, the path to the next tee wasn't as worn in as more used courses. There were arrows on most holes guiding the way, but when absent, I was searching. Not major, but could be better
Also a slight con, were the varying tee pad surfaces. Some carpet, some natural. The carpet tee pads were ever so slightly slick with the recent rain, and the natural tee pads were gravel.
Last but not least, as mentioned, since this course is not as heavily traveled as other public courses, the rough was rough. Simple solution, don't throw in the rough! ...but easier said than done. Be sure to keep an eye on your disc.
Mostly nit-picking to find much in the way of cons, but just enough to keep from garnering a 5 disc rating from me
Other Thoughts: 100% worth the drive from Charlotte, and absolutely worth stopping in if you're near the area.
The course winds its way from the parking area up and down the mountainside and doesn't let up until you're back at your car. Plenty of variation in difficulty, par and shot selection, this course has it all.
Bring your hiking shoes, and I'd suggest long pants as the rough is rough! Bug spray in the summer may be a good idea too as the Carolina mosquitoes could carry you away.
The close proximity to Asheville, and Blind Squirrel Brewing (which also has disc golf) can make for a perfect day trip!
Will definitely be back, and would highly recommend this course. One of the most fun I've played in quite a while
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
The most unique and stunning course in the southeast
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: --Sugaree is nestled in the mountains of the Southern Appalachian high country giving it unique topography, including big hills, big flat meadows, cliffs and other rock formations. The owner used these unique features on nearly every hole, making each hole more memorable than the last.
--There is a good mix of left to right, right to left and straight holes, uphill, downhill, extreme downhill and flat holes.
--The course rewards solid, consistent play. It is a player's course. It is mostly heavily wooded and the fairways are fair. The holes are not long, but nearly all of them have hazards that punish lazy (shots that fade out) or inaccurate shots.
--The basket placements are the best I've ever seen. A lot of them are near large rock outcrops, lending to some of the scariest putts in the game. Strategic upshot placement is paramount.
--Because of the greens and the hazards, it is the most mentally tough course I've played. You have to stay sharp and get back on the the par and birdie wagon when you inevitably fall off it.
--Good use of OB to keep players out of the Frasier Firs
--Sufficient tee signage (simple routed signs with hole number, distance, and route), good baskets (MVP black holes), good teepads (gravel and framed carpet), and great stonework all over the course (benches and steps), several trash cans and benches available on most holes
--Some beautiful mountain scenery on several holes
--Other pluses:Several loops possible, camping onsite with permission, options of donation or work for play
--Rich is one of the most personable course owners out there. If you get a chance to play with him, take the opportunity.
Cons: --The course goes out and doesn't comes back at the end, so bring everything you need with you when you start.
Other Thoughts: --This course is in my Top 5. It's my favorite of the mountain style golf courses (I've played Blackjack, Ashe County, Beaver Ranch/Conifer, Bucksnort). Every time I go up there is better than the last. If you can, I'd recommend seeing the course in spring, summer and fall to get all the crazy beauty that this place offers. Rich is constantly tweaking things on the course and improving it.
--Please be generous in your donations, all of the homemades were recently replaced and there is a lot of weedwacking and pruning to do here.
--This is not a course for beginners or people that are badly out of shape.
--Make sure to bring snacks and a lot of water.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Disc Golf Bliss
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Sugaree gave me the best disc golf experience I've ever had. Seriously. Only one other course - Selah Lakeside - blew me away in the same kind of way that left me amazed with the combination of design and terrain offered. First off, Rich is a very gracious host and it was a joy to hear the vision that he has for his course and the perspective he has about disc golf. This truly is a players' paradise with a fun-filled, risk/reward challenge on every hole that combines multiple aspects of design, all on very secluded, beautiful property.
The succession of holes and the design of the holes themselves are tremendously thought out. You truly get a little bit of everything here, be it downhill/uphill bombs, tight ravine shots, and a few chances to really open up on a few holes with open fairways from the tee. The mountainous, woodsy setting was awesome, and I appreciated that there were also a few more open holes sprinkled in to allow me to catch my breath. One of the best aspects of design here is that you are always offered multiple ways to approach the hole with multiple lanes through mature trees. The lines aren't random, they are very well thought out, and even the tighter holes give you options.
Probably the most memorable part of the course, and my favorite aspect, is the tremendous use of risk and reward in a way that I've never experienced on any other course. Elevation changes come into effect on 99% of your shots, so there is constantly a chance that a miscalculation can add a few strokes. This keeps you on your toes for the entire round, causing you to focus on every shot from tee to basket. Baskets are placed in precarious positions all throughout the course. They are often located next to steep cliffs and slopes, between trees, or within rock outcroppings.
It's hard to point out favorite holes when pretty much every one offers a unique challenge. Many holes here would be signature holes for other courses. I have to point out a few though, like hole 10's tight lane with a drop-off to the right and a basket located on the edge of a gradually steeping uphill slope. Hole 25 is an awesome downhill shot and was just icing on the cake, one of the best finishing holes I've seen and a great way to end a very memorable round.
Scenery. This is a beautiful property and it was so refreshing to play without any rush in the seclusion of the NC mountains.
The baskets and tee pads may not be that of a public park course, but they never took away from my experience. Maybe I got lucky, but I didn't have a bad spit out once.
Cons: One of the only cons that I can consider when taking into account all players is that some people may not enjoy the ruggedness of the course. This doesn't mean that the course is not tended to, Rich clearly puts a ton of time and effort into maintaining it. It just means that the hiking and course play may be a little strenuous for those just wanting to play a casual grip-and-rip type course. This isn't an ordinary walk in the park type course, but I personally loved the fact that it was the opposite of that.
Other Thoughts: I can't say enough how great this course is. It gives you a mountain golf - and disc golf - experience unlike any other. It truly is the perfect mix of challenge and fun. It's up there with the best of them in terms of making every shot count and offering the ability for scoring separation. I feel I could get completely different scores every time I play here, and to me, that's a well-designed course.
Rich is a fantastic host and really went out of his way to accommodate us. I was so glad to see that he opened up Sugaree again on DGCR because many others now get a chance to play this amazing course and selfishly, it means that I have another opportunity to play it. Play here!
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
Shook by Sugaree!
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Private course on Sugar Mountain creating some idealistic conditions for 25 unique and challenging holes featuring cool large rock formations and a Christmas tree farm. The course is about 95% wooded and playing over interesting elevation changes ready to challenge your accuracy and mental game hole after hole with risk and reward.
Course is well shaded and few fairways have drastic elevation change or play uphill much so the course doesn't overly tax your body and helps maintain a more relaxed atmosphere while playing, except when you see the basket hanging by the edge of a cliff. Constructed tees with carpet over plywood, benches, and homemade baskets that catch everything.
Cons: Nothing that would bother a connoisseur, but...
Course is not always open, nor free, not a beginner course, nor is it a "true" pro caliber course, nor grip and rip. Baskets are homemade and not the easiest to see. Can be wet and slick in places with the rocky terrain and steep elevation. Stinging nettle in places, rub some of the jewel weed nearby the nettle on yourself to relieve the itch/sting. Rich was bragging about no poison ivy ever being on the course, but I managed to point out a couple small patches to him in disbelief ;-)
Other Thoughts: Rich aka Mando is a great host, guide and person. He's always tweaking the course, looking for new holes and taking great care of it, and obsesses so much so that his awesome wife(who also helps maintain the course) has to drag him out of there to keep his and her sanity. As the namesake song goes Rich is Sugaree's pimp and she's shaking it for us!
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Welcome Back, Sugaree
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Sugaree is a true disc golf wonderland, with holes chock-full of character in a gorgeous setting. I never wanted to leave.
Set in mountainside woods, elevation is always a factor and obstacles are abundant. The challenge factor is high but creatively implemented, with risk/reward the likes of which are rarely seen. It's an unrelenting series of disc golf brain teasers, with most every hole forcing decision-making and a shrewd evaluation of your game's limits. Elevated tees, cliff-side death putts, do-or-die landing zones, branching lanes, bottlenecks, fairways bordered by the steepest of slopes, it's all here, in combinations that make the heart swell and the head ache. Distances can tend to the shorter side, but elevation and general challenge conspire to make you earn every inch: Sugaree has some of the longest holes under 250' that you will ever play, and generally just feels epic and sprawling given the environment, variety, and number of holes to play. There are some change-of-pacers too, a few more spacious holes that relax the round momentarily, wisely implemented to soften the blows that will surely come. Sugaree will get you, but it will also give you chances to just watch your disc fly and take it all in. It's a challenging course but never a beat down, if for its uniqueness and beauty if nothing else. And there's a lot else. The originality of the design and its harmony with the terrain is just through the roof.
The course can be played a variety of ways, with a loop of 18, the full 25, and even a Super Course layout that combines multiple holes to make for 600, 700, 800-plus foot long sprawling monsters. I'm determined to play the Super Course on my next visit.
Rich, the course designer and owner, could not be a more gracious and enthusiastic host. Helluva guy.
Cons: In terms of the layout itself, Sugaree's cons, such as they are, lie almost exclusively in the nature of the terrain. It's in the woods on the side of a mountain, so distance drivers need not apply. Lines, landing zones, and quarters in general are often confined, though most holes allow for creativity and variety in how they're approached. The holes here rarely dictate a singular playthrough.
Given the terrain, when things go wrong they can go very wrong. Missed putts can fall dozens of feet. Unfortunate skips can plummet into the abyss. It's never a surprise, though: it's quite clear what you're getting into.
There's a lot of precision-focused golf, so consider yourself forewarned if you're the grip it and rip it type.
Leaf clutter can hide discs.
The homemade, hanging baskets might bother some, but I found them fine. They can even occasionally work to your benefit, shifting to allow a high putt to fall in. When I'm standing on a boulder considering making a run for birdie at the threat of having my disc go over the side and fall 40 feet amidst beautiful terrain and great company on one of the most unique courses I have ever played, the last thing I'm thinking is, "I wish these were DISCatchers."
The tee boxes can occasionally be a bit too short or slightly slick, but the course's emphasis on accuracy over distance favors standstills and short run ups to space-eating drives.
Other Thoughts: Sugaree is a bucket list course, simply put. I've played some great courses - Moraine, Selah, Harmon Hills, Whippin' Post - and Sugaree sits easily among the group. It doesn't have the refinement or upkeep of a Selah, but its one-of-a-kind character makes it my all time favorite course. It's a special place that I consider myself lucky to have visited, and I'll be back again at first opportunity. Thank you, Rich!
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
20 Helpful / 2 Not
Other Thoughts: This course reminded me of this ghetto hole-in-the-wall restaurant we used to eat at once a week. Every few months it would be closed because of a kitchen fire or a health code violation. The tables were wobbly and the windows were coated in some greasy film. But it was far and away the best barbecue I've ever had. Famous athletes at one table, the mayor at another.
Sugaree doesn't have the bells and whistles of a typical 5-star course. It just has the finest mountain disc golf experience I've come across.
First, finding the place. If you come from I-40, take 181 all the way until the stop light and take a left (Newland is one way, Linville the other). Sugar Mtn Road # 2 comes first, and Sugar Mtn Road #1 is after that. It's around some greenhouses. The gravel driveway is not that obvious, but the .8 mile mark is accurate. Keep your eyes open. And take a screen shot of the directions on your phone. The cell worked some on the course, but not so much while looking for the course.
There are a few parking spots by the donation mailbox. Please leave donations. Please do what you can to keep this place open.
Green wooden arrows on trees lead you to the practice basket and then hole 1. I met a guy out there, he gave me some pretty helpful advice. When in doubt about where to go next, go uphill. That helped me a few times.
The tees are not raked concrete. They're gravel or carpet. They work just fine. There are pretty helpful and accurate tee-signs at every one of the 25 holes.
The baskets are homemade. I like to think that some state-of-the-art baskets might have held a putt or two that dropped out, but these baskets work just fine. They fit in very well and they're marked with pink or orange (bright) streamers so you can see where you're throwing. They can collapse a bit when you hit them (you'll see what I mean). Just be sure to readjust them for the next group. Pretty simple.
The fairways are not cleared or mowed down. This is a hike without a trail. Not for kids or rainy days. Though a beautiful hike. I'd give the hike alone a 3.5, even if it didn't have any baskets.
Blind shots too. You're in the middle of nowhere, so it's a good place to shut up and listen for your disc. If there's a chatty cathy in your group, leave them at home. Throw bright colored discs. I threw all oranges and yellows, spent some time looking but didn't lose a single disc.
Amenities - benches are plentiful and unique. Stairs - I wrote a review on Iron Hill and said to keep playing at least until 17 because of the sweet set of stairs up to the basket. Sugaree has about 6 sets of stairs like that, starting at hole 1. And several natural rock formations you climb. I would say that Rich has done everything possible to build up Sugaree, it's just that you can't do the every-week things like mowing mountain fairways.
Signature Holes - there are about 25 of them.
Rich stopped me in my round to introduce himself. The other golfers I met out there - also very friendly.
Some warnings - if you don't like to hike, if you throw green discs (bright colors only out here), if you're afraid of nature, if you don't want to drive or pay to play - this course is not for you. It's not for everyone. I've seen talk on here about categorizing courses. This is not a family-friendly course. If you bring your 9 year old out here you'll give it a 1-star. This is the Mt. Everest of disc golf courses. It's rugged and unpolished, but you'll agree that it was 100% worth the drive and you'll wish you had more cash to drop in the donation box. It's peaceful, beautiful, it's got epic long holes, ace runs, and it's pretty close to Elk Mtn if you have any arm left after your round. 160+ courses played and this is my first 5-star.
20 of 22 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: The most amazing DG course for hundreds of miles. Great layout with lots of elevation change. Precise shot making required and lord help you if you miss some of those putts. Many baskets are on rock outcroppings with 15-30 foot drop offs around the basket. We played during a bachelor party weekend on day two ... nothing like a 2+ mile uphill hike to clear the head. The owner and designer, Rich, is a great, hospitable guy. If you get the chance, throw it!
Cons: Difficult walking conditions at times if wet. Baskets are mostly of a hanging variety and can be tricky ... usually allow just one disc at a time or they will tip.
Other Thoughts: A truly memorable experience!
2 of 7 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 8 Not
Pro Mountain Course
Pros: High mountain wooded course. Quiet & peaceful disc golf only course. Long holes including full length Par 4's & Par 5's. Be prepared for a long round of golf. Beautiful piece of property situated amongst tree farms & camping/cabin rental properties. Rocky outcroppings dot the landscape. I threw all shots here. Left, straight, right. Uphill & a lot of downhill shots. Nice (new) tee signs on every hole with hole #, distance & basic flight path shown. Large tee pads. Unique wire baskets (a majority hanging). Good use of space & the course flows well. Very friendly host. Tight fairways put a premium on shot selection. I drove with a mid-range disc more than once just to keep it in the fairway. Lots of next tee signs made navigation relatively easy.
Cons: Watch your footing as wet or moss covered stones leave you slipping. Seeing the unique baskets is sometimes hard to do. Look for the little day-glo strips on the baskets. Occasionally, the baskets will fold up or droop over when the disc hits chains. You want to get your disc out of the basket quickly or it may fall out on its own. You also have to 're-set' the chains so the basket sits level for the next shooter. Could use a few more benches. Muddy footing in some spots. Some of the new holes have dirt tee pads. Not many wide open shots here. It's mostly wooded. Some crossing fairways (watch for flying discs). Some tee pads are in close proximity to each other & may muddle direction but just follow the freen arrows & look at the tee sign number. There are lots of rocks here. Hit a rock with your disc & you could damage it.
Other Thoughts: I was awestruck by the course beauty & landscaping/layout of the course. The place is huge but was very well manicured. The fairways were clear of debris & we didnt really fear losing a disc. Some baskets hang on the edge of a cliff. This really forces you to think about the shot. I love this! Plenty of great camping spots on-site!
3 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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