12 Helpful / 1 Not
Every day is Christmas at Sugaree
Pros: Sugaree is as close to a disc golf destination as I've ever played. A private course, set in the mountains, with tons of challenge and amazing views, plus an awesome host. What more could any disc golfer ask for?
- I waited a week after playing to let everything sink in, and I still had a hard time identifying the best part of the experience. Normally, I list things in order of importance, for Sugaree, it'll be sequential.
- It all starts with the pre-round setup. Rich is a gracious host, quick to respond to e-mails and very flexible in setting up times. Above all that, I think he just is looking for an reason to play as many rounds as possible at the course.
- One of the first things you'll notice is the setting. Ranging from the breathtaking view of being surrounded by mountains, playing in and around, and over Christmas trees, to taking in the smells. Above all that, no sounds of cars, roads or anything else. You're in nature hear.
- Finally the course. As if you didn't already know you're at a Christmas tree farm, #1 eliminates any doubt. Your tee shot is over rows of trees, followed by a walk through them. As the trees grow each year, it's going to make an increasing challenge on the throw, never mind looking for a tree that lands in the trees.
- #2 could easily be one of the signature holes of this course. At more than 600 feet, it's the course's longest. It's a downhill, dogleg left, to a basket that plays slightly behind, and next to, the first of large rocks that comes into play throughout the course. Another pattern that starts here is the abundance of trees. You might hit a tee shot 100 feet away, 200 feet away, or you might clear them all and have a shot sail forever.
- One of those "best features" about the course is the challenging, but fair, hole layouts. I don't mind a hole being difficult, as long as it's fair, or there's a reason for it being difficult. You'll see that on most holes at Sugaree. For example #3 tees off from the top of the rock that was next to #2's basket, and plays to "relatively" easy basket that's 10 - 15 feet from a drop-off. A great tee shot can lead to an easy birdie putt, a bad tee shot, or bad putt, can roll away.
- There are some great holes with baskets next to slopes/edge of rocks. Nothing tests your mettle like an otherwise easy 10 foot putt than knowing if you miss, it could roll 50 feet, or more, past the basket. You'll see these on #3, #7, #12,14 &15.
- I love the big rocks that come into play. On some holes they can be your friend, and you can use them as a wall to bounce your shots off of. On other holes, they're your worst enemy. Nothing's worse than being directly behind a 20 foot rock and not being able to advance your shot. Some of the better holes that incorporate the rocks are #2, #4 (awesome hole), 7, 8 (potential skip shot off the rock for an ace), 15 & 17.
- The overall scramble factor here is tremendous. Sugaree has a real (ball) golf feel to its layouts. I had tee shots where I was punished for throwing too far, and others in the group, who were 50 - 75 behind had much better approach shots. On some holes, the correct shot is going Roc (or any midrange)-Roc - tap-in for 3, versus trying to be a hero and pull driver out on the tee.
- And to make things even better, an 18-hole course wasn't enough for Rich, so he's adding new holes. I was able to play a rough version of some of the extras, and was very impressed. They'll be tough, they'll be fun, they'll be all things Sugaree.
Cons: Nothing major here. This course is great for a reason. Consider these more of suggestions, or observations, than real problems.
- It'd be nice if there was one more long hole. Another kick-you-in-the-pants par 5 would have been the cherry on top.
- It'd be cool to see an uphill hole that plays to one of the big rocks. Trust me, I got plenty of practice throwing uphill towards the rocks with bad shots.
- Potential for frustration exists here. Between the potentials of discs rolling down the hill, bad bounces, searching for discs for too long, slow pace of rounds and high scores (especially for people who aren't used to double bogeys or bogey streaks), one could easily be getting too worked up during there round here. Lucky for me, I tend to have those problems on EVERY course I play, so that wasn't a problem for me.
Other Thoughts: This was a destination course if I've ever played one. All the quirks, new experiences, and other happenings are all just part of one big ol' adventure. I felt like a kid in a 100-acre, Christmas tree, mountain farm version of a candy store.
- I wasn't going to list this under cons, because I didn't think it was one, but it needs to be mentioned. Some people, and you know who you are, are going to have problems with the homemade, hanging baskets. I feel they fit the course perfectly.
- Four holes stood out a little more than others. Not that the others were bad, just think of it as picking the four best of your 18 children. #2, which I listed above, #4 (awesome dogleg right around, or over a big rock), #8 & #15.
- This is an absolute, no-excuse, must play for anyone in the area. I thought this course would be good, but it blew away all expectations I had. On a 10-course disc golf, it says something to me when one course stands head and shoulders above the rest, which did include an impressive list. It's worth driving hours to play here. My guess is you'll get hooked. Hats off to Rich and all the effort he put into making one the best courses I've played.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 2 Not
This IS disc golf
Pros: Challenging. Excellent tee placements. Excellent basket placements. Wonderful variety of holes. Q: How can you almost always be throwing downhill?! A: ingenious and passionate course designer/owner. Rich is awesome. He is the kind of disc golfer I want to be when I grow up (whenever that is). Great company. This course is what disc golf is meant to be. It's tough, it's fun, it stretches you to use shots you didn't know you had. It's gorgeous...and I've mostly played it after the leaves fell for the season. I feel like part of some elite yet welcoming club when I play there. I literally dream about this course and the natural beauty there.
Cons: Not for the beginning player. You want to be on your game and you need to be in decent shape. This course is on Rich's land, and he is graciously sharing it with us. Not meant to be a "con" but meant to caution the player that this is not your average public course, and you must be respectful of this fact.
Other Thoughts: I am blessed to be among the list of people who have played Sugaree. It is easily my favorite course for a variety of reasons. Thanks Rich for allowing me to play.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 2 Not
Shake It, Sugaree
Pros: The tightly wooded course sits on the most beautiful piece of land I've ever seen used for a disc golf course. Big old trees, cool rock outcrops, and scenic vistas are all around. You feel like you're really out in nature. Other than the tees and baskets, and occasional benches and steps, the only sign of anything that resembles civilization are the Christmas trees you see on a few holes. Because of its private nature and remote location, it will never be crowded, and I can't imagine it would feel crowded even with a tournament going on.
Amazingly, nearly the whole course plays downhill. Only two holes play uphill, and one only marginally so, yet there aren't any crazy climbs or hikes between holes.
The course is full of great golf lines. There are no gimme holes, just holes asking for quality golf shots to be thrown. Nearly every hole is a signature hole. The fairways are fair, will punish you for bad shots, but not too severely, and reward your good shots. There are plenty of birdie opportunities for those who can execute great golf shots, with a good variety of long and not too long, and left and right turning holes. The overall quality of each hole is perhaps the biggest strength of the course.
Some of the most precarious pin placements you'll ever see are at Sugaree. The baskets are an innovative design, all are hanging, and they catch well. Because they are hanging baskets, they can fairly easily be moved, giving the course a little different look. The hanging baskets also allow for many of the more challenging placements. The tees are all nicely done carpet, giving a comfortable feel under your feet, with plenty of traction.
Probably the biggest pro is the course's owner and designer, Mando. He is a great guide and gracious host, with an evident love for the game, his course, and the land on which it sits, an absolute joy to play disc golf with. It's really cool to see how much work he's put into the course, and I feel blessed to have had the chance to enjoy it.
Cons: Not much, but here goes. There are two fairways that cross, although you're throwing well over the top of hole 2's fairway when driving on hole 6, which is a valley shot, and the course is never crowded, so it's really a non-issue.
Several of the holes are blind shots so a spotter is a good idea on those holes. There's also a chance of losing plastic due to thick leaves in places in the fall, along with the possibility of a bad kick off a tree sending a disc out of sight.
It's also a seasonal course, and you need to set up a tee time with Mando, so you can't play it just any old time. With that in mind, it feels like a special treat when you do get to play it.
Other Thoughts: There's not much else out here. The nearest store is miles away. There is no restroom or water fountain, so plan ahead. Bring sunscreen when the leaves are off the trees. I got cooked when I played here in April, not realizing there wouldn't be any foliage on the trees yet. Bring your hiking boots and A game, and enjoy the scenery, it's beautiful in Western North Carolina, and this hilltop is a fine example of Appalachian Beauty. Sugaree is a destination worthy course, one to plan your summer road trips around, if you get the chance.
Thanks to Mando for the great course, and letting me enjoy it.
17 of 19 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I'll start with the aesthetics. This is one of the most beautiful places I've ever tossed a disc. The course is set on a hilltop (or mountaintop), almost all in a lush hardwood forest, with huge granite outcrops. 35' sheer cliffs, boulders rising 15' tall and 60' across, everywhere. Though on a Christmas tree farm, only on a couple of holes do you encounter the trees, throwing over them and having a rather fragrant walk from tee to disc.
As a private course, you're likely to have it to yourself. It is absolutely peaceful, far from the highway or other human sounds.
Not normally part of a course review, but Rich is such a great host and guide that he's one of the amenities, too.
The layout is very fine. Unlike most mountain courses there are not a lot of huge uphill & downhill shots. It mostly consists of tight wooded shots more or less along the contour, some elevation but not extreme. Half the course is "signature holes".
And some of the most memorable basket locations you've ever played. Baskets located near, or on top of, boulders, and near steep slopes or even sheer cliffs.
There are great benches, steps, and teepads (though they are 10', and I have a 12' runup). A lot of work has gone into them. There is no signage, but that is by design.
Due to the course's altitude, and perhaps its shade, its much cooler than neighboring regions. Rich claims that some summers it never gets over 85 degrees; our visit was probably 15 degrees cooler than our home in South Carolina.
Cons: The cons are generally minor, and mostly aspects of being a private course, and new, and a one-man project. I mention them for those to whom they may matter.
Starting with the fact that you need to schedule a tee-time. The owner is very accommodating, and you're going to need a guide, anyway. No chance you could navigate this course without one.
There are also places with random trees in the fairways, or a few awfully tight gaps. As time goes by, this will surely ease up.
We visited in July and the undergrowth was knee-high in the many fairways---but not real dense, so hardly affected play. Bearing in mind, again, that there's just one person doing the maintenance.
If you have a strong desire to "grip it and rip it", you won't find much chance here. No real open shots; this is a wooded course.
All 18 baskets are homemade, hanging baskets. They catch fine but some people may have problems with non-standard baskets, or the fact that hanging baskets may sway in the wind or spin after the previous putt.
Other Thoughts: This is a new course; 2 years old; much re-designed; and undergoing constant improvements. Within a year or two it will surely be a 4.5 to me. They're also working on a 9-hole "super course"; essentially combining two regular holes into one monster hole, that should provide as much wooded challenge as any disc golfer might ever need.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 8 Not
Pros: Beautiful setting. Placement of unique hanging baskets is challenging and interesting. Great flow from one hole to the next. Fun to play with the designer/owner. How many courses are you able to do that?
Cons: Rich is hard to beat in doubles. It was my first time, however, so there is always a new day. Should be able to make up 3 shots next time.
Other Thoughts: Awesome time. Don't let Rich carry the cooler. It is his secret training/warming up for each hole strategy that gives him the edge.
1 of 9 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 4 Not
Great wooded course
Pros: Great course through the woods. We played with 8 people on a Bachelor party and it was plenty of fun for all of us. We played with the owners son and his friend (Mitchel I think) and he was the nicest guy around. There are some beautiful holes with the trees and rock outcroppings playing into each shot. I would recommend this course to anyone of any skill level that wants a great course and a unique experience.
Cons: Would be difficult to play without a guide. Luckily we had Mitchel to show us the ropes.
3 of 7 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Stellar Views, Stellar Pin Placements, Stellar Tee Pads, Stellar use of Time & Property on top of the ridgeline. Playing Sugaree was an absolute treat for this long time disc golfer. The integration of large rock outcroppings into the course layout is both stupendously appealing and stupendously butt-puckering when making putts outside of 25 feet. No need to repeat what all the other's have said about this course (I agree with comments in PRO's section)....just PLAY This Course if you can (and have skills and love of the game). Your ability, imagination, creativity, course management, and patience will all have opportunities to be tested while hiking this wonderful course and if you're lucky you'll have a personal tour with the course architect. We played several mountain courses over a long weekend and this course gets my vote for most aesthetically pleasing (so many 'signature holes' to choose from).
The homemade baskets are just one more, very positive, signature element. THANKS to Rich & his kids and all the folks that put their time into making this gorgeous course!!!
Cons: I didn't experience any cons on this course. Some comments from other's I just consider part of playing a true mountain course and/or a private course. One thing I didn't get at Sugaree that I did enjoy at some other mountain courses was the tee shot looking out over an extreme elevation drop. These shots can be perplexing for disc selection, initial direction and thrust. However, Rich has incorporated equally challenging downhill shots that require precise distance control which may be a better test of skill (with stroke choking consequences for miscalculations or poor execution). Any course that can put a smile on your face at the same time you're thinking 'double bogey will be good after that drive' makes my A-list.
Other Thoughts: If you're coming from the flatlands allow plenty of extra time to complete a round in the mountains, especially if it's a new course to you. This course has a great South & West exposure which makes for an excellent afternoon on a sunny winter day. I will definitely play this course again and again as often as I can arrange to get there!!
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: This course is AWESOME! The hanging baskets and carpet tee pads give you the vibe of a private homegrwon course, but the layiout and function are as good as any course that I have played. The holes are laid out as challenging but playable. Rock formations were used as pin locations and provided great scenery. The tree farm provides a surreal setting for DG and every hole was a top notch DG hole. No throwaways or contirved holes on this course. If you throw a well thought out drive and manage the course, every hole can be parred but there is trouble lurking everywhere. Rich and Cory were fantastic hosts and the round was truly enjoyable.
Cons: Lack of sigange and the need to play with the host. No big deal, but it does require some planning-the course is well worth it!
Other Thoughts: Private courses rule! Thank goodness for the dedicated disc golfers who spend the time, money and labor to make these courses some of the best in the nation. Thank you!!
3 of 8 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 8 Not
Sugaree - Most Excellent Course
Pros: Well layed out and challenging course. Baskets are all hanging and homemade, but catch the discs well. Almost all the tee pads are carpeted and are prenty big to get a good throw off. This is definitely a course worth driving a couple hours to play.
Cons: Needs some hole signs with distances and sketch.
Other Thoughts: This course was one of 4 that we played over a 3 day trip. It's a very scenic course with lots of rock formations. Very much enjoyed playing this course and would paly it again in a heartbeat.
0 of 8 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Amazing topography, beautiful rock formations, hospitality beyond belief. I loved this course. We played as the sunset, the ridge faces west so we got amazing optics as we explored this magnificent course. Not a long course but ultra-unique, very fun and somewhat challenging.
Cons: It is still evolving, it will just get better as Rich, the owner, refines this masterpiece. Not really a con, but I thought I'd try.
Other Thoughts: I love the fact that Rich has the dedication and vision to build a DG course in such an amazing place. Disc golfers are great people and Rich exemplifies what I love about this sport. Thanks!
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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