You Gotta Find A Good Line.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The layout is a lot of fun. It really has a lot of variety. The hike isn't bad either.
Teepads are great. Signs are easy to distinguish between Long and Short tees.
Cons: Get used to hitting trees all day. It's a tough one, but that's what makes you learn to find those lines.
Watch for cars driving through the park; you play along the road the majority of the time.
One issue isn't course related: while the park is pretty well maintained, you'll definitely see trash and broken glass bottles throughout the course. It's pretty disappointing in how people treat this park.
Other Thoughts: Really good location; two courses to choose from. Blue course is a tough one for sure. But I'm glad to give it a try now and then. Good news is I've improved each time. You'll learn what lines you want to thow and when you get it, you feel a sense of accomplishment; especially when your fellow players hit the trees 10 feet away and you didn't!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Destination Course , A Must Play
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Driving down here from Cincinnati , I had heard nothing but great things about this course , and left it with the same feeling . The Nati , THE Cincinnati disc golf club where I live has talked this club up , and even sponsors a couple of tournaments here every year , like the Oil City Classic . Armco Park sits in the far eastern section of Kentucky , bordering, and close to a lot of courses in West Virginia , The park sits next to a Ky State Police outpost , so be aware if you want to chance bringing adult beverages around the course . Okay , the course itself . You drive into the park and go up a steep one way only drive to the right of the park and park at the top shelter next to the playgrounds . The course is shared with typical family style amenities , the only of which will alter your game , being the park shelters that are reserved for celebrating locals . More on that later . You may want to print a map . Even though there are many signs directing you to the next tee , you can wander off in a couple of places , and you don't want to climb up or down unnecessarily if you don't need to . The course boasts 2 cement tee pads and multiple pin locations .The first tee is a short slight downhill walk across the street from where you park . I played the longs most of the way , and will give you my take on some of what I played. This is a Johnny Sias designed course , who is in great demand and has about 40 courses with his name on them . #1 is a very long 518' downhill drive through some of the plentiful ( bot not ridiculous amounts of ) mature trees . All of the fairways on this course have at least 1 line and maybe 2 or 3 to throw from , so you never feel like you are throwing through " jail " . The pin on #1 was set to the left and across the small road that I drove up . you then walk across the main road at the entrance to the park to #2 and throw uphill and to the left with a mando keeping your drive honest . You will see the next tee a little uphill and to the right and throw through a tight alley to a straightaway pin guarded by trees all around . The next basket ( 4 ) will be a fitness tester , a 718' throw that winds itself left with trees obstructing your drives and causing you to shot shape a lot . Hit a tree , and your disc will roll left all the way down a long steep embankment ( like mine did ) . It is a par 5 , pin guarded by trees on the right and left . 5 has a narrow alley that you can either chance your nerve and hope you don't ricochet left into the trees or right , onto the road . You can also throw a cleaner but longer right to left hard drive over the road if you want more area to rip . The fun part of this hole is that the pin sits on a small island ( traffic island , but still ) with the streets being OB , you then turn right , go back over the road to tee 6 .The course itself flows pretty well .I won't go hole to hole and make you go crazy with this review , but I will tell you that I am understating the holes on this course . Sias made every one unique , and the elevation used on this course , well , you either better be fit or be prepared for exhaustion . If I have to pick a signature hole from one of potentially many , It would be #8 ,( 558' ) that starts by bordering the street on the left and trees and an uphill to the right , preventing shortcuts to the pin .You will have to start your drive straight and band it to the right . It moves out to a larger fairway on the right you next throw will be toward the pin that sits uphill , but guarded by a large bush and a couple trees , very tricky placement . I ran into 2 disc golf crazies not real long after this and played a good chunk of the course with them ( Hi Bob and Collin ) Their disc golf playing and enthusiasm are a lot better than their singing . Anyway . #18 will finish uphill and very close to where you parked . The baskets are Discatcher A grade , blue-topped for the blue course and white-topped for the white course ( Johnny pushed and had this approved though the parks board , impressive ) , The plus of the many large trees in this park mean that most of the course is shaded . It would be rare to lose a disc here , unless a long drive skips off a tree and rolls to the bottom of a gulch and into a creek . This course is professionally maintained . I was told that the grass is always cut and debris is always cleared . both pin positions are a workout , so the constant elevation change will test your internal resolve . If you are a first year player trying to gauge your improvement or a seasoned pro looking to empty your bag of tricks , your game will involve a lot of shot shaping and ingenuity . There are plenty of bathrooms and shelters to rest in between sets of holes . This course is everything you want , AND it plays next to 18 more holes ( The White course ) so you can make a whole morning and/or afternoon of fun and challenging play .
Cons: There is little I can say con about this course . The rough is pretty rough , but you will have to clip a tree of griplock in order to get over there . A shade over challenging for newbies , especially family play , but that's what the shorter White course is for . Roads and traffic could cause concern , especially if your drive drifts or you clip a tree . Most important : Signage . While it does give you the distance and par ( it only sits a foot off the ground ) , it does NOT tell you which pin location it is in . With many of the holes so long and sitting behind trees , and the championship pedigree of this course , it is hard to believe that some courses graded at 2 or 2.5 have better tee signs .
Other Thoughts: Championship level course , one of the 2 best in the state of Kentucky , and one that you can couple with a second course on the park grounds ! What more can you want ? This course will test your fitness , and leave you with wanting to play it again and again . If I lived within 45 minutes of this park , I would be here every other weekend . If my friends from Cincinnati drive all the way here to conduct or play in tournaments 3+ hours away , what could you say bad about this park ? They basically turned a good chunk of this whole park over to disc golf . I talked to the course designer , Johnny Sias , as I was writing the review for this course ( what are the chances ? ) and he offered me a lot of insight into what went into developing this course ( keep his wife in your thoughts . She is going through a tough time physically as of this writing , and he has been spending a lot of time taking care of her ) . This is a MUST PLAY , DESTINATION COURSE . spend a weekend soaking up these and a couple of courses in West Virginia , but as far as this course is concerned, PLAY IT !!!
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
I expected more....
Pros: Great, varied fairways. Grass well mowed and very little underbrush. Would love to take some friends there.It truly is a beautiful layout.
Cons: There was some confusion at first when someone was trying to explain the blue or white tees on the blue course and the blue and white tees on the white course. Why not, let's say, yellow and red tees?
The tee signs need upgrading. Some kind of depiction of the fairway and basket location would be very helpful. I could not see the basket on #6 from either tee so I threw where I thought it was. Luckily, I figured it out correctly. On the very long #4 I had to walk and walk and walk to see if the basket was straight ahead, downhill or uphill. Of course, it was uphill and I didn't find it until I was nearly there. Good thing I had my bag with me as I decided I was not going to walk all the way back to the distant tee.
I assume the roads and paths were OB but the signs did not say so. That meant I didn't worry if I landed on the roads. It didn't happen often and when it did I threw from where my disc landed.
I wonder how many times the white tee sign on #3 has been hit by throws from the blue tee? #3's basket is downhill and I think the white tee sign is on the very top of the hill and directly in line with the blue tee. The best throw off of the blue tee should typically be a low hard throw which brings the white tee sign into consideration. Moving it back 3 feet would solve that issue.
A lot of tees are too short for such a long course. I am a tall guy and I need a longer tee. The longer the hole the longer the tee.
Several holes had large poison ivy vines with poison ivy branches extending out into the discs' flight paths. I am very allergic and if I had a disc go through it I'd have to wrap it up in a towel and put it away until I could wash it. An important disc rendered useless.
There were a lot of 'hanger-downers' (limbs and branches that hang down into the flight path) and even more 'extender-outers' (extend out into the flight path). If that is the powers-that-be's intention then so be it but, if not, then it is shows a lack of attention to detail or laziness to groom the course. Several times the most beautiful path to the target was a higher route across the valley but the 'extender-outers' force you to throw down into the valley and then hard uphill. Even a light grooming would produce great results.
Other Thoughts: This is a "destination" course and I intend to play it again sometime.
This would be an excellent, fantastic course if someone would put some effort and time and $ into some of these details.
Poison ivy, like wild rose bushes, should never be tolerated. Tee signs and next-tee signs should be upgraded and current.
The tees should be redone.
Grooming the trees on the fairways would make for a more beautiful and fair course.
I realize that time, man power and $ are hard to come by but this is such a great course it deserves better....much better...
(Start at #17 on the other side of the playground. Do you want to finish uphill on #18 after this workout or do you want to finish on the downhill #16?)
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Extreme City Park!
Pros: Armco Park is a very well-maintained park with 2 distinctly different 18s for your pleasure. You'll also have 2 (completely different looks) concrete pads with signs on every hole and 2 pin placements. The blue course is very "city park" style but with more trees and tons of elevation. There's remarkably zero rough unless you sail long or left on #11. The elevation is pretty intense with lots of fun downhill bombs (63 floors walked up per my FitBit). It's a very smart layout with multiple realistic paths through the trees. Just about every hole has a few different ways to the basket. A few holes use the park roads to create islands or better define greens.
Armco folklore maintains that the heralded designer was tasked with designing this course without removing a single tree. Bravo sir!
Cons: Could use more bridges and next-tee signs. The signs are very basic, only showing distance. There's no marker for pin placement on the tee either It's not a huge problem but when playing the long tees, it would be nice to see a basic line description. This would aid in finding the next tee too. I almost missed the not-to-be-missed hole 11 (tee up the gravel path to the left). Park roads, although rarely travelled, are often closely in play. Enforcing OB could be brutal. Tees generally aren't level--usually just following the grade of the land. It's not ideal and especially annoying with the uphill drives. Warning to the gotta-party crowd: there's a police station at the base of the park.
Other Thoughts: Armco lets you choose your own adventure in different ways. The Blue course is long with multiple tight lines and, from the longs, challenges you with at least 6 or 7 legit par 4s. Don't mistake the neighboring white course (just across the parking lot) as the easier option! It's indeed shorter but those holes are in a more wooded/extreme part of the park. The fantastic grooming and smart design continues there. Armco Park is a fun and demanding course, well worth your time. Plus you're located near another fine 36 holes in Rotary/Indian Rock 20 miles away in Huntington.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Armco Park Blue DGC Review
Pros: -Nice course that is well maintained with good length located next to major thoroughfares and businesses for convenience and ease of location.
-two pin locations for baskets make for variety
-Restrooms are plentiful and water is available at several locations.
-Lots of shade from trees but baskets are usually easy to find as they have a yellow ring on top.
-Ky State Police Barracks located adjacent park
-only one fairway (hole 9) with thick vegetation next to it.
Cons: -length of some fairways and course overall may discourage newer players
-Trees are everywhere and in play in most fairways but not hardly as bad as White Course.
-Elevations changes aplenty but again not as bad as White Course.
-Park roadways cris-cross this course.
-Shelter houses are located close to a some tees and if a party/function is ongoing you may receive looks/viewed as intruding. It wasn't so bad though. Throw and move on. Was heckled by some idiots once from a shelter house party. It was funny though.
-Have had to throw over vehicles parked in fairways at said functions.
Other Thoughts: Nice course for a great outing.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 12 Not
Pros: Very nice scenery
Very good amenities and parking
Cons: Repetitive (see below)
Other Thoughts: Where I usually play, course designers take pride in making sure that the courses have a variety of appearances and needed throws. You need to think about which disc to throw, and how you're going to throw it.
You don't get that here. Every hole is long and straight through moderate trees. Now, they did some good things with the elevation. You get shots uphill, downhill, along the side of hills, over hills... but the mental part of the game isn't there. Just grab your favorite driver and air it out, every hole.
Now, for some people, this is great. I suspect it's why this course has such a high rating. I was, obviously, disappointed with it.
3 of 15 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Well maintained grass fairways through speckled mature hardwoods over elevation galore. 18 blue and white concrete tees, single discatcher baskets, and tee signs. Good variety of par 3, 4 and 5 holes. Course is completely shaded with no underbrush, what an awesome and rare combination! Very low risk of losing a disc. Very high fun factor for shorter arms. Bathrooms and water by parking lot in season.
Cons: Plays along park roads/neighbor. No loop back to parking lot. Navigation a little tricky in places. Some tees showing wear with cracks and uneven. Hiking the elevation and length of this course is a physical feat. Steep slopes causing roll a ways.
I understand no trees were cut in the design of the course which is great, but it shows from the blue tees if you have a big arm. The amount of elevation makes it hard to have great long holes because the ceiling gets reduced and the floor raises the longer you go. There is a deja-vu on many holes because off the tee they all look similar as the longer you throw the gaps become narrow and scatty. Despite the long length of the course I never got to grip and rip. Many of the holes become some random plinko half-way to 2/3 down the fairway.
Other Thoughts: Armco Blue is a great park course overall, I really enjoyed the elevation, and shade and challenges presented on each hole, but it felt a bit repetitive and didn't really have a signature hole in my mind because of that. I probably would have enjoyed this course much more when I didn't throw as far. The course should be called Legco, because my legs were done after hiking it. At any rate, I'd highly recommend this course to anyone physically able to leg it.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 1 Not
Blue Brutal Beatdown
Pros: Armco Park is a very big park filled with playgrounds, nature trails, pavilions, two disc golf courses, and other family activities. However, the Blue Course is not made for the entire family to enjoy. It is surprising that this town park offers such a behemoth in the Blue Course, which offers huge elevation changes, a wide array of lines to choose from on virtually every hole, and a true mental/physical beat down. This course is designed by one of the best in the region, who sure knows how to combine length and precision when designing holes. It has some of the most intimidating holes I have ever played, which is pretty amazing considering there isn't any water here.
Purely from a course design standpoint, this is one of my favorite courses that I have played. My favorite kind of hole is a par 4/5 with rolling hills and many trees that allow you the option to choose your line. Well, this course has ROLLING HILLS and tons of trees throughout. The pictures don't do this course justice whatsoever, and since they are from the short tees, you don't get much of a preview of the multi-stage aspect of hole design. Since the course plays in this unchanging setting throughout, it was amazing to me that the holes didn't blend together. This is a testament to Sias's design, that he used the elevation and tree lines in many creative ways. Hole lengths range from 258-718 ft from the long tees, so this also is a big factor for why the holes feel so fresh and varied.
Risk/reward design is tremendous here, and with 9 par 4's and a par 5, there are many chances for score separation. There are no gimme birdies here, with no basic shots to an open pin. Trees are present throughout, but not to the point where you feel you're playing plinko. Distinct lines are thus offered, and there are many of them of most holes. Holes 3, 7, 11, and 14 offer very scary approaches with pins on steep side-hills or in front of big drop-offs. With the constant elevation changes, rollaway potential is often there. Huge downhill shots on holes 1, 6, 7, and 15 allow for some fun chances to watch your discs soar, but are also a tree kick away from a disaster.
I loved how there was no rough on the course, which I felt gave me more opportunities to be bold on a course that calls you to be bold.
It is nice having dual tees and two pin positions on a course that is as challenging as this one. The two tees really offer a difference in difficulty.
Navigation is good for the most part and there are a bunch of next tee signs that are helpful. I would bring a map just in case, but I hardly ever had to consult mine.
Cons: I guess one of the main cons is that the course plays in much of the same setting throughout, which isn't a big deal if you love this type of setting. Still, on a course that doesn't let up one bit and doesn't change its style, it wouldn't appeal to everyone. It is a big hike as well, so I'd recommend only playing here if you are in at least somewhat decent shape. Not a course you can quickly play through.
The tees sometimes felt too short, were above grade, and were often set to the slope of the hill you are throwing on, which was uncomfortable.
There are no maps on the tee signs, which would definitely be beneficial here. I often had to scout out where the basket was.
While hole design isn't typical city park style, there are some drawbacks to being in a park setting like this. Some of the holes play very close to and even across park roads. Also, some of the holes run close together. Nothing too scary, but a bad tree kick or gust of wind could have you landing in another fairway.
Be aware that bathrooms are closed out of season.
Other Thoughts: Hovering around a 4 disc rating the past few years, I was curious to see how I liked the course. I usually rate courses lower than their average, but this one looked very appealing to my taste. It even surpassed my expectations, with some of the most fun/intimidating holes I have played. I preferred the Blue Course well over the White Course, but I still appreciated that the park offers a lesser course in difficulty and length but similar in setting. A decent warmup for the Blue Course or simply a better option for less serious players in the area.
While some of the amenities don't match the best of the best courses, the Blue Course does give a great challenge for a full 18 holes. The level of design and difficulty is up there with some of the top courses I have played. Armco Park definitely doesn't fit the bill of a city park. It truly has the feel of a course in a huge state park or located on private property far away from civilization as far as the type of holes offered. It just has that "epic-ness" about it. It is probably the most fun I have ever had getting beat up.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 1 Not
These hills are alive (& might eat you up!)
Pros: When our girls were quite a bit younger, they'd hear a promo for 'The Sound of Music', the older would grin, and ask, "The hills are ALIVE?" The younger would sometimes get a little frightened at the idea. Well, the Blue course at Armco Park could appeal to you in either of those two ways.
There is no way the pictures on here can present to you the sheer scale of elevations you will encounter on this course. Almost every hole plays down (yay!) or up (ugh!) 60 feet or more in elevation (so I really enjoyed just about half of them, even though we played short tees to long baskets for the inaugural Oil City Classic today). If you venture here, to this part of the country, you will learn a thing or two about playing smart with uphill and downhill lines through park trees, and very forgiving (to no) underbrush.
There are two sets of tee pads and two basket positions for every hole. If you are looking for variety, trees to force a massive choice of lines to the the best landing zone, then the basket, and enormous replayability, you've found it.
With holes ranging from 318' to 718' (in the longer basket positions...see scorecard: somebody has a fondness for the number eight!) this course is a competition level Johnny Sias challenge, nicely placed in a large, wooded, community park, with bathrooms, water fountains, shelters, decent parking and great maintenance. The blue DisCatcher baskets catch great (you'll appreciate the deeper baskets on this model saving you from bounce out, rollaway putts). Tee signs are great, and there are occasional 'next tee' and 'mando' signs. The concrete tees are adequately sized for the distances involved (see below), and this course will present challenges to the competitive disc golfer from Intermediate and up. Folks at Recreational to casual will be sorely tested.
Cons: The aforementioned tee pads were cast above grade, and too often follow the slope of the ground, rather than having been landscaped level and flush with the ground, leading to some awkward run-ups.
In the long basket positions, there are some times when you will be crossing the one-way park drive, and need to keep an eye out for cars and pedestrians. There are some places where folks using the park shelters might be parking a bit too close to the course's lines of flight.
Finally, the only other con I have is a personal preference, more than anything, in that you'll occasionally have a relatively long walk to your next tee, have to climb an extra hill, and possibly get a little lost/ confused the first time you play here. Good: bring a map. Better: play with a local guide the first time. (An aside: my crappy car Navigation system couldn't find the park! Go south out of Ashland about 6 miles on route 60, & look for the tank, cannon, sign, then the police barracks on your right, turn right, then right into the park).
Other Thoughts: This is a brutal, hilly course if you're not in decent shape for it. You will fatigue & potentially dehydrate, especially in the summer, so pack in some extra fluids, take your time and enjoy the challenge with a grin. Or avoid it, if you fear the Hills being ALIVE!
14 of 15 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 3 Not
Liked white course better
Pros: If you like to throw long this is your course. You have to avoid trees and ditches but for the most part there are open lines to advance to the basket. Tees baskets fairways and all were in very good shape. Good exercise going up and down and sideways on the hills.
Cons: Seemed like most of the holes were the same. Throw long and try to stay out of the ditches. The shorter tees did not offer enough distance help for shorter throwers like me.
Other Thoughts: White course is more technical and more variety. Distance was also more manageable for me who typically throws 175' or so off the tee.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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