5 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: If you couldn't tell by the name already, Highland Hills has some serious usage of elevation change. If you are wondering how much elevation change there will be, don't worry - this course is going to let you know on Hole 1, with an ace run, down a steep hill, with a large ditch between the tee and the basket. The best part: there are holes later in the course that make even better use of elevation than this one! Up, down, and all around! I have heard some people complain about the amount of elevation gain and loss, but as an avid hiker/backpacker I never really noticed anything that was too extreme. That being said, bring some water and take your time.
There are three different Tees: Red, White, and Blue - allowing for an extremely varied experience based on your skill level. I only got the chance to play this course once so far - but the White tees felt fine. Unless you are truly an absolute novice, I don't think you would enjoy the Red tees. (And if this is the case, there are probably better courses for you anyway.)
The course manages to keep things fresh with multiple shots required from the tee. This, plus the elevation changes, and the multiple tees really manage to increase the replay value on this course. At least for me.
Let's talk about Hole 4, because a lot of work seems to have gone into making this hole happen. It is one of the most memorable holes on the entire course. If you thought Hole 1 was a big downhill shot, wait until you get to this one. You are shooting downhill almost the entire way, and the Yadkin River is just past the green. The local DG club has gone to great effort to build a trail from the tee to the basket, utilizing long switchbacks the whole way. If your journey from the tee to the basket ever feels perilous, or you are heading in a straight line - then you are on water runoff, not the trail. Please stick to the trail to avoid injury and creating further erosion. Plus the trail clearly took time and effort to build, might as well make use of it.
This course is going to require precision from the tee. Very few holes are going to require you to really open up. The balance between fairway length and width flirts with being unmanageable at times - but I played in the middle of the summer and thought they were all pretty fair. They never really asked me to throw something completely ridiculous. I did have to sit on the tee and look around a few times before throwing, but eventually I'd find a line that would work for me.
Water comes into play on a few holes. This is something that can be intimidating at times, but to me also adds to the course. Not only are a few holes along side the Yadkin River, or tributary creeks, but Hole 7 plays up one of the creeks through a little "waterfall". It is an amazingly unique hole, where the water on it is played casual.
Parking does not seem to be an issue, since from what I understand the park is mainly used for disc golf. The park has a couple of nice permanent shelters that probably makes for a good Tournament HQ when needed.
Cons: The tees and baskets here leave a lot to be desired. I have never been a fan of Kingpin baskets, because putters seem to get some sick pleasure of splashing out of them, and many of the "tees" are just colored strips of plastic stuck to the ground. One of the red tees I only managed to notice because a local pointed it out as we stepped over it. The plastic was pretty much buried underground. This made many of the tees short and uneven, and the blue tees were often overgrown with rough. Hole 1 was pretty much an island shot when I played, rough the hole way.
This course has 20 holes, and considering how many of those are what I would consider memorable holes - it's disheartening to realize that it has just as many holes that almost feel like filler holes. And even from the Blue tees, the majority of the holes are fairly short - meaning you'll almost never need to reach for a driver. If some of the holes could have been combined to have longer fairways, then opened up their width a bit - I think this course would benefit.
Some of the holes were clearly suffering from some pretty severe storm damage when I played, which is not the con listed here. But when compared to its next door neighbor, Rolling Pines, this course clearly does not receive the same level of maintenance. Even though it's clearly harder to keep the fairways clear here, I think with some TLC this course would see more people playing here, which would potentially help keep the fairways and rough beat in.
There are areas where erosion bars and/or steps should be considered, or just made more clear. I like how the switchbacks on Hole 4 are marked with yellow rope, but I did not see the stairs to the green of Hole 5 until it was too late.
Other Thoughts: I am going to rate Highland Hills a 2.0 for the time being - and it kills me to rate it so low because of its incredible usage of elevation and memorable hole designs. The things this course does well, it does really well, but when it comes to many of the basics, such as tees, baskets, clear fairways, and lack of rough - I think Highland Hills has room for improvement. I could easily see myself giving this course a higher rating if some work is done to improve the course. I was happy that H!H! ended on such a high note with Hole 20, because it reminded me all the potential this course has. Which is a lot!
Favorite White Holes: 4, 7, 16, 20
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Love this course
0 Helpful / 11 Not
Pros: This is a 20 hole course which loops around perfectly. Easy to navigate from hole to hole. Beautiful scenery with the yadkin river running beside a couple of the holes. Each hole is different and challenging in its own way. The course is a hike/workout which i particularly like. The course is well maintained. The Wilkesboro club recently did a lot of cleanup to get the course back in top notch condition. Highly recommend playing if in the area.
Cons: Sewer runs through the course in areas which can stink at times. Have to be cautious when playing a couple holes near the river as it is easy to lose a disc.
Other Thoughts: I have been playing at this course for several years and it has come a long way. I personally love how tight the holes are. Its challenging and technical which makes things more interesting.
0 of 11 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Unique, rough, and extreme
Pros: You will not find a more oddball short course possibly in the States, but definitely in NC, and that is factual. You will have to focus on disc angle from hand to air to ground if you want a decent score. I am a fan of that kind of play so I enjoy the torture as well as the reward on every shot.
The river runs on the low side and is a great tranquil setting for such a treacherous feeling. 20 holes of crazy fairways and fast greens that will take your focus as well as plastic. Casual water(falls) you play in the creek (wp shoes a must). Just cool, gimmick golf at its shortest and most punishing.
Cons: The cons here are few when it comes to casual play in dry conditions, especially in the winter after the green, lush landscape becomes more open and forgiving. I played it in a B tier starting in the rain and can say I was concerned of everyone's safety more than my score. A guy on my card took a tumble down a cliff and was luckily saved by his bag absorbing the fall. At that moment I assessed what we would do if he broke something or was concussed, and was frightened at the reality of the situation. He was fine, he is young and made of rubber, discgolf warrior. Nobody should play this course when it is wet all bridges are slick as ice, and the traverses are not safe for anyone not wearing crampons. Baskets spit out and bounce out horribly, which adds to the cons heavily.
Other Thoughts: I love this place, it is a funny round regardless of score. If it is a dry day in the winter I will play it again. If it is a tournament round I highly suggest against it if the weather is wet. Wilkes disc golf is alive and kicking your shins!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Has some really cool holes
Pros: -This is a nice course in a solid neighborhood. I really enjoyed the crazy elevation changes that the course has to offer. Course is gimmicky as well, but in a kind of fun way, such as the elevated baskets and the one basket upside down.
-Some of the really cool gimmicks also include the bamboo wall on #14, the OB rule outside on the logs to the left on #15, the power tower in play on #17, and #18 playing as a jump putt from the regular position.
-Three sets of tees on every hole. Also alternate pin positions on several holes. The club apparently does well switching the positions.
-The elevation changes that stood out to me the most were the extreme downhill holes 1 and 4. Course starts off with a crazy steep downhill ace run like 80 feet down and onto a trecherous green with a 20' drop off left. Hole 4 is even more crazy! The elevation drop on this one is at least 30' greater than hole 1's! To make things better, you have an awesome view of the river past the basket! Hole is 280' from the white but I barely threw a putter and it went 30 ft. past the basket! This hole is awesome! By far my favorite hole here!!
-Some steep up hills too, such as #3, #10 and #13. All are up a good ways up there but there elevation changes are not as drastic as the downhills!
-I didn't have a problem with the tee pads here. I played the whites, however, not every hole on the reds or blues here has tee pads (see cons below). I thought the whites were appropriate length.
-I also enjoyed the holes with the river in play. I mentioned hole 4 but hole 5 is also interesting because the river is completely in play to the left on this hole. This is one the the harder holes on the course because of the lost disc potential in the river and how it plays down a narrow fairway and along a mountain to the right side. You can try to go right and sit on the mountain but with something that won't roll left.
-#7 is also fun because of it playing up a small waterfall. Water is in the fairway 90% of the way on this ace run. It would be irritating to get a 4 on a hole like this because of it being 145' but it takes a clean shot down the gap.
-I love how this place isn't a park. Along with Rolling Pines, it's mostly known for the disc golf course. Only other things I saw out here were a basketball goal and a pavilion. Parking lot is still very big for tournaments and club events!
-Nice tee signs with great diagrams.
-Definitely its own course! Most holes here are short but I shot even the shorts! The fairways are either tight, curvy, and couple maybe imaginary. Also some tricky basket locations! One I haven't mentioned was #8. The hole is a super tight dogleg left that's only 185' and goes across the creek at the bend! #20 is also really scary because of the island green marked by logs and the basket being raised on some pipe! I wouldn't ever want to miss a short putt on this hole because you could just roll off the green and be left with another dangerous putt. Still a cool finishing hole!
-Rolling Pines is just a mile away and I swear that just may now be my favorite course! If you play here, you better play Rolling Pines!
Cons: -It's blistering! It's painful! Some of the transitions to the next holes are just steep! Especially from hole 2 to 3! You walk up like 50' up a steep hill just to get to #3's tee! It's not just that either! It's a short course but constantly walking up and down those hills makes it feel longer!
-Some of you might love #14, but I just thought it was too goofy and irritating. There are two mandos pointing right, one on a tree forcing you to go right along a rather undefined lane and another on the bamboo wall. It's just too silly. It's one of those holes that is just poorly designed because it's short (<200') and is just forced and unnatural! Same goes for hole 8, 13, and 19. Holes under 200 ft. should be birdied a good bit more easily than these.
-Thorny in some areas. Especially #16! It's so bad to the right of the basket that I would rather be OB left past the road than to be right and lose a disc and get stuck in thorns. People listen up! Thorns are not fun!
-A couple holes are too close to the parking lot. I personally think #19's design is dreadful. You literally tee off across the parking lot and have a mando to go right of to protect the pavilion. There is room for a much better design. #18 isn't much better. Unless you are a righty with a clear flick, you don't have much of a chance in avoiding the parking lot. I typically like danger holes but this plays as a jump putt and on a crowded day, such as in a tournament, I guarantee, some cars will be hit!
-I would lookout for snakes! There could be copperheads from March to fall but I'm not sure though.
Other Thoughts: -I thought Highland Hills was an okay course. Hole quality ranges from terrible to extremely fun. I would advise every one of you that reads this review to go to the gas station on Wilkesboro road nearby maybe 2 miles from here or bring something to drink from home because it's extremely hilly and the hike is even more hilly! With two courses being very close to each other up here, I would definitely play both! I played three rounds on the 29th! Two at rolling pines and one here.
-Quite a few signature holes here such as the waterfall hole 7! Not only is it unique and memorable, it's beautiful! The EXTREME downhill hole 4 was my favorite. If the river was less dangerous to go in, I would've thrown every putter in my bag for sure! #16 is also a fun valley shot, could easily be the best if the underbrush wasn't so bad on the rightside.
-I plan to do the Wilkesboro Wide Open. It's at Ft. Hamby (didn't get to play >:(), here, and at Rolling Pines so I will make my way up here again!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Epic course (in good and bad ways)
Pros: Simply put, Highland Hills is epic. It's the most monstrous, mountainous course I've ever played. I love courses with elevation, but this actually takes it to an extreme. Don't get me wrong, there are tons of fun, unique holes. But the hills are soooooo steep that simply walking the course is hazardous. Some holes are downright dangerous. You've heard of death putts. "H!H!" (as they like to abbreviate it), has lots of death putts, death drives, and death approach shots. To sum up before I list my pros and cons, Highland Hills is fun + extremely strenuous + downright dangerous. In other words, epic.
1. Stupid crazy elevation.
2. Really beautiful course and surroundings.
3. Very challenging.
4. If you like extreme hiking / mountain climbing, you'll love this course.
5. One of the most unique courses you'll ever play.
1. This course is dangerous. It's way too steep for solid footing on upshots...and even walking from hole to hole. I played in the fall after days of rain. Slick leaves + mud everywhere + mountain goat paths = twisted ankles and busted asses.
2. Huge disc loss risk on this course, from blind tee shots to autumn leaves to discs rolling down hills for MILES to thorns to creeks to a river! (Did I mention this course is epic?)
Those are really my only issues with the course (but pretty big issues).
Other Thoughts: If someone asks you to join them at H!H! for a round, first, ask yourself if they're planning to do away with you in the woods and dump your body in the river. Then get your heart checked and put on your hiking boots. Seriously, this course is not for everybody and be careful.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 16 Not
Rolling Pines is better
Pros: It has decent baskets and hole 16
Cons: Basically everything else. My opinion is that this course is dangerous to the public. You should sign a waiver before you play this course. The last two times I played this course I rolled my ankle severely. But on a golf course note the lines arent there. We were trying to prepare for the Wilkesboro Wide Open and play the blues. It seemed that the blues were far less taken care of than the whites and knowing some locals there thats all they ever seem to play including their league stuff. Well then why play the blues or ever have them installed? Half the tees were natural and uneven, the other half were out of sandboxes. The basket locations on alot of the holes were unfair and the lack of lines to them really hurt this course. The mandos are just silly honestly.
Other Thoughts: I played the "I played it first tourney" my division was forced to play the blues. During that time my thoughts were "I hope some of the blue holes improve over time" It has been 6 years since that day and they have gotten worse. I have seen considerable work on the white tees honestly but the even the lines from those arent that great. The overall unsafe play and the lack of well thought out lines makes this course one of the worst I have played. Side note I have played almost every quality public course and many good private courses in NC. Rolling Pines I played the same day and I love that course its great! I continue to hear good things about Ft. Hamby as well, however if the WWO is played and I have to play this course I will not attend.
3 of 19 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 29 Not
Go to Rolling Pines instead.
Pros: It has baskets
Cons: They wasted good money on those baskets.
Other Thoughts: If you enjoy fairways, watching the flight of your disc, not snapping your ankle while throwing from the sandbox (excuse me "teepad"), quality course design, fun and puppies then this is not the course for you. Avoid at all costs.
2 of 31 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 1 Not
Eccentric and fun.
Pros: This course is one of the more eccentric I've seen. It hearkens me back to holes from Brackets bluff in Davidson, NC. I knew the course would be fun the moment I walked up to the first tee. "Wait, the hole is way down there?...sweet!"
"Way down there" or "way up there" I found myself thinking the whole round. This course has some of, if not THE, most elevation change I've ever played. I felt like I needed a hiking stick in several spots, which could be a pro or a con, depending on how you look at it. Be careful out there because you could slip. Some rubber cleats would be an asset to have while playing here.
I mentioned eccentricities but never expanded, allow me to do so. I'll start by mentioning the basket colors. They have a bright orange color scheme. Many courses don't steer from the traditional yellow DISCatchers or similar. The orange baskets are easy to see and fit in well in the atmosphere of the course. One hole is perched atop 3 tractor tires, one is hanging from an artificial tree branch and a third is behind a bamboo wall (someone has been to Winthrop). My favorite hole, however, was hole 7. It looks like you're standing in the middle of a creek and shooting straight up the middle. The basket is actually in the creek. That hole is something I'll remember for a long time, more so than the somewhat gimmicky basket tricks.
The amenities were great on this course. Every hole had benches (that I remember) and usually a well constructed tee pad with retainer walls.
There are lots of ace opportunities out here, which would be one of the things keeping me coming back. I have no doubt nearly every hole out there has been aced at some point.
Cons: Most of the holes are extremely short but allow the elevation changes to create the distance. I found myself playing the majority of the holes with a putter. For what it's worth, that doesn't make a course excellent in my book.
I mentioned gimmicky baskets in the pros. I think some of the basket placements were unnecessary and take a little away from the experience. Not that they aren't cool, it just felt too intentional. If it were me, I'd get rid of the bamboo wall, and choose either the hanging basket or the tire basket and get rid of the other.
Hole 20 was actually pretty cool and probably the other hole I'll remember from the course, but it was brought down by hole 19. Hole 19 felt like a connector hole, not really having it's own character but merely serving the purpose of getting you to hole 20. And in the case of 19, if the parking lot is in use it is unplayable. Hole 5 also felt like a connector hole, utilizing the road that is cut out near the river as the fairway. One of the only flat holes on the course and it felt out of place.
Sometimes the elevation changes lead to blind shots/ non-golf shots/ lost discs. Playing for the first time by myself, I found myself wincing at the thought of throwing some of the holes, not knowing where my disc will end up. Hole 4 is unplayable in my opinion. First, you can't see the pin from the tee box, in fact you have to walk all the way to the stairs at the bottom before seeing it, then walk back up the steep hill to "throw" the shot. Really you're just dropping the disc off the cliff and hoping you don't hit anyone on hole 5.
Navigation wasn't a huge issue in terms of finding the next basket, but there were spots where you have to cross over fairways to get to the next hole, and I always consider that a flaw.
Be prepared to walk the course twice if this is your first time playing. Many of the holes are blind shots and you'll need to walk the hole to find the basket. Slightly takes away from the experience. For the locals, this wouldn't matter at all.
There are ample opportunities to lose a disc, in fact I lost one myself on hole 1. The mountain swallowed it whole it seems and trying to hike around on the steep slope to find it was difficult.
There is only 2 holes I would consider "open". Out of 20, that is far too few to consider this a well rounded course, thus the lower rating.(remember guys, I'm judging this against every other course I've played). There was plenty of every shot type other than that, but nearly 0 holes that required a driver. As I stated, I used my putter on what seemed like 80% of holes.
Other Thoughts: Don't let my cons get you down. I have to judge every course I play with any other course in the nation. This course is certainly fun and unique, but doesn't offer many of the things I look for in a world class course. That doesn't mean you shouldn't play it, you should indeed! It's certainly a fun time and has holes you'll remember for a long time, but if you're looking for a course to challenge every aspect of your game, this one isn't it. Tight and precise putter shots, rinse wash and repeat with a little bit of spice added in the form of basket placements. I hope the locals understand I'm not trying to tear the course apart, it was very fun and I'll be back!
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Short and sweet, constant elevation change, mostly wooded, and often water in play. There are 20 holes at Highland Hills DGC in North Wilkesboro, NC. All par 3, and all of them are fun. Short average hole length. You can get a good feel for the course on the first hole. Steep downhill and through thick trees. I birdied 2 and 10, and wound up 4 over par. Hole 7 is a great one, uphill with the pin in a great location. 13 is a very unusual inverted pole on the basket, that drops from a tree. The pin for 20 is surrounded by OB, and in an odd position. I was rushing to finish the course before dark, and have to thank Dan for showing me the first 10 holes or so. I did think the entire course was fun, and mixed up the looks from hole to hole nicely. Several tees on each hole, and very cool, easy to spot, bright orange Kingpin baskets with snazzy fluorescent yellow poles.
Cons: The tees could be improved, but function as is. I had no course map, and the tight layout can make navigation tricky.
Other Thoughts: Highland Hills DGC definitely has plenty of hills, and is a very fun course. Will have some tough shots, and a lot of chances to birdie, if you can avoid the trees and hit the lines. The two extra holes are a nice bonus. I thought this was an excellent course, based more on fun layout than difficulty.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
there's gold in.....
Pros: A wonderous place tucked into a city park with an incredible amount of elevation, and a bunch of killer holes. Probably the most aesthetically pleasing course I've seen to date. In addition to the river that bounds the course and borders the fifth fairway, there are multiple streams, a waterfall and steep climbs that make you want to take out your camera.
The first wow moment is the far tee on 1. From the parking lot it turns left and fades down a ravine. A long way down. Looks great, plays great. Sets the tone for a course that meshes aesthetics with quality holes throughout. The longest climb leads to 3, which plays along a side slope with severe drop off potential to the right along length of the hole. The basket is awesomely placed, like many here, up above the majority of the fairway, so while the tee shot is an attempt to place a disc flat on the fairway, the approach will be uphill.
6 is a really fun one. Drive down a flat valley, with steep inclines on three sides and then putt straight up one of those hills. That leads to a series of holes with smaller but quicker ups and downs, many of which play along a stream. They are short but fun with varied lines and great pin placements. The best of which throws directly up a bubbling waterfall. The water finds different paths down the slope so there is some luck involved in landing zones. But it is throwing up a waterfall.
It's tough to imagine a course that throws upwards as much as this one does. The baskets are just so well placed to make approaching them always a unique challenge. The final hole does the course justice. The basket is ten-feet high and on a slope very encouraging of roll-aways. To get there one has to throw over a large ravine. So deep and wide that it makes more sense to walk back to the parking lot and approach the basket from there then walk down into the ravine.
Lastly, there are three sets of tees. The Blues don't always provide too much additional difficulty but I'm so glad that the red tees provide a significantly easier experience. This is the type of course that everyone should be able to see and play. The reds don't take away from the strenuous hike but it eliminates most of the risky or difficult throws. I can easily see taking a friend or family member who isn't serious about discing here and letting them play for the reds. The whole course is so visually stimulating that I want everyone to be able to play. Really, I don't have the words to describe how many times you will be wowed by a view here.
Cons: Sometimes seems a little gimmicky. 4 is essentially dropping a disc off a cliff and not a real golf shot. 5 features to the river on the left but it's just tossing it down a dirt road. The great wall of bamboo seems unneeded and ruins a little of the natural feel. I know it is just there to get to 20, which is really cool but 19 is ruined if people are parked in some sections of the parking lot, the first half of the fairway is the very lot that disc golfers will be parking in.
The course leans a little heavy on the very short holes. For a course with so much going on right, there are a lot of holes under 200.
Tee surfaces are inconsistent. Some of them are not as flat as I would like, and while that is fine on the shorter holes, there are definitely great holes here that makes you want great tees.
Navigation could use some work. Especially between 13 and 14. If you remember one thing before you go, after 13, walk left down the path into the meadow that looks like there is now way it would be right. The course could benefit from an arrow there and a widening of that path.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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