Getcha some Appalachian Goodness!
15 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Beautiful rural course set on rolling hills, just minutes from the interstate - yet miles away from it all.
Variety: Phenomenal. Harmon's 27 holes run the gamut, offering all you could want. The first 18 range from sparsely to well-wooded, with most falling into the moderately to well-wooded range. The final 9 (across the street from the house) are decidedly well-wooded, and really challenge you to hit your lines. Love the range of distances here. Lots of holes where distance can help, but not stupid long, so even my noodle arm didn't feel completely overmatched. Wonderful mix of fairway shapes and shots. Nothing felt cliche or filler.
Challenge: Excellent. A recurring theme is a tight window off the tee, playing to a relatively open landing area, leading to a gauntlet of trees between you and the basket. Slopes can really make you pay for missed putts or poorly placed approaches. Depending on time of year, and your distance off the tee, some holes may not be too challenging until your 2nd or 3rd shot. But if you've got a cannon, aim it carefully, or the only thing you'll destroy is your score. Great venue for tournaments. 1-18 are a nice but fun challenge. 19-27 take no prisoners.
Elevation: Best of the Best. The topography figures prominently on the majority of holes and really hit the mark for me. Superbly employed, it comes into play every way you could hope for: uphill, downhill, gulleys, crests, rollaways, slopes. Ranging from moderate to magnificent, somehow it's ever-present, without feeling overpowering. I've played courses where repeatedly dragging my carcass up and down plain kicked my ass (Iffy Hollers & Carly's Playground come to mind). But this Grandmaster didn't feel at all gassed after 27 holes at Harmon (probably helped that it was 20°F when I played).
Fun Factor: Phenomenal. Had a blast, and thought the discplay here was out-freakin-standing.
Aesthetics: Excellent. Rolling hills, lush fields and woods combine for a beautiful setting with a boatload of scenic holes. I may have been cheated by my timing, because I bet this place is absolutely stunning in the spring/fall.
Memorable holes: Excellent and more numerous than I'll list.
#6 Downhill off the tee, turning to the right, to a landing area below. Then you to the left for a long, uphill finish. Big Arms can throw a monster S-shot that if properly executed, will get them where I want to be after my 2nd shot.
#12 Slight downhill off the tee to an open landing. Next shot plays over a creek through some sentinel trees, with the basket quite a bit further behind them.
# 14 Downhill tee shot thru a tight window, to a landing an open area that plays mildly uphill to nicely guarded green.
Equipment: Very good. All 27 holes had decent concrete tees and great baskets. 1-18 have nice tee signs, next tee markers where necessary, and new, green Prodigy baskets with the hole # on the band and flags on baskets obscured by elevation. None of that was present on 19 -27 at this time. 19-27 has yellow Discatchers... easy to spot in the dense woods, but please number them. Scorecard w/map near 1st tee.
Routing/Nav: Good (with definite room for improvement). Three, distinct nine hole loops start/end near the owner's house.1-18 went very smoothly, thanks to good signage, fairly intuitive flow, and the fact that the baskets were numbered, (confirming you indeed spotted the proper basket when you had walk a fairway). Finding your way through 19-27 is quite a bit tougher because there's no signage (yet?) and the baskets aren't numbered. Even though 19-27 are on the scorecard/map, I thought I played to the wrong basket or missed a hole a couple of times (but that never actually happened).
Cons: most of the cons relate to things I mentioned above, but they're valid.
Plenty of long, blind holes means lots of scouting ahead to find baskets. Really didn't get to me, but you can't blame anyone for thinking it sucks when the holes are as long and hilly as this.
19-27: These holes really need signage. And $10 worth of 3" black, vinyl hole #'s on yellow bands would be a big help (about 50’ a piece at Home Depot)... https://www.homedepot.com/s/3...mbers?NCNI-5.
Truly appreciated the map on the scorecard (final 9 would've been a complete bear without it), but the hole #'s printed on the map are minuscule. If you wear reading glasses, you'll need 'em for the final 9. I'm being totally serious here. The good news is you don't need the map for 1-18, and you can snag your readers out of your car on your way to #19.
Tees were decent, but on the small side, and some were a bit rough...but none struck me as bad.
Other Thoughts: A destination course, without doubt. If you like disc golf, Harmon will put a smile on your face.
I played New Year's Eve, so pretty much all the leaves were on the ground. I'm certain some of the holes I describe as sparsely wooded don't feel that way come June, and I'm sure the final 9 can be a real beat down during peak growth.
No doubt my "fun-factor" rating is inexorably linked to the fact that fairways weren't as tight, and missing lines not as punitive as in the summer. Other's mentioned a prevalence of poison ivy... again, a non-factor for winter. Just some things to consider when planning your visit... but plan your visit!
1-18 merit high marks for variety and challenge on their own, but I really think the increased density on 19-27 adds something missing (or at least not prevalent enough) in the original 18. Nice to see a course expansion add a missing design element, rather than adding "more of same, just because we could," which can make a good course feel repetitive.
I thought the posted pars were fair, but see how players throwing 400+ might think they're a bit generous.
All the hills and scouting mean you'll want to be fresh for this course. For that reason, I recommend making Harmon your first of the day.
Jerry Harmon: thank you for seeing what this could be and R.I.P.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: What can I say. Harmon hills is a gem of a disc golf course in America. 27 holes holes that are all different. Every hole has a unique and rustic feel.
It's one of the few places that is a disc golf only land. No parks, runners, passerbys to come in the way of your round.
Each 9 starts and ends by the house. You are with in a long jump putt of your car at the end of each 9.
Hole 1, 6, 12, 13, 26 and 27 are my favorites.
Seriously make time to come play this course. You won't regret it.
Cons: My only con is that the teepads are rough and the baskets are a bit aged. I think the course could use a bit of an updated makeover but this is being extremely nit picky.
3 of 10 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 10 Not
Pros: -Pretty good variety on the first 18.
-Good place to play controlled golf.
-No gimmick holes to force 27 holes.
-Mostly thin undgrowth. Off-target shots are pretty quick finds.
-Well maintained. Grass was recently mowed and no downed trees/branches on fairways or teepads.
Cons: -Teepads need some work.
-Signage is often inaccurate or absent.
-You're often lucky if you can see the pin after two shots on your first round. It's not a fun feeling to have to throw twice before you can see the pin. There was a lot of time spent scounting/searching for baskets.
Other Thoughts: I visited this course when I was down in TN on a family vacation. It was an hour and a half away from our stay, and it was #4 on the charts on this website so it was definitely on my to-do list for this vacation. I played 1-18 twice and 19-27 once.
My overall feeling when I left was, "I'd come back if I was in the area, but I'm not aching to return here"
9 of 19 people found this review helpful.
Top Tier Course
13 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Let me preface this review with my experience thus far in DG- Have now played 60+ courses in 14 states. I have now played 5 courses that were at least once in the top 10 on DGCR. I have designed/co-designed 2 courses. I regularly perform course maintenance at my local course that I designed. Highest pdga rating was a few years ago when I was less busy in life (925). l have won a few tournaments, but will never be "Pro".
Harmon Hills is located in the Northeastern corner of Tennessee. Lots of natural beauty and history in this area. Seriously, the drive had several pull off spots for scenic views, and they were great. As you know, this course is privately owned, and as such is a totally different monster in terms of course maintenance. They have to worry about not only cutting what has to be at least 50-60 acres of rolling land, but weedeat, take care of tees and the like. Serious hats off to the owners, and locals that are willing to do the work. That is a ton of work on a course of this length and caliber!
This course really has some opportunities for scoring separation. The long D guys get some bombers to throw. The very acurate guys get some nice pucker moments. Lots of elevation change for those that are familiar with how to play it. Just a great variety course.
Again the natural beauty. We loved the several opportunites to see some really cool rock formations. There is a cave on one of the holes. I think it is just to the right of fairway 12 that there is a cool scenic view of other local farms.
For me, the highlight holes were 1,2, and 10. Lots of great shots in between though.
It also looks like they are working on a tiki course? That would be a fun second round for sure.
Cons: Just a few negatives-
The pads will destroy your shoes. Somebody didn't understand the concept of a light broom finish. However, no slips the whole round from the pads.
Tee Signs- Basically, pay very little attention to the Tee signs. The only help they will give you is basically distance and direction. We had to scout several holes because almost every hole is a blind par 4. This was probably my biggest negative to the course.
Some holes had pin positions set that I would call halfsies. Hole 13 in particular was a heavily wooded, U-shaped par 3. I had a great tee shot and was pin high... still had easily a 120 foot upshot through dense forage.
You can't help this in the region... but Poison Ivy. Make sure to wear very long socks.
Other Thoughts: This is a can't miss course if you are in the region. Is it top 10 in the world? Going to have to say no. It just doesn't compete with Idlewild, Flip City, Holler, or Coyote Trace. Is it top 10 in the SouthEast? Maybe... but there is a ton of competition (Flyboy, IDGC, Charlotte courses). Top 10 in Tennesse? It has to be. This is my only TN course played thus far, but it has to be... if not the best course in TN. That isn't a demotion. Just where I believe it should be.
Again, it is definitely worth playing. Just probably not deserving of top 10.
Thanks again to the owners and locals that keep this course up. Make sure to leave a tip at hole 1 so that they can keep up with the mowing!
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
An embarrassment of DG riches
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The reviews on this have been glowing and I anticipated 4.5 - 5.0 rating greatness. Harmon Hills exceeded my expectations and can't wait to return. The land here is incredible! You'll have huge elevation changes, boulders, sinkholes, ravines, light to dense woods, open fields, etc--all cleverly intertwined to make for some very challenging yet fair disc golf. I've never played a course with this much variety.
The owner Aaron (couldn't ask for a better host, btw) joined for a few holes and showed us the cave! He's unveiling ANOTHER 9 HOLES in a densely wooded hillside and he graciously guided us through. This section is all par 2 holes between maybe 80 and 150 ft. I found myself throwing lines I rarely encounter. The challenge here was still daunting despite the shortness. Oh, and you won't be shooting towards your typical basket. Instead, you'll find metal cylinders perched on PVC pipes (old CO2 tanks that look about the size of a 5 gal beer keg) that sound like a gong when you hit them. Very, very cool! This section is brand new and still may be undergoing some additional tweaking. Definitely check it out as a welcomed change of pace (take a hard right into the woods at the 11 basket).
UPDATE 7/11/17: made it back for another round. The aforementioned tiki course is getting more holes! Work is in progress knocking out some new lines further into this densely wooded area. Navigation in this section is still tough but the additions look great. I saw a few more tone poles getting a paint job on the front porch of the house. I wouldn't be surprised if they were expanding this section to 18 holes. One of the new holes has a tone pole mounted 15 ft up a tree, making it visible from a tee down the hill. This place just keeps getting better!
UPDATE 1/9/2018: The old Mach baskets on the front 18 have officially been upgraded to green Prodigy baskets! #10 tee has been widened. Tiki course still in the works. Navigation here still isn't clear but well worth a walkthrough.
Cons: For a solo first-timer without a map, this could be a frustrating tour around the property. Many baskets are blind from the tee. There's no signage on the 9 holes across the street. I was lucky enough to play along others that knew the way and could also help with spotting. Cell phone coverage may be limited here so, before you come, I'd highly recommend printing off the satellite image course maps in the links section.
Other Thoughts: I had the pleasure of playing a round with the reviewer below (Hi Marvin!) and another traveler from MI. Allow yourself plenty of time here. We got to 34 of the 36 holes in about 4 hours with the fading sunlight preventing us from getting to the final 2.
You can easily enjoy a few days here. Camping is available in a nicely arranged area down the hill from the house with a giant pavilion, solar panels for power, and a porto-pot. This now tops Bud Hill and Brown County Country Club (IN) for my favorite destination course. You'll also be close to other great courses in the tri-cities/ Knoxville area. To name a few(!): Warriors, Winged Deer, Panther Creek, Rotary, Cherokee, Kiwanis, Tommy Shumpert, Morningside, and The Claytons.
Be sure to show some love at the donation box by hole 1.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
True destination course
Pros: *Excellent risk/reward layout
*Demands creative shots
*Distance and Technical ability tested
*Well designed signs
*clean of underbrush and garbage
Cons: *One (one) hole sign was missing, but it was an important one.
*Going up the hill on 16 is like hitting the wall during a marathon
*The dogs want to help
Other Thoughts: I rarely review courses and have been able to play well over 100 in many states. This one got my attention. It is in the country, wooded, beautiful and always surprising. While driving distance will definitely benefit, placement is much more important. A round with some practice shots is necessary in order to shoot your best score. You won't luck out on this course. I've not played a tournament here but I bet a 60 would warrant a 1000 rating.
If you're within 100 miles you should definitely make it to Harmon Hills.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Must play course
15 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: I'll keep it fairly short since it's well covered in other reviews. I've played here twice, both times mid-week, and I was amazed that I was the only person playing on both visits -- even though this is 5 minutes off the interstate.
Epic setting on beautiful private land; perfectly hilly with a nice mix of woods and grass. Great mix of holes (on the front 18) that are very fun to play and make good use of the terrain. True fairways on most holes with obvious and fair throwing lanes. Very well maintained.
Cons: Very minor things -- I don't like the teepads, which are short and very rough concrete. Navigation is pretty easy, although a couple of holes were missing signage.
Bigger - I really didn't enjoy the back 9 holes. Where the front 18 is incredibly fun to play, the back 9 is grueling. I think 7 of 9 were blind ... not blind like its hard to see the basket, but blind where you have to walk halfway down the hole to see the throwing line. Only a few holes where you can see much of the fairway from the tee, which means you don't get to watch your shot, and will be looking for your disc. No signage. Holes mostly on the long side considering the width and shape of fairways - i'd bet really low % of birdies on most holes. A chainsaw would improve the throwing lanes in many places. Very cool terrain with big rocks and hills.
Other Thoughts: I've played the front 18 twice and had time to play the back 9 on this visit. It might be because the front 18 is so nice, but I really didn't enjoy the back 9. The front 18 is fantastic and this is a must visit if you're travelling along I-81.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Best course I have played
2 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: First off hospitality of the people who own and maintain this place is unmatched. I went with a few friends and camped out for a couple of nights last summer and from the second we got there they made us feel very welcomed. From the tee shot on hole 1 until the final putt on 27, there is not a boring shot along the way. The course was very well maintained and just a beautiful piece of land. Most courses have a "signature" hole or a couple of them, but it felt like almost every time i walked onto one of the tee pads that they all could be signature holes. Harmon Hills is challenging and makes you throw every shot you have in your bag. Make sure to bring your "A" game and try to keep it together for all 27! I will for sure be making a few trips a year to play Harmon. It is well worth the 4 hour drive.
Cons: I really have a hard time trying to think of any cons.
Other Thoughts: Don't pet Blue! Cant wait to get back to Harmon and throw.
2 of 6 people found this review helpful.
The Hills are Alive with Chain Music
18 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: There are very few disc golf courses that compare to Harmon Hills. In the holiday spirit, to quote the classic American film 'A Christmas Story', "A++++++!!!". And the sad part is I didn't get to play the entire thing. The wonderful Saturday afternoon that I wound up playing there, happened to be the same day as the Cross State Doubles tournament brought players from around the region to this oasis of disc golf. I had to bail when the horn blew at 2 PM, after finishing only 20.5 holes. The TD did offer to find me a partner and let me join in, but I was traveling, and needed to move at a brisk pace to maximize disc golf courses played and amount of miles traveled.
Even if there were only 18 holes this would be a top flight course. Jerry Harmon and company have a really great thing going there. It is long, 27 holes, with 10 of the holes par 3, 16 are par 4, and the final hole is a par 5. It is also scenic, well kept, challenging, fun and well designed with an efficient layout. The elevation change is often present and can be very pronounced. Fairways are sometimes heavily wooded, but always fair.
The concrete tees and signs are a bit rustic, very solid and more than adequate. Baskets have caught a lot of discs by the looks of them, and still work just fine. What really makes this place so spectacular is the lay of the land, and the perfectly carved disc golf lines that pass up and down over the grass covered hills and around the great stands of trees. Variety is abundant, and each hole has good strategic points that reward good throws, usually without wrecking you if you miss one once in a while.
Cons: I am willing to overlook anything listed in the cons segment, because this course is money all day, every day. Since there is space to fill, parking was extremely crowded by the time I left, due to the tournament. It was only me when I arrived, but I almost got blocked in while I was out there.
The tee for hole 2 was closer to the first basket than I expected. I walked over it and didn't notice at first, spent several minutes scouting around eventually retraced the path and found it. Once you know what to look for it isn't that hard to follow. Still, it is good to grab a map next to the drop box when you anti up a few bucks to help keep this place in shape. It is hard earned money and a sound investment if you ask me.
May not be as fun for inexperienced disc golfers. Very lengthy, and some tricky throws with heavy rough in some places.
Other Thoughts: I can't leave a hole by hole breakdown, it is too many holes, and they're too great to do any justice in writing. I didn't even get to see the last 6, yet I am certain they hold up, somehow. I loved holes 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, and all of it from 10-21. Pictures of the final 6 look to be just as great.
The last nine started with a feel that was more intense than the first 18. I hope to return and finish the course in it's entirety some day, but I had played 18 holes that morning in Alcoa, and wanted to get in 27 in Kingsport that evening before continuing onto the Kentucky leg of the tour. The 21 holes of Harmon Hills I did play were incredible.
I started well, but was falling apart starting around hole 17. After 13 holes I was -2 with only 1 bogey. By the time I finished 20, I was up to +5. I shanked my drive on 21 badly, and was looking for my disc when the tourney kicked off. I found what I was looking for and went back to the truck, a bit disappointed to cut it short, but satisfied and very happy with what I did see.
Many of the holes could be a signature hole at a lot of other courses. I got a few great throws off, the best was a par save on hole 3. I was in a bad place after my third throw, deep in the rough to the right of the fairway, 125' from the pin. A miracle shot filtered through numerous branches, down the hill and right into the chains. Took 3 birdies in all, on holes 9, 12, and 13, all of them par 4. They were offset by 4 bogies and 2 double bogies, and 21 was not looking good for me.
I have played a lot of really good courses in Tennessee, and there are multiple others within a couple hours drive from this one. Harmon Hills is my favorite in the Volunteer state, I think, and only matched in soul by Bud Hill in Memphis. A great spot for other types of outdoor fun like camping, hiking, and fishing as well, I would guess. In my top 10 out of nearly 300 so far. Got to play it if you can.
18 of 19 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: 9, 18, and 27 all finish back at the house/lot. I recommend starting on 10, just to the right of the house.
Plenty of parking and a practice basket.
This course is majestic, artful and unforgiving. Although it's long and difficult it's laid out well and doesn't take all day to play. The scenery is top-notch and the course is maintained religiously not just by the caretakers who live on site but by locals who care deeply for the course and its stewardship. This course forces you to become a better disc golfer; even experienced arms will learn something.
Cons: One of my buddies putts real hard and gets bad spit outs, but I like the baskets. There are no flaws that can't be chalked up to personal taste or lack of skill. So, I got nothing.
Other Thoughts: Blue, old man Harmon's blue tick healer that still lives on site, is not to be trifled with. When I'm there with my dog he loves me and is real friendly, but if I come across him without my dog he growls. If you decide to give him a pat on the head, don't use your throwing hand because you might lose it.
3 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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