Top Tier Course
8 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!
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Must play course
13 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.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
Very Fun Course
1 Helpful / 9 Not
Pros: This course has more par 4 holes then other courses I have played. There are a lot of fun holes to play and it is really mixed up between woods and open field.
The whole course is kept up really well. These guys do a lot of mowing!!
Cons: The only hole that could use some work is hole 17. Off the tee there are a lot of trees and it is very narrow. This makes for a really tough tee shot to set up for the approach.
Tee pads are a little short making the long shot run ups a little tough.
Other Thoughts: This was my first time through (only holes 1-18). If I get to play this course again I will know the lines better and will definitely have a better score.
I definitely recommend playing this course.
1 of 10 people found this review helpful.
21 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Harmon Hills is a premiere disc golf destination and certainly deserves the hype it receives on here. As we made our approach from the country roads onto the property, my excitement grew - nothing better than purely secluded land that is dedicated to and made for disc golf. And, I'd imagine with its remote location and the course being so spread out, that you usually feel like you have the course all to yourself. Just the setting alone is worth experiencing. But let's be honest, you come here to play quality golf. And that's what you get here throughout the entire round.
The greatest quality to HH is its consistency. It offers such a consistently solid and varied round and that says a lot for 27 holes. No two holes were designed similarly and none feel like throw-away holes just to move you along. While the setting maintains a similar feel for the front 18, there is a great variety of looks, shots, and risk factors. You have holes where you have the opportunity to reach the green from the tee (though not easily), like hole 1's downhill shot through trees to a tight pin position among rock outcroppings. You also have multi-staged holes like 3, 6, 12, and 17 that change dimension from tee to the basket; these kind of holes at HH are what really make the course stand out. And with 14 par 4's, 1 par 5, and holes ranging from 177-646', you get a blend of everything in between.
The variety on this course really is amazing. There are plenty of chances to navigate through short, tight holes in the woods, like 5 and 8, as well as numerous opportunities to open up on a wide fairway, like 2, 7, 10, and 18. But really, you have a combination that equals "all of the above" at HH.
Elevation is a huge variable in the course's fun factor with the constant rolling hills. There are too many downhill, uphill, side hill, and across-the-valley shots to count. Add in the many sink holes and some sketchy pin positions (like 7's drop off right behind the basket) and this aspect of your game will be greatly tested. Hole 20 is a fun one that stands out, playing steeply downhill and sharply to the left, almost making a horseshoe. It's fun being able to watch your disc soar down the fairway but it's still very tight and technical with little room for error.
While 1-18 are challenging and IMO the more enjoyable loops, 19-27 offers probably the toughest stretch of holes I've played. It's not like there were too many trees without clearly defined lines either. The holes are nicely carved with purpose out of the thick woods. They just provide some crazy tight and distinct lines, massive sink holes, and long multi-staged holes that require you to hit necessary landing zones. Definitely a stretch of holes you have to experience to understand and play if you love to challenge your game.
For being an enormous private course run by two guys who have other jobs (along with not charging a mandatory fee), the course was in tremendous shape. I was a little worried about the course conditions since we showed up after only a day's notice, but the fairways were freshly mowed.
The course is conveniently set into three 9-hole loops that take you right back to your car. This is definitely a place where rest and refueling is needed throughout the round, plus it gives you the option to play each 9 in the order that you'd like. If I played the course again, I'd probably play the last 9 in the middle of the other two loops.
Again, just a beautiful, peaceful, special piece of land that is dedicated to disc golf.
Cons: Normally I wouldn't mind having simple tee signs - it does add to the rustic charm and I'm not one to knock a course just because it doesn't have John Houck-level tee graphics - but players would benefit in having more descriptive tee signs. We had to do a lot of scouting before we threw. The back 9 would really benefit in just having tee signs. The tees could've been longer in a few cases too with the long, open shots. I understand that this is a private course and these factors hardly took anything away from my experience, just things that could be improved.
With there only being one set of tees, you're forced to tackle head-on the beast that is HH. I think this limits who would enjoy playing here a little bit. I wouldn't bring new players here. While this speaks for the entire course, I'm especially thinking of the last 9.
Other Thoughts: HH's current rating very accurately defines the level that the course is at. I'd give it a 4.75 if I could and I can see how many have given it a 5-disc rating. It wasn't like I was disappointed when I played here, but I also wasn't completely blown away like I have been when playing courses I've given a 5. I didn't feel that there was anything too transcendent about HH, but it does offer a consistently awesome 27 holes. I really enjoyed my round here and it is one of the more memorable disc golf experiences I've had. I just don't quite think it's in that top echelon. Still, I encourage you to head to the hills and play this great course. I really can't see any avid disc golfer not enjoying their time here, regardless of personal taste.
21 of 21 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: If there's a common theme among Harmon Hills' extensive and varied challenges, it's an emphasis on precision placement. Be it a safe spot within a wooded fairway, a must-hit zone to set up your next shot, or a door step that allows easy (often in air quotes) passage through a gut-clenching window, where your disc lands will never have more impact on your round than at Harmon. The difference between success and failure is often a matter of a few feet, yet the landing zones here remain very fair: they are well-conceived and make excellent use of the terrain's abundant riches. These landing zones come in many forms, entering out of or into the woods, before or across harrowing elevation changes, along fairways or as part of challenging greens. Woodedness is well varied across Harmon's 27 holes, which helps counter the constraints of the emphasis on precision, even though there's still a bit of feeling hemmed in: precision is highly emphasized over distance, and the course is largely unforgiving. The intensive focus on placement lends the golf a wonderfully high level of strategic thinking. Forethought is a must; Harmon's mental game is to be relished.
Hole length is another characteristic mined for variation at Harmon. With an average distance of 421', the course certainly tends towards technical par 4s (16 of the 27 holes are par 4, and there is one additional par 5), but in practice this distance is sensitively implemented with an eye towards changing the pace up. The shorter par 3s provide well-timed relief from the longer par 4s, and there's a qualitative difference between the birdieable par 4s and the longer, more threatening ones. A few longer and challenging par 3s round out what is the virtual spectrum of hole lengths and pars.
The terrain lends some spectacular views and unique conundrums. Unexpected valleys force wary shots on holes such as 12 and 25, trees thwart your approach on 13, 14, and numerous others, and the ever-shifting elevation twists your shots into previously unconceived lines from start to finish. If a course with good shot variety uses every disc in your bag, Harmon's kaleidoscopic assault on your game requires you to add some new ones in.
The course was excellently groomed during my early June visit. Navigation is intuitive on the well-signed front 18, and only minorly less so on the final 9. The three loops of 9 allow you to recharge your batteries with gracious frequency.
My favorite back-to-back holes were 12 and 13: finding a landing zone to safely pass into the valley on 12 is a heckuva fun challenge, and once in you're forced to either play wide to the right and navigate around the numerous small trees or play left along a rough-strewn slope; 13 provides a lovely contrast with a super tight midrange shot fading left downhill into an unseen valley, wherein you have to scratch and claw back uphill in approach of the basket. The variety of terrain and challenges found in these two holes is Harmon at its best.
Cons: Harmon's emphasis on precision landing zones and tight windows is a bit undermined by its numerous blind shots. There are a lot of these, and they do add a bit of luck to how the course plays. You can't always set up your next shot as much as the abundant obstacles seem to suggest you should, owing to the fact that many landing zones and next stages are unseen. In the aforementioned 13 for example, hitting the already tight lane to the landing zone isn't enough to ensure a safe approach. With such precision required and so many unique lines, it'd be nice to see where you were throwing to more often.
Despite the immense variety of tree cover between holes, I think Harmon would be helped by even one or two more open holes. Even in instances where there's a lot of space to maneuver, tight windows or precarious elevation really reign in your shot. In general I vastly prefer technicality of the sort Harmon offers, but with such significantly varied tree cover it seems a shame to not have one or two opportunities to let your disc fly with impunity. 10 might have scratched this itch if not for the inadequate tee pad.
Speaking of which: some of the tees are short enough to or bordered by drop offs that will impact your run up. It's not the norm, but it does happen, and it's noticeable in instances where precision at longer distances is required.
The back 9 is less easy to navigate than the front 18 owing to a lack of signage. It wasn't terrible, but we found ourselves scouting ahead a lot just to find where we were headed.
This back 9 is an immensely unique and immensely difficult set of holes: it is the first stretch of 9 I've ever played whose collective challenge began to undermine my ability to appreciate it. It's a very unforgiving stretch of especially tight lines and abundant obstacles that offers little room to calibrate risk versus reward: the holes are largely one lane, see it and attempt it type shots. In retrospect this 9 has some of the most memorable holes of the course, with a manipulation of the inherent elevation that surpasses that already expert and dramatic usage on the front 18, but the challenge factor is seriously through the roof. It wouldn't be a bad idea to play these as your second 9, after you've warmed up on the first 9 but have yet to be ground up by 18 already-tough holes.
Other Thoughts: Harmon is a heck of a course on some bountiful disc golf land that begs to be visited. The challenge factor is real here, so be advised.
Harmon struck me as the spiritual sibling to West Virginia's Woodshed and Whippin' Post courses, which are also private, sit on similar terrain, and offer unique, outsized challenges. If you've played and loved one of these, consider this a mandate to play the other.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
great terrian and private course
Pros: PRIVATE course located on terrific scenic land. Being private, no other park activities get in your way such as joggers, playgrounds, picnics or dog walkers. Very secluded and simply peaceful.
This TN landscape included rolling hills, woods, sink holes, rocks, open fields and tons of elevation all around. I can't think of one flat hole.The variety of shots required; downhill, uphill, open, tight, right or left.
The unusually high number of par 4's throughout the course, I love throwing a driver twice on a hole.
(or were they hard par 3's for this grand master aged player?)
Hi-lites for me:
#1 - might be the best hole on the course.
#3 - great par 4 that's partially open, then downhill and wooded and ends up slightly uphill.
#4 - elevated tee shot.
#6 - great downhill right to left tee shot down towards a valley which leads to an uphill drive to get to the basket.
#9 - another great par 4 looping back to the start.
#10 - bombs away tee shot, it looked intimidating to someone who rarely throws 300' but I got my par 4 with a well placed 3rd shot.
#12 - tough par 4 that I didn't play well but once saw the line where you should play, it's great.
#14 - loved this right to left hyzer hole, simply beautiful!
#15 - tunnel tee shot over lower terrain which leads to uphill wooded location.
#16 - token birdie shot.
#18 - another great par 4 hole leading back to the start.
Cons: No map or scorecard was available during a weekday when I played between 11a-3p.
Short cement pads.
No water came into play.
A few next tee signs would help first timers.
#17 basket was hard for me to find over the ridge and much longer than I thought.
#9 and #10 seemed to share part of their fairways.
The third nine located across the street 19-27 were unmarked...no tee signs with the distance or numbers on the baskets. One hole 25(?) was insanely difficult left to right with huge elevations thru the woods and included larger sink holes than the other ones. I probably wouldn't play this nine again with the top notch other 18 across the street.
Other Thoughts: The back nine was mowed better than the front but
since it's private, I can't imagine the work ever being done. Please use the donation box!
I played this course solo while losing my map after 6 holes. It's a great challenge and deserves it's many accolades.However, I can't give it a 5 star rating with the cons I listed. Hope I don't bring down it's overall rating with a 4.5. I did add Harmon as one of my favorites.
I'm rated below 900 and shot a decent 34 on the front, a bad 37 on the back and worn out tired as hell 43 on the last nine.
This course is not easy and can wear you out, I took a 30 min break after each nine.
Being in a rather remote location, my Verizon cell service was sporadic.
Bring food, water and bug spray with you, there is no commerce nearby even back at the highway exit.
I look forward to returning someday and meeting the locals who maintain this special course.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 2 Not
Best Course for hundreds of miles!
Pros: Being in the DGCR top 10, I had high hopes for this course when I made my first stop to play. It didn't let me down entirely, however it had a few minor stumbling blocks I'll explain later. Overall though, easily the best course anywhere close to East Tenn/WNC.
First off, this course is long and demanding. If you're playing the full 27 for the first time, or even repeat, you'll need close to 3 hours to finish. I appreciated the challenge but a newbie could be demoralized by it.
The front nine had more of the memorable shots on the course, including hole 1 which was one of my favorites. I didn't have to walk the front nine twice to see the shots, which was nice being the first time I played the course. There was an even mixture of right/left shots on the front 9 with plenty of elevation change to boot. Most shots are formed with both the tee and the basket in wooded alcoves and the fairway being open. I thought that front nine was the easiest of the 3 9-holers, but it wasn't a pushover. You'll need precise drives to make it out into the open where your disc will hopefully fly for days.
The second 9 holes felt a little more open from the start at hole 10. I liked this 9-hole run a little less than the first, mostly because some of the holes felt contrived. Hole 11 simply felt like a connector hole to get to hole 12, which was a sweet shot! 11 did break up the pace of long drives leading to more long drives, however, so that was nice. Many people seem to like hole 17, I however did not. It was difficult for sure, but I didn't feel like you had a legitimate first shot to get you to the fairway. It felt too closed off from the tee, requiring too much luck that doesn't become a course of this caliber. No matter though, hole 18 makes up for it once you reach the fairway and see the beauty of the basket resting just past the tree on the hill.
The final 9 holes were certainly the hardest on the course. Every single shot was tight and wooded, some were also very long with elevation. Unlike the front 18, you won't be able to open up back here, and you'll likely need to walk many holes before throwing as they are blind shots in the woods. If you lose a disc at Harmon Hills, it will likely be back here. The final hole left a bad taste in my mouth for some reason but I'm sure others really enjoy it. My favorite part of the final 9 was hole 25 (If I remember correctly) which was an up and down rocky dogleg right that felt like it was out of Lord of the Rings. I know this kind of rocky atmosphere is also present at Morristown Kiwanas and Warriors Path nearby.
There were also plenty of benches to rest while playing this long course, which is an obvious plus.
Cons: The tee pads are a little short, especially for some of those shots that require you to turn it up a notch on the front 18. I understand the budgetary concerns of putting in a course like this on private land though.
There isn't any water in play...This is probably the main reason I can't award this course anything higher than a 4.5. I can't honestly say a course has everything it needs to be perfect without the fear of losing a disc to a splash zone.
The tee signs were minimal, but again, I understand this is a privately maintained course so funding extremely nice amenities isn't easy.
There was a few times where navigation became a slight issue, but that was mainly on the final 9 holes, which still seemed kinda roughed in at the time I went. I'm sure signs will be added in the near future to help with this.
A minor comment about the cleanliness of the place. I know when I played it was sort of in a transitional period between owners, however there was a fair amount of trash and general upkeep that needed to be taken care of. The day I played the fairways were not as manicured as I've heard mention that they typically are. Knowing that this was during the ownership transition I tried not to let it effect my rating.
Other Thoughts: Definitely worth stopping to play if you're driving on 81 and even making a special trip to play. Keep in mind that the course is in the middle of nowhere. I didn't have any cell service and navigating back out of the place wasn't easy without it. Coming prepared with written directions wouldn't be a bad idea.
14 of 16 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Private and Pleasing....
Pros: Very large private course in a nice rural area in Eastern Tn.
The course has easy access off of I-81. You can be there in less than 10 minutes.
The course itself is setup as 3 nines with all the finishing holes ending near the house and parking area.
There is a great variety of terrain on the course.
The tee boxes are small, but they are grooved and they have very good grip.
The baskets are Mach 3's and all were in great shape.
I like to play hyzers, so I really notice the turn holes. There seemed to be a very good mix of holes that fit both types of shots.
The teeth of this course is the changes in elevation. I know that the course says that it is moderately hilly, but I consider it very hilly. Just to clarify, I do consider this as a pro.
There are stumps and chairs/benches available on most of the holes.
The upkeep of the course was top notch. I didn't see any trash on the course at all. The grass was also mowed and the underbrush wasn't too bad at all.
There are tee signs with the distance and a simple diagram of the hole. It was our first time playing the course and we did need to walk some of the holes to get a full layout of the hole.
I played in a group of 4 and I think that I saw just about every shot played during our round. (Hyzer, Anny, Rollers, Thumber/Tomahawks and skips)
There was a good mix of tight into open shots and open into tight area holes.
The people running the course were SUPER NICE. They were very helpful telling us about the layout and also getting some lunch between rounds.
There are alot of par 4's with great variety. One is a horseshoe shaped that plays around 330 ft while there are 3 other par 4's that play over 580 ft on the 1st 18 holes.
Nagivation on the course is done naturally. You will not find next tee signs or arrow, but there are EASY to find paths to the next tee. It was our first trip here and we didn't have any trouble with navigation.
Cons: Some tee pads were a little short.
Other Thoughts: This place is a fantastic private course. If you like grassroots disc golf this place is a MUST play. I don't get to this area often, but when we do Harmon Hills will be on the agenda.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Impeccable Private Course
Pros: Massive private course in secluded location. Full 18 hole course on one side of road with a completely different 9 hole experience on the other side. Lots of disc golf in a great setting.
18 hole course has well done concrete tees on every hole. They are a little small, but I had no problems. If you have a big run up it could be an issue. Signs are basic but informative. Layout and distances are there as well as a simple depiction of layout. Navigation was never an issue.
Course was exquisitely maintained both times I've played it. We're talking about Maple Hill private course level, or pristine public park level. Which given the scale and grass that needs cutting here, it is an amazing feat. Fairways are great, and rough is minimal. Playing here is a pleasure. There is some foot tall grass around the property, but shots need to really go astray to reach it. Kudos to the souls that keep this course in shape.
Front 18 hole course plays threw rolling hills, meadows and some nice woods. There are a few small creeks and some sink holes to keep things interesting. Baskets are typically in sparse woods, but nothing is too tricky to handle. Hole length variety is good. Holes range from about 598' to under 200'. Most holes require a decent shot off the tee with a driver as well as a decent approach. This is not a short technical course.
BUT, there a re a few pretty tight technical holes that will keep the big arms honest. IMO the shorter wooded holes have a few spots of random, plinko tree feel to them, and add a touch of luck this course doesn't need, but they are not so tight as to be offensive. They just aren't as good as some other courses technical holes, or as good as some of this course's lengthier holes.
Most of the longer holes require 2 well placed shots to get you where you need to be. Only on a couple holes can you simply air it out with no thought or control. There are also several nice, winding fairways that require multiple well placed shots. The gradual elevation that is present is used up and down top add a varied feel to the fairways.
Visually this is a beautiful course. It is secluded TN hill country and you won't see or hear any distractions.
The wooded 9 holes across the street are 100% tight woods beat down. Not much variety there, but simply well done, technical golf. There is some nice elevation and some very cool rock formations that add to the challenge. After 18 holes across the road these 9 will simply beat you down. Stay on the fairway as the rough is thick and punishing. It's a nice course, and could stand on its own if it had to. There is a a nice mix of shots and enough length to challenge most arms.
Cons: Pads are a little small.
Signs and navigation on the wooded 18 are a little lacking. Lots of blind shots that could use some guidance from the tee. Walking the fairway on some holes is necessary to figure out where you're going.
Other Thoughts: This is a great course. In any setting the holes here would make a nice round. In a private, rural setting all the better. I'm sure I'll be abused for not giving in to the recent rash of 5's for this course, but I simply don't recall a truly special hole. I've played it twice, and not once did I stand on a pad and say wow. There's lots of good holes here, and really nothing bad. But in my humble opinion it lacks a special feature or feel of the other great courses I've played. There is no extreme elevation, water carries or long range views. There is a couple sink holes, but I doubt most would give a course a 5 for a hole in the ground. But either way, this is a great course that is maintained as well as any, so it is worthy of a special road trip if you ever have the chance.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: This course has everything. Open holes, wooded holes, wooded then open then wooded again holes, great elevation change, and I could go on and on. This course is challenging and super fun to play. It is very well kept up and manicured. You cant ask for much more in a disc golf course really. The people who work on the course and who own the property are top notch people. Great down home Tennesseans with southern hospitality. If you live close to this course or for some reason are driving somewhere close to it, you have to stop and play this emaculate course. Disc golf at its finest!
Cons: I really dont have any to tell you the truth.
1 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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