An embarrassment of DG riches
3 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 (between holes 8 and 9, I believe).
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 such as Warriors Path, Tommy Shumpert, and The Claytons. Don't miss those. Looking forward to getting back here!
Be sure to show some love at the donation box by hole 1.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
True destination course
5 Helpful / 1 Not
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.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Must play course
12 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.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Best course I have played
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.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
The Hills are Alive with Chain Music
17 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.
17 of 18 people found this review helpful.
2 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.
2 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Oh my Lord!
13 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: -Harmon Hills is pretty much everything you could ever want in disc golf. The variety, I mean it's ridiculous! If you play all 27 holes, you are playing a par 99 course. The hole distances made me think that I could easily score under.
-When you drive past the private property (which is the 7870 address.) You'll see the sign "Harmon Hills disc golf" and once you make it to the parking area, you'll see the tire practice basket. I was just like, wow! And when I saw hole 1 by the house across the street, I was really like, wow! It's an awesome starting hole that plays around mature trees and goes into the woods.
-This course has 27 holes and seventeen of them are not par 3's. Sixteen of them are fours and the last hole is a five. So this is a true course here. The longest hole is only like 650' long, so typically that's an easy three for me, but when the fairways are tight and when they turn, you can tell that distance doesn't matter here. It does on a few such as holes 10 and 18 but it's mostly just better to stay in the fairway.
-Aaron and Kyle are great hosts. They told me how to get there when I called and they even allow you to camp out if you want to. Wish I met them in person just to tell them how awesome their course is, and how gracious they are as hosts because I have heard so many things about them both. I've played another private course and the owner there doesn't even come close to how great these guys are at Harmon Hills.
-mx23ang was there to guide me and my buddy at college so we all had fun! The course isn't hard to navigate if you watch the course fly-by video. I did, and still was totally shocked just on the layout.
-Hole 8 is a great steep downhill sidearm hole. It's extremely tight, just about as tight as it gets on the course. But the greatest thing about this hole is the extra feature to it. Walk down the fairway and at the turn, walk to your right down a small trail and you'll see the cave. No seriously! There is a cave on this hole that is full of water. It's one of the greatest things I have ever seen!
-I could say how great every single hole is here, because the worst hole here would likely be the signature hole at a local park course. It starts off somewhat overwhelming, and continues to be surprisingly great on hole 2, but it gets at one of its many peaks at hole 3. It's a fun downhill par 4 around some old trees. Hole isn't too hard of a birdie if you have a decent drive down the fairway and not go long. The basket position is a little intimidating because of the roller potential. Hole 6 is another legit par 4 that plays as a dogleg left. If you make it down the hill with a least a small turn, you have a steep uphill shot back in the open. The whole set of the first nine holes is legit. So how do you top that?
-The second set of 9 is just as fun! Starts with a long, tough uphill par 4 in the open and into the woods. #11 is an excellent par 3 at 286' that's up and back down a bit. Go for the ace, and you'll probably be quite long. It also closes with two jaw dropping, smack to the ground par 4's. #17 is definitely one of the hardest holes on the course. The tee shot is frightening. The fairway is tight and goes straight downhill. My drive, however, was on that hole was without question. I crushed a trespass down the fairway, well over 400'. It says that hole is 523' but I guarantee you it's longer than that. It's probably 650' because my drive was maybe 180' short and the tee pad was a LOOOONNNGG way away when I approached my disc. The upshot continues downhill and around many trees sporadically placed. #18 continues to sink your jaw. It's a slight dogleg right that is uphill all the way and right around the house. It's a hole where I can really take advantage of my distance.
-The death 9 are holes 19-27. It's all heavily wooded and by far the most intimidating. 19 is a nice little par 4 into the mouth of the woods. It's a deceptively easy hole if you don't go left. A stable mid-range and putter shot should be a pretty easy bird. But then 20 gets tough, it's a forced lefty flick or righty backhand shot down a curving fairway. Very similar to #9 at Chester State Park. The final four hole stretch is almost like a fairy tale because it's hands down the best final four I have played. And I've played some epic final fours like at Renaissance in Charlotte, or Black Jack in VC, and Ashe County in Jefferson. #24 is the infamous crater hole. It's dead straight and over a crater maybe 25' deep and another that is less deep, but still. If you were to go over them both, it would feel pretty awesome. #25 is, to say at the worst a very unique par 4. It's up and over the rocks and back down over a valley. It plays as a dogleg right. #26 is a super cool uphill shot back over the valley. The basket is wrapped around by a very old tree stump. And the finishing hole is "U shaped." It's a forced hole because you can see that the basket is close to the tee pad, but there is a mando pointing to the right so you have to play the "U shaped" fairway. The fairway itself makes this a legit par 5 and an even more legit finisher.
-Many benches here, just about on every hole. I think if I sat and played slower, I would've played a little better. So learn from that, don't play so fast.
-Some of the holes with sharper turns have arrow highway signs pointing to where the turn is. Really cool aspect.
Cons: -None. Really none. Some complain about the signage, but it's not hard to navigate the death 9 (19-27.) And don't turn right where you see the address 7870. That's private property, just drive up the road you are currently on and in maybe 1000' you'll see the sign "Harmon Hills disc golf."
Other Thoughts: -I drove 130 miles to play here and drove that distance back. It may have been the best 260 miles I have driven, and I'd seriously do it every weekend if they weren't all busy. Harmon Hills starts off grand and it stays that way for twenty six more holes. If this is your home course, you are seriously fortunate! Because this isn't in the top 10 courses in the nation for no reason. It's in the top 10 because every hole is very well thought out. There is no filler hole at Harmon Hills, but there are a few at other top notch courses like Black Jack, Rolling Pines, and Ashe County. This was so far, my greatest disc golf experience I have had to date.
-This is a private course on someone else's property. Aaron and Kyle are gracious hosts, but never take advantage of that. Pay a donation, respect all property as if it is your own, and don't litter on the course (if you litter in the cave and I see it, I will hurt you no joke. If swimming is okay, I'll advocate it because the water is deep.)
-I want to mention every hole so badly, but that'll take away the shock value to the course. But my favorite holes were #1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 20, 24, 25, 26, and 27. There is not a "best hole" on the course because many are top notch. But my favorite was #17. The tee shot is scary but still fair, it's downhill quite a bit, it's long.
There are some things to be aware of here:
-The dog currently has a cone around his neck and bites a lot, so the owner's will ask you not to pet him.
-On hole 6, there is a DEEP hole that's very thorny. If you land in there, don't be crazy and throw in there because if you go in there, you'll be very hard to see. There are many other steep spots to be alert of on the front 9.
-The parking area is on a small hill, so if you can park further up it.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: What makes Harmon so thrilling is all 27 holes were designed to be unlike any other on the course, in the area, and possibly the country. Every hole presents its own difficulties and every drive should be carefully examined.
In my honest opinion the lack of "2's" on this course is overly appealing. Most of these holes are about placing your drive before throwing the upshot that determines your score. A change of pace from many of the courses I have played before.
This course get a 5 star rating for being the most uncharacteristic course in the state and offering a thrilling state of play you wont find anywhere else.
Cons: Signs from hole to hole on a few of the back 9 holes.
Other Thoughts: SOMEBODY PLEASE REOPEN FOSSIL HILL ITS A MILE AWAY AND EVERY BIT AS FRUSTRATING AS HARMON!
0 of 7 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 11 Not
Couldn't Ask for More
Pros: The holes were all unique. The workout was good but not ridiculous. The baskets and pads are not new but I thought they played perfect. At the height of the season most weeds weren't thick enough to lose your disc. I thought the pitch fork in the pit added a little extra charm to the Americana views you had around every corner.
Cons: Poison ivy is what it is. The rough has some in it.
Other Thoughts: Captain Jack was about only other person playing while we were there. Met him at the party barn and chatted for bit. Since we were on vacation it was nice to meet a local who had helped with such an awesome course.
2 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Head for the Hills
13 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Hilly, rolling farmland interspersed with Tennessean forests pock-marked with sinkholes and large. moss-covered boulders sets the scene for one of the best courses around. This course challenges you to hit gaps through the woods, often requiring good distance and shot placement to overcome dogleg angles and sloping elevation.
There are no bad holes here. There aren't even average holes here. The worst hole you'll find is simply good, well-thought out design. There are lots of great holes, too numerous to count really. Practically every hole has a well-defined, well-designed fairway with an appropriate par and length ratio, a fair and skill-rewarding width and angle of fairways, engaging obstacles, top notch terrain (especially the tertiary nine) and variety. No forced lines off the tees, increasing strategy and repeat play immensely. Greens are interesting and fair aka no late trouble or punitively guarded baskets so if you reach the green off a great shot you're rewarded with a make-able putt, as you should be. Lots of great doglegs and multi-shot holes and terrific use of elevation.
A big plus for a private course is concrete tees and Harmon Hills has them. There's adequate signage and highly useful scorecards available. Nice clever touches like big arrow signs on blind doglegs that clue you into how to shape your line. Navigation is mostly a non-issue. The first 18 have old tech baskets but not a problem unless you rocket putts. The tertiary 9 have new Discatcher baskets that will catch your rocket putts. This lack of basket uniformity also helps delineate the two from each other (the 18 on one side of the road and the 3rd 9 on the other side), the other big contrasting factor being that the terrain of the 3rd 9 is much rockier and mountainous, giving it more of a subtle, adventure-golf feel. Spectacularly, each 9-hole section circles back to the clubhouse like a three leaf clover of disc golf awesomeness.
Easy to find and get to off the highway. I heard this course was a bit outta the way and I found that laughingly off-base. It's a breeze to get here. Even with a tourney going on we had no problem parking. The ease of access is phenomenal for a private course, do not take that for granted. It is truly remarkable that you can play here without reservation or anything. Don't be afraid to donate accordingly for this special treat.
We played during summer and there are some nasty places of rough that can hide discs but for a private course it's very well maintained and much less of an issue than I expected.
Cons: Not much. Tees are generally old and poured pretty rough. Some may find them small but I'm not one of those that needs a parking lot sized tee box. For the most part you can run up on them without issue if you take big strides.
The only navigational quirk is finding hole 12's tee. It's really the only transition on the first 18 that isn't obvious. The 3rd 9 is a bit trickier to navigate b/c tee signs aren't available and there are lots of little trails. Hole 19 starts to the right (after crossing the road) and to find hole 26's tee go immediately to the right of 25's green instead of towards the parking lot. Those are the only confusing bits and the scorecard helps a lot. A map for the 3rd 9 would be worthwhile though.
No water features (some may consider that a plus, lol).
Other Thoughts: I'm so grateful to have played this gem, truly. It is easily a top 5 if not top 3 course in my experience, about as much-play as a course you can get. This is what a well-designed southeastern US course looks like. Its refinement and lack of extreme land features (except for sinkholes) make this more of a player's course than an adventure but it's a definite crowd-pleaser. Highly skilled players will love this course as a fair test of their mettle. Moderately skilled Blue/White players will revel in the challenge of getting par and the occasional birdie. Bad players will just enjoy staying on the fairway, not being made miserable by nasty rough and not having insultingly long or wooded fairways beating them up often.
Don't be surprised to see some wildlife. We saw a mother raccoon and three of her juvenile offspring scurrying about hole 13 or so.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
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