Huckers need not apply
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This is one of the most challenging, yet well-designed courses in the Dayton area. There are clearly-defined, yet tight fairways that require forehand, backhand, and overhand shots. Most holes are heavily-wooded, though there are a couple of open-ish bombers. The course is located in a pretty multi-use park, but plays away from the softball/soccer areas. Baskets are in great shape and catch well (assuming you can get it there). Signage is some of the best I've ever seen, with "Next Tee" markers at almost all holes. There's a practice basket by the first hole.
Cons: Handyman Ace Hardware is relatively unpopular with locals, and I can somewhat understand why. Many of the fairways look like they are rarely mowed, and you can spend more time looking for your shot than actually playing. For that reason, I don't recommend playing solo here. Also, it's been mentioned before, but the creek here is nasty, and smells bad.
This is a very unforgiving course, and I wouldn't recommend bringing beginners here (unless you're trying to get them to never play again).
Other Thoughts: This is one of the least-crowded courses in the area, but don't expect a short round here; playing solo took me over two hours to complete all 18 from the short tees.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
A mix of skills needed to triumph
3 Helpful / 9 Not
Pros: Good baskets, nice tee pads, good signage, trash cans throughout, "next tee" signs clearly posted. Course combines open field with wooded area with some holes transitioning from woods to open field. Fair amount of water on the course which makes it visually different from other courses.
Cons: Course is an odd mix of great holes and awful holes. 1-5 are fun, with multiple lines to the basket. Holes 6 thru 11 are horrible with the only decision to make being which tree to hit. There are literally no lines to take to the basket. There are simply too many trees. The ground is covered with vegetation that makes finding a disc even in the "fairway" a 5 minute ordeal. You cannot see the baskets from the tee boxes which is not uncommon, but you can't even see where you should be landing. It's literally like throwing a disc into the woods and hoping you are throwing in the right direction. And good luck if you can't see the disc actually land - it's either a search or it's gone. I made several "perfect" throws and had to spend 10 minutes looking for my disc even though I knew exactly where it landed.
Course has A and B tee pads but B pads add nothing to game except a stroke. No holes give you the chance to make a fantastic drive or unusual line to beat the hole- they all just add distance and a stroke. Not worth the effort.
Hole #8 was skipped as the landing spot cannot be identified and the creek you throw over is more of a stinking swamp than a creek. Could be a killer hole but instead is a skipper. Not worth sinking in black mud to your knees for a disc.
#12 though #18 were ok but not good enough to offset the awful #6-#11. We finished #18 and were glad to be done. What a let down!
The course offers nothing for the advanced or intermediate thrower as there is no skill involved in hitting trees. And on this course there is no way to avoid hitting trees as there are simply no lanes to use. Add the heavy undergrowth everywhere and it adds up to no-fun play.
Other Thoughts: Remove 1/3 of the trees, open some lanes, clear out the underbrush and maybe mow some sections and the course could be great. As it is it's so-so. Not worth the 1 hour drive.
3 of 12 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Nice mix of shots, decent use of elevation.
Cons: Swamp by the back of the park stinks, literally. There was poison ivy a few years back, haven't seen it recently, don't know what happened to it.
Other Thoughts: This is a nice, solid course, worth going to if you're in the area, but not worth making a special trip for. But it doesn't have anything to make it really stand out for me, or make it particularly fun.
It is on the harder side.
1 of 7 people found this review helpful.
A TOUGH course that rewards precision
7 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: A great mix of uphill, downhill, left/right doglegs, short/long. Water hazards on 3 holes; and on some, the hazard is compounded by the swamplike quality of the water -- you will not get many discs back from the creek..
Cons: The aforementioned creek. smelly, scummy, swampy...
mosquitos are abundant during the summer; bring repellant, apply liberally!
extremely tight lines. Like, some are 5 feet wide. and not 'throw it 200 feet and hit a 5ft hole,' more like 'throw it 50 feet on an anhyzer line and hit a 5ft hole; get your disc to flatten out and go another 50 feet and his another gap; then get your disc to hyzer and go another 300 feet. Then you have only two more gaps to hit before the basket.
Several holes simply do not have much in the way of fairways/lines (2,11). you simply try to miss as many trees as possible, throw, and hope you get lucky.
Other Thoughts: A very challenging course! it will force you to hit precise lines...and will frustrate you when you realize that even a perfect shot sometimes isn't enough.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Beauty and the Beast
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Loaded with technically challenging shots, the surrounding park offers incredible beauty depending on the season. The seasons offer nuanced changes thanks to the cool wet spring, sweltering humid summers, and brutally cold winters. The park is safe, navigation is excellent, and maintenance has almost always been well-timed. If you are within a 2 hour drive, you MUST play this course.
Cons: Unforgiving water hazards, thick underbrush, tight corridors and environmental issues make this course one of the most difficult in all of southwest Ohio. Bring throwaway discs and plenty of patience.
Other Thoughts: I've played this course since it's creation and despite the sheer difficulty it's one of my favorite courses of all time thanks to the total integration of site and course. Do yourself a favor and play here!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Practice basket, nice concrete tee pads, scorecards, course is fairly easy to navigate thanks to signs, course gives a chance to learn new shots.
Cons: No holes under 200 ft(personal preference), wooded holes can be very muddy after rain, some graffiti on a fence on hole 13 I believe( show some class). Hole 18 gets close to the road so watch for cars
Other Thoughts: This is by far the toughest course I've played. I do not recommend this for a new player. You will be tested. If you can shoot in the 60s, you might be ready for a competitive level. Take some throw away discs. You can easily loose a disc in the water(lost my favorite driver). If you have a favorite disc, don't throw it on the holes with water. This course will give you a heck of a work out. This is probably the toughest course in Dayton. You will have to earn every par and birdie. For first time visitors, I recommend throwing from the shorter tee pads
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Great variety
Terrain and elevation changes
Fair amount of hazards
Directional signs and good tee pad signs
Course is separate form the rest of the park
Only course in the area that offers scorecards and a fully detailed map
Taken care of well
Cons: After heavy rain, this course may be flooded out in the woods
Nastiest creek I've ever seen, swallows discs whole and leaves you without your shoe if you dare step in to retrieve it
Some holes are very unfair, and downright impossible
Makes for a VERY long 18 holes
Other Thoughts: This is the Dayton area's second most difficult course, (next to sycamore trails.) Long distances and heavy foliage and trees make this course nearly impossible to par with par 3s. Any player besting this course from the par on the sign-pads will know they rank at the amateur level. Players shooting around or better than par with par 3s will know they are ready for advanced or even possibly open level play. Really designed as a pro course, play the par signs or play doubles if you don't want to shoot a huge score.
6 of 9 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Let's Have A Hand For Handyman
Pros: Handyman is clearly the crown jewel of Dayton-area disc golf, and stands as a testament to modern design in an area primarily comprised of older courses. Nearly every hole is memorable in some fashion, either because of the fantastic strategic design or the 8 you carded in a moment of John Daly-esque weakness.
Great design can be found throughout HAH, with holes that require both hyzer and anhyzer shots off the tee, as well as creative approaches that rely heavily on good placement (holes #1, #6, #14, and #18 are some of my favorites). Many holes are par 4's because of strategic difficulty rather than sheer length, which makes for a much more interesting and rewarding experience. Every birdie at Handyman is earned.
Two large and sturdily constructed concrete pads can be found on each tee, along with superior tee signs that are both attractive and informative. Routing could be confusing for first-timers, but visible next tee signs help put players on the right track. Every hole plays to Innova baskets with the potential for multiple basket positions.
In addition to the top-notch amenities, the course is well-maintained and drains well, with occasional mud but nothing that will ruin your shoes.
Cons: While the design of Handyman is the course's greatest strength, it's also HAH's greatest weakness. Disclaimer: although many (if not all) of my complaints were a result of the designers being handcuffed in some capacity, they still negatively affect the course.
There are a couple throwaway holes in #4 and #12, but without them it would be a VERY long walk between the front and back sections of the course. As it stands, some long walks to the next tee remain, but nothing that will leave you in agony or throw you out of a rhythm.
Holes #6-9 (especially the locally infamous #8) feature a "water" hazard that stinks to high heaven, and takes away from the otherwise pleasant woods. Hole #8 requires a not-insignificant carry over the widest part of this smelly creek, and if you throw your disc in the drink you'll have a very difficult time getting it out due to the 18 inches of muck beneath the shallow water. Don't throw a disc you can't afford to lose.
Finally, despite the thoughtful design, I personally feel that the course lacks the aesthetic "wow" factor. Unlike regional favorites Pike Lake and Idlewild, there aren't any breathtaking tee shots that make me pause and admire the natural beauty. As a discer who gives nearly as much consideration to the view as the gameplay, Handyman comes up a bit lacking.
Other Thoughts: Although I gave the course a 4.0, it really feels like a 4.25. Valid but nitpicky items keep HAH from a 4.5, but there's no doubt in my mind that Handyman was created as well as it could possibly be based upon the available land and restrictions placed upon the designers.
Bottom line: this is a SW Ohio must-play, and succeeds admirably as a difficult yet highly enjoyable wooded disc golf experience.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
I got Manhandled by Handyman
Pros: Very challenging course in a clean, well-maintained suburban park, pleasantly free of graffiti when I visited.
Great variety featuring densely wooded holes, varied terrain, and perhaps a couple of holes open enough to provide a break from playing lumberjack. Wonderfully designed to bring all available elements into play; uphill, downhill, over troughs/gulleys, pins on or near slopes or water to increase risk/reward possibilities. Water comes into in play a couple of different ways, as do OB, a mando, and a flat open field.
Fairway shapes run the gamut with left/right doglegs, fairways that hook hard, straight shots, some requiring more complex lines and more than a few blind pin placements. I wouldn't recommend playing solo your first time through. Some holes pretty much force one or two obvious lines. Others offer more choices, but all of them make you choose a strategy and execute off the tee.
Good mix of distances, but the Handyman doesn't offer up easy birdies - they gotta be earned. The Handyman works hard for a living. If you wanna earn his respect, you better work hard, too.
Dual tees offer different looks, lines and levels of challenge in addition to changing distance considerably. The whites were very challenging, often feeling longer than posted distances given the well-wooded nature of many holes - think placement over distance on these. The blues in the woods looked brutal for all but the most skilled players, requiring both distance and finesse - somewhat reminiscent of Nevin in that respect.
About half the holes feature pin placements which rotate from A to B periodically. I'd say the B's were tougher to reach than the A's more often than not.
Seems designer(s) brought the pond into play as best they could on hole 5 given the constraints they had to work with (apparently not allowed to have a hole play over the pond), and the OB created by walk/bike path makes sense and creates additional challenge given that wind can play a factor on that hole. Likewise, the Mando on hole 12 makes sense as well (see cons).
Equipment was in tiptop shape. Tee signs present at both sets of tees; blue markers show the hole in its entirety, with position of whites and both possible pin placements. Whites show both pins, but only white tees. Bright yellow Discatchers look new and are easy to spot anywhere. Concrete tees were in good shape.
Routing/Nav was a bit confusing a few times, but nothing you shouldn't be able to handle with the color scorecard w/map (and pencils) available at the kiosk near the parking lot. Good use of Next Tee signs and the easy to spot tee markers help keep you moving along.
Course is aestheically pleasing with hardwoods, hills, fields and creeks. Several bridges get you across the creek and add a bit of charm and ambience.
Cons: Way more right than there is wrong,but:
I'm all for well-wooded, challenging courses, but I thought some of the wooded holes were a bit unfair at points. I like the idea of making you hit a window off the tee, but hitting a window off the tee limits the trajectories you can put a disc on. It's frustrating to hit your window off the tee, only to run into a pinball machine further down the fairway - maybe I just picked the wrong window.
A sign at the kiosk (next to the parking lot) indicated the pins were in the "B" position. Great idea, except the pins were in position "A." Not a factor in my ratings as this may be a one- time deal, but there's no substitute for spotting the pin yourself.
Hole 12: anything right of the tree line is OB. The mando makes sense (keeps discs out of backyards), but the OB doesn't. Keep in mind that the pin's directly in line with a long, very straight line of pines. If you run at the pin from inbounds (i.e. left of the tree line) and it goes anywhere behind the pin, it's OB, and essentially forces a layup for a lot of upshots unless your drive puts you in position to putt.
I'd have preferred 1 or 2 more open "bomber" holes around the field, if only to privide a more complete, well rounded course.
There's nothing like the thrill of throwing over water. The powers that be may have prevented it, but that doesn't change the fact that it's not present - it merely explains/forgives it. I'm not beating anyone up over it, or blaming the designers for something they couldn't do (kudos for using it as best they could). It doesn't make the course worse, but there's no denying the course would be better if "they suddenly changed their minds." It's just frustrating to see it there and simply walk past it onto the next hole.
Other Thoughts: More challenging than it is fun (at least IMO), HAH is a championship caliber course that's well executed for the most part, and sure to frustrate beginners - thus I'd only recommend it for intermediate players and above. Keep in mind I played in the fall, with no foliage, and had some recovery shots that wouldn't be availble in the spring and summer. That said, I was also too aggressive off the tee.
Even if it left me a bit butt-sore, HAH shows what you can do when a great piece of property receives great treatment. My biggest gripe might turn out be one of this course's greatest strengths years down the road - it should age nicely and maintain its intimidating personality over the years as time and weather inevitably claim trees.
Not a quick round - expect to walk a few fairways the first couple of times you play here.
A few long walks between holes, but it seems they opted for that rather than connecting good holes with "meh" filler holes.
While I don't like the stagnant water on holes 7-9, the designer couldn't really do anything about it and overall, I'm actually glad it was brought into play on those holes.
An excellent course overall, HAH scores very high on my list in terms of shot variety (which forms the basis of my ratings) but falls short of phenomenal because of the way you can thread the first couple of needles off the tee and still end up playing plinko further down the fairway. If I come back to see this has changed over time, so will my rating.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Ya Better Think It Through!
Pros: Some of you might know about Toby Keith's "Songs from the back of the bus". One of the tunes has to do with 'complimenting' Willie Nelson for the potency of his, ahem (something that we're not technically supposed to discuss on this site). The title is, "I'll never smoke (ahem) with Willie again". Well, when it comes to this course in Fairborn, OH (just East of Dayton), I feel like Toby: I've just not developed the tolerance for how strong this course is. Don't get me wrong, it's amazing, but, as a sub-900 rated player, I'll paraphrase..."in the fetal position, with drool on my chin, I'll never play long tees in Fairborn again!" ;)
Handyman Ace Hardware DGC is one of the best supported in the region, has an incredible website (see links), and is intentionally being developed and refined to compare with other great Midwestern courses used for major competition, like Mt. Airy and Idlewild in Cincinnati, the Brent Hambrink Memorial in Columbus, and Seviren Lang or Charlie Vettiner in Louisville. From the long tees, and in the neighborhood of 8000 feet, this course is a true challenge to the talents of Advanced to Open disc golfers. Even from the short tees (over 6200 feet), it can be difficult for Recreational to Intermediate arms to get anywhere near course par (forget par 54, that's just going to bruise your ego).
From the kiosk (including really nice scorecards with a map) and practice basket at the spacious main parking lot, to the large, level, concrete tees (occasionally with a durable bench and trash receptacles), to each of the DISCatcher baskets, H.A.H. shows off the ongoing effort and commitment needed for a quality course. The holes have variety galore, considering there are already multiple tees and pin positions setting up entirely different lines as early as the second hole. Signage is excellent, showing each option, along with the obstacles, distances, and directions you'll need to reach the often blind baskets. You will work your way into and out of woods many different times, and even face water hazards on more holes than you expect. You'll see the pond on 5, but with or without tree hits on 6-10, you could go into one of the drainage/creeks. Even the long drives you'll face coming out of the woods on holes 3 and 4 demand very precise release points from the long tee.
The long tees will give you a number of memorable holes: 2 seems to have more wood than air as you try to fade left off the tee, and finishes hard to the right in the tricky pin position. 9 has a really challenging tee shot through a narrow gap, over a blind creek, and then a wide fairway zone to the basket that leaves a grove of trees to navigate, and the deep creek long to the right. Oh, and a ridge top basket with a smaller creek beyond. 11 is tight as heck if you take the direct route, while the short tee sets up a more generous second fairway to the left. The basket is still a couple of hundred feet beyond where these fairways converge. 18 long is a true finishing hole downhill through the woods with challenges galore if you don't have the skill to handle this one.
Cons: This course is improving as it gets into it's early maturing years, and some of the trees that made it formerly impossible, have been cleared to make it merely difficult. The trees that remain can be extraordinarily frustrating for players below advanced level skills (see below). And you do still need to watch out for the little stumps (now buried in fall leaves) as you work your way down the fairways. I only stubbed three toes my last time there.
The one thing that keeps striking me here is the occasional long walks transitioning to different parts of the course. I know however, that inserting an uncharacteristically short hole here and there might change the flavor of the place. Maybe there are some thoughts toward branching out in the future with a few letter holes (a la Idlewild?).
I know the design always has to work with what is given, but the deep water along holes 7-9 is kind of nasty, still, and a little trash-filled. If the parks department can ever do anything about making that a fresher body of water, the course would certainly benefit.
Other Thoughts: As a player making the transition from recreational to intermediate skills, this course requires me to play almost every hole for position. That is, with the exception of holes 8 and 16 short, I can only keep my score down by thinking, "what kind of tee shot is going to best set up a good approach for a three, and not get me into 4-5 (6, ugh 7?) territory?" And I believe that's what they intended to do here: to bring out a strong mental game for the majority of the competitive disc golf community. And maybe to set up a course where it would be fun to just watch the top tier players go after some real risk-reward opportunities (they have the skill set to attack this course in an entirely different way than the rest of us!).
So, a final thought: if you love a really challenging, woods course, and have really good control of all the different types of shots, plus the 'D' to shoot out through a tight gap and carry over 400', this may be the course for you. If you're just starting out, I might say wait to play this one until your skills match up to the potency of this (ahem).
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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