3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Before I jump into the review, let me just say that I can't give a hole by hole breakdown on this course as I would like because my round was fairly rushed. I didn't get to play in the tournament, but got to the course very early on Sunday morning and had to finish before the 9:00 finals began. Hopefully, I'll get to play in the tournament next year and I'll update this review with more details. With that said, here are the highlights of this phenomenal course:
+ It's hard to believe this urban park has the space for 20 fantastic disc golf holes, including four par 4's and a par 5. It's not as long as the Airborne at WakeMed pop-up course, but it's much closer to that in length and in feel than to, say, DUO. Of the pop-up courses I've played (Forest Hills, Airborne at WakeMed, Goldsboro Muni, and DUO) I would rank Forest Hills at the top or perhaps 1B to DUO's 1A, simply because DUO is so unique. (And Forest Hills would be much better as a permanent course in that I actually think it would work as a permanent course! That would be impossible for DUO, of course.) If you can't play in the tournament, at least try to bag Forest Hills on the Friday rec play day before the tournament or do what I did and rush through a round Sunday morning before the finals.
+ Park golf or ball golf style course, with fairways wide enough to match the length of the hole, but enough trees to make fairways challenging and fair. Rope-marked OB adds to the challenge.
+ There are a few excellent island holes defined by OB rope, plus one in a roundabout. The island hole in the roundabout was one of my favorite holes. Hole 17 has a big swath of OB in the middle of the hole: a creek with lots of rough on either side of it. There's a gap to play through over the bridge. It feels like an island hole, if it's not technically one.
+ The finishing hole is the shortest hole on the course, but it's a tricky double mando and a real tester.
+ My favorite hole is the only par 5, playing past a mando tree on the tee shot. I don't have a big arm, but I threw driver, driver, fairway drive, stayed in the fairway, and made the birdie to the elevated basket.
+ There's great variety here in the types of shots you need off the tee: hyzer, anhyzer, straight, flex, roller.
+ This is a challenging course, but it's not so daunting that rec or intermediate players shouldn't try it out (including in the tournament). I shot a rushed +5 without ever seeing, walking, or playing the course before. (I'm a mid-800's rated player right now.) I think par is about a 900-rated round. In other words, par is very doable for intermediate players. Forest Hills is a good challenge, but not brutal.
+ There's not a ton of elevation here, but they used what they had. There are a couple of uphill holes and a couple of very fun downhill holes.
+ The fun factor of this course is super high.
+ Beautiful, well-maintained urban park with lots of mature trees and big oaks.
+ I've played a few hybrid courses on current or former ball golf courses. This is my favorite of all of those courses, both in rating and in how fun the course is. I think the reason is, it's been so long since this park was a ball golf course that there are lots of huge oak trees and other mature trees so that's it's not *too* open. Yet it's also a very long course. It's just right in the sweet spot. Fantastic course. It's not hyperbole to say that if Forest Hills was a permanent course with real tee pads, it would be my favorite course in the Triangle and perhaps favorite course period.
Cons: I really only have a few nit-pick con's:
- It's a temp course. (I know I can't be the first person to ask, but is there any way Durham could make this park a permanent disc golf course? Pretty please!)
- Being a temp course, the tees are natural/grass. I played on the last day the course was open for the year and the tee areas were sort of torn up and muddy. They were still level and fine, so not terrible, just not to the level of permanent concrete or rubber pad tees.
- There is some thick rough and underbrush bordering a few holes. Again, the fairways are very fair and wide enough for you to avoid the nasty stuff, but if you do get in there, there are some briars and there is a risk of disc loss. (My son lost one.)
- Being an urban park, a few holes are adjacent to streets. There is some traffic noise. And you have to cross the road a few times to get to the next hole. One of those crossings is a secondary road and can be busy. For the roundabout hole, I'm not sure if the roads are shut down for the tournament or not. (I think not, so you may need a spotter to make sure it's clear.) At least on this hole, they are neighborhood streets and not busy.
- I'm sure navigation is easy for the tournament players, but for rec play, if there are no other players on the course, it's tricky. There are some long walks in between a few holes. I recommend printing off a map before you play.
Other Thoughts: When I read the first and only review of this course saying it would be the "Best in North Carolina" if it was a permanent course, I'll admit I was skeptical. After playing it, I would disagree that it would be the "Best in NC," but I was certainly pleasantly surprised and Forest Hills blew away my expectations. To date, I've played half of the top 25 courses in NC on DGCR and 6 of the top 10. Forest Hills is right up there and in my top 5. Don't miss it when it comes around every fall!
Two more miscellaneous notes, if you would indulge me:
1. As we rushed to finish our round before the tournament, and as players began practicing and warming up for the finals, Nathan Queen was on the 19th tee throwing practice drives. He was super chill and nice and chatted with us about the tournament. You would never know he was tied for the lead going into the final round. And *he* let *us* play through, even though he was a paying customer and trying to win the tournament! We were just interlopers! We thanked him and told him to "Take it down." Sure enough, he did just that. Congrats to Nathan on the win.
2. I didn't plan very well on my 100th course. It turned out to be a dinky 2-hole practice course. But I did pretty darn well with my 100th review. Forest Hills is awesome.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 9 Not
It's Disc Golf Heaven
Pros: This is one of the most fair and beautiful courses I've ever played. It's challenging and it can whip you pretty quickly, but it's so fun you don't mind getting whipped. Not a single bad hole!! (Ok, I have some designer bias there)
Cons: Natural tees (temp course) and only open about 5 days a year.
Other Thoughts: Simply put, if this course was permanent, it would be a 5 and THE best course in NC.
2 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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