Throwing Zingers Like You're Dolly Madison
Pros: University Park at James Madison is a fun, challenging 9-hole course. You better be in shape, or you'll get a complete workout while only playing a half-course.
- This is a hilly, wooded layout. From the parking lot, you walk up a hill...and then you walk straight up the hill to play hole #1. The good news is that you can roll downhill on hole #2, and end up back in the parking lot.
- Course's biggest challenges center around the elevation factor. Uphill shots are going to be woefully short; downhiller or sidehillers could sail away from you if you're not careful. Throw in some unlucky bounces off trees and you might end up with some crazy second shots.
- The fairways are more than fair, even with the number of trees in play. There's little to no underbrush on most holes. So even on the holes I missed the fairway, I still had lines towards the basket, being able to salvage par.
- The scenery and natural feel is wonderful. From the opening field (#1 tee & #2 basket), you get an amazing view back over the town and of the mountains in the distance. You're also above all the noise of the interstate and other roads, so it's quite peaceful.
- #7 & 8 were my favorite two holes on the course. Two downhillers with #7 being a slight dogleg right (short tee) and 8 being a more dramatic dogleg left. On both holes, you're far better off going dead straight than curving off too early and ending in the woods. For me, and my exhausted self, these were the closest things I had to birdie chances during the round.
- Great tee signs. They're simple, clear, and concise descriptors of the hole, and of the next tee. You could easily decipher how the fairway was shaped, and where you should place your shot. Some tee signs get too complicated and aren't helpful. These signs were the perfect mix of simple and informative.
Cons: The holes started blending together as they all started feeling similar. Both uphillers play the same: throw long, throw a second shot and have an easy putt for 3. Other holes all have the same strategy, even if they're different: throw straight, and you'll have a long birdie putt or a simple up-and-down. There wasn't a secret sauce for this course.
- Holes do play close together. If this course ever has much traffic, you'll need to keep an eye out for players on other holes.
- No benches, trash cans, or other ammenities on the course itself. You're 3 minutes from gas stations and restaurants, so it's not a real issue.
- Course is technically private. I was the only vehicle in the parking lot when I played on a Sunday afternoon. You may have more issues trying to play and/or park here during busier times. I suspect the less attention you draw to yourself, the less chance you'll have an issue playing.
Other Thoughts: James Madison's 9-holer is a fun, quick play. It'd be fun seeing an 18-hole version of this course.
- This is an easy course to get to, less than 5 off of I-81. If you're driving the interstate and need an excuse to stretch your legs, this is a good place to stop for 30 minutes.
- This was a good compliment to Westover Park 10 minutes away. The drive between courses took me right past campus and through the historic downtown. There were some good looking spots to stop and grab a bite and brew. I did stop by Kline's Dairy Bar, a fantastic ice cream shop that makes a wonderful, cheap peanut butter milkshake. On a 90-degree afternoon, that was the perfect food choice.
- This is one of the better 9-hole courses I've played. That said, there is a lot of unused woods in this entire area. I like this as a 9-holer. I like the idea of this being a great 18-hole layout even more.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
A really nice 9 holer
Pros: This course has [almost] everything you'd want in a top-caliber 9-hole course.
Firstly, there are actually 18 permanently installed DISCatchers. The concept of two baskets per hole, permanently installed at that, is a little foreign for me. It can't truly call itself, or even function as an 18 for tournaments and such, but does provide consistent variety.
The tee pads are very well made, large and concrete. I love seeing Virginia use concrete pads as that is what I'm used to in NC courses. It's without a doubt the best surface to throw from and I appreciated it greatly.
The tee signs and other amenities (trash/recycling) were among the best I've ever seen. You can tell a lot of care was taken to make things look professional here and it really pays off. I'd be proud to call it my home course.
Flashbacks of NC courses abound out here. Steep elevation changes and tight wooded shots are the norm.
There is ample challenge out here, especially with the longer pin positions. There are a few risk/reward shots that will have you second-guessing. Birdie's aren't gimmies and will have to be earned.
Cons: There isn't the variety I'd like to see in a top-notch course. Sure, there are 9 alternate baskets, but they're still just alternate wooded locations in most cases. I'd like to see a few "open" holes, but I doubt this plot of land has anything to offer for that.
The location is at the very end of an athletic-field setup and honestly a little odd if you ask me. It's located essentially at the back end of a student parking lot on the hill.
I don't have much more in the way of cons. Everything is there to keep me coming back, but the lack of variety is what'll keep me from doing it often. You won't test all of your game here, but what you do test, you'll thoroughly enjoy doing it.
Other Thoughts: You can tell whoever put this in knew what they we're doing. Their hands were likely tied when it came to available land, as this is on a college campus, but they did a great job with what they had.
If, by chance, their hands weren't tied, I'd recommend trying to get a legit 18 hole course in with more shot variety. They already have the baskets, it would simply be a logistical issue. Good luck!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 4 Not
Better than expected
Pros: Variety of shots and elevation. Used a whole bag of tricks.
Cons: 9 holes but the multiple pins helps with that but they're still the same holes just with a 10-20% difference.
Other Thoughts: Overall this is one of my favorite 9 hole courses that I've played. The tight woods forces accuracy. The elevation changes force good disc selection. I like a course that punishes a mistake and your score can get up there at University Park when that happens.
0 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Good use of small property
Pros: Great tee pads and signs. Great parking area. Score cards on the first tee box. Challenging fairways, must use control and placement on every hole.
Cons: This is a new course and you can tell. They need to do quite a bit of cleanup on the fairways. There are still some small trees that probably need to be removed before they grow and really disrupt the fairways. Lots of debris on the ground. One hole plays vey near an apartment complex and discs can go down. This could be a major problem eventually. They need to put a fence up to protect the apartments.
Other Thoughts: There were lots of bugs, it is played entirely in the woods for the most part. One plays from open into the woods and nine plays from woods out into the open. There are nine holes, but two placements for each hole ( short and long). I liked this course and it is a good alternative to Westover if you are in the area. I will definitely be playing this one again.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 1 Not
New course at JMU
Pros: Nice use of terrain and vegetation. Concrete pads. Alternate pin positions. Lots of parking. Flow from one hole to the next fairly obvious
Cons: Didn't yet have sign posts in place. Only 9 holes. No water or restrooms near the course (though there should be some at the sports pavilion, I didn't check.) A lot of trees were cut down around #9, which has opened the hole up too much, in my opinion.
No benches, or bag hooks, but it is early yet on this course.
Other Thoughts: I played in the winter, so the trees had not yet leafed out, which may affect visibility.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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