Alcoa: A Lovely Course Offers Assortment
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The Claytons is the fantastic result of a carefully crafted and well-designed course. Two thumbs up to Clayton Homes and the city of Alcoa for their efforts.
Hole #18 is the signature hole on this course. The over-the-creek and through-the-woods drive on the last hole is an excellent finishing hole that will prompt emotions of delight or disaster. Depending on the time of year, you may be able to retrieve your disc from the creek if your drive ends in a splash.
The picturesque Hole #1 is a fun start. Not only does the short basket offer the possibility to begin with a precious birdie (while making an ace run), the entire hole is visible from the parking lot. I've enjoyed arriving at the course and just watching other disc golfers throw on Hole #1 while I stretch and practice putting.
Plenty of variety on the front nine. The wooded holes provide excellent diversity in distance and design. Elevation is used wisely and while a few holes might present a bit of "poke and hope," most of the wooded holes are a fair test of one's accuracy. Hole #7 is a fun 231-foot shot to the short basket which requires navigating a few trees while throwing over a chasm.
Outstanding teepads and signage. Nearly every teepad is covered in artificial turf, which is a special amenity that adds to the experience. More courses should follow this example.
Hole #9 ends near the parking lot, allowing for a quick round.
Cons: Filler holes. While The Claytons makes good use of the available territory, several holes on the back nine are obvious connectors to the next hole. Holes #11 and #12 are fairly open and not very interesting. And Hole #17 is a wide-open 525-foot hole, but it does offer a fun basket location on the side of a hill. The course experience might be slightly improved by playing the back nine first, allowing disc golfers to warm up their arm before tackling the technical and wooded front nine.
Lots of walking, especially on the back nine. Be prepared for a hike if you play all 18 holes. The walk from Hole #18 back to parking lot is a trek too.
Other Thoughts: The quality of disc golf has significantly improved in the Greater Knoxville area recently. The three times I've played The Claytons has been coupled with a round at Tommy Schumpert Park in north Knoxville.
I agree with reviewer BogeyNoMore's assessment - this course is close to a 4.25; however, I can't round up when several filler holes detract slightly from the overall awesomeness of this course. But the variety and amenities are top-notch. The disc golf at The Claytons is fun too.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Very well marked and beautiful course
2 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: This course provides a lot of variety. The first half is within the woods for the most part. Lots of elevation changes and interesting basket locations. The second half consists of long distances in the open. Both my wife and I enjoyed the course immensely. She is a newer player and still did pretty well.
Cons: The elevation changes and natural walking paths can put a bit of wear and tear on your knees and lower back. If there has been any snow or rain recently, be careful of the slippery mud or you could easily twist an ankle or go for a tumble.
Other Thoughts: The course was covered in a few inches of snow when we played. It was still very beautiful and an enjoyable time. The course is well marked and you can tell it is maintained and taken care of. I highly recommend playing this course if you're in the area.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The Claytons has two sets of permanent baskets on every hole, short are coated blue, and long in green. Most tees are covered with the artificial turf, which I like a lot. A couple were concrete, also good. All tees had illustrated signs, and additional signage directing on longer transitions between holes.
Converging 9's on opposite sides of a corporate campus that is well suited for the sport. Very well designed, and nicely maintained. Clean and visually pleasing. Major props all around to the all involved.
Front and back nine contrast in respect to amount of trees, but the water, elevation, and fair but challenging layout continues throughout. I would describe the blue, short layout as difficult, yet fun and fair. I could imagine the green has to be frustrating at times, maybe even for the best of the best. All holes are good, most are really fun, and 18 is epic. One of the great finishing holes you will see, in my opinion.
Cons: There are physically demanding portions, and long walks between the front and back halves of the course, and in between holes at points. Maybe too hard for some of the youngsters or beginners. Parts of the back 9 are wide open, even when long or with elevation, not quite as fun as more wooded front nine to me.
Other Thoughts: The Claytons is kind of 2 courses in one. The question you need to ask yourself is how tough are you?
Initially I didn't recognize there were 2 targets on each hole, and set my aim on the first basket I saw. Decent drive, missed putt, comeback for par. After pulling my disc from the blue target and moving toward hole 2, the green target comes into sight. Since there was local doubles action starting soon, I just decided to go with it. This was a happy coincidence because those green targets are not for wimps! I ended up being happy not tacking on anymore distance.
Alcoa was starting to get cold, and I arrived earlier than is normal for me, about 5 untill 9 AM. This was old school waiting for the bus in the morning cold. I was surprised to find out there were 4 groups that beat me out there. With the gathering of players building for doubles, it was evident that this course sees a lot of traffic, and with very good reason. It is a great, fairly long course using the blue pins, and if you're feeling randy, plays much longer to the green pins, and strategically there are changes also.
I had the incredible fortune to get three nice throws in front of an audience of strangers at the park that day. The first one came as I approached two pairs of guys playing separately, both allowing me to play through on hole 3. I tossed a Vibram mid range disc, and gave it a legit run at the chains, on a steeply downhill and heavily wooded fairway. A friend gave me that disc, and I kind of really like it. Felt great to convert on the putt for a birdie to cap it off, too.
The second nice throw was past a dude just walking the course to make sure everything was in order for league play. Hole 6 is where I caught up with him I think. Nice, fairly flat, left to right through well cut fairway in heavy woods. A good RHBH anny, well placed but not spectacular. He says "that is just how you want to play it." This hole the blue is on a longer pole, and the only shot was a conservative approach to get a close lie and easy par putt.
Third one, and the most awesome, was on hole 18. It is at the crest of a tall hill, bare of trees until you reach the bottom, next to a healthy running creek that is lined with tall trees. From the tee you are almost level with the tops of those trees, and they are a good 250-300' from the tee to clear it all. A guy was playing solo in front of me on the last 4 or 5 holes, and he didn't make it quite to the other side. I crushed a magnificent drive as he was heading over the river and through the woods to look for his plastic.
It was listed as 412' to the blue on DGCR app, and I got about 395' or so with help from the massive downhill elevation change and making a great flex shot. It was the ideal line, center of the gap, and just enough snap to reach the base of the hill that sits mostly behind the short pin, rising to the parking lot. I passed the guy, kind feeling bad for going around, but mostly stoked on the killer throw, and a little tense about making the putt. Luckily, I converted that one for a birdie also. The same dude was returning to his vehicle as I was driving out, and gave a nod as we passed. He was a witness. He thought it was pretty cool, too, I think.
Favorite holes were 3, and 18. I would like to check out the green layout at least once. This was the first of 3 courses in the Eastern end of Tennessee that I played that day. All were amazing, and the mountains are beautiful. If you have not been there, you should check it out. It will not be a disappointment, I promise.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Very well kept, the marking is good, tee signs are excellent
Cons: Long walk from hole 18 back to Hole 1, VERY long and challenging for beginners, even from the "easy" pins
Other Thoughts: Very long and challenging, but overall a high caliber course, the front wooded 9 are especially nice, easy to lose a disc on hole 18 in the river, although I made the gap and landed my tee shot about 50 feet from the pin, yay!
0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Technical Front, Biiig Back
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Tees are turf that always grip, two prodigy baskets for every hole. This is a fantastic course that will appeal to every level of player. Front 9 is in the woods with well laid out holes that offer multiple lines to most pins. Back 9 opens up big time, couple fun holes, 18 throwing across the creek is probably the signature but there is an alternate tee for this one if you don't have the arm to make it, you'll see this on the walk from 11 to 12. Very nice views from the 10 tee pad, great spot to empty your bag if there are no groups behind you. Two practice baskets to throw between near the tee for 1.
Cons: I can't give this course higher than a 4 because a) there is a giant parking lot in the middle of the course that is full and busy all week b) a highway right next to it c) the back 9 can become kind of boring and d) this course needs time to wear in, maybe some changes are in order, I don't know but it's missing something that other courses in the area like Tommy Schumpert and The Mounds both have and the Claytons just don't got it.
Other Thoughts: I didn't like this course much at first, but it grew on me quite a bit and may grow on me more. At the end of the day it's a championship level course that will undoubtedly host some great tournaments and bring attention to the growing disc golf hub that is Knoxville and for that reason I give it major props. Come play this one if you haven't yet!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Excellent overall course
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Amazing mix of holes, front 9 almost exclusively technical wooded holes where the back 9 is almost all open distance holes
Wonderful tee pads, all concrete and vast majority have artificial turf to keep grip
Excellent baskets, all very new prodigy with tons of chains to stop the disc
Appropriately parred, there was a couple that were far too easy but could have just been a nice tee off
Challenging, not send you home crying but enough to make you work to keep on track for par
Some very memorable moments, such as the grand finale 18 from a mound way above the pin over a creek and through a small clearing in the trees
Cons: Honestly I don't have many bad things to say about this course. Although it is a massive course, and physically grueling with all the hills. I say this more as a precaution instead of a con, but bring lots of water.
Other Thoughts: Awesome awesome course. I really enjoyed playing it and will definitely go back, but didn't realize how much I enjoyed it until writing this review. There is very little negative feedback about the course, although I have only played it once and just played the short pins. I can not wait to go back and play the long pins. Easily one of the best courses in knoxville and I have played for many years. Can't wait to go try the longs. What are you waiting for??? Go play this course!!!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Between the blue and green baskets combined with the open and wooded holes, there are sure to be at least a few holes to please everyone and the rest will be well liked. Fantastic tee pads, variety of elevation changes, and great basket locations makes this a fantastic course. I'm just a beginner playing about 6 months with a typical throw being in the 150'-170' range and I had a blast make a few pars and even a birdie to keep the excitement level up.
Cons: Going from 9 -> 10 and 11 ->12 was a bit confusing the first time around. Directional arrows hanging from the baskets on those two would be nice.
Other Thoughts: Would be nice if a link was made to the local DG group. My schedule was wide open during the week so could have changed when I played to meet up with someone. If a link was available, it may have been possible to join up with someone. This is true for anyone who is traveling.
I'll be back as this was one of the best courses I've played to date.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Great turf tee pads. Beautiful wooded front nine. Beautiful wide open back nine. The baskets are like new. Nice that the short and long baskets are different colors. Grassy areas are very well maintained.
Cons: No arrows to next tee pads, although it is pretty intuitive. After finishing number 9, had difficulty finding number 10.
Other Thoughts: A beautiful and challenging course. Had a great time.
0 of 6 people found this review helpful.
An Amazing Place to Play
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -Incredible artificial turf tee pads. Played right after a big storm and never slipped one time. I didn't think I would like them but now I'm a believer. Tee pads are also surrounded by mulch and look very pleasant and add to the overall aesthetic of he course.
-Dual baskets on each hole and nice signs with par, yardage and clear markings of both baskets. On most holes, the long baskets are clearly more challenging than the short baskets and would make the hole play much differently.
-Beautifully manicured course. Wooded holes have well defined fairways and never feel overly punishing. Open holes have well defined fairways as well and remind you of a ball golf course with deep rough for truly errant shots. It is not marked as such, but I assume rough could play OB for tournament play.
-Bench at every tee
-Disc drop located at a kiosk near the first tee
-Nice prodigy baskets. Some have complained of them being a little stiff and experiencing pop outs but I feel like they are pretty broken in now. I would still putt with some authority to avoid any unfortunate chain outs.
-Two practice baskets for putting.
-Baskets are often placed somewhat precariously (but fairly) and make approaches and putting a little more challenging without being unreasonable.
-The course is challenging but accessible. I feel like it's a good challenge for advanced players but still fun and fair enough for intermediate players to shoot near par. Beginners will really struggle with the length of some of the back 9.
-Elevation on many holes to that can make them deceptively challenging.
- #18 is truly a signature closing hole and very memorable.
Cons: These are few and far between. The most notable con would be the lack of restroom access. It's a large course and requires a lot of walking but there is nary a restroom to be found. Likewise, there are no water fountains so come prepared with water.
-in order to practice lengthier approaches to the practice baskets, you need to throw across the fairway of #1. Bottom line the practice baskets are somewhat awkwardly placed.
-#18 (though an amazing closing holes) is not very forgiving and definitely not beginner friendly. There is an alternate tee/drop zone so that helps some.
-Not really a con so much as a warning, but the course has some pretty intense elevation in spots and the back nine is long and hot in the heat of the day.
Other Thoughts: I've played around thirty courses and this is hands down my favorite. Now in fairness , I haven't had the chance to play many of the big name courses yet (Flip City. Idlewild, Selah Ranch, etc...) but my two rounds at the Claytons were the best disc golf experiences I've had. I love the aesthtic and cleanliness of the course As I said before, it feels like a ball golf course at times with its manicured fairways and layered rough. it really feels like you have really done something when you finish. It's a course that requires many different types of shots In the woods and challenges your approach game when the course opens up on the back 9. I live about an hour and a half away and it is well worth the drive.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 4 Not
Fantastic, a must-play
Pros: So much attention to detail...very manicured. You will use every shot in your arsenal: hyzers, annys, rollers, downhill straight shots, etc... There are two baskets per hole, so you can choose your level of difficulty.
With exception of the first hole, the front nine is in the woods, and is very peaceful. There are straight uphill shots, down hill, up and down :)
The back nine are more open, but not necessarily easier.
It is the cleanest course, and is located on Clayton Homes business ground. Everything is well marked, no trash on the grounds, map at the start, and practice baskets.
Cons: It had just rained a good bit the few days prior. There was mud, and flooding in some parts, though I tended to avoid it if I was inbounds. I lost a disc on 18 due to the stream/river being so much larger than anticipated. It had risen above a walking path, and light poles for that path.
You'll do some walking across the business campus when you're done with 18, unless, before hole 10, you drive your vehicle closer to 18.
4 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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