17 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -amazing property, beautiful scenery, great topography
-pronounced elevation features, woods, wide and narrow alleys, 2 creeks
-3 layouts, at least 2 concrete tees on each hole, signs at each tee
-very detailed tee signs plus directional signage throughout the course
-new discatchers in great condition
-great design, course flows well, legit par 4 and 5 holes
-the multi-shot holes are well-designed with fair landing zones and multiple routes to the basket
-great greens that incorporate the creeks and elevation
-a great challenge for any player at the appropriate tee
Cons: -the path from hole 12 to hole 13 crosses by the green for hole 14 but if you take the proper path from hole 12 you should be beyond the basket for 14
-on hole 18 the fairway on the right side of the creek is super tight, i felt like you have to go across the water. is it overly punitive for the left side of the creek to be OB?
-the parking lot is too small
-this long course can be a workout with all the steep hillsides and a round can take awhile to finish, especially if you find yourself off the fairway
-i was only here for a weekend and played the course twice after recent rain and snow. i didn't find it to be too muddy but there were lots of leaves on the ground to soak it up. the grass had been mowed fairly recently throughout the course, though other reviewers have noted long grass as an issue. maybe a local reviewer can comment.
Other Thoughts: This course is something special. I'm a big fan of John Houck's courses in general but this one is probably my favorite of the ones I've played. The piece of land the course occupies is full of all the features you want on a great disc golf course: winding creeks, steep elevation, tight woods, open meadows, and long, wide alleys. Houck crafts an exciting disc golf experience that exploits all these areas and the challenges they present, with all the usual finishing touches you would expect from a HouckDesign course.
The course features three layouts and there are at least two concrete tees on each hole. Five holes have a shared white and blue tee. Thirteen of the eighteen holes have a gold pin position for tournaments. There are detailed HouckDesign signs at each tee and there are navigational signs throughout the course as well. The discatchers are in great condition and there is a great course map at the kiosk next to the parking lot. Unfortunately, that parking lot is too small. The only other thing this course is missing is steps of some kind down the hill after the tee on hole 10 and perhaps on hole 15 going up the hill to the green. The creek crossings are manageable so long as the water level doesn't dramatically rise.
Each tee provides an appropriate challenge for its intended level. I played the red tees and the white tees (AM2 player) and enjoyed but was challenged both rounds. The par 4's and par 5's have clear and fair landing zones and usually multiple routes to the basket. They also have fair chances at birdie or even eagle on the par 5's. The design utilizes the creeks winding through fairways or next to greens, elevation off the tee and on the green, tight woods with well-defined tunnels, and long, wide tunnels (holes 11 and 12 remind me of Roy G in Austin). Hole 9 is a beast with long narrow tunnels through the woods and big elevation changes up and down along the way. Holes 3, 4, 7, and 8 are fun, shorter shots with pronounced elevation. The monster hole 18 combines the elevation, the creek, tight woods, and 870' from the blue tee for an arduous finish to the course. The tight woods on the right of the creek on the second shot really tempts you to go over the creek but it's OB on the left side of the creek so you've got to finish to the right. Makes for a really tough hole and I was just happy to finish with all my plastic.
I would drive a long way to play this course again. I drove a long way to play it the first time since I had a good friend temporarily living in Columbia but I could justify a trip back to central Missouri to come here and also hit Ozark Mountain. This course is a complete challenge and a true destination course. It has what I consider the perfect combination of my favorite elements on a disc golf course and deserves the 5 rating.
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17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Harmony Bends was never on my radar of must plays until I researched some of the courses on my travel route for a work trip. After researching the course and after talking to some locals in St. Louis, I was excited to see if the course lived up to the hype.
This is hands down one of the top 5 best courses I have ever played. I played the long tees and was incredibly impressed with the fair but challenging nature of every hole. Not a single hole was easy or a gimme but every hole was birdieable with precise throws.
The tee pads and tee sigs are probably the best I have ever seen. Between 2 and 5 per hole which gave a lot of options for players of various skill levels.
The fairways were well cut and didn't have too much or too little underbrush off the fairway...it really was manicured perfectly minus a few limbs I would like to have seen taken out (20 to 35 feet off the ground which makes them hard to remove).
Baskets were all level and in great shape. Greens were fair but treacherous on a few holes to add some pucker factor.
The use of rocks along holes like 1 and 18 was masterfully done. I have never seen a course that brought in so much rock for the use of transitions and aesthetics. Fantastic!
I really can't say enough about the pros of this course.
Cons: This course demands A TON of upkeep. Grass and trimming is a major undertaking. That being said, the front 9 was almost perfect. The back 9 however desperately needed mowing and trimming in several places. I threw a great tee shot on 15 that was in the middle of the fairway in 2 feet of grass that took me 20 minutes to find. Im sure the course crew has it in their schedule to get things cleaned up but it was pretty bad on several holes.
The transition that connects hole 12s basket to 13s tee pad crosses 14's fairway which is a design flaw. Holes 13 and 14 play too close to each other but they are both very pretty and solid par 3's. Its unfortunate that they basically fall on top of each other. Directional signage and yardage markers would be very helpful. Some of the par 4's and 5's are pretty long and markers every 100 feet or so would be an easy and helpful addition. The transition to hole 18 was a little confusing to a first time player.
The parking lot is very small but it looks like they can use the field for overflow/tournament parking which is great. I had to park my RV a few miles away because there was not enough room on site.
Other Thoughts: This course is a must play. It is obvious how much hard work, planning, and money went into this course to make it what it is. My hats off to the course designer and crew who designed this beast.
If you want a true measure of skill this course will challenge darn near everything you have.
This is a long course with a high par but is playable fairly quickly. I finished in under 1.5 hours playing by myself and spent over 20 minutes looking for a disc. Just over an hour for a par 68 is not too bad.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Not for Leisure Disc Golfer
0 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: Challenging course with multiple tee pads and multiple pin placements.
Seating at the long tee of every hole. Signage was absolutely amazing, couldn't have been better. Each pad had its own sign with ideal routes to the basket. After each hole signage was placed to direct you to the next pad you want to play.
Very clean park, even though there weren't trash cans.
Cons: Be ready to hike through the course. There are multiple HUGE holes and lots of elevation change, which is fantastic for someone who loves to disc golf.
You won't be able to get a quick round in if that is something your looking for.
Other Thoughts: Course was absolutely fantastic and if you are in Columbia its a must play if you are driving through.
0 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: This course was thought out very well. First time through and it seems well played for years.
Multiple Tee pads lets anyone challenge the course. Well defined and fair fairways that ups the ante with risk reward. Pin placements that gut check you every time. and not to mention you have to cross the creeks several times.
Cons: On 18 one of the few marked OB. I think the hole would play better if both sides of the creek are considered in bounds especially since you finish on the left side of the creek. Trash cans.
Other Thoughts: This course is a must if you are in the Mid-Missouri area. It is gorgeous. You will be mentally and physically challenged as this is a very tough terrain par 68
2 of 7 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 4 Not
The new gold standard
Pros: 3+ years of design and build are complete, this course is already near perfect. The length and elevation change make this course unique, all while playing through, around and over two creeks and two hills. There are 3 downhill tee shots that make you want to empty your bag. The par four's are legitimate, there are birdies available but the risk/reward has serious consequences, but even with the difficulty the course plays fair.
Cons: The only cons are the somewhat unfinished areas and projects. 2 sets of stairs that need to be put in, one after the tee on hole 10, and back up the hill on 15. There are a few areas that need some drainage ditches, and fairways that need reseeding, but when considering the amount of work that has been completed the finishing touches will make this course a guaranteed destination for disc golfers everywhere.
5 of 9 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Harmony Bend is stellar. It had been recommended to me while playing with a local at Indian Hills South in Marshall, and I am so glad I heeded this advice.
18 holes with 2 or 3 concrete tee pads on each. All tees have terrific new signs, giving you a great picture of what to expect and strategies showing best lines and landing zones. There are also long pin placements at every hole for the gold layout. I played the blue tees, but even from the shortest red tees it is lengthy and still pretty difficult.
The land Strawn Park sits on is really scenic and has a lot to offer with diverse, challenging terrain. Harmony Creek is in play on several holes, including 1 and 18. They would be long and technical with no water in play, but the stakes are raised by crossing the creek multiple times on each. On the back 9 you will also encounter Perche Creek, featured most prominently on hole 13.
Elevation changes are also fairly common, and can be drastic. There are places that are steep and sort of rocky sometimes. I love to see this on any course, and it is masterfully utilized here. Most of the holes on the front nine have this element, usually with significant rises or drops, and sometimes both.
I would have a very hard time selecting a favorite hole, there are so many great ones. The first and last holes are both pretty epic. The shortest holes 8 and 3 are very cool, with interesting contours and many trees. 4, 5, 7, and 10 have great elevation features, along with a few others. 9 is just a roller coaster ride.
Not repetitive from one hole to the next, and even the simpler holes are pretty good. If there are one or two average holes, I would say they are 6 and 14, but even they are pretty decent.
Cons: There were a few muddy patches when I made my trip to Columbia, but nothing too bad. Still very playable, just a little squishy here or there.
I would not take any newbies here to play. While it is not hard to appreciate the natural beauty, it is very long and easy to lose a disc or two if you have lack control. The water and trees could lead to a lot of frustration, even for more experienced players.
I lost my favorite driver on hole 7. I think it ricocheted to the right and nestled in the trees under leaves, but I didn't get a good spot on it. It is a champion Orc, neon yellow with a worn blue stamp, and my number was in the rim. I gave a reward to get it back once and would do it again.
Other Thoughts: I liked the way this course was set up. It did have a few narrow lanes at times, but usually the fairways were cut wide enough to at least offer a fair chance at a good drive or approach. Technical, but not do or die if you are slightly off line once in a while.
It is a par 68, nearly 9000' from the blue boxes. I ended the round at 72, with 5 birdies. I took penalties on two holes after losing discs, but I was able to find one of them after the round. Took a couple of double bogeys, as well as one triple bogey. Could have been under par if I were able to clean up those errors. I did shoot par on the back nine, which is a bit flatter and more open.
Mr. Houck has become very good at what he does, and I look forward to playing more of his designs in the near future. I would say Harmony Bends is my favorite of his so far, and also the best in Missouri out of the dozen or so I've been to.
If you have played WR Jackson at the IDGC, or Hobbs Farm Park in Carrolton GA, they compare nicely to this course. Par in the upper sixties, well thought out and fun to play, and generally awesome.
Of nearly 300 courses I have played, this one is probably top 5. Definitely top 5%. Truly worth a trip if you're way into disc golf. A must play.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
Mammoth Missouri course measures up
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Excellent course design that includes challenging elevation, enjoyable lines and tricky approaches.
The variety of holes is befitting of a championship-level course. Each hole features demanding challenges - each hole is not only different, but on many holes, there are multiple options of lines to choose en route to the basket. Choose wisely as accuracy is paramount to scoring well.
In addition, the amenities are incredible - each hole features beautiful signage at each of three enormous teepads. A detailed "Next Tee" sign is near each basket. A practice basket in a wide open area is available near the parking lot.
The attractive menagerie of streams, rocks and trees means the course is eye-catching regardless of the season.
Cons: Extremely muddy in spots. If rain or snow has fallen recently, you'll likely find your shoes caked with slippery, sticky mud as you traverse the course.
Hole 18 is a threat to ruin your round with its proximity to the creek. While I can appreciate a challenging hole, one stray branch can result in dunking your disc into the water, and with the slippery and steep banks, retrieving your disc will require some effort.
No trash cans on the course, but there are several at the parking lot, so be considerate and don't litter.
Other Thoughts: Harmony Bends features many qualities of a top-rated disc golf course in addition to many of the amenities that give disc golf courses that extra special quality.
I could tell immediately this course was brilliantly-designed. As I traveled the course, I searched for reasons to downgrade its impeccable ranking - but I couldn't find any.
Of the 70-plus courses I had played to date, only one merited a perfect rating - Idlewild in northern Kentucky.
I now add a second course to that list.
Harmony Bends is an incredible physical and mental challenge, and this Missouri mammoth of a course delivers on its "destination" description and deserves a 5.0 rating.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: True Championship Course
Must play golf the whole round and strategize where to land and how to approach.
Tough, but FAIR lines
I have not had the pleasure of playing many of the top courses around the world, so for now, this is the best course I have played.
It felt like every hole would be a "signature" hole on an average course
Unbelievable amount of excavating and work went into each tee pad, green, etc. The course was just put in the summer of 2016 and it did not feel that way with the bridges, giant boulders to prevent erosion, signage, etc. This was designed with a real budget from the City of Columbia I suppose.
I played the longs and it shot 69 - 1 over course par of 68. This is not an easy course to play blind, and my round was mediocre for my playing ability, but it's a true par 68 and it's not a 10 down kind of 68.
Since the area is not a multiuse park it feels like a dedicated piece of pristine disc golf property with the winding creek, elevation and beautiful old growth Midwestern forest.
Cons: If I had to pick one I would say the course looses some luster when you get down in the "bottoms". It just did not have the same majestic feel and it would certainly be damp after a rain, but a previous reviewer cited a 24 hour drainage period. With that said, the holes are great, I just think there is about 5 or 6 holes that don't "feel" as majestic. The holes themselves are fantastic - as is every hole.
Hole 18 is really hard. It may be the only hole I felt was a little lucky, but again, I played blind and in retrospect played it incorrectly. the creek winds through the whole fairway and there are multiple lines to throw - I'm just not sure which one to take. I wish I would have known about the secret disc retriever in the tree as a previous reviewer pointed out. The walls to the creek in some areas are about 10 feet of vertical mud. My brother had to dig a large branch into the creek bottom while I scaled the mud wall barefoot holding on to the stick to get my disc. Good news is I landed in the shallows, but it sucked to retrieve - if you have a retriever or if you find the secret one - it will be very handy here.
Other Thoughts: This course is right off of !-70 so if your traveling by stop and play it. I have traveled a bit and am from St. Louis which has some really good courses, but this one is far and away the best I've played. There are others like it in the country I have yet (hopefully) to play, but I think it will make most peoples top 5, or at lest top 10 for the most well traveled.
Mr. Houck really knows what he is doing.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: This is a PDGA pro tour championship level course.
Just to re-iterate this course is the real deal. This is not your typical course that's tucked in the middle of a community park. Harmony Bends is scenic, challenging and offers the full variety of shots.
The location is great, it's just far enough off the beaten path for you to feel like you're on a small hike, or nature walk. While still being close enough to not be a hassle!
Exponential replay value. Blue/White tee's are typically similar shots.However playing a round from the short red tee's is almost like playing a new course with 18 new tee shots.
The majority of water is very shallow (inches deep) and you can easily retrieve your discs. ***Disclaimer*** there are random deep spots that are 5-10ft+ deep.
Variety is the spice of life: you will use every shot in your arsenal before you leave.
Columbia Disc Golf Club / locals are very friendly & healthy disc golf community.
Show Me Disc Sports is a dedicated disc golf store that is less then a 10 minute drive on i-70 from the course.
This course has the intangibles.
Cons: As I mentioned earlier, there are a few deep spots of water.
18 is a hole where if you throw some average shots, you can end up in the water 3 times easily. It's very very tough. It can put a damper on a otherwise fun game.
If you're a player who is exceptionally prone to frustration or "tilt" then be mentally prepared. There's nothing wrong with that, at times I can be myself. I only bring it up because, you should know going in, its VERY easy to get slapped around by the course. Particularly from the Blue tee's.
It's a relatively clean course. But there is a small amount of trash that shows up. Irks me to death because its such a nice course.
***Posion Ivy & Stinging Nettles***
Holes 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 will be covered in these evil plants in mid summer. As a local, let me tell you.
It's. A. Bad. Time.
Other Thoughts: There's a makeshift disc retriever in the big tree by the basket on 18!
Copperheads in fall
7 of 9 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Amazing use of terrain
Pros: This is a dedicated DG park. It is a refreshing change compared to most parks with oblivious walkers loitering in fairways and dog walkers leaving feces everywhere. Walkers still pop up sometimes, but it's rare. There is no mulituse path, no tennis courts, nothing to interfere with the game! Very welcomed change compared to Oakland top course and Indian HIlls.
Easy to get to from the highway or town.
Extremely few instances where other groups will interfere with your throw. The course is designed with plenty of buffer and woods between holes, poor throws don't have much chance of getting into adjoining fairways. On the same subject, a game can be played without seeing anybody else. This gives the course a fantastic private feel, even when busy.
Multiple teepads offer a fresh game without waiting for the club to move baskets. Nice concrete pads that are level and large. No off camber pads , even though the course is rarely flat play.
Absolutely stellar use of the terrain, trees, creeks, and pin locations. Many pins located where you MUST play smart or face OB and rollaway / lost discs.
Massive old trees abound, the majority of the course is fully shaded. Some huge cottonwood and sycamore groves in the floodplains. Fairways 1, 7, 10, 12, and 15 get full sun at high noon, but most have shade on the edges for staying cool.
Variety of short and long shots from all pads. It does not play monotonous like many courses that seem to just rehash the same shot on every hole.
Favorable drives for backhand or forehand on most holes. Plenty of right fading shots keep it challenging for skilled players.
Variety. Elevated teepads, downhill drives, uphill drives, flat holes, short holes, really long holes. Variety like no other! No two holes play the same.
It's difficult. Seriously difficult. But that is why it is excellent! Between the variety and superb design, it won't lose luster for a long time.
Cons: The hiking can be difficult. This is not a good course for a cart in some areas, but maybe this is just poor cart design. The area is quite rocky. Holes 8 and 15 have steep sections that cannot be avoided, and could not be steeper and stay usable. They are not easy to navigate with any moisture, yet I've done it plenty with no issue. I expect some erosion or addition of stairs in certain locations. Edit: stairs have been built on 10 and are planned for 15.
There is one point where you walk across another fairway. Walking from 12 to 13 crosses over 14. Use caution! There is a sign there to remind you, but you know how people pay attention...
Some of the course will flood out. There will be 9 holes at all times though. Update: it takes 24 hours to fully drain from flood. If you don't like playing when it's wet or muddy, the course is really no worse than any other. It seems to be playable faster than other local courses because of the sandy and well drained topography. The city has been working to fix low points that hold water.
Because of the lower sections, there are mosquitoes. A towel works excellent to swat them away.
Heavily wooded also means easy to loose discs. Less skilled groups will need to use spotters or throw very carefully . I can't stress enough that this course will be very difficult for beginners. But this downfall is also what creates the fantastic private feel and interesting play, more skilled players will not find this a problem.
Other Thoughts: Bring lots of water! It is a long hike. I generally drink 16 to 24 ounces of water each round.
Bring some spare discs. I have lost 3 in 3 days of play, being too aggressive with shots near water. Totally my fault for making risky shots.
Play with a skilled group of two to four is about 2.5 hours. One person can play in 1.5 hours without too much hurry, but a brisk walk to cover ground.
I have met players from many states in just a few days, and they are absolutely fanatic about the course! A few comments have been made about it being the best course they have played. I agree.
Par from the Red pads is too generous IMO. I am a beginner and played below par the first time playing them. The locals have started playing these as par 54, a game I find very fun. It would be fair to play par about 58 strokes too, because 900 foot holes are a bit too much for par 3!
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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