Top of the class Hybrid Course!
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The Arsenal at Southern Hills Golf Course is one of, if not THE, best "mostly open" course I've ever played. I've played many hybrid courses, and many open bomber courses over the years, but The Arsenal stands out in a few different ways.
First, It's EXTREMELY long and demanding. Thinking back, I'm pretty sure the Black tees are the longest course I've ever played at just over 12,000ft. I see this as a good thing, but not simply because it's long. I appreciate it because it is long, fair and challenging.
There are many courses where a big arm will have a huge advantage, and at first glance you might think that was the case here as well, but it's not. Sure, having a huge bomb helps, but there is OB on nearly every hole, in several forms (ropes, woods, cart paths, creeks, ponds), this course has it all. Secondly, just because you can bomb it 550 over the creeks/ponds doesn't mean you'll have an easy up-and-down. The length of nearly every par 4 (from blacks) is perfectly calculated to force two full throws in most cases. Said in another way, none of these pars 4's or 5's are "soft". When you get birdie it was earned. As a result, the course plays like a ball golf course relative to par.
I've seen complaints that certain holes are unfair. That's an assessment I simply refuse to believe. I didn't encounter a single unfair OB, tee shot, basket placement etc...Tough, sure, but not unfair. If you're playing hole 9 from the black tees, it's assumed you have the skills required to execute a 350ft downhill shot. If you can't manage that, there's another set of tees to help alleviate that pressure.
I took note of the number of holes favoring RHBH vs LHBH and they're split evenly, along with the holes that could be considered "straight". You won't have any noticeable advantage if you're a predominantly forehand player, for instance. The course is well-rounded in that respect.
And just because the course is insanely long doesn't mean your finesse game wont' be tested either. In-fact, I owe a lot of my extra strokes to my less-than-precise upshot game. Often, you'll crush a tee shot that manages to stay in the (again, very fair) fairway, just to blow the upshot that requires you to navigate 300ft of old growth trees to reach the basket. Or you must throw a precise shot blind over a hill with OB in front and behind. The stakes are high on every shot and I love it! It's a mental battle as much as it is physical.
There are also 4 opportunities in this par 70 layout for a 2, but once again they are not gimmies at all. Every birdie, whether it's a 2, 3 or 4, will feel like a birdie.
Cons: As you could infer from my "pros", there aren't many cons to list here, but as I always try to do, I'll list what I can.
First, the "walk" between holes is sometimes very extreme. You shouldn't be walking anyway. Pay the extra few $$ for the cart, trust me. Really this is a non-issue, but navigation is somewhat affected by this. The course essentially follows the ball golf course, but since the disc golf holes are typically shorter, it makes for some tricky navigation your first time out. Minor concern just plan ahead with a map.
Since this is a permanent course on a ball golf course, mingling with ball golfers can be a challenge and can induce delays in certain situations. As our sport grows and permanent hybrids are more ubiquitous, this will be less of an issue, but for now it remains a slight challenge getting ball golfers to appreciate what we're doing out there.
Other Thoughts: In summary, if you're looking for a top-notch "open" course that still tests your full game, you'll be hard pressed to find a better course than The Arsenal. I don't award a 5 to any course that isn't well-rounded (in fact I've only awarded three 5's at all), so The Arsenal, by default can't receive the 5. The top "woods" courses I've reviewed are in the same boat (WR Jackson, Lake Claiborne, etc...). All of these are amazing courses at what they do, but in a "Perfect" course, I'm looking for more of a balance to test all aspects of my game. The fact that I haven't given The Arsenal a 5/5 shouldn't be viewed in any other sort of negative way. This course is amazing and well worth your time! Kudos to Alex, Bill and the rest of the staff at Southern Hills Golf Course!
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Great hybrid course
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: My new favorite Hybrid course.
Good use of elevation, fun to throw down the hills. Two sets of tees. Hole 7 is a beauty of a hole and my favorite. I really liked the pin placement on most of the holes. The layout forces you to be accurate with your drives. Baskets are in great shape.
Beautiful property with ponds and creeks running through it, nice clubhouse and the staff is very friendly.
Cons: The cart paths and bridges need some work. I do understand that cart path repair may not be a realistic expense at this time. Bridges should be a focus and several boards are coming up from warping. They both are functional.
Other Thoughts: I will be playing here more. I enjoyed the orange "shorter tees" a lot. It forced me to throw multiple accurate shots on single holes. I used the majority of my bag in a single round for the first time in a while.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Top Notch Hybrid Course
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This is my personal favorite when it comes to Hybrid courses. Great variety of hyzers/anhyzers, par 3's to par 5's, and an abundance of elevation. The black course has everything from a 265 foot island (aceable) hole (hole 6) to a 1080 foot par 5 (hole 7). Going from a 265 foot hole to a 1080 foot hole back to back took me for a mental loop. I can't wait to get back and try this course again. I am a huge fan of courses that test your entire bag.
Elevation. All of my top course include elevation. Southern hills has plenty of it! There are a few holes that have greater than a 50+ foot elevation change. When you are up high, take a moment to look around you and take it all in. That property is beautiful!
Brand new Veterans baskets are top notch. Innova discatcher pros and veterans are my two favorite baskets. No complaints here.
Two sets of pads. Red course is an advanced level course. Black is a championship caliber course designed with pros in mind. Tees are either manicured grass or cart paths.
With the clubhouse and challenge of course, they could hold A and B tiers with ease. I look forward to more tournaments here in the future,
Great signage. Signs include par, black distance, black elevation change, red distance, red elevation change, next tee arrows, out of bounds markers. What more could you ask for?
Cons: There are not many woods holes. This is not necessarily a con, but they make the best out of property and have a few holes that finish in cut outs of the woods.
With minimal woods means not much shade. Southern Virginia heat can be brutal in the Summer. Snag an early tee time during the Summer.
The course has large fairways and is very well manicured. But if you completely shank a shot, you might be in some thick rough on a few holes. Analyze risk/ reward on every hole. Walk the fairways and see what you are dealing with before you rip on your distance driver. Sometimes it's better to take your medicine and lay up with that mid range then attack on your next shot!
Other Thoughts: The black course is a gold level championship caliber course that will take a big accurate arm, finesse upshots, and a great mental game. Plenty of OB, therefore the risk/reward comes in to play on almost every hole.
Hole 7 and 12 were my personal favorites.
Snag a cart and thank me later. With the intense elevation changes and sometimes long distances in between holes, you will be completely wiped after one round without a cart. During the tournament in March, I was very thankful for carts. I do not think I could have completed 2 rounds without it.
5 star courses are few and far between. I have played over 140 courses and Idlewild, Ashe County, and Iron Hill are the only 3 that fall in this category. 4.5 star courses include Hornetts Nest (NC), Brackett's Bluff (NC), Redeemer Park (WV) , Mount Airy (Ohio), Deer Lakes (PA), Walnut Creek (VA). This course fits right in with all of these. This is the best hybrid course I have played thus far. This course is worth traveling for.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
New course in Danville
3 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: A variety of distances.
Lots of elevation changes.
Solid Dynamic Veteran baskets.
Cons: Navigation was not always intuitive, a course map on the back of the scorecard would have helped. Basket spokes wrapped in orange and black tape pointing to the next tees would also be a welcome addition.
The main difference between the black and orange tees was distance, with only a couple of the tees providing a different angle at the basket. 8 of the orange tees were less than 100' shorter than the black.
Many of the cart paths and bridges need maintenance.
Hole #9 is one of the worst hole designs I have seen. If you can throw 450' or more, then it is probably not an issue. For the rest of us, there is a pond with small landing areas around it, ringed by rough with a creek past it on the way to the basket. Since the black tee is elevated, a throw of 450'+ should easily clear both the pond and the creek and set up for a straight forward throw to the pin for a 3. This hole has no good options for those who throw 250' or less. As a minimum a short tee should be provided towards the front edge of the pond so that people would not need to throw into the rough to preserve their disc.
Other Thoughts: I played 17 holes from the black (long) tees, but on hole 9, I elected to throw from the shorter orange tee, as I did not want to throw a disc into the pond, never to be seen again, or throw a floater disc into the pond and take a long time trying to retrieve it, or throw into the rough, try to find it and then throw out of it, possibly into the pond. From the shorter tee I was confident I could easily clear the pond, but fully expected to land in the creek past the pond. My wife decided to skip the hole entirely.
If you like to ride in a golf cart and wide open spaces that allow you to throw full distance shots, often more than once per hole, then you should enjoy this course.
3 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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