After getting laid off from work I had plenty of time to travel and start knocking off courses from my DG wish list during the year…
Weds 5/6 – avoiding morning rush hour traffic in Philly, Baltimore and Wash DC, I didn’t leave until 9a to drive 530 miles to the SW corner of North Carolina. Ashe County Park DGC in Jefferson, NC; it’s nestled along the very scenic Appalachian Mountains and has many huge elevation changes, holes 9 and 18 both start in the woods with massive downhill shots to open areas between 550’-800’ away. The front nine plays in a fairly open area with cut grass and water hazards, the back nine plays in the woods mostly uphill. Two tees on each hole. This course lives up to its 4.5 star rating!
Thur 5/7 – drove 2 hours to eastern Tennessee and Harmon Hills DGC. This private course has 27 holes along TN landscape including rolling hills, woods, sink holes, rocks, open fields and tons of elevation all around. I can’t recall one flat hole. The variety of shots required and 12 par 4’s on the original 18 makes this course a masterpiece. The final 9 across street was completely wooded and simply not as much fun, plus I was exhausted from playing 45 holes in 24 hours with two bad hips in the heat.
Fri 5/8 – drove north through KY including very rural southern Harlan county (hello Raylan from “Justified”) stopping at Woodford Reserve Bourbon Distillery in northern KY to take their tour. Their double oaked bourbon is the best I have ever tasted. Then onto Cincinnati, OH for a few days at my sister’s house for time to physically recover while enjoying the regions local food and drink.
Mon 5/11 – drove 2 hours to near Louisville, KY and Coyote Trace DGC. This new private course would become a future top 10 as I reviewed it on dgcoursereview.com but sadly it has since become extinct due to flash floods and ash tree logging. It was great and I’m so glad to have played it. I then drove south all the way through KY stopping in Asheville, NC for the night.
Tues 5/12 – Richmond Hills DGC wasn’t on my itinerary but it was just minutes from my hotel and I had the morning free so I decided to stop and look around. Hole #1 looked very nice and well maintained so I decided to play the course. This course was constantly up and down tree lined hills and contained more man made wooden steps than any other that I have seen. It was fun but a taxing hike at the same time.
I drove two more hours south to Stoney Hill DGC in rural South Carolina. The 24 hole course is private and can be played by appointment only. The owner, David Sauls beat me easily, he had a huge home course advantage and I didn’t handle the heat very well. The course had tremendous variety to it; I really liked the last 6 holes some playing around or over water.
Weds 5/13 – Day number 8 on the road trip and only a 90 minute drive to Appling, GA home the International Disc Golf Center and the PDGA headquarters in Wildwood Park. This complex was the pinnacle of my trip; it has 3 world championship quality courses, a climate controlled DG pro shop, the “Steady Ed” Frisbee museum, the DG Hall of Fame, the PDGA office staff (hello “Big Dog” Sweeton) and indoor restrooms!
I shot a 74 on the par 69 WR Jackson course designed by John Houck, it might have been my best round ever! My drives weren’t long like the pros but were well placed and my putting was better than usual probably since I was so thrilled just to be there and had played a lot of golf in past week. In the afternoon I shot -6 on the short tees on the Steady Ed Headrick Memorial course, it was relatively short and wooded like Sedgley is. Next time I’d play the long tees.
The IDGC is located in rather remote area; the closest hotel area is 30 minutes away. After playing 4 courses in 3 days I was physically whipped. The hotel pool and air conditioning were crucial to relax in…until the next day.
Thur 5/14- the Jim Warner course was the most difficult at the IDGC; it kicked my butt even from the short tees. The course was great while being physically demanding due to the elevation changes and I was in no condition to play well.
The entire IDGC complex should be every golfer’s ‘wish list’, with 3 world class courses dedicated to DG there is nothing else to get in the way while enjoying your game…no joggers, no dog walkers, no playgrounds, no park rangers or neighborhood kids. I wish I knew when I can return to play it again.
Starting my long journey home, I first stopped by the Hippodrome DG complex in Augusta, GA to see their pro shop but didn’t play either course. I then stopped by only one more course along the way, R.L. Smith DGC in Charlotte, NC. It had good reviews and was recommended by a few golfers I knew but found it rather disappointing, maybe because I had just come from the pinnacle of DG back in Georgia.
Fri 5/15 – The last day of my journey I was able to avoid Friday east coast I-95 traffic (except 13 miles) near Washington DC and Baltimore by cutting across eastern Maryland and Delaware before finding home in South Jersey.
Tues 6/2 – I had never been in Vermont so I combined the ultimate beer run and DG for my next trip. Finding Heady Topper beer was my priority, it had been on my wish list for years. You can’t buy it at the brewery and most stores only have it available a few hours one day a week. I found a 4 pack near Burlington, VT at a meat market and then waited in line for an hour to buy a $80 case of 16 oz. cans at a beer store. It did live up to the hype and cult like status, 8% of citrusy goodness followed☺. I was able to ration the last can until New Year’s Day at Sedgley.
Weds 6/3 – Brewster’s Ridge DGC at Smugglers Notch (ski resort) in Jeffersonville was now ‘only’ an hour away. While not located on the slopes, the course at the bottom of the Green Mountains was scenic and so worth the $10 pay to play fee. With 4 tees (not a typo) on most of holes, the options were superb. The front 9 played ever so slightly uphill through manicured woods and the back 9 had many terrific downhill drives. This course immediately made my top 10 of the 340+ courses that I have played! A second course called Fox Run is on site too, it is a lot more open while being long and hilly, similar to Brandywine in Delaware. I played from the short tees; it was only 9 holes but currently is a full 18 course designed by Steve Brinster. A third course Village 9 is for beginners, I didn’t bother playing this one.
Leaving the area south on state hiway 108 was incredible with stunning views of the mountains and creeks while driving slowly through rock formations; the view was fantastic. Heading further south on I-89 was the best scenery I have seen on any interstate median in all my travels ever. I drove south into MA instead of further north in VT.
My next stop was Flat Rock DGC in Athol, MA. It’s a challenging wooded and rocky private course which you need a map for. I only played the front 9 because I was so exhausted. I missed out on the last two scenic holes on the back 9 which play over a beautiful pond.
Thur 6/4 – I was 40 minutes from Maple Hill DGC (my favorite) but went to Barre Falls Dam DGC instead. This Army Corp of Engineers area was very scenic with water and lots of elevation changes in a well maintained park. It was fairy open compared to other New England courses. I then drove 5 hours home with ice packs on my right hip.
Tues 8/25 – One week before my next scheduled DG trip, I fell down some steps (at home no less) and dislocated my right shoulder badly.
Fri 12/18 – the MRI indicates a torn shoulder labrum. ☹
May 2016 – After a second cortisone shot and extensive physical therapy, I can now play disc golf about once a week but it does cause shoulder and hip discomfort for a few days afterwards. Hope to see you on the course later this year.