About three weeks ago I made my first visit to Branson Cedars Resort, home of Treehouz Disc Golf Course and The Journey Post. The occasion was Journey Post’s First Stop Presented by Prodigy Discs. I chose not to play in the tournament for a few reasons, including the difficulty/length of the course, which I think was a good decision at the time. I’ll be ready for it before I know it though! Anyway, since I didn’t get to play very many of the holes myself, my analysis is based mostly on observation of the Advanced division players, specifically my boyfriend Adam Morrison, and our friend Brad Bullerdieck from Columbia. I also had the pleasure of following the Advanced Grandmasters card for a few holes, and of watching the Pros from afar!
So, a little background on the course. Treehouz is located in Ridgedale, Missouri, between Branson and the border to Arkansas. Its 19-hole course’s par is 60, and is a total of 7,407 feet in length. The course uses DISCatcher baskets and has multiple tees and placements on some holes. Treehouz is pay-to-play: $5 per person for a full day.
Journey Post owner Jaysin Smith designed Treehouz in 2012. Smith said his vision while designing was to create a, “championship level course with a lot of elevation change and a mixture of wooded holes, open holes, and hazard holes; as well as long and short holes.” When asked what other courses inspired him, he referred to Sioux Passage in St. Louis and Hole 1 on Water Works in Kansas City, in terms of their length and elevation changes. (These courses are particularly iconic for Missourians.) He also wanted to incorporate the difficulty of water hazards as seen at Fountain Hills in Arizona. After seeing this course, I’d say this course definitely lives up to his expectations. As if this isn’t enough, the resort is considering adding more holes, pin placements, and tee pads to make the course larger and more accessible for players of all skill levels.
Just for comparing holes and getting a sense of direction, check out this map of the course from Disc Golf Course Review: http://www.dgcoursereview.com/course_files/5830/993ec582.pdf
Now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s get to the pictures!
1. Your disc’s placement in the fairway is critical to playing this hole well. If your disc lands too far to the left, or too short or long, you have to make a difficult upshot down to the basket on slanted ground. If it is too far right, you end up in the woods. Even worse, I saw a few players land their discs in the fairway, but they ended up rolling into the valley on the right!
2. Knowing how your discs behave in the wind and with large elevation changes helps significantly on this hole. It’s challenging from both tees. The view definitely makes it one of the favorite and most iconic holes on the course.
3. Beware of this hole’s water hazard, sloped terrain, and tree placement. Although this is one of the shorter holes on this course at 337’, it can be deceivingly difficult.
4. This hole is all about placement. With the water hazard so close to the end of the hole, you must decide from the tee where you think you’ll have the most success with an upshot. Landing near the water’s edge gives you a straight shot at the basket, but possibly an intimidating putt toward the water. Landing to the right (the path is not OB) is more technical with the trees and the slope, and may lead to a more difficult hyzer upshot because of the possibility of skipping toward the water. However, this positioning will probably allow you to land you closer to the basket and prevent you from putting toward water.
5. You wouldn’t know it from the tee sign alone, but it’s obvious what the challenge is from seeing the terrain of this hole. Be sure to know how your disc flies and how it lands—or you’ll be rolling down the hill!
6. This hole’s hard turn to the left is sharper than it appears from the tee—the sign gives insight into the degree to which your flight path should curve. If you’re too narrow, you’ll hit the trees to the left. If you’re too wide, it may hit the trees and not come back in bounds. Trees surround the basket, and the green slopes toward the water.
7. This hole combines a water hazard, sloped landing zones, and guardian trees to make it technical. The lower left picture is of the placement designated by the yellow circle on the right and is represented by the basket on the tee sign illustration. The lower right picture is of the left placement, which is not shown on the sign.
7B. Hole 7B was temporarily used for Journey Post’s First Stop Tournament. Orange flags on the edge of a putting green designated the tee. The fairway curves to the right and slopes upward. Past the curve, trees line the fairway.
8. Hole 8 is characterized by its steep uphill fairway and dense trees. I saw several birdies on this hole during the tournament. I took a 4 using only a midrange when I snuck this hole in between rounds.
9. The slope of this fairway in addition to the trees makes the line of your shot very important. When preparing to throw, consider how throwing uphill will affect the stability of your disc, and how your disc will roll when it lands.
10. The biggest challenge on this hole is the combination of the OB on both sides of the fairway and the trees that surround the basket. Accuracy in your line is key!
11. Hole 11 is also characterized by having OB on both sides of the fairway. The basket is located on a putting green with a pretty steep hill behind it (the bottom picture is taken from behind). Be sure your upshot doesn’t roll!
12. The gap to hit on this hole is very narrow and makes for a difficult shot (especially for righties). From the tee, the basket is barely visible, as illustrated in the center photo. Because you have to step off to the left of the pad, as seen in the far right photo, it can be difficult to judge the angle of the throw. If you’re unlucky enough to hit a tree or an “invisibranch,” you could be in trouble if your disc decides to roll. Off to the right of the fairway is a fairly steep hill covered in trees—not a place you want to end up!
13. I think the photo for this hole really says it all. The fairway is pretty narrow with pretty dense trees on both sides and behind the basket. The ground slopes a bit to the right, but not enough to make a significant difference on how this hole plays out.
14. Some call it a fishhook, Adam says it’s a “P” for Prodigy, and I say it’s a question mark for “Where is the basket?” when you’re standing on the tee. From the tee, the fairway looks like a hallway that goes all the way to the tee for hole 15. The trees get less dense 200 feet or so down and to the right of the fairway where the basket placement is. The ground is sloped, so make sure your discs aren’t going to roll!
15. I think the tee sign and the photos of this hole really speak for themselves. I’ll let you figure this one out.
16. Because of the OB on the left, righties need to be especially aware of the distance, wind, and the line you’re throwing your disc on. Knowing that your disc is prone to rolling on this smooth terrain may impact your disc selection!
17. This tight shot is especially technical because the fairway is uphill. This means your disc is going to be more stable.
18. In most cases, the OB should not make much of a difference on this hole if your disc goes where you intend. If you have the arm for it, you’ll want to make sure you get across the valley in the fairway. The closer you are, the more level you’ll be with the basket.
19. My advice for this hole is similar to hole 18. I would recommend trying these two holes as well as hole 2 out before playing them competitively just to get a feel for how the elevation changes effect how far you are able to throw. Additionally, you’ll want to get a feel for how your disc acts when it lands on the putting greens.
Now with the sun setting earlier than ever it seems, my disc golf adventures are being forced to the weekends. The closest two 18-hole courses from where I work are a mere ~30 minutes away. If I leave work on time, drive a half hour, I maybe have a good 7 holes in before I’m swamped with darkness and straining my eyes following my disc through the air down the fairway…or through the trees. Not worth it, especially when you spend more time looking for your discs in the dark than it did to play the first 5 holes.
But there’s Fall/Winter weekday hope. It’s called Legacy Park and it’s only 10 minutes away from my office. It’s only 9 holes, but it’s a fair course that’s very well maintained and landscaped. Biggest downside is that it’s located in a very nice Kennesaw neighborhood that’s technically only for the residents—unless you tag along with one.
It’s a great course to get in a very quick game after work that requires your short, technical game. Being in Legacy Park, you get a family friendly atmosphere as these 9 holes are laid out along the winding walking trail, nestled in the woods. I’ve played here maybe 5 times and every time I recall seeing at least one deer or more. Last month I played one evening around sunset and counted a total of 7 deer walking through different fairways; pretty cool! Ok, to the hole descriptions..
At Hole #1, there is a large course map sign. Pay attention to this as the course is poorly marked past this point. If you follow the walking trail, it will help you out if you’re looking for the next teepad. But don’t rely solely on this. Each “teepad” is marked by 6″ red pavers that are set in the ground. These are flush with the ground meaning you cannot see them from further than 15′ out or so. Keep your head down and look for the bare spots in the grass areas. More than likely, the pavers are set around that area and the grass is worn out from the disc golfers.
Hole #1 is tricky in that—for me being a lefty—it requires a hard anhyzer down the tree line. You tee off almost under a large overhanging limb and are required to curve it around the trees maybe ~270 ft. to a basket tucked approximately 15 ft. in a small cutout in the woods on the left. My suggestion, throw as far as you can and keep it wide in the fairway closer to the road. This leaves you a more open shot into the tucked pin position. If you hug it around the woods, you’ll more than likely have to throw it back out to the open, then turn around and throw back into the pocket. Another thing I don’t like is none of the teepads have teesigns with par/distance info. This is a fairly short Par 3 course with several Ace-able holes. This course will definitely test your precision and accuracy because most of the holes require tighter, straight shots through narrow fairways and low-hanging limbs.
-Really close to work. Great for a quick 30 min. round right after work.
-Never seen it crowded.
-Wildlife! Good bit of deer around towards dusk.
-Several <270' Ace-able hole opportunities. Keep it low and straight!
-Improves your level throwing accuracy
-Disc Golf Course for residents only. Find someone that knows somebody that knows somebody that lives there. Call ’em up!
-Only 9 holes
-Half of the hole’s fairways are actually the walking path. Watch out for joggers/walkers coming around the corner ahead of you!
-Course slightly difficult to navigate after Hole #1. Pay attention to course map on Hole #1.
-No teesigns. Pavers hard to see/find in the ground for first timers.
-Hole #9 ends a good ways from Hole #1. Requires a good little walk back to where you started from (where you parked)
-Parallel parking on side of road.
-Don’t plan a weekend road trip to this course. Definitely play it if you’re local and/or know someone that lives in Legacy Park. Enjoy wildlife, nice landscaping, trickling stream and watch out hucking towards pedestrians!
This past weekend I got a chance to play a course down in the city called Perkerson Park with a few friends. I really enjoyed the course layout itself, but as we finished, we each had mixed reviews. I’ll give my review.
I first came across this course a few months ago in a listing on DGCourseReview.com. I was doing a local search trying to figure out what all courses were located within an hour radius of where I live. Perkerson Park came up as one of them and also had one of the highest ratings of any within my radius. So I’m thinking Why haven’t I heard of this place before?. With a rating of a near 4 out of 5 on DGCourseReview, I thought Man, I’ve got check this place out! So, research I did…
Let me preface this by saying I’m not that familiar with all the different suburbs of Atlanta. After reading mixed reviews online, I was curious about where in Atlanta this course was actually located and it’s surroundings. The reviews online talked about how nice the park and the course layout was, but there were several concerns with the people that frequent the park. I even read where someone said that they carry a taser with them to the park…Now I’m thinking Oh gees, do we need to bring something? or yet even play?. We give it a shot. How bad can it be in broad daylight?
We get there a lil earlier than the others and we sit in the first parking lot for about 10 min. There’s a good bit of people around, maybe a reunion or birthday party. From the car, I’m not seeing where the first basket could be. I check the website on my phone and realized I need to be in a different gravel lot. We pull out and around to the next entrance which had the gravel lot. A lot less cars down there. In that first lot, I wouldn’t say I felt unsafe, but indifferent maybe.
So anyway, we get out and you have to walk down the creek about 300′ to the practice basket and trail for Tee #1. They had a really nice large, flat area with a practice basket and large stones marking 10′, 20′, 30′ and 40′ distances to putt from. After a bit of flippin’, we head up the short trail to teepad #1. Hole #1 is pretty sweet to start off the round. Picture this. You’re teeing off from halfway up the hill in a cutout in the trees. You’re roughly 30′ up teeing off over the creek, through the clearing and up the hill on the other side to a basket nearly 360′ away. Nice!
This large creek (trickling stream) bed runs through the park and comes into play for the first four holes and 11 and 18. I love how open and large this park is. There are trees in the open parts, but it’s not dense and the mature trees are spread nicely down/across the fairways for obstacles. After the first 6, you start into the woods where the fairways get tighter as your technical games comes out.
The course consists of mostly longer holes with the shortest only being around 240′ and going to the signature Par 5 Hole #18 at a hella-long 850′! I had a great time and never once felt unsafe once we actually got onto the course past the parking lot areas. I would definitely go back and play again with a group. Either way, I wouldn’t play the course alone. Play in a group.
You can tell how hard the crew works to keep this course up as best as possible. The landscaping, lines, and pin placement is excellent. I know they constantly work every Saturday mornings on the course using all 100% volunteer labor. There’s still lots to be done and they do only have carpet tee pads and temporary signs for now. I’m listing it as a con for now, but I know this park will be Awesome when it’s finally done. =)
-Great layout and terrain. Loved the elevation changes and long open fairways.
-Enjoyed the Fall weather/leaves changing color.
-DG Course not crowded at all.
-Excellent balance of open and wooded, tighter fairways. Really tests your skills requiring a variety of shot types.
-Nice park in general! I hope they can keep this park up and going!
-One of the trashiest courses I’ve played as far as garbage, shopping carts, baby strollers, baby cribs, random clothes lying in the woods/creek beds along the course. The park itself is really nice, don’t get me wrong. Just needs cleaned up in the woods.
-Temp signage; one was missing. I wish they had the Par listed on them. I had to constantly check my internet to see what DGCourseReview.com had each hole listed as.
-Carpet teepads; I know they’re working on getting concrete teepads.
-Hole #14…where is the basket? We couldn’t find it. Threw down fairway through mando, then ended up throwing 90 degree to the right across the creek to basket? Later realized this was Hole #17 basket. Do they share a basket?
-There is a good bit of walking between some baskets to the next teepad. We spent some time trying to find where the next holes were. Better directional arrows would help.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I say, GO PLAY IT! (midday, with some friends)