Welcome back to Part II of my 4-part blog series covering our North Georgia & Chattanooga, Tennessee disc golf trip during this past MLK weekend. Good times were had at Heritage Point DGC which was our first stop. If you missed out on that article, you can read it here. Our next stop on the trip was a beautiful drive up into the mountains further into the northwest corner of Georgia.
Cloudland Canyon State Park (Lookout Mountain, GA)
Cloudland Canyon State Park is located in Lookout Mountain, GA and was about an hour’s drive from Heritage Point. We actually had to drive up through parts of Chattanooga and then back down around the mountain to get there. From Chattanooga, you take I-24W to I-59S to Trenton. The actual drive up the mountain was the more scenic than the park itself. It would be quite a beautiful drive up in the Fall. I guess I was expecting somewhat more “grandiose” scenic views from the top where the park was, but it fell short in that department. There were some elevation changes along the course, but by no means was it situated on the side of the mountain or anything. I would rate the course as more of a “family-friendly” course with all of its shorter, open fairways and only a handful of pin positions in the woods. It was by far the easiest of the four courses we played though, so it made for a laid-back casual round. It was a fun course because the shorter holes made for several good Ace-runs for us and the few long, wide open fairways were great for ripping those long bombs.
Cloudland Canyon’s course is a full 18-hole with distances ranging from 190′-347′. The total distance on the course is 4585 ft with a par of 54. The state park entry fee is $5/per car and then roughly $4/per player to use the course. *For those that live within the surrounding area or plan to play it often might want to opt for their $25 annual pass. The Visitor Center located near the entrance to the park is where you pay-to-play and can purchase discs. In the Visitor Center, they do sell a variety of Innova Pro/Champion custom-stamped Cloudland Canyon discs. You can play for FREE if you buy any of their discs! TIP: If you’re going to buy a disc, buy it before you try to pay for the round. They won’t credit you a free play for purchasing a disc if you’ve already payed to play…found that out the hard way haha (Daniel).The first hole is actually the longest at 347′. It’s a fairly wide open fairway with a tall, skinny signal tower (see pic above) that’s slightly offset from the middle of the fairway. For LHBH and RHFH players, it will come into play for you. Or test your accuracy and try to fly through the triangular gaps within the tower structure. The first five holes zigzag back and forth amongst one another and butt up against the parking lot area. A 241′ Hole #2 has one of the best Ace-run chances with a slightly downward run towards the basket. Holes #3-4 bring challenging obstacles consisting of a wall of trees between you and the basket. On Hole #3 the tree wall is set a little lower down the hill (about halfway to basket) and is easier to fly over/around. Hole #4 is the shortest on the course at only 190′, but challenging. The basket sets higher on the hill and positioned directly behind a very tall set of trees. A big hyzer or scooby shot works best here as you tee off from the woodline throwing back towards the parking lot. You’re going to want a shot that’s going to come it hot, fast and at a angle that will stick the landing beyond the trees. Or…you could just test your luck and throw straight at the trees in hopes of breaking through. You might have a better chance during the winter for that route, but I wouldn’t recommend it; too thick and branchy.
Hole #5 was set up more for a RHBH thrower. There’s a large bush that sticks out on the left of teepad that will prevent any ideal line for lefties or righthand forehand throwers. For righties, it is a straighter, slightly downhill shot to the basket. The basket sets back at the woodline about 253′ away. Be careful here not to throw to the left of the fairway–or much further beyond basket–because it drops off significantly to a very steep incline below. A 235′ Hole #6 includes a more, unobstructed teebox area with a huge oak tree sitting in the middle of the fairway. The tree is directly in line with the teepad and the basket nestled into the woods. This hole requires a hard hyzer route around the large oak or one might could skim one low enough to stay under the overhanging limbs.
Hole #7 fairway runs parallel with the road that leads up to the disc golf parking lot area. Don’t be confused though, this is a blind, left-meathook hole. Take note of the huge rock formation setting on the rightside of the fairway along the road. That is where a gap opens in the fairway leading to the basket that you’ll want to hit. You want to at least throw past this huge rock in the air before your disc starts breaking back down towards the basket. You can’t miss this rock, it’s huge. Sitting about 250′ away, #7′s basket can be reached with a high hyzer shot around the rock and over some trees for a RHBH player.
Hole #8 is the second blind hole in a row. It’s another long, dogleg-left blind drive to the 270′ downhill basket. For RHBH, here’s your chance to rip a high hyzer shot out around the initial tree set into the open and back around. It’s windy up this high, so let the wind carry your disc high into the air and allow it to push it back towards the mountain and basket. Hole #9 is a 260′ line drive shot that hugs the tree line. Hole #10, you’re throwing out from the woodline into the wide open to an uphill basket. Wind and elevation come into play here–baskets always appear much closer than they really are. Be sure to arm up even though it’s only ~280′; it’s deceiving.
Holes #11-13 are out in the open and really give you a chance to show off your guns. Hole #11 is the second longest hole at 346′. Be mindful of the crosswinds and not let it divert your disc OB over the road on your right. The road runs parallel, very close to the fairway. However, there is a drop point further down if you happen to fly out or land in the road. Hole #12 is a 256′ shot to the basket. The hole is protected by a short row of trees with low hanging branches that create a protective canopy over the basket. It’s better to land on leftside of fairway so you’ll have a better angle putting to basket. Even straighter drives that fall short in line with the basket will provide a challenge putting opportunities with those low-hanging limbs. Some of us had to putt kneeling down.
Hole #13 basket takes you back up the hill about 300′. The teepad is close to the woodline, so throw one long and stay right. If you get into the woodline mess, you’ll have trouble feeding one back through and could struggle to save par. #14 is a straighter ~210′ shot to a set of trees protecting a slightly nestled basket. Be sure to hit the clearing in the set of trees or at least, stay further left to leave you a nicer view of basket. My drive went right and I ended up having to skip a disc under the brush & trees to land near the basket on my approach.
The next 3 holes take you into the woods where you’ll find tighter fairways and more subtle elevation changes. Hole #17 is an uphill route through a very wooded, narrower fairway to a 232′ basket that rests barely outside of the woodline. It is positioned out in the open, but you’ll need a long, straight pull uphill to get out of the woods. Hole #18, you’re back up top with an open teebox area and tossing into woods again to the shallow-placed basket position. Overall, it’s a fun little course up on the mountain with mostly open holes and few challenging holes. Like I said, it is more of a family- and beginner-friendly course though. Great for families camping or for taking younger players. There were very few people playing when we went, which was nice so we could take our time and try other shots. It might be one to check off your list, but to me, not worth the admission time after time.
Photo credits: Rick M.
Missed Part I of our 4-part North Georgia/Chattanooga Series? Read Dogleg JT’s course review on Heritage Point DGC.