Your Feeble Skills are No Match for the Power of the Darkside!
11 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Private course with 18 very tight and technical holes to test your mental game and needle threading skills playing through thick Virginia woods, rolling elevation, creeks and ponds. The Darkside is very straight forward, hit this line all the way to the basket or else you are taking a stroke, and then the basket is often on a fast green with OB lurking nearby. Every hole here is solid with a defined fairway.
The large astroturf tees here are my favorite, nice Mach III baskets with flags, navigation and signage, tee area shelter and interesting nicknacks. Very little underbrush, which is surprising given how thick the woods are.
Other amenities on site include a second professional 18 hole course, awesome Tiki course, arcade, concerts, camping, pool and bathroom.
Cons: Some of the seating like couches were home to some bugs. Holly in the rough. Deer flies.
Not really a con for me, but the Darkside will absolutely destroy beginners and even many pros like the fully operational Deathstar. There is going to be a war between your discs and the trees. If your X-wing veers off the trajectory of the fairway, which is fair/well defined, and trust me you will veer off it, you are most likely facing a pitch out recovery shot and hoping for bogey unless master yoda can levitate you from the muck with the force.
The course can feel repetitive as it's all par 3 and you are forced to hit a certain line on every hole, the front 9 is mostly straight tunnel shots, and the couple "open" holes on the back 9 don't really change things much. There's no real signature hole, no chances to air a disc out, no holes to mentally relax on.
Other Thoughts: I find your lack of faith disturbing as you have no idea the power of the Darkside, it's a true mental challenge and one of the toughest courses you will play. You are probably best off playing with Han Solo's attitude and telling yourself before every shot, "Never tell me the odds!" You can typically see the basket, it's right there and it's reachable from the tee, but trying to actually force your disc to the basket is another story, as the tunnels make them play further than they appear. You will be forced to use lots of midranges and understable fairway drivers off the tee because you can't afford to have your discs fade off of the line.
The Darkside course has a place in disc golf history when Brian Skinner shot a 41, first ever 1100+ rated round, and still one the highest ever at 1117, and IMO that is the best round ever. Having played with Brian, I can attest he is well deserving of that record. I can't even imagine shooting a 41 on this course, I'd be stoked to just shoot a 54.
The Blockhouse(formerly Grange) is a true country club experience for disc golf. If you get the chance to play here, consider yourself lucky.
11 of 13 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: With two 18 hole courses on the property this place is very cool. The Darkside is appropriately named as every hole plays in the woods. It has some minor elevation in places.
The course has some great tee signs. Very descriptive.
The tee pads are very large and astro turf. They were great throwing off of.
The DGA Mach 3 baskets were in good condition.
Although this entire course is in the woods locating discs was not a problem.
There were several water coolers on the course.
There were some great seating areas throughout the course.
Cons: Navigation can be an issue in a few places. Bring a map.
This course gets repetitive as every hole plays in the woods. There are 9 holes in the 297 to 317 foot range.
This is traditional par 3 golf for the most part. There is only 1 hole over 400 feet.
Other Thoughts: This was well worth the stop during vacation. With the 2 permanent courses on site and the super fun tiki course you have to check it out.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Nice layout and well signed. Easy to navigate and has a lot of shot variety with some water coming into play on a few holes. Liked the rest areas at each tee box with the car bench seats and the fish themed hole. Really fun course.
Cons: Not many open holes, almost all of them are wooded, but thats why its called the darkside I suppose.
Other Thoughts: Nice private course with 2 other courses on site. Not quite as good as the Sunnyside but still one of the best courses I've played.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 1 Not
This course is amazing
Pros: Very fun, interesting course that was clearly made by a person who loves this course and plays it themselves. The darkside is 100% in the woods with a ton of skill shots to both the left and right down tree lines. Varying lengths and elevation changes.
My favorite part about this course was probably the placements of baskets, they are very creative throughout the entire course.
Some of the holes near the end play through various water areas ranging in sizes.
We drove 2 hours out of our way to hit this course back up and play the darkside. We didn't have time to the first time through. Had a blast here!
Cons: Not for beginners, tons of insects. The owner has made really excellent sitting areas, but they are overwhelmed by bugs living in them (bees, ect)
Other Thoughts: Course has an excellent selection of discs in an on site pro store. Tons of stamped discs, shirts, ect. There's a 'country club' that is pretty fantastic!
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: The tees are great. It was easy to find each basket and the next tee pad. Really enjoyed the "Themed tee pads and fairways" it is a must see experience! Loved the elevation challenges. On the way out we did play a few holes on the Tikki course for the kids and I threw a hole in one on #7 - made my day :)
Cons: We got there around 4:30 in the afternoon and were able to complete the course but it would have been nice to play all the different courses.
The entrance is only a driveway marked with a basket and we drove past it and had to turn around.
Other Thoughts: It had rained real a lot the day before and the course for the most part was not overly muddy as I would have thought. We drove over 2 hours to play here and it was worth it. 3 kids, 5 adults
0 of 5 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Woods Golf Baby!
The appropriately named Darkside is a wonderful example of technical woods golf. That is not to say that the entire course is in the woods but the pain you suffer on the tightly wooded holes will be what sticks with you after you are done with this course. This plays as a nice contrast to Sunnyside
The design of this course really makes you focus on accuracy, shot selection, mental toughness and bad tree kick recovery. Even the more "open" holes will require you to at some point hit a tough gap if you want to steal a deuce. I really think every hole with the exception of #2 is dueceable but aggressive play can just as easily yield a 4-6 if something goes wrong. For us lesser mortals, 3 is a good score on each hole except #9 which should probably be deuced. The tight lines on the wooded holes, the OB on the more open holes combined with some tough pin positions make for a very good challenge. In my opinion the pin positions on this course are significantly more dangerous/difficult than on The Sunnyside. They seem to be guarded by more trees, often on slopes or surrounded by fast greens. There is a very nice balance between RH/LH holes, some gentle elevation throughout the course and a complete absence of pinball type holes. Each hole has a distinct, reasonable "fair"way. The flow to the course is pretty good so that just when you think the beating in the woods is too much then you get a few open holes to get some relief before heading back in to finish up.
Even though this course is carved out of thick Virginia woods the fairways are clear and well kept. The tees are in a little bit poorer shape than their Sunnyside brethren but still provided excellent footing on every hole. The seating and wooded shelters are a great touch providing ample places to take a break or escape the weather. The baskets are in great shape and the tee signs are great. They show an accurate overview of the hole and distance.
Once we found the first hole we had no navigation issues even without a map except for the gap between #9 and #10.
The Blockhouse pro shop/arcade/clubhouse area is awesome. It was a great place to chill out before and after playing. There are lots of baskets around to warm up your putting (tiki course)
There is a completely separate 18, Sunnyside on site to play plus the super cool Tiki putter course and a mini disc course that is really widespread.
There is camping onsite.
Cons: Going over to the Darkside was not as easy as the emperor claimed. Maybe I just didn't get angry enough. Seriously we did not see a single sign that directed us to where the course was at and the only path that lead there was blocked by a huge fence. We just kind of walked around in the general area of where we thought it might be, found #18 and circled out from there. Even after playing the course I am not sure what the proper way to get there is. Maybe just walking through the Tiki Course? This was repeated to some extant after we finished #9 and were looking for #10.
Only one tee and pin for each hole. A beginner would get destroyed on this course especially since most of the fairways are tight and lined with hollies which are uncomfortable to throw out of.
Other Thoughts: This course is another part of the great Blockhouse experience and a shining example of private courses doing it right. The $7 or $5 after 5 o'clock is easily worth it. And with Hawk Hollow and Loriella in the area this becomes a true destination course. I was able to play all four in 1 day.
The course emphasizes accuracy and consistency. That unfortunately means if you like the wide open bomber courses, then this is probably not gonna be a good time for you. But you should try it anyway!
I had a great time on this course since it is the type of golf I really enjoy; the feeling of complete seclusion out in the woods, hitting tight lines and having to do some real scrambling when you miss. There is lots of personality through out the course in the forms of faces on trees, the fish hole and signatures in the tee sheds that just makes you feel welcome.
My favorite hole was #1. Not a difficult hole, only 280ish through a tight fairway and over a bit of a gully but man, standing on the tee it is just beautiful to me.
Overall the Darkside is a nice challenge, tons of fun and I am really looking forward to coming back here to play in the future (though I will make sure to bring some kind of fish to add to the collection next time).
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 3 Not
Sunnyside's little step brother.
Pros: It is another great addition to a must stop location. Blockhouse is a must play destination in Spotsylvania.
Lots of elevation and good use of trees.
large flags made baskets more visible.
Good level of challenge for a variety of players.
Nice tee signs and elevated Tee pads
Benches at nearly every hole.
Shade from the heat.
Pro shop (the Stupid Store) is right on site.
All of the guys at the Blockhouse are very helpful and laid back.
Cons: The tunnel shots get redundant
a few small navigational issues.
Gravel tee pads were flooded.
every player in my group was attacked by hornets.
It seems this course is second to Sunnyside for attention and maintenance, some locals did not even know where the Darkside was, but this meant we had the Darkside to ourselves.
Other Thoughts: $7 a day, $5 after 5pm is well worth this experience. Course is right off 95 with in a quick drive from Loriella, Pratt, and Hawk Hollow.
6 of 9 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The Darkside is a tour de force of pain in the par 3 world - a constant barrage of mental intimidation that starts right from the *relatively easy tunnel shot on hole one to the toothpick alleyway that lines the finishing hole 18. When the course finally gives players a chance to breathe in the mid-section, a more sinister less visible danger in the form of out-of-bounds areas waits for shots that are off the mark. All players will absolutely need to have a well-honed bag of technical shots to save pars when the tee shot is anything less than perfect. In addition to trick saves, players will need to keep a cool head when they encounter serious trouble so that they can pitch to a better position and cut their losses. Become impatient and the course will gladly add another stroke or two to punish greed and overzealousness.While the Sunnyside is a better test of a player's well rounded physical skills, the Darkside complements by testing a players mental mettle. Once doubt starts creeping in after a shanked tee shot or a lazy approach, only the strongest mental game will be able to survive with minimal damage. Great players shooting hot rounds on Sunnyside can erupt on Darkside and shoot well into the 60's (a good round is ~54 or better) - it just tests a very different set of skills and course management than Sunnyside.
Hole #2 profile: Hole two is often seen by players as a hole they have to 'get past' in order to keep a good scorecard in tact. This hole very, very rarely yields a '2' and frequently drops 4 strokes or more to an otherwise clean scorecard. From the tee, the right-hand backhand thrower immediately encounters a classic choice between aggression and defensive play with two diverging fairways which are split with a row of small trees. The left (aggressive) fairway is a straight tunnel which runs rather tree-free to within 80' of the pin. Players who can land a drive or midrange shot with minimal fade in this tunnel will be set up great for a three. However, if the shot fades out or kicks further left beyond the defined fairway, a nearly impossible wall of trees spells certain trouble barring a miracle roller. Choosing the right-side more conservative fairway is the answer to avoiding the death-zone on the left side of the fairway. Players choosing this route will be throwing a long hyzer which has to avoid several guard trees and will ideally land about ~150-180' from the pin. The penalty for choosing the safe route is that the second shot will have to navigate many more trees on the approach than the well-placed aggressive shot. From the landing zone, players will have to think creatively to get past the remaining trees though tight windows or with shorter trick shots. While I think the aggressive choice is more likely in the long run to yield a three, players who miss the drive are almost certainly looking at big numbers. Those on the conservative side are usually conceding a large percentage of 3's but will rarely score higher than a 4.
Cons: The main drawback of the Darkside is the lack of many par four and five holes (hole 2 is likely the only hole which approaches a true par four). I do feel that some of the unique flavor in having such a brutally challenging stream of par 3's would be lost but a lot would be gained in having holes with multiple drives/approaches. Par four and five holes force players to plan and develop course maintenance skills that 'regular' par three holes just aren't able to do. However, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the designers to add holes with adequate length to create multiple shot holes without absorbing some of the Sunnyside course as well - a trade-off which is probably asking too much. The only other 'con' that comes to mind is that this course plays almost entirely over mud-covered hills and can get sloppy when it rains. The course drains fairly well but you might want to make a quick check of the
recent area weather before heading out.
Other Thoughts: As others have said, the Grange facility is at the tip-top of private disc golf world with two championship-caliber courses, an awesome tiki par 2 course (with late night illumination), a mini course, and a giant arcade. With side-trips to Loriella and Hawk Hollow also within a short drive, there really isn't much else to ask for in a weekend of disc golf fun!
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
a little slice of heaven
Pros: The front nine is what most wooded courses strive to be. Literally carved out of the thick Virginia woods are nine tight but fair fairways of varying lengths, three will feel good on all (especially #7) except for #9. The premium here is accuracy off the tee, hitting any of the fairway trees likely means a struggle for par, but not to find your disc. The back nine wends in and out of the woods towards the back part of the property, and includes some water and/or swamp hazards (depending on the time of year). The back contains a few more birdie opportunities but you'll still have earn them.
Another championship course and the world famous Tiki course are co-located with this gem. Three other championship course located within 15 miles makes Spotsylvania The disc golf destination for the Mid-Atantic, imo. Well graded and sized turf or carpet tees on each hole, with shelters on several tees.
Cons: Only one tee and pin position per hole. Bugs can be a pain, particularly the flies in the spring. It can get muddy following rainy weather, but not too bad. You can lose a disc in some of the rough on the back nine.
Other Thoughts: This course is arguably the crown jewel of the disc golf resort that is The Grange. I say arguably because Mike has been tweaking The Sunnyside and adding diffculty. I've been coming here since shortly after the first course opened and seen it evolve from a really nice 19 holes to a full blown disc golf resort. There's a nice clubhouse to provide shelter from weather, and an arcade stocked with vintage games from the 80's and 90's. Please take a moment to consider all of the costs and labor that has gone into this place when you're passing the donation box, and remember that you're sharing a family residence.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Come to the Dark Side
Pros: Elevation changes on almost every hole, that provide very unique holes, no two holes are alike. Combine that with a great variety of short, medium and long holes, not to mention the evenly distributed left, straight and right turning holes, gives you one challenging course.
The tee pads are large and are either crush stone or synthetic turf, nice and flat. Each hole has its own tee signs, with the hole number and location of the pin. There is a tee box shelter at most holes, which include a seating area and some form of shelter from the weather.
Course navigation is good, so you don't really need a map to get around. Some next tee signs through out to help out.
Because it's so wooded, there is plenty of shade for the hot days.
A bathroom, snack bar, and pro shop on site. Very convenient to I-95, about half way between Richmond and DC.
Cons: Gets kind of swampy when wet, and thus, some tee pads don't drain very well.
Distance on tee signs missing.
Other Thoughts: A very unique disc golf experience on this course and disc golf complex. Of the three courses on this site, the dark side is the hardest IMHO.
Privately owned and operated, it has certain perks that public parks are not able to do. There is an old school disc golf vibe I get here, with all the tie dye shirts and stuff, it's like I'm back in the 70s again.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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