Course Preview: Dragon Hills DGC

Established: 2017

Price: $10.00+tax / Round

Membership: $150 / year

Teepads: Artificial turf (longs) / Grass (shorts)
Baskets: Prodigy T3

Course Designers: Cale Leiviska, Chris Wakefield, Mike Thompson

Signature Hole: #7

Phone: 807-768-8633

Email: info@dragonhillsgolfcourse.com

Intro

Dragon Hills is a professional level 18-hole course that runs along and in between the Dragon Hills Golf Course in Thunder Bay Ontario. The course is the longest and most difficult in the region but also one of the all-out most beautiful places players can play the sport. Breathtaking vistas, fresh country air, regular wildlife sightings and many other factors make the area a perfect setting for disc golf and it’s enthusiasts.

The course planning and design were put in motion by Thunder Bay local; Chris Wakefield but when the time came to fully layout the course, a professional designer was brought in to really drive it home. Cale Leiviska is known very well across the disc golf universe for being one of the smoothest throwing professionals ever to throw a disc but he is has also made a name for himself in course design. The Minnesotan has designed many top level courses around North America which includes his own course; Airborn / The Preserve. Cale made the short trip up to Thunder Bay to help ensure Dragon Hills was the professional course envisioned by all.

The baskets went into the ground in 2018 and since then, the course has hosted several events and played as the main host site for the Northern Ontario Championship A-Tier tournament in 2021. During the hosting process the ODSA redesigned a few of the holes to really bring the high level event together. A new course map is not currently available but the NOC Layout on Udisc along with very clear signage make it pretty easy to find the way.

Course Notes

While it would be fun to go hole to hole complete with disc and shot selection recommendations, we would rather everyone experience the courses for themselves according to their skill sets. We would however love to share a few tips from a collection of local players in various skill ranges for those looking to play courses for the first time with a little more of a scouting report.

The terrain at Dragon Hills can be a bit challenging and when combined with the length of it, the course usually requires hikers or trail runners etc vs casual shoes. Some areas of the course also flood over a little and take on a bit of water after periods of rain so a decent shoe goes a long way when playing a round at DHDGC. The rough can also get pretty thick so dressing properly for the outdoors is recommended in general.

If you have never played Dragon Hills before, playing it with a local or group of locals would be ideal for the first couple times out. The course is on uDisc and does have a course map but the immense size and technicality of the course along with sparse signage can be quite a lot to navigate for a first timer of any skill set. For a local guide, please do not hesitate to contact us at: superiornorthdiscgolf@gmail.com to arrange for a course walkthrough from an experienced player. Please try to contact us at least 24 hours before your round.

Dragon Hills DGC’s design tends to favour righty forehand / lefty backhand players a pinch more but overall, the course requires experience and a wide selection of shots to play effectively. The course is the longest and most technical course in the region and as a result is one we would recommend more for intermediate to advanced players. Beginners can still have a great time at Dragon Hills but it’s worth noting that that course is much longer and more difficult than any other course in the area so be ready for a challenge.

There are many holes on Dragon Hills where players can dig deep for all the power they have..

There are many holes on Dragon Hills where players with power can dig down deep for all the power they have on Dragon’s gigantic par 4s and 5s. The extra wide ball golf fairways and tons of space overall make long drives a lot of fun for those that hold the power. Players that lean on accuracy and precision will also have a lot of fun carving up the mile long list of great lines available so there is really an application for most styles. The long tees are as advertised and the course’s most technical layout. The short tees are terrific for intermediate players but definitely still not a breeze for the advanced skill set.

Do you like elevation? If the answer is yes, “Dragon’s” has a fully stocked bag of treats for you! If not, well there’s no better place in the region to improve on this skill set. Literally every single hole at Dragon Hills features notable and noticeable changes in elevation. From subtle rolling hills to some quite drastic ups and downs, players with an advanced skill set when it comes to throwing tough terrain will have an advantage. For players looking for a bit less of a challenge and perhaps more flat ground, the short tees do remove some of the larger “peaks” and “valleys”.

The rough at Dragon Hills can be a real challenge for any player to deal with once they have found their way in. It’s thick, grabby, often wet and the terrain is very tough so trying to stay on Dragon Hills’ plentiful fairways is always the safe bet. There also a few spots around the course that drop off down a fair steep slope just into the rough so be sure to heed the earlier suggestion for appropriate footwear. Much of the rough also features a lower secondary canopy of foliage that can really make finding a disc on the ground difficult. Be sure to keep a keen eye on your disc as it enters the rough and make a note of a landmark to make for a quicker search.

Do you like swamps? Do you like when your discs go in said swamps? If the answer is no, you are just like the rest of us. Dragon Hills has enough swamps and swamp-ish areas to swallow factories full of plastic with a smile so be aware of where they are on the course. Trying to avoid the water hazards is key if you’d prefer to avoid a swim/walk or leaving the course one down. There are some very large obvious spots as well as some less obvious but equally disc-eating spots to watch out for so be sure before you throw!

Packing a kwik-stick or your preferred disc retrieval device along with perhaps a spare for your favourite disc(s) is always a good idea when playing anywhere with water hazards. The pond on hole #18 is quite hidden so before running the green, run up and have a look. There is an alternate basket on hole #12 for those not willing to risk throwing over the large pond. The alternate basket is located on a small hill on the left of the fairway before the throw across the pond.

There are definitely times that disc golfers can find to have a great, low pressure experience at DHDGC. Outside of those times however, the traditional golf customers at DH are not usually very accommodating to disc golfers. The golf side of the club is fairly active most days and with the right of way, it can add significant delays to the round. Local disc golfers have had more than a few close calls with golf balls and less than favourable encounters with angry golfers. Mondays and Fridays are the cheap golf days and the course recommends disc golfers avoid those days due to course congestion (though they are still open for disc golf tee times Mon & Fri should you wish to try your luck). Either way, be very aware of golf balls being hit from basically anywhere out there.

Northwestern Ontario has always had a fairly aggressive insect population that seem to be out and on patrol all the time rather than just in the evening like other areas. Players are smart to dress appropriately and pack the bug dope! Ticks can be common in some part of the region so players are always reminded to do tick checks after rounds whenever possible. There are also many parts of the course that leave players exposed to the sun so having sunblock in the car never hurts either.

Course preview from Ontario Disc Sports Association

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