The only thing worth doing in Chapel Hill
4 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: -Mixes it up with a solid variety of holes
-Some truly beautiful holes
-Excellent use of the topography
-Just plain fun
Cons: -Poor signage
-Can definitely be confusing the first time
-Less than family friendly
-Broken glass everywhere!!!
-Missing the fairway is gonna cost you, hopefully just a stroke or two, but possibly a disc or two
Other Thoughts: Yes, I look up and see more cons than pros, but do not let this keep you from playing this course! UNC's course is, quite simply, the only reason I ever need go to Chapel Hill, or indeed, step foot on University property. Almost every hole has something to offer.
As a non-student, I started on Hole 9, which is the recommended starting point for non-students with non-parking passes. You'll find a putting basket here, so that's nice. These couple of wooded holes (9-11) are generally free of the thick underbrush that you'll find later on if you miss the fairways. All 3 all use elevation and tight passages quite well. Hole 12 is short and simple, but gives you a glimpse of the fact that 1- you're on a college campus, and 2- all that 2 foot tall crap on your left is in abundance on this course, so tread carefully or lose plastic. Holes 13-15 are open, air-it-out kinds of holes that are just beautiful, and wonderfully designed holes, especially 14. Holes 16 and 17 take you back into the woods and traverse a deep ravine, so land that shot correctly or risk rolling down a long way. Hole 18 is in a creek bed that is apparently also a garbage dump. It has two baskets, neither of which have the number 18 on them. Its not terrible, and due to the bracken, clutter, and debris, its definitely a challenge. Once you've made the journey to Hole 1, passing by the tennis players and failing to navigate the rock wall, you'll find another nice hole in the woods. Its followed by Hole 2, which is not a nice hole in the woods. Its probably the most difficult hole on the course, with no discernible fairway or lane through the trees, which is a darn shame because its still pretty great. It boasts a pin placement stuck between some large boulders on a steep hillside that is definitely a putting challenge no matter where you are approaching it from. Too bad then that my pretty great tee shot hit some low-hanging leaves that not only killed it, but caused it to roll downhill and backward. This hole needs some major maintenance to be the fantastic hole it could be. Hole 3 tees off over a small pond, and the close pin placement is aceable if you've got the guts to risk your disc to make it. Hole 4 is a throwaway- longish and straight and flat, and at a par 4 its just plain dull. Its also low, and usually quite wet. Hole 6 is similar but shorter- 4 and 6 are the least interesting on the course. Hole 5 is really nice however, forcing your tee shot to curve right then back left. Neither is a fun place to be, so you better hit that fairway! Hole 7 has a fantastic pin on the edge of a 12 ft high cliff, making putting interesting. Finishing up with Hole 8, which is nothing too dramatic or challenging, but it nicely brings you right back to where you parked. All the tees are plenty big enough.
The course wasn't too crowded when I played, but neither time was when Spring or Fall classes were in session. There were a few students however, and they were nice enough to curse quite loudly and vulgarly near my kids, whom they knew were there. But everyone seemed friendly enough. The signage is just horrendous though- I don't really consider a laminated sheet of paper much of a sign, and that's assuming they are actually there. They also don't relay par information. Many holes have benches, which is always appreciated, and some are even equipped with disc chargers, though I've had mixed results with them. Unfortunately, not all the benches are secured to the ground, which came as a surprise. Trash was also a problem, no doubt a result of the large number of drinking college students who play and the lack of trash cans on any hole. The bigger issue for me was the large amount of broken glass around the course. When you are traversing rocky, hilly terrain with lots of exposed roots, you can probably expect to trip or slip at least once, and the amount of glass present is unsettling. Navigating the course the first time is difficult- I've been told the course has been changed multiple times, and probably as a result most baskets are marked with the incorrect hole number. The official course map isn't much help if you ask me. There are numerous walking paths and trails criss-crossing the course leading you away from your next hole. The area around 9-12 was problematic, you may never find 16 after finishing 15, the walk from 18 to 1 is long and not marked, and the walk to 6 from 5 is also a hike. However, once you've walked it once its easy enough to remember, so take someone who knows the course with you the first time. For those starting on Hole 1, I guess Hole 18 is not really close to where you started, but you are also probably a student and walked to the course, so this is also not really an issue.
All in all, though it has some definite issues, this is one of my favorite courses, and I jumped at the chance to play it again. It could use some grooming and the signs and baskets need updating, but the course really plays well and certainly challenges you.
4 of 7 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: This course is nestled in the heart of Chapel Hill and is at the old Chapel Hill country club. A lot of the course is on old golf course fairways and is very well maintained. This is something you can't find too many other places and makes the course definitely worth a play. The best holes are hole 3 over the water, hole 14 across the valley, and hole 5 down the hill. There are concrete tee pads, benches, and trashcans throughout the course.
Cons: A .5 point deduction in my rating is because of the signage. There are (IMO bad) little signs on the holes and some holes don't even have them! The baskets don't have the correct numbers on them. Sometimes there are 2 tees or 2 baskets on the same hole and no direction on which one to use. There are some places where it is extremely confusing where to go and all it would take is $10 worth of arrows to be put up. The first time I played I spent a few hours wondering around. The other 1 point deduction comes from the lack of par 4s (only one)/5s(none) and the lack of (IMO) interesting holes. Most holes are straight shots through the open or straight shots through the woods.
Other Thoughts: The area doesn't drain well and even a few days after rain can be muddy, wear shoes you don't care terribly about!
Update: I decided to only take .5 off my rating for the signage because while it is horrible, after my first or second visit I had basically figured it out and it isn't a problem now. Plus, the course deserves the rating "very good" rather than "good." Just make sure if it is your first time going you look online and read the reviews/directions!
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: This was a really beautiful course. We played mid-morning while it was still cool, and the grass was slightly dewy. Wonderful NC morning in a great setting. We ran into a half-dozen or so other groups, all of whom were very nice about letting us play through and helping us figure out where we were going. This course can be tough if you really yank your drive, but almost every hole had a really beautiful planned flight path, and hitting that path always felt great. Baskets and pads are fairly well-kept with a good number of benches throughout the course.
Cons: As a first-time player the layout, lack of signage, backtracking, parking, and mismatched baskets made this course incredibly frustrating.
For scorekeeping, I really like to know exactly which layout of a course I'm playing and what the pars are. I assumed everything was 3 (which, really, it probably should have been), but I'd never know if not for this site. Most of the signs seemed to have been stolen or destroyed, and we ended up spending a good about of time trying to find the next hole (especially #'s 8 and 16). The fact that the basket for 8 was marked "15" didn't help any... a problem was appeared on many holes.
Parking wasn't *that* difficult, but it wasn't clearly marked, and we were still kind of lost after parking at the top of the hill near hole #1. Should have taken the advice of a reviewer here and parked near #8.
Other Thoughts: We encountered many of the signs about ropes courses and other activities. Luckily we did not encounter any of that, but that would have also been pretty frustrating.
If I lived in this area, I feel like I would play this course often. I can definitely see how knowing the layout would help make this a much more enjoyable experience. As is, next time I'm in Chapel Hill, I will likely seek out another unplayed course instead of heading here again.
Good experience, lots of fun, and definitely worth playing once... but nothing that makes me really want to go back and try it again.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: This is a very nice course to play. It has a good range of short and long shots, open and wooded. The signs at each tee are nice showing where the basket is and the variety between each hole makes it fun.
Cons: Finding the first tee can be hard. Walk down towards the game field to find it.
We had trouble finding some of the tees between baskets and the numbers on the baskets may not be accurate. We had a hard time finding three of them on out first go. Next time we go, we'll know where the next is!
Other Thoughts: This is truly a nice course and was worth the 30 minute drive to get there. Its great for players of all levels and I'd recommend a visit for a game if you haven't yet been!
1 of 4 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: My favorite thing about this course is the beautiful setting in a mostly wooded and mostly private section of UNC's campus. The course plays through hilly forest around the UNC's outdoor recreation area.
There are some excellent holes at this course, especially the ones playing through the open areas. It's a quick round, very fun to play, and would be enjoyable for beginners and advanced players alike.
Cons: The course feels like an old hotel that needs a renovation. Signage is missing on a lot of the holes. Navigation is confusing in many spots. The baskets look very old and all have numbers on them that don't correlate to the holes, adding to the confusion. It could use a refresh.
While there are some great holes, there were more than a few bland holes and a couple of not so great holes, all in the woods. This is a pitch and putt course that's all Par 3.
Other Thoughts: This is a nice campus course and worth playing if you are in the area. I was advised it was the best course in the Raleigh/Durham area … although it was fun to play and I would play again, it wasn't as good as expected. If there was a 3.25 I'd give it that rating, but as there isn't I'm rounding up. Seems like some of the course has been renovated/refreshed in spots - would be nice to see the whole thing get a facelift. Another random observation - I saw more females playing than guys, which has never happened to me before.
4 of 9 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: Lots of variety on types of holes, lengths, and obstacles. Easy parking. A lot of thought obviously went into the course design.
Cons: Easy to lose discs, and crawling with poison oak. Path from basket to tee is poorly marked at times, and the wooded holes get so little light that it's impossible to play late in the day.
Other Thoughts: There are two parking options: (1) park entrance off Ridge Road, and (2) the softball complex parking off Raleigh Road/Hwy 54. The Ridge Road entrance is much easier for starting the course on hole 1, but parking there between 8AM and 5PM on a weekday will likely get you a parking ticket. I recommend parking at the softball complex entrance, near hole 8, for multiple reasons. First, they don't ticket there. Second, the walk back and forth to the car is easier. Third, the baskets for #6 and #8 are right there for you to warm up on, something impossible on #1. Finally, the softball complex entrance is much easier to find than the Ridge Road entrance. To get from #18 to #1, follow the asphalt to the right, along the short end of the tennis fence.
As of June 2011, the basket on hole 15 is on the left, not down the right side. Since it's a blind hole, I found out about this change in position the hard way.
1 of 8 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: This course is well mixed with open, wooded, easy and difficult holes. Can be very difficult or laid back. In a well kept area, course is well maintained.
Cons: No signage. We missed two holes because we did not know where to go. Some simple updates make this a great place to play. A sign in the parking lot pointing to tee #1 would have been nice also, we started on hole 5...
Other Thoughts: We went with a group of beginners and experienced players' everyone had fun. Awesome terrain overall, just needs some up-keep for non-regular players navigation.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: A course that has it all. 4 or 5 holes that let you air it out a little, and a good mix of wooded holes. Even a throw over a pond to kepp things exciting. Easy to navigate if you disregard the hole numbers. Flow is good with no long walks. Only the hole by the tennis courts get a little tricky, and good tee pads on every hole. Being a RHBH player it seems that most of the wooded holes are designed for RHFH players, but that just helps me work on shots I need to learn. Need to use a variety of shots to play a good round. Good use of hills and natural landscape throughout the course.
Grass fairways are always mowed nice and short, and basket positions are changed periodically on a few holes to keep things interesting.
Cons: One wooded hole on back nine with no real fairway. Kills me every time. You will be punished if you don't throw straight and controlled. Not a course that is full of scenic beauty and majestic views. 2 straight boring holes.
Baskets are not numbered correctly, and new players and visitors can be easily confused. Most locals park by #8 and start there.
Signs are hit and miss. They could use an update.
Other Thoughts: Becoming one of my favorite courses. Has everything you need for a fun round. Not that busy for being on a college campus.
This course can be very nice, but it seems like it gets no love. Once a year the fairways get trimmed and cleared for the Tarheel Open, but that seems to be it. Signs and navigation need help, and it just always seems like it could get better. Still a fun course to play, and worthy of a visit if you are in the area.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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