8 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: - Great location. Castle Hayne Park offers not only one of the top 5 best DGCs in the state, it also has plenty for the wife & kids to do if you can't convince them to let you drag them through the woods. It offers covered picnic areas, a nice playground for the little ones, tennis courts, a practice basket, and clean restrooms.
- Lots of events scheduled regularly by the New Hanover County DG Club. Weekly doubles and singles organized by an extremely friendly bunch make me thankful I'm stationed in Wilmington.
- Wide variety of holes: Challenging woodlands coupled with some where you can really air it out. Better bring your a game though; some of the lanes are pretty tight.
- Trails throughout the course. The course looks really dense at first glance, but apparently enough people like me have played and their hyzer turned into an anhyzer that ended up in the thick of it. The trails cut down the density of an otherwise extremely unfriendly forest. This is helpful for errant shots that send you on an excavation for your disc.
- Provides a challenge for experienced players but isn't overwhelming for beginners. The difficulty inspires newbies to improve their game after a 25+ over par game while still offering enough challenge to keep advanced players motivated and their game sharp.
- Very well maintained. Pins are moved fairly regularly and the fairways remain fairly clear, probably due to the high traffic.
- Fairly easy to navigate. For first-time players it might be a bit confusing to find #10, #11, #14, and maybe even #2 (for the seriously navigationally challenged), but the regulars are an extremely friendly bunch who are happy to show you the way, young grasshoppa.
Cons: - Little elevation changes, but understandable considering the proximity to the coast.
- Bugs can get annoying sometimes (especially after a big rain), but you can't really complain too much. After all, you're in the woods in SE NC.
- Water supply. No drinking fountains, but the shelters have what look to be well pumps. I do not recommend drinking from those. I was pretty thirsty after a 45 hole day when I ran out of beer on 18 and drank from the "poisoned well," which I immediately spat out. Felt like someone punched me in the mouth and knocked out four teeth; the copper/rust in that water was breathtaking. Unless you enjoy well water -- with its smooth draw, earthy tones, and enough kick to give Tickle's 'shine a run for its money -- I don't recommend hydrating yourself with that mess.
- Finally (and this is a REALLY petty gripe), there aren't any convenience stores in close proximity to the park that you can dip out after a round, grab a quick six-pack to wash the taste of blood out of your mouth after having drunk from the well, and hit the chains again for a second round to redeem that 18-over. But again, that's really stretching the limits of reason considering it's such a great course and you're in the middle of the woods. In short, come prepared, my friends. Semper f-ing paratus.
- No topless Hooters girls frolicking along the #8 fairway.
Other Thoughts: This course is, by reputation, one of the best in North Carolina -- and that street cred is VERY well deserved. As a relative newbie to the addiction, I don't mind admitting that I don't have a whole lot to go by, but The Castle provides an exceptional blueprint that all course designers would do well to adhere to. If you are a player and will be visiting SE North Carolina in the near future, you will be doing yourself a HUGE disservice by not bringing your discs on vacation with you. The Castle is an absolute MUST PLAY for any devotee of the sport.
8 of 14 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 4 Not
Near perfect course
Pros: Really well maintained. No worries about losing discs in thick underbrush.
Pine needles can give you a great skip.
Cons: Not much elevation but what can you do? Really not much tom complain about.
Not the most friendly chains. After watching the 2013 Azalea Open on Youtube, the lead card might agree.
I would like flags or a little more color on the baskets. I had a hard time spotting some of them until I was right on top of them.
Other Thoughts: This is a must-play if you're anywhere close. I can't wait to go back. You really want to stay in the fairway. Just because you can see through the trees doesn't mean you can throw through them.
This course rewards thoughtful play.
Kudos to the New Hanover DG Club. They've done a fabulous job here.
5 of 9 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: Well thought out with multiple basket locations and multiple approach angles. Very well taken care of and awesome signage on all of the holes.
Cons: Very long for a beginner like myself. It will make you think about shot placement.
2 of 7 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: Great Layout, challenging. Good signs, tees and baskets.
If you are in the area, a must play.
Cons: Not very beginner friendly. (can't say too many negatives)
Hole 12 or 13 (along the railroad tracks) is a little annoying.
Other Thoughts: Fantastic course! Well worth the stop if you are traveling through and you want a challenging and beautiful course. I'm sure the course gets much harder in the spring when things bloom.
3 of 8 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: -Meticulously maintained course
-Tight and challenging. When you make a good throw you know it almost immediately.
-5 holes have alternate basket placements, making this tough course even tougher.
-Benches and cans on almost every hole.
-Detailed hole signs showing your ideal throwing locations.
-Shaded by tree cover on most holes, so light rain is no problem
-Very rarely do holes come close to intersecting another.
Cons: -Being one of the nicest and best courses anywhere, It can get busy at times. Nothing too bad, but I have seen some 4 group queues before.
-Not very new player friendly. It's quite challenging, so the room for error is small.
-Hole 10 is on the other side of the park from hole 9, and there are no signs, save for a small #10 sign right on the fence to the hole. Maybe something placed near 9 could eliminate this.
-Hole 12 had previously been a signature Par 5 hole here, but has been changed by the removal of stairs down the long hill, as well as ominous warning signs.
-Hole 8's tee shot is brutal. that creek has taken so many of our discs! We usually place someone down there to "guard".
Other Thoughts: The rating and title for this course is pretty much all that needs to be said. Since this is the course I started on, all other course get compared to it. Almost always unfavorably, haha. You won't a more professional course within a 100 miles. Just don't be surprised when somehow you notice you're 10 over par with 9 holes left to go. Enjoy!
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 10 Not
Pros: Challenging. Very well kept up course. Great baskets. Fun holes
Cons: Tee pads were a little short. Killer spiders everywhere. Very small window in which to drive through.
Other Thoughts: The woods off the fairways are as thick as i have ever seen. Very tough if you do not drive well. Lots of right turn holes on the back 9.
0 of 10 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 10 Not
Fun near the beach
Pros: Nicely landscaped course in a quiet secluded location near the NC coast. Fun holes, lots of turns and natural barriers.
Cons: Easy to lose discs at some points of the course.
Other Thoughts: Definitely a must if you are driving down towards Wilmington.
0 of 10 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 2 Not
Not a fan
Pros: Huge clear fairways
Distinct gravel tees
Color signs for each hole
Located in a beautiful park
Holes stay away from the populated park areas
Well maintained and cleaned
There is a sign close to the bathrooms. For sure read this before you play for your first time. Has the map so you know where you're going.
The woods are not forgiving and it's hard to come back from a bad hole.
The front nine and the back nine are split and can be hard to locate your first time here.
Other Thoughts: Definitely more of a professional course. I think I do worse every time I play this course. Difficult but possible. Even though I suck at this course, I know that this is a VERY NICE course.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 1 Not
One of NC's Best
Pros: Layout - Castle Hayne is a true test of your technical ability. You'll need every shot in your bag and the ability to perform them time and time again to play well.
The course has a great mixture of short and long holes but make no mistake, there are no holes where you can let it rip out there. Many of the longer holes require precise placement type drives to a spot to set up your next shot.
Not only will you need to place your drive very well but on some occasions you'll be playing through tight early gaps which really increases the difficulty of each hole. Even after a good drive you'll still need to play a great approach shot to set yourself up for a makeable putt.
Huge risk/reward out there; each hole really makes you think about every shot. If you try to bite off to much you'll pay for it. It's a course where you'll have to make a lot of accurate left to right, right to left, and S shots.
There isn't much elevation on the course but where there is it's used extremely well. The greens here are well designed in that they use the small elevation changes to their advantage by sticking them on slopes in some places.
The course is tough but not overbearing, as long as you stay within your game and play accurate shots you can stay within par.
Each hole has an original and alternate basket location that mixes it up and changes your approaches.
Layout is very fluid, no real long walks and it's easy to see where you're going next except for the 9 to 10 change up. The course does loop back to the parking lot after the front 9.
Equipment - Solid baskets in good shape. Large and level with the ground tees. Excellent signs for each hole that really explain the holes well and show you where the next tee is. Benches and trashcans throughout the course. On the longer holes there are distance to basket markers along the fairway that add a nice touch.
Atmosphere - Perhaps the best cared for public course I've ever played on. The locals do a great job of keeping it clean and on keeping the course in top shape.
Once you get in to the woods it's a beautiful pine covered course with a small creek running through parts. Very laid back feel to all of it and makes for a great round. There's usually a good breeze blowing to keep the heat off.
The layout does a really good job of weaving the course through the park and keeping discs away from other park goers.
Cons: Layout - Not really a lot you can complain about here.
There's never really a chance to let one rip and I always feel one or two of those holes give a course more balance. There's a few holes where it's possible but you still have to be very accurate.
Not much elevation on the course which is one thing that would put it over the top for me.
The course could be frustrating to new and lesser skilled players.
Equipment - One of the best equipped courses I've ever played so the only thing I can really complain about is the transition from 9 to 10 can be confusing, a sign right after 9 could help that.
Atmosphere - One of the main drawbacks that I can see is that you never get a real secluded feel on the course. Every time you start to feel it you run in to a part where you can see other parts of the park, a railroad track or a park road. At several points you'll cross park roads and even though you're never playing across or near them it ruins that wooded feel.
With the creek mosquitoes and bugs can be a problem out there as well.
Other Thoughts: I really love this course, I've yet to play it well but I always leave with the feeling that I had fun out there and tested my game.
The things that keep it from being a 5 for me is the lack of elevation and natural OB, the cons I listed under Atmosphere and a lack of a few more open holes.
Beyond that this is one of the best courses in NC hands down and a must play.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 1 Not
Castle Hizayne is Off the Chizain!
Pros: Aside from the fact that Castle Hayne Park in Wilmington, NC appeared impeccably maintained and litter was entirely absent, the well marked and well equipped disc golf course would be incredible in almost any condition. I thought the concrete tees were roomy and flat, much to my liking, and several holes had two boxes. I recall a couple of oddball tees on the front nine that were on a pedestal and dug into a hill, but they too were very usable. Only subtle changes in elevation, used to good effect. The tee signs were very good, as were the directional guiding arrows between holes that wound across and around the roads in the beautiful park. The course layout is well marked, but the map is nice and printing it may be helpful. Water in play, but nothing too intimidating. Baskets were in good shape, and most holes had two placements. One pin for hole 10 was on a 3 foot pedestal. Many benches were available throughout the course. So many attributes of this course are the virtues of every great course: Scenic, interesting, well carved fairways of varied length and requiring directional throws both ways,as well as doglegs and straight line shots. Some shorter birdie opportunities with interesting looks, and longer holes with wooded but fair routes and reachable landing zones. Perfect blend of difficulty and entertaining, fun holes.
Cons: My main gripe would have to be a small amount of mud, that was really minimal considering the rainy weather preceding my trip to the region. Fairway on the fourth hole is nuts. Wish I could have fared better there. The danger signs along the weird ravine trail parallel to the train tracks on the back nine really through me off, although I was able to save a bogey. Taking a 5 on the par 3 number 18 really bummed me out. I drove it pin high, but 75 feet left of the basket, which forced me to slowly and painfully work through a stand of trees blocking my second shot.
Other Thoughts: Truly a top notch course at Castle Haynes Park, and the local golfers involved should be commended for keeping this terrific specimen super clean. This is the best new course for me this year, and an instant favorite. Unique in most ways, but if I had to draw a comparison, I would choose The Sinks in Chattanooga, TN (without the sinkholes), or maybe Shaver Recreation Center in Seneca, SC.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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