The Masters ... of its own domain
21 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Pendleton King is a decent disc golf course in a great neighborhood park. As the Augusta DGA's own website states, this is a course that's aimed at a "beginner - novice" crowd.
- This is not going to be a PK- bashing review. Sorry to disappoint some. It's just a straightforward review of this course, letting others decide whether this is a course they'll want to play.
- Per the Augusta DGA's website, here's their description of the course: "Overview: Slightly Wooded Course, Slight Range of Elevation"…that sums up this course perfectly. This is a mostly open course, with plenty of wide fairways, and often only minimal tree coverage to maneuver your disc around.
- The course has some enjoyable holes. #2 is a nice, lightly tree-protected, longer hole on the course. Listed at 467 feet (more on that later), it's the course's longest hole. #6 is a fun, slight downhill, dogleg right hole, at 261 feet. A more aggressive shot should result in a birdie putt, or ending up in the thick rough. #9 is a downhill, semi-tight layout at 290 feet. Anything from a tap-in 2 to a scramble out of the woods 5 all seem feasible on this layout.
- The most 'Augusta' hole to me was #18, one of the better holes on the course. By that, I mean it's the most Augusta National, lily-white, scenic layout on the course. There aren't any azaleas here, or at least none that I saw, but throwing over and around shrubs, flowers and trees, and next to a gazebo, giving players a picturesque ending to your round.
- The course winds through the park. At times you're isolated from other activities, other times you have to be careful. From the road, this just looked like your typical, small neighborhood park. I was pleasantly surprised how big the park actually is. Most neighborhood park-level courses are of the nine-hole, pitch-n-putt variety. Here you get a full 18-hole layout. This would be a great park to have if you live in this neighborhood.
- The 'next hole' signs on this course are great. They're cut-outs of an index finger pointing out to the next hole, or pointing out a mando when appropriate. It's a greater touch than the standard arrow, or something lesser.
- I enjoyed my drive to the park. I got to drive past one of the real, members' entrances to Augusta National rather than the made-for-TV entrance off Eisenhower Drive. Let's just say the neighborhood across the street from Augusta National is exactly what you would expect. Well, expect for Dave Loggins' "Augusta" theme song playing.
Cons: The cons aren't anything egregious, at least anything that directly impacts the course.
- As the hometown DGC stated, this course doesn't have much variety to it - nothing really long; nothing really short; no completely wide open holes and no super narrow, wooded fairways. With some slight differences, you feel like you're playing the same couple of holes throughout the entire round.
- What are the exact distances for these holes? The tee signs, online scorecard, online map (both produced by locals) and the info on this site are all different. On some holes, the various listings are virtually the same. For example, the distances for #1 range from 250 - 255 feet. For #2, the listed layouts are as follows: 340, 367, 395 and 467 feet. Oh, and the online aerial drone video lists it at 320 feet. When I played, I'd lean to the 375 foot range. This isn't just a problem here, but something I dealt with at many of the Augusta-area courses.
- Course is lacking a great, signature hole or two. It may be due to being a beginner-friendly course, which contributes to the general blase feel of the course. Still, the best way to add flavor to a bland soup is to kick in some pepper or Tabasco sauce. #7 seems to have the most potential for being a challenging, long par 4. In fact, on the course map, the hole is listed at 405 feet (480 to the long tee), not that it's actually that long. The fact it has that potential, means you could have at least one challenging par 4.
- The course is very sandy. I know that's part of the makeup of the land in this area (we have red clay in Charlotte). But of all the courses in this area, I looked, and felt, most like I had just come from the beach at this course.
Other Thoughts: Pendleton King's disc golf course does have potential. I'm referring to realistic potential of this being a nice course, and not the fantastical beliefs of some.
- This is a great course for beginners. Of all the courses in the Augusta area, this is the best one to bring new or casual players. They won't be overwhelmed, but should still enjoy the challenges. Let them hone their skills heir before moving on to the IDGC and other area courses.
- There are some very nice parts of the park. The walk from #8 to 9 feels like you suddenly appeared in a private garden or arboretum. There's also a really nice pond to the right of #5. If you ignore the unsightly and decrepit basketball and tennis courts next to holes #3 & 4, you can see the nice parts of the rest of the park.
- I gets it's an Augusta staple to name holes on a course. All holes are named after birds. I enjoyed that two of the holes had Carolina names (#1 - Carolina Chickadee & 9 - Carolina Wren), meaning I could get a taste of home while being here.
- This is a solidly decent course throughout. There isn't a poor, throwaway hole on the entire course. The problem is that there isn't anything great either, at least in its current layout. It would be nice to have one signature, must play hole. I guess #18 fits the criteria of the course's signature hole, based on how it most closely portrays the park's identity.
- If you want a change of pace, this is a nice, easier speed compared to the other local courses. For a neighborhood park, most people, myself included, would enjoy having this within walking distance.
- Here is the best testament I can give to Pendleton King's disc golf course. I played eight 18-hole disc golf courses in the Augusta area during my two-day trip, including the IDGC and Hippodrome. This was the eighth best of those courses. That speaks to the tremendous, overall quality of disc golf courses in this area. For other cities in the region - Asheville, Columbia, Charleston - this course would easily be the third or fourth best in those locales. The fact Augusta has so much depth, quality and variety, in its courses, cannot be overlooked.
21 of 21 people found this review helpful.
Clean and Friendly
29 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This is the cleanest and friendliest course that I have ever played. Fast Eddie and the boys even managed to part the clouds and stop the rain for me. Seriously though, what I think is meant by clean and friendly is well-maintained. Partly that is due to the fact that much of the course traverses areas of the park that are multi-use. But partly, it's due to an intense maintenance effort that keeps the wooded areas of the course as pristine as the park areas.
There is a lot to like aesthetically in Pendleton King, from arboretums to gardens. Several elements do make the course stand out that aren't technically part of the golf. The walkway from 8's basket to the 9 tee feels like it belongs at Augusta National. The gated garden behind the 18th basket provides a truly memorable finish. These things do have an effect.
And it is clean. This is a course that is very well-suited to new players. There is little that will challenge the veteran but there is a great variety, from wide open holes to well-carved path from the woods but no fairway would be considered restrictive.
That back nine actually features some solid golf. If the front nine matched up, this would be a borderline 3.5 course. With the exception of 17 and 18, the second half is entirely in the woods. There is a good variety of lines, with some clear left holes, a few right holes and some very well designed RHBH anny shots. I wouldn't mind looping this nine a few times. It's a very solid play with vary fair, very well-cleared fairways. If there is a standout hole, it is 14, which is significantly longer than anything else and likely requires multiple throws through the woods.
I'd imagine the course plays very well on league nights. The later hours mitigate a lot of the problems with the front nine and on doubles nights, players are likely counting their birdies. Pretty much every hole here is eminently birdiable for intermediate players. The local league members probably have a blast at Pendleton, running for aces and trying for low scores.
Because of the maintenance, and the preponderance of navigation aids, it is indeed a clean and friendly play.
Cons: Before I start on the front nine, I should mention that while the back nine is solid, it is far from spectacular. There is nothing memorable. Solid wooded holes that are just too wide to be all that interesting. There is some elevation but not too much. The basic layout shapes are all there, but nothing stirs the imagination.
So the front nine. There are some problems. There a lot of facilities in this park. Probably a lot of traffic at times. So to begin. 1 runs parallel to the park road. Very close to the park road. 2 pretty much traverses a playground. 3 throws directly over the park road. 4, 5 and 8 don't force players to throw over any specific areas of use but there are jogging paths and open fields that are clearly used by pedestrians. These holes are dangerous and it is mind boggling that anyone would consider a course to be elite that featured these five holes.
Even if you took out all the interference issues, these holes would be a 2.5 at best. They just aren't interesting. Typically straight shots with little in the way of obstacles. (besides the children) Pretty, but very boring in a disc golf sense. Even 6 and 7 which make a mini woods loop, are bleh. 6 is a gimmicky nags, with a forced layup to get around a near ninety-degree bend too close to the tee. Honestly, on the walk to hole ten, I thought I would be rating this course a 2.0. There are just too many problem areas on what be a very bland course even if they were somehow corrected.
I just don't think the property could sustain an elite course. The terrain isn't there and too much of the space is already taken up by other park facilities. I think the most of it has been made on the back nine. Unless there is some space to create another nine like that back, this course is best left to appeal to beginners and players who don't want to be challenged, and ideally want to play when there are no other park-goers present.
Other Thoughts: I saw who I can only assume was Fast Eddie working on the alt basket for 7…..in the rain. With that kind of dedication, it is not hard to understand the loyalty of the locals to this course. Not hard to imagine someone paying respect by going online and overrating the course. (And while typically I don't even think about what other reviewers say when I write one, it's impossible to talk about PK without the context of what's been happening review-wise.
So no, in my opinion it is not a five. If I could be more specific, I'd give Pendleton King a 2.7. So consider this a high 2.5. It's a fun course. But it's not one that I would recommend players target in their journeys. Especially not in Augusta. I realize that I talked a lot about ratings here and typically I think the rating is the least important part of the review. But it is hard to disentangle the rating from this course, given all the hoopla. I think the back nine will eventually be a 3.5, given that it seems as if alternate baskets are being added that will make several holes more challenging. The front nine is going to be hard to improve without a substantial redesign though. 6 could be tweaked and it looks like 7 is going to be a sweet hole eventually but there just isn't much too work with on that part of the property.
29 of 29 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 2 Not
Tight Open and Open Wooded
Even mixture of holes in the open and holes in woods.
Multiple pin positions on about half the holes.
Online map made navigation simple.
Most holes play somewhat near walking paths and other areas used by other park users.
Lots of barking dogs to distract (cheer you on?) as holes 1-2 run alongside the back of many private properties.
Course is set along the edge of treelines and within the woods that form the border of a multi-activity park. The landscape is relatively flat, with very gentle changes in elevation. Grass was low, and the park seemed fairly clean.
About half the holes (1-5, 8, 16-18) play in the "open", i.e. you mostly have air between you and the basket, but the well-placed scattered trees, bushes, and elevation changes add to the challenge.
About half the holes (6-7, 9-15) play in the "woods", i.e. the fairways are surrounded by woods on both sides, but are very broad, mostly straight, typically requiring a bit of turn or fade as the disc nears the basket. Most of these holes are also similar in length, mid-200's to lower 300's.
Overall, a decent course, worth playing. Avoids the extremes, providing some challenge but also the opportunity to score well.
10 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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