5 Helpful / 0 Not
Other Thoughts: Course sits in a park of about 30 acres in rolling piedmont terrain with mature canopy throughout most. Park is unusually well appointed for a municipality this size and has a fair amount of traffic overall, although the course is lightly trafficked. As the name implies the park lies in the watershed for the namesake lake, which should be a heads up regarding play here during and after rain events. Course consists of the unusual 12-hole format, which is the most likely reason for it's low play volume.
Tee pads are appropriate and solid, although some may feel them undersized. Course also features a fairly unique double tee pad for #'s 4 & 6 (an easier pour no doubt). Targets are mixed Innova Discatcher single and double chained models (note: the single chain Innova Discatcher catches surprisingly well, quite a far cry from the now ancient DGA Mach 1 baskets, notorious for the 'nutra-sweet' effect. My putting style is a bit on the more forceful side and after watching a few putts react with the single chain baskets, I had no real fear of 'rub of the green' moments with these targets). Amenities are also a bit mixed and inconsistent, but well above average overall. Drainage/erosion issues and volunteer availability are Squirrel Lake's largest maintenance problems, as it's easy to observe the effects of the heavy scouring water from rain events everywhere on the course. None at the present time seriously affect play. Course was dry and very playable. Several holes also had play affecting downed wood, of the kind NOT intended by the designer.
Course has only one set of tees, but even a high level player will find sufficient challenge here. Average hole distance is about 310' with a single hole over 400'. Half the holes are between 275 & 325', which seems to be the distance sweet spot. As previous reviewers have stated, course is VERY tight and restrictive off the tee and frequently the approach as well. The tee shot on #9 might be the best example; how does hitting a 10' wide gap at 200' sound? Well, that's just to earn a look at birdie, but at least it's a straight shot downhill.
From the tee, shot shapes are balanced overall but as the round goes on counter spin throwers will be slightly favored. 8 of 12 holes are blind or semi-blind. Greens are largely neutral with only one example of pronounced clock spin receptivity and frequently either pocketed or gated. Green site selection is one of this course's outstanding features. Straight flat shots up to about 250' will play very well here, especially when trying to save par. This course sets up perfectly for the finesse player's game, as 'alternative routes' of the kind often 'found' by power players do not even exist at Squirrel Lake and even staying in the fairway when trying to score is difficult. Roughs are somewhat variable dependent on the hole and the type of throwing error one makes, but the penalty for errant shots generally matches the size and type of error. Scrambling and recovery chances are ample and in some places enhanced for the clock spin thrower via select clearing. OB areas are limited and intuitive - only a major gaff will land one there.
Squirrel Lake's routing shows some signs of compromise with other park activities and seems a tad forced regarding the 'completion of the loop' idea. In addition, 5 holes are of the 'cross the valley' variety which, combined with its overall tightness, can wear on the golfer. #6's tee placement seems to have been a tough compromise, as it is the course's only open power tee shot and it comes into some conflict with a walking path where pedestrians coming the opposite way can be blind to the throwers. This is a fine point however, and the hope is that most golfers are prudent and considerate.
I feel the course's best hole is #2, which is just a straight up tough solid golf hole, especially if it's counted as a par 3 (my information says it's a par 4). It's an up/cross hill, right to left fairway shape where the crossing angle of the hill is receptive to counter spin. The main fairway gap off the tee is at about 120' and severely tempts one to use an extreme hyzer/anhyzer angle to negotiate it (combined with the nose/tail angle needed to gain elevation). The green sits high left and pocketed on a flat ledge. It's a very astutely designed hole.
Overall Squirrel Lake is a bit mixed, but a very stern test of golfing skill. Its strengths clearly outweigh its weaknesses. Some may feel 'fairness' an issue here, as obstructions in the fairways are more plentiful than at many wooded courses, but scoring chances here are plentiful and well earned, which is fair enough. I feel this course is likely overlooked because of its format and location, which is a shame. For the advanced or more skilled golfer, it outclasses several other local offerings in many respects, especially regarding skill building - both in shot making precision and mental toughness.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 1 Not
Redefines the term "Heavily Wooded"
Pros: - Squirrel Lake might be a bit of a misnomer. I saw neither squirrels nor a lake while playing this course, but then again, I was so occupied attempting to avoid the plethora of trees clogging up the "fairways" that I just might have missed them. Quite the oddity, Squirrel Lake provides a punishing beat down for anyone not on their "A" game. Most of the course is heavily wooded, with only the slightest definition of fairways in some places. It never quite felt like playing through virgin woods, but man, the people that put this course in the ground have quite a sadistic streak to them, in a good way. When I started the course, I asked "Why only 12 holes?" As I finished, my thoughts were much more along the lines of "Oh thank god it's only 12 holes" because this course can beat you up, again in a good way.
- Tight, tight, tight. Grease up your discs before you head out...they'll need help getting through some of the gaps presented. Missed shots are punished by zinging off trees into the woods, leaving you with even less of a shot for recovery. If you like trying to hit narrow gaps, this course is for you.
- Good concrete tees, sufficient signage (but lacking a hole layout map), and trashcans located in the park.
- Some really good risk/reward spots exist if you keep your eyes open for them. A wealth of multi-line holes where you can pick and choose how you'll attack the hole.
- One or two holes are more open in spots, requiring anyone without a massive arm to hit a defined landing zone in order to properly set up the approach.
- Very challenging as a par 3 course.
Cons: - Fallen trees, rotting logs, and other downed branches all over some fairways and in the rough. Some greens had tons of stumps where the cutting was roughly done. Definitely watch your step, as many tripping hazards present themselves throughout.
- Not really a beginner's course, unless said beginner has deep-seated masochistic tendencies. I don't consider this a con, but others might.
- No Squirrels, no lake (that I saw). I got gyped! (I kid, I kid).
Other Thoughts: - After getting thoroughly beaten down during our round, the best discer in our crew exclaimed "Squirrel Lake is not for children!" I concur.
- The "L" shaped tee pad (used for two holes), is interesting. I could see back-ups perhaps occuring here on busy days, but I'm guessing it's not as much of an issue as it might seem.
14 of 15 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Nice little course. Not too difficult yet not too easy to play either. No water on course which is good if you dont want to lose a disc but odd because course is called squirrel LAKE.
Cons: Fairways are super tight. Print a course map if playing for the 1st time. Hard to see baskets from tee box so without a map you may have trouble to start
Other Thoughts: Nice park setting. Good course to bring whole family. Challenging enough for skilled players yet not to difficult for 1st timers.
1 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Fun course, good for all level players. Regardless of your ending score you will have had a good time playing this course. Most holes are challenging but still able to be par. Lots
Cons: Lots of trees to hit. If you do end up hitting a tree, good luck finding your disc in the woods. Personally, I have lost a disc or two at Squirrel Lake. Fairways are too tight.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
tight but fair
Pros: great challenging 12 hole course. one of the tougher courses in the charlotte area. holes#3,#4,#9, are TIGHT. if you play here alot your accuracy will improve. because you need accuracy to score well here.4 holes are par 4, which is cool for a `12 hole course. only takes 30- 40 minutes to play around,with little to no traffic
Cons: some tee pads are small, but not horrible, they need a couple trash cans on some of the holes, but for the most part it is pretty clean. its only 12 holes....if it were a 18 hole course you would hear alot more about it.
Other Thoughts: this place will challenge anyone, i play here on my way home from work. par is a good score here.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Great terrain and scenery, wooded canopy makes this enjoyable on hot summer days. This course defiantly has a variety of shots. My favorite hole is hole 12 you can really let the disc fly. Another plus about this park is that nice it's not as busy as the rest of the charlotte courses. Unlike Reedy you don't have people on top of you. This course will challenge you wont be disappointed unless you hit some trees. Like I always say you will get some tree love at the lake. If anything this course will help you be more accurate due the amount of trees.
Cons: I wish that this one was 18 hole. But the city of Matthews has shot that idea down.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I really enjoyed my round here. Tight fairways but not much underbrush, you have to try to lose a disc.
-Nice tee signs, though would be nice to have a hole map.
-Secluded feel if there aren't many people on the course.
-Easy to navigate, and really easy to find the first hole.
-Nice use of available elevation.
-A beautiful walk through the woods.
Cons: -12 holes here leave me wanting more, this isn't a slam on the course, just wish there were 6 more.
-Hole 6 has the road in play(for my wild wide sidearm shot), not sure how often this is a problem but during my round someone was parked on the road. That caused me to pull up on my drive.
--If you play late in the day the sunlight on 2 and 3 is brutal to focus on the basket for your 2nd shot.
-For me personally I like a little wider tee pad, but it only took me 2 holes to adjust.
Other Thoughts: I really liked this course. It's tight, lots of trees, and well laid out. I would like to see a hole layout on the tee signs, but this is only an issue the first time you play. Otherwise they are great signs. I only hope they find enough room for 6 more holes here. The poisen ivy that was mentioned before is not an issue anymore, I assume they sprayed. I'm a big fan of Killborne for the secluded feel and I get this here with tighter fairways. The holes aren't as secluded, but the park and the feel of the course is. Kudos to the designers of this beautiful course.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 3 Not
A secluded course
Pros: The course is new so signage and a markers from hole to next tee are great. The course makes you throw a variety of shots because of tree placement. This challenge makes it a fun place to play.
Cons: Heavily wooded making some of the holes very diffcult. The holes are also longer than you would think.
Other Thoughts: As I was playing I saw a family of deer within 30 feet of me. Wildlife is abundant.
9 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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