7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Winthrop Gold is the quintessential disc golf course trying to act like a ball golf course. With that you're replacing some of disc golf's appeal for a more traditional version of the game. Take away the USDGC and you're probably also removing most of this course's 'appeal.'
- For starters, I played here without the ropes. The biggest difference is that I probably saved myself 20 penalty strokes while still getting a great sense of the course.
- This is a station-to-station, multi-shot hole after multi-shot hole, grueling round version of disc golf. If you're an experienced Lakefront player (as I am), you're familiar with a nice round playing around the lake. Here, you knock that out after seven holes, then spend the next 9 holes wandering around the baseball field, basketball arena and rest of the park, before final returning to the lake for the final two holes.
- Some of the layouts are fantastic - both fun and challenging. I love hole #4, which is a combination of holes #7&8 on Lakefront. Give me this unique layout that puts an emphasis on an accurate tee shot - throw straight to a fade-right shot of at least 300 feet - to an accurate second shot - past the mando, below the branches, and (hopefully) far enough up that you can make a run at the protected basket. It's a simple hole in concept. In execution, it's a bogey 5 for players like me.
- Hole #8 is another elite level layout. It's a 667-foot layout that plays behind the baseball field (longer version of #13 Lakefront), with a wide fairway off the tee to a quickly narrowing fairway the closer you get to the basket. Another hole that seems like I should be carding a 4, but end up getting another 5 on instead.
- I like how you get a taste/overlap of Lakefront holes throughout your round. #1, 3 & 16 are holes from Lakefront; while other holes overlap Lakefront layouts: #2, 5-8, 17 & 18. I'm sure the holes look the same from the tee pad, they just play much harder once the ropes cut your landing zones in half (or more).
- Course tests your patience. Big arms are great, but accuracy is the only way you'll survive the ropes. At times, you'll be fighting the urge to drop the clutch, rev the engine, and get the car out of second gear. It sounds great until the penalty strokes are included. On the challenging holes, be pleased with your par and move on to the next hole.
- The course, and park as a hole, is always very well maintained. I can't ever remember seeing tall grass anywhere here, Lakefront included.
- The online caddy book is fantastic. From well-marked distances, mandos and OB markers to even showing the scoring breakdown for each hole, having such detailed caddy books could really help push the appeal of disc golf to the masses.
Cons: This doesn't impact my rating of the course; it's just being listed as a contrarian viewpoint. The ropes are either are what make the course better, or are what detract from it. Yes, you might prefer it as a long, open course without the ropes, thinking the OB markers are completely arbitrary and, perhaps, gimmicky. Others are going to love the challenge, seeing how the ropes are to a disc golf major what the narrow fairways, thick rough and fast greens are to the U.S. Open in golf.
- Lots and lots of walking. The holes are long - 550-foot average - with only two under 300 feet. For the average player, there aren't a lot of chances for birdies. And that's without the ropes. So, at times, it feels like, throw and walk, throw and walk, throw and walk, approach shot and walk, missed putt, and tap in putt. Repeat on the next hole.
- Signage still stinks. Even with the caddy book, a couple tee areas were difficult to spot. I've mastered navigating Lakefront, so this was a reminder of what the typical UNPREPARED, first-time players experience here.
- No benches or trash cans for pretty much the entirety of the course. There are spots where you can sit on walls. Also, for much of the course, there is little to no shade so be prepared when you're playing here in the summer.
Other Thoughts: This was an enjoyable, challenging, if not spectacular course. I had gone more than a decade of playing disc golf and living 30 minutes away without playing Winthrop Gold. After playing it once, I don't feel like I need to play it again until the ropes are up.
- Without the ropes, there isn't anything spectacular here. I've easily played 15-20 courses that are better than this...but I've also played 180+ courses that aren't as good as it either.
- Prepare for a long round. I can play a solo round at Lakefront in just under an hour. With a buddy, we played Gold in about 2:15 - 2:30.
- A simple, but fun hole is #14. You tee off from the sidewalk outside the arena, throwing downhill to the basket on this 413-foot layout. It's very fun to throw without the ropes. Maybe the fun factor is gone once the ropes are up.
- It's clear this is a course with two different feels, depending on whether the ropes are up or not. What might be the worst of all; however, is trying to play the ropes layout - simulating the OB locales - without actually having any ropes. I can picture some of you guys (you know who you are) walking up to your disc, looking at your caddy book, looking back down at your disc, studying the book some more, wasting about two minutes all while trying to figure out if your disc is in bounds or not. If that's the case, just play here in October. For everyone else, experience the two feels throughout the year.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Just an honor to play here honestly
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Aesthetic-- plays through a beautiful college campus, lawns are excellently manicured and the course itself is a marvel to behold. That said, it does cross many walking paths and roads and these could become hazards if you aren't cognizant of your surroundings.
Teepads-- Very large and in excellent repair. Some shared teepads with the lake side course but this is to be expected.
Routing and Nav-- if you aren't familiar with the USDGC, bring a map. I am familiar and needed the map on many occasions to navigate some of the "non-TV" areas. No teesigns during non-USDGC times does not help.
baskets-- about perfect. one basket had a slight lean, otherwise these are the best innova baskets out there...
challenge/variety-- some good and some bad here. The challenge factor is high with extremely long hole lengths and old growth trees throughout the fairways but the wide openness that you get back on 5/10/12/13/14 get a bit redundant but I'm guessing this is why they add the ropes.
Some random mentionables-- upkeep was incredible, amount of benches was greatly appreciated as it was 95 degrees when we were there ,also, elevated pins didn't really add difficulty just added visual appeal.
Cons: challenge/variety-- as said above, some redundancy in wide openness. Missing the ropes when I was there.
Routing and nav-- can be tricky with out a map. long walk 16 to 17..
hole 15-- This hole has never made sense to me, watching the USDGC and now playing it... it just doesn't fit here.
intertwining with the lakeside course-- because of the large amount of overlap, it was hard at times to know where you were throwing to. look at your map before you take aim.
Lack of teesigns-- tee signs are only present at USDGC time and are missed other times of the year.
Other Thoughts: It was truly an honor to play here, these are cons that I'm sure have come up before and are being remedied in different and creative ways.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 4 Not
GPU Gold (Goose poop university gold)
Pros: -Winthrop gold or Goose poop U is the hard course on Winthrop's campus. It's amazing and many holes allow you to unleash big drives. The layout is awesome!
-There is a good use of elevation here! Usually if the hole is downhill or uphill, it's pretty steep uphill or straight downhill.
-Nice teepads on the course and they are long enough for a nice long drive (Unlike Boyd). The basket's are really cool as well. I like that the poles on every basket are red.
-As you know, Lakefront is pretty short and easy so a few holes on lakefront are on this layout. #1 is #1 on lakefront, #2 is #3 and #4 on lakefront. #3. is #5 on lakefront. #4 is #6's, #8's fairway and #7's green on Lakefront. #5 is #9 and #10 on lakefront. #6 is #11 on lakefront. #7 is #12 on lakefront. #8 is #13 on lakefront but has a long position which you play here on Goose poop gold. #9-#15 are not on lakefront they are just other long holes here. #16 is #14 on lakefront and #17 and #18 are the same except there is a long position on #18.
-#12 is definitely a fun hole! It's 901" feet and straight downhill, -35 feet, at first just so it's easy enough to hit the fairway. As long you don't go right where the disc eating bushes are, a big approach shot is pretty easy. Be sure to go straight or over the trees to the right of the fairway since they can be disc magnets as for you players who bomb it and go for an eagle 3. I played safe for a par by going down straight ahead. It's pretty much my favorite on the course.
-There are benches on every hole because they are so long, you might want to take a break since it can wear you out.
-The grass is officially cut so you won't lose a disc in any long grass, it's cut about every month.
-#7 is the bamboo hole! It's definitely the most memorable hole in Rock Hill. I said that about #5 at Lakefront or #3 here at Gold but it's definitely the bamboo hole. Some people hyzer and let it turn far left or give a brutal sidearm and try to get it turn majorly right. Some go straight which is definitely impressive that way. If you go straight, you might be outside of the bamboo wall.
-There is a bathroom in the building behind the first tee. Go straight in and go right then right again. There is a trashcan as well.
-#13 is another great hole! It's very tough and you can risk going over the parking lot and letting it go left. I got lucky by doing that. Most people sidearm way left in the fairway since trees are a bit left guarding the right side of the fairway leaving only a little room past the trees guarding left is only about 4 feet. Bretttallen is right! It is definitely a beast!
-If you lose a disc on #17 and it floats, wait on the wind to blow it and get a part of the fence 200" feet to the left of the basket and you can pull it out that way. Or wear your bathing suit.
Cons: -Not many but my first con is that goose poop is EVERYWHERE! On the greens, banks, teepads (mainly #6) and fairways. I think you know why I have Goose poop U Gold is by title for this review.
-Every hole is numbered wrong. The map here isn't very accurate on the back 9. Hole 10 has the tennis court to the right of the fairway. #11 is straight and long with a super long bush. #12 is by a building which you tee off at and it's a downhill dogleg right.
#13 has the parking lot in play and it's another dogleg right. #14 is steep downhill and you tee off by a college building like on #12 and keep in mind that #15 has a mando gate and it's a dogleg left. The basket is in an opening in the trees.
-A lot of water occurs and I hope you have a disc that floats and if you go for an ace on #17, you high likely are in the water since the water is only 10' past the basket. I don't see why this cant be an ace run about 40' feet shorter.
-No next teesigns and to every hole is a pretty long walk.
-The course has a bad finish. I don't like #18. It's steep uphill and it has a mando pointing you left. The green has a dropoff a it's a dogleg right. It's not a birdie hole you'd b e lucky to par it. You're gonna hate it, most likely.
Other Thoughts: This is one of the best courses in the world. It's has everything you could possibly want on a course layout. The variety is excellent and this is definitely a man's course. Play the Lakefront layout if you are not at least an intermediate.
Hole by Hole
#1. Only real ace run on the course. Downhill with a good bit of trees in the fairway. Midrange or putter is the disc to throw. A driver will turn left leaving a long putt.
#2. Avoid the barb wire fence to the left. RHBH is good for your teeshot but don't completely bomb it, the parking lot is about 415" feet ahead and you don't want to pay car repairment do you?
#3. Straight downhill and definitely one of the really fun holes on the course. The woods are to the right and the water is left. The fairway is 180' wide though.
#4. Very tricky! You will need a 225' foot throw at least so you have an easy sidearm or turnover throw to the green. There is a mando pointing you left which can easily mess you up. This hole is short but nasty.
#5. Two words, SUPERR LOONNNNNNNNNG. The lake is definitely a disc eater and if you don't sidearm or throw a turnover shot. You're going swimming. Once you are about 800' feet from the tee, it's pretty safe to go over the lake. I got a 7 :). Be sure to use a dragon or wahoo and a hydra for an approach shot. It's a bit downhill so it plays 959'
-#6. Very laid back and it gets pretty easy after the monster par 5. It's straight and you only tricky obstacle is the trees to the right.
-#7. Another short hole! It's the bamboo hole and you know it's awesome. Hyzers and turnovers are safe if they are high enough. Going straight can be hard since the opening isn't huge.
-#8. Nice hole with trees in the fairway but still easy to sneak past. There are two positions. The long one is #8 gold. Avoid the woods left since discs seem to stay up in the limbs.
-#9. Good hole besides the mando pointing you right. Since there is a mando, it's very hard to unleash a big drive. Neat red belt on the basket though. The design by the baseball field is also very cool.
-#10. Another cool par 4. The tennis court is in play right. As long as you avoid it, this hole is easy to get it in in 3.
-#11. I didn't like the bush to the right at all. You better not hyzer over it and hit a car in the parking lot. If you avoid that, (which I didn't) this is an easy hole. Anhyzer will do if you throw hard to the leftside.
-#12. My favorite on the course! It's a straight downhill dogleg right. Get to the middle of the fairway and you have a clear straight shot.
-#13. Very cool design! It's definitely a test of you skill because of the trees a bit to the left blocking the right of the fairway. Good luck if you hyzer and try to land to the right of the trees. There isn't a lot of fairway to the right of the trees. Road is OB :(
#14. Finally a par 3 after 6 holes. It's straight downhill and you tee off by a college building. It's easy to navigate if you can throw about 360" on a normal basis.
#15. It's confusing to find so keep an eye straight ahead on a mando gate and bench. Anyway it's a dogleg left par 4 that is more wooded than most holes. Once you are at the landing zone, you have an approach shot that goes into the trees and be sure to get the opening right.
#16. #14 on lakefront and head to the baseball field. The hole is downhill and it's a good hole to throw left on since trees are disc magnets straight ahead and to the right.
#17. Very tricky and the water is going to frustrate you if you don't go a little short. You are in need of a hydra on this hole. It's another ace run but not an easy one.
#18. Honestly I did not like this hole at all. I don't like the mando pointing you left because the fairway slopes down left and you likely could catch a roller and kiss you disc bye bye if it goes in the lake. The green is also frustrating and there is a dropoff behind the basket. The green goes right into the woods.
8 of 12 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 7 Not
I see why i'm no pro!
Pros: Nice long course with lots of tricks up it's sleeve. Gives you the ability to try backhands, forehands, thumbers, rollers....ect. Very diverse course for long and short game players. Really gives you the ability to open up your arm and see what you can do but be aware....get a little greedy and the lake will win the battle!
Cons: OB's for this "BIG" course aren't marked year round and the old stone markers are still on some of the tee boxes so it makes it a little confusing. Plus with this course having two courses overlapping on severeal holes you will have to be aware of the others playing the shorts.
Other Thoughts: Do a little research online and find a layout of the course. It helps to understand where you are going and where each of the holes actually are. Oh....and......888 (#13) is a beast!!!!!
3 of 10 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 4 Not
Challenging and fun!
Pros: Fun to get to play on a high calibur course like the US Championship course. Long drives, tough pin placements, and interesting obstacles (ie 12 ft tall bamboo wall)
Many LONG holes to show off your arm!
Great use of the land available, with several signature holes.
Cons: Many holes situated around lake (might lose a disc)
Little confusing for first time visitors with the layout.
It's only really set up in it's true form during the weeks surrounding the US Championship. It would be great to be able to play it in its entirety year round.
Watch for goose poop. The geese hang out at the lake year round.
Other Thoughts: Very fun! Not really for beginners but experienced players will love it! One day I hope to be playing here as a pro...haha, right!
Favorite Hole: #7 You shoot a short 269ft through a 5ft gap in a 12 ft tall bamboo wall surrounding the green. Great hole to display your accuracy, tough if you miss the gap though!
3 of 7 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 1 Not
Love It Or Not?
Pros: This is arguably, the prettiest setting for a disc golf course in existence. It's like playing at a well groomed country club. The lake in the middle provides not only much of this natural beauty but also her share of misery. This is the course that every big-armed player should dream about and hope to one day be able to play. The shot making skills needed here are almost beyond my comprehension. I see a couple of terrific risk/reward type of holes in play here. I'd love to watch the top pros make those kinds of decisions, under tournament pressure conditions. Each hole is unique and beautiful in it's own way. The bamboo surrounded basket is a very interesting and unique disc golf hole. Rollers can be a very effective tool on this course.
Cons: So I find the # 1 teepad and throw down to the basket (It's quite a lovely little hole, too). The basket says # 7. I'm immediately confused. There's no signage to help with navigation at all. I played my way around the lake, not really knowing which course I was playing or if I was throwing my 6 drives to right basket. There were some little markers (tee signs) flush with the ground, like grave markers. Occasionally, I would stumble across one of these.
Other Thoughts: When I asked about the lack of navigation aids, I was told everything must go through the college admin. I realize that no-one would want a bunch of ugly metal tee signs and arrows pointing this way and that. But how difficult would it be to stick the correct numbers on the baskets. That would have been a great asset in navigating this course. So rating this course is proving most difficult. I wouldn't give a great, shorter courses where pros would be bored a 5 so I don't feel I can give this awesome course a 5 when it is too over the top for about 99% of the world's disc golfers. I also subtracted 1/2 point for navigation issues. Sorry, Winthrop Gold, I apologize.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
A- = A Great Course!
Pros: The real Gold course is designed to test the best players in the world (Gold level). It excels at that! My review is based on my less than world class skill level playing with all the yellow ropes - I am a middle of the road Blue player.
What I personally like and how this course stacks up:
1) Holes with good risk/reward. Fair, but harsh punishment for bad decisions or execution. == A (Achieved primarily by use of yellow ropes and pavement and water on 3-4 holes. I need to really risk a lot to get a birdie chance - that usually means playing a little stupidly.)
2) Holes that have rewarding birdie opportunities for me. I throw 300' accurately, 360' max. == B+ (Par on many of the holes is rewarding to me.)
3) More wooded than open - lots of variety of shots required caused by hole shape and topography == B (With it being a quite open course, it does hot really force you to shape your shots on most holes per se, but you do have to hit your chosen landing zones well. Great use of terrain around the club house.)
4) Natural beauty (Appalachian beauty preferred) and seclusion. == B+ (The course is very beautiful in a county club sort of way, but there is only one spot on the course (tee 4 on the ropes course) where you remotely feel like you're "getting away".)
5) Bonus points for multi-shot holes with defined landing zones, good risk/reward and multiple options to play them. == A+ (Although attained mainly by artificial feeling yellow ropes, the design is impeccable. For me it is mainly on the 2nd throw....and the beauty of that is that every round you are faced with a new set of challenges depending on where you land.)
Cons: The "real" Winthrop Gold is only in the ground for USDGC week (late Sept/early Oct). It is only really open to the public on Spectator Day (the Sunday after the USDGC is over)....but you need a tee time. I think you can probably sneak on in the week leading up to the USDGC at certain times of the day. Without the yellow ropes, the majority of the intrigue is gone......only a few holes still have some sharp teeth - 2, 5, 8, and 13 come to mind.
Other Thoughts: It's all about feeding the addiction, so I ranked this course subjectively based on my own "personal addiction factor". The grades above tell how well the course will draw me back to itself again and again and again. Since I have played a decent number of courses (125 18-hole, 64 9-hole as of mid 2009), my hope is that players/explorers who have similar addiction tastes will find my ratings list helpful as they choose courses to play and explore.
I fully expect others with different tastes/philosophies to disagree with me....that's the fun of things here. See my profile for my rating philosophy.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
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