a day in the park
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The lake in Lakefront dominates the scenery here and the entirety of the course is sure to be pleasing to the eye. It's surrounded by manicured grass and a few low hills. It's a very aesthetically pleasing place to play and I'm sure many a fun round has been played on the property. I played the standard Lakefront course, and that's what I'm reviewing. That layout is easily played with the map listed in the files on DGCR, and though there are no navigation aids on the course, there should be no issues following the course as long as said map is available.
Winthrop provides plenty of opportunities to air out some discs, and though there are no carries, there are plenty of places where you can watch a disc in flight over that pretty terrain. There's not a ton of distance, but there is a good variety of lengths with holes ranging from under two-hundred feet to over six-hundred.
And there are some cool holes. Thirteen is sharply uphill and while there is a roadway in the path, no cars should use that route since it's a dead end. Seven demands a little accuracy as the basket is tucked into a grove of trees. Thirteen plays deep into a creekside stretch of land. Seventeen is probably the most interesting as the basket is on the edge of the lake on a small outcropping of land and a disc can be hung out over the lake and fade right to the basket. Between those and the generally pleasant atmosphere, a causal round here could be pretty fantastic.
As fun as this course can be to chuck on, it's not a very interesting course. The lake is beautiful but it doesn't really come into play very much. That's not to say there is not a lot of risk/reward here. On many shows you risk hitting a car with your disk. Many fairways reward you with a chance to throw if you can find a break in pedestrian traffic. Seriously, I don't think I'd play here on a weekend unless the weather was poor. The worst offender here is the gate hole. That's just begging for dog-walkers to stroll through it. Well, worst offender pedestrian-wise. Hole four is a terrible idea. Yeah you can pitch around the parking lot, and yeah a ton of the other holes throw over roads. But the direct line to the basket on four heads directly through the lot that you just parked in. In summation, playing here at a busy time in the park is probably going to be frustrating.
The course at Winthrop doesn't offer much to make that frustration worth it. Challenge? Where is it. Beyond an occasional pedestrian, it's pretty much an open path to each basket. It's not a bad course. It can be fun. But open park courses like these are pretty common. There are some fun or cool holes, but nothing memorable. Nothing that you will want to go back for. It doesn't help that the flow is pretty bad. Holes don't follow in any logical direction. There are some very long walks between holes that you would never, ever find without a map.
On the topic of navigation, oh boy. It can be followed easily enough if you bring a map and stick to it, ignoring everything else. There are no tee signs, but there are tee plaques that list incorrect holes and information. Likewise the baskets often sport inaccurate hole numbers. So ignore that and you should be fine but it's a bummer that people who show up unprepared will be confused.
I'm aware that there is an additional layout but I reviewed the Lakefront course, as advertised on this site. The gold layout, if playable, really just seems to be longer holes that are just as open and uninteresting. And I guess, for the tournament they bring out hay and ropes for those who like to play an artificial course made of ropes. To each his own.
Other Thoughts: If you expect a fun, light round with a few buddies, than by all means, there is good golf here in a scenic setting. But it's not a destination course so don't travel here looking for something that will knock your socks out.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: The site of the USDGC every October, this is probably the most photographed course, and it does have some photogenic parts. The course begins and ends along a pretty lake with fountains in the middle.
Note: I played the gold layout (the one played at USDGC), which has some overlap with the Lakefront course but is generally longer.
Part of the fun of playing here is seeing in person the holes that the pros play. Among the more enjoyable ones:
Hole 4, a U-shaped hole playing over a shallow valley, curving into a grove of trees.
Hole 5, the long hole along and across the lake. I was happy to get my second shot where the pros seem to be after 2, but I didn't have the guts to try to make it across the water.
Hole 13, the famous "888" hole. After tons of discussion in the forums about the best way to play this one, it was nice to see it up close (I took an 8).
Hole 17, the downhill shot toward the lake. It wasn't as steep or long as I had thought it would be.
Elevation comes into play on several holes.
What makes Winthrop an interesting course for the USDGC is the miles of yellow rope and the bales of hay used for OB. They are only in place for the week or two leading up to the event. Without them, frankly, Winthop is kind of boring. Other than the 888 hole, holes 9-14 are just long, open bombers where trees do not come into play. In fact, I think I only hit a tree on three holes, and it's not because I was shooting well. It really hits home how manufactured the challenge is; there really aren't many organic aspects to this course, in sharp contrast to all the Charlotte courses I played 30 miles away.
Navigation is awful. Without the map, neither the Gold nor Lakefront courses are navigable. There are no tee signs. I used this to navigate Gold:
Note that while all baskets are in for the Gold layout, one or two holes play slightly differently (for instance, hole 6 is not in its beach location).
Other Thoughts: I came down here from Charlotte for two reasons: 1) I have watched a lot of USDGC coverage and wanted to play the holes, and 2) I'd never been to South Carolina. I'm glad I came once, but unless I can come back during October when the ropes are in place, I don't think I would return.
13 of 15 people found this review helpful.
Don't Travel For This One
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: - Nice clean campus park setting
- Good short and quick course if you like playing wide open holes without many trees to contend with
Cons: - Impossible to navigate without a map, definitely need to print out a map if you would like to figure out where each hole is located
- The baskets and tee boxes are not numbered correctly and the distances are incorrect even on the available scorecard/map
- No maps/diagrams at the holes
- No benches
- No trash cans
- Goose poop everywhere on MANY holes and as there are not benches finding a clean spot to lay your bag is sometimes difficult
Other Thoughts: - Overall I was extremely disappointed with this course, I have played a handful of courses throughout the Charlotte area (a few included in the current 2012 Worlds tourney) and you can not even compare Winthrop Lakeside with these courses rated about the same or even slightly lower (higher than Plantation Ruins at Winget - just silly, nearly the same as Robert L. Smith Park & Elon Park - Angry Beaver - ridiculous)…this course must only have its current rating because the people that reviewed it have not played elsewhere on truly solid courses
- If you are already in Rock Hill and you swing by for a quick round you will have fun, but if you are in the general Charlotte area, picking any other course with a 3+ rating would be a better choice
- I admit there are definitely a few fun holes, 12 was unique and fun, but generally it is a wide open grassy park style course…the main obstacle is the large lake that impacts a few holes and truthfully I would rather deal with countless trees as a miss-throw, gust of wind or unlucky roll down a hill will not cause a lost disk if trees are the obstacle
- Also, note that the road around the lake is ONE-WAY counter-clockwise so you don't get yelled at by campus police when leaving the parking lot
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 3 Not
Re-played and Re-reviewed
Pros: Nice beautiful location - Winthrop University has a very nice campus and the course is a very open course.
Cons: The course is not well marked - print out a map or you'll never find your way around. Some baskets have wrong numbers on them but you need to trust the map. The gravestone markers are not accurate don't trust them - trust the map except for 18 - 18 basket is down by #5 tee box.
Goose poop! you'll need to avoid it on some of the holes - now that's a natural hazard! #11 tee box is the worst place for it.
Other Thoughts: My first time there I was disappointed and let down my expectations were high probably too high. Now that I know what to expect it was a more enjoyable experience. Go, play it once to learn the course layout then go back to actually have fun.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 6 Not
If you live here, play it. If not, don't go out of your way.
Pros: It's great to have a course so close to my home that hosts a national event. Everyone in the Charlotte area is fortunate to have so many courses to choose from!
Cons: Where do I begin...
Thankfully one person in our group had experience with the course layout AND we printed a map before making the trip. If we had neither we would have been in trouble. There are absolutely no directional signs on the course. Not a single "next tee" arrow to be found. And because most of the course plays through what I'll call a regular park there are not many beat down paths (like you'd find on a wooded course). On top of that the baskets are not numbered in order. How crazy is that! And, to boot, take your best guess on how long the holes are (unless you printed a scorecard).
Other Thoughts: All that said there are many good holes here (good, not great). The water holes make you think twice.
4 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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