11 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: This course is absolutely gorgeous. It plays around a lake and a marsh area, and is impeccably manicured. Not a trash can, cigarette butt, or a blade of grass taller than an inch to be found.
It has a great atmosphere to it, and one quite different than most disc golf parks. The locals are very friendly, as are the waterfowl that inhabit the lake, particularly if you have food.
The flow of the course is very nice. It's definitely on the open side of the spectrum, but with enough obstacles to keep things interesting.
Knowing that the USDGC is held at this course adds a certain impact to playing the course. Even if it's not in the Gold setup, you can still recognize certain holes from videos of the tournament.
Cons: The signage seems outdated, or maybe it's accurate in the gold setup. Whatever the case, navigation is somewhat confusing, and the pars are incredibly generous as they're listed on the stone plaques next to the tees.
The course might be a little on the easy side, but I wouldn't weigh this heavily. A decent golfer will definitely shoot under par, even playing them all as threes. Still, this isn't much of a con, particularly after a round at Renny ;)
Other Thoughts: There's something about this course that is hard to review objectively, and the best word I can think of is personality. It just feels good to be there, like if disc golf was a job, this would be your vacation.
11 of 14 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: -Excellent course design
-Good mixture of long and short holes
-Nicely maintained fairways with no trash
-Benches at every hole for if you need to sit down
-Large open fairways with little to no trees add variety to the course unlike most courses which are wooded
Cons: -The tees and baskets are incorrectly numbered making it hard to navigate
Other Thoughts: -Avoid the psycho duck
-Bring a map till you get familiar with the holes
6 of 10 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 13 Not
Pros: Easily the longest non-tournament course in the region (gets much longer playing the tournament Gold course). Nice mixture of open shots and some tighter areas.
Cons: The lake seems to like my discs. The numbering system on tees and baskets is about the dumbest thing ever. First timers need a map.
Other Thoughts: Lots of fun. I wish they would spend a few $$$ working on the numbering system. Not a single one is correct.
4 of 17 people found this review helpful.
20 Helpful / 2 Not
Beautiful Course Worth A Pilgrimage
Pros: Landscape, layout, variety, scenery
Cons: Hard to make sense of the tee numbers and numbers on baskets when they don't match what's on the map.
Other Thoughts: Wow, what a beautiful course! Winthrop is the one disc golf course I've played that would be considered beautiful by ball golf standards - perfectly manicured fairways, plentiful flowering bushes, and a wide variety of mature and majestic trees make for one of the finest disc golf landscapes I've ever played. Not only is the course well-balanced and laid out, but it also has a variety of interesting touches; the first one that comes to mind is number 7, with it's green of a circle of tall cedar trees surrounding the basket. This touch is just one example of the many ways Winthrop exceeds most disc golf standards.
I must mention, however, that the course does fall short in a couple of key ways, especially for those making the pilgrimage to this hallowed course for the first time. As I stood on the tee for number 12, the concrete block in the ground said hole #6 and the basket said #17. Not every hole had a tee sign, but those that did never aligned with what the basket said, and neither the basket number nor the tee sign ever aligned with what the map said. Luckily for me, I was shown around by two locals. I thought perhaps the baskets were rearranged since the USDGC had been played the week before, but they assured me the course was always this incongruous. My advice is take the map from the course's website, and stick to it despite what the tee sign or the basket may indicate. In addition, the Winthrop course is crowded with players; the DG scene in Charlotte is obviously thriving, and it's such an excellent course. But the course plays against and even over many well used roads, along jogging trails, and students wander around and relax in the middle of fairways like they would in any other park. So there's a lot of obstacles to watch out for and a lot of interlopers to wait for in the course of a round.
I hardly know where to start with the positives, though. Beyond being beautiful, the course is balanced too. In most ways it's a perfect park course, with enough obstacles to keep you honest. Yet it also has several true (and beautiful) woods holes. The course has beautiful uphill holes, a couple of downhill holes, some really interesting greens, and in good disc golf fashion, demands that players use right fades, left fades, distance, and if you're capable, even rollers, to excel. I was surprised, however, that the Lakefront course is not really long. Except for #9, the rest of the holes are par 3, though I saw few clear birdie opportunities for anyone that can't throw 300 feet consistently. The water is nearby, but is not really obstacle on any hole - in a few places though, a bold shot gone awry or a skip or roll that gets away from you could end up in the drink. The lake is just the crowning touch on the most beautiful course I've ever played. No bad or even average holes out here.
A note about Lakefront vs. Gold - Winthrop Gold is the course the pros play for the U.S. Disc Golf Championship (USDGC). It overlays the Lakefront course, so placing 12 holes on the same space as 18 for the Lakefront course, and then adding six very long holes around Winthrop Coliseum. I intended to play the Lakefront course, plus the six long extra holes, but my local guides said those holes were not entirely set up, nor were they usually set up except during the two weeks preceding the tournament. Driving around the coliseum, I did see the landscape and the holes looked very long and very open. They also played along and over some of the main roads and parking lots of the area. Since driving distance is a weak part of my game, I doubt I missed much. Also, perhaps the granite tee markers are for the gold configuration - I didn't think to ask while I was there.
Favorite Hole - #5 - Long shot from elevated tee pad across typically beautiful fairway surrounded by mature trees and varied flora.
20 of 22 people found this review helpful.
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