A Must Play
23 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: To play over a large portion of what the pros play each fall at the USDGA Championships is a must. Playing a round where the game's greatest have played is a pretty cool feeling. (It would be like playing ball golf at Augusta National where the PGA plays the Masters.)
Each hole is unique, challenging, but fair. The lake adds nice scenery and a wonderful challenge. This course offers a nice alternative to the Gold course- it is still all you want without all the extra distance!
We were the only ones on the course for most of the round since school was out for the summer and we played during a weekday.
Cons: It can be difficult to follow, (the course can be played 2 different ways- Lakefront & Gold- some tees and baskets are used for both, others are not used). It is not impossible though, just use a map or play with someone who has played before.
The "mutant" duck! He followed us around for several holes, including swimming across the lake twice to join us. He was somewhat annoying as he was loud, in the way, and kind of scary looking!!!
The disc eating lake- All the fairways have a slight downward slant towards the lake, so be careful, there is a good chance of losing a disc when you play here. (It is called LAKEfront!)
(Both the duck and the disc eating lake apparently are well-known to the locals as people we encountered knew exactly what we talking about.)
Other Thoughts: All in all it was a terrific experience, and I hope I get to go back and play it again soon!!!
I loved playing Winthrop, and it is cool to look at the pics from the USDGA championship each year and see the very same memorable holes that I have played.
23 of 27 people found this review helpful.
22 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Winthrop U is a solid course, with even better scenery, playing around the lake. Depending on the time of year, the views may be the best reason to play this course.
- It's one of the most well-maintained courses I've ever played. The groundskeepers do a great job keeping things in top shape.
- Course is challenging, but very fair. If you can control throws, plenty of chances for birdies. Errant throws on several holes will find a new home in the lake.
- One of the best risk/reward courses around. If you're aggressive, especially on water holes, you can score really low here. If you're careless, that aggressiveness will lead to high numbers, and probably lost discs.
- Course is mostly open, so you can really let it fly. Hole #5 is an elevated tee to a wide-open field. Perfect hole to throw multiple drives. It's also the $10K ace hole in the USDG championships, so it's a good one to become very familiar with.
- Good course for beginners and casual players. With the change to #9, there isn't much length at all. Keep shots clear of the water, and players of any skill level can handle this course.
- Great course flow, winding around the lake. Great scenery on every hole, with the lake visible on all but a handful of holes.
Cons: The hole numbers, tee signs and basket numbers don't always match. Make sure you print a course map before playing!!!!! The course is easy to navigate if you follow the map. If not, you're going to go crazy when you see a tee pad for #7, a tee sign say #3 and a basket say #14.
- In addition to the navigation issues, there aren't any signs on the course (next hole, tee signs, etc.) There are a couple of tee sign plaques in the ground on a couple holes, but you'll more than likely stumble upon those by accident.
- There aren't a lot of obstacles on this course. Many holes play wide open. A lot are relatively straight and/or have little variation in elevation.
- This is an obvious: the holes close to the water present a lost disc danger. Despite knowing this, many people seem surprised about it happening and/or seem to think of it as a deterrent.
- During the school year and when the weather is nice, the area around the lake is occupied. It's a college course, so you may be out of luck trying to play then.
- There's a long walk between some holes, especially from #16 to 17. Again, the scenery is great, so it's not a bad thing.
Other Thoughts: This is a really enjoyable course. If you don't want to kill yourself on the Gold course, this is a great alternative.
- Water is only a factor (to varying degrees) on holes 9 - 11, 17- 18. You can take water out play on all those holes by playing smart shots. For example, throwing to the right of the big tree on #10, instead of going to the left and over water. You take the chance of birdie out of the equation, but you'll still get par and don't risk losing a disc.
- I've finally encountered the angry, mutant duck. It looks like it's a cross between a duck and Swamp Thing. After it tried to bite me, a guy standing by said it bit him 10 years ago.
- This course has taken some serious hits in the past couple years. The change to #9 was terrible. It went from the longest, most enjoyable hole to the shortest, most boring hole. That's assuming I found the actual new makeshift teepad. Also, the change to the bamboo hole was a change for the worse. It's no longer a fortress, rather a simple bamboo wall. Makes the hole that much easier, aka, boring.
- The changes to this course have been for the negative. This course is much closer to an average (2.5-level) course than an elite one. Don't let the high ratings fool you. Those ratings are way too generous and/or more reflective of the gold layout than the Lakefront course.
- This is still a wonderful, well-kept course. It's no longer in the ranks of the must-plays or top-level courses in the region. Still, it's a great change of pace from most courses in Charlotte.
22 of 23 people found this review helpful.
18 Helpful / 3 Not
Would go back today
Pros: This place was beautiful. Long gorgeous throws. Plays around the lake. Extremely well kept. Challenging, even in the short "Lakefront" layout.
Cons: There was an angry Mutant Duck that chased us around most of the course. It was really messed-up looking and sounded like it had asthma.
Other Thoughts: This is disc golf the way it should be. In a picturesque outdoor setting. I love the tee on the hill ( I think its around hole 6)where you're throwing downhill from under a couple of trees out into an open field. Gorgeous shot. I would brave the asthmatic duck monster any time just to play this course. On a side note, my buddy tried flicking his putter through a crack in the bamboo fence on one hole. he lost his putter in the drink. We have teased him about it ever since because really, who loses their putter by flicking it through a bamboo fence and watching it sail into the drink.
18 of 21 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 10 Not
No OB rope makes the course different.
Pros: This is the home course to the USDGA. Many rank the "Gold" course as the best in Disc Golf. None of the "out of bounds" rope lines were up when I played. In my opinion without the "out of bounds" rope that gets setup a few weeks of the year, the course really isn't all that great. Except for being long, I didn't feel anything special about the course. Like I mentioned before, if the rope lines were added I may have felt differently. In my opinion the "Lake" baskets I played/saw should probably be removed and only the GOLD baskets should remain. Having both sets of baskets without any tee signs can be confusing for people who have never played the sport or seen any of the videos. As you can tell from my review, I did not enjoy playing the course the day I went. Hopefully I will have a chance to play the course when all the ropes have been added and get a great feeling many in this country have when playing this course. I am rating this course higher than I think it should be on reputation of the greatness with the OB lines added and the Gold course reputation.
7 of 17 people found this review helpful.
20 Helpful / 1 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 21 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 11 Not
Gold or Not!
Pros: An Awesome course and setting Beautiful, well kept course. Challenging and a must play!
Cons: not marked very well hard to find your way around. (non-Gold setup)
Other Thoughts: Never seen the Gold setup, but the normal setup is still an great course with sunny days being very distracting, but fun!
4 of 15 people found this review helpful.
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