Go for the Night Golf!
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Brackett's is a great disc golf experience with an outstanding course and clubhouse atmosphere. The course itself is primarily tight wooded fairways with elevation changes on most. The designer, Dave Brackett likes to have fun, and lives disc golf - this course is a testament to his obsession. Hole #1 is the first indicator - the fairway is a sharp dogleg left, and at this dogleg is a trampoline on edge waiting to deflect your disc toward the pin. The other two holes that really stand out are "The Bastard Hole" (where the pin is perched upon a giant boulder, where a layup approach is the smart play), and "The Condom Hole" (where the basket hangs about 15' with netting hanging below it to deliver your disc upon a successful putt. When lit at night the netting looks like a condom).
The course is all technical, with tight and short and lacks the length and variety to make it championship caliber of former fame - HOWEVER - this is by all means is no reason to avoid this wonderful course. It will challenge you, your patience, your accuracy, and course management skills. There are a few par fours. If you shank your drive, you will have often struggle to make par.
The Amenities: course is meticulously maintained - no underbrush, fences divide and protect players on opposing fairways, has stairs, bridges and other features abound (including a couple man-made ponds). The tee pads are made of pavers and are quite grippy and nice. Everything is clean.
They have built a clubhouse with a deck, a bar, and a modest selection of discs for sale.
NIGHT GOLF - this is one of the only courses I have played that has full time electric light on all the holes (Tiki Course at Blockhouse is the other). If you love night golf, you will be impressed.
Friendliness - I really felt welcomed by Dave and his friends and family.
Cons: It's a moot point now, but this course now lacks holes where you can unwind for distance (see other reviews about this courses history about the land dispute). It holds the course back from being fully 3-dimensional, but it is not the designer's fault, as he has utilized the land's positive features.
This is minor- but a couple tee pads could have been a bit longer.
Other Thoughts: The only time I played this course was about 2/3 in the dark, so I will want to play again to get the full picture. I do recommend a headlamp or flashlight in the dark - there are some dangerous places (gullies, steep stairs) to step off if you are unaware!
Non-Members must now pay $5, so bring yer cash.
I felt honored that Dave, the owner, went out and played with me. I would have had a bit of trouble finding my way around in the dark for a first-timer!
This course alone would get a 3.5 from me, but the night setup and other amenities bumps it another 0.5.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
The new Brackett's Bluff: When doves cry
17 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Bracketts's Bluff is a major conundrum. The current, overhauled course is a great one with some great holes, including new ones that didn't exist before. If you never played the old, epic layout, you'll never know what's missing. But, for fans of the old layout, oh how it feels like there's a major void.
- When it comes down it, this course has that 'it' factor of offering both a tremendous fun factor and plenty of challenge. There are parts of this course where you feel like you could be in the mountains (look around you while standing on the tee at #11) or deep in the woods, rather than being on the outskirts of a metropolitan area.
- That said, you have to love how Brackett's is a disc golf scene. How many other people do you know who have built a clubhouse for their course on their property? Intentional or not, after the nature preserve fiasco, I like how the Brackett family ratcheted up their efforts to make this even more so of a disc golf scene. We don't need no stinking' nature preserve for our course.
- There are some great holes here, with plenty of challenging layouts throughout the entire round. There are 21 holes in total, with some layouts being used twice. A couple of these duplicates could be eliminated (more about that in the cons) if you wanted to eliminate the weak links.
- That said, you've got some great elevation layouts, the best by far in Mecklenburg County, even better than Robert L. Smith. I loved the uphill/downhill combo of #4 & 5. #3 has always been an amazing hole, being a survivor from the original layout. Both layouts for the Rock hole (#11 & 20) are awesome. These holes can leave you with one of the most daunting putts anywhere, with the big drop-off right behind the basket. And the closing hole (#21) has an intimidating looking tee-shot, followed by a lovely stroll straight up the hill towards the basket. This is a steep uphill shot, which reminds me a lot of #14 at Ashe County in Jefferson.
- Overall course quality. The upkeep here is amazing. This is where the public vs. private debate is completely one-sided. Most public courses won't get anywhere close to the TLC that Brackett's gets. There are trashcans, benches, even brooms on many holes. Tee pads are in great shape as well. For a course having holes playing so close together, it was actually very easy to navigate the layout. The course essentially is a very rough looking, very uneven figure 8 layout, which you play through twice.
- Course puts a big emphasis on accuracy. There are no big-arm, open holes here. There are longer holes (350 feet plus) or uphill holes that play long, but even on these, if you're not accurate with your tee shot, a big arm won't matter. With the accuracy emphasis, there's plenty of risk/reward going on here, especially with some strategically placed baskets.
Cons: I'm not going to rant about the whole Nature Preserve dispute that led to the redesign. If you don't know what happened, it's a moot point. If you are in the know, you know a ton more than I do. Whatever happened, the end result is that the course got knocked down a peg or two in its overall quality level. You lose that much land, and nearly half of your holes, there are going to be some consequences. To the credit of Dave & company, there's still a great course here, with just a few flaws. I will not focus on the holes that were lost, rather point out a few concerns with the existing layout.
- A couple of the duplicate holes could be done without. #2 & 14, 8 &18 and 9 & 19 are all essentially the same hole with only a slight variance: 2/14 play from same tee to a baskets that are 50 feet apart. 8/18 is different in that #8 is teeing from a higher up a hill, but both end up playing straight ahead to the same basket. 9/19 have tee pads 25 feet apart to the same basket. One simple way to remedy this repetitiveness is to create a safari-esque hole, teeing off #18's tee to the basket for 9/19. That gives you one long hole with a completely different look. Oh, and just eliminate #14 altogether. By doing this you now have 19 holes instead of 21, but I think this is a case of less is more. Other holes share a basket but they offer such variety, they are two different holes.
- There's little to no penalty here for playing safe/boring. Without any long holes, one could realistically throw play the whole round with only a midrange disc/putter and still see par on every hole. If you throw straight/accurate and 225 - 250 off the tee on every hole, you're going to see 3s on every hole. I feel the elite courses force players to pull out every type of shot/disc in a round. That's one of, if not the only, thing missing here.
- With the course being so tight, it's very easy to throw onto other holes, or into other groups. When this course is crowded, you'll have to keep an eye on other holes as well.
Other Thoughts: Here's my thought about the Nature Preserve land dispute. Regardless of the cause, it's a shame some great land is now going to waste. What was once well maintained green areas have become unkempt fields with tall grass. This land was once enjoyed by many, now the government website boldly proclaims "AT THIS TIME THIS NATURE PRESERVE IS CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC." It might just be me, but that seems like somebody (or elected somebodies) missed the boat on this one. Not the most efficient use of government land and money.
- Even with overlapping holes/baskets, I'm not sure how they squeezed 21 holes into this land. It's a true testament to some people with quality eyes to use every inch of land and create this many great holes.
- With that said, the redesign produced my favorite one the course: #16. It's one of the longer holes, a true par 4 that includes all aspects of the Bluff: woods, elevation, drop-offs, a risk/reward factor, and attention to detail. A well placed tee shot on this hole will result in a second shot to a basket protected by a ravine in front. End up in the ravine and you get to enjoy climbing up the ladder after a straight-up shot. A three is a real possibility at this hole, as is the chance for a possible blow up score with one bad shot.
- There is a lot to like at the Bluff. The old layout was in easily in the top 5 courses I've played. The new layout can't match that elite level. The course now is now very comparable to Glenn Hilton and Robert L. Smith, with the Bluff being the best of all three.
- It's still a must-play for anyone nearby. And whatever this course can't offer, you can get with a solid 1-2 punch while playing at Bradford afterwards. Or, if the clubhouse ever got a tap added, you might never leave this place.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
Very tight but awesome
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The best maintained course you'll come across. No thorns to worry about and you'll have to work really hard to lose a disc.
It's just a beautiful place, plain and simple.
Unique touches like the trampoline on #1 make it really fun.
Cons: The compact layout feels like too many holes are crammed in too small an area. A couple of holes get repeated. You would think that after playing hole 2 that when it came around again as 14 that I'd be better at it, but no. I'm sad I didn't get to see it before they had to redesign it. I bet it was awesome.
Other Thoughts: My opinion of #11 (top of the rock) would be different if I had been able to make one lousy shot. That was a low point of my day... but a unique, really cool hole that I can't wait to get back to.
This course could be the Comet of disc golf courses. When you do it wrong, it tells you. I am apparently not as good at this game as I thought I was.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
One of a Kind
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I'm not sure if any course I've played has done as good a job as Brackett's Bluff at producing an atmosphere. The landscape and construction blend seemlessly to create a very distinct, almost Wonderland feel to the course. It's very close knit, with hole separated just enough so that each has a unique fairway. The paths between holes are nicely laid out with fallen branches as guidelines. Each hole has superfluous seating. (At the 18th tee, there is room for at least 25 spectators, who will share a view of three separate tees. Everywhere, there is is stuff. Ladders for climbing down into ravines after a misfire, shields guarding teeboxes, huge rocks on which bakets might be placed, small water hazards filled with decorative fish.
So right, then there's the actual disc golf. It's um, pretty amazing. It's a wooded course, so most lines are pretty tight. The lines are all there if you can hit them though; there isn't a dud fairway in the bunch. Combine that with an astounding amount of elevation for such a small area. You shoot up, you shoot down, and you shoot over ravines(hopefully.) The ravines are actually my favorite part of the course. Like miniature versions of river valleys, they punctuate the course, often adding quite a bit of challenge. But don't worry about losing anything, underbrush is non-existent on this perfectly maintained course.
I love to see a course that essentially, has a mission. Brackett's Bluff knew what it wanted to be, and it was near perfect in achieving that.
Cons: There's not a ton of land here. The holes are all packed together pretty tightly, and from most tees, you can see at least two other tees. Fortunately shields protect all would-be danger zones from errant shots. In a way, the closeness of the course actually adds to the flavor, so what would be a con elsewhere isn't as much of an issue here.
In the same way, the lack of variation in the holes isn't a a true con here. Now they do require a multitude of shots here, but there is a similar feel to all of them and there isn't much length. However, introducing a different type of hole would ruin the effect.
The only true con, for me, is the reuse of a few of the holes. for example. 3 and 14 are the same hole. 4 is also 15. This preserves the amazing flow of hole to hole, but if it was ever crowded, I could see this being an issue. And objectively, I want to play 18, not 16 and a few repeats.
Other Thoughts: My favorite course on a recent swing through Charlotte's best. The only one I'd be eager to take another chance at.
ETA: and i forgot to mention, while I'm not usually concerned with tees, the brick paver tees here are the best I've seen. Plenty of space and shape and the material is both perfect, and unique to an already unique course.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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