A Real Challenge
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Nevin stands out as a challenging course even in Charlotte. It's a challenge to play and a challenge to review.
Nevin makes you throw straight. Very straight. Straighter than I can throw. At least for that distance. Any fade at the end of even a good drive can put you in a mess of trees in spots. Is that a pro? In a way. This a course with identity. This is a course built with an idea in mind and I think it succeeded completely. I'll remember this course. At some time in the near future, I'll probably be at some course at some distant location and say, "that's a Nevin fairway."
But just as challenging as this course was to play, it might be tougher to accurately review. What do you rate a course that in so many objective ways is great, and it is great. The layout is fantastic, the flow is among the best I've experienced and the holes are extremely varied in shape and length, all while maintaining a consistent vision, yet can also be extremely frustrating.
Cons: Because it can be frustrating. It will be too difficult for many players. It's too difficult for me, really. It can be demoralizing to watch a shot that holds its line for almost long enough, and then fades into a stand of trees that you will hope to get out of with one shot. And if your drive isn't good, this course will brutalize you. The course is definitely not for everyone.
Other Thoughts: So that's where Nevin stands. A beautifully designed course that will not appeal to a significant portion of the disc golfing public.
There's definitely a place for that type of course, and Nevin stands out to me as one of the better examples of that type. I'd come back, but with a little more experience under my belt.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Designer Response by: 1978
Thank you for the thoughtful review, however, I think that your reviews tend to overstate the thickness of the rough on a number of Charlotte Courses. To the right of Hole 12L and 13 are the only 2 areas of overly dense forest. Nevin is designed for the upper advanced and pro level. Under par golf is attainable for every player if you play smart, if you mess up, you will have a difficult time recovering because of the length of the hole finishes. As a course designer I do not feel that a course needs to be suited to all skill levels to acheive a 4-5 disc rating. Amentities, cleanlines, design, fairness of "fair"ways, safety, design compared to the skill desired to play and direction should weigh more.
Score well here, score well anywhere
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Other Thoughts: Course is in a community level park (340 acres) over rolling piedmont landscape. The majority of the course is under old growth piedmont canopy and is, in the main, sequestered from other park activities. Nevin is one of the most elaborate, clever iterations of the wooded (read: tight, technical, etc.) piedmont course style available today. Large park size yields above average potential for expansion, but at the current time golfers should have plenty enough to chew on here, even for the most ambitious in the community.
Course roughly circles other park facilities in a counter clockwise fashion, with no returning 9s. Signage, equipment and amenities are all above average. Nevin's tee pads are superior.
Course represents a very demanding test of golfing skill, best undertaken by more 'serious' players, as its character is not 'fun' in a particularly light-hearted manner. Course also really deserves to be played more than once, as it might be difficult to really 'play' the first time through; many holes/landing zones are blind or semi-blind, especially from the long tees.
Course will heavily reward flat, straight shots of up to 300', with an emphasis on fade control, using both spins appropriately. Bring both spins to score well at Nevin. Heavy penal rough exists on almost every hole and it can be very difficult to advance the disc from the rough at Nevin. Opportunities to 'be creative', recover gracefully and/or 'improvise' are limited, especially if scrambling. Iconic #6's fairway route is just one example of the most often and well rewarded shot shape, both from off the tee and from the fairway at Nevin. These are also called 'frozen rope lines'. Average fairway width appears to be between 12 and 20', in several instances however, the tight 'geometries' of the fairway's line of play compress the available space farther. In other words, it can play much tighter. Most frequently a stable counter spin shot shape is favored off the tee, however this is balanced, nearly as frequently, by trouble awaiting such a shot with poor fade control in the form of harsh rough and/or drop-offs.
Risk/reward in the traditional sense is not entirely present as the course is very dictatorial in the lines that must be played. There are few holes with 'real' multiple routes to play (in fact, reviewer feels it impossible to either 'cheat' or overpower this course). Moreover, the golfer is forced to choose the 'right' level of aggressiveness to each given route. Long throwers will be hard pressed to make full use of their particular advantages. Correct distance and fade control are emphasized. The course can actually 'monkey' with this factor as well. For example, #2, very likely the lowest handicap hole, is a basic 250' uphill tube shot, but blind ob road is behind the basket. Untempered aggression on this scoring hole may result in a surprise penalty stroke. Conversely, no birdie putt is earned with a weak tee shot here. #8's 'fairway choice' (another 'iconic' style in disc golf hole design?) seems to be a risk choice based more on the individual's preferred shot shape, rather than a particular advantage gained from placement or a good angle gained from the given line.
Conservative play's reward can be stingy, as can be rewards for small or moderate successful risks. The word 'unforgiving' comes to mind, which means a scratch golfer should be around par, but the 'average' golfer will find this course much more difficult and punishing than others of a similar length/style.
Wind's affect regarding play is mostly blunted due to dense canopy cover, but does come into play strongly on 2 of the highest handicap holes.
Greens are generally open and flat. Several notable exceptions, which coincide with the lower handicap holes, feature lag-inducing blind drop-offs. Also many greens at Nevin are rather difficult to approach, as they are either in a bottleneck, offset parallel to the fairway's main axis or 'pocketed'. Targets are set at standard heights.
Of the 3 traditional schools of course design, Nevin is definitely a graduate of the 'penal' school. The course designers had some very specific tests for the golfers in mind when building this track. Course may remind one of an angry discipline-enthusiastic patriarch. Generally, the balance of fine technical requirements combined with the fair to good power required for solid play at Nevin, will outweigh 'decision-making' or 'strategy'. 'Hit-the-line' must be your 'strategy'. Stay in the fairway must be your 'strategy' to score well. Regular play here should improve mental toughness, consistency and realistic expectations.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
32 Helpful / 0 Not
Nevin ain't Heaven
Pros: I'm going to cut to the chase on this one. This course has:
Length with a capital L.
Signage and great tees.
A practice basket.
Holes that require placement.
Cons: This course hates you. It hits the alarm clock before the sun rises so that it has time to prepare itself properly for hating you. It will kick your dog in the face. It ate your last piece of pie that your mom baked for you, then it threw it up on your best shirt. Think you made a good drive? Nope, the course will put your disc in a ditch, behind a cluster of trees, or kick it into the schule with it's many roots. Make a bad throw? Expect to make about 5 more before the hole is over. The course has open holes too, but you won't like them. Because there is just enough briers and weeds growing up on the fairway to make losing a disc easy or the fairway itself, like the wooded holes, never ceases to be "too clever" for its own good. Like the double mando on hole # 14. Sure, the mando on the right is cool, it keeps discs from flying into the neighborhood on the right, but the other mando some 30' to the left kind of forms a clown's mouth with the branches, an evil, sadistic clown that takes pleasure in popping kids' balloons. So what you get essentially is a ~10' tall by 30' wide window to hit up hill on a 500'+ hole, 200'+ from the tee. The question is, why? Why must every hole go out of its way to mock you? (That hole really isn't that bad/hard). But this is the way you feel if you can't hit narrow gap after narrow gap and land your disc with remote control precision.
Other Thoughts: There's a lot of cool, neat holes here. And most of them force you to think strategically. The problem is, it seems like even when you do every thing right, these holes find a way to deprive you from getting par. I'm all for clever bends and switch backs and dog legs but at some point you get tired of pushing the boulder uphill and you want a "dumbed down" hole to relax, get some confidence back, and key word here: Enjoy. This course has everything design wise that you can conceivably ask for, except enjoyment. But if you enjoy immense challenges that never seemingly never end and a course that gives good scores only to those favored by the Gods, then maybe Nevin is Heaven.
32 of 32 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 3 Not
NEVIN... as in... NEVer agaIN
- Extremely Challenging. Everyone needs a good ole' fashion beat down every now and again to humble them. This course will definitely test your shot making ability, save your ass-ability, accuracy, and mental game. Out of the 120+ courses I've played… this was by far the most challenging.
- Brand New Everything. Innova DiscCatchers, large concrete tee-pads, fairways, stairs, terrace work... and, I'm sure new things (more benches, terrace work, better tee-signs, etc…) will be added to make the course even better.
- World Championships. This course was clearly designed with the 2012 Worlds in mind… and it's cool to know that you're playing one of the "Worlds" courses. It will be interesting to hear what the pros think about this course, as well as to see how well they shoot.
- Unrealistic Expectations. 600+ foot holes with a 20' gap the who length containing an extremely precise triple dogleg and nothing but a pitch out for anything but the most perfect shot… are a little too unrealistic for me; and considering that I would rank my golf game in the 90th percentile, probably a little too unrealistic for anyone but the top pros too… (and, even they're going to struggle at times). The course is just…
- Stupid Tight. But, from what I understand, that's how Stan McDaniel designs his courses - Super Tight… and then he lets the golfers break them in and loosen them up. Missing the fairway here practically requires a pitch out… the saplings are sooooo thick that forward momentum is usually impractical and probably foolish anyways. The very few "open" holes on the back-9 are a God send… and even they are littered with trouble.
- Terrible Signage. For what the holes are… and what they require… they need some extremely professional tee-signs detailing the holes shape, overall distance, the distances to the dogleg, the distance to the second dogleg, Pars, OB's, Mandy's, etc…
- NEVer agaIN. OK… I kid with the title… I will play it again… but, just not until it's a little more broken in. Because I live a couple of hours away, and there are so many other options in the Charlotte area, it will probably be a while before I return… (like right before the Worlds).
- Local Routes. Nevin is the type of course you need to play more than once. There are simply too many forced ("optimal") landing zones and routes that you would need several rounds to figure out the "best" places to be and NOT to be.
- Putter Pars vs. Driver Double Bogeys. Use your PUTTER. Halfway through the round I realized that if I simply used my putter and mids to take shorter but straighter shots while chipping away at the fairway, I could remain in the fairway and make Par… as opposed to having a driver curve off into the woods, thus requiring a pitch out (or two) to make double-bogey. And, this is especially true if you don't know the "Local Routes".
- Double Digits Over Par. You're going to go nuts if you are at all worried about shooting under par. Which, initially, I was… because, usually - at lesser courses - I do… but after 5 holes I knew I had no chance of even getting close to Par. The goal quickly became trying not to shoot double digits over par, which I failed at.
- My Charlotte Rankings. If you're planning a road trip to Charlotte, here are my rankings (of the courses I've played): Renny, Hornetts, (Nevin in future), Sugaw, Kilborne, (Nevin current), Reedy, ……...Veterans.
- My Score: +12
14 of 17 people found this review helpful.
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