Good but rough around the edges
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - It's the best of the three nine hole courses in Aiken for starters, really good mix of short and decently long shots.
- Good variety to the holes:
- Benches and trash cans on several holes (1,4,6; 2 has only a trash can)
- Course usually isn't too overgrown since this is also a cross country track.
- Plenty of parking since it shares the same lot as the basketball and baseball stadiums for USCA.
- Unless you can't stand thorns period or throw into some of the tall grass, it can be hard to lose a disc.
- Most of the navigation is pretty straightforward with some next tee signs.
- Baskets are in good shape with number plates.
- Mulch tees (also a con)
Cons: - No tee signs or course map posted on site, recommend getting the map off of here.
- Getting from 1 to 2 is a bit tricky; go up the middle of the three paths to get to the teepad.
- Mulch teepads are better than pure natural teepads, but I recommend compacting where your plant foot would land, otherwise footing can be a bit tricky.
- The rough is really rough, watch out for the thorns
- Not really many facilities, although there is a gas station within an eighth of a mile or so.
- This does share the same space as the cross country course and plays along some of the route; while the course does see occasional traffic, it isn't usually very heavy and so waiting for runners isn't a problem.
- They do run cross country events here, so some Saturdays the course is unplayable.
Other Thoughts: I'm originally from Aiken and I love getting to go play at USCA whenever I'm home. It's a challenging course which, to me, provides a great fun factor as well and isn't super challenging. Compared to Perry Park and Odell Weeks, this is definitely the best place to play disc golf in Aiken, SC (Killer B is in North Augusta, SC). Overall, there are some rough points which can be attributed to it being a new course, and some quirks we will probably just have to live with.
Here's a rundown of each hole and some notes of how I approach them:
1. A reachable hole to begin with the pin on about a 20 or 30 foot nearly vertical hill. A pretty easy par to get, but a well placed drive will give you an uphill deuce putt, with a perfect drive leaving a good look at the bird.
2. The course has it listed as a par 4, which is how I choose to play it, but it could just as easily be a par 3. While the longest hole on the course, it plays downhill, so a straight shot is possible. However, my preferred line is to hyzer flip something (I throw RHBH) out over the trees to the right and let it fade in through the trees to leave a tester putt for two. Just don't go too far left (as I do a lot), or you'll be dealing with lots of thorny vines to get to your disc.
3. A pretty straightforward placement three, although a good, straight drive can have a birdie look. The woods make it a very tight window to hit though.
4. A pretty simple putter skip shot for two. I really love the elevated pin on the mound, it's a great way to add some challenge and doesn't look very gimmicky.
5. An absolute dead straight tunnel. However, there is a spike hyzer line to the right which I usually take if I don't feel like dealing with tree kicks.
6. Two lines once again, either straight at the pin or around a group of trees. Either way, a fun shot.
7. A pretty wide open air shot, but watch that you don't fade too far left, or you'll be dealing with some trees to get to the green.
8. Basically a RHBH shot.
9. A blind throw over a small mound, it's a good challenge to finish the course on.
Overall, this is a solid nine hole course with plenty of room left to maybe expand to a full 18 at some point. While it may not be a destination course, it is certainly worth the time to play if you are in the area.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Simple, fun 9-holer
Pros: USC Aiken's nine hole course was actually a present surprise. It's easily the best of the lot in Aiken.
- Very solid layout. Course is set throughout parts of a cross country trail, with a solid mix of field and wooded holes.
- Very scenic and isolated course. The main campus is across the street, with only the baseball stadium, cross country trail and convocation center on this side. Whereas Aiken's other courses are squeezed into city parks, this course has plenty of room. And there's even more unused land. Perhaps an 18-hole layout one day?
- #1 is a fun opening hole. It's a 258-footer, starting out in an open field to an uphill basket, partially protected by trees. From there, you walk a little higher up the hill to a very scenic locale for #2.
- #2 is the best hole on the course, a very fun hole on any course. It's a 369-foot, downhill, open hole with tall stuff on both sides of the fairway, so there is a degree of penalty (in terms of having to navigate the tall grass to get your disc) if you miss the fairway.
- Good variety overall featuring a hole with a tight fairway (#5), a shorter, potential ace-run hole (#4), strategically placed baskets with a risk/reward degree to them (#3 & 8) and an generic, wide-open hole (#9).
- Other than the transition from #1 to 2, the navigation is really good from one hole to the next. There are either signs to direct you, or the next hole is close enough that you can spot it.
- Good course for beginners, casual players and the college students. For anyone who can throw straight, you'll be seeing a lot of 2s on your card.
Cons: I really can't complain much about this course. The course is nothing special, but it does offer a fun layout. That said, a couple things to point out:
- The course is kind of forgotten by the rest of the campus. There's no signage or acknowledgement of the course anywhere. The directions were completely wrong on here, before I updated them, and was driving around the campus without any help. At least I got to see more of USC Aiken than I ever expected.
- Pay special attention on the transition from #1 to 2. After putting out, there are three different trails for the cross country course. The tee for #2 is on the middle trail, the one that goes slightly uphill. A simple sign would have saved me a couple minutes of wasted walking.
- I feel a couple holes could be made better. There is plenty of space to either change holes. Or if that's not an option, you could at least push the tee or the basket further back, just to add distance to a hole or two, adding a little more challenge.
- The tees are rubber. Not a big problem for this course. On the positive, that does mean they could be moved easily.
Other Thoughts: USC Aiken is an enjoyable course. It definitely tilts towards fun on the fun-vs-challenge scale. Still, this is the type of 9-holer I could find myself playing a couple times in a row.
- The course was a poor man's version of Mint Hill's (N.C.) 9-holer. There are some similarities in the layouts, which speaks well of this course.
- The course had a nice flow to it. Each hole felt different from the prior one, so the sense of repetitiveness doesn't build in. That's a big change from Odell Weeks.
- For more experienced players, the course can be played with only a couple of discs. Four of the nine holes are longer than 300 feet, so you'll need to make sure one of those discs has distance to it.
- Don't expect greatness here. That can be found 20 - 30 minutes to the south on some of those 18-holers. Still, by nine-hole standards, this is a good one; the best of the other Aiken courses.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
New and still needs work.
Pros: This is a decent course for the Aiken area, but has a lot of room for improvement.
* Nice elevation changes on several of the holes make for a few fun teeshots.
* Flow is okay; walking between holes is kept to a minimum.
* Pretty good mix of short/long/med considering the recreational/intermediate player level this course seems to be designed for.
* "Next Tee" signs between several holes aid in navigation.
* New Innova Discatchers are easy to see and work well on the course.
Elevation is definitely the best feature of the course.
Cons: Course is new, but apparently hasn't made much progress in the last few months since it's initial installation.
* Signage is poor or nonexistent. I can't tell if this is "normal" or if recent rain/wind destroyed any temporary signs. A few tees had distance and rough maps on some very temporary looking signs, but these weren't universal.
* With any rain, ground becomes very muddy on several holes.
* Mostly open, minimal use of trees despite lots of trees being present.
* "Tees" are two flat circles flush with the ground. Circles appear to be different colors, but we couldn't tell if this denoted different skill level tees or if this was an accident. Locals I asked didn't know. On some of the holes, mud can wash over the tee markers, making it virtually impossible to find the tees.
* Land potential is much better than the course. The first few holes flow okay, but midway through you get to a point where you see several awesome hole possibilities, but instead the course turns back on itself for a couple of so-so holes. If this ever becomes a well-marked 18-hole that uses the land better, I'd guess it could achieve a 3.5-star rating. As it is, it is just really disappointing to see the potential of the land, and then not have it realized. Of course, I don't know what constraints the designers had, and I'm not penalizing the rating because of this, but it's natural to imagine "what might have been" when you see a lot of unused land.
* Lack of footing on tees is annoying; uneven mud/grass can frustrate teeshots and cause potential injury.
* Lack of a map is frustrating.
* Some of the tee placements and fairways risk potential danger with some of the landing areas around previous pins. This isn't as bad as some courses, but with all the land available, this could have been avoided.
Other Thoughts: With some work, this course could deserve 2.5, or potentially even 3.0 stars. The course is decent, but really needs two well defined teepads per hole, good signage throughout, and some attention made to ensure good footing on teepads -- flypads or packed gravel would be fine, but mud is unacceptable.
Of the courses in the Aiken area, this has more memorable shots than Odell Welks, and certainly more potential. A quick overview of the holes:
hole 1: starts at the edge of the field directly across from the parking lot for the Convocation Center. Plays probably 250' or so, to a basket ~20' uphill. Fun opening shot with a lot of birdie potential, but because of the hill its a fast green and putts can be tricky -- nice pin placement. Can be approached forehand or backhand.
hole 2: probably 300 - 330' downhill into a clearing. One of the most fun shots on the course, especially with any crosswind. Definitely requires some planning on the teeshot, and surrounding trees/underbrush penalize wayward throws. Can be approached FH or BH.
hole 3: I'd guess 300'+, very slight downhill. Mostly open on the left with a few scattered trees close to the basket. Best shot is a low RH forehand skipping to the basket. Lots of mud on this hole.
hole 4: The most distinctive shot on the course, this is ~180' shot to an elevated basket. Tight window of trees with a low ceiling halfway to the basket that you have to hit, and yet you don't want to be going too fast through it or you'll blow by the basket. A touch shot requiring good precision. Lots of fun, but it would be great to see a pro tee here to give extra challenge to the shot. BH or FH works.
hole 5: 200+' shot down a tunnel of pine tees, tunnel is probably 20' wide. Any shot works that you can throw straight. Big hammer/thumber is a legitimate option, but trees are tall enough to make this tricky. This is another hole that could really benefit from a pro teepad. Stretch this to 300'+ and you'd have a great adv/pro shot. Underbrush is pretty tight on both sides, but not so much that you'll lose discs.
hole 6: this is where the course gets frustrating -- the teebox for this is pretty far off to the left of basket 5. And it looks like you should either shoot down the long treed alley or across the little valley, or any of several other different ways, but the actual shot kind of aims back at basket #5, with either a big RH hyzer or a tight tunnel shot to a basket probably 270'+ away. A decent shot, but feels like it falls far short of its potential. This is where the course feels like it really needs 9 more holes heading off down the path through the woods.
hole 7: a 300'+ pretty much straight shot playing back up along the road. Slope up to the road on the left acts as a 10-15' high bunker. Best shot is a flat RH backhand flat at the basket. Slope and OB road add a little interest, especially with wind.
hole 8: short, probably 250' sharp RH hyzer or FH anhyzer towards the basket. Fair amount of trees forcing a precise touch shot. Fun little hole, but feels like some of the underbrush is still being cleared out.
hole 9: probably 330-360' slightly uphill, out of a clowns mouth into the same field you started in. So-so shot. Wind in the field can be tricky, especially since you are starting in the cover of the trees. Teebox is really too close to the opening of the trees for the "clowns mouth" to really be much of an obstacle. Back the teepad up 30' and you'd have a much more exciting hole. Still, an okay way to finish out -- puts you a short walk from the cars.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The USC Aiken DGC is a good 9 hole course and a nice alternative to Odell Weeks for the Aiken area. . Great new Innova baskets. It has a couple of tricky holes and makes good use of the land available. Each hole has its own unique obstacles, some are more difficult than others. Even on the straight and short shots there is a corridor of trees to deal with, so it's not a piece of cake.
Cons: There is not much in the way of benches on the course, no trash cans after the first tee, and the signage isn't the best. A course map or other marker would be a great addition. Once I found the first tee the layout was fairly easy to follow. The course begins and ends in the flat, grassy field next to the entrance of the parking lot. First tee is next to the sign and the target is across the grass and elevated on an embankment behind a tree. The pro caliber players will probably find this 9 too be a little on the soft side in terms of difficulty. I wouldn't mind concrete tee pads either, but I am sort of picky like that.
Other Thoughts: I played the USC Aiken course twice when it was still very new. The wind on that day was tenacious. Not a difficult course, but I failed to score well on either round.
Since I visit this area frequently, I will return to this course occasionally. It is kind of fun, and I want to have a better round, without the wind. Given some concrete tee pads and maybe a couple of benches and trash cans, I would bump this up to a 3.0 rating.
The course is alongside the Aiken Convocation Center, and the USC Aiken baseball field. I was able to hear the start of a game while I finished up my second round on that Sunday.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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