Simple, fun 9-holer
2 Helpful / 0 Not
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.
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