Bradley Center Essentials
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Bradley Center DGC is well worth paying a visit if you have a mind to do so. Not a monster, but enough trees to keep you honest, and some fun elevation change here and there. The tees are marked with numbered 4x4 posts, and pads are small but level, paved with block, and laminated signs posted at each tee with hole map, distance, and +/- elevation change. Occasionally there will be notes posted mid-fairway noting distance to the pin. I liked the converging nines, with hole 1 and hole 10 both next to the practice basket and pavilion. There are many chances to put birdies on the scorecard with several short holes, and several manageable par 4's. Woods are prevalent on most holes, 2, 7, 8, and 9 being the most grassy open park style holes. I birdied the first hole, and had a hard time almost every hole after. 3 was a crazy boomerang dogleg left. Drivers are too much off the tee. I bogeyed 3, 4, and 5, all because of bonking into the numerous trees. After 6, you cross the road, and finish the front nine. I birdied 7, an uphill low line drive shot. 8 and 9 are both nice holes, also reachable with a good drive. Back 9 is all woods. 10 is a birdie hole where I managed to miss the putt. 11 is a good par 4 with a dogleg right. 12 is short, but across a fairly deep ravine with trees. I took a bogey on another birdie hole. 14 and 15 are par 4's, and not too long to make a 3. 16 is a downhill through the trees, and 17 is back uphill shorter and steeper. Missed birdie putts on both. Both can be birdied. 18 is another par 4 that turns hard left with a mando, and is uphill before the turn, downhill after.
Cons: Really no complaints. Tee pads could be larger. Some blind holes. 3 was especially tough to judge. Funky smell next to first hole. Maybe from the small creek along side it. Water was around a few places, but low and very avoidable. There may be one or two places where the course is close to roads, picnic spots or trails.
Other Thoughts: This is a solid course, and a nice compliment to nearby Rankin Lake. I might give a 4 disc rating if the tees were larger and concrete. Really nice design for the park space available. The long holes aren't too long, and if you can stay off the trees and make putts, you might get way under par. I did not. Would definitely play this course again.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Other Thoughts: Course is set in a multi-use community level park of about 50 acres on rolling piedmont terrain. Park as a whole is nearly completely developed and so future additions or expansions to the course should be limited at best, although there is some decent undeveloped acreage across one of the creek's forks which bisects the property on the east side.
Course, in the main, is sequestered from other park activities and features returning 9's. Equipment is above average as are park amenities, but only when the park is open. Otherwise, come prepared with water and proper footwear. Tees are natural and could be an issue depending on weather conditions. Signage, benches and markers are inconsistent, but every tee is marked well enough; way finding is not an issue. The mandatories, 3 by my count, are all well marked and the course also features several 'distance to the pin' markers that are quite helpful. Course conditions overall are somewhat rough (or maybe I'm just spoiled), consisting mainly of tree litter and work day cullings. Should you visit, bear in mind that the stewards of this course request all refuse be packed out.
In general, the course's atmosphere exemplifies the type of east coast technical course that was standard fare in the early-mid 80's. As I played, I had some strong nostalgic flashbacks to the days of my youth when I was just learning the game. Bradley has that intimate old school scale and feel, but does offer some improvements on that model, not the least of which is more length overall. Back nine is several strokes tougher than the front via length and more extreme elevation changes encountered. One of the issues for courses of this type is the buffering between parallel fairways; as foot traffic increases, these areas tend to get 'wallered out'. Negative effects on play result, especially on crowded days. The designers at Bradley Center DGC seem to have foreseen this problem, and their routing largely minimizes this potential issue.
For the 18, average hole length is about 285'. 4 of the 5 longest holes (all >350') are on the back nine. Scoring chances for most players abound as 9 holes are 250' or less. Regarding balance, Bradley is decidedly clock spin centric from the tee and approach, as half the holes favor this spin's stable shot shape from the tee and nearly as many from the approach. Flat, uphill, downhill, 'cross-the-valley', 'over-the-hump' and cross-hill holes are all represented. Greens are largely neutral with regard to spin receptivity, although there are frequent drop-offs and crenellations that strongly encourage prudence around the greens, especially so on the back nine. Generous scrambling and recovery chances also abound, as it seems one must WANT (via reckless play) to find the really tough penal rough or ob areas. Of note thematically are holes # 6, 9, 10, 12, & 14. All to a certain degree all exhibit what I'd call the 'button-hook' shape. Button-hooks are largely straight holes but terminate in a very sharp turn at or near the green. Faster discs with a high fade rating might take easy advantage of this type of hole.
For such a relatively short, tight course, Bradley has several holes of particular note.
#4 - This hole exhibits superior 'geometry'; it is a very laterally compressed 'S' shape. From the tee, the line of play sits slightly offset from the main line of the fairway which consists of a narrow parallel row of pines. The green is similarly offset from the fairway, but at the opposing angle, quite the brain-buster.
#12 - At 190', a very compelling tough short hole - left to right, slightly downhill over a 15' deep gorge with a very tight low ceiling fairway.
#15 - a very unusual fairway shape for a disc golf hole - the question mark.
#18 - A very tough finishing hole, a right to left dogleg with a mandatory right about 125' out. Although this mandatory protects a ramada from errant shots, I feel this particular contrivance unnecessary, as the layout of hole encourages this natural shot shape from the tee. Moreover, this mandatory nearly eliminates the possibility of the 'heroic' play to finish the round. I suggest an adjustment.
Bradley Center DGC, according to the DGCR page has 7 designers, who are most likely the fellows personally responsible for all the work there. In general, I am not a fan of design by committee, mainly due to the dilution of vision and design unity that normally occurs in this situation. I am edified that, in this case, the designers have transcended this pitfall to arrive at a solid offering. The main issue going forward would be polish and refinement, that I'm sure will come in time.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: A combination of open land, lightly wooded, and heavily wooded play.
Out of bounds woods is light, making it easy to find lost discs.
Practice Putting Basket.
Cons: No maps or signs to designate pars on a majority of the holes.
0 of 5 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 6 Not
Fun at Bradley Park
Pros: Many holes make you feel like you're in the mountains with all the elevation changes. Lots of trees so shade is a plus for the hot days
Cons: Too many sharp dropoff's alongside many holes. If you don't throw right you may or may not be able to safely treck down the mini cliffs to get your discs
Other Thoughts: Definitely provides a challenge at any skill level.
0 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Solid wooded course with big hills.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Bradley is a very nice course in Gastonia and it's nice to have another course in the town I live in.
It finally has a practice basket which now means you can practice your putts if you need to. The baskets are in great shape on the holes too.
This course has many different shaped fairways which make this course very tricky and your birdie opprotunities can go away very quickly. Be sure to hit the fairway because this course is wooded.
The use of elevation is also great. Hilly courses are not always designed and you can tell if every hole is uphill or downhill.
In my opinion, hole 13 is the best on the course. It's straight downhill and not very long but it's very technical and a tree is in the middle of the fairway not far from the tee. The tree could keep you from making your birdie. It's easy to sneak to the right of the tree and throw a small hyzer and thats what 13 requires.
The par 4's are short but all difficult 3 is a double dogleg and fairway is narrow. 11 is a legit dogleg right and watch out for the giant hill to the left of the fairway after the landing zone. It's hard to get out once you get there. 14 is STEEP uphill and a small dogleg left. Good luck with your birdie. 15 has a dogleg left and even more narrow than 3's fairway. Throw right of mando sign and 18 is another dogleg left. Get to the landing zone and you're in the field (Thank God) it has a mando pointing you right.
The course is short but if you miss the fairway, you're dead and I'm serious.
-I agree with heelboycraig. #13 and #14 are both the best holes on the course. Greatest elevation. #13 fades left a bit, it's a mess past the basket so on this steep downhill shot can get you stuck in the deep woods (-25) plays only 167. #14 is the hardest, it's UP the hill and has a major gain in elevation (+45). Only 366' but plays nearly 500'.
Cons: Bradley doesn't have teepads yet and it's been around for a year. It's improving, but very slowly. Until then, don't go past the orange and yellow tees with the hole number.
There are a TON of trees and they are hit very often now. This course needs lots of clearing out and birdie opprotunies are getting lower. Especially on hole 9, a birdie is pretty much impossible since a tree is in the middle of the fairway like 30 feet out.
The fairways are also a little too narrow. Making this course better for intermediates.
I hope this course gets a little easier soon.
Other Thoughts: Bradley is great and is a fun course. I enjoy playing here and the course has many birdie opprotunies. Just don't miss the fairway because if you do, you will be lucky to save par. It's a decent challenge and if you love wooded courses then this could possibly be your favorite. It's short and VERY technical.
Hole by hole
#1. One of the most frustrating on the course. It has a nasty turn left and trees are straight ahead. This allows a big hyzer.
#2. Much better and it's open. It turns to the right a good bit. Get to the right turn and you have a clear approach shot.
#3. Tricky hole, it's a double dogleg and and poison ivy and other crap is to the right. Hard hole with barely any birdie chance. Fun challenge though. I've birdied it once.
#4. Very narrow and that makes the hole look longer. It's a small turn to the right. Throw sidearm.
#5. It would maybe be the best on the course if those two trees were not right in front of the tee. It's challenging.
#6. Has red tees and white tees. The white tees are the tees most players play from. It's a tricky position since a circle of trees is in the front of the tee.
#7. Open and next to the road. Still a lot of trees and they can be hard to avoid. Great challenge though.
#8. Tough hole to get to. It's the longest par 3 but it's nicely downhill. Throw right of mando tree and straight and you have a clear approach shot. (-16) so it plays 264'
#9. Like on 5, it would be better if that tree wasnt straight ahead. Throw right of it and avoid the trees to the right.
#10. Nice little ace run. Drop off to the left. Use a midrange or putter so it will go straight.
#11. Longer than 396 and and the faiway is narrow. Avoid the hill or you will be on it if you go too deep at the langing zone.
#12. Great ace run over a ravine. It's challenging and sweet. Sidearm will do.
#13. Best on the course it's downhill and slightly challenging and avoid the tree in the middle of the fairway and throw right of it.
#14. Very tricky and most challenging. It's way uphill. Going up it is good enough.
#15. Narrow fairway and also a dogleg left. Throw right of mando sign. It's literally shaped as a 7.
#16. Straight downhill and straight. There is a dropoff behind the basket. Don't go deep. Plays 202 feet.
#17. Uphill ace run, moderate turn to the left. (+16) plays 256'
#18. Disappointing finish to me but many people love it. Tough, narrow shot from the woods and a pointless mando by the time you're out of the woods.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 4 Not
Short and sweet
Pros: Nice setups, tunnel shots and open shots, people who play there are very nice and I've gotten a call back on the only disc I've lost there and respectfully returned the favor on the two I've found.
Cons: Needs permanent teepads
0 of 4 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Great course for a beginner/intermediate player like myself. Both parts of the course (front and back 9) have a little bit of everything and require an array of shots and discs. Lots of elevation change with a good mix of distance and mostly precision required especially on the back 9. The back 9 are really fun to play and challenging in my opinion. There are several blind shots and also areas where if you overthrow your disc it falls off a cliff so to speak and can be a pain to retrieve.
Cons: No concrete pads or signs at the tees. Lots of roots, stumps even in some tee boxes which really makes you concentrate more on your footwork than your throw in some cases. Some areas need more clearing out because they look like snake pits. I imagine that since this course is so new they will be making any necessary housekeeping changes and adding all the other amenities.
Other Thoughts: All and all this is a good course for a beginner or intermediate player. A tale of two different 9 hole courses in the same park. A good alternative to the more challenging Rankin Lake course which is close by.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
A tale of two courses
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: A new course in a nice little community park that has all the normal family amenities.
18 brand new Discatcher baskets.
Easy to navigate. No signs are up yet, and I had no problem finding each tee and basket. Decent flow between holes.
Good variety and hole design. Nothing repetitive. Good balance of left, right and straight shots.
Fairways were well defined and cleared. Rough was not to thick in most areas. Not much of a chance of losing a disc anywhere.
Cons: Natural tee pads right now. I'm sure this will change as the local club is very active.
No navigation or tee signs yet.
Long walk from #9 back to #10. If you didn't see 10 when you were at 1 it could be confusing.
#7 and #9 play a little too close to the road for my tastes. I am not a big fan of having to worry about cars, and using roads for OB.
There is currently a brush pile right behind #2. I had to fight off a large copperhead to get my putter. I'm sure that pile will get cleared, but if it is there when you play be careful.
Other Thoughts: The front 9 on this course plays like a typical short, wooded city park course. There is nothing especially memorable or thrilling. #3 with its horseshoe like shape and #4 both are fairly fun and challenging, but most of the holes are mundane on the front 9. 5 and 6 are both very tight tunnel shots through the pine trees and # 6 also has the basket on a small slope leading to the OB road, but all in all the front 9 offers nothing special. 8 is a decent hole, but not exceptional.
But if you can get warmed up on the front 9 then you'll be ready for the back 9. #10 lulls you into thinking that the back 9 is more of the same just in thicker woods. But starting with #11 you get a run of great disc golf. 11 reminded me of Nevin and requires a couple well placed shots to even have a chance at par. And the fairway is tight enough to keep you from just chucking with all your might. Then 12 is a nice little ace run with the basket perched on a hill behind a small ravine. 13 is a fun little downhill shot that you pay for on 14. 14 has a steep hill you must get up and over followed by a more gradual hill before curving left toward the basket. 15 offers multiple curves that force you to make a few different type shots on the same hole. 16 is a downhill ace run, or maybe not if you can't keep it in the fairway. Just enough risk to make you think. 17 plays uphill through the woods and has a deep creek bed behind the basket. 18 is a fairly long hole to finish that comes out of the woods into an open field before re-entering the woods by the basket.
The back 9 offers great variety with lefts, rights, ups, downs and tight fairways to keep you honest the whole time. And only on 18 is there a place where you can criticize the fairway for being unfair or unkind. But that will probably be taken care of as the course gets worked on and ages. Bradley's back 9 is as fun as almost any course you'll play. It offers challenges and opportunities for great shots and aces.
I'd probably give the front 9 on this course a 2 or 2.5, but the back 9 more than makes up for it. It's just a well designed, fun run of holes. With this course and Ranking Lake Gastonia is well worth a visit if you're in the Charlotte area.
July 2013 Update - I have played Bradley a few more times now and it has been improved since my initial review. Pads are still not in, but fairways have been beaten in nicely and a couple nice changes have been done. #4 is not quite as brutally tight as it used to be, but can still kill you if you don't make a really good shot. #6 has been changed from a repetitive tight tunnel to a nice dramatic RHBH hyzer. The basket still sits on a slop with an OB road behind, but the change does mix up the hole shapes nicely.
Hole 18 has also lost the random tree in the middle of the fairway, so that hole is at least 50% better. It now requires a couple nice shots to make a three, instead of simply hoping you didn't nail the tree in the middle of the fairway.
Overall this is still a nice little course. It still needs upgraded tee pads and signs, but the quality of play is very nice. Definitely worth a stop.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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