12 Helpful / 0 Not
The 101 on my 101st (played course)
Pros: Bradley Center is a nice addition to Gastonia's disc golf scene. The course starts out slow, but by the end, I was pleasantly surprised how much fun I had.
- There are some pretty nice holes on the course. It's a good mix of fun, challenging and fun & challenging holes. The back nine is exponentially better than the front nine, almost to the point it feels like 2 completely different courses. The back nine is heavily wooded, with some good elevation holes (highlighted by #13, 14 &16), sharp doglegs and other good layouts. The front nine only had one good hole (#8), a couple decent holes and some in the "other" category.
- The good holes (basically #8 - 18) offer huge "fun" factor, as well as good risk/reward factor. There are plenty of chances for birdies, but trees/woods offer obstacles, plus chances for lost discs.
- Very nice laid out course. Front nine plays in the front of the park. The back nine plays in the back part, behind the rec center. A nice example of the course's flow: tees for #1 & 10 are about 20 feet apart, heading in opposite directions. Also, special mention of the hard work put into this course. It's nice seeing some many steps on up & down hill holes.
- Nice course map. Very descriptive and accurate. The course has good flow, that I only needed the map a couple of times. Each hole has a small sign listing the hole number, and they're relatively easy to spot.
- Great park overall with lots of amenities. There's a nice rec center, ball fields, tennis & b-ball courts, picnic areas. But, my favorite part of the park was the gravel baseball field. Not sure what it's used for, or if the kids are just tougher in G-Town, but it's something I've never seen before.
- Also, because the park gets so much usage, you don't have the issue of men driving through the park looking for *ahem* "companionship" as you do at Rankin. Definitely a more family-friendly park than Rankin.
Cons: The cons are pretty much confined to the front 9. If someone only played the front 9 and left, you'd think this was a bad course. And honestly, I wouldn't blame you for wanting to leave after the front 9.
- There are some less-than-stellar hole layouts on the front. The problems range from holes essentially the same (#4 - 6); too much luck factor involved (some holes you're better throwing way off line to avoid trees); lack of challenge (even if you hit some trees, you usually have easy second shot to save par. As said, #8 was the only true above-average hole on the front; 1,2 & 9 were decent; the rest just seemed ho-hum.
- The par 4s all seemed gimmicky. Maybe it was due to a lack of space (all are under 400 feet), but instead of having length, they all had some quirk to them. #3, 11 & 15 all were extreme doglegs, where you were essentially forced to throw a mid-range (in the 200 - 250 range), then throw your second shot towards the basket. As an example, #3 was a poor man's #16 from Hornets Nest without the elevation. #14 was by far the best of the par 4, playing much longer than its 366 foot length. #18 should be a par 3.
- Dirt tee pads. For the most part, it's not a problem; but, on some holes, a flat surface (concrete) is needed for a full, safe run-up.
- There is some lost disc potential, mostly in the back of the course, especially on #11, 13, 16 & 17. If your shot sails long on #16, you could end up past the creek in thick rough.
- #12 seems like a love-it or hate-it type of hole. It's a short, downhill hole (190 feet) with an uphill shot to the basket. Basically, you're throwing down a ravine, and the hole is on top of the ravine to the right. I think this hole would work a lot better if it were longer; but, being relatively short eliminates part of the challenge. It feels like it could have been a really tough par 3 if you were forced to throw a driver off the tee (say, make it 350 feet), but at this length, it's just a ho-hum 3.
Other Thoughts: Think of this course as your hole-in-the-wall diner/restaurant. You first step inside, see how dark/unattractive it looks, and wonder why anyone would ever eat there. (Here's my shameless plug for Foskoskie's in Charlotte. Google it. Eat it.) That's how I felt after the first batch of holes. But once the food was served, you realize just how good it actually is, and feel like you've stumbled up a nice, little secret. And that's what the last 10 holes do for Bradley.
- I had decent expectations of it before I played, almost no expectations after hole #7, and by the end, I was hooked and ready to play again. It's amazing what a stretch of solid, fun, challenging, variety of holes will get you.
- My two favorite holes were #13 & 14. #13 is a mid-range (242 feet) downhill, wooded, slight dogleg left hole. Throw a good tee shot, and let it sail back towards the basket for a birdie putt. It's the type of hole you feel you should get close on every time, but there's enough obstacles that will bring out the frustration.
- #14 is a short par 4 (366 feet), but plays much longer. Right in front of the tee (maybe 100 feet) is a 20 foot hill, so you need to get your tee shot in the air right away. You also need to keep your shot straight, or you'll end up in the woods, and won't have much of a second shot. If you land in the fairway, it's a decent dogleg left to the basket. Throw in #16 (very similar to #5 at Fox Chase in Albermarle) and you have a great little stretch of holes.
- Bradley is probably going to become like Boyd in Rock Hill, in that it could easily get lost in the shadow of better courses around the corner (Boyd is to Winthrop as Bradley is to Rankin), and in the entire Charlotte area. This is a solid second course for Gastonia, much better than a lot of small town's best course. It's not too far from Charlotte, so no excuse not to play a couple of rounds here.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Nice Little Gem
Pros: Very well designed course in terms of land available and shot variety. Fairways are easily spotted thanks to great maintenance of brush clearing and the laying down of wood chips. It's a fun little mix of shots and the course surprised me with the clever use of elevation. Predominately wooded ranging from fairly tight to moderately wooded, only a few holes resemble open. What open holes there are, they do a nice job with pin placement to spice it up and avoid the drab, token field hole.
I was surprised at how scenic the course is, especially the back 9 shines in this regard and it's a nice, cheery park overall. I even encountered some wildlife in the form of a box turtle on #13 that did not seem to appreciate my Opto Pain crashing down around it.
More fun than challenging, although there are some really smartly designed holes here, #1 and #13 are textbook examples of sweeping hyzers that get many DG'ers salivating. Absolutely love the horseshoes and especially the switchback, s-curve hole #15. There are not enough switchback holes IMO, time to hone those flex shot skills.
Cons: Still a little rough in places, watch your step for holes, stobs, and tree trunks that aren't quite flush with the ground.
Natural tees are in good shape but a few holes, #10 in particular, are a bit rutted out.
A few holes on the front 9 play near the park road which is considered a con by some. Also, there is a bit of a trek b/w hole 9 and 10, but for someone who learned to play at Castle Hayne, I'm very used to a walk to the parking lot b/w the front and back 9's so I really didn't notice. I've seen much worse (Middle Creek, cough, cough).
Seems to favor righties, especially the 2 horseshoes. Holes aren't too repetitive but there's not many holes that call for a big turnover or anny which I miss.
I'm not a fan of hole #7. You're almost asking to nail a car entering the park if you really, really, go for it.
Other Thoughts: I think BikinJack and the Gaston Co. boys have done a bang up job overall; for the space provided it's masterfully done IMO. I'd really rate this somewhere like a 3.33 and anticipate a 3.5 in the future if concrete tees are poured and signage, etc is in full force. It's more a fun course than a challenging course and as such it's more of a "I'd love this to be my homecourse to blow off stress" type as opposed to a destination course like Nevin, Renny, etc where you feel like you deserve a t-shirt for the infamous experience. I highly recommend it if you're looking for a fun, pleasant round you can't beat it for this area.
11 of 11 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.
5 Helpful / 4 Not
Course could use some refining
Pros: The layout of the fairways is decent. There are a few that are really tight and technical, but short enough to throw controlled drives and cut the corners. Not a bad new course for the area but it's gonna take a few rounds to get familiar with the layout. I especially liked hole #12. It's a short par 3, but the flight path is over a ravine. Steps have been built into the side to retrieve a disc from the bottom.
Cons: There are no concrete pads or signs at the tees, yet. Rumor has it that these amenities will be added in the near future. Also there is no kiosk or course maps available, so it was difficult to follow the links. Lucky for us there were a group of people who had played before getting ready to start, so we all played as a group. Didn't like the location of the basket for hole 18. It's right near a pavilion and an errant disc could end up invading someone's cookout.
Other Thoughts: This course is fairly easy to get to from I-85 and it's worth the trip. Hole #1 is to the left of the main building just inside the tree line. Be careful overthrowing some of the baskets as many of the holes are very overgrown beyond the greens.
5 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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