2 Helpful / 5 Not
Robert L. Smith Park is one of the more difficult courses I've been to in Charlotte. The course has an excellent layout with many left and right shot holes. After the first 3 holes you'll primarily be in the shaded woods which is great for escaping that Charlotte heat! The terrain is a hike, Be prepared. There are several up hill and down hill shots with some very unique basket placements up on rocks, on the edge of a creek, etc. There are some water hazards throughout the course. The water hazard is a relatively large creek but really adds to the great scenery of the course. There are several blind holes and and a few mandos. Hole 3 is alot of fun but is extremely overgrown and if you are not careful you could lose a disc into the brier patches below. Dont forget to bring some bug spray and watch out for spider webs in the woods.
Concrete tees with benches and trash cans at most of the holes. The course is very clean, and free of debris on the greens. Tee signs at every hole with accurate distances and basket placement which is great for first timers on the blind holes. There are some next tee signs but some seem to be missing or non existent. Plenty of parky, with bathrooms and water fountains available. Hole 1 starts to right of the practice tee next to a information kiosk.
Cons: After the first few holes there is no signage to point you in the direction to the next hole. Typically you can just follow the path but a few times I ended up at the wrong tee because of all the alternate paths that people have made to skip holes.
Other Thoughts: If you are looking for a challenge Robert L. Smith should be a good challenge and a lot of fun for you.
2 of 7 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: RL Smith is a true gem in the Charlotte disc golf scene. Here are my pros:
1) This park is absolutely gorgeous! Even taking out the awesome course this park has a lot going for it and is visually pleasing.
2) This course, save for a few holes, is just an awesome design. Playing this course tournament style offers a great challenge because of the out of bounds found on the course. Hole 5 is an awesome par 4 that really makes you think about the shots you have to throw to make a good score.
3) The course has some of the most interesting greens you will find. Hole 2 is on such a huge slope and really can offer some 70 foot rollaways with a bad putt. 7 has a neat elevated basket that is right on a hill as well. The greens for holes 9 and 12 feature some awesome rock formations that add a lot of character. Interesting greens make for an interesting course!
4) The course actually has some nice elevation for a wooded course, which really adds some nice value. Hole 2 plays WAY uphill while hole 3 plays back downhill. Hole 18 is an awesome downhill finishing hole while 16 is a tricky little downhill shot. The designers did a great job of incorporating the elevation into this course and in my opinion this made a 3.5 star course into an Excellent 4.0 course.
5) Typically when you have a wooded course you are going to have holes that seem "pokey" and have unfair routes. After playing this course a few times that is not the case here. The course is challenging but every hole has a fair line to hit. The luck factor is low here which is a huge plus for me.
6) The creek comes into play on a few holes and I love water hazards. Hole 4 was an awesome hole with the creek guarding the right side of the fairway and the pin tucked right up next to the creek.
7) Navigation was SIMPLE. I was never lost and finding the next hole was never a problem. This is a huge plus for someone who travels a lot to play courses.
8) The "deck" tee on hole 12 was quite a treat. It really reminded me of Maple Hill number 9. That took a lot of effort and you can tell the course really has great caretakers.
Cons: Honestly I didn't have a lot of cons here. I am rating this course "Excellent" but there were a few things that bothered me:
1) I am not a huge fan of what I would call artificial par 4's. Hole 9 is a 394 foot hole with a mando. Its a dogleg left hole that has an awesome green. However, I don't like courses that force the issue on par 4's. To me this course was a very challenging par 3 course with one par 4. It seems the issue was forced to try to create a second par 4 and anytime you have to use OB or mando's to do it the hole just feels out of place for me. It wasn't a bad hole but just didn't feel right. I am not just a huge fan of a hole that comes backward at the end (horseshoe shaped) but that's just my preference. This was not a huge deal for me as it was just one hole.
2) The rough is VERY rough. I know its probably because it's that time of the year and I didn't knock the course because of it but just be prepared for some thick rough.
3) This is essentially par 3 golf with one long hole thrown in there. Only two holes are over 400 feet so there are no opportunities to air out a drive. This course wasn't intended to be open or a bomber course, obviously, but its important to point out that this is a wooded course with little opportunity for long drives.
Don't take my cons the wrong way - this is one of the best courses in Charlotte!
Other Thoughts: Quite simply this is one of my favorite courses in Charlotte. I actually preferred this course to Hornet's Nest. While it may not be as well known as some of the more famous Charlotte courses it should be! This is a highly recommended course!
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Great Wooded Course
5 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Challenging, thoughtful, valid FAIRways. It's always refreshing to see a wooded course with sufficiently wide fairway lines and no luck trees in the fairway. This is an interesting mix of up, down, left, right, etc. Secluded setting in scenic, hilly terrain. Very good benches, woodworking and stairs throughout. The course is only 1 mile off I-85, making it a great road trip stop.
Cons: The biggest con was definitely a factor of when I played it (mid-July). The first few holes are overgrown to the point of making a lost disc a strong possibility, especially #3 where an errant drive will land you in 4' high weeds. If I played it regularly I would spend a lot of time looking for discs on #3 in its current condition. I'm not giving this much weight in my rating since it's a temporary curable thing. Once you get in the woods, the fairways were generally very clear.
Other thoughts: the teepads are too small and I thought the course felt unbalanced with the back 9 playing much shorter/easier than the front and without any par 4 holes. As a final con, it seemed like there were a ton of blind holes, especially on the front 9, and many for no apparent reason.
Other Thoughts: I played this course while on a road trip to the beach and would definitely play here again. It's very close to I-85, seemed like a safe place to park, and has a playground for kids to play on. I really enjoyed this course and went back and forth between rating it a 4 and 4.5. It gets the big things right -- great mix of holes, valid fairways, good signage and very good stairs/trails/benches. Better maintenance - especially more cutting on the first few holes to reduce lost discs - gets this to 4.5 for me.
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 9 Not
Pros: Very well laid out course, awesome pin placements. Good signage. Recommend using blue discs in the late afternoon to help find ones that slip into the woods in Fall. Red, yellow, orange& brown leaves everywhere.
Other Thoughts: as a flat lander from Miami I make a point of stopping here every Fall on my way North to hunt whitetails. The colors are of course seasonal, but amazing! The up and down terrain is a great walk. This course is totally secluded from the rest of the park goers. NO joggers, bikers,strollers to deal with. Water in play along some fairways in the form of small creeks. Elevated baskets are a bonus, unless you miss and it rolls all the way down and possibly into the creek on a few holes.Love it love it love it
0 of 9 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: Played this course for the first time over the weekend..and I love it!!,This course is NOT for a beginners. Great variety and ELEVATION changes. Be ready for a work out. I will definitely be coming back for this one.
Cons: It would be nice if hole 9 were closer to the parking lot so you could get refreshments but I just packed more water on my second round.
Other Thoughts: I have to say the CDGC keeps our area courses in tip top shape and this course is no exception. When we started our second round there was a couple of guys on hole two weed eating the hill. These guys deserve a big pat on the back as does all the CDGC.
3 of 10 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Played the first ever round at RL (after installing the baskets) with the designers and worker bees on May 30, 2011; we all lifted too many celebratory toasts after each pin installation. The course was extremely raw with no amenities; what a metamorphosis in its evolution from then to being ready for the 2012 Worlds. It easily jumped from a 3+ to a solid 4 course during the past 14 months. Congrats to the designers and a few other hard workers.
All you have to do is view the "patio" area behind #12's tee to appreciate whats been done. The stairs and goat paths on the course's difficult slopes are all part of June's efforts to get the course ready for the World's; as are many of the bridges and benches.
Many other reviewers have described the course's attributes and as I agree with most of them, particularly Bennybennybenny's review, I'll not be redundant.
Cons: The course is a real hike, so be ready with ample water and good footwear. Only restroom facilities are near the beginning and after the round.
It is not beginner friendly. 880+ players should find it a challenge with some satisfying shots and keep them coming back to try to improve. As a player only a few years from Legends, I am very satisfied with an 8-10 over round.
Other Thoughts: Some reviewers questioned the marking of OB lines (many 20-40' from the water hazards); trust me, I've seen the water exceed the OB markers during 2-3 days of heavy rains.
This is a must play Charlotte course! West side of town--start at RL Smith in the morning, then 10 minutes to Renny (a 4.5 course), and then another 10 minutes for a "relaxing" round at the Plantation Ruins (a 3.5+ course). Great 3 course day! Then get some good suds and BBQ.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Yet another good one in Charlotte
Pros: A lot of hard work and creativity went into this course. It is a course that will require accuracy, yet is more forgiving in its length than some of the newer courses in the area. They have tamed much of the elements that a newer course has (rough, trails, etc.). But it still has many challenges - narrow fairways, a creek that comes into play on several holes, elevation, and tricky pin placements.
The designers have made a nice mix of holes that are very different from each other. The only type missing was a flat, straight hole where you could see the pin from the tee!
The signage, tee pads and baskets were great, and I did not need a map to find my way easily around.
Cons: Very minor details here: this is more of a question, than a con. The maps show a red line along the creek edges, and there are red stakes marking these same creek beds. Is everything over the line O.B? I assumed it was, but it would be nice to know if you must take relief when landing over these lines. It certainly would add to the difficulty (and some frustration) to the course. I don't mind having actual water as O.B, but going over a line that is not protecting people or cars would be considered a negative in my book. It's too much of a PDGA pro tournament thing (like ropes they put at Winthrop).
Minor nitpick- the only thing needed would be some steps going up to the pin on hole #7. AND - if they can shore up the earth to create a flatter green to reward accurate upshots (unlike the current green that is likely to punish a good upshot with a rollaway!)
Other Thoughts: Compliments to the designers on the great pin placements on many holes - several are on treacherously sloped ground and a couple are elevated on rock outcroppings that add to the scenic flair of the course.
As others have said, bring bug repellant and good shoes, as it is one heckuva hike.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Great course with lots of elevation that could pose a test for any player's skill.
Playing the course is like taking a nice hike through the woods and you definitely get a workout climbing some extremely steep hills.
No issues finding the next tee as they are all clearly marked and you can tell that they are currently working on making some great improvements (adding benches, cleaning up fairways, etc.) for Worlds next month.
Cons: They could add some additional trashcans as there are lazy players who sadly can't keep trash in their pocket for a hole or two before tossing it to the ground.
I am sure this if coming before Worlds, but they need to update/replace the hole signs. Some are extremely damaged and illegible.
...and concrete is still needed on hole 12.
Other Thoughts: I would by no means recommend this course for a family outing, but it is a great place to find out where your game can improve.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 2 Not
Difficult but fun
Pros: Fun hilly course that requires a variety of shots to play well.
Good chances for an Ace.
Best direction signs i've seen on any course in the area.
Cons: Lack of steps on steep holes.
Path crosses creek a few times, which could be a problem if there's ever a lot of rain.
Very dense undergrowth in some areas, including poison ivy.
Signage is a little incomplete. A route to one of the holes, i think it's 13 but not sure, has been opened up but not displayed on the map yet.
No concrete tee on number 12 yet.
Other Thoughts: Not a beginners course, but still fun.
I ran into a couple of guys who are volunteering to clean up the course for the World Ams in late July. I'm sure the course will be in tip top shape by then.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Most extreme elevation in the woods I have ever played.
Pros: 1) Nice grippy concrete tees were greatly appreciated on this newer course in the woods. This is the only tee that would work on this course. (Not all of them were in but I appreciated the tees that were there) and the rest will be done shortly I am sure.
2) Incredibly good variety in distance out here. There are all sorts of discs and shots needed out here because the distances change a lot. Some are true placement shots and some have the risk/reward of trying to risk a driver up the gut or around the bend, but the punishment might be extreme so pick your shots selectively.
3) Brand new #'d yellow banded discatchers. These baskets are perfect for this course because they are easy to see.
4) Extreme elevation on multiple holes on this course. This course has some of the funnest throws I have ever thrown and the elevation change certainly adds to the fun factor of these throws.
5) The creek is used on 5 or 6 holes and it is absolutely a key feature to this course. It is not only challenging but it is very picturesque.
6) Hole #9 is a very unique hole. It is a 90 degree dogleg with a rock formation forming the green. I threw my drive short and left a little bit but rather than throw out to the bend in the fairway I just went up and over the trees. It was a risky shot but I was rewarded with a 50' chance to make a 3. It is considered a par 4 on DGCR but is a "tweener" if you ask me, but it is a real risk/reward and a unique design.
7) Good directionals around this course to help guide you through the new layout. I certainly appreciated them and any first timer will feel the same way.
8) It seems the thing to do in Charlotte is to create challenging green areas. This new course is no different. There are baskets within a few feet of the creek, on top of some rock formations, on elevated little perches, etc etc etc. This is definitely a positive design feature in my mind because so many courses just have flat open baskets. I think this might be the best design feature to be used to move this sport forward because challenging greens means less land is needed to create championship courses (higher pars). Who says that putting at some of our courses shouldn't feel like you are putting on an undulating golf green with a 12 stimpmeter reading (IF YOU WOULD LIKE A BETTER EXPLANATION PLEASE ASK I WILL BE HAPPY TO EXPLAIN WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU NON GOLFERS)? Let's make 3 putting a possibility but do so in a fair way. I say give players the option of a "lag putt" where they can lay their putt for a guaranteed drop in, but if they choose to run after it, they risk a rollaway or an awkward stance.
9) Storm sewer easement . .. which runs right along the creek that you play along for many holes. This is like the 5th or 6th time I have mentioned this feature from just this road-trip. Apparently, the land that these easements run through is an accessible land for disc golf properties. I am going to start looking for properties with this feature soon . . . because I want to own my own property where I can house my landscape company and also put up a fun disc golf course.
Cons: 1) The walk to #1 is a long walk and there is nothing directing you to the tee. I had to look for signs of baskets or poles and all I could see in the distance were some garbage cans across the open field and a small little sign past the playground . . . I chose the small sign . . . and I was correct, but I could have easily walked around the entire track/path area before realizing where the course began. The good news is you would see baskets if you crossed the field also, but you would have to work yourself backwards.
2) This course is currently a really tough walk. The hills are manageable but couple that with inferior stairs or nothing especially when wet and it is tough to safely get around this course. It was worth every slip I encountered because the course is worth it, but as of right now these things need to be worked on. It didn't help that it rained the whole time I was here, but I was determined to finish all of the Worlds courses before leaving town and this was the only way I could finish them all. Even if it was raining, this would still be a tough walk with all sorts of ups and down and inferior footing.
3) The sewer pipe that sticks up about 12-15' in the middle of the fairway was a little annoying. I didn't hit it or anything but I just think it takes a little bit away from the visual feeling of this course. I imagine a lot of discs will hit this pole and some will even end up in the river because of that pole. It seems just a little hokey, but I am sure there was no way to avoid the pole unless they moved the entire hole.
4) Tee-signs, benches, garbage cans are still not here, but I know they will be.
Other Thoughts: I am giving this course a 4 even though it truly only deserves a 3.5 in its current state. It will be a 4 when the teepads and signs go in, and if/when the rest of the improvement work is finished it will become a 4.5. I hope to come back to certify this rating, but I promise that this course will be one of the most popular in the area probably just behind Renny and Hornet's Nest. It is a true test of all skills, it is scenic and beautiful, it is challenging but fair, and it is just plain fun to play. Sure it might take you longer to play here than most courses, but I promise you will enjoy it. Get out here as soon as you can!
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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