2 Helpful / 13 Not
Pros: great course that starts out at the top of the soccer fields and quickly moves into the heavily wooded forest by the end of hole 4. Lots of water in play here, but the nice clear fairways give plenty of room to avoid water as well as trees. The course ends with an awesome #18 tee box sitting on top of a large hill with the basket sitting straight ahead across a gully on another large hill.
Cons: There is not much bad to be said about this course. Just watch out for some tight OB restrictions and play the mandos.
Other Thoughts: RL smith is heavily wooded with a lot of water surrounding, making it a desired place for snakes to be lurking. Within the past four days alone, we have spotting three snakes. I also had a close run in with a copperhead on hole 5 last summer when i picked up my disc to find it coiled up beneath it. So be careful.
2 of 15 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: You should know that I like strenuous hikes, scenic courses, and ace runs. This course has all of that.
Also, this is my favorite course in the winter but it can be too thick and bugsy in the summer.
The course itself - the holes have it all (except for wide open field throws, however there is a huge field you can throw in before/after your round if you like). There are straight holes, hard lefts and rights. There are holes like #3 that present three separate paths toward the basket. You can throw right, left, or straight at it. There are plenty of holes with water in play, and plenty of holes where you can just sit back and look at the stream without having to worry about it (12's tee pad). You start out with three hilly holes, but there are level holes and holes with some elevation at the beginning (4) or end (5). There are a few longer holes (5). Many of the holes are aceable, but there are no gimmes. Also, lots of strategy as an errant throw can roll or skip into the water or down a hill. There are OBs and at least one mando. Some folks hate that but you don't have to count the OBs, sometimes I just ignore them. The rough will hurt your score enough. However, you can usually find your way out of the rough, it's not as terrible as some courses.
I also like how different this course is summer/winter. It's a steamy jungle hike in the summer (which I like), but it's much easier with the foliage down in the winter. The streams iced over is a pretty good sight too.
Amenities - very impressive. It starts with the tee pad on hole one. Built into the side of a hill, with a nice path down to the basket. Stairs and switchbacks in a lot of places. Benches almost everywhere. A few trash cans (which really ought to be enough. Please carry your empty forty bottle two holes til the next trash can). Many reviewers have rightfully raved about the party deck on 12 and the "v" tee pad. Very cool. And there is a bathroom with water fountains at the start/finish. The tee signs are very helpful.
Keep your eye out for the next-tee signs. They're on just about every hole. They can come in handy because sometimes you backtrack. Have your buddy grab your disc out of the basket, so you don't have to climb the hill just to walk right back down it.
Very close to I-85 and I-485. Great if you're passing through town. Very close to the whitewater center, a great place for a post-round beer.
Not usually very many people nearby. Mostly very secluded and nature-y. Close to the airport so it can be fun watching planes glide overhead.
Cons: None for me.
Other Thoughts: This is a five-star for me, but maybe a one-star for some people. If you have problems with balance or stamina, this may not be the course for you. If you get discouraged by woodsy holes, if you dislike copperheads or yellowjackets, beware. I've heard people say this is in a bad area but I've never seen stragglers on the course. No long open bombs and I don't think there's a single par five. At least one long walk to the next hole (in fact that long walk criss-crosses another transition). And it can definitely get slick during/after a rain. After hole #3, you're deep in the woods (there's no halfway spillout to the parking lot like they have at Hornets Nest). Bring water, even in the winter. I've seen all of these dock people's reviews of other courses, so beware if this affects you.
Best place to take a leak - obvious answer is hole 12 but I'd say anywhere on Hole 7, with that stream to the right of the fairway, all very scenic.
7 of 11 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 4 Not
A must play in Charlotte
Pros: This is my first review, and my experience at RL smith was so phenomenal I created an account just to write this.
From the tee pad on hole one its easy to see that this course is going to offer a different experience from other courses in Charlotte. Off the Tee Box you follow your drive down a goat path into the woods and really have to work to come away with par.
Making great use of the land you'll play up and down this same hill on the next two holes, what a warm up!
Next its into the woods, where your going to spend the next 15 holes. I imagine this is going to be a welcome reprieve from the carolina sun come summer.
Despite being all wooded holes, the holes verried enough to not feel repetitive. Using a creek as a OB provides beauty and also a challenge. Also featured is a large rock formation.
For such a new course , the amount of work put in is amazing. Awesome ceder benches are frequently well appreciated.
I loved playing this the first time, and felt like a kid in the candy store. Really transports you from the hustle and bustle of the city to a nice walk in the woods.
Cons: Its a little hard to find the first teebox, but really not that big of a deal.
Other Thoughts: I really considered a 4.5 rating, but went with a 5 because its displaced my previous two favorite courses. ( Renny and Hudson Mills )
This course deserves to be recognized as one of the best, if not the best, of the Charlotte metros courses.
12 of 16 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 3 Not
I have a new favorite... Beg/Interm. Review
Pros: + Baskets always seemed to be placed just out of range, in a corner, next to treacherous water, on top of some rocks, around a dogleg - just fantastic placement
+ Very challenging hole layouts almost always with elevation change
+ Lots of elevation makes for good exercise and fun between-hole hikes; not overly hilly, but definitely worth noting that good shoes are a must
+ ROCKS! Boulders, rocky streams, and rocks on the greens made some holes seem hardcore.
+ Woodwork! Come on, who doesn't love seeing hard work and great care being put into the layout of a disc golf course? Tons of bridges, stairs, and very nice benches
+ WATER! Streams everywhere, which made shaping safe, but long lines even more crucial.
+ Awesome paths to follow, but not so worn down like Reedy
+ Fantastic maps at each hole really helped
+ Great tees
+ Great baskets
+ Practice basket
+ Big fields to practice distance drives
Cons: - Some rough areas were very rough
- Water can be great fun, but it SUCKS when your disc drops down and it's murky in some spots, so is your disc in there or not? Only one way to really find out...
Other Thoughts: Overall, I had an amazing time here. I had a pretty great round, too. Getting that perfectly shaped line lead to some very very satisfying birdies (#2, 6, and 18). The water kept me on my toes. It was never too deep where I felt I couldn't hop in if it was necessary (and it wasn't necessary even for beginners), but it seriously made me think about each individual throw more so than any other course I've ever played (no hole was out of my intermediate skill range). It was just a gorgeous forest, too. The course designers deserve awards for this one. A lot of care must have been taken when designing and building it to preserve the integrity of the streams, trees, roots, and rock structures. And the woodwork! Great benches, very solid bridges (and lots and lots of them!), and some very nicely crafted stairs. Thank you. If Charlotte DGC has any hand in keeping it in such great shape, I also have to say thank you. Also, thank you for the maps. This course has two great maps on DGCR.
In the past two days in Charlotte I've played four really good courses; not Nest, Renny, or Nevin yet, but this has been my favorite so far. I actually think this is my favorite course I've ever played. It truly deserves 5/5 discs.
**Update** After playing Nevin, Nest, and Renny I have to say that this was definitely my favorite course. The elevation changes, streams, and woodwork stick out most in my mind, but I also liked its location and level of difficulty. It wasn't as difficult as those popular challenging courses, but to throw well I needed to consider my discs and shape some very fun long and short lines. More advanced players won't feel challenged to the max, but I still think the location and layout make it a must play course in Charlotte for any skill level.
9 of 12 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: -Course is very easy to navigate
-Fairways are designed well and are very fair
-Elevation and water are used wonderfully through out the course
-Nice use of rock formations for basket positions
-Benches on most holes which are greatly appreciated
-Most courses only have one signature hole, this has at least 3
Cons: -Not beginner friendly. You basically have to be able to throw over 250 or you're looking at lost plastic. This isn't a con in my book as I prefer non-casual courses
-A lot of comments about hiking. There is a ton of hiking to be done. After many of the hikes you are rewarded by fantastic hole design and interesting variety of shots. There really are no connector holes on this course which is greatly appreciated.
Other Thoughts: Played this on a disc golf trip to Charlotte. It was the 8th course we played on our trip. We played it after a morning round at Plantation Ruins and Renaissance Gold. Even though the group had played over 14,000 feet of golf, all of us were excited to keep playing as we discovered the holes. Instant classic and moved into my top 3 along with Renaissance Gold and Hawk Hollow.
Many thanks to the builders (Wit & CTP) of the course, who we met after playing. A lot of time and effort was put into this and it shows. Can't wait to play the next course they think up!
14 of 18 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 14 Not
My Favorite Course in Charlotte
Pros: This course has everything to offer. Large elevation changes with big drops and upshots. Water does come into play on a few holes but shouldn't be a problem for more skilled players. This course is mostly in the wood and is very well maintained. There are also wide open soccer fields which are always good for some driver practice before you play.
Cons: Once you start there are not many opportunities to leave the course especially between 8-15.
2 of 16 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 6 Not
No Two Holes The Same
Pros: - Like the title says... no two holes are the same. If you are weak in your game at all, this course will show you.
- Awesome extras make you feel like you're playing a private course...
- Plenty of ace-able holes; two really nice par fours.
- Great park/course map.
- Unique tees and multiple options on a few holes.
- Clear rough around the edge of the fairways. It seems as if the clearing was done right, as the drag piles are at least 60 feet from the fairways.
- Generally clean.
- Wildlife! Deer, rabbits, and red-tailed hawk that hangs out above #1's basket.
Cons: - Insects can be bad sometimes. Bring bug spray.
- The halfway point is at the back of the park, so bring plenty of water. There's a water fountain near the restrooms!
Other Thoughts: This has quickly become my new favorite course in Charlotte. It's only been in the ground a year. The designers did a wonderful job mixing the elevation and natural beauty the land provides with a variety of holes that is unmatched.
Be prepared for a hike...
4 of 10 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 1 Not
My Personal Favorite
Pros: I've witnessed this course slowly develop over the last year and have come to the solid conclusion that it is easily my favorite course in Charlotte. While it doesn't cater well to the novice disc golfer, the course is abundant with elevation and variety. Over time, course maintenance has done a great job of making it possible to find a wild disc now. (I've lost a couple here) I've played every course in the area, and each one has a little something different to offer. But RL Smith has this feeling of a BIG course that works you and then offers a sweet little shorty hole here and there to give you a break and reel you back in. At the least, I can count 6 holes that could be considered signature at any other course, which makes RL such a nice and challenging round. The recent additions of benches, bridges, and fresh tees has made this course a knockout!
Cons: - The course could use a few more trash cans considering that you don't run into any facilities during the round. If you're like me though, you should be packing out what you bring in anyways.
- There's no easy way to take a break at the turn. Since the transition between 9 and 10 is back in the heart of the woods, there's no straightforward or quick path to grab anything from your vehicle. It's wise to pack everything you'll need for the round before the 1st tee.
Other Thoughts: Bring plenty of water, because this one can be a workout! I think you'll agree though, that it's well worth the effort. After all, I got into disc to get a little exercise anyways. The recent updates and additions to the course have really tied everything together here. I would have awarded 4.5 stars with consideration to the lack of facilities at the turn, but I don't ever find myself stopping at the turn of other courses anyways. This may be important to the ladies of DG, but considering some of the outdated low ratings that this course still has, I feel the need to help the average.
Overall though, if you're coming to Charlotte and only have time for a course or two, try and make it to RL Smith.
Dog owners: Best course in town for them to tag along in my opinion. Just be sure to give them a good tick check after you're done.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
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