Great Course feels incomplete.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Use of elevation is what makes this course. I cannot think of a hole where it does not come into play.
Crazy Fast and rocky greens make going for it a risky choice in many cases and laying up is the right choice.
It feels like there is a good balance of left, right, straight on the course.
Hole 12 while short is definatly a signature hole with a cool tee and cool green. And hole 3 is one of my favorite shots in charlotte.
It finishes strong with a good hole 18.
Newly instaled goat trails and bridges are welcome additions on several holes
Cons: Several holes go through a sewer right away which means there are metal poles sticking up in the center of several fairways which is an eyesore in my opinion and doesnt make for a pleasant smell some days.
Some of the OB seems punative in my opinion and takes away from the fun of the course.
There are several drag piles near fairways or baskets(the one close to the basket on 13 sticks out in my mind.)
Not all of the benches have been installed on every hole.
Some of the transitions are still very rough and need stairs or better ways to get up and down the hills.
There are trees leaning low into the airways on several holes
No way to replenish water as you get back into the course because it is a long hike.
The one major issue that could face this course in the future is erosion control. Several holes will have problems in the future if this is not dealt with(which I know it will be)
Other Thoughts: R.L. Smith is a great course and I want to give it a 4 based on what I know it will be. Several of the projects which I thought really took away from the course have been taken care of and I know that the others will be eventually but right now I still feel that the issues keep me from rating this one higher. It is definatly worth a stop if you are in charlotte cause it is probably one of the most unique courses as far as terrain goes in the area.
I will likely rate it higher once many of the negatives are fixed (specifiacally saftey issues).
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 3 Not
Did That Just Happen?
Pros: Sits in a nice park that also has a big playground and nice big soccer fields. There has been a lot of work put into this course to make sure the hills are not too difficult to navigate. The course makes great use of the terrain making you throw up and down hill a lot. There are plenty of tight gaps to hit and lots of OB to make things challenging. There are a lot of challenging baskets as well that will make you work for every stroke. There is a good mix of long and short as well as up and down hill. Lots of nice benches and new bridges to get over the stream. Nice new baskets and consistent tee pads are great. Nice new tee signs are very helpful. Be sure to look for arrows to show you where to go next.
Cons: This is not a course that will be fun for newer players. There are a couple of places where you could get crossed up on where you are supposed to go. There is a long walk back to the parking lot from hole 18's basket. Excessively marked OB makes this course less fun. I really did not like the tee pad on hole 12, no matter how cool it looks when you walk up to it. These are really all small things but cause the rating to go down, especially when you think about all the other great courses in the area.
Other Thoughts: A good round can go very bad here on one hole with the way a disc could just start rolling down hills from some of the baskets. While the baskets all look really cool sitting up on their hills and rock and what not, it can get very frustrating when you easy layup decides to roll away as if you ran at it. This only happened to me once during my tune up round for Worlds 2012 here, but it made me think twice about going for a lot of putts. This is just not my favorite of the courses that I will be playing, even though it does feel the most like the mountain courses back home that I am used to. This is a great course, but without the history of some of the other courses in the area I would put this in a close second group of courses to play in the Charlotte area.
6 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Little Stumpy Creek
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I love RL Smith Park. The memorial is for a hero and more amenities (Disc Golf) that draw people to it to honor Robert L. Smith the better. Charlotte is a city of wooded courses. This is no different, however it is "the" elevation course in Charlotte. You will huff and puff and RL will blow you down! Hole one is a great opening hole. Throwing from the open into the mouth of the woods you get a glimpse of what is to come. Fairways are "fair" but can be tight in some areas, they are mostly clear of brush and new growth. Benches are amazing and a number of really good bridges are being built. Teepads are plenty long and built to the hole, there is a trapazoid and a "shorts shaped" pad for a couple of the courses multiple fairway holes.
There are a number of unique "to Charlotte" and cool holes. 2, uphill drive to a very precarious green, 3 is a straight drop down into a basin. 7 has an awesome green as do 9 and 12 (nestled in rock formations). Even short 200' holes are deadly like hole 16. Hole 18 is one of the signature holes. It throws from the top of a cliff down to a basket with OB right behind it. Fast greens (like 9+ of them) and fairway turns offer a great opportunity for smart golf.
Greens are nicely cut to 30' at least for most of them.
GREAT looking and feeling deck behind #12 and 3 new bridges.
Cons: A number of these Cons can and will be attended to some wont. My major concern is the overuse of OB; the OB can be oppressive and unfair. It lines the underside of hilly greens on 5, 16, 17, 18 It outlines some of the creeks and tributaries however if those are flowing and are so high that OBs are needed, you are dealing with a lost disc anyway or thr course will be unplayable. Simply surrounded by water is good enough for these holes. Some of the OB is just too close to baskets or fairways because maybe the baskets are too close to the creeks. Hole 16's OB is silly in my opinion. OB is high so the stakes don't wash away... if water is that high, there will be no tournament that day. The course difficulty speaks for itself. To get through RL underpar is a challenge. The OB just adds gimmick and luck and drives my score down .5 discs. With no OB on 5, 16,17 I would rate the course a 5.
Trashcans arent numerous and it doesnt appear the park department can get back to empty them anyway. So many greens are "fast" greens it adds more than the average amount of luck to score good or bad here. A great round can be overshadowed by a number of slides or rolls OB that resulted from great shots. Its part of the game, but I can see how it will frustrate some. EDIT<NOW there is a GREAT area behind 12 to stand, the deck is amazing) Trees have begun to arc into the fairways to get light and are covering up the airways. I noticed this on 6,7 specifically. A few retaining walls and a number of stairs (EDIT - Great new goat trail on 18 and 3 new bridges are now installed) are needed on some of the fast greens/steep transitions.
Many of the baskets are not visible from the tee… they might be aceble but you don't get the satisfaction of seeing it.
Other Thoughts: Do not read my cons and not come. Great course, one of my favorites in Charlotte! Bring water, you do not go by facilities until the end...and even then you are across a number of soccer fields away. You might be able to run up hole 5 and get to the bathroom but after that, you are deep in it. A lot of people unload their bag on 18 then again across the soccer fields back to their cars. If you are craving that big open shot...it might not be on the course, but you can sure do it on your way home. Maybe try to make a "GOAL!!!" in one of the soccer goals.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Yet another good one in Charlotte
8 Helpful / 0 Not
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.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
One of the best
Pros: Baskets (new)
Benches on most of the holes
Great bridges and the most scenic teepad that I have ever seen on hole 12.
A nice design...thanks Chris and Whit (working hard on the course when I was there)! Challanging greens, challanging fairways. Diverse. These guys know what they are doing and thier efforts are awesome. This course is one of the toughest (but fairest) that I have played.
Scenic: This course has a great creek that comes in play and has some rewarding views near greens and fairways. There are also some nice rock outcroppings that were taken advantage of on hole #9 and #12.
The course is far removed from other park activities. No ball fields, no walking paths, and no roads. When you play this course it is all about the golf.
Great next tee signs make it easy to navigate...once you know where hole #1 is (behind the kiosk...thanks for the kiosk Jerry!)
Cons: There are some areas of the creek if your disc lands in it is possible that it will be lost.
If the course is wet the walk up the hills (and down them) could be quite difficult and slippery.
Other Thoughts: The course was looking great when I was there for the World's. The amount of work and attention to detail really sets this course apart from others that I have played. While it is a difficult course it is still a fun course.
I appreciate that currently it is only one tee and one basket per hole. In the future I would say that if you want to attarct the more casual golfer or newbie: shorter tees would need to be placed.
There appears to be more land available if the course were ever to be expanded. I might recommend however that if it was to be expanded, have a loop that plays it's way back somewhere close to the fields...or alternatively have a seperate 18 hole course. That way you have a chance to restock on water and other goodies.
7 of 8 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.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Great New Course
Pros: Good use of elevation and natural elements such as rocks and creek beds. Good variety of shots (lefts, rights, straight, uphill & downhill). Beautiful wooded setting. A number of interesting holes.
Cons: Needs work including tee pads, steps and bridges. As mentioned on prior reviews, the sewer smell can be nasty on a couple hole. Some long transitions between a few of the holes.
Other Thoughts: This couse has the best use of elevation in the area (exept maybe Stumpy Creek). Being new it still needs to be broken in, but could become one of the top 3-4 courses in the area.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Another new 18 hole course in Charlotte. Like those lucky SOBs needed another course!! Separated from the playground and soccer fields. Course plays through a nice wooded area with everything you need for a great course.
Designed about as well as I could imagine. This course uses every available landscape feature given to it, and uses it well. No need for gimmicks here. There are uphill shots, downhill shots, creeks and boulders all used throughout the course. It's great looking and fun to play.
Cons: It's new. Tee pads are natural and pretty rough.
Speaking of rough, the course could use some foot traffic to beat down the growth. There are some areas where discs could hide right now.
Course needs some more bridges and stairs.
I assume most of these cons will get worked out as time goes on. Knowing the quality of courses and people in the Charlotte area, I am confident this course will get the treatment it deserves.
Other Thoughts: Course starts out with a nice little 340' downhill shot just to get you warmed up. Small slope behind the basket keep any putts or approaches interesting. #2 plays uphill with the basket perched on the slope. #3 is back down with multiple lines to the metal. #4 is 406' to a basket that is surrounded by a creek bed on 3 sides. Right now the water is low or non-existent, but in the Winter and Spring things will be interesting. Many of the holes could be a little tougher when the water starts running down the creeks.
Speaking of variety, there is a 519' hole all along a creek bed, and a 151' uphill ace run. There are lefts and rights. There are some tight straight shots. And there are big downhill shots. This course has it all. And throughout the designers used every rock, creek and hill they could in the design of the holes. It won't be the hardest course in Charlotte, but it has a chance to be one the most fun courses you'll ever play.
If this course was in Raleigh it would easily be the best course in town. For Charlotte it's just another great course. Once it is finished it will probably be one of the more popular courses in Charlotte. When you get the chance, you've got to play this course.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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