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 / 4 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 6 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.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Great use of elevation with interesting shots that are uncommon to the area make this a fun one indeed.
If elevation is your thing, and it should be considering your love for aerodynamics (cheers), this is a great park to get you feeling the ace runs, and looking for errant throws if you get off track. With that being said, it is a 5004 ft. course that is a newby so far. But, it ranks high on the fun meter because of the pin positions being mixed (elevated and way lower than your tee pad), and good use of nature (rocks and creeks). Some fairways are getting widened and will soon be forehand and backhand routes to the pins, nice touch shots abound. Signature holes are actually hard to pinpoint, because there are a few gems that make the course notable. As far as difficulty, it is advanced, but having a lot of ace potential for decent arms. Big field gets crowded with walkers some nights, but is an amazing driving range when it is empty, best I have seen in town by a long shot, three tiers and huge.Yes.
Cons: It is new and the rough is crazy at times, lost disc potential is very elevated. One of many things that will be manageable with time, no big issue for a new course, just be warned and keep your disc in bounds or pay the piper, as usual here in Charlotte.
Other Thoughts: I like the hike in this place personally, it feels very far away from town, and it is not. That by its self merits everyone to play this course out on Little Rock Rd. that is local and needs a break from the norm. Bring lots of water and snacks even though it is a short course by measurement, it is a hilly hike in this blazing heat wave as of late. As always take your time and let others play through to really enjoy what it is all about, see you on the tee.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: this brand new addition to the charlotte area is a real beauty.lots of elevation, has a mountain course feel to it. the creek that comes into play on several holes is used to create more challenging landing zones. there are a couple of bridges that were added recently to help navigate your way through the course.easy to follow and new tee signs have been installed. they are temporary, but still very helpful.
Cons: the first 4 holes... i like the shots, but having to throw down a hill back up then back down then walk back up to throw agian. is tiresome right out of the gate. once you get into the woods it flows nicely
Other Thoughts: this course still needs some work, foot traffic and some weedeating are needed on the first 4 holes. this course will keep getting better over time. my rating will improve when concrete gets poured. the course is kind of a mix between renny and reedy.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Hikin' in the Citaaaay!
Pros: We wanted it and we got it. A course in Charlotte with tons of elevation. Robert L. Smith Park DGC boasts uniquely technical ups and downs, lefts and rights. Still rough around the edges as this is still a newer course, and this review will be updated accordingly.
RLS is equipped with yellow DISCathers, double layered chains and deep baskets. Tee pads are currently natural with average footing. Current tee signs appear to be temporary at each tee featuring hole, length, par and map. Map of holes aren't exactly accurate or to scale, but will steer you in the right direction. Tee signs are white and tee box marked by flags, all of which is easily seen. Garbage cans spread out over the course, recently put into place by the Charlotte Disc Golf Club.
Course is secluded to its own portion of the park, maybe a trail walker or two, but otherwise the course is in a disc golf only area.
Navigation isn't a huge issue here, but can get a little confusing around 3 and 4. "Next tee" signs and orange tape mark hole transitions and pathways are beating in. To get to hole 1 from the parking lot, follow the fence past the bathrooms and playground, tee pad on right.
Although shorter in length, it makes up for it in technicallity. There's something humbling about playing a hole that seems well within your driving distance but because of well used elevation and some twists and turns, alot of them aren't easily reached from the tee. In other words, your 2nd shot will be the deciding factor on most holes. The elevation along the course creates some very unique lines and picturesque sights. There is nothing repititious about the course either. Some OB with a creek in play on a few holes.
Very clean bathrooms, pavilion, playground and soccor fields.
Cons: These cons are likely to exist throughout the life of the course;
A few of the holes run along a sewer right-of-way. Raised manholes take away from the beauty of the course, along with the smell of sewage bellowing from the vent pipes. Not bad unless the breeze is blowing directly to you from the vents.
As the airport is nearby, the sound of planes overhead is a constant. Both the sewer and air traffic take away from the woodsy, natural feel.
Most of these cons will disappear or get better over time.
-No concrete tee pads
-Extremely dense woods/rough
-Long transitions between holes
-Difficult to find the course if you don't know where you're looking
-Losing a disc is a possibility, especially when playing alone
-No benches yet, not asking for every hole or anything, but a few sit down breaks are necessary, especially since most of the transitions have you walking uphill
Other Thoughts: RL Smith is a hike. Wear appropriate footwear. Alot of steep elevation will take alot out of you, but is worth the uphill and especially the downhill shots.
The fun factor at RL Smith is medium to high. Bring every shot you can hold in your bag, if you don't use them off the tee you will certainly use them for a creative upshot or need them for outs from the thick rough.
In relation to other local courses, RL Smith feels like a very short Renny as far as basket placement, use of elevation and layout. A hole or two resemble The Scrapyard and Reedy Creek. Difficulty will be just a hair tougher than Reedy once broken in.
I imagine there will be a few long tee pads added to the layout. I believe there are currently two long tees, and plenty of space to add more.
If you haven't checked it out already, its definately worth the trip. This is a great course to play in the same day as Renny or the Nest, <15 minutes to either from Smith. Or just play a couple rounds here.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 0 Not
It's like playing a mountain course, but in Charlotte
Pros: There isn't another course in Charlotte like Robert L. Smith. I didn't know a course within the city limits could offer so much elevation. It has a feel of being in the foothills or mountains.
- Unless you choose to ignore the prior sentence, Smith's strongest feature is its use of elevation. Most holes are either up- or downhill; very few flat holes.
- Along with the elevation, Smith's other signature is its tough, natural, wooded feel. Most layouts are tight (4, 5, 6, I could go on), have thick, good-luck-finding-your-disc rough (hello #3), or some combination of the two. Course also makes good use of other natural elements, such as holes on/behind rocks (#9, 12) & a creek (#5, 18).
- Some awesome risk/reward holes. Suppose #2 or 3 didn't have any rough. They'd be giving up lots of 2s. Suddenly you add rough, and it makes the holes a ton harder. So, you can approach with the aggressive mentality, and go for it, bringing in a 2 or a 4 (or a lost disc) into the equation. Or you play it safe, and take your 3. On other holes, you have the risk of going long (#8, 11), or deep into the wood (#4, 10, #14) if you don't keep your shots down.
- Course offers some unique hole layouts compared to other area courses. #5
- Course is very isolated, which is rare for a lot of Charlotte-area courses. There's not a lot at the park, and add to that, being out in the woods, gives you a pretty decent out in nature feel. If it weren't for the flight path overhead, you'd really think you were away from Charlotte. #5 & 7 are the two best holes on the course, and two of the better holes anywhere around. #5 is the longest hole on the course (519 feet), and starts out with a drive down a narrow fairway, slight dogleg right to a mid-range to long second shot to an uphill basket. If you keep it in the fairway, you'll have your par. #7 begs is a relatively straight hole (348 feet) with a big creek to the right, to an uphill basket to the left. The basket is on a small, raised piece of land, so you need to be accurate to land up there for the easy putt.
Cons: A lot of these cons will be eliminated once the course ages, and more work is being done. It's unrealistic to expect the course to be perfect only weeks after the baskets are installed. That said:
- There are navigation and safety issues throughout. Flags mark the tee areas. If it weren't for someone else playing when I arrived, I would have missed #1, and started on #3. Also, a lot of blind tee shots, which can cause problems. For a stretch, I just threw Roc off the tee, just to make sure I was in the fairway. I'd figure out where the basket was afterwards.
- Several holes are going to need steps installed soon, or there's real risk for injury. Walking down the hills on #3 & 18 was treacherous at best. Both are steep, and the footing is poor. Several other spots needed better defined walking areas, or steps as well.
- Some people aren't going to be fans of the design of the course. What it lacks in length, it makes up for with obstacles - thick rough, trees, etc. It essentially neutralizes the big arms, by putting all the emphasis on accuracy. A couple holes seemed to have extreme doglegs trying to add to the challenge: #2 seemed to be the most extreme.
- High lost disc potential. I'm hoping the rough on some holes will be thinned out in due time, especially on #3. It does get frustrating when you're searching for a disc on #3, and can only see it when you're on top of it. To make things worse, once I found my disc, I had a reasonable birdie putt: about 30 feet away. You shouldn't be that close to the basket, and have to spend time searching for a disc.
- There are some long walks between some holes, as well as from #18 back to the parking lot. Also, there's a lack of amenities at the park, so come prepared.
Other Thoughts: This course is quickly becoming one of my favorites in Charlotte. IMO, it's the best new course in town since Nevin, better than the other crop of new courses that have been built within the past 18 months.
- Despite some frustrations (thick rough on some holes, blind tee shots, etc), I thought this course was great. It had elements of Glenn Hilton (in Hickory) Highland Hills (North Wilkesboro) & Warriors Path (Kingsport, TN), plus some typical Charlotte course toughness thrown in. #16 especially reminded of the new #18 at Hilton. Instead of having to drive at least an hour to play those, this one is right in Charlotte.
- The front nine was much more difficult than the back nine. The front had longer, and more unforgiving, holes (total length: front=2837; back=2167). I felt I was scrambling to save par on most holes on the front, whereas I could be somewhat aggressive and have some birdie chances on the back.
- Most of the issues with the course will be reduced with more time & work: paths/rough will be cleared better, more benches/trashcans, teepads & signs, steps will be installed. I'm basing my rating on the assumption these problems will be gone within the next several months. If not, I'll have to bump down my rating.
- It's great seeing a course on the west side of town. After playing here, you're only 15 minutes from a bunch of other courses (Renny, Hornets Nest, Nevin & Sugaw), so you have some good options for a nice 1-2 punch.
- This is another must play for Charlotte. Just know what you're getting yourself into before checking it out.
16 of 16 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.
24 Helpful / 1 Not
The Hits Keep on Coming
Pros: A beast lurks in the shadows of quiet RL Smith Park. A wooded monster that twists and turns every which way, up and down steep hills and studded with boulders. Stay on the fairway or become prey to its many minions of briers, creeks, and valleys.
Okay, enough of that. It's a tough, mini Nevin cross-bred with Stumpy Creek kind of course, which, if you like your DG rump handed to you by the rough, grizzled hands of nature, you should be excited about now. It's meaner than a bag full of rattlesnakes, not b/c it's downright hard or unfair (definitely not unfair) but b/c it teases you into thinking that you might have a good round. There aren't really any holes that an Intermediate ranked player shouldn't be able to hit the line he wants but it'll wear you down with the elevation and heaven forbid long disc retrieval efforts that are bound to happen.
Most of these holes are squarely in the woods, playing along creeks and gulleys, ridges and hills. The first 4 holes play in and out of the trees, fun holes where elevation (mostly throwing downhill) comes into play big time. Then it's into the trees for some classic Charlotte golf, a little flatter but plenty of terrain and line variety to make you think out each shot carefully. The easiest or shorter holes even have a little spice to them, typical of Stan courses, in the form of elevated baskets (natural, no poles this time) or perched upon picturesque boulders. Oh yeah, this is the kind of nature we disc golfers pine for, big time.
Not many holes really favor the big arm golfer in the classic sense, noodle arms are welcome b/c it favors a precision game. As long as you can throw downhill, the longer holes aren't much of a problem. All the holes have very defined fairways that will become even more so with use. Great variety, and I believe some legit par 4's might be here.
The course is easy to navigate thanks to all the orange tape denoting the paths.
Cons: Well, it's new. So the tees are natural, only present thanks to pink flags in the ground. The transitions from tee to basket on some holes, especially the first 4 or so, are pretty steep and rough with just little goat paths weaving through the tremendous amount of weeds, tall grass and briers accompanying these holes. There's still some fallen branches that need to be tossed aside and some baskets could use some nearby saplings cut away to create more of a putting green.
The rough can be extremely so, if you toss your disc in the brier filled mess on holes 1-4 you can almost kiss it goodbye. I hope they clear a bit of this out, if anything just to give you less areas to look for your disc.
There's a painfully long walk from hole 12-13. Also, 18 doesn't really dump you near the parking lot either.
Other Thoughts: My rating will only go up as this course matures. It's a definite contender for 4 disc category. It's Stumpy meets Nevin, a Reedy Creek on 'roid rage, a Barber Park except designed well. A lot of the holes around the creek remind me of Barber Park's back 9 except better scenery and better hole variety.
Hole 18 is one of the best finishing holes in the state. Holes 9 and 12 have gorgeous pin placements (rocky outcrops). Hole 9 will probably have a mando, it's meant to be played kind of like a long fishhook, but you can cut half of the fairway out by tossing a thumber through a window in the treeline on the left. If I could putt I would have 3'd it rather easily.
Another quality course in the Queen City, you've got to be kidding me.
24 of 25 people found this review helpful.
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