In Charlotte? Play this course!
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Note: This is a biased review, but an attempt at being objective.
This course has a little bit of everything. Some really tough holes, balanced with some refreshingly short holes.
The course starts off with a nice new practice basket installed just for worlds. Little touches of hard work show up at the very beginning where one of many cedar benches is located, with some nicely installed steps that lead you to the tee of hole 1.
As the course progresses, you throw down the woods, up the woods, around the woods and between the woods (as you can tell, Avery Jenkins won't like this course). What's great about this course is that every fairway is fair. If you don't have the shot to shape the hole, it's your fault, not the courses.
As everyone has mentioned, hole 12 is the BEST easy hole in Charlotte. A simple 170 foot hole with beautiful scenery with a great place to take a picture break.
Cons: It's not perfect. Not even close. This course demands tons of work by nature and will be in continual development. Lot's of areas are still treacherous to walk.
Also, unfortunately, there are 2 sewage vents located in the middle of great holes. It's kinda too bad, but really there is nothing you can do about it.
There is a mando on 9 that I feel is a little ridiculous. If the mando wasn't there, you can get a 3 often with a bad shot. The mando forces the turn, but the design flaw is that from the tee, often you won't know if you made it or not. In my opinion, this is the worst hole on the course. I think it needs to be either longer with no mando, or shorter.
There isn't a variety of tee pads or basket. So far the decision to play RL is a one course decision.
Other Thoughts: This course shined it Worlds, and will continue to. The people behind this course are insanely dedicated to it's success.
Rumors are that in the future, this course will add 9 more holes. I really look forward to that day!
If you're in Charlotte, please do yourself a favor and play this course!
(EDIT) Ever since reviewing this course, it's just gotten better. How cool! It wouldn't take much to be a 5 star course. A couple extra stairs here and there could be helpful after a rainy day.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
3 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.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
The great hills
5 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: -Robert L Smith is a terrific disc golf course on Little rock road. It's wooded and challenging and great for any players.
-The elevation here at Robert L Smith is really intense. This could possibly be the hilliest course you ever played. It starts off on a hole with a downhill teeshot into the mouth of the woods. Then #2 is immensely uphill then #3 is straight downhill. I am not going to go on because it's very exciting to see the elevation here.
-Teesigns are installed from what I saw and they are very cool. They were needed since it can be hard to find the basket on the hole you're playing.
-Nice teepads are installed and they allow nice and long run ups. #12 now has one along with a bench. You might get tired after going up and down are those hills so you might want to sit for a moment.
-#16 and #17 are great ace runs! The water is in play right on #16 so that tells you it's not a sidearm hole like #17. On #17, you need an anhyzer or flick because water is a bit right and the basket is a little more to the right. A birdie on either is a good one!
-From what I heard from dandaman, there is now a practice basket. It might just be the #19th hole's basket since #19 is across the field. I may be wrong though, the course has gotten changed quite a bit since I played here.
-A couple of the holes are in the field. #2 and #3. #2 is hard because it's crazily uphill. #3 is longer but straight downhill so it's a high birdie opprotunity if you go straight. Drivers turn too much on #3. A midrange can get you close.
-#11 and #13 have two routes. The shorter ones are harder to get to. #11's shorter route straight ahead goes to the right so it's a slight dogleg right. #13's shorter route's fairway is not wide. Similar to #11 long at Eager Beaver. Take the longer ones since they are easier birdies.
-#5 is one of my favorite par 4's in North Carolina! It's narrow and along the creek bed where the green is. #3 is also another sweet tee shot. In the pic on the media, It doesn't look downhill but believe me, it is and hyzering over the thick trees close to the large green makes this one of the best holes in charlotte. Definitely my favorite on the course.
-Next tee signs for the holes that can be confusing to find. Keep an eye out for them, especially on the walk to #13 because it's a long walk. They are very helpful.
-Great finishing hole. #18 is definitely a fun hole that has a super fun teeshot. Just going past the creek is good enough so you are not in OB.
-Bathrooms are next to the parking lot and they are nice and clean.
-Bridges are installed and benches and trashcans on every hole.
Cons: -If you play in the summer, there is wildlife in the woods. Beside #1, I saw bear poop. Snakes might also occur in the woods during summer. If you throw a disc in the woods, I wouldn't search for it too long. Use a disc you are willing to lose. Snakes can be around here.
-#14 needs to be cleared a bit to the left but it's nothing major.
Other Thoughts: I love this course, the design is perfect and I am glad grass got cut here on the course. This is possibly my favorite and if you live in Gastonia like me, this is the closest course in charlotte. It's super hilly and definitely one of the best in Charlotte. On the hole by hole review, I am not going to say what you need to do on every hole because on hole info, I put hole tips on every hole.
-This is the best course in Charlotte that I have played. Once I play Nevin, I might find that as the best because I have seen it on YouTube but this course is definitely worth the play no matter how faraway you live from it. The scenery is great, the fairways have no debris and mainly, it's the hilliest in Charlotte. This is a must play in Charlotte and since the original course at Renaissance is gone, this WILL be the best in Charlotte. Don't skip it.
Signature holes, hmm, I'd say #5 because it's a cool, narrow par 4 along the creek bed. #12, Steep uphill ace run on an elevation green on rocks and #18, truly great finishing hole. Have fun.
I deleted the hole by hole review. That gave way too much away. This is my favorite course in Charlotte and my favorite course overall. Eight holes on this course have elevation changes of over 20 feet. Water is in play on seven holes too and also has some great pin placements, like on #9 and #12.
-My favorite hole is #3. It's an easy, really straight down 265' footer that plays much shorter. #13 is also a fun hole with two routes and the double tee is pretty awesome. Really, I like every hole on the course.
-I gave this course a 4.5 because it's maintained well, it's very hilly, it's has an amazing layout. Just needs to be cleared on #3 because the tall grass isn't somewhere to look for discs, if ya lose it, ya lose it. Keep an eye out for snakes and bring hiking shoes.
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This is a mostly wooded course with great elevation changes. Out of bounds both water and artifically marked is all over the place. If you play all the marked out of bounds this course goes from hard to very difficult. There are huge boulders and rocks all over. Check out the pictures. Your nerves will be tested in the putting game. Bad putts will often result in fly bys or roll aways.
The benches they installed are fantastic!
Tee pads were concrete and great.
Signage and navigation was pretty easy.
Brand new Innova Discatchers.
Hole #2 is a monster uphill shot then you get to throw right back down the hill on #3. If I counted correctly there are 6 really fun downhill shots.
Hole #5 is a great par 4. It takes 2 great shots to get a birdie 3 especially with out of bounds lining the fairways and protecting the green.
Hole #12 has a great deck lining and extending the run up for this cool looking par 3 hole.
The double route and double tee on #13 is sweet!
I love the variety on this course. No 2 holes are alike and it will test every shot you have.
Hole #18 is an awesome finish to the course. Super fun downhill shot.
There is rough in some spots but we did not have that hard of a time locating discs.
Cons: The only thing missing from this course is a few chances to unleash some open drives.
Other Thoughts: Bring some hiking shoes. This is a hike through the woods. Try to avoid playing after rain.
There are no stopping points back by the parking lot. Bring everything you need with you.
Check maps and find out where the water is. I played this course on Friday and the creek was pretty much empty. It rained over night and it was pretty full on Saturday.
Do not judge this course by the current pictures. I'm amazed at how the course looks now compared to when those pictures were taken last summer. It's night and day.
I played 15 courses in Charlotte over a 10 day period. Make a trip. They have some awesome disc golf!
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
No Two Holes The Same
4 Helpful / 6 Not
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.
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.
Did That Just Happen?
6 Helpful / 3 Not
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.
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