4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I am so jealous of the Charlotte disc golf scene! I live in Raleigh. We have a lot of good courses and more are going in every year. But the concentration of solid courses in Charlotte is truly impressive--Kilborne being a great example. I was in town for a short business trip, so I had my list of courses, sorted by rating. I got to play one at the top of my list, RL Smith, and had time for one close to downtown, so I played Kilborne. I guess I was expecting an "average" course since it doesn't get the hype of some of the high-profile tracks. Boy, was that assumption wrong! This is a very good course (borderline excellent) that has aged amazingly well. It reminds me of my home course, Cedar Hills, but in my opinion, it's a superior course (better tees, fairer fairways, nicer).
+ Nice, wide fairways that fit the length of the holes nicely.
+ No problems with the tees.
+ Good navigation and tee signs.
+ I can't believe this course is so close to downtown Charlotte. At times, I felt like I was in a secluded forest. I didn't hear traffic, just birds. You can tell the course is up there in age, but it's still very aesthetically pleasing and peaceful.
+ Great layout. I really liked the par 4's. Good mix of hyzer, anhyzer, and straight throughout the course. Good mix of distances too. It's perfect for intermediate to advanced players.
+ Not much of a risk of disc loss.
Cons: I have a few nit-picks, but not much at all:
- I forget the hole numbers, but right around the turn, several baskets are close together and you have to backtrack on a fairway (either #8 or #9) to get to the next tee.
- Some of the baskets are wearing down and they're hard to spot with the wooded backdrops. It'd be nice to get some new baskets with big yellow bands.
- I didn't see anything shady myself, but others have noted that there can be issues in the park itself. Probably best to be alert and aware of other people in the park.
Other Thoughts: If you're visiting Charlotte, don't overlook Kilborne--especially if you're an intermediate player. I played RL Smith, RenSke, and Kilborne this week. RL Smith was the top course, but extremely demanding (physically and in terms of shots needed). The fun factor on Kilborne was right up there with RL Smith, for me. (RenSke was pretty good too, but closer to average.)
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: All of the Killborne holes are in great shape. Baskets are all in proper working order. There is very little foliage you can't walk through so losing a disk is very unlikely. The course has a great mix of distances and left and right shots making you throw a good mix of shots to score well here. The fairways are far but if you miss the line it's a challenge on most of the holes to up and down for par which I like. Signage on all but 1 of the holes (11 I think). Clear indicators on most of the holes where to go next. No real chance of killing walkers or other golfers either one any of the holes.
Cons: The Skillborne course is in rough shape. It must not get played much because some of the tee pads are almost overrun with underbrush and so too are some of the extra walks to the baskets that are in a difference location then the Killborne basket. No signage on any, and I mean any, of the Skillborne course either.
Back to Killborne. Only real con I have is the tee pads on 1 and 2 are way to short, to the point of unfair, on 1 especially, for the length of the hole. My other con is kind of a cheesy one in that I don't like the drop zone for the water hazard on 15. Just seams kinda silly to walk over to Gilligan's Island just to put to the basket then walk back around.
Other Thoughts: I will be playing this course a lot as it is one of the best ones in the Charlotte area. Just wish Skillborne got a little TLC because I would love to try that course too.
I would love to see the basket on 15 moved from behind Gilligan's Island to on it! Think that would be a fun challenge.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Always a Treat to Play
Pros: This is a great course. The "fun" factor is high as it's not especially difficult but features many holes that are a lot more tricky than they initially appear.
It's difficult to lose discs here; the course gets a lot of play, so there are multiple paths in and around many of the rough areas and the brush has been beaten back a good bit. Wider fairways give you a chance to shape shots without too much fear of getting kicked into the rough.
That said, while you can easily find your disc, your score will definitely suffer if you miss your line by a few feet here and there on many of these holes. I consider this a pro because it keeps the score challenging.
There are a few holes - 1, 3, 6, and 12 come to mind - that are much more tricky than they initially appear. On 3, for instance, you have a wide fairway beckoning you for a big hyzer shot but a well-protected green that can quickly turn your birdie into a bogey. I love holes like this because they make you stop and think what your approach will be instead of having an obvious strategy.
Benches, long tee pads, and trash cans are aplenty.
This is the only decent course that's located right outside uptown Charlotte.
There are multiple tee pads all over the park. In some cases, this simply provides a slightly longer shot, such as in the Skillborne layout. Other times this may invite a great chance to safari the course. For instance: for hole 1, there are three potential tee pads, none of which are close to the other - one at the edge of the nearby field; one way over by the road, with a direct line to the basket; and of course, the main one right next to the bulletin board. Hole 2 features a potential alternate tee pad at the edge of the field and the woods, to the left of hole 1's basket.
The locals who play here often are among the most friendly, knowledgeable, and skilled discers in the area. Meet some new friends here!
Cons: For whatever reason, the park itself tends to attract some seedy characters. It's not enough to affect my rating too much, but it does make me pause before bringing my family around. Just be aware. Many disc courses are in bad areas but the crowd seems to be worse here.
The course doesn't quite have the length and variety to be true championship layout.
I don't understand the point of Skillborne; to me, it's just a slightly longer version of the same shot. The current regular layout is just fine for this course, and as stated above the random, once-used tee pads located in a couple places would be better suited for the alternate version.
Other Thoughts: Overall, this is a fantastic course. Kilborne is my home course; I play here all the time and I am nowhere near tired of it. I have really learned a lot about myself and about how to play the game from the different shots this course forces you to take. This is a great place to introduce someone to disc golf and get him or her to continue to hone the skills of this great game!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Set almost entirely in the woods, Kilborne has wider fairways than many of the other Charlotte courses. They aren't absurdly wide, but you won't necessarily get punished harshly if your shot is 3 feet off its line.
To score well, you need to be able to shape lines here, but the course allows you a reasonable berth to do so (on many holes you'll need a hyzer followed by a turnover or vice versa). This makes it a great intermediate course, even though it is a perfectly reasonable place to introduce someone to wooded disc golf.
As for advanced players, there are longer tee pads that usually force a tougher gap to hit. On top of that, there are longer baskets on many holes that are colored blue, so there is no confusion as to which you are playing to. I am a big fan of multiple baskets on a hole.
My favorite hole was 15, a 500-foot hole requiring a well-placed drive to negotiate the dogleg, and then an accurate approach to the basket next to a creek. There is a nice drop zone on a peninsula created by the creek.
Navigation was pretty easy, and I only consulted the map twice.
The longer tee pads tend to be straight behind the shorter pads, so it's usually a longer look with a narrower gap, but it's not a completely different look.
There is some inevitable repetition with a course in the woods that has no elevation changes. All the holes were solid, but few were especially memorable.
Other Thoughts: From the fairways, the walking paths, and the baskets, this course is showing its age. Not in a bad way, more in a Helen Miren-esque way.
One of the things I think about when reviewing is the re-playability of the course. This isn't always easy when you're playing a course once, but I know from experience that courses with dual tee pads and dual baskets are pretty tough to get tired of. I'd be very happy to have this as my home course.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Old School and Cool
Pros: Kilborne is a very old school and is a blast to play. Most every hole is really open even being carved out of the woods with some obstacle trees to maneuver around. Every fairway is well worked in and you can really tell Kilbornes age. Not Left or Right hand dominate holes with some holes making you decide which way to fade. Even with little signage this is a relatively easy course to navigate. The thing I really liked about Kilborne was that is was not that challenging. Very very flat makes it a easy course to do in a big day of disc golf around Charlotte.
Cons: When I showed up to Kilborne the first thing I noticed how old the pin are. They are double chains but a old school pin. I mean did they use these pins when Worlds was here 2 years ago? But they do the job. I think some of the upkeep could be a little better with maybe cleaning the course up and the benches. And if you are use to the hard, challenging courses that are around Charlotte this may not be the course for you, but you need that every now and then.
Other Thoughts: I really really enjoyed playing Kilborne. I felt it was a great place to bring a group of golfers and having a close game and the end. Overall I can see why disc golf became so popular.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Super-enjoayable round - I will be back!
Pros: - This overall layout of the course is strong. It is not a killer course, but it was fun to play.
- Multiple pads (and pins on some holes) allows for variation. I don't think you could get bored if this was the only park you had to play (OK - if you knew Renaissance was 20 minutes away and had played it, you may consider this boring....). For the most part the blue baskets just make the holes a bit longer - they didn't really change the shapes - so when I thought I was throwing at the basket - I could see the blue basket for the approach shots.
- It was a wooded course with "fair" fairways. They are not punishingly narrow (actually, some may think they are a bit wide).
- It seems like it is in a very nice park - and the course seems like it is set apart from the other activities (for the most part). I actually like the fact that you see this big open field when you park, and then the course is tucked into the woods. It didn't feel too crowded, and there weren't a ton of long walks between holes. You could use the field for practice - I'm guessing
- Tee 1 super easy find, with full course map so you can snap a picture and practice basket for warm-up.
- The design is intelligent - for the most part, the shorter holes have some sort of dogleg that make them not be a pitch and putt hole.
Cons: - Minor con, but the flow is sometimes non-intuitive. Many times there were arrows to the next tee, but sometimes there weren't. I had to refer back to the picture I took at the kiosk.
- The map and signs don't show the alternate pads or baskets. I'm guessing they were new from 2012 where people only cared about the specific basket they were throwing at. It would be nice if there was a map (somewhere, anywhere.... please) that showed the alternate pads and baskets along with the distances. Don't necessarily need it on the teepad (would be nice), but something to reference. If you are a regular, I'm sure this is not an issue.
Other Thoughts: I am reviewing this as someone passing through the area. I played a brisk autumn round today and completely enjoyed may experience. I thought the course flowed nicely, there was an intelligent mix of long(er) (no 1000' footers here) and short, straight (which, most seemed to have a secondary long pin to keep it challneging) and dog-legged holes. It will challenge you without punishing you! I will definitely be stopping here again as I travel through the area. Not as "epic" as Renny, but I thought it was a fun, quick round. If I could have navigated the extra pads/baskets from a map, I would have bumped the rating up to 4.0 (*was reviewing my reviews and did bump this up to 3.5)
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 4 Not
From a beginners view
Pros: Truly a very nice very well laid out course. Some holes can help you build some confidence and others if you are like me " a newbie" make you realize you have a long way to go! Great course over all. I can't wait to go back!
Cons: Not to much. I played it right after the worlds were in town so the pins were moved to even deeper locations. A few holes had vague markings to get to the next hole. No biggie though.
Other Thoughts: Great course to get your legs wet on and keep coming to for years! Hit a birdie from over a hundred feet out on 18! First time I hit one from that distance. Smiled all the way home!
0 of 4 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Aging but Solid Offering
Other Thoughts: Course is in a multi-use neighborhood level park of about 50 acres. Typical of courses/parks in this area, it is sited on rolling piedmont landform under near climax canopy. Kilbourne TPC is largely sequestered from other park activities and circles the park perimeter in a roughly counter clockwise fashion.
Initially installed in 1991 as Charlotte's 2nd permanent 'pole-hole' course, it has undergone at least 2 major revisions for various reasons. As a mature course, under the 'care' of the local DG community, it has aged gracefully, despite the large amount of foot traffic it receives due to its central Charlotte location. Reviewer has not visited the site in a decade, so while the review will address the current situation, some reference to the past will be unavoidable.
Amenities at the park are above average. Kilbourne's routing features returning 9s and is intuitive with the exception of a rough transition between hole 8 and tee 9. Overall park renovations have forced some major redesign around the turn, resulting in #s 8 & 9 being virtual duplicates. This deviation from the original has substantially weakened the course's design; subsequent adjustments have failed to fully compensate for this loss. Equipment is above average. Short tee pads are superior, while the 14 long tee pads are shorter and might be considered undersized. Signage adequately expresses current conditions with the exception of the course map at the 1st tee. At the time of writing, all long pin positions have been removed except #s 15 &16. Course has some drainage issues that will moderately affect play; the worst of which are #1's fairway and approach, #14's fairway and #15's tee area.
As one might expect, this course will reward flat, straight shots of up to 300', but overall the course, especially from the short tees, is decidedly 'clock-centric'. This means a decided advantage is given to stable clock spin shot shapes off the tee. This is truer on the back 9 and is amplified by the back's greater length and use of elevation changes. The demand for supreme fade control is not especially rigorous at Kilbourne. Elevation changes at Kilbourne are slight, and the cross-hill examples are more receptive to fades from clock-spin shot shapes. Ob areas are rare and are either clearly marked or intuitive.
As is the case with many other Charlotte area courses, the back 9 plays considerably longer and tougher than the front. Fairly unique for any golf course, nearly every hole at Kilbourne is either blind or semi-blind from the tee, so some local knowledge (or previous rounds) is (are) needed in order to score well. Despite this fact, fairways at this course are some of the widest, best defined and most forgiving of any wooded course this reviewer has played; there is plenty of room for variations/inaccuracies of any given line, without fear of serious penalty. Roughs can be very penal for the serious gaff, but are well worn in the areas with highest foot traffic. Generous recovery chances are available while scrambling. In addition, fairways are smoothly graded, very clear of debris and the clay substrate is thoroughly compact, opening up the roller game somewhat (a couple of fairways actually have volunteer turf established). This is somewhat rare for a wooded course.
#4 is one of the first area incarnations of the 'split' fairway concept and was one of this reviewer's favorite holes when the course first opened. This hole's style need be in the vocabulary of any course designer, as multiple route options from the tee offer some of the highest 'play' value for golfers, despite the labor intensity needed to create them. The designer's hand will be evident, but not dictatorial so.
Long throwers have been known to overwhelm this course, and this advantage has become even more pronounced over the years, which should be a reasonable expectation based on the course's forgiving nature and an average hole length of about 300'. It should also be noted that this is in part due to sections of the initial course's design being based around short-lived tree species (loblolly pine). Where unprotected, these trees are now largely absent. The few that remain in fairways are either diseased or past mature.
The fact that long throwers could overwhelm the course was probably the prime motivator for the creation of the 'Skillbourne' layout, which now consists only of extended tees on 14 holes with additional pins on 2 holes. These tees, with a couple of exceptions, are mere extensions of the existing lines of play and all add extreme 'tightness' to the tee shot. Frequently, the golfer is asked to throw out of tiny chute (how does 6' wide @ 40' on a 300'+ hole sound? Tight?). Often a tree is centered directly in the line of play. In a couple of instances, the golfer may 'select' from a group of uniformly tiny windows that vary slightly in distance from the tee. Despite the fact that several of these newer tees are canted to the right of the original line of play, playing from these long tees even more greatly favors stable clock spin shot shapes (than the original course), especially those from a RHBH thrower; any roller game has been effectively neutralized as well. In instances where there is a tree centered in the line of play, it actually results in a Hobson's choice, defaulting to the previously mentioned advantage in shot shape.
Kilbourne's greens are perhaps the least punishing and most forgiving of any area course of this length or greater. In the main they feature less than 2% slope and are largely 'open' within the circle. Several are 'pocketed', however, and these few are fairly well congested with obstacles. They add some variety, which was previously missing, to the approach/short game, and are the results of renovation.
Despite its age, Kilbourne TPC, is still a solid course that has held up well over time. One must attribute this to the efforts of the local community, who demonstrate an almost religious fervor and dedication to their facilities. Reviewer feels the course offers excellent play value for golfers of all levels, especially advanced level players. Until you can shoot in the low 40s here, every time, there is no reason to feel it outdated or unchallenging.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: - Loved this course. Well maintained, a lot of trash cans and well planned out holes.
- Potential to score very well here, if you are throwing it well, it shouldn't be that difficult.
- Mostly wooded, but not too tight to where it would get frustrating.
- Forces you to have a bunch of different shots. If you can throw FH and BH equally it will be much easier.
Cons: - Not many to speak of
- Could offer some more variety in regards to hole lengths and style.- A lot of the holes seemed very similar to each other.
Other Thoughts: I played this during the CAC, so there were some signs and I didn't have trouble finding the next holes. I could see how you might if you played it alone.
Really some potential to score well here. If you are hitting your lines within about 4 or 5 feet either way you will have a great round. I'm not particularly good, but I shot a +2 (taking a 7 on one hole). Not much ob if at all here, so it shouldn't be a problem.
I would say it's worth the trip if you're in the area and don't really want to play one of the harder courses.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Straightforward wooded course
Pros: The course plays through a flat wooded park with a couple more open holes. There are two layouts here, the original layout that offers a nice approachable course, and the skillborne layout that utilizes longer tees and additional tougher basket placements on many holes. It's cool to have these options, it allows players to choose a tee and pin combination appropriate to their skill level and their mood.
Both layouts offer a nice mix of hole shapes, nothing drastic but a balanced set of shots are required to score well here. Birdies are readily available, especially with the shorter tees and baskets, but there's nice punishment if you get off the fairway. The original tees have good signage with hole distance and layout, and the skillborne tees had laminated paper signs when I played that had basic hole information.
Cons: At times it wasn't obvious where to go next, or whether there was a long tee/basket for a particular hole. Some better signage on and between holes would go a long way here. Some fairways still have stumps sticking up, which takes away from the look of the course and makes it feel unfinished.
Many of the holes are similar lengths, especially on the original layout, which makes things get a little repetitive at times. A couple skillborne baskets are just tucked into the forest with no good line, I get wanting to make it tougher but it introduces a lot of luck at times.
Other Thoughts: This is a fun course, with great options that make it an approachable but challenging course for most levels of players. True beginners will find it a little tough, with woods to get into on errant shots. With the tee/pin combinations available, everyone else can find a good challenge here, the long tees and pins are a good test for better players.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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