Aging but Solid Offering
8 Helpful / 0 Not
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.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Defined fairways offer obvious lines for players to hit. Missing runs the risk of some brutal "roughs," as going off fairway often means being deep in a pine forest with bleak prospects for a recovery shot. Good balance in regards to left- and right-turning holes, with slight topographical changes throughout. The mostly open and flat greens reward safe tee shots with easy putts for birdies.
- Alternative Skillborne lay out provides a solid test for experienced and advanced players.
- Long concrete tees, efficient signage, and good baskets. Benches throughout.
Cons: - Although allowing for a solid mix of left and right, and to a lesser extent up and down, several of the holes seem a bit repetitive with wide defined fairways tightly lined by dense forest comprised predominantly of mature pines.
- Some scattered broken glass, but nothing bad once you get farther into the course.
Other Thoughts: - Kilborne strikes me as a great course for established players looking to up their game. It forces one to execute both their drives and putting. Skillborne ups the ante significantly with the longer tees and pin placements.
- One thing I personally dislike in course design is when a swath of forest is blatantly cleared, with a carpet of conspicuous stumps. Kilborne has several holes of this nature, and while I do not count it as a con against the course's rating, I do feel it detracts in some small way from the aesthetic aspect of the course.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Kill Time at Kilborne
Pros: My kind of course. You're mostly in the woods but the fairways are for the most part not super threatening if you can keep your drives from spraying all over the place. This is an older course and it shows its age but it looks like it has aged gracefully. I love, love, love, having two different permanent pin positions. The black ace potential is very high if you're throwing for the longer, "Skill-borne" baskets.
The baskets are old DGA ones but they catch better than you think. The tees are really nice as well.
If you can throw straight, slight hyzer and anhyzer, and have decent power you'll have a blast b/c the lines are fairly easy to hit and hitting metal off the drive is often a distinct possibility.
Decent use of elevation.
Cons: The line or shot variety is a little lackluster, there were several "lefty" holes that are FH or turnover friendly. Fortunately, I'm pretty good at turnovers and annys so I had a good day. But not really any creative holes like horseshoes, switch backs or the like. Mostly straight, slightly left, slightly right. The distance of the holes got somewhat monotonous, so once you get dialed in on the right power setting it can be definitively less challenging.
Navigation can be tricky.
Other Thoughts: It's an oldie but goody. This course is pretty fun and I wouldn't say it's easy, but it's not hard either. It can be enjoyed by practically all skill levels which is not an easy task to pull off. There aren't any holes that are "sexy" that will stick out in your mind but not any really bad holes either.
Course comparison: Kind of like Reedy, kind of like Valley Springs except the holes aren't as cramped together.
Favorite/signature hole: Uh, N/A.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Large map on kiosk
Generous concrete tee pads
Good amenities: Bathrooms, playgrounds, benches, and trash cans.
2 baskets and 2 tees on 1,5,7,10,13, and 15.
Course was easy to find with one of the grey and blue signs all of the area course have.
Cons: Vague tee signs that show if the basket is left or right.
Small need for some navigational signs. A sign from 5 to 6, and 17 to 18 would help a little.
DGA baskets with blue number plates were easy to see, but baskets were not all the same. For example, Basket 9 was shallower than the rest of the baskets, some chains seemed different.
Hole 18 had you play close to the parking lot.
Other Thoughts: Course was repetitive and not very memorable. It is a solid course, but it lacks the excitement of several of the other Charlotte courses. If you uprooted this course and placed it anywhere else it would be a success, but Charlotte is saturated with quality courses.
Lots of challenge, but after playing Nevin or Renny, this will feel like a cake walk.
We heard locals tell stories of how dangerous it was, but I never felt anything but safe, although living in the ghetto in DC makes everything seem safe.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: good course. lots of fun. easy to navigate. good mix of holes. wasn't crowded. good teepads.
Cons: just outdated and not the quality of other courses in the area.
Other Thoughts: been awhile since i played it. maybe i should go back and give it another shot.
1 of 7 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 1 Not
Very enjoyable course
Pros: Note: this review pertains only to the original layout and not the soon to be completed "Skillborne" overlay course.
Kilborne provides a very good challenge for white and blue level players. Gold level players can still get a good workout here and the track is not too difficult for red level players. So, the appeal to a broad player base is a plus.
The course is very fun with clean fairways, minimal schule, little chance of losing discs and good flow from hole to hole.
A variety of shot shapes are required, the course is very "fair" and there are a few times that strategic choices come into play.
I disagree with other reviewers who've said that the park is in a bad part of town. It's a very nice park, across the street from a beautiful neighborhood and draws a diversity of people to play and relax. That is a GOOD thing!
Cons: There are several places that "next tee" signage is needed. Neither the main sign nor the individual tee signs mention the "Skillborne" layout. With multiple baskets on many holes, it is potentially confusing for first-time players. Courses need to have adequate signage, such that the first-time player can easily navigate ALL course layouts that are present.
Other Thoughts: We had the great pleasure of meeting Stan and Diane McDaniel at the course and are very appreciative for all their hard work and hospitality.
Don't be a dirty discer! Leave the course cleaner than you found it.
Also, enjoyed meeting many other friendly locals that are appreciative of their Charlotte area disc golf mecca.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 2 Not
Challenging without Trees
Pros: The layout of the course is great. It's centered around the park but you rarely see any of the park-goers. I liked the course because it had the thrower focus more on curving the disc in the right place rather than getting it straight through some trees. Other places will be straight away but make you dodge about 40 trees in between. Kilborne has mostly open fairways that allow the thrower to air it out but be careful where you throw it. The hole usually cuts out to the right or left so the disc has to curve a certain direction. Really helps you work on your control off the drive.
Cons: Not a lot of variety. Most of the holes seemed to be similar. I would have liked to see some fun mando's that other courses are known for. Some twists along the way would have improved the excitement.
Other Thoughts: The park is very well kept up and the holes are decently sized. I would look it up if you haven't been playing for too long and you're sick of hitting trees off of your drive.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Locals are too tough on this course
Pros: 1) Concrete tees help the overall score on this course. Skillborne layout does not have permanent tees yet but you can generally see packed areas of leaves.
2) Course challenges everyone despite having SOME very forgiving fairways. In my opinion it is an easier and more fair copy of Nevin or Hornets Nest. More skill is needed to play well, but luck is less of a factor here as it is at Nevin or Hornest Nest. Skillborne layout is a lot tougher than the original because the baskets are always longer and they are also tucked into pockets of the woods as opposed to having a wide open green area.
3) Tee signs are present but only contain Hole #, par and distance. I consider this a minimum. The picture ont he signs are mostly decorative and do not offer much of a layout. It does have a dot for the tee and a dot for the basket and a general shot shape, but there is no other detail about the hole. Skillborne layout does not have a tee sign and.or is not indicated on the original layout tee signs.
4) Course is way more forgiving than any of the other Charlotte courses of (Rennaisance, Nevin, Hornets Nest, Squirrel Lake) and thus is pretty beginner friendly. I would have no problem bringing a beginner to this course. Not only are the fairways somewhat forgiving but the holes will still challenge the beginner. i think it is a better place to learn than an open field except for the FIRST TIMER.
5) DGA baskets of differing ages and condition have custom # plates indicated Killborne or Skillborne layout. This is also listed int he negatives.
6) This course has a good variety of shot shaping. The fairways allow for some variance and decision making, but you still have to execute the shot. It has everything from hyzers, anhyzers, hyzer flips, skip hyzers, spike hyzers and even some straight shots. Bring it all!
7) Course has a good variety in foliage density, hole distance, slight elevation changes, and it includes some water in play
8) Garbage and benches at many teeboxes. Welcome additions to this course.
9) Multiple baskets left in the ground all of the time. This may create some confusion (but I already recommended they change the # plates be painted specific colors to avoid confusion) because on many holes you end up throwing right over the original basket to the deeper more challenging "Skillborne" baskets, but always having the flexibility to play this course different ways would be tremendous in my eyes. This concept is new to me to have "seperate" layouts but apparently the local CHarlotte crew has been doing it for a while because Hornets Nest and Renaissance also have the "Charlottes Web" layout.
Cons: 1) Some baskets have some strange chain configurations creating inconsistant catching. I am not sure if these were homemade additions to baskets with les chains or if this was the original intent, but a few of them are not in good shape. Baskets also are tough to differentiate between Kilborne and Skillborne layouts. I think they should have made all of the Skillborne baskets gold and the Kilborne baskets could have been Blue.
2) Course is entirely in the woods creating all sorts of rough spots in fairways. The ground is covered with tons of downed leaves, but the ground underneath is muddy and clay and will be very slick when it rains (which it did for the entire night before I played).
3) I have to agree that the fairways a little too forgiving in many spots. I like that they are easier than the other local courses but I would have been just fine playing another tough wooded course. This one was a little short of TOUGH, but it still did challenge,
4) Tee signs have only the minimum of info. The bulk of the sign is the local clubs logo. I would much rather see a bigger hole diagram especially because the baskets are not always visible from the tee. The lack of Skillborne info is also disappointing, but I assume this will be taken care of if they actually do get concrete installed on all the Skillborne holes.
5) Lacking in directional signage. It could get very confusing with the multiple layouts, multiple baskets, and multiple tees. Perhaps it will come when all the tees are in, but I was glad to have a local there even though he hadnt played the Skillborne layout before, he still knew where most of the tees were.
6) Apparently this is a bad part of town and there are shady people on the course at different times. I have always found playing DG in the rain and crappy weather keeps the creeps away because I didnt see anything out of the ordinary. I am also convinced Charlotte is a progressive city and locals ideas of safe and unsafe vary dramatically from say Milwaukee residents. I think that is the reason Kops Park is not allowed on the site because Timg is worried about peoples safety! Oops I broke my new years resolution, but I doubt he will see it unless he reads all reviews!!! Regardless the local non DGers have been a problem for some people so I thought I would mention it even though I didnt see it.
Other Thoughts: I have played some pretty awesome courses on my road trip but also on my 2 days in CHarlotte. I have gotten to Renaissance, Squirrel Lake, Hornets Nest, Nevin and Kilborne. I have to say that is a pretty nice selection and some might consider Kilborne to be "too easy" or "too little" of a course. I cannot go along with that notion and judging by the overall rating I think it is a better course than people give it credit for. I played it the same day as Nevin and Hornets Nest and 1 day after Renaissance and Squirrel Lake and sure it is a little more forgiving than the others, but it still is a great course in my opinion. I only wish Milwaukee had more good courses than just quantity because I could play any other these courses any day!!! Any course I would play everyday is at the worst a 3.5 disc course. I love the versatility of the multiple baskets being left in all the time. In WI we simply have multiple tees and single baskets (that generally get moved regularly) but on any day you could play this course 3-4 different ways. The Skillborne layout is definitely for the advanced player. Some of the teeshots require a simple layup to start the hole rather than risk a horrible ricochet, so if you are balls to the walls driver throwing player the Skillborne may not treat you well, but if you know when 50' less than max in the fairway is better than risking those bad shots, then playing the Skillborne layout is for you. Not all of those tees make the holes that much tougher but a handful do. It is more a factor of the basket location. You need way more variety in skills to get good access to some of those baskets. The normal baskets are way more accessible and generally a whole lot straighter. If you arent an early rec player I recommend playing both layouts, start with the shorts to know the holes, then play the longs to experience the greatness of the course. Although I only played the longs I did pay attention to the shot types on the regular layout and can say it would still be a fun course, but way more birdie opportunities than you would get the chance at on the SKillborne layout.
Have fun and huk it!
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
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