10 Helpful / 7 Not
Other Thoughts: Course is situated in a large regional level park, of about 120 acres, entering its second major phase of development. Park's scale provides ample opportunities for future course developments, especially as other park phases complete. Course is, in the main, sequestered from other park activities and covers moderately hilly piedmont landscape and drainage catchment earthworks. Course starts on the park's eastern side and is a hybrid style between one that circles the park (clockwise in this case) and one that has switchbacks and parallel holes.
Bradford has above average signage, equipment and amenities. Lack of trash cans could be a negative, however, when reviewed, course was spotless and hanging plastic bags were available for refuse near many tees. Bradford DGC is exceptionally playable, well maintained and will be enjoyable for most skill levels, although it might be a bit too hilly for very small children. Course does not feature returning 9's, although a abbreviated loop is available when time is limited. Way finding is carefree; no transitions are out of proportion or confusing. OB areas (and the mandatory) are limited and a bit vaguely marked, but all abide common sense. A few minor drainage issues were noted.
The designers have shown considerable maturity and discipline with this track, and Bradford would fit very well into the 'canonical' standards promoted by the disc golf course design group. Considering the special nature of this regional park (a group effort by several municipalities) and it's place more or less in the heart of one of Charlotte's largest satellite 'growth' communities, this course has a special chance for more of the type of credible public exposure many feel this sport deserves. That being the case, it is vitally important that the course not alienate neophytes with an over ambitious design. Bradford certainly fits this bill.
From the white tees, average hole length is a bit over 315' and from the blues almost 380' (note: 60%+ of the blue tee distance differential comes on only 5 hole extensions). Long throwers receive several extra scoring chances on this track, but as is typical for Charlotte area courses, power is not the sole requirement for scoring well. Flat straight shots up to 300', with moderate fade control are richly rewarded from either set-up. Fairways, as a rule, are of ample width, frequently with a 'gate', none super-constrictive. Penalties are in direct proportion to the throwing error. Despite heavy penal rough in some areas, scrambling and recovery chances are ample. Bradford is a forgiving course, despite its youth.
More than any other course of this length this reviewer has played in Charlotte, Bradford possesses three essential qualities of 'returning fun', which are elevation changes, balance and variety. Its length is also most appropriate for the widest variety of golfer. Shot shapes from the tee just barely favor the straight shot shape. The golfer must deal with significant play affecting elevation changes on most holes. Course is about half 'inside' and half 'outside'; wind can frequently be a factor (several 'pocketed' tees, which shield the golfer from an accurate wind read- and just when he needs it - accentuate the wind's affect on play). Straightforward open greens predominate and are forgiving of even middling mistakes. Greens' spin receptivity is evenly balanced and varied with regard to slope as well.
Despite a relative lack of truly memorable individual holes, Bradford has several very good ones - the long dogleg right #12 immediately comes to mind as does the iconic #6. Routing is perhaps the single most difficult design skill to express well, and yet Bradford's exhibits a variety and syncopated rhythm unmatched by any area course. The shifts from inside to outside combined with the cross-up-down hill changes are seamlessly blended. The opening (1-4) and closing (15-18) sequences are particularly strong. In a tight match, leads may be very hard to hold here. At the turn, two consecutive birdie holes give the golfer a chance to gain some momentum going into the back nine. Bradford's routing is an impressive refined result and it's defining feature.
Bradford Park DGC is a very smoothly wrapped package on many levels. Travelers would do well to start with this gem in North Mecklenburg County, before proceeding to the tougher or more traditional Charlotte favorites.
10 of 17 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 12 Not
Pros: Great course, alot of variety. Uphills and downhills with some wide open shots. Some doglegs which are personaly my favorite. Like the water that comes in on holes 12 and 15. If in the area definitely stop to play this course.
Cons: I lost my favorite disc on hole 18. It has alot of sentimental value. I was pretty pissed off. There is a basket that is behind a huge rock, some people hate it but i enjoyed it. Other than that no cons.
Other Thoughts: There is a water hazard on a couple holes, just be careful. My buddy went swimming for his disc.
0 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Radford (yes that was intentionally spelled Radford)
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: 1) Nice large concrete tees are always appreciated.
2) There is a practice basket near the parking lot and the 1st tee.
3) Tee-signs have Hole #, par, distance and hole sponsors. Unfortunately there was no map, but most of the holes are self explanatory (see also cons).
4) This course seems to be the furthest along in terms of infrastructure. They have really nice bridges and it looks to me like they did them right!
5) #'d discatchers are in good shape and helpful for some of the more wooded holes. Even on the more open holes I can appreciate just how good these baskets look.
6) Bathrooms, soda machine, and a water fountain (bubbler for you Wisconsinites) on the 12th hole.
7) Dual tees on some holes which makes the holes play a whole lot harder if you play the longs. Most of the longs are simply additional distance . . . but #18 is truly a different hole from the long tee.
8) Lots of Cedar trees in a few places along the course and many of you may know that these are some of my favorite trees for disc golf courses.
9) There is a very nice variety here, ranging from a couple of more open shots, plenty of moderately wooded holes and a couple more densely wooded holes. Having holes play differently through the course really makes the whole experience just that much more enjoyable. I think this is probably the #1 factor in my desire to come back here. It isn't over the top and extreme like so many of the other courses in Charlotte, but it is solid and fun to play.
10) #12 is simply a great hole . . . it plays almost like a double dogleg as you want to lay your drive straight out or slightly left to give yourself a shot towards the baskets which is about at a 100 degree turn to the right and is protected by a pond on the left and a steep dropoff to the right which will leave you at 30' or more if you go to that side of the basket. It is simply the first time I have ever seen this kind of combination on a hole and I really appreciate the design that went into this hole.
11) There is a pretty good mix of birdieable holes and those that will challenge you to make par (or end up with a bogey). I like balance that makes you shoot right around par as opposed to so many courses where you are pushing double digits under par. Sure there is a value in the game for courses that allow you to make a ton of birdies . . . but this type of setup makes the course feel a whole lot more like it is part of a championship or something. Par is something that should be strived for, not something that you can laugh at when you destroy a course (under par).
12) Moderate elevation changes on this course . . . nothing too extreme again but the slopes and elevation change definitely affect your shot selection.
13) Another unique hole idea appears on #10 . . .the rock hole. Basically they slapped a 5-6' diameter boulder right in front of a basket. It is a short hole so the challenge is minimal but you better make sure you are on the right side of the boulder or you will have tough putt because the boulder is s tall as the basket basically. I was short of the basket but was fortunate enough to have a look up and over the basket. It all came down to the flight of the disc and I nailed the putt for birdie. Don't mess around with this boulder, throw it right, throw it left, or throw it past the basket . . . but please don't do what I did and leave it short (thankful I made the putt anyways but I know I left my drive on the only bad side of the boulder.
Cons: 1) No maps on the signs which would be helpful on a couple holes where the baskets are not visible from the tee.
2) No garbage cans that I can remember on the course. I didn't feel like the course was messy because of it but I generally would like to see at least a few around the course in easy to reach areas for the parks department.
3) I really didn't like the evergreen tree nursery hole. It was almost completely luck whether or not you had an upshot or not. Sure I almost got to the end of the trees, but I lucked out to have a simple turnover upshot to the basket. I just don't think that this hole seems fair because you may or may not know where the little pockets of openings are.
4) There seems to be plenty of spots that will suffer from compaction and use. Hopefully alternative baskets and education will keep people from dooming this course to the old standard compaction and erosion.
Other Thoughts: All in all another solid course. I am giving the course 3.5 rating which I think is about where it will settle out, once all the amenities are in, the teepads are done, and the peripherals are completed. It doesn't quite live up to the top in the area but it would be a solid course in many places (like Milwaukee . . . bring it on over). It's biggest asset . . . its variety. It will appeal to the masses like those that want a challenge but not too much. The general public would be all over this course if it was right in the metro area, and they still may be out in the suburbs, but access is everything.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Fun course on the northside
10 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Bradford park is a solid addition to the Charlotte/Mecklenburg County disc golf scene. It's not the most challenging of courses (maybe it will be once all the long layouts are finished), but offers an enjoyable, refreshing, change of pace.
- Course is suitable for casual to intermediate-level players. From the short tees, only two holes are longer than 375 feet, with 14 of the 18 in the 200 - 310 foot range. If you can throw accurately, you're going to see your share of birdies, or at least avoid high scores. There's also the open field on #2, as well as the soccer field near #12 & 12 that give you a place to practice throwing.
- It begs you to be aggressive and shoot a low score. Fairways aren't tight on the wooded holes (think Reedy Creek) nor are the woods overly thick, so even if you hit a tree with your tee shot, you should usually have a chance to save par. Even on #8, if you miss a "landing zone," you still will be able to advance your shots forward. 5 years from now as some of those tree get bigger, this may not be the case.
- It has a good variety of holes - from wide open holes to wooded, holes with water to ones with some decent elevation. There are also some hole layouts that are unique to other Charlotte-area courses. #9,10 & 16, the three shortest holes on the course, all had very cool layouts.
- Solid use of the limited elevation that's available. #10, 16 & 18 have the most "extreme" elevation, but plenty others use it well. For example, #4 is a slight downhill, 305 foot hole with basket nestled by a large rock and a small creek.
- Course is almost completely isolated from the rest of the park, so very little chance of running into others. Only places where there could be issues are: #11 (behind basket), #12 (road on left side of fairway) & 18 (parking lot behind basket). I felt like I was out in the country in the back of the course. So much so, in fact, that when I stepped into the opening from #7 to #8, my first thought was that it'd be a great place to camp. That is if parks & rec let you camp on DG courses.
- Course is very "November" friendly. There are some wooded courses around Charlotte (Kilborne, Nevin, Stumpy Creek amongst others), and probably everywhere, where you can lose discs in the fairway with all the leaves on the ground. When I played this the first time in late November, I was impressed that the wooded holes were easy to play, and locate discs, with all the leaves on the ground. The only think leave area I noticed was behind and to the right of #17's basket.
Cons: You have your typical "work in progress" issues here, so you can understand those. The biggest issue had nothing to do with that.
- Retention ponds/large puddles that comes into play on #2, 3, 12 & 15. I had issues with them on a variety of fronts. They're way too close to baskets, and come into play a lot more than they should. On #2, if you're just a little long, you're going to end in the water; on #12, if you're slightly left of target, you're in the mud puddle. That doesn't even include any disc that may roll down the embankment into the water. The water is brown and murky, so even if your disc is in a couple inches of water, or just a foot or two in, you're not going to see it. If your course is designed to attract beginners/casual players, chances are they're not going to be the most accurate of throwers, or carry many discs. You should never have a high "lost disc factor" on a beginner-friendly course, at least not that close to a basket. A simple barrier, or fence, even to stop discs from rolling in, would go a long way to helping.
- There are a lack of amenities throughout the course - trashcans, benches, water fountains or bathrooms. There a bathroom behind #11, but I don't know if it's always opened.
- Tee signs need to be improved. They're only hole number and distance. I had to walk a couple holes to find the basket before throwing.
- Other basic new courses include: dirt tee pads, better signage needed between holes (and to the first hole) and an updated course map.
Other Thoughts: Bradford remind me a lot of Sugaw, both in difficulty level and layout. Just like Sugaw, and Reedy Creek, it's a good course to bring newbies to. Other than the water holes (listed in the cons), there aren't any real blow-up holes, where you could easily shot double or triple bogey if not careful.
- As the course keeps getting improved, I'd like to see more holes with true risk/reward elements. The average player could play it safe here and shoot 18 pars in a row, without facing much danger.
- I think #4 could be an awesome hole if the basket was placed 40 feet back, on top of the big rock. It'd bring the hole further back into its nook and bring small creek into play (there's no lost disc factor with the creek), which could add risk/reward with stroke penalties.
- #9 was a fun, potential ace hole. It's a 200 foot, straight hole, with big trees running along the entire left side of the fairway. Basket is just left of center enough, that you can't throw it straight off the tee, or you'll hit one of the trees.
- This is definitely a good change of pace course. It's not far from Bailey, so you could hit up two beginner/intermediate-level courses. If you don't mind sitting through the traffic snarl on NC 73, this is worth checking out.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 4 Not
An Emerging Gem
Pros: Luckily, I had the honor of playing this course for the first time with the course designer (Stan McDaniel). The park contains old grow trees and has many picturesque holes. All tee pads are marked with easily visible signage which includes length and par info. The property gives way to a mix of wooded and open holes, allowing players to truly test their skills. Elevation changes come into play on a number of holes, but are fair, fun, and rewarding when you make that birdie !
Cons: Although concrete tee-pads are not installed, this is a VERY new course and they will be poured in the near future (but on the plus side: all the dirt tee-pads are level and marked). If you live in Charlotte, especially on the South side, it may be a bit of a drive (but it's worth it, this course is a gem). Water comes into play on a few holes, so bring some cheap plastic, just in case.
Other Thoughts: This course will played in the 2012 World's and is surely a destination for anyone that lives in the Charlotte area. Stan has done a wonderful job of creating a beautiful landscape which will be appreciated by anyone who visits. This course was easily one of my favorites played so far.
7 of 11 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 9 Not
Pros: Just played it for the first time today and loved it... Most of the holes a very straight shots but there are some twists and turns.
Cons: Long, short, open and wooded. variety is key to a good course
Other Thoughts: Small and very nasty ponds scattered , almost no fairway
0 of 9 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Great use of elevation, open/wood, and mix of shots.
1-2 good warmup holes,
3-4 interesting layouts.
5-7 solid wooded holes.
8 best hope you can hit your spot.
9-18 great stuff on every hole.
the course gets better at each hole.
Cons: no teepads yet, but its a new course, so once those are in place with permanent signage, i'ld give it 4-4.5.
1 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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