2 Helpful / 8 Not
Goat ****** Island
Pros: * Shady
* Not very crowded
* Nice location on an island
* Going to 18 Holes soon.
Cons: * LOOOOOONG Holes
* Deep underbrush OB.
* Can be a bit hard to find the entrance.
Other Thoughts: First off, I'm an Intermediate player, maybe still a novice by some people's standards, so that's going to color my review.
I think the best way to sum up my feelings is that myself and my friends refer to this course as Goat F****er Island. Why?
Well, we were there on the park's grand opening, and the person in charge of the park (not the disc golf course, but the park itself) said the designers were making it a "black diamond" course. If that's their goal, they succeeded. But for me, that's not a very fun course.
The holes are long. Even the "short" tees. Nothing under 200', and there's even one "short" tee that's 400'! Now, that alone wouldn't be bad. I could use some practice on my long throws anyway...
But I can't. Not here. Most courses with long holes put them in the open. But here, only hole #1 is open (and even then, only open 3/4 of the way before you enter the woods). So if you'd think this would be a good course to sling your driver on, you're wrong. The underbrush is so deep, you'll end up losing a disc. It's not lightly wooded in the OB area, it's a JUNGLE just off the fairway. My friends and I spent as much time hunting for OB discs as we did playing.
So hole after hole, I end up taking safe midrange shots down hundreds of feet of fairway. Yaaaay? Maybe if I was a pro who could crush a straight 400' drive, I'd have had more fun. But I'm not. And I didn't.
2 of 10 people found this review helpful.
19 Helpful / 0 Not
This Goat is still pretty gruff
Pros: Goat Island is one of the most interesting courses I've played. The idea of being on an island (albeit a small one), and having some great views of the river is awesome. Once you start playing, the fun ends and the challenge begins.
- Right off the bat, I have a sense this is going to be a 'love it' or 'hate it' course for a lot of people. If you throw straight and keep it in the fairways, you're going to do well here. If you miss the fairways, and sometimes only by a few feet, you're going to be in for an adventure, which in turn leads to to frustration and 'hate it' aspect.
- There are some very cool hole layouts here. It starts right off the bat with hole #1 - one of the toughest, coolest opening holes in the area. Your tee shot is to an opening in the trees, and over a slight hill, into the woods. A shot in the fairway leaves you in position for a possible three; one in the woods and you'll be lucky to make a 4. After the second hole, you cross the bridge over the river and really begin your goat trail. #3 is a possible birdie hole (from the short tees) if you can carve your shots through the trees. #4 is a long tunnel shot with thick rough on both sides. #8 has a cool/frustrating layout with the giant, downed tree across the fairway (see the picture.)
- There are risk/reward holes/courses, and then there are RISK/REWARD holes/courses. This is the latter. The course really forces you to play smart shots. We all want to throw driver on every long hole, but that isn't the smart shot on a lot of holes. Using #1 as an example, a smart shot is throw a mid-range disc short of the opening into the woods, setting up a relatively easy second shot over the hill. Sure, you're sacrificing distance, but you're taking a high score/shot in the woods/time searching for a disc in the woods out of the equation. Same thing on #4. It's 400 feet from the short tees, and throwing two 200-foot straight shots leave you a short putt. It reminds me of Nevin in the way some of the holes are laid out. Patience is a must here.
- Tough for a (current) 9-hole course. This isn't a beginner friendly course at all, at least with the current conditions. Lots of length - from the longs, 4 holes longer than 400 feet, none shorter than 250 feet. Even the short tees have 4 holes longer than 300 feet and none less than 200.
- Course is almost completely isolated from the rest of the park. The only possible concern areas are the tee shot on #1 (throwing near parking lot) abd basket on #8 (near main walking trail). Other than that, unless people use fairways as walking trails, you shouldn't have to deal with other park-goers.
- Great scenery throughout. I enjoy the river (views will be even better as more underbrush and rough is removed), the aspects of being on the island, having a hole that will throw over it (#3 long in the near future), and having a bar right across the street.
- Tremendous upside here. Course is in its infancy, so it still has some major flaws - see my cons below. Playing the current nine-hole layout really wants me to see what an 18-hole layout will look like.
Cons: Most of the course's issue have to do with the fact it's brand new, and still a major work-in-progress. Some of these problems will work themselves out within weeks, while others will take much longer. And others still might change once the course is a full 18 holes.
- I'll start with the most obvious issue, and probably the one that will take the longest to fix. I have never seen rough as thick as this on any course from start to finish. Just about every hole consists of fairway and thick rough, with no middle ground. I experienced it firsthand on holes #1, 2, 6 & 7. I can't remember spending as much time either searching for discs or trying to navigate a way to get to them as I did here. On a couple of holes, my disc landed less than 10 feet off the fairway (I even saw where it landed), then had to spend several minutes actually searching for it once I walked to the spot. On #9, my tee shot went just past the basket, but it still took me a couple minutes to find it. Once I located my disc, it was an easy birdie putt. The point being a shot that close to the basket normally shouldn't take that long to find. I think this is where the frustration for most DGers will kick in. You will get penalized (either with extra strokes, wasted time or lost discs) if you miss fairways. This reason is why I don't think the course is aimed at beginners.
- There are other basic new course issues that are obvious, but not necessarily major: a lot of small holes, stumps, hills throughout the course, branches and other debris just off the fairways, and overall some holes aren't aesthetically pleasing. Because some of the fairways are still bumpy, you can get some funky hops with your shots. These are relatively small issues and are only being stated so people are aware.
- A couple of weird navigation issues between holes. After finishing #5, there's a short path directly behind the basket. If you follow that, you'll walk right into the middle of the fairway for #6. There's a path to the left of #5's basket, so not sure if you're supposed to follow that, walk around to #6 tee, or walk down #6 fairway to the basket. There's a similar issue from #6 to #7, but not as bad. The other weird transition is that #8's basket is right by the bridge back to the mainland, which would make the most sense of being the finishing hole. Instead, after finishing #8, you backtrack to #9, then essentially walk right past #8 again to cross the bridge. I'm guessing once all 18 baskets are in, this will fix itself out.
- There are a ton of bugs and mosquitoes here, so bug spray is a must. This should be obvious to most people (it wasn't to me), but playing in the middle of a river should be a clue you'll have a lot of mosquitoes.
- There's an above average 'lost disc' factor. If you can spend several minutes searching for discs just off the fairway, you can imagine how thick it gets even further back. Also, and again this is probably obvious to most people, with so much fresh, green underbrush and rough, throwing green or yellow discs may not be the smartest choice. When you're searching in the rough, you'll have an easier time spotting a pink or orange disc than one that blends in.
- No benches or trash cans on any of the holes. You pass some throughout the course, but that's it. There's also a lack of basic amenities on the island - no water fountain, and only port-a-jons.
Other Thoughts: The course is somewhere between being a goat and being the G.O.A.T (greatest of all time). It's in the ugly duckling phase right now. If there were an similar analogy for a goat, it'd be appropriate. The issues are to be expected, especially when someone is playing the course two days before its (the park as a whole) official ribbon cutting ceremony.
- I was pleasantly surprised how challenging the course was. It's currently teetering on being challenging 'fair' and challenging 'unfair', but as it gets broken in, and the rough thins out, it'll tilt towards fair.
- Prepare yourselves for a slow nine or 18 holes here. For those who can actually throw straight and stay out of the rough, you'll breeze through this course and wonder what I was talking about. For the rest of us, bring your patience.
- The way the course is currently construed, it reminds me a lot of a U.S. (ball) golf tournament. They both require pin-point accuracy, smart shot-making and penalize over-aggressiveness. I actually played better my second time through throwing mostly Rocs off the tee, leaving the driver in the bag. It took away some birdie chances, but also kept me from having any disaster holes.
- My two favorite holes on the course were #4 & 6. I really enjoyed the tunnel feel of #4 - 400 feet from the short tees. This is a solid, straight ahead, tough hole. #6 had the best feel of the river, which runs along the left side. The river shouldn't ever come into play on the hole, so it'd be great if the growth was removed, giving a clear view of it throughout.
- I'm slightly uprating the course based on the conditions of the day I played it. By the end of the summer, this will be a solid course - whether it's still only 9 holes or has all 18. I'm giving this course a 2.5, making it one of the highest rated nine-holers I've played. A year or two from now, once this is 18 holes, this could easily be in the 3.5 range. I expect my rating, and review, to go up as the course changes, and as I get out to play it. Congrats to the Gaston DGC for another solid courses. It's easy to get lost in the shadows of Charlotte, but they're quietly amassing a nice set of courses.
19 of 19 people found this review helpful.
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