14 Helpful / 0 Not
A Three Hour Tour...
Pros: It was '64. The choppers had just dropped off into the bush and flew back out like its ass was on fire. Every shadow, every turn, and every tree menaced your thoughts with Charlie. The only time you weren't worried about Charlie was when you were fighting the VC's most loyal ally, the damn skeeters. You almost wished for the boys to dump Agent Orange over you just for some relief. Your mind bounced back and forth from Charlie to bugs like a never ending tennis match. And it's played on clay courts baby, oh yeah. Enough mud to drown a pig.
Wait a minute. This isn't 'Nam. This is Goat Island...
There are some killer holes out here, in a good way. Awesome tunnel holes that are as pretty as they are well-designed. The course is mostly wooded, sort of. You're in the woods but the fairways are way fair. The challenge is threading the tunnels and staying on the fairway. Only a couple of holes actually involve the river unless you really let a wild one go. Nice tee signs keep you informed.
This is a very unique terrain/setting for a DG course, especially in this area. It's worth playing just for that alone.
Cons: Here's the thing. Unless you are a dedicated, badass of a disc golfer that sleeps with a disc under his pillow you are going to want to steer clear of this course unless conditions are perfect. This course gets very muddy, very buggy if it has rained recently at all. I literally expected to see a Vietnamese boy riding a water buffalo coming down the fairway on some holes, it's that jungle-ly and natural.
The only really negative aspect design wise is the rough. It's very easy to throw into and impossible to throw out of. A small army equipped with weed wackers would do wonders. I hope you enjoyed the alliteration in that last sentence as much as I did.
The tricky part though is that you can't thin the rough out too much without the holes blending into each other's fairways. I have full confidence that Chuck and the Gaston Co crew will tame this beast in time.
Natural tees that are often guesses as to their exact location thanks to the mud. Hole 3's long tee needs serious work as does it's fairway.
Other Thoughts: I almost didn't want to review this course because I didn't want to give it a rating. It can fluctuate wildly depending on what day you play here. Play during a dry spell during winter and it's probably a fantastic challenge. Play during the wet summer like I did and have Vietnam War flashbacks (and I wasn't even alive then!). Yeah. But there are some seriously good holes out here, holes that were eerily reminiscent of the lost holes from Brackett's Bluff. Hole 2 is a great hole and interesting fairway.
Hole 8 I think could be made stellar if a tight, risk/reward FH line was cut into the left before the short tee, making it a sort of John Houck split fairway type of hole.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
This Goat is still pretty gruff
19 Helpful / 0 Not
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. And the disc golf is good, too!
- 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 - either in some (at times) extremely thick rough, or possibly in the river - which in turn leads to the '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. You've got to shoot the gap for your tee shot, meaning you could be scrambling for bogey right off the bat. From there, you've got a couple chances to throw over the river - #3 long & 18, both tees - as well as several holes that run alongside the river. I also enjoy #10 long, which incorporates a large, downed tree as an obstacle. Keep your tee shot too low and you smack the tree. Throw too high and you sail into the woods.
- 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 #8. 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.
- Course is fun, with plenty of birdie chances, from the short tees. From the long tee - at least for an average player, like me - I felt like I was just hanging on, trying to salvage my pars.
- Course is almost completely isolated from the rest of the park. Biggest concern areas would be the tee shots on #1 & 10, as well as the occasional walker who will (inevitably) treat the fairways as walking trails.
- Great scenery throughout. I'm impressed with how much has been cleared out since the course originally opened. It had been more than 3 years since I last played and this update in 2017. You now see the river throughout the round, adding to that island feel.
Cons: Biggest issue this course will face is the bug issue for part of the year. There's really no way to avoid the mosquitoes in the summer. That said, this course is a perfect place to play in the winter, as I did.
- Other big concern is just how thick the rough is, at times. There are places throughout the course, where a disc can land 10 feet off the fairway and it's virtually hidden. Or, you might be able to see your disc in the rough; you've just got a challenge getting there as you navigate the rough.
- There's an above average 'lost disc' factor. Between the rough and the water holes, and the fact this is a 'family-friendly' park, you're going to see new/casual players throwing here, which can lead to lost discs. Even for more experienced players, it takes one fluke bounce off a tree for your disc to sail off line and into the woods/water.
- I didn't see a bench or trash can on the course proper. There are places for that throughout the park, however.
Other Thoughts: The course is somewhere between being a goat and being the GOAT. (Yes, I used the GOAT term back in 2012 before it became commonplace in the sports vernacular.)
- I was pleasantly surprised how challenging the course was. Even with some of the rough being thinned out over the past 5 years, it's still tough.
- 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've scored much better throwing mid-range discs off the tee, sacrificing distance for accuracy.
- The course seems slightly off-target from its intended audience. As stated, this is a family-friendly park, but the course isn't. Even from the short tees, I wouldn't bring a first-time thrower here. You don't want to see a new player getting discouraged by the rough, water and lost-disc possibility to be turned off by the game after playing here. Perhaps they could highlight a true, beginner 9-hole loop of the easiest holes for players.
- The course has improved since it opened in 2012. As of this review in early 2017, I'm giving it a 3.0 rating. It just seems to be missing something to keep it from a higher rating. Still, it's a solid part of the Gaston County disc golf scene and one worth checking out.
19 of 19 people found this review helpful.
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