The Goat 3.0
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: First and foremost, Goat Island has a terrific collection of disc golf holes. From the two water carry holes, to the longer multi throw fairways that force accuracy and precision, there's not one bad hole, not one shot that makes you scratch your head wondering what happened. If you like stepping up to the tee and looking at what's before you and thinking, "I think I can make that shot," and being fairly challenged to do so, you'll love the Goat. Multiple times while playing there, I looked around and thought to myself, "Wow, what a great hole, this is awesome"
The holes flow well from one to the next, and there's very little repetition, and the course flows well from one hole to the next. Nothing seems out of place. The holes test different skills, whether it's throwing hyzers, annys, straight shots, forehand and backhand, but all provide a similar level of challenge. None seem ridiculously tough or easy. On the whole, I think a masterful job has been done fitting the course into the space allowed without interfering with other park activities or any ridiculously long walks.
Hole 3 is the first of the water holes, throwing onto the island (with an optional short tee on the island that eliminates the water carry). It's around a 250' to 270' throw to get across and stay dry, and can fairly easily be done with either RHBH or RHFH, although the hole does finish slightly to the right. Hole 18 throws off the island to finish your round. From the long tee, the water's edge is around 250' on the basket side, or you can lay up near the short tee, and only have a little more than half that to get across and stay dry.
Navigation is pretty straightforward, with nice tee signs at all the long tees, and next tee signs throughout the course. There are a couple of places where a few holes are pretty close together, but only one potentially problematic spot. (More to come on that in the cons.) The tees for 15 & 17, along with the basket for 16 are pretty close together, but don't really interfere with each other at all.
Cons: The biggest cons with Goat Island have nothing to do with the course itself, or the design. The issue is that it's a low lying island in the middle of a river. You will probably never experience more mosquitos, gnats, or any type of flying, biting, stinging things than at the Goat. The rough is ROUGH. Lots of thick prickly underbrush is everywhere you don't want to throw your disc. I will say that the rough has gotten much better since the course and park first opened, thanks in large part to some seriously dedicated volunteers with a lot of love for the place. This has made many of the holes much more enjoyable to play.
The island is also a bit flood prone, or at least was this summer, which had some record setting rainfall totals. It's kind of weird to see water lines on trees two or three feet higher than the top of a nearby basket. I don't think that it will flood as often in the future as it has this year. There are also parts of the island that seem to stay perpetually damp. This probably contributes greatly to the insect issues.
Also because it's a flat island, with little to no elevation, there's very little elevation on the course. The first two holes offer the only up or down, and the only place in the park that has any up or down.
The one spot that I've seen some issues with one hole being too close to another is near hole 9's tee. The turn to the final stretch of 8's fairway is fairly close, and there is potential for someone to be in the way, as groups tend to stand at the edge of 8's fairway, while their card mates tee off on 9. A solution may be to clear out an area on the other side of 9's tee, or more directly behind the tee, instead of to the left of the tee, on the edge of 8's fairway.
Other Thoughts: Goat Island will probably be enjoyed best in the fall of the year, when there aren't as many bugs, isn't as much rain, and won't be as much stuff growing in the rough. If you like a course that asks you to execute quality golf shots over and over, shot after shot, you'll love Goat Island. If you have trouble hitting fairways, or are afraid to lose a disc throwing across water, or are afraid of getting swarmed by flying buzzing things in the middle of summer, beware of the Goat.
As time passes, and the course gets more play, the rough will not be as rough as it is now. It's already much better than it was a year ago, soon after the course first opened. If you haven't played it in a while, you owe it to yourself to give it another try, and to do it before the winter rains start. If you're travelling through, and aren't afraid of the bugs and the rough, you should give it a try.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
A Three Hour Tour...
11 Helpful / 0 Not
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.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Welcome to the Jungle!
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Design wise this course is great and has Amazing potential.
The use of the river is well done and there is rarely a dumb hole design.
18 is a great way to finish with a nice water carry
Cons: Holy cow is it rough! If you get off the fairway if/When you find your disc your only option most of the time is pitchout.
We played the longs and it turned into a long and grueling round that took away from the rest of the Gastonia road trip. This was mostly due to the roughness of the course and the amount of time we took searching for pads & discs
Pads are not well marked.
Natural pads that are still rough and not well defined. It was also hard to find some of the long tees with very little "Next tee" markers.
Some holes do not have transitions to the long pad yet.
no trashcans or Benches.
part of the course transitions past a playground which always bugs me cause we all know people are drinking and not all are discreet. All it takes is one bad complaint and the course is in jeopardy.
Lots of trippers.
Other Thoughts: I know my pros section was short but this course really is a potential gem and championship course. However it is going to take a hell of a lot of work to get it there. The course has all the potential to become a 4* but until a lot of work is done to improve it I cant give it near that much. my 3 is generous in the courses current condition in my opinion but I am banking on the potential to grow.
If you come here to play the Blues be ready for a long tough round. The Whites looked much more forgiving, fun, and had less of a lost disc factor. Give this course some time and it will be great!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -Goat Island now has 18 holes and it has definitely been cleared out. I got timg to delete my review when it was 9 holes because the designer said I reviewed it too early so I played it again and it's a good course.
-No more debris is on the fairway like it was in July.
-The short tees are all very playable.
-#18 is the best finishing hole I have played. The fairways on the back nine all need work but not #18. It IS flat but so is #18 at Hornet's Nest on the web layout. On the finishing hole here, you tee off over the water.
-This is a great park for families. It has a greenway for the older people (no offense). A playground for children (solution for my sister) and you can go canoeing. The best thing is that it has a disc golf course that will be a destination course in a year or two.
-The tee signs are very accurate on almost every hole. On the long tees, it shows the shape of the fairway. It shows where the short tees are located. Keep in mind that the short tees are wood with the hole number on them.
-The park is easy to find. While your headed to it, it has signs with arrows pointing you the way to this park.
-I used to HATE #7 but it's been cleared out. There actually is a birdie chance but you will need a good 275' foot hyzer. The trees are no taller than 10 feet. It's tough but much better than I remembered.
-The discatchers are in perfect shape.
-There are portajohns around the parking lot. I don't know if they are in good shape though.
-#17 is the only hole that plays only downhill.
Cons: -The problem was, when I played 13-16 were not playable yet. I had to go from 12 to 17. At least 12's basket is close to #17's tee. Be appreciative though, #13 through #16 are getting worked on.
-I would like it if #3's long tee was on the pavement. So the shot would be straight downhill.
-It has improved but the woods still are a bit thick. Especially on #12. I played the long tee and I lost a white beast. The long tees on some holes like #10 and #12 are not ready for play yet. My beast didn't land so it's stuck in the deep woods in the limbs.
-You can't cross the water on #18 so you go up a big hill to get to the bridge. It needs stairs but they will come soon.
-The woods have trash. In particular, soda bottles. You will pass a couple trashcans like in the transition from #7 to #8.
-There is quite a bit of tall grass around the fairways. It's not major but would be great if it gets cut since it's no longer summer.
-No benches installed yet but it's still new and a lack of downhill shots, #3 long could really be on pavement so it would have a nice 20 foot drop.
Other Thoughts: Goat Island overall is a good course. It has some easy holes and some holes are tough to save par. This course isn't hard from the short pads but it's a real challenge from the longs. Once #13 through #16 are in play and gets cleared out a little more, this would be a great course. Hole #11 really looks sweet and innocent from the long but by the time you get to the short tee, your next shot is very narrow and goes a bit right. Keep the drive short, if you go too long then you are in the ol' aqua.
-#9 actually has a short tee. At about 205' feet long. It's more of a recreational tee. I just wanted to throw a midrange from it and was 18 inches from the basket. There are a lot of low ceiling shots. Some shots can't go more than about 12 feet high. It's tough but a good thing will happen if you keep it low.
In my opinion, the stand out holes are #6, it's an easy hole that is more open than others that allows a birdie if you have good enough accuracy. #11 is also unique from the long, it's easy until about 190' feet. Then, if you miss your line, which is narrow. You are going to be stuck. It's the hardest from what I played today. #14 (which I saw a pic of but didn't play) has a very cool view of the water which if you go maybe 7-10 feet farther, you might take a swim. #18 is a flat finishing hole but OVER the water. It's not boring like #18 at trophy lakes or #18 at Winthrop. It's a memorable, super fun tee shot. Overall Goat Island is much better than it was before. When it was 9 holes. I was hoping from a fun tee shot over the water. I got exactly what I wanted.
This course deserves a 3.5. The Gdgc is working hard on this course. It gets flooded very easily and maintaining this course is like taming a beast. It's hard to work with but they are working with it well. 13-16 I didn't get to play yet because of property issues and it's getting annoying. This course is great and has some unique holes.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Goat Island Review
0 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: Holes near the water made it kind of cool.
Good walking paths from hole to hole.
Really nice signs to designate pars and a map of the course.
Holes are very long, which isn't that common around the area.
Cons: Out of bounds woods are EXTREMELY thick! If you throw a disc in the woods, you're not getting it back.
Very Straight holes, which make it very tough for a mediocre player.
Not all tees were bricked off as should be.
The maps were not that accurate, making it very hard to find the tees.
0 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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.
0 Helpful / 11 Not
Pros: Fun somewhat shady. On an Island you can just in your kayak right after a round.
Cons: Super tight lines. Lost a disc (glo nuke). No water fountain. Signage could be a little better I had no problems however the maps have stright lines when the hole goes competely left or right before the strightaway.
Other Thoughts: STAY IN THE FAIRWAY.
0 of 11 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. 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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