16 Helpful / 3 Not
Great for locals, not for visitors
Pros: -18 holes with alternate tee positions in such a small area is an amazing accomplishment.
-It's a historic course with concrete tees and interesting benches with built in ash trays and several garbage cans.
-Gillies Gold creates an interesting variation (see DaKine's review)
-Course is beginner friendly with limited variety in distance (180-310), but can still provide a challenge for more experienced players.
- Course navigation and flow was weak. Course could easily add the pointing arrows on the basket like Bryan Park.
No tee signs or navigational aides other than the online map (that you WILL need if you are not a regular). Even with the map, locals had to point out where the next tee was a few times.
- This course fails to account for safety in numerous ways:
Discs were flying in from all angles and you had to rush to your disc after throwing or you risk having someone pick it up. On several holes you are throwing directly towards people walking at you.
Hole 18 goes right along the road with cars parked all along the right side. Hole 1 also throws along a busy road, while hole 2 has a road on the right that could be dangerous for oncoming cars if you go to far to the right.
On the tee for #4, a car drove with in 2 ft. of me while I was driving (a dirt road goes right in front of 4 and 9)
- Sketchy area: I found a crack pipe on hole 4 and other players hint the course is unsafe to play alone.
- The one water hazard is a putrid brown creek off of hole 6.
Other Thoughts: This course was insanely crowded. I had to start at hole 14 because it was the only hole open.
Course has a rich history, but history doesn't enhance the enjoyment for out of town players.
Risk of disc loss is low, but risk of disc theft can be high, discs were scattered all over the ground and less honest players or kids can easily grab your disc and take off.
16 of 19 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 5 Not
Slice of Heaven
Pros: The course has alternate pin positions. The course layout flows nicely, no confusing detours to the next tee. It has seemingly equal amounts of righty and lefty holes.
Cons: No bag posts or signs. But that is reaching as they are not really necessary, yet are a nice touch.
Other Thoughts: Great course, makes you think more than most. Great atmosphere on busy days. Also, Edge league in the summer is awesome!
1 of 6 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Solid but Uninspiring City Park Course
Pros: Gillies was the original Richmond Park and its heavy use shows, for good and bad. For positives it has good, if a little short, concrete tees, which is a rarity in courses around here unfortunately. Gillies also has a nice mix of open and wooded holes, with 1 - 6 and 10 pretty clear and the others more crowded. The course is also pretty well worn in, with little significant rough. Therefore, the risk of losing discs is not oppressive. The baskets are in good shape and are moved occasionally for variety. Although overall the course is fairly short there are a few air it out holes early in the round. Also, the course does not favor any one throwing style due to a mix of doglegs. In most setups the course is very easy to navigate. Parking and play are free. The course has good benches and many tees are located next to each other, which leads to more social interaction with other players but also a few backups when the course is crowded. This course is definitely growing on me and I think anyone living in Richmond or other locales should give this course numerous tries. However, If you are only stopping through Richmond and can play but one course it should not be Gillies.
Cons: The course is not much to look at. The course is well designed but the creators did not have too much to work with. There is very little elevation and no water (except for a mostly dry creek to the left on hole 6). The course is packed in tightly so check for players on other holes before you let one go. As the title of this review suggests this course is well built, designed, and maintained, but it will not make anyone say "wow" or inspire a newbie to obsess over our great sport. Finally, the park is not in a great neighborhood and I would not suggest playing there at dusk without at least a few other friends, ideally ones who can fight back. Two guys who were playing got mugged there a few months ago.
Other Thoughts: I just played the supercourse setting for the first time yesterday and it raised my expectations and opinion for this course. I have always had some difficulty with it even though it is not that hard and perhaps that is clouding my review. Richmond old timers love this course and play it primarily. League is played here every Wednesday at 6 and I always run into people I know when I play here. I think my appreciation for this course will only continue to grow. This is truly a locals course. Every hole is birdieable. All praise River City Disc Golf Club
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 3 Not
a ton of fun
Pros: -multiple pin positions on nearly all of the holes
-long tees on 5, 6, 9, 17
-good mix of open and wooded holes
-nearly all of the shitty underbrush that made it hard to get to bad throws has been removed on any hole that it came into play (6,8,9,16,17) and it makes it much nicer because there are new throwing lanes now too
-Richmond does a good job of maintaining their parks and Gillies is frequently mowed so the grass is never too long
-the course isn't too long so it caters to everyone, and makes you throw many different types of shot
Cons: -no tees signs, just distances (in meters) painted on the tees
-the creek that runs along 6 and 17 is really nasty, so make sure you don't put a disc in there or you won't want to get it back
-after a heavy rain there will be lots of puddles to contend with, especially on 2 and 3, so make sure you bring a change of shoes
-can be very crowded after school/work is over, so play during the day if you have a choice, but the addition of Bryan has helped this some
-there are a few old tee pads around that can be confusing because of a few semi-long walks, but they are all labeled as 'not a tee'
-a few scattered port-a-potties (near horseshoes/#6 & #7, near BMX track
Other Thoughts: the neighborhood that Gillies is in may, at first glance, seem like it isn't the best... but there aren't any problems that happen here. All of the neighborhood folk that use the park for horseshoes or the BMX track etc are all really nice and have asked me on multiple occasions to explain disc golf to them.
The tournament layout is a lot of fun and very different from the normal layout, so play in the Battlefield Open if you can for a welcome change.
Also, you can play the Gillies Gold layout that only locals know about, if you want, but just make sure that you do it when there aren't many other people around because it takes some time to play:
Gold 1: Tee 1 to Basket 2 (road is OB)
Gold 2: Tee 2 to Basket 2a (the basket really far in the distance past normal two, its really old)
Gold 3: Tournament Tee 3 (in the clump of trees up to the right of basket 3) to Basket 9
Gold 4: 'Not a Tee' near basket 3 to Basket 4 (in the road/yard of the house you throw close to is OB)
Gold 5: Tee from the corner of the sidewalk across the road directly behind tee 5 long to Basket 5
Gold 6: Tee 6 Long to Basket 6 (mando left of the tree in front of tee 6 short)
Gold 7: Tee 7 to Basket 16
Gold 8: Tee 8 to Basket 6 (or Basket 4 if it's in the right position)
Gold 9: Tee 9 Long (the cracked tee) to Basket 9
Gold 10: Tee 10 to Basket 1
Gold 11: Tee 11 to Basket 11
Gold 12: Tee 12 to Basket 10
Gold 13: Tee 13 to Basket 18 (double mando between the innermost trees about halfway down the fairway)
Gold 14: Tee 14 to Basket 14
Gold 15: Tee 15 to Basket 9
Gold 16: Tee 16 to Basket 14
Gold 17: Tee 17 Long to Basket 17
Gold 18: Tee 18 to Basket 11
I love this course. it was my home course when i lived in Richmond and I miss it and I can't wait til I get to play it again. Its just a lot of fun.
5 minutes from Shockoe Bottom and downtown Richmond
15 minutes to Dorey Park
20 minutes to Bryan Park
6 of 9 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Good variety, some nice wooded holes you won't find at Bryan Park, short course - good for those of us without canons, but decent accuracy.
Cons: Very difficult to navigate.
Other Thoughts: I played this course for the first time today with my 12 year old son. I'd not read the reviews, so I wasn't aware of the "bad neighborhood" and didn't really notice it while there. Luckily, there is a Wednesday night league, and we were able to talk to many regulars who helped us find our way around. The course is so poorly marked we accidentally threw hole 12 after hole 3. Without the friendly help of the league players, I might have given up.
That said, it is a decent course, fun to play if you know where you are going. But as a visitor to Richmond for only one week, I much prefer Bryan Park. But I do like the wooded holes at Gillies Creek - something that is sorely missing at Bryan Park. Not recommended for players who don't know the course unless you go during a time where there are other players around.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Surprisingly good city course
Pros: Layout of the course in a relatively small area.
There are a few wide open or mostly open holes, a few with some trees, several holes through the woods but with clearly marked fairways, and some pretty tight fairways. Something for everybody.
Concrete tee pads.
Close to downtown Richmond.
There are some extra old teepads and baskets, I guess from a previous course layout, that you can use for practice or just some extra holes.
Over the winter of 2008-2009 they cleared out lots of overgrown vegetation, which really opened up several holes and probably will prevent some lost discs and very obstructed shots out of the woods.
There are port-a-johns near the hole 6 basket and over by the sports fields.
Cons: The park is on the edge of a marginally sketchy part of town, there's lots of trash on the course, and it can feel a little run down. But the course design is still very good.
If you haven't played here before you'll likely have trouble finding your way like I did the first time. There are some old tee pads with the old hole #s laid in the concrete with stones. You should usually ignore these. When you play Gillies Creek for the first time try to hook up with somebody who knows their way around. The first tee is on the concrete sidewalk at the intersection of Williamsburg Ave and Stoney Run Rd.
Other Thoughts: Some of my friends don't like Gillies Creek due to the trash and general run-down feel of the area, but I think that the course is so good that I can look past the cons and have a great round.
Overall the course is on the short side. Players with control have the advantage over the big arms here.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Play with a crowd!
Pros: This course has a lot of pros. For a beginner, each hole teaches you something different. Whether it is how you throw, or where to throw, or how certain discs are going to throw. I would definitly recommend the course to everyone who plays, just bring a lot of friends with you.
Cons: Location. Everyone reviewing this course says the same. Everytime I have played I have been left alone, but i still wouldnt expect the same result everytime. The course is located just outside a pretty shady, government housing development. I have heard of people getting robbed or messed with on many occasions. So far I have never been bothered.
Oh yeah, and that creek on 6 is disgusting, haha. I never landed in it, but when I do, I might just leave the disc in there.
Other Thoughts: Dont let cons keep you from playing though. My suggestion would be just to play with a crowd to ward off any "maybe's".
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Gillies is a great course. It's the first course I ever played on and I still play here often. It has a good mix of open and wooded holes, and lots of interesting shots are required throughout the course. There are uphill shots (#6 is great but watch out for that nasty creek), downhill shots (#9), tunnel shots (#11, 18), etc. There really is a bit of everything here. While the holes aren't particularly long, there are plenty of trees around that make them difficult to reach par on. Many of the holes have pesky trees right in front of the teepad, and trees come into play on every hole except #3.
Cons: The most noticeable downside to this course is the lack of any signage. This really only presents a problem for first timers - the teepads are confusing because they have numbers on them from a previous course layout. If you are playing here for the first time I recommend trying to get someone to show you around, or follow somebody.
Gillies is a technical course - there are some opportunities to air it out, but overall the course requires more finesse than it does power. I enjoy the variation, but if you prefer a longer course I would recommend Bryan Park.
Other Thoughts: The varied holes provide a nice contrast to heavily-wooded Dorey and the longer, more open Bryan Park. If you're passing through town, I would definitely recommend stopping by and playing a round - so long as it's at a time when other people will be playing the course to show you around.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Inner City Course
Pros: Good mix of wooded and open throws. Baskets and concrete Tee pads.
Cons: Near Impossible for first time players (Visitors). The concrete tees are poorly marked and in some cases improperly marked. Some holes nearly overlap. Trash all over the place.
Other Thoughts: Ok, To be fair, Gilles Creek is a nice 18 hole DG Course if all you are concerned with is baskets and throwing, but if you want an entire DG experience (Fun atmosphere, nice setting, good hike between throws) I feel it falls short of other area courses Bryan, Dorey, White Bank and Goyne offer 18 baskets in far better shape and with far better flow. I must mention again, that for a player coming here for the first time it was almost impossible to navigate this course. We needed to rely on the kindness of a pair of players in front of us. I titled this as Inner City Course, and that it is...to the letter. The tee pad on Hole one is part the street corner, and if your forehand goes too far right you will be hitting a car! Litter can be found everywhere on the course. One of the other reviews mentioned it being in a rough neighborhood, but when playing on a Saturday afternoon it seemed great. Looked like a neighborhood on the rise, families and people out everywhere. I know Gilles is well known and beloved by locals, but remember I reviewed the course as a first time visitor and to be honest it was somewhat disappointing. Sure it has baskets and is in a park, but there are nicer places and courses with a lot more to offer nearby. Thus the average score.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Open field shots, urban setting, and forest trails.
Cons: Being an urban park renders Gillies more littered than most courses, but that is part of it's charm.
Other Thoughts: Gillies is Richmond's Disc Golf Course. It is one of the first. Back in the 60's projects in Richmond's Church hill district were bulldosed to the ground. Trees were planted over the foundations and the area was left dormant for years. Transients over took the place and the area became a trashy wasteland, yet the trees continued to grow. Around 2000, a group of disc golf enthusiasts, along with the city of Richmond, cleaned up the area, and turned it into a disc golf course. Gillies echos the ghosts of it's past. It's urban setting oozed through it trees and green fields. Old remainants of the former drug infested neighborhood still stand, overgrown with plant life, yet serving as an eerie reminder of Gillies less peaceful past. This park is a must. Though it may not be the prettiest, it is amongst the most fun.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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