I hate to do it
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The following review is based on playing the Long pads.
If you like mountainous terrain then this is the course for you. Elevation change is a theme here.
Hole 8 is beautiful. Teeing off of the deck with a 400'+ Bomb in front of you.
A lot of work has been put into this course and it is shown by the stairs, bridges, and other structures(teepad on a deck). If the course was rated on how much work has been put in then this one would be 5*.
There were several holes that were fun and had a lot of potential.
Cons: However there are even more holes on the course that seem to have perfected plinko woods golf.
As I have stated before in other reviews, I love woods golf and I enjoy it much more than open shots but in my opinion a good woods course has clean and attainable lines that can be hit, rewarding a good shot and punishing a bad one. I feel that most of the woods holes on this course do not meet this concept.
Several holes have lines that are near unattainable and if you do pure it then you have to get lucky and miss trees that are in middle of the suggested line. Others do not really have a line to hit and you have to just throw towards the basket hoping for a clean look of some kind.
While a fast green is fun and interesting when the majority of the holes are on a extreme slope it can get repetitive. Also the greens are so sloped in some cases that you may find it hard to even get a layup to stay.
16's long tee is in danger if a player on hole 8's tee throws a poor shot.
the transition from 16-17 is weird as you have to walk past 7's basket. This is a good way to get hit imo.
You also cross a soccer field which could be weird if a game is going on.
hole 17 might be an issue if the park is busy
Hole 18 is an anhyzer that throws down a walking path which is blind near the basket. This hole puts walkers in danger.
A few normal new course Items. - no trashcans, a lot of growth in the fairways, etc.
Other Thoughts: I hate to give a course that has had SO much work put into it such a low score but I do not think that the design is worthy of a higher score. The lack of clean lines and the feeling that you have to be more lucky than good take away from this course imo.
The property and the course have a lot of potential but in the current condition I don't think that the course reaches that mark.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
One of the best in area
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Nice mix of wooded and open areas. Easy to go from one hole to the next. Just the right amount of trees to still allow a path to target. I like the hole where you go from the woods into a field (I think it's #8) to the target then back again to the next target. Being new to disc golf I really struggled with the course often very frustrated but always fun.
Cons: The holes 17 & 18 while nicely open could involve cars or people who are not observant. Some of the tees could be improved but I'm sure that is already planned for. Not much to not like about Sawmills.
Other Thoughts: A lot like Glenn Helton only better.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Really nice park, really nice scenery with good elevation. The course flows really well and the hole variety is very good. I played from the reds due to time constraints but the blues looked fun as well and thankfully often offered a different line other than just a little longer. The tee signage is excellent and next tee signs do a great job.
For a short round, you can play a loop of 1-7 and then 17-18.
The course is mostly a technical wooded style but there are some open and downhill ones to air it out. Hole #8 for example is a sweet downhill bomb. Also really like the separate fairways for hole 12. Some of the holes are pretty tight but for the most part I think are fair.
Cons: This course isn't without its flaws but they're mostly minor and a reflection of being new.
Lots of rutted, gravel tees. I really hate this when the hole requires a very precise BH line where sure footing is crucial. Put concrete tees everywhere and this course magically jumps to a 4 rating for me.
#5 has a steep downhill portion that could use some steps or something cut into it for safe passage. Quite a few holes could have some erosion concerns in the future if the course becomes popular, similar to nearby Glenn C.
#8 is awesome but noob hyzers could take out people teeing from #16 or walking to it.
#9-10 could have some swampy issues. #11's blue tee does not look like fun at all.
#15 needs some limb lopping to improve the ceiling. Fun hole though.
#17's tee is on the sidewalk beside the parking lot. The blue tee in particular is a grip slip away from a busted windshield. The basket is on an island green made by the road, a park road, and a ball field. Not a great hole but just be wary of other park users and you'll be fine.
#18 is another sidewalk tee with the road directly on your left. Fun hole though.
Other Thoughts: Bottom line is this is a really fun course that I will definitely being playing again in the future. It makes a great pairing with Glenn C. Hilton if 24 holes isn't enough for you. The club is doing a bang up job with this one and I look forward to seeing it progress. It's fun, it's challenging, it's a nice walk through nature mostly. It reminds me a little of Scrapyard or maybe a baby RL Smith in CLT. Some basic improvements that should come in time will bump this to a 3.5 at least for me.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Wow. Where to start? This was a GREAT course. Kinda a mix of some Glenn Hilton holes and some Richmond hills with the super steep elevation. Very well marked for being a new course. Only time I kinda got lost was 15 to 16. Nice homemade benches on quite a few holes.
Cons: No trashcans. If they had them I was blind. Other than that nothing else bad to mention.
Other Thoughts: A great course. Living in eastern nc I rarely get to play courses with elevation so this was a nice change. UFO club has done a great job on making/designing this gem. If your ever in the area or going through the area...stop and play this. You won't regret it.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Very challenging, alot of right handers, so for someone who has a terrible side arm shot, some holes are not that fun, The challenge is the main attraction for me personally, I would dub it "Glenn Hilton's Evil Twin"
Cons: Some of the tee pads have not been poured with concrete, so on the run/step up, I've slipped and nearly twisted my ankle on a number of holes.
2 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Glenn Hilton's evil brother
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Sawmills has the makings of a very challenging course. Picture a much more evil and demanding version of Glenn Hilton, and you have Sawmills.
- Don't let the first four holes fool you. Once you get into the woods, it gets tough real quickly. The main feature of this course is nature and the topography of the land. Lots of elevation - there are some wicked elevation holes - and lots of pine trees - some holes have really narrow fairways.
- With the exception of a couple open holes (to varying degrees - #8, 17 & 18) - this course is all about accuracy. If you have one disc you can master at 200 feet (or even 150 feet), you will put yourself in great shape. If you try to get a little too aggressive on some of the wooded holes, you will struggle.
- The tee shot for #8 could become one of those 'talked about' layouts. The tee pad is a deck, about 15 feet in the air. Everyone who has ever played Hilton knows the tee shot on the last hole over the ravine. I feel this could be that type of shot. It's unlike anything I've seen anywhere else.
- The elevation extremes can be seen on a couple of holes. #7, 11 & 16 have tough uphill tee shots. #11 layout is similar to #14 at Ashe County, where you're practically throwing straight uphill. #5 has a downhill shot over a ravine; #14 is a sharp dogleg left, downhill hole; #15 has a down and up shot to a basket, that's close to level from the tee pad.
- This course is one of the ultimate risk/reward layouts anywhere in the region. If you stay in the fairway, you'll see your share of birdie putts. If you start missing and end up in the trees, you'll be scrambling for pars, bogeys or worse, all day long. That said, because none of the true wooded holes are really long (none longer than 350 feet), even if you hit trees halfway down the fairway, you shouldn't have many, if any, major blow-up holes.
- Course is extremely different (easier) from the short tees compared to the longs. Where I was fighting for threes and fours from the long tees, I was seeing a lot of twos and other birdie putts from the short tees. It's amazing how extremely different this course plays in the two layouts.
- Be prepared for a physical workout hiking up and down the hills. Good footwear is a must with all the climbing, a good deal of which is on pine needles.
- There are some great scenic views/nature feel aspects to this course. Lake Rhodhiss is visible from several holes, coming closest behind the tee on #7 and to the right of the fairway on #15. The lake never comes into play on any of the holes, but does provide a great backdrop.
Cons: The first takeaway from the course is that it's not going to be for everyone. I think some people will hate the elevation factor and/or the narrowness (or near lack) of some fairways. If anyone has ever complained about Charlotte courses having narrow fairways, you need to check out Sawmills.
- The course is still a work in progress, so I know some issues will be resolved with time. Being redundant, some fairways are really narrow. As the course is played more, some more fine tuning/trees being removed might still happen. Other issues will continue to be addressed as well, like fine tuning basket positions, adding more steps, bridges, benches trash cans, etc.
- Poor drainage is a problem on some of the holes, most notably #8 - 10 & 16. You can avoid some of it; but, as is the case on #10, the muddy area is the fairway, so it will come into play at times.
- Walking trail/common area comes into play on at least five holes - #1 - 3 & 17 - 18. The tee pad for #16 is in the fairway for #8, so beware when throwing.
- Because of the hills and trees, errant bounces off trees could lead to extra and frustrating time, trying to retrieve discs. I had one disc take a major bounce off a disc, then spent an extra five minutes trying to figure out the safest way to retrieve it off a semi-steep slope. If you have that happen a couple times a round, it could really get frustrating.
- The back nine is far away from the front of the park. You can play an abbreviated nine-hole loop (#1 - 7 & 17 - 18), but there's no way to squeeze in the other holes, without starting at the beginning.
Other Thoughts: Sawmills was fun, frustrating, challenging and annoying, all in one. Put that all together, and to me, it looks like you have the makings of a good course.
- This is the type of course where you'll know whether you're on your game or not pretty early into your round. The good news is that you can easily walk directly from #7 to #17, if you want to, or need to, call it quits.
- Talking to a couple locals, there's a feeling this course is going to get a lot less attention than the other local course - Glenn Hilton. That's a good thing because it means it won't usually be crowded. It could be bad if that means the local club focuses less attention on the course.
- It's hard to to constantly compare this course to Hilton. There are so many similarities in the layouts that they're going to be going hand-in-hand. Especially once this course is broken in, if you like one, you'll 'like both, and vice versa.
- The course is 15 minutes further from Charlotte and I/40, so many people are probably going to opt for Hilton simply for convenience. It will be a shame if people miss out on this course simply because of a couple extra minutes.
- My rating is reflective of the current conditions, and should bounce up a little once things are complete. When they are, the Sawmills-Hilton one-two punch will be a great day trip for anyone in the region.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Nice addition to the area
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: 1) The course provides many different type of holes/shots. This is not a typical straight/dogleg left or right course. Very technical course!
2) Great use of elevation and some natural/man-made features. Actually since I play more mountainous courses regularly, the Sawmills course is a nice change of pace. All the while not being flat or boring. The terrain will be a challenge for someone who is used to flat courses. Good locations for OBs and Mandos throughout the course. Adds some risk and reward to a few holes.
3) Multiple tee pads! All but 2 holes have a Blue (long) and Red (short) tee pad. If I remember its #4 and #8 that only have one pad placement. However that may change for #8 (looks like they are working on something for it).
4) Even though this course is very new, all tee pads have distance markers and diagrams for each hole. Also the use of "next tee" signs and markers make for a reasonable easy navigation.
4.5) The course flows well and thus can be played in a short amount of time. I played the first time solo and took multiple shots on occasion and it took about 1 hour and 15 mins to play. Second time I played with someone else and we both took multiple shots time to time and it took us 1 hour and 35 mins to complete a round.
5) The course has a practice basket, and it's in a good location for other (non-golfers) park goers to see it. Also a few of the holes play near the soccer field, main road, and playground, all of which are in a non-dangerous way. I believe this will be good for the locals to see disc golf and could bring some new people to the course/sport.
6) Very nice DISCatcher baskets that are quite visible! Maybe a few flags for a few of the holes future improvements. Could make some of the wooded placements more visible and would give a wind gauge for the longer/wide open holes.
Cons: Just as a note these cons are not deal breakers in my opinion, but are cons to certain degree.
1) Drainage! I see that a few holes will have issues if it's not addressed or changed. Big rains or runoff from the soccer field could prove to be problematic when there is more course traffic. Especially #8, #9, and #16. On a positive note I believe they are already addressing #16.
2) Only 2-3 holes where you can really rip into a long drive. #2 (still wooded though and not that long) #8 (around 440') and #17 Blue tee (around 350' but uphill too). Most holes are in the 200-300' range with a few really short ones (as most courses are). There are no par 4 holes on the course and no par 3s that I believe should be a par 4. This may not be a huge con, but for some people I can see it being a bit of a downer.
3) Gravel tee pads for 15 of the 18 holes. Some of these are not quite level due to player use and could be problematic in wet conditions. Not a huge con but it could be improved upon, and it very well may be on the list of future items to do.
First off, I would really like to give this course a 3.25! In fact I will quickly adjust this initial rating to a 3.5 or 4 depending on the improvements made to the course as time goes on. I'm not sure if it would ever be a 4.5+ caliber course. But I could be wrong.
One nice, clean, public toilet accessible from the main parking area and holes #1, #3, #4, and #18.
Practice basket is located near the main parking area.
The designer/building crew used a lot of the downed trees to make pathways and water crossing (nice in my opinion).
Plenty of parking, at least for now.
And a thanks goes out to whomever helped in the process of putting in this new course. I can tell a lot of time and effort has been spent! Good design Dan Mitchell!
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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