Fairness in Disc Golf Course Design
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Other Thoughts: The gold course is situated predominantly on a largely cleared hillside of typically rolling piedmont terrain, which is a part of a donated farm site. It is Cabarrus County's flagship park, offering a selection of activities typical of a large regional park. Driving the entrance road to the hill's top, gives one a preview of almost the entire course, which is unusually long and open, certainly considering this region's typical offerings. Rotary disc golf course offers the perfect opportunity to discuss the formal design concept of 'fairness' as it relates to disc golf courses. This review is 'limited' to the gold course.
Fairness, often the subject of controversy, is more of a Platonian ideal designers need strive for, but never reach. It is impossible to make any course perfectly fair. So in practice, fairness consists of a 'fair test of golfing skill', which determines the 'best' golfer. Therefore, fairness consists of a balanced and well-rounded test with opportunities to use precision, strategy, as well as power to negotiate the course well. This demonstrates consideration of players not only of similar levels but players of different skill levels, while allowing equitable competition between players with different play styles, or fortes, if you will. Fairness attempts to avoid favoring a particular play style over any another.
As noted, Rotary is very long and very open. Any competitor unable to throw 450' on command may fall way behind, unless he is matched with competitors of nearly equal ability - a highly contingent occurrence. Even strategy underperforms at Rotary, as the course is so open with so few hazards, placement is frequently and for all intents, irrelevant. This demonstrates exactly why Rotary is 'unfair'. As in the cases of some other area offerings, Sugaw Creek (vast preponderance of holes within a small distance range) and RL Smith (strongly favors counter-spin play), Rotary's imbalance intrudes on every golfer, morphing this track into a grinding endurance test. A typical exemplar being #18, a difficult, tiered uphiller, no doubt inspired by Laurel Spring's finisher. Thank goodness for the views, which are certainly the course's strongest aesthetic points.
It should be said that merely because a course is patently unfair, it is not necessarily a 'bad' course. Of course, if the desire is to improve one's distance off the tee and from the fairway, Rotary is excellent. Rotary features largely unobstructed putting. Sugaw Creek has very good pacing and tight-to-open variety. RL Smith exhibits superior use of elevation changes, a pleasant creek and is very secluded. So, binary evaluations lack quality and nuance. Formal design concepts are tools used to create situations where players may express the depth and range of their ability, as well as evoke differing moods and attitudes. Fairness is just one of these tools.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
I Love This Course
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: I know that many, if not most reading this consider me and ones like me to be dumb mass dinosaurs who don''t appreciate or understand the nuances of modern disc golf. Granted, we came to the sport in an era when DG courses were allowed to be a visible, intregal part of the parks in which they were placed, rather than being relegated to the woods and forests and sewer runs where they are most often placed today.
Rotary is a grand exception to that practice, with holes of open air and green green grass, with just enough truly wooded holes and holes with trees well placed in play to NOT be boring or monotonous. Every shot is a golf shot as every shot is made during a round of golf. This course allows driving for show, so that you can putt for dough. And dependent on one's skill level and distance off of the tee, Rotary can well test one's fairway game, with a vaiety of distances and approaches to the basket on the Par 4's, as well as the longer Par 3's, which most of them are.
Equipment is excellent and amenities are outstanding. New DisCatchers and big beautiful concrete pads at the long tees, and superb signange. Well spaced and placed benches, along with trash and recycling receptacles spread throughout. And this course has the two most magnificent amenities that I've encountered on a disc golf course; two permanently constructed water stations at the 10th and 15th tees, complete with paper cup dispensers. The one at 10 was pretty much empty, but I was able to reach between the slats to tilt the cooler forward to get a couple of cups of cool water. The one at 15 had plenty of very cool, maybe even cold water, which was SO much better than what I had in my water bottle. .
Cons: Course skill level designation and par assignation. This is NOT a Blue Gold course, unless it is meant to be the the most ridiculously easy Blue Gold course ever constructed, especially considering the Par assignations like calling Long 5 a Gold Par 4. Though much of the fairway does run alongside a bordering forest, it is primarily an open hole and shouldn't be rated as a 4, even if designated as Blue. Guess that that might fall into that tweener category, but I believe more in tough one step lower par assignation that I do in easy one step up assignation. The Par assignation of 3 for the short #7 is also miscalculated. That is a HEAVILY wooded hole, so that even at just 275 feet, it qualifies as a Red Par 4, and Rotary IS a Red/Blue course. I've played it twice, both times from the shorts, and have shot a little under par both rounds. I am not, as I've never been, nor ever shall be, of a skill level to break par on a legitimate Blue layout. Well, maybe once in a Blue Moon. But certainly not the first two times I play it, with only one bogey during those 36 holes.
The blue discs marking the short tees are adequate, and are generally easily findable, as they are well marked on the signs at the back pads. I do hope that Cabarrus P&R, the course named sponsor, and/or a local players' association will replace them with pads at some soon future date. But they are all well placed on level ground and generally give not only shorter, but variously angled runs to the baskets.. .
Other Thoughts: Though this type of ball golf style, mostly wide open course is not all that popular and well received, for my personal preferences and proclivites, Rotary is damned near a perfect disc golf course, in a very pretty, picturesque park with TONS of other activities, from ballfields and tennis courts to picnic shelters and playgrounds, to boats on the water. For somebody who learned the sport on courses such as Hahamogna Park, La Mirada, Bryan Park, Cedarock, Johnson Street and Barber Park, Rotary Club DGC is a most welcomed addition to the North Carolina DG scene. I wish it were closer to home.
If the short tee discs are replaced with pads, with similar signage as that at the back tees, with the occasional bench and receptacles and the color designations change to Blue/Red and both levels are reassigned to Par 60, this would be an absolute, beyond phenominal 5 in my book.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Great amenities, beautiful park, boring golf
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: This course has 5* star features!
Beautiful, spacious concrete tee pads (For the yellow tees)
Accurate, color tee signs. Also in great shape
Manicured, landscaped areas
Trash cans a plenty! Recycling cans too, which is a nice touch
This course has all of the things needed for a 5* rated course...except challenging disc golf
Although mostly boring, there are several fun and challenging holes winding in and out of the limited woods.
Can be a great area for practicing the long bomb drives.
This course really has the "ball golf" feel thanks to the tee signs, trash cans, crosswalks, warning signs for other park users, and even water coolers!
Aside from the disc golf, this course has it all! A great place to bring your family. Ball fields, sand volleyball, playgrounds, picnic shelters, a lake, even mini golf!
There are TWO sets of tees. The "Yellow" tees are the concrete pads next to the tee signs, where the Blue tees are simple Innova round markers fixed in the ground.
Although the blue tees are natural tee pads, they do offer a shorter, different look at most holes.
Given the land/trees/elevation situation, this course does make the most of the available land.
A small, but nice touch that I really apprecaited were the warning signs placed throughout. In areas where a pedestrian trail nears the disc golf fairway, there are signs warning others. Very nice
Cons: Although a beautiful park, and well manicured course, there just isn't much in the way of a challenge here. Most of the holes consist of long open field shots in the neighborhood of 300-600' with a few scattered trees that sometime come into play
The wind.. Not the courses fault, but due to the open field nature of this park, it seems there is almost always wind. Although educational, it can be a bit annoying constantly dealing with the strong winds
The park, being as impressive and packed full of great activities does draw a lot of people during the peak hours. Inevitably they end up finding their way onto the fairways. Dogs/runners/families/bikers etc.
Several fairways play right along popular walking paths. Not only a safety concern, but can be annoying waiting for a break in the foot traffic.
Other Thoughts: Great park, great course amenities, but an unfortunate lack of difficulty and challenge.
I would still recommend playing this course if you're a local, but if you're just visiting or passing through, there are better options in the area.
Beautiful park with tons of family friendly things to do, beautiful disc golf course. Mostly open long bomb (boring) holes.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Beautiful but Boring
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This is a very well manicured course in a really wonderful park. All tees have accurate maps of the hole layout as well as directions to the next hole. (don't forget to check after you tee after... it's not always obvious!) Most holes also have baskets for both trash and recycling as well. Despite being a pretty active park the layout manages to wind around in a way that helps keep disc golf separated from the other activities going on for the most part. There was also at least one water cooler on the course, and most (if not all) tees also have a bench.
Cons: Course is extremely monotonous... there are a few slight elevation changes and a handful of holes that wrap into the woods. For the most part, however, you are just throwing into wide open fields. This is a no-drinking, no-smoking park; most holes radiate from the road leading to the parking lot, so you area also out in the open for the vast majority of the round... very little shade...
Other Thoughts: I'm not really sure who is the target audience for this... most of the holes seem too long to really allow beginners to enjoy the game, and it's too boring to provide much challenge for more veteran players. This is definitely a park that happens to have some disc golf baskets more than it is a disc golf course. If I lived closer or if this course was closer to some others I would consider playing it again. As it is, it's not worth the 30 minute drive from uptown Charlotte
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Open but fun
0 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The course designers did the best they could with what they had to work with here. Holes 1 and 2 make up for no practice basket with them being pretty open and simple. holes 3-7 are the best part of this course. All are in and out of the woods making the front 9 feel like a fun course for the area. the signage is awesome and the flags on top of the baskets help with trying to see what the wind is doing on this mostly open course. the shorter blue tees are what I first played here before I got a big enough drive to play the longs and there great for newer players. the Mandos 15 and 17 help add something to the back 9.
Cons: The back 9 does get a little repetitive at times. the course is so open it is unplayable on windy days. the geese tend to get in the way on 17 and 18 and you sometimes have to clean there poop off your shoes before you leave. The blue tees could use some kind of better indication then just the markers in the ground and a dot on the map at the back tees.
Other Thoughts: This course tries. It really does. So I'm not going to knock it to bad. It is a nice course to work on big arm stuff or new disks or to shake the dust off if you have't played in a while.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Good for distance practice..
Pros: The course is kept quite nice. Strong winds most days. Room to practice booming.
Cons: Not enough technical shots. This is not like any other course in the area. Most Carolina courses are based in the woods, which I prefer. I can only play here every once and a while because it gets old quick.
Other Thoughts: Reading the previous reviewer I noticed a lot of odd reviews. I actually enjoy holes 1-7. The rest are basically the same shot over and over.... and over. Yes holes 1 and 2 are simple but they are a fun ace run type hole. As a lefty I usually have a different perspective on fairways and I really like hole 4. The previous reviewer said "discs don't fly that way" and the only thing I can think is they don't have a good tunnel/turn over shot. To each their own.
I would like to see them plant some more trees out there at the lease.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Par for the course
10 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Frank Liske has great land, and is in a really pretty park. It appears to be safe. Teepads are sufficient at around 10'x5' Probably could have been textured better but time will tell on that one.
This course is ok for what it is good for. What I mean is, that it is a wide open course and it is good for practicing wide open up slight up hill and down hill shots, with some wind added in. It has baskets and teepads, so it makes what would be field work a little less monotonous. Signage and amenities are great, there are bathroom, and every tee gives you a feel of being in a country club. They even have golf course trash cans and a water station (that is handy when it is filled.) You probably are not going to lose a disc here and you can really practice your long throws. My favorite hole is #10
Cons: Man, I visit every few months to see if my last impression was what I thought it was, and it always is... disappointment. To have such a poorly conceived layout on a large property with a park department that obviously is hands on, is a real downer for the sport, IMO. Holes 3-7 are one of the worst stretches of holes I have played and they are 60% wide open! (Ill clarify, they are some of the worst use of land holes I've played). So many of the holes at this course are ALMOST fine holes, but then a twist, turn, odd pin placement or odd distance ruins the great hole. This appears to be a common design strategy for the designer of this course. The roller coaster of the initial AWESOME, ugh the basket is where? is tiring. Holes 1-2 are ok blah open 300' holes. #3 you hyzer into a narrow gap that you can't really see from the tee and hope you fight through pines into the woods. 4 is just a bad hole. A 370' par 3; the first 185' being a tight S-shaped low canopy fairway through pines out to another 185' uphill wide open fairway. A disc simply cannot traverse 185' of a slight U shaped (turning right) 15' wide fairway tunnel shot, then miraculously turn left and go uphill 200'. Discs do not fly like that. It is another example of a design philosophy that does not match reality. Then #5 ugh. It appears the designer saw some neat shade trees and a side hill green, BAM! you have a dangerous 450' elevated shot over a parking (lot on the hyzer side). Hole 6 is a big side arm, I guess, but they just planted trees in the fairway; to a teenie tiny green. I usually skip this hole it is so bad. 7 is a par 4 50% straddling a walking path that always has slow moving traffic just spaced far enough apart that you have to wait 10 minutes to throw. Hole 11 is kind of a technical shot, at 230' BUT as with the rest of the course there is just that one thing that ruins it. You clearly see #13's basket instead 70' beyond, way more visible and Id bet most first timers throw to that. There was so much open space #13 could have been 200' away from # 11. #15 could have been something special; 350' shot to an opening in a woods line with a beautiful pond backdrop in the distance. Nope, you are asked to throw a 320' shot to a 30' gap where the basket is 90 degrees and 60' to the left, hidden in the smallest green imaginable.. it is impossible to reach. Unless 5 feet from the basket, all putts are impeded. I didnt cover all the rest of the open holes. They aren't conceived well. 450' par3s 550' par 4's With the openness of the course. The par threes should be in the 350-415 range and par 4's in the 650'+ range. They just end up being tweeners and kind of boring.
Other Thoughts: So ...Holes 4-7. # 4's basket should have been just outside the gap a nice technical 300' par 3. Then a tee box and a throw across the field to where 5's tee is.(#5) Then another tee near the woods for a technical shot to the woods by 6's teepad. Transition through the woods and #7 is a technical par 3 with no walking path involved. Just eliminate 1/2 of 5, all of #6 and half of #7. That would be WAY safer and reduce frustration. I play this course every time I am in the area for field work practice, but Im annoyed most of the round if I look at it from a design point of view. I really like having teepads and baskets to aim to but thats all I get out of this course. I think moving a few baskets and some quick changes to teepad locations would really help its layout and playability. All the flags and stuff don't do much for me. You can see most of the baskets, Id much rather a great design, kinda like putting lipstick on a pig. Despite this review. I would suggest people try this course. It is so different than most Charlotte courses, and it is valuable to practice the open throw.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
aimed at the wrong audience
Pros: -very nice concrete tees and signage
-great, clean park that is family friendly
-flags on top of the baskets
-makes reasonable use of the obstacles available
-plenty of parking
Cons: -lots of long, wide open holes
-tweeners and NAGS
-holes 5-7 have possible hazards: parking lot, ball field, jogging path
-not enough variety, feels repetitive
i really think a shorter course designed with the beginner/recreational player in mind would have been a better choice for this park
Other Thoughts: Frank Liske Park is exactly the kind of community park I'd like to have near me. It is large, clean, well-maintained, and has a nice family atmosphere. The addition of a course was a great idea and the trimmings of the course are well-executed with excellent tees and signage.
That said, I wish this course had been designed as a Red/White level layout. For such a family oriented park, a beginner-friendly track would be a better way to bring attention to the sport. Of course, it's easy for me to say that since I don't live here but I think I'd still prefer my closest course to be a fun rec course than one that tries and fails to be a good blue level course.
Some of the longer holes don't really do anything to make the holes more interesting or increase the challenge. Some of BrotherDave's comments below are pretty accurate (except I liked hole 5 how it is, minus the parking lot). I think 5, 9, 15, and 17 are the best on the course. 1 and 11 are easy but fun for a beginner, 3 and 4 try to be decent and maybe 10 could get more interesting as the trees grow in some.
I can see how some people really like this course since it is rather different from the other courses in the area, the amenities are great, and it fills the gap for an 18 holer in Cabarrus County. However I also think most of the previous ratings are a bit inflated. A worthy course for locals and visitors in the close vicinity. Not a draw if you're just passing through the area, there are better courses that aren't that far.
**Like this review? Hate it? Message me and let me know why! I want to make them better!**
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The best part about this course doesn't have much to do with disc golf. Amenities are terrific as the park is really nice. The concrete tees are very well done and tee signage is pretty good. The land is well-mowed and maintained. Little flags atop the baskets are a nice touch.
Cons: Design-wise, at its best the course is really monotonous, like a bland folk song. Then it gets a lot worse like that song skipping repeatedly. Throw long and straight, repeat over and over with gimmie putts and NAGS (not a golf shot) galore thrown in.
If you've got a really big boy arm, you'll be bored to tears b/c it's mostly deuce or undramatic birdie/par on par 4's/3's. If you aren't David Wiggins/Avery Jenkins/insert random long throwing Pro here, you're also bored from repeatedly dropping hyzers into your putting range after pointless max drives. I say pointless b/c this course suffers horribly from lack of scoring separation. My brother and I could have played a 1000 straight rounds and I'm positive that the difference would be just a few strokes. Good throws are rarely rewarded and bad throws are rarely punished.
Variety wise the course is really poor also. So much unremarkable straightness it's like being in a Southern Baptist Church. The only hole with some character is hole 5 and even it plays across the corner of a parking lot and I don't think they got the pin placement quite right. Hole 6 is just bad, too close to the ball field and unrewarding green. Hole 7 is just straight up wack. A very popular jogging trail is the fairway and then the basket is just randomly tucked into the woods w/o any discernible fairway to it (A Schwartz trademark). Holes 11-13 seem terribly forced and odd-fitting, hole 11 screams filler hole. It isn't uncommon to see multiple baskets from a tee or multiple tees from a basket that seem logical so getting mixed up is easy to do. By hole 15-16 I was ready to run down to the water and hijack a paddle boat to make a break for better courses in Charlotte. Hole 18 has some of the best elevation used on the course and insult to injury they use it backwards, a boring slog uphill.
The course is pretty flat so not much elevation change but what there is seems to leave something to be desired. I like throwing in wide open fields as much as the next guy but there are some trees here that just seem blatantly avoided in certain sections of the course. Not much to work with but still better than nothing; this is one of the most obstacle-less courses I've ever played. You'd need copious amounts of artificial OB and obstacles to make most of these holes worth a flying f*$&.
Other Thoughts: Holes 15 and 17 asked me to hit a gap! (hole 15 didn't give me much of a putting green though).
Literally no one is going to play the short tees here. They're natural and marked by hard to see blue disc-shaped circles.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Beautiful Open Course
Pros: The park is absolutely gorgeous. It's very, very well maintained. Tee-pads are nice and long. Baskets are top quality with flags on top. A lot of long holes for big arms.
There are two holes with water coolers by them that are refilled often.
Cons: A lot of long holes for big arms. Yeah, it's a plus and a minus. They've done very will with what they had to work with. The open holes do get a little repetitive but they've tried to do things to mix it up like putting the T-pad right behind a large tree or making you shoot through a large gap of woods. The wind can really affect your shots sometimes.
Other Thoughts: I think there are a few things that could be done to make this a really top level course. Put in more obstacles and out of bounds markers.
If you watch pros play open course online there are often markers/flags and such to mark out of bounds and make the hole much more of a challenge.
They could also do some things like a ring of hay bails around a hole or a big wooden fence you have to through through like the Winthrop course has. I do know that they have planted some trees to aid in the design of some of the holes like #6 is by a parking lot but they've got a row of trees there that will block the parking lot when they get full grown.
I love that it's on my way home from work too.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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