12 Helpful / 1 Not
Sun and Shade
Pros: Rankin Lake DGC is a gem of a course, located just west of Charlotte. Open shots, tight shots. Left turns, right turns, long drives, short drives, minor elevation, water and plenty of OB, Rankin Lake offers a bit of everything.
Each hole is equipped with a concrete tee pad and Innova Discatchers. Tee signs on some holes are damaged or missing, but are very helpful when present. Multiple basket placements on some, and Multiple tee boxes on a few. Arrows secured to each basket pole directs you to the next tee, which isn't really necessary here, but will keep you on track your first time around. Various trash can locations throughout the park, though not necessarily by every tee pad. "Benches" in the form of boulders at just about every tee.
The front 9 and the back 9 are completely different. The front 9 plays along alot of roads/sidewalks which play as OB, a creek is very much in play on holes 4-7. Most holes have an original feel to them. Nothing too repititious, and nothing absolutely rediculous either.
The park is equipped with restrooms, water fountain, clubhouse, playground, plenty of picnic areas.
Not too far of a drive from the Greater Charlotte area, and located right off of I-85 makes it a simple ride.
Cons: This may be a tough course to trek after some bad weather. Holes 5-8 in particular play in a very low lying area in the park. It isn't abnormal for the ground to be soft and wet in these areas, even if it hasn't rained in a couple of days.
Vandalism to tee signs make it tough to know what position the basket may be in. In my experiences at Rankin Lake, there is no method to the changing of pin locations. It's not one of those courses that changes them all to short or all to long, somewhat of a mix-and-match which (is a pro)can give you a different experience each time.
There is no real vibe of seclusion on the course, maybe slightly when you get towards the last few holes. A few holes play along the main drive, the whole back 9 plays through picnic areas. Hole #9 drives to the right, but if you are unable to get your disc going right enough its going straight into the playground. There is also a shooting range across the lake, which is heard loud and clear in the park. This is a course where you definately want to keep a close eye out for park goers.
Other Thoughts: This course isn't as easy as it might appear. Lots of OB on the front, and plenty of trees on the back, Rankin forces you to use plenty of different shots. Just remember that the game completely changes between front and back.
Bring water in the summer. You'll catch plenty of sun and humidity on the front 9.
Rankin Lake is a nice change from all the Charlotte courses, and a fairly easy drive from the city. Its never been crowded in my experiences here, so I wouldn't worry about making the venture here to find a crowded course. Check it out!
12 of 13 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Challenging Course for a beginner
Pros: 1) Nice mix between wide open, front 9, and wooded, back 9. Multiple pin locations for all holes with some of them having 3.
2) Very challenging for a beginner or intermediate player and will force you into honing all your skills.
3) After playing this course it makes most other courses seem easy.
Cons: 1) All but 4 holes are sloped right to left or vice versa, so it is often that a great shot is negated by a bad bounce which causes your disc to roll off the fairway and out of bounds or just rolling off a 100 feet or so leaving you with a bad lie. Every time I've played this course i've been victimized by this and it can get frustrating.
2) Wouldn't want to play this course by myself. I often see some shady characters walking around. Maybe it's just the times that i've played.
3) Holes 4-7 seem to always be soggy unless it hasn't rained for a couple of weeks and it makes it difficult to get a decent tee or second shot.
Other Thoughts: This is by far the toughest course i've played since i started keeping track of my results and posting on this site. I am convicned that if I can do well on this course I can fair much better on most others, at least around Charlotte. This course is well balanced in having to utilize distance and accuracy and unfortunately luck plays more of a role than most courses mostly because of the slope on some holes which can kill you round of you get unlucky. I wouldn't play this course as a beginner but as an intermediate level player this is one of the best courses i have played and is helping me build and hone my skills.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 7 Not
A nice accomplishment by someone in Gastonia, but do you have to contend with non-disc-golf players?
Pros: Very quick, simple access from I-85. If you're headed west out of Charlotte, check it out. I can play it on the way to grandma's house.
There's a congested left turn immediately after you've gotten onto 321, but then you're home free on a quiet side road to the park. If you miss the first left turn, I believe you can just take the next left turn to find the quiet side road, which is named after the park.
A very SLIGHT feel of seclusion. Even though it is right off of 85, you wouldn't know it once you're walking around the park, unless you listen for the traffic in the distance.
As others have said, the experience of both open holes and wooded holes is nice.
The back 9. I love the wooded-but-defined fairways. I love the ground surface (I played in winter) and use of elevation.
Cons: Simple: The risk of hitting non-discers who might be using the park. I was the only person in the park when I played on a cold, weekday morning. So I'm basing this off of a look at the facilities.
It looks kind of like it WAS a park of scattered picinic shelters, and then someone stamped a nice disc golf course right on top of it. If memory serves, there are at least two picnic table shelters practically ON fairways. but at least they are within earshot so that you can warn people. Also errant shots on certain holes could easily hit moving cars or the paved driveway winding throughout the park.
I'm not from Gastonia, so I don't know how much the park is actually used. Based on other reviews, it doesn't sound like people would bring their families there for interfering "picnics" and playtime anyway. If it's used only by discgolfers, it's great. But if the discgolfers have to contend with people on picnics or just roaming the grounds, etc., I could see it being frustrating.
Other Thoughts: The easy access from 85 and the fact that this is likely Gastonia's disc golf "center" won me over.
4 of 11 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
The Tale of Two 9's.
- Front 9. The front 9 is practically wide open (some trees come into play) with tons of OB to help tighten and add interest to what would otherwise be ordinary holes. The pin positions, in relation to OB features (creek and roads), make the holes exceptionally good. Most of the holes are essentially peninsulas in that they are surrounded on all sides by OB. You could literally go OB multiple times on the same hole. I really enjoyed the front side.
- Back 9. The Back 9 plays through an extremely wooded section of the park, giving an extremely different DG experience. The fairways are pretty fair, but require good shots to be successful. Getting off the fairway here equates to being OB... usually requiring a pitch out... and OB is still in play on many holes.
- Navigation Arrows. They had a cool system of letting you know where the next tee-pad was. They had little arrows bolted to the pin under the baskets that pointed in the direction of the next tee-pad(s) (white or gold).
- Several Legit Par 4's. I really enjoy when course incorporate Par 4's... especially when tons of OB is involved. It definitely makes the game more "golf"-like.
- Front 9. The only cons with the front 9 would be the openness of it and the resulting seemingly redundancy of it.
- Back 9. The tee-signs on the back 9 were different than the front 9. Not necessarily a con, but they weren't as nice or professional as the signs on the front. They were laminated pieces of paper stapled to brown posts. Because they're stapled, they could become water damaged or possibly blow away.
- Overall. Rankin Lake is essentially two completely different 9 hole courses that make up an 18 hole course. Due to the OB's and thickness of the ruff, the course is fairly challenging. I went OB 5 times and had to pitch out of the ruff several other times resulting in a final score that was several over par. It's definitely a fun course that I need another crack at.
- EZ Access from Freeway. Getting to Rankin Lake is simple. It's a quick 2.5 blocks off the I-85. Extremely simple as the road practically becomes the parking lot for the DG course.
- Thanks bikinjack. bikinjack met me and guided me around the course on a weekday morning at 7:15 am when the weather was 25* (or less). It was cold! At one point (on the 5th hole) he fell in the creek trying to retrieve a disc... and played the rest of the round with wet socks and a frozen (literally) pant leg. That's what I call going above and beyond the call of DGCR guide protocol. Thanks again!
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 0 Not
Rankin Lake DGC
Pros: Plays like two different courses, the front nine is more open, and the back is more heavily wooded, with most of the elevation.
There is a nice variety of long and short holes, a couple of ace opportunities, and a couple of multi-shot holes.
The tee pads are all concrete, except for #9, which is brick, and works just the same. There are long tee options for holes 7, 12, and 18.
The baskets are DISCatchers, all in good shape. There is no practice basket, but the course is seldom crowded, so you can usually warm-up putting on basket #5.
There are trash cans at several holes spread throughout the course, and rock "benches" at every tee.
You are never far from the parking lot, or the bathrooms, and the course plays back by them five times. The bathrooms are always open, and are heated and have A/C. There is also a water fountain with cold water at the bathrooms for those hot summer days.
The course is easy to get to from I-85 and Hwy. 321. There are two convenience stores, a Hardee's, Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins, and New Papa John's Pizza right by the park.
Some areas of the park offer nice views down to the lake, especially in the late fall and winter.
As of 8/13/2010, there are now proper tee signs in place on all 18 holes.
Cons: One of the biggest problems with Rankin for first time players is the lack of signs on the back nine. There are great signs on the front (a couple have been recently vandalized but will be fixed soon ).
The fairways for holes 4, 5, 7, and 8 will be wet after rainy weather, especially 4 & 5.
There is a creek along holes 4, 5, and 7 that can eat discs, but isn't too bad. The OB shule to the left of the fairway on 6 will eat discs, especially in the summer. The rest of the course isn't too hard to keep up with errant throws.
Hole #9 could be dangerous, with either pin position being near a playground, and close to parking for the main building. Occasionally, there will be a car parked a little too close for comfort to the basket on #9.
There currently are multiple pin positions for eight holes, but there isn't a good system in place to let you know where they are, other than just seeing them, but some holes are blind, so you can't. Extra baskets for the alternate positions would be nice instead of having to move them to change things up, and a warm-up one would be icing on the cake.
Rankin Lake Park has a reputation for shady adult liasons, but this type of shady activity has decreased a lot recently, partly ( I like to think ) because of traffic from disc golfers, and probably more so because of a crack down by Gastonia's finest.
Other Thoughts: I'm trying to give an honest appraisal of my home course. I think it's a little underrated. It's not the hardest course, nor the easiest, but it's got a lot of variety. I'm glad it's so close.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Very fun course to play! Front 9 fairly open & easy with plenty birdie opportunities. Back 9 wooded and a bit tougher. All holes have good upkeep! Never very crowded
Cons: No signs on back 9. Confusing my first few times playing trying to find next tee
Other Thoughts: Great park! Very nice area and very nice course. Well worth the trip! Just outside of Charlotte, only 3 minutes off of Hwy 85 Convenient!
0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 1 Not
It's a Sleeper!!
Pros: Clean park in nice park setting. Decent mix of long and short holes. Some technical shots and a few long bombs. Good fairways and the rough isn't so nasty you will lose a bunch of discs. Some holes are tight and wooded while others are fairly open. New signs are being added to many of the holes. this is a nice upgrade and good work by the local players. The 'Stankin' Rankin' layout also adds a whole other level of challenge to this course. It will beat you up, but definitely adds to the overall experience. With concrete pads for this longer layout, this course could easily reach elite Charlotte status, and earn an even higher rating. Concrete tee pads are on all holes for the normal layout.
Cons: Holes 7 and 8 seemed to be squeezed in, and not as good as the others. Maybe different basket placement or some news trees could make them more challenging. Some navigation signs for non locals would be good, but after playing once or twice, navigation is quick and easy.
Other Thoughts: I have played this course 3 more times since the original above comments. This course can grow on you. While the 2 open holes still seem squeezed in to me, I appreciate them more after having my backside handed to me on the back 9 a few times. #7 does have a creek to one side that adds some risk if you have the arm to go for the ace. Miss and you may end up with a 3 or 4. There are a few trees on #8. It's an easy par, but if you go for the birdie the road and trees can hurt you. The wooded back nine plays VERY technical, and forces you to use accuracy and control on every hole. There is also enough length to keep you from making short, safe shots. There is also enough elevation on a few holes to punish you if you can't handle uphill shots. The more I play this course the more it seems on par with me to courses like Hornett's Nest in Charlotte, or possibly UNC in Chapel Hill. People may prefer certain parts of each course over another, but Rankin can challenge you in multiple ways, and holds its own with any of the other very good course in the Charlotte area. It also has the advantage of not being one of the well-known Charlotte courses so crowds shouldn't be a big problem. Give this course a try once, and you'll probably be back.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 1 Not
Two Courses In One!
Pros: The front nine is kind of a typical city park course, fairly open, with two long holes, #'s 5 & 6, which are both over 600 ft.. But they're are both made more difficult by semi-tight fairways with big rough on the left. The front nine has great signs, which are locked into little boxes and can easily replaced if vandalized. There is a nice little 188 downhill ACE run. A hole or two plays on a steep hillside which could produce some big time rollaways. The back nine is mostly technical through the woods. There are no signs yet on this nine so you are guessing the distance. The back nine has a couple of interesting basket positions. # 13 has an elevated basket. IMO, the signature hole is # 14 with it's basket protected by some huge boulders. But the most interesting thing about this hole is the large, flat rock (about 1 yard square) which sets 10 feet in front of the basket. I could see a shot skipping off this flat rock into the basket. It's an all-time classic ACE or birdie shot just waiting to happen. Locals must have a name for this. The Rankin Lake Ricochet or something.
Cons: Tee signs on the back nine would be great. Now that I have read all the other reviews talking about the homosexual activity going on in this park, I did see these two guys parked down in the lot and wondered what the hell they were doing. Funny, at the time I thought, "That's kinda gay looking."
Other Thoughts: I enjoyed this course and it's variety of holes. I think it's a recreational/intermediate level course. I don't see advanced to pros loving it. But for the rest of us, stop by and enjoy it. Just watch out for those dudes in the cars!
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Rankin Lake, for the rest of us
Pros: Great mix of wooded and open, the front 9 being virtually all open with nice length, and the back 9 being all wooded. The course is very quiet, charming. Nice baskets, good concrete tees and signs. Well maintained. Not a lot of elevation but not super flat, there are some potential roll-aways possible. Course is designed by local club who definitely seemed to know what they were doing. Excellent use of the park considering the space provided. One of the nicest park restrooms I've seen.
Cons: The wooded holes are kind of pitch and putt feeling, although 2-3 were real quality holes. They're still rough around the edges, too. I don't know the word for the opposite of tight, wooded holes but this course has a few. I didn't notice any suspicious "homosexual activity" although the Freddie Mercury look-a-like in the Mazda Miata kept whistling at me (joke). There is a shooting range nearby, kind of unnerving. The park is not obviously advertised if you're coming from the south, which isn't their fault, just a heads up for people looking for the park.
Other Thoughts: I'd like to apologize for the basket on hole 13. After my brother and I holed out there my bro said, "The basket is tilted." I turned around and walked over to it and slightly, gingerly touched it and it completely fell down the pole. I have no idea why. Just thought someone should know.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 2 Not
Fun course with a good mix
Pros: A variety of open and wooded holes.
A good variety of distance holes and short, technical holes.
Great use of elevation changes and other landscape features.
Great signs on the front 9.
Cons: Very few signs on the back 9 so you have to guess distance and location on several holes...no biggie if you play here a lot, but first time it was more or less a blind throw and hope for the best.
16 frustrated me because all 3 pin positions were blind so you just threw out of the woods and hoped you aimed right.
Other Thoughts: I loved hole 9, I found staying on the curved slope very difficult and challenging.
I also liked the use of the rock features on a couple holes.
This course had good navigation with arrows on the basket pointing you in the right direction and sometimes on trees if the tee is a distance away.
If this course were local to me I would probably travel 25-30 miles to play it on the weekends. This area has some tough competition but this is the first one I played and enjoyed it a lot.
Using my rating system this course scored 75 out of 100. Its main positives were the variety of distances, nice tees and general condition of the course. The biggest negative is related to new players...though there are not many huge arm holes, a grass alt. tee might be handy.
11 of 13 people found this review helpful.
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