9 Helpful / 1 Not
A great course in the Capital of South Carolina
Pros: Earlwood is a classic course from the 90's that is well worth your time to stop and play.
-Located in a nice urban park. Well maintained & clean
-Trash Cans & Benches
-Beautiful Terrain. The course plays up & down hills continually.
-Decent Navigation. Some of the baskets have arrows pointing to the next teepads. (I'd still recommend printing off the map.)
-Courses navigates back to the parking lot. Allowing for a "quick 9" on either the front or back 9. This also allows for a stop off at the car if needed.
-Course interactions with Non-players was minimal.*
-#18 is a spectacular finishing hole. Definitely the courses signature hole.
-Throwing over the Amphitheater on #16 was a fun experience! It's the type of hole where you will two more discs, beyond your initial shot, just to watch them fly!
-It may be a challenging course to start out on, but I think beginners will do just fine playing here.
-Earlwood still offers a challenge to the regular player. It may not be as challenging to the professional player, but a professional player could still have a good time here.
-Big "Fun Factor" for me!
-Course requires strategy over distance, but still offers holes that will let you drive for distance.
-The majority of Earlwood is shaded with trees, this can offer a little bit of relief on hot days.
Cons: -Walking trails have been added to the course, which may cause interference from Non-players.
-*(flip side of the pro) Though interactions were minimal, I noticed a few areas where crowds could cause a stop in play. Perhaps a family reunion at a shelter house, some type of Concert in the park in the Amphitheater, or even just a busy Saturday when everyone is "out & about".
-Signs, although they were very nice, offered limited information. (Hole #, Par and Distance only)
-I didn't have any major "Issues", I've been told that the bathrooms aren't readily "accessible".
Other Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed Earlwood! It's a fun course that is not overly challenging. Don't mistake that, Earlwood has challenges. I'm saying that there is a great (Challenge:Fun) ratio. Earlwood is located in a really nice park, in downtown Columbia. It was well maintained, and clean.
Play at Earlwood will have you working that right line through the trees. You will be throwing up and down hills. Sometimes throwing on a blind shot, as you throw over the top of a hill. There are a few risk/reward holes, as well as numerous holes that will make you consider the lie for your second shot. (i.e. You may have a great drive, but you could end up with a bad roll going downhill.) 18 is the signature hole, and the epitome of "Risk/Reward". You throw down a steep 382 ft tight & narrow wooded fairway. All it takes is one tree to ruin a nicely executed drive. #18 can be painful, but it's also a fun challenge! You may even find yourself emptying your bag, just to see if you can pull it off.
If your trip has you in, around or near Columbia, SC then this course is definitely worth a stop. I drove from over an hour away to play here, and I was not disappointed. No special footwear is needed here, but you will be trekking up & down steep hills. I was also warned that Poison Ivy, Sumac, and Oak can be bad in some places, so take proper precautions. You would be well advised to bring some liquids, because you will get a work out walking this course. If you can hook up with a local, that will help with some of the blind shots and other navigation issues.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: nice course, concrete tee pads, multiple pads, pretty open
Cons: Way over parred. My friend had never played before and shot a -17. I played like crap and shot a -6. I usually shoot about +5 or 6.
Other Thoughts: I enjoyed it, my friends didn't. But they were mostly disappointed by the high par. Well maintained.
2 of 8 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
A Nice Easy Little Course
Pros: - Elevation changes: A great mix of elevation. In some cases, it made the hole a little more of a test if you didn't land the perfect shot. You had to sometimes think of what approach shot or putt angle to go after in case you missed.
- "Thought" needed to maximize score: Like listed above, some holes required you to think of your exact angle and power of your approach. If you made a mental error and didnt take obstacles, hills, etc. into account, you could go from makable birdie to tough par in an instant.
- A good amount of obstacles: Not as bad as courses where just not hitting a tree is a pro, this course has a solid blend of trees and other obstacles in the way making a duffed shot more difficult to find par.
- Scenic (both park and people): There were people playing basketball and softball and walking on the scenic trail, which made it nice to be around others and people watch. At the same time, I never found any of these people to be in the way or have to worry about them. The holes did a good job of maneuvering around that.
Cons: Bathrooms never open?: A few people said they were rarely open, which is odd considering the amount of people there. Made it very uncomfortable for the round I really need to go!!
- Par 5's: Even my worst attempts at the Par 5's resulted in birdies. I had one where I hit the first tree possible and still had an easy birdie. I'll discuss "Par" below, but I didn't care for these Par 5's.
- Signage for Beginners: The signs didn't point toward the basket. My first round I had to start over because I was playing the wrong baskets. After one time through with some local players, this wasn't a problem.
No changes in pin placement, which could make it too easy after playing the course repeatedly.
Other Thoughts: I am not an advocate of "everything is a par 3". In regular golf, there are some courses that are extremely difficult (like the US Open) where breaking par over 4 rounds is ideal. Other courses, -4 might not be all that great for a round. A lot of the holes on this course are too easy to birdie. My biggest problem would be the Par 5's. If they were made into Par 4's, they would still be legit and relatively easy to birdie.
Again, I don't like a course where you feel like you never have a real birdie chance and par is easy if you stay conservative. I wouldn't mind seeing some of these get a little closer to realistic.
Overall, I really enjoyed this course. I'm not from South Carolina and enjoyed the change in scenery (being from West Texas right now). The 18th hole is great (should still be a par 4) but I loved it. The course really setup to my game well (the majority of my shots are power shots and I throw sidearm a lot, which helped with a lot of holes. Almost had the shot of my life on 18. Threw a near perfect over-correcting snapper (side arm) that bounces off the ground and hit the basket! Tapped In for double eagle.
Overall, a great course that I would love to play again if I ever get back to Fort Jackson.
My Scores: -9, -13, -11
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 1 Not
Classic City Course.
- Classic Golf Course. Earlewood is what I would consider a "Classic" style disc golf course. It's definitely an older course that was probably designed pre-beveled edge discs… however, the design holds up. All the holes are influenced by trees, but trees do not dominate. Rather, they force you to shape shots and hit gaps… with good shots being rewarded with a birdie opportunity.
- Great Golf Shots. There are just some really great golf shots here. Perfect use of natural features (foliage, elevation, ravines, creeks, thick ruff, etc…) and manmade features (OB roads, parking lots, and trails). And, it seemed as if for tournament play, there were lots of "add-on" restrictions that could be put in place to give the course an added challenge (i.e. OB trail and beyond, "island" greens, extra mandys, etc…).
- Hole 18. An extremely picturesque 380' tunnel shot, dropping steeply downhill, through a 20' wide window and under a ceiling, then flattening out for the final 250', all the while with Extremely Thick Disaster Left and OB road right. It's unfortunate that 96% of disc golf courses don't end with a bang like this one.
- Primitive Signage. I'm glad they invested in signage; however, Hole number, distance and "Rec" Par is all you get. It would have been nice if they had invested in some more informative signage that had a diagram showing the Hole layout with OB's and Mandys clearly marked. There was more than one hole where we didn't know that there was a Mandy, or that the pin was perched next to a potentially OB trail, until after we had thrown and walked 200' up the fairway.
- Traffic Issues. There was a walking path / Nature trail that bisected much of the front 9. There was also a basketball court and pavilion area that could come into play for novice throwers. We didn't have any issues (on a beautiful Sunday afternoon), but if the park was busy it could slow down play.
- Only One Pin Position. The pins seem to be cemented in the ground with no way to change their location. Not only does this not allow for course variety over time, but it also increases the amount of erosion surrounding the baskets… Lots of exposed roots.
- Posted Par. If you've ever read the threads regarding Par on this site then you know it's a hot topic. Let me clearly state that I am not a member of the "everything's a Par 3 / Pro Par" faction. And, let me say that I am in favor of having courses with Recreational Par labels as a way to get beginners motivated… However, with that said, the posted Pars here are false. Unless you're an extreme beginner, everything's a 3.
- Congrats DiscChainBasket18. DCB18 and I have been traveling around hitting up courses like crazy since I moved to NC (30 courses together in 10 months). This was his 50th course. Awesome milestone! Thanks DGCR!
- My Score: -4
15 of 16 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This place is a jewell. Beautiful park setting. The course is played through a stand of old growth trees. These majestic giants provide shade & challenge as each hole seems to utilize a path through the forest. Wooded but not thick. Space between the trees allows a great course layout. Benches on most holes. Tee signs & large cement tee pads await you on each hole. Garbage cans meant a clean course. Walking paths & picnic areas with good parking nearby. Creative use of elevation comes into play on nearly every hole although it's an easy walk. A small creek also comes into play from time to time. The baskets are the old design with a small rounded top & single-row (heavy) chains. These make a distinctive 'tone' sound when the disc hits them. It only adds to the unique vibe of the course.
Cons: Walkways & park benches are in the way of some throws. Tee signs could be a bit more descriptive. No super-long holes for big arms.
Other Thoughts: I had heard a tourament at this course that seems to sell out VERY quickly each year. I wondered what made the course so popular (review voting seems high as well). Now that I have played it I see why people enjoy it. It is a very cool 'old-school' course.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Worth the trip
Pros: Excellent layout in a city park. Not to much cross traffic except on a couple holes. Some excellent holes on this course! Very friendly vibe.
Cons: none really, maybe a few more benches and more arrows to find your way
Other Thoughts: I was on Columbia on business and had only part of Sunday to play a course. Based on reviews read here I chose this course and was glad I did. Its great. The locals here are very lucky. I still have 4 more days in town and am trying to figure a way to get in at least another 9 one evening before I go back to California.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Discing Down South
Pros: - Excellent use of elevation
- Enough trees to be challenging, but not so many that it feels like plinko
- Each hole presents multiple routes to choose between. I really like this. Two different styles may play each hole entirely differently.
- Relatively difficult to lose discs is a nice perk for beginners. Even if it goes into the creek bed, at least you KNOW that's where it is. Getting to it is a different matter.
Cons: - Only one set of tee pads is a shame. I can understand that there may not be enough space for two on every hole, but I've played plenty of courses where there were not multiple tees on every hole.
- In some instances, pathfinding is a challenge on your first time around. This is mitigated somewhat by the map, but painting a basket spoke might not be a bad idea.
Other Thoughts: Coming from the heart of disc golfing in Michigan, I was a bit worried about discing in what I'd heard was the "poor disc stepchild" of North Carolina. I was VERY impressed with Earlewood, though, and can't wait to play again.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Up, Down, and all Around
Pros: For starters this is my home course. I liked it the first time out and I have liked it every other time. This course has tons of elevation changes. There is a ton of up and down playing as you go through this course. I don't think there are repetative holes. It has longer holes, and short holes. This is a course where your tee shot matters most. Once you get close to the basket you rarely have get around obstacles, but the fairways have tons of trees (you could hit a tree off every single tee without too much trouble). There are a couple of fast greens which are tough (#6 especially). The course is well maintained. There are a lot of people who seem to keep this course up and running. It has a very scenic hole in "The Amphitheatre" hole, which is one of my favorite views from a tee box. The baskets are all in great shape and the holes aren't too tough to follow (after one play you're good to go).
Cons: I really don't have many "cons" for this course. If you have a bad day the trees can seem to eat up every tee shot, and there are holes where a bad break can send your disc rolling 100 feet from where it could have been. Some of the local players like to start up on 12 and if you've played 11 holes with no one in front of you this can be annoying. The ground is mostly leaves on most holes and can be slippery after it has rained.
Other Thoughts: Although this course is "short" by most standards, it is still very challenging. I would say it is one of the best courses I've played. If you end up in the deep creek on #5 (or 6) be careful because it is really slick down there :)
Also don't be fooled by the pictures of this course as most of them weren't taken any time recently. Most holes won't look nearly as easy or open when you're standing on the tee boxes these days.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 2 Not
Excellent design, good course.
Pros: 1) Nice grippy concrete tees. This is essential on this course because the drive is the most important shot on every one of these holes. You need good footing and this course provides.
2) Garbage baskets are avilable on this course. It was pretty clean except in a few areas where obviously the garbage simply blows into.
3) Massive elevation changes on this course. This is one of the hilliest most challenging elevation course I have played. There isn't a single hole that has zero elevation change. This makes this course what it is. The elevation changes surely make the course challenging both in shot execution but also a little bit of luck on how your disc lands. If you land flat you should be fine but if it ends on edge you will suffer some brutal rollaways. Some of these rollaways might go for a hundred feet or more if you hit the wrong spots, and you might even end up in the washout ravine creating a tougher recovery than a simple layup again. Good luck!
4) Arrows on baskets for navigation purposes. This helps you to move from hole to hole which is needed here because there are many tees and many baskets visible from anywhere on the course.
5) The challenge on this course is present on every hole. Birdies will not come easily, and par saving putts will be needed on many ocassions. It is mostly an open course with some massive mature trees but it is not what I consider to be heavily wooded. However if you hit some of the trees on your route that can certainly contribute to the rollaway issues, so be careful.
6) Signs have the minimum info of Hole #, Par and distance. There is no diagram which would be appreciated . . . again becuase there are multiple baskets visible on any given tee.
7) Excellent variety of shot shaping needed on this course. You really need to execute the shot you want and be sure to pay attention to how the disc will land on certain holes. You could be in for a tough recovery if you do not plan the entire shot out.
8) Surprisingly this course is in pretty good condition. The soils arent the best with clay and sandy soils mixed, which usually will lead to all sorts of slick spots.
9) This park is has a well protected canopy because of the mature trees. It is a nice feel playing here. It would be a nicely shaded course for those hot SC summer days.
10) This park has some other nice features. Tennis courts, a playground, a covered area and bathrooms available.
11) The disc golf course is removed from all other activities except the ampitheatre. I assume there are not a lot of things going on at the ampitheatre but regardless it is only an issue because it is OB, you likely won't have to throe across people.
12) Signature holes abound in my opinion. Hole 18 is the funnest 18th hole I had played to date and I also played Rennaissance the day after Earlewood and I put the 18th there (Charlotte's Web layout) on par with this one. This hole is much easier, but it is very dramatic and fun to throw. I hit a tree about halfway down so I had to throw a second disc just because it was such a cool hole and I nearly aced it. My disc just hovered the whole way down (390') because it plays at least 100' shorter if you miss everything due to the elevation drop (which I think was at least 60-80 vertical feet). 16 is still a great hole even though the ampitheatre it OB and some might say it is better because it is ob, but there is almost nowhere to land your disc unless you can carry the drive 225-250 to clear the whole ampitheatre. I guess it can go both ways.
13) Hole distances vary a fair amount. ALthough most holes are between 250-300 there is at least 1 short ace run, there are some longer holes near 400 but many of the distances are misleading, the uphills and downhills make the holes play very differently. The effective distance is very different on each hole. I like this because it really makes you think about the shot instead of just knowing you throw a teebird 225 and a destroyer 275, you have to think more about it and how much the hills will affect the overall lenght of the shot.
Cons: 1) With the massive elevation changes come rollaways. Not only are these rollaways based a little on luck, but they can be so extreme it will cost you 1-2 shots. You can rollaway well outside of your normal putting circle. That is a little too punishing because it relies a little on luck. Sure it take skill to land the disc appropriately but some kisses off trees, or kisses off the chains can still lead to a rollaway and that is a little too extreme.
2) Elevation as extreme as this course will often lead to slick bare spots. While it was not slick when I played it hadn't rained in a week. I could see those bare spots being pretty slippery after the rains and that can lead to a tough walk through this course.
3) I think this was a great use of the elevation and from time to time the trees were used effectively. I do however think that some trees and wooded areas could have been used better.
4) I understand the ampitheatre needs to be OB but the tee should not have been where it was. It was almost unfair to design a hole right over 225 feet of OB. In my opinion the tee could have been up and to the left of the previous basket instead of down and to the right bringing the entire ampitheatre in play.
5) The ground is very leaf covered which definitely contributes to the thin turf in spots. I couldn't imagine mowing these grounds in spots because of the extreme elevation. I have worked on golf courses for 10 years and done landscaping for 6 years and used all types of equipment, and I would not feel very safe mowing some of these hills!
6) There are a few areas of concern for safety. The first 3 holes are pretty tight and Hole #9 throws around those three holes and an arrant hyzer could run into hole #1. Hole 4 7 and 8 run next to each other and although they are protected by the scrub brush on the hill will prevent some discs from going off course. People on #7 tee may not see the disc coming and could get hit. The 16th hole is also a little close to the 15th basket. People who overshoot 15 are down near the ampitheatre and could be in danger to the next tee. This is another reason Iw ould rather see #16 tee in a different spot.
18 tee is also slightly in danger of hole 17 teeshots that ricochet off the trees on the mound.
7) Baskets although in decent shape do not catch quite like others. I know they are old old baskets salvaged from an extinct course but the chain width is simply not wide enough (at least in comparison to all of the current designed baskets. This is a negative to me because it isnt consistant, but I understand old baskets need to be used somewhere and having a course with them is still better than not having a course.
8) Although fairly short this course is not beginner friendly. Sure it is somewhat open but beginners will get too many rollaways and will likely get frustrated.
Other Thoughts: This was a great course and I am so glad I planned an extra day in Columbia so I could play here and Crooked Creek. I would have bypassed this city and missed out on two really great course. Crooked creek gets a higher mark only because of the amenities. The courses both challenge on every hole, but Earlewood gets knocked down slightly because of the baskets and also because of some of the issues I have mentioned. I didn't have much negative to say about Crooked Creek. Either way they are both great courses and if I lived in Columbia I woul be at either course every day if possible.
14 of 16 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The person who laid this place out did a brilliant job. It may be the best use of a small piece of land I've ever seen.
Many course builders have done way worse with better land. While the holes are close to one another, they do not really interfere with each other, and the flow of the place is just about perfect. There are many nice trees, but it doesn't play tight. You can get to all the routes with decent accuracy, and luck is not an issue when driving. I always find this characteristic positive. Some very short holes that play longer than the footage would indicate. There are no long holes- every hole is under 400 feet and most are under 300. It's old school bird-land. Think Rutgers with elevation changes.
My favorite holes, for now, are #9 (do NOT go right!), #16 (a healthy huck across the amphitheater), and #18- a fairly long, fairly tight downhiller that calls for a low, straight jolt.
Some holes lend themselves to roller drives, and some of the greens are very fast.
Cons: Having a huge arm is not an advantage. Not possessing said huge arm, this is not a con for me, but might be to some.
The baskets are weird- not really Mach l's- they catch better than that. Not really an issue either. They are adequate. Just received this update from DavidSauls;"The baskets were originally on a lighted course at Myrtle Beach in the 1980s. They are domed and configured for lights in the domes. The course was destroyed by Hurricane Hugo (1989), and the baskets relocated to Earlewood.
They are hybrids, since they've been upgraded with deeper baskets and inner chains. But they're narrower than most, and the domed top is unique.
The design is Harold Duvall's. Probably one of his first." Thanks for the Info Dave! Love this course!
Other Thoughts: Designers would do well to check this course out to see how well 18 holes can fit on a tiny parcel of acreage. Looks like a fun tournament venue- short enough to score but tight enough to keep you honest.
A darn good little course- Ignore the listed pars- this is a classic par 54 course.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
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