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.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Up and Down - Cool Course
Pros: Course is set away from the rest of the park (for the most part) in a large ravine that would otherwise be unusable. One cement tee pad per hole, in generally good shape. Course is moderately wooded. The trees combined with huge elevation changes make for interesting and challenging shots. Course uses some elements other than trees as obstacles which I normally don't like, but here its pretty cool. Telephone poles, a large above ground pipe on 10, and an amphitheather all come into play. 15-18 are very neat finishing holes. 15 goes downhill to the top of the amphitheater (I overshot and ended up in row 2 of the theater). 16 crosses back through the theater to a basket perched on a hill. 17 is 200 feet through narrow trees. 18 is a spectacular 350 feet steeply downhill through a narrow chute. I stopped for a deep breath and took it all in. Course has par 3's, 4's and 5's, so you'll get a variety of distances. With all the hills here you will get a good workout. Course also loops back to parking lot after front nine. Course is conveniently located, only a few miles from downtown and the USC campus.
Cons: Course essentially is in a big "V" shaped ravine. Front nine on one side of the "V", back nine on the other. If you don't like throwing or walking up and down, then this is a con. Some co-mingling of fairways, which could be an issue if crowded. It was very hot even on a late Sep. morning. Breeze blows when you get to the top of the ravine, no breeze when you are down low...I can only imagine what its like here in July or August. Hole markings have distance only, no map, had to walk up for a look on several holes. Any cons are minimal...this is a good, fun, and interesting course, where you'll get a real workout.
Other Thoughts: Not sure if this is pro or con, or "non-issue", but the par markings here are very easy. I went 3-3-3 on the first three holes, which were marked par 4-4-5. I was 11 under total with only one "2", and I'm not that good. I don't worry too much about the par markings...I enjoyed this course and will definitely go back on my next trip to Columbia.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 2 Not
Up and down
Pros: Huge elevation changes, makes a lot of GA courses look flat in comparison.
Great use of a small amount of land.
Several elements combine to make a pretty easy (on paper) course at least enjoyable:
2) old baskets make putting a more technical procedure
3) baskets on elevation make putting a risky procedure.
Nice tee pads and simple, yet adequate signs.
18 is daunting and a great way to finish.
Cons: Ridiculous sign par.
I would bet that on a crowded day you would see several overlaps that might involve you throwing onto or very close to people.
Possible tough navigation spots (I had a guide), these will clear up upon playing once...if I had to walk up and down the hills to find holes I might not be too happy.
Other Thoughts: What a great little course! It is a heck of a cardio workout if you play fast and has enough intrigue to keep you interested I think. I could see having a really good game here one day and just sucking the next time...the lines are tight but reasonable but could seriously punish you.
I will play here whenever I am in town.
12 of 14 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Nice city part that is easy to find, and easy to get around. Good layout with small distances between holes. Good signs. Good concrete tee-pads and a nicely kept-up park. Good use of elevation. Lots of ups and downs. Elevation is used on almost every hole. Several nice ace possibilities available. Several very nice holes, but I really enjoy #18. Tee off down a big hill and try to get your disc between a fairway clustered with trees. There is a line, but it can br tricky to get through. It's also one of the longer holes on the course.
Cons: No real long bomber holes. Nothing dramatic or unique. Throwing over the ampitheatre is cool, but pretty simple. There is a small creek that comes into play on several holes.
Other Thoughts: A good solid course. Probbaly best for newbies or intermediate players. Advanced players may get bored. I am about 5 strokes better here than on more challenging course's. Would be a great home course to learn the game and multiple shots. I play it whenever I go to Columbia now.
There is now a new crushed gravel walking path around the park. Could add some pedestrian traffic, but could also be used as an OB to toughen up some of the holes.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 0 Not
A Fun Short, HIlly Course!
Pros: The Earl is set in another multi-use park. For the most part the course is separate from the majority of the park patrons. This course is well designed using the rugged, hillside terrain of the park on almost every hole. The tee signs are good. The teepads are more than adequate. They have these funky old baskets with a chrome dome on the top, which incidentaly is a great place to place the next tee signs, which they have in many instances. Although it is a very short course with only five holes longer than 300 feet and none over 400 feet, it's fun and challenging due to the trees and elevation. The course was built in 1991 and the current pars on the signs reflect the disc technology from back then. I'm sure the course record playing the listed pars is somewhere around 20 to 25 under par. There are many ACE ops here. There are plenty of mature trees here but not so many that this would be considered a wooded "technical" course. That's my kind of my favorite thing about this course. The appeal it holds for most every player.
Cons: # 16 is a fun throw when nothings happening in the amphitheater but would have to be skipped with people seated there. The overall shortness of the course would be turnoff for some players.
Other Thoughts: With four par 5's and probably eight par 4's listed on a course this short, there are plenty of chances for eagles and probably a lot of double eagles, as well. I say play the pars as listed, rack up those exclusive eagles and enjoy. # 18 is a fun disc golf hole, looking down at the basket 330 ft. away through the many trees. I would love to have Earlewood as my home course.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -Great Layout with a good mix of open drives and tight accuracy shots.
-Good use of trees to make course more challenging.
-Great course for beginners and for more advanced players.
-My favorite holes are #9 (allows for a big drive with a "well placed" tree in front of the basket) and #18 (downhill where you can see the basket clearly through the trees)
-Columbia club has a weekly doubles tournament, check their website for more info
Cons: If it's your first time I suggest printing a map or going with a veteran. Not really a con ,but it can get fairly crowded during the prime hours.
Other Thoughts: A great course located close to downtown. A good mix of shot types and obstacles. If you are visiting Columbia, this is the course to play.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 5 Not
A- = A Great Course!
Pros: What I personally like and how this course stacks up:
1) Holes with good risk/reward -- B+ (most of the danger is a result of roll-aways)
2) Holes that have rewarding birdie opportunities -- A
3) More wooded than open - lots of variety of shots required caused by hole shape and topography -- A (even though the course is not a woods course, the use of the huge oaks and the terrain make up for that big time)
4) Natural beauty (Appalachian beauty preferred) and seclusion -- B (The big oaks are beautiful, but it still has too much of a feel of an urban park)
5) Bonus amount for multi-shot holes with defined landing zones, good risk/reward and multiple options to play them -- N/A
Other Thoughts: It's all about feeding the addiction, so I ranked this course subjectively based on my own "personal addiction factor". The grades above tell how well the course will draw me back to itself again and again and again. Since I have played a decent number of courses (115 18-hole, 50 9-hole as of early 2009), my hope is that players/explorers who have similar addiction tastes will find my ratings list helpful as they choose courses to play and explore.
Over time, I expect to fill some of my reviews in with more descriptive verbiage...if what I can add anything to what has already been written. For now, my list is more important to me than the verbiage of my reviews.
I fully expect others with different tastes/philosophies to disagree with me....that's the fun of things here. See my profile for my rating philosophy.
9 of 14 people found this review helpful.
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