• Discover new ways to elevate your game with the updated DGCourseReview app!
    It's entirely free and enhanced with features shaped by user feedback to ensure your best experience on the course. (App Store or Google Play)

Rock Hill, SC

Canaan Riverbend DGC

Permanent course
4.55(based on 13 reviews)
Filter course reviews

Filter reviews

Filter reviews

Canaan Riverbend DGC reviews

Filter
16 0
Doofenshmirtz
Gold level trusted reviewer
Experience: 12.1 years 122 played 72 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Sneaky River

Reviewed: Played on:Sep 10, 2022 Played the course:once

Pros:

This is the review of a traveling player. I played it once. It was awesome, but not perfect.

This course sits on a private campground on an "island" in the Catawba River. On the day that my group played this course, it had been raining for a few days and the river was swollen. Any disc that left the steep bank edge would likely be lost.

The hole layouts here are carved through mostly heavily wooded land and are in some ways typical of most of the golf courses in the Charlotte area. However, this course does have a couple of open holes with water carries and one or two out over an open field.

This course has some occasional, significant elevation changes on some holes, including hole 7 which, from the medium/short tees is a throw from an elevated platform across a pond to a basket on the side of a hill. Although the platform gives it an air of artificiality lacking in the rest of the course, it is, nevertheless, one of several memorable and fun holes on this course.

Fairway width-to-distance ratio is fair, which is another way of saying that, although, some of the holes are long, they present lines that can be hit without a perfect throw, giving some latitude for both mistakes and alternative types of throws. There is a good balance of both straight, right turning and left turning fairways and it didn't strike me as a course that favors any particular throwing style over others.

The views of the river range from cool, as on hole 2 to spectacular as on hole 12. Hole 12 is the signature hole in my opinion, a fairway that consists mostly of a gaping river gorge on the left of a heavily wooded fairway remainder on the right with a basket just to the right of straight ahead. You are basically throwing off a cliff here and needing a right-turning throw to park this basket with a throw just over 300 feet from the short tees. The view and the butt-clinching factor are both incredible. Pick the wrong disc and, when the water is as high as it was when I played, it is lost. Park this hole and, unless you are a pro, you will remember that shot for the rest of your life.

Canaan, for mostly good, has a number of very memorable holes from ace runs to par 4s. It is an exceptionally fun course and is my favorite, all round, among the courses that I played on my trip to Charlotte. There are a couple of navigational challenges on the course, but no major frustrations like Renaissance Gold.

It is pay to play, ALWAYS a positive for me. This course was well-maintained, had helpful and friendly staff and is in a phenomenal setting aside from its excellent design.

Cons:

The first con was a tee sign on Hole 2 that listed the hole distance from the short tee as over 300 feet. This hole is much shorter than that AND the basket is very close to the river. My disc when into the river on a shot that I thought would be parked until I discovered the distance error. After going through the course photos on this site, it appears that the course has been re-designed somewhat. There are only 18 holes now and possibly older signs were repurposed. Whatever the reason, this was aggravating.

There are a few minor navigational challenges. Once you complete hole 6, there you are. The closest tee pad is (now?) 13. There is nothing leading you to 7 unless you have a course map on your phone. Once you complet 12, you are a long way from 13 and unless you remember where 13 was located (possibly from mistaking it as 6) it will be a pain to find. Again, this is something that a past redesign might explain.

There is one hole out in a field, played as 10B, I think, that is, hopefully a temporary place marker for something else. Hole 14 could not be played and 10B is the current substitute.

The last negative that I encountered on this course was hole 16, apparently the former 18 (based on course photos here). It is a basket that is raised, making it just visible from the tee but with no indication that it is raised. I thought I parked it and almost lost another disc because when you are throwing at the basket, you are throwing at the river. This nonsensical (my most generous word without mentioning farm foul and waste) gimmick is compounded by the fact that it is raised so high that if you hit it and drop straight down, you will need to pitch away from it to give yourself another putt. A course with multiple, excellent, signature holes doesn't need a signature bad one. But Canaan Riverbend has it. If you want to see how such a basket should be implemented, go to Ford Park in Shreveport, Louisiana. A missed putt that hits the basket and lands at the base should be a drop in. One that costs you two strokes loses you a full half disc in my ratings book. For the record, my disc was nearby, safe and I made a 3. That doesn't make this elevated basket any better.

I could overlook most of the other cons as temporary, but a hole that you could park, landing your disc touching the base, but could not birdie without a little luck if at all and that was only made so with great effort just doesn't belong here. And I wouldn't care about that hole all that much if this wasn't such a great course otherwise.

Other Thoughts:

With one glaring exception, almost every hole on this course was exceptional. This was the most fun course that I played on this trip out of Hornets Nest, Chester State Park and Renaissance Gold. Rain and a tournament prevented our group from playing a few others.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
16 0
Shadrach3
Gold level trusted reviewer
Experience: 5.7 years 321 played 314 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Spectacular and Virtually Flawless 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Mar 26, 2022 Played the course:once

Pros:

An unrelenting course that exceeded my expectations and ranks in my top 2%.

-Amenities: Good. Grippy rubber matting tees, excellent tee signs, DISCatchers, next tee markers throughout.

-Dual Tees: Gold and White tees offer a nice variety of difficulty. The Gold are quite difficult (heck, they use them for USDGC doubles), and the Whites are appropriately named.

-Greens and Water: Probably the two signature features of the course. Greens are frequently precarious, adding a very real and difficult layer of strategy to putting. This includes mounds, drop-offs behind the basket, and often water. Speaking of, Riverbend uses its island location to the full. A good handful of holes have water carries or water danger ranging from the river 75' downhill behind the basket on (16) to a 420' left-to-right eagle water carry option on (11) Gold to an elevated putter shot over a pond on (7) White.

-Scenery: The river provides some outstanding views. Furthermore, as a ziplining property, the woods are appropriately lush, secluded, and overall perfect to play in.

-Shot Shaping/Gameplay: A varied and extremely challenging layout highlighting Mr. Duvall's skill. Riverbend is more wooded than open, but these aren't highly technical fairways for the most part, and give plenty of opportunity to lace line drives a long way. The variety of shot choice is very high - straight shots, hyzers requiring the perfect arc, big forehand opportunities, tiny wiggles in the fairway that need touch. As noted, the greens will reward great touch on approach shots. A lot of holes have fairways that narrow, widen, or otherwise change partway through the hole, which I enjoy. With five par-4s and two par-5s, there are plenty of multi-shot holes, but even the stretch of six par-3s on the first half felt far from monotonous as the distance and style varied. Other than the temp situation on (10), I honestly don't think I'd label any hole as weak - even less interesting holes like (18) are scenic and challenging.

-Second Course On Site: Unfortunately, I couldn't play the Sand Hills course, but it sounds like a nice change of pace from Riverbend.

Cons:

This is one of those courses that, though there are cons, you don't really notice them.

-Temporary (10): Okay, I just contradicted myself, because this is definitely a memorable con. Easily the biggest issue out here. Hole (14) was permanently removed for construction, and the two temporary holes (10A) and (10B) are the weakest. (10B) is just boring, but (10A) is memorably atrocious - an initial gap to a wide open field where the basket is maybe 70° right of the gap from the tee. I honestly don't know if there's any way to get to the basket in one shot, and just throwing to a field for a wide open approach is lame. Unfortunately, with (14) gone, it doesn't seem there's any solution forthcoming.

-Rollaways: Since the greens are a really cool feature, it feels lame to mention this, but putts rolling away could become aggravating. A majority of holes have the opportunity to easily three-putt.

-Disc Loss: Very real possibility. If you find the water, the current will take the disc away, and the slopes down to the water are far too steep to safely descend, anyway.

-Navigation: A few confusing transitions. There is some signage to help, but UDisc will still be helpful on the longer walks.

-Difficulty: The Golds are really hard. I don't think this is a real con because you can always switch to the Whites for a letup if you want.

-Footing: Some of the ditches in the fairways are quite steep. Sure footing is a must to play safely.

Other Thoughts:

Immediately after playing, I thought that except for the temp situation on (10), this was a 5.0. I'm not sure I would quite give it the bump now due to a lack of big elevation, but it's still a Phenomenal course - far better than my expectations for excellence. To me, this course is nestled nicely between Harmon Hills, Bucksnort, and Hobbs Farm on my rankings. Yes, it's great. All you Charlotte folks need to get down here and stop missing out. Traveling players, also make this a priority.

-Favorite Holes: Wanted to highlight some here. (1) is a classic starter, a long tunnel par-4 reminiscent of IDGC Jackson (1). (2) follows up nicely with a long, left-bending fairway and water lying for shots too straight. (7) is a quality pond hole. The Gold tee throws about 300' with a slight left finish, while the White tee throws on a porch 20' above the water for a great ace run. (11) is extremely memorable - the pros throw the 400'+ water carry over one of the most scenic rivers in disc golf, but most players will take the moderately wooded alternate fairway option, only to have a triple fairway option approaching the basket. (15) is a really nice par-5 that bends right off the tee, has a generous straight tunnel, and then fades right to the green. Hole (16) is a gentle right fade screaming downhill towards the water, and contains the memorable spiral staircase basket (which I personally disliked, but oh well).

~Similar Courses: Zipline Canopy Tours (Lula, GA); IDGC - WR Jackson (Appling, GA); wooded 9 on Brazos Park East (Waco, TX); Langley Pond (Burnettown, SC) on the water holes only.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
15 0
whitefedora
Silver level trusted reviewer
Premium Member
Experience: 15.7 years 906 played 36 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Mystic River 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Feb 20, 2021 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

- Baskets are in great shape
- Tee signs are useful and in great shape as well
- Course is easy to navigate
- Unique setting for the course, as it is on a very large island in the middle of a very large river
- Lots of undulating hills and beautiful foliage
- We played the course after a week of constant rain here and it was actually in quite good shape all things considering
- Has a warmup short techy course on sight
- Has practice baskets to warm up on as well
- Lots of good slopes and use of the elevation that is there

Cons:

- Can be a bit kitschy at parts. The large spiral staircase hole is mostly what comes to mind here. Especially because it's hard to understand just how perilous this hole is if you blow by off the tee and how impossible it is to putt if you land 2' behind the basket. Just an oddly penalizing hole on an otherwise championship level course.
- On that same note a lot of the greens are on mounds, which I don't really mind, but I could maybe use a touch less of this.
- The signature hole has some serious erosion issues and I imagine will be almost unplayable in years to come.
- I'm an elevation whore, so I just generally prefer more elevation, but this isn't actually a knock on the course given where the course is and it really uses the elevation the best that it can.
- I could imagine the rough being quite real here in the summer

Other Thoughts:

I really love this place. It's picturesque and can be a completely surreal and peaceful if you manage to get here when it opens and no one else is there. We arrived right when it opened and were the only car in the lot, but by the time we were finishing, the lot was nearly full. Even then, we still barely saw anyone since the holes tend to be pretty well spaced (and we started way ahead of others)

After playing it a few years ago and totally flopping the signature hole over the water, I had been dreaming of coming back to replay it. Certainly I was sad to see the erosion on the hole that had occurred, but it only makes sense being that the entire course is on an island after all.

To my pleasant surprise when returning, there were a lot more holes that just kind of get swept under the rug of the sheer awesomeness of hole 11. So many fun, well designed holes over and over again here. Takes precision, distance, and accuracy to score well here, but also none of the holes seemed unfair in the slightest with the exception of hole 18(?) and the staircase.

One of the things that I also thought was pretty neat was the random ziplines that encroach on the course. Never so much that they actually interfere with each other, but enough that you just every now and again get a "zzzZZZ... AHHHHHH... ZZZZzzz" noise in the background, or in our case "I ONLY CAME HERE BECAUSE OF YOU, JUST DO IT ALREADY"

Honestly I really wanted to give this place a 4.25. It doesn't quite fit with the other 4.5's in my book, but it's uniqueness, beauty, and amenities had me push it to the higher end of rounding rather than lower.

"Maybe someday you forget what it's like to be human and maybe then, it's OK." --Dave Boyle
Was this review helpful? Yes No
18 0
BrotherDave
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Experience: 16.9 years 192 played 189 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Rock Hill's Best Course 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Oct 7, 2017 Played the course:once

Pros:

Incredibly great course on a picturesque island, just 5 minutes down the road from Winthrop. These are 20 holes in wooded SC splendor, every other hole worthy of being on a calendar. The magnificent terrain is utilized brilliantly by the designer, seemingly to perfection. The fairways are by and large of superb width in commensurate with par, obstacles, elevation, angles, etc. Most of the holes suggest smart, placement golf but some holes simply demand it so if you're the type that prefers to air it out repeatedly you may not enjoy dissecting the challenge of the tighter holes. Likewise, this is not a course that is particularly kind to one-dimensional players so you'll need a good forehand and backhand to really feel comfortable here.

I was asked to throw a large variety of lines and on some holes like hole 1, there appeared to be equally good options off the tee rather than being a cut and dry "lefty hole" or "FH hole." The only lines that didn't seem a good idea were rollers because the terrain is so unpredictable. Picture a DG course on a Sharpei's wrinkled back with steep drop-offs into a river and dense rough bordering the fairways and you basically have Canaan's terrain. The greens in particular share a common theme of being exactingly as challenging as possible. There's no point to the practice baskets at the start of the course because you rarely get to see a drama-less putt on flat ground on this course. Baskets are almost always perched on a ridge, a knoll, or precariously by a deep gully. Even hole 18 refuses to be a typical, short left to right turnover hole by having the basket raised on top of a metal, spiral staircase. If you think putting is too easy in DG then Canaan Riverbend is a wonderful exception.

I really enjoyed the length of the course and the design of the fairways, really proper par 4's here. It really felt like a Duvall design because it reminded me a lot of Caste Hayne except with the epic terrain. The flow can be a bit wonky at times but transitions are usually really short and not taxing, with good signs making navigation a breeze. The tees are the rubber hexagon mat variety and very well done.

Cons:

This is as good a place as any to explain why I can't give this course a 5. It's $6 to play (which is a effing bargain and I'm as frugal as they come) but with that comes an extensive signing in and out process and although this is a private course, the $6 isn't buying you an exclusive private course experience. Unlike say, Harmon Hills or Sugaree, you share Camp Canaan with other Canaanites that are camping, zip lining, playing sports, and doing other summer camp activities near enough to the holes that you feel more like you're at a public park than a private course. It's certainly cleaner than a public park though. It's just a bit tough to concentrate on executing that perfect turnover you need when there are kids making a ruckus a few feet away.

The tees are fine but you know me, I'm a concrete snob. The rough really is quite dense. I've seen worse and I wouldn't say the rough is overly disc eating (except the river obviously) but it's dense enough that I was really dissuaded from really going for it on some holes simply because I didn't want to spend the time looking for errant throws. If the rough was thinned out enough to not make discs disappear but still difficult (instead of impossible) to scramble out of, it would be perfect. Some of the holes were a little confusing for first time play because of occasional unrelated trails. One hole had a volleyball court within range which isn't ideal.

The only other real con arguably is that the course is completely wooded. If you prefer courses that have balance and variety of open and wooded holes you won't be completely satisfied. But you like weaving through gorgeous old growth forest you'll be in paradise.

Other Thoughts:

Absolutely must-play, no bones about it. In my few forays into the other Carolina, this is by far the best course I've played yet in this state. It's truly spectacular and everything is great, from the design, to the aesthetics, to fun factor, to erosion prevention, to safety, etc. I cannot wait to return, preferably in the Winter when I'll be a little braver to let it rip without needing a Native American tracker to find my disc in the foliage.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
8 1
Buschbacher
Experience: 13.1 years 31 played 9 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Ridiculous Course 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Apr 2, 2017 Played the course:once

Pros:

I am not going to write a novel length review of this course, as there are already plenty of those, but I have to enter something as this course is simply awesome. By no means is this is beginners course, unless you want to play for 3 plus hours and have a few discs set aside for sacrifice to the river gods, but this is truly one pay to play that needs to make your list.
Canaan Riverbend truly has everything you could look for in a course from long holes where you can stretch your arm to elevated tee boxes, tight fairways and several that run parallel to the river. Hell there is even a hole where the basket is atop a spiral staircase in the middle of the woods.
Anyway, if you want step by step play check some of the other reviews, but you really need to hit this course.

Cons:

As you can tell based on my Rating and Pros I loved this course, but here are a few items to keep in mind:
- Rough is rough so keep it on the fairway, otherwise there are plenty of thorns to make it exciting
- No pets (my dog is my most consistent playing partner)
- Set within Christian Camp - does not bother me, but I know there are many that like to drink and/or smoke while playing

Other Thoughts:

Maybe warm up with a few holes on the short course before you tackle Riverbend, but I think anyone can enjoy this one...
Was this review helpful? Yes No
10 0
Jaysauls
Gold level trusted reviewer
Experience: 15 years 129 played 71 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Dang near brilliant 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Nov 19, 2016 Played the course:once

Pros:

First let me call out the folks that want 'pay to play' a course. If that keeps you from playing this course/facility, you're simply an idiot. Just putting it out there! Riverbend course at Old Canaan is simply excellent. Dang near a 5-star course. I might come back later and change my rating, but for now. 4.75 in my eyes. The designers use of the land (all but hole #10) is outstanding. From hole #1 - 672' through a colonnade a trees - through hole 20, this course meanders across a quite, serene island with enough holes near water to keep you butt puckered for hours!

Hole# 2 - is the first place you experience the river as it comes up beside the fairway. The basket is on a ridge that an errant shot can leave you without your putter.

Hole# 3 is the first RH 'oh dear God, I don't want to lose this disc' hole. It's short, 179, but righties will have to take their shot on a Hyzer out over never-never land. Hit the line, park the hole. Miss it and bye-bye disc.

#4 is a straight-line 400' rip! Get your grip on and let it go!

The course stays mostly short and away from water through hole #7. There some nice Anhyzer/Hyzer shots until you get to hole #8...Here's your second "I want to park this hole, but don't want to lose more plastic! It's a straight line 300' hole with the river 10' to the right. HIt a tree and bye-bye plastic.

And on to the stupid hole...This is why I can't give a 5-star review. the fairway is okay, a slight righty downhill shot. But the tee is 8' BELOW the fairway, in a hole. Just freakin' dumb. Need a spotter unless you are over 6'5"

We get back to the long holes with #11. I tight, right turning hole with a low ceiling and a lot of trees! Not a bad hole, but my 2nd least favorite. Take out a few trees and it's a much more enjoyable hole.

#12 is cool high-hyzer shot to a bluff, then down to the basket. Fairly simple.

And that leads us to HOLE #13...Only the BRAVE go for the green! Can you throw 400' on an anhyzer line OVER a river and clear the 20' bluff where the basket is? Then go for it! I took the 427' wuss line to the basket. But man, what an EPIC hole!

#14-17 are a set of really long, turning holes, some right, some left. Thankfully you exit the bomb holes to a short, down hill (mostly) hole.

#18 is a tiiight 252' fairway, dropping down hill to a basket on top of a 10' spiral staircase. Park the hole and have no shot at the basket! Need to drop about 10' back to hit it.

#19-20 are fairly easy holes with #19 being a hard hzyer shot (and way beyond the length of my arm, #20 being an thankfully short 220 shot straight ahead, but with the rifer to the left. So one last chance to lose your plastic!



Cons:

Not many, and has been mentioned by other reivewers, too many baskets on the edges of mounds or hillsides. Putt for bird, miss and walk away with a 4 or worse. Did get a bit tiring toward the end. But this is like complaining about the pin striping on your vette.

Would have also liked a few benches. This is a long course and it would have been nice to have a place to sit

Other Thoughts:

I played this course after the leaves had dropped and everything was brown. I've heard that summer is beautiful
Was this review helpful? Yes No
16 1
DiscGolfCraig
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Premium Member
Experience: 20.1 years 605 played 551 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Come on the risin' wind, we're goin' play Canaan Riverbend

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:Nov 12, 2016 Played the course:once

Pros:

Canaan Riverbend is an absolute gem of a course. Somehow, a course this good in an elite-disc golf metro has remained to be hidden. And that's just from playing the short tees!
- Canaan is even better than I expected. I'll admit I was skeptical about how a course 15 minutes south of Charlotte could be getting such positive reviews yet many disc golfers in the area (myself include) didn't know much about it. After making trips to play courses several hours away, I finally made the short drive to one of the closest courses to my house. Man, did I feel like a fool for not coming here sooner.
- The first three holes alone give you feels of three different courses. I played the shorter tees with my pal. Even from the shorter tees, the course is tough. Hole #1 reminded me immediately of WR Jackson at the IDGC. A long, wide-fairway layout that still plays tough.
- Hole #2 is 312 feet (from the shorts) that is a semi-sharp dogleg left. If you miss the dogleg, you're in the river. #3 is only 111 feet from the short tee, and is about as easy of a birdie chance you'll see all day. From the long tee, you're throwing over the creek, which is a taste of things to come.
- This is the longest 5800-foot course I've ever played. Even from the short tees, many of the holes are grinds. The way that's most often achieved is by creating challenging putting zones with baskets on the edges of slopes.
- This is both a pro and a con. On one hand, just like a (ball) golf putting green where you need to land your ball on the correct side of the hole, you need to be accurate with where your disc lands. On several occasions, I thought I had thrown a great tee/approach shot, landing 15-25 feet from the basket. When I got to my disc I realized I was above the basket, and if I missed my putt, I'd be down the hill, facing a 40-foot comeback putt. Nothing to slow your momentum in a tough round like having to lay-up from 25 feet.
- Course is relatively flat, yet, somehow also somehow seemed to have just enough elevation to create difficulty. It was another layer of challenge to have holes seem flat, but to have enough elevation to cause shots to either land short or sail long.
- Course offers some great, creative layouts. A straight, 156-foot layout should be an ace run....however, on #9, when the Catawba River is running along the left side of the fairway, suddenly the fairway seems pretty narrow and you can start overthinking about having a shot sail left or kicking off a tree towards the water. Same thing on the next hole. #10 is a dogleg left, 192-foot downhill layout that now has the river behind the basket in case you sail long. Now, you're thinking about whether you want to throw a disc 192 feet, or if it's better to only throw it 160, 170, 180 feet. How brave are you going to be?
- Then there's #13. The Beauty and the Beast hole. Outside of a couple mountain holes, this is the most picturesque holes I've ever seen on a disc golf course. The tee pad from the longs (427 feet) has you throwing over the edge of the Catawba to a right curve back towards the basket. You'll want to stop here just to take in the peaceful, serene view. Just remember, no matter how long you stop, you're going to have make a tough throw. At least from the short tees, you have a realistic option of avoid the river altogether and still having a birdie putt.
- What separates this from the elite Charlotte courses - Nevin, Renny, Hornets Nest, Bradford - is that this is a private course. On the Saturday we played, we only saw a couple other groups of disc golfers, some people on the zip line course and a couple other park goers. For more than an hour, we never saw anybody else there. Good luck finding that in any of the public courses.

Cons:

This is a pro and con, so here's the con perspective: too many baskets are placed on the edge of slopes. Is it gimmicky or is it creating a game where you must land on the correct side of the basket? In the majors - U.S. Open, the Masters - are pro (ball) golfers penalized for landing on the wrong part of the green? This idea clearly rewards accuracy and/or players who have a knowledge of Riverbend. It's also going to frustrate/anger many players who don't appreciate this added layer of challenge.
- I didn't like having two similar long par 5s only two holes apart on the back 10. Both #15 & 17 are long, dogleg rights. Whereas #17 is a solid layout, #15 was the inferior product in that the bend was much longer, and more extreme, the fairway was much narrow, and the rough wasn't cleared away as much. The second half of #15 was the only portion of the course that wasn't cleared away, having an in-progress feel to it. It wouldn't be noticeable anywhere else. Here, with the quality so high, I was aware of an 'average' portion of one hole.
- The closing holes aren't what you'd expect of a potential championship caliber course. The closing hole - #20 - for sure isn't the challenging end you'd expect from a top-notch course. Compared to the final hole at Renaissance, for example, it's a major blemish here. I wonder if the course was turned into an 18-hole layout, if a better closing hole could be had.
- I don't recall many benches throughout the course. On a hot day, you'll be wanting them in the closing stretch.
- Not a con, but must be stated for the ill-prepared: You must pack out your own trash. Also, for the stereotypical player, no drinking or smoking, so you'll have to adjust. Between that and the non-flat putting circles, you're going to be irritable for the better part of 2-3 hours.

Other Thoughts:

Canaan Riverbend is close to an elite-level course. If I had played from the pro tees instead, I might be able to remove the disclaimer entirely.
- Canaan clearly seems to be a sleeping giant. I must tread carefully with this statement. Charlotte, and its disc-golf community, tend to have an elitist, inward focused mentality in regards to other nearby courses. Think of ESPN and how if a sport doesn't appear on its airwaves (the NHL), it's virtually ignored by the mothership. If Riverbend were in Charlotte proper, this course would have been getting praised from day 1. Instead, simply being just outside the city, many disc golfers don't even know the course exists. And that's an unintentional shame.
- Variety is this course's flavor. After the back-to-back shorter water holes, you suddenly face a crazy, low ceilinged tee shot on #11. That's followed up by a fun, dogleg left, slight uphiller on #12. However, if you go long, you're down in a valley thanks to another basket on the edge of a slope. And that leads to #13.
- #20 is a good, simple hole. I just wish it wasn't the closing hole. Switch #17 with #20, and you're ending on a high note.
- There are steep slopes down to the water on many of the water holes. I was reminded to not go in the water, plus I signed a disclaimer at the start. However, I didn't know the trek down the slope could be challenging to retrieve a disc that was still on land, as happened to me on #20.
- This course most often reminded me of New Quarter Park in Williamsburg, VA. That course is in my top 5%, and I feel Riverbend is in that same elite category.
- It's a no-doubt must play for all disc golfers in the area. It's also going on my recommendations for every 'I'm visiting Charlotte, what courses should I play' thread.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
14 0
DavidSauls
Gold level trusted reviewer
Premium Member
Experience: 29 years 131 played 68 reviews
5.00 star(s)

Duvall's Masterpiece 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Jul 16, 2016 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

So much for my belief that I'd never rate an all-woods course a 5......

This course has a magnificent setting, the most beautiful non-mountain course I've played. It's on private property on a huge island in the Catawba River, with magnificent trees and an almost-tropical forest, and some incredible river views from high bluffs. No sounds of traffic, and almost entirely in a disc-golf-exclusive area.

The holes are carved out of this forest in an endless variety of lengths, twists, and elevation changes. The fairways are clearly defined and wide enough that you'll expect to stay in them, but challenging enough that you often won't. No poke-and-hope holes, or threading through impossibly tight trees. Accuracy is rewarded; scrambling and recovery skills are inevitably rewarded as well.

One unique feature are hundreds of small mounds---think ski slope moguls, rising up to huge sand dunes---constantly in play, and used amazingly well. So while the overall elevation change is moderate, there are lots of tricky pin places, fast greens, death putts, as well as deflections and barriers to low shots. Pictures simply do not do them justice.

Several holes give you the option to throw from a high cliff, out over the river and back. Or, sometimes, not back. But for the more timid among us, they offer safer routes, though not entirely safe if you hit trees and ricochet back towards oblivion.

Though wooded and shady, the fairways are carpeted with a well-mown, grassy vegetation, which enhances the beauty of the course. It also means that, unlike many wooded courses, the fairways aren't full of roots and rocks to cause crazy disc skips and bad footing on stances.

Almost every hole has 2 tees, usually dramatically different. From the gold tees it's a full-blown disc golf challenge; from the white tees it's great fun, with still plenty of bite. I'd think both would cater to most players---the gold is great for weaker players like myself, even if it's a beatdown---and the white still forces better players to be accurate, or else. And if that's not enough, there's another course, beginner-level, on the property.

Amenities: The course starts at a pool and poolhouse, where there are bathrooms and water fountains. There are also bathrooms further along the course, which I presume are open.

Cons:

Well, it's a private property, with more stringent conduct rules, limited hours, and pay-to-play. For some of us, this is a "pro", but for others, be forewarned.

There are no benches. Bring a chair.

The rough is.....rough. Watch your disc, and be prepared to choose between a heroic shot out, and a timid one.

Serious chances to lose discs here. Not so much from the rough, but the river, and the near-cliff riverbanks.

There is one extremely out-of-place gimmick---a basket mounted high in the air on top of a free-standing spiral staircase. In context of the rest of the course, it's a jarring sight, and with no layup options.

These white tees, though fine in their own right, do include one or two silly-short shots, one of which is 111'.

Other Thoughts:

If it's not obvious now, I was dazzled by this course. It's right at the top of the courses I've played, for the combination of the gorgeous setting and amazing design.

I'm not sure about the rest of the facility and who it serves. I saw tons of canopy ziplines in action, as well as a ropes course and river kayaking. If these are open to the general public, this is a tourist destination beyond just the great disc golf.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
7 0
apdrvya
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Premium Member
Experience: 14.2 years 354 played 299 reviews
4.50 star(s)

only a year old? really incredible. 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 7, 2016 Played the course:once

Pros:

Aesthetic-- plays on an island in the river in Rock Hill. The island is a christian summer camp so watch for campers. Near the end of the course, zip liners and/or high ropes courses may be overhead so watch the high throws.

Baskets-- Innova DisCatchers. the yellow bands helped to aid visibility. all in great shape and present.

Teepads-- these teepads are actually incredible. the lattice mats over concrete are great and I'm sure are incredibly durable and easy to drain. These are my 2nd preference after concrete.

Routing and nav-- maps provided at the poolhouse ( I posted for both courses) but "next tee" signs abound.

Dual Tees-- It was nice to have the option to play shorts if we wanted to due to the heat...

Visually stunning-- #13 is by far the most beautiful hole I've ever played. I didn't bomb out over the water but it was super tempting.

Teesignage-- all there and visually pleasing.

facilities-- there is a bathroom near #5/15, USE IT! you can also fill your water bottles if needed. the comment was made that there aren't benches... there is a firepit near #4 that has plenty of seating and there are multitudes of places to sit and relax.

Challenge/variety-- the challenge here lies in the terrain and trees. I'm not saying the course is unfairly heavily wooded (it was actually welcome after playing winthrop), but there are trees everywhere.

Cons:

Rough-- the rough here is demanding, keep your plastic on the fairway.

No short pads on 19/20? We could not find them.

Other Thoughts:

With a second course on the island and low admission prices, this should be a secondary destination course in Rock Hill... simply stunning in every sense of the word.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
17 0
Discette
Gold level trusted reviewer
Experience: 27.8 years 679 played 64 reviews
5.00 star(s)

Championship Course in the Woods 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Oct 9, 2015 Played the course:once

Pros:

Overview

The Camp Canaan Riverbend Course is a Championship Level course designed by Harold Duvall. It winds through the mature woods on a private island in the middle of the Catawba River. The views of the river while playing under the mature trees is really breathtaking. The course is challenging, fun and fair and requires thoughtful planning and execution to score well. Accuracy and staying in the fairway is more important than having big distance. The river absolutely comes into play along several holes. While I am not a gold level player, I enjoyed playing the Gold Tees. I can't wait to come back and play it again.


I used bullet points for those that don't want to read the entire review.

Challenging, Fair and Fun
Honestly, I love challenging courses, but I really love it when they are fun at the same time. This course really makes you think before you throw. It also has lots of natural beauty. I loved all the awesome views of the river while playing. I appreciated that the fairways were ample and fair and required good shot execution. The course required a variety of shots and elevation was used to add more challenge. Some baskets were on mounds or perched next to steep drop offs to add extra challenge on a few holes. The "Back Ten" is insanely challenging with two par fours and two incredible par fives. If that kind of challenge doesn't sound fun to you, consider playing the Sand Hill course instead.

Two Sets of Tees
The course offers Gold and White Tees. I played the Gold Tees on my visit and they were exceptionally challenging. While I am not a Gold level player, I enjoyed the challenge presented by the Gold tees. If you don't like the extra fear factor, there is much less of that from the White tees. The White tees take out some river danger and doglegs. I personally can't wait to go back and play a more relaxed round from the White tees. It is possible for one or two members of the group to play from the White tees while the others play from the Gold.

Be respectful
This is private land that is being opened up to the disc golf community. Please register in advance and check in when you arrive. Plan to carry your own trash. They do not have trash cans on every hole, but there are trash cans available around the property. No tobacco, alcohol or drugs are allowed on the island. If you want to play a drunken round of disc golf with your buddies, this is not the place for you.

Amenities
It sure is nice to play at such a beautiful facility. All the While and Gold Tees had full color tee signs. Every tee had nice rubber tee mats that were properly installed. Hole 4 has an amazing large deck for the Gold Tee. Every fairway looked mowed and manicured. I particularly enjoyed the "ladder stairs" used throughout the course. They look like they are made from life-size Lincoln Logs. These stairs are built and installed to last a long time. One of these ladders ia visible in the photo of Hole 3 Gold Tee. It is fun to be around other people who are having fun enjoying the zip lines and kayaking on the river. Everything was immaculately clean. There was no garbage, no butts, no broken bottles and no graffiti.

Ready to Play
Yet, still work in progress. I had the honor and privilege of playing the course with the course designer. It was very interesting to hear how the course evolved and all the effort that went into making it possible. Every single hole we played, the designer would talk about all the areas where he had taken out trees and underbrush. He thinks the course needs more work before it is tournament worthy. I would respectfully disagree. I have played plenty of wooded courses in PDGA events that would be lucky to have fairways this wide and well-manicured. Specific landing areas were cleared out for top players as well as less skilled players. He also kept pointing out what vegetation was next on the chopping block. Sure there is some super tough stuff in the rough but I think that is expected of any new course in the deep woods.


Requires Good Decision Making
Or should I say: Rewards Good Decision Making. This course will make you think twice about your shots. You have to play this course with some confidence in your ability to execute the shot with the disc you have selected. Even if you make the right decisions, if you miss your mark, you could be left scrambling from the rough or end up in the water. If you have ever played Winthrop Gold, you understand that Harold Duvall has a way of making a player think twice. If you think a shot looks easy, beware that some other danger may be waiting for you should you fail to execute properly.

Intimidating but fun
There is a lot of Risk and Reward here. Although, I greatly appreciate that there were alternate, safer routes on the water holes, even from the Gold tees. The alternate routes are not for optimal scoring, but they are an option for players that would prefer not to risk losing plastic to the river. The white tees do not require players to throw over the water. The only hole that was still tricky from the White tees would be Hole 9. There is a steep drop off to the river all along the left side of the fairway and the right is a steep hill. Players must execute straight shots that do not bail to the left or right to score well (and avoid going in the river) on this gem of a hole. The river holes are beautiful yet frightening and provide a disc golf adrenaline rush. If you don't like that feeling, or you don't want to lose plastic, you probably won't enjoy playing this course as much as I did. Don't forget the Sand Hills course on the property is a safer option.

Elevation in play
The course designer thought this was a flat piece of land, so tried his best to employ what little elevation there was in the design. By Hole 10, I was doubtful that this was "flat" property. There is plenty of up and down in the fairways, several raised tees and a number of pin placements are perched on the edge of mounds or steep drop offs. While it is not mountain golf, it is not flat.


Know where you are throwing
If you are playing this course blind, you may want to take the time to walk up the fairway and see what is in store before you take the next shot or have a spotter. It is great to know that there is a steep drop off next to the basket or a river behind the green. I would recommend playing the White Tees on first time through as they are pretty straight forward. Then you will know what to expect when you play the Gold Tees.




Kids, carts and strollers
I would say no to carts and strollers and a definite no to kids IN strollers. There is too much up and down and too many areas with rugged terrain. Steep ladder stairs are common on the course, and it would not be easy to use these while pushing or pulling a cart/stroller. We played the course after record rainfall and it really wasn't too muddy, but I could see that this would be tough to play in the rain.

Restrooms
There is a large restroom facility that you pass by after Hole 4 and again before the tee on Hole 14. This is a deluxe facility with electricity, running water, soap and heaters. I also passed by some portable johns a couple of times. Not sure if those are set up all the time.

Worth the Price - 60 holes for $6.00
It is possible to play 60 holes of disc golf for your $6.00 fee. There is the Riverbend 20 hole course with two tees for 40 holes. Then the Sand Hills course for another 20 holes. I come from Southern California where many courses are pay to play. The parks near my home charge a $10.00 daily entry fee, so paying $6.00 to play at a top notch facility all day seems extremely reasonable and a downright bargain. However, I understand players in this area have lots of free choices and don't want to pay for disc golf. Still, with all the amenities at Camp Canaan, it is well worth the fee and the drive. Pay to Play means you get to disc golf on a super clean property with no beer cans and cigarette butts. It also means nice clean modern restrooms.

Bugs
I thought there would be more bugs and biting things. Maybe it is the time of year I played. I forgot my bug spray, but luckily never missed it.


Cons:

19 out of 20
This course is practically perfect. My only dislike is the Spiral Staircase Hole 18. I simply don't think a target raised this high belongs on a Championship level course. I surely understand all the reasons behind it. It is a short hole right next to the river and needed some extra challenge plus it is nice to be able to see the target from the Gold tee. If you playing disc golf for fun, this hole adds some more fun to the equation. If you ever play an event here, be sure to practice putting on Hole 18 BEFORE the round. It definitely requires a specific skill to score well and not just rack up strokes. I might offer a second target option for this hole during an event.

Pay to Play and limited hours
Disc Golf on weekends is better than no disc golf at all. While some may consider this a con, I consider it a plus. P2P means you get to play disc golf at a top notch facility on a fun and beautiful piece of land. It means fairways without cigarette butts and broken beer bottles. It means we can have nice things.


Water in Play
It is not a con if you don't lose any discs. Be advised that the water can come into play on at least 7 or 8 holes and there is a definite possibility of losing plastic. If you play the White Tees, there are no carries over the water, but several fairways border the river. No one in our group lost any discs in the water, but a couple of discs did go for a swim.

Other Thoughts:

Must Play Again
I wish I had more time to play the course again and play from all the White tees. It had a lot of fun the first time and I know it would be even more enjoyable a second time. It would give me the chance to go for more shots and not be so intimidated. I would also love to play the other course on the property.

Top Notch Facility
Camp Canaan is located on a 100 acre Island in the Catawba River in Rock Hill, South Carolina. It is a summer camp as well as an adult retreat and adventure facility. In addition to disc golf, they offer they have Zip Line Adventure Tours, a ropes course and archery facilities.

No tobacco, alcohol or drugs.
Means a super clean course with no cigarette butts and broken bottles. Please be respectful of the Christian family atmosphere. Please don't bother to play here if this policy offends you.


My Rating - Five Discs
One bad hole doesn't spoil the whole bunch. There is plenty of Championship level disc golf to be had at Camp Canaan Riverbend Course even if I personally don't like Hole 18. This is absolutely a 5 star PDGA Gold level Championship course on a 5 star piece of property. Designed by one of the top course designers in the sport today, it offers a 5 star challenge with shot variety and elevation in play. The fairways are fair and the green are dangerous. The views of the river are a spectacular bonus. This new course is already awesome and is going to get even better as more amenities are added. This is a must play disc golf experience if you are in the area and immediately made my "Favorites".
Was this review helpful? Yes No
7 4
filobedo
Experience: 19 years 290 played 21 reviews
5.00 star(s)

Private, secluded, easy to navigate and one of the two best courses in SC! 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Oct 11, 2015 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

Other than Pipeline, the Gold Course is the best course in SC currently. Twenty sets of tees on the course and also a beginner friendly nine course with two sets of tees on property. Review of Gold tees and targets include the following for RHBH,
#1 - Par 4 to start on a straight forward hole through a gap of trees and wide fairway. Green is elevated and narrowed as you approach. You must have and accurate drive to start your round off with a par or two consistent shots for a putt for birdie.
#2 - Slow hyzer up the fairway to a quick turn to green. Green is protected by huge ditch and elevated basket.
#3 - Dangerous hole if you do not make the drive over the river. Hyzer over river into well protected green or safe route up the center. If you land in river, be careful of retrieving discs as there is a huge dropoff. This is how more holes should be designed, TWO ROUTES!
#4 - Open fairway to open green.
#5 - Great tunnel shot for accurate midranges to an uphill green with massive dropoff behind.
#6 - Great slight anhyzer down and up to green. Reminds me of shorter version of #7 (I think) on Jim Warner.
#7 - One of the most beautiful holes in dg. Hyzer tee shot downhill then uphill second to large green.
#8 - Tight uphill tunnel shot to basket up on a hill with major dropoff behind. If you miss fairway, miss left below basket and do not get stuck on right or in middle behind trees.
#9 - Another beautiful hole with the river bordering fairway on left. Tight tunnel uphill to guarded green.
#10 - Super tight teeshot from down in a valley up and over to guarded green.
#11 - Tight, long and protected. Stay in the fairway! Lots of trees but two lines to the basket for a putt.
#12 - Teeshot out of a hollow to uphill green. Basket sits below green about 12 feet and tight. I would like to see a left route on hole for risk/reward due to the green is blind if not on hill from drive.
#13 - Probably signature hold but no much a landing area from tee pad bordering the river. Flick or long anhyzer across river to guarded fairway and green. DO NOT TRY TO RETRIEVE DISCS IN RIVER.
#14 - Awesome hole with straight, tight teeshot to fishhook left turn to large green. Tough hole to par much less birdie
#15 - Long tight up and over with elevated basket for difficult par 5. Reminds me of some Russell Schwartz holes in terms of where the basket sits.
#16 - Great straightforward tunnel shot with midrange or fairway driver but must get out of into the open for birdie chance. Large dropoff behind basket if you go long.
#17 - Long but fair par 5 where getting off the tee is essential, Great Hole!
#18 - TIGHT! Signature hole due to basket in circular stairwell possibly. Great hole other than target. Target reminds me of putt-putt courses on the Redneck Riviera.
#19 and #20 give you a break with fun but challenging drives off the tees.

Cons:

No benches and no trash cans.

Other Thoughts:

Great, great job! Be respectful of the property and privilege to play this course and buy the season pass (it is only $49) if you live within 200 miles and plan to play at least twice annually at a minimum. This type of course will grow the sport and exclude entitled people who always complain about pay to play/private courses and are just plan bad and negative people which is the type of people ruining it for everyone. As much as Harold and Innova have done and continue to do for the sport, they deserve lots of credit and respect for getting courses all over the world in the ground. Getting to play on this property is a privilege not a right thanks to Harold and Innova. Visit discgolfunited.com for tee times (bring a copy of your registration and always register regardless if you are a season pass holder) and protocol for visiting and playing and pack out all trash.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
8 1
Bennybennybenny
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Experience: 13.3 years 308 played 289 reviews
3.50 star(s)

Over the top but I like it! 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Aug 8, 2015 Played the course:once

Pros:

-This is a nice place at a nice camp. As much as I hate getting slaughtered on the course, I still loved it! Course can be "impenetrable" if you play the gold layout! The white layout is more forgiving and less complex. None of the holes here can be birdied easily! Most of them are extremely hard to even make par on!
-Many ridiculous pin positions! Some ridiculous fairways! In particular hole 3 on the long. It's only 179' so it seems very easy but the fairway slopes down toward the water! It's INSANE! Hole 9 has the view of the water to the left side. If you kick left, you will well likely lose your disc! It's also pretty short at 246' but it takes a lot to birdie this hole!
-A lot of the positions are dangerous! #18 is ridiculous on the spiral stairway. This is just one of them! Some good shots here will, without a doubt, leave you with a death putt! I guarantee you on #18. The first two holes both have high potential rollaway due to being on hills. If you think the positions at the Bluff are crazy, wait until you see this. They are difficult but they are fun nevertheless!
-Mostly wooded but there are a couple of holes that are more "open." Length variety is great! Lengths range from 179' to 702'. I love hole 4! It's a 411' par 3 that plays slightly downhill. The hole is a bit more traditional but the tee is on a deck and it plays out into a beautiful open green, and #13 may actually be the most beautiful hole in Rock Hill with a sweet water carry and back into the woods, requiring a strong hyzer!
-Rubber tee pads. I think they are great! The tee signs are also very helpful because they give the hole length and a good diagram.
-Dual sets of tees, I already mentioned that but that is a pro. I would recommend you play the shorts first if you are rated under 930. My pdga rating is like 877 and you could tell I should've played the shorts first due to how badly I played the longs. I didn't even think I was capable of scoring that bad!
-It starts off pretty basic for a high rated player with a straightforward hole 1. There are two lanes and they are not too wide but they aren't guarded really so a slight hyzer probably wouldn't hurt. If you can throw an easy 300' approach, this hole won't be very hard to par. It's just the basket that is tricky. You then get the hardest hole (#2) out of the way. #3 is a "doable" two but you may want to take the left lane just to be safe. The right lane is a hyzer over the water and the ledge is extremely steep! Things get really difficult once you get to hole #8. It's super tight.
-Friendly locals! The guy at the check in was really cool! He was polite and even got a guy in the water by #13 who was rock hopping to get my disc out of there.
-Bathrooms beside hole #5. There are also multiple practice baskets on the way to #1.
-The Sand Hills course is also on site. I didn't get to play it yet but I will soon! It looked really fun as well!
-Scorecards are available at the front desk and there is a map on them.

Cons:

-It's a little rough in places! #11 in particular. It's very thorny in areas. I hate it when pain is the consequence to a bad shot. Some holes are just too hard as well. I know a gold course is meant to be like that but some holes are too hard to par. As scenic and as interesting #13 is, there is NO FREAKING WAY THIS IS A PAR 3. I know it's only 427' and I can throw 427' easily but not when there is a tree is completely straight ahead where you have to throw a massive hyzer and hope it doesn't roll back left into the water! A 2 would not feel like a birdie to me! I would feel really accomplished where it feels like an eagle. It's even tougher if you play the safe lane to the right. This hole is sweet but it's just too hard!
-#2 is a nightmare!! Sorry, but I hate it! It's even harder than #13. It's a U shaped par 3 and it's 444' long! This hole and 13 are both too hard to be par 3's! The basket is by a drop off and is severely punishing! Even a pro would find this hole ridiculous! I think it's better on the short because it has enough challenge but not too much.
-Some fairways are just weird. It's mainly just the par 5's (15 and 17). #15 turns quite a bit where it almost plays as a triple dogleg! The tee shot requires you to go left and once you get to the bend, you still have to turn right a good bit. This one isn't unfair but it is confusing! #17's tee shot is a tricky little flick. You can't give it much power because it turns right after like 50'. This hole is a legit double dog leg right.
-No benches yet but that is just a matter of time.

Other Thoughts:

-I love Camp Canaan. It was worth paying the $49. It's a beautiful piece of land, and with the season pass, I think you can do any of the activities there. You have to be done before 5 PM and signing in and out is mandatory. And if you want to play here just for one day, you still have to sign up for that particular day on Disc Golf U. Many fun holes here, all are unique whether I liked it or not. There are multiple signature holes but if I had to pick just one, I'd say it'd be 13. My favorite was 4 because of the more "open" tee shot off the deck. That would be another signature hole. #18's basket was also pretty drastic!
-Most of my cons are about the severity of a couple of the holes or the fact that the course is slightly underparred. You may disagree with me if you are a well gifted player. But I promise a couple holes will drive you insane in some sort of way but this course is well worth it. Bring your A game!
Was this review helpful? Yes No
6 0
TheLizards
Experience: 15.2 years 153 played 1 reviews
4.00 star(s)

Great Course - First Review?! 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 14, 2015 Played the course:once

Pros:

Played the long tees - wonderful new course. Some 500+ feet holes. Lot's of varied terrain. It's a long 20 holes. Most holes you are shooting through a narrow heavily wooded corridor but there are a few open shots and ~3 ace-able holes (for me at least, <300 feet). A few holes you are shooting right up against a drop-off to the river. You will need every trick you have to score well here. It's difficult but doesn't take away from the fun factor.

Cons:

New course in the woods next to water = if you miss the fairway you are in some really thick stuff. Bug spray and long socks. There are a number of holes that have very steep drop-offs around the pin, yes it adds to the challenge but it can really punish you.

Other Thoughts:

This course and the shorter Sand Hills course are part of Camp Canaan on Fewell island near Rock Hill. There is a little pavilion and building next to the pool on the right when you first cross the bridge into the camp. Hole 1 is behind/adjacent to that building. Maps etc. in the pavilion.

Played on a record heat day 95+ degrees which slowed us down significantly.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
Top