The blind squirrel has a home here!
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: + Requires a lot of thought here on shot selection
+ Nice and shaded
+ Hard to lose a disc; despite the number of trees, the underbrush is clear enough to locate errant discs
+ Slow large turn/fade discs like a cobra can pull off some crazy slalom shots
+ Benches throughout... the atmosphere is very peaceful
Cons: - Walking paths make a couple shots (hole 6 in particular) a little dicey without a spotter.
- Parking could be a problem
- The transition from 9 to 10 is (very mildly) inconvenient
Other Thoughts: The 12 holes don't really make it a problem for me, so I didn't list it in the "CON" section. When I played, it was relatively empty in the park, so I had easy parking and nobody was on the course... well, no disc golfers, but I'll get to that in a moment.
Initial thoughts: Wow, there's a lot of trees here. On hole 1, I opened with a RHBH zone on a hyzer and was rewarded. I thought, "hmmm, this course shouldn't be too hard."
And then the fun began. These trees are tight. I'm used to wooded holes and threading some narrow gaps, but this course started to border on ridiculous. I come from the mindset that in the woods, you can shoot gaps with laser straight discs (throws), but there isn't a gap to hit that's long enough to reward such strategy. There are so many trees in your way on this course that the best lines are often the ones you can weave around the obstacle, making discs like a cobra outperform a mako3. And did I say there were a lot of trees? Don't miss off the fairway, because if you do, sometimes your only option back in is with a grenade over the top. But that's not a con, either. It's not a long course, so it rewards skill over power (I have neither, but this was a refreshing change of pace from some longer courses I've played).
One thing that was a little concerning was the walking paths which ran along 6 and also near the basket of 6 and the teepads of 9 and 10. Hole 6 is the one that you can really let fly with a big power hyzer (you really need it to cut left or your upshot will be in trouble), but people are often walking on the OB pathway there. You can see them though. My approach was made a little blind and kicked off a tree almost drilling an elderly couple by the #10 teepad. I didn't know there was a walking path that ran up that way. When I played, there were no other disc golfers, but there were plenty of walkers.
Overall, the course is nicely maintained and I'd love to go back and play it again. It's a very frustrating course, and it tests your mental game well. On multiple occasions, I opted to lay up instead of running it only to get a new lie that was just as crappy as if I missed a run. And that is probably what keeps people coming back to this course: that tantalizing but elusive low score that they KNOW they can get here.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Fun for quick rounds.
0 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: -plenty of benches, well kept up with, concrete tee-pads, and accurate signs for each hole.
Cons: -not 18 holes and parking can be scarce sometimes
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Tight Clean Lines
Pros: Squirrel Lake is an interesting little 12-hole loop outside of Charlotte. It is tucked in the middle of a small nature park. The course itself has one major theme - tight lines!
Almost every hole requires a very precise drive through a tight, but usually fairly defined path. Hitting the lines yields birdie, but as I often found, missing the line can be punishing. The punishment is fair, brush is extraordinary well trimmed in most spots, and disc loss risk is minimal. The trees off the fairway, though, are often thick enough themselves to require punch outs.
This course has a lot of the little things - long concrete tees, nice hole signs (though unfortunately some have been vandalized), and ample navigational signs which help the golfer get from hole to hole. Baskets are in very good shape.
In my opinion, when I played Squirrel Lake I found that overall, for a <18 hole course, it tended to have superb maintenance and the fairways were very well kept.
Cons: A few small cons here:
There is a mando on the left of hole one that could stand to be a bit more clearly marked. I didn't notice it from the tee.
Hole 6 is slightly awkward. It shares a tee pad at 90 degrees to hole 4, but it plays right up the park entrance road. It forces shots a bit too close to cars for my liking. Otherwise the hole was a bit refreshing because it is out in the open for the first half.
That brings me to my main con for the course - even for a 12 hole loop the woods got a bit monotonous. It would have been nice to have 1 or 2 more open holes just for variety.
There is also an unsightly trash dump behind #8 tee which is a bit of an eyesore, but it appears to be off of the property of the course so not much the course can do about it.
Other Thoughts: For a <18 hole course, Squirrel Lake was pretty fun. Layout was probably average, the upkeep was great. I really had a lot of fun palying the course but was left wanting a bit more. In other areas of the country, this course would probably get more traffic. In the Charlotte area, however, it seems to get overlooked. Our group had the course to ourselves on a beautiful weekend day.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 1 Not
Unique, but falls short
Pros: ATMOSPHERE - Small, family friendly, forested park in a designated "natural habitat" area. Chiefly hardwoods, of mature and adolescent ages. Suburban surroundings, with that "backyard" atmosphere. Borders the Four-Mile Creek greenway.
CHALLENGE - Despite 12 holes, a very technical course requiring fairly advanced-level accuracy.
AMENITIES - Bathrooms, water fountain, trashcans on 2 or 3 holes, several benches or psuedo-benches.
TEEPADS - OK. Concrete and appropriately sized.
ELEVATION - Superb use of NC Piedmont hills. Fairways vary up and down, with the topography ultimately descending into the Four Mile floodplain.
DIRECTIONALITY & DISTANCE - Good variety, including a few longer holes and par 4's.
BREVITY - (Also a con; see below) Allows for a quicker game without resorting to beginner-level 9 hole courses.
ROUGHS - Surprisingly well-worn in and forgiving for the most part.
Cons: FAIRWAYS - Many are tight, tight, tight. Throughout SL trees were left in the fairways to preserve the canopy (this park being a designated natural habitat). Often your throws just come down to dumb-luck. Very frustrating even for expert players. Many holes would be dramatically improved by the removal of 1-2 trees.
BASKETS - Many are single-chain. Your putts can and will slip through.
LITTER - Garbage and broken glass in some places.
SIGNAGE - Less than ideal. Only show par and distance, with no fairway maps.
NAVIGATION - May be confusing. Double-backs and short trails. First-timers bring a map. (Though there are small signs pointing to the next tee)
HOLE 6 SAFETY - This hole's fairway now runs parallel to a walking path and road. Bad drives could easily hit a car or passerby. Play with caution and respect.
EROSION - Already looking bad in some spots. Steps ought to be taken to mitigate this.
BREVITY - Only 12, now and forever.
Other Thoughts: Ahh...Squirrel Lake. The "black sheep" of Charlotte. Everyone loves to hate and hates to love this course. I grew up playing here and it has a special place in my disc-lovin' heart.
SL defies classification. Some holes are easy and for beginners (1, 8). Some are stupidly tight and/or have no fairway at all (3, 4, and parts of many). Other holes...others are magnificent...the kinds of holes you dream about (2, 7, 12). This eclectic mix attracts a variety of players, but it makes you wonder about what the designers intended.
Is it worth playing? Yes. SL isn't a "great" course, and SL doesn't give a damn. It'll make you angry, and then you'll make yourself angry by playing it again and again.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: It'd be easy to overlook this course in Charlotte. With all the titans looming in the area, it's easy to miss a squirrel. It's only twelve holes so eyes can easily pass it by on the course browser. I'm not saying that it should be played over the better-known city courses by those with limited time budgets. I am saying that overlooking it completely is a mistake.
It's a fun course that plays quickly despite surprising amounts of challenge and length. Twelve holes can be played in a short amount here because of two factors: the ease of navigation and the short walks between holes. Very little time is spent not throwing here, which is a very good thing. Well three things. The course doesn't seem to get a ton of play so it's quite possible to be the only group there.
Squirrel Lake would definitely fall into short and technical wooded category that is so prominent across most of the state. And it is technical. It was much less beginner-friendly than I was expecting. Eleven of the holes play through the woods and most of them are quite narrow, with tight gaps to hit all over the place. Lines here are not easy. Still, five of the holes are over 300 feet. On this terrain, with the amount of trees present, that's quite a long way to go.
It's also a very nice park, set on a lake. The lake does not affect play but it makes a nice backdrop for a very scenic experience.
Cons: I do have to admit, that the fairways need some work. A bunch of holes have no line at all and would fall squarely into the plinko designation. It's not something I minded because the course is more than I expected, but selective tree removal could make this course really good. There are just too many square in the middle of fairways, to the point where its hard to say where the throw is supposed to go at all.
The signs don't help much either because while they look really nice, they only give the length and bear no indication of where the basket might be. On a course with some not-so-easily-discernable fairways, that is a bit of a problem. Many baskets are not visible from the tee so a fair amount of guesswork is mandatory.
But the worst part of Squirrel Lake is hole six. This just needs to go. It's 410 feet, the first 350 of which parallel the park road. The tee is about fifteen feet to the left of the road. This straight throw across flat ground traverses a fairway about twenty feet wide. The road is just to the right of that, meaning if a throw moves fifteen feet to the right of the tee at any point it will be over the road. A road which cars come up a hill from a point where they can't be seen from the tee. It's among the more dangerous holes that I've seen. It would be better if this was an eleven hole course than to have this throw included.
Other Thoughts: I only played this course because I stumbled across a league day on my Charlotte excursion and had to find a quick replacement course. Glad I did as this was a nice find and a quality round.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Other Thoughts: Course sits in a park of about 30 acres in rolling piedmont terrain with mature canopy throughout most. Park is unusually well appointed for a municipality this size and has a fair amount of traffic overall, although the course is lightly trafficked. As the name implies the park lies in the watershed for the namesake lake, which should be a heads up regarding play here during and after rain events. Course consists of the unusual 12-hole format, which is the most likely reason for it's low play volume.
Tee pads are appropriate and solid, although some may feel them undersized. Course also features a fairly unique double tee pad for #'s 4 & 6 (an easier pour no doubt). Targets are mixed Innova Discatcher single and double chained models (note: the single chain Innova Discatcher catches surprisingly well, quite a far cry from the now ancient DGA Mach 1 baskets, notorious for the 'nutra-sweet' effect. My putting style is a bit on the more forceful side and after watching a few putts react with the single chain baskets, I had no real fear of 'rub of the green' moments with these targets). Amenities are also a bit mixed and inconsistent, but well above average overall. Drainage/erosion issues and volunteer availability are Squirrel Lake's largest maintenance problems, as it's easy to observe the effects of the heavy scouring water from rain events everywhere on the course. None at the present time seriously affect play. Course was dry and very playable. Several holes also had play affecting downed wood, of the kind NOT intended by the designer.
Course has only one set of tees, but even a high level player will find sufficient challenge here. Average hole distance is about 310' with a single hole over 400'. Half the holes are between 275 & 325', which seems to be the distance sweet spot. As previous reviewers have stated, course is VERY tight and restrictive off the tee and frequently the approach as well. The tee shot on #9 might be the best example; how does hitting a 10' wide gap at 200' sound? Well, that's just to earn a look at birdie, but at least it's a straight shot downhill.
From the tee, shot shapes are balanced overall but as the round goes on counter spin throwers will be slightly favored. 8 of 12 holes are blind or semi-blind. Greens are largely neutral with only one example of pronounced clock spin receptivity and frequently either pocketed or gated. Green site selection is one of this course's outstanding features. Straight flat shots up to about 250' will play very well here, especially when trying to save par. This course sets up perfectly for the finesse player's game, as 'alternative routes' of the kind often 'found' by power players do not even exist at Squirrel Lake and even staying in the fairway when trying to score is difficult. Roughs are somewhat variable dependent on the hole and the type of throwing error one makes, but the penalty for errant shots generally matches the size and type of error. Scrambling and recovery chances are ample and in some places enhanced for the clock spin thrower via select clearing. OB areas are limited and intuitive - only a major gaff will land one there.
Squirrel Lake's routing shows some signs of compromise with other park activities and seems a tad forced regarding the 'completion of the loop' idea. In addition, 5 holes are of the 'cross the valley' variety which, combined with its overall tightness, can wear on the golfer. #6's tee placement seems to have been a tough compromise, as it is the course's only open power tee shot and it comes into some conflict with a walking path where pedestrians coming the opposite way can be blind to the throwers. This is a fine point however, and the hope is that most golfers are prudent and considerate.
I feel the course's best hole is #2, which is just a straight up tough solid golf hole, especially if it's counted as a par 3 (my information says it's a par 4). It's an up/cross hill, right to left fairway shape where the crossing angle of the hill is receptive to counter spin. The main fairway gap off the tee is at about 120' and severely tempts one to use an extreme hyzer/anhyzer angle to negotiate it (combined with the nose/tail angle needed to gain elevation). The green sits high left and pocketed on a flat ledge. It's a very astutely designed hole.
Overall Squirrel Lake is a bit mixed, but a very stern test of golfing skill. Its strengths clearly outweigh its weaknesses. Some may feel 'fairness' an issue here, as obstructions in the fairways are more plentiful than at many wooded courses, but scoring chances here are plentiful and well earned, which is fair enough. I feel this course is likely overlooked because of its format and location, which is a shame. For the advanced or more skilled golfer, it outclasses several other local offerings in many respects, especially regarding skill building - both in shot making precision and mental toughness.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I first played Squirrel Lake the day after the concrete pads were installed, since then the park has gone through an almost complete transformation. The course, and my love-hate relationship with it, has not.
You may see the fairway lengths and the amount of holes and show up with low expectations, but this is a beast of a 12-Hole course that will tear you apart if you're unprepared. You know how a lot of wooded courses have that one fairway with a window so small you wonder how you're ever going to park the green? Well, welcome to Squirrel Lake, where 11 holes are all trying hard to compete to become that hole. None of the fairways are ridiculously long, but they are going to require either pinpoint accuracy, creative lines to make it down the fairway, or an incredible amount of luck.
Every hole has a concrete pad, tee sign, and DISCatcher basket. While I wish the Tee Signs were a little more modern, they have all the information really needed: distance, par, and sometimes distance until the fairway turns. You can usually see the basket from the tee, but some have blind turns so, like I said new tee signs would be an added bonus.
While not on the level of a mountainous course, some of the holes at Squirrel Lake do have a noticeable amount of elevation change in play.
The course is in a nice, little park that has been getting a slow makeover since the course was built. It is no longer a small playground and gravel parking lot next to a pond surrounded by a disc golf course. It has a real park feel with really nice permanent structures that can be used for picnicking. There are a few benches, but they are pretty spread out. And the park is really clean, very little litter. On hole 6 you can open up a bit, before slipping right back into the woods to end the hole. Hole 6, by the way, has a L shaped tee combining with 4's, which is a very unique way of utilizing space and saving money.
Cons: I personally appreciate this course for what it is, but could see some argue that the fairways are a little too tight. If you don't know the local routes for this course, you will probably feel like you are playing Plinko down the fairway, with your fingers crossed you park the green.
The course is really crammed in there. The design of this course is made so that these holes can only just coexist with each other. There is no room for expansion, and if for some reason a hole is removed, the course will likely just lose a hole. The biggest issue I have is the backtracking nature to get to the tees. After hole 9, you actually walk up hole 10's fairway about 30 feet to get to the tee.
When it was new, Hole 6 was a phenomenal hole. It was your one chance to open up and let one rip on a nice hyzer line. Since then the park has seen improvements, and there is a new walking path, fence, and widened road to accommodate overflow parking. This really creates a potentially hazardous fairway when the park is busy. Which it unfortunately can be. I used to come here and would be the only person I saw in the park the entire time I was there for a round or two. Now I struggle to get into the lot (because it is a pretty small one).
Other Thoughts: This course is tough for me to place a rating on, but I will be rating it a 2.5 for now. This park has evolved over the years, and despite the changes that have happened around Hole 6, I think that this course is still a blast to play and an extremely unique experience. Just make sure you keep an eye out for pedestrians when throwing Hole 6.
Favorite Holes: 2, 6, 10
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Nice little course
Pros: Nice concrete pads at each hole. Signs with distance at each hole also. Navigation is pretty simple. The only place where it's a little odd is using the dual pad for hole 4 and 6. There are bathrooms on site and some benches spread throughout the course and park.
This course is almost totally wooded and in many places it forces you to squeeze a disc through some tight gaps. I'd call it typical tight Carolina wooded golf.
Well balanced course that has a good mix of lefts and rights. Some elevation is used, and adds to the course in the right spots.
Cons: Signs are pretty basic, and do not show the fairway layout.
Only 12 holes.
A few of the holes are tight to the point of having almost no line. There are gaps, but these fairways have more of a scattered tree feel.
#8 has a tree about 20' in front of the pad. Dead center. Kind of strange.
Pretty much a technical wooded course. No real length or holes where a big arm could have some fun.
Other Thoughts: Overall this is a good little course. 12 holes is different, but I could see where with the limited space available the designer decided to make some decent holes that are 300-400' instead of forcing in more short filler holes. I really enjoyed several of these holes. #6 plays from the open field down into the woods, tightening as you get closer to the basket. #9 is a 290' tight downhill shot that was pretty cool. Straight ace run if you can squeeze it through then trees. #10 is also a decent downhill shot that curves right. Perfect FH or turnover line down the hill. Decent little hole.
This course was about 10 minutes from my hotel somI gave it a shot. I'm glad I did because it is a nice short course to squeeze in a putter round if you are short on time. I'd play it again.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Good use of land and a weird number of holes make this pretty cool. You can kill twenty-four holes here and have a great time. This course is way easier in the winter than summer considering the foliage. Tight and short is the way, use your midrange and park holes, or pay for your tree-son.
Might want to flip a couple of thumbers to take out some distance, it is cheap but it is effective.
Cons: This is a short course by six holes, or a longer nine hole course with an extra four. Either way you cut it,
she is unique. If it had a couple of par four/five it would rate a four for sure.
Other Thoughts: I would go back and play this, twice one day. But, I would rather hit up Idewild if I am over that way. Would be a good day to play both. I like the squirrel, it can be difficult and is a short hike in the woods.
This course will teach you how to throw straighter with slower discs.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Squirrel to the Face
Pros: -Short and Sweet, compact, it's possible to get around twice in about an hour.
-Repetitive look, but good shot variety, with some elevation, and tight, tight lines. All tightly wooded except for 1/2 of #6.
This course is great for 1) midrange practice. total accuracy, hitting lines from hand to basket at a premium. 2) for the beginner to intermediate player, a good intro to what you'll need to be able to do with your game when you play some of the larger-scope, advanced-level courses in the area (Nevin, etc.)
Cons: Don't be fooled, this isn't really a rec-level course. There are some of the tightest lines in the county on this course. If you show up thinking about a nice, fun, casual round, you might wind up feeling a palpable sense of betrayal from this course. Luckily, most of the rough is relatively thinned out from all the traffic in there, so finding errant shots isn't too horrible in most places. (missing to the left on #11 is about the worst spot I've seen.)
Tee shot on # 4. it just won't make sense to my eye, and I can't find a shot that'll work for me, other than getting lucky on the local skinny route.
Other Thoughts: This course is sort of a "tweener," not really a beginner-friendly P & P, not quite a full-on course. May not be room for another 6 holes, but maybe. 6 more brutally tight holes here would make this a great course for midrange-in-the-woods practice, as well as improving mental-game discipline.
Combining this course with the 9-holer at Mint Hill Park, right up 485, is a good mix of golf action for a day, if you're "tired" of the same old dozen courses around town. LOL
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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