5 Helpful / 2 Not
Gorgeous but confusing
Pros: An absolutely gorgeous layout with spectacular views throughout. Long holes that require two full throws at least to reach pins plus some holes where putts for a 2 are possible. Very fun to play the some of the holes you see on YouTube for the USDGC. Would play here over and over again.
Cons: My buddies and I showed up hoping to play the Gold layout as seen for the USDGC. The course was wildly difficult to follow and we played some holes that apparently weren't actually a part of the initial 18. Most tee markers were flat on the ground (easy for mowing) but useless for rookies trying to find their way around the course. My buddy put it best when he said, "once you know the course, you don't need the markers. But until you know the course, you can't see the markers. What's the point of them being flat on the ground?" Course takes a long time to play and in the summer, has no reprieve from the sun. Bring lots of sun tan lotion and water!
Other Thoughts: If you're coming to the course with the intention of playing the famed USDGC course, you will be disappointed. The OB markers aren't in year round and the course is very difficult to follow. That being said, I can't wait to go back and play it again. I will go with different intentions and make sure my map is accurate, but I will definitely be back. The grounds are absolutely spectacular and playing around and over the lake was great!
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 1 Not
Scenic Championship Caliber Course
Pros: It's true that this course has a real country club feel with lovely manicured lawns, shrubs and trees, a large lake with fountains, and a "clubhouse of sorts" called the Shack. The course plays through immaculately groomed grassy fairways and trees and half work their way around the lake. Most holes play with a medium to long range power in mind. You must shape shots, but it doesn't get too tight or technical. One of the coolest holes is a hole that has it's green enclosed by tall bamboo poles with a 15' opening on the front side. Kudos to having a couple of labelled par 4's.
Cons: Holes 9 & 10 play almost wide open except for the OB road right and lake left. There's almost no obstacles in the fairway ( that wouldn't be so bad but having 2 holes in a row like this lacked in creativity). The course is poorly marked - no tee signs, numbers on baskets are wrong. If I didn't have a map, it would have been really confusing as there are some long walks between some holes.
Other Thoughts: I recommend this layout over the Gold course which I think is overkill (see that review).
Bring lots of water and sunscreen in summer - much of this course is out in the open.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
21 Helpful / 1 Not
The Quest for the Holy Grail
Pros: My buddies and I have always been excited to play this course that is so heralded in disc golf lore. With rapt anticipation we came across a beautiful park/sports complex replete with sunshine and well maintained fields. Getting into the park was no problem. The lake is as beautiful as is it daunting. More than a few carefully designed "signature" holes to choose from, with 5 a long downhill bomb out into the open, 7 better guarded by a ring of cedars than the President at a speech, 10 a long hyzer around a big tree with the lake menacing to the left, and 12 with its bamboo fort around the hole. Adequate tees and well maintained fairways. Good variety of shots, good length to warm up the cannon if you have one.
Cons: "The Killer Rabbit (or Duck) of Caerbannog" I had to meet up with a local to get a gist of the course b/c there is NO signage, and every basket is #'d wrong as previously stated. Definitely bring a scorecard/map before you head out b/c the intertwining layouts of this and the Gold version is confusing. After rounding around the lake my guide exclaimed, "There he is!", alluding to a duck he referred to as Satan. A mean little bastard who fortunately was too busy cleaning itself to chase us. Definitely felt like Sir Robin and the shock of seeing this infamous duck almost made me soil my armor. Other than no signs and the confusing layout at first, the course has no cons except some of the lakefront holes are replete with geese shat. We did encounter one lady sunbathing less than 15 feet from a tee but women in bikinis are typically not cons in my book. I didn't notice any bathrooms either.
Other Thoughts: I was mildly disappointed mostly b/c of the lack signage but this course was a lot of fun and you don't have to be pro to enjoy this course unlike, say, Renny. But with so many big tourneys played here I expected to have at least some decent tee signs. This course is more open than wooded but 13 and 14 are two nice long wooded holes with old oaks lining the fairway. And for the love of Pete forehand your drive on 18 or you're begging to jump in the lake for your disc, mad roll away potential.
21 of 22 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: -Excellent course design
-Good mixture of long and short holes
-Nicely maintained fairways with no trash
-Benches at every hole for if you need to sit down
-Large open fairways with little to no trees add variety to the course unlike most courses which are wooded
Cons: -The tees and baskets are incorrectly numbered making it hard to navigate
Other Thoughts: -Avoid the psycho duck
-Bring a map till you get familiar with the holes
6 of 10 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 8 Not
A- = Almost As Good As It Gets
Pros: What I personally like and how this course stacks up:
1) Holes with good risk/reward. Fair, but harsh punishment for bad decisions or execution. == B
2) Holes that have rewarding birdie opportunities for me. I throw 300' accurately, 360' max. == A-
3) More wooded than open - lots of variety of shots required caused by hole shape and topography == A-
4) Natural beauty (Appalachian beauty preferred) and seclusion. == B+
5) Bonus points 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 (125 18-hole, 64 9-hole as of mid 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.
5 of 13 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 17 Not
Pros: very very very fun. if you dont have the energy to throw over 500ft all day you can still get some winthrop dg
Cons: people sit and walk all over course. the longest hole they lay a blanket down and sit on the fairway.
Other Thoughts: dont lose your discs
2 of 19 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 13 Not
Pros: Easily the longest non-tournament course in the region (gets much longer playing the tournament Gold course). Nice mixture of open shots and some tighter areas.
Cons: The lake seems to like my discs. The numbering system on tees and baskets is about the dumbest thing ever. First timers need a map.
Other Thoughts: Lots of fun. I wish they would spend a few $$$ working on the numbering system. Not a single one is correct.
4 of 17 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 5 Not
-Several holes have great risk reward
-Very complimentary of Gold course.
Much like a shorter version.
- Very clean and well maintained
-Can be difficult to navigate the first time.
Other Thoughts: This is a very challenging and enjoyable course. Great shorter alternative to the larger Gold Course, but still very challenging. As forementioned, theres is a a Bike shop nearby that has a nice selection of discs. This course by itself is worth the trip, Id also reccommend taking the time to play it for anyone that is coming to play the prestigious Gold Course.
11 of 16 people found this review helpful.
23 Helpful / 4 Not
A Must Play
Pros: To play over a large portion of what the pros play each fall at the USDGA Championships is a must. Playing a round where the game's greatest have played is a pretty cool feeling. (It would be like playing ball golf at Augusta National where the PGA plays the Masters.)
Each hole is unique, challenging, but fair. The lake adds nice scenery and a wonderful challenge. This course offers a nice alternative to the Gold course- it is still all you want without all the extra distance!
We were the only ones on the course for most of the round since school was out for the summer and we played during a weekday.
Cons: It can be difficult to follow, (the course can be played 2 different ways- Lakefront & Gold- some tees and baskets are used for both, others are not used). It is not impossible though, just use a map or play with someone who has played before.
The "mutant" duck! He followed us around for several holes, including swimming across the lake twice to join us. He was somewhat annoying as he was loud, in the way, and kind of scary looking!!!
The disc eating lake- All the fairways have a slight downward slant towards the lake, so be careful, there is a good chance of losing a disc when you play here. (It is called LAKEfront!)
(Both the duck and the disc eating lake apparently are well-known to the locals as people we encountered knew exactly what we talking about.)
Other Thoughts: All in all it was a terrific experience, and I hope I get to go back and play it again soon!!!
I loved playing Winthrop, and it is cool to look at the pics from the USDGA championship each year and see the very same memorable holes that I have played.
23 of 27 people found this review helpful.
22 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Winthrop U is a solid course, with even better scenery, playing around the lake. Depending on the time of year, the views may be the best reason to play this course.
- It's one of the most well-maintained courses I've ever played. The groundskeepers do a great job keeping things in top shape.
- Course is challenging, but very fair. If you can control throws, plenty of chances for birdies. Errant throws on several holes will find a new home in the lake.
- One of the best risk/reward courses around. If you're aggressive, especially on water holes, you can score really low here. If you're careless, that aggressiveness will lead to high numbers, and probably lost discs.
- Course is mostly open, so you can really let it fly. Hole #5 is an elevated tee to a wide-open field. Perfect hole to throw multiple drives. It's also the $10K ace hole in the USDG championships, so it's a good one to become very familiar with.
- Good course for beginners and casual players. With the change to #9, there isn't much length at all. Keep shots clear of the water, and players of any skill level can handle this course.
- Great course flow, winding around the lake. Great scenery on every hole, with the lake visible on all but a handful of holes.
Cons: The hole numbers, tee signs and basket numbers don't always match. Make sure you print a course map before playing!!!!! The course is easy to navigate if you follow the map. If not, you're going to go crazy when you see a tee pad for #7, a tee sign say #3 and a basket say #14.
- In addition to the navigation issues, there aren't any signs on the course (next hole, tee signs, etc.) There are a couple of tee sign plaques in the ground on a couple holes, but you'll more than likely stumble upon those by accident.
- There aren't a lot of obstacles on this course. Many holes play wide open. A lot are relatively straight and/or have little variation in elevation.
- This is an obvious: the holes close to the water present a lost disc danger. Despite knowing this, many people seem surprised about it happening and/or seem to think of it as a deterrent.
- During the school year and when the weather is nice, the area around the lake is occupied. It's a college course, so you may be out of luck trying to play then.
- There's a long walk between some holes, especially from #16 to 17. Again, the scenery is great, so it's not a bad thing.
Other Thoughts: This is a really enjoyable course. If you don't want to kill yourself on the Gold course, this is a great alternative.
- Water is only a factor (to varying degrees) on holes 9 - 11, 17- 18. You can take water out play on all those holes by playing smart shots. For example, throwing to the right of the big tree on #10, instead of going to the left and over water. You take the chance of birdie out of the equation, but you'll still get par and don't risk losing a disc.
- I've finally encountered the angry, mutant duck. It looks like it's a cross between a duck and Swamp Thing. After it tried to bite me, a guy standing by said it bit him 10 years ago.
- This course has taken some serious hits in the past couple years. The change to #9 was terrible. It went from the longest, most enjoyable hole to the shortest, most boring hole. That's assuming I found the actual new makeshift teepad. Also, the change to the bamboo hole was a change for the worse. It's no longer a fortress, rather a simple bamboo wall. Makes the hole that much easier, aka, boring.
- The changes to this course have been for the negative. This course is much closer to an average (2.5-level) course than an elite one. Don't let the high ratings fool you. Those ratings are way too generous and/or more reflective of the gold layout than the Lakefront course.
- This is still a wonderful, well-kept course. It's no longer in the ranks of the must-plays or top-level courses in the region. Still, it's a great change of pace from most courses in Charlotte.
22 of 23 people found this review helpful.
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