Beautiful, hilly and challenging layout
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I've only been playing for a few months, so this one is from the perspective of a real beginner. I am a lifelong "regular" golfer, trying out disc golf now as an alternative.
I've played about half a dozen courses in the Charlotte area lately, and this one is by far my favorite. One great aspect of this course location is proximity to downtown. It only takes about 15-18 minutes from the center of Charlotte to get here. The park itself is really nice, with good restrooms and water fountains. I didn't feel at all like this one was in a sketchy neighborhood. I believe this is close to where the old Pawtuckett golf course used to be.
I'd say this layout is 95% through wooded areas, with a small portion on #2 basket and #3 tee that pops out into an open area. That being said, it makes for a major challenge for beginners. There is no shortage to variety on the holes, right from the beginning. Very few are actually flat, too. You will face a great deal of elevation gain and loss on this layout. It feels like you are playing and/or hiking through a mountain area.
Course designers did a fantastic job weaving this around Paw Creek and some of its tributaries. You get up close and personal very quickly at the basket on #4, perched fairly close to the edge on two sides. #5 is a really nice hole as well, with a fairly wide fairway gradually climbing uphill and to the right. There's a great bend in the creek with big rocks just below the basket here.
Hole #12 was by far one of my favorites. Tee pad is built into a square deck with benches that overlooks Paw Creek. The hole goes straight uphill with a basket perched in the middle of a big outcrop of granite boulders. Excellent hole!
One of the other back nine holes has has two fairway routes with dual tee pad. The most drastic of all elevation changes comes on #18. What a finish! From the tee pad I think the hole drops about 40-50 feet down to the creek and then slightly back uphill to the basket. Let one go off this tee pad and watch it sail forever.
Cons: I honestly can't think of any drawbacks of this course. I'd say it isn't the easiest track to throw on if you are a real beginner, but I had a blast. You also need to be in fairly good shape to be ready to trek up and down some steep hills. Also, be prepared if you chuck some wayward shots to walk across some rocks to pull a disc out of the creek.
Other Thoughts: I will definitely make this a regular stop for me, because it is such a short drive from downtown Charlotte. If you are a disc golfer flying in/out of Charlotte-Douglas and you do have some time to spare, this is very close by the airport. I'd highly recommend it to anybody.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: RL Smith is a BEAST. I always compare courses to other similar ones I've played. I've never played anything quite like RL Smith. The best way to describe it, again, compared to what I've played, is this: "If Rock Ridge and Highland Hills had a baby, it would be RL Smith." Explanation: Rock Ridge is an exceptionally fun, well-designed wooded course with some great par 4's, variety, and everything you could want in a challenging course. That is RL Smith. On the other hand, Highland Hills has crazy elevation--huge downhills, uphills, boulders, and death putts. That is also RL Smith!
+ Terific variety. This course will test every shot in your arsenal.
+ The elevation is off the charts. Some holes are incredibly steep, but if you like watching the flight of the disc, you'll love this course.
+ Fast greens! That may not be a pro as you watch your putt sail past the basket and roll 100 feet away, but if you like the challenge and risk/reward, again, you'll love RL Smith.
+ Multiple ways to play some holes (hyzer and anhyzer routes).
+ I liked the use of the creek running through several holes in the course.
+ The fairways are beaten in pretty good, and there's some erosion, but overall it's a very pretty and peaceful wooded park.
+ Playground, bathroom, fields at the entrance.
Cons: Not much that I could think of, but a few cons knocked it down slightly:
- Missing tee signs on about 2-3 holes, forcing you to walk up the fairway and figure out where the basket is.
- As with any course with serious elevation, you've got to be a little caustious that you don't slip or wipe out. That's not a knock. But the walk from tee to basket on hole 18 is especially steep and slippery. You're forced to run down the hill and hope for the best. Stairs would be nice here!
Other Thoughts: This course will kick your butt and you will like it! I had 1 hour to play it. Some locals at the first tee told me there would be no way to finish in an hour. I'd say that's right if you play at a normal pace. I'd plan for 2 hours. However, in my case, I jogged it and, amazingly, did finish in an hour. BUT it nearly killed me. Don't try that, but do try this course!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
First Impressions: Not easy!
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Beautiful course, challenging, uphill, downhill, tight shots, very fun course to play. Really a nice walk through the woods, kind of felt like going on a little hike while playing, the wife had a good time just walking around.
Some holes here presented some very interesting shots I haven't experienced before, Looking at you #2!
The tee box areas and greens were pretty well maintained, it was good to see trash cans around I just wish people would use them.
Cons: Not entirely a con, but while the course is absolutely playable by anyone, it can be rough on a beginner. Some of the water hazards are HAZARDS for sure, and there are a couple of pretty difficult holes. If you're a beginner just expect that you're going to double bogey a handful and have a good time. :)
Also, my legs hurt!
Other Thoughts: I was born and raised up in New Hampshire, the woodsy setting of this course really reminded me of back home, great course to play just for the walk in the woods. Definitely a favorite.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Fun, tough, unique, scenic
Pros: The biggest Pro for me is some of the unique holes found here. I think it's hole #2 that is a steep uphill shot with the basket on the side of a slope. A hard to explain hole, but I haven't played anything else like it.
The course uses the river/creek/stream running through the park for OB, which makes for some scenic fairways, and risky greens around the baskets. A drive gone wrong, or missed put can result in a swim and some serious OB penalty strokes
The park/course is beautiful. The course takes you on a very nice hike through the woods, and it seems like you're covering a lot of area. The surroundings of a course can really add or take away, and for me the park's scenery really adds to the experience of playing this course.
The layout of the course, and adequate signage (not perfect) makes it easy to follow. One basket generally leads easily to the next tee box. It would be hard to get lost!
Cons: The OB on some holes can be a bit much. Overall for the course it's not un-fair, but it can be a bit daunting/frustrating. For some, maybe not a con, and it didn't hinder my rating much, but I had to find some cons didn't I?
There aren't many holes outside of the woods if any. It makes for a pretty walk, but there's little opportunity to really open up and let one rip! You could I suppose, but it may not end well. This can be a good exercise in patience and disc control however.
The course, being a beautiful and long walk through the woods can take a while to play. Again, hardly a con, but this course wouldn't be great for a "quick" 18 holes. Be prepared to spend a few hours to take your time and really enjoy the park.
Other Thoughts: This course is probably one of my favorites (so far) in the Charlotte area. The unique holes and basket placement really adds to the fun factor. There's plenty of challenging OB, tight fairways, and lots of trees to keep you on your toes!
Strap on your comfortable shoes, bring your dog and enjoy a great hike through the woods....maybe throw a disc or two along the way if that's your thing
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 4 Not
Robert L. Smith Park is one of the more difficult courses I've been to in Charlotte. The course has an excellent layout with many left and right shot holes. After the first 3 holes you'll primarily be in the shaded woods which is great for escaping that Charlotte heat! The terrain is a hike, Be prepared. There are several up hill and down hill shots with some very unique basket placements up on rocks, on the edge of a creek, etc. There are some water hazards throughout the course. The water hazard is a relatively large creek but really adds to the great scenery of the course. There are several blind holes and and a few mandos. Hole 3 is alot of fun but is extremely overgrown and if you are not careful you could lose a disc into the brier patches below. Dont forget to bring some bug spray and watch out for spider webs in the woods.
Concrete tees with benches and trash cans at most of the holes. The course is very clean, and free of debris on the greens. Tee signs at every hole with accurate distances and basket placement which is great for first timers on the blind holes. There are some next tee signs but some seem to be missing or non existent. Plenty of parky, with bathrooms and water fountains available. Hole 1 starts to right of the practice tee next to a information kiosk.
Cons: After the first few holes there is no signage to point you in the direction to the next hole. Typically you can just follow the path but a few times I ended up at the wrong tee because of all the alternate paths that people have made to skip holes.
Other Thoughts: If you are looking for a challenge Robert L. Smith should be a good challenge and a lot of fun for you.
3 of 7 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: RL Smith is a true gem in the Charlotte disc golf scene. Here are my pros:
1) This park is absolutely gorgeous! Even taking out the awesome course this park has a lot going for it and is visually pleasing.
2) This course, save for a few holes, is just an awesome design. Playing this course tournament style offers a great challenge because of the out of bounds found on the course. Hole 5 is an awesome par 4 that really makes you think about the shots you have to throw to make a good score.
3) The course has some of the most interesting greens you will find. Hole 2 is on such a huge slope and really can offer some 70 foot rollaways with a bad putt. 7 has a neat elevated basket that is right on a hill as well. The greens for holes 9 and 12 feature some awesome rock formations that add a lot of character. Interesting greens make for an interesting course!
4) The course actually has some nice elevation for a wooded course, which really adds some nice value. Hole 2 plays WAY uphill while hole 3 plays back downhill. Hole 18 is an awesome downhill finishing hole while 16 is a tricky little downhill shot. The designers did a great job of incorporating the elevation into this course and in my opinion this made a 3.5 star course into an Excellent 4.0 course.
5) Typically when you have a wooded course you are going to have holes that seem "pokey" and have unfair routes. After playing this course a few times that is not the case here. The course is challenging but every hole has a fair line to hit. The luck factor is low here which is a huge plus for me.
6) The creek comes into play on a few holes and I love water hazards. Hole 4 was an awesome hole with the creek guarding the right side of the fairway and the pin tucked right up next to the creek.
7) Navigation was SIMPLE. I was never lost and finding the next hole was never a problem. This is a huge plus for someone who travels a lot to play courses.
8) The "deck" tee on hole 12 was quite a treat. It really reminded me of Maple Hill number 9. That took a lot of effort and you can tell the course really has great caretakers.
Cons: Honestly I didn't have a lot of cons here. I am rating this course "Excellent" but there were a few things that bothered me:
1) I am not a huge fan of what I would call artificial par 4's. Hole 9 is a 394 foot hole with a mando. Its a dogleg left hole that has an awesome green. However, I don't like courses that force the issue on par 4's. To me this course was a very challenging par 3 course with one par 4. It seems the issue was forced to try to create a second par 4 and anytime you have to use OB or mando's to do it the hole just feels out of place for me. It wasn't a bad hole but just didn't feel right. I am not just a huge fan of a hole that comes backward at the end (horseshoe shaped) but that's just my preference. This was not a huge deal for me as it was just one hole.
2) The rough is VERY rough. I know its probably because it's that time of the year and I didn't knock the course because of it but just be prepared for some thick rough.
3) This is essentially par 3 golf with one long hole thrown in there. Only two holes are over 400 feet so there are no opportunities to air out a drive. This course wasn't intended to be open or a bomber course, obviously, but its important to point out that this is a wooded course with little opportunity for long drives.
Don't take my cons the wrong way - this is one of the best courses in Charlotte!
Other Thoughts: Quite simply this is one of my favorite courses in Charlotte. I actually preferred this course to Hornet's Nest. While it may not be as well known as some of the more famous Charlotte courses it should be! This is a highly recommended course!
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 3 Not
Great Wooded Course
Pros: Challenging, thoughtful, valid FAIRways. It's always refreshing to see a wooded course with sufficiently wide fairway lines and no luck trees in the fairway. This is an interesting mix of up, down, left, right, etc. Secluded setting in scenic, hilly terrain. Very good benches, woodworking and stairs throughout. The course is only 1 mile off I-85, making it a great road trip stop.
Cons: The biggest con was definitely a factor of when I played it (mid-July). The first few holes are overgrown to the point of making a lost disc a strong possibility, especially #3 where an errant drive will land you in 4' high weeds. If I played it regularly I would spend a lot of time looking for discs on #3 in its current condition. I'm not giving this much weight in my rating since it's a temporary curable thing. Once you get in the woods, the fairways were generally very clear.
Other thoughts: the teepads are too small and I thought the course felt unbalanced with the back 9 playing much shorter/easier than the front and without any par 4 holes. As a final con, it seemed like there were a ton of blind holes, especially on the front 9, and many for no apparent reason.
Other Thoughts: I played this course while on a road trip to the beach and would definitely play here again. It's very close to I-85, seemed like a safe place to park, and has a playground for kids to play on. I really enjoyed this course and went back and forth between rating it a 4 and 4.5. It gets the big things right -- great mix of holes, valid fairways, good signage and very good stairs/trails/benches. Better maintenance - especially more cutting on the first few holes to reduce lost discs - gets this to 4.5 for me.
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 10 Not
Start the car
Pros: 1-18 are all amazing! Some of these reviews are right on target and some make me laugh. It is certainly not a beginners course, so know your limitations. 3 & 4 have some heavy rough in spots, but advanced players can easliy land on the green in one. 4 can be tricky getting down the hill, after that no worries unless you have trouble staying in the fairways.
Cons: None, feel fortunate that you are in a dg heaven and just play it already. Nobody likes complainers and people who nit pick courses to death.
Other Thoughts: Have fun, wear shoes with good traction.
0 of 10 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: Played this course for the first time over the weekend..and I love it!!,This course is NOT for a beginners. Great variety and ELEVATION changes. Be ready for a work out. I will definitely be coming back for this one.
Cons: It would be nice if hole 9 were closer to the parking lot so you could get refreshments but I just packed more water on my second round.
Other Thoughts: I have to say the CDGC keeps our area courses in tip top shape and this course is no exception. When we started our second round there was a couple of guys on hole two weed eating the hill. These guys deserve a big pat on the back as does all the CDGC.
3 of 10 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Played the first ever round at RL (after installing the baskets) with the designers and worker bees on May 30, 2011; we all lifted too many celebratory toasts after each pin installation. The course was extremely raw with no amenities; what a metamorphosis in its evolution from then to being ready for the 2012 Worlds. It easily jumped from a 3+ to a solid 4 course during the past 14 months. Congrats to the designers and a few other hard workers.
All you have to do is view the "patio" area behind #12's tee to appreciate whats been done. The stairs and goat paths on the course's difficult slopes are all part of June's efforts to get the course ready for the World's; as are many of the bridges and benches.
Many other reviewers have described the course's attributes and as I agree with most of them, particularly Bennybennybenny's review, I'll not be redundant.
Cons: The course is a real hike, so be ready with ample water and good footwear. Only restroom facilities are near the beginning and after the round.
It is not beginner friendly. 880+ players should find it a challenge with some satisfying shots and keep them coming back to try to improve. As a player only a few years from Legends, I am very satisfied with an 8-10 over round.
Other Thoughts: Some reviewers questioned the marking of OB lines (many 20-40' from the water hazards); trust me, I've seen the water exceed the OB markers during 2-3 days of heavy rains.
This is a must play Charlotte course! West side of town--start at RL Smith in the morning, then 10 minutes to Renny (a 4.5 course), and then another 10 minutes for a "relaxing" round at the Plantation Ruins (a 3.5+ course). Great 3 course day! Then get some good suds and BBQ.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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