There's Tight, then there's James Island Tight
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I just want to start with that there are tight courses. Then there are tiiiight courses. Then there is James Island tight. I hope you haven't eaten a big meal before you play 'cause you might not fit down what are comically described as 'fairways'. Actually I refer to what is here as 'almost unfair ways'. Honestly, a bit of an exaggeration. But these 18 links are narrow.
I also feel that on person with a chain saw and about an hour to kill could open this course just a wee bit and make it a stone-cold blast to play. As it is, its fun and not fun. I'm a strong player and can wind my way down the tightest of fairways, but the newer player going to get frustrated. Several holes out here could have a mime cursing.
Let's get to some specifics...
#1 has a weak line to the basket with a clump of trees right where you want to throw. Hardly an angle at all for lefties and I only saw a few righties park it with high hyzer shots around the trees.
#2 is a good hole, totally dig it. but Anhyzer/forehand shot finishing left.
#3 is 296' tight shot that if you hit anything and kick right, its at best trouble. At worst 'see ya later, hello alligators' as you are 10' down in a canal.
#4 is hole three but finish right.. Oh, they leave a nice fat tree right where you want to throw, and not that far off the tee.
#5 is a good hole, short with a BLACK water pond before the basket, Throwing the 229' shot it is easy. Not hitting the trees by the pond and splashing in is not easy. I throw an 'S' curve shot around with a stable fairway driver to stay out of danger
#6 is a cool hole. Some how they found a hill and put basket on top. It backs up to the pond on #5 Throw too hard and it's history. Land on top and roll and you're fighting the gator for your putter...oh yeah, short enough for a putter.
#7 really not a fan favorite. Tight shot off a small knoll to a basket finishing right. I haven't seen it parked - ever.
#8 a good, midrange shot with a tough of hyzer
#9 straight at it with a midrange
#10 is your first crank. 462' feet dogleg left. But hit ANYTHING for first 275' and you have nothing but trouble. Lots of 5-6-7's
#11 where this hole came from I have no idea! But a decent down hill shot finishing slightly right. But can't go at it due to some massive pines that almost make you 'S' turn to it.
#12 is a fairly straight hole but with a phalanx of guardian trees around the basket. Almost a poke and hope at 220' feet!
13# is fairly straight shot, just got to throw very straight!
14# is a cool 'lefty hating' shot. HARD left turn, but not a tough hole
15# is a short par 4 - for me that is. A clump of trees 100' down range take up 90% of the fairway. Gotta to right/left and not hit ANYTHING. Otherwise you're kicked into never never land. Not a big fan of the hole.
16#...can't remember much except it being tight ;-)
#17 is a repeat of #15. More freaking trees in the middle of the fairway, but this time almost 300 feet.
#18 is a lazer beam 266' (seems longer) shot. Hit anything earlier and...do I need to go on?? Sigh.
Cons: i really dislike sandy tee pads and that's ALL you get here. For me to throw with the accuracy needed on this course, I need concrete, something my feet won't slip on. If you're a stand-still thrower, or have little movement, you'll probably be okay.
Also...no benches...period. Would like a place to sit after I've spent 20 minutes looking for an errant shot.
Other Thoughts: Now, I criticized this course for being tight, but I tell you this, if you can play here, you can play anywhere! These lines can be merciless, but if you want to play a course that will truly make you a better player, James Island will.
I gave this course a '3' on the hope that one day it will have concrete tees.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The sign posts are excellent shape and clearly identify the typical path. A challenging course where you shots must be controlled. Easy to follow the course thanks to "Tee" signs which point you to the next tee.
Cons: Lots of stubs and roots so you have to watch your step and skips are hard to come by.
Other Thoughts: After reading the reviews, didn't really want to go play this course but my daughter wanted to play in the JI League so I agreed. Very glad I did as it is a very fun yet technical course. Even when you have a bad shot and get off the course into the woods, it is usually easy to find a line at least back out.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 5 Not
A promising course
Pros: Great designed course. Love the lay out of the course and the flow of it. Almost all the holes end near the beginning of the next hole. Love the fact it is in woods and not alot has been cut away. Helps you learning to control high and technical throws
Cons: First do not forget your bug spray. Mosquitoes where awful. They have had a lot of rain and in a swampy area but a staff member did say they are bad normally but worse recently because of the rain. Second, would be nice for concrete pads. I slipped a few times during my throw. Last a little maintenance would be nice.
Other Thoughts: Read the signs about keeping in bounds. There are allegaters and snakes there and they are not nice.
1 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Secluded, technical round
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: James Island County Park DGC is located in a huge park with many different activities and is a shorter par 3 course that plays through woodsy and sandy terrain. You are in tight woods throughout the entire round, so the course forces you to be technical and concentrates on your approach game more than anything. Off the tee, many holes require you to hit tight windows, so I found myself starting out with my midrange discs more than usual.
You get some interesting shots that provide shot selection. Hole 5 gives you the choice of either throwing left to right over a water carry, which is a more open shot to the basket. Or, you can throw a RHBH hyzer through a tight gap. Being 244' and on a more recreational course, getting wet is a possibility for some players who come here, so this hole gives you a nice risk/reward option. Hole 12 offers two distinct lines on either side of a patch of trees, so it also provides some nice shot selection. They holes highlight the course as they require more thinking for how you approach the hole.
The tee signs and baskets are in great shape. Navigation is very straight-forward and you mostly have very short walks to the next tee. Next tee signs are provided when needed.
The course is very secluded from other park activities, even playing near a marsh on a few holes. This is a nice peaceful and natural environment. The thick woods and jungle-y feel of the course was a pleasant surprise and not what I expected for the area.
The thick tree cover keeps you out of the hot South Carolina sun.
Cons: A few efforts have been made to provide elevation - like 11's elevated tee pad and 6's basket on top of a slope - but it is pretty much dead flat here. Playing through the same type of environment/terrain throughout the entire round, the course would improve with more variety of lengths and hole types. Being a tighter and shorter course, there are not many chances to let your arm go. Only two holes are over 300'.
It's pretty rugged in terms of terrain. Lots of long, skinny branches and vines hang throughout and many roots sticking out of the ground keep you watching your steps as you walk. There was never any disc-swallowing rough but you constantly need to keep an eye on the flight of your disc. Discs are easy to find if you have an idea of where you land, but are sometimes hard to follow the flight of your disc within the thickness of the woods.
The sandy tee pads were often loosely packed and didn't always offer good footing.
Finding the course can be difficult. It is in a secluded section of the park and starts near a rock climbing wall. Look for signs or ask to be directed to the climbing wall, as that probably gets more traffic.
Other Thoughts: A few things to make note of before playing here: though we were able to play the course on a Monday, it's said to be closed on Mondays on this site. I'm not sure if you'll have the same luck as us or not. Before playing, you have to sign in and then sign out after you are done. They seem to be somewhat strict about keeping the curfew, which I believe was 8 pm. The $1 park entry fee is obviously not steep, but keep that in mind as you pull in.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: James Island County Park's DGC is set in a patch of woods behind the park's climbing wall, pleasantly secluded from other park activities. The woods lend the course a technical nature, with precise lines to fly and windows to hit. There are a few holes with landing zone considerations, and one risk/reward shot with water in play. Elevation is scant but there is one basket positioned atop a modest hill and one raised tee. The course's main focus is hitting narrow windows and corridors at shorter distances. Lots of putter and midrange throws off the tee, even for modest arms. There is a variety of left, right, and straight lines.
Navigation is smooth with lots of helpful signage; the wooded scenery is pleasant. The underbrush is relatively cleared out given the environment, so there's not much chance of losing a disc in the undergrowth. Some nice views of the marsh at the course's edge further enhance the seclusion.
My favorite holes were the tight and straight hole 3, the 462' hole 10 with its emphasis on hitting the landing zones, and what I believe was hole 12, offering two tight lines to the basket around a patch of trees in the fairway's middle. The presence of choice made for a nice hole.
Cons: JICP DGC plays relatively short, with most holes in the 200'-250' range, and no option of multiple tees or pins to adjust the challenge level. While the woods offer a pleasant challenge, the lines themselves are straightforward to the point of redundancy by the round's end, with lots of straight or straight-to-fade shots, especially if you have a decent forehand. I threw a straight-flying putter or a straight-to-fade mid up the gut on most holes. The course is great for a three disc round, but only challenges a narrow albeit important part of your game with its emphasis on straight and tight lines. Not a lot of lineshaping or variety in feel; the drivers hardly come out.
On courses like this one where space seems to be an issue - the wooded patch allotted to the course seems a tight space for 18 holes - I always wonder why 9 or 12 holes wasn't considered. The terrain offers enough technicality that some more challenging par 3s and even a few par 4s are definitely possible, beyond the few already given. With the course already too tight for a beginner, a greater variation in distances, pars, and lines would have really improved it.
There are a few spots where the course is fenced off from other areas of the park; one wrong tree kick or griplocked drive could very well cost you a disc.
The sand-filled natural tees provide pretty poor footing, even if run ups aren't needed given the short distances.
Other Thoughts: JICP DGC is tight and technical enough to offer an engaging round, but its relentless preoccupation with short tight holes caps its offering. It's a great course to play if you're in the immediate area and has some appeal, but it isn't a must-play by any stretch.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 7 Not
Variety of different shots/approaches
True test of skill
Shade from the sun
Cons: Can be draining if having a bad day
Fence on the right during the first few holes
Other Thoughts: The course is getting broken in nicely as more ppl get out there.
1 of 8 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: *Shiny new baskets!
Cons: *This might sound annoying, but this course is plain UNFAIR. Every hole there are no lines to the basket. It seems like the designer just put a bunch of baskets into a woods.
*Every hole you couldn't see the basket
*The baskets of other hole were near the regular baskets (you can get mistaken)
*Too many tree stumps in the ground; tripped over at least 6 or 7
*They have silver tee signs, but they don't have info on them!
Other Thoughts: This course was extremely unfair, but at least I had fun playing it.
3 of 8 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: This course was a bit of North Carolina tucked down south in Charleston. I walked aways from the parking lot back past a small climbing establishment and down a trail to find the first tee. The vegetation was different, a lot more scrub palms, but I was struck immediately by how tight I was. At the same time, the line immediately presented itself. I played fast, needing to make up the time I spent finding the place(see below) but it was fine, because no time was lost looking for discs or standing at tees puzzled about what I was supposed to do. These are some tight, tree-lined fairways, but the lines are there, with some straight shots and some well-crafted doglegs.
The flow of the course is very well done. Navigation aids are present when needed and the paths that lead from hole to hole are obvious and pleasant. I don't think there was a single head-scratching moment and that really makes for a fast and fun round.
There are even a few memorable holes. 6 doglegs left to find the basket on a large embankment, offering a steeply upwards putt. The 11 tee sees discers climbing a curving ramp to an elevated tee that sticks out over the surrounding landscape like an all-too-welcome thumb.
Cons: What the course does need is tee signs. The small posts that mark the tees are wood-covered, which makes them tough to spot. The flow keeps you headed right for them, but something more visible would be good. It's possible that in summer they would be even tougher to spot.
There is also a complete lack of information about the hole. Most holes I deduced where to throw based on the fairway, but sometimes I was wrong. It's a nice course and it deserves tee signs. Knowing the distance and fairway curvature would be very helpful here as most baskets are not visible from the tee. Again, this didn't affect my round but this is a problem that will likely be worse in summer.
I would also say that this course is on the easier side of the balance. There's not a ton of distance and the lines are all hittable. I'd also admit that it possible that this course swings too far the other way in the summer months. With a ton of growth, those lines could be swallowed up. With a bunch of underbrush, the speed and ease of the course could disappear.
I found a course that was in great condition but this is Charleston and I'm aware of what Charleston vegetation looks like in the summer. So my pristine November experience has to be balanced somewhat with what it will look like in the other half of the year.
Other Thoughts: I'll make no claims for how this course plays in the summer, but I couldn't recommend it enough in the winter.
The worst part of my experience at James Island had nothing to do with the course but with finding the course within the massive park. I understand that disc golf is not their most popular activity, but neither it nor the climbing wall were easily found. (and more than one employee was unaware of the course's existence. I'd say that the directions here could be more specific as well. (I'd rewrite them myself but at this point I have no idea what I did, and "drive around aimlessly asking everyone you see" would probably not be too helpful.)
8 of 10 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
on the way up
Pros: The property where the course is located has awesome potential.
The flow is pretty decent.
18 New Disc Catchers.
Course is technical in nature and accuracy is at a premium.
Numbers 6 and 11 have fun factor and are unique to Low Country environment.
Navigation was fairly easy from hole to hole, not always intuitive, but there were signs.
Beautiful surrounding park.
The course is set behind the climbing wall area and is well separated from other park activities providing a unique feel of solitude in the woods.
Cons: Tee pads are natural and could be improved. As play increases they will erode.
Many baskets not visible from tee and no signs indicating location of basket
Other Thoughts: Update Jan 2014: Wow! The improvements are huge. I realize that winter helps, but there has been a massive cleanup. 18 shiny new baskets and it hardly resembles the course i originally reviewed.
This course is similar to Tidal Creek in West Ashley. I realize that the course is new, but it makes me sad to see the wasted potential of such a dynamic piece of land. I understand not mowing down the forest, but some strategic cleanup would improve things dramatically. In the hands of a competent designer this course has the potential to be really good. It would be money well spent to bring in a competent design firm to create a technical challenging course. Maybe it is just my preference but a course can require technical shots without being an overgrown mess. I hope that the reviews given here might spur some action.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Slightly better than Tidal Creek, but a chance to be even better
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: James Island County Park features an interesting course. It's very similar to Tidal Creek, but has potential to be even better than that course.
- There are some fun and/or challenging hole layouts here. The course has some shorter holes that offer a chance to be more aggressive (#5, 6, 11 & 12 are good examples), while there are some challenging ones that require pinpoint accuracy. #10 is the only long hole on the course (462 feet), and it's pretty close to being a really good hole. Make the fairway a little wider so people can be aggressive off the tee, and this hole will be really good.
- The course offered a first for me in the Charleston area: a true hole with elevation. #11 has a drop-off of around 20 feet from the tee down to the basket. The basket is on a raised hill (apparently they do exist in the low country), down to a basket deep in the woods. The hole could be even better if a little more length was involved, requiring more than just a putter or mid-range disc off the tee.
- Course does an adequate job of flowing easily through the woods. There are some next tee signs, which help. After several holes, I discovered that the course map didn't provide much help. But, if you follow the walking path (which sometimes doubles as a fairway, but more on that later) and the next tee signs, it's pretty easy to navigate your way through the course. Things could be better, mainly having better tee signs, and more next tee signs, especially on the long walks.
- The course is isolate from the rest of the park activities. You start behind climbing wall, but after that, the course has the land all to itself. There's also some great scenery throughout the course, with water to the left of #5, the hills on #6 &11, and the water behind #9. #10 had the best nature/wooded feel of any hole on the course. I wished there some more holes like that on the course.
- The course has a better natural environment than Tidal Creek. By that, there were less swampy areas than Tidal Creek; although; mud is still an issue days after a rain. That's still better than the standing water you get at TC. There were also less spider webs, large spiders, and less wildlife (mainly snakes). I'm guessing a lot of that has to do with being further from water than TC, but it's still an advantage.
Cons: The course still appears to be a work in progress, so some of these problems should be fixed. They're what are separating a so-so course from being a pretty good one.
- There's a definite lack of true fairways throughout the course. It's one of the same problems that have hampered Tidal Creek. Too many holes were built based on existing paths, making the fairways as wide the walking trail. You can tell there's a resistance to cutting down trees, but it results in an unnatural feel. That also poses another major problem:
- A lack of variety of shot-making is required to play the course. The first time I played, I threw a used, mid-range disc I found years ago for 80% of the round. I didn't want to search for discs in the woods, so I played something I could throw straight. Basically, I was throwing 180 - 220 off the tee on most holes. And regardless of the hole layout, if I stayed in the fairway, I was ensured of an easy 3. The only hole I needed more disc was on #10.
- Because of the narrow/unnatural fairways, there's way too much luck involved in this course. On too many holes, you cannot see the basket from the tee. After hole #6, I quick walking the hole, searching for the basket. My goal was just to throw it straight down the fairway. Well, the rest of the round, I had 4 blind shots (two tee shots, two long approach shots) land within 6 - 8 feet of the basket. There's something unsettling when you get tap-in birdies without ever seeing the basket.
- Of all the narrow/'not really a fairway' fairways, #16 was by far the worst. It's a straight fairway for the first 100 feet, makes a sharp right for the next 40 feet through a 10 foot opening, and then straightens out/goes back to the left the last 50 - 60 feet to the basket. I'm far from a pro, but I don't know how many people are going to make that shot on a consistent basis.
- In addition to the narrow fairways, some holes have low ceilings because of the trees/branches. After a bunch of narrow fairways, getting to a relatively open fairway on #5, throwing a straight shot, only to have it knocked down because of the low ceiling. So basically, on every hole, you're either having to make sure not to go left or right, or too high, or both. Oh, and keep an eye on the ground so you don't trip on roots/stumps, or step in mud.
Other Thoughts: The James Island course grew on me as the round went on. I think it's because I saw all the possibilities this course could offer is the designers were given the opportunity.
- The course starts out frustrating with bad/no fairway holes, and ends with a couple holes like that (#16 & 18); but, from #5 - 15, I really enjoyed the round.
- It's not like I'm even calling for a ton of trees to be knocked down. For example, if only two or three were cleared on #6, you'd have a real fairway and the makings of a great hole. It's a dogleg left, to a basket on a slight (maybe 8 - 10 feet tall) hill. There's too much luck involved to clear the trees. Or just a whole lot of skill, which the average player at this course probably doesn't have.
- Also, by making the fairways, well, actually fair, you increase the risk/reward factor. Throwing a mid-range tee shot on every hole isn't the answer for making a good course. You want to give players a reason to be aggressive.
- All that said, if given the opportunity, this could be one of the better courses in the Charleston area. Instead, you're presently left with just a slightly better version of Tidal Creek. Oh, but the possibilities of what could be.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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