I Hear the Train A-Comin'...
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: So you end up driving through this neighborhood that is frankly not exactly the most upscale to put it kindly and right as you're about to curse your GPS for sending you on a wild goose chase you come to the end of the road and voila, a disc golf course magically appears, like stepping through the wardrobe into Narnia. Not just any run of the mill course, mind you, but a dedicated mamma-jamma all doo-dadded out with fancy railroad themed signs and multiple practice baskets, some weird shelter with an upper deck for observation and apparently more to come. It doesn't feel like a park insomuch as discovering an uncharted territory that was settled by a colony of disc golfers, staking out a claim and raising a village. I fully expect a small fort the next time I come, with some sort of disc golf flag flying from it.
So this is disc golf exclusive (sweet!) and meticulously designed and maintained by guys that clearly know what they're doing. It's like playing a private course except it's public and you can show up and play for free about anytime. It's courses like this that spoil me and make me thumb my nose at the "Pay to Play is so superior" crowd.
Amenities galore as far as disc golf goes. Great tee signs, lots of well-made tees, next tee signs make navigation none too difficult, shiny Innova baskets with flags on them, even orange whiskers stuck in the ground to denote the 10 m circle. It's a serious tournament disc golfer's dream course.
The course itself is top-notch. Design-wise you can't complain much. GCS mixes in short, medium and long holes, fairways of various shapes, a little elevation change, and a great balance of wooded and open holes. Most of the holes are a great test of skill and rarely is luck rewarded, a testament of great design. Attacking each hole is fairly straight-forward and it's up to you to execute. Multiple tees for most holes I think as well as alternate pin placements should assure that players never get bored.
The open holes aren't too wide open and the wooded holes aren't too wooded so golfers that like ball golf style courses and those that like really wooded courses should both be well-satisfied. Many of the holes are pretty unique, like hole 6 with its length and metal towers, hole 7's picturesque downhill bomb over a creek and hole 14's mini-gauntlet with its island green made of large stones and red wood chips. The par 4's are legitimate 4's, especially hole 11 with its fiendish wooded approach and quick green.
Cons: The use of available elevation is terrific but the course still suffers a bit from flatness, it reminded me of Castle Hayne a lot in this regard. Hole 1 and 10 are meh, hole 2 throws over the entrance road blindly and hole 16 seems like a filler hole. Hole 18 was a mildly disappointing way to finish. Some of the par 4's seemed a little soft or at least they weren't super-sized par 4's like at a lot of Charlotte courses where you have to crush shots back to back to score a birdie.
Navigation was a little confusing because the course overlaps itself in places but the "Next stop" signs cleared up confusion quickly. Unfortunately some punk graffiti'd a few of the tee signs and made them illegible. There's also nothing else to do but play disc golf basically so someone with kids in tow might not have a good time.
This is a preference thing but the wooded holes were mostly too much like the corridor variety where there's nothing really in between the tree-lines to serve as obstacles. A lot of the greens weren't terribly hard to approach either.
Other Thoughts: This is a very good course but it's not quite an excellent course. It's close, like a very, very good course so I'd give it a 3.75 if I could. The lack of geological features to "wow" you, the relative flatness and a few handful of slightly underwhelming holes hold it back a tad for me. Still though, this absolutely a must play and deserving of its high ranking. The designer and all the helpers have done a great job, the Upstate SC crew really seem on the ball and I've really enjoyed their work so far.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 3 Not
Great front 9
Pros: Excellent, excellent front 9!
Hole 2 is a lot of fun and really begs you to go for it in two, but if you miss right off the tee your going to work for a four. Nice risk / reward.
Hole 4 is a down hill 450ish , id say it plays more like 350 so its also a lot of fun to really let one go.
Hole 6 plays down the power line, Very cool! I've always wanted to do that. 760' that's going down hill a bit, very nice par 4 but Im sure some rocket arms get it in three.
Hole 7 continues down the same lines, but shorter at 500' with a creek to contend with. I did not realize how deep it was before I got to it, Im glad I didnt go in!
Hole 8 was my favorite. First part of the hole before you go back over the creek felt very "park" like, would be a nice spot for a picnic. Then its a nice uphill blast to the pin. Doable it in 3 with 2 well executed shots, but not a easy bird either.
Park was pretty much empty at 530 on a Friday night, was nice to have the run of the place.
Good signage at tees. Cool pavilion with a observation deck, would be really cool during a tournament to hang out up there.
Plenty of benches
Land is just for disc golf, very cool private feel. Wonderful space, pretty clean area, felt safe.
Cons: Holes 14, 15, 16 and 17 did not live up to the rest of the course, and felt like the belonged on a different track. There not "bad" holes, the rest of the course however set the bar much above the difficultly of these 4.
Hole 13 was a great par 4, then coming down to 14 as a gimme was OK, but then backtracking back 15 to play 16 was odd. Would be great to see 15 extended and 16 come back towards 17's box, but play across the creek.
Next tee signs please! I finally realized the next tee info is on the teesigns, but I never got to looking till i was putting out. The transition to 9 was especially difficult to figure out as a first timer and solo. I found the box for 18 so I turned around!
Other Thoughts: I gave this course a 3.5, overall its a great course, and if your in the area, its well worth the time. I will come back for sure!
To make me revisit and raise my rating I would like to see some redesign on 14,15,16. A raised basket on 14 might be something easy to implement to increase the difficultly there, as well as taking another look at the flow from 15/16/17.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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