Not a Summer course.
3 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: The pros are that this has to be one of the hardest courses ever. Some unique holes, some people would say maybe "gimmicky" in places.
Cons: The litter on this course was horrific. I don't know if it's the local disc golfers or just local riff raff, but one teepad, I believe hole 4, literally just had a mountain of trash in front of it. The course itself was VERY overgrown and not maintained at all, knee-high grass on fairways, gaps become smaller which can at times give a feeling more akin to putt putt golf: "Hit the line through the spinning blades of the windmill." Hole 2 & hole 18 if you putt down into this little ravine behind the baskets (or come up short on the approach) you'll never get that disc back. I'm sure in the winter time someone goes through that wasteland and finds hundreds of discs. Any time you're even slightly off the fairway it's just "Hopefully this isn't my first run-in with Lyme's Disease!" or a copperhead or what have you.
Other Thoughts: Long story short: Play Hornet's Nest! It's nice, even in the summer time. Not an overgrown trash ridden swamp.
I love a hard, challenging course. But there's a difference between that and this filthy monster.
3 of 9 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 10 Not
Pros: The longs are fair and require accuracy, the shorts are well done and also require accuracy and placement. There's a healthy mix of open, technical, OB and elevation.
Cons: Summer can be hard to find discs on a few holes. Rainy conditions cause some serious standing water and slippery hill sides.
1 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Front 9 is great, back 9 isn't
10 Helpful / 11 Not
Pros: The front 9. Great use of elevation and creatively designed. This was the type of course I was looking to play while in Charlotte.
Cons: The back 9. There are a few long (as in, around 1000 feet), boring, straight holes. In my opinion, these holes are the laziest way to add difficulty to a course. The holes in the back 9 are so long that the course spans into the adjacent park/course. With the seemingly well thought out front 9, I couldn't have been more disappointed in the back.
Now, the kicker. Hole 18. This may be the first time I've ever ended a round short due to disliking a hole. If I understand correctly, you have to drive to the end of the first half, throw over a fence and gulley, then walk around to the second half of the fairway to throw over a deeper gulley to an island green. Locals, is that right? Because from what I saw, that's what you had to do and it's ridiculous. I actually left the course upset and disappointed, primarily due to the last hole.
Other Thoughts: This course was so promising during the first half, then just let me down... hard. Maybe I should have just played the shorter layout, but I wanted the "full experience", since I was only in town for a day. If the back 9 focused more on skill and not just long bombs, it would greatly improve the course. Until then, I just can't recommend it.
10 of 21 people found this review helpful.
Renaissance - Gold
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: When I first started playing disc golf, Renaissance was not only the hardest of the five "big" courses in Charlotte at the time, but one of the hardest in the world. It was a championship caliber course that had gained a reputation, even amongst the pros as being a great, difficult course. The only thing that has changed since back then is my ability to score "decent-ish" here, because to this day it is easily still the hardest course I have ever played.
The amount of work that went into designing and maintaining this course is incredible, and definitely apparent when you play it. Two decades after it was first built, this course still holds up. It is a beast, and a blast to play. The "less memorable/average" holes on this course would probably all be considered signature holes on almost any other course in the region. This largely comes down to the great use of the park's landscape to create dynamic holes with some interesting greens interspersed throughout the course. While I've heard some call a few of the greens gimmicky, I personally feel like its use of tricky greens isn't overused to the point where I would call them that, and adds a new element to the course which can punish those who try to play too safe. I appreciate the need to really think about my approach shots.
While challenging, this course is never unfair. It does however, reward accuracy above all else. So don't let the distances on the scorecard fool you, because those sub 400' Par 4s, earn every bit of that par. And be prepared to pull out pretty much every shot in your arsenal if you expect to shoot Par here. The start of the course is fairly technical, but slowly opens up to a few huge bomb holes right in the middle of the round. If you really want to maintain your strokes though, you definitely are going to want to consider your landings even on the long holes, so you have the right angle for your next shot.
A lot of work has been done here over the past few years to improve the layout. If the basket has a gold band (or even half of the basket has a gold band), then it is a basket for Renny Gold. When you reach Hole 11, you're gonna need to throw past a couple red baskets before you reach your target. So the color coordination here is really nice!
UPDATE: I was just out at Renaissance again (it had been about a month), and the amount of work that is going into this course is incredible! I noticed new erosion bars on several holes, but more importantly a new wooden staircase leads you down, across, and up the ravine on Hole 18. The ravine was also cut back around this area for the people who were building this amazing walkway, which is a most welcome bonus, but the walkway itself should really help cut down on erosion and prevent injuries in this area.
Cons: There used to be a short layout that was referred to as Renny - Grey, but that layout was removed/revamped so that two separate courses could be built into the two halves of Renny Gold. And while they are decent courses in their own right, they can cause a lot of confusion and delays for people playing Renny - Gold. If it's your first time and you aren't with someone who knows the course, you would do well to download a map of the layout to bring with you. I think it would be nice if there were painted bands around the tee sign posts to indicate which course the tee belongs to, and if it is a shared tee.
At times the rough on this course goes from being punishing, to downright abusive. If you tend to play with a risk/reward style, either plan on backing off some here or be okay with the possibility of losing a disc. I have a love/hate relationship with this aspect of the course. Obviously, I hate searching for and/or losing discs, and hate when other people lose discs, but every fairway hit feels super rewarding when you know how hard it is to scramble on this course. Errant shots on this course almost never go unpunished.
The length of this course, and its difficulty probably make it less appealing to a significant portion of the disc golf community. I remember this course chewing me up and spitting me out my first time out here.
Other Thoughts: Even though this course might lack the aesthetics of Hornets Nest or Nevin, it has its own charm. Simply put, I believe anyone who manages to not let their ego get the best of them out here, they will realize that Renny - Gold manages to create the perfect blend of a challenging with fun.
I am going to give this course a 4.5 rating, because of the truly inspired course design that manages to eek out the absolute full potential of the land being used. And I am very pleased that it appears work is being done around this course, to give it a much needed face lift. While navigation still might be an issue for first timers, I would feel wrong giving this course a lower rating. Hopefully, further improvements aid with navigation as well. This is a course I could realistically see myself giving a perfect rating if all of it's signage issues were addressed and it were tournament ready.
Favorite Holes: 2, 3, 10, 13, 14, 18
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
A Gold Standard
17 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I've played better courses, nicer courses, more scenic course, and more fun courses. But 15 years in and 300+ played courses, I still haven't played one that's tougher than the one that's 15 minutes from my house.
- When I first started playing disc golf, I cut my teeth on some of the more 'forgiving' Charlotte courses such as Reedy Creek, Kilborne, Sugaw Creek, Veterans Park (RIP), and even Hornets Nest. It took a while before I felt I was ready to challenge Renny. First the grey layout, then even a while later before Renny Gold.
- What is a tough course will always be up for debate? You could make a 5,000-foot hole, and make it a par 18, but is that truly tough? Renny Gold is the only course where time and again I'm satisfied making a 4; although, there are usually 5s and 6s sprinkled in.
- Ah, the dreaded ravine that comes into play on #2, (potentially) 6, and 18. In 2019, it's actually tame by the standards of a decade ago when a brave soul could find a dozen or more discs should he brave the climb down. If you play #2 & 18 smartly by playing smart station-to-station throws, they are two of the best holes one will see anywhere. #2 is also one of the few holes where throwing in the thick stuff (to the left of the ravine) is a good shot.
- Bring your patience. There are realistically only four holes where most players may see a 2 on their scorecards: #6 (257 feet), 8 (323 feet), 9 (285 feet), and 16 (302 feet). #8 and #15, both downhill layouts, also present the only holes players may want to throw more than one disc. Notice how three of the shorter holes are in a four-hole stretch. That is the only 'easy' stretch of the course.
- There are multiple holes that would be the signature hole on most courses. In addition to #2 & 18, #7, 10, & 14 are two of the best in Charlotte. #7 is one of the greatest tee shots around in that if by simply landing your disc in the fairway, it, by default, is a great shot.
- #14 is the first layout I was ever awed by. It showed me what an elite disc golf layout could look like. The tee shot on this 564-foot layout is heavily protected by thick growth and underbrush on both sides of the fairway until you reach the gap, with the hole sloping down to the left. Depending on how far you throw, you're probably looking at a 150 to 250-foot second shot that, 1., starts in the open, 2. plays downhill, 3. Into the woods, 4. to a slightly raised basket, 5. that's on a quasi-island, 6. with drop-offs all around it. Other than that, it's an average layout. To this day, whether I'm playing Gold or (now, the lame titled) Pro Players layout, I feel cheated if I don't get to experience this approach shot to it's fullest. Sure, I could throw a disc for fun, but it just doesn't mean anything. This right here, is one of my all-time favorite shots in all of disc golf.
- Yes, there are three long open holes on the back 9. If you're a big bomber, you'll love this stretch. If not, you're just throwing driver, driver, driver, approach, and putt on your 1,000 foot hole.
- Course just has a certain character to it. Whether you're a first- time visitor or a frequent player, there's often a sense somewhere around hole six or seven that one wonders how you are still only on the front nine. Between a lot of elevation factors, multi-shot holes, and possibly, multiple searches in the woods for a disc, or five, your round goes by slow. That's why the 'easy' stretch is such a relief. There's a fair chance you'll play #6 - 9 faster than you'll play #4 & 5.
Cons: I hate this course. It is tough. I'll freely admit this course is undefeated against me as I am not skilled enough. On many holes there is seemingly little margin for error. #8 can be birdie chance, but if your throw hyzers too soon or too hot you could be 50-75 feet from the basket and be lucky to salvage par.
- A round can blow up real fast. Land in the ravine on #2, and you may be getting a bogey or double bogey. Then, you've got a ridiculous tough stretch of #3 - 5 where all three holes could be blow up scores. Suddenly, you get to #6 and feel you must birdie this hole....but, remember the ravine is just to the right of the fairway. You overthrow this hole and suddenly, if this were an Xbox, you're hitting the reset button.
- The obvious problem with Renny is that three courses overlap. Pro Player is essentially the shorter version of Gold. Renske overlaps with holes #11 - 13. On a busy day, players are going to be popping up from all over the place. Who has the right of way? That's for you to decide.
- Navigation needs to be improved. It's always been a problem. Even with improved signage, it's still not where it should be. With three courses overlapping, you'll want to make sure you're following the correct path and/or arrows. At times, the same basket will play for different hole numbers for the different layouts. Multiple times I've come across first time players who were completely lost.
- Course is not for the faint of heart or arm. There are more holes longer than 800 feet (3) than there are holes shorter than 300 feet (2); more holes longer than 500 feet (10) than shorter than 400 feet (7). Point being, if you're not good enough to play here, you probably won't enjoy the round. You'll be sore, you'll be tired, you may be scratched up searching for discs; you'll be humbled; and you will probably blame the course instead of yourself.
- Not a fault of the course itself, but an issue to be addressed, nonetheless. At the furthest point (around #11 & 12), you're close to a half mile from the parking lot by hole #1 (if you follow the fairways vs as-the-crow-flies). If you park by the first tee, you won't see your vehicle again until after finishing your round. Over the years, there has been issue with car break-ins from time-to-time. Keep that in mind. You don't want a bad day worsened, or a great round ruined because you didn't lock up your car and/or valuables.
- As this is a long walking course, there aren't a lot of amenities throughout, mainly water fountains & restrooms. There are some near the tennis courts and again the second parking lot near Renske/hole #12.
- Also, there are areas of the course where there is little or no shade. Keep that in mind, especially when you're here in the summer. Gatorade is a much better choice that beer on this course on a hot summer day.
Other Thoughts: Renny Gold sets up as if its 18 different challenges. Each one seems different than others...apart from #11 - 13. The good news is that if you struggle here, you're not the first one to have a bad round. Just look at the course's SSA and take comfort in the idea your round might not have been THAT bad.
- This may not be a popular opinion, but I do not like the idea/design of holes #11 - 13. Three open holes with lengths, in order, of 1042, 617, and 974 feet. Basically, you play 1,000 feet one direction to turn around a squeeze in two more holes 1,000 feet plus the opposite direction. Ideally, one or two of those holes would be eliminated and a shorter, wooded hole would be incorporated into the round. This is the most boring, unimaginative portion of the course.
- Conversely, #16 & 17 have fun looks on two of the more overlooked layouts. #16 is a split fairway, shorter hole, listed at 302 feet. Having played the two dogleg routes, both seem a fair bit longer than 302 feet (probably 30 - 60 feet longer). This is your last chance to catch your breath as you should be having a possible birdie chance, or at least, a relatively simple par 3. #17 is interesting with the fairway's 90-degree turn to the right halfway down. If your tee shot is on the wrong side of the fairway, you may not have an angle to the bend. Once you hit the turn, it's an uphill shot to the basket. Solid station-to-station play.
- I stand by the belief this is the toughest course I've played. I've played all three IDGC courses in less than 5 hours, zipped through Idlewild in 90 minutes after a nearly 4-hour car ride from Knoxville, and played some tough, private NC mountain courses. None of those, or the other 300+ courses are as tough as Renny Gold. This is the second closest 18-hole course to my house, and I hardly play it because I'd rather have fun than be beaten down when playing.
- I think Renny was far ahead of its time. There's a wave of newer, longer, tougher championship level courses. Think about playing this course when it first opened in 1998 and how far different the equipment was at that time compared to present day.
- The course is an absolute must-play for the appropriately skilled and disciplined player. Of people who give the course a low rating there is a common theme among those reviewers. Hint: there isn't a lot of objectivity in their reviews.
- I'm giving this an easy 4.5 rating. It's just rough enough around the edges that it's overall presentation is less than the IDGC or Idlewild. At it's current rating in the 4.2 - 4.3 range, you're not going to see another course of this caliber.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 26 Not
Pros: Number of baskets and move the change of elevation through out the course. It pretty much becomes unplayable after heavy rains.
Cons: Very confusing layout and very unclear route.
0 of 26 people found this review helpful.
18 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Renaissance Gold has been on my "Must Play" list for a while. A few courses in Charlotte have been on that list. So when I found out that I would be in Charlotte for a couple days, I was ecstatic.
Renaissance Gold is not flashy. It doesn't have brand new Discatchers, pristine tee pads, exquisite tee signs. However, it makes up for this with exhilarating golf.
This course has some of the most extreme holes I have ever played, mostly due to the crazy terrain, especially around the green. For example, hole two seems harmless enough on paper. Under 600 feet, par 4. Pretty open, no extreme elevation changes overall. However, the approach shot is over a DEEP ravine, which is terrifying to traverse. Leave an approach five feet short, you are throwing 80 degrees up the hill. Go long, and you have a horrifying death putt.
This theme continues through the course. Holes that should be easy, but then you have one non-perfectly executed shot, and somehow you're 500 feet from the basket, shooting for double bogey. That's what I really love about this course. From start to finish, you can't take a single shot for granted.
I could go on and on about the brilliant hole designs, and fun shots, but it's impossible to do some of it justice. However, know that a course without water can still make discs disappear.
There is a great variety of shots needed to execute a great round. The front nine is shorter, but much more technical and has more substantial elevation changes. The back nine requires more distance, while still having different lines to throw on each hole.
A lot of courses that have a total distance like that of Renaissance Gold are reliant on distance. However, this is not the case here. I believe that if you can throw 350 feet with a good bit of accuracy, you can shoot par at this course. They put a lot of emphasis on landing zones, giving a more experienced player an edge.
Cons: Renaissance Gold is one of the best course designs I have played, it's hard to believe it's twenty years old. That's older than I am! However, it's far from perfect.
The baskets are no longer a shiny gold, but rather a dull, pale yellow. The tee signs are worn, not as descriptive as they should be at a beast of a course like this, and small. This course is showing a lot of age, and could use some new equipment to match the golf. The best courses deserve the best amenities!
Navigation at this course is not intuitive. There are signs to guide you to the next tee, but with the overlapping layouts, the multiple baskets, and not-so-great tee signs, there was definitely an advantage to having a map and a spotter to show us the way.
On a dreary December morning, the course was very wet in a few places, and, combined with the extreme elevation changes, it got a little slippery on the muddy areas. I would recommend wearing shoes with a lot of traction, and clothes that you don't mind getting dirty.
The rough at Renaissance Gold is dense and unforgiving. I said that you could never see a disc again without throwing it into the water, and I mean it. Steep drop offs, Thick underbrush. Overall, a lot of places you don't want to end up.
Design-wise, a few holes were lackluster compared to the other holes, that are definitely signature. The wide open bomber holes on the back that are in a row are a little frustrating. Plus, the first hole does not match the rest of the course at all.
There are overlapping layouts, holes that play near roads, and more possible safety hazards that could arise on a busy day in the summer. I ran into a few people on the RenSke course that played across the Gold fairway. I can not see how this would work during a busy day, as I imagine it would cause a lot of backups.
This course is not for the weak-minded and weak-armed. Bring water and your game face. There is no short layout. That's at the other courses. This course is for the strong. If you play your hardest, its not hard to conquer.
Other Thoughts: I wrote a long review, because I have strong feelings regarding this course. I love the design, but there are issues with how it is laid out. While not a huge problem I imagine in the '90s, the disc golf scene continues to boom, and courses like this need to be cherished. Make it look like the Championship course that it is.
I will return to Renny Gold in the future, and I will definitely love it like I did the first time. I don't know what will change, but I hope it's for the better.
18 of 18 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Renaissance Park's storied Gold course is impressively ambitious. Sprawling across rolling hills, working its way into and out of the woods at several points, it earns every throw of its stated par 70. Hole design stresses complete playthroughs, testing your ability to chain shots together and recover from the inevitable missteps. Risk abounds, but it's smartly done, and the longer layouts, well-worn fairways, and fair landing zones all allow you to control your level of exposure. If there's a course that requires a "complete game," this is it, with the maximum amount of shot variation created from all manner of elevation changes, distances, lines, and levels of tree cover. Renny Gold is a challenge, no doubt about it, but it's a well-designed one, and it effectively mixes things up to keep the round fresh.
The first 10 holes in particular stood out to me as one of the best stretches I've ever played. The hillside baskets on 2, the tight downhill fairway on 4, the dramatic uphill shot on 10 are just a few of the daunting shots etched in my minds eye. The bold design choices and skilled execution make Renny Gold an imaginative and memorable challenge.
Navigation isn't the most intuitive I've seen given the overlap with other layouts, but effective signage helps mitigate most of the potential issues. Friendly locals helped us at the few points we did get off track.
Cons: The length (~9500 ft) and level of difficulty lend this course a narrower appeal than most. Just walking the layout will tire you out. I personally wouldn't try to play any of the other significant courses in the area in the same day as I played this one, at least not with any hope of effectively playing throughout.
The rough can be really bad and deter aggressive play at a few points. It's a shame to be worried off interesting shots due to black hole levels of rough.
Due to elevation changes and fairway curvatures, many of the landing zones here are hard or impossible to see in your first play through. Because of this, Renny Gold is the kind of course that really benefits from familiarity; the right shot or accurate degrees of fairness aren't always evident from the tee or at first glance. There are a fair few shots that require you to actively distrust your eyesight.
After the first in my opinion stellar ten holes the course hits a stretch of duds. 11-13 are all pretty much grip it and rip it, fine enough individually especially after the preceding tight confines but awful back to back to back. The need to begin playing back to the course's in is partly to blame here but nonetheless having three holes totalling over 2500' feet after ten of the most challenging holes I've played is a bit of a tone deaf play for what is otherwise thoughtful design. Beyond that critique though, these holes are themselves just not very interesting. The back 9 are generally more open than the front half and don't boast quite the same level of nuanced play: holes are a bit more focused exclusively on shots off the tee or distance for the sake of it. Most are solid, a few are great, but they don't collectively attain the bucket list level of quality that the front half does.
Other Thoughts: Renny Gold is a beast worthy of its storied reputation and an absolute must-visit. As stated, I'd be wary pairing it with a Nevin or a Hornets Nest in the same day. It was my personal favorite of those three Charlotte stalwarts, although admittedly a bit of an acquired taste due to the length and challenge level. If that sounds like your bag, though, I can't recommend it enough.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: If Hornets Nest knows how to be cool and popular while still keeping its morals, and if Nevin is the straight-edge overachiever, then Renny Gold is the misunderstood wild child.
I love a course that has a unique character to it, and this course surely has that. I knew going in that it was going to be a grueling round, but I was surprised by its many amazing holes and crazy variety of terrain. I've heard about how 2 and 18 are epic holes, but I'm surprised I hadn't heard more about its other monster holes - particularly the entire front 9.
Of the courses I've played, the pin positions are second only to Sugaree. There were many scary putts and approaches, all in a variety of creative ways. Of course, you don't want to come up a little bit short on your approaches for 2 and 18. But there are also many other interesting basket positions on steep slopes and among rock outcroppings.
There is a fun emphasis on landing zones, but used in unique ways. It could be with a drive to a blind pin like 9, 15, or 16, staying within a wider part of the fairway on 10 and 18, or just fun downhill approaches like 14. You'll have space to air it out, but you really want to hit you landing zones. Again, just a really interesting variety of holes and settings within the park that the course offers.
Having all three layouts share some baskets and tees is ambitious, but I didn't find it to be very confusing. It's super helpful that they painted the baskets two colors when shared and it had fantastic signage throughout all three courses. You just had to pay attention to the signs pointing you in the right direction. They're there.
Cons: However, playing and navigating the separate layouts can lead to some issues. We didn't experience any, but at peak times, there could be some safety concerns. From 4-5 you have to walk back up the fairway a little bit. To get to 14 you cross 10's Fairway. You throw across the park road on 18.
Ambience and setting isn't typical of a highly rated course. A main road plays near a good portion of holes, even close to some of the front nine in the woods. There are towers that you play through on a few holes, and just not much in terms of being aesthetically pleasing. Just my personal preference. If strictly the hole design is all you care about then you shouldn't be bothered by it too much here.
Disc swallowing rough on a few holes, some with tight fairways and blind shots too.
Other Thoughts: This was one of my most exhausting rounds ever, mentally and physically. But Renny Gold has one of the most unique feels to it and some of the craziest holes that I've ever played. I didn't have the highest expectations entering the park, but man was I wrong. While the park doesn't appear to be anything too special, the course is incredible, hole after hole. I can't imagine what people first thought playing this in 1998.
Renny Gold has probably some of the most eclectic mix of reviews and ratings. I'm sure a lot of that is because of it being one of the most difficult courses out there, as well as changes to the layout over the years. If you haven't played here, don't overlook the true beauty of this course. It's one of the best out there!
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: You can't go wrong with Renaissance Gold. Actually, a lot can go wrong if your game isn't up to snuff. This is a challenging course that will test every aspect of your game. You'll see tight-technical shots in the woods, long open shots across fields, and everything in between. The course takes our usual group of 3 people about 4 hours. We're intermediate amateurs and struggle a little bit here and there. The 1,000' hole on the back 9 is a doozy...
Cons: As mentioned in a lot of reviews, there is a giant ditch that is in play primarily on holes 2 and 18. If you're risky enough to throw over it during the Spring and Summer months (when this ditch is overgrown) be ready to potentially lose your disc. The ditch is very deep. Getting down to the bottom is challenging enough, but searching through the thicket of overgrown thorns and brush is nearly impossible. There is more growth, that can cause similar results on the back 9. The growth dies down in the Winter, which takes the risk down a bit. I speak from experience, but most of you are probably better than me. Overall, the course doesn't have the best maintenance, but the foot traffic from people playing the course helps keep most of it clear. The course is certainly playable, but overgrown bush, dirty tees, down trees and the occasional bits of trash can get annoying. The course is so great; I just want it to be perfect.
Other Thoughts: It's always a special occasion when the crew gets together for a round at Renaissance. It's a little out of the way for us when we play it; so, when we do go, we make the most out of our time. That being said, we have never tried the Silver course. However, it seems just as challenging. The two courses move through the park in tandem. Some holes share the same basket with different tee locations. At some point on the front 9, the two courses split and play separate holes entirely, then later come back together. Sometimes you have to be careful when you tee off on Gold. There may be others playing Silver at the same time, on another tee, which you can't see from your tee. Just keep a courteous eye down the course and have fun!
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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