4 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Sharing an island with the grand Riverbend course, this little sibling is very cleverly designed. Holes 1-10 play from short tees, then holes 11-20 play to the same baskets from longer tees. The holes on the front loop average around 150 ft., while the back "stretches" to around 250 ft. per hole. The difficulty of the course gradually grows and grows, letting you find your stride in a gentle fashion.
+ Nice variety of shot shapes for such a short course. There are straight shots, hyzers, turnovers/forehands, low ceiling lasers, and sky hyzer crashers. You actually need a fairly complete game to birdie everything here (other than huge distance of course, but some on the back are surprisingly lengthy and may require a fairway driver for some).
+ Nice use of elevation up and down sandy hills.
+ Fairways are all clean, well-defined, well-shaped, and completely fair, while still demanding precise lines. The rough is thick, but appropriately punishing for a short course like this.
+ Beautiful views of the Catawba River on a few holes, giving a taste of the signature holes of the larger Riverbend course.
+ Some seem to dislike hole 3/13, which are only 48/60 ft. downhill, literally a jump putt. It's actually one of my favorite holes! A small tree right in the center cleverly blocks straight-on putts, forcing a hyzer or anhyzer putt. There is also a huge drop-off behind the basket, so airballs will often result in an uphill circle 2 comebacker. I love the risk/reward here! This could be the easiest birdie of your life, the easiest ace to add to your list, or the most embarassing par you'll ever have!
Cons: - The basket for hole 5/15 has been pulled, probably because of conflicts with the Riverbend course's new hole 7. So this is now a 9/18 hole course. That means the simple symmetry of the hole numbering is lost, but oh well. The teepads and tee sign are still there though, which could be confusing.
- As you'd expect, there's no long holes to stretch out your arm. I used drivers for a few forehand shots, but backhand-only players may not get to use those discs at all, except maybe on the final hole 20.
- While the course is more of a test than you might expect, it's obviously not an enormous challenge either. It's probably a little boring on its own, and shines more as a complement to the Riverbend course.
- As well-documented on reviews for the Riverbend course, there's paperwork involved with paying and signing in. This is much easier to do in advance online, if you plan far enough ahead.
- Only open on weekends, and maybe not even every weekend. Check their Facebook page for up-to-date information.
- The day use fee covers access to both the Riverbend and Sand Hills courses. It's a bargain if you plan on playing both or just Riverbend. But if Sand Hills is the only one you plan to play, it's pretty steep.
Other Thoughts: Canaan Riverbend, the big brother, is obviously an incredible course, but it can be daunting, challenging, and dispiriting at times, even from the short tees. Sand Hills is much friendlier for everyone, a nice pick-me-up from whatever bogey traumas you carried over, and a wonderful complement. For such a short course, I thought it was excellently designed and really fun, well worth bagging on the same day as Riverbend.
A fun game you can play is to see how long of a birdie streak you can get, especially once you reach the back and the holes get longer and tougher. I birdied the entire front loop, parking 6 of them, but a couple of tee shots tested me a bit. I added four more straight birdies into the back, before finally succumbing to a par on hole 14. After a few more birdies, I disappointingly finished with three straight pars to end at a -14, that I actually felt was pretty well-deserved.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Canaan's Training Wheels
9 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: So the big boy course was closed so we had to settle for this one. Despite the disc-appointment, this little 10-holer (20 if you count the other set of tees) was a fun romp through Canaan's pleasant island terrain. Finding it is not entirely intuitive (across the road from the pool house) and when you do find it, you'll find 11's tee first which is confusing if you don't realize that it's numbered as a 20 hole course using 10 baskets.
Way easier course than Riverbend, obviously. Every hole is birdie-able if not ace-able so expect plenty of birdies if you're a fairly experienced player. That being said, it's not very repetitive so each hole does require some sort of varying skill to do well. You can huck a putter straight at most of these holes but a little forced over flex FH or hyzer flipped mid here and there makes more sense. Actually fairly hilly despite how short the course and most of the baskets are placed on fast greens to spice up the challenge just a tad. For as short a course it is, Duvall did a characteristically good job of utilizing the terrain. The extremely short hole is a great example. There's literally one skinny tree to avoid but it's perfectly in the way. It begs to be jump-putted (or just putted really) but there's a steep drop-off just left and past the basket so a bad miss can leave you a ~15' comebacker way uphill. You should get a 2 every time but you're so enticed to get the ace that you'll go for it and you might actually end up with a 3. It's hard to imagine but it's basically a par 2 with possibly decent scoring separation.
Cons: None really. It's really short but still pretty sweet. The rubber pads are prone to drifting apart from each other so you might want to make sure you don't land on a crack.
Hole 19/9 I think it was, is very capable of kicking you into the river. That's fine, it just seems uncharacteristically punitive compared to the rest of the course.
Other Thoughts: It's a really great warm-up for the Riverbend course and it's close enough to Winthrop and fun enough to hit up if you want to take a break from watching the USDGC or get all the Rock Hill highlights.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Go F.I.S.H. (Fewell Island Sand Hills)
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Canaan's Sand Hills course is the perfect elixir to the punishment you'll endure at Riverbend. That said, it's one of the best 9-hole layouts I've ever played.
- This is an amazing 9-hole course. It's 10 baskets with 2 tee pads. Take away #3 - a pitch-n-putt 48-foot (#3) and 60-foot (#13) layout that probably shouldn't be a part of the course. The first time through (holes #1 - 10) are played from shorter tee locations. The second time through (#11 - #20) is played with (mostly) similar layouts, with the tee pushed back 50 - 75 feet.
- The second loop through (#11 - #20) offers a great 9-hole layout. ochets off a tree is ending up wet.Playing #10 (short layout) instead of #20 (long) is more enjoyable, so the stretch of #10 - #19 is even better.
- That 9-hole stretch averages 219 feet, so it's a series of holes that require accurate throws. You've got some straight holes - #1/11, #5/15; good doglegs - #2/12, #10/20, a fun, uphill layout - #6/16; and a ridiculously fun, challenging, risk/reward layout for a beginner-friendly course on #9/19.
- #9/19 is a dogleg left with the Catawba River on the right side, with the fairway sloping away from the basket towards the river (left-to-right downhill slope). A normal RHBH throw is starting close to the river, before curving back towards the basket. A shot that doesn't curve, or one that ricochets off a tree is ending up wet.
- #10 is a simple, yet fun layout. Short, slight uphill, dogleg right (134 feet) with a hanging basket between three big trees. Trees are wide enough that they provide a real chance for bankshots into the basket. I had a putt from 50 feet that hit off one of the trees, hit the basket and fell out. Provided a cool view and reaction from me and my buddy. On a normal course, this would be too much of a gimmick. On a short course, it somehow makes sense.
Cons: The biggest negative is the lack of variety from the short (front 10) and long (back 10) tees. The overwhelming majority of the holes offers the same look, just a longer layout. Much of that is due to a lack of space, but it still feels a bit repetitive.
- #3 is a waste. Unless you're ace-racing, this isn't needed. I felt it's slowing down my round, having to walk up the stairs to #3's tee, 2-putt from 48 feet, and walk back down the hill to #4's tee. I'd prefer going straight from #2's basket to #4's tee. It's such a waste that I feel it drags down the overall quality of the course. Or, I guess you could look at it like a free-spin, bonus hole if you're a glass 1/10 full type of person.
- Course is a little cramped in spots. It's quite impressive there's such a good quality of holes in a small amount of space. If you're not careful, you can easily skip a hole. It's added confusing with the dual-tee pads per hole. Shouldn't be an issue for a normal disc golfer, but for first timers who aren't adapt at navigating a course, I can see someone easily going from #2 to 4, or #8 to 3.
- No benches or trashcans. You're playing a sub-one hour round, so it's not a real issue. Just a statement.
- There is a lost disc factor on the water hole - #9/19 and from the long tee on #20, with thick rough on both sides of the initial dogleg.
Other Thoughts: My buddy and I played Riverbend first. Sand Hills was our relaxing, after-round round. And I was pleasantly surprised how good this simple layout plays.
- Course reminded me of Mint Hill's 9-hole layout in that both courses are simple, yet effectively designed. It's hard to picture either as a complete 18, but you could easily pull a couple of these holes and stick them on a real 18-holer, and they'd fit right in.
- I'll throw out #16 as the final good hole layout. The added length - 234 feet vs 168 - make the long layout far superior to the short - #6. #16 is a flat shot to a basket up on a hill, with a slight dip right before the hill. That depression is listed as OB on the tee sign. If you play it that way, you're having to throw around a curve to the left. The uphill basket presents roller options on all sides, with the risk of some ending up in that OB in the front right. This seems like a hole that will seem very birdie-able from the tee, yet leave many players wondering how they carded a bogey after having a putt roll away.
- I'll view this as a 9-holer with dual tee pads. That said, when I'm here, I will play all 20 tee locations. It doesn't matter how you view this course. This course has nine solid hole locations. Add to that it's a perfect warm-up or cool-down compliment to the advanced course on the island. Even with #3, this is a solid 2.0 course in my book - decent, especially as a second act.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Redemption is here!
Pros: -This is the other course at Camp Canaan. It's more of a pitch and putt with a few unique holes. It ends really challenging though with a tricky #19 and a long dogleg right #20.
-Rubber tee pads are good. I have no problem with that. There are 10 basket and two sets of tees so I guess that makes 20 holes. It starts off really easy with the first ten and then it gets longer. It's like a 10 holer with two sets of tees.
-Hole 2/12 is fun. #2 is an interesting flick shot around a man made wall and #12 is of course longer. The basket is straight ahead of the tee but there are many trees in front of the tee and the wall is straight ahead. It's not too hard of a 2 but a 3 wouldn't be very disappointing either.
-6/16's basket position is really cool on top of the hill. Adds a bit of challenge.
-I love the forced hyzer on #19. It's no more than 250' but I usually throw a firebird on this hole so it will go sharply left. The water that plays mostly on the Riverbend course is in play on this hole. Hole #9, the short tee on #19 isn't in a good position (see below in cons.) #10/20's hanging basket is also really sweet. It's connected to three giant stumps.
-Friendly staff. Very helpful as well. Scorecards are provided on both courses. It's $6 to play all day or you can pay $49 for a season pass.
-Riverbend course is also on site so you can play two courses. This is the easy course but Riverbend is a bit more unique. Play them both.
-Construction is good, there are plenty of bridges and stairs.
Cons: -Not too many really. It's mostly there for practice even though I do think it's worth the play. I think #3 is a joke! It's 48' and plays around a small tree and there is a drop off behind the basket. Could be worse but it is pointless! The long tee #13 is also pointless. It's just 12' behind the short pad that is #3.
-I also don't agree with #9's tee position. A cluster of trees is directly in front of the pad with some hanging limbs. Kind of disappointing.
Other Thoughts: -Really not much to say about this course except that it is much more forgiving than Riverbend. Some holes were fun, most were decent with a couple of buzzkills. It's a good practice course. I think you should play it because you should easily be surprised at least once. I thought it was really cool.
-Favorite hole: #12. Very unique sidearm hole that goes around a hill and to the right.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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