Top 3 in a Top 3 Metro
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: New, updated DISCatchers, great tee signs, concrete tees on every hole. Most holes have two tees, so you can pick your challenge.
There are several holes on the front 9 that are mostly open grass, in the mult-use portions of the park. Its good to warm up your drives on these, before heading to the wooded back 9.
Good use of elevation on the Back 9 to provide even more challenge to the heavy woods on most holes.
Stays away from other park users, although you have to play along the entrance road on 3 of the front nine holes. Back 9 is in a DG only area.
This course really makes you throw all of your shots, with the short tees at 6500' there's only a few short holes, but the fairways are fair, even on the heavily wooded holes.
Nice large multi-use park with restrooms and water available, parking is also abundant.
Cons: #9 is basically a filler hole, behind the tennis courts. To add something, the CDGC put an elevated basket on this 160' hole. If anyone goes for a straight on ace, they could end up OB.
#18 does not feel like a finishing hole. The short tee is 370' downhill in an open area with the basket in the open. Not a lot of trouble to find, although a few drives in the DGPT Championship last fall found some trouble there. #17 feels more like a challenging finishing hole to me. I guess the designers felt they had beaten you up enough on the Back 9 and gave you a breather on the final hole.
Other Thoughts: I was real happy to get the chance to play this course last year, one of the Top 3 in Charlotte, the 3rd best DG Metro area. Then, it was selected as the site of the DGPT Championship last fall, so it was awesome to watch the Pros on a course I had played.
It has a good combination of open and wooded holes and uses the elevation very well. So many good holes, its tough to not write a description of all of them, several of my favorites:
#3 - long Par 4 completely in the woods, tee shot goes downhill a little, then turns right over a small creek then uphill to the basket still to the right. Really makes you think about where you want your drive to land to have a shot at the green.
#4 - 318' Par 3 that is mostly open, softball fence to your left and assorted large trees in the fairway (for shot shaping) to a basket with a steep downhill beyond it, right to the OB parking lot.
#7 - 585' Par 4 along the entrance road (OB) with scattered trees in the first half, then down the second half, the fairway narrows with thick woods on the right. This basket was placed about as far back as it could be, while still providing an ample green.
#10 - gets you into the mostly wooded Back 9 with this one being uphill, 384' Par 3 with an unusal ridge/depression in the middle of the fairway. This could lead to an tricky stance for your birdie putt.
#14 - Tees at the edge of the sewer line ROW for a wide open drive that has to find the opening in the treeline, far right side of the fairway. This 640' Par 4 then heads into the woods, fairway slopes right to left, as does the green.
#17 - after a couple more wooded holes, this Par 4 requires a drive that will fade left into a nearly 90 degree turn in the fairway, then uphill to an elevated green, thru scattered trees. If you miss your putt here, it could roll away on the rocks and cost you more than one more shot.
This really is a well designed, challenging course. Holes are long, especially from the Blues, but not just to have a long hole. They added distance to make it tough and really earn your score. Personally, I enjoy a course that has a mix of open and wooded holes, and Hornets has that great mix.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Long and wooded with some subtle elevation and elevated baskets. The front 9 is more open with OB and the back 9 is tighter. You need all the shots for this course. Some holes really make you think.
Cons: Some holes have standing water and there has been some erosion. Flow can be poor from traffic and park goers.
Other Thoughts: Hard and FUN!
0 of 4 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I decided to wait quite a while before sitting down to write a review for the new Hornets Nest layout. I wanted to make sure I gave the course redesign enough time, and enough rounds played, to marinate with me before I cast my final judgements on it. This is in part due to the fact that the old layout was one of, if not my favorite course at the time it had its baskets pulled - and I didn't want my nostalgia or subjectivity affect my opinions on the new layout. Especially since this wasn't just some random tinkering to an already great course, in an attempt to make it better. The changes made were necessary due to various construction reasons, if I remember correctly. Well, without further ado, let's get started:
Hornets Nest Park, which features the eponymously named disc golf course, is a stunningly beautiful city park that features all sorts of amenities, such as multiple ball fields, gazebos, picnic tables, bathrooms, etc. There's even a BMX track right next to the course! This course manages to weave through the park with its two layouts: the traditional "Hornets Nest" course (which is labeled as a Red course, but plays a lot harder than a red course) and "Charlotte's Web", which is a Gold level course that will really test your mettle as a disc golfer. One of the first significant changes you'll notice, is that the first tee is on the other side of the parking lot, and its approach trail features a sweet archway/sign with the courses name on it. The course features sweet signage that helps you navigate around the course, and distinguish between the two layouts. Baskets are all top notch, and tees are in great condition. Each tee has great tee signs, there are benches at every tee, the fairways a nicely manicured, and the rough is never overly oppressive. While the new layout does have one awkward transition between Holes 1 and 2 a lot of work has been done to make sure that first time players won't get lost. In fact it is blazed almost like a hiking trail, making it is very easy to follow.
Hornets Nest features a healthy mix of technical shots, open shots, placement golf, long bombs, etc. It's going to require that you reach into your bag of tricks and discs for a variety of shots. This course will test you on your shot selection, ability to shape your line, and your ability to recover if you have an errant throw. Above all else, this course will test you on knowing your limits. (Which is a staple of Stan McDaniel courses.) All throughout your round, Hornets Nest is going to dare you to put a little extra umph behind your throw, to cut the dogleg corner a hair tighter, or to take a run at a basket you should probably lay up to - all in the hopes you manage to lower your score with better fairway positions. What really makes Hornets Nest shine, is how well it will reward you if you manage to execute these kind of moves. Just be warned, it will also you around for trying, if you aren't completely on. Hornets Nest also features four different par 4s, and they are evenly spaced throughout the round to help break up the round. Holes 3, 7, 14, and 17 are all fun par 4s, that will surely test how well you can set up a second shot, if you want to try for that birdie.
Charlotte's Web takes everything I love about Hornets Nest, and kicks it up a notch. I could simply state the obvious, about how Charlotte's Web is a beast of a course, taking an already challenging course and really amping it up. Instead I'll just let you simmer with the reminder that Charlotte's Web has less par 3s than Hornets Nest has par 4s. In fact, other than Holes 2, 7, 8, 9, & 14, each hole has a unique layout - with longer fairways that play from a second, further tee - and at least once (on Hole 6) to a second, further basket. Most of these tee shots have tighter gaps to hit with different angles that must be thrown. Throw a couple of bad lines off of the tee, and you'll see the number on your scorecard start to skyrocket.
Both layouts use a couple of elevated baskets to help spice up a couple of holes, and really make you consider whether you want to give a putt a serious bid or not. Hole 9 does this beautifully, but even more so. You have to truly decide whether you want to take the safe play on this 161' hole, or if you'll risk it for that ace biscuit. If you try for the ace and miss, you're likely gonna sail way past the basket. Of course, even if you play it safe, your birdie putt might not be a gimme putt. Each hole has its own distinct characteristics, that make it so you never feel like you are playing the same hole twice. None of which feel like filler holes. Even the "casual" Hole 2 feels like a good hole, somewhat resurrecting the old "Gauntlet" hole as best as the redesign could. Only now its slightly more consequential if you take a bad kick to the right.
Cons: The only real detractor for this course is that other aspects of the park can occasionally bump right up alongside the edge of the course. A couple of holes play near roads or areas of the park, and while I've personally never really had an issue with this, I could see it becoming an issue on a nice day where the park was very busy. While there are signs to warn disc golfers to be careful of the roads on tees holes that play near the roads, it would be nice to see some signs installed to warn other park goers to be mindful of flying discs near Holes 4 through 7.
The fairway for Charlotte's Web Hole 16 still has some debris scattered around before you reach the Hornets Nest Tee. But is still definitely more than playable!
I mentioned this earlier, but it is a nitpick I've had with Charlotte disc golf in general in recent years, so I figured I'd expand on it here. It doesn't take away from my personal feelings of the course, but I could definitely see how it might affect others' opinions on it. Especially if they show up expecting one thing and end up experiencing something completely different. The PDGA has established guidelines for course design, with general designations between the differences of Red, White, Blue, and Gold courses. I just don't understand why Hornets Nest is labeled as a Red course, which are generally considered good places for beginners. Let's take a second and realize that old layout felt appropriately labeled as a Blue course - and that it was a shorter course with the same par. I honestly would feel bad for a player who showed up expecting a course whose difficulty was around the same level of difficulty as Reedy Creek, which many would consider a signature Red course in the Charlotte area.
Other Thoughts: When I wrote my review for the old layout, I described Hornets Nest as the quintessential disc golf course. I know I wasn't the only person who had such strong feelings about the old layout, so I don't envy the position Mark Huether and the CDGC found themselves in when trying to resurrect this course. While there are certainly aspects of the old layout I will always miss, if I remove the rose-tinted glasses I think the new layout is probably at least functionally better. Some of the holes lost (like old 14 aka The Gauntlet) were really outside the control of the course designers, so that can't be helped. Plus they did their best to create a hole with a similar style. The only other hole I know is gone, honestly was a nightmare in terms of rough, kudzu city! The new holes, and many of the changes that were made seemed to really try to keep true to the spirit of Hornets Nest. Plus the course got a much needed facelift during the redesign and has better signage than it has ever had! So all-in-all I'd say that the new layout is in no way a downgrade from the old course. Plus, it is nice that the two layouts are more or less just a short and long version of the same course, and no longer two courses that are overlapped. Which makes things easier to navigate for the players, and likely easier to maintain for the club.
I know this review is long, but I have strong feelings about this course. I'd like to reiterate, though slightly amend, what I said about Hornets Nest in my other review. Hornets Nest is the quintessential city park course for disc golf. I am going to give it a 4.5 rating, with the added notion that there's really not much that can be done to improve this course. As I come back to this course, if I notice that the other, newer aspects of the park aren't interfering with the course the way I think they could on busy days (and if Hole 16's on Charlotte's Web is cleared up), I still might feel inclined give it the nod anyway.
Charlotte is a special area for disc golf. Not only is it home to a plethora of amazing courses, but it still boggles my mind how Hornets Nest and Nevin are almost next door neighbors, with Renaissance Gold being just down the street. These three courses are gems, that I think should be shown off within the PDGA a lot more often than they are. Fortunately, the PDGA Tour Championships for 2019 have been relocated to Hornets Nest this year. It'll be nice to see them bust out the Tournament version of Hole 2!
Favorite Nest Holes: 3, 7, 9, 10, 14
Favorite Web Holes: 5, 13, 15, 17, 18
Special Mention: 2 Tournament Layout
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Exactly what I thought was coming!
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: A giant of a course with some pretty good hills to head up and down! A nice selection of everything you'd want in a well designed course. Dog-legs in both directions, uphills, downhills, a few long TIGHT tee shots, a couple of short ones with really tight lines, with a bomber or two thrown in for good measure!! I'm primarily a LHBH player, but the forehand was necessary on more than a few occasions The tee signs were very descriptive, and the local club (I'm assuming) have colored mini's on trees near each basket pointing you towards either the Nest or Web upcoming tees. There were also mini's along the fairways giving the distance in to the baskets. Really nice touches you don't see many places.
Cement tee pads, creative tee positions, and some iconic basket locations( jutting from boulders, atop wooden platforms, etc.) all added to the experience!
Cons: Coming up dry for a negative!
The course isn't responsible for the 95 degree temperature today, so that's out...
Other Thoughts: Just a thought about how well taken care of the course, and the park in general, was. Fantastic groundskeeping at all 4 parks I've played in the Charlotte area this week. All were very enjoyable to play, and for me, this course in particular.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: A demanding test of your abilities as a disc golfer, physically and mentally. On a nice variety of open and wooded holes, you'll be required to through demanding straight shots, hyzers through tight gaps, turnovers through tight windows, and careful hyzer flips or flexes to hit small landing zones. Requires distance, accuracy, shot-shaping, and knowing the flights of your discs to absolute perfection.
UPDATE 2019 Oct - Just played the new gold layout, put in for the 2019 DGPT Championship. I'm bumping up my rating by a half-star.
+ The new gold 13, which uses old 14's teepad and plays up old 15's fairway, is an outstanding addition, and is now my favorite hole on the course.
+ The new gold 14 is basically a par 3 version of old 14's second shot, and plays much better that way.
+ Old hole 9 is not part of this layout, hallelujah! Good riddance to that gimmicky hole.
+ A few pin locations have been changed shorter or longer, and for the most part I like most of these changes.
Cons: I find this course to be frustrating and unpleasant to play. Most people seem to disagree with me, so I'll do my best to explain why I think so, trying to be as objective as possible. Some of this inevitably delves into personal feelings and philosophies on course design.
- Holes 5-7 run alongside the entrance road, which is pretty much always full of slow-driving cars. There's also typically picnickers, walkers, birthday parties, etc. on the edges of these holes, plus on Hole 4. Not only are there safety issues here, but they are also just distracting and un-peaceful, not what I'd associate with a top-level course.
- Quite a few holes feature highly elevated baskets, and to me in these cases, this is just lazy design. For a few, the elevation is completely unnecessary, and are overly punitive on holes that are already difficult as-is (ex: Hole 17). Then on Hole 9, this stupid-simple hole is overly-compensated for by the exaggerated height of the basket (update - this hole is not part of the newer gold layout, hooray!). A 'perfect' drive under the basket suddenly has no angle for a putt, and then what do you do? At least lower the basket a foot or two, but even then this is not a good hole, and I'd prefer something entirely different.
- A number of the Par 4s feature a relatively straight tee-shot, followed by a near-90-degree dogleg, then a long alley to the basket. Examples include holes 3, 10, 12, 14 (update: replaced by gold 13, which is much more attackable and much better), and 17. This is not a design that I'm in favor of. There is no way to cut the corners on these doglegs, and most people's tee-shots will come up short of the corners, or be slightly off-angle. This then essentially requires a lay-up to perfect position on the corner, and given how long the second alleys are, practically guarantees a bogey at best for many players. This is related to the principle of preferring early gaps to late gaps, but in this case, it's not just a late gap, it's an entire late fairway that must be carefully positioned for. This design is overly demanding and punitive, and to have it repeated so many times is unwelcome, exasperating, and uncreative.
- Tournament hole 2 on the island is certainly better than the permanent hole 2, but it's still not that great. The basket is tucked too far into the trees, and there are too many low-hanging limbs. Plenty of good-looking shots get caught by branches or take a tree kick, and end up in the water.
UPDATE 2019 Oct - Just played the new gold layout, put in for the 2019 DGPT Championship. I'm bumping up my rating by a half-star, but most of the above cons still apply, and I'm still lower on this course than most others. In addition,
- Gold 15 is the new gauntlet hole, with a mando and an unbelievably tight gap off the tee, and it just feels too gimmicky to me. Some players may elect to just jump-putt off the tee to make the gap, and that doesn't seem fun. Curious to see how the pros play it, but it's hard to imagine anyone consistently running it for birdie.
Other Thoughts: I've never played well at this course, casually or competitively, which I've always blamed on what I see as serious design issues. I'll concede that perhaps I'm just projecting my personal failures onto the course. But I do think these design issues are valid, and even putting those aside, I just don't really like most of these holes, and I've never enjoyed playing the course. None of these holes would make my Charlotte 18. It surprises me that so many players love this place, and I have a very hard time understanding those positive feelings. I've done my best to be reasonable and open-minded before playing and before presenting my criticisms, but I do want them to be on the record for this course. I'd rather play Nevin 100 times before coming back, but I inevitably will, just to give it another shot.
UPDATE 2019 Oct - Just played the new gold layout, put in for the 2019 DGPT Championship. I'm bumping up my rating by a half-star, mostly because I like gold 13 and 14 so much, and because old 9 was removed. Gold 13 would certainly make my Charlotte 18, so at least there's one or two holes I really like now. Though it's an improvement, there's still 4 or 5 Charlotte courses that I prefer.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful.
It's All Nice at the Nest!
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Hornets Nest is a course that I have been hearing about since I started browsing this site, and I knew it would be a must play during my trip to Charlotte, even if I only had time to play a few courses.
I'm glad I did. This course is a fan-favorite for many years, and for good reason. With two distinct layouts, this course has stuff for everyone. The Nest layout is the perfect park course, at 6534 feet and a par of 58, the holes average at just around 362 feet. This is a perfect layout for a newer player looking for a challenge or an experienced player looking for a fun round in the park.
Charlotte's Web is another beast. 9015 feet, Par 70. Holes average a touch over 500 feet, and these aren't your open hyzer holes either. These are the S-shaped fairway, double bogey maker holes. The holes that make local pros quiver with fear. This layout is a beast's beast.
This course has excellent tee signs, those shiny yellow discatchers that everybody loves, and some of the best concrete tee pads I've played on. Navigational signs help on the longer walks, and everything here was super well-manicured. Somebody is putting a lot of care into this course and the park as a whole.
While this course isn't set in the mountainous regions of North Carolina, the designer(s) used every hill and valley to create dangerous greens and rolling fairways.
Other than the pond on hole 2, there isn't much opportunity to lose a disc here. The rough is well-groomed, and there aren't many places where the disc will get too far out of sight. This is very helpful when you don't have a spotter, or are having an off-day at the course.
There is a great mix of the tight wooded holes, and the more open ones, something that I picked up on as rare in the Charlotte area. I threw most of my discs in my bag in order to navigate this course, and I still didn't score as well as I would have hoped!
Cons: I think Hornets Nest is one of the best park-style courses to have ever been done. A park course should have the ability to serve every type of player, and this course fits the bill. However, making the perfect park course comes with some cons.
There isn't a hole that would make my dream 18 here. No real downhill bomber holes, the water shot is a putter or midrange, and it's only playable during tournaments for unfortunate, but reasonable, circumstances. For a course this long in total distance, the longest hole is only 727 feet. There wasn't a 1000 footer that a lot of courses at this length have. Just a lot of middle distances.
The wooded shots were a lot of fun, and there were quite a few that I really liked, but some of them were a tad repetitive, forcing a single line down the middle of the fairway. Not that this is a bad thing necessarily, but sometimes I like to think about what line to take when standing on the tee, not just grab the straightest disc in my bag.
Some of the walks from hole to hole were longer than I would usually prefer, but when the walk is to get to another fantastic hole, I really don't mind. Navigation was well-marked, but with this being my third course of the day, I got a little tired.
Some of the holes played close to other park activities, mostly a parking lot or a park road, where cars aren't going over 20 miles an hour. In most places, I don't think this could have been avoided, but I wanted it to be noted. I can also see this place being very busy on a nice day, so backups may happen.
Other Thoughts: I think the course at Hornets Nest Park is one of the best home courses that anybody could have. It's not the most grueling, even if it's super long, it has multiple layouts to create a myriad of courses for a local to play, and allows out-of-towners to pick and choose their favorite shots.
There were a lot of fine holes, and it was a fantastic way to end my day of disc golf. While I didn't think this course was the most challenging, or breathtaking, it was one of the more relaxing and fun rounds I have played in a long while!
To get an experience of both Hornets Nest and Charlotte's Web, I played the 2018 Amateur Worlds layout. I would recommend this to all players who can only play here once.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This is a solid course and a local favorite for many reasons. This is a course that will test your accuracy for sure.
The tee pads are more than ample and the signage is very nice giving the player all the needed information.
The flow is logical and the quality of golf lines here are very tasty.
Elevation change is present on several of the holes but not to the point that you feel like you are hiking up the side of a cliff.
Good mix of short, moderate, and longer holes as well as holes that are dog leg right and left.
There are a couple of open holes but pretty technical for the most part. You will need a good solid overall game in order to score well here. Multiple pins locations to keep things from getting stale.
The elevated basket on hole 9 is pretty sweet and from the pad you want to run at it for the ACE but hope it doesn't leave you with the death putt.
Hole 2's pond shot adds a nice pucker factor and you will want to go for it and stick the island.
This course has the IT factor and the quality of golf is here.
Cons: There aren't many and these are a tad nit picky.
Some of the holes might be a bit sloppy after a good solid rain. Hole 8 sits in a bit of low spot and might have some standing water when it rains heavily.
There is a bit of a long walk from 9's basket to 10's tee and from 18 to the parking lot is a tad long as well. Overall not much to complain about.
Other Thoughts: I was lucky enough to finally make it to the Charlotte area for 2018 Am Worlds this summer. I've known that the Charlotte area has many stellar courses to play and Hornets Nest didn't disappoint. This course has a bit of everything and I love the fact that you had to be accurate in order to score well. There are a few holes that you will pull a driver out on like hole 4 and 14 but for the most part using mids and putter to set up the next shot might be the better and smarter play. I played this course on a Sunday afternoon for in a practice round for Worlds and it was busy but not overly crowded.
The course was in phenomenal shape for Worlds and this is a course that I would highly recommend to anyone while there were in the Charlotte area. I really like this course and hope to return and get the chance to play here again. There is a little bit of something for everyone on this awesome course.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Incredible 1-2 punch: Nest + Nevin
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I'm trying to wrap my head about what an amazing 2-course combo Hornets Nest and Nevin are in North Charlotte. Two 4.5-rated courses (in my book), both top 5 in North Carolina on DGCR...and only 5 minutes apart. Incredible.
+ Tremendous course design and hole layouts. Great mix of par 3's, 4's, and 5's. Every shot in your game will be required.
+ I think my favorite distinguishing feature of this track are the greens. They did a fantastic job using elevated baskets, but not in a gimmicky way. You have baskets on hills, elevated on pedestals, stumps. Roll-aways are a great part of the game, in my opinion, as it forces risk/reward decisions and makes putting more difficult (good and necessary components of today's game, in my view).
+ This is a mostly wooded course, I would say, but there are some more open holes. All of the fairways are "fair" -- appropriate fairway widths for their lengths.
+ I love the true par 4's and 5's. You have to throw a good drive to a landing zone, mouth of a fairway, or elbow of a dogleg to have a good chance at an upshot that can reach the great. Great design.
+ The front 9 is more open in the park area of the course. They do a great job using roads as OB on holes that would otherwise be easier than tight, wooded ones. The roads are just interior park roads and not busy, so not a problem for course design. Just make sure the road is clear before throwing.
+ There's not tremendous elevation here, but they use what they have...and create elevation where they can (see comment above about greens and baskets). There are some ridge holes (uphill over a hill and then downhill to the basket), and a couple of slight uphill and slight downhill holes.
+ Good tees, tee signs (with accurate yardage and hole layouts), and baskets.
+ The park and the course are well maintained and clean. It's also a very pretty course, especially the more wooded back 9.
+ This is one of the best short tee / long tee combo courses you will find. "Nest" is the shorter red tees. "Web" is the longer gold tees. I didn't have time to play Web, but it's significantly longer and more difficult than Nest. I'm not sure that it's worthy of the gold label or not. I'll leave that to Advanced and Pro players to decide. It's at least a blue-level course though. I think Nest would be better categorized as a white-level course (intermediate).
Cons: There aren't many, but here are my nit-picks:
- I wouldn't say navigation is a full con. They have lots of helpful red and gold arrows and markers on the course to signify Nest and Web, respectively. But it's still not simple for a first timer. There are some long walks between holes (and a long walk after 18). I was confused by the "W-18" spray-painted on many of the concrete tees before I realized that it signified the Am Worlds '18 layout (which I assume was a hybrid of the Nest and Web layouts). Again, not a major issue, and I'm not really sure how to improve it. Maybe new course map signs at hole 1?
- This also isn't a major con for me, but hole 2 seemed out of place. I think if the island basket could be used all the time, it would be the signature hole. Unfortunately, as it stands now, the concrete tee is suited to the island pin location and there's not a concrete tee for the short, tightly wooded hole location.
Other Thoughts: I've been waiting for a few years for the right time to play Hornets Nest after the redesign (and not living in Charlotte). I finally got my chance and it did not disappoint. I put in Nevin on my GPS, another one of my all-time favorite courses, and it's only 5 minutes away. Amazing. I can believe the density of great courses in Charlotte, overall, but especially these two gems right next to each other. Without a doubt, if you have one afternoon in Charlotte, your plan should be to play these two courses. Period.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
One of the Area's Best
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Beautiful and challenging 18 hole course located in a well-maintained town park. Ample parking in multiple locations and a nice indoor pavilion with clean bathrooms await visitors, along with a wonderfully crafted wooden sign at the entrance to the course itself. An excellent balance of wooded and more open holes. Features two different basic layouts that accommodate most skill levels: the Web (more difficult) and the Nest (shorter, though far from easy). Nice signs and ample sized tee pads at each hole, with good quality Innova Disc Catcher baskets. Navigation is generally very easy from hole to hole with "next tee" arrows spaced throughout the course. Many outstanding holes, including hole 2 (an island green which is as cool as any hole anywhere), hole 9 (a super-high elevated basket) hole 4 (Basket enclosed by a retaining wall above an OB parking lot) hole 5 (featuring a basket perched on a 4x4-enclosed platform above OB entrance road), hole 16 (tee on a rubber fly pad secured to an oversized deck) and hole 17 (a monstrous par 5 from the Web position). Benches and trash cans are plentiful throughout the course.
Cons: Cons are of the nit-picking variety. Some of the walks, specifically from holes 1 to 2 and from holes 9-10, are overly long. Two elevated baskets in a row (three in total) are gimmicks which aren't needed on a course of this quality. Players must be aware of pedestrians and nearby roads/parking lots near some of the holes. No significant elevation to speak of. I'm told the hole 2 island is only used for tournaments, which if true is an absolute shame, such is it's appeal.
Other Thoughts: If Hornets' Nest were located in 95% of the rest of the country, it would be given a 5 star rating by many. It is absolutely as good as Warwick, Nockamixon and Iron Hill- three phenomenal courses here in the Northeast- and comparable to other 5 star venues. But when you're near places like Renaissance and Winthrop, the bar gets raised and the inevitable comparisons get made. Hornets Nest is a wonderfully constructed course; difficult, yet very fair throughout. Despite the challenge of the course, one never feels restricted or overwhelmed here. There is plenty of opportunity for scoring separation- always a plus during tournaments The Web and Nest layouts provide very different looks at many of the holes, avoiding repetition and adding to the overall playing experience.
As with the other courses I was privileged to play during Am Worlds, tremendous care and work have gone into Hornets Nest. The retaining walls, elevated platforms and baskets, and hole 16 tee off deck are just a few of the features not seen at the average course and helps set Hornets Nest apart from other disc golf venues. A must play if in the Charlotte area.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The current incarnation of Hornets Nest pairs an impressive variety of terrain and tree cover with a design that maximizes this variety's impact in creative and just plain fun ways while at the same time providing a heck of a challenge.
The layout is split between thick woods and tree-dotted park lawn, favoring the former but often using the latter as an effective change of pace from one hole to the next or during the course of one hole. Movement between wooded and more open environments is excellently done, lending the course a unique character that constantly rotates the particular brand of challenge it's throwing at you. Transitions into and out of the woods within a single hole are some of the very best I've seen. All this changing of pace helps the strictly wooded holes - which are generally tight with not a lot of shot choice - from feeling overly restrictive.
Hornets Nest sports the full range of technical play with tight lanes, wooded landing zones, must-hit windows, mid-fairway obstacles, varied shot choice, and OB. There are a fantastic mix of hole lengths, pars, and shots.
The more open holes are an effective, well-conceived complement to the more iconic wooded ones. Hole 5 for example sports a mando and tight-ish window off the Web (long) tee, some mid-fairway trees to negotiate, road OB to consider, and a hillside basket to liven up your approach a bit. Being able to uncork a bit of distance on a hole like this while still maintaining an array of technical considerations helps balance out the wooded confines of other holes while not letting up on the challenge and intrigue. Such tempo changes are strategically placed throughout the layout to great effect.
Wooded holes range from short tunnel shots to daunting par 4s and 5s. They favor single-lane holes that dictate particular lines.
The signage here is easily the best I've ever seen and turns what could have been a navigation nightmare into a demonstration of care. Next tee direction is clearly indicated after each hole, and the transition path is marked throughout so that you always know you're on the right track. This takes the guesswork out of what otherwise would have been some dodgy transitions. Hornet's Nest sets the gold standard for course signage.
Parking is plentiful and there is restroom access throughout.
Cons: The wooded lanes in Hornets Nest largely lack options, forcing you on particular lines. Normally I would criticize such wooded holes for not offering a lot of shot choice. At HN however there's so much dynamic movement into and out of the woods that this restrictiveness is quite balanced out. Still worth being aware that you'll be throwing a lot of tight lanes, though, even though I found them to be quite fair.
The course seems to lose a good bit of character from the short tees, especially in the woods, where many of the shots become dead straight. I feel like many of the qualities that make Hornets Nest distinctive are only really experienced when playing the longs. As such it's got a somewhat narrower appeal than many other top-tier courses I've played.
To my outsider eye there seems to be some capacity for conflict with other park goers given the proximity to roads and walkways at several points. Elsewhere I had to tee off cautiously to avoid spooking some park goers relaxing on a bench. It's hard to judge for certain as a one-time visitor just how much interference takes place, but I'd keep an eye out for park goers on busy days.
There's little elevation to be found here.
I don't inherently hate raised baskets, but the one on nine seemed a bit gimmicky, perhaps because it was the only defining feature of an otherwise standard short tunnel shot. It felt a bit cheap on a course with as much character as Hornets Nest.
Other Thoughts: I came to Hornets Nest slightly skeptical that it would live up to its reputation, but I found that reputation to be well-earned. It's got loads of character, with a healthy and thoughtful balance between tight and more open environments while always remaining technical. There's the opportunity to both test your game and let your hair down a bit, a fantastic combination. I had a blast playing here.
Of the "Big Three" Charlotte courses I played I would rank them Renaissance Gold > Hornets Nest > Nevin. That being said, Hornets Nest is the course I'd play the most often if I lived in the area, given that it remains quite interesting without being the more-consistently tight technicality of Nevin or the one-of-a-kind-but-kind-of-a-beatdown epic experience that is Renny Gold. All are fantastic courses in their own right, and with each having different styles there's something for everyone in Charlotte. Despite the bias of my western Pennsylvania roots, it's hard to argue with anyone who claims that Charlotte is as good a city as disc golfers get.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Join Disc Golf Course Review
for free to add your review. Have an account already? Sign In
to add a review.