Jacobs Ladder – Climbing Up or Falling Down?
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Jacobs Fork seems to be a two-faced course. Lots of issues that have caused people to dislike it. Yet, when I played here (January '19), this was an excellent course. Does this course play much easier in the winter, when most of the issues are dormant?
- I tried to play this course 12 months earlier. Drove into the park, walked around, saw some baskets (none of which had numbers), had no clue where to begin or how the course flowed, didn't want to get lost or waste time, so I left. I then saw more negative feedback on this course and thought maybe it was a lost cause. Then, after more research and checking out the pictures on this site, I felt confident I could navigate the course, I came back for another crack. Glad I did.
- Once I found the first tee, I was in for a solid round. First two holes are bombers. Hope your arm is loose because the big arm hole is #1. Wide fairway lets you really air one out. After two longer holes, you're met with a stretch of shorter, more technical layouts - #4 is on a mound, #5 - 7 have tighter fairways, then you get to play the first true excellent hole - #8.
- #8 is an excellent challenge plus a picturesque design. 224 feet from the short (257 from the long), with the basket on a slight hill, and water on the entire right of said hill. Hope that disc that lands on the hill doesn't roll downhill into the drink. You could aim 40 feet left and have an easy, boring 3. Or you take advantage of an open, relatively straight short hole and play it normal. I landed 12 - 15 feet short of the basket and took my two.
- The back 9 is excellent. It has more of an isolated, hilly feel. The stretch from #12 - 17 is the course's signature. Give me 18 holes at this level, and you're in the 4.0 - 4.25 range.
- #13 is an absolute gem of a hole. The fairway is a wide, rolling hill (down, then up) making you feel like you're out in the middle of nowhere. If you're stopping at any point in your round, this is as good a spot as any. Not a challenging hole, but a highlight nonetheless.
- #14 - 15 are fun, shorter, technical holes. Both are birdieable; but are also an easy bogey if you smack a tree. They serve a great purpose on this course.
- #16 is the third picturesque, memorable hole (after #8 & 13). A long, downhill layout (385 shorts / 593 longs) that lets you bomb one. The disc I used from the short tees typically goes around 275. Here, I had a 30-foot birdie putt thanks to the big drop.
Cons: There's an obvious reason I enjoyed this course more than most, and why my opinion is possibly skewed. Playing in the dead of winter, I didn't have to deal with leaves on trees, thick rough, bugs, or heat. I had a very forgiving layout that looks quite different for most of the year. That said, the biggest flaw of this course:
- Signage is abysmal. Course is approaching two years old. Signage must be better than numbers on pieces of wood (at best), or several flags in the ground marking a tee (at worst), as seen on hole #6 amongst others.
- Another big flaw of bad signage is on the long transitions. After hole #11, you walk to an opening that has paths going four separate directions. I could eliminate the path leading back towards where I just came as well as the path that goes around the power grid - although that path would have led to #13.
- Final signage shortcoming is that the baskets do not have hole numbers on them. After playing #7 (a hole where I didn't find any tee signage), you come to an opening an see tee pads and baskets both directions. I correctly assumed the one closest to the parking lot is #9, so the other one must be #8. But, how about numbers on the basket so I would have to guess.
- Tee signs would be nice too. I played Bradley in Gastonia immediately after this course and was reminded how simple, laminated tee signs is all you need for a hole. It doesn't need to be flashy. It just must exist.
- If you're lazy, you can drive from the far parking lot after #9, and park in the first lot next to #10's tee and #18's basket.
- I didn't see a single trash can or bench on the course. The only ones in the park I saw were in the parking lots next to the ball fields.
- Some fairways seem like they need to be better defined. Holes #6 & 7 had fairways that were just wide walking paths. #17 seems like just enough trees were cut out of the woods with a lack of thought towards how one is going to cross the small creek.
Other Thoughts: For a course with such signage issues, I still managed to like this course. I see the potential here. Maybe that's why others are so frustrated. This is an excellent course that hasn't been given enough attention to get it fully completed.
- The signage issues will only be an issue for first time players. Once you've played here, navigation and flow are a breeze. Then you can focus on enjoying your round.
- The course has a solid flow to it. You seem to weave in and out from easy to harder layouts, tight to open fairways, play smart to play aggressive holes. This course forced me to pull out a lot of different discs based on angles, lengths, and obstacles in front of me. That usually makes for an adventurous round.
- I liked that the basket on #1 plays close to the creek. The park gets a lot of its traffic from kayakers and boaters, so it's a nice touch we get to see the water up close too. Plus, there's a nice view of the dam and waterfall.
- #18 feels anticlimactic. I didn't like the design of the long layout - playing through the woods to get to an awkward right dogleg. The short tee is an open design that provides a birdie chance / easy par 3. I'd rather see #17 playing longer and make that the final hole. If we're posing a hypothetical, let's find a way to make #16 the closing hole. That'd be a great way to cap the round.
- If this course ever hits its potential, this area suddenly has 3 quality courses: Glenn Hilton, The Bear, and here. You have a good day trip from Charlotte, Asheville, or other surrounding areas to this region.
- Based on the layout I played in January 2019, I'd be tempted to give this course a 4.0. That said, I'm deducting a half a point for the signage kerfuffle, and I'm deducting another half a point due to the easiness / limited time the course plays this easy. If I played here in July, I'm thinking my review would be griping about the rough / thorns on #6, 7, 12, 13, 14, and 17. All that said, this is getting a tentative 3.0 with the realization the course should be rated higher when (if?) complete, but realistically probably plays lower for long stretches of the year.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Let's all chunk it deep 18 times
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -On a hole by hole scale the course has some interesting shots.
-Fairly easy to navigate , especially for a new course.
Cons: -Repetitive... Throw deep, putt or approach, throw deep , putt or approach, throw deep
-Briars on top of briars... If you miss the fairway, I apologize
Other Thoughts: These reviews are always so experience based, if you enjoy slinging the hell out of plastic and then going to get your disc so you throw the hell out of it again, this is going to be heaven for you. Very little technical shots, even from the short teepads it's hella long. It's a fairly attractive course and some of the max driver open air shots are cool, just not when they are preceded by 5 other of the exact same shot. It's good enough that I assume I'll be back in a few years when it's for teepads and has been established, in current condition it's just not an enjoyable course. I found myself ready to head to the house around 12 holes deep. There will be some people that think it is fantastic so I think you should prob give it a chance, just make sure to bring a distance driver
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
From a volunteer's eyes.
7 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: -Back in December of 2016, the course was designed and mapped out. The county helped us out a lot with the removal of trees; they spent far more money than they should've spent. They removed all of the trees in the fairways of a few holes on the back nine, when the designer didn't plan that. But through their eyes, with full respect I take a good look at what would've happened if it wasn't for them clearing some of the fairways. This course would be even more worse.
-Elevation here is great. Multiple fun downhill shots. Mostly on the back nine. The front nine doesn't have much elevation. Hole four has an elevated basket on a mound, holes five and six are both slightly uphill. And seven is back downhill. But if you love elevation, you'll have enough faith once your done with the front nine.
-The fairways on holes #13, #14, #16, and #17 (all holes that faced clear cutting) have been seeded. The rough is less dangerous than it was a few months back, and many limbs have been cut down. All fairways are pretty fair now.
-I love the design for hole 18. From the long pad, this is my favorite hole. The short pad is out of the woods and is a downhill 327' midrange shot. The hole is straight and open, but the right side is still really sketchy. The long pad is different. It's a 501' dogleg right. It's downhill out of the woods. It requires a 300' shot to get of out of the woods, and it's a pretty tight fairway. If you get out of the woods, you'll possibly get a birdie on this par 4. But if you don't, you'll be fighting the woods.
- Hole 15, it was me and this local named Shawn. This hole was nothing more than a trail back in December. Shawn and I had to take down many trees and vines. We pulled a LOOONNNGG vine off a tall tree that was completely wrapped around it. I swear the vine was longer than the distance on this hole. Anyway, this hole is a flex shot right to left. Only 235' but is very tight. Beautiful hole though.
-Navigation is easy. The first basket you see on each tee-pad will be the one you throw to. I think the hole design here is really good as well. But this course looks so terrible to where it deserves a 1.
Cons: -Natural pads, no tee-signs. Just markers with the hole #. The baskets are not numbered either. The pads won't mess up your run up, but a few are in rough places. For instance, hole 13's long pad is on a narrow ledge. I have start off wide left or wide right to tee off. So I can't get down there. That's another reason why this is a par 4.
-Mosquitoes are rampant and have taken over the woods. So this course looked miserable this summer because hardly anyone would attempt to work on this course. Hardly anyone came over the summer. This place is like a failing restaurant on kitchen nightmares, except the locals aren't in denial that it's a fail.
-#16's short pad. First let me say, there's a great hole underneath the flaws. It's a gorgeous and gradually downhill par 3. But the tee-pad needs some weed eating done. This was my fault because I weed eated some of the weeds down, but ran out of string fast. I should've gotten this tee-pad cleared first. This hole is rough to the left side with weeds, and the right side is sketchy. Hole could easily be the signature hole, but it looks so miserable. The long pad is dreadful. The hole is an extreme downhill shot but there's a telephone pole right in the way of the ideal line for this hole. Go left of it, you probably will end up in the woods to the right because you put too much anhyzer on it. Go right of it, you probably are going to flip up and end up stuck in the woods.
-The rough is probably the worst it can ever get. You go in there, and you might as well rethrow. It's brutal enough to enter the woods when we try and clear out the woods. It's nearly impossible to find an entrance to the woods, and once we find one, we don't know how to find the area we were initially looking to cut down. And if you are playing a round here (dude, just don't.), you will end up in the woods and you won't escape the first throw out of there. Maybe not even the second or third. If you're barely in the rough here, you might as well be 75' deep in the rough at Renny Gold or Nevin down in Charlotte, and the rough there is difficult enough.
-Hole 8's swamp is so large, so impossible to see through, and gets really deep. I lost two midranges last year in thirty seconds. Don't go in there because if you drown, it'll be a LONG time before you get found. Not trying to sound gory here, I'm a lifeguard and I know that anyone can drown.
-Hole 9 is in the way for joggers on the running trail.
-Honestly, searching for your disc in the houses of briars will cause you more pain than I received cutting and pulling them.
Other Thoughts: -This was supposed to be a "Championship Level" course, but if it ever gets revived it shouldn't be in order to be at its best. A long downhill shot could mess with the flight of your disc, and if you go in the woods on #13 or #16, you will not make a 3. You won't be angry with a 5. It should not take multiple throws to get back in the fairway.
-This course had a ton of promise when I first worked on it last year. I had ideas on how to tweek the holes, but now I just hope this course either gets pulled or many volunteers team up and tackle this place.
-I'm dropping this course to a 1.0. The design itself was great. But the rough is imeffingpossible to even pitch out of. Yes I hear you! "Don't get in the rough. Play better." Go be stupid elsewhere. You're presence isn't valued here. Rough usually isn't THAT hard to throw a decent upshot from and when it's a battle to throw 20' out, it's a problem. Anyway, I've cut down more trees and have tried to make the rough more manageable but it's summertime and there are many mosquitoes that are keeping locals from wanting to volunteer for now. Tee pads are being poured, which is a turn in the right direction. But there are ninety nine problems and the pads ain't one.
-I sincerely apologize for my initial review here. I'm sorry if you felt lied to. I saw potential here, and there was a good chunk of work done here last year, but then something got in the way. I came out here a few times over the summer and cut down many trees, and it didn't help at all. This course sucks and I think the baskets will be pulled within six months. I was a fool to give this place of pain a 4. I tried to keep a positive attitude about this course and now I need to vent.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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