Robert L. Smith District Park
I love RL Smith Park. The memorial is for a hero and more amenities (Disc Golf) that draw people to it to honor Robert L. Smith the better. Charlotte is a city of wooded courses. This is no different, however it is "the" elevation course in Charlotte. You will huff and puff and RL will blow you down! Hole one is a great opening hole. Throwing from the open into the mouth of the woods you get a glimpse of what is to come. Fairways are "fair" but can be tight in some areas, they are mostly clear of brush and new growth. Benches are amazing and a number of really good bridges are being built. Teepads are plenty long and built to the hole, there is a trapazoid and a "shorts shaped" pad for a couple of the courses multiple fairway holes.
There are a number of unique "to Charlotte" and cool holes. 2, uphill drive to a very precarious green, 3 is a straight drop down into a basin. 7 has an awesome green as do 9 and 12 (nestled in rock formations). Even short 200' holes are deadly like hole 16. Hole 18 is one of the signature holes. It throws from the top of a cliff down to a basket with OB right behind it. Fast greens (like 9+ of them) and fairway turns offer a great opportunity for smart golf.
Greens are nicely cut to 30' at least for most of them.
GREAT looking and feeling deck behind #12 and 3 new bridges.
A number of these Cons can and will be attended to some wont. My major concern is the overuse of OB; the OB can be oppressive and unfair. It lines the underside of hilly greens on 5, 16, 17, 18 It outlines some of the creeks and tributaries however if those are flowing and are so high that OBs are needed, you are dealing with a lost disc anyway or thr course will be unplayable. Simply surrounded by water is good enough for these holes. Some of the OB is just too close to baskets or fairways because maybe the baskets are too close to the creeks. Hole 16's OB is silly in my opinion. OB is high so the stakes don't wash away... if water is that high, there will be no tournament that day. The course difficulty speaks for itself. To get through RL underpar is a challenge. The OB just adds gimmick and luck and drives my score down .5 discs. With no OB on 5, 16,17 I would rate the course a 5.
Trashcans arent numerous and it doesnt appear the park department can get back to empty them anyway. So many greens are "fast" greens it adds more than the average amount of luck to score good or bad here. A great round can be overshadowed by a number of slides or rolls OB that resulted from great shots. Its part of the game, but I can see how it will frustrate some. EDIT<NOW there is a GREAT area behind 12 to stand, the deck is amazing) Trees have begun to arc into the fairways to get light and are covering up the airways. I noticed this on 6,7 specifically. A few retaining walls and a number of stairs (EDIT - Great new goat trail on 18 and 3 new bridges are now installed) are needed on some of the fast greens/steep transitions.
Many of the baskets are not visible from the tee… they might be aceble but you don't get the satisfaction of seeing it.
Do not read my cons and not come. Great course, one of my favorites in Charlotte! Bring water, you do not go by facilities until the end...and even then you are across a number of soccer fields away. You might be able to run up hole 5 and get to the bathroom but after that, you are deep in it. A lot of people unload their bag on 18 then again across the soccer fields back to their cars. If you are craving that big open shot...it might not be on the course, but you can sure do it on your way home. Maybe try to make a "GOAL!!!" in one of the soccer goals.
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