Robert L. Smith District Park
My wife and I play this course often - typically about twice a month. It's one of our favorites for a number of reasons. The biggest one is that it's by far, the closest to our house. However, it is also a great very hilly, very wooded course, which makes it a great course to just get out in the fresh air and have some fun. I agree with the other reviewer in nearly all respects.
However, i feel I need to add some comments for those either looking for a challenge, or looking to avoid too much challenge.
The first 4 holes are the most out of the woods. Because of this, they have a lot of heavy foliage growth (starting at the tee and going a fairly good ways), which often doesn't get the necessary attention (maintenance). At times, that makes those holes nearly unplayable. A short throw on hole 1, 3, or 4 is going to typically take a while to find the disc - and occasionally, you just plain won't find it.
One positive to the heavy grass growth on #2 is that with the basket near the top of a steep hill, if you don't get the disc in the basket, the heavy grass will typically keep it from rolling to the bottom of the hill. If it's well trimmed (which it occasionally is), you better make sure you throw the disc in a manner that it will lay down quickly, or it will be at the bottom of the hill, and likely in the woods adjacent to the fairway.
Holes 1, 3, and 4 are definitely not for beginners. If you don't make it to the cleared area, you run a fair chance of never seeing the disc again due to the very heavy growth (trees, bushes, briers, etc). - especially hole 3.
Holes 4, 7, 14, 15, 16, and 17 can be a challenge to stay out of the water for folks that have a hard time throwing a straight throw. However, unless the water is up, the discs are typically retrievable from most water shots - except hole 4 if the water is stagnant, in which case you won't be able to see it through the murky water. The key - stay out of the water in those situations even if it costs you an extra stroke to throw shorter (more controlled) throws.
For me, holes 3, 14, 17, and 18 are not only my favorites at this course, but among my favorites for all of the courses I've played.
Hole 3, I love trying for the hole in one. It's definitely do-able - even though a screw-up can cost you a lost disc. Also, if there is much wind at all, it can really mess up your throw here because of how the hills and trees cause a lot of turbulence with the wind. Be sure to think about the wind before you throw.
Hole 14: It's a beautiful "S" shot (if you can do it, and I'm not as consistent with it as I would like to be). One of the tricks here is that it's easy to loose your disc if you go off course to the left (you can't see where the disc went off course, as it goes around the bend, so it's hard to figure out where to look for it in the heavy vegetation). Another is that the basket is on top of a hill with sharp drops on two sides, and a moderate hill at the basket itself, leading to those two sharp drops. At the bottom of the hill on the one side is a creek (easy to retrieve the disc from if you go in). I rarely try for the basket on this hole unless it's a near sure thing, because the disc will likely wind up at the bottom of the hill if you miss.
Hole 17, I've finally gotten that hole figured out. It has the illusion of being a more-or-less flat fairway. It's actually uphill, which throws the planning off for how to make the throw. I've had a terrible time with under-throwing that hole, and scratching my head as to why. I can finally get the disc up to the basket in one throw (no hole in one here yet though).
Hole 18: what can I say? It's a beautiful semi-steep valley. The basket is a little lower elevation from the tee, but a descent thrower can easily make it the 300+ ft across the valley. Don't worry if you can't make it across. It's mostly open between the tee and the basket unless you wind up off track too much. The trick to getting it to the basket is that (1) there is a mostly straight wall of trees just to the right all the way from the tee to the basket, and (2) as you near the basket, the left line of trees starts closing in on the basket as well (the opening is somewhat "D" shaped). They have moved the basket just far enough back that a hole in one is a very difficult shot because there are a couple trees right in the arc path for a RH side-arm throw, and the row of trees on the right are in the way of a RH back hand throw with any arc to it at all. Still, I keep trying - one day maybe i'll get it.
Good luck, have patience, and enjoy your game.
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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