Beautiful, hilly and challenging layout
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I've only been playing for a few months, so this one is from the perspective of a real beginner. I am a lifelong "regular" golfer, trying out disc golf now as an alternative.
I've played about half a dozen courses in the Charlotte area lately, and this one is by far my favorite. One great aspect of this course location is proximity to downtown. It only takes about 15-18 minutes from the center of Charlotte to get here. The park itself is really nice, with good restrooms and water fountains. I didn't feel at all like this one was in a sketchy neighborhood. I believe this is close to where the old Pawtuckett golf course used to be.
I'd say this layout is 95% through wooded areas, with a small portion on #2 basket and #3 tee that pops out into an open area. That being said, it makes for a major challenge for beginners. There is no shortage to variety on the holes, right from the beginning. Very few are actually flat, too. You will face a great deal of elevation gain and loss on this layout. It feels like you are playing and/or hiking through a mountain area.
Course designers did a fantastic job weaving this around Paw Creek and some of its tributaries. You get up close and personal very quickly at the basket on #4, perched fairly close to the edge on two sides. #5 is a really nice hole as well, with a fairly wide fairway gradually climbing uphill and to the right. There's a great bend in the creek with big rocks just below the basket here.
Hole #12 was by far one of my favorites. Tee pad is built into a square deck with benches that overlooks Paw Creek. The hole goes straight uphill with a basket perched in the middle of a big outcrop of granite boulders. Excellent hole!
One of the other back nine holes has has two fairway routes with dual tee pad. The most drastic of all elevation changes comes on #18. What a finish! From the tee pad I think the hole drops about 40-50 feet down to the creek and then slightly back uphill to the basket. Let one go off this tee pad and watch it sail forever.
Cons: I honestly can't think of any drawbacks of this course. I'd say it isn't the easiest track to throw on if you are a real beginner, but I had a blast. You also need to be in fairly good shape to be ready to trek up and down some steep hills. Also, be prepared if you chuck some wayward shots to walk across some rocks to pull a disc out of the creek.
Other Thoughts: I will definitely make this a regular stop for me, because it is such a short drive from downtown Charlotte. If you are a disc golfer flying in/out of Charlotte-Douglas and you do have some time to spare, this is very close by the airport. I'd highly recommend it to anybody.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: -Good signage
-Excellent variety of terrain with elevation as well as water hazards
-adequate tee pads
-Challenging but Fair
-multiple fairways on some of the holes
-interesting use of rock formations to tuck baskets into the hillside
Cons: May be a little too tough for beginners, multiple teepads would be nice on some holes
The course could use a few more "to the next tee" arrows/signs for non-locals
Tough/slippery terrain may not be suitable for some people
Other Thoughts: I had a ton of fun playing this wooded course, on my way through Charlotte,
had 1 birdie on 12, putting up into the rocks/basket from below- a lot of pars and a few bogeys/double boges :(
It's not a course for the faint of heart, or beginners, or non athletic people, the terrain/footing is hazardous especially with the wet leaves, and rather extreme elevation changes
Overall- a very nice and well built/designed course
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Extremely Fun, Challenging Course
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - The signage at this course is outstanding. The signs are very detailed, have not been vandalized, and are easy to read.
- There is a great mix of long holes and short holes on this course which make it fun. A few holes are even aceable.
- There is a lot of elevation changes on the course. I had fun trying to navigate the steep hills with my throws.
- The course is very well maintained and is pretty clean for a public course.
- I loved that 3 holes (3, 11, and 13) had a right track and left track to throw down. I've never seen this on any of the courses I've played and it is a a great idea to let players mix it up.
- Although there is a creek and river bed that go through the course, there really isn't much in the way of water hazards. The only holes you really need to watch yourself on are 4, 8, and possibly 7
- I loved the U-turn hole (#9). That was just a fun hole made challenging by the U-turn and mando.
- My favorite hole of the course was probably #12. There is a very nice, elevated tee box and you throw towards a basket up on a pile of rocks.
- The location is real close to the airport. So for those traveling, it is really easy to get to via taxi or rental car.
Cons: - This is not a good course for younger players or those with mobility issues due to the steep terrain.
Other Thoughts: This is one of the best courses I've ever played. It had everything...short holes, long holes, elevation, lots of trees (some with openings, some with a tight fairway). Most importantly, it was a lot of fun. I'll definitely come back to this course next time I'm in Charlotte.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: RL Smith is a BEAST. I always compare courses to other similar ones I've played. I've never played anything quite like RL Smith. The best way to describe it, again, compared to what I've played, is this: "If Rock Ridge and Highland Hills had a baby, it would be RL Smith." Explanation: Rock Ridge is an exceptionally fun, well-designed wooded course with some great par 4's, variety, and everything you could want in a challenging course. That is RL Smith. On the other hand, Highland Hills has crazy elevation--huge downhills, uphills, boulders, and death putts. That is also RL Smith!
+ Terific variety. This course will test every shot in your arsenal.
+ The elevation is off the charts. Some holes are incredibly steep, but if you like watching the flight of the disc, you'll love this course.
+ Fast greens! That may not be a pro as you watch your putt sail past the basket and roll 100 feet away, but if you like the challenge and risk/reward, again, you'll love RL Smith.
+ Multiple ways to play some holes (hyzer and anhyzer routes).
+ I liked the use of the creek running through several holes in the course.
+ The fairways are beaten in pretty good, and there's some erosion, but overall it's a very pretty and peaceful wooded park.
+ Playground, bathroom, fields at the entrance.
Cons: Not much that I could think of, but a few cons knocked it down slightly:
- Missing tee signs on about 2-3 holes, forcing you to walk up the fairway and figure out where the basket is.
- As with any course with serious elevation, you've got to be a little caustious that you don't slip or wipe out. That's not a knock. But the walk from tee to basket on hole 18 is especially steep and slippery. You're forced to run down the hill and hope for the best. Stairs would be nice here!
Other Thoughts: This course will kick your butt and you will like it! I had 1 hour to play it. Some locals at the first tee told me there would be no way to finish in an hour. I'd say that's right if you play at a normal pace. I'd plan for 2 hours. However, in my case, I jogged it and, amazingly, did finish in an hour. BUT it nearly killed me. Don't try that, but do try this course!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
First Impressions: Not easy!
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Beautiful course, challenging, uphill, downhill, tight shots, very fun course to play. Really a nice walk through the woods, kind of felt like going on a little hike while playing, the wife had a good time just walking around.
Some holes here presented some very interesting shots I haven't experienced before, Looking at you #2!
The tee box areas and greens were pretty well maintained, it was good to see trash cans around I just wish people would use them.
Cons: Not entirely a con, but while the course is absolutely playable by anyone, it can be rough on a beginner. Some of the water hazards are HAZARDS for sure, and there are a couple of pretty difficult holes. If you're a beginner just expect that you're going to double bogey a handful and have a good time. :)
Also, my legs hurt!
Other Thoughts: I was born and raised up in New Hampshire, the woodsy setting of this course really reminded me of back home, great course to play just for the walk in the woods. Definitely a favorite.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Intimidating but fun
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Very challenging championship level course that would aimed for intermediate to pro level players.
Baskets - 18 Innova Discatchers that were in perfect shape. No issues at all. A practice basket on site with markers to get warmed up.
Tees - One large concrete tee per hole. Very grippy and easy to find.
Signs - Signs were great. Billboard at the start with info. Signs at each hole had a map, distance, par, etc. Arrows throughout the course pointing you to where you need to go. Some were painted on trees. Really helped with navigation.
Variety - Right from the get go, this course is intimidating. Course is extremely wooded and extremely hilly. Many tight gaps that will make or break your day. Elevation on every hole expect for 4. Several uphill and downhill wooded shots as well as some longer holes through the woods requiring accuracy. A few chances for aces on the back 9. Multiple holes had a shallow creek running through or along them. Multiple blind shots due to elevation, woods, rocks, or all of the above. Course requires extreme accuracy as well as the ability to launch one. The rough is rough so if you get off the path, you will spend plenty of time locating it.
Elevation - Elevation is a major factor at this course. Not only do you need to be able to place your throw through the woods, but you need to be able to throw it up and down moderate to extreme changes in elevation.
Course gets easier after hole 3. Survive those and you are in the clear.
The paths in between the holes added to this beauty of this course. Even if you just walked the course without throwing, you would enjoy it.
Restrooms and water fountain on site. Also a playground for kids if they join in.
Large rocks on 9 and 12 with the basket on top of them. Very cool and unique feature.
Benches and trash bags at every hole. Helps to keep it clean.
Cons: Course is not beginner or intermediate friendly. An added set of amateur concrete tees on every hole (especially on 1 and 3) would take this course from a 4.5 to a 5.
Some of the holes need to be cleared a little more. Starting to grow in more than it appears it was intended to be. Can spend a lot of time looking for discs.
Trash along holes 2-4.
Long walk from hole 18 to parking lot. Room to expand and add a few holes to make more of a complete loop.
Other Thoughts: I absolutely loved this course. My second favorite in Charlotte behind Nevin. It was easy to navigate, it was very scenic and peaceful, it was challenging, and it was very enjoyable even though it was intimidating. What more can you ask for in a course?
I would recommend this course to any intermediate or pro level player in the area or traveling through. It was tough but it was worth it. The only way not to like it is if you find yourself off of the fairway.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Fun, tough, unique, scenic
Pros: The biggest Pro for me is some of the unique holes found here. I think it's hole #2 that is a steep uphill shot with the basket on the side of a slope. A hard to explain hole, but I haven't played anything else like it.
The course uses the river/creek/stream running through the park for OB, which makes for some scenic fairways, and risky greens around the baskets. A drive gone wrong, or missed put can result in a swim and some serious OB penalty strokes
The park/course is beautiful. The course takes you on a very nice hike through the woods, and it seems like you're covering a lot of area. The surroundings of a course can really add or take away, and for me the park's scenery really adds to the experience of playing this course.
The layout of the course, and adequate signage (not perfect) makes it easy to follow. One basket generally leads easily to the next tee box. It would be hard to get lost!
Cons: The OB on some holes can be a bit much. Overall for the course it's not un-fair, but it can be a bit daunting/frustrating. For some, maybe not a con, and it didn't hinder my rating much, but I had to find some cons didn't I?
There aren't many holes outside of the woods if any. It makes for a pretty walk, but there's little opportunity to really open up and let one rip! You could I suppose, but it may not end well. This can be a good exercise in patience and disc control however.
The course, being a beautiful and long walk through the woods can take a while to play. Again, hardly a con, but this course wouldn't be great for a "quick" 18 holes. Be prepared to spend a few hours to take your time and really enjoy the park.
Other Thoughts: This course is probably one of my favorites (so far) in the Charlotte area. The unique holes and basket placement really adds to the fun factor. There's plenty of challenging OB, tight fairways, and lots of trees to keep you on your toes!
Strap on your comfortable shoes, bring your dog and enjoy a great hike through the woods....maybe throw a disc or two along the way if that's your thing
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 4 Not
Robert L. Smith Park is one of the more difficult courses I've been to in Charlotte. The course has an excellent layout with many left and right shot holes. After the first 3 holes you'll primarily be in the shaded woods which is great for escaping that Charlotte heat! The terrain is a hike, Be prepared. There are several up hill and down hill shots with some very unique basket placements up on rocks, on the edge of a creek, etc. There are some water hazards throughout the course. The water hazard is a relatively large creek but really adds to the great scenery of the course. There are several blind holes and and a few mandos. Hole 3 is alot of fun but is extremely overgrown and if you are not careful you could lose a disc into the brier patches below. Dont forget to bring some bug spray and watch out for spider webs in the woods.
Concrete tees with benches and trash cans at most of the holes. The course is very clean, and free of debris on the greens. Tee signs at every hole with accurate distances and basket placement which is great for first timers on the blind holes. There are some next tee signs but some seem to be missing or non existent. Plenty of parky, with bathrooms and water fountains available. Hole 1 starts to right of the practice tee next to a information kiosk.
Cons: After the first few holes there is no signage to point you in the direction to the next hole. Typically you can just follow the path but a few times I ended up at the wrong tee because of all the alternate paths that people have made to skip holes.
Other Thoughts: If you are looking for a challenge Robert L. Smith should be a good challenge and a lot of fun for you.
3 of 7 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: RL Smith is a true gem in the Charlotte disc golf scene. Here are my pros:
1) This park is absolutely gorgeous! Even taking out the awesome course this park has a lot going for it and is visually pleasing.
2) This course, save for a few holes, is just an awesome design. Playing this course tournament style offers a great challenge because of the out of bounds found on the course. Hole 5 is an awesome par 4 that really makes you think about the shots you have to throw to make a good score.
3) The course has some of the most interesting greens you will find. Hole 2 is on such a huge slope and really can offer some 70 foot rollaways with a bad putt. 7 has a neat elevated basket that is right on a hill as well. The greens for holes 9 and 12 feature some awesome rock formations that add a lot of character. Interesting greens make for an interesting course!
4) The course actually has some nice elevation for a wooded course, which really adds some nice value. Hole 2 plays WAY uphill while hole 3 plays back downhill. Hole 18 is an awesome downhill finishing hole while 16 is a tricky little downhill shot. The designers did a great job of incorporating the elevation into this course and in my opinion this made a 3.5 star course into an Excellent 4.0 course.
5) Typically when you have a wooded course you are going to have holes that seem "pokey" and have unfair routes. After playing this course a few times that is not the case here. The course is challenging but every hole has a fair line to hit. The luck factor is low here which is a huge plus for me.
6) The creek comes into play on a few holes and I love water hazards. Hole 4 was an awesome hole with the creek guarding the right side of the fairway and the pin tucked right up next to the creek.
7) Navigation was SIMPLE. I was never lost and finding the next hole was never a problem. This is a huge plus for someone who travels a lot to play courses.
8) The "deck" tee on hole 12 was quite a treat. It really reminded me of Maple Hill number 9. That took a lot of effort and you can tell the course really has great caretakers.
Cons: Honestly I didn't have a lot of cons here. I am rating this course "Excellent" but there were a few things that bothered me:
1) I am not a huge fan of what I would call artificial par 4's. Hole 9 is a 394 foot hole with a mando. Its a dogleg left hole that has an awesome green. However, I don't like courses that force the issue on par 4's. To me this course was a very challenging par 3 course with one par 4. It seems the issue was forced to try to create a second par 4 and anytime you have to use OB or mando's to do it the hole just feels out of place for me. It wasn't a bad hole but just didn't feel right. I am not just a huge fan of a hole that comes backward at the end (horseshoe shaped) but that's just my preference. This was not a huge deal for me as it was just one hole.
2) The rough is VERY rough. I know its probably because it's that time of the year and I didn't knock the course because of it but just be prepared for some thick rough.
3) This is essentially par 3 golf with one long hole thrown in there. Only two holes are over 400 feet so there are no opportunities to air out a drive. This course wasn't intended to be open or a bomber course, obviously, but its important to point out that this is a wooded course with little opportunity for long drives.
Don't take my cons the wrong way - this is one of the best courses in Charlotte!
Other Thoughts: Quite simply this is one of my favorite courses in Charlotte. I actually preferred this course to Hornet's Nest. While it may not be as well known as some of the more famous Charlotte courses it should be! This is a highly recommended course!
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 3 Not
Great Wooded Course
Pros: Challenging, thoughtful, valid FAIRways. It's always refreshing to see a wooded course with sufficiently wide fairway lines and no luck trees in the fairway. This is an interesting mix of up, down, left, right, etc. Secluded setting in scenic, hilly terrain. Very good benches, woodworking and stairs throughout. The course is only 1 mile off I-85, making it a great road trip stop.
Cons: The biggest con was definitely a factor of when I played it (mid-July). The first few holes are overgrown to the point of making a lost disc a strong possibility, especially #3 where an errant drive will land you in 4' high weeds. If I played it regularly I would spend a lot of time looking for discs on #3 in its current condition. I'm not giving this much weight in my rating since it's a temporary curable thing. Once you get in the woods, the fairways were generally very clear.
Other thoughts: the teepads are too small and I thought the course felt unbalanced with the back 9 playing much shorter/easier than the front and without any par 4 holes. As a final con, it seemed like there were a ton of blind holes, especially on the front 9, and many for no apparent reason.
Other Thoughts: I played this course while on a road trip to the beach and would definitely play here again. It's very close to I-85, seemed like a safe place to park, and has a playground for kids to play on. I really enjoyed this course and went back and forth between rating it a 4 and 4.5. It gets the big things right -- great mix of holes, valid fairways, good signage and very good stairs/trails/benches. Better maintenance - especially more cutting on the first few holes to reduce lost discs - gets this to 4.5 for me.
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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