The Ultimate Guide to Disc Golf in Charlotte
Whether hitting one of Charlotte’s many courses or grabbing gear and a beer from Another Round’s flagship location, it’s easy to see why Charlotte is a destination for all things disc golf.
by Charlie Leonard
When you think about Charlotte sports, what immediately comes to mind are the big pro sports teams, racing and plenty of golf. But when it comes to local sports with history, passionate players and fans, great quality courses and places to gear up, disc golf is right up there with them.
Charlotte’s not just a great disc golf destination for locals; it’s one of the top five disc golf cities in the entire country. The Rock Hill area in particular plays a large part in that acclaim. Winthrop University hosts the annual US Disc Golf Championship – the Masters of disc golf – while multinational disc golf brand, Innova, has its East Coast headquarters just 10 minutes down the road.
Charlotte’s actually been a major disc golf city since the early ‘80s thanks to the hard work of disc golf hall-of-famers Alan Beaver, who also worked for the Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation Department, and Stan McDaniel, a North Carolina native and a major disc golf course designer. Other factors like favorable weather, Innova’s East Coast HQ, the boom in new players during the COVID-19 pandemic and large recreational clubs like the Charlotte Disc Golf Club have only fueled the enthusiasm that’s only getting greater.
If you’re new to disc golf, or you want to pick it up after some time away, consider yourself lucky to be in one of the hotbeds. Check out our guide on where to play and pick up your gear and even grab a drink after a day on the course.
Where to Play
Area: West Charlotte
Nestled in the heart of Cramerton is Goat Island Park, a wooded oasis on the banks of the South Fork Catawba River. The goats that textile tycoon Stuart Cramer placed there to control the vegetation are long gone, but when you play the course, you can see why their services were needed. With narrow fairways, water hazards and thick brush everywhere, this local course is an excellent challenge for regular players.
At Renaissance Park, you have two courses to choose from: Gold and RenSke. Designed for the 2015 Tim Selinske Masters tournament, the RenSke is an intermediate-level course that’s moderately wooded and mostly flat. The Gold course is more hilly with elevated tee shots, long holes, narrow windows to manage and plenty of woods surrounding it. This course is slightly harder, but both provide plenty of difficulties that test your skills.
Neighborhood: South Charlotte
Off Ardrey Kell Road, Elon Park has two beaver-themed courses to fit every skill level. Eager Beaver is perfect for beginners and intermediate players with a short layout, open spaces that are forgiving for mistakes and just enough wooded areas to keep things fun. Angry Beaver is a whole different animal. On this course, expect much longer holes that are mostly in the woods with water and out-of-bounds areas on nine of the 18 holes.
Neighborhood: North Charlotte
If you’re looking for championship-level disc golf, head over to Hornets Nest Park in North Charlotte. This woody, hilly course has hosted the Disc Golf Pro Tour Championship since 2019 and has also hosted the 2018 Amateur World Championships and the World Championships in 1997 and 2012. If you’re a disc golf pro – or you want to play like one – this challenging course requires accuracy and long-distance skill to get a low score, so make sure to bring your A-game with you.
For another round in the woods, head to Bradford Park in Huntersville. This pro-level course has enough open spaces to help you lower your score and narrower wooded spots to challenge your skills, making it a highly-rated destination for local players.
Named after the scrap metal that was sold to fund the park, The Scrapyard is another highly-rated course to try. Just like other Charlotte-area courses, there are plenty of woods and a couple of water hazards to traverse, so accuracy is essential. Unlike the others, the holes are shorter, which gives you a better chance at a favorable score.
Neighborhood: University City
The sprawling Reedy Creek Nature Preserve has a little bit of everything inside, including a disc golf course. Built in 1991, it’s one of the oldest and most-played courses in the entire Charlotte area. While paying homage to a Charlotte classic, come prepared to navigate tight fairways, heavy woods, creeks and blind spots during your round.
Neighborhood: East Charlotte
Opening in 2021, Eastway Park is one of the newer courses in the Charlotte area. A unique feature of this course is the numerous ways you can play it. For beginners, there’s the Red Short 9 layout that ends closer to the parking lot. If you’re a more advanced player, the Short 18 and the Beastway courses feature more par-4s and a finishing par-5.
Neighborhood: North Charlotte
Sugaw Creek Park’s disc golf course is a compact challenge located just north of NoDa near I-85. While the fairways here can be narrow, it’s mostly open with hole locations that are reachable for many players. It’s a shorter course that’s fun for beginners and challenging enough to keep advanced players entertained.
For a disc golf experience that’s right in the heart of nature, head to Robbins Park in Cornelius. During your round, you’ll head through a mature forest out to open fields that used to be farmland, around a stream that’s largely in-play, and go up and down as the elevation changes with the terrain. The park also has one of Lake Norman’s largest milkweed plant populations, so expect to see Monarch butterflies flying around while you go about your visit.
Another great Cornelius course that’s just outside the downtown area is Bailey Road Park. Not quite as tough as Robbins Park, Bailey Road Park is an excellent spot for rounds with family and for honing your skills. Expect flat terrain and a few wooded spots to keep you engaged.
Area: Rock Hill
The Boyd Hill disc golf course is right outside downtown Rock Hill, one of the hotbeds of the sport. While it’s on the shorter side compared to other courses – all par-3 – it’s still fairly hilly with a creek running down the middle. You’ll find tougher, more wooded holes that may give you trouble, but also a decent amount of open holes to lower your score.
Neighborhood: East Charlotte
Even though it’s a short drive away from Plaza Midwood, the course at Kilborne District Park is as wooded as they come. It was the site of the 1997 and 2012 World Championships, so expect pro-level difficulty throughout your round. Even with a tougher layout that puts a premium on accuracy and recovery skills, it’s one of Charlotte’s most iconic courses that everyone needs to try.
Area: Rock Hill
If there was a disc golf equivalent of Georgia’s famed Augusta, it’s the Winthrop University Golf Course. Designed by Harold Duvall and Dave Dunipace, the course opened in 1992 after years of planning and a long deliberation process with players and spectators for the best experience. The result of their hard work is a championship-level course with spectacular views and iconic holes, just like Augusta. It’s hosted the US Disc Golf Championship since 1999 and is known for being physically, emotionally and mentally challenging. Winthrop’s course is open to the public, so if you’re not intimidated by long holes, lots of water, narrow fairways and amble out-of-bounds areas, this legendary course is well worth your time.
Maintained by the Brackett family in the rural outskirts of Davidson, Brackett’s Bluff is a private course with plenty of interesting layouts to choose from. Thanks to a few tee boxes that are intertwined, your round at this could include up to 22 playable holes filled with woods, narrow fairways and other scenarios that are unique to the property. Memberships start at $50 for half a year of play.
Neighborhood: West Charlotte
Sitting on 20 acres of manicured hills and wooded forest areas, Torma Town has every challenge you expect from a great course. That includes water hazards, challenging rough and large, open areas fit for long drives. Admission is $5 for a day of play and yearly memberships are available for purchase.
Where to Shop
Combine Charlotte’s disc golf obsession with its ever-expanding beer scene and you’ve got Another Round in NoDa. This cleverly named store has all the essential discs – drivers, midrange discs, approach discs and putters – and plenty of accessories from the top brands in disc golf. Once you’re done shopping, head over to the in-store bar, grab a craft beer and check out the disc golf coverage playing on their TVs.
If you’re a disc golf player that also loves trading cards, find the best of both worlds at Chain Reactions in Cornelius. Once you’re inside, expect to find brand-name discs and accessories, unique trading cards and disc golf action playing on their TVs. The store also hosts events and tournaments (like the Carolina Cup) on a routine basis.
Want to pick up disc golf without paying premium? Play It Again Sports has a large selection of used discs in addition to its impressive disc golf selection. That includes everything from drivers to putters at discounted prices for a budget-friendly way to gear up.
One of the newer disc golf stores in the greater Charlotte area is Down 4 Disc Golf. Located in the Parkway Commons shopping center, this store has everything from newer discs and accessories to pre-thrown discs at a cheaper price. There’s also a practice net in-store to try out your disc before you buy.