Worth a Visit
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Sunset DGC is the closest course in the Gulf Breeze/Pensacola Beach area. I wasn't sure what to expect given the array of reviews, particularly the more recent negative ones, but I found the course to offer a worthwhile round during my visit to the area.
The strength of this course is the front 10 holes, where tight lines and well-situated water hazards combine for some engaging risk versus reward type shots. I'm not generally a fan of water hazards - too cheap, for one thing - but the ones at Sunset provided enough play-it-safe options that I felt I was in control of how much risk I was entertaining. It's one thing to lose a disc to the water because there was no other way to play a hole; it's another (better IMHO) thing to lose a disc because you were playing too greedily or boldly and aware of the risk you were taking. I can live with the latter much more easily, and I appreciated the presence of such hazards at Sunset. They made for an enjoyably tense challenge.
The water hazards on these front 10 come in the form of a small island that the holes play onto, over, and adjacent to. The island is dotted with a variety of shrubs - small magnolia trees, skinny pines, etc - that make for a variety of obstacles to work your way around. These set up a variety of lines - tight turnovers, S curves, hyzers of various degrees, and even a few overhand opportunities - that, though generally of middling distance (even from the pro tees), make for some engaging looks. The pro tees on this part of the course were well integrated, and the am tees were beginner friendly, even with the water in play, while still not being total throwaways. As an upper rec player myself, I stuck to the pros where possible but could have gotten some satisfying play from the ams, too.
The course's back half is something of a drop off from the front (see below), but it still contains some technicality due to the tree-studded terrain it winds through. There are no out-and-out throwaway holes here.
Concrete tees on the course's front half were level, a bit short, but even with the ground enough to allow for a comfortable run up from behind if desired. They did their job well.
Cons: The aforementioned drop off on the back half comes largely from the fact that it is squeezed into a relatively small wooded section of the park. This effort to fit an additional 8 holes constrains how this part of the course plays. Already a shorter course, the hole lengths become even more compact here as things become crammed. I had trouble finding the pro tees here, if they existed at all, and found myself missing the extra distance they provided on the front half.
This section of the course seemed to be undergoing a redesign when I visited (the overal layout seemed to deviate at times from the course map), meaning that navigation was occasionally a bit dodgy and most of the tees were rough, sandy natural tees that didn't provide steady footing. The short hole distances meant that this didn't affect play too much, but it still bears mention: I found myself driving from behind or next to the tees to ensure good footing on several holes.
The lines in this section of the course ranged from straight forward to poke and pray, and were generally of standard quality at best, save for one or two worthwhile tight shots. Without the water-induced tension of the front half, the holes lost their bite. The woods aren't dense enough to regularly punish an errant throw, meaning you'll rarely regret pushing for birdies. Otherwise, the shorter distances allow you to play it safe and take your 3 without much effort. There are occasional exceptions to this lack of risk - 11's basket sits in front of a tiny pond that will punish shooting long off the tee - but in general I felt like the terrain and shorter hole lengths allowed me to get away with some off shots here.
Overall, the short length and tighter nature of this course could be turnoffs for some, and do limit the course's ceiling.
Without any images on the tee sign, you're regularly forced to forge ahead to spot your basket. The shorter hole lengths kept this from frustrating me, though.
Other Thoughts: This course isn't going to stick with you months after your visit, but it provides a fun 18 as long as you're comfortable with water hazards. If anything, I wish it wasn't constrained to such a small area: with room to grow, Sunset DGC could really blossom. As it stands, it's a combination of a solid 3.0ish front 10 and a utilitarian 2.5ish back 8. For me, the interesting looks and enjoyably risky water of the front half triumph over the slightly drab back half in my final rating. I'd encourage anyone visiting the Pensacola Beach area to check Sunset DGC out. I was glad I visited.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Some nice holes! The island holes were kinda cool. The tee pads were nice on the holes that had them.
Cons: Back nine kinda crappy! Couple had no tee markers or box for that matter! could not find one hole!
Other Thoughts: Would be very nice with just a little TLC
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: -Baskets catch well
-Cool Water that creates a pucker factor on some holes
-Some good holes that are really fun shots to throw and reward skill and shot making ability
Cons: -Terrible use of land
-Very hard to navigate
-Lack of maintenance
-Poorly designed holes
-Lack of quality teepads
Other Thoughts: This course could be so much better than it currently is. Whoever designed the course really messed this one up big time. The course does have some good holes but a lot of the holes really are just bad with stupid lines/fairways (especially the 2 holes on the island that play in those thick low cut palm like trees). While the construction does mess up 2 holes, the locals could easily move the holes a little bit and then have a 18 hole course.
If anyone from the local area/club reads this please for the love of god post some signage on the baskets and fairways pointing users in the right direction and please do a little trimming throughout the course.
I have not played Blue Angel but im guessing after playing this course that it is worth the drive from the Pensacola beach/ Gulf Breeze area.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Plenty of potential
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: This course has some really fun holes with well defined fairways that incorporate risk & reward in choosing from the multiple throwing lanes. Located in it's own section of a nice municipal park. Excellent overall location near the beach and near downtown Pensacola.
Cons: The course seemed very overgrown, to the point where some of the holes were "throw and hope" and others had punitive vegetation either blocking lanes or punishing errant shots. The course is not well marked around the construction area, where several holes seemed to be missing altogether.
Other Thoughts: This course has some really good holes with multiple fairways and valid lines. 2 or 3 of the holes are non-existent due to construction, and several more are frustratingly overgrown. Some TLC would make this a really nice course.
Technical players will like this course.
I played on a very nice, sunny 70 degree Tuesday afternoon and literally saw no other disc golfers playing.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Lots of Fun
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Great tee pads and signage. Very easy to find your way around, even if new to the course.
Thought the back '10' was a ton of fun with water coming into play on many on the holes. Tossing into the palm on the island, knowing that a kick, wind-shift of just a bad throw have you searching for your disc in the water. Man, that gave me several butt-clinch moments!
This is also a fairly short course. My son was able to play and reach almonst all the baskets in three, so newbies won't get disappointed.
Cons: As mentioned, the construction. Would have loved to play to more holes.
The back 8 through the woods was kind of bland. It was through left, through right, keep it low and skip around the pine trees. Not a ton of variety
Other Thoughts: Nice bathrooms! That's always a nice touch!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Good concrete teepads, and DISCatcher baskets. I really liked the variety of shots and the challenge that the course provided. Every hole is reachable which makes the course fun because you can shoot really low. Hole 2 was excellent i love the island hole. I like how close to the beach it was.
Cons: I didnt like the construction which eliminated two of the holes on the course. and i also thought a little more parking would be nice since you could get blocked in.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
2 courses in 1!
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: 1. Tee Pads - Cement with enough length for confidence in footing for almost any throwing style. Both AM/PRO tees on majority of holes.
2. Cages- DISCatcher cages are pretty easy to locate and in good shape with the exception of a couple that are faded. Does not affect playability, just possibly locating ability.
3. Layout- Good use of the available space with a logical layout that is pretty easy to navigate and starts and finishes in the same area. The loop design on the front makes great use of the water. The pine tree area is laid out pretty well to make best use of the trees.
4. Variety of shots- This course does require a degree of skill that could border on intermediate. If you only have one shot in your skill-set I'd suggest staying on the back 9 holes. You will be challenged to try a variety of shots if you want to score low.
5. Scenery- Nice scenic park with benches scattered throughout, minimal trash and lots of other activities.
Cons: 1. Signage- While most holes are clearly marked, some are not and I'm almost certain the distances are incorrect on more than a few. Not a huge problem, but if you're a beginner it could be an issue.
2. Course Maintenance- The construction in and around this course has been going on for what seems like forever. A little work could bring this course back to the full 18 without much effort by just moving a few cages and delineating a couple make-shift tee spots.
3. Amenities- Trash cans would be nice although the park was not trashed. Bathrooms are far away, but accessible. Few benches and no bag holders if you're into that sort of thing. No "pro-shop" or disc purchase/rental in the area.
4. Biologics- Mosquitoes a plenty by the water, but this is the south so expected. CAREFUL by the water holes when retrieving an errant throw as there ARE water moccasins in there regularly. Park goers can be a problem on the back 9.
5. Distance- No real grip it and rip it holes if you like that style.
Other Thoughts: This is a fun course that has 2 very different sides to it in the technical/challenging and the open/fun 9's reshe pectively. The location is excellent if you aren't just in the are for DG as the beach is close and the park itself has a lot to offer. Not a destination course but, I'd suggest this course if in the area, but only after you played the Blue Angel palmetto/oaks courses.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This was my "home course" during February. Since I couldn't have played this much in the winter back in Illinois, Sunset gets praise from me for just being in Florida. The setting is half-beautiful, with holes 2-10 looping around a lagoon. This had the feel of a jungle adventure for this boy from the prairie. The course gets high marks for use of water and woods, but there is no elevation. There are two sets of asphalt tee pads, numbers on the baskets and benches on every hole. There are no need for "next tee" signs since the course is simple to navigate. For those of you who value trash cans in your reviews, I must admit I played this course 12 times and never noticed, which shows how important that category is to me.
Sunset makes great use of the terrain and space, with a nice loop design. The front nine loops the lagoon and the back nine traverse a field of pine trees. It's not a long course, but several holes play long due to tree placements. If you miss a line on your drive, it's tough to make par on all but a couple of holes. The holes have good dynamics, with a variety of shapes and lines that call for a full range of shots. The course is fair, with at least four holes that have good risk/reward choices. #2, the island hole, is the obvious signature hole. My best compliment is that I never got bored playing at Sunset. It was always a test to my game and it was always a lot of fun. It's a fun course!
Cons: There are no restrooms anywhere. But the biggest drawback right now is a pipe-laying construction project on the back nine. Holes 14 & 15 were closed the whole month. Hole 13 was closed part of the time. The edges of the construction zone still come into play so there are some muddy areas. The noise and exhaust fumes from the trucks and equipment took away from the overall appeal.
My other con is the layout of #9. The basket is on a square shaped penninsula that juts into the lagoon. It's reinforced with retaining walls on three sides and is just such a neat looking green. But even though there are several places where a tee could be placed so that you throw over the water at this green, the actual tee is such that you approach the hole from the land and throw out to the basket. Maybe the course layout forces this, but it sure seems like a lost opportunity for another signature type hole.
Other Thoughts: Since holes 14-15 are closed, the locals add 2 holes in the back nine "piney field" area. Since I found this the less interesting part of the course, I created my own additions to the lagoon part of the course. To replace #14, I played the 2 AM tee after throwing from the 2 PRO tee on the #2 island hole. Who wouldn't want an extra chance to throw out over the water? I call my other replacement 9B. After I played the regular penninsula hole (see comments under "cons"), I would tee off from a point to the left of the penninsula to throw over the water to the basket. It's a short but fun shot. If you want to find it, walk fairway #10 and take a right about half way down it. There's a bench sitting on a sandy point with just enough room to throw from.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Beginners be cautious
Pros: Good tee pads and signs
Big enough for 18 holes
Lots of shade
Seemed like a nice neighborhood park
Other activity parts to the park
Cons: Not a great layout and sometimes hard to find next tee pad.
Too many places you can lose a disc on first 9.
Mosquitos around the water holes.
Not sure if distance on pads is accurate.
Basket numbers and color strip are faded.
Other Thoughts: Keep in mind I am a newcomer and this is the first time I have played this course. As with other courses in the area there are plenty of pine trees to keep you on your game. I have been known to try and 'chop down' a couple of trees with my discs, which I do not recommend. The first 9 holes were interesting since there was water in play on a few of the holes. I have to admit I was a little intimidated by these and especially on hole 5 where there is water, and you have to cross two foot bridges. There are a number of palm bushes around the basket #5 so we had someone stand near the basket to watch each person's throw so we would not lose any disc. I mention this because I don't see how anyone could play this hole alone and be able to find your disc once it is thrown. There is an open area around the basket, however you cannot see it from the tee pad. Better players may not have an issue with this.
Once you get through the first 9, the back 9 were all in one area in the park with really nowhere to lose any disc.
I still enjoyed playing this course and would play again with a group, or just play the back 9 alone.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Tale of two courses
Pros: 1) Locale near the beach and major highways. Located just south of HWY 98 and the Pensacola Bay Bridge made for easy access
3)Holes 10-18 are friendly for families and beginners. You are really just throwing through tall pine growth. Good for kids and families new to the sport
4) The course is marked with pro and am tees and have measured feet.
5) Holes 2-9 are more geared towards pro/int and would enjoy the challenge the island has to offer.
6) Good Ace Race Set up.
Cons: 1) The map layout at the parking lot is NOT accurate. We took a picture of it to make sure we didnt get backtracked. The map was off in terms of locating holes.
2) You had to backtrack across the bridge to get to the teepad on three from the #2 basket. Also hole 5 and 6 were in my opinion awful for a layout. You had to backtrack across the #5 fairway (if it can be called that. Its more like palm fronds) to get to the hole #6 teepad which was pretty darn close to the edge of this island. It could prevent a safety hazard to those not paying attention.
3) Hole 11 is covered in sand. Due to some construction going on in the area I think.
4) Lots of litter everywhere. People leaving cigarette butts and cans. I am not a big fan of the ACE graffiti. It adds to the the trashy factor and some simple solutions such as an Ace board or some signage for proper ace recording etiquette might help too. Needs some next tee signs rather than just the one transitioning you across the street from 1 to 2.
Other Thoughts: The ECDCGC and/or the Rec Dept needs to put some TLC into this course. It could be a great starter course with some modifications to the island area by some minimal clear cutting of the palm frond bushes on the island. I was afraid I was going to pull up a pit viper near those fronds. The course just needs some tidying up and the map at the front needs to be reworked. The neighborhood is pretty nice, but with some modifications, this course could really shine.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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