10 Helpful / 0 Not
Nice, but too many cons
Pros: This 18 hole course is in a nice city park and is just a short drive off the Interstate. It has good concrete tees, very nice colorful tee signs, and multiple basket locations that are clearly marked on the tee signs. Most of the holes are in gently wooded park with a creek in play on several holes.
The town of Hartselle is a great small southern town that prides itself on Southern Hospitality.
Cons: The baskets aren't labeled and there were a few spots where multiple baskets are in view and pretty close to each other, which can make first timers unsure about which is the correct basket. Navigation from hole to hole was confusing a couple of times.
This park is very busy (at least it was on the weekends.) There is a walking trail around the perimeter of the course and runs very close to several holes. There is a picnic pavilion and playground near other holes where several small children were playing in the dirt right in the fairway. After waiting for several minutes and asking them to get out the way, their parents finally took some action and got them to move, but we were clearly inconveniencing them!
This course appears to me to have once been 9 holes and was later "upgraded" to 18 (or was planned out poorly.) I love 18 holes, but only if it adds to the course, and I feel Sparkman has some flaws. #4 and #5 are just very long wide open holes that are in an adjacent field across the creek that is not in the park. #5 has a great upshot over the creek, but the tee shot is boring as it is long, open, with absolutely no obstacles anywhere. #4 is just a tee and a basket very far apart in a wide open field (that is a field of mud if it rains.)
#16-18 are nowhere near the first 15 holes. You have to walk across the parking lot, down the road, and past the ballfields to find them
(There is no way to see them from #15. The only way you know they are there is you see #18 basket on the way in to the park.) #16 was unplayable because baseball games were in progress and people had parked there cars all over the fairway and surrounded the basket. #18 was completely flooded due to heavy rain, but I assume this is not like this all the time.
Other Thoughts: The overall appearance of the course is great, but it is just your average course, fun to play with a decent challenge for the average player. The many cons I mentioned are not a major deal, but it prevents me from rating this course in the upper half of the rating scale.
If you are looking to play a course on I-65 between Huntsville and Birmingham this will do, but the course in those two cities are by far better than Sparkman.
*Note: Zman44 and I played this course together on the same day which is the reason for the similar reviews.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Sparkman Park had solid tee pads and very informative signs. For, the most part the navigation was easy and the flow was logical. There were a solid variety of shots required. Course requires a blend of distance and accuracy. Bathrooms were available inside the baseball complex. Groundskeeping was good.
Cons: Holes 4 and 5 were thrown together. While 5 has a little design element to it as it plays back over the "ravine", hole 4 was a pin in a field. No obstacles...just a pin way out there in a field. These holes were extremely muddy. Hole 16 was nearly unplayable due to trucks being parked there for a baseball game going on. We made up a new tee box so as to not interfere with those watching the game.
Other Thoughts: I may be totally wrong about this but I would be willing to bet that Sparkman Park started out as a 9 hole course...and I bet I know what the added 9 holes were. When you have that perception of a course, it is usually not a solid course. There were some pretty nice holes at Sparkman Park. There were also some terrible holes. When the park is busy, there are a lot of non-disc golfing people around.
There was a toddler's birthday party at the main pavilion. 3 of them just played with one of the baskets. We asked the parents multiple times to keep them over by the pavilion while we played the hole. They didn't seem to care. We then explained that the discs were made of extremely hard plastic and would do some damage if they hit a child. They still didn't seem to care. After we stood there for about 5 minutes, I guess they figured we weren't going anywhere so they grabbed their kids and let us continue the round.
The holes that play along the creek were pretty well thought out. I liked the design of these holes.
Sparkman Park is your average course. Nothing stands out about it. There were some well-designed holes, and there were some horrendously designed holes. Add in a long walk to the finishing 3 holes and it balances out to an average/decent/typical course. All of the positive aspects that I see at this course are counteracted by an equally negative aspect.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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