Clean, Solid Course with a lot of Elevation
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Swope Park is a very large park located near the KC zoo and has a golf course, fishing lakes, and seemingly other activities on site. The nice thing is that the section of the park the disc golf course is on is dedicated just to the course itself. There is plenty of parking and a porta-john located near the first tee. There is also a nice-looking pro shop, but it wasn't open open the Friday afternoon I played there. The park setting is very nice, and it does have a country club atmosphere to it. The grass is mowed very low and there was limited trash with trash cans for every hole, as well as benches for every hole. Navigation is very easy, as big numbers sit on top of the tee signs, numbered flags sit on top of the baskets, and the courses flows well from one hole to the next. You won't do any extra walking from one hole to the next here.
Nice, accurate tee signs showing you O.B., pars, pin positions, and lengths to the different baskets. The concrete tees are in great shape and are a very comfortable length and width. There are multiple tees on maybe 2/3 of the holes, but some just have one tee. Three pin positions give very different looks and give a nice variety. Baskets are Mach 3's that are in great shape.
Elevation is the main test of skills here, although it's not as extreme as Water Works. Most holes offer across-the-valley type shots from one hilltop to another, with many trees to contend with. The multiple trees give you many different lines to choose from, and there is a great mix of hyzer, anhyzer, and straight shots. Most shots are in this form, but there are a few (12, 13, 16, and 17) that are pretty flat shots. O.B. is present on many of the holes in the form of the road and a little marsh area that is utilized on a bunch of holes. I liked that a lot as it added to the technical aspect, and bridges are placed if you need to walk through the marsh area. Pin positions are well thought out as well, often on a steep slope or placed behind trees. Hole lengths are pretty steady, but there are longer distances on some of the later holes.
Cons: -Said to be in a pretty rough neighborhood, and it appeared that way. However, I parked on the main street with a car-load of stuff and had no problems. Playing in daylight is probably safe with how many people come here.
-Which brings me to my second con, this course was pretty crowded when I played. Since the course plays a lot of back and forth across the park, there is a good chance of someone's disc winding up in your fairway. The holes play way too close together.
-The general type of hole presented here is indeed my favorite. That said, at least 2/3 of the holes are this way, not offering much variety. I probably enjoyed this more than most since I love these type of holes, but I can see many being bored with this repetition.
Other Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed my round at Swope Park, and I really liked the elevation challenge and the many different line options on every hole. It took me slightly less than an hour to play by myself, so it isn't a long, grueling course. Very fun with minimal chance to lose discs because of the maintenance. Located only minutes away from the Dynamic Discs store, Water Works, Rosedale Park, and a handful of KS courses puts this course in a great location. I recommend hitting this course up if you are looking to play a few courses in KC for the first time. I was happy I did.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Good, but a bit repetitive
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This is one of the if not the best groomed courses I have ever played. Probably second best behind Water Works, but still amazing. All five times I've been there the grass has been very well manicured (except the O.B. areas which aren't supposed to be) and make the course very scenic. Benches and signs on every hole, and a pro shop with lost disc return. Phenomenal course maintenance. 10/10
Baskets are in great condition, tees are concrete. 10/10
Many of the holes come back to the same area since they run alongside each other. For example, The tees for 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 are all pretty close together, and signs with large numbers on top make it easy to tell from a distance what holes it is. Down and back may not be as interesting of a layout, but it makes navigation between holes very intuitive and simple even without a map. The only tricky spot is finding the 14th tee from the 13th basket, but you should see be able to see where the 14th tee is from the 12th tee. 10/10
Navigation on the holes themselves is pretty easy too since you can figure out pretty soon the holes run back and forth so you know right away about where they go. All of the baskets have flags on them with large numbers that can be seen from a distance, and every tee has a sign that shows all of the possible basket positions. The only problem is that sometimes the holes are tucked right behind trees, making them difficult to find in some cases depending on where the basket is (hole 6, 7, 15, 17), but still 9/10
This course has multiple tees on several holes, which really helps it with giving all levels of players a fun and challenging experience. I still wish more courses would do this, we don't all throw the same distance. 8/10
Most holes holes have three or four possible hole positions, and every hole has at least two. Most holes have either a big difference in length (especially hole 1, 4, 13, and 15 are extreme) or in angle (especially hole 5, 7 and 12), which helps make the course fun to play frequently. 8/10
Running water is present, but not until the 15th hole, so stock up before. No bathrooms I've found, and it's very hilly, but there are benches on every hole and lots of shade which still makes it a pretty comfortable round overall. 7/10
There are quite a few obstacles and they are used pretty well, they help keep the holes fresh despite most having the same elevation patterns. Hole 12 has a fence on the left that is definitely in play and presents a unique obstacle I've never seen anywhere else. 7/10
There's a pretty good variety of openness on shots, holes like 1, 5, and 11 are pretty tight, while 3, 4, 13, and 16 are pretty wide open. Most other holes are moderately open, and have a good mix of some tighter on the drives and others on the approaches. 7/10
There are several holes where there is more than one way to play the hole, which helps force the player to make decisions instead of just having simple straightforward shots. 7/10
At the same time some holes require certain shot paths (depending on basket position) to do well, which helps bring in some risk reward and also helps challenge players to throw every shot in the bag. 6/10
This course has a ton of elevation present (10/10) but...
Cons: The elevation is not used very well, a vast majority of the holes follow the same pattern, downhill off the tee, and back uphill to the basket. I personally really like this pattern so it doesn't bother me too much, but it would be nice to have some variety. The first 11 holes literally all do this same thing, and most have about the same severity of slopes as well. 2/10
There isn't a very big variety in distances. The alternate holes help some, but it seems like most holes are in the same spots (usually shorter ones) most of the time based on five plays. This gives many holes the same look and feel even though the obstacles are really pretty different. 3/10
Most holes are down and back, running right along each other which makes the holes kind of run together even more, only a few really stand out when you look back at a round. The views are scenic, it would be cool if the holes were more spread out and we could see more, there just isn't enough room in the park.
Discs aren't hard to find as long as you don't throw it in the O.B., but it's very in play a lot and on a couple holes it's hard to see exactly where in it a disc lands. When you do throw it in the OB it can be very difficult and uncomfortable to find it. Also, the fence on the left of hole 12 is fine since there's a hole to crawl under, but the fence behind (only in play in the longest hole position) doesn't have an easy (or legal) way to get to discs that ride an updraft into the wind and sail over. 4/10
Other Thoughts: Overall Difficulty: Front tees - 5, Back tees - 7
I really like the use of the rocks as borders to the O.B. to help prevent at least some discs from bouncing or rolling into the hazard, especially since most are at the bottom of a hill it seems like a lot of decent shots could hit out of the O.B and get a bad bounce or unluckily start rolling into it.
Pretty short but hilly overall with lots of chances for birdies and a few for aces (especially from the shorter tees), adds some excitement.
Love the alternate tees, wish more holes had them and more courses would build them.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Very nice course overall. It's landscaped around the course nicely and all the tee maps are good. Nice mix of open and slightly wooded holes.
Cons: Not much for distance on this course. Parked cars come into play if you aren't the most accurate on two or three holes.
0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Much better than expected
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The course plays in, around, and mostly over a valley that winds its way through the corner of this massive park. Tee pads are concrete, the signs are descriptive, and navigation is not difficult. There are three or four positions on nearly every hole. The longer positions look like they would make this course a real beast. The course was mostly set up in short and medium positions when I played, generally in the 250-400 foot range.
This course is very scenic. The trees are tall and older, so you'll typically be throwing around trunks rather than through the branches. The many hills are surprisingly landscaped with some nice stone retaining walls and rocks lining the wetland areas that serve as OB sections of the course (they weren't all that wet when I played).
Most of the holes have you throw from one hill to a basket on another hill. I can't say I got tired of this formula. The course more than maintained my interest.
Cons: In the positions I played, very good players might not be challenged like they will at other courses in the area. Birdie opportunities are plentiful. If you can throw 250 feet straight, you won't have too much trouble shooting around 54. If you have a controllable forehand or consistent turnover shot, you could probably shred the course.
The biggest con is probably the neighborhood. I didn't feel unsafe at all while playing, but I did stop at a nearby gas station before the round, and I probably would not do that again! Still, for being in a rough part of town, the course was surprisingly clean and un-vandalized.
Other Thoughts: There aren't many places where you could end up with a really rough second shot. Your bad drives probably won't be punished too harshly, and that could be a pro or con depending on your viewpoint.
Given the things I'd heard about Swope, I expected something far worse than what I got. There are some parks you come upon and think, "This course was made for disc golf." I felt that way about Water Works, and I felt that way about Swope. Add some more elevation and make the valleys a bit deeper, and I don't think Swope is that far off from its more storied counterpart. I'm looking forward to my next visit.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -1st off, its pretty much only a disc golf course which is always a plus
-Signs are probably the best I've ever seen due to the metal cut out numbers that are on top of the sign. This is huge for me because you can see what hole the tee is for from afar. Also full color signs with distance and all the usual goods
-Baskets are in good shape
-very good use of the land including boulder lined ditches that are used as an OB obstacle
-Lots of elevation changes; every throw is probably either up or down hill, but not to an extreme or unpleasant degree
-Some signature holes IMO (1, 9, 13) (also depends on basket position)
-Color coded flags on baskets to signal placement is very nice
-Plenty of distance to air shots out and some smaller technical shots too
-I personally like city park type courses
Cons: -Tee pad on 1 is worn badly
-Some tight fairways on the first 4-5 holes, front 9 is tight in general
-One hole that plays right next to traffic
-Couple throws aimed towards parking lot
-Bathrooms are basically busted to absolute hell
-Shot lines are fairly straight (not always a con)
Other Thoughts: For me, this course is tragically underrated. I've only played it just today but it struck me very well and I think it gives Water Works a run for it's money. They are very similar and Swope likely has less people on the course on avg.
As for the "bad part of town" argument, I think thats what drives the rating down here. Yes the area to the West is run down looking, but Swope is in a huge park that is right down the street from the KC Zoo, and next door to a parks department facility. I'm sure some sketchy shit goes down here but that stuff happens at dg courses in good locations too.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Good, but not the best in KC
Pros: - The maps at this course, as every other KC area course, are second to none. They show each pin location with very detailed accuracy.
- There are a few holes that have multiple tee pads which help out when you are in a group with beginners. The more advanced golfers can throw from the long tees (especially on hole 13) and the new players can move up to throw at the shorter tees. Although some of the long tees are pretty tough, it just makes the course that much tougher and, in my opinion, better.
- The holes here are changed quite frequently. While not all of the holes are changed at once, there are almost always 2 or 3 holes that are moved regularly.
- As with all the other courses in the area (Water Works, Rosedale, Blue Valley), Kansas City disc golf is so unique and some of the best in the country in my opinion. When this course is set up on the Gold Tees (2009 Worlds set up and KC Wide Open), it can be on of the most difficult courses in the country.
-There are several practice baskets and a "pro Shop" near the first hole that is used for big tournaments. It is never open during casual rounds (not that I've seen), but is still a cool feature.
Cons: - The front 9 is very very very VERY repetitive. You play the first 8 holes by basically throwing one way over a valley, then throwing back over the same valley. Holes 1-4 are all in the same valley and is not something I like to see in a course.
- Some of the holes have practice baskets set up in random locations, which can make your aiming very difficult and also cause you to have to throw near other people, which is never good.
- Not a fault of the course, but once it starts to get dark, you should immediately leave the park. This is not in the best area of Kansas City, and multiple crimes have been committed in Swope Park and it is better to just avoid getting in any trouble all together.
- A lot of the holes are quite simple. Just avoid 1 or 2 trees, throw about 350 feet, and you can easily birdie a lot of the holes. This is a huge con for me as I like to have a lot of different types of holes at a course. Not just a drive/putt type course.
Other Thoughts: Although this course isn't nearly as good as some of the courses in the area(Water Works being by the far the best), it is still a very fun round of golf. You can finish an entire 18 round with a 4 people in about 2 hours, which is quite quick for most courses. If you are in KCMO for 1 day, go play Water Works. But if you are visiting the area for several days, check this course out. Or just come out for the KC Wide Open and watch some of the best players in the world struggle on the Gold Course.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The oldest DG course in KC doesnt show its age. Well maintained with good signage and multiple teepads make it easy to navigate for all players. Lots of elevation changes that create unique lanes across numerous "valleys". A solid course design utilizing lots of trees to add difficulty on drives, then again, on the putting game back across the valley. This course is bird friendly for long throwers. Centrally located with easy parking, water, and restrooms.
Cons: Bad part of town; glow rounds are NOT recommended. Weekends in the summer usually attract picnics and BBQs on the fairways.
Other Thoughts: I enjoy this course and find most of the holes to be fun to play. Park in the center lot and start on Basket #2 for quicker in and out games.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 6 Not
top 4 in kc
Pros: i you can throw big swope is for you. plenty of spots to chill. good crowd. one of the most popular courses in kc. multiple pins. bathroom . water spout. bench on every hole i think if not a comparable landscape timber. multi tees
Cons: close to the 'hood' so lock your cars.
Other Thoughts: i like it but i play it alot
1 of 7 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
An oldy but still a goody
Pros: Good intermediate to recreational course in a large and very scenic park. Has multiple pin positions and on some holes multiple tee pads. Has a good element of elevation, albeit not extreme. Very fun for folks who like uphill/downhill golf. Tall glass OB at the bottom of the tree guarded "valley" on 6-11 and 14 provides a unique obstacle. God knows I throw one in there every time I'm here.
Cons: For advanced/pro caliber players, Swope (at least the usual track) hasn't kept up with the times and can be a birdie fest. Redundancy. A lot of holes have a parallel hole going back the other way. Towards the middle of the course, some holes (namely holes 7-11) feel a bit squeezed too close where you can easily end up on another fairway and in the line of fire. Some issues with flooding and mud on holes 12 and 13 if its been raining. Not in the best part of town. Definitely lock your car and keep anything of value out of view.
Other Thoughts: My last trip here was almost the perfect disc golf day. Course was freshly mowed, 70's and little wind. At 30 years old now, Swope is Kansas City's original DG course. While many have criticized that it is getting behind the times in terms of challenge, it still provides for a fun time for the casual player or even some big arms wanting to play some deuce or die golf. An excellent place to take newbies or kids.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Great use of space!
0 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: The use of elevation changes, while not too extreme, benefit this course beautifully.
It is very well layed out and quite simple to figure out where to go and where to throwat.
Combination of long holes and shorter but technical holes.
A hard enough course for advanced players to have their issues, but a good course to learn on.
Cons: There are a few sections with switchbacks, butg the holes are still very unique.
Other Thoughts: Make sure to bring a solid driver and mid range with ya!
0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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