3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I had a tough time rating this course (see below in other thoughts) but Toronto Island had a lot of good things going for it. That's why I am giving this course a "Very Good" rating.
1) Most of the holes now officially have two baskets: blue baskets and silver baskets. With two sets of tees most holes this allows you to play the course in a lot of different variations. The long tees to the long baskets offer a very challenging course so its great to have the short baskets in place for those wanting an easier course. I also LOVE the fact that the baskets are different colors so you always know what layout you are playing.
2) This course had great signs. Even though the numbering was currently off on the signs, the signs were full color and very detailed.
3) This course had great concrete tee pads. Natural teepads are no fun and rubber is second best compared to concrete so its always good to point out that a course has great pads.
4) The locals were super friendly. Friendly enough to try to buy us food after the round at a wonderful restaurant just near the docks. I highly recommend having some ice cream or some food at this restaurant after playing your round (ferry time permitting). The restaurant is a wonderful outdoor restaurant that is located right next to the docks where you enter the island on.
5) Toronto Island Park is AMAZING. There is so much to do outside of disc golf on the Island that it would be a great place for a family to enjoy a day. If you are a guy and travel with your wife or significant other often, she will enjoy coming here. The park has a lot of great things to do and offers spectacular views of Toronto. I can't stress that enough - the views are out of this world. Also, the ferry ride over to the park also offers spectacular views and is well worth the $6.50 fee.
6) Contrary to what a few reviewers wrote, this course does have water that definitely comes into play. This always makes a course more appealing to me. Two holes have legitimate water hazards (both on the right side of the fairway) and one of the holes has the basket tucked pretty tight on the river. The water was deep and we did have a disc go in the hazard so this added a lot of value to these two holes.
7) This course was extremely challenging for the long tees and one of the harder courses that my buddy and I played on a 16 course disc golf trip. I appreciate a challenge and so that's a pro for me. Half of the holes were between 300 and 400 feet and half were over 400 feet so it definitely favors a longer arm but there were some opportunities for deuces which I know people will appreciate.
Cons: This course was really solid but I do have a few cons:
1) The logistics of actually getting to this course were simply a nightmare. If you do get the chance to play this course (which I recommend) then its advisable to set aside at least 4 hours for the experience. It was very difficult to actually find a place to park near the docks and when we finally did that cost us $20 (there is very bad construction going on in downtown Toronto right now that is expected to last a while). Once we were able to park it was a 15 minute walk to the docks. Fortunately we caught the right boat as it was literally leaving or we would have been stuck for a while. After a 15 minute boat ride (see above for this was also a good thing) we got off the boat and had a 2000 foot walk to the first hole. We of course had to take this walk after the round back to the dock and then waited 45 minutes for the boat to come back. Just be prepared to take some time to get to this course!
2) The rough was extremely brutal when we played the course. We played with a local who lives on the island and he admitted that the rough was brutal and borderline unfair. Some of the rough was above 6 feet tall in some wild grass areas and we did lose a disc. The local did say that it usually gets trimmed down for the September A Tier but that didn't make our experience any easier. Some of the fairways were also a little tight because of the overgrown rough and the local once again mentioned that issue is usually taken care of by September.
3) This isn't a huge con for me but the course has no elevation to speak of. The course is essentially flat on every level. This doesn't take away from the fact that the course has interesting holes but none of that is due to elevation.
4) Navigation was pretty challenging - we walked to what was supposed to be hole 1's basket and the tee sign said hole 17. Fortunately a local guided us the rest of the way but the signs on a lot of the holes were incorrect. Hopefully this gets taken care of soon. PLEASE NOTE: The directions on this site to get to the actual course are spot on. Once you get past the Firehall that is hole 1 even though it currently says 17. Follow the directions on this site and you will be fine but just ignore the signs.
5) Some of the long baskets were tucked into places that seemed to be difficult for the sake of being difficult. Even the local, who was a pro, said some of these newer locations were a bit much. Its not a huge con because we were playing the long tees to the long baskets but it is worth nothing.
Other Thoughts: I honestly found this course pretty tough to rate. I would actually rate the course a solid 3.5 and if some of the cons above were addressed this would definitely be an easy 4.0 for me.
Taking it a step further, I would actually rate the experience of playing the course and the surrounding area a 4.5 or a 5.0. I would then normally bump my rating up a little bit to account for that but the issue was actually getting to the course and leaving the course. Logistically I would rate this course a 1 on a scale of 1 to 5. Putting all of those things together helped me confirm in my mind that it was a 3.5 for me, which is considered Very Good on this site. Just make sure to set aside a lot of time for this experience!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Concrete tee pads and great signage. The course design is excellent with both right and left shots to challenge all. Manicured and absolutely beautiful with the Toronto skyline in the background.
Cons: No elevation but not a big deal. This is a day excursion and not a jump out of the car and start playing. Time your visit to the ferry crossing then 10 min walk to the course. Plan your day accordingly
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Fun with some challenge
0 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Practice baskets!
Two tee boxes, both with pads.
Good mix of short holes and long ones.
Cons: Annoying to get to with the ferry.
Signs on each teebox are getting run down or missing, without them it is hard to find the next hole.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Wonderful springtime rounds
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Multiple pads and pin locations
Cons: The map that is linked doesn't seem to be the latest, I was misled a few times, but eventually found my way
Other Thoughts: This was a really fun course to play while on a business trip! The ferry across to the island was pleasant
It was a gorgeous saturday and there were only a handful of other discers, so it was easy breezy
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
A great Metro Park DG course
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Well laid out, seasoned and groomed (in a park).Nice variety of shots required. Weekend play was not crazy busy. Water holes provided no problems in retrieving wet discs (2 for me in 2 rounds) Easy navigation w/good signage. Picturesque view of downtown Toronto & the Space needle.
Cons: Flat with no elevations, A hike from the ferry, which costs $6.50 to ride.,The walk to the first tee is a good couple of holes worth of steps. Same to return. Road traffic to get to the ferry is hectic every day. Especially around rush hour. but besides some elevations I would say as far as the course itself goes, there are not many Cons.
Other Thoughts: If you are in or near Toronto, this is well worth the cost of the ferry. If you can avoid rush hour traffic or walk or ride a bike you will do better. 4 My hotel was only 4 miles away, but it took me 25 minutes in lakeshore traffic to get to the ferry
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Home course love.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Beautiful, scenic course a short ferry ride from metro Toronto.
2 practice baskets about 70 feet from each other near 1 tee.
Course plays tough but fair from the white tees with most holes falling between 260 and 650 feet. difficult and demanding from the longs with lots of tight lines, tunnel shots and massive trees all over the course.
Locals play everything as a par 3 although there are 3 holes that are every bit a par 4 (6, 8 and 16 and 1 if you play the championship tee near the practice baskets)
2 sets of big asphalt tees on each pad
Grounds are maintained by the city and are always pristine.
People complain about the amount of non gofers on the course but if you can get over there any time that isn't a weekend in the summer the course is mostly deserted.
Great league that runs Wed night in the summer and Saturday morning all winter (yes ALL winter)
Be prepared to air out some big bombs and every shot in your bag will be needed.
Best view of the Toronto skyline anywhere.
Feels like a golf course with each hole being a separate entity.
Easy to spend a a whole day golfing and hanging out on the best parkland in the GTA.
Baskets are getting older but are still in great shape.
Cons: The cost of the ferry is a con although I never feel it isn't worth my money. Also if you are a local or are planning on going a couple times with some friends you can buy a 10 pack of tickets at a discount.
The land is flat.
Course can get busy in the summer with both holders and tourists.
If you can bring a bike as it is a bit of a hike to and from the ferry
Multiple pins aren't utilized. Typically it plays all long pins in the summer and all short pins in the winter.
Island residents aren't big fans of the course and go out of their way to sabotage work on the course. We tried to add a new amazing hole and the locals took the basket out of the ground and threw it into the water.
Other Thoughts: This is the first course I plays and it will always hold a special place in my heart. 4 years later and I am still honored to call it home.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: Disc golf paradise on a sunny day. Long, challenging holes in beautifully maintained park on Ward's Island looking across the lake at the city of Toronto. Good course for power players, lots of placement shots required too. Power and accuracy is what it takes on the island.
Cons: No elevation changes, though a couple of the baskets are elevated.
0 of 5 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
A true gem
Pros: I haven't played enough Canadian courses to call the Toronto (Ward) Island disc golf course, the best in Canada, or even in Ontario. But it is certainly among the most unique. No one will dispute that this course is a very special place to play disc golf.
A 10 minute ferry-ride from the mainland, the Ward Island course is separated from the big city, which gives the island(s) a genuinely placid ambiance. The view of Toronto's skyline is unparalleled, particularly at night.
The only vehicles allowed on the islands belong to the park system or Emergency services. Even those who live on the islands must get around on foot, bike, boat or skateboard, if they so choose.
The course I played in September of 2012 bears little resemblance to the 1987 PDGAW courses that put me in the disc golf spotlight for years to come. It is better. Far better. Admittedly, this place holds incredible sentimental value for me. But the quality of this venue transcends this sort of bias.
At well over 8,000 feet in length, whether or not it is listed as a "par 64", it plays like it. And due consideration should be given to par on this course. This course gives the smart player plenty to think about and puts the less-strategy-oriented players to work. Risk vs Reward is artfully engrained into the multi-shot holes. The most basic tenant in the game of golf is to reward well executed shots and punish poorly executed shots; which the Ward Island course accomplishes in spades.
The fairways are immaculately manicured. The rough areas are well-defined and often unforgiving, but I do not recall any thorns or vines.
Mach 5 baskets provide the player with a solid place to finish out each hole. There is talk of a 2nd set of permanent targets. Combined with 2 and even 3 tees per hole, that's 4 to 6 ways to play each fairway… without having to move equipment.
Benches adorn most tee areas, though mostly by the longer blue tees.
Cons: The asphalt tee pads are usually long enough and grippy enough, but several aren't flat enough. The tees (not installed by players) go with the lay of the land, rather than lying uniformly flat, which I feel is the course's biggest short-coming. Others may barely take notice.
That said, the course topography is primarily flat. The only real elevation change of any substance is the drop-off beyond the sea-wall to the right of fairway #4 and the elevated baskets on #4 & 9. (Usually reserved only for tournaments)
A mandatory ferry ride or water taxi makes the course just inconvenient enough to keep the course from being overrun by players. The shortest walk is 10-12 minutes to tee #1. If you want something during the course of the round, you'll have to bring it on the ferry. Bikes and strollers come in handy here.
In playing the event, it seemed that some of the par 3 distances were longer than the tee signs indicated. If they are, in fact, correct, kudos may be in order for making fairly flat fairways play longer than they actually are.
There are a couple of holes that I might consider a "tweener" distance, but top-level Open Pros would likely not. The shorter tees bring many of these holes into range for a GM, like myself.
Other Thoughts: All things considered, the Toronto-Ward Island disc golf course is a rare and beautiful gem. An "absolutely MUST PLAY" course if you love a fair challenge, a beautiful setting or if you are looking for a reason to get on a boat with a bag of discs.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Nice long fairways, some narrow and some wide open. A good mix of challenges, water hazards and trees. Very quiet and uncrowded during the week. I'd play it again next time I'm in town.
Cons: Signage has been damaged on some holes. Downloaded maps dont agree with the current course around 7,8,9&10. It looks like they change the holes.
Other Thoughts: Awesome island to walk around with spectacular views of the city skyline. The course winds through a quaint community and harbor on the island. Worth the ferry ride out there. $6 r/t on the Ward Island Ferry
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Great views and some fun shots
Pros: The course plays through a nice park on Toronto Island. There are numerous great views over the lake and back across the harbor at the city, along with some nice stretches along the yacht club. The park is nicely kept, with all the grass recently mowed and the fairways cleared of dead branches. There are baskets in decent shape, and two tee pads on every hole. Two sets of adequate signage are a nice touch, with the distance and layout from both tees to both pin locations.
There is some nice variety here. A couple holes bring water into play for some fun risk/reward shots, including one where the best line is a wide hyzer out over the water and back on to the fairway. There is a good mix of lengths and hole shapes, and enough trees and brush to punish errant shots in many cases. The alternate pin locations often changed up the hole quite a bit, if they're moved reasonably often they're a great addition to the variety of the course.
Cons: Unless you live on the island, it's a $6.50 trip on the ferry to play. If you're planning on spending the day enjoying the parks and sights on the islands, that's no big deal, but it's a little pricey just for disc golf (though the views from the ferry and from the island back at downtown made it worth it to me, so I didn't ding the rating at all for the cost).
There are some safety issues with the walking path and a couple picnic areas, and the pedestrians and picnickers didn't seem to be aware of disc golf. The course is very flat, and does feel a bit repetitive after a while. The dual pads are a good thought, but they are often directly in line, and only different by a little bit of distance so they don't really differentiate the course for various levels of players. The asphalt makes for a pretty slick surface even with just a little dew on it.
Other Thoughts: This is a fun course, and the scenery on the island makes it worth the ferry trip. Beginners will find the course approachable, though the rough can get a little punishing, and errant throws on a couple holes could end up lost in the water. More experienced players will find some nice challenges, but not a whole lot of variety.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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