Nuthin' Fancy... plus a Second Helping
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Clean, quiet, county park with tennis, basketball, softball, several pavilions, tot-lot, and a well-stocked fishing pond.
Plays like two completely separate 18 hole courses with very different personalities: Original 18 starts at the front (south end) of the park near the main parking lot. Holes 19-36 (dubbed "Rattlesnake Challenge") are located toward the rear (north side) of the park (see Other Thoughts to find these holes).
Holes 1-18: The Original 18 has a very nice mix ranging from open and very sparsely treed to moderately wooded, and offers decent variety in terms of distance and fairway type, but not much in fairway shape. Open holes allow for multiple lines but not many actually require more than a straight shot. Several of the middle holes feature more trees to work past, and a couple force you to hold a specific route, but as a whole, the front 18 doesn't require a great deal of shot shaping. Distances are nicely distributed from the low 200's to just under 400'. Features several well-placed trees and some good pin placements. Well suited to beginners and challenging enough for Rec/Intermediate players, but not so much for advanced players. Most of the pins are easy to see from the tee. Not much chance of losing a disc.
Holes 19-36 (Rattlesnake Challenge): Generally more challenging than the Original 18. Moderately to well-wooded and technical for the most part, with varying fairway shapes (L/R/straight) defined by naturally occurring open patches separating clusters of pine and palmetto. Although the fairways are well defined, you can take wider hyzer/annie routes to the pin provided you throw over the low-lying scrub lining the fairways and can thread it through the pines (which aren't bushy at all). Most of these holes are shorter than the Original 18, and generally less forgiving of shots that don't stay in the fairway. Has several blind holes and typically requires more finesse that the Original 18, but lacks variety in terms of fairway type. Thicker foliage means there's a greater chance of losing discs on Rattlesnake Challenge than the front 18, but still not what I'd consider all that bad.
Equipment: All in good shape with minimal vandalism. Yellow Innovas are easy to see. Concrete tees were sufficient, tee signs have all the pertinents and help with navigation.
Aesthetics: A nice walk around a fairly busy community park. Entirely pleasant, just not a picture postcard setting. Most scenic part is around holes 12-13, where you get a decent look at the fishing pond.
Routing and Nav: Not actually all that bad in some ways, but there's an unlisted Alt hole 4 (with a separate tee and basket of its own) to route you around the open field when it's being used
can be confusing. And 18 additional holes (Rattlesnake Challenge) were added on not that long ago in another section of the park with nary a clue they even exist (let alone where they are) when you're playing the front 18. I applaud the expansion, but how about letting people know they exist? Also can't figure out why the Parks Dept numbered them 19-36 instead of listing it as a separate course and numbering them 1-18.
Although the front and back provide good variety between them, each of them lacks variety in certain ways, and starts to feel somewhat repetitive unto itself.
Except for two of the longer holes on Rattlesnake Challenge, nothing really stood out as special.
Not all that tough to score pars, but deuces have to be earned on most holes.
Both courses play completely flat.
Other Thoughts: To find #19: after playing hole 6, proceed to the right (instead of left towards #7) and follow the trail (north), a few hundred feet further into the park. On the left will be a large sign that reads "Rattlesnake Challenge," with a map of holes 19-36 and their distances. 19th tee is to the right of that sign, a bit further into the woods. 36th hole brings you back near #7. Rattlesnake Challenge plays through a section of the park that doesn't see a lot of non-DG traffic and is essentially dedicated to disc golf.
Holes 1-18 play around the perimeter of a mutli-use section of the park. They tried to route things away from most pedestrian traffic, but you still need to exercise patience and caution to avoid trouble.
Even though they're technically numbered 1-36 (not just on DGCR, but on the tee signs and baskets themselves), I see these as two separate 18 hole courses, and really think they should be listed as such. They're laid out in different sections of the park, have distinctly different personalities and levels of difficulty... Rattlesnake Challenge even has its own name and sign.
Even though there are 36 pretty good holes, two good 18's doesn't necessarily make an excellent 36, nor would I say RVZ is a better discing destination than a really great 18 hole course. I'd give either set of 18 between 2.75 -3.0 on its own. Given how well the front and back complement each other, there's no doubt the additional holes make for a richer, more complete experience, which is how I arrive at 3.5, but the entire set of 36 holes still falls short of a truly excellent course.
A word of caution is warranted - Rattlesnake Challenge is appropriately named. This is precisely the type of dry, longleaf pine and palmetto woodlands Eastern Diamondbacks call home. They're well camouflaged and can be harder to see than you might think, even at embarrassingly close distances. Look carefully before reaching into the brush to retrieve your disc. While they have rattles, they do not necessarily always rattle before striking. Some biologists think that individuals which remain silent are less likely to be heard, seen, and killed, making them more likely to pass on their genes to the next generation, perpetuating a genetic disposition for rattlesnakes that tend not to rattle.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
All I Can Do Is Write About It
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Mostly open course through fields and Florida scrub. Typically, I ain't the one to praise a course with as few obstacles as this one does, but most of these holes work for me. Trust that the relatively few trees present here are used well and make each hole unique. The first pair of holes play through the tightest woods, playing down fairways bounded by thin trees. The next bunch traverse a wide open field, allowing players to really air out a few drives. Around the mid point of the round, there are a few holes made in the shade. These are my favorites,a s they force you to throw over the low scrub and below the high fronds, as well as around the trunks.
You also won't spend much time searching for discs. If you aren't in the field, you should be able to spot exactly which bit of scrub you went into. This means a faster round, or allows you to listen to the call when one of these pleasant curves beckons to be thrown one more time.
There's not a ton of complexity here, but im a simple man, and can appreciate a course that lets you throw and watch the disc in flight and every mothers son should be able to enjoy the course on some level.
Cons: There aren't a lot of things goin' on for upper-level players. Most of the fairways are relatively straightforward and intermediate players shouldn't have too much trouble getting the disc to bend to their will.
The holes are often very straight. After a hundred courses, I know a little about courses great and terrible. This one is squarely in the middle. There is nothing special. There are no signature holes. It's completely flat. It's a very playable course for most skill levels but that is about it. Unless the vegetation is unfamiliar to you there is really nothing here that stands out.
The pads are not really big enough for the types of throws. Their serviceable, but on open holes like these, you have to at least gimme three steps.
Other Thoughts: I saw no sign of the second eighteen, so the original course can easily played with no confusion. At the same time, I would have liked to give them a shot and had no idea it was there until I returned to the site. It's an exciting concept and if you think I'll return to replay the first course and give the second a shot, you got that right.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Family friendly park with a variety of holes and mix of lengths. About half were wooded with precision shots required and half rewarded a strong arm. Tees were good and signs adequate. I enjoyed the back nine the most near the lake and woods.
Cons: The entrance and parking areas were not paved and mostly dirt, sand and mud. The location of hole one was not easily found, but once I did find it, the layout was fairly intuitive. I had to ask locals a few times where the next tee was or which basket to shoot for. Lots of spindly trees on the first couple of holes and last couple of holes making shots require luck as well as skill.
Other Thoughts: I played all four of the courses in Jax area and this was my second favorite (Ed Austin first). There wasn't much unique about the course nor was it particularly scenic. I enjoyed the lake area (for three holes). The park was clean, the golf was challenging and fun, but the course didn't have any real memorable traits.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 6 Not
3 Basket have been stolen
Pros: Good 18 basket course with lots of trees to make shot selection difficult
Cons: Only Problem is Practice Football field near holes 4 and 5 which will be hard to play during Spring Football Practice
Other Thoughts: Baskets 3, 4A and 19 have been stolen and were missing. I contacted Clay County Parks and they contacted the Sheriffs Office.
0 of 6 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: This course is an extremely clean course with a great layout. It has a mix of challenging/ technical fairways, and long open fairways. The locals that play the course are very friendly. Bathrooms are easily accessable and there are benches at every T pad.
Cons: This is a pretty active park. It is not un common for people to just come walking accross the fairway in front of you. In the spring evenings pop warner practices in the field in the center of the park and the parents seem to set up their lawn chairs in the middle of the fairway on holes 4, 4A, 5, 8 and 15. Other than that the park is excellent and would recommend it to anyone.
Other Thoughts: The park has a back 18 called rattle snake ridge. 9 of the T pads are layed and I cant wait until they get the other 9 layed. Its a work in progress. Something seriously needs to be done about the parents and their lawn chairs with the pop warner team. I'm all about the kids having fun but parents "get the hell out of the fairways"
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: Park is nice.
Lots of fun with a few holes that have an A and B hole.
Cons: The rattle snake challenge was very difficult.
They need to get rid of some underbrush.
It is very easy to lose discs in the under brush.
This is not for beginners.
Other Thoughts: We started on the 15th hole so we could end by car.
Had a good time on the original 18 holes.
When I go back no rattle snake challenge for me.
0 of 5 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Free as a Bird
Pros: 1) Nice concrete tees are always appreciated.
2) Signs are decent with Hole #, maps of the hole and the distances are listed.
3) Nice yellow discatchers are always appreciated for visibility.
4) There is a kiosk at the first hole with some information and also another kiosk with an incredibly large course map by #19 (the first hole in the "Rattlesnake Challenge".
5) Excellent variety of hole type here. There are some fairly wide fairways, then some parklike holes running through turfed areas with just key trees, and there are also some really tight shots.
6) Bagracks again on many holes which must be a local thing as I do not see that in most places around the country. There are also a few benches scattered around for you to take a break and sit down.
7) Parking lot has plenty of parking for the course unless there are a ton of other general park users.
8) Decent distance variation ranging from low 200's all the way up to mid to upper 300's. The back 9 has one hole over 400'. This will force you to have a bunch of different throws and disc selection will be key.
9) Bathrooms located near the beginning and end of the course which is expected because the course runs a decent distance away from the parking lot and other park activities.
10) The best elevation is back on the Rattlesnake Challenge but the front 18 hole course has a couple of minor changes.
Cons: 1) Routing got a little confusing with the additional holes but I know they aren't real old so that will eventually be adjusted. I would seriously consider calling the back 9 a completely different course even though it is located off to another totally different area. The reason for this is with all the extra holes and the confusing layouts people will get bungled up pretty good. There were 2 extra holes on 4 and 5 which maybe need to be played during sporting events on the baseball field because the regular holes play along and across the field.
2) Multiple holes play in areas where people will be walking across the course. There are also a few areas where there are other sporting events that might be in danger. Basketball courts, tennis courts, baseball field.
3) I would say this course is not for beginners. Take the Rattlesnake Challenge away and the normal 18 hole course wouldn't be too challenging but as a whole this course will possibly deter beginners of the game. Ed Austin would be a much better course for beginners.
4) Hole #18 is simply dangerous for anyone in the parking lot. If a straight line was drawn to the basket you would cut off about 25% of the parking lot. I do not remember if the lot was listed as OB but it should be. As it is there are a lot of trees in between the tee and the basket and you could easily catch a tree and kick out into the lot.
5) The map on the teesigns was somewhat generic. Sure it indicated trees and a fairway and the tee and basket location, but the routing on the shot did not always concur with the line they had drawn as their "fairway".
6) Teepads are slightly short. It doesn't bother me much because I have short legs, ut many others with a longer runup might not like these tees.
Other Thoughts: I noticed an area with crumb rubber (recycled tires used to reduce compaction and allow turf to grow better in high traffic areas) near #16. I am not sure of the reason for this but it gave me an idea that it could be a very useful tool to be placed around teepads and basket areas.
The course is named after the late member of Lynrd Skynrd which everyone can appreciate. He is a local hero to Jacksonville and it is only fitting the band who sang "Free Bird" gets themselves a disc golf course named after them.
I enjoyed this course about as much as Ed Austin . . . "Rattlesnake Challenge" is what makes this course as challenging as it is. There are a lot more places to get into trouble back there, but the front 18 holes is still a solid course. You can make some birdies but you can also be punished by a tree or two.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 4 Not
Ronnie Van Zant
Pros: Great Course! 18 regular holes along with an additional 9 hole course in the back. This course also has an alternative tee box and basket for #4, for when the field is covered with pee wee football players.
Cons: Not many water fountains and there is always some football team practicing in the afternoons. All bathrooms are towards the beginning holes of the course.
0 of 4 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 4 Not
great course for average players
Pros: Well marked. Great People. Fast play, new basket placement on 12 & 18, possibly to birdie all baskets for good players, yet still challenging. New back nine (19-27) short but differ cult bends, Alternate baskets for 4 & 5 - great for when park fields are full of softball/baseball players.
Cons: Wear lots of bug spray, ticks are everywhere. Watch for snakes (adds a little danger & excitement to the course).
Other Thoughts: New back nine has thick heavy underbrush, recommend long pants & snake boots and telescopic pole with hook to retrieve disc from all sorts of hazards. Definitely a course worth a visit.
0 of 4 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
The new back 9 is up & sweet
Pros: This is a nice large park with plenty of holes ranging in difficulty. The course starts at the parking lot and ends there as well. The baskets are all Innova Discatchers and very nice and new. There are 18 holes on the front that are now well established, with concrete pads. The pads are good sized, not crazy long, but you don't always need that run up anyway. There are lots of benches in well placed areas, not out in the baking sun, but under nice shade trees. There are signs for distance and pin placement on every hole. The signs are all set out of the way so you don't have to worry about hitting them with a stray hand.
Now my personal favorite the back nine. The tees pads were laid out but not poured, yet as of the end of March, but I think they're poured now. The first two holes play a bit the same, long hyzers, but the second takes up uphill and is a long hole around 500ft. Florida is mostly flat, but here the land rises up about 15ft. and the plants and animals begin to change, and it's just realy nice. The third hole takes you into the woods, not too wooded, but a change from the more open front 18. I enjoyed that by the fourth hole the only signs of civilization were the baskets and soon to be tees. You can look in all directions for the next 4 holes and see nothing man made, no telephone poles.towers,roads,ect., not even any trash. The last two holes bring you back to the begining of the back 9, so you can pick back up and finish playing the front 18. There are no restrooms on the back 9, but there are a couple spread out on the front 18, along with pavillions and grills. There is also playground equipment and a pond full of fish and ducks to keep kids and mom's happy.
Cons: If you go on a weekend expect to have to play around other park users, baseball, flagfootball, ect. and there are no water holes. If they would have used the pond for discgolf there would have been problems with the fishers and duck feeders, and the pond was there for them before they added the discgolf.
Other Thoughts: The closest stores are a little drive down the road so load up a cooler with drinks and food to save you some time and keep you on the course more.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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