A lot of potential, but an ultimate disappointment
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Sloterpark is a beautiful park located about 3.5 miles from Amsterdam Centraal station on the Slotermeer lake. The park is easy to get to via public transit (tram 7 or 14), and would also be an easy bike ride thanks to Amsterdam's bike infrastructure. There is also ample parking in the Sloterparkbad sports complex which is right next to the park.
The baskets here are mostly in great shape and the custom basket tops give the course a unique flair. Tees are 3 slabs of concrete or marked on the walking path. Tee signs are comprehensive showing a map of the hole, par info, distance in meters, marked OB and mando, and also a smaller map that shows where surrounding tees/baskets are in relation to the present hole. There are also at least two complete course maps; one at the front of course and one by the 12th basket. The park is kept very clean and the grass is kept short.
This course was very well-designed. It describes a complete loop that will take you right back to where you started. The distances are varied, the front and back 9 are well balanced, and there was a nice balance between open field and more wooded holes. There is a lot of challenge here due to crazy OBs, mandos on 6 and 9, mature trees, tough curves and two terrifying throws across a small section of the lake (3 and 17). Other stand out holes include 9, a 700 ft+ bomb off of a large hill with a very cool sculpture on it, 10, which is a very challenging tunnel shot through the trees, 2 which is probably the tightest in/out of bounds situation you'll ever play, and the blind curve on 7. The locals seemed to at least tolerate the fact that I was playing there.
Cons: OK, now for the bad stuff. The biggest disappointment for me here was that many holes were not playable when I was there (4 February 2013). A tree had fallen on the tee box for 3, which meant that too much could have gone wrong throwing across the water. 9 was an absolute disaster as the first 300-400 feet of fairway were completely flooded. While this is probably only an issue during the winter, the summer may provide a different set of problems since heavy park use may also make this hole unplayable. Park construction took holes 11-14 out of commission as well.
The course also was very much in conflict with activities of other users of the park. There were throws over park benches, lots of danger to joggers and walkers on the paths, and I can imagine that many fairways are also optimal BBQ locations.
The course map was also a bit confusing and probably not 100% accurate. The water holes could be cons, especially for beginners because they are very risky and there is virtually no possibility of retrieving your disc if it goes in the drink. The tees also don't afford much in the way of a good run-up, especially the ones on the path as well as 9, which is the longest hole on the course. This is especially a problem because most of the holes here are on the longer side of things.
Other Thoughts: Amsterdam's very damp climate will probably mean that you're playing on wet, muddy grass most of the time. Waterproof shoes are highly recommended and if you have a waterproof disc bag it's probably great especially if you play with a camera, phone, or other electronic devices in your bag.
This is definitely a course worth seeking out (a quick skim through all the Dutch courses on this site likely make it the best course in the Netherlands), but you shouldn't come with very high expectations. It would likely make for a great tournament course if the park was closed to the public and conditions were perfect. It has all the elements of a great course with a few very unfortunate circumstantial elements that made my experience less than enjoyable. I would definitely come back hoping for a better experience if I'm ever in Amsterdam again, but my first time was quite disappointing here. Should I return, this review will certainly get an update.
NB: This review is solely based on my own objective experience. Just because I had a bad experience here doesn't mean you will. 1.5 = Passable and I'm sticking to it.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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