Fun times at Fore Palms
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Nice course in a clean, well-maintained city park with skate park, basketball court, ball fields, walking trail and lots of paved parking.
• Variety: Decent, but not great. Mostly open to semi-open holes with a few scattered trees to avoid. Many light to moderately wooded holes plus, two short, densely wooded, technical holes. Reasonable balance of L/R/straight - most holes allow for multiple lines off the tee but present a couple of obstacles you need to work around, but only a few restrict you to pretty much one or two routes that you have to hit if you want a low score. Has a few pretty good tee and pin placements to make good use of natural elements.
• Dual Tees occasionally change the look and line, but some just add length. Both red and blue span a decent spread of distances, but can be mixed and matched to accommodate a range of skill levels, and provide a richer selection distances. Dual pins on half the holes help keep things fresh for locals.
• Features two respectable water carries from the longs while offering "bail-out"routes from the shorts, allowing distance challenged players the thrill of throwing over as much of the pond as they feel comfortable with while forcing them to take the longer way'round.
• Aesthetics: It's nice a pleasant enough walk around the park, but nothing I'd describe as scenic.
• Equipment: Concrete tees were OK, baskets were in good condition, and tee signs provide the hole's vitals and help you find your way around.
• Reasonably fun and relatively challenging - not a bad place for novices or advanced players looking for a casual round.
• Elevation: Kudos to designers for capitalizing on the very subtle changes in topography, but if elevation really wets your whistle, you'll be disappointed. Create a mound, elevate a pin and create a rollaway green.
• Extra Holes: I think hole "B" is a nice addition to the course, but the other 5 seem run of the mill - not necessarily bad, but other than providing some fun birdie opportunities, they don't really make it a better course. For example, the pin for hole "A" could have been nestled into the woods a bit to put more emphasis on placing your tee shot. As it is, 5 of them serve to screw up the flow without adding much in terms of disc play.
• Navigation and Next Tee signs - as with many fairly open courses, where to go after you hole out isn't always obvious, and finding the next tee was a bit iffy in several spots. Seems like the original 18 holes actually flow pretty well, but the extra holes (A-C and D-F) were obviously added on and don't flow well with the rest of the course. I won't say the map is an absolute must, but it'll definitely save visitors quite a bit of time. A few Next Tee signs would help.
• Could use more holes that that are less forgiving of tee shots that are off target. Players who max out at 250 -300ft can often miss their line, and still place a upshot for a makeable putt to card a 3, while actually hitting the line may not really give them a really good look at 2. That said, for players who can get 300-350 off the tee, being off target on those same holes will cost them birdie opportunities.
Other Thoughts: Fore Palms gets much more right than it does wrong, and fits quite comfortably among other very good courses I've played. Definitely worth a visit if you're in the area, but destination disc golf... not so much. That said, there don't appear to be better alternatives anywhere in the area. Likely the best course in an area that's simply not a hot bed for DG.
Things to consider: not much in the way of shade - plan accordingly to maximize comfort and enjoyment.
Coexists pretty well with semi-shared use of the park, although there are a few spots where you may need to wait a while for people travelling along the path to clear out of the range of bad shots.
Relatively open layout means wind is likely a factor pretty often (definitely the case during my round). Frustrating to some, challenging to others.
Suggestion for improved routing (don't read this unless you look at the course map):
The flow from 3 to A, then to B & C, and then over to 4 is non-intuitive and crosses the walking path three times. Reversing the tee and pin positions on hole "A" would greatly improve flow. That would have you going from 3 to B, to C, then crossing the path to A, (which if reversed), would point directly toward 4… then renumber accordingly. The resultant routing would have you walking to the closest tee (i.e. more intuitive) and only crosses the walk path once.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Often, it can be tough to peg a course to a specific half point on a five-point scale. It can be limiting, with many courses falling somewhere between a 3 and a 2.5 for example. I'd like to give hypothetical course a 2.8. I think most of us do the best we can with such limitations and it's probably for the best.
I bring this up because Ed Austin to me, is the shining example of a 3.5. If someone asked me to describe a course that deserves a 3.5, I'd just send them a link to Ed Austin. It's a challenging, interesting course, that has just enough flaws that it is clearly not four stars. At the same time, it's definitely better than your local 3 star course.
It boasts a pond in the center of course. Two holes offer carries, but both allow the safe but long way around the pond. This is the course to be fearless, though. A club representative rakes the pond with a big contraption so if you lose one, you're likely to get a call.
While it is apparently a former ball golf course, it doesn't feel like one at all. Other courses of that type can feel like they stuck baskets and tees on the former ball holes. This one doesn't.
In all, it's got a decent amount a variety for a mostly open course, a few wooded hoels, and a few open holes with trees that force your shot. It's got length and some, but not an excessive amount of challenge.
Cons: It's not extremely technical, and the sun will wear you out much faster than the course will. There is not much shade here, and eighteen holes can leave you exhausted .
I'd like to see a bit more obstacle between the tee and hole for it to be a truly top-notch course. There is just a bit much of the bomb-it-and-avoid-two-trees holes for my taste. There are a few wooded holes, but read that as FEW. It's almost a tease when so few holes demand strict control of your drives.
Next tee arrows please. The most simple problem to correct but so many courses forget this. Often at Ed Austin the next hole is obvious, but with the extra, lettered holes, confusion can be created. The worst example is after 3, when the tee for C is visible, and no reason to turn towards 4 is given. If you are going to add extra holes, (and I do like this feature in general) you really need to make it clear how to play 18, and how to play 24. Walking a loooong ways to play a hole you did not intend is a mistake that could be easily averted with a few signs.
Other Thoughts: It's the premier course in northeast Florida by a mile. You'd have to drive 2 hours in any direction to find something better and I'd play this 3.5 again in a heartbeat.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Awesome variety of holes, some wide open, some woods, tunnel shot on #5. Course is always clean and maintained. Great feeling of safety with the police presence.
Cons: Not enough ace runs. #16 is not a fair par 3, almost 500' having to throw your drive low through a bank of trees. 8 also should be a par 4 when the basket is placed into the woods. This course is definitely for bigger arms.
Other Thoughts: Well worth travelling to play this course. I would like to see the pars on some holes reconsidered, as they are not fair to the average player.
1 of 4 people found this review helpful.
In Great Condition
0 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Great Course, because it has everything for each shot, woods, water, left to right,right to left, short or long. Cement Tees.Trash Bins, Clean.In Great Condition
Cons: Getting busy. Weekend afternoons very busy park.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: -Concrete tee pads rule!
-The lettered holes (A-C and D-F) have tee pads made of concrete tiles, but they've been installed with such skill that they are as level and smooth as tee pads on holes 1-18. Great job!
-This is a sprawling course with subtle elevation changes
-With two water holes built around a small pond, you can throw a floating disc with near 100% chance of getting it back.
-With 24 holes, you can opt to skip the two water holes and still play 22 holes!
Cons: -This park gets a lot of use on weekends. With all that foot traffic, you sometimes have to wait to throw your disc.
-With only natural irrigation, the course is pretty sandy. I have lots of sand in my shoes at the end of the day.
Other Thoughts: In terms of design and location, this is a prime example of what a Florida disc golf course should look like. The next time you drive through Jacksonville, I suggest you make time to play a round there.
I played this course again recently, and I continue to be impressed by the design and layout. I can't wait to go back.
2 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Best in Jax
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Fun challenging course with a mix of long and medium length holes in a beautiful park setting. Not an easy beginner course, but it does offer alternate tees around the water if your ego can handle the pressure. Fairly intuitive to figure out the course without a map, but tricky to follow when you get near the woods (after hole 5) and the back side (after hole 15) where some of the add-on holes are inserted. More terrain in play than most Florida courses, a few technical holes, and a couple of fun water shots.
Cons: A bit crowded two of the three times I played rounds there. The wind can really play with your shots on most of the course. The course favors length over accuracy most of the time. I saw several people searching for lost plastic in the lake.
Other Thoughts: This was my favorite of the four courses I played in the Jacksonville area. It was fun to see such a big park with lots of family activities and all age groups using it. There wasn't much in the way of scenery, wildlife, or uniqueness, but a fun clean course with a variety of shots required.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Fun course, give it a try
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Most of this course has a tight groom that feels like a ball golf course. The park is huge and nice and there were a bunch of nice looking ladies jogging when I played, so that's always a bonus.
There's plenty of opportunity to air out some long drives, including some rollers. The course is a little on the long side, but not crazy long.
Two holes are played over the water, so that's another bonus.
There's a stretch of tight, woodsy holes to balance out most of the longer, more open shots.
Cons: A few times we had to wait to throw until joggers passed on the path, which hugs a lot of the holes.
The first time we played, we missed the bonus "letter" holes. They were pointed out to us by a friendly local during our second round.
Other Thoughts: I'd say it's a very nice course and worth a visit by anyone visiting Florida.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Good Fun course
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Good Parking. Mostly a wide open course with a few tight holes. Two water holes as well. Lots of fun to play.
Cons: Can be crowded at times. Your flight path crosses the walkway several times so you have to be careful for the runners/walkers.
Other Thoughts: You can easy taco your disc on the first hole. That is when you launch the disc but instead drive it into the tree a few feet in front of you bending it into a taco shape. Pike's Pine is on the left and sadly, Puma's Pine is on the right! You need a strong arm and/or a floating disc (Dragon) for the two water holes.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Nicely maintained course with some nice distance and a few narrow holes to test you as well. Great course amenities, specifically easy access to benches and trash cans.
Cons: No real negatives as you can not expect elevation in Florida, but I personally enjoy a more hilly terrain.
Be careful of the water...
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Nice parkstyle course
Pros: 1) Nice large trapezoidal concrete tees. I love this as the standard for disc golf! There is a painted strip on the tees to indicate red or blue tee so there is no confusion. Shared tees have both colors indicated.
2) Benches and bag racks available from time to time throughout the course.
3) Nice signage with Hole #, distance, par and hole maps. Always a welcome sight for the travelling disc golfer.
4) Awesome group of league players here. I showed up to meet an old friend from Wisconsin and I was welcomed into the group like I was from the area. I even took two of the 4 CTP's and $18 back . . . granted I paid $13 to play in the league $1 to play, $1 non member, $1 per CTP, $1 for the ace, and $6 for the skins game. I have never paid more than $7 for league and this one cost me $13. I ended up donating the $5 that I actually profited from back to their club because it was such a good time.
5) Great variety on this course for what was originally a short 9 hole executive golf course. The design uses the best of the wooded areas to make for a really great course.
6) There was a unique thing on this course I have never seen anywhere else. There were short little carpet strips short of the teepads. I am not sure if the design was to give you a place to kick the sand off your shoes but they seemed to do a good job of keeping the teepads fairly clean. There were even a few areas where I noticed the same material on the fallaway at the end of the teepad so if you overstep through your drive you can land on that instead of dropping down to the sand/turf.
7) 24 holes out here which is always nice for the travelling disc golfer to get in as much disc golf as possible. The course could be played any number of ways . . . front 9, front 12, back 9, back 12 or play all 24. This probably helps when events and league are going on to allow the casual players to skip ahead of the organized players.
8) There is an excellent variety of holes out here which was not really expected. Sure there are a lot of holes with wider fairways, but they use key trees to their advantage. Then there are some holes that run through the peripheral wooded areas between the old fairways. Then there are a couple of holes that are as tight as I have ever seen.
9) Very beginner friendly course because it is mostly open. The distance my get to some beginners, but what better way than to learn the game than by throwing a lot!
10) There were a lot of shots needed out here. You can throw many holes with a straight or slight hyzer, but there are also a couple of tight anhyzer lines on a couple of holes. There also are quite a few places where a roller might be a beneficial shot to have in the bag. I only threw a couple rollers because I wanted to play safe because it was league and my rollers can have a tendency to get a little wild.
11) Multiple pin placements on many of the holes makes this an even more attractive course allowing for a different layout all the time. Having dual tees is also a benefit because it allows different skill levels to enjoy this course.
12) Water is another feature on this course that comes into play really on 2 holes. It is the same type and length of shot both times, but there is a definite pucker factor. I just played safe and short and left both times and took my pars., but the true risk/reward is there for those that can throw 300'.
13) Surprisingly undulating fairways in a few places out here. Nothing outstanding but most likely the undulations were made when the golf course was constructed.
14) Practice basket available near the first tee and plenty of room to work on some approaches and longer putts too.
15) There is a nice kiosk with a hole map and distances listed on one section. There also is a lot of postings because it seems like there is a really active group of locals. Like I said the league was awesome but I also know there is a glow league out here on Wednesdays. This would be a fun course to play glow disc golf for sure.
Cons: 1) Distance variation is something I felt like could have been handled better. There is so much room out here that the holes could be varied a whole lot more than they are. This is the type of course that usually frustrates me because most of the holes are just outside my range and I end up with a lot of tap in 3's but for some reason this course didn't feel that way . . . perhaps because there were still a lot of things to make those upshots not feel simple layups everytime.
2) While the variety of the foliage was good, I would like the balance swung a little more towards balance and while this course is most heavily weighted towards the moderately open hole with key trees, I think they maybe could have used a little bit more of the tighter wooded areas to create better balance.
3) Walking path does come into play on a number of holes. I appreciate that the path was probably here before the disc golf as it was probably intended for the golf course . . .but everyone needs to be aware of everyone else. Please be careful and don't risk anyone getting hurt.
4) There was a slightly repetitive feeling on a lot of the holes because they were mostly open with key trees. It wasn't so much in the shot needed but in the look and feel of the holes.
5) A few of the areas off the fairway can get thick . . . the tight wooded holes are ultimately a 1-2 strke punishment if you are off the fairway easily. Then there are a few pockets of unkept palmetto shrubs that will gladly eat up your disc and probably also house some snakes.
6) If only the course could have been altered slightly so that the two water shots were not on back to back holes and the two tightest wooded holes were also not back to back. I'm happy for the diversity but it would be nice if you didn't have those 4 holes in a back to back type setup. Oh well, I'm just nitpicking now.
7) No way of knowing which position the basket is located . . .this is something I would highly appreciate being a travelling player.
8) DGA Mach baskets are hard to find in many places because of the surrounding foliage and dormant turf.
Other Thoughts: All in all a great experience. I played with the local weekly sunday league and an old friend of mine. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the course because I typically prefer the tight more technical holes but this course still forced you to pick a shot and execute. They used key trees throughout the course to give you lanes. It was incredibly clean and rewarded good shots. The biggest punishment of bad shots out here would have to be the OB areas and the two tightest holes in the woods. I will be back for sure unless Jacksonville puts in a couple more nice new courses by the time I return to the area.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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