3 Helpful / 0 Not
Forehand friendly longs, technical shorts
Pros: Fore Palms DGC is what I would term a fantastic urban course. I tend to divide the courses I play into natural settings or urban settings, and Fore Palms is definitely the latter. In terms of an urban course you generally have to rank it based on how well the course designer used the land available to him.
At Fore Palms the land was used very well. The flow for the original 18 is fantastic, and even with the two extra sets of 3 holes for a full 24 the flow is very good. The course also manages to take advantage, to at least some extent, of every piece of terrain available - with holes playing through loose groves of trees, thick woods, wide open fields, and over the one water hazard available.
In terms of the shot selection: the long tees can be a challenge, but are very righty forehand or lefty friendly. The short tees on the other hand require a nice variety of shots. Straight, hyzer, forehand, and forced anhyzer are all available. The putting greens also take advantage of what is available with many of them placed amongst the sparse trees available on many of the open holes - forcing at least some putts to be more than just an easy up and down into the chains.
The course also takes great advantage of the bike/walking paths around to create some out of bounds that will alter your shot selection. In many cases it really does give a nice advantage to a player with more shots in his bag, allowing someone with a better forehand to take advantage of playing it over the OB and fading in bounds on some holes, and the person with the better backhand able to do the same on others.
The course also has fantastic teepads, great and accurate signage, and the baskets are all nice. They aren't the most modern models, but they're well taken care of with no visibly damaged targets. Overall the basic course conditions have been nothing but great - I haven't yet seen a downed branch/tree in a fairway, a screwed up tee sign, or a poor teepad. Additionally there is a convenient putting basket set up near the first tee, but out of the way enough to not interfere with any play on the course. On lighter days one can throw back and forth between one's target and the practice green for a solid mid-game tune-up.
Cons: There are also some definite downsides to playing Fore Palms. As I said - the long tees are righty forehand or lefty friendly. If you have a strong forehand for a righty or play left handed, you have a very strong advantage over the competition if you can put those shots out into the 350-375 range. For those lacking that range - the long tees could be a drag because it turns into a simple round of safe drive-upshot-drop in.
Additionally - as has been said before here: Although the course designer was given leave to use virtually every inch of space available, hole one was buried in the back corner of the park. If I had not examined the park carefully on the club website's map I probably would have wound up lost my first time out. And I drove into the wrong parking lot at least my first two times out, trying to find my way all the way back there. It isn't a true knock on the course, but working with the parks to get some directional signs is a must.
Finally - the same paved walking/biking paths that create such well placed out-of-bounds hazards, can also be viewed as a negative. The course designer did a great job using what was available, but there are numerous pedestrians on the trails every single day. The course really does bump that public area repeatedly, and it is an absolute necessity to keep an eye on the locations of pedestrians on this course or you will find yourself praying your errant shot (or even some more well placed ones) doesn't hit a pedestrian.
The only negative I can see in the use of the terrain otherwise might be that there are two back-to-back holes playing through the thick woods bordering the course, and then nothing else. Interspersing a few of those alongside (for example) 11 and 12 could help break the course up nicely just as holes 6 and 7 do early in the round.
Other Thoughts: Overall I gave this course an "Excellent" rating because it really is excellent. I understand that the negatives are strong, and could bump it down a notch - but the overall experience of the course, and the enjoyment I have for playing this style of course, are both high. Fore Palms is a very well designed course, that does what it can to take advantage of the property offered, other than the need to use a little more of those thick woods.
I recommend playing it, and for Jacksonville residents stuck with it as their only 18 hole course - it definitely could be far worse. This is a course that is strong technically, and offers fantastic enjoyability.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Multiple teepads with sometimes multiple basket location can provide much needed variety. The course flows pretty well even with the added "temp" holes and is fairly easy to navigate the first time around. All the teeboxes are level with the ground and have carpet before and after the pad for extra those of us who like to run up off the pad. The last few holes are pretty tough and this is a great aspect to the course.
Cons: Not much to complain about besides it can be tough to locate the DGA baskets around the course if they are hidden. Course signs could benefit from marking whether the basket is in either position. Course can be tough to find the first time. Big arms only from the long pads as most of the shots are over 350 feet. This can be a little repetitive.
Other Thoughts: I played the long pads twice and struggled a couple times to locate the baskets the first time through. With the majority of the holes from the blues being over 350' I found myself just chucking the straight distance driver. No real variety of shots on the long open holes but still fun. Play for par and should shoot well. Would have liked to played the reds but time didn't allow for it.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Fore Palms is a nice course set inside a fairly big park. 2 Concrete per hole allows for enjoyment for those of differing skill levels. There are short tight tunnel holes, along with long "big D" holes. There is good mixture of risk verse reward since there is a running path that comes into play a lot and adds OB strokes for those that can't keep in on the correct side of the path. There is also a retention pond that comes into play on back to back hole. The first time throwing with the wind the second hole playing into the wind. Since this course is close to the ocean the wind is said to be constantly coming from one direction. There are also 6 extra holes that add to the fun of this course. There is a concession stand at the park along with restrooms.
Cons: My only gripe with this course is the lack of signage coming into the park. As you come in to the park you see baskets on both sides of the entrance road. On your left are 15 & 16 and on your right are the extra holes D, E, & F. Without a sign showing you where hole one is I found myself walking from the furthest point around the course aimlessly for the better part of 30 mins until I found a local that pointed out the direction of the first pad.
Other Thoughts: When you enter the park make sure you continue to the right and go right of the first buildings you see to find the first hole.
1 of 4 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 3 Not
Challenging course for all....
Pros: There is not enough that can be said about the River City Disc Golf Club, the local players, the creator of this course or the support behind the course. This course is loved beyond belief and if you get the privliage to play here, do so, and here is why...
There are two sets of concrete tee pads here, Rec and Pro. There is a vast difference between the two teepads on all holes that challenge all aspects of your game for anyone.
This course plays a little short from the Red pads but very long from the Blue pads.
There are open holes here, tight wooded holes, throwing into and out of gaps, lefty and righty friendley holes here. Two holes with water.
There are a ton of different ways to play this course, play the entire 24 holes, play the orginal 18, play the holes around the parking lot and so forth.
Cons: The one and only thing I can think this course needs is NexT signs out here. I will say that if I did not play with locals, then I would have been lost.
Other Thoughts: This is a great course outside of Jville and is a course that is loved and taken care of. I was there on Saturday and not only can you go play, but the guy who designed the course was there with his DG store on wheels selling discs! WHAT!!!??? Awesome. I e-mailed the club president and he contatced me back. Do yourself a favor and go play Fore Palms, you will not leave dissapointed.
4 of 7 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: -good variety of holes including two water holes
-great park with good facilities
-18 main holes plus extra holes (6 I think)
Cons: -confusing at first, hard to find hole 1
Other Thoughts: I've had a lot of fun playing here. some open holes, some wooded. beginner friendly.
0 of 5 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: fun driving course. great feel and veiws of nature. a lot of great people out there. really friendly place to go and meet and play with new people
Cons: #16 and #18 should definitely be par 4's. they are the only holes i have never birdied aftermany times out there.
Other Thoughts: could have maps and stuff, if u need a bathroom look to the tree's. just don't pee on my disc
0 of 6 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Solid fun course
Pros: Open, manageable, not too busy, 6 extra holes, extra tees for more advanced players, good mix of open/wooded holes, some challenging tee placements, forces you to mix up your shots from time to time, very well maintained, not easy to lose discs other than the two water holes around the one pond, they change pin placement around once every month
Cons: Possibly too easy (but you can always play extra tees), the map isn't extremely helpful, and the layout is a bit confusing until you've played it once or twice
Other Thoughts: Overall, a very good course, well taken care of in a large park with other activities, so good for a group. Check it out if you're in Jax!
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Lots of holes, 18 permanent and 6 additional. Great open areas in some and tight greens in others. Very nice park with lots of activity. Well kept.
Cons: The first tee box was a little difficult to find at first. It could be marked a bit better and have a couple of more kiosks.
Other Thoughts: Overall a good place to play. I will return to play there when I am in Jacksonville again.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -Good variety of holes. Most are fairly open and tyro-friendly, but there are a few tight shots that will teach the beginner the importance of disc control.
-Well-maintained. Really shows how disc golf is supposed to be, with beginner and pro concrete tees and clear markings on every hole. There's even a "putting green" near the first tee
-Friendly and active locals. I had someone come up to me as I was playing a solo round and introduce themselves and invite me out to play in the bi-weekly tournaments that the RCDGA puts on.
-24 holes. The extras are set up so that if you want to skip them and simply play the standard 18 it's easy to do so without any extra walking, but if you do then you're missing out. The extra holes are especially nice for beginners because with one exception they are very open and offer little chance to get into serious trouble.
-Well-planned layout. The front nine and the back nine both end at the parking lot, which makes it easy to get a short round in if that's what you want. Also, as I already mentioned, the extra holes are set up so that they really do play as extras -- they're there if you want to play them, but if you don't, then you don't have to do any extra walking to skip them.
Cons: -There is a pond which comes heavily into play on holes 9 and 10. After losing a couple of discs to the nethery deep, I started skipping these two and will continue to do so until I become more confident in my game.
-Every hole is a par 3. For most holes that's a fair rating, but I personally feel there are a couple of holes that might be more fairly rated as a par 4. #16 is a good example. Even from the beginner tees I've never had a legitimately makeable putt for a par.
-The bi-weekly tournaments are held on Wednesday afternoon and Sunday morning. As a churchgoer this makes it pretty much impossible for me to participate.
-Lack of publicity. If I didn't have a friend who plays, I would probably have lived out my five years in Jacksonville without ever knowing that Ed Austin Park had a disc golf course, and I drive past it twice every day on the way to and from work. A sign out by the main road (if allowed) would probably be a good idea.
Other Thoughts: This is the only course I've played as of yet, so perhaps this is not the most objective rating. However, I can say that this course is a blast to play, and has set the bar very high for other courses. It's a perfect course on which to introduce someone to the game -- fun, challenging, and yet not so difficult as to be unfair to someone who is just starting out.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Fun in the Sun
Pros: Great mix of holes, great use of land, challenging set up, muliplte tee pads, grip and rip on many holes, some techical shots, hyzer, anhyzer, birdie holes. I was in town to go on a cruise and very happy that I got to play this course. The local club is very into the sport and puts on the Jacksonville Open each year (great payouts/attendance). This was the first time I had played in sandy conditions and it took some getting use to. Very cool course and would go back anytime.
Cons: Signage was a bit confusing with holes being numbered with letters. Plenty of locals around, so they made sure I stayed on the right path.
Other Thoughts: Course really does have it all. If you are in Jacksonville, this is a must play!
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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