Pros: Over half of the holes occupy a patch of scattered palms. It is a pretty cool vibe and it produces an effect that is fairly rare in Florida, that of tree lines, but it does it with a uniquely Florida twist. That is, the line is comprised of palms. Pretty solid holes for an intermediate level player. It's perfectly flat and no real water but there is solid variety with different lines and distances across the course. A few of the holes do occupy the "park" section of the park, but the good stuff is all under the palms. Be prepared to place shots well if you want to score here: going off line will certainly result in hitting a tree. However, the trees are sparse enough that recovery is easy and you only cost yourself an attempt at birdie. It really should be fin for almost any skill level.
Cons: This is kind of a course of good and bad and while the good holes are fun, there enough meh holes to drag down the experience. These typically include the holes that run along the perimeter of the park, so they are basically straight with a fence on one side and on one occasion, a murky channel of water. They are just a little on the boring side. Additionally, the few holes that play through the open park area aren't great. They have a lot of walker potential and they detract from the vibe. There are two or three that pretty much play down the paved walking/biking path.
Navigation is iffy in a lot of places. Tons of intersecting paths means that there are places where you have multiple routes to take after a basket. Some non-intuitive transitions among the best part of the course.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Stop by Sarasota!
Pros: This is a gorgeous park in the north end of Sarasota. There was ample parking available and restrooms, gazebos, and benches throughout. Beautifully landscaped park, loved playing under the palm trees and Spanish moss.
Good variety of shots; I really dislike tunnel shots and excessively wooded courses, but this one uses its woods and trees very well without feeling overwhelming. There's also a couple holes where the bigger arms can open up and let it air out a bit, which was impressive for a park this size.
Concrete tee pads, benches, and trash bins everywhere. Signs were very informative and help significantly with the navigation; the photos of approaches and baskets are particularly helpful.
Nicely used water hazards; enough to keep play interesting, but not deep enough to lose a disc in really. I didn't notice them causing a problem with bugs while I was there, by the way.
Few opportunities to lose a disc; the park seemed well-manicured and tidy when we were there, with minimal underbrush.
This park is very clean and well-maintained. Kudos on whoever helps keep this place clean, we appreciate it.
Cons: As has been stated multiple times, this is a park first, DG course second. You do have to keep an eye out for off-leash dogs, walkers, and people just milling about in general.
Holes 1 and 9 both are perilously close to people's fenced yards; throw a nice drive and this won't be a problem, but just be aware of it.
The course is very compact and contained in a relatively small area; while a gorgeous park, it felt a bit constrained and like we were looping around a lot in the same terrian. Which we were. No big deal at all, but I personally prefer more spread out courses.
I thought navigation was a bit tricky on several holes, especially from 12-13 and 17-18. Thank you to the friendly locals that helped us out!
Some of the back 9 did start to feel a bit repetitive, possibly just because of the current pin placements. Also, it would have been nice to have some way to mark which pin position was active, since almost all holes have multiples.
Other Thoughts: This course is a few minutes north of downtown Sarasota. If you're coming by on I-75, take the University Blvd exit, head West towards the Gulf, turn left on the Tamiami trail, and then look for the signs for the park.
I was surprised to see the majority of reviewers commenting on the neighborhood; we didn't even think twice about getting out of the car here. It looked perfectly fine; however, I did notice a couple of bike cops rolling through while we were there. I'm not too familiar with the Sarasota area, so I could just be ignorant on this one; I was also here at 3PM on a weekday.
I really felt this course was on the verge between a 3 and a 3.5. A bit more variety in the lay of the land (which I understand is just part of the area) and slightly better navigation, and it'd be a solid 3.5. I'll be happy to re-rate and edit after I play a few more courses to get an idea of what the area courses are like. While there aren't the hills like in the courses around my native Kansas City, there were palm trees and Spanish moss galore, which was really just amazing. Happy discing!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Nice course with some flaws
Pros: -Friendly course design in a friendly park
-Variety of shots - medium-tight wooded balanced by long open holes, right and left, rollers and air shots
-Concrete tees, bathrooms, water fountains, covered picnic tables
-Water hazards are there, but when I played in early spring, water was non-existent or very shallow
-Good use of trees to create protected baskets, protected greens and tight tee shots on many holes
-Benches, trash cans throughout and I saw very little trash - nice clean course
-Ideal introductory/beginner course that won't be a total bore for more experienced players
Cons: -Traffic - this is a park first and DG course second - you'll run into a lot of pedestrians, cyclists, children, dogs off-leash, etc. and nobody yielded to disc golfers (which is fine by me, but makes for a slow round)
-Signage was not clear - many showed multiple pins, but in fact only one pin was installed (the short one) and I found it a little challenging to find my way from hole to hole - paper course maps would be nice
-Nearby airport causes some loud airplane noise which can be distracting
-Pros and experienced players may be disappointed - only one truly long hole, a couple medium long - most holes were drive and long putt/approach for me (and my drive is pretty weak)
-Typical of FL, but there is zero elevation change here - some elevated pins or better use of what little elevation there is here (if that is even possible - entire course is bounded by backyards) would help
Other Thoughts: I have ZERO clue why so many reviewers suggested this neighborhood is sketchy - looks like your average middle class neighborhood to me. Had no problems - everyone was either aloof or friendly - don't let those comments turn you away from playing this course. I had fun playing and relaxing while my wife took the kids to the beaches that aren't too far away - would recommend to others. Good beginner/introductory course, too.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Nicely-shaped fairways
Multiple pin positions
Some alternate tees
Clean, and fairly well marked
Cons: BUSY. Several fairways cross bike paths, baskets are too close to the next tees in several cases. Back half of the course has a couple of basket-to-tee paths that are not intuitive and are not marked. Scorecard or arrows at baskets would help a lot.
Except for 9 and 10, you can pretty much play this course with a Buzzz and that's it. Not much reason to dig into the rest of the bag.
Other Thoughts: Okay - so I wouldn't call this heavily-wooded, but I guess it is all relative. There isn't much undergrowth, just a bunch of palm groves that shape fairways providing 1 or maybe 2 lines per hole. I believe most of the pins were in the front positions the day I played. It was windy which added some fun to the 3 or 4 holes which were out in the open.
The park is busy and there were quite a few bikers and walkers out along with many other disc golfers, most of whom seemed to be recreational as far as skill level. That, or they were stoned (the group in front of me that finally let us play through on hole 10) or drunk (the 5-some behind me on the back nine, who were actually quite pleasant but who apparently skipped holes 9 and 10 for whatever reason).
All in all, worth playing if you are in the area. Not sure this deserves the four-star ratings I'm seeing - there isn't anything about this course that stands out in my mind. I contrast that with Gordon Barnett and Turkey Lake in Orlando, both of which I played 15 years ago - I can still remember specific holes that were just awesome. This course - I'll remember the palms, but there's no signature hole and nothing to merit more than a "good" rating.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Florida Fun in a Discount Size
Pros: Teepads, flow, landscape
Cons: Interaction with other park activities
Other Thoughts: North Watertower Park is a classic Florida course, but without the water and undergrowth. Set in a relatively small municipal park in a modest Sarasota neighborhood, this course is exactly what you should think of when you think of the typical Florida course. It features nice teepads, decent signage, a flat but distinctive Florida landscape of palms and salt bush, and holes that require thought and control, but with a little opportunity for big arms to show off. There's nothing particularly distinctive out here; no big water holes, or holes playing out to a beach, and not much of that Florida wildness either. It's just a sort of small, very well laid out every day course in one of the most visited regions of the country, the Florida Suncoast.
In terms of acreage, North Watertower is small, but it doesn't play that way. Every hole has two distinct basket placements, and many have two teepads also. While woods and foliage are a factor on most holes, there are a few holes that anyone would consider open, and at least two that are long enough to be more than par 3 by most standards. There's no overlap or crossing among holes, yet because the park is relatively small, flow is totally intuitive and wayfinding is a breeze. And while this isn't necessarily a course where you'll need every disc in your bag, shot shaping and course management are still needed skills out here. Most of the holes have flavor, and the varying pin positions change things up sufficiently.
The only challenges are interaction with other park users, as a walking/jogging trail winds across the fairway of several holes, and the two long holes on the course are also the only field in the park, and thus can be used by others that are oblivious to the flying discs. Numbers on the baskets would be a plus too. Overall, North Watertower is a worthy outing if you're in the area; it's always fun to fling 'em Florida style.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Good park course
Pros: -Concrete tees (but a bit small)
-Looping 9's layout
-Good course signage
-Nice variety and balance of shot shapes
Cons: -Neighborhood a little sketchy, but not a big deal
-A bit compact in places
-Walking path comes into play on a couple of holes
Other Thoughts: Here's a course that makes the most of a small site. They've put 18 holes into a fairly small area, but it seems to work well as the compact areas are in the more densely wooded area of the park where play of holes, while close in proximity, are less apt to interfere with each other. There are, however, some safety issues in regards to the walking path that winds through the park. Several holes play along this path system and non-playing pedestrians can be in play. The general layout of the course is a double loop of 9 holes, meaning that the front 9 and the back 9 start and end at the parking lot. This allows players to stop for bathroom breaks, grab supplies from their cars, etc...
Most holes feature multiple tees to provide for an appropriate challenge for more players. Most holes (I think) feature multiple sleeve for moving the baskets to alternate positions. Tee signs are well done and provide ample information about the hole, though they could use some type of mechanism to show which location the basket is in as it's not readily apparent from the tee on some of the longer holes. Course navigation signage is done well and appreciated.
Overall, the course is fun to play and requires a variety of golf skills to score well. It's dominated by the technical, wooded, finesse type of play, but there are a few more open holes that allow you to open up and throw hard as well. An enjoyable course to play and worth stopping if you find yourself in Sarasota.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Good local course
Pros: Course offers many challenges for the average player. There are a couple longer holes the longest topping out at over 600 ft. Not many opportunities for lost discs so don't worry about lost plastic. There is a nicely secluded practice basket where most of the locals congregate and everyone is very friendly and helpful. Course begins and ends at the parking lot and the course is easy to navigate and well plotted. The front 9 circles around the the outter edges of the woods and the back 9 takes you into the thick of it all. Water and ficilities are right next to hole #1.
Cons: There aren't enough "Technical" shots on the course. The ones that are "Technical" are just thickly wooded prayers. The course needs more maintenance than it gets at times. I would love to see the outter edges of the park get a nice grooming.
Other Thoughts: All in all, it is a nice everyday course with friendly locals. The Sarasota Sky Pilots is the courses club and if you want an entertaining round seek out Jim Widick. He's the founder of the club and helped to design the course.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Nice in town park
Pros: Nice litle park. Each tee box has a sign telling you distance and placement for both basket placements. Some hole have multiple tee boxes. If you like woods and tight fairways you will love this course.
Cons: Being a city park there is a walking/bikeing path that is well used and will require you keeping and eye out for people. This course was so wooded I had a very difficult time finding baskets from the tee even with the great signs. The first time playing many time my first shot just went to the hole in the woods.
Other Thoughts: Even though the tee signs showed multiple baskets none were out when I played. All were the "standard" placement. The locals here were all very friendly. Judgeing by the reaction of some there have been some people hit by discs.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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