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.
3 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Excellent layout
Lot's of foliage and canopy for difficulty
Plenty of benches
Cons: Backs up to a rough neighborhood
Pedestrians and cyclists can come into play on the sidewalk
Other Thoughts: This course is one of my top 5's. It is mostly shaded. The holes are technical and well laid out. The variety of shots keeps it interesting. The only thing missing is a true water hole. I suspect hole 10 started out as a water hole but has been empty since I started playing this course 3 years ago.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Listen to the dozen people below!
Pros: Course is a must play in the Sarasota area.
- multiple tees and pin positions, some holes even had 3 tee areas.
- Great course design and use of land, course offers a good variety of shots left vs right, as well as some roller and tomahawk opportunities. Some wide open holes, but most holes play around stategically placed trees and foiliage.
Course also has a decent variety in distances with holes from 168' to 510'
- Navigation is easy, but there is also a map at the kiosk, if you want to carry one you can print one off this site
- Good tee signs
- good bathroom facilities and a playground for the kiddies.
Cons: - no method to tell which pin position the basket is in. (most can be seen with only a little walking, or you can see the PVC and eliminate one position to know it is in the other)
- Hole 1 throws over a bike path, near a play area on the left, and down by houses on the right side, which can be a small safety problem, but it is not a major issue.
- In the current pin position, holes 12-16 were all straight shot after straight shot.
Other Thoughts: On hole 6 if you over throw from the right side you can end up in a stinky creek. Chance of disc loss was moderately low, greatest chance of disc loss was hole 9 down the right side foliage.
Play the course in the morning or dusk because the open areas are sweltering in the afternoon. Bring Water!
When trying to find the course don't look for the watertower, you will not see it until you enter the park.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Beware of the Black Widow Spider Thong!!!!
Pros: 1) Nice signs that include hole #, distances, multiple tee listings and alternate pin locations and distances, and par.
2) Course map is available at the kiosk at the first tee along with other postings of tournaments and such.
3) Big picnic table, garbage, water fountain (aka Bubbler to those from Wisconsin), and bathrooms available at the first tee.
4) Benches and garbage are available throughout the course and there are plenty of them around. Not every tee but most tees have them.
5) Turf is in good condition on the first few holes and Hole 9, 10, and 18. The wooded holes are very sandy soils and fairly clean. They are covered by little leaves and act just like mulch would.
6) Very nice canopy of trees over most of the course. The shade would certainly be nice in the summer too. The canopy acts to create some low ceiling shots on a few holes.
7) Course has a mix of open holes with scattered trees, holes with tight turns, and some straight tightly wooded holes. It is very well balanced.
8) White markers in the ground were visible (although I didnt see them on every hole), not sure if I missed them or if they are nearly overgrown.
9) There is a balance of shot shaping required on this course, there are a few holes that are dead straight, some left to right, some right to left, and even a few with S curves required to be close to the basket.
10) Park is very nice and well maintained. It has the appropriate facilities and it also has a playground, a walking path, a pavilion with grills available and picnic tables.
11) While I was playing there were cops driving through the park. They actually went right across the lawn down the 9th fairway and turned around the corner on Hole #7.
12) Very clear fairway definition and very little underbrush. There was very little palmettos shrubs and other low growth, as is usually seen on DG course in Florida. The shot requirements are very fair and do not require a whole lot of luck, which is a true test of a well designed course.
13) Course is a very quick play. I got there at 8:30 and played in just under 1 hour, and that was the first time I have played this course and I was writing notes the whole time for this review.
14) Course design is wonderful. It uses the best areas of the course. I starts out open and then works its way around the inner portion of the park with hole #9 finishing back int he parking lot. Then Hole 10 goes back into the inner part of this park and Hole 18 exits the woods and back to the lot. Just an all around well designed course on a pretty cool property.
15) This course flows very easily and is very easy to follow because of the tee signs and the few navigational signs directing you to the next tee. The course is well worn in from traffic and is easy to follow the walk paths through the whole course.
16) Course is pretty forgiving to beginners because of the lack of underbrush, and the fairways being very well defined. Half of the holes are somewhat open, but the other half in the woods are pretty forgiving. It will still challenge the beginner.
17) Ribbon is placed on some baskets, that is helpful despite being tough to see from time to time.
18) There is a nice variety in plant material. Tall mature pines, individual palms, hardwoods, and some lower growth lke Palmettos. The beauty of this course is there is just enough of everything to alter your shots. You haveto be aware of everything on this course.
Cons: 1) 12 tee is also the walking path. I understand the cost savings, and the necessity of its location, but I would prefer it was its own entity and away from the path.
2) Course does not have any elevation changes only slight undulation. I know it is Florida, but I would like to see some bigger undulation on a course. I don't think manually created mounds are a good option so it is just a factor of the property.
3) Water is not available on this property except perhaps during the rainy season on Hole #10. The retention area may hold water but right now it is completely dry. The water on the perimeter is in play but only if you have an errant shot. It takes only a simple hyzer to avoid the creek.
4) Police patrol through the park lead me to believe this course may have some issues because of the neighborhood? Not sure just an assumption I guess. No vandlism is apparent however.
5) Erosion occuring around teepads from overthrows. The pads could use some sand or something solid like pavers or flagstone would help alleviate this erosion of soil away from the edges of the teepads.
6) Walkpath is in the way on a few holes and you tee off from it on Hole #12. I didn't see anyone on the path while I played these holes but on a really nice day I could see a lot of people walking and riding bikes through this park.
7) No distance listed by the amateur tees.
Other Thoughts: I really enjoyed this course. I got there early in the morning when I love playing disc golf. Hardly anyone was around, just a couple walkers and dog walkers. I enjoyed how you start out with the more open holes working your way all the way around the park, then the final 9 holes you go back and go through the inner part of the park going back and forth through the woods and then working your way out of the woods. The design was great, the maintenance was obvious, and the challenge was there without being unfairly difficult. Luck was needed on ocassion but skill is a bigger part in scoring well here. Executing the shots was your only answer for birdie. Sure you might get some knock downs, but you are more than likely to have a chance to make par on this course. There is a lot of tree canopy and a lot of variety in both plant material and shot shaping. I highly recommend this course and I consider it the best course south of Tampa/St. Pete on the west coast of Florida. It is way better than the Fort Myers courses, and still a little bit better than North Charlotte Regional Park. I may have this rated higher than many of the other reviewers, I just liked it for so many reasons and if I had to choose from Bay Oaks, Bonita Springs, FGCU, North Fort Myers, Lakeview Park, or North Charlotte I would choose this course everytime even though I enjoyed Lakeview, North Fort Myers, and Bonita.
Just don't let the Black Widow Spider Thong get you. If you find it, you get a prize, just do not touch it!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Definitely Play This Course If You Have the Chance
Pros: -Signs are well displayed and very informative. Each sign has all of the info you could possibly need about the hole layout and position of the next tee. If it's a bit of a walk to the next tee there is another sign halfway making sure you don't lose your way.
-Course layout is very fun to play with well defined fairways cutting through all of the foliage.
-As mentioned in other reviews most of the holes are layed out to favor precision rather than distance making for a more challenging game. There is still a fair amount of long open holes to play for those who like the long bombs.
-The concrete tee pads are all large and in good condition with amateur pads on the necessary holes. Each tee has a bench and a trash can.
-The beautiful foliage and all of the animals (read: squirrels) really add to the experience.
-Both times I played the course there seemed to be quite a lot of people at the park, one time the parking lot was full, yet the park never felt crowded nor did I feel rushed on any of the holes. I had to wait for some people to find their discs in the shared rough but it just gave me a reason to sit on one of the many benches and catch a rest before moving on.
Cons: - I played the course twice during my week and a half stay in Sarasota and the second time I played was after a night outing. I could tell by the left over glow sticks attached to the baskets and signs. I think there may have been luminaries used during this event as well because the course was littered with all sorts of brown paper sacks filled with sand, but I didn't find any candles in the few that I checked. None of this was there on my first playthrough so I assume it was related to the night round and just chocked the mess up to them not returning to clean up yet because I was there at around 7 am. The bags were just odd.
-There was a couple of homeless guys hanging out on a bench at one hole. It just seemed a bit shady but it wasn't a big deal really.
Other Thoughts: -When researching parks in the Sarasota area before my trip I ran into the name "Sarasota Sky Pilots" a lot. I figured it was just a small club and paid no mind. In the 4 times I played golf on my trip I met about 12 different members of this club. they were all very friendly and I even tagged along with a couple at a different course.
-The restrooms seemed fine when I was there. No more dirty than any other public restroom in my opinion.
-Both times I played this course I saw the fellow selling discs with his dogs. At first I thought "great, tee 10 is surrounded by 3 frigging dogs (I'm more of a cat person)," but these dogs are super well behaved and don't really even look at you. The prices were decent for his discs and I even bought myself a Pro Pig.
-As I stated in the title, if you're in or around Sarasota you MUST play this course.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Don't skip this one!
-Easy parking. Pleasant atmosphere. Clean and well groomed park. Park benches a plenty.
-Practice basket next to 10's tee, with a very long park bench for socializing.
-Excellent tee signs and to-next-tee arrows. Did not have any trouble locating baskets/tees.
-Great hole variation: A fair mix of open holes, wooded holes, long holes, Dog legs and every combination.
-Many drives start in open fairways that dive into wooded area, favoring precision instead of distance.
-Many holes have alternate tee pads, but are either natural or make use of the walking paths.
-Many holes have alternate Pin locations. But locals told me they rarely change. Also, for reasons i do not remember, hole 8 is now permanently in the long pin location.
-Hole 9 is the longest (510 ft) and plays past the water tower, which has barbed fencing surrounding it. But unless you have a completely errant throw, nobody should be landing a disc inside the fence.
-My favorite hole # 4 plays off tee through tight fairway diving into woods with narrow fairways to both basket locations, but abruptly ending by some tree obstacles that requires a skillful approach or precise putt.
-The two water hazards on 6 and 7 are completely recoverable and make them unique to the rest of the course.
-It's a tight course, where many fairways share the same rough zones. Play was interrupted a handful of times by someone throwing back to their intended fairway.
-Walking paths are used as both fairways and tee pads on some holes. While most people in the park are golfers, there are allot of locals walking babies in strollers. This is the biggest factor preventing me from rating this course higher.
-Dirty restrooms. Not that big of a deal. But don't bring a change of clothes and expect to use the restrooms as a changing booth.
-Players camping on hole 10, practicing drives I guess. Not that big deal, again, just a nuisance.
-This is one of the all around funnest courses I've played at due to its mix of hole styles. The course design flaws are preventing me from rating it higher than a 3.5, however I'd give this course a 5.0 for fun-factor.
-Local club is very active. My first time playing this course was overwhelmed by the local club members for their Sunday events. I would have participated if not for being with my girlfriends family.
-Guy selling discs sits on a lawn chair between 9 and 10 with his dogs (very well trained). Looked to have a box of Innova labeled by name. Didn't check prices.
-Sketchy location although nothing that should stop anybody from playing this course. I did however have an interesting run in. While on hole 8, i see a white, beat-up, Cadillac driving through the park on the foot paths, the front bumper hanging off the thing. The man and woman playing behind me called 911. We continued playing and when i got to hole 13, the people in the car we sitting on a park bench by 14's tee (clearly intoxicated) and had parked their car in 15's fairway, right next to the basket. They shortly got up and left, driving the rest of the footpath out. The police showed up 15 minutes later. Of course, this was the day i failed to bring my camera.
3 of 3 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.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Nice technical course
Pros: Water really never comes into play, so you needn't bring any floating discs. While there are OB ditches, the water usually isn't that deep, so you can get your disc back and take the stroke. The tee pads and baskets also are in pretty good shape, and there is plenty of shade and the parking and bathrooms are nice. The park staff and/or locals have done a great job keeping the understory open. So, if you are off line, you can find your disc easily; you just might not have a shot. Also, the local disc golf community is highly organized, friendly and has a good time together.
Cons: Very-to overly tight fairways on some holes. There are about 4 holes where you have to just sort of "poke and hope" (i.e., throw down the pipe and hope for the best). The section of town (by the airport) isn't necessarily the safest, and I was advised not to play by myself, as drugs and prostitution are common.
Other Thoughts: North Water Tower Park is a nice mid-ranged technical course. NWTP will really test your abilities and force you to shape your shot and throw straight. I would like to see a few cabbage palms and small trees taken out here and there to give a little more options, but overall it is hard, but pretty fair (i.e., a 960-990 ranked player will shoot par or slightly under). Overall I am glad I played it and would recommend giving it a try if you are in the area.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Simple but fun
Pros: This is a somewhat technical course overall but not too difficult. If you're shooting for birdie it might be tricky at times but going for par is pretty easy. The tee signs are excellent, having distances for all pads and placements and helpful pictures showing the fairway and best route to take and some of them even have photos. It's usually easy to find the next tee and there's a map for the front nine at hole 1. It's very easy to only play 9 holes if you want since the front and back nines start and end right by the parking lot. Chances of losing a disc are minimal, unless you throw it into a palm tree you should be able to locate even errant throws with ease.
Cons: Some of the holes are blind shots, you can get a good idea of where the basket is from the tee sign but you can't actually see it from anywhere around the pad. The hybrid nature of the course (short but not too technical) may leave skilled players wishing for a little more challenge. The pedestrian/bike path will cause some waits at busier times.
Other Thoughts: This is a very nice course to play and makes for a great day of golf when combined with Lakeview Park. It won't wow you but you won't be disappointed either.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Sarasota's Traditional Course
Pros: This is a traditional course in a great park. The front 9 wraps around the outside of the park and the back 9 meanders through the middle, heavily wooded part. Both the 9th and 18th hole end at the parking lot. There are nice concrete tees throughout the park. The front nine has single tees, except for hole 9 and almost all of the back nine have multiple tees. All of the holes have multiple pin positions and all of the tees and positions are marked on the tee signs that are found at each tee. There is a practice basket right near the parking lot. There are always people at the park and I have been invited to play with someone every time I have been there.
Cons: The park is in a questionable part of town, but I have never had a problem and have never felt uncomfortable in the park.
Other Thoughts: This is one of the first courses that I played when I started playing back in 2004. I really liked the front nine, but the back nine was brutal. There was typical palmettos and heavy scrub. I also came face to face with a black widow spider while searching for an errant throw. I let the black widow have the disc and backed away very slowly. After a long hiatus from the sport, I returned to this course this spring and was elated to find it in amazing shape. The back nine has been cleared of the underbrush and scrub and the course is now a joy to play. Even more recently the local club has done even more work on the course. The wooded holes are still a challenge, but there is now no risk of spending a half an hour searching through painful underbrush looking for a disc. I love the variety of open and wooded holes and the difference in feel between the front and back nine. For you big bombers, you will love hole 9 at over 500 feet. I personally dislike it, but I will conquer it one day.
I highly recommend this course to anyone and, paired with Lakeview Park is a great day trip disc golf destination.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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