4 Helpful / 1 Not
Soaring Teebirds and Bald Eagles
Pros: This temporary course was set up in a large lakeside park. The park features huge meadows with trees scattered around allowing for nice fairways with obstacles. Much of the park is marshy during the winter but the designer (Mr. Cefire himself!) did a good job of skirting the swampiest areas. Ground vegetation is mostly grass and weeds. There were not too many disc eating bushes on the course and we did not have to spend much time looking for discs. This course has a nice variety of open and tight, long and short, left turn and right turn holes. You need a bunch of different shots to successfully complete the course, which favored experienced players. That said, the course was easy enough and Andrew made some of the longer holes par 4 which made them seem less difficult. Andrew also did a good job of using the available pavement as tee pads. This meant that there were only a few natural pads and most of them did not get really torn up during the rounds. Bald eagles nesting in the area and flying by periodically provided a welcome distraction to the tournament. Several holes had awesome view of the lake. Overall, this is a place where you could get used to playing disc golf.
Cons: The marsh areas on the course can be very marshy. Andrew did a nice job keeping the main fairways away from those soft areas. Also wind was a factor the day of the tournament as the wind was whipping in from the lake. Several holes have no cover from the wind at all. Wind would likely be a factor for much of the year. This may not be a con if you like playing in the wind. My wind assisted discs found their way into several trees that I would not have otherwise hit. In better weather, several holes could be impacted by nearby walking traffic. We were fortunate that the cold weather kept most people away from the park.
Other Thoughts: A beautiful park for disc golf. If Andrew does this again next year, you should come!
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
A New Tradition
Pros: I think that the main pros of this course are the huge variety of shots, distances, and challenges for differently skilled players. As I note below, this is also one of the challenges of the course as there are several holes which are inappropriate for both the upper and lower ends of the skill spectrum. There is a really great balance in this layout between 'righty' and 'lefty' favored holes (I count only a very slight advantage for southpaws). Likewise, holes range from a tricky little 88' hole that averaged over 3 strokes per competitor to the huge 596' par 4 opening hole. Additionally, temp courses offer the opportunity to experiment with really, really fun crazy holes that you'd never be able to or perhaps want design on a real course. This year along with the 88 footer, featured a really fun island hole which throws into permanent seating for a small outdoor ampitheatre. Quirky, tough and punishing - would I want one on my home course (or at a National Championship)? Probably not - but perfect for a small temporary course and ice bowl tournament! I rarely have as much fun playing disc golf as at a temp course, you get a feel for someone's idea of design, get to play holes and shots you've never played before, and have the comraderie that comes with everyone talking strategy and figuring out a new layout together.
Cons: The main cons for this course have to do with the temporary nature of it. As with all temporary courses, the holes have to be constructed out of available obstacles and there is little or no potential to make modifications. The result is tee placements that are less than ideal and several holes which have low variability in scoring curves. A great example is hole 9 which, at 391' and uphill really only gives the biggest of arms a shot at a '2'. The hole is lined on the left side by an OB line and on the right with thick pines and brush - missing to either side will result in a nearly certain '4'. However, the fairway is wide enough that no pro players will be likely to miss it (unless they slip on the tee) and even average shots will yield less than 100' to the green which is only semi protected. A pro player on this tee will feel little anxiety about the outcome, knowing that unless a serious blunder is made, no strokes will be gained or lost on the field. Looking at newer amateur throwers who are clearing between 260-300' on an average drive though and this hole becomes really nice with a nice accurate drive and approach needed for birdie. Another drawback to some of the holes on the course in general are the little, nearly invisible branches on holes like 8 and 10. Sure, shots that hit these off the tee probably aren't 'perfect' but don't deserve the punishment knockdown from hidden branches. A final con of this park in general is the overall saturation of the ground throughout the winter. Even with more permanent tees and fairways, lots of careful study would be needed to avoid the wettest areas.
Other Thoughts: Like other reviewers have stated, there is tremendous potential at Seward Park pending a careful balance of wildlife areas, multiuse areas, and general environmental impact. I would feel pretty confident in saying that with careful planning, a good nine that meets these criteria is out there!
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Seward Park was the site for the 2011 Pretzelbowl held every year in a park with temporary baskets. This year the course was spread out over several areas of the large park. Holes ranged from the 88 foot 15th secret bonus hole (That had scores from 2-6 strokes on it) to well over 600 feet long! Holes two and three played near the water and the wind coming off of the water was strong and cold and affected your throws from drives to putts; the headwind on hole 2 was enough to take you out of bounds and the tailwind on hole three going up the hill made it one of the hardest holes on the course according to its par. Holes like the island green seven were especially fun seeing as you were throwing into ampitheater seeting and one kick off a bench and you could be in for some trouble. The hole was wide open and a stall putter shot was the best way but the wind wasn't having any of that! If you did go out of bounds the drop zone was a low ceiling left to right shot and the wind was still a factor. Several people threw multi throws from the drop zone in fact scores ranged from a 2 all the way to an 11! My favorite was the very long (550 feet or so) 13th hole, a par 4 with out of bounds all over but fair placement shots the whole way, I was lucky (and smart) enough to get a par on this both of my rounds but several people took a bogey or worse, even an 8 was recorded on this hole.
Cons: Being as almost no one had played this course because it was a temp course there were some groups getting lost during their round. There were some long walks to the next tee pads but once you did it once it was easy to follow. It was 30 degrees during the first round and snowing but then warmed up during the second round only to find that the grass in some spots had turned to mud.
Other Thoughts: Once again Andrew Rivers and crew have put together an excellent temporary course for the famous Pretzelbowl which sold out in 45 minutes this year! Many of the people out walking the trails were asking us what we were doing and I talked to more than 5 people personally and all of them seemed to love the idea of us holding this tournament, I think we made an impression and a good one at that! I love holding tournaments for charity and this one was the benefit Northwest Harvest Food Bank again and we raised even more money than we did last year and we had less players this year. Raising more than $1000 for a local charity is an excellent way to show people that disc golf is and should be a part of our local communities.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 1 Not
Seward Park - Home of Pretzel Bowl IV
Located on Lake Washington across from Mercer Island and within the Seattle city limits, Seward park boasts 300 acres of beautiful forest land - home to eagles' nests, old growth forest, a 2.4 mile bike and walking path, an amphitheater, a native plant garden, an art studio, miles of hiking trails, and now the current site for Pretzel Bowl IV!
This temporary disc golf course offers a wide variety of shots on this 15 hole layout, including mostly open lines with rolling terrain, a few tightly wooded shots, elevation, and even an "island" hole near the amphitheatre. Those who lack accuracy and consistency however, will struggle to make par due to thick roughs and multiple OB's. Par for the course is 49, with four par 4's and 11 par 3's. Holes at Seward Park range anywhere from 88-596 feet, with multiple pin and tee positions depending on the round. The designers strategically placed the pins near steep edges, behind unique obstacles and foliage, and on an island. Baskets were all portable since it was a temp course, but were all DISCatcher's, Mach II's, and Mach III's for the most part. The majority of the holes are straight, with a few dogleg lefts and rights, and elevation comes in to play on every hole one way or another. Majority of the holes have multiple routes from the tee which allows for both FH and BH throws. Overall, a very balanced course.
Natural tee pads and the lack of signage are always tough on a temp course. Fortunately, this course layout isn't played but a few rounds a year, and during that time the course has maps and tee signs. It is just tough if you wanted to play a round after the tournament or were from out of town. However, if the course was ever made permanent, it would need permanent signage and cement/rubber tee pads. Considering what the designers had to work with, they used as much level ground and cement as possible when available.
Walkouts could be an issue for first time players too when trying to navigate the course. After a few holes, it was a bit confusing knowing where the next tee was located. The designer was only given so much room in specific parts of the park, and with the park being as large as it is, sometimes I found myself walking about 5-10 minutes. Again, if this course was ever permanent, I am sure all of these little issues would be worked out.
The potential at Seward Park is endless! It would be a shame to let it sit here all but one weekend a year. There is talk of perhaps a permanent nine hole course being installed here, and it would be great if the designers of this temp course had input.
Andrew and Sheila yet again set the standard for a well run tournament. They seem to put together a fun yet challenging course every single year in Seattle (Pretzel Bowl/Ice Bowl) in a new temp location, and do it all to help support the local food bank. Much respect to those two and all who help contribute one way or another every single year. Can't wait to see where I will play Pretzel Bowl V in 2011!
Daily 6 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Parking Lot Hours
6 a.m. - 10 p.m.
*Restrooms only located near park entrance*
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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