Solid course with a few layout issues...
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Cliff Stephens is challenging and fair, with a variety of different carries across and around water and trees. In terms of the layout, it's a 3.5-4.0 quality course, with good signage in most places. It's a pretty course to play in, with lots of broad-branched live-oaks and spanish moss, as you'd expect in Florida, and they are woven into the layout in creative ways. Although parking is extremely limited near hole #1, it's easy to find. Another "pro," which could be awarded to any course in Florida, is that it's playable in warm weather year 'round. The only times I've played it have been in late December. During the first trip, the weather was unusually cold, according to the locals, but 50-something fahrenheit was nothing I could complain about in late December. Last December, weather was balmy, in the 70s.
Cons: There are a few significant problems with this course which lead me to bring my personal rating down a notch or two from what the quality of the layout and course conditions would normally merit. First, there are several holes that play across or right next to walking paths, and in one case, a public road. The hole right next to the road is the most problematic, with an enticing hyzer line directly out over automobile traffic as the best high-percentage shot. Even attempts to run the narrower gap between the trees, to avoid the line over the road, can be kicked out by tree-hate into the road. It would be a good hole if the road weren't there, but as it is it causes problems, in my humble opinion. The fairways that run along the walking paths are less problematic, in my experience, because there haven't been many people on the walking paths when I've played. I don't know if that's more of a problem at other times of the year or not.
The other significant problem with the course, which I believe could easily be corrected, is the confusing set of extra holes, I think named A-C, that have been sort of inserted between #16 and #17. It's difficult at best to find these extra holes on your own, but even the locals that I asked for directions seemed to lead me astray. When I was there playing, I got conflicting information about whether the "peninsula" hole just after #16, a long par 4 carry across/around water, was playable or not, and I saw more than one group of locals sitting around on the peninsula, hanging out near the basket, rather than playing that hole. Descriptions of hole #16 that I've read mention the peninsula as a possible landing zone towards the #16 basket. Hole A is a crazy-tight tunnel shot with terrible shule to the right, and an allegedly gator-populated canal to the left. The entire fairway is about 7' wide, to my memory, with walls of trees and shule packed close on both sides. This is what I'd consider the worst kind of poke-and-pray "grinder" tunnel, and does not match the quality of the rest of the course. Hole "B" is farther into the woods, parallel to this grinder tunnel, but also seems out of place on the course. Rumors of Hole "C", and maybe other extra holes, seemed to be no more than rumors, because I couldn't find them, unless maybe "C" is the supposed to be the peninsula hole. My second time around the course this past December, I gave up on the lettered holes, and moved straight from #16 to #17, which is what I'd recommend for others. I think the layout could really benefit from the removal of these extra holes, perhaps to replace them with something better. At the very least, the signage, course condition notes, and everything else about these extra holes should be corrected to match the reality on the ground. A few "next hole" arrows would also be welcome in places on the back 9.
Other Thoughts: There are a couple of World Champions who have been known to play here regularly, and I'd be interested to see them rate the course -- especially Paul McBeth, who is a DCGR member. My rating as a player, if I were a PDGA member, would hover somewhere around 900, and I'd normally choose to play "Intermediate" in sanctioned tournaments.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
One of the best I've played in Florida
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Course is located in a beautiful park
- Signage isn't a problem, great tee signs and nice, long tee pads
- The baskets were old, but they were decent.
- There was more than one tee position for most holes and 2 tee boxes per hole
- Great use of land and water, no holes are guaranteed disc losing holes
- Playing this course from the short pads is like a completely different course, unlike most courses.
- Many times you will go back to the parking lot while playing
- 25 holes makes it so if you have a couple of bad holes, you can make up for them on the later holes.
- The Clearwater Disc Golf Store is very close to the course
Cons: - On the last 5 or 6 holes, it was confusing because the tee signs were wrong
- Sometimes the course can be super packed
- There are lots of pedestrians, so watch out for them
- There's a real risk of losing a disc here
- For a popular course, there is limited parking, so some people will have to go farther away to park because there isn't a parking spot
Other Thoughts: It was really close to NE Coachman, so it would make a nice 43 hole run. Out of the 4 courses I played in Florida, this might be my favorite.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Nice design, interesting all around!
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Great course design. Lots of different shots kept the play interesting the entire time and I wasn't bored once playing here.
The front 9 is fairly tight and close-in, but the back 9 opens up a lot and you have some chances to air it out. Great job balancing the two and providing a fun experience.
I actually really liked the course tee signs. The photos were a bit unorthodox and different from what I'm used to seeing, but I actually found them pretty helpful. A photo showing specifically which tree the hole is hiding behind is better in my mind than a top-down map with green circles.
Water, water everywhere, but not frustrating or overdone. Love how it is used throughout the course to add difficulty.
The hazards here always seem to fall on the right side of the fun/frustrating divide. I was challenged here and didn't do well to be honest, but it was great fun and would definitely play again.
Ample parking, a porta-john, and trash facilities were available. The surrounding neighborhood looked fairly safe to me as well.
"Hole A" on the back 9 was a blast. A super easy way to lose a disc in the water, but a neat challenge if you've got the time.
The short/long tee pads are amazing and help make this course accessible to all skill levels. It was much appreciated and they frequently help guide you around hazards where you could lose a disc, which was nice.
Course scenery is very nice here; saw plenty of birds while out and the foliage is as always beautiful.
I like how hole 9 plays right back by the parking lot. Great way to get back to the car if you forgot something, or even take off if you don't have much time.
Cons: Navigation was acceptable, and greatly aided by the picture of the map I took with my phone. However, I agree that some "next tee" signs would be nice. The hop from 9-10 was not obvious at all and I would have totally missed it without the map.
You cross quite a few paths throughout, and you have to be fairly aware to make sure you don't hurt people or cyclists. Not a DG-specific area.
Other Thoughts: This course was easy to get to, a blast to play, beautiful, and I think it would be a fun play for most skill levels. Maybe a little overwhelming for your first course, but not horrible either. The design of the shots here was what really gave this course a great rating in my mind -- excellent design makes for a fun, enjoyable round in a beautiful park. Happy discing!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Fun in the Sun
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Cliff Stephens is a park style course in Clearwater with pretty simple access from I-275.
There was ample parking a nice practice area and a couple of portable bathrooms at the practice area.
The layout is setup where hole 9 and hole 18 return to the parking area.
The chaistar baskets were all in pretty good shape.
Most of the holes have multiple tee pad that can allow for a rec player to enjoy the round while the more advanced player can be challenged from the back tee. The pads were concrete and in real nice shape.
There were 2 different pin locations on each hole.
The layout of the course was very well done. There were some holes that forced a hyzer and some holes that forced an anny. Rollers were also a good option on a couple of holes.
I was also impressed with the natural use of the propety to achieve a very challenging disc golf course.
Not being from the area, I wasn't used to the sandy terrain, but I consider this as a pro since most of my upshots would hit and stick.
I remember there being some holes that had places to sit down.
The teeth of this course to me was the distance of the holes. 426 ft par 3 right off the first tee and ending in a 670 ft par 4 is typical of the course. To play the back tee, you WILL need to throw long accurate shots AND work the disc to score well here.
Hole 16 is a thing of beauty. The pin was in "A" making it play at it's longest distance, but that is a awesome hole. The risk/reward is what is love about disc golf.
Cons: Beware of snakes on the property. Being from Kentucky, we have our share of snakes, but we saws 3 or 4 in a day at the course.
Being a park setting, there are other people in the park that will hinder your round some.
Other Thoughts: This park was a very nice place to play disc golf. It would make a great home course to work on your game. The ability to flight the disc is the key to playing here... not just playing turns or fades. When we return to Florida next year, this place WILL be on our MUST play list.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
My Favorite in Florida So Far
1 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: A good mixture of technical/open, short/long, and risk/reward holes. You have to consider each hole individually and plan your shot accordingly. The landscape is beautiful and makes for a very enjoyable time on the course.
Cons: It is a popular multi-use park and there area a lot of non-DG park-goers around. You will likely have to wait for traffic to clear on several holes.
Other Thoughts: I played the Fun N Sun tournament this past weekend which was my first time at this course and I was thoroughly impressed! You truly have to bring a complete game to finish well here.
1 of 6 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: feels like 2 parks in 1. parking lot side has some tree shots & some watter hazards. Some very mature oaks that give much challenge & beauty. Cross the street for the rest of the course & the shots are more open. Great tees and new signs.
Cons: No rest room for the ladies. Just a port-a-potty.
Other Thoughts: Love it and on the fence between 3.5 - 4. I go out of the way to go to Clearwater & play each time I am on I75 from Gainesville to south Fl.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
i picked the right day to buy a blizzard destroyer
10 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Really cool layout with a lot of water and a bunch of interesting holes. But first, it's a scenic park with water views on most holes and gorgeous live oaks draped with Spanish moss all across the property. If you're lucky, you might see a gator. I'm pretty sure I saw one coming up for a breath. It could have been the world's largest fish. (It's a great course for floaters as the wind will likely be strong enough to push a disc to one side of any body of water.)
Though it's got a good bit of variety, with holes of varying lengths and shapes, and I don't think there are many weak holes I think it's more notable for its standout holes than it's consistency. The most interesting hole is definitely 16. Big arms or pros will probably go all the way across to try and reach the pin. Lesser players will probably follow the shoreline to the basket. The coolest route, designed for intermediate players is to cross in two steps. The first throw carries the bulk of the water to the peninsula with the 17 basket. It's a long walk from the tee to the lie from tee but it's a short carry from there to the basket.
12 may provide the only additional mandatory carry, (a fun hole in it's own right) that's not the end of the water here. 10, played aggressively, is a long carry across a round pond. And then you must consider 3 and 4, really fun holes that feature water to the left and favor shots that can hover over that section of river and finish right. There is enough holes that feature a water hazard at some point in the layout that it should remain interesting.
And while the holes that don't feature water can be a bit on the bland side, there is enough variety among them that this course should not get stale for a while. It does not use water as well as Trophy Lakes for example, the non-water holes here are much better than the dry holes there. Cliff Stephens is a course that, while not entirely dependent on water, only stands out because of the excellent holes that do feature it.
Cons: Holy where-are-the-next-tee-signs. Or arrows. Or painted spokes. This course is just not that friendly to new players as they will constantly be pulling up the map on their phones. It's a bit strange to overlook this. The tee signs display a lot of work. The tees themselves are fantastic. Making arrows that point out the right direction is much less work than either of those projects yet so many times on this course I was doing 360s trying to figure where to go next. This factor is compounded by the fact that in several locations where several pins are visible. It's probably one of those courses that plays better with experience but it the navigation and flow are lacking here.
Also while the tee signs are cool, I think a map would be more informative than the photos. It really just isn't easy to tell from the signs exactly where the target is. Effort commended and A for aesthetics but they aren't that helpful. Alternatively, the big numbers on top of the baskets like the ones at Coachman would clear up most issues.
A few of the fairways at the end essentially run along the bike path. I don't think this is as bad here as it often is because the path runs so straight that you will see someone coming long before they are in range. And as it is a long-range trail and not a park walkway there shouldn't be too many people on it.
Lastly, the course plays better without the three extra holes. We were following the map, which lists the three extra holes as 17,18 and 19 and the holes that have tee signs reading 17 are labeled as 20 and 21. The new holes just don't fit with the rest of the course. They're not necessarily bad, but they really just feel tacked on. This wouldn't be an issue if the course itself was labeled better and new players didn't have to use the map as it would be easy to skip extra holes.
Other Thoughts: Incredibly close to Coachman Park which makes for a great 36 holes. If I had to choose one course in the Bay Area, I'd play Medard. But if I was going to play to play two, I'd take the Stephens-Coachman combo. I don't know how much I want to walk the path between them as it's pretty far for a walk, but the drive is very quick.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Cliff Stephens DGC
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: -Perfect mix of long and short tees
-This course has some of the best water hazards that I've seen. The water really brings in the risk/reward factor to several holes.
-Concrete tees on all holes, both long and short.
-Some of the best tee signs around. They give you a close-up of the basket and show you the location of the next tee which makes navigation a cinch.
-The course plays in a figure 8 with the parking lot conveniently located in the middle.
-This course is a "Tale of Two Halves" with the front being a bit shorter with more trees in play and the back being longer with less trees and more water hazard. This was probably my favorite aspect of the course.
-As long as you avoid the water hazards it's pretty easy to recover from a poorly throw shot.
-Challenging, but not brutal.
-This being The Champ's home course is a definite plus.
Cons: -The biggest con for me was how crowded this course was. I arrived at 10:30 am on a Wednesday morning and the course was still packed.
-Lots of pedestrians to contend with adds to the slow down on the course.
-There's a real risk of losing a disc here.
Other Thoughts: Cliff Stephens really is a fantastic course with a great ambience. It's challenging, but doesn't beat you down. This was my second favorite course of the 7 I played in the bay area.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 14 Not
Pros: the pros of this course are that it is perfect for anyone who has experience and for anyone who has a passion for the sport
Cons: The Gators and muddy at times
Other Thoughts: when im 18 im moving from Wisconsin to florida just for this course
1 of 15 people found this review helpful.
Championship level course
6 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: 2 sets of tees make for a good challenge for each skill level. A mildly wooded course accuracy is needed to score low. Distance helps but isn't a must. Tee signs are present on each hole with accurate distances for each pin and actual photos of each hole which makes it easier to ID where certain pins are.
There are concrete tee pads so footing isn't an issue from the tee.
The course has a lot of variety in terms of distance and routes to the pin. You will find yourself throwing a different shot on nearly every hole. You definitely don't get a lot of "same disc, same line" shots.
The course is kept very clean. This is clearly a course that gets a lot of play and has pretty good upkeep making for an enjoyable round. When I was there multiple groups were out playing which is always the sign of a good course.
Cons: While the tee signs are accurate there isn't a way to tell on multi-pin holes which pin is in play at times. Holes 2 and 9 have pins within about 60 ft of each other so an errant throw on either might find you in someone else's putting green.
The added holes are a little awkward just in terms of getting to them and navigating them. Hole A is straightforward enough and was actually a really nice peninsula hole. Unfortunately you then have to backtrack down As fairway and trek through the woods to get to B. Hole B is the only "bad" hole on the course and I say that only because it doesn't really fit the design of the rest of the course. A very tight tunnel shot it just doesn't fit the rest of the course. The walk from B to C then takes you through the woods again in a not very clearly defined trail (but easy enough to figure out).
The only other thing to be aware of is the course is split in half by a fairly busy road with at least 1 hole coming into direct play alongside it where an errant drive could easily hit a passing car.
Other Thoughts: This was the 2nd of two courses I played on a trip back to Mobile from St. Petersburg. It was a fun course that challenged my game from start to finish. You have to think about each shot and really need to have every shot available to your disposable to score low. There's a good mix of distance and no real gimmicky shots. Definitely worth the play if you're in the area or passing through.
6 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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