A Casual 9 Amidst Pines
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Hitzman Optimist DGC is set amidst a small pine grove in its own corner of the park. The moderately wooded environment helps offset the general ease of the shorter hole distances. There are no out-and-out gimme shots, and your approaches, if needed, will often have to contend with at least a tree or two. Birdie opportunities abound, but the trees help them feel a bit more earned than at your standard public park 9 holer. There are some tight tunnel shots (5, 7, 8, 9) that will challenge you off the tee at a variety of distances. There's a decent mix of distances here (215'-330', with three over 300') considering the cramped quarters.
Navigation is helpfully aided with arrows on the underside of baskets that point you to the next hole. With these, finding your way around is a snap. Tee signs are nicely done.
The course is easily accessible off I-10. The location is set apart from non-disc golf activities, nicely avoiding conflicts with other park goers. Bathrooms and parking are readily accessible, and there's a nice-looking playground for kids.
Cons: While the wooded environment is nice, the even distribution of trees throughout the property makes it difficult for the designers to construct and force lines off the tee. As a consequence, the tees either set you up with a straight tunnel shot between rows of trees or at an angle to said rows, in which case you're forced to pick a line through the trees yourself in an often poke-and-pray fashion. This is more a natural product of the terrain than a design flaw, but it does lead to a lack of line shaping and an increased luck factor. You can play the entire course successfully throwing a straight shot or a wide hyzer. Creativity isn't provoked, and risk versus reward is largely absent. Only having 9 holes, with only one set of tees (excepting hole 1) and one set of pin positions, further limits variety, challenge, and replayability.
The tees were terrible on my visit: natural in the sandy soil, they have become torn up and pot holed over time. Additionally, many are riddled with roots that pose serious tripping hazards. I found them unusable. Driving from behind or off to the side is possible, but this can be awkward at times.
Some of the fairways play close together: a bad throw or an unfortunate kick off a tree (very possible) can have you playing in someone else's fairway. A few holes border residential yards.
Other Thoughts: Despite my criticisms, I enjoyed my round at Hitzman Optimist. It made for a nice, low-pressure hour and a half stop over on my drive back to New Orleans. In that time I was able to play the course twice, stopping to rethrow some shots and work on my short game. Hitzman Optimist isn't going to throw much at an experienced player that they haven't already seen, but it can be a fun stop for a quick and casual round if you know what to expect.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Not too shabby!
Pros: For a nine hole course, I found the shot variety required quite diverse, and none of the holes are gimmies. It's challenging to shoot under par. The course is tight and technical. There is a good deal of shade and the park is very clean, it drains well, it's easy to navigate and the signage is very professional.
Cons: Rarely do I rate 9-hole courses higher than a 3, and that's when they are really spectacular. If a 9-hole course is worth playing more than once I will rate it at least 2 1/2. While this course was worth playing once, it just didn't capture my imagination, especially when the Pensacola area has so many better courses to play.
The teeboxes being sandy are sure to erode relatively fast. I played from the back or the sides of the teeboxes.
Other Thoughts: Definitely worth playing once, due to the course design which is definitely challenging and fun. Kinda feels like playing in someone's back yard as there are several homes backed up against the park fence.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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