On the Bay
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: There are a ton of courses where it feels like eighteen holes were squeezed into a too-small space. There have been many times where I have said something like, "this could have been a really good nine." Well, Picnic Island is one of those places where they actually listened to my inner voice and build a good nine holes instead of forcing in eighteen subpar ones. Given the setting, right on the bay with the waves washing up to the eighth fairway, this course is a delight to play.
It's not the most challenging design, but that doesn't mean there is no challenge. True, most of the fairways are wide and generous, but there is typically something that increases the difficulty on each hole. The best example is 3, which features a long, open drive that still needs to be placed carefully because there is a narrow tunnel leading to the basket. Between late tunnel, narrow gaps and protected baskets, this isn't an "easy" course, though it definitely shouldn't turn off newer players.
And that's before you consider the wind. I could be wrong, but I'm guessing there is typically a strong wind coming off the bay. I'm sure it varies, but on the day that I played, I had to take a few of my favorite discs out of the bag after nine holes because they just weren't cutting through the wind. And once that wind grasps a disc, it can go a long ways from the target zone. This is particularly an issue on 8, a memorable hole that is practically on the beach. It throws parallel to the coast with the basket around a tree clump and up a slight hill. You almost need to throw an anny route over the bay because otherwise, the wind will push a throw up to far, leaving you to put back into the wind.
That leads to 9, where the tee backs up the waves and the wind is at your back, throwing uphill with the wind at your back, leading to a raised basket. It's one of those rare courses that should appeal to both beginners and veterans, in one of the best settings for disc golf that I've seen.
There are only nine holes. If there were nine more like the ones in existence, this would be a four-star course for me. There are two sets of tees but only one(hole 4) provides a significantly difficult look. (This is good because the short on 4 is one of the weakest holes here.)
Navigation is also not always intuitive and I was referring to a downloaded map repeatedly during the first go-round. Easy to remember where to go for the second nine but its confusing in a few places, especially after 3 where the likely route drops you onto the middle of the 4 fairway. 7 would also be tough to find if I hadn't walked up to it thinking that it was 1 earlier. And I didn't see any arrows on the basket either. Those would definitely help and would probably be all that was necessary.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Signiture Florida Course
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Great tee-signs; really informative with vegetation and very accurate with distance.
- Custom baskets add a nice touch.
- Plenty of facilities in the area to have picnics, as the name of the course would elude too.
- Challenging course that offers a different taste than the normal Florida courses; has some elevation changes, some wide open shots.
- Course has a good flow to it; the land is used to perfection here.
- Signature hole played along a sandy beach of beautiful Tampa Bay.
- Outstanding for a 9 hole course.
Cons: - Course is mildly difficult to find.
- Bugs are a terrible problem here as it sits next to an industrial park, the bay, and some swampy areas. Bug spray is required.
- Tee pads are a bit short; personally I don't enjoy the wood border either, but that's personal preference.
- Located in a not so fantastic part of town.
- Good chance to lose a disc; bring a friend to spot.
Other Thoughts: - This course is absolutely beautiful, one of the more scenic courses in the area.
- I would make a day trip for this course; come out, play the course, have a picnic, sit on the beach, play another round. This course is the pinnacle of Florida Disc Golf.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - The setting. Beach, palms, perfectly manicured park, FL - what more could you want!
- Variety of challenging shots. Only played the long tees, but found the layout, the use of the trees and scrub to be awesome. You have to be fairly accurate with your shots or you will end up in the rough. Don't know if I would call the rough a con, but it can draw blood. 3 pin positions per hole allow for a variety of shots in the various layouts. I'm sure if you play this course a lot there may be lines that are easier to hit, but it is not a pitch and putt or grip and rip. You have to consider your shot.
- Brand New! New teepads (rubber mats surrounded by lumber), signs (shows alt pin locations along with which layout is currently in use), baskets, park. Really a beautiful setting.
Cons: - course flow is non-intuitive for first time visitors. Once you figure it out, it's not difficult. The challenging thing is that there are so many paths cutting through the park (I guess they do a monthly "tough mudder type run) and its so new that there is no "beaten path" that you can typically count on to get to the next tee. It would have been great to have the next tee designated on the hole signage.
- I'm spoiled, but it's only 9 holes..... You could play two rounds from both tees and get 18 unique holes. More on this in other thoughts section....
- not convenient to travel routes
- played on a weekday (only had to play over one couple on hole 8...), but could see it being crowded on weekends.
Other Thoughts: - I rated this a 3 because i think it's a good start, but there is a little more to be desired. Compared to the other two courses I have played in FL, its not quite there yet. I think the biggest thing for me would be to add holes. It seems like there could easily be 3 or more holes squeezed in. That being said, I am a guest, so I know nothing about the history or journey - so if you are a local who put blood, sweat and tears into getting these beautiful holes in - please no offense is meant! The cons on adding holes would be a more cramped feel, which I don't think would be a bad thing. I don't get why 9 ends in the middle of the park, seems like it could have ended a little closer to the parking lot. I noticed the pin positions seemed to be "random". They were not all in A or B. (longs on odd months, shorts on even months, etc). It seems like there may be a possibility for adding more holes per some of the other reviews? My wish list would included an ace run or two. Hole 5 is short, but from the long tees, that's an extremely tough dogleg - first missing the tree guarding the right side of the fairway and then tucking into the alcove where the pin is. 9 May be considered one, but you cannot see the basket... So it's a blind shot. I have read 8 is the signature hole.... My favorite was 4 from the long tees. I would love to see someone rip a meat hook and go up and over the trees on a drive from the tee. I could see this being really challenging if the pin is in the position where it's on the "peninsula" between the evergreen trees and swamp.
Overall, this was a good, challenging, enjoyable course. If it had 18 holes this would be an awesome course.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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