Looking forward to 18!!
9 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: To set the table... This review comes from an intermediate level primarily LHFH player with a PDGA rating of around 890.
Scenery - Picnic Island is one of the most unique courses I've ever played. It reminds me of a links style ball golf course with some rolling Florida hills, interesting thick patches of bush and rough to punish errant drives, and constantly changing wind directions. The tall palms at 7 and 8 are pretty darn cool to throw around too! Just don't let those palms catch your disc. They tend to want to keep them on you. Hole 8 you have the most unique water hazard that I've ever played, the Tampa Bay!
Challenge - The challenge factor is there, on the long tees especially. Normally what I do is play 9 from the short, and 9 from the long. You truely get 18 different holes this way. Get your birdies on the shorts, then hang on (unless you are a pro or high level advanced player, which I am not) for dear life on the longs! Hole 3 you have the choice of fading out left and going through that opening, or trying to go for the gusto and go up the gut, a prime example of risk/reward! Hole 4 , do you have the big arm to throw a hyzer bomb around the corner? Or, do you try and thread the long fairway and land in that cluster of trees near the short tee. Don't forget on your approach shot about the swamp! Hole 8 plays along the Tampa Bay. The wind changed from a tail wind on the first time through, to a head wind when I played the longs.
Variety - 3 pin positions on each hole, all of which reflect different shots that need to be made (sans 9, which is generally on top of the hill) and are changed on a regular basis. 2 very different tee boxes (yes, some are only 50-75' deeper but they require discing up to get to the hole unless you are Pro/High level Advanced player). Hole 5 for example can go from throwing a putter at A, to a putter/light mid range at B, to a hard mid range/fairway driver at C. Some holes even go from a par 3 to a legit par 4, such as hole 2 from B to C position (I believe C is 400+' for both short and long, the others are barely 300').
Equipment - Tees are rubber mats. While they are a little short, I've never had footing issues. They are not raised, and are for the most part level, so starting from the grass behind them should not present any footing issues. Baskets are custom Orange Innova baskets. And, they catch great! You can see them from a good distance away. Many holes have benches at them. There is a water fountain in the dog park after hole 4's basket (proceed straight from B position back towards the fence). There are two sets of restrooms, by hole 2 (not always open) and by hole 4's short tee in that parking lot.
Cons: There are only two that come to mind..
Rough - The rough is very rough. There are all kinds of monkey balls, thorns, and other things that will cut you right open. Also, it is very grown in right now. Disc loss chances are high. It is recommended to have a spotter on holes 3 and 4 from the longs.
Other park users - Many of them sit on hole 8's fairway, some of which are quite ignorant with their dogs. I do not understand it, as they have their own dedicated area right behind 9's tee. Otherwise, just a heads up for the walkers on the course. They are very friendly and know when/where to expect disc golfers.
Other Thoughts: It is in the works to go 18. There will be an additional hole that goes along the bay. And, I can't wait! Cypress Point and Picnic Island are going to be a great "one-two punch" to play 36 challenging holes in Tampa, that will rival Cliff Stephens/NE Coachman Park in Clearwater. Add to that one of the greatest Craft Brewers being right by Cypress Point, Cigar City Brewing Company, and you have yourself set up for a wonderful day/night in Tampa! The sunsets are amazing, the disc golf is challenging, yet fair. What is there not to love about Tampa Bay Disc Golf!!!
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
sweet DG hideaway
Pros: signage is exemplary. easily navigated and flows nicely. well kept course, groomed and clean, surprising considering I drove thru some pretty seedy looking areas to get here!
some terrific views of the bay too! great variety of shots here,a challenging course.
Cons: rough area to drive thru to get here.
Other Thoughts: I enjoyed playing here,a fun nine hole course with short and long tees and a nice variety of shots
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Picturesque Picnic Island
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Setting, teepads, signage, design, location
Cons: Only nine holes
Other Thoughts: Picnic Island disc golf course is simply the finest nine-hole course I have ever played. Set in a somewhat remote and very well cared for park right on the eastern shore of Tampa Bay, this course exemplifies the best of central Florida disc golf in nine varied holes. The setting, the course design, and the amenities are all top notch; the only problem is the course is not long enough, but even then I urge caution. Nine excellent holes with two sets of tees and multiple pin positions is better than 18 pretty good holes. So if nine more holes are coming, I hope they are in a separate section of the park.
Picnic Island is in Tampa proper, but is well off the beaten track, way down at the end of the road in the industrial, port section of the city. Entering the park is entering a nicer world, though, and the parking lot for the course, with its view across the bay and easy access to the beach, is an appropriate entry way for the course to come. The amenities for the course are immediately apparent; two tees, not concrete but with firm rubber mats and nicely level. The signage could not be better, and includes hole number, easy to read maps, a system for showing which of the three placements the basket is currently in, and an accurate distance reading for all basket placements. Each hole features blue and red tees. The course plays long and interesting from the blues. It's still interesting from the reds, but much closer to the typical par 3 outing.
The holes themselves are varied and interesting. All require some degree of shot shaping, and from the blue tees most are on the long end of par 3 or in two cases well into par 4 territory. Trees and salt bush factor into most holes, and mistakes will be punished if you end up in the scrub. Rough has a different definition on many Florida courses. "Moderately Hilly" is not an accurate description by any national standard, but there are some minor undulations to work around, which is not typical for this region. Overall this course is a case where there may be room for 18 holes, but the approach was to put in nine excellent holes instead. Good call.
Overall, I rate this course Excellent, and well worth a road trip or putting near the top of your Tampa region itinerary. Yes it's a nine-holer, but that is the only negative I'll give it, and going around twice will still be time well spent. The setting, the amenities, a true signature hole, and the overall course design are all exemplary.
Favorite hole - #8 - Plays right along the beach, with OOB on the left being Tampa Bay. View extends clear across to downtown St. Pete on a good day. This hole almost makes up for #18 at Tocabaga being removed. Almost.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Variety by the Shore
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: First off, this is wonderful course. The fairways are well manicured and clear. The rough is a true penalty, and the scenery is first class.
The course has a wonderful variety of long and short holes...Along with extremely tight, and wide open tee shots. Hole one is a nice uphill, dogleg right. 2 to 4 are long 480 to 520 from the blues. both offer moderate room, but the rough will suck up any wayward drive. Hole five is TIGHT. Your disc can be snagged from below and above....Hole six opens up a bit, and 7 to 9 give you an opportunity to score. Seven is wide open, over a ridge to a down hill basket. 8 goes right along the beach in what is just a perfect fairway and hole location. 9 is short, uphill and offers a real birdie or ace chance...I really found myself considering my shots, and especially in the middle holes, deciding what was the best place to miss....
Cons: I hate to call rough a con, but the stuff next to3, 5 and six was brutal. Even a disc one or two feet off the fairway, that clearly fell straight down, was nearly impossible to find. Basically, there is underbrush, trees, bushes, palms, tonsss of undergrowth, and I guess the lesson for me, was learn how to throw a bit straighter. Also, around 4 to 6 there was a bit of an odd transition. Won't be an issue a second time. Would be nice to see a few more holes on such a beautiful piece of property...
Other Thoughts: Each hole has clearly marked alternate pin positions. The signage is A plus, and each hole felt like an individual treat. A couple local park walkers were very polite and friendly, and I can say from experience, that this is a good place to do a little salt water wade fishing (in case you would like to have a nice, full, outdoorsy day)....
This course is going on my favorites list. I really enjoyed the experience.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
A 9 Hole Course with Moxie
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: -Great Location, This is a very nice park located on Tampa Bay.
-Hole 8 is the Signature Hole
-Long and short tee's (Blue and Red)
-Variety of shots: Blind, Water, technical, Dog Leg, and Long distance.
-Long distance with a variety of lines, a couple of the blue tee's have legit Par 4's requiring a second shot placement. The same could be argued with #3 from the red tees
-#3 offers a risk/reward line. It's a narrow path that requires one to thread a needle at a long distance.
-Alt Pin locations (three per hole)
-Bright Orange Discatcher Baskets.
-The fairways are well manicured and well defined!
-Great Tee signage: Fairway maps, Distance, multiple pin location and a padlocked key ring that tells you what pin position the tee is in! As well as a "Caution, Beware of Discs" sign on the same post.(This course gets an A+ in Tee signage)
-Navigation is very smooth! (*except for the transition from 5 to 6) The course has a nice flow to it. There are arrows on the basket pointing you in the direction to the next basket.
-The course is not immune from park walkers, but it is segregated for the most part. Plus there are signs everywhere warning about discs being thrown all over the course!
-The tees are rubber, but they are wide and surrounded by wooden frames that do make the teepad look attractive and keep them in place. (It's possible concrete might be added in the future.)
-Excellent for beginners, and can be enjoyed by the veteran players as well
-This course is open for the most part, but also has some technical fairways and long distance shots. Some holes are 500+ft (primarily from the long tees)
-Has a great fun factor!
Cons: UPDATE: 3/2013 I am removing the "Dense Brush" Con from my review. I was looking at these dense areas this evening, and it's thinned down drastically. So I am now removing it. There are some areas that have some thick brush, but it's nowhere near what it used to be. Odds are good you'll find your disc if you go into the brush.
-Not a quick easy stop for those that may be trying for a quick "add a course to my played list" round. It's 15-20 minutes off the beaten path, and then some. You'll have to traverse through very high traffic areas.
-It is coastal and it's Florida, the bugs are present here. I ran into mosquitoes and some yellow jackets.
-Navigation between 5 and 6 may get first timers turned around. With the brush thinned down, you should be able to find 6 easily. Exit the left side of the fairway.
-Sometimes, 8 you'll see a Kids playing on 8's fairway, while a parent is out fishing in the water. Very common.
-(Not a con, just a heads up if there is a party or reunion going on) I was out on a Saturday and there were a couple of birthday parties happening in the shelter houses. It's not that the baskets are close to the shelter houses; it's just that 7 & 9 are blind shots that are in the near vicinity. You know how kids are, they like to run around aimlessly. You may want to walk up and check to be sure the area is clear before you throw.
Other Thoughts: When I first heard about this course, I was thinking it was just an open field "pitch & putt" with a great view of the bay. I was wrong! The course has a little bit of everything, Technical woodsy shots, open field, long distance shots, and open field with scattered trees.
Its a balanced course where the fairways are challenging and well thought out. There are no "gimme's" to be found here. I was very impressed and had a great time! One thing to remember, is do not under estimate the Pro tee's. Especially on 3 and 4. These fairways require long distance accuracy, Every so often, I'll try 3 from the longs. I ended up frustated and fishing my disc from the brush. 4 from the longs is a super long dogleg left.
Picnic caters to players of all varieties. The beginner, the casual, the rec, and the pro could all play here and have a good time. The short tee's do well to give the novice a challenge, without demanding a hard shot. The Red Tees have some long distance shots, that are over 400ft. The Blue tees require accurate lines from longer distances. It's not overly technical, but where you lie will definitely determine your up shot. You will also want to choose your line and avoid the rough! It will tear up your legs and try to eat your disc at the same time!
(The following is for you travelers) As nice as this course is, it's way off the beaten path. It does not lend itself to being a convenient stop. You may want to consider that if you are thinking about playing here. It is a fun course to play!
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Only nine, but still EPIC!
Pros: ...Hole #8... 'nuff said.
Seriously though, I was very surprised by Picnic Island. I knew from the course photos that were posted that this wasn't exactly Azalea DGC, but I had no idea this course would play this well.
You have a couple of chances to really grip 'n rip, but most of the course plays somewhat technical.
The Florida foliage is left completely wild and untamed. The grass is five feet tall in some places and the saw palmetto, while not prevalent, is still relevant. Watch your drive!
The course is a great walk as well. There is a bit of elevation change (quite a lot for a Florida course) and the course does give a good hike.
Restrooms are right after Hole #1. This is good because you can go before you throw, or if you're playing 18, they're there in the middle of your round.
The scenery here is great; vistas of Tampa Bay and the St. Pete skyline as you look over the bay. We played on a cloudy day with thunderheads off over Old Tampa Bay; very nice.
Navigation isn't too tough; there are directional signs underneath each basket, and the targets themselves are bright orange on top. New Innova disc catchers, too, so they catch real well.
There's a dog park right next to hole #8's basket; so this is nice too.
Two rubber pads per hole. Never played rubber pads before my first round here, but these were pretty nice. #5's tee was damp and traction wasn't an issue at all.
The tee signs are impeccable. Pin placement markers and THREE pin positions per hole. Very nice touch there.
Cons: Well... it's nine holes. I'm hearing there's a back nine planned, but that's not in the works yet.
Little bit of trash laying around. I can see trash cans chained to the tee signs being a big plus here, but didn't see any.
No seating on the course except picnic shelters. No problem for me, but others may not like this.
Some may find the overgrowth to be a little problematic, but I don't; if you can't handle the hazard, avoid it.
Wind off of Tampa Bay could be a real issue if you don't have a power driver. Make sure you've got your Force or Firebird out here.
No water fountains on course, so don't forget your water bottle. Sunscreen is a must here on sunny days as well as there's almost no shade whatsoever. And we had a little bit of tick trouble; if you're sensitive, bring bug spray.
Other Thoughts: I think Picnic Island is a Tampa Bay must-play. The scenery is beyond awesome with the sweeping views of the bay and the course will challenge you with plenty of risk vs. reward shots. Play from the front and back tees for a full 18 and you'll enjoy this little course.
Really want a back nine here. I would have trouble not giving this course a 4.5 or maybe even a 5 if we got a back nine.
Some hole notes:
#2 - Don't let that 510' for Position C fool you... this is NOT a grip 'n rip hole! The pro tee offers one of the most intimidating drives I've ever tried to throw. The basket is around a long, sweeping corner, and your alleyway is 15' high, 30' wide, and the whole right side is O.B. Take your par here.
#4 - Couldn't find the long tee for this one. I don't think they forgot the sign here, just not sure where it was. We didn't bother to look for it, though.
#5 - This drive is fun. Your fairway MIGHT be 12' wide and the basket is around a corner tucked into some real thick, tall grass.
#7 - Besides the saw palmetto right in front of you, this hole is WIDE open. Take a run at this basket with a flick or a power hyzer. Careful where you land though, the hill makes for tricky putting.
#8 - Picnic Island's signature hole. Now I know what we're missing not having #18 at Tocobaga anymore. The hole shoots right along Tampa Bay. The setting is beyond epic, and this is what disc golf in Florida is all about. I can only imagine playing this hole at sunset... wow!
#9 - Great hole to finish. Uphill and blind over a about 10' tall hill, but totally wide open, and the basket is surrounded by a mound to catch errant drives. I flicked this hole (and I can't flick) and had an awesome drive.
Again, please give us nine more holes. This would probably be the second best Tampa Bay course if it was a full 18. I loved it and will definitely be back many times.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The view is awesome! This is Florida Disc golf...cool breezes, beaches and sunshine. There is a challenge for all levels of skill.
Cons: Difficult navigation between holes at points.
Other Thoughts: This is a great course and I will be a regular.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: -One of the more beautiful courses in the area. At least half the holes have views of the bay, and the 8th hole runs right along the beach.
-Great contrast in the difficulty between the red and blue tees. The reds are pretty easy for most players and very beginner friendly. The blues are longer and several holes give different looks at the basket that make for a greater challenge.
-About as good of terrain usage as you can hope for in the Tampa area. There aren't huge elevation differences, but a few humps and bumps, and the 9th hole is far enough uphill to create a blind tee shot.
-Great tee signs.
Cons: -Hole 7 brings the parking lot into play if you overthrow the basket. The tee shot is more or less blind and gusty winds from the bay breeze makes it easy to imagine a shot getting away from someone and hitting a car.
-I imagine it would be easy to lose a disc here (a pet peeve of mine). Several thick pine trees and bushes on the early holes look like they could swallow an errant drive, never to be seen again. Also, the bay runs about 30 feet to the left of the entire 8th fairway, which would be scary for right handed beginners.
Other Thoughts: I played the course when it was still very new, and in fact, I'm not even sure landscaping work was finished. That said, I'll give it a pass on some rocky patches around a couple of the baskets in hopes that this will be improved before the official opening.
I also had yet to see a map online, so I was a bit worried about getting lost, but I found navigation to be pretty easy. Each tee sign has a map of that hole, and each basket had an arrow pointing to the next tee. There were a couple of long walks between holes and a couple points where I wasn't immediately clear where the arrow was pointing, but in each case, my first guess proved correct.
There are 3 pin positions on each hole, and I only saw the A positions, but it looks like there will be some variety once the baskets get moved around.
All in all, I was impressed with the course and my cons were fairly trivial. There was good shot variety and even the shorter holes had their challenges.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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