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.
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.
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.
Course With a View!
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: + Location. You drive through an industrial area, and end up at this very nice park. Hole 8 plays right along side of Tampa Bay. (Thats one big water hazard!).
+ Well groomed and very clean. Mowed grass fairways with trees and patches of rough for obstacles.
+ Two sets of tees and three pin placements.
+ Tee signs. Some of the nicest sinage that I have ever seen on a DG course. They show you what pin position is currently in use, and where they are at. Also there are several signs scattered around the park warning people that they are entering a DG course, and arrow signs on the baskets to send you in the general direction of the next hole.
+ Restrooms, pavillions, and grills make this a great course for a meet up/tournament.
+ Fairly long and challenging for a nine hole course.
+ Brand new baskets.
+ Big hill. Big by Tampa standards. Comes into play on the last few holes.
Cons: - The rough is brutally dense and filled with burrs. I recommend bringing your bright orange and pink discs for this one, and spotting on some of the holes.
- Navigation. Not to bad, but I need to note a couple of things. The red tee for hole 4. Keep following the road and you will run into it eventually. Tees for hole 7. Follow the arrow and head back toward the parking lot, its by the blue pavillion.
- Rubber tees. I prefer concrete, but these are ok I guess.
Other Thoughts: This is a very cool and fun course. The navigation is a little tricky, print the map, use the arrow signs and your intuition, and you'll be fine.
As stated above, the rough is BRUTAL. I went into it looking for an errant disc, and came out tore up, and covered in burrs! Also there were a few mosquitos about.
I played this course on a thursday afternoon, and had the whole course to myself. It was very quiet and peacefull, except for the occasional airplane flying overhead on thier way to Tampa Int.
Overall this is a well concieved course with great views seldom seen on a DG course. Now go play it!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Is this really in Tampa?
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This course is definitely in a little world of it's own, secluded from the city on the tip of the little peninsula that is South Tampa. Some nice views of St. Pete across the bay.
Relatively close to PDQ.
Easily accessible from Pinellas.
Very nice baskets.
Cons: Course itself is rather unremarkable. Front nine plays around VERY overgrown areas with some trees but by no means in a wooded area. Back nine is more open and is the more shared area of the park.
I played this course very early morning and the mosquitos were already out in force. I recommend lots of OFF and high socks.
Tee pads are rubber and thus lame.
Other Thoughts: Not a bad course, but not one that I'm going to rush back to play. If I do go back it will definitely be in the winter time as the skeeters made play and disc-retrieval less than enjoyable at times...
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Only nine, but still EPIC!
5 Helpful / 1 Not
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.
Beauty, variety, and refreshing.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Setting of this course is amazing, and is what I have always been looking for in a Florida DGC. Flora is all untamed, and throwing lanes although tight are well defined with good looks for both backhand, and forehand shots. Navigation like others have said is a bit confusing, but the walks between holes were scenic. I imagine this is in part because consideration of 9 more holes is underway. In my opinion 9 more holes would crowd the course, but would vote yes for this idea.
Cons: Gravel around baskets sent several great approaches astray. Pads need to be longer, but them being rubber did not bother me. Navigation could have been better how ever this would have taken away from the use if land, and elevation. Beach goers were everywhere on hole 8, even my controlled flick was uncomfortably close to people that had no clue I was throwing.
Other Thoughts: Thought this course made great use of the land. I played on a Friday around noon. I was the only disc golfer on the course. This is a flickers dream with the exception of 2 holes, which you could flick but not run at the basket. Go play it, and respect it. Perhaps Tampa will continue to out in more courses as a result. Shot -2 first time out from the long pads. Another review stated this course was designed by non-disc golfers, from what I understand this is not the case. By the looks of things this was designed the hardcore player in mind.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: FOR RUBBER PADS THEY ARE VERY NICE. SOME NICE, TECHNICAL LINES AND SOME NICE OPEN ONES. WORTH DRIVING UP TO 30 MINUTES FOR. NICE FACILITIES.
Cons: ONLY 9 HOLES. THERE IS PLENTY OF ROOM TO PUT 9 MORE. SOME OF THE ALTERNATE PADS ARE BARELY ANY DIFFERENT FROM ONE ANOTHER. NEEDS A WATER FOUNTAIN. THERE MAY HAVE BEEN ONE AND WE JUST DIDNT SEE IT.
Other Thoughts: ITS SO GREAT TO SEE ALL OF THESE NEW PARKS OPENING IN THE AREA.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Very scenic course with great baskets. The holes are challenging and the layout is great. I really loved the hole that copied the old hole 6 at Tocobaga. While I don't usually care for rubber teepads, these were awesome.
Cons: The long walk between holes. I realize this may be eliminated in phase 2...it's very definitely a con right now. Hole 8 was unplayable today...kids on the beach and the swiss family Robinson right in the middle of the fairway.
Other Thoughts: This is an absolutely gorgeous park and the course matches park. I'd so like to see phase 2 kick in really fast. Once it does, I see this being a premier course in the area!! I will definitely play it again!! I gave it a rating based on the current 9 holes. Phase 2 will give it a solid 4.5!!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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