5 Helpful / 0 Not
Classic City Park course!
Pros: The Birmingham area has several great courses each with their own unique flavor. George Ward park is no exception and I enjoyed playing here. There is a great variety of holes and although it is not the most difficult course out there you still need to throw well to get a decent score. The course is set in a city park not far from downtown Birmingham and is easily accessible from all parts of the city. The majority of the course crosses the park itself and does not restrict itself to the perimeter like other courses tend to do. This allows the course to be more open and not be solely restricted to tunnel shots down a narrow fairway. The course meanders through the park and does a great job of using the space well and is able to use the topography of the park to its advantage but does not impede on the use of the park for other patrons. The majority of the course is lightly wooded so it is a great place to introduce the game to your family and friends as it is very beginner friendly and the chance of losing a disc here is minimal. Most of the course is fairly open but there are still plenty of trees that will penalize you for errant shots. Even though the holes are open many of them have well protected greens so its not too easy. A few of the holes are in more densely wooded areas so its not all out in the open (in particular holes 10-12 and the bonus holes A-F) There is some elevation on the course and the designers made great use of it. Overall the course is well designed and should be enjoyed by all disc golfers. Below are some of main positive points about the course.
1: Course is well marked. I had no trouble finding the tees or the baskets on any of the holes and this was without a map. Very first timer friendly.
2: The course is free and has a dedicated parking lot next to the practice basket for disc golfers. There is a guy who sells discs and bags out of a van in the parking lot so if you need something he is right there.
3: Good use of the parkland and elevation. Has plenty of hole types to suit just about every type of player.
4: Beginner friendly - This course would be great to bring friends and family and introduce them to the game but still challenging enough to test the skills of seasoned players.
5: Signature Holes. Every great course should have at least one memorable hole and George Ward has at least a few for me. Hole 1 is a great hole to start off with as you head down the hill and try and hit the green that is defending by the granite boulders. Hole 13 with the creek running down the right side which will cause instant pain for an errant throw and hole 15 just because I enjoy throwing a disc off a high teepad.
6: Bonus holes: I beleive the course was designed with 18 holes but there is now an additional 6 holes set in the South West corner of the park between holes 14 and 15. These holes are more technical than most of the others and is a great addition to the course.
Cons: The course is well designed and I can't really think of any complaints. I did find a couple of things that players should be aware of:
1: Its a popular park including a lot of non disc golfers. Several of the holes are in areas where other people may be using the park so keep an eye out for pedestrians before throwing. Most of the time it was people walking their dogs or just strolling around the park so its not a big inconvience.
2: The bonus holes A-F are not quite as finished as the other 18 holes. I don't recall them having concrete tees which is not something that bothers me but it is a concern for some. I am sure that with time these holes will be brought up to the same standard as the original 18.
Other Thoughts: George Ward Park is an excellent course and should be on the map for any disc golfer who is in the Birmingham area. If I am in the Birmingham area again I will definetely have to stop by to play a round or two. This is an excellent example of how a city park course should be and is a good showcase for disc golf. If you have limited time in Birmingham and can only play one course you can't go wrong here. Nearby courses are more technical and challenging and well suited for expierienced players but George Ward is great for playing a good round of disc golf without having to spend loads of time looking for your disc after a bad throw.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: - Well designed park course.
- Balanced mix of different elevation, right/left, distance, wooded/open.
- Friendly, helpful locals and course pro on sight.
- Often discs for sale on sight.
- Good baskets, benches, signs, practice basket and bulletin board.
Cons: - Tough to find the parking area by hole 1 the first time.
- Bathrooms are not always easily available.
- Walkers can come into play on some holes.
I think GW is just a classic course. It's a beautiful park. It uses the hilly terrain of the area really well in the course design. I love holes 14 and 15 (I think) that play around the creek. The locals are great and plastic has been available each time I've been out there so far. I've played it about 5 times and it's one of my all-time favorite courses.
I just moved here from an area that had more courses, but we didn't have many that approached GW in terms of quality and character. You'll use all of your shots on this one and enjoy a really nice city park. There are new plantings around the course and it's well maintained. The 6 wooded holes (A-F) didn't all have concrete tee pads, but I thought they were more than sufficient.
I think one great improvement to the course would be some kind of sign on the Green Springs Hwy parking lot indicating where to park for disc golf. It's not obvious, and the first two times I played GW (separated by about 7 years time), I ended up there. This would be great for out-of-towners as GW is a "destination course" in my opinion. I even ran into someone else who was in the same boat: he had played there back in the day but couldn't remember where hole 1 was located from that side.
This one added feature would greatly improve the sketchy vibe that comes from ending up in the park's often-abandoned Green Springs' side parking lot. There's not as much activity over there. The real disc golf parking area (linked on the "Map Location" button here) is off of 4th Street South, just past the tennis complex.
Once you get there, you'll probably see other disc golfers, dog walkers and people using the sports facilities. I've personally never felt unsafe at George Ward, and the last time I played, I took my three kids. We played until dark and had a good time. It's a well used park, and this parking area is between the front and back 9 (with six bonus holes in the woods on the back side).
There's apparently a bathroom at the tennis center which is only open a couple of days per week or possibly at the baseball area nearby, but even the locals weren't really clear on this. Restroom options either on-site or nearby would be a helpful addition to the bulletin board. Apparently, girls like real bathrooms.
You're going to run into people walking dogs and such, but this only comes into play in a big way on maybe 2 holes. There are some other holes where it may be a very occasional issue.
Of course, one of the best things about this course is the presence of course pro Tom Monroe most afternoons. If you see his white van you'll have a great selection of plastic and some good conversation with a local legend. Tom teaches disc golf classes for two colleges nearby and is a super nice guy. The last time I was out, I had left my putters in the basket at home. He insisted that my kids borrow a couple of discs for their round.
I'm still kind of amazed after reading the Wikipedia article on Tom. I'll have to soak up some disc golf wisdom next time I'm out there.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Beautiful course in urban park
Pros: - Nice tee signs at every hole that show each pin position and where the next tee is located
- Multiple pin placements
- New baskets were added this past spring, so most holes have 2 basket options
- Huge variety of shots including easy to difficult, short to long, left to right, etc.
- Good use of elevation changes
- Course pro at park almost every day
- Parking lot is between front 9 and back 15
- Most of the tee pads are in great condition
- Benches on every hole, sometimes multiple benches on a single hole
- Weekly league rounds on Wednesday evenings
- Great local club (Disc Golf Birmingham) that takes care of the course and runs events
- Big course map on back of bulletin board at hole 1
- Dog friendly
Cons: - Needs concrete tee pads on back 6 (supposedly in the works to happen soon)
- Occasional wait for joggers on walking paths
Other Thoughts: It's hard to find a course that is more fun to play than g-dub. The course is mostly open with big, mature trees to shoot around. Back 6 holes are slightly wooded, but not too tight.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 4 Not
3 out of 5
Pros: The course offers several challenges and requires you to have several shots in your bag. Accuracy in space is important as you play through trees and try to place a few surgical strikes in open space.
Cons: The "newer" side is still a little rough, but it's nothing too serious.
Other Thoughts: It's worth stopping to play this course. I found it to be one of the best stops on my journey. The club here is also very helpful and friendly.
2 of 6 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Great course to call home
Pros: Ward has a lot to offer players of all levels. It's a very pretty park and the course is challenging, but not brutal. The course has lots of hills and big, old trees.
There are short holes and long holes and lefts, rights, and straights. I like to throw rollers there, too. The baskets and tee pads are good.
Cons: It does get a little crowded at times and some of the shots are tight on the pedestrian walkways.
Other Thoughts: If you're traveling to B-ham, hit me up and we'll play a round.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: *Well taken care of
*Pin positions changed daily
*Course is fair but challenging
*Can use all your shots in a round
*Tom to buy discs from in the parking lot
*Front 9 and back 9 holes separated perfectly
Cons: *Some holes can play extremely long
*Can get crowded
Other Thoughts: This is my Home course, and a great one to learn on
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 2 Not
Solid course with good elevation
Pros: Will force you to take different shots off the tee, including multiple high to low tee shots. Tom sells discs in the parking lot and is willing to give advice.
Cons: Park is not in the best area of town, but I never had any safety problems.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -Beautiful Park
-Nice layout of course
-Nice descriptive tee pad signs
-Tee pads at almost every hole
Cons: -Some baskets either need to be replaced or need some attention
-Need tee pads in some areas
-Take along maps would be great
Other Thoughts: Been playing for about a year and this was my first time to play this park. I really enjoyed the park and the layout of the tees. Beautiful park with a mixture of shots. Really nice signs at each hole along with good tee pads for holes in the park. The day we played the course was set up with the baskets located in the 'A' position. There are three different pin positioins that each hole can choose to place a basket. Park course does include a walking park as you can see by the pictures, but we had no real delays with walkers. Benches at almost every tee pad. Very well maintained park, when we went hardly anyone even there, it is was Memorial Day. Layout was fairly easy with hole 13 taking a moment to find. The extra holes after 14 are pretty much all in the woods which makes the game more interesting. Beware of losing your disc in the leaves that cover that area. Once you 'get out of the woods' you are brought back to the tee pad for hole 15 which brings you right back into the park area. If you are in the area I highly recommend playing. Started at around 9 a.m. I believe it took us about two hours to play all 24 holes.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: 1. With one notable exception (see below) it's a pretty easy course to navigate.
2. It's a well balanced course. Beginners won't be so frustrated that it's too hard and Experienced players won't be frustrated that there is no challenge.
3. It's almost always very well maintained. There is a grass cutting crew whose full time job is to keep this park cut.
4. As has been mentioned, being able to go buy your car half way through really pays off sometimes. Also the ease of playing either 9 first helps when the course is busy.
5. Course pro to buy disc and to give info. He's almost always there.
6. Terrain is varied but it's not so hilly that it's all you can think about.
Cons: 1. I understand that signage is being worked on but it needs it badly WITH directions to the next tee box.
2. Course is fairly easy to navigate except for a few transitions (notably holes 11-13 get very confusing)
3. Really enjoy the length now but as a beginner it was just a little long. I wish they would bump a couple holes to par 4 status. There are a few holes (like 5, 7 and 14) that really don't belong as a par 3 unless your playing in a pro tournament. You can make up some ground on those with some of the wooded holes but only if your on line for the day.
Other Thoughts: I really enjoy GW park. I have to admit I have a personal affinity and prefer Civitan (when the grass is cut) but that's not to take away from George Ward. I play here fairly regularly and really enjoy it. I still consider myself a beginner. I've been playing roughly 3 years and probably have played an average of twice a month. (sometimes more and sometimes less)
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
GW just keeps getting better with age
Pros: Hey, I will admit bias up front as this is the course I learned on. It will always be 'Home' in my mind.
Recent improvements, from benches, signage, course map, etc have served to make this course a constant 'must play' for both locals and visitors.
Cons: -occasional panhandlers and begging, be prepared
-walking paths throughout course (some delays in play)
-park gets INCREDIBLY heavy use by community
Other Thoughts: Great place to hang out, very diverse crowd and usually Tom Monroe (PDGA #33, World Champ) is selling new & used plastic from his white van in case you need a disc.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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