19 Helpful / 0 Not
*Multiple basket layouts- 3 basket layouts add variety so it's different every time I play here. Each layout has a mixture of short, medium, and long holes. This adds variety to each layout so that one isn't all short and one all long. I applaud them for keeping all the baskets in the same layout, i.e.- all A, all B, or all C. This produces consistency and allows you to meaningfully compare rounds over time.
*Terrain- I love the rolling hills with nicely manicured grass and scattered trees. There are plenty of obstacles, without too much rough.
*Elevation changes on almost every hole. The configuration I played had only 1 Flat hole with 9 Up/ 8 Down. A few are as much as 45 ft up or down.
*Nice length variety. Layout A has 2<199/ 6<of 200-299/ 8<of 300-399/ 1 of 401/ 1 of 605
*Water- there's a little bit with a stream on 13 and 15. (The stream on 4 is in view, but no longer in play.)
*6 optional extra holes (A-F) add even more variety and more playing options. These are all in the woods with nice elevation changes.
*Figure 8 layout: the front and back nine both start and finish at the parking lot, so you can start on either or just get in a quick 9 if you're pressed for time.
*The course is extremely clean and trash free.
*Tees- concrete; some are long trapezoids
*Little touches- the tee on hole 1 is very nicely landscaped. This starts you off with a very positive mood.
*Warm up basket- it's a little old, but various putting distances are marked off. Nice touch.
*A good message board
*Benches on every hole and some trash cans
-Tee signs: need to be updated with the new layouts labeled correctly. A few signs have been vandalized.
-Navigation: it's a little tricky to find a few of the tees. 14's tee is a bit a walk from 13's basket
-Nothing can be done about the area the course is in, but it feels kind of sketchy to me, so I don't feel totally safe. I've never had a problem, but I always lock my car and I don't leave any valuables in it.
Course Level = White (most suited for Intermediate players rated 875-925)
Course Difficulty: 5 (out of 10)
My favorite hole is 13. Very scenic, slightly downhill with a creek. My favorite layout is when the basket is near the creek on the other side so that you have lots of risk to get it close.
~A natural consequence of having 3 basket positions on each hole is that first timers and out of town players will have a little trouble finding some of the baskets. When they update the tee signs this will help. In the layout I played I couldn't see baskets 5, 6, 11, 12, 14, 18 from the tee.
~Since each layout has a mixture of short, medium, and long holes the only drawback to this is that each layout is very similar in total length. The lengths are 5615/ 5481/ 5779, so with only a 300 ft. difference between the shortest and longest layouts that makes the scoring average for each layout very similar.
George Ward is a really solid course with a great local player base. You might even run into Hall of Famer and former World Champion Tom Monroe; he's one of the legends of disc golf. I've played this course numerous times since 2000, and I always enjoy the course. I'd recommend it to everyone to play!
A note about my rating:
My rating is a subjective measure of my enjoyment
of the course, on the day I played it, and it is NOT intended to be a measure of the quality
of the course. My Enjoyment Ratings are given "on the curve" in relation to all other courses I've played.
Look in the "Links/Files" section for my files with Hole-by-hole ratings and a more detailed Overall review. You can also read more of my review philosophy and rating notes at Disc Golf Course Reviews
19 of 19 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Not much more to add
Pros: - Excellent combination of throwing challenges.
- Beautiful course with lots of large ancient oaks, mulberries, dogwoods and willows. Spring fed creeks come into play on both the front and back. The spring coming from the large stone culvert near #4's basket has a very good flavor and is always cold.
- Great elevation change. Plenty of hills.
- Bow-tie design is convenient.
- Local golfer community is strong. Always players around and the locals are extremely friendly and kind.
- Clean, no garbage at all, not even butts. Seemed like every smoker making the turn would empty their pockets of spent butts into the trash. Thanks y'all!
- 3 pin placements for every hole keeps the course fresh
- Benches on every hole
- 3 sets of bathrooms and water fountains. Concessions available at the tennis center and the softball fields. 2 gas stations across the street from C's pad in case you run out of provisions.
- Very well maintained, lots of work has gone into George Ward and it shows
Cons: - Tee pad signs need replacing (in the works from what I've been told)
- Extra 6 holes off of #14 are dirt or carpet pads (once again in the works)
Other Thoughts: The locals care a great deal for this old course and for obvious reasons. It's an extremely well maintained course with beautiful scenery, challenging holes, good company and Tom Monroe selling discs and telling tales of disc golf lore in the lot... what more could you ask for?
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Fun course with great variety!
1. Good variety of distance (~200' - 400')
2. Good shot variety required to score low (FH, BH, Hammer / Thumber, etc...)
3. Restroom facilities available in park
4. Good use of existing elevation, with uphill, downhill, and pretty flat holes all in play.
5. Good mix of open / tight fairways.
6. Decent signage
7. Multiple basket placement
8. Good course flow (fairly easy to follow for first timer)
9. Concrete tee boxes
1. Only 1 set of tee boxes
2. Some of the tee signs are unreadable
3. No tee boxes for bonus holes A-F
Other Thoughts: Overall, I rated the course "Very Good." I found the course pretty easy to navigate and thought it had a good variety of hole types. Most players will find the course challenging, but not overly frustrating. There's some water in play (creeks) on a few holes, which could make things more interesting during the rainy season. The use of the existing elevation is very good and allows for some fun downhill grip-and-rip style throws.
Overall the course is fun and has a nice variety for all skill levels. If you're in the area and can't make it down to Bowers Park in Tuscaloosa, this is the next best thing in the area!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
George Ward Park
• Very clean older park in older neighborhood
• Course spread out over big, big area
• Concrete tee pads on all holes
• Multiple pin positions on all holes
• Lots of benches, trash cans
• Lots of shade--very helpful since I played during 100 degree weather
• Good mix of long/open and medium/technical holes
• Great mix of elevation: flat holes, up holes and down holes
• Creek in play on many holes affecting your shot selection
• Easy to navigate for a first-timer using the map printed from this website
• Lots of conflict with other park activities at busy times (walking trails, roads & pavilions)
• Many of the unique tee signs are heavily rusted and unreadable
Other Thoughts: This is a 20-year old course in an ancient park near downtown Birmingham, and both have aged quite well. The park is obviously well maintained as is the course. The landscaping was pristine and there was not a speck of trash to be found anywhere. Also, I observed the local guys at a few holes talking to the park officials to obtain permission to upgrade the tee pads with new concrete. Considering the tee pads are already in pretty good shape, this shows just how high a standard the locals want to maintain. I played at midday on a Friday when the park was virtually deserted, but during busy times I could see a lot of conflict with other park users since the course is intertwined with numerous walking trails and access roads. Otherwise, this is just a super nice course that I highly recommend as a "must play" to anyone in the area.
NOTE: I did not play (nor did I even see) the newest six holes since I was somewhat pressed for time, so this review is based on the original 18 holes only.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
A fun time at George Ward
Pros: This is a very fun course to play regardless of skill. There are multiple pin positions. The course is very well maintained and clean. Makes good use of what elevation they had. It is a very forgiving course. Many birdies can be achieved. The park that it is in is very pretty.
Cons: Not a lot of real challenging holes and I could see it being a birdie or bust course pretty much for a pro level player. The 6 newest holes are ok at best and I think the original 18 could stand on there own.
Other Thoughts: I really enjoyed playing this course and will play it again when I am in the area. I ran into some of the locals and they were very friendly.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: 1) just a well thought out course, some trees, great use of elevation...ect
2) Nice people, ran into two other groups ( i was playing alone) and they both let me play through immediately
3) well maintained, saw a couple of tee pads being replaced...glad to see a course being worked on
4) GREAT tee signs.
5) fairly easy navigation
6) Scorecards...always a small plus in my book
Cons: 1)Hole 4 and 16 both seemed off from the tee signs.
2) Holes A-F (the new ones i assume) while it is nice to have wooded holes, I was slipping all over the place on this hill...Carpet tees too...Fairly easy to follow, but most people still seemed to play the original 18
3)Hard finding hole 14's tee box, a directional sign would be useful...
Other Thoughts: overall, a good course, probably a 4 if not for holes A-F.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 0 Not
The Magic City DGC
Pros: Located in the historic George Ward Park, which is just south of Downtown Birmingham, off 65. (Use the 10th Ave S entrance to access the DG course).
-Bulletin board at 1st, this is where you will find the Scorecards
-Well manicured, maintained, and landscaped park
-Multiple Pin Placements
-Great use of elevation. Multiple tee's will have you driving from atop a hill or along a hillside.
-Excellent and informative Tee signs, with maps, all 3 pin locations, and footage. As well as concrete tees. (A couple of the Tee signs are little bit faded)
-9 of the holes are between 300-400ft.
-There is an extra 6 holes between 14 and 15. (For the sake of time, I opted out of playing them.)
-Course is divided nicely, allowing for a quick 9 hole round on either front or back 9. Both Front and back 9 start and finish at the parking lot
-Beginner friendly, yet will still offer a challenge to the advanced player.
-Multiple water shots, discs should be easy to retrieve. ...for the most part.
-Vendors. Tom Monroe does sell discs here on certain days.
-Great overall "Fun Factor", This is one of my favorite courses.
-The people here have been very nice, and friendly.
-The people that are behind this course, have done an excellent job in maintaining this course. It looks great, and it's fun to play.
-George Ward now has a Dog Park or "Bark Park".
Cons: -Course is fairly easy to navigate, but a map could be a helpful aid for first timers. I would print one of from this site. (I threw on the wrong baskets a couple of times. Mainly because the basket appeared to be in the right place. This happened to me teeing off from #4, I threw on 6's basket and interrupted an other groups game. I apologized, though they didn't appear amused by my error.)
-You could find yourself playing near a family reunion or birthday party that is using the shelter house on 16.
-There are walking trails on some of the holes.
-Sometimes they will reorganize the baskets during a competition. They are usually changed the week of, and might still be in the same placements the week after. This could create some confusion, since they are not in sync with the board. (I've ran into this both times I've played here.)
Other Thoughts: I have always enjoyed visiting Birmingham, it is just a great city. Now I can add George Ward to my list of things "To do" while in town. George Ward offers a challenging course, where you will find yourself throwing a variety of shots. Each hole offers it's own unique challenge. Though it may not offer a big challenge to a pro;I have read where a few pros still enjoy playing here. It's a fun course to play, and the park itself is enjoyable to walk through. Here at George Ward, you will find yourself throwing up and down hills, across fields, and working lines between a fair amount of trees. Here you will be required to think about your lines, and plan your approach. Speaking of lines, definitely consider the power line on #7. I've been deflected twice by that power line, mainly because I didn't see it.
While I was waiting to tee off, I got to chat with Tom Monroe, the "course professional", for a few minutes. He talked to us about the history of the park, and the course itself. Which I found very interesting. He also helped navigate me around some of the different pin placements that were left over from the previous weekends tournament.
If you are in Birmingham, this course is a must play. I prefer to come here during the middle of the week, when it is less crowded. Everyone that I have met here has been very nice and friendly. I won't hold anything against the group whose game I interrupted! That was, after all, my fault! ;) I look forward to playing George Ward every time I come to Birmingham.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Fun Winter Course!
Pros: This is a nice park setting that utilizes many old trees, lawns and open fields. The course accommodates a "grip & rip" type of play for a majority of the drives, while forcing accurate placement for the approaches on the longer holes. Topography is utilized well such as great elevation changes and a deep creek bed that runs through several holes.
The signature hole for me (as many others noted here) is #15, which tees from an elevated position out into a field with some early guardian trees, and the pin positioned in front od a deep creek bed, making most approaches a knee- knocker! If you can only play 9 holes, I recommend the back 9.
Each 9 holes loops back to the beginning- a big bonus. Nice tee pads, benches, and signs (though showing wear).
Cons: Without a map (or a local), there are many tees that would be difficult to find.
The longest hole #5 is a yawner - wide open, flat and not a single obstacle (has an OB path, but you really have to shank one).
Alternate holes (A-F) are not marked so I couldn't play them. Even the local I played with did not know how to play them! At LEAST they could number the baskets and mark the tees with temp. stakes and numbers.
Other Thoughts: Earlier reviews mentioned that the pin positions are ALL in A, B, or C. That was not the case when I was here.
You must enter through the North end of the park, and go to the 2nd lot.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Solid Course, Fun to Play
Pros: The course has a good mix of all types of holes and shots required- short/long, up/down, open/wooded. The water hazards are interesting, fun, and fair. Other obstacles are trees, boulders, hills, and power lines.
There are 24 holes, with options. If you want to only play 9 holes, you can choose the front or back and each brings you right back to the parking lot. You can also insert the new 6 holes on the back.
I thought the overall course design was excellent, nice variety and spread out. Each hole is unique with several memorable holes (little to no repetition from hole to hole). Tee signs are fantastic and the kiosk is very informative. The locals were very friendly and helpful.
My favorite thing about this course was the combination of 3 basket locations per hole, the tee signs, and the system of basket placement. Each hole has 3 pin placements (A, B, C) and the kiosk tells you what placement is being used that day which makes locating the baskets a breeze. The tee signs clearly indicate the 3 positions. But what I love is that the A location is not the shortest on every hole. Sometimes B is the shortest, sometimes C, same for middle and longest. This means that all 3 rotations are relatively equal in total course length. (In contrast with- one day it is easy breezy day, and another day you decide to make every hole a par 4 so you don't feel so bad, like so many courses I have played.) The course designer and basket movers deserve a lot of credit here.
Cons: The new 6 holes. Yeah, it adds 6 holes, but to me they detract from the rest of the course (at least right now.) First, they are poorly marked, and baskets and tees are hard to find. I played a couple of the holes to wrong baskets. Second, they don't really fit in with the style of the rest of the course, thicker woods with narrow fairways, the area is not as pretty as the rest of the course and, and a few holes are very close to a busy exterior road. However, the nice thing is they are set up in such a way that you can play them or skip them without interrupting course flow or adding long, unnecessary walks. It seems most people were only playing the original 18. So these 6 holes are only a minor con because you have the option (which in some ways could be a plus!)
Other Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed this course. Hole #1 is a great starting hole. The 2 holes over the ditch are terrific. Much fun playing here! I would highly recommend this course, I would like to get a chance to play it again.
I like it better than the other popular course in Birmingham (Civitan), and it seems most people feel the same, because this course was crowded and Civitan was practically deserted.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 1 Not
Greater Birmingham's Best Course
George Ward Park represents the fundamentals of maximizing a given space and showing players what good course design looks like. Its looping design allows players to play a quick nine holes (front or back at their choosing), take in a full 18, or be a little adventurous and play the bonus six holes for a full 24 hole experience.
Much like Civitan Park (John LeMaster DGC)
, this course makes good use of the elevation, trees, water hazards, and other terrain features. Plus, I love having water hazards come into play, but never have to worry about actually losing my disc.
There is decent length variation from the short 200' shots, to some high 300' and 400' bombs indicative of early 90's designs. The longer holes are very open allowing you to really shape a big drive, while many holes make you shoot a precise line if you're hunting for birdie.
Also, there are three possible basket locations, which get rotated frequently to keep the course playing fresh. In addition, holes #5 and #13 had an additional long basket to shoot for if the front placement isn't enough challenge for you.
BEST HOLE/S: #13; #15
Cons: Some of the tee boxes definitely show their age, and I almost sprained an ankle on the absurdly short #12 box, which is unfortunate since it plays as such a nicely elevated tee area. Crowds can also be an issue - with this being the only course centrally located in Birmingham. Plus, there are many other walkers and other park uses you'll need to be wary to watch for. If you're not a crowd person - this course can be a real pain.
The bonus six holes - is this a negative or just an interesting bonus? The good - you get six more tree lined holes to play that again utilize the elevation, obstacles, and length to its greatest advantage. The bad - they are completely unmarked, so you had better be willing to scour the hill for worn down dirt pads tees and shoot to what you hope is the correct basket. Hole F is the easiest to spot being in close relation to #14 and #15, so you'll just have to make the choice if you want this additional experience. My ranking doesn't suffer because of these holes, but it certainly doesn't improve it much either.
WORST HOLE/S: #5; #7
Other Thoughts: Although I personally wasn't playing well that day, I still was impressed how a 20-year old course could still hold a challenge to today's player. I had an equally good time playing Civitan Park (John LeMaster DGC), but rate this course higher based on the better overall course design and versatility that has made it the most popular course in the greater Birmingham area. Play it, and enjoy.
17 of 18 people found this review helpful.
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