iconic, if a little overrated
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -park is defined by the lake, the huge fountain, and the course design's great use of the water
-OB lake and sidewalks put a premium on accuracy on what is otherwise a pretty wide open course
-great Mach X baskets and nice circular tees (except for the few that are just on the sidewalk)
-a bit of elevation gets utilized, there is a wide variety of distances, and there are a few well-protected baskets and cool peninsula greens
Cons: -the design going counterclockwise around the lake means you get to throw hyzers all day
-i thought hole 13's tee, with the tree right in front of it, was silly
-a few extra baskets here and there around the course were kind of confusing
-the course kind of fizzled out for me by the last few holes. it seems like you just throw back and forth a few times on the last bit of wide open field until you hit 18 holes.
-obviously, it's AZ. it's hotter than Satan's backside. bring water.
Other Thoughts: Having seen so many tournament videos here, I already had a good idea of what to expect from this course but it still gave me a smile to actually be out playing it. It's hard not to think of McBeast's 39 when you're out here.
The fountain and enormous fountain that shoots 300' in the air periodically dominate the scenery but the park itself has beautiful lush grass and a nearly tropical vibe with all the palms. That water may smell a little funky and the grass make also be covered in duck poop but the park is in great condition and seems to be well maintained, except for some missing signs.
The course is pretty straightforward but at least half the baskets have OB water or sidewalks inside the circle so putting up a good score is really about placement from a variety of distances and not letting the water get inside your head. This keeps the course interesting until you get toward the end and away from the lake. I definitely felt that the course ended weakly.
This is certainly a beautiful and iconic course that provides for a fun and challenging round. The OB has the potential to really get inside your head and ruin your round and the water can steal your plastic but it is a great test of mental focus and execution. It also seems like a cut above in challenge and presentation compared to some of the other courses nearby.
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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Kenny Rogers Classic
6 Helpful / 3 Not
Contrasting scenery - interesting coloured (and smelling?!) man-made lake (with fountain in middle), surrounded by green grass, surrounded by a trio of roads, surrounded by distant, semi-barren hills.
Challenging greens - some near water, some near slopes, some near both!
In the water = disc loss.
Fairly flat and open
Course plays counterclockwise around a man-made lake. The first half of the course will always have looming out-of-bounds - either the water to the left, or pavement to the right. Holes lengthen and water/pavement come into play less on the back nine, as there is more space between the lake and the road. Overall, decent variety in distances - I threw mid, fairway, and distance drivers from the circular teepads.
There are a few scattered trees and random bits of elevation, but there are minimal shot-shaping challenges here. The primary question here is - how much of a gambler are you? With ~1/3rd of the baskets near water, and a few other baskets near pavement, how confident/bold (deluded/foolish) are you about your accuracy?
Not sure how crowded this public park typically is, but on a hot Tuesday mid-afternoon, it was practically empty! Both the walking path and enticing open space could have other park users occupying them when the temperatures are cooler.
If you like the contrast of open but simultaneously requiring accuracy, too, you'll find this course appealing.
6 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Fountain Hills Fun!
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: The fountain: it's just too iconic! I think the new Innova calendar has a picture of it? Anyway, playing around the fountain is pretty awesome.
The challenge: there is a water hazard on virtually every hole. Water in the desert? It's all here. Challenge yourself with some risky throws over the water. If your disc goes in, you might still be able to recover it - the water is cold, but shallow. We always bring water shoes just in case.
Cons: The pedestrians: they're everywhere! Gotta be careful. Some baskets are right next to the sidewalk too. Most of the walkers out here are retirees - please don't hit grandma with an errant drive.
The duck poop: this is also everywhere. Be sure to wipe your feet often. It's unavoidable - if you don't step in it, your disc will probably land in some.
The drive: takes a while to get out there... But it's worth it!
Other Thoughts: Too cool. If you live in AZ and haven't played this course yet, go play it!
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: What an amazing setting for a beautiful course. I was told this was THE course to play when I was in town and it certainly was worth the 30 min drive to do so.
The obvious aspect to this is that fountain. Wow. I saw a lot of pictures from friends at The Memorial and thought it was impressive, but to see it in person is a whole different story! It's stunning! The swirling wind it creates is incredible... not great for the disc control, but incredible just the same.
The park area is beautiful. I can see why so many people come to it, (which I'll address in the cons). I had a chance to meet several fantastic people while playing.
Ok, enough of the gawking, on to the technical review:
This is certainly a challenging course with lots of hazards which I personally enjoy. Boring golf is just that, boring, and this is anything but. The near constant threat of losing a disc to the reclaimed water monster is certainly one that makes you think about nearly every shot you take.
It has a good range of distances across the board. In it's standard layout there were only par 3's, which is ok. Having a couple par 4's would be nice. The course didn't seem to favor right or left handed players too much.
Multiple pin placements for each hole means that they can mix it up nicely.
It's not too busy with regards to disc golfers. In act, I didn't see a single other disc golfer the entire time.
The Mach X baskets are really nice. They are also using the old baskets to do beginner layouts while doing the Mach X baskets in the pro layout.
Arrows attached to the bottom of the baskets point to the next tee pad, which is usually easy to find with the exception of hole 12. (I'm sure there was a "next tee" sign on 11's basket that I didn't see)
Cons: By far the biggest con for this course is how crowded it is with pedestrians everywhere. I waited several minutes on a few holes for people to move out of the way, which is important to do on courses like this. Pedestrians have the right of way, even if you have to skip a hole to avoid them.
The peninsula shots on 6, 8 and 9 are all pretty similar throws. They vary in distance but are extremely similar to one another.
Hole 12 on the map is incorrect. The tee pad is up on the sidewalk by the basket for hole 11 and shoots down toward the lake. The map shows it by the amphitheater which is the old location according to a local I spoke with. They will likely change that soon since I brought it to his attention, (he was mending pin sleeves) and if/when I notice that the map has been updated I'll remove this con and likely rate it a 4.0.
The flow is ok for the most part, but gets a little funny in a couple spots. This is not a huge con and really didn't affect the overall rating too much, just an observation. The next tee signs help greatly as does the map.
When you feel the mist from the fountain then suddenly realize that it's poop-water it's a bit unsettling.
Other Thoughts: Overall I really liked the course! I've seen it a few times on film and was really happy to make it out to it. The fountain is impressive and daunting! That wind can really mess with your shots in a hurry. This is compounded by the elevation making discs pretty flippy to begin with. Every single bogey I had was when the fountain was going off.
From what I hear the fountain water can be pretty harsh on sun glasses. I didn't experience that myself, but since I heard it I thought I'd warn others to wear sunglasses that you don't care too much about. I guess the acids from either bird crap or the reclamation tend to etch into the lenses.
It's a good idea to have a golden retriever or the like here. Not that you can see your disc if it goes in much farther than 3 ft, but hey, it's worth a shot.
And finally again, please remember to give pedestrians the right of way. No round is worth nailing some old lady or child in the head with a disc.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 5 Not
Course Would be Perfect if it Wasn't for the People
Pros: I can't say enough good things about the course. The layout is challenging, but manageable if you're not afraid of water. There are minor elevation changes that affect your shot choices as well as several trees close the baskets and tees. The fountain that goes off every hour provides a unique challenge as the winds it produces are enough to blow a disc significantly off-line. The course uses the new DGA Mach X baskets which add a very professional feel to the course and are very solid catching discs.
Cons: People. This park is very busy, especially on the weekends. Almost every weekend there is some kind of event that is held in an area that makes several holes unplayable. Check the calender of events on the park website if you plan to visit. But even on a weekday, there are many, many people using the paths around the lake, which, unfortunately, are very close to the fairways and the risk of hitting someone really detracts from playing.
Other Thoughts: Pay close attention to the tee locations on the back 9, sometimes what looks like the next tee is actually two baskets ahead.
2 of 7 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The course plays through a really nice park. It's nice and grassy, which makes for a good contrast with the desert style courses that predominate the area. The lake is not only visually cool, but makes for some great risk/reward decisions throughout the course. Baskets placed right by the water or fairways with water waiting to swallow a shot that fades or skips a little too much add a lot of challenge and interest here.
There is a nice mix of hole lengths, with a few reachable ace runs, a couple huge bombers and a good spread in between. Though the trees are limited, there are a few nice protected pin placements or tee shots where you have to shape a line a little bit. There is some elevation here, nothing huge but enough to add some fun downhill shots and some nice rollaway pin placements.
The large circular tees have plenty of room and plenty of grip. The baskets are in fine shape, and the tee signs are great (minus a couple that were missing when I played). The course map available online or on the side of most of the tee signs helps a lot with navigation. The park is really nicely maintained in general.
Cons: This course does a fantastic job with the available terrain and obstacles, but it's still a pretty wide open course. The bulk of the holes are playable with a really limited set of line shaping skills, it's much more a test of shot placement and distance. The water seems to be in play on the left side of the fairway on just about every water hole, it's tough to do with the way the park is laid out but a little more variety in that would be nice.
There are a couple spots where some next tee arrows would help, though with the map it's pretty easy to find everything except 12's tee (it's up by the road, not where the map shows it at the corner of the lake). There are major safety issues here, with a walking path in play on the majority of the holes. When I played, we had to wait on nearly every hole for dog walkers both on the path and wandering through the fairways. A couple holes also have the potential for poorly executed shots to end up in roads or parking lots.
Other Thoughts: Beginners will find the course a bit daunting, with lurking water and some longer shots though the lack of underbrush makes the course a little more approachable. Experienced players will find a great test of some of their skills, though it's not a course where you need a complete game to score well. I definitely recommend a stop here, but I would try to do it on off hours when the park won't have as many conflicts with non-discers.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Good but maybe a bit over rated
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The park this is set in is a nice park, the pictures don't quite do justice to the scale of the park, the lake, and particularly the fountain. It has the feeling of a traditional golf course because of how it is landscaped. It could be better cared for, and the western section of the park is a little unsightly, but the shaped lake and fountain make it. Lots of birds around if you're into that.
Also I just want to note for the record that I went here expecting basically a lake of raw sewage based on some of the reviews I read. Way too much is made of this reclaimed water thing. It does not smell. I got right up and sniffed it, it smelled like a normal lake. Maybe that changes at various times of year but my experience was fine. I think a lot of people misunderstand what's in the water of a regular old lake; they're not made of drinking water people. The edges of the lake drop off sharply so if you sent a disc in, you probably wouldn't be able to grab it even if the water impurities don't bother you. The point is, don't let any of that talk dissuade you from coming to disc golf.
The course is challenging and the water holes make for a pretty tense game where I found myself always debating how much I wanted to "go for it" onto the peninsulas of the lake, versus just lay up to the right (inland) of the baskets and approach. There are some fairly large, thick trees in play on a few holes that force you out pretty far to get around them on what would otherwise be short holes.
As mentioned by others, the rounded tee pads are neat and work well because I (and I know I'm not alone here) like to approach drives from the right, further than most tee pads allow.
There are public washrooms on site I think, and a strip mall near the start/finish with restaurants and a coffee shop which had pretty good coffee.
Cons: First, this isn't reflected in my rating of the course, but I was really annoyed that the lawn sprinklers were on during my visit on much of the course *at 4 in the afternoon*. I had thought that it was common sense that you water the lawn in parks early in the morning or dusk, when people aren't around. Apparently not here. So I ended up having to skip a hole, throw through a few sprinklers, and play in wet/muddy ground the whole way. Also, it was really windy, which I only mention because given the wide open nature of the lake (and the elevation here), it may well be windy here a fair bit, so expect at least some wind.
My first major gripe is that the signage for the holes is in bad shape, missing on many of the holes, so you'd really want to have a map with you. It starts out well enough but after hole 3 I had a hard time finding the tee for 4 since it had no sign, and it was quite a ways away from the basket.
This course has a weird design approach I've never seen before: putting the tee pads RIGHT behind large trees, on quite a few holes. So on many tee pads you're lining up your drive in such a way that you're releasing through a gap. On some holes you're so close that it would be possible to hit your hand on a branch if you're not careful. I didn't hate this, it was fairly easy to avoid the trees (most had a big gap to throw through), but it didn't add to the course either. The net effect was it had me questioning whether I was throwing towards the right basket a few times.
Even weirder, on hole 13 was absolutely the most awkward tee pad I have ever seen: there's a bench 5 feet in front of the tee pad, between you and the hole. And at the point in time I was there, the bench was full of teenage girls. Behind the bench is a large tree. Normally there was a window through the tree I would have gone through, but because of the girls sitting on the bench, I couldn't whiz a disc just above their heads. So I had to go WAY around about 90 degrees on a sharp forehand shot. It's just so poorly conceived, I have to imagine someone totally ignorant to the disc golf course dropped the bench in there after the fact.
When I was there (early October), the grass wasn't in very good shape and a lot of dirt was exposed. Combined with the water from having been watered that day, this made it muddy. I had to clean my disc after almost every shot. I actually landed a hyzer shot wedged into the soft turf, standing straight up and down with 1/3rd burried. And if you don't like bird poop, there's a few baskets under trees on this course that will bother you. Bring hand sanitizer?
Other Thoughts: All in all I have no regrets about making the trip out to Fountain Hills to check it out, but if you were in Phoenix and decided to stick to some of the courses nearer by, you're not missing anything particularly special.
I would say that this course is slightly better and more interesting than Vista Del Camino, but about the same overall as Paseo Vista. So if you're in the southern part of the city, I might recommend try the closer Paseo Vista first. It's a little bit under rated relative to this course, however this is a slightly more challenging course.
Update: All that having been said, I'm completely ignoring the fact that this course is well known due to there having been a number of major tournaments held here, and it's really nice to play a course I've seen in a number of videos. If that means something to you, I think you're going to play this course regardless.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Beautiful setting for a good course.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: This is a beautiful setting for disc golf. I definitely count that as a plus.
Elevation and water have been used well on this course. Even though the course routing - counterclockwise around a lake - mandates a lot of hyzer holes, the water does and street OB does add complexity.
Cons: The tee pads are 12 feet in diameter in most cases and circles which actually give you less usable area than a 5x12 rectangle (because the "corners" are missing. In any event, they feel a little short on the longer holes. Some of the teepads are "extensions" of sidewalk, and are actually even shorter. This is a minor con because they are really good quality tee pads.
Some gimmicks have been employed. On one tee you must throw directly through the multiple trunks of a tree at point blank range. Bad for the tree - stupid way to try to complicate an otherwise wide-open hole.
Hyzer, hyzer, hyzer, hyzer. I don't recall a single hole that required a turnover or anhyzer shot, though you can certainly throw those on some of the wide open holes if you want.
Although navigation is pretty straightforward, hole 12, as shown on the map, does not exist (there is a 12th hole, just not the one shown on the map). I wandered around looking for it for a while before I just went to the closest tee sign (up the hill from the 11 basket, away from the lake) and found it.
Even in the middle of a very hot day, there was a lady camped out within 5 feet of the #8 basket feeding geese. She wouldn't move after I yelled both "heads up" and "fore." So I just threw. Parked it "just on the other side of the basket from her, and birdied. She asked me about the "big tournament" so I assumed that she understood the game, saw me coming and knew that she had been in the line of fire but just chose not to move. I suppose the wisest thing to do would have been to skip the hole. But if there are a lot of people like that around there, a busier day could lead to a very frustrating round.
Other Thoughts: Overall this is a nice course. It suffers from all the wide open and hyzer shots and gets a little monotonous. I even remember a three hole stretch where you had to hyzer around some trees and avoid landing in the water because the basket was on a peninsula . . . for . . . three . . . successive . . . holes. Ultimately, things like this don't stop this from being a good course, but do keep it from being a great one IMO.
I definitely enjoyed the round I shot there and would play it again if I make it back to Phoenix.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Beautiful Course Not For The Faint of Heart!
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: First and foremost, this is a really beautiful park and setting for a disc golf course. With the mountains looming in the background, the blue Arizona sky , the lush, green grass, the pretty blue waters of the lake and then you add the fountain shooting water ( I don't care whether it's reclaimed water, rain water, tap water or whatever) 300 + feet into the air. When you add all these together, they make for a very pretty picture.
The course starts at the Veteran's Memorial and plays counter clockwise around the lake. My first impression, other than the incredible beauty, was the wonderful tee sign, which not only gave all the useful information for hole # 1, it also gave a detailed map of the entire course. I was impressed! I was even more impressed when I discovered each tee sign contained the same detailed information as well as the entire course map. This would make it so very easy to start at any point on the course to avoid crowds or large groups of players, etc.
My next favorable impression was of the 15 foot across concrete round tee pads. Probably at first I thought, overkill, but then after throwing off at couple, I discovered that I liked the angles that I could get to throw around trees or just to shape my tee offs.
The baskets are decent but showing some signs of rust, probably from the reclaimed water mists of the fountain. The baskets had small, yellow next tee signs made of rubber that were screwed to the bottom of the basket. I've never seen them before on any of the 500 course I've played. They appear to be store bought. I think they're a great addition to this course and would be to any other course. I later saw them at another Phoenix area course, Vista Del Camino. Why have I not seen these anywhere else in the country?
The major challenge on this course appears to be the close proximity of the baskets to the lake and it's reclaimed water. Knowing that you don't want to venture into this water unless absolutely necessary, I tended to play these holes with the utmost caution. I'm bagging a course here not trying to break the course record!
I especially liked hole # 5. It's a simple little uphill hole with a large tree with low, spreading branches blocking much of your fairway. It leaves you with a couple of options including a tomahawk over the tree, probably a big hyser around it or a roller under the branches.
I thought # 8 was also a very cool little hole. It's 225' or 295' with the basket sitting on a small inlet with the lake looming on three sides. The normal reasonable shot would be forehand flick out over the lake. But today with the winds blowing 10 MPH + I chose to play it very conservatively and hyser to the right side and avoid the water.
Cons: Much has been said by previous reviewers about the nasty ass reclaimed water of the fountain and lake and about it's odor. Maybe my nose has been broke one too many times because I did not a odor notice. And the water may be nasty to drink or swim in or bathe in but it's a beauty to behold.
The fountain turned off right when I started my round not to start again. I understand it's shut down when the winds reach 10 MPH or higher. I guess they don't want folks getting a misting of reclaimed water. The 10 + winds made throwing anything close to the lake even more nerve wracking than it would have been on a calm day.
There is a fair amount of goose poo in the park.
I had to wait a few times for walkers, bicyclists, joggers, etc. to clear before throwing. This was on a beautiful Sunday morning so I don't think the problem was any worse than many of our parks.
The # 5 sign was rusted away and gone.
Other Thoughts: This course was as aesthetically pleasing as any course could possible be in arid Arizona. One thing that struck me playing was the sheer size of the lake. When I reached # 10 or 11, I looked way over at the Veteran's Memorial and suddenly felt like I was a long way away from home. On very few 18 hole courses, can you survey the entire course from every hole and take it all in in it's enormity. But the wonderful thing about that here, is that you're getting to soak in the visual beauty that is the Fountain Hills experience. And that's what makes this course a little more special than most!
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Fun course, worth the trip!
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Great teepads, challenging pin placements, well maintained, good scenery.
Cons: Good amount of pedestrians, a little duck shit, some holes hard to navigate
Other Thoughts: This was a sweet course, glad I made it here. Sure, the main feature is "reclaimed" water, but it didn't smell and looked nice so it was no big deal. That said, I didn't lose any discs in there. Love the teepads, the course is pretty challenging but good for all levels. When I was out there it was windy, which added to the challenge. Had trouble navigating some holes but if you play it once or play with a local you should have it dialed. It will be way easier next time I go back. Only saw one other golf party. There are a ton of non-disc park goers but they were never in the way except for the lady that was writing her grocery list on the Hole 5 teepad. Some long holes, mostly all are wide open with some trees here and there. If you played this course a lot, it might get easy, especially if you have a big arm. Some difficult putts though as there are a few baskets at the waters edge and some protected by trees. I am not a great player and can only throw about 285' consistently, but I par'd and boged everything. No doubles, no birds. Coming from OR, this was a great course to throw and easily worth the 20 minute drive out of Phoenix. And it was about 5 degrees cooler too than Tempe where I was staying.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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