iconic, if a little overrated
11 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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11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
9 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.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
8 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.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Good but maybe a bit over rated
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.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Beautiful setting for a good course.
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.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Fun in the Sun
Pros: Good layout with a fair mix of hole variations. Nicely manicured public park that's fortunate to have such a sweet course throughout it. Very few players on the course when I got there at 8:00 AM on a sunday.
Cons: The lake swallows discs and does not spit them back out. Lost my Beast and Vibram Trac to it.
Keep an eye out for others using the park. It's a popular place.
The attack bird on #5 (I believe) nearly took my hat off. Never did find the 4th T pad but navigation was pretty easy otherwise.
It's Phoenix and the city hit a new high two days before of 112. Know how to work with the heat and it's no problem. It was only 90 when I was out.
Other Thoughts: Sweet place. A bit of a drive out of Phoenix but well worth the 40 minutes there.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: -This is a beautiful area, relative to Phoenix. A lot of thought went into this park.
-Tee pads are the best I've played on so far (weird pro, I know).
-Informative tee signs on every hole.
-Grass was manicured, the park is very well kept.
-The fountain is awfully sweet, you have to admit.
Cons: -Although the park is beautiful (and I'm sure costs a lot of money to maintain), there isn't a lot of variation in the shots. I used different drivers just because I'm used to it, but realized it didn't make a difference if I used the same one for every shot.
-I should have ranked it a four, but the reason I didn't is because the passer-bys and runners were rude. All the other golfers I talked to were very nice, but people who were visiting the park for some other reason just seemed angry. I had two different encounters where I was waiting for someone to pass by on bike or foot, and I was more or less scolded for playing disc golf. Very odd.
-I saw two people lose their discs while I was there. One of them was able to retrieve it, but the other one dared not enter the murky waters. There are some holes where beginners shouldn't attempt it and if they do they should have someone standing behind to catch their disc if it goes too far.
Other Thoughts: This is very much a recreational course. I appreciated it for being just that, but I wonder if any kind of seriously competitive professional play goes down here. It was fun, though, and in the end that's all that really matters (to me, at least). However, I doubt I would want to play this course every day. If I did, it would get old pretty fast.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Fountain Hills is a gorgeous oasis in the Arizona rough, NE of Phoenix. The park itself is very easy to get to and hard to miss once you get close.
The fairways incorporate elevation changes on many of the holes, which range from lengths in the lower 200s up to the 700s and includes multiple pin positions. Fountain Hills is an excellent example of a course design that carefully incorporates the risk vs. reward aspect as the entire course circles a large pond. Especially with basket placement, shot selection and power applied must be carefully considered on each throw instead of stepping up and letting it rip.
One original aspect at Fountain Hills that I have yet to see elsewhere are the circular concrete tee pads. These tee pads were in excellent shape. The circular design is very unique and really expands the possibilities for the thrower as their approach isn't singularly confining like the traditional rectangular or the tapered trapezoidal tee pads.
The baskets at the course were in great condition. For the most part, the tee signs were also in good shape. The signs all included information about disc golf and the rules of the sport (which is good for beginners) and also depicted each pin position, length, and par.
The park is clean and is exquisitely maintained. Fountain Hills has beautiful landscaping and is incorporated into the course design, including a massive, twisted tree on hole 5 that presents at least three unique lanes from which to choose, none of which are gimmies.
Basic ammenities are also available at Fountain Hills including bathrooms, benches, and garbage cans.
Cons: By far, the biggest con to Fountain Hills is the aspect of safety. While there are a few tees that are in the same general area as other baskets (not many), the greatest danger is to the bystanders and pedestrians in the park. Far too much of the course is in close proximity to paths and other public areas. As a busy park, this poses a big problem for the general well being of the non-players that use the course.
Some of the tees incorporate a public sidewalk that runs along a thoroughfare. While distracting for the player, this could be an issue if the sidewalk was crowded and could be destracting for the motorists.
While I applaud the variety of the holes, in the same breath, there was a lot of repetition to the fairways with numerous "point & shoot" holes. For most holes with a water hazard, that water was directly on the left for most of the fairways. This seems to have an unfair bias against RHBH players.
Although finding the park is fairly easy, finding the first tee can be a bit tricky. Specific to navigation, figuring out which tee/basket is which on the last 3-4 is a little dicey (and the tee signs in this area a little funky).
Using reclaimed wastewater is what allowed the park to be created in the first place, but it's also a double-edged sword as the water at Fountain Hills is best described as gnarly. When a disc is splashed at many courses, most of the time you at least have an opportunity to wade out to retrieve the wayward plastic. At Fountain Hills, the foamy, slimy, olive green water not only hides the location of the disc but makes you seriously question whether you really want a disc back after it's been in that vast petri dish.
Other Thoughts: The fountain itself is beautiful and ads a ton of character to this diamond in the rough. The fountain and the accompanying pond have a surprising impact on the wind conditions at the course. The wind expectations for the typically arid conditions are deceptive as the mosture and temperature differences from the jetted water creates subtle gusts and updrafts that can have a dramatic impact on disc flight. Just something to consider when preparing to play this course.
Overall, I thought that Fountain Hills was a gorgeous course and surprisingly challenging. But the thing that haunts me about my experience was the danger of having a course built right on top of such a heavily used public space. The multi-use aspect of this course is ultimately its undoing, rating-wise, as the possibility of injuring a bystander is so great. Will I play this course again? If I'm in the area, absolutely. Would I recommend this course to someone playing in the Phoenix area? Definitely, but I'd temper that with a strong recommendation to focus on placement and accuracy over distance as this is the best way to keep everyone safe.
17 of 18 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Lenght and Water
Pros: Great tests of all shots Hyzer and Anhyzer for Distance.
Good Elevational changes for tees.
Water tests your never on a few holes.
Cons: Foot Traffic in park from time to time.
I found the wind to be heavy on many of the times I played maybe due to the open nature of that part of the desert?
Other Thoughts: Worth the drive from the valley to give your arm a workout from some of the shorter park courses you see in town.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 1 Not
- Extremely manicured grass course with LOTS of danger.
- Requires good shots and good judgement to keep your plastic. Literally... 13 holes have some form of water danger - never experienced this before.
- At least, the holes weren't terribly long considering the risks. But, this almost dares you to go for it.
- Wonderful tee-pads with stamped numbers (very professional). And, good tee-signs.
- They must move the baskets a lot... because they don't have the dirt rings around the baskets you usually find on grass cousres.
- To start, this course isn't in Phoenix as implied by the Phoenix (fountain hills) location description. It's in Fountain Hills! and that's at least 1/2 an hour away from Phoenix! That's like saying Sylmar is near La Mirada (not quite that close if your on a DG road trip with a time crunch). This could have screwed up the timing of my road trip... but fortunately I was still able to make it up to Flagstaff to play.
- The Water - it smells. When the fountain was going off there was this atmospheric, dense, smelly smell... can't explain it... but, I didn't enjoy the mist misting me!
- The basket number plates don't face the tee-pads... and even though it seems obvious as to where you're supposed to throw... when the number plate is facing the opposite direction... it's confusing.
- I don't know how you could play this course on a daily basis and continue to afford plastic... there's that much danger of losing discs.
- No maps at hole 1.
- As was mentioned below... this course was nothing to write home about. Water comes into play a lot; but, that's not everything. The course was short and none of the holes seem memorable. None of the shots requires a long shot across water... just shots near water.
- The fountain... although cool to see, SUCKS. Waste water mist flying everywhere... and the wind it produces messes up even the shortest putts. There is a noticeable difference betwwen fountain on and fountain off - hard vs. easy.
- I got through this course really quickly - 1:20 at most... easily navigable.
- My Score: - 3
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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