25 Helpful / 8 Not
The best of the worst
Pros: - Nicest course in Phoenix area
- Fountain Hills has beautiful scenery
- Course is challenging but playable at every skill level
- Full amenities including cafe, bathrooms, and nice parking lot
- Nice large round teepads
Cons: - Plays like a ball golf course, not disc golf
- Bird crap everywhere
- Shots away from the "lake" are boring and unimaginative
- Meandering elderly residents are annoying and prevalent
- 200' Feces cannon (see details below)
Other Thoughts: I usually go to Fountain Hills for the Memorial layout. This rating is for that layout, I may rate this course lower for the regular layout.
This course is the nicest course in the phoenix area. That isn't saying much with the lack of quality courses in PHX. It is oriented around a large "lake" (reservoir), with a huge fountain in the middle. More on the lake and fountain later.
I firmly believe that disc golf holes should play differently than ball golf holes. In ball golf, fairways are largely open and the object of the game is to control where the ball hits the ground and stops. Discs have the ability to fly, and disc golfers have the ability to shape the flight of their discs. This allows disc golf holes to force a golfer to shape the actual flight of the disc instead of merely manage where and how it lands. This is the fundamental difference between ball and disc golf (besides the projectile). Ball golf holes are a series of landing zones, disc golf is a fluid and dynamic flight path.
Fountain hills plays like a ball golf course. Each hole consists of a teepad and a few landing zones. One landing zone will be by the pin (the green), and one or more will be for layups. If you go for the pin zone and miss, you are in the water. Between the teepad and the landing zones is open space. Sure, there are a smattering of trees on the course, but nothing to actually make you shape the flight of your disc. The only point of Fountain Hills is to control where and how your disc impacts the landing zone. Most greens are sloped towards the water so if you come in hot you will skid right in. If you miss a putt and land on edge, you will roll in. This is not enjoyable disc golf for me. It may make for good ball golf design, but it is not disc golf.
Now on to the "lake". It is a roundish cavity with a concrete bottom. It is filled with reclaimed water. Reclaimed water is chemically treated sewage. Yes, you are playing disc golf around a mammoth glorified toilet bowl. Unlike other disc golf courses, if you miss your shot, you will literally be in deep $hit. The water is slimy and smelly. Birds crap in the water and all over the course. If this picture was making you queasy, let me describe the cherry on top. They decided that a giant holding tank of sewage wasn't quite grand enough, so they constructed a 200' sewage geyser in the middle. I will admit that the giant feces cannon looks impressive, but damn, really? On the plus side, the truly hazardous nature of the water hazard makes every shot for the green a life or death affair. It takes cajones to throw your favorite disc towards certain death looking for the bird.
For all its faults, Fountain Hills is still by far the best course in the Phoenix area. Yes, playing ball golf with discs around a toilet bowl while a feces cannon fires every 15 minutes provides the best disc golf experience in Phoenix.
25 of 33 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.
0 Helpful / 7 Not
Beautiful park/course setting
Pros: Absolutely beautiful park setting and location. Local club very lucky to have such an ideal park for a course. Easy to navigate around is a huge plus. Great use of local trees for tee and basket locations.
Cons: Must always watch for other park users/walkers. Many fairways run close to park paths.
Other Thoughts: Love the overall layout of this course.
0 of 7 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Nice mowed grass
Large Tee Pads
Plenty of Water
Some nice LONG tee shots
Cons: Very little variety in the shots
Bird Droppings Everywhere
Tee Pads are located directly in the line of where the sprinklers water the most so they were wet and surrounded by mud
Other Thoughts: This has the potential to be an AWESOME course. Unfortunately I could have....and basically did play it with 2 discs....a driver and a putter. Do to the lack of variety of shots I played it with the same driver and putter on every hole. Also its a bummer that the lake is reclaimed water.....making it disgusting...so if you have a disc 3 feet from the bank (which I did on one hole) you feel like your going to contract a disease retrieving it. If the baskets were moved to create a greater variety of shots I'd rank this a top course for sure. As it is I'd call it little more than a trip to a nice open field for practice.
4 of 10 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 14 Not
Pros: Tee signs, Views, Fountain, Layout, Nice mowed park, Giant teepads
Cons: people, water , duck droppings
Other Thoughts: One of those courses that if you visit the Phoenix area its a MUST play! I played it on Springbreak and the weather was perfect. Great course, really long. You circle the man made lake where all the grass is irrigated with reclaimed water and at the top of every hour if the wind is 10pmh or less the US's tallest fountain goes off offering great picture opportunities. The teepads are circular and big, the use of the few trees on the course is great and it makes you shape different shots, and you can really air it out if need be.
0 of 14 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 3 Not
Beautiful Fountain Hills
Pros: Excellent course with many challenges including trees, pond and some mild elevation changes. Several holes close to the ponds edge require accuracy and precision with comfortable grass course surrounding the pond. Complete with 300 foot water fountain in the middle that goes off on the hour. Well designed and maintained, Fountain Hills will always be one of my favorites and a destination course.
Cons: Only a couple. Mainly the pedestrian issue. The park is surrounded by a higher end community so there are a lot of residents in the neighborhood that use the park regularly. The second is the road that circles the park. It's a bit close so errant throws may be an issue.
Other Thoughts: Buy a disc retriever for those throws that end up in the pond. You probably won't want to wade in after it with all the water fowl using the pond...
0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Fantastic Must-Play Course
Pros: - Being from St. Louis, playing in the morning with no humidity was right away a huge bonus for me. It is a totally different feeling not having the humidity wear you down all round long.
- The tee pads and maps at each hole are one-of-a-kind and give accurate readings of each hole as well as an entire map of the entire course around the lake. The circle tee pads and very unique and allow you to take multiple different angles to tee off.
- Some may not think so, but the fact that water is in play on so many holes adds a great risk/reward factor to the course. Each throw must be precise and not just wildly thrown to avoid the waster OB. This is not a course for beginners, and playing so well on it made me feel very good about my skill.
- Aesthetically, there are very few courses that can compare. The mountain ranges in the distant background add a very welcome back drop to the course. And obviously, the 300 ft fountain is phenomenal. Its so unique and Ive never seen anything like it. The fountain is reason enough to go to this park, we are just very lucky to have a disc golf course around a pristine park.
Cons: - As many people have said before, the lake water is NASTY! Its recycled toilet water, allowing the fountain to use so much water. The locals say its "1 step away from drinking", but i dont believe it. Be very careful around the water and, if you go in after your disc, make sure you dont have any open cuts or wounds, they could very easily become infected.
- Bystander safety is another big con keeping this course from being a near perfect course. Multiple tee pads are part of the sidewalk, which, while unique and intriguing, is very hazardous and can slow your play up if there are a lot of people out walking. Also, many shots require you to shoot out and over the sidewalk, over bystanders, which can be very dangerous.
- Not necessarily a con of the course, but I was dive bombed by a bird that has a nest very close to the basket of #7. TWICE. I know I was intruding into her area, but it scared the **** out of me and was just a negative to those rounds. But this is nothing against the course, just a warning to fellow golfers.
Other Thoughts: This is easily one of, if not the best courses Ive ever played. Everything about this course is so unique the risk/reward of the lake shots make you want to keep playing again and again just to watch a perfect shot fly over the lake and land near the basket. While I did lose one of my favorite drivers, it was still a pleasure to play and well worth the risk of losing more discs to go back and play twice more. If you live anywhere near Fountain HIlls or plan on vacationing to the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, you must play this course at least once
6 of 7 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.
4 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: The course layout is fantastic. I love the tees, nice circle cement pads. Very official looking. The grass is kept up well, and makes it feel like you're playing on a regular golf course, especially with all the old folks around asking what you're playing.
Variety of holes and options for drives. There are 500+ holes on the back 9, and a couple 180-220.
This course is difficult to score well on, but this is a positive for me. (the tougher the better!!) At least half the holes have water in play.
Cons: Pedestrian traffic can be annoying here. But this never really bothers me as I'll just skip a hole and make up for the miss somewhere else (i.e. I'm not anal about playing the holes sequentially).
This course is totally out in the open, so if you're looking for some seclusion (ahhemmmm 420) you'll be hard-pressed to find it.
During the summer, when they water the park, the grass remains soggy for a while, rendering the course a marsh full of goose scat and mud. This can be a pain, but then again most people are not crazy like me and don't play this course in the heat of summer.
Very little shade on this course!
Other Thoughts: I love this course. Yeah it's a drive, and yeah you might lose some discs.....but it's easily the best course in the Phx area. Play it!
4 of 7 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 1 Not
Wow and Yikes!
• Course is easy to find
• Nice location with some cool scenery (Helloooo big a$$ fountain!)
• Warm-up areas
• Baskets are in good shape
• A great variety of shot shapes
• Tee pads are in good shape
• Tee/distance makers are in good shape though conspicuously missing a basket indicator and at least one had a basket in a position that wasn't on the map. I'll confess, the lack of basket indicators was quite a shock on such a well reviewed course.
• Map is printed on every hole. Very good idea.
• Multiple basket positions throughout the course
• Benches, restrooms, water, and a playground.
• Dog Friendly
• Restaurants nearby
• Quite a few baskets are REALLY close to the water
• Lots o'goose and other animal poop
• People, people and more people all over the course and only a mild interest in not being in your way
• Roads/Cars are in play on a couple holes
• Park in the parking lot. There's not an obvious sign to turn down El Lago Blvd from Saguaro Blvd, but no worries if you pass it. Just circle around the park.
• Go when the park is empty
• Be an advanced player before attempting, unless you like buying new discs.
• There's no way I'd advise going in that water. It's naztee.
• The numbering got a little screwy from 15-18. Someone had taped over the original numbers with new numbers. Not sure why, but it's pretty easy to figure out where you are on the course.
Wow, somebody is not ready for this course (Is that my hand in the air? Why yes it is). This course is hard, really hard. I understand why they have tournaments here. I actually wasn't going to play here but we happened to be driving by so ya gotta go, right? I'm glad I went but I probably won't be going back for a while. Half the holes on this course have water in play. That's IN PLAY. Not nearby. Not where it penalizes bad throws. IN PLAY. You must be precise to avoid it on quite a few holes, and I'll qualify that the baskets were in the 'screw you' positions on the day I was there (maybe there was a tournament around that time, I don't know). And if it's not bad enough that the baskets are that close to the water, the areas around the baskets all slope towards...wait for it...that's right...the water! So say hello to possibly rolling into the water even on a good shot. And we haven't gotten to the really fun part yet. What's that? There are more challenges besides the $20 ker-splashes? Yes, it's the freaking 100 other people in the park strolling or lounging about. I gotta be honest. I'm not sure if putting a disc course here was the best idea and I love me some disc courses. I even like this one. But unfortunately, with the tightness of the space and the amount of other 'stuff' happening, we had to adjust and/or skip holes on more than a few occasions. I mean, there was a camera crew that just waltzed out into our fairway to film something for goodness sakes, and yes, they saw us throwing. On another hole, a lady saw us and just kept right on walking her dog right into our fairway. One of the rudest things I've seen in a while, so yes, we threw right at her. Take that! Getting back to the course, the holes that are not near water also present challenges, usually in the form of tree placements. One hole in particular (#11 I think) has the basket pinned between two trees, which we all thought was pretty cool. Truthfully, each of those holes is unique in its use of trees and basket placements. Overall, it's a nicely varied course from one hole to the next and I'd imagine everyone having a different favorite. I personally enjoyed bombing it off the hill on #15, just missing the aforementioned camera crew. That'll learn 'em.
While I can appreciate the skill level that this course demands, I still question its location. I'm curious if I just happened to catch it on a busy day, but it was a weekday at 4:00PM. Doesn't quite add up. But with that said, it is well designed, well cared for, and absolutely a must play...if you're an advanced player. If you're less than an advanced player, umm, throw your friend's discs. =P
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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