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.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Beautiful Course Not For The Faint of Heart!
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.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Fun course, worth the trip!
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.
2 Helpful / 19 Not
Not for me
Pros: It had a lot of features that I wish other courses had. Good signage, good navigation, great tee pads, strategic trees.
Cons: I would never place a disc golf course around this waste water retention pond. It's hard to believe this cesspool is a feature in what appears to be a nice suburban development. To top it off, this feature comes into play with some very difficult pin placements.
2 of 21 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 23 Not
Pros: Just one ofThe Best Disc Golf courses to play ! Nice Grass !!! Cool Fountain !
Great Weather ! Close to stores !
Cons: Lot's of Water ! Lot's of Water !
Lot's of Water !
Other Thoughts: Sweet Course ! Nice Teepads. Cool water shots !
1 of 24 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Outstanding public course
Pros: -Well manicured public park
-Free to play for such a nice course
-Distinct fairways with obstacles at a variety of distances put shot placement at a premium
-Scenic park large concrete teepads and baskets in good condition
Cons: -It's a public park, and a BUSY one. Expect to wait for other disc golfers ahead of you, and expect to have to avoid pedestrians/people picnicing/kids flying kites/old people/kids riding bikes/people walking the dog/and possibly the kitchen sink.
Other Thoughts: Damn this park is packed.... But its also has a famous PDGA major played at it.
GET HERE IF YOU CAN!
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 13 Not
A course exists here, but why?
Pros: The teepads. Circular teepads. I was skeptical at first. But after two holes I was hooked. Why have other courses not adopted this?
I hit a long putt on 17. My disc was covered in bird droppings after hitting some that was stuck to the chains and had been left in the basket by some jerk bird. Could not believe that my disc was covered in so much crap. It made me and my friend laugh all the way to the bar across the street and for the rest of my vacation. Pretty sorry "pro" for a course, but it lightened the mood considerably.
That's all, folks.
Cons: Flat. Being located in a toilet bowl does not constitue elevation.
No vegetation or trees. 8 stunted toothpicks does not equate slightly wooded.
Random people on the disc golf course. I have played courses where people are having a picnic or playing football, or whatever. But not everytime. All over the course. That is home to a major week long event. In a park that is the central theme of the city. You would think that after a couple of years the population would get the hint that a disc golf course was present. Nah!!! Right in front of the tee pad or basket is the perfect place to pose for a chalk portrait, or for high schoolers to make out on a blanket, or a photographer to set up a tripod and shoot pictures of the playground, or a flock of geese to all crap at the same time. Whatever, just don't land your disc on the land, because it is actually just a collection of avian scat. Try shooting for the water, it is much more clean.
Easy. Baskets next to the water. Oooooohhhhh, so tough....not. Maybe once, but that is the only challenge this course presents. And that is only challenging if your only disc is an Epic that has been sitting on your dashboard for the entirety of an Arizona summer and you are attempting to play every shot, including putts, as a roller. Ever tried to roll a putt up a basket and under the cage and into the cage? You have to hit the pole just right with the perfect spin. Now that is a challenge.
Did I mention the smell? Kinda like a nursing home died. In a swamp.
Other Thoughts: What sort of scat freaks build the world's largest fountain in the middle of a pond of skank? Where were all of the people at the city meeting when this idea was put forward? Did they actually think this was a good idea, or did it just get pushed through the city council in a lame duck session as pork to contractor that happened to be a friend of the mayor?
Here is a suggestion. Pull the course out of the "park". Put it in the foothills that surround the city.
10 of 23 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 1 Not
Ideal park course
Pros: Large, spread out course with calm scenery. Course is so spread out in fact that I think it deters crowding, although the day we were there we were one of two groups in the entire park. Each hole provides a different challenge, which is good because redundancy drives me insane. Holes range between flat and maybe about 40' of rolling elevation. While the lake is in play on a good number of holes, the foliage and elevation help to create challenging birdie attempts to the advanced player. The beginner player will find each hole on this course an obtainable three but would be hard pressed for very many birdies. A couple holes had more than one pin set up which is always nice.
Cons: Walking path meandering through the course could prove to get busy. It wasn't when we were there, however we encountered more than enough of the oblivious types that pay no attention to the golfer. Varying grass quality creates an inconsistent field for roller attempts. Could be difficult to find your way around on the first attempt without a map. We had a map and had no navigational issues.
Hole 12 is depicted on the map as starting by the amphitheater, however this is a vicious lie and the tee pad is actually up by the street.
Other Thoughts: This is in my mind, an ideal park course. We have a few alright ones here in Los Angeles, but when I think 'ideal park course,' I think Fountain Hills. Just a great blend of modern golf holes with their own challenges, some long some short, and golf that makes you think. The lake is present in a few holes although the course rarely has you throwing directly over it. I only went in once and it was due to a really lame cut roller. The previously mentioned bird shit and negativity about the fountain did not apply to us...we found the park to be meticulously maintained and found the fountain impressive. The fact that we were one of two groups on the course let us play at our own pace which is something that does affect my zen levels when at a park, so that came very appreciated. All in all, a fun place to golf, great for groups, and a piece of land that showcases our sport in a rather positive way to the rest of the world. Can't wait to return.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: Beautiful scenery
Layout is challenging for beginner or pro
Only need 3-4 discs
Grass like a ball golf course
Cons: Occasional wait for sunbather or walker
Lost discs in water
Other Thoughts: Beautiful and fun a course - there are more challenging courses but FH is a classic
0 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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