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.
0 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: I can't say it better than the previous reviewer. I just need to say as a beginner I do encourage you to play the course if you truly want to become better. This course will make you a better player because you must strategically place most shots. I will never forget this course.
Cons: This course is also a busy walking and jogging area. Alot of people are around picnicing. You have to be aware at all times of people in your way.
Other Thoughts: I will dream of this course. It was a wonderful priveledge to play it.
0 of 6 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Course is located around a lake which has the largest fountain in the United Sates. There are lots of high risk/reward shots here. Tons of water hazards, but you can easily play it safe. The fairways are grass and have lots of elevation changes, when it's not around the lake. The course utilizes the water and trees very well. The tee pads are circular and are really big. If you want to take a different direction than what most people do, it's easy to take a different route because the tee pads are circular. The baskets are in excellent shape and are in great positions. A lot of times they are guarded by trees or on a peninsula. My favorite holes were shooting from one peninsula to another. The views are amazing when the fountain is going, and the surrounding area is beautiful.
Cons: The course is not recommended to beginners. There are a lot of chances to lose a disc and that can be discouraging to new players. There are a few long walks where you can get lost, but if you have a map it's fine. When it rains, there are a lot of small ponds or very big puddles.
Other Thoughts: This is an amazing course, but it should not be played by beginners. The wind can get crazy at times. There are several steep greens where missed puts can roll into the water, so be aware.
If you mark this review unhelpful or you find a mistake, please send me a personal message here on DGCR explaining what is wrong with it.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Fountain Hills Park was established in 1981 as one of the premier disc golf courses in the state of Arizona. Because of the layout, challenge, and maintenance, it is also used in "The Memorial" every year, which is one of if not the highest paying National Tournaments in our nation. This 18 hole pro level caliber course is not for the faint of heart. It challenges even the best pros around the world, expecting pin point accuracy off the tee and in the fairway. Bad putts are often punished by tough roll aways that often end up in the drink. To add insult to injury, the wind tends to pick up and can wreck havoc on a nice finesse shot as it carries your disc past the basket, over the green, and again into the water.
Hole one starts players off just pass the memorial statue which is where I am guessing the name came from, and has players playing counter clockwise around the park. Several of the holes tend to play along or over the water, but many holes also play in the middle of the grassy park. Although holes range from 207-472 feet, there are several chances for some birdies. However, most of the holes just over 200 feet have baskets located at the end of a peninsula. Because of this, it makes those short shots high risk, high reward, which I happen to love. Most fairways are wide open with the occasional tree as an obstacle. However, the course designers did a fantastic job incorporating them by placing many of the tee pads or baskets strategically behind them. I found multiple holes where an Olive or Palm tree was blocking the most direct route from the box, so I had to choose another route which made things that much more difficult. Although this course had a lot of memorable holes, holes six and fifteen were my favorites. Hole six was 206 feet (shortest on the course) and had players throwing from one peninsula to another with no room for error. I took a lot of pleasure parking it under the basket considering the amount of faith one must have as you release. Hole fifteen was an elevated tee shot, and the longest hole, throwing from the sidewalk back down toward the lake. It is often the shot people take when looking for a great photograph as the basket is tucked behind some Palm trees with the fountain shooting high up in the air. It is absolutely breathtaking!
The course has large circular tee pads with numbers etched in to them, which grip well and are rather large. This works well for any kind of thrower. Baskets are all Mach III's and are in good shape, durable, and catch well. Tee signs are informative, showing hole number, distance, par, and any major obstacles. Baskets are located near holes one and eighteen, as well as a place to fill up water. There are several stores for food and shopping nearby in Fountain Hills, and is only 30 minutes away from downtown Scottsdale.
This course was in such great shape that I really couldn't find a whole lot wrong with it. However, the water in the lake is absolutely disgusting! The algae and feces inside could create some serious health concerns if you were to go in. Sandals or not, you should be using a disc retriever or just writing it off as a lost disc. Trust me.
Ever since I heard about this course 10 years ago I have wanted to get down to Arizona. There is a reason this course is known as a destination course and has been permanently put on the NT circuit, it is that good. The course is so picturesque, challenging, and a whole lot of fun! I felt like a kid as I ran around on an almost empty course playing while my wife walked with me taking photos. Besides the fact that you get to see the largest fountain in the US, you get to also see all sorts of cacti, birds, and other native plants while walking on plush green grass around a huge disc golfing park. In my opinion, it was the best course I played while here. Although I rather enjoyed Buffalo Ridge and Vista Del Camino, I came down here from the Northwest (Seattle, Wa) for this course. It was worth the plane ticket and if you are ever in the area, I highly recommend it!
NOTE: Fountain Hills has the largest fountain in the world, shooting water up to 562 feet in the air. It is quite the site and is active for about 15 minutes each hour. It makes for some beautiful photo ops.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Truly a Phoenix area destination course
Pros: On a humid August afternoon, we decided to get out and play the most famous course in the Phoenix area, and home to the Memorial. Driving out to Fountain Hills definitely puts one in a great mood, with beautiful surroundings, mountains, cactus, etc.. After picking up some beverage, and a big plastic mug to put it in, we were all set.
Arriving at the course in a time share vibe neighborhood, we found beautifully manicured grass parkways and palm trees surrounding a pleasantly sized and shaped man-made lake with a big circle of metallic arms standing out in the middle. You could see the course, wrapping its way all around the lake.
We stepped up to the 1st nicely paved concrete tee, and we noticed the beautiful tee sign. It had a nice map of the 1st hole, and then next to it, a mini-map of the entire course! I was like "damn, that has to be the coolest tee sign I've ever seen!" What I didn't know is that every single hole has the same kind of tee sign, with a mini-map of the course. You'll always know where you are, where you're throwing, where you came from, and where you're going. This is brilliant, and I will recommend this kind of signage where ever I travel in the future.
The second thing we noticed was the curious lack of the occasional sound of chains. Nothing but silence. We had the entire course to ourselves. Not once during the entire late afternoon and evening did we see anyone else out there with a disc. Only a few people strolling or jogging along the path, and they didn't get in the way of our play, either (i.e., for more than a few seconds).
Many of the holes play right along side the lake, working counter-clockwise so that the water hazard is always to the left. This is obviously designed to foil right-handed backhand throws that fade out left. I lost 2 discs way out in the lake early on when I went for turn-overs that instead stabilized and faded left into the water. Even though I lost these discs, I was still having a blast, and I loved the challenge of having the water nearby on so many holes. I did find that I could walk into the water a ways in some places with my water sandals (the underlying concrete is grippy) and retrieve discs that were less than 6 feet or so out from the edge.
The lakeside has some small sculpted peninsulas that jut out into the water, upon which you'll find small trees, and a few baskets. These several holes are amazing, teeing off from one peninsula onto another, with a narrow landing zone and little room for error. Lay up too short, you're wet. Run at it long, you're wet. Land on edge, and it rolls, you're wet. This is superb challenge, and most of the wet tosses are retrievable, so the risk is not as great as one might otherwise think.
The course uses the available topography incredibly well. There were big downhill throws, big uphill throws, small down and up, etc..
The flow of the course and the way the various fairways are arranged was also superb. The designer(s) put a lot of thought into the arrangement, my hat is definitely off to them. Like others have noted, it is really amazing how many trees come into play, even though there aren't a lot of trees on the course. For each tree, they found its maximum confounding placement on the fairway. There were also a good mixture of distances, from long throws where you can grip and rip it to short holes where touch is everything. The course is also extremely well-maintained. Not a blade of grass was out of place. The baskets were all nice, and in good shape. There were clean restrooms available near the parking lot. The neighbors who came out to watch as the sun sank in the sky and the air cooled off were all very friendly.
Then there is the fountain, which is pretty impressive. It is really fun to see it going periodically, and adds a wonderful element to the feel of the course. And very scenic too...the wonderful views of four peaks and red mountain that you get to see as the sun sets, turning the sky into a stunning canvas of blues, oranges, pinks, reds, purples...
Cons: Nothing major I can think about.
Other Thoughts: The lack of seclusion on the course is something that was different, and definitely kept us minding our Ps and Qs, being very low profile, etc.. Bring plenty of water (duh, its Arizona). Bring a pair of water sandals or a golden retriever, you'll get good use from these. Bring a picnic, and spend the day!
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Well manicured grass, concrete tees, easy map read, clean course that surrounds a lake with a tourist destination high stream fountain in an upscale city area, aesthetic course to play. First nine holes are shorter and a bit more technical (basket placement) for warming up where as the back nine are longer and more open.
Cons: The water is dirty, do not swim for a disc, reclaimed water, not worth getting sick over a lost disc, carry a string trap retriever and a water driver and a floating putter. Drinking water not readily available mid-course.
Other Thoughts: This is a must play course for Arizona, Phoenix metropolitan area due to everything together making up a great experience for disc golf. Shots long, left and right, technical with good use of elevation for some long shots. Trees become a factor and you are throwing through "V" in big trees. Very satisfying when you thread a fast long drive through a needle hole in a tree...
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 4 Not
i live there!
Pros: I play this course every day! this course is hard Its wide open but what little trees they have really come into play for example. a good drive may look great but as you approach there is a small tree in the way that did not seem apparent before. This course is a fairly long with the first 9 being mostly short holes where placement is critical for a birdie. the next 9 are longer holes that are still doable but if your arm isnt tossing 400+ feet then these hole can still make par. the thing i love most about this course is that the first half really warms up my arm so when i get to the back noince the long holes seem shorted because im all loose, relaxed and ready to throw 400 ft.!
Cons: the lake is dirty! and the fountain will come on and occasionally spray you with nasty waste water! watch out on windy days. the lake comes into play A LOT so ameturs beware this lake has NO visibility what so ever so prepare to fish or get wet! my word of advice never throw you favorite fly-dyed disc or whatever near any water there is a chance you may not ever see it again :( trust me this has hapened to me! the other huge problem is that the park is filled with people unaware of the disc golf happenings and they may just wander into fairways without knowing. BE AWARE!
Other Thoughts: play this course you will not be dissapointed with the level of difficulty! or fun that comes with it
4 of 8 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.
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