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.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Championship level course
Pros: Set in a beautiful park so unlike any other of the Phoenix courses Fountain Hills plays around the edge of a lake and is covered in actual green grass. There is good length throughout the course with a good mix of left, right, and overhand shots. Only mild elevation but it is put to good use with tee shots up and downhill. The grounds are beautifully kept with giant circular tee pads that are a great addition with the multiple pin placements offered.
The extra pin placements are what make this a high caliber course. Water is in play for 8 of the front 9 holes with pins within 20-35ft. of the water's edge and all at distance. Makes for very interesting choices off the tee and approaches. Extra plastic is must as you will most likely drop one in the drink. It forces you to think and be precise with your throws as well as skips off the short turf.
The back 9 plays away from the water and also stretches out a bit with a picturesque 500 footer from on top of the hill that is reachable with the right oomph. The entire course is easily navigable and the signage clearly directs to the next tee.
Cons: The front 9 favors the RHBH hyzer and the hyzer only. The water does not smell nice and it wants to suck in plastic. Quite a bit of foot traffic on the weekend even in the morning but the locals have some sort of clue about the sport and will be out of the way. The back, while away from water and longer is a bit wide open, I'm sure alternate pins force more thought to tee shots but it's very straightforward.
The course is over 30mins outside of Phoenix/Scottsdale but has facilities/stores nearby.
Other Thoughts: This is a fantastic course that forces you to think about your shots and will test your confidence in your drives. The water really factors into the course and they use it well if not a bit too much on the front. Easily the best overall course in the Phoenix area in terms of difficulty, setting, amenities, shot diversity, and overall character. The one course to hit in the Phoenix area when here, there's a reason the Memorial is contested here, it's a true high level course.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: I really enjoyed the prestine course. Plenty of length and technical shots with the pins so close to the water.
Cons: Lots of people in the park. Benches between tee pad and baskets with people sitting there right in the way. Short tee pads and as nice as the water looks it's disgusting, if you lose a disc good luck getting it out!
Other Thoughts: Bring discs that float and a long fishing net to retrieve them. Over all I loved it.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Beautiful course in my hometown
Pros: Beautiful manicured grass park.
A wide variety of shots; some wide open for a nice big drive, some shorter but with lots of water to consume your discs.
Restrooms, playground, shops nearby... bring the kids!
I feel that the holes are very well designed, and the park itself is totally unique for a desert course.
Cons: Smells funny sometimes...no joke.
All the reviews about duck/goose crap are right on.
The water is NAAAASSSTY!!! If you can somehow retrieve your disc if it has gone in the water, you might wanna consider some hand sanitizer or something. (Nursing student talking here.)
Lots of non DG traffic, esp. on weekends and when the weather is nice. YELL FORE!!
Other Thoughts: I am a beginner/novice player, so when I review courses, it is from that standpoint... just a matter of disclosure. I feel OK about this, 'cause it doesn't seem like there are very many reviews written by anyone of my level of experience.
That said, if the baskets on this course are in the "C" position (or even "B"), and you are not an experienced player, this course will EAT YOUR LUNCH! (And the water will feast upon your discs as well.)
However, I literally learned how to play the game on this course, so if you are looking to jump right into the fire as a newbie, this is a good place to do it. As a result of learning on this course, other courses seem fairly manageable by comparison.
This is a must-play course if you're in the metro Phoenix (especially Scottsdale) area.
Water is in serious play on holes:
1, 2, 6, 7, 8, and 16. In my opinion, the 1st hole is actually the most soul-crushing water hazard.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: decent signs.
baskets at every hole.
almost like playing a real golf course.
Cons: teepads are circular and rather small which makes for less run up than I like. Some teepads are actually just part of the side walk that goes around the park. I was not impressed at all with these teepads, and some of the placement was horrendous. One hole has a bench and two trees less than 10 feet away, and a little off center. I'm all for obstacles, but this was ridiculous.
This is one of the greenest public places i've seen in the phoenix area. This causes several problems, The biggest problem I had with this course was the difficulty of playing with other park users. Families with picnics set up around baskets. People relaxing in the shade of trees all over the course including trees 15 feet in front of the tees. We had to skip one hole completely and shoot way off target on a few others to safely avoid other park users.
My second issue with a green course: I've played tons of grass courses in the mdiwest. I'm sure it's nice for residents in the area to play something other than rock, dirt, and pine trees, but for me, it just seemed out of place.
There were multiple pins for a few holes, but many times this just meant multiple baskets. I'm used to baskets being moved from time to time not three baskets to choose from on a hole. It was a little tricky since the tee signs were good, but not that good.
Other Thoughts: Overall I was fairly annoyed by this course. Granted I played on a sunday afternoon, so the traffic of other park users was probably at it's worst, but it made the course almost unplayable.
I wasn't impressed with the teepads themselves, and while the course was pretty, it would be more fitting in another part of the country.
2 of 9 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Enjoy the scenery
Pros: What a nice park this is set in! Great views of the mounitans surround the area. Park is nice and clean, trash cans everywhere and the fairways are nearly as neat and clean as a ball golf course. The signs are in great shape, not vandalized. The fountain in the middle of the lake is pretty cool to watch when it goes off. As far as the actual course, each hole has giant circle teepads, a little unique, but providing plenty of room to throw. Signs on every hole that shows the hole as well as a map of the whole course so you know exactly where you are at. Baskets were in great shape. Water is a factor on a number of holes, but not so much that it creates too my of a hazard and detracts from the enjoyment. There is some minor elevation changes and there are just enough trees with the baskets carefully placed to provide a challenge. A few shorter holes with some longer ones on top of a slight hill that begs for you to let them rip.
Cons: This is a course in a public park. This means few trees, mowed grass everywhere with no underbrush, and a walking trail right next to some of the holes that can cause delays with other park users. I definately prefer heavily wooded courses that are isolated from other park users. Though there are some trees on the course, not enough to provide too much of a challenge.
Other Thoughts: Overall this is a nice disc golf course in a park. Very clean and well maintained. If you are looking for water holes, you won't find a course in the area with more than this course. However this park lacks the challenges of careful placement and choosing difficult lines by not having more trees. For me an open course is kind of a boring course. However with that said, the baskets are placed in just the right spots to maximize the challenge on each hole. This course is definately a welcome change from the Phoenix area courses and is definately worthy of playing again.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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