Please be patient with pedestrians
8 Helpful / 0 Not
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Wow!! What a beautiful Disc Golf course with the iconic fountain and the McDowell Mountains in the background. I have the utmost respect for local disc golf leaders in convincing the city of Fountain Hills to go along with installing an 18 hole disc golf course knowing that this is one of the most walked public parks in the entire Phoenix Valley.
Amenities: Outstanding. They have excellent bathroom facilities between hole 18 and 1. There are quality restaurants adjacent to the course.
Rating: I give it a 4.0 rating. Fountain Hills is one of my favorite courses to play in the Phoenix Valley. It's mostly because of the Memorial layout. You won't fully appreciate the difficulty of the Fountain Hills course until you're under pressure to maintain or pick up strokes and you're dealing with some serious wind.
Course design/difficulty/obstacles/out-of-bounds: This course would be considered a rather open course that builds in the course difficulty by locating baskets near water or near roads and sidewalks. The course designers used the elevation changes quite nicely on a few holes. There are trees to mess with your putting on four holes. Talking to a couple of lefties they thought it favored the righty but not by much.
Course condition: Everything is mowed but plenty of duck poop to deal with. The fountain sprays water up 300' for about 15 minutes every hour between 9am and 9pm which increases the wind.
Navigability/signs/maps: Easy to follow with DGCR map. Without a map, I think it's still easy enough since you can see the upcoming tee-pads and/or baskets.
Local DG involvement: There is good leadership with the Fountain Hills Disc Golf Club. They have a weekly league. They have a website: http://www.discgolf.club
/ and a Facebook site.
Tee pads/benches/shelters/picnic tables/parking: 12' diameter circular tee-pads. The benches are located next to the sidewalk and are used by pedestrians. There are a couple shelter areas on the course. There is plenty of parking spots available.
Cons: Cons: Pedestrians are everywhere on weekends. It's best to play during the week. Please be patience.
Other Thoughts: Remember the Disc Golfer's Code:
1) Play Smart - Never throw into a blind area or when players, spectators, pedestrians, or other facility users are within range. Use a spotter.
2) Respect the Course - Observe all posted rules. No littering, graffiti, or abuse of equipment or flora.
3) Represent the Sport - Be positive and responsible. Teach others.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Most Over Rated Course in the US
3 Helpful / 33 Not
Pros: There are no pros to this course except for the fact that it looks beautiful and has a Fountain. The problem is that it looks like ball golf and not disc golf.
Cons: Courses like this are dinosaurs that should simply be pulled and forgotten. The technology has passed them by. There are virtually no obstacles, they ludicrously use arbitrarily drawn lines as artificial OB (something the PDGA should eliminate in favor of real obstacles that only penalize a player when he fails to throw out of trouble), and it becomes tantamount to a distance competition.
Other Thoughts: This sort of course may be TV friendly, but it isn't what skill based and challenging golf is all about.
It's setting the game and the marketing of the game back 35 years.
3 of 36 people found this review helpful.
Nice views and a very good course
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Outstanding park, great lake views, mountain views, nice bathrooms, running water, walking paths and restaurants all surround the course - so that covers amenities clearly in the pros.
Nice circle concrete tees on most holes. Nut utsed to that type of tees, but was interesting to have different run ups than the righties. The rest of the tees were from the concrete walking paths, so that was a nice bouns to have great footing.
Excellently manicured grass and park, with beautiful palms, bushed, and war memorials near hole one. Take the time to read them, some nice history there.
The design is interesting, as I played the Memorial layout, it was roped/flagged and had some slight modification baskets, but mostly the same as standard with some more OB.
The flow was nice & couldn't be much different (other than winding it counter-clockwise around the lake...
Before I went out, all I heard is you throw just hzyers, and as a lefty was concerned that I'd be forced into annys in the high winds - not true. All I threw was hyzers also... Its just that open of a course.
The opening 9 holes were very challenging, as a lefty, I went out over the lake about 5 of the first nine holes, played as intended > high risk = high reward when properly executed. That goes very much in to the pro section of separating talent for an event and creating skill speration on the scoreboard. As well ttaking the low risk shots could lead to fun casual play by staying safe and using the ample grass fairways.
The Fountain going off on the hour was a very cool aspect, and one that I completely now understand the mystique of this place. One you pretty much have to experience in person - the water shoots much higher than video or photos can do justice.
Mach X baskets are new, and quite nice. I personally prefer other baskets as that is a lot of chain weight to be a touch putter on, those X baskets really seem to prefer a hard push putter IMO - but that is personal preference and it still falls as a pro to have great new baskets.
Cons: The peninsula holes were indeed fun, but after those I felt a lot of the back 9 were similar - long throws with not much in the way of trees of obstacles.
The attempt to overcome that was to have Hole 13 (I believe) have a tree 10 feet in front of the tee, offering only a low hyzer, very skinny lane up the middle, or skip flick... Interesting way to manufacture the feel of a wooded hole, a con in my book, but I'm an east coast player that has the luxury of many trees to force a shaped shot instead of one tree. Maybe with more play I might change my mind on this holes as it did break up the monotony of throwing me slightly overstable distance driver on nearly every hole after 9...
Other Thoughts: I loved having several places within walking distance to eat after rounds, something very few courses can offer.
Overall, a great place to play disc golf. The mystique of the Memorial was excellent to see in person & an experience more golfers should come to, even if only to spectate.
The course was indeed a good course, the design absolutely maximizes the property available, and uses nearly every piece of grass in the park. The variety is limited the the park shape and available land itself, so I cannot fault the design, only wish that the park was bigger...
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
iconic, if a little overrated
14 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.
**Like this review? Hate it? Message me and let me know why! I want to make them better!**
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
Kenny Rogers Classic
8 Helpful / 5 Not
Contrasting scenery - interesting coloured (and smelling?!) man-made lake (with fountain in middle), surrounded by green grass, surrounded by a trio of roads, surrounded by distant, semi-barren hills.
Challenging greens - some near water, some near slopes, some near both!
In the water = disc loss.
Fairly flat and open
Course plays counterclockwise around a man-made lake. The first half of the course will always have looming out-of-bounds - either the water to the left, or pavement to the right. Holes lengthen and water/pavement come into play less on the back nine, as there is more space between the lake and the road. Overall, decent variety in distances - I threw mid, fairway, and distance drivers from the circular teepads.
There are a few scattered trees and random bits of elevation, but there are minimal shot-shaping challenges here. The primary question here is - how much of a gambler are you? With ~1/3rd of the baskets near water, and a few other baskets near pavement, how confident/bold (deluded/foolish) are you about your accuracy?
Not sure how crowded this public park typically is, but on a hot Tuesday mid-afternoon, it was practically empty! Both the walking path and enticing open space could have other park users occupying them when the temperatures are cooler.
If you like the contrast of open but simultaneously requiring accuracy, too, you'll find this course appealing.
8 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Fountain Hills Fun!
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: The fountain: it's just too iconic! I think the new Innova calendar has a picture of it? Anyway, playing around the fountain is pretty awesome.
The challenge: there is a water hazard on virtually every hole. Water in the desert? It's all here. Challenge yourself with some risky throws over the water. If your disc goes in, you might still be able to recover it - the water is cold, but shallow. We always bring water shoes just in case.
Cons: The pedestrians: they're everywhere! Gotta be careful. Some baskets are right next to the sidewalk too. Most of the walkers out here are retirees - please don't hit grandma with an errant drive.
The duck poop: this is also everywhere. Be sure to wipe your feet often. It's unavoidable - if you don't step in it, your disc will probably land in some.
The drive: takes a while to get out there... But it's worth it!
Other Thoughts: Too cool. If you live in AZ and haven't played this course yet, go play it!
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
10 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.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 6 Not
Course Would be Perfect if it Wasn't for the People
Pros: I can't say enough good things about the course. The layout is challenging, but manageable if you're not afraid of water. There are minor elevation changes that affect your shot choices as well as several trees close the baskets and tees. The fountain that goes off every hour provides a unique challenge as the winds it produces are enough to blow a disc significantly off-line. The course uses the new DGA Mach X baskets which add a very professional feel to the course and are very solid catching discs.
Cons: People. This park is very busy, especially on the weekends. Almost every weekend there is some kind of event that is held in an area that makes several holes unplayable. Check the calender of events on the park website if you plan to visit. But even on a weekday, there are many, many people using the paths around the lake, which, unfortunately, are very close to the fairways and the risk of hitting someone really detracts from playing.
Other Thoughts: Pay close attention to the tee locations on the back 9, sometimes what looks like the next tee is actually two baskets ahead.
2 of 8 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.
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