Don't knock it... play it.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: It's a very technical course that feels longer than it is because of the terrain and trees and it's in a part of the St.Louis area where there are currently no other courses to play. The tight spaces and all the skinny trees really make even an experienced player stop and think about their line, disc and approach strategy. The course gives you an opportunity for variety in both your throw style and discs used.
There are trash cans at every tee and the park is really clean.
There are really excellent score cards/maps in the box at tee-pad 1 at all times.
Although the holes at this course are mostly short by contrast to parks like Creve Coeur and Sioux Passage, there are a few that you can actually let it rip a bit on... but it has to be a very accurate rip; just a few feet off in either direction and you're going to nail a tree and turn that big drive into a big mistake. I have heard a lot of "This is a putter course" or "Every hole is an ace run" nonsense about this course, but I challenge any player who says that to even bump the basket on hole 1, 5 or 7. Even holes, like 2, with an easily reachable distance require a perfect line (and a little luck) to reach the bucket through the trees. At best, your only realistic chances of lucking into an ace are 3, 4, 6 (if you're really good) and 9.
Holes 2,5 and 7 offer a cool (and narrow) dual path to the pin scenario so that you can choose your backhand or forehand, hyzer or anhyzer throw, in an attempt to trace the best safe path to the basket.
I like that each of the baskets are bright and easy to see and have the hole number as well as the Par clearly labeled right on them to see from any direction.
Another great thing about this course is that it is ALL in the nice, shady woods; that's a BIG and welcome benefit in the summer heat.
Cons: It has some tee navigation problems for 1st time visitors who don't grab a map/scorecard: it's easy to get mixed up at the bridge that runs between tee 3 and 5. then it's a little walk down the path, over a different bridge and past the pond to 4. Hole 5 is right up the hill from 4's basket on the opposite end of the bridge you tee off 3 from and then hole 6 is at the top of the wood and stone staircase just past basket 5. Then there's 7... hmm, 7... has anyone seen 7? Well, 7 is back north into the park, across the path between the lake and the playground and NOPE, that's 9, keep walking and look to the left. Oh, there's 7. Then you walk up the stairs and past the flower garden to find... tee 8. Now, you can march back down the slope to find tee 9 and throw right back up the hill and you're done. Other issues are the worn-down dirt tee's (a couple of temporary tees were built by some Eagle Scouts, but those didn't hold up and will be overhauled soon), some occasional marshiness on the south side of the fairway on 7 and a general lack of maintenance.
Other Thoughts: When it's been raining in St. Louis (despite what it seems would be the case with a mostly dirt course) Watson Trails dries quick and can generally be played the day after a storm. Another unexpected thing on this all-woods course is that it's easy to find your disc (except for really bad throws on 7...) because there isn't much underbrush.
I'll give lot's of patience with this park right now because the grounds crew has had a lot of work to do and spent a lot of money since that New Years tornado tore the crap out of the neighborhood in front of it, destroyed the shelter and tennis courts and uprooted dozens of big trees along the front of the park by hole 1.
UPDATE: Maintenance on the course has just got underway and improvements are showing. Trash had been an issue, but there are now recepticles at almost every tee. The woodchip/mulch normally used to keep the paths and fairways from getting muddy and eroding will not be replaced due to it clogging park drains and polluting the pond. Tee 6 has a great new position that makes it easier to find and makes the hole about 3x as long. Keep your eyes out for MAJOR improvements to this course over the next 8 months or so as a new layout/design for several holes is basically approved, new teepads are approved as well as multiple pin positions and new baskets could be seen in the update. All baskets have been repaired, cleaned and relabeled.
IMPORTANT NOTES: All the tee signs are WRONG. All holes are par 3 except hole 1 is par 4... and the distances are off because this course has been rearranged several times to make room for other parks projects. It is VERY important that all DGers at this course do everything they can to be clean, considerate and well behaved. Pick up your trash and cigarette butts. Keep the "illegal activities" out of the park, please. Please don't throw at the playground equipment between 6 and 7, it really looks bad to others and the city has received many complaints about it. This park is under review and it is the behavior of the players that are going to determine it's future.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: fun little 9 hole, woody technical , signs, restrooms, soda machines, lots of ace runs, some elevation changes
Cons: no real pads, no real long holes
Other Thoughts: fun little park , nice way to warm up before goin to jefferson barracks
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Fun little confidence builder (I may have spoken too soon...)
Pros: Watson trails is a fun little course that forces you to finesse just about all but two of your drives. LOTS of young (little thin and in the freaking way) trees abound. Hole three is a great example: 100+ feet away, looking right at it, I could just about putt it, except for the forest of skinny treelings between me and the pin.
Cons: I feel that the pars are a bit overstated. This course is no more than a par 3 from any pin.
Other Thoughts: There are a couple of stone ace runs here, there's a nice lake and you can run through nine in about an hour.
If you are on the south side, I suggest playing Paul Schroeder, Bluebird and Watson in a day. All 3 are 9 hole courses and are within 10-15 minutes of each other. They are not the pinnacles of Saint Louis Disc Golf courses, but deserve their play, so make a day of the nine's once in a while.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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