12 Helpful / 1 Not
Green Desert Gem
Pros: Located near major thoroughfares and not far from bustling Scottsdale, Vista Del Camino is fairly easy to get to. The course sits in a beautiful city park and is an asset to the local DG community.
Vista Del Camino, also known as Shelly Sharpe Memorial Disc Golf Course, features extensive use of water OB, with several holes serving as great examples of risk vs. reward. Good use of trees as obstacles and multiple pin positions give the players lots of options in terms of shot selection and possible routes. The variety of hole lengths ranged from the low 200s through the mid 400s. Whenever possible, fairways played the infrequent and subtle elevation changes.
The tee signs at the course were in fantastic shape and well detailed, depicting all pin positions and distances. Most of the baskets were in good usable condition with several elevated baskets, which helped to shake things up. Despite the ground being dry and level, the concrete tee pads were in pretty good shape and were a nice touch.
Vita Del Camino was exceptionally maintained. The maintenance worker at the course also plays and frequently dredges the water obstacles, returning lost discs to Spinners disc golf shop. The disc golf shop is adjacent to the course and it handles all the lost plastic at Vista Del Camino and is very convenient amenity.
Cons: Any time you have a course located in a public park, there will be a certain safety aspects to consider. In the case of Vista Del Camino, the course is located in a very heavily traversed park used by people walking, jogging, and biking. This makes many of the holes quite precarious with regard to the danger posed to the pedestrians as fairways border or cross common areas and the park paths. Additionally, several tees were adjacent to sidewalks and roadways that were on the outer edges of the park. This can be a distraction to both the players and other motorists.
Vista Del Camino is almost entirely flat and wide open. While the design does incorporate as many natural features and obstacles as possible, most of the holes begin to feel repetitive and monotonous.
Other Thoughts: Because it's a temporary setup for the Memorial, I didn't include the temp holes as part of my rating or review. These holes have much more water in play and greatly increase the course length, variety, and level of difficulty. If these were to become a permanant part of the course, it would easily give a 0.5 bump to my rating. The biggest con to this portion of the course are the homeless folks that don't yield to the yell of "fore!" and they have been known to destroy the baskets. Thanks to DStearns5 for the tour and history of this part of the course.
This course is much older than many courses in the country and this needs to be taken into account when playing. As disc technology has improved, courses such as Vista Del Camino are increasingly dinged for their shorter length and basic fairway shapes. The flat, open, and repetitive aspect of the course and the major saftey concerns is what really detracts from this beautiful course. The cons of the course aside, the designers appear to have done the best they could with the space they had available. In this regard, Vista Del Camino is a very viable option for open drives and approaches and a sharp little course in general. If I lived in the area, I'm sure I would play this course more often than not.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Shelly Sharpe Memorial
Vista Del Camino Park is located just minutes away from Old Town in Scottsdale, and just minutes from Red Mountain Freeway or 202. This 18 hole disc golf course was designed in a multi-use park, with several amenities including walking and biking trails, a basketball court, skate park, playground, and gazebo. It is also used by many to bird watch considering there is a long lake in the middle of this narrow rectangular park. As many have stated in their previous reviews, many of the fairways play quite narrow, with water on one side and gates or walls separating houses from the course on the other. Because of this, the course is much more challenging then it would first appear.
Designed in 1984, this course is flat and lightly wooded, with a few elevation changes along the perimeter of the course. Fortunately, the designers did a nice job incorporating elevated tees and pins where they could. They also put a lot of time in to utilizing the few trees and bushes on the fairways, making some approaches and putts rather difficult at times. Because water is so prevalent along much of the course, there is always that chance of your disc winding up in the drink. Although there are a few holes that could be considered their "signature" hole, number nine was easily my favorite. Not only did it have the best chance of landing at the bottom of the lake, but if thrown right, it spent more time then any other hole flying over the water (222 - 401 feet). Because of that, along with the current pin placement which was 370 feet and right along the edge of the water, I found it my greatest challenge. I was fortunate enough to birdie it twice, but felt my heart pounding the entire time as I waited for my disc to level out and fade left as it made its way toward the basket. Truly awesome!
Baskets were Chainstar, durable, and in good shape. Each hole also had up to four pin placements, with the most difficult layout used for "The Memorial". This is great because it changes it up for the local crowd and helps to challenge better players by selecting the more difficult layout. Tee pads are all cement, have good traction, and are long enough for run ups.
I found holes #12-17 somewhat monotonous. They were long, narrow, and just felt like they lacked originality. They allow for long drives, a good approach, and an easy putt. However, because of their length, they can turn an easy par in to a bogie. Birdies on these holes are a little harder to come by then many of the other holes. I just played for par.
Bad throws aren't really punished enough, with the exception of the water holes. But, even then the water can be easily avoided. With the exception of hole nine, all the other water holes are rather short and easy to birdie. The holes which don't have water have few obstacles, so if you have an errant shot but throw a good upshot, par will not be an issue.
Navigating from hole to hole, and knowing which pin to throw to. All I can say is make sure you bring a map. Getting from hole three to four will be difficult unless you know where to look. Once finished with three, walk across the bridge to your right and head left past the basketball court. You will see a sign for tee four on your right.
Although I enjoyed Fountain Hills and Buffalo Ridge more, this place is a must! I was excited to play all three of these courses considering two of them are home to one of the more successful National Tournaments in our country. This course didn't disappoint, and allowed me to work on my distance and controlled upshots. There is nothing more exciting then the feeling one gets when playing around or over water.
As others had mentioned in their reviews, I followed their advice and stopped by Dukes for lunch and the food was reasonably priced and delicous. They have over 40 flat screens and was rated the best sports bar in Scottsdale. Spinners on the Green is a must as well, with custom discs from their shop and local tournaments, buying a little souvenir makes a great memory and helps to support this LOCAL store. He also buys used discs (all molds) for $2/disc so it may help offset some of the cost.
If from out of town and looking for a safe affordable place to stay with either friends or family, I suggest the Three Palms. It is literally 100 feet from tee #8, has a grocery store within walking distance, is very clean, and reasonably priced. It is also close to downtown Tempe and Scottsdale, and only a half hour away from Fountain Hills or Buffalo Ridge. Well worth it if available. Trust me.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Vista del Camino
Pros: This course is situated on a well-kept park with (gasp!) grass beneath your feet as you play. For a Valley area course, this truly is special =)
The layout isn't groundbreaking, but because of the multiple basket placements, some holes have two baskets up, you can challenge yourself however you'd like. I appreciate this 'freestyle' approach, a lot. Sometimes you don't want to throw a little 240ft hyzer and you're looking to air out a new disc or work a new throw! In which case, this course has a bunch of different lines and opportunities as such.
There isn't much else to say about this course that hasn't been already. This is a must play course if you live in the Valley or are just visiting.
Cons: Not much elevation change, so while you're playing it can seem a little stale. (Though, you're in a green belt in Scottsdale so you shouldn't be expecting more than a piece of flat land). There are also minimal amounts of shade, but again, for AZ, I'd say there's enough.
Other Thoughts: Conveniently, near the 11th-12th hole, there is a bar (Duke's) and a store that's become somewhat of a landmark for disc golfers, Spinners. Please go in and take a look around and support this one-of-a-kind establishment. They have a huge selection of discs/gears and are ultimately knowledgeable about what they offer.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Vista Del Camino
Pros: Well marked grass park course with concrete tees (maps) and multiple basket placement. There is water on the course for challenging throw, trees are a factor on many holes, room for new players to develop throw. Drinking water is available, pro shop at 12th hole. Skatepark near by as well as a food and drinking establishments.
Cons: Can be busy with cycling, skating, dog and pedestrian traffic. Sprinkler system set for 5-6a in summer when course is bearable for summer heat.
Other Thoughts: Another must play grass park that is easily played casually and or seriously with some technical basket placement under canopy of trees. One hole uses slight elevation. Water becomes a factor on a couple of holes.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Vista Del Camino...
Pros: Course plays around a system of ponds and creeks that come into play on several holes. Most of the holes are flat, but some have big hills. Lots of pin positions are on the side of hills which creates some tough putting. There are real grass and real trees! It's a nice break from all of the desert courses in the Phoenix area. Concrete tee pads are good, but can get slick (why are they green?). Most of the tee signs are very good and fairly accurate, but they don't direct you to the next tee. Chainstar baskets are in good condition and usually work well, but you can occasionally get a slice-through. There's a nice variety of hole length.
Cons: From hole 13 to 17 it gets repetitive and confusing. Most of the those holes play straight with a few trees in your way. Not very many "lefty friendly" holes. Multiple baskets in play at one time can get confusing at times. Lots of non-disc golfers in the park which can get dangerous.
Other Thoughts: Water hazards are very fun to play, but if you land in the water it's pretty gross getting your disc out. Almost everyone in the park is nice, including the mowers who will stop for you when you get to a hole they're working on. I got to play with a local who was very friendly (and very good!). The concrete tee pads get covered in grass on mowing day. (The day I happened to play.) This is a must play if you're in the area.
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.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Greens to shoot for
lots of different distances
great weather year round to play year round!
Cons: Water if you are inaccurate you can find yourself at the near by pro shop getting new discs.
Other Thoughts: Love this course played this when I was in the valley I think it's the best course in the valley.
0 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: - Nice teepads
- Beautiful landscape
- Multiple pin positions
- High Risk/Reward shots
- Variety of distance
- Good signage for the most part
- Spinners pro shop
- Duke's Sports Grill
Cons: - Some navigation issues on where the next tee was.
- Multiple pin positions were kind of confusing the first time out. Would have liked to have someone who has played the course and knows the course with me.
- Multi-purpose park watch out for other park users especially bikers and runners.
- If you fear the water there are a couple risky holes, but for the most part it is easy to play it safe.
Other Thoughts: This is a beautiful park. As stated in the cons, my group had trouble figuring out which pin placement was in the ground on some holes. Despite that problem we still had an excellent round of golf. The course is designed and maintained beautifully. Spinners is a great stop right before heading out. They are well stocked and the man that helped my family was very knowledgeable. My group made an afternoon of it, hit Spinners on the way out, played the course and hit Duke's after. It was a memorable afternoon and course. If you are in the area or willing to make the trip, definitely check this course out.
After playing some additional courses this is not quite as good as the very best. It needs better tee signs and navigational help, but is still a great course, I changed my rating from 4.5 to 4.
UPDATE - As of 03/06/2015
- After expanding my disc golf horizons and returning to Vista Del Camino after 5 years since the first time I played it, I feel obliged to lower my rating. I was not quite so enamored with this course the second time around, see reasoning below.
- Holes felt repetitive and lacked the need to shape lines. Bring your hyzer game and you will score well.
- Holes lacked distance variety. I felt like I was just smashing a bomb hyzer off every tee pad
- The park was significantly dryer and less beautiful than the first time I played here (it is Arizona after all)
- The course flow is really lacking. Beyond the slight navigation issues, numerous holes had us playing past the next tee pad, which forced us to have to walk backwards to the next tee pad. This could be due to the fact that the course was in the long set up post-Memorial, but I still see this as a design flaw. Walking backwards after a hole to the next tee is worth it if it sets up a great tee shot or fun disc golf line, but the design simply didn't seem to do that here.
Overall, it is simply a good park style course that makes exceptional use of the water. Thus I have dropped my rating from 4 to 3.5
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Love the water, but...
Pros: This is a nice use of a long, kind of narrow "greenway" (it's not really that green!). This is one of the few really recreational courses I've played that incorporated so much water. Some might not like it, but it definitely forces some accuracy and adds character to the course. Each hole has numerous basket locations, so I imagine that the course gets a little refreshment when they move the baskets. The signage was pretty decent, showing the locations of the various pin positions and the respective distances. I liked that the basket locations made use of the little elevation the park has to offer, so there were several holes with baskets on a slope, making you think about whether you should go for it from 25-30 feet out.
Cons: The navigation of this course is way too difficult for just a regular park. There are usually 5-6 baskets within 400 feet of you at any given time, so it's not easy to figure out where the next tee is and what basket you are throwing to (the signs help a little, but they don't help you get to the next tee). Several holes had more than one basket in use! I've never seen a course than had multiple baskets in use on only some of the holes. Confusing. Several holes play too close to the trail, and I have to think it's only a matter of time before a bystander gets nailed by a disc. Not the way to grow the sport.
The holes on the back 9 that don't involve water are a little boring. There aren't a ton of trees here, so it's possible to spray shots well off your intended line but not get punished at all on the non-water holes (which is fine if you need the confidence boost, but it won't make you better).
Some might view the water and the potential for lost discs as a con, but I don't. However, it does make this a poor course for people who haven't played much.
Other Thoughts: The basket locations here seemed to take into account the topography pretty well, but not necessarily the traffic. If it weren't for the number of people, this course would be safer and a bit more fun. That said, I definitely enjoyed my round. The water shots made you plan your route to the basket, and the wind challenged me to throw my best shots on those holes. If you can get in here when it's not too busy, you'll probably have a good time, too.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Best to play in the morning if you are a beginner.
Pros: + lots of variety of shots
+ lots of variety in distance
+ great use of the terrain (water, hills on front nine, trees)
+ great tee boxes (concrete, good size, mostly well marked... some of the signs need to be replaced.)
+ nicely marked pin locations (can be a bit odd, because the pins can be moved to different locations... this makes the distance (if you are using the record a round feature) fluctuate between color of tees... but it is pretty easy to check the distance using the signs... unless they are missing or faded (as they are on a few)
+access to SPINNERS ON THE GREEN is wonderful. This is the course that fees the most like a standard golf course... lots of use, pro shop close by... very cool
Cons: the only real con to this course is the number of people - both golfers and non (but mostly non).
I have gone to play this course about six times before today, and I was always scared away by the number of people on the course. They are everywhere. Bikers, pedestrians, joggers, dog walkers..... and the weekends... egads, forget it (unless you are a lot better than me, and don't get horrified by shanking a drive and hurting somebody).
Other Thoughts: This course is awesome. It is very nicely maintained and provides a lot of versatile practice.... distance, technique, putting, trees, water hazards... it is very cool. But, as a fellow disc golfer told me when I just about tagged a lady reading her book as she was walking her dog on a drive shot that got a bit away from me, you can really hurt people here. The course is played all along the foot/ bike path, on both sides, and that creates a rather narrow (again... I am new, so it feels narrow for me, but my drives aren't super controlled yet) fairway.
So I finally got a chance to play on a weekday just before 9 AM.... the course was mostly clear of people..... I had a blast... worked on some of my problem areas.... and only almost killed one soul. It was good all around....
But as the fellow disc golfer told me, there have BEEN A LOT OF COMPLAINTS about the disc golf communittee here by NON-PLAYERS.... and I guess we may be in danger of the city taking the course away because of people getting hit. I had a near miss.... BE CAREFUL ON THIS COURSE.... be conservative in the peak hours.... wait for non-players to be well out of the way... DO NOT TAKE CHANCES... just be PATIENT.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 2 Not
The Truth About Shelly Sharpe
Pros: -Punishes grip lock (for RHBH).
-Rewards long, well placed drives and good putts
-Good risk/reward ratio on most holes
-Lots of OB, but can generally be avoided with good shots
-Wind adds difficulty much of the year
--Roller shots can be used effectively when ground is hard pack in winter and spring.
-Flat concrete tee boxes on 17 of 18 holes
-Good balance of open space and tree foliage
-Great disc golf community (including league and pro shop); lots of very good pros and ams can be spotted on this course
Cons: -Multiple use park, so one must work around park traffic at times (but disc golf traffic is usually high enough to keep the fairways clear)
-Not a whole lot of elevation changes, but slopes on side of park comes into play on many holes
-Often windy (see Pros)
-Easy to lose discs if thrown OB
-Public bathrooms not easily accessible (unless Duke's is open).
-Some have made a business of retrieving lost discs, rather than turning them into the pro shop
-Hole #1 is located at the extreme end of the park from the pro shop (hint: most locals start at #12); so figuring out the flow of the course can be a struggle at first
-Hole #4 is located on the other side of the wash from Hole #3; this is a common source of confusion for first timers
-Poorly thrown hyser shot results in easy approach on many holes
Other Thoughts: I would be skeptical of those who have given Shelly Sharpe a low rating, as this is one of the premier disc golf courses in the country. Yes, it lacks the forested feel and elevation changes of some courses, but it is a great example of a "park" course with water hazards. Sure, if you think disc golf is all about throwing blind prayer shots into tree groves, then Shelly Sharpe may not be your place. However, for those with big arms and good putting skills, there are lots of birdie opportunities; others will find this course extremely challenging, especially when the wind picks up. The wind really adds to the challenge of the water features (esp. holes 1, 9, and 18).
A water retriever is a must on this course; I recommend the locally designed Ashley retriever which can be purchased at Spinners. The retriever will pay for itself in one day and you might even find some discs in the process (which should be turned in for store credit at Spinners).
All in all this is a great disc golf course that will grow on you over time. If the course had a little more variation in terms of terrain and were a pure disc golf park (with less pedestrian traffic) it would be a five star course. Nevertheless, a must play in Arizona and a great alternative to the desert terrain courses in the area.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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