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Pensacola, FL

Hitzman Optimist Park

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2.535(based on 16 reviews)
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14 0
Surge5
Gold level trusted reviewer
Experience: 9.9 years 170 played 170 reviews
2.00 star(s)

Rollin With the Flatness

Reviewed: Played on:Aug 13, 2022 Played the course:once

Pros:

Hitzman Park plays through some lovely tall pines which carve out solid shot shapes. Getting to the pin is never overly difficult, but also isn't guaranteed with the trees dotted across the fairways.

First up, the amenities. Nine big concrete tees with brooms at each to sweep off any sand buildup on them. Large tee signs complimented by the course signs posted by holes 1 and 8. The DisCatcher baskets are in good repair and prepped for glow rounds.

The fairway shapes are established and should be adhered to if you want to score well here. A few holes leave multiple routes to the pin (1 and 8), but the rest are either straightaways or have a strong finish to them (4 and 6).

The one spot of elevation on the disc golf part of the property is used well. Hole 8's tee is set onto a berm near the walking path and provides a high left hyzer or a straight gap down the middle.

Cons:

The rest of the course is flatter than your last pancake. A few tree roots preventing skips or a small rut here and there, but no real elevation changes except the one.

The pad of 5 is in the backdoor line of 4. A mando right would be the perfect way to solve this. Apart from this none of the holes get in the others' way unless you really miss.

The length of 5, 6 and 9 is appreciated, but the rest of the course will be very reachable for anyone with some experience. There's space behind hole 9 to squeeze a little more out of the disc golf area of the park.

Other Thoughts:

The design team took a piece of land that wouldn't suit most purposes and made an enjoyable course out of it. Nothing in the "wow" department besides the height of some of the trees, but it makes for a fun, quick round.

This seems like the local haunt for glow golfers. Glowsticks around the basket bands and in the chains themselves. If that's your thing this is the spot for you.

Hitzman is a worthy 9 hole if just to appreciate the work put in to design a fun course out of nothing. Come put in a quick round or enjoy the night golf on offer. The course doesn't disappoint.
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2 2
HumDyn
Experience: 5.1 years 12 played 12 reviews
3.00 star(s)

Fun, fun 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Oct 13, 2017 Played the course:once

Pros:

1. Most tees were concrete pads.
2. Lots of trees make it challenging
3. Can be played in under an hour
4. I only used a mid-range and a putter

Cons:

.1. It appears that some signage has been vandalized
2. Some tees were dirt/sand.

Other Thoughts:

An outstanding 9 holer to stop by between appointments.
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11 0
wellsbranch250
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Premium Member
Experience: 10.4 years 663 played 643 reviews
2.00 star(s)

A Respectable Quickie

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:Jul 22, 2017 Played the course:once

Pros:

(1.907 Rating) (Re-Evaluated) A 9-hole pines course with minimal variations.
- UPGRADES - I'm pretty sure I played the Hitzman course at the bottom of the valley ratings wise. The tees were in terrible shape and every tee sign was vandalized. Fast forward 5 years later and I got a good new report from Surge5 that was enlightening. New concrete pads and new very nice looking tees signs. These two needed upgraded aspects by themselves bumped this course up a full quarter point from my point of view.
- FUN FACTOR - I think the best aspect going for the Hitzman course is it's easy going feel. There are no hazards present here, there's no overgrowth, and errant shots are generally not further punished. Lots of birdie opportunities for seasoned players and a couple ace runs. This is likely a very popular local course.
- SKILL LEVEL FRIENDLY - Not necessarily designed as a beginner's course, but they should enjoy it regardless due to the low disc loss possibilities. The fairway widths are moderately spaced and should challenge Rec players. Intermediate players should average 2 to 4 down here. Probably not a good Advanced level course but they may enjoy it for the social atmosphere.
- NAVIGATION - As noted in the upgrades pro, new tee signs. There is no next tee direction on them but there are other elements here that will help. There's a new posted course map. Hopefully the directional arrows below the baskets are still present. The transitions hole to hole are generally short. I don't see how anyone is getting lost here.
- QUICK PLAY - Epic quick to play. I was in total bagger mode and blew through this one in 16 minutes. I'd say that under normal circumstances that a group of 4 could play two rounds in under 90 minutes.
- MAINTENANCE - The park appears to be well maintained. I saw very little trash and the grass was mowed.
- NIGHT GOLF - If open, this would be an ideal night golf course. Spacious fairways, moderate tree coverage, no overgrowth and no water hazards in play.

Cons:

A lack of complexity.
- HOLE VARIETY - Hitzman offers very few differential elements. It's generally a moderately spaced pines course with Rec distances hole after hole. There are no water elements in play. Elevation change is basically zero. None of the holes are gimmes and none are exceedingly hard. There are no multi-play holes and they all play relatively straight. The course is very monotonous. I don't vividly remember any of the holes 5 years later.
- NOT CHALLENGING - Skilled players will walk away untested. Every hole should be birdied by an Intermediate player after 7 or 8 rounds.
- NATURAL BEAUTY - I've played nearly all the Pensacola area courses as of this review revision and I find the natural elements here to be below average among that grouping. Not an eyesore by any means, but without any elevation or water elements, it comes off rather plain Jane. There are also plenty of chain link and wood fences in view, I scored it 30 percentile in this category.
- AMENTIES - To my knowledge, this course is still only a one basket and one tee course. Perhaps there are some benches now or even a practice basket too.

Other Thoughts:

Hitzman was needing some attention and thankfully it got it. Still not a destination course by any means, but if I lived within a few miles I'd happily play here all the time. It reminds me of courses such as Brahan Springs in Huntsville Alabama, War Memorial in south central Kentucky and Frog Rock near Atlanta, but with 9 less holes and less amenities. Overall, I'd say Hitzman is an average niner now, but without much potential to go any higher considering the site restraints. For those in the Pensacola area seeking the best, I would recommend nearby Gator Lakes in Milton or the Blue Angels trio.
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11 0
Mr. Butlertron
Gold level trusted reviewer
Experience: 21.3 years 675 played 131 reviews
1.50 star(s)

Subtly Neutral Course. 2+ years

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:May 28, 2017 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

- free to play, free to park
- public restrooms
- easy to follow layout
- highly visible pins, baskets in good condition
- beginner friendly, but not needlessly wide open
- most fairways featured both RHBH & LHBH routes to the pin
- high canopy created lots of shade from the sun and height for putter/mid drives
- informative signs with distances and suggested fairways routes....when found
- no undergrowth, easy to find errant throws

Cons:

- not all pads were concrete, some were natural and rutted
- some tee signs were missing, most were vandalized
- neighborhood fences boarder some fairways
- flat course
- area kind of bummy

Other Thoughts:

This is my ideal beginners course. The fairways featured many large high limbed pines that suggested multiple lines to the pin , but don't necessarily force a single line. The forgivability of the Hitzman's fairways invites players to try their non bread and butter shots without too much punishment. Errant throws are not overly punitive here. There's a decent enough mix of distances for a 9 holer, nothing too long, mostly average fairway driver distances from tee to pin. Not only do these high ceilinged fairways help keep the sun off your face, they also allow enough clearance to practice putter or mid drives for the longer holes.

Overall, I thought this was the model of RHBH/LHBH neutrality. Hitzman is the ideal course to take baby steps outside your comfort zone, whether it be discing up/down, working hyzer/anhyzer shot shaping, or simply throwing straight. I'd eagerly bump my rating from a 1.5 to a 2.0, assuming the tee sign situation gets fixed and course upgrades to a full set of concrete tees.
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9 0
c_a_miller
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Experience: 12.1 years 299 played 209 reviews
2.50 star(s)

Fun 9 Hole Course in the Woods 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Jul 29, 2016 Played the course:once

Pros:

From reading past reviews, the tee pads used to be egregiously bad. When I went and played, the course had nice concrete tee pads. The tee pads are not huge, but no holes on the course really need a long run up.

The course is easy to navigate and each hole has a tee sign on it. On most holes, there is a visible line off the tee (hitting the line is another story). There is a little bit of difference in shot selection, from straight to left and right holes. A good diversity is always nice to see on short courses like this.

Although most holes are short, the large number of trees scattered throughout the course makes low scores tough.

I played this course on my way to Fort Walton and wanted to take a quick detour and play somewhere in the Pensacola area. It was easy to access and easy to get back onto the highway.

Cons:

The randomness of the trees is tough to merit giving this course anything higher than a 2.5. There are defined lines off the tees on each hole, but the lines are sometimes too tight or have a few random trees in the line that creates a bit of randomness off each tee, which I am not a big fan of.

When I played, there was a group of players that had just started playing. A lot of times their shots would land in other fairways, which could be a safety concern. I do not believe too many people play this course where this would regularly happen, but it is worth noting.

Other Thoughts:

My experience met my expectations for what I had of Hitzman Optimist. A very decent nine hole course that will not blow you away, but has a little bit of fun involved. It is a quick play and a good stopping point on a long road trip down I-10.

I am glad to see concrete pads were put in before my visit. It seemed as if it definitely helped bump this course up a few points.
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4 1
KINGDUCK
Experience: 15.5 years 57 played 34 reviews
2.50 star(s)

Basic course with some varied approaches to holes 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Aug 15, 2015 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

Easily accessible and fun for beginners to learn the game. Some of the longer holes allow you to let it fly with various routes to get there. Baskets are nice and finding your way around is fairly simple. The park is clean with a good family atmosphere.

Cons:

Tee pads are sand and in terrible condition. Do not tee off from them...start from the side or back of them. The signs looked like they were nice at one time but are mangled now and some of the holes are without them. Beginners may throw near you because spacing between some of the holes is not far apart.

Other Thoughts:

It is only a 9 hole course. I would not have a problem to play this course if I am in the area but would recommend the Gulf Breeze or Blue Angel courses for intermediate to advanced players.
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10 0
Qikly
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Experience: 12 years 181 played 150 reviews
2.00 star(s)

A Casual 9 Amidst Pines 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:Jan 9, 2014 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

Hitzman Optimist DGC is set amidst a small pine grove in its own corner of the park. The moderately wooded environment helps offset the general ease of the shorter hole distances. There are no out-and-out gimme shots, and your approaches, if needed, will often have to contend with at least a tree or two. Birdie opportunities abound, but the trees help them feel a bit more earned than at your standard public park 9 holer. There are some tight tunnel shots (5, 7, 8, 9) that will challenge you off the tee at a variety of distances. There's a decent mix of distances here (215'-330', with three over 300') considering the cramped quarters.

Navigation is helpfully aided with arrows on the underside of baskets that point you to the next hole. With these, finding your way around is a snap. Tee signs are nicely done.

The course is easily accessible off I-10. The location is set apart from non-disc golf activities, nicely avoiding conflicts with other park goers. Bathrooms and parking are readily accessible, and there's a nice-looking playground for kids.

Cons:

While the wooded environment is nice, the even distribution of trees throughout the property makes it difficult for the designers to construct and force lines off the tee. As a consequence, the tees either set you up with a straight tunnel shot between rows of trees or at an angle to said rows, in which case you're forced to pick a line through the trees yourself in an often poke-and-pray fashion. This is more a natural product of the terrain than a design flaw, but it does lead to a lack of line shaping and an increased luck factor. You can play the entire course successfully throwing a straight shot or a wide hyzer. Creativity isn't provoked, and risk versus reward is largely absent. Only having 9 holes, with only one set of tees (excepting hole 1) and one set of pin positions, further limits variety, challenge, and replayability.

The tees were terrible on my visit: natural in the sandy soil, they have become torn up and pot holed over time. Additionally, many are riddled with roots that pose serious tripping hazards. I found them unusable. Driving from behind or off to the side is possible, but this can be awkward at times.

Some of the fairways play close together: a bad throw or an unfortunate kick off a tree (very possible) can have you playing in someone else's fairway. A few holes border residential yards.

Other Thoughts:

Despite my criticisms, I enjoyed my round at Hitzman Optimist. It made for a nice, low-pressure hour and a half stop over on my drive back to New Orleans. In that time I was able to play the course twice, stopping to rethrow some shots and work on my short game. Hitzman Optimist isn't going to throw much at an experienced player that they haven't already seen, but it can be a fun stop for a quick and casual round if you know what to expect.
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3 0
madasfire
Experience: 11.9 years 31 played 3 reviews
3.00 star(s)

Fun 9 hole 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Dec 22, 2013 Played the course:once

Pros:

This course had great baskets, signs and directional markers to the next basket. Holes were short and required multiple shot types. Good course for beginners or for working on mid range shots. It was winter but, there were very few places to lose a disc.

Cons:

The tee boxes were really bad. This was the biggest con on this course. Most times I would tee off from the side.

Other Thoughts:

I really liked this course and would like to play it again. It was a great quick course to play if staying in Pensacola. I wish I had a course like this near home
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2 3
Bimbambogart
Experience: 12.8 years 5 played 5 reviews
2.50 star(s)

Beginners course 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Sep 28, 2012 Played the course:once

Pros:

You won't have problems finding each hole.
Nor will you get lost.
There's signs.
Basic shots to get familiar with the game.

Cons:

Possibility of throwing into yards past hole 2.

Other Thoughts:

Theres tons of squirrels!
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8 0
flyingdisc
Experience: 13.1 years 18 played 17 reviews
3.00 star(s)

Good Par Three 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Aug 8, 2012 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

-Clean course
-Nice tee signs at each hole
-Looked to be a nice family area
-Lots of shade
-Good map and description of how to play disc golf at hole 1
-Good for novice and pros
-Easy to navigate
-Nice combination of shots to use on this course

Cons:

-no concrete tee pads as of yet
-not the best place to play after a good rain
-no long distant shots to work on (all shots to the baskets are peppered with trees)

Other Thoughts:

I have to say i really enjoyed this small 9 hole course. The first tee is between the parking lot and the road which you enter the park on, so you really can't miss it. The map was nice and new, and the rules ffor disc golf were also good to see. Each tee pad had a good descriptive tee sign which showed direction(s), distance, and par of each hole. There was a kids playground there, plus a couple of pic nic tables and I believe a pavillion w/bathrooms, I did not go there so I am not for sure. A few people playing while I was there. Being a 9 hole course you can navigate your way through a quick game in about 20 minutes. Nice clean park. The only debris was natural from all the rain happening in the area lately. No concrete tee pads which made for some wet and slippery tee pads. Some were really just puddles. For tee offs there are yellow tee blocks in the ground to mark the hole and boundary for each natural 'pad.' This was really my biggest concern, the non concrete tee pads, which may come in the future. Really good shade throughout the course. I did enjoy the different combinations that could be used at each hole. There are opportunities for aces on this course for sure. Birdies for am's and pro's shouldn't be much of a problem. If you can shoot straight and far, you will master this course right away. I believe the farthest holes are just over 300', however the trees can make it interesting.
Hope to play this course again, and the only reason I did not give this course a higher rating was because of the tee pads and it being a short course. There are other courses in the area, but stop by and play this one to get in a good short game.
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8 1
MikeK
Gold level trusted reviewer
Experience: 29.1 years 330 played 128 reviews
1.50 star(s)

Not too shabby! 2+ years

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:Jun 17, 2012 Played the course:once

Pros:

For a nine hole course, I found the shot variety required quite diverse, and none of the holes are gimmies. It's challenging to shoot under par. The course is tight and technical. There is a good deal of shade and the park is very clean, it drains well, it's easy to navigate and the signage is very professional.

Cons:

Rarely do I rate 9-hole courses higher than a 3, and that's when they are really spectacular. If a 9-hole course is worth playing more than once I will rate it at least a 2. While this course was worth playing once, it just didn't capture my imagination, especially when the Pensacola area has so many better courses to play.

The teeboxes being sandy are sure to erode relatively fast. I played from the back or the sides of the teeboxes.

Other Thoughts:

Definitely worth playing once, due to the course design which is definitely challenging and fun. Kinda feels like playing in someone's back yard as there are several homes backed up against the park fence.
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1 1
gempcola
Experience: 13.9 years 9 played 1 reviews
3.50 star(s)

2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:May 24, 2012 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

Very well marked, not crowded, few areas to lose a disk (just under leaves if anywhere)

Cons:

Other people in the park like to use the holes for other things like football targets, tee boxes getting torn up

Other Thoughts:

I love this course, 3 minutes from my home, its a fun little 9 hole course with enough trees to make it a challenge for better players, I play between 1-3 times a wk, and if I just want 9 holes its pretty quick!
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6 1
Ninja_Disc_Master
Experience: 16.1 years 39 played 30 reviews
2.50 star(s)

Good Beginner Course 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:May 2, 2012 Played the course:once

Pros:

1. Signage- Best I've seen. Color graphic with distance, flight path, pin location and trees. Arrows on the bottom of some cages pointing the way to next tee.
2. Cages- Brand new annd easily spotted.
Course play/layout- Nice short beginner friendly course, but requires enough skill from a intermediate player to to score low. Mostly open except pine trees spread throughout course, but no low hanging branches to impede flight path.
3. Scenery- Nice typical family friendly municipal park with plenty of shade. Almost zero trash even though there aren't any trash cans on the course but, near it in the park.
4. Amenities- Restroom, picnic tables, ball fields and a playground that you could let your kids play at while you play DG around them if you so choose. Drinks and snacks within a block.

Cons:

1. Tee pads- There is a designated tee box area but, it is natural. These are already getting torn up and roots are beginning to be a problem with footing confidence.
2. Course challenge- Shot variety is severly lacking as you can play this whole course with the RHBH and FH shots. There is zero elevation change or hazards.
3. Amenities- Bathroom STANK! No discs for sale/rent in area if you're without and want to play. There were no bag holders or benches which isn't a huge deal but, nice to have.

Other Thoughts:

This is not a destination course, but a fun, if you're in the area and don't have much time to play type of course. This is a very beginner and kid friendly course/park with other activies to make for a good family outting. This place was pretty much deserted when I played it so I don't think crowds are a problem. This course has room for improvement, but only minimally so it will never be more than a 3.0 in my eyes. Final piece of advice- If you're limited in time then come here...if you have the time and want a challenge almost any other course in the area would be a better choice!
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1 0
dggator
Experience: 2 played 2 reviews
3.00 star(s)

2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Mar 29, 2012 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

Great for those trying to learn the game and try out different shots. No underbrush to deal with so it's easy to navigate and forgiving of errant shots ;). Clean and well-kept.

Cons:

Only 9 holes. Some tees were not marked very well, but on the other hand it's impossible to get lost.
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1 1
westflagator
Experience: 12.5 years 26 played 10 reviews
3.00 star(s)

Very Nice 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Mar 29, 2012 Played the course:once

Pros:

Very nice course. You will not lose your disc. No under brush/thorns to deal with. Clean bathrooms and fountain. Nice for practicing, you can easy get around trees.

Cons:

Tees are hard to find for the first time you play. Very small.
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3 1
The Miniac
Silver level trusted reviewer
Experience: 48.1 years 383 played 35 reviews
3.00 star(s)

Hitzman Optimist dgc 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Mar 8, 2012 Played the course:once

Pros:

Very clean park with virtually no underbrush, making it easy to get around and difficult to lose a disc. Decent shaded canopy of pines and live oaks. Several holes have multiple natural alleys to the pin. Restrooms, water fountains, benches & picnic tables along with some playground equipment. None of which should come into play.

Cons:

"Natural" tees are marked with painted landscape timbers. No rules, map, directional or tee signs until early April 2012. Minimal room for expansion.

Other Thoughts:

Designed as an introduction to disc golf rather than a course for advanced or pro-level play, but still fun for any level of play. Some lights around the course for night-time play. Great for a quick "lunch-time" round.
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