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Snow Hill, MD

John Walter Smith Park

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2.925(based on 6 reviews)
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John Walter Smith Park reviews

12 0
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Experience: 7 years 427 played 395 reviews
3.00 star(s)

The Perfect Beginner Course? 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Apr 9, 2022 Played the course:once


A beautifully maintained 18 adjacent to multiple fields at a large athletic complex

+ Very flat field course with two raised rubber tees for each of the eighteen DisCatcher baskets. Excellent large signage illustrating both "holes" (red tees are front, blue tees are back). The wood frames around the bases are painted red or blue. The signs on the par 4's even show how to play the landing areas, making them a very good teaching tool for newbies and short throwers

+ Hazards on the front nine are created by maintenance: grasses bordering the fairways are allowed to grow a bit high, there are clumps of tall grasses scattered around the greens to create obstacles, and small trees have been planted that will someday be large enough to shape throwing lines. The back nine uses a treeline bordering farming fields, and incorporates some artificial OB created by the outfield fences and other features of the athletic facility

+ The two nines play very differently from one another: the front nine is one of the best beginner courses I've ever played: it's short and there's little danger, but it feels like a "real" course. The back nine requires more precise throws, and could be something beginners "graduate" to. The pars are pretty soft throughout

+ The front nine sprawls around the back of the complex, there's very little contact with other park users. This is less the case with the back nine which runs much closer to various ballfields


- Tees are raised, but since they're rubber, they pool with water as the platforms have sagged and worn a bit over the years. They're a bit too short for full run up.

- Playing in early April, I'm not sure how deep the rough is allowed to grow. It's the kind of thick grass that swallows up discs if it gets anywhere near knee high. Given the amount of care that goes into the facility, I'm guessing it's kept under control - but it can be a problem on open field courses that use natural grasses to define the fairways

Other Thoughts:

~ If they were to add a raised basket on one of the shorter par 3's (like hole #9, right at the parking lot), this place would be even more fun for beginners and experienced players

~ Family-friendly with generous pars. One example is the #8: a par 5 that's only around 500' from either tee, playing in a long arc to the right. I just cut the arc in Circle 2 after 2 mediocre throws

~ The layout is surrounded by open space (ballfields and farms) - there's gonna be wind (the baskets catch fine, but they're pretty weathered)

~ Notable is the remarkable amount of care that went into creating and maintaining this addition to the sports complex. It's great for beginners and it's a perfect place to get in a 9 or 18 while your kids are playing their sports

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6 1
Experience: 23 played 12 reviews
3.00 star(s)

Front 9 review 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jul 22, 2021 Played the course:once


Very well maintained


Probably too easy for veterans, the tees are raised rubber, and mostly not flat and too short. After nearly twisting my ankle after stepping in a hole on the pad, I gave up and teed off from the grass.

Other Thoughts:

I only played the front 9, didn't have time nor did I even see the back 9. The beginner in me enjoyed this one. The fairways were short grass, and was being mowed as I played even though it really didn't need it. Go astray off the fairway and you're in at least ankle deep grass. Hardly any trees in play, but some of the rough is tree lined. Porta potty near the parking lot, but that might have been there for the softball tournament going on. Not sure.
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13 0
Gold level trusted reviewer
Experience: 4.8 years 113 played 112 reviews
3.50 star(s)

Bring your Wind Game 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Jul 13, 2021 Played the course:once


-A variety of wide-open holes, lightly and moderately wooded holes. The F9 has its own space in a park, and the B9 meanders around ballfields.

-The open fairways on the F9 are kept mowed and border with a 4- foot wide second layer with ankle deep grass. The second cut layer borders rough 2-3 feet high. The rough area I'll call a waste land with bushes, smaller trees, and grass up to 2-3 feet deep. Holes 16-18 are laid out the same way with bigger trees. It's very scenic and different from any other course I've played on.

-The course is wind swept.

-Tee pads are rubber, the F9 on a platform with two tees. The B9 flushed with the ground and only one tee per hole and there long tees.

-Tee signs have hole number, distance, and par. The colors on the signs are vibrant with a detailed map and can be read from a distance. I rated the tee signs #2 in the courses I have played, and just behind Halifax County DGC in North Carolina which has bar code video at each tee pad.

-The F9 had distance markers in the fairway measuring 200 feet from the tee pad, and longer holes had a second one measuring 200 feet from the basket. There 4 foot black and white poles and easy to spot.

-Navigation is clockwise on the F9 and B9 counter- clockwise. Both 9's is directly across the street from each other. Basket to tee is easy to spot, should not need a course app.

-Beginner and recreational players will have a lesson in wind golf, the fun factor depending how hard the wind is blowing. Intermediate and advanced players depending on the wind will have their skills tested or have a birdie/eagle festival.


-The rubber tee mats on the F9 sitting on a raised platform are too small for a run up and too high off the ground. The mats are placed as two pieces and just about all are split in the middle. The mats are a tripping hazard, I had thoughts of throwing off the grass. The B9 matts are flushed in the ground and are fine.

-Fairways 10-11, and 14-15 border an outfield fence. May have a walk around the fence to retrieve a disc, but during a game can be disruptive.

-Short tees only on the F9, that may bother some players.

-Lost disc potential is high from the thick, rough bordering fairways, heavy trees bordering rough, and a few blind throws. I spent about 5 minutes total looking for a few disc, and a few times having walked right past them the first time.

-Some of the holes on the F9 not memorable because they looked alike. On the B9 very memorable with some variety. The F9 may change with tree growth in several years.

-Very little shade on the F9, and other holes. On a hot day you will feel it.

Other Thoughts:

John Walter Smith Park was a lot of fun to play, and different. The F9 with the wide-open space but had narrow mowed fairways and with the second layer cut, then rough, I had the feeling I could be playing on a ball course. The rough was just nasty, whether I was trying to move my feet during a throw or looking for disc. The wind was blowing moderate that morning and dictated the round. Had to think target golf navigating the wind on every tee throw and most up shots. I had disc taking off on me from the tee for a good distance, and a few pushed into the ground. I had a memorable tee throw on Number 4 with a dogleg for one of my longer distance throws as the wind grab it. I good only imagine what a strong wind could do to the course. The B9 around the ballfields a change the pace, and a few holes difficult.
The only personnel con I had was the lack of distance, and generous pars. It seems to cheapen a unique layout. However maybe in 10 years those small trees I saw in the rough will grow into the ones I saw on 16-18 and toughen up the course. I plan on returning once every few years to check it out.

The uniqueness of a wind-blown course, a disc course on a ball course fairway without the hassle of a ball course, the vibrant tee signs, easy navigation, and a high fun factor my overall rating is anchored on a 5.0. It took 70 minutes to play taking pictures and some disc hunting. Found my disc but took some looking in open rough.

Notable Holes:

No. 12 Par 3 at 312 feet is a straight away thru a tunnel of oak trees with canopy, and the only hole on the course with some canopy. The first 100 feet is open including to the right from an open field, where the wind was blowing from. The rest of the way down were a line of oaks on both sides, with the right including heavy brush. The basket is tucked behind he right side in a space the size of C1. Trying to keep the disc down with the wind blowing, it rose and hit the canopy from the first tree to the left.

No. 14 Par 3 at 237 feet is straight away thru a tunnel with an outfield fence to the left, and trees with heavy brush on the right. Over hanging branches sticking out from the right. The gap down the fairway meanders 15 feet to 30. The basket is parked behind the trees and brush on the right with guardian trees and canopy. Not wanting to go over the outfield fence, it's a little uneasy on the tee and tight.

No. 16 Par 4 at 320 feet as you peer thru the gap 30 feet in front and 15 feet wide, the fairway takes you back to the F9 with the cut fairways, second layer, and rough. Except there is now an addition. Several trees now in the fairway, and the basket is hidden behind them. If you do not make the distance, you will be blocked by trees. No. 17 looks the same with out the gap, but with larger trees.

Signature Hole:

No. 4 Par 4 at 430 feet is an open tee pad with a dog leg left at the 220- foot mark and the longest dogleg on the course. The hole pictures no longer look like the hole, the trees are now much larger and taller on the left side with thick brush. On the right is thick, rough a few small trees and scrubs. The basket hooks slightly to the left into the trees and brush, so it is a tough reach from the tee and lots of shade, very scenic. The wind was blowing right to left in favor of the dogleg. My tee shot will be memorable as I watched sail with the wind and around the dogleg as it was going out of sight, it was the fastest I have ever sprinted on the course to keep my eyes on the disc. The disc landed bordering the left fairway but blocked by extended branches. I pooched my approach. The hole represents the uniqueness of the F9.

Trouble Hole:

No. 18 Par 4 at 345 feet is a hole with two fairways, and a risk and reward hole. The fairways are divided by a 45-degree diagonal ditch from your left back moving toward your front right with heavy trees and brush, and about 50 feet across. A few trees are up to 30 feet tall. I would not want to go disc diving in that waste land. The fairway that you see straight in front of you is open and will remind you of the F9. The second fairway behind the waste land and not seen runs narrow and long to the basket. The basket is surrounded by guardian trees, some thick enough to hide a disc. From the tee to reach straight for the basket over the waste area you'll need 315 feet into C1 with no guarantee of a clean eagle putt. You can shorten the angle and get over the waste area at about 240 feet but will be blocked by guardian trees. I choose to go straight down fairway, walked across the gravel bridge over a drainpipe to check out the basket area and was glad I did not risk a disc. I lobbed a putter over the tree line and dropped in my birdie. Maybe on the next visit I'll take the risk for a chance at an eagle or maybe not.

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4 0
Experience: 7 played 7 reviews
3.50 star(s)

Great Front, Rough Back 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Aug 15, 2020 Played the course:2-4 times


Well marked from 9.
Good signage for marking each hole, and layout is easy to follow.
Each hole is well-space for both rookies and experienced to throw their comfortable distance.


Back 9 isn't as well marked, and the holes there are extremely close to other park features, such as fenced baseball fields.
There are several water features and brush that can cause you to loose discs if you aren't careful.
Short teepads on F9 occasionally have some loose spots, so check your footing before throwing.

Other Thoughts:

I must comment on the pictures listed. The course was mowed freshly at the start of summer 2020, and the course was very fun to play. Discs would only get lost if you threw into the trees or ditches. That being said, it doesn't look like they've cut it since, so I could see this becoming an issue through the year.
The back 9, to me, is far too tight to be fun. More experienced players may prefer it, but I like the front 9 as a more simple "just have fun" course.

If this review were for JUST the front 9, I would have rated it a 4-4.5.
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7 0
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Experience: 15.9 years 760 played 414 reviews
1.50 star(s)

Laura Ingalls of the Eastern Shore 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 30, 2015 Played the course:once


Two tees per hole. Platform with rubber pad on top.

Informative signs.

Easy to navigate.


Short teepad is literally short - maybe six feet? Long twice the length.

One sign per hole, between teepads, albeit sufficient.

Easy to lose a disc.

Other Thoughts:

Geography: Flat, aka typical Eastern Shore. A few random small pines along periphery. Some wind. So, what's the challenge presented by this course? Waist-high grass, with fairways and greens mowed within.

Holes fall into three categories: Short-n-straight (1,2,5,9), long-n-straighish (7,8), and long-and-left-turning (3,4,6). The long holes provide a bulge in the fairway at approximately the midpoint, so one could simply throw to this location from the tee, and then have a ~200' approach, effectively turning a long hole into a short hole. Alternatively, one could throw to the basket, hoping to land in the narrowing fairway (or green, depending upon your length), but most likely, one will be searching for one's disc in tall grass, This is particularly problematic on the long leftys (3,4,6), as the disc will be fading blind from the tee, and the leftside of the course has blackberry bushes, poison ivy, other ground cover, in addition to the tall grass.

Play short, or play with spotters, or (likely) lose a disc.
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2 4
Experience: 11.6 years 29 played 7 reviews
3.00 star(s)

2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Nov 26, 2014 Played the course:once


Challenging course. All the tall grass is OB. Every shot has to be near perfect. It was windy the day I played and It was very tough to land in the islands at times.


Tall grass eats discs.

Other Thoughts:

Pretty neat course overall. It is unlike anything I've played before.
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