A Tale of Two Different Nines, Part III
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: (2.492 Rating) A short technical course that's a vacation away from the beach.
- ACEABILITY - Several technical and risk reward ace runs. The run of holes (4 thru 6) can really give them up as this grouping of holes all play at around 200 feet. You are probably 3 or 4 times more likely to ace here than at a normal course.
- SHOT SHAPING - Lots of opportunity to craft a flight path on the front nine. The second nine is not as good, but you just can't blindly throw a disc towards the basket. Every tee shot will require at least some minimal thought. Special shout out to hole (5) which is a blind basket completely surrounded by 10 feet high dense vegetation. It will force a play to dive bomb from above. I spent a couple minutes developing a plan to attach this one. Thankfully there is a large directional arrow in the trees above basket. I landed my disc five feet from the basket. It was an exhilarating throw to say the least.
- QUICK PLAY - I blew thru this 18 at the crack of dawn in 45 minutes. I see it playing in under 2 hours for a group of four seasoned players.
- MAINTENANCE - Cut fairways and no trash were observed.
- NATURAL BEAUTY - IMO The front nine is clearly the bread winner of the two nines. Lots of tropical vegetation and water silently waiting to claim your disc. The back nine leaves less than too be desired. Tall moderately spaced pines fills most of the back. Views of roads and other unnatural features are consistently in view. In totality, I scored the course at 2.625 out of 5
- CHILL AREAS - A bunch of secluded areas to hop on a bench and relax. Some spots even have views of the tranquil waters that lurk around basket locations.
- MULTI TEES - Although the back tees are shorter than your average course, I'm sure glad there's an even shorter option on many holes as this course is quite technical.
- CHARACTER - About average. In addition to duel tees, there is some seating at about half of the holes. There are bag holders, minimal signage and shading at most of the tees as well. Missing items include no practice basket and no multi basket locations. Also, I observed no restrooms along the course layout.
Cons: A few substantial issues with Sunset.
- LOOSE DISC OPPS - Water and overgrowth is literally everywhere on the front nine. So be sure to bring yourself a disc or two that you wouldn't mind losing. The water here looked extremely murky and you may not want to go in and retrieve it. As for the overgrowth, lots of palmetto bushes, especially around (5) and (6). You could park a shot within 10 feet of the basket and still end up looking 10 minutes to find it.
- NAVIGATION - The course map on site does not reflect the current course and is around 70% percent accurate. It appears that a recent volleyball court installation has altered several holes on the back nine. Hole signage is limited to number and distance. The directional cues are few and far between. This stated, it only added about 5 minutes to my first round out here so not a horror story.
- TEES - Mostly asphalt and boarder line adequate. I've seen much worse. However on the back nine, several asphalt tees are missing and these tee areas are becoming a pitted sandboxes.
- CHAINS - They are in pretty bad shape. They are still playable but among the most rusted and beat up I've ever come across. I'll add that none of my putts missed due to the condition factor, I can shank a putt all by myself.
- ELEVATION - Flat for even Florida standards. Not even 5 feet of change on any hole. If you're in need of some elevation you may consider the nearby UWF course which offers a few 20 and 30 foot changes.
- UNIQUENESS - A touch below average. In addition to flat terrain, all par 3s and very short. Almost every hole has a technical aspect to it and there are no bomber holes for players who can toss over 350. The one aspect the course has going for it is the shot shaping and hole pockets to hit on the front.
- LIMITED CHALLENGE - About average. I think the back tees will challenge intermediate players to stay at course par. Advanced players will probably have just enough to stay entertained, but will finish several down. The front tees will be perfect for rec players.
- LOCATION - The traffic getting to this course can be horrendous as there is only one bridge to the island from Pensacola and you'll have to contend with lots of beach traffic.
Other Thoughts: Sunset is a nice little vacation course. Relaxing and fun to play. It won't challenge you like nearby Gator Links but you'll still have to work for it here. Currently my second favorite course in the Pensacola area, behind Gator Links, but I have yet to play any of the Blue Angel courses as of this review.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Fun short course. Some holes on the front require difficult & accurate throws.
Cons: Back nine is repetitive. Some baskets on the front side are difficult to find.
Other Thoughts: Follow the trampled paths to find the baskets & tee boxes.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Many holes were challenging.
Cons: #5 is totally blind with many palmettos waiting. I lost my favorite driver there. Directions from a basket to the next tee are non-existent.
Other Thoughts: Gulf Breeze Parks and Recreation Department needs to send a maintenance crew in with saws and tidy this mess up. There is a Trilogy Challenge coming up on June 24th. I hope that the city prunes this place.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Not really my cup of.....swamp
3 Helpful / 1 Not
- free to play, free to park
- dual tees per pad, allows players to take less risk around water hazards.
- mostly asphalt tees
- numbered tee signs with distances
- numbered baskets
- intuitive layout
- course map at beginning of the course
- no multiple pins
- limited parking
- the rough had a lot of overgrowth and crept into some already tight fairways
- not a lot of open room around the baskets (swap holes) to putt from
- some natural tees
- asphalt tees weren't level, some had humps in the middle.
- fairway overlapping
- some tees were too close to prior baskets
- flat course
- luck factor on some fairways
- construction site bordering the course crept into a fairway or two
Sunset DGC felt like two separate 9 holes courses combined to make 18. Half of the course is comprised of tight and or technical fairways through a swamp, the other half a more open style with tall pines that were away from any water hazards. Both had short to medium length fairways and required control. The front half was much more technical. Errant drives usually required a toss out of the rough before attempting an approach, whereas the player could scramble for par on the back 9 pretty easily.
Often the most ideal line on the front 9 was subject to being knocked down by overgrowth protruding from the rough. Drive and approach placement was paramount in this section, as there was little room to putt from around most baskets here. I appreciated the dual tees and risk vs reward factor, but ultimately I wasn't going to risk losing discs for birdie opportunities. Sunset's murky water didn't look inviting enough to take a dip when I lost my putter on hole 5. Apparently, locals are less skittish. 2 local kids, (shout out to Cameron and Riley) told me that swimmers collect a rich bounty of discs regularly. According to them, water moccasins are more prevalent than gators here.
The second half was similar to what I've seen at Hitzman, Post'l Point, or Boggy Bayou. Tall high limbed pines with pine straw strewn about comprised the back 9. I enjoyed a wider variety of lines to choose from than the front 9. The high ceilings allowed me to air out some long putter/ mids drives. Also, it was a relief not to be worried about losing a disc. The drawback was that many tees were comprised of unleveled, misshapen asphalt.
Overall, this is probably not a course I particularly look forward to playing again. Every pro for me was met with one or two cons. I'd recommend new players throw the open wooded section of the course before venturing into the swamp holes. That way you can't blame the loss of a disc on not being warmed up. Besides that, this location is a little remote and a pain to get to. Summer tourism and beach traffic can make traveling to this course less desirable than other courses in the area. I have it ranked somewhere between a 2 and a 2.5, rounded down.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: -Plays through some beautiful landscape
-Makes very good use of water
-Some really fun throws out to and across ISLANDS
-Provides a fun and shady activity within a few minutes of the beach
Cons: -All very short holes
-Last 8 holes can get a little repetitive
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Fine course for the day
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - A nice 18 hole course near the beach.
- There is a nice varitey of turns to the course. It uses the vegitation, water and turns in the park to great advantage.
- Hole 1 and 18 are near each other so you don't have a long walk to parking after you finish the course.
- Many of the holes have benches.
Cons: - a lot of the signage is lacking. Be it missing completely or inaccurate there are a few holes that leave you wondering. Even hole #1 seemed out of place according to the information sign.
- Holes 2 through 4 seem to intersect a little odd making navigation a bit tricky your first time there.
Other Thoughts: I imagine the course has changed a bit since it was originally designed. I guess this is why the information board near #1 is so inaccurate.
The vegetation was very thick in parts when I played. I actually liked this. It was a nice barrier requiring some ingenuity to make par, but I can see where it may turn off first time players.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Sunset at Noon
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: - great 18 holes for the emerald coast - if I were a tourist stopping thru i'd be stoked, especially with the water hazards.
- great variety of shots needed - RHBH/FH, there are blind shots that are doable w/o a spotter taking great advantage of the FL landscape (read palmettos) as well as trees that jump right out in front of you.
- Course plays as a loop
- bag holders on nearly every hole, benches at most as well
Cons: - no restrooms obviously available
- a lot of the signage is lacking. Be it missing completely or inaccurate there are a few holes that leave you wondering.
- navigation can be a real issue, especially around 2-4.
back 9 is kind of crammed together, could have been used as 4-6 more holes instead of 9.
Other Thoughts: When you pull up to Sunset DGC in Gulf Breeze you immediately see the course map on a bulletin board. You'll think sweet, I was hoping for a map. This is wrong. Do not use it. You will be sad for it.
Some of the holes don't have signage at either the pro or am tees, and some holes only have one tee which can add to confusion. Also aggravating is that errant shots can be punished by flying into private property past a privacy fence that you didn't realize was there until it's too late (not me, a friend, i swear).
Set amongst a highway and a neighborhood Sunset's front 9 has a great FL feel albeit a little hairy to navigate especially at the beginning. There are blind shots that bring a small "island" into play, making for a fun few holes where you get to jump to and fro via concrete bridges. The back 9 seems a little forced/crammed together. I couldn't find the tee for 14 and there were several holes where finding the pro tee was a chore.
I haven't been to the blue angel courses nearby. That being said, for public courses in the area this place has got UWF beat any day.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Worth a Visit
Pros: Sunset DGC is the closest course in the Gulf Breeze/Pensacola Beach area. I wasn't sure what to expect given the array of reviews, particularly the more recent negative ones, but I found the course to offer a worthwhile round during my visit to the area.
The strength of this course is the front 10 holes, where tight lines and well-situated water hazards combine for some engaging risk versus reward type shots. I'm not generally a fan of water hazards - too cheap, for one thing - but the ones at Sunset provided enough play-it-safe options that I felt I was in control of how much risk I was entertaining. It's one thing to lose a disc to the water because there was no other way to play a hole; it's another (better IMHO) thing to lose a disc because you were playing too greedily or boldly and aware of the risk you were taking. I can live with the latter much more easily, and I appreciated the presence of such hazards at Sunset. They made for an enjoyably tense challenge.
The water hazards on these front 10 come in the form of a small island that the holes play onto, over, and adjacent to. The island is dotted with a variety of shrubs - small magnolia trees, skinny pines, etc - that make for a variety of obstacles to work your way around. These set up a variety of lines - tight turnovers, S curves, hyzers of various degrees, and even a few overhand opportunities - that, though generally of middling distance (even from the pro tees), make for some engaging looks. The pro tees on this part of the course were well integrated, and the am tees were beginner friendly, even with the water in play, while still not being total throwaways. As an upper rec player myself, I stuck to the pros where possible but could have gotten some satisfying play from the ams, too.
The course's back half is something of a drop off from the front (see below), but it still contains some technicality due to the tree-studded terrain it winds through. There are no out-and-out throwaway holes here.
Concrete tees on the course's front half were level, a bit short, but even with the ground enough to allow for a comfortable run up from behind if desired. They did their job well.
Cons: The aforementioned drop off on the back half comes largely from the fact that it is squeezed into a relatively small wooded section of the park. This effort to fit an additional 8 holes constrains how this part of the course plays. Already a shorter course, the hole lengths become even more compact here as things become crammed. I had trouble finding the pro tees here, if they existed at all, and found myself missing the extra distance they provided on the front half.
This section of the course seemed to be undergoing a redesign when I visited (the overal layout seemed to deviate at times from the course map), meaning that navigation was occasionally a bit dodgy and most of the tees were rough, sandy natural tees that didn't provide steady footing. The short hole distances meant that this didn't affect play too much, but it still bears mention: I found myself driving from behind or next to the tees to ensure good footing on several holes.
The lines in this section of the course ranged from straight forward to poke and pray, and were generally of standard quality at best, save for one or two worthwhile tight shots. Without the water-induced tension of the front half, the holes lost their bite. The woods aren't dense enough to regularly punish an errant throw, meaning you'll rarely regret pushing for birdies. Otherwise, the shorter distances allow you to play it safe and take your 3 without much effort. There are occasional exceptions to this lack of risk - 11's basket sits in front of a tiny pond that will punish shooting long off the tee - but in general I felt like the terrain and shorter hole lengths allowed me to get away with some off shots here.
Overall, the short length and tighter nature of this course could be turnoffs for some, and do limit the course's ceiling.
Without any images on the tee sign, you're regularly forced to forge ahead to spot your basket. The shorter hole lengths kept this from frustrating me, though.
Other Thoughts: This course isn't going to stick with you months after your visit, but it provides a fun 18 as long as you're comfortable with water hazards. If anything, I wish it wasn't constrained to such a small area: with room to grow, Sunset DGC could really blossom. As it stands, it's a combination of a solid 3.0ish front 10 and a utilitarian 2.5ish back 8. For me, the interesting looks and enjoyably risky water of the front half triumph over the slightly drab back half in my final rating. I'd encourage anyone visiting the Pensacola Beach area to check Sunset DGC out. I was glad I visited.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Some nice holes! The island holes were kinda cool. The tee pads were nice on the holes that had them.
Cons: Back nine kinda crappy! Couple had no tee markers or box for that matter! could not find one hole!
Other Thoughts: Would be very nice with just a little TLC
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: -Baskets catch well
-Cool Water that creates a pucker factor on some holes
-Some good holes that are really fun shots to throw and reward skill and shot making ability
Cons: -Terrible use of land
-Very hard to navigate
-Lack of maintenance
-Poorly designed holes
-Lack of quality teepads
Other Thoughts: This course could be so much better than it currently is. Whoever designed the course really messed this one up big time. The course does have some good holes but a lot of the holes really are just bad with stupid lines/fairways (especially the 2 holes on the island that play in those thick low cut palm like trees). While the construction does mess up 2 holes, the locals could easily move the holes a little bit and then have a 18 hole course.
If anyone from the local area/club reads this please for the love of god post some signage on the baskets and fairways pointing users in the right direction and please do a little trimming throughout the course.
I have not played Blue Angel but im guessing after playing this course that it is worth the drive from the Pensacola beach/ Gulf Breeze area.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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