3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Not typical city park level short, with a decent mixture of lengths (sub-200 to nearly 400). Is mostly made of mildly wooded parkland, with moderate elevation, clear water, and OB all coming into play at times. Most holes have a few route options but favor one or two over others without just forcing them.
All 18 holes have concrete tees, 13 holes now have fairly nice tee signs, and the layout has been altered since I last visited - it now flows much better throughout the front 13.
Cons: Holes 14-18 currently lack tee signs (but do have little numbers written on tape attached to the posts for the signs-to-be). Holes 15-18 are across the parking lot, which makes for a longer walk than anywhere else on the course, but it's better that they're there rather than crammed into the remaining land near the main body of the course. Hole 15 has a portable basket (black Westside?) instead of a permanent installation. 17 is still a bit rough - brush piles and some rough rough left.
Other Thoughts: While there aren't any holes that make it particularly difficult to play through the air (i.e very low ceilings), there are several solid opportunities to play rollers off the tee.
This course is a world different from when I was here in June - a world better. Accordingly, this whole review has been rewritten. Overall, there is yet room for improvement - this has the potential to be a really great park-style course. I understand that further improvements are in progress, so I'm rather excited.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Good course with some correctable flaws
Pros: A good beginner course with a decent amount of shot variety and some challenges for novices/recreational players. Course is in a well maintained park and has made use of some nice features of the park. Only a few real long holes and a variety of pin placements for repeat plays. The longer holes are pretty wide open and "grip 'n rip". The water in play is a fairly narrow creek that is omnipresent on about 5 or 6 holes, but not real obstacle for most seasoned players.
Cons: Difficult to navigate. First 3 holes are easily found, but 4 and 5 take a second to locate. 6 was tricky as the signage wasn't exactly clear as to the direction the pin was from the tee box. While the variety available for pin placement is a plus, it is also a minus as the multiple options plus a disorganized course make it a challange to locate the correct pin at times. About every other tee box was missing a sign. None of the pins were marked with a hole number or even a target to indicate which tee box they were facing. Several holes criss-cross very near each other and make obvious tee-to-pin play difficult. No benches. No maps available anywhere online that I could find. There are spots that seem to hold water after rain that could be troublesome if they don't dry out quickly. As other reviewers have said, the course weaves in and out of a playground, ballfields, several pavilions and a walking trail. It wasn't especially busy when I played it, but I can understand how this could be an issue at times.
Other Thoughts: An online map or some permanent markings (arrows) on the tee boxes indicating direction would be a HUGE help to the playability of this course, especially with the holes 4 and 5 and 16-18 being somewhat seperate from the main body of the course. The signs that were up seemed fairly recent and were extremely well done. Likely part of a tournament.
The "flow" of the course is somewhat choppy with a little bit of doubling back at times moving from one pin to the next tee box and then of course the hike to play the last three holes on the south side of the ballfields.
All that said, there were some challenging holes for a pure recreation player like myself with a good mix of LH and RH shots and some multiple-choice drives (not just one way to play the hole). I think anybody with above average arm strength and average accuracy would birdie most of these holes. As Decatur doesn't have a course of it's own, the visiting player has this course of the variety in Huntsville.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Could Use These Improvements!
Pros: Sparkman Park is a large multi-use large park and there-in there seems to be one of the problems with the course. That is the interaction between the disc golfers and it's many park users. The course plays over a widely used jogging/walking trail many times forcing us to sometimes wait for other park users to pass. The courses has some elevation, forces you to use many throws, has colorful but moveable tee signs and nice teepads. Many holes have multiple basket locations. I did have a little trouble navigating the course. See comments at this end concerning this problem.
Cons: Holes #4 and # 5, as brought up by previous reviewers are poor designs. The long walk to the last three is not a preferred option. There were 5-6 trees down on the course as the result of a windstorm. They affected the navigation of the course and also the play. I'm really surprised the parks department hadn't removed them yet as they appeared to have been down for quite a while.
Other Thoughts: I would have really enjoyed played this course more if with a few improvements were to be made.
1. Large, round, visible numbers atop the baskets. Man, this would really help the player navigating this course for the first time. If this is too expensive, see option two.
2. If # 1 is beyond the budget, how about a brightly colored strip of flourescent tape wrapped around the inner tube of the basket with the # of the hole written on it? At least, when I walk ahead I'd know what basket I was looking at!
3. Directional arrows painted on the teepads pointing to the basket. When I walk up to the teepad, it would nice to look down at the pad and know the direction of the basket. I 'm always nervous that those movable teesigns have been tampered with.
4. On holes with multiple basket locations, drill a 1/4 hole in the tee sign next to the A< B< C and insert a small bolt and nut with a washer (hopefully a brightly colored plastic one) into whichever hole ( A<B<C ) the basket is currently set. Tighten down with a wrench. Change bolt whenever basket location is changed. I've seen courses using this system and it's so very helpful . Make a couple of these improvements (especially # 4) and I could see this course being a 4. I enjoyed it and recommend stopping and playing it.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Good Course, Nice Mixture
Pros: Nice course situated in nice city park. Conrete tee pads and signage on every hole add to the round. There's also multiple pin locations and pads on a few holes, which adds variety to the course. There's certainly birdies to be made, but I've also seen some pretty good players lose concentration and make a big score.
Hole 12 long is a well designed, really solid golf hole.
Cons: The walk from 15 to 16 is a little long, and it can be confusing navigating the course for the first time. Holes 4 & 5 feel like they just don't belong with the rest of the course. They are both out in an open field, and get very muddy after a rain. Hole 5 has a wide open drive, but it does have a good approach over some trees, a creek, and OB just past the basket. So I can live with it, but 4 is completely wide open and frankly, was quite boring. This park also tends to get crowded with non-golfers, so you really must be aware of people on the paths, and people/children near the pavillion/playground area along hole 12.
Other Thoughts: Overall, this is good course and definitely worth playing if in the area. There are only 3 holes that have a lot of length (all +/- 500ft), and two of them (4 & 5) are out in an open field, which takes away a bit from the rest of the course. However, the other long hole, 12, is a great hole with water all along the right and trees/playground area to the left. The course has plenty of birdie opportunities, yet still provides a good challenge.
Favorite Holes: 3 long, 9, 12 long, 17
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Distance and accuracy
Pros: This is my favorite type of course. It's got a medium density of trees (mostly pines) so there aren't a lot of branches in the way, mostly tree trunks. The majority of the holes are a nice medium-long distance with tree lined fairways waiting for your disc if you stray too far to one side. It's also got a couple long open holes and some shorter holes with more trees in the way. This course requires all types of shots and uses the available terrain well. I find this course to be a nice middle ground between distance and accuracy.
Cons: The only thing I didn't like was the walk from hole 15 to 16, but hole 17 is a great hole and definitely made it worth while.
There were a few people walking laps on the sidewalk and using a shelter when I was there. I was definitely mindful of them, but they don't slow down a round too much.
When I was there the course was plenty dry and I didn't notice any problem with slippery tee pads.
Other Thoughts: I would play this course all the time if I could. This course features a fantastic mix of trees and distance. There's enough trees to make you focus on accuracy, but at the same time, many of the holes are long enough that you also need to think distance.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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