All Roads Lead to Sportsplex.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: (2.701 Rating) An open bomb-it style course.
- CHALLENGING - There are two sets of tees out here for many of the holes. Blues for the back tees and whites for the front tees. Due to the length from the back tees plus all the OB, breaking par here on a routine basis will take a highly skilled player. My guess is that players rated around 930 can accomplish that feat. Players that can throw 400 plus will have a leg up on players whose skills lean toward the technical side of the spectrum.
- CHARACTER - In addition to the extra tees, there are a bunch of other nice extras and comfort items out here. Lots of extra basket placements. Most holes have 2 or 3 placements, but one hole has 4 and another has 5 placements. Lots of benches along the layout and with somewhat great hole signage with one caveat (see cons, Signage). The hole signage has blue or white boarders to go with the corresponding tee designation. There are restrooms and shelters in the park, but they are a bit far from the beaten path of play.
- TEES - Typically sized concrete tees, four feet by ten feet.
- UNIQUENESS - For being a very open course, a surprisingly good hole type diversity. The range of hole distances is massive, from low 200s to mid 700s. There are several par 4s, several creek water plays, two raised basket placements and a few well guarded deep pocketing shots in play as well. All stated, the course has an over abundance of open plays. It would be great to see about a dozen trees planted out here every year.
Cons: Lots of minor issues with Sportsplex.
- SAFETY HAZARDS - Wow do roads play a major factor here. I counted at least ten occurrences. Some of the holes it felt like the road were driving design element as a few basket placements were within fifteen feet of the road. One of placements on (19) has parking within twenty-five feet, and of course I parked by it thinking it was the practice basket driving up.
- CROSSING FAIRWAYS - The blue tee for hole (16) is tucked into a pocket left of the far basket on (15). These placements introduce crossing fairways directly in front of the basket on (15). I personally would just eliminate the far basket placement on (15) to correct the problem. It's an unnecessary hazard.
- MISSING BRIDGE - The blue tee on (17) does not appear to reachable without ninja training. A ten foot wide ditch/creek crosses the fairway line. I was able to cross using a larger 6 to 8 inch wide tree. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that most higher skilled regular players decide to play the white tees on this hole.
- MISSING HOLES - Although I couldn't see basket (11) from the tee being 500 feet away, I decided to throw anyways. A couple hundred feet later I realized there was no basket. This goes for (12) as well, which also has no tee. From reading the past reviews, these holes have been missing since Spring 2015. There was construction going on in this area during my Nov 2017 visit.
- SIGNAGE - Several tee signs were mounted horizontally on benches. All of the signs that are mounted this way are fading away from sun and moisture exposure.
- NAVIGATION - With all the issues listed above, I was scratching my head out here on where to go numerous times. Not the worst course out there as the layout is open. Figure a first timer solo out here needs to plan for about an additional 15 minutes of recon.
- TIME PLAY - This one takes well over an hour solo. Expect a four sum to play in about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Groups will likely have to wait several times for passing cars.
- ELEVATION - I've played flatter course in Alabama but for a course with this big of a footprint the change in elevation was definitely a letdown. Maybe hole (4) or (5) approaches the 10 foot elevation change threshold. There can be two baskets in raised conditions depending on the basket location. The rest of the elevation on this layout is not worth noting.
- NATURAL BEAUTY - Definitely not the most scenic course in North Alabama. There are some really nice parts to this course, but there are also some duds as well. I think the course falls just below average. The Course is too flat, mostly void of trees and doesn't really have much in natural features to provide an eye-catching feel. There are two creeks along the layout but the more prominently used creek seems more like a ditch than a natural winding tributary.
- WIND - Several reviews mention how terrible windy it gets out here, and it's no joke. I played Athens just down the road about an hour before this one and it seemed like the wind effect was double at Sportsplex. I was personally greeted with winds gusting 20 to 25 mph.
Other Thoughts: Sportsplex starts off really good. I was definitely feeling a solid 3 rating after the first nine or ten holes but it turned south really quick with all the completely open shots and roads in play. The layout is challenging from the blues tee no doubt, but the difficulty is one dimensional driven completely from the length off of the tee. Shaping a shot threw a gauntlet of obstacles is not a test to be found on this layout. Still however, Sportsplex is unquestionable a better course than Athens State. I think it could cross the into the 3 rating threshold following the completion of the construction and the return of the two missing holes. If I lived in the area, I would play here all the time.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
The OB will frustrate weak-minded players
Pros: Extremely challenging. Tons of OB, usually windy, creeks throughout the course. Holes 1-10 are on the best side of the course. 11-19 are a little more wide open as there was not much to work with over there.
Several unique and challenging holes depending on the pin position. Hole 3 across the creek, hole 5 tucked into the woods, hole 16 across the creek under a large pine tree are all personal favorites of mine.
Plus, the worlds' smallest mando on hole 13.
The people in Athens have always been some of the friendliest. So, don't be a horse's butt and show your frustration when the course beats you down.
Cons: 11-19 are a little too wide open. Not much you can do there. I'm not a fan of elevated baskets, and depending on pin locations you could encounter two during a round.
Holes 11 and 12 are currently missing due to park construction. Maybe this will open up an opportunity to move those holes to a more interesting part of the park with better land?
The park dept. needs to go hog wild with weed killer in those creeks so the water will flow better. It used to be looking really nice as the creek has plenty of rock.
Other Thoughts: I like the challenge this course presents with the lack of prime real estate available for disc golf. It keeps me coming back for more.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The Athens Sportsplex course is a solid course in a city park setting. It features concrete tees, baskets that are in good shape, and excellent color tee signs with distances for the 2-4 possible basket locations on each hole. I appreciate the good variety of possible basket locations that would keep this course fresh and challenging for locals if moved regularly.
The course is mostly flat playing over lush grassy fairways and around a few trees. The biggest challenge here is avoiding the o.b. (water/creeks, roads, fences, walking trails, etc.) There is quite a bit of water in the form of creeks that come into play on several holes.
Cons: Disc golfers should be aware of the popular walking trail on the first few holes- lots of walkers the day I played and I was the only one playing. Lots of roads and parking lots come in to play as hole borders (not my favorite obstacle as you have to watch for cars, and landing on asphalt is hard on discs.)
Tees for 3 and 7 are somewhat close to each other and somewhat at each other, be careful if crowded.
There is a good deal of room for error or to play it safe on the drives for most holes, but then there is hole 18.... which is just a super narrow strip of land between the road and creek with the fairway sloping downward towards the creek- nearly impossible to land safely in bounds even playing it safe with putters- very tough hole and I question the design of it a bit (especially since there is a 19th hole that plays over the same creek- maybe these two could have been combined?)
Hole 14 is long just for the sake of being long, absolutely no obstacles whatsoever (unless you count the road and swimming pool that really do not come into play.) I always find wide open boring no matter what the length.
There were supposed to be 19 holes, but, when I played, hole 11 had no basket, and hole 12 had no tee and no basket. This was disappointing as I was really liking the course up to that point.
The back 9 is much different from the front (much longer and more open) and gives the impression that these holes were created at a different time than the front (rather than a unified 18 hole design).
I also thought the course could have used some bridges to get over the creeks. Not sure how one would get to some of the alt. tees and longer baskets without them other than wading through the water.
Other Thoughts: FYI- many of the tee signs were posted on objects other than tee signs, like large wooden benches, the wooden bridge (#4), and the protective wooden wall (#9).
Overall, there are some really nice, fun, and challenging holes here. Despite its many cons, it is worth playing if you are in the area, and if I was a local I would definitely play here regularly.
The course is really easy to get to from I-65, and, in fact, you can see baskets from the Interstate.
Be advised that playing on a hot sunny day in Alabama that it will be hot, and this course has almost no shade.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Jeckl and Hyde
Pros: Course well maintained and easy to navigate.
The front 9 has nice long shots that you must shape drives for dueces. Away from most park activity and not busy.
Great use of available trees and creek
Cons: The back nine is a series of long shots that end up in long putts. OB is really only challenge on last 10 holes. Still good use of space and seems like built the front 9 and afterwards addes more holes and didn't have a designer do those holes.
What's with hole 19?
Other Thoughts: All in all a good place to stop on a road trip . I suggest playing the front twice.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -Holes are not on top of each other
-Doesn't feel cramped
-Beautiful creek flowing throughout the first few holes
-A few unique holes that really stand out
-Great place to practice power throws
-Peaceful park with very little pedestrian intrusions when there are no ball games being played
-right off the interstate
-a few drop zones and elevated pins
-beautiful color maps on every hole
-professional feel that will immediately welcome any amateur for a rememberable experience
-lots of benches throughout the course
Cons: -half of the course isnt in the shade
-LOTS of walking due to the holes being so spread apart, which isnt really a con in my book but I recommend playing the front 10, and then driving to the other parking lot near the pool and walking the remainder
-needs water fountains
-no course map
-first time you will wander aimlessly to find the holes
Other Thoughts: I pretty much mirror most of the positive reviews for this course. I will most def. come back. I was skeptical at first when I first arrived but immediately fell in love with it. With just a few minor improvements this could easily be one of the best in the N. Alabama area.
On a side note, I enjoyed the different layouts of the course most of the courses in N. Alabama are all heavily wooded so this is a welcomed change. Also, if you are playing disc golf and you live in Alabama, its going to be hot. I mean get real, its part of the game. My buddy and I played it today in 90 degree weather a nice breeze and had a blast. Don't bitch about Alabama sunshine if you play DG in the summer. Get out there and get acclimated to the weather early on, and for this course especially stay hydrated and take breaks
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - This course has a great mix of holes. length/varity of shot/ etc.
- Great Discatcher baskets
- OB everywhere ( i put this as a pro since it teaches you to throw controlled shots and helps with the mental part of your game)
- Mulitple tee pads and pin locations on almost every hole.
- The club moves the baskets monthly, so it keeps it interesting playing new holes
- The Recreation Department keeps the grass cut and the course looking fantastic
- Tee Signs show accurate distances
Cons: - Only bathroom on the course is next too the soccer fields that is behind a closed gate most of the time.
- Course can be a little hard to navigate the first time through
Other Thoughts: I don't think this course gets enough credit. It will help you learn a varity of shots, how to play in the wind, throw controlled distance shots, and helps with your mental game. One of my favorite courses.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: good balance of easy and challenging holes, nice baskets, concrete tee pads, multiple tees and different basket positions
Cons: creeks can take your discs, almost always windy, the need to put up new bridges
Other Thoughts: nice coarse would recommend to everyone.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: -Biggest pro: the benches are very big and nice.
-Unique nipple baskets, I call them. Explained more in the cons section.
-Holes 5 and 8 are pretty cool.
-The course flow is okay. It's wide-open enough to not cause much congestion.
Cons: -Elevated baskets. There were two holes where the baskets were elevated about 7 feet from the ground. They will cost you some stokes.
-Course design is poor with little elevation changes, and little shot variety is offered.
-Very few unique holes.
-Fairways are not clearly defined on most holes. You are generally throwing into a wide open field.
-Zero trash cans.
-The tees could be a little longer and wider for the big throws you must make.
Other Thoughts: This just seems like a bad spot to put a disc golf course. The park is nice and all, but throwing across open fields with little obstacles is not much fun. Bring a long arm to the course and some stable discs b/c of all the wind. It was windy that day and I hear it is a lot of the time. Parking is adequate. The baskets are in decent shape, but I do not like the large yellow bands at the top.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Windy and Open!
Pros: The course is layed out pretty well given the area they had to put the course in. There are a few really really nice holes to test your skills with the disc. Hole 5 is a big anny spike unless you have a sidearm that will cut hard. It is on top of a hill and the basket is tucked in the woods to your right a good distance away. The trick is it's almost a horseshoe shot. You have to go high and wide to make the cut around the trees to just give yourself a upshot for par. It's wayyyyyyy tougher than it sounds for sure. I was lucky enough to three it myself! Hole 8 is also pretty tricky as it's a low ceiling over a creek with a mando tree making you go right of the tree. Just after the creek and tree is a field with the basket WAYYYYYY to the left. This again will require a major "cut" of the disc just after the tree. Holes 2 and 14 are both elevated which makes for some fun putting with all of the wind in the area. All and all this course will test how well you can control your disc in the wind with a bunch of OB to punish you if you can't throw correctly.
Cons: There wasn't very many (if any) trash cans in the area. Course badly needs tee signs on poles to let you see where the next box is. I could see on a few holes where you would have no clue which way to go after playing a hole because there is only a concrete block in the ground with a tee sign laying/placed somewhere near by. All in all there isn't really a whole lot I have to say bad about the course.
Other Thoughts: If you are in the area playing this course you should take the short drive down to Hartselle and play Sparkman park as well. It's worth the drive if you find yourself in this part of AL.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Long, Windy and Not Real Exciting!
Pros: This is a links style course set in a very large sports complex next to the soccer fields. Unfortunately much of the course feels as though you are throwing out in the middle of a soccer field. Like every previous reviewer pointed out, there's very little in the way of shade, so bring water. The wind was a factor the day I played. It sounds like it always is. Many baskets were placed close to creeks and streets adding to the overall challenge. The teepads provide for a nice runoff. I could've used about 300 ft. teepads on this course. I did see something here I've never seen before, some of the tee signs were screwed onto to large benches. Good idea guys. The course was pretty easy to navigate. The park and course was extremely clean and vandalism free.
Cons: I found this course almost totally lacking in personality. The only hole I really enjoyed was the one throwing a hyser across the creek (ditch?) where you have to keep it low under the branches. I played early in the morning so the Alabama sun wasn't a factor but the wind and the boredom was. Much of this course reminded me of some of more boring holes on the U of A Huntsville course.
Other Thoughts: My one true moment of excitement on this course was when some park maintenance men found a baby snapping turtle and showed me. My first Bama snapper!
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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