6 Helpful / 0 Not
A true gem
Pros: I haven't played enough Canadian courses to call the Toronto (Ward) Island disc golf course, the best in Canada, or even in Ontario. But it is certainly among the most unique. No one will dispute that this course is a very special place to play disc golf.
A 10 minute ferry-ride from the mainland, the Ward Island course is separated from the big city, which gives the island(s) a genuinely placid ambiance. The view of Toronto's skyline is unparalleled, particularly at night.
The only vehicles allowed on the islands belong to the park system or Emergency services. Even those who live on the islands must get around on foot, bike, boat or skateboard, if they so choose.
The course I played in September of 2012 bears little resemblance to the 1987 PDGAW courses that put me in the disc golf spotlight for years to come. It is better. Far better. Admittedly, this place holds incredible sentimental value for me. But the quality of this venue transcends this sort of bias.
At well over 8,000 feet in length, whether or not it is listed as a "par 64", it plays like it. And due consideration should be given to par on this course. This course gives the smart player plenty to think about and puts the less-strategy-oriented players to work. Risk vs Reward is artfully engrained into the multi-shot holes. The most basic tenant in the game of golf is to reward well executed shots and punish poorly executed shots; which the Ward Island course accomplishes in spades.
The fairways are immaculately manicured. The rough areas are well-defined and often unforgiving, but I do not recall any thorns or vines.
Mach 5 baskets provide the player with a solid place to finish out each hole. There is talk of a 2nd set of permanent targets. Combined with 2 and even 3 tees per hole, that's 4 to 6 ways to play each fairway... without having to move equipment.
Benches adorn most tee areas, though mostly by the longer blue tees.
Cons: The asphalt tee pads are usually long enough and grippy enough, but several aren't flat enough. The tees (not installed by players) go with the lay of the land, rather than lying uniformly flat, which I feel is the course's biggest short-coming. Others may barely take notice.
That said, the course topography is primarily flat. The only real elevation change of any substance is the drop-off beyond the sea-wall to the right of fairway #4 and the elevated baskets on #4 & 9. (Usually reserved only for tournaments)
A mandatory ferry ride or water taxi makes the course just inconvenient enough to keep the course from being overrun by players. The shortest walk is 10-12 minutes to tee #1. If you want something during the course of the round, you'll have to bring it on the ferry. Bikes and strollers come in handy here.
In playing the event, it seemed that some of the par 3 distances were longer than the tee signs indicated. If they are, in fact, correct, kudos may be in order for making fairly flat fairways play longer than they actually are.
There are a couple of holes that I might consider a "tweener" distance, but top-level Open Pros would likely not. The shorter tees bring many of these holes into range for a GM, like myself.
Other Thoughts: All things considered, the Toronto-Ward Island disc golf course is a rare and beautiful gem. An "absolutely MUST PLAY" course if you love a fair challenge, a beautiful setting or if you are looking for a reason to get on a boat with a bag of discs.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Nice long fairways, some narrow and some wide open. A good mix of challenges, water hazards and trees. Very quiet and uncrowded during the week. I'd play it again next time I'm in town.
Cons: Signage has been damaged on some holes. Downloaded maps dont agree with the current course around 7,8,9&10. It looks like they change the holes.
Other Thoughts: Awesome island to walk around with spectacular views of the city skyline. The course winds through a quaint community and harbor on the island. Worth the ferry ride out there. $6 r/t on the Ward Island Ferry
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Great views and some fun shots
Pros: The course plays through a nice park on Toronto Island. There are numerous great views over the lake and back across the harbor at the city, along with some nice stretches along the yacht club. The park is nicely kept, with all the grass recently mowed and the fairways cleared of dead branches. There are baskets in decent shape, and two tee pads on every hole. Two sets of adequate signage are a nice touch, with the distance and layout from both tees to both pin locations.
There is some nice variety here. A couple holes bring water into play for some fun risk/reward shots, including one where the best line is a wide hyzer out over the water and back on to the fairway. There is a good mix of lengths and hole shapes, and enough trees and brush to punish errant shots in many cases. The alternate pin locations often changed up the hole quite a bit, if they're moved reasonably often they're a great addition to the variety of the course.
Cons: Unless you live on the island, it's a $6.50 trip on the ferry to play. If you're planning on spending the day enjoying the parks and sights on the islands, that's no big deal, but it's a little pricey just for disc golf (though the views from the ferry and from the island back at downtown made it worth it to me, so I didn't ding the rating at all for the cost).
There are some safety issues with the walking path and a couple picnic areas, and the pedestrians and picnickers didn't seem to be aware of disc golf. The course is very flat, and does feel a bit repetitive after a while. The dual pads are a good thought, but they are often directly in line, and only different by a little bit of distance so they don't really differentiate the course for various levels of players. The asphalt makes for a pretty slick surface even with just a little dew on it.
Other Thoughts: This is a fun course, and the scenery on the island makes it worth the ferry trip. Beginners will find the course approachable, though the rough can get a little punishing, and errant throws on a couple holes could end up lost in the water. More experienced players will find some nice challenges, but not a whole lot of variety.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Worth a visit
Pros: Going to this course is a pleasant escape from the city, on a picturesque island a short ferry ride from the harborfront.
Wooded, tight holes and a variety of shots (left/right, short/long holes) make the course challenging. Short/long asphalt teepads and multiple pin locations per hole mean it is approachable for amateurs.
The City of Toronto maintains the course, but volunteers generally do trimming of the bushes/trees.
Wednesday night club rounds in summer (generally), Saturdays in winter
Annual Maple Leaf tournament in September is well-run and worth attending
Course is rumored to be receiving 18 additional baskets for a permanent double-tee/double-basket layout for every hole.
Cons: The volunteer-run trimming of bushes/trees is not done as regularly as necessary and the course can occasionally get a bit overgrown.
Alcohol is officially not permitted in the park, though many people ignore the rule.
Ferry ride costs $6.50 per person, round-trip, but discounts can be had if purchasing in groups of 10. Lineups for ferry tickets on weekends (generally late morning/afternoon) can be up to an hour, so come in the morning and stay all day.
Water (OB) is indeed in play on holes 4 and 9, though it is pretty easily avoidable as the canal just lines the right side of both holes. I have even seen an errant drive or two end up wet on holes 17 and 18, though that would be a spectacularly poor shot.
Other park guests occasionally find our well-mowed course to be a great spot for a private picnic. Most people are happy to move to a safer spot if you politely explain the dangers of laying in the fairway. There are many other areas in the park that are better suited for picnics. This is generally a non-issue, but can occasionally be a nuisance in the summer on weekend afternoons.
This is my home course for the past 3 years, so I am a little biased.
Take the ferry to Ward's Island and you'll have a 10 minute walk to the course. Bring a bike instead, and it is a shorter trip, plus you can spend some extra time exploring the rest of the park.
Also, there is a forum available if you have questions: http://www.discgolfontario.co...php?BoardID=2
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Good, not Great
Pros: There are a number of positive things to say about this course. To start, it's very well signed. There are two concrete tee pads and two baskets for each hole, each tee pad on each hole has its own sign indicating how far it is to both baskets.
As a result of the course having both short and long tees plus two basket positions for nearly all the holes, it gives the course a great replay factor. The front tees are short enough to allow the beginners to have fun but well placed enough to challenge intermediate players. The back tees are quite long on some holes, good for the big arms out there.
What the course lacks in elevational variety, it makes up for in obstacle variety. There are some short tight holes, some open holes with a narrow section to shoot through, tunnel shots etc... There are even yellow fire hydrants all over the place that you could hit if you're not careful. Another factor to consider is the wind. When I played the wind was quite calm, but I imagine it could pick up since this course is somewhat exposed in the middle of the great lakes.
Cons: As others have brought up, the course is very flat, leading to a slight repetitive feel. If this course could employ some elevation, it could really take advantage of the beautiful scenery and incorporate it more into the course layout.
I don't know if it's just me, but it seems as though the holes tend to curve off to the right more than they do to the left, making it easier for a natural LHBH thrower or RHFH thrower to play through the course. I'm all for some challenge but I believe in balanced course design and this course could benefit from it.
For such a highly rated and talked about course, I honestly expected the course maintenance to be better. Not that it's bad or really even much of an issue per se, but I expected more.
I liked the fact that there are two pin locations on each hole but it wasn't consistent and I often couldn't tell which hole location was being used. As a result, I had to walk halfway down the fairway just to see where I was shooting. This caused my round to take a little longer than expected which was ok, but it got annoying after a while.
Other Thoughts: The ferry ride over to the course offers great views of the city!
Even if you're with people who aren't into disc golf, there's a variety of other ways for them to amuse themselves on Toronto Island while you get a round in.
Other people have mentioned the price of the ferry as being a con to this course. The course is but a small part of the Toronto Islands and there is so much else to do that if you play disc golf, maybe go for a bike ride or check out the amusement park, you'll get your money's worth no problem. As of summer 2010, the price of the ferry round trip is $6.50 CAD, a bargain if you ask me.
One last thing, it seems as though if you play early, you'll have the course to yourself, if you play later on, it seems to get quite busy from what I hear. I played around 11am and had the entire course to myself, with just the odd bicycle cruising by.
Overall, this course is good but not fantastic. I had heard all kinds of hype about this course before I played it. I didn't look at the pictures on DGCR before I played and I just expected a bit more. I expected this course to be in my top 3 but sadly its not.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Like everyone else said its a fun challenging course on a bueatiful island. I drive up from Rochester, NY (5 hours) to play this once a year for a tourney. Camping is available on the island. After the first tourney we tossed discs back at the island as we pulled away on the ferry (a local tradition we were told) it was really cool.
Cons: The cost of the ferry ride.
Other Thoughts: I think the fact that the course is really flat isn't so bad sense the course is fairly technical. Look for the Team Discraft player on the island.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: - it's on an island. In Toronto. 'nuff said.
- many tough pin locations
- 2-3 pin locations per hole
- good balance of long and short holes gives a 'disc golf country club' atmosphere as you're playing
- nice signs at both sets of tees on each hole (36 signs). Very descriptive and accurate.
- large asphalt tees provide for decent grip, your only issue coming if it's raining really hard
- many people (mainly tourists) walking on the paths as you're playing will ask you what you're doing, giving you a chance to tell them about disc golf and promote the sport
- the view of the Toronto skyline is pretty cool
Cons: - the short tees are pretty much pointless. Almost all of them are 30-50 feet directly in front of the longs, which doesn't provide a much different experience for Amateurs, or make the course any easier for them.
- the course is extremely flat, almost zero elevation change through 18 holes
- it's an 'out and back' course, meaning that once you start playing there isn't a good place to cut the round short because the course is one big loop
- it's a pretty long walk (600m or 10 mins) from where the ferry lets you off to the start of the course
- the ferry to the island costs C$6.50, so it's not a course you're going to want to play every day just because of cost.
- the description says there are water hazards, and this is not at all true. Water doesn't even come close to being in play.
Other Thoughts: Toronto Island is a pretty quality course, and definitely a challenge for any skill level.
I'm only giving it 3 discs however, because after the first few holes it honestly got to be really boring. After about 6 holes all of them start to look pretty much the same. The obstacles change slightly, but it's still a flat course and the basket is pretty much straight ahead of you off the tee (except for 8).
The walk to the course from the ferry and the cost of the ferry to the Island are also reasons that I'm knocking off some points too.
In the end I was actually disappointed with Toronto Island and I don't think it lived up to it's hype. It's worth a trip to place once, but not a course I think I'll go back to unless it's for the Toronto Maple Leaf, which is a really legit tournament there.
8 of 11 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Picturesque course with lots of large mature trees, views of Lake Ontario, the channels between the islands and lush green fairways in the summer. The fairways are sufficiently wide with some nasty rough in places. The mature trees really increase the difficulty of the course by lowering the ceiling on many holes.
There are nice tee signs at both the short and long pads that show both pin positions and the distances to each. Attached to the bottom of each basket is a small arrow pointing you towards the next hole.
There's a good variety of distances on this course ranging from roughly 250ft to around 600ft. There are dual pad and pin positions on every hole making the course good for beginners and pros alike. This is the kind of course that will challenge players of all skill levels and keep them coming back for more.
Cons: I printed out a map posted by aaronarndt (thanks a bunch!) in his review before I played here and it greatly helped me navigate the course. I'm sure I could have got got by without one because of the signs attached to the bottom of the basket, but it definitely helped me.
The island is heavily populated with people walking around however I feel the designed did an excellent job keeping the course as far away from walking paths as possible. I played here on a week day but I understand people sometimes sit down or have picnics on the fairways on the weekends.
There were a lot of mosquitoes when I was there so I recommend bug spray in the summer.
Other Thoughts: Having a course on an island is very unique requiring a ferry trip across the bay to get there. The cost of the ferry trip is definitely out weighed by the trip across providing best view of the Toronto skyline and of course the quality of the course.
This course is truly a gem and well worth going out of your way to play!
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Great layout, easy to understand.
Challenges include a couple of water holes and some longer holes.
Beauty location, pleasant journey to get there. Easy to go with non-DG players and have something for them to do.
Cons: No elevation changes.
Easy to lose a disc
Other Thoughts: Really it's not fair, cause this is my home course but it's the best course I've played and the location is just sweet.
0 of 6 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 1 Not
Toronto Island Scenic Disc Golf Course (and more)
Pros: Nice baskets. (A short and long basket layout for each hole)
Excellent tee pads (really nice). (Short and long tee pads for each hole)
Very well maintained.
Nice mix of required shots.
Nice views. When you are there, it is hard to believe you are actually in Toronto. It feels like you are in cottage country, even though you can still see the Toronto skyline on a few of the holes (and of course during the ferry ride).
Generous gaps, long course with moderate amount of precision required to score well.
I played this course with most of the baskets in the long position, and it is definitely a challenging course. It is long, with a few par 4's scattered throughout. But, it is tight enough that you have to be accurate on every drive. Most of the roughs are unforgiving. If you are careless, and simply shoot for distance on your drive, you'll likely end up in the rough, and it will definitely affect your score.
It is a nice mix of requiring you to be accurate and/or conservative, while definitely testing your long game. It's tough to shoot under par without a big arm. I only had one birdie my whole first round on one of the par 4's. A few of the holes require you to plan your shots. There is a really nice par 4 right dog-leg (when #8 is in the long position) that can lure you into taking some risk...
Nice mix of short and longs, a crew periodically moves the baskets to keep the course seeming fresh to the regulars. I believe they are soon to put in multiple baskets on a few of the longest holes for permanent flexibility in course options.
A few looks for aces, I had a look on #9 that was "oh so close" (basket in the short position).
A nice practice area with two baskets that can really help space out the groups (which is needed, see [*] below).
The ferry ride can be a nice touch if you are from out of town and want to see Toronto. It is one of the nicest ways to see the skyline, take a picture, etc... Plus, there is plenty of other stuff to do on the Islands.
No elevation change to speak of.
The ferry ride.
The cost. $6.50 for the ferry, plus parking plus transit.
You are bound by the ferry schedule. Not necessarily going to negatively affect you, but you lose the flexibility of simply arriving and leaving whenever you want to. Do check the ferry schedule before you leave. You could be waiting as long as two hours for the next ferry to leave if you arrive at the wrong time expecting to just hop on a boat.
The course can be crowded with other golfers. On the nicest days, the golfers will flock to the island in droves, and they all get there at the same time (on a ferry[*]). And yes, they do watch the weather. If you arrive there on a nice Saturday, and it's your first time on the course, you might feel a bit cramped by other groups playing around you. It's not the easiest course to navigate (though with a map you shouldn't have any trouble) Link: http://img72.imageshack.us/im...landdicz0.jpg
, so the first time on the course you are likely going to encounter regulars that are able to play the course faster than you. It shouldn't be a problem, as I think just about every Canadian Disc Golfer is super friendly, but if you are looking for a nice quiet isolated game, this probably isn't the ideal course unless you are playing at a particularly low-traffic time.
The water is really only in play on one hole #9, but it can be pretty intimidating. I saw about six or seven discs sitting on the ice.
Other Thoughts: I don't get it. Don't get me wrong, this is a great course. But, between the commitment of time getting there, the ferry, getting into the city, and getting back, the experience on the whole wasn't as spectacular as I'd hoped. Maybe I am spoiled (I live 5 minutes from White Spruce Park in Brampton), but I think a "just as good" or better Disc Golf experience can be had at either WSP or Bronte Provincial Park. Personal opinion: If I were from out of town, was looking for a really great DISC GOLF experience, but had the chance to only play one course, it wouldn't be the Island. The other courses are just that good.
If you do go to the Toronto Island Disc Golf Course, take my advice: go early, take the whole day, bring a bike and a lock, and see and do more there than just Disc Golf. Take a tour and enjoy the rest of the island and the scenery, then it will truly be worth the investment of time.
14 of 15 people found this review helpful.
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