a diamond in the technical rough
5 Helpful / 0 Not
- free to play, plenty of parking
- challenging layout with great balance, longer than average fairways for the panhandle
- subtle inclines and declines added character to fairways
- informative tee signs that were numbered, listed fairway length, and provided fairway maps
- dual concrete tees
- clean fairways that played reasonably fair for a technical course
- bright baskets, easy to spot
- numbered baskets
- intuitive layout
- the basket for 18 ended at the course beginning
- superb navigation signs between holes
- lots of shade
- multiple courses on location
- bulletin board at the beginning of the course
- no multiple pin positions
- some Am tees lacked tee signs
- worn tee signs
- tees tapered in the front
- the am tee for 18 was natural
- thick rough
- some blind tee drives
- some standing water issues
- no bathroom on location
- worn baskets
Gator links is a challenging woodsy course. The fairways were moderately to heavily technical and can play quite long depending on which tees you choose to throw from. I threw from mostly the Am position because it was my first time there, they were worth the birdie run risks. The orange Innova baskets were easy to see from the short concrete tees than the Pro tees. As spectacular as the Pro tees were, I probably would have laid up a lot if I had throw them exclusively. The rough looked too gnarly to be throwing blind and a few holes were not realistically reachable from the pad at my ability, especially in my profusely sweaty condition. I watched my wife take a score of 8 from the Pro pads on that 600ft+ fairway, it was tough to watch....no seriously, there wasn't a lot of shade on that fairway in particular and I was getting a scorching sunburn just watching. The canopy shade on other sections was greatly appreciated. Those subtle uphill drives, combined with the heat and a full pack, had me sweating like a fat one-legged hooker working both sides of the street.
Slight inclines and declines filled what I thought was going to be a flat course. I'm glad that navigation between was so easy to follow. They did a wonderful job with the directional signs. The tee signs provided all the vitals, even if they were a little weathered. A few short tees lacked signs unfortunately. I'm pretty sure at least one of their distances from the shorties was incorrect too. 390ft from tee to pin on flat ground? That doesn't sound like something I should accomplish. I didn't much care for the tee designs, though they were well constructed. Tapering the front of the pad doesn't make much sense to me. The Am pad on 18 was al naturale.
Gator Links has instantly became one of my favorites in the Florida Panhandle. I can't wait to come back. The fairways, narrow as they were, discriminated against all styles of throwing equally. The course is longer than your typical panhandle course as well, so come prepared.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Do the Hopey Pokey
3 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Very shady for hot Florida summers. Benches on every am tee. Rusty-chained Innova Discatchers catch putts well. Tough and challenging. Clean and pretty.
Cons: Poke and hope on quite a few woods holes. Tee pads are nice but only 8 feet long, and not every runup is flush with the pads. Not really easy to locate the first tee.
Other Thoughts: Gator Links is a tough and challenging course set in a thick Florida panhandle pine forest that will test your ability to throw both backhand and forehand, and will test the limits of your patience with its relentless tight fairways and unforgiving rough. This course is a mix of splendid holes with perfect fairways like the 600 foot long, 30 foot wide hole 3, and better be lucky holes like the 4 foot wide hole 13 that only frustrates.
This is one of those woods courses that would be perfect if as few as one tree on a few fairways was removed to make for a more realistic line to the basket. It's really a crap shoot on several holes as it stands though, and luck is a huge factor here. Hope and poke and try not to boil over in rage as you'll inevitably find yourself off the fairway with no chance of par recovery---so it's a great mental challenge to keep grinding on when it feels like there's no chance of scoring well.
It's a solid course though and worth playing, and stays really comfortable on hot Florida summer days with all the shade. The rough is thick and unforgiving in several places and lost discs can happen. I would rate this one 4 stars but the fun factor is often missing because of the frustrating fairways, and the 8 foot concrete pads are not adequate enough on a few holes so I'll go with 3 1/2 here.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Old course and very well kept. Clean. You can tell this course is loved. Fun to play with a few right side bends (unusual for the panhandle courses I've played). Very up and down for the area as well. Friendly regulars.
Cons: Negligible. Looks like it could be snakey in warmer weather.
Other Thoughts: Got a cool tip from a local who guided me on first round here. Play 18 from the right side of the amphitheater stage on the hill. There's not a pad, but you'll see where and why.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Fun and challenging course!
Pros: Fun and challenging for a new player. Very technical with some hard doglegs and trees. Great course for working on both your hyzer and anhyzer shots! Pro tees provide extra distance and challenges for more advanced players. Well laid out and marked.
Cons: Slightly difficult to find hole #1 as it is back from the road and away from parking. Easiest to play first 7 holes of Pirate's Cove and then move into Gator links, then go back and finish Pirate's Cove.
Other Thoughts: A lot of fun. Great course that I plan to play again. Close proximity to Pirate's Cove course makes for a great 27 holes!
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 5 Not
nice course and challenging
Pros: nice course but challenging, many holes are open except a few trees in the way. Fun for intermediate players.
Cons: Can lose a disk if in the dense woods, needs better signs, no tee box on 18 and can not find the advanced tees, get lost trying to find a few holes.
Other Thoughts: Have fun playing the course and go through a round pretty quick because not too many people play it.
1 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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