a diamond in the technical rough
4 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.
4 of 4 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.
18 Wooded shots
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: (3.058 Rating) A heavily wooded course of moderate length.
- NAVIGATION - Near flawless. I was pretty nervous showing up here solo, first timer and without a map, and left totally blown away by the amount of directional ques. Arrows below the basket, there are clear arrows at every pathway entrance and there are several arrows along every longer path as well.
- SHOT SHAPING - Nearly every shot has to be well thought out. You'll probably look in your bag sometimes and wonder if you can throw a disc that will move the way you need it too. Personal note, I used all 14 discs in my bag.
- CHALLENGING - Full mental focus and perfected skills required. If you're having an inaccurate day, you're going to find yourself scrambling for par quite often. There are only a couple of good looks at birdie, and that's if you hit a small gap in many instances. I personally struggled from the ams tee, as 900 rated player and I just barely cracked course par.
- RAW BEAUTY - I found the Natural Beauty to be well above average. A fully wooded course, sprinkled with a few mild elevation changes, makes for a round that simulates the senses.
- CHILL AREAS - The entire course feels like a giant chill area, with benches and shade at almost all of the tees. There are trash cans at a few tee areas as well.
- SPACING - Gator Links has well spaced out holes with no chance of running one into another fairway. The walk to the next hole is generally close by with the exceptions of parking to tee (1) and also (18) basket back to the parking.
- LOCATION - Only a ten minute drive from I10. But perhaps the best part is the fact that there's another 9 hole course literally within walking distance. See Pirates Cove @ NLA.
Cons: Gator Links isn't for everyone's tastes.
- FORGIVENESS - Having an off accuracy day here will be quite defeating. It really never lets up. 18 wooded holes, with a majority of the holes I'd consider heavily wooded, and a few that are boarder-line poke and hope shots. Hole (13) stands out as an angle-less shot.
- OVERGROWTH - I played in early March before the vegetation re-growth exploded and still found myself searching. If you play this course in the summer near the peak overgrowth period, you may end up leaving a few disks behind.
- CHARACTER - Probably about average as a whole but lacking in some aspects. For instance the hole signage description was not accurate on a few holes and a several are in need of repair. Several tees were also too short and/or were in disrepair. There is no practice basket, multiple pin placement sleeves or bag holders that you'll see many times at the older established courses. There is however (as stated above) full tee shading, benches and directional ques, plus there's a community board.
- SKILL LEVEL FRIENDLY - Way too difficult for beginners and many recreational players. I could also see higher skill lever players also not liking this course if they don't like heavily wooded technical courses.
- FINDING #1 - Although navigation between holes is excellent. Getting to tee (1) could be a journey without a map. Be sure to download the course map under the links/files tab.
- UNIQUENESS - Every shot is a technical wooded shot. Sure the finishing direction will alternate, but the wooded shots will begin to blend together hours after playing. There's a little bit of elevation which is nice for a Florida course. I think number (11) drops 10 feet or so and (16) has an interesting raised basket placement as well. Also note, other than a dry creek bed along (12) there is no water along the course layout to force a line.
Other Thoughts: A solid Course. Pro's, Advanced and most Intermediate players should enjoy the challenge. Coupled with the adjacent Pirate Cove course, a great 27 holes to play on an extended afternoon.
- LOCAL HOLE - I took a review tip to play (18) from an alternate teeing location on a ridge flanking the far right of (18's) fairway. It was my favorite throw of the round. Check out the course map for the location of the unmarked tee. The alternate tee will allow for the largest down shot of the round. Probably a 30 foot slide down or so, and the shot will need to hit one of the many 8 foot wide lane options.
- MOSQUITOS - Many other reviews commented on lots of mosquitoes. I did not encounter really any at all, however it was a cool March morning, so I think I got lucky. The course does have the look and feel of a mosquito haven.
4 of 4 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.
2 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: A very cool nature trail with challenging but not rediculous shots.
They hold tourneys on a regular basis.
An indoor area with drink machines.
Cons: The hornets were bad. I was stung through a vein on my arm. I discovered a basketball sized hornets to the right of hole 1.*ouch*
Theres also a bee's nest in the broken tree next to the basket at hole 1.
Other Thoughts: Bring a flamethrower for the hornets.
2 of 6 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 10 Not
Pros: Tee pads and signs for every hole. Awesome fairways as well as baskets. Trash cans throughout the course. Maintained by the ECDGC and stays very clean. The club has started to pour concrete pads for the pro placements.
Cons: Bugs. However, not bad if you use 100% deet.
Other Thoughts: A great course that is well maintained and easy to navigate. Pirate's Cove is also on campus, so 27 holes with pads to play.
0 of 10 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: I came across this course while on my way home from a vacation near Pensacola. While finding the tee for hole 1 was tricky, navigation there after was quite easy for the most part.
This course plays in the woods off of a college campus. Unfortunately, there were no sexy college co-eds frolicking through the course. What a bummer.
There are two sets of tee pads, the red concrete pads which are the shorts and blue natural tees that are the longs. The long pads are marked by blue wooden blocks in the ground. From what I saw, there was only one pin position per hole.
This is quite a technical course that favors a player that can play straight shots. There are only a few blind holes but I found that the signage provided excellent references to where the basket is. Baskets are Innova and have a distinct orange band that stand out quite nicely and are in great shape.
Benches are at many, it not most holes and are a welcome relief from the heat.
Fairways are very well defined and what little elevation change there is was used well. This course was also very clean. Not sure if a group regularly goes out and picks up trash but it was immaculate.
Cons: As other have mentioned, the mosquitoes were horrible. I brought bug spray and still escaped with a few bites.
I did not see any trash cans out there but thats not a huge deal to me.
Navigation between 9 & 10 was kind of tricky. You can either walk up this washed out ditch filled with leaves, sticks and other debris or you can walk up 18's fairway towards their tee then cut into the woods. That kind of needs to be cleared out a bit.
Parking in the parking lot and then walking back to the entrance seemed kinda silly. Closer parking would be a great asset but again, not that big of deal. Walking back, you can cut through campus now that you know where you're going.
Other Thoughts: While I would probably not come here again, it was a nice way to start the road trip back home. I played on a Sunday morning and we had the whole course to ourselves.
6 of 8 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 4 Not
Other Thoughts: .
3 of 7 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Your bug spray needs bug spray
Pros: Cool orange banded Innova baskets stand out in the woods, isolated from the world, all you will hear is nature, 18 holes, good signage, benches on each hole. Good hole variety and even a little elevation in an area that is generally deficient. Mostly good fairways. Front and back 9 start and finish in the same place. Good next tee signs on many holes.
Cons: The mosquitoes have mosquitoes! Some almost silly tight lines. Hidden away, it took us 2 years to find this course (jokingly...we couldn't find it on our first trip but did this time). There appears to be an archery setup right in front of one of the walking paths after hole 17 I believe. That was kind of scary. It seemed that the concrete tees were not always the shorts? The "pro" tees appeared to be more of sadist tees. Swampy on a few holes which surely didn't help with the bugs.
Other Thoughts: This is a fun course, really tight but mostly fair and generally not too punishing for going off line. It goes through a pine forest and then a lowlands area that was kind of marshy and then back up into the forest again. There are signs on every hole and usually next tee signs as well which is good because there are a few paths out there that are non disc golf. Based on the signs it seemed the concrete tee was not always the short box but I cannot be too sure. The longs seemed absolutely silly on a lot of holes and also tough to find (blue bricks). I would play here in the fall after the mosquitoes go away. We had enough DEET on us to cause birth defects and still had at least 3-4 of them flying around us at all times. Might want to chug a jar of quinine before coming out....Remember kids, you can't beat OFF! in the deep woods.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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