Palmetto: OG of Blue Angel complex still holds up
18 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Blue Angel Park - Palmetto is a very nice heavily wooded 18 hole par 3 course on the west side of Pensacola.
Course map at the start along with a pavilion with picnic tables. Pay box here as well, $3 honor system. Neat putting practice area on other side of parking with 3 baskets.
2 teepads per hole, labeled Pro and Am. Also a bench at each tee with the hole number, distance and Pro or Am designation painted on the front. I thought it was a nice touch, can't recall seeing this before.
Baskets were older DGA somethings, teepads were older concrete in fine shape and were found at each tee. Size was fine for my minimal runup but would be considered small by today's standards.
Course is heavily wooded with a nice canopy. Having a restricted height didn't bother me but perhaps an overhand thrower might wish for more airspace. Even though I played the course in November I couldn't help think that all the shade must be appreciated in the summer months.
Nice mix of hole lengths and shot shapes. Having 2 teepads I'm sure makes for great replay value. Fairways were generously wide with usually an obviously intended shot shape although many required hitting gaps.
Palmettos everywhere lining many fairways and could be found in several. Fairways were clean of underbrush, it is obvious that the course gets a lot of play.
Navigation was intuitive, can't recall ever wondering where the next hole was.
A few neat structures to be found like a covered bridge. This signals to me that some folks have put some extra time and energy into the course they love.
Hanging basket on hole 16 was well done.
Cons: Course is board flat.
A modern set of teesigns would be appreciated. I did a fair bit of scouting to locate basket locations (although recognizing this is not a problem for the locals).
Couple holes had strange lines. I think it was hole 13 that was a sharp right to left dogleg with a mando. Not sure what the intended line was, I poked a Firebird up there and crashed into a palmetto circles edge.
Other Thoughts: Regarding Palmettos: I have heard how these plants have caused Florida players to develop turbo putts and now I can better appreciate it, those suckers can be sharp.
Course is one of three 18 hole tracks on the property. All share the same parking lot. I stopped at the guard station on the way in, told the nice lady I was there for discgolf and she waved me through. So not sure if the "check ID" description on the main page is randomized or outdated.
18 of 18 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: All three courses are open and in excellent condition. Some of the best courses I've played. Open yet wooded, you will hit trees at some point. Excellent signage. All will enjoy this course and family friendly.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: (3.183 Rating) A short technical course with a mystical feel.
- RAW BEAUTY - I played at daybreak, in foggy conditions. Perhaps the siren misty feel that morning added to some flavor, but regardless, I thought the course looked incredible. Fairways were mostly comprised of beautiful low sweeping live oaks, palms and palmettos. Ranked solely on looks, to me, this is the most beautiful of the three Blue Angel courses. Of the +100 courses I've played in Florida, I'd put it around 10th, so 90 percentile. It most closely reminded me of Florida courses Palm Bay Regional and Tocobaga, but a hair better example.
- SHOT SHAPING - Magicians will love this course. Most holes have only one optimal attack angle and the play typically has significant movement. Players need to constantly release at the right speed and angle, and make sure the ending curves correctly to avoid the thousands of trees in play. Good luck.
- CHARACTER - My kind of course. First off, driving in and seeing the giant basket is a killer ambience item. Also shelters with tables, porta-potties, water jugs, maps, community info and two practice baskets. Almost the entire course is secluded and has an overall Zen feel. There is seating on every hole, some with bag hangers and even a few pit-stop shelters on this layout. It seemed like two thirds of the holes had multiple tees, baskets are adequate MachIII's and tees are concrete measuring 5 feet by 10 feet. My only preference would be to add a few alternate basket placements.
- CHALLENGING - Playing the back tees at Palmetto, or any of the three courses at Blue Angels for that matter, is going to provide an Advanced level beat-down. I played a mix of front and back tees, and the tee shot demands crossed the line of ridiculousness several times, see cons, Design. So although the course is super tough from the back, its due to a lot of flawed difficulty.
- QUICK PLAY - The quickest play of the three courses. My two some completed the first leg in 75 minutes. We did the all 3 courses in four hours.
- NAVIGATION - Adequate. I think I saw a course map at three different locations in the complex. So that's good. Lots of navigational cues between holes. The tee signs are a bit dated being a solid color with descent sharpie layout description of the hole. I would not be surprised if this gets updated in few years.
Cons: Will be loved by some and cursed by others.
- DESIGN - Among the top 5 tightest courses I've ever played (335 courses played as of this review.) I honestly love technical courses, but the demands on this course are over the top and often unrealistic. Listed all par 3s but a few are seemingly unbirdieable holes without a little luck or a long fairway shot that chimes in. The holes that bothered me the most were (4), (12), (13) and (15). All of which required turning in a kitty of karma points to score well. Numerous lines are have their widest lanes at around the 4 foot width mark. My displeasure in the lines was great enough to shave off around 0.25 rating points.
- FORGIVENESS - This course will test the placement of every player's shots. Being off the mark by a few feet sometimes isn't good enough. In addition, if/when a player hits a tree, the resulting punishment is sometimes more than one throw. Thankfully no added punishment of lurking water waiting to claim a ricocheting disc. There are however a bunch of palmetto bush patches. Players will need to keep an eye on their discs, cause they'll want to limit the amount of patches they search. Players will be rewarded with a few cuts at each patch.
- BUGS - I don't subtract any score for this, but this looks like the kind of place that has unbearable mosquito conditions from time to time. I'd load up on deet if heading here between April and September.
- PAY TO PLAY - Mr Butlertron and I made a $10 dollar deposit to play the trio. I want to say it was more like 3 or 4 bucks, but we didn't have any singles or fives. Well worth it for the trio IMO. I'd pay again to play the other two courses here, but I'd probably skip this one if I ever came back.
- UNIQUENESS - A touch below average. Although just about every shot is beautiful, they look all the same. My memories of many holes had blended together by the time I completed the trio. Again, all technical tunnel shots weaving in different directions. No water, rock and elevation elements. Hole (17) has a hanging basket, which did nothing for me.
- BEGINNER FRIENDLY - Despite the shorter distances from the front tees, I would not call this course beginner friendly. Way too many trees, and it even frustrated this 5 year veteran. I'd recommend Hitzman as the best area beginners course.
Other Thoughts: The first of 5 courses I hit with Mr. Butlertron. I knew going into this course that it was ranked in the top ten in Florida, but by round conclusion it just didn't feel like it fit in the same crowd of courses like Tom Brown, Magnolia, Picnic, New World, Alpha, Bill Frederick, etc. It turns out, by asking Mr B and researching, the Palmetto course has gotten a lot of tweaks over the years. So it's not surprising to note that Palmetto's last ten review average is actually lower than both the Pines and the Oaks. Regardless, Palmetto is still a destination course for Florida when combined with the other two on-site courses. Likely best enjoyed during the Winter months.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
A Fantastic Short and Wooded Course
Pros: - Well Kept
- Rather Challenging
- Nice and Fair Uses of Mandatories
- Water Coolers
- Large Teepads
- Most Beginner Friendly on the Property
- Great Next Tee Signs
- Benches with Hole Lengths
- Two More Courses on the Property
- $3/person + $3 Green Fee for Play ALL DAY
Cons: - Teepads Can Get a Little Too Long
- Some Wear and Tear from Years of Usage
- No Water Holes
- No Map to see where Pin Roughly is
Other Thoughts: Wow, is this course good. This course has a bit more variation of hole length than Pines, with holes ranging up to 375 feet on the Am tees and up to over 500 feet on the Pro tees. All in all, this course is absolutely fantastic and is a must play if you are in the Pensacola area.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck discs
- concrete tees, low to the ground
- benches marked with distances to the pin
- challenging layout
- a mix of right and left ending fairways
- numbered baskets
- each basket has a painted rung to direct players to the next hole
- the rough isn't too thick, which makes it easier to find discs off the fairway
- plenty of shade
- cart friendly
- course starts and ends at that the parking lot
- water coolers on site
- complex features many other recreation activities
- bathrooms with showers on complex grounds
- camping on location
- small pro shop is nearby at the marina
- some ace runs
- practice baskets at parking lot
- navigation was tedious at times
- some fairways didn't have realistic lines to the basket
- not much fairway variety, course sort of a one trick pony
- tees were not uniform, some too short or narrow
- blind fairways, I had walk up too many of them
- basket blends in with the woods too much, hard to see
- mostly flat course
- not all holes have dual tees
- some tees had poor orientation toward their corresponding basket
- no course map
Palmetto is a challenging course, regardless of it's relative short stature. The problem is that it sort of has an identity crisis. There's no way beginners would like this course, it's too narrow and technical. More experienced players would undoubtedly choose to throw the Pines or Oaks over Palmetto because they're longer and have better fairway variety. If I were to label it, I'd say it's an intermediate/advanced am type of course. It's perfect for brushing up on the fundamentals of developing or an already developed player, separating the fakers and the truly well rounded players.
Navigation was intuitive enough to get around the course, but it was not necessarily smooth. An online map, which wasn't available, would have helped. I added one. Most of the tee signs were missing or unreadable. At times it was hard to figure out which set to tee pads I was throwing from. On courses like this, you really rely on the information provided on tee signs. Not having them is pretty detrimental to the decision making of non locals. Luckily, there were distances listed on the benches, numbers on the posts that once held a readable fairway tee signs, numbered baskets, and a painted basket rung to indicate the direction of the next tee pad. I came here once before, in April, and was hoping that the poor signage was something that would be addressed as the season progressed. Clearly, this course is the most neglected of the three.
Palmetto's fairways were shorter and more technical than the Pines and Oaks courses. I actually prefer all of 3 of these courses over open field type courses. Unfortunately, these tight and technically themed fairways sometimes made for either poke and pray scenarios or drives that required unreasonable hyzer line attempts. As with the other 2 courses, I had a difficult time finding the baskets from the tees. I don't mind walking up the occasional fairway to put an eye on the basket, but having to do it more than half the time starts to eat away at both the fun factor and the flow of gameplay. These baskets could use also use more color to help them jump out at you.
All 3 courses at Blue Angels are similar to each other in style, which makes having multiple courses at the same facility less of a bonus to me. Still, 3 $ is a hell of a low price to pay for an all day disc golf pass. Additionally, the complex has many other activities if you should decide that disc golf is not your forte. A short drive passed the course will take you to a marina with food, drinks, and discs available for purchase. You can even take a post round dip at a beachside pavilion. I myself brought an extra change of cloths and took a shower in one of the beach side bathrooms.
I have Pines and Oaks listed as strong 3s. Palmetto was shorter, had a handful of poke and pray shots, and provided less variety than that of its counterparts. As a result, I have it rated as a 2.5. I'm not so sure it would receive the same amount of fanfare if it were a lone course elsewhere.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Good Course With Some Good Touches.
Pros: --Concrete tees, both pro and amateur.
--Course is clean, likely because there are buckets for trash at most (if not all) the holes.
--Basket placement is varied (one was on tiered slabs, another is a hanging basket).
--Good variety of holes; some wide open and close to a major water body while others are packed tight with vegetation, requiring more surgical strikes and shot-shaping.
--Benches at some of the holes.
--Some nice, aesthetic touches along some of the holes.
--Some practice baskets are found at the entrance of the course.
Cons: --One item that many listed as a positive was the signage. I saw many sign holders but missing information on those signs.
--On the subject of missing incomplete signage, players are sometimes forced to guess the next hole and/or pin location as they are not always obvious.
--Some holes are brutally unforgiving, including those that require a perfect, sharp 90-degree hyzer to successfully navigate the hole.
--A wayward shot means wading through thick brush that will (1) scratch you up pretty well and (2) leave you little to no shot or angle to rescue the hole.
--A small fee required to enter the recreation area ($3).
Other Thoughts: This course was highly recommended by many. I had the opportunity to play it during a well-organized 2017 Trilogy Challenge. While this course is overall good and has some character, I didn't see enough to say this was an exceptional course. There is enough here to give the other two courses at Blue Angels a shot, but if this course is any indication, expectations are tempered.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: This course has multiple pads. Also there are bag hangers at each hole. Tee pads were ample and allow for a good run up. Trash cans and benches through out as well.
This course has good lines that need to be hit but they aren't so hard they are unforgiving. Good mix of of short, moderate, and longer holes here. Distances are listed on the benches. Solid mix of tunnel shots and low ceiling shots. There are a few pins that are protected to add to the challenge.
Hole 4 will give you the opportunity to air a a drive.
Many holes will give you birdie looks and a few holes will have you wanting to run the chains. Good mix of dog leg L and R holes. Flow of the course is logical. Spray painted stumps that aren't flush with the ground is a great idea to try to prevent players from tripping. Water jugs throughout the course and they actually had water in them! Hole 16 had a hanging basket that was a nice added touch.
This course was moderately busy even on a Sunday morning so thats a good sign of a quality course.
Cons: The transition from hole 3's basket to 4's tee slows the flow of the round down a bit.
Baskets are older DGA baskets so they catch like older DGA baskets. Some spits outs may occur but all basket spit out from time to time.
These are not huge cons.
Other Thoughts: I like the fact that there are multiple pads here on this course. This allows for some different looks at several holes and doesn't just only add length to each hole. You will have to be fairly accurate on this course as it favors technical throws over distance, and thats a good thing. If all the holes where grip and rip open and long what fun would that be. This is a very fun course that has 2 more sister courses on site. Its is pay to play, $3 but it is worth it in every way. Come out and play all 3 courses and make a day of it. If you are in the area or are close and want to get in some solid discing then hit up this course and also Pines and Oak. You will have a good time and it is money well spent.
5 of 9 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 4 Not
A Florida gem
Pros: Perfect course for a fun round, you really have to shape your shots for a good shot at birdie.
Well laid out and holes have good sinage.
Cons: The only con if you can call it a con is you have to pay to get in the park but it is well worth it!
Other Thoughts: 1 of 3 beautiful courses in the park
3 of 7 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 4 Not
Short and challenging
Pros: Great course with long holes to let it fly and very hard short holes that turn sharply and snake to the baskets. Nice entrance to the park with a big basket and other eye catching designs. Great variety of shots to use with many different approaches to get to the baskets. 3 practice baskets.
Cons: port a potties at the entrance of the park...would like nicer bathroom to make park better. Some holes were a little confusing to get around. Bushes laced with thorns. Address on GPS stops way short of course. Pay to play.
Other Thoughts: I really enjoyed the course. The drive to get there is a little bit out of the way but anyone in the area should definatly play it. Has holes for all levels of play
3 of 7 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Palmetto Rounds Them Out
Pros: Palmetto is the flagship course at Blue Angels Park. It's the oldest of the three courses on site, and there's something that just screams "Florida" about it to me, between the namesake palmettos, the scruffy trees, the sandy soil, and the enjoyably-glitzy course decorations. Well signed and even better tended, the course would be a joy to play even without the other two quality 18s on site.
BAP - Palmetto plays tight and wooded, especially on the back 9: holes like 14 will have you searching for a safe route to the basket off the tee. There's a lot of shot variation to help mix things up, with an impressive variety of turns and angles: big hyzers, slight turnovers, overhands, RHFH lines, and straight-up-the-gut tunnel shots all make an appearance. There are few longer holes thrown into the mix early on in the course (3 and 4), and a few more over 300' if you're playing from the pro tees, (although these can encourage layups, so opportunities to stretch your drive aren't always there). 4 even gives you a momentary reprieve from the woods to further spice things up. For as tight as the course is, there's a decent amount of shot selection, with some options as to how you play your lines (i.e. turnover vs RHFH vs thumber, laying up at a turn vs making a run and risking the rough). There's a bit of an old-school feel to this course, particularly with the shorter hole lengths, but the tight lines and disc-swatting branches keep you on your toes throughout, while the varying shot shapes always have you trying something new. There's some good variety for what the course is.
The tees are fantastic: concrete, long, wide, and perfectly level. Navigation is a snap.
Cons: Palmetto flirts with poke and pray territory at times, especially on the back 9 from the pro tees. There were a few places (14 and 15) where there isn't a clear line to the basket. Tight is fine; nonexistent, or virtually so, not so much.
Palmetto lacks elevation and focuses on shorter hole lengths; it's a tight, midrange-focused par 3 course. This lack of optimal variety caps its ceiling a bit and limits its appeal. I think there's a nice variety here given the basic parameters, but such parameters are indeed in effect: if you're looking to air it out, or for challenging par 4s, Palmetto isn't the place to go. Fortunately you can find some of these opportunities in Oaks or Pines. Still, Palmetto itself won't appeal to everyone.
Already short, the course loses some luster from the am tees by removing a lot of the extra turns and angles that keep things interesting from the pros. I'm a mid 800s level player, and I stuck to the pro tees. For a superior player to myself, and there are a lot of them out there, Palmetto might have limited replayability. Lack of alt pin positions doesn't help with that.
Yes, you have to pay, though it's a negligible amount ($3/person to enter the park, and $2/person, honor system, for the entire day of golf).
Other Thoughts: Palmetto as a setting has a nice bit of wow factor: the awesome grooming, the intermittent and well-kept water coolers, the quirky decorations, and the presence of two other courses on site made quite an impression on me. As a course, Palmetto isn't overly impressive, it's just really fun: the shorter hole lengths are offset by the enjoyable variety of lines thrown at you, at least when playing from the pros. It's a well-executed short course that benefits handily from having two other quality courses on site. I didn't like it as much as Oaks, with the latter's longer holes, more serious challenges, and intermittent elevation, but it still makes for an enjoyable round. My father, a very casual discer, really enjoyed his round here.
On the whole, the Blue Angel Park courses combine to make one of the most notable disc golf destinations in the Gulf Region; a local New Orleanian calls it "Disc Golf's Disneyland." It's hard to find this kind of variety and quality in such a localized area in the region, and I'm not aware of another destination in the area that can tout this many holes and of such high quality. I'd recommend Blue Angel Park to anybody; at the very least you'll find it solid, and you could walk away very impressed.
Any thoughts or comments? Feel free to PM me! I always love talking courses and course ratings.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
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