DGCR Reviewer Meet-up
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: (2.893 Rating) An abandoned golf course layout that's lightly wooded and very long from the back tees.
- RAW BEAUTY - I wouldn't quite use words like charming or elegant to describe this one, but words like nice and pleasing seem appropriate. Lots of waters features in view from ponds to the backdrop of the Tennessee river. A really good stretch of wooded holes towards the end of the front nine. There are some elevated features using the mounds from the old ball golf course greens and tees, but IMO these features just aren't as appealing as natural elevation.
- SKILL LEVEL FRIENDLY - This course should be able to appeal to a wide swath of players as there are two tees on a vast majority of the holes. The back tees are more than long enough for advanced players and the short tees are open enough for rec players.
- LENGTH - From the back tees, one of the longest courses in the state, pushing just beyond 9,500 feet if using all back basket placements. There are a few 500 foot par 3s and several par 4s. Players that like to grip-it and rip-it will really like this course.
- UNIQUENESS - The overall hole variety was a touch above average. As already stated, a few par 4s and several longer par 3s. I loved all the water usage. Several water clears and a couple parallel water plays makes for some really exhilarating action. I'd bring a floater here. Good use of the old ball golf courses elevated mounds for both tees and hole placements. There are also a few moderate to mild tunnel plays on (6) (7) and (8). I wish more holes were placed in this general area as there is room to do so.
- CHALLENGING - The back tees at McFarland are well above average difficulty due to the length. I think advanced players above a 950 rating could be able to average below par from the backs. However, a few lower rated players with a big arm (+425) may be able to do so as well. Rec players should be thoroughly challenged from the short tees.
- MAINTENANCE - With the ball golf course now being abandoned, it still appears that they keep the fairways in check.
Cons: A solid course with its greatest issues related mostly to site problems.
- DISC LOST OPPORTUNITY - If you decide to play tees above your skill level, you're going to risk leaving behind some plastic. There are a couple of 400 foot plus water clears from the back tees and the front tee requires at least one clear at around 275 feet.
- NAVIGATION - To be fair, I had a guide for this one so I probably wasn't the most observant. I don't recall much in the way of directional cues along the layout. Holes signage is sub-par and no course map was on site. The map on DGCR is very diagrammatic. The openish layout looks fairly traversable with an additional 10 to 15 minutes of recon for a first timer, but that's far from ideal.
- TEES - They are carpet but thankfully about the smoothest surface you could hope for on this material and there are in good repair. Still no match compared to concrete and some of the rubber mats I've played on.
- CHARACTER - In addition to sub-par tees, McFarland is lacking the amenities compared to established courses on everything but the 2 sets of tees and alternate basket locations. As stated, no on site course map, sub-par hole signage, no seating and no practice basket.
- LACK OF ELEVATION - McFarland is listed on DGCR as moderately hilly. I've played courses in other parts of the county that are listed as mostly flat and have almost twice as much elevation as this course. No hole varies by more than 20 feet. All the elevation on this course is derived from the abandoned tees and greens. Obviously better than nothing but this course has less elevation than neighboring courses, Veterans and Gattman.
- LACK OF SHOT SHAPING - Like every ball golf course conversion I've played on, you can expect a round with less than typical thought process on the tee. There were several holes out here where I just looked at the hole distance posted on the tee sign, and then quickly grabbed a disc and threw. Way too many holes can be attacked from a multitude of angles.
- TIME PLAY - A longer course that will eat up your day. A group of four players playing the back tees could easily be here for three hours.
Other Thoughts: I had the privilege playing my first round out here with two fellow DGCR reviewers, GMcAtee and Wericsson. Be sure and reach out to them if you head to Florence. Fun to throw with and they have lots disc golf historical knowledge. As for the course, McFarland is sort of a mixed bag of some really good things, some meh and some thoughts of what could be. Old ball golf course conversions always seem to be a mixed bag of sorts.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Bring some water discs!
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Short and long tee pads with multiple pin placements.
Old ball golf course with a good disc golf design utilizing the trees and ponds available.
Short pads and long pads play like two different courses.
Visitor center on site with bathroom and food/drinks available for purchase.
Very scenic views throughout the park.
Cons: Limited signage, posts with tee # and distance.
Distance can be a challenge for new and older players.
May not be a good course to bring your family to play.
Water could scare some players away.
Sometimes floods (next to Tennessee River).
Other Thoughts: This is my favorite course in the shoals because of the challenge from both short and long pad layouts. I would add .5 discs if it had better signage and tee pads.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Challenging water course
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Former ball golf course, so a very picturesque course (right next to the Tennessee, to boot), and plenty of room for some long roomy fairways. Trees in play are almost all tall pines, which are well-established, so getting a disc stuck in a tree is unlikely. Clever usage of former greens as either tee locations or, uh, greens adds elevation to an otherwise level course. Water hazards help spice things up, adding some risk/reward calculations for most players. The long tees actually do play quite differently from the shorts.
Cons: Nicknamed the Swamp, which is only funny because it's true. Casual water happens (this past winter/spring, hole 3 had the same casual water standing for several months without interruption), and will get your feet wet. The water hazards are downright fetid, managing to be both overgrown with vegetation and yet still littered with dead plants. Discs that splash down and sink are unlikely to be visible, even from directly above. There's no telling what you might find in the ponds (aside from the concrete blocks of their formerly upright retaining walls) - hole 4 has 1.5 pairs of my sandals, and I found an old tee sign in hole 2's pond once. On a related note, the park occasionally floods outright.
Recently I've noticed a very few snakes in/around the water. While less dangerous, the geese are also nuisances by way of leaving little messes all over certain tee pads.
My only serious issues not related to water are the relatively open nature of even the wooded holes and the lack of more serious elevation changes - both of which are limitations pretty much inherent in the land, to be fair, rather than design issues.
Other Thoughts: Hole 6 does not have a separate long tee. All other holes do.
The morning dew is very heavy, and can really bog down early rounds. Midday heat in summer is harsh, given the relative lack of shade on most holes and high humidity, but it also means you'll have the course more or less to yourself.
The tees, while carpet, aren't bad, since they don't tend to get muddy or mossy. Concrete is always nice, but these don't pose any issues.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: McFarland Park DGC has a very pretty setting on land of an old ball golf course that is on a flat near the banks of the TN River opposite some picturesque cliffs (be sure to drive down the shoreline road after your round and admire the views). This area is a very nice place just to be outside and adding in disc golf is a bonus.
There are 18 holes and 2 sets of tees to cater to different skill levels. (The tees also helped me navigate as you at least knew which direction the hole is going.)
The design makes good use of just a portion of the land. (Using the entire golf course would have been insanely long, so thanks to the designer in starting from scratch and not just playing along the fairways of the old golf course- that would be boring.) There are some holes that play in the openness of the original golf course, some that play through the wooded areas bordering the old fairways, and others are in a more heavily wooded area by the old golf cart house. The course makes use of the old elevated greens on what would be an otherwise very flat course.
And there are ponds everywhere! Water is the main obstacle here. These holes are nicely designed to give players good risk/reward decisions- try to hit the line along the pond or play it out wide and safe, layup or go long, etc. There was always a safe play to avoid losing a disc, but it might make the next shot more difficult or may take an extra shot to hole out.
I appreciated the good variation in hole distance, 200'-600' (I only played 1 round from the shorter tees, so the longer tees would give even more variety and challenge.) There are several holes where the basket is reachable from the tee and many more where it will take 2-3 shots to get there.
Also nice was this was pretty much the only thing going on with this piece of land- no picnic tables, walking trails, playgrounds, etc. Just disc golf only here as those other things are in a different section of the park.
Cons: Unfortunately, this type of land does not dictate navigation- there are no obvious trails or paths. After finishing a hole you look around and think the next one could be just about anywhere. This makes for lots of walking the first time you play. I did manage to find every hole, but a map and/or more next tee signs would be very helpful. (Hole 3 was the worst for me as I made a huge circle finding several other tees and baskets in the process before I finally found 3 at the last place I looked.)
It was sometimes hard to find both tees (in fact there were a few long tees and one short tee I was unable to locate. I thought maybe a couple holes only had 1 tee, but according to the hole info on DGCR there should be two complete sets.) The tee markers were just short wooden posts with hole # and distance, though some were knocked down (or missing?) The tee areas were carpet and sometimes hard to see from a distance being flush with the ground.
Other than water, the open holes require very little accuracy and the wooded holes have several options and easy recovery for errant shots. There is just a bit of repetitiveness (not consecutive, but in the overall round.) For example, holes 9 and 18 are very similar just long open holes on the old golf fairways with a pond on the right and the basket placed up on the elevated green.
It was mid-summer and conditions were fine for me, but guessing from the looks of the land, the proximity to the river, and what others have said, I could see during very rainy/flooding times this course might be unplayable or, at the least, very soggy.
Other Thoughts: With some better navigational aids or a map and some nicer or better maintained tee signs this would be a really nice place to play. There is good bit of fair challenge that I enjoyed and would definitely play here again, especially now that I have an idea of where the tees and baskets are.
Holes 1 and 10 start next to each other. Each 9 does finish up near (but not exactly close to) the parking lot.
Park at the visitor center building on the right after entering the park. Tees for 1/10 are behind it towards the ponds, just look for the trail that goes to the kiosk.
It is worth a stop if you are in the area and is not too far from Veterans Lakeside Park for a nice day of 36 different holes.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This is a very pretty course with lots of mature pine trees and water set on an old ball golf course with great views of the Tennessee River.
The tee pads are carpet, they're nice and level so I didn't have any issue with them. The tees are marked by 4x4's with the top painted red or blue to indicate which tee you're at. The hole number and distances are carved into the post as well. There are 2 sets of tees on all but one hole. The blue tees are quite a bit longer and sometimes bring water into play or force longer water carries while the short pads are usually safer shots or short water carries. The course does a good job of catering to a wide variety of skill level with dramatic differences in length and risk between the two sets of tees.
The course has Discatchers so the yellow band makes them easy to locate. There's a decent amount of elevation on the course and the hills are incorporated into the design well. The course plays among tall mature trees so there is no rough to loose a disc in here, just water.
Cons: The course was a big soggy when I happened to be here but there had been quite a bit of rain recently.
The course could use navigation signs in a few areas so it's easier to find the next tee, although this isn't an issue once you've played here a couple times.
Because it's set on an old ball golf course the course definitely leans more towards a grip and rip style where errants shots are rarely punished (unless water is involved) than a technical course, but there are a few good technical shots mixed in as well.
The shot selection here is just ok, I only recall 2 holes forcing RHBH turnover shots.
Other Thoughts: I played here with friend who's a Rec player so I played the longs and he the shorts. While there is a lot of water here the design makes it fairly easy to play it safe (or as risky as you want) so we didn't have any issues navigating the water. He appreciate the shorts pads and the challenges they provided while I had a blast from the longs bombing drives over the water trying to chase birdies.
This course is worth checking out if you're in the area, it's a fun challenge and quite scenic. Navigation is a little tricky in a few places your first time here though so hopefully a course map will be made soon.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 1 Not
A fun course
Pros: - Great Baskets
- Very Peaceful
- Well Maintained
- Pro Tees vary greatly from Ams making it a very different course.
- Multiple pin locations that required different shots.
- A couple of scenery changes.
Cons: - Sometimes with enough rain the course will become flooded througout most of the holes. That's why it's no longer a ball course.
- Not enough signage. It's very difficult to find the next hole unless a local could tell you.
-Very likely that you could lose a disc because of so many water hazards. Also the hazards are very swampy which makes retrieval even tougher. Discs also don't seem to float as normal.
- Most of the holes vary but a few on the back 9 feel like the same straghtforward unchallenging shot which can seem redundant.
- Some of the holes are separated by a long distance.
- Not for beginners unless they're are willing to lose some frisbees.
- The signs for holes don't not show the par count.
Other Thoughts: Overall a fun course. A few of the holes seem tough to birdie and easy to par and that is speaking from the Am tees which I feel is bad course design. Though there are some very fun and interesting holes. The water can be scary at times especially in windy situations so I don't play as often as the other course here in Florence. Carpeted tees FYI.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Pros: The Water: I have to admit, I love water holes. My heart beats faster, I get a little nervous and I know I have to bring my A-game. Yes there is the chance that you can lose your disc. I threw one right into the middle of a pond after hitting a tree limb and I still loved it. It was a wahoo so a worthy donation to the locals. I played the pro tees which put the water more into play then the am tees. Holes are long and with obstacles. Only a couple holes heavily wooded, everything else just had well placed obstacles. The good thing about the water on this course is that if you don't think you can make it you can adjust your shot, you will just have to throw longer on the up shot.
Cons: Walking from one hole to the next I stepped into some puddles where the water went over my shoe. I couldn't find the pro tee on two of the holes. I wish there were some sign posts. Luckily someone else was playing ahead of me or it would have been hard to find where to go.
Other Thoughts: I drove from Nashville and didn't know what to expect. I have to say that I loved playing this course and next time I have a day off during the week I will drive the 2 hours again as it was well worth it. Once they get some signs going this will be a fantastic course.
0 Helpful / 3 Not
Very Nice Course
Pros: Scenic, well-maintained, challenging
Cons: lots of ponds in which to lose an errant disc.
Other Thoughts: I am glad that the city of Florence decided to turn the old McFarland Golf Course into a DiscGolf course. It was a fabulous idea and they are to be commended for it. The course is lovely and very well maintained.
0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The front 9 is great.
They changed up the course since they first built it, making the baskets shorter.
Water does come into play on quite a few holes, but no worries, you do have the option to lay up.
Cons: Water and it's long.
The back 9 is a litter harder and longer than the front, more water in play. You do have the option again of laying up but it takes more throws.
When your disc is lost in the water, it's lost. No need going in and getting it.
Other Thoughts: Great course to practice long throws and to overcome your fear of "disc in water syndrome."
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: The front nine of this course offers a decent amount of variety and is well laid out.
There are holes that you can stretch your arm out with and others that accuracy plays more of a role. Water also is in play well for risk/reward type of shots.
It is well maintained by the park employees.
Cons: The water on this course makes it unappealing to many casual players, since a disc is pretty much gone if it goes in.
When it was first put in, it was monotonous to play but the first changes made it FAR more enjoyable. The latest changes however took away a couple of my favorite holes and replaced them with holes that are dull. Definitely not digging them...
There are not any trash cans, benches, tee signs, map, etc. but the course is still a work in progress and some of these things are being made so I'm not considering these into the score.
Dead fish smell/pond smell is kinda raunchy at times.
Other Thoughts: This course before the latest changes would have been a 4-ish in my opinion, but hopefully the changes are not permanent.
It is a very underutilized course, but again I think that it is mostly just the chance of losing a disc that keeps people away.
McFarland and Veterans complement each other nicely (especially before the last changes) and make for a great day of golf. It is great having another course in Florence and I really appreciate all the work James Burton, Jack White, and everyone else have put into it.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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