Fire Ants Warning?
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: North Water Tower Park is a medium sized city park with ample parking, a picnic shelter, restrooms, playground and a walking path which comes into play on a regular basis. You always want to give those walkers the benefit of doubt and exercise caution when throwing. The course starts over near the restrooms by the fence. The Sarasota Pilots Disc Club has lots of information on a bulletin board located here. Unfortunately the bulletin board doesn't have a roof of any kind to shelter all this great information from the elements so much if it is pretty difficult to decipher.
The equipment here is basic standard issue. The concrete tee pads are decent sized and in good shape. I did like the way the shortest tees were marked with bright pink bricks. They were easy to spot as I walked past them. The baskets are Mach II's. They had pink tape on the inner pole making it easier to see them from the tee. # 12 has a nicely constructed raised basket. The signs are the old school fiberglass style. Shockingly, only one of them had the plexiglass broke. I would have liked to see the hole number written in bigger, brighter font. I had to walk right up to the sign before I could actually read the hole number. There were a couple of next tee signs. I would have liked to have seen more arrows but I shouldn't be complaining as navigation was fairly intuitive.
The course plays as a solid recreational level. There are enough trees that you need to miss to keep things interesting. The rough is rather forgiving as the underbrush is not that thick. A majority of the holes are straight and in the 250'-400' range. # 16 was the only real short hole but made it for it's lack of length by having the basket well guarded by 10 to 15 trees.
My favorite? I thought # 15 was kind of cool. It played 276' straight ahead but you have to hit a narrow 12' wide window some 80' to 100' feet down the fairway.
There is a very nice tribute at # 4 to James Widick, the course's founder.
Cons: found the signs to be difficult to read. They're too busy with lots of information. There was also up to four basket placement lengths and positions. Not being familiar with the course, I often had no idea which position the basket was in. I am happy that these signs have not all been beat to hell and had all the fiberglass broken to pieces by marauding teens in the midnight hours.
Navigation was OK but could be improved with a few next tee arrows. I realize that this is made more difficult with the multiple basket placements.
A first for me. A sign by # 5 informed me I was entering A Fire Ant Zone. I was half expecting to be carried off and eaten while still in my putting stance.
The sidewalk is often in play or in two cases, you're actually throwing down it. Be patient and respectful of other park patrons.
Other Thoughts: The course description states that the course was carved from thick woods and that the back 9 is very tight. I think the amount of trees here is just right and only on the shortie hole, # 16, did I feel the trees 🌲 might be excessive but I liked it anyway.
After playing three Florida courses so far, North Water Tower Park DGC felt "Most Florida" to me. Except maybe for the lack of water and the absence of alligators. I enjoyed it and would be happy to call it my home course.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
A good test for Advanced palyers
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: (3.377 Rating) A challenging and heavily wooded layout.
- CHALLENGING - North Water Tower is one of those courses that demands your accuracy. There are a bunch of tight tunnel fairways. The fairway widths are generally fair with the exception of holes (4) and (16). Those two holes are more or less poke and hope shots. Advanced players should be happy with the challenge, unless they are the type that prefers hole length to be the challenge factor instead of accuracy. Advanced players should typically finish a couple under par from the back tees.
- TEE PADS - Adequately sized concrete tee pads that are in good shape. There should be no footing issues on a typical day.
- CHARACTER - In addition to the multiple concrete tee pads per hole, the course character resembles that of a well established course with a great club following. Most of the tees are shaded well and several also have seating. There is hole signage throughout the course (also see cons) and most of the holes have two basket placements. There are a good amount of trash cans and a few bag holders. There is a practice basket, picnic tables, shelter and restroom facility as well. I also very much appreciated the memorial located on hole (3) regarding one of courses founding club members. It's touches like this, that make a course very special to play.
- CHILL AREAS - Lots of secluded areas to sit and take a break at.
- SKILL LEVEL FRIENDLY - Although probably not the best course for beginners, as nearby Payne Park and Pinebrook would be better choices, the multiple tees do allow for a range of skill and arm strength levels. In addition to the pro and am tees, there are also junior tees on many holes as well.
- NATURAL BEAUTY - The raw beauty was above average IMO. The foliage was vibrant the day I played, and the ditch along holes (6 and 7) looked better than what one would expect it to look, with birds and butterflies zipping around. Not 5 star beauty, but I'd give it 3 1/2 stars.
- QUICK PLAY - The tight layout and resulting short transition between holes allows for a quicker round than one would expect when solely looking at the course length. A single with an empty course should easily complete a full 18 in under 75 minutes. Groups of 4 probably would finish in under an two and a half hours. In addition, if you happen to know your way, you can easily skip around holes to avoid big groups.
Cons: No major complaints about North Water Tower but... the course is not for every taste.
- NAVIGATION - I struggled to work my way along the layout here. I had a map of the front 9 and had to reference it on several occasions. There are a bunch of blind baskets so I found myself running up the fairways several times to see where to shoot to. In addition, with the layout being as tight as it is, I found myself standing on the wrong tee a couple of times and asking other groups on where to go.
- HOLE SIGNAGE - Not a major Issue, but the hole signage needs an update. They are all fading away and some are very hard to read. Hole (9's) signage has completely fallen apart. The signage however, does give what appears to be an adequate description and distance of the hole.
- FORGIVENESS - For those that like well spaced fairways, you won't find it here as there are lots of tight fairways. It will be quite frustrating to have a sub-par accuracy day. In addition, there are lots of palmetto bushes lining the fairway, so when you ping a tree you'll often spend some time searching for your disc.
- ELEVATION - Really none to speak of. I know that this is typically for Florida, but this course is flat for even Florida standards. no more than 5 feet of elevation change throughout the entire course layout.
- UNIQUENESS - The holes themselves in terms of variety, are about average. In addition to no elevation, there are also no par 4's or 5's (some may play (9) as a par 4) and there are no open or true dogleg holes. As stated above, just about every drive has to hit a tight gap and also stay low. Several times it will seem that a run of holes are a bit repetitive. There are a couple of raised basket elements on holes (8) and (12).
- SHOT SELECTION - The day I played, the course was definitely favoring right backhand players. Only two of the basket placements pocketed right. Keep in mind though that there are multiple pin placements, so perhaps a few more may run right as well if it's in the other basket position.
- SPACING - Slightly below average. Although the fairways are mostly well defined by the trees and bushes, the bordering spaces are narrow. I found myself in an adjacent fairway a couple times due to ricocheting off a tree.
Other Thoughts: I very much enjoyed this course. The locals were very friendly to me and helped me navigate the tricky spots of the course. Having played all 3 three Sarasota courses, my metrics place North Water Tower just a little ahead of Lakeview as the top course. I have a feeling that there is much disagreement over which is better among the locals.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Over half of the holes occupy a patch of scattered palms. It is a pretty cool vibe and it produces an effect that is fairly rare in Florida, that of tree lines, but it does it with a uniquely Florida twist. That is, the line is comprised of palms. Pretty solid holes for an intermediate level player. It's perfectly flat and no real water but there is solid variety with different lines and distances across the course. A few of the holes do occupy the "park" section of the park, but the good stuff is all under the palms. Be prepared to place shots well if you want to score here: going off line will certainly result in hitting a tree. However, the trees are sparse enough that recovery is easy and you only cost yourself an attempt at birdie. It really should be fin for almost any skill level.
Cons: This is kind of a course of good and bad and while the good holes are fun, there enough meh holes to drag down the experience. These typically include the holes that run along the perimeter of the park, so they are basically straight with a fence on one side and on one occasion, a murky channel of water. They are just a little on the boring side. Additionally, the few holes that play through the open park area aren't great. They have a lot of walker potential and they detract from the vibe. There are two or three that pretty much play down the paved walking/biking path.
Navigation is iffy in a lot of places. Tons of intersecting paths means that there are places where you have multiple routes to take after a basket. Some non-intuitive transitions among the best part of the course.
4 of 7 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
When in Sarasota....
Pros: Nice Florida foliage covers a well maintained park. Much of the course is a mix of Bermuda grass, palmettos and palm trees with a few small water canals for good measure. There is a nice mix of open and tight fairways and that are lined with palm trees and palmettos with a few trees mixed in to make you shape your line. A couple are so thick with trees, you will be asking "is this a fairway?"
The course is well-signed so you will have a good idea what lies ahead - and the signs will point you to the next tee pad.
Two tee pads and multiple pin positions per hole allow for a variety of challenges and skill levels.
This course rewards accuracy over power as most of the holes aren't terribly long, and hitting an early tree can make the recovery challenging. I would say the course is good for all levels of play, but is a perfect intermediate course. Beginners shouldn't get too frustrated, but pros might find it s bit easy. It's a fun course because it keeps you thinking because there's enough places to get in trouble if you don't execute well.
Cons: The course seems to favor the RHBH hyzer shot and the RHBH flex shot. It really lacks one single shot that is hard left to right turn (though this is more of an observation than a negative).
The tee pads are a bit short to my liking, but are grippy nonetheless. The signs are nice, as I mentioned and even have pictures of pin placements, but a picture of the pin unfortunately does not indicate accurately where the pin is. I wish they had a system for telling you which position the pin was in.
Hole 4 is a wall of trees (a poke and hope hole).
Hole 5 is a nice hole except that the entire right side is lined by one of the many paved pathways that pedestrians and bikers use. I like that it's OB over the right of the path, but it's just dangerous, because it's a bit blind about 250' up the path.
Other Thoughts: The memorial at the #3 tee pad is beautiful and commemorates a fallen club member. I was moved by the club presence in that they have 3 or 4 weekly events (one which was happening when I was there - a putting league which is intended to get people out putting and have fun doing it. Otherwise, who likes to practice putting, unless we have an excuse to?!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Good mix of shots.
The long and short pads change the holes dramatically.
Hard to lose a disc.
Water in play on a few holes.
Lots of challenge.
Cons: While I never felt unsafe, and I don't think that the neighborhood was sketchy, there were multiple groups of sketchy looking people hanging around the park. None of them gave me a hard time, and most of them appeared to be harmless folk just hanging around, I did see one group that were doing drugs. I played 2 rounds, and they were friendly to me both times, and it wouldn't keep me from coming back, but it does have to be said.
Hard to navigate- it was obvious the designers of the course worked with the space they had and made the most of it. After my first round though it was much easier.
Lots of non disc traffic- some of the holes teed off on sidewalks, have to pay attention to make sure it is safe to throw.
Other Thoughts: I am an out of towner, and overall I thought it was a great course. I ranked it at a 3 instead of 4 for the navigation, some tees being on sidewalks and other issues noted. If i had to rank the holes themselves, I would solidly give this course a 4
Being a non local, I ran into and teed off with a member of the Sarasota Sky Pilots Disc Golf Club for my first round. I can't remember his name, but top notch dude, and obviously top notch club.
Overall good course, I will play it again when I am in the area which is about once a year.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Beautiful beautiful beautiful course. Signs were great. Baskets were in good shape. Just enough trees and open shots. Some low canopy. This course makes you bring a big arm with precision. Technical and a lot of fun.
Cons: Tee pads were a little short, but other than that I have no complaints.
Other Thoughts: Loved it. I'm from out of town and my home courses have a lot of changes in elevation. It was a nice change of pace. Bring your distance drivers and mids. Some fairways are tight so you have to be accurate.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Quintessential Florida Course
Pros: -This is your quintessential Florida course. Plenty of palm trees, Spanish moss, and very flat.
-Course is easy to locate.
-Hole 1 is easy to find. Right by the parking lot.
-Park benches, picnic tables, and trash cans are all over the place.
-The course is moderately wooded and uses the woods very well. Most holes require skill rather than luck.
-The creek that comes into play on several holes provides an added challenge.
-Great mix of long and short holes!
-Each hole has several pin placements and tee pads.
-NWTP plays well for both the experienced and inexperienced player.
-This course was established in the early 90s and was one of the first in the SW Florida area.
-The elevated basket was a nice touch!
Cons: -Despite there being an abundance of trash cans, there was still trash in several spots on the course.
-The transition from hole 12 to hole 13 is pretty difficult.
-The course was fairly busy. We were there on a weekday morning and there were several other groups. Course traffic picked up as we played.
-Older baskets, some rusted
-No elevation to speak of.
-Walkers delayed us on many holes.
Other Thoughts: For being one of the oldest courses in the area, this is still a great course! It was well worth the visit. The neighborhood surrounding the park may have been rougher in the past, but seems to be cleaning up. If you are south of the Tampa area definitely make a trip down here and partner this course with Payne Park.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Stop by Sarasota!
Pros: This is a gorgeous park in the north end of Sarasota. There was ample parking available and restrooms, gazebos, and benches throughout. Beautifully landscaped park, loved playing under the palm trees and Spanish moss.
Good variety of shots; I really dislike tunnel shots and excessively wooded courses, but this one uses its woods and trees very well without feeling overwhelming. There's also a couple holes where the bigger arms can open up and let it air out a bit, which was impressive for a park this size.
Concrete tee pads, benches, and trash bins everywhere. Signs were very informative and help significantly with the navigation; the photos of approaches and baskets are particularly helpful.
Nicely used water hazards; enough to keep play interesting, but not deep enough to lose a disc in really. I didn't notice them causing a problem with bugs while I was there, by the way.
Few opportunities to lose a disc; the park seemed well-manicured and tidy when we were there, with minimal underbrush.
This park is very clean and well-maintained. Kudos on whoever helps keep this place clean, we appreciate it.
Cons: As has been stated multiple times, this is a park first, DG course second. You do have to keep an eye out for off-leash dogs, walkers, and people just milling about in general.
Holes 1 and 9 both are perilously close to people's fenced yards; throw a nice drive and this won't be a problem, but just be aware of it.
The course is very compact and contained in a relatively small area; while a gorgeous park, it felt a bit constrained and like we were looping around a lot in the same terrian. Which we were. No big deal at all, but I personally prefer more spread out courses.
I thought navigation was a bit tricky on several holes, especially from 12-13 and 17-18. Thank you to the friendly locals that helped us out!
Some of the back 9 did start to feel a bit repetitive, possibly just because of the current pin placements. Also, it would have been nice to have some way to mark which pin position was active, since almost all holes have multiples.
Other Thoughts: This course is a few minutes north of downtown Sarasota. If you're coming by on I-75, take the University Blvd exit, head West towards the Gulf, turn left on the Tamiami trail, and then look for the signs for the park.
I was surprised to see the majority of reviewers commenting on the neighborhood; we didn't even think twice about getting out of the car here. It looked perfectly fine; however, I did notice a couple of bike cops rolling through while we were there. I'm not too familiar with the Sarasota area, so I could just be ignorant on this one; I was also here at 3PM on a weekday.
I really felt this course was on the verge between a 3 and a 3.5. A bit more variety in the lay of the land (which I understand is just part of the area) and slightly better navigation, and it'd be a solid 3.5. I'll be happy to re-rate and edit after I play a few more courses to get an idea of what the area courses are like. While there aren't the hills like in the courses around my native Kansas City, there were palm trees and Spanish moss galore, which was really just amazing. Happy discing!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Nice course with some flaws
Pros: -Friendly course design in a friendly park
-Variety of shots - medium-tight wooded balanced by long open holes, right and left, rollers and air shots
-Concrete tees, bathrooms, water fountains, covered picnic tables
-Water hazards are there, but when I played in early spring, water was non-existent or very shallow
-Good use of trees to create protected baskets, protected greens and tight tee shots on many holes
-Benches, trash cans throughout and I saw very little trash - nice clean course
-Ideal introductory/beginner course that won't be a total bore for more experienced players
Cons: -Traffic - this is a park first and DG course second - you'll run into a lot of pedestrians, cyclists, children, dogs off-leash, etc. and nobody yielded to disc golfers (which is fine by me, but makes for a slow round)
-Signage was not clear - many showed multiple pins, but in fact only one pin was installed (the short one) and I found it a little challenging to find my way from hole to hole - paper course maps would be nice
-Nearby airport causes some loud airplane noise which can be distracting
-Pros and experienced players may be disappointed - only one truly long hole, a couple medium long - most holes were drive and long putt/approach for me (and my drive is pretty weak)
-Typical of FL, but there is zero elevation change here - some elevated pins or better use of what little elevation there is here (if that is even possible - entire course is bounded by backyards) would help
Other Thoughts: I have ZERO clue why so many reviewers suggested this neighborhood is sketchy - looks like your average middle class neighborhood to me. Had no problems - everyone was either aloof or friendly - don't let those comments turn you away from playing this course. I had fun playing and relaxing while my wife took the kids to the beaches that aren't too far away - would recommend to others. Good beginner/introductory course, too.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Jungle in the City
Pros: 1. There is a good variety of shots to be had. You'll use many different discs and many different lines...
2. Signs are clear and Teepads are of good size.
3. there are multiple tee positions and some multiple pads. There really is a lot going on here.
4. Holes go from around 200 ft. to over 500 ft. and, it seems like there is something new around every corner.
5. It really does look like a jungle near the parking lot on the first few holes. There are a couple of Banyan trees as well.
6. Good variety between tight and open holes. It's a nice shotmakers course.
Cons: 1. The neighborhood seems a bit sketchy. Lot of trash not in cans, although the park itself is really beautiful.
2. Homeless people potentially sleeping in the rough. (Almost fell over one!)
3. You're never sure what the basket position is until you actually find it...
Other Thoughts: This was pure fun! Although its flat, the scenery was wonderful with tons of trees of different types. The park really did a great job winding in and out of the forest. Each hole was a treat. Even if you hit a tree, there was usually a chance to recover for par. The local players were helpful, and it seems well supported. This is really a fun, moderately challenging course. Good shots are rewarded, and it is technical at times while never being unfair. I will definitely play again.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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