Sky Pirates Rule!
7 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: This bucolic, verdant course titillates your imagination with lush undergrowth and fecund smells. The forest is somewhat haunted and the trees will jump out one to two feet to block your disc as it flies towards the net.
They say a curse has been place on the course since a professional player died under mysterious circumstances and his body was found near the water tower. Many disc golfers claim to have seen a phantom throwing discs in the distant only for the phantom to disappear as they approach.
Cons: The Sky Pilots are the Cobra Kai of the North Trail. They will gleefully mock you as they whip a destroyer past your pathetic Valkyries. Known for their hubris and cockiness, they will challenge you to a one on one throw and then laugh at you as they mercilessly destroy any vestigial sense of self worth that remains to you.
The only way to beat them is to find an eclectic mentor who teaches you how to catch flies with chop sticks. After long training montages involving painting fences and waxing cars, you will finally unlock the disc golf skills needed to compete with the Sky Pilots and face them at the tournament.
Other Thoughts: It helps if you bring a magic charm or two to keep the forest spirits at bay. The police also have set up a mind control module at the North End of the Park.
Edit: It has been brought to my attention that some extremely evil disc golfers are downvoting my reviews. Please upvote for goodnesss. thanks
7 of 14 people found this review helpful.
Solid course that will challenge most aspects of your game
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: North Watertower Park is a pretty good sized public park on the north side of Sarasota. Outside of a concrete jogging/biking trail and the course, the park doesn't have many other activities to offer.
+ Pretty much the entire course is shaded, making the heat and humidity a little more bearable. The heat index was 105° by the time I finished the round, so having complete tree coverage was very nice.
+ The course is pretty compact, but it offers a great variety in shot shaping and disc selection. A good Florida course requires a very good design, because there isn't really any elevation to compensate for it. The designer did a great job with the piece of land.
+ Two sets of concrete tees on almost every hole. Baskets are in perfect shape, and the tee signs are pretty nice. Above average ammentities for a course built in the 90s.
Cons: - The tee signs are pretty solid, but they've seen some wear and tear over the years. A few are unreadable, some are getting close to that status.
- Not enough memorable holes to get a higher rating. There's many well designed, solid holes but the terrain doesn't allow for any breathtaking shots I'm used to seeing at top courses up north.
- Navigation gets tricky in a few spots, it would be nice if there were some arrows or at least colored tape to help guide the way.
- A popular path winds its way through the park, coming into play on several holes. The path is curvy, so just use caution as pedestrians can sneak up on you.
Other Thoughts: Locals who haven't played any courses outside of the area won't see anything wrong with NWTP. It's a solid intermediate level course, and above average for the state of Florida. It doesn't have the flare of some other courses I've played, but it really is a good place to throw and have some fun.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Nice Tee pads - Nice Baskets-Restrooms
Cons: Could use some trimming
Other Thoughts: Fun course. A couple of holes to air drives out. Neat to watch the airplanes come and go. Some well thought out holes. Watch out for the Fireants !
1 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Fun course in great shape!
Pros: Well maintained, not too easy to lose discs, only saw one or two small water hazards, great beginner course all one level, no hiking necessary, great for kids or those who don't want to hike.
Cons: A couple holes are difficult to navigate and GPS might take you to the back side where street parking may not be legal, look for the parking lot.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Fire Ants Warning?
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.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
A good test for Advanced palyers
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.
6 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?!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 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.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 2 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 4 people found this review helpful.
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