A Florida Classic
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -- Cliff Stephens is a well laid out, 24+ hole course with multiple tees on many holes and multiple pin placements. This means there is a lot of fun golf to play out here. There are long shots, tight tunnels, nerve-wrecking water carries, and a lot in between. The only thing really missing here is a lot of elevation, though there is some (especially the riverbanks). The variety is what really makes this course for me: I throw just about every disc in my bag and use every shot I know how to throw every time I play it. Many holes have different lines you can play based on what you are feeling that day.
-- Risk/reward. With all the water in play on this course, there is a lot of decision making between a safe shot that won't fly/roll into the water or that perfect line that you *know* you can throw but may not be the highest percentage shot for you. Hole 16 really embodies this, with a HUGE carry over a pond on a very long hole. From the long tees, you can try to carry straight (a 330-400 foot bomb depending on where you aim), play short to the right to get to dry land, or play out to the left onto the peninsula with hole A's basket. Launching one out there and praying that it barely carries to dry land can be a lot of fun or just plain miserable depending on whether the disc golf gods decide to listen that day. Hole A is another risky shot (that is an extra hole not always played) where you shoot out a very narrow peninsula fairway to a basket surrounded on 3 sides by dangerous water.
-- The tees are nice concrete tees with plenty of length. They could be wider, but they aren't narrow enough to be problematic.
-- There are benches, trash cans, and bag hangers all over the place. The signs are also very helpful with actual pictures of the holes showing the various pin placements. The only thing missing from the signs would be an indicator of which pin placement is currently installed.
-- The legend and history of this course. Being built in 1986, it has seen a lot of rounds by a lot of players and has become somewhat infamous. It is also the home course of The Champ, Ken Climo.
Cons: -- Water, water, water. And gators. Water plays in on a very large number of holes, with some just having river along the side or back of the hole barely in play but with others carrying over a good amount of water. I don't know if I have ever played here without losing at least one disc. I've had a few that I could see in the water, but with all the signs everywhere about gators, I wasn't about to go in and get them. I can also attest that these signs aren't exaggerations, the last time I played (Feb 2017) I saw a tiny 2ft gator on the back of hole 5 and thought "oh cool." That was until I got to hole 7 and saw an 8-10 foot gator sitting on the shore just downhill behind the basket. Playing water shots is fun, but be prepared to lose some plastic here.
-- On the theme of losing discs, hole 17 (I think locals call it "B" or something, but is the one listed as 17 on this site) is also a bit ridiculous. It's a short hole, but incredibly tight (15 to 20ft wide) with really thick woods on the right and a few tree trunks, thick bushes, and a creek on the left. While the creek is pretty shallow and narrow, the bank is steep with very thick brush. A slightly errant shot can barely catch a tree and bounce way left or right into very serious trouble. This hole always takes me forever.
-- While this course has decent variety, I'd say it tends to play largely open. There are some more tightly wooded holes towards the end, though ideally I'd want the open and wooded holes a bit more spaced out to balance the front and back nines and keep the round a bit more interesting.
-- Some holes play next to or over a bike path and a road. The road is only one hole, but the bike path comes into play a lot. I've had to wait on quite a few holes for bikers and walkers to clear the fairway before throwing, and on a super busy day I could see risks of someone getting hit with a disc.
-- Towards the end, it is confusing to know where to go. Hole A feels natural after 16 but is rarely played. The original 17 is also right there, but if you do that you miss the new holes in the back (listed as 17-22 on this site). A sign after 16 directing players where to go based on whether they are playing 24 or just the original 18 would really help.
Other Thoughts: While some of the newer courses in the area - like Cypress Point and Picnic Island - are better, this is a must play course in the Tampa Bay area if for nothing else but the history of the place. It is a very fun round, but I'd recommend bringing some throwaway plastic for some of the water shots (but don't worry, Clearwater Disc Golf store is just up the road in case you need to reload your bag after a round). Enjoy, and watch out for gators!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Loved this course! I played in the afternoon, and the low sun was lighting up the moss that hangs from the mature trees and making them glow. It was really picturesque!
On to the course: First 9 is mostly moderate length holes, thru mature tree lines. Water skirts a few holes, and sits quite lower than the land, so flirting with the edge could lead to a roll away disc, but only if you make a bad shot. The water really shouldn't be in play too much for most throws. I really like the multiple lines offered by the mature trees, and the mentioned slight elevation changes, which are both kinda rare in parts of Florida. I played conservatively throwing straight at most baskets keeping the disc low. And making good approach putts lead to easy pars. There a few legit birdie chances to be had. Back nine the water comes in to play more, but the trees thin out a bit, so it's a wash. I little easier to stretch out your throws, but you better be accurate! A couple of water carries, but there are areas to bail out if you aren't feeling on top of your game. I did not play the extra holes, so cant review them...was running out of daylight. Overall, the pads are concrete, in fine shape, and the baskets are adequate.
Cons: Small parking area as you arrive. Really need a course map and sign directing you to the first hole. I walked around a bit like a newb looking for the first hole until I found it. Be aware of walkers, bikers, etc. There are paths throughout the park. Also, gators and snakes. Baskets are set a bit low to the ground. Could use a little more variety in this regard. But I'm nitpicking...the course is really really fun.
Other Thoughts: It was a beautiful park, played in beautiful weather. I played +1 which I thought was great for first time through. I did put one in the drink on #16, but it was fun going for it! Played with a beginner who played from the short pads, and she was able to get some pars and really enjoy the course, as well.
I recommend this course, definitely one of the top 10 in FL, and you feel the history of the course when you play it.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2nd Oldest Course in Florida
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Generally regarded as one of better courses in the Tampa Bay region. The layout will test the nerves of a seasoned player and ruin the day for the kid with just one disk.
- The thing I find most intriguing about Cliff is the ability to choose between multiple hole formats based on skill and the time one has available. For example, starting at 1, you could play 1-9 as 9 ends at parking. you could play 1-16 then 23 - 24 for 18 holes as 16 and 23 are adjacent. you could play 1-24 or 1-24+A. Hole (A) is a signature bonus and is generally only played during casual rounds. It's a must play if you have the time. The basket for hole (A) is surrounded by water, as is only connected by a small isthmus from tee and basket. It will intimidate even thee advanced players.
- The course has most of the typical character items that you'd see at an older established course. such as; bag holders, good tee signage, trash cans, tables and so on.
- I find that the concrete tees are satisfactory in length and in integrity. There are also multiple tees pads for a majority of the holes.
- The hole variety and shot selection options are well above the average course. There are heavily wooded and open shots. There are holes along water, over water, and "keep it short" of water. There are right and left pocket shots, blind baskets, and a few gimme holes. There are two par 4's, with one that's 669 feet with flanking water. which is perfect for the disc bomber wanting to lose a disk.
- In general, I find the course to be fun. There are a few opportunities for aces, some enjoyable driving windows to hit and plenty of chill areas. In addition, the regulars will be pleased as many of the holes have alternate basket locations.
Cons: - The glaring problem with Cliff is the amount of water, which comes into play 14 times. I advise that only Pros and Advanced players play the back tees to mitigate some of this problem. Many area players consider it an accomplishment to complete a round and not throw one in the water.
- Other than the water factor, I find no other major issues with Cliff Stevens, but I will add a few ticky-tack things.
- there is no course map located within the community board. the map on DGCR is not up to date with the new 24+1 hole format. for this reason holes 17-21 are tricky to navigate. After hole 16, head west into the woods (near hole A tee box area. hole 18 is due west after 17 basket. 19 tee is north of 18 basket, hole 20 tee is easy to find as you'll pass it to get to 19 basket. after hole 20 basket, head south and towards the road (U.S. 19) and you'll find 21 tee. after 21, head east down the path for what seems like at least 500 feet.
- There are a lot of bikers, walkers and joggers in the park. You will likely have to pause your round a few times.
- The course lacks a true dog-leg hole. I don't recall any hole twisting more than 20 degrees.
Other Thoughts: - Interesting note about Cliff, according to the PDGA, Cliff Stevens is the second oldest active course in the state of Florida, behind Northside Park in Gainesville.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
A wonderful course with a wonderful history.
0 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Cliff Stevens is a beautiful piece of property and has a very well thought out course design. Some of the best disc golfer's in the world play here on a regular basis. I'm a big fan of the new signs that use photographs to guide you through the course. The front nine is very easy to follow with a perfect flow, but the back nine is a little bit more challenging.
0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Like A Fine Wine...
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Like a fine wine, this grand old course keeps getting better with age. It is a very popular course, that has been constantly improving over the years.
Most holes have 2-3 pin placements, 2 sets of tees, and nice tee signs. The "Home Of The Champ" sign was a nice touch.
The course is very scenic, and pleasant to play. There are plenty of fair water holes, and many trees to shot shape around. The course runs from moderate to long in length, and offers plenty of challenge. Not to much in the way of rough, so the risk of loosing a disc is low here, except to the water of course.
The course is well maintained, and litter free.
Cons: The course plays close to the road and walking paths/sidewalks on a few holes, so a little waiting to let walkers/joggers/bikers pass may be needed.
I would recommend skipping the alt holes, and just playing the 18 main holes during a casual round. They can be hard to navigate, if they are in at all, and are primarily used for tournaments, to allow for more participants.
If you don't like water holes, the amount of water here may be a con for you. I found the water holes to be fair though.
The course may not be the best one for beginners.
Other Thoughts: This is the home course of "The Champ" Ken Climo, and is one of the most popular courses in the Greater Tampa area. The large and competent local league does a good job of maintaining their courses, and hosting fun tournaments.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Nice design, interesting all around!
Pros: Great course design. Lots of different shots kept the play interesting the entire time and I wasn't bored once playing here.
The front 9 is fairly tight and close-in, but the back 9 opens up a lot and you have some chances to air it out. Great job balancing the two and providing a fun experience.
I actually really liked the course tee signs. The photos were a bit unorthodox and different from what I'm used to seeing, but I actually found them pretty helpful. A photo showing specifically which tree the hole is hiding behind is better in my mind than a top-down map with green circles.
Water, water everywhere, but not frustrating or overdone. Love how it is used throughout the course to add difficulty.
The hazards here always seem to fall on the right side of the fun/frustrating divide. I was challenged here and didn't do well to be honest, but it was great fun and would definitely play again.
Ample parking, a porta-john, and trash facilities were available. The surrounding neighborhood looked fairly safe to me as well.
"Hole A" on the back 9 was a blast. A super easy way to lose a disc in the water, but a neat challenge if you've got the time.
The short/long tee pads are amazing and help make this course accessible to all skill levels. It was much appreciated and they frequently help guide you around hazards where you could lose a disc, which was nice.
Course scenery is very nice here; saw plenty of birds while out and the foliage is as always beautiful.
I like how hole 9 plays right back by the parking lot. Great way to get back to the car if you forgot something, or even take off if you don't have much time.
Cons: Navigation was acceptable, and greatly aided by the picture of the map I took with my phone. However, I agree that some "next tee" signs would be nice. The hop from 9-10 was not obvious at all and I would have totally missed it without the map.
You cross quite a few paths throughout, and you have to be fairly aware to make sure you don't hurt people or cyclists. Not a DG-specific area.
Other Thoughts: This course was easy to get to, a blast to play, beautiful, and I think it would be a fun play for most skill levels. Maybe a little overwhelming for your first course, but not horrible either. The design of the shots here was what really gave this course a great rating in my mind -- excellent design makes for a fun, enjoyable round in a beautiful park. Happy discing!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Fun in the Sun
Pros: Cliff Stephens is a park style course in Clearwater with pretty simple access from I-275.
There was ample parking a nice practice area and a couple of portable bathrooms at the practice area.
The layout is setup where hole 9 and hole 18 return to the parking area.
The chaistar baskets were all in pretty good shape.
Most of the holes have multiple tee pad that can allow for a rec player to enjoy the round while the more advanced player can be challenged from the back tee. The pads were concrete and in real nice shape.
There were 2 different pin locations on each hole.
The layout of the course was very well done. There were some holes that forced a hyzer and some holes that forced an anny. Rollers were also a good option on a couple of holes.
I was also impressed with the natural use of the propety to achieve a very challenging disc golf course.
Not being from the area, I wasn't used to the sandy terrain, but I consider this as a pro since most of my upshots would hit and stick.
I remember there being some holes that had places to sit down.
The teeth of this course to me was the distance of the holes. 426 ft par 3 right off the first tee and ending in a 670 ft par 4 is typical of the course. To play the back tee, you WILL need to throw long accurate shots AND work the disc to score well here.
Hole 16 is a thing of beauty. The pin was in "A" making it play at it's longest distance, but that is a awesome hole. The risk/reward is what is love about disc golf.
Cons: Beware of snakes on the property. Being from Kentucky, we have our share of snakes, but we saws 3 or 4 in a day at the course.
Being a park setting, there are other people in the park that will hinder your round some.
Other Thoughts: This park was a very nice place to play disc golf. It would make a great home course to work on your game. The ability to flight the disc is the key to playing here... not just playing turns or fades. When we return to Florida next year, this place WILL be on our MUST play list.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Cliff Stephens DGC
Pros: -Perfect mix of long and short tees
-This course has some of the best water hazards that I've seen. The water really brings in the risk/reward factor to several holes.
-Concrete tees on all holes, both long and short.
-Some of the best tee signs around. They give you a close-up of the basket and show you the location of the next tee which makes navigation a cinch.
-The course plays in a figure 8 with the parking lot conveniently located in the middle.
-This course is a "Tale of Two Halves" with the front being a bit shorter with more trees in play and the back being longer with less trees and more water hazard. This was probably my favorite aspect of the course.
-As long as you avoid the water hazards it's pretty easy to recover from a poorly throw shot.
-Challenging, but not brutal.
-This being The Champ's home course is a definite plus.
Cons: -The biggest con for me was how crowded this course was. I arrived at 10:30 am on a Wednesday morning and the course was still packed.
-Lots of pedestrians to contend with adds to the slow down on the course.
-There's a real risk of losing a disc here.
Other Thoughts: Cliff Stephens really is a fantastic course with a great ambience. It's challenging, but doesn't beat you down. This was my second favorite course of the 7 I played in the bay area.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 2 Not
Championship level course
Pros: 2 sets of tees make for a good challenge for each skill level. A mildly wooded course accuracy is needed to score low. Distance helps but isn't a must. Tee signs are present on each hole with accurate distances for each pin and actual photos of each hole which makes it easier to ID where certain pins are.
There are concrete tee pads so footing isn't an issue from the tee.
The course has a lot of variety in terms of distance and routes to the pin. You will find yourself throwing a different shot on nearly every hole. You definitely don't get a lot of "same disc, same line" shots.
The course is kept very clean. This is clearly a course that gets a lot of play and has pretty good upkeep making for an enjoyable round. When I was there multiple groups were out playing which is always the sign of a good course.
Cons: While the tee signs are accurate there isn't a way to tell on multi-pin holes which pin is in play at times. Holes 2 and 9 have pins within about 60 ft of each other so an errant throw on either might find you in someone else's putting green.
The added holes are a little awkward just in terms of getting to them and navigating them. Hole A is straightforward enough and was actually a really nice peninsula hole. Unfortunately you then have to backtrack down As fairway and trek through the woods to get to B. Hole B is the only "bad" hole on the course and I say that only because it doesn't really fit the design of the rest of the course. A very tight tunnel shot it just doesn't fit the rest of the course. The walk from B to C then takes you through the woods again in a not very clearly defined trail (but easy enough to figure out).
The only other thing to be aware of is the course is split in half by a fairly busy road with at least 1 hole coming into direct play alongside it where an errant drive could easily hit a passing car.
Other Thoughts: This was the 2nd of two courses I played on a trip back to Mobile from St. Petersburg. It was a fun course that challenged my game from start to finish. You have to think about each shot and really need to have every shot available to your disposable to score low. There's a good mix of distance and no real gimmicky shots. Definitely worth the play if you're in the area or passing through.
6 of 8 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 0 Not
All That I Thought
Pros: * Course offers a great variety of shots. Every disc in your bag will be used.
* Edit...I have been told that the nice signs are new. Well, the course has very clear, colorful signage and flows well. Apparently this is an improvement from before.
* hyzer, straight and turnover lines are all used.
* Water is prominent, and not insignificant, but there are typically safer routes. (Except 10...That one you need to carry)
* Front nine offers some lightly technical woods shots, while back is more open, and the variety is appreciated.
* The course is expansive, and does not feel too close together.
* Hole 16 is a flat out awesome hole with an extreme challenge. However safe routes are available.
* Walking paths all over with water fountains which is great for humid, Florida days.
* Challenging pin positions often perched on the edge of slopes leading to hazards.
* There are some slopes leading to hazards. This kind of elevation change is not found on most, Florida courses.
* Bonus holes available A, B, and C near the end. Can be skipped, but adds to the challenge.
* Multiple basket positions, and short pads to play if you prefer.
* Nine and 18 finish toward the parking lot, so the course is intelligently set up.
* Fun course! If you cannot get amped up to play Cliff then you shouldn't be playing.
Cons: * This is a popular course and can get very crowded.
* One hole on the back nine runs by a very busy road. It's a nice semi tunnel shot, but it would be easy to lose a disc (and get it run over) on that road.
* The above are more just observations. I loved the course!
Other Thoughts: Cliff is a big, expansive course with the front nine running through woods and beside a large creek. The back is across the street and runs near a pond and a much larger lake. The course is well marked, has large tee pads, and offers a variety of shots. I really enjoyed the change between front and back nines. It was like crossing the road between two different worlds, because the nines are different in distance and cosmetic makeup.
The front nine has some light woods, and the back is open and long. And this course closes strong! 16 is a bearishly long hole that hugs a pond on a hyzer line. Any hopes of a 3 involve skirting with danger the whole way. It's an incredible hole. 17 is a long turnover shot, guarded by trees on the right and one large oak near the tee. 18 is almost 700 feet, skirts a pond that you already crossed on 10, and finishes in what feels like a wind funnel.
This is a wonderfully designed course that is challenging without being unfair. The fun factor is intact, and you will be proud of your good shots while nervously watching your bad ones. Coachman park is very close and the two can make for an amazing day of disc golf!
17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
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