The Hard One
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The course features two sets of nice large grippy tees, nice tee signs, and plenty of fairway and navigation aids. The course is mostly set in a heavily wooded area and features plenty of decent northern Florida elevation changes. The course has the length and difficulty that better players crave. The course has a couple of signature-ish holes and is fairly scenic. The course is well maintained, for the most part.
Cons: The course might not be in the best neighborhood but the locals we encountered were friendly and we didn't have any problems.
Some of the tee signs were missing and there was a little trash here and there. I think they might have just had a tournament at the course though so the course overall was in good shape.
The course is long and difficult with plenty of elevation changes so it's probably not the best course for low-level recs, new throwers, and those with a weak constitution.
The course occasionally plays near other park features and randoms sometimes mosey through the fairways.
Other Thoughts: A solid course that whipped our asses and wore us down but we still had a fun round. Maybe more of a should play than a must-play for me, provided you have the endurance to make it around!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Very Challenging Course
Pros: (3.593 Rating) Perhaps the most challenging course in Florida.
- CHALLENGING - If you love a good beat down, then you'll love this course. Hands down the toughest course I've played in Florida. (68 Florida courses played as of this review) It's neither the longest or tightest course in the state, but it's way up there in both aspects. At a recent tourney, only 3 open players broke par from the blue (back) tees. These players had personal ratings of 1030, 1027 and 991. 37 other open players shot over par. All 31 advanced players shot over par as well with the best score coming in at +6.
- SHOT SHAPING - Some serious thought process will take place on most tees. You better have both a forehand and backhand perfected or you're going to be seriously handicapped here. Some holes you'll need to be a magician to avoid all the obstacles before you.
- ELEVATION FOR FLORIDA - Compared to the all the Florida courses that I've played as of this review, Jack McLean has the most elevation usage as a total, but not the most elevated shots on an individual hole basis. There are more than a dozen holes with a tee to basket grade difference over 20 feet. That stated, I don't think any of these change by more than 35 feet. So elevation yes, but nothing like the courses in the Appalachian foothills and mountains.
- UNIQUENESS - In addition to the elevation, the overall variety of the sum of the holes is above average. There's a really good dog leg right on hole (10). There a nice 300 foot water clear on (5) from the blue tees, which was my favorite hole and was the only time I shot from the blue tees. Hole (21) has a fun split elevated fairway element to it. However, this course is short of the uniqueness of nearby Tom Brown. No par 5, no true dogleg left, just one water play, no open holes, and no clear iconic hole. In addition, the final 14 holes play up, down, up, down, up, down, up, down... Which oddly becomes sort-of annoying after 8 or 9 holes.
- CHARACTER - I found the disc golf extras and amount of comfort items to be above average. First and foremost, 2 sets of concrete tees and with holes signage at every tee box. The tees are also in the shade in every instance. The blue concrete tees could be a bit longer in length but I'd still rate the teeing experience well above average. Other niceties include shelters with picnic tables along the layout and the baskets are in great shape. If I could add some items, I'd add some more benches (only saw a couple), put in multiple pin placements and build a third set of shorter tees.
- SPACING - The course is laid out really well. I don't recall any times of being in an adjacent fairway and the walks from basket to next tee always seemed less than 200 feet.
- RAW BEAUTY - The natural beauty of this course is top notch. Among the better ones I've seen in a Florida course. lots of cool terrain, lots of sloping fairways and lots of older big pines to avoid. I read on many other reviews stating that trash was an issue. It's either been rectified or I got lucky to be there after a major clean up. I really didn't see that much trash at all.
Cons: Jack McLean is limited in its reach.
- SKILL LEVEL FRIENDLY - Way too difficult for beginners and recreational players. There are 2 sets of tees, Blues (adv) and Reds (rec). But they play more like Gold (pros) and Blues (adv). As a players with about a 900 rating, I didn't even crack par from the red tees. Jack McLean would really benefit by adding a third set of true Red tees. I'd be willing to bet that many local players play this course once and then stick with Tom Brown going forward. I played my round here on a nice Sunday afternoon, and I was the only soul throwing.
- OVERGROWTH - I played in late March just as the vegetation re-growth was starting to come back a bit and found myself searching quite often. If you play this course in the summer near the peak overgrowth period, you may end up leaving a few disks behind as well taking home a bruise or two. In addition, I spotted poison ivy.
- FORGIVENESS - From the short tees, if you can't throw consistently 325 to 350 threw a 20 to 25 foot wide lane, you're going to find yourself scrambling for par. If its summer, and your disc cuts into the overgrowth, you'll probably consider bogie a treat.
- FLAWED HOLES - There a couple holes out here that are just plan unfair. Hole (3) is the best example which starts out fairly wide. But then makes an abrupt turn down a 6' foot wide lane about 250 feet from the tee. Discs don't fly straight, turn 20 degrees, and then fly straight again. A smart player should probably lay-up to the lane and then run a hundred foot birdie try, rather than risk the random draw of a likely ricochet.
Other Thoughts: I consider the challenge a course presents a major pro in my ratings. However, when there's a course like Jack McLean, that really only caters to one skill level set, it will be slightly impacted in its overall score thru my scoring method. Had this course had a more reasonable set of short third tees and also the widening of just a couple brutal holes, this course would probably score a 4. I very much enjoyed the challenge, but I will be back at Tom Brown the next time I'm in Tally.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The course plays through the woods surrounding a recreation/community center, so facilities are easy to find. Plenty of shade and a nice walk. And once you start throwing, you won't be bored. Definitely not a "pitch-and-putt" course. If you like a challenge, this is the course for you. I found myself using every technique I knew (and some I didn't).
Cons: The map online has the holes numbered (and placed) differently. The signs (where present) are very rudimentary. (When the signs aren't there, you're often throwing blind or walking through the woods to find the baskets . . . which are older, hard-to-see DisCatchers.) Sometimes there is one tee, sometimes three (most often two).
Other Thoughts: I live a bit closer to Tom Brown Park, so I play there all the time. II find that one to be better suited to my intermediate level. I can't fault Jack McLean for being difficult, but I can for the poor signage. I'm used to having a good idea where the basket is, even if I can't see it. Going hole to hole isn't as much of a concern as tracking where you're supposed to go from the tee box (and WHICH tee box) to the basket. With better signs, this could easily be a marquee course.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: McLean is not without flawed holes, but there are a lot of good ones here. Once it has a few holes under its belt, the course begins to produce tight throwing lines through fairly dense woods with a surprising amount of elevation. There may not be anything resembling a signature hole but almost all of them are quality. They are definitely tight, though overly tight for intermediate level players. You will be asked to keep a disc on a straight line for up to 200 feet. You will be asked to hang graceful anny lines. And really, you are going to be asked to throw lines that bend at multiple points.
A ton of variation here, with all of the holes bringing something unique. There is one stretch of holes where you play an up hole then a down hole a few times in a row. But each time the shape is different. You won't be bored.
While some of the lines are unusual, they are mostly fair. What you won't find are random trees in the middle of a fairway. You hit the line, you are good. McLean does punish missed drives. Go off the mark, you will hit a tree. You will likely get kicked into thick brush. There are some spots where disc searches may be difficult but as long as these are in places where you will only land if you screw up, I don't mind them. It's like Magnolia in that way. The best way to describe McLean might be a shorter Magnolia with more narrow fairways. And a bit less precision in the design. But on the other hand a lot more elevation
For most of the course there are next tee arrows where needed but man, were the first three transitions tough without them. The map as downloadable here is not very helpful either and I spent a significant amount of time trying to find the third tee.
Similarly, the tee signs themselves are completely vague. They don't help you identify the shape of the fairway and many areas that look like good landing zones end up being thick brush. Lots of good lines to throw here, but without good tee signs, it is hard to identify what a give fairway is calling for without having played the course a few times.
And that underbrush gets thick quickly. Not a great beginner course as they might spend as much time looking through brush as throwing. Unless they play overly cautious.
Some might complain the fairways often ask for too many bends, or create forced layups too often. I enjoyed throwing most of them, but rarely is there anything like an intended landing zone.
The main flaw of the course is that it doesn't start well. In addition to early navigation problems, the first few holes are pretty much the worst on the course. Rather than carved out of thicker woods, these traverse slightly open woods with scattered trees that don't really make for real throwing lines. It took till hole 8 or so before I realized that I was playing some pretty good holes.
I'm not sure what I think about the water carry. It's unlike any other I've seen as you thrown down the length of the pond instead of over the width. To truly carry would be very impressive and reward a player with a birdie chance. Buuut, any hyzer on the toss will mean that you just throw as far as you can and you will land safely to the left of the water. I might like it, I don't know. It's interesting.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Really can't say much here. Very tough course. Signs on the course are good with telling you where to go.
Cons: Very tight fairways. Baskets need to be flagged or painted. Very hard to see in thick woods.
Other Thoughts: Unless you can throw fast stuff very straight throw slow stuff and try not to get out of fairways. Very tough to get out of woods.
1 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Most challenging course in Tally
Pros: Extremely wooded/narrow fairways
Thought provoking/disc selection
Takes skill, not dumb luck
Multiple tee pads to add variety
Next to no one plays this course.
Cons: Trash, trash, trash
Some more trash
Skeeters (not the disc, but that annoying blood-sucking beast)
Par is set WAY too low (I'd say be prepared to shoot in the upper 70s-low 80s from the short tees, and mid 80s to lower/middle 90s from the big boy tees). Although the set pars are achievable you have to be playing top tier dg. aka this scares away beginners.
Other Thoughts: This course is my favorite course in Tally. There are really good elevation changes, extremely tight fairways, and various teepad locations. The toughest part of this course is keeping your mental game together. There is a lot of potential to hit trees within 20-30 feet off the teepad. This makes your second shot count more than anyone wants.
As stated in the cons section this course is super trashy. We, as disc golfers, should be in constant contact with the parks department asking them to help maintain it. I'm not sure what kind of relationship the local dgclub has with the parks dept, but it would be great to have a club clean up day. No matter who is wandering through the course I've never had anything but sincere questions regarding the game of disc golf, and hoots and hollers when a big throw is witnessed. Most of the folks, who are not playing, are simply passing through; and, for the most part, are probably completely harmless.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
chewed on me, then spit me out
Pros: -Nice Rules Sign
-Plenty of shade
-Pool near course
-Variety of tee pads on some holes
-Should keep the short tempered away
Cons: -Only bathroom at Community Center
-Need bug spray
-Not beginner friendley
-Needs better basket identification from a distance (brighter color)
-Better tee pad signs would be nice
Other Thoughts: I have played one other course like this in my year of playing disc golf and it is the brand new Inverness course in Hoover, AL.. Difficult (for me), yes, beginner friendly, no. I agree with another review, this course is not for the short tempered. I'm a little surprised this course has been here as long as it has and there have not been more improvements on the signs. More details on the tee signs would be nice. No benches that I can recall. The baskets were difficult to see at times, not because of the trees but because the only identification for locating the basket at a distance was the small block of orange on the pole in the middle of the chains. Holes were good length, but if you hit a tree on your opening drive, there is a good chance you will make bogey and be looking for your disc. Better bring your most accurate straight line discs as most of your drives are right down the pipe, and a good distance (check the pictures). Bring your bug spray as there were plenty of mosquitoes who were more than happy to see us. Tee pads were good with Am and Pro concrete pads. When you get too hot there is a nice community pool that the course circles. Nice locals. Must have went on a busy day as there were a LOT of people there, but only saw two others playing disc golf. Definitley need to practice more before going back as this course chewed me up and spit me back out.
Played this course for the second time and I now have a new respect for the course. Shot 6 better this round than I did the first time I played this course. Just have to practice and work on my shots!
Also adjusted my rating with a little more respect.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
I actually love this course
Pros: I really enjoy playing this couse unlike the other reviewers and people who have shot a round here. There are plenty of positive aspects about this course, but there are negative ones as well.
- This is a very challenging course. There aren't too many holes to just grip and rip. You have to be very strategic and you will use every disc in your bag! If I get to use all of my discs and often, I think that's a huge plus.
- Pretty simple to navigate around the holes, especially on the back 9 where they zig zag with one another.
- Good elevation changes througout the course.
- Plenty of shade since the holes are mostly in heavy woods. Great to keep you cool, but I tend to avoid the course in the summer.
- You have a great selection of anhyzer and hyzer shots with long and short holes. Just a really solid course design considering the density of the woods.
Cons: - Summer months are very rough here and I tend to avoid the course. The brush grows rapidly and it's really tough to find a disc if you veer off course (which you will often).
- Tics will be there in the summer too since you're in the deep woods.
- Fairways are very narrow, almost too narrow at times. I have a big arm and if I don't hit the fairway exactly I will be hunting for a disc in the brush (even in the winter when it's died back you can still struggle to find a disc).
- Rough part of town. I have not ever had any problems here, but some other locals have either been harrassed or heard stories of harrassment. Based on this I will never bring my wife and daughter here to play with me. This is a men or adult only course in my mind.
- Most of the negatives of this course for me have little to do with course design. Some people think this course is too much and think it requires luck more than skill. I disagree. This is a great course to really challenge even the best player.
Other Thoughts: If you will be in Tallahassee long enough to play two courses then I would say you have to try out "The Beast", Jack McLean. If you can only play one round I would recommend Tom Brown Park. Tom Brown is a great DGC, but Jack McLean is a very different park.
If you're looking for a really frustrating and challenging day of disc golf, this is the place. I would say that you should avoid going alone. Not just because of the surroundings, but if you're going to have a rough round it's much more fun to struggle with someone so you can laugh about it later.
This isn't a course where you will play par 3 for each hole and feel good about yourself afterwards, but that being said I can get a score in the low 80's on a good day with all 24 holes.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
very challenging wooded course
Pros: I love wooded courses and this one is a beast. The fairways are carved out of the trees and are very narrow. Accuracy is paramount. Tremendous shot variety required, often on the same hole, and a good mix of long and shorter holes.
Cons: Didn't have a map and had a hard time finding where to start. Pretty easy to follow once you've started though.
Some of the fairways could be a little larger. Challenging is fun but a couple of these tighter ones are just sadistic.
Other Thoughts: Been awhile since the one time I've played here so some of the details escape me. Great course though. As someone else said, not the best neighborhood (and I walked there!) but it's not the ghetto.
**Like this review? Hate it? Message me and let me know why! I want to make them better!**
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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