Tunnel in the Jungle
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The Preserve DGC is a notably technical challenge that successfully walks the line between fun and frustration. The claustrophobic, predominantly RHBH-friendly front 9 is a rigorous test of midrange and putter control, as each hole features ultra-tight lines and/or punishingly thick rough. This may seem like a criticism, but it's actually The Preserve's biggest strength: only once (on Hole 2; see below) does the design feel unfair. Think of it like a classic arcade game: playing can be frustratingly difficult at times, but the course provides enough reward to keep the player coming back for more. The Preserve opens up a bit after Hole 10 and allows rec-level players like myself a shot at even par, a welcome relief.
The course is also high on aesthetic beauty, offering a true jungle setting that's much prettier than a first-timer might expect. My favorite locations are the greens of Holes 11 & 12, which put the player in small clearings surrounded by towering tropical foliage.
Many holes have alt tees and pins which add an additional layer of difficulty. Hole 16 features an alt pad that turns an aceable straight shot into a daunting but playable water carry whose challenge varies with the season.
Navigation within the routing is fairly intuitive and occasionally features directional signs to the next tee.
Cons: Navigation to and from the routing is a significant challenge, as Hole 1 is tucked between two baseball fields at one end of the park and Hole 18 finishes near a walking path at the opposite end. Turn right into the parking lot at your earliest opportunity and follow the northbound path to Hole 1. After the round, exit the woods and follow the road back to your vehicle.
Hole 2 is tight to the point of being unfair, with no readily perceptible line to the basket. Some clearing could redeem it with ease.
Tee signs are nothing more than a post with hole number & distance, and there are times when a diagram would be extremely helpful.
The Preserve is Florida flat, but the challenge of hitting your lines will make you forget all about the lack of elevation.
Other Thoughts: The Preserve DGC plays like North Water Tower Park in nearby Sarasota on a smaller (and tighter) scale, so players who've played one should know what to expect at the other.
Navigation to the park itself can be as difficult as getting to the disc golf course, as the park seems to be surrounded by a failed or abandoned housing development. GPS directions cannot always be trusted, as they may attempt to lead you down abandoned, overgrown streets (check Google Street View to see what I mean). Access the park only via O'Donnell Blvd from Tamiami Trl. Taking any other route runs the risk of getting lost or stuck back in the abandoned streets.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
A Tropical Paradise
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: (3.690 Rating) A unique combination of challenge and beauty.
- CHALLENGING - One of the more challenging layouts I've played and that was with playing the front tees. Lots of tight, but fair drives to hit, which the exception of hole (2), which is a long poke and hope shot in need of a few more palms removed. Your average advanced player should be at course par from the front tees or perhaps a few down and they should struggle to reach par from the backs. Right hand players will need a precise backhand shot perfected or be severely handicapped on this course.
- RAW BEAUTY - Best way to describe this course in two words is "Tropical Paradise" My personal favorite hole for beauty is hole (4) which plays along a lengthy limestone outcrop. A few holes also bring wonderful water views into play and the vegetation on my visit was vivid and vibrant. The course ranks right up there with the most beautiful courses in my backyard, Taylor Park an Picnic Island. The raw beauty definitely makes the round here that much more enjoyable to play.
- CHARACTER - Well above average. The concrete tee pads are above average in size and are generally shaded. There is a bunch of seating and there are trash cans located at appropriate spots. There is a good course map that will aid in navigation as well. As for the lacking items, unsatisfactory hole signage (see cons), no practice area, no bag hangers and no nearby parking (see cons)
- EXTRA BASKETS - Adding onto course character, I specifically need to call attention to the number of added baskets down fairway. I think there are at least 9 or 10 alternate baskets along the layout that with lengthen a hole. Great for the upper advanced or even pro player to hone in their skills.
- CHILL AREAS - There are lots of secluded nooks with seating to take a break at. Great decision to locate a picnic table by (14) tee.
- NAVIGATION - Other than finding tee (1) navigation should be fairly easy with a picture of the course map. There are a bunch of directional arrows along the layout to guide you to the next hole as well.
- SPACING - Well spaced out holes with no chance of running one into another fairway. The walk to the next hole is generally not too far with the exceptions of Parking to (1) and also (18) to the parking.
- UNIQUENESS - Variety is above average in general, although when I compare it to other courses I've rated this high, it falls below average among those courses. First I'll point out that there's a number of 300 foot plus technical plays with fairways pocketing both ways and also those that dog-leg left. Fairway widths vary from poke and hope shots, hole (2) as noted above, to narrow, to moderate, to wide open, such as hole (14). The majority are narrow to moderate. There is water in play on a few holes, most notable is hole (16). However the number of water holes will vary depending on the season, with winter generally being the driest. As for the missing hole variety items, there is no elevation (see cons) no par 4's or 5's, no dog leg right and no forced overtop plays. I'll also tack on that this course vary much favors RHBH players.
Cons: The cons I've listed are generally minor to non factors in my course rating equation, with the exception of layout and hole signage. I will say however, with a fix of these two items, the Preserve could possibly bump up to 4 stars.
- LAYOUT - The first thing one will notice is that the location of hole (1) is nowhere near the parking area. In addition, hole (18) is also located a ways from both the parking and hole (1) as well. Word is, is that many players start on hole (16) which is adjacent to some parking. If you attempt this strategy on first play however, you'll either need a guide or good map and direction sense to get back to (1) from (18).
- HOLE SIGNAGE - Adequate for a smaller or open course, but definitely sub-par for this type of course and also for the region it's in. Currently just a # on a post with hole distance. If you took a picture of the course map on (1), it really won't help to read into how the details of a hole plays.
- ELEVATION - Sorry, you won't find it here or at really any of the surrounding courses either. On the Preserve, it's probably even below average for a Florida course. There are a couple holes here and there that bring in a 5 foot high mound or so, but that's about it. I did like the use of a flood control mound on (13) which defines the center of the fairway.
- FORGIVENESS - I was fortunate to play this course in the Winter when much of the overgrowth was either dead or trimmed up. There are a bunch of palmetto fields in play and if you were to find one of these during the summer, you can expect some extended time searching for your disc. In addition, when the rainy season hits, figure more water will come into play.
- BEGINNER FRIENDLY - This is really not a beginners course. The course requires the skills of an accurate shot possessed by seasoned players.
- TIME PLAY - Don't come here figuring you can get in a quick round being that its only a par 54 at 5000 feet in length. My group of 3 spent over two and a half hours here. Figure a single, on an open course, will take at least 90 minutes.
Other Thoughts: I had the pleasure of playing the Preserve my first time with two DGCR members, Thrembo and R2sandman. Be sure and reach out to these gentleman if you're visiting from outside the area and if you want to enjoy a laid back round with a couple dudes that you'll think you've known forever.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Variable hole course
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This course has a good variance of hole arrangements and distances. The course is flat like most Florida courses. It has a good mix of open holes and holes through the Florida landscape. I enjoyed this course. No holes were too difficult to score well. The concrete tee pads are in good shape. There are distances posted on the tee box posts. There are directional signs to the next tee also. The course layout is well thought out except for the start and finish.
Cons: I would have liked to see a hole layout at each tee box, not just the distance/s. Some holes have two tee pads and two baskets. It would have been nice to see where the further basket was located in order to choose the right disc. Its a very long walk from the back parking lot to the first hole.
Other Thoughts: The course seemed to play shorter than the distances posted. Not really a con, just an observation. Not much chance of losing a disc on this course unless you're in the water. In December that wasn't an issue. This is a nice course. I'd like to play again next time I visit. I'd actually rate this course closer to a 3.25. Very nice scenery.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Unique aesthetic on a tight course through a palm forest. I found the fairways to be very fair and where the lines were constricting, there was rarely any obstacles to disrupt a shot on the right line. Very important on a course where the underbrush off the fairway can get thick. And the lines are nice, a variety of finishes to each direction and a handful of holes with double bends. I think it is one of those course that would be enjoyed more by successive plays. But the aesthetic, which may be common in the area, was new to me. I haven't seen palms so dense before so that they would line the fairways the same way pines would on a course farther to the north. It's definitely the most memorable feature of the course.
While a few open shots, and one long water carry, provide additional variety, the course is mostly these technical holes that can really punish bad throws and, more often than not, reward caution. Lots of places where there is a safe shot that you now you can leave in the fairway but will leave you settling for par at best. A more aggressive shot might give a chance at birdie but also a chance of not hitting a tight line and being buried in shule. Good stuff.
Baskets are good and occasionally holes have two. Tees are good. Navigation from basket to tee is easy. For a player of some experience, there is not much to dislike here. There may not have been a single hole that blew me away, but the overall consistency and quality of the course is quite high.
The obvious issue is how far 18 leaves you from 1. I'm not sure if it's possible to add holes that play back to the lot but it is a long gap. Other than that, there were a few holes I was iffy about. There is nice flick shot that plays next to the outfield fence of a baseball field. Not a true hazard but at a course that was otherwise clear of interference with other park activities, I wonder if there was another way to do that. I also didn't really care for 10. The majority of the course plays through such natural terrain that it is jarring to play down a corridor that preexisted the course. Now, I tend to dislike this type of hole more than most, and there is only one of them, but is flow interrupting.
Additionally, better signage would help. The tees are easily identifiable but the posts note only the distance. At a wooded course with many baskets that aren't visible from the tee, (and some fairways have second curves) I would really like to see a picture of the hole shape.
North Charlotte is a course that would slot in a 3.75 for me if that was an option. Very good course but, similar to Magnolia, not one that will really stand out if one has played outside of Florida. There isn't really a signature hole. And there isn't really any elevation.
There are separate tees on some holes. There are a few times where these are used well, such as 16. The long tee here is along carry over a pond that is home to a gator. Beautiful and challenging shot. The short tee is far enough to the right that it avoids forcing a player to carry any of it. There are other occasions where an additional tee makes a difficult hole easier for a new player. But there are a bunch of times where playing from the added tee ruins the flow of the hole and the original design is just superior.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 2 Not
great example of SW FL DG
Pros: dedicated land for dg is always a good thing. there is no reason for anyone else to be on the course, so you won't have to deal with walkers, bikers, etc.
tight and technical but mostly fair, no impossible fairways
Cons: finding hole 1, even with a map was kinda a pain. even had a hard time finding #1 the second time I played, haha. I didn't detract from my rating because of the elusiveness of #1 though.
Other Thoughts: i love how all FL courses have bathrooms with running water.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: A nice layout from what little we were able to find of this course.
Cons: The cons greatly outweighed the pros from our perspective. Never found #1, actually never found the front nine. There was one sign from where we parked pointing you to the first tee but we never found it. Actually ran in to two others that were also playing here for the first time also. They asked us where #1 was, we answered you tell us and we'll both know. So we actually walked backwards from #18 trying to see if we could make any progress from there. Multiple tees with posts pointing you this way and that way. Unfortunately you never knew where the disc catchers were unless you walked part of the holes too see what direction you have to throw the disc. So we were only able to retrace our steps to #12. Have to say it was very disappointing as we expected much more from this complex.
Other Thoughts: Please at least direct people to the start in a far more efficient and well marked signs. Layout of each hole at the tee box would be extremely helpful. Maybe a kiosk with detail would help people, seems from previous reviews a number of people couldn't find the start. Will be back again, just to challenge myself and see if I can find tee box #1
2 of 9 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Beware the Rough!
Pros: The biggest pro - once you spend 30 minutes looking for the first tee - is that the course is a breeze to navigate. Stevie Wonder could find his way around without use of a cane.
The tee signs and distance were plentiful, though I wish it had pics of the holes. on the front 9, a lot of the holes you have no idea where the basket is. I had to walk up and back several times to find it.
And as my title mentions, get off into the palmettos and good luck. I spent lots of time digging through palmetto's trying to find plastic I'd advise throwing something bright - blue, pink, orange - but not green!
On the front 9, it seemed to be a majorly lefty friendly course. 3-9 all seemed to finish left.
The back 9 was my favorite. More open. You could grip-and-rip on several holes - if you have an average arm. Long arms would over throw the holes.
Being a tight course, you don't need many discs. I essentially played with a buzz, sidewinder and one stable fore-hand disc. Could easily play with just a buzz and putter.
Cons: The worst - and this is huge - is finding the first tee.I came from out of town with limited time to play and it took me over 30 minutes to find it. I found what I thought was the parking lot - had a sign mentioning the course - but was by hole 16. Later I found a sign pointing to hole 1...a quarter mile away! You either park at the first tee and walk a quarter mile to your car when done. Or park by 18 and walk a quarter mile to start.
But after looking at an aerial view, it would be tough to finish back at 1
I also found 1-2 being ridiculously tight, basically a hope and pray hole. No direct line to the basket. 3-9 were the same basic shot over and over. Not much to brag about.
Other Thoughts: Definitely worth playing, I'm sure locals have found all the limited lines to hit on the front 9. But the repetitious shots on the front 9 lowered my rating.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 4 Not
Good as it could be
Pros: Well placed. Challenging. Well maintained. Most have alternate tees or pins. Well marked. You can't go wrong. Picnic tables. Trash cans every other hole. Plenty of parking.
Cons: No long holes. No elevation change, but how could there be in Florida.
Other Thoughts: Bring a towel. The dew last long. The pin at 10 is closest to restroom with water.
2 of 6 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Twin of N Watertower course!
Pros: Located in a beautiful park that is primarily for baseball, this course has a section all to itself. You will play through palm trees and palmettos on a medium scale (lengthwise), but on a slightly advanced scale tecnique-wise. The course starts with a few very thickly wooded and tight holes, then progress to fairways that are narrow, but with trees lining the edges of the fairways. Eventually, you will break out into grassy fairways - a few which are bordered by watery canals (they were dry in the winter).
The design was well balanced and fair. Good throws are rewarded, bad ones can be brutal to recover from. The use of multiple pins (in the ground, not ones that rotate) and multiple tee pads on some of the holes add variety. I like that the additional tee pads don't necessarily add length - they change the shot altogether.
Good vibes - the course is quite well-maintained - even to the point that somebody spray painted remaining tree stumps so that nobody trips over them. Also, the people on the course were very friendly - everyone I ran into was welcoming.
Navigation was pretty easy (once you find the first hole) - "Next tee" signs everywhere.
Cons: I would have not found the first tee if it hadn't been for these reviews here. Soooo - I will repeat - enter the park at the north entrance and go down the paved path between the first 2 baseball fields - you will find the first tee down to your left. Somebody please put a kiosk here!
Blind pins - this isn't a huge issue, but it is frustrating for a first timer to have to walk up on so many holes - signs would alleviate this.
Other Thoughts: Although there are no real "Wow factor" holes here, I certainly thought this place was solid and I will certainly try to play here if I return.
A WTF moment - the benches were graffiti'd but I noticed that the name of the club that was playing that very day had wrote their name on a bench - don't disrespect your own course guys!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Tight technical course,makes you really think about your shot before you commit,nice cement T pads,pretty well marked.
Cons: None that I can think of except you may need a machete if you end up in the jungle.Watch for fire ants and if near the water the occasional gator.
Other Thoughts: Very different than the southwest courses I normally play.locals were very helpful especially getting my disc out of a palm tree,Thanks man did not get your name but appreciated the help.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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