6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Challenge factor: One of the best things about this park are the dual tees which really add nice range in challenge level. The short tees are short enough to be gentle on newer players while at the same time exposing them to tight lines and some true 'rough' areas in the form of low bushes or groupings of trees. The longer tees make for a very challenging par three course (perhaps one par four mixed in) for even very experienced tour players. There are many birdies to get out here but trouble usually isn't too far away and poor drives usually result in a scramble to save par.
Dual fairways: My favorite course feature and Northside has several of these - dual options off the tee which are relatively equivalent balances of skill/risk/benefit. Its rather easy to do out here because of the terrain and the way the trees are loosely grouped on many fairways.
Navigation: Navigation is pretty straightforward (other than problems just associated with the construction) - we had to backtrack once to find a hole but that was because we weren't really paying enough attention, not because of poor signage or flow.
Empty: We played on a warm, sunny weekday in January as we were taking a road trip from Orlando up to Augusta, GA and the course was nearly empty with only one other disc golf group and no non-disc golfers in the park. I'd imagine the course might get a bit busier on the weekends, but if you can play during the week, you'll have blissful solitude!
Cons: Lack of Elevation: Northside has great variety in terms of shots required off the tee - the only thing missing is elevation. The park is quite flat (its Florida!) with only a few bumps, which the designer has taken advantage of.
Construction: This is just a temporary con but when we visited, the course was under a bit of construction making hole one a bit difficult to find and eighteen difficult to play. The construction looks like it has been a bit rough on the course as well, eroding a lot of turf and replacing with mud. Even without the construction, it seems that this course probably has a few problems with mud, especially where small streams criss-cross over fairways.
Other Thoughts: Northside is a solid, challenging course which has a very relaxed feel. The course's best feature is its ability to provide a flexible challenge for both advanced and newer players. I'd also imagine that Northside makes for a spectacular tournament course.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: I reviewed Northside when I was fairly new to the game and realized how much better it is now that I'm a regular DGer.
Northside park is truly a well designed course as far as flow, shot variety, and errant shot protection. Big groups frequent most days of the year but you do not often have to worry about long waits and most players are accustomed to letting you play through.
What I thought to be a more straightforward course at first became a playground for shot shapes. You can get by without tons of shot variety, but the best players out here diversify.
Northside's local league, the Chain Hawks, is a huge player out at this course. They provide weekly events, tournaments, and good, friendly people, who put in the effort to keep this place nice for all. Anyone who loves DG and lives in Gainesville or the surrounding area should jump on in any Wednesday, Friday, or Sunday.
-Trash/Recycle cans everywhere
-Two Pads for each hole
Cons: -The bathroom. What a mess. Should be replaced with a new, and much nicer one soon.
-The occasional civies on the course. You might see a herd of wild children running about or the rare bag lady might try to empty your pockets.
-murky ponds that can take discs for good.
-busy days seem to bring a Frat party ever once in a while. It can be exhausting playing behind a group of 12 with one disc each.
Other Thoughts: This will be and has been the site for many great tournaments.
NP is my home course. I love it and live it. After getting somewhat obsessed with this game and traveling all over the state, I still get a special feeling at Northside. With not many courses in the area, Gainesville is super lucky to have Northside Park.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This course has a lot going in its favor.
- The bathrooms and parking are right next to tee's #1 & #10. This is so helpful when courses are able to do this so it gives it the feel of a front and back nine where you can get to your car or the facilities at the half way point.
- This course isn't competing for space and so you rarely have to wait on other park users to throw.
- The course has few "gimmie" holes. Some appear easy or short but you still have to hit the right line to get your birdie.
- There are some holes that will challenge your arm, especially 16 & 18
- Water comes into play primarily on holes 7, 12, and 18. The little pond between 7 and 12 is roughly waist deep if you have to get in it but it will eat up your feet with some kind of nasty in there. There are also water snakes in there. I have never seen any gators on 18 but it sure looks like there could be some in that swamp at times.
- Variety of shot shapes and distances.
- Roller friendly
- The people are friendly as well. I have never seen a crowd there but I am sure it does at times due to limited number of courses in the area.
- Short tees are useful for those of lesser skill level and make the course significantly easier to play.
Cons: Very few cons for this course:
- No practice basket
- Signs need replaced. These things are old as dirt. They are part of the personality of this course but they really could use an update.
- The water is unpleasant if your disc goes in there. Just don't stay in there very long.
- Drives can be repetitive as so many are just straight ahead with no real dog legs.
Other Thoughts: This course is beginner and pro friendly depending on which tees you play. There is just enough canopy to provide shade on very hot and sunny days. That also provides plenty of trees as obstacles to make you really have to think about your shot. Throw in the hand full of longer holes that give you easier lines to the basket and this course provides plenty of fun regardless of your skill level.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
fun in the shade
Pros: Very nice layout. Some of the best tee markers i've seen, though a couple were missing. Even points out location of next tee, so make a mental note. Concrete tees are in good shape. The plethora of trees provide good obstructions and plenty of shade in the florida sun.
Cons: Conrete tees were a little short for my run-up, but only slipped off the edge a couple times. Had rained a few days prior so course was a bit swampy in some places, keep the weather in mind. Baskets are slightly hard to see sometimes. Hole 13 was the X on the tee sign, not the tee pic.
Other Thoughts: Fun course, and there's a couple others nearby so if you want a long day with many holes, hit them all. We went here first then finished at Barr, a 9 hole course that was empty. We were the first ones at northside and it quickly filled up. No issues with the crowd though. And remember to backtrack towards the bathrooms/parking lot for tee 3.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
In the Ponds
Pros: This is a fun and challenging course. Its a great mix of longer and shorter holes. The drainage ditches and water areas and the road keep you in check. Its one of the very few courses in Gainesville and its a good one. It has nice concrete t-pads and most of the markers are good.
Cons: Watch out for the water features! Wear your waders after a big rain storm. Also look out for loud, drunk herds of frat boys from time to time... just let the herd pass.
Other Thoughts: After hole 2, walk in the opposite direction of where you would think to go. The t-pad for 3 is towards the restroom.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -Loved the variety of hole lengths - from over 500' down to ace opportunities.
-Variety of hole design requires a mix of different discs and throws, some open holes and some tight holes
-Challenging course, but includes short tees on most of the holes that would help beginners
-Plenty of tree obstacles to make the course interesting but not much underbrush, so I wasn't afraid to lose discs, except possibly in water
-Tee pads are rough concrete, so they are slip-resistant... although some of them are starting to crack a bit. It's not enough to affect your throw -- yet.
-The signage is very helpful and detailed
Cons: -A couple of the tee signs were missing
-Locating the baskets, especially on the longer holes, was sometimes difficult, even with the detailed signs. It didn't help that most of the baskets don't have legible numbers on them. There were several holes where I just trusted the sign and drove in the general direction of the basket. On hole 13, the sign wasn't very accurate (or possibly there are two pin locations?) so I didn't throw at the correct angle.... frustrating.
-The course is almost completely flat, which doesn't help with drainage:
-It had been a damp week and there was a lot of standing water on the course, although almost all shallow. I still had to get my feet wet and spent a lot of time wiping of my discs. Half the fairway on hole 16 was a lake, up to about a foot away from the tee pad.
Other Thoughts: I used to play this course regularly but that was about 8 years ago. Reading some of the other reviews, I was lucky to go fairly early in the day because it wasn't busy at all for me. I'm used to playing flat courses in Florida, and this one wasn't any different... if they could fix some of the signage problems, that would be the only "con" that actually makes the course less fun. Most of the rest of the items are amenities and don't affect how fun the course was.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 5 Not
B for a Bit Boring for me
Pros: What I personally like and how this course stacks up:
1) Holes with good risk/reward -- C-
2) Holes that have rewarding birdie opportunities -- C+
3) More wooded than open - lots of variety of shots required caused by hole shape and topography -- C+
4) Natural beauty (Appalachian beauty preferred) and seclusion -- C
5) Multi-shot holes with defined landing zones, good risk/reward and multiple options to play them -- NA
Other Thoughts: I ranked this course subjectively based on my own personal enjoyment factor...more accurately my "personal addiction factor". Since I have played a decent number of courses (115 18-hole, 50 9-hole as of early 2009), my hope is that players/explorers who have similar tastes will find my ratings list helpful as they chose courses to play and explore.
Over time, I expect to fill some of my reviews in with more descriptive verbiage...if what I say adds anything to what has already been written. For now, my list is more important to me than the verbiage of my reviews.
I fully expect others with different tastes/philosophies to disagree with me. See my profile for my rating philosophy.
3 of 8 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Great mix of long and short, right and left, open and heavily wooded holes. A few shots involve water which is a nice change of pace. Decent enough facilities. Amateur and Pro tees for different skill sets, yet the amateur tees play like a totally different course and are a nice change of pace.
Cons: A couple holes play within 200 ft of a major road which isn't great for ambiance but is not a safety hazard. All holes are a par 3, including #16 which is 500 ft + and severeal 400 ft + holes all of which are legitimate par 4's (conversely though, hitting par on many holes feels as good as a birdie!)
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 5 Not
A pleasant surprise...
Pros: This course was designed by someone who appreciates the need for multiple shots. It works you, because you realize without a good shot...every shot, you'll not make par. Okay, this comes from a semi-old guy. But I still like the thought that went into its design.
Cons: Uh...low-lying water. Not much beyond that...really.
Other Thoughts: Gainesville needs another course...surely there must be some land out there.
0 of 5 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 1 Not
Take on Gaine'svilles best course.
Pros: I have played this course probably a dozen times and every time I play it I tell myself, "This time I'm gonna tear it up!" and I have yet to tame this challenging course.
As you pull up to the course you will notice that the property is shared by people playing tennis, racquetball, disc golf, and picnicking families. The thing that makes this a plus is even with all of the other activities taking place in the property, the course itself doesn't overlap them and still has a nice flow from hole to hole.
Almost all holes are 300+ ft, with a couple topping 500ft. As you stare down the fairways, you notice that it really isn't that wooded. However, all of the trees and foliage seem to be strategically placed to challenge your creativity and shot making abilities. Those responsible for designing this course put a lot of thought into every hole and, I'm sure, smiled mischievously at the challenges that were coming up with on a few of them. Like, for instance, hole #18. This is the signature hole of the course. It plays around 425ft and forces the thrower to flirt with a disc eating pond that borders the right center part of the fairway. You could wuss it and lay-up, but then you are left with a 150-200ft approach shot through the trees.
The park is very clean and well maintained with facilities and a water fountain that border 5 or 6 holes, so a break from the action to answer natures calls is always within reach.
Cons: Cons are small in number and annoyance.
The land seems to be one big flood plain when it rains, so stay away if it has recently rained.
The course is popular with the U of F students, so prime times can be pretty crowded and many of the people you will encounter are beginners so the goings can be slow. To avoid this just hit it during the middle of the week.
Other Thoughts: As I had mentioned, hole # 18 is the signature hole here. However, my favorite hole is #10. It's a tricky 325ft anhyzer shot down a narrow fairway that has only 1 route.
I love this course and will play it at every opportunity I can.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful.
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