Looking for elevation in Florida? It's here
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The Bear is a beautiful and challenging layout with some glaring flaws.
- By far the best thing about The Bear is the uniqueness in the holes themselves. Having played 25 courses in Florida, I conclude so far that only Tom Brown in Tallahassee has a more diverse grouping of holes.
- The first unique thing about The Bear, is the elevation. Most courses in Florida don't vary by more than 10 or 20 feet along an entire course. Several holes at The Bear do this, and one in particular, Hole 11, the slope down is at least 50 feet and perhaps more. Hole 11 is quite a stunner as well, as the hole looks down towards Lake Compass. Definitely the signature hole for the course. The play of hole 11 is quite intimidating as well. A throw 30 feet by the hole will be making an introduction into the lake. I personally babied my drive 50 feet short ;) .
- In addition to the elevation, is the above average twisting and turning of the holes. It will require the use of every disc in your bag.
- There are 3 particular holes that stand out as amazing. The before mentioned hole 11, hole 8 and hole 12.
-- Hole 8 is the shorty on the course, measuring at just over 200 feet. The drive requires a 200 foot shot straight out, then a 90 degree bend 80 feet from right to left. Towering trees and overgrowth protect the hole at front and the basket drops about 30 feet from tee level. Getting a birdie will take a bit of luck or a solid long putt.
-- Hole 12 is a beauty as well. It runs parallel to the base of Lake Compass. It's a tunnel shot with majestic cypress on the left and stoic live oaks on the right. The shot requires a frozen rope 270 feet from the amateur tees and a super human 430 dart from the pro tees. I would love to see a top pro throw from this pad.
- The course also offer many of the typical disc golf pampering items. First and foremost is the tees. Which are both generously long and wide. There is also adequate seating at most tee boxes as well. Other items include a scorecard with course map, so navigation will be a breeze if you can read a map. There is also a nice clubhouse with drinks, snacks and restrooms. Not too shabby for your $5 fee.
Cons: The Bear unfortunately has a few glaring flaws, but most are correctable.
- First the tee flaws.
-- Pro 12 tee is insanely difficult, A narrow window 430 straight ahead. Unless your last name is Wysocki or McBeth, play from the ams.
-- Pro tee 15 is a head scratcher as well. The tee aims 40 degrees left of the hole as a straight shot is guarded by towering trees and overgrowth. The shot would require a disc to move 60 foot straight out from the tee then 40 degree bend, then another 270 feet straight again. There is the possibility to do a poke and pray shot past the fairway and bend it back to the right towards the hole. However when you smack one of the 100 pines out there, your disc will fall in the chuckling dense overgrowth below. Playing a 60 foot lay-up pitch to the ams tees or playing the ams tees instead are really the only wise choices.
-- Hole 18 is labeled a 5 according to the card at 770 feet pro tee. It's an open hole, and considering that there are 4 par 3's at over 400 feet in length, its really a par 4. Suggestion is to play as a 4. I had no issue with my weak arm to get there in 2.
- In addition to the tee idiosyncrasies, the course could really benefit from the use brooms at the tees. Most of the holes are emerged in pine needles or sand. Hole 11 was especially bad and was just plain buried in sand. You would think that with the $5 course fee, that they would have this item.
- I also question the location of hole 18 without protection from a "ball" golf driving range. Perhaps you'll luck like me and no one will be at the driving range.
- considering the fees, it would also be nice for the owners to add a practice basket by hole 1 tee. There is plenty of room for this type of feature.
- last but not least, I was less than impressed by the basket type chosen (DGA) im not a big fan of this basket as they are not built with heavy duty chains. You will probably lose a shot or two compared to other types of baskets.
Other Thoughts: In all, one of the better courses in the pan-handle of Florida that I've played (I rate Tom Brown slightly higher). A little out of the way from every city of size, but only 15 minutes from I10 exit 130. Definitely worth the $5 fee in my opinion. If you're the camping type. BINGO! You've found your heaven.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Out of the way flawed gem
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - many holes have short and long tees
- variety of holes from short and tight to long and open
- good use of elevation changes
- plenty of shade
- driving range and practice basket by club house
Cons: - tee signs are by short tees only; long tees have none
- long tee on #15 is useless, skip it
- "pro shop" only has a few starter bags for sale, no discs, shirts, towels, etc.
Other Thoughts: This is a very nice course with a couple of quirky holes. It's a long drive from anywhere to get there. The course, the recreation area it's in, and the surrounding community seems slightly run down and on a general slow decline. Bring plenty of towels and water in the summer. Well worth playing if you're in the area.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
challenging but fun
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Has a clubhouse
great variety of holes
easy to follow course
camping and cabin rental nearbye
Cons: 5 dollar play all day fee
little tight at times can lose a disc
bushy thistles can cut skin
many spiders in tree lines...watch before you go in
some advanced tee boxes just plain stupid
driving range next to 18
Other Thoughts: great course...challenging but fun....staff at clubhouse very friendly...highly recommend to play.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: New tee pads and baskets
Good mix of technical and distance holes
Scenic and serene surroundings
Benches at most holes
Very helpful and courteous staff
Cons: Some tee pads need shoring up so that there is no drop off
Some tee pads still have wood casing which could cause one to trip
Other Thoughts: Although off the beaten path, it is the best course in the Panama City area. It costs 5 dollars for all day play but that 5 dollars would have included the breakfast bar had we been hungry. A few holes are close to a ball golf driving range, but it is obvious this is not a ball golf destination and we did not see a single person hitting golf balls in the 3 hours we were there. I think it would be a good tournament course with its amenities including a restaurant
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: There are some incredible views
Some longer holes with some shorter holes
A lot of good shot shaping
Tee pads are nice and large. Best tee pads I've ever played on.
Disc catcher baskets...always a plus.
Cons: Pay $5 and course isn't really well kept.
Holes close to the water are way over grown
Holes in the woods need weed eating
There isn't any cover from the driving range but odds are no one is going to be on it. Place is pretty low key
Other Thoughts: All in all I was impressed with this course bc the layout was challenging with a good mix of distances. There were some very scenic holes and the course wasn't in the worst shape I had ever seen. It has the potential to be an amazing course if the pay for play would drop to $1-2 and they would keep the course cut. I will definitely be back when I'm in the area
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -Great/friendly staff!
-All concrete tees
-Various terrains, environments, and many unique holes
-Not hard to navigate with the map on the back of the score card that you get when you pay.
-Snacks and restaurant available
-Little lizards everywhere, I'll take them anytime over snakes. I just wished they would have posed for a picture. Fast little suckers
Cons: -Only about 8 long tees
-Cost $5 plus tax
-last 2 holes located by the golf driving range and there is no protection from flying golf balls from errant shots.
-tee pads are not flush with the ground and have drop offs on the front of the bad when following through
-mosquitos were heavy on 3 holes after the lake holes.
-wooded holes could still use some trimming, but they were very playable. It is a new course after all.
Other Thoughts: I really enjoyed this course, but it could be much better! I was on vacation for the week in Panama City Beach and the courses offered there, Joe Moody and Under the Oaks, just aren't enough. This course gave me the disc golf fix I needed to get through the week. The drive was only about an hour long and the traffic was not a problem. The course took about 1.5 hours to play for the two of us. We played the 2 rounds, short tees and then the long tees (well, the ones that had them). I wish the course offered some longer holes, but it was still very fun to play. I read somewhere that this was a "championship course" and I don't think that is the case. I shot a 50 and a 55 respectively, but if they make more long tees for every hole, it very well could be. I really loved the long tees on hole 4 and 12. If I come back to Panama City for a whole week, I would make the trip again.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Tons of Potential
Pros: Great area (camping, lake, cabins, restaurant)
Easily navigated (basket paint to next tee)
Cons: Baskets(chains) will be some spit-outs
Too many short holes 8 or 9 of them under 260'
No water kegs on course
Don't really transition back to parking area after hole 2
Other Thoughts: This land has a ton of potential to be an excellent course! The shots are there, just need to be lengthened by 80-150', especially on the short holes. Course par from the long pads is maybe 56..... Only two holes that are true par 4's (15 and 18) and 15 is well.... You'll see. Tee pads are great, good lengths on holes that need a little further run up..... Some of them need to be shored up so the my don't crack from being undermined.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
A great Bear
Pros: -Nice area
-Variety of shots for both skilled and am's
-Office and snack bar
-A lot to offer at course location
-New benches, concrete tee pads, and tee signs at every hole
-Pro and Am tee pads at some holes
-Numerous disc golf courses within an hour drive in three directions
-Water, trees, and elevation all come into play
-Map and scorecards at office
Cons: -$5 to play
-Little off the beaten path
- Not much disc golf supplies
-No large map of the course
Other Thoughts: Let me say at this writing I have been playing for two years. With that I thoroughly enjoyed playing this brand new course. Off of Hwy 231 between Panama City and I-10 you will find Compass Lake. A nice lakeside community with a new disc golf course. Along with disc golf the area offers boat rentals, a pavilion for cookouts, a ball golf driving range, and we even saw some horseback riders. Very friendly staff who is very excited about getting their name in the disc golf community. At the office they do have a snack bar, disc golf sets for players who may have forgotten their discs, maps and scorecards for the course.
1st three holes are good warm up holes. From hole 4 on you need to be warmed up as you get into the first wooded area of the course. One of the great things about this course is that it plays in and out of the woods. Water comes into play on only two holes, in the middle of the course, but fulfills a desire for more water hazards. Each hole has new everything: Baskets, tee signs, benches, and some of the largest concrete tee pads I have ever played on which is really nice. Directions for next hole are fairly easy as each basket has orange paint to mark the direction of the next tee pad. This comes in handy, but the office also provides scorecards with maps. Hole 11 is really cool as you are throwing towards the lake from about 300' with the basket around 20' from the lake! As you may want to launch a disc on this one, be careful and take into consideration the wind coming off the lake that you really don't notice until it lifts your disc and you have more glide time. Lot of fun though. The course offers both hyzer and anhyzer shots in the woods on short and long holes. Plenty of open shots mixed in as well and with the elevation make for a fun course.
Played both Pro and Am tees and somehow did better playing the pro tees. Scorecards are still very new at this point and some holes may have a par 4 that don't really need it, so we played all 3's except for hole 18. One of the guys who played with us brought a disc golf cart.......said never again. Only bathroom I remember was at the office. No water coolers on course however they do sell water for $.50 per bottle. While I do really enjoy the Bear the $5 all day play fee is the most I have seen. Practice basket located behind office on the left side. Course opens at 8 a.m. but check with the office for hours as I believe they are different on Sundays.
Overall a really fun course for both the beginner and advanced player. Will definitely be playing here as much as I can.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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