Back To The Future, Part II
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: (2.812 Rating) (RE-EVALUATED) A nice recreational course with new baskets installed summer 2018.
- HISTORY - From what I've been told, this is the second oldest course still playable in Alabama after Brahan Springs. Originally an object course in 1976 which obtained baskets in 1983, the 4th perhaps to do so in Alabama. The baskets were recently updated in July 2018 hence this re-evaluation
- NATURAL BEAUTY - IMO, the most beautiful of the three Florence area courses. Lots of rolling elevation in play. A few shots that play to over 20 feet down. Hole (7) plays over a gorging valley. A couple holes have views of the Tennessee, and hole (13) has an obscured view of Wilson dam. There are some really nice sized towering oak trees to weave around as well. The drawbacks are just a few. Barbed wire fence along (13) and (16) and there's a road in play along (3).
- CHAINS - Dynamic Veteran baskets were installed in July 2018. There are custom colored in a red white and blue color scheme. This is a huge upgrade over the homemade baskets that had been in place for 35 years. This change alone was enough for me to bump the course 0.06 rating points.
- CHARACTER - In addition to the new basket the basics and extra amenities are above average. Lots of extra pin placements to keep the local pleased and to entice those outside the area to make a return visit. About half of the holes have two carpet tee tads. A majority of the holes have seating and there's plenty of tee shading. Community board and practice basket by tee (1)
- SIGNAGE - Nice hand crafted hole signage which was a treat after seeing the unsatisfactory ones at McFarland. It would have been nice to have put next tee direction arrows on them though.
- UNIQUENESS - About average, but good for a par 54. Lots of minor elevation changes in the 10 to 25 foot range. Water comes into play a couple times with an airmailed shot or if the disc spins into death role. A few well defined right pocketing shots, unfortunately not much to the left. Perhaps there are some alternate placements to the left, but just not on my round. Adequate hole length variation, 430 to sub 200. Hole (13) also has a nice risk reward needle line to the basket, where the wider safe play will leave a 30 foot putt.
- SKILL LEVEL FRIENDLY - Veterans should play fair for largest skill level groups in the disc golf community, Intermediate and Recreational. The long pads for intermediate and the shorts for recreational. Recreational players looking to improve their game should choose the long pads, as cakewalks won't make anyone better.
- QUICK PLAY - For an 18 hole this one plays fairly quick. Much quicker than McFarland. My group of two finish in 75 minutes. Figure a group of four should play in about an hour and 45 minutes. Solos should be in and out in 50 minutes.
Cons: One minor issues and a few ticky tack callouts.
- TEES - There are two or three great concrete tees out here. Why the rest are carpet is definitely a head scratcher. For the most part the carpet pads are flat but it's still far from ideal.
- LACK OF CHALLENGE - The new baskets probably made the course and entire throw easier now. Regardless, this course has been a breeze for anyone above the Intermediate level, even from the back tees. I had no issue breaking par on first attempt as an intermediate level player. Figure intermediate players will average a few down. Recreational players will average a few over and some Advanced players could average 8 to 10 down. Shot shaping overall is mild, although there are a couple holes that will need a well thought out line to run it to the basket clean. Other than hole (18), being able to bomb it is not a requirement. Players that like to admire +400 foot drives should head over to McFarland.
- LOOSE DISC OPPS - Not as bad as McFarland but leaving a disc behind here is very much a possibility on 3 holes. Missing long on (6) (8) and (14) is not advisable as the disc could enter the backwater of the Tennessee River. The odds of retrieving a disc in this water looks slim to none.
- OVERGROWTH - I played in December but it doesn't take a genius to realize that the overgrowth off fairway gets excessive during the summer months. The course probably plays a shot or two more difficult over the summer.
- NAVIGATION - I'm glad I had a guide cause I don't recall too many navigational aids in the layout. The layout jumps around a bit and the map on DGCR is not the greatest.
Other Thoughts: Playing the old baskets last December was truly unique experience that was like taking a time machine back to early 80's. Although the some of that nostalgia factor is lost, I feel the change was necessary to move the course forward. I had Veterans scored at a border line 2.75 but just on the low side. The new baskets inclined me to up the rating of the course across the threshold to a 3.
- THANK YOU - A big thanks to local Greg McAtee for joining me for my 200th course. I gave him the choice between McFarland and Veterans for my 200th, and I'm exceedingly grateful that he picked this one. It's such a great mile stone course.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Classic design appealing to beginners and advanced masters utilizing the hills and woods well.
Some short and long tees, plus multiple pin positions.
Family friendly with other amenities in the park to utilize.
Cons: Needs updated! Tee signs, tee pads (mix of carpet and concrete), baskets.
Park looks sketchy and is a bad part of town.
May be too short for more experienced players.
Other Thoughts: While I personally love the original baskets and the history of them, many others complain. There's opportunities to upgrade and improve this course (clearing brush line revealing lake front, adding/redesigning holes). Unfortunately, improving this course will be in limbo as the park dept. has tentative plans to build over the disc golf course.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Old but solid
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Overall, quite well designed, with very little repetition.
Fairways run downhill, level, down then up, along a contour line, you name it - unless "it" is uphill. Some greens also have noticeable elevation and/or trees. There are a few open holes, but not too many, some tunnel shots, some "dodge the tree trunks" fairways, and a nice balance of right and left-curving doglegs; overall, the course demands a variety of shots. The mando(s, depending on tee choice) feel(s) tactful rather than contrived. Multiple pin positions on about half of the holes, and a few feature two tees. Hand-painted tee signs at each tee. Very scenic location, even in winter, and the winters tend to be relatively mild (hey, it's Alabama).
This has to be one of the oldest sets of baskets you can still play on pretty much anywhere. Mach I baskets were the only baskets on the market at the time the Vets baskets went in, and there's a widespread belief among older locals that Headrick stole the idea for double chains from them. The actual sequence of events is a bit fuzzy to me, however.
Cons: Not quite too short, but it does leave one wanting an excuse to go throw something hard afterward; the lack of uphill shots does not help. 18 is a bit of an exception; but unfortunately it's right at the end and seems like a very out of character way to finish the round.
The nominal line of play on hole 3 runs slightly to the right of an OB parking lot, then hooks left to the basket right past the lot. The potential for doinking a parked car was somewhat nerve-wracking as a new player. (There is also a forehand line straight over the parking lot, but it essentially relies upon an absence of cars.)
The short pin position for 14 is atop a roughly 2 foot tall block, which is fine (read: bane of my existence, but that's a personal problem), but that block is made of disc-chewing concrete, which can make approaches painful.
While a few tee pads are concrete, a majority are carpet, and some have had tree roots slowly rise up under them, creating bumps. Also, moss happens.
Next tee signs could help; while the layout is fairly compact, where to look isn't always obvious.
Climbing gear may be needed for retrieving lost discs; while actually hitting the lake would require a serious overthrow, several holes on that side of the park feature a long, moderately steep, and nearly always slick hillside, and if you somehow actually put one into the ravine to the left of 18, finding enough traction to climb back up is a major challenge.
Holy kudzu, Batman! (again, it's Alabama)
The baskets have to be talked about, as sensitive as that can be. They are hard high, have a much lower chain count that modern baskets, and have peculiar V-shaped basket trays (formerly fan cages) that scoop shots out in a... distinctive manner. That scoop, coupled with their so-so ability to catch at even modest speeds, makes them the second most frustrating set of chains I've played on, right behind Dublin Park in Madison.
Other Thoughts: Tee signs are likewise an interesting part of the history: they were painted by hand, and the "maps" are not exactly beautifully detailed, but they don't have any serious errors, and do include distances, which is more than I can say for many newer courses.
A few holes play close to each other, but I've never seen any issues because of it. The small exception to that statement comes at holes 13 and 14. If 13 is in its right-hand position (and it usually is), 14 is played from a tee past 13's basket, at the top of the hill. If 13 is in its left-hand position, 14 has to be played from an alternate tee partway down the hill to avoid crossed fairways; that tee is theoretically only meant to be played with 14 in its longest pin position (ALL the way down the hill, near the shore). Confused yet?
Holes 2, 3, 7, 12 (look across the main road from the parking lot way to your right as you walk down 11), and 16 have "pro" tees in addition to the regular set. Hole 14 has an upper and a lower tee (see above), and hole 15 has a ladies' tee.
The baskets are great at catching big lids, which kinda makes historical sense.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Veterans Lakeside is an older but nice 18 hole course with several varieties of challenge. There are flat holes, some with slight uphill, some with downhill. The first 11 is primarily park-style lightly-treed holes and the final 7 plays through more narrow wooded lined fairways. Though nothing is very long, there are holes of varying lengths. All this contributes to a good overall mix and no repetition.
The baskets here are unique. They apparently are very old, but only look old in style, not in condition as they are well-maintained and have held up very well. They are painted in red and blue (for Veterans Memorial Park I assume.) Though I can see them producing some spit/spin-outs, I did not have any issues putting to them as other reviewers have mentioned (and who wouldn't love Mach X's everywhere) but these do look neat, add character, and ultimately get the job done.
Basic signage tells you hole number, distance, and general fairway shape. It was mostly easy to find my way playing here for the first time.
It appears there were multiple possible basket locations for several holes helping keep the course fresh for locals if moved regularly.
Cons: There was a variety of tee types, some natural, some carpet, and some concrete I believe. (Again, adequate but not the best.)
The tee signs, which appear to be old and hand-painted, are adequate (and most-likely beloved by locals) however they are starting to resemble museum artifacts.
Navigation was ok, but some next tee signs would help first timers. Tee 11 is kind of hidden on other side of restrooms. The sign for 15 looked like a 13 and was confusing as the basket was hidden up hill in woods. I thought it was an alt tee (as 14 supposedly had two very different tees- but I only found 1). Thankfully a local showed me the way after playing 16 and 17. So that little corner of holes was a bit unclear. Also, I think it was hole 12 that had a sign missing.
After you play here once it is no problem knowing where to go, however.
Other Thoughts: This is a decent course as the holes and design are enjoyable and offer moderate challenge. It just lacks that bit of extra with the older baskets and signs and non-concrete tees. All skill levels can play here, but probably best suited for rec, intermediate, and casual players. I liked playing here and would play here again. It is worth a stop if you are in the area and is not too far from McFarland Park for a nice day of 36 different holes.
Despite the name, the course and park are not really close to the water. They are up higher and there is a dense area of woods between that drops off severely. (Don't throw long on hole 8 or your disc is gone forever, and don't try to retrieve it or you will be gone to.) There are some limited views of the lake and dam in the summer (probably better in winter without leaves on the trees.) Essentially, there are no water hazards here.
Be sure to check out the cool monuments at the Veterans memorial in the park near the course.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Pros: Beautiful land to play on, nice challenging holes, different types of elevation, great view of the Tennessee River and Wilson Dam on a few holes, restrooms beside the parking lot close to #12. Overall a great course
Cons: No water fountains or any source of hydration around, baskets are about 25 years old and are bent and saucer shaped so it could spit your disc up or you could throw a great putt only to have it hit a bent part of the basket that sticks up, the carpet on the teeboxes are old and raggedy so new ones are a must and lastly it needs new and improved hole layout signs beside the teeboxes and maybe new places to sit.
Other Thoughts: Love this course. My friends and I play it all the time and it provides a challenge through woods and also a few open holes and a couple of long bombers. There is no doubt that I would recommend this course to everyone.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Very fun and different skill shots.
- Elevation Changes
- Great scenery around a lake and river.
- Decent Signage
- Multiple pin locations that are change frequently that really vary your shot.
- Good sidearmers or anhyzers can prosper on this course.
Cons: - Baskets are handmade and can spit out putts very easily.
- Not enough pro tees. I believe theres only around 5.
- Kudzu can get very tall and be very difficult to find your disc on certain holes.
- Not enough hyzer shots or lanes. Only 1 or 2.
- There's a tennis court next to one of the holes which can be annoying because of the cars parked there sometimes.
Other Thoughts: This is my local course which I play the most. It will always have a special place in my heart. I love most of the holes and they all play very differently. Not the most diffifcult course as long you stay in the fairway and have good control.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Interesting layouts, varied distances and one my favorite holes of all time make the course one to be played. The views are fantastic. Several of the later holes in the woods closer to the lake are especially fun to play.
Cons: Without a lot of research online before playing some of the holes are very confusing to find. I can not remember a single sign on the entire course directing you from hole to hole.
Other Thoughts: The course favors long throwers on many holes as the holes were open all the way to the basket with few obstacles.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Proud to be my home course
Pros: Great Terrain. The course is designed to force skilled shots. There are trees, hyzers, hills, chutes, anhyzers, and a couple of long drives. Really great for all skill levels. I enjoy coming up on my favorite hole only for the pin to be moved. Keeps me on my toes.
Cons: The baskets spit out putts. They force precise shots but that is a problem for the long birds. The tee pads are in bad shape too.
Other Thoughts: I played this course weekly the entire summer. I am a newb and this course has taught me control. Now when I play other courses I benefit from it. If it were not for the baskets and tees this course would get a 5 based on my experience. To think about it, I'm going to play when I get off work.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Going Old School
Pros: Veteran's Memorial Park is a good course in a beautiful park. I liked the rustic looking baskets from the early days of disc golf. The holes are fun and use multiple shot shapes from the tee box. A couple of long holes, a couple of wooded holes, and a couple with a bit of elevation change. Long and short tees and different pin placement on many holes.
Cons: Natural tee boxes were sort of rough in places. The signs left something to be desired, and flow from hole to hole was interrupted once or twice during my first and only round.
Other Thoughts: All in all, I would recommend playing this course if you have the opportunity. Not the best, but a worthwhile play. You can feel the disc golf history here.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Historic Old Course, Fun Round
Pros: Really good layout and use of land/elevation on the majority of the holes. There are a variety of holes here, ranging from short & technical, to long & open. However, big arms aren't at a big advantage here; the guys who are accurate and have good distance control have a good chance to shoot a solid score. The location is pretty sweet too. The course sits very close to the lake, and atop some of the hills offers some nice views and vistas. When I was there, the park was clean and there weren't too many people around the course. Most traffic stayed up near the tennis courts and ball fields. There are also several pavilions along the course, and a few restroom areas. There are multiple pin locations, and Pro & Am pads on some holes.
Cons: Some of the tee pads are in dire need of repair. A few have erroded to the point that roots are present on the pad, a few that have carpet tended to be pretty slick, and one of the concrete pads was basically smooth, so any moisture and I bet that things is slipppperrryyy. The signage was a bit outdated too, and it would be nice to have a course map posted at the main board. A few holes run fairly close together which could be an issue in a big tourny, but certainly not anything major.
Other Thoughts: Overall, a solid disc golf course, but needs some work to really shine. Signage is outdated and many of the tees need major renovations, and there is a mixture of concrete, carpet, and dirt pads. Having consistent pads throughout would greatly add to the course. I purposely didn't add the homemade baskets to the Pros or Cons; mainly, because I respect the history of the course and understand the sentiment toward the baskets. However, new baskets really would make this course much better. There's a good bit of variety from a few longer open holes, to shorter technical holes. Bottom line, I thouroughly enjoyed playing the course, but if it was mine, there are quite a few updates I would make. If you are in or around Florence, you must stop by and play this course, as it certainly is special.
Favorite Holes: 4, 7, 8, 9, 12, 16, 17
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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