7 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The new 18 hole course is probably the best in Tampa Bay; this place is now everything a tropical disc golf course should be.
Love 1 and 17; these holes play along Tampa Bay and have beach sand fairways. :D
Big park; lots of others things to do.
Dog Park and exercise gym also on the property.
Big picnic shelters located around the course, great for hunkering down in during a popup thunderstorm.
Great scenery along the bay; play in the evening to get the sunset over the bay on 17.
Challenging blue tees and fair orange tees; these offer a great mix and can offer different shots.
All shots needed; you can even find yourself needing an overhead once in a while, and a few holes offer great roller opportunities.
Signage is great with the pin location indicators.
Tees are brand new and in great shape.
Not too hard to get to; located close to Gandy Blvd at the end of Westshore.
Direction indicators under each basket show the way to both orange and blue tees for the next hole.
Cons: There aren't many; the course is a bit of a hike and you do need to be aware of other park users. Bugs are an issue during the summer, and the winds can get pretty strong off the bay.
The rough can be especially thick in spots, so be sure you know where you're throwing (more of a challenge than a con); spotting each other is a good idea.
Other Thoughts: Play through the orange tees first if it's your first time here, or if it's really windy as others have suggested, to get the lay of the land.
There really isn't much keeping this from being the best course in the area; with the beach holes and tropical vegetation, it really is a "Florida" disc golf course.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Florida’s Top Rated Course Met My Expectations But Can It Challenge Top Players!
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: As you're driving to Picnic Island, you drive through industrial areas with concrete plants and liquid storage containers of all types before finally arriving at the lovely Picnic Island Park. There are street signs pointing the way. It's awesome to see disc golf becoming so popular that cities and their recreation departments are putting up street and park signs pointing the way.
At the parking lot looking out over Tampa Bay the disc golf starting area hosts a large course map and picnic table. Take a picture. It will help with your navigating later. There is also the mandatory disc golf rules sign here.
The signs are super clearing showing both the two Long Blues and the Short Red pads and their multiple basket placements. Both tee pads are decently long concrete and both pads have either a painted blue or orange stripe at each end. It's easy to tell which pad you're throwing from here at Picnic Island. There is also a small square metal sign at the top of the sign stating A-B or C basket position. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. The baskets are pretty orange Discatchers with the number on the band. There are approx six "Think Before You Throw" signs around the course placed on just about every hole where you might be throwing into picnickers. Next tee arrows are hanging from the baskets. One basket has two arrows hanging down with each pointing in opposite directions but they are clearly marked orange to the left and blue to the right.
The course designer's creativity shows up right away on hole # 1. The Blue tee plays 330' throwing a hyser around a bend on the beach. The tides will determine how much fairway you have to play with. The beach today was about 1/2 sandy and 1/2 muddy. There is thick brush and trees on your left. The orange tee only plays 135' although you aiming at a blind basket just over the tree line. It's an easy little overhand toss.
The beach comes into play again on # 17 which is a straight throw with the surf on your left. It was 224' from the orange tees. There is an awesome variety of holes here with two short technical Ace runs, more open fairways, tree lined tight holes and holes featuring hidden or baskets tucked into the trees.
A player could play here often and between playing from the two separate pads and having three basket positions, one should never grow weary of playing here. And unlike many courses where the long pad just be 50' longer than the short pad, here the difference is often 200' and a totally different look and on one hole it was over 400' longer from the Blue
Cons: Wow! I have to get pretty picky to find many Cons here.
One of the A-B-C signs was bent up.
As per a Florida course, Picnic Island is almost totally flat.
I think the course could have a few more benches.
Depending on the basket positions on any day, I think this course might not offer advanced players the challenge they're seeking. It was fine for me, an older recreational player.
Other Thoughts: Excellent course with well thought out amenities and directional aids. Golly, I wish all courses went to this effort to enhance your disc golfing experience like Picnic Island does. Very few courses can boast of holes playing through the surf and using the tide as an out of bounds
The challenge can vary so much depending on the basket placement and the wind. So on a calm day with a few key baskets in less challenging/shorter positions, I think the course might be a little underwhelming for better players. The course will always be lovely and always have super signage and great amenities overall but it can't guarantee an advanced level challenge every time out and I don't think it can ever offer a championship level experience.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
When windy, play the orange tees
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -Beautiful course next to Tampa Bay
-Not crowded early in the morning during the week
-Variety of challenges: basket placement, long or short fairways, left and right shots, wide or narrow fairways.
-Trees provide some protection from wind
-Nice grass on a number of holes
-Parking is easy
Cons: -Signage is good, but hard to tell which location the basket is in.
-Can be quite windy next to Tampa Bay. Consider playing the orange tees on very windy days to avoid disc loss.
-Hole 5 (past the covered sitting area) and 13 not easy to find. Hole 15 orange tee is a bit further from hole 14 (across the path) than you might expect.
-Location is not near most major roads, but not too far from Gandy Bridge.
-Watch out for people walking their dogs, or dogs off leash
Other Thoughts: Overall, this is a joy to play, especially when the weather starts to cool in the fall (Oct or Nov) -- I had no problem at all with bugs. It was not crowded on an early Monday morning when I arrived, although half way through my game people started to show up walking dogs on a few holes. All were polite, though one dog was off-leash. The wind can be a factor, but several holes with trees provide some protection. Play the orange tees on windy days if like me you don't have long range or perfect accuracy. There are enough left to right shots that I practiced my forehand shot, which I'm finally starting to get somewhere with. One of the best disc golf courses in the Tampa Bay region.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
A Must Play in the Tampa Bay Area
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -- This course really stands out for its variety. This is accomplished in three ways: overall hole variety (long, short, open, tight, left, right, etc...), multiple tees on every hole, and 3 pin placements on most/all holes. In terms of shot variety, this course pretty much has everything, except maybe a 350+ foot open bomber. Holes 1 and 17 play right along the ocean down the beach. Several holes are tunnel shots, some that open up into longer, open portions of the fairway and some are shorter and ride the tight tunnel all the way down to the basket. There are some open shots that you can power also, but none are completely open and they all demand accuracy and placement. There are right curves, left curves, gentle and sharp curves. I throw just about every shot in my bag when playing here. The design is just spectacular, and on many holes, the different pin placements can really add/remove difficulty and make you take a completely different approach at the hole.
-- Probably my favorite thing about this course is the demand for strategy. Just about every hole has different lines and different ways to tackle it, all with different risk/reward payoffs. The first time I played I had a much more aggressive mindset, which often did not work out well for me and got me into deep trouble. The second time I was a lot smarter (think playing "tournament golf") and played for placement. I was rewarded many times for the conservative (though not easy) shot and felt this course really stretched me to think about every hole strategically, in contrast to other courses where you step to the tee, see the obvious line, and launch.
-- Did I mention the multiple tees and 3 pin placements? Oh yeah, that's pretty cool. However, on some courses this can be a pain, as you are left guessing on some holes where the pin is, which placement is in, maybe only having a map at the long tee but not the short, etc.... The signs on this course are outstanding. Every short and long tee has a course map, showing both tee location distances, all pin placements, distances, and - importantly - which pin placement is currently installed. There were also arrows hanging from many baskets showing the direction to the next tee. These things made this course much easier to navigate, as without signs it would be a nightmare.
-- Pads are great. Big and concrete. Baskets are wonderful and catch very well.
-- Bathrooms available about halfway through and water available at a few points as well if you look for it. This course can take a while, so in the Florida heat, these are both very welcome.
Cons: -- There are parts of this course that I think just feed off of eating discs. There is a good amount of very thick underbrush on several holes, and the big palms have an uncanny ability to grab a disc out of the air and never, ever let it go. There really isn't much water to contend with (other than the beach holes, but in those cases, the water seems pretty clear so a quick swim in the ocean should usually get your disc back) but the vegetation can make up for that quickly. The first time I played I lost a lot of plastic and spent a lot of time looking. Hole 2 was especially my nemesis that day, so be very careful about throwing long/left into the thick stuff or playing a high approach near the palm trees. My second round here I was a lot smarter (also read in the pros about the need to play smart here) and kept myself in much better shape.
-- Sun. There are a lot of holes here where a lot of the fairway isn't very shaded. On a hot, sunny day, you better have a lot of water and sunscreen.
-- Bugs. The first time I played (Oct), they were pretty bad but not unbearable I think I also had bug spray, which I would recommend. When I just played (Feb), I barely noticed any bugs here but may have just gotten lucky (I did, however, get eaten alive at Cypress Point later that day).
Other Thoughts: I really love this course. It is challenging, but also rewarding. More than anything, I love how it will force a seasoned golfer to really think through the risk/reward of every hole and carefully place shots with a long-term view in mind. Newer players shouldn't find this course too daunting either, unless they have consistent accuracy issues and find themselves in the thick stuff a lot. I think this course, along with Cypress Point, are two truly pro-caliber courses in the Tampa Bay area. Both are similar in how they mix length with strategy and placement and, as I said in my review of Cypress, they are the kind of courses that I'd love to watch a top touring pro attack.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 9 Not
Pros: The course had some beautiful views. It was definitely a challenge.
Cons: There is not enough signage. Luckily we were with others that knew the course or I don't think I would have made it through all 18 as there are many holes with trails and no signage to let you know which path to take. There are no benches to sit down for a break. There are no trash cans which of course leads to trash being on the course. I am sure from others as most disc golfers are pretty good about that. A few holes that really didn't make much sense.
Other Thoughts: The views are pretty and there are a few holes that were cool. It is definitely not on my need to play again list.
4 of 13 people found this review helpful.
My New Favorite Course
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: I love the elevation changes, shot shaping use of trees/bushes, diversity of pin distances, and balance of left/right play.
Cons: This isn't really a con but an observation - the ground is hard packed, not typical Florida sugar sand/soil. Don't expect to "dig" on your approach shots.
Other Thoughts: Looking forward to my next outing here!
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
The ideal "Florida" course
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: After reading the reviews here, and seeing such a high rating I came to the course with a "no way" attitude.
No way this course could be so fun, so picturesque, so challenging but so fair. No way it deserves this 4+ rating. ...well I was wrong
The course takes what was a forgotten seaside park just south of a rough part of town, and has brought new life to the park.
Hole #1 starts out with a blind shot (from the longs) out over the water, with a hyzer finish back onto the beach. Followed by the basket perched on top of some classic wood pilings. It doesn't get much more "Florida" than this. Really a unique, and iconic disc golf shot and hole layout.
The course has a little bit of everything. A handful of lefty and righty friendly holes which will keep the seasoned player on your toes.
Nothing feels monotonous, as each hole brings a new challenge. There are several holes that are similar in feel, but they are not played one after the other, so it stays fun the entire round.
A great mix of par 4's adds some distance and challenge to the typical par 3 layout, although the Par 4's are generally easily birdy-able for the intermediate to advanced player.
Although there are no "tunnel" shots, several holes may as well be! With tight tight fairways lined by palms and other florida fauna, accuracy and height control are key for these holes.
With the tight holes forcing accuracy and usually only one to two ideal lines to the basket, there are still plenty long bomb holes, where the big arms can really let one loose.
The navigation throughout the course is usually easy to follow, as there are directional signs pointing to both the long and short tees underneath the prior basket. These signs combined with a fairly worn walking path made navigation mostly trouble free.
The views! Location location location. This course winds through the palms, scrub oaks, cactus, beaches and open fields. You'll know you're in Florida! Hole #1, #17 and #18 are about as pretty as it gets. Having to through parallel to, or over the water is pretty incredible
The long vs short tee pad shots. A great job differentiating between the two and offering a completely different challenge for the Long compared to short. Often times either the short or long pad is merely an afterthought and doesn't change the shot required aside from an extra 30'. Where here at picnic island they generally offer two totally different shots, and really change how you look at the hole. Nice work
Keeping with the tee pad theme, the tee signs and tee pads are perfect. Paint on each tee pad identifies Blue or Orange (Long, Short) and are of an ample length. The tee signs are beautiful full color renderings of the holes, and are really an excellent aid to the golfer. As long as they are kept up to date, there are letter indicators above the tee signs, signifying what location the basket is currently in. A must have for a course with multiple pin positions.
Cons: The cons will be minor! I really loved *almost* everything about this course...But...
I felt the course lacked a bit of overall difficulty. Although I struggled and threw several bogies, I feel the advanced player would be able to breeze through this course. I may be spoiled by the Charlotte, Nc. courses known for their degree of difficulty. And to some the level of challenge here may be perfect.
Although there was navigational signs hanging under each basket pointing to the next tee, there are a few longer walks between and other tee pads within close proximity that can be confusing. With some common sense and exploring finding the right way is achievable, but may be tedious for the first time player at this course.
The elements. Unfortunately, this is just a product of being in Florida, but... Being right on the beach, the wind can be a huge factor here. Blowing right in from the bay, it can make some shots nearly impossible. Combined with the punishing Florida sun, some days may be better left for the birds.
Again, a product of being in Florida and the natural beauty of this park, but.. Other park go-ers can sometimes be a hazard. The tee shot for hole #1 should be accompanied by a spotter as to not take out any beach people, and the several holes that traverse the open field by the pavilions can result in waiting on pedestrians/children/pets/alligators to move along
Other Thoughts: This is hands down my favorite Florida course. Beautiful views, fun and fair golf make this course a destination and one to remember.
I will absolutely be back to play next time I'm in Fl, and will highly highly recommend this course to others.
It's close proximity to 275 leaves you no excuse for not playing if you're traveling through Tampa!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Beautiful waterfront views.
Pros: This is a fun and fair course suitable for all golfers. It is easy to find, and parking is well marked. There is a course map at the parking lot and path to the first tee. Take a picture of it on your phone, you may need it. Concrete pads are in fine shape. Signage on every pad, and arrows on the cages make it easy to navigate. The fairways are short grass, mowed, with clearly defined throwing lines. Keep it straight and you will have a great day! There is a good mix of long and short holes, and also of holes bending left and right. Wind was blowing the day I played and added to the difficulty along the seaside holes, which I thought made them even more fun.
Cons: Some of the holes, while not really being tunnel shots, have only one line to get thru to the hole. Some of the creative players may find that a minor gripe. Hole 1, while picturesque right on the sandy beach, is a blind shot and requires a spotter as to not hit beach goers. A bit of a nuisance, but worth it! There are a few treks between baskets and the next teepad. But there are well worn paths...use the photo of the map I suggested above.
Other Thoughts: Suitable as a day trip destination for groups / families of golfers and non-golfers. Beach is small, but nice enough. Picnic shelters in various places too. Dog park on site. Course is suitable for beginners if they throw from the short pads, as long as they can throw reasonably straight. Shule is somewhat thick, but navigable enough to find stray discs.
Overall, I recommend playing this course! I really enjoyed it.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: (3.944 Rating) (REVISED - replayed October 2017) Picnic is considered by many of my friends as the premiere Tampa Bay area course.
- UNIQUENESS - The holes themselves in terms of variety is well above your average 18 hole course. No two consecutive holes have the same feel. Really the only thing missing is a Par 5 and a water feature to throw over. Number (11) is a great 90 degree dog leg left. There are several fairly tight tunnels plays. There are bomb-it opportunities among the par 4's. Several of the pin locations are guarded or are pocket type shots and the list goes on. It's quite the entertaining mix.
- CHARACTER - There is a great course map right at hole (1). There is also very well artistically illustrated and fairly accurate hole signage at each hole. There are 3 pin placements at ever hole. There are tees for pros and ams, and both tee pads have hole signs. There are a few benches, garbage cans, picnic tables, shelters and restrooms as well. All of these course pleasantries, makes Picnic Island have the feel of an older established course. Missing items include, practice basket and bag holders. Could also use a few more benches, and maturing trees around tees pads for shade.
- TEE PADS - Some of the nicest concrete tee pads in the area. They are adequately wide and fairly long when comparing others in the region.
- NAVIGATION - The course improved in this area between summer 2016 and winter 2016. There is, as stated above, a course map, take a picture. Hole signage has next tee indicated. There are next tee direction arrows below every basket, and there are pin placement indicators at tee signs. All the bases are covered. If you get lost, it's your own fault.
- CHALLENGING - One of the more challenging courses in the area. Hole 1 out the gate is an intimidating start. 350-400 depending on pin placement, plus you have to split the bay and a field of palmettos. A lot of (fair) but tight tunnels to hit. (7) comes to mind which is an 8 foot gap 225 feet all the way to the basket, and there are other similar difficult lines like this throughout and should very much challenge advanced players. Picnic is not quite championship difficult but lower end advanced players (925 rated players) will probably average about course par.
- SPACING - Despite a somewhat tight fit, the design of the layout was well done so that there are really only a couple of areas where a disc can end up in another fairway.
- MAINTENANCE - The grounds have been well taken care during all 5 of my visits to this course. I ran into a maintenance worker once during a round here and told him the grounds were in marvelous shape.
- NATURAL BEAUTY - Hole (1) starts off with a spectacular picturesque view and looks out over Tampa Bay. Although the sheer beauty of this first hole is not topped again, much of the remaining layout is a tropical wonderland.
Cons: Picnic is a solid course top to bottom. All the items below are ticky tack in my opinion as I rate the course is a almost a 4 in my DGCR scoring system.
- SLOWER PLAY - Lots of dog walkers, bikers and joggers in the park, you will likely have to wait a few times for safety reasons. In Addition, the course is not the quickest play. Plan to be here 3 hours for a group of 4 to complete 18 holes.
- OVERGROWTH - The overgrowth is quite extensive through-out. Although I haven't yet lost a disc here yet, I have spent significant time searching. The overgrowth in the summer vs the winter is night and day. The best time to play here is the winter months.
- FORGIVENESS - The tropical foliage at Picnic is not forgiving at all. There is no such thing here that involves the tapping of a twig or leaf that only slightly modifies a disc trajectory. Once you hit the vegetation, it either drops there or gets tangled in the vines. If you happen to cut into it a bit, you may have a shot without a pitchout line and your score will jump up real quick.
- ELEVATION - I know that this is typically for Florida but there's really not much in the way of elevation. The designers did introduce a few mounds but they are more annoying the challenging. On a positive design note, for what little elevation that is naturally here, is was incorporated into the layout. figure about 20 foot of change throughout the entire layout with hole 18 being the most change at a 15 foot up shot if the pin placement is on top of the mound.
- LOCATION - The course is quite the hike from I275 in far south Tampa. Figure 20 minutes from the highway in light traffic. In addition the course parking is tucked way back into the park.
- BUGS - At times this course is unplayable during the summer. I have had several friends of mine say they left because the mosquitoes were so bad. Be warned, during the summer, if there's been a recent stretch of rainy weather, the mosquitoes will hunt you down.
Other Thoughts: I have Picnic Island rated as the second top course in the Tampa Bay metro area behind Oldsmar. Amazing beauty, challenging, unique and fun too if you don't let the aggressive vegetation bother you. Best played in the winter months. If you try the summer, mornings will be better, just load up with insect repellant.
- REVISION NOTE - I increased my rating on this course in January 2017 due to significant improvement in navigation.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Epic? Yes, But With Flaws
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Wonderful setting right next to Tampa Bay with typical Florida flora and fauna.
Two sets of really nice tee pads and newer Discatcher baskets with 3 pin positions per hole. Tee signs show which position the baskets are in. There are several "warning, disc golf course" signs around the course.
Very challenging course. Plenty of risk/reward type shots.
Modern restrooms. Pavillions etc make for a great course to host tournaments.
Cons: Many of the holes play near roads and parking lots. There can be lots of nondgers roaming around on the course. Spotting may be required to avoid losing discs on the rougher holes, and to avoid hitting people on the beach holes and other holes where civilians congregate.
Navigation can be a little tricky in spots with several paths crisscrossing in the middle of the course.
The course could use a few more benches and some trash cans.
Other Thoughts: I would call this a longer more difficult type of course and would not recommend it to new players. It gets very hot on this course in the summer months so I would bring plenty of fluids. Also, bring plenty of bug spray as the mosquitos can be brutal at times.
I like this course but it is not my personal favorite in the greater Tampa area. I think that Cliff and Medard are just a little more charming.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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