One Of Alabama’s Finest
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: (3.739 Rating) A typical city park course through 3 holes... then awesomeness.
- SKILL LEVEL FRIENDLY - Three sets of tees, albeit only the middle set is paved. This fact really makes Bowers accessible to a wide range of skill levels. IMO, I thought the white layout was Recreational. The Red layout read as Intermediate and the Black layout reads as Advanced. My only quarrels with this, is that this set up does not follow the standard color levels as established by the PDGA and it will be confusing to out of town visitors. I get that these are school colors, but not switching the red and white designations is a head scratcher.
- CHALLENGING - The Black tees are going to be whooping grounds to non-advanced players as they require a great deal of accuracy and some length. Lots of shot shaping and needle lines to thread as well. There are a few holes that work in some creek elements around the basket placements. Holes (1) thru (3) from the blacks are going to require some bombs. Depending on placement, several of these par 3s or 4s go well over 400 feet.
- RAW BEAUTY - After 3 holes I was a bit disappointed thinking "What an overrated course." Then on Hole (4) "Nice." Hole (5), "Very Nice." Hole (6) "Cool." Hole (7) "Wow, this is a great trend." Hole (8) "Solid." Hole (9) "Excellent." Hole (10) "Flip'n Awesome!" The pleasant words to describe the remainder of the course continued all the way to the end. In totality I scored the course roughly a 4 of out of 5 for beauty which would be in my top 40.
- ELEVATION - One of the most moving layouts I've played in Alabama. Several shots have over 30 feet of grade play in them. The Black tee play on (10) no doubt has the most change approaching 60 feet down. For Alabama, the only courses that I know of that go more extreme are Inverness, Clay and Lake Point.
- UNIQUENESS - In addition to elevation, just about all the plays are here. Benders left and right. There are defined pocket shots and tree gaps to split. A few water elements in the form of a 15-foot-wide creek. There are a couple park style par 4s in the beginning and a number of shorter technical plays. If I were to call out a missing element, it would be placement par 4s and 5s.
- RED TEES - Concrete tees of above average size, 5 feet by 12 feet.
- CHARACTER - A bunch of amenities as to be expected from an established course. A Community board at tee (1), although no course map was posted. The one on DGCR seems to be accurate. Adequate handmade signs showing distance, obstacles and large hole #. Seating is on just about every hole. Lots of extra basket placements. I want to say that every hole had at least 3 locations and (13) had 4 locations.
- NAVIGATION - I downloaded the map on DGCR yet I rarely ever glanced at it. Perhaps I was a good guesser on this day but there were lots of intuitive pathways and some direction cues as well. Tee signs show next tee direction.
Cons: A solid course with most cons being just preferential issues.
- FORGIVENESS - Lots of tighter fairways on this course and I would not advise bringing anyone newer to the game out here. I don't care how good a player thinks they are, they are going to have a bad ricochet a few times and the disc is going to land in some substantial thicket. Some of my recovery plays had no good look at the basket. There are also a few water plays on holes (11) thru (13) where some of basket placements will make a player question their determination to throw at the chains. The creek level on my play was low enough to easily retrieve a disc but I could see lost discs in the creek one or two days after a heavy rain.
- POISON IVY - Not surprisingly, the overgrowth has some patches of poison ivy. The center cut fairways were generally clear of this awful plant but players will no doubt ping a tree at some point and end up in it. I suggest wearing pants or developing an immunity.
- BASKET LOCATION INDICATOR - With all the basket placements, I would have loved to have seen this feature on the tee signage. Players may have to run down fairways to check basket placements on a few holes. Note, they may have been there at one time as I could see nails to nothingness below the tee signs.
- LACK OF MULTI-PLAY HOLES - Yes there are a few par 4s on the first three holes depending on basket placement, but there really aren't any placement holes. I realize this is getting epic picky but I always enjoy it when a course throws me at least a couple holes where I have to accurately execute my plan to leave a play towards the basket on a hole or two.
- SAFETY HAZARDS - Holes (1) thru (3) play along roads and playground equipment.
- DISCONTINUITY - Hole (18) finishes a good 500 feet from tee (1).
- WHITE AND BLACK TEES - These tees are just carpet and I'd say a good majority were uneven. They are just a slight upgrade over natural ground. It seems that the Red Layout must get almost all the plays as a few lines from the alternate tees seemed a tad overgrown out of the shoot.
- TERRAIN - Anyone with bad knees should stay clear of this course. Some of the natural bridges crossing the creeks seemed a bit sketchy. I don't even recall seeing a bridge for the far placement on (11). Perhaps I missed it in my haste considering the basket on my play was up against the creek and not across it.
Other Thoughts: Bowers is one those courses that teases players with the notion of a blah open park style course, only to dive deep into a majestic forest. There has been a lasting memory on so many tee shots at Bowers that it inclined me to favorite the course soon after. As of this review, Bowers is one of only four course I've favorited in Alabama (61 AL courses played as of this review). The other 3 courses are Inverness, Indian Creek and The Admiral. The course is very similar to Seven Oaks in Nashville TN and Richmond Hill in Asheville NC. Is this a destination course? Absolutely for those that live in Mississippi or Alabama. Overall I have this course as a tweener, falling just shy of the 3.75 threshold for a 4. I actually inputted the numbers three separate times for Bowers and had it fall just shy of 3.75 twice and basically right on the number once. I'd definitely give it a 3.75 if I were allowed to do so. It's a great course.
- TIME PLAY - Average or a touch longer in time play for an 18 hole course. This one took me a hair over an hour to complete solo first time through. Figure 2 to 2 ½ hours for a foursome.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
I have to push the pram a lot
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Baskets are Chainstars in decent condition - age is showing a little, but not much. They feature yellow flags for visibility. Three pin positions per hole (plus one extra on 13). Red tees (which are actually the middle set) are good-sized concrete; these are the tees which a majority of disc golfers will want, being around intermediate level in difficulty; the white (short) and black (long) tees are carpet tees playing at roughly novice and advanced levels, such that the course has an appropriate set of tees for the overwhelming majority of players. Although they look like death on a pale pony, none of the carpet tees were slick or otherwise difficult to tee from - maybe the heat bakes them dry. Tee signs are painted wood with tee color, distances, and hole maps (better drawn than the ones DGCR has pictured). No signs of chipping/fading; all were in good shape. Present pin position (typically all A, all B, or all C, save for some tourneys) is indicated at the course board, and they rotate, I believe monthly.
15 fully wooded (and I mean heavily, but beautifully wooded) holes, testing pretty much every line you could name, with plenty of elevation change as well - from long uphill shots to downhill ace runs, valley shots, etc. You'll need to be able to throw both FH/BH to play well (the whites are a bit more forgiving to players with only one). The rough is rough enough that "putting it down there" won't do you any good if you can't stay in the fairway. Conversely, if you hit your line, you will be putting - there's no poke and pray unless you decide you want to play it off the fairway on purpose. Good luck with that idea - it won't work. The distances are also enough to really add to the challenge - it isn't just a putter chucking contest. Several of the woods holes play in the 300+ foot range from red, and only about a third play under 300 from the blacks, with some out past 400. Being able to hit some lines with a driver is a must. Water comes into play on 3 holes - a clear, flowing stream which makes for some challenging greens.
The first three holes are far more open long boomrippers, but still with some tree guarding, starting one-sided on 1 and developing into a city park-style corridor shot on 3 before the real woods begin on 4. The first three thus add some further variety - and ease you into what you've undertaken.
Signature hole for the course would be number 18 for sure - long (293-398 feet from red, depending on pin) valley shot, but with the uphill side slightly dominant. Runs through a fairly tight corridor, with huge shule banks waiting to either side, especially if you leave the line early. The shot from the black tee actually runs over the top of the shule on the left-hand side for about half the length of the hole. Absolutely gorgeous - pictures don't capture the valley effect well, but they're still worth checking out. I sat down recently to make a course out of my favorite holes anywhere for each number 1-18; this was my choice for 18.
Cons: There were some maintenance issues with the black tees - 13 and 16 were badly grown up, such that overhands or pitching out were the only viable tee shots. Seeing old footage of what they once were was saddening. 12 had a large tree down on the bridge in front of the black tee (only added a small detour to another bridge) and on the tee sign. They must be pretty sturdy, though; I think the sign did more damage to the tree than vice versa. I went looking for my loppers and saw in my car's trunk after my round, but unfortunately had taken them inside recently in order to effect a joke about my toenails.
Although next tee signage was pretty good overall, it was only unambiguously great for the red tees; a few signs could be added in a few places to point to the others (there are some already), but it's fine enough as it is. There's no map onsite, but the one linked here on DGCR is excellent.
Holes 1 and 3 gave me some slight concerns about interaction with other park activities and safety, but nothing too bad. The operative word is slight, and that's hard to avoid in a multi-use park. Holes 4-18, however, are problem-free in this regard, being buried in the woods.
Other Thoughts: Tee colors (white short, red mid, black long) are obviously nonstandard - they're UATuscaloosa colors, though. There are also a number of Alabama football references as hole names etc., to which I say WDE. I won't hold that against anybody, though.
Gets very hot and very humid. There is probably about 75%+ shade once you get into the woods, but you will still want to bring plenty of water. I've seen a borderline heat stroke out here before, and that in a man who worked roofing for a living. Take care of yourself. There's a reason people joke about "when Tuscaloosa freezes over..."
I'm told there's poison ivy bad in the summer. I don't react, and frankly I barely remember what it looks like because of that, so I can neither confirm nor deny.
Overall, I have this course rated third out AL courses I've played (fourth out of all courses played), behind Inverness and Indian Creek (that one only barely). I haven't visited Heflin or the Mobile+ area, which I'm told house some serious contenders, but regardless, Bowers is AL top ten for sure.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Nice Course to play
0 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Very nice course with multiple pin positions.
Red Tees in nice shape and easy to find and see.
Challenging enough with tight fairways in the woods but not in horrible trouble if go into the ivy and woods.
Drains very well, played in rain with not much trouble.
Cons: baskets can be hard to see, steel color and no yellow or bright colors to call out. On non-sunny days is tough for a non local to see pin locations. Several times had to walk 2/3 up fairways to find pin location.
Other Thoughts: fun course and challenging enough for everyone.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Best in Tuscaloosa
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This is one of, if not THE best-designed course I've ever played. Makes full use of an amazing piece of land. Lots of elevation changes, lots of different shot shapes required. Depending on where the pins are placed, you'll need every shot in your arsenal and some distance to boot.
3 pin placements per hole, each varied and interesting. 1 concrete tee and 2 carpet tees per hole, that provide vastly different experiences. Plenty of signage -- each tee has a clear (and hand-painted) map with all pin positions, and each basket has signs pointing you to the next tee.
Heavily wooded for the most part, but fair. There are multiple ways to attack each pin position. The woods offer plenty of shade, which is a godsend in Alabama summers.
Course drains extremely well -- aside from the creek/ravine which is in play on holes 11-13 becoming a bit more treacherous, there's hardly any water on the course even after heavy rainfall.
Cons: There's a good deal of vandalism on this course -- thankfully the signage isn't disrupted much, but the benches on the back 9 especially are torn up.
The white and black tee pads are well-positioned, but the carpet pads are in rough shape and extremely slick.
Holes 11-13 play across a steep ravine / creek, and there's no good way to get across and back. The few footpads in the water are super dodgy, dangerous and are submerged after rainfall, and the only "bridge" across is a giant fallen tree that's very slick when wet and rotting quickly.
The rough out here is THICK, and encroaches into the fairway. Lots of underbrush, lots of vines, lots of thorns... But it is a wooded course.
For the most part, the disc golf course is separate from other parts of the park, but occasionally you'll run into some oblivious parkgoers walking around the course.
Other Thoughts: This is BY FAR my favorite course in Tuscaloosa and at this point the best I've played in Alabama. It's absolutely worth a trip to play it.
HOWEVER! Between the ravine, the thick and vine-covered underbrush, and the slick gravel-coated hillside, this course can be treacherous. I actually broke my arm out here in 2016 trying to fetch a disc. Take care!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Chainstar baskets and tees in good condition; Concrete tees are in between the pro and am tees and have great signage including distances and diagrams. Other tee pads are carpet, possible covered in pine straw. There are also benches at several tees. Current pin position is indicated on the big sign next to tee 1 which also has a map posted to it if you forget yours (take a pic w/ your phone).
- Course has a decent flow, though depending on pin position you may or may not see the basket from the tee.
- 18 ends reasonably close to 1, no long hike back to the car here.
-Elevation and changes in that elevation - check.
-Variation of hole distances-check.
Cons: - The day I played my biggest complaint was spider webs. Not the big orbweaver webs, but small, fine webs. More of an annoyance than con.
- We couldn't find the regular tee for 12. The pro tee was daunting and proceeded to a bridge over the creek that was blocked off by fallen brush. Upon a quick search all we could find was the AM tee, so I played from there.
- Amenities are far from anywhere on the course but 1 & 18. Unless of course you live in the apartments that adjoin the property mid-course.
Other Thoughts: I played in late September and the course was pretty well maintained. Any course w/ 15 holes in the woods is going to have some brush but as long as you don't totally shank your shot you'll find your disc quickly if you go off the fairway.
The legendary poison ivy I read about seemed pretty mild. I went off-fairway quite a few times and didn't have an issue.
As it was a Saturday during football season and a home game at that, there was no one on the course.
Be mindful of the pebbles/stones on some of the hillsides. It'd be easy to slip on them and ruin a good time. I have to say this place is pretty sick.
The use of elevation both up and down coupled with the clever use of foliage/trees and a variety of shots needed is simply great. I imagine after big rains the creek could become more of a hazard but the day I played it was more of a novelty than anything. Very scenic course. Bowers has a lot of things going on though, depending on the time of day/time of year, so I can imagine it's not always as empty and serene as when I played.
There are many other reviews for the course that touch on issues I haven't just for brevity's sake.
Finally, and this is nit-picky, despite how awesome it may seem, it's a little one dimensional in the sense that the only open/bomb shots are 1-3, and even then, 2 & 3 aren't THAT open. 15 straight shots in the woods can get monotonous after a while, even if most of them are high quality. I haven't played the other courses in the area but I hope at least one of them has the opposite ratio of woody/precision as this one in order to restore balance.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: 15 of the 18 holes have a designed fairway for you to execute a throw. The luck factor is always fun with obstacles. Make no mistake, Bowers has an obstacle here, there, everywhere. That being said, it's got that fun factor inviting you to execute that one perfect throw or yell duh-oh!! After hole 3, there are clear hiking paths to help you find the next tee. I had no problem navigating this course the first time. Three pin locations that are rotated monthly. Amazing how they managed to get concrete for one set of tees on the course. Good use of elevation to give us a couple downhill throws.
Good mix of lefty and righty throws. Some of the pin favors the lefty backhand or righty forehand throwers but still enough room for you to try and nail the line.
Cons: Hole 2 and 3 may share the same fairway with errant throws. Some of the baskets cannot be easily seen from the concrete tee. The alternate tees (carpet) have some serious wear and tear. I can understand that it's difficult to bring the equipment and pour concrete inside the jungle. The weeds grow something fierce during summer months and require at least a chainsaw twice a week. Chainsaw experts wanted!!
Other Thoughts: Has an older school feel with 17 of the 18 holes (hole 2 through 18) being ace runs for the advanced 300 feet and stronger throwers but if you cant shape the designated shot, you are going to be scrambling
I cant give it a 5 star due to no par 4's on the course but this course has the f-u-n factor that keeps me coming back for more.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 3 Not
Good Wooded Course
Pros: This is a super fun course. The first three holes are wide open and fairly easy, but holes 4-18 are all in the woods with very tight fairways and lots of elevation change. Tough pin placements and tricky approaches.
Cons: There are multiple pin placements and multiple tees. This was slightly problematic as the current pin placement was not identified on the map, so I had to walk some of the fairways to spot the pin on blind drives. Other than that, the course was very easy to navigate and super fun to play.
0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: -18 holes
-3 sets of tee pads
-One set is concrete, other two are carpet
-3 basket locations for each hole
-Front three holes are more out in the open with some distance, while the rest of the course is very wooded and quiet challenging.
-Gorgeous course in the late fall through early spring months.
-Benches on most holes
-Lots of shade
-So many different ways to play each hole due to the multiple basket setups and tee pad locations
-This course uses its elevation to the max, while also utilizing the creek that runs through three holes
-Course has had some facelifts due to bad Tuscaloosa weather knocking over some trees.
Cons: -Poison Ivy flares up in the summer months.
-Course requires a lot of maintenance in the summer months, sometimes it gets overgrown with weeds and brush.
-A few of the short pads need replacing dude to wear and tear.
Other Thoughts: Wear a pair of high socks and bring a jug of water and this course is a fun time. Practice basket close to first tee but far enough away not to distract players. Used to be my home course so I'm somewhat bias but I was very truthful in my review. Waited until I had played more than 20 courses to write a true review for this course. Couldn't ask for a better set of locals that you will meet out on the course at all times. It's well worth the travel to play this tight, challenging frisbee trail.
True rating is about a 4.25 in my book but that's not an option on here so I rounded.
It's not an IDGC and its not a hippodrome but when maintained, you won't find a course with as much diversity, challenge, as well as scoring opportunities.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 7 Not
Signature Alabama Woods Course
Pros: 3 tee pads
3 pin positions
Easy access from interstate
Great use of Elevation
Cons: Few alternate tees need new carpet
Lacking in Par 4's & Par 5's
Other Thoughts: One of the best pieces of terrain in Alabama.
Water, old growth trees and varied elevation make this course one of the best in the state. Work has been done to clear overgrown areas but more could be done to provide more options from the tees. Lack of Onsite pro shop and par 4 & 5's are the only things lacking to make this course a 5 star.
1 of 8 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
A Floridians Take . . .
Pros: - Big parking lot; I'd find it hard to not find a spot ever.
- Practice basket is set away from normal golf traffic; I like that because then you don't have to worry about being thrown on.
- Course flows very easily from hole to hole; the tee pad for the next hole is usually in sight from the previous basket.
- Some really wonderful use of elevation.
- Course really demands a bag full of diverse shots; every shot is required to complete this course.
- Course is very difficult. Very Risk and Reward based, must have perfect control of drives to pipe it right down the extremely tight fairways this course has.
- No real chance to lose a disc, water does not come into play too much, and when it does it is a very shallow stream.
Cons: - You have a relatively good chance of twisting an ankle on the Teriann; a complaint from somebody who is from Flat Florida.
- The black (Carpet) tee pads are VERY slick. Good chance of slipping on them.
- No real signature hole. During my time here I didn't have one hole that really stood out as the "Postcard" kind of hole for the course.
- Hole 18 is nothing special; I like courses that leave you with a strong, signature hole right at the end. Hole 18 blends right in to hole 16 and 17.
Other Thoughts: - Played this course for the Alabama Slammer, this was my first time playing disc golf outside of the state of Florida. Very different type of golf with heavy woods and a good amount of elevation. This course instantly became one of my favorite courses I have ever played and one of the more difficult i have ever played.
- I would road trip for this course again; the course is wonderful, the people of Tuscaloosa are wonderful, just a great all around experience.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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