My latest travels brought me to the suburbs of Atlanta in search of the rhythm and soul sensation of Huey Lewis and The News, the crisp finish of Sweetwater’s finest yield, culinary tour of the local hot spots and disc golf at Wills Park. Matt Moore embarked upon this adventure with me with what I can only assume was gusto and trepidation. This was his first time to play disc golf.
Locating the first tee is a task in and of itself. Luckily we were able to find an employee that was able to point us in the right direction. This quest took us past pavilions, baseball fields and tennis courts until we found ourselves adjacent to a bathroom with a practice basket in the front. The first fairway brought us to one of the meandering creeks that flow throughout the entirety of the park. The majority of the holes were not only adjacent to a creek but also in a flood plain (bringing an extra pair of shoes is not a bad idea). I was one of the lucky few that managed to fall in the creek (think around #4) and later had the pleasure of walking the rest of the course with a large brown streak on my backside. Good times.
The rest of the course plays fairly quickly until you get to #s 15 and 16. Getting lost is a given but the best part is locating #17 which happens to be at the other end of the park. I will have to say that playing eighteen holes at Wills Park is sort of like performing the lead role in Jim Henson’s “Labyrinth”; you feel directionless (poor course markings), confused with the spontaneous outbreaks of song and dance (nearby pavilions are host to summer camps) and witness to things you don’t ordinarily see (neighboring equestrian arena and an overabundance of discarded baseballs).
I would definitely play this course again.
- Concrete tee boxes with awesome signs
- Saw a couple of snakes chilling (one in a creek and another in the woods)
- Restroom on the course (not sure what the deal was with the benches inside – very odd)
- The local players we met gave helpful advice on hole locations and playability
- Lack of signs, course markings, etc.
- Played course in wet shoes and muddy shorts
- There were a LOT of people on the walking trails – try not to hit anyone
- A good bit of poison oak and ivy – watch out
Well guys, you’re probably not going to believe this, but… Justin, Zack and I hit up OP (Oregon Park) last night and I had both my record round for that course and my all-time low score! Teeing off from the closest set of teepads, I managed to pick up 9 birds and only 1 bogey for the round. I birdied 6 of the last 9 holes to finish out at -8! Score! I couldn’t believe it. I’d say it’s time to move back to the gold teepads.
I/We’ll be in Jasper this weekend and will more than likely be hitting up North Jasper Park Disc Golf. If any of you guys are interested in joining up for a game, let me know and we’ll figure out a time/day to play. I’d like to get up a match.
Stephen and Joe, I also have your official Dogleg biz cards that I’ll bring with me. Legit!
I was fortunate enough to beat the heat and make it out to a course two days straight last week. It had almost been a full week and I’d started to have major disc golf withdrawals. I need my DG fix at least ONCE a week. It keeps me sane I guess. JK, but really.
Part I—Sequoyah Park (Canton, GA).
Tuesday was the first day last week that Chad and I headed out to play. This time, to Sequoyah Park. I’d played there a few times before, but Chad had never been. Sequoyah’s a little longer drive from here than our ‘home’ course of Oregon Park, but to me it’s worth that extra 10 min. Reason being, there’s hardly a soul that plays Sequoyah late during the week—at least lately. Oregon Park sets in the front of a large park complex and next to a seemingly, sumptuous neighborhood. Which means it has lots of traffic and park enthusiasts that roam the newly renovated course’s green hills. Don’t get me wrong, I love the new layout, but it’s the frequent overcrowding and awaiting large groups ahead to play on that gets me. Oregon Park is a very popular course indeed. With two sets of teepads and baskets per hole, get ready to deal with the possibility of other groups playing your same hole from the other set of tees. Heads up, some back teepads may be blind to the front set. I tend to play fast and it burns me when you trail larger groups for several holes and they never bother to let you play through. Disc golf is a fun and relaxing sport, yes, but seriously. Have respect for those smaller groups and the “Speedy Gonzales” out there that may just want to play through. Sorry, I digress.
ANYWAYS, we arrive and hit the course immediately. No other groups in sight, score! I nailed much of the round until the last four holes… My best round here prior was +11. I was shooting only +3 after 14 holes! Then on #15, I proceeded to triple bogey, double, then bogey, bogey. WTH. I added another 7 strokes in the last 4 holes! I couldn’t believe it. Arhg this was not good, but I still managed to finish my best yet there at +10. Chad did a heck of a lot better on the back 9 than I did, finishing out at +17.
Let me tell you, Sequoyah is rough once the sun starts to set—mostly wooded holes, thick canopies and tall grass. We had several search parties that killed daylight playing time. I need more brightly colored discs for sure.
Part II—Oregon Park (Marietta, GA).
Wednesday rolls around and Chad and I take to the course again. This time back to our home course, with Justin. Justin and I play Oregon all the time, but this would be his first since its renovation. A fun, great round altogether, we all 3 stayed neck-to-neck for much of the round. I flubbed off deep into the ‘jungle brush’ on a wayward forehand shot on #5 which left me double-bogeying that debacle. Justin ching’d a few 25+ ft shots that helped put him in the lead towards the end. Justin and Chad ended up both finishing out at -2, while I finished E. Great game to both of them—Justin’s third consecutive round beating me Haha. Time to do work this week.
A chocolate flavored Philly cigar and 45 minutes later we roll into Huntsville to discover that it is after 12 o’clock. Sweet action.*Please see notation 1 at bottom. We make our way out of the closest gas station laden with a 9 pack of the new pint sized Miller Lites with screw caps and a sixer of Natty. I feel this is the right moment to include that if Bud Light Lime was willing to make the move to these awesomely futuristic, non-spill aluminum screw top bottles, disc golf would never be the same. I always manage to spill my canned beverage throughout my travels on the course with antics such as knocking it over with my foot, spilling over my hand as well as other forms of delightful inelegance. You love it.
We pulled into Monte Sano and paid our $3 admission per person to find that the course was immediately next to the gate. I was surprised to find that the entire course is wooded. For those that have been reading my posts, I’m sure you know how unwavering I am in my attitude towards poison oak. Fortunately the course was well maintained and there were only small patches throughout.*Please see notation 2 at bottom. I found this course to be the most enjoyable wooded course I have been on yet – sorry, Trussville. #6 is a bit difficult to find, but that’s all right. On your roundabout walk to the tee, you can stop by the gift shop to hit up the air conditioned bathroom or chill outside and talk to the assortment of hikers, bikers and other disc golf aficionado’s.
I was a little disappointed that the front 9 went by so quickly – it seemed like it only took us 30 minutes to finish these. Fortunately the back 9 and the scenic view overlooking the park next to #17 more than made up for this. There are a lot of trees/obstacles to throw around but not a big deal; it seems that it gives you a bit more of a challenge than your ordinary park. I was not thrilled with the course’s ratings from the website we had referenced; could use an elevated rating from its current status.
I would definitely come back and play another 18 at Monte Sano.
The ride back to Good Hope wasn’t bad at all considering we had a stop to Krystal’s on Memorial Parkway in Huntsville for a bite to eat. We later had a bathroom stop at the Stuckey’s/Dairy Queen in Lacon where we somehow managed to find the exit within the overcrowded maze of knickknack filled aisles. Helpful tip – do not venture into the bathroom stall in the Men’s Room. I’m fairly certain a small creature ventured into the toilet only to die in there weeks ago and will probably still be there to greet unsuspecting travelers in the upcoming months.
- The trees afforded much needed shade for a warm summer day
- Very scenic and enjoyable hike through the woods
- Easily navigable with painted arrows and multitude of signs
- Low amount of poison oak
- Gift shop/air conditioned rest room
- There were benches throughout to take a breather and watch the wildlife – saw a lot of squirrels, birds and even a snake chilling in a ditch
- The tees had carpet over them – wasn’t sure how to take this
- No hole was less than 200’
- Stephen did not purchase a pecan log at Stuckey’s
- Not many trash cans throughout course
*Notation 1 – For the out of town readers on the 12 o’ clock bit – please be aware of the local ordinances within ‘wet’ cities/towns in Alabama. You typically have to wait until 12 noon before you can purchase beer or wine. Also, some jurisdictions will not allow the consumer to purchase ANY alcohol on Sunday outside of a restaurant (notable example includes Shelby County). Welcome to the Bible Belt.
*Notation 2 – Poison oak – Please do not be confused with a five leafed native plant that does have similar leaf margins because I assure you it is NOT poison oak. WHY? What is the easiest way to distinguish between this five leafed native plant and poison oak? Poison oak has three leaves and as the old adage goes that aids in remembering this, “Leaves of three, let it be.”
It began as a rendezvous at the Jack’s Truck Stop and Western Wear parking lot in Good Hope, AL. The plan: meet up with Jeremiah and Stephen, head to Sparkman Park in Hartselle, maybe grab a bite to eat and be back before lunch. Plans are subject to change.
I can only make it two plates into the breakfast buffet at Jacks before I have to throw in the towel; looks like it’s time to head to Hartselle. Thirty minutes later, we pull into the deserted parking lot adjacent to some baseball fields and it is already smoldering outside; it’s not even noon. Four holes into the course and drastic times call for drastic measures – I rocked an ascot. My standard attire usually consists of a Grateful Dead bandana, sweat band on the wrist, Sperry’s, collared shirt and comfortable shorts. However, it looks like I may have just added a little flavor to the usual ensemble from here on out. Beware.
This is the first time any of us had ventured to the Sparkman Park and overall I was not impressed. The ongoing premise shared by all is that it would be a good practice/home course but definitely not somewhere to drive out of your way to.
- Concrete tee boxes – made every drive a pleasure
- Bathroom on site (and not a portable one – wow)
- Easy to locate discs
- Lack of poison oak
- Not many obstacles to throw around (trees, shrubs, etc.)
- No signs for the majority of the tee boxes
- Baskets were not numbered
- Due to the prior two bullets, we were unable to find the last three holes – only played thru 15
- There was a lot of trash – this was probably due in part to the close proximity of the parking lot, baseball fields and local school
We left Hartselle and I felt incomplete. The course didn’t meet my expectations and we hadn’t played 18. Jeremiah and Stephen had already planned to play at least 1 course in Huntsville that they had not played on their last visit.
Count me in.