To anyone planning a FL disc golf tour, going south of Sarasota before heading to Miami is not necessary in my opinion. These 5 courses in SW Florida can be skipped and you won't miss much.
It got up into the 80's today, ridiculous.
North Ft. Myers, FL- North Ft. Myers Community:
Note: About half the course IS decent. Sadly half is not. Way too many fairway-less (and I mean with NO fairway, just a forest of palmettos to throw over, with 1 hole forcing you to go over a blind wall of them, no other options, and have to land on the out-of-sight green 300' away, or lose a disc for sure) and insanely demanding tunnels that punish every slightly bad shot with a kick off into think jungle making it hard to find your disc or play out to the fairway. One hole was so absurd, I wasn't sure it was the right basket and almost skipped it (the hole, not the shot). It shoots over a fence on the left, with a lightpost in the middle, tall wall of rough on the right. Almost no room to squeeze a normal air shot straight, have to throw high turnover. If you go left, you can go over fence, or in a swamp full of thick rough or the lake if you go long and left. The basket is on a thin fairway, with heavy rough on the right. It just begs to be skipped. If you value your discs, do not play here. Creepy homeless man sleeping on #14. Tees are marked, but to find most holes you must walk up, and a few times it's tough to figure out where next. Directory stated "1st tee to right of road", and I guess that means if you are leaving the park, because it's left of the road as you enter and from the parking lot it tells you to park in, so I'll fix that. Not the worst course of the day by far, but pretty darn miserable.
Ft. Myers, FL- Florida Gulf Coast University:
Snakes! I have tentatively identified the 2nd large snake I almost stepped on here as an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake. The 1st is likely a Black Racer, non-venomous. I got no picture of it's head but it's mostly black.
This is the worst course I've played in Florida, and the worst college course I've ever played. I doubt it was designed by a disc golfer. The first 5 holes play along the beach (of a man made lake, not the ocean) and are by the dorms. Both beach and dorms sort of in play. Sun-bathing co-eds as well, which may be the only reason to play here, just play a 5-hole loop repetitively. Without the map, which was available and is online, it would not be possible to navigate beyond the 5th hole. Dirt tees. Chainstar baskets- the one thing which may make it a 1/2 star rating instead of a 0 star. I won't go into detail about how bad the woods holes are. Just imagine no shot, dense and dangerous rough on all sides, blind sharp turns and throws forced over walls of crap. Wear jeans, bring a snake bite kit, and throw orange plastic only. The real problem is that it makes disc golf look bad and cheap. If you took someone there for their first round, they make think this sport is a joke or not have fun playing. It does not reward skill, and is really bad for learning on due to tight rough. Being a college course, that's not what is needed.
Bonita Springs- Bonita Springs Recreational Center:
The one realistic course of the day. Yet somewhat tough to figure out- due to an 18 hole layout on 9 baskets. I threw to the wrong basket on #2 and didn't know. Then again on #3. I now think I know what I was supposed to do, but it's a bit late ain't it. Tee signs missing or don't show the hole. Many water hazards, circles a pond and one long shot over with trees to hit on the way down. Well maintained. Long and tough, nothing really out of reach, but mostly 350-400' power drives through tight lines and near water. My golden retriever is not that easy to use, but it did save an Xcal. One you know the layout or if you get a guide, it's the one to play in this area if any. Even though listed as 9 holes and you'd think it's not the one to play, it is. Lots of old people around this area, it should be called "Boniva Springs
Ft. Myers Beach, FL- Bay Oaks:
Impossible to safely play all holes. #8-16 closed until after 2pm weekdays, runs right up to a school and way too close to a playground, tennis court, parked cars, fence line, buildings. I nearly hit guys playing tennis when the wind picked up a shot I was trying to play safely. Basically jammed into the leftover pieces of land through a small park, on an island between a bay and the ocean. #2 nearly forces and overhand shot over a tall fence. Another hole is 100' straight then 100' right at 90 degrees around a fence, with the basket too close to kids playing. Other holes play by gazebos, schoolhouse windows. Should have a japan style 150 class limit rule in effect, and hopefully people take caution when the park is active. Fairways criss cross like mad, and some tees are less than 10 feet from baskets. Some baskets re-used, not quite 18 baskets. Map online. This course probably shouldn't have gone in a park like this it's just not safe or often even useable. I'm surprised the parks OK'ed this.
Tomorrow: Long drive to Miami and Hialeah in the morning. Ft. Lauderdale the next day.