Ever have one of those days where you say to yourself, “Self, I am going to go play a new disc golf course today.” Today was one of those days for me. I decided that I knew I wanted to play a round of disc and since I live in a land where you HAVE to drive at least an hour in any direction in order to play. Well my adventure led me to take a jaunt west into the land of “Great Places, Great Faces, South Dakota,” Watertown, South Dakota to be exact. A mere hour and a half drive straight west on Hwy 212 got me to my destination via a minor detour of road construction.
I get to the course not knowing much other than it is an 18 hole course with the front nine being very open and great for beginning to intermediate players and the back nine more advanced with some distance, elevation, and water hazard opportunities.
Pro # 1: Great Signage – Each hole had a clearly marked sign with where the basket was and distance and par giving those who have never played the course a since of direction. Never mind that most holes were pretty much straight ahead.
Front 9 (The Recreational Side)
The first nine holes were very recreational which played to my advantage, (as I haven’t been out as much this year) meaning the baskets were mostly straight ahead of the tee box with varying distances between 150-385 feet. There was one dog leg left that followed the hyzer line perfectly. I would imagine a player with a beginners skill level would just love to just grip and rip on that hole. The holes were very well spaced out bringing the entire park into play. On holes six and seven play to the back of the Watertown Zoo as well so if you grip lock your drives, you will not see your lovely disc as it will become property of Watertown’s finest zebra exhibit. But for the most part the zoo is not an obstacle.
Another great feature of this course is how it incorporates the Big Sioux River that flows through the park. “Flow” maybe the wrong choice of word but you get my point. It’s more like nasty dirty water with lots of green algae growing on it. It plays with the hyzer lines on the holes that are near it so really a person should be able to manage it well.
MRK’s Results for the Front 9: I was -3 after nine. I should have had a couple more birdies but I wasn’t warmed up enough to care. (I’m also battling some sunburn on the shoulders so the bag was rubbing the wrong way)
Pro # 2: Lack of trash on the course – I don’t believe I saw any garbage on the course. There were multiple rubbish containers along the course to satisfy a person. Being that it is a pretty open city park I would imagine if you were a cold lampin’ person you would find yourself with a citation as there were multiple signs stating that alcohol is prohibited.
Back 9 (The Advanced Side)
The Back 9 itself winds its way around a small pond called Kiddie Pond. These holes are longer than the front nine and have a few more obstacles in the way. You can tell they were thinking about certain throwing lanes when the course was put in. Hole lengths went from 165-397 feet and water comes into play on multiple holes. I generally had decent enough drives which left me with a circles edge putt most of the time. There was also a small elevation change on a few holes which was nice too.
Con # 1: Lack of Creativity on Back 9 – Although the distance increased on the back nine most of the holes were either straight ahead with a slightly protected green or they were small dog legs. I would have liked the see a few more holes that were nestled in a clump of trees around the pond. I wouldn’t say it was a boring back nine but just a few tweaks in my opinion.
One great spot in the course is hole 17. It plays 165 and straight ahead but the creativity comes in with water on both sides of the fairway. You say 165 small midrange or even putter on this shot. I played my trusty elite z buzz (lil blu) as I call it. I wind up and release a little too much height and with hyzer and my disc skips past the basket and into the Big Sioux River. Now I searched for probably 10 minutes looking for signs of it actually going in the water. Immediately after release I pick up my bag and book it because I know it’s getting wet. I get to the bank and don’t see ripples so I start to feel better but I also realize that the river bank is steep and full of thorny grasses. Oh and remember this river has a current… (We are not in the land of 10,000 lakes and bodies of water anymore) So I carefully look for lil blu but may she rest in peace hopefully in the grasses along the Big Sioux. I finish the hole with a circle 4. In reality that hole should be a par every time. Low soft hyzer shot into the basket. But the shot got the best of me.
MRK’s Results for the Back 9: I finished the back 9 with a +1 bringing my complete round total to a -2 for the day. The last nine holes were great because I felt I could use my distance to make the holes more manageable. There were a few trees that made you have to choose your lines carefully. If you have the shanks the course will make you pay.