Calvert Road Park – Course Review

Just off of the campus of the University of Maryland lies a disc golf course that is ideal for players who are new to the game.  The Calvert Road Park Disc Golf Course offers players a  small, straight forward, no-frills experience. While beginners will like the course for it's playability, more advanced players will become bored with the lack of variety  from hole to hole.

The Calvert Road Park Disc Golf Course in College Park, MD is only miles from the beltway, making it an easy trip for just about anyone in the DC metro area (if traffic holds up).  This theme of convenience comes through in the course design, which is very tight and small.  In fact, the Calvert Road Disc Golf Course is the first one I have been to where you can actually see every hole at once!  The entire course is laid out on a rectangular piece of land, making for some interesting positives and negatives.

On the positive side, a group of four can play an entire round in about 1.5 hours. You and your friends don't need to kill the entire day hiking across an expansive course. Everything is laid out nicely. Along those same lines, there few obstacles to be met besides the occasional cluster of trees.  Because of the lack of shrubbery, dense vegetation, and water hazards, my group spend little to no time searching for lost discs.

That's not to say this course doesn't have challenges...they just happen to be few and far between. The various holes do force you to throw a variety of shots including long anhyzers and hyzers. This is done through some large trees and mandatory markers. While you might want to throw your normal straight drive, these obstacles often force you to re-think your shot. This is a touch that I definitely appreciated as far as course design goes.

On the negative side, this course does get frustratingly monotonous. As you can see from my pictures, none of the holes are particularly memorable. They all feature  nicely manicured and marked tee pads,  open fairways,  and lots of trees. ...and that's it. Honestly, I don't really even recall any particular holes in vivid detail.

Finally, this course features the tightest layout I have ever seen.  Generally, there are at least 2 baskets visible from each tee pad. Opposite fairways often touch each other and sometimes even the putting areas are remarkably close to one another.  As you can imagine, this can create quite a bit of  havoc on busy days.

Overall, the Calvert Road Park Disc Golf Course in College Park, MD is a fine place to kill an hour on a round of 18. Beginners might  find the ease of this course comforting,  but anyone who has been playing disc golf for some time will grow quickly frustrated with the lack of imagination at this course. While it is sometimes necessary to throw a hyzer or anhyzer drive, there is far too little challenge here for a seasoned player.

The Good:

  • Nicely marked holes and concrete tee boxes
  • A large group can play this course in a little over an hour
  • Some interesting shots are necessary

The Not-So-Good:

  • Very little variety
  • Few challenges to be had
  • Many holes overlap and intersect

Recommended Discs

  • Discraft Surge SS - Great driver  for any shot here...it can fly straight, hyzer, or anhyzer (click for a review)
  • Innova Roc - Lots of short holes...a good mid will come in handy

-Happy Disc Golf Travels

Tampa, FL – Word of Life Disc Golf Course Review

If you are visiting Pasco County, FL (Tampa Bay area)  you don't have too many options as far as disc golf courses go. Sure, you could travel down the Sun Coast Parkway about 45 minutes to Clearwater (later posts to come)...but what if you don't have half a day to kill?  The Word of Life Disc Golf Course in Hudson, FL (just north of Tampa) provides a quick fix for your disc golf itch. It may not be the most challenging or well manicured course, but beginners and seasoned enthusiasts alike will find this one worth a try.

When my parents moved to Pasco County (Tampa Bay) I was eager to scope out some disc golf hot spots. Google drew me to Clearwater, which features some gorgeous courses within minutes of each other. However, a tip from some locals pointed me to the Word of Life Disc Golf Course in Hudson, Fl. It was certainly a unique disc golf experience.

The Experience:

I was excited for this particular round because my parents would be playing disc golf for the first time. My girlfriend and I were looking forward to showing them the ropes and hopefully impressing them with some nifty shots. I was thinking it would be great if they got into a sport I love. But realistically I would have settled for a guarantee that my Dad's arm wouldn't fall off after 15+ years of shoulder inactivity.

After winding around some rural side roads and pulling into the gated "Word of Life" complex, you need to check in at the front desk of the hotel (The course is located on the campus of a religious summer camp and convention center). The staff is very friendly and will happily hand you a map and some paper bracelets indicating that you have paid the $2 greens fee (per person).

When active, the camp is teeming with kids riding bikes and walking down the roads. However, once you step foot on the course it becomes very private (one exception mentioned below).

The first thing you'll notice when teeing off on #1 is the openness of the course. Losing a disc would be a difficult feat given the open fairways and lack of thick brush.  I used this opportunity to unload my newly purchased Discraft Surge SS. It flew great and I was immediately impressed with the amount of glide it got (I actually drove past a few baskets before I adjusted...oh yeah...disc review to come).

The Word of Life Disc Golf Course boasts 3 - 4 tee boxes for each hole. However, they are made from carpet that is generally ripped up and overgrown. It definitely gives you the feeling you are on a forgotten course.

Just about every hole is wide open and between 200-300 feet from the amateur tee (300 - 400 from blue).  This is conducive to lots of 2's and 3's. Even my parents were able to mark down a few pars when they hit a lucky drive. This combination made the course feel a little tired to me. Although I am certainly no pro, an opportunity to make a nice anhyzer or forehand shot would have added to the experience.

The front 9 of the Word of Life Disc Golf Course was not very well maintained. The grass was overgrown and it made me question my decision to wear shorts (it was about 100 degrees in the Sun!).  This, in addition to the wide open and often un-marked holes made the course seem like it had been forgotten by the staff.

The back 9 slightly redeemed the course in my eyes.  The grass was well mowed and the tee boxes were in better shape than those on the front 9. One very nice touch was the 18th hole, which leads right back to your car; Something that should not be overlooked.

Overall, the Word of Life Disc Golf Course in Hudson, FL is a nice course to play if you live in the Tampa, FL area. It provides short, wide open holes that are perfect for beginners to learn on without fear of losing a disc. Advanced players will be frustrated with the lack of diversity or need to make different types of shots. A good player could play the whole course with a mid-range disc. I could have used my Discraft Buzzz (my personal fav.) from just about every tee with a ton of success...but what fun would that be?

My parents had a blast...my Dad's arm held up (with the help of some aspirin)...and I had a nice relaxing round with my family. What's not to like?

The Good

  • Wide open fairways make it almost impossible to lose a disc
  • Chill rural atmosphere
  • Short distances won't intimidate beginners
  • Holes boast several carpeted tee boxes

The Bad

  • Little diversity from hole to hole
  • Seasoned players will find few challenges
  • Overgrown and holes and unmarked tee boxes
  • $2 greens fee

Memorable Holes

  • #8 - Goes right in front of a cabin...we skipped it because there were so many campers around. Safety hazard?

Must-Use Discs

  • A stable mid-range (Discraft Buzzz)
  • A fairway driver for longer holes (Innova Leopard)