Hey, if it's good enough for Ken Climo...
The Cliff Stephens Disc Golf Course in Clearwater, FL is located about 20 minutes away from the Tampa, FL airport, making it an ideal destination for fellow disc golf travelers headed to the Sunshine State. This beautifully maintained disc golf course features well-marked concrete tee boxes, a number of water hazards, and some quirky surprises along the way. While this may not be the most challenging course in the country, it is certainly one of the best experiences I have had in my travels so far...just watch out for the lightning!
If you recall the Word Of Life Disc Golf Course review, you remember I spent some time down in Tampa, Fl. My next disc golf travel brought me about 45 minutes south of my Parents' new home in Pasco County. The Cliff Stephens Disc Golf course in Clearwater was certainly worth the trip. In fact, I ended up going back two more times during my stay in Florida.
At first glance you will realize that this is an extremely tight course. Holes are placed very close to one another. As a result there is not a whole lot of walking during your round. Depending on your perspective this could be a positive or a negative (if you spend as much time online as I do maybe its the latter). Each hole has two concrete tee boxes with excellent signage pointing out the general hole location. Most holes as Cliff Stephens Disc Golf Course are straight shots that should be an easy 3 for experiences players. Distances are mostly short...in the 300' - 350' range (except for the long 18th). A good stable driver (such as my newly purchased Discraft XL...click here for a review)) could be your best friend here.
Naturally, the Cliff Stephens Disc Golf Course in Clearwater, FL is not a breeze to play. Just about every hole features either a thick grouping of trees or a water hazard. A bad drive could leave you making the decision to lay up onto the fairway, or try to cut through several hazards. Hole number 5 is a good example of how important the placement of your drive can be. You could easily waste two strokes trying to cut through trees if you don't land in a favorable spot. As far as challenging water hazards go, look no further than hole #16 which features an island green. It can easily be reached with a medium distance drive. However, it will definitely test your mettle (I would not want to lost a brand new disc).
*On a related note, my Mom, Girlfriend, and I struck up a conversation with a young man who was snorkeling for lost discs in the various ponds. The Clearwater resident did not seem to mind the posted "DANGER: ALLIGATOR" signs (yes...I'm serious). I can only hope he was getting hazard pay on his ebay postings.
As previously mentioned, the course ends on a high note, allowing you to let loose a cannon of a drive on #18. The fairway is WIDE OPEN and forgiving. You will definitely have fun letting loose and pulling out your longest, least accurate driver. It might even take you a couple long drives to get within putting range.
Throughout your experience at Cliff Stephens Disc Golf Course the one feature you will probably notice most is the diversity that is found from hole to hole. No two holes are exactly the same. Each features a memorable hole location, hazard, or quirk. Hole #9 for example has you drive over a wooded retaining wall that is about waist high. My girlfriend Sherri had the shot of the day on this hole, bouncing her Discraft Avenger SS driver right off the top of the wall and inches away from the basket.
To sum things up...if you are ever in the Tampa/Clearwater area you need to check out the Cliff Stephens Disc Golf Course. Check that...you NEED to visit the Tampa/Clearwater area to come play this course. It is absolutey beautifully maintained, expertly designed, and a whole lot of fun. Oh yeah...did I mention it is Ken Climo's home course?
- Well planned/maintained
- Nice concrete tee boxes
- Fun and challenging for any level player
- A wide array of hazards
- Beautiful scenery
- Watch the gators!
- Watch the lightning...we had to leave the course after 9 because of storms. They roll in almost every evening in Clearwater/Tampa, FL
- Some holes intersect each other (ex: #10, #18)
#9 - A waist-high retaining wall just below the basket can make for some interesting putts
#16 - Island Green...need i say more?
#18 - Long and wide-open... grip it and rip it
- You can find a situation for just about every disc in your bag (hat tip - course design)
- Long throwers should definitely bring some stable fairway drivers...such as an Innova Leopard for the shortest holes
- Of course...you can't go wrong with a good old fashioned Discraft BUZZZ-d (Click for Review)
As always...happy disc golf traveling.