George Ward Park, Birmingham, Alabama

The annual spring update for all the courses on my course list.  And although it's not the spring and I'm not doing it for any of the other courses, well, that's just fine with me.  Helps the scheduling and saves me a helluva lot of work.

Mainly I'm here with an update on ol' Georgie.  It seems the mando I hated so much is now gone, removed from existence, wiped from the face of the, uhmm, course.  So that improves the mojo vibe around the place considerably. (Can you believe that mojo isn't in the spell checker dictionary for this thing?)

Anyway, if any of you have ever written something and then come back to it and thought how strange it was that you ever felt that way, well, I don't feel that way right now.  I still agree with pretty much everything I said about the course except I think it might come across a bit too negatively in the part about whether it's interesting or not.  See, if you've read any of the other pages around this site you've probably noticed that I'm extremely dissatisfied with the state of disc golf courses today.  Which is to say, I'm sick as hell of them all being par 3 pitch and putt sort of things and, in that sense, no, I don't like the course that much (but check all out the commas on that sentence, eh?).  However, compared to all the other courses out there, I do think it's pretty nice.  Like I said, I'd love to have it near my house.  If you're in the area, check it out.

The Birmingham people also have a nice website up which is worth checking out.

Fred told me that they have 3 pin placements on almost every hole, which is cool.  That's something we don't really have a lot of in Georgia. I mean, redan has 2 on almost every hole and more on a couple and Meriwether has multiples and richard b russell has some extras (although there's only one or two of the alternate placements that I actually like), but nothing like Kansas City where you can totally change the feel of the course by shifting pin placements.  I wonder what the actual count is?  I bet Rosedale and Swope have something approaching 100 anchors apiece.

[Oh, one last thing.  This update is mainly because Fred talked to me and emailed me and it sounds like they're really doing a lot of work to make disc golf in birmingham better, which I just love.  Reminds me of Chili where an absolutely unbelievable amount of work has gone into turning a boring piece of land into what I expect will be a nice course]

Ohhh, old George Ward, we hardly knew ye.  It's a better course than I expected, the type of park I love, nice rolling hills, green grass, water, and, well, not the course the park deserves.  

If everything's in the long position there's one legitimate multi shot hole, #5, which is not a bad little hole.  It tees off from a crystal clear spring which I'm told is drinkable (and checked once a month for quality by the fire department which is right there) and is a wide open first shot.  There's OB left but you're not going to hit it unless your air shot sucks or you roll and, well, your roller sucks.  At about 400 feet the fairway starts to narrow until by 700 feet (I think that's how long the hole is) it's pretty tight.  So your first shot should be to the right, setting up your second drive and, theoretically, your putt.  Personally, I put my second shot about a hundred and fifty feet OB and limped in with a circle 6.  

Aside from that there aren't really any memorable holes, although there are very few really lame holes.  #1 in the long position is nice, with a road OB on the left and throwing side-hill sloping down left to right from the road.  Unfortunately, there's also a short position which is pretty boring.  #2 long would be nice if the road on the right and behind was OB, but it's not so, well, it's not.  #13 across the creek is a nice throw but, again, the road's not OB so there's no forcing you to decide how much you want to risk on your drive, which is a shame.

Hole #8.  What to say?  It has 3 pin positions, two of which are fine.  To be honest, the third is fine too, except there's the single dumbest mando I've ever seen between you and position #3.  The "idea" behind the mando (not that too much thought seems to have gone into it) is to force the hyzer.  Which would be great, except, well, it sucks.  I despise using mandos to try to make up for poor course design, but occasionally the situation demands it (like hole #2 in Earlewood).  Here it just doesn't.  If there's no mando there's no golden goose route to the hole.  If they wanted to have people throwing the (mainly luck) hyzer route, all they had to do is move the pin farther away, making the tight under the tree shots less appealing.  Anyway, when we played the course Friday night, I got so mad on the tee pad that we just skipped 8 entirely.

But is it interesting?  From a repeated play perspective, sort of.  I certainly wouldn't mind having it near my house, and it's a very pleasant course to play.  The extra pin placements are nice, but there's really not a lot of thought involved in playing the course.  If you're in town, definitely go play, but if you're not then it's not worth a trip.

The course is easy to find your way around, the signs are present and in good shape.  The tee pads are fine, a couple are a little short but it's not a big deal.  There are bathrooms by the pavilion near 16 but they were locked the whole weekend we were there, pretty ridiculous on a spring weekend, so who knows if they're ever open.  There are also bathrooms and a water fountain between the softball fields, although I get the feeling that they're locked a lot, too.

There's a deli/bar across the street which was nice (if a bit slow for lunch) and there is at least one quickie mart as you get off the interstate.  As a side note, Dreamland Barbeque is only about ten minutes away and is well worth a stop.

There's no underbrush to speak of, a very pleasant place to play.  I'm not sure where to buy discs, but Tom Monroe of IFO lives in town so I'm sure he's available somewhere...

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