After flying all over the country for the past few months, I decided to stay grounded for the rest of the year and do some road trips around Florida. And one of my favorite places to go is Sarasota on the west coast. This trip was also inspired by the new disc golf courses that have popped up over there in the past 6 months. And one of those courses at Medard Park in Plant City was my first stop after an early departure on Saturday morning. I had a feeling this course was going to be fun, but had no idea how fun or tough it was going to be. I wish I had gotten there even earlier in the day to play another round, as I’m not used to elevation in flat Florida. My next stop was at a small course in Valrico, exact opposite of the long, tough Medard course. After a quick round, I then hit the fun Limona Park course in Brandon. The last few times I’ve tried to play there, it was packed with players and I wasn’t able to get in a round. So I was pretty excited to see hardly anyone on the course. After another quick round, I headed south and made my next stop at another new course in Bradenton at Peace Community Park. Perhaps the shortest course I’ve ever played, I don’t think there was a hole over 150 feet, and the majority of the holes were under 100 feet long. The course played so quick, I ended up playing 4 rounds in about an hour, which is an average of 15 minutes per 9 holes. I was totally expecting to get a hole-in-one, and though I hit a bunch of metal, nothing stuck for an ace.
I then drove into Sarasota where I hit one of my favorite courses in all of Florida, North Water Tower Park. I got in 2 rounds here, and even parred the long and difficult hole 9 for the first time ever. I then drove over to a nearby RV resort that has a brand new course, but they wouldn’t ket me in to play since tyhe course is only open to the public in the summer. It might have been the middle of November, but the mid-80’s temps sure made it feel like summer to me. A little bummed out by this, I then headed over to Oscar Scherrer Park to check into my campsite. After pitching my tent and hiking on a few of the trails, I drove over to Siesta Key to watch a beautiful sunset amongst some of the whitest sand in all of Florida. I next had dinner at O’Leary’s at Bayfront before walking around St. Armand’s Circle on Longboat Key. I knew the night would be a bit chilly, so I bundled up appropriately for the mid-50’s temp. I was nice and cozy but the deer rustling in the trees near me kept waking me up.
After checking out Sunday morning, I drove down to Venice to play the fun Pinebrook Park course. I then headed into Ft. Myers, where I stopped at the Calusa Nature Center. Unbeknownst to me, I was a couple hours early before they opened, so I drove just down the road to the Edison Ford Estates. I loved this place the last time I was here a few years ago, and was really looking forward to going back. Back in the early 1900’s, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford became good friends and even had houses right next to each other. The houses are beautiful yet surprising modest summer homes, and the museum is fascinating, detailing their friendship and particularly Edison and all his amazing inventions. It really makes you realize what a genius he was.
After a few hours there, I headed back over to Calusa, where I toured the nature center and walked along the several hiking trails. I then continued a bit south to the Myerlee Country Club, where I was hoping to play the new disc golf course there. Unfortunately, there were about 150 ball golfers out on the course, and i wasn’t allowed to play because of this. Yet denied at another possible new course. I then drove over to Ft. Myers Beach to play the fun but confusing 18-hole course at the rec center. My camera battery was starting to die, so I was looking around for an outlet to recharge while I played. I met an elderly man there who couldn’t figure out what I was searching for, and seemed puzzled when I explained my camera battery situation. I eventually found an outlet and proceeded to play the confusing course. I got lost a couple times, but for the most part was able to find all the holes. Ironically, I took a break after the 16th hole to play a little tennis with the elderly man I met earlier. I then finished up my round, and took a walk along the trails at the Matanzas Pass Preserve, right next to the rec center. I then walked along the street towards the beach shops, where I got some great views of the river from the Sky Bridge. Afterwards, I headed onto the beach and the pier, where I was treated to another beautiful sunset.