Jacksonville-Daytona Beach

When I was last in Daytona Beach a year ago, the famous pier was under construction. So I drove up there this weekend to see the finished results. I also wanted to hit the new disc golf courses up in Jacksonville, so I ended up leaving around 2 am Saturday morning for the 5 1/2 hour drive up north. My first destination was at the new 9-hole course in Fernandina Beach at the local high school. After a quick round there, I drove a bit south in Jacksonville to hit their main course at Ed Austin Park, a course I’ve played many times over the years. My next stop was another new course in the Springfield Historic District of Jacksonville. The area was beautiful, with many old houses and great views of downtown, and the course was a lot of fun too. I thought about playing another round there, but instead continued south to the next course at Ronnie Van Zandt Park in Green Cove Springs.

I was really excited to play this course, as I remember how much fun I had the first time I played it three years ago. Unfortunately, there were a lot of players on the course, and it made it tough to play a full round so I was only able to play half of the 18 holes. I was rather bummed out by this, but decided to head over to my next course at the St. John’s Fairgrounds in Elkton. I also had good memories of last playing here, even though it was during a tournament, so it made for some really slow play. This time, I had the long 25-hole course to myself, and played two rounds. I also checked with Tomoka State Park in Ormond Beach to make sure my campsite was reserved. To my shock, it had been cancelled, and I never received any notification. Not very happy about this, I realized I won’t be camping out, so I drove over to Ormond Beach and got a hotel room right on the beach. It was getting towards evening, and I wanted to check out the new pier so I walked along the beach to the Daytona boardwalk, which ended up taking a little longer than I expected. The new pier looked really nice, and I was hoping to go on it. Turns out, I was a couple days early – it doesn’t open til Tuesday. I ended up having dinner on the Daytona boardwalk and walking around a little before the long walk back to my hotel.

I set my alarm for 6 am so I could watch the morning sunrise, which did not disappoint in the least bit. I was actually surprised at how chilly it was in the morning, and a bit annoyed by the mosquitoes. But they would have been much worse had I camped out. Still pretty tired, I then went back to bed for a couple more hours before heading out. I stopped by the bridge leading out of Ormond for a walk along the riverfront and the pier. I then made my way a bit south to Holly Hill to play the course at Hollyland Park. My next destination was Tuscawilla Park, one of my favorite Florida courses. I was really hoping to get 2 rounds in here, but the long layout and plethora of players made just one round quite a long experience. Speaking of experiences, I had a bit of a comical one as I encountered a photographer who wanted to get a picture of me playing. She said she wanted to capture someone doing something quietly in nature. Ironically, she came me just as I was cussing out my horrible throw. I wasn’t very quiet at that moment!

I then drove a few miles down the road to the Reed Canal Park course in South Daytona. I normally play really good at this easy course, but shot terribly my first round. Luckily, I made up for it with one of my best rounds I’ve ever played, which included a hole-in-one, my 49th of my disc golf career. I then drove out of Daytona and an hour south to Cocoa to play the F. Burton Smith Park course. After a quick round there, I drove another hour south to Ft. Pierce course at Gordy Road Park for another quick round before heading back home.

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