A Closer Look At Fountain Hills’ Iconic Centerpiece

Get to know The Memorial Championship's signature water feature and how it could come into play

Fountain Hills Park’s iconic water feature provides more than just scenery, Photo: Rebecca Heiam, Disc Golf Pro Tour

Fountain Hills, Arizona, is home to one of the tallest fountains in the world. The town itself is actually named because of the water feature constructed in the aptly-named Fountain Lake, which serves as the centerpiece for today’s final round of the Memorial Championship. The fountain sprays reclaimed water for 15 minutes at the top of every hour from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., with the only exception to this rule being when wind conditions get up to 10 mph or greater, at which point the fountain fails to erupt in the best interest of park guests.

Under the best conditions, the fountain can shoot several thousands of gallons of water some 550 feet into the air. However, day-to-day observations show that the average height of the fountain is around 300 feet, which is still quite remarkable. At the time of its construction in 1970, the fountain was the largest in the world, a distinction it held for more than a decade.

The disc golf course that players know as Fountain Hills for was established in 1981. The 6,907-foot 18 hole track features unique concrete tee pads that, in some cases, can be found in the shape of a circle. It also offers up great views of the fountain as you play around the perimeter of the lake.

The fountain can sometimes wreak havoc on your disc golf game, though. As it sprays thousands of gallons of water hundreds of feet in the air, that water eventually only has one place to go: down. This downward transfer of mass displaces air near the surface of the lake, and this displacement of air is felt in the form of wind as the air rushes from the center of the fountain. This pseudo-random wind can create some problems for disc golfers, and it’s been proven in past tournaments that take place in Fountain Hills.

For example, in round one of the 2015 Memorial Championship, water can be seen spraying onto the tee on hole 8. This would have been caused by a slight northerly wind moving across Fountain Hills. This also created some additional wind as players attacked the second longest hole of the course.

Memorial Championship 2015 Fountain Video

In watching tournament footage, it seems that only those holes closest to the edge of the lake seem to be affected by the fountain, which makes sense, geographically speaking. The holes that the fountain might cause some problems on are holes 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, and 18. With northerly winds expected during today’s final, players might get a little wet on holes 1 and 2 from time to time.

In any case, the fountain is quite a unique feature of the disc golf course. It provides players with both a challenge and a chance to take in its beauty as they try to navigate their way to low scoring rounds. Will the fountain wreak havoc on play today? We’ll know soon.

  1. Jacob Wilkins
    Jacob Wilkins

    Jacob Wilkins is a disc golfer from Bowling Green, Kentucky who has a bachelor of science degree in meteorology from Western Kentucky University. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram for a solid mixture of disc golf and weather.

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