It's a dirty job but someone's got to do it. There has never been a course captain here before... it's 3 minutes from my house... here I am.
The important thing to realize when you play this course is that it is a course of compromise: it used to be a pretty awesome course when it was first built and over the course of the last 18 years, every time the park wanted to build something new or improve another part of the park, the Sunset Hills Board of City and Parks wanted to just remove it all together. A couple of fine people at the Sunset Hills Parks Dept. (not the aforementioned board) argued and fought to keep the course. These guys put their reputation on the line to try to keep this course alive and were forced to make one compromise after the other, move yet another hole to a smaller corner of the park and cut more length to make room... but all in the spirit of keeping her alive (even if on life support).
All of that being said, being the course captain there, I have met dozens of folks who seriously do tell me it is their favorite course in St. Louis. There is even a private league of 5 guys who play 4 rounds there every Sunday. Obviously more people don't like Watson Trail than those who love Watson Trail, but disc golf is like every thing else, "There's something for everyone."
Me, I actually do like this course. It's not my favorite course, but in many ways it offers some things that no other courses do.
Here are a friend and my thoughts about the 3 holes you hate:
Hole 1 is a good example of a skill shot as the line to the basket requires a very precise RHFH S-Shot with enough speed and height to round the bend and head up the hill, but must be kept low enough to stay out of the branches. The second shot then leaves you with a a few tree obstacles that you must dodge to park your disc for the putt. The hole IS a legitimate Par 4, so if you can actually get up there and drop your disc in the basket in 2 shots, enjoy that eagle, 'cuz you deserve it.
Hole 7 is tough as nails and will kick your ass if you don't follow your line just right. If you go too hyzer, you are going for a long glide downhill into the underbrush. If you go too anhyzer, you'r disc is going to get caught behind the wall of rocks and trees and you're going to have to figure out how to get back around those to recover for par. There is a true line on this hole, it's going to require a very accurate RHFH or LHFH shot to draw it, but it's certainly there. The fubar tee that the scouts built on 7 is terrible right now, but it will be fixed and longer soon enough.
Hole 8 is a great example of a legitimate blind shot. There is enough space up the tunnel off the tee to give you the flexibility to choose whether you want stay slow and low and cut through the trees on the left, just before the hard left turn to the basket or through a fast and high hyzer shot and try to bomb down on the basket. The risk of this hole is when you miss your line: you're going to bounce off a tree and start sailing back down the hill into the brush. If you nail your line, you're looking at the possibility of a birdie or even an ace - if you miss it, you're going to have to fight for par.
Another thing I can say for this course is that it is the only course in the whole area where you can find a scorecard/map in the box every time you come.
What I have found about this course is that it requires a cool head. There are a lot of trees and a lot of punishment for even the slightest mistakes.
So, with no disrespect to your opinion of this course, I hope you can see how other folks might find challenge and enjoyment for the same holes you find to be "complete throw aways". There is no course designer for this course to offend, but I promise you that things could be a lot worse... it could even be gone. Remember, "There's no wrong way to play disc golf
The main thing about this course is that it is still a great introduction to the sport for the newbie as well as a blessing for those who cannot, due to physical limitations, throw the long game but still want a challenge. Every day, I also see parents bringing their kids here to learn the game and see others who are just getting started in the game and wanted something smaller. There is no other course within 40 minutes of Watson Trail and the fact that it is here is reason enough for the club to make sure it is kept as nice as it can possibly be. We need it to leave a good first impression of disc golf so that those beginners keep playing and are encouraged to look for other courses. This sport is growing fast and it is the responsibility of dedicated players to shape the future of it.
So, there's my incredibly long rebuttal...