15 Helpful / 2 Not
Challenging, yet Fair and Fun
Pros: Leviathan is definitely a Pro caliber course offering 24 holes. The area is dedicated 100% to disc golf. It is not a park or a private course, just a disc golf course in a protected forest area owned by a school. It is easy to get to, right off a main highway just outside of town, but you will feel like you are way out in the wilderness once you begin your round.
The 24 holes are made up of two sets of 9's with 3 additional lettered holes inserted in both the front (ABC) in the back (DEF). Both 9's begin at the parking lot, which is nice because you will want to take some time to rest and re-energize before the 2nd half! You can choose to play just 9 (which is a still solid round here), 12, 18, or 24 holes, depending on your skill level and time available. (This review is from the perspective of only playing the main 18, and not the newer 6 that are lettered).
There are also two sets of tees. The shorter Am tees are still challenging, and the Pro tees add much length and different angles to test the best of players. Many of the holes are long, legit par 4's. The length itself does not make them a par 4 (or 5!), but it is the design of the holes- you cannot get to the basket from the tee- you have to skillfully work your way there. It requires carefully planned and executed shots, as shot placement is key to scoring well and giving yourself a shot at par.
The course has holes that are open and wooded, use lots of elevation (including several fun elevated tee shots) left and right and straight- often times there is even a mix on the same hole. The rough can be punishing, but the fairways are clear and fair. You will need every shot in your arsenal and maybe every disc in your bag.
And of course a big plus is that is it is close to other great Mason County courses in the area.
Cons: When you first pull in, the parking lot looks uninviting. (reminds me of the practically hidden gravel parking areas on the side of the road in the Mountains of East TN for hiking/backpacking trail-heads!) But, don't let the appearance fool you, and besides, this could be a plus, as only serious disc golfers are going to be playing here- families and beginners are not going to stumble their way into this place like they would in a city park.
The tees were a mix of materials and shorter than normal, with no room in front of the tee on a couple of the elevated tees. The baskets were not uniform, and looked old (odd for a newer course). Navigation was a little tricky due the course being well-spread, multiple tees, and the additional lettered holes. We did not find the first three (A,B,C), but it seems recent improvements have been made to help point people in the right direction. A detailed map would be extremely beneficial.
Mostly the maintenance was decent , but there were a few areas where it seemed that nature was trying to overtake the course and some other spots that just did not look pristine. Upkeep is obviously a challenge for a place like this, but hopefully some local work along with time will allow this course to mature into one of the best around.
Other Thoughts: This is a different kind of course. It uses more of a ball golf type of strategy, rather than your standard par 3 disc golf course where you are going to get mostly 2's and 3's. Aces and deuces will be rare here. You must go into this course with a different mindset. Leviathan is a course that is not easily mastered- It will beat you down at times and you enjoy every moment! I would not get bored playing here over and over again, as there are many challenges presented here.
The design, demand, and enjoyment factor are pretty close to a 5.0, but there are just enough cons of the basics (baskets, tees, navigation, maintenance) that prevent it from being near perfect. The potential is there for these things to be improved upon in the future.
It is pay to play, (just drop money in the box) but at $1 day it is totally worth it. This course, along with Flip City and the Mason County courses (Beauty, Beast, Goliath) also in the area make this one of the top DG destinations in the country.
15 of 17 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 1 Not
The Sweetest Beating
Pros: The pros, oh jeez, this is gonna take a while.
-For starters, this course offers quite possibly the greatest variety of shots needed I have ever played. That's due to the also very diverse holes at this course, every possible pattern you can imagine. Left to right, right to left, uphill, downhill, sometimes all in on hole. Its phenomenal.
-This course offers the pinnacle of risk/reward. Almost every hole offers well placed landing zones, and different routes for you to make it there. Every hole also offers punishing schule when you whack off a tree out of the fairway, as I saw many, many times.
-True pro level golf. I've played LL Gold, and after Leviathan, I've seen what true punishment looks like. This course isn't just about distance (though you'll need it) but about shot placement. I have a tough time believing that anyone can play through these long tees and not have their game humiliated at least a couple times. Its a humbling, yet so enjoyable experience.
-The am tees make this not only a playable, but a still incredibly enjoyable course. (I know this because it was usually my first shot, or two from the longs, just to get me to the am tees). They still offer plenty of risk/reward but are much more playable for newer players.
-The park has all the amenities it could need. Port-a-john on site, plenty of benches and trashcans throughout. Its apparent this course is excellently cared for.
-The area this course is set in is so beautiful. Its like a disc golf wonderland, especially with the mason county and Flip courses being so near by.
Cons: -My most outstanding gripe with this course is the teepads. I'm assuming this was due to funding issues, but several of the tees were very short concrete, or even shorter rubber slotted tees. Tees this short are rough, forcing you to throw from a standstill on some 600'+ holes.
-Along with that, and probably due to funding issues, is the mix of baskets. Several different brands and types, which isn't a big deal, except some are very old single chained baskets, which suck. These 2 things are the sole obstacles keeping this course from a 5 in my opinion.
Other Thoughts: This area is the disc golf mecca. With Flip and Mason Co. so close, its every players dream. This course just caps it off. Everyone needs to play this area of rural MI at least once. This is the course to test your skill, and, most likely, be humbled. But that's not to say you won't learn a thing or 2. You'll come out of here knowing the weak parts of your game, and knowing what to work on for the next time you challenge the Leviathan.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Leviathan is an awesome course. There is no way around this fact. Bring your big boys pants out here to play because it will force you to throw every shot you possess and much more.
Tees- Good in places. There was signage listing distance and hole numbers.
Playability- Really high challenge factor. If you play from the pros, you better be ready to be humbled. There are a number of extremely difficult, but fair tee spots and pin locations. A few of the holes are amongst the toughest I have ever played. The park is ideally suited for a disc golf course. There is a ton of variety from big open throws to tightly-wooded, high-technical shots...and you may have both kinds on 1 hole. This is a course you could play 100 times and never come close to mastering it.
Beauty- The course was beautiful. If I picked this course up and put it it another area (where you didn't have the two most beautiful courses I have ever played ), the course would probably score even higher, but it is located in close proximity to pretty ridiculous competition. I have tried to filter that fact out when considering this. The trees are epic as well as interesting elevation changes.
Cons: Baskets- Inconsistent. There were some pretty solid ones, but they seemed cobbled together. A few of them are in bad need of replacing.
Tees- For every good tee, there seemed to be another one that was too short...which you NEED good tees for some of these tee shots..
Flow- Probably my biggest con. There were multiple times where we got turned around looking for the next tee. A few of the baskets were difficult to locate as well due to the lack of a map on the tee sign. Blind 650 foot shots aren't very fun and neither is running way ahead to find where you are going.
Other Thoughts: I really enjoyed playing out here. It is not a perfect course, but it certainly is great. Please watch out for kids when throwing. We were out there around 3:30 on a weekday and there were a few kids that came out of nowhere when we were throwing as the course appears to be owned by the school district. This course is a no-brainer if you are playing in the area.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 1 Not
Leviathan Crushes All Discers
Pros: - Mighty Leviathan crushes all who dare challenge her. After a few cute warm-up holes, the watchword is "long" as the pro tee layout utterly abases those not in the utmost control of their game. Wayward shots are punished mercilessly (yet fairly) with thick, constant undergrowth that forces big and small arms alike to shoot for designated areas of safety, often two or three times a hole, if lucky.
- Amateur tees significantly ease the oppression Leviathan will inflict upon your mortal brow.
- Wooded elevation throughout. Used to its utmost potential.
- Many unique holes of clever design.
- Conspicuous signage prevents navigation issues from arising.
- After ABC and the front 9, the course loops back to the parking lot. This alleviates traffic (if the front nine looks busy one can start on the back instead) and allows for a restocking of beer, which isn't allowed on the school and course grounds... ;) :D
- Trashcans and benches scattered throughout. Port-a-john on site.
- Dense patches of short elm (?) saplings complimented with swathes of mature ferns make for some wonderfully beautiful holes.
- Just down the road from the Mason County DGC's (Beauty, Beast, & Goliath) and Pere Marquette Expeditions store (sells food, discs, minis, glow paraphernalia, bait, boats, fine beers, etc.) A half-hour's drive to Flip City, USA.
- Driving range with distances listed on conspicuous signage.
- Super friendly and cool locals...discers around here know what's up.
Cons: - Mixed tee-pads. Mostly, the pads are outstanding concrete pads of above average quality; however, the "lettered" holes (A-F) have shorter rubber pads. Less than ideal tee conditions coupled with the extreme technicality of the holes and punishing length make driving a tricky business at best.
-The baskets are a mish-mash of brands and types. Most are not an issue, but the single chained baskets are less than stellar.
- Random metal and other junk scattered about in a few place. Shingles with rusted nails in the rough, random bits of barbed wire, etc. Not terrible, but present.
Other Thoughts: - On this course, pro tees are for pros. No shame in playing the am tees here, especially for less-experienced players. When it says "Par 4" it ain't kidding.
- Bring your security blanket.
- Update: 6/3/11: After gaining experience and seeing around 80 courses in 8 states, as well as playing Leviathan many more times, I felt it appropriate to list it as a true "5." Leviathan (with the nearby Flip City and Mason County courses) is one of the premier destination courses in the world (seriously folks, no joke).
17 of 18 people found this review helpful.
Calling Kensington Toboggan Course Fans
16 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: World-class, Idlewild-like challenge in a massive, moderately-wooded Western Michigan forest.
Several cunning, extremely long holes that will leave you worn out, in a good way (2, 4, 10, 12, 13, 14). Like another reviewer mentioned, the more courses you play, the more you realize just how good this course is. No Lake Michigan views like the Beast, but the best holes on this course are simply the longest, craziest, most thrilling you will find anywhere.
Great elevated tees and tee views on Holes 10 and 12, which are perhaps the signature holes of the course. These are good enough to make the next course you play seem boring.
Quite secluded, though walking trails do pop up here and there. Though walks between holes are often long, there are many signs pointing the way. New color-coded 'next tee' signs installed in 2011 greatly help navigation.
Alternate holes D, E and F are flat, grassy tunnel holes in deep woods. A welcome break from the long, tough holes.
Very unique, idiosyncratic course that is hard to describe-you just have to play it. Including the alternates.
Cement pro tees, and rubber short tees that give beginnners/weaker players a chance, as well as a shorter course alternative (the long tees can take as long as three and a half hours to complete).
Short tee course offers a viable alternative to the Pro course, even for advanced players. Those with less time in windy or marginal weather are better off playing Leviathan shorts than the other courses nearby.
Cons: Could use a little more course maintenance, including more mowing/trimming in rough areas. North Kentucky (Idlewild/Lincoln Ridge) and Flip City have a big advantage here.
A few holes have steep, difficult-to-traverse hills and disc swallowing rough. Holes 10 and 12 (the signature holes) badly need a stairway leading from the elevated tees to the fairways below.
Not a lot of grip-and-rip holes or overhand holes. Some long forest holes are a little too tight.
Has a few older, rusty baskets, but these are still acceptable.
Other Thoughts: From the long tees, this is a course of unexpected proportions. Compared with the other Ludington courses as well as most others, it's a five-fourths scale, epic adventure. This is the course you daydream about during work meetings.
A modified course layout (according to scorecards) results in the black/long tees being a 20-hole course (including two new alternate holes, LA and LB), and the red/blue tees being a 24 hole course with the existing alternates (A-F). This actually improves the black tee experience (about a half-hour shorter), as well as creating a distinct blue/red tee course.
Doesn't quite reach the best of the Beast (1/3), but is much more challenging, consistent and surprising all of the way through.
16 of 17 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Leviathan stands out above most courses due to its amazing design. The design is long, difficult, and creative. The design is comparable to Rennaisance Park and Idlewild. I use these two courses because many on this site have played these courses. Design-wise, Leviathan is defintely on their level. The variety off the tee is exceptional. Hole #1 is slightly uphill. Hole #2 is an open down-hill shot. A few holes later you are in a dense forest with a narrow tunnel tee shot. Hole #10 requires a forced-carry over some dense brush. (short carry)
Leviathan has a number of legitimate Par 4s.(maybe even 5s, but I can't remember) While there is some length, there are a number of opportunities at a birdie. This causes the player to really focus on the easier holes in order to get a few strokes back. If you are playing the course competitively, you definitely cannot afford a lapse in concentration. This adds to the challenge of the layout.
Cons: There are only 2 slight negative aspects of the course. The course had not been recently mowed when we played it. The second minor flaw is the number of spots on the course where lost discs are probable. My stance on "rough" is that it should be punishing, but not so thick that the disc cannot be found a majority of the time.
Other Thoughts: Leviathan is almost a 5 disc course in my opinion. The only thing it lacks is a little bit of maturation and course maintenance. This is not a course that I would want to play alone as there are many places where losing a disc is possible. There are many blind shots as well, which I don't mind at all, but it is best to have at least 2 pairs of eyes on the disc. The strengths of this course are in the variety of the design and the gorgeous locale.
Don't let the parking lot fool you. I was a little skeptical when we got out of the car, but after playing hole 1, which is a great opening hole, (long-anhyzer) you can forget about the outside world and enjoy the game until you return to the parking area after Hole 9.
In short, if you are in Ludington and you play disc golf...then you are probably there to play disc golf. Just kidding. Leviathan is an amazing challenge and should not be missed when you visit the area. In my opinion, it is by far the most challenging course in the area. The round was definitely a grind.
I am very optomistic about the future of this course. With a little maturation and constant maintenance, Leviathan will become one of the premier disc golf facilities not only in Michigan, but in in the entire country.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful.
31 Helpful / 4 Not
A+ = Lovin me some Leviathan!
Pros: I am reviewing and rating this course from the Pro tees. While I played the 6 extra Amateur holes (and really liked them for what they are!) I am not counting those in what I write and rate. Here is what I personally like and how this course stacks up in my list of 18 (and more) hole courses:
1) Holes with good risk/reward. Fair, but harsh punishment for bad decisions or execution. == A
(When I got to hole 7 and saw the stump at the fork in the fairway with "Highway of Pain/Highway of Gain" (or something like that - forgot to write it down), I knew for sure that the course designer/s were designing with risk/reward decisions in mind. I had already seen it......and I saw much more of it throughout the perfectly defined and designed fairways. I could not quite get to an A+ here as the sphincter-factor was not quite at the level that could be dished out by some nice natural OB (a stream or pond for instance) or extreme punishment (ravines maybe).)
2) Holes that have rewarding birdie opportunities for me. I'm a Blue level player (950ish skill) who throws 300' accurately, 360' max. == A+
(While this course is called a Pro level course, I feel it fits me (a lesser armed player than most Pros) to an absolute tee. The hole lengths seem to vary right around my skill/D with some being routine, some perfectly challenging, and some others just out of my range to ever expect a birdie 3 (or birdie 2 on the par-3's). The length-to-width ratios are perfect. In general I love courses that have a few holes with narrow (6-8') pinch points in the first 150', so while this course did not have that, it was so wooded that that might have pushed things over the edge.)
3) More wooded than open - lots of variety of shots required caused by hole shape and topography == A
(The ratio of narrow/tunnel shots to more open throws is perfect for my tastes. Great variety of shots and great use of limited terrain. Most of the shot shaping happens down the fairway a bunch. Had there been a few holes (I only remember 1) that forced some crazy creative turns early, I could have given an A+ here.)
4) Natural beauty (Appalachian beauty preferred) and seclusion. == A
(Seclusion on this course is amazing. Only downside is that you can hear traffic nearby....but I could never see any cars (other than the holes right by the parking lot). Being a pretty flat course, there are no real views (no biggy really). There is a decent variety of almost coastal feeling (sandy/grassy) areas and beautiful hardwood forests. On most courses, I am not too fond of long boring walks between holes......but on this course some of those walks are knock-your-socks-off gorgeous!)
5) Bonus points for multi-throw holes with defined landing zones, good risk/reward and multiple options to play them. == A
(As said before, lots of really, really good holes in this area.....and correctly marked as such on the scorecard. This is about 4 bonus points (equals ½ disc) added to my grade.)
Other Thoughts: It's all about feeding the addiction, so I ranked this course subjectively based on my own "personal addiction factor". The grades above tell how well this course will draw me back to itself again and again and again. See my profile for specifics on my rating philosophy.
I fancy myself as a connoisseur of good course design and I am a competitive Blue level (950-ish rated) with mid-level power (accurate to 300' with max D of 360'). Since I have played a decent number of courses (150+ 18-hole, 90+ 9-hole as of late 2009), my hope is that players/explorers who have similar addiction tastes will find my ratings list helpful as they choose courses to play and explore.
I fully expect others with different tastes/philosophies to disagree with me.....and that's the fun of things here.
31 of 35 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 1 Not
What Have I Been Waiting For?
Pros: This course is heavily wooded and quite a pleasure to walk. There are a variety of different holes. I would have to say that this course is the most complete out of any course I have ever played as far as hole design and course layout. There is just a fabulous assortment of layouts. There are a couple wide open holes, number 2 and 10 come to mind, that allow a player to open up and put on a display. Then of course there are the tight, tree lined benders, like the number 4 hole that is 800 feet uphill, and hallways like 6 that force you to keep it clean and straight or suffer incarceration in the woods. There are an equal amount of left and right bends to the pin which allow both forehand and backhand usage to accomplish a decent score. There are plenty of places to get stuck in the woods and get some tomahawk practice in too. I also enjoyed that there were a few shorter holes mixed in with the utter whoppers and average length holes. Flat fairways, rolling hills on 11, ups and downs and all arounds! It truly has a great layout and is very challenging in some spots. It seemed as though I was cruising along until holes 13 through 15 where I ended up searching for my disc for a substantial amount of time. There were also some holes that could be called signature holes like 10 and 12 which were just awesome, 10 especially. Just an awesome place to play.
Cons: Cons are tough to levy against such an awesome place, but if anything I would say that signage leaves much to be desired. No idea of pin placements are given and distance discrepancies between the score card and the tee signs occurred from time to time. Hole 4 is shown to be 605 I think and the card has it as 805 which seems more like the actual distance. I am just mad at this hole because I took a 7! There was no water here, but that is small peanuts when considered with the great variety it does have. This place was fairly easy to navigate, but I did wonder if I was going the right way a few times. Turns out I found everything without getting lost or having to backtrack. It took me longest to find the pro tee on hole one! I stood there scratching my head for a second before heading left and to the road where the tee was.
Other Thoughts: I loved Leviathan. I had been up to Ludington to play the other courses, but for some reason my chums and I have ignored this place which turned out to be my favorite of the Mason County goldmine. What an awesome area for disc golf! I had a family of deer following me all throughout Leviathan as if they were my own personal gallery. Having a doe blow at you while you are teeing off is quite something! This is some truly beautiful country. I usually move along at a pretty good clip, but I just had to stop a couple times and let the wonder and amazement soak in. I remember coming up to Hole 11 where there is an opening in the canopy that let the sun shine down on me as I stood surrounded by the lush green, and I honestly felt like just laying down there and reveling in the glory. I was thanking God for his great work the whole way through this place. At least when I wasn't in the woods searching for my disc! Go here! Play. Be well...
14 of 15 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 2 Not
Thread the needle...
Pros: -Most holes force you to be accurate.
-pro and am tees
-Mix of short challenging holes and long killers.
-uses the woods a lot and still offers many big open fairways aswell.
-Benches at almost every hole.
- visualy amazing scenery.
Cons: - A bit confusing to get around if its your first time.
- Some rubber tee pads and short cement pads.
- Signs are very simple just hole number and feet, could have a small map of the hole aswell.
- Many older rusty baskets, some look homemade.
The only obstacles seem to be trees, no water or big rocks.
Other Thoughts: This was an amazing course. Definitely one of the best Ive ever played. I was very satisfied with the course as it lived up and serpassed my expectations. Very long walk for 24 holes, plan on 3-4 hours if your not running through the park. The rough can be "very rough" so its better to play it safe and try to keep it on the fairway. This is a definite play if your in ludington for the beast,beauty or goliath. Cant wait to get back.
10 of 12 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
This sport has come very far
Pros: First off, this course is a monster, its the most difficult time i ever had on a course. You are forced to throw pro level shots to score well. For being in the middle of nowhere it was pretty well tooken care of. One of the most beautiful pieces of property i have seen. This course has changed my view of course design and will help set a benchmark for new courses.
*Amazingly epic holes that are unlike any i have seen
*Nice pro teepads(concrete)
*Makes u play ball golf type disc golf ??lol
*Nice fairways and baskets
*Very long and Very fair
*Awsome elevation and hole design
*Course has a championship caliber feel,i felt like i was playing the same courses that the shultz and klimos play
Cons: *Signs need some help
*Navigation can get a little tricky
*If your a pro u will love it,if your a beginner they have real short beginner tees,but what about the guys in the middle?? You will either love the challenge or hate every minute..I LOVED IT
Other Thoughts: I really felt this course was built for pros by pros.The am tees felt like an afterthought.This course will push u and make u better if ur up to the challenge.Beginners beware,ams - good luck,and pros enjoy.This course was amazing and i enjoyed every minute. A "MUST PLAY" , make the trip and change the way you think about disc golf
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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