18 Helpful / 0 Not
Winter Wonder Land
Pros: - Winter Park is a 27 hole behemoth of epic proportions. Massive elevation changes, brutally punishing roughs, extremely technical fairways (among the tightest I've encountered), excellent shot and hole variety, several water holes, and stunning scenery all come into play. The course can be tackled as an 18-holer by skipping the lettered holes, or as the full 27.
- Built on and around a large ski hill, the elevation changes are spectacular. Uphill and downhill shots are balanced nicely, with undulating fairways on a couple of holes. # 15 is a large downhill bomb measuring over 700 feet long.
- The risk/ reward on many holes is outstanding. Hit a good line and be rewarded with deuce and/or par opportunities. Miss and risk ending up in disc golfer purgatory. Often, a recovery shot is needed just to make it back to the fairway. Occasionally, not even a recovery shot is possible in the super thick woods lining the fairways, such as the woods to the right on #2.
- Many holes require extreme precision in order to score well. "Pinball" takes on a whole new meaning as several of the shorter length holes provide only the narrowest of gaps between trees. Hole E comes to mind.
- Shot selection is well-covered throughout. Winter Park goers should expect to utilize every disc and throw every shot in their bags.
- Red, blue, and gold tees allow discers of varying skill to enjoy Winter Park.
- Practice basket located near the donation box. Port-a-potties throughout the course as well as by the parking lot.
Cons: - The tee pads are the most obvious detraction from Winter Park's awesomeness. While I understand that concrete tees aren't an option due to other activities that take place on site, there is no getting around the fact that the tee pads are sub-optimal, and in places, even below average for natural tees. The golds are the most egregious offenders with a few tees comprised of uneven, mushy, sandy gravel.
Even a few of the better packed gravel blue tees are rutted or washed out. With the extreme technicality and (in places) lengthy distances, the less-than-stellar tee pads can only be considered a con.
- While the signage is sufficient to find your way around with a little work, the overall flow can be a bit confusing. Mountain bike trails zigzag across and along the fairways, and can easily lead you in the wrong direction. Gold tees aren't well marked and would be next to impossible to find without a guide. Several holes have long hikes between them. A few places (e.g., 13, G, H and I) are tricky even with signage.
- While the outstanding terrain remains a major asset, it can make playing the course a treacherous and exhausting affair. I'm a fairly fit young adult used to climbing all over the place on rough-terrained courses, and even I found several spots at Winter Park to be extremely tricky to navigate. If you stay in the fairway, much of this can be avoided; however, all but the best players can expect to be in the rough at some point during their round. Some efforts have been made to alleviate these problems, but even the earthen steps cut into the hillside have washed out a bit, becoming dangerous to traverse. Those not up for a major hike might want to play an easier course instead. On the other hand, those who love "adventure" golf will find Winter Park right up their alley.
- The course is pretty much closed and/or altered significantly during the winter months to accommodate the skiing/sledding portions of the park.
- A few holes play alongside roadside, skiing equipment, and maintenance buildings. This detracts somewhat from the seclusion and pristine nature vibe that surrounds much of the course.
Other Thoughts: - Don't be fooled by the lengthy "cons" section. If you love wildly challenging disc golf then Winter Park is a destination course. If tame park-style courses are more your thing, then definitely steer clear unless looking for an epic beatdown.
-Please make sure to hit up the donation box before playing. A few select individuals proposed, designed, implemented, and maintain Winter Park with their own time, money, and labor. It's obviously a labor of love and should be supported by all that play there.
- Super thanks to superberry and Erin for guiding us!!!
18 of 18 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Winter Park is an amazing piece of property with an equally amazing course. It has 27 total holes and 9 of them are additional holes that can easily be skipped if you only have time to play 18 holes. There are two tees per hole and a few holes have a third (gold) tee which helps the course cater to a wide variety of skill levels. A few of the baskets have alt placements as well. The course has gravel tees but they were about as flat as they could be and didn't give me any problems.
There are big elevation changes on many of the holes, the shot selection is excellent, there are challenging putting greens, a good balance of open vs. wooded holes, a great variety of hole lengths and some risk/reward that will make you think about how to play some of the holes.
While there are plenty of excellent holes, I believe hole 15 is the signature hole here, a 715ft bomb from the top of the hill all the way down to the field below. And did I mention the view from up there? Awesome!
Something worth noting is there were a number of holes where I walked part of the fairway to find the basket before I went back to throw. I consider it a pro because on challenging, well designed holes the basket can't always be visible from the tee.
Navigation is fairly easy with a printed map and there is good signage so I had no problem at all navigating the course. Had I been without the map it could have been a little tricky in a few places.
Cons: I don't have any major cons at this course.
One small con is the walks between a few of the holes are fairly lengthy. The paths are fairly well marked so that's a definite plus.
Hole 18 had to be moved per request from the park which is unfortunate since it creates more unnecessary walking.
Other Thoughts: I thought long and hard about this, but in the end I just couldn't give this course a 5 for two reasons. Independently they aren't such a big deal, but together I'm sorry to say they're enough to drop my rating of this course to a 4.5.
1. Luck. There are a few holes where the fairway is so narrow that those holes rely way too heavily on luck rather than skill. No not saying narrow fairways are bad, but at some point they get to be so small or have so many trees in the way that a skilled shot has just a good a chance as a lucky one.
2. Pro par 4's. There are no holes on this course I'd consider a par 4, unless you're playing from the gold pad. If we're going to talk about being the best of the best, I think par 4's and landing zones add another element to a course which helps to elevate it to 5 disc status IMHO.
Again, those things are pretty minor and don't stop this course from getting plenty of well deserved attention. This incredible course is well worth going out of your way to play. It is fun, challenging and I can't wait to go back and play it again!
16 of 16 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 9 Not
Good course, not one of the best
Pros: I played the blue tees due to the course being designed for them. It's hard to understand from the pictures the amount of elevation changes in each shot. Hole 15 is a bomb off the top of the hill which was fun and memorable. Once to the top of the hill through a winding back and forth lightly uphill shots, there are several holes in a tightly wooded area. Most of these holes are downhill or flat with rows of trees. After the wooded holes it is back and forth on the top of the hill and working back down the hill slowly. Once to the bottom there are several holes consuming a valley with a light creek. These holes are zigzagging the valley with downhill and flat shots that are fairly short.
Cons: It is of course a ski hill and mountain biking trail, so they had some limitations building it. I didn't feel the majority of the shots were solid and challenging holes. For a ski hill there were quite a few holes with little elevation and the elevations could have been used much more than it was. Quite a few wooded holes lacked an honest fairway. It was a good course, it wasn't a great experience as I've had playing other top courses.
Other Thoughts: I went to this course because it was on the top 10 at the time I went. It lacks some luster to be on the top 10.
7 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Designer Response by: superberry
Many reviewers often discuss "what could have been", I admit that I do it too. However, we could NOT have used the elevation of the ski hill any better. In fact, in 2004-2006 we did have two holes that played down the hill, and one straight up the middle under the lift wires. It became entirely too difficult, and ultimately proved impossible to keep the grasses on the ski hill mowed. They reach 8' in height! The only way to mow was with the County 45hp tractors and brush hogs. And because of the steep incline, if the hill was wet at all, they wouldn't attempt to mow. So in 2007 we had to redesign 5 of the original holes and create a new 18 hole layout. The 27 hole layout followed in 2009 with loops off the 18 hole course that showcased some amazing sharp elevation in the three neat wooded ravines. Elevation use here is amazingly creative!
4 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: I found this course to be a true challenge. In all the best ways though. When we got to the course there was a sense of AWE just looking at the fact that it was all over the Ski Hill. Every basket seemed to be placed in the optimum place for that hole. Some of them used the trees for obstacles, others used geography and a few used distance(or lack of).
Cons: Walking the hills was difficult, but I'm not the most fit discer. The holes that water was in play were disappointing, not that I want to lose discs in rivers and ponds, but I was expecting something tougher then a stream that is 3 inches deep.
Other Thoughts: The views from the top of the hill were amazing. The signage was decent, each hole was marked well and had the information needed but the signs pointing to the next hole were slices of logs with permanent marker on them. In other words hard to spot from time to time. All in all, I don't understand how this course FELL from the Top 10 best on this website! It deserved its spot in MANY ways.
4 of 11 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 8 Not
Pros: This course is very well rounded from wide open bombers to tight tight tunnels. The people that made Winter Park did a fine job. This is a course that you can play and be the only one there on a weekend no crowds.. I have only a few courses that I come back to too check my progress as a golfer and this is one of them.
Cons: No tee pads is the only thing I can think of as a con.
Other Thoughts: This is a great place to play and we are lucky here in Wisconsin to have people who take the time to make couses like this happen.
1 of 9 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: - Course is set on and around a modest ski hill, and makes great use of the available land. Pretty much divided between holes on the hill/in the forest, and holes out in open land. There are designated mountain bike trails throughout, but they are pretty much out of the way of the discing.
- The holes outside of the forest/ski hill have a ton of character on their own. The most memorable is #15, a gigantic downhill bomber that will have you reaching for a driver again and again. Both the length and height of this shot are major factors; bigger arms may even need to take it easy for fear of overshooting the large, elevated green. Other holes have plentiful OB and good length to make things challenging. #1 has a road on the right (and a cool elevated basket), while #17 has a fenced-off OB area (though you can go the risky route and try to go over the OB area). Holes #16 and #18 have some deep retention ponds that play OB (whether there is water in there at the time or not); #18's is definitely in play and will have many players laying up. None of these are throwaway holes, in any way, and are all challenging and enjoyable.
- A good amount of holes are in the forest, but with clear fairways. The trick with these is to stay on the fairways at all costs, as they are typically bordered by tree-filled, sloping, tough jail on both sides. #10 is especially dangerous; a huge, huge slope behind the basket will devour anything too long. Good mix of shots; from a upward left turning spiral on #4, to a downward right turning spiral on #11. Most others just need a straight shot that sits down, distance and accuracy are equally important.
- Then, there is the deep forest. An overabundance of skinny trees on almost every hole, making each and every tee shot a clinic in accuracy. Even more important is staying out of jail, which is nearly impossible on any errant shot. On each hole, a bad drive is practically impossible to recover from; you have got to fight your way back into the fairway for a chance to get a look at the basket. Add in the occasional crevasse, rollaway green, OB creekbed, and some other nasty rough, and the seemingly easy holes become nightmarish. Plenty of arrow straight, super tight tunnel shots, some with a little curve at the end; an uphill anny s-curve, a downhill hard right dogleg, hard lefts, there are very, very few holes that don't have a tricky line in one way or another.
- Water really does come into play in many spots, thanks to the retention ponds, a small creek, and a wet crevasse. Great hazards, really changes the feel and difficulty of the affected holes.
- Extra bonus, with an additional 9 holes that can be played (A-I). When I played, we did all 27 the first time. We were running out of daylight on the second round, so we just played 18. Either way, the course flowed great and was designed exceptionally well to accommodate the extra holes.
- Great tee signs and baskets, tee pads are in good shape as well. Navigation of both the 18 and 27 hole layout is ridiculously easy, thanks to many informational signs.
Cons: - While a ton of the holes are super technical, they are also super short. A lot of them will yield an easy deuce if you can throw it around 200' on a straight line. Granted, there are tons of trees, hazards, and slopes to terrorize you, but they can be avoided with a controlled finesse shot.
- Not many multi-shot, landing zone type of holes here. That is, a few holes can be legitimate par 4's (especially from the golds), but it is mostly due to length over anything else. The one exception that sticks out is #11 golds, which is an elevated teepad, over the ski hill, and into the woods.
Other Thoughts: - This is one of the most complete courses I have ever had the joy to play. Super technical holes in the forest, with lots of elevation changes and some very nasty hazards. Long holes with additional hazards in the open, including a massive downhill shot. Holes in between that let you open it up, but will punish bad aim. Each hole has great character, and are almost all unique (a few tunnel shots are pretty similar). 18 or 27 hole layout, with multiple teepads, makes it a great place for almost any type of player who has some experience. The short hole lengths have you foaming at the mouth to deuce, while the tight lanes will easily keep you from getting a par. The only, only reason I can't give this a 5/5 is the lack of multi-shot holes that *absolutely* require laying up. But, that is my own personal preference. If you don't like that sort of thing, this could be, and should be, your favorite course of all time.
17 of 19 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 10 Not
Pros: - An amazing mix of shots
- Not for the beginning player so it keeps the pace going
- Gourgeous area
- The best disc golf course I have played to date
Cons: - Didn't have enough time to play it twice
- Bugs were bad during mid- August
Other Thoughts: -Amazing, you have to try it
5 of 15 people found this review helpful.
23 Helpful / 3 Not
A+ = Winter Park is perfection realized!
Pros: What I personally like and how this course (from the Blue tees) 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+
(With narrow but fair fairways, huge hillsides for roll-aways, to natural OB's (and rustically unnatural fence-line OB's) and several holes with multiple legit paths to the basket, this course has you thinking and sweating it out at almost every turn. If the wind is blowing at all, there is no letting up at Winter Park.)
2) Holes that have rewarding birdie opportunities for me. I'm a Blue level player (950ish skill) who throws 300' accurately, 360' max. == A+
(This course was designed around my game and maybe even for those with even slightly less D than me.....which will be nice as I get older after manOpause. The effects of extreme elevation change from tee to basket have been ideally designed.)
3) More wooded than open - lots of variety of shots required caused by hole shape and topography == A+
(Right, left, up, down, straight, flat - this course has it all. Perfect mix of wooded holes to more open holes. The narrow holes in the pines at the top of the hill are a little repetitive and one (8 I think) is bordering on luck-inducing narrow....but they are great and fun holes. Holes 11-14 (includes G, H & I) are my favorites due to the nature of the multiple routes and variation......and their particular type of beauty.)
4) Natural beauty (Appalachian beauty preferred) and seclusion. == A+
(The beauty of this course is absolutely stunning! What is even more amazing is that it has 5 (or more) distinct "feels" that are all absolutely stunning: Tahoe-esque trails, dense prairie grass areas, northwood pinestands (where you can peek out into cornfields - knee high by the 4th of July, baby!), Appalachian beauty, and New England-eqsue manicured grass complete with split rail snake style fencing. It is so cool how you transition from one to the next and feel like you have walked into a whole new world each time. The view of Lake Michigan and the fish hatchery ponds are a nice added bonus....too bad the pond is no longer in play! Regarding seclusion, at least 16 of the holes have you feeling nicely off in nature.....which is more than you can ask for on any 18-hole course!)
5) Bonus points for multi-throw holes with defined landing zones, good risk/reward and multiple options to play them. == D
(From the Blues there is only one multi-throw hole....at least I consider it a multi-throw hole as I have neither the arm nor the guts to cut across the OB area to get within gimme up-n-down range.)
Other Thoughts: Special note: Winter Park has poked some holes in my rating scale.....but, it has also set the standard by which all other courses will be rated. With the bonus point for #5, it got me to a perfect score of 100. That is not a problem in itself, but I got to perfection and there is room for improvements - the biggy being more multi-throw holes. And, those are planned and half of them are already implemented (I looked at the completed ones but did not play them or grade them). What a great problem to have - a course that blew up my rating scale! The bigger problem to me is that I do not live in Kewaunee!
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.
23 of 26 people found this review helpful.
18 Helpful / 1 Not
Very fun course
Pros: This is a very fun course with lots of fun variety and challenge. It does a great job of using the elevation of the ski hill to create some very fun and tough holes with big elevation changes, and some with tricky greens that can lead to a nasty roll away. There is a nice mix of tightly wooded holes, grassy fairways defined by woods on either side, and some more open shots where you can air it out a little bit.
You'll need many different shots to be successful here, as there is a great variety of up/down hill along with a nice mix of hole lengths and shapes. It feels pretty balanced for righty and lefty players, and makes you hit left and right turning holes of several different lengths.
There are two tees on every hole, the original blue tees with nice signs, and a shorter set of tees to make it a little more beginner friendly. The baskets are in decent shape and catch well. The flow of the course is good, and there is good signage to direct you around the course and make it clear how to play the original 18 or the full 27. There are basic course maps available to take with you that are nice to have.
Cons: The tees aren't great. The gravel tends to get rutted and spread out, and doesn't provide the best footing. Some of the tees were quite sloped and made for precarious tee offs on longer holes. There were only signs at one set of tees, so you had to do a little extra walking at times to see the tee signs.
The big downhill bomb is a very fun hole, it's too bad there weren't one or two more using the elevation to make such fun holes. The last few holes are a bit of a letdown after the rest of the course, and after #15 in particular. 16 and 17 just play around the flat grassy area, and 18 plays back up the hill to near 15s short tee leaving a bit of a walk to the car.
Other Thoughts: This is a very nice course, and worth a trip to play especially in combination with Silver Creek nearby. It's a tough course that will challenge most players from the longs, and isn't easy from the shorts. Beginners might find it a little tough and punishing, while more experienced players will need to bring all their shots to be successful here.
18 of 19 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: What a nice course. Easily up there with the best that I have played.
- It offers a great variety of shots. I threw my shortest disc off the tee and my longest and everything in between. It also makes you throw left, right,and straight in a good balance.
- It has elevation which is key in being a very good course.
- It has some water which makes a course better always
- It has wide open let it rip holes as well as fairways that are no more than 5 feet wide at times while still being fair
- There are 27 holes which is 9 better than most courses
- It is secluded so you do not have to worry about it being packed or even having to wait at all
- Even though there are several paths and getting lost could be very easy, the signs tell you exactly where to go
- The course itself is very nicely maintained and has benches at most holes and a few port o pottys out on the course too
- overall this course is just super fun
Cons: - the teepads are gravel which is kind of a bummer, but in all reality i had no problems with them at all. I normally slip a lot and did not have any problems at all
- the bugs were bad especially on the loops for the extra 9
Other Thoughts: This course is an absolute must play. It is kind of out in the middle of no where, but it is worth the trip. I cannot wait to get out there and play it again. Just make sure you bring some bug spray and every disc in your bag cause you will need it.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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