0 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: The course was lengthened and a few holes redesigned, and a great deal of work was put into remedying erosion issues.
It's heavily wooded and on a massive sled hill and the course winds in and out of those woods. There are very few long and open holes, and even those pose great challenges with slope (Holes 2 and 18 in particular).
It's a technical masterpiece and one of the more exceptional courses in south central WI, rivaling nearby Marshall for top honors.
Cons: I don't see any.
Other Thoughts: My first course, so I'm biased. I've played well over 1000 rounds here and had at least 10 aces and in my second year of playing shot a 39 to tie the course record set by Barry Schulz (the course is at least 5 strokes harder now with all of the improvements).
0 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Bit of a mixed bag
4 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: -There's a good amount of difference in how the course plays from the short tees vs. the long tees. On most holes, the long tees demand a longer and tighter shot, but there's actually a few where the line is more difficult from the short tees. I think this is great for those who play this course a lot.
-Good mix of holes forces you to use a lot of different shots. Some are wooded, some are open, and some are both. Nice use of elevation as well.
-Parts of the course make use of a pine forest, which is pretty uncommon for courses in this area. It seems to me like there's less mosquitoes at Elver than other local courses, perhaps the pines and the lack of water are reasons why.
-The course sits on top of a large hill, which allows for some pretty cool views, namely from the 18th tee.
-All of the holes feel unique to me. There's some that are similar, and there's definitely some I like more than others, but at the end of a round I find it easy to recall what happened on each hole instead of it all running together.
Cons: -There's a quite a bit of trash on the course, and not just paper and cans but broken glass and cigarettes as well. Even though there's several garbage and recycling cans, even can crushers, some people still feel the need to litter apparently. I didn't grow up in the area, so I can't say for sure, but you definitely get the feeling that local teenagers hang out at the park to drink and smoke.
-As others have mentioned, erosion is an issue here around many tees and paths between holes.
-The course can get pretty busy, and I'm sure this fact is a main cause of all the other cons I've listed here.
-The activity hill really takes away from this course. For those that haven't played here, it's basically a big, open sledding hill and holes 2-4 crisscross it. Not only are the holes themselves not very good when compared to the rest of the course, you often have to deal with non-disc golfers on the hill. I once came to play a round here only to find that a large cross country team was running up and down the hill for practice.
-There's a couple of spots where tees and baskets come close together, which could lead to some close calls on busy days.
Other Thoughts: -A lot of the cons I've listed wouldn't have as big of an impact on the rating if the course was free to play. I just feel like dealing with trash and non-disc golfers on the course are things that you shouldn't have to deal with when you pay to use it. I certainly understand why the city chose to make Elver and Hiestand pay-to-play, and I'm not at all against the concept, but you get the feeling that it may have been too late, with the erosion and the large numbers of people using the park for other activities.
-On hole 18, the short tee seems to have fallen into disuse. I suspect this is because once you get to the long tee, you can't wait to let it rip from the top of the hill. I actually thought the tee no longer existed the first few times I played the course because I couldn't find the path to it, but it's still there. When you get to the long tee at 18, just keep going towards the woods on the left. The trail that leads to the short tee is very overgrown in the summer, but if you don't mind trudging through the brush and potentially cleaning off the pad a bit, it provides a pretty interesting shot from the side of the hole through some trees.
-I would say if you're coming from out of town and planning a day of disc golf in Madison, I would give this one a miss unless you're staying for more than 1 day. It's a great location for people that live on Madison's West Side, or those coming from west of town, but pretty much all of the other courses in the area are concentrated on the East Side or east of town.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Solid, if not spectacular course
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Nice course in a city park.
12' concrete tee pads at every hole, at both pro and am tees. Most of them looked well supported, and in great shape.
DGA baskets in good repair, and caught well.
Tee signs showed distance, minimal topography, and pin placements. Very servicable, but would have been nice to have it show which pin placement was in, although you could see most baskets from the tee.
Nice mix of open, wooded, and combination holes. Most of the wooded holes were relatively open, with just a few that really forced a tight line.
Good use of elevation where available. 18's top 'o the world shot is a nice way to end the round.
Love the can crushers on nearly every hole!
Cons: There's really not a lot to complain about here.
$5 pay to play is a little steep, but if you play several rounds, or hit Hiestand the same day (we did), it's not a bad deal.
The "activity hill" is a nice feature for the park, but it's a horrible place to stick 3 holes of a disc golf course. We were there on a Thursday afternoon, and even then there was 10-15 people roaming around the middle of the fairways.
Erosion is a problem here. There were many washed out areas, and a few of the tee pads were covered in dirt.
I've heard the traffic can be quite bad here, and even on a work day afternoon, there were quite a few groups out.
Other Thoughts: This is a really nice course that lacks the "wow" factor. The two sets of tees offer nice challenge, and there are a few holes that were pretty fun. I'd love to rate this a 3.75...but the hill on holes 2-4 really is a negative, IMO.
Definitely a great place to work on accuracy. Totally worth a run in you're in the area!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Pros: The course is well-balanced, with a nice blend of lengths and shot shapes. The course is largely wooded, but I would only consider three or four holes tight. Each hole has two concrete tee pads, though there often isn't much difference between the two.
Cons: This a popular city course, so it's usually busy. The course also suffers from trash and vandalism, though the new pay-to-play requirement seems to be improving that.
Other Thoughts: This is a nice course overall. I'd rank it third among Madison courses, behind Token Creek/Vallarta-Ast and Hiestand. Some basic course improvements (e.g. greens erosion) would help. And as much as I enjoy hole #9, aka Dungeon Master, it detracts from the overall rating. It's a blind throw down a steep hill into trees. More time is wasted looking for discs on this hole than any hole I've played.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Fun fun fun
Pros: What a treat it was to play Elver park after a long, cold winter in Madison. It was great to see the trees and the grass green again and flowers blooming.
Elver Park is a really nicely taken care of park. It's clean and maintained, which created a great vibe for this course. There are can crushers and trash bins on almost every tee, along with abundant benches which makes waiting for the group ahead of you to finish up much more bearable.
This course offers quite a few challenges. There are a variety of shots required if you're going to shoot a good round. There are fun uphill shots as well as a fantastic downhill finishing hole. With the exception of maybe 3-4 holes, every hole is 2able if you're hitting the right lines.
Cons: You're supposed to pay $5 to play here, but I don't know if it's enforced (or if the majority of people do it). I'm adamantly against the idea of making a public city park like the ones in Madison Pay2Play, but it is what it is.
Another thing is that when I played, there were four groups waiting to tee off at the 1st tee. From my understanding, the courses in the Madison area are highly used and there's usually a wait...which is something completely different to me coming from central Illinois where I'm usually the only person on the course.
The design and feel of the course is very similar to Hiestand Park. Elver to me felt a bit shorter and more wooded, but otherwise are almost like twins.
Other Thoughts: Madison really is an excellent destination for disc golf. The courses in the area really are better than average and there's a huge community in Madison that loves the game, which is always a great thing to be a part of. Even though it was really crowded, the people were all friendly and fun to watch. I can't wait to check out the other courses in the area!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
My new home
Pros: Great variation in am vs pro tees.
Good mix of woods vs fields.
A couple very challenging holes (2 and 17).
Amazing elevation (hole 18).
Forces alot of different shots.
Bathrooms and water.
Pay to play.
Cons: EXERCISE HILL! - holes 2, 3, and 4 play across a hill used for exercising.
Not enough garbage cans.
Really bad erosion on the path from 17 to 18.
Pins are moved infrequently, and often 1 or 2 at a time.
Some holes only have 1 pin placement.
Other Thoughts: Elver is my new home course for the past two years, and overall I love it, but it just has some things holding back from being a really nice course. The exercise hill makes holes 1-4 take crazy long some times, and it's not uncommon to see children down to ages of 2 and 3 running around, and I don't like throwing anywhere near toddlers.
Elver is still probably the most fun of the 3 courses in Madison (Heistand and Cap Springs being the others) - there's no better feeling than ripping one off Hole 18 and watching it soar for like 10 seconds.
Pay for play has brought traffic to a crawl - towards the end of the 2013 season, people without passes finally stopped coming and I never had to wait behind more than 1 group. Also, the coming 2014 changes will improve alot. They have the areas to fix erosion issues remove stumps marked off and you can bet more trash cans and benches are coming with the pay to play money. Holes 8 and 9 are being re-done, and extra pin placements are coming to 14 and 16. Who knows what else will change.
All in all it's a great place to play, and nice enough to play often if you live nearby.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Great variety of shots. Easy to find your disc. Lots of ace opportunities. Beautiful views.
Cons: Needs better trash pick up from users.
Other Thoughts: Only busy during peak times. Go in the mornings and the place is yours.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Great Course with Plenty of Potential
Pros: The course offers a great variety and mix of holes and shots. There are many technical holes in the woods, some open holes, many birdie opportunities, and great elevation change. Holes 2-4 play along the side of the hill. It gets interesting from hole 7-17, which are primarily set in the woods. There are plenty of lanes in the woods, but it is still important to have accurate and technical shots off these tee pads in order to stay out of the brush. Hole 18 is definitely the signature hole on top of a huge hill and reminds me a lot of hole 17 at Bryant Lake in MN, but shorter. Hole 9 is also an awesome downhill hole that requires a hyzer over the top of the treeline in order to get your disc to drop by the pin. The constant elevation changes at this course, certainly make it unique. Another noticeable feature of this course are the protected pin locations, which makes birdies and pars certainly tougher to come by. The course also offers a much more challenging round from the long tees. The maintenance of the course is also well done. I throw RHBH and the course offers many opportunities for throwing hyzers, anhyzers, and thumber shots. It is a great course for both left and right handed players, regardless of whether you backhand or forehand. The city also does a nice job of switching up basket locations throughout the season. Lastly, there is also a practice pin near the first tee pad.
Cons: The course is always packed. Many of the tee pads are also littered with trash since the trash cans are never emptied. The course also lacks quality erosion control, benches, and some of the tee pads are quite muddy/dusty.
Other Thoughts: This course reminds me of a tougher, more challenging version of Hiestand. It plays longer and the lanes in the woods are slightly narrower than those at Hiestand, so accuracy is more important. I go to school at UW and this course is very comparable to the courses I play in Minnesota. The only odd thing is that everyone is Madison play the short tee pads, which was quite a change for me. I have played the course a few times from the long tees and it certainly makes the course a lot more challenging. I honestly can't wait until this course and Hiestand are pay to play next spring so that the things I mentioned in the cons section can see some improvement. It will also help with cleaning up the course a bit and getting rid of some of the rift raft. The course has a lot of potential.
*Lastly, make sure you play the "40 shot" before you get to the tee pad on hole 17.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Elver is fun!
Pros: Elver has a great mix. It has some nice elevation in places. It has areas of open to semi wooded. It has some tighter wooded holes and some nasty rough in places. See the vidoe in the other thoughts and you can get a good idea of how the course plays.
Dual concrete tee pads. The tees are in great shape.
DGA Mach 3 baskets that are in solid shape. Multiple pin positions that seem to be changed often.
Between the short/long tees and the multiple pins there is good variety on this course for many skill levels.
The tee signs get the job done. This course is pretty easy to navigate and the flow is really good.
17 &18 is a super fun finish to the course. 17 is a tough wooded par 4. 18 is a 475 foot hole that plays downhill and is very reachable.
Hole #9 is a pretty crazy blind hole. Send a spotter. I love it!
Cons: This course is on the shorter side with very few par 4's & 5's.
This course gets a lot of play and errosion is a problem in areas. Watch your step walking from 17 to 18 if it's rained.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
A truly majestic expedition
Pros: This course may not be totally "perfect", but I honestly never noticed while playing it. I'll try not to get too carried away here.
> Super scenic course with more variety than any other course I've ever seen.
> Big, level, concrete tee pads for both pro and am settings that are in fantastic shape.
> Most of the signage is great. The tee signs are obviously being improved, but they're good and there are plenty of signs directing players to the next tee which are easy to follow.
> Amazing course design that explores every shot shape I could think of and manages to shake things up at every tee.
> The park and course were both very clean when I visited. Some trash cans needed emptied... but you could tell that folks generally make an effort here. I didn't see anything in the way of graffiti except on one unfortunate bench.
> I found the pin positions (including the alternates I saw) to each offer a unique challenge and were guarded enough to require much more than just a "point-and-shoot" experience.
Cons: The negatives on this course are relatively just nit-picky odds and ends, with only one major thing that could improve it.
> The first few holes seem a little uninspired and are mostly just a way to get you to the top of the hill without making you throw straight up the hill.
> Pro tees were not as far back as they could have been in most cases and I saw some opportunity to position them in a way that might make for a bit more variety as well as distance.
> I felt the am tees could also have been further away. Sometimes the course just felt a little short for the space.
> I read that the course is closed between Nov and April. That sucks. This would be a great opportunity for fall and winter games and a great Ice Bowl tournament participant.
Other Thoughts: This course is a real surprise - when you first start, you think it's a really average one and starts off adequate but uninspiring... until you reach the top of the hill and the view of the terrain begins to take hold. As you finish up hole 4, you begin a process of being transported from one very different type of landscape to another - a Farmers Field, a large pine forest similar to Endor from Star Wars, midwestern backwoods, a bouldered glacial deposit, a steep rock face, an orchard... and like that all the way to 18 for the majestic and fun downhill throw (which could have been further away to make those soaring rips really worth it - I overshot the basket by about 100').
I have to send huge respect to this courses designer(s) and the parks dept./city for allowing them the freedom to really explore this park. Also I want to applaud the Mad City Disc Golf Club for their obvious hard work and efforts at Elver and Heistand parks. You have a true gem of the Disc Golf world here and I thank you for the opportunity. The pictures attached to this course so far are very insufficient to show what it really looks like.
I live many states away and came to Madison to visit the inlaws, so I thought I'd find a couple of courses to enhance the trip. I discovered that there are very few courses in the Madison area by comparison to my home town... but Elver park is now my favorite course and I can't wait to get back soon. Make the trip for this and Hiestand Park, you'll be glad you did.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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