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.
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.
7 Helpful / 6 Not
Best variety in Madison
Pros: 1) This course has a lot of variety. It has large elevation changes . . . it has you throwing across a skihill which the sideslope can certainly cause some rollaways so be careful . . .there are quite a few densely wooded holes . . . and then there are also quite a few somewhat wooded holes. The only thing missing on this course is water, but I don't expect to see a lake or pond on the side of a ski hill!!!!
2) This course is well designed through the woods and on the slope of the hill. It uses the property as well as it could. The first 5 or so holes are fairly open, but do have some trees on at least one of your shots. Then they take you into the Pine forest for some nicely wooded holes. Mixed among those holes are a handful of somewhat open holes with a smattering of mature trees. Then they end it with a massive downhill with probably 60-70 vertical feet of drop. Those kind of holes are always fun . . . unless you don't figure the wind correctly.
3) Nice dual concrete teepads are in good shape. Baskets are in good shape.
4) Timber installation has been very helpful to inhibit the washout area.
Cons: 1) First impressions last . . . I played with two potheads (although they were certainly nice guys, I just hate to see it so casually accepted). A group of 4 we played through were already hammered by 11:00 AM on their second time through. We played through them on the 5th hole and like I said they were already hammered, playing slowly, and loud as heck. They wanted to trade some of their beer for pot (Imagine that . . . 4 potheads who had no pot), but the two guys I played with didn't want the beer because they would get "too messed up" and play poorly. Not sure what effect the pot they smoked had on them. So they just took about 10 minutes to smoke up while I sat there and waited for this to finish. I would have rather played alone than have them waste my time like that.
I cannot blame the course for this, it is simply the people who were playing the course on the day I was there. I just felt it was worth mentioning.
2) Holes 2, 3, 5 are rather blah. I like open holes like these early in the round to get the hang of the drives, but there just isn't much interest to them.
3) A few more garbage cans and benches would be helpful. They do have some but not on every hole and not all in the best condition.
4) Tee signs are completely missing too on most holes. There are a handful of the original signs but none of them are actually in the ground anymore. It would certainly be nice to have a hole layout on the gimmicky blind shot holes.
5) #4 is a gimmick hole because the shrub is 15' tall and right in line with the basket. It is a short hole so if you have a tomahawk or thumber throw it. #9 is a great hole but a map of the hole and basket location would be very helpful to a beginner . . . and even one who knows the course because you have to walk a long ways down before you will even see where the basket is placed on any given day.
6) Not beginner friendly in any way! I like to see courses cater to all people . . . I dont mind tough courses, but shorter tees should make the course playable by all people in my opinion.
Other Thoughts: A slight recap of the entire course . . .Hole #1 is a nice uphill to a protected green by railroad timbers set inside of some mature evergreen and deciduous trees. Hole #2, 3 weave across the ski hill and then back. Rather bland open holes that seem added just to get you to the top of the hill. I would have rather played two more holes straight uphill through the woods. #4 is a blind teeshot over a 15' shrub . . . perfect for a tomahawk or thumber (if I only knew how to throw those). #5 is another open hole that feels like a filler hole to get you to the wooded holes.
There were lots of piles of gravel all through the course . . . which means I am sure the path areas will be mproved when someone ends up going out and spreading that stuff out. I assume it is for washout areas and walk paths. They do a good job with railroad ties and timber to keep the washout areas from continuing to wash out, when the traffic bond gravel is put in place within these timbers, the course is much improved and sustainable.
All in all this may have even been the most enjoyable course of my short weekend trip to Heistand, Vallarta Ast, and Elver. It is not the best course but it was still very enjoyable. A little bit more maintenance and some improved facilities would have this equivalent to the other 2 courses in Madison. I would also rank this course as a 4 disc rating if it had some more maintenance and improved facilities. That is saying a lot from their apparent reputation. With only 3 courses within about 20 miles of Madison (one of the biggest college (and liberal) towns) I could imagine these courses are always packed. It would be nice to see some more courses pop up to spread out the people who play and also provide some more beginner friendly courses.
Course could be a solid 3.5 rating if the maintenance was a little better and the signage was installed especially on the blind drive holes that is just not fair to have no idea where you are going.
7 of 13 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: -Lots of diversity in hole types: there are a bunch of wooded, a bunch of open, some with a little of both, and then a few with elevation changes
-Very nice park where the course is located
-Hole 18 - my favorite on the course - huge downhill with a great view
-Concrete tees in great shape
Cons: -Usually there are many non golfers that really seem oblivious to discs
-No real signage, follow someone or bring a friend who's been there before if you are a first timer to this course
-It gets quite hot on the side of the hill in the summer, it does cooler when you get into the shade of the wooded holes, but then you hit the mosquitos.
Other Thoughts: -The first 6 holes have you zig zaging across a sizable hill so you really don't ever have to throw up the hill, so if you roll a disc you may have to walk down the entire hill to get it.
-hole 9 is a blind shot down a slight hill through some trees, just be careful if you don't have a confident throw.
-This is an average course that doesn't really test the normal player. It's not that easy, but it's the same throws hole after hole. It's fun to play every once in a while but if you are in Madsion I would recommend going to Heistand park or better yet Vallarta-Ast DGC
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 3 Not
Elver is ok
Pros: Big Hill you get to play up down and accross..The 18th is a HUGE downhill bomb! Great restroom facility..very wooded and lively..
Cons: A couple gimmicky blind holes..9 especially..dont chuck your favorite disc off this one..Watch out for slippery rocks on your way down to the pin too..I fell on my butt once..Lots of trash and erosion problems..Tons of ams play here..
Other Thoughts: Gets pretty crowded..play it in the morning if you can..On your way there hit up the Artimos Deli and get a Cuban..Its just a couple exits east off the beltline..whitney way exit..hands down the best sandwich Ive ever had..
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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