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.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - 2 sets of Level Cement Teepads for every hole
- Multiple Pin placements (I played MCO layout)
- Challenges your short game heavily
- Several holes to open up a bit and crank a good drive out.
- Beautiful views and scenery
- Many well guarded and tricky greens
- Good tee signs (I believe every tee had its own sign but I may be wrong)
- Wind plays a big role on some holes
- Line shaping and shot placement are key for good scores.
- Great use of the land
- Good lines have a chance at Aces
- Several shots are required for really good scoring
- Its Free and better than the pay-to-play locally
Cons: - Long tees are not all that interesting. I like the long tees to feel like a entirely different course. These long tees for the most part just make the hole longer. There are a few holes that the pro pads make a for a different hole.
- Lots of chuckers - watch your disc, walking back up that hill after a chucker who picked your disc up sucks!
- Lacks garbage cans
- Use a spotter on hole 9 (not holding against the course)
Other Thoughts: I'm really disappointed in myself for taking so long to play this course. It is definitely more fun to play the Hiestand shorts, but not quite as challenging. Between the 3 18 holers here I'd rate this second to Hiestand and a distance second over Vallarta-Ast.
This course is more aimed at the REC to INT level. The longs would be good for developing ADV players. It will offer little challenge to most ADV and Pro players. Basically if you can make your putts smooth you will do very well, getting to the hole for the duece putt isnt hard.
Many of the holes require you to accurately place your disc both in actual landing area and angle. Holes like 2-4 can be very dangerous if not hit correctly. The greens on most of the wood holes are well guarded but have lines and options for every style of play.
I think the main reason I enjoyed the course is because it required me to think my shots through even though the holes were easily reachable from the tee.I could only wish this course (or one similar too) was my home course.
If your traveling to the area I would reccomend you play this course. It is most definitely worth your time. It only takes about 15 min to get here from Hiestand. If you only have time for two courses i would chose this and Hiestand before playing Vallarta-Ast.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Course is set in the grounds of a seasonal ski hill, which has open areas as well as dense rough and forest. A bunch of park goers were exercising when I was there, it would have really got in the way if I teed off later.
- The first few holes are more out in the open, playing up and across a large hill. The first 6 are much more open, with patches of thick rough to punish errant shots. A few trees on the fairway; the real challenge is shot placement near the basket and decent accuracy off the tee. These are the lines to hit. #18 is also out here, a nice downhill shot with rough and some bushes to avoid.
- A bunch of other holes have tight, defined fairways bordered by thick rough. A straight shot is an absolute necessity here, but there are some obstacles off the tee and near the basket. There is a wide range of distances and difficulty here, with some sutblely different lines.
- Remainder of the holes are in more wooded areas, with tall skinny trees to force tight lines. There is a good variety of lines here, with RHBH hyzers, anhyzers, and some straight shots. #7 is a tight, sharp hyzer, and plenty of s-curve/anny shots. Most are pretty short, but #17 is a nice long turnover throw the woods.
- Constant factor at this course are well protected baskets, especially some of the long positions. They are tucked behind rough or trees on the open holes, tucked into the rough on the medium open holes, and amongst many trees in the forest. Some rollaways here and there as well. Shot placement is critical.
- Also a good amount of elevation changes throughout. Definitely a major factor on the open holes, including some sloped fairways. #9 is an awesome downhill shot over the trees, and the wooded holes have slight ups and downs as well.
- Great signs, teepads, and baskets. Navigation is simple with the map, there are some walks but nothing too bad. The long walk between #17 and #18 is downhill, so it's a breeze. Good difference between long and short tees.
Cons: - I guess the biggest con here is some similar shots; the holes out the open are more or less wide open, and the semi-wooded holes are all pretty much straight and feel the same. Still tough though.
- Some of the holes in the forest are pretty short, even from the longs there are a ton under 300'. I enjoyed the lines, and some are tough/tight, but the lack of length is very noticeable.
- A few spots are a little crammed together, with close fairways or tees. Shouldn't be too big a deal.
Other Thoughts: - This course is extremely well rounded, with equal parts in the slopin' open, dense rough, and the tight forest. Great elevation changes on some holes, and gentle ones on others. Tough pin positions, especially at some of the alternates, to provide some drastic lines at some parts. I would not recommend this to any beginners, but everyone else should enjoy it. Intermediate players will have to work hard at some parts.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
A must for wisconsin players
Pros: Variety of hole lengths and styles. It starts in the open with a lot of up. But the shots can still be tricky. After you play a few holes, you enter the woods and the holes become shorter, a lot of holes that can be well played with a skilled midrange shot. There are still long holes in the woods, such as hole 17. Bogies are not too uncommon.
Challenging shots are a plenty. Hole nine play from high ground over the trees. Dropping your disc in the right place is skilled shot, especially if it's in the back position.
Cleanliness and course signs have vastly improved these last couple years. By putting up temp signs every year they realized people wouldn't vandalize them. So there are now signs.
Cons: Course can be crowded. I've definitely seen cleaner courses, but they are usually less used and cleaning funded by local government. The local disc club takes pretty good care of it, some people have no respect. Its seems better this year, but it's still early.
Could use more benches. It has two real benches and some logs at some holes.
Other Thoughts: a lot of blind shots. I think that's a fun challenging plus, but some people don't see it that way.
Elver has come a long way this last couple years in cleanliness and organization, making it a definite must for Wisconsin courses.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Another nice Madison course
Pros: This is another fun course in the Madison area, and makes use of a large hill to really challenge you with elevation. You start out playing steeply uphill to the top of the ridge, then play through rolling terrain with a good mix of ups and downs, then finish with a really fun downhill bomb. There is a nice variety of hole shapes through the woods, there aren't any holes that are wide open, even the more open holes have some sort of obstacle.
There are dual tees, the shorter set offers lots of fun ace runs, while the longer tees are significantly tougher and make it a totally different course. If you play a mix of both sets of tees, there is good variety of hole lengths. Both sets of tees are nice concrete pads that are in pretty good shape. There is a good map here online that's worth printing out to help with navigation.
Cons: The navigation here is tough, there are some non-obvious walks with multiple possible paths through the woods and a really long walk to 18 that makes you start wondering if you somehow got lost in the woods. There is no signage to help with the navigation, nor is there any to show you hole layout or distance or even to reassure you that you're on the right tee. There are lots of blind holes so you'll do extra walking to figure out where to throw.
There are a few filler holes, and a few holes that are a bit silly that take away from the experience here and balance out the really nice holes. After the first hole, zig-zagging across the hill several times is just boring, this is the worst part of the course by far.
Other Thoughts: This course is definitely worth the stop if you're in Madison, I put it ahead of Token Creek and behind Hiestand, but the three together make for a nice little set of courses. Beginners will find the short tees to be a fun challenge without too much length, though there are some areas of disc-eating brush. More experienced players will find some fun variety from the shorts, and a real challenge from the longs. Print a map your first trip here, I was really glad I was able to pull it up on my phone.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Has the potential, but the filler makes it fall short
Pros: A very good amount of variety and balance, and some of the most unique holes of the three Madison courses. Elver plays, similar to Heistand, up, along, and down a large ridge in a city park. There are some very tight and wooded tunnel holes and great use of the elevation. Some memorable holes are the #18 downhill bomber that you can air out for 600' or so, long wooded and slightly changing elevation on 17, the blind downhill 9 that almost requires a tomahawk and a spotter, and 15 which is one of the most sound holes in all of disc golf. Very tight woods and thick and dense rough require the need for accuracy and shot placement here.
Cons: Unfortunatelty the biggest con is a poor design with too much filler. Hole 1 starts out nicely with the newly terraced green, but then holes 2,3,4,and 5 fall flat by just playing sideways back and forth across the hill. 6 is fairly bland too, but a new pin installed back in the woods makes it better. There is no water hazard. The greens, like heistand, suffer from oldschool design and are wide open and not challenging in most cases. Of course the worthless and useless idiots are in full charge here (as with every Madison public course) and there is a lot of traffic, vandalism, and garbage. It is an absolute shame. Also due to that vandalism the tee signs and course signs are almost all broken or gone and navigating the course can be difficult your first time.
Other Thoughts: While this course is probably less sound than Token creek, it is free and offers more variety. It has some of the most unique holes in all of madison and if a few holes in the beginning were eliminated or redesigned, and if greens were made more risky, this course would be excellent. Or, as excellent as a public course in Madison with lots of litter and vandalism can be. It is defeinitely worth your time and I bet you'll appreciate the challenge, terrain, and features that elver presents with good variety. Play Heistand too.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 1 Not
A- = Almost As Good As It Gets
Pros: What I personally like and how this course stacks up in my list of 18 hole courses:
1) Holes with good risk/reward. Fair, but harsh punishment for bad decisions or execution. == B+ (Due to the shape of the holes and where the rough is, there is decent punishment, but not severe punishment for bad shots. You have got to throw a really bad shot on most holes to be punished with a lie that is unrecoverable.)
2) Holes that have rewarding birdie opportunities for me. I throw 300' accurately, 360' max. == B+ (About half the longs are too long for me to play for birdie, but are not long enough to make par rewarding. About half the shorts are too short to make them rewarding. A "best of" combo would boost this course to an A+ in my book.)
3) More wooded than open - lots of variety of shots required caused by hole shape and topography == A- (Over half the holes are very technical forcing you to throw precisely on your chosen line to get to where you want to be. 9 is the dumbest downhill hole I have ever seen since it is a dumb-luck crap-shoot lost-disc-in-the-waiting experience, but it is balanced by 18 which is one of the best downhill holes I have seen! Lots of fun to finish the round!)
4) Natural beauty (Appalachian beauty preferred) and seclusion. == B (Seclusion is great for most of the course, but it feels rather scruffy. I love the use of the pine woods for the challenge they offer to the golf, but they are just not very pretty for the most part.)
5) Bonus points for multi-throw holes with defined landing zones, good risk/reward and multiple options to play them. == N/A
Other Thoughts: I ranked this course slightly lower that Hiestand, but both are A- courses in my book. Along with Vallarta-Ast, Madison is lucky to have 3 very strong courses!
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 the course will draw me back to itself again and again and again. Since I have played a decent number of courses (125 18-hole, 64 9-hole as of mid 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....that's the fun of things here. See my profile for my rating philosophy.
9 of 10 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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