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.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Concrete tee pads for both am and pro tees.
Several holes with dual pin placement.
Hole 18 is very memorable with a long down-hill throw that overlooks the city.
Great elevation change and variety of wooded/open shots.
Access to picnic shelters with bathrooms.
Cons: Despite adopt-a-hole program, there is still a lot of trash on the course.
Non-disc golfers insist on walking up and down the hill that you must throw across on holes 2-4. They are seemingly oblivious to the golfers, so it's up to the golfers not to hit the walkers.
The course is extremely crowded.
Other Thoughts: The course is maintained by the Madison Area Disc Club, not by the city of Madison. The volunteers are working hard to control erosion and trash.
If you aren't familiar with hole 9, you might want a spotter. It's just a gentle hyzer shot, but if you have no control, you could end up looking for your disc.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 1 Not
The Mosquito Round
Pros: Nice mix of wooded holes and open grass holes. Some elevation change especially 18 which throws off a huge open hill. The first few holes are laid out well to get you up that big hill without having to wrench your arm. The course has both regular and pro tee options and multiple pin locations.
Cons: Hole 9 is a tough hole that drops off steep and is pretty full of vegetation. You have to throw OVER the trees. This hole seems like it would almost be too hard for beginners and I was really worried about losing a disk. A guy playing behind me had his disc get stuck way up in a tree. The lost disc potential of this hole has more too due with luck than skill.
I played with a map and got around fine. However, the signage was basically non-existent and playing without a map could be hard for first timers.
Other Thoughts: Overall this was a fun course. I really enjoyed the mix of open and wooded holes. Although I listed a few cons this course was still a blast and the second time I played the course I didn't need the map. I also liked how the first few holes were relatively easy on the arm and by the 5th and 6th holes you are ready to open it up. I wish more courses started like this.
This was a pretty mosquito infested round. For several of the holes I was swarmed. It is tough to concentrate when you see 10 little dots floating in front of your face and another 10 on your arm. A local told me it was worse than normal. I can also confirm that they are worse in the morning as I played another day in the afternoon and they were much less of a problem.
When I was finished with my round I felt like I had had fun and would have happily played the course again (in fact, I did a few days later!). That is a good sign. I definitely like this course and would give it a higher rating if the upkeep was better.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Great but run down course
Pros: This is a well designed course. It has multiple pin placements on most holes. There is a good mix of open and wooded holes, that play up and down a very big hill. There are a couple of par fours. Holes 2 and 17 are as good as anywhere for fun and challenge.
The thing that really sets this course apart is that it has so many different looks. There are tight wooded holes, prairie shots, downhill bombs, and holes that play into and out of the woods. Each hole is very distinctive and unique. The variation in length and elevation make this course very fun to play.
There are long tees on this course even though it isn't listed.
Cons: There is a big problem with litter and erosion problems at this course. The tee signs had been trashed and pulled so it can be hard to find your way. Some of the teepads look ready to slide right down the hill, but now they have started working on stabilizing them. They have pulled out a ton of trees and vegetation that opened this course up and made finding discs easier. There has been some progress on fixing the course up with adopt a hole keeping litter at bay.
Hole nine is the WORST disc eating hole I have ever played. I suggest an overhand if you've never played before. Always ask if its clear first.
Other Thoughts: This is a course that does a lot of things right. It is very well designed with a great layout and it is very fun to play. If you are a rec player coming to Madison and can only play one course this is probably the one to hit. It does have some issues but it is very playable and very unique.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Romp Through The Woods
Pros: A variety of shots through the woods. Nice, dual concrete tee pads. The fairways are groomed and well maintained, and the rough isnt really that rough. Usually its pretty easy to see the pin from the hole (orange on top). Several holes play up, down, or across giant hillside, which makes for some interesting shots. No water at all means less discs eaten. Very pretty. A few holes have little fairway, just a maze of big trees that you have to thread through to get to the pin. All the trees make for a more challenging approach and mid-range game, and accuracy makes a big difference in driving, since many holes are not that long, just uphill and tricky. Nice mixture of long and short holes. Nice views from the hilltop.
All concrete tees, dual tees on all but one or two holes. About half the holes (2,6,7,8,9,11,15,17) have an alt pin placement that I know of, and they do occasionally switch one up here and there, so check before throwing.
Cons: No signs at the teepads to tell you the hole layout. The few blind shots are hard because you dont know where the pin is. (Hole #9 especially) Discs can be easy to lose in the long grass uphill from front nine, so watch for ticks in june if you go in after an errant throw. Bushes and terrain make discs easier to lose than you would think, so use a spotter.
Also, course navigation is confusing at points, and without a local, its easy to get turned around in several places and be unsure of where to go next.
Here's a guide to navigating the confusing spots:
Hole 1 is the basket uphill on the wooden tier. Both tee pads for 1 (pro and am) are in the raised flat area between the drainage field and the giant open hill past the soccer fields.
Take a left through the trees for hole 2.
After hole 7, walk down the path. Go past the first tee pad you come to. The second tee pad is hole 8, which plays to your left, around the giant pines.
After hole 12, walk up the hill to the small path to the left into the woods, NOT the wider path to the right.
After 13, Tee 14 is to the right.
After 14, take a left through the woods to get to 15.
At 15's basket, tee 16 is a left through the woods
At 16's basket, cut through the woods to your right to get to 17.
At 17, past the basket, in the back left corner of the area of scattered trees bounded by shule, is the path to hole 18.
In general, one of the things that holds Elver back has been maintenance. Compared to the other two Madison courses, its a little careworn. However, in Spring 2009 they are making great strides to correct this, adding terraces, hauling away trash, and laying down course sand on the walking paths between holes, and around tees. The course is getting a facelift that will continue throughout the year. Once that's done, along with new tee and navigation signs, this course will be a 3.5. It's every bit as fun as Heistand, and alot closer if you are on the West side.
UPDATE 08/2010- This year, Elver has gotten a serious facelift. Terraces have been added for erosion control around many baskets and tees. Sand has been put down on walkways between holes, and around tees. Teeposts at every hole, hole maps should be added soon. All very nicely done. Also, rough has been cleared on many holes, most notably hole 9, on the hillside and to the left. This makes it a better course, so Ive bumped it up to 3.5 from 3 as a result.
Found myself using only half my bag on this course, for several reasons. Most holes either long or short, so I either threw a driver then a putter, or the driver twice, then a putter. My midrange and hard hyzer discs only came out of the bag once each, and i didnt use my water disc at all. So bring a max d disc, fairway driver, tomahawk disc and a putter/approach disc, and go to town on this course. The layout is not too tricky that you cant play the whole course with those four easily.
Not to say that this course is not challenging, just that its the kind of challenging that has a definite learning curve, ie. the constant hilly terrain and trees just took a little getting used to for someone like me used to three varieties of dg course:
1)desert courses with some terrain
2)wide open flat with few trees.
This is none of the above. Welcome to Wisconsin DG.
Other Thoughts: Print a course map and take it with you, and you will have a great time. Overall a nice, pretty course with a good replay factor, but nothing amazing, and not super tricky, though there is definitely a learning curve. Players of all skill levels should be able to enjoy this course, assuming the beginners are focused on finesse, not distance (if you bomb every throw w/ no control, this course might frustrate you, ie. bring long pants, bright discs and tick spray)
Gets really crowded once it opens in the spring, like the other two Madison courses do, so if you come on weekends or afternoons, expect to wait around a bit. Also, on holes 2-4, watch out for random people running around or sitting on the hill before throwing.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: Dual tees for each hole. Multiple pin placements on holes 2, 3, 7, 9, 11, & 15. Garbage cans on each hole.
Cons: Course can be very congested during peak times.
Other Thoughts: Course is undergoing extensive renovations beginning in the Fall of 2007.
1 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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