Big Brother, Big-Time Disc Golf
17 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - The Justin Trails Resort compound offers (among many other amenities) two world-class disc golf courses side-by-side. The two 18-hole courses sprawl over the scenic Wisconsin hills and compliment each other well. Big Brother offers gold-level challenges while the shorter Classic remains an accessible and fun play for all. The resort offers cabins, suites, and camping. Concessions available on site. Gracious hosts help make the experience one to remember.
- The Classic course adjacent to Big Brother sets the tone: amazing elevation, balance between open and wooded, and tricky pin positions. Big Brother takes each of those attributes, ups them a notch (or two), and then adds gold-level tees and distances to challenge all but the very best discers. Short tees offer mortals a course very similar to Classic, while the long tees throw down the gauntlet right at the beginning: #1 stretches over 1000'. The rest of the long tees range from the mid-200's to over 600'.
- A great mix of wooded technical holes and open bomber shots. Elevation comes into play throughout most of the course, with #18 capping off the round with a spectacular downhill bomb, with a narrow gap through the wall of trees in front of the tee.
- Great pin positions offer spectacular putting risks. #'s 3, 10, 11, 14, and 17 are all standout. #10's elevated pin, located on a wooded slope, is a rollaway waiting to happen.
- Decent signage, concrete tees, baskets, etc. Outhouses located on property.
Cons: - As with the Classic course, at certain times of the year, tall corn can come into play. Definitely fair punishment if you end up in it, but searching a corn field for wayward discs straight up sucks. You think tall grass is a hassle?
Other Thoughts: - Some of the scenery from atop the larger hills is nothing short of breath-taking. Justin Trails offers destination-caliber disc golf and matches it with top-flight amenities. Don't be paranoid about Big Brother, he only has your best interests in mind.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Big Brother is just plain impressive in every way. The scenery, the design, the distance, the difficulty. The downhill throws were super fun. I chained a shot from 400+ feet. So cool. The hills make the course, great views and scenery. It almost feels alpine. Loved walking through the woods and fields between holes. It's a 3 1/2 mile walk but it's enjoyable unless you're totally out of shape. The course is well maintained, well marked, and has good baskets and tee pads.
Cons: Hole 1 is 1,000 feet straight. I didn't really enjoy throwing five drives to get there. Would be better divided up into 2 or 3 holes. A few too many tight fairways in the woods. The course is pro rated. Many holes were at least a par lower than my capabilities, but I guess played from the longer of the tee options. It's a little too difficult for a mid-level player to fully enjoy. I lost a disc in a water hazard, one of only two on the course. Probably easy to lose discs in the woods too, but I didn't. A windy day would make a few holes truly miserable.
Other Thoughts: The resort shop was nice. Bathrooms, food, discs, souvenirs, tourist info and an awesome cat named Socks. I love the farm setting. Looks like a fun place to ski too.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Big Brother? More like your friends super hot sister
Pros: This course is a complete disc golf experience. It has absolutely everything you could ask for in a course, from super long, challenging par 4's (and one 5) to tight and technical par 3's that offer even the most accurate disc golfer a challenge.
By far my favorite aspect of this course was the elevation changes (Hole 18 comes to mind). Be prepared to watch your discs sore for hundreds of feet across the valleys and from the tops of hills down to the very bottom. I never thought I could pin a 600 ft. hole, but this course allowed me to do so. Hole 18 is just shy of 800ft but is still a legit par 3 because of the ridiculous elevation change.
The views were also incredible. You honestly feel like you have left the regular world and entered into a new land where the only things that matter in life are chains, discs, trees, and wildlife. Coming up to one of the pins a red tail hawk surprised me by jumping out of a giant oak that stretches out over the basket. Made me want to move my Chicago apartment to that exact spot.
Cons: I lost one of my favorite discs in the woods on one of the shorter holes. When I went digging to find it I was destroyed by all the burning nettles on the forest floor. My legs then burned for the remainder of my round. If you're playing a 90+ degree day like I was, jeans are not an option so just be aware of all the nettles in the forest outside of the narrow lanes. Solution: just throw a putter in the woods, it's not worth the burn.
Other Thoughts: After playing my round I went inside to talk to the owner (She offered a hose to take care of the nettles) and I could not stop raving about what an awesome experience their course was to play. She mentioned that the founders of this website had come to play it a few weeks prior and also said the same thing, but commented that there are so few reviews. Moral of the story, if you play this course, REVIEW IT and RATE IT. The owners have certainly put together an amazing disc haven so give them the credit of sharing your experience with the public. This course is a must play for any serious disc golfer that has the opportunity.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 11 Not
Pros: Super technical course with amazing views everywhere you turn. Despite being 3 hours from where I live I am already anxiously waiting for the next time I can make it out there. The couple that runs it are the nicest people you will meet! A must play for anyone who considers themselves a disc golfer!
Cons: None, I seriously couldnt find anything wrong with this course
2 of 13 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 12 Not
first time player
Pros: long tees, great pin placements, great staff, all around a freaking great expieiecne! played my tourney there and just had the best time at both big bro and classic. ill be very very soon
Cons: short tees need some of concrete.
Other Thoughts: a top 10 in my book
1 of 13 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 2 Not
Big Brother is an AMAZING BEAST.
Pros: Big Brother is a BEAST!!!! It is an amazing compliment to the Classic course and the name says it all. Everything is bigger on this course, the elevation changes, roll away pin placements, hole length, more wooded shots, tighter fairways, more twists and turns, bigger views of the country side and way more fun. If you think you got a good work out on the classic course think again. This course will test every aspect of your game and your physical fitness. Everything that is good about the classic is made great by the big brother. The course has much better balance between open and wooded holes and is nowhere near repetitive. The course is 3.5 miles long so get ready for a long round and lots of walking. This is the definition of a champion caliber course. You will need every shot you know to navigate this challenging, punishing monster of a course. The design on this course is the best that I have ever seen and scoring par feels like getting an ace on some of the holes. Most if not all of the greens will punish you for a missed putt (this course has the best green design I have ever seen also). If the green isn't tightly guarded by trees there will be a big chance of a roll away and many greens have both. Anyone who can shot under par here is a master of the game.(The best score osn this course is -2 or -3)
-Great use of elevation that comes into play on all of the 18 holes. This is the best part of this course for sure.
-Nice concrete tee pads with two (most of the shorts tees are just 4x4 kickers) positions on every hole.
-Adequate signage with hole number, distance and layout.
- Risky roll away pin positions that will make you think about laying up on almost every hole.
-This course is a great workout (bring water and food) it will be a long round.
-The wooded holes are masterfully designed and have lots of different options with great risk and reward.
-The course has great flow and you are never backtracking but there are some long distances in between holes.
-Great variety of shot types Hyzers, Anhyzers, up, down, cross hill, hill to hill, wooded, open, driving into and out of woods, snake like fairways, everything that makes a course great.
-The course is a champion caliber course so if you're not ready play the classic. That being said if you don't care about your score and just want to throw a lot of plastic while enjoying a great hike with awesome views this course can be fun for anyone.
-Every hole is different you will never fell like you just played this hole a few minutes ago.
-The fairways are well maintained and players will be punished for going in the rough on most of the holes.
-This is the hardest course I have ever played.
-They offer a few disc to buy in the clubhouse.
-The owners are awesome.
Cons: Very few cons come to mind when I think back to the Big Brother. It is a rugged course and is not for the faint of heart. If you don't like long hikes you will hate this course (this is not a con for me at all). Bring lots of water and some snacks because the round will take at least 2.5 hours probably more like 3 or 4 is you have 2 or more people in your group.
-The rough is ROUGH on many of the holes. Lots of thorns and bramble on the wooded hole and the open holes have tall grass that will not punish you score wise but will make finding your disc a challenge. Wear jeans if the temp allows.
-Some of the wooded holes could use a bit more upkeep in the fairways but with the size and magnitude of this course it is hard to fault it for this. It must take tons of time to keep this course playable. I think that the owners have an incentive in the spring and supply food and lodging for people who want to help with course maintenance.
-It would be nice if they made a few places to stop and take in the scenery that had benches and maybe grills. I think it would be great to have a few chillin spots throughout the course maybe every 6 holes or something. A spot where you could take a break and maybe have a putting basket to throw some putts at while you catch your breath.
-Bugs can be an issue in the summer. You will encounter all kinds of them. Nothing the owners can really do about this one so bring bug spray.
Other Thoughts: This course is going to be my first 5 starů It is so amazing I don't think my review even does it justice. YOU MUST PLAY THIS COURSE IF YOU GET THE CHANCE. I loved everything about it and I will be going back next summer (hopefully I have more time and can play it a few times). If you only have a chance to play one course while at Justin Trails I would go for the Big Brother over the classic because it offers quite a bit more challenge. The $5 pay to play is well worth it because you can play two great courses for the price of one. The area around the course offers lots of other activities such as fishing, camping, hiking, parks and lots more. Warrens Wisconsin is about a half hour away and has a great indoor and outdoor water park for a great price. The scenery is beautiful in this part of Wisconsin and playing here in the fall would be absolutely amazing. I will play this course anytime I get the chance.
16 of 18 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Tough and fun
Pros: This course uses some of the higher country on this property, with even more elevation changes (and more drastic ones) than the original course. The elevation changes are used well to make the course challenging and interesting, with a great mix of uphill and downhill holes, and several risky greens with major roll away possibility. This course plays more in the woods with a nice mix of some more open holes and several tough wooded holes with tricky elevation.
You'll need lots of different shots here, from accurate putter drives through tight wooded lanes to long holes where you'll need to have good shot placement in the wind to stay on the fairway and have a good chance to get there on your upshot. The course felt balanced between left and right turning holes, and had lots of variety so it never felt very repetitive.
The tees and signs are great, as on the original course, with nice concrete pads and informative signs. There are some longer walks between holes, but they are well enough marked that it's easy to follow this course and it gives you a chance to enjoy the pretty forest and the great views from some of the open holes on top of the hill. The baskets are in good shape, and there was no trash or vandalism here.
Cons: This course felt a little neglected, and as though it doesn't get nearly as much play as the original course. Many of the wooded holes were starting to grow over with ferns and bushes, and the paths between holes are starting to disappear into the underbrush. There are some places where the sign doesn't quite show you where to throw, so you'll need to do some extra walking your first time through.
I'm never a fan of tall grass rough, though it's not too overdone here that it really bothers me. The wooded holes have great risk/reward and will almost always cost you at least a stroke for an errant drive, but the open holes won't, they just will cost you time, possibly plastic, and maybe a little blood in some areas.
Other Thoughts: This is definitely the course on this property to play if you only have time for one, it's fun and challenging with a ton of variety. I would recommend a stop if you're anywhere near, especially with a second pretty good course on site. This one might be a little much for most newer players, but more experienced throwers will find themselves tested here. The atmosphere is even nicer on this course as it feels more remote and secluded.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 2 Not
Love This Course
Pros: -It's located out in the hills...complete isolation...no noise other than nature.
-Beautiful scenery...and views from the top: i think holes 14-18 have some good ones.
-Fun, challenging, and long long holes.
Cons: Holes 8-12 (or something, I'm really not sure)
are all on a ridge of a bluff with drops to the left and the right, thin thin lanes to shoot through. I went at the end of summer and it was buggy and weedy and hot. There were a couple of these holes that weren't really playable because the trees were everywhere, it left nowhere to thrown even from the tee...it was a putt, putt, putt to the pin type of hole.
Other Thoughts: Hole 18 was awesome...peaking out of a little tunnel on the top of a hill looking way down then out in front, way out you barely see the pin. I launched my Valkyrie hard and low...and of course with the elevation change that low show quickly became a high one...but it stayed straight, then turned over...eventually floating in nicely 20 feet from the pin...best drive of my life i think (its a far far hole and down a steep hill) What can I say...I love this course. It's a half-hour away from where I live now and totally worth the small travel.
It's worth it to drive an hour...I took 2 friends from Winona here...took us 55 mins, but totally worth it...MAKE SURE to plan a lot of time to spend, IE: go early, leave when it gets dark.
TAKES TIME...i think we spent 4 hours or so on Big Brother. We stopped every once and a while and had to look for discs, but we went casually. worth it, so fun, can't wait for more.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Mean Big brother
Pros: If what they wanted to do is compliment the classic course, they sure did. The Classic is a great fun course to rack up some birdies and get warmed up. While playing the classic, look up on the hill and wave to Big Brother because he is up there laughing at you.
It starts out punching you in the gut right away on hole #1. The corn was down when I played it and can't even imagine how difficult it must be with 8 ft tall corn to contend with. But what a great hole. It gets you over to the area where the course really begins. Hills, tight coridoors, breathtaking vistas, long par 4's (5's for me my god), and very well groomed. Don and Donna (owners) were very nice people and have what every disc golfer wants, a disc golf haven.
If you never had a big brother growing up and never got picked on, here's your chance.
I gave it a 5 for the reasons listed above, but more so for the "out of the box" design. It is clear to that the main point was to build a hard course. But what I liked, in kicking your butt, you got a tour of this awesome parcel of land. You feel so far out of the daily grind you forget about the 7 you took on hole 1.
I am planning a weekend trip with wife and kids once the leaves change. JT in the Fall has to be unreal.
One of the reviews prior mentioned the huge branch that is growning sideways across the fairway. It's holes like that, that take advantage of the nautrual structures that make JT special. One hole is this BOMB across a huge valley, the pin is under a GIANToak tree purched at the top of the sculpted ravine.
This is what disc golf is all about.
Cons: I'm in my mid 40's and this course beat me up physically. This is a con on me, not the course. I'm going to seriously work out for the next month with Big bro as inspiration so I can paly atleast two rounds while there. I did have a few of those roll aways that have been mentoined. The course is hard enough, not sure they need to have the pins on those side slopes. I worked my butt off to get to the pin and I find it punching me again.
Other Thoughts: If you enjoy all the challeges that discn has to offer, JT is a must play. If you like disc golf road trips, this place should be right near the top. Rent a cabin and make a weekend out of it. I know I am!
Thank you Don and Donna!
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
25 Helpful / 0 Not
Perfect Counterpoint to Classic
Pros: The name "Big Brother" is really fitting, since that's what this is: a bigger, uglier and meaner version of the classic course. It has more of everything: more wooded holes, more technical shots, tighter tunnels, more difficult pin placements, longer holes, more elevation changes, the list goes on and on.
The concrete tee pad, signage, and flow on this course is up to the same standards as the Classic course, and better in some ways. The front of the short (dirt) tee on every hole is marked with a white pole, and a section of log painted yellow, at a location marked on the tee maps, and easy to spot as you walk the hole. Like classic course, baskets in great shape, double layer of chains on all. Lots of work went into carving these holes and making them playable, without overgrooming them and ruining the challenge of the tightly wooded tunnels. Just right.
This course is much less forgiving than the Rec course, with more specific efforts made to crank up the difficulty level. To contrast, many of the tight tunnel shots on the Classic course have only a single line of trees on one side separating the fairway from an open field. Thus, if you shank through the trees on that side, your second shot isnt really bad at all. In Big Brother, the tightly wooded holes have thick woods on both sides, and a downward slope through the woods on at least one side. Now instead of an open field, errant shots are punished with rollaways through the trees, and tough escape shots to recover.
Big Bro is bursting at the seams with creative holes and basket placements. It has an elevated basket, mounted to the top of a large stump. It has many steep, long hills for your disc to roll down. It will force you to make decisions off the tee box, and missed putts are often a two stroke swing, thanks to rollaways and tightly guarded pins: in the woods protected by trees, in the open protected by brutal winds. One hole has a giant tree branch growing sideways all the way across the fairway, about 8 ft off the ground, that you must navigate over or under to reach a blind downhill basket hidden in the woods off the side of the fairway. This course will really stretch you.
This course has the most overall elevation in play I've ever seen on such a wooded course. Some mountain courses like Whistler DGC in Canada have more drastic elevation changes on some shots, and many courses have more woods, but this course combines uniquely shaped terrain with tight, tight woods, AND distance, for a challenging and fun experience. Its Spring Valley DGC set on rolling hills. It's a better-maintained, longer Kaposia. It does with elevation what Blue Ribbon Pines does with trees. This course has some of the hardest and most interesting open holes I've ever played. Usually I'm not a fan of wide open holes, but the elevation changes and wind here really add to the challenge and make even the open holes anything but vanilla.
Some courses just make the holes really long, and call themselves championship courses, but one of the great things about Big Brother is that its both long and very technical. Every hole throws several things at you, usually in all arenas, from the moment you tee off to the moment the disc settles in the bottom of the chains (and you breathe a sigh of relief).
Though this is the hardest and longest course I have ever played, and I only managed pars on three holes after two consecutive rounds, I really enjoyed playing this course, and would not hesitate to go back. The course design is so devilishly clever down to the minute details, and it shows. The locals I played with were quite good, and the course found countless different ways to punish every one of us throughout the round, even the ones who scored well.
Some courses are not that fun to play, and you might score poorly on them without the course being all that creative or hard: maybe just impossibly wooded, stupidly long, or poorly designed. Some courses are very difficult, yet probably not that fun for people who throw less than 400ft. Most courses fall into the fairly easy to reasonably challenging range, and are fun for average players, yet the scratch local players will go around parking every hole for scores like -12 or -16. Big Brother manages to be a truly difficult championship course, yet still fun for average joes like me. The course record on Big Brother currently stands at one under par, after over a year in the ground and several tournaments. Courses like this are the future of the sport.
There is no filler on this course, and the variety of holes here, from extremely wooded to open, is much more than I have experienced on anywhere else. It will challenge you and get you to think about your game in so many ways. For me, this course was an excellent workshop from start to finish, making it abundantly clear what areas of my game I need to improve upon. And I loved every minute of it.
If you are ever remotely near this course, unless you're a beginner, no excuses, this is a MUST PLAY. Better yet, pack a lunch and set aside a day to play this course several times. The experience will blow your mind.
This course has several hilltop views that are just stunning. It feels like you can see all of Wisconsin from up there.
Cons: Disclaimer: 18 holes on big Brother = 27 holes on most courses.
When you come to play this course, BE READY to:
1) Throw for max distance 24+ times (if you're a regular guy like me who only drives 270-300)
2) Walk about 3 miles, up and down several hills, through the woods
3) Spend 3+ hours playing disc golf. (maye 2.5 if you speed golf the whole thing)
This course has a few, small flaws, cons, etc. I'm forced to nitpick here, because frankly, there isn't a lot to find "wrong" with this course, other than its difficult, which should be expected, since it is, truly, a championship course.
One thing completely absent from this course is water. However, there are so many steep slopes that discs can roll down, it basically accomplished the same thing with the implicit penalty of requiring one or more escape shots to get back to the fairway, in place of the explicit penalty of dropping one in the drink. You cant use ponds that aren't there. That being said, on hole 12, 40 ft past the basket, there is a small pond. Hole 12 is a great hole, very deceptive because it looks easy and fairly open, but the moderate downhill slope and wind wreak havoc once you get near the pin. That being said, it would've been nice to have a least one water hazard on this course that has everything else.
Also, some of the more closely guarded blind baskets might benefit from having a 10ft stick shoved into the top of them. That way, when you putt blind, you at least know where to aim. Without a spotter to direct you, it can get tough.
I personally prefer wooded holes over more open holes, but the open holes on this course are so good I cant really complain. Anyways there are plenty of woods on this course.
Other Thoughts: Bring long pants, good hiking shoes, at least two bottles of water, and something to eat when you play this course. I agree totally with previous reviews: If you are not ready for hard disc golf, play the Classic course. If you are up for a challenge, put your man pants on and tee off. The first hole is over 1000ft. Good luck.
What makes a course "The Best of the Best"? In my limited experience, Water, trees and Elevation are the three things that make courses more challenging and fun. Thinking about it, just because a course is among the best does not make it perfect. Not every course will have all three of these things in large amounts, but the ones it does have should be used well and in interesting ways. Neither of the courses I've rated 5's so far, Big Brother and Blue Ribbon Pines, are "perfect".
BRP has very little elevation change, but it more than makes up for it with skillful use of tightly wooded shots, multiple water hazards, and immaculate course maintenance in a beautiful setting.
Big Brother has no water, but again, makes up for it by cleverly mixing oodles of elevation and tight woods together with some epic hilltop views for a challenging and unique experience. So there you are, this course, like the other great courses I've seen, plays to its strengths for a uniquely challenging and fun experience.
25 of 25 people found this review helpful.
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