11 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The Toboggan is an absolute beast that plays 8,823 feet. The par is 62. There are seven par 4's and one par 5. This is modern day golf designed for Gold Level play. Just as the name states the tobaggan run comes into play on holes 1, 2, 3, & 18. There is great elevation all over the course. Many holes have open and longer fairways with tall grass. There are many holes that force a line and have a gap to hit. Many have some nasty thick rough and woods to get in trouble. This course will test every shot in your bag. The area is very beautiful and the course is isolated to just disc golf.
Discraft makes awesome tee signs for this course.
Great brand new Discraft Chainstars.
Hole #1 starts off with a boom. 477 feet playing downhill. Very reachable for most skilled players.
Hole #2 is a beast playing back up the Toboggan. It's a par 5 and takes 3 awesome shots to get a birdie. Thick woods line most of the fairway.
Hole #3 is another crusher down the toboggan. Bigger arms will have a great shot of getting a 3 on this 900+foot par 4.
The rest of the course has a great variety.
The green on #17 is elevated and small.
Finally, after taking a beating you have to mash a shot up the toboggan to finish. It's a fun type of pain!!!
Cons: It's too bad this course isn't permanent. The rubber tees will have to do since this course is only open a month or so. Go play it!
Make a day of it. Play the Black Locust too!
Navigation and flow is pretty solid. The first time thru might be frustrating because the course is long and pins are blind. To really enjoy this course play it several times. Have some patience. Take a map!!!
Playing with a friend and spotting for each other will help the fun factor. Be prepared to look for discs if you are throwing by yourself. The rough and blind shots can get you.
I would play it the day after the USADGC. The course is mowed and always looks fantastic. The rough will be beat down a bit from all the play.
If you get a chance to play Am Nationals do so. It's the best amateur tournament that I played.
You can find more information on the course here.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 1 Not
"Ken...sing...ton," My Final Dying Words, Revealed To Be a Toboggan
Pros: 1. Variety. While Toboggan falls into the "lightly wooded" category (and that's a generous classification), you'll be required to demonstrate mastery of nearly every shot type in any serious golfer's repertoire. Big downhill RHBH anhyzers on #1 and #3, massive straight uphill holes like #2 and #13, HUGE risk/reward holes like hitting the gap on #16 or punching through wooded tunnels on #7 and #15, and plenty of reachable pins if you know how to select the proper discs and execute your shots. There is also a premium on landing zones out here with several Par 4s and a Par 5 (it's a Par 62 for 18 holes!), emphasizing the "it's all about the second shot" mentality if you land where the designers intend (#7 was a terrific example of this). Aside from shot placement, the other big factors out here are the spectacular elevation changes and wind, and when you're dealing with both on a hole, you're in for some awesome disc flights or some severe punishment (my round suffered more from the latter).
2. Maintenance. In general, the upkeep out here is phenomenal. The fairways were mowed (lined with the dreaded tall grass), litter wasn't a problem, and paths made finding the next tee pretty intuitive. The big red/white/blue and "DGC" design on #1 and #17 were a really cool touch! The modest fee to enter the park ($5) and the disc golf fee ($2) are put to good use out here (although I never did manage to find a place to pay my $2 since I skipped past Black Locust, limited on time and wanting to attack this course more than anything…if Discraft or USADGC staff see this review and would like my money, I will happily PayPal you!).
3. Baskets. Chainstars seem to be the standard on a lot of Michigan courses, and I really grew accustomed to them in my several days playing courses around the state, though they took a little getting used to. These ones caught really well and were in great shape, and the "ching" on these targets have a certain sound that's unlike the Machs or DISCatchers I'm used to playing on. I guess even variety in the holing-out sound is a pro!
4. Signage. Temporary like the rest of the course, but very colorful laminated placards showing hole number, a rough layout of the hole, distance, and par, all superimposed on Discraft/USADGC logos. Neat, simple, and effective…and that's all one really needs.
5. Challenge. I typically include the caliber of a course under my "variety" section, but this course is so unique and so championship-quality that it deserves a special mention. Comparable to Highbridge Gold (a Par 68) in terms of difficulty, but quite obviously in a class of its own. What sets this course above most all others, for me, can best be described anecdotally: On #17, I experienced a mental game like never before…stepping up to the tee, you see the pin nearly 800' away tucked up on a cool hill, and the mowed right-to-left fairway surrounded by tall grass suggests where one ought to land (I'm sure big arms can clear this turn in the fairway and land fairly close to the hill)…like in a chess game, I tried to plan not only my tee shot (with a Buzzz) but my second (with a Blizzard Boss) and third as well (it was clear that taking a 4 here would be quite the accomplishment at my skillset)! Any hole that can force a player to mentally "pre-play" the hole is not only unique, but resembles our cousin, ball golf, more than most bolfers would care to admit. As disc technology progresses, I predict more golf-like holes like this popping up on permanent courses.
6. Amenities. Immaculate restrooms off the parking lot. I wouldn't eat off the floors, but I was blown away by the condition of the pissers, especially in a large heavily used park like Kensington. Trash receptacles and benches were present in several areas as well.
7. Navigation. Tricky in some areas (see Cons), but mowed paths lead the way to the next tee, and the dirt tees are easily spotted in the open areas.
Cons: 1. Tees. Rubber mats are only put in immediately before Am Nats; if you play here before or after, you'll experience sandy dirt tees with no strictly defined tee boundaries (not like I'm calling foot faults during casual play!). While I understand the need to keep work out here focused on the big event, I don't think putting the rubber down a bit early would be a huge inconvenience, especially if qualifiers are still held here in the week or so before the tourney.
2. Navigation. The staff at the booth seemed to only be aware of the Black Locust course, so I drove to that area to get some better directions, only to encounter players who seemed to react to the word "Toboggan" like I'd asked if they knew where the nearest place to buy black market human organs was. No, I'm not that good of a golfer, but I thought it was hilarious to see their wide-eyed replies, which were about as vague as what I'd gotten at the entrance booth. Driving through the park and starting to worry that maybe I'd been misinformed about the course being in the ground already, I eventually saw signs for "sledding hills" and knew I was on the right track (and to digress here - I have never seen sledding hills ranked by difficulty like out here! I thought you just plopped your butt on a saucer or toboggan and let gravity take over. Do they have a Sledding Am Nats here in the winter?). Finding the tee for #1 was a bit tricky as it seemed nobody was playing the course when I was there (it had been raining), but after finding the tee for #3 and the basket for #2 and seeing a group hole out on #18, logical thinking and knowledge of course design took over. Some areas on the course itself could benefit from basic directional signage - again, only to make casual rounds flow better.
3. Signage. Several signs were missing, even with the course only having been in for a little over a week, so either chuckers threw them in the woods or someone took them for souvenirs (I admit they'd make cool souvenirs, but I won't resort to theft AND vandalism for my own selfish desires). Some of the hole routes outlined on the sign were pretty vague or exaggerated.
4. Rough. My rating obviously isn't affected by this frustrating feature, but just be aware that you will more than likely be in big trouble if you get off the fairway. I lost my beloved yellow Magic off the tee on #15 in the right rough with a shot that was JUST ABOUT perfect but somewhere on the edge of the fairway, and nearly 30 minutes of searching yielded nothing. The canopy is extremely thick, so discs may never reach the ground in some spots. The long grass rough lining many fairways could probably be kept just a bit shorter to aid in finding "almost" nice shots.
5. Design. There is just a little more bias favoring lefty shots (RHBH anhyzers for me) than I'd like to see on such a generally well-rounded course. Fortunately, the varying distances on these holes keep it from being repetitive.
6. Length. This in itself isn't a con to me, but the basic signage combined with some long blind holes requires a lot of scouting ahead. The scouting required on #8 was actually quite fun (you'll know what I mean when you actually stand on the tee and say, "WTF?!").
Other Thoughts: Playing this course was a fantastic adventure. I almost played it solo, but my sister-in-law's boyfriend offered to tag along since I had expressed a desire for a spotter. He had only played once over a decade ago and hadn't taken much away from his previous experience, but I can tell you that after bringing him here to experience his "real first round ever" will make most courses pale in comparison. This is NOT a beginner course (although he had a blast!) and will frustrate most people lacking experience. I shot a +21 playing the course par (seriously, who plays all 3s on a course like this?), and to put things into perspective, the 2012 USADGC first round leader shot a -5.
The fact that it's temporary may be a con for some folks, but to me it is what it is; indeed, the limited availability makes this feel like a really special disc golf experience (especially since I know I'll never play in the USADGC), and I encourage every serious disc golfer to make the trek here…just make sure you verify that it is in fact in the ground (though if you travel here to find it pulled, you could enjoy Black Locust or many other great courses in the area) before making any lengthy voyage! While some might not feel a 5 is warranted because of the temp nature, dirt tees, untamed rough, or whatever, this is some serious freakin' golf and probably one of my favorite courses ever. I feel privileged to have played it and will definitely make more attempts if I'm out that way in the future (we usually travel to Adrian, MI, around Memorial Day every year, so I'm excited to realize I may be able to make a tradition out of playing here!).
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 13 Not
Pros: Bomber course.
Have to say in the fairway if you want to score well. No BS shots.
Cons: Dirt tee pads.
Not open long enough.
Other Thoughts: I live 5 minutes from the course so play it often.
Best course overall.
1 of 14 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 11 Not
Pros: Outrageous drops, Lengthy holes, forces you to use a variety of shots, very hilly, absolutely incredible. I have played here a few times over the past two years and its amazing how difficult and exciting this course is. This has to be one of the best if not the best course in Michigan. People who dont have a variety of shots or those who have short drives, beware!
0 of 11 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: An amazing course with great shot after great shot, the only course I have played in SE MI with significant elevation changes on most of the holes. To play effectively here (shoot mid-60s or better), you need a minimum 350' drive that can plop down in select landing zones. A thumber is a very nice shot to have, it's so much easier throwing one up a hill vs a backhand or sidearm. If you can accurately throw 400+' and putt a little, the 50s are very attainable. There are no breaks on this course, get ready to grind for the whole round. Even excellent players can throw crappy rounds here by merely being a little off on their drives and getting into the shule. Going into the shule generally means an additional stroke for that hole, sometimes 2. If you throw 350' and under, plan on taking at least a 4 on Holes 2, 3, & 17. If you can't plop a 350' drive down in a very select landing zone, a 4 or worse is likely waiting for you on Holes 6,7, & 15. Potential birdie holes for 350' throwers are 1, 5, 8, 10, 11, 14, and 16 not that any are easy to get because they are not.
Cons: Temporary, wish it were in all summer. Worn dirt pads, slippery when wet.
Other Thoughts: Don't bring a newbie to this course, go over to the Black Locust (in the same park) and play the short tees, those are tough enough for a beginner.
4 of 9 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Simply the greatest disc golf experience I have ever had. Monster elevation changes with one hell of a flow to the entire 18 holes. It will test a wide variety of shots for anyone on any level. I cant say enough about the experience.
Cons: I guess the fact that is temporary. No signs to let you really know where to start. But that takes nothing away from the overall magnificence of this truly amazing course.
Other Thoughts: I will NEVER miss an opportunity to play this beauty every year that it is set up. I just got back from Colorado playing Beaver Ranch at Conifer Park and I thought that was the best course ive ever played until today. Thankfully im a Michigander and will have time to play this several more times in the coming weeks. I would recommend this course to any discer on the planet.
KEEP ON THE FAIRWAYS AT ALL COSTS!!!!
The weeds are extremely tall and discs can easily be passed over. The fairways are amazingly wide. Hole 1 is at the end of the toboggan parking lot down a small hill to the edge of the monster hill tossing down below. You shouldnt have problems from there. ALSO bring plenty of liquids. This course is a workout in itself.
3 of 7 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 4 Not
Jim Kenner's Masterpiece
Other Thoughts: This course is the work of disc golf legend Jim Kenner. He identified this area of Kensington Metropark as "the perfect spot for a disc golf course" well before any of us even picked up a disc. He finally got the park to oblige and install a course in this hand picked area in 2000. Unfortunately it is only in the ground for about three weeks in June.
Jim has pushed the boundary of our sport one more notch to the right with the Toboggan Course. We are no longer throwing lids in the park, far from it in fact. Steady Ed advocated to "Go for an average of 275 feet per hole for Pro tees". Well, the Toboggan goes a bit longer than that. The shortest hole on the course is 280 feet uphill.
"Every shot you throw needs to be aggressive" is what my friend J. Romine says about this course. It is true, you are usually throwing either up or down, through or over foliage from sloped ground. You are constantly off balance. Baskets are usually on sloped ground for roll-away potential.
The Toboggan isn't meant to be a spot for a fun casual round. In fact I have seen many groups of casuals play the fist two holes and take off. This is a course made for the AM Nationals tournament. So far it has been a dream pairing. You can't have AM Nats without the Toboggan and you can't have the Toboggan without AM Nats.
I look forward to the installation every year. It usually is in by Memorial Day and out 1-2 weeks after the tournament.
Thank you Jim.
13 of 17 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 6 Not
- Great use of Elevation.
- Course is easy to navigate and is taken good care of.
- Good selection of shots and challenges despite the park being mostly open air it out shots.
- Good Amenities with bathroom and water fountain area.
- Very Challenging
- Great Locals
The course is seasonal, being set up each year for the Amatuer USDGC. As a result their are no permanent teepads or signs, though they do use rubber pads and set signs up near tourney time.
Other Thoughts: This course is absolutly amazing. The area is beautiful and the course is very demanding. Despite being mainly huge open air shots it still offers a great mixture of shots. Forehand, backhand, overhand, rollers. This course has and offers it all. Highly reccommend this course to anyone that gets the oppurtunity to play it.
8 of 14 people found this review helpful.
Go big or go home!
7 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: HUGE elevation changes. So much fun to bomb down those hills. Super challenging course. Tough par 4's that require good drives and you've got to execute on your 2nd shots to get your birdies. Holes 6 and 7 are as demanding as any holes you'll find. Playing this course is like taking a long hike. Its real exercise. Heavy rough will severely penalize bad shots.
Cons: Not a well-manicured park, but its great for what it is, just don't expect to bomb any roller shots out here. Probably not a course you'll want to go play every day, but its one you'll remember forever if you do play it.
Other Thoughts: A few holes out here I'd change if I had the opportunity. Hole 1 I'd like to be straightened a bit and back farther, so more deuces would be taken. Every tourney round I've played here, most everybody on my card has 3'd the hole. Not alot of deuces, but not tough to 3. Holes 8 and 9 are also too tough to deuce and too easy to par in my opinion. I really think 9 needs to be shortened or lengthened to make it a better hole.
7 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Bring your A game!!
19 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: BIG elevation changes and long, sweeping fairways (average length 490 ft) really emphasize the unique characteristics of your combination of disc choice & throwing style. Disc selection and shot execution are rewarded or punished accordingly.
Spacious rubber tee pads (only present VERY close to tourney time) provide sure footing for drives.
SUPERB shot variety: Long downhill runs, humbling uphills, left and right doglegs, overhands, S-shots - no Ace runs here! Course was designed by and for serious disc golfers. Don't assume Par 3's for everything: a round here can require every disc in your bag, and every shot in your arsenal. You really may need a distance driver, fairway driver, midrange, and putter all on the same hole - even without a bad shot.
Not likely to come across groups or individuals that don't practice proper etiquette. Pretty much only serious golfers are left after the 3rd hole.
Pix simply don't do this place justice. Set on rolling hills, you're often on an elevated tee pad, with well defined, neatly mowed fairways sweeping down and away from you, sometimes back up to an elevated basket. Interesting and unique sight lines make this course worth while for non-golfers or novices to walk along with you, so bring the wife and kids - you'll want to use them as spotters.
If you're tired of the same 'old disc golfing experience, make it a point to play the Toboggan next summer!
Black Locust offers 27 more wonderful holes of DG for the same park entry fee. Plan on taking a whole day to play both.
Cons: The rough truly is ROUGH, and you could make the arguement that the penalty for going off the fairway on some parts of the course is excessive. The threat of losing a disc is very real. If the thought of losing your favorite driver scares you, leave it in your bag. Then again, this course was never intended for casual players. Most of the points below are really advice stemming from this:
- Look discs down, or you WILL spend lots of time searching.
- Recommend playing in groups rather than solo to minimize risk of losing a disc. The more eyes tracking your shot, the better.
- As wide as the fairways are, you can't just bomb it or you can end up in some really thick stuff. Some of the elevated tees are unforgiving: shots that aren't nose down can have a long way to faaaaaade, leaving discs on a nasty lie, or in some deep brush - perhaps never to be seen again.
Course is physically demanding - lots of uphill and downhill walking and hard to find shade for stretches. Suggest being well rested and bring food and water.
Navigation can be tough for first timers. But since it's a temp course, locals make it a point to hit it when it's open, so there's usually someone to help you.
Grass/Dirt tees are really starting to show wear, although not to bad as of date of last update).
Missing a shot over water, too bad there's no water near the course.
Because this is a temp course you need to plan ahead (check http://www.usadgc.com
to see when the Am Nationals will be held any given year).
Loaded with memorable holes: 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 14, 15, 17...there's just something about 6 I really like and you have to see 12 to believe it.
10/12/09 - did not change rating, but I tried to provide more useful info.
Has always been, and will almost certainly remain, a TEMPORARY course. It exists solely for Discraft's hosting of the Am Nationals. I'm not going to downgrade it for not having signs, concrete pads, or similar fixtures - they're simply not feasible here. In my opinion, the fact that it's a temp course (only up for one month of the year) adds to its special flavor, and keeps it from getting run down like neighboring courses. Playing the Toboggan is an event to look forward to and the course always looks great!
The Toboggan is as demanding as disc golf gets: not for casuals, newbies or the faint of heart. It's an experience best shared with others and a course you'll want witnesses for if you get that really great shot off!
The sheer scale of this course means it takes time to play. Scenic layout in a pleasant setting; take your time to appreciate the surroundings and enjoy nature on this one. Last time I played here, I came across some baby raccoons in the base of a hollow tree trunk - not likely on a course with heavier traffic for more months of the year.
I gave this course five discs because I truly believe this is among the very best disc golf experiences a serious player can have - not because I'm local. Even if Idlewild, Highbridge and Flip City are better, the Toboggan belongs in the conversation, which to me means it's among "the best of the best."
19 of 24 people found this review helpful.
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