This could be the best course you've never heard of
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Friends of Punderson is the most underrated course I have played, both in terms of its rating and in the recognition (or lack thereof) that it receives on here. It is always enjoyable when a course far exceeds your expectations - that is exactly what happened when I played here. The course is located in a big, beautiful state park that is filled with many other activities. This is definitely a place you could spend all weekend at.
This section of the park is fully dedicated to disc golf, so the course has a very enjoyable, peaceful ambience to it. If you like playing courses that make you feel in the middle of nowhere and are distraction free, this is your course. It is also evident that a ton of care has gone into the course, as it has a practice basket, course map, bulletin board, and a porta-potty near the first tee and is very well groomed.
It has three enormous concrete tees on every hole. The tees do a great job of changing up the hole and providing different levels of difficulty. The red tees (comparatively) offer more simple shots, the white tees are very hard but still allow for some birdie opportunities, and the blue tees look just insane. The Mach 3 baskets are in great shape and there are even a few holes that offer multiple permanent pin positions.
This is definitely a thinking man's course. If you enjoy having to really think about every shot you take, this is the course for you. Because the lines are so unforgiving, placement is important on your drive, upshot, approach, etc. in a way that few courses can match. Holes like 2, 4, 11, and 16 are prime examples of these unforgiving lines, whether its hitting a turn-over shot through a super tight gap, avoiding the O.B. that winds around the entire hole, or hitting a crazy sharp dogleg while risking the possibility of fading back into the water. The luck factor is pretty much cut out completely here.
Elevation and water are often present and do a great job of making the course more appealing. There are no jaw-dropping downhill or water-carry holes, but it definitely is present in a fun, exciting, and technical way. There are some great downhill shots like on 1, 6, 11, and 15 that look completely different from each other and challenge different skills, while the water holes all felt completely different as well.
Which brings me to another great quality about Punderson - it has an awesome variety of shots and holes within this heavily wooded setting. There is a nice distribution of pars and hole lengths, even more so when you account for the different tee and pin positions. You really will use many different discs in your bag.
There are a lot of navigational aids that are very helpful in pointing you to the respective tee.
Cons: None of these cons are major detractors, but they did hurt the course in small ways:
One thing that makes this course so great is the high level of technicality that it has on every single hole. While each hole has been thoughtfully designed, most of them are very line-specific. It would have been nice to have played a few more holes that allowed the player to be creative and have multiple lanes to choose from.
It wasn't a big deal, but the navigation could be a little better in a few spots. Navigating to 4 and 15 can be a little confusing since you cross near holes 9 and 1.
This course truly has great variety within its wooded setting, but it is in this same setting the entire time. It'd add to the course's appeal if there were some more different types of holes.
Because the holes were often very narrow, long, and complex, I had to scout where the basket was before I played the hole a good bit, adding to the time it takes to play.
Rough wasn't present on every hole, but when it was present it was pretty nasty.
Other Thoughts: I've only played about ten courses around the top 25, so I can't say for sure, but I truly think that this course is on that high of a level and deserves to be in the conversation. I think it has more consistency and is better designed than a few of the other top courses I have played. This is also a course that I would love to see the pros play as it tests and rewards extreme accuracy and which allow for some nice score separation.
I encourage you to go out of your way to check this course out. It truly has the makings of a top course.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
A Top Tier Course You've Never Heard Of
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Friends of Punderson is a course-bagger's dream: that top-tier, well-groomed, challenging gem that you've never heard of. I knew little about the course entering my round, and left truly impressed. There is a ton to like here.
The course plays entirely through the woods, integrating the lake at several points, providing some scary approaches, a risky over-the-water route or two, and a few mid-fairway OBs. There are several signature-quality par 4s that demand an exhausting degree of precision from drive to putt, as well as many lengthy, challenging par 3s from the blues and whites. Birdie runs are in the minority here, and even these are technical enough to go wrong fast, with OB, elevation, and numerous fairway and pin-guarding trees. There isn't a true gimme hole at Punderson, and even breathers are hard to come by.
Punderson forced me to play it safe in a way that few courses ever have. The lines are so specific and so demanding that throwing a safer, more controllable shot was almost always was the wiser decision. A near-perfect shot isn't always good enough, and while sometimes that demand is to Punderson's detriment, it's nevertheless a defining characteristic that I can appreciate. The lines and landing zones are generally well thought out and extremely varied, which keeps things fresh.
The tees are fantastic: three sets of large, level concrete tees on all 18 are in at this point, with all three offering a challenging round. Duel pins on several holes allow you a much-needed say in controlling the challenge. Signage is great and helps with navigation: there are a few quirky spots (such as how the back 9 loops back to cross behind 1's tee), but it's all easy if you grab a map at the helpful information kiosk at the course's entrance. Practice basket with marked distances is a nice plus. Parking is prevalent, and a portapotty is nearby.
Grooming is *extremely* well done. This course is carved completely out of the woods, and a ton of effort has clearly been put into cleaning up fairway and rough alike. While there are still some spots where your disc can be swallowed, these are minimized relative to the thick woods the course plays through. Lots of nice touches marking pathways and fairways.
Cons: Punderson is probably the first course I've ever played that I really thought a slight widening of fairways at points would go a long way towards improving the course. It's always a fine line between demanding and lucky, and that line varies between players, but there are some shots here that if slightly widened or trimmed would maintain all of their challenge and lose a lot of their luck factor. Many are just so particular and so intensive in their combination of angle, window, elevation, and landing zone that they punish anything less than perfect execution. The result is that aggressive play is discouraged, since the odds of something going wrong far outweigh the potential benefits. This detracts from the mental game and gives the course a claustrophobic feel that it doesn't always benefit from. It also deters you from attempting some really interesting shots in the name of preserving your round.
An ideal version of this course would for me do a better job of more evenly changing up its pace. The first eight are all extremely demanding and focus on long, multistage holes. The easier change-of-paces begin to appear starting at hole 9. One or two birdieable par 3s earlier in the course would go a long way towards mixing things up. Hole 4 has the distance to be one, but its unnerving OB and tree-studded fairway prevent it from serving as such. The change of pace is there; I just wish it was better distributed.
The challenge found on even the red tees makes this a pretty beginner-unfriendly course. That's not a huge con; it just limits Punderson's appeal a bit.
Other Thoughts: Friends of Punderson is a fantastic wooded monster-type course that doesn't get talked about enough. It stands with the best in the region, on par with stalwarts such as Moraine, Deer Lakes, and Orange Crush in character and sophistication. I was really taken aback with how great this course was, and nixed plans to play elsewhere during my travels that day in order to take in another round. The low rating on here is clearly a product of an earlier stage in the course's development. Don't let it deter you.
I do think the cons I mentioned keep Punderson from being truly elite, but it's close enough to be unable to call. I'd encourage you to make the trip and see for yourself.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
A Technical Gem
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: +Baskets: Nice Mach III's, multiple baskets on four holes (9,12,14,15), alternate pin locations on a few holes (4, 11, and 17).
+Tees & Pads: Three sets of concrete tees, all have tee color and distance on a brick embedded in the pad. The whites just recently got poured.
+Memorable Holes: This place is packed with memorable holes.
+Challenge: This course takes the term "technical" to a new level.
+Scenery/Terrain: There are some really nice views of the lake. Nice use of elevation throughout the course.
+Misc: There are garbage cans and benches around the course.
Cons: -Navigation: There are a couple holes that could present navigation problems, but with signs and a map you should be okay. Not a major con by any means.
-Bugs and Mud: The course can get pretty buggy. There seems to have been a lot of effort put towards drainage control, but there are still some spots that get pretty muddy. It's mostly just the nature of the land.
Other Thoughts: I've played Punderson on two occasions. Once as part of a birdie bash and for a three round tournament. The whole course is a very challenging technical course. About half of the holes give nice scenic views of the nearby lake with four holes presenting a water hazard risk. Since it is such a technical course there are a lot of risk/reward options available. A couple good throws can build you up and one bad throw can bring you crashing down.
Almost every hole here is memorable in some way. Some of the highlights for me were 4, 8, 10, 15, and 18.
Hole 4 presents a lot of OB to simulate an island green. I think I'm just a sucker for this type of challenge. It can be a nice easy birdie, but it can be a bogey just as easily.
Hole 8 has elevated tees that look out towards the lake and requires a long sweeping anhyzer shot.
Hole 10 give a look that just begs you to attempt a throw down the neatly lined pines.
Hole 15 is among the most challenging holes I've played. It takes a straight, downhill drive to get into a good position and have a look at the baskets. Oh by the way, there's the lake at the bottom of the hill and all along the left side of the fairway up to the baskets.
Hole 18 is a beast of a hole. It demands pinpoint accuracy and a big arm. It would be tough without trees in the middle of the fairway, but they are there just waiting to send your disc shooting off into the rough.
The course is still being tweaked in some places and it seems that the people who work on it are always looking to improve. As it is, the course is worth the trip. Make a day, or camping trip, out of it. The park offers several other ways for the whole family to have a fun!
If you're a fan of wooded courses: go to Punderson. You can take your drivers, but you may just end up leaving them in your bag. There is a great range of challenge with the easiest being the reds to shorts. It's a beginners set up but beginners might not feel too welcome. If you think you've got a stellar technical game, step up to the blues and play to the longs, only the best will score well here.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
A Technical Challenge
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: An overview:
I have played "Pundi" well over 50 times since its inception. This review is for the blues tees to all long baskets. There are five holes that have two baskets: 9, 12, 14, 15 & 18. (18 second basket fairway is not complete) I played each stage as it has evolved into a technical championship course. It was carved out of a heavy forested rolling terrain. There is a nice lake seen by many holes with only two risky shots on 1, 3 and 15.The course in not finished. It will take a few years to break in the new holes.
It is a very scenic setting with rolling hills, water, heavy forest and only car noise on the back few holes. This course is road worthy. It will test the best players on every hole. The second shot has to be a solid as the first or it will be difficult to par on most of the holes. It is a long course. Expect to play 2-3 hours the first time through. You will be tired when done. Most of the holes are tight fairways. Most of them are fair but brutal if you miss early. Even with a good drive, many times the disc hops of line a little. If it doesn't, your setup to make another difficult shot.
1 - having played over 1000 holes, there is none like this one. It is not the best but very unique and tricky. (through something flippy and slow of the tee)
2 - second shot is harder than the 1st, birds can be made on the par 4. Rumor is they want to put a long basket on the island adjacent to the pin. ( about 100 feet over water)
4 - very scenic but not signature quality
8 - which I hate but its awesome down hill with the lake in sight
12 - if you don't mind throwing up hill over 300' the second or third shot it a stunning, narrow, fading hole the the long.
15 - down hill around a tough bend, water invites a backhand approach to a difficult to reach long basket.
18 - reminds me on hole 6 (I think) of Morraine. I am not liking the second shot though.
Cons: There is not really any shots to air it out without risk of losing a disc to the forest on every shot. This is not a fault of the designer. It is the lay of the land. Yet, there are many areas that need to be worked in.
My only issue is there should be a few trees removed on several holes. This would allow stronger arms to shave a few strokes and it wiould increase the pleasure and rating.
Other Thoughts: If you can through a controlled drive 300 - 350', you can score here. If you have a big gun, your not going to have a chance to show it. Your approach shot has to be good. A forehand comes in handy. You must be able to through 200' where you want it. If not, play the reds. They are fun with good challenge on half the holes.
In my rating the course is a 4. It really is a 3.75 because its not complete but I know it will be in the next couple years.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: -Big championship style course
-Great hole designs
- Awesome elevation changes hole to hole
-Very large tee pads
-Pars and distances stamped into the tee pads
-A few holes with alternate pins
-Very accurate tee signs
-OB's are clearly defines
-plays pretty well during wet conditions
-Benches and trash cans all over the course
-Very scenic along the lake
Cons: - Some white tee pads were still being worked on but still playable
-Parking lot is kind of small but didn't have any issues
-A few bugs but thats nature
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: -fun and challenging course
Cons: -better restroom facilities
-more trash recepticles
Other Thoughts: Taking into account that this course is a work-in-progress, would like to see some secondary lanes widened and cleared and some greens cut back.
When this course has all its amenities such as restrooms, benches and trash cans in place, and the fairways and white tees are complete, it will be a great disc golfing experience.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
An Addicting Challenge!
Pros: This course is a wooded technical romp through beautiful state park grounds complete with mature hardwoods, a pond, multiple tee-pads for each hole, and tournament ready play.
The Reds are themselves rather technical and challenging. With only a sprinkling of gimmie-ish birdies (4,10,11,13,17), the course is primarily made up of great number of tough but fair par 3's which make for solid, feel good, deuces. The layout flows nicely from hole to hole. Three difficult par 4's add some variety.
The Blue layout is par 69 and a fun, fair test for any ambitious golfer. By far the defining type of hole for this layout is a par 4 from 450-600 feet (1,2,3,5,6,10,16). These par 4's twist and wind all different directions and require a good variety of shots off the tee. Many of the holes offer you a chance to match or advance the position you would start at from the Red's (with an extra stroke added to par of course). There is a fair degree of risk reward as many birdies require two great shots, while on the other hand one can assure a par or at worst a bogie by playing more conservatively. This layout also offers some very demanding par 3's and three very legitimate par 5's. The Blue pads here at Punderson are a wicked, yet sweet test of disc golf and makes me glad to visit the area.
Both layouts highlight land which is highly accommodating for disc golf, both in terms of variety and interest, as well as accessibility.
Cons: The Red layout has some virtually un-twoable mini par 4's (but labeled as threes: (7,14,15 short, 18). Also I would say that as the Red layout stands now it is more challenging than a traditional Red layout. The SSE estimate for this layout on this site (46?) does this layout no justice as I would estimate the SSA to be closer to 52 (par 57). I do see this likely softening some over time though so it is not a huge knock for me.
There is still a lot of Poison Ivy on the final four hole loop which to me is the biggest con of the course.
Other Thoughts: As of this review the front (Red), and back (Blue) pads have been poured (no middle pads). Earlier in the summer when playing here only the Red were in so it is great to see some quick progress.
This course has some big walks between holes as well as many long holes depending on the layout you play. Grab a map and watch for the bright green signs so the layout is easy to navigate.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Friends of Punderson
Pros: - Chutes through the trees bending left and right
- not too muddy under wet weather
- multiple tee pads
- can get a variety of lengths with the varied tee pads
- uphill, flat, and downhill holes
- good signs for each hole, distance labeled on tee pad, and signs to next tee, easy to navigate course
- benches every few holes.
Cons: - most holes are tree chutes, could use more variety. (I prefer the tree chutes to short open courses)
Other Thoughts: Course was in good shape even in the rain after a couple of days of rain.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: -Very challenging woods course
-Wide variety of wood landscape
-Hole to Hole navigation was well laid out and easy to follow
Cons: -They're adding 3 new holes as of July 2012 and they were confusing to find the different tee boxes
-Some parts of the woods are too thick; lost a disc in the thicket
-Not very forgiving in some areas with trees and thick, tall grass
-White tees are not paved; Red and Blue are.
-Tripped over many stumps. Need to be trimmed down all the way
Other Thoughts: I was not very fond of this course. Firstly, I would highly not reccomend this course for either a beginner or early intermediate player. The course is primarily if not all woods, and good aim is a must have.
They are attempting to add 3 new holes which is very nice, but as of July 2012 they didn't not have Red, White, and Blue tees on all of the holes.
Also be cautious of the number of stumps that are about 8 inches off the ground; I tripped multiple times.
But overall, if they were to clear out some of the thicket and widen some of the holes, I would go back to play again.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 2 Not
-Large Tee Pads
-Free to play
-Pretty clean compared to other local courses
-Large Secluded Course - you don't have to worry about running into picnickers, hikers, or bystanders like at Sims or Lakeshore Park
-Needs more parking
-Needs better restroom facility
-Lake will eat your discs (Lake has Leeches) LOL
-White Tee Pads not complete
Other Thoughts: Course is looking great and much has changed since my last review. My only recommendation at this point would be to try it out. I haven't heard anyone complain about this course lately unless they don't like trees... They are still working on some of the tee boxes and grooming the course. Wooded uphill and downhill shots, several lake shots. Other cons I've overheard were that the layout is a bit confusing with longer walks between holes. Poison ivy still prevalent in some areas. Not a beginners course in my opinion but lots of fun to play.
Winter play is fun, but lots of deep snow, can get wet and sloppy with a thaw.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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