9 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: [The Complex]- There are presently 5 complete 18-hole courses, with 2 more still being constructed. I like the fact that the courses are designed to be at varying levels of difficulty (hardest-> Gold-Granite-Blueberry-Woodland-Chestnut <-easiest) so if you come and play them all you will have a well-rounded experience of both challenging Žskill-testers and more relaxing, fun rounds. Each course has different colored baskets that correspond to the course's name. The courses are set on an amazing piece of land that is huge and contains many natural features that are ideal for disc golf (open, woods, elevation, and ponds). The land is dedicated purely to disc golf and is so isolated that only disc golfers will be here, and chances are you will have these courses all to yourself. Huge props need to be given to the course designer for placing all the courses where they aren't on top of each other, each has its own character, and individual hole design is very creative and well-done. John, the owner, is very nice and loves to have people come and play. He works extremely hard on the courses and on the facility as a whole.
[The Course]- The Gold course is definitely a Gold Level course. The baskets for this one are the standard yellow band Discatchers. It consists of 18 challenging holes, a lot of it set on land that was a ball golf course. The biggest aspect that makes it harder is its length. There are 2 sets of tees (white-shorter, gold-super long), with the exception of only one tee on a few of the shorter holes. The white tees would still make it the hardest course at Highbridge, and the Gold tees are designed for those blessed with the really big arms. It is more wide open than Blueberry and Granite and the rough was not as thick, but there are still many spots where accuracy is necessary. This course is also more affected by wind as it is on the side of the ridge that faces the lake and it is more exposed to the elements due to being more open.
Some things I personally really liked about Gold: 1) there is a superb mix of alternating between open and wooded holes; 2) not being a long thrower I enjoyed that there were several shorter holes mixed in at just the right time providing for a great contrast from hole to hole; 3) there were a few pond water hazards as well as the unique island green of #16 surrounded by a moat; 4) it is not boring wide open long, but legit par 4/5 style where you have to strategically play your way down each fairway; 5) the views of the scenery are the best on the Gold course; and 6) though designed for gold level players it can still be enjoyable by intermediate players.
Cons: [The Course]- The only minor con (for me) was the day I played the wind was insanely gusty making it even harder (probably was the strongest wind I have ever played in) to the point that it took away from the total enjoyment just a bit. A worker said the wind often picks up quite a bit on summer afternoons.
Basically the only thing keeping this course from being a 5.0 for me is the lack of attention to amenities and lack of completion of the complex as a whole.
[The Complex]- Can be summed up in two words- trashy and incomplete. The land is beautiful but is littered with junk and trash and numerous unfinished projects. And then add on top the most important thing of trying to maintain 5 courses while building 2 more, but nature is easily overtaking things. John is fighting a losing battle with an unpaid staff of 2 that can't complete the things that are already here while simultaneously trying to build more stuff. Things appeared to be breaking faster than they could be fixed. The campground was trashy and smelled of raw sewage in several spots. The Honka House has a lot of potential but the pics of the outside don't tell the whole story- inside it is missing basics like drywall, outlet covers, lights, etc. and seems to be used as much for storage of junk as it is for housing guests.
Other Thoughts: [The Course]- The Gold course is designed to test the very best, and it definitely does. I think it is the most complete of all the courses at Highbridge. This is one course where you can rent a golf cart, but it is not really necessary. And John told us later that there is a bear den on one of the holes. (We joked later that it would have been nice to know that before hand and not afterwards!!!)
[The Complex]- If you like lots of holes and very rustic lodging then you will love it here. If you have high expectations of well-manicured courses and hotel-like lodging then prepare to be disappointed. John's mission is noble as he wants people of all ages to enjoy the outdoors and has plans to have 7 courses, as well as numerous other activities, but he does not seem concerned with creating a first-class disc golf facility. He dreams big, but appears to have bitten off more than he can chew. Highbridge needs manpower, but does not have the advantage of disc-golf loving locals or park workers that most other courses have. Other private courses don't either, but are usually only 1 course, not 7, and much easier to maintain!
9 of 11 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Highbridge Gold is very likely the longest 18 hole course I've ever played. If you play from the gold tees, the holes average around 550 feet, which is 200 feet more than I'm used to. But several of these shots are not just open field where you have to just bomb it. Some of them, like #6, play either 730 or 920 ft. through a wooded area. It's a very challenging and potentially frustrating course. My group and I were more frustrated than we were happy about our shots but we thoroughly enjoyed every second we were playing here. It really humbled us and taught us that we still have a long way to go...
Hole #8, in my opinion, was the signature hole at a distance of 1325 feet and justifying a par 6. It's a great feeling to crush a disc if you have some built up frustration from the prior holes, and this is the perfect hole to do it.
Gold is a perfect championship course and therefore warrants a perfect 5.0.
Cons: This is definitely not a beginner's course. If you can't throw above 300 feet consistently, this is not the course for you. If you're used to your local park where the holes vary between 150-300 feet, you're in for quite the surprise here.
Also, the Highbridge Hills Sports Complex in general is very far away from any stores or restaurant, so make sure you stock up for your stay with lots of food, water, alcohol, and that sort of thing.
Other Thoughts: The HHSC is an amazing place to go. The scenary is wonderful, the people you'll meet are amazing, and the courses here are nothing short of being the best in the world.
If you get the chance, say hi to John Jokinen, the owner and care taker, and thank him for everything he's done. He's a very nice guy who puts in a ton of time with the courses, the cabins, the honka house, and the entire site in general.
Feel free to message me about any of the courses or HHSC in general and I'll try my best to answer any questions. :)
16 of 17 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
No Fools Gold Here
Pros: I drove up to the Highbridge complex of courses fully expecting to be underwhelmed - sure they had bunches of courses, but were they really the cream of the crop? The answer is a confident 'yes' - these courses and the complex itself lives up to expectations!
Although Blueberry Hill is currently rated top dog at Highbridge, the Gold course managed to grab the top spot for me. The Gold course, while not having the variety of holes that Blueberry does, had the most consistency and challenge. Chuck Kennedy's careful design work and attention to detail really stands out on many of the par 4 and 5 holes. On each, I felt that I had several nearly equal options off the tee to mix and match with knowledge of course conditions and personal confidence. Landing zones are apparent but not easy to reach and plenty of opportunities are available for aggressive play or defensive play depending on player strengths and weaknesses. The Gold course will test not only the shots in your bag but knowledge of strategy. Liek Blueberry Hill, all staple shots will be needed for this course (and probably a few unorthadox when in trouble) and it will expose weakness with punishing rough and some well thought out elevation hazards. Blueberry isn't the only course with 'wow' - few tees impress and intimidate as much as the 1325' eigth.
Cons: Gold lacks a bit of the variety and accessibility of Blueberry and appeals to a slimmer range of skill levels. At the same time, part of what makes this course stand out so much is its consistency and unrelenting nature.
Other Thoughts: To anyone who is wondering if this place is worth a trip - definitely! Although I only had a day to play all of the courses, I feel like I could have easily spent a week here without getting bored. Camping, wilderness, golf carts, and tons of natural beauty all make this place one of the best destinations in disc golf.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 5 Not
Championship Course for sure
Pros: Absolutely everything is great-
- Nice views and surroundings
-A beautiful challenge
-Well cared for fairways and greens
Very long, but not dumb, not thought out long holes. Very well thought out.
-Carts available for rent.
-A very fun course to play
Cons: -Takes a while to play, but that's to be expected from this caliber of a course.
Other Thoughts: I would definately put this course on par with Blueberry in terms of quality. I enjoyed it very much and I thought 8 was just about the most beautiful hole I've ever played
3 of 8 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: With eight par 3's, seven par 4's, two par 5's and one par 6, this championship caliber course will put your game to the test. While it is a very long course, there are still some deuce possibilities on the par 3's. When you stop counting everything as par 3, you'll realize there are birdie opportunities on every hole. But to get birdies, you have to throw good skilled shots because there is a lot of risk/reward on this course. Placement is very important on many of the par 4+ holes so you have decide how aggressive you want to play and hope you're accurate.
Parts of some holes are open, but the majority of the course is wooded or has large mature trees to deal with. I like how the holes are mixed together forcing you to go from a long par 4 or par 5 to a shorter hole where accuracy really counts.
There is a good balance of hyzer and anhyzer shots here, with some holes requiring both to successfully navigate the long fairway. Elevation changes are plentiful and the overall design is fantastic.
Navigating the course is easy as there are next tee signs everywhere and maps are provided at the hilltop clubhouse. The concrete tee pads are in great shape. There is lots of landscaping that's been done here, especially with built up hills lined with large rocks. This pro par 68 course is well maintained and I just can't say enough good things about this course and the entire complex!
Cons: Some of the tee signs are sun bleached and difficult to read.
Other Thoughts: John has put innumerable hours turning this into the best place ever to disc golf and it shows. This is a top notch complex with a number of incredible courses, and there are more courses on the way. If you ever get a chance to make the trip up here, DO IT! Plan on spending more than one day because these courses are long, have lots of elevation changes and they will wear you down. And that's coming from someone who can play 4 rounds in a day no problem.
This truly is the mecca of disc golf!
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: It really is tough to find anything better - The Gold course is the most complete course I have ever played. Gold has significant elevation, small ponds, and nice fairways. The course exhibits true par 4's, par 5's, and even a monster par 6. The course has so many signature holes, including 3, 6, 7, 8, 11, 16, and 18. It offers an awesome challenge to the good disc golfer, and an impossible challenge for the weaker players. If you don't want a challenge then don't play here - the course will eat you alive. While there is a nice variety of some shorter and longer holes, the course features more of the longer holes. There are also two distinct set of tees, with a few more sets coming to create the Max Gold course, the longest course in the world.
Cons: Some of the tee signs are faded, but just make sure to get a scorecard in the pro shop before the round. This would actually be a major pro in my book - scorecards are available for every course. The Gold course is extremely tough - the fun factor for amateurs would be very low. I had a good time because I love a good challenge. The course is also hard to walk as it does feature some elevation.
Other Thoughts: It's really tough to beat what the Highbridge complex has to offer - the variety offered is top of the line!
9 of 13 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 1 Not
Awesome and tough
Pros: This is another phenomenal course on the Highbridge property, a truly special place to play disc golf. Gold is the toughest complete course, and will challenge even the best players and make any player use every shot in their bag. There is lots of great elevation, and it is used extremely well to add challenge and interest, with some awesome downhill bombs and some tough uphill holes. There is a good mix of open and wooded terrain that keeps you on your toes and mixes it up enough that the course never gets repetitive.
This course makes you use just about every disc and every shot you carry, with left and right turning holes in good balance and turns that happen at all different points along fairways to make you think about your shot and do something different on just about every hole.
There are two sets of concrete tees on every hole, the extremely tough gold tees that will humble even seasoned pros, and the white tees that are tough for the rest of us and often totally change up the shot on the hole for some extra variety. I only got to play the golds, but I tried to take a look from every white tee, and it sure looks like they're worth a round too. There are decent signs on the gold tees with distance and layout for both pin positions on all the holes. The discatchers are in good shape and catch well.
Cons: I would like to have a little better signage here. If you want to play the white tees, you'll still have to go to all the gold tees to see the tee signs, and there isn't any distance marked for the white tees on the signs (though the scorecard remedies this). The signs also have no way of showing which pin position is in use, which means some long walks if you want to know before you throw.
There is some long grass rough in play on this course, which is never my favorite, it only wastes time and plastic without really adding strokes for errant shots.
Other Thoughts: This is a tough course that really isn't for beginners, even from the short tees. More experienced players will find themselves tested with a great mix of length, elevation, and strategically used trees and woods. This is a must play while you're at Highbridge, and certainly is a big part of what makes this place special.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Shines like Gold
Pros: Its a Highbridge course, so heres what you are going to get. Large concrete teepads, superb design and use of elevation, Gold will challenge the expert arms, pleasant atmosphere, and a wonderful view of the rolling hills to the north. Gold's has a unique design, the drives can be long and seemingly wide open. It is wooded too, many holes ask you to throw into an open fairway and have the second shot go into sneaky woods. An accurate straight drive is needed, distance on some holes, and you need to be able to judge your second shot well, which potentially could be any type of shot you can think of. All challeging aspects are a PRO. Plenty of signature holes. 8 is the long one down hill. Lets you rip it a couple times downhill and then take your shot at basket. Epic. 16 has a moat, thats right a moat. And many other intimidating holes I don't feel like explaining. There are birdies to be had on this course, a couple 250'ers, nice driving fairways under the tree canopy. Scenic beauty on a rustic northern wisconsin hillside. No better place to play 3 hours of blissful disc golf.
Cons: Short list here as I love a course exactly like this. Here is a list of cautions though. Bugs, prepare for flying insects and ticks. Thick brush after you completely shanked that wide open drive, it happens and its a tough out. Long course is on a hill side, bring fluids and snacks and don't let the sun cook you. Rough terrain, bring good shoes. Easy cowboy, don't blow your arm out on the first couple long holes, you won't be able to throw the last couple long holes coming back up the hill. If I'm going to try and complain about course completeness, its missing a good disc eating water hazard, and tee signs probably were old in need of update.
Other Thoughts: Its getting a 5 rating. If it falls short on not having water or perfect tee signs it makes up for it in the course atmosphere and challenge. This course is all about your second shot, you have to be able to throw consistant throws from out in the rough field. Such a large property doesnt get the weekly grooming it could use. I actually like the rough treelines and fairways. Adds to the atmosphere. Its a hard as nails course, getting a 64 will make you feel like a champion, throwing a 80 may happen if you're not careful. Golds grandeur will leave first time players with a feeling only, the memories are so intense the brain keeps them from you, for your own safety.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 2 Not
best of a great bunch
Pros: Excellent tees; like all High Bridge courses. Two sets on gold course offer two different experiences. Short tees here better/tougher than long tees on 90% of the courses anywhere. Long tees/ definitely gold level player quality; but fun for lesser players as well. A quick example would be hole #1: Short tee requires a quality @280 ft. shot with a slight right hand finish, to look down a tunnel for your @100+ foot upshot; with tree blockage near pin for both lefties and righties. Long tee requires a fairly long drive for all but gold level players to get to same upshot position. If you go too far right on the drive...fagetaboutit...cause you'll have to take one shot just to get yourself clear of the schule. Schule is rough off the fairways here. Don't make it far enough to get to dog leg right entrance...fagetaboutit...because it will be near impossible to get near pin on second shot... So, three perfect shots from short tee to make par. From long tee; big armed first shot; followed by two perfect shots, to get par. Here's where perhaps, I should mention that this is considered a par three and thus, an "easy" hole for this course.... Repeat similar scenario's for the entire course; including a 1,000+ ft. hole, as well as some other monsters; and you can see where gold will be challenging you from start to finish. In fact, to me, this is perhaps one of the outstanding/tough features of gold....course wears you down....even if you're playing well; enjoying yourself and the scenery, etc., it is highly possible that at some point you will find yourself saying, "I still have seven holes left?!" Can you suck it up, and finish well? This course will be a test of that kind of fortitude. Not to say that you won't be enjoying yourself; but, be prepared for the mental and physical discipline necessary.
Par fours and fives here; but, not just due to length...yes, this course has length; but it's not a pure big arm course by any means. Big arms have an advantage; as it should be, for gold level courses; but lesser arms should still enjoy the challenge; due to the fact, that placement on drives is important here. There are definite areas you need to get to off the tee (from either set of tees) to be in optimal position for your second shot (which, for players below gold level; will most often, still require challenging shots to get in prime putting position.)
As has been mentioned in other reviews; Honka House is at present only $25 per night, per person. Honka House has bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, large area for additional bedding (when we were there, group of 10+ persons were all comfortably accommodated), multi floored layout; tons of glass windows for scenic views, newly installed hot tub, multiple refrigerators, etc.
Four wheel go carts can be rented for $25 a day.
Camping available for even cheaper. Camping is rustic; but showers available to anyone/anytime in basement of Honka House.
Porta Johns near courses.
Pro shop near courses (one on top, by main courses; another pro shop on bottom, near Chestnut course).
Top parking area near hole #1 for all courses.
Chestnut available for night play, with Saturday evening bonfire in play on one hole; if gold and other courses have not given you enough action during your day....
Multiple tiered driving areas for 1,300+ foot hole are gorgeous. (Finish of this hole; especially long pin, is also a challenge....just in case, you're thinking all you have to do is hit three 300 ft. drives and make a putt for your eagle...) There are other tiered tee areas here and on other high bridge courses; that serve functionally and aesthetically very well. Same goes for some tiered greens on this and other courses here. Rock wall formations, forming theses tiers, are simply beautiful, and well done. Hole #8 gold one of the very best examples of this.
After running through the pics here one more time; and visualizing the holes; I can't emphasize enough, that the greens are tantalizingly tough and beautiful on nearly every hole.
I deuced #14 both times I played it last time here! So, a deuce or two is possible.... (#16 island hole is another real, probable deuce/ if you can stay out of the moat! Island fairly small.)
#18, nice finishing hole, requiring one or two drives, and a finish onto an elevated, tiered green, which is also tree blocked. See pic for this beautiful finish.
Cons: Gold is often the most "overgrown" of the courses here. (I think this is due to the pure size of the course; and the fact that others are played more. If you're the groundskeeper here; you would sometimes have to make choices on maintenance; especially if the weather happens to be working against you.) With this said; I've never seen it in really poor condition.
Not really a con; but, be prepared to spend 2 (3 in a group) hours to play gold; especially your first few times through the course. You will spend time finding next tees, pin placements, and discs; due to length, thick schule off the fairways and perhaps taller grass. Tee signs leave a little to be desired; but the primary reason you will be looking is just the nature of the course.
Island hole is usually dry. Not really a con; as it makes disc retrieval easy; but often not as visually appealing as it could be.
I have never wanted to play gold a second time. Other courses here, would be chosen first. This course wears me out; and I think most players would feel the same. (Half of this is the good side; when you say: that was very nice and tough).
Other Thoughts: Gold has been my favorite since my first high bridge trip. That's not to say that there have not been times when I've run out of gas before finishing; and thus, did not score all that well. Last trip, from long tees, I shot a 72 and felt pretty good about it. How often do you get that experience/feeling good about a 72? We're not talking about woods ricochet here, to kill your score, we're talking about quality shot after quality shot needed; including length off the tee. Another reviewer mentioned John putting in another set of extra long tees for gold level players....another addition geared toward top gold design... This will be a top notch three set, of tees.
For me, gold, more than any others here, is an annual destination spot.
12 of 14 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Long course with good challenge
Pros: This is a very long and challenging course that's well designed for distance players. It has a high par with many 4s and 5s, and it's even got a 1300+ foot hole that's a par 6. If you like to throw for distance, this is a great course. It has a good mix of hills and doglegs, but none of the fairways are narrow or demand very sharp turns. Technical players will probably still like it quite a bit but might prefer other Highbridge courses.
Cons: Most of the fairways on this one are pretty wide open with few trees, and the majority of baskets are way too far to hit from the tee box. That means that your accuracy is not challenged a whole lot. There are a couple water hazards to avoid, but the areas of long grass or dirt are obviously not anywhere near as deterring as they would be in ball golf. Trudging through the long grass does get tedious, especially if it's a wet day. There are also worse bugs on this course than the other Highbridge layouts due to many ponds and a swamp in the area of fairway13.
This course is a lot of walking and not much demand for accuracy aside from maybe holes 14 and 15, but it sure makes for a good chance to let your distance driver discs rip without much risk of losing them or going way over par, as you would on a more technical course. It's a good course to play as a scramble with teams of two.
Other Thoughts: This is a good distance course to challenge DG players. Bring your sunscreen on a hot day or your swimsuit and sandals on a wet day. You will be looking for discs in the long grass, but the fairways are very wide. Unless you are very innacurate, you probably won't lose any discs into water or woods.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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