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.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Best Course at High Bridge
Pros: Even though I rated Blueberry Hill as 5 stars, the Gold layout at Highbridge Hills is the best course in the world, in my opinion. The course simply has it all - par 3's, par 4's, par 5's, and a true par 6. The Gold course is the way disc golf should be played. Unlike most courses I have played, the Gold course makes you think on almost every shot. Small ponds guard certain areas, while turns and bends in the fairway force you to layup to an area or risk going for the big shot. The Gold course is perhaps so amazing because the course literally flows through the old ball golf layout that John Jokinen built. In particular, hole number 8 - 1325 feet downhill - traverses right through the old ball golf fairway of number 10. However, rumor has it that the hole may be even longer than 1325 feet....The Gold course has many holes which force you to strategically place your drive in an area in order to get your next shot to the green. The course has at least 6 true par 4's, where a well placed drive and a good second shot will net you a birdie. In addition, the Gold course has two par 5's and one par 6. With that in mind, the course still has a woods feel as about half of the holes traverse through the woods of Highbridge, while some holes even come out of the woods into the woods and vice versa. Unlike Idlewild, the Gold course offers a true challenge that is fun. While Idlewild is mentally and physically exhausting, the Gold course actually plays longer but is much more fun because the course is fair. The longer holes allow you to grip it and rip it, and the shorter wooded holes offer a real challenge but an opportunity for birdie. Hole number 6 was a favorite of mine, combining the openness of the entire park while being cut through the woods. Hole 16 and the island green was also a treat, as was the uphill par 4 to end the course. To put it bluntly, the Gold course is disc golf.
Cons: Can't find many cons here - the rough is rough, but that's how it should be. If you get in the rough you will probably need to pitch straight back to the fairway. However, the course is more open than Blueberry and much more open than the Bear. Also, it does sometimes get confusing about which alternate pin is the one currently in the ground, but John said he will be taking care of that with a new marker system. In addition, some of the signs have become faded but John said he will getting new signs here shortly. With the new signs and the marker system in place, the Gold course is the best of the best. While not as fun as Flip City (which is not what the Gold course tries to be), it offers a true challenge.
Other Thoughts: Don't come to the Gold course expecting for an easy task - I played by myself and the course still took me just over 2 hours. I played the back tees (nearly 10,000 feet) and it was physically demanding. However, playing at High Bridge is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The Gold Course is what it's about - it offers everything. John Jokinen (the owner of the facility) is truly a special person. John has never played disc golf (not even one hole!) and the passion he has towards these courses is nothing short of phenomenal. He is such a genuine person (he invited me to stay over at his house Friday night and even gave me a private tour of the new Bear holes and the brand new Whitetail course). While the Gold course can be very challenging and frustrating (stay away from the rough and watch out for the random ponds located through the main High Bridge courses), it is truly amazing. NOTE: I spoke with John Jokinen, the owner of the facility, and he mentioned that he is adding a few more Gold long"er" tees to make the Super Gold course. With these additions, the Super Gold layout should become the longest course in the world. Awesome!
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
What a wonderful beating!
Pros: Gold has it all - elevation, woods, water, open, long, short, insanely long, etc, etc, etc. There are also some short tees to help you enjoy this course if you are a beginner. Concrete tees, professional design, remote location, scenic beauty, pay to play keeps the dirtbags out. Did I already say scenic beauty? Memories abound on this amazing design - from insanely long 700' wooded holes, 1300' downhill former golf holes, great use of long and drastic elevation/ridges of the HHSC hill, and some awesome gimmicky holes like the island green surrounded by water, elevated tees and greens - Gold truly is a phenominal course even if it beats you down again and again and again.
Cons: Not many. If anything, the super long hole kinda lacks character and any real challenge, it is wide open, downhill and just drive after drive after drive. More of the greens could be a bit more risky. Because the distance is so long hear, many pins are not visible, signage could better depict flight routes in relation to natural features.
Other Thoughts: Gold truly is an excellent course. Championship caliber and PDGA gold design for sure. It is a completely different experience from Blueberry (which is still the absolute best at Highbridge in my mind), but in a good way. All the courses at Highbridge are WONDERFUL compliments to one another, and you must play them all - MORE THAN ONCE!!
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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