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.
6 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: I love gold! I like to play it alone or with friends.I like to take in that wonderful view of the world that you get on hole 1, looking out from the tee. I love the challenge. Wildlife rules this course. There is everything from bear dens, to bird nests. I like any course that I can enjoy if I'm not even playing, and this is that type of course. John, the owner puts his heart into all his courses! He mows the grass daily....and I mean all day! This dude is committed.
Cons: Uh... maybe some dribble about the sheer roughness of the course...oh wait....that's what I drive 5 hours for. I won't complain about the pay to play price cause it is super cheap considering you get a whole day of highbridge! So i suppose you I have no actual complaints.
Other Thoughts: Not for weenies! A few suggestions...In the hot weather season eat a good breakfast show up early, I mean no later than 8 am; once your done you eat lunch take a nap or what ever you want to do; then play a nice woodland course like the bear woodland or woodland greens.
Do yourselves a favor and spot for your boys and have them spot for you! you will get through the course in record time if you don't have to explore the rough for every throw.
6 of 11 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Don't be fooled by the distance hype, this is balanced disc golf harmony!
Pros: There is a lot to be said about Gold. First as you hear all the time, you get some amazing distance. I'm not just talking about the 1300' hole, but 700'+ corridors through some wooded holes, and long wide open bombers that play across hills, uphill, and downhill. There are still more wooded holes here than on Granite, and the design is once again superb. Gold takes all the courses up a notch by mixing extreme elements of everything! What I mean is that you'll start out wide open on a 600' hole. halfway down the fairway you'll have to turn into the woods and thread the needle down a 300' corridor. Beside that, you'll realize that there is OB long grass or some pond in a blind location hidden off that neatly elevated tee you just flung from. This course is truly excellent and throwing well here really makes you feel like you've accomplished something. I threw 68 here and felt AWESOME during one round.
As discussed in other reviews (and see the pictures), there are quite a few signature holes that make great use of the old ball golf features like island greens and elevated tee boxes.
Cons: This course plays more open than blueberry (con) and will favor a big arm, but you still need accuracy (pro). I don't penalize the openness here as much as granite, because it is not as unbalanced on Gold. Same ole complaints about tee signs not being as good as they should for a disc golf complex, and not showing the pin position of the day.
Once again, you'll love that you made the trek out to play this course. After your warmup at Blueberry, come hit Gold and be prepared to bring it all. You'll love the land, course, and your whole experience. Once again, stay here all weekend and play every course more than once!
[Side note: you'll rarely hear me talk about how long a course took to play, how long it was, or how hilly it was. I actually seek out these grueling and extreme courses. I LIKE to get a workout while discin.]
UPDATE: In an attempt to quantitatively analyze my ratings and reviews I have come up with this spreadsheet. Highbridge Gold fairs better than I had initially rated it. I am bumping up from a 4.5 to a 5 as it is one of the Top 5 courses I have played.
This is a 5-disc course!! Not doubt about it, despite great tee signs, garbage cans, and other nice amenities, the design, terrain, topography, and setting is amazing. I am bumping my rating down to 4.5, simply to see other courses in the Top 10 on the front page. I think's it's only right to showcase more courses on the front page to new disc golfers visiting this great website. That's why I keep lobbying for a Top 25 to be displayed on the homepage.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 1 Not
A "Golden" Opportunity to Experience Something Unique, Exciting, and Challenging!
Pros: 1. Finally, a course where you don't have to play everything as 3s...and where it would be almost foolish to do so!
2. A perfect mix of elevation, distance, some woods, and finesse shots.
3. Very memorable holes, especially "Double Eagle," the monster 1325' downhill par 6, and "Treasure Island," a rare opportunity in disc golf to play a par 3 island green.
4. The feeling that you've accomplished something wonderful at the end, regardless of what your scorecard or mates tell you.
Cons: Hmmm...I got nothing. Even the ticks weren't that bad this year. Maybe a few extra garbage cans, but even that wasn't much of an issue.
Other Thoughts: Definitely not for beginners. Heck, this could even be considered out of my league, but if you love disc golf and want a challenge, this is a MUST-PLAY! We started with a group of 8, and by the end we only had 5 people finishing up. It took us about 6 hours altogether (including just hanging out at the tees on some holes after battling a particularly beastly hole previous).
16 of 17 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 12 Not
A Fools Gold..
Pros: Magnificant views..powerful top level championship course..Cant think of a course in Wisconsin harder than this monster..score cards can be found at honor system pro shop where all day play costs $10..Honka House is a reasonable stay for about $25 a night if youre trying to make a weekend out of it..give jon and tick a call..One hole is a legitimate par 6..1335ft!!! I lost 2 discs on the same hole!! All the pins are yellow..innova pins..
Cons: LONG..My guy rbt always gets too drunk too finish..not for beginners or casual frolfers..you need to be committed and have some double straps on your bag..
Other Thoughts: Play this Beast early in the day or you will never finish it..A group of 4, beverages and party favors and I defy you to finish b4 the sun falls..
4 of 16 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 2 Not
Championship course in Highbridge, WI
Pros: Very challenging course, but very fair. Lots of long holes, great mix of par 4s, 5s, and even a par 6. Beautiful vistas, and some interesting hole layouts.
The site has at least 4 other courses on it, so visiting this course ensures plenty of golf. It took 2 of us 4 hours to play the course, both because we didn't know the course and because of the yardage. This one will wear your legs out.
The baskets are color coded, signs were great, the course was in great shape. There's an island green on #16, which is a rarity. Overall, this is the single best course in terms of fair challenge and feeling like I was at a championship course that I've ever played. I enjoyed it the most of the courses at the Highbridge Hills location.
There were also decent scorecards on site.
Cons: Only a few complaints. First, there wasn't much water. The course is located all over a hill, so there isn't much opportunity for natural ponds. There's a few man-made small pools which provide hazards, but that's about it.
Second, there was some trash strewn about. For something of this quality, I had hoped to see more trash cans, and/or someone taking care of the course. It is a shame, because the course is really stellar otherwise.
Finally, it was occasionally hard to know where you needed to go next. The course (when we played it) was still fairly new, paths weren't very worn, and even with a scorecard it took some time to figure out where the next hole was. In short, if you've never played it before, this course is going to take most the afternoon to play.
Other Thoughts: A friend and I wanted to finally play a "real" championship course, rather than the local courses that we had been playing. We took a DG trip to Highbridge Hills for a weekend, and boy did we get some exercise. This course was the "best" of the trip, for views, challenge, and overall feeling like we were playing something special. I can imagine better courses (more water, even more interesting holes), but this is certainly the top of the ones I've experienced.
We played 2 courses on Saturday and 2 on Sunday, and were dead tired on both days. Not only are the courses long (this one was +10000ft), but it is all up and down a low mountain, so you're really hiking. Don't come here expecting to get in 3 rounds of golf unless you're in shape and know the course.
We also found ourselves having to scout ahead on many holes. The holes are rarely straight, and there's a lot of trees. So you usually can't see the basket. Even with good signs, it still isn't enough to know what you're really trying to shoot for. So we spent even more time walking the hole, then walking back and playing. There wasn't anyone else in the entire area the day we played, not a single other person on the course, so we could afford to do this.
Was a very memorable trip, and if you're in the area, make sure to play this course. It is $10 to play all day at the site. While I appreciate DG being free in most parks, I have no problem paying for a park with this many courses of this caliber inside a beautiful region. It was worth flying 1000 miles just to play here for 2 full days.
15 of 17 people found this review helpful.
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