A course that lives up to it's name
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Beauty - This course is one of the most scenic courses on the property, if not the most. Playing along steep ridges on the northeastern side of the property, you will get probably the best views that all of Highbridge has to offer. At one point, you can get a great overlook of Granite's holes 7-11, and it's gorgeous, as well as stunning northern views spanning miles and miles
Isolation - there is nothing like playing disc out in these woods. I'm not quite sure what it is about Bear that the other courses don't have, but it was eerie. This course stretches so far out into the depths of the woods and the sides of what feel like mountains, and leaves you with a sensation that is fantasy-like. Once I finished with the course, it felt like I just exited Narnia or something.
Challenge - this course is the hardest course I have ever played, hands down. The plethora of par fours and fives are definitely true to their numbers. The majority of holes are multi shot, where your first drive is critical in whether you will get to the pin to even have a chance at a par. 99% of the time, if you miss or kick into the trees, it's bogey at best for you. Fairways are very narrow most of the time, and even the wider ones have trees scattered about to make you be precise.
Elevation - there many intense elevation changes here, and they're gorgeous and add some great character to the course. From the long, steep rolling fairways (no. 4), to playing straight, then steep down, then up again (no. 11), and across valleys (no. 12), there's plenty of awesome ups and downs
Signature holes - three holes really pop out in my head as signatures for this course. Number three would be my favorite. While most holes on the complex all together offer one or two routes, this one offers about four. You can go (right hand throws) big hyzer, straighter hyzer, straighter anhyzer, or flick/big anhyzer. I love the options you have on this one. It took me about two minutes to decide what the heck I was gonna throw on this. Number 11 is another I really like. You start off with a relatively flat first shot, then you have to navigate a steep valley, and go back up to the pin. 12 also offers a steep valley, but instead of going down then up, your objective is to go straight over it, and the pin is atop the hill across on the other side. This hole is also one of the shorter ones compared to the rest, a little over 300 feet.
Variety - there are a couple ace runs and mid 300 foot shots thrown in the course to break up the huge holes, as well as all kinds of different direction changes and shaped fairways
Cons: Baskets - this is my no. 1 con of all for the whole thing. With the switching of Bear's and Woodland's baskets this year (a decision I still support nonetheless), Bear now has a bunch of those awful green baskets. They're ugly, and suck at catching. Just being honest. There is also at the time of this review, three different basket types on this course. The first 6 are the green ones, then 7 and 8 are black (hard to spot) DGA's, then 9 is a green one again, then the rest are Lightning DB 5's. Talk about confusing - I may be nitpicky with this cause I'm all OCD like but man that bothered me. If this basket situation can be resolved, I'll come back and add another half disc to this rating
Monotony - while I did state there IS variety with a couple short holes thrown in, I do think things could've been done to make some of the multi shot holes less repetitive. Like said in previous reviews, it started to get stale after having so many holes where you shoot to a dogleg left or right, then shoot to another, then another, then the pin. I wish a few of the par four/fives would've been a little bit more open with a few more options. Also, while holes 8 and 9, which are both aceable, provide a nice break from the long grinders, it would've been nice for them to be spread out a bit more, instead of two right in a row.
Signage - Almost all if not all tees had no signage left at all - but of course I am working to fix this issue in the near future
THICK ROUGH - some of the holes would seem almost hopeless to search for discs in if you shanked one. This course has the thickest and worst rough of any at the hill.
Very physically demanding - this course took me about 2 and a half hours to complete, and there was LOTS of strenuous hiking with all the elevation changes. Not necessarily a bad thing per say, but it's something to keep in mind if you're not up for a long, workout type round.
Other Thoughts: I was very interested to see how this course would be after reading other reviews and descriptions, and man it holds up. Even though this course throttled me, I still loved it - even with all the pros I've listed, there's just something very difficult to put your finger on, that's just mystical.
I'm happy I decided to give it a go before winter, and I'll surely be playing it again in the future. Just when you think HBH can't get better, then you find the Bear, lurking in the deep woods, ready to show you you're not as good at dg as you think, but to also teach you that it's still awesome regardless.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 0 Not
Dogleg Left...then right...then left again...
Pros: Among the most beautiful courses I've played, The Bear is played through long, winding wooded fairways and along the east-facing point of the mountain that houses all of the main Highbridge courses. And as with all of the other courses on this complex, the combination of natural beauty and eerie solitude contribute to the course in a very special way.
This is the consummate thinking-man's course. Even the most powerful players will be forced to lay up and play strategically; and even intermediate players will be tempted to gamble with a distance driver. Scoring well here requires a gambit of shots (including rescue shots.)
Cons: After being absolutely awed by the front 9 of this course, I found myself swearing under my breath on much of the back 9. The satisfication of teeing off with a midrange on a 700'+ hole to lay up to a tight landing area becomes monotonous after a while.
Even some of the holes in the 300-500' range, which should be par 3s, could be played as par 4s due to the incessant winding/turning of the fairways. It felt like I spent most of the round laying up, only to turn the corner and find that I had 2 doglegs left before I could get a shot at the pin.
As I recall, there was only 1 or 2 holes that were possible birdies for a player with <500' of accurate power.
The rough is punishing, no doubt, but so is the fairway in some areas. Lacing a shot up the middle and still having to root around in tall grass is frustrating - though I don't fault John for not having every inch of the fairways mowed, as it would be a full-time job considering the shear size of the complex.
Other Thoughts: Bring a great pair of shoes, a lot of water, and try to keep your groups down to minimum size. Playing with 6 people, it took us over 5 hours to complete our round. And most of us were out of water/gatorade after the 3 hour mark.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: When I played on 3/9/11, only the first seven baskets were in the ground and the others were just laying about 60 feet behind the 7th basket.
This course is very challenging. John, the owner of HHSC, promised that the last 11 holes will be just like the first 7, so I'm convinced that Bear will be a tremendous course when it's finished that definitely has the potential to be considered one of the hardest courses in the world.
It's a tightly wooded course with the longest of the 7 holes at 735 feet. This course definitely fills the niche of the "long/wooded" course that the HHSC was lacking before it was installed.
The bright orange baskets are very easy to spot from a distance and are unlike any basket I've ever seen. They're really cool.
Cons: We played here when there was still snow on the ground and the temperature was pretty low, but I'd imagine that bugs will be pretty annoying here.
Also, the Highbridge Hills Sports Complex in general is pretty far away from any stores. So make sure you stock up on food and water and that sort of thing. The closest grocery store is around 20 miles away.
Another con is that it gets dark in Highbridge...I really wish it would be light out all day long so you could play these courses all day! But seriously, make sure you plan at least two full days to play all the courses at Highbridge. They're all wonderful and totally worth playing.
Other Thoughts: All of the courses at HHSC are beyond awesome. The owner, John Jokinen, is a really, really nice guy and will go out of his way to make sure that you have a good time during your stay at the disc golf mecca. It's definitely worth a trip here, no matter where you are!
Feel free to message me if you have any questions about the Bear or any course at Highbridge or Highbridge in general and I'll be happy to try to answer them. :)
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: When I played here on 7/7/10, it was only 7 holes and I understand the rest will be installed soon. I know this might sound ridiculous, but based on the 7 holes I played I feel semi-comfortable rating this course as a 4 and here's why.
These are some of the toughest and most challenging holes I've played. They have long, winding, tree-lined fairways just daring you to go for it so the strokes can pile up when you realize you aren't as accurate as you think you are. These par 4 holes and the one par 5 are the kind of holes you feel great about getting par on and getting a birdie probably feels incredible. But I wouldn't know because I was no where near a birdie on any of the par 4+ holes.
Cons: Only 7 holes.
A little rough around the edges compared to the other courses here, but that's hardly a con.
Other Thoughts: John claims the rest of the course, when complete, will be just like the first 7 holes. If that's true, this will be more difficult than any course that currently exists at Highbridge. When complete this course has the potential to be 4.5-5.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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