1 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: This course has plenty of elevation and uses it well. There are a number of really cool holes. Everyone mentions the basket in the middle of the huge arch. But also there's a hole across the river. And I thought 10 was a great, tough, uphill hole with low clearance - not super long but still a tough 3. Plus several top of the world type shots (a rarity east of mountain time). The pads and baskets are in good shape. The course was also not crowded - we were there on a Saturday afternoon in July and saw one other group (and a couple people out hiking / biking.)
Cons: The rough is the worst sort -- it's very hard to find a disc, but often not bad to throw out of. The combination of this rough and blind downhill holes is a recipe for lost discs. We used spotters on many holes still lost one disc and nearly lost several other (15+ mins of searching).
The course doesn't flow too bad, but it is a bit tricky to navigate in places -- I was glad to have a map. It also isn't obvious from the parking lot that you've even successfully found a disc golf course. I like that there are tee signs, but in many cases they aren't very helpful and you still have to walk the hole.
There are a decent number of holes which just feel like filler between the cool holes.
The course would also be dangerous if it ever got crowded (admittedly unlikely) -- a decent number of holes throw close to each other. (Between the overlapping holes and the lost disc problem, this would be a terrible course to hold a tournament at.)
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: The course plays on a hilly wooded property. Elevation changes on many holes add some great challenges and some fun variety. There are a couple steep hills, including some tough uphill shots and some fun downhills. Some of the pin placements offer some cool protected greens and some rollaway potential.
Most of the course plays with defined fairways and thick woods and rough if you miss your line. You will definitely pay for errant shots here, accuracy is a premium. There's a solid mix of hole shapes, calling for a balance of left and right turning shots of all different lengths. The signage is decent, most holes have tee signs with hole length and shape, and there are a few next tee signs.
Cons: Some of the signage is missing, not a huge deal but it could be a problem if vandalism is the cause and it continues. The long tees have rubber mats, most were in good shape, but a handful were lumpy or sloped with poor footing. The short tees are small and poorly laid, most were rocky, rutted and sloped. I can't imagine they get much play, especially with signage only at the longs.
Several of the holes here offer pretty open lines, with dense rough as the only real obstacle, a little more wooded tunnel golf would be my preference. The rough here is some of the nastiest I've seen, especially since it was encroaching on most of the fairways leaving lost disc potential even for good shots (one basket was surrounded by knee high plants). The walking path is in play on a few holes, with blind shots at times that could be a safety issue with pedestrians present. A couple holes have the next tee too close to the basket, if multiple groups are playing there could be some conflict.
Other Thoughts: Beginners won't have much fun here, there are lots of tough shots with distance, elevation, and really punishing rough. More experienced players will find some great shots here, with cool variety and tough challenges. With some maintenance and improvements, this could be a really cool course worth going out of your way to play. At the moment, it's got some fun moments but it's also a disc eater, I wouldn't play it without someone to help spot.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Currently Precocious, Potentially Legendary
Pros: The Tailings is situated on a very unique piece of land with interesting natural features and cool manmade structures. The designers did a great job of incorporating these features and structures to create varied shots and interesting hazards. The design has you throwing left, center, right, up, down and waaaaaay down from the tee. The river plays a role on several holes and deep pits on a couple other holes threaten to gobble plastic. Distances are varied and there are a couple opportunities to air it out. There are major elevation changes on several holes.
Course peripherals are solid. Baskets are still new and have number signs. The tees are level rubber pads. The rubber provides good traction when dry. Don't know how they fare in the rain and wet. Signs are present at the tees, providing a sufficient model of the hole with the distance. Most signs have a 'next tee' icon, which is useful.
I was the only player on the course for both my rounds on a gorgeous Friday morning/afternoon. The course was clean and mostly free of litter. Good opportunity to scope some wildlife. I saw no fewer than three deer and a very entertaining gaggle of baby ducks with parents on the river. I also get the impression that an encounter with less-friendly wildlife is not outside the realm of possibility (I'm lookin' at you, Mr. Bear).
Cons: The course is young and still raw. Even the (comparatively) tame fairways are a treacherous jumble of stones, rubble, stumps, grass, gravel and mining detritus. Departure from the fairway can be excessively punitive, as the rough in certain areas is nigh on impenetrable when attempting to retrieve a disc. The extreme terrain and the slag from clearing the course combine to force some hairy disc rescue operations. Certain areas dictate a drop as the only reasonable choice.
While the essentials like baskets and tee pads are solid, the course is a bit lacking in amenities. Trash receptacles...where are they? However, despite the lack of trash cans, the course was very clean. No benches to speak of. Adding benches on a couple of the holes would be huge. I'm thinking primarily of #11, where such a climb should be rewarded with a proper sit, and the view is deserving of a bench. Speaking of the climb on #11, an emergency rope would take a bit of the fear out of the descent (I nearly had a brownout in my shorts on the way down...terrifying).
Navigation isn't a huge problem, but there are a couple places where some additional clarification would come in handy. On a couple of the holes (the #2,3,4,5,6 cluster) the 'next tee' icons on the signs were not effective for me.
Some folks will see the rubber pads as a con. There are no bathrooms onsite. The ORV path can be a bit of a nuisance if you're looking for real solitude.
Other Thoughts: PLAY THE TAILINGS. The Tailings has the potential to be legendary. The land is full of interesting quirks and features that create serious character and charm. The river is beautiful. The crumbling brick structure between #4 and #5 and the arches on #9 are completely unique and hearken back to a once thriving mining industry. The course is distinctively 'Northwoods.' To their credit, the designers took advantage of all these things to create a fun and exciting course.
Assuming the Tailings continues to receive the present level of care and attention, use and age will benefit the course the most. It seemed to me that the course is still breaking in, which accounts for the rough around the edges vibe. If the course gets sufficient play the edges will smooth over time.
In the meantime, proper footwear (read: hiking boots w/ ankle support) is essential. Also, bring extra water. I didn't have a problem with the hike per se, but rather having to be constantly vigilant in my foot placement. Both fairway and rough present a persistent hazard of twisting an ankle. Long pants are also a good idea. If you are not confident in your ability to hit the fairway, a spotter is key. I played solo and spent a lot of time searching for errant throws. This is partially because I'm not that good, and partially because the rough is really, really rough.
From a roadtrip perspective, I'm not sure Tailings is in the 'destination' echelon just yet. However, it is certainly worth hitting if you are anywhere in the neighborhood (I drove 2 hours each way and was glad that I did). I really hope I have the chance to return at some point in the next couple of years to see how the course progresses. With some additional amenities and a bit of breaking-in, this course will be a destination.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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