Technical, but craving more
Pros: When I review a course, I don't review the top course any different than the rec courses. I hold each to the same standards in terms to design, use of space, difficulty, shot creativity, maintenance and overall flow of the course.
To begin, this is a very short course, if you are playing from the leagues tees, then maybe on 12 will you need an unstable driver to get up the steep 330ft+ hill, but other than that the 2 longest holes are 310ft and 257ft. So leave those drivers at home and get ready to test just how good your placement shots are!
This is both part of a pro and a con, but to start the 2015 season there was a drastic change to the course. Much of the woods that gave the course a wonderful out in nature feel were reduced. This did however open up plenty of new lines and different shots for many holes, including #2 #8 #9 #10 and #12. There still is a lot of wildlife though! I still see plenty of deer roaming the course, so be careful or one might walk out in front of your shot!
The course itself now plays with many different lines in mind. As a lefty I have plenty of opportunities to use LHBH, rollers, thumbers and anhyzer shaping shots. Watching the right handed players, there are still a few hyzer to the basket holes, but even right handed players are force to use an array of shots to shoot very low scores.
A factor that is not often talked about, but adds to the difficulty of the course is the putting. There are many baskets that are on steep hills or at the top of a hill where if you miss, you are floating or rolling 20-40ft away. Way to often have I had shots that hit within feet of the basket, hit a root or rock and roll either into an OB pond or back to my feet! It is very frustrating, but again adds a layer of difficulty to a short but technical course.
I also enjoy that 7 of the tees for the first 8 holes are either a concrete tee or on a tar walking path. But then it moves to dirt or gravel, which then becomes a con, especially after it rains.
The course itself flows pretty well. Holes 1-3 are very straight forward, then you have to walk across a recently added stone path (very much needed and well done) to hole 4, which leads nicely into holes 5-7. Hole 7 is the first of the alternate tees between rec or league. The rec tee is about 130ft away, just a giant thicket in the way and over hanging branches that protect against high hyzers or thumbers/tomahawks. While the league tee is further back on the path which adds 50-60ft and makes it a nice shaping RHBH shot or a LHFH/Thumber shot. The woods flow is fine, however it can be tricky finding #10. There are a few paths that leave #9's basket, one leading to the old hole 10 tee on the top of a hill and the new one which is left of 9's basket and down the side of the hill. The cleared trees makes it easier to find.
Overall for the course itself plays well for what it was trying to do and makes great use of the space. Holes are short, but very technical in spots and can punish you if you don't learn how to control the angel of your disc heading into some of the greens. However, even though I enjoy throwing on the course, there are several reasons why I do not rate this a 3.5 for a great beginner/practice course.
Cons: The dirt tee pads in the woods. There are only for holes 9-12, but after rain it is very sloppy and you usually have to tee off several feet from the normal tee pad, unless you want to be standing in water. I also mentioned that 7 of the first 8 pads are concrete or a tar path, it really is 8 of 8, but hole 3 the pad is actually lower than the ground, so it almost always plays as a dirt pad covered in dirt/chips/standing water.
In addition the baskets are showing their age. Some have makeshift chains while some baskets are actually leaning due to kids jumping on them (I have seen this happen many times).
The number of "kids" is also a con. It is nothing that the course itself can do about it or intended, thus I do not count it against the course itself, however it does effect the experience pretty drastically at times and can turn many away who have never been there.
I just started playing in 2014 and heard from other locals that it was not an issue until a few years ago, but the parking lot has become the go to place for teens to hang out. Usually they do not disrupt the disc golf course, but the number on some days can over run the parking lot and gives the course a "bad image" to families wanting to try the course. Not to mention with so many young teens playing, the golf etiquette is very lacking. You get groups of 5-8 playing and wont let a small group or solo player through, or people tossing multiple discs while others are waiting at the tee, or just standing in the middle of the fairway chatting.
During the summer time the course can be packed after 5pm as it is normal to have 20-30 people on the course at a time, keeping in mind it is a 12 hole course. And at times you can have 3 or more groups stacking up at the 1st tee quite regularly.
Since it is also a walking nature park, you do get a lot of walkers in the wood holes that can slow the pace of play from time to time. Usually they are with a dog that wants to say hello, so all is forgiven!
Also a con, only 12 holes! I want more! I normally have to play 2 rounds to get my fix.
Lastly, the maintenance of the course is spotty. The area is clean of trash due to league members at the course daily picking it up and tossing into the many trash cans around the course. There have also been several improvements to paths and stairs like the stone path built in summer of 2014 from hole 3 to 4, and steps that were built after hole 5 leading to hole 6. But then there are wood steps that are rotting away and the baskets that are in dire need of a face lift. Not to mention the trees that were taken down are still there, just mashed into piles which will eat a stray disc if you are playing on the extended 12th hole.
Other Thoughts: As you can tell there are many pro's but many cons. Most of the cons however are not course related, just area related being in a heavy residential area. Which includes the high population of players and teens over flowing the lot.
With so many trees being torn down there has been talk about the course being turned into a 18 hole course, which would be a great addition since the area is wonderful!
My only hope is that they make the course pay to play to thin out the numbers.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: +Nice baskets and concrete tees.
+There is some signage and it is adequate for its purpose even if it isn't great.
+Some fun elevation shots. 4 and 5 were a fun up and down combo and then 8 was a cool shot with a fast green and trouble beyond the pin. 12 was a pretty tight uphill hole that played much harder than anything else on the course.
+It looks like there are continuing improvements on this course like landscaping near baskets and on walkways between holes. There was also fresh mulch here and there.
+The walks between holes in the woods were nice.
+Ace runs if you hit your line, bogey possibilities if you don't. I like to play that kind of golf.
Cons: -As the only course in AV, this place could get really busy.
-The chains have some weird red coating on them. Not sure what that was about.
-Not the longest or most challenging course. Definitely aimed at int or rec players so don't come here expecting a championship course.
Other Thoughts: +This course could have some really cool wooded holes and be expanded to 18.
+If 2014 league is the same as 2013, avoid this course on Monday evenings at 6.
+This course is worth a stop. Like most courses, avoid evenings and weekends. It is similar to nearby courses like Brockway and Red Oak.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Hercules never sleeps
Pros: Pitch and putt at its finest. Give your big arm a rest and work on your technical approaches and putting game.
Technical variety. Several short technical lines peppered with a few mostly open holes keeps things relatively interesting, elevation changes keep the game from getting repetitive. Then hole 12 will throw a wrench in your game, just when you were getting this pitch and putt thing down a 300 uphill double dogleg will test your skills on the final hole.
Navigation. Is relatively intuitive, most tees can be found near the previous basket. The only place it can get confusing is after hole 9, take the left path to get to holes 10 and 11, then follow the long trail to the right along the lake to hole 12.
Signage. Each tee is marked with a hole number and distance.
Local Scene. Weeklies, tournaments and gatherings throughout the year with a friendly crowd of people is a nice bonus.
Well maintained. It has always been well groomed and taken care of.
Beginner friendly. This would be a great place to be introduced to the game. Good place to work on lines, relatively tough to lose a disc, though some rough spots will eat discs on occasion, watch out for the swamp behind hole 8.
Potential. I'm not sure if any expansion would ever be in the works for this course. But if this course was looking to expand (alternate tees, alternate pins, additional holes) the land appears to be there.
Cons: Short. If your looking for a championship caliber course, or a place to work out your big arm, this isn't the course for you.
Brick walls. The walls surrounding the basket look nice and control erosion, and it may belong in the "pro" section if you are looking for a quick way to beat a disc in, holes 4 and 7 have taken some chunks out of my plastic.
Vandals. Recently(as of this review) several baskets have been vandalized and apparently has been a history of such activity, so all baskets might not be playable. But along with being well maintained, the park district has made immediate attempts to repair, replace, improve what has been done.
Crowded. Being easy access and good for beginners, this course will see families, mobs of chuckers, that one guy throwing 20 discs on each hole etc. Come early in the morning, or bring plenty of patience. Don't expect a quick round on a weekday after noon.
Tees. Concrete tees on many of the holes, natural tees work fine for the shorter holes, hole 12 is the most frustrating though, the uneven uphill gravel pit makes for a poor teepad on a tough hole.
Other Thoughts: If you're in the Southern Twin Cities Metro, stop by for a round. If you can catch it during a quiet time, it will be a quick enjoyable pitch and putt round.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Play it if your drving by
Pros: - Lots of large mature trees
- Hills play a large part in the design
- Fun fairways that require accurate placement
- Must hit the right gaps to make it to the hole in one shot
- Large level Cement teepads
- Good tee signs
- Stairs are well appreciated in the steep parts
- The rough isn't thick just lots of small trees to get through.
- Practice basket
- Playground for the kids
Cons: - A pitch-n-putt
- Poor use of land. I think they could've put in a way better 12 hole by adding a bit more length and utilizing the pond.
- Lack of trash cans and benches
Other Thoughts: This is a blast to play. Although its short there are main technical shots. The hills in the park are incredibly well used, if you dont land correctly skips and rolls will happen often. Hole 4 is the only one you get to really let a good rip go. Hole 12 is a brutal uphill with a super tight snakey fairway. I'd like to see someone throw who knows how to park this hole.
Anyways, don't go out of your way to play it but if your driving by or close by stop and play a couple rounds (they go fast).
Favorite hole #8 - A 250' slight left fade hot slightly downhill through the woods. About half way down the fairway it get really tight with only two ideal gaps to hit and then the fairway drops and fades left. A slight flex shot with a slight fade is the ideal line. If you hook in to late or early you'll be in some tough rough to make your approach. If you come in too high you'll blow past the basket and have to make a difficult uphill putt.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The baskets and holes are really well kept. The next hole is always easy to find and the course has a good flow. Most fairways aren't near enough that you could be hit by an errant throw.
There is a bit of variety of shots from heavily wooded shots to wide open shots. There is a little bit of elevation change on a few of the holes, but mostly on the wooded holes.
There is at least two blind tee shots in the woods. With the amount of thick brush on some of them, a spotter could be nice if you lack consistancy.
Cons: This park is VERY busy at night and on weekends. I remember the first time I tried to play it I ended up just turning around because there were 15+ people waiting.
Most of the tee shots are either putter or midrange shots. There are a few you can use a driver on but that's the exception.
Hole 12 doesn't seem like a good hole for disc golf. With the amount of stuff that's in the way, it makes a birdie nearly impossible. Looking at the stats on here, nobody has birdied it and the average is over 4. To me, if this hole had some sort of path this course would be much better.
Also this course would be much better if there were a few more holes, there seems to be ample room.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Very scenic course, a lot of diversity. The first four holes are fairly easy with some freedom to throw far on holes 3 and 4 (if you are an amatuer player like I am). Hole 5 always proves to be a bit of a challenge, 8 9 and 12 are also a bit challenging but very fun. Large trees again make some great scenery. Very easy to get from hole to hole. Hole 10 has two starting points, although the old starting point is not used as frequently and is a little difficult to find.
Cons: Can become crowded on the first seven holes, and because it is a public park occasionally people walk through where you need to throw. Recently a lot of the brush has been cut down to make it easier, taking away from the natural beauty of the place as well.
Other Thoughts: A few hills here and there make it a good work out and after playing it always feels great. I live close by so it is pretty much a daily relaxant for me. A few more holes around the lake would be nice, although a lot of landscaping would be required to do so. If you do not want to play through the woods, a fun "extra" hole is from the basket on hole seven to the practice basket.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
The Pride of the Valley
Pros: This course is the quintessential balanced course. The first half is open with some elevation (5,6,7) and the back is tight and wooded. It plays incredibly fair, but is consistently challenging through the entire track. Its also a peaceful course when compared to others in the metro. It's in the middle of residential area, which means no ambient noise from freeways. There is some moderate foot traffic in the park, so you have to respect the walkers/joggers. The walk between 11 and 12 is beautiful with a nice view of Alimagnet Lake with access to a dock/beach.
Cons: Course is quite popular with the locals so it can be busy at times. Most of the users are recreational so pace can seem really fast to the cautious frolfer.
Other Thoughts: Like this course, and play it everytime I"m in Apple Valley.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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