A worthy tribute
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Amazing course on a tremendous piece of property. Has that epic feel to it - a round here will take something out of you.
+ Elevation: Holy @#$%^&* cow! Used every possible way: uphill, downhill… everything. Often massive, sometimes subtle, impossible to ignore. Rollaway potential on fairways and greens (#9 pink can be a killer)
+ Mix of wooded / open holes (front 9 is more wooded, back 9 more open).
+ Holes that allow a variety of lines and holes that force a specific line.
+ Holes that play much longer/shorter than posted.
+ L/R/straight tee shots, ranging from open to well wooded; some call for finesse, some call for power, some demand both.
+ Good range of distances given the multiple layouts available.
+ Some well-guarded and nicely tucked pins as well as some dangerous placements to reward good approach shots.
+ Risk/Reward: Quite a few holes can make you pay for failing to stay on the fairway with difficult recoveries. Pin placements w/pucker factor will punish poor decision making.
+ Challenge: Dual tees / dual baskets really allow you to "season to taste," with 4 full-time layouts to mix and match over the course of a single round to suit your mood at any given moment - quite adaptable to all skill levels:
Pink to pink - shortest and easiest
Blue to pink - longer and tougher
Pink to blue - more difficult than blue to pink as blue baskets are longer and less accessible
Blue to blue - requires both power and finesse
+ Bonus 650' downhill CTP bomb is a rush
+ Dual (carpet) tees provide very different looks
+ Dual DGA baskets: Pinks are super visible and easier to approach. Blues have flags and trickier/more demanding approaches.
+ Tee signs at both tees and next tee signs round things out nicely.
• Memorable holes: I liked 5, 6, 9, 10, 16, 17, and while #1's not unique, running at an open pin from an elevated tee is pure fun… you could clean a bag out right there. Come find your own favorites. If you don't like the bonus CTP between 16 and 17, then you don't like disc golf.
• Routing/Nav: Front 9 is easier to follow than the back. Had some trouble finding #'s 10-12. There are some long walks between holes (especially the back), and while it's not bad on the whole, the map was really helpful to reference for #'s 10-18 because the holes are spread out.
• Aesthetics: Nice woods and green hills establish a scenic setting with a couple of spectacular hill top views. Walking this course can make you feel small… and wipe you out.
• Carpet tees: better than natural, not awful but leave much to be desired.
• Pink pin location on 18 seems weak in my opinion…pretty much a forced layup unless you park it off the tee. Blue pin plays much better.
• #12 is one of the weakest holes on the course, and throwing towards a road with cars driving by kills the vibe.
Not reflected in my rating, but I felt these are worth mentioning:
• Scouting ahead to spot baskets is particularly frustrating (and tiring) on such hilly terrain.
• There were piles of wood and debris here and there about the course. They may have just been doing some spring cleaning…but it was an eyesore at times. If seeing a course at its best matters to you, you may be happier visiting later in the season.
Other Thoughts: One of the best in the state, especially if you crave elevation. Any of the individual layouts very good to excellent on its own, but the course as a whole truly is phenomenal because of the additional variety the mix and match scheme yields and how well it adapts to fit different skill levels.
Every bit as much a workout as it is fun, playing here is truly a hike, and covers a lot of ground. The terrain only makes what would otherwise be a long walk particularly taxing… you don't want this being your 3rd round on a multi-course day. Some of the more exhausting walks were between holes, and this course will have you sucking wind at times. Don't expect a quick round.
Chances are you'll need to deal with the wind on the more open holes. It can help or hurt, but reading it and using it to your advantage is a skill to be developed.
Played Blue to Pink, but took a good look from the pink tees and at the blue pins. I came hoping to play different layouts on consecutive days, but to be honest, playing another round the next day would have made me useless for Hickory Hills.
Camping? Just a few miles from Traverse City State Park: clean, private showers, shady sites, plenty of restaurants and directly across the street from a public beach.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Solid, fun course.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: One of many Northern Michigan ski-hill courses, this course on Traverse City's Mt. Holiday establishes itself as one of the best. Unlike some other courses made from ski hills that have one or two bomber holes and several compromised holes, this is a well-rounded course with many hillside holes as well as entertaining wooded holes.
As mentioned previously, this course has two sets of tees as well as two sets of baskets on every hole, with blue and pink colors distinguishing what is in effect four different configurations. Some of the pink basket holes match or surpass the blue baskets in terms of fun factor, but the pink tees seem redundant on occasion.
Holes 1 and 2 get you off to a good start with nearly wide-open shots that track diagonally across the bottom half of the smaller ski hills. The second half of the blue basket fairway of Hole 2 tracks into the woods, introducing the wooded segment of the front nine (Holes 3 through 7). Unlike some courses with many wooded holes, the wooded holes at this course have distinct characteristics, with adequate driving room in all instances. Hole 5 is a thrilling, short downhill bomber that can be a deuce hole, but can also knock you off into thick woods with an errant drive. Hole 6 is a long, challenging hole that starts flat but ends with a 200-foot uphill tunnel. Hole 7 is a terrific tunnel hole leading to a right turn back out onto the ski hill part of the course. Hole 8 is one of the only holes to track along the side of a hill, but is still a fun hole with adequate, yet fair challenge. Hole 9 ends the front nine in dramatic fashion with a wide-open downhill bomber.
Hole 10 opens up the back nine with an elevated tee with wooded rough on the left. Hole 11 adds yet more diversity with an uphill water hole. Holes 14-16 are decent uphill holes with wooded areas providing adequate challenge, leading to the climactic downhill holes at the end (17 and 18). Hole 17 is nearly wide-open, with the blue tee shot being ideal for right-handed forehand shots. Hole 18 is a 500-foot tree-lined tunnel that is just wide enough to drive through, and is wider than it appears in photos.
Cons: Has a couple of cheaper holes that don't entirely escape typical ski-hill course shortcomings (Holes 12 and 13). Hole 13 in particular has some shrubbery that eats discs. Carpeted tees were wholly adequate on the dry, sunny day I played, but may be problematic in wet weather. Some of the wide-open sloped areas would be very difficult in higher winds. The pink tees seem to be more of an afterthought, but as mentioned previously the short basket positions are often tempting when playing the blue baskets.
Though not really a con, the extensive photography on the tee signs of the course namesake can leave one with mixed feelings. Maybe time will heal some wounds eventually and the course name could be changed to Carly Lewis Disc Golf Park as a more fitting tribute.
Other Thoughts: The hard work put into this course shows, with ongoing course tweaks being added to the course. An excellent course design, particularly in the wooded parts of the front nine. Very high fun factor in light winds, and is favorable for all throwing styles instead of just righty backhands. Overall, this is a very solid 4.0-level course, with potential existing for higher ratings in the future.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Huge, rewarding, demanding, and as fun as possible
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: + Easy to find in a great location on awesome landscape
+ Two tees (blue and pink) each with a perfect sign
+ Two painted DGA baskets for each hole (blue and pink)
+ Four course layouts
+ Least confusing two pin/two tee course I've played
+ The entire course was put together without any component missing
+ Innova flag on the blue baskets for visibility
+ Very challenging blue tee - blue pin layout
+ Surprisingly diverse hole layouts for a ski hill
+ Directional arrows are plentiful and essential
+ The sheer size of the course, wow, *elevation*
+ Spectacular views
+ Bonus! CTP throw was as huge as possible
+ Practice basket
+ Well-defined OB
+ Each hole had a defined line to hit or was long enough to present a challenge
+ Ski hill course = wind and sun
Cons: - Carpet tee pads
- #10's blue tee could use some love or a cement tee :)
Other Thoughts: Three other intermediate level throwers and I threw blue-blue on this course on a 93+ degree July Saturday around 11:30-2:30pm. We were prepared for the size of the course, though, so none of us felt overwhelmed by the size or elevation. I think much of someone's experience here will depend on their preparation and expectations. Prepare for walking up and down a ski hill 3-4 times (possibly more depending on how you throw). Expect a great, fulfilling workout. Bring sunscreen and bug spray. Bring lots of water. You will deserve a good meal after playing this monster. If you like being outdoors, spectacular views, and AMAZING disc golf, you will love Carly's Playground.
The course's very thoughtful design warrants some more details. The front nine were moderately wooded, actually more so than I expected from a ski hill course. And now that I think of it, the back nine has a few holes that put trees in play in strategic ways that kept us from getting bored, too. We also never got lost. Even when we couldn't see the pins, we still knew where they were, so we didn't have to walk ahead too much (sometimes that's just necessary, even if it's uphill unfortunately). The fact that the navigation was easy is very important in my opinion because courses with two tees and two pins naturally have the potential to be confusing. But the blue and pink color coordination was great, the tee signs were accurate and detailed, and the directional signs were perfect and essential. Hole 10 is next to the parking lot, so you get a little break between the big hikes. The carpet tee pads weren't great, however, but I personally only remember them being annoying once (hole #10's tee pad was a little janky). It would be awesome if the tees that don't need to be moved during the off-season could be cement. That being said, even though they could be annoying, this is a seasonal course and I don't think this course could get any better.
We loved the course and the whole experience. It was a very fulfilling round to say the least. Rarely did I walk up to the tee pad and know exactly what to throw due to the elevation changes and wind. I hate using the word "epic", but the course is memorable enough to say it is exactly that. We all felt worked out and beaten down in the best way when we hiked back up to the car after finding our CTP discs. It was honestly one of the best disc golf experiences any of us had ever had.
We managed to fit in one other course the day we played Carly's (our original plan was for two more rounds), and that was Herman Park in Suttons Bay (3/5). We were skeptical, but that course was the perfect compliment to Carly's - a good mix of water and woods on flat ground when all the other nearby worthwhile courses are very hilly. We had already played Hickory Hills (4/5) the day before, and we ended up playing Myles Kimmerly (4.5/5) the day after. Check all four courses out for an amazing up north weekend!
Thanks for reading!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: Most physically demanding course I've ever played.
Some spectacular views.
Some really cool downhill holes.
Nice elevation changes.
Having 2 pads and 2 baskets on each hole is pretty cool.
Cons: Course is SUPER hard to follow. I was very lost.
Tee-pads are carpet and are very difficult to throw from.
The course is not mowed. Not at all. Fairways are, in places, nothing but tall grass. We spent as much time looking for our discs as we did throwing them.
Other Thoughts: I don't like this course. It's difficult to walk, difficult to find your way around and difficult to play.
I do, however, love some of the awesome downhill holes.
1 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Lived up to the hype!
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: +Holy elevation changes! Being on a ski hill
they took advantage of the changes!
+Hole 5 is awesome elevation change
thru some trees, can play left or right
from short tee to either basket
+Really cool having 2 tee and 2 basket
choices for every hole
+Really awesome layout, almost every hole
took advantage of the terrain
+Flow is pretty good
+Signs were Awesome! Next Tee signs ALMOST everywhere
+Close to town, so easy to find
+Hole 16 was a riot!
+I liked Uncle Todd's 650' downhill between
16 and 17, really fun! Awesome View!
+Hole 18 is a super long tunnel shot
+What I like was with two tees AND two
baskets you could mix and match if you
wanted, which made it fun to sometimes
play the hole two different ways
+Was a port-o-jon at the bottom of hole 9
+Very clean, benches here and there
+Very bright baskets, easy to see
Cons: -I tried to 'like' the carpet pads, just couldn't,
ended up playing behind them or next to them
-I think it's hole 11 to 12, it's hard to find you have to walk back down the hill towards the clubhouse and towards the road, it wasn't marked and was kind of a pain to find
Other Thoughts: ^As of today anyhow, there is road construction kind of a pain to get to
^Because of the construction it did make a couple of the holes difficult, but still playable
^Be ready to hike! Up and down a lot of hills!
^A lot of uphill holes made it interesting
^A few missed chances, like between 6 and
7 would have been cool
^Bring bug spray for sure
^Good hiking shoes, some steep hills
^This is a MUST PLAY!!!
^No scorecards was a little annoying
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: - Designed by Hosfeld
- HUGE elevation changes, you will be worn out just from walking, and it's tough to learn how discs fly going up and down these hills
- Dual tees and baskets on every hole
- Well marked with nice signs for each tee, next tee markers everywhere
- Bright easy to spot baskets
- Clean play not too rough off in the woods areas
- Balanced design to test all your shots- from all 4 layouts
Cons: - Not really any, except the tees are carpet but they work fine, even safer in the cold rain I played in than rubber tees would be
Other Thoughts: Must play if Up North
7 of 11 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The course plays on a ski area with a mix of open and wooded areas. There are two tees and two pins on each hole (pink shorts and long blues for both). I played only the longest blue to blue layout, so this review is mostly based on that, but it was cool to see the amount of variety the dual tees and pins added. The shorter layouts make the course an appropriate challenge for different levels of players and it seemed like all four potential shots on each hole were well thought out.
The elevation is the defining feature on this course, nearly every hole plays up, down or across the hills. You'll have some tough uphill shots, a few fun downhill bombs and plenty of places where you have to be careful how you land your shot or long fade- or roll-aways are lurking. I loved the use of the trees on hole 18 to make a rewarding downhill shot that still required a tight line and punished errant drives. The ctp hole between 16 and 17 is a great chance to just air one out and watch a disc fly, there's enough elevation that throwing a putter 650'+ is definitely possible.
Several holes bring woods into play, requiring a decent mix of left and right turning shots. Each of the layouts seemed to have good length variety appropriate to the level that layout was designed for. The signage is excellent, with good signs at both sets of tees showing distance and layout to both pins from each, and next tee signage as needed throughout the course.
Cons: The course is a bit open, I like wooded courses in general and despite the awesome hills it can feel like a little bit of a grip n rip course in a couple places. The grass on the big slopes was pretty long when I played, and chock full of little burrs that stuck to everything. The carpet tees weren't always level, and several had ruts or lumps that made for awkward footing. A few of the short tees require a really long walk from the previous hole which can encourage beginners to play long tees and/or pins, slowing down the course on a busy day and likely decreasing the fun factor for those beginners.
Other Thoughts: New players will find the shortest layout very approachable as long as they're ready for a long walk and some challenging shots. The blue to pink and pink to blue layouts offer some nice intermediate level challenges, and a ton of variety. The blue to blue layout is a tough challenge and has a great mix of different types of tests. You'll need distance and line shaping skills along with a good understanding of how wind and hills affect disc flight to be successful here.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Very new player friendly and fun course!
Pros: One main Pro is that there are 4 different routes at each hole which is excellent so a variety of skill levels can play.
Pink - Pink is the easiest of the 4 so those that are new can do that route to make things easier on them. Then Blue - Blue is the hardest path to take and that is for the more experienced.
The signs are amazing. At the Pink and Blue tee pads you can see the distance and where to throw to the basket. They are excellent
Another variety is uphill/downhill shots and forest shots. They are really nice and one of the blue baskets is on top of a mound of Wood chips and it's really cool to see.
The park is really clean from what I have seen. That makes it great and also this course is maintained very well. You can tell they put a lot of work into the course to make it memorable.
The random hole where you just throw a disc as far as you can and you can just pick it up at the end is fun.
At the beginning of the course there is a box where people can donate discs and also use discs for those that are new and don't own a disc can use them. For the most part people bring them back.
Cons: The carpet tees are really brutal when it is raining outside. I went once when it was barely a drizzle outside and the carpets are slippery. So if the carpets are wet, be careful.
This isn't a course for those that are not physically fit. It can be very rough because of the hills. They are not insanely steep like Hanson Hills but they are pretty steep.
The walk back to the car isn't the greatest thing because of the steep hill but that is one minor thing I didn't like.
Other Thoughts: I played this course for the first time in May and it is just absolutely amazing looking. I would highly recommend trying this course in the spring time because it was just beautiful.
I did play this course a couple days ago just to see if there was any difference (and also I haven't played in a while due to work schedule) and I still loved it just as much as I did. It's a really fun course and new player friendly. So give it a shot. It's not the greatest but it is really fun. Hope to see you out there!
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: 4 courses in 1. 2 tee's and 2 baskets (blue and pink) for each hole allow for a variety of shots. Not just a "Righty Hyzer" course. Challenging for beginners and pros alike. Pink to Pink being the easiest and Blue to Blue is the most difficult. Pink to Blue and Blue to Pink are challenging intermediate courses.Signage is very good and course is not difficult to navigate. Blue baskets have an Innova flag for better visibility. Not crowded like the other area courses. Course is clean of trash and there are some outstanding views from atop the hills. Lots of benches to sit down on. Pink basket in parking lot to warm up the putter before teeing off. Tee boxes are leveled and carpeted and carpet is anchored down well.
Cons: Some tough climbs. Shady side (1-9) is a tougher hike than Sunny Side (10-18).
Some areas need to be mowed.
Other Thoughts: Mr. Lewis has poured his heart into this course and is always looking for ways to improve it. He and the rest of his team have done a great job. Well done Toddzilla.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 2 Not
Wonderful in so many ways!!
Pros: Aesthetic--beautiful property for disc golf. plays up and down two ski hills, through woods and down access trails. A truly wonderful experience.
Signage/Routing--Not only is the signage good, it's EXCELLENT. There are two tees and two pins (pink/blue) for each hole. on the blue signs it shows distance to both the blue and pink pins and the same on the pink. so between the two tees, all four lengths are very evident!! accurate distances, bright, colorful signs with accurate representations of the blind holes. "Next hole" signs are abundant and lead you to the next tee.
Physicality--this course will challenge your physical fitness. playing up two ski hills and down two ski hills will challenge everything. This is Hickory Hills x2-3 as far as physicality.
--Variety/Risk v Reward--Water, uphill, downhill, bombs, shorties through the woods, blind holes, tunnels, there's a little bit of everything here. You are encouraged to play safely here but it's nowhere near as fun!! Throw dammit!!
--CTP hole--650 ft straight down a high speed ski run... Awesome way to air your arm out at the end of the round...Instructions tell you to pick your disc up after 17/18
--#18--500' down an access trail through a tree tunnel on both sides...Sources saying a Gold Tee/Pin will be added here to bring the total length to 700+feet...awesome finishing hole.
--multiple tees/pins--for west michigan, this is a foreign concept... for Carly's, this makes it four courses in one! different looks and different lines, shouldn't ever get bored!!
Cons: --Carpet pads--though they are relatively level, these would/could be bad if it's wet. locals have tended to marked where there is a stump in the middle of the teepad (#5 or 6 I believe)
--walk back to parking--it's a long uphill battle, but in the end, what can you do?
EDIT: in my initial review, I downgraded a half a disc for carpet pads, I now don't believe this is a major detractor at all. having played 3 of the 4 layouts now, I have no issue with the carpet pads.
Other Thoughts: A great great course for a great great cause. Remembering Carly and hearing about her on the news is/was heartbreaking This course is a great representation of her memory (as far as disc golf goes). each sign features pictures of Carly and her friends and family. Thank you city of Traverse City for this special gift!!
edit: just played for the first time in 2013, this course is easily in the top three courses that I've played and most definitely the best new course I played last year...I recently played in a two round tournament and got to play pink to pink. I believe that having four layouts here not only encourages new players to play disc golf, but challenges pro level players with the blue to blue layout. best of the best indeed.
15 of 17 people found this review helpful.
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