Pros: The course is well-appointed: concrete tee pads, with pro and amateur at most holes; nice signage; well-groomed; frequent benches, trash, and recycling. There's a decent blend of shot lengths and shapes. Its location means it doesn't get very crowded.
Cons: My biggest complaint is holes 7-11, all short holes that work up and down a steep hill. I found these holes repetitive and more annoying than challenging. Others seem to like them, so your results may vary.
Navigating the course can be a little tricky. Most of the routes are marked but I did get a little lost on one of the longer connections. There is a nice map at the parking lot; I snapped a picture with my phone for reference.
The rough is indeed insane. Even shots that go only slightly astray can be a chore to track down.
Other Thoughts: I really like the atmosphere of the course, being that it's in a nature preserve. I did find the rough aggravating, like so many others. I don't think it needs to be mowed down, but they could stand to widen some of the landing areas. Beginners, and those with inconsistent drives, will likely find this course overly difficult.
Overall, it's worth checking out if you're in Madison, or passing through. I don't think it's better than Madison's best offerings, but it's another option, and it's free!
Prairie and wooded done well.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Secluded nature park that has the disc golf as a separate activity. Free to play (which isn't common in this area) course with a really nice variety of wooded, prairie, elevation and a little water.
Short and long concrete tee pads on most holes.
Tee signs have all the information you need, and are easy to read.
Plenty of variety. Holes 1-5 play across the road from the parking lot and offer some nice lines, with plenty of risk/reward for aggressive players.
Prairie holes offer a good amount of air-it-out bombs, with big penalty for going off the fairway.
Wooded holes incorporate a lot of the elevation here, and very well. Plenty of up and downhill and hard turning holes. I thought they did an excellent job on these.
Baskets were all solid, and caught quite well. Navigation was pretty simple, as well (once you realize that the first few holes are across the road).
The bonus hole (19) is a great water carry. It's not long (240ish), but with wind blowing, it offers plenty of pucker factor, and is a great way to end a round here.
We played the shorts, but stopped on the longs on each hole. Especially in the woods, they almost always offered a completely different look at the basket. The open holes mostly added distance, but that's to be expected on holes of this type.
Cons: I wouldn't want to play here in the middle of summer. The rough is ROUGH, especially on the open prairie holes. The fairways are plenty wide, but if the wind is kicking, you could end up spending a lot of time searching for, or losing, discs. We played before everything was tall, and we were very happy about that, to be sure.
Other Thoughts: This really is a solid course, with a great mix of technical and bomber type holes. I'll come back in fall when some of the overgrowth has fallen back.
Definitely worth a spin (or two) if you're in the area at the Madison courses.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
New course - mature feel
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: FREE. With the rest of Dane County now charging to play, it's nice to have another full course to throw at without another season pass.
Each hole has 2 basket locations so they can mix it up a bit, and the majority of holes have two concrete tee boxes.
Signage at the holes are informative and accurate.
ALOT of variety. Starting in the woods on the first three holes, 4 opens into more of a prairie. Across the road more prairie before heading into more woods and then more prairie. There's uphill, downhill, rivers... Pretty much every environment.
Neat elevated basket on one hole feels kind of like playing a mini-golf challenge hole.
Park has a water pump for drinking water, shelter for gatherings or events, natural amphitheater, and permanent outhouse.
Cons: As many have noted, the rough is ROUGH. The course was designed in what was essentially a conservancy park, and a lot of the natural area remains, which does make it challenging to find errant throws.
Bring DEET. There are Mosquitos in the wooded areas - but hey, it's nature.
Needs a few more directional signs to find next tee boxes.
Other Thoughts: I'd call this a great 18-hole course with a novelty 19th hole if you're a confident driver.
I know the club behind the park and there is A LOT of commitment and volunteers to make this 3 year old course even better. I think most people would see a huge difference already if they only played it the first year it opened.
I'd agree with some, that this course is better to play with a group... Getting more eyes to track throws and search the rough.
When I've played with 4+ other people the round takes about 2.5 hours. Could be quicker if we all threw straight :)
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Good but Bad
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Course is well maintained. Off the normal disc golf "path" so it's never busy. Holes have a good variety of difficulty and change in terrain. A nice change in scenery, but not on the regular course rotation.
Cons: The easiest hole is made VERY hard by the seriously over grown weeds on the edge of the fairway. If you can't throw arrow straight for 300 yards, take most fairways in smaller chunks to avoid losing discs.
I wouldn't exactly call this a 19 hole course. I'd call it an 18 hole, with a "Fun" hole next to the parking lot. Don't try 19 unless you have a broken disc, or one you hate. Cause you'll lose it.
Other Thoughts: I'm not sure how I feel about this course. I haven't played it this year yet, but I' not sure I'm going to. I like the variation in challenge throughout the course. Some holes are still a bit too easy, and others are too hard. If you don't throw perfectly on most of the holes you're SCREWED. I searched for probably an hour on hole 5 for a disc in the weeds. There's no trees to hit, no obstacles at all, just a "not perfectly straight" throw and Boom, disc is lost.
I lost a disc, and found someone else's disc the very same day.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 1 Not
A deceptively-beautiful course
Pros: Great location, not very busy, good signage, well-maintained tee-box areas, adequate trash cans & benches, a private bathroom, and an otherwise very nice park to explore outside of the course itself. The park was quite clean as well. Additionally, the course offers good natural challenges, some slight elevation changes, higher-than-average number of water hazards, and a thick and unforgiving rough - which is a con, but the challenge it employs is a pro (stay on the fairway, for the love of (your) god).
Cons: As others have stated, the rough is WAY too overgrown. The course I live closest to and play most often is Estabrook in Milwaukee, and it used to bother the environmentalist in me how much the course's caretakers would thin out the rough along the edges of the fairway and along the paths between holes.
Birds Ruins made me pull a 180 and now I REALLY appreciate it. When I got to the first hole, I let a sloppy backhand anhyzer go and spent the next 75 minutes trudging through some of the thickest, wettest, most overgrown, bug-infested, tree-stump & branch-covered ground I've ever been forced to explore just to wind up never finding my disc. I re-threw, this time sidearm & much more controlled. It landed in the rough too. Not as deep as my first toss, but I still spent 40 minutes looking for that one before eventually finding it. I can't imagine how many people number 19 has frustrated with its 200+ feet of water hazard.
Basically, the main con here is that the rough really needs to be cleaned up. The course is challenging enough without players having to be paranoid about missing the fairway and being forced to search for hours to find (or NOT find) their disc; this, especially given the difficulty of the final hole.
Other Thoughts: Again, regarding the final hole: if you know while playing the whole round that you may very well lose a disc on 19, you're going to play VERY conservative from 1-18 and it might affect your gameplay. Since #19 is the first hole you see when you park your car, it weighs heavy in your mind for the whole round.
Don't get me wrong, I was utterly intrigued and infatuated with the course as soon as I got there, parked, and noticed #19 (it's the hole nearest to the parking lot.) It's hard not to be. It's challenge is immediately apparent, and the risk involved makes you want to play it straight away just to prove to yourself that you possess the skill to conquer it.
If you're unfamiliar with the course, as soon as you park you'll walk up to the tee-box for hole 19, see the sign stating 275 ft to the hole, and then you realize that the hole is on a peninsula across 200+ feet of water hazard - it basically goes: Tee-box => 30 ft of rough => HUGE water hazard => shoreline => small-ish 20 ft radius clearing in the woods, with the basket situated dead-center.
So like I said, at least 200 ft of #19's 275 ft is water.
Also, if anyone finds a Millenium Sirius Orion LS to the far-right of the fairway of hole number 1, contact me on here and I'll buy you a six-pack of good beer - or something equivalent in price i.e <$15.. (the discs original owner wrote the same thing on the back of the disc but when I contacted him, he never followed up - so don't use his info cuz it's outdated. Just contact me here lol).
When I first arrived and was throwing at the practice basket, I couldn't believe I was the only person there (and I remained the only person playing there the whole 4-hrs I was at the course). After losing and nearly losing my 1st and 2nd throws respectively, it became apparent why, on such a mild and gorgeous day, the course was completely empty. Only the most seasoned and adept of players that can avoid the rough without expelling much effort will be comfortable playing here.
Any lapse in judgement, any dampness of the hands that compromises your grip on the disc, any slip of the foot while going through the motions of your drive, all lead to you having a bad time. This course has so much potential - it's a beautiful location, it's quiet, and with so few players, you can play at your own pace.
Plus, given that all Madison-area courses are pay-to-play, this is a great refuge for broke college kids, or those of us trying to play a round a few days before payday when money's tight.
I recommend this course, but with a bright-red, violently-waving caution flag:
-=- You should probably avoid doing what I did my first time playing here, and don't play alone: 2, 3 or more pairs of eyes will have a better chance of finding AWOL throws than you by yourself.
-=- You also may want to leave your prized or favorite discs in your trunk.
-=- And this isn't the course where you'll want to decide before starting that you're going to practice throws you're not 100% comfortable with yet, just for practice's sake.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
A Day at Bird's Ruins
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Quiet. Once you stop all the internal dialogue and tee pad banter...there it is Hush
. Distractions are minimal. A hawk fishing the edge of the marsh--Pairs of Sandhill cranes circling...looking for a dance floor to mate on. Birds in the marsh and oak savannahs. Chipmunks and snakes. Frogs. Butterflies. Wildflowers. Serious tepads wide and brushed wet and grippy.
Thoughtful lines, benches, a water pump....creak creak creak. A nice shelter for grilling or chilling. An excellent location to absorb Wisconsin....praire, marsh, oak woods.
Cons: Not finished.
Other Thoughts: So park your car stretch out and fill your water bottle. If you're filling frisky....throw #19 across the marsh while the rest of your group sorts their gear.
After parking...Cross the road to the south to #1. Difficult first hole....its just really hard to par this one easily . You want to get off the tee and into the game but #1 says no free passes. The basket is located on a little island behind a line of trees guarded by tall trees and a sick little creek. Its a left to right throw. There's a considerable shrubby thing in the middle and....the schule left and right is very unpleasant. If you didn't warm up...even a little...you will be sorry. Punishing first hole and a 3 is stroke against your foursome..
On to # 2....after you cross a couple of foot bridges....there you are....not far 270-280 but a slalom course of pines to negotiate. If you missed par on # 1.....all of a sudden....looking at plus 2 walking up to #3. The pain can happen pretty quickly.
You can get one back on the third tee...its shortish, but the lines are kinda severe. Make your choice of putt at the tee...if you get my drift.
The course/ feel changes as you walk from #3 to the 4th tee. From kinda piney sandhill play to....open.
A miss off the tee on 4 is not what you want. There's a really thick wild grape growth way left. Not pleasant.
If you hyzer long and left its kinda worse...boggy marshy buggy lost disc... and a good shot....but just not enough power puts you in the creek. My advice....play a Roc or putter to the center of the fairway...get the lay of the land. Plus 2 and a lost disc is not a happy way to start.
At this point I might mention scopin tee shoots. There is nobody around and it's an incredibly quiet place . You only get one first time. Don't hurry.....enjoy the challenge.
Okay..across the road to # 5.
Its a long walk to #5....get your game together. 5 is open....throw what you like...but keep it in the short grass. Its a long par three.
#6....this is a transition hole....a stiff eagle on anhyzer or something that doesn't fade left.....focus and get a bird here.
Luck.Skill and really tight putting will get you thru 7 -11....these holes are really funky. Make par....ace runs are punished.
#7. Plays down a wooded ravine with a 60' drop in elevation from the tee to the flat on the bottom. The short placement is almost straight off the tee, but well guarded by trees both along the fairway and at the bottom. If you are too firm with your throw, it could potentially land in the marsh behind the basket. The alternate placement is also on the flats of the bottom, but off to the right. You might have to walk off the tee and down the fairway a bit to get a read on this basket. Trees guard the basket on second shots and long putts.
#8. There's a path connecting #7 to #8, pretty easy to find behind #7's long placement. Watch out for toe stubbing tree stumps in the path.
The pad for # 8 sits under one of Ruins massive old trees. Your tee shot will be a steep uphill throw, but not particularly far. Still, there are enough large trees in the fairway to force a thoughtful line in addition to calculating how high one needs to throw. #8 is probably the easiest hole to birdie out of the 5 woodland/hill holes.
#9 is located further up the hill and then to the left. Initially, it appears very similar to #7, but take the time to walk off the tee and find the basket. It's very close to the same elevation as the tee pad, but the confounding fairway plays down, then right and up. The key for me here is deciding where I want to make my second shot from. The fairway is tightly wooded and slants away from the basket. Tree hits easily roll away or caroom into the woods. Careful play will net you a par, which is mentally difficult to commit to on such a short hole.
Essentially you walk downhill and uphill on a 200ish par three. It's a funky hole.
There's path behind #9 basket, take that up and to the left to #10.
#10 plays downhill again...and this is really weird, because you feel like you've just played a downhill hole...in any case it pays to walk down the fairway and locate the basket. It will be either far left or far right....either shot is demanding and there are lots of trees to influence your choice of lines. You'll probably looking for relief from the woods at this point, but pace yourself, there's a couple more to go.
#11 can be found on a path that is behind the right hand placement of #10. #11 features a crushed stone tee pad framed in wood. It's simply too low to the marsh plain to accommodate concrete ( for the time being) Its a nice spot to watch the marsh for birds and hawks, maybe you'll see a platoon of turkeys in the farmfield across the marsh.
12.....choose to par or birdie....5 is easy here.
I'll finish this review
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Great course that utilizes its location well
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Fantastic use of the surroundings, which includes a river, stream, open prairie, and a hardwood forest. The stream running through the first four holes is utilized well, making you think about your shot selection from the tee. The open fields allow you to stretch the arm out, with some true par four hole distances
There are also some short, technical holes that reward shot shaping and control.
In addition to the the course itself, the amenities on the property are nice. There is a bathroom and a water pump located at the parking lot. I didn't get a chance to use the water pump, so I am assuming it is functional. There are also garbage and recycling cans scattered throughout the course, too. The tee pads are concrete, and are large enough for even the biggest of run-ups.
Cons: As others have mentioned, the rough is just that. I'm sure that as more people play, the rough will become more beat in. But hey, if you are driving straight, there's nothing to worry about!
Other Thoughts: All in all, this is a fantastic course that is well worth the short drive from the Madison area, or further. The combination of shots and distances required make this a challenging course that is a blast to play.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
The Beast in the East ( of Dane County)
Awesome course and layout. All parts of your game required. Big arms, accurate mids and great putting will score well here.
Cons: Rough is rough. Woods are tight. No other surprises here. It's all been said before.
Other Thoughts: Keep on keeping on here! All the improvements are just making this hidden jem that much better.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Change of Pace from local Madison Courses
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The first thing I noticed after playing this course, was the great variety of holes, with holes in the woods, holes in the open, and some elevation change. The course also has large quality tee pads, great signs, and new chainstar baskets. It was also not very busy when I played, which was a nice change of pace compared to that of Elver and Hiestand. There are many technical holes in holes in the woods that go both left and right and require the right line to avoid to brush/rough. There are also a variety of both short and long holes, which make for plenty of birdie opportunities, but also difficult par saves. A creek also comes into play on Holes 1 and 4. The elevated basket on Hole 13 is a great addition. Overall, this course allows you to work on a great variety of shots, lines, and technical aspects of your game, which is awesome.
Cons: If you miss the fairways on any of these holes, the course will become very difficult. The brush in the woods and the grass on the open holes is quite thick. I played on a windy day, so the holes out in the open had an added difficulty, but certainly added the challenge to stay in the fairway. I could also see the bugs being bad at this course, so the wind may have helped in that aspect. Conservative shots with a mid-range off the tee may be an option as well.
Other Thoughts: The course could definitely use some brush/rough cleanup. Wider fairways in the open would be nice and some tree trimming and brush cleanup in the woods would make the course much more forgiving, but still difficult. From what I have heard though and based off of previous reviews, this course is coming along quite nicely. Hole 19 is also great for tiebreakers and a great way to end the round over the water. Lastly, I typically play the local Madison courses, Elver and Hiestand and occasionally Token Creek, so this is a great addition to the area and certainly less busy.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Awesome Fall-Spring Course
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Great variety of wooded and open shots
Great variety of long and short shots
The short tees, long pins are very challenging, even for pros
The long tees create a very different shot for some holes
Cons: The only gripe I have with this course is that the rough is too thick during the summer months. There are lots of thorns so please wear long pants.
Other Thoughts: I highly enjoy playing this course from fall to early spring. I try to get out there once a week. The course designers are great people who have done a great job with the course. Hole 19 is such a great hole and worth emptying your bag on to try for an ace.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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