I wish I lived in Dane County
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: - Located in a scenic county park
- Easy to find with ample parking near holes 1 and 18
- Wide Variety... short wooded holes, wide open distance, water hazards, elevation, and more
- Fun and challenging for a wide variety of skill levels
- Dual concrete teepads and pins
- High quality of upkeep and care... trash and recycling bins throughout the course
- Accurate and detailed teesigns
- Benches, logs, stumps, or plastic chairs located at each teepad
Cons: - I could definitely see how the rough could ruin a solo round, especially during the summer. It wasn't long enough this time of year (mid-spring) to be a problem while playing in a group of 4. We never spent more than 2 minutes looking for a disc over the course of 2 rounds.
- In the current pin positions, there were three short, downhill, doglegs that became a little monotonous.
Other Thoughts: I was really impressed with this course. The quality of the design is top notch. There were several holes that made me think about risk vs. reward and most presented two or more line options. Some people complained that hole #9 (in the horseshoe position) is way too difficult to birdie... I like that design because it rewards good course management. A controlled shot will set you up for a manageable par while those that go for the unlikely birdie will find themselves in jail and scrambling for a bogey. The care and upkeep were closer to what you would find at a high quality pay-to-pay course. The natural beauty of the land was remarkable. I heard the calls of cranes (I was told they were whooping cranes) on a nearby lake/pond throughout the day. I am definitely looking forward to playing hear again.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: -Very good mix and balance of shots, left to right/right to left, short/long, forehand/backhand. -Scenic views paste the backdrop on this course. -The layout of the course was well designed on the land of this park. -Two sets of concrete tee pads and two basket placements for every hole gives this course a lot of options.
Cons: -If you are not playing this course before june the rough is tall, thick, and nasty. -Wind can be brutal, play in the fairway and out of the tall thick rough. -Spotters are necessary on most holes especially from long pads to long pins.
Other Thoughts: Was pleasantly surprised when i decided to go out to birds and give it a try despite hearing a lot of negative comments about the blandness of this course, style of golf, and very thick rough. Take a nice spring day off and check this course out because it's worth the play(especially inside an hours drive). -Very solid fun course.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Fun and challenging course
0 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Very well done course along a river. Has variety of elevations and flat holes.
Cons: In the summer it can be hard finding your disc with all the tall grass.
Other Thoughts: I would definitely play this course, it is challenging but also very beautiful.
0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
My favorite near Madison
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The course is set in the small, quiet town of Marshall a small drive outside of Madison. There are two sets of tee pads on nearly every hole. The tees are large level and grip nicely. The difference from longs to shorts drastically changes distances and shot shaping on quite a few holes as well. The baskets are chainstars that are in very nice shape and catch great. There is a solid mix of right, left and more straight on shots here. The challenges range from wind on the more open holes, water on a number, elevation and plenty of trees. This is really just a well rounded course in this regard and makes for a very fun round. The park is in a very secluded area and is never too busy especially compared to the in town courses. The tee signs are very nice and informative. The have a basic hole layout map with distances, pars and the different pin positions. They even had stickers showing which pin was currently in play which is nice. There are also many signs showing directions to the next tee making navigation a breeze. Speaking of that almost every hole has multiple pin placements. This adds even more fun factor to the course. The variation of different distances is pretty awesome. There are shorter wooded and many varying prairie distances. Bird's ruins is also free to play (although there is a donation tube by hole 1) and there is a nice restroom and drinking fountain by the parking lot. The course is also permanent apparently, although I've never been there in winter. This is a big plus to me and this would seem to be a nice course to play a snow round at. Hole 19 is a very cool probably 250 foot shot over a pretty wide river to a pin on the other shore. This is really just a bonus hole but a really cool bonus hole at that. there are also tons of trash cans and benches all throughout the course to make your round a little easier in spots and help it stay clean.
Cons: The rough on a few of the holes can be pretty nasty. Not the worst I've seen but watch closely where you throw. Not really a con but just to take note. Holes 1-4 are on the opposite (south) side of the road. Holes 5-18 then wrap through the rest of the park. Hole 19's water carry hole is located right by the parking lot. As has been mentioned before the bugs can get bad but it is WI and that's true pretty much everywhere around here. Beware of people walking dogs and just walking on the trails throughout the course.
Other Thoughts: I've played all the courses in Madison and this is my personal favorite (though it's not actually in Madison). It's free to play unlike the four major courses in Madtown which is always nice but the golf is just plain fun too. You can couple this with many other nearby courses to make for an awesome day of disc golf.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: You wouldn't think a course could be in little ole Marshall, WI but its surely there. I am sure there's a neat story behind the name of the course but everyone else was clueless so maybe someone can fill me in! I recently was able to play two practice rounds and a tournament round at Bird's Ruins and I purposefully waited until after playing my tournament round before rating the course. Here are my pros:
1) The course clearly gets a lot of love and a lot of work. The nature of the course (long, lots of rough) requires a lot of work and it seems that the local club has really put their heart and soul into this course. The effort, for such a small town course, is MARVELOUS.
2) The course can be very unforgiving so its great that the course has both long and short tees. The difference between the long and short tees is actually pretty dramatic so that makes the course better in my opinion because it gives lesser players the chance to enjoy the course. Alternate pins also add to the course and make for some interesting variety.
3) The course has nice concrete pads and nice tee-signs that are very descriptive.
4) The rocks on hole 5 are pretty neat. The fact that the distances to the hole are posted on the rocks makes it even cooler and reminds me of Idlewild. Hole 5 is a nice par 4 and it was actually very helpful to have the distances for my second shot into the green. It was really a neat feature.
5) You truly could not ask for more scenic holes. The course is built into some kind of nature preserve and the views are truly stunning. The view by hole 19 near the lake at sunset is a million dollar view. Even though the tall rough is no fun to be in, it does make for some picturesque areas. A lot of the rough includes some very colorful plants, which at least makes it fun to look at. More on the rough below....
6) The course has an incredible variety of pretty much everything. The course features one of the tightest holes you will ever play in 8 (downhill, 158') and then a super long bomber hole with number 14 (715'). The course features tight wooded holes, open bomber holes and a little bit of everything in between.
7) The course is designed in a way that makes you play smart golf. It is designed to make you keep it on the fairway at literally all costs. Hole 4 is a great example: you want to try to go for that hole and carry your disc over the creek? Good luck. If you miss the landing zone you will be in rough that is INTOXICATING. You can choose to play a 280 foot, layup shot and leave yourself a 240 foot approach shot to the green or you can try to go for it. This course features many holes that require this exact decision: should I go for it or should I lay up. Hole 14 is the same way with the second shot to the long, alternate pin. The green is guarded by an impressive ring of bushes that you do not want to be in. Any time a course makes you truly think about laying up or going for it you know its done a good job.
8) The course has some really neat par 4's, in my opinion. Some of the par 3's may not be as much to my liking but the par 4's here are awesome. Hole 5 is a phenomenal, 2 shot hole with a fair landing zone and a nice green. The aforementioned hole 14 probably is the signature hole on the course with an unforgettable green and hole 16 is another neat hole with a fair landing zone and a tight green. I really thought the par 4's on this course stood out.
Favorite Hole Not Mentioned: Hole 18 from the long tee looks REALLY daunting but after throwing it a few times its really a FUN hole to throw. There is so much room to the left of the basket and the rough is so much better here that it really is fun to just launch your disc out over the rough and watch it fly downhill towards the basket. Its a fun, 500+ par 3 that probably plays more like 440.
Cons: This won't be surprising but I absolutely have to mention the rough in my review. I usually do not penalize a course for its rough but unfortunately Bird's Ruins had some of the most brutal rough i have ever seen. Here are my cons:
1) The aforementioned rough....is.....ROUGH. It is a monster. It will digest your disc like its nothing. This rough is some of the most penal I have ever witnessed. I cannot remember seeing rough that high, but the second shot on hole 4 includes rough that was well above 12 feet in some areas. Unfortunately this makes the course near impossible to play by yourself. In fact, I would never advise playing this course by yourself. The rough on this course makes it IMPERATIVE that you have spotters if you are playing the long tees (and probably even the short tees). I think that most of the fairways are fair, but discs will find the rough. And when discs find the rough at Bird's Ruins its a BAD thing. I think that over time the rough may get tamed down and I hope that it does.
2) The course featured too many blind shots for my tastes. This normally wouldn't be as big of a deal but with the rough the way that it is it took a lot away from the course. Hole 1 was kind of a silly hole from the long tees and it was driven by the fact that you simply had to throw a monster anhyzer out over the rough to a green that was tucked into the woods and not visible unless you were standing 40 feet from the basket. I just don't quite understand how you could throw this hole without a spotter and that's probably not happening in a casual round. Hole 4 is a blind hole, holes 5 and 6 are blind and holes 16 and 18 are blind. There are a few other but those are the ones that stand out to me. Just a few too many blind shots for me.
3) For the most part the navigation was okay except for after hole 4. I almost had to give up the first time through the course because I could not find hole 5. I think a simple sign after hole 4 would help a lot.
4) The course had one too many holes, in my opinion, that didn't have a line to the basket. In my opinion hole 3 didn't really have a line to get your disc all the way to the green, and this would be considered a par 3. I was also completely baffled by hole 9, which we dubbed the horseshoe hole. I simply don't see how anyone could get a disc anywhere near that basket and its only 224 feet. During the recent A Tier multiple top pros complained about this hole and how silly it was. Oh well - not every hole is perfect!
Other Thoughts: Bird's Ruins is a really neat park in a small town that is worth the play....if you have a group of at least 3 people. I would also advise playing in the spring or fall. The rough will eat you alive and the wooded holes had BAD bugs so come prepared with bug spray!
I will reiterate that the love put into this course is clearly evident and it seems that a lot of the fairways have recently been widened a little bit to make them a bit more open and to make it less likely to go into the rough. I think more of this is probably needed but this course did work out just fine in a tournament!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Nice course, but tough for a new golfer.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The course is very well kept, and provides a nice mix of prairie and forest holes. Water only comes into play on #4 (creek) and #7 (but only if you massively overthrow). The creek was pretty stagnant and plant-filled, so it would be a tough place to recover a disc from in the summer.
The elevated basket on #13 is a fun touch.
#14 has the basket location(s) concealed behind some trees with rough tight behind, so a tough hole.
#15 was my favorite of the short holes - nice little anhyzer across an open area, under the trees to the basket.
#18 was my favorite hole because it offered a few approaches - with the rough down the middle, you had options to go both left or right off the tee, and even without a bomber arm, you could realistically go either way.
Cons: As many others have said, the rough here is dense and unforgiving - I played solo, and as a new guy, I'm amazed that I didn't lose any discs, although I made the mistake of throwing a neon-yellow disc on #18 that took 15 minutes to find. Stick to your reds, oranges, and pinks.
On the prairie holes, the fairways need to be wider, at least in the areas that folks playing from the amateur tees would be expected to play from. Maybe the rough plays a lot nicer in the early spring before everything grows in, but it's tough in early August. The prairie rough at Vallarta-Ast over in Madison is a more reasonable level, in my opinion.
Other Thoughts: It's a free course near Madison, which is a virtue in and of itself. Without being pay-to-play, it definitely holds its own in terms of upkeep - credit to the folks behind the course.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
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!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Prairie and wooded done well.
6 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.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
New course - mature feel
5 Helpful / 1 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 :)
5 of 6 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.
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