5 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: -Great variety; Long Open Bombers, Short Wooded Ace runs, Open Water shots and everything in between
-Extremely well laid out; Signage is clearly displayed and consistent throughout the course. As others have said, once you realize the 1st tee is across the road from the parking area, navigation is a breeze.
-Tee pads; Outside of #11, every hole has well place, well poured, and adequately large tee pads
-Great Use of Elevation; Considering the small amount of elevation changes throughout the park, the designer(s) of this course did a fantastic job utilizing it.
-Facilities; Plenty of Parking, Running Water, Bathrooms, Benches near every Tee and a covered picnic area.
-Frequent Pin Location Changes; All too often I play at courses with multiple pin locations that only get moved a couple times a year. They do a great job switching pins every few weeks here (from what I have seen in 15+ rounds in 2012)
Cons: - Can be extremely buggy at times. Bring Spray
-Plenty of Thick rough that can prove challenging when finding an errant drive
Both of these aspects do not affect my rating of the course, but can really play a role in how enjoyable your round(s) are at Bird's Ruins.
Other Thoughts: One of the better courses I have ever played, and probably the best free/public 18 in all of Wisconsin. Easily worth an hour+ drive to play.
19 well laid out and meticulously maintained holes, a Practice Basket, Bathrooms/Water on site, and free to play. What's not to like?
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Play this course
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Great layout. New tees! Will challenge every aspect of your game. A couple of signature holes that you will remember for a long time.Not a pay to play either. Skip the 8 bucks on Valla and come here.Technical tight shots and few where you can let em rip!
Cons: Not to many. Course is in early development but this will be one of the best around the madison area with time.
Other Thoughts: Bathrooms and camping on site
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The land has quite a bit of variety which includes open prairie, woods, slight sloping terrrain, and water. You need a well balanced game here. ** Hole #1 is located across the street from the parking lot.**
Once we found hole #1 navigation was a breeze. The signage is very good. Both sets of tees have tee signs and there are tons of navigational aids on the course.
The equipment is great. Concrete tee pads and brand new chainstars.
There is wide varity of shots needed on this course with both long and short tees.From the long tees there are quite of few holes where you can just let it rip!
Hole #19 is a great finish throwing across the water!
The elevated basket was a nice addition. One of the most unique elevated baskets I've seen.
Cons: I have no problem with challenge but the rough at this course is just nasty. We got lucky and played it in the spring. I have a feeling during mid summer this course is a disc eating beast. It seems to get some traffic so it may wear in over time. Play with a friend and spot for each other.
This course is still very ripe and needs some work. It needs some cleaning up. Watch your step out there. There a lots of stumps and tripping hazards.
There are a couple of wet and muddy areas you'll need to aviod after rain.
Other Thoughts: I get to Madison every other year or so to play Elver, Hiestand, and Token. This is a good addition to the area and was worth the stop.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: 1) Nice signs with Hole #, distance, map, and pin and tee locations. The map is somewhat helpful in overall hole shape. They are not perfectly shaped to the hole but it is close enough.
2) Chainstars are in great shape and installed properly. These are my favorite baskets by far.
3) Nice large concrete tees. Many of the holes have dual tees also which definitely alters the challenge on each hole. It makes the course a little more playable for people who are not top pros or long throwers.
4) #9 is a very unique hole. It plays along a severe slope but it starts out going down hill slightly, turning right, and then ends up going back up the hill. It makes for a really tough shot unless you have a perfect flick. I could easily see shots go way down the hill.
5) Hole #13 has a feature that is becoming more and more popular. It has a basket elevated up on a timber wall. This is possibly the highest elevated basket I have seen rising 11 timber levels above the ground (the base of the pole). The basket must be 12' up in the air, and this is definitely going to be a really windy part of the course because it is wide open prairie.
6) Water in play on a couple holes with the creek in play on #1, and #4 and the downhill shot on #7 (I think).
7) Incredible variety on this course between the first couple holes set in the prairie wooded section of the property. Then a few holes in the wide open rolling prairie, then a few in the dense woods, one in an opening but still wooded, a few more out in the prairie, and back into the old Oak woods for 1 hole and finishes in the prairie. It is nice that you don't play all the prairie holes in order and then all the wooded holes in order. The bouncing in and out of the woods and prairie is helpful to make you never get bored.
8) The Sumac in play on a couple of the holes creates a shot I have rarely seen on disc golf courses and I really like it. It is tall and twiggy and forces you to throw a high spike or an up and over floater. The only concern I have with the Sumac being used this way is that it is very delicate and if people throw into these areas they are likely to break off branches. The positive is that Sumac can really proliferate so hopefully those areas do not get damaged too the point that it alters the shot making. The Sumac really seems to be integral to the design of the hole.
9) Distance variation is enormous, ranging from as shot as 158 up to 715 and it has some of everything in between. The alternate tees and the alternate baskets also contribute to the variation in the course.
10) Balance of shot shaping is huge here. They require you to go both ways in the woods or at least offer both lines on multiple occassions, but the prairie you just need to play the wind however you can, so you can choose either throw, but try your hardest to get back to the fairway!
Cons: 1) The rough is rough. It is tall, it is thick, and it is a disc eater. I spent about an hour looking for 3 discs that were hiding from me, unfortunately the first one was my first ace disc so there was no way I was leaving without it . . . and I found it about 20' to the right of where I thought it was but after at least 40 minutes of searching. I am not sure if the prairie ever gets burned or if anything else can be done out there to make it more manageable. At the very least I could see mowing down some strips perpendicular to the fairway to help in spotting, or just always come to play with a friend or two and send out spotters to watch the drives land. I would imagine another 10-20' of a fairway will prevent a lot more issue.
2) The fairways that have been mowed through the prairie have some trippers still but those will disappear quickly with more traffic.
3) Raspberries on some of the wooded holes and I am sure there are some other troublesome weeds out there in the prairies and woods like Poison Ivy and Wild Parsnip. I am not 100% sure of this because they are tough to find right now, but they can be prevalent on unmaintained areas.
4) Not at all beginner friendly because of the length of the holes (even from the shorts) and the length of the tall grass creating a nightmare for lost discs.
5) I don't like blind holes and they have a few here where you cannot see the basket from the tee. This is only an issue once usually then you know how the hole is laid out, but still not a good idea in general. Sometimes the prairie fairways can deceive you in where you should be throwing.
6) A little too much luck needed on a couple of the wooded fairways, but that will level out over time.
Other Thoughts: Superb course, superb design, superb variety and balance . . . needs a little more maintenance or some more traffic to trample down some of those unmaintained prairie areas. Everything is just fine and I would come out here all the time if I lived closer.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 5 Not
Watch the rough
Pros: The course plays through a mix of hilly wooded areas and open rolling prairie. The wooded holes are technical with tight lines and lots of trees to hit on an errant shot with some nice elevation changes on many of the holes. The prairie shots have mowed fairways out of chest high grass and weeds with smaller elevation changes. There are dual tees on many of the holes that change the length of the open shots and the angle on several of the wooded shots.
There are some longer holes mixed in, especially from the longer tees. If you can hit the fairways, you'll be rewarded for biting off a little more distance. The wooded holes offer a mix of left and right turning holes with some straight shots. Currently there are numbered tall posts to indicate tee placements. Most holes had dual pin placements that made subtle changes to how the shots played.
Cons: When I played, the tees were natural and there was no signage. I didn't mark the course down for the tees, they're currently level and fine and apparently concrete is coming. There were some blind shots throughout the course, and knowing distance and direction would be really helpful. Some navigation help would also go a long way, there are a few spots where it's not at all obvious where to go to find the next tee.
I'm not at all a fan of tall grass rough. For the most part, it doesn't change your next shot, it just wastes time and plastic when you miss the fairways. Several of the prairie shots are mowed narrowly, and even a few feet off the fairway means a significant amount of searching. People were using some of the fairways as walking paths, which could be a potential safety issue.
Other Thoughts: I almost wish that the course had stuck to 9 holes using the wooded area. The prairie section of the course is more frustrating than fun, and would be pretty brutal on a windy day unless you wanted to throw a few safe upshots on every hole to avoid losing discs. Most beginners will hate this course, inaccurate throws on the open holes disappear into the grass, though the short tees on the wooded holes offer reasonable lengths and less punishment on missed drives. More experienced players will need accurate shots in the woods, and will be pushed to hit the prairie fairways if they want to throw any kind of drive.
11 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Potential to be great
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: 18 holes with terrain varying from flat prairie to semi-wooded to rolling hill to hilly and thick woods. Many different types of challenges throughout the course. There will eventually be an optional 19th hole throwing across a bay to a peninsula. Most holes have 2 tees and 2 pin placements. Water could be in play on hole 7 if you overthrow a little.
Cons: No tee signs or tee pads yet, but this will be done soon. The pads will be concrete. The biggest con for this course is, as previous reviewer said, the chest high prairie grass if you go off the fairway, which you will. I also spent a lot of time searching for discs. The next time I play here, I will play very conservatively to stay on the fairways, and take the extra strokes. Some of the wooded holes appear to have too many trees, but I didn't get worse than par on any of them, so maybe it's deceiving. The parking lot is very small, but I believe it will be expanded in the future. This is a public park with walking paths. This means that there may be times when you will have to wait for a walker to clear on some holes. You also may encounter dog poo (hole 12) occasionally, though I didn't.
Other Thoughts: Holes 1-4 are in a flat area across from the parking lot. These are well laid out to take advantage of the semi open, semi wooded terrain. Hole 4 is a big one with a landing zone before making a run at the basket. Holes 5 and 6 are on a rolling hill surrounded by prairie grass and are very long. Holes 7-12 are up and down (and across) a steep, heavily wooded hill. Holes 13 and 14 are back in the open, again bordered by tall grass. There will be an elevated basket on 13. Hole 15 throws from trees, through an open area and into a grouping of oak trees. Hole 16 is in the open up a rolling hill. Hole 17 is in the trees and hole 18 is back in the open with a large cluster of sumac in the middle of the fairway. I really like the variety of terrain and they did a good job of spicing up the holes in the open with an elevated basket, a hidden basket and mid-fairway obstacles. I really don't like the tall grass, but not much you can do with it, except to make wider fairways, as previously suggested. Being that I was a (small) contributor in putting this course in, I'm trying not to be biased , but, all in all, after some tweaking, I think this will be a great course.
UPDATE: Tee signs, directional signs, and concrete tee pads are all in. The rough is really getting trampled down up to 20' off the fairways, making discs much easier to find. The elevated basket on hole 13 is done and overall, the course is getting "broken in". All these factors have led me to up my rating to 3.5 UPDATE:Since my last update, many things have been finished or improved on the course. Fairways have been widened where needed, and a little more clearing was done to open up some holes a little. Hole 19 was added and it's very popular with players. We use it as a CTP tie-breaker, and for tournaments, it's used if no one wins the ace pool. Some of us just throw it for fun at the end of our round. It's really a great addition. A restroom, a fresh water well, a pavilion, and a parking lot expansion, and a practice basket have all been added. I'm upping my rating to 4, I'd like to give it a 4.25 if I could. Once we get a couple more things finished, I'll probably go to 4.5. I love having this course 8 minutes from my house.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Much improved, but more can be done
10 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The course is challenging and has great design elements. There are many holes where you have to take some time to plan your shot off the tee or even plan how you are going to attack the hole. This isn't your typical drive at the basket and putt course.
The course is well rounded with grip it and rip it open holes along with the technical wooded holes. There is even some danger on a couple holes from a creek that comes into play on hole 1 and hole 4.
There are a few par fours on this course that are more distance based than obstacle based. Hole 4 was a par 4 when it originally went in, but has been changed to a par 3. I suppose people can reach the basket from the tee with a long shot, but the creek and tall brush should be a risk/reward type of thing. There is a safe lay-up spot for hole 4 so you don't have to go for the long over the small creek shot.
Hole 13 has an elevated basket that makes an uphill open hole a putting challenge. Hole 14 has a pin position in the middle of a bunch of small trees that makes it a difficult green to penetrate.
The wooded holes have been cleaned up with a lot of trimming, which has generated better lines for you to hit. Don't get me wrong, the lines are still challenging, but the trimming has taken out the nearly impossible lucky you got through there shots.
The tree on hole 9 was trimmed extremely well so it doesn't totally hinder your tee shot, but it does provide enough of an obstacle to plan your shot around it.
The open holes have had their fairways expanded. I appreciate this greatly. Hole 5 has more fairway to the right. Hole 16 has a wide landing zone for your fairway shot before tightening up and then widening back up for the basket. That is perfect risk/reward for people who want to try for the longer drive.
The extra hole 19 looks like an awesome shot. I have not played it yet, but it looks incredible. It is a 285 foot shot across the river to the other peninsula. You need to walk all the way around to get to the basket.
The baskets are brand new and catch well. There are also multiple pin locations and two tees for most holes.
The navigation has improved with signage on the long walks between 6 & 7 and 15 & 16.
Cons: The course is still new. The roughs are extremely rough. Not a place for beginners as you will be looking for discs for a long time.
Hole 11 does not have concrete tees nor a long tee. There might be issues as to why these are not present, but it does still bring down the course.
There are still many small tree stumps that you trip over (or hit with the stroller) that are in the middle of the fairway.
The course still needs to be broken in a little more to become a top-notch course. The local clubs and community are quickly making this course better each month. If they keep it up, this course will be on par with the Madison courses.
Other Thoughts: There have been many improvement made to this course with trimming the wooded holes, widening the fairways on open holes, adding concrete tees, adding signs, and putting in alternate pin placements.
If they can keep going on improving this course, it could become one of the finer courses in Wisconsin.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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