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.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
A Day at Bird's Ruins
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.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Great course that utilizes its location well
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 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 3 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 4 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Change of Pace from local Madison Courses
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.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Awesome Fall-Spring Course
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.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Lots of pros for me. Distance variety is great with a almost 800 ft hole(long tees) to 150 ft hole(not really even a gimmie birdy). Lots of technical shots and definitely long open bombers with slight elevation to change the shots just enough. The signature hole is probably 19 across the water or 4 a big rhbh anny with a creek you need to get over(your choice to lay up or go for it). I really enjoy the atmosphere on this course where you will be traversing through forests, on the edge of wet lands, and through a prairie. I would say this course is no pitch and putt course(although short pad to short pins has a lot of ace runs). The longs will favor big arms with 5 holes over 500 and 3 over 600. I live in the area and this is the best course to go to when madison courses are packed. Great
Cons: Tall grass would be the biggest con out here. Its nothing like what some of the earlier reviews tell though(lots of works been done). Hole 14 long needs a landing area larger then 30 ft wide surrounded by long grass. really this is the only spot that is unfair to me as far as the grass. Lots of little stumps that you can trip and stub your feet on in the woods(i wouldnt doubt if this is taken care of soon). maybe a little more clearing in some areas to open up recovery shots more.
Other Thoughts: I felt the need to rate this course because it is deserving of a rating larger then it has. If your traveling the area do yourself a service and play the birds ruins!
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
rivals the madison courses
Pros: huge concrete tees plus am and pro
distance variation is great 150-700
the fairways are well groomed and are plenty wide
a good mix of tight wooded holes and long open bombers
the woods has extreme elevation change which is really fun
water present for an extra thing to think about
tee signs are awesome showing the distance, par, and both tees and hole locations
navigating from hole to hole is a breeze with all of the markers on the trees
challenging to make par on the longer holes but then gives you ample opportunity to make up for it on the shorter holes
never busy and it's free!
plenty of different shots needed to score well(even a couple overhand shots)
practice basket and a bathroom are right by parking lot
located in a beautiful family park right by the river, it feels very peaceful and scenic.
Cons: a couple of the wooded holes have a few too many trees in the way and require a little luck
bugs can be a problem in the woods but not terrible
off the fairway grass is very tall and thick but like I said the fairways are adequately wide to land your disc
Other Thoughts: Hiestand and Elver are the most talked about courses around the area but I think this course should also be in the conversation. Honestly, if I could only play one course, i would pick bird's ruins over the madison courses because it is not busy at all. This course is so much fun with all of the different lines you can take to the pin and all of the different obstacle you have to throw around. It really provides a stern challenge. You'll probably need just about every disc in your bag here. And if your frustrated with your round you can always get rid of some steam by playing #19 throwing across the river. In my opinion this course has it all and is very close to perfect. Getting rid of a few trees on some wooded holes (#9 especially) would make this a 5.0 course.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Play this course
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.
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