If I went to St. Mary's, I wouldn't get any work done...
Pros: + Located in the beautiful city of Winona on a college campus
+ Great course map on each hole's tee marker, showing A & B pin locations (not every hole has a tee marker)
+ Tee pads are in good condition and didn't affect my run-up at all. I imagine rain could make them slick though.
+ Good mix of technical and open holes. Use of elevation changes add some difficulty to the open holes.
+ Well maintaned and mowed fairways.
+ This course will greatly challenge most rec players, but provides a wonderful venue to improve their game. Intermediate and Advanced players won't bore easily with this course and can easily find opportunities to improve their game!
Cons: - Would be nice to have hole layout at each tee, instead of the course layout.
- Not all teepads were marked, affecting navigation slightly and disc selection without posted distances.
- Some holes have low hanging limbs that prevent/deter the right shot line for a RHBH; some trimming could help.
Other Thoughts: Many of the wooded holes are beautiful and look daunting, unfortunately they are daunting because making it through the trees isn't necessarily a matter of skill and there being a line, rather a matter of luck...
Don't stray too far out of the fairways, the foliage is heavy and can easily gobble up errant discs.
Some of the open holes have the pins elevated on the side of hills, which will increase the chance of rollaways.
If I were to pick a signature hole for this course, it would have to be hole #13. It's located along the right of the creek. Tall, narrow trees on both sides of the fairway create a 40'-50' lane that shapes slightly left to right (finishing in the center by coming slightly back to the left). The pin is straight out at 327' with a row of thin trees, roughly 75' in front of the pin, guarding an approaching teeshot from the left. Come and discover this hole for yourself!!
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Off the beaten path, but worth the visit
Pros: This course is a hidden gem in Southeastern Minnesota. The scenery alone makes it worth the trip. The course utilizes the bluffs surrounding the SMU campus. This offers a wide range of fairway layouts ranging from shorter tree weaving shots to a 500'+ downhill launch. This course is physically demanding, yet it has a nice balance between technical tree lined fairways for veterans and more open fairways for beginners. Veteran players can bring their entire bag for some harder risk/reward shots while newbies can get by on one disc. The course is well designed for college students. The pads and signs are very high quality with skillfully drawn maps and distances clearly labeled for each hole.
Cons: The course was recently redesigned due to school construction near the first three holes. As such, baskets were relocated and the course was actually improved in terms of layout. Unfortunately, the maps and signs have yet to be updated and it makes the course very confusing for first timers. As of May 31st, 2012, the old signage still showed the wrong hole numbers and some still marked former holes that no longer exist. Temporary stakes/labels are in place, but they are not nearly the quality of the old set up. I will rate this course in the 4's if/when signs and pads for the new layout are updated to their previous quality.
Other Thoughts: I was pleasantly surprised with St. Mary's DGC, also known as The Woods. As a college based DGC, I expected a challenging layout and the course lived up to expectations. I played after the University was out for the summer and I would expect that the course is relatively quiet during the summer months. My round was in complete solitude. Take mosquito repellant and watch out for the poison ivy. Winona is off the beaten path a bit, but it is well worth the visit for a day or weekend. In addition to three DG courses, it hosts a world class art museum, great local restaurants and countless other indoor and outdoor activities.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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