3 Helpful / 0 Not
gets in your head
Pros: 1) Hole diversity:
--Holes with a relatively narrow tunnel of trees: (1,2,4,5,16)
--Holes with some part narrowed by a tunnel of trees: (3,6,7,9,10,11,14,15,18)
--Holes that cross water: (12,15,17)
--Holes that no one can ace: (6,15)
--Holes where wind, depending on direction, is somewhat of a factor: (6,12,13,15,17)
--Holes right to left (hyzer for RHBH): (5,6,8,10,12,14,15,17,18)
--Holes left to right (turnover for RHBH): (2,3,4,7)
--Holes with very sharp left to right; not quite possible to do turnover: (9)
--Holes that are relatively straight: (1,11,13,16)
--Holes going mostly downhill: (3,6,9,14,16)
--Holes going mostly uphill: (2,5,7,10,~13,18)
2) Cement tee pads that grab your feet so you don't slide around...even on wet days.
3) Sweet baskets. Yellow band at the top helps visibility.
4) Well marked course; nice signs with hole navigation.
5) Benches and trash cans; tons less litter since disc golfers adopted the area and upgraded course was installed.
6) Restrooms, water and picnic tables on the course.
7) Right up the hill from Tall Grass DGC, which is a very different type of course...not as good as Oak Island, but an awesome complementary course.
8) Friendly, committed and well-organized local league: Flying Lea Disc Golf Club; a big reason Oak Island and Tall grass are well-maintained.
Cons: 1) Not a beginner course, or can easily frustrate beginners...especially the water holes.
2) There are certain times of the year when mosquitoes take over and you wish that wind was more of a factor on more of the holes.
3) No short tees...yet.
4) Hole #11 might be a little too close to the parking lot, but I've only seen a disc drift over to the cars once or twice.
5) Possibly too many hyzer shots (from looking at my list in the "pros").
Other Thoughts: This course gets in your head. I find that nearly everyone falls apart a little at some point while playing it. The secret is to just wait and make consistently good choices...and hope that you're done falling apart and your opponents aren't. It's pretty darn technical and doesn't have too many long bomb holes on it, which are not my forte anyway. The fact that it is so close to Tall Grass DGC makes this small geographical area one of the nicest destination course combinations in the state. And when Riverland Community DGC finally gets all of it's tee pads and acquires new baskets, this area will rule Southern Minnesota (and beyond) as one of the best places to make a trip and play golf.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Best of Southern MN
Pros: -Nice baskets with flags on them to help you see and identify which basket you are throwing at.
-Pads are more than adequate
-Recently installed signs are helpful, i was a little worried about navigation because I played very early in the construction process but when I came back recently it was easy to find my way around. There were a few signs that pointed towards the next tee which were also helpful.
-They really made use of the water. I am tired of playing courses that are around water but not actually in play. This course had the perfect amount of carries that I was entertained without being constantly stressed about losing plastic.
-Great variations in distance here. There are some shorter holes and some longer holes and among the holes of similar length there is good variation in throw required, how tight the line is, etc.
-Multiple tees accomodate many different skills of players. None of them really felt like an afterthought compared to some courses that I have played.
-Albert Lea is quickly becoming a disc golf mecca in Southern MN. This course and its immediate neighbor, Bancroft Bay make a nice tandem and the community college course isn't so bad either. Conveniently located at the intersection of two interstates helps too!
-The course is really scenic, a somewhat hilly area over the water. A nice break from the prairie that you drive through on I90 to get to this course.
-Elevation makes this course a little more challenging and a little more fun.
-There appears to be an active club here with leagues and they seem to take pride in their courses. Not a lot of garbage on any of the courses.
Cons: -From the longer tees, the holes kind of blend together. There seemed to be better variation in distance and challenge from the shorter tees.
-Could lose a disc in the water or trees.
-I think they could have used the elevation a little differently to create some side hill holes or faster greens to add to the challenge. It was a lot of just straight up and straight down shots.
-This park and Bancroft are very popular with non disc golfers. Be careful as I almost threw at walkers with dogs on fairways of both courses. They just treat the courses like trails through the woods.
Other Thoughts: I first played this course early last summer when it was first being installed. I probably would have given it a 3 at the time but waited to review it until I could play it again. It is still a bit rough but I imagine that it will get better and better. This course is definitely worth a stop if you are traveling on either of the interstates. It is probably the best course in Southern MN and is made even better with 2 other 18s in this smaller town. I enjoyed my time here and will come back again.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
No Joke Island
Pros: 1) Discatchers with #'d flags on them made it easier to see the baskets.
2) Nice large grippy concrete is always appreciated.
3) Directionals are used in key spots to move you through the course and from hole to hole which is always helpful for the travelling or first time disc golfer.
4) Temporary corrugated plastic signs have Hole and distance. I appreciated the effort even if for just a temporary basis.
5) #6 is an awesome hole, it is long, fairly open with some key trees to avoid and it finishes into the woods and down the hill with a backdrop of the water. Picturesque, challenging, and requires strategy. What more can you ask for won a hole.
6) Excellent use of the elevation changes on this rolling property. Nothing is overly dramatic but the subtleness of the rolling terrain really makes you think out your shot beforehand.
7) This course is suitable for all skill levels. It has 3 sets of tees (although only one is concrete) which allows beginners to throw a wonderful course along with top pros.
8) Distance variation is tremendous . . . for the beginners there are holes from the 100's, 200's, 300's and even a 400' or two. The lines get a little tougher and a little longer for the intermediate tees and then again for the pro tees. It was fairly seamless how all three sets of tees were usable. Some of the walks to the short tees might be longer or awkward but there is almost no way to design for this given property restrictions and safety. This was done very well at this course however.
9) The use of the water with forced carries or difficult safe layup shots is awesome. This really brings into play strategy and risk/reward, something I think disc golf needs a lot more of.
10) I imagine the gold level players that can throw a long long distance might try to do a big bomb up and over the trees because the open green area is huge at the top of the hill. Either way this is a great risk/reward challenge.
Cons: 1) I know this is going to sound terrible . . . but with 3 water shots . . . I really wish one of them required an anhyzer. Most courses do not get 1 water shot, and with this course having 3 shots over water, I wish one of them could have gone the other way to force people to display all skills under all circumstances.
2) There were some dangerous spots on the course. The most egregious location of this was where #13 fairway passes #15. Discs that hyzer out on #13 would end up right where people walk out and around the water on #15. Fortunately the people on #13 can see people on #15 so hopefully they are patient and let them clear first.
3) This course is still a little bit rough. I know it is not very old so work is still being done. I respect that but I always rate and review courses as I played them not necessarily as I expect them to be. There are a lot of trippers and small stumps along with vines and brush that still could use some clearing. It doesn't affect play much but it does affect the beauty and enjoyability of the course.
4) #11 is a little bit dangerous for the vehicles as anything grip-locked or turned over will go right in to the end of the parking lot.
Other Thoughts: Hole #1 is close to another copy of Blue Ribbon Pines #4. . . this is not necessarily a bad thing, but it seems to be a popular thing to do is to find a row of evergreens and make that a fairway. Riverland Community College also had the recreational version of #4 at BRP. This does not make them bad holes, but it made me think.
This is a great course, the design is good, the property is great, and it is challenging but still fun. I typically do not expect much more than that. It doesn't really feel like a gold level course because I didn't find it to be overwhelmingly difficult. Sure it has its challenges but overall it was not unplayable. Layup and play smart and you should do just fine, or if you have a bomb of a drive you might be able to play a little more risk/reward shots.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Mostly Good, but I Expected Better...
Pros: What I Liked:
- Long & Short Tee Pads
The long tee pads will be poured concrete (in process as of this review). I'm unsure if the short tees will be concrete, but at least they will exist. UPDATE 9/11/12 - All 18 holes have a concrete long tee pad. The short tees are targeted to be poured in 2013.
- Technically Very Difficult - Lots of Risk/Reward
There are a number of tight lines to hit as with any difficult course. Oak Island also makes good use of difficult putting greens. Many of the baskets are on steep hills, requiring the player to properly land approach shots to avoid roll-aways. The same goes for putting, where an errant downhill putt can easily lead to a difficult comeback.
- Innova 28-chain Baskets
These things catch everything. No worries about spit-outs or slip-throughs. Pure awesome.
- Some Beautiful Views
Thought the water isn't a bright-blue ocean, some of the views are simply breathtaking. The putting green on hole 16 is easily the best in the state in terms of the view.
Cons: What I Disliked:
- Several "Almost" Signature Holes
#1, maybe, but it'll always be a little-brother to #4 at BRP. #15, maybe, due to being able to see the basket. I feel like #12 (RHBH hyzer 300' over water) should be the signature hole, but the basket is too far inland. If it were moved to where the old basket is, it would be great, IMHO.
- Mostly Repetitive
There are some holes that are awesome, but as the round went on, there was a definite pattern. Tee from the open area on top and throw downhill into the woods. Then, tee from the woods and throw uphill into the open area. Overall, a little boring in that regard.
- Long Holes But Short Throws
There are legit par 4's on this course, but there wasn't a single Nuke Bomb that I found. The long holes require short, strategic throws to score well. This itself isn't a con, but not having a single open or mostly-open bomber was a disappointment.
- Deja Vu
When I ended my round on #18, I stepped up and thought "Wow, yet another uphill hyzer hole. I've done exactly this twice already so I better be good at it!"
- You Will Lose a Disc Eventually
I suggest bringing a couple drivers, a mid and a throwing putter that you aren't too fond of.
Other Thoughts: What I Must Tell You:
I need to start by saying that when I played the course, there were no concrete tee pads yet. There were also several piles of brush in the woods from recent bush-clearing outings. And there were some parts of the course that needed to still be cleared a little bit. None of these things were considered in my rating as it would be very unfair to count these against the course. I also understand that there are parts of the park that were off-limits when putting in this course. I can't count that against the course, either.
There's no doubt this is the most difficult (relative to Par) course in Southern MN. It's probably by far the most scenic, too. But in terms of hole variety, I thought it was very lacking. Way too many RHBH hyzer shots as I only threw FH twice. And like I said in the "Cons" section, there was a lot of deja vu. I don't mean to come across as if I disliked the course, but I expected more. Southern MN lacks in courses that can compete with Oak Island, but that doesn't mean it automatically warrants a perfect rating. In fact...
To summarize, the course is mostly-excellent but lacks variety. The "cool" holes are few and far between, so there are very forgettable stretches of play. It's a long course that forces short throws. I'll certainly be back to play again and will re-consider my rating after that time. But for now, I'm feeling a 3.75. Round it up to a 4.0.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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