You Got Me On My Knees....Leila!
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - After playing over 200 courses, most new courses tend to fall into one or another of a few basic course templates for me. For example, there are only so many flat, open, grassy, boring-ass park-style courses you can play before you're able to pull up to a similar course and know (more or less) what it's all about before even exiting the car. Other courses fit on the other end of the spectrum: true destination courses where every detail is dialed in to perfection. And then there are the huddled masses somewhere in between, from solid 4-disc courses that have great golf but bad amenities to boring but amenity-laden 2.5-disc layouts. Leila Arboretum is a bit of an anomaly, in that I'm not sure I've ever played another course quite like it. Even after a couple of weeks' reflection, I'm still uncertain exactly what to compare it to, or what to think of some of the design elements.
- The course plays through a weird but beautiful park. At the entrance you'll see what looks kinda like an amusement park: large colorful statues and dinosaurs and the like. The course is at the top of the hill, by the pavilion. You can also find parking by #2 in a small lot and start there, if you choose. There's a good mix of park-style, heavily (and I mean HEAVILY) wooded holes, and mixed holes where you play from woodland to open or vice versa.
- Elevation galore. If you like ups, downs, sideways, basically anything but flat golf, this course will be right up your alley. #1 starts off with an undulating, ridiculously awesome fairway that is truly a "right outta the car pucker shot." #2 works from a flat open area up the side of a ridge into the trees. #11 is a huge downhill bomb across a big grass-filled valley back up into a pine-strewn hillside, where the protected basket awaits. The designers sure knocked it outta the park on using all the possible elevation to max effect.
- Water comes into play a bit, but mostly is avoidable. #5 has a swampy lake to the left on the approach, that really will only punish the most errant of shots. A few other holes offer a bit of water, but again, nothing like a massive water carry or anything.
- Difficulty. Holy good god, this course is DIFFICULT. I'm used to playing gold-level courses , taking my lumps, and loving it. If you do, too, then Leila Arboretum is for you. There are several factors here: the elevation, the hole lengths (only 4 holes are less than 300'; 12 holes are over 400'), the extremely narrow fairways in the extremely dense woods, the blind pin placements, and the not-obvious-first-time-through landing zones that NEED to be hit to score anywhere even close to par. And don't even get me started about getting off the fairway...the wooded rough is brutally punishing.
-Solid amenities: signs, concrete tees, next tee markers...good flow.
- Beauty. Despite the public park style of a couple of the holes, there's more than enough wooded seclusion and natural beauty here to really enjoy oneself if, like, that's your thing, man...
Cons: - The signage, which is really great, still gets a con. Why? They're descriptive, mostly accurate, and well-maintained; however, I still found myself walking almost every damn hole scouting for the pin because, well, the signs just aren't BELIEVABLE. What I mean is, when I looked at the signs, and then looked at the fairways, I kept saying, "It can't POSSIBLY do that...I'd better go check." Only to walk halfway down a 500' hole to realize, I'm still not going to see the damn basket (always seemingly tucked away behind a hill or a bunch of trees) unless I walk the whole thing anyway. Because of the uncertainty of where the hell you're supposed to be going, the first time through this course is a chore. I really cannot recall walking as many fairways in disbelief only to get back to the signage and say, "Huh, it really DOES do that....crazy." This is mostly because some of the wooded holes have fairway shapes that look like they were designed by some mad scientist disc golf genius. I'm still uncertain as to whether these holes constitute some radical new breakthrough in dg course design, or if they're poorly constructed landing zones coupled with nearly impossible 90-degree turns to the fairway (sometimes only 100' or so from the tee), or if I just suck at disc golf. It's probably a bit of a combo of all three, but maybe mostly the second option.
- So, mostly an extension of the above point: this course could really be an unhappy affair without a guide if you're unfamiliar with it. I think a lot of the stuff that seems sketchy after one play, might come out to be really fun and challenging once you know the full layout: where to layup to landing zones, where to go for it, etc. HIGHLY recommend not tackling this course solo, it's a beast to scout, walk, play...having someone spot first time through would help immensely.
Other Thoughts: - I really can't wait to get back to Leila to give it another go. This course, at its worst, is highly compelling and interesting disc golf that is extremely challenging for players of all levels. The fact that the biggest con is "this course is mad-scientist-bent-on-world-domination levels of crazy" should make you want to play this course, like, immediately.
- I saw the listed par, said "Cool, I know what to expect." By hole 3 I was like, "I had NO IDEA what I was getting into!"
- To paraphrase Clapton:
Leila, you've got me on my knees.
Leila, I'm begging, darling please.
Leila, darling won't you ease my discin' mind?
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Most Difficult Course in Michigan
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: By far the most difficult course I've played, and a number of people have called it the most difficult in Michigan. The Toboggan course in Kensington used to hold this top spot for me, until I found Leila. This is where disc golf courses need to go.
- Difficult. True Par 4's and 5's. Many blind baskets. Plays more like traditional golf where you have to play the fairways. Loved it. For serious DG throwers only.
- Well maintained in late May 2015. It is a very large course though, so expect varying levels of cut grass. You can tell they are working on it. No large dead trees in any pathway/fairway. Never lost a disc in the rough.
- Very quiet park and well laid out. Never saw another person on the course. Only a few cars in the lot upon arrival and leaving.
- Flora and fauna beautiful throughout. Lots of birds singing throughout the day. Rolling hills and tall trees.
- Easy navigation.
- Nice large concrete tee pads.
- No casual water in late Spring.
Cons: - Very hilly and very difficult. Not for beginners.
- Lack of trash cans.
- Lack of benches.
Other Thoughts: Bring your hiking boots and water. You're going to be out there for a long time.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Very difficult. Great concrete. Vortex baskets. New signs. Excellent elevation.
Cons: Very difficult! No water on site. Not many trashcans and no benches, which you need. Also still pretty new, so the "fairways" are a bit rough, though they are working on it.
Other Thoughts: This is an absolutely beautiful course sharing space with an existing arboretum. There is almost constant elevation, most prevalent on the signature hole 11. My friends and i call this place boot camp due to the difficulty and insane lines you find yourself shooting. You will almost certainly need 80% of the discs in your bag, if not all. After playing Leila you will find yourself throwing out of spots in other courses you may have previously thought unthrowable. All in all this is a reallyh nice course, that with a little more shaping has the potential to be world class.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Leila Arbooretum review
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: I am a beginner Disc Golfer so I may or may not have all the terms and answers you may be looking for, Here is my review: Basket Conditions: Were excellent they are brand new Discstar Baskets. The Baskets do not have numbers on them or flags. Teepads are cement and have a good length to them be careful when your throwing on hole #5 as it is on a edge of a sidewalk and the field is slopped. There are tee signs now! and are excellent and informative they show an indication of the direction you need to throw and has the hole number, distance and what the par is. To make a great course the fairways need to be mowed and plowed down a lot better. I lost a disc on hole #10 and there are fairways that have tall grass so it is best to bring a spotter. I also think the property is large enough to make this a 24 basket course. All-in-all I think it is an excellent challenging course! The flow of the course is good as holes #1 and #18 are right next to each other. So the loop back to the start was well thought of by the designer. Bring a map as it is needed if your a first timer to this course! You do not have to worry about crossing fairways with the exception of holes #13 and 14 you would only do that if you chucked your disc way to the left or right but trees would block your disc. The Foliage maintenance is ok, I hear this course is maintained by volunteers so it is as best as it can be for that. No poison ivy,sumac, or oak that I saw on the course to worry about. I am not sure of the mowing schedule or the reguarlarity of it being done most pathways to the next holes the grass was mowed real good it is just the fairways on some of the holes that needed extra attention. There was no benches at each teepad but there are benches around cemented pathways that lead around the park. On hole #12 there are large rocks that can be used as a bench if you need a swig of water and a rest and you will need those trust me! No trash bins on any of the teepads either there are a couple of buckets that someone must have brought on a couple of holes but they are filled with beer and pop bottles and garbage. Some bonus attributes to make an excellent course once again benches! the fairways being mowed and plowed down and stumps being completely removed and a coupe of bathrooms along the course would be nice. I know that these are expensive but it would be very useful. Elevation is a monster on this course! Lots of going up and down, lots of hills walking through tall grass and even some muddy areas. I would recommend wearing a hiking shoe or shoes that you don't mind getting dirty and shoes that are supportive of your feet as your going to be getting exercise that is for sure. I am a big guy myself and I was dead after I got done playing here! I would say this course has two signature holes, holes #5 and #11. Hole #5 is over 800 feet in distance and #11 is over 500. This course is more suited for the experienced and intermediate level golfers. Beginners can play here( I am one myself) but you will get to holes such as #5 that seems like it goes on forever, hole #1 going up and down two hills and keeping a straight line throw or your in the tall grass searching for your disc and hole #10 which is a blindshot to the basket with a tall grass fairway and easy to lose a disc on if your not paying attention or do not have a spotter. No camp grounds here or restrooms unless kingman museum is open the museum is visible to right of #11 and no drinking fountains anywhere. Eleven of the eighteen holes are 400 or more feet in distance so mostly long drives here. Hole #9 the shortest at 210 feet and hole #5 is 830 feet so bring your distance drivers or your going to keep throwing a lot like I do. There are a good variety of shots that need to be taken here as some of the holes have tight-lined fairways and a few that are wide open so a variety of techniques are needed at this place. Parking is good make sure when you enter the property to go to the left and then take a right, the road will go uphill and wind around and you will see a circular shaped parking lot with a pavilion to the left. You can park down by the water fountain when you first enter the property but you will have to be walking a lot more than you have too. Scenic beauty was excellent here this is a beautiful park with nature at its finest. This park was not crowded all the times I have came here. Of course I started at 11am on a weekend but as I was finishing it started picking up a little. I am sure once the word gets around and more people start playing this course it will be a busy one. There are a few events that goes on at the park especially the music festival that goes on in June so pay attention to your newspapers, the internet as when this happens the whole park is closed for the event other than that nothing major really happens at this park. The people I would pass by being a non disc golfer or a disc golfer were pleasant and friendly. The people you have to look out for are the ones who are sitting in their vehicles for long periods of time. I do not even want to know what they are doing! Overall I have fun at this course and am planning on returning here often.
Cons: Look out for the teepad sign on hole #8. The signs indicates the fairway doglegs to the left when it actually doglegs to the right. The fairways need to be mowed and plowed down a lot better and watch for stumps from where trees used to be that were cut down. I almost tripped a few times over them! Be wary of non-disc golfers! the best example of that is on hole #2 off the teepad there is a road that leads to the entrance and there is little pull-off where one can park. The last time I was there someone parked in the pull off and I had to go off the teepad to the right aways so I can teeoff. Also there are some weirdos that like to hang out at this place and I will not mention what I think they are doing so be wary of that! After every basket there needs to be direction sings to the next teepad! If you do not have map you will easily get confused. An excellent example of this is after #15 one would think to walk forward and that is #16, no you have to walk to the right of the basket get on the cemented pathway and walk to the right a ways. If you have a map you will be okay. I mentioned this before but this course needs at least some benches to rest and garbage cans! Numbers would be nice on each basket and flags also to indicate wind direction when approaching and or putting. This course is physically demanding and on a hot summer day you will need a place to sit for a few minutes.
Other Thoughts: As I mentioned in my review bring a map! The teepad signs are helpful but you will get lost easily without a map. Wear comfortable clothes,shoes etc and stay hydrated! as you will be getting your exercise here. Watch out for stumps on some of the fairways especially the fairways that are going up and down hills! Bring someone with you to act as a spotter. I went through this course alone and am lucky I only lost one disc so far! Other than that enjoy yourself this is a great park for disc gofling! Also take care of what you brought in, if you brought drinks or food with you take care of the wrappers and bottles please do not just throw them wherever!
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The course has not greened out yet so now is a good time to play it. Cement tees and tee signs are in!
Cons: Big tree down on Hole #1.
Other Thoughts: I spoke with the course manager and he plans to finish cutting fairway trees and stumps before the end of May. Landscaping, benches and flags should be up by the end of the summer.
The concrete tees are a big improvement over last summer and the foot paths have been worn in a little bit.
The course needs to be broken-in and trimmed up but it is a lot of fun to play. The estimated PDGA Pro level Par is 68.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Welp, it has tee markers now.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -Baskets - I think all but one or two had the vortex baskets and this may be the first time i have putted on these.
- Risk Vs Reward - this is one of those courses where throwing a mid safe and short may be better then bombing a driver.
-Tee pads - Nice long cement tee pads.
-Elevation - this course is a beast when it comes to elevation, it was my 5th course of the day, so my legs were tired, but it was a monster. Bring water.
Cons: - No Drinking - While this shouldn't be a con, the biggest con is that so many people were leaving there beer bottles on the course. This could be an issue with the trash cans as there only seemed to be 1 and it was where I think 8 or 9 meets 17.
- No benches - the park itself has a few but they are randomly not really accessable, for this course it would be nice to have a bench to sit on here or there.
-Tee Signs - (this is super nit picky, but I don't think I could mention it as a Pro as it bugged me a lot) They have em now, I was not really a fan as a lot of the holes seem to be over done and a bit dramatic,(for the lines) which as most of the course is blind it makes it hard to figure things out without walking forward.
-Condition - When I was there hole 1 and 4 or 5 seemed had huge branches down and made the fairways not as playable. It seemed the course took a huge beating this winter.
Fairways - I am all for wooded disc golf, but a few of the holes seemed crazy wooded. it may of been because of the conditions at the time.
Other Thoughts: This was one of those courses that seemed so good, and up there in pro caliber. I am not sure if when i played the course took a bad beating or what, because there was a lot of broken branches and brush all over.
If this seems to be getting better please let me know, I will most likely come back in the summer to check it out again and maybe change up my review depending.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: The set up is challenging yet enjoyable. Love the long drives.
Cons: This course seriously needs tee markers. There is nothing to indicate as to which way to go to get to the next tee from the current basket. Many of the stumps are still 4-6 inches sticking out of the ground, they really need to be ground down. SERIOUS hazard!!!!
Other Thoughts: The Leila Arboretum course will be one of the absolute best courses in southern Michigan once the tees and baskets get marked to give direction as to where to go from one spot to another.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Time will tell/Me VS Mother Nature
Pros: I love the next level of difficulty. I had a lot of good holes but the lack of course knowledge is what killed me. I had some sick putts having the confidence of the VORTEX by Arroyo. Difficulty factor a plus for me and I got that on almost every hole.
The best scenery I've seen in the KZoo/BC area to date.
If I have all day this is where I will play.
Cons: Next tee was the biggest problem I had.The fairways need brush/stumps removed (volunteer work of course) Couple uphill tees like 15 could be moved to the other side of the landscaping.
The natural tees in the grass will turn to dust if this gets a lot of play.
Mosquitos will carry you off the course if you let them.
Some people will say there is no line on some holes.
Other Thoughts: Im not a thousand rated golfer but I would say 60-66 is good any day. This course will punish you if you try to squeeze off too much on some of the holes. If you like very difficult disc golf you will love this course when it has signs. The map will help the experienced around the course for their first time. Send spotters because as of right now there is a lot of brush you could lose your disc in, and because the holes are mostly blind.
I had a lot of fun throwing my shots but not finding where I was supposed to throw them (for my first time here). Gorgeous property will be very attractive to everyone but brutal to the inexperienced disc golfer. Have fun don't litter.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Diamond in the Deep Rough
Pros: Variety of elevations and tight woods to open field shots. Great scenic course played through a nature preserve. Still very raw but adds to the fun and adventure of playing a new course. Very fun and challenging although not very beginner friendly. The arboretum is gorgeous and covered with multi-colored flowering trees and bushes and several small ponds. Hole #11 was my personal favorite giving the most open and elevated view as well as one of few wide open holes to just let it rip!! (and you have to cuz she's a long one!)
Nice brand spanking new disc golf baskets
Looking forward to playing a second round now that i've figured the layout of the course and have a better idea of where to aim and what to avoid!
Cons: There is only one hole which we were able to see the basket from the tee pad. This course is a monsterrr!! Time lost spent walking halfway down "fairways" to find the basket was a setback but will improve greatly with more foot traffic. Some holes didn't have even so much as a foot path that was discernible. Once the pad's are all installed and as i said before more people play the course the navigation will improve immensely.
The length of the course and tightness of some heavily wooded holes makes this a very challenging course. Many holes have no clear path and can make it frustrating. Not being able to see the baskets until one often even two lengthy shots seems to make the holes last forever. I found myself never putting as i'd be so far away I ended up next to the pin on a 3rd/4th heave more often than not. The 800+ ft. monster hole 5 is just mean as it happens to be the one of 2 holes that incorporate the water while taking 2 full chucks to catch a glimpse of the shining metal!
Other Thoughts: Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this course and look forward to more grooming and playing a round with navigation under control. The distance and the tight fairways are fun and challenging as well as unique. I applaud the creator(s) for pushing the envelope and making an awesome new course.
I hope to play this course again soon and throughout the summer and will update as the course does!
Bring your hiking boots and distance drivers!!
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
a BEAST of a course with nowhere to go but up!!
Aesthetic-- plays through a relatively scenic tree preserve (arboretum). area is NOT disc golf exclusive at all times and plays over several pathways and roads. please dear god be careful
Baskets--Arroyo Vortex-- very catchy. this is my first time using these and they were very good baskets. I would recommend adding tall flags to the baskets at some point to increase visibility.
Routing/nav- not as bad as I excpected, I posted an updated map (I had got one from one of the designers) to help with navigation
Risk v Reward-- this course absolutely demands accuracy. fairways are tight and winding. Rough is SUPER rough and will punish errant throws.
Pucker factor-- I said "dear god," more times on this course than any other course I've ever played. This is truly EPIC woods disc golf.
signature hole(s)-- #11 has to be the signature hold here. plays downhill, across a "sink" and up a hill in a grove of pines. however, plays across two pathways so be careful. #5 is also a 800+ ft monster!.
Hugeness- this course is an absolute monster and plays far longer than it seems. the holes seem to keep going for ever before a basket is there.
lack of signage- in talking with one of the head people, signage will hopefully be in in a couple weeks. for the time being, pads are marked with orange flags or just rubber mats... I tried to number the flags and mats to make it easier to know what hole is what. Next tee signs would also be helpful
Teepads-- I'm sure tee pads will eventually go in.. for now the natural pads are a little better than the rubber mats as the rubber mats are lumpy in places
Uncontrollables-- The bugs here are rediculous. be sure to bring bug spray!! or face the wraith of skeeters (get it?)
Last Point-- I like to be able to see the basket from the tee most of the time but I think that this only happens on one tee (#15). kind of makes you question where the hell you are actually throwing... Defined fairways will happen with time.
Other Thoughts: This is my 100th course I've played... It did not disappoint and I will be back to check out some of the upgrades!
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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