4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Stellar old school design, variety out the wazoo, gorgeous to see, super fun to play - that's really all you need to know, so don't complain if my review's too long.
• Discplay: Phenomenal variety; 24 holes that don't feel repetitive at all.
+ Elevation: Varies from subtle to mammoth and is wonderfully employed without being overdone: up, down, rolling, gullies, along ridges (where roll-always can hurt), pins on slopes, and yes, there are even several flat fairways.
+ Mostly moderately to well-wooded with a few lightly wooded holes and some fairly open fairways that have a few (well-placed) trees.
+ Holes that allow a variety of lines to force decision making and holes that force a specific line.
+ Holes that play much longer/shorter than posted.
+ Fairways with L/R/straight tee shots, ranging from open to very well wooded;
+ Nice variety of distances and fairway types with holes that call for finesse, holes that call for power, holes that demand both.
+ Clever pin placements: several on or near slopes, a few well-guarded, some nicely tucked into the trees off a fairly open fairway.
+ Risk/Reward that's fair: Many holes can make you pay for leaving the fairway with difficult recoveries, but it's always fair. If you only stray a little, recoveries aren't too tough, but the farther you stray, the tougher they get. Pin placements w/pucker factor to punish poor decision making.
+ Chainstars are in good condition, as are the concrete tees.
+ Tees signs have #, distance and hole layout.
+ Benches at many tees.
• Memorable holes: #19… I'll probably never play a more memorable hole, sincerely.
a) Truly an incredible disc golf hole: a heart-pounding 621' downhill bomb with a wide, grassy fairway flanked with dense woods on either side. Toward the bottom of the hill, the left side opens up and continues downward to the left, allowing RHBH shots to fade so far down, you'll either laugh or cry. You could park it for a deuce (like the guy behind be) or get 7 (like me)… either way, it's incredible.
b) It's the most majestic looking hole I've ever seen. An opening through the trees perfectly frames the city in the distance with the bay in the foreground… you can literally see for miles. There are actually many other memorable holes… but 19 just takes the cake.
• Routing/Nav: Intelligently laid out and flows well. Easy to follow because it's seen a lot of traffic, so paths to the next tee are usually obvious. The only tricky spots are from 17 to 18 (what looks like the obvious path is a walking trail) and to a lesser extent, from 8 to 9, and … everything else was straightforward. Map should help if you get turned around.
• Aesthetics: The entire course is wonderfully appealing and has an ambience about it, but the view from the 19th tee is perhaps the very nicest I've taken in on any course - picture post card quality. As nice a walk through as I've ever taken, this place is almost enchanting. Despite the number of trees, the fairways and sight lines are open enough that it never feels claustrophobic. Relaxing to the point that it helped me "get into the zone."
• Plenty of shade on hot days
Cons: Cons: I really loved this course, but couldn't shake the following:
• quite a few tees were sandy and to the point of being hard to clear off (particularly #9) which affected some shots.
• Shows signs of erosion and is aging. Wish I could have seen this place years ago.
• Chainstars are very tough to see in the shadowy woods… you can be looking straight at them and not see them. A flag or some paint would be sweet.
• Certainly not an easy course, but I can't believe Pros will find the challenge they need here. Would have benefitted from a 2nd, more challenging set of tees to better fit a wider range of skill levels - not sure it's feasible at this point.
• I can see this place being very slippery when wet -just a warning, not a knock.
Other Thoughts: Hickory Hills is as enjoyable a course as I've had the pleasure to play: beauty, variety, more fun than a barrelfull of drunken monkeys. An extremely complete and well put together course that I absolutely must play again.
Shot a 79 for all 24 holes (including a 7 on hole that can be deuced). No doubt in my mind I could card a 72 if I had the opportunity to play here often. Considering I'm an 850 rated player, who's never played this course before, I simply can't believe it would push top level Ams or Pros. That's really the biggest thing holding back my 5.0, and to a lesser extent, the erosion and sandy tees. I can't fault anyone for awarding a 5.0, but from my perspective, a course has to better accommodate a range of skill levels to earn that rating.
Campers: Just 15 min from Traverse City State Park, with: clean, private showers, shady sites, plenty of restaurants and directly across the street from a public beach.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Great course. Cool views! The course has lot of variety to throw at. Lots of woodie holes, long green holes, and difficult holes. Fun for mostly everyone. Good amount of garbage cans and benches.
Cons: Little hard for beginners. People have broken down some of the signs and wrote stuff on the benches. Lots of people smoking, about half of the people who go there smoke and drink. It is also pretty busy. (but most of them let you pass if you are going faster then them)
Other Thoughts: Its fun! Top course I've played at so far
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -aesthetic--couldn't be better. Old growth trees with little to no low branches off of the fairways. Trees are tall which makes the fairways gorgeously wide. Views of Traverse bay and Traverse City. Lots of out buildings and othe challenges on the fairways.
-Navigation-Relatively easy. All tee signs have a "next tee" marker on them, but not being used to the challenge of this course, kinda forgot by the end of the hole. Paths are well worn and easy to follow.
-Teepads-most are full length and width (but on the last few holes the pads are trapezoidal and weirdly narrow towards the pin). a couple short pads if I remember correctly.
-Pins-Discraft, wonderful, great condition
-Variety-TONS of variety, long, short, up, down... a little of everything.
-signature holes-I can think of a couple, #15 (across the valley into a grove of trees) the tee box is wood plank, I loved this hole and #19, which I wasn't so fond of. the risk reward is very high on 19 so don't let your disc wander off of the fairway.
Cons: -#22 & #23- both long turnover shots along a road with very narrow fairways-just weak finishing holes (on the bright side, the creek and wildflowers along 23 are pretty)
-Long walks between holes-whatever is listed for distance for this course, double to triple that with the walks (especially on the front nine). I'm a self-confessed "flip-snob" and the physical challenge here is overwhelming at times.
Other Thoughts: Beautiful course, really, best use of possible land. Destination course, sure, who doesn't like traverse city?
I will probably be back at some point.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Great Diverse Course, Could Be More Challenging
Pros: Variety - The variety of holes is outstanding, the course started out inside with huge mature trees and a different shot from each tee. Then to some short, medium and long length holes which were generally more open and went in every direction (right-left, left-right, straight, etc.). The later holes had a wide variety of elevations and directions, some up most down. The finishing holes were all flat and generally straight, I felt like I never knew what would be coming next and that delighted me.
Scenery & Setting - I was in awe from the very first tee and continued to be so all the way through the course. Although the day I went was rainy and foggy, I could tell that the view from the 19th tee would be even more amazing on a clear day. The course had great elevation changes and was a good hike. The course is a seasonal course located at a ski resort, I liked the occasional ski lift obstacle in the fairways on some of the open holes.
Environment - I only ran into other disc golfers the entire time there, I am not sure if this was a product of the weather on the day I went or how the course always is (I am assuming the latter). The other golfers were friendly and welcoming. I dislike courses where other people walk right in front of you while you're waiting to shoot and just stand there like idiots. I do not think that would be the case here.
Signage & Navigation- Signs were easy to understand, informative and always showed where the next tee was. I had no trouble navigating this course without any guide and never had to look at my pre-printed course map.
Cons: The only con I have is that I feel this course could be so much better. There were several holes where I wondered why the chain was where it was, as there seemed to be a much better place it could be. It seemed to me that the course was made easier, almost too easy. I didn't play particularly well at times and still shot an even par. If a second set of chains were to be added or some of the chains moved back into more difficult areas on the holes, I feel this course could achieve its elite potential.
Other Thoughts: I was having such a good time at this course that by the ninth hole I had to call some friends and tell them about it. Hickory Hills reminds me of Campgaw in New Jersey, but just better. It's quickly and easily reachable from Traverse City and I will come here again if I am ever in the Traverse City area.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 3 Not
Something for everyone
Pros: The "flow" is linear and logical. Signs are accurate and clear.
Tees have benches and are concrete. Woods are mature and well kept.
Course is regularly maintained (generally clean for the heavy use of the course).
Outstanding shots:(particularly 8, 9, 14, 15, 19, & 20).
8 and 15 similarly are long drives gradually downhill through mature hardwoods.
9, 14, & 20 have long bombs off hills.
19 is just amazing: Par 5 over 600' with a view of both bays.
Hickory has variety: highly technical no-room-for-error (don't be a hero), broad flat meadows up hill, hazards (trench, steep hills, narrow fairways)... Not a lot of duplication.
Cons: Brooms are often missing, sand frequently covering certain tees (esp. #24). Due to the length of the course, a porta-jon would be nice.. Course can be extremely busy in the esp. in the Spring during the mid-late afternoons.
Other Thoughts: Note: I've completely revised my review of this course (trying to improve my reviews)
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: A beautiful, forested area on what appears to be an abandoned ski range in the hills immediately west of Traverse City. Features some great downhill holes through defined fairways that look like ski hills, long and short (7, 8, 9, 19, 20). 19 is a signature hole; 671 feet from the top of a hill with a view of the west arm of Grand Traverse Bay, with a steep drop on the left hand side that can swallow discs off the tee. Hole 9 is a terrific downhill hole with woods on the far left, but plenty of room on the right, so just about anybody can walk up and throw hard with confidence. Probably my favorite over the frequently-mentioned 19/20.
Other highlights include Hole 15, a challenging but very fun downhill, transversely sloped tunnel hole through forest, and Holes 10 and 11, which are nicely defined, wide grassy fairways leading up a gently-sloped ski hill.
Excellent signs and good (slightly worn) tee pads, older Chainstar baskets. Decent navigation, though 8 and 17 can be hard to find. Benches and brooms at many holes. Few-to-average number of players. 24 holes offer two-plus hours of play. Lots of woodpeckers and black squirrels. Free admission.
Cons: Underwhelming forest holes on the front nine (1-6). Hole 6 is a little too short at 132 feet-this wouldn't cut it at some other top notch courses. Hole 13 also seems like a 'cheap' hole (very short hard left turn).
Holes at the end after 19/20 are flat holes with mandatories, but do add to course diversity. Maintenance in some areas is lacking, which leaves you wishing there was more sun to grow some more grass.
Other Thoughts: A somewhat windy and chilly area, as one would expect in the Northern lower peninsula. However, the fresh, clean air can be a benefit to the geographic location; I'd imagine an early October morning would be best. Long walks up the hill on front nine is best for those in average or better physical condition. Uphill slopes on some front nine holes makes them seem longer than the distances posted. Though outnumbered by lesser holes, the very best holes here are as good as the best at any other course.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: This course featured many different styles of hole, from extremely challenging, to easy, from short distances, to long, and many different elevation changes. I particularly liked the drive from the top at hole 19.
Cons: Many times the disc has the opportunity to roll down into some very large ravines, or into areas that are extremely difficult to reach. This course is NOT intended for amateurs.
Other Thoughts: Be prepared to get a workout on this course climbing to the top. You will leave feeling wore out.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 1 Not
-The best thing about this course is definitely the huge elevation! Not only do you throw up and down hill all the time, but some holes have big elevation drops on the outside of the fairways too. There's a few signature holes at this course that really utilize the hills.
-You can tell there's been alot of work put in here, it has almost every necessity a course can have. There's concrete tees, signs, benches & brooms on most holes!
-Hard to call anything here a con! The only cons have been said by every other reviewer. The tee pads can be dusty and slick, the last 3 holes are lame, and a couple holes might be hard to find.
-It was hard for me to not rate this course a 5, but Flip City & Idlewild were just a notch better overall in my book (please don't take that as a con).
-It can't be said enough times, HIT UP TILLEYS PARTY STORE!!
-As far as people saying "the hike" is a con, we managed to play Hickory Hills, Mt. Holiday, Myles Kimerly, and Civic Center South in the same day no problem, so its manageable.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Need to go back
Pros: Hickory Hills is a 24-hole course set up across several ski runs. The hole designs are varied and challenging, and you never feel like you're playing the same way twice. It's also decently beginner friendly, because there is no water and several holes have open fairways. Tee pads are well-maintained, long, and usually have brooms near them.
The views and scenery far surpass any course I've seen. You can see down to the water at the top tee pad on hole 19 and it is awesome. The hole itself is about 650 ft down a huge slope, which helps you let loose. The first 9 are through the woods, the back 9 are varied between open fields and scattered trees, and the last 6 open completely.
Cons: As I said before, you will be in for a hike up and down ski slopes, so bring water and possibly a lunch. If you're out of shape, you'll hate this course. There's a gully along the left side by 4 and 5 that presents a problem retrieving your discs, but nothing too hard. It's kind of easy to get carried away on some holes and lose your discs (I lost my champion leopard on hole 23).
Other Thoughts: I went up to Hickory with a hangover from my birthday party the night before and it certainly cured it. This place is the best course I've ever played and I would love to go back and lower my score...
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 2 Not
Very close to being Elite
Pros: -safe, well built tee pads on every hole (#14 is slightly elevated and wood because of existing roots that would have been destroyed by a cement pad)
-quality pin positions on every hole
-every type of hole imaginable (long, short, open, wooded, uphill, downhill, left, right, etc)
-very nice tee signs
-small brooms are attached to EVERY tee sign for cleaning sand off the tees
-easy to follow, course flows nicely
-multiple entry/exit points (after 8, 15, and all 24) if you want to play a short round, or skip some holes
-trash cans are abundant
-many benches and places to rest
-no long walks between holes
-the local pro shop, Tilley's Party Store, is just down the street from the course and they have a great selection of discs and other merch
Cons: -one set of tees
-only one pin position per hole
-can be very crowded (this is Hick's biggest downfall) in the summer, especially during Cherry Festival due to lots of use by local teens
-lots of mosquitos, so bring your bug spray
-no water holes (there is a small creek that runs just inside the treeline on hole 23, but it doesn't ever come into play unless you throw a really shitty shot)
Other Thoughts: This course is my home course, its the course that I started playing disc golf on, so I'm a little biased... but all in all it's still sitting at #14 in my top 25 courses (of 241 that i've played) after playing most of the best courses in the nation. The only thing that really bugs me about it is that there aren't multiple tees or at the very least, multiple pin positions. Hickory Hills would be among the elite courses in the country if we were just able to change it up every once in a while.
And its missing a lake, or water of some sort. If there were one or two decent water holes on this course it would have a little bit of everything! Oh, and on the note of water, there are lots of hills to walk and it'll take a group of 4 a good two hours (+/- 30 mins) to play, so bring water of your own so you don't get dehydrated.
give me a call when you come to town and i'll happily meet you out there for a round! (231.590.0878)
13 of 15 people found this review helpful.
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