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.
Excellent course that could be Phenomenal, and maybe even 5/5!
5 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: + Easy to find, close to the city
+ Great elevation
+ A decent mix of hole lengths
+ Ace run hole with downhill danger on 3 sides
+ Massive downhill bomber
+ Easy navigation without signage
+ Rough is easily manageable = no lost discs
+ Gorgeous hilltop view with observation spot
+ Good benches
+ Good baskets, okay tees
+ 24 holes of excellent golf
+ Clean with forest growth under control
+ Bugs weren't terrible after the first 3 or 4 holes
+ Decent risk vs reward
Cons: - Tee signs aren't great
- Pretty mild hole layouts
- Moderate challenge level
- Single tees/pins (a big con for this course to me)
- Crowded with many inconsiderate teenagers
- After hole 19/20, the course's intensity fizzled out
- Trash bins necessary
Other Thoughts: I played in the evening on a Friday in the middle of July with three other intermediate players and can easily say it was a very satisfying and fun round. For the most part, the baskets are visible from the tees, so there wasn't much of a disadvantage for the three of us who hadn't played here before. It would definitely be a great place for a solo round workout. The round played smoothly once the groups in front of us stopped playing and vanished (yessss!), but at that time the course seemed to be a social hangout for a lot of snobby teenagers looking to get away from their parents who just didn't care about rate of play. Very little consideration. That's neither her nor there, but it's worth noting in case you visit at a peak time.
Despite having a really fun round and all of us scoring well, I have to be honest and say that I was underwhelmed. I expected lot more challenge, a bigger hike, and a more diverse layout. Halfway through the round one of our group said that the majority of the intended lines seem to be straight. The fairways are indeed carved wide and clear for the most part, and I realized that throw straight = throw less is definitely true here. Because of this, Hickory is the only course that I've played that has made me think multiple tees or pins are actually necessary. I especially believe alternate tees placed way higher on the hills would better use the massive land available. With the tees in their current location there were a few decent hikes, but not as big or as many as I expected. That being said, Hole 19's hilltop view did not disappoint. That is one of the coolest holes I've ever played. Loved it. After hole 20, though, the intensity fizzled and it was back to just relaxing up north.
For as much as I liked my one and only round at Hickory Hills (so far), I believe the course could be so much more! And even though my expectations were high and I left a little underwhelmed, objectively, it really is an Excellent (4/5) course and deserves a great reputation. I can easily see why Hickory is revered by many, but Carly's Playground (5/5) is more massive and challenging, and Myles Kimmerly (4.5/5) makes way better use of elevation and diverse layouts and is more difficult and fun without multiple tees or pins. Suttons Bay (3/5) will also give you a little more diversity without your hiking shoes (and as a brand new course, deserves way more plays than it has in its first season!). All four made for a 5/5 disc golf weekend up north!
Thank you for reading!
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: Good mixture of easy and difficult shots. Good elevation changes, clean, easy to navigate. Tee pads were in good shape, and course is unbelievably beautiful.
Cons: None that i can think of.
Other Thoughts: VERY LONG if you're playing the full 24. Take lots of water and comfortable shoes.
0 of 7 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: The course plays through a hilly park with little interference from other park users. Elevation comes into play on most of the shots, with a couple great empty your bag type shots and lots of cool holes with hills in play on the drive and around the green. A few holes have rollaway potential and dropoffs if you go long on your drive. There is good punishment on most of the course, with rough that will cost you strokes for missing your line but that isn't so thick you'll lose discs.
There is a good mix of hole shapes on the more wooded sections of the course, calling for a balance of left and right turning shots and several straight holes. The open sections of the course offer a little more distance and more emphasis on shot placement.
The course is well kept, especially for the amount of traffic. The signs have hole layout and distance, and the flow of the course is easy to follow. The concrete tees are in fine shape.
Cons: The course ends in a disappointing way. The open holes along the road don't offer a whole lot of challenge and are anticlimactic after the downhill bomb. There are a lot of shorter holes on the course, which can feel a bit repetitive. The tees are a little worn down, and when combined with some sand can get pretty slick. There is a lot of soil compaction and erosion on the wooded fairways due to the heavy traffic.
Other Thoughts: This is a very fun course, and worth the stop if you're in the area. Beginners will find the course tough, but not to the point of frustration. There are shorter holes mixed in and the rough isn't so thick that errant shots end up lost. Experienced players will find nice variety and some challenging shots, with some easier ace runs mixed in.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Beautiful and Challenging
Pros: To start off, I want to mention that I played the course during the Hickory Hills Open 2012 event (2 rounds w/ OB and Mandos)
There are many Pros to this course, here is a brief list;
-This course features every shot you could want to throw and more.
-Holes are diverse and ever changing including; Doglegs both to the left and right through moderately wooded areas as well as long open holes with spectacular views
-Elevation changes throughout the course will have you playing up and down the hills
-The course starts and ends at the parking lot
-TeeSignage shows you where to throw and where to go next (Hole 17 was the only teesign I couldn't find right away)
-Baskets are in excellent condition and catch discs well
Cons: Not too much to mention;
-A couple long walks from basket to next tee
-If you are not familiar with the course, scouting ahead for basket placements may be necessary on a few holes
Other Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed playing this course, from the spectacular view of the Traverse City from the teepad on Hole #19 to the several risky dropoffs near the basket positions on a few holes, this course was full of fun.
It is physically demanding to navigate in some areas, as there are a few climbs up some steep hillsides.
Bring plenty of fluids and snacks to keep yourself going!
5 of 6 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.
1 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Beautiful landscape and major elevation make this course my personal favorite. Variety of different shots are required to navigate through the woods and hills. Challenging, yet good players should score well below par. Very fun course to play (i.e. hole 19)
Cons: Tough for me to even give a "con" for this course. Crowds are sometimes a problem in the primetime summer months. Hilly terrain makes this course a workout if all 24 holes are played.
Other Thoughts: Grew up playing this course, I'm fortunate enough to live a few minutes away. Right in TC, Hickory is a must play for any disc golfer living in or visiting the area!
1 of 7 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 9 Not
Pros: Ok so this course is just flat out fun, the great layout, the changing elevations, the amazing scenery. It is perfect.
Cons: nothing, it does get as little busy at times during the summer, but not worth complaining about.
Other Thoughts: worth going to if you live in Michigan. And it is FREEEEEEEEE!
1 of 10 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 3 Not
Way fun course!
Pros: This was a challenging course with lots of elevation changes, rewards, and consequences. I think it was the most challenging course I have played yet. It was fairly busy, but the locals were all quite friendly and would help point you in the right direction.
Cons: You can get stuck if you forgot to look where the next tee pad was going to be. The nearest public restroom was about a mile away (complaint by my daughters).
Other Thoughts: Thanks for such a fun course. A score card and small map would have been helpful and nice, but we did fine w/o. I can imagine that in the Spring this course would be much less forgiving and disc hungry, especially near the beginning. I hope to get back there (5.5 hours away).
4 of 7 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Very fun course!
Pros: The wide variety of the holes of the course made it an amazing experience. From going on straight fairways at the start, to a nice bomb down Hole #19 to the end made it this a really great experience for anyone to try.
The signage for each whole were great. I was able to find where to go after each hole and to find where the tee is when it was out of sight made it great.
Also with the great views of the scenery, my friend and I took several pictures of how amazing some of the views were. Even the dock on hole 19 was pretty awesome. I wish it was little more to the right but it still was really nice.
Trash cans and cigarette butt containers at almost every hole make the course really clean. I did find a couple bottles out in the middle of the woods which was out of the sight from the actual course. There also benches at a majority of the holes so taking a break is always good.
A pro for me was the locals help. I am fairly new to the disc golfing scene and I started playing a lot since April. The Locals were pointing out different tricks and telling stories of each hole. Like at hole 5 you would be exhausted if it was your first time and that you will feel way better when it's all over and also how hole #9 is known as "the hot hole" because it is the most open and it's usually really hot. The people I talked to were all really nice and they were very helpful.
Cons: There were a lot of people on the course. When we first arrived, there was 2 groups of 3 in front of us and when my friend and I threw our first disc, there was 3 groups behind us so it's really busy. I usually don't find this to be a problem but you always have to keep going. We were there for almost 3 hours but it was all worth it in the end.
I'm not sure if this was the right path or not but from hole #17-#18 was a really steep incline up the hill. It was the only thing I saw at the time but I noticed it was really tough going up that hill.
Other Thoughts: When I played this course last week, it was the most fun I ever had discing. I am very happy I live 20 minutes away from the course and I have been playing all 24 holes everyday. It was very tiring but it was all worth it. My friend and I took a lot of pictures throughout the day and it made for one memorable experience. If you ever get the chance to come to T.C, you have to go to this course. It was really fun and I look forward to seeing you there!
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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