Big Harry Potential
3 Helpful / 0 Not
~Red & White tees create good variation to the course
~State Park setting / amenities
~Layout provides all different types of holes
~Scenic & serene wooded course
~Easy to navigate, tape on baskets & arrows on trees area helpful
~Most wooded holes still need more clearing & defined paths
~A few long gaps between holes can disrupt course flow
~Underbrush alongside the fairways is thick
Other Thoughts: Played the red tees on a warm September morning. My 1st visit to this course, and overall I was pleased with it's condition. Established only a couple of years ago, its evident right away that a lot of work has already gone into carving out this primarily heavily wooded course. The biggest draw back right now is that a near equal amount of additional clearing is needed to allow the player's skills to be rewarded. Too many unnecesary tight gaps and wishful throwing at this stage, as the course wears in and clearing continues I'd expect the ratings to increase. Ample parking and plenty of picnic tables, restrooms, and other state park amenities throughout the course to allow for all day casual play if desired. While you weave in and out of the public areas and along the lake, the holes themselves are very secluded so there's little worry of crossing paths with other park goers. The course really shines between holes #11 through #14, and finishes stronger than it begins. I enjoyed all 18 holes, and the designer did a great job of including a wide variety of holes. There area few open areas which were nice to be able to air out some drives. A few that teased the waters edge, and a fair amount of elevation throughout. Long tees expand upon the options and variety provided with many long tees completely changing the layout from the short pads. I'm excited to revisit this course and watch it wear in and evolve into it's full potential.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -Concrete long tees (apparently shorts will be coming soon)
- Easy to navigate
-Start and Finish are pretty close together
-Nearby 9 hole course
-A few open holes for long drives, but mostly a technical wooded course
-Tee signs are accurate
Cons: -Bushes to the sides of fairways can get thick
-Some random trees can be frustrating (hole 9 comes to mind)
-Lots of thorn bushes off the fairways
-Hole 6 has a branch that hangs over the water, blocks discs straight in
-A few blind shots toward water (11 and sometimes 14 after rain)
Other Thoughts: It's a fun course that is worth playing multiple times. One of the few courses that I actually feel like I may get any lost discs back. Friendly owner/designer and it should be even better once it has had time to "break in".
***I have read that people may have seen copperhead snakes (which I believe are venomous) around the course. I have not seen them myself, but be careful.***
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
A solid course, and still growing
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -A good location close to interstate 76--anyone traveling this route with time to play 18 holes should give this a look
-Quite scenic with nice views of the lake, creeks, flora and fauna
-Quiet; for the most part the course plays away from other park goers (also a plus for safety)
-Good directional signage (yellow arrows on tree trunks), and the flow from hole to hole is mostly intuitive anyway (except from hole 4 to 5); being prepared with the course map always helps if its your first time
-Very reasonable walks between holes
-Concrete long tees
-Natural log benches throughout the course, near many long and short tees
-Good diversity of holes that test all the shots a disc golfer should have
-The design uses elevation to its advantage
-Not a birdie-fest, nor a course with unrealistic expectations: rather a course that consistently challenges you, demanding accuracy and distance at different times for different reasons
-Good risk/reward choices on many holes
-The risk/reward includes water shots, choices for alternative routes down the fairway, challenging greens
-Abundant park amenities
-Possibility for added holes in the future as there is considerable unused space in this section of the park
-Restroom facilities nearby
-Maps for both tees on the uDisc app
Cons: Most of these cons will be addressed soon so ultimately they're pretty minor:
-Some tight fairways, and pretty rough rough, but those are being trimmed and thinned out over time
-Some tee signs are damaged, but they are being repaired
-Some grass areas could be cut a little more regularly
Other Thoughts: I'll go hole-by-hole since nobody else has really done that yet.
- Hole 1 from the long and short tee requires a straight shot that's more or less a tunnel shot. Best to play with either a hyzerflip or throwing something that won't fade. Missing left will leave you with a tough out, while missing right of the fairway results in an easier upshot.
- Hole 2 from both tees requires a rhbh hyzer shot with a number of possible gaps to hit, while keeping it low. Playing for a skip will give you a putt for birdie The green here is nicely framed and includes a few small trees to putt around if you're less accurate with an upshot.
- Hole 3 plays down hill from both tees. From the whites its a straight shot while from the reds either an anhyzer or a flex shot can get you into putting range. A deep creek bed that only sometimes has water in it runs 15 or so feet in front of the basket, making for a tough uphill putt if you find it. Ending up left of the green and past the creek is a little preferable than right, as it more often than not leaves you with less obstructed putts. One of the more birdie-able holes from both tees.
- Hole 4 is the first more open hole on the course. From the white tees you could play a low shot towards the basket and under the trees that guard the middle of the fairway, or play around those trees to the right. Playing straight ahead might leave you with a low ceiling upshot, while playing right of the trees gives you either a hyzer or straight, open approach shot depending on how far you get your tee shot. A backhand roller off the tee at the guardian trees in the fairway could take the low ceiling out of play. The green is tricky as it slopes down and left once past the basket; this can cause upshots to glide long past the basket.
- Hole 5, back to the woods, has a left and right fairway with a line of trees running the length of the center of the fairway, essentially creating two tunnel shots. The right fairway is more easily played from the white tee, and both fairways can be played from the red. From the whites a well executed rhbh flex shot can give you an eagle look. If this shot fades out early, you could still play up the left fairway. From the reds a rhbh hyzer shot down the right fairway, or a forehand or anhyzer to straight shot down the left fairway are the typical plays. The basket is positioned in line with the line of trees running the length of the center of the hole, and its placement on a right-to-left slope can make for a challenging putting area.
- Hole 6 is a shot over water, and another of the shorter more birdie-able holes on the course. From the reds a simple putter shot can get you a good putt, while from the whites you'll have to throw through a short tunnel of trees before crossing the water. Hyzerflipping a putter or mid through here will work, though there is the occasional left to right wind coming off the lake to contend with.
- Hole 7 takes you back out into the open again. This hole plays with a slight downward slope from the tees to the basket and a wide fairway. From both tees this is a pretty straight forward rhbh hyzer hole with a few trees in the fairway to deal with. Trouble could come from hyzering out early short and left of the basket. The left side of the fairway is lined with dense thorn bushes, making for a tough out if you find them. There can be strong headwinds coming off the lake on this hole. During the spring and summer the water level can be high enough so that the lake isn't far past the basket.
- Hole 8 again plays slightly down hill, but is a little steeper slope than hole 7, and with a relatively open fairway. Here the play from both tees is either a rhbh anhyzer or a placement forehand shot. There is a stand of trees in front of the basket, but there are two fairly wide paths through them, one to the left and right of the basket as you look at it from the fairway. The basket is in a small open area with a steep drop off about 15 feet past it, that occasionally has water. Upshots or putts that go long will leave you with a tough comeback putt.
- Hole 9 takes you back into the woods and provides a fairway with two routes from both tees. You can either play for the green by taking the route to the right: though this route straighter, it is tighter with a greater risk of a tree kick; or you could play for par or a long putt by playing the left fairway, which is a dogleg right, with a rhbh anhyzer or forehand shot. This hole offers good risk/reward depending on which route you choose.
- Hole 10 is a long straight fairway with trees on either side that gradually turns left towards the basket. There are some large/wide trees guarding upshots and the green slopes slightly left to right. This is pretty standard rhbh hyzer hole. If you fade out early short and left of the green there are a number of routes for upshots to get you in putting range. Missing your line and ending up right of the fairway, or hyzering out really early and left will lead to a more difficult upshot.
- Hole 11 plays roughly as a dog leg right over water, but with elevation change once you reach the peninsula where the basket is located. From the whites you must carry at least 200ft over water with a low ceiling, while from the reds you must carry maybe 100ft or less over water, but with trees to right of the tee. The play from both tees is to land on the top of the peninsula that is uphill, then downhill, and the basket is on the downhill, far side of it. From both tees a rhfh hyzerflip that gently fades right at the end is a good play to reach the top of the hill/peninsula; alternatively a rhbh hyzerflip with late turn can also achieve this, but the low ceiling obstructions near both tees can make this shot difficult. Often there is a tailwind coming off the lake for this hole. Rhbh shots that hyzer out early will likely find the water. If your tee shot doesn't make the top of the hill you are left with a blind upshot over the hill. Since the basket is on the downward sloping side of the hill upshots that go long can find the water behind the basket. If you make the top of the hill there's a chance for a long putt or an easy upshot. This might be the most unique, "signature" hole on the course.
- Hole 12 plays very differently from the white and red tees. From the whites it is a long par 4 that requires a straight 250/300ft shot along a tree lined fairway. Then the fairway begins turning left and the basket is placed on hill sloping away behind the basket, making for possibly the most challenging green on the course. This makes upshots difficult as they could glide well past the basket, leaving you with a long and steep uphill putt. Particularly rhbh upshots have the biggest potential for skipping down the hill past the basket. From the red tees you could take a tighter rhbh line to the right of a large tree in the middle of the fairway, or play a forehand or anhyzer shot left of the large tree.
- Hole 13 is the longest on the course from either tee (par 5 from white, 4 from red), and takes you back out into the open again. It plays as a long stright fairway that turns left at the end, with a group of tall guardian trees 150-200ft from the green. The initial straight fairway is wide but lined with unforgiving scrub bushes on each side. Hyzering out early or turning your shot over from the tee will find you in the scrubs from where you'll likely just have to pitch out. Despite this, a simple well executed rhbh shot with some fade at the end lands you in or just in front of the tall guardian trees short of the green. Despite the abundance of these trees they have few low limbs so they do not generally inhibit upshots with a low ceiling. The ground vegetation near the basket usually stops upshots from skipping.
- Hole 14 has significant elevation change and plays like two different holes from both tees. On the tee shot from the whites you're throwing uphill and trying for a gap between two larger trees at the top of the hill; some fade left after making the top of the hill allows for an easier upshot, down to the green which has a creek short, left and behind the basket. From the red tee you're throwing from the top of the hill through a narrow gap that widens considerably as it goes down hill. A good shot turns right towards the end of its flight, away from the creek, making for a more open putt. This hole is probably on par with hole 11 for most unique on the course.
- Hole 15 is a straight shot with a tree lined fairway that begins by gently sloping downwards and by the end--within 30ft of the basket--increasingly sloped downwards, and finally behind the basket the terrain drops off quickly down to a creek. The right side of the fairway is more forgiving than the left, though as a shorter straight hole this is one of the easier birdie runs on the course. The green is the most difficult part of the hole, as shots the go long leave you with a difficult uphill comeback putt.
- Hole 16 is a dogleg right with a fairway that is sloped with increasing steepness from right to left, with the left side of the fairway paralleled by a creek. The hole also plays somewhat deceptively uphill, especially from the white tee. Shots that miss left will leave you scrambling for a bogey and possibly down in the steep creek bed. From the white tee the play is a long rhbh shot that turns right at the end and finishes right, or a big rhfh hyzer. Once halfway down the fairway, or from the red tee you can choose to play either one of two fairways. A more open fairway is to the left of the basket and would require an anhyzer or forehand shot to reach putting range, or you could take the tighter and more riskier rhbh hyzer line towards the green. This route is a shorter path to the green, but its a tighter line to hit. This hole adequately punishes poor shots that finish too far left, while giving you challenging risk/reward decisions. The green is one of the more unique, with a large fallen tree only a short distance behind the basket. Upshots that go long will result in putts that must be thrown over or under this tree.
- Hole 17 from the white tee requires a placement rhbh hyzer into the fairway; playing for a big skip at the end will make the upshot easier. After the placement shot you can either throw an anhyzer or forehand shot around a large area of tall bushes towards the green, or throw over the bushes with a thumber or tomahawk. There is a ditch behind behind the basket making for tougher putts after upshots that go long. From the red tees you can either throw a rhbh hyzerflip out to the fairway, if you get far enough you'll have a putt, or there is a slightly more open forehand line that will get you out to the fairway, but with less chance at a putt on the next shot. This hole is all about accuracy from the tee.
- Hole 18 plays significantly longer from the white tee (par 5 ~500ft) than from the red tee (par 3, only 275ft). From the white tee the preferred landing area is a large open space roughly 30 to 50ft in front of the red tee. If you miss this landing area left or right you'll have to choose from tight lines obstructed by trees. If you hit the preferred landing area you can either throw a forehand or anhzyer between two large trees down a tighter left side fairway, or play the less obstructed right fairway with a more stable mid that will fade left slowly towards the green. This is one of the few holes on the course where the terrain (once you're halfway down the fairway) is favorable for a forehand roller upshot, or to get out of trouble. With an accurate drive and approach shot you could have a chance at an eagle putt, or a birdie opportunity. From the red tee you can play either the left or right fairways as described above.
Overall this course has plenty of room to grow as it is still relatively new. The potential is definitely there, and it will only get better over time. The more people get out and use the course the more quickly it will wear in. It might seem overly difficult if its your first time out there, but if you're patient and give it a few tries you'll find the lines. They're there, you just need to take the time to find them; after all, that's part of the fun of disc golf.
*updated to reflect recent maintenance to the course; 7/13/16
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
needs some work
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: beautiful scenery with the lake throughout the course
-a very tight and challenging course
-nice tee signs
-concrete tee pads
-hole 11 is by far the best and most interesting hole with a throw over the water and the basket sitting on the other side of a blind hill with water behind it
-Good use of yellow arrows to point to next tee pad
-excellent use of elevation with baskets around many blind obstacles
Cons: -poor course design with lengthy walks between holes
-too many holes with not enough of a defined fairway
-I know that this course is relatively new (built less than 2 years ago), but too many saplings and tree stumps left sticking an inch out of the ground causing numerous tripping hazards.
Hole 13 was a great hole except too many guardian trees, take out 2 trees and it becomes much more fair at the hyzer point towards the entrance to the green
-hole 17 could use trees taken out and the thorns around the basket need ripped out.
Hole 18 could be a great finishing hole if a few trees are taken out. It has great shape.
Other Thoughts: I am all for a tight technical wooded course (nockamixon is my favorite course) and this course could be a great course if they took out some trees in some of the fairways to make them a little more fair.
This course rewards more luck than skill.
appears there can be a ton of wind from the lake! woooooweee was it blustery
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
The grassman is a beast of a course
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Concrete tees for the longs
Very technical but has distance too
Two very fun over water holes
Lots of elevation changes
Course is never really packed
Bathrooms available by hole 1, 4,6, 7/8
Drinks and food available during summer
Nearby 9 holer just 15 minutes across the lake
Cons: So many trees, like on hole 17 short I don't even know how to get a shot.
A lot of holes need some more trees removed. (9,17,18)
Thorns by basket! (17)
Shorts don't have concrete tees yet, but they are coming
Other Thoughts: This is a really awesome course to play, there aren't any wooded courses like it in portage or trumbull county. If your within 45 minutes, come give it a try.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The Grassman is a fun course spread throughout the very large West Branch State Park that plays in the woods, along open fields, and near the lake. Once you enter the park, follow signs for the course that take you to an enormous parking area and the course starts in the woods to the right at the end of the parking lot. Looks for signs pointing you to the path that takes you to the course.
The best aspect here is the level of variation in hole types, lengths and shots offered. Holes ranging from 141-623 feet give a quality mix of lengths. The course does a nice job of mixing it up, constantly taking you in and out of the woods to give a blend of tight and open shots.
The first few holes take you through the woods, offering multiple lines to well-protected pins. You then get a few open shots on 4 and 5 with hole 6 taking you back in the woods. Hole 6 is a highlight, playing over a short water carry but with enough trees on both shorelines to make for a scary upshot. You then have an uphill shot to the basket. Hole 11 is another one that combines placement shots through the woods and then over a water carry.
Holes 12-15 is a fun stretch playing through the woods and offering a few par 4's and a par 5. These shots have everything: elevation changes, multiple lines to the basket, landing zones, and sketchy pin positions near the water or on a steep slope. This set of holes - along with 6 and 11 - is what raises the course to a 3.5 for me.
The two tee positions give a good variation in difficulty, with the whites being a definite step above the reds. The red tees do a nice job of helping beginning players avoid danger on the water holes. The bright yellow tee signs are helpful in spotting the next tee and the navigation is great for the most part with multiple signs pointing you in the right direction.
Cons: There are no major cons here, but a few minor things that hinder the round:
Still a little rough around the edges in terms of walking paths and the thick rough off the fairways.
There is a lot of walking on this course so the round takes a little longer than normal. Some long walks to successive holes.
It'd be nice to have more informative tee signs showing you an accurate picture since many holes have blind pins. I had to do a bit of searching ahead of my throws.
While most of the holes in the woods are well-designed and nicely carved, there are a few shots that require more luck than anything.
Natural tees were sometimes uneven, but the course page states that concrete tees will be poured in the September.
No real chance to get back to the parking lot once you start the course. It travels pretty far away, so prepare accordingly.
No fault of anyone, but it's unfortunate that you have to make a 15 min drive around the park to the other West Branch course when it is right across the lake. Just something to keep in mind when traveling here.
Other Thoughts: The Grassman is a fun course that should only get better over time with improved tees and more clearing. There is great variety here so it would appeal to many different players. It can initially be confusing to find the start of the course. Just follow the directions on the site taking you to Cableline Road and follow the parking lot down near the water. Look for a small board with the course sign that heads toward the woods.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Very Challenging design. Nice water and elevation use, good mix of left and right, tight and open holes. Length without requiring a monster arm. Tight enough to separate good players from average ones. New sign posts, score cards and picture signs with distances.
Cons: Brand new, so it still needs cleaned up some. Natural tee pads are rough and need leveled. Some undergrowth and poison ivy needs to be eliminated for recreational play. Some stumps need removed to eliminate trip hazard. Navigation signs could help first timers.
Other Thoughts: When this course gets tee pads, played more, and broke in, it will probably rate excellent plus! You will need control and all your shots to get any where near par. This course will challenge the best players, but right now, may be too rough for some recreational players.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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