24 Holes of Bliss
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: --The variety of shots that this course requires makes for a constantly entertaining round of disc golf. You will encounter 20+ holes that you've never seen anything like!
-- "Beauty" describes this course well. It is beautiful in scenery, and beautiful in play.
--Hardly anyone was playing on a Saturday afternoon on a beautiful summer day.
--Navigation is easy with the scorecard/maps. You should be able to find them at the course, but you can certainly find them at the DG/convenience store a few miles away - where you turn at the corner of Pere Marquette Hwy and Iris Rd.
--When I played, I had absolutely no qualms with bugs, plants, or navigation. It was a very pleasant first round.
--The rough is maintained, the teepads are in great shape, and the holes are fair.
Cons: --A few tee pads were too short. Shorter pads kind of throw me off because I'm used to a full run-up regardless of how far I have to toss.
--The park closes at 9
Other Thoughts: This is my favorite course in the complex. Consider climbing the mountain-like hill (you will see it) to get a breath taking view of the lake and the land.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Beauty Is In the Eye of the Axis-Holder
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: 1. Variety. While this is the "easiest" and shortest of the three layouts at this multi-course complex, don't let the name fool you; this is no beginner course, and even advanced players could find some enjoyment out of a round here (although Beast and Goliath are far better tailored to anyone intermediate or above). A variety of wooded and open holes lead you through some of the park's gentler topography, but you'll encounter quite a bit of elevation and should find yourself throwing many different shots. Being so near Lake Michigan, wind is also a near-constant feature on this course, and a frustrating feature at that (though definitely not a con!). Being from the Lake Michigan coast in Wisconsin, I felt like I was playing the Michigan version of a Silver Creek/Vollrath hybrid (which to people unfamiliar with those courses means I had a TON of fun here)! Many holes had various routes to the pin, which only adds to the fun factor when you're playing in a group here since you'll probably see people take the lines you missed or didn't see. Some great scenery on this course also, although the most spectacular views and elevation are reserved for the Beast/Goliath courses.
2. Maintenance. The county presumably takes care of a lot of the upkeep here, but the MCDGO is obviously very heavily involved. I got to experience this course during the 2012 AJ Open (my wife and I were traveling and decided to enter this tourney at the last minute rather than "play around" the event schedule, and I'm glad we did!) and it was in top-notch shape, but I understand that's pretty much the norm out here. Players seem pretty mindful of using the trash cans, and I'm sure the Michigan bottle deposit plays a role in keeping broken glass and plastic bottle litter to a minimum.
3. Pay to play. All of the Mason County courses, as well as Flip City, are a measly dollar (that's right, $1) per person per round. Even at this bargain, people still complain and/or refuse to pay ("disc golf should always be free" mentality, as well as just inconsiderate jackasses), but I guess those folks are everywhere. Pity. There's an honor system of "checking in" where you put your money in an envelope and sign it, and then during your round you may be subject to spot checks to verify that you have indeed paid (with the punishment of being kicked off for a year if you're caught sneaking).
4. Multiple courses on site. Two awesome 24-hole layouts (Beauty and Beast), as well as a very challenging reverse course (Goliath, which is Beast played backwards from unique tees) make this a disc golf destination, and with Leviathan a few miles up the road, the fun Scottville course nearby, and Flip City within a half-hour drive, you'd be advised to rent a house or camp somewhere and make a little disc golf vacation here (which is precisely what my wife and I did)!
5. Tee signs. New colorful signs have been added to all of the Ludington courses (including Leviathan). Beauty features red signs, Beast has blue, and Goliath has black. The signs have no depiction of hole layout, but feature the "mitten" of Michigan with the hole number and distance.
6. Tees. Nice concrete tees on all 24 holes. Some inconsistencies in sizes, but overall they were installed properly and level.
7. Baskets. I seem to remember Chainstars out here, although the course page lists DISCatchers. Whatever they were, they were all installed properly and still in pretty good shape.
8. Amenities. This large park is pretty dedicated to disc golf, but there is a playground, some picnic areas, restrooms at the pavilion, multiple parking lots (you may want to utilize different lots as a local depending on when you play, which course you're playing, and where you decide to hop on the course), and I believe dispensers for scorecards/course maps near the check-in. I highly recommend stopping at the Pere Marquette Expeditions supply store on the way in - great microbrew selection, as well as discs or whatever else you might need!
9. Navigation. Although I had the benefit of playing in a tournament, the course map and paths made getting through the course a breeze. It seems to be a very popular course, so anyone who finds themselves questioning where to go will probably be able to find locals to help.
Cons: 1. Design. Overall the holes are very short and averaged under 250' (I was throwing either my Axis or Rhyno for most tee shots), although the shot-shaping required keeps things interesting and it never really gets bland. One area of repetition I felt needed mentioning was three nearly identical holes - #11, #A, and #18, all a RHBH hyzer to a pin on a mound, although the holes all played different lengths and different heights, so again they weren't super-repetitive, and were fortunately broken up by other holes. The RHBH hyzer required on #5 is not impossible to execute, but may be seen as an unfair requirement off the tee by some.
2. Litter. I know I mentioned the cleanliness in the pros above, but this is worth mentioning - cigarette butts. Even during a sanctioned event with players who seemed to know their PDGA rulebooks, I observed countless players (from rec divisions up through open!) disposing of butts not on the ground, but IN it…the predominantly sandy soil in Western Michigan is apparently viewed as a large ashtray, and players tended to make a little hole with their foot, dump the butt, and then cover it up, as if this negated the "litter effect." Now, I'm aware that this is not "the norm" and that many Michigan golfers are respectful folks who don't litter, but I felt it was worth noting since even in the rec divisions I've played in Wisconsin, people KNOW that if you drop even a butt on the ground, you can be DQ'd.
3. Safety issues. These are minor, but cons nonetheless. Many holes play near roads (and one plays OVER a main entrance road), but with disc golf awareness being so high out here, it didn't seem to be a negative for the non-discers; in fact, there were people out for walks who would stop to watch people play a hole, occasionally cheering or asking questions. One other area of concern is crossing the tee area for #18 on your way from #17 to the #D-F loop. After playing a round or two out here it wouldn't be an issue, but the unassuming passerby or first-timer could potentially wander into someone's tee shot (and with #18 favoring a big RHBH hyzer to the pin on the hill, drives will more than likely be starting out more to the right, where the path first exits).
Other Thoughts: Mason County is a true Midwest DG Destination, up there with the Highbridge complex, Lemon Lake and possibly even Charlotte (I have yet to experience the latter two)! With 3 excellent courses here (I didn't even have time and/or the balls to tackle Goliath on this trip, but will definitely be back!) in addition to Leviathan a few miles away (which plays like 3 separate courses IMO), Flip City, and a brand new course that will rival all of them in the works at a nearby community college, as well as a few "okay" courses, plan a vacation here and plan to have a BLAST! The nearby state park makes a great side trip with some spectacular dunes and views of the Lake, and the entire city is very "touristy" and full of friendly people and lots of activities or just a chance to relax and soak in some great sunsets.
If you're coming from Wisconsin, plan a trip across on the S.S. Badger, which leaves from Manitowoc and lands right here in Ludington! And to all the disc golfers in Western Michigan, hop on the S.S. Badger and come check out our lakeside courses...we've got Silver Creek, Winter Park, and Rollin Ridge all within reasonable distance from port, and I guarantee you our locals are just as friendly!
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Beauty is the easiest of the Mason County Parks.
-Signs, they show the footage to the holes and are very nice looking.
-Teepads, they are nice and cement.
-Baskets - Nice with two rows of chains to catch the discs.
-Shot Variations. There is a lot of shots on this, a little bit for everyone. A lot of it's more short and technical, with good basket placement.
-Benches have been added to a lot of holes (from what a bunch of people had said) and also seemed to have trash cans almost every 3ish holes(better then some of the others)
Cons: -Throwing over the Road. There are a few holes that you throw over the road, scary to do sometimes and can make for a wait as cars will come by and people with dogs.
-Teepads , although they are there some of them are kind of short and can be covered in dirt.
-There is no service here, or anywhere near it.(atleast for verizon)
Other Thoughts: When I played this I had played it in a tourney(played doubles before had which also had the map on the score card) I never grabbed one of the score cards they had to check out, but this made it really easy to find your way around and see the holes. They do have a few blind shots, so grab a card.
It's pay to play but 1 dollar should never be to much for anyone here. it's defiantly worth it.
If you are looking for a place to stay the Mason County Camp Ground is about a 2 mile drive to the park. We stayed in the cabins and they fit four grown men on beds with a picnic table for about 13 bucks a person.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Beauty is an excellent course with a more wooded feel than the other two courses at Mason County Park.
While this is the shortest course, I wouldn't call this course short. You'll need your driver on several holes, especially at the beginning of the course. Once you move into the woods you'll need to tighten up your tee shots and disc down to score well. I was thowing Rocs off the tee for almost every shot in the woods.
RHBH players have a couple ace runs if you can control your hyzer, but there isn't a lot of favoritism aside from that. You will need to throw straight, right, and left to score well.
Just like the other two courses, the variety here is awesome, . There is elevation, blind tee shots, protected baskets, and small windows to hit off the tee. I usually prefer a course with more distance, but I had a blast playing Beauty.
The tee pads and baskets were all in good shape.
Cons: The biggest problem with Beauty is the confusing signage once you move into the woods. Some of the tee signs are either too worn to read or just mislabeled. There are next tee signs on the first seven or eight holes, but as you move into the woods they are fewer and farther between. The navigation itself is pretty easy, but the poor signage makes for a lot of confusion.
As I mentioned in my Pros, there is not a lot of distance required off the tee once you move into the woods. Players who rely on distance off the tee to score well will struggle here, but players who favor a more technical course will thrive here. This isn't as much of a a con, as it is the inherent nature of the course.
Honestly, there isn't a lot to complain about here besides the poor signage. If the tee signs were upgraded, I would rate this as a 4.5.
Other Thoughts: I played this course first before moving on to Beast, then Goliath. If you're trying to take on all 3 courses on the same day, Beauty is a nice warm up since there is less physical distance to travel and you won't wear out your arm.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
The Beauty of the Three
Pros: - Good 24 hole course, mostly situated in the trees and brush, a few outside (roughly 8+)
- Variety of challenges
>High, low and medium terrain
>Condensed, breathing room and wide open
>Way left, way right and straight
- 2nd and 6th (blind ACE, has happened) very possible ACE holes, try it out :)
- Using drivers will work on some holes, but is overall a mid-range course
- Some tough putts
- Some benches, trash cans on every hole along with signs on every hole.
Cons: - Very dense brush, losing discs is a almost guarantee (bring visible discs)
- Smoking and beer allowed, so if this bugs you, beware
- No phone reception in park (so make necessary calls before entering)
* Overall, not really any cons on the actual course
Other Thoughts: - Does have bathrooms, which are pretty clean, and sinks/soap/etc.
- $1 optional (might as well pay it, its a beautiful course! and would like to keep it nice, the guys keep it up with cleaning trash)
*NOTES: When you get to the last four holes, you will cross the 18th/24 (if your counting all by number) and then take the RIGHT path, and it loops back to the 18th
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
I met my Beauty in MI
Pros: -While this is the easiest of the other Mason County courses, Beauty is no pitch and putt. This is a fun course, with tons of diversity in its shots. You'll need pretty much every type of shot on these holes, even if they are all around 300'.
-This course makes excellent use of all the elevation available to it. Uphill, downhill, and cross valley holes are plentiful and excellently used.
-This course had adequate signs, and trash cans at almost every hole. Mason County also has an actual playground on site, and a very nice pavilion with bathrooms. This is a new one for dg courses.
-This course has enough rough to punish bad shots, without the real chance to swallow up a disc.
-The park belonging to Mason County is so pretty and scenic. If I were to play this course again I'd certainly bring a camera.
Cons: -The concrete tees are good most of the time, but some are narrow and pretty short.
-The signs here could use some work, especially with showing hole layout for easier navigation. Including a course map with the scorecards could definitely remedy this.
Other Thoughts: While this course is within the reach of beginners, every level of player would still find this course enjoyable. Its got enough shot variety to prove entertaining to everyone. If you're in the area, you have to come to Mason County, and Beauty shouldn't be neglected.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
She's a Looker!
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Beauty: the name says it all. While the easiest of the Mason County DG courses, Beauty is no slouch when it comes to the level of difficulty. Although generally shorter in length than the more difficult Beast and Goliath, all phases of your game will be challenged on this moderately hilly, beautifully wooded 24-hole gem. $1 pay-to-play drop boxes and sign-ins help the local club maintain this world-class complex.
- Moderate elevation throughout. Be prepared for a stunning mix of up and down through incredible wooded fairways and over open grassy stretches. Several holes offer multiple paths to the basket, each with their own unique set of risk/reward decisions.
- Stunning scenery includes orchards that over-look Lake Michigan, wooded slopes, grassy expanses dotted with brush, and the strange pleasure of playing along the tall slope of the looming Reservoir, somewhat eerie in its presence, monolithic in stature.
-Amenities include: benches and thrashcans located throughout, restrooms and drinking fountains, playgrounds, scenic areas, etc. Camping and Pere Marquette Expeditions (sells discs, minis, boats, bait, with a solid selection of beers, etc.) located nearby. Located down the street from another top-notch course, Leviathan.
-Proximity to Lake Michigan insures a bounty of wind to help your disc fly at the bidding of the dg gods.
Cons: - Concrete tees do the trick in most places, but occasionally prove to be quite short and narrow.
- Signage is adequate where it exists. After a certain point, several holes lack any markings before signs reappear regularly. This compounds a somewhat confusing flow (in a place or two only) for first-timers. Our group of 7 missed three holes, although our mistake was immediately obvious. Flow wouldn't be an issue 2nd time through for most players.
Other Thoughts: - This fair and balanced course provides a splendid variety for players of all skill levels. Not beyond beginners, this course will still force experienced discers to hit their lines and stay on point.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Location-- Beautiful park with three of the best five parks in northern lower michigan. Views of Lake Michigan throughout the park.
TeePads-- Big, appropriate size, Cement.
Variety-- TONS. There was every type of shot you would want here. Heavily wooded, open, moderate woods, up and down hills, through trees.
Lettered holes-- A was hard to find, but the DEF loop was kind of fun at the end of the course.
Cons: Navigation is much better with the tee signs being in place on >90% of the holes....
Wind/bugs-- Understanding that these are uncontrollable. it still sucked and I didn't ding for this.
Other Thoughts: even through the wind and bugs made it a little less bearable, it was a good day in ludington. How could it not be?
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Wooded and fun
Pros: This course has the most wooded holes at this fantastic disc golf complex, and is the shortest and the most technical. Many shots play through woods with nice elevation, and enough underbrush to be punishing without eating discs. The open shots often have early or late trouble, and also bring nice elevation into play, so they aren't boring and make a nice contrast to the wooded holes.
There is great variety of hole lengths and shapes. The course plays balanced for right and left handed players, and offers some reachable holes and some longer shots. The mix of lines you have to hit here along with the use of elevation and foliage make it so the course never feels repetitive and presents interesting challenges throughout.
The signage is basic, but adequate to navigate the course, with no navigational issues that really tripped us up. The baskets were showing some age but caught well. The concrete pads were in pretty good shape, and the rubber pads were nicely leveled.
Cons: The tees are inconsistent, with small concrete tees and some rubber ones mixed in. The signage could use an upgrade, especially with so many blind holes that require extra walking to know where to throw. A few holes play along or over the park road, which could present safety issues and takes away from the feeling of seclusion here.
Other Thoughts: This is the shortest course here, and has the most technical holes, and would definitely be the most beginner friendly of the three. It has some good challenges, but none that will scare off newer players who are up to taking on a bigger course. More experienced players won't be truly tested on most holes, but it's a very fun and scenic place to play with great variety and some nice views. This course alone would be worth a trip, and with two others on site that are also great and offer different challenges, this is a real disc golf destination.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Fun and Challenging
Pros: - An absolute joy to play!
- Majority is tight and technical
- Accurate placement necessary
- Lots of elevation change
- Cement and rubber pads
- Starts off mostly open before it quickly tightens down in the woods.
- Spectacular views of Lake Michigan
- Winds are a factor and because of the lake can change multiple times in a single round.
Cons: - The tee pads in the wood are way to short
- Difficult to navigate. Foot paths run everywhere after the 3rd time playing I've finally got the order down. I normally am able to do this first time through a course.
- Hole #7 throws across the entrance to the park. From a car owners view that could really suck.
Other Thoughts: I had not played Beauty in a couple years and was delighted to discover holes A thru F. Vastly improved the course and made it the one to play out of the three in the park.
A great trip for the whole family. There's a play ground at the park for the kiddies. Just down the road is a beach (Buttersville, which dogs are allowed at).
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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