6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The Complex- Beauty is one of 3 courses at the Mason County disc golf complex (Beauty, Beast, and Goliath). The courses are spread over a generous and gorgeous piece of land near Lake Michigan that contain hole styles in all combinations of 1) flat, up, and down; 2) varying degrees of open to densely wooded; 3) left, straight, and right; 4) long, medium, and short. The courses all begin at the same large parking lot. The 3 courses themselves are at different levels so that everyone will have a course suited for them if you had to pick one. However, the courses also complement each other well, to give you a very well-rounded overall experience if you do play multiple courses (recommended). At the parking lot is a covered picnic pavilion with really nice restrooms. The pay-to-play boxes are conveniently located next to hole 1, and at only $1 day to play it is easily worth that price. The courses didn't appear to see a high volume of disc golfers, so if you are looking to get away from the over-crowded big city courses, this is a great place to come.
The Course- Beauty itself is the shortest and easiest of the courses here, but by no means is it simple, easy, and boring. (In fact, it ended up being my favorite because of the accuracy it demanded.) The distance of the holes allows just about all skill levels to enjoy their round, but what it lacks in distance it makes up in technical accuracy. Beauty offers many birdie chances and a few ace runs. Many of the holes play in denser woods than the rest of the complex, where fairways are tight, but there is always a realistic path from tee to hole. Elevation is a factor on many holes as well.
Cons: The Course- I expected to find better tees, signs, and baskets at a place this (i.e. Lemon Lake), but unfortunately the baskets are showing age, some of the tees in the woods are rubber mats, and the signs definitely need to be improved. Especially around the part where you get to the lettered holes, it seemed to get a little confusing, and I am not even sure we ended up playing all the holes. I am usually not a fan of changing a course from 18 to 24 or 27 if the result is the flow and layout become confusing and unnatural. And why not renumber the holes from 1-24 instead of inserting a letter hole here and there?
There is decent variety in the holes, but not an excellent mix. Once you get in the woods, you are there for a while, where I prefer to mix it up from open to woods more. The entrance road runs alongside the course and you actually have to play over it, which to me seems like a bad idea, but we never saw another car, so maybe it is never an issue.
The Complex- The courses did not appear to get top priority maintenance, which is unfortunate considering the potential for having a truly special disc golf experience here. Navigation was not too much of a problem, but things like more informative tee signs, other signs along the way, and a course map would have been beneficial and would have improved the overall experience. The parking lot also looked old, and the pay-to-play boxes were dented and rusted. Sadly, the overall appearance was one of neglect. We played in mid-summer and only saw one other group here the entire day.
It is odd that the courses lie between Lake Michigan and the big Reservoir that towers over the course, yet there are no water hazards anywhere ("Water, water everywhere and not a drop to throw a disc over/in!") The reservoir itself is kind of ominous looking as we thought it was a prison because of steep walls, barbed wire fences, multiple watch towers, and warning signs to keep out. (Found out later looking at satellite images that is was water, not a prison!!! During our round a siren horn went off, making us think a convict had escaped, but it was just the signal that they were about to let water out of the dam into Lake Michigan!!!)
Other Thoughts: The Complex- Don't let the names fool you. Beast is not scary, stupid difficult; and Beauty is not super-lame easy! Both are quality courses that will challenge everyone. Obviously having 3 course layouts on site in one area is a big bonus. Plan to spend the day here. These courses, along with Flip City and Leviathan also in the area make this one of the top DG destinations in the country.
The Course- This is a tough course to rate, because the holes are excellent and it gets bonus points for not being the only course here. However, no maps, poor signs, and the overall layout keep this from being an elite course. I give it a strong 3.5 (Very Good).
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
B+ = Beauty plus!
Pros: What I personally like and how this course stacks up in my list of 18 (and more) hole courses (over 180 played):
1) Holes with good risk/reward. Fair, but harsh punishment for bad decisions or execution. == B
(There are quite a few wooded holes on this course (6-7) that are quite good at making you take some time planning your shot - including which route to take, line within that route, and disc to use to accomplish that route. And then there is the execution on those holes…..and the punishment for failing to execute. Unlike the other courses in the park, Beauty has some "early trouble" on some holes…..meaning you mess up bad, you get knocked down early, and there is a good chance your birdie run turns into a bogey 4. Other than 1-2 holes, this is accomplished without being so punitive that it could be considered fluky. There is a little less of this early trouble testing my accuracy than I prefer, but still pretty good.)
2) Holes that have rewarding birdie opportunities for me (I rate only from the long tees). I'm a Blue level player (950ish skill) who throws 300' accurately, 360' max. == B-
(With 10 holes under 200' and another 4 under 250' there is less reward for birdies based on length alone than makes for full on exhilaration. Several of these short holes however, have a good length/width ratio to add some spice and make them more fun/rewarding. About 9-10 (half a course's worth) are the type that fit my skill and preference, and a good thing is that there is only 1 hole that is too long to ever expect a birdie….and therefore a little boring….although the shape and narrowness of #12 keeps it interesting.)
3) More wooded than open - lots of variety of shots required caused by hole shape and topography == B
(The good split fairway holes (one kind of "thinking man's holes") mentioned in point 1 are nicely counterbalanced by the other holes; the majority of which are pretty open where you can just wing it, and then 2-3 that are tunnel shots that demand execution…..or be executed. Nothing is too crazy in the creativity required to navigate Beauty, but there is a very nice variety of different kinds of left- and right-turning holes (and straight). And, although the terrain is not extreme, the design makes very good use of playing up, down and across it.)
4) Natural beauty (Appalachian beauty preferred) and seclusion. == A
(As the course name tells you, this is really where this course shines the most in my opinion. Unlike Beast and Goliath, this course is not played along the road as much and the monster dam (a looming unnatural giant) is not in view too much. There is also the beautiful hardwood forest on one side of the course, balanced out by the more grassy and coniferous other side. Seclusion is really very nice on over half the course. If it were not for the park road cutting through the middle of the course, this Beauty would have an A+ for its beauty in my book.)
5) Bonus points for multi-throw holes with defined landing zones, good risk/reward and multiple options to play them. == NA….0 bonus points for this
6 of 7 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.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
She's a Looker!
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.
9 Helpful / 1 Not
Wooded and Tough
Pros: Mason County - Beauty is the shortest of the 3 courses in this park. The park is absolutely beautiful and seems to be totally set apart for disc golf. The entire round was very peaceful. Tee pads were in excellent condition. Baskets were in fair condition. There was enough variance in the course to keep it interesting. The wooded holes were very tough but fair. Hole #1 was a very interesting opening hole. I find the slight anhyzer to be a much more difficult shot than the big sweeping anhyzer. Be prepared to hike up a hill to the first tee for both Beauty and Beast.
Cons: My biggest problem with Beauty are the extra holes. My buddies and I had a running joke that Michigan must be full of 24 hole golf courses as well. Really, what is it about Michigan and 24 holes? From an outsiders perspective, it looks like the clubs that take care of the courses are in an immense competition. One course went to 24. Then another course went to 24. Then everybody tried "keeping up with the Jones's". I have no problem with 24 holes. However, they need to flow with the rest of the course. Beauty gets confusing because you never know when you are going to be looking for the next numbered hole or if they are going to throw in a letttered hole. Just go back and renumber the holes 1-24. It's that simple. Yet everyone in Michigan feels the need to have a Hole E. I think that my problem with the additional holes at Mason County is that they seem thrown together simply for the sake of having more holes. They are not on the same level of maturity as the rest of the course. My only other con is the lack of distance lines. There are a handful of holes on Beauty that require a fairway driver. However, most of the course is shaping your mid. Over 24 holes, there could be more variance in hole length.
Other Thoughts: Restrooms are available in the pavilion by the parking lot and are pretty nice for park restrooms. There are enough benches and trash cans throughout the course. I didn't notice any litter on any of the courses in the park. Navigation on this course is much easier than the other two courses because the other two courses intertwine.
This course seems like it would appeal most to the experienced, but not professional, disc golfer. I simply mean that many new players would find the tight gaps to be difficult to hit. Some of the closing holes on this course could be down-right intimidating to a noob. On the flip-side, there really isn't enough of an element of challenge for the professional level player. The lines on the wooded holes are straight-forward and can easily be executed. If you're one of those players who is "in the middle", (like me) you should really enjoy this course. Beauty gives the average player the opportunity to shoot a low round if they are on their technical game. If you are in the area, it is definitely worth the stop. The park is a serene place to play.
As for my rating, while Beauty is a "very good" course, it is not quite to the level of "excellent". It simply doesn't have the variety in length to garner that level. Some people may take this as a slight to the course, but it is not meant that way. It is still an above-average course that most any player should enjoy at least once.
9 of 10 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.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Beauty for sure
Pros: - Very nice mix of open and tightly wooded holes.
- Concrete tee pads
- Multiple paths to the basket on several holes
- On a park with 2 other courses
- Well maintained and mowed.
- Nice baskets
- Easy course but not so easy that experienced players are bored. Every hole is interesting.
Cons: - Not all the signs are there but you can find your way from one hole to the next by following the paths.
- Two holes had me throwing across the park roadway. I was a little disappointed considering how well the rest of the course was designed.
- The auxiliary holes (A thru F) are a little confusing - though not a big deal if you are expecting it. At some point in the future the entire course ought to be renumbered to eliminate this confusion.
Other Thoughts: Bug spray is a definite must here. I can see that deer flies, ticks, mosquitoes and other assorted annoying Michigan bugs can be rampant. The shule is not horribly thick but I did notice some poison ivy so be careful when off the fairway. Like a lot of other courses in the state good footwear is a must as the terrain is quite uneven in areas. None of the aforementioned items counted against the course in my review - just facts of life when playing in Michigan.
A note on the aux holes...You'll be playing along and all of the sudden you'll be expecting the next hole number and you get a hole labeled with a letter. This is correct by the way. For example, right after hole #17 there is holes D, E, and F and then #18. You can skip the aux holes but I don't recommend missing out on these gems.
After hearing that his course is maintained and run entirely by volunteers I had no problem stuffing more than the requisite $1 in the box. It was worth it! My only regret is not having enough time to play the other 2 courses on site.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Easy to Moderate difficulty, overall a Good course
-Baskets are good
-Nice variety of elevation and wide open and wooded holes
-Most holes had trash cans
-Course is scenic and as the name suggests Beautiful (I think Beast has better scenery)
-The course requires a wide variety of strategies and shots
-Alternate holes are good and add enjoyment to the course
-Decent fun factor
-Accuracy and distance needed
-Cement tee pads are small on some holes
-Signs are awful, and lacking
-No water holes
-Course layout requires careful play, you'll be shooting across the street on one hole, and next to the street
-The course needs work and lot's of maintenance
-Course lacks benches and places to chill
-Busiest of the 3 courses in the complex (yet busy is usually 1 or 2 groups)
-Did not see any scorecards
Other Thoughts: -
-To score well it would be useful to have both distance and accuracy in your arsenal. This is a thinking course, one in which to be careful and take risks in at the same time.
-I enjoy playing this course but it is my least favorite out of the 3 Mason County parks.
-The course offers a wide variety of different shots and scenery. A few wide open grip and rip holes, and lots of tight and accurate wooded holes.
-Course is lacking in signs. We might have skipped seven and could not find it the last time I played. It seems the course is getting rougher. Better signs and including the alternates in new signs instead of A,B,C just make them all numbers, please re do these it will make it so much better.
- I saw families out there and don't think this is the best place for families to play. Ludington really needs a city park that are easier for families. This course is the easiest out of the 3 on site, also the least grueling physically. Yet it can be dangerous with some steep ravines and cliffs.
-I am debating on giving this course a "Good" rating, for now I am settling on a "Very Good" but I was disappointed in the maintenance of the course. I feel they need to revamp things, start the signs over, redo some of the tee pads, fix some of the erosion.
-The course just wasn't as fun as it use to be for me. I have been playing a lot of different courses lately and have always really enjoyed the Beauty, however, I would much rather play the Beast any day of the week. Then Goliath if I had to choose another. The Beauty is not a destination course but still worthwhile to play.
-Ludington is still a great disc golf destination because it has two outstanding courses in Leviathan and the Beast, Goliath is a monster that experienced players would appreciate as well, and the Beauty course adds to that title but on its own its just good. Overall A GOOD course.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Great wooded holes with multiple line choices.
- Short but challenging.
- Navigation was simple
- Tee signs had hole number and distance written, tthey were rather crude, but they were sufficient.
- Nice transitions in and out of the woods.
- Great variety of shots.
- Very neat wooded and hilly landscape.
- The baskets are in solid shape.
- Course stays dry even through light rainfall.
Cons: - Tee pads are way too small and favor a stand still technique. Some also had edges of dirt or roots at the end that are just waiting to cause and injury.
- Some tee signs were missing the distance.
- Bugs can get bad.
- Gates to the course only open between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Other Thoughts: My group played this course through a light rain directly after Beast. I found this course more enjoyable then Beast. The tee pads are terrible though, They are too small and some are sunken. I recommend preparing a stand still throw before playing this course if you don't already throw like that. This course could be pushed to a 5/5 for me if the tee pads were better, the tee signs were better and scorecards were provided. If you had to pick one Mason county course to play I would chose Beauty. The Mason County Courses are definitely worth traveling to. They are memorable and make for a great day of disc golf.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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