3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Great variety in both shot types and hole lengths
- Good elevation in both fairways and greens throughout
- Challenging while still offering birdie opportunities
- Part of a well maintained multi-course complex with good amenities
Cons: - Concrete tee pads are occasionally too short
- Non-descriptive tee signs provide only the hole number
- No water features
- Navigation can be an issue first time through
Other Thoughts: For those looking to stretch their arms out after playing Beauty's shorter more technical layout, Beast offers a longer, more challenging, but still incredibly fun round of disc golf with plenty of birdie opportunities.
The round starts off with a bang, throwing from the top of large hill 575' to the top of a smaller hill, and doesn't really let up for the next 23 holes. Beast doesn't go through the thickly wooded areas as much as Beauty, but that doesn't mean you aren't going to need to shape your shots and hit lines. The course design is excellent, and you will need most of the discs and shots in your bag to score well.
There is a lot of elevation in play here as well, with the majority of holes playing up, down, or across hills, and many dangerous greens. There are plenty of opportunities to break out your high speed drivers, but they are spaced out well and there are plenty of shorter holes where you can more easily earn your birdies if you don't have a big arm.
Navigation can occasionally be an issue where multiple tee pads are visible from the last basket, and signage has either faded or isn't present. There are also a couple of extra loops that could be missed if you jump to the most obvious next pad. A handful of holes play along or over the road into the park, but traffic is so slight most of the time that this was never an issue.
While the baskets are in good repair and catch well, and benches are usually present, the rest of the equipment leaves a bit to be desired. The tee pads at Beast are not quite as short as many at Beauty, but they are still on the small side. This won't be a problem for many people, but those with longer run-ups or longer legs may have issues.
The tee signs aren't bad, just non-descriptive. If the scorecards and maps are available at hole 1, this isn't much of a problem, but on my last visit there were none available, and there are many blind holes from the tee where a distance and direction to the basket would be helpful.
No water obstacles to worry about here, but that can't be helped and they aren't really needed.
There are bathrooms, water fountains, and picknick tables at a pavilion near the parking lot, as well as a small playground with a slide and swings. As my group finished our most recent round, someone from the park district or other organization interviewed us for about 5 minutes about our experience at the park and thoughts on the amenities. The park is already well maintained, and it looks like whoever is in charge wants to make sure it stays that way.
Beast is my favorite of the courses at the Mason County Complex, and strikes a good balance between the easier Beauty, and the occasionally punishing Goliath. The golf and scenery are great, and with two other courses on site there is something for everyone, and playing all three makes for a great, long day of Michigan disc golf.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 4 Not
I love the Beast
+ cement tees
+ really challenging well thought out holes with the exception of maybe 2
+ Plays well for both strategic and big arm players.
+Really cool topography
+some really wide open shots let you try out some crazy stuff!
+Really good light hiking
+Pretty good ratio of trees to wide open
+Not sure if I really have a favorite hole here, most are pretty well played
+Risk vs reward is pretty good, most holes are pretty forgiving
+Really is just a great course I can't wait to get back to!
+good course for all types of throwers
+Pretty clean and maintained
Cons: -Can't really play if it is windy
-One of the holes you have to pay thru / over a parking lot then another is really close to the parking lot which could be a pain if there were cars
Other Thoughts: ^bring bug spray
^Play with bright discs!
^One of the holes plays on a blind 2 track that people often hike up, so watch for them
3 of 7 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Cruelty and the BEAST
Pros: Beauty is pretty and Beast is ugly.
Beauty is dainty and Beast is...beastly!
You are pretty much in Beast Mode from Tee One as you tower over the entire park from the mammoth hill at its centre. You can see everything from up there - the tops of trees, the giant reservoir, even all the way to Lake Michigan. It's as zen as you can get. The wind whips around you and howls past your ears as you line up your throw straight into it. AND THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING.
While I can't say it gets "better" from here (because this is the best rip in the entire complex), Beast certainly lives up to its name. Much tougher tossing compared to Beauty, the lines are taut and the distance is measurable. It is challenging every step of the way, and unlike Beauty, it is much more difficult to recover from errant shots. With several signature holes throughout, Beast does an excellent job of utilizing the park's varying terrain. Here are a few of the highlights:
#1 - Bombs Over Baghdad (no further explanation needed)
#3 - Throwing down into the grove with the massive reservoir as the backdrop, the line is deceivingly cramped; a trick of the mind.
#4 - Super tight line to follow unless you try and heave your disc over the orchard and into the clearing for birdie.
#A - A sharp hyzer following twin gravel tracks, be careful of the steep drop that follows the fairway on the right. Great risk/reward.
#5 - Truly epic launch over a fairly open field, over a road, and then up a big hill to the pin. The wind can really catch your disc here, and not in a good way. Make sure you plan for the headwind.
#D - Great rip & pray hole; a short clearing throws you dead into a thick pine tree line. There is the smallest of openings; not big enough to call a fairway. Just hope you've got enough juice on your drive to get a nice drop for birdie.
#16 - A crazy cramped 50 feet off of the tee, you must arc your shot to land in the clearing beyond. The pin sits cozy in the sand under some pines.
#18 - Beast ends almost as well as it begins with one of the longest holes on the course. You are firing back over the main road into a clearing patched with trees and brush. The first shot is the most important because if you get stuck behind (or in the middle) of those sparse bushes, your approach is blind and can cost you fatal strokes. And look! Beauty #1 is right there. Hmm...guess I'll start another round!
Cons: Two Cons here:
1) Goliath is Beast backwards, so be ever vigilant as you play through; I almost took off a guy's face. Luckily we only came across one or two groups as we played through. Be courteous and wait your turn to throw, and all will be well.
2) Hole #B. This is a pretty bad setup, firing blind onto the pavement of a parking lot. My disc was cut up before I realized it. Seemed like they tried to squeeze this one into the back of the complex.
Other Thoughts: Like I said in my review of Beauty, this complex is top notch and the best set of courses in our great state of Michigan. Everything lived up to my expectations, and in some cases, wholly exceeded them. I will be back to play Goliath on my next trip up to Ludington. Kudos, boys!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Beast is a phenomenal course that features awesome variety, challenge, and scenery.
The course starts out with a "top of the world" shot where you tee off from the highest point in the park. This is the easily the best hole 1 tee shot I've ever played. From there pretty much every aspect of your game is challenged. There is a ton of elevation, short and tight wooded shot, long flat shots, and a multitude of different angles off the tee.
For most players, I would recommend playing Beast if you only have time for one course at Mason County as it combines the techinal nature of Beauty without the relentless punishment of Goliath. All three are awesome, but Beast is the Goldilocks of the three... it's just right.
The course flow here is better than Beauty, and there are only a couple navigation issues, but nothing major. The tee pads are all concrete and provide plenty of room for a run up.
The land itself is some of the most beautiful disc golf only land I've played on.
Cons: Beast was by far the most crowded of the three courses the day I played. Count on having to wait for other groups to play, as well as keeping an eye out for players on Goliath throwing at the same basket.
As is the case with the other two courses, the signage is pretty weak. Numbered sign posts exist everywhere, but they offer no discription of the shot, so if you're unfamiliar with the course, you're forced to walk the fairway until you see it, which sucks on some of the hilly shots.
The navigation from #6 to Hole C then back to #7 is pretty confusing, and it's easy to skip C if you don't know where you're going.
The distance and challenge makes this course pretty unfriendly for beginners and weak armed players. Due to its proximity to the lake, wind is likely to be a factor most of the time.
Other Thoughts: Mason County Park is the best concentration of disc golf coures in a single location I've played to date. Make time to play all three when you come here, because they all offer something different.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
A Beast of A Course!
Pros: - The second hardest of the 3 courses, with plenty of holes to challenge even the most seasoned player
- More flat than Beauty, more open too
- First hole is a large drop off a hill and is a great distance (574ft.) and the last hole, 18, is teed across the road and you drive it over the road and over trees. Watch out for head wins, they will KILL your score
- Cement pads, 24 holes again with A B C D E F holes.
- A great course that offers a variety of changes, ranging from difficult narrow paths through trees, to wide open fields, from high elevations to large hyzer and anhyzer throws to hidden chains.
- It will test you from the usual 3 par courses, stressing your skills and your mental AND physical abilities
Cons: - Again, Smokers and Drinkers, a problem for some
- Losing discs is a very possible thing, lots of trees and bright colors so that is against the usual thumb of rule to have yellows, glows, and greens
- Tee pads are shorter than most cement pads, making this awkward for those of us (if not all, right) who are used to longer ones. Some can be extended from the dirt.
-No signs... what-so-ever, and the little red signs are confusing for Goliath and Beast are on the same patch of land then Beauty, so you will thing one pad is the next but its for Goliath.
- High weeds, so if it rains, mud, wet pants and shoes, makes 24 holes un-enjoyable
Other Thoughts: - OB's are the roads, fence on C and out of the park (which sorta is the road :P )
- A dollar fee (they do check)
- Rest rooms, trash on almost every hole
*STATED at a tournament 5/28/2011 for the J-Bird AJ Open, they WILL BE MAKING CUSTOM SIGNS for Goliath, Beauty (if not done already) and Beast. This is great for Beast, and I believe they will have maps and where to go next signs, a BIG plus!!
**NOTES: Bring lots of water, come when drier, sunny and it will be fine
- Bring some discs you aren't afraid to lose
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Work of a mad genius...
Pros: Beautiful scenery on huge rolling hills belies the fact that this course lies next to a landfill. Challenging fairways that have you trying to hit the perfect s-curve to get to the basket tucked away in the woods. Some absolutely insane holes. Hole 1 is a 500+ foot shot off the top of a big hill to the basket on another big hill far to the left. A few deceptively short holes with thick trees let you try some finesse shots through brutal cover. And fairways well chosen to take advantage of the natural windows.
Cons: Will have your knees creaking from all the hills. Rather difficult to find your way around. It's easier to find the signs for the Goliath holes (also on site) than it is to find the next Beast tee. On the other hand, it's so pretty you don't mind having to look around for the tees your first time. I'm pretty sure that a lot of the distance markers are way off, and was told that the course has been redesigned somewhat since the holes were measured.
Other Thoughts: This course is clearly the work of a mad genius who both loves and hates disc golfers. As I walked around the course, trying to spot the baskets, I'd say to my friends "I bet the basket is tucked back there, because that's the most sadistic place to put it." Sure enough, the basket was there every time. It lives up to its name, giving you a challenging experience, and leaves you feeling proud to have vanquished the Beast.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Epic elevation changes
- Well groomed and defined fairways.
- Some very memorable holes.
- Great tee signs with distance and hole number posted
- Challenging and interesting holes that utilize the terrain brilliantly
- I felt like each hole was a new and interesting challenge
- Some long holes with air space to really let some rip.
- Contained some smaller more technical holes.
- The park was very clean and tidy.
Cons: - Several tee pads are too short and have steep drop offs
- Wind can be tricky
- The main gate is only open between Memorial Day and Labor day
- Same with the bathrooms.
- Some of the brush is thick and seems to swallow discs, watch your disc finish to avoid losing one.
Other Thoughts: Beast is a great course, fitting it's name, most of the holes play much longer then the posted distances. Those who are new or don't throw very long may be frustrated by some of the longer holes. Though the fairways are defined there is enough aerial space to throw some long sweeping hyzers or anhyzers allowing for great variety. My group played through a light rain most of the round and the tee pads were not slick, and we still had a great time. #1, #3, D, and #18 are all highly memorable holes. Better tee pads, an open gate, and scorecards could push this course to a 5/5 for me. Coupled with Beauty, and Goliath (never played Goliath) the Mason County courses are definitely worth traveling to play.
*Update: My family visited the Mason County courses again the March and they had nice scorecards.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 1 Not
Definitely a Winner
Pros: The view from 1st tee!! (it's also a great hole to play, regardless of the view). You have to play this hole - the photos seem lame by comparison.
-Well suited to experienced players. Some holes make you pay for errant throws. Challenging, but still fun to play.
-Nice use of terrain to get wonderful. and well balanced shot variety. Not just a course for big arms (but distance definitely a plus on some holes).
-Those with a good tomahawk or thumber will find it useful on a few holes.
-Concrete pads on most holes.
-Not much repetition, each hole stands on its own.
-Score cards provided.
-Pavilion w/restrooms and picnic tables next to paved parking lot.
Cons: Navigation: more difficult than Beauty. Had trouble finding next tee on several holes (gets a bit more confusing on holes shared with Goliath). Couldn't find hole C at all.
-Some holes with no tee pads (A-F if I recall correctly).
-One hole required throwing across a road.
- Moderate possibility of losing a disc.
LOCALS: Course navigation could be greatly enhanced by painting the spoke on each basket that points the way to the next tee pad. Maybe one color for Beast, and another for Goliath.
Other Thoughts: Some will find the wind off the lake challenging, others frustrating. It definitely added some strokes to my score, but listing it as a "con" simply doesn't seem right. However, the ability to handle wind well would be a big plus on this course. Same with blind shots, and there are a few - not necessarily a con (although they increase chance of disc loss, which is always a negative).
An usual, but incredibly symbiotic relationship exists here: this is a county park, but the property is owned by the local utility company. Yet all 3 courses in the park were designed by and are COMPLETEY maintained by local enthusiasts entirely on their own, with no funding or assistance from the county or power company. EVERYTHING about this course is literally a grass-roots effort: from mowing and weed-whacking fairways (and you think you got it rough doing your yardwork?) to tee pads, signs, score cards, gas for the mowers, trimmer line, etc. All of it was and is done by them, paid for by player donations ($1/day), or out of their pockets. What a GREAT example of peaceful co-existence. Kudos to the locals for making this happen - a major win-win!!
P.S. If you're hungry after playing, well worth the 7 mile drive north into downtown Ludington to soak up some local hospitality and grab a great burger at the local micro-brewery.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 4 Not
Beauty's bigger brother.
Pros: Beast sits in a scenic multi-use park with plenty of discing opportunities for everyone of all ability levels (3 different 24-hole courses).
Beast definitely rewards power throwers with plenty of longer, open field holes and lots of uphill or downhill flight time. Beast's end of the park is closer to Lake Michigan making those wide open and elevated holes subject to some serious wind gusts. The long, free-flying drive from #1 is one of the highlights of this course, and is representative of its overall quality. The wooded and more closed-in holes on Beast offer more risk than those on Beauty, punishing errant throws pretty effectively with some seriously ugly lies. Beast also offers the challenge of a few blind holes for added fun. The course and surrounding park is very well maintained and there were very few places with ugly shule in the rough. Wooded holes are nicely thinned with definite fairways on most.
This course is a nice balance of open, partially wooded, and thickly wooded holes with plenty of elevation changes for added fun. The course layout makes excellent use of all the myriad of terrain and vegetation changes available on its end of the park and incorporates a great mix of straight, fade, turn, "S", dogleg, and even overhand shots. Paths between holes were well worn and obvious, for the most part.
The various entry points to the course were well marked and had rules signage, multi-course scorecards, and obvious pay-to-play boxes with a sufficient stash of envelopes.
Cons: Holy cow, that climb up to the #1 tee is a doozy!! Stairs of some sort would be really nice, but the view and drive from there is amazing!
More consistency in hole and "next tee" signage or a map would be a benefit for first timers and cement tee pads for all the holes would earn this course a significant jump up in ratings. The alternate holes have a very definite "after thought" feel with minimalistic (often hand written) hole signage, few directional signs, non worn-in paths, and rubber tee mats. We walked right by some holes a couple of times! The lack of good signage is particularly frustrating on Beast given the fact that Goliath plays in the same area. Arrrgh.
The main road into the park and a parking lot comes into play on a couple of holes, so watch for cars! Hikers and dog walkers also frequent areas in and around the disc golf courses.
Other Thoughts: We went early in the season, before the park was officially open so not all the scorecard boxes actually had cards in them and the restrooms were not open yet, but the supplied port-a-johns were clean and stink free. Even this early in the season, Beast was pretty busy and the parking lot across the street was full by 3:00.
This scenic, well-kept park with great views of Lake Michigan is a fabulous place bring a picnic and hang out for the day! If you plan to stay all day you may want to pack a light jacket/sweater/hoody as the cold wind off the lake tends to pick up later in the day making sweaty, sunburned bodies chilly. When taken as a whole, the combination of courses at this park would rate at least a 4 or 4.5, and a minimal amount of course work and attention to detail would elevate this to a 5. However, as a first timer there, the frustration of trying to find our way around really took some of the joy out of being here.
We also made the mistake of playing Beast after Beauty, late in the day. Not a bad idea in and of itself, but as the day got later, the wind picked up significantly making the holes on the lake end of the course quite a challenge.
*** Update 7/23/11 ***
All tee pads have been updated to concrete and a few "Next Tee" signs have been added. While this raises enjoyment of the course somewhat, I still feel missing tee signs and getting lost on a pay-to-play course of this caliber, in a county park, is inexcusable and beyond frustrating. That said, I have elevated my rating by 1/2 disc to reflect the changes.
16 of 20 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Makes a case for 'best course on Lake Michigan shoreline', and the all-around best of the three courses at this site.
Hole 1 is all-around world class. Has a beautiful view of Lake Michigan with an elevated tee over a grassy valley to an elevated basket, with heavy woods clearly delineated on the left. Empty the bag on this one.
Hole #3 is another highlight, with an elevated tee through a window to a straight 350' fairway with short grass and short tree hazards (some shelter from the wind here, I've seen groups of deer on this hole).
Hole 9 is a short, straight downhill with deep rough on either side. An easy bogey, but also an easy birdie.
Holes 11-13 are fairly flat, white sand holes with skinny, windblown white birch trees and shrubs that offer just the right amount of challenge.
Holes 14 and 15 have enclosed tee pads and difficult pine tree hazards that look like big Xmas trees, and are hard to shoot out of if you caught in one.
Holes 16 and 17 have shorter narrow fairways in woods that are fair and fun, with birdie or bogey possibilities.
Has a narrow cement path that doesn't detract from the holes in play (5 and 11).
Decent Chainstar baskets, few players, unique and unrivalled Lake Michigan scenery.
Brand new cement tees on all six alternates (Sept. 2010).
Cons: Not well marked and difficult to navigate in many spots. A major problem with players new to the course. Find a local or someone familiar with the course for your first time out. Winds over 20 mph make this course almost unplayable.
No maps on the scorecards. In particular, it is hard to find your way from Hole 6 to Hole C to Hole 7. It is also easy as mentioned to shoot at the basket for C from the tee for Hole 8.
Some blind tee shots are disc-loss hazards, best to use a spotter. The winds are often prohibitively strong off of Lake Michigan, negating some of the shoreline appeal.
Existing cement tees are a bit short and narrow, but are grooved and drain water well.
Hole 18 has some odd design features, and could use a redesign.
Shares land and baskets with Goliath, which could be confusing. A slightly-older course that is beginning to show its age.
Other Thoughts: Take your time, don't get lost and have a great day on this one. Though the navigation is tough, you'll be rewarded with a terrific disc golf experience. Versus Leviathan, it is less challenging and diverse, but has an equally high fun factor on the very best holes. It's amazing how two completely different courses could be so close to each other.
Be sure to play the alternate holes, despite the so-so navigation (Holes A and B after Hole 4, Hole C after Hole 6, and D/E/F after Hole 14).
Hole D is one of the best tech holes, a short throw downhill through a small hole in the trees (almost exactly like Hole 5 at Yucaipa Park in CA). E is a tunnel hole that is short but definitely worth the time.
Course is more fun starting on Hole 6 (by off season parking lot), leaving the epic Holes 1 and 3 for the end.
A minority of 'cheap' holes (A, B, C, 8) and difficult navigation are the worst flaws with this course. Compares favorably with other top notch courses I have played. Don't miss this course if you're in the area
With four great courses and Flip City about 30 miles away, Ludington may be one of the best disc golf destinations in the world.
8 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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