9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The Complex- Beast 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- Beast is longer and more demanding than the Beauty course. Hole #1 sets the stage as you walk up a very, very tall and steep hill from the parking lot to #1 tee, and as you reach the top (almost like the first ascent and crest of a roller coaster) you see the amazingly long spacious downhill opening tee shot (or shots because you will have to throw more than one). And as you look around you see much of the course terrain, and then, finally, on the horizon you see Lake Michigan. (It is also a bonus to get that climb out of the way at the beginning rather than on hole 18 when you are beat.)
Overall the course is more wide open, with isolated trees and bushes as most obstacles. There are a few tighter fairways mixed in though, and the rough on these holes were pretty thick in spots in mid-summer. Hole distance encompasses a wide range from 160' to 574', but Hole #1 is the 574', and it plays down a steep hill making it play shorter, and then the rest of the holes are under 500'. Not every hole has elevation, but the ones that do utilize it to the max, both up and down. I enjoyed the different feel that each hole offered and that you had no idea what the next hole was going to look like until you stood on the tee. It almost was like holes from different parts of the country were transplanted here, with the varying terrain that features a variety of trees and grasses. (The only other course I have ever played that gave me this feeling is Morraine S.P.)
Cons: The Course- We found navigation a little confusing with the Goliath course intermixed in: criss-crossing fairways, possible sharing of tees and baskets (not sure), you definitely see extra baskets that you are not playing to and never play to, and when looking for the next tee you see extra tees that are for the other course. (tees are clearly marked as to which course it is for, but it is hard to see from a distance.) Also, we were unable to find #16 (we looked everywhere and never found a basket or tee. We think it was in the woods but we never found a path leading to a hole.) Somebody, please make a map!!! The inserted newer holes did not look like official holes, but more like poorly planned holes designed by locals that only the locals play, may not be the case, but that is what it looked like to me.
The Complex- I expected to find better signs and baskets at a place this (i.e. Lemon Lake), but unfortunately the baskets are showing age and the signs definitely need to be improved. 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 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 never say another person on this course.
The courses did not appear to get top priority maintenance, which is unfortunate considering the potential for having truly special disc golf experience here is amazing. I am usually not a fan of changing a course from 18 to 24 or 27 if the flow and layout make the course confusing and unnatural. And why not renumber the holes from 1-24 instead of inserting a letter hole here and there?
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 with the extra holes and sharing things with the Goliath course keep this from being an elite course. I gave it a 4.0 (Excellent).
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 10 Not
B = Beast is a beast with some unfortunate beastly characteristics
Pros: At 24 holes, the Beast has a ton to offer....so I can fully see why so many rave about this course! There is so much to cheer about but at every turn, but there was always something that seemed to continually nickel and dime me downward in the overall playing experience. I will do my best to justify my seemingly low rating below. One note: I gave the Beast a grade of 86 - which is just a smidge below 87 which would be a B+ and a 3.5 disc rating.
What I personally like and how this course stacks up in my list of 18 (and more) hole courses:
1) Holes with good risk/reward. Fair, but harsh punishment for bad decisions or execution. == C
(This course is very straight forward - average at best in this department. Very, very few choices or decisions to be made. The challenge has got to be the wind - although there was not even a breeze the day I played it. And, punishment for errant throws is almost non-existent. If you get in the middle of some of the shrubs it is possible to have no real throw out, but I do not remember too many of them placed strategically - like sandtraps are on a golf course.)
2) Holes that have rewarding birdie opportunities for me. I'm a Blue level player (950ish skill) who throws 300' accurately, 360' max. == B-
(About half the holes present a perfectly fun and challenging experience for me lengthwise. But the other half are either too short to be fun or are too long to be interesting - bomb a decent drive and then you're left with a doinker upshot (see #5 for more on this). Combine this with the overall lack of shot shapes required and the lack of punishment and this course lacks for me in the area of scoring euphoria.)
3) More wooded than open - lots of variety of shots required caused by hole shape and topography == B-
(Other than a few holes, this is not a wooded course and most of the course is either open or just through low shrubs. There is variety in left/right/up/down hole shapes, but not enough of the kind that force you to shape your shots accurately and consistently.)
4) Natural beauty (Appalachian beauty preferred) and seclusion. == B+
(The area that this course is in is strictly for disc golf and as such you do feel like you are getting away from the hustle-bustle. With many glimpses of Lake Michigan and beautiful trees and terrain, you are constantly reminded of the beauty of nature. The problem for me in really getting refreshed by my experience on this course is twofold: 1) the park road and parking lots (and a road outside of park property) are prominent on the vast majority of holes, and 2) there is a huge dam looming over the course - the backside of a reservoir. It casts this ominous feeling over the course like a giant hovering over your shoulder and surprising you every time you glance over your shoulder. Hole 14 is stunning! With a white birch on one side and a beautiful fir tree on the other, things were just perfectly and beautifully framed as I approached the tee just in time to see a deer ambling across the fairway about 150' away. #1 Kodak moment of my disc golf career!)
5) Bonus points for multi-throw holes with defined landing zones, good risk/reward and multiple options to play them. == NA
(Although hole 1 would seem like a two-throw hole, the elevation loss makes for such a short upshot that it is a tweener hole - a par three with no hope of a birdie for me. Same with 484' #11 and 425' (uphill) #18 - ~325' drive and then ~150' doinker to putting range.)
14 of 24 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 4 Not
Beautiful Disc Golf Experience...
Pros: This course is one of three amazing courses in Mason County park. It is called the Beast...I don't know if that is tongue in cheek or what...because it in my opinion was far more breathtaking than it's sister course on the same property named Beauty. It was easily one of the most beautiful courses I have every played. The trees were in full color...there are some amazing views on top of these large rolling hills overlooking Lake Michigan. Wow...didn't know disc golf could LOOK this amazing...the tee on hole one sets the tone for the rest of the round...and it sets the bar high. The fairways were very well manicured (even though the gates were closed and park was officially shut down for the season). The fairways were so groomed that I commented to one of my playing partners that it looked like a ball golf course.
I know it is rather cliche...but this course has so much variety in it's shots. Every hole was truly a unique challenge. I have way too many discs in my bag admittedly...but I used more on this course than any of other courses on our road trip to this area...due to the amount of variety of this course.
I really liked some of the greens on the course. They had several greens that were tucked away up in a group of trees on a hill...just very unique.
The baskets were very good and the course flowed very well. We navigated the course without any major issues.
Cons: The teepads were concrete...but they were not uniform and a few of them were too short for my liking.
That's it...I can't remember anything negative other than that...and even that was easily overlooked.
Other Thoughts: This very well may stand as one of my favorite rounds of disc golf that I have ever played. I was playing with some great guys at a beautiful time of year...add to that a top notch disc golf course and you have a recipe for a fantastic day of DG.
7 of 11 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 3 Not
Words Cannot Describe...
Pros: The course is magnificent in every way. The land is epic with a huge amount of variance in elevation. The tee at 1 is the most incredible thing I have ever experienced in disc golf. I could have spent all day there just taking it all in. You basically look out and see trees all around you with an amazing view of Lake Michigan behind it.
The course itself plays mostly with a park-like setting, although there are a few holes more heavily wooded and a few holes that are big and open. An amazing balance of distances within those different playing styles. I thought that the course flowed really well...especially considering there are 2 other courses intermingled. Goliath's tee's are all around, but it is very obvious what is Goliath and what is Beast. The goliath tee signs are greenish-yellow to make it pretty brainless to follow. I can see how there could be issues throwing into people, but I certainly didn't experience anything like that out there.
The tee pads were very good concrete tees that were definitely long enough (with a very few exceptions).
You will need to use every disc and every shot in your bag to tame this Beast. Each hole offered something different and it really kept me off balance and challenged.
The course was immaculately manicured even with us playing out there during the off season. Words cannot accurately describe the beauty of this course which is ironic, because it was the one named Beast--- There were so many times where I just stood for a moment to take it all in.
Cons: A few tee pads were too short. A few minor navigation issues. The end.
Other Thoughts: When we headed out to the area to play disc golf from Missouri I had high expectations for the courses in this area, but I assumed that Flip City would steal the show. My experience at Beast FAR exceeded any expectations I had.
This course absolutely blew my mind. I am sure that part of my impression was helped by the fact that I went out there to play when the leaves were at their most brilliant, but this course is one of the most breathtaking experiences I have ever had. I was very surprised that I was the first one to give this a 5 star review...maybe I picked the best time possible to play, but for me, this was disc golf heaven. Playing this course made me want to go back and reevaluate my other reviews of courses. It was that awesome and I will never forget it.
8 of 11 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Check out the views!
Pros: This course has a more open feeling than beauty, and some more length and length variety. Many fairways are grassy with some brushy rough, but not so many low ceilings or tightly wooded holes. There are a few wooded holes, and they are nicely scattered through the course to add variety. There are some really nice elevation shots, and that starts on the first hole with a great view and a fun shot from the top of a large hill.
The design uses the property extremely well to create a variety of hole shapes. This course is more about shot placement, and makes a great complement to the line shaping needed on Beauty. The rough is punishing enough to make you pay for an errant shot, but not so much that it eats discs. There are some ace chances, and some long bombs, and great variety throughout that keeps you guessing.
The baskets are in decent shape and catch well. The concrete tees on the main 18 holes were nice pads, and apparently the letter holes have concrete now too. The park is beautifully maintained, and makes for a very scenic and relaxed round.
Cons: The navigation here can be an issue with Beast and Goliath sharing the space, and it could also potentially result in some safety issues with people playing both directions. A little better signage would be really helpful on all three courses here. The holes along the road and old parking lot lose some of the secluded feeling, and could be a safety issue when traffic is heavier. The letter holes aren't quite up to the standard of the rest of the course yet, but it seems like they're still a work in progress.
Other Thoughts: This course by itself is a fun and challenging place to play, and when combined with the other two great courses in the park is definitely a destination course. Beginners might be frustrated by the thick rough and some of the longer holes. More experienced players will find some great challenge and variety, it's not the toughest course around but it will make you pay for poor shot placement.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Fun Lake Michigan Course
2 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: Variety of holes. Some were downhill and long, some were short downhill, some uphill, good amount of dog-legs. The variety of shots was fun. Also had a good mix of open shots. Playing along Lake Michigan was great, both the views and wind. Good place to help teach someone how to play.
Cons: The hike up to hole 1 is intense, but the throwoff is well worth it. Sometimes its confusing where to throw from and where to throw to since there are 3 courses in the park
Other Thoughts: If you don't like wind, this is not going to be the easiest course. Then again, no place right next to a huge lake would be. The people who take care of this course really do care for it. Try to play your first round here with locals, it will really help ya out.
2 of 7 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Not really Beastly...
Pros: The first positive aspect that comes to mind regarding Mason County - Beast is the groundskeeping. Fairways are mowed and the roughs are most often taller grasses. Baskets and tee pads are in good condition. The view from the first tee is amazing. We played Beast before Beauty and this view was a wonderful introduction to the property. Much like Beauty, the course was designed to test a number of different shot-shapes. However, unlike Beauty, there was sufficient variation in hole lengths.
Cons: There are really only 2 cons that I can think of. First, the navigation is very confusing. Goliath intertwines with the Beast and on a number of holes multiple baskets are in view from the tee. The best example is Hole #8 in which the fairway seems to follow a slight hyzer path up a moderate hill. There is a treeline down the right side of the fairway. A basket is on top of the hill. However, this is a basket for the Goliath course. The correct basket is through the wooded treeline on the right with no gap. This hole was pretty ridiculous. The good news is that this was the only hole on this course which I felt was poorly designed. The second con was the maturity of the extra holes. Like Beauty, they just seemed thrown together. No concrete tee pads had been poured. In a few years, natural processes will probably rectify this, but for now there is a noticeable difference.
Other Thoughts: I really enjoyed this course. I thought there were some excellent holes. While researching which courses to play on our trip, I guess I had envisioned Beauty being short and fun while Beast being long and difficult. I was right on with Beauty, but Beast really surprised me. It wasn't as difficult as I had expected. It was challenging, but not over-bearing. In short, if you are a moderately skilled disc golfer, don't be scared away by the name.
I enjoyed the layout of this course much more than Beauty. This course had some wooded holes, but was mainly open with designated fairways. You needed to be accurate to stay in the fairway, but there were multiple options off the tee. Many of the fairways were lined with dense bushes. I didn't list this as a con (because I like that the rough is punishing) but it could be difficult to find errant shots. Even if you can find it, expect a thorn or two as you retrieve your disc.
There are some really amazing courses in Michigan and the Beast at Mason County is no different. It is well worth the stop if you are in the area. Considering you have Beauty and Goliath on-site, and Leviathan and Flip City within a short drive, this is definitely a destination area for disc golf. These courses are well-maintained and fun to play.
9 of 9 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.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Tough, confusing, challenging...
Pros: - well manicured holes
- great mix of woods and open fairways
- lots of elevation changes
- amazingly beautiful park with 3 courses
- good mix of long and chalenging short holes
- nice baskets
- lots of "thread the needle shots."
- a few big hill bomb shots that are amazing views.
- benches at most holes
Cons: - favors left handed throwers
- rough is very rough and punishing
- extreemly confusing layout, you will never figure this park out without a solid map or a guide who has played it before
- some rubber pads
- minimal signage, the ones that are there are pretty crappy and simple made.
-thick rough that loves to hide discs, coming out of the rough you definitely will be bleading from your legs or arms because of thorns and sharp vines everywhere. You are forced to play safe and keep it on the fairway.
- I dont like the fact that the "goliath" is just the "beast" played basically backwards, seems like a horrible idea where people are throwing at each other often around blind corners and over hills. Its a little unsettling.
- no cell phone signal available, if your well into the woods and get hurt you are in big time trouble for sure.
Other Thoughts: We were very confused for about the first hour here until we bumped into friends who were willing to guide us through the park. There are very few signs to help someone who hasent played there before. You will see several tee pads and several baskets from one spot and its a little difficult to figure the right hole to throw at. This is an extreemly long punishing park, it will punish you from begining to end. I had blisters on my feet after hiking through the course but I had a blast anyway. Its very beautiful right along lake michigan and some of the vantage points from the holes is amazingly beautiful. With better signs the park would probably be more more fluid to navigate. Plan on a whole day if your going to play more than one of the 3 parks at mason county complex. Its a great course but has potential to be better.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 5 Not
Pay to Play
Pros: well marked.
it is tough but the best suited for my type of lefty play.
it has lots of diffrent types.
keeps you interested and slightly chalanged.
there is more then one course here so once you are done you can go on to another one.
Cons: if you get a disc not on the "fairway" on some holes most of the time you will not see it again. I have lost a total of 3 discs on this course in one round, no other has gone even close.
not many trash cans along the course.
Other Thoughts: this the bst marked of all the courses in mason county park. I got lost once on both of the other ones.
1 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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