Prepare to be Astonished
11 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: OK, OK, I know I'm going out on a limb a little bit with a 5.0 rating for a course that won't truly challenge the top players to bring their best game every time. But Bryant Lake fits my personal criterion for a 'perfect' rating because it does everything right, then goes WAY beyond the 'necessary', and will appeal to the widest range of players possible. I have only given this out four times in 201 reviews, but Bryant Lake Park earns one.
Why? Let's address the disc golf play first. You've got the variety of having at least two tees for every hole (blue and yellow), and usually have two baskets permanently in place to choose from (also yellow and blue). Casual players will have a lot of fun throwing yellow to yellow, while Intermediate to even Advanced players will enjoy blue to blue. They'll be able to keep it fresh by mixing up tees and pins for four options on nearly every hole. You'll be throwing blind tee shots, in and out of the woods, astonishing elevation shots, and enjoying the scenery of the dedicated park space up on the hills overlooking a pretty lake.
But what floored me was the infrastructure. Picture an enormous, trapezoidal, level concrete tee with metal benches, trash, recycle bins, 'ash trays', perfect tee signs, brooms, and retaining terraces, steps, brick and stone paved walkways, protective netting, and every landscaping feature you've ever seen on a course, then multiply it for multiple tees, terraced basket positions, fantastic course maintenance, fresh mulch constituting almost the entire putting surface for every basket, etc. etc. I mean, you'll never forget standing on the long tee for 11, realizing they've put up the safety netting on your left to protect you from the blind, downhill, hyzer throws off the 10th tee above, and staring down at maybe 150 feet of brick paved slope taking you halfway to the basket. Or realizing that most course designers would be happy putting the basket behind a boulder for a fun challenge (on 16), but they've actually terraced and paved stones around the feature!). And you might do like I did after throwing the top of the world shot on 17, and try to count the stairs you walk down to the fairway (about 100). Have you ever put in landscape stairs? This incredible feature is only there to access 1/36th of the course, really. Wow!
The pictures here on the web site give you a hint, but you really need to come check this out. It's astonishing!
Cons: Most folks can only find one or two negatives about Bryant Lake, and those are the fact that the challenge isn't championship caliber, and the design leans a little left to right overall. Doesn't really bother me. I play disc golf first for the fun, and second for the challenge. So if you're in the same boat, it might be really hard to find a 'con' about this course. Maybe the fact that the elevations will give you a hard time if you're not in shape? Maybe tens of thousands of dollars in course infrastructure isn't worth $5 per play or $45 per year to you. That's cool. Just know these are the facts going in, and, if you're like me, you'd say: wish I lived close by, because I'd pay that annual fee for a course like this in a heartbeat.
All right, I'll admit: as I racked my brain, I had to say that the parking is a little awkward. The best place to park is to the left after the entrance, and beside the 18th basket, the practice net and two practice baskets, there in the shade. 'Overflow' parking by the 15th tee would be the second choice, but I'd avoid parking downhill where shots that turn over to the right off of 17 long have a decent chance of dinging a parked car.
Other Thoughts: If I ever get back to the Twin Cities, there are a huge number of quality courses to play, but I'll be setting aside a day each time to play this one again and again.
11 of 13 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 9 Not
Pros: Excellent condition. Large tee pads. Clear signage at the tee and also after the baskets. Fairways apear to be groomed regularly and every green is mulched. Trash cans and ash trays at every tee along with benches and bag holders.
The course provided a good challenge: there were many long shots as well as several technical situations. Overall this course was planned very well. I would easily pay $5 again - if I lived closer I would definitely have a season pass.
1 of 10 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 11 Not
Pros: Groomed fairways, difficult rough, challenging elevation, trees, excellent tee pads, trash cans, recycling, benches and bag hangers at each hole. Simply put it's gorgeous
Cons: None that I could find. If this is what $5/round gets us every park should start charging.
2 of 13 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 9 Not
Pros: Bryant Lake is a phenomenal course. The course features multiple pads with that even have bag holders. The hole descriptors were helpful and accurate for a first-time player on the course. The holes themselves (there are a few holes with multiple baskets) are surrounded by mulch. There are clear signs to where the next tees are and easy to navigate. The holes themselves offer a great deal of variety and length.
Cons: Pay to play ($5 or $35 for a seasonal pass)
Other Thoughts: The course was well worth the money spent to play the course.
0 of 9 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: This is one of the best maintained courses I have played. There are clean benches, trash cans, recycle cans and bag holders at every tee pad. Multiple pads and baskets at all holes except for 13 which is only 167 feet. Navigation is pretty intuitive, I had no problems finding the next tee. All of the locals I ran into were very friendly and helpfull. The tee pads are the trapezoidal shaped and varied in length depending on the length of the hole, very nice touch. The baskets were all in very good shape and it was helpful that the shorts are the Innova baskets with the yellow band to guide you to the longs. The longs are generally tucked into trees or other nooks and harder to see. The landscaping was spectacular with well maintained steps everywhere. I particularly enjoyed the terraced holes and 16 with the basket on top of the large rock. There are well defined lines on all holes and with both multiple tees and basket you can add what ever difficulty you like. If you like elevation change this is the place for you! 17 probably being the signature hole for this course. If you normally pull a wheeled cart you may not want it here. With the tall grass in the rough on 17 you probably want a spotter for your drive otherwise you may be looking for a while. Water comes into play on 14 but is easily avoided with a lay up and par is still attainable with a good upshot.
Cons: The only thing missing is a pretty girl driving the drink cart.
Other Thoughts: While the difficulty level is not as high as it could be there is enough challenge available for even the top players. While I am not a fan of the high grass in the "rough" it fits very well in the design here. This is jewel of a course and one you need to play if you are in the twin cities area, well worth the $5.00 charge. I will have this course on my play list next time I visit.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: I was impressed with the whole course. Bag trees were nice to see. Seats at every Tee boxes. Signs, lots of signs, the were in great shape. Tee boxes are so nice and wide. Some holes had two basket and they were in great shape. The areas around the baskets were really nice. Overall the course was maintain very well.
Cons: The only two cons for me. Are both safety issues. First on Hole #17 is throwing over the road. Second is going down the stairs on Hole #17.
Other Thoughts: The $5.00 was good money spend. The shop by the lake was nice. I will play again.
0 of 4 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The thing that really sticks in my mind about this place is how nice this place looks. Every green had a soft layer of shredded cedar mulch on them. The tees had garbage cans, recycle bins, and benches, signs, and bag holders. All fairways well mowed and the rough trimmed out. Thank you!
The course reminds me somewhat of the Hiestand course I had played in Madison, WI a couple days prior. The fairways are fairly wide and well- defined - it's when you hit the rough edges that can mess with your score. There are not many holes in which you find a lot of trees "in" the fairway. Often times the fairway trees affect either the drive or the approach, but usually just one or the other.
Dual pins (both permanent in the ground) give you options. The Innova yellow bands on the short pins help you home in on the long pins which are less visible.
Cons: Just as Hiestand in Madison, there was a glut of right turning fairways (about half), which was a bit repetitive.
Other Thoughts: I joined a group of singles that were gathering on the first tee. I'm glad we did - good company and one of the guys got an ace on hole #11! Much better than playing through all day (crowded on a Saturday - we had to wait to tee on nearly every hole).
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 10 Not
Great Beautiful Course
Pros: Extremely well groomed
Bench on every hole
Awesome signature holes
Cons: Fairly easy, mostly straight shots
Other Thoughts: Must play course in the Twin Cities. It is 5$ to play, but this is one of the only courses that I have seen the money actually be put back into the course. A season pass is 35, and it is good at two other courses.
1 of 11 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
> 18 holes with a ton of variance between each
> Tons of elevation, including a huge downhill shot on 17
> Plenty of shot shaping required
> Solid mix of long and short holes
> Great upkeep, solid tee-pads with a bench and bag holders nearby every time
> Great direction to each hole from the previous basket
> Scenery/view from certain holes is amazing
> Close to the cities, as well as several other DGCs
> Seems to be slightly imbalanced in regards to difficulty (I'll elaborate later)
> Can get very busy, probably due to location and quality of the course
Other Thoughts: You'll hear a lot of people talking about Blue Ribbon Pines DGC in MN, but honestly I like Bryant Lake Park just a bit more. First of all, the upkeep is absolutely phenomenal, and it feels like a high quality course throughout all 18 holes. Garbage and recycling bins can be found at the start of every hole, along with a bench, bag holders, and a sturdy tee pad.
My one issue with this course is that there are a few holes right around 200-250 ft, that are pretty hard to bogey unless you have a bad putt. Which is fine, but you then also have holes like 17 that can test your driving strength and accuracy. I prefer a course to have a consistent difficulty, but BLP just has too many holes that are too easy.
Regardless, that's a minor flaw in an otherwise near perfect course. And although there are easy holes, be prepared for uphill shots, water hazards, and some heavy woods that will claim a disc thrown off-course. There are multiple tees and baskets for those who want a more casual play-through.
For me personally, this course shines on holes 1 - 7, as well as 15 - 18, but everything in-between will definitely keep you interested as well.
Here's a few things to keep in mind:
> There are three parking lots, but one of them puts you in the path of huge downhill shot on 17.
> There is no pro shop here, but you can buy discs from the Super America gas station on shady oak road, just a minute or so from the course
> Scorecards with maps, and pencils are usually available by the bulletin board before Hole 1
> Costs $5 to play, but you can get an annual pass for $30 or $35 that gives you access to Bryant Lake, Elm Creek, and Hyland (which unfortunately is closed for 2014). They usually let you use an old day pass towards your annual pass as well.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
One of the Best!
Pros: All holes are well maintained and easy to follow. The difficulty is intermediate or higher, but can still be a fun course for beginners (if playing short tees.) The long tee for 17, enough said for that! Each hole has bag holders, benches, and garbage and recycling bins.
Cons: None that I can really think of. I am sure if I looked hard enough I could find a few.
Other Thoughts: If you have not played this course, I highly recommend you do so. It is worth the $5 day pass. Or if you live close, $30 for the yearly, which includes Hyland Ski and Snowboard and Elm Creek. Also fun courses.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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