8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pay to play model for the future of DG
Pros: 1) Course has some of the best maintenance I have seen to date. I have played a lot of courses (good and bad) and this course is probably in the best shape. It is clean, there is not a lot of visible garbage, woodchips are used very well to cover bare areas and wash out areas. Simply put when you play this course you will actually see park workers (how often does this happen at your local course?) Like others have said it is apparent this is a combined effort of the Park District as well as the local guys who are passionate about disc golf.
2) Bryant Lake has by far the best landscaping work I have seen. It has a ton of timbers to retain some hills ( a 4 tier wall guarding #7 basket is awesome and intimidating, those timber walls also become a tough obstacle if you are to end up on the wrong side of it. It may bounce off the walls to providing you with a harder shot than you would have had if there were no timber walls. Your disc would nestle up closer to your intended target . . . but not now. I like the added challenege these walls add. It isn't just about the timber walls however, the flatstone walkway from #5 tee looks great . . .it doesn't change the play at all but it makes you feel like you are certainly in a well taken care of park. The path to #6 tee is also pretty cool with timber steps. This type of thing is what makes this course great . . . as opposed to simply walking through the tall weeds on a compacted bare soil path!
Boulder wall protecting baskets and also preventing erosion are all over this course too. The entrance to the course by the main sign is well landscaped and really gets you excited to play the course.
3) The amenities are awesome . . . scorecards and pencils are available at the pay box, an awesome sign with course diagrahm and other postings is normally an ugly thing all filled with cobwebs and the signs all faded, but not here . . . it is top notch. There is a well built restroom on hole #14 which is an added bonus to this course. It is not even an eyesore like most porto-potties.
4) Awesome, large, grippy, dual concrete tees. These are some of the best tees around. They all have mulch surrounding them where the normal wear areas show up. This course defines tee complex as opposed to teeing area!
5) Benches on every hole make for a place to sit or a convenient place to set your bag. Garbage cans at every tee also keep this course looking spotless.
6) Erosion and compaction control mats are used in several places that would otherwise be bare dirt. It is awesome to see this sort of thing show up . . . it may be expensive but it is the kind of thing that will advance course construction into the future. These mats allow for turf to grow right through the mesh holes in the wire mat. The protect the plant and buffer the weight of everyone walking across it to help keep the turf alive and growing. They are a bit slippery in the area with less turf and when they are wet so be careful . . . and they will also provide some interesting bounces for you. More often than not you will get a good skip off of these mats so knowing where they are can be helpful.
6) Here comes that word again . . . Green "Complexes" It isnt just a basket on a hill . . . it is a green complex. There is a lot of landscaping around the baskets, mulch is used in almost all circumstances.
7) Signature hole: #17 awesome 542' downhiller. It isn't like throwing off a skihill but it does have quite a bit of elevation to get some good distance out of your disc. It also isn't just a downhiller . . . it also has another tiered timber wall to protect the basket. If you are short of the wall you will have a tough time making the putt as it is up 6 feet from the ground level and still about 30-40' away. A rollaway here could be devastating!
8)Dual baskets are a novelty but you have to know he course to know where they currently are. Its nice but it is also a negative.
9) Some scenic views of Bryant Lake. The rest of the course is also very picturesqe in its surroundings. The rolling hills and wooded perimters make for a nice feel. The elevation change on #17 is also pretty cool. Just a very nice course that fits well in its natural surroundings.
10) Course is also very well mown. The fairways are clean and they have some pretty healthy turf too. It isn;t just a big weed patch of clover and miscellaneous weeds.
Cons: 1) Course could use a few directional signs . . . for the most part you can fn your way but for a beginner it might be tough to find a few of your next tees.
2) Stairs leading down from #17 could use a bigger tread. It is very steep and the treads are very close together. I am sure they did what the could with the terrain and slope, but a properly designed stairway is important for the safety on the course.
3) Not really a beginner friendly despite i it not being in dead tight punishing woods. It has more of an open feel with well placed trees and obstacles. The green complexes will certainly cause some frustration for some of the beginners. The distance of the short tees is also a tough task for a beginner discer. I recommend starting somewhere else until you have more control over your disc and then coming to play one of the better courses in MN.
4) Dual baskets in play can be confusing for people. I threw my approach on the first hole to the short basket before realizing the other basket was also in play. I thouhgt it was for another hole until I walked right past it to go to 2 tee. #6 is also very confusing as you can see both baskets from the tee.I do not have an answer for this but I do not think leaving dual baskets in the ground is necessary and can mostly provide frustration rather than enjoyment.
5) Sand piles on Hole #7 are a little annoying . . . is that really the only place that can go????
6) A few of the holes early on are kindof boring. they don't have much for obstacles and are simple open prairie shots. It is only real early in the round though and the rest of the course does not have one of those simple boring open holes.
Other Thoughts: I am glad I waited to post my review after a little time. I think I hd some high high expectations for this course because it was ranked 8th before I left for MN. I played it and thought, that is the 8th best course in the country???? I think my expectations were built to high . . . but in the end after reading the reviews I think I just wasn't as attentive to the quality on this course. I forgot to write alot of stuff down that I remembered when doing my review. I also played with a friend so that most certainly distracted me. In the end I feel it is a 4.5 disc course for sure at least because of all of the money and maintenance that has gone into the course. I do not feel it will remain at the top of the list though because it simply doesnt have every aspect needed to stay up there. Sure it has a lot of good holes including 1 for sure signature (#17). It also have some awesome landscaping and all the amenities needed to be a top tier course. It also however does not have that ever present challenge. The course is balanced but the lack of tight tight woods on some holes keeps me from giving it a top tier vote but 4.5 is still very good and one of the top 5 courses I have played too date.
I do think this course and Blue Ribbon Pines are sure models for disc golf course development in MN and other places for the future. The pay to play models invoked here are certainly going to keep pushing these courses forward and also encourage other courses to do the same. I would never mind having to pay $3 -5 per day to play disc golf especially if it includes all the things this course has. I really did enjoy this course and will go back for sure. I am happy to say I go to MN at least 2-3 times a year so look out folks I will play. I am also glad I got to play this course before Blue Ribbon Pines because I would have certainly been affected by the awesomeness of that course that I would not have been objective about this course.
Hole 16 is being changed slightly with the teepad being moved over to the left and then a channel with a low ceiling on it throwing to a basket protected by a massive rock!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Very clean and well maintained
- Good mix on short and long holes
- Great layout for a tight area in which wayward discs do not often cross fairways
- Basket placements vary for right and left fading shots
- World Class terracing and aesthetics
- Multiple pin placements
Cons: - Crowded at times
- lacks many "wooded holes"
Other Thoughts: I consider Bryant Lake to be my "Local Course" and I play it on average 3-4 times a week. It has dramatically improved over the last 10 years and I cannot thank the team at Par72 enough for their fantastic work on the new courses in the West Metro.
The Three Rivers Park Distict should also get our gratitude for being big supporters of placing quality disc golf courses on their property. Hopefully more money will be allocated in the future for improvements and new courses. I would love to have a wooded course ala Kaposia on the Westside!!!
Last thought - As some other reviewers have pointed out, Bryant Lake will only improve with time. Clearing the tree line on hole 3 has opened up many throw options for the alternative basket. The new #14 and #15 will be a welcome addition in difficulty and aesthetics!! And...what does the future hold for hole # 8 when the bushes and trees grow another 10 ft in the right rough? That will be one tight fairway!!!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Great attention to detail - lacks some distinct characteristics of a fully balanced course
Pros: This is an absolute beauty of a course. I had to play it since I live close and have heard a lot of hype. The park has gotten a ton of attention to detail, landscaping, and upkeep. You will be inspired by the creative and detailed landscaping. Use of elevation is nice.
Cons: I think maybe the hype might have made me overly anxious for the course, and then it just never seemed to live up to what I had envisioned in my mind. It is fairly popular and easily accessible which brings crowds, a con in my book. Pay to play has two trains of thought in my book. One, it keeps out the morons. But two, I expect that much more attention to detail like all the landscaping, pavers, retaining walls, etc. The money spent at a popular course should yield these impressive results without question. The water only slightly threatens your play. The risky greens are there with the elevated and terraced areas, but they are gimmicky, not true natural features. Overall, lack of tight and narrow woods subtracts from true balance of play.
Other Thoughts: To rate a course a 5, i personally think it needs more than 18 holes (or an accompanying course like the Highbridge complex). Only after playing more than 18 top notch holes with all the variety and challenge I seek, do I feel fully satifsfied. To rate a 4.5 I feel a course needs long downhill ripper holes, true risky water hazards that you are very likely to land in, tight woods, and great balance of left, right, uphill, downhill, and OB. Bryant lake falls short, lacking truly tight woods and obvious water hazards. I guess I just didn't get 'the feeling' on the course. I kept seeing all the beautiful structures and details around me, but never was really blown away. Still a super sound course and worth the trip and price to play.
UPDATE: Since shifting my BRP rating, I have to move this one as well. BRP is better than Bryant Lake.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Great course Indeed but not the best
Pros: -Scorecards and Map is exciting in itself
-Easy to follow
-Quality landscaping & scenery
-Good tee pads (not the best)
-Woodchip putting greens (awesome)
Cons: -$$$ (though it keeps the landscaping better than most courses & we will soon see a day where most courses charge $$ anyways)
-Some real easy holes some fairly challenging holes
Other Thoughts: This is a very quality course for the area it is in. I can understand why it recieves such high ratings if the people rate primarily on visuals and have not played around the country. Could be more secluded and more challenging. longer holes and more difficult pin placements could someday make this a legitimate 4.5/5 or even a 5/5 but there are many more courses out their rated lower than a 5 and are better. Still.... Tough to beat the quality of this course.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Gotta be a 5
Pros: Challenging course, but enjoyable for more casual players as well.
Excellent cement teepads. Grippy and big.
Dual basket placements on 6 (I think) of the holes. A couple of which might be in place at the same time, so you can choose which to shoot for. They seem to change them randomly, though it would be nice if they did it a little more often. Baskets are in good shape.
Pay to play. Yes, it is a pro. They actually put a lot of money back into the course. I have only been playing there one season, but they've already built a massive (and massively awesome) green for 17 and they are in the process of completely rebuilding hole 15 and pretty much the same with 16, presumably to combat erosion in the area. They also have these plastic mats that help to prevent the grass from eroding in quite a few spots, which actually help to get the disc to skip up on a couple holes! (#18) The landscaping and maintenance is second to none. I was playing after a rain the other day and a woman was sweeping the woodchips and mud off of the teepads. Nice.
Signage is great, with distances and map at every tee. Only exception might be finding 15 your first time.
Garbage or recycling at every tee. Only thing I would like to see would be trash and recycling at every tee, or alternate between every other. It seems to be random as to which one they have.
Benches at almost every tee.
Quite a bit of elevation change. 17, in particular, has some epic change in elevation! It's not so much, though, that you feel like you've climbed Mt. Everest after the round.
Nice variety in the holes. There are some long ones, and some shorter ones, but it all seems to flow together very well. Bryant has a nice mix of wooded and open holes, while some have trees guarding the fairway and/or thick woods or grasses on each side of the fairway. There are some definite birdies, even aces, out there, but mistakes can cost you dearly -- a sign of a great course. It feels like every hole was well thought out, as opposed to just thrown in to the space that the land provided.
Alternate teepads on most, if not every hole. This helps to make Bryant Lake a course that truly anyone can enjoy.
Some really great views of the lake. I love the view on 1 when you're teeing off. I seem to always pull out my camera there. Nice scenery in general. The lake does not come into play. I suppose you could turn around and tee off the opposite way on 7 and maybe get it in the water?
I've heard it can get really busy, but I have yet to experience it. I do usually play in the morning, but even the times I've played in "prime time" haven't been that bad. The hole spacing seems to help.
Cons: Closes October 25th and they pull the baskets. Bummer.
Pay to play. I guess it is a con for some, but I just get the $30 season pass for Bryant, Hyland and Elm Creek. Worth it for Bryant alone. I tend to think pay-to-play helps keep the riff-raff away, anyway.
Some of the rough is pretty rough, with grasses up to your knee. Can make it tough to find a stray disc at times.
You could have a little trouble finding hole 15 your first time playing. Take the gravel road to the left, past the restroom and hole one and then across the road and you'll see a sign for 15, which is up the stairs.
The parking lots to the right of 17 and left of 18 are poorly placed. I rarely see people parked near 17, which is a good thing.
Other Thoughts: Bryant Lake is probably second on my favorite course list, next to Blue Ribbon Pines. It definitely has a "fun factor." I think the thing that makes it so great is there are some good scores to be had, but if you screw up a couple times, you can end up with a big number at the end of a round. It's got a great balance to the holes and you can finish a round in about an hour and a half. It really is a fun course and a sign that pay to play can and does work. Good times!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Best landscaping and tee boxes I have seen.
The Twin Cities MN is pretty big into disc golf, and I think most would consider this their "flagship" course. Also a great example of pay to play, which I totally believe in. You will too after this course.
Beautiful setting, the lake, the views, the stairs, walkways, greens. $3 can do a lot.
Hole #17. Seriously everyone should play it once if they are really into disc golf. One of the coolest holes I have seen.
Everything else said previous.
Cons: Yes, this is not a really difficult course. I have only played it once, but could easily tell that if you played it more than a few times; you are shooting for a lot of dueces.
Parking is poorly designed. One lot by #17 and #18 is hilarious, I would absolutely NEVER park my car there. Even a really good player could throw one in there on an errant throw or a windy day. And with it being downhill oh my, funny to see maybe but serious damage will be done.
Other Thoughts: I was recommended by a few players both up there and relocated by me, to play this course first. They were right. I played Rhyland and Kaposia after in that order, and I think they were right. I hope to see courses like this in IL soon!
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Simply The Best
Pros: Beautifully groomed, mulched, landscaped, etc. Great elevation changes consistently throughout the course. Moderately wooded. Some long holes i.e. not reachable for deuce by the average player. Some short holes i.e. very reachable by the average player for deuce. Several ace chances as well.
Now about the landscaping. A few things have been done since the pay to play was started. In just a year, the course has undergone almost a complete face lift. Almost all of the holes and tees that were included in the original 12 hole layout are still there. 6 holes have been added. The following list will keep growing, but, a 100ft granite fairway strip right after the tee. two sets of granite steps. four rock face retaining walls around greens, three of which are back stops behind the baskets, retaining walls around several of the tees in order to provide a level tee, terraced retaining walls up to the pin on two holes, wood mulch surrounding pin locations, currently multiple pin placements on 8 holes, with mulch around both, wooden stairs and lined paths with nicely placed small pebbled gravel, mowed fairways, "no-mow" rough, grass covering 95% of the course. There are two holes under construction right now, and nearing completion.
This course is getting better with every day of work put into it. The thing is, three rivers is willing to actually improve all the time because they make money from all the traffic they get from all three courses they have set as pay to play.
Three Rivers Park district has made this course a pay to play course. This allows for course improvements. The foot traffic the course gets really hasn't died down too much. But the traffic it does get, is the more respectful kind. Fewer punks and vandals.
Cons: Currently there are 3 or 4 holes that have pins in both pin placements. While this allows rec players the option of playing the shorter tee and possibly moving quicker through the course, I believe it takes away a little bit of the picturesque quality of these holes. It also adds just a little confusion into the mix as to which pin the group is shooting to.
There is access to potable water in the park. HOWEVER, it is at the pavilion near the beach and picnic area, which, on this course, a couple blocks walk away from the first hole.
Parking: While there is plenty of parking available in the park. Some parking is "in play". There is one small parking lot right next to the 18th pin which fills up. There is another slightly larger parking lot along the 17th fairway. 17 is the signature hole of the course. A tee shot from the top of the hill near 600 feet long. The said parking lot is a common landing spot for those with shorter drives i.e. rec players and sometimes on a windy day your disc does crazy things. What ever the case is the lot is not a great place for parking. There is currently an overflow parking lot on grass near the current tee and soon to be open new tee for hole 15. fine to park in right now but is a little eyesore for the course and is killing the grass which we all know will be reseeded and closed until fully grown in. There is a plethora of parking further away from the course. Several lots down the hill near the beach, pavilion, boat access. A little bit of a walk but accessible nonetheless.
Other Thoughts: In 10-15 years, I might consider this course to be heavily wooded. It is constantly being modified for the better. Can't wait for it to be done. The pay to play aspect is well worth it on my part. Since I play all three pay courses many times over through out the year. And with the money raised, the course can be improved and groomed to look the best.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: I loved the beautiful landscaping, it just made it that much more fun to play. The alternate short tees worked really well for my mixed group of young kids and seasoned players. Each hole was marked very well which made it easy to play as a first timer at the course.
Cons: There is absolutely nothing that could be done to improve this course.
0 of 5 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 4 Not
1st time - mixed opinion
Pros: VERY well kept course
Nice tee boxes
easy to navigate
awesome elevation changes (especially 17 ;) )
great distance on some holes
Cons: Easy course, even on "pro".. playing par-3 I managed to finish 5-under par and i am NOT that good :)
Some construction right now, but looks to be some awesome new tee-box locations
Other Thoughts: I really enjoyed this course - it was nice having a big elevation change and groomed fairways.
I wish there was a bit more 'skill' shot opportunities, as i was able to make it to the pin in 2 or less shots on every hole, even the huge cliff shot.
Great course, just not that difficult!
4 of 8 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 3 Not
Best of the best
Pros: Season pass was the Best $30 I ever spent. This course is what discin should be. Tests every shot, some fade right, some fade left. Some uphill, some WAY down hill. Some open, some tight. Beautiful scenry, huge tee pads, benches every hole, garbages every hole, restroom right at hole 1 which is also right by hole 14. Scorecards at the first tee. Really nice recycled plastic signage. You can tell the designer wanted to test every shot. So many signature holes, #7 green is just incredible. I only throw 350 so reaching the tiers on #7 is going to be a goal I must acheive before the season is over.
Usually there is alot of really good looking women out playing most the time. Great date course!
Cons: Other than being crowded on nice days I really can't think of one.
Other Thoughts: Hang your pass on your bag so it is easy to see for the Park police. They walk right up to you and ask to see it. They often hang out often at the bottom of the stairs on #17. I heard its over $200 fine for not having a daily or season pass. Very worth it IMO.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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