8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: 1. Variety. Plenty of semi-open holes with pin placements strategically tucked away, making some easy-looking holes play a lot tougher. Gentle elevation, but even this comes into play with these strategic placements (drop-offs immediately after basket, rock ledges). Lots of lefty holes.
2. Maintenance. Your $5 (UPDATE: $8) quite obviously goes into the upkeep out here, with beautifully manicured fairways and great-looking tee signs.
3. Concrete tees.
4. Dual tees.
5. Signature holes. I think the back-to-back scenery on Hole #5 and #6 really adds a lot to this course, but it lacks any holes where you step up to the tee and say, "Wow" and pull out the camera.
6. Trash cans everywhere. It's obvious that the Mad Town DG community respects their courses, as litter was scarce to nonexistent (save for the inevitable cigarette butts...lazy asses can't field strip 'em and put 'em in their pockets, I guess).
Cons: 1. From the long tees, you're looking at a lot of length, and several of the longs don't add to or change the feel of a hole; they simply add distance (one-half to three-quarters of a drive in my case).
2. No water hazards. Even a little man-made pond or two would add a LOT of challenge if done properly. Hole #1 would benefit immensely by putting one just left of the tree. Maybe some big landscaping boulders?
3. Mostly flat, but like I mentioned above, even the slight elevation is utilized to its fullest potential.
4. Slight navigation issues as to which path (sometimes there are several) to take after completing a hole. Fortunately, if you grab a scorecard/map from the permit area, you should be able to figure out the flow without too many problems.
Other Thoughts: I wish I'd had more time to play another round while out here. This was only my second time at Vallarta-Ast, and the first time was during the 2007 Mad City Open, which really took away from the enjoyment I get from a recreational round. This is a beautiful course overall, and most players should appreciate the surrounding beauty and upkeep. Really friendly locals. Make sure you pay your $5--not just to support the course, but because you run the risk of something like a $150 fine if you're caught without a permit, and you more than likely won't be able to finish up your round.
UPDATE: The pay-to-play fee is now up to $8. While $5 was "reasonable," this new fee, even though only a few bucks more, just isn't justified by the type of course this is compared to the other courses in the area. If paying results in this kind of impeccable upkeep, I'd get 100% behind ALL Mad Town courses going pay-to-play in order to transform the eroded and litter-prone Elver and Hiestand into lush green space like this. I have to adjust my rating here slightly in view of the other courses I've played since originally rating this, and the fact that the Parks Department keeps raising the fees, which is only going to drive down traffic if that continues.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
B+ = You Be Feelin' Positive After Playing This
Pros: What I personally like and how this course stacks up in my list of 18 hole courses:
1) Holes with good risk/reward. Fair, but harsh punishment for bad decisions or execution. == B- (The fairways are very wide and other than 2-3 holes it is hard not to recover for par after a mistake. With the fairways so wide, there is not a lot of decision making needed)
2) Holes that have rewarding birdie opportunities for me. I throw 300' accurately, 360' max. == B- (Almost all the long tees are too long for me to get a birdie and are too short for pars to feel rewarding. The shorts are mostly too short for me to not expect a park job all the time.)
3) More wooded than open - lots of variety of shots required caused by hole shape and topography == B (There is good variety and balance. Problem is, with the wide fairways the course gives you too much latitude on how exactly you need to shape your shots.)
4) Natural beauty (Appalachian beauty preferred) and seclusion. == A+ (This is the aspect that boosts things way up. Even though my technical and competitive needs are not met by this course, I can not help but feel ecstatic and pampered playing here. The beauty, the maintenance and the amenities/small touches are amazing! Kudos to the designers and caretakers! Thank you for showing us how disc golf can be in this department!)
5) Bonus points for multi-shot holes with defined landing zones, good risk/reward and multiple options to play them. == C+ (There are 3 holes from the longs that I consider real multi throw holes. Hole 5 requires decent distance and good placement on the drive to be a good shape to park an upshot especially when the basket is in the longest position. Great hole! Holes 2 & 15 are both 530' and as such are unreachable by mortals, but are nothing too exciting requiring only a 300' drive and a 230' approach. IMO, 50' more and they would be much better holes.....but, I am always way thankful to see several multi-shot holes of any type on any course!)
Other Thoughts: It's all about feeding the addiction, so I ranked this course subjectively based on my own "personal addiction factor". The grades above tell how well the course will draw me back to itself again and again and again. Since I have played a decent number of courses (125 18-hole, 64 9-hole as of mid 2009), my hope is that players/explorers who have similar addiction tastes will find my ratings list helpful as they choose courses to play and explore.
I fully expect others with different tastes/philosophies to disagree with me....that's the fun of things here. See my profile for my rating philosophy.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 11 Not
Pros: good tee pads and signs clear paths to next hole
Cons: So busy you allmost cant play I dont know where they get "well groomed or champ caliber course" but this was far from it! also bring lots of bug spray!!!!!
Other Thoughts: i want my five dollars back!!!
0 of 11 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Well maintained, well designed, and good variety
Pros: 1) Incredible facilities . . . bathrooms available . . . trashcans at every teebox . . . nicely built and maintained tee signs (with all pin locations indicated by a painted dot on the sign) . . . benches at most holes if not all . . . baskets are in great shape . . . well maintained lawn areas ( it is obvious these areas get mowed frequently and to an acceptable height for general use.)
2) Well designed course using the slight elevation changes on the property to its advantage (albeit minor elevations). This course uses the prairie style property to its best capacity. It also finds some mature trees throughout many of the holes which are integral to making this course what it is. If it was just prairie style with mowed fairways it would be boring.
3) There are a lot of different shots required despite the open feel of many of the holes. Well placed trees force you to pick a line either left or right of the tree . . . having a sidearm as well as backhand also would be helpful to playing this course well. This may actually be the first time I have tried to throw the sidearm more than just trying to get out of trouble. I threw it on 2 or 3 drives where it was more important to get the right flight than to throw it far!
4) Dual concrete teepads are in excellent shape.
5) Well placed trees on some of the more open holes . . . which helps to break up the monotony a little bit. These trees along with the changing fairway direction are helpful to making this course as good as it is. There are a few holes with multiple doglegs.
6) Course flows well from hole to hole and is fairly easy to find.
7) Excellent use of the three basket setup forcing different shots to different baskets.
8) Also uses well designed and placed boulder walls to protect the baskets and force some layup!
Cons: 1) Monontony . . . The prarire style course just isn't as exciting to me as the other two in Madison. Fortunately there are many mature trees incorporated into the course.
2) Property is a little lacking in elevation changes and other important features. Fortunately it has a handful of large mature Oaks and other trees. There are no tunnel type shots which I value highly in my overall evaluations of courses.
3) Confusion can arise in certain areas where the course crosses other multiuse trails like horse trails etc. Keep your eyes open for the next signpot or tee bench area.
Other Thoughts: Of all 3 of the courses in Madison area this is the best course because of its facilities. I know it is pay to play and maybe that is the difference . . . if this is the difference I would like to see a nominal fee at all courses because truthfully Heistand and Elver if charging a $5 per day fee could be equivalent or better than this course. I think those properties are better in design and overall property charactersitics but they dont have any money to make the courses better.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 7 Not
Disc golfers Heaven
Pros: I loved the fact that there were alternate tees.
I loved the fact that there was so much variety to the course.
I loved that I did not see one piece of garbage.
I loved how well manicured the course was.
Cons: The baskets were cheap/small.
Some of the fairways were a little close together.
Five dollars a day seems a little steep.
Other Thoughts: I loved this course! Lots of diversity and beautiful atmosphere. I loved the fact that you can camp so close to the course.
2 of 9 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Very quiet, and beautiful. Well worth the daily fee. Never been greeted by park staff, or receipt checkers. Very little traffic here.
This is a course that is long, but pretty wide open on every single hole. There are no water hazards, no steep elevation changes, and no playing "PLINKO" in a tight group of trees.
Cons: This course does not "have it all". This course just has everything that I prefer in a course.
Other Thoughts: I make a day trip once a year to this course, and have an absolute blast. Usually get there around 9am, and play three very casual rounds broken up by a lunch and plenty of drinking. Of the 18 courses I've played, this is my favorite. I like the sheer beauty of this course, with it's well-groomed trails, fairways, cleanliness, etc.
3 of 7 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
man, just give me some hills!
Pros: -INSANELY beautiful and manicured(best I have ever seen)
-LONG, LONG, LONG holes
-PERFECT pro/am cement tees
-$5 fee(a pro since it keeps the course maintained and the douche mentality to a minimum)
-green, picture postcard perfect
-no crowds, even on a Saturday
Cons: -LONG, LONG, LONG...arm was jello after playing 18 on pro tees
-FLAT(huge con here)
-very few, if any short technical holes. Especially from the pro tees
Other Thoughts: ...wow, it took me a few days to even figure out a way to write a review on this course. TenaciousMV's review below almost nails my thoughts exactly, so I too wasn't sure if a review was needed. Such a dilemma when reviewing such a beautiful and well cared for course.
This course is like playing an exact replica of a well maintained ball golf(yeah I said it) course. At times I even checked to see if my quad straps were indeed lugging around clubs while I looked for a wayward white ball. This here lies the problem. This course is all about the big arm, and sadly on mostly flat land. The first five or so holes were long, windy, in a field, and kind of boring...but once again I add, beautiful. Green grass, mowed fairways, wooden fences, manicured trees. It's not till you cross the road to hole five(?) I believe where the true beauty takes over. Rock placements, tighter fairways...but still, relatively flat...oh, and long, did I mention that?
There were times when playing that it seemed that every time we walked up to a pro tee all I could see was a sign for 390-500 feet every time. Came across one finally for 280 and I could feel my arm almost weep with joy. The course plays long...did I mention that?
Since everything that could be reviewed specifically about the course has been done so in the below reviews nicely, I will add this summary instead...
AMAZINGLY beautiful course. Perfect for a whole day out with multiple friends, going slow, enjoying the long throws and scenery. You will be more challenged by the distance than technicallity, but along the way you will stop and soak in the majesty that is this well groomed course. For more of a challenge and fun factor head down the highway to Hiestand and play it's sweet elevation changes. Don't get me wrong, this is a MUST play if in the Madison area, just don't expect to do this course and another in a day without being thoroughly worn out.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Very well groomed and flat..Easy to walk..$5 fee weeds out the scrubs..can play 18 in under an hour..almost every hole is reachable..Plenty of birdy oppurtunities..A plethora of pin placements..Hole 5 is very difficult..
Cons: No real changes in elevation..The course maintenance crew are real prics about checking permits so make sure you pay..Not very private, right off the interstate..
Other Thoughts: Aced hole 12 with a gentle flick and finally had an audience for one..water fountains and bathroom pavilions on hole 2 and 6..rejuvenation spot with picnic table on hole 8..
4 of 7 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Just Like a Real Golf Course
Pros: Without a doubt, the best maintained course I've ever played. Fairways are well mowed. Trash cans are on every hole and emptied frequently. There are benches on every hole and two bathrooms are easily accessible from the course. There are pro and am tee pads for every hole, as well as three pin placements. There are beautiful tee signs next to each tee pad that clearly show pin placement and distance. The course flows well--no walking great distances between holes, no back-tracking to get to a hole, no looking around for the next hole.
Cons: The course lacks elevation change and plays more for the big arm than the technical player. Watch out for ticks, mosquitos, and wild parsnip! I also hate to announce this for a national audience, but there is also a problem with non-disc golfing men trying to seek "favors" from males in the park. Please visit the madcitydisc.org forum before you play the course, so you know what to watch out for.
Other Thoughts: Because of the $5 daily fee, the course is extremely well-maintained. The fee also seems to reduce the large groups of rec players that the other Madison courses have. The park officials DO CHECK for your permit (I have been stopped on countless occasions), and the fine is quite high. When you think about how much it costs to go to a movie, play mini golf, ski, bowl, etc., $5 is really quite reasonable. Dogs are allowed, but I believe you need a dog permit for Dane County Parks.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Beautiful Golf course
Pros: Outstanding beauty. The fairways were manicured & had verying levels of 'rough' surrounding. Clean & tidy. Some very unique holes.
Cons: Some of the fairways were pretty close to each other. Errant throws would come over every once in a while. No other negatives I can think of. Golf carts would seem like a natural at this facility.
Other Thoughts: I visited this course while on a biz trip. I showed up & played in their doubles tourney. My partner was the course designer so that was a real treat.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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