2 Helpful / 0 Not
Great Course in Becker
Pros: As with ball golf courses that I enjoy and rate highly -- those that require the use of an entire bag of clubs -- Becker challenges the disc golfer to use all her/his discs in the bag and a full arsenal of throwing techniques. What makes this a 4.5 in terms of course design (the 0.5 deduction and resulting 4.0 overall rating, is for the "deductions" I make in the Cons section), is the diversity of the holes and shapes of throws required.
In a nutshell, the following are the obvious plusses. For those that like details, read beyond the summary points.
(1) Diversity of holes in terms of the following:
-- Directionals: Straight / Left / Right
On the left-right holes, great variety that forces you to choose your range of stabilities, from very overstable to very understable discs. I did not record the exact hole-count of straights, lefts and rights, but an intuitive sense is that it is as balanced a combination as you'll see in any course around.
-- Tight technical holes vs. wide open bust-your-arm holes
All but four holes have significant thinking required regarding the release of your drive -- i.e. there are obstacles not too far away to consider. Some of these "technical" holes are real pinball (or, if you prefer the Japanese equivalent, pachinko) alleys, while others simply require you to make sure you launch relatively straight for the first 150 to 200 feet of your drive's flight path. Every course, I think, should have at least two or three holes where you can snap your wrist on the drive with abandon. Becker has a few of these, especially #5.
-- Thinking and technique required: The diversity of required throw shapes and degree of precision caused by the two aspects above force the disc golfer to consider hyzers, anhyzers, rollers, tomahawks and whatever other techniques they may have up their sleeves.
(2) A natural setting that is pleasing to the eye and senses. Nothing spectacular (in other words, no snow capped mountains or rushing mountain streams), but a pretty blend of hardwood forests, nature and horse-riding trails, and open prairie-type holes that are representative of classic central Minnesota scenery.
Here are some details for those who crave it:
Hole #1 sets the tone of what you will expect much of the round: a pause at the tee pad to ponder what disc to throw as well as to how best to navigate the various options on reaching as close to the basket as possible. It's a rather short starting hole, but precision is required, so take out the disc you trust most for accuracy.
As with #1, the following two holes require you to launch the disc at least 200 feet ahead without striking the many trees and overhanging leaves. If you slip in your final step before the launch (easy to do because of some uneven tee pads -- see "Cons") or in your release, you will be penalized with challenging approach shots to the hole that will make a pro par of 3 difficult.
#4 and #5 are a welcome respite from the heavily wooded first three holes and the accompanying bugs. It's nice to swing your arms a bit more freely after starting off carefully on the starting three. #5 is especially pleasing as you need to crank the disc over 800 feet. The inaccurate, big-arm thrower -- no doubt frustrated with a bogey or double bogey so early in the round -- will relish the chance to show up the DG partners with a big launch from atop the small hill to the open basket at the far end of the open field.
Rather than detail every hole, let me jump to a few more of the notables:
The dogleg #7 and #11 (I think). These two holes were 400+ foot 90-degree doglegs; after drives that require technical precision, hole #7 does a sharp turn to the left into an open field & basket and hole #11 -- I think -- does a sharp turn to the right into more trees and a well protected basket. #7 is especially a unique design; one that I have not seen at in the many courses I've played here in the US (mostly MN) and in Japan.
Becker's "Amen Corner" -- #12, #13 and #14 -- is not as memorable as that of the Master's Augusta National of ball golf fame, but they do serve a nice function and are interesting enough. Like #4, #5 and #8 of the outgoing 9, these three holes provide a temporary relief for the disc golfer who feels claustrophobic in the pinball alley holes.
The last four holes are a nice way to finish. #15 and #16 are wooded enough that they tempted me to thread the needle with rollers. #17 is the shortest on the course. I imagine there have been some holes-in-one on the hole, but to do so requires curving it around and through several trees to a well protected basket. And the finish? Throw it through the goal posts (two trees) and you are literally out of the woods and headed home onto the field that is adjacent to the parking lot.
Highly recommended for those passing through the area -- not too far from Hwy 10 and 15~20 minutes off of Interstate 94 -- and definitely recommended as well for those who don't mind an hour's (or more) drive from the Twin Cities area.
Cons: No "Cons" to speak of in terms of course design. This is a 4.5 (or more) for design and layout. I would rate this course a solid 4.5 if it were not for the following nit-picky areas for improvement:
-- Some uneven tee pads. This is a course that is shared with horse riders (although I have not run across equestrians during the five or so weekday times I have played the course) and nature walkers, so it would not be eco-friendly, I suppose, to go with concrete tee pads. The downside of this is that, unless there is regular maintenance to keep the gravel/sand tee pads level, there will be depressions and loose surfacing to sidestep when you plan out your tee launch. In order to not slip or trip, I found myself testing my run up ahead of time on quite a few of the tee pads.
-- For first-timers, you may become confused in navigating the location of the next hole on a few occasions. You may experience this on these hole-to-tee transitions: #2 to #3; #3 to #4; and, if memory serves me correctly, between #11 and #12 and #14 and #15. No worries, though. Do a bit of exploration and you'll find the correctly marked tee sign. If you get lost for half a minute, think of it as extra exercise.
-- Not too important and nothing to do with the course design: Amenities are okay by the parking lot, but during the round, which can become lengthy, you're totally on your own -- i.e. no restrooms or drinking fountains. But hey, that's the beauty of being in nature.
Other Thoughts: The easiest way to find this course? Just follow the signs to the Pebble Creek Golf Course -- a gem of a course if your'e a ball golfer -- and drive past the course an extra quarter of a mile. The entrance to the park will be on the left hand side. After you have parked, walk past the right side of the park building and go 150 yards or so past the open stretch of grass toward the woods at the top of the hill. Hole #1 starts here.
As I have only played this course during the summer vacations I take in Minnesota, I am basing my rating on playing alone in uncrowded conditions in the late mornings or mid-day range of summer weekdays. (I've never bumped into any other players in the five times I've played.) It would be fun to see how frequent-playing locals attack some of the holes.
Another bias of mine to know: Since my driving distance is limited (I'm an aging Grandmaster), I prefer technical courses that require precision and forethought off the tees.
Bring bug spray.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
You MUST Play This Course
Pros: -This course has everything; challenge, distance, woods, open fields.
-Course allows for every type of shot; forehand, backhand, overhead, EVERYTHING.
-Course has distance shots, dog legs (both left & right), densely treed holes requiring skilled placement.
Cons: -Bugs (including mosquitoes & ticks) are quite commonplace here and can get quite bad during the summer months. With several holes surrounded by tall grasses, it's quite necessary to check yourself after looking for your disc.
-Filling up the gas tank to play here can be quite expensive depending on your location.
Other Thoughts: The only cons I can think of for this course are quite simply small-hat and trivial compared to the vastness of the pros. I firmly believe this to be one of the best courses in the state, with one of the best varieties of challenges and shots in the state.
If you play this course a couple times a day, for a couple days back to back, I guarantee you will see a noticeable improvement in your skill after just a couple of days like I did.
You have NOT seen what Minnesota disc golf courses have to offer if you haven't played this course.
Play early in the year to avoid ticks.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: There are many good things about this course. For starters, the holes are nicely varied. There is such a wide variety that every player would be challenged playing here.
One of the nice things you notice right away is how nice the course looks. It is one of the most scenic courses I have been to.
Another major thing was the length of the holes. One of the holes was 850 feet and a few others were also pretty long throws. This really forces good consistent throws as well as good approach shots.
There is some pretty good signage if you study it.
Cons: It looks as if some of the holes could have some really tall grass in the summer months, so you could be looking for your disc a while on errant throws.
The course set up was pretty tricky to navigate. I think a course map would be greatly appreciated, but I don't remember where any of the holes are.
Other Thoughts: Be careful of horses in the summer
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Becker city park
Pros: Good elevation changes. Lots of technical shots because of trees in the fairways. A few open holes and one hole 850ft. There are dual tee boxes for each hole. This course is a hidden gem.
Cons: A lot of distance between the holes. They could have added several more holes. The tees are dirt and gravel but are in good shape.
Other Thoughts: Good course for strong winds as most holes are sheltered in the trees. I would recommend to anyone who likes a challenging technical course.
This is my second favorite course in the Twin Cites area. Everyone should take the time to play this course.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 3 Not
Becer City Park Review
Pros: Lots of variety with some interesting challenges. The course makes liberal use of tree obstacles so you really have to focus on accuracy on many of the holes.
Some holes are fairly open, but you still will want to have some accuracy to avoid going in the brush.
Cons: poorly marked course an easy to play holes in the wrong order or miss them entirely.
I ran into some nasty poison ivy here, so be careful where you step.
Very easy to lose discs here.
4 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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