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Biwabik, MN

Giants Ridge

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4.235(based on 15 reviews)
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14 0
wolfhaley
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Premium Member
Experience: 20.2 years 1068 played 639 reviews
3.50 star(s)

2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Jul 20, 2021 Played the course:once

Pros:

Giant's Ridge is a monster of a course, set up along the ski hill. There's 1600' of elevation change up and then back down the hill. This course is a hike. You need to be in solid shape to take on this challenge. Expect a couple hours, at the minimum, to finish your round. It take me and the wife 2 1/2 hours to play, and we're generally pretty quick players.

The baskets are older Mach III's. These are still in solid shape and catch ok. Not great but not terrible either. There's multiple pin positions on many of the holes it appears. Not sure how often they're moved, but that's always nice to see.

The flow of the course is very intuitive. I didn't have to use the map one time. There's a few spots where it may not seem obvious, but every one of these had next tee arrows in plain to see spots. They even had next tee arrows to both long and short pads where needed. This is always a bonus on a course with extreme elevation change. Conserving your energy is critical out here. Very well done in this regard.

The tee signs are solid. They have the hole #, par/pars, a basic hole map showing both pads and pin positions if applicable. They also had the distances listed from each tee to each pin location and a next tee arrow on the sign to further help with navigation. These were all screwed to a big log by the long tees. Plenty servicable.

The tee pads were all nice and grippy concrete, with the exception of two that were sprayed painted on a flat rock surface. Two tee pad placements on each hole. These are great to have on any course, but especially so on ski hill type courses.

While the course has you trekking up the hill for the first half, It's not overly uphill feeling. I mean it is, but they do a good job of kind of zig zagging across and up the hill. There's a couple that are just straight up, but they did a good job of breaking that up a little. By hole 9 you're all the way up. The ski lift can be taken up when the resort is open if you were only interested in playing down the hill.

I liked the fact that they rewarded you with a couple wooded holes after making it up to the top. Changes it up a little and lets you get you wind back.

The views from the top, even part of the way up, are just stunning. Some of the most scenic disc golf I've ever played. You can literally see for miles and miles. It's like an added treat for making it all the way to the top. Absolutely gorgeous area.

Cons:

The baskets are tough to spot when they're tucked off into the tree line. I had to scout ahead a few times to be sure of where we were headed. It does make the holes more challenging though, so this is a minor nitpick.

Many of the holes feel pretty similar. There's only so much you can really do on these types of courses, and they did a great job with what they had to work with. But it doesn't change the fact that there's a lot of similar shots to be had.

The rough can be brutal in certain areas. For the most part it wasn't too bad, but be sure to keep an eye on your shots. Especially the downhill ones. The grass can gobble up errant shots pretty easily.

There are miles of mountain bike trails that meander their way around the hill, and some of these trails run through the course. These can probably become a bit annoying if it were busy with bikers. I doubt it ever that busy that It'd be a problem but worth noting.

Other Thoughts:

I'm generally not too much of a fan of ski hill courses. They seem to be really hit or miss. Either they're good or they're kind of an afterthought, a way to bring in a few extra dollars during the off season. This one felt like the good kind. I was glad I took the time to play this. Is it the 4th best course in MN? Not even close, but you can definitely do worse than Giant's Ridge. I'd recommend it if you're ever in the area, but it's not worth going way out of your way to play it.

Be sure to bring lots of water if you play this course. And also to wear sturdy, grippy footwear. Preferably ankle high. The course is physically taxing and there are tons on loose rocks that can cause slips and rolled ankles. So take your time and enjoy the views.
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2 3
danilau
Experience: 8 played 7 reviews
2.50 star(s)

2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 21, 2016 Played the course:once

Pros:

Really cool area for a course. Nice variety throughout.

Cons:

Course could have been maintained better. That was the biggest issue. It was hard to find the tees and holes at times.

Other Thoughts:

We lost a disc because the grass was so tall.
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3 1
Bogie Bee
Experience: 8 played 7 reviews
3.50 star(s)

Physical course with some nice views 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Sep 15, 2015 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

Elevation change, hole variety, good distance.

Cons:

Not very well maintained.
Not nearly as many wooded, technical holes as expected.
Signage is rather old and vague.
Flow of the course isn't great; seems like they could've had a better layout so you're using more downhill or cross hill holes instead of walking as much in between holes.

Other Thoughts:

Overall, it's a pretty good course. Maintenance wouldn't be as much of an issue if it was a free course. As stated in the cons, this course would be much better if it had better flow. You'd get more variety by way of utilizing cross and downhill paths instead of just walking them to the next uphill hole. Good course, but Hibbing is significantly better in the area and is free.
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4 0
beeyang78
Experience: 13.5 years 172 played 14 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Great Secluded Getaway 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jul 20, 2015 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

Lots of elevation and great use of the hill. The first two holes were open uphill shots. After that, the woods come into play for most of the holes except a few downhill holes. The fairways are wide and fair. Hole 18 is a very long downhill bomber that can be deuced with a good throw.

Cons:

Overall, there were not that many cons. There could be a few more wooded narrow holes and the long tees should have been longer. Tee signs were old and hard to read. Some of the fairways were longer and it took a bit to find discs. The path down hole 18 has some large holes that could cause someone to sprain an ankle or role down the hill if they aren't careful.

Other Thoughts:

This was a great disc golf experience and I love that there were no other groups in sight when we played our rounds. We played both rounds from the long tees and it was very windy that day, but it was still very fun. We played everything par 3's and I managed to shoot 1 under on the second round. Making a few of the holes longer would make it a better course imho. There were a lot of birdies to be had. I managed to park hole 18 with my third throw which was the signature hole in my opinion. I didn't know how long it was but it felt really good to get one close. It is guarded by a clump of trees in the middle, left and right. If you go long, there is a cabin there on the right of the basket also. This is definitely a must play course in MN. I can only think of a handful of courses that I have played that are better than this course.
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4 0
alex cincy
Experience: 3 played 3 reviews
3.00 star(s)

Nice - Long - needs maintenance 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 27, 2015 Played the course:once

Pros:

Many challenging shots. There is a lot of diversity in this course. Most holes have concrete tee boxes. There are a few really nice high tee boxes throwing downhill to the basket.

Cons:

The maintenance was poor. We're this a free course I would have overlooked this but since there was a fee my expectations are higher. The signage after the basket was not great - I spent too much time looking for a few tee boxes.

Other Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this course. I am rating a 3 because I have higher expectations of pay courses. This would be a 4.5 if there was no fee.
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3 4
Zallus
Experience: 24 played 1 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Great Course! 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:Nov 3, 2013 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

-Good mix of anhyzers, hyzers, and straight shots.
-Great use of elevation changes
-Concrete tees on every hole
-multiple pin locations
- Nice baskets
-You can get a map of the course in the pro shop, so navigation is easy.
-good challenge
-Great views.
-I have hardly ever seen people play here, and have never had to wait on the tee.

Cons:

-The grass can be a little long in some places.
-The bugs can be bad in some spots.
-The course is not open year round.
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8 0
tkupsc
Experience: 13.8 years 34 played 3 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Among the Best in Minnesota 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Oct 28, 2013 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

The full gamut of different shots required by the alpine terrain at Giants Ridge will test every aspect of your game. The practice facilities are great--be sure to warm up on the practice hole between the chairlifts. The tee pads throughout the course are excellent, as are the baskets. Navigation is pretty easy, using the map provided at the rental shop. Signage between tees is adequate. There are plenty of garbage cans and benches throughout the course. The grass on the fairways was short, and everything seemed to be well-maintained.
The views are more than sufficient reward for climbing such a large ridge. The fall colors are unbelievable in September and October.
There are a fair share of very memorable holes on this course, and it's so fun to throw for huge distance downhill. I could empty the bag at #15--especially if the basket is way back--and turn around and climb back up and do it again.

Cons:

Signage at the tees was poor; it was only at the front tees and was often faded and hard to read. This was the final week before closing, and the signs were probably new at the beginning of the season, but they need a more durable design (they were paper under plexiglass). They can't be permanent signs, because they have to be removed for ski season. I hate to deduct at all from a perfect 5 for this absolute gem of a course, but in my prior experience with Giants Ridge (over 20 years worth), everything here has been done with such an eye for excellence that it makes these tee signs stick out like a sore thumb.

Other Thoughts:

The first 8 holes aren't so steep that they're overly tiring to walk. The walk to the 9th tee may increase your heartbeat, but the view from Rocky Top (the back tee) will definitely take your breath away. Take beverages, because there's no water available on the course after the rental shop. And be sure to take your camera; you'll want the better lens for pictures here. Lastly, take a moment to take it all in...this is disc golf at its finest!
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7 1
DerekTonn
Experience: 47.1 years 2044 played 35 reviews
5.00 star(s)

One of Minnesota's Finest! 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jul 21, 2012 Played the course:once

Pros:

- Some of the most unique and interesting terrain for a disc golf course in the State of Minnesota!
- Passionate, friendly staff with extreme knowledge for the game, along with a small pro shop to purchase discs. Anton's one of the best Northern Minnesota has to offer!
- The views. Simply put, you almost forget you're playing disc golf on a few holes...as the views from the tops of the course are outstanding.

Cons:

- A minor con/complaint, but at least on the day we played it, we ran into a situation where 2-3 baskets were in the "B" position for the hole, but all of the signage (we think) pointed to the "A" position. Which had us teeing off to the wrong point (so different in 1-2 instances that members of our group decided to re-tee). A bit of help knowing which position each basket was in *before* teeing off would have been helpful, and saved us "billy goats" a lot of time/energy.

Other Thoughts:

Probably one of the top 1-2 courses I have ever played. Simply outstanding. A little rough around the edges and plenty of trouble to get into in the rough if one is not careful, but that's what Iron Range disc golf is all-about! Absolutely worth the time/drive to experience that course, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat...if it weren't seven hours away from home.
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12 0
ElectricBoogaloo
Experience: 16.2 years 55 played 13 reviews
4.00 star(s)

Hidden Gem 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:Aug 24, 2011 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

-A good difference between the regular and the long tees. I played the regular ones to get a feel for the course, and I felt challenged, but not overly so. When I stepped back to the long tees, this course really shined. The added distance and different angles from the long tees really tested my game.

-This course was freshly mowed a couple days before I got there, so the fairways were very nice. Easy to find discs.

-This course has some of my favorite holes in the state. 8 has a cool shot across a valley to a basket set back in the treeline, 15 and 18 are awesome downhill shots, and 12 is my favorite. A long 700' hole down a ski run that is open enough that you can bomb one, but tight enough that you have to control your shot. Watching a drive soar down that fairway is spectacular. I almost fairway aced it with my second shot, leaving me with a tap-in "eagle".

-The views are extraordinary. The first 9 holes pretty much go uphill, so my back was to the view. When i turned around, I was greeted by a spectacular view over the forests. One of the most scenic courses I have played. I saw plenty of deer roaming the hillside as I played as well.

-Uses the landscape very well. Besides the first couple of holes, there weren't any filler holes. From hole 7 on, every hole was a unique and fun challenge. Some holes were pretty flat for a ski hill course. It was nice to see that although there is elevation available, using it on every hole is not necessary.

-Some of the baskets are along the treeline or tucked into the trees, making you shape your shots and place your disc well.

-The location ensures that you will probably have this course to yourself. I was there on a beautiful sunny Saturday, and didn't see another group on the mountain.

-The guy in the office was really helpful. He's the one that put the course in, so he was able to give me tips on how to best enjoy the course.

-You will use just about every shot you have. The wide variety of holes makes sure that this course will test all of your game.

-Has "next tee" signs which always helps. The signs were small and hard to spot after some holes.

-The teepads and baskets were nice, and it was nice to have signs telling hole distances, direction, etc. on nearly every hole. Some of the pads were painted on large slabs of rock on the hill. Not the best footing, but I thought it added to the charm of the course.

-Not too much poison ivy or thick rough around. The bugs weren't too bad either, which was a pleasant surprise.

-There's a nice 9-hole shortcut that jumps from 6 to 16, so you don't have to commit to a full round every time.

-Practice baskets and a full practice hole make sure you are ready to play.

Cons:

-Holes 1-3 and 5 are nothing special. Basically just climbing the hill until the course can really shine. I played through the course twice while I was here, and I got bored during this stretch. Although I suppose it is better to start this way than end this way.

-The par for this course is very generous, especially for the regular tees. On many of the holes, an average drive and an okay approach would leave you with an easy "birdie". Birdies are nice, but I want to feel like I really earned them. Once you step back to the long tees, this issue is pretty much taken care of, but there are still a couple holes (7, 8, 14,16 and 17) that calling them a par 4 is generous. This is a long, difficult course, but I'm not sure I would call it a par 72. I shot a -12 from the regulars when it felt like I was playing a little better than par.

-Garbage cans were sparse, and they were just about overflowing when I was there.

-I'm not sure if I saw a porta-potty on the hill. That's a long way to hike back to the office if you gotta go.

-Fire ants on a couple holes that I found. It's kind of distracting trying to putt when your legs are stinging from bites.

Other Thoughts:

-Make sure you grab a map along with your scorecard in the office. That, along with the next tee signs will make sure you don't wander around too long.

I really enjoyed the time I spent here. A great course that is secluded and well maintained. The course is challenging, but not overly so--an average player like myself could still do pretty well here. If I was rating hole 6-18 only, this would be a perfect 5, but the boring first couple of holes drops the score a bit. Worth the trip.

-I have no problem with pay-to-play course if I see the money in the course. With dual tee pads, multiple pin locations, signage and well-mowed fairways, I had no problem paying $5 to play all day on this course. The guy that runs the course mentioned the state shutdown really set him back in upkeep, but it's still a very well-kept course.

If you have time after this course, take the drive over to North Hibbing DGC, it's a nice 18 holer.
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12 3
NicedGuy
Experience: 30.1 years 131 played 4 reviews
5.00 star(s)

Must play! 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:Aug 23, 2010 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

Baskets and tee pads are top notch. Dual tees and multiple pin placements on every hole. Well defined fairways with heavy rough. Elevation comes into play on almost every hole. Your game will be pushed to the limits on this extremely challanging course, several risk/reward shots make this course require more strategy than most. The course is very well maintained, fairways are mowed and there's never any garbadge on the course. There's no words to discribe the veiws, you can actually see canada from #9 tee pad. Hole #18 is 1000'+ and birdable(sweet hole!). Dorms on site are often availble for cheap rates.

Cons:

Location

Other Thoughts:

This truley is a championship golf course. And embodies everything a 5 star course should be. Being in northern Minnesota its a long trip for most golfers but its definetly worth it. The $5 dollar fee is a bargain, I can't think of a better way to spend $5.
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5 8
deadbody
Experience: 20.3 years 152 played 68 reviews
4.50 star(s)

2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:Jul 3, 2009 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

Gorgeous views, good challenge, LONG, well maintained. Very worth the $5, worth making a special trip if you are within a couple hours.

18 holes that go up and down a mountain. Lots of uphill and sidehill shots, some gorgeous downhills as well. Lots of distance, but most of the holes don't play straight uphill so it isn't as obvious that you are going uphill. Beautiful forest on both sides of the wide fairways. Good concrete teepads.

Cons:

Deep grass in some spots, if you miss the fairway you can easily lose a disc.

Grass is not mowed as often as would be nice, can get really thick at times. If you can keep the disc low and straight you will rarely go off into the woods, the fairways are generally very wide, giving the appearance of risk more than actual risk.

Other Thoughts:

If you are anywhere in northern MN, you need to go play this course, it is totally worth it, give yourself time to enjoy the views and the play.

This is still probably my favorite course, and we make a trip every year up to northern MN just to play here.
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13 1
Moffwicket
Experience: 22.1 years 55 played 11 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Spectacular 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jul 2, 2009 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

Amazing view, elevation changes on almost every hole, and clean. Quite challenging overall. Somehow there is only one hole where you'll feel tired even though you walk up hill the first half. Nice pro shop and great maps/scorecards. Stay in the fairways and you'll be okay. Very well marked, with signs pointing to the next hole every time (why can't every course do this?).

Cons:

Fairways are mowed, but otherwise the grass can be very long, over 4 ft tall at times. Don't stray or you will lose discs. Bring bug spray for the mosquitos and ticks. Long drive from pretty much anywhere.

Other Thoughts:

Don't fret the $5 fee, its justified. The long drive is worth it too. My friends and I go to Lutsen once a year (we live in the Twin Cities) and it adds 2+ hours to our drive, but we're happy to have an excuse to get even sort of that far north. Be careful on the downhill shots. The first time I played 17 from the short tee, I threw a little anhyzer to compensate for the excessive drift of dropping elevation, and I cleared the hole, turning what I meant to be a 300 ft shot into a 1000ft shot all the way down. Had us all ROFLing.
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5 1
bollwyvl
Experience: 21.1 years 32 played 5 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Unique landscape 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 18, 2009 Played the course:once

Pros:

Tremendous views, very acceptable pads (concrete with a few painted on the native stone). Some interesting hole designs, with a few massive bombers taking advantage of the steep terrain. Many opportunities for wildlife viewing.

Cons:

Do not attempt if it might become dark: while it may save you the $5 fee, descent of the ski slope in the dark is extremely dangerous. Even in daylight, some of the tees can be difficult to locate, even with decent signage, as the grass is allowed to grow rather long.
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12 1
andyman
Bronze level trusted reviewer
Experience: 18.2 years 159 played 16 reviews
5.00 star(s)

Great Course and Great Sights 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Sep 27, 2008 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

This has dual concrete tees. There are signs located at the short tees.

Elevation changes on all holes.

Fairways kept short, so you will be able to find your disc if you place it in the fairway.

Course map and scorecard provided at pro shop.

Has trash can / buckets at a few tees. Did not see trash on the course.

Cons:

The grass off the fairways can be very long at times, so you will need to place your drives to avoid this.

The trees that border the fairways / ski runs are very thick. If you throw your disc into them, you will be looking for a while.

Would be nice to have tee signs at long tees.

Other Thoughts:

This is a very nice course. There is a $5.00 fee to play the course. You will definitely get your money's worth when you play this course. You will get a good work out while you walk up and down the hill. The views from the top of the hill are very gorgeous. I also encountered some deer while I was playing. Make sure you allow 1-1/2 or 2 hours to play depending on how accurate your shots are. This course is a must play if you get to northern Minnesota.
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10 2
theculliganman
Experience: 16.1 years 19 played 6 reviews
5.00 star(s)

Put on the Hiking Boots 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jul 5, 2008 Played the course:never

Pros:

The course has good baskets. There is a pro shop right next to the course with available disc rental. A very good map is provided to guide you up and down the slopes of the Giants Ridge. A tournament like scorecard is also provided. Water is provided at two holes.

Cons:

The course is very long and goes up and down the mountain. A fee of $5 is required to play the course. The grass get a little long so you must spot discs carefully.

Other Thoughts:

Downhill shots can be deceiving, don't overthrow. Giants Ridge Resort has many other things to do in the beautiful landscape of northern Minnesota. The pro shop manager claims that Giants Ridge is the longest DG course.
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