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McFarland, WI

Orchard Hill Park

3.255(based on 4 reviews)
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7 0
Hammer_Time_1977
Experience: 6 played 6 reviews
4.00 star(s)

"hidden" gem

Reviewed: Played on:Aug 13, 2023 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

*great signage
*tight, compact design (short walks between most holes) - they pack in a lot of fairly challenging holes in a small amount of space
*great variety of skill levels, depending on basket / tees played (more on this below)
*usually not very busy - I've played 18 holes in under an hour before
*great use of trees to raise the difficulty level, because based on raw distance alone, this would not be a very difficult course
*portapotty between holes 1 and 9 (and it doesn't smell awful)

Cons:

*there are some spots with some fairly rough ground, with little stumps sticking out of the ground (possible tripping hazards) and holes made by critters that you could potentially twist an ankle on - watch your step!
*no water on site (pack your own!)

Other Thoughts:

I've been playing disc golf in the Madison area for over two decades and just finally got around to playing this course in 2023! I love it. I've played it four or five times and only one of those times did I ever have to wait for anyone. It's usually not very busy.

I really like the variation in skill level that you can experience based on which tees and baskets you use. Short tees to red baskets is a layout where even a rather mediocre player like me can manage to end up under par. Long tees to blue baskets, I'm lucky to end up at +5! So it makes quite a difference. There is also a HUGE amount of variation on some holes, depending on which baskets you go for, and the reds (shorter) are not universally easier than the blues. Hole 7 is a good example of this. The blue basket is about twice the distance as the red, but the red is surrounded by an absurd number of guardian trees, so it's pretty challenging whichever basket you choose. Very unique hole.

Another standout hole for me is 4, especially when playing to the blue basket. Long tee to blue basket is possibly one of the most challenging holes I've ever played, especially as a person who almost always throws RHBH off the tee. I'm still trying to figure out the bet way to play it, I keep vacillating between a forehand roller and a RHBH with an understable (Archangel). It's long, and has a lot of trees. Very challenging.

Holes 1-3 are pretty basic, fairly easy to par or even birdie, but then starting with 4 every hole has tree placements that force certain choices - they're not just wide open, long shots like you get a lot at some of the other area courses. They definitely make up for the relative lack of distance by using trees to increase the difficulty.

I highly recommend this course, but not gonna lie, I kinda hope it stays less popular.
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13 3
ElementZ
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Experience: 15.2 years 212 played 200 reviews
2.50 star(s)

Apples!

Reviewed: Played on:Sep 23, 2022 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

+ This land is exclusive to disc golf.

+ The city pumped a lot of money into this course and it shows with the quality of the equipment. Having two baskets and two tees on each hole provides players with quite a bit of variability.

+ Free apples! Help yourself to some tasty and nutritious apples, right off the tree.

+ A nice variety of distances and shots required.

Cons:

- As my group and I were playing here, the consensus was that this course is a clear example of a great use of land, lots of funding, but not exactly a quality design. We agreed that having 18 holes would have made much, much, much more sense. Some of the walks between holes were quite lengthy and we didn't think the 2 pad, 2 basket approach made much sense.

- Everyone on my group slipped on a rotten apple during the round. Be aware!

- Pay2Play at a public park is always a con, there's no way around it.

Other Thoughts:

It's a good one to check off the list, but I doubt I'll be coming back. I'm glad that McFarland has it's own course, but it seems like a redesign from 9 holes to 18 would make this course much more enjoyable.
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14 0
EspressoPatronum
Gold level trusted reviewer
Premium Member
Experience: 18.9 years 261 played 250 reviews
2.50 star(s)

Beware of Falling Apples!

Reviewed: Played on:Sep 15, 2022 Played the course:once

Pros:

- aptly named with many apple trees on the first several holes
- nice, brand new color coded concrete tees with 2 per hole
- great full color tee signs with maps at each tee
- brand new Mach 7 baskets
- 2 pin positions per hole
- practice basket
- great use of next tee signs for navigation
- picturesque setting away from busy roads, with an area generally devoted to disc golf
- garbage cans on most holes
- well mowed and manicured
- mild elevation change well incorporated
- nice mix of open and wooded holes, with open holes still having some obstacles
- can literally smell the apples on the air!
- good for beginners or intermediate players

Cons:

- pay to play (usually not a con in my eyes, and still reasonable at $5, but the first time I've ever paid for 9 holes)
- some rough is a little nasty (hole 4), but isn't too terrible
- no real X factor; while nice, there are plenty of decent 9 hole courses
- relatively low level of challenge

Other Thoughts:

Ok, so I'm really not joking. Nobody wants to get clunked on the head by a full size apple, and with the squirrels mucking around in the trees, it's a real possibility. I've had a lot worse while disc golfing, so I risked it. First, the administrative stuff - yes, it's a pay to play 9 hole course. I think it was worth it to try out a really nice new course, but with all the amazing courses in the Madison area, I'm not sure how many people are going to go for that more than once. I can't imagine paying for an annual pass here, personally. Still, $5 is reasonable and it's an enjoyable round. You can pay online but that adds a $1 convenience fee. While all of the Madison area courses being pay to play can add up, there's no denying most of them are kept in great shape as a result.

Orchard Hill is a brand new course and it shows - in a good way. The concrete tees, baskets, and tee signs are all brand new. The color coding on the tees is great, as is having a tee sign for each tee. Navigation is pretty straightforward, but the use of next tee signs is excellent here so it was never unclear. The course was very empty when I was there and I expect it usually would not be a huge draw.

I love picturesque settings and getting out into nature, and while this course isn't going to blow you away, it was the first one I've played where you can smell apples on the air. I also saw a large hawk. The wooded holes on this course add some decent technical challenge but nothing incredibly hard; they are still fairly open as wooded courses go. Similarly, the more open holes do have tree obstacles, but allow more flexibility. This would be a great course for newer players to start learning about shot shaping and doing more than just trying to throw without nosing up or down. It's not too difficult and can be forgiving, but you do have to think a little bit and start to make those calls.

With 2 tees per hole and 2 pin positions, there are lots of combinations here that can be tried. The long tees mostly don't add a unique line, just some additional distance, but there are some that branch off. I enjoyed my round here and would come back when I'm looking for something short and casual, but I'd probably opt for free courses first in that case. It's definitely worth stopping by to try, but it didn't blow me away in any particular fashion.

There is some elevation change that is well incorporated on the more open holes. It is limited but not bad for the area and the course designers made use of it. I saw some complaint about the rough; hole 4 was a bit thorny and nasty but most of it was a non-factor. There are much, much worse examples of this nearby (Bird's Ruins comes to mind).

This one is worth giving a try if you're in the area or just want a casual morning with some friends. It's good for a little practice but isn't going to give anyone a tremendous challenge.
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11 0
Vince W
Experience: 14.1 years 175 played 11 reviews
4.00 star(s)

Perfect use of land

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:Aug 1, 2022 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

-Great new baskets (2 per hole)
-Concrete teepads (2 per hole)
-Beautiful scenery and fairways
-Great tee signs
-Good use of elevation
-Plenty of parking
-Plenty of challenge
-Good layout for beginners and pros
-Pretty simple to follow layout
-Secluded park

Cons:

-Pay to play for 9 holes (arguably 18)
-Lot of ankle rolling possible with apples everywhere
-High rough areas if you throw way off in the woods.

Honestly couldn't think of much more

Other Thoughts:

This course was hard to come with up many cons. It's a fantastic use of the property with some fun golf to be played. There is great challenge with some technical lines in the wooded area. There is good mix of ups, downs, lefts, and rights, all depending on the layout you chose. With having two teepads and two baskets per hole, this course could be argued as 18. The tee signs and tee pads are excellent. You can tell there was a lot of work put into this course, especially with many raised tees and raised greens. There even is a legit par 4; 600+ foot shot with some technical lines. I typically wouldn't give a 9 hole course a 4 disc rating, but this one deserves it with having different layouts and an overall great disc golf experience. If you're in the area looking to bag another course, definitely give this one a shot. This is a great addition to the Madison area for spreading out disc golfers.
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