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Winona, MN

The Willows

2.475(based on 15 reviews)
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9 0
Monkeypaws
Premium Member
Experience: 12.1 years 96 played 16 reviews
4.50 star(s)

The new Willows rocks

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 13, 2024 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

This course just got a major makeover: new 20 hole layout, new full length tee pads, new signage with distance and OB. multiple tee pads on many holes, Multiple pin placements, currently single pin per hole. Just pure excellence. The tweaks continue from Jamie Schell.

Cons:

It's gotten more crowded :D

Other Thoughts:

Some real cool holes, none mores than black ace island, an ace run on an island surrounded by baskets just outside the island hit: hit a black ace, you are OB friend. One of my favorite hole ever.
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1 2
tbouzek
Experience: 16.2 years 12 played 12 reviews
1.50 star(s)

Willow What? 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 16, 2013 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

Close to St. Mary's
Clean
Challenging when windy

Cons:

Windy
Water
Not challenging enough for me.

Other Thoughts:

I don't disc golf here often but I still play it because we'll I'm a disc golfer and if they build it I will come.
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2 0
Baueezy
Experience: 14.3 years 71 played 13 reviews
3.00 star(s)

2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Oct 10, 2014 Played the course:once

Pros:

Gorgeous scenery, challenging basket placements even though course is fairly open, nice mix of trees throughout a well designed course, 18 baskets (which is always a great thing).

Cons:

With wind became a Very challenging course, bringing the water hazards into play almost every hole, amateur course unless weather effects the day.

Other Thoughts:

Would recommend it, as a starter course and as a 'tournament' style course.
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2 0
M4Prodigy
Experience: 12.4 years 74 played 8 reviews
1.00 star(s)

Unimpressive 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:Jul 22, 2014 Played the course:once

Pros:

+ It's a disc golf course (another opportunity to inspire future lover's of the game)
+ The park is located in an area of the beautiful Mississippi River valley
+ There's a course map by hole #1
+ Each hole has a concrete tee pad and hole marker
+ Park is in impeccable shape and well-maintained

Cons:

- Only 5 markers show hole distance and layout
- Tee pads are short, but at least the same shape and size throughout (consistency)
- Unimaginatively boring; flat, straight holes

Other Thoughts:

This is merely a recreational level course. Holes #2 and #4 are the only holes that offered any challenge because the pins are less than 15 feet from the edge of the Mississippi river. Even if you overthrow the pin on your teeshot, your comeback putt/shot will be toward the river. Unnecessary risk/reward for rec players.

The wind off the lake is a great equalizer, possibly preventing a good number of easy birdies.

The drive to the course is the best part!

If you have the time to play The Woods @ St. Mary's (10 minutes away), never consider playing The Willows.
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2 0
mstephens627
Experience: 15 years 23 played 9 reviews
2.50 star(s)

A walk in the Park 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 15, 2013 Played the course:once

Pros:

- Course map by parking lot
- Nice Baskets
- Concrete Tees
- Intuitive counterclockwise layout
concrete block at each tee
- Risk/reward water shots

Cons:

- Most distance plaques missing on signs
- Sometimes difficult to find the next tee
- Not enough separation between course, walking paths and other park activities
- Tees are a bit small, but suffice
- Some redundancy in hole layout, not enough diversity from hole to hole

Other Thoughts:

This is a nice course to play if you are in Winona. I recommend playing it, but just beware of other park users before throwing and play during off peak hours to enjoy it more. When I played it the course was not busy, but I needed to keep an eye out for walkers. Many holes come within close proximity to walking paths and one crosses a playground. Hole 2 is a fun short shot over the water, but risky for RHBH because a channel threatens to gobble up discs that pull or fade too far left. When I threw a LHBH shot on #4, I intentionally through wide to avoid the water and layup my shot, but my disc was a touch high and deflected off a tree and faded about 20 to 30 feet out into the lake. The lesson here is to keep your shot low on #4 to avoid this mishap. I did manage to retrieve my disc by wading in, however. The water got to be 2 1/2 feet deep or so FYI if you find yourself in the same situation. If you play this course later in the afternoon ir early evening, beware of people shorefishing, especially near basket #2 and the channel beside it. After playing about half of this course, the holes seemed redundant and too crammed together. Overall, this course is pretty good for what it is but suffers from a crowded layout and tight strip of land it occupies, and surrounding hazards. A more diverse and challenging 9-12 hole layout would make this course a better fit for its setting.
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2 0
djschnabel
Bronze level trusted reviewer
Experience: 27.5 years 253 played 27 reviews
3.00 star(s)

I liked it. 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jan 26, 2013 Played the course:once

Pros:

Great beginner's course in a multi-use park. Even in January, there were an abundance of people jogging (or yawging, it might be a soft J) around the trails. Tons of Ice Houses on the lake, and even a pick up hockey game of sorts was happening as well. The course has Discraft baskets, a bit older but still trusty. I did have one bad spit out, but it might have been because it was relatively cold. The course is an intermediate course, no extremely long holes except 16 which is almost 600 and 18 which might be... 400? ish?. I think 7 was also about 425-450. Clean course. Teepads. No garbage cans (but it is winter here). Heavy auto traffic means this course could prove to offer our sport great exposure in a college/resort town.

Cons:

Tee pad were a tiny bit small. I didn't have any issues finding any holes, but the trusty map from here helped as well. The design is... okay. You throw over paths, over the lake, and yes, if you'd like, over the road a time or two. Take your time and make sure nothing or nobody will get in your way.

Other Thoughts:

I was in town for my son's hockey tournament, and I ran off to play this and West Park. I bogeyed two holes and still ended up two down. I saw on the local site that -10 is the unoffical course record (in league play). There are a lot of birdies out on this course, which can make it a fun place to play. I would see this as a great warm up course, not a destination course. My biggest complaint is that you stand in the city, surrounded by bluffs, and this course and West Lake Park are as flat as can be. It sounds like St. Mary's has elevation, but I didn't get a chance to play. One other thing to mention (and the reason for my edit) is that the tee pads are small, but they are level, and I had no issues teeing off from as far back as necessary. Also, the markers are really neat here, a 15X15 elevated square block with a plate on top. The plates are supposed to show the hole, but some of these are missing, and by replacing the missing ones, it would make this course easier to play.
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3 0
notapro
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Experience: 21 years 570 played 284 reviews
2.50 star(s)

Beginner/Intermediate 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Jul 25, 2012 Played the course:once

Pros:

- Course is set in a busy city park, with a lot of activity by other park-goers. There is a bike/walking path by many holes, benches, swings, etc. Definitely a chance for some interference, but it shouldn't more than waiting a minute here or there.
- There are sections of the course with trees to provide obstacles and force line shaping. #17 has a pretty dense collection of trees in the fairway, there are some low lines or a big line over the top. #18 has the typical RHBH hyzer line blocked off the tee, with trees before and left of the pin. #9's basket is behind/in four large trees, easiest path is a RHBH anny/flick shot. #5 has two rows of bushes to force a straight shot, while many others have trees off the tee or guarding the basket. Most holes are designed to have some obstacle somewhere.
- Water is in play on a few holes, like water carries over #2 and #4. It is possible to play it safe by going around on the land, otherwise it is a pretty simple RHBH hyzer line. Lake is also behind #7's basket, but not super close.
- Even though there isn't any forest, or wooded areas, on the course, the trees are used well to take away a lot of lines. There are many places where a hyzer is best, others where an anny or flick shot is best, and those where a straight shot is almost necessary. Guardian trees help add challenge to the pin positions as well. Nothing too crazy, but it keeps it interesting.
- Decent variety in hole lengths, though most of the holes are under 300'. #16 is a real bomber at 597', and #18 and #7 are on the longer side as well. Otherwise, a pretty good range between 250'-300', not bad for a smaller city park.
- Good concrete pads, baskets OK. Tee signs are almost all missing, which is too bad, as they were very high quality. Map is helpful since the tee signs are gone, but it's not totally necessary.

Cons:

- Land here is pretty much dead flat, there is zero elevation change except when shooting over a busy road that is slightly elevated. Definitely not good. #16's teepad, the bomber hole, is depressed in the ground which makes for a tough runup. So, what little up and down there is here, is a con.
- Some holes are very close to each other, like #3 and #12. Definitely want to keep an eye out for other golfers out here, in a few different spots.
- Even with all the trees scattered around, there are a lot of open shots here.

Other Thoughts:

- Well, for a busy city park, the course is actually pretty good. The design made good use of the available land to make things interesting or challenging, while providing different types of holes throughout. Just have to look out for pedestrians on the bike path, other disc golfers on some holes, and car traffic when playing next to the busy road. Good for beginners, as the water is avoidable, not terrible for more experienced players.
- Pretty scenery with wooded ridges behind the lake in the distance. Whatever that's worth.
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1 1
adam smitty
Experience: 18.1 years 100 played 4 reviews
3.50 star(s)

2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Sep 11, 2011 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

Really fun of mix of shots and some sweet water hazards. Amazing scenery as well. Great signs, tees are solid for the most part.

Cons:

No real complaints about this place, the rating here is too low for the amount of fun you can have here. Playing this and St Marys on the same day is a very good time!
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2 0
Aim For The Chains
Bronze level trusted reviewer
Experience: 16.1 years 134 played 25 reviews
3.00 star(s)

Around the Lake 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jul 16, 2011 Played the course:once

Pros:

Nice stone block signs, good use of water and park space, many different shots and discs required, hot girls walking around lake with good views around lake.

Cons:

Tends to be a busy area and park, plays through walking path and close to adjacent roads, missing signs on some holes, shorter tee's.

Other Thoughts:

Nice area, multi-use park, close to food and worth playing if in the area. Warm up with the short 9 hole course next to this one. Average rating does not seem to do it justice as the course is fun to play and good use for the area provided.

www.facebook.com/DiscGolfMN
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2 0
jonas
Experience: 17 years 39 played 25 reviews
3.00 star(s)

Enjoyable 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Aug 12, 2010 Played the course:once

Pros:

The view being by the lake was impressive
Having to throw over water on hole 2 was pretty cool.
The course offers come pretty decent long shots, especially hole 16.

Cons:

Many of the holes are straight and didn't offer much of a challenge
You need to watch out for traffic on the course, Cars, Bikers, Rollerbladers, and Walkers all come into play on this course. Make sure you look before you throw.
A lot of the markers are missing the maps and yardage.

Other Thoughts:

Course has a great location on the lake with the bluffs in the background
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4 0
mashnut
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Experience: 22.4 years 831 played 777 reviews
1.50 star(s)

A little open 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 11, 2010 Played the course:once

Pros:

The course plays through a large flat park with scattered mature trees. The water comes into play on a few holes, including one with a water carry for a little more risk. There is a good variety of hole lengths, with a couple longer holes that call for a drive, and some shorter ace run holes with most in between. There are nice stone tee markers with metal signs on them showing hole layout and distance, and direction to next tee. Though the park is pretty open, the trees available were used as much as possible to try to force some different shots.

Cons:

The course is just way too open to be all that interesting or challenging. Few holes are able to take away easy hyzer lines, so you won't need to bring many different shots to be successful here. Way too many holes play along or over a walking path or right along roads and parking lots, and several others bring picnic areas into play so there are lots of safety concerns here. Many of the tee signs are vandalized or missing, and some holes have been moved without moving the tee pad so the layout can be a bit confusing. There are concrete tees, but they are narrow, short, and a bit slick.

Other Thoughts:

This is a quick play with some nice views, but not a whole lot of challenge or variety. It's a fine place to take a beginner, with reasonable lengths, and no real trouble other than the one hole with a water carry. More experienced players won't find much challenge here, and the fun factor isn't high enough to make up for that. Don't go out of your way for this one.
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2 1
discdude420
Experience: 1 played 1 reviews
1.00 star(s)

2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 26, 2010 Played the course:once

Pros:

Nice Chainstar baskets. Progressive college town. Lots of wild beaver.

Cons:

Imagine a beautiful lake in a big city with a bike bath, lake, roads and parking lots running through it. Now put in 18 holes and try not to hit any concrete, rollerbladers, bikers, suntanners or people fishing right next to where you are throwing to. Tee pads are hard to find and grossly small. You are better off throwing from the grass to avoid spraining an ankle. Course is totally flat with few trees and the most challenging part is trying not to hit anyone or any concrete.

Other Thoughts:

If I lived across the street from this course I would never play it day or night. I had an Eagle turn over on me on #5 and went into lake. Wouldn't have went in to get it if it was a TE, it was that scuzzy. Avoid!
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4 0
deadbody
Experience: 20.4 years 152 played 68 reviews
1.50 star(s)

bad layout 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Sep 6, 2009 Played the course:once

Pros:

well maintained, hole 2 is really a fun shot over the water to a small landing area. grass is mowed, pretty course next to the lake. Tee markers are pretty cool idea, but harder to find since they are just rocks.

Cons:

Tons of interaction with park users. Was there on the sunday before labor day, and the park was packed with non-golfers, they came into play a lot. I had to change a couple drives to avoid hitting cars, and joggers. no elevation changes, tons of goose crap on the fairways. the tee markers were all over the place when we played, looks like people just move them (they aren't that heavy) and it made the course very hard to navigate. Tee pads are very small.

Other Thoughts:

Good idea, doomed by not enough space. the course bends back on itself at a couple spots, so you have to worry about other golfers, along with all the other park users. without all the ancillary users with would be a pretty fun course, but with all the times you interact with the public it is just asking for someone to get hit with a disc. Very pretty running along the lake though.
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4 0
thor_freya
Experience: 5 played 5 reviews
3.00 star(s)

Nice course along the lake 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Aug 1, 2009 Played the course:once

Pros:

The course winds around the east side of Lake Winona, and utilizes the lake nicely on some holes. Course is very well maintained by the city parks and recreation department. Fairways were mowed and tees in great shape. Favorite was hole 2, which required a drive over the corner of the lake. Course had a good variety of technical shots along the water, along with a few open holes and several trees. Holes 5-8 hugs along the lakeshore, providing some tough but fun shots.

Cement tees are in very good shape, but a bit small for those who like to take a few extra steps in their run up. The rock tee markers and hole descriptions were very nice. With an open course area and a prevalent westerly wind, the course became even more difficult than anticipated. Easily accessible and a nice little parking area and map on a large sign at the entrance of the course. Plenty of trash cans and benches/areas to sit and relax after playing a round and to enjoy the views of the lake.

Cons:

The course runs alongside a very busy road, and right through a bike path which requires careful attention to your shots. Bad throws (or the help of strong wind) will land you in the road on holes 11-15. Several holes go alongside and even over the bike path which is also quite busy. Always had to be on the look out for bicyclists, runners, and walkers etc.

The rock tee markers were neatly made, but some of the hole description placards were missing, which also gave directions to the next hole. It became a little difficult at times to navigate, but friendly local disc golfers helped me out. Overall, making sure all tee markers had placards with hole description and a few signs directing to the next hole would improve the course, and obviously the traffic is not something that can be controlled.

Other Thoughts:

With the exception of a fun tee off on hole 14, the course is flat. The presence of Canada Geese and seagulls required disc golfers to look down while walking, as to not step into droppings. Winona is a neat community that sports three distinctly different disc golf courses, and enthusiasts will be treated to a full day of fun. With the exception of the busy traffic, (and a strong wind out of the west) I enjoyed my experience at the Willows.
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4 0
Tall__Paul
Experience: 2 played 2 reviews
2.50 star(s)

Nice Small Town Course 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 13, 2009 Played the course:once

Pros:

Layed out nicely around a lake in the park

Cool rock signs with metal pictures of holes

Water Hazards on a couple holes

Plenty of shorter holes so ace/ easy birdies to be had

Cons:

The tee pads although concrete were very narrow and not long enough

You throw across a two lane road with decent traffic so you have to wait for the right moment and go for it. (was kind of fun actually made us laugh since we never had that experince)

In certain area of the course you walk with traffic on the side of you, could easily make a bad throw and land in traffic

Flat land through the park no elevation to challenge you

The traffic is all around this park, so you don't get the fun of being off in a quite wooded area like other courses

Other Thoughts:

Friend and I were in Winona for a wedding and wanted to try a few new courses in the area. This is a nice 18 hole course but nothing amazing and alot of the holes end up being a standard tee again and again. We enjoyed this course and for a small town course they did a nice job with the layout given the park space they could use
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