2 Helpful / 0 Not
And you may ask yourself, am I right? Am I wrong? And you may say to yourself, MY GOD, WHAT HAVE I DONE?!
Pros: Crystal Lake has two school courses, and that's a pretty cool thing. Hanna Beardsley Middle School is one of those courses. Given that it's at a middle school, there are some givens that you have to accept: It's going to be short and not all that challenging. Given the audience, it should be short and fairly easy. The design does accomplish that to a certain extent.
Cons: The tees are post that have silly distances on them. Why the distances are so wrong is a mystery. You tee next to the post; there isn't really a defined tee area.
Hole #1 brings the driveway in play. Hole #2 IMO is too close to a busy road for a beginners course. Hole #4 is a glorified putt but the distance on the post makes you think you should throw to hole #9; once you do that you are lost.
Holes #5/#6/#7/#8 wrap around the property line with a thick shule to the right. I had my young daughter with me, who at age 14 was pretty much the target age for this course. She hit the shule on #5, #7 and #8 and we spent over ½ hour looking for her discs in the thick underbrush. Given that this course is aimed at beginners, that isn't a great design feature.
Hole #5 uses a backstop as an obstacle; It's a fun spot to practice throwing grenades but not a very good design for a disc golf hole. Hole #7 has a running track as a fairway. It's just a visually weird hole. Hole #9 has you throw back toward the track. It's a given that the course is unplayable if the ball field or track are in use, but since it is intended for school use the dual nature of the property probably isn't a big deal. It's just really unsettling to see holes with a design that would be that unsafe if they were in a public park setting.
Once you finish hole #9 you are a long way from your car. For use by the school, the kids probably just walk back into the building through door that is there so it's no big deal. For use by people like me, I was a long walk from my car.
Other Thoughts: In the end it's cool that courses like Hanna Beardsley Middle School exist. I'm not sure how much use it gets and it might be somewhat frustrating for kids to play because of the shule on #5/#6/#7/#8, but otherwise it's cool that it is there. It's just not worth the time for regular disc golfers to play these courses. We should stick to courses designed for us.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The course at Hanna Beardsly Middle School is pretty much what you would expect from a course designed for kids - short, rather easy, and pretty boring for experienced players. That isn't to say the course is without merit for veteran players, there are a few interesting holes that incorporate a little bit of elevation and one hole which requires a bit of a trick shot over some bushes.
Cons: The con's here are also many of the positives, the course is short, very easy, and has few areas to get into big trouble. When I visited in December, the course was extremely wet and muddy. I'm not sure if this is a year-round problem, but I'd expect that these are typical winter conditions at Hanna Beardsly.
Other Thoughts: I think anyone visiting here, you have to keep in mind the available land (which is not very exciting) and also the target audience for this course which are young children. The course at Hanna Beardsly is certainly enough to get someone started on the game but hopefully it is late into eigth grade, because after a couple of months experience even disc golf newbies are going to be bored. This is a course for very new players and course-baggers to play; those looking for a more traditional challenge should find somewhere else to play.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Good for what it is
Pros: This course is at a Middle School, which means that every day kids are getting exposure to the course. It's designed perfectly to be accessible and playable by kids who have never played before, but still offers some challenges to make it interesting. For the audience it was designed for, this course is about perfect, and I think it's fantastic that the schools in this area have embraced the sport. That said, here's my review of the actual course compared to all the other courses I've played.
The course plays around the athletic fields of a Middle School Campus. There are some small elevation changes, and the course makes great use of them whenever possible to mix things up and add a little interest. There is a good mix of right and left turning holes, with a few that you can go straight at. Every hole is aceable, but you need a variety of shots if you want to hit them.
The baskets are in good shape, and are professional quality so they are exposing kids to the real equipment. There are tall 4x4 posts with hole number, distance, and a rough layout on each hole. The course is really easy to follow, and there is really no chance of losing a disc.
Cons: The course is extremely short and easy. Many of the holes are well under 200', and for most players every hole will be an ace run. Most of the holes share space with athletic fields and the running track, so the course would be completely unplayable during school or when there was any kind of school event going on. On of the most interesting holes (8 I believe) is a short shot, but goes down a steep little drop off and around the bushes to a blind basket, but plays directly at/over an area full of tables, where there were people sitting even on the weekend.
Though there are tee markers, most aren't on level ground, so teeing off is one of the biggest challenges the course has to offer. At least the holes aren't long enough to require more than a stand-still shot, so it's not quite as big an issue.
There is construction going on around the 2nd hole, so the #2 tee is missing, we just made one up. The poor 2nd basket has obviously been hit by construction equipment, and doesn't catch all that well from the direction of the tee any more. (Hopefully that will be fixed once the construction is done)
Other Thoughts: As I said above, this is a fantastic beginner course. There isn't a real chance of losing a disc, and the distances are realistic for kids who have no experience throwing a disc. There are enough different kinds of holes that it should keep new players interested. More experienced players won't find much challenge here, even with just a putter.
If you want to take some new players out, or check out how disc golf is getting into schools, play a quick round here. Otherwise, there's not enough here as a course to really be worth a trip.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 3 Not
D+ = Doesn't have much happenin' for a 9 holer
Pros: This is a course for kids - the best one I have seen! This review and my grade are based on how this course stacks up against others....not based on its own merit as a kids gym class course.
What I personally like and how this course stacks up:
1) Holes with good risk/reward. Fair, but harsh punishment for bad decisions or execution. == D
2) Holes that have rewarding birdie opportunities for me. I throw 300' accurately, 360' max. == D+
3) More wooded than open - lots of variety of shots required caused by hole shape and topography == D+
4) Natural beauty (Appalachian beauty preferred) and seclusion. == D+
5) Bonus points for multi-shot holes with defined landing zones, good risk/reward and multiple options to play them. == N/A
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.
Over time, I expect to fill some of my reviews in with more descriptive verbiage...if what I can add anything to what has already been written. For now, my list is more important to me than the verbiage of my reviews.
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.
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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