Take Me to Toboggan!
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Toboggan is a famed course, housing the United States Amateur Disc Golf Championships for many years, and now the Pro Tour's Great Lakes Open. It's famous for a reason.
Toboggan is full of signature holes, starting with hole one. A downhill sweeping RHBH anhyzer shot, or a booming righty backhand, it's a beautiful opening shot, and it's amazing to see the flight of the disc.
Amenities wise, for a temporary course, they are definitely top of the line. The rubber pads are definitely the best rubber pads I've been on, and I did not deal with any slips off the tee. The Chainstar Pro baskets with their red band are visible through the woods and across the rolling hills.
Back to hole design, for what looks like a bomber course to most, the Toboggan actually requires every single shot in the game and then some to shoot well. While there are a lot of open holes, most every hole has the thickest rough in existence, meaning you still have to place your shots, and the holes with trees require amazing precision. With a combination of uphill and downhill holes, as well as right and left turning shots, this course has a hole for almost everyone.
Navigation is a breeze here, and that's not just for a temporary course, this course has great navigation regardless of the course status. Trails are cut through the dense rough, and no tee is too far from the last hole's basket, but never too close that it comes into play. You don't have to walk much more than the course's length at Toboggan, which is a relief.
My favorite holes on the course are the big downhill shots, which their are an abundance of. Holes 1, 3, 8, 12, 14, and 17 all allow you to watch the disc sore out of your hand, and just glide forever. It's beautiful.
Cons: The biggest con, as mentioned in other reviews, is the availability of the course. You can only play here for a few weeks a year before it is packed away. While understandable, it really is a shame. However, it makes the pleasure of playing it much more special, like you're part of an exclusive club.
The rough at this course is insanely thick. The forests off the fairway are near impenetrable, and the off-fairway grasses are near waist high in some places. This is a great aspect of the design, and makes placement off the tee so important, but it also makes finding discs much more difficult. Furthermore, there are a lot of blind tee shots. The best way to play this course is during a tournament when there are many spotters on the course, because if you are just playing a casual round, a lost disc is almost expected.
This course is championship level. This course is not for a casual player, and you cannot expect to shoot extremely well if you don't have over 350 feet of power as well as great accuracy. There are no short tees, multiple pins, etc. You are forced to play the beast of a course as it is laid out.
Other Thoughts: My experience at the Toboggan for the USADGC this year was extremely memorable. The combination of signature holes, as well as the amazing atmosphere make this a must play.
It's a hard course, but with a strong will can be scored on, even for an average player. My first round here, I shot a +5. My last round, I shot a -3, and still left strokes on the course. This course can be learned and attacked, and it can beat you up. It's a true gem, and if you have the chance to play it, make the trip. You won't regret it.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 0 Not
A Temporary Titan
Pros: The Toboggan temp course is unabashedly my favorite course that I've ever played, and I've been to some of the greats (Selah Ranch, Flip City, Idlewild, and Beaver Ranch to name a few). After my first visit in 2014, I replayed the holes over and over in my mind, racking my brain for something that I didn't like or something I was disappointed with. Nothing came to mind. I shot +20.
Fast forward to this year, where I took vacation days and orchestrated a mid-week trip for just one more round at the elusive course. This time I stepped on each teepad and smiled, fondly recalling the memory of each hole the year before. I shot +10.
This course provides massive elevation change and (probably more impressive) an epic feeling of scale that is a rarity, if not unparalleled, in disc golf. Toboggan feels like playing on a ball golf course on a ski hill with its steep ups, downs, twists, and turns. It has a way of making you feel very small, especially as you're about to tackle elevated monoliths like Holes 1, 2, 3, 13 and 17. It's not dissimilar to mountain golf, but the ball golf landscaping makes it distinctly Midwest.
The significant hole lengths and sweeping downhill shots often lead to the course being unfairly labeled as a bomber's paradise. It's true that a cannon arm will do you a favor on a number of holes, but technical and often lengthy upshots are where a round is made or broken. Toboggan favors distance-based risk, but punishes blind power hucking.
In my mind, the best part of this course is that despite all the potentially daunting challenge it's still fairly accessible. I never played the "classic" Toboggan layout, infused with massive clusters of Russian Olive on every hole, and I'm kind of glad I didn't. Their clearance has allowed enough room for error that rec level players like myself can spend time playing disc golf instead of scouring the thorny bushes for the handful of times one gets away from me. This ups the fun factor exponentially and significantly reduces round-killing frustration.
Unlike nearly every other temporary layout, Toboggan has permanent restroom facilities and a shaded picnic area to enjoy lunch between rounds.
Cons: Obviously the temporary nature of the course is its biggest flaw. Last year Toboggan went in over a week before the Discraft Great Lakes Open. This year? Two days. Although part of me idealizes the romance of enjoying something fleeting, it's a shame that this layout can't exist at least from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The area would be less crowded when open, and would sign me up for a Huron-Clinton MetroParks annual pass (currently $30/year) from a whole state away in a heartbeat. $5 a round? I'm in. $10 a round? Still in. I'll sign up for whatever it would take to turn this into at least a seasonal course.
I arrive before 8am, and I've played my rounds without running into another soul on the course. However, by the time I finish the parking lot is usually filled to capacity and beyond, and it seems like tee times and mob golf are a real issue. Get there early for a more peaceful round.
As always, a temporary course lacks the amenities and "personal touch" that permanent courses do, but everyone involved in course setup really does an exceptional job making this one as seamless as possible. A lot of people complain about the rubber tees, but I prefer them to rutted ground any day. If you don't, you can always tee off on either side. Concrete tees would obviously be amazing, but aren't an option here.
Other Thoughts: I heard a nasty rumor recently that this may be the final year for the USADGC at Toboggan. I hope this isn't the case, and I hope that even if the venue changes the course won't become extinct. The layout may only be temporary, but it's an absolute blast to play and a joy to behold.
PROTIP: If you're going to beat the crowds and come early, make sure you wear waterproof shoes or boots. The grass is always soaked from morning dew, and you'll be splashing around by the time you're finished if you're not careful.
Unlike Black Locust on the other side of the park, there is no golf-specific fee for Toboggan. However, park access is $7/day for those without an annual sticker.
Regardless of whether you get into the park from Milford Rd or Kensington Rd, it's a fairly significant drive to get to the course. You'll definitely want to consult a map. Follow the outer loop and look for the toboggan run on the map.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Withdrawals? Check Leviathan
Pros: Hard to add to many of the spot-on reviews already written. What I can say is that if you are a player whose home course (or most of those nearby) lacks distance or elevation, this is the place to get your fill of both. There are few if any Michigan courses with this extent of continuous, 'unrelenting' elevation change. This aspect of the course makes it a blast as well as memorable. Several woods holes (4-7) approach Idlewild-level brutality, but retain most of the fun factor. Hole 8 deserves special mention, one of many 'compound' holes. Hole 8 requires a high drive from a high tee pad to clear tall trees guarding a discrete fairway. Holes 1, 3 and 14 are huge bombs from the top of the tallest hill on the course to greens located below. Hole 12 is another terrific downhill shot to a small ravine below with the pin placed just across the creek bed, with a tunnel shot just the right width for backhands or forehands.
Cons: Access is the biggest issue. Beyond being only open for a week at most any given year, the course was severely crowded. Myself and my fiancee took nearly four hours to finish a round, with many huge groups. There are no short tees on the course, and players with less skill or throw distance are going to be chewed up and spit out by shots like the opening drive, or the brutal 700+ foot uphill Hole 2. Hole 17 is perhaps a few feet too long, has some high grass that eats discs. There are a number of opportunities to lose discs throughout the course. However, this course is so expansive that it's hard to imagine being able to mow it all completely.
Other Thoughts: This course is as the namesake suggests, a toboggan hill course similar to other ski hill courses, but with even more huge downhill and uphill fairways, and very few filler holes. In terms of length, this is the longest 18 hole course I know of. With full seasonal access and a short tee course, as well as more signage, this is a 5.0 course. In Michigan, only the best holes at Leviathan, Beast, or Flip match the best of this course.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Massive and unrelenting elevation
Lots of true par 4's and one true par 5
Very balanced in terms of lefty/righty, FH/BH
Good mix of max distance and placements shots
Nightmare for beginners and casuals that can't control a 300+ foot drive consistently
When it is open, available days to play the course are limited due to tournaments. It will also get crowded very quickly on the off days so get there early.
Other Thoughts: Kensington Toboggan is a very unique course. Every shot off the tee requires an aggressive, yet controlled drive often followed by a long upshot that must be precise. With that said, you can score very well here without having to make a putt outside of 30ft; in my opinion thats what is unique about toboggan. And although some may say the course is "easier" without the Russian olive brush that was recently cleared, a few holes have been lengthened to mitigate the difference. In my opinion, hole 4 is quite possibly the hardest par three i've ever played with the new pin placement. I value elevation and scenery the most in disc golf courses and those factors play heavily in why I rate this a perfect course. It does however, require consistent above-average distance on every shot as I mentioned previously. So those that are used to and prefer mostly deuce or die type courses, this one isn't for you.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Epic Course, Epic Workout
Pros: This course is an amazing test of will on the backside of Kensington Metropark, it plays up and down the sledding hills and is one of the most challenging courses I have ever played.
Your alternating between beautiful downhill bombs and uphills that only the superhumans can drive up.
The teepads are all huge grippy rubber mats, and the baskets are all perfectly balanced especially considering they are only there for a few weeks a year.
Many of the steep downhills have wooden tracks alongside, this probably serves some purpose for winter sports, I don't know for sure since I don't do cold, but it makes for a good reference point and if the course was wet like when I played it makes a good walking path.
It was a torrential downpour when I was playing but it trudged through and didn't shoot too badly, and somehow managed to keep all my discs.
It's an amazing challenge and a true endurance test.
It's a beautiful park, and this is the crown jewel of the lad for about a month out of the year.
The locals are great and I bounced through a few groups as a few gave up as the rain got harder.
Bring your full bag of tricks, if you have a shot chances are you'll need it here.
Cons: The cons are there are only a few days of the year you can play. But that's part of it's charm and what keeps the land so darn beautiful.
You cannot play there without a guide or spotter, there isn't any signage and you will lose discs.
Other Thoughts: If you are in the general vicinity of this course during the time it's open, play it. You have to, it's a true experience.
I have to give major kudos to BogeyNoMore for letting me know it was open! Thank you sir.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Real Disc Golf Course
Pros: Epic design on an epic piece of land. This is one of the few courses that I have found that feels like a true golf course in every sense of the historical reality of what golf is supposed to be like. This course is a true par 62 gem which requires placement shots and good putting to score well. There are so many different types of shots that one must throw here and even a good shot can be wasted with a bad next one. The requirements for this course do not end with accuracy, distance is also important. It simply put requires the best. The terrain is very hilly and well used. Most holes are going up or down hill some way or the other. The parks department has done a good job of really going through this property as of late clearing out invasive plant life. Fairways get mowed for the course when it is in the ground. The local crowd that has made this course happen and continues to get permission for it year after year truly loves this place and the fact that they can host major tournaments here. Without the people that are involved with this course it would not be what it is.
Cons: The very short term temporary nature of this course is really sad and is the biggest con to this course. Additionally there is a park entrance fee per day just to get to the course. This is a very small price considering the quality of the course. This years rendition fo the course had literally one thing wrong with it. While there were very nice rubber tee pads on every hole, the ground underneath the tee pads was less than ideal. It appeared as though they put down sand in an attempt to make them more level but sand does not maintain its shape, especially early on in its settling process. This made for some tee pads that were less than ideal and forced tournament rules to allow space on either side of the rubber mat to throw from.
Other Thoughts: There is a good history to this course and it really is one of the must play courses in the world. There is a good reason that The United States Amateur Disc Golf Championships does not move around like most other majors (minus the USDGC of course). It is one of the few courses that feels more like a real golf course where every shot matters and any mistake is punished to some extent. Having the invasive plants does provide for some new lines on holes that apparently were not there before and allows some bad shots to not be punished as much as they used to. For any serious player, this is a must play course at least once in your life. Be sure to plan to spend at least one Memorial Day in this part of Michigan in your life or find some way to play one of the tournaments that are played on this course. During my trip there this year I literally only played this course and never felt like I missed out on potentially playing other great courses in this area. This course really is amazing. Bring a map as things are not permanent.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Aesthetic--area, while temporary, is disc golf exclusive while the course is in the ground. the area is a winter sports/rec area during the winter.
Baskets-- great, nice repair and somewhat visible. Could potentially use tall flags to increase visibility
Challenge-- Holy hell. this course is an absolute beast! almost 9000 ft and only 18 holes is friggin monumental.
Variety-- yeah, there's variety here. Huge is the name of the game here, the shortest hole is 285 (I believe) but most holes are 400' +. Up, Down, Left, Right (BABA select start) and truly monsterous holes...
Challenge-- this course will kick your ass six ways from sunday. It will challenge EVERY shot in your bag and leave you wanting more.
Routing/Nav-- Fairly easy after finding the first pin. the map provided shows it as a harder right but the basket position is along the tree line to the (slight) right of the tee.
#8-- one of the most unique holes that I've ever played. stands out to me as one of the biggest risk v reward holes without water out there!
Cons: Let me preface this by saying that when I was there a lot of the ammenities that are normally there for tourneys weren't there.
Teepads-- sandy skids in the grass. During tourney times it's said to have flypaper or rubber mats.
Teesigns-- none there when I was there, I'm sure during tourney times, there are some form of teesigns
Temp course-- the fact that it's a temp course is a true shame. This could be an amazing destination course during all but the winter... The Black Locust course is nice but this course is phenomenal!
NOT BEGINNER FRIENDLY! this course is NOT for beginners (let alone 3yrs experienced).
Rough-- the rough is killer, but you're not supposed to be in the trees now are you?
Other Thoughts: I couldn't believe that on a friday before noon the parking lot was FULL.. this course, while in the ground, is a true destination.
This course kicked our butts and left me (not b3nder) wanting more...
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: The elevation here is out of this world and you really need to know how to change your throws throwing up and down the hills. There are many par 4s and one par 5.
Hole 1 is a big left to right downhill hole. It takes a very accurate shot to get a look at birdie. Watch out for the rough right of the basket.
Hole 2 is the par 5. It is flat for the first 270 than steep uphill all the way to the green. The fairway is pretty wide. If you figure out how you can best play this hole to your strengths it should be an easy birdie. Going for the eagle is super dangerous.
Hole 3 is the biggest downhill drive on the course. A good drive can fly around 700 feet! It takes two solid drives to have a look at birdie. Right is death no matter where you are on the fairway. Even if you fly a mile left you should be be in good shape even if it doesn't look it from the tee.
Hole 6 is a great par 4. The drive to the landing zone around the corner is longer than it looks. There is no real laying up on this drive.
Hole 7 is a good uphill par 4. Just get out of the gap on the drive and you should be in good shape.
Hole 8 is a long right to left hole that is tricky to birdie.
Hole 10 is one you want to birdie. It is around 300 left to right. The green is sloped down and left though so you really need to try and land flat. Early and right is death along with straight and long. Some lay up so as to not bring bogey into play.
Hole 11 is definitely one you want to birdie, an uphill open shot.
Hole 12 is a fun hole but it is a tweener hole for sure. It is too dangerous to go for the big left to right birdie so must lay up with midranges.
Hole 13 is where you can show off your distance bombing up the hill. It is an easy birdie for the big arms.
Hole 14 is a downhill hyzer.
Hole 15 is a great par 4 that slopes down and right and then up to a dangerous tilted green. It is a tough 3 to get.
Hole 17 is a wide open bomb first drive and then an approach way up the hill to a plateaued green.
Hole 18 is a big left to right up the hill. Righty backhand players never really get into the circle here.
Signs are good when the course is in.
Cons: Hole 4 is a tweener hole that is very hard to two, and easy to bogey. It is a tricky hole.
Hole 5 is a blind uphill short hole that is a poke and hope hole.
Hole 9 is a tweener uphill right to left hole. It is too long for most anyone to birdie. Going for the green is dangerous if you have the arm as the green is super small.
Hole 16 is a blind big stall hyzer or a flex forehand for the birdie. I just don't really care for this hole.
This is a temp course with fly pads when it is in for the USADGC.
Other Thoughts: Most of the holes are blind here. Use a spotter.
USADGC is my favorite event.
10 of 12 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The Toboggan is an absolute beast that plays 8,823 feet. The par is 62. There are seven par 4's and one par 5. This is modern day golf designed for Gold Level play. Just as the name states the tobaggan run comes into play on holes 1, 2, 3, & 18. There is great elevation all over the course. Many holes have open and longer fairways with tall grass. There are many holes that force a line and have a gap to hit. Many have some nasty thick rough and woods to get in trouble. This course will test every shot in your bag. The area is very beautiful and the course is isolated to just disc golf.
Discraft makes awesome tee signs for this course.
Great brand new Discraft Chainstars.
Hole #1 starts off with a boom. 477 feet playing downhill. Very reachable for most skilled players.
Hole #2 is a beast playing back up the Toboggan. It's a par 5 and takes 3 awesome shots to get a birdie. Thick woods line most of the fairway.
Hole #3 is another crusher down the toboggan. Bigger arms will have a great shot of getting a 3 on this 900+foot par 4.
The rest of the course has a great variety.
The green on #17 is elevated and small.
Finally, after taking a beating you have to mash a shot up the toboggan to finish. It's a fun type of pain!!!
Cons: It's too bad this course isn't permanent. The rubber tees will have to do since this course is only open a month or so. Go play it!
Make a day of it. Play the Black Locust too!
Navigation and flow is pretty solid. The first time thru might be frustrating because the course is long and pins are blind. To really enjoy this course play it several times. Have some patience. Take a map!!!
Playing with a friend and spotting for each other will help the fun factor. Be prepared to look for discs if you are throwing by yourself. The rough and blind shots can get you.
I would play it the day after the USADGC. The course is mowed and always looks fantastic. The rough will be beat down a bit from all the play.
If you get a chance to play Am Nationals do so. It's the best amateur tournament that I played.
You can find more information on the course here.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: This course is amazing. Beautiful vistas, awesome spectator course. It is rare to have so many holes where you can marvel at the full flight of a disc. Half of the holes are breathtaking. You start with a massive downhill anny 400ft+ par 3 then right back up the hill with a par 5. Distance AND accuracy are important here, then back down again a monster hill with awful mean dense brush to the right on #3. Brush hogging here really made the difference, thanks guys. Then you weave in and out of woods emerging bloodied, tired and elated to see even more open bombs on 14. Layout is very fair maybe only benefiting HUGE sidearm throwers and lefties slightly. Most of us arent in that big sidearm crowd so it plays fair. Baskets were in great shape and greens offered a number of risk reward roll away threats. Grass on the green was short and perfect, blue lines painted for the Am Nats were a nice touch showing you 30'. This course is a photographers dream. I would make any flight to get back here and play again.
Cons: There were a few nit pick things to mention that keep this from a 5* in my book. I am mindful of the fact that this is a temp course, so every year you basically have to "build" a course for the Am Nats event. Rubber tee pads were nice and sticky but not level and bumpy. We were given the option to tee from the grass because of this. A few of the holes like #6 and #12 are poke and hope. There are only 2 baskets visible from the teebox. There are few ace runs. Greens are SMALL. On a number of holes you have to lie on your belly to get a putt from 15' (4, 6, 11, 12, 13 etc) Hole 11's basket is blocked by a tree with very low hanging branch and there were a few spots where some tree limbing would make the holes a little more fair. The Toboggan is a disc eater. In my final round I hit a tree and knocked out 2 discs including myown. I found (and returned) 8 discs while looking for my own errant shots.
Other Thoughts: Despite the Cons I listed, the course was amazing and a MUST PLAY. Everyone plays the same course and if you don't like putting from 20' from under a bush, make a better upshot or drive. Thanks for giving us this gem 30 days out of the year. We appreciate it.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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