Amazing course with very few cons.
0 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: This is an amazing course and i could go on all day about the pros but by this time you’ve already read them all. Just a great course
Cons: The cons are few and far between. The only things I have a problem with are a few holes that are near impossible to hit unless done 100% perfect and my big one is the I played awhile back and on hole I think 21 (one with the water hazard on top of the hill) my disc went in water. When I saw it there was a snake by it, the snake seemed un-fazed as I threw sticks at it to get it away. After finally giving up and going on I talked to owner about it. Not only did he know about the snake, he was proud it’s there, and bragged about another snake on another hole. I will play again but that is a very annoying thing because all it takes is one person getting bit to ruin a reputation and good experience.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 3 Not
@ 29 Degrees & Still Greatness
Pros: Lots of pros. Extremely well maintained. Great for big arms and average arms (like mine). Difficult shots and lay up shots abound with 23 baskets. The impossible shots are more makeable than the treelines suggests...with exception to basket 18. Conjugal Visit is where disc go to die. A basket in the pond and a rowboat to retrieve is brilliant but the actual basket is behind the pond.
Shawshank Redemption is one of my top 10 favorite movies and playing the course was an absolute blast.
Cons: Lookout for basket 21. You don't see the water hazard from the tee box.
The baskets are hard to see with exception to the Innova yellow baskets.
Other Thoughts: Huntsville State Prison and the home of Shawshank Disc Golf Course is brilliance. Hats off to Steve for having the creative genius to marry the two. Great experience.
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Outstanding Themed Course
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: With the Texas prison system headquarters in nearby Huntsville, designing Shawshank with a jailhouse theme was pure genius. From the signage to the hole names (The Green Mile, Parole Board, Conjugal Visit...) this is a unique disc golf experience.
Hole lengths vary from 189' out to 598', but for the most part they were less than 325'. With rolling terrain providing uphill and downhill shots, three ponds adding challenge and danger, and endless trees requiring accuracy and distance control, there is no end to the variety.
This course places an absolute premium on accuracy and control, rather than raw power and distance. Since I don't have a big arm (300' ish) I enjoyed the challenge a great deal.
Holes range from somewhat open to incredibly tight. Holes 4 and 5 (Jail and The Tunnel) play between planted rows of pines that are less than 10' apart. Your challenge is to see how far you can throw an absolutely dead-straight drive. I didn't get to the basket cleanly on either hole, but sure enjoyed the challenge.
All three ponds will eat your discs. I tried the "safe" play on Hole 6 by throwing a anny off to the right, only to hit a tree that kicked it directly into the pond. But I threw in from the drop-zone on the dock for a circle three! Small victories...
Course infrastructure is very good. Mach V (mostly) baskets catch fine. The tee pads are large, flat, and covered with rubber mats. Very well built and perfect to throw from. Tee signs all share the same Texas Department of Criminal Disc Golf motif, and provide hole name, number, distance and par. Plenty of next hole signs make navigation a snap.
This is pay-to-play disc golf at it best!
Cons: I played on a bright, sunny morning, and the DGA baskets were practically invisible in the dappled shade. This being my first round out there, I ended up walking 2/3 of the way up on many (most?) of the holes to determine where the basket was located. The two Innova baskets out there showed up great. Love the yellow bands!!
The tee signs are unique, but lack any kind of hole diagram. Kind of goes along with my comment above that first-timers will spend a lot of time walking forward to determine lines and basket locations.
Other Thoughts: Huge shout to the the Defrane family for building this course and making it available to us for the princely sum of $5. Such a beautiful property and a great experience.
Didn't get to play with Steve, but his German Shepard "Hadley" accompanied us through the course. He is well behaved and doesn't chase discs, and was amusing to watch as he chewed the padding off of the trees, swam in the ponds, and carried a Box Turtle around for a few holes until we distracted him long enough to rescue the poor thing (unharmed).
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 8 Not
A good must play
Pros: I'm not going to go on about all the features that you can read about in all the other reviews. So it's a fun, challenging course some holes a little more than others. That said I can't really argue with what all the others say.
Cons: My first time playing so that is what my review is based on. I like the hole markers but they need tee signs that show the hole layout(OB, etc.) Baskets are hard to see through all the trees. we had to walk several holes just to figure out some kind of idea of what to do. Some tee boxes are starting to show some wear.
1 of 9 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: The course is well maintained and laid out in a thoughtful manner in terms of the varied types of shots (straight technical shots thru numerous trees and open shots for testing your driving distance).
Numerous amenities on site such as a small camp area, a cabin to rent. Water jug for refills on #17, good tee boxes. A basket near the back pond was out of play due to the recent rain. The pond near the entrance is challenging.
Cons: No cons as far as the course itself but more of a comment on the owner. The folks are nice but Steve seems a little too familiar with guests property. I didn't appreciate him going into my disc bag to help himself to a disc for a throw he didn't retrieve. Also, we had friends surprise us from Boston that we hadn't seen in a while and the owner and groundskeeper invited themselves into our group...we were unable to finish a round as we had 7 additional folks added. Yes, I know we could have told him no but they didn't really ask and this put us in an awkward situation as he is the owner but we wanted to finish a round with our long time friends.
Other Thoughts: I enjoy the course but will not be returning as the interaction with Steve somewhat ruined our trip.
5 of 10 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 9 Not
Pros: None it's a prison!!!! All shots are needed to score well, boxes and signage are excellent in my opinion, you must control the urge to boom it. Birdies are all over the place, but you must play smart.
Cons: Full of them! It's a prison town!!! Too far from my home!
Other Thoughts: Must play this course. If you are afraid of your rating, don't play it in a tournament! One of the top courses I have ever played, tough, makes you think. Night Golf here is an experience not to be missed!!!! DuFranes are excellent hosts and the setting is awesome, bring the wife and rent his cabin for a truly wonderful experience.
3 of 12 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
My Favorite Course to Play
Pros: By far the best course I have played!
You need every shot to play this course well. This course will challenge your mental and physical game.
Some of the best holes are #5 Tunnel Shot, #8 Hyzer Express, #11-#15 Murderer's Row some tough holes but challenging, #18 Conjugal Visit and #23 Tin Cup!!
Teebox's are well built and in great shape.
Seating at every hole and usually a trash can too!
Steve is a great host!!!
Pay to Play $5 - worth every penny!! (Keeps the riff raff out and course clean)
Cons: No real negative here. Only thing is no wide open hole to really let loose on.
Other Thoughts: Take the time to go to this course it is well worth the trip and the $5. Make sure to call Steve before you head out and if you don't meet him while you play, make sure to call him and thank him for having the Number FUN course!!!
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 6 Not
Breaking out of jail
Pros: This course is a mix of technical shots and skilled shots. If you get to talk to Steve he will tell you everything you need to know to navigate and play the course well. It is designed to play smart. The best shot isn't always how far you can get it. Don't be afraid to just pitch a putter till you can put. Must give warden a good belly rub for good luck!
Cons: I really didn't find any cons in this course. It makes you think differently about how you go about playing. If challenges you technically and makes you re think how you play the game.
Other Thoughts: Go for the pond hole! dont be sacred
1 of 7 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
One of my favorites
Pros: -Good mix of holes- uphill, downhill, left, right.
-Long rubber teepads (on some holes and will soon be all, I believe).
-Water holes that are fair but challenging.
-Very well manicured, especially for tournaments (Steve loves his rollers).
-Possible to camp on-site (and play glow, I think).
-Tin cup hole # 23. Plays as an island with the driveway circle as OB. The basket is a fountain in a pretty rock arrangement. VERY cool.
-Playing in a tree farm is different from playing in normal woods- very cool and unique experience on those holes.
-Trash cans and benches on most holes (maybe all, I wasn't really counting).
-Very friendly and helpful course owner.
-Drinking in moderation is allowed. Leave sober!
-Private course a little out of the way means less "riff-Raff," meaning a cleaner course and a very good chance of recovering any lost discs. But the chances of losing a disc here (other than in the water) are pretty low.
-At tournaments, golf carts will take you from your car to the tournament headquarters. That's service!
Cons: -Only one set of teepads.
-Out of the way- actually kind of a pro in my book, except the long drive.
-No chance to really crush an open drive for you big-arm folks.
-No pro-shop and nothing very close for drinks, snacks, etc.
-Costs $5 to play. Well worth it, but I gotta be objective.
-Tee signs aren't good, but the available scorecard should usually suffice.
Other Thoughts: This is easily one of my favorite 3 courses, the only other "top course" I have played is Flyboy and I would only rate the entire experience 0.25 discs lower than that. Great mix of holes that will test just about every shot in your bag, except maybe your huge hyzer bomb. Three water holes that are fair and fun, and your inked discs will typically be retrieved and kept in the lost and found. I like "fair" wooded courses and Shawshank has many holes that fit that description, but there are also a few that are more open. But as I mentioned, you won't be throwing a hyzer bomb further than ~350 ft here, and there are only about two holes that need that. However, that is the necessary shot on those holes, which I think shows how diverse of a course Shawshank is, other than the lack of really long, open holes.
Some of the wooded holes play through a tree farm, meaning the trees are very evenly spaced and similar in size. This is very cool and really adds to the whole "jail" experience.
Shawshank really is a "must-play" course, and well worth devoting a weekend to go check out. After you go once it most likely won't be the last time.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: What can you say about Shawshank? It's amazing. Teeboxes, holes, fun throws, water shots, tunnel shots, unique fairways, downhill, uphill, flicks, hyzers, rollers, everything is here. The land is absolutely amazing, the family is absolutely amazing, the teeboxes are just as good of not better than concrete, it's just awesome. I've played numerous Houck courses, and this one is just as good if not better than the best of them. Steve has done an amazing job.
Cons: The baskets could be better, I understand wanting to do them slightly portable and not wanting to concrete Discatcher 28s in the ground, but it is a con.
Signage. This course could use better signage. Some of the holes you have to walk ahead to see where you're throwing.
2 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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