Huntsville's best technical course
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Baskets are nice Discatchers (but band color is a misfire, see cons - below). Ten holes have alt pin positions. Navigation is the best of any woods course I have ever played, and about as good as any course period. Baskets have yellow tape wrapped around one spoke of the tray, pointing to the trail to the next tee, and between each hole and the next is a little 4x4 post with a next tee arrow in order to eliminate any confusion (including at trail junctions etc.). These are sturdily made, same as the signs used at trail junctions in the park (with which these occasionally share a post).
Very technical woods course. A few holes have a cut for power lines as their fairway, but the other 15 or 16 are actually in the woods, with one or more tight, defined routes to the basket. Some feature a small OB stream, which is placed so as to be a hazard but a fair hazard. They require a wide variety of lines; as a backhand dominant player, I felt comfortable and very uncomfortable by turns, as I should. In this aspect, Monte Sano is flat out better than Mastin Lake, no ifs buts or ands. Monte Sano is also substantially longer than Mastin, though only six holes measure over 300 feet, and there are no par 4s (though I would willingly count 9 long as one).
Setting is beautiful: after my most recent round, I wandered over to the overlook a couple hundred feet from hole four and just took it all in, then went down to O'Shaughnessy Point for more.
Cons: Tees. Carpet, not always carpet side up, of varying lengths. Most are close to level, thanks to some recent work. Some have gravel in wooden frames, which is nice. Overall, though, tee quality is so-so in an otherwise concrete-happy town.
Baskets have green bands. In the woods. You get where this is going. Unless this was requested by the park, this is a righteous d'oh moment. They do, however, commemorate (is that the word?) the 2008 USWDGC.
Relative lack of elevation changes: Mastin actually has more, despite lack of mountain. There is some change in elevation on most holes, but it rarely substantially affects play.
Other Thoughts: The lack of longer holes sets Monte Sano apart from truly incredible technical courses, but it is not a joke, and is easily the best course of this type Huntsville has.
Tee markers have pin position indicators, but about a third were wrong on my latest visit, so I'm not listing this under pros.
Entry to the park is $5 per day. It's worth it, but if you want to make your money go further, play another round, take a hike, etc. There's even a playground for the little discers.
Monte Sano was the first disc golf course I ever played; as such, it holds a special if odd place in my heart. I held off on reviewing it for a while because of this, but ultimately decided to do it anyway and try my best to be fair.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Great course but welcome to tee-box hell
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Course set in a gorgeous state park not far from downtown Huntsville.
- Baskets are older Discatchers and for the most part in good shape.
- Be to check out the cool little waterfall after playing #4. And when you're done with that be sure to take a look at that beautiful view.
- Loved the signage. Tee signs are well made and illustrate the hole layout nicely. There are 4x4 posts with next tee information on them. Very well done. Getting lost here means you're stupid and probably shouldn't be playing disc golf.
- The back nine was a bit of a butt kicker. Not too bad but certainly more difficult than the front nine.
- Starting at hole 7 there is a neat little mini-disc golf course. I've never tried it and I didn't really have time today which is too bad since it looks like a ton of fun.
- Didn't see a lot of trash cans on the course but it was well picked up regardless.
- Benches of some sort were spread throughout. Thanks!
- There are streams and little springs all over this course. Really appreciated all the pedestrian foot bridges.
- No real poke-n-hope fairways in this course which seems to be an issue at other wooded courses I've been to. Every hole had a defined easy to follow fairway with the occational hole that had multiple route.
Cons: - Far and away the biggest con is the tees. I would almost rather have a toe-kick than this nonsense. In most cases, the tee consisted of a cheap piece of carpet thrown down over whatever happened to be there. These are dangerous ankle-twisters with all the lumps and divots. Be very careful when tee-ing off of these abominations. I'm pretty sure I lost several strokes due to the my tentative tee shots.
- Driving up the mountain from downtown Huntsville I have to admit I was pretty excited for this course thinking there is going to be a plethora of elevation changes. Unfortunately, no giant elevation changes exist within this course. That was a bit of a let-down.
- There are some really long walks between holes. I understand why a lot of them exist what with the hiking trails that meander all over the park but there are a few spots it didn't make sense. For example the area between #2 and #3 could easily be a cool little hole going over the ravine.
Other Thoughts: This is the kind of course most anyone of most any skill level will enjoy. Even the pros. Yes it is pay to play but to me it was worth it. There are dozens of hiking trails and all sorts of placed to bring the family and make the day of it.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Bring Your Hiking Shoes
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: (3.054 Rating) A heavily wooded layout on top of a flat mountain.
- NATURAL BEAUTY - Monte Sano State Park is an splendid forested mountainous area with lots of hiking and biking trails in addition to the disc golf course. Located just 15 minutes from downtown Huntsville, this course is easily accessible for players doing a sweep of Huntsville area courses. Although there are no drop-dead gorgeous views from the layout itself, a short 150 foot walk from basket (4) has views over Mc Kay Hollow Valley and a waterfall. As for the course itself, fully wooded and there are some mini creeks that come into view and play. There are some mild elevation changes as well. Monte Sano is arguable the most beautiful course in area.
- CHALLENGING - IMO, the most difficult course in town. A touch more difficult that Redstone and Indian Creek. Lots of 300 to 350 foot tunnel shots with lots of shot shaping required. The difficulty read most closest to upper intermediate and will be much more challenging in the summer versus the winter. Figure intermediate players will average around even par and advanced players will average 3 to 4 down. Players that excel in accuracy over distance or vice versa will skew these figures by a shot or two.
- UNIQUENESS - Above average. To start, lots of tunnel shots with basket placements finishing in both directions. Lots of tee shot gaps and fairway windows to hit. Some mild elevation changes but it could have been way much more (see cons, elevation). A few small creeks to play across and one par 4. The holes distances vary a good bit, from 200 to over 500 feet depending on basket placements.
- NAVIGATION - Despite no course map on site and the map file on DGCR not being the greatest, the navigation is amazing, near flawless. Hole signage is adequate but what makes this course so easy to follow is all the new well constructed and informative navigational markers. These markers are among the most effective I've ever seen on a heavily wooded course.
Cons: Monte Sano needs some attention.
- TEES - The tees are in bad shape. They are carpet and are uneven and falling apart on many holes.
- RUN DOWN - In addition to the poor tees, I felt that the course is neglected a bit. Lots of branches down along the layout. The bridges across the mini creeks are showing their age. The community board next to tee (1) has no information and it is also starting to fall apart. The local club is partially in charge of 8 courses and it appears the attention is going elsewhere.
- CHARACTER - There are some good amenities with this course but it still falls a touch below average. Lots of alternate basket placements, a couple seating areas, bag hangers and nice baskets for the positive items. The course however doesn't have extra tees, a practice basket, course map or respectable tee surfaces as mentioned above.
- LACK OF ELEVATION - Not a flat course, but for being located on top of a mountain and 1,000 feet above Huntsville, I am shocked by how flat the course is. Not one hole on the entire layout changes by 30 feet. Hole (9) changes the most, approaching the 30 foot mark, however the elevation prominence is lost on this hole as its 400 feet long. Hole (4) is a nice 20 to 25 foot down shot and there are a few other holes that throw across a 20 foot deep valley. All stated, It could have been a whole lot more.
- FORGIVENESS - Like most wooded courses, Monte Sano will generally not be to kind to misguided shots. I think I hit a tree on 75 percent of the holes out here on first play. Being a good mid range thrower to scramble for par will be key to shoot low.
- PAY TO PLAY - Currently its $5 to enter the park per person (less for seniors and children.) A yearly pass can also be obtained for those that live in the area at $100. Considering that there are better courses in town, the cost really isn't worth it but just the one time for out of towners.
- BEGINNER FRIENDLY - This is not a beginners course. Although the odds of losing a disc is low, the course is way too tight to provide any enjoyment to inaccurate new throwers.
- TIME PLAY - Not the quickest play as the round will likely involve some searching and lots of recovery shot planning. I spent well over an hour here solo and could see groups of four coming in at 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Other Thoughts: One of my favorite courses in the area as I personally like short and technical courses. This will definitely test a player's resolve and patience as bad kicks are almost certain. I personally would not bring a newer player up here, I'd take them to either Brahan or Southside instead. However this course should work great for intermediate and advances players looking to improve their precision. Overall the course is really good despite a few blemishes. Players that have already hit Indian Creek, Redstone and Brahan should consider this among the next courses to hit along with Mastin Lake and UAH.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Fun but flawed
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The courses is set in a very nice state park with good views very close to the disc course (there is a good overlook just to the right of hole 4). There are a number of small streams running through the course which just adds to the feeling of being in nature. You also pass near the Japanese Tea Garden (which is currently being rebuilt).
The courses is a fun tight technical course with a few longer holes mixed in although those longer holes are not wide open. I guess this could be a pro or a con depending on the kind of course you like.
There are multiple pin positions for several of the holes (although they don't move very often).
There is also a mini course on site (small baskets for minis)
Cons: There is a $5 entrance fee to the park (but if you want to do some hiking or mountain biking as well there are a number of very trails in the park)
The tee pads are not very good. They are carpet and very uneven. I understand part of it is due to the rules of the park. Be careful on the pads. This is by far the biggest problem with course. I do a standing drive on most the pads.
The signage between holes could be better. The first time I played there I got of courses once or twice.
Other Thoughts: This is one of my favorite courses to play in Huntsville due to the mix of holes, the layout and location. While it is my favorite to play, it probably wouldn't be my first recommendation in Huntsville due to the tee pads and the need to pay.
I do not agree with some reviewers that there are no flight paths on any of the holes. The only one I could see this being a realistic compliant on hole 6.
In the summer, watch out for poison ivy. In the fall (actually pretty much year round), bring bright colored discs.
Parking is in the parking lot on the right as soon as you enter the park. The course starts near the road.
There are bathrooms at the end of the parking lot. You will also be near them between hole 5 and 6.
The course has Innova Discatcher baskets.
My personal favorite holes are 9 and 14. 4 is an ace run hole.
It can be foggy in the morning on the mountain so if you are staying in town maybe have a look up the mountain to see if it is covered in fog before heading up.
If you are visiting Huntsville, I think this course is worth a play if you like wooded courses (but I would play Mastin and Brahan first). If like open courses, play UAH and Indian Creek.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Really challenging wooded course
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Tough challenging layout in a state park on top of a mountain! Tight lines to hit to get to the basket. Good throwers will be rewarded. Easy to navigate. Good signage. Course is isolated from most other park activities. Rarely have to worry about walkers on trails.
Always cooler on top of the mountain in the summer. Plenty of shade!
Cons: Carpet teepads in horrible shape. Hole 4 is a little dinker that doesn't fit well with the rest of the course. Rarely see the pins moved around.
$5 park entry fee PER PERSON!
The yellow banded Innova baskets were mostly covered with a green decal. GREEN in the woods! Very hard to locate even after playing the course several times.
Update: Appears to be very neglected. Broken limbs everywhere. Weeds growing 5 feet tall on several holes. Desperately needs some TLC.
Other Thoughts: With upgraded tee pads and some course cleanup, I'd rate this course much higher. It's one of the better ones in town that scares away the newer players scared of a challenge. You will often have the course to yourself.
Update: Opportunities to see an abundance of wildlife. Just this year we have seen an ancient looking giant turtle making his way across 17's fairway, a pregnant doe chilling near 15's teepad, and two does living around a downed tree on hole 5.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: The course is set on beautiful Burritt Mountain with some great wooded landscape for a course. Parking for the course and hole #1 are the very first right after the guard shack. At each tee pad there is a distance marker with a red circle indicating which pin position is being used (1-2 pin positions for each hole). Each tee pad is carpeted. The first few holes are some of the least difficult on the course, so as to warm you up for the back 9. Overall, this is a well-balanced, technically wooded course that rewards accuracy in nearly all shot types. The course has short and long holes with enough elevation changes to test nearly any arm. For the most part, there are arrows and signs leading you to the next hole from each basket. Each chain basket continues to be in good shape. So, the course is very enjoyable with a great hike through the woods. It is also has enough challenge to it so that you will want to play it again and hone your skills.
Cons: There are a few cons that is holding this course back a bit.
SIGNS: At each tee pad there is a distance marker but there isn't a visual layout of each hole, so you would often need to walk down the fairway a bit to know where the basket lies, especially when the pin was in the long position. Also, there could be some better and more updated indicators between holes as sometimes there wasn't one or it was labeled incorrectly. I would also have a sign directing car drivers to the first hole from the road.
TEE PADS: Biggest complaint. Unfortunately, these affected gameplay. Pretty much all were unlevel with undulations, making it very difficult to trust your footing (many times I would use the ground just next to the carpet). Then, nearly all of the carpets (due to wear over time) were covered with dirt/sand making it tough not to slide when planting your foot for each drive. This is particularly pivotal as many holes were long distances in terms of a tightly-knit wooded course.
FYI: in the spring/summer times watch out for snakes and poison ivy
Other Thoughts: In conclusion, I believe this course is a great part of the many enjoyable courses in Huntsville. I would liken it most to Mastin Lake, but is probably more technical. And if I had to choose between the two it would be Mastin Lake due to funness level and not having to pay there to get in.
If this course updated the tee pads and added hole layout visual signs then I would rate this course higher at around a 4/5.
ANOTHER COURSE HAS BEEN ADDED TO HUNTSVILLE THAT IS CALLED DRAKE SPRINGS (9 hole course) AND LOCATED RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET FROM BRAHAM SPRINGS BY THE SMALL LAKE/POND. IT IS A QUICK AND FUN.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Pretty location, there are some great views from the top of a mountain.
Decently challenging, some holes feel alot longer than they are due to narrow or absent throwing lanes.
Little chance of losing a disc due to water.
Cons: Biggest flaw were the trees in middle of what should be fairways. For some holes there were no possible realistic flight paths. Just hope your disc goes more than 20 yards without hitting a tree. I know they aren't allowed to cut many trees there so I cut them a little slack on my rating.
No signature holes in my opinion.
Other Thoughts: I played the week of thanksgiving 2012. I don't know when they changed up the course but the map and hole info listed here was not up to date. The map that was given to me by a park employee was wrong too. I almost gave up after not being able to find hole 1. Luckily there is a sign up near the parking lot that has an updated course map. Had I not taken pictures of it with my phone I doubt I would have found my way to some of the holes.
In the fall there are deep leaves everywhere, play with bright discs or you may have a hard time finding them at times.
Personally I would have liked more incorporation of the elevation changes and scenic overlook views, but I understand reserving the natural beauty for walking trails and such.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Nice wooded course
Pros: You will surely enjoy the drive as you work your way up the mountain and finally reach Monte Sano State Park. Inside you'll find a very scenic and enjoyable course. Once you enter you'll get excited as you pass a few baskets on your way to generous parking all around the course. There is a park store for goodie's if needed near hole one.
If tight wooded courses are your thing you'll certainly be pleased. After all the course plays through a virtual wildlife preserve. If a tree could be spared it was and it makes for some fun and challenging holes. A creek meanders it way through and finds itself in play on a few holes too. Slight elevation changes, a blend of hole lengths and a variety of fairway shapes are here as well. In fact, strait shots to almost impossible doglegs are here. Look for lengths between upper 200's all the way to over 600'. As a bonus, summer shade is a welcomed addition.
There are nice tee signs, sufficient tee pads (see cons), and great baskets. Next tee indicators are nice too. Virtually new baskets were really nice. I enjoyed the Discatchers with the custom bands. It made it feel like you were throwing at some one of kind baskets.
The course itself is easy enough to follow. The fairways are beaten in and guide you around well enough. Look to cross the road between 6/7 and 16/17. Bridges are installed at all the areas were they're necessary and they were a nice touch.
Cons: There's a modest fee to enter the park but overall I think it's worth it.
The carpet tee pads are sufficient but some more thorough leveling before it was laid would have been nice.
I am a huge wooded course fan and can tolerate some pretty "unfair" holes. For the most part I feel like a few rounds would help you find a route on almost every hole. The remaining ones might leave you a little frustrated. If you don't like tight technical courses you might want to skip this one.
The biggest con which hopefully is going to be fixed soon is a big one. The story I'm told by the locals is that apparently the tank for the sewage from the campers has leaked. Not only is there a foul odor on 1/3 of the holes but you don't want to end up in the creek that plays along some of the holes. Thankfully a guy on my card had some antibacterial hand wash to share as I found myself getting a disc from the water. He told stories of illnesses related to folks contacting the water. I must stress, this is of May 2010 and hopefully this will correct itself with time.
Other Thoughts: When you add up the features of this course with all the other great courses in the area it makes it well worth a lengthy trip. This great park offers camping and makes it a very hospitable base for a big disc golf weekend. It is yet again another Huntsville course that I have to highly recommend. I really hope you get a chance to play it. Enjoy!
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 7 Not
Monte Sano review
Pros: Baskets are great! Love the nature feel of things. If u love a good game of disc golf and a nice hike, then i highly recomend
Cons: Carpet teepads arent the best but trust me, it wont affect ur game
Other Thoughts: haha i saw a copperhead on hole 15 s watch out!
0 of 7 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Nice Alabama Round
Pros: Nice Landscaping, Course is on a State Park so it was nice and shady on a warm Alabama Day. Course was marked vey well with Red and Yellow "NexTee" signs pointing the way and also with spray paint on the trees. Required a good variety of shots. Trees were everywhere in the fairway but I was used to that at my home course so it was not anything new to me. Took a friend with me to play and it was the first time he played. He loved it!
Cons: The only beef I had with the course is that the course signs often showed two pin positions "A" and "B". The problem is that there was only one pin positions. Some times it was "A" and sometimes it was "B". This was hard to make a good shot sometimes on hard doglegs where you could not see the basket. Also the custom baskets were nice and in good shape, the green color made them hard to spot sometimes against all the green trees(May not be that big of deal in the fall)
Other Thoughts: It cost $2 to get in but it was well worth it.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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