8 Helpful / 0 Not
Love That Cool Mountain Air!
Pros: Monte Sano State Park is situated in the hills above Huntsville. The few hundred feet of altitude probably keeps it a few degrees cooler year around. The entire course is set in the trees also helping with the temp. The course is very tight and technical. I thought every hole but one had at least "honest" route to the basket. Of course, I often missed that "honest " route and ended up in the underbrush, which can be quite punishing. A couple of the holes can be quite long ( 500' plus ) depending on the pin position. Remember that's 500' with a narrow fairway. Navigation was fairly easy thanks to the signs and red marks on the trees. For a newly opened course, it felt well broken with clearly defined paths, etc. I felt those holes with the almost 90 degree turns were fun and doable throws. And Yes, there were at least, two gimmee birdie holes. The camping would be a bonus.
Cons: The carpet teepads aren't the best but I'm sure they'll be replaced in time. I'd love to chainsaw one tree on each hole but I understand the course designers are dealing with park people and others. It's a flat course with basically no water so I can't see getting totally excited and talking about ever giving it anything higher than a 4.
Other Thoughts: Personally, I preferred the Mastin Lake course more. I thought it was a little more fair with more elevation to work with. But the lower temperatures up here on the mountain could even things up a bit in those hot Alabama summer days.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Great place to relax-5 miles from downtown
Pros: Monte Sano is a 2000+ acre mountain top state park with camping, a lodge and extensive network of hiking/biking trails.
It would make a perfect base for anyone exploring the 5 (soon to be 6) quality disc golf courses in Huntsville. Great long-range views along the brow of the mountain. Best disc golf sign I've seen at 40+ courses. Very cool.
The course itself is relatively flat as it winds through a gorgeous mature Oak Forest. I thought the layout was outstanding, very tight but fair, requiring all the shots in your repetoire.
I value courses designed for long-term playability and Monte Sano has it. Yes, you will hit some trees, but the clean understory enables you to easily find your disc and recover if you end up in the rough.
I played in sandals and had no issues with schule. A couple of friendly locals guided me around the course which was great. 5 degrees cooler than Huntsville on a summer day was a nice bonus.
Cons: The spray paint is probably necessary navigate the course, but detracts from the aesthetics of the forest.
Other Thoughts: After reading the reviews, I expected a pinball-fest, but it never materialized.
I've played much tighter woods courses, so I guess it just depends on your frame of reference. I love the challenge of having to throw FH, BH and an occaisonal hammer to negotiate the tight gaps.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Update in 2019- I had not played here in 10 years (when this course was brand new) and I was very pleased with how mature the course now looks and plays. The fairways are still mostly tight, but very reasonable now. Navigational aids are abundant and match the style of all the hiking trail markers in the park. Many holes had 2 possible placements, and I appreciated that the markers on the tee sign were there and always correct.
From 2009- New 18 hole course to add to what is already a good disc golf city in Huntsville, AL. The course was very shady and provided some relief as we had to battle the Alabama summer heat. The custom baskets are neat, and give the course and each hole some personality. Very nice signs at every tee. Navigation was a breeze- there were already well-worn paths, but I really liked the orange spray paint dots on the trees to help you get from one hole to the next (as some holes have decent walks and you cross the road a few times.)
Cons: Update in 2019- Fee is now $5/adult to enter the park. Tees are still carpet but were exceptionally flat, way different than last time. Concrete is preferred to me, but had no issues today. Reading my comments below, there must have been some redesign because 18 ended right back in the parking lot to where 1 begins. And I thought the difficulty and interest level and variety were the same from beginning to end, or at least from front 9 to back 9.
Fairways to me are no longer cons. Either they have been able to remove a few more trees over the years, or I am more tolerant, or I am better (maybe some of each), regardless my opinion from 2009 is no longer valid.
From 2009- The fee is $2/person, not per vehicle, to enter the park. Right now the tees are in the form of very lumpy carpet. There are some long walks between holes that look like they would have made a good hole, maybe better than an existing hole. Overall, the back nine to me are weaker than the front, which is always anti-climactic when the best holes are at the beginning. #18 ended in the middle of the woods with no signs pointing as to which path was the way out.
The biggest con, however, were the "fairways" which should be called "luckways" for many of the holes. As others have said, the park has limited the trees that could be cut down, but there needs to be a few more trees cut down. I am not saying make it easy, but holes with realistic paths that require pinpoint accuracy and skill are always better than "close your eyes and hope for good luck." I will admit there was more room to throw than I had expected based on the course description and other reviews, but there needs to be just a bit more refining on several of the holes.
Other Thoughts: Update 2019- Course to myself on a nice spring Saturday late morning round. The drive up the mountain and the cost of admission likely keeps many away, but if I lived here I would play here often because I love technical woods courses.
I was visiting with family and was able to sneak in a solo round while my kids played on the nice playground, which is the same parking lot as the course. Lots of parking, restrooms are there, plenty of picnic tables. Hiking and mountain biking trails abound if you like those things also.
I rated it 3.0 in 2009, and in 2019 I think it is still that, but on the high side of it (3.25).
From 2009- The water hazards are nothing more than small creeks, so no danger of losing a disc in water. This is a new course and is in pretty good shape already. There are ace and birdie opportunities, but you need to make a good shot and have some good luck for many of the holes. It has the potential to be a really good course, but as it is right now it just a shade above average.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: *Beautiful setting -- Monte Sano is a nice state park, minutes from Huntsville but secluded on top of a mountain. The course meanders through the park in a heavily wooded oak forest, mostly set apart from other activities (think flatter ERP in Roswell, GA)
*Camping on site - a stone's throw from tee #1
*Fun course to play; in large part due to the serene wooded setting
*Well maintained - i played with the designer and he told me that the fairways were carved out by volunteers with hand tools, mostly machetes! it looks well worn in after 1 month; should be in phenomenal shape if the volunteers keep at it
*Great trails between holes make the course easy to follow despite lack of signage
*Custom Monte Sano innova discatcher baskets
Cons: *This is a state park course where the designers could only cut trees to a certain (small) caliper, so there are many holes with fairway trees & luck routes
*Several holes (#1 & #6 as examples) have extreme doglegs that don't allow for realistic disc flight, at least on the fairway....the baskets are WAY over to the side of a possible line
*Many of the fairways lacked a good route. As an example, some of the longer holes require a shot that goes straight for 300', then turns into a small 20' opening at the left, then stops fading left & straightens out -- not how a disc flies
*No great holes....some good ones, but nothing that comes close to sticking out as a signature hole/holes
*Many blind holes from teepad, some for no apparent reason that take away from the holes
*No signage, carpet teepads -- not a major con as it's easy to figure out where to go & the course is brand new
Other Thoughts: I enjoyed this course, but it was definitely not what i expected after reading two reviews prior to playing that made it sound like the best course in huntsville. The setting is beautiful and made the course really enjoyable to play...but the course itself was average due to some invalid fairways. Could be significantly improved by removing fairway trees & adjusting some of the holes that aren't reachable as a disc flies. I'll definitely return. This is probably the place to go in the summertime as it's got shade, altitude & streams. Awesome place to camp & play.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Monte Sano is a challenging wooded course with some elevation changes on a few holes. Don't let the distances deceive you, 300ft on a course like this makes for a very tough hole. If you have a bad drive, it can be very difficult to recover and get par. Bad drives are almost always punished here.
This course has a great variety of shots. There are big turnovers, straight and narrow shots, and a few hyzer shots as well.
There are some shorter holes where birdies are possible, but they all require accuracy, there are no gimmie birdies here.
A rec player will have a difficult time with this course. I believe it's the kind of course that will teach you to make the necessary shot on each hole which will make you a better player, but it will punish you until you do.
Cons: There were carpet tee pads secured nicely to prevent them from moving when I was there. I understand the course is new, so this is completely understandable.
There were a few holes I felt relied strongly on luck rather than skill. A couple holes had so many trees there wasn't really a fairway in some places, just throw and hope. A couple holes had a tree literally 10 feet in front of the tee pad. I like having the option to throw multiple routes on a hole, but this seems a little extreme to me, especially since the fairways are so small to begin with.
Other Thoughts: A few times you have a walk to get to the next hole, however, they did a good job making this course easy to navigate. There is orange spray paint on the ground and trees leading from one hole to another where the next hole isn't close by. Between the three of us playing, we never had a problem finding the next hole.
There are small streams on a few holes, but they were so small it took one step to cross them when I was there. So I wouldn't say they're in play since they seem more like casual water to me.
I played here again and can see some big improvements. Every hole has a tee sign with diagram and distance on it. There are bridges on every hole that crosses the stream now. Next tee signs are in place on holes that have a walk in between them. Holes 3, 4 and I believe 14 are the only holes that seem to rely heavily on luck still. There were pink ribbons around some trees throughout the course so perhaps those trees are coming down. The course is looking better than ever, keep up the great work!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This is a course that isn't going to break the spirit of your newbies, but will still challenge the best of them. If you shoot close to par here you should be in the money at most tournaments. Once the course breaks in better I'm sure it'll get easier. There are 4 to 5 aceable holes here, and 4 or 5 WHAT??? SERIOUSLY??? holes here. It actually plays much longer than it is too.
Huntsville is one of the best cities for disc golf, there is something within a 20 minute drive for everyone, and terrific progression of course challenge, Dublin Park for the young ones, or people really new to throwing discs, Brahan Springs for the new players that are starting to get their throwing arm together, Mastin lake for those that are playing well at Brahan, they can go to Mastin lake for the next logical step in skill progression, Then UAH to work on your distance without being punished bad for a loss in accuracy while learning to throw long, and Monte Sano pulls it all together perfectly! Can't wait to see what they have for Indian Creek!
Cons: No tee pads, but those are in the works, and some holes have NO fairway routes, you have to find a doable route through the trees and pray no trees jump in the way.
Other Thoughts: Some holes need a little more fairway grooming, lots of toe catchers, some muddy areas, some excessively difficult holes with no route whatsoever they are just a toss and pray. But it's the closest thing to a perfect overall course I have seen thus far.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Solid Course; Fairways Need Some Work
Pros: Situated atop Monte Sano in Monte Sano State Park, which is a nice place to be on any sunny day. There are campgrounds literally just a minute or two walk from the first tee if you want to camp and play all weekend. There is a good variety of shots required from annies, hyzers, to straight tunnel shots. The course also has custom MSDGC DISCatcher Pro baskets, which are a pretty cool touch. One of my favorite things about the course is the old country store right next to the tee for hole 1. You can pick up sodas, ice cream, snacks, tobacco, beer, etc., there, which adds some comfort. Also, you will notice an awesome main board before hole 1 that was hand carved and made by three of the locals. Very nice touch.
Cons: A few holes lack legit routes to the pin, and undergrowth is starting to come back on some as well. There are a few teepads that could use additional leveling, but nothing major. There is a lot of elevation changes in the park, unfortunately the course doesn't use much of this at all. A lot of good holes, but no holes really stand out as "great" holes; the type of holes that make you want to play just one more round.
Other Thoughts: Overall this is a solid addition to the other courses in the area. The course definitely has potential, but still needs much work to see that potential realized. Many holes have routes that are questionable, and the fine line between a good shot and poor shot sometimes seems to blur here. Nothing wrong with a tough course, as I prefer a challenging layout, however, I feel the score should be left up to the golfer and his abilities, not a stray limb that no one sees from the tee. I would definitely recommend this to anyone in the area, and I feel that with more work this course can become a jewel.
Favorite Holes: 2, 7, 10, 11(long), 15
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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