You'll Never Be Blue On This Berry Good Course!
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Blueberry Hill holds the widest appeal of all the Highbridge courses, and boasts off-the-charts fun factor and aesthetic beauty. The host venue for Nate Doss' 2007 Pro Worlds victory, Highbridge features five primary courses on-site, plus a bonus campground course used primarily for glow rounds. The five courses on the hill are the main draw, with each one unique enough to showcase a different flavor of the richly diverse land. Blueberry pitches to a difficulty level that's just right for the vast majority of us, an int/advanced layout that won't crush the hopes and dreams of rec level players. Nearly every hole is memorable in some fashion, be it downhill drives (Holes 3 & 10), tight greens (Holes 4 & 12), or dastardly hazards (Hole 13!). There's enough long but reachable Par 3's here to keep noodle arms like me from getting discouraged, but birdies are never a gimme. Hole 2 deserves special mention as the most well-designed parking lot hole I've ever played. Playing from an elevated tee down to a plateau green is unique and super fun, especially in the near-omnipresent wind. Even holes like 9, which feels like filler compared to the killer elsewhere on the course, can pleasantly surprise with the havoc-wreaking angle of its hillside fairway/green. Holes like this are extremely fun to throw, highlighting Blueberry's biggest positive. Gold, Granite, and (especially) Bear can feel like a kick in the teeth after a bad round, but Blueberry never loses its charm, even if you're struggling.
Blueberry is arguably the best looking course at Highbridge, with Hole 17 serving as the crown jewel. If playing up the rock face/boulder garden wasn't enough, the vista behind you seals the deal. This snuck up on me the first time I played, and that wow factor at the end of the round cemented Blueberry among my favorites. Other highlights include the terrific Hole 3 drive, idyllic Hole 4 green, and the heavily wooded Hole 18 approach. Even on the rare occasions when it isn't superlatively beautiful, you'll wish you had just one hole that looked like these on your home course.
The concrete pads on Blueberry are fairly easy to find and have some of the best tee signs at the complex. All holes play to gorgeous blue Mach IIIs that catch pretty well.
As the most played course at Highbridge by a wide margin, Blueberry feels a little more "weathered in" than the other routings, which helps ease the pain of the perpetually subpar maintenance.
Cons: When you put aside all the drama and nonsense surrounding Highbridge, which are a con unto themselves for most (see other thoughts), there's really only one complaint that stands head and shoulders above the rest - Highbridge's inferior maintenance. It's a roll of the dice if the grass will be mowed on any given day, and tree trimming & rough control appear nonexistent. To make matters worse, Highbridge is approaching a relatively advanced age (14 years for most of the complex) where decisions should be made regarding tree removal, which will almost certainly never happen. When the courses are maintained, the level of maintenance is usually inversely correlated to its difficulty. You may come across an open fairway that's been mowed impeccably, only to play to a soggy green with waist-high grass. In all fairness to John, taking care of five courses with limited help is a rather difficult task, but that doesn't change the fact that unfinished mowing and trimming is a gigantic headache for us players. Depending on the status of the maintenance when you play, a course's rating could fluctuate by as many as two or more discs. Timing your visit to coincide with the intermittent mowing is just par for the course here. The Highbridge Hills - Wisconsin forum thread on this site is extremely helpful for providing detailed course condition updates.
Routing can be a little confusing, but the biggest struggles come at the beginning and end of the course. The natural inclination is to start at Hole 2, as Hole 1 is set back behind the clubhouse with no signage to direct you. Both times I visited I ended up starting at Hole 2's pad and backtracking the Hole 1 fairway to reach the starting tee. Hole 18 is a bit confusing as well, mainly because it differs dramatically from the map. The tendency is to walk straight ahead from the 18 teepad toward Hole 1 before realizing that the 18 basket is heavily protected, sharply downhill and approaching 90 degrees to the left.
Other Thoughts: With more twists and turns than a telenovela, the saga of Highbridge Hills has captivated golfers in the Upper Midwest for years. Regardless of where you fall between the two extremes of "John is a con artist" and "John is a harmless dolt whose reach exceeds his grasp", it's hard to visit here and not be charmed by the ramshackle enthusiasm of it all. Sure, it'd be great if a competent management team took over the complex, maintained it to perfection, and charged $20/day in greens fees to play what is probably the greatest collection of courses at a single site in the entire world. But where's the fun in that? Up here, disc golf still feels firmly tied to its DIY roots, as one man tries to hold it all together with chewing gum and string. Even as people (including myself) complain about the neglect of these world-class courses, it's important to remember that this version of Highbridge holds value as well. If you're looking for a true frolf adventure, Highbridge is the best place to find one. For now, it's best to enjoy what we have and hope for better days down the road.
I struggled with how I should rate Blueberry, but ultimately settled on the full five discs. Yes, the maintenance on any given day can lower this rating dramatically, but with design and aesthetics as my primary rating considerations, I'd be remiss to hand out anything less than a perfect score. If the object of our game is "he who has the most fun wins", Blueberry is undefeated.
PROTIP: Walk ahead on Hole 13 to plan out your shots and identify the location of the ponds or you'll be sorry.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
Maybe it was great but now...
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Good mix of short and long holes along with a mix of straight, right to left and left to right. Enough trees to make it challenging but also fair. All concrete pads with some basic signage for hole location and distance. There's a place to sit (bench, log, etc) on almost all if not all holes. The baskets are in great shape.
Cons: You can tell this was once a great course. But it seems to have been neglected for a while. A mow of the fairways and around the tee pads would go a long way to making it great again. Some trimming of the fairways would be a good #2 on the list. The signage is ok, but something a little more detailed would be nice. It was a little difficult navigating between some of the holes, but nothing the map on the back of the scorecard couldn't fix. Seemed like the distances weren't quite right unless they were just in a different pin placement. There were some buckets for trash, but many were overflowing. The main clubhouse was also pretty run down and could use some TLC.
Other Thoughts: I was playing a few days after some week long concert that just finished so there was a LOT of trash around, random fire pits, etc etc...so I tried to overlook all of that in the review. I'm not sure if the remote location makes it so there isn't much playing traffic or what, but like I said earlier it has potential to be great (...again?). It seemed like the other courses on site were in similar condition.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
The best at the best site
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Blueberry is an 18 hole course at Highbridge Hills.
Concrete tee pads, one per hole. They're in reasonably good shape, and plenty long, wide and grippy enough. As with most things at Highbridge, they're starting to show some age.
Mach3 baskets, in good shape. Two pin positions on nearly every hole, although I'm not sure how often they get moved, if ever.
Balance. So much variety. Every single hole is something different, in a terrific way. It's nuts how many holes here would be a signature hole on nearly any other course. I could literally go hole by hole and point out the uniqueness of each one, and not feel bad about it one single bit. There's elevation, tight fairways, legit par 4's that force good placement, deuce or die holes, and nearly everything in between.
A couple water hazards on the course, some hidden your first time through (looking at you, hole 13, you godless disc eating whore). If it's your first time, go scout. You'll be happy you did.
So much risk/reward. You can run hero shots on nearly every hole, and if you're playing well, it can result in great scores. It can also put you a bazillion over par.
Elevation nearly everywhere. You'll tee off uphill, downhill, and everything in between. Barely a flat spot on the course. Several pin locations in precarious positions, as well, which make the short holes an adventure.
The scenery. Highbridge is as scenic as can be found nearly anywhere, and Blueberry doesn't skimp in this area.
Cons: Highbridge is just old and haggard. There's just no way around it. There was a time that half the courses here were considered among the best in the world, and could be again if the powers that be would just concentrate on keeping it clean and mowed more than they worried about half built shacks and zip lines.
It can get buggy here, but it's the WI north woods. If you come here and didn't buy a case of Off beforehand, then that's on you.
Other Thoughts: Blueberry is a dream. A remote, way the hell out there dream. It's possibly the most wonderfully designed course I've played (or at least top 3), and it's just soooo much fun. It offers beatdown holes, deuce opportunities, and everything else you could want. It punishes and rewards, all at the same time. Honestly, if I were told I could only play one course for the rest of my life, this may be it....it's that good. Hell, if I could only play one HOLE for the rest of my l life, it may be hole 2 here. This last time we were there, our group couldn't walk by hole 2 without throwing it. It's the best course on a site full of top notch courses.
With only one real set of tees, I just can't go 5.0 on it, but if there were an option for 4.95, I'd give it that. I love it, and pretty much everybody I've thrown with there loves it. Go play it, so you can love it too.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 4 Not
Disc Golf Mecca
Pros: The technical challenges of this course are astonishing, while it remains a fair and balanced test of disc golf. Mistakes are brutally punished out here by a combination of dense woods, steep elevation, wicked slopes in either direction, and fairly well--though not always--guarded greens. This particular track is long, but not overly so, but the elevation and distances between holes makes it a punishing walk (two rounds has seldom taken such a toll on my body).
It simply has to be experienced for one's self, and even the pictures don't do justice to the grandeur of the place (though it does give you some idea of the challenging golf you are facing, though it didn't prepare me quite enough).
Cons: The single con is that it's so far away!
Other Thoughts: The seclusion of the northwoods makes it a quiet retreat into nature and the overall elevation of the complex allows one to see far into the distance and appreciate the hills as far as the Mississippi on the Minnesota border.
Apologies to the folks in Georgia, but this is far and away the best and most challenging disc golf complex in the world.
4 of 8 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 3 Not
Frolf is a good walk, enhanced.
Pros: Holes are challenging with a few that can be aced.
Good variety of hole length and the longer holes are spaced out.
The environment offers different obstacles on your way to the pin. My best picture of the entire camping trip was on top of a rock formation with the Northwoods-Gogebic woods behind the chains.
Cons: I can't even complain about the disc golf. It was 5/5. How do you complain when you're separated from everything but your friends and disc golf while drinking a cold beer in the beautiful outdoors and staring up at the universe every night. I'm not attempting to be poetic, but I will say that if you come through the course complaining about anything more than your personal performance, it's likely not worth listening to.
Other Thoughts: If you're a disc golfer or if you love a disc golfer, you need to travel however far it takes you to get here. Camp absolutely if you can, but if you can't go anyways. The other courses are just as good with the exception of Chestnut Grove which seems geared towards the night round and even that course has it's many charms. This place is more than a disc golf resort. Its an experience and I'll be back again.
6 of 9 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: The fairways are fair some of the baskets are tucked in and around trees and brush requiring a skilled approach shot or tee shot.The coarse doesn't overly reward a player for any exceputal abilitys.An average or above average player can keep a game competitive against a better player by keeping there disc in play. The coarse was well designed
Cons: I got lost between 12th basket and 13th tee. Other than that a really fun coarse to play. I would say thewhole complex of coarses are fantastice. Although it is located in northern most Wisconsin
Other Thoughts: I have traveled around past few summers and played a lot of disc golf coarses I have found nothing close to highbridge hills.All the coarses there have fair fairway and are very playable.
1 of 6 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Before I begin...I was the course manager for 2014..
* Concrete Tee Pads
* Mach Baskets
* Variety of Fairways
* Course offers more than 18 holes to play.
* Course is freshly manicured and trimmed as of 2014.
*Course is located right on the top of the hill.
*Course begins and ends near the Pro Shop.
*Course has the front nine located around the driveway off of Mile Rd.
*Navigation is pretty easy. Might get a tiny bit confusing when you try to play the hybrid course.
Cons: * Course retains waters in some areas because of poor design.
* Course lacks signage.
*Course owner is rarely on the grounds to help guide anyone to where the courses start.
* Hole 18 can be very confusing... The hole plays down the hill which you have to walk back up to get back to the Pro Shop.
Other Thoughts: As far as the cons go there are not many... Blueberry is a great course. As mentioned above the course has been recently trimmed as of 2014. The fairways have been trimmed back and up to about ten feet high on the wooded holes. Blueberry offers a premium mix of wooded/open/long/short/ risk vs. reward.
Hole by Hole breakdown:
#1. RHBH hyzer hole. Its a short hole and easy to start your round with a birdie. You can go left or right of the island trees in the middle of the fairway.
#2. Bomb hole! 375 ft wide open downhill hole. pin sits on a tier from the days when Highbridge was meant to be a ball golf course. Playing this hole will vary as the wind changes. Play the wind and you should do just fine.
#3. Downhill shot with woods to the left and rough to the right. Pin is straight out and in the open. another hole you can bomb your disc.
#4. Hole plays favor to LHBH/ RHFH players, but then transitions into a LH/RH BH hole. From the tee you need to throw around the island of tress to get a good look for your second shot. Pin is guarded by trees.
#5. Plays over a very small "water hole" then up hill slightly and to the right. since the course has been trimmed you can choose a few different shots to get up to the pin. This hole is mostly wooded.
#6. An Ace run hole. LHFH/ RHBH hyzer. A small grouping of trees protect the straight shot from the tee pad.
#7. Hole plays downhill. Once you play the course a time or two you can figure out which trees or rocks to aim at to ensure a parked drive. 7 is not a long hole by any mean but you want to keep your disc low down the fairway.
#8. The longest hole on the course being over 600'. There is an old oak tree that is exactly 400' from the tee pad. Hole is mostly wooded with big boulders surrounding the pin. Hole plays down a wooded fairway for about 375' then opens up and back to wooded near the circle.
#9. Ace run hole. Pin sits on the side of a hill. Hole requires a slight flex shot off the tee.
#10. Long hole over 500' that plays very slightly downhill from the tee pad. Some small "water holes" come into play on the left. Water is shallow.
#11. Risk vs. Reward- tunnel shot offer an Ace run look otherwise you need a hard LHFH/ RHBH anhyzer. There is the risk of water if you take the tunnel route.
#12. Long hole that is open for most of the fairway but then curves right down a wooded fairway. This hole may be wet in the open parts just before the wooded fairway.
#13. WATER!!! please take the time to walk the fairway if it is your first time playing Blueberry. There are two ponds in the fairway. This is a risk vs reward hole. Many who have risked have lost. The pin is guarded by water to the right. laying up is usually the best option.
#14. Some would say Ace run...Hole plays to a pin located on a small hill. Owner has trouble for some reason keeping the grassed mowed near the pin. Where your disc lands near the pin is where it will most likely stay because of the grass.
#15. Nice finesse hole for those that have the right disc in the bag. wooded hole that opens slightly near the pin. some standing water may be on the left side of fairway...about 75' from the tee pad.
#16. Hole plays trough wooded terrain that has many rocks and small boulders in the fairway. Fairway is curvy. Again the terrain does play a big factor on this hole.
#17. Long uphill hole that has an amazing vista near the pin. Hole plays out from the wooded tee pad in to the open and up a boulder face. placement is not paramount, but be careful regardless. you want to stay in the open. Most of the small saplings that were growing on the rock face were trimmed.
#18. Plays downhill through a mostly tight wooded fairway. You will have to walk back up the fairway to get back to the Pro Shop.
Blueberry Hill is a really fun course that is the probably the favorite of anyone who plays it. The vistas and wildlife are amazing. The course was part of the 2007 PRO World Championships. Course was let go afterwards, but was trimmed by Jonathan West. Players have been raving since the update. Course is said to be looking the best it has since '07' Worlds.
Cabin rentals and camping are available. Course is Pay to Play. Pro Shop located on the top of the hill. Not much of a Pro shop though..Many discs are super light weight and not many popular discs can be found. But the course speaks for itself. A must if you are in the area. IF you're staying on the grounds you are missing out if you dont play the course. I would warm up on Woodland Greens first. Its the short Par 3 course @ HIGHBRIDGE HILLS. Enough reading now get out and PLAY!!
14 of 15 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Blueberry is one of the most beautiful courses you will ever play. The fairways seem to be the best maintained of any of the courses at the complex, which makes sense as it is the course John will always ask you to play barefoot, which is more than doable if you keep it out of the rough. Also with some new staff up there recently it is starting to turn around condition wise. All of the courses are in the best shape that anyone has seen in many years.
The challenge this course has to offer is amazingly fun. It is just the right amount of challenge yet not an absolute beat down that might upset some newer players. The tees are in wonderful shape and the baskets catch nicely (and they are blue a nice touch). There are far too many signature holes to list but hole two; is an amazing drive over the parking lot to a basket on a raised area (originally a tee for the ball golf course that was never finished there) with a gorgeous view off the tee, and hole 17 a uphill hole where the last 200ish feet are up a steep rock face that plays OB and at the top of the rock face you are rewarded with the best view the entire complex has to offer, which is really saying something! Also getting to hole 3 and seeing the sign for the beginning of the final nine of the '07 worlds is just an amazing feeling no matter how many times you read that sign. Also this year we played this course later in the day and had to finish the majority of the back 9 in glow mode. I was surprised how well the course played for night golf and looking up at the insanely visible stars was such an awesome feeling. If you have played this course before and know the layout relatively well, I highly recommend a glow round here!
Cons: As mentioned in the previous reviews the navigation is definitely the biggest con to Blueberry. While there are some directional signs, it is not nearly enough especially when there is another course with tees near. I advise grabbing a scorecard even if you're not going to use it as there is a map of the course on the back which will help ease some of the navigational pains. A lot of people mention the course being too wet to play at times which while is certainly true you need to consider the area you are in. This area gets massive amounts of snow and in the spring all that snow melts and with it being such a varied elevation course water pools up in the low areas. I think that the best time to play any of the courses here is definitely during the fall.
Other Thoughts: You can't help but have an amazing time here if you are truly a disc golf fanatic, regardless of conditions. Where else can you play five world class courses at the same complex? HBH is most certainly the MECCA!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 16 Not
Great course in dire need of signage
Pros: The course is always in decent condition. This is simply one of the finest courses you will play. The level of difficulty is very high which makes it for an excellent challenge. With so many people coming to Highbridge to play Blueberry, it creates a well developed network of paths through the woods and rough. The variety of holes is wonderful, and Blueberry (along with all the courses at Highbridge) is indeed a destination stop.
Cons: As wonderful as Blueberry is, there are two major issues with it. The first is the lack of direction from one hole to the next. In fact, the general confusion you will have trying to find the next hole is off the charts. There were multiple (many multiple) instances of having no idea where the next hole was, and this led to our group all splitting up and walking in various directions to check out different baskets and tee boxes. A large amount of time and energy was spent on this endeavor (and it was thoroughly unenjoyable). The course criss crosses over two or three of the other courses at Highbridge, and you will frequently be confused as to what hole/course you are looking at. This situation is magnified as many of the tee boxes have no map of the current hole, and no signage of what the hole is, or even which direction the hole is. At one point, there were FOUR (yes, FOUR!!!) tee boxes, all grouped in a similar location, and only two of them had numbers painted on them (of those two, one had a map). We really hoped to play 18 holes of Blueberry, but instead, we ended up playing 17 holes total, and somehow ended up on the Granite Ridge course somewhere (still unknown to us) on the back 9. The lack of direction to the next holes (the scorecard map is completely useless) and lack of hole maps/signage to what hole you are on is such a major issue that these issues alone knock this tremendous course from a 5 star to a 3.5.
Other Thoughts: If you go to Highbridge, you best make sure you are in tip-top stamina for what is coming. The terrain and length of all the courses is something that is hard to prepare for if you have not made the trip to Highbridge before. For my team of three moderate to advanced players, it took a little over three hours to finish Blueberry. This seems like a reasonable an average time spent....and Blueberry is the second SHORTEST course of the five at Highbridge! The hills/insects/terrain/length will truly sap your energy along the way no matter how hearty you are, so you absolutely should plan to bring multiple beverages along with you to sustain yourself as it will be a long time before you see your car again.
10 of 26 people found this review helpful.
18 Helpful / 2 Not
A sweet, textured berry
Pros: Blueberry is one of the best combinations of design, elevation, variety, and challenge of any course I have played.
I really enjoyed the use of terraces here (a feature also used on Gold). On many holes the green or part of the fairway is raised above the surrounding terrain, creating some nice landing areas and a different feel.
The are a number of memorable holes here. Hole 2 is an open drive onto one of these terraces. Hole 8 is a challenging uphill shot through a fairway that won't allow for your max distance drive. Your next shot is a full shot through a gap into an open area, followed by an accuracy-testing approach into a wooded area. My slightly inaccurate shots left me awkward shots along the edges of the fairways.
Hole 9 is a sort of ace run but requires an arching turnover shot or forehand (for RHBH) to a steeply sloping green. You could ace it, but if your putt rolls the wrong way, it could be a bogey.
Hole 13 was maybe my favorite in the complex. A wall of trees blocks the landing area, another terrace that can be reached with a spike hyzer, a big forehand, or an accurate shot through the one gap. After that you approach the basket beyond a pond that is on another terrace above you. You have to walk this entire fairway beforehand, but it's so scenic that you won't mind.
Hole 17 is an epic uphill hole with the basket perched above a natural granite wall. I could go on with more of the holes but will spare you.
The course makes great use of fairways that go from wooded to open areas or vice versa, risky putts on slopes, narrow fairways alternating with long bombs that still require placement. There are multiple tees on most holes, but I only played the main tees (the white ones, I think). Navigation wasn't bad, but you'll want to have the scorecard/map with you.
Cons: Same as with Gold, you never knew which position was in use. If you are going to play any course more than once (and you really should give yourself enough time to play all of them multiple times), I'd recommend Blueberry. The second time is more fun as you remember which route you want to take.
As with all the courses at Highbridge, the tee signs are mediocre. I'm skeptical of the distances shown (I think they underestimate the true distance). Some are faded and difficult to read.
All of the Highbridge courses have some issue with searching for discs. If you can play here with friends, do. Blueberry is not the worst for this issue, and the fairways were perfectly mowed when I played. But the woods will leave you searching if you get far off the fairways. Bring your bright orange discs.
Other Thoughts: This seems to be the most played course at the complex, and for good reason. It is difficult to think of any element that this course lacks, and moreover, any element that it doesn't use really well. As I went through the course pictures before writing this, I had a lot of moments of "Oh, yeah, that hole! I forgot about that one, that was a good one, too."
Although this is the most recreational-friendly of Gold, Granite Ridge, and Blueberry, this isn't an easy course and true beginners might be frustrated. But this course would stand near the top of the heap even if it wasn't at Highbridge with all these other great courses.
When you're writing a review and get sad that you're back on your couch rather than getting another crack at those tough shots, you know you're reviewing a great course. This was one of my favorites.
18 of 20 people found this review helpful.
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