R.O.C.K. In The H.B.H.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Granite Ridge uses scenic vistas and epic downhill drives to create a long arm paradise chock full of memorable holes. 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. Granite is commonly identified as "the open course" at Highbridge, but open doesn't mean obstacle-free. Most of the wooded holes at the complex are tight off the tee, but then open up once you reach the fairway. On Granite, there's more room to launch from the pad and bite off a bit more distance. You'll still have to rely on careful shot placement, particularly on Par 4 and Par 5 holes, but this is the one course on site where bombers consistently have the ability to air out their tee shot. Many holes echo the initial ball golf conception of the property and play downhill drives, which adds to the long arm appeal. Elevation change is omnipresent here, and affects nearly every shot, whether subtly or (more commonly) dramatically. My personal highlights include Hole 12, a downhill placement drive to the mouth of a beautiful, tightly wooded fairway and green, Hole 14, a multi-route hole that rewards both a perfect placement shot or an absolute crush over swampy lowlands, and Hole 18, a brutally long uphill monolith that never seems to end, but when it does it leaves the player with a lingering sense of accomplishment that lasts long after the round.
All of the courses at Highbridge are beautiful, and even the least scenic points on the property blow away most other routings by a country mile. Granite features some incredible vistas, especially on Hole 7, the Hole 10 green, and the top of the Holes 9/12/15 teepad hill that dominates the topography of this course. Hole 18 features the same view as Blueberry #17, albeit not quite as dramatically. One of my favorite points on any of the Highbridge courses is the aforementioned Hole 12 green, which is especially tranquil and pleasant.
There's a single set of concrete tees on every hole throwing to Mach IIIs in good shape. Tee signs on Granite are some of the better ones at the complex.
Assuming you can find a golf cart that works, Granite is a ridable course. I prefer to walk, but riding would probably save a lot of strength and time.
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.
The tricky maintenance spot on Granite is the gorgeous Hole 12 fairway and green, whose marshy ground and hip-high weeds can only make the player wish for what could have been. This is one of the coolest spots on the property, so it's especially disappointing to see it overlooked just because it's a challenge to mow.
Granite doesn't boast the same variety that Gold and Blueberry have in abundance, which makes it slightly less enjoyable for me. You might feel the smallest bit of redundancy after throwing yet another 400-650 foot mostly open hole. That being said, this is a pretty severe nitpick - you're still going be enjoying yourself immensely.
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.
Granite is a popular minority opinion for favorite course at Highbridge, and it's easy to see why. In my mind, the sum of its parts falls just short of Blueberry and Gold, but the best of Granite definitely matches or exceeds the best of the other two. This one's a drain, but it's the most rewarding exhaustion you'll ever feel.
Being from a much less wild area of the Midwest, all I wanted on my first visit to Highbridge was to see a bear in nature. I was hopeful, but ready for disappointment. My group played Granite first, and after throwing my approach on Hole 2 I heard a loud crashing coming from the woods. I look up just in time to see a small black bear come somersaulting out of the brush and into the fairway. He looked dumbly at me before trundling away down the path to Hole 3. So not only did I see my bear, but I saw him on just the second hole of the entire trip. Granite delivered!
PROTIP: Check out the Springfield Tire Fire-sized collection of rubber to the left of Hole 7's fairway, one of the most quintessentially Highbridge things to look at on the property.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Super sneaky tough.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Another of the 18 hole gems at Highbridge Sports Complex near Highbridge, WI.
Mach3 baskets, all in decent enough repair and mounted well. They're what you'd expect, and work well enough. Multiple pin positions, but like all the courses at HBH, I don't know that they get moved very often.
Concrete tee pads, long enough, grippy enough, and solid. A few are showing their age (a Highbridge theme), but I don't remember any that I felt bad throwing off of. One tee per hole.
Granite Ridge is just another superbly designed course. When you're staring at each hole for the first time, you get a sense of openness, but once you throw it, you get a feel for all the intricacies of the design. Baskets on hillsides, bunkers from the old ball golf course, strategic trees, occasional water...it's all there. What Blueberry is to tight, wooded golf, Granite is to strategic obstacles avoidance.
Oh, the elevation. Pretty much every hole on Granite has some sort of elevation play, with many having pretty extreme rises and drops. Hole 9, with it's huge swamp on the right that forces you to think about that big bomber shot is a great downhill shot. Then you immediately get kicked in the head by a long sledding hill type uphill on the next hole. Granite also features what might be the most screw-you finishing hole I've played. 754' of straight uphill hatred. You know, because after a long round of up and down, what you really need is a 754' hole that plays like 1200'.
My favorite thing about Granite is the variety and plethora of lines available. It's pretty amazing that almost any range of arm power is accommodated on this course, on a hole by hole basis. It's just open enough to invite different lines, and just closed enough to laugh at you when you miss them. Hole distances fluctuate all over the map, with a handful of solid deuce runs, several placement par 4 type holes (hole 12 is such a great hole!) and everything in between.
Navigation is pretty simple. New signs are great, but even without them, it's pretty tough to get turned around here.
Oh, and if that's not all enough, the views on Granite are probably the best on the property. Neat.
Cons: As with everything at Highbridge, Granite could use some maintenance. A few of the holes could use some pruning, it can always use some mowing, and the tee pads are showing their age.
One set of tees isn't great, but I never feel like it's a big deal at the Highbridge courses, because of the plethora of options.
Other Thoughts: I love Granite, and even though Blueberry is probably a touch better as an overall course, this is my favorite to play at the facility. I dream about throwing hole 9 when I'm not there. Granite boasts a handful of holes that would be signature holes on any other course. You can also combine Granite with some of the other course onsite to form hybrid courses, which is kinda neat if you get bored of the regular designs (spoiler: you won't).
I wanted to rate Granite as a 4.0, but it's just so FUN every time I play it. Let's go now! Seriously.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Best of Highbridge Hills
Pros: It's difficult to rate any one course at Highbridge on their own merit, but Granite stood out to me as the best of the best here. As far as the course condition, everything was well groomed and clean. What little trash we saw outside of the garbage cans was fresh and not sitting around forever, so we simply picked it up and took care of the course along the way.
You can rent and use a golf cart on Granite (and Gold) if you choose to do so! We didn't, but that's a big plus for a great experience that you won't get in most places. There were a lot of functioning carts available, so if you want to get in more rounds without getting gassed, it was entirely possible.
The teepads are mostly in good condition, There are maybe a couple of rough ones, but nothing that would pose a safety risk. They are plenty large enough to use for whatever shot you are shaping off of the tee.
The course play was very fun! Everything was on the long position and the challenges here are more than just raw distance. The first part of the course forces you to choose the right line through the woods our around trees and bushes. It opens up a bit through the middle, but there are very few "hyzer to the hole" open type shots. This one plays up and down elevation and utilizes it well. 9, 12, 14, and 15 all end up using the same hill for either the basket or tee, but it's in no way crowded. There are some water obstabcles (pond and marshes) as well as a creek, if it's full. The pond comes into play on 6&7. Don't underestimate how large it is! That splash sound off of the tee is still haunting our group.
At the end oft your round, which is such satisfyingly good disc golf, you are faced with one last challenge of playing back up the hill. It's a great feeling to beat the hill, too. Stay focused and a 4 is entirely possible!
Cons: There's really just some updating / maintenance needing to be done. If the cons were fixed, this would be an easy 5* course.
- Tee signs are in disrepair. Some are functional, but most need to be replaced.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Recently played it memory not good. Out of the three coarses that I played there. I thought granite ridge was slightly easier than blueberry hill and the gold coarse being most challenging.I though coarse was very well designed made great use of elevation and for most player they would not have a problem getting off tee and advancing there disc.At other times accurate skill shots were required.
Cons: After reading some of the other reviews the coarses could have better signage throughout coarses to help lead a new person to next tee
0 of 6 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Variety - this course gives you almost verything, tight long fairways, a few shorter open shots with a few trees speckled around the fairway, uphills, BIG uphills, downhills, BIG downhills, and quite a few nice open holes to let em fly on
Equal left, right, and straight shots, and a few long ones which wind left and right, and have multiple direction changes that flow well, not obnoxiously just for something different
Signature holes - there are a few. Number three is an interesting one, one I've yet to encounter a similar one elsewhere. You're first shot is down a 100' ish steep downhill, with a narrow landing strip. At the bottom it has a blind right angle, which stretches about 300' along a nicely manicured fairway. You're first two shots must be perfect placement shots, to have any chance at the scorecard's posted par 3. Number 7 is offers a more gradual downhill, much more wide open, but with OB water to the left, so you cant just mindlessly cannon one out there, you've got to think. After your first placement drive, you have another long fairway drive to get near the wide open pin. Number 9 shoots down another steep hill, w tight trees around the first opening. Any decent flat or hyzer RHBH shot w an overstable disc should get you good placement here. Dont turn it over though, there's a swamp to the right.
Number twelve offers a nice open bomb for about 200-250 feet, but then enters a narrow woods fairway with trees interspersed throughout, I truly enjoyed the variety on this one. 17 and 18 are tough ones; 17 is a long pipeline where only the straightest drive with good distance will get you any placement once the fairway opens up. And of course 18 is, like Blueberry's 17, the long grinding uphill, except this one's a par 5.
Beauty- holes 7-11 offer the most gorgeous and pristine disc fairways I've seen to date. Long winding, rolling hills with short grass and a few trees here and there. You can launch some bombs here, but the trees are placed perfectly so you must still have a little strategy to your shots. This part of the course is a nice change up from the narrow lanes that are found everywhere around Highbridge.
Concrete tees, DGA baskets, decent signage
Cons: Course can get a pretty mucky, especially near the beginning and end, but not usually through baskets 7-11
Hole 15 - this hole felt so out of place to me. Aside from one maybe 10 foot wide opening in the leaves to the right, which is very low to the ground, it seems as if you are shooting at a huge wall of trees, with basically no lanes - you cant see through at all with all the leaves. It may be designed specifically for tomahawks, but I am not a huge fan of it
Lile other Highbridge courses, some of the signage is currently missing - bring a scorecard
Other Thoughts: This is my favorite course I've played to date. The combination of beauty, challenge and fun factor are unmatched in my opinion
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 23 Not
Pros: Great layout of course. There are a lot of great ideas goin on here but most of, if not all of, them are half done. Lots of space and many very cool and interesting holes. Tee pads were nice and in good shape. I really am trying to find "Pros" to list here but it's pretty hard to talk up a turd.
Cons: Well where do I start.The place is pretty much a dump. Garbage everywhere you look. Lots of unfinished projects laying around. Looks like he started on project then got an idea and started another and did that about 10 times without ever finishing one of them. Make place look real, real unwelcoming. Some of the tee pads were half covered with growth from surrounding brush. Again lots of garbage around tees and in woods surrounding fwys. No real direction when you get there as to where to go to pay/park. Since no one was there it was a bit difficult starting off. Signs do not clearly tell you where to go, but I am used to this. The golf carts, I would never use one, are so bad looking. Why advertise these if they are all broke down and in the woods with tree growing through them. Clubhouse had wild life inside. Chased a coon out of the pro shop, if that what you call it. This really is a great course, but it really does look like a dump. There are a few buildings on property that really bring the place down. There is a house near 1 tee that is about the biggest eye sore ever and the stench of poop was very strong on the first 2 holes. Couches outside turned upside down. Garbage everywhere around starting area. Abandon cars. Piles of lumber that have plants growing ON them. Yes ON them.
Other Thoughts: The people who complain about the sceeters and thorn bushes aren't real discers. Like I said the course design is great, but the rest of the place is in real need of some TLC. Finish the projects and clean up the couches, trash, fix the septic, empty a garbage can or 2. The pay box was stuffed full of 5 and 10 $ bills so use some of that money and clean up a bit. Even a single days work would really make a difference. I'd volunteer for a season pass. For $5 I should be dry heaving on the 2nd tee cause it smells like someone took a poop in my disc bag. I would suggest playing this course in the early spring when overgrowth and bugs aren't bad. Good luck and if you find a Pro Star tie-die on the 13 hole near the pond it's mine. That was the first day with it to.
5 of 28 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 1 Not
Hard as a rock (and some tall grass)
Pros: Granite Ridge is like the big brother of Blueberry: a little bigger, a little tougher, a bit less clever, but still from the same lineage. The course is about 10% longer than Blueberry, but you'll feel it.
The first seven holes gradually play down the hill, and these feature some of the more wooded holes.
Hole 3 has a drive across a thin land bridge with danger on either side to a difficult landing spot. I only trusted a thumber here off the tee. After the drive the hole opens up into a wide fairway. I respect holes that acknowledge your drive doesn't have to be your longest shot.
Hole 7 is one of my favorites at Granite: a downhill open shot that looks deceptively easy, but a fade will leave you in a huge pond that isn't very visible from the tee (careful with this one), and turning it over will put you in the woods. Looking back up the fairway from the basket shows the beauty of Highbridge with water, elevation, and gently curving, sculpted fairways.
Holes 8 through 14 play up and down and around the same hill at the corner of the property, and it is one of the more physically exhausting parts of the complex. Both times I played I had my hands on my knees on the slow walk up hole 10's rolling fairway that almost certainly used to be a golf fairway. There are some fun holes here for sure, and the lengths alternate nicely so there are some birdie opportunities next to legit par 4s.
Hole 18 is one of the more epic finishing holes I've seen. It is over 600 feet uphill the whole way. It will take a full drive to get beyond the tree-lined fairway before you curve right and heave a couple more drives up before getting to the green protected by some sporadic trees.
Granite Ridge shows off Highbridge's smart use of trees. It demonstrates that you don't always need a forest to impact design; sometimes a small grove of trees or even a smattering of sparse trees can subtly impact your lines (you'll realize this when you don't pay attention and end up just inside one of these areas). For this reason (among many others), I think the replayability of these courses is super high: each time will teach you a bit about your landing zones.
Navigation wasn't bad, but it seemed a little tougher than some of the other courses. You'll want to have the scorecard/map with you.
Cons: All of the courses here have at least some issue with tall grass off the fairways (not on the fairways; the mowing was pretty impeccable when I was there), and Granite Ridge seemed to be a bit worse than the others. There were plenty of holes where I drifted off the fairway, spotted my landing area, but still spent a minute or two looking. On hole 9 my bright orange disc ended up in some tall golden grass, and I spent over 5 minutes looking. Searching for discs is as exhausting as the steepest hill. This nuisance tarnishes what is otherwise some top-notch design, beauty, and challenge.
As with all the courses here, you never knew which position was in use. The second time is more fun as you remember which route you want to take.
Same as the other courses at Highbridge, the tee signs are mediocre. I wouldn't trust the distances shown if it makes a difference in your disc selection (I think they underestimate the true distance). Some are faded and difficult to read. If you care about playing all the tee positions, and I don't, they weren't always obvious.
Other Thoughts: The degree of overall difference between Granite Ridge, Blueberry, and Gold is fairly small. If you like any of them, you'll probably like all of them, although they do emphasize slightly different skills. I'm not sure that Granite Ridge isn't the best test of overall skills at the complex, and it's absolutely one of my top 10 courses.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 5 Not
Lovin' every minute of it.
Pros: Long but some elevated tees to make a few of these long ones shorter. Not counting 10 and if you think that's bad wait for the 670ft hard uphill 18. Water in play with a couple 4's and a 5. Wonderful views on a lot of holes.
Cons: Its to far from me.
Other Thoughts: HH is a wonderful place with different amazing views on every course. John the owner is the man. He has big vision. It maybe a little to big but he's gaining on it. I've been to HH 5 years runnin and he has improved every year. You can nit pick at this or that but stop sit back and look at whats around you and what it takes to get it done. HH is the true disc golf mecca. I can't wait to go back.
2 of 7 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Granite Ridge Review
Pros: Great mix of holes:
This course will challenge you on a variety of shots- uphill, downhill, left, right, big "S's", tight, open, long (400-600ft), short (250-300 ft), etc. You will potentially throw every shot you have and will be able to give it all you have on a couple holes.
I've played this course about ten times ~6 different trips through varying times of the year and I don't think I've even seen another group on the course, let alone have wait for them on a hole.
Great tee pads- large and grippy.
Natural Solitude/ amazing vistas-
This course is an organic course and since you are so far away from any large cities, you really get to take in the natural environment. The course (when I've played it) has never been overcrowded giving me an opportunity to appreciate the beauty and calmness of the land, and the views on some of the holes overlook the surrounding hillside and farmland are great- autumn is an amazing time to play here.
John (the owner of Highbridge Hills) has golf carts available to rent for this course. It is a great course to kick back and drive to your disc- especially if you can bomb them.
Cons: A few holes lack signage on where the next hole is- I definitely recommend grabbing a scorecard at the clubhouse, especially if you haven't played the course before.
Other Thoughts: At a length of 8725 ft, this course is fairly long, however, most of the holes are open- many opportunities to grip it and rip it. If you miss your lines, though, you can end up in trouble- especially on the water holes- water comes into play on about 4-5 holes (a stream runs along the left side of two holes). There is varying terrain- some large downhill shots and hole 18 is a massive uphill hole that takes a few pumps to get up to the hole- the view from the top is spectacular, though.
There are many legitimate par 4s on this course with at least one legitimate par 5. The course will force you to make decisions- it may be risky to try and rip a drive out 350- it may be smarter to play a 250 ft shot in the fairway to give you a decent approach.
I come up to this complex every year or so. When I first started playing disc ~5 years ago, this course was very daunting, but now it is a ton of fun. A beginner wouldn't score very well on this one.
Lastly, I will comment on the whole complex-Highbridge Hills. If you make it up here, chances are you drove a long way, so it doesn't make sense to play just one course. The great thing about the courses at HH is that they vary in difficulty, so pending on your skill level or what you're in the mood for, there is a course that will most likely fit your needs. As standalone courses, a couple are still absolutely amazing- Granite/ Blueberry - but I'd bump the ratings up just because if the course doesn't satisfy you, you only have to walk a couple hundred feet to a totally different course- The Bear- long, tight and woodsy- very hard, Gold-very long, mostly open, Granite- mostly open, fairly long, Woodland Greens- short technical course through the woods, numerous ace runs, Blueberry- open and woodsy, some long, some short technical holes. The grounds are beautiful and calm.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 5 Not
Another Highbridge gem
Pros: This is another of the excellent courses on the Highbridge grounds. Granite ridge offers a more wooded section at the beginning with it opening up more in the middle to end. There are large, level and grippy tee pads on all holes. All holes have a solid map with a basic hole layout, hole #, various pin locations and distances and pars for the various pin locations. These serve their purpose just fine. Once again like all the courses at Highbridge, they use the available land in about the best way possible. There are drastic elevation changes here as well. There are numerous uphill and downhill bombs to be had here. The baskets are all standard mach 3's that are in good condition and catch very nicely. There's a very drastic variation in distances here. The shortest is 245 feet on hole 13 all the way up to a possible 805 feet on hole 3 with a great mix in between. There are also water hazards on 4 of the 18 holes here. Again a great job using the available land. There are also multiple pin locations on almost all the holes, with most offering very different looking shots. Like all the other Highbridge courses you're going to need every type of shot here. All the holes have a fair line to the pin. With that being said though, you'll have to deal with the wind on most of the holes. This is probably the biggest challenge on this course. That or the distance. Or the elevation. Basically just an all around tough course. The course starts to the north of the pro shop near the woodland greens course. Navigation is pretty easy. They offer scorecards with a good map on the back of them in the pro shop. You won't need it for the most part but it wouldn't hurt to grab one just in case. One confusing area is at the top of the hill by holes 9, 12 and 15 I believe. But with a little bit of walking around you'll sort it out. Another thing to remember is to bring plenty of fluids to drink. You'll need them playing this and/or any of the other courses on site. They have many homemade benches and trash cans located throughout the course too which you'll most likely need at some point. Another cool little touch is that they have the Blueridge and granberry courses. These basically just kind of combine different sections of Granite Ridge and Blueberry Hill to make a different way to play the two. Just another nice little touch by John, the super awesome, friendly owner of Highbridge. Also along with the Gold course you can rent golf carts to use on the course. Just another nice Highbridge touch.
Cons: The bugs can get pretty bad on this or any of the Highbridge courses. This isn't really a con but you'll definitely want to bring bug spray as you would any other course in northern Wisconsin. Other than that I don't have much else.
Other Thoughts: This is just one of the 6 up and running courses at the Beautiful Highbridge Hills sports complex. I highly recommend visiting here for any serious disc golfers out there. Theres a reason these courses are rated among the best. That's because they are.
4 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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