A course that lives up to it's name
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Beauty - This course is one of the most scenic courses on the property, if not the most. Playing along steep ridges on the northeastern side of the property, you will get probably the best views that all of Highbridge has to offer. At one point, you can get a great overlook of Granite's holes 7-11, and it's gorgeous, as well as stunning northern views spanning miles and miles
Isolation - there is nothing like playing disc out in these woods. I'm not quite sure what it is about Bear that the other courses don't have, but it was eerie. This course stretches so far out into the depths of the woods and the sides of what feel like mountains, and leaves you with a sensation that is fantasy-like. Once I finished with the course, it felt like I just exited Narnia or something.
Challenge - this course is the hardest course I have ever played, hands down. The plethora of par fours and fives are definitely true to their numbers. The majority of holes are multi shot, where your first drive is critical in whether you will get to the pin to even have a chance at a par. 99% of the time, if you miss or kick into the trees, it's bogey at best for you. Fairways are very narrow most of the time, and even the wider ones have trees scattered about to make you be precise.
Elevation - there many intense elevation changes here, and they're gorgeous and add some great character to the course. From the long, steep rolling fairways (no. 4), to playing straight, then steep down, then up again (no. 11), and across valleys (no. 12), there's plenty of awesome ups and downs
Signature holes - three holes really pop out in my head as signatures for this course. Number three would be my favorite. While most holes on the complex all together offer one or two routes, this one offers about four. You can go (right hand throws) big hyzer, straighter hyzer, straighter anhyzer, or flick/big anhyzer. I love the options you have on this one. It took me about two minutes to decide what the heck I was gonna throw on this. Number 11 is another I really like. You start off with a relatively flat first shot, then you have to navigate a steep valley, and go back up to the pin. 12 also offers a steep valley, but instead of going down then up, your objective is to go straight over it, and the pin is atop the hill across on the other side. This hole is also one of the shorter ones compared to the rest, a little over 300 feet.
Variety - there are a couple ace runs and mid 300 foot shots thrown in the course to break up the huge holes, as well as all kinds of different direction changes and shaped fairways
Cons: Baskets - this is my no. 1 con of all for the whole thing. With the switching of Bear's and Woodland's baskets this year (a decision I still support nonetheless), Bear now has a bunch of those awful green baskets. They're ugly, and suck at catching. Just being honest. There is also at the time of this review, three different basket types on this course. The first 6 are the green ones, then 7 and 8 are black (hard to spot) DGA's, then 9 is a green one again, then the rest are Lightning DB 5's. Talk about confusing - I may be nitpicky with this cause I'm all OCD like but man that bothered me. If this basket situation can be resolved, I'll come back and add another half disc to this rating
Un-Fairways - some holes seem to be 95% poke and hope, OR have too much tree overgrowth blocking lines. One of the holes (13), seems to be not much more than a one or two pass mower width path, with thick, long bushes and grass even in the portion in between the trees that is supposed to be fairway. I like challenge, but a couple of these fairways seem to offer little flight room for the disc.
Monotony - while I did state there IS variety with a couple short holes thrown in, I do think things could've been done to make some of the multi shot holes less repetitive. Like said in previous reviews, it started to get stale after having so many holes where you shoot to a dogleg left or right, then shoot to another, then another, then the pin. I wish a few of the par four/fives would've been a little bit more open with a few more options. Also, while holes 8 and 9, which are both aceable, provide a nice break from the long grinders, it would've been nice for them to be spread out a bit more, instead of two right in a row.
Signage - Almost all if not all tees had no signage left at all - but of course I am working to fix this issue in the near future
THICK ROUGH - some of the holes would seem almost hopeless to search for discs in if you shanked one. This course has the thickest and worst rough of any at the hill.
Very physically demanding - this course took me about 2 and a half hours to complete, and there was LOTS of strenuous hiking with all the elevation changes. Not necessarily a bad thing per say, but it's something to keep in mind if you're not up for a long, workout type round.
Other Thoughts: I was very interested to see how this course would be after reading other reviews and descriptions, and man it holds up. Even though this course throttled me, I still loved it - even with all the pros I've listed, there's just something very difficult to put your finger on, that's just mystical.
I'm happy I decided to give it a go before winter, and I'll surely be playing it again in the future. Just when you think HBH can't get better, then you find the Bear, lurking in the deep woods, ready to show you you're not as good at dg as you think, but to also teach you that it's still awesome regardless.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: This course is both challenging and fun. It really challenges your accuracy with tight fairways and tons of trees. There are multiple lines to the baskets so I will be playing again to really get a good feel for the course.
Cons: As of today, the course is still incomplete. When it is complete it will be amazing. The entire course was really wet and a little tough to navigate. Also bugs were overwhelming today.
Other Thoughts: Its really a beautiful course but needs to be completed. Bring bug spray. Stay at the honka house!
1 of 6 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
7 Holes of Pure Awesome
Pros: Unfortunately, this course is still a work in progress, but what holes are done are amazing!! if the last 11 are like the front 7 I played, this could become my favorite course at highbridge.
However, in the meantime, i must mark this down for only being 7 holes of an amazing course. I base my opinions on what holes there are already, which are quite good, and presume with my comments that the rest are of the same mold.
Like all highbridge courses, the bear has great baskets, teepads and signs, each with a clever bear-themed hole name.
The bear is as described: long and wooded. As I stated to my companion, if woodland greens and Gold had a kid, it would be the Bear. Like woodlands, but with length, and much more complexity, this course delivers legit par 4 and 5 tight wooded shots, up to usual highbridge standards.
What the bear does better than any of its brothers, is provide risk reward. On many holes, the fairway is split into several distinct tunnels through the woods, which i think is wonderful and adds tremendously to the replay value of the hole. As usual, baskets are well protected by trees, adding some zest to normally easy putts and making you think before you can just park it.
Like the other highbridge courses, the pars are attainable, but not easy, especially on the longer, par 4s and 5s, since you have to bomb it through tree-covered fairways, instead of the open fields of Gold or Granite.
These 7 hole made me think almost as much as any of hte other courses at highbridge, which I really like, and gets me excited for when this masterpiece is completed.
Cons: ONLY 7 HOLES DONE. Right now, you play the first 7 of the bear, then hop over to the last 11 of woodland greens, which i also love, so I was happy, but still, i was expecting the whole thing, and was a bit dissapointed that it wasnt ready to go.
AS can be expecting with a course in development, this course feels unfinished, with many stumps still to be ground up, and brush to be hauled, a symptom shared by other newish courses like Brown Deer and some of the Lemon Lake courses.
However, these are minor details as the first 7 holes are very playable and ready to go, if a little rough around the edges
Other Thoughts: Each of the courses at Highbridge is a different flavor of great course, which one you prefer will depend on what types of courses you prefer in general: Championship, Open, Hilly, wooded, technical, etc.
As this is tightly wooded like Woodland Greens, perhaps moreso, and certainly longer and more difficult, this will understandably never be everyone's favorite course. Not everyone likes hitting trees as much as I do. But if you cant get enough technical wooded holes, this course will seem sweeter than honey.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: This course is a MONSTER. In my opinion it is the second best at Highbridge (second to the technically phenominal Blueberry course, and a lot better than Gold). The layout and use of tight woods and long fairways is excellent, exactly what I look for in a course. There is a decent amount of elevation and even manmade water hazards. Many holes (if not all) offer various routes to the pin. Extras like elevated tees and elevated pins make it all that much better.
Cons: WTF?! It's not really 18 holes, and never has been! For the last three years 2006-2008 I have been to highbridge eagerly awaiting what the website describes as "navigating the maze of trees on the 888' hole at the Bear". But there are only 8 holes complete and playable. After that, you transition over to and play the last part of the Woodland Greens course. While woodland greens is kinda neat and technical with lot's of trees and character, it is very short. I'm still eagerly awaiting the full layout (have not been here in 2009 yet). The Bear wasn't even playable for the 2007 Worlds!
Most of the course (on the entire property) was made by plowing through the woods with heavy equipment like dozers. Thus, the terrain is not level and fairly rutted. Tee signs are only okay. For a "Disc Golf Complex (Mecca)" like highbridge, I would expect more!
Other Thoughts: Highbridge is an amazing experience in general. Real rugged disc golf on an amazing piece of property with excellent terrain, great views, scenery galore, peaceful tranquility, and excellently balanced and designed courses with only MINOR flaws and nit-pick personal dislikes. Your total expereince at Highbridge will be memorable if you stay there, make a weekend out of it, and disc ALL DAY for multiple days in a row. Be prepared to put yourself to the test.
Despite having only played the 8 holes of the Bear onm numerous occasions, I love it, and can't wait for it all!
When they finally complete the full 18 hole layout, I WILL be updating my rating to a 4.5 or a 5.
UPDATE: I cannot rate this a 4 any more. It's only 7 holes. Independent of the fact that the course is at a disc golf complex, it is still only 7 holes! While great, they don't deserve a 4. Now a 3.5 to be more in line with relative rating of other courses I have reviewed, and I'll change to a 4.5 or 5 once 18 are installed. And honestly, I am beginning tho think that once The Bear and Whitetail are done, that they may shift my overall course rankingas by so much (i.e an undisputed 5-disc course), that all other reviews will have to drop by comparison.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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