3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Challenging course. but with playable challenge that has actual thought behind it.
Great hole designs
Good mix of shots needed
Nice variation of shots needed
Location is awesome- amazing use of topography.
Good tee signs, some have been vandalized though.
Nice rubber pads.
NO trash at all.
Cons: Remote- was a little hard to find, had to ask a fisherman where to start.
Tough to navigate- Next tee signs would completely alleviate this.
NASTY rough. I lose 4 dics playing a solo round here on decent shots and searched a long time for some others that were barely, if even off the fairway at all. One I hit MAYBE 2 feet off the fairway and knew exactly where it was and could not locate it. The huge downhill shot I knew for a fact I was going to lose one without a spotter, but i let it rip because it was such a cool hole, I made a decent shot, heard it hit reasonably clean, and never saw a glimpse of the disc again. I get that this is due to the remoteness of the course and lack of people playing it, but it has to be mentioned.
An occasional ATV buzzed by, but not a big deal.
Some of the hills are a little treacherous to navigate.
Other Thoughts: This is an amazing course, it really is. It's up there with some of the top courses in Michigan for sure. It has everything- uphill, downhill, blind, water in play, bombers, technical shots,ETC.
It has a "cool" factor that IMO is only beaten by Flip City, and that is saying something. The old strip mine quarry pit, railroad arches, ETC are something that you will never see on another course.
The rough is a total beast, and playing this course alone is tough.Even the fairways in some areas are pretty rugged. You can honestly expect to lose a disc or 2 during a solo round, and it's a legit risk even with a spotter just due to the growth of the rough.
The rubber pads are nice, but concrete pads would really set this course off.
What this course honestly needs is just people to play it and get it worked in a little, and a local club to take care of it. I know that's asking a lot since Iron River is so remote and such a small town.
Of The few negatives it does have - rubber pads on longs, dirt on shorts ( some shorts had rubber) is not that big of a deal. The remoteness of the course is awesome and is one of the big cool parts of it, but it also leads to the harsh rough and not much traffic to get the course beat in is probably the biggest issue with it.
Overall this course is awesome, and is one of the coolest courses I have ever played, It really is a shame that it will never get the kudo's it deserves since it is so out there.
It really is a a great course, and in terms of hole design itself, it would easily be a 4.5. It really is a shame that this course will prob never reach it's potential. If this course was in a populated area and had regular traffic and cement pads, it would be talked about as a destination course nationwide- I am being 100% serious on that.
People should really try and play this course, I plan on making the 11 hour trip back next summer to play it again, hopefully with some friends.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: This course has plenty of elevation and uses it well. There are a number of really cool holes. Everyone mentions the basket in the middle of the huge arch. But also there's a hole across the river. And I thought 10 was a great, tough, uphill hole with low clearance - not super long but still a tough 3. Plus several top of the world type shots (a rarity east of mountain time). The pads and baskets are in good shape. The course was also not crowded - we were there on a Saturday afternoon in July and saw one other group (and a couple people out hiking / biking.)
Cons: The rough is the worst sort -- it's very hard to find a disc, but often not bad to throw out of. The combination of this rough and blind downhill holes is a recipe for lost discs. We used spotters on many holes still lost one disc and nearly lost several other (15+ mins of searching).
The course doesn't flow too bad, but it is a bit tricky to navigate in places -- I was glad to have a map. It also isn't obvious from the parking lot that you've even successfully found a disc golf course. I like that there are tee signs, but in many cases they aren't very helpful and you still have to walk the hole.
There are a decent number of holes which just feel like filler between the cool holes.
The course would also be dangerous if it ever got crowded (admittedly unlikely) -- a decent number of holes throw close to each other. (Between the overlapping holes and the lost disc problem, this would be a terrible course to hold a tournament at.)
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
a diamond in the very very rough... forgivable issues.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Aesthetic-- plays through an old Iron mine (I think) many of the structures still remain in "ruin" form. Open strip mines remain and offer an awesome vista from the 7,8,9 pads. Off-road trails run parallel with the course and the ever present sound of two stroke engines is a little distracting.
Teepads-- the best rubber teepads that I have ever seen. Diamond plate pattern cut into them makes them super grippy even when wet. The short tees are trail pack and can be a bit difficult to find as they were added after the original build and tend to be a bit sunken.
Baskets-- Brand new DGA baskets. Highly visible with bright orange necks. This is vitally important as many of the shots are blind.
Teesigns-- where there are teesigns (many are missing, more to come) they are fairly accurate, #13 is a bit wonky trying to figure out the exact layout of the hole. The Map helps though.
Routing and nav-- easy easy. the map is essential to successfully navigating this course. Next tee signs from 1 to 2 are very helpful.
Variety-- This course offers every type of hole you could want with the exception of wide open bomber.
Elevation-- Brilliant use of elevation and natural topography. I think that every bit of creativity was squeezed into this course and it shows.
Uniqueness-- There are some very unique looks here. #5 with its ancient brick oven ruins #9 with the use of the concrete arch for basket placement, #10 up and around the bend with the crazy awesome road running around it. #11 with it's huge sweeping left with completely unforgiving rough on either side. #13, I don't think there is any other hole like this anywhere. crazy hard hyzer almost feeding back into itself. #17 is the shortest hole on the course but throws back over the Iron River.
Solitude-- one of my favorite things about playing a disc golf course like this is the ability to completely lose yourself into the course and surround yourself in nature and your game. This course has the unique ability to do all of these things in a very beautiful way. This is a very very special course.
Cons: As mentioned previously, many of the teesigns were missing but with the distances and map that are available in 4G service here, there really isn't a need and these are forgivable.
Other Thoughts: This is just such an amazing course in every way. Many minor issues are completely forgivable as the local scene doesn't really take care of this course. The Course was relatively recently mowed when we were there which was really really welcome.
2017 Update: when we got to this course in early October, course was EXTREMELY overgrown. To the point of nearly unplayable. There was something going on between holes 3 and 4 where the entire hillside was being pushed down. It's disappointing to say the least what has happened to one of my favorite courses... Needs TLC badly.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: The course plays on a hilly wooded property. Elevation changes on many holes add some great challenges and some fun variety. There are a couple steep hills, including some tough uphill shots and some fun downhills. Some of the pin placements offer some cool protected greens and some rollaway potential.
Most of the course plays with defined fairways and thick woods and rough if you miss your line. You will definitely pay for errant shots here, accuracy is a premium. There's a solid mix of hole shapes, calling for a balance of left and right turning shots of all different lengths. The signage is decent, most holes have tee signs with hole length and shape, and there are a few next tee signs.
Cons: Some of the signage is missing, not a huge deal but it could be a problem if vandalism is the cause and it continues. The long tees have rubber mats, most were in good shape, but a handful were lumpy or sloped with poor footing. The short tees are small and poorly laid, most were rocky, rutted and sloped. I can't imagine they get much play, especially with signage only at the longs.
Several of the holes here offer pretty open lines, with dense rough as the only real obstacle, a little more wooded tunnel golf would be my preference. The rough here is some of the nastiest I've seen, especially since it was encroaching on most of the fairways leaving lost disc potential even for good shots (one basket was surrounded by knee high plants). The walking path is in play on a few holes, with blind shots at times that could be a safety issue with pedestrians present. A couple holes have the next tee too close to the basket, if multiple groups are playing there could be some conflict.
Other Thoughts: Beginners won't have much fun here, there are lots of tough shots with distance, elevation, and really punishing rough. More experienced players will find some great shots here, with cool variety and tough challenges. With some maintenance and improvements, this could be a really cool course worth going out of your way to play. At the moment, it's got some fun moments but it's also a disc eater, I wouldn't play it without someone to help spot.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Currently Precocious, Potentially Legendary
Pros: The Tailings is situated on a very unique piece of land with interesting natural features and cool manmade structures. The designers did a great job of incorporating these features and structures to create varied shots and interesting hazards. The design has you throwing left, center, right, up, down and waaaaaay down from the tee. The river plays a role on several holes and deep pits on a couple other holes threaten to gobble plastic. Distances are varied and there are a couple opportunities to air it out. There are major elevation changes on several holes.
Course peripherals are solid. Baskets are still new and have number signs. The tees are level rubber pads. The rubber provides good traction when dry. Don't know how they fare in the rain and wet. Signs are present at the tees, providing a sufficient model of the hole with the distance. Most signs have a 'next tee' icon, which is useful.
I was the only player on the course for both my rounds on a gorgeous Friday morning/afternoon. The course was clean and mostly free of litter. Good opportunity to scope some wildlife. I saw no fewer than three deer and a very entertaining gaggle of baby ducks with parents on the river. I also get the impression that an encounter with less-friendly wildlife is not outside the realm of possibility (I'm lookin' at you, Mr. Bear).
Cons: The course is young and still raw. Even the (comparatively) tame fairways are a treacherous jumble of stones, rubble, stumps, grass, gravel and mining detritus. Departure from the fairway can be excessively punitive, as the rough in certain areas is nigh on impenetrable when attempting to retrieve a disc. The extreme terrain and the slag from clearing the course combine to force some hairy disc rescue operations. Certain areas dictate a drop as the only reasonable choice.
While the essentials like baskets and tee pads are solid, the course is a bit lacking in amenities. Trash receptacles...where are they? However, despite the lack of trash cans, the course was very clean. No benches to speak of. Adding benches on a couple of the holes would be huge. I'm thinking primarily of #11, where such a climb should be rewarded with a proper sit, and the view is deserving of a bench. Speaking of the climb on #11, an emergency rope would take a bit of the fear out of the descent (I nearly had a brownout in my shorts on the way down...terrifying).
Navigation isn't a huge problem, but there are a couple places where some additional clarification would come in handy. On a couple of the holes (the #2,3,4,5,6 cluster) the 'next tee' icons on the signs were not effective for me.
Some folks will see the rubber pads as a con. There are no bathrooms onsite. The ORV path can be a bit of a nuisance if you're looking for real solitude.
Other Thoughts: PLAY THE TAILINGS. The Tailings has the potential to be legendary. The land is full of interesting quirks and features that create serious character and charm. The river is beautiful. The crumbling brick structure between #4 and #5 and the arches on #9 are completely unique and hearken back to a once thriving mining industry. The course is distinctively 'Northwoods.' To their credit, the designers took advantage of all these things to create a fun and exciting course.
Assuming the Tailings continues to receive the present level of care and attention, use and age will benefit the course the most. It seemed to me that the course is still breaking in, which accounts for the rough around the edges vibe. If the course gets sufficient play the edges will smooth over time.
In the meantime, proper footwear (read: hiking boots w/ ankle support) is essential. Also, bring extra water. I didn't have a problem with the hike per se, but rather having to be constantly vigilant in my foot placement. Both fairway and rough present a persistent hazard of twisting an ankle. Long pants are also a good idea. If you are not confident in your ability to hit the fairway, a spotter is key. I played solo and spent a lot of time searching for errant throws. This is partially because I'm not that good, and partially because the rough is really, really rough.
From a roadtrip perspective, I'm not sure Tailings is in the 'destination' echelon just yet. However, it is certainly worth hitting if you are anywhere in the neighborhood (I drove 2 hours each way and was glad that I did). I really hope I have the chance to return at some point in the next couple of years to see how the course progresses. With some additional amenities and a bit of breaking-in, this course will be a destination.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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