A good course that I (may have) hit at a bad time
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Zobel Park is located on a mostly wooded hillside in rural south-central Wisconsin. For travelling disc golfers, it's about 2/3 of the way from Rollin Ridge to Wilderness Campground. The park has a couple of other amenities, but the main attraction is definitely an 18 hole disc golf course.
Zobel DGC plays as a medium length, mostly technical round. The hillside is generally not particularly steep, but affects play on many holes. You will play up, down, and along it several times each. The holes range from tightly wooded to mostly open, and everything in between. The foliage is mostly old growth (very tall) pine trees, with younger deciduous trees and bushes filling in the understory. There were lots of what looked like huge nuts lying on the ground during my early fall round, which was cool though I would hate to get hit by one of those things falling from the tree! The rough was thick in a few places, but overall I didn't really worry about losing discs.
There seemed to be a decent mix of left turns, right turns, and straight shots through the woods. A couple holes are more open, like #13 and #18 which both play downhill and have nice views of the Wisconsin countryside from the tee (particularly #18). The distances range from a couple of 200'ish tight throws, up to 2-3 more open holes in the 450-550' range. My favorite hole was #6, a 400' sweeping left turn that starts out on a flat section of the hill then slopes downward with a line of the tall pine trees in the center of the fairway.
The baskets catch well and are painted blue. I think they are Chainstars. A couple of the baskets are elevated, most notably hole 11's which is on top of a large boulder. There is also a practice basket next to the parking lot.
The teepads are cement and in good shape. Most holes have two pads. Many of the long pads had benches nearby. In theory, there was a tee sign at each pad. They were fine, with distances shown to an "A" and "B" pin position.
There is a vault toilet between holes 9 and 10 (not at the beginning of the course).
Cons: As alluded to above, there are two teepads on most holes and two pin positions shown on the tee signs. However, the execution of the multiple layouts here is not great. It seemed like there were quite a few holes where the different layouts wouldn't really change much about the hole. My bigger frustration though was that the pin placement was not consistent. On some holes the basket was in the "A" position and on others it was in the "B" position - with no indication of that anywhere. Most holes here are blind, and after the front nine or so I got tired of walking up the fairways before teeing off and just tried to place my drives in such a way that I could approach either pin position without losing too much distance. This worked OK overall...but that's also kind of why I concluded it didn't seem like the different layouts would change several holes much. IMHO, the ideal situation for multiple layouts is always to install baskets at all of the pin locations. I get that this is a free-to-play course so maybe having 36 baskets isn't feasible, but at least keep the pin positions consistent (all "A" or all "B") and/or clearly let DG'ers know (e.g. via the tee signs, kiosk, or both) which pin position is currently in place.
The "Next Tee" signs are little orange arrows hanging on the bottom of baskets via keychain rings. These are better than nothing, but in my opinion just barely because they can easily fall off or be tampered with. When I played, several of these pointed the wrong way and a couple were missing entirely. A couple of additional signs between holes do help clarify things where paths cross, but overall I would say navigation could definitely be improved. I pulled up the course map found here several times.
Many of the tee signs were damaged or missing when I played.
I feel like the lines are unrealistically tight on a couple of holes. I'm remembering hole 7, but not in a good way. This one plays about 220' up a hill between two straight orderly rows of tall pines. These rows weren't separated by much further than my arm span. I will admit, it was fun to look at the neat rows of trees and imagine my disc threading the needle between them. Maybe I just need to get better. :)
There is a kiosk, but no map posted on it.
I did not see a single trash can in the park.
Other Thoughts: The course starts and ends on the south side of the park (bottom of the hill). There is another small parking lot on the north side of the park/top of the hill, which would be a good place to park if you wanted to start at hole 10 for some reason. The vault toilet is also here, and if memory serves me correctly a playground as well (well out of the way of any flying discs).
The disc golf is solid here and there are a couple of nice views to take in, but overall I wasn't blown away. I wanted to like this course more, but the various signage-related issues and pin placement woes dampened my experience a bit. I had to wonder if I just hit the course at a bad time. If some of the issues were cleaned up, I could definitely see this course getting a 4.0 from me. Beyond that I would have to play it again to make a judgement, but my feeling now is that it would still need a lot more "wow" factor to get into the same arena as Wilderness or Rollin Ridge.
If you are visiting the area, this course is definitely worth a play - but only if you still have time after you get in at least two rounds at Wilderness.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
18 Helpful / 0 Not
Where Is Everyone?
Pros: (4.014 Rating) A medium length course requiring a good deal of shot shaping and accuracy.
- CHALLENGING - Normally I'll rate a courses difficultly against its listed par figure, but for this course I did not as there are no doubt several par 4s. (see other thoughts, Par Structure) Zobel from the back tees is going to require both precision and length. Even a few of the legit par 3s exceed 400 feet. There are some very technical plays where the lane widths are reduced to less than six feet. Hole (5) was my favorite of the tight technical holes requiring accuracy and movement. Hole (6) is an awesome downhill bomb shot from the back tee requiring hitting a high right window a 100 feet from the tee. There are several 90 degree doglegs in both directions requirement planned placement. There are also several raised basket placements. In all, the course reads Advanced from the back tees and Intermediate from the front tees.
- NATURAL BEAUTY - Charming. Almost completely secluded from other park amenities. The course is half and half, moderate to heavily wooded with some moderate rolling elevation changes. A great mix of tree species. Big oaks, maples, pines and firs among other species. Hole (3) has a headwater creek of untouched appearance running down the entire right side. Hole (11s) basket sits on a huge glacial boulder. Hole (18), amen. What an awesome way to finish a layout. A plus 400 foot bomb shot that's plays 50 feet down and has the tee shot framed looking out over the country side.
- UNIQUENESS - A well balanced mix of park style holes and heavily wooded technical holes. As stated, lots of doglegs, but also windows, tree gaps, and pockets to hit. Several multi-play holes requiring placement and precision. Elevation exceeds 30 feet on several holes. If I were to call out an omission it would be water elements. I only saw a couple of dry creek beds on my visit.
- CHARACTER - Two adequately sized concrete tees on all but three holes. Effective signage showing
obstacles, fairway lines, distances, hole # and next tee direction. There was seating on just about every hole and a few had wooden extensions to hang a bag. Lot of tee shading and wind shielding. The blue powder coated baskets were not a model I was familiar with, but they were all in great condition and caught well. There's a community board and practice basket near tee (1). Unfortunately, no course map posted at the board.
- MAINTENANCE - The course was well mowed on my visit and I saw one piece of trash the entire time. Great job Park's Department.
Cons: Mostly ticky-tack issues, but otherwise Zobel Park is a well-executed course.
- NAVIGATION - Doable for sure, but not seamless. As stated, no course map at the community board. I only saw directional cues after 3 holes, after (1), (2) and (5). Holes signage, as stated, has next tee direction on them, but several transitions were too long to not have to guess the correct path. The downloadable map on DGCR helps a bunch and I would suggest having a printed copy as I referred to mine several times.
- NOT BEGINNER FRIENDLY - It has been noted in several reviews that no one is ever here. I'm going to throw out a possible reason. This is not a cupcake course. Several lines require a higher than normal skill set level. I could see those newer to the sport (less than 50 rounds) not liking their experience here. I could also see 750 rated players writing 4s or more for all 18 holes as a deflating experience. Perhaps this is the one failing thing about this course, as its so challenging to newer players that they tried it a few times that they gave up and never came back.
- LACK OF TRASH CANS - I know it seems silly for me to list this as a con and I don't subtract any score for their omission in my ratings. Anyways, there are zero trash cans in the park. Please be prepared to pack in and pack out. As stated under my maintenance pro, I only saw one piece of trash (an empty beer can) the whole time, so I packed the can out with me. Is the Parks Department that good or are people really upholding to the rules?
- TIME PLAY - Not a quick 18 despite a par 54 listing. Figure 90 minutes for a solo first timer and 2 ½ hours for a foursome.
Other Thoughts: My Wisconsin course coverage is pretty limited as of this review (15 WI courses.) However, among these, I've placed Zobel as my second highest rated. Far behind Rollin Ridge and a touch better than Dretzka in Milwaukee. To seasoned traveling players like myself, Zobel offers just about everything I expect in a higher rated course, challenge, beauty and variety. It's kind of mind boggling that this course doesn't get more play. Perhaps many of the residents of Green Lake weren't ready for a course this complex. Players with an Intermediate level skill set or better need to plan a trip here if they are within a three hours' drive, It's an excellent course.
- PAR STRUCTURE - Don't be fooled, this is not a legit par 54 course. Although par structure makes zero influence on my ratings, the labeling of par 3 on some of these holes personally bothered me. Why even go thru the trouble of listing it on the signs at all. There are several +500 foot 90 degree dogleg holes where a good drive will still leave a 200 foot approach shot. Depending on the basket placement, I would argue that nine placements are par 4s. Placement (3b, 8b, 9c, 10b, 13b, 14c, 16b, 17b and 18b). Hole (8s) (B) placement from the back tee is an uphill mid 500 foot look that doglegs at the end. I could see Recreational players averaging above a 5 on this back tee and back basket combo.
18 of 18 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Incredible course , and no cost to play
Pros: Where do I start ? I never met the people in charge of course upkeep , but they do a great job . This course gives you a lot of everything . To score , you have to be creative with your shots and be deadly accurate . many tunnel shots through woods ( I would like to be the person to shake everybody's hand that can keep from hitting a tree on #7 ) and a good mix of length and short , tight shots . I will go back to #7 . I have a 79 inch wingspan from fingernail to fingernail , and I felt I could touch all 20 or so trees that make up this tunnel throw . It will test your nerves . Many signature holes throughout this course . One of my favorites was #3 . An uphill 377 footer that plays more like a 450 foot hole , that you have to throw your second shot to the dogleg right over a gully and around a large overhanging tree ( I was supposed to throw AROUND the tree ? ) . Another memorable hole was #11 , which was a fairly tight 335 footer to a basket located on top of a boulder . As I was readying my throw on #14 ( on another cool hole , where you throw around bushes about 300 feet , to another uphill throw another 75 feet guarded by trees ) , 2 women on horses descended down the fairway and to my tee . I never saw something like that . They asked if they were in my way and I told them that I had hit about half the trees on the course , and banking my shot off a horse might make my career . I don't think they got it . The last hole is a nice long downhill hyzer that is encased in smaller trees . 2 decent length teepads per hole , multiple pin positions , lots of love given by locals for this course . Well manicured . A must play if you are within 50 miles of here .
Cons: If I have any complaints , they are very minor . 1. Missing trash cans on the course . It could be that putting someone in charge of emptying them on a FREE course would be a hassle , and I respect that . Carry in and carry out !!!! The course was very clean when I was there Saturday . 2. It helps with multiple pin position courses to indicate where the pin is located during the day/week . When the holes can go into the 350-500 range , it can take a lot of walking around to find the POSITION OF THE DAY . Bring a map or you will spend some time looking for some of the next hole tees
Other Thoughts: What a great course ! Do not pass this up . Not a course to bag , but a course to take in it's scenery and creativity . My hat goes off to the course designers and locals for their upkeep . Thanks for allowing me to play one of the best 2 or 3 courses in the state .
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: The multiple tees and pin locations make it a great course for whatever you're looking for. The championship layout is a super challenge. The short tees could be a challenge for a beginner in the championship layout but I would still think it would be enjoyable enough. Great use of elevation both going up and down the hill with roughly the same amount that are flat. Nice mix of short/long and open/wooded. Multiple baskets that are elevated above the surrounding grade to add an additional challenge to putts as well as approaches. The final hole is a downhill bomb that allows a RHBH thrower to see how far they can throw. One of the best courses in the state yet often I find I'm the only one in the whole park.
Cons: It isn't the most obvious layout to follow your first timeout there. On a few occasions I've had to question what direction I should go in. Mosquitoes can get thick at times so bring bug spray. It's a bit of a hike and some of the trails/holes would be a challenge with a cart or a stroller if with the family. Bathrooms are near a playground at the back of the course
Other Thoughts: Absolutely worth a drive. If I get anywhere near Green Lake I'll go out of my way to get a round in.
2 of 7 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 2 Not
Great free course
Pros: - great mix of wooded and open
- well maintained, clean, beautiful terrain
- quality baskets
- a few signature holes
- good signage
Cons: - tee pads are too small
- garbages are scarce
- no way to tell what basket locations were set up
Other Thoughts: The course is free but seems professionally maintained. A couple minor upgrades would really help this course. Worth a trip to play. Very nice!
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: hole 1 starts out mellow n forgiving and everything to follow is its own unique challenge . you could not have made a better layout on this property ,and its a beautiful one .hole 11 has two basket placements on boulders . ends with a long downhill bomber.
Cons: only problem i have ever had there in years of playing it is bugs and stinging nettles , o well nature
Other Thoughts: lots of different trees on the property makes for a vast variety of appearance to each fairway .
1 of 4 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Wow. Great free course.
Pros: Perhaps the best free course I have played and holds up well against the best pay courses.
This course has it all, a wide variety of holes without a loser in the bunch. The holes are not super hard, but they are plenty challenging.
The course flow was solid and navigation was pretty good, but having a map helped.
It is also the prettiest course I have ever played. The holes are nice and the park was perfectly maintained and some of the views (especially 18) are incredible.
If you pass anywhere near this course take the time to play it. it is wonderful.
Cons: It is a touch too easy to be perfect, but for non-advanced players it is a great challenge. The signage is OK, but not knowing which pin position is in play is a bit tough.
Minor minor problems though. Great course.
Other Thoughts: This course was a very nice surprise and I wish it was closer. I would play this course every week if it was nearby.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -Championship caliber course requiring all types of shots and discs to come out. Very challenging longs and shorts that still make you earn every birdie.
-Practically every hole has alternate tees and pins (not both pins at once).
-Beautifully secluded and private which makes is peaceful and serene.
-Great elevation changes, could almost be described as moderately hilly.
-Truly perfect distances with opportunities to air out on some longer holes and shorter shots through the woods requiring finesse and technicality. Multiple disc selection required!
-Well designed and thought out course that changes from one hole to the next.
-Marked very well for great directions.
Cons: -Signage! If only there could be a marker (maybe just a lock that goes on a hole in the sign?) on the beautiful, accurately designed signs at the tee pad. You never know which position the baskets are in and it's something that could easily be added. Biggest knock but not a biggie with all the pros this course offers!
-No trash cans. Pack in, pack out, but understandable.
-Poison/wild parsnip galore!
-Mosquitos can be horrific in summer.
Other Thoughts: If you're anywhere close to the area it's worth the visit. No one should be disappointed!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
A Diamond in the Rough.
Pros: Wow where to begin. This course Has everything I look for. Beautiful landscaping with clean cut fairways and challenging rough. Trees play throughout the course making some holes challenging even on short holes. Exellent diversity in holes, wide open for long bombs, short technical holes that require extreme accuracy, every disc in my bag came out to play. Hole 6 and hole 7 stuck out to me the most just with a big right to left on the drive for 6 opening up into a big downhill throw to the basket to make par. 7 was a tight uphill shot through the trees seen on the right side of hole 6. They were all planted in perfect lines making a tough uphill shot exceptionally hard through a 6 foot wide gap. 18 is the most picturesque on the whole course with a great view in the distance offering a big downhill right to left drive and a second flat approach to near the basket. through some massive trees. Well done Wisconsin. Traveled 3 hours to play this course and it was not a wasted trip.
Cons: The absolute worst part about this course is that each hole offers 2 and in some cases 3 basket placements listed on the tee box info placard but you never knew which position it was in. Maybe this was indicated in some way and as it was our first time at the location we were unaware, but throwing for all pin A or pin B placements is out of the question because there was no commonality. My only complaint was the excessive pin placements with no indication of which placement it was in.... THATS IT and that is just nit picking because i'm sure it was in fact listed somewhere that we didnt see.
Other Thoughts: I can see how mosquitos could be a problem, however on the day we played not a single one was around. We didnt use any bug spray and just never had an issue. There are 0 yes 0 trash cans around the course. I can see how this could be a problem to empty them but it would be a shame if people started to litter due to this causing it to be a trash heap. Overall the course was clean we simply picked up a few cans that we saw to help out.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 3 Not
Central WI Gem
Pros: Zobel is an exciting course that starts with a flat, modest and mostly open first hole and then explodes with variety. The second hole seems to be a short easy lefty hyzer, but the wall of pines makes it nearly impossible to reach. The third hole winds up through a wooded area and features a dried out creek bed and the possibility of a second shot from more than 15 feet below the pin if you don't place your first shot on the plateau.
The course then wends through the woods and has a variety of up and down hill shots, some through the tightest corridors I've ever seen (reachable holes that it's nearly impossible to get a birdie on). Hole 11 features boulders with wooden staircases built in to retrieve your disc from the basket. The final hole is a reachable downhill, but you are once again exposed to the highway and farm fields and the wind is a huge factor.
Cons: The 8th and 9th holes are a little bit ridiculous in their longest pins and could easily be called par 5s, but the course rating reflects it here and I received over 950 for two rounds that were over par.
It's a small quibble about one of the best courses in the state.
Other Thoughts: It's a beautiful and secluded county park, away from any city and noise, so it's a great and quiet getaway from the noisier parks in or near cities.
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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