Best free 18-hole course in the county
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Each hole on this course is pretty unique and there is a good variety of challenge throughout the course. The teepads are nice and on most of them someone has even put a post-it arrow on the current pin placement. There are small signs everywhere that show you where the next teebox is if it isn't obvious. Overall the course is well maintained and awesome!
Cons: There are four holes in the middle that have you going up and down a pretty steep hillside, so be prepared for a hiking type environment. Also, there were a good amount of flies and mosquitos when I went, so make sure to have some bug spray.
Other Thoughts: I wish this course was closer to Madison! Marshall is a cool little town, but besides the amusement park (which I've only driven by) this park is probably one of the bigger attractions. I didn't play the 19th hole since it was muggy out and I was tired, but I was prepared to if I was feeling up for it. I had a couple of beater discs in my bag at the ready. I also didn't play it because I wasn't quite sure how to get over to the basket and it seemed like a decent hassle for one extra hole.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 5 Not
Fun and challenging course
Pros: Very well done course along a river. Has variety of elevations and flat holes.
Cons: In the summer it can be hard finding your disc with all the tall grass.
Other Thoughts: I would definitely play this course, it is challenging but also very beautiful.
0 of 5 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
My favorite near Madison
Pros: The course is set in the small, quiet town of Marshall a small drive outside of Madison. There are two sets of tee pads on nearly every hole. The tees are large level and grip nicely. The difference from longs to shorts drastically changes distances and shot shaping on quite a few holes as well. The baskets are chainstars that are in very nice shape and catch great. There is a solid mix of right, left and more straight on shots here. The challenges range from wind on the more open holes, water on a number, elevation and plenty of trees. This is really just a well rounded course in this regard and makes for a very fun round. The park is in a very secluded area and is never too busy especially compared to the in town courses. The tee signs are very nice and informative. The have a basic hole layout map with distances, pars and the different pin positions. They even had stickers showing which pin was currently in play which is nice. There are also many signs showing directions to the next tee making navigation a breeze. Speaking of that almost every hole has multiple pin placements. This adds even more fun factor to the course. The variation of different distances is pretty awesome. There are shorter wooded and many varying prairie distances. Bird's ruins is also free to play (although there is a donation tube by hole 1) and there is a nice restroom and drinking fountain by the parking lot. The course is also permanent apparently, although I've never been there in winter. This is a big plus to me and this would seem to be a nice course to play a snow round at. Hole 19 is a very cool probably 250 foot shot over a pretty wide river to a pin on the other shore. This is really just a bonus hole but a really cool bonus hole at that. there are also tons of trash cans and benches all throughout the course to make your round a little easier in spots and help it stay clean.
Cons: The rough on a few of the holes can be pretty nasty. Not the worst I've seen but watch closely where you throw. Not really a con but just to take note. Holes 1-4 are on the opposite (south) side of the road. Holes 5-18 then wrap through the rest of the park. Hole 19's water carry hole is located right by the parking lot. As has been mentioned before the bugs can get bad but it is WI and that's true pretty much everywhere around here. Beware of people walking dogs and just walking on the trails throughout the course.
Other Thoughts: I've played all the courses in Madison and this is my personal favorite (though it's not actually in Madison). It's free to play unlike the four major courses in Madtown which is always nice but the golf is just plain fun too. You can couple this with many other nearby courses to make for an awesome day of disc golf.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Prairie and wooded done well.
Pros: Secluded nature park that has the disc golf as a separate activity. Free to play (which isn't common in this area) course with a really nice variety of wooded, prairie, elevation and a little water.
Short and long concrete tee pads on most holes.
Tee signs have all the information you need, and are easy to read.
Plenty of variety. Holes 1-5 play across the road from the parking lot and offer some nice lines, with plenty of risk/reward for aggressive players.
Prairie holes offer a good amount of air-it-out bombs, with big penalty for going off the fairway.
Wooded holes incorporate a lot of the elevation here, and very well. Plenty of up and downhill and hard turning holes. I thought they did an excellent job on these.
Baskets were all solid, and caught quite well. Navigation was pretty simple, as well (once you realize that the first few holes are across the road).
The bonus hole (19) is a great water carry. It's not long (240ish), but with wind blowing, it offers plenty of pucker factor, and is a great way to end a round here.
We played the shorts, but stopped on the longs on each hole. Especially in the woods, they almost always offered a completely different look at the basket. The open holes mostly added distance, but that's to be expected on holes of this type.
Cons: I wouldn't want to play here in the middle of summer. The rough is ROUGH, especially on the open prairie holes. The fairways are plenty wide, but if the wind is kicking, you could end up spending a lot of time searching for, or losing, discs. We played before everything was tall, and we were very happy about that, to be sure.
Other Thoughts: This really is a solid course, with a great mix of technical and bomber type holes. I'll come back in fall when some of the overgrowth has fallen back.
Definitely worth a spin (or two) if you're in the area at the Madison courses.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
New course - mature feel
Pros: FREE. With the rest of Dane County now charging to play, it's nice to have another full course to throw at without another season pass.
Each hole has 2 basket locations so they can mix it up a bit, and the majority of holes have two concrete tee boxes.
Signage at the holes are informative and accurate.
ALOT of variety. Starting in the woods on the first three holes, 4 opens into more of a prairie. Across the road more prairie before heading into more woods and then more prairie. There's uphill, downhill, rivers... Pretty much every environment.
Neat elevated basket on one hole feels kind of like playing a mini-golf challenge hole.
Park has a water pump for drinking water, shelter for gatherings or events, natural amphitheater, and permanent outhouse.
Cons: As many have noted, the rough is ROUGH. The course was designed in what was essentially a conservancy park, and a lot of the natural area remains, which does make it challenging to find errant throws.
Bring DEET. There are Mosquitos in the wooded areas - but hey, it's nature.
Needs a few more directional signs to find next tee boxes.
Other Thoughts: I'd call this a great 18-hole course with a novelty 19th hole if you're a confident driver.
I know the club behind the park and there is A LOT of commitment and volunteers to make this 3 year old course even better. I think most people would see a huge difference already if they only played it the first year it opened.
I'd agree with some, that this course is better to play with a group... Getting more eyes to track throws and search the rough.
When I've played with 4+ other people the round takes about 2.5 hours. Could be quicker if we all threw straight :)
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Change of Pace from local Madison Courses
Pros: The first thing I noticed after playing this course, was the great variety of holes, with holes in the woods, holes in the open, and some elevation change. The course also has large quality tee pads, great signs, and new chainstar baskets. It was also not very busy when I played, which was a nice change of pace compared to that of Elver and Hiestand. There are many technical holes in holes in the woods that go both left and right and require the right line to avoid to brush/rough. There are also a variety of both short and long holes, which make for plenty of birdie opportunities, but also difficult par saves. A creek also comes into play on Holes 1 and 4. The elevated basket on Hole 13 is a great addition. Overall, this course allows you to work on a great variety of shots, lines, and technical aspects of your game, which is awesome.
Cons: If you miss the fairways on any of these holes, the course will become very difficult. The brush in the woods and the grass on the open holes is quite thick. I played on a windy day, so the holes out in the open had an added difficulty, but certainly added the challenge to stay in the fairway. I could also see the bugs being bad at this course, so the wind may have helped in that aspect. Conservative shots with a mid-range off the tee may be an option as well.
Other Thoughts: The course could definitely use some brush/rough cleanup. Wider fairways in the open would be nice and some tree trimming and brush cleanup in the woods would make the course much more forgiving, but still difficult. From what I have heard though and based off of previous reviews, this course is coming along quite nicely. Hole 19 is also great for tiebreakers and a great way to end the round over the water. Lastly, I typically play the local Madison courses, Elver and Hiestand and occasionally Token Creek, so this is a great addition to the area and certainly less busy.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Lots of pros for me. Distance variety is great with a almost 800 ft hole(long tees) to 150 ft hole(not really even a gimmie birdy). Lots of technical shots and definitely long open bombers with slight elevation to change the shots just enough. The signature hole is probably 19 across the water or 4 a big rhbh anny with a creek you need to get over(your choice to lay up or go for it). I really enjoy the atmosphere on this course where you will be traversing through forests, on the edge of wet lands, and through a prairie. I would say this course is no pitch and putt course(although short pad to short pins has a lot of ace runs). The longs will favor big arms with 5 holes over 500 and 3 over 600. I live in the area and this is the best course to go to when madison courses are packed. Great
Cons: Tall grass would be the biggest con out here. Its nothing like what some of the earlier reviews tell though(lots of works been done). Hole 14 long needs a landing area larger then 30 ft wide surrounded by long grass. really this is the only spot that is unfair to me as far as the grass. Lots of little stumps that you can trip and stub your feet on in the woods(i wouldnt doubt if this is taken care of soon). maybe a little more clearing in some areas to open up recovery shots more.
Other Thoughts: I felt the need to rate this course because it is deserving of a rating larger then it has. If your traveling the area do yourself a service and play the birds ruins!
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: -Great variety; Long Open Bombers, Short Wooded Ace runs, Open Water shots and everything in between
-Extremely well laid out; Signage is clearly displayed and consistent throughout the course. As others have said, once you realize the 1st tee is across the road from the parking area, navigation is a breeze.
-Tee pads; Outside of #11, every hole has well place, well poured, and adequately large tee pads
-Great Use of Elevation; Considering the small amount of elevation changes throughout the park, the designer(s) of this course did a fantastic job utilizing it.
-Facilities; Plenty of Parking, Running Water, Bathrooms, Benches near every Tee and a covered picnic area.
-Frequent Pin Location Changes; All too often I play at courses with multiple pin locations that only get moved a couple times a year. They do a great job switching pins every few weeks here (from what I have seen in 15+ rounds in 2012)
Cons: - Can be extremely buggy at times. Bring Spray
-Plenty of Thick rough that can prove challenging when finding an errant drive
Both of these aspects do not affect my rating of the course, but can really play a role in how enjoyable your round(s) are at Bird's Ruins.
Other Thoughts: One of the better courses I have ever played, and probably the best free/public 18 in all of Wisconsin. Easily worth an hour+ drive to play.
19 well laid out and meticulously maintained holes, a Practice Basket, Bathrooms/Water on site, and free to play. What's not to like?
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Play this course
Pros: Great layout. New tees! Will challenge every aspect of your game. A couple of signature holes that you will remember for a long time.Not a pay to play either. Skip the 8 bucks on Valla and come here.Technical tight shots and few where you can let em rip!
Cons: Not to many. Course is in early development but this will be one of the best around the madison area with time.
Other Thoughts: Bathrooms and camping on site
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Potential to be great
Pros: 18 holes with terrain varying from flat prairie to semi-wooded to rolling hill to hilly and thick woods. Many different types of challenges throughout the course. There will eventually be an optional 19th hole throwing across a bay to a peninsula. Most holes have 2 tees and 2 pin placements. Water could be in play on hole 7 if you overthrow a little.
Cons: No tee signs or tee pads yet, but this will be done soon. The pads will be concrete. The biggest con for this course is, as previous reviewer said, the chest high prairie grass if you go off the fairway, which you will. I also spent a lot of time searching for discs. The next time I play here, I will play very conservatively to stay on the fairways, and take the extra strokes. Some of the wooded holes appear to have too many trees, but I didn't get worse than par on any of them, so maybe it's deceiving. The parking lot is very small, but I believe it will be expanded in the future. This is a public park with walking paths. This means that there may be times when you will have to wait for a walker to clear on some holes. You also may encounter dog poo (hole 12) occasionally, though I didn't.
Other Thoughts: Holes 1-4 are in a flat area across from the parking lot. These are well laid out to take advantage of the semi open, semi wooded terrain. Hole 4 is a big one with a landing zone before making a run at the basket. Holes 5 and 6 are on a rolling hill surrounded by prairie grass and are very long. Holes 7-12 are up and down (and across) a steep, heavily wooded hill. Holes 13 and 14 are back in the open, again bordered by tall grass. There will be an elevated basket on 13. Hole 15 throws from trees, through an open area and into a grouping of oak trees. Hole 16 is in the open up a rolling hill. Hole 17 is in the trees and hole 18 is back in the open with a large cluster of sumac in the middle of the fairway. I really like the variety of terrain and they did a good job of spicing up the holes in the open with an elevated basket, a hidden basket and mid-fairway obstacles. I really don't like the tall grass, but not much you can do with it, except to make wider fairways, as previously suggested. Being that I was a (small) contributor in putting this course in, I'm trying not to be biased , but, all in all, after some tweaking, I think this will be a great course.
UPDATE: Tee signs, directional signs, and concrete tee pads are all in. The rough is really getting trampled down up to 20' off the fairways, making discs much easier to find. The elevated basket on hole 13 is done and overall, the course is getting "broken in". All these factors have led me to up my rating to 3.5 UPDATE:Since my last update, many things have been finished or improved on the course. Fairways have been widened where needed, and a little more clearing was done to open up some holes a little. Hole 19 was added and it's very popular with players. We use it as a CTP tie-breaker, and for tournaments, it's used if no one wins the ace pool. Some of us just throw it for fun at the end of our round. It's really a great addition. A restroom, a fresh water well, a pavilion, and a parking lot expansion, and a practice basket have all been added. I'm upping my rating to 4, I'd like to give it a 4.25 if I could. Once we get a couple more things finished, I'll probably go to 4.5. I love having this course 8 minutes from my house.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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