Solid disc golf, spectacular infrastructure!
17 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Rollin Ridge is a disc golf paradise located on private property roughly halfway between Appleton and Manitowoc, Wisconsin. It's easy to get to, right on US-10.
I was so impressed with the infrastructure on this course from start to finish. This course has every disc golf amenity that you can think of, and maybe some that you aren't. Pull into the parking lot and you will see the on-site pro shop. In front of the pro shop there are two practice baskets (one of which is elevated) and a single-player driving range. I think this is the first disc golf driving range I have seen. There is a flush toilet restroom next to the pro shop, and some porta potties out by the parking lot. I think the restroom had a shower in it too. A kiosk and large course map are also nearby. Scorecards, bug spray, and plenty of seating are available.
I haven't even gotten to the course itself yet. Each hole has three baskets, and most have three tee pads. There is a medium length orange layout, a long red layout, and a longer black layout. The baskets are color coded Mach X models, all in great shape. A couple of the baskets are elevated for extra challenge. All the tee pads are long, tapered slabs of concrete with color coded painted dots and foul lines. A couple of the tee pads are actually built into boardwalks, or possibly more accurately the boardwalks were built around the tee pads. The tee signs are large, circular, and beautiful. They appear at every tee pad and show a color map of the hole including all tee pads and baskets, and the distance and par playing from the current tee pad to all three baskets. This makes it possible to play 3x3 = 9 different layouts of the course. If you were to play this course 9 times in one go, you'd be insane. But also you would play a couple of the same holes, because the red and black layouts share a couple of the teepads. Where this is the case, that is clearly marked on both tee sign and teepad as well. On my visit today I kept it simple and played the red-to-red layout, then the orange-to-orange layout.
I'm sorry, just a little bit more about the tee signs. They also give a nickname for each hole. I thought this was really fun and it added to my enjoyment of the round. They ranged from the predictable (hole 1 "The Edge" plays along the edge of a pond) to the hilarious (hole 12 "D-Fence" has a large fence blocking the right side of the fairway) to the taunting (hole 16 "Birdie" is one of the shortest holes on the course but is pretty tightly wooded...I did not manage to birdie it on either round I played).
I promise I will get to the actual golf eventually. There are trash cans and benches at every tee, even the orange layout ones. Some of the benches are marked with the hole number too, just for good measure. There are nice-looking Next Tee signs that direct you the shortest route no matter which tees you are playing. There are clearly marked mandos. All of the water hazards had long poles sitting next to them with a little prong fashioned on the end for retrieving discs (if you throw too far in for these to work, you can report your lost disc to the pro shop and they may be able to help. Respect the owner's wishes and do not go into the ponds). A couple of the tees are pretty close to other baskets, but this is addressed where needed with beautiful-looking fences - some of which even have crafted archways to walk through.
What about the actual disc golf? Rollin Ridge plays as a mostly technical wooded round, with a few open holes mixed in. The baskets and tees are arranged to test every shot in your bag, no matter what layout you choose to play (and the different layouts dramatically change the shots required on each hole). The open holes provide a few opportunities for bigger arms to air it out, especially the monster hole 3 (1000' from black tee to black basket). There is good variety in hole distances. The rough is thick in spots but mostly consists of older trees, so it will punish you without swallowing your discs.
Water hazards come into play on a few holes. A couple of baskets are located right next to the water hazards, creating risk/reward opportunity. The most significant water hazard is on hole 2, where you have to clear a large pond sitting off the tee and to your right throughout the hole. The elevation is, well, rollin. There are not extreme elevation changes here, but it is enough to have an effect on many drives. A few baskets are on slopes, and many are not visible from the tee.
Playing red tees to red baskets gives a challenging round for intermediate disc golfers. Orange-to-orange provides a round that beginners could enjoy, but it's still not a cakewalk by any means. The distances are shorter, but there are tight lines including narrow windows off of some orange tees. I didn't try the black-to-black layout but I am confident that it would challenge even very experienced disc golfers. And of course, if those three aren't enough options for you there are six other signed layouts you can choose from.
The front nine and the back nine each loop back to the parking lot. Just in case you wanted even more options.
Cons: A couple of really nitpicky things here, as by definition a 5.0 course can't have any real Cons...
There is significant road noise from US-10, especially in the front of the course. This detracts from the aesthetic for me, but not enough to bump the rating down a full half disc. If I could give a 4.75 I probably would. Obviously there is nothing the designers can do about this.
The beautiful tee sign graphics appear to be basically large stickers that adhere to the sign surface. Some of these were starting to peel when I played. It wasn't a major issue for me, but if for some reason they were allowed to peel off more it would become an issue.
Large sections of the course play through a wooded lowland area that was kind of muddy when I played, and is probably more muddy for a good chunk of the year. I would recommend wearing waterproof shoes/boots to play this course. Plan on the course being very buggy in the summer months as well.
Other Thoughts: The sign for the course on the road is pretty inconspicuous. The directions on here are correct, and I was following them, but coming in from the east I still drove by. It is a small sign mounted on top of a mailbox. A larger sign might help pull in a few more locals who don't know that this is one of the top rated courses in the world on DGCR. There were only a couple of other groups playing the course when I was there. I was surprised the course was not busier on a Thursday late afternoon/early evening.
This course costs $5/day to play. You pay in the pro shop if it is open, or in a slot near the kiosk if the shop is not open. The pro shop hours vary - if that is important to you then you may want to check the course website or call ahead before visiting.
The course is listed as being open from 6 AM-midnight daily. I'm not sure if that means they support night golf or not.
On a personal note, this was my first course played in Wisconsin. I rode the SS Badger car ferry across Lake Michigan this morning, and the weather conditions made it a rough ride (would still recommend, but Dramamine may not be enough. Try the patches or wristbands for motion sickness, or all three). Rollin Ridge provided the perfect venue to get outside on solid ground and reset for my next few days here in the state, then a few more in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Overall, this course is a bucket list disc golf destination. While nothing in the course layout or scenery really stood out as a "wow" for me, I WAS blown away by the incredible infrastructure, beautiful man-made obstacles, and attention to detail throughout. Combine this with solid disc golf and absurd replayability (9 layouts!?), and I've arrived at my first ever 5.0 review.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 5 Not
My new favorite course!
Pros: -3 Tees
=9 courses in 1!
-Benches at every tee!
-Well designed signage on each tee
-Majority wooded, but several good open holes as well!
-Warm up area!
-So much more!
Cons: -1 or possibly 2 holes I felt could have a slightly more defined fairway in the woods. Not bad holes but if I could think of anything that could be improved, that would be it.
Other Thoughts: Obviously a ton of time and effort has gone into this place. It shows above and beyond! I have only played it once now but it is definitely in the upper echelon of courses in this country! Please do yourself a favor and come play this gem!
8 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Little Slice of Paradise
19 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Being the #6 course in the world per DGCR, and a course I've wanted to play for years, my expectations for Rollin Ridge were very high, and I am happy to say that this little bit of property in rural eastern Wisconsin lived up to the hype.
1) Orange, Red, Black - each hole had three permanent pins with great Mach X baskets, and aside from two holes where the "red" and "black" shared a pad, each hole also had three large concrete tees. As will be mentioned early and often, this led to endless possibilities
2) Amenities - I can't imagine a course with more extras going on. Two practice baskets, one of them in a raised position. A netted enclosure you can use as a "driving range". A fully stocked pro shop with clean bathrooms, a pool table, and a bar. Camping available on site. Buckets available to use as trash cans at every tee. Benches on every hole. If it's an extra that you'd like to have at a course; you name it, RR has got it.
3) Quality/diversity of golf: Best I've ever played. Most of the course is in the woods, but I felt that all of the fairways were pretty fair, and that there was not a ton of "poke and pray", aside from a couple of pads where you had to split a really narrow gap early, but if you can't handle that, step up your game! Nothing like Dretzka's N9 - the gaps you needed to hit were all reasonable. L-R and R-L balance was very good, the phenomenal elevation on the site was used masterfully, water was an occasional threat, and you got your wide open bomber hole (3) for those who love that.
4) Challenge - players of nearly every skill level will be challenged here. RR may be a bit much for very new beginners, but the orange to orange layout is solidly challenging to rec/intermediate ams, the black to black is a bruising Championship-caliber course, and you can mix/match anything in between on tee or pin, and get something to challenge your skill level.
5) Inventiveness - The lengths the designers at RR went to combat what could have been some pretty serious issues was something to behold. The land area in use is actually not terribly big, and it could have led to space-cramping hell, but at literally every point at which an adjacent tee could potentially be buzzed by an errant shot from another hole, a wooden structure was built to protect players teeing off. It solved what could have been a major safety issue, and in addition, added a rustic character to this course. The 3-level retaining wall on hole 14 was super fun, and several raised basket structures (the pyramid on #4 comes to mind) were a treat.
6) Navigation - never have I seen navigational cues so omnipresent. Just about every hole had some kind of a "next tee this way" indicator, and they pointed out short/medium/long tees, to boot. If you were ever in doubt as to which way to go, you'd soon run into a sign showing you the way. The biggest potential mixup point (the path from 6->7 kind of intersecting with the path from 14->15) was very clearly marked. Printed maps are also available at the clubhouse.
7) Course maintenance - top notch. I played in late fall, where the "rough" had died down a bit, but I can tell even this time of year when the rough is allowed to grow wild during the summer or when it's kept in check, and RR gave me indicators that the rough is regularly well-tended to.
Cons: A handful of issues, mostly out of the control of the designers, or inevitable for a course of this caliber:
1) Lost disc potential - definitely a good bit higher than average. Probably inevitable here, considering the water hazards (the owners are NOT OK with players wading into the water - they've placed disc retrievers out by every water hazard), the fall leaf cover, and just being in the woods in general, but be careful with blind shots - a few tee shots go over hills that are hard to keep track of where you land. The clubhouse's lost disc return (100+ discs!) was a testament to this.
2) Swampy lowlands - we've gotten little rain in WI over the past couple months, and even now, some of the holes had soft, muddy ground. I could see this being a far bigger issue in the spring/summer when there's more rain, or snow-melt. I almost wonder if digging some sort of a canal into the natural ponds on site would be helpful - the designers held nothing back when building tee-protection walls, after all.
Other Thoughts: During my day off, I managed to get four rounds in before I had to head back to town: one from the red to red, one from the orange to orange, one from the orange to red, then again (kind of losing track of time, and realizing I needed to hit the road in short order) from orange to orange. Combine that with being a sunny, 70 degree day in November, and what a completely perfect set of conditions. The $5 pay to play fee felt like a woeful underpay. Support these guys by using their pro shop if you can too (at this time, only open Fri-Sun)!
All in all, Rollin Ridge was everything I was wanting, and a pleasure of a course to take a day off and travel to from nearby Milwaukee. I would call this course worthy of travel to no matter how far away you are. RR has camping on site for players who are looking for an affordable place to stay (probably more for after we get the COVID menace under control, but still), and with nearby Silver Creek (Manitowoc), you've got multiple high-end courses in the same area.
All in all, the wet ground/swampinesson parts of the course made me feel like this was a 4.75, but I opted to give Rollin Ridge the benefit of the doubt, given how much work clearly had went into this course, and masterfully solving other potentially killer issues.
Come here. Seriously. This course should be on every serious disc golfer's wish list.
19 of 20 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: - 3 tees and 3 baskets for each hole, all finished
- Great use of the land. Uphills, downhills, good mix of left/right/tight/open/left/right/straight holes.
- Very interesting structures, all well built. Someone put a lot of effort and expense into this course.
- Epic clubhouse with pro shop, bar, fireplace, pool table, outdoor deck/patio, practice baskets (one of them elevated 6 ft), netted tunnel (similar to a batting cage) with radar for speed clocking
- Onsite camping
edit: I almost forgot, night play! Baskets have solar lights on the tops for glow rounds.
Cons: - One or two super tight "spray and pray" holes
- A couple of holes are in an area prone to getting muddy
- Pay to play (but totally worth it)
Other Thoughts: I went on a road trip across the northern U.S. and stopped at at least 25 courses rated 4+ on this site. Many of the high ratings were undeserved, this was not one of them. Rollin' Ridge was the third (or so) course I stopped at and for the rest of the trip no course was definitively better though a few were comparable. Spoke with the owners at the clubhouse and heard some of the ideas for additions yet to come (I seriously hope they build the fire tower idea I pitched to them) Anyway this is an S-tier course and I can't wait for an excuse to go back.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 53 Not
Not a great course.
Pros: There are very few pros for this course.
The tee pads are large and concrete.
The course seems like it's maintained often.
Cons: This course is not good. The layout is confusing and the fairways are way too close to each other.
I love wooded courses (NC disc golf is awesome!) -- but this course could have a few removed. There are way too many poke-and-hope holes.
There are some areas of the course where it looks like the mud has been around for a long long time. If it weren't for the mud, I'd suggest that the course is cart friendly.
I'm sure the locals love it because there aren't many great options in the area... but I'll never willingly return to this course.
Other Thoughts: Update: Lol. Someone "Reported" my review.
Man, seriously... people are allowed to have different opinions. I literally hated this course. It wasn't fun for me and I'll never return.
8 of 61 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 5 Not
beautiful, challenging, must play course
Pros: Easy to navigate. Excellent signage. Nice baskets. Variety of terrain. Elevation changes. Optional water holes. Awesome pro shop. Driving range. 2-3 tees per hole. 3 baskets per hole and they are all in every time (not just moved around like most courses.) Rakes to get your disc out of water areas and deeper mud spots. Nice protective wooden fences in danger holes. Cement tee boxes. Garbages on a lot of holes. Benches to rest on many holes.
Cons: Muddy on some holes. $5. Do not get disc out on water holes. Not many cons. Great course.
Other Thoughts: Perhaps the best course I have played. What a great job they did. They did not take any shortcuts at all on this course.
5 of 10 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: Multiple tees, multiple pins.
Pro shop is fantastic.
Cons: Water hazard on the last hole eats discs
Other Thoughts: Manitowoc (and surrounding area) is a yearly trip for myself and my discing buddies. This course and Silver Creek are hands down two of the best courses in Wisconsin.
1 of 8 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 24 Not
Could be awesome
Pros: The tees are the best I've ever played. It's pretty scenic in places and the man made structures are impressive. There is an appropriate level of challenge for players of all levels. The pro shop and bar are very nice.
Cons: This course is wet. Granted it rained the night before we played but the foot-deep prints from before we got there and the boards placed to help cross some of the worst areas tell the tale. A couple of the water hazards were so disgusting you'd think twice before reaching in to retrieve a disc, and the bugs were awful. I made a nice throw to right at the base of the terraced pin placement at 14, and ended up almost knee deep in water and mud when I reached my disc.
Other Thoughts: I don't know if it would even be possible to fix the water/mud issues but I'd love to spend a weekend here in th middle of a long drought.
8 of 32 people found this review helpful.
27 Helpful / 0 Not
5 Star Amenities; 4.25 Star Golf
Pros: Rollin Ridge is a true disc golf destination. The 18 hole course, with 3 baskets on each hole and three tees on all but a handful of holes, is able to cater to all skill levels simultaneously. Camping is available on site and there is a fully stocked pro-shop and bar.
Baskets and tees are color coded based on difficulty/distance: Black (long), Red (medium), and Orange (short). Red baskets have solar lights for night play. The color coding and extra signage makes navigating an 18 hole course with 54 baskets and 50ish tees way easier than it should be. The equipment on this course is nicer than any I've encountered. Signs are informative, easy to ready and visually appealing. Tees are amply sized, trapezoidal, level, concrete with a foul line. Baskets are all powder coated in the appropriate color. Many tees have been elevated a few feet and have decorative rock around the tee area and used as steps. Black baskets are DGA Mach X and I believe both Red and Orange are DGA Mach 3s. All are in excellent condition.
The many tees allow for a wide variety of tee shots and there are many different putting looks. Since the course is mostly in the woods, there are many different lines required to score well. Water is in play on a few holes to provide natural OB and the risk of disc loss. You are not allowed to go into the water hazards, but there are poles provided to retrieve slightly errant shots. The ponds are cleared periodically, and owners of marked discs are contacted. There is some good rolling terrain (both in the woods and in the open) that is used to improve the fun, variety and challenge of the course. While the shortest layouts are all par 3, the longer tee and basket combinations feature many par 4 and par 5 holes. The wooden structures are amazing. Nice benches are at every tee; tees are protected by decorative barriers; wetlands are traversed via boardwalk; baskets are elevated; greens are defined. Other than the wide variety of options, the wooden structures are probably the defining feature of Rollin Ridge.
Cons: In my opinion, Rollin Ridge lacks the dramatic, wow factor that I associate with the highest echelon of courses. While the property offers the primarily wooded (with some open area) mix of terrain that I believe to be ideal for disc golf, there aren't many holes that really stand out to me as memorable from a disc play perspective. Don't get me wrong, there are some fun tee shots here (and quite a few tiiight gaps), but not that many where I stood on the tee in awe of what was in front of me. Normally this isn't the kind of thing that finds its way into the cons section, but this is a top 5 course. I most definitely experienced the wow factor often at the two courses that I currently have rated 5 discs (and at most of the ones that I've rated a 4.5).
While having three baskets and three tees on each hole exponentially increases variety, it also lends to a busy, congested landscape. The many decorative walls around tees are necessitated by the close proximity of some of the holes. With three tees and three baskets, the potential shank area for each hole is immense. Many tees would be in the danger zone without the wooden barriers.
Some of the lines felt a little forced. Some holes definitely supported multiple tee and basket positions, but others felt unnecessary. Adding another tee or placement didn't always make the hole better (even considering various skill level targets)..
Other Thoughts: This review is based on playing the orange to orange and black to black layouts. I scoped the route to the other baskets from each tee, and I'm much better at visualization than execution, so I feel that I got a sense of some of the other options on these holes. With that said, I'll be back at some point and will hit the red tees and play some of the other combinations to see if my opinion changes significantly.
This is an excellent course and a worthy road trip destination. It can be interesting reviewing highly regarded courses, I'm giving Rollin Ridge a 4.5, but felt as if I really had to justify that in the cons. Here as with most of the course that I've graded as a 4.5, the cons are nothing that should scare anyone away. They are just how I differentiate the courses that I consider among the best of the best.
27 of 27 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 10 Not
Pros: Absolutely amazing course with surprises around every corner! How challenging you want to make it is your choice! 3 pads and 3 pins on every hole opens up so many ways to play every round. The pro shop has tons of gear plastic and very friendly people!
Cons: There is nothing wrong with this course!
1 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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