This is how you disc golf
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - 2 permanent baskets and 2 teepads at every hole, and some holes have up to 3 potential basket locations. This allows multiple ways to play the course and widens the appeal to all levels, from beginner to pro
- Shot variety: nice mix of long and short holes, technical wooded, open with obstacles.
- Beautiful and secluded. Plays through some gorgeous old growth trees, winds up around a slight hill. Apparently this is a mixed use park - you won't know it. The disc golf area is pretty much exclusively disc golf.
- Concrete teepads
- Great tee signage - shows all basket positions and the distances to each of those positions from each teepad. Perfect.
- Players of all skill levels will enjoy this course but it's challenging enough that when you birdie you'll feel like you earned it.
- Clean and well maintained. They put work and attention into this course and it shows.
- Two practices baskets and a huge wide open field next to hole 1 for fieldwork. Really nice touch (I don't know if it was designed for that intentionally but it certainly functions that way).
- Top of the world shot on 3
Cons: - Can get crowded during peak times. It's a popular course (for good reason).
- Some of the red/blue baskets are pretty close together (not a huge deal but on some holes it could be spaced a bit more).
- Navigation in a few spots may give new players pause, as occasionally you can see another set of baskets from the fairway of one hole, but they have some signage and the layout is intuitive. There's no weird double back or anything so if you think you're going the right way you probably are.
- No water holes if that's your thing (except the creek behind 3 but that really doesn't come into play).
Other Thoughts: Full disclosure, Hiestand will always have a special place in my heart. It's where I learned and fell in love with the game, and it's the course I've played the most often. Today was my first time playing it in 7 years and I was interested to see if it still held up. I'm happy to say it did and then some. There have been numerous improvements (the second set of baskets, new tee signs, the updated steps and retaining wall on 5 just to name a few) made to what was already a great course. In years past I would've mentioned graffiti and beer bottles in the Cons - that's changed to a pro, as I saw almost none (they may have taken the benches out due to Covid but still, it's obvious the course is well maintained). To me, it just doesn't really get much better than this. The course has pretty much everything in terms of shots and challenge, it's well laid out, there are some gorgeous holes and most of all they are just fun to play! The cons are so minor. Outside of destination courses or dedicated complexes, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better course. Will always be one of my favorites and a must play if you're in the Madison area!
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Standing High on the Hill at Hiestand
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Hiestand Park is a comprehensively above average city parks course that covers all the bases well.
1) Dual Tees & Pins - Every hole has two concrete tees (except hole 3, which has a single tee), which are all suitably large and pretty grippy, as well as one Am (red) and Pro (blue) basket per hole. Thus, the variety of golf you can experience is very good - the am to am configuration is littered with ace runs galore, the pro to pro configuration will give a stiff test to your length & accuracy, and mixing and matching the above will yield a different round entirely. Pro baskets are all new blue banded DISCatchers, and the Am baskets are red powder coated Mach 5(?)'s, all in good condition. All tees had good signage showing hole length and pin locations.
2) Seclusion & Navigation: The part of the park that the disc golf course occupies is nearly 100% DG exclusive - there looked like a walking trail that came kind of nearby a few times, and a badly shanked drive on a few of the early holes may get entangled with other park uses, but this is a disc golf centric park for the most part. Hole to hole transitions were mostly no-brainers, and the only ones that were even semi counter-intuitive had next tee signs clearly directing you where to go.
3) Beauty & Maintenance: I may be emphasizing this because I played in mid color change fall, but goodness, the course was absolutely beautiful this time of year. Some of the wooded corridors you will shoot down look like what you will see in professional nature photos. It follows that the maintenance of fairways and rough on this course is mostly very good - as on any wooded course, you'll be doing some weed-whacking if you really shank one, but the fairways are generally quite well-defined (no real "poke and pray" holes!), and you shouldn't be spending a ton of time looking for shots that only get into the edges of the rough. I don't remember seeing much, if any trash, laying around.
4) Elevation: Hiestand plays on and around a large hill, so elevation comes prominently into play on many holes, which is cool. Hole 5's pro basket, in particular, plays on top of a sizeable ridge with a retaining wall beneath it.
5) Extras: Community board and a pair of practice baskets by tee #1, and nice stone benches/trash cans by many, if not all tees. Plenty of shaded areas and benches under the tree canopy for hot days.
Cons: Mostly nitpicks, but Hiestand does have some limitations.
1) No single signature moment: Hiestand does just about everything very well, but nothing superlatively well. There's no Silver Fox Hole 17 here. The closest thing I can come to a "signature hole" is 3's downhill bomb (to be fair, it is a cool hole!), and even that type of hole is not terribly uncommon in this area.
2) Parking: Can't really fault the course designers here, but there only street parking here. I played just a bit before dusk when there were few other players on the course, so it wasn't a major problem for me, but I understand Hiestand is often pretty crowded, and I can see parking being an absolute nightmare if you've got a group every other hole on the course.
3) Bugs: Even on a cool fall evening, there were still insane swarms of mosquitos in places. This can't be fun to deal with in the height of summer.
4) Pro/Am Basket Spacing: The red and blue baskets were awfully close to each other on a handful of holes. 18 was the worst offender - IIRC, a gray ace on either pin would still have you attempting a putt inside the circle at the other basket. A few holes could have used some more spacing between basket locations to avoid having them both play as a nearly identical hole.
Other Thoughts: A quick note regarding P2P: I will personally attest to this: Before playing this course in October of 2019, it had been a decade+ since the last time I played Hiestand (it was free then), and one thing that struck me is that the general condition of the course in that timeframe has improved substantially. I can tell the P2P $$$ is being returned to the course. I'd happily pay the $40 (I think?) annual pass if I lived in Madison (I do so for the Milwaukee County Parks courses), and while I don't love dropping $5 spots to go thru single plays of city park courses, this is one I can live with.
There was also what appeared to be a disc golf shop across the street, which is cool too. I wasn't in need of anything, but that's a nice amenity to have if you need it.
Overall, Hiestand is a delighful course that scores highly across the board, and while I'll stop short of calling it a true destination course that you need to come and play no matter the travel, it's worth a play and the drive if you're within a 100 or so mile radius. Price of admission also entitles you to play at fellow Madison course Elver Park, as well, if you want to make a day of discing in Mad-Town.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: - Challenging length and difficulty without being ridiculous
- Great use of natural elevation changes
- Course easy to follow
Cons: - Mosquitos get bad the second you step off the fairway and into the woods to find a stray disc
- Can be a bit tricky to locate the baskets from the tee, even with the maps
Other Thoughts: - $5 fee is worth it. This was a genuinely fun course to play.
0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Great Challenge and Fun, all in one
Pros: -nice tee signs
-multiple tee and pin locations for virtually every hole
-very nice, large concrete tees
-great elevation change
-good variety of shots, some open, some tight fairways
-red baskets are easier to pick out from a distance
-good challenge for a decent player, still easy enough for anyone to enjoy
Cons: -maybe could use some more trees on some of the more wooded holes for a bit more challenge
-pay to play, but $5 didn't bother me and it makes for a nicely maintained course
-is known for being a fairly busy course - I played at 6:30 AM and therefore can't comment
Other Thoughts: This was a very fun course. It is well-maintained and all the course signage is in good shape. It is pay to play on a bit of an honor system, though park rangers will come around to check your receipt.
This course was definitely challenging, yet still a lot of fun. It is not impossible by any means, and features a variety of hole lengths and shot types. There are only a few par 4s with most holes at par 3.
There is sort of a water hazard that comes in to play on a few holes, but realistically it is more of a ditch/creek than anything. The big pros here and the wooded holes and the elevation change.
It is right in the city of Madison, but still has a nice, quiet, peaceful feel. This course is fun to play and as an added bonus Glide Disc Golf (pro shop) is right across the street. The pro shop is one of the coolest parts - a legitimate disc golf shop open 7 days a week! They have more selection than anywhere else I've ever been and is definitely worth a visit.
All in all, I highly recommend this course.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Pros: Multiple tee pads. Good mix of shots and good use of elevation. We played the long pads. Rewards smart style players that stay in the fairway. Aggressive scoring opportunities but make you pay if you go in the rough. Good value for the $. Local Discgolf store located across the street from parking for the course. Well designed in terms of flow.
Cons: Although the course is designed well for flow, the short pads looked really close, and many times we had groups behind us cut across our fairway not even realizing that we were in process of teeing off from the long pads. Course could use some warning signs in a few places for safety. I think some of the short pads could benefit from maybe a little longer layout. Didn't look like there was many places to park a car. Didn't see any bathrooms or water on the course. I may have missed where they were though.
Other Thoughts: Really liked this course, it fits in well with the other courses in the area. Played it right after I played Elver in the same day. These two courses are great for 2 rounds in the same day, I think they compliment each other well.
0 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: different looks, not too technical but offering a challenge to my group. Hilly and very nice views. The course is hidden from most of the urban area that surrounds it. The pay to play aspect is a bit disconcerting for a city as liberal as Madison, but, in this day and age I suppose it has become a necessity. Well marked, with directional arrow to the next tees. I WOULD travel here from Milwaukee again to play.
Cons: As long as it continues to be maintained and as long as the crowds don't start to back up it is a lot of fun. No parking lot (park on the street nearby).
Other Thoughts: I am not promoting anything in particular, but I always like to say thanks to people who have disc golf shops nearby . . . . this one is across the street at the end of a small strip mall . . . they guy is getting it together, and he has more discs than most shops I have seen . . . . if you want something (I was looking for lighter weight disks that I can't find on the internet . . . .he came up with three).
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 7 Not
My Home Course
Pros: A wooded, technical, hilly beast of a course on the east side of Madison. I've logged well over 1000 rounds here and gotten 15 aces on three of its holes alone, but it's still a challenge that rewards great shot making and penalizes a person for being off just a little (clip a tree on 6 and go left and have to make that 150 foot lefty spike anhyzer recovery and you'll see what I mean).
Cons: It was once overrun with trash and disc thieves, but the city has gone to pay for play and the course is now clean and they have made numerous improvements in the infrastructure.
0 of 7 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Hiestand Park is a nice, city course with some really fun holes. Its clearly a busy course that gets a lot of traffic but really has its great characteristics. Here are my pros:
1) Its always good to start out with a bang and I really liked hole 1. Its a sharply uphill hole that plays like 375 feet from the long tees (listed at 307 feet). It really just gives you the opportunity to air crash the first hole. Getting off of the fairway will still punish you but there's lot of room here and I just enjoyed this hole.
2) Almost every hole had two concrete tees and the difference between the long and short tees was about 1700 feet. This offered a really nice difference and really added value to the course. A lot of the longer tees are actually much harder than the shorter tees.
3) Hole 3 is a "pro" all by itself. Who doesn't love to throw a shot down a big hill to a green with a creek around it? Its a wide open shot and is a nice par 3. Its probably my favorite hole on the course. Hole 15 is also a nice hole that really allows you to crush a drive. Its 476 feet but probably plays more like 425 feet. Its a long and challenging par 3 that does have some pretty deep rough so make sure to keep it on the fairway.
4) The course is manicured very well. Its obviously driven by the $5 charge/$40 yearly pass to play the course, but the money is being well spent. There wasn't a lot out of place on the course and the grass was manicured extremely well. It wasn't country club feel but it was at least public golf course feel. And for disc golf that's a good thing!
5) The course actually offered a nice challenge from the long tees. The par 3's on the course were not easy by any means and the course featured many par 3's over 350 feet that really could offer some nice score separation.
6) Navigation on the course was pretty much perfect. I never got lost and everything flowed very nicely. The fun factor was also very high on this course.
Favorite feature on the course: The green areas of hole 1 and hole 14 had some overlap and contained some really neat rock areas. This was an awesome little feature that really stood out.
Cons: Honestly Hiestand Park is a course without a lot of cons. I think the park is a very nice course but lacks the grandeur of some of the top rated courses. Here is my limited list of cons:
1) In my opinion, nothing on the course stood out as putting this course into Excellent (4.0) or above. I honestly can't really think of a signature hole on the course, except for maybe hole number 3. Essentially this course had a lot of above average holes but nothing that blew you away. Because this course is in a public park it doesn't have the natural beauty that other local courses had, such as Vallarta or Birds Ruins. I actually rated all three courses the same (3.5) and had different reasons for arriving at that number.
2) The design of the course was solid but in my opinion the course had some tweener holes. Hole 5 was a nice hole but was definitely a tweener hole. A smoked drive on that hole will probably leave you with a 50 to 60 foot jump putt that really isn't that makeable over the retaining wall. Hole 10 was kind of the same way for me as it wasn't a par 3 and could barely be called a par 4. I think that ten years ago this course probably would have been a 4.0 but I think with players simply throwing further some of these holes have become obsolete distance wise.
3) The course is extremely worn. Two locals told me that the course could be closed for a portion of next year so they can reseed and replant certain areas. Multiple areas of the course were just dirt, as heavy play has eroded a lot of places in the park. It didn't really take a lot away from the course, in my opinion, but its just worth noting.
4) With any course and alternate pins, I would like to see some kind of indication of the current location of the pin. It wasn't always evident which pin was in the ground. Likewise, some of the distances on the sign were not correct even if the pin seemed to be correct. This may be because of outdated signs or new pins but the distances on the signs did not match up to the distances that were given out in the player's guide for the recent A Tier in Madison. For instance, Hole 3 and Hole 9's distances did not match the signs and were off by about 45 feet (sign had it listed too short).
Other Thoughts: Hiestand Park is a great compliment to the other courses in Madison. Its a solidly above average city course with a greens fee of $5. Normally a pay to play course keeps the chuckers away but there were multiple chuckers playing a round at this course when I did a practice round before the Mad City Open.
All in all, this is a nice course and WELL worth the visit. I would definitely recommend hitting this up along with the first 18 holes at Token Creek if you have a day to spend here. I would then recommend Glass Nickel Pizza! They are a huge sponsor of the local A Tier and most importantly have great pizza!
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Solid city course
Pros: Very well maintained course in a city park. Scenery is definitely above average, especially for being stuck in the middle of town!
Two concrete tee pads on nearly every hole, almost all in good repair. Grippy and 12' long. A few that could use some updating (hole 9 long, I'm looking at you).
Tee signs have distances, minimal topography, and pin placements. Only thing missing is a way to identify which placement is in.
Nice use of elevation in certain places. Also, the different am and pro tees offer much different lines and distances. Very well done on this part of the design.
Good mix of open and wooded holes. The short tee fairways are mostly pretty open here, so the beginning and intermediate players should not be intimidated. The long tees offer a far larger challenge. Long lines, and tight. Your game gets a workout, but every hole has some sort of fair line to it.
Cons: There's not a ton to gripe about with this course. It does get quite busy during peak times, being right in town.
Like many of the Madison area courses, there's a lot of straight, or left to right type holes. They're mixed in pretty well, but you definitely notice it by the end of the round.
$5 pay to play is a bit steep, IMO. It's a nice course, but that much, for a city park, seems like gouging, especially if you factor in how much traffic there is.
Other Thoughts: This is a really solid course, especially from the longs. It's definitely the sibling of Elver, and has much the same feel to it.
Glide disc golf shop is directly across the street from hole 1, and offers up a huge selection of fairly priced discs, as well as an owner (and employees) that are more than willing to help with your disc selections. Just don't get suckered into buying a Champ Viking.
Nice course to run, and if you mix it with Elver, will make for a great day of throwing!
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Great city course
Pros: The course is well-balanced, with a nice blend of lengths and shot shapes. The course varies from open fields to tight wooded holes. Each hole has two concrete tee pads and multiple pin locations (though they don't seem to get changed very often).
Cons: This a popular city course, so it's usually very busy. The course also suffers from trash and vandalism, though the new pay-to-play requirement seems to be improving that. More than any other course in Madison, this one seems to attract the beer-drinking, pot-smoking crowd. This can lead to some slow groups and, on occasion, belligerent players.
Other Thoughts: This is a nice course overall. I'd rank it second among Madison courses, behind Token Creek/Vallarta-Ast. The scenery of the course is pleasant, as are the views of the city.
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