Best course in Michigan
4 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: -Spectacular setting and amazing views throughout. You won't find better in Michigan.
-Fantastic hole design. Nothing repetitive, nothing cheap (only one hole that could really even be considered a "poke and pray, #2) and will test almost every shot in your game at some point. This is what a "wooded" course should look and play like.
-Amazing disc golf atmosphere. You can literally feel the love for the game here, something only Flip City comes close to rivaling in Michigan.
-Great layout. Never any real confusion about where the next hole is. Furthermore, the layout makes great use of the elevation without being obnoxious and overly exhausting; something the nearby, now-extinct Carly's Playground failed miserably at.
-Very few places where you can legitimately lose a disc. No dense underbrush in the woods and no thick scrub and grass in the open areas. If you know Michigan disc golf, you know this is a rarity and a huge luxury.
-Extremely close proximity to Traverse City (basically located in the city). Lots of northern Michigan courses suffer from being way out in the middle of scenic nowhere. Literally only 2 minutes from the best disc golf store in Northern Michigan, Tilley's, as well.
Cons: -The only real negative is a few missing tee signs.
-Last I played, hole 24 was removed, which was a bummer cause it was a fun little 300-foot finishing hole. I'd assume this was due to basket theft, but I'm not sure.
-Advanced players will likely tell you that this course isn't very challenging. You can definitely shoot some very low scores here.
Other Thoughts: Simply put, this is the best course I've ever played, a list which includes the legendary Flip City and Idlewild. It easily holds its own among the top courses in the state and even the country.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Spectacular Long Course
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I was on vacation in the Traverse area for a little over a week and decided to give this course a try.
Like many have been saying, this course is beautiful. If you like wooded courses, this is a great one to play. If you like incredible views, this is also a course for you.
I played mostly in the mornings (being on vacation) and I only saw a couple of disc golfers when I was coming back to my car. I don't know how crowded it gets in the middle of the day on the weekend. But with this being one of the only courses in the area, and top notch at that, I can safely speculate that the course gets lots of use.
There are a lot of up elevation changes throughout the course. Some of the uphill shots can make you feel weak and like you have no distance at all. And a couple of the downhill shots (19 and 20 especially) can make you feel like McBeast.
I played 7 rounds and never lost a disc. So that's a pro. I found one in tall grass on 20 (without a phone number) but I think it would be hard to lose a disc here.
There are, as many have mentioned, a few tunnel shots and the course is mostly wooded. However, there are half a dozen holes where you can air it out. So, the course does offer quite a bit of variety.
Also, there are a few ace run holes, which is a lot of fun. I just threw a few discs to try some different approaches and to learn some mid-ranges that I don't throw as often.
Cons: Hard to think of one. There is some graffiti on benches and hole signs that is not appropriate. So if you bring your kids with you, you might have some explaining to do.
There is some trash here and there. Mostly, I would guess, because there are very few trash cans. The second to last time I played the course, I just brought a bag with me and picked up trash here and there. It's mostly cans and bottles.
There are also a few missing signs, so if you haven't played the course before, you'll have to guess where the basket is. But it's really not that big of a deal. The layout is fairly easy to figure out even when you play the course the first time.
Other Thoughts: I'm not in the best shape, but I was still able to finish the round of 24 holes without a problem. Admittedly, I was huffing and puffing on a few holes because of the elevation changes. But honestly, it was a great work out and I was often rewarded with some spectacular views of the bay.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Concerete tee pads. Different elevations and terrain. A technical course that challenges your accuracy. If you decide not to play, you can enjoy a nice walk nevertheless. This course will also allow you to use all of your discs in your bag, which I think is a bonus.
Cons: A few signs are missing throughout the course, and there are some hikes in between holes. Therefore, this can be confusing to players who have never played here before. My boyfriend and I encountered a couple of groups that weren't too courteous, but you get that everywhere. One group was lighting fireworks on hole 19, and we felt that was unnecessary. There are also aren't any trash cans, except at one hole.
Other Thoughts: This is definitely one of my new favorite courses. It is close enough to the city, but far enough away where you can enjoy your surroundings.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: -Lots of variety and good course flow
-easy to follow
-nice views and nice walk
-great for everybody -- lots of intermediate, average, semi-pro, and recreational players
-nice way to spend an afternoon
Cons: -some benches and tee signs are missing
-in the summer some of the holes get overgrown with weeds which makes some holes harder to find your disc
Other Thoughts: -lots of walking
-great course if you are visiting TC and want some great views that most people don't know exist
-This is a difficult course for beginners because the holes are rarely straight and open
-large groups of players are not recommended because there can be some waiting and the hickory regulars tend to like to play quickly and a large group can really slow down gameplay -- this course is usually about 2 hours with three people but can take as long as 4.5 if there are large groups that are on every hole slowing down the game
0 of 4 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Stellar old school design, variety out the wazoo, gorgeous to see, super fun to play - that's really all you need to know, so don't complain if my review's too long.
• Discplay: Phenomenal variety; 24 holes that don't feel repetitive at all.
+ Elevation: Varies from subtle to mammoth and is wonderfully employed without being overdone: up, down, rolling, gullies, along ridges (where roll-always can hurt), pins on slopes, and yes, there are even several flat fairways.
+ Mostly moderately to well-wooded with a few lightly wooded holes and some fairly open fairways that have a few (well-placed) trees.
+ Holes that allow a variety of lines to force decision making and holes that force a specific line.
+ Holes that play much longer/shorter than posted.
+ Fairways with L/R/straight tee shots, ranging from open to very well wooded;
+ Nice variety of distances and fairway types with holes that call for finesse, holes that call for power, holes that demand both.
+ Clever pin placements: several on or near slopes, a few well-guarded, some nicely tucked into the trees off a fairly open fairway.
+ Risk/Reward that's fair: Many holes can make you pay for leaving the fairway with difficult recoveries, but it's always fair. If you only stray a little, recoveries aren't too tough, but the farther you stray, the tougher they get. Pin placements w/pucker factor to punish poor decision making.
+ Chainstars are in good condition, as are the concrete tees.
+ Tees signs have #, distance and hole layout.
+ Benches at many tees.
• Memorable holes: #19... I'll probably never play a more memorable hole, sincerely.
a) Truly an incredible disc golf hole: a heart-pounding 621' downhill bomb with a wide, grassy fairway flanked with dense woods on either side. Toward the bottom of the hill, the left side opens up and continues downward to the left, allowing RHBH shots to fade so far down, you'll either laugh or cry. You could park it for a deuce (like the guy behind be) or get 7 (like me)... either way, it's incredible.
b) It's the most majestic looking hole I've ever seen. An opening through the trees perfectly frames the city in the distance with the bay in the foreground... you can literally see for miles. There are actually many other memorable holes... but 19 just takes the cake.
• Routing/Nav: Intelligently laid out and flows well. Easy to follow because it's seen a lot of traffic, so paths to the next tee are usually obvious. The only tricky spots are from 17 to 18 (what looks like the obvious path is a walking trail) and to a lesser extent, from 8 to 9, and ... everything else was straightforward. Map should help if you get turned around.
• Aesthetics: The entire course is wonderfully appealing and has an ambience about it, but the view from the 19th tee is perhaps the very nicest I've taken in on any course - picture post card quality. As nice a walk through as I've ever taken, this place is almost enchanting. Despite the number of trees, the fairways and sight lines are open enough that it never feels claustrophobic. Relaxing to the point that it helped me "get into the zone."
• Plenty of shade on hot days
Cons: Cons: I really loved this course, but couldn't shake the following:
• quite a few tees were sandy and to the point of being hard to clear off (particularly #9) which affected some shots.
• Shows signs of erosion and is aging. Wish I could have seen this place years ago.
• Chainstars are very tough to see in the shadowy woods... you can be looking straight at them and not see them. A flag or some paint would be sweet.
• Certainly not an easy course, but I can't believe Pros will find the challenge they need here. Would have benefitted from a 2nd, more challenging set of tees to better fit a wider range of skill levels - not sure it's feasible at this point.
• I can see this place being very slippery when wet -just a warning, not a knock.
Other Thoughts: Hickory Hills is as enjoyable a course as I've had the pleasure to play: beauty, variety, more fun than a barrelfull of drunken monkeys. An extremely complete and well put together course that I absolutely must play again.
Shot a 79 for all 24 holes (including a 7 on hole that can be deuced). No doubt in my mind I could card a 72 if I had the opportunity to play here often. Considering I'm an 850 rated player, who's never played this course before, I simply can't believe it would push top level Ams or Pros. That's really the biggest thing holding back my 5.0, and to a lesser extent, the erosion and sandy tees. I can't fault anyone for awarding a 5.0, but from my perspective, a course has to better accommodate a range of skill levels to earn that rating.
Campers: Just 15 min from Traverse City State Park, with: clean, private showers, shady sites, plenty of restaurants and directly across the street from a public beach.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 3 Not
Excellent course that could be Phenomenal, and maybe even 5/5!
Pros: + Easy to find, close to the city
+ Great elevation
+ A decent mix of hole lengths
+ Ace run hole with downhill danger on 3 sides
+ Massive downhill bomber
+ Easy navigation without signage
+ Rough is easily manageable = no lost discs
+ Gorgeous hilltop view with observation spot
+ Good benches
+ Good baskets, okay tees
+ 24 holes of excellent golf
+ Clean with forest growth under control
+ Bugs weren't terrible after the first 3 or 4 holes
+ Decent risk vs reward
Cons: - Tee signs aren't great
- Pretty mild hole layouts
- Moderate challenge level
- Single tees/pins (a big con for this course to me)
- Crowded with many inconsiderate teenagers
- After hole 19/20, the course's intensity fizzled out
- Trash bins necessary
Other Thoughts: I played in the evening on a Friday in the middle of July with three other intermediate players and can easily say it was a very satisfying and fun round. For the most part, the baskets are visible from the tees, so there wasn't much of a disadvantage for the three of us who hadn't played here before. It would definitely be a great place for a solo round workout. The round played smoothly once the groups in front of us stopped playing and vanished (yessss!), but at that time the course seemed to be a social hangout for a lot of snobby teenagers looking to get away from their parents who just didn't care about rate of play. Very little consideration. That's neither her nor there, but it's worth noting in case you visit at a peak time.
Despite having a really fun round and all of us scoring well, I have to be honest and say that I was underwhelmed. I expected lot more challenge, a bigger hike, and a more diverse layout. Halfway through the round one of our group said that the majority of the intended lines seem to be straight. The fairways are indeed carved wide and clear for the most part, and I realized that throw straight = throw less is definitely true here. Because of this, Hickory is the only course that I've played that has made me think multiple tees or pins are actually necessary. I especially believe alternate tees placed way higher on the hills would better use the massive land available. With the tees in their current location there were a few decent hikes, but not as big or as many as I expected. That being said, Hole 19's hilltop view did not disappoint. That is one of the coolest holes I've ever played. Loved it. After hole 20, though, the intensity fizzled and it was back to just relaxing up north.
For as much as I liked my one and only round at Hickory Hills (so far), I believe the course could be so much more! And even though my expectations were high and I left a little underwhelmed, objectively, it really is an Excellent (4/5) course and deserves a great reputation. I can easily see why Hickory is revered by many, but Carly's Playground (5/5) is more massive and challenging, and Myles Kimmerly (4.5/5) makes way better use of elevation and diverse layouts and is more difficult and fun without multiple tees or pins. Suttons Bay (3/5) will also give you a little more diversity without your hiking shoes (and as a brand new course, deserves way more plays than it has in its first season!). All four made for a 5/5 disc golf weekend up north!
Thank you for reading!
6 of 9 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: Good mixture of easy and difficult shots. Good elevation changes, clean, easy to navigate. Tee pads were in good shape, and course is unbelievably beautiful.
Cons: None that i can think of.
Other Thoughts: VERY LONG if you're playing the full 24. Take lots of water and comfortable shoes.
0 of 7 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: The course plays through a hilly park with little interference from other park users. Elevation comes into play on most of the shots, with a couple great empty your bag type shots and lots of cool holes with hills in play on the drive and around the green. A few holes have rollaway potential and dropoffs if you go long on your drive. There is good punishment on most of the course, with rough that will cost you strokes for missing your line but that isn't so thick you'll lose discs.
There is a good mix of hole shapes on the more wooded sections of the course, calling for a balance of left and right turning shots and several straight holes. The open sections of the course offer a little more distance and more emphasis on shot placement.
The course is well kept, especially for the amount of traffic. The signs have hole layout and distance, and the flow of the course is easy to follow. The concrete tees are in fine shape.
Cons: The course ends in a disappointing way. The open holes along the road don't offer a whole lot of challenge and are anticlimactic after the downhill bomb. There are a lot of shorter holes on the course, which can feel a bit repetitive. The tees are a little worn down, and when combined with some sand can get pretty slick. There is a lot of soil compaction and erosion on the wooded fairways due to the heavy traffic.
Other Thoughts: This is a very fun course, and worth the stop if you're in the area. Beginners will find the course tough, but not to the point of frustration. There are shorter holes mixed in and the rough isn't so thick that errant shots end up lost. Experienced players will find nice variety and some challenging shots, with some easier ace runs mixed in.
8 of 11 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Beautiful and Challenging
Pros: To start off, I want to mention that I played the course during the Hickory Hills Open 2012 event (2 rounds w/ OB and Mandos)
There are many Pros to this course, here is a brief list;
-This course features every shot you could want to throw and more.
-Holes are diverse and ever changing including; Doglegs both to the left and right through moderately wooded areas as well as long open holes with spectacular views
-Elevation changes throughout the course will have you playing up and down the hills
-The course starts and ends at the parking lot
-TeeSignage shows you where to throw and where to go next (Hole 17 was the only teesign I couldn't find right away)
-Baskets are in excellent condition and catch discs well
Cons: Not too much to mention;
-A couple long walks from basket to next tee
-If you are not familiar with the course, scouting ahead for basket placements may be necessary on a few holes
Other Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed playing this course, from the spectacular view of the Traverse City from the teepad on Hole #19 to the several risky dropoffs near the basket positions on a few holes, this course was full of fun.
It is physically demanding to navigate in some areas, as there are a few climbs up some steep hillsides.
Bring plenty of fluids and snacks to keep yourself going!
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Great course. Cool views! The course has lot of variety to throw at. Lots of woodie holes, long green holes, and difficult holes. Fun for mostly everyone. Good amount of garbage cans and benches.
Cons: Little hard for beginners. People have broken down some of the signs and wrote stuff on the benches. Lots of people smoking, about half of the people who go there smoke and drink. It is also pretty busy. (but most of them let you pass if you are going faster then them)
Other Thoughts: Its fun! Top course I've played at so far
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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