The Birth Grounds Of Disc Golf In Alabama
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: (2.719 Rating) A historic pine tree filled layout that's fun to play.
- HISTORY - According to the PDGA, this is one the first courses built in the world, somewhere between 3rd and 5th. A Steady Ed and Tom Monroe creation back in 1976. This notice by itself, makes Brahan Springs a destination course.
- FUN FACTOR - The perfect place to bring three friends and a six-pack. There are ample opportunities for birdies. Errant throws are not further punished even though there are lots of pines to weave around. The odds of losing a disc is near zero and for the most part, just about no areas where you'll have to search in the overgrowth. On my first 2 rounds here I showed up solo but ended up finishing in a group. It's just a fun place to throw a laid back round.
- ACEABILITY - No aces for me yet but there are lots of opportunities to run at the chains. Most of the holes play between 200 and 300 feet and have a clear line to the basket. The windows to the basket are tight on many holes but there's always a path. Skip plays are a very real possibly and its often the best way to run at the chains.
- CHAINS - Brand new MachVs
- CHARACTER - Above average. To start, adequately sized concrete tees. All the tees are shaded and wind protected except for (1) and (2). Benches are at 80 percent of the tees. Community board with course info and a course map. Practice basket and a shelter with a couple tables. The only substantial drawback is the hole signage and navigation, (see cons navigation.) There are also no extra tees or basket placements.
- SHOT SHAPING - Although the holes are on the shorter side, players will still need to put some thought into just about every shot. Lots of flight path planning is needed. Several holes have multiple lines to the basket.
- SKILL LEVEL FRIENDLY - This course draws a wide swath of skill leveled players. You'll see advanced players out here working on their short game lines but also beginners as well.
- QUICK PLAY - I've run all 18 hole solo in 40 minutes. Groups of 4 will generally take about an hour and a half.
- NATURAL BEAUTY - About average. The 50 to 60 year old pines that occupy 90% of this layout looks really nice on first arrival. However, after you run 5 or 6 holes of what seems like the same backdrop, you'll realize that the course has a real monotonous feel to it.
Cons: Not too many issues of substance with Brahan Springs Park. The biggest minor drawbacks are navigation and also the uniqueness of the last 16 holes.
- NAVIGATION - This is not the easiest course to navigate on first or even second attempt. I was fortunate to join a group on hole (4), otherwise I would have been walking around aimlessly several times. There are a few directional cues in the trees, but there are not enough on several holes that have walks over 100 feet. (5) to (6) is probably the biggest offender. I have already had a few occurrences where a first timer has asked me for directions to the next hole.
- HOLE SIGNAGE - Subpar. Currently the signage is only the hole number and a couple of these signs are falling apart. This course really needs an update to stay on pace with the other area courses.
- UNIQUENESS - For an almost fully wooded course, one of the lowest courses I've scored in terms of variety. Holes (1) and (2) are both wide open shots and then the last 16 wooded holes all have a similar feel. These 16 holes all weave through a tall ageing pine canopy. Sure the lines will cut left and right, but the surrounding elements are always the same. The lanes are moderately defined. Pockets to skip into are either loosely defined or non-existent. There are no water elements to contend with other than maybe the ditch along holes (3), (11) and (12). No par 4s or 5s, no doglegs or overhead plays.
- ELEVATION - Very little out here. Maybe 3 or 4 holes dive or climb by around 10 feet. Mastin Lake is the only area course with a bunch of good elevation changes.
- AVERAGE CHALLENGE - The difficultly out here is just south of average. As an intermediate player with about a 900 rating, I've been averaging about 4 down out here. Advanced players i've met seem to typically shoot 6 to 8 down or more.
Other Thoughts: My 100th review of 2017 and now my current home course. This course is great for beginners through intermediate level players. Some advanced players will enjoy it too, as the lines require just enough thought to not make it a bore fest. Perfect for big groups with wide skill differences and for those looking to shoot a laid back round. All stated, the biggest reason to check out Brahan Springs is the History. There are no older courses anywhere outside of California.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: 18 holes with excellent signs, teepads, and baskets. Navigation was easy- there are well-worn paths, signs on trees, and markers in the basket to help you get to the next hole. The course is old, but it is in excellent shape and appears to be well taken care of. It plays on flat ground around lots of very tall pine trees. The trees are so tall that leaves and branches are not in play, just lots of tree trunks to avoid. It is shaded nicely helping to ease the sometimes oppressive Alabama summer heat. The grass/pine straw fairways make it easy to find your discs. You have no danger of losing your disc on any of the holes (except possibly during periods of extreme rain, then the ditch lining a couple of the holes might hold water, but it was bone dry when I played.) This is one of the oldest courses around and it is pretty cool playing a piece of history.
Cons: The course is crammed into a relatively small area, and due to its popularity it can get crowded and feel somewhat cramped. The biggest negative for me, however, was the lack of variety- holes #1 and #2 are wide open, then the rest all look the same- 250'-300' around the pines to the basket 16 times in a row (look at the pics and you will see). We also had a couple of drunks ask us for money and cigarettes as soon as we pulled in the parking lot, but that happens at lots of courses!
Other Thoughts: This is a very old course, so it is what it is. You can get by with only 1-4 discs in your bag. It is great for beginners and families, or if you want a fun, casual round, but more advanced players will want more of a challenge after a couple of rounds here. This is a nice course, but so many courses have advanced beyond this one over the last 30 years. If you are in the area I do recommend playing it at least once. Also, Huntsville has plenty of courses and continues to grow as a nice disc golf destination.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Bumpin Bark Park
Pros: Occupying a flat, wooded plot - and one of the courses used for the PDGA World Championships in both 1983 and 1993, Brahan Springs is a classic.
Designed in the day when high tech was a super pro (midnight flyers were maaaayyybe just available then) - this course was very challenging in its infancy. Disc technology has transformed it into a pitch and putt - but the fact that it hasn't suffered the kind of tree loss that so many of its ilk have - it remains a fun and challenging little course. Flat makes it an easy walk. The woods make for some tight lines, with room for some creative shot making choices.
Teepads and signs were adequate when I was there last, and apparently still are.
Cons: Lack of topography makes a few holes sort of repetitive. Overall length is short by today's standards - so it's not a "big event" venue anymore.
Other Thoughts: When visiting Huntsville, "Bumpin Bark Park" is definitely worth a visit. Take your mids and putters and get yourself a fun warmup. Or take your newbie friends out and have a friendly laugh as they whack some pine trees with your favorite disc.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: This is an ideal course for newer players looking to hone their skills. Located in a small, square pine tree forest, the course weaves in and out of the many trees, testing your entire bag. The design is very good, with a lot of shot variety and every hole seems to have lots of different ways to get to the basket, but only 1 true fairway that requires good control of your discs to get the many birdies. There is very little elevation change and no shule. There are good concrete tee pads and tee signs on every hole. The are bathrooms across the road from hole 15.
Cons: This is your basic pitch and putt course, with very little challenge other than to get the birdie. With the way the trees are spaced out, there is always a recovery gap to the basket even after a bad drive. There are usually a couple of bums hanging around hole 3, but from my experiences, they have not been a bother. There are no benches, but the course is so short, you likely wouldn't sit down much anyway.
Other Thoughts: Although an easy course, there are enough trees to where every hole requires an accurate shot to get the birdie. As easy as it is for pros to shoot double digits down, the slightest bit of wind and being off target and it is just as easy for pros to shoot par or worse. It is one of the oldest courses in the nation and still a very fun course to play for all skill levels. You can play a quick round in no time. If you are a newer player or still trying to hone your skills, then I would recommend playing this course.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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