4 Helpful / 4 Not
The Beast is the best
Pros: This course was extremely challenging I LOVE IT!!!!!!. The front nine decently wooded areas and a few open and water hazard holes. 1) is uphill through a few trees. 2) A long shot through the trees. 3) Is shot out of the trees. 4) Is another long shot with few trees? 5) Is a shorter shot with the basket near the water downhill? 6) You cross the Brazos River with an alternate tee pad across the water. 7) Is on the same side as 6 near the water with a small creek with the water from 6 on the left side of your throw. 8) Wooded shots but some of the trees have recently been removed the basket is near the Brazos River again. 9) about the same as 8. 10)-17) Are about the same, heavily wooded areas with elevation changes. 18) Out of the woods and wide open near the road and the basket is near the fence where you enter the park.
Other Thoughts: The course is fenced in and is periodically closed.
4 of 8 people found this review helpful.
22 Helpful / 1 Not
Learn to love The Beast
Pros: More than any other course, this is one that I dream about playing at night. It's not much to look at when you first walk up to it, but the layout of almost every hole is exemplary, and there is just the right variance to the terrain to challenge you on almost every shot. If you have a card of four people, the odds of a "star card," where everyone shoots the same score on a hole, are virtually zero.
It is the element of score separation and challenge presented on every hole that makes this course so awesome. There are plenty of true par 4s (and one par five), no gimme holes, and every hole challenges you to go for the birdie 2/3 with frequent risk/reward decisions. It takes a lot of back-to-back excellent shots to keep your score in the high-50s (my personal best in casual play is a 52, and I'd guess that was a 1030+ round, based on tourney scores).
The front and back 9s have totally different personalities and meet at the parking lot, making it really easy to refresh drinks/discs/etc... at the car before heading into the wooded back 9.
The relatively open front nine will challenge you with OBs, wind, fast greens and subtle elevation changes. Frequent wind coming in off the Brazos river makes these holes particularly treacherous. (I was in a tournament here several years ago and watched several people send as many as a dozen discs apiece straight into the water on the by-the-pond and over-the-pond shots (306/272/243 ft. holes, but they can be brutal with the wind). OB roads on many of the other front-nine holes can be similarly devastating to your score in the wind, but at least you keep your discs.
The front nine doesn't really have anywhere you can throw a pure, balls-out power-drive. There are just enough trees, wind and obstacles that even on the big holes, you have to throw golf drives, because your line and placement are crucial. I've watched greedy players get ripped apart here, because if you ever forget about disc control, you're gone.
The back 9 is a totally different animal. Mostly tight through trees, you get a reprieve from the wind and the Texas sun, but -- hopefully your arm is loosened up -- because now you have to start hitting tight alleys, and the penalties are almost always a stroke when you miss the fairway. Again, decent elevation (10-30') on most of the holes adds extra challenge and forces you to carve some precise lines through overhanging trees.
After beating you up in the woods for 8 holes, the course finishes on a relatively open, 900' flat field hole -- woods on the left, OB road on the right, but the fairway is ~150'-wide, so this shouldn't be a problem for anyone (unless you get greedy and there is a lot of wind). So here, finally, you can rip it for all you are worth and let the canon-arms sometimes pick up one stroke on the weenie arms. Not a fabulous hole, but it helps round out the course, since it provides a different element. This is the only place on the whole course where pure power/distance is important. However, the distance of the hole is just far enough that -- especially with the wind -- it is likely to be a 4 for most Adv/Pro players. It takes a huge arm or a pair of great rollers to have a shot at the three. So again, the possibility is there, but the hole will separate out the card.
There is incredible shot variety on this course -- among the best I know of anywhere. And the design (I can't say this enough) is just awesome. The scenery is nothing to write home about (though the Brazos river is nice), but from a sheer disc-golf course standard, this will make or break your game and you will never feel like you've mastered this course, because there are no easy holes. There are at least 7 decent deuce possibilities every round for an intermediate/advanced player (#1, #5, #6, #7, #11, #13, #15), and as many as 11 for advanced/pro players with a little more low-line distance (same as above, but add #2, #8, #12, #17)... but I challenge you to walk away with even half of those on any round. And you're likely to take bogies on several of them if anything is off about your game.
It would be hard to pick a signature hole for this course -- there are just too many incredibly well designed holes. #4, #6, #8, #12, #14 and #16 are probably my favorites, but that's picking my top 6. I like them all. No wasted holes, no filler holes, no unfair holes, and tremendous variety.
Cons: The cons on this course are minimal, but worth being aware of. First: this course will beat you up the first time you play it, and you may swear off and never want to come back. DON'T QUIT! This place will shape your game -- mental and physical -- and make you a better player.
The water -- especially on windy days -- can eat a lot of discs, and it isn't water I feel safe swimming in (bring an extra disc or two on the front nine for the water holes).
The course can be hot, dry and nasty in the Texas summer.
Chiggers, spiders and snakes infest parts of this course. My brother always walks away with dozens of chigger bites. I've been struck at by more than one snake on the course, and there are Mirkwood-like spiders living in the woods on the back 9 (some of the biggest, ugliest, spikiest spiders I've ever seen).
Course is not excellent about maintenance -- some older/dirt tees (though they have worked on that), and signage is functional but not great. I've never seen a map for the course, and don't know how hard it would be to navigate for new players.
Sometimes the course is busy/closed due to other activities. The back nine is always for disc golf; the front nine is sometimes home to various picnics, parties, the powerboat races, crewing teams, etc... The Brazos is home to many boat-related events, and they sometimes take over the front nine holes, making them unplayable. It would be awesome if the front nine were dedicated to disc golf, but that will never happen. However, at least there are 9-disc golf-only holes, and a whole other course 5 minutes away (Cameron Park), on the other side of the river, so a trip here is never wasted.
Other Thoughts: I think I've said everything up above -- it's just so easy to tell great stories about the course. As a course, the design and challenge are the equal of anything I've ever played. This is an exceptional use of land. However, unlike many courses that are much more visually beautiful, this one takes a lot longer to appreciate. I'd played this course for years before I fully realized/acknowledged what a gem it is as a course.
After this rave review, you may wonder why it doesn't get the fifth star (or half star). A couple of things: first, five stars only goes to courses that are truly beautiful in all respects, immaculately manicured, etc. The Beast -- with some work -- has the potential to get to 4.5 stars if the locals put some time into the course and really shined it up -- especially if they could get the front nine reserved for disc-golf only. But I don't know that these things will ever happen, and this flaws definitely detract from the overall feel of the course. But for a place that is exceptionally well designed and works your entire game, this is definitely a '5' in those categories. Definitely worth the drive and a must play if you are in any major Texas city (Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, Houston, San Antonio, etc...)
So no matter what your first impressions are, try to keep coming back. The Beast will get ahold of you and keep you coming back for more.
22 of 23 people found this review helpful.
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