fun golf at a beautiful park
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Very well maintained park and well marked tee signs. Big bonus that there are 3 pin placements and 2 sets of tee pads at each hole. Benches at a lot of holes, and when I wanted to sit I was able to. As someone new to Madison, I got lucky enough to play with some locals, but seems easy enough to navigate. Mach V baskets are dependable and catch well. Pretty beginner friendly from the red tee pads, and judging from where the blues were those add a decent amount of difficulty.
Cons: Not a lot of trouble to get into, at least the time of year I played. Would probably be a lot more challenging if all of the tall grass areas played OB, especially would make the last 9 a bit more interesting.
If you're hitting the fairways, which are pretty big, it feels like playing on a ball golf course. There was less technical challenge than I had expected, at least playing from red tees to blue pins. I think I found myself in a tough spot maybe once or twice over the entire round.
Other Thoughts: Pay to play courses are a new concept to me, since in Mid-Missouri they are all free to play. Course was definitely well maintained. Personally I'd like to see better signage at the baskets, like next hole indicators. It seems fairly intuitive to play and navigate but having number plates on the basket and indicators to where the next pin is at would be helpful, as I was faced with multiple trails a couple of times and was unsure where to go.
There also seems to be a lack of trash cans on the course, but that doesn't affect me as I always pack out what I pack in anyway. Course was nice and free of litter anyway, so probably not a big deal overall - I'd imagine the pay wall to play the course means that people are a bit more responsible when it comes to things like littering.
From the reds tee to blue pin, this course doesn't offer much challenge for a high advanced/low open rated player. I was able to shoot -7, with 2 bogies, and I felt like I played pretty average. I'd certainly like to play blue to blue to see what kind of challenge the course can offer at its best.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
My Real Home Course
0 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: I've surely played 2000 rounds here since it opened, and it is one of the most beautiful and well kept courses in the US. It has the look and feel of a ball golf course. There are some challenges and it is well laid out.
Cons: The course is utterly flat, has very little in the way of obstacles, and in tournaments uses the ludicrous painted lines and arbitrary OB in an attempt to compensate for that. It may well be the most played course in the city, but it ranks 3rd out of the 4.
0 of 7 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Token Creek is an immaculate course that has the maintenance crew of a public golf course. I played on a Friday a few weeks ago (middle of August) and there were multiple, large tractors doing mowing and maintenance work on the course and I even saw a few people weed-whacking. That's what a pay to play course does! Here are my pros:
1) The course has multiple tees which offers a nice variety in the distance and gives players with different skill sets the ability to play the course. There are also multiple pin locations on every hole.
2) The course is extremely fair and has really clean lines. The course didn't have any poke and hope holes and I really appreciate a course that rewards a good shot.
3) The course had a lot of variety (at least with the first 18 holes) on different shot shapes. You had option holes (hole 1, hole 7), RH flick holes (3), long hyzer holes and everything in between.
4) This course had extremely beautiful greens. It doesn't get much better than 6 and 7 with the beautiful rocks and built up greens. Many of the holes had defined greens and I really enjoyed that about the course. It required a placement shot to get onto the green to have a shot at birdie.
5) The course had very defined fairways and really required a lot of thinking about where to land and where not to land. A lot of the course actually felt like a golf course, albeit on a smaller scale. The fairways were cut out of the woods on a lot of holes and it was neat to throw a lot of the holes on the first 18.
6) The Island Hole: This is a pro all by itself. This was the only hole i enjoyed during holes 19 through 27 and it was just a neat hole. It doesn't have the majesty of the famed island hole at TPC at Sawgrass, but hey, this is disc golf and its a start!
7) Hole 10 also has a special place in my heart. From the long tees I think this is just a special par 3. Trying to hit that right window through the trees and going into that guarded green is just a wonderful shot to try to throw. In my opinion this may be the best hole on the course.
8) Navigation: It was actually very easy to get around the course. I didn't have any problem finding where I was going and played a very quick round. I think the $8 fee cuts down on a lot of the ruckus so it was very quiet the day I played.
NOTE: The workers in the park actually stopped me to check to make sure I had a receipt to play the course. This is a pay to play course and they do check receipts so make sure to pay!
Cons: Token Creek does not have a lot of cons but the cons stand out and edge the rating from a solid 4.0/borderline 4.5 to a 3.5, which is still a very good rating.
For me this course is all about the design. This course has many phenomenal holes and features but there are two design flaws, in my opinion:
A) The course simply has too many tweener holes. I can't remember playing a course with so many holes between 400 and 550 feet. The longer the hole was the more wide open it was so it was really tough to call this kind of hole a par 4. At the same time, I didn't see anyone sniffing a deuce on some of the longer par 3's over 500 feet during the recent A Tier. I think that extending these holes to true par 4 distances or cutting them down to true par 3 distances would add significant value. I think a lot of the holes don't offer enough scoring separation to be a world caliber course.
B) Unfortunately the last 9 holes were just boring. I hate to use that word but there was so little variety in these holes. It just seemed like these holes were an afterthought. Besides the island hole, these 9 holes were not enjoyable to me. These holes were extremely flat with no elevation change and hardly any obstacles but prairie grass. They weren't bad holes by any means but they just didn't have the same feel and fun factor as the first 18. Unfortunately these 9 extra holes actually took away from the rest of the course but I still loved the first 18!
Don't take what I am writing in a negative way - Vallarta is still an awesome course with a lot of great holes. I just wish the last 9 holes were as awesome as the first 18!
Other Thoughts: To me this course is a tale of two cities: the first 18 holes are a solid 4.0 and really could push the envelope to be a 4.25 or higher. The issue with this course are holes 19 through 27, which I would probably give a 2.5. Most of the time having 27 holes is a positive thing but in this case these holes truly hurt the course. Its still a nice course but in my opinion its probably not worth the $8 fee. I know this keeps the course more playable and beautiful but if I am going to pay $8 for a 27 hole course I'd love for it to have more interesting holes on the last 9.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: - Super well manicured!
- Am and Pro Level Cement Teepads
- Multiple Pin Placements
- Very aesthetically pleasing
- Some well guarded greens
- Benches on almost every hole
- Easy to navigate
- Pro pads have lots of blind holes
- Wind plays a big factor
- Lots of places to open up and crank out a long drive
- Very easy to navigate, little need to walk fairways to find pin
- Good tee signs
Cons: - FLAT
- Kind of repetitive
- Basic Shots are all that are required for good scores. Flat hyzers and slight turnovers dominate the tee shots.
- $8 to play the 3rd best course in the area. $10 additional for your dog (Not holding the latter against the course but the park policies).
- Watch your disc when it heads for the long grass and pine trees
- The wooded holes were cleared out too much making them easy to hit your line.
Other Thoughts: This course is a bit of a let down when compared to the other two 18 hole courses. Being that its pay to play i expected it to be really amazing. But its flat and doesn't require you to be very skilled.
The shorts are more of a REC level layout. Most of the holes are reachable for deuce opportunities. I am not calling this a pitch-n-putt in anyway. Your deuces have got to be earned but their there. Developing INT players will also find reward in playing the shorts.
The longs are more for INT and ADV players. The lines are similar to the shorts but several holes become blind. The real challenge here is the length and being decently accurate in your placement.
I would give this course a 3.25 if I could. The shorts are 3.0 and the longs are a 3.5. Although the amenities are nice I just dont think its that great of a pay-to-play compared to others. If it were free I would probably give it a solid 3.5. Of all the pay-to-plays I've played I would rate this last. It doesn't leave me with an urge to play it again and definitely not worth $8.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Course is set in a big, semi-forested park that is pretty much devoted to disc golf. There are a bunch of other park users, but it seems well separated.
- There are holes that have a good amount of trees to contend with, in a few different ways. There are some tighter ones that require good line shaping, some with large patches of jail to avoid, and others that involve going around on the open side. Highlights here include a shot around a large patch of forest, either way, on #7, and a long shot to get around jail on #10. A few tighter ones that are RHFH friendly as well.
- The majority of the course is set up in more open areas, that use denser rough, tall grass, and the occasional tree to get in the way. Some of these are a lot of fun, like a long zig-zagging, multi-shot hole, or an uphill that has three rock gardens for the multiple pin placements. A couple obvious RHBH annys too, as well as some hyzers, both with blind baskets.
- Some decent elevation changes here. Nothing too extreme at all, though it is noticeable on a few holes.
- A few tricky pin positions, depending on where they are at. Really changes up the holes in some cases. A couple rock ledge greens add serious rollaway potential.
- Good variety in distances, from both tees. Some longer holes have some character, like the long zig-zagging one, and the one with the grove to go around (450' from the blue).
- Great teepads, signage, and baskets. Navigation can be a little tricky the first time through, with a few different paths after some holes.
Cons: - My biggest gripe with this course is the large amount of holes that are fairly wide open. Almost the entire back nine are just mowed fairways, with some rough on the sides and a tree here or there. Practically no thought is required here, all ya gotta do it throw it far and land in the fairway. Really left a bad taste to finish like that.
- Terrain here is pretty flat, for the most part. Only a couple of shots that really are influenced by sloping fairways. No water either, the only hazards are thick rough and the road in one spot.
- Tee signs don't state the current pin position, which leaves a lot of guessing. Normally I wouldn't care so much, but some are right next to each other, and it's really a guessing game of how how far it is.
Other Thoughts: - This course starts off OK, then gets good, then gets really good, and then craps out and leaves you with driving practice all the way back to the car. Maybe I had very high expectations after the front nine, but it really got bland. Still, the front nine offers a lot of variety and some challenge, and the back nine is a good place to grip and rip some different lines. Better suited to beginners and intermediate players.
- Eight dollars, jeez.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: Manicured and in a park perfect for the family outings. Challenging long distances and multiple tees.
Cons: Pay to play. Worth it though.
Other Thoughts: A real pretty course in Madison. Although I prefer to play Heistand when in the middle part of the state.
0 of 7 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Nice, but pricey
Pros: This is another great addition to the Madison disc golf scene, and adds it's own totally different flavor to the variety of courses here. The pay to play fee is clearly used at least in part for course upkeep, as it is beautifully manicured and kept up and really has the feel of a ball golf course. A lot of work has gone into this course with large dual concrete tees, nice signs with hole layouts and distances to all three pin positions at both tees, and lots of landscaping. It doesn't appear to get as crowded as the other Madison courses, which is one more benefit of the play fee.
With the multiple pin positions, there is a decent variety of shot shapes required to score well here, with a pretty balanced mix of left and right turning shots. There are a few shots that have more of a wooded feel to break up the more open prairie type shots with only a couple trees for obstacles. There is a pretty good variety of distances here, with some shorter ace runs and some longer air it out type holes, and the dual tees add more variety with the longs often adding a good amount of distance and a slightly different shot.
Cons: Normally I don't even mention pay to play as a con, it doesn't bother me to pay a few bucks to play a private course or to contribute to keeping up a fantastic course. Here though, $7 for 18 holes seems very steep. The maintenance is impeccable, but the course itself is just not quite challenging or interesting enough to be worth that. There are too many open holes with prairie rough that don't challenge you to make a good drive, you can easily get back to the hole for a 3 once you find your disc in the long grass.
With such nice signs and multiple pin placements, I was quite surprised to not see any marking for what position was currently in use. I'm not a fan of having to guess or walk up the fairway to know where the pin is, and it's not that hard to do something simple to mark the current pin set up. The course plays very close to park roads several times, which takes away from the feel of the course, as does the highway noise on the first few holes.
Other Thoughts: This is a nice course, and worth a round if you're playing the Madison area, but I personally put it behind both Hiestand and Elver for fun factor, especially when you throw in the high fee here. It's got some challenges, but not enough variety, elevation or punishing obstacles to make it really feel worth the fee.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
pay to play working very well
Pros: Two sets of cement tees; offering two distinct courses for play.
Multiple pin placements.
As all reviewers note; course maintenance here is superb. Not only on a daily basis; i.e. trash removed, fairways mowed; tee areas beautiful and unworn as maintenance can keep things; but,
in addition to the wonderful job done on these daily maintenance issues; there is outstanding rock wall landscaping which makes for beautifully kept pin placements (hole #6 has three different pin placements located on the side of a hill; all are surrounded by raised pin with rock wall supporting basket area. You can be within a couple of feet of basket and still have an over your head putt). From the long tee on #6, an o.b. road also comes into play; short of basket locations.
Hole # 7 forces a choice around a forested area to a raised pin/ with a rock wall fall off behind; which again, may mean that you're a few feet from bucket; but putting over your head....also could mean you're level with basket; but forced to attempt a dangerous putt; that, if missed, will put you well below ground level; off the back side of green)....should be noted that while many courses do these types of green areas now; Token was an early innovator for this type of green.
Hole #5 is a signature hole for par 3 design.
Long tees really do make this course near a must play for blue level and below players. Definitely long enough to require good placement on drives; followed by a full round of quality upshots; to keep yourself in position to use any birdy chances for an under par round.
Good length from long tees.
Camping just off course at both group site, and individual sites. Bathrooms near group site and can be found along course. Showers available in park.
Rumors on the Madison board that this course may be expanding to 27 or even 36 holes in the near future.
Token Creek has been pay to play since it's inception; in 2001. Madison is perhaps the heaviest played area in Wisconsin (IMHO Fox Cites area not far behind; and Milwaukee not far behind that...I would not be surprised if these three areas are right up there with the most heavily played areas in the country). Pay to play here has made this course a must pay choice for locals not wanting to wait every hole to tee. Hiestand and Elver are both quality courses; worth playing; but they are both more crowded than here; due to pay to play; and enforcement (someone will very likely check at Token, to make sure you have paid your green's fees; heavy fine involved if you have not).
Cons: Course is fairly plain; especially short tee rounds. Primarily a flat course.
Yearly pass a good bargain for locals (@$50 for the year). For visitors; $7 per round is a bit steep; especially if you're using the group camp site and staying for two or three days....you end up spending $21 for three days; which is nearly half the yearly fee. IMHO; if you pay camping fees; greens fees should be included at a discount rate.
Other Thoughts: This course was somewhat ahead of it's time; but, just barely. The landscaped greens are a very nice touch; but many other courses began doing this about the same time as implementation here.
Hole length, from long tees, also still forces good decisions in regards to lay up areas and approaches to pin. Players under gold level skill sets; will need to figure what route they want to get to pin. But, not in a wooded hole way; more so, an open field way; around a certain tree; with a direct line to basket. However, higher speed plastic and overall increase in player abilities have made this less than a championship layout (read 4 or above rating). Short tees; while a very nice alternative; and worth bonus points for lesser level players; will be considered relatively deuce or die for blue and above level players. Big arms (who throw @350 ft. on a regular basis) will find long tees to be largely a deuce or die course. Pins are decently placed; but nothing too technical for anyone that can reach them.
Vallarta-Ast is a "ball golf" look course; with somewhat rolling, grassy fairways. This course is perhaps the best loved in the Madison area; partially because of this "look," and partially because the pay to play cuts down on the pure playing numbers. Myself, and others, prefer Hiestand for it's elevation and larger number of risk/reward shots. I, personally, am also very fond of Madison's first course in Elver Park....more elevation than Token; and a number of pine forest shots as well. Hiestand and Elver are extemely crowded though. For a more relaxed feel at what is still a 3.5 level course; head here.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Beautifully Manicured - Not as much variety as the free courses in Madison
Pros: Immaculately manicured and upkept. Gorgeous park setting for a country-club like atmosphere. You will be impressed when you play here. There are elevated tee areas, terraced greens, and well kept up and wide fairwways. The rough is also nice and rough, enough to severely punish a bad shot. The concrete tees (both sets) are nice and large and not too badly eroded around the edges. 3 pin placements are a nice option, but a con is that they are not identified on the tee sign.
Cons: Pay to play is always a con, especially at a location with only 18 holes (private course aside). Plus pay to play brings an expectation that the course will have great amenities and grooming attention to detail. There is very little elevation here beside a few minor ridges around the property in front near the road. There are no good really wooded holes under a canopy (a tomahawk will get you past most trees in play here). There is no water hazard here at all and very little OB. One problem with the hugely manicured fairways is that you can be off course on your drive but still have a decent approach due to lack of obstacles. This reduces the 'necessary skill shot' factor.
Hole 3 has quite a bit of traffic noise from the interstate.
Other Thoughts: The country club look of this course just begs and screams for a higher rating, but I simply cannot. Don't let the 3.5 rating fool you, you will love this course and thoroughly enjoy your time spent playing. Plus, in conjuction with Elver and Heistand, you get huge bang for your buck in the Madison area. The country club setting does NOT get the extra points in this case becuase the course is pay to play - so I EXPECT IT! At Token, you don't get the elevation or really tight wooded tunnel holes you get at the other two Madison courses. Since Token is pay to play, and the other Madison courses are not, I rate the other two higher because I'd RATHER play them. While they are not nearly as nicely manicured as Token, sometimes manicured isn't always the best and big bush rules. But since the other courses are so nice, and Token is pay to play, and I rate courses relative to one another and how likely I am to play one over another, I have to rate Token just a bit lower than Elver or Heistand. But also by comparison to my other reviews, Token is probably the best of all the courses I rated 3.5 (3.75 would be ideal in my list of reviews).
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: 1. Variety. Plenty of semi-open holes with pin placements strategically tucked away, making some easy-looking holes play a lot tougher. Gentle elevation, but even this comes into play with these strategic placements (drop-offs immediately after basket, rock ledges). Lots of lefty holes.
2. Maintenance. Your $5 (UPDATE: $8) quite obviously goes into the upkeep out here, with beautifully manicured fairways and great-looking tee signs.
3. Concrete tees.
4. Dual tees.
5. Signature holes. I think the back-to-back scenery on Hole #5 and #6 really adds a lot to this course, but it lacks any holes where you step up to the tee and say, "Wow" and pull out the camera.
6. Trash cans everywhere. It's obvious that the Mad Town DG community respects their courses, as litter was scarce to nonexistent (save for the inevitable cigarette butts...lazy asses can't field strip 'em and put 'em in their pockets, I guess).
Cons: 1. From the long tees, you're looking at a lot of length, and several of the longs don't add to or change the feel of a hole; they simply add distance (one-half to three-quarters of a drive in my case).
2. No water hazards. Even a little man-made pond or two would add a LOT of challenge if done properly. Hole #1 would benefit immensely by putting one just left of the tree. Maybe some big landscaping boulders?
3. Mostly flat, but like I mentioned above, even the slight elevation is utilized to its fullest potential.
4. Slight navigation issues as to which path (sometimes there are several) to take after completing a hole. Fortunately, if you grab a scorecard/map from the permit area, you should be able to figure out the flow without too many problems.
Other Thoughts: I wish I'd had more time to play another round while out here. This was only my second time at Vallarta-Ast, and the first time was during the 2007 Mad City Open, which really took away from the enjoyment I get from a recreational round. This is a beautiful course overall, and most players should appreciate the surrounding beauty and upkeep. Really friendly locals. Make sure you pay your $5--not just to support the course, but because you run the risk of something like a $150 fine if you're caught without a permit, and you more than likely won't be able to finish up your round.
UPDATE: The pay-to-play fee is now up to $8. While $5 was "reasonable," this new fee, even though only a few bucks more, just isn't justified by the type of course this is compared to the other courses in the area. If paying results in this kind of impeccable upkeep, I'd get 100% behind ALL Mad Town courses going pay-to-play in order to transform the eroded and litter-prone Elver and Hiestand into lush green space like this. I have to adjust my rating here slightly in view of the other courses I've played since originally rating this, and the fact that the Parks Department keeps raising the fees, which is only going to drive down traffic if that continues.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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