Run To The Hills, Run For Your Lives
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: (4.235 Rating) A very long course with plenty of signature tee shots.
- BOMBER HOLES - Currently as of this review, the longest 18 configuration I've ever played. It allows the biggest throwers to really air them out. The par 3's here average over 370 feet and a couple of them are over 400 feet. Also two 750 foot plus par 5's and a gazillion par 4's.
- CHALLENGING - Challenging indeed, but playable for a larger swath of players than one would think. I felt that this monster course is mostly one dimension being just long. For Intermediate level players like me than can only throw around 350, this course is a par fest. The course feels about like a middle Advanced level course. I think a balanced 950 rated player should average par out here. This number will be skewed a bit for players that excel in length over accuracy.
- SIGNATURE HOLES - There are several absolutely phenomenal holes at Mahr Park. Hole (1) right out the gates is a 50 foot down shot with a slanted fairway toward the water the whole way. Then (2) is a wicked dogleg par 5 starting out moderately wooded and then it busts out over a creek and into open field. The approach then plays up 60 feet. The epic-ness continues onto (3) with a 70 foot downhill shot with a follow-up play over a small pond. This awesomeness pretty much continues all the way thru hole (10) which was my favorite hole being a risk reward water clear with an angled water's edge. Shots farther to the right will leave a better look at the basket on this hole but it will require a longer and longer water clear. There were five holes that really stood out here; (1), (3), (8), (9) and (10), which all now find my list of top 100 holes played. After these holes the quality drops a touch with a bunch of just "great" holes. There are also a bunch of average looking holes on the back nine, such as (12), (16) and (17).
- RAW BEAUTY - Piling on the Signature Holes pro above, the natural environment at Mahr Park is stellar. No doubt in my top 10, perhaps my top 5. Anyone like me who's a sucker for killer landscapes in the path of play will love this course. 90 foot elevation changes in play (source topoquest.com) and several ponds. I've never played a course having this great of combo of elevation and water. Great wildlife too. I saw at least a dozen whitetail deer.
- ELEVATION - Lots. There are probably a dozen holes with at least 25 feet elevation change in them.
- UNIQUENESS - In addition to elevation and water, this course has most of the other design elements typical of top tier courses. Two 90 degree dogleg right holes and three other 45 degree dogleg holes. Mostly lightly wooded but also a couple open shots and a few moderately wooded holes. As noted above, two par 5s and several par 4s. There is one substantial lacking item, and that is technical plays. I'd say not one hole out here is a heavily wooded technical tunnel shot.
- SEATING - Thank you, Thank you. A course this hilly needs seating on every tee and I only recall one tee that didn't have it on my visit.
- CHARACTER - A touch above average. In addition to seating, the basics are done great. DISCatcher baskets and 5 foot by 12 foot concrete tees. Signage is adequate but not top of line, see other thoughts. There's a practice basket and supposedly restrooms. Missing items include alternate basket placements and tee shading.
- MAINTENANCE - There were a few areas of longer grass but overall I was impressed. I figure they mow almost daily in alternation sections of the park and never go longer than two weeks on any one portion of the layout.
Cons: A couple ticky tack things and catch 22s due to the course style.
- LACK OF CHAMPIONSHIP CHALLENGE - This is billed as a championship caliber course, so naturally I was expecting a gold level challenge. Perhaps I don't know what a championship caliber is. To me, it's a course where 970 rated players struggle to stay par with par. I also feel that championship course needs to challenge players in both length and technical skills. The length is 10,000 feet, but a few of par 4s are two short to be Pro or even Advanced level par 4s. As for technical throws, almost nada. I rarely hit a tree on my round, and even when I did, I still saved par all but once. The use of trees to guard baskets is very poor for a Championship level course. At a recent tourney in May 2018. An even par 69 was netting a 948 rated round. Several sub 900 players broke par. That's not Champ course billing difficultly to me.
- SAFETY HAZARDS - A park road comes into play a couple times, most notable on (1) and (9). I never saw a car on it, other than my own when I drove into the park.
- LOOSE DISC OPPS - There are several water features out here. Getting greedy or a lack of focus could be punishing. I made the mistake on (1) by not looking closely at the hole signage. At first, I thought my disc just went into the thicket on the left. As I walked down fairway I soon realized the horrifying reality that my two time ace was gone deep into the water behind a row of trees. It was one of the those times where I knew it was 100% my own fault rather than the course screwing me.
- BUGS - I don't subtract any score for this but I did pull 4 ticks off my body at round conclusion.
- BEGINNER FRIENDLY - I oddly met a player on his third round ever out here. What the heck are you doing sir. Not surprising he had lost a disc and rolled his ankle. Seriously, play at least 50 rounds or be able to throw 300 feet before heading over here.
- TERRAIN - Any player not a fan of elevation needs to stay far far away from this course. 10,000 feet of constant elevation movement. The number of holes that change by less than ten feet is zero. This is most energy draining course I've ever played as of this review. I don't advise playing 7,300 foot Madisonville immediately before coming here like it did. Players that have bad knees or ankles need to stay clear of this course. Bringing a cart here surprisingly seems doable as there are very few rock laden fairways.
- SPACING - Mostly really good. However players need to be aware of the disc traffic convergence between (8) and (10). Players playing (10), must cross into (8s) fairway to get to the basket. Holes (13) and (14) also share fairways.
- TEE SHADING - I was disappointed in the amount of tee shading which was less than 50 percent. Several times tees were located within 20 feet of tree that also didn't affect the play of the hole. I baffled as to how a guy who's designed well over a hundred courses could not take this into account.
- TIME PLAY - Only 27 holes at Harmon Hills has taken me longer to play solo. Figure a pair at 2 1/2 to 3 hours and a foursome at 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
Other Thoughts: The Mahr Park Champ course is a huge reason to head back to Madisonville. No doubt a destination course by itself but when paired with Madisonville City Park it becomes a wonderful one-two daytrip. Players looking for long courses to air out drives will get giddy here. Players that enjoy beautiful rolling hill landscapes dotted with tranquil ponds will love it here. Players will noodle arms and bad knees...... will need to forget that this course ever existed. To me, it was an instant favorite and currently it's in my top 15 as of this review. I have the course right on the threshold of making 4.5, so definitely a 4.25 rated course to me if I were allowed to give that score.
- NAVIGATION - Adequate. There's a nice course map next to tee (1) detailed in typical HB Clark fashion. Normally I'll complain about the detail in his tee signs but for this lightly wooded course they work. Tee signs show next tee direction on them but considering the number of par 4s and 5s I doubt many players will remember the direction by the time they reach the basket. I constantly found myself checking my photo of the course map to get around. The baskets could really use a painted spoke, an arrow below it, or some other type of navigational markers between holes.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
MOAR Park - Champ - The Kiddie Course is Down the Road
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Scenic 10,000' par 69 championship style course with multiple true pro par 4s and 5s playing over huge KBG rolling hills and large mature hardwood trees lining the fairways similar to a traditional more open park style course, but Mahr really takes this to the next level.
There are six ponds on the course providing a bevy of water hazards down the fairways and near the baskets. Excellent variety of line shaping and landing zones to hit. Shot makers course that rewards distance with accuracy.
Nice single concrete tees and tee signs and DisCatcher baskets. Two loops of nine holes back to parking lot. Benches and restrooms available. Superbly maintained, all the bluegrass was freshly mowed and the course was looking like Augusta National.
Tons of wildlife, saw lots of deer, geese and all kinds of birds everywhere singing away, bull frogs, and a rather large water snake(I think) encounter that scared the crap out of me.
Cons: Nitpicking here, the concrete tees were a little too rough/grippy for me. Would be nice to have a shorter set of tee pads or baskets for more variety on this awesome course. Could use some limb trimming on few holes namely 3, 5, and 8. Also noticed some widow makers hanging over the fairway on 8.
The factory across the street was a little noisy on the front 9. The back nine introduces some walking paths along the course. Could lose a disc or few in the ponds. Can be rough in windy conditions and on hot summer days. Course might be too much of a hike for some players, it ranks up there in my personal list as one of longest and most elevation hikes. Definitely not a course for beginners as the Champ name indicates, the kiddie course is down the road.
Other Thoughts: Hidden hills? You can't miss them. I was tempted to drop a five on the Mahr Championship course, it's that almost that good IMO. Reminds me a lot Brakewell Steele in Warwick NY, and I think it features a bit more elevation, but less tree density variation, and while Mahr has the ponds, Warwick has the creeks. I had the entire course to myself except for a couple walkers on the back nine walking paths.
The front 9 was my favorite featuring huge downhills then uphills alternating every hole and while a lot a fun throwing it, it is quite the strenuous hike! Hole 1 starts you out with a big downhill drive to the basket near the pond. The par 5 hole 2 is a almost a complete U-turn around another pond and then about 100' elevation uphill on a fast green. Hole 3 is another big downhill drive with the basket perched just behind another pond. Holes 4, 5, and 6 were excellent. 7 was ok, but blind with a really fast green. 8 is a tough par 4 dogleg right and uphill with the fairway pinched in the middle off the tee. Then 9 is another big downhill drive with some danger of the pond.
The back nine features more moderate elevation changes, but more danger with water. Hole 10 gives you the longest water carry of a little over 300' to approach the basket for a birdie chance, or you can bail out to the left short and play for the par, or if you have a top pro arm you can go for the eagle and 450'+ water carry. Hole 11 is where I had my snake encounter by the water's edge and scared the crap out me and probably the snake as well as it dove into the pond while I was fishing my terrible drive out of it. Hole 12 was ok, I really liked 13 and 14. Hole 15 is the par 5 on the back nine, and the fairway kind of plays down the new walking path, it's ok, not as impressive as hole 2 though. Hole 16 and 17 were ok. Hole 18 was a spectacular finishing hole, it an uphill par 4 with the blind pond approaching the basket.
This a fun and phenomenal pro caliber course and would love to see the all top touring pros airing out some risky drives for all the glory. The course plays well for advanced players as well, but the course will really separate the big arms from the rest of the field. For intermediate and below players, this will be a war of attrition and may not enjoy the course as much as better the players will, except for maybe the duffer masochists. I travelled a long way to play here and was not disappointed, and hope to come back again one day.
I also highly recommend Brother's BBQ right down the street, good quick food, but might want two sandwiches as they were a little small and you will get hungry playing here.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The Baskets ARE there :)
Tee shots over water
Ponds behind and in front of Greens
True Par 4s and 5s!!! At least half even :D
Pads, Benches, Teesigns, and Baskets
More of a Golf Course feeling than City Park: very well mowed and cleaned up
Cons: Some of the wooded rough areas appear to have Thorny Thorns
Will have the new Park Road and Pedestrian Trail on the DG Course, going forward
Other Thoughts: I love this course, as a Blue Level player, for the challenges of true Championship caliber Frolf
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
These Hills Aren't Hidden
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: High quality Tee Pads, Signage, Baskets
Gorgeous, huge piece of property
Up and down monster hills
Water in play.
Twisting, turning Shots.
Bring your Bombers, Course is 10,000' long, Tee to Pin.
Front 9 plays back to the parking lot, pack a cooler in your vehicle and restock your beverages.
Really enjoyable, ball-golf style play.
Plays exclusively away from any other activities.
Fun Rec Course just down the hill, if you have the energy left for it.
Saw deer in multiple areas, running about,
Cons: I have none, maybe some would say it's more length, than having technical wooded shots galore.
Other Thoughts: This is a gunner's Course, people who want to air it out, and have the arms to do so.
Massive uphill shots at times, huge downhill others...
I recommend tackling Champ first, and then play Rec if you're still looking for more play, instead of warming up on Rec and then playing Champ.
H.B. Clark is The Man! See a Course designed by him, Go Play It!!
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Pretty park, nice pads, nice baskets
Cons: It's new, so benches and bridges will come, but only a couple of each right now. Pretty soggy in several places, but it did just rain.
Other Thoughts: #1 tee is a nice downhill with water on the left
#2 tee is around the pond, but you have to walk up and around the wooded area to get to the path. The basket is around a pond then up to the top of a steep hill. It's at least 320' from the tee to get to the gap in the trees to cross the water.
#3 tee is across the road. The basket is down the hill across another pond. The pond is maybe 500' from the tee and it's about 200' across the water.
#4 is a drive across a slight valley with a guarded basket
#5 is a long gradual downhill medium tunnel drive with the basket back up a small hill.
#6 is back up the hill for 320' then right another 150' or so.
#7 is a gradual downhill with the basket slightly left of straight (one of 3 holes under 400')
#8 is a long valley shot with the basket next to the trees up at the top of the tree line on the right.
#9 is a downhill tucked into the wood line
#10 is 250-300' to carry the water then the basket is at the top of the hill
#11 is a low ceiling shot up a slight incline with the first 100' crossing water (2nd hole under 400')
#12 has 2 trees in the middle of the fairway you can either skirt under or shape around.
#13 is up the hill into the woods on the left.
#14 is a downhill sweeping left.
#15 is a long gradual downhill
#16 is a basic downhill guarded by one tree. This might be the only ace-able hole (3rd hole under 400')
#17 has tree lined water for the first 320' of the fairway then it opens up and the basket is next to a couple of trees
#18 is about 525-550' down the hill then up to the pond at the top of the hill, then 120-220' to clear the water.
This is a bear of a course. The length and elevation changes make for a tough round. Not a lot of shot variety, but it does require accurate placement around the water. Amateur tees would add enjoyment for non pros, but in its current format, I wouldn't recommend it for rec players. My threesome collectively lost 4 discs in the water.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 7 Not
Madisonville KY Must Play
Pros: Best long and technical cousre in KY. Elevation and variety of shots.
Cons: Long and lots of elevation changes but only listed in Cons because of wear and tear on your legs. Some throws are tough footing on an incline or decline but forces "golf" shots and setting yourself up for the next shot placements
Other Thoughts: Parking will be tough until the park is finished.
1 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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