Keepin' Wisconsin Wild
17 Helpful / 0 Not
- practice baskets
- expertly manicured; everything looked pristine
- benches and garbage cans throughout course
- port o potties at multiple places mid-course, a first for me (who gets to come retrieve these? ugh)
- dual concrete tees per hole with full color tee signs/maps at each tee
- color-coded DISCatcher baskets, 2 per hole (4 possible ways to play each hole)
- great combination of distance options between various tee/pin combos for each skill level
- huge elevation change on several holes
- good mix of downhill, uphill, and flat shots; most had some sort of slope
- challenging but realistic fairways/lines
- navigation flows and is logical
- most holes are unique
- variety of shot types required
- good visibility of both pin placements from tee on most holes
- pay to play, if you view this as a con ($6 seemed reasonable to me)
- no real navigation aids, which could help in a few places
- rough is moderate in most places, but can be very thorny as others have mentioned
- most long tees just add a bit more distance, not necessarily a different line
I must be getting more used to being beat up by courses; I played Wilderness at the end of my 3rd full day of disc golf, and I thought all the trekking and elevation change would wear me down to the point of annoyance. It was a good workout, to be sure, but this course was awesome and I'm glad I forced my way through it. Considering the high ratings and regard for the course, I expected something more like Blue Ribbon Pines or Rollin' Ridge with a bunch of infrastructure. Wilderness is not that way at all. There's a large RV area/campground on the same property, so there are people around, but the disc golf area is kind of hidden back behind that and was actually quite deserted during my visit. No complaints here.
The course is $6 to play, which is more than worth it for the quality equipment and high level of maintenance. Private land doesn't maintain itself and everything here is top notch. Payment is at a drop box, though they were out of envelopes on my visit, or via Venmo. As others have noted, I got no reception here, so I finally was able to pay with Venmo about halfway through the course. Worst case, I could have dropped cash in the drop slot without an envelope, but they specifically ask you not to.
There are 4 possible tee to pin combinations here, red (short to short), blue (long to short), white (short to long) and gold (long to long). I decided to be gutsy given my energy level and play the white layout, which I really enjoyed. Gold really demands some long distances and is going to work you hard; it's more of a championship level of course. White was a nice happy medium. Red is the only layout I'd really consider anything resembling "short". As others have noted, this really isn't a course for beginners. The red layout is going to be a little easier, but it's still more on an intermediate level.
The elevation change here was really excellent, some of the best I've seen in Wisconsin. There were a lot of truly impressive and unique uphill and downhill shots. The course is really not too heavily wooded for most of it, although it looks like you're traipsing into the woods from the entrance. I especially enjoy courses a little more heavily wooded than this, but Wilderness is truly one of a kind.
My cons are mostly nits; some navigation aids would be helpful in a few places, and the rough is a bit rough at times as others have noted. Honestly, it was not a big deal compared to some of the more brutal courses I've played, but it can be thorny. I'd take this all day over Bird's Ruins down int he Madison area. Finding discs generally wasn't too difficult.
It would be nice to have some water in play here like other top tier courses, but the elevation change and technical challenge makes up for it. Fairways were generally pretty open and definitely realistic, but there are plenty of trees to hit and you do have to choose good lines to stay out of the rough. The amenities are pretty good; lots of garbage cans, benches, etc. A pro shop would be kind of nice here but at present it's just not that kind of property, and I'm not sure it draws enough visitors since it's in a more rural area.
One thing I especially liked here may seem a bit silly - despite all the elevation change and relative length of the holes, there were very few where I couldn't see both pins, at least from the short tees. It made it a lot easier for a first-time to have visibility to where I was throwing. The course designers really did an awesome job here of making an epic, challenging, but very playable course.
I'm also a huge fan of having baskets color-coded so it's very clear which is which and having hole numbers on them for clarity. For multi-pin courses, you really can't beat DISCatchers; they are just so visible from a distance and the red-banded ones have always been a favorite of mine (I know, this is like the equivalent of DG porn, ok?).
All things considered, I think I would put Rollin Ridge and Sandy Point above Wilderness for "Best of Wisconsin", but it is probably in my Top 5 so far. It is definitely worth the trip, and while I haven't played nearby Zobel Park, it seems like there's ample reason to hit this area if you are nearby. It's only about an hour north of Madison and you're likely to have fairly quiet courses, so head on out to check this one out.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
Wild and Wonderful
14 Helpful / 0 Not
- Phenomenal shot variety makes for an interesting and challenging round from start to finish
- Two tee pads and two baskets on each fairway allow for great round variety and caters to multiple skill levels
- Great equipment and course maintenance
- Thick and thorny rough off most fairways gives a high chance for lost discs and scratches
- Occasionally confusing routing, especially if playing to the short baskets
- Hilly terrain and bugs can make for a tiring and slightly irritating round
Other Thoughts: Wilderness Disc Golf Course has been on my wish-list for years, so when my wife asked if I was up for going to nearby Green Lake for a family get together I jumped on the opportunity. A weekend with the in-laws in exchange for playing some of the best disc golf the midwest has to offer? Yes please, I'll take that trade every time. Wilderness is worthy of its destination-course level rating and I wish I had made the three hour drive to play years earlier.
The quality of the golf here is on par with just about any other top rated course I have played. The variety of fairway shapes is truly impressive: not only straight, left-to-right, and right-to-left but flexing lines, uphill, downhill, valley shots and everything in between. The only thing this course is missing is any kind of water. The lack of a creek and/or pond is all that holds this course back from the top tier of course hole variety. It is also worth noting that there aren't any open field, grip-it-and-rip-it style holes either as you play in the woods the entire time, but there are fairways long and wide enough that full power shots are certainly possible and not completely foolish to throw. The hilly terrain is definitely the star here and occasionally extreme. Just about every hole plays up, down, or both through grassy wooded fairways. There are fantastic par 3s, 4s, and 5s, with more of the latter on the White and Gold layouts.
There are two pads and two baskets on each fairway creating four distinct layouts: Red (short to short), Blue (long to short), White (short to long), and Gold (long to long). I played the White and Blue layouts during my visit and felt that they were well suited to my skill level (about 930 rated at the time of playing). I would think the Red layout suitable to Novice level players tho anyone would have fun on it, with the Gold layout really only suitable to Advanced players. I would not bring new players to this course. The various pads and baskets don't simply add distance but frequently alter the shape of the shot required significantly. My two rounds from the White and Blue layouts felt significantly different but equally fantastic. Holes 3, 7, 11, 13, and 18 are among my favorites, with 3 and 18 being signature par 4s or 5s depending on the layout. There are a couple holes that have a little of a poke-and-hope feel. I want to love hole 12 but especially from the long tee there doesn't really seem to be a clearly defined line to the basket. As others have noted, Hole 17 fails to stand up to the quality of the other holes, tho I quite like 16, especially from the long tee.
The equipment at Wilderness is top notch. The large, concrete tees grip well even when wet. My second round was the day after a series of intense storms rolled through the night before and I had no traction issues. Another thing to note is the course generally seemed to drain well and the sandy soil provided decent footing on the many hills. More clayey soil would be much slicker. The DISCatchers are in good shape and catch well. The tee signs are fantastic showing the par and distance for each of the four layouts with the two for the pad you are at shown larger, as well as a top down depiction of the fairway. There are benches at just about every tee as well and one or two porta-potties in the middle of the course. There are two practice baskets in an open field right by the parking lot. A kiosk at the lot has a course map as well as a drop box for the greens fee. I had just about no signal my entire time out and so was unable to sign-in using the QR code, but simply dropped my $6 into the box (a bargain). The staff seem to take excellent care of the course. The fairways were mowed and the morning after the storms someone had already driven the course and cleared it of any major fallen limbs as he was leaving the course when I arrived shortly after 8am. The only thing I can offer criticism for on the equipment side of things is that a few next-tee signs would go a long way. Routing can be occasionally confusing, especially if you are playing to the short tees. I would definitely recommend taking a picture of the course map at the kiosk before heading out.
My biggest issue with the course is the rough, which is easily among the worst I've experienced. The fairways are all decently wide and fair, but you will certainly find yourself off of them eventually. Not only is the rough tall and thick, but also largely comprised of various thorny bushes and nettles. I feel like I am generally quite good at finding my discs that go off the fairway, but I was actively dissuaded from performing as thorough a search as I would like at times, and lost a disc during each of my rounds. The thorny rough is so prevalent that I altered my play style (to be more conservative) more significantly than I would otherwise on a wooded course. I still loved my rounds, but I definitely would have enjoyed them more If I wasn't so worried about having to deal with waist high thorns after ending up three feet off the fairway. The rough is probably less of an issue mid fall to mid spring, but I have to imagine it is similar to what I experienced for most of the playing season. If you can, wear long pants and use spotters especially on the blind holes. Not every hole has thick, thorny rough, but enough do to make it a significant con in my book.
Wilderness is a truly epic course and definitely deserves its spot up among the best in Wisconsin. I still prefer Rollin Ridge, but it is a very close thing. If you are in the midwest this is definitely a course worth traveling to. The multiple layouts at Wilderness and the nearby Zobel Park in Green Lake were more than worth the 3+ hour drive and weekend trip. Note that this is a challenging course to play both mentally and physically. I would not recommend taking a cart here due to the extreme elevation you frequently need to traverse, tho it would be manageable. You do not loop back to the parking lot at any time, so pack plenty of water and whatever snacks you may need. It took me about an hour and a half to play solo at a decent rate with no one in front of me on the course. I loved my time here and finished my rounds exhausted and exhilarated.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
Wilderness is Wonderful
21 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Having 2 baskets and 2 cement tees while situated in a serene beautiful private course setting is a great start. Then the golf starts and it's wonderful!
Tee signs at both the long and short tee pads. Yellow short basket and red long basket positions. Wooden benches on most if not all the tees.
Challenging golf up and down hills (some very steep) but noting severely tight. Wooded and peaceful setting "in the middle of nowhere".
The grass was cut even in the wooded areas, thank you.
Hole 18 long to long is one of the best finishing holes I have ever played, loved it!
A few holes reminded me of Flip City and/or Burchfield in Michigan.
Port Potty on hole 6.
I played Rollin Ridge 6 years ago and Wilderness is better which is saying a lot.
"Heavily wooded" yet very fair lines to play.
Cons: Print a map, there are no next tee signs and you can't depend on Udisc since cell signal is very spotty throughout.
Stickers in the rough (especially near the odd mando on #10).
Holes 16 and 17 were rather bland compared to the rest of the course.
Other Thoughts: I drove just under 3 hrs to Wilderness and it's totally worth it. I regret not playing a 2nd round here after going into town for lunch.
Wilderness goes into my top 10 of 400 courses now played, hence the 5 star rating. A 4.5 would be too low. I played in 10 states during 2021 and Wilderness was the best course along those road trips.
$6 fee, I dropped $10 in the mailbox.
Wish I didn't live 15 hours from Wilderness, it's a great DESTINATION.
21 of 21 people found this review helpful.
Wilderness = Wow
24 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Wilderness DGC is located at a privately-owned campground of the same name in south-central Wisconsin. The campground is kind of in the middle of nowhere - it is about an hour's drive from Madison and two hours from Milwaukee or Green Bay. It's remote enough that signs on WIS-22 near the course warn drivers of horse-and-buggies. You might not expect there to be a phenomenal DG course nearby. However, large easy-to-read signs alert you that you are approaching the campground, and several more signs within the campground direct you to the disc golf course where you will park in a large dirt lot.
From the parking lot, the course continues to hold its cards close to its chest. There is a nice kiosk with a course map, porta potty, and collection bin for your $6 pay-to-play day pass. A large, wide open, pancake flat field several hundred feet wide and a couple hundred deep sits in front of you with two practice baskets located in opposite corners. A straight wall of trees defines the far edge of the field. It's a nice area to practice disc golf putts and drives alike, but you might start to wonder why you drove all this way.
Enter the treeline for hole 1 (behind the yellow banded practice basket) and you will quickly find out. Each of the 18 holes at Wilderness DGC has two large, tapered concrete tee pads and two color coded DISCatcher baskets. The yellow banded "A" baskets are always closer to the tees than the red banded "B" baskets. The baskets were all in good condition and clearly labeled with the hole number. The tee signs located at each tee pad are beautifully done, with an aesthetically pleasing map of the hole and four sets of distances/pars listed on them (each tee pad to each basket). The distances/pars from the current tee pad are in a larger font to clarify which tee pad you are currently standing at. Each tee sign also has a hole number and a hole nickname. I did not really understand the significance (if any) of some of the nicknames. It's possible some of them went over my head. Hole 15 is nicknamed "The Downward Spiral" - is that because of the steep downhill behind the red basket? The hole overall doesn't play downhill. Regardless, whether I understood them or not the nicknames were still a fun touch.
The actual disc golf here, in a word? Wow. The entire course plays through the previously mentioned wooded area behind the field. It is a beautiful setting. The forest is mostly deciduous, and has a mix of older large trees and younger bushes and saplings. The grassy fairways cut through the woods are generally fairly wide, while still forcing you to shape shot after shot. I never felt like there was an unfairly narrow gap (even though I missed many of them). There is a great mix of left turns, right turns, and straight holes. A couple of holes have clearly marked Mandos. A few fairways have large rocks that add to the aesthetic.
The terrain is not flat once in the woods either. Enough elevation is present to have an effect on almost every hole, and it is extreme in a couple of places. There are uphill slogs. There are downhill bombs. Plenty of baskets are perched on the slopes, creating serious rollaway potential. There is one hole, I think maybe #14, where it looks like the designers added some dirt/sand to the hillside and then installed the yellow basket right on the edge of the mound.
There are several memorable holes. One of mine was #3, which is an long uphill sweeping left turn. The short tee cuts off some of the turn, but this is a 400'+ trek in any layout other than short tee to short pin. The yellow basket is tucked in the woods to the right about 3/4 of the way up the hill. The last bit of the hill slopes upward even more steeply to the red basket at the top. Another memorable hole is definitely the finishing hole 18. From the long tee, this one plays about 250'-300' down a steep valley and part of the way back up the other side. Then it turns right and keeps going another 300'-350' over rolling terrain to the yellow basket (and another 200' beyond that to the red basket). The short tee is located up the hill to the left at the right turn, eliminating the turn.
As alluded to above, the different layouts here are very well done. The "Red" layout (short tee to yellow basket) is a good challenge for recreational players, with many holes in the 150'-250' range and generally only a few trees in the way. The "White" layout (short tee to red basket) and "Blue" layout (long tee to yellow basket) present two unique and challenging rounds for intermediate DG'ers. The "Gold" layout (long tee to red basket) is championship level. There is great variety in hole distances regardless of layout. On my visit I played one round using the Blue layout, and then another using the White layout. Both rounds were challenging, but I scored much worse on the White layout. Generally speaking, the amount of trees increases between the yellow basket and the red basket on each hole (vs. between the tees and the yellow basket), making approach shots more difficult and in some cases cutting down drives early. So if you only have time to play one round and are deciding between Blue and White, I believe the White is more challenging. I highly recommend making time to play more than one round though, as the Blue and White layouts play as two legitimately different courses.
There is a large wooden bench at each tee, so two per hole. A couple of additional porta potties are strategically located between adjacent fairways on the course, and there are trash cans next to them. The course is clearly very well maintained by the campground staff.
Cons: This is a phenomenal course, but as of this writing it has a couple of minor issues that prevent me from being able to give it a 5.0.
My biggest con here is lack of navigational signage. There are no "Next Tee" signs anywhere on the course. The course flows pretty well, but I would still like to see signs near each yellow and red basket that point to both the next long and next short tee. They can be in the same aesthetic style as the tee signs. It's not that the course is terribly difficult to navigate, but especially with the terrain being so hilly it would be nice to know where to take the shortest path to reach the next hole in my chosen layout. For example: after playing hole 3 to the yellow basket during my first round, I hiked the rest of the way up the steep hill to the red basket thinking the next tee was behind it, only to see that the path to the next tee curled around and back down the hill a bit. I had missed a path going off to the side from the yellow basket which would have saved me several hundred steps. Another spot is hole 6 where you could accidentally walk directly to hole 8's tee and skip hole 7. In a couple places, non-DG trails are cut into the terrain as well. I believe these are for a maintenance vehicle to access the porta potties and trash cans, but these extra trails were also difficult to distinguish from the paths between tees.
The paths down to hole 18's fairway from the tee pads are fairly steep. Traction was not an issue when I played, but I could see these slopes getting dangerous in less-than-ideal conditions. Some stairs would be a good safety improvement. It seemed especially steep at the long tee.
The rough was thinning out when I played, but it looked like the type that could be thick in the summer months. It also had some sharp thorns in it. Obviously the rough as a whole is kind of what it is, but I would like to see the thorns removed from areas right next to the fairways.
There is a lake on site that you can see through the trees off to your right on hole 6. Water does not come into play anywhere on the course. I am definitely not, NOT advocating for any redesign but I had to wonder if the designers could have used the lake at all to push the "wow" factor of this place even further off the charts.
Other Thoughts: Cell phone service is spotty here. Plan accordingly.
I feel kind of bad not giving this course a 5.0, but the fixable issues named above are holding it back for me. I definitely am planning on a return trip someday, but in the meantime this is an invitation to you: If you play this course and see the Next Tee signs added, take some photos and upload them here then send me a PM and I will up my rating to the 5.0 that I want to give. I think even with the other small Cons, the addition of the navigational aids would push it past the 4.75 threshold.
This is a fantastic course in a beautiful setting. The course is set far enough back from the road that there is no audible road noise. Just you, nature, and other DG'ers. I wish I could return around now and see it near peak fall color. When leaving the campground, you will see a sign reading "WARNING: You are now re-entering reality. The views will not be as magnificent past this point." I will add that unless you are heading directly to Rollin Ridge (and even that exception is debatable), the disc golf will probably not be as magnificent either. If you are in Wisconsin, or the Midwest, or the world, Wilderness DGC is worth checking out!
24 of 24 people found this review helpful.
Through the Woods of Wilderness
26 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - 36 DISCatcher Pro baskets for the 18 Hole track. Each hole has a Yellow banded target for the short pin and a Red banded target for the long pin. All in good shape and well mounted.
- 36 concrete tees. Again, each hole has 2 tees, short being noted as White and longs as Blue. They are of decent size, reverse telescoped, and were well textured. Most tees have a bit of well graded space behind for longer run ups.
- All tees have nice signs with distance from each tee to each pin noted as well as a visual representation of the hole with all tees and pins shown. The listed distances feel quite accurate.
- The track is carved through old growth Wisco trees. Some holes wider that allow for solid rips but many where precision is the skill most required to score well. Good mix of holes that turn right and left although they mostly allow a dealer's choice for throwing style off the tee. A number of the holes present multiple line options.
- Solid use of the available elevation as the course meanders up, down, and along the ridge on which it's located. There are a few holes with a substantial change in elevation, even some with multi-layered change. Very few flat holes but they're mixed in as well.
- Excellent challenge level that spreads across multiple skill groups. With the 2 tees and 2 pins on every hole this track is accessible to most golfers outside of beginners and those with physical limitations preventing them from tackling the terrain. I've played Long-Long twice and Short-Short once. Drastically different challenges and both super entertaining. If I were closer I'd love to get some of the hybrid layouts played.
- Multi-throw holes, yes, please, and thank you. L-L is noted as Par 66. The only hole that felt like a complete tweener was 14. The rest are solid 2/3-shot holes for Advanced to Lower-Pro Level golfers. The variety of design and shaping of these holes was super well executed. I love courses with a cool/fun/challenging/unique starter and finisher. At Wilderness, Holes 1(Par 4) and 18(Par 5) are absolutely spectacular bookend hole designs. Staring down 18 and then tackling that beast, WoooHooo!!!
- $6 day pass is a great price for this awesome DG facility. $50 annual pass...I wish I lived close enough for that steal of a deal.
Cons: - The dual baskets are awesome for so many reasons. But also not so much in a couple places. There are a few placements where the Short pin is in my desired flight line or landing area for the Long pin. Also a couple that are close enough to each other where they just don't change the hole drastically enough to be a real benefit. This is a design aspect I'm admittedly picky about.
- Could use some navigational aids. Nothing out there for next tees so snap a pic of the map at the course kiosk or lean on UDisc mapping. Handful of spots where it's easy to jump on the wrong trail after you hole out. Having the 2 sets of tees can exacerbate this.
- A couple poke-n-pray spots. It's not pervasive but a time or two, you may look for the line and wonder. 15 is the biggest offender for this in my eyes.
- The concrete on a handful of tees is starting to show wear. A couple of cracked corners from lack of backfill/erosion and just wearing away of the nice brushed texture were the main things I noticed. All still completely serviceable at worst but they're certainly not as nice as the first time I played.
- Back half of the course, specifically 14-17, feels a bit like there's a lull in the action. No throw away holes per se, this section just doesn't pop for me like the rest of the course does.
- The bumble is REAL. I've played Wilderness when the rough was pretty dead/burnt out and the it was fairly stabby. I just played again in July and boy-howdy it was gnarly. Stabby, rashy, pokey, and just plain nasty(except those tasty raspberries!). Some patches are blind from the tee, some are chest deep just a quick tree kick off the fairway. It looks as though mitigation of the many patches has not taken place since I first played in 2017.
- $6 to play. Really fair price IMO but some folks just don't like P2P.
Other Thoughts: As mentioned, I first played Wilderness DGC in 2017. It took a single round to completely fall in love with the place. Patrick Blake did some amazing design work with a lovely piece of land and the course infrastructure is high quality. After playing again in 2021 my sentiments haven't changed. It's a beautiful track through the woods that offers all the challenge I can ask for and enjoy from L-L but then flips to an ace run/birdie-fest from S-S. Biggest problem for lower skill players will be the savage rough and elevation management. Some may feel it lacks the open up and blast it holes to balance the round - the course is fully in the woods. Even so, there are more than a handful of standouts in the mix, with no holes playing too similar to others.
The tree removal from a couple years back was noticeable in places but didn't detract much from my original love of the course. Certainly made a few shots easier but on the whole this place still plays amazingly well. More than anything, the extra stumps here and there are a nuisance/eyesore.
Not much else I can say other than I love me some Wilderness. Pretty well middle of nowhere WI but it is completely worth the trip. I feel fortunate to have played here twice now and hope to get more opportunities down the road. If you're even relatively close, make the drive, it won't disappoint!
26 of 26 people found this review helpful.
This Whole Course is Wilderness at Heart and Weird on Top
24 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: - 18 holes, dual baskets and tees, set in woods near campground.
- Undulating wooded fairways that dogleg, with landing zones and strategic layups to set up the next shot. Punishment off the fairway matches the quality of shot well: as you get deeper the rough gets thicker, unlike some nearby Wisconsin courses that get a bit on the impenetrable scrubby side (Bird's Ruins I'm looking at you...) Lots of tasty down- AND up-hill shots scattered throughout. Holes of moderate length punctuated by big monsters.
- Multi-faceted layout with good variety: longs-to-longs, longs-to-shorts, shorts-to-longs, shorts-to-shorts, or mix-and-match options for your round keep things spicy after repeat play.
- Amenities: descriptive signage, color-coded baskets, concrete tees, benches, etc. Camping on-site. John Muir State Park nearby, as well.
- Abundant wild berries and fungi (chicken of the woods off #2's fairway to the right near tee).
Cons: - A few questionable walks in the routing department, but nothing egregious. Moments of confusion as to, which path to the long v. short tee? Two or thee mid-walk directional signs would really help first time players navigate more smoothly. And that goes for the first hole, as well, which is just mystery-tucked into the woods to the right, past a large grassy area. After a time or two playing through the course, routing should be a breeze.
- Really only two or three massive holes that are scarred into my brain. Hole #'s 1, 3 & 18 did the most damage to me, psychologically speaking (that's a good thing). The rest kinda blend together a bit, in that there isn't any one key thing separating many of the holes from each other. They pretty much all play uniformly through the same sort of hilly woodland; and that's okay, it's great hilly woodland, and they are all wonderful holes, it's just a bit nondescript in places.
- Wisconsin state bird (aka mosquitoes) and biting flies stop by to say hello and remind you you're in Wisco.
Other Thoughts: - In many ways, plays like a longer, tougher version of Leviathan. Shorter overall, but Leviathan has 24 holes to Wilderness' 18, giving Wilderness the edge on overall average hole length. With Leviathan currently closed for redesign, it's comforting to know there is another course out there in a very similar vein.
- Plays along the campsite, with only a narrow strip of woods separating the first several holes. I'm not much a fan of this but if I were camping here I could see that being a major bonus. It's just not very "Wild" for a course called "Wilderness" when camping bro and his missus are 150' off the fairway yelling at the kiddos to leave Rilee Sue alone and come eat.
-$6 pay-to-play, cash box or venmo. Had neither during my round, so went to their website to find the mailing addy, and sending cash to cover the round. Maybe add paypal to the arsenal? Sheesh. Also note to self: start carrying smaller bills while bagging. Never replaced the old cash stash after Ol' Blue bit the dust.
24 of 25 people found this review helpful.
Wilderness and Wonder
29 Helpful / 0 Not
+ Wilderness is the perfect name for this course. Its a wild course that is one of the best in WI.
+ A bit out there but its super simple to navigate to
+ 2 sets of brand new Discatchers that are both up on the course and different colors to differentiate between the long and short basket placements
+ 2 sets of beautiful concrete tees on each hole with enough room behind them to get a big runup if needed.
+ The two sets of baskets and tees on each hole means that you can play so many different combinations and can play some difficult long holes and some nice and easy short holes.
+ Large enough parking lot to accommodate tournaments
+ This is a full service campground as well so you can stay and play.
+ Its a wooded course but not too wooded. Every hole has at least one fair line to the basket.
+ Lots of wooded tunnel shots. This is a plus for me since its my favorite type of shot t throw.
+ This course has a decent amount of elevation. There are more holes that play up and down hill then that play flat. This is not mountain golf but it does have some decent peaks and valleys.
+ Theres a clubhouse close to the parking lot with refreshments and full service bathrooms.
+ Porta Potties are laid throughout the course
+ Benches on almost every hole
+ There are so many great holes here that its hard to find a signature hole but hole 18 Long to Long would be my vote. Its a long, wooded, halfway downhill, doglegged beast of a finishing hole that you can score anything from a 3 to a 10+ on. Its fair yet punishing.
- Its really hard for me to find many cons here that wouldn't be just me nitpicking
- Hole 5 from the long tee has an artificial real tree trunk placed into the ground very close in front of the tee to make the tee shot harder but to me its just a bit cheesey and not needed imo.
- The rough is super rough and can be a disc eater for sure but this is one of the beautiful things about the course. The fairways and fair and wide enough so if you find yourself in the rough then it is what it is.
- The course is still improving every year but theres some downed trees and brush that could be cleaned up but the course will get there.
This course is a 100% must play if you are in the area and is 100% worth it to go out of the way to play. This has made its way to being one of my favorite courses in WI and will go back every chance that I get.
29 of 29 people found this review helpful.
Thrills on the Hills
24 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The amount of difficulty can be varied so much. Short tee to short pin for beginners, short to long or long to short for intermediate players, then long to long for the top end of players... and you will need to be a top-end player to break par. Some holes the tees/baskets are only 50 feet apart, and sometimes they add 250+ feet to the hole. With this, all skill levels can have a great, challenging round at Wilderness. (For your reference, I played long to long for my one round here)
No hole can be considered boring. Sure, 16 and 17 are short and 1 and 6 are pretty dead straight, but there is always something to keep the hole interesting. A fast green, a cage of trees around the pin, there's always something to keep you on your toes.
For being an all wooded course, the shot variety is second to none. Being forced low was the main challenge here, as holes 6, 7, 11, and the green of 8 had some seriously low-hanging branches to avoid. Obviously the left-to-right and right-to-left and uphill/downhill mix was just about perfect, too.
The maintenance is just about as good as it can be for a heavily wooded course like this. The upkeep around the tee pads is superb and the baskets are in excellent condition.
The tee signs are very helpful. There is one at each pad listing the distances to both baskets from both tees, and the overhead illustration is really quality, except it doesn't really show all the trees...
There are so many unique features, I will share just a highlight reel here:
- Hole 3 long is absolutely unreal. A 30-ft wide tunnel for the first 450'. then a sharp 45° left, and a 5 story rise in elevation over a further 300'. This is one of the most impressive holes I've ever played and I was lucky enough to grab the par.
- Hole 7 is a short hole, but plays onto a mound of earth about 30 feet high. The short pin is to the left and the long is to the right. The rollaway danger is high here.
- Hole 10's long pin is tucked behind a tight 90° right mando which could (nee, will) force some creative shots.
- Hole 14 plays 150' through a tunnel of trees, then comes blasting out over a two story drop in elevation, culminating in a short uphill to the green.
It's time to talk about it. Hole 18. It is the best hole I have ever played. I have never been so wowed by the sheer look of a hole. Sure, I've seen some great views from certain tee pads, but this was purely the hole. Staring at a 30' drop in elevation off the tee and then a slow right turn about 250' down the fairway, followed by 600 more feet of trees to play through (over a rise in the ground) to get to the green, which has plenty of trees itself... the breathtaking view followed by the challenging hole was unreal.
Cons: The first tee can be hard to find from the parking lot since there are two practice baskets. It's just past the yellow one.
There is a risk of going into the campground/RV area if you get a bad kick on hole 1.
I don't understand hole 11 long. From the tee, you need to dip underneath the treeline about 200' in front of you which is about level with the pad, but from there the hole goes back uphill to the left another 230'. It feels like blind luck if you either A) park your shot from the bottom of the hill or B) put a thumber/grenade into the tops of the offending trees and hope it gets further up the hill.
Other Thoughts: If you're used to bombers then there will be some frustration as it is a technical challenge, but it's a style you probably need to learn *wink*
Do be careful of the leftover little stumps in the ground if you have weak ankles. They bite.
Take your time as it seems like a pretty low traffic course. Throw 2-3 shots per hole and see what works best. The lines you'll learn (*cough* hole 12 *cough*) are ones you can take with you to other wooded courses.
Go play this course. The most unfortunate thing about this course is that it's so far away from major cities. I came from the Dells about 40 minutes away, and I think it's about an hour from Madison... but I can't say enough good about this course. If you happen to be anywhere near here, stop and play it. No excuses.
24 of 24 people found this review helpful.
23 Helpful / 0 Not
A Steady Diet Of Awesomeness
Pros: (4.423 Rating) A forested gem of a course that the wooded lovers dream of.
- RAW BEAUTY - One of the most beautiful courses I've ever played and personally in my top ten with 407 courses played as of this review. All 18 holes are gorgeous IMO. There are no fillers. Lots of elevation change with ups, downs, valleys and ridges. All of the holes are moderately to heavily wooded and there are very few manmade structures in view. Several fairway designs are worthy of pulling out a camera. My favorite lines were (8), (10) and (18), but I'm sure if a poll were taken, there'd be a lot of different combinations. I scored the course a 4.75 out of 5 for beauty.
- DUEL PINS AND TEES - I'm a big fan of the two basket and two tee element. Four easy to follow layout combinations, but technically the combinations are almost infinite with a randomization of the basket and tee options.
- SKILL LEVEL FRIENDLY - Players can choose from a 4,000 foot technical Recreational layout to an 8,000 foot Advanced beast. In addition, I think many Pros will be satisfied by the long tee long basket combo and the short tee to short basket may appeal to some Novice level players.
- NAVIGATION - Adequate. Course map posted on the community board. Detailed tee signage and mostly intuitive transitions from baskets to tees. I do wish that there were some cues at the baskets and that the tee signs did a better job distinguishing between front and back pads. The only difference between the two tee signs is that the tee box sign's text is 20 percent larger on the corresponding tee. It took me 9 holes to finally notice. No next tee direction on the tee signs either.
- CHARACTER - The basic equipment items are excellent and there are few nice extras. Large 4 feet by 12 feet concrete tees with a taper to 6 feet wide in back. Two DISCatcher baskets on each hole. Benches at all 36 tee pads and tee shading is near 100 percent. Two practice baskets in a large field. The only major missing item was a scorecard with map. An item like that typically comes with the courses that I've paid five dollars to play.
- CHALLENGING - I played the longest configuration and played pretty well as a 920ish rated Intermediate level player. I found the birdies to be possible on most holes for me, but also that the boggy and beyond potential was ever present. Lots of thought provoking shot shaping, plenty of game planning and risk reward analysis. Fast greens were present at several baskets where an aggressive play could mean 2 more throws. Hitting the lines was incredibly exhilarating and missing meant crafting escape plans. From looking at tournament data, it appears an even par 66 nets about a 960 rated round from the back tee to back basket configuration.
- UNIQUENESS - Excellent, but not Phenomenal. It's pretty much 18 straight holes of undulating terrain with shifting lines. Oh darn. No epic elevation grade changes. However, it felt like a few moved near or above the 50-foot grade change range, which is obviously still well above the average course. Several shots break left and right. Several par 4s and a couple par 5s that dogleg in both directions. The biggest missing thing is a water element. I noticed from the aerial map that there is a pond further down the slope on (13). It would have been awesome if they could have worked that in.
Cons: Basically limited to catch 22 issues that come with when playing a championship style wooded course.
- FORGIVENESS - Bad ricochets are almost certain on this course. There are plenty of places to not throw into and losing a disc is a definite possibility for those not willing to put in an hour-long search. I lost a disc on (8) when my beautiful drive caught the lowest twig and careened way off course and into an overgrown patch of vines, ivy, and thorny plants. I'm so glad I brought my knee high rubber boots, otherwise I would have left some blood to fertilize the jungle. Players who are having some knee and foot pain problems should avoid playing here. The course is somewhat cart friendly as the slopes are mostly traversable and rock laden fairways are limited.
- BUGS - I loaded up with 40 percent deet before heading into the woods and had no issues. I assume the mosquitoes are awful after a string of rainy days and that there are ticks. I don't take off rating points for this.
- PAY TO PLAY - $5 to play is well worth it for this gem. As noted above, the fee should have come with a scorecard and map at that price. The process on how to pay is located at the community board and it requires filling out 5 minutes of paperwork.
- BEGINNER FRIENDLY - Despite the 4,000 foot short pad to short basket configuration, this is still not a beginners course. I think a player needs at least 50 rounds under their belt before coming here. Disc loss potential is higher than normal as bad kicks at some point are almost certain.
- TIME PLAY - I played the Blue Tees to Red Basket combo (longest configuration) and spent just over 100 minutes on the course. A group of 4 experienced played doing this layout would likely take over 3 hours. The short layout in my estimation would still take 80 minutes for a quick blind solo player.
Other Thoughts: I had read and heard great things and Wow did this course deliver. I played 262 different holes on this road trip and all 18 holes at Wilderness would make my top twenty-five. Its player versus nature here and I loved every second of it. Several reviews below make comparisons to nearby Zobel Park and yes there are some similarities, but IMO, Wilderness is clearly the better of the pair. The course reminded me of these wooded gems in the deep south; IDGC Warner, IDGC Jackson, Inverness and Lake Claiborne. That's some noteworthy company. This course is a "No Doubt" destination experience. Wishlist it now. Thanks to Stardoggy, Wolfhaley and ElementZ for the recommendation.
- DESIGN - Excellent, but I did have a couple notable grievances. First off, I don't like having the multiple baskets on an identical line 40 feet apart. Hole (16) and hole (12) are very capable of being black aced on a great shot if throwing to the far basket. The two baskets on these holes add no value, and they should have had one of the pair break either left or right. My second complaint is using the short pad as only a distance modification, with no line difference. I'll reference (12) again, where all four combinations are the same shot, but with slight distance changes. This distance only change between tees occurs about half the time, which is too often IMO.
23 of 23 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Wilderness: One of the Best in the Midwest
Pros: Welcome to the Wilderness DGC! This beautiful track is located North of Madison just outside Montello, deep in the woods on a campground. As you arrive in the parking lot, you see the campsite on your right and an open field with 2 practice baskets on the left.
The entrance to the course itself is pretty epic. You walk right up into the woods through a large corridor past the yellow practice basket, leading you right up to Hole 1's long tee.
This course has 2 tee pads on every hole as well as 2 baskets on every hole as well. The tee pads are a great size that allow for a variety of lines and run ups. The baskets are pristine Innova 28's that are colored yellow for short basket placements and red for long basket placements. All tees & baskets are immaculately level and placed well.
The tee signs are very accurate and illustrative. They truly paint the picture of the hole as well as giving the distance to both baskets from both tees on each sign. The course is well groomed and the portable restrooms were among the cleanest I have ever seen. With benches on every hole and a plethora of garbage & recycling cans, the amenities at this course are plentiful.
The design of this course is awesome! I really love the options presented with the tees and multiple baskets. You have 4 layouts - short to yellow (RED level), long to yellow (WHITE level), short to red (BLUE level) & long to red (GOLD level). This format allows for all skill levels to play a layout that suits their game best to have the best time, as well as the regular visitor to play multiple layouts on the course.
The course winds up and down hills, through the woods the entire round. There is not a single "open" hole on the course. Baskets are often precariously placed on a hillside or on the edge of a drop off. While some holes reward powerful throws, placement is also needed to score well on many holes out at Wilderness. Your best bet on many holes is how far you can control a straight shot off the tee.
There are many signature holes to choose from on the course as you have 64 unique holes. Personal favorites of mine are teeing from the long tee on the Par 5 Hole 18 at the top of the hill, forcing a left to right moving tee shot. I also favor Hole 6 long tee to long basket, as it is one of those rare par 4's through a thick line of trees that you can see straight down the fairway from the tee. Both very picturesque & challenging holes!
With the course located back in the woods of the campsite, there are RARELY any other patrons on the course that are not players. With this being a pay to play, there is a good chance there will not be a huge crowd of players out.
Cons: Hard to find a con for this course. The design of the holes are all very fair and show the option(s) to attack the hole. The only hole that may be argued against this is Hole 15. The cut of trees off the tee suggest a right to left moving throw would be an option, when that kind of just opens up towards 14's tee. This would be the only hole that needs a little tweak.
Other Thoughts: This is a course you can tell your $5 daily pass is going right back into. From the amazing course itself, the added amenities, the cleanliness of the course & campsite, I will make it a must to stop in Montello on my way back from Sandy Point to Chicago :)
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
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