One of a kind x2
0 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: When in tournament shape, this course is amazing. The OG West course is rugged, scenic, and offers plenty of opportunities for big rips.
The newly installed East course offers more technical shots and more birdie opportunities. Bring your hiking legs for this one! Lots of elevation changes and awesome shots.
Cons: Tee pads can be tough at times, as is to be expected with natural pads. Oh well, it's still a real treat to play these courses.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Welcome to Middle Earth
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - 18 Portable Discatcher Pro Baskets in good repair.
- Lots of well used elevation creating various challenges and offering a number of risk reward decisions. The elevation will also give you a great workout so be ready for a hike.
- The signature holes, at least for me, are 5, 9, and 18. They are amazingly beautiful as well being as uniquely challenging golf holes.
- The views are absolutely breathtaking. The course plays through the foothills of the Tobacco Root mountains and from different locations on the course you can see 5 mountain ranges. Truly a special place to golf.
- Awesome and gigantic rock formations cover the entire course and you get to play around, over, and between them.
- The front 9 has an excellent balance of hole distance and variety. With few trees to force lines, the course relies on the multitude of elevation changes and varying angles of valleys and gullies to force shot shaping. The back 9 is a bit less exciting in this way.
- Private, wonderfully private. If you're lucky enough to access the course you might see another group or two, maybe.
Cons: - Very short season. Never in for more than a month, or two tops, this course is tough to check off the list and tougher to let go of each year.
- Tee boxes are all natural, not always flat, and not very well formed. Minimal impact has been the landowners' goal but a little work to make some of the tees safer seems like a necessary "evil" to me.
- No signage on the holes or for navigational purposes. Naviagtaion generally isn't an issue with how restcited the use is. If you're out there, you're going to with somebody that knows. With the course being on a very short season its hard to justify but even temporary tee signs with basic info would be a nice improvement.
- There are a handful of tweener par 3.5 type holes as well as a stretch on the back 9, holes 13, 14, and 16, that don't offer much value besides getting from point A to point B.
- Those beautiful rocks are pretty mean to discs. Baseline plastic will get shredded if you hit them.
- Lack of trees. There aren't a lot out there and most are smaller. Not very many forced lines from the tees.
Other Thoughts: Swards Ranch is a magical place to walk, golf, and just plain breath in the air. Difficult to find, tough to schedule a round, but the experience is worth it. Certainly not the best of golf but still very challenging, interesting, entertaining, and like no other course I've played. Make sure to bring good hiking shoes/boots, plenty of energy, and have your cell phone charged for photos.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
EPIC and Elusive
6 Helpful / 0 Not
I use the word Epic sparingly, but in this case it is quite a deserved title. Sward's Ranch is truly EPIC!!!
Situated just a couple of miles from the tiny town of Norris is an area called Revenue Flats where Swards Ranch resides.
I will post in the "other thoughts" sections info regarding this recreation paradise.
Swards Ranch is only up for 6-8 weeks in preparation for the annual Sward's Ranch Classic and is on private property so not only is it away from everything, it requires the owner or approved guides to show you the lay of the land.
Anyone can play the event of course!
The property is high desert with huge rocks jutting out of the earth all over the place.
I have played 441 courses and can safely say that there is no disc golf experience like Swards Ranch.
Big Bombs, Technical shots, Placement golf, Tunnels, Cliffs and multiple angles are just some the phrases that can describe this place.
Just to the West of the course is the gigantic mountain range called the Tobacco Roots. They rise 5000-6000' above the valley floor and provide stunning views at all times on the course when you look west.
To the E and a fair bit away you will be provided with views of the entire Bridger Range
To the SE, Lone Peak (a dormant Volcano that is 11,166' tall and home to Big Sky Ski Area), Sphynx mtn and Helmet mtn rise over the valley.
Instead of going through the course hole by hole, I have supplied videos of the 2016 Swards Ranch Classic filmed by Central Coast Disc Golf.
It will give you a solid idea of what playing this place is all about.
Round 1 part 1
Round 1 part 2
Round 2 part 1
Round 2 part 2
Cons: WIND - this place can get very windy with its exposure on this plateau.
But wind is a common theme in Montana.
Natural tee pads - I state this only for information as it really only takes a little away from the Swards experience.
Yes they are natural. But they are flat and quite large in most cases.
The owner is considering putting in concrete in the future and that would make it a 5 star course for sure.
The other Con is that it is only open for a few weeks per year. In my opinion, this fact also contributes to the lore behind this amazing place.
Aside from the awesome nature of this place, it should be noted that there is abundant free camping all over the place as well as BIG mountains to climb and enjoy.
And then.....after your rounds you can soak in Norris Hot Springs just down the hill and relax after the HUGE laps on the course.
They offer live music, food as well as a beer and wine poolside.
If you want a more rustic soaking experience, you can head about 20 minutes north and catch Potosi Hot Springs which is just a short walk from USFS Potosi Campground. It is secluded and nestled against the base of the Tobacco Root mountains.
Just a few miles East of Norris Hot Springs is the mighty Madison river which offers world class fishing as well as some of the best inner tube floating anywhere. You can choose short or long floats and access to this amazing fishing river is abundant.
Here is a link to the area known as Revenue Flats -
Swards is a one of a kind experience and a taste of the awesomeness that is Montana
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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