The Jungle DGC {Sanford, Michigan}

-The Jungle is located at Sanford Lake Park in Sanford, Michigan. The daily rate per car is $6, so have your money ready at the gate. When you get inside you’ll want to follow the road left until you see the message board and first tee on your right. Hole #1 was recently moved to provide a better parking situation and give the course a better flow. However, the practice basket is still where it used to be (by old hole #1 or new hole #3). Keep that in mind if you want to get some putts in before teeing off. The practice basket really isn’t TOO far from the start of the course, but I imagine they will eventually move it closer to help avoid confusion.

Hole #3 View

-The overall maintenance here is very good. Not just on the course, but in the park as a whole. I almost always see the employees with their hands full on some project. Along with good maintenance is good course amenities. On all 18 holes there’s concrete tees, descriptive tee signs, and nice baskets with number plates. Benches and trash cans are appropriately scattered throughout the course as well. A couple spots help direct you with “next tee” signs, but for the most part it’s very easy to follow anyway.

-The atmosphere at The Jungle is cool. Being from downstate, I am used to mobs of people at every course. It’s nice to get a break from that and be able to play a full round without having to be held up by anyone but yourself or your own group. I’m serious when I say that I’ve played here about 10 times and never once had to wait for anyone at a hole. It’s also located by a very nice lake and beach. Almost every time I play here, I’ll toss a Buzzz around on the beach before or after the round.

Hole #5 Basket

-As far as the layout and design goes, it’s challenging! If your one of those people who play all par 3’s, you could be in for a long round. The birdies will come far and few. Besides the couple possible ace runs, you will need perfect drive placements and honest putts on mostly every hole to come out with a good score. Surprisingly at a place called “The Jungle”, the great challenge isn’t really even from “pinball” type holes. Even though there are a few pinball runs, a lot of holes have an open cut fairway with scattered guardian trees near the basket. IMO, most of the challenge is incorporated from sharp angles and the un-forgivingness of misplaced drives that go in the rough. This course does not favor one throwing style over the other either, It was made to challenge EVERYONE.

-The fun factor here isn’t anything amazing. Honestly I could see this course making more people mad than happy, lol. But on the flip side, if you do end up throwing well, you would certainly feel like you accomplished something really good. Another thing that might hurt the fun factor is a lack of a signature hole. There are a couple that play down by the lake and make for nice scenery, but nothing that will really stick in your mind as “Your favorite hole of all time”. Don’t let me make it sounds like it’s no fun though, just tough. I do like the way the elevation was utilized here. There might not be any huge hills, but they incorporated what they had the best they could. A few elevated tees and fairways add to the fun factor.

-Not too many negatives about this course that I can really dwell on. To me, the challenge is never a negative, but I could see a lot of people getting frustrated here if they didn't have their game fully down. Besides that, there is a little bit of standing water during the wet season. But it’s nothing you can loose your disc in, or even get soaked trying to play your lie in. And the park has done a great job in making some man made canals for the water to run off in on many of the holes.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-{}-  I rate this course a 3.75 out of 5  -{}-

-{}-  My rating system is based off a personal preference scale. I mainly determine my ratings from things such as, course amenities, overall design, fun factor, atmosphere, and maintenance. The challenge of the course is considered too, but doesn't always help/hurt the overall rating.  -{}-

 

Disc Golf Mecca: Walnut Creek Park in Charlottesville, VA

Since this is my first contribution to Disc Golf Traveler, I wanted to take a second to introduce myself. My name is Brian Giggey and I’m the tour manager for nationally touring band, Zach Deputy. Zach and I met in 2007 when I was in my first year of graduate school at UMass where I was getting my degree in Landscape Architecture. When he came to play Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA in April 2008, I made sure to introduce him to a deep passion of mine: disc golf. I had only started playing disc golf about two years prior, but it’s all I could think about. My golfer brain would think about flight patterns, course management and pin positions, while my land arch brain would drool over riparian corridors, ridge lines and the amicability of the sport with other uses such as hiking, biking and dog walking.

Fast forward two years and I find myself putting the final touches on my disc golf course design: Orchard Hill Disc Golf at UMass Amherst, which will hopefully play host to several Zach Deputy disc golf tournaments in the future. As I pack my bags and say goodbye to Amherst, I’m ready for my new full time adventure of traveling town to town and state to state across the country. Zach, Innova’s newest sponsored celebrity, is a touring machine --- six nights a week for months on end. As we approach markets with shorter drive times between shows, our angst for disc golf grows. We start paging through DGCourseReview for the local goodness. Ratings and reviews left by other players are like gold as we seldom like to derail from our path unless we know it’s worth it. Low and behold, almost a year to the day after I joined the road full time, I find my favorite course thus far.

After our show at Clementine Café in Harrisonburg, VA we headed south to Charlottesville, VA for two relaxing days off in the old stomping grounds of Dave Matthews Band in the early 1990’s. As we traversed the hills and valleys of the local roads, I couldn’t help but wonder where Haunted Hallows was; the custom built recording studio for DMB and their associated projects. The farm lands and mountain vistas already have me thinking of a potential house here in the future, but the amount of disc golf courses in the vicinity is surprisingly low.

A little over 10 miles outside downtown Charlottesville lay Walnut Creek Park. As you drive down the entrance road, excitement grows as baskets and pin positions begin to reveal pieces of the course. I’m already making mental notes of where pins are tucked and where not to miss. The road culminates in an impervious parking lot with a large facility that houses vending machines, picnic tables and family gatherings, overlooking a large lake that’s pressed up against the backdrop of rolling hills and mountainsides. This lake will come into play several times throughout your round, so get ready for it. If it’s not hypnotizing you with its beauty, its making you sweat a couple bullets as it entices you to bite off a little more than you can chew. Flanking the parking lot are two small playgrounds and a few huts that are ready to host your family barbeque. All of these separate entities are perfectly connected by a trail system that runs throughout the park, aiding bikers, hikers, fisherman and disc golfers in their daily activities.

Tucked into the Blue Ridge Mountains, the disc golf course that circumvents the park is a shot maker's course through and through. With a 4.21 rating on DGCourseReview, I knew we were in for a treat. We all piled out of the Sprinter with excitement running through our veins, me especially, as tight wooded courses are my specialty. Zach is more of a rolling hills and fields player, while I could care less for those big D opportunities --- Walnut Creek Park: advantage me. Created in 2002, the course’s three designers put together a beautiful mix of uphill, downhill, open and wooded shots. This course is extremely challenging from either tee box, as each hole has multiple tee boxes and a variety of pin positions. Pin positions, as well as league information and course layout can be found at the message board near the parking lot, so head over to it before you venture off to the first tee.

As is standard with many disc golf courses across the nation, the primary feature that was lacking at Walnut Creek Park was signage between holes. Easily discernable to locals, wayfinding between some holes for us was quite frustrating. The only other negative in my opinion was that fact that all the tee pads were a compacted type of gravel, which depending on their structural integrity and amount of rainfall, were in either fair or poor condition. A course of this caliber should have permanent tee pads. Speaking from a landscape architecture point of view, less impervious surface (such as concrete or pavement) is a good thing, but in this case, concrete pads are a must.

After only three holes, you could see that this course was going to provide us with a wonderful mixture of both hyzer and anhyzer shots. Walnut Creek Park will bring out every shot you have in your bag! With tight fairways, water hazards and numerous elevation changes just on the front side, I was happy to be right around level par headed to the back. Notable holes on the front nine were the downhill, overwater 2nd hole, where if you split the uprights of the towering trees, you will be left with a short, level birdie putt. The 6th hole was the first of many holes with genius pin positioning. A relatively open field hole, the drive is uphill through a shoot of trees leaving players with a second shot that only affords them a glimpse of the top of the basket. Situated on a 45 degree slope, players need to figure where they want to putt from. I decided short right would leave me the best putt, as who knows where my Roc would roll to if I flirted with that slope. I made par and left happy.

The 10th hole is your window to make up any shots you may have given back on the first part of your round. A straight shot, 235 foot hole, anything more than a par should make you think about heading to the car early. The 11th and 14th are two holes that being too aggressive will only lead to birdie sometimes and bogey most of the time. With the baskets situated on severe slopes, unless you have a kick in, you might just want to take your par and move along. Saving the best for last, the 17th hole is one of the most breathtaking holes you’ll see. What initially looks like a big downhill drive and an awkward second shot slowly reveals itself to be so much more. With an elevation change from tee to basket of a couple hundred feet, this is your chance to let out all your frustrations. Be warned though, the lake on the right hand side is very much in play, while the thick woods on the left will catch the majority of drives. As you make your way down to the plateau that catches most drives, a new obstacle presents itself --- more water! From the plateau to the basket isn’t much more than 125 feet, but the severe elevation change and water in the background should make you think for a bit before you throw. Remember that your disc is going to break A LOT when it slows down, so give yourself a large buffer from the water as it runs along the back and left hand side of the hole, leaving an almost island green to some degree.

Our round at Walnut Creek Park only took a couple hours, but this is a place where anyone could (and should) spend the day. If you’re in the area, block out a part of your day and really take the opportunity to explore this beautiful tract of land. Besides some wayfinding issues from hole to hole, there aren’t many negative things that can be said about this course. Charlottesville, VA has a prize in the form of Walnut Creek Park, so I urge you to put this course on your “to-play” list. You surely won’t regret it.

Disc Golf Terms

Hyzer- Used to describe a type of shot when the disc is released with the wing down.  This creates a very hard curve to the left for a right handed back hand thrower (RHBH), or a hard curve to the right for a left handed backhand thrower (LHBH).  This shot allows players to really rip into the disc and put full power on the throw without worrying about flipping the disc over.

This is how you would release the disc for a hyzer flight.

This is how you would release the disc for a hyzer flight.

Anhyzer- Used to describe a type of shot when the disc is released with the wing up.  This creates a curve to the right for a right handed back hand thrower, or a curve to the left for a left handed backhand thrower.  This shot allows players to counter the natural tendencies of the disc.  This shot is most effective with an under stable disc.

This is how you would throw a disc with an anhyzer flight.

This is how you would throw a disc with an anhyzer flight.

S-curve- This describes the flight path of a disc when thrown with slight anhyzer.  The disc will start out flying to the right for a RHBH thrower and then finish fading left.  This shot allows players to increase their distance and to curve around objects.

Stable- This describes how the disc will fly.  A stable disc will have a tendency to fly straight and to finish with little to no fade.

Over stable- This describes how the disc will fly.  An over stable disc will have a tendency to fly straight and finish hard to the left for a RHBH thrower or hard to the right for a LHBH thrower.

Under stable- This describes how the disc will fly.  An under stable disc will have a tendency to fly straight and finish to the right for a RHBH thrower or to the left for a LHBH thrower.

Turnover- Used to describe the amount of anhyzer and or power a player puts on their throw.  When a player turns their drive over, normally the disc will cut hard into the ground and either skip, roll, or die.

Innova Flight Chart- It seems as though no company ever uses the same flight chart/system to rate their discs.  Innova has four different boxes/numbers to describe the flight of their discs.

  • Speed- this is the disc’s ability to cut through the air and how fast it can fly.  The numbers range from a 1 all the way to a 13!  The lower numbers, 1-5, are going to be your mid ranges and putters.  The next level will be the fairway drivers, 6&7.  Finally you get your distance drivers, 8-13.
  • Glide- this is the disc’s ability to maintain loft.  The numbers range from 1-7.  The lower numbers will drop out of the air faster, leaving you less chance the disc will sail past the basket.  The discs with higher glide ratings are best for new players or players looking to get more distance out of their throws.
  • Turn- This is the discs ability to turn to the right for a RHBH thrower during the fastest part of its flight.  The rating scale is from -5 to +1.  The lower the number, the more the disc will turn.  Discs with a low number make it easier for players to get a distance increasing S curve out of their throw.  The discs with number -3 through -5 are the easiest to throw roller shots with.
  • Fade- This is the discs ability to cut to the left for a RHBH thrower or cut to the right for a LHBH thrower as the disc slows down during flight.  It is based on a 0-5 rating scale with a 0 finishing straight, and a 5 will finish hard to the right for a RHBH thrower.  New players should look for discs that have a fade around 0.

Discraft Flight Chart- Just about every Discraft disc has the stability stamped on it.  Their scale ranges from a -1 to a 2.6.  The numbers from -1 to 0 are on the under stable to stable range, numbers 0 to 1.5 are the stable discs, and numbers 1.5 to 2.6 are in the stable to over stable category.  Their flight chart takes each disc and lists the stability of that disc in each plastic, if it is made in the 150 class, if it’s a good wind disc, if it’s a good roller disc, and if its beginner friendly.  On the side of the chart, they break down the types of plastics and their advantages.

Disc Weights- Disc weights will max out at about 180 g.  As far as disc weights go, the lighter discs are easier for new players.  New players will benefit from the lighter discs because the lighter the disc, it is generally going to be on the under stable side of that discs flight characteristics.  I’m not saying that you can get a brand new disc that is rated to be as over stable as a Predator in 150 g and be flipping it over from the first throw.  I just mean that when thrown, the disc will stay on a stable and straight flight path for longer.  The lighter weights also are easier to throw because it is less mass that you have to accelerate to throw, allowing you to get greater speed and rotation on the disc.  This could allow you to get that sought after S curve on the flight of your drive.  There are discs in a super light weight class called the 150 g class.  These discs will be best for children, women, or anyone with a weaker arm.  These are some of the lightest discs out there and will truly give you the distance and accuracy you want when just starting out.  Pro players and players with a lot of power tend to throw max weight discs or discs that are near max weight due to the fact that they can really power that extra mass for extra distance.

New Writer to join the Disc Golf Traveler Web Team.

Kyle Moriarty has recently joined the disc golf Traveler web team and will be writing about all sorts of things.  He will write up disc reviews, course reviews, tips for new players, gear reviews, and all other things disc golf.  Kyle went to Springfield College in Springfield, Mass for Physical Education.  He has helped teach a disc golf class to his fellow students for the past three years, so he knows how to break down the skills and explain them in a way anyone can understand them.  He already has one disc review up on the Vibram Ridge and there will be much more to come from him.  He is excited to be part of Disc Golf Traveler and hopes to help

Ripping Discs!

Ripping Discs!

future and avid disc golfers.

Vibram Ridge Review

Vibram is fairly new to the disc golf scene and making a big mark.  Currently, they have a line of putters (V.P., Ridge, and Summit), a fairway driver (Ascent), and more discs in the production/research phase.  They have taken their work with rubber for shoes and boots, and applied it to the sport of disc golf.  The use of rubber is a great idea because of the shear durability and the grip rubber offers in any weather.

My Ridge with a custom dye job.

My Ridge with a custom dye job.

 

The Ridge is the stable putter in the Vibram line.  It comes in 3 different rubber compounds, s-link firm, x-link, and x-link soft.  Pulling out the Ridge I immediately feel confident with the grip the rubber gives me.  The ridge lets me putt dead straight at the center of the chains and it will hit them.  I can walk up to a 30+ ft. putt and know that if I throw the ridge at the center of the chains, that putt is going in.  I can throw the ridge on an anhyzer line and it will hold it for most of its flight when thrown softly and a little high.  It has just enough stability to flatten out at the end of a nice soft shot.  The Ridge doesn’t have very much glide to it, which I like.  I know that if I miss my putt, it is not going to float 30 ft. away.

I like to use the Ridge on short drives and approaches to the pin that require dead straight accuracy.  I will use the ridge on drives anywhere from around 250 ft.  If I drive with it and put a little bit of anhyzer on it, this baby is going to hold that line.  The ridge holds a very nice hyzer line as well.  Additionally, because it is made out of rubber, when I hit a not so occasional tree, the discs don’t have crazy kicks that fly off 200 ft. into the woods.

All in all, I love the Ridge.  It putts straight, it drives straight, it holds a great line, and it has great grip (dry and wet).  It has beat out Rhynos, Magics, the Focus, and Wizards to become my main putter.  When it comes time to putt, I have no worries about how the disc is going to fly.  I know that when I throw

the Ridge, it is going straight in.  It makes sense as to why Vibram is such a fast growing disc golf company when they make such high quality products as the Ridge.

The Ridge earned a right no other disc in my bag has, it gave me my first Ace.

 

Disc Golf Traveler Now Under New Management

I'm happy to announce the Disc Golf Traveler is under new management!

As a professional Internet marketer and an avid disc golfer myself, I was extremely excited at the opportunity to acquire this great website so that I can continue where the former owner left off - providing well written and easy to understand disc reviews, tutorials and news.

I want to thank the former owner, Ron C. for putting a ton of time and effort into making this site great. I wish him the best in all of his future endeavors.

As for the future of Disc Golf Traveler, I have a TON of plans for making this site the go-to spot for disc golf news and reviews.

First off, there will be a LOT more reviews coming your way. There are a ton of discs that still haven't been covered here, and I don't plan to rest until every major disc has been fully tested and reviewed.

Second, I plan to vastly expand the beginner's section, with the hope of eventually making it a full, comprehensive guide for beginners, consolidated within 1 page. This will include disc selection, definition of basic terms, beginner tutorials and more.

I plan on expanding the number of course reviews available. I live in Minnesota, where we are fortunate to have an ample variety of great disc golf courses. I plan on reviewing many of them myself, and I hope that users will contribute reviews of their own local courses to be published here. More on that soon.

Some of you might notice the forum is no longer available. I have decided to at least temporarily take the forum down. I may decide in the future to add a new, better forum. It depends on how things go. For now, I strongly recommend that everyone use the comments area on blog posts for discussion and I definitely encourage everyone to participate - or at least stop by and say hi!

Again, I just want to say thanks to the previous owner and thanks in advance to fans of this site for your continued support!

- Sam

 

Innova Vulcan Review

Another year, another high-powered driver for those with lesser arms.  This story is growing old in the world of disc golf, but it does give us something to talk about.  The Vulcan is described as a fast, long, under-stable disc that has less fade than the much-heralded Katana.  Is it worth the hype? Will this disc finally add distance to your game?

I'm a little embarrassed to say it, but after throwing this disc I must say the experience was great.  It flies exactly as described.  I was not super-impressed with the Katana, but the Vulcan comes much closer to meeting the promise of a max-distance driver for lesser arms.  It hyzer flips much more effectively than most discs in its class, turning over and finishing with very little fade.   Those with stronger arms will actually get this one to finish to the right (for righties).  If you're really good, the Innova Vulcan could make a nice turnover disc for looong anhyzer shots.

Overall, the Vulcan comes as close as possible to delivering on the promise of a "game changer".  I really do think that beginners will benefit from learning to hyzer-flip this disc for max distance.  Like I always say, a new disc won't turn you into a better golfer, but this one just might buy you some more distance.

- Available in Star plastic ONLY

- Lighter weights available

STATS:  Speed 13, Turn -4, Glide 5, Fade 2

 

Discraft Hornet Review

Somewhere between a Wasp (one of my personal fav's) and a Drone is the new Discraft Hornet Mid-Range disc. Discraft describes the Hornet as "not crazy overstable, but no sissy either."  As part of Discraft's "hive" of mid-range discs,  the Hornet has a lot to live up to.  After all, the buzzz, wasp, and drone are some of the most reliable mid-ranges on the market.

From what I've seen so far, the Hornet is a nice Mid-Range option for windy days. It also has a good bit of glide compared to similar overstable mid-range discs. I find that I can give it a ton of arm and not have it turn over...which is an advantage over the Buzzz, which can be flippy in such situations.  I'm not sure where it will exactly fit into my game just yet, but it is certainly a disc to look out for.  Will it replace my wasp?  I'm not sure just yet.

Have you thrown this disc?  Submit a review by commenting below.

Discraft Stalker Review

Is it a driver? Is it a mid-range? No...it's the best of both worlds. Discraft's new golf disc - the Stalker, is an awesome hybrid of a distance driver and an accurate mid-range disc.  While this disc delivers on what it promises, the biggest problem with the Stalker is finding a place for it in your game.

There is certainly nothing wrong with this disc, I just can't see using it over my Buzzz on mid-range shots or picking it up for fairway drives.  If you are looking for an in-between driver/midrange hybrid, this disc is for you.  However,  if you don't have a pressing need for this disc in your bag you might want to spend your money on a different disc.

Gateway Warlock Review

The Warlock is yet another high-quality putter from Gateway, who seem to pump out P&A molds like nobody else on the market.  The Warlock is essentially a Wizard (my personal favorite) without the bead on the rim.  Since the bead is what gives the Wizard it's stability, the Warlock is much less stable.  The Warlock makes a great ultra-straight putter or short-distance turnover driver.

I recommend that Warlock to beginning players because it will give a perfectly straight line right out of the box.  Overall, this is a high-quality putter for anyone who needs to add a straight flying putt and approach to their bag.   It is available in the standard plastics that Gateway offers,  but I prefer the super soft mold...not too soft, not too hard!