I love disc golf! No other way to put it. I am always up for a challenge and think too many courses are made for the mainstream and not me and the people I like to play with.
My reviews are generally based on both the wow and challenge factors, basically how "worth it" is the course to travel out of my way for. I love wooded courses, appreciate extreme challenge and risk, love to see things out of the ordinary, and don't much care about how I score but how it feels to play a course. I want to play a course that makes me think about what or how to throw, makes me calculate risk, and makes me feel that much better for executing a tough shot.
"How to get a 5 Disc Rating". The course better be gorgeous and really 'wow' me. Some amazing scenery and amazing design that really challenges a good player. It must have excellent and ABSOLUTE variety and balance - open, tight woods, long, short, left right, uphill, downhill, water, OB, risky greens, gimmicks, etc. My preference will be given to crazy tight and tall mature wooded courses under a canopy of trees, but it still needs some open rippers as well, water, and elevation. The course will need that extra something not found everywhere else - true water hazards, decent OB, and a long downhill bomber to let those disc fly (everyone loves floating discs off hills and mountains)! The course better make me very glad that I drove for possibly hours, or took time out of a family vacation to play it! More than 18 holes always helps make a course worth the trip, and I will always consider companion courses which are both excellent and very near one another.
What the disc rating numbers "mean" to me...
5 - I would play this course in ANY condition and be glad I did. I would travel to this course from major distances. I would skip out of work or other engagement to play this course. I treat a 5-disc course as currently the best of the best I've played, and readjust my rankings if I play better ones. There are multiple 5-disc courses, not just one.
4.5 - Essentially a 5, but just one or two aspects of the considerations I put into my rating are missing. I got a bit nitpicky about a few things, and this course wasn't complete disc golf nirvana (e.g. treating a 5-disc course as perfect or yet to be or incapable of being /designedplayed)
4 - A SOLID course, one that I would play over any lower rated course without question. Typically just missing "the feel" of losing myself in a disc golf round/adventure, mostly due to not being in a remote and gorgeous natural setting. City parks typically fall into this shortcoming, excellent design, but crowds, traffic, noise, etc.