Journey to the Centralia of the Earth, Pt. 2
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - During my Journey to the Centralia of the Earth, I experienced spectacularly difficult championship- level disc golf, wonderfully manicured park grounds, friendly and helpful grounds crew, and concurrently had my faith restored that park-style disc golf can indeed be implemented in a thoughtful and meaningful manner. Located in Foundation Park, the championship 18-hole course is companion to the rec-level 9er across the street. One provides a fun, accessible, but challenging layout for beginners and lesser players, while the other caters to big-armed experienced players looking to air it out, without simply being a long and open bore.
- Water was used nicely where available. A creek protects the right side of the fairway on #7. Hole #8 forces a shot through a goalpost-shaped tree branch located right in front of the tee. A sign says "right now I'm in your head;" very a propos. The hole plays as a big hyzer with the creek defining the back and left side of the green. This is a great hole and among the best designed shorter holes, in my opinion. Trouble off the tee (but totally avoidable), trouble behind and to the left of the basket (in the form of water), and a shot designed to test the ability to avoid both. #11 also plays across a small creek that's located not too far in front of the tee, although this should rarely come into play.
- Elevation, while mostly of the gently rolling variety, still provides enough "up and down" to keep things from being boring. Nothing approaching epicness, not even close, but certainly enough to keep you on your toes and prevent the course from being two-dimensional. #6's downhill tunnelish shot is probably the closest the course gets to true tastiness in the elevation department. #18 also finished off slightly uphill.
- Multi-shot golf is done very well here. Landing zones are fair and obvious, and at no point did it feel unfairly punishing, even with all the long blind holes. Some multi-throw holes suffer from invisible (from the tee) punishment; I don't believe a single one of these exist here, to the designers credit. Big arms will need to throw a couple of times to reach the pin on the longer length holes, while weeny arms will be carding 5s, 6s and upward on the toughest layouts. Red tees are concrete and shorten the length of some holes significantly. The longer Blue tees are natural grass, in good shape, and make this course into a complete distance monster, especially if playing to the longer of the pin positions.
- Beauty. For a park-style course, there's plenty of natural "rough" woodsy-ness to make you feel secluded in places. Parts of the course are simply open or open-ish grassy areas, but other parts incorporate huge ancient trees, some with magnificent sagging branches that provide visual interest as well as solid fairway obstacles. The split tree by #17's pin is just one small example of the many awesome trees to be found at Centralia.
Cons: - The major drawback to Centralia lies in its somewhat detail-lacking signage. Yes, an indicator is on each sign to denote the current pin position, but that only helps if they're kept current (some did not seem to match the actual pin position during my round, adding much confusion). With the fairly lengthy holes, and the many blind pin positions, there was a lot of walking to scope the lay of the land. This is definitely a course where a guide would be super helpful first time through. This con is mostly only valid for first time players, but the incorrect pin indicators shouldn't happen under any circumstances on a course of this quality, in my opinion.
- A stretch during the back nine (#'s 12-16) started to all blur together in the same sort of mostly open, scattered mature trees, park-styley golf. None of those holes are bad, per se, just similar enough not to really stick out in my mind as distinct holes. Maybe with more plays or different pin positions, these holes would take on a bit more of an individualistic feel.
Other Thoughts: - Overall, Centralia comes convincingly close to true destination golf. There's certainly no other reason (that I could see) for being in that god-forsaken part of Illinois. So if you're in the area, Foundation Park is a no-brainer; if you need to make a long-haul just to play it, you'll be well-served to make time to enjoy at least three rounds on the property: one at the rec-level course, one to scope and scout the champ-level course, and a second time to truly enjoy and appreciate the spectacularly difficult discing on offer.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The Foundation Course in the middle of nowhere Illinois is called the Championship 18. That's an understatement. In my mind its challenging to think that a course this phenomenal could be situated in the wonderfully boring state of Illinois. Illinois is known for three C's: corn, corrupt politicians and Chicago. Its not known for having beautiful, country club like disc golf courses that test every single aspect of your disc golf game. The Championship Course in Centralia, IL does that and then some. That course may not have the sexy greens that Idlewild does and it may not have the secluded feel of a Deer Lakes or Moraine State Park but I am giving this course the same rating as those courses. This course is definitely worthy of a 4.5 Phenomenal rating in my book. It also features a nice warmup 9 hole course right on the same property. Here are my pros:
1) This course is what I call "dumb" good. It means its so good that me and my friends don't even call it really good or pretty awesome. Its dumb good! In all seriousness, the main reason for this is the design. The course just doesn't have filler holes. There are no throwaways. Yeah, some people may point to hole 2 or hole 18 as letdowns but this course doesn't let you down. It simply just keeps going and pushes the limit of a great course disc course to the next level. The design is impeccable and very fair while still being very challenging.
2) Speaking of challenging....did I say challenging? How about nearly 11,000 feet from the back tees. ELEVEN THOUSAND FEET. This course is a BALL GOLF course. Its listed as a par 72 and that's probably close to accurate. This course is like Ironhill or Highbridge Gold. Its fun to say you SURVIVED this course. This course plays over 2 miles. Hole 1 is two-tenths of a mile. This course is uber challenging! But....
3) Its fun! Honestly some of these super long courses are so hard that its not fun. Think Ironhill or Idlewild (Idlewild is a great course but if you had fun at that course then good for you). Centralia has some bomber shots and the longer holes have more open lines and very clean lines. I am sure this course is hard to play in the summer when its 95 degrees but playing this course in the fall was ideal. Its hard to say 11,000 feet of disc golf "breezed" by but time flies when you are having fun.
4) Infrastructure: The infrastructure at this course is phenomenal. The baskets are super deep and are Gateway Titan baskets. There is not a better sound in the world then hitting a putt dead center on a Titan basket. The signs are super descriptive and really give you a lot of information. This is so important on such a long course because it helps avoid some super long walks ahead to scout the holes. Finally, the concrete tee pads are awesome!
5) Water: I really value having water hazards on courses and Centralia has a few water hazards that really make for some memorable shots. Its really tough for me to rate a course a 4.5 or higher if there are not shots that at least bring water into play and so this actually may have nudged the rating in my mind from a 4.25 to a 4.5. At least four holes brought water into play and even though they weren't huge ponds it was still something!
6) Variety in Distance: The distances from the long pads ranged from 305' to 1036'. There's really not much more you can ask for when it comes to variety. This course had 5 par 3's, 8 par 4's and 5 par 5's. It does not get much better than that when it comes to variety!
7) Alternate Pins and Two Tees: But here's where it gets even better. Alternate pins are great but Dave McCormack and his crew had the foresight to make sure to mark the current pin location on the teesign. This is the best way to do alternate pins in my opinion! The distances between the long and short pads was only about 1500 feet but I'd say that was worth at least 6 strokes. So instead of shooting in the 70's maybe you can shoot in the 60's from the shorter pads!
8) Practice Facilities: Not only does this course have a driving range that goes out to 500 feet (seriously????) but it has a killer practice basket. Huge kudos to the crew for getting those put in. I can't EVER remember seeing a driving range on a disc golf course.
9) Let's get to some of the holes: I literally LOL'd at hole 8 as some other reviewers have pointed out. It was pretty fun to walk up to that hole and throw that shot between the branches. Truly a memorable shot and honestly disc golf needs more of that. Hole 1 is just a beast! Its probably good to warm up on the Recreation 9 because I can't imagine having to play this course first and then starting with this hole. This is a true par 5! So many holes stood out in the middle of the round as well but I loved the second shot to hole 15. After a crush drive the second shot requires a RHBH hyzer to a guarded green. Honestly this course had SO many great to awesome holes. The par 4's were truly awesome and honestly some of the best par 4's I have ever played.
10) Controlled Distance: This course has a lot of variety but the one thing that kept sticking out in my mind was "control your distance". This course has a few holes with low hanging branches near the teepad. You know the kind I am talking about: the branches you want to RIP down with a chainsaw because it doesn't allow you to BOMB your drive as far as you want it. These kind of shots really force you to think about the distance you want to throw and really forces you to strategize your way around the course. There's lot of variety between forehand, backhand, etc. As I said, this course really forces you to THINK THINK THINK. Think about where you want to land; think about where not to land; think about how far you can push the limit off of the tee.
Cons: Honestly this course doesn't have a lot of bad things going for it. After all, its a solid 4.5 in my book and Phenomenal courses don't have a lot to improve upon. Here are my cons:
1) Some of the navigation was a little confusing but this was not a huge con and it did not affect my rating. Just worth noting.
2) The course had many blind baskets. Even with the wonderful tee signs there was still some walking ahead to scout out the hole. The rough was also pretty rough so spotters would be advised on a few holes.
3) Some of the crossings of the creek were a little dangerous and could probably use some better bridges.
4) This course is a 4.5 - this one is not really a huge con but just something that could potentially make this course a 5.0. The greens on this course were pretty plain. There weren't any elevated baskets, swinging baskets, built up baskets, etc. This course is PHENOMENAL but one thing that has stood out to me regarding 5.0 courses are that they have EXTREMELY memorable greens and baskets. This course had nice greens but nothing stood out about this courses greens or baskets (ie, Idlewild and the beautiful rock built greens) that told me this course should be a 5.0. As I said, this is not really a huge con but more just a suggestion of what could make this course a 5.0.
5) This is not a huge con but more of just a nitpicky thing: Hole 18 was a little bit of a letdown. After playing such an epic course I expected 18 to be a monster par 5. PLEASE NOTE: With that in mind, this didn't take away from my rating of the course. If hole 1 and 18 were reversed (with hole 18 then being a monster par 5) I still wouldn't have given this course a 5.0 rating.
Other Thoughts: Honestly, the cons on this course are just so nitpicky. There is just not a lot wrong with this course. Some may say, this is a 5.0 course then! Its close, but its not quite there. It doesn't quite have the seclusion of Highbridge or the awesomeness of Flyboy or the natural beauty of Nockamixon. Its a PHENOMENAL course that is truly up there with the best courses in the country. It truly is a GEM to play.
PLEASE NOTE: I highly recommend playing the 9 hole recreational course first. Its a great warmup and it allows you to score well before being PULVERIZED and BEATEN into the ground by the Championship Course that is Centralia. I remember being so tired at the end of the round that the thought of playing another round was deep in my dreams. That means the course did a good job!
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 0 Not
The main course is delicious, but could give you heartburn
Pros: Superb course in a unique, private park that's open to the public.
• Disc Play: Wonderfully comprehensive and very challenging. Distance and precision are required to score well. Great variety as far as left/right/straight and S-shaped fairways. No massive elevation changes, but there's are some substantial uphill/downhill/gulley shots to make things interesting. Hole lengths come in long and longer, with a few shorter holes sprinkled in for good measure. Feels very well-wooded, but many of the long holes are open/semi open off the tee, only to get harrowing further down the fairway. While you really want to huck it to get down there, you need to either hit a window to get through the obstacles further down (assuming you can throw that far) or hit a landing spot for a decent upshot through to set up a good putt. Missing a landing spot could cost you a stroke. Missing the window on the fly during peak growth might cost you two, and possibly your disc. Demanding as they may be, all the holes are fair- rewards hitting fairways, punishes finding the rough. Risk reward is there - you can play it safe off the tee, or go for it. Also features some rollaway potential.
• Dual tees w/ rotating pin placements provide four ways to play (to bad both pins aren't permanent). Blue tees provide significantly tougher looks, but not necessarily that much more distance (half the additional distance of the blues comes on just four holes). The longer "B" placements stretch things out even more, and yes - they're tougher to get to.
• Equipment: Gateway Titans - catch great and built to last. Red tees are concrete, nice sized, grippy, and marked with easy to spot tee signs. Blues are still natural (as of this review), and marked with 2' posts tipped w/blue paint. Single tee signs show both red and blue tee locations plus both pin positions. Current pin placement is shown on the post. Everything was well maintained.
• Aesthetics - Not picturesque, but I thought it was quite pleasant to walk through, especially #'s 6-11 which play over/around the stream. Natural features like elevation and a winding stream are used very effectively to enhance challenge and visual appeal. There's a nice bridge to cross the stream at 7 and some concrete stepping stones to cross it again further along the course - both add a bit of charm.
• Memorable holes: # 8 made me LOL: There's a weird branch growing off a tree forming a U-shaped frame several feet wide, just in front of the red tee. Didn't notice anything about a mando, but it'd be hard to play the hole well without throwing through the U. Sign painted at the bottom of the U reads, "RIGHT NOW... I'm in your head." AWESOME!! Reminded me of the THINK sign on Flyboy #25. #1's an open bomb, but features a bottleneck you have to hit from a distance to score well. #7 plays over the stream (but at an angle, making it more difficult to get over) and has some great pin placements. There was just something about 12 I liked a lot.
• Navigation: There are a couple long walks and few tricky spots, but the holes on this course are worth it. I found my way around pretty easily once I got the hang of it and the map on the scorecard will get you where you need to be.
• Pairs well with Rec 9 to take things to the next level (and then some). Having another course that plays to a different skill level in the same park is a big plus
• Separate scorecards for the blue and red tees w/map at kiosk are a nice touch.
• Bathroom near start/finish.
• Thoughtfully located across the street from St Mary's Hospital, where trained medical personnel can resuscitate you after you tally your score. Staff has experience treating severely bruised egos as well.
Cons: Not much to complain about.
• Personally glad they poured concrete for the reds first, but this course really needs concrete for the blues (park employee told me they're coming this year).
• Oddly enough, I think one of Champ 18's biggest cons results from the confluence of several individual things they got right:
Love the Gateway Titans, but $#%! are they hard to spot when they're tucked away... well into the woods... some 500+ ft away. It's like playing "Where's Waldo." This course demands both distance and placement. That requires knowing exactly where the target is to have any hope placing a drive that sets you up for par or better. The problem's only compounded by multiple pin placements. I literally spent more time scouting ahead for baskets and back than I did looking for the next tee. With this many holes over 500, it gets old - fast. Call me a wimp, but you do enough walking playing a 9000' course - you shouldn't have to tack on another 3000 just spotting baskets... and I played early in the season, before the foliage had a chance to grow in. ANY splash of bright color would be a HUGE help. Paint the poles or the basket, add a flag - something! Locals may not care, but this place is well worth visiting, and when you're travelling, playing several courses a day, it's aggravating as hell- especially when there are easy solutions.
Other Thoughts: The highlight of my trip to the St. Louis area, Foundation Champ 18 gets my "destination worthy" stamp, but plan accordingly. Championship all the way, beginners sure to get frustrated. Not sure I completely agree with with the score card's Par of 70, but get the idea of "everything's a par 3" right the hell outta your head - you ain't shooting 54 here. No doubt in my mind this course can create scoring separation among top level players. I was in over my head playing reds to B's; carded an 80, and loved it.
For 18 holes, this course plays looong; the shortest layout (Red to A) averages just over 430'/hole, while the longest (Blue to B) clocks in at over 600'/hole. Mix in the degree of difficulty and there's simply no rushing through this bad boy, so don't plan on it. It was cool the morning I played, but I wouldn't want to play here on a hot, humid afternoon. Bring plenty of water and maybe an apple or other energy boost. This is a big course and can take a lot out of you - it's hard to finish strong when you're gassed.
Park employee I ran into told me another park employee is very active in the local club and it makes sense. Moving through the course, I saw a lots of thorny rough that had been pruned, underbrush cleared away in likely trouble spots and things were clean. When people care, it shows.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Unique Course That Requires Big Arm AND Technical Approach
Pros: Located in a pretty big city park, though it doesn't have that feel. Most of the course is pretty well secluded, except for a few holes that play near the entrance. For how empty the park feels, there is actually a good bit to do with miles of hiking trails, two stocked fishing ponds, prayer chapel in the woods, multiple memorials, multiple pavilions, and a natural amphitheater. It seems though that the two courses are the main attraction to this site. I've read that there is a clubhouse on site, but I was unable to find it. Also, there is said to be a driving range and measurements from the practice tee, which are awesome features. I assume that the numbers were spray painted because I could find nothing of the sort. There are restrooms, a course map, some parking spots, and local club/tournament information posted near the first tees for both courses. Seems like an active course because I saw multiple groups of people playing on an early Wednesday morning, though the course is so big and spread out that this didn't affect my round. The course is spread tremendously throughout and makes much of the park's space.
Foundation Park sports two sets of tees (red and blue), unique wooden tee signs at the red tees that are in good shape, give hole lengths and pars, and list the current pin position. Red tees are perfectly long and wide and made of concrete. Baskets are Gateway Titan, have hole numbers on them, and are in fantastic shape. There were benches and garbage cans near some, but not all of the tees. Navigation is good for the most part. The course flowed very well and all but two holes (7 and 18) were easy to find. Next tee signs are often used, making navigation easy for the would-be trickier spots. There are well-defined trails and bridges to cross the stream. May be dangerous for some without much balance, but I liked them.
When talking about hole and shot variety, this course sits very close to a 5. This is a very technical course that challenges many aspects of your throwing. There are 5 par 5's and 8 par 4's, all legit to me. Great variety of short and tight, long and tight, and long and somewhat open. There aren't any plain open holes, but holes 1, 12, 14-16 give you some freedom while still being super long and technical enough with the trees. Also, the low hanging branches - while frustrating - challenges controlled distance throws like I've never seen. Fantastic variation of lengths from 264 in the shorts to 1,036 in the longs. Even distribution of hyzers, straight shots, and anhyzers. Plays over stream multiple times.
Cons: -The course isn't very scenic or aesthetically pleasing, if you enjoy that aspect as I do. Pretty dreary looking throughout.
-This normally doesn't bother me but since the course is so long, it'd be nice to have restrooms in the course.
-As I said, navigation is a little difficult in two spots, going to hole 7 and hole 18. The course map is helpful if you use that, but there weren't any next tee signs and there were multiple paths from the previous baskets, I took the wrongs ones first on both.
-One technical aspect that would make this closer to a 5 would be more elevation. However, this is in the middle of Illinois and the course has 2 or 3 holes that use the slight elevation given. Can't punish the course for this, just would make this course even a little better.
-Blue tees not present on every hole, are natural, and don't have tee signs.
Other Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed my round at Foundation Park, and if you have time I suggest warming up on the rec. course. This is truly a unique course with the type of topography and the massively long, technical holes. The middle -most wooded- holes were the staples in this course and my favorite holes were:
5-Very long hyzer with multiple lines, goes downhill then uphill
6-Super tight downhill shot, best chance at an ace here
7-Very fun hole that plays across the creek and a pin position uphill in a tight section of the woods
8-An extreme hyzer shot with a mando through a fallen down tree with a sign that says, "I'm in your head now". Nice pin position between trees
9-Open and straight then hard dogleg left uphill then downhill to pin
11-Open shot then a hyzer through the trees and over the creek
12- Super long par 5 hyzer
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 1 Not
The Foundation of the Future!
Pros: 1) Nice large grippy concrete tees on this course . . . I was tempted into playing the longs when I encountered a long concrete tee on #1, but switched right back to the short tees when I realized the concrete tees were only on the short tees.
2) Posts mark the holes with red/blue markings so you know which hole you are on.
3) Plenty of garbage cans around this course for disposal of your trash.
4) Nice feature to have two 9 hole loops that come back to the parking lot. Each 9 could almost be considered a course because they are so long and challenging. I think it took about 2 hours to play the entire 18 which s a long time.
5) Nice signs have Hole #, Par, Distance and indicate both sets of tees and alternate basket locations.
6) This course has such a nice variety from mildly wooded, to moderately wooded to tight and dense shots. You need to be able to throw all sorts of shots to play well here. The roller could be found as a great tool for you if you are good at them. It will help eat up a lot more distance than air shots.
7) Distance variation is as big as I have ever seen. This is integral to this course being so challenging and fun at the same time. There is such a huge variety in hole distances from 200's all the way up to 800's. It is a little disturbing that this course was allowed to eat up so much space. I am shocked disc golf was allowed to take over this section of the park completely, but then I realize the park as a whole is enormous and there is plenty of room for other activities. I wish we had more parks like this in SE WI.
8) Talk about a course that should be hosting all sorts of professional events. If the pros don't love this course I will . . . nevermind . . . they will love this course.
9) Road-trip worthy . . . and you could spend all day here and maybe get in 54-72 holes only. It is just that long and it takes you a long time to play it.
10) Bathrooms available at the parking lot.
11) There is a shelter, a labyrinth, and other activities and things to see in this park . . . but who are we kidding, we are here for the disc golf.
Cons: 1) This course is far from beginner friendly. The distance alone might kill some newbies . . . add in the other challenging features and it is sure to turn some people away. I like courses to have alternate tees that allows everyone to experience the same sort of experience as a better player, only shorter and less frustrating.
2) There were a couple places where the navigation was a little confusing.
3) Some of the baskets are blind from the tees so they play tougher than they need to. Sometime there looked to be an intuitive shot, that turned out to be the wrong direction slightly.
4) The "bridges" that are used are dangerous and not perfect. Two of them use concrete pillars that you need to step across . . . then there is the bridge that is a ladder with some rope to hold on to. I prefer that things be done properly the first time and these things leave a bit to be desired.
Other Thoughts: I started out wanting to play the long tees. . . then I realized that the long tees were not concrete and that they were ridiculously long, so long that there is no good reason for me to play the long tees. I could have gotten so much practice on my rollers had I stayed on the longs, but it likely would have been a rough go of it.
This is such an epicly long course . . . however . . .it doesn't even feel like it is that long because almost none of the length is pure wide open holes. You have to work your disc in all directions around all sorts of obstacles in order to play well, so you are busy worrying about your shots, you forget that you are playing such a long course.
The design and layout of this course make it one of the best. I had a lot of fun shooting 77, something I cannot say for many courses out there. In fact I cannot say I have shot 77 at very many courses ever. This is simply put a unique experience with the length being a major factor . . . but also the fact that they made the course long without you even worrying about it. You need to focus on your shot shaping and the trouble areas more than you do the length which I think makes this course one of the best designs I have ever encountered.
The maintenance is decent but I feel like such a top notch design deserves some top notch maintenance and amenities. I hope the local club realizes what they have here and work hard at keeping this course up and displaying it for all of the disc golfers out there.
I feel like this course sits right around a 4.7 on the rating scale. There are so many things that make it great, but there are also a few things that keep it from being the best it could be. Add in all the amenities, fix the bridges and safety, and do a little bit more maintenance on trees and shrubs etc and this course would easily be in competition for one of the top courses in the country. I hope it happens and I hope to be back sometime soon.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Dynamite Destination Course!
Pros: This course has it all! Professional long holes, some technical, some wide open. Short holes too, but none are without numerous obstacles. Extremely scenic, some of the best looking holes I've ever played. The park is primarily used for disc golf, and the land itself is amazing. The creek that snakes through the entire course makes you play honestly as well. Multiple pin and tee pad placements. Right now most of the pins are in the longer "B" locations. It even has shelters, restrooms and water fountains dotting the whole park. This course right here is why I play this game. Mother nature and competitive sports in one perfect harmony. Highlight of my disc golf year so far!
Cons: The only real con I have here are the natural tee pads. I have never played a course with natural pads, excluding the course I played that was laid out on an actual ball golf course with manicured teepads. These here were earthy dirt pads. I slipped badly on one today, but that's because it had rained and I was still getting used to running up on them to throw the long holes this course offers. I understand that many of the courses in this part of Illinois all have natural pads, so I'm guessing this is more of a political thing than a desire. However, I overlooked that minor annoyance to enjoy the top caliber of a course that this place is.
Other Thoughts: Destination course? You bet! I live two hours away, and you can bet I'll be back! I just wish this course was closer. Met an older gentleman who plays the course frequently and he was gracious enough to show me around and guide me as to where to throw and was very gracious and knowledgeable. If you are ever around this area and you DON'T take the time to stop and enjoy this place, you my friend will have missed out on one of the best disc golf courses I've ever played!
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 8 Not
worth the drive
Pros: This is an awesome course, defanatley worth the drive if your from out of the area like me. I love the creek that runs through the course. several shots are over the creek with little man made bridges across them (ex. ladder, big stones to hop across on) A nice mixture of holes some being open but most in the woods. Loved holes 6-8
Cons: the only con I can think of is that it would be nice if there were signs marking where to head for the next tee off position. This being due to the fact that some are around corners in the woods. Could be a little hard to navigate if you didnt have a local playing with you.
Other Thoughts: I will defantitaly be going back
1 of 9 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This long, tough championship course will really put your game to the test. There are many multi shot par 4's and a couple par 5's on this course. The course is very long but a lot of the holes have trees and low ceilings forcing you to throw controlled shots, not just pure distance. There's a lot of places to get in trouble when you get off the fairway or throw a less than controlled drive. There's a nice variety of shots and a few doglegs. It uses the available land, elevation changes and creeks very well.
There are two tees per hole with colored markers in the ground at each. A lot, if not all of the holes have multiple pin positions. Tee signs list the distance for each tee pad to each pin position with a diagram of the hole. There were many trash cans on the course to help keep the course clean. Maps were available at the bulletin board at the parking lot, but navigating the course was fairly easy.
With all the rain we've got recently, I was pleasantly surprised with how dry the course was.
Cons: With a course of this caliber, I was really surprised it didn't have concrete tee pads. With a course full of long holes, having nice long concrete tees would be a huge addition to the course. The tees weren't in bad shape considering they're dirt, but I did move around a bit on some of them to find a better place to throw from.
The tee signs were at the short pads meaning you have to walk past the long pad to see where you're going on a hole then walk back to the long pad to throw.
At one of the creek crossings there were nice cylindrical concrete stepping stones in the creek but two of them had fallen over. If I didn't have such long legs that crossing would have been tough. But then again with all the rain we've had recently the creeks could have more water than normal.
I've never critiqued tee signs with hole diagrams before, but due to all the par 4's and 5's where the basket is far out of sight, I feel like more detailed signs could be useful here. But then again, once you've played here a few times this is a non-issue.
With the exception of the concrete tees, the rest of my cons are pretty minor.
Other Thoughts: Overall this is an excellent, championship caliber course that's definitely worth checking out.
Even with the short pads I wouldn't say this course is rec friendly, but there is a 9 hole rec course in the same park so there's something for everyone here.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I have been waiting to play this course for 2 years now and I finally found the excuse to make the 3-hour drive to Centralia. I had pretty high expectations, and the course did not disappoint in any way. The conditions were rough because it was snowy and icy, but I will try to not let those affect my review.
Tees- For natural tees, they were nice and flat--it was hard to tell in spots because of the snow, but they seemed to be level for the most part. I didn't feel like the natural tee pads were that big of a disadvantage in most places.
Terrain: The property this course is on is awesome and quite unique. Foundation features the best creek I have ever seen used in a DG course. It is wide and deep and runs throughout much of the course. They find ways to use it differently with each hole. There is a nice amount of diversity as far as holes that play in the woods and some shots out in the open...but not too many. The woods vary from densely wooded to park like. There are quite a bit of elevation changes on top of everything else, which really takes this course to the next level.
Shot Selection: You will throw every shot you have on this course. Each hole is shaped differently and it really rewards the player who breaks the holes down into manageable parts (the par 4 and 5's). If you just want to grip it and rip it, this might not be the course for you (although there are a few places where you can).
Signage: Excellent. The signs appeared to be accurate and marked for the correct basket placements. There were maps for the red tees at Red #1 and maps for Blue at Blue #1.
Flow: Good for the most part. There were a few parts where I had to walk ahead to locate baskets and a few spots where I got turned around, but there were next tee signs in places where it was necessary.
Baskets: Excellent. I am personally biased towards the Gateway Titans. I think they are the best baskets on the market and Foundation is home to the Titan. The eat discs for breakfast.
Cons: There are very few cons for me. The main one is the creek crossing. Because the creek comes into play in so many places, it is very awkward in spots. Admittedly, the conditions didn't help, but looking at it subjectively it was still pretty rough regardless of the conditions. There were a few places with bridges, but other places where there were some big stones used for the crossing. The water was up and it could be very difficult to cross for those less coordinated. Unrelated to bridge issue, on hole 7 I went down to get my disc out of the creek and slipped and submerged both feet (ankles high) in icy water. Good times.
I guess the other con would have to be tee pads. I am not sure that the rubber strips that they have out there do much for me. They were very slick and I am not sure it is that much of an improvement over throwing off the dirt/mud.
Other Thoughts: Awesome, awesome course. Now that I have played it once, I can't wait to get out there again. The guys in the area have a real gem.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 1 Not
A Humbling Experience.
Pros: You know this course is special even before you get to the parking just by looking at the beautiful park it's in.
Shortly thereafter, you see the practice basket with it's marked increments, then the driving range! A cool touch anyway, but having pavers in the ground going out to (at least) 525' is just inspired. (It does parallel 1's fairway though, so don't expect unobstructed practicing if other golfers are there.)
My favorite thing about this course? About every shot you can have is covered in the first 7 holes: 1 is an open bomb, gentle hyzer. 2, shorter, tighter anny shot with plenty of obstacles to dodge. 3, GNARLY 90 degree anny that's a mother to get a 3 on. 4 is a teeny anny with a moderately guarded pin. 5 goes up and down and through some trees before a gentle hyzer at the end. 6 is as close as you get to an ace run, but even that is a downhill tunnel with loads of ugliness off to either side. 7 gives you 2 doses of risk reward with a creek 3/4 of the way that's not easy to ascend/descend, and an elevated pin on a steep slope.
There's not another course is the St. Louis area which covers THAT much variety in such FEW holes. Hell, some entire courses around here aren't as dynamic.
Flow hole-to-hole is good (though i cheated with a guide) navigation is better, signage is a notch or two away from great.
Many kudos to whomever is responsible for the bridges/stones that have been placed to traverse the water. Wet feet is NOT a fun sensation when it's ~30 degrees out.
Cons: Tiny parking lot that must get overwhelmed in warm weather. (Never did see another place to park, but maybe i missed it)
Missing some of the amenities: concrete pads, water access, benches, open restroom (there is one right by the first tee, but it was closed).
Um, it's not closer to St. Louis???
Other Thoughts: Such a challenging and dynamic course, i'm spoiled to even have it at close as it is to St. Louis. As more and more people take the trip out here (it is kinda in the middle of nowhere), look for this course to climb up the top 10 list quickly.
If you're planning a trip out here (and you should be), send a PM to hognosesucker. Good golfer, great guide, better host.
Added bonus: if you happen upon the McDonalds a mile or so west of the park before or after your game, jog across the street to the quik-e-mart and you can pick up a bottle of genuine REDARMYVODKA! (My avatar is the bottle's logo)
Haven't seen that stuff in 10 years in St. Louis, but that store has it! (mix it with something though, it doesn't taste very good) :P
Comparable to West City Park in Festus, MO in regards to length and tree density, but Foundation's holes require far more shot shaping/different techniques.
A phenomenal course i hope to get back to in the very near future. Hopefully my game will have developed a little more by then as i don't enjoy scorecards starting with 8's :(
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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