DG on the Wild Side
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This review follows a template that attempts to systematize my reviews so that all courses are judged by the same standard. There are 500 points possible plus bonus and demerit points that are discretionary. Every 100 points is a disc in the 5 disc rating system. I hope you will find this review helpful.
Quality of the Land - Rolling hills, woods, a creek and a lake make this an excellent setting for a course. 30/30
Dedicated Use - Nothing but very secluded and private disc golf going on here. 25/25
Scenic Beauty - Lovely pastoral southern Iowa setting. 25/30
Cleanliness - Almost completely free of litter, junk and debris. 15/15
Variety - This course has it all. Long, short, technical, wide open, up, down, and water hazards. For some players the links style on a fair number of holes might seem a bit repetitive, but I found these holes to all be different in some way. 25/30
Obstacles/Shot Shaping - Challenging and interesting tees, approaches and basket locations abound on this course. Shape your shots or add strokes, particularly on the wooded portions. 25/30
Decision-Making, Risk/Reward - Different strategies and opportunities to take risks are present on a significant number of holes. 25/30
Multiple Baskets/Tees - None. Probably not an issue to most players who will likely only play this course a few times at most. More relevant if you are a local. 0/30
Signature Holes - Yes!
You might want to launch the Course Photo Browser and follow along (just click on the course picture to launch the browser).
1 through 3 classic links style wide open holes get you warmed up.
6 - Over the creek, up the hill, dogleg right and down the hill.
8 - Downhill bomb, but don't overthrow.
9 - Tight shot through small gap into the woods then downhill through the trees to the basket which is almost completely surrounded by a loop in the creek.
10 - Lay up across the creek and up the hill to set up for dogleg left downhill to a protected little spot across the same creek. Many opportunities to mess up this one.
11 - Hilltop bomb over a tree-filled gully to a mowed fairway and a hilltop pin on the other side. Wow! Not as hard as it looks, but don't choke.
13 - Another hilltop bomb, but don't overthrow or you are in the lake. Be careful to stay on line and in the fairway on this one. A spotter is a pretty good idea.
14 - Uphill and around the big tree, dogleg right back downhill towards the lake.
15 - Perhaps the most memorable hole of the course. Tee pad is on a dock in the lake. Throw a short RHBH hyzer and work your way down a narrow fairway along the lake or be bold and rip one down the lake about 250' to dry land beyond. You are now half way there. The final 250 is a technical run down a narrow fairway, across the creek and up a small hill. Shape your shots or die.
Skill Levels - Not friendly to beginners. Adventuresome intermediates and advanced players will love this course. 15/30
Baskets - Functional, good repair, plumb, none missing. 25/25
Signage - Mostly non-existent. 0/15
Tee pads - Black rubbery fabric, not always flat. 10/30
Benches - A reasonable number of handcrafted benches. Bring a folding chair if you have one. This course is long and arduous. 5/5
Trash Cans - Sufficient. 5/5
Restrooms - None. 0/10
Drinking Water - None. 0/10
Course Navigation - Both times I played the course the mailbox on the first tee pad was stocked with nice map-scorecards. Without the maps the course would be difficult to navigate. 20/20
Grass and Brush - Both times I played the course it had regions freshly mowed and areas that were in need of mowing but were still playable. I saw evidence of ongoing brush removal in some tight areas. The player should understand that this course is not a city park. The rough can be very thick in places as this course wants to be wild. If you want a more park-like DG experience try Graceland University, right down the road. 40/50
FUN FACTOR - Totally subjective. I love this course. 50/50
BONUS OR DEMERITS - A true field of dreams course. I have met the owner. He invests large amounts of his time while losing money on this labor of love. Kudos and thanks to him. Plus 25.
OVERALL TOTAL - 395/500 for a rating of 4 discs.
Cons: As mentioned above -
No alternate baskets or tees.
Signage mostly non-existent.
Tee pads a bit rough.
No restrooms or drinking water.
Other Thoughts: J&B Rolling Hills is a DG experience unlike any I've had. It's fun, big, challenging, and exhausting. Bring plenty to drink. Bring bug repellant. Allow 3 to 4 hours to play, especially the first time. You can combine J&B with the Graceland University course for a really big day of DG (but beware that both courses are over 7000 ft.). Lamoni, Iowa is an easy drive from Omaha, Kansas City or Des Moines.
J&B Rolling Hills is private property and is a pay-to-play course. I think it's worth remembering that the owner has created this course out of a love for the sport and with a spirit of great generosity. If you can, put a little more than the $5 price to play in the cash drop.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Elite Course? Maybe it could be.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Beautiful setting in Southern Iowa. You will have to use every shot in your bag and maybe every disc. Shots range from Bombs to some of the tightest most technical shots I've ever seen. It is challenging in both shot selection and endurance. The course is well designed and uses the geography of the area to perfection.
Course was well taken care of as far as mowing goes. Trash cans at almost every hole. Hardly any trash on the course itself. I had no problem with there not being any water or restrooms available, maybe female players would have an issue with this one. Most courses I play don't have these as it is so I expected to pack my own fluids in.
Cons: MAP. There was no maps available and I was hoping to get one so I could upload it here. I spent more time trying to find the next basket then I did playing. I even had my wife walking ahead to locate baskets and we still had trouble. If I wouldn't of had so much trouble with this I would have rated it a 4.5. Because of the location most people are probably only going to get one chance to play Rolling Hills and to have to spend so much time navigating is a real issue.
Hole numbers missing from a lot of the hole markers. With some of the holes criss crossing the same area it makes it really difficult to find the right tee pad sometimes.
It seemed to me a couple of the holes were difficult just to be difficult. There was no line to basket. I'm no pro so maybe it is my skill level that makes me think this or maybe the trees have grown to make the shots more difficult than originally intended.
Other Thoughts: Kudos for putting this course in this small town. With Rolling Hills and Graceland in the same town as a previous reviewer put it "Lamoni is a great Mini Disc Golf destination." I understand it probably doesn't get a whole lot of traffic and is probably why it doesn't have signs or great tee pads. The income is just not there. I played both Graceland and Rolling Hills within 24 hours of each other and didn't see one other golfer. With a little TLC, and $, I think Rolling Hills could be one of the Elite courses in the Midwest if not the country.
I enjoyed playing it may go back sometime as my wife's family is from the area.
Side Note: The BP station is no longer there but has been replaced by a Bank. So when you come off of 35 turn right at the Bank and right on the other side of the Big Red Shed.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Excellent links style course
Pros: Excellent course for intermediate to advanced level players. Very challenging. As the name implies, has a tremendous amount of elevation ups and downs. Great open/wooded mix, uphill/downhill shots, doglegs, tunnels, blind pins, a little bit of everything. Fairways are mowed links style which will keep you honest, but they are mowed generously (at least they were when I was there, your experience may vary). Private land, so the facility is disc golf dedicated. At 7500' the course is very long, but still requires precision on many holes. The 500' hole on #15 with the pier over the water teepad, followed by a long narrow approach is awesome (albeit I didn't score well on it). Maps available, and I'd highly recommend grabbing one.
Cons: Not a good place for recreational level players to cut their teeth as there is only one tee per hole. If you hate links style courses with tall grass rough, you're not going to like this. I have a slight beef with Hole #11 as awesome a shot as it is. You tee from a hilltop and have to shoot over trees planted at the bottom where a creek is to get to the other side. If you don't make it, you may be looking a while for your disc as there really isn't a safe route going low. Oreintation can be a bit tricky for first timers (like I said, be sure you grab a map).
Other Thoughts: Having played Graceland earlier in the day, I was expecting J&B to be a bit rougher and less manicured, and while it was, I found it surprisingly well taken care of. The challenge alone is worth the $5 fee. With the Graceland course further in town, this makes tiny little Lamoni a great mini disc golf destination. Within a stone's throw of I-35 and definitely worth the stop provided its not shaggy looking.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
An AMAZINGLY FUN course
Pros: J&B is great disc golf. Great land, fun layout (when the rough isn't TOO high), challenges all around, and a great variety. Is it #14 that goes down the big hill toward the pond? GREAT hole, and it's visible from I35, often with J&B mowed into the grass. #6, maybe, had a basket mowed in. Fun added touches.
Cons: The rough can get a bit ridiculous, but John mows it when it's at that point. People need to pick up their own trash...no water...
Other Thoughts: Please be friendly and wave to the Amish folks as they drive by. They certainly appreciate the kindness, and enjoy seeing golfers out there. And, be sure to pay.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Great elevation change throughout the course - up to as much as 30-40 feet on a couple holes.
- Well cared for and manicured fairways with what I will describe as a traditional "rough" on the more open holes.
- Beautifully layed out wooded holes that offer incredible challenges coming off open holes. Corridors and Pinballs!
- Pin placement was very well thought out on the wooded holes. Not so sure it really mattered quite as much on the open holes.
- If you like a great variety of hole types then this course is a fantastic play for you without question. Many of the holes are straight away, but there are a handful of L2R and R2L holes that are absolutely amazing - kudos to the course designer!
- Course scorecard and map available at 1st tee in mailbox. You will be bummin' if they are not available.
- Good length variety with 2<300', 5 @ 3-400', and 11>400'.
Cons: - No restrooms
- Poor tee singnage
- Poor tee pads (asphalt and uneven)
- Few trashcans
- Private Course (not sure why...)
- No water
- Would be difficult to navigate without a map
Other Thoughts: Favorite holes were #4 as a corridor hole and #15 which is over the water. In my opinion #15 is really the only hole where water came into play and it's a GREAT hole. If you lay up, you lose at least 1 stroke - if you play over the water then par is achievable!
I was a little dissappointed in the tee conditions, course trash and lack of signage. Just my thoughts, but these really need to be top notch to be considered in the upper tier of courses. They are just a few of the small things that are minor but important in a course. Don't get me wrong, this is a beautifully laid out course and is worth the $5 without question, but when compared to others in the midwest it really is just an average course that has tremendous potential.
A spotter will be a huge help.
The posted course photos do an excellent job of showing you exactly what to expect.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
A Quality Challenge
Pros: -lots of rolling terrain makes open holes a challenge
-tests your game in the wind
-tests accuracy from a distance on approaches
-teaches you how to actually play GOLF, and not just throw hard for 2s
-scorecards with maps
-nicely mowed and manicured course
Cons: -a little bit too open, and terrain is the only difficulty on some holes and these can get dull
-18 finishes at the bottom of a big hill and you still have to walk back up to the parking lot
-no bathrooms or water of any sort, so piss in the woods and pack in drinks
-the rough is tall, so spot your discs well because they're easy to lose here
Other Thoughts: This course has a few holes that I feel qualify as signature holes, of what I remember holes 10 & 15 were the best.
In the directions, just think of whatever gas station (BP I think) it mentions as a landmark, and don't look for the listed name because it isn't right. But other than that the course is easy to find, and there is a really nice setup with scorecards and a map on the back.
John, the course designer works at nearby Graceland University and is back and forth to his red shed all day, so he ran into me on hole 6 and walked the course with me as I played, telling me about each hole and what you should try and do. It was a blast having the course designer there giving me tips, and he's a really nice guy so kudos for a great course and if you get the chance to play when John is there make sure you say hi!
The back nine is significantly more fun than the front nine.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Elevate Elevating Elevated
Pros: Get hill on! This course is a walk in the hillbilly country. Some of the holes have some seating that you might see in country. There is a cool windsock in the center of the course that can be used to your advantage. Each hole seems fairly unique from the other last. Lots of long straight throws for many of the holes, but it does come with a few specialty shots too. There are a few woods to go along with many rolling cornfield style holes that are laid out. There are a few holes with a creek running through the property and a small pond and the end of one of the holes. These water holes are actually more accuracy rather than risk/reward type of holes. Teeing off a dock over the water of a small pond was really fun on hole #15. Rubber tees were used (they were great) and there are posts with the hole numbers on them. They have scorecards in the mailbox on hole 1. This course is in very good shape and well maintained.
Lots of work went in to building this course and the designer put lots of heart and thought into the layout. So regardless of the rest of my review, I send kudos to J&B.
Cons: No bathrooms, drinking fountains, and very few trashcans. Although, there was a post with a hole number on it, there were no real tee signs. I despise the 3 to 5 feet tall grass rough, because it slows play down with little challenge added. This course has quite a bit of this. You will need a map for this course as navigation near the windsock was next to impossible. If I remember correctly there was a bridge out between 16 and 17.
Funny side story about that missing bridge: I tried jumping where the bridge was supposed to be to what look like solid ground across this creek. When I landed, I sunk all the way down to my crotch! And with the clumsiest looking grace you ever saw jumped up and dove right back out of it doing a somersault onto the grass that was only 1 foot further in front of me all in one motion. It scared me to death thinking I might sink all the way in. I wish someone had gotten that on film though, I bet it looked really silly!
Other Thoughts: This is a pay on your honor $5 course. If you love going up and down hills this is your dream course. The Fun Factor for me on this course was not that good. I really hate that tall rough I wrote about in the negatives. Some of these holes were real fun to play, but the rough is such a waste of time.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Top Notch Course
Pros: This is a very aesthetically please course that runs through rolling hills as its namesake states. This course will test your endurance as well as your shot selection ability. There is one hole that you tee off of a dock, so watch your step. No real worries about losing discs because of brush. There is water on a few holes that you could put one in the drink on.
Cons: No real restroom, but a port-a-potty is available. No drinking fountains either.
Other Thoughts: This course is absolutely worth the $5 to play. Definitely one of Iowa's top courses.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 4 Not
One of the best in Iowa
Pros: Even better than its sister course at Graceland University. Each hole uses the rolling hills and praries of Southern Iowa a different way than the previous hole. This course is a real challenge for any level of disc golfer. Almost every hole is a signature hole. I have never played this course well but the atmosphere and the scenery more than makes up for the time spent.
Cons: The only con is that you can't play this course year-round because of snow.
Other Thoughts: Well worth a trip down from Des Moines.
3 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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