Setting the (sub) standard
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Clark Park is the defining Chicago 9-hole; it is the course that set the (sub) standard for the short, flat, boring 9-hole disc golf courses that Chicagoland is noted for. Set in a small neighborhood park, the course shares the small space with tennis courts, playgrounds, a ball field and a walking path. The land has a bit of roll to it so it is not completely flat, but there is not much elevation to work with. To cram 9 holes in the space, the shots are pretty short and the conflicts between holes and other park uses are multiple. The baskets are old DGA baskets in good condition, the tee signs are very good and the concrete tees pads are ginormous (the huge tees in Buffalo Grove are direct descendants of the huge waste of taxpayers money that are the Clark Park over-sized tee pads.)
Cons: The conflicts are numerous, but the most glaring are #4 and #5 which shoot on either side of two play systems. Both holes require you to throw toward a play system, never a good idea and an especially bad idea on a course that will be attractive to new/lesser skilled players. #4 has the bonus of the walking path cutting right in the middle of the hole. #6 essentially uses the walking path as the fairway. #6 and #7 basically share a fairway; the tee for #7 could be moved over closer to the ball field but that could increase the n00b hyzer shots into the ball field so six of one, ½ dozen of the other. #8 conflicts with everything. The tee is too close to #2's basket, the fairway is in the outfield of the ball field, the walking path is right there as is #1's basket. It's basically a shooting gallery.
The site is lightly wooded, so it really doesn't force you to do anything other than the forced RH hyzer around the fence on #3. I throw RHBH hyzer shots all day here.
The course has classic pitch and putt distances. There is one 300'+ tee shot. Most shots are in the 215'-250' range.
Other Thoughts: Traditionally what Clark Park has been is the course close to O'Hare that you could hit for a quick round when you had a layover. For years it has been the only Chicagoland course a lot of people have played, and because if that it has pretty much defined Chicago disc golf for a long time. Unfortunately, that means short courses set in small flat parks with numerous safety conflicts. It is the direct ancestor of a lot of bad disc golf courses. It remains today what it has always been; a place to get in a quick round if you want to get out of O'Hare on a layover. Otherwise, it's not worth the trip.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Well Designed Beginner Course
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -Large Cement Tees
-Maximized use of land available
-Obstacles use on most holes
-Beginner friendly with line sculpting opportunities
This 9 hole put in a park to small to hold it, is a decent example of what a beginner friendly community park should be like. The holes feature gigantic cement tee pads perfect for any type of throw. They give a great option to try different lines and work on different throws during your round. The signs offer graphics and distances and make it easy to plan your route.
Each holes offer a sense of line shaping without making the hole impossible for a new player to navigate. Whether it is slight elevation changes, trees in the middle of the fairway, or 90 degree turn on 3, the challenges provide a fun factor most 9 holes in the Chicagoland area do not offer. The course was spread through this entire small park maximizing the distance of the holes, although it is still on the short side based on today's abilities and product availibility.
Although this course is far from perfect, I believe this is a good course to show other park districts from a design standpoint. It gives the best example of what disc golf should offer, and an easy canvas to examples of issues that can be avoided. Also, with it being a high traffic course, it also shows the popularity and need for courses in the Chicagoland and Greater Schaumburg area.
Cons: -Right handed Friendly
This course is a right hand, back hand player dream. All holes are right turning or practically dead straight. Nothing forces a left turning throw at all. There are still holes that can accommidate anhyzers or sloppy forehand throwers but nothing forces the issues. I also like to see at least 20% on courses but prefer 30-40%.
Safety is a huge issue on this course. Overall from an experience player point, I think it's fine. It's about course management. However, I have seen many throws in the tennis courts, both playgrounds, the baseball field, and in people's yards. There is also a walking path that runs between many of the holes. Easy to play as on or over as out of bounds, however you directly throw over it on 4 and 8. Also you could potentially be hit on hole 8 teepad by a drive on 2 and an overthrow or bad throw on 3 could easily hit some putting on hole 5. With this course being designed in 1981, this may have not been as big of an issue. Over the years of developing the park, more may have become at risk.
Other Thoughts: Even with the safety risks, I believe I prefer to leave the course the way it is currently set up. If three was moved it would just make it an extra easy par 2 hole. Slightly overlapping fairways aside, they tried to maximize the distance on each hole that is at that park. For an experience player, there is no real challenge here. As a Rec player at best, my goal is to shoot a 18 or less round here. If I don't shoot a clean round, I am usually disappointed with my play. For a beginner, it offers different designed holes, varied lengths (mostly between 200-300 feet), slight elevation, and perfect teepads for working on proper foot work.
This course is getting a 3.0 Good ratings from me. I waffled between a 3.0 Good and a 2.5 decent/typical but with the amazing teepads and the fact that technically there is not a completely wide open hole (tree basket protectors on 5 and 7), it is not typical compare to most of the 9 holes in the area. Most of the other 9 hole have the same feel. This one does not. I am also review this course based on the course not the foot traffic. This course during prime hours is Woodfield mall during Christmas busy. It definitely can ruin the fun when you have to wait to play holes being a couple of large groups. But that's the effects of a growing sport.
Central Park (Oakbrook), Adler Park (Libertyville) and Lewis University (Romeoville) have more of a wow factor for a 9 hole course. Overall, Clark Park is a decent place to play a quick round, in an area of a lot of non-interesting 9 holes. I would go out of my way to play this but if you were in the Woodfield area, there really isn't a better option...yet. Shady Oaks (Streamwood 18 hole) and Willow Stream (Buffalo Grove 9 Hole) probably makes the triangle of the best you will get over in that area.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
The place I learned racquetbolf
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: 1) Nice signs with Par, Hole, Distance, and a Map. They are very attractive and they use a landscape design type of graphic, which I love to see.
2) Huge concrete . . . quite possibly the biggest I have seen maybe 8' x 16'. What more can a guy ask for?
3) Benches and garbage cans on every hole if I remember correctly.
4) Some nice variety here in terms of terrain. A few holes go uphill, some go down, and some are fairly level.
5) Older DGA Mach baskets with # plates are in decent condition.
6) This course is beginner friendly because there is no fear of a lost disc (unless they throw over the massive fence on #3. However, there is still plenty of challenge to be found for beginners to show them what the game is all about.
7) Some hyzer shots available, and some holes that would be better played with a flick or an anhyzer shot. Then there are a few holes where you can choose your preferred line and just execute it.
8) Nice use of some mature trees to create some lanes.
Cons: 1) Dangerous on Hole #5 and #3 fairway. An overthrow on #3 will go right over #5 basket or very near. # 3 tee is also only about 20' past #2 basket. Since #3 is already a fairly goofy hole, the tee could have been shoved out to the side lessening the 90 degree angle of #3 fairway and taking the #5 basket out of play completely.
2) The course plays a little close to the playground on #4 and very near the walking path in the middle of the course. This is a danger issue.
3) The holes seem a little cramped in the middle of the course and it also seems like it could have been avoided with slightly different design.
4) #1 tees off right next to the sidewalk which would lead to a backup impeding people walking on the sidewalk when there is a backup.
5) Distance variation here is terrible with everything in a very similar distance. #4 is the only one that plays very differently in terms of distance.
Other Thoughts: I was introduced to a new sport here . . . racquetbolf. It incorporates three sports. Tennis, Golf, and Disc Golf. There was a father and two sons who were waiting for a tennis court to clear so they decided to fill their time by hitting tennis balls into the baskets. I took a picture of it and posted it on facebook if you would like to see it. I do have to give them credit for being creative. They could have just sat around waiting and waiting, but they decided to go out and do something with their time. I was thankful that they were able to get a court when they finished #9, because I had started on #5 and had 4 more holes to play and didn't want to wait for them to try and keep the tennis ball in the basket (PS it always falls through).
Not a bad course from a disc golf standpoint with some fun shots and unique holes. There are 2 spots where safety might be an issue and that is always a negative, and truthfully, I think both spots could have been avoided with just minor tweaking of one basket location and one tee location.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Nice When Not In Use
Pros: -Difficult to lose a disc
-Plenty of trees/obstacles to make the course more enjoyable
-Great having a hyzer shot on hole 3 to make a 90 degree left turn
-Baskets are well maintained/are in great condition
-Signs are one of the best I have seen along with the nice sized tees
-Most holes are straight forward (except for hole 3) so makes it great for beginners
Cons: -Risk of landing in yards or in a baseball game. Hole 4 is right next to a row of houses and 7 plays right down the right field line of a baseball field.
-Discs that land over a fence need to be retrieved properly by going around the block and letting the company know (that's what the sign says on the fence). You will be prosecuted for trespassing (also on the sign)
-Many of the holes are just par 3's. I mean, par is a 29. That's all par 3's and 2 par 4's. The par 4's aren't even that difficult compared to the 3's. Makes for a quick, short game
-There's a busy road behind hole 9 (Beisterfield road). A very possible overthrow on this par 3 means possible disc being run over.
Other Thoughts: Only played once, but it wasn't terrible. As a beginner still, the course was pretty fun at times. I would've played again if it wasn't 99 degrees outside and I just wanted to go back inside. If you're in the area, come try it out. Otherwise, don't make a terribly long drive
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 2 Not
NOT very beginner friendly
Pros: -Ample Parking
Cons: I found the course to be very intimidating for a beginner such as myself. It was literally my third time ever playing when I played this course and it was a somewhat nerve wracking experience. First off, saying that this park was designed specifically for disc golf is extremely misleading. It's a multi use park like any other... there are tennis courts, a walking trail, a baseball diamond, and a childrens playground. As I said, I'm a beginner, and I'm still trying to work out my drive's tendency to bank hard left like a hyzer... with that in mind, heres my experience at the park
Hole 1: Almost into the tennis courts, with a doubles match going on
Hole 2: Actually lost my drive over the fence(please feel free to laugh, because that's an impressively bad drive)
Hole 3: I skipped all together. It's a blind dog leg, you throw it either into the trees, into a fence, or 15 feet in ffront of you to try and line up your next shot. If you throw a hyzer too hard, you'll end up in the children's playground.
Holes 4 & 5: Bordered by private yards, and my disc went into one on 5.
Hole 7: borders e foul line on the baseball diamond, and my disc got pretty close. while a softball game was underway
Hole 9: A long drive here will put you on Biesterfield
Other Thoughts: I'm sure this is a decent course for an Amature, and probably boring for an advanced player, but ultra-beginners like myself will probably be more comfortable at other places in the area that are more open (like Lombard Commons). I still gave it a 2.5 brcause I dom't think it's reviews should suffer because of my biased opinion. And, I'll probably be back after I'm more confident with my control
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
A well-balanced course
Pros: Allows a player to use their full set of skills - from throwing precisely to throwing far. A low likelihood of losing discs, unless thrown up in a tree. A beginner or a player without much power (like myself) will find this course to be a fair challenge. You don't need he-man strength to do well here.
Cons: A lot of geese and their droppings were on the course. People messing around near the softball field may get in the way at #17.
Other Thoughts: I last played this course in 1992. At that time, the 30ft tall netting wasn't in place at #3. The course seems better and nicer now. The tee boxes provide good grip and are almost comically large. The grass around the baskets is worn away and can be muddy. A sort of mat has been placed at the base of most of the baskets.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: You can play these 9 holes 3 times in an hour. Forgiving, most of the time. Lots of trees. Easy course, good for beginners.
Cons: Lots going on here, Tennis, Baseball, Playground, etc. Hole 3 doesn't make sense, a 90 degree bend around a 30' high fence that reads do not enter. Lots of traffic, and some tees in the fairway of other holes.
0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Great Walk in the Park
Pros: I really enjoyed playing Clark Park and in my opinion it fell just short of being given a 3.5 rating. The Park itself is small, but very scenic in a great location near woodfield mall. There are baseball fields nearby, and there are beautiful pines and other nice looking trees. As far as disc golf goes:
*Trees are strategically placed to make almost every drive off the tee a fun challenge! The holes force a variety of shots.
*Great big concrete teepads
*Often, the wind is only a major factor in wide open courses. This course is an example of one with lots of trees AND lots of wind, which adds to the challenge of the course.
*Accessible for beginners, but experienced players will also have fun with the different lines demanded
Favorite Hole: 4
Cons: As I said, I really wanted to give this course a higher rating than 3, but a few things prevented me from doing so.
*Several tee signs were missing.
*Had I not read about hole 3 on this website prior to my visit I would have thrown at the wrong basket (the pin is way left of where the tee is facing)
*Parking here is not great.
*Not a whole lot of distance challenge here, experienced throwers will have a harder time with the lines they have to hit on their drives rather than the ability to get it the right distance
Other Thoughts: A few more things to mention that I'm not sure how to classify:
*Decent baskets: Not terrible, not amazing
*Your second shot will most likely be a clear shot at the basket. This is not an elite tournament course where an errant drive could mean taking a 5 or 6 on a hole.
*If Clark Park Disc Golf Course was somehow located on a bigger plot of land and a back 9 was built similar to the 9 that actually exist, I would easily give it a 3.5 or a 4.0
I will definitely visit Clark Park again soon! It is a fun course that can easily be completed in 40 mins. And even though it literally is a walk in the park, you will be challenged here!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: -Concrete tee pads
-Mix of lengths most on the shorter side
-Design brings trees into play on everyhole, you will need a variety of shots to adjust
Cons: -Small park that gets crowded on the weekends
Other Thoughts: A couple long ones to test the accuracy and distance but shorter ones to too that are still tough. I have a blast here everytime unless there's a softball game. (those are some inconsiderate parents)
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The main billing for Clark Park in the Chicago suburbs was always that it was "specifically designed/landscaped for disc golf". While this is interesting, you probably won't really notice it as it looks like any other niner in the Chicagoland area. Most holes are under 200' and only one hole really requires a driver off the tee. The mix of holes incorporates a very nice variety of shots using the little bit of (man-made?) elevation and really nice scattered areas of trees. The park is nearly always nicely maintained everytime that I have played it and after visiting this summer, I was quite impressed that all of the trees have grown up nicely in the past few years - this makes the course a bit more challenging than when it was initially designed. In addition to the very nice upkeep, the teepads are HUGE slabs of really grippy concrete (perhaps much bigger than is necessary for such a short course).
Cons: The obvious con to this course is the lack of appropriate challenge for experienced players. While I agree with the previous reviewer who said that this is one of the better/best nine hole courses in the Chicagoland area, it still isn't able to challenge advanced or pro level players and because of the one tee pad/one basket design, there isn't much to enhance the replay-ability of the course.
Other Thoughts: Clark Park is a nice place to practice one's midrange game and to play around and experiment with new shots where the scattered trees allow players to choose from several (rather easy) routes. As stated above, this is one of the nicer of the many, many nine hole courses near Chicago and is worth a play but certainly not worth going out of one's way to hit up.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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