1 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: PJ Irvin is a short, easy course and a nice compliment to Maxwell Park. Whereas Maxwell is literally wide open PJ Irvin actually has some obstacles to navigate. Here are my pros:
1) This course is a breeze to play. In the time that it takes to play some courses once you can probably play this course twice. Its a great course for beginners and a good course to practice midrange discs.
2) The park actually has a secluded feel and is not nearly as busy as the other 18 hole disc golf course in town. I love the feel of being outside and in nature and even though this is a public park its never too busy. Its a peaceful park and has a nice playground for kids.
3) Two pin placements per hole. This is actually a rarity for Central Illinois disc golf as most courses only have one pin placement (Maxwell being the other that does that I can think of). This at least allows some nice variety.
4) The course has nice concrete tees.
5) For being in such a small park the course actually has some decent elevation. Typical Central Illinois courses do not have a lot of elevation but PJ Irvin has some nice elevation.
6) If you are a fan of trees this course has them. And it has some BIG trees.
Cons: I think PJ Irvin is a typical and average course. Thus the 2.5 rating. There are a few issues that bring the rating down a little but essentially the designer did well with the land that was given. This park is VERY small and it would have been impossible to get a championship level course in this park. Here are my cons:
1) As I alluded to above, this park is very tiny. As such, some of the holes actually feel a bit claustrophobic because some of the holes are very close to each other. On a busy day this could make some of the shots borderline dangerous. This really couldn't be avoided because the park is so small so just keep an eye out for discs.
2) This course is essentially par 3 golf. There are no par 4's and only one hole over 400 feet. There wasn't room for anything more than that but its tough for me to rate a course "Very Good" or above without much variety in the length.
3) There was not a lot of variety in the foliage, but this couldn't be avoided. The course is set in a park with mature trees and no real "wooded" holes. Its not a huge con because the land is what it is.
4) The course also really doesn't penalize bad shots. In a way I have already alluded to this, but the course doesn't provide a huge challenge and therefore bad shots really won't be penalized. This isn't really a knock on the designer because I don't think I would have done a better job but more just a comment that the land didn't allow for much more.
Other Thoughts: This is a great course to play if you are short on time. In fact, pairing this with Maxwell Park across town makes for an easy and fun day. This course is not too challenging but is a nice and easy walk in the park and a good course for beginners.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: Not too many trees
Some changing elevations
Many different shots required
Recently updated tee signs (within the last year)
Basket rotation multiple times a year
Nice condition baskets
Cons: Sometimes muddy on the lower lying holes
2 of 7 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: 1) Posts indicate the tees and have a sign with Hole #, a map, distance, OB, multiple pin locations.
2) Huge trapezoidal concrete tees are always my favorite!
3) Practice basket is available near the first tee.
4) Kiosk is located by the parking lot and close to the first tee.
5) Nice use of moderate rolling elevation. There are only a few dramatic drops, but everything has at least a slight elevation change.
6) Lots of mature and young trees to help create the shot shaping. The mature trees seem to be in good condition so hopefully they last for a long time.
7) A handful of really unique holes and hole design. There aren't a lot of "signature" holes but there are some interesting unique shots and hole types.
8) Mix of completely open, somewhat open with trees forcing specific sots, tighter shot shaping holes, rollers, and even a couple of prairie holes that are not just boring and wide open.
9) Painted rungs on the baskets point you to the next hole.
10) Mulch is used in good spots, while it doesn't really prevent the erosion, it covers up the dirt that would be mud.
11) Distance variation is pretty good, ranging from low 200's to mid 300's and one over 400. While remaining beginner friendly it also exposes players to a slightly longer hole.
12) It's nice to see no mow areas (on the prairie holes because there is no reason to mow wall to wall in this park. I understand why the front side of the course is all mowed but that would also encourage other park users to congregate in those areas. However in the back where disc golf is the only activity there is no reason to mow those areas.
13) The turf is in great condition and the park seems to be very well maintained, especially when compared to Forrest Park next door.
Cons: 1) Rusty old Discatchers. Some of the baskets are also leaning.
2) Signs are leaning in places, but it doesn't affect the information.
3) This 18 hole course is set on a property where I feel like 9-12 holes might have been more appropriate. There are multiple places where skips could get into the parking lot, play areas, other tee areas, other fairways, roads, etc. I enjoyed my round and there was no one else around so it didn't affect me but in summer I imagine it might be tougher and more people would be in danger. The most dangerous place to be on the course would be 13 fairway and 14 tee because all of the throws that do not stay turned over on #12 will end there. I went right over #14 tee and almost into 13 fairway and while not blind it is a long way and people might not see the discs coming. #4 and 5 fairway are set right next to each other, the same distance, and would be proned to receiving poor throws from the other hole.
4) There are a few places where erosion is an issue, specifically Hole #13 on the edge of the woods and the sideslope that is the basket location.
5) There aren't any really dense foliage holes except for #13 green area. I like more wooded courses so the added variety would have been preferred, but this park just didn't have any areas like this for the designer to use.
Other Thoughts: This was course number 2 on my nearly 100 course month long road trip. It was an upgrade from Forrest across the street and a nice place to keep the momentum going. I had a good time, but it's a shame things are so crammed in a few spots because there looks to be more room available over by #1 and #18 area. There also could have been some shorter ace run type holes to stagger some of the tees and such which would have allowed a safer park. The disc golf was fun, but the other things cannot be ignored completely.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Beautiful course and park with a lot of interesting elevation change especially for central Illinois. Very well maintained, and great tee pads and signs. Easy to navigate. Variety of shots. Overall a very enjoyable course to play.
Cons: The course is relatively short with very few big holes. A few of the holes on the front 9 specifically are very cramped and the fairways are kind of overlapping each other.
Other Thoughts: The course is a blast to play. It's not incredibly challenging but it is definitely challenging enough for it to still be a lot of fun. Definitely worth a trip, and Maxwell is only 15 minutes away.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
One of the more hilly midwest courses
Pros: -Very nice park with old white oaks and plenty of planted trees
-Great use of steep hills/One of the most interesting pieces of land I have ever seen
-A lot more variety of shots than Maxwell park in Normal
-Wooded area is a good buffer to the wind
Cons: -The course feels very cramped the majority of the time
-Some long walks in between holes, sometimes so long you could put in an extra hole between the basket and the pad
-Bad location: at the very edge of town.
-Tough to navigate because it is so cramped
-No driving range type holes
Other Thoughts: There are two big factors above the rest. On one hand you have an excellent park with large steep hills that make for some great shots. On the other hand the course is so cramped with fairways being very tight together in some parts. The former wins out which is why this course gets an above average rating.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: - pretty course, with very large oaks and rolling hills
- good concrete tee pads
- mostly good use of hills, trees, other terrain features
Cons: - some of the holes felt repetitive, either because they were too straight or too short
- some of the hole description sheets at the tees were missing
Other Thoughts: Stopped by this course on a trip to Champaign. Was worth the stop, though I doubt I'd go out of my way to play it again rather than play a different course along my route.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Great Everyday Course
Pros: +Well maintained fairways
+Variety of shots
+Grounds are well utilized, not many tweaks could be made to improve the course layout
+Good amount of trees, few old growth oaks
+Nice tee pads
+Few joggers/other park users
+Alternate pin positions
+Great course flow
Cons: -Signage isn't always clear or available
-Not a lot of challenging lines
-Pretty standard public park course
Other Thoughts: PJ is a great everyday kind of course for leagues and practice. Unfortunately even in the longs there isn't always a great challenge to the course. If you're passing through Bloomington-Normal this course is definitely worth a play through.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Scenic and Challenging
Pros: P.J. Irving is an mostly open course with trees in just the right places to make it a real challenge for players of all levels. Where there aren't trees, there are fun elevation changes. This course will challenge the distance drives of most recreational and intermediate players. Some specific things I like about this course:
*Two pin placements at each hole
*Nice Tee pads
*Challenging lines on most drives
Favorite hole: 12
Cons: Not a whole lot to say about these, so I will list them by bullet point:
*Last time I played this course, there was a cone where one of the pin placements for hole #1 should have been, and hole #18 was in the other pin placement... wasn't sure what to do!
*A few of the pin placements eliminate some of the exciting challenges of the course
*Many tee signs are either not accurate or not present
Other Thoughts: P.J. Irving is a nice 18 hole course that features several challenging holes that force straight drives. If your drive isn't perfect, you will still likely have an open shot at the hole for your second shot. Thus, PJ Irving is a nice place to take disc golfers of all skill levels. In competition for the best course in the Bloomington-Normal area.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 2 Not
OK but flaws
Pros: 1. Nice landscaping
2. Good trees forcing thoughtful shots
3. Well taken care of
4. Nice variety of holes
Cons: 1. Poorly marked holes
2. Par seems arbitrary on many holes
3. Very high grass on the back nine can lead to some long searching for discs
Other Thoughts: Not a bad course I enjoyed playing it and will come back every time I am in Bloomington.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: - Nice Cement Tee Pads
- Fun holes
- Park is secluded
- Elevation is well used
- Trees and natural features are well utilized
- Multiple Pin Placements
- Variety of shots to score well.
- Great course for REC and INT players
- Practice Basket (I assume)
- Playground for the Kids
Cons: - Bad Tee Signs, many missing. Those that did have signs had water damage and are faded.
- The main reason I am not giving this a 3 is because of the navigation and criss-crossing fairways. Many holes encroach on one another. The holes ended up great but the design could have been modified without taking away from the course and not have this problem.
- Chuckers + College/HS Students = Bad Time (Not courses fault just giving fair warning)
- Smart play is not required to play the course
- Little to no penalty for poor play
Other Thoughts: This is Bloomington-Normal's Best course. The holes are interesting and fun. The majority of the holes are well thought out and use of the land is optimal. Unfortunately there are some holes that encroach on each other. I'm also not a fan of the holes that play over the road and parking lot.
A good INT player should be able to carve this course up. If you have a 350' and under semi accurate drive you will have many birdie attempts. There is only a few holes that truly punish arrant shots. ADV and PRO players will have fun but will have little challenge.
This is a great course for REC players to work and develop their game. Make sure to bring your control driver and mid-range game.
This course is definitely worth a quick stop by to play. I would rather play 2-3 rounds here than play one round here and another at Maxwell. It's a very short drive from the main highway. If the course is packed Forrest Park is seconds away and amusing to play.
3 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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