Another Illinois Gem
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Excellent variety of holes, from short, technical wooded holes to long bombs with lurking OB and large trees scattered throughout the fairway. You'll play a shorter hole that requires a gentle left-to-right touch shot that must land on a small green guarded by a huge drop-off and then play a long bomber hole where you've got a throw a dead-straight 425-foot drive down a beautiful avenue of giant oaks. The course never got boring or felt redundant because every hole is different and has its own unique challenges. You have to be able to throw a huge variety of shots to score well here.
- Elevation changes come into play on the majority of holes, creating interesting and challenging shots and great aesthetics. A few of the holes have very nasty, fast greens with a punishing drop-off behind the basket, which force you to make decisions both off the tee and on your putt. Some holes give you the chance to drive straight up hill through narrow gaps and others ask you to float an approach shot downhill into a small protected green. The course photos just don't do it justice - these are some big hills!
- Many holes have three tees: long (blue), medium (white) and short (red) tees. These multiple tees allow you to choose what level of challenge you want and gives you the ability to play the course multiple times and experience new shots. The blue tees are extremely difficult (a score of 57 or 58 is Professional caliber) and require you to be able to throw long with accuracy. The white tees are a little more manageable, but they're still difficult (Pros will be pleased with a 53 or a 54). They trim some of the distance off to make the pin more accessible, but you still have to make a great shot to score well.
- The course has lots of amenities and all of the nice-to-haves that make the course inviting and playable. The tee signs are excellent, with detailed hole maps and distances. The tees are large, level and well-maintained, with concrete for both the whites and the blues. The baskets, although older and with less chains than modern baskets, are all in excellent condition and catch discs very well. And anywhere where you have to climb up or down a hill, there are well-made stairs carved right into the hillside to make the climb manageable. These stairs probably took hundreds of hours to construct, and are a testament to the dedication of the local disc golf club and the parks department.
Cons: - Some of the lines on the shorter holes seemed very difficult to hit off the tee. Top-tier players will probably make those shots most of the time, but the average weekend golfer might be frustrated by the accuracy required, especially when a missed line causes your disc to roll down a hill into OB.
- There was a lot of broken glass throughout the course, which marred some the natural beauty of the park. But it's not really a safety issue as long as you wear sturdy shoes.
- The shared white and blue tee pad for hole 16 was not concrete and the footing is pretty sketchy.
Other Thoughts: After just two plays, Highland Park has leaped into my top 10 favorite courses. It's just got everything you could ask from a disc golf course. It's challenging, but not punishing. It has a great variety of holes and the land is used extremely well. It's set in a beautiful park and the area is dedicated to disc golf. The course is well-designed and well-maintained. Bottom line - it's a course I would drive a few hours to play whenever possible and I would definitely recommend it to anyone travelling through the Chicagoland area.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: The design of this course is awesome. It goes in and out of the woods with bombs to nice techinal shorter holes. The elevation changes and the two valley holes are some of the coolest looking holes i've seen.
Concrete teepads are nice every course should put in concrete tees.
Hole signage was very professinal showed every tee length way to the next tee. very easy for us first timers.
People that were at the course were very nice and helpful.
Cons: The one con i can say is the baskets. They have a very shallow bowl and don't catch the disc the best.
I guess i have 2. Hole 16 has no so but a piece of paper in the field. We played from the paper on the grass but i seen two groups behind us play for the gravel road that runs the fairway.
Other Thoughts: This course is a workout on the legs up and down stairs and hills. We played it twice then two rounds at trinity down the street. and i can barely walk today but it was worth it.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Joliet Areas Finest
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This course has alot to offer. 3 tees on many holes. Very wooded holes where you have to hit a tight gap. Elevation changes, a few open holes through mighty oaks. Some holes shorter, others very long.
Front nine loops back to parking lot so you can refill on drinks. Then play the back nine. Road leading into the park was recently repaved and is very nice now.
Pro tees are very challenging. A couple of the shots from the longs require a placement shot as its almost impossible to reach the basket because of the location of the pad. Players of all skill can have an enjoying round here.
Cons: The baskets are terrible here. They will be replaced hopefully in the near future but spit outs are gonna happen. Sometimes there can be some rif-raf around so lock your car.
Other Thoughts: A must play if in the Joliet area. This is arguably the best course in the Chicagoland area. With some new baskets installed this would really make it a 5 In my opinion. Check it out for yourself!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 6 Not
FYI To All Players
Pros: I can't disagree with any of the positive remarks made previously about this course, it is definitely worth the trip. This is more of a current events notice for everyone.
Cons: The only con, and I considered it to be a big one, was that there was no basket for hole #15. This is a tee shot over a large valley and at the top of the hill on the other end there is no basket, but several patches of torn up earth where a basket might have been. The threesome of guys I was with looked around for ten minutes and could not find the basket anywhere, baffling us all. What a shame, because the rest of the course is delightful.
Other Thoughts: We went for our round on Sunday, 09/22/10 at about 1:00pm. No basket on hole #15
6 of 12 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Best in Chicagoland
Pros: -NEW concrete pads
-long and short tees on most holes
-excellent use of elevation to create some dramatic holes
-good variety between open and tight, hyzer and anhyzer, up and down
-excellent variety in length, including 3 true par 4 holes from the blue tees. some good opportunities to let big drives loose (#4, #9, #17)
-interesting and challenging basket placement, some near steep dropoffs, requiring good upshot control
-every single hole has at least one feature that adds difficulty
-several beautiful signature holes (#4, #6, #9, #12, #15, #17)
-several staircases built into side of hills to cross the 2 valley holes
-definitely the most challenging 18 hole course in Chicagoland
-most of the course feels very isolated and quiet (except #2,3,4)
-easy-to-follow layout, great informative tee signs
-looping 9's, so stopping for a drink halfway through the round is easy
Cons: -baskets could use an update, chains are light and the basket is shallow
-some areas of the course (#4 particularly) still contain a good amount of trash
-2 holes in the woods are slightly poke-and-hope
Other Thoughts: Being from Chicago, it is about time that we get a challenging course. The course felt very rough over the last few years, but a little trash removal and the addition of conrete teepads really makes this course stand out.
The challenge in this course is to play the smart shot. Several holes have OB and semi-nasty rough, so staying in the fairways is a must. Only a few holes feel like must-deuce holes, and the par 4's (#4, #9, #17) are fun holes to play. The blue tees I feel are the most fun arrangement, and really create some tough shots, like a 90-degree dogleg right downhill through woods on #12, then 90-degree dogleg right UPhill a few holes later.
Definitively the best course in Chicago, and worth a stop when passing through IL.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: When Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette first set foot on the shores of the Des Plains River, their 15th century minds could have never fathomed the true potentiality of its elusive elevation and towering foliage. In the year 2008, the state of Illinois and the city of Joliet introduced Highland Park 18. This majestic juggernaut is conveniently nestled between the big city lights of Chicago and small town America. The entrance into the park leaves you in a sense of suspense. . . As you pass the crack head smoking meth and the twelve tons of garbage, you reach a small gravel parking lot. WARNING: Enjoy your last minutes with the real world before you enter the realm known as Highland Park - IT WILL BE YOUR LAST! The first couple of holes have challenging right and left wooded holes. . . and then BLAOW! Right in the middle of 30-40 ft cliffs (watch out now!!!) What's next? 500-600 ft holes between 50 year oaks!
This Course has it all. Joliet 24 (west park) does not come close to the challenge and technicality of Highland Park 18. If you want to practice for tournaments, this is a great course. It has, 220-440 ft wooded holes, 400-600 ft light wooded holes (large tree obstacles, 30-60 year old tree trunks), and 200-550 ft open fairway/prairie holes.
Illinois. . . . Come Get Some!
Cons: Garbage, Garbage, Garbage!!!!!!!!!
Other Thoughts: I was very impressed by this course. It definitely reminds me of Michigan elevation and world championship design.
Blue Collar Disc Golf Town Strikes Again!!!!!!!!!!
5 of 9 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This is the crown jewel of an area with some very good disc golf courses. Of the courses I've played only Flip City rivals Highland in shot variety and challenge.
For players who enjoy a challenging course, this place is a blast. It has a ton of elevation, plenty of distance, punishment for bad shots and poor decisions, and enough variety to make every shot seem new and different.
The course begins with a right to left dogleg that is actually one of the easiest holes of the course. #2 and #3 tee off in open areas into forested areas where the baskets are protected by trees. Dueces here are almost impossible.
#4 is probably the most difficult hole on the course. A bomb through a densely forested fairway with thick brush on both sides (spotter highly recommended). Errant putts or approaches are punished due to the pins location near the edge a steep hill.
#5 is a L to R dogleg through a a forested area, where there is more punishment for bad approaches and putts thanks to the basket placement along a hill. #6 is a big ravine shot... more on that later.
#7 through #11 play through a more open area of the park. This section features more distance than the forested shots with large oak trees shaping the fairways.
#12 goes back into the woods with a big downhill ace run. #13 is a big uphill shot that will require you to use your overhead shot if you have one (if not good luck). More on #14 and #15 later. #16 is a fairly easy L to R dog leg along a hill, but shots too far left or right will either go up the hill or way down the hill, so accuracy is crucial. #17 is another bomb through a more open area of the course along the street. And #18 is one of the more difficult shots of the course as the shot is a 300ft uphill through heavy forest.
I usually play the white tees since the reds take a little too much difficulty away and the blues are for masochists (#4 from the blue tee is just ridiculous).
As of this weekend, most holes had concrete tees in place, and those that didn't have been prepared for the concrete tees to be put in, so there will no longer be natural tees. This is awesome.
This course is in an entirely disc golf only area. There are very few areas in Illinois this large and geographically diverse dedicated solely to disc golf.
Cons: Most of these are not cons per se, more like words of warning...
The course borders on unplayable for new players due to its difficulty. Even experienced players will be punished here if they don't bring their A game. On a lot of shots, pins are located along large slopes and/or surrounded by trees, so missed putts often result in your plastic rolling 20ft down a hill (#2, #4, #5, #14 come immediately to mind).
The two big ravine shots (#6 and #15) provide the most brutal punishment on bad drives. If you don't land it on top of the hill, you're looking at 4-5 shot hole (plus it's just painful watching your disc bounce off a tree and slowly roll down a big hill).
The tee shot from #14 is almost unfair in its difficulty and only pro caliber players could put this close to the pin with consistency. A drop in elevation makes throwing a roller ultra risky and there are two or three lines you can try to hit through the trees, but the gaps seem microscopic and if you're off by an inch or two your disc could pinball down a big hill.
The course's biggest issue is old baskets that are often times very unforgiving. This course is definitely worthy of better quality baskets than those that are currently in place, and based on the improvements I see whenever I come here, it wouldn't surprise me to see this rectified at some point.
The road that leads into the park looks like a bomb was dropped on it, so be careful driving in here.
Other Thoughts: This is just a fantastic course all around. Writing this review makes me wish I was playing it right now, and if you're a disc golfer who lives anywhere near here, you need to play this course. If you're coming from out of town and looking for one course to play in the Chicagoland area, this is it.
As others have mentioned, this course is in the heart of a great area for disc golf. Trinity Links is about 5-10 minutes away (although I would recommend playing Highland twice instead of going there) and West Park is about 15 minutes away.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 1 Not
Great for a Challenge
Pros: This course, first and foremost, provides a very challenging round of disc golf. It offers a great variety of long straight, or sloping holes, and shorter, more precise ones. The elevation in the area is taken full advantage of, several holes having you throw from one hill either down into a valley, or across a gap to the top of a second hill. One hole even has you tee off and throw up a hill towards the basket. The addition of red, white, and blue tees this course a lot of fun for players off all skill levels. I played mostly blue and some white tees while I was there, because I was playing with some higher caliber players. Even though I was playing from some tees I'm not at the level of making in par just yet, I still had a wonderful time of it. I recommend everyone to give the blue tees a try at least once. Most of the concrete tee pads are in now, which is a major bonus. The course is also excellently marked. The signs by the tees are computer made, highly detailed maps to the basket. This is a major upgrade from any other course I've played in the area. Several places also have wooden posts with the next hole number and arrows pointing to it, a few with separate white and blue arrows if different routes reach different tees faster, which made this trip so much more enjoyable for me.
Cons: The course is relatively new, and some of the holes are pretty tight with foliage. I'm sure this will be remedied with time and more player traffic, but right now its a turn off to some. Like other reviews have stated, a few more garbage cans would be a good addition. The road to the parking lot is also in pretty rough condition, but that has more to do with the city of Joliet than its park district.
Other Thoughts: This course provides probably the most diverse holes of any in the area. It also isn't too heavily crowded yet, due to the prominence of West Park as Joliet's premier disc golf course, which is all the more reason to go give it a play.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Best/Most Challenging Course in Chicagoland
Pros: Highland Park is a challenge. It has plenty of par 4 type holes and the par 3s aren't gimmies either. About half of the course plays through dense woods with ravines. The rest is split between holes playing under a mature tree canopy and a few mostly open field holes. The mostly open holes are still challenging with baskets tucked back into the woods, usually with small openings to line up with to get a look at the basket.
There are some truly great holes in the woods. They have left to right, right to left and straight ahead combined with elevation gain or loss, framed by lots of trees. Sometimes you are throwing down into a ravine, sometimes across one and sometimes up and out. Two of the holes where you throw from one side of the ravine to the other have an unused, OB road at the bottom. If you don't get your disc to stick on the other side, it can roll all the way to the bottom and end up OB. Most of the wooded holes are tough to duce, but there is a nice downhill ace run in the woods to make up for the beat down you will be receiving.
This course has three sets of tees (red, white and blue)to play from that sometimes change up the course a lot. The tees are crushed gravel, although concrete is in the works. I usually play from the whites (middle tees), which are quite a challenge for a rec level player. The reds shorten the course a bit, but are still very challenging and fun to play. The blues are considerably longer, and in some cases totally change the hole. For example on one hole the red and white tees shoot from one side of the ravine to the other. The blues start at the bottom of the ravine, around a turn from the white/reds. This turns a really tough par 3 into a par 4 where your second shot (if you make it that far and don't go OB on the road) is up a steep hill out of the ravine to the green.
The designers and the locals have built tons of steps just to make this course playable.
The signs are nice and descriptive and so far tag free. The difficulty of this course tends to keep the chuckers and TDD's away.
The designer built the course as two nine hole loops, allowing you to start at 1 or 10. This also gives you the opportunity to fill up on drinks at the car between the front and back 9.
Cons: The baskets at this course are really old and have been heavily used and then regalvinized. I believe that they are the original baskets from West Park, Illinois' oldest course. They don't always catch as well as modern baskets, but aren't terrible.
Two of the wooded holes in particular are a little too random for my tastes. There is so little room for error that the difference between a 2 and a 4 or even 5 is inches. On the other hand this course is still young and will open up with time and play.
The gravel tees are not perfect, but will be upgraded to concrete hopefully this summer.
The park that this course is in used to be a dumping ground for years. Those who played the course when it was first put in saw rusting appliances and car parts everywhere. This has been cleaned up dramatically. Every time that I play Highland it looks better and better.
Other Thoughts: This is a young course and overtime it will improve and its issues will be dealt with. What you will find now is still a top notch course, just a little rough around the edges. The Joiet area is the best concentration of good courses in northeastern Illinois. Highland Park is the premiere course in the area, but you would not be disappointed with West Park, the Oaks (Mokena) or Community Park (Channahon). Honorable mention goes to Trinity Links (Lockport) and Shorewood Park (Shorewood). If traveling on Rte. 171 (Archer ave.) to the Joliet area check out Little John's in Lockport, great hole-in-the-wall Italian beef and hot dog stand.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Wow, what a course. Very well designed and built. The holes here are consistently going to make you smile and remind you of why we all love this sport. I played from the white tees and the risk/reward at this course is like nothing else in the northern Illinois area. The course designers took every advantage they could of 2 different large "valleys". One is from a creek and the other from an old unused road. This course has alot of character. There are easily over 6 signature holes and not one hole is repetitive. Great elevation changes, lefty/righty mixes, good length. I had a blast here.
This course is TOUGH. I put this in the pros because it is one of the few course in the area that forces you to get better and think about your flight lines. If you don't it's going to be a long day. I know this course made me better because I played the nearby West Park after 2 rounds here and shot my best ever score there, as did one of the others that I was playing with.
The signs here were awesome too. great illistrations that did a fantastic job explaning where the pin was. Combine that with the signs that point to the next hole and navigation here is a breeze, even for 4 guys that had never played here before.
Cons: As great as this course is, there is still some room for improvement. First of all, the trash is a bit much. The weird thing that this is not the fault of discers. The trash that is lying around is the result of years of littering and disrespect. You can tell that the litter there has been there for a LONG time. But with the awesome DG club in the area, I am sure this is only going to be a temporary problem and will be mended in due time. I actually have heard that the trash and misuse of the area before it was a DG course was one of the factors as to building one there, as the area will improve because of the course and those maintaining it.
The other issue is the tees. Natural tees are an issue for me, especially since it had been raining all week. They weren't terrible and were built level with some care, but some nice tees would really complete this course.
Other Thoughts: This is a must play for those coming to the area to play. There are a ton of course in the area, and this one is by far the best and most challenging. I loved it. You will see the time and effort of the build/designers of Highland the first time through. These guys/gals knew what the hell they were doing when they set out to make this thing. From the much needed stairs (even with them I was pooped at the end of 2 rounds) to the pathways and posts, this course was great. And to top it off, the 9th ended right at the parking lot, which is something that I had never seen of thought I cared about until I found myself refilling drinks, and shedding unneeded supplies that I was tired of carrying. All in all, a great setup, a great course, and a great day of discing!
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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