Terrific course in SW suburbs- worth a good drive
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: equipment/amenities- new chainstar baskets. Long, level cement tee pads for whites and a few blues; markers in grass/dirt for other blues and reds. Maps on each hole with distance (hole 16 has recently been renovated but the sign has not changed accordingly. It says 220 or something, but is easily closer to 350). Many holes have benches and garbage cans.
design & playability- amazing use of land and elevation! Several holes have dramatic elevation changes up or down. Many baskets are precariously placed to entice risk reward shots. Play it safe and lay up or Go for the basket strong but risk climbing down a steep hill or ravine makes for many fun or aggravating shots. Great combination of open and heavily wooded, tight holes. Good mix of long "everything you've got" holes and shorter runs with putters/mids. Some holes have one designed line to hit, some have several options to consider. Many holes on this course could be considered signature holes (I've played here dozens of times and still stand at some tees and baskets and say "woah, now that's a cool hole"). Can't think of a hole that I wish wasn't included. Tough enough for better player to be challenged; playable enough for newcomers to not be discouraged.
Cons: Upkeep/maintenance- a lot more garbage than I care to see to see on a course, or anywhere for that matter. With garbage cans all around it baffles me how people could be so careless.
Some places can get overgrown causing good shots to be punished.
Hole 16s tee is less than desirable footing on a (hopefully temporary) rubber tee pad
Two holes are over/next to an access road to baseball fields next to the course. Watch for cars on holes 3 and 9!!
Honesty pretty minor issues taking into account the great golf to be played here!
Other Thoughts: I like that it is designed as two nine hole loops, allowing you to make a pit stop at the car if needed or easily start on the back nine for a change of pace.
Some reviewers have voiced concern about the neighborhood the park is in or certain shenanigans that might take place here but I have never encountered any problems and always feel perfectly safe.
With a little more attention and upkeep this course could easily be a 4.5 from me but for now it is a solid 4.0. Come out and enjoy this beautiful course in Chicagoland!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Discing in Bizarro Land...I loved it!
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Well kept up Chainstairs on every hole which as expected catch very well.
- Huge level concrete pads in good condition. Now take that with a grain of salt because I only ever play the white tees here. I don't think all the Reds have pads and I am unsure of the condition of the blue pads.
- Fantastic use of the land. Up, down, left, right, etc. Every disc in your bag is needed here.
- I don't know what it is about this course but so many of the holes looked incredibly easy from the tee but by the time I holed out I thought to myself, "Jeez that hole was a bitch!" So many of these are deceptively simple.
- The tee signs were great with the nice little graphics - But more on that later...
- The setting in the back half of the park is just...bizarre. Really interesting to be sure but it's hard to imagine what this park was originally designed to be. There are washed out roads, random sidewalks and what appears to be a the abutments to either a brigde or piers to a dam, This really adds to the unique feel of the course.
- For the most part, there were benches and trash cans at most of the holes. My 44 year old knees really appreciated that after going up and down all those stairs and hills.
Cons: - #14. What a POS hole. Sorry folks I cannot stand pure poke-n-hope holes. There needs to be a defined fairway and there is none here. I probably would not mind this so much had the punishment for going off line not been so punitive. Flying into the ravines on either side of the basket is just unnecessarily brutal.
- I think this park is in the process of renovation because there are additional baskets on some holes but I also noticed that the distances on some of these were just way off. For example, there is no way #16 is less than 300' from the white tee and it is listed in the low 200's as I recall. I wonder if these off distances are the result of some changes and the signs haven't been updated yet.
- It's clear that this park gets a huge amount foot traffic and it shows. There was a fair amount of trash throughout but not horribly so. I think whoever is maintaining it is keeping up but more work could be done. If you're a local get your butt out to the course and help out.
- Navigation was a little annoying but not terrible. A few of the holes we had to wander a bit to figure out where to go like from #4 basket to the #5 tee. Other than that most of the tees were close enough to the baskets for navigation to be fairly straightforward.
Other Thoughts: This is a great disc golf experience. Well worth driving out of the way for. Bring your "A" game or expect to have your butt handed to you. It's a tough course but not unfairly so. I really enjoyed the challenges.
As I've alluded to already, this is a course with a high amount of traffic. If you live near here a way to pay it forward is to help out whatever league or club is performing maintenance here. As disc golf grows in popularity this place is only going to get busier.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Highland Park Joliet
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Ahh, this place was my go to course during my college days, and I always try to make it back to play a few times a season.
I've always said I wish I could pick up this course and move it out of Joliet, but what can you do. Great course in a not so great area.
*Start in the woods, throw a few holes in the open, and back in the woods is the theme of this place
*Holes offer a challenge to even the most seasoned of players
*Baskets are old, but still in great shape
*Multiple tees for different skill levels which are clearly marked
*All cement tees except for the new hole 16
*Lots of benches, gazibo type overhangs, and garbage cans
*Signs are accurate. VERY accurate
*Course well groomed
Cons: *My biggest con is the sketchy area. I always encounter something or someone on my trips to Highland that reminds me I'm in Joliet. It's a public park in a not so great area.
*Relatively busy (Great for the sport, I will not mark my course rating due to this) so plan accordingly.
*The old hole 16 which was a narrow shot down a path with the basket flirting with a huge drop off has been removed and replaced with a typical open field hole. I loved the challenge of the old hole 16
*trash and litter needs to be picked up
*Bathrooms would be nice
*Parking lot seems to have been an old mine field Very rough.
Other Thoughts: This place holds a special place in my heart and I will continue playing it for years to come. The Joliet area as well as the Southwest suburbs are home to some amazing courses. I'd reccomend traveling to this course and others in the area. The only thing that doesn't make this place a solid 4.5 for me is the sketchy people and the litter.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: - Good variety of tight vs wide open throws, left vs right, etc.
- No huge bodies of water to lose a disc
- Really nice looking and interesting fairways
Cons: There is one hole that has a hill that leads to a road, and if your disc rolls down and ends up in that road, you'll be climbing a tall stone fence to get back in the game.
Other Thoughts: There are street remnants in the woods, and stairs like there used to be houses out here.
0 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Awesome course great valley shots
1 Helpful / 9 Not
Pros: Course is awesome.Great tee pads, good signs at pads.low key area,fairly easy to navigate great course to play once then go and hit up another one near by like the canyons,trinity links or west park!
Cons: Need a few more garbage cans at some holes.gravel parking lot is getting rough.baskets are out of date
1 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Take a hike through the Highlands
17 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Challenging and interesting course that plays all around the park.
• Disc Play: Wonderful variety encompasses a gamut of fairway types (open holes in grassy fields, lightly, moderately and densely wooded holes), shapes, distances and terrain with red, white, and blue layouts to accommodate a range of skill levels. A few holes start in the open, playing to well protected baskets nestled away amid the woods. Nice mix distances - allows for a full range of lengths without having to different color tees. Some have several routes you can take, some give you only one or two and challenge you to hit a specific line. Makes for a well-balanced and quite complete round.
+ Elevation: About half the holes feature substantial elevation, ranging from subtle to dramatic. Splendidly employed in all sorts of ways, features uphills, downhills, ravines and plenty of rollaway potential (not only on putts and approaches but a few fairways as well).
+ Does a great job making short holes challenging. Quite a few baskets are short enough for almost any player to reach from the tee, but all of them really make you earn birdies. Short holes playing over deep ravines can be a real difference maker. Get through the trees and across, and you could be parked... take a bad kick off a tree and the resulting rollaway can be crushing. Others feature well-guarded pins or drop offs behind them. Bottom line is Highland's shortest holes aren't necessarily the most birdie-able ones on the course, especially for those who can hit 300 +.
• Equipment: White and blue tees are all concrete (except for #16) and in decent shape. Red tees are "natural" on about half the holes with a different look from the whites, and share the white pads on the other half. Most of the blues are unique with some really providing very different looks and challenges, but a few blues are common with the white as well. Signage is pretty good and reasonably informative (although you'll have to scout ahead to spot the basket on some holes). Baskets are older DGA's and functional (but not much more).
• Routing/Nav: Pretty easy to follow for the most part, course gets a lot of traffic, so paths are pretty obvious, which is good...'cause there's no map. Two 9 hole loops play back to centrally located parking.
• Aesthetics - Highland's standout features are the spectacular shots across deep ravines... very scenic with the steps leading down and away from the tee, coming all the way back up the other side. The rest of the course is a fairly pleasant stroll from field to woods and back ambling across some varied terrain.
• Memorable holes: For me, the holes with major elevation really stand out as the most interesting: #'s 6, 12, 15, as did 17 and 18
• Extras: Some holes feature steps that make an otherwise treacherously steep descent/ascent (especially when wet) fairly easy, while adding a certain rustic charm.
• One or two holes play near roads - hitting cars is a possibility (particularly on # 9).
• Baskets are old and pretty shallow, wouldn't surprise me if you get some bad bounce outs.
• Poison Ivy - easy to come by off the wooded fairways.
• # 13 (might have been 14): not saying you can't get to the pin, but there's no reasonably executable line from the tee - seems hopelessly poke and pray'ish.
• # 16: tee is a depression in the dirt/gravel - less than desirable footing.
Other Thoughts: Great course, offering a fun, scenic and challenging round with a little of everything. While I haven't played extensively throughout the Chicagoland area, I've played several of the higher rated courses and Highland has to be one of the very best (if not the best) in the area.
There are a few spots on the course I really don't think are traversable using a stroller or cart (holes 6 and 15). The terrain's not so demanding that one needs to be in particularly good shape, but it does require you to be reasonably able bodied and wouldn't I recommend playing here if you're recovering from an ankle or knee injury as some of the slopes are both steep and fairly long. Check out the course pics for #6 and 15 to see what I'm talkin' 'bout... do you really wanna deal with a cart on those?
17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
Fun & Challenging
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Variety of shots needed
- Length and openness of holes balanced and varied
- Elevation creates several interesting drives off of the tee and putts at dangerous greens
- Large, good quality concrete teepads
- Two nine-hole loops
- Good navigation and signage
- Benches at many holes
- Stairs to navigate steep climbs and descents
Cons: - Older baskets
- Trash frequently present around course
- Hole 16's gravel teepad
Other Thoughts: Highland Park is the one course I make sure to play if it has been a while since my last trip to the Joliet area. The hole variety and elevation on this course make every round fun from beginning to end.
The course is paced incredibly well, if you start getting tired of shorter narrower fairways, a longer, more open hole or two is upcoming. The result of which is a course without a considerable weak link.
The only thing this course does not have is a real water carry, but if you really want to chuck your plastic over a larger body of water, Round Barn Farm is a short drive south.
Most of the baskets are not in great shape and can lead to some unfortunate spit-outs, while not a big deal in a casual round, this can be quite frustrating when it happens in a tournament.
Highland park may be a bit rough around the edges, with trash frequent at some locations throughout the park, but it is not enough to take away from what I have found to always be a great place for a fun round.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Highland Park is one of the top courses in the Chicagoland area and worthy of a Very Good rating. Here are my pros:
1) Navigation was actually great on this course. There are signs throughout the park directing you to the long and short tees and to the next hole.
2) The concrete tee pads were awesome. Someone had commented that maybe they were too big but I would never complain about that!
3) The course has some very interesting features and very interesting holes. Hole 13 effectively uses 4 benches to create a neat little green while hole 12 uses a nice culvert to create a nice risk/reward shot from the short tee.
4) There is a good mix of wooded and open holes. It actually seemed to be fairly split between the two, with half of the holes open and half of the holes wooded. Great variety!
5) Some of the greens are very challenging and use elevation very effectively. Holes 5 and 14 have significant drop-offs after the basket and really add significant value to the hole.
6) I think the par 4's on this course are very good holes. Hole 4 is a tighter hole with a tough landing area that requires a finesse second shot to a guarded green. Hole 9 doesn't seem that hard but the out of bounds road to the right forces a lot of shots to end up to the left which brings some big oak trees into play. Hole 17 isn't a super challenging hole but still requires you to throw a very long hyzer drive and requires you to throw a good upshot to get your birdie three.
Cons: I actually only have a couple cons for the course and then one con for the actual park. Here they are:
1) Some of the tees are just a little bit goofy, in my opinion. In particular, I just do not understand the short tee on hole 2. The long tee on hole 2 (350 foot option hole) is a fantastic hole. The short hole is shorter but the angle of the hole makes the hole much harder. It just seems like it would be better to eliminate this tee altogether because its not a fun hole to throw and its actually easier than the long tee. Also, I was not a fan of the long tee on hole 12. Having to throw a 150 foot putter shot and then go 90 degrees the other way to the green (albeit a neat green) is not my idea of a great disc golf hole. Its listed as a par 3 and really is basically a tweener hole.
2) A few of the holes felt a little bit like poke and hope holes. The lines on holes 5 and 6 are definitely there but just a little pokey. Same with holes 13, 15 and 18. The lines are there but they are definitely tight. They are fair lines but I just got the feeling that a few trees coming out would make the fairway more defined.
3) When I played the course recently hole 8 had some vines and branches that were literally hanging out right in the middle of the fairway. This may not seem like a huge deal but it really made the hole a bad hole when two good drives in a tournament hit an invisible vine (mine wasn't one of them) and the vine was right in the middle of the fairway. Great drives shouldn't be punished so I think the course just may need a little TLC in a few places.
4) Unfortunately the baskets are getting to be very worn. Its not a huge deal for a casual round but in a tournament these baskets are very frustrating. These baskets look to be very old and are very very worn. We had many bounceouts and spitouts at a recent tournament.
5) This is the one con that doesn't deal specifically with the course: this park is definitely a little more on the sketchy side. I constantly see videos and pictures posted about this course with some pretty crazy staff happening at the course (fights, drunk people going crazy, etc). I would just warn you that this course isn't in the best of neighborhoods and be prepared to see something crazy!
Other Thoughts: Don't let the cons steer you away from playing. I have never felt unsafe here by any means. I would actually rate this course a 4.0 but because of the atmosphere of the park and the poor condition of the baskets I dropped it down to a 3.5. This is actually one of the best courses in the Chicagoland area so definitely give it a chance!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Another Illinois Gem
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.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Gem of a course!
Pros: * Great signs, not always a big deal, but these are some of the best signs I have ever seen. They clearly mark obstacles, other tees, distances, and of course the basket. One plus is the signs also mark where the tee is for the next hole.
*Terrific use of elevation. Even the open holes seem to use slight hills to shape the hole. Several holes cross either an old road or a ravine. There are holes going uphill, and downhill also. Some baskets are precariously close to a steep dropoff, and it adds some tension to those risky long putts. This is the best use of elevation I have encountered in Chicagoland so far!
*Very well shaped fairways. There is some of everything here; doglegs left and right, tricky s-shaped fairways, the above mentioned ravine crossing shots, long open holes that still favor placement over raw distance, and some relatively tight tunnel shots.
*Most holes have three separate tees to add/decrease the difficulty to suit everyone's ability.
*Great variety in the distance of the holes. Most are on the shorter side (200-250) unfortunately, but there are several bombers (+500) to even it out.
*The stairs are so, so nice. Touches like that can separate an average course from a very nice course in my opinion. They are very much appreciated, to whoever built them.
Cons: *Lots of trash. Trash everywhere. Also it seems like someone went through and smashed a glass bottle on every inch of ground they could. Seriously there is almost as much broken glass as dirt here.
*A little picky, but like I said there are a lot of holes in the 200-250ft range, and it would be nice if the average length was a little longer.
Other Thoughts: I just really wish I lived closer than an hour away from this course so I could play it more often. I see they are having a tournament here in a few weeks, so maybe I'll sign up to play that. The environment here is really cool, there is an abandoned road running through the woods, and some random benches in the woods. Everyone in the general Chicago area owes it to themselves to check out this great course!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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