11 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: - Highland Park consists of mature woodland, open grassy areas, and patches of trees and brush. Many of the holes provide epic discing opportunities, with a great variety of hole types throughout. Open, heavily wooded, right, left, up, down, for a course not far from the city, this course has a wealth of terrain and line shaping opportunities for even experienced discers.
- Outstanding new concrete tees: level, brushed, and plenty wide and long. Great signs show all sets of tees as well as the hole layout. Red/White/Blue tees make the course playable and enjoyable for all levels of experience and ability. Some tees are combined on the shorter holes, but all are easily located.
- Outstanding use of elevation: several ravines provide great shot selection throughout the course. Pin placements don't necessarily take advantage of the elevation by threatening rollaways, but other than that the elevation is masterfully implemented into the design. One hole throws from one side of the ravine to the other, and another has a short downhill ace run through trees. Stairs make otherwise risky slopes a snap to traverse.
- The parking lot is centrally located, allowing easy access to either the front or back nine in case of crowded conditions. Also easy to hit up your car for snacks, water, etc. during a round.
Cons: - Some holes are close to roadways or incorporate roads as part of the fairway. Traffic isn't much of an issue but the paved surfaces can be a bit rough on your discs.
- The course can get a bit on the crowded side, but that is more a testimony to Highland's awesomeness rather than a knock against it. Also, being able to easily start on either the front or back nine really helps alleviate this issue.
Other Thoughts: - Probably the gold standard of all Chicago/Joliet area courses.
- The stone bench supports surrounding the basket on one of the holes that runs through the middle of the woods add a somewhat surrealistic atmosphere to the hole. Definitely not something you see everyday.
- Some holes have descriptive names on wooden signs that add to the flavor of this course.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
18 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Course is set in a large and diverse park. There is a great mix of holes in the deep forest, those bordering a smaller forest, and others in a large grove of mature trees. Great flow in and around all of these areas.
- Most holes in the deeper forest have significant elevation changes. Two very steep valleys to get across, a big downhill toss, and a staircase shot are the most extreme examples. Other holes use these valleys as hazards, with sloping greens and horrible punishment. The slope to the left of #16 is particularly nasty. In general, the fairways are pretty clear, but there are lots of larger trees to avoid closer to the tee in many spots. Throwing straight is a must, start to finish, on these holes.
- Holes playing around the edge of the forest provide a lot of challenge as well. A few spots have well protected greens and baskets, with entrance points into the forest. Great mix of right lines (like #2) and left lines (like #17) just to get a look at the basket.
- Long rows of large trees outside the dense forest are a completely different look. Throwing straight through the corridors is the safest bet, getting off line can make for some tough approach shots. There are also a couple of real bomber holes that have more open fairways, allowing big arms to really air it out, with more obstacles near the green.
- Wide range of hole lengths on this course, pretty much corresponding with the difficulty. The tight and/or steep holes are shorter, and the more open ones are longer. A constant sense of difficulty in that every tee shot is either tight, long, or both. Add in the pro tees, and it's even more of each. #4 and #12 are especially wicked from the blues.
- Great teepads! Great signs! Good baskets! Great staircases! This course is seriously well made.
Cons: - One of the biggest cons has to do more with the park itself. Lots of rugged pavement in play, abandoned roads with huge potholes and nasty random concrete. Also plays next to the entrance road in a few places. Tons of garbage and broken glass in the forest.
- Overall, most holes are pretty straightforward. There are a few multi-shot holes worthy of a pro par over 3, but most are pretty forgiving. Holes with extreme elevation are usually very short (around 200'-250'), and one good shot can end the hole very quickly.
- No water in play; pretending the pavement is water isn't quite the same.
Other Thoughts: - Absolutely a great course in almost every way. Such a wide range of hole types with tight lines, big valleys/dropoffs, rows of tall trees, and the bombers. It forces you to throw it straight as possible on some holes, and left or right on others. Few holes are cut and dry; it is fun from start to finish.
- Probably not for beginners, too many ravines and tight windows for it to be enjoyable. Anyone else, from rec to champion, will find something to like.
18 of 18 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.
2 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: Great variety of shots from the tboxes. You need to be able to throw backhand, forehand, and even overhand. The signage is wonderful and has yet to be destroyed by jerk players. There are a couple holes with great elevation changes thru wooded fairways.
This seems like a course not many know about since it's only 2 yrs old, even though it's surrounded by the Joliet-area courses.
Cons: Lots of trash everywhere, loose pitbulls, and meth heads.
Lacks truly difficult holes.
Other Thoughts: This course is a must-play for any enthusiast, especially due to its proximity to the other kickass courses in the area.
2 of 7 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.
Best/Most Challenging Course in Chicagoland
11 Helpful / 0 Not
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.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
top five in Illinois
Pros: I played this one, same day, and on a trip with Texconsonite; and his review also describes many of my thoughts. So, read his review, and give me a thumbs up just for that, as I showed him the turf....ha ha
I'll give a bit of a different run down....Tex joined us for two days of a 4 day journey; my other traveling partner and I played a total of 17 courses in four days. Highland came in at my #3 best/ and possibly my favorite, of those 17! The only two to beat in, in my scoring, was Lemon Silver/Gold and Anna Page West. Some may disagree with Anna West being better than Highland; but those are the three for comparison....as far as how I rate this one.
Three sets of tees (a few holes condense multiple tees into one spot). We enjoyed shots so much, that we played from both mid and short tees. This was the only course of our trip that two rounds were played on....as Tex noted; we enjoyed every hole; and wanted to throw again. We did not play long tees; however, we only played Silver at Lemon and Anna West has since added longer pins; and so I believe the comparison will still hold true in relation to those two courses.
I managed to avoid most of the biggest trouble here and still ended up over from both sets of tees. This course is very enjoyable; but, not for the faint of heart. All aspects of your game will be challenged, and you can expect to shoot a number of holes more than 3 times....regardless of what tee you choose. Looking at long tees; and reading reviews posted; lets you know that on some of these holes; another shot is added; just to get to landing zone.
I found the hole with the stone benches (hole #13) to be quite unique. One of the more outstanding sculptural features of this kind, that I have ever seen.
The trash/dump situation here was also quite unique. From reviews, you can tell that the junk is being cleaned up rather quickly....but, I'm glad we came when a fair amount of it was still present. Combined with the abandoned road; with also throws in nice o.b., it gave me the impression kind of like the show, "after man is gone." Had the feeling that you were playing this awesome disc course in an area that had been forsaken at some point in the past....and now, was being restored for the enjoyment of man....and discers in particular.
Signs are good.
Tees in pretty good shape.
Many baskets perched precariously near huge fall aways.
In general, short walks between tees (though again, we did not play longs).
Cons: Baskets a little weak (read homemade).
Tees a little weak (read natural). We couldn't find one red tee.
No trash cans.
Erosion may become an issue at some point. However, I give these guys great credit for placing baskets in these spots for the present; and dealing with that, when the time comes.
Other Thoughts: This course is awesome. Joilet has been at the forefront of Illinois disc for a long time. This is their latest and greatest design; and will be getting even better; as they finish the trash clean up and perhaps upgrade baskets and tees. Course was suggested to us, and recommended highly by one of the Lemon Lake designers. When a World's designer suggests you play; usually a good bet; it's a good one. He was most correct.
This course beat out Lemon Lake Red (which I've played numerous times; and love), Lemon Blue and White, The Oaks, Anna East (which I've played many times and love).
Only Foundation in Centrailia, Anna West (just barely), and Camden 2, are better, in my book, than Highland; in the entire state; and I've played all of the Illinois top ten, as rated by state coordinator (except new Springfield).
Will be coming back next year to play long tees; and probably multiple rounds as well.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
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