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.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Challenging with Wide Variety
See other thoughts for link to image gallery.
This course has a ton of character and variety. There are several long open par 4's as well as tight wooded par 4's to go along with some very challenging par 3 holes. There is a good mix of tight wooded and open holes.
Tee signs are very nice and descriptive.
This is Chicagoland's toughest course with an SSA of 55.29 from the blue tees and 52.31 from the white tees. To shoot around 54 you have to play some great golf.
There is some nice elevation througout the course. There are some very challenging fast greens and ravine shots. They put in a ton of hours building multiple staircases going up and down the side of several hills.
The walk from hole 9 to 10 takes you right by the parking lot.
Cons: Tee pads are limestone/gravel.
Baskets are old Mach 1's that have been regalvanized.
This course is an Advanced/Pro level course. Novice and Recreational players keep that in mind.
If you are driving down I80 south of Chicago this is a must play. It's only a few minutes off the Interstate.
With the installation of cement tee pads and updated baskets i'd give this course a 4.5 rating.
The local guys have done a great job cleaning up the garbage that was dumped at this course over the years prior to it being a disc golf course.
Check out my Illinois Top 10 list.
13 of 13 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.
12 Helpful / 8 Not
B+ = Interesting and addicting
Pros: I am rating this course from the long tees. Thankfully I met up with Dana Vicich who helped me find them since several are hard to find! This is a new course and still a little rough around the edges - I have knocked around half a disc off for that (half a letter grade).
What I personally like and how this course stacks up in my list of 18 hole courses:
1) Holes with good risk/reward. Fair, but harsh punishment for bad decisions or execution. == A- (Very well designed for the most part. A few holes play a lot more fun from the mid tees, but the longs on those present worthy risk/reward choices. A few holes offer rather funky flight paths which insert luck into scoring and knock down the fun-factor too.)
2) Holes that have rewarding birdie opportunities for me. I throw 300' accurately, 360' max. == B+ (For my length a few of the long tees were a little much and made them tweener/boring holes. Longer throwers would be more anamoured than me I imagine.)
3) More wooded than open - lots of variety of shots required caused by hole shape and topography == B+ (Great variety and use of terrain! I marked things down a little since a few holes do not offer reasonable flight paths - as mentioned earlier. These sort of things can be fixed and I imagine the design/implementation is not quite finished yet. Hey, it is easier to take trees down than put them up!)
4) Natural beauty (Appalachian beauty preferred) and seclusion. == B+ (Seclusion is superb! This site has been used as a dumping ground and could use cleaning up. I marked this down to for this aspect of "rough around the edges").
5) Bonus points for multi-throw holes with defined landing zones, good risk/reward and multiple options to play them. == C+ (Hole 4 is a supurb par 4 with a challenging landing zone leading to a touchy upshot. The other 2-3 par 4's are less inspiring to me. It is great to see a new course that has gotten away from the par-3 paradigm!)
Overall, I love this course! It definitely has the potential in my mind to be a 4.5 disc course with some tweaking and clean up. I am sure I will upgrade my rating to that if/when the locals finish things up. They have done an enourmous amount of work so far.....and it shows! Thanks for a great new course!
Other Thoughts: It's all about feeding the addiction, so I ranked this course subjectively based on my own "personal addiction factor". The grades above tell how well the course will draw me back to itself again and again and again. Since I have played a decent number of courses (125 18-hole, 64 9-hole as of mid 2009), my hope is that players/explorers who have similar addiction tastes will find my ratings list helpful as they choose courses to play and explore.
I fully expect others with different tastes/philosophies to disagree with me....that's the fun of things here. See my profile for my rating philosophy.
12 of 20 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
A child learning how to walk
Pros: This course is situated in a very nice park, with land that is GREAT for DG. Off the bat, this is a mostly wooded course, with enough length to challenge. Risk vs. Reward is a huge factor on this course.... LOTS of holes have multiple lines, despite having a single fairway/route/tunnel. At least 3 holes (5,14,17) have pins located within 10 ft of a severe slope, forcing you to reconsider that birdie run.
Course starts in woods with a tough schule lined 275' dogleg left. The next few holes are open drives into wooded "choke points" requiring finesse tee shots.... beware of #5's basket ... 5 feet later is a steep drop off you really don't want to walk down, let alone putt from...Number 6 is the first signature hole of the course, across a ravine/road... you need a straight tee shot to clear the guardian trees and then a quick bail-out left. Holes 7-9 play though parkland with huge trees (ie) canopies.. people call this the boring part of the course, as it's 3 straight holes in a row, but there's enough length and room that you finally get to air it out.. 9 finishes at parking lot, yay! The back nine starts off with 2 more holes through the park area, and then you step back into the woods to #12... Another signature hole, 12 is a shot off the top of a ravine , across a road into the valley below... feels very similar to the original #2 at West Park, accept OB road down the right side. Hole 13 features a blind tee shot quickly uphill, then flattening out to a neat par 3. Hole 14 is located along the top peninsula of a ridge, playing slightly downhill to another pin within 10ft of a hillside... Hole 15 is similar to hole 6, but a little longer and straighter. Play across a pretty ravine/road to a pin at the top, and about 50 ft beyond the top of the other side. Hole 16 is COMPLETELY NEW, when I first played this course, the basket was out, but it played as a rather boring open hole across a field. The new 16 is found by following the mowed path along the treeline to the left. It's a 225ft R>L hole that plays along a road on the center/right, and SEVERE drop and schule to the left/center. The basket is located very near a drop off again, this will put ace runs in check, along with a few trees on the right side of the road that are in the perfect spot to smack down a shot thrown too high... also, watch out for the pipes L of the teebox, they run about the first ~125ft from the tee, and it's about 8 inches off the ground. 17 is a 525ft never ending turn to the left. The basket is once again nestled on top of a peninsula, drops/trees to all sides, watch your upshot. The course finishes with a shot across/up a ravine through a fairway littered with trees.
(after proofreading) I should mention that all ravines (you have to cross to get to basket) have nice wooden steps built into them... All holes have signs that are good indicators of where to go, although tbh I'm not convinced that all distances are accurate.
Cons: This is a new course that was set into a park notorious for "seedy" people, and sadly garbage dumping. I played here first in March of 09, and it (the complaints of garbage) showed, today the course had been cleaned up significantly! The terrain is rough, WATCH YOUR FOOTING THROUGHOUT, beware of tree stumps, branches, sticks, rocks, and RUTS on the fairways... particularly the "open hole" 7-11. The schule is still heavy in most areas, there is possibility of losing discs, but lines/paths are starting to appear in the hot spots. The natural tee pads, while still in overall great shape, are starting to erode in spots. Speaking of erosion, some major control needs to be planned, the "demonic" pins just feet away from steep hillsides can only last so long... as nice as it is, the 16th basket will slide off into oblivion soon. The parking lot isn't the largest, but I'm assuming you can park on the grass south of the lot... There is no water, or restrooms in the park, and the road into the park is rough. Also, the course is in desperate need of trash cans.
Other Thoughts: The "new" course in Joliet lives up to expectations... I've referred to it as a "Modern West Park" ... using great wooded, hilly terrain similar to West, but enough length to actually use most of your bag. All skill levels can play this course, although I don't recommend it for beginners. I give this course a solid 4 discs+, but it NEEDS improvement for 4.5. Given another season or two to wear in, and it's one of the best courses in the state, hell, it may be now.... it is a must play if you're along the I-80 corridor.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 9 Not
Pros: challenging, the park looks nice and it is easy to get from hole to hole. i like how it is half in the forest and half out.
Cons: some holes have too much trees. in some situations its impossible not to go bark-hunting. the baskets are abnormally small and the discs pop back out funny
Other Thoughts: this is nice course and i would definitely come when you get a chance
1 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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