7 Helpful / 0 Not
Wide Open Spaces
Pros: Fairfield does an OK job of utilizing what they have to work with. It has some nice elevation changes, some longish shots and a few tight wooded holes. The course is very popular and has done a good job of promoting the sport in that area. When the wind is blowing it can present a good challenge of your skills. There seems to be a good variety of distances and uphill/downhill shots. The swamp is used for a pretty good risk-reward shot on hole #10. At least I think it is hole #10, there are no tee signs so it is easy to lose count. Given that many of the Chicagoland courses are short, flat 9-hole courses, the elevation changes and distances makes it a very good course for the area.
Cons: A lot of the course is set on a completely open hillside. Holes 1-5 & 11-12 and the alt shot using the practice basket are completely open with not a single tree in the design. Holes 6, 9,13 & 18 are mostly open. That's 12 out of 20 shots that you basically grip it and rip it with only wind and elevation changes adding to the challenge. It gets pretty repetitive and boring. The fairways on these holes are mowed with "rough" to the sides, but there is no penalty for throwing from the rough. It does make it hard to find shots out of the fairway, which backs the course up frequently.
The course has no tee signs. The mowed fairways lead you from hole to tee, so it's relatively easy to follow the course but you have to judge the distance yourself. The tees themselves are natural and are in disrepair. There are blocks to mark the actual tee, but huge areas of compacted soil surround them making them hard to find on many holes. In wet weather they are huge mudpits.
The some of the wooded holes are really tight, # 7 in particular. This adds to the "lost disc" problem and helps back the course up further. In general the wooded holes are pretty nice and they have trash cans with the hole number painted on them. Due to the lack of tees, it is easy to lose track of how many holes you have played. The "14A" shot needs to be cleaned up, at least weed-whacked. I could swear I have heard banjos playing back there after I trailblazed my way through the downed trees and knee-high weeds on that hole. If someone would hide back there and say "I bet you can squeal like a pig" I would scream and run for my life!
The extra hole between #11 & #12 that shoots back to the practice basket is confusing. Because there are no tee signs, there is really no way for a first-time player to know it's going to take you to a dead end at the parking lot and you will have to walk back down the fairway to play # 12. If you play that hole, you are likely to either have someone shooting at you as you walk back down the fairway or encounter a back-up at #12 once you walk back to that tee (possibly both.) IMO that should remain a "local" hole and the fairway should not be cut to help players know which way they are supposed to shoot when they reach the tee area for those two holes.
Other Thoughts: All-in-all Fairfield is a pretty good course compared to other courses in the area. If you are a Chicagoland-area player it's a pretty good choice for a course to go to. However, it is not a very good course when compared to other courses around the country, which is how I rated it. I can see why a local who has never played outside the area would regard this course very highly, but looked at from an overall perspective it has too many open shots, no tee signs and terrible tee-off areas. Those factors have to figure into the rating. Despite the loyal following it has from the local disc golf scene, I'm afraid travelers from out of town will be disappointed in what this course has to offer.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The course plays through a large area used only for disc golf, with rolling hills, a swampy pond, and a creek running through. There is a mix of wide open space and heavily wooded areas, and the course plays on both. The wooded holes are shorter and technical, and reward accuracy while punishing errant shots with dense trees and brush. The open holes give some space to air it out, and most have some elevation change.
The variety of the course was nice, with holes ranging from under 200' to over 800'. There were some ace run holes, and some where most players would have to work for a 4. The swamp provides a nice hazard on one hole, and a couple holes play near the creek adding a nice risk/reward element.
There is a basic course map by the first tee, and numbered trash cans on all but the two added holes. The baskets were in decent shape and caught well.
Cons: The course had way too many holes in the open area, and not enough in the woods. A few open holes would be fine, but more than half the course is made up of wide open straight ahead shots that are easily reachable. The woods holes seemed pretty well designed, but there simply weren't enough of them.
Navigation was a little odd in spots, especially in the woods with multiple paths leading away from baskets and no marking to indicate the direction of the next tee. The course info on this site talks about the two added holes, otherwise I would not have known about them as they are not marked nor are they anywhere on the map or info board at the park.
The tees were terrible, almost none were level and most had ruts through them. They were generally very large, and it was not clear on many where the actual teeing area was supposed to be. The baskets were covered in graffiti. There were a very large number of casual players in giant groups who played very slowly and refused to let faster groups through, so our round took close to three hours.
The rough was mowed down, and the course was mostly dry when I played, but I could see water being a real issue after a rain, and if the rough was allowed to grow on the open holes it would definitely eat discs.
Other Thoughts: This course is definitely accessible to beginners, especially the open holes. There are only a few places where lost discs are at all likely, and they are avoidable. More experienced players won't find a lot of challenge at this course, especially on the shorter wide open holes.
Don't drive out of your way to play this one, especially if it's rained recently. It's not a terrible place to get in a round if you're in the area, but it's not a course that really had any kind of 'wow factor'.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 9 Not
C+ = As average as the come
Pros: What I personally like and how this course stacks up:
1) Holes with good risk/reward -- C-
2) Holes that have rewarding birdie opportunities -- C
3) More wooded than open - lots of variety of shots required caused by hole shape and topography -- C
4) Natural beauty (Appalachian beauty preferred) and seclusion -- C+
5) Multi-shot holes with defined landing zones, good risk/reward and multiple options to play them -- C-
Other Thoughts: I ranked this course subjectively based on my own personal enjoyment factor...more accurately my "personal addiction factor". Since I have played a decent number of courses (115 18-hole, 50 9-hole as of early 2009), my hope is that players/explorers who have similar tastes will find my ratings list helpful as they chose courses to play and explore.
Over time, I expect to fill some of my reviews in with more descriptive verbiage...if what I say adds anything to what has already been written. For now, my list is more important to me than the verbiage of my reviews.
I fully expect others with different tastes/philosophies to disagree with me. See my profile for my rating philosophy.
2 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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