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.
0 Helpful / 3 Not
Okay, not great.
Pros: Many opportunites to bust out long drives. A little bit of elevation change. Variety of anhyzer/hyzer shots to work your game. Some tight short wooded holes on the back and some wide open deuce holes on the front. Wind will play a part in most rounds here. Hole 18 is an 800 footer going way downhill with a swamp on the left and then way uphill with woods on your right the length of the fairway. Wide variety of scores on this excellent hole.
Cons: Very open and boring course on alot of the holes. Not alot of excitement in a round out here and its not going to make you think much. Alot of long grass defines the fairways which can make finding your discs difficult in the summer. Tees are limestone and in pretty terrible condition.
Other Thoughts: Pretty boring, needs a couple more holes that make you think and get your heart pumping to make this a better course. Way too many wide open hyzer shots.
0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
King of variety!
Pros: 1) Garbage Cans are everywhere keeping this course fairly clean. And they are numbered to help the newcomers figure out where they are!
2) This course has a wide variety of terrain, foliage type and density, water is in play on a few holes (depending on time of year you play). There are even some decent elevation changes on a few holes. They also have some long distance holes that add the the challenge of this course. It supposedly is the longest hole in IL, (or used to be). They even have a few holes shorter than 200' which is a nice change of pace from all of the 250-300' holes out there, they really give you a chance at birdie or a shot at an ace which improves peoples morale!
3) There are little pavers set into the soil to show you the tee area as the dirt areas have been expanded with more traffic so it would be hard to determine where the actual tee area is.
4) A few of the wooded holes have some really challenging layouts. I always like to see some wooded holes on every course and this is no different. They add a lot to the course that 50% of the holes are kind of wide open pasture.
5) Swamp on the right of #11 is a great feature and truly is risk reward. I threw way out to the left of the swamp and laid up for a par, but if you can anny it around the corner or throw a long sidearm you have a real chance to park it for 2, but that is the risk.reward.
6) #12 at different times could also be very truly risk.reward. Throw short of the wetland runoff area and try and get your second close to the basket or try and shoot right up to the basket in 1 risks the tall grass/marshy plants grabbing your disc. I did walk through the area but it hadnt rained in weeks.
7) I was glad to be able to play the alternate #14 hole. It is set right in the flood plain of whatever river goes by the course.
8) Nice river flowing behind the 14th green and to the right of #8 basket also. It isn;t really in play unless you throw a bad shot, get a bad break off a tree.
Cons: 1) The tagline of having the longest hole in Illinois is actually a detractor for me after playing there. It may be over 800' but it is dead straight with only a few trees on your right and a wide open pasture on the left. Basically throw it hard 3 to 4 (for me it took 5) times to get close to the basket . . . that isn't that much fun.
2) Dirt tees leave a lot to be desired.
3) First 6 holes and a couple holes later in the course are simpl wide open pastures with mowed fairways. I have played quite a few courses with this setup and they are getting more and more repetetive and boring. The mowed fairways mean almost nothing to me . . . I will throw as direct of a line as possible. It is not punishing to land in the rough!
4) I would take the 20th hole out of play (its just another wide open pasture shot and is also the practice basket).
5) A couple of the dense wooded holes seem a little too dense. They all had lines you could hit but it was pretty tough to find the lines.
6) Not very beginner friendly. Long distances, water in play, tight wooded holes with dense severe shule on either side of you. Lots of buckthorn to poke your eye out.
Other Thoughts: Overall I was impressed with this course. It isnt really near any large suburbs or cities and it seems to be one of the better overall courses in the area. It has a large variety in hole type, challenege, shot requirement, elevation changes, foliage density and type. It offers some nice ace/birdie runs and also has the longest hole in Illinois at 845'. I would go back if I was in the area, but the only reason I was in the area was to try 8 new courses in 1 day. If they could improve a few of the pasture holes by adding a couple well placed trees this coulrse would be much better. As I said above the mowed fairways arent challenegin and the rough isnt punishing, a couple of trees would make you stay closer to the fairway rather than throw it far and hard!
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.
9 Helpful / 1 Not
Welcome to Atlantis, the Sunken Course
Pros: Some of the more wooded holes are fairly cool, and force some interesting lines.
Essentially, this course has all three main elements I look for in DG courses. The bog in the center of the course, and river are both in play on multiple holes for soem water hazards. Elevation is a factor on most holes, and used in interesting ways. The open shots here spice things up by having many hilltop pins for added putting and upshot challenge. The wooded holes on the second half of the course mix things up with some tight curves and well-guarded baskets to keep big arms honest.
Cons: Where to start...
The tees here are some of the worst I've played on anywhere. They are sand/gravel with the front corners sometimes? marked by two small L-shaped concrete blocks stuck in the ground. When I played, the tees were completely washed out and not even close to level, to the point that it was hard to tell exactly where the tee was in many cases.
There is no hole number at all, except for on the trash cans at some holes. No tee signs whatsoever. The course map at the entrance shows 18 holes and a practice basket, so I'm not sure where the 20th is, but by hole 14, I was thoroughly miserable and called it quits. As i towelled the mud off my arms, face and legs, i was thinking, my day really started to go downhill after I got off work and went to play disc golf. That is so, so awful, but it speaks volumes about the playing experience here.
Also, the course holds water extremely well. Great for the green grass, bad for you as a player. In several spots it forces you to jump creeks, or walk through puddles that stretch across the whole fairway. There was a dead fish floating around on one fairway, thats how bad it is.
Though this is a general state of affairs, I took issue with several holes in particular.
On hole 12, a 40ft low-lying section of the fairway is kept as long uncut grass, presumably to add challenge to an otherwise straight on 350ish hole in a field. Instead, you end up trudging through head-high grass and knee-deep water, as there is no way around it, or even a mowed path with stepping stones through it that keeps you out of the water. Also, the combo of tall grass and deep water makes it super easy to lose discs in there. Fun!
Hole 8, if bone dry, would actually be a kinda cool hole. The problem is the basket is on a low area that presumably is normally on the riverbank. When i visited, the basket was in the middle of a 30ft wide, 2 ft deep lake that the river had turned into. Even if it hasn't rained for awhile, how much can you legitimately expect that water-level to go down? Another case of poor drainage and poor basket location combining for extra awfulness.
The field holes are mostly just straight, boring shots, where the only things you contend with are the wind, and the long grass that likes to eat discs. And the water, of course.
In general, this course is very good at eating discs, between the water everywhere and the long grass, so be prepared to donate some plastic to the course if you decide to play here.
The few holes that are moderately interesting are not nearly enough to make up for the dearth of boring field holes, and the extreme frustration of trudging through water on almost every hole.
Other Thoughts: Admittedly, I probably played the course at its worst, since heavy rains had just swept through the area, but I've played many houston courses, where it rains ALL THE TIME. To contrast, some of the Houston courses are submerged up to the tops of the tee signs at times (Moffitt, TC Jester), RIGHT AFTER A RAIN, but within a day or two, they are just fine again with only scattered puddles or ankle deep water. In Houston, they plan for their courses to get drenched, (shoot, Mozola is ON the bayou, for pete's sake) and thus design the courses to handle it. The way this course is designed, it seems like even when the water recedes some, it would still be a soupy mess, forcing players to walk through marshes and rivers on the fairways, with no bridges, raised paths or stepping stones even.
I would say this course is virtually unplayable for the two weeks following any kind of rain.
Were this course bone dry, it would probably get a 2.0-2.5 from me, as some of the more wooded holes seem kinda cool, and several of the open holes are decent as well, but I will never, ever set foot on this course again to find out. Ever.
I hate to be so negative, but this course really made an impression on me, and it was pretty much all bad. I find it hard to believe that there isn't another park with some kind of drainage that these baskets might be better served at. It seems like a very basic factor to overlook when building a course, but it doesn't matter how amazing your course is designed if its underwater all or most of the time.
Several reviewers have said, its good for IL, or most terrain in IL. I disagree with both. There are some amazing courses in the Chicago area, with TONS of terrain. Head down to Highland Park in Joliet if you dont believe me, or want to see what a great IL course looks like.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 7 Not
One of the best courses in the area!
Pros: Droppin' bombs for sure, tight hole's in the wooded area. Hole 18 is amazing and very, very long nice smoke spots for sure.
Cons: The swamp is the worst thing there. Be careful on nice days there are lots of people there, if you loose a disc don't expect to get it back.
Other Thoughts: Make sure that you bring extra disc's for sure. Sometimes you'll see some cops there so be careful if you know what i mean. Fun course and the best in the Lake and McHenry County.
0 of 7 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
My home away from home
Pros: This is my home course, and has been for the past few years, I love the variety of the holes and the general layout of the course. You have a stretch of long fairways and tight forest challenges back to back. The baskets are quality and there have been many recent improvements on the course. (Cedar chips at all the backets and consistent manicuring)
Cons: Mesquitos are horrible June-September.
The parks department hardly maintains the course. This course can be a nightmare when it comes to having to wait in line. Some people do not respect the course, there is always garbage laying around.
Other Thoughts: Lately i've seen a lot of younger kids at the course who do not seem to respect the game, the course or other people in general. The parking lot is turning into a "Scene" where these kids go to drink beer (and leave the emptys strewn about) I often go to this course with small groups and I often get stuck behind large groups who rarely let you play through. This course has great potential and for some reason gets worse each year rather than better. I would recommend checking this course out.. it does have the longest hole in IL, 800 feet!
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: If you're looking to launch some bombs, look no further! Hole #18 is the longest hole I've ever seen.
Cons: You can lose a disc in the prairie grass, but the worst is the marshy swamp smack dab in the middle.
Other Thoughts: Give it a try, bring a doobie and smoke in the open no one will give you a second glance (unless they want a hit)
1 of 8 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Adventurous and fun
Pros: This was my first course ever, I love it. There are so many different aspects of this course. You have a little bit of everything. Easy, being the straight aways in the beginning. You head into the woods which I feel is a nice challenge. I don't do well in there, but I try! You have lots of water and tall grass and a few hills. The scenery is nice too, especially if your on a date. Great sunsets! But playing there is alot of fun, this is my favorite place to play. It makes you work hard to hone in on your craft. People are friendly. You can buy discs there. Nice potapotty.
Cons: The only thing negitive to me would be the mosquitos. Part of the game is getting into the muck of it. Be prepared for that. If you want something nice and neat this is not the place for you. Bring extra shoes or clothes and bug spray if it's a concern.
Other Thoughts: If you don't try it, you won't know what your missing. It's really a cool place.
3 of 3 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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