Camden II- The Bad Cop
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Nice big tee pads.
Multiple pin placements.
Amazing scenery and varied shot selection from tee off to holing out.
Densely wooded and great shots over ravines and up and down hills, great elevation changes.
Skill and shot placement necessary on every throw. You will be punished very badly for almost any mistake on any throw.
Isolated from everything except disc golf. Great atmosphere and a very challenging course.
Very nicely laid out and it takes much more than just a good drive to get a good score unlike many other courses.
This is the best course I have played and it is what I would see as a championship level course though I am not a tournament player. You need the skill, the power, the finesse, the right decisions, the disc selection, execution, and the confidence to just get par here and it changes how you view other courses that you thought were good before you played here.
Cons: It is a new course still coming together so there are no signs. Some holes have blind long pin placements which will require good signs that have all pin placements on them. Navigation would have been very bad if we didn't play with some locals who knew the course.
Other Thoughts: This course actually has legitimate par 4s and 5s if pins are in long positions. It was challenging for me when they were in short positions though I am just a casual/ recreational player. If you think you are good at disc golf, play a round here and see what you think of yourself after. I can not wait to come back and see how improved this course will get over time. Everyone should try this course!
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Multiple pin locations. Big wide tee pads. Many elevation changes and is well maintained by gene and his whole crew. They've been doing a great job trying to make this a champion level course.
Cons: Signage..... Just needs more of it
2 of 6 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Awesome design includes concrete tees and tons of pin positions. The elevation used in the course is very cool. Hole 1 starts throwing over a sweet valley. Hole 13 is a HUGE left to right shot off of a ginormous hill. The next hole 14 is a very cool and tricky uphill shot that curves sharply left. 15 is a sweet downhill tunnel shot. 16's green is super steep and makes for a very interesting hole. This course has so many types of shots and is so much fun. Hole 4 is a sweet dogleg right par 4. Later there is a hole where the fairway curves way downhill and left at the end. I have never played a hole like it anywhere else. I could go on and on about the cool holes here but you should just go experience it for yourself. Even the short holes here are interesting with their tight, up and down lines through the woods.
The bridges all over the course are terrific.
Cons: Rough is rough at times. Watch out for steep slopes and mud when the course is wet.
Chris Sprague and his crew of helpers have put a ridiculous amount of time into making this course great. Check out the course's website http://www.camdentwo.com
which includes a work blog, course records, and much more.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 1 Not
A review THREE YEARS in the making!
An ominous sign hung from the veiled opening of the forest as I approached: "Camden II - The Other Side". I felt that I was looking at a totem meant to ward off those not worthy enough to enter. Too bad I had forgotten my fedora and whip. From the massive ten foot square concrete tee pad, I took in the majestic view that was Hole One: an equally gorgeous and horrifying ravine plummeted down before me, slicing through the middle of the fairway. The pin winked at me from atop the hill on the other side, beckoning to me like some long-haired damsel trapped in a tower surrounded by a piranha filled moat. Slim-trunked trees dotted the near side as the terrain sloped down, and I knew why they were so menacing: even a glance from one of these bastards and my disc would topple into the depths below. Should I risk a full launch, pressing my luck? Or maybe play it safe and shirk the edge, using my approach shot to throw over the pit? Either way wouldn't be wrong, I thought. And I let it rip...
DISCLAIMER: The following description is brought to you by a wholly impressed disc golfer.
The course plays back and forth over one or two riverbeds (streambeds) at the bottom of the ravines and their corresponding hills. There is a brief break from the thick foliage on Hole 13, which is on the northern end of the forest in a field, but it is still very hilly. Be ready to bring it - this course is not for the weak! There are a myriad of ways to approach almost every hole, with lots of lanes through the trees in the well-sized fairways, as well as three different pin placements on most (all?) holes. I was fortunate enough to play when the shorter ones were in - the longest of the three look absolutely masochistic. Like, why? BECAUSE WE CAN! Ridiculous, LOL. Surprisingly, there is a lot of room to maneuver under the canopy, despite the density of the jungle. You are fully immersed without feeling claustrophobic at all. This alone is very hard to do and blew me away.
The HUGE tee pads (seriously 10 feet square) are (gasp) FLAT! Even if the terrain is sloped! I can think of more than a few courses that can take a lesson from that. So no worries, explorers, about having to adjust the angle of your drive to compensate. And these pads are so huge that two people could literally tee off at the same time, side by side. Grooves were cut into them to ensure solid shoe grip as well. Some of the best tees I've ever seen, hands down.
Most fairways involve steep elevation changes, thick rough, or both, and an obstacle or two thrown in for good measure. Like a giant friggin' downed tree that blocks your view of the target. But don't worry, the fine designers here have equipped a tall, reflective post atop the basket so you know where to aim. Little touches like that exist throughout the course and really shine through. You can tell how much effort has been put into making this course exceptional and one-of-a-kind.
Camden II is truly a work of art in that it has a homemade feel that I have never experienced on a DG course before. While the standard amenities are there - trash cans, benches, etc - the designers took it a step further: I felt like I was playing in someone's back yard. Someone's sprawling, grueling back yard. Rickety man-made bridges take you over treacherous ravines, and a wooden, hand-made ladder offers unlucky throwers an easy path into the trench on #4 (and a way back out). 6 inch thick wooden steps have been wedged into the steep hills throughout, providing sure footing both up and down. Felled logs line paths betwixt holes and shape fairways. Orange spray-painted tree stumps are your guides through the forest, so pay close attention; the clues are everywhere. After a while you feel like you're traversing the African Congo, following eerie markings on twisted trails from tee to tee, like you're searching for some long lost tribe that still speaks in their native tongue...
I was really impressed with how the course felt totally off the grid, and I think the overall feeling you get when you descend into the canopy is phenomenal. It was hard to believe that kids were playing teeball in another part of the park only a few hundred feet away. Never have I played a course that felt so...natural. It truly feels like you the human are the intruder here. Spiders run rampant over the leaves, and everywhere you turn creatures are rustling in the underbrush. I even saw a flock of wild turkeys crossing behind the basket on #2. At least I think they were turkeys...but looking back on it I wouldn't be surprised if they were some ancient dinosaur that time forgot and we all thought died out thousands of years ago.
Some of my favourite holes:
#1 and #4. They are very similar in that you are shooting over a ravine in both cases, although the pin is much farther back and has a slight dogleg right on #4. It's even more challenging than the first hole, as the ravine first cuts across and then travels along the right side of the fairway, serving as a constant reminder of the danger that awaits your disc should it go astray. The ravines normally have small streams in them but with the drought conditions everything was dry as a bone. I will say that when the stream is flowing, there still really isn't a threat of losing a disc. The hazard is more of trying to dig yourself out of the ravine. I would recommend a spotter on these holes especially, so they can track your disc if it goes in.
#9 is a tight jaunt, and #12 is a sharp downhill shot that is surprisingly tricky. #13 is the only break from the jungle, but is an awesome downhill blast over a wide open field, with the pin in the southeastern quadrant, back in the woods a bit.
Signature holes abound here, but #15 took the cake for me. Awesome setting with the homemade "Private Property"/"Out of Bounds" signs lining the left and a steady declining slope under the canopy and toward the pin. Very tricky lines available on your drive, and it is Rollaway Central by the pin, so be wary on the approach. There is a giant tree back here that looks like Christopher Walken is going to come out of it, a la the Headless Horseman. Creepy! The atmosphere contained here really put me over the top.
A few cons need to be mentioned, but nothing too serious.
Only a few temporary tee signs were up; laminated pieces of paper stapled to a tree near the tee. I suspect that over time they have fallen off or been ripped down. Not a huge issue as every basket is marked with the hole number and there is zero chance of overlap. Still, some permanent signs would really seal the deal on this beast of a course. Or maybe just a number spray painted or etched on the tee pads? But the signs that did exist were sweet! There had hole number and distance listed, as well as a photograph of the hole. Another nice homemade touch.
A few more next tee signs would've been appreciated. Like I state above, for the most part you can just follow the spray painted stumps to your next shot, but for some of the longer walks between holes (from 4 to 5 and especially 8 to 9) a sign would serve best. There were some throughout the course nailed to a tree or two, so maybe these fell down over time as well like the signage. FYI after #8, you walk back almost all the way to #1 and up a staircase to find #9. And after #11, head left to the top of the hill for #12, instead of turning right, which takes you to #17. These are really the only places where you become disoriented; the rest of the course flows really smoothly.
It would've been nice to have one or two more shots in the big field at the north end of the course. By the time I got to #13 I was ecstatic that I was being given a reprieve from the rough-and-tumble terrain of the jungle. But alas, it was short lived: its pin is placed back in the woods, and #14 is an uphill drive right back into the thick of it. A tee sign would've been really nice on this hole, too, as your line of sight is obstructed by the tree line on the right. I had to walk down the hill and into the middle of the field to find the pin, and then walk all the way back up to throw.
And what's up with the steepest hill of the course not having any stairs in it?!? Normally this wouldn't be a con, since most courses wouldn't have stairs anywhere to begin with, but since everything else had been so meticulously thought out, I found it really odd that the climb from 16 to 17 didn't have any. I mean, we're not talking a small incline here - the hill is friggin' steep! I slipped on the loose gravel surface and almost went down. I'm sure the designers are aware of this, and hopefully they'll think about putting in the 6 inch wooden ties here as well.
My last thought here is that I don't think I would've enjoyed myself had the long pins been in when I played. I could see where they were located, and at just about every one I took a look back at the tee and thought, "How would you par this?" Several looked almost impossible to hit in three shots. Some folks like a challenge, and I can't knock the designers for catering to everyone, but for me it seemed too much. However, I would like to play again with the second set of pins in, as some of the holes were a tad too easy for my taste this time around, with the shortest of the three pins being in place.
I originally came upon this behemoth of a course back in July of 2009, and I was defeated in eight short holes. I vowed to return, but the opportunity did not present itself until business brought me back into the Quad Cities last week. And this time, I came prepared. It is still a bastard to take on, but kudos to all the work that has been done since my last visit! My main complaint when I first played through was that there were no defined fairways. You were literally playing on a forest floor, with all kinds of overgrowth. It was a real chore to play. I played with two other guys and we began the day spotting on every hole, but after a couple we had to spot every TOSS OF THE DISC. We called it quits after #8 and we all agreed it was the worst course that we had ever played. Harsh words, I know. My original rating was 0.5 out of 5, but I knew the potential for greatness was there, and made it a point to try it again at some point. After all, the property alone had at least a three-star course written all over it.
Well, what a difference three years makes! It looks like they tilled the fairways and planted grass seed, as all the fairways were thick and green. It really helped shape and define the holes. On my first expedition, I had a feeling the course was extremely new at the time, as you could tell there hadn't been much foot traffic yet and the course hadn't been broken in properly. It looked as if somebody had placed some tee pads and baskets randomly in the forest and called it good. It was nearly impossible to see the design of the course. Now it is brilliantly imagined and flows with ease. Make no mistake, this is still a helluva course, but I can't imagine how much work must've been put into the land to make it as amazing it is now, and my God was it a beautiful thing to behold! I almost felt like I was tainting the landscape just by playing through. So hats off to you and yours, Mr. Sprague. Truly. I told you I would be back and I was not disappointed!
Overall, Camden II is a brutal course to tackle, but so worth it! It's very fun and challenging all at the same time. Make sure you come ready for battle: wear comfortable shoes, bring plenty of water and a snack, and pace yourself. This place is not for n00bs, and if you play like one you will be punished like one. You are entering the mouth of the dragon, and as long as you respect him, he will respect you. And when you come out on the other side, you will feel a true sense of accomplishment. This course has been solidified in my Top Five and is right up there with Middle Park, my other favourite in the Quad Cities, and may even top it over time. The blood and sweat poured into this plot of land is apparent in everything you see, and you can't help but be awed by the experience.
Highly, highly recommended. Bravo!
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 3 Not
Very Interesting Course
Pros: Camden II was awesome. Our road trip consisted of several Quad City courses and this one was by far the most wooded, which I found enjoyable. Here are the main pros:
Scenery: As mentioned, a very wooded course, which led to some very nice wooded scenery. Got to see all kinds of nature and felt very isolated from the roads and park around us. A few streams winding through through the park. Felt like I was on a long nature hike the whole time.
Difficulty: Awesome level of difficulty, especially if pins are in the long positions! Very technical course with lots of distance challenge as well. A few deuce opportunities that are extremely rewarding if you can hit the shot.
Elevation: Lots of elevation changes, forcing a variety of shots despite the repetitive tunnels.
Quick note: Hole 13 is awesome! Big hill with heavy woods to the right, which forces a right handed player to throw a forehand or an anhyzer... but gives a big arm a chance to CRUSH! :) My favorite hole on the course!
Cons: Though they offer some excitement, I really wish the medium placements were the shortest ones this course had.
Extremely muddy and difficult to navigate... very glad I had someone with us who had played the course.
Square teepads here were woefully short... Given the muddiness of the course, I certainly would have liked an extra foot or two to make my approach.
Other Thoughts: I didn't play Camden I, but this one seemed to look much more interesting. Highly recommend if you are in the quad cities.
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 3 Not
Bring your A game!
Pros: Beautiful track! If you haven't played it this year you haven't played it. Hundreds of man hours have gone into making this course top notch. The rough has been significantly managed so that finding your disc is not an hour job. The terrain is rugged and gives you a good workout. You don't need to throw 500' to score here. This is a thinking man's course. Shape your drives and approaches and you can score. This course is tough but fair. The creek areas have many manmade steps to aid in retreiving your discs. I like the mix of long and short holes. No one wants to be brutalized all day long. LOL The layout can be change to make each hole have a different feel. The various hole locations are well thought out. This course demands that you have many different shots in the bag.
Cons: Tee signs are needed. Everything takes time so I know this will happen.
Other Thoughts: This course is not for the intermediate/rec player. It's a top notch course for top notch players. In tourney play the best players will finish at the top, just like any high quality course. If you enjoy testing your skills you must check out this course. Well done Mr. Sprague, well done.
6 of 9 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: - Course is mostly set within a deeply wooded, hilly forest. Nothing else going on except for discing.
- Terrain is very, very hilly at this park. This is obvious on the long downhill bomber hole outside the forest, in addition to many holes inside the forest. Adding to the normal hilliness are some very deep creekbeds/ravines, which are in play in many spots. The hole layout provides a great variety of elevation changes, with holes playing over ravines, uphill, downhill, side-sloping fairways, almost every type of shot is accounted for.
- Lots of different variety with the fairways as well. There are some that are pretty clear, some that are very tight, some with low ceilings, some with high floors, some with sadistic rough, others with jail. The course doesn't use the fairways to make up for short lengths; you can have a long hole with a tight fairway and a short hole with an open fairway. Much more character that the usual long/open short/tight formula.
- Fantastic mix of the different types of holes, with many different combinations of left/straight/right, and uphill/downhill, or a few of the above put together. Some of the longer holes in the forest are legitimate multi-shot holes, with twisting paths that beg for controlled, lay-up shots. Lots of blind baskets to encourage the safe route.
- In addition to the tight fairways and nasty rough/jail, there are also many spots with a deep creekbed for a hazard. Water or no water, going into the bottom of the valleys is severe punishment. Add in some sloping/well protected greens, and every single shot can become a major problem very quickly. Accurate shots are needed to avoid this trouble, not just to score well. Overshooting a basket can mean big, big trouble.
- Alternate basket placements at this course completely change the overall feeling and difficulty level. The long pin placements are brutal, championship-level holes that are not to be trifled with. The short pin placements are still brutal, but much more approachable by an intermediate player. Many, many more deuce opportunities and much, much easier to score low.
- Great teepads and baskets. Pending tee signs (some pictures with numbers); very tough to navigate without help. Check out a map either way.
Cons: - Some areas are very treacherous, like getting a disc out of the deep creekbed. You must be in good shape to play this one.
- While there is a ton of hole variety, there is not much change in the scenery. Only one hole is out of the forest; everything else is pretty similar terrain-wise.
Other Thoughts: - This course is both a beauty and a beast, depending on the pin positions. They were in the shorts when I played, but I made sure to scope out all the different positions. I was blown away by the large disparity between the shorts and the longs, it is almost two different courses in terms of difficulty. The shorts are super fun, the longs must be super tough. No matter which position they are in, I find it to be a true gem, and only hesitate from giving a 5/5 due to the uniformity of the terrain (94% forest). Fantastic line-shaping needed, and not just because of overly-tight fairways.
- I hope to expand on this after playing the longs, but didn't want to wait.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Billy Goat Ranch in a good way
Pros: 1) This property is incredible. It is so diverse on terrain. Basically there are two or three massive ravines that you throw across, up, down, through, around, over. They are large dropoffs from top to bottom and the actual ravine below the big hills are about 6-10' deep. There is very little water in them (although I played in the middle of the August drought, but it also was just a few weeks from massive Iowa flooding, so I am sure at that time they were flowing rapidly. These ravines make this course what it is.
2) Garbage is available on some holes but I can see emptying the garbage to be a tough process for some of the deeper holes in the woods.
3) Tee signs are temporary laminated photos. I like the way they were setup in that the basket is photoshopped into the picture showing your line. It shows different vantage points on some of the pictures to help you decipher where the basket it. I am sure if they incorporate those into permanent signs that would be phenomonal. Hole and distance are listed, but I did run across a few that didnt account for alternate basket distances.
4) Mach baskets in good shape with the number plate facing the tee which is always appreciated in a tight wooded course like this where you struggle to find the baskets.
5) Flag on the #2 basket is visible from the tee because of the tree laying across the fairway blocking the view. This could be helpful on more baskets or at the very least some bright paint to help find the baskets.
6) Challenge at every turn! There are no weak holes here and there is a good variety of shot types and hole types. I always appreciate a course that challenges me in a fair way.
7) Bridges are pretty well built. Some of the stairways are well done, some are a little shoddy, but overall for the terrain the amenities for navigation are good enough.
8) Large concrete teepads are a plus. I was a little surprised to see them all the way through the course because I can only imagine how difficult it was to get them in there. Thanks for the hard work whoever did it!
9) Fairways are well defined despite the very dense forest you play through. There are even some clearings and grassy fairways int he middle of these woods which look to me like they were cleared and planted, but I am not sure. This is a really cool feeling to play down a grassy fairways surrounded on both sides by tight dense hardwood forest.
10) 4 basket practice area located in between Camden I and II. Great feature!
11) Navigational arrows help you get through the course. There are a lot of areas that would be confusing if you didn't know the course, especially when alternate baskets are 200+ feet in between the two baskets.
12) An 8 hole loop and a 10 holes loop allow for a half round for some. I luckily played early in the morning but it was literally 90+ at 9:30 when I played. I had already played West Lake and Camden I so I was getting hot and tired. I had planned on like 7 courses on this day but had to go back to the hotel after the first three courses (ending at Camden II) to take in the AC and rest because this course had me feeling like a hot sweaty irritated Billy goat.
Cons: 1) This course is one of the least beginner friendly courses I have ever played. Lost discs, broken ankles, heart attacks, are all possible here. This course is not for the faint of heart or if you don't really love disc golf you might want to skip this course! This is a negative for these people but in the end it makes it awesome to me.
2) Hit one of those trees lining the fairway and you are bound to end up in the bottom of the ravine. You are able to get down to your disc if this does happen but it is tough especially when it is wet. I ended up in the ravine 2 or 3 times int he entire round. It didnt bother me that I had to crawl down there, but it would slow people down, and would frustrate the weak hearted.
3) I love a challenge, but there were not many tight technical birdie holes. You still have to throw long discs. You can choose controlled midranges over drivers, but ti is hard to play the whole course with that mindset, you want to be able to try and make some good drives for birdies.
Other Thoughts: What a great property, good amenities, a constant challenge, but always fair fairways. It has it all. The elevation changes, the ravines, the tight wooded holes, risk/reward shots all over the place. It is simply a great course that is well done. It is a great design and use of the property, there is planty of diversity, I jut wish there were some shorter technical holes. It just seems like it is all long and requires a lot of drivers and less controlled mid-ranges unless you consider how often you will only get half the distance you want on any shot because of hitting a tree. I love it and I will be back for sure. I just should do it when it isn't 90" and not when I plan on playing 20 courses in 3 days!
This course is getting a 4, but it is one of my top 4 disc courses. It is so close to a 4.5 I just think it needs a little more clearing, maybe a way to trim the grass from time to time on those wooded grassy fairways. There also would need to be improvements to access to the ravine as well as improved stairways. It isn't a huge deal but those are the differences that take a course from good to great. Based solely on the disc golf I love it, but a few more improvements would be helpful. I like the temporary signs and look forward to a permanent sign with all pertinent information.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 1 Not
Fantastical, on its way to the top!!
Pros: Elevation, lots and lots of elevation changes. Ginormous tee pads. Bridge crossings over creeks. Lots and lots of trees. Though this was a heavily wooded course, it had prominent fairways on some holes and they seemed to be maintained fairly well. There are practice baskets that are shared between both Camden 1 and 2. Plenty of trash cans. Very secluded feeling while on course, except for the occasional air traffic from the nearby airport. Great effort by designers on the bridges and steps to help navigate through course, I can't emphasize this enough. Course flow is actually pretty good, but the Next Tee Signs help tremendously on a course this heavily wooded. Multiple blind pins add to difficulty. What a way to start a course, Hole 1 truly sets the tone and lets you know this course is not to be messed with. This hole had a tight tree lined fairway with a deep ravine to add to the pucker factor, the pin is sitting there just teasing you. I also like the fact that after hole 9, you were next to the parking lot and could refill on water, use the porta-potties, or end your round early if need be.
Cons: Not many cons for me. Signing would be nice, the picture signs are nice to get you by, and on a couple of holes they were needed as a visual reference with their multiple pictures, but permanent signs would be great. Rough is really rough, would be helpful to bring a spotter for those occasional throws you wish you could have back. Even though some of the holes had nicely distinguished fairways, some of them didn't, keeping the rough out of the fairways would push this park over the top.
Other Thoughts: All the elevation changes made me really take my time. I had to stop and catch my breath a few times on some of the steep hills, not a big deal, just worth noting. Most wooded courses I have played have shorter holes that you would use a midrange or a putter on, NOT HERE!! Several of long holes that will test you to keep your drivers in the fairway. I don't know the actual distances on the holes, but I remember some of them being 300' - 500', IN THROUGH THE WOODS!! Awesome! You will need to bring everything you've got in your arsenal of throws for this course, back hand, forehand, anny's, tommy's, the works. There are lots of great holes on this course, but besides hole 1 which I already mentioned, I liked 4, 7, and 13. 4 is a brutal downhill hole over a creek, then takes a sharp right turn and another couple hundred feet to the pin along the creek. 7 is a very steep uphill with trees everywhere. 13 really let's you air it out. Starting on top of the hill, you throw within the trees and bushes on the tee, to a very large open grassy field. The elevation change is huge here and your disc just floats forever, a good shot here will be near the opening that brings you back into the woods. Also, I got my first Ace on hole 12, so I will always have a bond with this course.
This course is not a family friendly. On occasion, my kids and wife come with me to walk the trails of courses like this. I think this one would be pretty tough on them and I don't think I would let them come (wouldn't want to listen to the whining from the younger ones during play). I lost a disc on this course, and one of the locals called me said that he found it. I didn't have a chance to get it from him for several months and didn't call him back for a while. He called me back to make sure I didn't lose his #. Thanks Frank!! Great locals, another reason to play this course. During play, I found myself thinking and getting excited about the next hole - what could they think of next, what are they going to throw at me now, how are they going to challenge me on the next one. Wow, can't wait to play again!! I wanted to give 4.5 stars, but couldn't do it without permanent tee signs.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Heavily wooded with excellent usage of elevation, concrete tees, as well as pictures of hole locations for all holes except 17, great course a must play, can't wait to get on it again, after the first 8, or 9 your choice if its been too much for that day, they are near the parking lot
Cons: If the course is wet BE CAREFUL ITS TREACHEROUS!, the climbing and descending of hills becomes very dangerous with wet conditions, some blind throws so prepare a spotter
As far as bathroom and water facilities well there are porta potties and thats about it, only at the parking lot,
no breeze to help you stay cool so bring lots of water with, you
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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