7 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: This course makes great use of a very scenic park. The holes offer challenging lines for players to hit, a feature that is absent in many suburban disc golf courses. It is also uncommon for suburban disc golf courses to have 18 holes, which gives Black Bear an edge over many courses. This is a perfect place to practice making tight straight throws that can be applied at high caliber tournament courses.
The tee signs here are accurate and as of right now, they're all in place. The baskets are brand spanking new and are full of loving chains. If you're looking for a moderate challenge, then this course is a great place to play.
Favorite holes: 11, 18
Cons: This course falls just short of being a very highly rated one for a few reasons:
*It does not offer much distance challenge. If you are an experienced disc golfer, you will not need your drivers at Black Bear
*Hole 12 is a 166 ft. more or less wide open shot... a hole that wouldn't be found on a lengendary course
*After hole 17, you have to cross hole 3s fairway to get to the tee of hole 18
Other Thoughts: *Mixture of cement and astroturf teepads... I know this is often listed as a "con," but it didn't really seem to affect the overall experience
*There is more water to the left of hole 11s fairway than I expected, be sure to keep your discs away!
Overall, I'd say that this course is definitely going a bit out of your way to visit. It certainly challenges finesse, but if you play well, you will be rewarded with a great score!
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Decent little course
Pros: This course was pretty easy to follow. I think only once did I throw out of order and that was going from 17 to 18 (there is a hole in between). The path winding through the park acts as the tee pad in most cases, while there are turf pads for holes in the woods. Signage was fairly good, though one or two signs appeared to be missing. Decent variety of open and wooded shots at a very pretty park.
Cons: Parking appears tough as this is in a pretty residential area. Lots of shots over water and high brush and it's easy to lose discs, even with how short these holes are. Holes appear to intersect with one another so it would definitely be tough to play on a busy day.
Other Thoughts: I don't have a very big arm and this course was just my speed. All of the holes were around 200-300 feet, though there was some challenge on most (not all) of the holes. I didn't think this course flowed great, but I was able to get hole to hole with little issues. I was also surprised how little I was bitten by mosquitoes given how swampy the area was. I enjoyed this course and though it was pretty cute, though nothing extraordinary. I think I would play here again if in the area, though I would probably avoid the course on a busy day.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Fun Little 18 holes
Pros: I had a great time on this course. The setting is really beautiful... near a small lagoon with cattails and a path winding through a very picturesque setting. Very new and so far well maintained. It is rather short as others have mentioned but it does make you think. It requires very accurate driving off the tee and once on the fairway it does require some creative thinking to navigate the wooded fairways that make up at least 2/3rds of the course. There are several holes where water comes into play and you have to decide how much you want to risk. Most holes tee off from a line painted on the paved walking path or from a raised Astroturf tee for the wooded holes. I have to say that I love water holes and this course has 7 of them. None are so long as to be horrifying for any intermediate player who can throw 250' but they will make you consider any slight breeze and risk reward before you tee off.
Cons: Tons of trees make for a bit of a pinball effect on the wooded fairways that on a few holes might require more luck than skill. Some might consider this a con but I rather enjoyed getting in and out of trouble with the trees. We also had a few shots where the trees actually helped redirect an errant throw back toward the basket. Most big arms will find it wanting for distance as the longest hole is only 301 feet. However the trees and water force you to keep your line to such a degree that I think even big arms will find it challenging.
Other Thoughts: All and all this is a fun little course and we had a blast playing it. Hole #5 plays right over a fishing dock which was very picturesque but would make the hole unplayable if someone were fishing or launching a canoe. Also many holes are very close together or along the path so use caution if there are other players or pedestrians on the course. The 18th tee is only about 30 or 40 feet from the 2nd hole basket which could be dangerous if you are not mindful of others. As always please pick up your trash and leave the course nicer than you found it. May all your drives be true & all your putts (and the occasional drive) end with a satisfying clink of chain.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 5 Not
What! No Black Bears?
Pros: Aesthetically pleasing 18 hole course that plays in and around a forest/nature preserve. There is a nice variety of different holes that make excellent use of the natural surroundings.
Good replay value in my opinion.
Cons: Parking is very, very limited. It's basically just a strip of street next to the park.
Other Thoughts: The Redwing Blackbirds are very territorial on the holes playing over and around the bullrushes. My friends and I found ourselves ducking and running from these angry birds. Quite entertaining!
***I won't ever write a review where I give bugs/wildlife/foliage con feedback... you are outside, often in places where the wildlife was there long before the course. Knocking a place for "mozzies" and "itchy plants" seems dumb to me. Go in expecting nature and kit yourself out accordingly!***
1 of 6 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Worth stopping by
Pros: I like the fact that trees abound on this course. I also like the water hazard that comes into play on a few holes. I found there to be a fair amount of variety in the holes as well. There did not seem to be much repetitiveness. I just liked the feel of being out here. It had a nice atmosphere.
Cons: The designers have no control over elevation, but it is a pretty flat course. It is also a bit short. Some of the holes are a bit too close to each other, but I guess the designers had a limited amount of space to work with. The challenge from the trees help to offset the lack of distance. I also wish there were a parking lot for the park. I had to park down the street in front of someone's house. I guess that is not much of a con, though. A little more elevation and a little more space between the holes could make this a four ranking for me.
Other Thoughts: All in all, I would consider this a worthwhile stop if you are in the Elgin area hitting up Shady Oaks or Sunrise Park. When I visit my friend in Elgin in the spring, I will definitely hit this course up again. I might even play two rounds this time.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: A newer course. Very scenic in the fall. Nice hole info signage and signage/pavement markings pointing out the next hole. Good course for a brand new disc golfer to learn the value of control and choosing a good line to the basket. There's a horse near one of the final holes of the course.
Cons: While the trees are pretty, they get in the way often. I had several shots bounce off the tree limbs and trunks. Saw one tree toward the northern end of the course (#9?) that had a bunch of gashes in it from other disc golfers. I managed to miss that one. The water holes just aren't good for beginners. I was really worried about tossing a brand new disc into the pond. Hole 4 can be carried easily, but it made me nervous. At #5, I made 70ft throws along the path because I was so concerned about throwing one into the pond. Course could get busy; saw some other players as I started my round and again at the halfway point. All the leaves on the ground in the fall can make it harder to find your discs.
Other Thoughts: I'm a beginner. Played at Clark Park a few times in the 90s. For me, Black Bear Park was a difficult course. I didn't mind the trees much, even though they cost me at least 6 shots. The water was nerve-wracking for me because I have little length and control to my drives. That said, I look forward to playing this course again.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 6 Not
Fun / Short
Pros: I really like the variety. Each hole has it's own personality. If you like short technical courses, this is a good one for you. Water comes into play on a couple holes for a little extra pressure.
the quality of the signage is good,
Cons: No long holes, but that's not a terrible thing. The only thing I really don't like about this course is the safety issues with the intermingling of the pedestrian traffic and the flight paths of the holes. You will sometimes have to wait a while for people to get out of the way before you can throw. I don't like worrying that I'm going to hurt someone.
I didn't really know where to go from one hole to the next, but luckilly I had people there to help me out.
Other Thoughts: Given the choice between having a course that has to share space with walkers/bikers and not having a course at all, I choose sharing the space! This is a great course to play on your lunch break if you work in the area (like I do) And I've even used the course to introduce new players to the game, since none of the holes are really that long.
2 of 8 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: - Course is crammed into a wooded and wet section of this park. There is a walking path that winds throughout, otherwise completely devoted to disc golf.
- Lots of holes are set in well populated woods. There are plenty of tight windows to hit, especially in the fairways. Lots of small trees mean that there are a ton of different lines, though some are a lot more forgiving that others. If one were to follow the "recommended" paths, a pretty good variety of shots can be found. Some baskets are protected by trees, and plenty of greens as well. Only a couple spots where trees challenge off the tee.
- Other holes have water or tall grass to act as hazards. These holes are much more open, of course, with protected greens being the biggest obstacle. So, going over or around the various hazards in the fairway is not too challenging. Still, better than wide open fairways by a large margin.
- Some holes have decent elevation changes, and almost hole have a slight tilt up or down. #1 and #18 play by a small hill, that is about as extreme as it will get. Still, better than being dead flat.
- Great tee signs, good baskets, interesting tees. Asphalt OK, elevated wooden boxes OK. Some great navigational aids like arrows on the walking path or a post pointing to #3 and #18.
Cons: - Biggest concern with this course is the layout. Many holes play directly next to each other, and the path to get to hole #7? goes right through another hole's fairway. Heads up at all times.
- This course is a real shorty. One, and only one, hole is over 300' at 301'. Some of the holes are very brainless, as they are wide open and very short. Even the tougher holes here aren't that tough because they are so short.
- One tee is right next to a garbage can, which really gets in the way. Poor design again.
Other Thoughts: - This is a great course for intermediate players, thanks to the tightly wooded holes and various water hazards. A beginner would probably find it too hard, with lines that are too tight and water/tall grass in the worst spots. An experienced player would probably be bored to tears by the shorter hole lengths and easily avoided obstacles/hazards. But, those in between should find it just right, in terms of difficulty and fun factor.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Technical course with a variety of shots required to score well. The course has also been cleared and cleaned up. Pictured tee markers are also in.
Cons: Length of holes are fairly similar. I love to see some alternate tee boxes to vary the play.
Other Thoughts: Fun course to play, it can be overpowered, however, it can bite you.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This relatively new course winds its way through a forest of mature trees. The hole design results in forced flightpaths on the majority of the holes. This is a short technical course. There are holes that finish left, holes that finish right, holes that are a straight shot, and some that require s curves. This is a fun place to play a quick round with just a mid and a putter, drivers are not needed. Tees are a mix of asphalt (painted lines on the walking path and Astroturf on a raised wooden platform. The tee signs are very nice with fairly descriptive drawings of the hole, showing obstacles, preferred flightpath and distance. A pond and a cattail marsh come into play on some of the holes adding some danger. There are a lot of tight fairways on this course that require you to hit a small window early in the fairway. I you are running short on time you can easily play a nine hole loop by playing hole 13-18 after finishing 1-3. It requires no extra walking, and 13 is where most would assume 4 would be anyway.
Cons: This is a very short course. 14 of the 18 holes are 260' and under. I would have liked to see more variety in distance even if that meant fewer holes. This course doesn't flow very well at all, it requires you to double back or walk past other tees in a few spots. If it wasn't for the numbered arrows spray painted on the walking path this course would be a real bitch to get around. The ground here can get very muddy after a rain, and the teepads look like they would be very slippery when wet. The course plays away from and back to a walking path for many of the holes. This creates waits and makes it easier to hit someone.
Other Thoughts: I guess I would classify this one as a technical pitch-n-putt 18. There are some fun shots here, and it is always gratifying to hit a narrow gap and park a tee shot. It is way more enjoyable than Summit, which this course resembles with its many very narrow fairways lined with tons of trees. Unlike Summit, at Black Bear a great shot should be able to park each hole, which is not the case at Summit (even on some very short holes).
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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