Lots of Potential, Falling a Bit Short As Is
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: - Wildlife Prairie DGC is located on an utterly amazing piece of property for disc golf design purposes. Epic elevation throughout, several great water carries over small ponds, and plenty of thick forest combine to offer a real challenge for discers of all skills. The aim is clearly to put in a gold-level course of the highest caliber, although easier white tees do exist for those wanting to avoid a complete beatdown.
- Elevation is used spectacularly. There are several flat holes (1, 9, 10) but plenty of crazy ups and downs on others (3, 6, 14, 16). Hole #3 is a short steep downhill through trees with a river directly behind the basket. Just a touch too much power and you'll end up swimming. Hole #6 plays up a massive hill. Hole #14 plays along a steep hillside sloping down hard to the right, guardian trees lining the fairway waiting to kick your disc off a good long ways with little chance of a decent recovery shot. Hole #16 is apparently* a huge downhill bomb through the woods.
- Water is used very well here. #2 is a hyzer bomb over a reed-lined pond, with a bail-out zone for weaker arms to the left (where the white tee can be found). #3 has the river behind the basket. #8 is a picturesque, frog-filled pond, with a decent water carry and plenty of room to the left to bail out . Hole #15 is a good long water carry without a real decent bailout zone. The path to the right of the pond is fairly narrow, with a small earthen berm running the length of the path to the right. You can land on the path/berm if not attempting the full water carry, but it leaves you very little with which to work, and considering the basket is right on the edge of the water with thick trees behind, you still could end up wet or with a very bad look from the woods after approaching from the layup zone.
- Some beautiful nature out here. I saw a huge crane and a deer.
Cons: -*Full disclosure: I did NOT find all the holes, despite having a map and looking for a long, long, long time. I could not for the life of me find #s 5, 6, 16, 17, & 18. My round took almost 4 hours WITH A MAP. I do NOT get lost in the wilderness easily. The navigation/routing here is very dicey at the moment. No signs. Not even tape on the baskets to point the way to the next tee. Most baskets were numbered: except for the ones I actually needed to be numbered. Concrete tees are easy to find in the open areas, but only are in on #'s 1, 9, and 10. So once in the woods, you're looking for small orange flags for the tees...they're almost impossible to find with all the elevation, fallen limbs, and orange leaves on the ground at the moment. Add the fact that one or two have been mowed over (I had to pick up the little pieces of flag for Long 13 and piece them together, for example) and the horrific course flow (more on that in a second) and the tees were very much a challenge to find.
- This is not a disc golf exclusive area. In fact, it's heavily trafficked by mountain bikers. Numerous bike loop trails crisscross the course throughout. I was passed by no less than 8 large groups of bikers, a few groups in multiple spots. Nothing detracts more from an epic course than having to constantly wonder if you're going to get run down from behind by a (rightfully so) clueless biker. This is more of a mountain bike area than a disc golf area, so expect to play second fiddle to the bikers. I seriously question the wisdom of having these two activities overlap in such a conflicting manner.
- The flow of this course is ridiculous in places, all the more so because of the lack of signage. The best example of what I can only describe as "whack-ass flow" is after #12, you have to pass #15's basket, walk down its fairway, walk uphill into the woods past the long tee, pass #14's basket, go up a small rise (the path is barely visible) down a bike path to the hidden #13 (where you find flags that have been mown over). This is perhaps the most egregious case of routing/flow I've personally witnessed. I've navigated corn mazes with more intuitive flow than this place. Do I go down the bike trail to find the next tee? Do I risk being run over by mountain bikers to perhaps find the next series of tees? These are tough questions you might ask yourself after wandering around in the woods going "What the ****?!" for a half-hour, WITH A MAP!!!
-There are some downright dangerous hilly sections. To the right of #14's fairway is a very steep slope covered in shale rocks (currently under fallen leaves). That's a nasty slide downhill waiting to happen. There are other dicey areas with next to nothing in the way of pathways or stairs to provide safe walking routes. Sometimes these areas are in the middle of a fairway.
- Hole #'s 1 & 9 look like they're used as parking for events. They had yellow caution tape tied to tall fiberglass poles running the lengths of the fairways, which do kinda get in the way a bit. The flat and open nature of 1, 9 and 10 make them a bit on the "throwaway-ish" side of things in comparison to the rest of the course.
- The rough is *rough.* I was cool with 95% of the rough, but #13's "fairway" is damn ridiculous. A bunch of tall grass, brambles, shrubberies, and general undergrowth make losing discs in the fairway a real possibility, even on the edge of the circle.
- Look, I like Pay-to-Play...I've never really bitched about pay-to-play...but I got charged $9(!!!) for three concrete pads, no signage, horrible flow, for less than 18-holes (good luck finding 16-18 unless you walk backwards from 18's basket) in a non-dg exclusive park area. I've never left such a potentially magnificent course more pissed off than at Wildlife Prairie.
Other Thoughts: - This place should get better. Tees are still going in (evidenced by the wood frames on #3), and that should help with finding the next tees in the wooded sections. Signage should go in (until it does for the love of god some local should tape the baskets to indicate direction to the next tee location!!) and that can't hurt. Nothing, however, will fix the wonky-ass goofiness of 12-16's flow.
- From a pure golf standpoint: this course is a solid 4-disc course, minimum. Maybe 4.5, but I hesitate to say that when I couldn't even find all the damn holes. Considering all the issues, I can't give the course more than a 3-disc rating at the moment.
- For some reason they erected a wooden wall halfway down #12's fairway. I've seen similar ideas, but this one just seemed a bit unnecessary, considering it's already a heavily wooded course.
- $50 yearly pass makes this a viable alternative for locals, without breaking the bank.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Join Disc Golf Course Review
for free to add your review. Have an account already? Sign In
to add a review.