Pros: This course sits on rolling hills next to Lake Decatur and provides a surprising amount of elevation. There are a couple fairly open uphill throws that will challenge even very strong arms.
The baskets aren't new, but they catch well enough.
Variety of throws, obstacles, hole layouts is good.
Signage is barely a pro... at least there's something there.
The course was pretty well groomed but a local told me the grass can get tall before they cut.
Big fairly open course with a couple tricky corridors to navigate.
Cons: Tees are nice, BUT...the signage at each tee is on the rear right corner of the tee...which for me anyway is right in my walk up/run up line. Poor sign location.
Could use some more trash cans.
Three holes in a row on the back 9 are practically the same throw with slightly different scenery.
I feel this course is prime disc golf real estate, and it's good, but maybe it could be better with some tweaking. Also, there is a lot more great looking park space that could be another 9 or even 18 holes.
Some resident in the neighborhood was walking his dog on the back nine (along the edge of the park) and he was carrying and shooting a small crossbow. Slightly disconcerting when you are introducing your girlfriend and a friend of hers to the game of disc golf.
Other Thoughts: Great use of public park space. A credit to Decatur. Keep it up. Maybe put a little more effort in and it could be fantastic. I will play it again.
Old ball golf courses are fun
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - In a nice, large, old city park down by the lake in the middle of town.
- Large parking lot, servicing a large dog park as well. Part of a 'lakefront revitalization' project. Just north of a marina, and putt-putt course. Brand new putt-putt course is currently being constructed in the park NE of the disc course.
- Huge tee pads, sufficiently rough (except for #14, see cons)
- Signs on all holes (save #13). Primitive kit-type signs, but it has the basics.
- Nice baskets, in good shape.
- Course on an old ball course, provides lots of elevation changes and interesting holes. Big rolling hills and valleys.
- Course designer used the timber and thickets between the ball course holes to create some variety and more narrow/wooded holes with obstacles. Very nicely done with the land.
- #3 is a long bomber hole that's lots of fun.
- #7 is a very scenic hole, teeing off from an old ball golf tee box, down a hill and up to the pin. Par 3 that plays longer if you end up only at the bottom of the hill after your drive.
- #9 plays similarly, only straight ahead and via a very narrow fairway.
- #12 is a unique hole that looks scarier than it is. The pad is directly in front of a large pine tree. You must pick left or right, and drive along a row of three trees to the basket, which is hiding behind the 3rd tree. Never really seen any hole like it before.
Cons: - Finding #1 is probably somewhat difficult your first time to the course. No course sign or map at the beginning of the course. If you didn't see the baskets, you probably wouldn't notice the course was there.
- Just a porta-john near the dog park on the other side of the parking lot.
- No benches, and just two trash cans on the whole course. #1 and #8.
- During the summer, the poison ivy is very thick in the timber and brambles on this course.
- #11, 12, and 13 are somewhat repetitive, in that they are similar in length, and you can pretty well use the same drive for all 3. Even #14, really.
- TIP: the leading edge of #14 tee pad is a bit slick. Can throw you off if you step wrong.
- #15 is a very intimidating hole, with only the strongest arms able to clear a tall stand of trees on an up-slope that leads to the pin. The path through the thick stand of trees is only 10 feet wide, 250 feet out. Landing in the trees is extremely punishing, and for those unable to drive the pin, the hole becomes a little boring and frustrating. Rec players consistently play this hole being satisfied with a bogie-4.
- Tee pad on #16 installed in a direction that was not intended. Unfortunately, the intended path is a blind, right-turning shot with a fairway only 10 feet wide. It is lined by a very dense thicket. Finding and retrieving discs from the thicket is disastrous. Especially with the poison ivy everywhere.
- #18 is a shorter par 4 finishing hole, with the basket perched on an old ball golf tee box. It has a weird feel to it, with no obstacles until a row a trees on the left about 100 feet from the basket, and one big tree guarding the right side. Just feels kind of clunky. That's right, clunky.
Other Thoughts: - You will find windy conditions on this course from time to time, but it's slightly unpredictable. While a predominant wind may be from the west or north, at the same time wind may be swirling off of the lake from the south side of the course.
- This IS my hometown course, and I've avoided reviewing it for some time because of that. I love playing this course, and it's hard not to love all the intricacies you get to know on a course you play so often. Great mix of wide open bomber holes, as well as narrow fairways asking for precision. The hole layout itself could be a 4.0, but the course lacks the standard creature-comforts that a 4.0 course would have, including regular upkeep and buy-in from the park district that manages the park. Would absolutely love to upgrade my rating with future upgrades to the course.
- Definitely worth a play if you're in Decatur for one reason on another!
- Also, FYI, many locals play the course by starting on #2, which just seems to flow better, and end on a better finishing hole with #1.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: First of all, Happy 1st Birthday to this course!
This course is set up on an old ball golf course, and it is a perfect piece of property for a solid disc golf course. The land is semi-hilly, semi-wooded, and very nicely taken care of. It has great flow and is a pleasure to walk and play.
The baskets are new, shiny, and catch great. While the tees are slightly smaller than I'm used to, at least they're concrete. The signs show distances, par, and give a rough idea of what the hole looks like.
What I liked a lot about this course is that there are no easy 2s, but getting a 4 is usually a smack in the face. It's a very fair but challenging course with a good variety of distances mixed in. There's usually more than one line to the pin, which makes choosing a shot a little difficult sometimes, but that definitely adds to the fun!
Cons: I was on the edge between 3.5 and 4.0 for this course, and ended up falling back on the 3.5. Here's why:
While there are several good holes (most of them), there isn't really a signature great hole that has massive elevation changes, a super cool line, or over water throws.
This is usually a pro, but there's a ton of land still available that should have been used to make this 24, if not 27 holes. The course could be a huge destination if it's expanded and takes advantage of this potential. I would say it's definitely possible for this property to have a 4.0, if not 4.5 rated course in the near future.
Other Thoughts: If you're in the area of Decatur, this course is a lot of fun to play and I'd honestly recommend it. The park is very nicely taken care of and the course is a pleasure to play. Luckily, I only live an hour away and I could see myself coming back here.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Another Solid Central IL Course
Pros: This course is an excellent addition to a central Illinois area that is rapidly becoming a great disc golf destination. Pros of this course:
* Unique. Mostly open holes mixed with a lot of well thought out lines and obstacles that are rare on courses in similar terrain.
*Elevation: Pins are placed in the perfect spots to make the most of this feature. Makes putts tricky.
*Long... let the bombs fly!
*Loved holes 3, 8, and 9
*Lots of hole where you wonder "can I make that throw???"
Cons: *Non-woodsiness of the course means there are no holes that demand a specific line...reduces the overall challenge of the course
*Lots of places to potentially lose discs... the elevation at the course hides a lot of sketchy spots that you would steer clear of if you knew they were there.
*Hole 10 is pretty plain. No real exciting features other than a lot of distance
Other Thoughts: The day that I played this course, there was a TON of wind. Adds to the challenge of the course, but also to the frustration.
Overall a great course. Highly recommend!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Let's Recycle MORE Ball Golf Courses
Pros: **>>I LOVE seeing Ball Golf Courses getting recycled into Disc Golf Courses. They tend to have manicured, roller-friendly Fairways. This is a fairly long course, Like Brett said..."7 holes 340ft or more", unless you can really crush it, you'll need a roller and/or multiple shots to reach the longer holes.
**Since this course sits right on Lake Decatur there is LOTS of wind. 25-30mph the day we were there. Will definitely affect your disc/shot selection...
**Well thought out holes (with the exception of 18/1 (see-cons...))
**Good mix of lefty-righty holes.
**LOVE some of the pin placements on the edge of hills, will make you think twice about "going for it".
**several signature holes out there.
**Several sneaky holes (IE. man that's farther than it looks...)
GREAT JOB GUYS...
Cons: Hole #18 basket is 40-50ft to the right of #1 tee. #18 basket is behind a large tree begging for a big righty hyzer shot right over the top of #1 tee. You can see #18 tee from #1 so you can watch to see if anyone is teeing if you are aware of this.
Other Thoughts: The rough is, rough..., but, that's to be expected on a new course. It will get beat down in no time with some play
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Big D in Decatur
Pros: Nelson Park is located on an old ball golf course. The land has rolling hills, scattered trees, and some thick rough in places. Make sure you print the course map to find hole #1.
Brand new shiny Mach 3's.
Tee signs and quite a few garbage cans.
This course is pretty long. There are 7 holes 340ft or more.
Concrete tees that were installed correctly except # 16. See con.
I've played quite a few ball golf courses. This course has more interesting features than others that i've played.
There are a few fun downhill holes. I don't usually throw my mid range disc on a 350ft hole.
Cons: Currently the parking lot is not complete. Finding hole #1 will be very difficult.
The tee signs are blank right now.
Being on a ball golf course it lacks a true par 5 and has only one par 4. There are several holes that are tweener holes unless you can absolutely crush.
Depending on which way the wind blows you'll find out quickly how bad the Staleys plant smells. It's rough!
Hole #16's tee pad was installed facing the wrong direction. The hole was meant to be played down the left side.
This is a good addition to a large town that did not have disc golf.
Go Big Blue! Millikin University Rocs!!!
Decatur is the original home of the Chicago Bears.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
A Lot of Fun!!!
Pros: This course is on an old ball golf course that has a lot of rolling hills.
The course has a huge variety of shots. Some uphill, some downhill, some lefty, some righty, some long, some short.
The course will test your uphill and downhill game (driving, approaching, and putting).
My favorite holes would have to be 1,9,10,12, and 15... with 15 being my favorite.
Cons: A couple holes are too close together and could cause hazard... but they aren't so bad they need to be addressed.
-18's basket is a little to close to 1's tee because experienced players could throw it there.
-15's basket is on an edge of a hill that drops down into hole 4's fairway.
16's teepad is off center. The park district decided to make two fairways which helps the problem a little bit and makes the hole very neat looking but the hyzer route causes concern for hole 3's basket being blind right over the bushes. If you throw a bad shot, you could hit a person putting on 3.
Other Thoughts: The course is brand new and has a lot of thick tall grass off its fairways with a lot of thorny thistle. Some areas have some wicked poison ivy as well. But in the last month things have been getting better. The course will improve with time.
Trees are placed well but I would like to see more trees line some of the fairways in the coming years.
This park has a lot of land still not being used. I would like to see at least another 9 holes out there in other parts of the park.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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