Great Practice Area & Introduction to DG
Pros: - Wil-O-Way in Grant Park is a 3-basket practice area designed with handicap accessibility in mind. This is not a course, per se, but rather a well-executed attempt at providing access to a new sport for those that might not be able to fully enjoy a round on a course with less-forgiving terrain. The three baskets are tucked into a small, flat, grassy area surrounded by several patches of scrubby woods. A bike path runs along one side of the open expanse. A few mature trees dot the otherwise open field.
- The three baskets are pretty close together, forming a small triangle. The property is actually fairly well-suited to safari-style golf or ideal for putter and approach-shot workouts. I'd be thrilled to have this nearby as a practice area I could hit every day after work for some quick field sessions.
- There are enough open areas, including a few pathways and small openings into the woods, to allow several pretty reasonable safari holes. Our group took turns deciding where to throw from and to, and we were able to come up with interesting enough looks with the scattered trees and by using the pathways as sort of "out of the wood tunnel" shots.
Cons: - No tee signs, tee pads, or really any of the amenities that come with a course. I understand that the intended design was not to install a course; however, this is dgcoursereview.com and I do not feel that Wil-O-Way quite qualifies as such. Without any sense of direction, this is purely a practice course or an introduction to the sport.
- The bike path, which didn't seem overly used, still puts a bit of a damper on a safe safari round. Some of the better safari setups will require caution or a spotter, as a few of the shots conflict with the path. Shouldn't be too much of an issue, but do be aware of potential hazard.
- A bit difficult to track down. Pay attention to the local directions on the course page. This is at the far north of Grant Park.
Other Thoughts: - Overall, this is a pleasant enough little setup. I actually enjoyed myself here pretty well, all things considered. The grassy area is easy on the eyes, and the surrounding woods gives it a feeling of seclusion that belies the surrounding city. This peaceful part of the park was well-served with this practice area addition. Despite my rating, if I were in the immediate area I'd stop by here again; not quite a course, but an above-average setup for practice and safari, considering it contains only three baskets.
Where there's a will there's a way
Pros: 1) Nice brand new Mach V's on this course.
2) The grass tees should remain pretty healthy as I doubt this 3 hole course will by used by a ton of people. Tee areas are marked with pavers installed flush with the turf.
3) Hole #3 is as good as some holes on regular sized and designed courses. The two birch trees frame the shot nicely and you need to keep the disc low to avoid the lowest branches also creating a decent challenge despite its under 200' distance.
4) This course along with Wil-O-Way Underwood were designed for the Wil-O-Way
program which exists to provide areas of recreational activity to those with disabilities. It obviously is not a top level disc golf course to us, but to someone who has never played it might feel like it. Imagine someone who throws an ace out here that is playing for the first time, they will always remember that shot and possibly fall in love with the game.
5) #1 and #2 are pretty much straight out there and open, but #3 you have to decide what type of shot to throw.
6) Ace runs or putter and mid range practice area. My area is becoming the place to have practice courses as we now have 3 (3 hole practice areas) and Kops Park the infamous two holer.
Cons: 1) Grass tees are always inferior to concrete or something more consistent.
2) Short short short . . . it still can be fun to play and run for aces for those that play a lot or if you just want to work on your putters or upshots, its a decent little practice course.
Other Thoughts: Here is what the sign reads at the Wil-O-Way property "Wil-O-Way is both a place and an idea. This building is a beacon for fun, ocial opportunities, and skill building for people with disabilities and those without. The Wil-O-Way idea focuses on choices. The choice to participate in any recreational activiy in the community or the choise to participate in recreational opportunities specifically designed for people with disabilities. This center welcomes all people.
I took a picture of this sign when I was there to help install the course because I thought it was very poignant. While this place has been designed with people wit disabilities in mind, it does not exclude others. It actually promotes all people to use their property and activities.
Keep this in mind when rating this course . . . it was not designed for "us" (the DGCR or general disc golf population). I have rated this course 1 disc. Will I return? maybe, but I a giving credit to the county for installing such a course. It will certainly provide hours of entertainment to some people with disabilities, so it is worth being in the ground.
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