Beautiful and challenging, but sometimes a little too challenging
11 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Idlewild is a huge and beautiful course in the Kentucky countryside that offers every challenge imaginable. I'll try to be concise with my thoughts:
-Idlewild is a champion level course with a sprawling, hilly layout with lots of elevation changes, doglegs, and tree-lined tunnel shots to utilize every shot in your bag.
-There are multiple tees and pin placements that give even more variety and challenge to this already difficult course
-Idlewild obviously has a lot of care put into it. There are nice man-made greens that play over creeks, as well as different rampart constructions that come into play. Bridges and walkways abound through the woods. It's a really nice change of pace from the average disc golf course.
-There are many signature shots that are just beautiful. Everyone points to the 1000' hole but I think the shot on hole 11 has to be one of the best in the business. You tee off through a Y-shaped tree mando, which is just amazing. Also hole 11 plays to one of the man-made greens I mentioned, which is a nice touch.
-The land has been used very well and creates a challenging and picturesque course at every turn. Over and around creeks, zig-zags through trees, up and downhill blind shots, every kind of shot is here.
-There are amenities on site such as a water fountain and porta potties.
Cons: -There are no scorecards and the only course map is at the start where it instructs you to take a picture with your phone in order to navigate. This can be confusing as next tees are not always obvious and you play from hole 4 to hole F.
-The baskets don't match the quality of this course. The practice basket is some strange old thing with one row of chains and the course baskets are pretty beat. It would be nice to have some updated baskets to put the cherry on top.
-Idlewild is HUGE and it is TOUGH. It is a very long hike with lots of elevation change and the course is unforgiving. There are not many chances for birdies unless you make a miraculous distance shot through the woods. On some holes you don't even see the basket until you've thrown ~3 drives. Most people can expect to score 5 or more on almost every hole. Averaging a 4 per hole would be good here. There are very few chances for ace runs. It's very difficult to score low on this course.
-There aren't many wide open holes where you get to really rip a drive. The challenge comes from distance-placement shots which can get a bit old.
Other Thoughts: Idlewild is definitely not a course for beginners and even the most experienced players will find difficulty. It is a great course and a nice change of pace, but I feel like its size and difficulty negatively affect it.
There are very few chances for birdies and many wooded shots have no other options except for rollers. Combined with long, uphill hikes to throw shot after shot trying to get to the basket, this course can be extremely tiring and aggravating. That shouldn't dissuade you from a beautiful afternoon in the park, but by the end I felt that it was just not fair. It can be unnecessarily difficult.
Idlewild is definitely one of the nicest, most well designed courses I've ever played. It is extremely tough and beautiful at the same time. However, be prepared for a long hike that will take all afternoon. This course will work you as much as possible. It will make you throw every shot in your bag whether you like it or not. Idlewild is a great course but it can't be a daily driver. It's just too daunting for a regular round of disc golf. This is one of those "special visit" courses where there is a fine line between pleasure and pain.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Idelwild Put A Comfortable But Serious Butt Whippin On Me!
21 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: I played Idelwild the morning after playing Mt. Airy. The difference, to me, was that I just felt a little more pressure free playing Idelwild. Idelwild allows you to relax for a hole here and there. Now part of this might be because my local host Jeff (Sisyphus), had our group of four playing what they called Idel MILD. Apparently when playing Idel MILD you:
1. Don't play the numbered holes, only the original 18.
2. Are allowed extra mulligans as you see fit.
3. Aren't real concerned with established OB lines, especially those on or around the greens.
4. Play from the "shorts".
Idelwild has solid, but not overwhelming awesome, amenities, as a destination should have. Everything is fine but it's the course and it's challenging but fair lines, that are the drawing card here. Playing from the "Longs", this course would be world class challenging.
I llove the amount of engineering that has gone into the course. Only Bryant Park in Minneapolis ranks higher in terms of overall landscaping, bridges, elevated and creative tee pads, stairs and basket area landscaping.
I think the smallish carpet greens on # 4 and 15 with surrounding OB have to add almost a stroke to everyone's score. Is there another hole with these carpet greens that I'm missing?
# 15 is a classic hole with it's 1000' length, fairly narrow fairway with the tall grass on each side and then the long sloping hill to that miniscule landing area. I found the entire hole rather intimidating but it would be great television to watch the top pros tackle it.
What I like about Idelwild is that, if an old few player such as myself, can actually hit his lines, he can enjoy playing this incredibly challenging course. I probably should clarify that by pointing out, I'm talking about playing from the "Short tees". From the "Longs", forget it, I shoot 100 over par. It wouldn't matter what lines I hit.
Cons: The Saturday morning that our group played, they were in agreement that the course was in the worst shape they had ever seen it. And Jeff has played it close to 100 times. There was a big ole branch down over the bench on one hole, lots of smaller branches down in other places and the course was in need of a mowing. Personally, I thought it was in great shape. My standards are greatly affected after playing dozens of mediocre courses on this road trip.
Idelwild has world class holes, challenge wise. What it lacks is that hole that people want to empty their bag on, the awesome top of the world shot. I can't see players wanting to empty their bag on 15? Can you say, how many will end up in the prairie grass?
My other con is personal but for me it can affect my rating. Although Idelwild is in a pretty park, it's scenery is not stunningly, take your breath away, magnificent like many of my favorite courses. Two that come quickly to mind are, Beaver Ranch in Colorado and Whistler's Bend in central Oregon. Both have incredibly, beautiful long downhill throws that you love to watch your disc sail away on.
Other Thoughts: I really enjoyed the relaxed round I had here at Idelwild. From the "Shorts", the playing can be comfortable, certainly not easy, no, never easy. Easy is not a word that in any way describes Idelwild.
Thanks to Jeff for putting group together and also to Troy and Steve for their insight and humor.
Like Mt. Airy, I have struggled with my rating for Idelwild. I'd be very comfortable (there's that word again) giving it a 4.75, if I could. But because of the less than impeccable grooming of the course and the lack of that one incredible hole, I'm taking .25 off for each and forced to bestow a 4.5 rating on Idelwild.
21 of 22 people found this review helpful.
Challenging with lots of elevation
4 Helpful / 8 Not
Pros: Good tee pads/ good tee signs
Plenty of benches
bright colored baskets
free to play
Other Thoughts: This course was very well done with good use of elevation. Many tight shots that force you to be accurate though out the whole course. Many uphill shots may leave you exhausted playing on a hot day. There are not many short holes you will need a trusty driver for almost every hole. The 1000 foot hole was very cool with a big downhill slope towards a ball golf like green and a little river running all around it. Lots of OB to make you think your shots out better. I highly recommend this course and think everyone should play it at least once.
4 of 12 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 31 Not
Pros: The course has a huge shot variation and a huge difference in length and par. There are a few wide open long holes and some very tightly wooded dinkers. A few holes play over water, which is fun, and there is quite a bit of elevation change.
Cons: Maybe a little bit too long. Playing singles at Idlewild takes a long while, and I've heard horror stories of playing doubles there.
3 of 34 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 12 Not
Pros: +the thing that really stands above everything for me is the distances. Most courses like this have a pile of 250ft holes, but Idlewild really goes against that grain and succeeds
+fake turf greens
+signs are top notch, current pin placements shown as part of the sign
+1000ft hole and its not even a boring one
+upkeep is top notch considering the size and number of holes
+tee pads are all super long
Cons: -navigation doesnt really make sense in several places. goes 1,2,a-e,3,4,f. IMO, just make it 1-27 or dont make the two styles flow together.
Other Thoughts: still on the fence about all the marked OB. creek is obvious, but the islands could be a real turn off for tourney play. I think making the islands into just greens would be best, but the islands do look very cool.
also having 2 baskets on one hole at a time is kind of confusing and wasteful.
absolute top notch course, must play for everyone
10 of 22 people found this review helpful.
28 Helpful / 2 Not
My #1 out of 55 played!
It will be hard to include anything unique in my review, so I'll just do what I do and review it as if mine was the first.
Very nice park setting with beautiful scenery... rolling hills, trees, woods, ponds, creek, interesting man made erosion control projects, etc.
Within minutes of the small town of Burlington, the bigger town of Florence and less than 30 minutes to the big city of Cincinnati. So there is no shortage of other things to do in the area... eating, shopping, professional sports, lots of other disc golf courses in the area, etc.
Ample parking with porta-johns on site, although not on the course itself. Hole #1 is just a few steps from, and #18 finishes just a short walk from, the main parking lot. Benches and trash cans throughout the course. The course was very clean when I played it, by the way.
If you don't have time for all 24 or if you just don't want to start with hole #1, there are several other tee options that are close to either the main parking lot or other parking lots. See the course map and you'll see what I mean.
24 holes! Most holes have either multiple tees, pins, or pin locations. Ideal, excellent sized concrete tees. Baskets are mixed, but in good shape and of high quality (see cons, too). (There's a picture in the Idlewild thread in the forums of the freshly painted, highly visible, baskets, http://www.dgcoursereview.com...ld&page=3
, post #25. This was done after I was there.) High quality course map available here on DGCR and displayed near tee #1. Good tee signs and generally easy navigation (see cons, too), using the map.
Now let's get to what's really important... the holes!!! This is the most well thought out course that I've ever played, with the greatest variety of hole types. Although there are no "ski slope" down hill holes, there are several holes with considerable elevation drop (#15 comes to mind). There are uphill holes of varying degree. There are level holes including a couple "across the valley" type holes.
To say that there are left turning, right turning and straight holes would be understating this point. Off the tee, you have a tremendous amount of options. Some holes will give you the option of throwing a hyzer, anhyzer, overhand or roller off the tee, while others will force a particular shot off of the tee. And once you've found your tee shot, you're likely to have multiple lanes and shot options to use to get to the basket or further down the fairway.
There are mostly open grassy holes, holes that play entirely in the woods, and many holes that have you playing both air shots and wooded shots in the same hole. Some holes get quite tight, but I don't feel that there was a single "plinko" or unfair hole on the course. If you hit your lines in the woods, you can do very well. I was very fortunate to stay on the fairway a vast majority of the time so I didn't have any real trouble finding my discs. There are a some places, though, where the high grass or underbrush off of the fairway does get thick. Stating the obvious here, but just be sure to pay close attention to your disc's flight.
The use of water is very fun, too. There a couple ponds that come into play with you either throwing over them, or along side them. And then there's the stream that flows through some of the holes. There are landing zones and greens (some covered with green outdoor carpet to help with erosion) literally cut into peninsulas created by the meandering stream. These peninsulas really make for some interesting shot selections. "Do I go for it or do I lay up? That approach sure does look tempting... but I don't like the looks of that OB."
Landing zones on the par 4s and 5s...This is one of the standout features of the course to me. You don't necessarily just try to throw your your tee shot as far as you can and hope for a good lie. Several holes require accurate tee shots with specific landing zones in order to leave you with a preferred shot down the fairway or to the basket. For me, some of these landing zones broke up a couple holes into more manageable, bite-size pieces. But a better player could shoot for a longer landing zone and birdie vs my par. I love that there are different ways to effectively manage the holes, with distinct risk and reward options.
This course is definitely what I would think that Pro-Caliber means. I am by no means a pro, but I do have a bit of experience. So I was very pleased with my 3 over 90 from mainly the short tees. My being able to throw a 3 over the first time I played the course makes me believe that Idlewild could also be played and enjoyed by much less experienced players, too. Some holes would seem daunting, I'm sure. And the course would seem very hard. But I don't think that these are necessarily bad things. It could very well prove overwhelming to a very new player, much the same way that I was overwhelmed (beaten severely) by The Woodshed in WV, when I first played it as a noob. Depending on your level of interest in the game, though, even a beating like I took could peak your interest in the game, rather than turning you away from it. It probably wouldn't make a great "first date" or "take the kids for a walk" course, though.
Cons: Only a couple really. Although the baskets are in good shape, as mentioned above, they are of mixed varieties. I would prefer that all of the baskets be the same type, regardless of which type they chose. And I do remember one of the short location baskets being a single chain, almost smaller than normal, looking basket.
I had a couple navigation issues, which would be a non-issue after playing the course a couple of times. But since I was on a limited time schedule, it was an issue for me. I missed the apparent shortcut from #2 to hole A and went all of the way up the hill to the parking lot and around the pavilions. And I couldn't find the short tee for hole E. It took me a little while to find short #14 and maybe a couple others. I may have missed next tee signs, but think that more obvious signs might be in order.
The flight path of planes leaving the Cincinnati-Northern KY Int'l Airport took some of them right over the course as I played. So it got a bit loud, especially when a 747 went over. This didn't really bother me, although I might have been a little distracted by the "pretty planes" since I don't live near a major airport.
These are pretty nit-picking cons, and again, the navigation issues would be corrected with one or two more plays of the course and could have really been my fault altogether.
Other Thoughts: Favorite/Most Memorable holes. #1, a great 640' opener... if you warm up a little! Beautiful, wide, grassy fairway with moderate trouble right or left and a protecting tree in front of the basket. #3, cool downhill drive to the treeline with the basket on a peninsula in the woods. #10, a great "landing zone" hole with a severe dogleg right a couple hundred feet off the tee and another few hundred feet to a well protected basket... short, long, left or right off the tee and you're REALLY going to have to scramble for par (I took a bogey.). #15, 1001', beautiful fairway cut into the deep grass, with dramatic drop down to the peninsula green (I had a 60' putt for birdie and took par). There are more, but I'll stop here.
Obviously, I love the course. I can't wait to get back to the area to play it again. And I will be staying longer than 1 1/2 days next time.
This is definitely a destination course, even if it was the only course in the area. The course, literally, has some of every aspect of a course that I would ask for. And with so many other, apparently high quality, courses in the area, this should definitely be a travel stop for you.
If you made it all of the way through my novella, I commend and thank you. I hope that it encouraged you to play the course if you haven't already. And I'd recommend checking out the KY State Doubles videos on Youtube. There's one loaded onto the DGCR course media page and there are others that you'll find once you go to that one. They do an excellent job of showing off the course.
Enjoy, be well, and good discing!
28 of 30 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: There's just so many.
-Well maintained with good baskets and clean fairways. Also, a couple holes have turf greens. Turf greens!
-Lots of amenities; benches, a couple water fountains, porta potties.
-Best signage I've seen; course sign at the start and great hole signs at each tee. Some point to the next tee also.
-Amazing hole variety. There's straight holes, doglegs, long, short (not many), open, lightly wooded, heavily wooded, flat, hilly, and even water holes.
-And finally, last but definitely not least, HUGE teepads! The extra holes had regular sized teepads, but the rest had massive teepads that was more enjoyable than one would think.
Cons: Not many.
-There might be a couple people fishing along one of the water holes. I went on a weekday and didn't have any problems.
-A couple tees might be slightly hard to find if it's your first time. Just snap a picture of the course map at the start to take with you and you'll be fine.
Other Thoughts: Be prepared! This is a VERY long course which can get VERY hot on summer days. I strongly recommend eating well before going, and taking a packed lunch with two 32 oz drinks. It was in the 90's when I went and I got to hole #15 before quitting. I was tired, hungry, out of water, and lost a disc. On that note, it's also a good idea to have a floater.
Also, unlike some reviewers said, you don't need to be able to drive accurately 350' to enjoy playing here. If you can throw with some precision 225' to 250', you can still have a good time. Just don't have too high of expectations for your score.
So, be prepared and come to have fun, and it'll be one of the best courses you've played.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 6 Not
Disc Golf Dave
Pros: This is a beautiful course with well maintained fairways (with a couple of exceptions), good variety, length that will stand the test of time and new disc golf technology, and I thoroughly enjoyed my game there. There is a good emphasis on shot making and excellent variety in holes.
It is certainly challenging and long enough. This course seems to define the direction course design is taking. I love it.
Cons: A few of the holes are a bit tight. A few of the holes are bit thick with underbrush and tall grass. I got turned around once but found my way OK. The main reason it didn't get a 5 in my book is because a few of the holes don't provide enough shot options.
Other Thoughts: The Cincinnati area is a real disc golf mecca. It is on my short list of places to visit for great disc golf.
3 of 9 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 19 Not
Like the new holes
Pros: I really like this course, but it is not always very well maintained. They're adding new holes for example, but when I was there the new holes had not been bushwhacked I suppose. and BUSHwhacked not mowed. This course is just a bit too wild for me in some places. The 1001 foot hole is amazing, for example, but sometimes the grass on the outside is as tall as you are. I know you aren't suppose to end up over there, but we all know it happens.
That being said, this course is not worth all the hype to me, there are better courses in the area (simply because someone cares for them more) but if you are in the area this is a beast you should look into.
There was a tournament there recently, so it is probably in decent shape around June 2012, but probably only temporarily.
The new holes include a lot more water, which I think was really missing from this course previously.
Cons: Hardly ever well maintained in some places, but immaculate in others. The new additional holes and some other holes have rough that is definately that.
Other Thoughts: Very nice area that this park is in, there's a dog park nearby also.
4 of 23 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 3 Not
The Beast Within
Pros: The one thing you will walk away with from this course is the realization that someone really took the time to make this course their baby. This is a very good course that makes use of some amazing land. This course is an incredible challenge that really rewards good shots and lucky shots. There are absolutely no filler holes on this course. Every hole will make you think and make you want to come back and try it again. The course plays through a park with other amenities, mostly ball fields. There is a trash bucket at every hole. There are port-o-potties at various places. Nice concrete tee pads, nice tee signs. The course is well maintained and genuinely has the feel of a real golf course. That is not something that happens often with disc golf courses. I really thought the way they mowed the brush did well to penalize shots that do not land in the fairway. There was a surprisingly low number of bugs on this course considering the conditions. The benches at every hole were a very nice touch.
Cons: This course is a beast for anyone of any skill level the first time you play it. The new six holes are a bit of a challenge to find unless you really know what to look for. Some of the other holes are confusing as well, in particular hole 14 with its two very different tee pads. There are no real tee signs for these six holes as of yet. Hole E plays through a high foot traffic area of fishers. This course will discourage beginers. The trees just off the fairway in many places are so thick they they over penalize a bad or unlucky shot. Some of the places where water does exist in pools are places to avoid as it was near impossible to find two discs my group threw in there.
Other Thoughts: This course is not perfect. It is really really good, even phenominal, but not perfect. This course is epic and I particularly liked Hole 1, 3, The Y hole and hole 16. The directions on thsi site are very good and will get you to where you need to be. You will definately want to bring water when you come and you will definately want to play this course at some point.
12 of 15 people found this review helpful.
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