Unforgettable, Immersive Disc Golf Experience
23 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: There's not a whole lot to say about Idlewild that hasn't already been said, so just know that it's a world-class course with stunning design that's worthy of its Top-5 status. Variety is the spice of life, and it's also the spice of disc golf design. Holes range from 142' to 1001' and everything in between. Wooded and open, uphill and downhill, bomber and technical, water and OB paths...nearly every style of modern design is represented here and shines with substantial challenge and maximum enjoyment. The fact that this creative design was allowed to flourish in a public park is nothing short of amazing. Where a typical course will have one or two signature holes, Idlewild has at least 8-10 that can have you grinning while cursing your errant throw at the same time. Regardless of your personal design preferences, you'll have at least one hole (but realistically many more) that speaks to you here.
Certain greens are made of turf rather than natural grass, which is fantastic for erosion control and preserving the original design and integrity of the hole. Much to my surprise, I didn't find these artificial elements to clash with the abundant natural beauty of the course, making them a win-win.
The rough is thick, but not unfair. Recovery shots are difficult, but not impossible. There's not a lot of purposeless hacking to be found here.
Even if the golf was average, the exceptional maintenance would elevate the course rating. Someone clearly has (and continues to) put a great deal of blood, sweat, and tears into making this course world-class, and it shows. No signs of vandalism or even trash anywhere on the course. I played most recently following a few days of rain and was surprised to find the grass thick, the mud minimal, and the greens dry. Bravo!
The aesthetic wow factor is high here, with many holes requiring the player to pause for a moment to admire the beauty. Holes #5, #15, and #16 leap immediately to mind, and are just a small sample of the wonderful views on this gem. Play Idlewild at slightly slower than your normal pace for maximum enjoyment.
The course is free to play, which is akin to being able to play Augusta National for free, whenever you want.
Impeccable tee signs on all holes. Large, comfortable concrete tees on most holes. A mix of basket types, all of which catch very well.
Playing all 24 holes is a good workout! You'll probably need to stop and catch your breath now and again after some of the grueling uphill climbs. Bring water, even if you typically don't need it. You'll want it here.
Cons: There's not a lot to dislike here, but a couple of things are worth noting. The lettered holes, while enjoyable, are noticeably inferior to the 18. I'm not one to complain about extra holes, but the simple "good" of A-F contrasts sharply with the "exceptional" of 1-18. Since extras are exactly that, in my mind they shouldn't bring down the course rating. Taken by themselves, I'd give A-F a 4.0 disc rating.
WARNING: NITPICKY, UNCONFIRMED NOOB STATEMENTS AHEAD. EASILY OFFENDED NEED NOT APPLY. I've heard (but so far have been unable to confirm) that on a turfed green, your approach must land on the turf or it's considered OB. If this is indeed a course rule, I'm personally not a big fan of it. In my opinion, this element seems rather gimmicky and unnecessary to me. If the rule is designed to add challenge, the challenge seems inorganic and shoehorned in, clashing sharply with the rest of the course. If the rule is designed for erosion control, I understand it but still don't like it. If the rule doesn't exist, please disregard the preceding paragraph.
Other Thoughts: While most of the course is disc golf exclusive, there are a couple of places to be especially aware of other park goers. The tee shot on C plays over the road, while 2 long, 3 long, 4 long, and F play over a well-traveled walking path. E plays almost entirely in a high activity area, so be aware!
Idlewild is a world-class, destination course in the truest sense of the term. The reward of driving a significant distance to spend an afternoon of disc golf at Idlewild is special indeed. Some courses are designed to squeeze a round in on a Wednesday before it gets dark. Idlewild is meant to be savored on a sunny weekend afternoon. Lose yourself in one of the best disc golf has to offer.
A note on difficulty: you'll need to throw with some degree of accuracy, but you don't need world-class distance, making this course more accessible than it may appear. My best score is +20, and I'm proud of that mark. Previously I've shot a +41, and another person in our group shot a +51. Doesn't matter. You will have fun here. Go play it!
23 of 23 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.
As an outlier, I guess I'm just not (that into) championship calibur enough for this course.
34 Helpful / 21 Not
Pros: Lots of variety here - yes with this many holes you still get variety out of a predominantly long wooded course. There are a wonderful mix of uphill/downhill/crosshill/rolling hills, insanely wooded/wide open, water hazards including longer water carries, etc.
Risky greens. I love the risk associated with many of the greens and approaches which are right on the creek or one of the ponds. Many of the wooded holes also have greens that are
Balance. Good mix of long/short, and left/right/straight/s-curves.
Water hazards. Personally I love water hazards. I love forced crossings with bail out zones that accommodate lack of distance. I love the 'tight off the tee' semi-hidden muck hole on the lettered loop. It's nice to have a water hazard that generally makes a disc un-recoverable - that type of challenge really changes the mindset of some players and I love to see how they react and change up their selection.
Beautiful physical terrain with sweeping views, huge majestic trees, sharp drastic elevation along creek bed ravines, and lots of woods and waters style beauty. Definitely the physical type of terrain ideal for a disc golf course.
Multiple tees and multiple pins. I love the variety this introduces and allows players to mix up the skill levels needed, as well as allow groups of varying skills to play and enjoy together.
Cons: The biggest downer was the shear repetitiveness of the wooded holes. I am the kind of player who LOVES wooded courses, but I was completely taken aback at how much this course started to wear on me. I wasn't necessarily on my game, but not throwing too bad. After eyeing some of the almost ridiculous lines off the tee, I stepped up and ripped drive after drive down the tunnels, watching and oohing and ahhing, only to get kicked into the brush by one tree or another. So, that brings up a secondary supporting con - the rough (and course in general) has a big poison ivy/oak problem. I've stated in my reviews before that I am a travelling player. I take time out of business trips and family vacations to play what appears to be superbly enticing courses. Idlewild did look superbly enticing, but when playing through with the family while on the way to Florida, worrying about quarantining our shoes and clothes due to poison ivy is a huge turnoff. Back to my original frustration regarding the layout, it just became too much and it took me far too long to admit the defeat. After a while, I began throwing a buzzz or other straight midrange disc anywhere from 2-3 times on the long wooded holes, then plunking in an easy putt for a 4. I found no real reward in ripping a driver down the fairway to achieve the perfect s-curve and maybe take a 2 or 3. To the contrary, the risk was high and punishment became awful as we tip-toed through poison ivy and thick brush.
The turf greens looked really neat in the pictures and were actually part of the draw to play the course, but in person they look REALLY tacky. The ugly bright green turf applied over a flattened green, and lined with ugly concrete bollards was just that - UGLY. I'm a fan of natural courses, so not having the natural sloping banks along the stream, keeping them really risky, was a turnoff. I'm sure with the number of players at the course, erosion was a concern, and I give the crews credit for addressing it though.
No huge downhill bomber. Yes, you may argue that you can really rip a disc down hole #1, and I agree, I'm talking the ski hill style downhill hole is missing.
The signs were nice but I didn't feel they really depicted the hole or the pin placements. With the number of pins and long blind holes, I found myself very often walking a few hundred feet down the fairway to get a better look.
Despite touting multiple tees, this really isn't the case as many holes have just one finished tee. I personally find this frustrating in trying to play a certain type of round at a specific skill level. Say I'm playing with my wife who is throwing the short tees, and I'm playing the long tees - when they're shared or often just one tee, or jump around from one to two to three tees, it's frustrating and not at all a consistent skill based complete round - calling a single tee both a red and a white/blue level tee and hole design is nonsense and a copout.
There is also a mix of basket types out here and some were just plain old junk, homemade (looking) with single rows of chains. 24 common baskets would be much nicer.
1001' across a field. Let me tell you again, with super tick grass off the runway, throwing a buzz three times down the middle, then going for a 40' putt, missing and taking a five, is WAY better than the minimal amount of reward in ripping two 450' drives and MAYBE making a 100' putt for a three!!!
Other Thoughts: Overall, I was thoroughly excited to play Idlewild, and as the round started, that excitement kept building for the first few holes and as I looked around at other holes. Then we got to the letter holes and half of them were completely passable. The first downhill hole was nice, the mucky watering hole was great, and the carry across the pond was great - the others were bland and useless, including the one (or two?) after original hole 3 which are entirely boring.
After getting the lettered holes out of the way and entering the woods is when things picked up again because I love watching discs sail wonderfully through the trees. But as we kept getting beat down by the fortress of trees, and searching through discs in thick brush and poisonous plants, the wonder began to wear and even the ace run wooded holes on the unique a neat ridges and valleys couldn't raise my spirits much. Eventually I accepted the beatdown and threw straight down the middle for an uninspired and lackluster round. All the shiny polish wore off and Idlewild became a chore. We were happy to leave and continue on our way.
So, all the hype and all the enticement still exists, however playing the course fails to live up to the hype and hysteria. I understand the appeal completely, and I get the references to "Championship Calibur". It takes a GREAT player to concquer this course. Unfortunately with 400-600' holes playing s-curves through the woods, some luck is bound to play a role in any round. My luck was bad, I was far from championship style, and I decided to play lame-duck golf to avoid the punishment, and I still scored decent (deaming 4s and 5s decent enough compared to penalty of kicking deep into the brush and taking 6s and 7s). Idlewild was beautiful, challenging, decently balanced, and full of variety - it just wasn't fun!
34 of 55 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: Fred Salaz has done a good job, Where to start? Its a super challenging course. Not for Noobs! The basket lay out plays the natural landscape well, and you get to see the KY rugged scenery.
Multiple pads, and pin placements everywhere, so watch out.
I thinks its 24 holes but I remember it when it was only 18, I have a feeling we may see more baskets...
Island greens are a nice touch, this course plays around a couple ponds, and many creek beds, loads of trees, OBs, Mandatory trees, Good mix of long, short, wooded, and open holes.. Sometime I feel its best to roll or throw your putter as far as possible to navigate its tight gaps and OB traps..
Cons: The same as its Pros, Its a tough course, very long, bring food, water, strong shoes, and your A game. Its a little tricky to find your way around, usually because your score goes in the toilet quickly...Also, if your frustrated, this course eats plastic night and day, and will eat your disc. So don't shoot wild...
Other Thoughts: Its better played in groups, Doubles works well here because the course is long, technical, and one bad shot at any given time can ruin a great game
9 of 16 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 1 Not
Signature Hole After Signature Hole
Pros: -There is not much I can add to what has already been stated, but I'd be doing a disservice if I didn't give the course it's well-deserved review. Located only a few miles off of I-71, Idlewild is set in a picture-perfect family park with all the amenities and activities you could ask for. This truly is a park you can take the entire family to, with multiple soccer and softball fields, basketball courts, playgrounds, running/hiking trails, shelters, a dog park, and a fishing pond. I had read great things about the park, but I was still surprised to see just how family-friendly and well-maintained it was. The fairways are very well mowed and every hole is aesthetically pleasing and in pristine shape. There is an ample amount of parking, a porta-john, practice basket, course map, and local league/tournament information located near the first tee. This is truly a park dedicated to disc golf.
-Tee signs are in awesome shape, very accurate, and tell you everything you need to know, including hole length and pars from both tees. Each tee is dedicated to 1 or 2 HOF members, which is pretty cool. The tees are the nicest size I've seen, they are comfortably long and wide, giving you no hesitation to have a big run-up. The concrete is still in great shape, despite all of the use they've gone through. All but a few holes have multiple tees (white and red). The baskets are in awesome shape, and the numbered holes are Mach 2 and lettered holes are DISCatcher. When there are two pins set up at the same time for a basket, it is clearly noted at the tee sign. Two things I want to point out about the baskets: 1.The neon green paint makes the baskets stick out much better in the woods than if they hadn't been painted and 2.The fact that there are two different baskets just shows me that when adding new baskets, Fred wanted the best possible. These two changes in the course show its constant development, a huge positive.
-Navigation flows very well; I had a map with me but didn't have to use it. There are multiple times in the course where signs pointed to the next hole. There is some back and forth around the middle holes in the woods, but there are plenty of paths, bridges, and steps to help make it more obvious to which direction you go next.
-The variety and technicality of Idlewild blows away any other course I have played. There are chances to bomb your disc (1, 3, and 15), throw long lines through the woods (2, 5, 6, 10, 13, and 18), and play through tight lines and tunnel shots (7, 8, 9, 12, 14, and 17), and literally everything in between. The only thing that is lacking is extreme top-of-the-world type shots, but you'll forget you miss those shots at Idlewild. Elevation changes are still very predominate, and both the open and wooded holes have a lot of elevation changes. Some of the best use of elevation are hole 2's rolling hills, A's downhill shot, 3's downhill drop into the woods, 5's downhill shot into the woods then tight uphill shot to the pin, 15's rolling hills then downhill shot to the pin, and 18's constant gradual increase in elevation. Water also comes to play on multiple holes in the form of a pond (2, C, and E) and multiple streams that run through the course (5, 11, 13, and 16). The most enjoyable factor for me might of been the great variation of topography in many of the holes. For instance, holes that started out wooded and then played into the open, started out in the open and played into the woods, started out wooded and ended up next to a water hazed, etc. The best examples of these types of holes are 2, 3, A, 4, 5, 11, 15, and 18.
-Finally, the extra work done on this course sets it apart even higher. The multiple turf, rock-lined greens, abundantly creative O.B. and mando's, benches and trash cans on nearly every hole, sculpted greens on hills, rock-lined paths to the next tee - so many reasons that this course is as highly regarded as it is.
Cons: -Really the only con I can think of is that a few holes at the beginning play close to or over the road. Since there seems to be a lot of action in this park, throw with caution. However, there aren't any blind shots where you may not see people coming and this did not detract from my experience at all.
-15's grass was very tall, so if your disc goes in there it's pretty much gone for good. I didn't even bother searching for mine. The fairway is still wide enough to give you room for comfort, just be advised that an errant throw will most likely lead to a lost disc.
Other Thoughts: The fun factor is so high at Idlewild - I am a low-800's level player, shot a +20, lost two discs, and still had a smile on my face the entire time. Idlewild offers you a diverse challenge mentally and physically, I have never felt so mentally exhausted after playing a course. This displays it's championship-level caliber. Every shot must be well thought out and well executed. This makes the fun-factor through the roof IMO. It is in a great location as well, only 20 minutes from Lincoln Ridge and 30 from the Cincy courses. Idlewild also offers you a very scenic round with many aesthetic and technical beauties. Hole after hole after hole caught me staring in awe on the tee. While I could describe the amazing qualities of every hole, here are a few of the extra special ones:
1- One of the more open holes, but is a true beauty and elevation and trees comes into play.
3- This one might be my favorite hole. It probably gives you the steepest downhill shot on the course and plays through tight lines in the woods onto a turf-green. No easy up-shots here.
5- Pretty similar to hole 3, only it's an anny instead of a hyzer, and it then plays uphill once you're in the woods to a very tight pin position. Creek comes into play
9- Super tight line that plays downhill then uphill
10- 600+ hole that has a hard dogleg right after a tunnel shot, then plays through various patches of trees. Tough pin position behind trees.
11- When writing my notes, I simply put "Everything" for this hole. This is one of the toughest holes I've ever played as you start out throwing through the Y-shaped tree and have to contend with an endless amount of trees. Creek zig-zags back and forth and the basket is located on a turf-green which is mandatory to hit on your up-shot.
16- Plays through tight lines in the woods with creek zig-zagging back and forth.
18- A great way to end the course with a super long but fair tunnel shot out into the open.
Took me two hours to play the course.
16 of 17 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: First and foremost, this course is immaculate. This is a huge pro in my list of many for this course. I do not recall one piece of trash being on the ground. The care that people put into this course on a regular basis shows.
Multiple pins on each of the holes with appropriate signage that shows correct distances to each of the pins are a big help, especially on the longer holes that you cannot see the baskets from the concrete tees.
Although I would describe this course as mostly wooded, there are a fair number of more open holes that do not require the same degree of accuracy for your drives. Shooting into and out of woods is also common on a few holes and well spaced out. Water carries are fair and there are multiple tees on some of the riskier holes for the less risky water shots.
The rough is not too rough (with the exception of the longest hole, 16?). Many fairways were well groomed and even though we heard the mowers while we were there, they did not interfere with our play.
Hole shapes range from short and straight, doglegs, double doglegs. Elevation came into play on almost every hole. Throwing over gulleys, uphill, downhill, over hills, no two holes were exactly the same.
Baskets are all in great shape, and there are benches on many holes.
Course flows nicely and the lettered holes are easy to get in as well.
Parking is more than adequate and it looks like there was a practice basket by Tee 1 which was a welcome sight.
Cons: I have thought for a few weeks how anything could be improved at Idlewild and I honestly could not think of anything. This place is a beauty.
Other Thoughts: I love this place. The sacrifice of an Ion on Hole A and a Valk on Hole 16 was well worth the experience of playing at this place. Going to make a road trip weekend next time and play the top 3 there.
16 of 19 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.
Think Before You Throw
12 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: The Park itself is extremely large and very well kept.
The course layout is 2nd to none. This is what disc golf is supposed to be like. It is as if the park was built to show off the disc golf course, not the other way around.
The course has all the essentials. It has nice big tee-pads, accurate signs, a practice area and a portable toilet. The course also has lots of benches and trash cans.
The layout does an exceptional job of exposing the flaws in a players game. The use of angles, trees, hazards and change in elevation create a test that is tough but fair.
There are some holes that allow you air it out. Hole 1 and Hole 15 will let you fling it as far as you can.
There are lots of areas that are OB on this course. They are very well marked and the drop zones are easy to find.
There are lots of small things on this course that separate it from other courses. Brick walls on the edge of greens, nice bridges, island greens, brightly painted baskets, and nice landscaping are some of the things that come to mind.
This course isn't for a beginner. I played the long tee and long baskets just like I do every time I play a new course. This course will beat you up.
There are several other reviews that list each hole and the type of shots needed to play it. The point that needs to be made here is that the course will require you to "MAKE SHOTS" on every hole.
The course is difficult to walk and that isn't a con. It is just very long and the elevation changes require a good effort to play it.
One of the most unique aspects in my review of this course was that I felt that the course didn't put a great premium on putting. We all have played courses that felt like pitch and putts and your score was going to be determined by how well you putted. That is definitely not the case with Idlewild. My score was determined by the time I arrived to the circle area on each hole.
This course will make you think on just about every shot. You need to have a plan to play each hole. Now that plan may change after your tee shot, but a 'Grip and Rip' style at Idlewild will net nothing but high numbers.
Cons: I found a problem with a tee box or two being slick.
As stated before, there are different types of baskets on this course.
Other Thoughts: My kids had been talking about Idlewild for months. I can honestly say that the course more than held up to the hype. I was honored to test my game on one of the TOP courses in the world. It is a must play for any avid disc golfer. Bring your game and a strong mind. Only once in the entire round did I have a shot that I thought was unfair, but after hole 1, there are NO free shots either.
12 of 14 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 10 Not
best of best
Pros: what is there not to say this course is amazing.
best tee signs I have seen yet
huge tee pads
bright lime green baskets u can see for miles
new holes are a great addition
pro caliber and will make you a stronger player
Cons: baskets are not all the same
wish there was a brochure for this beautiful course
not really much else to say for cons
Other Thoughts: remember this is def not a beginner or amateur course it will kick your butt so if you are looking for a fun relaxing time maybe this is not for you but if you are looking for a truly amazing all out course with everything this is for you.
3 of 13 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 1 Not
This baby is top notch!
Pros: All basic amenities present in abundance! Multiple tees, pin placements, benches, trash cans, etc.
Cleanest public course I've ever played by a fair margin!
Attention to little details. Brick lined greens, astroturf greens, etc. Many small touches like this add up to a completely unique experiance.
This is a course that forces you to bring your A game. Don't play here if you're tired, run down, or just feel like a casual easy round. You will be challenged, and if you're on you'll love it!
Cons: Really, there are no cons. I could nitpick about non-matching baskets, but I don't care. I could complain that a few of the lines seemed like they required more luck than skill, but I don't believe that, I believe I need to get better. So really, the only con was that I had to pay out of pocket for a hotel room to play this course more than once.
Other Thoughts: I'm currently in Columbus for a few weeks on business, and after discovering this site, and that there was a top rated course within a few hours I drove down on a Saturday to play Idlewild and Mt Airy. I made the mistake of playing Mt Airy first and was a little worn out after the car trip and a round at Airy, when I got to Idlewild. Consequently I didn't shoot as well as I'd have liked, and decided to stay the night to take another crack at this course. After a good night's sleep and 2 more rounds at Idlewild I can safely say this is the course that I'd want to play in disc golf heaven. I live near 2 of the other top rated courses on this site, but I prefer Idlewild to either of them. All 3 are great courses, and maybe it's a case of the grass being greener elsewhere, but when I can play this course for free, as opposed to paying fairly big bucks(for disc golf at least) to play those other courses, Idlewild wins hands down. Seriously, this course was good enough to get me to pop for a hotel room out of my own money, just so I could play it when I was fresh, as opposed to tired. There are just so many memorable holes that I won't even try to list them all. If you're anywhere within a few hours, this is worth the trip!
14 of 15 people found this review helpful.
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