Worth the trip
18 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Some quick highlights (scroll through the other reviews below if you want a detailed, hole-by-hole analysis):
- Amazing hole and shot variety: There's a perfect mix of short, medium and long holes (from 200' to over 1000') and multiple tees and baskets let you "choose your own adventure". There are open holes in a traditional park setting and wooded technical holes that reminded me of the best holes on the world-class courses in Charlotte, NC.
- Unique pin placements and hole design: I lost count of the number of island greens on the course, some of them in a traditional par 3 setting, but many of them were at the end of long holes, which require you to make two or three long and accurate shots to get into a position to approach the green. There are also several holes with a significant dog-leg which force you to make a perfect placement shot on your drive in order to have a good look at the green on your second shot.
- Elevation: The course runs up and down rolling, grassy hills and a large, wooded ravine, so you're always dealing with some sort of elevation change.
- Course condition: There are benches and trash cans by the tee on almost every hole, gravel and wood chips in all the right places, and I don't think I saw a single piece of trash or debris anywhere on the course. It's obvious that the people who maintain this course care about it and want to give people who play here the best possible experience.
Cons: - I played the course at the end of the Winter, after a few weeks of heavy rain and snow, so the course was very muddy and slippery in spots. In wet conditions, this course might be difficult to play for people who aren't in good physical condition or need to use a cart.
- Overall, the course seemed to favor left to right lines (long RHBH anhyzers or forehand drives).
- This is a difficult, championship-caliber course, so if you are looking for a pleasant walk in the park chucking Frisbees with your buds, this is probably not the course for you.
Other Thoughts: I've been hoping to play Idlewild for a long time, mostly due to its high ranking on this site and all of the great, detailed reviews already posted below. So, when I had to travel to the Cincy area for a funeral, I decided to come a day early, renting a car and a hotel room so I could try to get in a round at this legendary course. And, after a 3-hour solo round, here's what I can say -
Believe the hype. This course is a must play for any disc golfer, casual or Pro.
18 of 18 people found this review helpful.
35 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: - Idlewild is 24-holes of amazingly difficult, epic, relentless, big boy disc golf. Playing the long tees and baskets is a severe test of will, skill, and keen disc golf acumen. It's often better to hit a landing zone with a good placement for the next shot than it is to try for that little extra distance. OB, water hazards, dense forest, and great elevation all come together in one hell of a design that really hits all the high notes and keeps it coming the whole 24.
- Outstanding use of water. While most of the water hazards allow easy retrieval of wayward discs, a few hazards are deep enough to lose discs in (e.g., #'s 2, D, and E). A shallow stream twists back and forth among multiple fairways and island greens for a good portion of the course. Many greens are protected on one or more sides by water.
- Outstanding use of elevation throughout. Rolling grassy hillsides (#'s 1, 15, and B), steep bluffs (#'s 9 and 11), and the banks/edges of the multiple water hazards.
- Outstanding use of trees. Punishingly tight in spots, while never feeling unfair or gimmicky. The lines are all there to be hit, it's a mostly a matter of execution and smart placement for the next shot. Holes that incorporate defined landing zones include #'s 2, 5, and 15.
- Outstanding use of OB to increase risk and force delicate upshots around the several island greens. These greens are usually brick-lined, clearly marked by surrounding water and/or hillside, and carpeted in green astroturf. Drop zones exist in places for the OB around the greens.
- Outstanding tees. If you have issue with these launching pads, yer bonkers. The short tees offer easier shots as well as changing up the look of some holes.
- Signage makes the somewhat winding layout a breeze to follow. We played the long layout without a guide and, other than a brief moment of confusion when jumping back onto the course after restocking on water at the cars, navigation was a snap. Bridges and stairs in all the right spots make this course relatively easy to traverse.
- A good balance between super long (1000'+) and super short technical ace runs (I believe a couple of holes are under 200' even from the longs).
- After #8, the parking lot is conveniently located to the left through the trees. Perfect timing for a restock on beverages, food, and the like. Also, a great way to alleviate backups at the first tee: one could always start on #9 if several groups show up at once. The option of skipping the lettered holes and playing an easier round of 18 holes also helps prevent course congestion.
Cons: - Some of the holes seem fairly close to one another leading to potentially hazardous play. I was informed from in-the-know locals that the course isn't usually all that crowded, but it still seems a bit cramped in places.
- Idlewild is not a "disc golf paradise" if such a thing even exists. The course is ugly in a few spots (although overall it's pretty enough). I was fairly shocked that a course held in such high regard would have so much litter (albeit during the winter...I guess it's cleaner in the warmer months?) This detracts nothing from the actual play, but I thought it worth noting.
Other Thoughts: - Idlewild wasn't at all what I expected going in (without really having read any reviews or looking in depth at the pics) and I was pleasantly surprised at some aspects while being a bit disappointed at others. In the end, though, Idlewild instantly won me over and exceeded most of my expectations. This course delivers its own brand of punishing yet absolutely fair and rewarding disc golf of the highest caliber. Idlewild is a true gem.
35 of 36 people found this review helpful.
My #1 out of 55 played!
27 Helpful / 2 Not
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!
27 of 29 people found this review helpful.
The Gold Standard
14 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Category I (Essential properties of a good course):
- Baskets in EXCELLENT condition with new highly visible yellow paint
-Tee pads were huge with plenty of room for a big runup
-Tee signs and maps were clear and in great shape
Based on the above, Idlewild easily gets 5 stars in this category
Category II: "Combine with Cat I to make a great course"
-fairways were well defined. Didn't see any holes crossing each other. Flow was reasonable and easy to navigate with a map. No unreasonably long walks between tees. My 35 wk pregnant wife and I played 1-18 then holes A-E in about 3 hrs.
-Course maintenance was immaculate
-Benches and trash bins were on every hole I remember and not overflowing. Woodchips on the ground by the benches could have reduced the mud.
Based on Category II, I still stick with 5 stars.
Category III: bonus attributes to make and excellent course
-Nice elevation changes. Not huge, but very scenic rolling hills. The 1001 ft par 5 was a behemith, but manageable with the downhill elevation change. I just barely missed a long putt for 4 and escaped with par 5.
Hole 5 is a steep uphill par 5, only 510 ft, but felt longer given how uphill it was....scored a 7 on this one.
-So many epic and memorable holes. Other reviewers have already captured most of them so I won't rehash.
-Port-a-poties are located close to the parking lot, but within the course, not so much....find a tree
-Shot selection- used about every disc in my bag.
-Hole length- some short par 3's played at or under 200', and 1 par 5 just over 1000 ft. Nothing seemed too unfair though apart from hole #5.....a par5 on this hole would be amazing I think.
-Overall challenge- as one reviewer put it, Mt. Airy is a fabulous course you could play every day. Idlewild is more of a beast but is the appropriate place to determine the best player.
-Not very crowded when my wife and I were there. Let 1 single play through, but apart from that, we had the course to ourselves........my guess is that was because everyone else was scared of 38 degree weather and nicer days it's probably much more busy.
-Locals- Talked to a foursome playing #2 which seemed to be excellent players, but were very friendly
-The small brook / creek running through multiple holes was very scenic and challenging to avoid, but didn't make us fearful of losing a disc.
-A few of the creekside wooded holes had synthetic turf as well which made for an Augusta National feel...........speaking of, compared to all disc golf courses in the world, this is sort of like the Augusta National of disc golf!
Cons: Hard to speak negatively about the course. Sure, some holes to a beginner like me seemed a bit tight, but this is the place to test your game......not boost your confidence!
Other Thoughts: By far the best course I've played. Also glad it's only 1.5 hrs away so I'll definitely be back.
14 of 15 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: Where to start... It has everything you can ask for in a disc golf course. It has open holes, tight holes, holes in between, straight holes, left to right, right to left. It's such a big area that you can have par 5s (up to 1000 ft.) It has so many holes that stick out in my mind that I can't list them without saying almost every hole on the course. Not to mention the HUGE teepads, great signs, alternate tee boxes, and multiple baskets. The letter holes go perfectly with the rest of the course. The whole course flows good there was just one time where I had to figure out where the next tee box here.
Cons: Just more pros would go here.
Other Thoughts: This course is truly the best disc golf course in the country. It may lose on scenery/looks to some other courses but if you're just focusing on playing the game then nothing comes close to Idlewild.
10 of 15 people found this review helpful.
Best of the Best and Why?
23 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: I read one comment that complained about how he had driven so far to play this course and wished he had spent all his time at Mt Airy Forest instead. He couldn't understand why the #2 ranking, etc.. Let me put this into context:
1st, Mt Airy is a wonderful course with many strenghts but let me differentiate the two. Mt Airy is a course that you would want in your back yard. A course with great scenery, sounds, holes, and importantly.. manageable in length. Something you could play on regular basis without a whole lot of effort, lots of fun.
IdleWild (endorphins race through my body when I hear that word...) is in a league of its own however. If you have played disc long enough and understand the dynamics of how different discs fly, especially when there is elevation, wind and tight angles, then you know that Idlewild was designed to be a world class venue. If you wanted to find out who was the BEST disc golf player out there you would choose Idlewild and not Mt Airy. Idlewild not only adds more depth and distance to most of its holes but the huge land area allows for the creation of well designed par 4's and par 5's. Many holes you will need more than just a good drive to par a hole out, . You need to strategically plan your route as many holes have multi paths to a common layup point at which point you may have another set of options to meander your way to the pin. Impossible to really figure out a good strategy for each hole your first time through on the course. I could probably write a book on this course but let me get to the nitty-gritty details.
Design: Everything imaginable is present here. Long open shots where you can bomb away without worry. These same holes can turn into woods nightmares towards the end (#15 I have in mind here). #1 is a monster 600+ foot open fairway (maybe 200ft wide) with a slight downhill grade. So much fun to start. Seems like you should be able to bomb away and watch it glide forever. A little head or cross wind may show you other plans. #2 is an example of a hole where you need a great drive through some tough placed trees to position yourself for an approach (100-200ft) shot over a pond to a pin that is just in a corner niche tucked beyond the pond (see the video section for a couple shots of this approach). Definitely do not skip the newer holes (A-E). Some of the locals I played with seemed to skip these when they played but I didnt understand why? They offer some nice elevation, a couple water hazards and sloped pin placements. Great great holes, check out the videos and pictures. The course offers numerous ace runs that make you S curve through tight tree lines. So many fun ones to talk about...
Fairways: were very well kept the 3 times I have traveled to play this course. Some huge wide fairways, some tight, some mixed, perfect variety.
Rough: Plenty of areas to loose discs yes. The tall grass is the most problematic. Keep a close eye and line on stray discs.
Elevation Variety: Outstanding, plenty of slight downhill, treacherous uphill battles, valleys, and bends. Couldn't ask for much more diversity here.
Length : Very long! Expect to spend 4 hours easy if you have more than 2 people. Really depends on your shot quality (could take 3 hrs or could take 5). This is a course that you would NOT want in your back yard, by that I mean it is grueling. Not something I could manage on a daily basis. But really, yeah, I would want it in my back yard now that I think about it...sigh..
Use of Water: Plenty of water holes. They are not particularly difficult water holes but they are beautiful.
Course Beauty: Well maintained, huge, could explore for days. Hardly any trash, set amongst rolling hills in what feels like the middle of nowhere. Amazing environment and feel when you are there. I will briefly mention their signage and tee pads. Both are very nice looking (good concrete and nice signs) however the signs lack detail. That's typical though of most signs...
Overall: This IS one of the best courses in the nation. It is easily in the top 5 and I have it as my #3 favorite ever, just behind BLUEBERRY HILLS WI and FLYBOY AVIATION, GA (RIP). To speak about a course in the same sentence as FLYBOY or HIGHBRIDGE is truly something amazing. I have traveled to some of the most pristine raved about courses in the nation and this one holds its weight. This course is worth every bit of the 10 HOUR road trip I have taken from Mpls/St Paul 3 times now! And its free did I mention (along with all the sweet courses in the areas!!...wow).
Warm up Basket: Yes
Message Board: Yes
Benches and trash cans: Plenty
Cons: I first want to quickly touch on the negative comments I briefly read through; THIS IS A COURSE YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS, DISREGARD ANYONE THAT TELLS YOU DIFFERENT! The negative comments about this course are by and large from players who do not fully understand the game and have little appreciation for complex course design. I can understand how many people are "dwarfed and discouraged" by this behemoth of a course due to its long winding holes, tricky pin placements, significant elevation challenges, mando/water hazards and regular gusts of shifting winds. This may not be a course you would want to play everyday but its also one not to be missed if you want to really test your skills against both beauty and the beast.
Other Thoughts: Favorite Hole(s): #1, 7, 9, 10...too many to mention..
10 CURRENT FAVORITE COURSE (Played):
1. Flyboy Aviation, Whitesburg GA
2. Blueberry Hill, Highbridge WI
3. Idlewild, Burlington KY
4. Rennaissance Park, Charlotte NC
5. Diamond X, Billings MT
6. Blue Ribbon Pines, East Bethel MN
7. Lincoln Ridge Park, Independence KY
8. Ashe Co Park, Jefferson, NC
9. Highbridge Gold, Highbridge WI
10. WR Jackson Memorial DGC, Intl Disc Golf Center, Appling GA
Granite Ridge, Highbridge, WI
Hornets' Nest, Charlotte NC
Whistler DGC, Whistler, British Columbia
Hudson Mills Metropark, Dexter MI
23 of 25 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 13 Not
Pros: A Phenomenal course, immaculately designed, completely and utterly challenging. Strategically placed trees, water hazards, hills, and putt putt style carpet surrounding many of the baskets.
Cons: A tough course for some,not for everybody.
Other Thoughts: One of the best courses in the world, every disc golfer should play this. It will hurt them physically, and help them in their game, and it should not be missed.
3 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Just Don't Get It
22 Helpful / 33 Not
Pros: The course setting is very nice, especiall this time of year with all the colors on the trees, and on the ground. Lots of hole variety with ponds, creeks, and of course lots of trees. The several holes with the "greens" were pretty cool, although getting to them at times was an adventure.
Cons: Baskets were not consistant and many were difficult to see because there were no colored bands on top or around the pole or flags on top. Since many of the holes are so long, a plain metal grey basket can be difficult to spot against the backdrop of trees, especially playing for the first time. Several of the holes were just ridiculous as far as having a legitimate route to the basket. Map and tee signs were of very little help in navigating course for the first time. Spent way too much time hunting for tee pads or baskets. With many of the holes having 3 or more pin locations, you never knew which location basket was in until you were upon it and in a few cases, it would have changed what type of previous shot to take.
Other Thoughts: I just do not get what all the hoopla is about with this course or how it gets such a high rating. I guess it's just not my cup of tea. I'm glad I played it once, but would never make the 2 hour drive to play it again. We played Mt. Airy right after Idlewild and I wish we had just gone to Mt. Airy and played it 2 or 3 times instead. To be the second highest rated course in the country, you would think they would get some better baskets that are all the same and ones that you can see from a distance. Also, really need to work on a much better map and tee signs and even signs along the paths to make navigation easier so you can spend your time actually playing disc golf instead of hiking and hunting for tee pads and baskets.
22 of 55 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 32 Not
Pros: Overall it was a good course, had fun playing it. Pretty easy to follow. Can't remember what hole it is think it was 5, throw down the hill take a 90 degree turn right and fo back up the hill. Was no clear path and could not figure out how the designer intended the hole to be played.
Cons: Had several poke and hope holes and several tweener holes.
3 of 35 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 28 Not
Pros: Awesome course…..Love the holes with real "greens" There is every shot you can encounter here. If you are looking to strengthen your skills all around, this is the one!
Cons: Must be ready to exercise!
Other Thoughts: This course has the Longest Hole Ever…Over a thousand feet!!!
1 of 29 people found this review helpful.
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