What a Pleassure
21 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: First, the stuff you'd expect from a top-level course:
Benches on most holes, plenty of trash cans, not much litter, great tee signs, well-defined fairways (mostly), solid baskets, large concrete tees, frequent elevation challenges, open and tight hole variety, great shot variety, multiple tees and multiple baskets for great re-playability, front and back end up near the parking lot, lots of Par5s and Par4s, water OB was there-but not too deep to recover your disc (except for one tee shot over the pond), well-defined greens and tee areas, "Facilities" on-site, bridges over ditches, rough is thick but not impassable, free. The "balance" is probably the best of any course I've played. As a lefty, I never felt like I didn't have a good line.
Cons: Not much here. I would have given it 4.75, if I could, because of the navigation challenges. I played the course on a Thursday morning and no one was there to help. I tried to line up a Course Guide, but couldn't get one on the short notice that I had. I know that the "Next Tee" was marked on the Tee Signs and a lot of the holes had red directional "Next Tee" signs, especially on the back, but frankly it was not enough. Adding to the Navigation issues, more than a few of the hole transitions are quite long. I'm sure that others will disagree, but my view of a 5-star course is that navigation and transitions should not be an afterthought. More work needs to be done here to make it deserve that fifth star, Another small quibble I had was the fairway/lines on some of the wooded holes were convoluted/random/luck over skill.
Other Thoughts: Beware the joggers and walkers. It wasn't a Con, but a few tee throws could conflict with other users in this multi-use park. Also, it is a long, grueling course that will require you to climb up and down and walk considerable distances. I'm just gald I didn't play this course in the summer. I cannot stress enough that this is not an easy course. I like that it sprinkles a few "breather" holes along the way, but this is a course that requires you to keep your mental game strong. It doesn't take much of a mental lapse to find yourself looking at a double or triple (or worse). Requires planning and placement for just about every shot. Allow 3+ hours to play, especially if you play in a group. As others have said, enjoy the beauty, the upkeep and the long hours that have gone into this course. Just don't hate it when it punishes the occasional errant throw.
21 of 21 people found this review helpful.
34 Helpful / 1 Not
Idolize the Wild!
Pros: Features 24 best of the best championship level holes playing over picturesque Kentucky rolling hills mixed with a few mostly open and mostly wooded technical fairways. Coming into play are elevation changes galore, creeks, ponds, tall grass, and island greens with a mix of par 3 and 4, and two 5s. Idlewild has phenomenal balance and variety from hole to hole and starts and ends with two of the best holes and 22 freaking awesome holes in-between them.
Amenities include excellent concrete tees and signage, and some multiple tees and baskets. Some benches. Grass is well maintained on fairways and underbrush wasn't too bad in the woods. Navigation was ok for the most part. Two loops of 9 holes back to parking lot and extra 6 letter holes on first loop. Nicely built greens and bridging over creeks and walking paths. Water fountains, portapotty, and trash cans in parking lot.
Cons: This is not a con in my book, but Idlewild is definitely not a beginner - intermediate level course and only has one set of gold level tees on most holes which is probably with good reason or warning that you probably shouldn't play here if can't get to the first basket within two drives and stay on the fairway which is fairly generous relative to the rest of the fairways.
Beware of crazy human joggers, I was the only disc golfer in the park and there was only a few other people in the whole park, and a few times someone ran down or across the fairway. I was shocked people would run this elevation in the heat. You cross a fairway at one point and backtrack a few places. Plays over and near a walking path/road, nothing too bad.
I played in the peak of summer so there's some poison ivy out there but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and actually was decent in that regard compared to the other 10 courses I played on this road trip. Just keep an eye open in/near the roughs and trees. The open bomber hole on 15 with tall grass rough is pretty gnarly, but the mowed strip is like 60' wide and I managed to stay out of it even with a blizzard destroyer and headwind. The family that just finished playing when I arrived found several ticks on them, but I didn't find any later. If you can't control a disc well these may be more of an issue.
Just a note that playing and walking over the elevation changes in the summer heat and humidity was rough the first 15 holes to loop back to the parking lot as the 6 extra letter holes are mostly open and elevated. In retrospect I should have probably played the 6 letter holes as a 3rd loop or warm up loop. I ran out of 24oz water after the first 9 holes with 6 to go on the loop. I had to take a decent break to rehydrate before the final 9 holes which is rare for me. It took me almost 2.5-3 hours to play from start to finish which is one of, if not the longest solo round I've ever played and my legs felt like jello.
It does get pretty noisy when planes fly over and are low, but it seems to be pretty sparse timing on the fly byes.
Other Thoughts: Idlewild is Where The Wild Things Are and definitely lived up to the hype. I'm not sure which was my favorite hole as most holes stand out not just among of Cincy area, but of every course I've played. Idlewild throws everything at you including the kitchen sink. You really have to think about where to land and what line to throw to help setup the next throw. Do you risk the plinko approach to the green and ending up OB or layup safe for a longer putt that is still quite makable? You must be able to throw a putter or mid straight and long on many holes to have a look for the next shot. Other holes require a driver out of sheer distance and/or for line shaping. I throw BH and FH equally, so I never felt like the course didn't have a line I couldn't feasibly hit. If you can't throw with opposite spin you may have trouble finding a fairway line on some holes. Some see these as course flaws, but it's really a player flaw of not playing the course like your game permits.
I've played 100+ courses and Idlewild easily ranks in my top 5 with Paw Paw WV, Hawk Hallow, Black Jack, Nockamixon, Moraine, and Orange Crush being of similar style awesomeness. What can I say, but I love me some crazy good epic disc golf! Idlewild made the two flat tires and 1,200 mile round trip drive totally worth it!
34 of 35 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 10 Not
DOES IT GET ANY BETTER!!!
Pros: Top notch course with multiple tees.If you play this course on a regular basis you have to improve on your game.Nice tight fairways,long holes,a good mix with open and wooded.It has beautiful landscaping.Well done course,I'm very lucky to have a course like this so close to home.
Cons: If you don't have patience you may not want to play this course.If your a beginner play boon for awhile.
Other Thoughts: I haven't played much since 2008 do to my work schedule and some personal problems but Im back now and look forward to going to Idlewild!!!!!Remember it's rated pro for a reason so if your a whinner don't come to Idlewild it will beat you down!
5 of 15 people found this review helpful.
26 Helpful / 0 Not
Unforgettable, Immersive Disc Golf Experience
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!
26 of 26 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.
34 Helpful / 21 Not
As an outlier, I guess I'm just not (that into) championship calibur enough for this course.
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.
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