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.
23 Helpful / 2 Not
Best of the Best and Why?
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.
23 Helpful / 36 Not
Just Don't Get It
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.
23 of 59 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.
5 Helpful / 15 Not
Top Notch Challenge
Pros: Tight and technical, to include a long arm challenge. The rolling hills along with the trees make this a sweet venue. Super well maintained, with some excellent lines. A true test for anyone no matter what level of player. Great use of the creek, with the OB challenge.
Cons: Having a course map available for players on site would be helpful. I was quite confused about how par was defined until I got home and checked DGC review. Had some confusion about what was OB. A bit tougher for the first timer, I'm sure having a local guide, or being local would be advantageous.
Other Thoughts: I'd suggest a donation box, so that the local club and community can continue to improve this venue. I sense that the sport will be pay to play in the future - a small investment in a donation box could bring in some serious revenue.
5 of 20 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.
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