8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This is an awesomely maintained park! Well manicured, great facilities, and very convenient to the interstate.
Chainstar baskets are in great shape and catch well. Rubber teepads are not quite as nice as concrete, but are done right and pose no issues. Plays in the open as well as in the woods. Nice variety of terrain, both uphill and downhill, which I loved. Grass well kept and while it doesn't look like they mow it once a week or anything, you won't lose a disc or anything in it.
Parking was plentiful next to the first tee. Even when busy I can't imagine it would fill up completely.
My memorable holes:
1 - Long-ish downhill hyzer shot, with a bunch of shule covering most of the land on the way down, OB. Takes a deceiving amount of distance to clear the OB, then the basket is tucked in some trees to the left (not visible from tee).
3 - Talk about a pinball hole. It takes a very accurate shot not to get caught up in all the thin trees. Uphill and no direct line, better to play safe (which unfortunately I didn't do!).
5 - Nice downhill right-turning tunnel, give it a soft anhyzer with a neutral fairway driver, and let it float on down to the basket.
6 - Says that it's only 510 feet, but plays like 1000! Uphill for several hundred feet then left, into the trees. A big arm could get lucky and have a look at a 2 with a perfect drive, but alas, that is not me.
7 - Really cool tee tucked into the edge of the woods, you throw out over a large field downhill, and the basket is in the point of another stand of trees 600 feet away. The thing that really gets you is that if you don't keep it low, it will dive wayyy left into more trees..
9 - Tough, tough, tough. Almost no line, but not much distance either. Best shot I could come up with was a severely hyzered forehand. It did not work well.
13 - Up a big gulley, about 30 feet elevation change, very, very tough shot.
18 - Finishing hole was pretty cool, up a gentle hill, then the basket guarded by some mature trees.
Cons: My biggest complaint is course flow. I suppose it is a tradeoff between flow and using the best areas of the park to make great holes, but some holes have some long walks in-between, and even with what seems like a very good map, I still had considerable difficulty finding some of the next tees. Walking between 11 and 12 was a little challenging, but got to see some cool animals in the aviary on the way. Likewise I had a little trouble finding 17's tee.
Probably not a common thing, and I won't let it factor in my rating, but when I got there mid-afternoon, they were getting ready to shut the park down. One of the very cool rangers let me go ahead and play as long as I promised to make it quick, thanks again man!
Other Thoughts: My rating of a 4 is based on this park being so well-kept, and well-designed, although a few of the holes are a little simple, but the difficult ones make up for it. It could be a 4.5 in my opinion if they upgraded to concrete tees, and improved the navigation.
If you are in the Hartford area, you HAVE to go play Wickham. From my initial research of the course, I didn't expect a lot, but it appears it is a hidden jewel. I can't wait to make it back to the area again to play it some more!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 0 Not
Beauty in the hood
Pros: For where this course is it is amazingly beautiful and well kept. The course is in a multi use park but you don't run into the other activities very much, if at all. Even though the course is wide open there is a huge use of elevation and OB which keeps you honest and defiantly challenges you to make a good throw. The tee signs are colored and mounted on nice stands that clearly show the basket location, distance, par, and second tee position(if available). The tee pads are rubber, on the long tees anyway, and nice and level. Some of the holes have multiple baskets with one tee and this makes for an even more unique experience. The layout is awesome. There aren't many trees on the course but they are used to maximum potential. Whether the basket is in a cluster of trees, they run next to the fairway, they are in front of the tee box or somewhere else they always make you second guess your shot. Make sure to bring your strong arm because the sheer length of this course is daunting, and that doesn't take into account the changes in elevation. There are some restrooms located behind hole fourteen's teebox. The cleanliness isnt the best though.
Cons: Some of the baskets could defiantly use some TLC as they are damaged and/or rusting. The short tee pads are not well marked at all and hard to find. There is a really long drive once you enter the park to get to tee one. The tee pads have pine needles and grass clippings all over them. A broom would be a much welcomed addition. There are very few next tee signs which can be confusing without a map. There is a constant wind which toys with your mind (not sure if it is a con but the wind takes your discs and they can be hard to find in the tall grass). Even though the grass was recently cut it was still almost ankle deep.
Other Thoughts: Admission to the park is $4.00. Make sure to request a scorecard because you will need the map. Hole seven's fairway offers a gorgeous view of downtown Hartford. There is a playground near hole twelve as well as a bird sanctuary and food stand.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Wickham Park is a gem from start to finish. Getting to Wickham is extremely easy and is right off I-84. Once you've arrived at the park and paid to get in, you get to see what your money paid for. Wickham is a beautifully manicured and well-maintained park that includes numerous gardens, an aviary, playgrounds, tennis courts, a nature center, and bird sanctuary. Stone staircases and old, long rock walls add to the overall ambiance.
Wickham Park covers a lot of bases with a great variety of holes. From short, wooded, and technically challenging to super-long, wide-open, grip 'n rip monsters. The course also features numerous elevation changes, some of which are extreme and can prove to be very challenging.
Multiple tees allow both advanced and amateur players to test their abilities with distances that are appropriate to their skill level.
Tee signs were very detailed and showed both tee positions (when applicable), distances, and expected lines. Tee pads were in great condition and several tees also had paver surrounds. The baskets were also in great shape.
Wickham Park was refreshingly clean and lacking litter or garbage.
Cons: Very few things detracted from the overall score at Wickham Park. The most disappointing aspect of the course is the fact that it's only open from April-October. As the preeminent course in the area, local players need to play lesser courses half of the year.
While course flow and layout is great, next tee signs would be helpful.
Multiple unsigned/unlabeled baskets on hole 9 was very confusing.
Other than mild elevation changes, most of the wide-open holes lacked any obstacles or technical challenge, just a looooong drive (or a couple of drives) followed by a direct putt. Having a basket or two tucked behind trees, rocks, or other obstacle would up the challenge factor. Additionally, I'm sure that there are streams/ponds on site, adding some water OB would also increase the risk vs. reward aspect of the course.
Other Thoughts: This course is amazing. If the course could be modified to incorporate a few more obstacles on the longer holes, add water OB, or (most importantly) stay open year round, I'd be able to easily bump my rating to 4.5 and would have to carefully evaluate whether a score of 5.0 would be warranted.
I will be playing this course again. The next time I pass through the area, I'm going to make it a point to play at least one round at this beautiful park.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 5 Not
B = Be too open & Be too long
Pros: What I personally like and how this course stacks up in my list of 18 hole courses:
1) Holes with good risk/reward. Fair, but harsh punishment for bad decisions or execution. == B-
(By in large this is an open course - 2 of the 6 wooded holes are too short to be punishing as recovery from a bad shot is automatic on them. As such, good decision making and execution do not benefit you much above doing so poorly. 3 of the 4 wooded holes that remain are superb.)
2) Holes that have rewarding birdie opportunities for me. I'm a Blue level player (950ish skill) who throws 300' accurately, 360' max. == B-
(I think that this course caters best to Red level players (250-275' drives) as the long holes are legit par 4's for them whereas they are routine/boring par 3's for me....and the short holes that are too easy for me, would be cool/rewarding holes for shorter arms. Big arms will love the long holes, but will be even more bored by the short holes than I was.)
3) More wooded than open - lots of variety of shots required caused by hole shape and topography == B-
(Again, this is not really a wooded course. If the ratio of wooded to open was flipped, I would rate it much higher in this area. There is decent R/L variety and use of good DG terrain.
The coolest hole in my book is #14 - the narrow wooded 324' hole starts out flat/slightly down for about half the fairway, then drops off precipitously - sign says 70'! To go for a deuce, thumbers might work well, or maybe a touchy yet powerful anny putter shot. But if you screw up, be prepared to pay! I have always wanted to design a hole like this since I have never seen such a hole implemented....but now I have. Nice!)
4) Natural beauty (Appalachian beauty preferred) and seclusion. == B+
(Very nice park! The wooded holes are beautiful and secluded as are many of the holes crossing beautiful meadows. Seclusion from other park users and neighborhood is lacking in about 1/3 of the park.)
5) Bonus points for multi-throw holes with defined landing zones, good risk/reward and multiple options to play them. == D+
(Slight bonus points for having 4 par-4 holes. 2 of the 4 are nothing more than long. Hole 6 is a dogleg with a long and open first throw followed by a very short and routine 2nd (not a strong hole). Hole 8 is a passable par 4 despite it being quite open. It forces you to throw long and place your drive well. If you are off, you may well have a very difficult upshot to a guarded basket.)
Other Thoughts: It's all about feeding the addiction, so I ranked this course subjectively based on my own "personal addiction factor". The grades above tell how well this course will draw me back to itself again and again and again. See my profile for specifics on my rating philosophy.
I fancy myself as a connoisseur of good course design and I am a competitive Blue level (950-ish rated) with mid-level power (accurate to 300' with max D of 360'). Since I have played a decent number of courses (150+ 18-hole, 90+ 9-hole as of late 2009), my hope is that players/explorers who have similar addiction tastes will find my ratings list helpful as they choose courses to play and explore.
I fully expect others with different tastes/philosophies to disagree with me…..and that's the fun of things here.
12 of 17 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Relatively easy to find, great course layout and generally good flow from hole to hole (a couple exceptions), a couple HUGE holes for big guns, excellent use of terrain, a very wide variety of shots necessary from real finesse to full-on hurl... I'm running out of superlatives, here. Suffice to say that it's on par with Cranbury Park in Norwalk (CT), the Black Rose in Kamloops (British Columbia), and Stafford Lake in Novato (CA) - stellar. Definitely tied with Cranbury Park as the two best courses in CT.
Cons: Not very many... beginner/intermediate players might be intimidated by the huge holes... can get crowded due to the "per vehicle" rather than "per person" fee... closed from October to April, definitely a con...
Other Thoughts: I played this course on my own, and was happy to bump into a few locals who showed me around. Amazing course, truly; if I lived closer, I'd play it all the time. Totally worth the drive, though. The parking fee is nominal, especially considering what you get. I do wish that there were better signs for the next tee a la Cranbury Park, but all in all this is in my top three favorite courses.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 10 Not
Unique and challenging
Pros: Very unique course design and a great mix of wooded/open, long/short, right/left, up/down, etc.
Great use of natural OB lines to add real challenge to shorter par 3's.
Beautiful grounds for a disc golf course.
Cons: None that I can think of!
5 of 15 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
World Class Course
Pros: Wickham is a large, wonderfully maintained park with huge mowed fields, rolling hills, tight and technical woods and some long, long holes. Color map with scorecard and pencil come with entry fee. Locals were good tour guides and good players. Great signs and tee pads (rubber). Practice basket near 1st tee, and brooms and benches on most holes. Park has restrooms, playgrounds, gardens, sports facilities, a snack shop and even an aviary between hole 11 and 12 where there are peacocks, pheasants and other rare and beautiful birds. $4 per vehicle per day is well worth the price. Some holes have alternate tees/baskets. Nice views. Out of bounds areas add difficulty and old stone walls add character.
Cons: Large groups are common due to entry fee being per vehicle. Beginners might be intimidated by length and difficulty. Closed from October to April. Only open from 9:30 am to sunset. First time navigation without map or guide would be extremely difficult.
Other Thoughts: Wow. You can really see where your money goes at this course. I can't imagine how long it takes to cut the grass which was just long enough to keep any disc from skipping. Local lore is that Mr. Wickham was the guy that invented the plastic window on envelopes. These days Bank of America owns and maintains the park, and they do a really good job!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
An Aristocrats View of Hartford
Pros: Stunning course in a majestic setting. Rolling hills and tight woods, with elevation changes abound. A great mix of everything, including a few par 4's to boot. Many of the holes are a tough- earned par here. The signs are world class as well as the rubber tee pads. A very friendly group of locals who are rightfully proud of their course. The signature hole which goes down the grassy slope with a view of Hartford is stunning! Adequate parking and restroom facilities on the course are a bonus.
Cons: Minor complaints - a couple of tee pads would have been tough to find without a map (long walks), and a few too many of the long pars are very hard to attain without 3 perfect shots. I played on a weekday evening that was quite crowded. I was told that this was unusual, however as it was one of the first days without rain in quite some time.
The more I think about it, there are a couple of really long field holes that get a little redundant. I don't mind the ones that have trees and OB, but #11 is a little long and dull.
Other Thoughts: On the other day I showed it was POURING rain, but the parks guys let me in without paying, but I had the entire park to myself! On another occasion the rangers told us they were closing in 5 minutes as we were teeing off at 17. I got to the gate 5 mins. after closing and they had locked the gate! Thank God I had the park phone # and the ranger was still on site. Sheesh!
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: A brilliant course set in one of the most beautiful parks in the state. Includes a nice mix of open fields and challenging woods. You can get a scorecard at the front gate which includes an easy to use map. Holes flow very well which makes each one easy to find. Discs are available for rental ($2) at the front gate.
Cons: The pay to play is more of a warning than a con, just bring 3 dollars to get in. Don't rent discs if you plan on playing for par, they only stock Innova Sharks which can't fly across the wide fields. Warm up you're drive before the first hole because it is difficult to find discs in the rough to the left.
Other Thoughts: Be prepared for a hike, it's a long course that goes up and down many hills.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Yankee Doodle Dandy
Pros: A True World Class Experience that provides everything an experienced player craves. It is seconds off of the Interstate and is located in a beautiful and well maintained city park. Spectacular landscaping as well as top notch maintenance here. Informative tee signs that provide elevation shifts as well as diagrams and distance. Tee pads are rubber but are done correctly so no issue there. There is practically every type of hole here....short but technical, long and technical, open field bombs, ace runs, doglegs right and left, massive elevation shifts from drops of 70 feet to rises of 50 feet! The course begins with a massive open downhill placement drive over OB grass (not high lose your disc grass..just a bit higher than the tight grass on the fairway) after this you play 4 up and down in the woods for some shorter but challenging holes. Then the flavor of the course changes to long and strong. Some holes really stand out and would be signature holes elsewhere! Hole 7 is a huge drive down a wide open grass hill. Picturesque views of the Hartford Skyline. Hole 12 is another huge downhill drive. Holes 13,14, and 15 play up and down massive elevation in the woods and are some of the funnest holes on the course. 13 and 15 are labeled as 252 and 156 feet but remember you are throwing uphill 50 and 35 feet steep inclines. Fun! 14 is a broken elevator drop of 70 feet be careful. The course weaves from open to woods to open to woods to open very well so you never get bored and all aspects of your game are challenged. Most of the open holes include elevation and a technical pin placement so its not just grip and rip. The technical holes utilize elevation and trees that reward technique/decision making over luck. The course finishes strong, as the back 9 are much more interesting and difficult than the front solid 9. this keeps the anticipation level high. Very well thought out course.Excellent course website as well.
Cons: A few non course issues kept me from the giving my experience a 5. It is pay to play, (but at least you see where your money went here) the park was crowded by a X-country meet and many people were milling about and complicated parking, (playing during non peak times may alleviate this) I read the course is pulled from October until April, this makes little sense as it seems like a wonderful fall course with the woods and sledding on the hills would not occur until Jan-March? A shame its only open for summer essentially. Lastly my only gripe with the course was a long transition from 11 to 12 (sinister how that walk takes you past a concession area hmmmm?) i suppose it's good to have a chance to take a break and get some food and drink but for first timer it was a bit confusing. If your out of shape the hill holes from 13-15 could pose a problem. (If your in shape your gonna love them) A little yawn time from holes 9-11.
Other Thoughts: I think this course is very under the Radar but will soon get the recognition it deserves. It is conveniant for any North South traveler. Its a great park and a good place to stop and enjoy a true disc golf course. I wish more city parks saw disc golf as a moneymaker and built fine courses like this one.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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