A wonderful gem that could use a little polishing
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This course is beautiful. It is situated only a few miles from Hot Springs, Arkansas (which I just visited for the first time over Labor Day weekend) and the nearby recreation areas of Hamilton Lake, Ouachita Lake, and Hot Springs National Park.
Some quick comments on the amenities before I move on to the course itself:
- Lots of parking
- well maintained park because it shares space with I believe a boyscout camp and some other things like an RC airfield
- pavilion near holes 1/18 is perfect for "tournament central" or just hanging out with your friends before and after the round
- I believe I saw bathrooms near the parking area but I didn't use them
Cedar Glades wanders through a well wooded park with rolling hills. The trees are fairly thick - depending on where you are from, you might disagree - but the underbrush is nearly non-existent. I am not sure if this is due to hard work by the club keeping ground cover clear or if it is natural, but it makes for a great course that provides makeable lines for well-executed throws, with little chance for a stray bush or leaf to catch a good throw and turn it into a bad one.
Navigation is very easy. On some of the more confusing parts of the layout there are signs on trees directing you too the next tee pad. All of the baskets are well labeled with big numbers so it is less likely you will throw at the wrong basket.
There are alternate tee pads for 10 holes. I can't imagine getting bored here with the various layouts you could play. I only played 18 of the 28 tee pads on my one round, and played a mix of longs and shorts. There is something for everyone here with the variety available.
My favorite holes were 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, and 15(short). But my opinion might change on a second round. Most of the holes I liked used elevation in a clever way, and also had a clear line from the tee to the basket that required a well played shot to hit. One example is hole 5 which is a shorter hole that favors a LHBH route (or forehand). The hole looks fairly straight forward except that any disc that runs at the basket has to contend with a very steep hill just behind the green - disc/shot selection here is key! This is the kind of challenge that makes a good course for me.
I also liked hole 8. I am a sucker for water hazards and enjoyed the creek running along hole 8 (although that hole's fairway could use just a little clearing). The creek is crystal clear so a sunk disc should be visible.
I could probably think of things to say about most of the holes, an indication for me that this course is well designed. I am going to keep my thoughts for the pros section to the above examples and just say that you should definitely play this course if you are in the area. You don't need to read more thoughts on details of the course to make that decision. Go play it! This course needs to be played by any golfer who has the time. The rest of my review will be on some thoughts on cons and redesign - I think with some simple improvements this course could be stellar.
Cons: At least one hole had too much elevation. I do not like hole 4 for this reason. It is a sub-200 foot hole (from both tees) up a very steep slope. Not fun to play.
The long tee on hole 11 did not make any sense to me. We walked up to that tee first because it had the tee sign and noticed that the fairway for this hole plays 60-80 feet straight and then turns 90 degrees and goes 100 feet left. Not enjoyable or very "golfy" to me so we played the short tee, which was fine.
Only some of the tee boxes have signs with a map and distances, and its not always the longs or shorts, but a mix. If every box had a sign, it would be easier to navigate and the course would look that much more professional.
Hole 15 had a long tee pad that happened to be exactly where one of the "outs" is for a drive from hole 10 that goes a bit left of the fairway. I found that this route made sense as an alternate path out to the left with a clear shot then at the basket for 10 from almost 300 feet away. A busy day at the park would have interference between 10 and 15 long.
Hole 18, a long par 4, has a map that shows two fairways, one to the right (with a mando) and one to the left. The sign indicates they are somewhat equivalent as routes. I have been working on my forehand so I took the left route and found that the fairway ends in a mess of trees in the fairway after about 200 feet. If a few trees were removed then it would be a reasonable route for lefties or a flick.
Baskets on steep slopes. This applies to holes 4, 5, 7 and 11 I think. I like the use of slopes near baskets to add a challenge, but the basket should be on at least a small level area so that a good drive or approach is rewarded by settling where it lands, rather than rolling down a large hill, putting you in some cases well outside 50 feet due to the roll. This would involve putting a wooden box on the hill around the basket and filling it with dirt or mulch to create a level green. I think this is do-able here since it only applies to 4-6 holes.
Tee pads are well built wood boxes but are still just dirt and wood chips. Some nice concrete tee pads would be a huge upgrade.
Other Thoughts: A few things need to be done to this course to make it a 4.5 star course for me (some repeated from "cons" above"):
- Signs at every tee pad
- Concrete tee pads
- Redesign* hole 4 (less elevation)
- Redesign hole 7 (fairway clearing)
- Redesign hole 18 (left fairway clearing)
- Move or remove tee pad for long 15 (due to interference with 10)
- Move or remove tee pad for long 11 (due to lack of creativity)
- Make level "Greens" with wood boxes for baskets on slopes
*"Redesign" in this case could involve just removing some trees in some cases.
I saw some notes that the local club is probably going to put in another course. I think this is a great long term idea. A 36 complex here - if the second course is of the same quality as Cedar Glades - would be outstanding. HOWEVER, I think this should be a longterm goal. I would first want to see the improvements above. I think taking Cedar Glades up another level will bring in more players and potentially more money to the club (via more players at fundraising tournaments) and make the second course easier to develop. These are just my thoughts as an outsider - knowing nothing of the funds and politics of the club that takes care of this beautiful course.
Also, someone please uplink a bigger version of the course map to this website!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Totally Worth The Time To Play
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Nice Innova Discatcher Pro baskets
- Very clean and well taken care of
- Big kiosk with information such as maps
- Nice bathrooms at hole 1
- Tee signs are very nice and are very descriptive
- Very challenging. Course has lots of elevation and many trees and the course uses these natural characteristics very well with lots of risk/ reward shots.
- Good mix of hole distances
- Beautiful views of the mountains
- Yellow signs all through the course on the trees were helpful to find the next tee pad
- There was a great mix and variety of holes which made it more enjoyable
- Multiple tees on most holes makes this a challenging course from beginner to advanced
Cons: - Layout didn't make much sense. On some holes, you have to walk right through another holes fairway to get to a tee
- Tee pads are elevated from ground but big enough for a short run up but if you have a long run up on your throw, be cautious
- Tee pads aren't concrete. This is a little disappointing but not super bad. They are decent but i did slip on some throws
- leaves on course and discs can slide under them easily so watch where your disc goes!
- Don't expect to play a quick round here. Being a very popular course means it is busy on the weekends and you may have to wait behind people like i did.
- A couple of holes are way to long. I thought there were 1 or 2 that were over 600 feet and in the woods, this is VERY long because of all of the trees.
Other Thoughts: Overall, this is a very nice and clean park. This course is one of the best ive played in this area and it was very enjoyable. If you've got the time, this course is totally worth it!!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -This course is situated on one of the most beautiful pieces of land I have ever seen. It is nestled near Hot Springs National Park in a secluded park.
-The course has fantastic elevation and utilizes it very well. Most of the holes have a pin position + or - at least 10 feet of elevation from the tee.
-The signs were great. As a first timer I had no problem figuring out where the next hole was. There are course maps at the billboard near the first hole to take with you on the course.
-The course has some amazingly long holes including #10 that is 700+ ft from the short tee and 900+ from the long tee. The 18th hole is also a very nice, long hole and in my opinion is the second most memorable hole at the course.
-There are 30' strings tied to the bottom of each basket to determine if your disc is within the circle. I have never seen that and thought that that was a very interesting and unique aspect of the course.
-Even with the huge amount of trees there is a distinct "fairway" on each hole.
Cons: -Besides the 3 LONG holes every other holes is relatively short and can be reached with a putter or midrange.
-The tee pads are gravel and are suitable and upon reading the reviews they have been suitable for a few years now. Concrete would be ideal but the current pads are decent.
There are a few fairways that cross and to walk to other tees may involve dangerously walking in another hole's fairway. I came and played here when it was completely empty but I can see in league or tournament play the discs could be hazardous.
-Because of the large amount of trees there is a blanket of leaves that cover the ground in the fall and winter. If you are not careful and do not watch your disc carefully then you can easily lose a disc.
Other Thoughts: This course is one of my favorite courses I have ever played. I came to Hot Springs on vacation and really enjoyed my three rounds out here. It has a very secluded, and serene atmosphere. I would drive way out of my way if I lived even within 60 miles of this course. This is a course that all serious golfers should come and play.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Summer Home Course
Pros: The course has shorts and longs, which offer a change of scenery on throws. There are uphill and downhill shots as well. The lack of water hazards is nice as well (hole 8 being the only one, which is clear enough to see your discs when they go in). This course also offers some great scenery to see as well. The pars on this course are very giving for the shorts and extremely tough on the longs, this makes the course easy for beginners and tough on the experienced.
Cons: Some holes are extremely short, and I over throw them with putters. There also isn't really a hole where you can "air it out" without worrying about hitting a tree. The course does get confusing at times but once you have played through once you get the hang of it. The tee boxes aren't concrete which can make your approach to drive alittle hairy at times as well. Holes 10/11 have been changed, which is something to note. What was hole 11 is now 10 and hole 11 have been cut out of the woods.
Other Thoughts: This course is a fun play. Definitely the best course in the area (especially seeing as OBU in Arkadelphia is the next closest course). If you want a challenging round of DG that doesn't have alot of hazards this course is a real blast.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Great lay out for a course, the front nine are nice and rolling, the back nine will take you some time and will make you think about what you want to do!
Cons: its a good course, some times the pole on hole 8 take a day off and cant be found, but other than that, its great
Other Thoughts: I love this course, its my home course now, and I enjoy it every time I go, Had a few run ins with the club members, Most of them are Really nice and Inviting,
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Good times in Hot Springs
Pros: This course is a ton of fun to play with a lot of elevation changes and tight fairways. There are trash cans everywhere, clean restrooms, and is in a nice park. The tee signs are great, giving par, distance, and an idea of where the basket is located. There are also tons of arrows pointing you in the right direction for the different tee boxes. I had no problem finding my way around on both the longs and the shorts my first time out. The baskets are top notch. The tee pads aren't concrete, but are in good shape and don't have too bad of footing. There some really great, beautiful holes here. There is a LOT of elevation changes. There are several blind holes (5,6,7L,9L,11,16,18). There are only two holes with water hazards (7L, and 8) There are a ton of ace runs and birdie holes along with some par 4s and 5s (11L should be a par 6 or 7...I think the sign called it a 5) I was able to drive with my putter and midrange discs for most of the course. Favorite holes: 3 is down a steep hill then back up and over another small hill with the basket on the backside of the second hill on a slight slope...very fun drive and very picturesque. 4 is super short but up a very steep hill making for a fun putter drive. The long position is much the same but a high anhyzer drive with a putter. Hole 8 is absolutely gorgeous! It runs down a steep hill through a tight window between trees with a crystal clear creek running along the right side of the fairways. Pretty hole and fun ace run too! Someone was nice enough to leave a bamboo pole there for throwers to retrieve their discs from the water...which came in handy for me when my drive hit a tree, dropped to the fairway, and then proceeded to roll into the creek. It was about 4 feet deep in water, but the water is so clear that it was no problem seeing it and getting it back out...thanks to the bamboo pole that is. 17 is a fun downhill birdie run. 18 is an awesome long hole across a bit of a valley covered in tall pine trees. A good drive will set you up nicely for a 3 on what is marked as a par 5 hole. This course is just minutes from historic downtown Hot Springs. The park also has mountain biking, a kid's rock climbing wall, and an r/c airplane field.
Cons: Tee pads aren't concrete. They aren't in too bad of shape, but concrete is preferred in my opinion. Also, a few of the pads weren't level...or at least they didn't feel like they were. Some of the holes (especially 14) have trees within striking distance of your follow through right off the tee box. You could easily hit your hand if not careful to adjust. There were a ton of leaves everywhere when I was here in mid-March. They will hide your disc and with so many blind holes you'd have no prayer of finding it if it slid in just right. There are some long, blind holes and some short blind holes, all of which you'd be better off using a spotter on. I was lucky to have my wife with me to help out with that. You'll want a spotter for sure on 6,7L,9L,11,and 18. I would not recommend trying to play this course alone. I did see a couple of people playing alone and I also saw them searching through leaves to find their disc on many occasions. The holes here are super short or super long...not much in between. There were a couple of holes (9L and 11) that weren't fair in my opinion. They require booming drives that have to get lucky and land in a good spot...they are next to impossible to place with really no fairway at all to land in...only a maze of trees. 6,7L,and 18 were more fair long holes, but still required some degree of luck. I guess it was a good thing I played this course on Saint Patty's Day. :)
Other Thoughts: When you drive into the park, park next to the amphitheatre and hole one is behind the playground/restrooms. The directions I saw told me to follow the signs toward the r/c field and that caused me to spend about 15 minutes looking for hole one. When you tee off on hole one, pay attention to where the basket for 18 is behind you up the hill. You'll want to know where to throw when you get to the tee for 18 and can't find the basket. Holes 7,9,11,and18 are quite the adventure from the long tees! There are advertisements on all of the tee boxes for different places that have sponsored a hole. One is for Magic Bus and they make themselves out to be a disc golf store. Don't waste your time going there. They have about 20 discs in the whole place. There is a restaurant in town called Cajun Boilers that will give you 10% off your meal if you bring your scorecard in from your round. It is a good seafood restaurant with a lot of fried stuff...even fried corn on the cob! Hole 9 from the short says it is 279 feet, but it plays much longer than that due to being slightly uphill. It feels flat when teeing off, but it is definitely not. This course is a workout. If you are playing fast, it will tire you out some. If you are taking your time, it is not bad. This course also goes by the name, Wildcat DG Course...that is what the signs on the course say at least. This course is definitely worth a road trip, and you should hit up Burns Park in Little Rock while you are in the area.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Epic, mountainous disc golf in tight, but well cleared woods. It's nice terrain, carved out of recently thick forest but now just tight trees, little to no bushes/rough stuff. Plays up and down and across valleys and steep hills in the woods. One creek along a fairway is crystal clear, and cool, inviting you to throw in and cool off. Well marked, all with signs, next tee arrows, and maps actually stocked in the bulletin board.
Features a ridiculously long and tough par-5 and many other serious par-4's that will make you shiver if not confident on long, straight power shots through trees. If you get a bad kick, you can always recuperate from there and find your disc. Beautiful views from the course and on the way up, in the Ozark mountains.
While the tees are not cement, they are better than dirt or rock (crushed shingles).
Many holes have a long and a short tee.
Free, ample parking, clean restrooms.
Cons: - Not cement tees
- (Minor) ivy
- Kind of off the beaten path for most of the country
Other Thoughts: Probably is, or will be, the best course in the general region.
Signs posted said 2 work days coming soon to clean up some fairways and fix up the tees, but it was already in great shape.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Gorgeous course with lots of elevation, beautiful trees, multiple tees and well-rounded challenge
Pros: This is leaps and bounds one of the most enjoyable courses I have ever played. I'm a borderline AM1/Pro player and have played 150+ courses in ~20 states and this rivals anywhere I've played for sheer joy of the experience of golfing. If I could pick one course to put in my backyard, this might be it.
Holes are incredibly varied, with shots from 150' across tricky elevation changes to 800+' "over the meadow and through the woods shots" so to speak. Tight alleys in many places, several fast -- but fair -- greens on hillsides, dual tees on almost every hole, and the shorts and longs play differently enough to make this feel almost like two separate courses.
From the shorts, it's possible to shoot several strokes under -- probably down into the high-40s --with a great mix of challenging birdie holes to some tough true par-4s. From the longs, scores will probably be at least 8-9 strokes higher for most people. I think I shot a 49/57 when I was there and felt pretty good about both rounds, especially considering it was my first time playing the course. I would LOVE to see tourney scores to see what the SSA works out to be.
The course -- especially from the shorts -- is just a sheer delight to play and will appeal to people from beginners to pros because so many of the shots are so much fun to throw because of the trees and elevation. Fairways are fair and include some very tight precision holes and some more open drives. Underbrush is minimal but there are enough trees and elevation changes to penalize errant shots pretty well -- which is one of my favorite elements of a great course: bad shots should be easy to find and cost you at least a stroke.
There is nothing I hate worse than spending 10-15 minutes hunting for a disc, and on this course, playing by myself, the only disc that took me a while was a forehand roller that I put up over a blind hilltop where on a regular round, you would always use a spotter. But that was one long teebox on one hole -- everything else was easy to find.
The longs are a whole different challenge from the shorts -- much more mentally stimulating and a lot higher risk/reward and a mandate to have some careful placement shots to keep your threes. A lot less birdie runs on the longs and a lot of angles that make the holes play very differently than the shorts. Few courses make great use of two teeboxes -- this course isn't perfect, but does way better than average.
I can't say enough good about this course, especially considering its age and its location with so little else disc-golf related around it. Truly a gem tucked into the green of central Arkansas.
I think this course is probably a perfect White/Blue level course (shorts/longs) in terms of challenge. Top pros wouldn't be sufficiently challenged here. For anyone in the 900-980 range however, I think this is probably well worth a pilgrimage and a long weekend of play. Huge kudos to the locals who put this course together.
Cons: If the signage was better, this course would get another .5 stars. Signage isn't awful -- I found my way through both the short and long tees without a guide -- but it's not intuitive and on some of the tees you have no idea how far you are throwing. Some of the baskets can be blind shots, so this can be really tricky the first time through. If I hadn't had a couple of locals warn me in advance of a few of the trickier holes (i.e., on the longest hole you throw down a fairway, through a wall of trees, out into another fairway, make a 90-degree turn to the right and huck it down an alley under low trees to a basket tucked back into a pocket -- locals warned me it would probably be a six, but I took a five from the shorts due to throwing in the wrong direction and then from the long tees had a couple of sick, sick drives for a four -- one of the highlights of my round).
The signage is really the biggest detriment to this course. That and a couple of minor points like no water fountain (that I found), the stifling AR summer heat/humidity, and the lack of people playing. I would prefer to have a few more folks playing the course all the time just so I could show up, expecting to be able to join a group for a round. I suspect this will improve as this is a relatively newly finished course and I'm sure it will heighten interest in disc golf in this area.
Other Thoughts: I wasn't sure what to expect coming out to this course, but I was blown away by how beautiful it was. I was in Arkansas to be in a wedding and knew nothing about Hot Springs or the disc golf scene there. I arrived at the course mid-afternoon on a Saturday and encountered the last of the local players heading home for the day -- they apparently gather en masse to play on Saturday morning and the folks I talked to leaving the course were all finishing their third round for the day.
When I was out there, they were having the grand opening for the climbing wall right across the parking lot from the disc golf course, so they had a great live cover band playing all afternoon, with the sounds drifting across the course. Since I was the only one out there after a few holes, it was this great private concert for the afternoon. I got in two rounds -- one from the shorts, one from the longs -- in the 100+ degree heat and still made it back in time for the rehearsal dinner that night. Whoop!
In a unrelated note, I was surprised how much of a tourist town Hot Springs is. Lots of shops, restaurants, activities, spas, etc... in a beautiful downtown. I had no idea Hot Springs was such a destination for people. I could imagine a family visiting here and the less-outdoorsy half the family having a great time in the downtown area, and the disc golf part of the family having a fabulous time at the course, which is only a few miles (10 minutes) away from the main part of town. I would highly recommend this city if you're down in the south and looking for a family vacation destination and want a diversion for the family while you sneak off to play disc golf.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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