7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Course features two distinct course layouts (Gold and White) arranged in a way I've never seen before. Some holes are shared but a half-dozen holes (from roughly Hole 8 through 15) are in different parts of the park, resulting in two distinctly different disc golf experiences. Some shared holes have two tee pads; others have two baskets. Course diversity on both courses is excellent with wide open holes at the beginning of the front nine leading into woods bordering Squaw Creek, and back out into the open at Hole 17 (White) or 18 (Gold). The Gold course has enough challenge for the most-skilled players, but is within reach for intermediate-level play. The Gold course has particularly good if somewhat difficult wooded holes, such as Holes 7, 11 and 13. Hole 5 has an undulated grassy fairway leading to a protected basket on a small hill that is entertaining. Nearly all tee shots are fair with lines for various shots.
Though the White course is about 40% shorter, it retains nearly all of the entertainment factor of the Gold course. Hole 4 is my favorite of the meadow holes on both courses, with a very wide mowed-grass fairway that gently fades to the left with rough on both sides, leading to an elevated basket. Hole 15 on the White course has a great tee shot over the creek to a nice grassy park fairway, and has a longer but more obstructed Gold tee (Hole 16). Course has a practice hole (not just a basket), marked Hole X, along with two practice baskets. Has a few amenities, including excellent signs for navigation (which mitigate potential navigation issues), several benches, and large trapezoidal cement tee pads. Appears to be a free course, which is notable considering the amount of course maintenance. Huge areas were mowed to near perfection, and many muddy areas were detailed with tree bark.
Cons: Though this course is very nice, the available land doesn't quite make it to the best of the best. The surrounding area is very flat, though some holes do have some elevation changes. The meadow holes have tall grass bordering the fairways rather than an actual physical border, with some disc loss hazards present. The brutal Hole 17 (White)/Hole 18 (Gold) is an 800-plus foot hole with treacherous out-of-bounds areas both in and around the fairway. From either tee, you will need a 350-foot RHBH shot to make a landing zone. Though this is somewhat fair for the Gold course, it seems unreasonably painful for intermediate-level drives, putting it out-of-phase with the rest of the White course. No bathrooms on site, and definitely bring sunscreen for a daytime round, along with bug spray for the wooded holes.
Other Thoughts: A great course with good challenge and rewarding play, with the White course being an excellent 90 minute round one could enjoy playing over and over again, even after work during the week.
As a post-script, a pair of Sandhill Cranes were seen walking in tandem near Hole 3, adding to an already-rewarding experience.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Long, challenging course
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Two courses in one: golds and whites. While a lot of courses have 2+ sets of tees, Fairfield has some holes with 1 basket and 2 tees, some with 1 tee and 2 baskets, some with 2 tees and 2 baskets, and some where the gold and white are completely separate holes. I haven't yet played the whites, but it seems like for a lot of the course they offer a much different perspective and additional variety from the golds.
- A bit of water, a good bit of elevation and some well placed OB areas make for some great holes with interesting shot variety.
- Challenging! The golds have a LOT of holes over 500 and 600. There are several 600+ holes with very tightly wooded fairways and crazy dog legs. If you can't throw a solid straight control shot 200+ down a tight fairway, you're going to have a long day. However, there are also some very beautiful birdie holes, though mostly when playing the whites.
- Good variety. The course starts and finishes on some very open holes but the middle is very tight. There are some nice birdie holes and some very tough par fours (and probably fives).
- Amenities: Good pads and very helpful "next tee this way" signs. It made finding the next white or gold tee very easy on every hole (though as mentioned below in cons, hole maps would have been nice on the signs). On the blind holes, there are big, tall flags that make the pin placement visible from places where you'd normally be shooting blind.
- Very well marked OB areas, some with clearly designated drop zones
- Dual practice baskets by the parking lot. Makes for some perfect putting practice before or after a round
Cons: - Mosquitoes... bring some strong bug spray. Yesterday I had some run of the mill spray and we got eaten alive. You for sure want a good amount of DEET for this course.
- Lack of maps on hole signs. There are a few blind holes where a map would be nice. There are also many with 2 baskets so a map showing where each is would be helpful. Hole 7 is totally blind from the gold tees, and on my 2nd shot I played to the white basket I could see and then afterwards realized there was a gold basket hiding behind it so I had to go back and re-throw my 2nd shot. A map would have been nice here.
Other Thoughts: I have heard this course gets very busy during peak hours. I've played twice and there were virtually no crowds either time. The first was late Feb, so I wouldn't expect to see anyone but the other was a Sunday afternoon in early August. For me, the lack of crowds would be a "pro" but I feel I may have gotten luckly based on comments by others so I didn't want to claim it.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Fairfield Park has a lot to offer. The gold tees think big, with lots of distance that plays out in a variety of environments from wide open to lanes through the woods, and all manner of gently rolling hills to further mix things up. The whites reign in the distance but still offer a solid round for players of all skill levels, playing through the same kind of varied environment. Beginners can learn on the whites (though are likely to experience some rough patches), whereas more experienced players can get a quick but engaging round on them. The two layouts are distinct enough to be virtually two separate courses; they even completely diverge for a few holes.
Shot variety is a requirement here: having both a forehand and backhand is pretty much mandatory if you want to comfortably play all 18. Many lines are well enough defined to make it difficult to adapt if you don't have such versatility, meaning having a complete game is rewarded while lacking one is (fairly) punished. Big arms will get some chances to benefit from their distance, but can easily be punished if they get too sloppy with their line or landing. This variety means having a complete bag is a must. If there are gaps in your game, this course will find them.
It's a technical course in every sense of the word, with tight lanes, a variety of kinds of elevation to manage, and OB/rough/water hazards that really punish poor placement. All this is nonetheless implemented very fairly, with little to no stray branches to unfairly snatch your disc - essential for this kind of wooded environment.
The course is well broken in. Fairways are well-groomed. The concrete tees are great, parking is ample, and the course is easy to find. The course is a comfortable drive from downtown Chicago, with lots of other courses in the immediate vicinity.
Cons: I find the design to be pretty straight forward: lines are clearly defined and there isn't much chance for playing them multiple ways. This means there isn't a ton of problem-solving, a quality I find essential to a top tier course: you see your line, you throw your line, you either scramble out of a bad position in an effort to get back on track or you stay in the lane you started on. The course really tells you how to play it in its straight aheadness, whereas I prefer my courses to give me riddles and force me to make tough choices. Fairfield really just asks you to execute the shot you're given; there isn't a lot of give-and-take.
Navigation is largely fine, but I was at times confused at the difference between the white and gold courses. Sometimes they are different tees playing to the same basket, sometimes they are same tee playing to different baskets, and sometimes the holes are in completely different locations. At times, this took a bit more sussing out than it probably should have.
The starting and ending holes include some poor to average ones, in an effort to get an effective in and out in the layout. These more open holes feature some tall grass serving as rough, which can hide your disc and result in some prolonged searches even if you track its landing well.
A few of the wooded holes feature blind shots. I accidentally threw on a group as a result, even though I was scouting ahead a bit and generally being mindful. New visitors should keep this in mind on their visit.
Other Thoughts: Fairfield Park is a great course with lots of variety that is well taken care of. I can see why locals would take pride in it, and would love to have a course of this caliber in my area. I think its straight ahead design doesn't stack up against the very best courses I've played (Selah Ranch, Moraine State Park, Sugaree), but that doesn't mean I wouldn't return here in a heartbeat the next time I have the chance.
10 of 12 people found this review helpful.
A beast of a course
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The course is set in a large, very highly maintained park. The course is free to play. The baskets are Discatchers. The metal bands around the top are either white, yellow or stripes of each color dictating which course this is for. Awesome idea here. They also have the hole/holes # on each band as well. There is a mix of different setups which is cool. Some holes have 2 pads and one basket, some have 1 pad and 2 baskets, etc. The tee pads are all brushed concrete that are plenty long and grippy enough. The tee signs are basic but all are color coded white or gold and have hole #, par and distance. The O.B. is clearly marked throughout the course with a couple well marked drop zones which is always cool to see. There is an excellent mix of elevation with a nice mix of tightly wooded and wide open prairie. The shot selection here is also very diverse requiring all different types of shots to score well. There are a ton a directional signs to guide you in what would otherwise be some potentially confusing areas. There are a few water carries and even an elevated basket on hole 4. This is an awesome course that really reminds me of some of the tough northern Wisconsin courses I've played. It ranks right up near a few of these. I wasn't expecting it to be this great judging by a number of other courses I'd played in IL but this is the real deal here.
Cons: Not much to say here. Apparently it can get busy though it wasn't on a beautiful July friday afternoon. This isn't any fault of the course, it just shows it's popularity. I could see the bugs getting bad as there is some standing water and a creek on the course, but again nothing can be done about that, just be prepared.
Other Thoughts: This is definitely a destination course. We had a blast playing this even though the gold destroyed us. The white is definitely more for intermediate players but is fun for advanced players as well. This is an awesome course and I'd suggest if playing here to start with the white then playing the gold. Plan on probably at least 3 hours, probably 4 if it's busy though. Very awesome course.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Awesome! True rating 4.85
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: -Signage: There are signs to indicate where to go to get to the next hole as well as signs at each box indicating the hole number and which course (Gold or White) the pad is used for.
-As confusing as it is, this course basically has 2 courses that can be played, sometimes sharing pads, sometimes sharing baskets, and other holes not sharing anything between Gold and White. This is nice because if you want a solid, quicker round you can come throw white and if you are in for a more aggressive round you can throw Gold
-Concrete pads on all holes.
-A few garbages throughout the course, but not on every hole.
-Distinct, wide fairways on the open holes, all of which are well maintained.
-Awesome hole designs throughout the whole course. This course has some truly amazing holes. The more open holes in general require plenty of distance and offer very wide fairways to minimize the need to go searching through prairie grass. The wooded holes are what set this course apart and distinguish it as what it is, a phenomenal course.
-Requires every shot in your bag...uphill, downhill, right, left, heavily wooded, wide open, S-curve shots, finesse shots, long holes, ace runs, over water, underwater (okay maybe not but may as well)....Gold is a beast and a must play for anyone with experience.
-Decent baskets that all seemed to catch well
-Awe factor = walking up to a hole and getting that overwhelming feeling of amazement. This is a factor out here, several wooded holes are mind blowing and absolutely beautiful on this course. Tough to decide which is the signature, with several holes representing top caliber appearance and play.
Cons: -Signage: I know I had this as a positive as well; it is great they have a sign marking the hole, but the signs out here give you no map. If it's your first time playing a course and you have never played a 650ft heavily wooded hole involving considerable elevation changes as well as twists and turns without a map let me tell you...it sucks. This unfortunately does happen on several holes throughout the course. Don't get me wrong, those long wooded holes are what make this course, but some upgraded signs with accurate hole maps would definitely help minimize the needless walking to scout every bomber wooded hole.
-Way too many trees on a few of the long wooded holes. When already in the woods with a somewhat narrow fairway snaking to a basket over 600ft away, the last thing you need is several trees in the middle of the fairway to tightly work your way through. It is what it is and like I have said, it's these holes that make this course, yet taking out some of the smaller "filler" trees that rob good shots on these holes would only improve the course.
Other Thoughts: To clarify my review, I only played the Gold tees and not White as I didn't have enough time for white unfortunately. Also, I have rated this course a 5, but my actual rating is 4.85. I rounded up instead of down because the current rating is lower than what I feel the true rating is of this course. Now that that is established, I have to say that I was majorly impressed with this course and it definitely bumped its way into my top 3 and questionably is the best course I have ever played. As I have said many times already, this course is centered on phenomenal wooded holes with a few decent open holes to satisfy the players that maybe aren't as technical. Plain and simple, if technical courses aren't your thing, you likely won't care for the Gold course much. Our biggest problem was deciding what to play between Gold and White after reading the reviews. My take is this: If you consider yourself an experienced player with good control, Gold is a very fun course you will enjoy. If you are a bit newer to the game or don't really seem to perform well on technical courses, play White as Gold will absolutely discourage you and beat you down. You should plan to play this course if you're anywhere remotely close to Round Lake. Drive out of your way to ensure you play this if on your family trip or whatever the reason may be. Let your boss know you will pay for the extra day in Chicago if he allows you to book your return flight 1 day later. I had a terrible round and lost one of my primary discs and still walked out of this course feeling like I just played a gem. This course is absolutely awesome and you should have played it yesterday already!
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Long and sweet
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: There are so many amazing holes that would be the signature hole on many other courses. There are quite a few long bomber holes in the woods but each one has some very wide lanes that aren't impossible to hit. And you don't even need a huge arm to throw well on this course. They have a lot of elevation changes throughout and they do everything with each hill. There is a stretch from 10-15 that are 6 of the coolest holes I've thrown in a long time. Each one is wooded but with lanes, and the rough isn't the end of your favorite disc. Hole 18 is 900 ft so bring your arm.
The course is well maintained, there is a putting hole, restrooms and flows nicely. It starts out with a few open holes before going into the woods and coming back out at the end. There is a small creek that is a factor in 2 holes and there is a swamp on another. The variety that this course offers is top notch.
Cons: There are not enough garbage son this course. For as long as it is, people are gonna be out there for a while and have trash. With that said it was very clean. The signage doesn't map out the hole (we did pick up a map before starting) and I feel every great course should have signs on each hole with a map and distance. The course kinda has 2 courses with white and gold (I played gold) that start together and separate at 9.
Other Thoughts: **I feel this course should be a 4.75**
I'm giving it 5 because it currently stands just under that and there is no way I'd give it a 4.5 and bring it down from 4.67. This was such a fun course, from beging to end. Ok well the first couple in the open are nothing special but are still very good holes. This is a new favorite for me. Seeing as I live in Minnesota I won't be playing it much but I will go out of my way to hit it up again in the future.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 10 Not
Pros: This course has 2 layouts.
Beginer level White Course and a Championship Gold course for advanced and Professional level players. Great signage, concrete tee pads on every hole. Baskets are consistent throughout the course. Garbage cans are all over the park.
This is by far the best course in Lake County IL.
Cons: It can get busy when its nice out, and be sure to bring bug spray in the summer months.
0 of 10 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 7 Not
Best Course in Illinois
Pros: Well designed course that provides the opportunity to use multiple types of shots. There are some open long holes and there are some super long wooded holes with fair routes to the basket. It is a fair course in that it is not only right friendly.
Nice tee pads, easy to navigate from one hole to the next. Good signage, benches in some locations. Plenty of garbage cans and it is always well maintained.
The regulars do a nice job of picking up garbage and Round Lake Park District is very open to suggestions.
Cons: There are one or two spots that are low lying and could use some stone and drain tile to move water
Other Thoughts: Great course!
4 of 11 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: -Championship caliber course
-Multiple pins & tees
-Great elevation changes and mix of wooded, open shots, & distance
-Most of course set away from jogging path and separate from rest of park
-Great baskets with colors
-Well maintained with lots of mulching
-Make time to play this course. It rivals anything you can find in the Joliet circuit.
Cons: -Bugs riteous in summer
-No benches at all. Bring a seat if playing gold
-1 port o john in summer only
Other Thoughts: It's a destination course you drive for and could play all day. Not much to improve upon. Happy discing!
4 of 9 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 3 Not
Definitely one of the best in IL!
Pros: The white course is excellent for beginners, and still challenging enough for skilled players. The gold course is a BEAST, and is not really recommended for beginners. However, skilled players will absolutely enjoy this part of the course. OBs are clearly marked, and the park district upkeeps the course fantastically. In summer of 2015 a tree came down on the #9 white basket, smashing it into the earth. This happened on a Thursday night, and the basket was completely replaced by the next Wednesday for leagues.
Cons: Since the front 9 of both courses share fairways, it tends to get a little backed up at busier times. Once the courses split in the back 9, the flow is a lot better. My biggest complaint would be the lack of abatement for mosquitoes. The holes in the back are nestled among many areas where water is meant to collect. This water is a breeding ground for skeeters, and summer of 2015 was an absolute nightmare!
Other Thoughts: If the park district can be swayed to do something about the water before the mosquitoes can hatch, that would help this course to be a destination for discers from miles around. The tall grass is tough, but it is well needed to punish bad shots, as runups are made much tougher than a clean fairway shot.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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