4 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Illinois is really starting to put itself on the map when it comes to top rated courses. From the existing courses in Morton, IL (Northwood and Westwood Park) to the gem in Southern Illinois in Centralia...Illinois is really starting to add some nice courses. The redesign at Fairfield is right up there with the best in the state. With time I may actually increase this rating to a 4.5 but more on that below. As of right now this course is an Excellent course to me, worthy of being in the top 15% of the courses that I have played. Here are my pros:
1) This course is immaculate. The fairways are very well defined and everything is in really FANTASTIC shape. The baskets are awesome and the park is extremely clean and well kept. Its as good as it gets for disc golf.
2) Its not often that you get a gold level course and an easy course in the same park, but Fairfield offers that. The Gold course is a MONSTER par 65 that probably has an SSA of 58. The White course is more than a half mile shorter (that just sounds cooler than saying 3000 feet) and probably plays to an SSA 46. The two options are so much different that you could almost classify these as different courses. The Gold/White setups even veer away from each other for a five hole stretch, ala Maple Hill. You almost have two different courses here as some holes have two baskets, some holes have different fairways and some holes are just different altogether. This is a huge plus!
3) The variety is off the charts. Its like going into a candy store and having EVERYTHING you could ask for. Or better yet its like going into a disc golf shop and having 3000 discs. This course has wide open holes (literally wide open), tight, wooded short holes, tight, wooded long holes, a shot over water, downhill shots, uphill shots and everything in between. You play back to back par 3's near the end of the course and then play a monstrous par 5 with OB everywhere. The variety is off the charts.
4) The lines are very fair. There are no poke and hope holes. Even with the long, winding par 5's on the back nine I never stood there and thought the lines weren't fair. The lines are fair and the luck factor on this course is very low. If you throw a bad shot? It will be penalized. If you throw a good shot? You won't get unlucky.
5) The design of this course is PHENOMENAL. I will elaborate as best as I can but the design is a 4.5/5. The best example of this is hole 15. This is a nice par 4 with a huge dogleg to the left. Right away when you step on the tee you are thinking this is going to be a RH hyzer shot. So that's what I threw. I threw a great drive with a hyzer finish and I got to my drive and realized that I would have had a better second shot if I was 20 feet to the right. Even though the hole said "hyzer me!" when I was standing on the tee it really would have been a better shot to throw a forehand drive that actually faded back to the right at the end. To me this is the true testament of a great design. Its not that you can't throw a hyzer but its better to throw something that will finish to the right. The two wooded par 5's on the back nine were the same way: what looked like an obvious choice from the tee wasn't so obvious after I threw my drive and realized my hyzer drive finished too hard to the left. On these holes a RH hyzer shot is still a great shot but its more of a placement shot that requires a LOT OF thinking on where to land the disc. Great design!
6) Unlike some gold level courses out there this one really gives you some breather holes. Its tough to play 3 par 5's on one nine (the back nine). The designer put 4 par 3's on the back nine under 305 feet to break up the long holes and this really helped with the fun factor. You didn't feel like you were playing hard hole after hard hole because there was some nice distance variety.
7) Navigation on this course was AMAZING. There were next hole signs everywhere and even arrows painted on a few paths to direct you where to go. It would be tough to get lost at this course.
8) Even with pretty challenging rough it was easy to find discs. The prairie grass holes were not too challenging and therefore the risk of losing discs in those areas was low.
9) The addition of the 19th hole was pretty neat. This is a neat little practice hole with some cool flower features. Also the course has two practice baskets so that's a huge plus.
10) Here is the best thing I can say about this course: it WILL make you a better player and it will make you a SMARTER player. You have to think about the lines so much off of the tee because you have options on how far to throw and where to land. On some of the longer holes you can push the limit and try to get further down the fairway but you risk getting into trouble by clubbing up. That's really the best thing you can say about a course: if it makes you a better player you know its worth playing over and over again.
Favorite Holes: Hole 16 was a really neat par 3. It required you to throw over Squaw Creek to a very fast green. From the Gold design it was a slight turnover shot but the green is what makes this hole. Its a shortie but super fun to throw! Hole 11 is an awesome, wooded par 5 that has everything you would want in a challenging hole. An eagle is possible but its a legitimate par 5. Its a winding hole through the woods that's fun to throw. Hole 7 is an awesome par 4 that takes a 90 degree turn about 270 feet from the teebox. It plays over the creek and then makes a sharp turn to the right with a guarded green.
Cons: There is not a lot to dislike about this course. Just have a few cons:
1) Even though this course is easy to navigate it does require a lot of walking ahead to look at the holes because the signs do not have any markings for the fairways or the shape of the hole. A lot of the back nine holes curve in and out of the woods and having signs that detailed the lines of the fairways would be helpful.
2) The open holes were a little too open. Having some more obstacles on these holes would be helpful. Holes 1 through 4 were very open and didn't have much in the way of obstacles except for some prairie grass. Even then the fairways were generous enough to where the holes were a tad boring. Its nice to have variety but these holes were very open. Hole 1, in particular, is not a hole that you normally find on a championship level course. Its not a bad hole but its just not a hole typically found on the best courses. Hole 3 is also fairly boring. Its a par 4 but an easy par 4 because once again there's not a lot going on.
3) I would have loved to have seen the creek come more into play. I am a big fan of neat greens and baskets and while this course had some cool baskets that were elevated I think it would have been really neat to have a few baskets up against the creek. A few holes played over the creek but it really didn't come into play.
4) The course was extremely busy when I played and the course hit a little bit of a bottleneck at hole 16 (Gold). Because this hole has a shared basket with a different hole for the White Layout I could see this being a little problem with flow. Not a huge deal because I think its neat to have two distinct courses at this park.
5) I thought a few of the par 3's were average holes at best. Nothing stood out to me about hole 6, 14 and 17 but not every hole is going to be great. This isn't a huge deal but these holes are average par 3's with nothing that really screams that this is a great hole.
Other Thoughts: Honestly this course is probably more like a 4.25 and as I continue to play this course I could consider a higher rating. This course is ABSOLUTELY a gem and worth playing. The course is very fair and has very clean lines and is very well maintained. I think an Excellent rating is very fair. I try to rate courses compared to other courses I have played. I have given courses such as Idlewild, Warwick, Deer Lakes, Moraine and Tyler a 4.5 rating and I do think this course is just below those courses. However, that shouldn't take anything away from how much fun this course is. Its a gem and easily the best course in the Chicagoland area!
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: Wonderful use of the landscape. Great incorporation of risk/reward. Good use of O/B, elevation, open/wooded, and variety of short/long. The signage is superb.
Cons: Not many. The overlapping 2-course layout is slightly confusing at times, but mostly clear. The gold course is a real pro course -- Players up to 900 will find the white course just perfect.
Other Thoughts: Chuck Kennedy knows his stuff. Best course I have played in Illinois and one of the best all around.
0 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Where else in the surrounding area can you find a course that is designed to challenge a Gold level player? Not many other places around this area have many 4s let alone 5s. The course design really forces you to throw specific lines if you want to score well. There is a great mix of open, wide wooded fairways, and tight gap shots to challenge any player. The development of the course as you play a round is great starting less demanding in the open into the tough wooded holes back out into the open and finishing on a beautiful par 5 you could Eagle or Bogey. The OB placement on the course really makes you think and play smart. If you try to advance too far up the fairway from a poor lie, you will be be punished. So play smart my friends. Play smart. There are some truly unique holes here and lines that you have not thrown. This course will force you to throw shots you are not used too.
Cons: There are a lot of curving shots. I would personally prefer some more mandatory long, straight tunnel shots. The signage is not the best visually but it gets the job done. Lots of chuckers litter out here.
Other Thoughts: A must play if you are driving through northern Chicagoland.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Best Course in Chicago Area
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The redesign of the Fairfield Park Disc Golf Course is a resounding success. The addition of a bridge over Squaw Creek has opened up a large wooded area for disc golf. What was once a largely boring, wide open course; is now a diverse wooded/prairie gem. One of the greatest triumphs of the redesign is the two distinct layouts: White, which is suitable but challenging for casual players; and Gold, which is designed to challenge highly skilled golfers. This is accomplished by having two tees on some holes, two (permanent, color coded) baskets on others, and holes that are unique to a particular layout.
The Gold course is very challenging. It requires distance and control to score well (I lack in this regard and scored poorly). The White course, while much more accessible to lower skill level players, still offers some challenge and has many rewarding birdie opportunities for the rest of us. Both courses require the player to shape a variety of different lines. Wind can play a big factor on some of the prairie holes. The Gold course offers five par 4s and three par 5s split between the wooded and prairie sections for a course par of 65. The White course while mostly par 3 golf, has two par 4s and a par 5 (all of which are in the prairie section of the course) for a course par of 58.
The signage, while a little basic, is adequate to get around the course. There are next tee signs identifying the path to take for each tee (on holes with two tees). The concrete, trapezoidal tees are of adequate size and are level. Baskets are Discatchers; some are new, some are the baskets from the old course which have been repainted. There are two practice baskets between the parking lot and hole 1 and a port-a-john at the parking lot.
The course makes use of a few small ponds and Squaw Creek to add challenge. The ponds have white stakes marking the perimeter, so the OB line won't change with the water level. My favorite hole was Gold 16/White 12. It is a downhill shot (with a gap right off of the tee from the Gold tee) over the creek, with a spreading tree on the other bank forcing you to keep your drive under its branches or get knocked down short of the green.
Cons: The negatives to this course are rather minimal.
On the wooded par 4s and 5s on the Gold course, I would have liked to have a picture of the fairway shape on the tee signs. The signs only show hole #, distance and par. The printed maps at the kiosk are helpful in this regard, but there is no guarantee that they will always be available. If this is an issue for you, you could pull the map off DGCR to get an idea of the fairway shape.
Some holes throw over a walking/bike path. While this is normally a big no-no, at Fairfield, the crossing is usually within 50' of the tee (exception is Gold 18/White 17), making it difficult to hit a walker/biker unless you are totally oblivious.
While there is great next tee signage, I could see some players losing their way due to the overlapping layouts and some holes being unique to one course or another. Using the map, this should not be an issue.
The prairie section of the course has a lot of long grass off of the fairways which can make finding discs difficult.
Other Thoughts: In my opinion, this is the best course in the Chicago area. The combo of the White and Gold layouts has something for everyone. True par 4s and 5s for the respective skill levels is almost unheard of in this area and is a welcome addition. I have followed the progress of the redesign for the last couple years, and despite all of the anticipation, this course lived up to my expectations. If I could, I would rate this course a 4.75. It has a few too many (minor) issues to be a 5, but is better than the courses that I've rated 4.5. Mosquitoes were bad on both of my trips to the course so bring spray.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
What the Area has been waiting for!
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I spent a day playing the course, 2 rounds on gold, 1 on white and I'm beat and that course made sure of it. This is hands down one of the best courses in the area, and arguably for Chicagoland. Here are a couple of reasons why:
1. A true golf course, that is the first thing that stood out to me, is that on every hole I found myself playing golf, none of the deuce our die stuff that is pretty common, but actually having to shoot to areas for a second and third shot.
2. Challenging for almost every player. This is a course that you don't want to leave the fairway, because if you do you are punished harshly. I took a 10 on a hole because I was stupid.
3. The layout takes advantage of the very unique landscape of the park. Using every ounce of elevation, water hazards and trees to it's advantage while keeping things fun and interesting. Besides that, there are some holes that are just fun to throw. #7 is a favorite of mine, calling for a long turnover shot, bringing the creek into play for a while, that settles in the fairway for you to throw an upshot. #9 plays over a water hazard, and is a md range shot from one hill to another that is just fun to execute. #16 shoots back over the creek at another mid range shot, one of the few holes that are truly deuce-able.
4. Variety of shots necessary, and rewarding those who can execute those shots. Left, right, hyzer, anhyzer, flick will all be used and if you can execute you will be rewarded on your score.
Cons: 1. No running water bathrooms, could be a bigger problem as course gets bigger.
2. Merging of white and gold tees on baskets will cause some backups on high traffic days
Other Thoughts: This is a course that will make you a better player and truly challenge some of the best
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Fantastic Gold level course
9 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The Squaw Creek Gold course is easily best course I've played in Illinois, hands down. The course packs in everything you want in a disc golf and tops it off with an awesome challenge against your skills as a player. This is simply how a good disc golf course should be installed.
Each hole has a concrete tee (sometimes they're a bit on the small side) and is marked with tee signs, permanent OB markers, drop boxes, direction to the next tee and more. After playing for many years in Texas this is unheard of. Most of the time a new course in Texas has baskets, and that's it. Signs and tees come later. Not here. Everything that you could want from a disc golf course is there, in the ground and ready to go, except for restrooms on site.
Holes 1 - 5 play in the open prairie, but that doesn't mean they're easy. Hole 1 is easy, but after that you're finding the holes longer and longer, and harder and harder. Hole 4 is a crazy long downhill dogleg to an elevated basket with a flag flying high above it. From the tee, all you can see is the flag. The marsh factors in, but you'd have to have a pretty bad tee shot to end up in it.
Hole 6 takes you into the woods in the back of the property; a part of the park that had previously not been part of the course. For ten holes you're in the woods dreaming of open lines again. The woods are tight, technical, ingenious, dastardly and incredibly impressive. I played the course a week after it opened and it was clean and clear (save a handful of cigarette butts. Come on smokers, stop being jerks.). The elevation within the woods is impressive throughout. Only a few of the holes don't feature some elevation challenges. You'll be playing across valleys to over hills, teeing from elevated positions, or from the bottom of an incline. Every throw in your arsenal will be called upon. I even found myself throwing a scooby on one of the holes.
When you leave the woods you do so on one of the most beautiful holes on the course. Hole 16 gold offers an elevated tee to throw over the creek into a photogenic meadow. It's just perfect.
Holes 17 & 18 are back in the open prairie again. Hole 18 goes for over 900' with OB at the bottom of the hill to avoid.
The new layout of the course makes much better use of the parkland. In addition, it serves to keep disc golf out of the marsh in the center of the park. This is good for the park and good for disc golf. By the end of the summer the park is going to serve as a better wetland habitat for wildlife than it did before with constant disc golf intrusion. Well done to the designers!
Cons: A restroom is desperately needed. Each time I'm out at this park I see women playing and the parks department is being a bit insensitive to their needs by not providing adequate facilities. I can't imaging an NT event out there without a permanent restroom.
Other Thoughts: My hat is off to the parks department and the designers of this course. I loved the old layout and was worried about it being pulled, but the results have assuaged my fears. Now there are two fantastic, best-of-class courses only thirty minutes from my home. I'll be back again and again and again!
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Best in Chicagoland
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Two sets of tees (cement) and two sets of baskets intertwine to make two distinct courses. The majority of my review pertains to the Gold course, which is by far the better and more challenging of the two. Both courses are well marked with tee signs, drop zones, and markers pointing to the next hole. While the course plays through some heavy woods, the underbrush is not very thick, so not much time is spent looking for discs.
Mostly open holes that reward distance off the tee. The terrain is well-used to create a couple interesting Par 4's. These are the least interesting holes on the course, due to the lack of trees.
Holes 6, 8, 9. 12, 14, 17
These are reachable Par 3's for players that can throw around 300 feet. They all demand accuracy off the tee. Left-to-right, right-to-left, uphill, and downhill shots all come into play on these holes. A great mix of Par 3's.
Holes 7, 10, 11, 13, 15
These are demanding Par 4's and Par 5's that play through some heavy woods. Distance is not required to score well on these holes. Accuracy and placement are essential. These holes require shots from all angles (hyzer, anhyzer, forehand).
Mostly open Par 5 with OB coming into play. Tee shot plays significantly downhill (hole is uphill the rest of the way). Takes ~380 ft shot to clear the OB on your tee shot. Laying up short of the OB is also a viable option. Distance is rewarded.
Mostly a short, more technical course that is much more ideal for beginners than the Gold course. A few open holes that allow for players to let loose some long drives. Many short, wooded Par 3's requiring accuracy. If I were to rate the White course as a stand-alone course, I would give it a 3.0.
Cons: While I would say most of the fairways are 'fair', I think a few of the skinny trees on Holes 10 and 11 could be removed to avoid punishing good shots that are in the preferred line.
There is no hole-map on the tee signs and several of the long, wooded holes are blind from the tee. Also, the walk from 9 to 10 and from 16 to 17 on Gold could be confusing for a first-time player. There are maps provided near the parking lot. I would recommend bringing a map if its your first time playing the course.
Other Thoughts: This course is the best and most challenging course in the Chicago area. Highly recommend checking it out.
No restrooms with running water.
Mosquitos can be an issue on the wooded holes during the summer.
A few of the holes get rather muddy in the spring or after a big storm. Good shoes are recommended if playing the Gold course.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 10 Not
Great course, way better than before
Pros: This course has many things to offer.
Far open field shots
Far wooded shots
Short shots with dense tree coverage.
Cons: This course is always busy and is only going to get more busy.
The woods have insects, thorns, and trash
Bring bug repellent, and wear pants to not get cut. Unless your pro and dont ever have a bad shot
Other Thoughts: I used to play the old course every weekend, it has improved 10 fold. I live in the area and look forward to playing this course more. I have about 4 years experience and i am 16.Be prepared to lose discs.
1 of 11 people found this review helpful.
The old course sucked, THIS COURSE DOES NOT
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: -There is excellent distant, but most long holes are not simply driving ranges, but rather technical holes that require you to keep the disc in the fairway, much like ball golf
-Best elevation I have ever seen in Chicagoland
-Fun hazards, i.e. moderately sized swamps on 200-300 foot holes
-In contrast to the previous course, there are only a few wide open prairie holes, and one of them has an extra long dog leg which is a good challenge
-Beautiful park/preserve with a bike path, hills and a nice stream
-I was a bit nervous about the crowd that the course would attract, but everyone I came across was especially friendly
Cons: -The most prominent issue by far is the condition of the wooded areas, which are littered with buckthorn and other weedy trees. It should be a priority to clean the area up of invasive plants. There is no way this course gets a perfect rating until it gets an "ecological makeover"
-A marsh and plenty of tall grass in which you can lose your disc
-I played on a calm day, but wind (over ~15 mph) would undoubtedly make half of this course an absolute nightmare
-The course has shady woods with swamps. BRING BUG SPRAY JUNE-SEPTEMBER
-I played this course in its 4 day of existence and it was horrendously crowded. It will only get more popular.
Other Thoughts: FINALLY, my neck of the woods in Chicagoland has a destination course. A course that is worth a 20 mile drive. Round Lake Park district has done such a fine job with this course that I feel guilty playing it for free. Hopefully they find the time, money and manpower to rehab the woods so that the course stays nice for years to come.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
22 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: I changed my review from 4.5 to 5.0. The course gets better every time. Compared to some of the other courses I've given 5's the golf here is just as good.
Don't confuse this course with the former extinct one. A total redesign took 2.5 years to complete. The Round Lake Area Park District & Chuck Kennedy did a great job of creating a wonderful course(s).
The more I play this course the more I love it. The Gold course is such an amazing challenge. It's one of the toughest in Illinois. The White course is a lot easier and shorter but is still fun to play.
Hole #1 is located at the far north end of the parking lot. There are 2 huge maps located on the kiosks. Both have print outs of smaller maps that you can take.
There is a small practice area with 2 baskets. They are historical baskets so check them out.
For a Chicago Suburb course the land is great. There is open prairie, rolling hills, heavy woods, water, and more. Don't let the open front fool you. There are many wooded holes to come. This is a very scenic hike and you'll see quite a bit of wildlife at times (deer, birds, snapping turtles, & more).
As a local this course has a ton of variety. All layouts are playable ALL the time. You can chose to play the Intermediate level WHITE course which plays just over 5,000 feet. If you want a challenge you can chose to play the GOLD course which is designed for professionals. It's one of the toughest courses in Illinois playing over 8,000 feet. Once you get to know the layouts there are many options to play. Portions of the course share holes. On these holes there may be 2 tees and 2 baskets. Check the map!!
The tee pads are absolutely fantastic. They are 12 feet long and flared. 4 feet in the front and 6 feet in the back. They have a great finish to them and are not slick at all even when wet.
Course signage is awesome. There is a tee sign at every tee that has accurate distance and par. There is a next tee sign on every hole which points to either the gold or white tee. The course map is very accurate and.
The baskets are in good shape. Many are brand new Innova Discatchers. The rest are the old set which the park district repainted.
With so many holes in the woods the rough is punishing but it's not hard finding discs. The prairie grass was just mowed very wide. That's a bonus!
There is a great mix of par 3, 4, & 5 golf on the gold course. You'll have to bring an overall game to score well on this course. Unlike other area courses you can flat out smash a driver on a handful of the 18 holes. The wooded holes reward accuracy. The white course has some really fun shorter holes that anyone can enjoy.
It's super hard to pick a favorite hole.
My favorite open hole is gold #4. You can see the flag of the pin while standing on the tee. Super fun downhill smash with an elevated basket.
My favorite par 4 is gold hole #10. Fantastic corridor with out of bounds coming into play on the back end of the hole.
My favorite par 5 is gold hole #11. It's just nasty!
There are 2 really fun downhill shots. White #7 is great and you have the option to play to the gold basket too. Gold #16/White #12 sits on the to of the ravine. You throw across Squaw Creek. There's a really cool branch that you can go over or under.
There are 4 different areas of out of bounds marked. They used round poles and painted them white. You don't see that often and it'll come in useful when the water is gone. There are 2 drop zones that are clearly marked and defined too.
Cons: The tee signs do not have a description of the hole.
Couple of tricky spots in navigation. One is after hole #9. This is where the White & Gold courses split from each other. After White #12 & Gold #17 it's a short walk around the corner and behind #5's Gold Tee. It can be hard to find. Check the map!!!
White #12 & Gold #16 can bottleneck at times. This is where the Gold & White course merge on the back side.
The course can get soggy in areas and the park district is going to be addressing those issues.
There is no water or restrooms at the course. There was no possibility to do a loop to get back to the parking lot. Bring your drinks/supplies with you.
Other Thoughts: Plan to spend a day here. Check out the map and play both layouts. They are 2 totally unique courses.
Want to play a monster layout? Start with the stockade hole before #1. Play holes 1 thru 9. Play Gold holes 10 thru 14. Play White 11 thru 18. That's the 23 hole layout.
This is just the beginning. There are some finishing details and possibly more additions to this course.
You cannot cross the creek when playing Gold #7. You must walk across the bridge.
Please spread the word that on Gold #18 & White #17 on and left of the path is out of bounds. Players are throwing near #3's Gold Tee Pad on purpose.
During prime hours this course is super busy!
Check for ticks. They've been bad this year.
I can't state this enough times. Look at the map and understand what the layout looks like. Some holes have 2 tees while others have 2 baskets. Some holes share baskets and they are striped with Gold & White.
On Hole #7 you can play the Gold tee to the white basket or the White tee to the Gold basket as well.
Lake County is known for skeeters during the summer. Bring bug spray!
WalGreens, Sammie's, and Subway are located about a 1/2 miles North of the course.
22 of 23 people found this review helpful.
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