Best Course(s) in Illinois?
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Two separate layouts provide multiple challenge levels and an increased variety of holes
- Well-designed course with excellent mix of shot types, hazards, and hole lengths
- Course maintenance is fantastic and navigation easy
- Practice hole and baskets are a great touch
- Large, grippy concrete tee pads and color coded baskets that catch well
Cons: - No benches throughout
- Tee signs show hole number and distance only, no map or description of fairway shape
- While two layouts are very nice, I wish there was a layout with a difficulty level between white and gold
Other Thoughts: Fairfield Park's unique dual layout makes the most out of a great piece of land without overcrowding or watering down the quality of the disc golf by trying to cram in two completely distinct 18 hole courses. The White and Gold layouts would be great courses in and of themselves, but it is their combination in a single location that really elevates Fairfield Park.
The course has always been well maintained during my visits, and while they don't have the best amenities (only a single port-a-potty, no pro/snack shop) there are enough little extras that make this feel like a disc golf course, and not just some baskets in a park. After you pass the large, colorful course map there is a "warm up hole" near the parking lot. I wish more courses had this. It is really nice to get a handful of tosses in on a shorter, open hole to warm up your arm before the first hole, and being able to do that to an actual basket is great. Once you have thrown enough to this basket, you can take a couple of steps to two more practice baskets, and get some putting in before finally making your way to the first tee pad.
The course starts you off gently with 3 largely open holes where long grass shapes the fairways. I am generally not a fan of using tall grass as rough, but these holes are straightforward enough, and with wide enough fairways, that it isn't much of an issue (The tall grass here also isn't nearly as thick as many others I have encountered). While these holes don't require the level of shot shaping as the rest of the course, being open, they force you to deal with the wind frequently present, and have enough other small things going on to not be boring and still go well with the flow of the course.
Once you play 4's long turning shot (stay out of the rough on the right side!) and enter the woods on 5, the real test begins. The majority of the holes at Fairfield play through tight, but very fair, wooded allies. The elevation won't blow you away, but you will be throwing left, right, up and down to fast greens and over water for the next 10+ holes. There really is a delightful variety here not found at many other courses. The round finally comes to a close as you exit the woods with a massive 810'/905' downhill shot back towards the parking lot with plentiful OB.
Navigation is generally easy here, as there are plenty of signs directing you to the next hole. The tee signs only have the number and distance, which is usually sufficient, but a visual description of the hole would be nice, particularly since many of the longer gold holes are blind and require a good bit of walking to find the basket if you aren't familiar. Benches at the tee would really be nice as well with all the walking you will be doing, and would add to the "completed" feel of the course. There are a decent number of trash cans throughout, and the tee pads are large and grippy. The baskets aren't the best, but still catch well.
My last little nit-pick for this course might sound a bit odd. After each of my rounds, both on the white and gold layouts, though I enjoyed them immensely I found myself wishing there was a third layout in between the existing two. This might just be my own skill level falling between the cracks a bit, but since my rating tends to float right around 900, I figure there are enough people that may feel the same way as me that it is worth mentioning. The white layout has a lot of fun shots, but really lacks distance for the majority of the course. I went almost the entire course without pulling out anything faster than a buzzz, and drove with a putter on the majority of shots. Holes 3, 4, and 17 give this layout a huge chunk of its length.
When playing Gold, however, I occasionally felt overwhelmed by the massive, tightly wooded shots, and watched my score balloon to almost 150% of what I shot on the whites. Others in my group suffered even worse. The gold layout is well designed, but definitely aimed towards more advanced players, particularly holes 10-15. I don't expect each course to cater to my specific skill level, and I didn't really count this against the course in my rating, but a third layout that was more than pitch n' put distance for 2/3rds of its holes, but not quite averaging 450' per hole, would be great. I guess my point here is, if you are a mid-level player with a rating in the ballpark of 900, expect to either be beaten down by Gold, or not sufficiently challenged by large stretches of white.
Fairfield is a fantastic course (two courses? course and a half?) that has everything from water carries, long bomber shots, tight ace runs, and massive par 5s that require you to hit landing zones. There really is something for just about everyone here, and I don't think anyone would regret making the trip to play one or both of these layouts. As usual, bring bug spray, don't let the mosquitos get you down, and have a blast playing some terrific disc golf.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Fairfield - Squaw Creek Gold
0 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Great mix of lefty/righty holes. Good use of elevation. Good mix of open/wooded holes. Tough but fair OB on several holes, including several water holes. Easy navigation throughout entire course.
Cons: Can be crowded on weekends.
Other Thoughts: Excellent course maintenance, but players should litter less.
0 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Blew me away!
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Being from New Jersey and having played many of the somewhat boring nine-holer's in this area, my expectations were not very high for this course, however what I found, was a gem, and I feel confident saying that this course can hold its own with the best of them.
Variety- With this course, you could definitely tell that tremendous thought was put into nearly each and every hole. This course will test each and every asset of an individuals game, and more! The long wooded par 5's, are well thought out, and require precise shots, and execution to score well. The marsh, and small runoff "ponds" are put into good use requiring a good mental game. Additionally, there is a very solid mixture of wooded and open holes, that add to the variety. Each hole is fair and some have multiple options from the tee, allowing players to throw a variety of different lines, depending on how aggressive they want to get.
Par is tough- I really enjoy courses such as this that make you work for your birdie on every hole, while par is often a very good score. These types of courses make players maintain a smart mental game throughout the entire course. Each shot is as important as the next, and each shot very rewarding if played properly.
Elevation- although elevation is not common in this area, the elevation on the property was put into good use, forcing a player to execute shots that are not often found in this area.
Two distinct layouts- Honestly, I believe that they would encounter no problems calling each of the layouts their own separate course. For the majority of the holes, each tee is completely different, and for each hole, there is a separate gold tee and basket, as well as a separate white tee and basket. These layouts are made very easy to follow by the color coordination of the baskets.
Creek- the creek and marshy areas were great additions to the course, providing much necessary OB and once again making the player think before throwing a drive.
Navigation- Next tee signs and the close proximity of most holes to one another allows this course to be easily navigable while still maintaining a proper flow.
Cons: Most of the cons for this course relate to it being fairly new at the time I played it.
Signage: This relates to the tee signs. Each sign only displays the distance, rather than including a map as well, which would be very helpful, especially because most of the baskets cannot be seen from the tee. I am sure, given the local volunteers that this will be fixed overtime.
The first few holes are a bit too open for my taste, and do not require the thought process that many of the other wonderful holes that can be found on this hole present.
The course could have been made more interesting if the creek was brought into play more, but I understand the environmental hazards that this could have ignited.
Other Thoughts: Overall, I was very pleasantly surprised with the caliber of golf that this course brings to the table. I believe wholeheartedly that this course can definitely compete with the best in its area and even its region. NOTE: In my book, the course is more of a 4.75, but due to the fact that most of the cons do not relate to the design and caliber of golf, I decided to give this one the bump to a 5.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Best in North Suburbs, Maybe Chicagoland
2 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Great use of the terrain. Those that remember the old Fairfield, won't believe this is the same land. Every hole is thoughtfully placed and works with the natural flow of the land. The par 5's are real monsters, but are very fair. Clear layout, easy to make your way around. Very well maintained. Good teepads.
Cons: Tee signs could have more detail. That's seriously my only complaint. The first time through, I needed to walk up a lot of holes first to see what was going on.
Other Thoughts: This is clearly the best course in the North suburbs, and possibly all of Chicagoland. It's great to have something up here that rivals the premier courses in other areas. I would maybe put this course up there with the Peoria area courses.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This course is a suburban disc golf Mecca.
Fairfield Park features two beautifully designed layouts, each one completely unique. The gold layout makes for a brutally challenging round of 18 holes, while the white layout is great for more casual rounds.
Both layouts begin with 4 open holes, each one longer than the one before. This gives players the chance to stretch out their arms and prepare for the round ahead.
Hole 5 is an excellent hole and offers the first taste of the round to come. It is relatively open for most of way, with the last 75 ft of fairway lying in a thickly wooded tunnel perched on a hill side. In the white layout, this hole can lead to a four (or five) if you miss the tunnel, or an extremely rewarding two if you hit it perfectly. From the gold layout you're throwing to the same pin, but you're about 150 feet back and there are trees on the right that add some extra challenge.
The round really starts to dive into the woods at hole 7.
At hole 10, the white and gold layouts separate completely, each playing their own unique holes. They do not come together again until the end of the round. I've never seen this done on a course as well as it was done here.
Great course signs and the colorful baskets (white baskets for the white layout, gold baskets for the gold layout, white and yellow for shared baskets) help prevent any confusion that might be created by having two distinct layouts.
Cons: The signs at this course do not have any visual aid to help golfers understand the hole; they only have hole # and distance.
The designers used the limited elevation on site well, but the park as a whole was fairly flat.
The land is a bit swampy, bring some boots!
Other Thoughts: Make sure you print out a course map before your round.
For locals: In the Chicago suburbs, there really is no comparison to this course. I was looking at my past reviews to try and determine which suburban course could give Fairfield a run for its money. Prior to this review, I had rated Eagle Ridge (Oswego), Community Park (Channahon), and Highland Park (Joliet) the highest among suburban courses with ratings of 4.0... Fairfield Park blows each of these courses away.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
8 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!
8 of 9 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
11 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.
11 of 11 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.
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