11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - West Park, established in 1979, remains a relevent course by today's standards, albeit a bit on the short side. Mostly a park-style course consisting of large mature oaks and other trees and light scrub, with a large seam of elevation (maybe 20-25' at its highest point) running through the middle. A small, semi-dry creek/ drainage pond/ body of "poo" water of dubious origin "runs" along the bottom of this slope. Stretches of highway, including I80, run alongside, giving several parts of the course a very urban feel despite West Park's natural greenery and relaxed, casual vibe.
- Because of its age, much of the design focuses on shorter technical style holes where accuracy over raw power will win on most days. Several longer holes (as well as the long tees, in places) insure that the bigger guns aren't entirely ignored, although nothing hits 600'. As a result, most experienced players will have a fun time collecting birdies and making ace runs but watch out for danger: water, elevation loss and gain, pin positions located near drop-offs, and well-implemented trees lurk everywhere, waiting to spoil the round.
-Great use of elevation throughout, with many risk/reward opportunities arising from the positioning of baskets on the edge of slopes and drop-offs. The solid use of elevation throughout the park is definitely West Park's main allure for the author.
- One hole is a short, blind, forced up-and-over shot down a wooded slope. Chuck and pray on your first time. Road OB not too far behind the hole, which sits slightly elevated to the right, near the road. Overall, a really fun, novel hole that promotes overhand/thumber shots and adds a nice spicyness to an otherwise very traditional design.
-Basic signage does the trick. Trashcans and solid, old-school giant park benches throughout. Despite the trashcans it was obvious that it is a ongoing battle against litter in this heavily-trafficked urban setting.
-Pretty decent variety, but a bit hyzer-centric in places.
Cons: - The biggest knock, by far, against West Park is the dreadful condition of the teepads (or rather lack thereof). Dirt in most places, sometimes with roots. Rocky uneven surfaces in other spots. Acorns in the fall make the footing downright dangerous. Also, several of the tees are marked on park pathways with a painted dot. Keep your eyes peeled, as these can be easily missed first time through, especially in the autumn.
- A slightly hazardous flow is necessitated by the way the design utilizes the land. Several walks to baskets or to the next hole have no obvious, easily accessible path. Not a problem for those light on their feet, but definitely a turn-off for the mobility impaired. Looks like some of the slopes might get slippery if wet. Stairs and bridges in some of the worst places do help greatly.
- In places, hole overlap might prove dangerous during busy times. Keep an eye out for errant discs.
- A few of the holes down the stretch seem a bit two-dimensional and bland.
Other Thoughts: - Despite the below-average teepads and other unpleasant aspects usually associated with semi-urban disc golf (such as the dubious smells emanating from the water hazards), West Park proves to be a really fun, solidly designed course that provides a great woodsy escape to the surrounding urban and suburban sprawl.
- Might prove slightly tricky to navigate first time around but after that flow shouldn't be an issue. Many thanks to those who guided me: Mashnut, WorldsCoolestGuy, Archetype, Noill Golf, GoodDriveBadPutt and crew!
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Fun for all ages
Pros: - Course is spread out in a large park with many different features. It is an older course and an even older park, with a definite old school feel.
- Lots of elevation changes to be found through the first 18 holes. There are two great cliff shots, and some decent uphill tosses. A lot of gently sloping fairways as well, which can be very relevant when shaping lines to avoid trees. Some spots have big dropoffs off the fairway, starting with #1.
- Various trees and forested areas to contend with at all times. Majority have large mature trees to avoid, but there are other tighter spots with denser bushes and whatnot. A lot of the holes with elevation have windows to hit or fairways to stay on.
- Punishment in other spots due to water and/or swamp. A small creek is in play on numerous holes, crossing over a few and bordering others. It really helps to define the holes and set up some tricky approach shots and drives. A few baskets are protected this way very well.
- Decent mix of different shots needed. Most of the holes play straight, more or less, but there is the occasional spot where a left or right shot really made things easier.
- Good baskets for an old course, decent signage, and ok creek crossings. Can be a little tricky to navigate the first time through.
Cons: - Part of the old school feel is shorter hole lengths. There are a few longer holes and a decent amount over 300', but there are also a ton around 200'. A lot of these holes can be done in 3 without much effort, which really takes away from the difficulty.
- Back 6 or so feel a little tacked on, just a mostly flat field with some mature trees. Kind of a let down after the first 18.
- Teepads can be pretty muddy, just like the rest of the course.
Other Thoughts: - This course has a very high fun factor, with shorter hole lengths, great elevation changes, and lots of hazards. Water is used very well on a good amount of holes, in different ways. A few great cliff shots and even some sloping greens. It is easy to score well, but it does not feel cheap or boring like other shorter courses.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Rough around the edges
Pros: This park offers quite a bit of challenges to the RHBH thrower like myself. The number of finessed anhyzers required really tests my game even on the best days. The only drives you can really let loose on are too tight to reach the pin reliably, and for all of the obstacles this course presents, none of the punishments are really unfair. Big fan of holes 9-18. Great course design for the most part. The two sets of tees offer some different challenges on the ten holes that have them, and since I live in Orland, its often worth the drive out to west, so long as there's not a huge backup on I-80.
Cons: I've been spoiled by rubber and concrete teepads, so the dirt pads here at west can sometimes get on my nerves, to the point I won't play this course if it's rained recently (opting instead for nearby highland, or back to our default course, The Oaks). There are plenty of nearby roadways that can do a lot of damage to a brand new disc. I'm also a big fan of long tosses, and this course really only tests your distance throw twice...though they are beautiful holes.
Other Thoughts: Right off the interstate...on a dry day, you shouldn't pass this one up!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: This course was a lot of fun to play. It was awesome to play the oldest course (out of the 100+) in Illinois and really get a feel for what started it all. The course is very well taken care of and there are a lot of "signature" shots (like #2) which set this course apart from all of the others. The course was very well manicured and seemed to flow very, very well. I didn't get lost at all and it was my first time playing without a map.
Cons: Three minor things stick out, none of which aren't that bad.
1. No cement tees. This wasn't really a big deal to me because it kept reminding me that this course was made in 1979 and if they added tees, it would take away from the personality of the course.
2. This is a seasonal thing, but the mosquitos were pretty bad. Not a major complaint because they're everywhere so I still give this course a 4.5.
3. It had a lot of traffic when I played here which resulted in the most waiting behind a tee I've ever had. (3 groups waiting behind the Green Mile).
Other Thoughts: It was awesome to play the oldest course in Illinois and the first ever wooded course in the world. Like I said earlier, it was nice to see the course that "started it all". I drove 2 hours to play this course and I'd definitely say it was worth it.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: West Park is a classic, unique course that's very easy to love. The shot selection here is excellent -- even with 24 holes.
The course starts out in a tree filled area with a 300ft R to L dogleg with a big elevation drop to the left of the pin. #2, which many consider to be the signature hole is a shorter R to L shot down a big elevation drop into a more open area of the park.
The next section throws back and forth through a more open area where a few mature trees serve as obstacles, with some minor elevation change (with the exception of #5 a fun shot uphill, across the stream into a heavily forested area).
#10 is kind of a weird shot from the red tee (at around 200ft RHBH players have to throw a big hyzer that almost has to fade back towards you). The white tee adds some distance and makes it a little more of a "normal" dogleg shot.
#11 is a bomb over an open, but narrowing fairway, with the stream to the left creating a water hazard. At this point in the course it feels good to air one out after a series of short to medium length holes.
#12 is a great hole with a sharp L to R dogleg that also goes up a hill and at 330ft from the white tee, it is a pretty tough shot for most players.
13, 14, and 15 are shorter, technical holes through tight, tree filled fairways, with 15 being the longest at 312ft from the whites.
#16 is like a more difficult version of #2, shooting R to L down a big hill, this time with a lot more trees, and the street right behind the pin.
#17 is the worst hole of the course, a little 200ft L to R dog leg right along the road.
More on #18 through #22 in a minute. #23 is a very cool shot through a narrow wooded fairway, to the basket which sits atop a big hill. #24 plays similar to #1 in the same section of the course with a steep drop off just left of the pin as punishment for a bad shot.
Cons: West Park is a great course that will challenge a lot players players, and will be fun for pretty much all players, but it lacks the challenge of an elite course. Basically, when I'm looking for a relaxing and enjoyable round of DG in Joliet I play West Park, but when I want to challenge myself I play Highland Park.
There are two areas of the course where shots begin to feel repetitive. From holes 3-9 (excluding #5) all shots are 250-300ft shots that require minimal thought. Then towards the end of the course holes 18-22 play through an area of the course filled with large mature trees, and while these shots aren't bad, they begin to drag on, especially since these holes follow some of the best holes of the course.
Due to its reputation and the accessibility for new players, this course is usually pretty crowded. Most people I've seen here are pretty respectful though, and I've never seen any issues with course etiquette.
The lack of concrete tee pads isn't a huge issue for me except the two or three that are somewhat rutty. In a way the dirt tee pads (and the few pavement tees) add to the charm of the course and remind you that you are playing the oldest course in the state.
Other Thoughts: West Park just has a cool, old school feel that makes it easy to come back to. Those who play here for the first time will definitely enjoy the variety and uniqueness of many of the shots. This is a legitimate 4 star course that definitely ranks among the best in Illinois
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
A fun and Unique Classic
Pros: This course offers a very wide range of holes and challenges for players. There are a number of signature holes, such as hole 11 (The green mile), hole 16, and hole 2, which is one of my favorite holes out of the 20+ courses I have played. There are no missing pins or signs, and each sign is accurate and helpful. I had to use every disc in my bag for this course, with long drives, anhyzyers, hyzers, and unique approaches. Many of these holes really test your ability to accurately place drives. Regular par is forgiving, while pro par is a challenge for anyone. The course uses a great blend of open and wooded holes, using the terrain in the park to provide a great experience.
Cons: The course is 24 holes, which can feel pretty long after a while. This can easily be a pro too depending on your preference. Some of the navigation and terrain can be a challenge as well. Hole 2 for example does not provide an easy way over the creek you throw across. More athletic individuals will not find this to be a problem. Hole 9 can be hard to find, but just backtrack hole 8 and keep going and you'll find it easily. Unless you can drive straight for 226 feet be prepared to look for your disc on hole 16. Mud is my only personal issue. This course can stay muddy after rain and such for over a week, so bring a towel for your discs. Natural tees are always a slight downer compared to concrete.
Other Thoughts: Overall is a very fun course to play that will test your ability to throw many different types of shots. This course is a great example of how to take full advantage of the space provided. It's the oldest course in Illinois in case you have not heard, so there is some history with this course as well. Despite it's age, this course is among the best in the Chicago area, even Illinois. If you live in the area, this is one course you play, even if you live an hour away. This course along with Highland make Joliet one of the best disc golf towns in the area as well. Play West Park and you will not be disappointed.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: This course was a lot of fun. It offers up a variety of shots, which is something, sadly, few other courses in the area do. The elevation changes and landscape in the area are used wonderfully. This provides a lovable risk/reward situation on many holes (2 and 16) in particular. It also has several challenging distance holes for you big arms out there. The original-looking signs really help the "classic" feel of the course. The course is also pretty long, which I enjoy because I can feel satisfied after one game through these 24 holes, instead of playing 18 twice somewhere else, and it getting repetitive.
Cons: I really don't like the dirt tee pads with the concrete posts, very big turn off for me. Though, it was hilarious to watch a buddy of mine slip and fall on his rear after teeing off. The course could also do with better marking, a few of the holes seem impossible to find without being told or following someone. In particular, hole 8 tees off one direction, then you have to turn around walk back past the tee for 8 and around a large bend of trees to get to the tee for 9. I don't know how long it would've taken me to find that had I not been with someone who knew the course. Also, the graffiti on everything in the park is an eyesore. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy good graffiti art when done well, but the writing all over the benches, or one color poorly scribbled words on bridges and pieces of concrete is NOT art.
Other Thoughts: All in all, a definite must play in the area. The major flaws in the course are cosmetic (minus the dirt tees) and shouldn't stop you from playing here and experiencing West Park.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
good for wide range of players
Pros: For being the first permanent course in Illinois, West Park is holding it's own in pretty grand style.
We had snow; so beat areas were largely unseen.
24 holes....Two sets of tees on a number of holes.
Club members did have tees cleared; though the steep steps here were not cleared as well as other courses in the area. No one took a spill; but they were a bit scary.
(Lewis University and Trinity Links also had wonderful staircases put in steep hills. Person's responsible for any of these; are made of pure awesomsuceness. Do not take any of these stairways for granted. The climbs on the hills with stairs would be horrendous; as would erosion; if not for these well made walkways. West's stairways were the roll model for the rest; evidently, but were well done.)
Nice variation from short to long; nice elevation changes throughout; recently updated discatcher baskets and great use of o.b. areas; are a few more pros that contribute to a good feeling here.
O.B. especially struck me as well done. Creek in play on a number of holes. Also, a parking lot; that appears to never have cars in it; is in play on two more holes (#4 and?), I believe. Some road in play.... A couple of fences deep; if your Superman arm pops up at the wrong moment....
Tees had been shoveled in winter.
Great course for developing and/or older players.
Original tee signs if you can believe it (I'm nearly 100% positive). They are from the correct era anyway; and have been altered with basic, but adequate paint skills (adds another layer to the rustic feel; with upkeep).
#2 an especially beautiful hole. Nice bridge across the creek. Easily reachable; but pretty.
#s 12 -18 and #23 secluded and heavily wooded...most of the rest of the ending; through more wide open grassy areas with mature trees to negotiate.
Simple, next tee arrows on tee signs.
Cons: The footage present keeps it at a 3.5; even with 24 holes. Also, the wear on the course. A couple of 400+ holes from longs; but a lot of @250 ft. pins.
Circular tee end markers were all found; but no signs for long tees.
Tees no worse than others in area during winter; but appear quite rutted in photos. The overall, winter, footing here was the worst of six courses. (I think the worn look of West is offset; by the dignity it HAS maintained). Well used course from looks of land in pics.
Sounds like it's crowded; probably play during off hours if possible.
Other Thoughts: My third trip to West; 2002, 2003 and now, 2010. For the original trip; West Park was "nicest course of a tour." We played more than 4 courses during that trip. I can well imagine why. Highland was not in yet; and this course has a wonderfully classic feel to it.
Course is aged from a visual stand point; but the terrain is actually very nice overall. I would try to play here when lots of others were not on the course; and enjoy the experience, as if I were playing a long lost gem; that I had discovered. If you do play it when the course is full; look at the value it has provided in this regard over the years. This is an absolute gem of a course for representing the early era.
Taking into consideration that footing was horrendous, and we played mostly long tees; (where available) we did not score that great. -1 best score of three; with two of us usually 900+ rated players. I would not say this is not a pitch and putt, by any means. But, you would want to score well here if in competition; or if a home course.
Gold level players will not be thrilled here; but everyone else will enjoy the West Park experience.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: -A Classic, West Park is the first permanent disc golf course in IL.
-More elevation than almost all Chicago area courses.
-Plenty of shade for hot days
-Several memorable/unique holes:
2 Mid/putter hyzer with 20' elevation drop over creek
16 Another downhill with a sea of underbrush below. A drive that doesn't make it into putting range is penalized severely
-Course is mostly wooded with a few mostly open holes to break things up
Cons: -Rutted, natural tees.
-Well used baskets.
-Favors RHBH a little.
-Can be very crowded on nice days or weekends.
-Some paths can be dangerous when muddy
-Loud highway noise on first third of course
Other Thoughts: This course is a lot of fun. Beginners can enjoy it along with more advanced players (although it is short by long arm standards). The terrain used for this course is rare in this area and is well used.
Close to other good courses:
Highland Park, Joliet (great)
Community Park, Channahon
Trinity Links, Lockport
If taking Rte. 171/Archer Ave to Joliet area, stop by Little Johns in Lockport. Great Italian Beefs, mexican Coke in the glass bottles.
4 of 7 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 2 Not
1st Course in Illinois
Pros: The park itself is very surprising. It is very shaded playing thru woods and some nice hills. There are also several nice open areas with scattered trees. Elevation comes into play on many holes and there are some unique areas. I posted a link to some nice photos in the other thoughts section.
This is a classic course established in 1979. It's the first course in Illinois. Although this course is a birdie fest and short it's still fun to play. It gets a ton of play from all skill level players.
You will learn how to throw a mid range and putter on this course. There is a ton of variety with long and short tees.
Tee signs are adequate with descent hole info and accurate distances.
The baskets were all replaced a few years ago and are Discraft Chainstars.
Cons: The course sits right off I80 so there is interstate noise for many holes.
It can be hard to navigate in a few areas.
The tee pads are limestone filled and have ruts in them. Some are better than others.
This course gets tons of play and there is an erosion issue in places. There are several tricky areas to hike thru so be careful. Down the hillside on #2 comes to mind and the green on #5. When it's muddy it can be dangerous in areas.
This course is very short. You don't get to rip too many drivers on this course.
11 of 13 people found this review helpful.
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