From an Amateur's point of view
Pros: Varying shots required. Varying levels of technical difficulty. Some very nice scenery.
Cons: Not the best maintained park. Am teepads are gravel, and often rutted/muddy. Signage is not the best.
Other Thoughts: This course is mere miles from my house. In the 5 months I've been playing, I have played this course easily 70 times (usually only 9 holes at a time). I know it pretty well. For the most part, the baskets have been in the same place through the entire time.
The following description is from the shortest tees.
Hole 1 is a straight shot across a small depression, through light woods, and over a hill. You can't see the goal from the teepad. There are a variety of lines of approach. The goal is on a mild slope, and near a guardian tree. Rollaway is a real possibility.
Hole 2 is level, with a anhyzer for righthanded backhand (RHBH) players or hyzer for lefthand backhand (LHBH). Shrubs on the right and a few sporadic small trees in the fairway, that mostly don't come into play. The goal sits on the edge of a steep drop, so if you overshoot the basket, you can get a 20 foot drop into a wooded area.
Hole 3 is the only par 4 on the course. The teepad is elevated, and you throw down onto the fairway. A stream runs to the right, and large sporadic trees to the left. The initial shot should be an easy hyzer for RHBH players. The same first shot is more difficult LHBH, requiring good touch to keep an anhyzer on the fairway from turning into a roller that ends up in the stream. Once on the fairway, there are a number of trees that generally require you to keep the discs moderately low, below the tree canopy, although a big RHBH hyzer route exists that crosses the stream into 4's fairway. The goal is guarded by a tree, and near the stream, making approach interesting. The area by the basket is subject to flooding in heavy rain. The stream, and much of the bodies of water in the park get covered with duckweed (what looks like bright green algea on the surface). When it floods, this stuff gets deposited on the course in the low area of 3. It smells funky when that happens.
Hole 4 is on the opposite slope leading to the stream separating 3 and 4, and faces in the opposite direction. If the wind is blowing, this makes for an interesting switch from 3. The line on this hole is a long, slow hyzer for RHBH players. The slope is reasonably steep, rollaway into the stream is very possible.Once on the slope, you must then navigate back up the slope, into moderate trees. The goal is tucked into some thicker woods, with guardian tree, and a slope downhill just past the pin. The baskets in the park are old, and in particular, this one is VERY hard to see the first time you play the course. Oh... one other note on 4. The hillside near the goal has a lot of broken glass in one area. Probably not a big problem, but it concerns me every time I see it.
Hole 5 is in light trees, into a mostly open field, down a hill, with goal tucked into a cutout of the shrubbery on the right. Those shrubs are a barrier to the right side all the way from teepad to goal. This is a very natural LHBH shot. A perfectly placed LHBH midrange can park (and in theory ace) the hole. A concrete drainage ditch past the goal presents not so much a challenge as an object that can bang up your discs.
Hole 6 is a pretty wide open field, one of the few places on the course where you might get to rip a 300'+ shot. Fairway is mostly flat, very slightly uphill, then slightly downhill. a very mild hyzer for RHBH players. The goal is near a guardian tree, but not too well guarded. Going overly long (30'+), there's the possibility to skip into the road. And the traffic does not care about your $20 disc. They will run it over.
Hole 7 is straight, favoring a LHBH fade. The drive is slightly downhill through light woods, with a canopy requiring that you keep the shot fairly low. Approach to the goal is a living nightmare, as the goal is on a hillside that's about 45 degrees, and bare, with occasional roots and rocks, about 15' above the fairway. Vines and small trees obscure the goal to a degree. The goal is on a little concrete platform, but if you miss the goal or platform, it is more likely than not that your disc will roll back down 20 feet or more.
Hole 8 has a straight approach with a small gap between some small trees. There's a spike hyzer route RHBH for arms bigger than mine. The goal is on a narrowing peninsula with guardrail and road on the left side, and a slope with potential water hazard on the right. I have had a disc skip off the rim of the basket, and roll the 40 feet to the water, disappear in the duckweed with no trace to be seen. I will miss you, KC Pro Roc.
Hole 9 starts on top of a hill, throwing down to a goal across a 20 or so foot wide water hazard. Moderate trees and a few hanging dead branches add to the difficulty. The goal is across the water, and up a mild hill, probably not more than 15 feet from the water, but with little chance of rollaway. There is a straight shot from teepad to goal.
Hole 10 has water hazard to the left, and the fairway slopes up on the right, with moderate trees. It's a good natural mild hyzer shot for RHBH. An errant treekick can put you in the water. The goal is guarded by a lot of shrubs on the approach angle, so second shots are usually spike hyzers.
Hole 11 is uphill with light trees, but the goal is surrounded by small guardian trees. There are a number of routs through, and the hole doesn't seem to favor left or right handed throwers.
Hole 12 is uphill, and the goal is guarded with a big tree, creating a canopy that restricts some lines. There are also several trees in the fairway blocking some routes. A RHBH hyzer around the right-most tree puts you within easy approach to the pin. A big LHBH hyzer line might be possible, but it crosses a parking area. If there's a vehicle there, it's risky. And if you get the angle wrong, you're going to bounce the disc across concrete. If you get up the hill clean, another RHBH short approach gets you to the goal.
Hole 13 is a long open field, sloping up after about 300', crossing a road, with a few trees in the way. The goal is near the road on the other side. I don't recommend DX discs for this hole. You (okay, I) will inevitably chew them up, skipping over concrete. First shot favors RHBH straight fading left. A good flex shot LHBH works, but isn't as easy.
Hole 14 is an elevated tee, through 200' moderately difficult tunnel shot, into a field that slopes down, narrowing and hooking right. The approach has thorn bushes right, heavy shrubs left, and swampy water mere feet past the goal. This hole strongly favors LHBH approach. From anywhere in the field clear of the initial trees, a moderately overstable mid will glide a lovely arc to the goal. For RHBH... good luck. Those thorn bushes are... not fun. In hot weather, down by the goal is like a mosquito infested swamp. Bring bug spray. (The area around 10's goal can also get swampy, but not as bad)
Hole 15 is an elevated tee, throwing across a depression. As with much of the course, it's lightly wooded, with canopy restricting some high lines. RHBH route then climbs back up to about the same level. LHBH route can go lower. Water hazard to the very far left, mostly not an issue, until you approach the goal, or in the event of bad tree kick. The goal sits on the edge of a hill. Long or left is slope down to water. There are also some shrubs near the goal, impeding approach.
Hole 16 is fairly steeply downhill. A few trees in the fairway, and bushes surrounding the goal. This is the most likely hole to ace or birdy on the course. A dead straight or RHBH straight with slight fade at the end is the best path.
Hole 17 is a fairly open fairway. Slope down and road to the left. Slope down onto 18's fairway to the right. A few trees. The goal is over the edge of a slope, and that slope is mostly bare. If your disc gets up on edge, its is extremely likely to roll into the road 30 feet down the hill. You will scare the geese (depending on the season). There is a VERY slight chance that the disc will hop the curb on the far side of the road and continue to roll a ways further into water. Very unlikely, though. One other thing... those spiky ball seedpod things? Yeah. ALL over that slope. Like a floor covered in marbles. After a rain? Add slick mud. This hole and 7 are what I'd classify as 'dangerous' after a rain. Don't laugh. I'm old and break easy.
Hole 18 is level, bending slowly right, very slightly favoring mild LHBH hyzer. A few big trees in the way. Approach is (as usual) under a moderately high canopy. The hole opens to a small grass green, with the goal probably 15 feet from the parking lot. Shoot long and go OB (and chew up your plastic).
The bathrooms by the start/end of the course are serviceable but 'ugh'. The water tastes nasty. I live in this town, I can say that. I filter my water at home because it tastes gross. There's a spigot near the teepad for 14. On the hottest of summer days, I dared drink from it. The best I can say is I didn't die from it. There's a CVS right down the road from the park to grab cold drinks when you're done, or a row of fast food places on Beltline, just blocks away. There are occasional families wandering the course, utterly oblivious to the fact that you're about to launch your speed 40 DEATHCRUSHER driver. Be aware it's a park... with kids. Hope this review helps. The city seems to do a good job of mowing the park. Dead tree/limb removal is slower, but done. Shrub trimming seems slower still, so some holes (5, 10, 16) can be affected by wild-n-wooly shrubs.
My first course ever played
Pros: Well matured course.
Multiple Tee pads/pins keep the play here fresh.
Some nice elevation changes.
Concrete tee pads in pro placement.
Cons: Baskets are showing their age.
Can get littered up from time to time.
Other Thoughts: This is the first course I ever played and where I honed my skills as a DG'er and met some great people in the process. I love it despite all of its flaws.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Fun and Challenging
Pros: Challenging - Well maintained - 3 tee pads - Multiple pin placements - great mix of shots - Large tee pads - Restrooms & Water fountains
Woodland Park is a great course that has something for players of all skill levels. With 3 different sets of tee pads, you can choose how difficult you want your round to be. The reds and whites are crushed limestone and beginner friendly The (longer) blue tee pads are concrete. When the pins are in their longer positions, the blue tee pads make this course championship caliber. There are also numerous "extreme" positions that will put your pride in check. The course is very scenic as well as it is spread across rolling hills and around the lake. The water holes present an extra challenge of risk vs reward and can easily be the difference between a good round or a bad one.
Cons: Flow - Tee signs only on shortest tees - Old baskets - Pedestrian traffic
There are a couple places where holes criss cross each other and it would be hard for a first timer to find their way around. Additionally, there are a couple of the blue tee pads that are "hidden" because they are in a place that make the hole completely different. It would be very difficult for a first timer to play the blues by themselves. Additionally, there are only tee signs on the (shortest) red tee pads so you don't really know your distances from the other pads. The baskets, while DGA Mach II's (I believe) are old and rusty. They don't necessarily hurt you putting/score, but with a few updates, like new baskets and tee signs, this course would easily rank a 4.5 or even 5. Lastly, there are a lot of people that like to sit in the middle of the fairways for a picnic lunch. Most times, if you make them aware, they'll move. But you do occasionally run into jerks that just won't budge.
Other Thoughts: The "cons" aside, if you know your way around and can judge distance pretty well, this is an awesome course. If you haven't played Woodland Park, you definitely should, but I'd recommend printing a map or coming out on a league day so you can lean on the locals for guidance. In regards to the pedestrian traffic, most people are nice, but you can't fix stupid, so sometimes you just have to play around them.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Home of the Chain Gang Club Championship
Pros: Course is less than 3 miles from I-70. Large park with other amenities. 3 sets of tee pads for all levels of play. Plenty of trees, 2 ponds and elevation change to present a challenge for multiple shots. Interesting pin placements where accurate putting is a must. The B placements have been in place for over a year now and definitely change the course vs the originals. Course is technical and long from the concrete (blue) pads...a tough par 55.
Cons: Some navigational issues such as long walk between hole 5 and 6. Shared fairway with creek in the middle on hole 3 and 4. During nice weather days there may some interference with other park goers. Baskets are older however they still catch fine.
Other Thoughts: The first time I played this course I was not that impressed, however after playing it a few more times, it has become a favorite due to the challenge and fun factor of different shot making needed to score well. Just participated in the 10th annual Headache Bowl on New Years day with 102 total participants and the Chaingang always do a good job running this event. Although, I am still waiting on my tag. For easier play and navigation I recommend printing a map and or find a guide.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
A good course with some challenge
Pros: --A variety of tees makes this a course worth replaying again and again.
--Great use of trees, water and elevation to challenge you.
Cons: --Baskets are older and rusty.
--Most signs are missing making locating the next tee pad difficult sometimes.
--Referred to in previous reviews, but a major litter problem. Today I saw a used diaper, broken glass, etc.
Other Thoughts: A good course with some very challenging shots. Not altogether set up in a logical way, but fun nonetheless...if you can find all the tee pads/baskets. Bring a rag. Your discs are likely to get muddy or wet.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
good course but needs a little love
Pros: bring your A game to this course, with almost every hole having a water hazard or ob that comes into play. a good mixture of short to long holes along with 3 sets of tees gives you a large assortment of shots to throw.
Cons: the shorter tees are made of crushed gravel, this is no con for the reason of good drainage, IF... the pads were level and didnt dish out and retain water or almost break your foot when throwing(loose 1/2 disc rating). no trash cans around course .
Other Thoughts: due to land configuration of the city park, and it being a multi use park, you will walk a little bit between a few holes.. a overall fun course for all.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This is a really fun course! There are a ton of different shots on this course. There are 3 high quality teepads on each hole (2 p-gravel and 1 concrete. Each teepad changes the look and challenge of the hole which is great. Replayability is awesome for this course....
The park is gorgeous....admittedly, I played it at a time of year where you won't have much foot traffic in the park so I didn't experience the issues others discussed. There are a bazillion very mature trees that are throughout the course and make each and every placement crucial. The elevation changes are refreshing too.
Initially I found it odd that the front 9 seemed so much longer than the back 9, but I actually appreciated it by the end of the round.
Really appreciated the quality signage throughout.
Cons: The flow of the course is pretty rough in the first 5 or 6 hles but it dramatically improves after that. The small signs after each basket saved our butt. Not sure I EVER would have found #2 tee without them=)
A few of the tee shots from the pro tees were stupid (all the really bad ones were VERY early in the round. You shouldn't have tee shots where there is no good shot available.
Other Thoughts: Love the course! Can't wait to go play it again...it reminded me alot of JB with water...but not quite as diverse a course as JB.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: great use of terrain and elevation. good pin placements and use of water to make you think about your throws. Play as tough or easy as you want with 3 tees for each hole.
Cons: not much flow to course, had to follow some locals to figure out where to go and play the holes in order.
Other Thoughts: A map would be great,
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -facilities include bathrooms, water, shelters, adequate parking, some garbage cans but not by the tee pads
-three sets of tees that not only change the length of the holes but also the looks, elevation and water hazard)
-lots of OB to punish inaccurate or long shots
-good use of elevation
-water hazards on a lot of holes (depending on tee pad)
-diversity of shots required: straight, anhyzer and hyzer
Cons: -It's not clear which parking lot to utilize the first time playing it (it's the second lot by the bathrooms)
-HEAVILY used by nondiscers (shelters, playgrounds, bandshells, baseball field, pedestrians, fishermen. not everyone knows what you are doing, especially the fishermen, b/c a lot of the blue tees throw over the lake, so be careful
-The layout is a little bit screwy (after 1 you have to walk down the hill, cross the bridge, then up the hill depending on the tee pad used. After hole (five?) you have to walk up the road behind the baseball field to six, after 8 you have to cross the guard rail, up the hill to 9) some signage for navigation but not sufficient.
The shots are really high quality at this park, especially from the blue tees, it's a shame that the layout is so screwy b/c this is has better quality shots than a 3.
I would avoid this park on nice summer weekend days, as it will be a zoo.
Interesting note: This site used to be a landfill. Yay landfill reclamation!
Also the club website is decent but no forums, it has a contact page and course description and pictures, videos and links http://www.southernillinoischaingang.com
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Great Course Overall
Pros: A great variety of uphill, downhill, left, right, straight shots. Bombers can easily earn a few birdies (if the course is played as all par 3's from the amateur tees, see below)
Integration into the surrounding park is superb. Incorporating the water adds a significant element of challenge, and satisfaction, when you keep your discs out of the drink.
Signage between holes to point you towards the next is good, (but could be better).
Plenty of parking.
A few holes have the pins placed on sloping greens. A good challenge and another testament to how well the park space has been used.
Flow from one pin-to-tee is a little weird, but the provided signs do a good job of keeping you on the right track.
Cons: No indication on any of the holes of what the par for that hole is from any of the tees. (Local wisdom suggests that playing from the amateur tees makes the course all par 3's, but an indication of such would be very welcome).
No signage whatsoever by the park to point you towards the parking area for throwers. I spent 20 minutes wandering aimlessly before i gathered where the first tee was.
The course map that IS provided at the proper parking area/first tee has no point of orientation; there's no indication (such as an arrow or a compass pointer) to show you where the first tee is. VERY confusing.
The layout of the course, as suggested by another reviewer, is rather awkward.
Not nearly enough trash cans. (I counted only 3 when I played)
Other Thoughts: A fantastic course which i thoroughly enjoyed playing, but more signage (and trash cans) would earn it a higher rating.
If you're making a trip to St. Louis, this course is highly recommended. Not far off the major traffic artery (Highway 70), and a pleasure to play. Top 5 in the St. Louis area.
UPDATE 10/20: Gotta knock off half a disc because the litter problem at this course is STILL abysmal. No trash cans have been added in the almost year since I first wrote this review and the litter problem is only getting worse; watch out for all of the busted glass if you end up in the creek between 3 and 4's fairways.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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