Disc Golf Course Review

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Brightwell Park DGC Desloge, MO

Pros:

Brightwell Park is maintained by the City of Desloge Parks Department. The southern half of the park has been heavily used for several decades as a sports complex that features 3 heavily used baseball/softball fields with lights. At the time of this review, I suspect most of the residents of Desloge and Saint Francois County think of Brightell Park as a place to play or watch ball games. Within the last decade, a playground and dog park have been established on the northern side of the park, with an asphalt parking lot with approximately 36 parking spots that is accessed from East Evergreen Street. The 18 hole disc golf course was installed in 2024 and became open for play during the first full week of April 2024. The course was designed by a local player, Ron Roper, and by Dave McCormick, founder of Gateway Discs, to be a course tailor made for both beginner players of all ages to experienced players, and to be a course for experienced players and players with strong and fast arm speed to practice approaching and putting and to enjoy getting occasional ace hole in ones. Several of the holes at Brightwell are wide open holes with no trees or vegetation in play, while several other holes are in areas of the park that are heavily wooded with thick vegetation, while several of the holes feature both parts of the fairway that are heavily wooded and with other parts of the fairway that are wide open. Some of the holes feature teeing off into wide open areas and into thick, heavily wooded and vegetated areas that are technical, and several holes where the player tees off in thick, heavily wooded areas for half of the hole, and then breaking out of the woods and into the second half of the fairway which is wide open.

Cons:

As of the initial date of this review, the course does not have signs or concrete tee pads. The tee pads are grass or dirt depending on the hole, with a wooden stake and small pink flags that mark the pad. The Desloge Parks Department used chain saws and skid steers to remove numerous trees and heavy, dense brush to create the fairways, but yet there remains many small stumps for players to trip over and to cause injury to the feet and legs. Players should be patient and take their time when navigating the heavily wooded and vegetated portions of the fairways of this course to avoid injury and tripping.

Other Thoughts:

Personally, as of 4-21-2024, I've played this course 8 times so far, and I can say this is my favorite course of the 129 courses I have so far played since being introduced to this great sport in the year 2018. At my current age of 61 1/2, I can physically play this entire course within an hour and 10 minutes and then turn around and play it entirely again without taking a rest. For me, the course already has a strong sentimental feel to it because I witnessed one of my sons to nail the first known ace hole in one of the history of this course on hole one 4-14-2024, using a mid-range disc known as the Buzz.
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Lenexa DGC Lenexa, KS

Pros:

- very well maintained park
- ample parking
- some tree hazards to create a bit of challenge
- good incorporation of limited elevation change
- good size concrete tees
- two pin positions per hole (one populated at a time)
- Innova DISCatcher baskets in good shape w/hole numbers
- tee signs are full color with maps
- very quick round if you're looking for a fast stop

Cons:

- many safety hazards with walking paths crisscrossing park
- course is crammed into a pretty small area
- relatively easy with not too many obstacles
- fairways cross in at least one place
- course is extremely short
- creek next to property would have been a cool water hazard to incorporate

Other Thoughts:

Lenexa DGC is a fun little course that I thoroughly enjoyed playing. It is short, and really is mostly a putter and midrange course. The equipment here is very good and the park is in great shape. The main con is just the proximity to walking paths; there are some blind shots where someone can come around a corner and this happened to me once. The risk of hitting someone is high and a bit scary. In addition, one of my pet peeves of two fairways crossing each other exists here. If this park were crowded it could be ugly; I suspect this is usually not the case.

When I played hole 9 was missing due to construction on the waterpark. Hopefully it is coming back eventually. There is some decent elevation change incorporated here and while the course is very short and somewhat open in places, it is a lot of fun and can probably be completed solo in darn near 20 minutes.

For as short as this course is, the multiple pin positions per hole is very surprising. It's a nice touch, but almost kind of funny for such a small course. As simple a place as this is, it really is well taken care of. It's definitely worth a stop if you're going through the KC metro hitting niners but nothing to go out of your way for. It is probably one of the better niners in the KC area though.
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Ohio County Park DGC Hartford, KY

Pros:

Ohio County DGC is a decent 18 hole course that plays through a mostly disc golf exclusive area of the park. The course is about two thirds wooded with the rest open to mostly open. There's not much for elevation out here. The last three holes are out in an open area and feature very slight elevation change but the wooded holes are almost all pretty much flat.

There's concrete tees on each hole These are decent sized and and have good grip to them. One tee pad per hole.

There's decent tee signs out here. These things are kind of strange looking. It looks like they're hand painted. Not sure if they actually are but it kind of looked like it. They feature a basic hole map, hole #, par and distance. They also have next tee arrows on the map portion. They get the job done though.

The baskets are older Chainstars. These things look like they were pulled out of the bottom of a swamp but they all catch well enough. One basket and pin placement per hole.

The wooded holes are generally all on the shorter side with most of the open holes adding some length. You'll want to get your twos on some of the woods holes, especially if the wind is up.

The layout is easy to follow. There's not much for walks between holes. I didn't need to use the map a single time with the signage and the large arrows hanging on the bottoms of the cages pointing toward the next tee. Surprisingly all of these arrows were intact AND facing the right direction.

A small creek comes into play in the woods but it doesn't appear to ever be a risk of losing a disc into. There's also a small marshy looking area in front of 18's basket. I didn't get real close to it but it also doesn't look like a real danger of disc loss.

The course is free to play and probably isn't ever overly busy.

Cons:

The tee pads are in rough shape, especially towards the latter half of the course. There were a number of them that were cracked in numerous spots. This is unfortunate since many of the ones on the longer holes were the ones that were broken, limiting your ability to have a full run up.

The signs are pretty old and in rough shape. Very dirty and not at all easy to read from a distance. The distances, especially early are not accurate whatsoever. Hole 1 was listed as 235' and I doubt if it was much over 150'. There were quite a few others where I'm not sure how they came up with the distance. The ones on the back half seemed more accurate at least.

The course appears to get, and stay, pretty muddy on the wooded portion after any rain. Very sloppy in spots.

The grass on the open holes was manageable, barely, today. If this section isn't mowed frequently these holes will be unplayable without spending an excessive amount of time searching for discs.

Other Thoughts:

This was a solid course. I was going to give it a 2.5 initially but after mulling it over and seeing the number of cons I came up with I decided to go with a 2. The actual play is closer to 3 imo but with the deteriorating infrastructure and sketchy upkeep I just can't go higher than I did. It's only a couple minutes off the expressway if you're passing through and is worth a play if everything is mowed and dry.
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Wolf Knob DGC at Hickory Cabins Mammoth Cave, KY

Pros:

Wolf Knob DGC is the first of what will eventually be two John Houck designed courses on site. This one is the more beginner friendly of the two. If you want to consider it that. The course consists of mostly hilly wooded holes with a few other more open, but still hilly, holes. The course is pay to play ($6/person) which can be paid at the pro shop by the parking lot. No reservations are required and it's open to the public.

The terrain here is outstanding for disc golf. The location is out in the middle of nowhere Kentucky so your round will be very peaceful. No sounds of traffic or any other people even, besides those others out on the course that day.

The baskets are brand new Mach X's. I don't see these as much as I'd like to. These are really nice targets. They catch great and all are mounted nicely here. There's one basket and pin location per hole.

Great tee signs. Nice looking hole map that gives you good idea of where and what shape you're going to need to throw. There's also a next tee arrow to go along with the hole #, par and distance. Very nice signage.

The tees are turf out here. These things are huge on a few holes. Most are normal to slightly below sized. I thought they worked great, though I know not everyone is a fan of these. They're all leveled out nicely below them and have good traction to them. I liked them. One tee per hole.

The elevation out here is used expertly. Not just in the design of each hole, but also in the way that the course is laid out. You don't feel like it's really that hilly with the way the transitions between holes is laid out. A lot of courses like this feel like a slog after about halfway through, if not sooner. Not this one though.

The wooded holes are tight for sure, but they all offer a fair route to the basket. There's a good mix of both lefty and righty holes too. Just a well balanced affair all around out here. Lots of risk/reward pin placement out here as well.

There's water in play on hole 18 in the form of a small pond just about circles edge short of the pin. Technically you could reach the other pond if you go way long on 16 or turn your drive (or for mortals second shot) over on 18.

The course loops somewhat back near the parking lot after hole 9. Not real close but you're able to walk the entrance road back if you'd need to fill up on liquids or whatnot.

Cons:

Only one tee and basket position per hole. Very nitpicky, I know, but it'd be cool if there were eventually some shorter pads added. At least on a few of the holes to make it a little easier on newer players.

Hole 15 is pretty sadistic. Only the best of the best are going to sniff birdie here. Getting par is taking shots from most everybody else. The ceiling is pretty low off the tee to a very specific landing zone to attack the green. It's doable but it's going be mostly luck unless you've played multiple rounds here.

There's a couple weird transitions out here where you walk past a hole to get to the next one. The group in front of us missed the transition from 8 to 9 and ended up playing 12 before realizing it. Our group nearly made the same mistake. You also walk past 18's tee when heading to 16. There's also a few longer walks between holes but they ARE marked well enough.

Other Thoughts:

This course was a pleasure to play. Very good design and just a damn fun round. I'll be back here at some point to play the 11,000 championship course that's in the works and when I do I'll absolutely be playing this one again. Well worth a trip out of your way to play this one. Once the other course opens this will be a destination course. Loved it.
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The Ace Place Tecumseh, OK

Pros:

Marked well with nice tee signs
Keep playing, you WILL hit an ace

Cons:

Very short, it is called the Ace Place for a reason
Cheap baskets
Rubber mat tee pads

Other Thoughts:

Really a kiddy course right now that the designer nicknamed it The Ace Place because you will hit an ace eventually out here if you play it enough.

I mean 9 holes and the course is still under 1000ft.

Ok, for what the course is right now is a par 2 ace run course. It was designed for kids and is a good course for that.

I happened to run into the course designer while I was playing. He said the plan was to add fun stuff to the holes to make it more putt putt like. Like the par 2 courses at Dino Hills or The Flying Armadillo or even the new course in Houston at a brewery.

but for now, it's a little fun place to run for aces with friends.

Would I play here again? Not until the course gets decorated. Then I might play another round to check it out. Till then, it's a quick play for course bagging.
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Branchwood DGC Bella Vista, AR

Pros:

Easy to navigate. Good signage. Well taken care of. Good baskets. Nice shot variety.

Cons:

Rough is really punishing. Walking path goes through a few fairways, not a real problem just exists.

Other Thoughts:

Course is more challenging than it first appears. Fairways are tight and with small landing zones. Someone to help watch shot landings is pretty clutch to not looking for long times or losing plastic. Not a hard course but shot placement and straight shots are important.
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Yucaipa Regional Park DGC Yucaipa, CA

Pros:

An enjoyable oldie with some unusual holes.

A lot of my observations in this review have almost as many exceptions as their rules. This is an old course that appears to have seen consistent, piecemeal changes, resulting in varied holes, equipment, and surroundings. For all of that, though, it's not an uncohesive play, and I do have a certain image that comes to mind when thinking of the course as a whole.

-Basics: Numbered concrete tees, numbered DISCatchers. Lacking tee signs aren't a giant issue on a par-54 course.

-Maintenance: San Bernardino does a good job here. I've seen many old courses in total disrepair, but Yucaipa's equipment is in above-average condition.

-Loop: First 9 are easy to follow and drop you where you started. Back 9 also form a loop.

-Course Features: Parts of the course are a bit dry, but other sections have nice terrain to work with. Massive downhills (5) and (13), a lake in play on four holes, uphills through what are pretty thick woods for SoCal. On the more ambiguous side, a large drainage river behind a line of bushes comes into play on several holes, which adds challenge but isn't the most pleasing aesthetic.

-Shot Shaping/Gameplay: A varied par-54 layout with straightforward challenges and quirky shapes. A swath of holes are basic park-with-road shots, where you just need to land between a service road and tree line. An equal swath are varied and strange holes using the steep hills, lake, and thickish trees. A couple throw steeply downhill straight towards the water, one is a tiny peninsula green at 300', and the latter part of the course dares you to defy the low ceiling with a roller, despite the lake being present. The course's age shows in its quirkiness and unorthodox shaping; ut that is balanced by a very moderate balance of straightforward birdie opportunities.

Cons:

Some foolish non-integrations with other park activities, plus the downsides of a totally quirky layout.

-Park Hazards: First of all, a park road winds through or right next to at least 8 of the fairways. Then you have very high water risk on (5)-(6), one throwing steeply downhill 200' with water 230' away and the other a 300' water carry to a peninsula green. Add to this a plethora of fishers, walkers, and picnickers (even on a weekday) and you have plenty of opportunities for disaster.

-Weird Lines: Some holes aren't super believable. (4) is a 3-foot ceiling for 320', turning right. (14) is a very sharp left turn around a massive tree - I think the ideal line is roller, but there's a lake on the right. Others are very odd, like the aforementioned (5).

-No Tee Signs: self-explanatory.

-Square Tees: a few of the tees were poured square. These are wide enough but not nearly long enough.

-Parking: There's a per vehicle fee to enter the park. Alternately, the neighborhood across the street has plenty of street parking 1/4 mile away from the first tee. The guard let me walk in to the park without paying a fee.

Other Thoughts:

Overall, Yucaipa was a charming and enjoyable play. At times it was boring or frustrating, but some old course charm, maintenance, and great terrain made up for its downsides. I'd be happy to play here again knowing where you can attack the course and where to cut your losses. It's a Good course worth a stop.

~Similar Courses: Mt Airy Forest (Cincinnati, OH); Fort Yargo State Park (Winder, GA); Indian Creek Camp (Liberty, TN).
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The Nest Stroud, OK

Pros:

Well defined fairways
Plenty of shade
Good signage including direction signs
Elevation

Cons:

In the middle of no where
Parking is kind of far from hole one in my opinion. (I didn't know of you could park in the grass)

Other Thoughts:

I think Eagle Valley is one of the most challenging courses in Oklahoma. The Nest is a great compliment to it.

The Nest is a more rec friendly course that uses a wooded area on the side of the hill by the lake just past hole 9. In fact, if you wanted to play all 36 holes back to back, you could just walk over to hole 1 on The Nest after finishing hole 9, then after finishing hole 18, just cross the road to the alternate tee for hole 10 and continue Eagle Valley.

The course isn't that long, most of the holes are in the woods using elevation on many of the holes. There are several memorable holes along the ridge of the hill that has some interesting rock formations you get to throw around.

Only a couple of the holes are open, most are technical.

While the tee boxes are short, most are made well and look good.

I really didn't see any spots to loose any discs, I guess if you landed under some leaves or in the deep rough you might have a hard time finding a disc. Even though the course is next to the lake, it really does not come into play unless you really have a bad shot.

Would I play here again? Oh yea, I want to play Eagle Valley again someday, I would probably play them as a 36 hole loop if I did. I would say this puts Lake Stroud on a must play Oklahoma list for me.
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John Zink DGC Skiatook, OK

Pros:

Well marked
Cement tee pads
Decent course for Rec players

Cons:

Pretty open although there are some large trees to navigate

Other Thoughts:

Zink is a decent park style course. It's not exactly hard, nor is it long. But it would not be a pitch and putt for new players either.

My main fairway driver is my Star Wraiths. I threw them on just about every hole but the short and 2 longest holes. I can control them pretty well and had a good day parking several of the holes.

Most of the holes are pretty open, right handed hyzer shots for most holes will be the throw of the day. There are a few straight or turnover shots. One forced by a mando.

There is a creek that runs though the park, but it's not too bad if you throw into it. I didn't see any spots to loose a disc on a normal day.

The course starts near the main road and winds around the park clockwise. As I stated above, most of the holes are pretty open with just enough trees to keep it from being totally boring.

Would I play here again? No, probably not. While I do like to be able to reach most holes, this course is just not interesting enough to play again. Now I did see a couple of groups out playing as I was playing.
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New Melle Lakes New Melle, MO

Pros:

- practice "hole" (not just basket, but practice tee too)
- significant rolling hills/elevation change
- nice visible orange baskets in great shape
- composting toilets
- large dual concrete tees for each hole
- good options for different lengths on red/blue tees
- large tee signs with full color maps
- tee signs indicate current tee and next hole direction
- multiple pin positions with current install parked on tee sign
- benches and garbage cans at most holes
- pristinely manicured property with great natural beauty
- multiple cool water hazards - beautiful pond color
- good use of next tee indicators
- good mix of open and wooded holes
- enough technical challenge to force shot shaping despite being a former ball golf course
- ample parking

Cons:

- some limited interference with walking paths in park
- even red tees are going to be pretty difficult for true novices
- a few places where additional navigation aids could be helpful

Other Thoughts:

I knew going in to New Melle Lakes that some of the top reviewers on this site had given it high praise, but overall, it's still relatively unknown in the arena of "destination courses." While Harmony Bends is a couple hours west and is going to get much more attention, this course is spectacular in its own right. I usually don't care for ball course converts, but this does not feel that way. While more open than a dense wooded course, this course still has mature tree hazards, shot shaping requirements, and tons of challenge and fun.

One of the most notable things setting New Melle apart is the exquisite natural beauty. There is a great mix of deciduous and evergreen trees, as well as multiple ponds/lakes with different water colors, some of which are such a blue/teal it almost makes you feel like you're in the Pacific Northwest. The "Lakes" in the name of the course is legitimate.

It was hard to find many real cons here. The park is pristinely maintained. However, it is definitely not for everyone; even the red tees are quite challenging and make for an average length 18 hole course. The blue tees make for a very long course. It took me over 90 minutes to play the red tees solo, so it is a fairly involved course. When you first roll up, I don't think it looks this way from the parking lot, but beginners will probably get worn out and frustrated. This isn't on the level of the most difficult courses I've played but it does require ability to move your disc in certain ways and control shots.

The equipment here is top notch, with large, dual concrete tees, fantastic tee signs (which indicate which tee you are at, a huge plus), and baskets in great shape. Some don't like the Prodigy baskets, but if you make a good putt it's going in 9 times out of 10, so this has never bothered me too much. The tee signs are some of the best I've seen, indicating the current pin position and the direction to the next hole. I don't recall getting turned around too much here, but a few more navigation aids wouldn't hurt (do they ever?).

This course is more open than my personal preference, but it is such a great blend of beauty, maintenance, and challenge that it ranks very high on the list of courses I've played. Most places there isn't much rough to speak of and finding discs is straightforward. One note about that beauty though - the cool, teal/blue lakes are rather cloudy so if your disc goes in, you better know exactly where, or you aren't getting it back - ask me how I know. :-(

I think my main con here were the walking paths. While the area is mostly devoted to disc golf, it does play over/near walking paths in a few cases which I never like. The park was pretty quiet when I was there but any risk of hitting people with shots should really be designed out as much as possible. This course might be more like a 4.25 for me due to the safety issues and a few other nits, but it's closer to a 4.5 than a 4.

If you are in the St. Louis metro and/or headed to Harmony Bends, this is a must play course. It is another phenomenal free course maintained by local parks & rec and part of what makes disc golf so great. Don't sleep on this one.
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