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Johnston, IA

Walnut Ridge

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4.015(based on 40 reviews)
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11 0
EspressoPatronum
Gold level trusted reviewer
Premium Member
Experience: 18.9 years 261 played 250 reviews
3.50 star(s)

A Round on the Ridge

Reviewed: Played on:Apr 13, 2024 Played the course:once

Pros:

- nice yellow banded DISCatchers visible from a distance
- practice basket
- ample parking
- pristinely maintained course with great natural beauty
- notable elevation change
- nice views of lake on several holes
- two pin positions per hole (only one populated at a time)
- dual concrete tees on every hole
- good mix of open and wooded holes
- good mix of hole lengths
- incorporates some decent elevation change in places
- space for disc golf is mostly isolated in multi-use park
- restrooms (locked in winter)
- rough and undergrowth are fairly forgiving
- holes call for a decent variety of shot types

Cons:

- tee signs are just ok with two-tone maps
- some tee signs face the wrong direction
- at times, too open to have good level of challenge
- some huge elevation change adjacent to course is wasted
- favors RHFH shots too strongly
- fairways could be more technical
- need for navigation aids; long walks and unclear navigation
- no water hazards

Other Thoughts:

Walnut Ridge is highly rated and is a very respectable course. It is fun and very well maintained but fell a bit short of my expectations. Objectively, it is probably near a 4 but just didn't hit any X factors for me. I acknowledge my issues with it are largely subjective; in part, it just didn't wow me.

The course has a lot of variety; while there are no water hazards, there are wooded and open holes, flat holes and others with some elevation change, mostly top notch equipment, and a pristine setting away from most roads. I wish the course was a bit more technical; even on the wooded holes the fairways were pretty open.

The variety of hole lengths is good and between the dual tees and pin positions there are a lot of options here. While it's in a multi-use park, I didn't note any major safety hazards. I was here around first light so it's possible more parkgoers later in the day could come into play.

There were some major hills adjacent to the course that I wish had been included. They appear to be part of the park but just not developed for disc golf which is a shame. Similarly, a lakeshore hole or two would be cool; the views of the lake are nice but it never comes into play.

I think players of many skill levels would enjoy this course. It is not punishing and has a bit of everything. If you are looking for significant technical challenge or extra tight woods golf, you will probably be disappointed. The park is very well maintained but some of the holes felt a bit repetitive for awhile and were frequently sporting lines for shots fading to the right.

This course is not too far off of the interstate overall so is a good stopping point for a round if you are crossing Iowa. It's a very nice course but nothing I'd go out of my way for.
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3 5
JackFlack
Experience: 4 played 4 reviews
2.50 star(s)

Johnston's disc golf course 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 18, 2021 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

I was super excited when I found out Johnston had a disc golf course. This is a very nice, beautiful course.

Beginners will have a good time, but get fatigued at the distances, and probably not play the full 18.

This course is going to have the most appeal to seasoned players. They are going to LOVE this course. Just check the downvotes on any review giving this only an average rating. :)

Cons:

This is a modern course with a lot of walking and distance. It has a ball golf course feel rather than a "disc course placed in an old park".

If you don't know the course, the layout can be confusing in a few places.

This is a few miles outside of town. Why can't the 'burbs place a course inside the city? The green belts in Johnston would make a great course!

Other Thoughts:

Nice course, popular, and worth a try to see if you like it. I personally gave it a decent rating, because I never fell in love with it after trying it several times. I'd much rather go to Grandview and play under shade.
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24 0
Surge5
Gold level trusted reviewer
Experience: 9.9 years 170 played 170 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Placement is Paramount

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:Apr 21, 2021 Played the course:once

Pros:

First off the course stays out of the way of pretty much everything else going on in the park. It's a very serene and quiet course, but no less tough.

Comparing the open holes against the wooded ones, the woods are definitely better, but the others still have plenty of beauty and some treelines/OB to make them tougher. Long, sweeping par 4s on 7, 13, and 16 are really nice additions to the wooded masterpiece. The mix of wooded/open and left/right turners is darn near perfect.

To get a good score you'll need to be good at multiple shots. 2 is a forehand hyzer, 11 and 14 need a good backhand, and 9 and 15 require a laser-straight shot.

The big takeaway for me was placement. To challenge for birdies on the par 4s your drives needed to be in a specific zone. 10 needs to be to the right of the trees in the fairway, 12 has to be almost all the way to the left side of the fairway off of your drive, 16 can't be stuck behind the trees on the left, and 17 needs to be at the mouth of the tunnel or your birdie is gone.

Several holes play on bluffs, so going off the fairway or coming into the green too hot will be punished pretty badly by skipping down a long hill or into a deep ravine. The fairway danger is present on 10, 11, and 15, and you'll find fast greens on 5, 10, 11, 14, and 16.

Tunnels on 4, 9 and 15 make for a bad time if you get off the fairway, but if you stick to the middle each is a good birdie chance.

Cons:

1, 2, and 3 are kind of beginner holes, but I'm not against having easier holes at the beginning of a round.

Hole 8 is a simple anhyzer or flick, and 18 is just a sad, short way to end an otherwise excellent course.

The tee signs aren't much help. They're more of a playground doodle with distance markings than an actual map.

The walks from 8 to 9, 12 to 13, and 15 to 16 are longer than normal. But they aren't "long" as much as they are annoying. And you have to double back on 8 to get to 9.

Hole 9 is on the very easy side of a par 5. If you don't go in the rough it's an easy 4, but it is a very thin fairway... so I see why they did it but I would still call it a 4.

Other Thoughts:

There is so much good about this course that you'll forget the negatives very quickly. The quality and difficulty are excellent, the upkeep is superb (the mowers were there cutting grass which was already pretty short), and the setting is fantastic. I would go so far as to call this a destination course. If you're ever in or passing through Des Moines, make the stop, you won't regret it.
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16 0
knobby325
Gold level trusted reviewer
Premium Member
Experience: 9 years 332 played 250 reviews
4.00 star(s)

Best in the DSM area 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Jul 2, 2020 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

-Concrete tees, multiple tees on most holes
-Decent baskets
-Good mix of open/tunnel, L/R holes
-While there are shelters, mostly a disc golf park
-Usually well groomed by the Army Corps
-Good map (if you print it at home)
-Decent with benches and trashcans

Cons:

-Somewhat strange layout, map a must on first round
-Long walks between some holes (a couple over 1/10 mile)
-Getting in the rough can mean a long way down a ravine
-No 9 hole loop
-Can get busy at times

Other Thoughts:

Walnut Ridge DGC is one of my top 2 courses in the vast arsenal of the Des Moines disc golf scene. Located at the Walnut Ridge Recreation Area run by the Army Corps of Engineers (right across the road from the NWS radar ball), the park is mostly disc golf with 3 shelters on site. The shelters do not come into play at all. 1-3 are mostly open (although new saplings of trees aim to change that for 3), 4 is in the trees, 5 begins open - ends in trees, 6 is the opposite and uphill, 7 is a bomber shot (but stay left), 8 is open, 9-12 are in the trees, 13 open - ending in the trees, 14, 15 are in the trees and a little narrow, 16 is open, 17 is open to a sharp right, then in the trees, 18 finished up in the trees with a fairly easy par. Long walk from #3 basket to #4 tee, back past the #1 tee, #4 basket to #5 tee is over the road. #8 basket to #9 tee has a new path for 2020, much easier to find than the previous. Long walk between #12 basket and #13 tee (especially the rec tee), longest walk between #15 basket and #16 tee, across the road from #17 basket to #18 tee, and another walk (over a cool bridge) from #18 back to the parking lot. The course, especially from the back tees, is the longest in the area. Add in the walk between holes and you get a workout. I like the variety, and that there is not a ton of terrain to tackle. Wild shots will typically not result in a lost disc, but you may have to climb down some ravines on 10, 11, 14 and 15 if you get way off the fairway. A buddy saw a rusted out car in the ravine off the left of 15. This is a joy of a course to play and I play it a handful of times each summer (area is closed Mid-October to late April most years). It can get busy in the late afternoons and weekends. The small knocks are the no 9 hole loop, long walks, and better signage options available. Still a top course in the area and will play many more times.
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14 0
Upshawt1979
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Premium Member
Experience: 21.1 years 551 played 429 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Walnut Ridge is a Tough Nut to Crack 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 1, 2019 Played the course:once

Pros:

Walnut Ridge is a great course, that features a number of tough holes and a lot of versatility. There are long and short tees on almost every hole, as well as multiple pin positions on most holes. The tees are concrete and there are tee signs on most holes. The baskets are in fine shape.

The park is grassy and has a lot of trees. Event the holes that are mostly open will have thick rough if you stray too far from the fairway. A few holes have mild elevation change.

There are open holes with good distance, and wooded holes that have many trunks and branches dictating a very well defined line. Either way, the drives are going to be demanding if you want to set yourself up for looks at birdies or at least be set up for pars.

I liked hole 4, which is protected by the canopy of trees. It isn't a low ceiling, but you do have to shape the shot and maintain some accuracy to stay out of the rough fringes and get near the pin. Hole 7 is a long one, and offers a long downhill run. A lot of open air, but if you miss to the right you may have to search through tall grass and brush to find your disc. 10, 11 and 12 are all in the woods and have more of a tunnel feel to them. Varied distance and directional throws that have narrow gaps and tough outs if you leave the fairway. 13 is also a long one that has plenty of open air, but still enough trees so you need to place your shots strategically to get par. 14 and 15 get back to the alley through the trees, with 15 being a long hole that offers a narrow passage from point A to B. I liked the 90 degree dogleg right on hole 17. I threw blind and overshot the turn by a long way, landing a pace away from the road. A nice sidearm flick gave me a perfect skip that snuck in the back door and gave me a putt for 3, but I missed it. 18 gives one last good opportunity for a birdie to finish the round. Reachable and straight forward, all it takes it a good line that is straight and low enough to avoid all the trees.

Cons:

The grass was plush and green, but had quite a few spots that were still marshy and holding water from the heavy rains in the prior weeks. Not only was the mud thick, it smelled pretty bad.

There are one or two tee signs that were gone. The layout is pretty funky, with a few long walks between holes. Definitely grab a screen shot of the map or print one out.

Other Thoughts:

i would say this is a top notch course. It makes great use of the land, and presents a fantastic challenge. If you are more of a novice the short tees will make things a little more friendly.

I shot a 67, which is about 3 over par I think. I would like to have a few more rounds here and see what I could do with more familiarity.
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5 1
JoeDirt
Experience: 20.7 years 80 played 15 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Championship level course 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Oct 25, 2017 Played the course:once

Pros:

I like to judge a course on signature holes. The ones you remember after you haven't played there and stay fresh in your mind. Every single hole was a great hole and I would say it would be hard to pick some out to be signature holes because all of them are great. The worst hole on the course would be a better hole than some entire courses I have played. Holes 7,9,10,15, and 17 stood out the most to me. There is multiple tee pads for every hole except 5 I didn't see but 1 pad. From looking at the signs it appeared that each hole at multiple placements. It's a course that rewards smart play. You get an advantage if you can throw far but I felt like that balances out because you don't want to land oiutside the fairway. The fairways were fair, I didn't see any "plinko" where you have to throw and pray to get tree love. I thought the holes were very balanced to left hand/right hand backhand/forehand.

Cons:

A few tee pads were missing signs. I didn't see a course map at the entrance. I got turned around trying to find holes 4, 9, and 16. Some next tee pad signs would be very helpful but I still figured it out.

Other Thoughts:

I would give this course a perfect score if it had slightly better signage. I loved this course. I would not skip this course if you are in the area. It is also good enough that I would go out of my way to make a stop here to play again.
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2 7
mgcoleman
Experience: 19.2 years 20 played 17 reviews
3.50 star(s)

Fun experience 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 17, 2017 Played the course:once

Pros:

+ Beautiful setting right next to the lake.
+ Good variety of shots required, but very much accessible to both BH and FH on nearly every hole.
+ Some open holes, some serious tunnel and low-ceiling work needed.

Cons:

- Very popular, so playing fast (if that's your thing) might be an issue
- Proxmity to pavillion area on first few holes and road on next few make for some waiting (let people/cars get out of the way).

Other Thoughts:

Obviously a good course based solely on how heavily it is played, but probably not one I would drive more than 30 minutes to play.
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4 2
hotoatmeal
Experience: 21 played 6 reviews
4.50 star(s)

One of central Iowa's must plays 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Oct 1, 2016 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

-Located in a beautiful park alongside Sailvorville Lake.
-Ample parking
-Water fountain on site
-Multiple pads and baskets
-Tons of long holes (a plus in my opinion)
-Fair variety of shots (tunnel, dogleg, downhill etc)

Cons:

-No access in the winter
-Park closes at dark (no glow rounds)
-Bugs can be bad at times due to the course being along a body of water

Other Thoughts:

A must play in central Iowa. Advanced players are going to love this course. Not all that beginner friendly. Rounds here are going to be 1.5 hours alone and 2+ hours in a group so you better be ready for a big afternoon!
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7 0
FredHJ12
Experience: 12.8 years 18 played 18 reviews
4.00 star(s)

2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Aug 3, 2016 Played the course:once

Pros:

-Great piece of land to put a course at. Rolling hills, nice wooded area
-Course seems to be maintained well
-Nice park overall. Big parking lot with a few shelters, picnic tables, and water fountains throughout
-Nice, big tee boxes
-Tee signs look nice and they are helpful
-Baskets were in good condition
-Very wide variety of shots. Tunnels, doglegs, slopes, etc.
-Challenging course overall. You'll be working hard for your pars. Essential to hit the right line, or at least stay in the fairway. Any miscues, and you will be looking at a bogey
-The wooded holes are very fun and kept up well. I feel that this course could get overgrown but that was not the case
-You can open up your arm a bit on the open holes, but it's still necessary to shape your shot the right way
-Holes 9 and 15 are super challenging but very rewarding if you play it well
-For as wooded as it is, I feel that the chance of losing a disc is not too high

Cons:

-Navigation could be a bit tricky for someone playing here the first time. Course flow is mostly logical but still a few spots where you'll need to hike a bit
-Bugs were pretty bad in some spots
-I feel that standing water could be an issue in some spots after a decent rainfall
-Just nitpicking here, but I feel that a course of this caliber could stand to have a course map at the beginning

Other Thoughts:

This is an elite course in the state of Iowa and absolutely worth traveling to. If you are a serious player looking for a challenge, Walnut Ridge is an excellent option. It's a tough round, but very rewarding overall. The variety here is top notch and I would say that this course offers almost everything that I'm looking for in a course. I have a few cons listed, but those do not really take away the fun factor of this course. I'd consider myself a big fan of this course and I can't wait to stop by again.
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3 13
corngolfer
Experience: 4 played 4 reviews
3.50 star(s)

2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:Jul 6, 2016 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

Pros: Good baskets and tee pads, nice mix of shot types, pro level 18 hole course,

Cons:

Some of the layout is a little goofy, I've only played once but I was glad I was with people who knew where they were going.

Other Thoughts:

Based on what I was hearing about this course and it's own self righteous description as the "country club of disc golf" I had high expectations, overall this is just you're average 18 hole course that has enough long shots and challenging hole layouts to be considered a "pro" course, I guess to me it didn't really live up to the hype but it is a solid course overall
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1 5
seadog19
Experience: 16.2 years 10 played 5 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Amazing 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 4, 2016 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

Challenging shots.
Very well kept and groomed.
Wooded and non-wooded holes.
Offers 18 holes.
Easy to navigate and find the next hole.

Cons:

Mosquitoes can be bad on the more wooded holes.
Easy to lose discs on some holes.

Other Thoughts:

I've played this course 3 times now and every time, I have greatly enjoyed my time. The mix of challenges and obstacles on this course make it very fun to play again and again. I will continue to play here many more times.
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12 0
Nemmers
Silver level trusted reviewer
Experience: 11 years 89 played 33 reviews
4.00 star(s)

Top 3 in the 515 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Apr 24, 2016 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

- Gorgeous! Set atop the rolling hills along Saylorville Lake in Johnston, Iowa, Walnut Ridge is a true gem of a course -- which is really saying something when you consider all of the other outstanding courses (Pickard, Ewing, Big Creek, Colfax, etc.) in and around Des Moines. Between the open holes along the reservoir, the sprawling elevation changes on the hills, and the tightly carved fairways in the wooded areas, you might find yourself wondering if you're playing disc golf in a park or balls-deep in a Norman Rockwell painting.

- Clean and well-kept. Though there aren't many trash cans around, the Army Corps of Engineers does a heck of a job keeping the park mowed on the regular while the Des Moines Disc Golf Club members do an outstanding job keeping trash in the park to a minimum.

- Plenty of shelters and facilities. If you're looking for a place to have a quiet picnic, a club party, or just a scenic stroll through the woods, Walnut Ridge is the place for you. The park has plenty of shelters for cookouts, offers many restrooms and water fountains, and the nature trail in the woods along the hillsides provide plenty of respite for those looking to get their zen on. Of course, we're here to talk about disc golf though, so let me get right to it.

- OUTSTANDING mix of challenges! The first three holes right off the main parking area offer a great warm up for your arm before you're tested on the rest of the course. Some might consider these "throw-away" holes, but I prefer to look at them as an opportunity to loosen up in the open before accuracy becomes the factor it does later in the round. With two tee pads on a majority of the holes, even if you're pressed for time Walnut provides a ton of fun. The rest of the course breaks down like this:

#4: Lefty friendly. The slight right bend is perfect for an easy turnover shot for RHBH though. The woods on either side of the fairway (along with the trees in the middle) make this anything but a pitch and putt par 3. A deuce is absolutely possible, but it ain't no gimme.

#5: Another LFH (Lefty-Friendly Hole). The "fairway" guardians in the middle of the natural dog-leg right line make you *earn* a deuce. You could try going over the guardians (and everything else!) but there is absolute JAIL on either side of the fairway. And if you go long to the right, you may find yourself rolling down a veritable ravine. Needless to say, if you par this hole, be happy....you did your job.

#6: Fairly straightforward uphill shot, but you don't throw straight you may end up in the jail on 5.

#7: Huge downhill BOMB that really lets you air it out. Beware the woods on the right and the OB road on the left. The wind plays a huge factor here.

#8: LFH. Nice little turnover shot and a relatively easy 3. Provides a decent chance to make up any bogeys, but no guarantees. The woods at Walnut take no prisoners.

#9: LFH. The long tees have been flooded ever since they built the houses near the park, but the short pad is no joke. A long shot down the very defined fairway fading to a green on the right isn't automatic and if you find yourself off said fairway and into the shrubbery you're looking at a bogey almost for certain.

#10: Awesome pseudo-tunnel shot that you have to keep low to avoid the branches. To the right of the fairway is a RIDICULOUS ravine that goes about 50 feet down on about a 50-degree incline. If you find yourself down there you're gonna get a workout retrieving your disc, to say nothing of the damage it will do to your score. If you go right off the tee here your best bet is to re-tee. No kidding.

#11: TIGHT fairway that fades gently left. A straight shot with a Teebird or OS mid will put you in birdie range.

#12: Hard dogleg right through some tightly grouped trees. This is North Carolina disc golf in Iowa, y'all.

#13: Up and over! 555 foot bomb first over a hill and then down into a guarded green. One of the holes that the big arms will absolutely love.

#14: Hole 11's older brother.

#15: The Berserker of Walnut. TIGHT tunnel shot with woods on either side and deep crevasse on the left. There are two schools of thought here: Try to make it all the way outside of the trees on the right to the open field and try a huge hyzer-bomb to attempt to reach the green, or play down the middle and take your chances. If you don't stay in the fairway on this hole it will take your lunch money and you can only HOPE to save a 5.

#16: Easy 4 for most, good 3 for many, and a damn-near impossible deuce.

#17: McBeast took a 7 on this hole once - not sure exactly when (and it may be apocryphal but it's completely believable) - and this hole could make or wreck your round. BIG dog-leg right onto a green buried deep in the woods with a ravine on the right, you can either lay up to the mouth of the fairway or go for the deuce over EVERYTHING and try your luck. This is the very personification of a risk-reward hole.

#18: Straight down the gut. Not a gimme deuce, either. Fall off the fairway and you'll be thankful for a par. These woods are no joke.

Cons:

(There are few.)

- Few trash cans. This is one of the longer courses in Des Moines and you're likely to want to bring nourishment and accoutrements for hydration with you. (You'd be foolish not to.) That said, there are very few receptacles for which to discard your refuse after your consumption. There could be more.

- Straight through. Though there's a path for those who don't have time or want to skip a full 18 - playing 1-7 and then 16-18 for ten is an option - there's no logical progression for a front and back nine. A pittance, probably; but a legitimate gripe nonetheless.

- Bring bug spray in the summer. Mosquitos may carry you off or plague you with the Zika virus. No joke. These bad boys play for keeps.

- No topless Hooters girls frolicking along the #8 fairway.

Other Thoughts:

Walnut Ridge is one of the top five courses in Des Moines, which (IMNSHO) makes it one of the top ten courses in the entire state of Iowa. If you find yourself in (or even vaguely around) Des Moines, you owe it to yourself to play this course. It's worth a drive out of your way...especially if you're from the Carolinas and want a little taste of home, but still wanna feel like you're on vacation. It has a bit of everything you love about technicalities, but still gives you room to bomb it out and have a good time. In short, Walnut Ridge is worth the drive out of your way. Don't miss an opportunity to check it out.
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2 4
mj4cy
Experience: 9.1 years 12 played 3 reviews
4.00 star(s)

Great Challenge Course 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Oct 30, 2015 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

Great variety of holes. You start out in the open to warm up, but then you're test with tough wood shots. Playing this course also feels like you're hiking and away from civilization at times.

Cons:

The signs all point to one tee and two cages but it was the opposite. Confusing if you're trying to keep track of par. Also, I played alone and got lost twice. There is quite a distance between holes. It would be nice if each basket had some sort of indication of where to walk for the next hole.

Other Thoughts:

Great course. I recommend the first time playing you take a friend as you will lose your disc quite often and helps to have someone watching it. Plan for about 60-90 minutes to play this course.
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11 1
MidwestZest
Gold level trusted reviewer
Experience: 24.1 years 103 played 73 reviews
4.00 star(s)

Always worth a play 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Sep 7, 2014 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

- There is certainly a fantastic variety of holes here. Some very open (1, 2, 3, 7), some tight and/or wooded (4, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 18), and some nice mixtures including large mature trees (5, 6, 8, 13, 16). Also, a hole that tees from the woods ending open (6), and a few that tee from the clearings, but lead you to a basket sheltered by timber (5, 13, 17).
- Many times, I like courses whose order mixes up hole types, to always keep you on your toes. However, I do enjoy the run of 9 - 15 on this course being tighter and more technical (save for #13). It changes your mindset for the whole middle third of the course.
- #12 is a wonderful wooded dogleg with plenty of challenge. From the long tees, the first and largest challenge is the window you have to hit 100 feet off the tee. Two younger, but tall trees that obviously take quite a beating.
- #15 is my signature hole. If you were to look up "tunnel shot" in the glossary of the "Disc Golfer's Guide to Everything," there would just be pictures of this hole. It's like the road through the woods that Little Red Riding Hood probably took to Grandma's house: narrow (20-30 feet?), completely covered overhead by tree branches, and on a big swooping curve where you can't see farther around the bend than 200 ft or so. And it's LONG - 555 ft from the Pro tees, 365 from the Rec. A manageable hole, but one where you must make the decision whether to plod along at 150 ft/throw, or take your risks and put some power behind it. Strong, accurate throws are heavily rewarded here. Safe, shorter, but straight throws might get you par, if you're perfect. Love it. Unfortunately, it looks as though, like most other holes, only one pin placement is in. The old B placement added another 65 feet, but the area of that pin is slightly overgrown now.
- #17 is on a hillside that slopes left to right, leading you from the open, deep down 150 feet into the woods towards the pin. Having to stage a 250 ft drive somewhere in the clearing for a look at the pin makes for a great hole design. The hole also gives you two choices, either going wide around a large tree to approach the layup spot, or going straight through a smaller (but very manageable) gap between the tree and the dense thicket to your right.
- Restrooms located in a few places along the course, plus water in even more places. Ample parking, and a practice basket right there.
- Scorecards/Maps at Tee #1. Grab one, you'll need the map.
- Very large, wedged concrete tee pads at both sets of tees. Very nice. The Rec tees on this course, so far as I can tell, just reduce distance and make the holes a little easier, and more approachable (i.e. they don't create wholly different line, just reduce difficulty). However, there are a few obstacles or windows to be managed on a few Pro tees that don't affect the Rec tees. Mostly on the wooded holes (e.g. 4, 6, 9, 12, 15).
- Park benches here and there, trash cans available. Could probably use some more, as I saw small garbage piles around some tee signs where there were no receptacles. At least the litterers are courteous enough to make their messes neat.

Cons:

- There are two pins listed for every hole, but they are not used. In fact, I don't think I ever saw the 2nd post hole on any of the holes, indicating that this course is set as-is. The heavily compacted soil around quite a few of the pins solidified my hypothesis. This is probably fine, as many of the placements just look like they increased distance.
- As I mentioned in the 'pros' above, 1-3 are mostly open, and they sure don't do the course justice after looking back at a round. Of course starting with these three is better than having them in the middle or the end of the round, and they do give you a warmup chance, of sorts. Just a little out of place.
- It's been mentioned, but navigation on this course is not easy. There are signs here and there, but if you didn't grab a map, you'll be searching. There are some long jaunts between holes too, namely 3-4 and 15-16. When you look at the map, the course flow at least makes sense, and they did well in ordering the course, but that still doesn't make it easy. I've played the course a few times now, and even I walked the wrong way out of #18 trying to get back to the parking lot.
- Not a lot of elevation on this course, for what it's worth. 5, 6, 7, and the hill you have to drive over on #13 host about all there is on the course.
- Not a huge fan of #9, for nothing more than it's a pain in the rear. It's a similar layout/line/distance to #15, only mirrored. However, rather than being in the woods, it's cut through a thicket, which is much too dense. You won't take chances here, and even then you could be searching for a disc, and getting cut up trying to retrieve it, let alone throw from your lie. Reminds me of the parts of Big Creek State Park in nearby Polk City that I dislike. Also, the area around the Pro tee is perpetually wet or flooded, and stagnant. It's a prime mosquito breeding ground.

Other Thoughts:

- I'll mention the signage here, as it is sufficient. They are nice signs, with good info and layouts. However, since there are no longer A & B pin placements, having them listed on the sign can be confusing. There are also a few blind holes where pin indication would have been useful.
- Wonderful course, a must-play in the area. There are some skill requirements for a few holes that may discourage newer players on this course in some of the wooded holes. Also, the sheer length of a few of the holes, both wooded and open, may be discouraging. From the long tees, this course is certainly no slouch.
- Some of the above may be due to the highly demanding course par. You can tell it was designed with high caliber players in mind, and individual hole pars have been assigned as such.

(EDIT): Not until posting this review did I truly realize how long it was! I hope it's all useful information!
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2 7
ryanwilli7
Experience: 13 played 2 reviews
4.00 star(s)

Not as great as its said to be 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:Aug 1, 2014 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

Very nice and challenging course. Spacious layout, variety of holes, multiple tees. Provides players with challenge to use a variety of shots.

Cons:

Difficult to navigate if not familiar with the layout. Beginners may find this course daunting if they cannot keep shots out of woods.

Other Thoughts:

When I first started playing this course I wasn't too impressed, but as time has gone on I realize that I didn't like it more because of my low ability. I now find the course to be a great challenge that rewards players using a variety of shots, with an emphasis on accuracy. I think this is a must play if you are in the Des Moines area, as it is one of the better courses in the area.
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5 1
OldGymRat
Experience: 11.1 years 31 played 9 reviews
4.00 star(s)

WORTH THE DRIVE 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Aug 31, 2013 Played the course:once

Pros:

Easy parking, well mowed, free course maps, clean toilets (not porta-johns, but real facilities). Easy walking. Decent signage. Great variety of shots from the first 3 (they were warm ups really with nothing too interesting) to wooded "tunnel" shots, both short and very long drives. Pro and recreational pads are always nice. The last hole and the parking lot for the first are very close so it keeps the walk back to the car short.

Cons:

Better scout the nets before you throw on some holes. The baskets are not labeled (I see this elsewhere too). Why not label the baskets with large numbers? It would lessen the time it takes to play if we could see them. There should be more "next hole, this way" signs since there is such a long walk between some of the baskets and the following tee pad.

Other Thoughts:

Someone could coach the cross country athletes not to throw their clothes all over the warm up net and area. We played anyway just standing over their equipment and clothing that was tossed over the ground like the rapture had just occurred and they got the idea. Generally they were pretty respectful folks after that.
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11 1
mashnut
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Experience: 22.3 years 831 played 777 reviews
4.00 star(s)

Fun variety 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Sep 15, 2012 Played the course:once

Pros:

The course plays through a sprawling park with a mixture of open and wooded areas. There are a handful of open holes that include some chances to air out longer drives and put a premium on shot placement. The rest of the course is wooded, with a nice mix of more open and very tight fairways.

There is enough rough in the woods that you'll pay for missing your line, though not so thick that we had any trouble finding wayward shots. You'll need a pretty strong set of line shaping skills to be successful here, there's a mix of hole shapes and lengths that keeps you on your toes.

There are two tees per hole, and they're well designed to add a different look at many of the holes. There are different angles and pinch points from many of the long tees and they add length as well. The signage is decent if inconsistent. The park is groomed nicely, all the open areas were mowed and the wooded fairways were well kept.

Cons:

Some of the open holes felt a little like filler shots, no real obstacles and no interesting elevation changes. Navigation is a bit messy here, especially with some missing signs. There are some long walks and areas where several trails cross in the woods with no indicator of the correct path to the next hole. Make sure to print a map or pull it up on your phone. We found lots of poison ivy even late in the season, in the late spring or summer I'm guessing it gets pretty thick out there.

Other Thoughts:

I really enjoyed the long tees here, they add challenge and length without feeling like they're just added on behind the shorts. Experienced players will find a nice balance of different tests here. Beginners will find the shorts approachable, the rough can be a bit daunting but it's not as thick as it initially looks. A few of the longer holes are still long from the short tees, but not frustratingly so. I highly recommend a stop here if you're in the area.
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5 0
Wheelz
Experience: 14.4 years 28 played 22 reviews
4.00 star(s)

Great Mix 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:May 25, 2012 Played the course:once

Pros:

Design - The course design, other than the flow, makes great use of the elevation and includes hyzer shots, anny shots, long holes, short holes, wooded, open, tunnel shots... you name it it has it.

Signs, tees - the signs are the same type used at Grandview, very informative and aesthetically pleasing. There are two tees per hole and they are in great shape.

Amenities - the park has nice restrooms that are spaced around the park, as well as plentiful parking. A large shelter works great for a tournament central.

Cons:

Flow - the biggest drawback to this course is its flow. It is almost as if the course operates in chunks and you have to do quite a bit of walking and back-tracking between holes. It would be very difficult to find your way around the course without a map or a guide.

Location - The course is located outside of town and is kind of far away from food,drink etc. Just a minor inconvenience.

Other Thoughts:

The park is beautiful as it is located next to a giant lake and has cliffs, ravines, and some water that you have to deal with. Walnut Ridge is a very complete course and will test golfers of all skill levels.
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2 4
asjzn6
Experience: 18.8 years 136 played 59 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Yes! PLAY! 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Oct 12, 2011 Played the course:once

Pros:

AWESOME! This course had it huge park lots of space. Holes for everything. At 500ft hole in the woods with a 50ft fairway dead straight. Teepads great, signs great, you new where to go except for 3-4 but i figured it out. Amazing course design.

Cons:

The walk from 3-4. Sometimes park was closed but your a disc golfer so figure it out.

Other Thoughts:

I played course with the con in action and i was by myself huge park, i fell in love with disc golf all over again. This course is great!
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2 5
RockStarValkyrie
Experience: 26.1 years 16 played 16 reviews
3.50 star(s)

A little over hyped in my opinion 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Sep 25, 2010 Played the course:once

Pros:

Good baskets and tee pads, nice mix of shot types, pro level 18 hole course,

Cons:

Some of the layout is a little goofy, I've only played once but I was glad I was with people who knew where they were going.

Other Thoughts:

Based on what I was hearing about this course and it's own self righteous description as the "country club of disc golf" I had high expectations, overall this is just you're average 18 hole course that has enough long shots and challenging hole layouts to be considered a "pro" course, I guess to me it didn't really live up to the hype but it is a solid course overall
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