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Davenport, IA

West Lake Park

4.355(based on 31 reviews)
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3 0
Johnsondere
Bronze level trusted reviewer
Experience: 1.1 years 136 played 83 reviews
4.00 star(s)

Bring your Stable Discs! drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Apr 20, 2019 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

- Plenty of parking available.
- Camping on site.
- 24 holes of challenging disc golf!
- Tee pads are in good condition. Tee signs at the long tees.
- Course is well maintained.
- Lots of challenging shots with water in play.
- Great use of the elevation available.

Cons:

- Some of the navigation can get tricky with long walks between holes.
- Some holes run parallel with each other, errant shots may end in another holes fairway.
- A couple holes are nearby the main road into the park.

Other Thoughts:

To begin with, the Quad Cities Disc Golf is top notch. A perfect area to take a weekend disc golf trip to. West Lake is a very challenging 24 hole course (especially in the wind)! Lots of water in play, and plenty of elevation will test your arm and your shot placement abilities. I would highly recommend checking this one out!
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15 0
wolfhaley
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Premium Member
Experience: 20.2 years 1105 played 682 reviews
4.00 star(s)

Reviewed: Played on:Aug 11, 2023 Played the course:once

Pros:

West Lake Park is home to a sprawling, championship level disc golf course. There's 24 holes here, lots of hills and water in play and some fun golf.

The majority of the holes have two concrete tee pads. The tees are all concrete, long and short. Decently sized and mostly level. These got the job done out here, at least from the shorts, which is what we played. The short pads are much shorter than the longs, which is nice for players who don't have a ton of distance.

Discatchers on every hole. These are starting to show their age, a few slightly bent cages and pretty rusty chains. The nice thing about Discatchers is they seem to last forever and these are no exception. They catch great and are more than adequate. One pin position per hole from what I could tell.

The views here are gorgeous, with the lake in view for the majority of the course. The course itself plays along mostly rolling hillsides and jumps into some narrow wooded tunnels towards the end. The lake comes into play in a number of spots too, starting on hole 2. The most epic of these holes is 13 which throws across the berm that divides the lake. One of the most unique holes I ever seen. Hole 5 is also a pretty terrifying hole with a tiny strip of land to hit from an elevated tee and the lake on the entire right side. These holes are made even more challenging if the wind is up, which is was today.

The course itself is quite the hike. Expect to take 2 to 3 hours to play a round here, depending on your speed of play. It is a very hilly course but it's broken up into managable sections. There's no spots where you're playing uphill for three holes in a row or anything. It's a very doable course for anybody because of this. Don't get me wrong though, it's still a workout, just a well laid out one.

The tee signs are only at the long tees. These are pretty basic. They have the hole #, rudimentary hole map which shows both tees and the pin location, and distances from either tee. Serviceable signs.

The course was very clean and the grassy areas were mowed nicely. Free to play, permanent and probably not the busiest course in the area due to it's length. The course starts and ends by the parking lot too, which is always a bonus.

Cons:

My biggest gripe here is the number of extra long walks between holes. It's OK at first but starts to get tiresome by the second half of the course. By far the most walking between holes that I've ever played.

Some of the fairways on the latter half of the course is absurdly tight. Even from the short tees. Most of the fairways I should say. To make matters worse is the fact that the rough off to either side is nearly impenetrable. Not for a disc, just the person searching for one. This seems to be the theme of the course toward the end.

There's a few holes that seem like they're just to get you from point A to B. Numerous holes just seemed like filler. It'd probably be better to just pare this layout down to 18 quality holes over this bloated setup.

Navigation is not the easiest here. I'd definitely recommend taking a map with. It'll save you a ton of time. There are next tee signs on the course but they could use a few more. If you have a map it's pretty easy though.

Lots of places to lose a disc here between the dense brush and numerous water holes. Bringing a few water discs is recommended. I'm actually shocked I didn't lose any today.

Other Thoughts:

Even with all the cons I listed this is still a very fun course. I'd absolutely recommend giving this one a spin if you're in the area. This isn't a quick play, so be sure you have plenty of time.

I can see why it's such a hyped up course. It's been on my wishlist for years. That said it was a little lackluster to be honest. Maybe it was too high of expectations, Not sure, probably though. I gave it a 4, but I'd rate it a 3.75 if I could. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt because of some of the stellar holes though.
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16 0
Upshawt1979
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Premium Member
Experience: 21.2 years 551 played 429 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Dive into West Lake 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:May 24, 2020 Played the course:once

Pros:

West Lake Park is an excellent course. Breaking the norm and adding 6 holes to the ordinary 18 hole layout, the majority of them are par 4's or 5's. Threat of water in play is persistent. Also included are narrow runs through trees, and grassy hills with ribbons of long fairways circling around them. Many holes have more than one concrete tee pad, with signs on the longer tee. Bring plenty of drinking water and try not to inhale too many gnats.

Ordinarily there would be a lot of water in play, but the lakes have been drawn down for a renovation. I saved 3 strokes on my scorecard, and perhaps discs as well. This may not have given me the true essence of the course, but I'm not mad that it had been temporarily emptied. The challenge of long throws and narrow margins still comes across just fine. There are birdie holes for sure, but staying at par is not easy.

Hole 1 is sort of long, enough to be par 4, and stretches over the hill through several good sized trees. Hole 2 is the first water carry shot. It's not short, but at least it is reachable. Hole 5 is the first out of 4 par 5 holes, and it skirts the Lake of the Hills across the levee and along the shore. Hole 7 is a really fun tee shot, and 8 is a nice uphill anhyzer for a RHBH player. 10 and 11 are midrange drives. 12 is cool par 4 that has a basket near the Railroad Lake side of the levee.

The second half begins as hole 13 crosses the levee in the opposite direction from hole 5. Hole 17 is a cool downhill tunnel shot through woods, and was one of my best drives of the day, parked for a birdie. 18 begins in the same tunnel, before bending to the left near the bottom of the slope. 19 is the second water carry tee shot, and the landing zone on the other side is narrow and backed by thick, brushy woods. It is angled so the closer to the basket, the further you have to fly over water. 20 is the uphill version of the tunnel shot. 21 is a good dogleg right that is lengthy. Hole 23 was a fun downhill shot with the basket backed by water at the bottom. The last hole climbs back up the hill a long way toward the parking lot.

Cons:

It was humid and gnats were swarming. I got lost in a couple of spots, and had to backtrack. I recommend using the first link to the course map, it gives a better sense of the park's layout. For some reason I began with a different link.

There may be more people in the park usually. I played during a pandemic, when there was no water in the lakes. Fisherman, children, people hiking or playing in the park may be along parts of the course occasionally.

Two tee pads had been washed over and covered by mud (6 and 20). A couple of the holes aren't spectacular. 6 is sort of bland. 9, 10, and 11 are just ok. With 24 holes, I guess a couple of yawners are ok.

Other Thoughts:

The layout is choppy, and you can easily skip holes to make an 18 hole circuit, or several other configurations.
Definitely worth playing the whole course though. The course leans more to the more open, grassy feel than tight and wooded, and does it well. Uses a ton of different shots, and has some decent use of elevation change.

I scored a 92, 3 over par. I felt like I left a few shots out there, but the water being drained probably saved me a penalty or three. I guess that isn't bad for the first time out. I had 5 birdies, and 8 bogies. Several blind shots left me playing conservatively, where I would have been more aggressive had I known exactly where the pin is placed.

It isn't very beginner friendly, and even the long time player may have a few nervous moments on this one. The lines are always there, but not many holes are wide open, and the landing zones are often restrictive. This is sort of a next level version of Walnut Ridge in Des Moines. Great use of the available land.
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13 0
rayoflight
Bronze level trusted reviewer
Experience: 14 played 14 reviews
3.50 star(s)

Could be a ton of fun for advanced players (if the conditions are right) 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 17, 2018 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

-It's a long and difficult course. 24 holes alone would be enough to scare off most casual players, but it's also something like 2 miles of total distance. That's without counting the often times considerable distance between holes. I count this as a pro because this is the main draw of the course, and it sets the course apart from anything else I've played in this part of the country.

-Multiple tees on most holes. A few holes (like #2, more on that below) have only one tee, but generally each hole will have a pro tee that is 30-50% longer than the amateur tee but otherwise plays the exact same.

-There's a good variety of distance shots and technical shots. It's definitely not just about throwing far. Having the ability to control your disc and manage the course will get you further than pure open field distance.

-The park is beautiful, and you could have a lot of fun here even if you weren't disc golfing. That makes the long hike across the course much more enjoyable, so the length of the course doesn't really get on your nerves.

Cons:

-There's only one way to play most holes, and if you try to get creative then you can very easily end up in extremely thick vegetation or in deep lake water for your trouble. It would be nice if there were alternate routes on some of the holes, or if the amateur tees had different lines to hit than the pro tees. As it is there's no real reason to play through twice to play the different tees because it's pretty much the same experience.

-Speaking of the thick vegetation, the course seems to have become considerably more overgrown since it was put in. While they mow the fairways consistently, the vegetation just off the fairway seemed to have grown in since the last time I played it, and it's made a number of lines quite a bit tighter than they used to be.

-The course seems specially designed to punish right handed backhand throwers. Left handed players and forehand dominant right handed throwers will score better on this course, because a disproportionate number of the holes seem to finish right as a way to increase the difficulty of the course.

-The bugs are terrible in summer. While they seem to spray for mosquitoes, the gnats and flies were pretty bad when I played. It's more of an annoyance than anything else, but it does detract from the recreational value of the course. I highly recommend going in early spring or late fall if you want to get the most out of this course, especially because there will be less non disc golfers around at that time.

-There are a ton of people using the park for activities other than disc golf. Enjoy throwing over a volleyball field on hole #15. You better hope no one is playing volleyball when you show up to play disc golf, or else you can't play the best hole on the course.

-The water hazards make this course extremely unfriendly to rec level players. Hole #2 has NO AMATEUR TEE, and your only choice is to throw across the corner of the lake into a window cut in the trees. If you miss the window, you lose your disc. Simple as that. I tried going in and grabbing my disc that fell less than 10 feet away from the shoreline after clipping a branch, but the water gets deep fast, and the stones that the parks department puts on the shoreline make it virtually impossible to wade in more than a couple feet to get a disc.

-Speaking of water hazards, there are also a number of holes where the basket is placed on a slope next to the water, and any throw that lands on edge near the basket could easily filter down to the water. If you want to score well you have to be willing to risk your discs, otherwise you're just going to be laying up on all these holes to avoid the possibility of your disc rolling straight into the drink.

Other Thoughts:

If you think all the other courses around Davenport are too easy, then this course might satisfy you. Just don't bring your girlfriend, kids, parents, etc. along with you to play this course, because new players will NOT enjoy this course. This is a course for serious disc golfers who want to be challenged, and for that purpose it definitely succeeds. It's just a shame that it's so hard to enjoy this course most of the time because of the water hazards being so aggressive, the rough being so thick, and the park being so crowded. At the right time of year, for the right player, this could be the best course in several hundred miles. For everyone else, this course is just a little too much to chew.
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1 12
HEFTYLEFTYSH
Experience: 3 played 2 reviews
5.00 star(s)

2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:May 15, 2015 Played the course:once

Pros:

variety of different shots - beautiful and scenic course

Cons:

didn't really dislike anything, lots of water but that isn't bad

Other Thoughts:

I had a great time playing this course and will make it a point to stop by the next time I am in the area
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3 11
conroy_01
Experience: 19.3 years 28 played 6 reviews
4.50 star(s)

very good course 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Apr 16, 2014 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

Big, difficult, clean, and just overall great course.
It is a long hard course. It is nice to play around the lake and they keep the course clean and well maintained.

Cons:

It can be overly difficult especially if it's your first time. Rangers can be an a$$. Don't lose a disc in the lake as you can't get it back without a retreiver. Can be hard to find the next hole sometimes.

Other Thoughts:

Great course but if it is your first time have a local or a map.
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24 17
mjs2055
Experience: 11.4 years 165 played 10 reviews
3.00 star(s)

too much distraction 2+ years

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:Sep 20, 2013 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

The main pro is there is more than 18 holes and concrete tee pads for both pro and amateur. I typically enjoy longer courses and courses with water hazards and this course challenges even the best. There are a few super long holes that require precision throws. The water adds an element of difficulty not found at many other parks and others have explained the extreme difficulty of the shots you are expected to hit. There is a wide variety of holes and the course does make most of its elevation. I would advise bringing a burner or a floater due to the challenge the water holes pose. This course does mix up tight throws as well as open throws. The scenery is nice and it is well manicured. It is always a plus to have both amateur and pro tees and I prefer concrete like most people. Even playing from the amateur tees is difficult. This is probably one of if not the hardest courses I have ever played and I enjoyed the challenge.

Cons:

Well to start off this course goes right thru a multipurpose park which greatly interfers with the course. I am reviewing this course in particular because I found it unacceptable that I had so many holes interrupted due to other people enjoying the park. This park is rated highly due to the difficulty factor and my friends and I were thoroughly disappointed that so many holes were unplayable because the course went thru a park with so many other people around and in the way. I personally enjoy a course with a challenge but when so many holes that can not be played because of other people enjoying the park I find that disappointing in a highly rated course. I am from out of town and I am only able to play it at peak hours when people are there. There were even people fishing that got in the way making some of the water holes unplayable. There was even a little girl that picked up our discs on a hole, that's how many other activities go through the course. I also was extremely disappointed with the lack of signage making navigation difficult. There were no signs to direct from hole to hole and my group wasted considerable time attempting to find the next hole.

Other Thoughts:

If you would like to play a championship level gold course this is the one to play if you are looking for a very difficult course that will challenge your game. I am fortunate to have played highly rated courses around the country and I personally feel this one is slightly overrated. I understand this course has some exceptionally long and difficult holes but I do not believe that these factors are enough to make it a champion level course. There are some fun holes on this course but to have so many holes that become unplayable because of other park users is unacceptable. I would love to give this course a higher rating but putting a long, difficult course thru a busy park that makes the course not fully playable deserves a lower rating. I have thought much about the rating and it is difficult to for me to rate this above a 4. The course has many positive aspects however you may be disappointed like myself. I am fine with others not liking my review. Despite me not giving it a 5 star rating I do believe this is a course that everyone should play at least once and definitely play if they are in the quad city area.
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1 15
discdude08
Experience: 17.9 years 2 played 2 reviews
5.00 star(s)

West Lake Son! 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Aug 11, 2013 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

24 hole dynamic layout set a lonf side a large lake. provides you witht he need for every shot and disc in your bag. One of my favorite courses to lay and a must see/play if you are in the area!

Cons:

Baskets are a little rusty and could use some tlc.
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11 3
Horsman
Gold level trusted reviewer
Experience: 17.9 years 222 played 100 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Great Course - Questionable Lay Out 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Aug 25, 2013 Played the course:once

Pros:

-Some of the funnest holes I have ever played in my life.
-Good Teepads.
-Decent Teesigns
-Beautiful Park
-Makes you use every shot in your arsenal to shot well.
-So many holes that played close or over the water.

Cons:

The floe from hole to hole was really the only bad part about this course. It took me a half hour to find 5's teepad and then another half hour to figure out where the heck the pin was.

Took me about 20 minutes to find 21's teepad.

I played at 8am and even at that time there were people walking all over the course.

Other Thoughts:

Loved playing this course. It took me 3 hours to play it by myself with no one else on the course because of the lack of signage to direct you to the next hole. Other than that it is a must play for anybody.
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20 1
Jukeshoe
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Experience: 14.9 years 316 played 268 reviews
4.00 star(s)

Stunningly Difficult, Maddening Safety Issues 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:May 18, 2013 Played the course:once

Pros:

- Let me begin by saying that West Lake Park is the most difficult course I have ever played. Waay tougher than Lemon Lake Gold, Leviathan, Idlewild, Charlotte's Web, et al. West Lake Park will push you down, skin your knees up, call you Sally, take your lunch money, and make you feel BAD about it in a general sort of way.
- The course plays through a pretty park. Plenty of open grassy park-style golf interspersed with extremely tight, wooded, technical golf. Then, on top of that add a ridiculously high number of very challenging water holes, many with fairly long carries and less-than-stellar safety routes.
- Elevation. Nothing spectacular here in terms of loss or gain, but plenty of slight to moderate elevation used very well.
- A wide selection of hole types with good balance between right and left turning holes. There are uphill wooded bombs (#20 long is the most punishingly tight hole I've ever played), 850'+ holes that force long water carries to score well (#5 long), shorter water carries (#'s 2, 5 short), an elevated causeway with water on both sides (#'s 5 and 13), et al. A massive downhill bomb is about the only thing missing here.
- Amenities: no complaints here. Good signs, tees, and baskets.

Cons:

- West Lake Park is a busy, multi-use park. Picnic benches, grills, walking paths, sunbathers, fishermen, and more are competing with the disc golf course for space. I've never seen so many benches in the middle of fairways on such a highly rated course. Our round was a nightmare of waiting, throwing meekly around people, avoiding the better water carries due to having to bail out to safety zones in order to not risk hitting fishermen, etc. Not fun, not safe.
- Punishing. I've played several Gold level courses that allow lesser players (like myself) to keep up with better players by way of hitting defined landing zones, keeping on the fairway, and making putts. That sort of golf does not exist here. The premium is on big arms, almost exclusively, which gets really old after a while. The short tees DO alleviate this issue to some degree, but overall this is the least forgiving gold course I've played. Some might see this as a pro, I get it.
- The flow is awkward in a couple of places. #'s 5 and 13 share the narrow raised isthmus that divides the two lakes. A decent drive from #5 longs SHOULD be able to hit the water carry and avoid the causeway, but if fishermen are at the landing zone players are forced to take the causeway, creating a conflict with #13 which plays back along the isthmus.

Other Thoughts:

- I wanted to like West Lake Park. I really did. There are some amazing holes out here and the difficulty level is pretty stunning (generally in a good way); however, fighting the non-disc golf masses on, like, every other hole got old really fast, especially when it took away some of the best shots and the best holes. Until some safety concerns are alleviated (at least remove the picnic benches from the freakin' fairways, geez!) I cannot rate West Lake higher than a 4 disc rating.
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15 1
alcstradamus
Experience: 12.8 years 31 played 5 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Be Prepared Or Be Eaten Alive 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Dec 2, 2012 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

--5 star course strictly when critiquing the individual holes
--Some of the most challenging disc golf you will ever play
--Signature holes all over the course. Probably 10 different holes that are among the best I have ever played.
--Despite being so long, it never feels like it is long just for the sake of being long. There are well defined ideal landing areas on the par 4 and par 5 holes
--The lake that this course is centered around is beautiful, and combined with the elevation changes it will make you stop and stare often

Cons:

--The rough is incredibly punishing here...far too much so. And I don't mean just in terms of challenge, but rather it is painful due to thorns and frustrating due to lost discs. If your accuracy is off, you will have a long day
--Course design is odd in some spots. Bring a map.
--Safety issues. This is the reason I docked a half star from the score. Holes 10-11 play right through a picnic area which is ridiculous. A couple other holes play near areas where people like to sit. I would recommend playing very early on days where the weather is great.
--Hole 5 pro pad is pointing in the wrong direction and a hill prevents a sideways run up. If you want to cut across the lake at all you will only get a one step throw, and the distance is too long for most people to clear without a full runup.

Other Thoughts:

The first time I played this course it was probably the least amount of fun I have ever had playing disc golf. I lost a ton of discs in the lake, I had cuts and scrapes all over me from the rough, I scored like crap, I felt like crap, I was worn out and mentally beat down. I swore I wouldn't go back for a long time.

However, in the back of my mind I knew I needed to give it another shot. I prepared myself this time. I stocked up on used throwaway discs, I am in better shape physically, and I mentally prepared myself the entire week leading up to my round. Despite shooting a very bad score again, I had a blast and actually wanted to play a second round despite the fact that we just spent 3 hours tackling this 24 hole, 2 mile long monster.

If you aren't a highly skilled golfer, please heed my warning: you can't come here unprepared and expect to have a good time. I ran across another golfer today playing this course for the first time, and ran across him again in the parking lot after he had quit on hole 5. This is not an abnormal occurance...there are lots of people in the Quad Cities who will not play this course due to the difficulty, and I understand their pain because I felt the same thing after my first time.

But alas...I have survived my second trip and am incredibly anxious to be able to play it again. The holes are just too magnificent in design, beauty, challenge, fun, and sheer audacity.
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6 1
IHearChains
Bronze level trusted reviewer
Experience: 20.2 years 211 played 34 reviews
4.50 star(s)

diverse challenge 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:Oct 18, 2012 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

This course challenges every part of your game. It has four legitimate par 5 holes (5,13,15,18) and each of these offers different types of challenges on the tee and from the fairway. There are water carries, landing zones sloped into water or deep rough, and terrain that leads to unpredictably swirling winds. Also there are several par 4 holes (3,12,14,20,21,23,24) and a couple of tweeners that most players will be happy to get a 3 on (1,8,16).
[Update: Holes 8 and 14 have gotten a lot easier after brush and tree removal over the last couple of years. 8 lost the tunnel, and it's no longer a tweener. 14 lost the early low ceiling obstacles, now there's a variety of lines for big arms to get up there for a putt...it's a long par 3 or soft par 4]

This leaves 10 par3 holes, and these include big hyzers (2,7,9,22), tight technical tunnel shots (10,11,17), narrow landing zones (7,16,17,19), rollaway greens (2,4,9,19,22), water carries (2,19), and general mayhem of all types.

There is a great balance of righty-lefty friendly holes, and you will definitely need your forehand, anhyzer, and turnover skills on this course. Although most holes have some elevation change, there are also a few flat holes, and the course is well-balanced between wooded and open. Some of the rough is very punishing, but the fairways are beautifully manicured.

Several of the holes are breathtaking when you step up to the tee, either because of the aesthetics or because of the heartpounding anticipation of throwing 300ft over water with a stiff swirling head or crosswind (the forced water carries offer shorter bailout zones).

The course is very long, but someone who can throw 270-300 and keep it in the fairway can score well. With the punishing rough, lots of OB (pavement and water), and sometimes grueling conditions, it is easy to get frustrated and lose focus. I've seen some big-armed players end up with big scores in this way.

I like exercise and I prefer to feel like I've had a workout after disc golf. West Lake never disappoints on that criterion.

Cons:

There are a couple of minor cons which keep me from giving it a 5.

One is the fact that the toughest water hazard tee shots are mostly favoring RHBH throws. This is minor though, being balanced by numerous left-to-right shots either from the tee or fairway drive (3,12,14,15,16,21,24), although the hazards on those are not as punishing.

The second is the picnic area on 10,11, which can make those two holes unplayable during summer weekend afternoons. But they are not the signature holes by any means, and skipping from 9 to 12 is not a bad course flow, so a 22-hole course here is still phenomenal.

Despite these minor cons I would say this course tops all 5 of the DGCR top 40 that I have played to date.

Other Thoughts:

The course is best played early in the morning or on weekdays, when the other park users are not as common. I like to play early in the morning, and when given some courtesy, the other park users tend to be friendly and curious about disc golf, so I don't count this as a con.

Also, the park doesn't allow swimming for discs, so if you can't reach it from shore, it is gone. Also not a con in my opinion.
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2 3
jwetter
Experience: 110 played 30 reviews
4.00 star(s)

West Lake Park 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 17, 2012 Played the course:once

Pros:

-24 holes, most of which have 2 tees.
-located in a very well kept park
-lots of change in elevation and holes with different distances
-The campground it is located at is very nice so it is a very good place to make a weekend out of.
-very challenging

Cons:

-water is in play on many of the holes so if you don't want to lose a disc bring one that floats
-the course is very difficult, many of the reviews said how hard it was and I really didn't believe them until I got here.

But these are really the only bad things I could think of about the course and in many ways they aren't even bad.

Other Thoughts:

The campground is first come first serve so if you are planning on staying get there early to make sure you get a spot!
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6 2
porchmike
Experience: 21.5 years 34 played 19 reviews
3.50 star(s)

rrrrough! 2+ years

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:Jul 22, 2012 Played the course:once

Pros:

great, difficult shots- lots of variety and serious risk/reward- go for long hero drives on many of these holes at great peril of losing your disc!

scenic views in the park on the summer evening i was there.

Cons:

the tee signs are beautiful, but given the odd layout of the course, i'm very surprised that they don't point towards the next tees.

course plays near picnic tables on several holes, and since some of the pins are blind, you need to walk ahead and check for pedestrians to avoid hitting people- i had a sick drive on 2 that landed 10 ft from the pin, and also 10 ft from a couple making out on the lakeshore. woops

the rough was too rough for me to really enjoy myself- i was able to keep my disc out of the water, which i was very happy about, but on all the holes near the woods, the forest/prairie grass was so thick that shots which went in there were nearly impossible to find. losing discs or having to spend unreasonably long amounts of time to find them sucks all the fun out of the game for me, especially when it's not my fault: 10 feet off the fairway should not be an hour of searching or a lost disc... also, just in general, the course is super difficult, but not really in a fun way. It's more like difficult in a punishing way with way too many unnecessary opportunities to lose a disc in the water, like baskets on slopes mere feet from the water and things like that. I would say for a casual solo round, it's basically no fun at all.

Other Thoughts:

this is a nice, well maintained park that i imagine has the resources to do some clearing of the woods to make this course more user- friendly- the course is way challenging enough without the disc-eating rough. for now, i imagine late winter/early spring being the best time to play here.
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5 4
Jashwa
Gold level trusted reviewer
Experience: 20.2 years 175 played 88 reviews
5.00 star(s)

The Real Deal 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Mar 13, 2012 Played the course:once

Pros:

It is with great excitement that I am giving West Lake Park my second ever 5.0 rating (the other one being to Idlewild).

Although it chewed me up and spit me out, there are a bajillion reasons that I felt West Lake was worthy of this rating:

*Scenery is this course's strongest feature. The holes here are beautiful. Huge hills with fairways lined in trees and a tiny basket visible several hundred feet away (often right in front of a beautiful lake).

*Challenge... This was one of the most challenging courses I have ever played. That being said, the holes here were fair; each one presented me with an acheivable line that I had to hit (even a few ace opportunities). Water comes into play on about half of the holes, and on almost all of the others the distances and lines are challenging enough to force a variety of shots.

*Isolation... Although there are lots of things to do in this massive park, the course is sprawled out over quite a large area, so it didn't seem too congested.

*Ammenities... Great signage and teepads (see below for my comment on some of these)

Cons:

This rating was given under the assumption that the teepad for hole 20 is usually there... might have buried in dirt when i was there? not sure.

Other Thoughts:

*While walking the fairways of West Lake, I felt as though I was truly embarking on an epic journey. Afterwards I was completely dead, but felt accomplished.

*Make sure you bring a few discs that you don't mind losing in water... i had three go in while i was there, was only able to get one back

*There is camping here if you want and the park in general is VAST! I doubt that I saw even half of it.

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10 1
bygwyllay
Silver level trusted reviewer
Experience: 17.2 years 93 played 78 reviews
4.00 star(s)

NOT &@%#ING AROUND 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Jul 10, 2011 Played the course:once

Pros:

If I were to rate this course on holes alone, it would receive a 5.0 hands down. These were the most breathtaking shots I have ever seen! Some combination of length, elevation, wind, and water (or all 4) comes into play on EVERY hole.

1 is a massive downhill shot with plenty of natural obstacles - the biggest being the hill behind the pin, running down into the lake. 2 is a manageable but challenging shot over a cove with the pin on the far side of the water. 3 and 4 play through some picnic areas and back towards the water. 5 is a rediculous bomb over the other side of the lake with the pin placement along the shore. I loved 9 through 11, zig-zagging across two undulating hills. 12 sends you back toward the lake, and 13 is an unbelievable lie across a thin strip of elevated fairway with trecherous cliffs down to the water on either side. 14 - 18 take you back to your car, leaving the last six as a players choice should you have the stamina left.

Beautiful signage on every hole. Concrete pro and am tees with extremely varying placements were outstanding. I hate when the pro tee is just simply another 100 feet directly behind the am. This is definitely not the case here. Trash cans throughout the course keep it clean and the park itself is very well maintained. It is a busy park, but the course was deserted (I'm guessing because of the difficulty factor).

Cons:

While the holes are phenomenal, the layout of the course is bad. The first two holes make sense, as do the next two, but then there is a really long walk through the woods with no directions to the next tee. 5-13 play along the back end of the park, with 14's tee sending you back where 4 ended. It was confusing playing through and was very frustrating to navigate at times.

Hole 5's am tee was really hard to locate. Hole 8 is horribly designed, playing up an old truck trail with a very narrow fairway and blind pin. Some holes play very close to picnic tables and pavilions, which were densely populated on this Sunday afternoon.

The difficulty of these holes border on masochism, and it is really difficult to keep your cool. The possibility of lost plastic is more of a certainty on holes like 5 and 13. And unless you are spot on with every 4 out of 5 shots, keeping score becomes pointless. The only respite from the daunting pace is the 9 - 11 holes, all birdie-able.

Other Thoughts:

This is the hardest course I have ever played. Let me repeat that: THIS IS THE HARDEST COURSE I HAVE EVER PLAYED. Harder than Kensington's Toboggan course, which is on the tour. I was unprepared even though I expected a challenge and read all the previous reviews.

It borders on insanity. Difficult shot after shot really wore me down. This combined with the poor course layout and lost plastic really made this course hard to love. It didn't help that it was 97 degrees out and as muggy as New Orleans in August. BRING FLUIDS AND PACE YOURSELF.

I can understand why no one else was playing through. With all of the great courses in the QC area, this one really weeds out the average player and caters to the avid. I definitely recommend experiencing this course for yourself, but I don't think I'll be back any time soon.

I had a really tough time rating this course. Every time I thought about it I had different reactions. I'm settling on 4 because the holes are the best I've played and despite the difficulty I cannot overlook the audacity and brilliance of the design. If the course layout was easier to navigate, it would eliminate a lot of the frustration and let you enjoy your round a bit more. Make no mistake - West Lake Park is NOT &@%#ING AROUND!
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9 1
ZMan44
Gold level trusted reviewer
Experience: 20.3 years 179 played 110 reviews
4.00 star(s)

West Lake is a Grind 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 4, 2011 Played the course:once

Pros:

Variety: West Lake has a little bit of everything. There are some predominantly open hills and other holes with tighter fairways. There is also a solid variety in hole length. This is a huge plus in my book.

Memorable holes: As many reviewers have already noted, there are a number of holes at West Lake that are fantastic holes. My personal favorite was Hole #5. With windy conditions, this is a pretty daunting tee shot. I also liked #2 and #23.

Fairway maintenance: I designate "fairway" here (see cons below) because the fairways were well manicured. The landscaping around the course (sparse trees) was very nice as well.

Overall design: I mentioned the variety earlier, but the design of the holes was really good on 80-90% of the holes. There were a few multi-shot holes, at least for a 300-320' thrower like myself. Definitely not a drive-putt course.

Score differential: I like courses that provide ample opportunities for scoring variance. There are some courses that you play and you know if you play it again 100 times you will likely be within 4 or 5 strokes 99% of the time. West Lake is the exact opposite. I could see myself shooting under par...and I could see myself shooting way over par if I was struggling off the tee.

Cons:

Navigation and Signage: Usually if signs are present, it is a plus in my book. However, the signs need to be accurate and give the player a general idea of the hole. At least twice we threw our drives only to find that the pin was in a different area than we thought. On hole #7, the layout and sign indicate an anhyzer across the valley. After throwing what I thought was a great shot that would leave me a putt, we all realized that the hole was actually a hyzer, and the member of our foursome who threw the worst shot (intended anhyzer but flexed out hard) ended up with the better scoring chance. We could have re-teed, but it turned out to be no big deal as we all carded 3s. This happened again on hole #9, but we caught it immediately after our drives. The sign indicates a straight shot, but the hole is actuallya fairly strong hyzer. Hole #20 was impossible to find, so we ended up walking down its fairway from the parking lot. Who knew that you should backtrack down a blind fairway (#19) in order to get to the next hole. Definite design flaw here.

Off-fairway maintenance: I agree that errant shots should be punished. However, I also believe they should be able to be located unless they were attrocious. I believe it was Hole #12 where there is a narrowly mowed fairway with a treeline down the right side, thick rough down the left, and a wall of trees about 280 feet away with a 10' wide gap to hit that opens up to the pin close to the water. The pin location was great, but the tall grass bordering on the lefft of the fairway needed to be mowed. Most players are going to hit that gap less than 20% of the time. The hole could be played by rec players as a hyzer into where the high grass is now, followed by another hyzer to get through the gap. This grass was high to the point that finding discs was difficult, and the wall of trees was dense and thick and probably collects 90% of the shots where the player goes for it. I actually hit the gap, but I probably wouldn't hit it regularly. We spent at least 15 minutes looking for a couple of discs on this hole alone. The next hole (levee hole) really only allows you to use half of the levee. If someone would weed-eat the left side of the levee, an errant shot over there would still be punished with a severe uphill 2nd shot and possible water trouble on the left. However, the player is essentially forced to manuever along the right side of the levee only. This could be fresutrating for some players.

Proximity to other park activities: as with any multi-use park course, there are going to be some issues with other users. On this course there are picnic tables, parking lots, playgrounds, and ballfields that could possibly come into play. On a crowded day, play with discretion.

Other Thoughts:

West Lake Park has a lot of things going for it. The design is worthy of a "phenomenal" designation. However, there are a few cons that detract from its score, in my opinion. I settled on a 4.0 for excellent. It gets docked .25 each in my book for navigation issues, ease of play. By ease of play, I don't mean lack of challenge. I mean that you have to search for discs in many places that are slightly errant and you have to monitor the whereabouts of other park users. These factors alone caused us to take about 45 minutes longer to finish the round than we should have. There are also a couple of long walks, to and from the "levee loop".

While I have read a lot of reviews that said this was an uber-challenging course, I simply did not find this to be the case. (except for #20...which was just a ridiculous hole) It was a good challenge, but I wouldn't put it in the top 20 hardest courses I've played...and I have only played about 110 or so. This is a course that I definitely feel like I could get close to par with only a few rounds. I think it gives the perception of difficulty because it is 24 holes, mostly in the open, and on a hot day the elements can really wear you down. This makes it a grind, but not necessarily difficult.

In conclusion, West Lake is an "excellent" course. I can't in good faith give it a score higher than that. It was definitely worth the stop on our trip. After playing some of the supposed best courses in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin on this trip, I must admit that I feel that some of the better courses in this region have inflated scores. West Lake is definitely an "excellent" course, but it has too many issues to be considered "phenomenal", and is not even close to "the best of the best". However, if you are in the area, it is definitely worth playing. I wouldn't plan a specific trip to play this course alone, but I hear the Quad Cities has a fair amount of courses so there could be plenty to keep you busy on a weekend trip. If you go that route, definitely include West Lake Park.

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9 0
bjreagh
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Experience: 27.9 years 350 played 321 reviews
4.00 star(s)

Very Challenging 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 4, 2011 Played the course:once

Pros:

West Lake is a very scenic 24-hole championship caliber course. It is spread throughout a large piece of land bordering the lake for much of it. Not only are the views of the lake nice, but the lake comes into play on a substantial number of holes. The lush, grassy fairways were freshly mowed. There were 2 sets of concrete tees giving not only more length but different angles, usually more challenging. Many holes required careful planning of where to place your tee shots in order to avoid trouble while still giving you a shot at par. There are several memorable holes here, many involving water (2, 5, 13, 19 stood out to me).

The holes for the most part offer a great deal of variety- a) over water, to water, and no water, b) varied distances ranging from birdie chances to feeling good about a 4, c) holes that had options and others that mandated a specific line, and d) changing elevation of up or down on almost every hole.

Everyone we encountered were very nice. (For example, on hole 2 which plays over the cove of water we had to literally throw over a fishing boat, talk about pressure! But they wanted to watch us, and then they helped us to locate our discs once we got over to the other side of the lake!!)

There was a generous paved parking lot with restrooms and a picnic pavilion. There are also things like camping and a swimming beach very close by.

Cons:

Navigation and flow in spots (I recommend using a map)- the long walks through the woods to and from the levee (4-5, 13-14) needed some signs to point down the correct path; backtracking in the fairway from 19-20 and 21-22 (in fact we never found 20, we played it last by walking it backwards); and 20 (if you can find it) is also the first chance you have to get back to your car and restrooms, but by then the round is almost over, so be sure to carry lots of water as it is a long hike with little shade.

Also for first timers, on a couple holes we threw in wrong direction/at wrong basket- the tee signs just weren't clear enough (7 and 9) and were somewhat misleading.

Other park activities- things in play on a lot of the holes include the road, picnic tables, grills, cars in parking lots, the campground, and a whole lot of bank fisherman on the lake holes (which is often). There was also a Take-Me-Fishing seminar the day we played and they had taken over holes 10 and 11.

Overall the hole design is good, but there began to be a repetitive feel off the tee- long and straight is about all you need. The course tended to heavily favor RHBH. I only remember two shots (approach on 3 and 24) that really required a left to right line.

*You will lose discs on this course- there are just too many water holes for most people to come out with what you came in with! Be prepared mentally and bring extra discs. Also the rough is very dense in the summer and you can easily lose discs that way too.

Other Thoughts:

West Lake is a really solid course that will test even the pros. But there is just too many cons for me to rate it near a 5.0. As others have said, this course is very difficult and is not intended to be played by beginners, even from the shorter tees. This is a course where you will take a beating and probably lose some discs, therefore it has the potential to be more stressful than fun. If this is what you are seeking then you should definitely come here and play, however, I would personally not want to play here everyday if I lived here, and beginners, recreational players, and families will want to find a different course to play.
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8 0
CwAlbino
Bronze level trusted reviewer
Experience: 24.2 years 76 played 23 reviews
4.50 star(s)

I'm torn on this course 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 29, 2011 Played the course:once

Pros:

-The course is gorgeous with all the amenities and it is a very well manicured park.
-The tee signs are fantastic as well and look really nice.
-There is a lot of variety but even so it gets repetitive*, I'll go into that on the cons.
-Camping
-Easy to find, right off major highways
-Great use of elevation and water hazards on **some of the holes
-Dual Chain DiscCatchers with a practice basket near the parking lot by hole 1
-The course ends and begins in the same area
-There are plenty of unique holes to make you remember this course if you ever play it.

Cons:

-I've got a few complaints and in my opinion, design errors on this that makes it a 4.5(I almost gave it a 4). Some of the holes just seemed too long, now I don't mind distance, but distance for the sake of difficulty just doesn't work for me. I prefer a good shot to be rewarded, not just long throws into the open and then you pick up your disc and throw again. Even hole 13, it looked pretty but was rather boring. I think the hole would have been much cooler if the basket was placed around the big concrete abutments. It would make people want to be more daring in the drives and approaches rather than just a few safe shots and you are at the basket (I took a 4 from pro pad just by playing safe).

*I felt like I either threw long and straight or a hyzer out and around something. My teebirds got worked a lot as well as a few faster overstable discs but no real turnovers or any technical shot unless I was just trying to get out of the rough.

** The water usage just seemed to get repetetive. You either threw a hyzer over it, or you had water behind it to scare you when you putt. A few holes are cool, but after a while it gets to be just monotonous.

Hole 5, the pro pad is ridiculous. The angle of the pad and lack of runup space to the left so that you can go out and over the water is just poor design. Forcing me to throw a certain direction didn't make me too happy.

-Starting at hole 6, there are picnic tables in the fairways and around the holes, I can see this being a problem in the afternoon on nice summer days.

Other Thoughts:

Despite my complaints, it was a very fun course. I like for courses to mix a few technical holes in there but you can only work with what you have, and they did well with West Lake. It will challenge you if you aren't a very consistent player.

-It's long, pepare to walk. A lot.
-Bring water, there is concession stands at the beach but you will still need to carry.
-Bring backup discs
-My best advice I can give in playing this course is to play smart. Take your twos and threes where you can, settle for your 4's and 5's if you are unsure whether to go for it. Check for placement spots, sometimes you don't need to rip it down the fairway 400', lay up 300 so you can drive again in the open area then putt/upshot-putt.
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17 0
Martin Dewgarita
Gold level trusted reviewer
Experience: 14.7 years 1600 played 95 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Shadowy Waves at Dawn 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Mar 8, 2011 Played the course:once

Pros:

Yeah, Phenomenal, that about sums it up. I was on the fence between 4.5 and 5 for this one, some minor design flaws kept it from being the "best of the best"

Amenities. Shelter, trails, bathroom, picnic areas, beach area and fishing opportunities.

Camping. On site camping available in season for $12-20.

Well Manicured. Clean, well maintained park with mowed fairways, sporadic trash cans, and a regular maintenance crew to keep things top notch.

Access. Very near the freeway (in fact you can watch traffic most of the round) for easy access. It is part of the Quad Cities Disc golf mecca, a great DG destination area.

Variety. This course shines in this category, Nearly every type of variety you can imagine exists, every shot in your bag could probably have a use here, when I look at my bag at the end of a round and realize that I threw every single disc, I know it has been a good round. I won't even begin to list the different types of shots, just know that if you expect it to be included in a top notch course, it's probably here.

Distance. This course varies from long to longer, don't expect many ace runs, most holes birdies are extremely rewarding, and several that you'll have to work hard to achieve a 3, on some holes I walked away satisfied with a 5.

Water. Yeah, lots of it, and I felt it was used very well. A couple holes cross the lake, many play along side and even a couple along the dike with water on both sides of the fairway.

Elevation, a few of the holes have major elevation changes that comes into play very well.

Signs. Each tee had a sign showing #, distance for both tees (I don't recall seeing reference to a third set of tees that other users have mentioned, maybe I'm just blind?), and a rough map of the hole (*see cons).

Tees. Dual concrete teepads were mostly level and in good condition.

Baskets. Disccatchers all existed and were in good shape.

Scenery. Besides having a great view of the freeway, the course itself is beautiful with great views of the lake,

Map/scoredard. Provided at the kiosk as you enter the park (make sure you grab one, it will be helpful).

Not crowded. I don't know this from firsthand knowledge, but have heard some of the talk of locals that the location and overall challenge of this course typically keeps away the riffraff, expect that most players out here are serious about their game, the crowds tend to stick to the city courses.

Memorable Holes. Some of my favorites were 13, a monster along the dike, 18 a huge technical hole through the trees, and 19 a beauty across the lake with a very small landing area.

Cons:

Strenuous. Obviously isn't necessarily a con, just letting you know that you should be prepared before you tackle this one. Eat a good breakfast, carry plenty of water and snacks with you, and unless you're in great shape don't plan too many other courses the same day as this one (I was definitely worked trying to fit in 3 courses besides this one in a day).

Along with that, you'll be away from the vehicle for a good jaunt (make sure you bring everything with you) after hole 17 though you're never far from the car.

Other user areas. A couple holes cross or come near the road, be wary of pedestrians or traffic. One hole plays directly through the middle of what appears to be a picnic area, doesn't seem like a very smart hole if anybody is picnicking. And watch out for fishermen, since most of the lake shore is used, it's likely that you will encounter some people fishing.

Hole 5 tee pad seems to pointing 90* in the wrong direction, I want to throw a long bomb out over the lake, not layup onto the dike. Maybe the pad had washed away, or they're assuming most players won't want to take the risk? I was able to get a runup, but wasn't perfect.

Navigation. Make sure you get a map at the start, I would have been lost without it, some simple signage would definitely help out here.

Tee signage. The rough map was hardly helpful in determining what was going on, some improvement here would help determine hole layout and eliminate walking every hole beforehand to figure it out.

Lost Plastic. Yeah, I suppose it's possible to lose plastic on any course, but if "throwaway" or floater discs is your thing, stock up for this one. Or play in winter!

Not Beginner Friendly. The short tees don't help alleviate much of the frustration factor or water hazards, I imagine that a beginner at this course would be spending entire paychecks on plastic.

Other Thoughts:

If you like what you've read, do not miss this one. Drive hours out of your way for it, make it a destination course, it is a priority on your list of things to do in life, well that's my opinion anyway. Along with the other courses in the area, a great long weekend of discing is to be had.
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