The Best Course in Illinois
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: +It is a HUGE park with disc golf seemingly the main attraction.
+Very little foot traffic apart from golfers on the Champ side.
+Large concrete teepads
+Gateway Titan baskets, deep with 3 layers of chains. My favorite basket type.
+Multiple tees, but the "shorts" are plenty tough to shoot par for a sub-960 rated player.
+Multiple pin positions that update regularly
+Many "true" par 4s and 5s (see below).
+Will throw putters, mids, fairways, and drivers on multiple lines.
+Bathrooms on hole 1 and 9.
+Trashcans and benches on many of the holes.
+ Easy to navigate and a good "flow"
Cons: -Better parking would be needed for large tournaments, but this does not affect the course rating, as the course itself is fantastic. Plus, I'd prefer to take my time and play the 2 course on the property by throwing multiple drives rather than rush through them in a tournament setting.
-The long teepads are not concrete, but as I said earlier, the shorts play as one of the hardest courses you've played.
Other Thoughts: I think I am up to 82 courses played thus far in 9 states. I have two 5/5 courses so far. Not Hornet's nest, not Flip City, not Dellwood or Visionquest. No. The two 5/5 for me so far are Blue Ribbon Pines and little ol Centralia. The Centralia Championship 18 plays like a ball golf course. In most courses, you have a birdie shot if one of your preceding throws are "good." At Centralia, you must string together multiple good shots to have a birdie look. The Par 4s are the best Par 4s I have played in disc golf. Typically, a Par 4 is just long, and you always break out your driver off the tee. Not here. The doglegs, S-shaped fairways, creek-in-your-landing-zone, and elevation changes allow you to attack the par 4s in multiple ways. Every disc golf course should strive to be like Centralia.
The Champ side at Centralia offers fun in a brutal way for a sub-900 player, and a challenge to shoot par for all others. A must play for all within an 8 hour drive.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Great destination course
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Centralia : The Gateway to Nowhere . I Put this city in my GPS and it shot back " WHY ? " . After finding this park , I realized what a gem it is . When you enter the park and park in the lot that the kiosk is at , walk across the road and up the hill to your left to find the first tee . 36 total holes , and the Champ 18 says it all . They must have poured all of their disc golf dollars solely into this one . Large tee pads flush with the ground , Gateway Titan baskets with a NEXT TEE sign on the basket . multiple pin positions and dual pro and intermediate tees . Tee signs with descriptive information and places to mark the pin position . , a place to hang bags and hidden trash receptacles . Many holes have benches . Creeks come into play on several holes . You will take steps down to cross the creek onto extended high stepping stones ( pretty cool ) . This is not a course for the weak . You might have to empty out your bag during your round here . Righty , lefty , landing zone drives . It's all there . You will have to concentrate on your throws . The total elevation of this course isn't much , but it uses the rolling terrain to it's advantage . Tunnel shots , low throws where the woods canopy comes into play . The lines to the pin are fair ( except maybe 18 ) Some bomber shots . I played a mix of the long ad short tees , mostly the cements because of the recent rain . The pin positions and course design were well thought out . My congrats to McCormack and Bunnell . The par 3's on this course ( 5 ) are overshadowed by the 8 par 4's and 5 par 5's . 9300 feet of enjoyment ( or frustration ) .there are several memorable holes on this course . Signature Hole would be #7 . a right to left ( depending on pin position ) 442' that has to span a creek and finish up on a steep hill guarded by several small trees and foilage . There is a goal post shot on 8 with painted letters on the bottom that reads " I'm in your head " . What a great touch . Several people commented on what a downer it was to have a short technical 285' tight shot through the woods for the final hole instead of a bomber hole like 1 is . You always take what the course gives you in the order it gives you in . Does it matter ? Not really . What you DO GET , are 18 very good holes of disc golf .
Cons: I don't have much to say that's bad about this course . There were a lot of tree limbs scattered on the course , but it may have been attributed to the harsh weather the area had been having lately ( ? ) . No bathrooms near the course . Not a necessity , but ,,,,,, . Not ideal for carts . The rough can be , well , ROUGH .
Other Thoughts: I teetered rating this course between excellent ( 4 ) and phenomenal ( 4.5 ) . Since ratings can't be 4.25 , I upped it to a 4.5 . Even though it could use a touch up or 2 , this is truly a players course . Many amenities on the course , a fun way to cross the creek .I work very close to Idlewild Disc Golf Course , considered by many to be top tier and have played it many times . It may be all of that , but I think that Champ 18 has one thing over Idlewild : Character . Champ 18 Bleeds that certain character that you want in a disc golf course . I only wish that it was close to St Louis or more accessible to the course travelers and disc golf junkies . Thanks, Centralia and Foundation Park for allowing me to be your guest for a few hours on a Saturday . My Recommendation : PLAY IT !!!!!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Tweakers In The Woods
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: (3.756 Rating) A longer moderately wooded park style course.
- HOLE MANAGEMENT - Easily my favorite part of this course were all the par 4s and 5s that required shot placement. Throwing a long drive on many of these plus 500 footers was often not a wise idea. There were lots of tree line gaps in the woods where the second shot angled away in another direction. These holes required controlled distance to have a reasonable shot at the basket. Holes (7), (9), (11), and (17) were all pleasing plays in these regards.
- CHALLENGING - A bit difficult for me to define as all of the basket placements were in the short (A) position. I could not tell if this is one those courses that always has them in the (A's) except for tourneys or what. Anyways, there are two tee layouts here. The White Tees appear to be Intermediate level and the Blue Tees appear to be Advanced level. Conquering the back won't necessarily take massive power or extreme precision, but rather methodical smart play from a balanced Advanced rated player. Also note, I think blind first time players will struggle significantly more than normal on the first time through, as they won't know the ideal placement areas on these multi-play holes.
- NAVIGATION - Not to bad but with some flaws. For one thing, this course is not cart friendly. Several stream crossings using large cast concrete stepping stones. As for finding your way around, the thing I really appreciated was the orange tube on a basket spoke pointing to the next tee direction. Why more courses don't use this super cheap and effective tool is mind boggling. Hole signage has some good information on it, like hole number, distances and par, but it's too diagrammatic in its artistic description that players will find themselves torn on whether to run up fairways or throw blindly down the line. The tee signs however did however incorporate basket placement indicators, which will be great on a second play.
- ELEVATION - As I was driving into town, the roadside curbs felt like mountains on the Central Illinois landscape. So, I was a bit surprised by the amount of elevation change on the course. Nothing all that major, but several holes have plays with 20 foot changes and a couple probably approached 30 feet. Almost all of these slopes are very manageable to traverse being less than 15 degree inclines and declines.
- UNIQUENESS - In addition to elevation, this course has just about all the shots. Doglegs to the right and left. Pockets in every which way direction. Lots of par 4s and a couple par 5s. The holes lengths range from 250 footers to at least one tee and basket combo extending beyond 1000 feet. Water comes into play in the form of a creek a few times. I loved (7) which required smart placement short of the creek and then the approach played was up the flood plain bank and was punctuated with graceful basket placement setting. Holes (13) thru (16) were a bit of a letdown being poorly designed wider park style plays. Holes (2) through (4) were all very similar plays. I was a bit surprised that not one hole directly paralleled the creek for the entire length of the hole. Also, only one stare-down ace run on the entire layout, (6). I emptied my putter inventory on this hole and pinged a tree each time.
- CHARACTER - A great course map along with shelter and picnic table near the junction start for both the Champ 18 course and the Rec course. The Champ 18 White layout has nice sized 5 foot by 12 foot concrete tees. All of them were in great shape. Only a few benches but the circular chill area on (18) was an awesome commandeered feature. Several picnic tables and some walled off stone work. A great place to watch throwers on hole (18) consistently chuck their discs into trees. (see cons Hole 18). The baskets were mostly good but a few were showing some minor damage. There's a practice basket by tee (1). Finally, many tees had an awesome trash can that served as a duel function bag table having a nice wooden top.
- NATURAL BEAUTY - Well above average and I scored the course just above a 3.5 out of 5. The tree coverage and changing elevations were the best positive contributing factors. On the flipside, I was not overly impressed by the creek. Way too many unnatural elements in it including sand, course gravel and lots of trash has found its way in it. Also, trash in general was an issue (see cons)
Cons: A great course that should be excellent, but there are far too many flaws.
- MAINTENANCE - The park's fairways were well mowed for my visit. However, once a player strays a bit off fairway, things get real dicey with large tree limbs and even trees down everywhere. I'm not referring to the signature fallen trees mid fairway like the one on (17), which was awesome, I'm referring to the large trees just off fairway being succumb by termites and have been left rotting for years.
- HOLE (18) - This was the least maintained hole and is almost entirely un-mowed due to lots of larger downed branches. In addition, the hole has no line to the basket being a poke and hope shot.
- TRASH - I saw a substantial amount of trash on the course. Most of it I think was from the random people just stowing around, but some of it no doubt had to have been from disc golfers. I subtracted my score for natural beauty a touch due to this issue.
- DISCONTINUITY - Lots of substantial walks between holes be sure and download the map to a phone or print one out. Even with the great navigational markers at the baskets, I still found myself referring to it several times.
- BACK TEES - I had every intention of showing up here to see what kind of licking the back tees could dish out. Realizing on hole (1) that the back tees weren't paved was a shock and disappointment. There is already a separate Recreational level course in the park, so I don't understand the reasoning for not widening the appeal of the multi-course park and giving the premiere amenities to the premiere challenge. Tees are very important to me so I ended up throwing the White layout instead. In addition, the back tees add very little additional flavor to the course often being just an additional 30 to 50 feet in length on the same line.
- FORGIVENESS - To newer players, this course can be very punishing. The champ 18 course is not the course to take a first timer too or even a tenth timer too. Way too much length and too many hazards. I never once strayed into the creek, but sending a disc into it after a string of raining days probably means a lost disc. Overgrowth is very heavy in spots. I spent a good 15 minutes looking for my discs during my round.
- POISON IVY - It's all over the place and players are no doubt going to throw into a patch or two on this long layout.
- TIME PLAY - This one took me 90 minutes blind solo first time. Figure a four some could be here 2 ½ to 3 hours to get a round in.
- LOCATION - Although not too far from I57, figure 15 minutes from the exit, the course is literally in the middle of nowhere in the center of the country. The fact that the town is named Centralia seems very fitting.
- RANDOM PEOPLE - I was a bit surprised by the sheer number of misfits blindly strolling around and chilling at the park benches. On (15), I threw my disc a bit long near the basket and when I went searching for it in the heavy overgrowth and I was startled by a couple of tweaked-out meth-heads deep in the woods.
Other Thoughts: Foundation Park was the 7th course I visited that had a rating above a 4.5 upon my arrival. Although this is a great course and perhaps borderline excellent course, it fell well short of my expectations. Perhaps I should just chalk it up to that this is not my preferred style of course. But unfortunately, this is not the case as I've played several courses just like this one that I've rated between a 4.0 and 4.6. The holes here just don't match the vibrant epicness or amenities of the courses I've rated above a 4.0 If the Blue tees were concrete, the signage were more effective, there was seating on more holes and the trash issues were addressed, I think the holes here are just good enough to achieve about a 3.9 to 3.95 in my rating preference method. When I compare this layout to a similar style courses of a similar DGCR rating, like Hobbs Farm in Georgia, Mahr Park in Kentucky, Tom Brown in Florida or Harry Myers in Texas for example, Foundation Park is not even close. Regardless, This is still gotta be the best course within a 50 to 75 miles radius and also possibly a top 5 Illinois course.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 3 Not
As Good As They Say
Pros: All concrete tees. A well maintained course. Roughs that are indeed rough, but not forested. Pins that are challenging but playable.
This is as fantastic as the reviewers say it is.
Cons: Only one negative. It's too far from my home.
Other Thoughts: As a player with only two years experience -- in my late 60s -- I thought this course was brilliantly laid out, maintained very well, flowed effortlessly, and was a joy to play. I was a bit concerned about playing this course ... I didn't know how I'd perform. In fact, it didn't matter. It was just fun at every tee, on every fairway, and at every pin. I very highly recommend this course. Very challenging but very smart.
1 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 5 Not
foundation park central
Pros: nice flow. great tee pads, mowed fairways. great signage.
Cons: nothing notable.
Other Thoughts: I am a mediocre player at best. this is the best course. I've played in the greater ST Louis metro area (15 and counting). though I was challenged by all the holes, I never felt my lower level play was a liability. it did indeed challenge me to up my game, which is a good thing. . . . I played with a group who play together a lot and we all agreed this is the best course we've played . . .ever. . . Kudos to the Foundation for creating a very nice course. Will be returning. . . .
1 of 6 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 12 Not
Best Course in driving distance from St. Louis
Pros: 36 holes total in the park
Challenging shot shaping
Multiple lines to pin
Pro and regular tees
Long course. Mostly par 4's
Cons: I didn't see a bathroom near the start of either course?
Far from where I live
Other Thoughts: Beautiful. Just beautiful course. Both aesthetically and technically.
Drove an hour twenty to play this course. I'll be going back as often as I can. I think that says a lot.
1 of 13 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Centralia's Foundation a bit Soggy
Pros: Foundation Park's Champ 18 course has several really nice holes. It is long and difficult. The park very nice, and has good open grassy space as well as nice tree coverage in other spots. There main tees are concrete, there are tee signs, and the Titan baskets are super solid. There is a driving range and practice baskets. Moderate elevation change on a few holes, but nothing drastic. A stream that was running high and fast from overnight rainstorms. I tended to enjoy the holes closer to the water that were not so wide open. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 17, and 18 were my favorites. Great use of the water and trees to shape different shots.
Cons: Navigation was an issue in between holes in one or two places. A few more signs would be nice. Mud was bad in a few spots, but that is to be expected with the large amount of rain in the prior day or two. Long tees were not concrete all the way around.
Other Thoughts: Really a nice course, in a nice park. Some interesting contours to the land and thick trees near the water that were fun to try and place the perfect throw. It is surely challenging. Not the most exciting course, but making great use of the space. I wish I had played when it was not so saturated from rain. A better score and dry socks would have made my visit a bit more enjoyable.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: -Amazing flow
-Tight, but fair gaps. Low ceiling shots that make you play for your par.
-STEPPING STONES THAT ARE EASY TO WALK ON!!!!! First time I have seen great passages across water.
-Variety of shots, not just a lefty or righty course.
Cons: -Some of the long tees were natural and not concrete
-Hole 18 was overgrown a bit much as my buddy was less than 20 feet away from the basket and we had to look for his disc.
Other Thoughts: Best course I have played in a while. My buddy and I didn't want to leave, we could have easily played another round it was that amazing of an experience. There were water fountains that were around the course at crucial points in the round. I can't wait to come back and play. Words of wisdom; don't shoot off the fairway.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 2 Not
home of the future disc golf world champion
Pros: Foundation park is the best course i have seen thusfar in my 3 year career in disc golf. Anyone who successfully throws under par here will do so almost anywbere i would bet.
As you get out of the car by the sentinel shelter, youre greeted with a practice basket with markers in a semi circle around the baskt from 10-65'. Toss around a bit and find that putt before letting loose on the park's driving range. A driving range with markers marking ever 50' starting at 150' and extending out to 600' is a great way to stretch out your arm as well as testing out new plastic.
The front nine holes start off in the open on hole one before into the woods for holes 2-8. Holes 1 and 9 are semi open with the other 7 holes being pretty tight through lots of trees over a winding creek and through a couple of well planned natural obstacles. (I.e. a field goal shaped tree right off the teebox on hole 8)
The front nine ends back where you started where there are some tables, a restroom and a water fountain to refill tbose water bottles before tackling a monster of a back nine.
The back nine starts off with one of the last 2 par 3 holes remaining. (Holes 2,4,6,8,10, and 18 are the only par threes on the course. Each one CAN and HAS been aced.)
Holes 11-16 play complementary to the wooded front nine with a more open playing style. Similar to a links set up in ball golf the back nine is quite long but requirres more than just random throws to be setup nicely for your next shot. The first round will be tough due to thefact most pins cant be seen from the teebox. (Most locals will be happy to act as course guide for the day free of charge) :-)
17-18 play tighter again with 18 ending with another drive back.over the creek.
Theres plenty of trash cans.. benches every few holes.. bag hooks.. next tee arrows. All th amenities a chamionsbip caliber course should have.
Cons: As i said in the pros section.. this is the best course i have seen so i dont have many cons. Just a few picky suggestions is all... the oarking bere can get a bit out of hand when theres a tournament on site. But the oark doesnt mind temporary grass parking in tbose situations.
Also.. hole 18 is a let down. After a beatiful course with tough par threes.. long oar fours and daunting par fives... the course ends with a short par three that plays over a creek up a small incline and back down the back side. Thats all fine and dandy but the amount of trees here makes it pretty close to a poke and pray. Now in the clubs defense they HAVE taken a few saoling down along the main route but its a very tough route to hit. a hole simiLAR to hole 1 would be a much better nding. Again.. thats just oickiness.. nothing to take the rating down over.
Other Thoughts: This course in awesome. If youre an avid disc golfer and somehow find yourself with in driving distance of centralia illinois then definetely make a stop bere. You will not regret it.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 0 Not
Journey to the Centralia of the Earth, Pt. 2
Pros: - During my Journey to the Centralia of the Earth, I experienced spectacularly difficult championship- level disc golf, wonderfully manicured park grounds, friendly and helpful grounds crew, and concurrently had my faith restored that park-style disc golf can indeed be implemented in a thoughtful and meaningful manner. Located in Foundation Park, the championship 18-hole course is companion to the rec-level 9er across the street. One provides a fun, accessible, but challenging layout for beginners and lesser players, while the other caters to big-armed experienced players looking to air it out, without simply being a long and open bore.
- Water was used nicely where available. A creek protects the right side of the fairway on #7. Hole #8 forces a shot through a goalpost-shaped tree branch located right in front of the tee. A sign says "right now I'm in your head;" very a propos. The hole plays as a big hyzer with the creek defining the back and left side of the green. This is a great hole and among the best designed shorter holes, in my opinion. Trouble off the tee (but totally avoidable), trouble behind and to the left of the basket (in the form of water), and a shot designed to test the ability to avoid both. #11 also plays across a small creek that's located not too far in front of the tee, although this should rarely come into play.
- Elevation, while mostly of the gently rolling variety, still provides enough "up and down" to keep things from being boring. Nothing approaching epicness, not even close, but certainly enough to keep you on your toes and prevent the course from being two-dimensional. #6's downhill tunnelish shot is probably the closest the course gets to true tastiness in the elevation department. #18 also finished off slightly uphill.
- Multi-shot golf is done very well here. Landing zones are fair and obvious, and at no point did it feel unfairly punishing, even with all the long blind holes. Some multi-throw holes suffer from invisible (from the tee) punishment; I don't believe a single one of these exist here, to the designers credit. Big arms will need to throw a couple of times to reach the pin on the longer length holes, while weeny arms will be carding 5s, 6s and upward on the toughest layouts. Red tees are concrete and shorten the length of some holes significantly. The longer Blue tees are natural grass, in good shape, and make this course into a complete distance monster, especially if playing to the longer of the pin positions.
- Beauty. For a park-style course, there's plenty of natural "rough" woodsy-ness to make you feel secluded in places. Parts of the course are simply open or open-ish grassy areas, but other parts incorporate huge ancient trees, some with magnificent sagging branches that provide visual interest as well as solid fairway obstacles. The split tree by #17's pin is just one small example of the many awesome trees to be found at Centralia.
Cons: - The major drawback to Centralia lies in its somewhat detail-lacking signage. Yes, an indicator is on each sign to denote the current pin position, but that only helps if they're kept current (some did not seem to match the actual pin position during my round, adding much confusion). With the fairly lengthy holes, and the many blind pin positions, there was a lot of walking to scope the lay of the land. This is definitely a course where a guide would be super helpful first time through. This con is mostly only valid for first time players, but the incorrect pin indicators shouldn't happen under any circumstances on a course of this quality, in my opinion.
- A stretch during the back nine (#'s 12-16) started to all blur together in the same sort of mostly open, scattered mature trees, park-styley golf. None of those holes are bad, per se, just similar enough not to really stick out in my mind as distinct holes. Maybe with more plays or different pin positions, these holes would take on a bit more of an individualistic feel.
Other Thoughts: - Overall, Centralia comes convincingly close to true destination golf. There's certainly no other reason (that I could see) for being in that god-forsaken part of Illinois. So if you're in the area, Foundation Park is a no-brainer; if you need to make a long-haul just to play it, you'll be well-served to make time to enjoy at least three rounds on the property: one at the rec-level course, one to scope and scout the champ-level course, and a second time to truly enjoy and appreciate the spectacularly difficult discing on offer.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful.
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