Tweakers In The Woods
5 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.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
As Good As They Say
1 Helpful / 3 Not
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.
Best Course in driving distance from St. Louis
1 Helpful / 12 Not
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.
2 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.
2 of 2 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.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The Foundation Course in the middle of nowhere Illinois is called the Championship 18. That's an understatement. In my mind its challenging to think that a course this phenomenal could be situated in the wonderfully boring state of Illinois. Illinois is known for three C's: corn, corrupt politicians and Chicago. Its not known for having beautiful, country club like disc golf courses that test every single aspect of your disc golf game. The Championship Course in Centralia, IL does that and then some. That course may not have the sexy greens that Idlewild does and it may not have the secluded feel of a Deer Lakes or Moraine State Park but I am giving this course the same rating as those courses. This course is definitely worthy of a 4.5 Phenomenal rating in my book. It also features a nice warmup 9 hole course right on the same property. Here are my pros:
1) This course is what I call "dumb" good. It means its so good that me and my friends don't even call it really good or pretty awesome. Its dumb good! In all seriousness, the main reason for this is the design. The course just doesn't have filler holes. There are no throwaways. Yeah, some people may point to hole 2 or hole 18 as letdowns but this course doesn't let you down. It simply just keeps going and pushes the limit of a great course disc course to the next level. The design is impeccable and very fair while still being very challenging.
2) Speaking of challenging....did I say challenging? How about nearly 11,000 feet from the back tees. ELEVEN THOUSAND FEET. This course is a BALL GOLF course. Its listed as a par 72 and that's probably close to accurate. This course is like Ironhill or Highbridge Gold. Its fun to say you SURVIVED this course. This course plays over 2 miles. Hole 1 is two-tenths of a mile. This course is uber challenging! But....
3) Its fun! Honestly some of these super long courses are so hard that its not fun. Think Ironhill or Idlewild (Idlewild is a great course but if you had fun at that course then good for you). Centralia has some bomber shots and the longer holes have more open lines and very clean lines. I am sure this course is hard to play in the summer when its 95 degrees but playing this course in the fall was ideal. Its hard to say 11,000 feet of disc golf "breezed" by but time flies when you are having fun.
4) Infrastructure: The infrastructure at this course is phenomenal. The baskets are super deep and are Gateway Titan baskets. There is not a better sound in the world then hitting a putt dead center on a Titan basket. The signs are super descriptive and really give you a lot of information. This is so important on such a long course because it helps avoid some super long walks ahead to scout the holes. Finally, the concrete tee pads are awesome!
5) Water: I really value having water hazards on courses and Centralia has a few water hazards that really make for some memorable shots. Its really tough for me to rate a course a 4.5 or higher if there are not shots that at least bring water into play and so this actually may have nudged the rating in my mind from a 4.25 to a 4.5. At least four holes brought water into play and even though they weren't huge ponds it was still something!
6) Variety in Distance: The distances from the long pads ranged from 305' to 1036'. There's really not much more you can ask for when it comes to variety. This course had 5 par 3's, 8 par 4's and 5 par 5's. It does not get much better than that when it comes to variety!
7) Alternate Pins and Two Tees: But here's where it gets even better. Alternate pins are great but Dave McCormack and his crew had the foresight to make sure to mark the current pin location on the teesign. This is the best way to do alternate pins in my opinion! The distances between the long and short pads was only about 1500 feet but I'd say that was worth at least 6 strokes. So instead of shooting in the 70's maybe you can shoot in the 60's from the shorter pads!
8) Practice Facilities: Not only does this course have a driving range that goes out to 500 feet (seriously????) but it has a killer practice basket. Huge kudos to the crew for getting those put in. I can't EVER remember seeing a driving range on a disc golf course.
9) Let's get to some of the holes: I literally LOL'd at hole 8 as some other reviewers have pointed out. It was pretty fun to walk up to that hole and throw that shot between the branches. Truly a memorable shot and honestly disc golf needs more of that. Hole 1 is just a beast! Its probably good to warm up on the Recreation 9 because I can't imagine having to play this course first and then starting with this hole. This is a true par 5! So many holes stood out in the middle of the round as well but I loved the second shot to hole 15. After a crush drive the second shot requires a RHBH hyzer to a guarded green. Honestly this course had SO many great to awesome holes. The par 4's were truly awesome and honestly some of the best par 4's I have ever played.
10) Controlled Distance: This course has a lot of variety but the one thing that kept sticking out in my mind was "control your distance". This course has a few holes with low hanging branches near the teepad. You know the kind I am talking about: the branches you want to RIP down with a chainsaw because it doesn't allow you to BOMB your drive as far as you want it. These kind of shots really force you to think about the distance you want to throw and really forces you to strategize your way around the course. There's lot of variety between forehand, backhand, etc. As I said, this course really forces you to THINK THINK THINK. Think about where you want to land; think about where not to land; think about how far you can push the limit off of the tee.
Cons: Honestly this course doesn't have a lot of bad things going for it. After all, its a solid 4.5 in my book and Phenomenal courses don't have a lot to improve upon. Here are my cons:
1) Some of the navigation was a little confusing but this was not a huge con and it did not affect my rating. Just worth noting.
2) The course had many blind baskets. Even with the wonderful tee signs there was still some walking ahead to scout out the hole. The rough was also pretty rough so spotters would be advised on a few holes.
3) Some of the crossings of the creek were a little dangerous and could probably use some better bridges.
4) This course is a 4.5 - this one is not really a huge con but just something that could potentially make this course a 5.0. The greens on this course were pretty plain. There weren't any elevated baskets, swinging baskets, built up baskets, etc. This course is PHENOMENAL but one thing that has stood out to me regarding 5.0 courses are that they have EXTREMELY memorable greens and baskets. This course had nice greens but nothing stood out about this courses greens or baskets (ie, Idlewild and the beautiful rock built greens) that told me this course should be a 5.0. As I said, this is not really a huge con but more just a suggestion of what could make this course a 5.0.
5) This is not a huge con but more of just a nitpicky thing: Hole 18 was a little bit of a letdown. After playing such an epic course I expected 18 to be a monster par 5. PLEASE NOTE: With that in mind, this didn't take away from my rating of the course. If hole 1 and 18 were reversed (with hole 18 then being a monster par 5) I still wouldn't have given this course a 5.0 rating.
Other Thoughts: Honestly, the cons on this course are just so nitpicky. There is just not a lot wrong with this course. Some may say, this is a 5.0 course then! Its close, but its not quite there. It doesn't quite have the seclusion of Highbridge or the awesomeness of Flyboy or the natural beauty of Nockamixon. Its a PHENOMENAL course that is truly up there with the best courses in the country. It truly is a GEM to play.
PLEASE NOTE: I highly recommend playing the 9 hole recreational course first. Its a great warmup and it allows you to score well before being PULVERIZED and BEATEN into the ground by the Championship Course that is Centralia. I remember being so tired at the end of the round that the thought of playing another round was deep in my dreams. That means the course did a good job!
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 0 Not
The main course is delicious, but could give you heartburn
Pros: Superb course in a unique, private park that's open to the public.
• Disc Play: Wonderfully comprehensive and very challenging. Distance and precision are required to score well. Great variety as far as left/right/straight and S-shaped fairways. No massive elevation changes, but there's are some substantial uphill/downhill/gulley shots to make things interesting. Hole lengths come in long and longer, with a few shorter holes sprinkled in for good measure. Feels very well-wooded, but many of the long holes are open/semi open off the tee, only to get harrowing further down the fairway. While you really want to huck it to get down there, you need to either hit a window to get through the obstacles further down (assuming you can throw that far) or hit a landing spot for a decent upshot through to set up a good putt. Missing a landing spot could cost you a stroke. Missing the window on the fly during peak growth might cost you two, and possibly your disc. Demanding as they may be, all the holes are fair- rewards hitting fairways, punishes finding the rough. Risk reward is there - you can play it safe off the tee, or go for it. Also features some rollaway potential.
• Dual tees w/ rotating pin placements provide four ways to play (to bad both pins aren't permanent). Blue tees provide significantly tougher looks, but not necessarily that much more distance (half the additional distance of the blues comes on just four holes). The longer "B" placements stretch things out even more, and yes - they're tougher to get to.
• Equipment: Gateway Titans - catch great and built to last. Red tees are concrete, nice sized, grippy, and marked with easy to spot tee signs. Blues are still natural (as of this review), and marked with 2' posts tipped w/blue paint. Single tee signs show both red and blue tee locations plus both pin positions. Current pin placement is shown on the post. Everything was well maintained.
• Aesthetics - Not picturesque, but I thought it was quite pleasant to walk through, especially #'s 6-11 which play over/around the stream. Natural features like elevation and a winding stream are used very effectively to enhance challenge and visual appeal. There's a nice bridge to cross the stream at 7 and some concrete stepping stones to cross it again further along the course - both add a bit of charm.
• Memorable holes: # 8 made me LOL: There's a weird branch growing off a tree forming a U-shaped frame several feet wide, just in front of the red tee. Didn't notice anything about a mando, but it'd be hard to play the hole well without throwing through the U. Sign painted at the bottom of the U reads, "RIGHT NOW... I'm in your head." AWESOME!! Reminded me of the THINK sign on Flyboy #25. #1's an open bomb, but features a bottleneck you have to hit from a distance to score well. #7 plays over the stream (but at an angle, making it more difficult to get over) and has some great pin placements. There was just something about 12 I liked a lot.
• Navigation: There are a couple long walks and few tricky spots, but the holes on this course are worth it. I found my way around pretty easily once I got the hang of it and the map on the scorecard will get you where you need to be.
• Pairs well with Rec 9 to take things to the next level (and then some). Having another course that plays to a different skill level in the same park is a big plus
• Separate scorecards for the blue and red tees w/map at kiosk are a nice touch.
• Bathroom near start/finish.
• Thoughtfully located across the street from St Mary's Hospital, where trained medical personnel can resuscitate you after you tally your score. Staff has experience treating severely bruised egos as well.
Cons: Not much to complain about.
• Personally glad they poured concrete for the reds first, but this course really needs concrete for the blues (park employee told me they're coming this year).
• Oddly enough, I think one of Champ 18's biggest cons results from the confluence of several individual things they got right:
Love the Gateway Titans, but $#%! are they hard to spot when they're tucked away... well into the woods... some 500+ ft away. It's like playing "Where's Waldo." This course demands both distance and placement. That requires knowing exactly where the target is to have any hope placing a drive that sets you up for par or better. The problem's only compounded by multiple pin placements. I literally spent more time scouting ahead for baskets and back than I did looking for the next tee. With this many holes over 500, it gets old - fast. Call me a wimp, but you do enough walking playing a 9000' course - you shouldn't have to tack on another 3000 just spotting baskets... and I played early in the season, before the foliage had a chance to grow in. ANY splash of bright color would be a HUGE help. Paint the poles or the basket, add a flag - something! Locals may not care, but this place is well worth visiting, and when you're travelling, playing several courses a day, it's aggravating as hell- especially when there are easy solutions.
Other Thoughts: The highlight of my trip to the St. Louis area, Foundation Champ 18 gets my "destination worthy" stamp, but plan accordingly. Championship all the way, beginners sure to get frustrated. Not sure I completely agree with with the score card's Par of 70, but get the idea of "everything's a par 3" right the hell outta your head - you ain't shooting 54 here. No doubt in my mind this course can create scoring separation among top level players. I was in over my head playing reds to B's; carded an 80, and loved it.
For 18 holes, this course plays looong; the shortest layout (Red to A) averages just over 430'/hole, while the longest (Blue to B) clocks in at over 600'/hole. Mix in the degree of difficulty and there's simply no rushing through this bad boy, so don't plan on it. It was cool the morning I played, but I wouldn't want to play here on a hot, humid afternoon. Bring plenty of water and maybe an apple or other energy boost. This is a big course and can take a lot out of you - it's hard to finish strong when you're gassed.
Park employee I ran into told me another park employee is very active in the local club and it makes sense. Moving through the course, I saw a lots of thorny rough that had been pruned, underbrush cleared away in likely trouble spots and things were clean. When people care, it shows.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful.
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