A gem with a few flaws
3 Helpful / 0 Not
- OUTSTANDING layout. I mean it....it's really phenomenal and if it had alternate pads, better baskets, and was mowed a little more on the regular, this course would be an easy 4.5 if not a 5. Set in the rolling hills that comprise Jasper County, Lewis Club Park (affectionately shortened to simply "Colfax" to us locals) literally gives you everything a die-hard disc golfer could hope for in a course: Valleys; long, open, downhill bombs; short, tight shots through the woods that test your accuracy; uphill shots that test your power; water & shule hazards; lefty dreamer shots; and sick, adrenaline-pumping ace runs make this course an instant classic. Allow me to delve into a couple specifics:
#1 gives you a taste for what you're about to take on, starting off with a shot over what I call "the valley." Uphill from the tee, you've got to keep it high enough to clear the hill without fading into the OB tennis court, and low enough to beat the hill without cut-rolling to the left or turning over into the bushes in the neighboring backyards.
The difference between the pin locations on #2 are so extreme that it makes for a completely different hole, requiring a completely different shot....but both positions are really fun. It's downhill from the tee regardless, but the short position is on a hill that slopes right while the long position is at the bottom of the hill protected by trees and both have a fence that's OB on the right.
#3 is a shot over the creek to a pin a little ways up the hill, but the long shule on the left in the summertime make finding your disc a trek worthy of Indiana Jones should you fail to get that beautiful S-curve we chuckers so enjoy. Creek is obviously OB here, but the OB fence on #2 carries all the way up the hill so you don't want to be right, either.
#4 is a short, fun little ace run on flat terrain, but if you misjudge your shot and it fades too hard or kicks left off the basket, you'll have to climb down a ravine to retrieve your plastic. And if it's in the water you're probably better off re-teeing because that hill is STEEP.
#5 is a test of your power. A long, straight, uphill shot in a very well-defined fairway with long shule on either side, it takes *really* big arm to even have a run at a deuce. Most players will four this hole...which, in my opinion, is par.
#6 is a LONG, gradual downhill bomb that finishes to the right. "Lefty Dreamer" in the disc golf dictionary redirects to this hole. Another par four (IMNSHO), it has the long shule from #5 and the creek you cross on #3 to the left, and another fence that's OB to the right. If you stay in the fairway this hole is ridiculously fun; if you end up in the shule or the water you're gonna have a bad time.
#7 is another fun, slightly uphill possible ace run that crosses that creek from 3 & 4. However, instead of being open like 4, you have a very tight window to make it to the pin. If you miss, your disc will either end up in the creek or on the steep crevasse that guards the green. I don't use the word 'crevasse' lightly here; you can literally snap your ankle on the rocks on the hill and burn 500 calories before you hole out here. Extreme caution is advised.
#8 is an homage to North Carolina: a tight shot through the woods slightly downhill that finishes left with an OB fence behind the basket, a deft touch is required and accuracy is paramount.
#9: "The Worst Hole in the 515" is what I call this monstrosity. Playing extremely uphill from the tee, you have to make it to the plateau about 225 feet away to even have a hope for an upshot. That doesn't sound like much, but the elevation change here makes it play more like 300...and you're throwing at almost a 45 degree angle. With woods, shule, and nasty, thorny bushes on either side of the 15-foot wide "fairway," if you're not in the short grass it's bad news and your best play is to lay up to the flat landing area at the top of the hill. Once you make it to the plateau you have a downhill look at the pin, but it's on a hill and guarded by the shule and woods and overall nastiness that line the "fairway" off the tee. A seriously messed up test of your abilities. If you take a four on this hole, count your blessings and move on.
....I'll skip the rest except to mention the two most fun holes within a 30-mile radius: #12 and #17: Both start at the top of a HUGE hill, but #12 has an island pin that (for most people) requires a driver while #17 most can reach with a mid. They're both empty-your-bad type holes that really allow you time to enjoy the flight of your disc and root for those chains. Just good, clean fun.
- Grippy concrete teepads and relatively easy to navigate.
- Straight through 18. There's no logical way to play a quick 9 without a serious walk. You could play 1, 2 & 18, but Colfax doesn't lend itself to a quick few holes. You're pot-committed, so to speak; but I suppose if you drove all the way there you intended to be. Point is, if you just wanted to check out a couple of the stand-out shots be prepared for some exercise.
- Amenities lacking. No alternate tees, very few benches, and pretty far from town. Alcohol use is prohibited here as well.
- Crappy baskets. Single "chained," pseudo-DisCatchers that may or may not have been made in a third-world country. The "chains" (such as they are) are flimsy, almost plastic-like abominations that don't catch well at all. Spit-outs are common and exceedingly frustrating.
- CRAZY foliage. It's disc golf: throwing Frisbees in the woods. I get it...there's bugs and pointy plants and lions and tigers and bears (oh my!). I'm not saying this is anything out of the ordinary, but since this course doesn't get a mani/pedi with any regularity, I implore you - if you're one of those who likes to wear flip-flops or some other manner of open-toe foot appendage - wear shoes if you're going to play this course. Between mad briars, wicked thorn bushes, and crazy shule blooming out of the ground like the devil's botanical Bellagio, you WILL be sorry if you don't wrap your piggies in some Kevlar.
- No topless Hooter's girls frolicking along the #8 fairway.
Colfax is a true gem of a course that has all the potential of a Championship-level course if it were just given some new equipment and a little more TLC. Despite these petulant gripes from a disc golf snob who's been spoiled by the outstanding courses in Des Moines, Lewis Club Park is eminently playable and empirically fun. As I said before, it could be an easy 4.5 with a little money thrown at it and regular grooming. Anyone who enjoys the game should do themselves a favor and make the trek to Colfax to play it. Verily I say unto you, this course is worth the trip out of your way.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
15 Wonderful Holes!
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: 15 great holes! Variety of shots in distance and line.
Great elevation also.
Extremely well maintained, clean, good signage. Nicely cut fairways with rough left high. Mowed paths from basket to next hole where needed.
Cons: 3 terrible holes that just don't fit...8,9,10. In fact I talked to some players who say they just skip them and play it as a 15 holer. I missed them the first few times I played and it was a better day.
Honestly they could be made to fit and finish this course very well if someone would put a little work into knocking some trees down and a quick mow.
Take a map.
Any other course and they might not be so glaring.
Other Thoughts: It is definitely worth taking the time to play, and could be the top course in Central Iowa with just a little work.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Bring a spotter
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: 1. A very challenging course, uses of elevation and nature keep it challenging.
2. Nature and scenery are a very nice feature as your traveling to the next Tee.
Cons: 1. Narrow lanes next to Predator style nature so if you don't have a spotter expect to lose plastic.
2. Extremly confusing layout until you located hole 1.
3. Most of the signs are gone from the Tee's however the basket number is etched into the concrete. With the elevation and blind baskets you've got to run the hole before you can throw it. Major pain for a first time go threw.
Other Thoughts: This park has a lot of potential and could be made great. I wouldn't recommend it for most players, especially the first 9 holes out in the timber. My friend and I who have been golfing together for years played this course for the first time this year and do not intend to go back. I will admit the last holes of the course were alot of fun shooting up and down large hills, you can really let your drivers fly. The workout was also great treking around in the timber.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Talk about a nice surprise in small town Iowa! This town had small town Iowa written all over it. It had the awesome small town pizza place (Georgino's...check it out) a cow pasture next to the course (literally ten feet off of the fairway of number 6) and everything else that screams small town Iowa.
For such a small town I was really impressed with how nice the course was. Here are my pros:
1) You can tell the course gets some nice love and attention. For being in such a small town 30 minutes outside of Des Moines it was groomed very well.
2) Design: The design of the course was awesome, save for a few holes. See below. The design really flowed well and was a lot of fun.
3) Navigation: It was super easy to get around this course. We didn't get lost once and found every tee very easily. Navigation is huge for me and this course is a solid A for navigation.
4) Signature Holes: This course had two really memorable holes, the ones you lay awake at night thinking about. The ones where you want to throw multiple discs. This course had two awesome downhill holes (12 and 17). 12 was a little longer (it played probably 400 feet) while 17 was shorter and played shorter (it probably played 340 feet). Both were significantly downhill and had very open fairways so the only obstacle was really judging the distance correctly. This didn't take away from these holes at all. These holes were a joy to throw. Hole 12 was even more interesting in that there is a little path that makes the green into an island and if you play a tournament there you play it as an island green. Pretty fun!
5) Beauty: The park was very scenic and beautiful. Like a lot of Central Iowa, the course was set in a park with nice rolling hills. This really made for some great views.
6) Elevation: I love a course with elevation and this course is not lacking for it. I can only count 3 holes that did not have some kind of elevation. Elevation really adds a lot to the design of a disc golf course and it was evident here.
7) Fun Factor: This course was a lot of fun. The course only really had one wooded hole and the rest were more open (though the rough was pretty gnarly...more on that below). This made the course quite a bit of fun. A lot of courses force you to grind your way through the round but this course offers some easy holes and some fun holes and that really compliments the par 4's nicely.
8) Other: The park also had a great park pool that was located right next to the parking lot for the disc golf course. Is there anything better than playing disc golf in 90 degree Iowa heat and then jumping into the pool? No. No there is not.
Favorite hole not mentioned above: Hole 14 was probably the best designed hole on the course, in my opinion. That may sound silly considering its so short, but the design was perfect. Its a short downhill shot with the basket directly behind a v-shaped tree. Its downhill all the way, including the green area, and so most shots are probably going to go long unless you want to get "cute" with it and try to finagle something up there. This is a great hole because even though its short the typical shot is going to go long unless you want to take a risk and try to go easy on it which could bring in some of the branches or trees on the hole. Case in point...during a tournament I 3'd this hole both times after going long about 30 feet both rounds. My drive both rounds literally went right under the basket (both were ace runs) and so that's a great hole.
Cons: I rated this course a 3.5 rating, which is considered Very Good. I would strongly consider a 4.0 rating if a few of these cons were taken care of:
1) The baskets were single chain baskets that did not catch well. During a tournament that I recently played at the course I witnessed multiple dead center spitouts. That's no fun. Upgrading these baskets would go a long way to making this course more enjoyable.
2) Many of the holes were missing tee signs. Fortunately the number was engraved on the concrete so you know you were playing the right hole but a lot of times you were simply guessing on the distance.
3) The course did have a few holes that I didn't personally like. Hole 4 was a little confusing. It was a 180 foot, flat hole with no obstacles besides the rough. The walk between hole 3 and hole 4 was about 250 feet and there looked to be some nice areas for a teepad for hole 4. Instead you walked down the hill into the flat area and played a very easy hole. Case in point: During a tournament round on the cards I was on, we had ten scores on that hole and had 10 deuces. Its a throwaway hole but oh well. Also I was not a fan of hole 11. Its a 370 foot, sharply uphill par 3. Its really a tweener hole, as a deuce is very unlikely while a 4 is probably not going to happen for a good player. I would have maybe tried to make the hole shorter or longer to either make it a true par 3 or a true par 4.
4) Rough: The rough was rough. We are talking rough as in "I want to go home" rough. Rough as in the worst first date possible rough. Rough as in you'd rather hear someone scratch a chalkboard for a half hour than go in the rough. The rough was a literal disc eater. This rough eats disc for breakfast, elevensies, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and desert. Over two rounds a buddy of mine and I lost 4 discs (we are both rated 980). Two were returned because we were playing a tournament with over 90 players and other players were undoubtedly looking for discs in the rough. We heard of many disc casualties that day. Spotters are recommended on holes 2, 3, 6, 9 and 11. Hole 7 is a short hole with a ravine splitting the tee pad and the green. DO NOT go in this ravine. Its a 20 foot drop to a conglomerate mess of concrete blocks, pipes, rocks, thorns and everything else you can think of. Its like Mordor but worse. Don't throw your disc down there. There are so many crevices and spots to lose your disc down there.
Other Thoughts: Don't let the cons take anything away from this course: the actual course is a 4.0 in my opinion. Between the baskets, tee signs and brutal rough I felt like I should ease the rating to a 3.5. This course is right off of the interstate and well worth the trip. Its only a few minutes from Interstate 80.
NOTE: The bugs were really bad the day we played. Bring bug spray!
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
So close to a 4.0
Pros: - Convenient parking, right next to the school, Hole #1 starts right there, and #18 ends right there as well.
- Good tee pads, with the number stamped in. Always helpful.
- Nice bright orange baskets with blue poles (school colors I assume). Signs show two pin locations for many holes.
- GREAT use of the land - most used with the sole purpose of disc golf. That's always awesome.
- Quite a few holes play along a deep creek/drainage area. Makes for some very cool shots, and challenge.
- #3 - 6 play on some undulating ground with a few big farm-field trees as obstacles. Very nice, aside from the amount of rough (see cons).
- In general, some nice wooden bridges and walking paths between holes. I played when it was quite soggy, and only had one muddy spot at #7.
- Speaking of, #7 is SICK. Shoots over the creek, uphill, with only a very small shot window between two trees about 150 feet out. Maybe a 20 foot gap? Really no other options, aside from laying up with a 100 foot flick. One of the coolest (and hardest) holes on the course. Hitting a tree puts you 20 feet down into the creek.
- #11 a blind, up and over the hill shot. Listed at 370, plays more like a par 4.
- #12 a huge par 3 bomb, straight down the hill. I played the shorter pin placement, which was to the left. Fine, but the fun one would have been in the straight away position.
Cons: - Signs missing from many tee pads.
- #2 was built right along some private property and is real close. No trespassing signs indicate that way too many discs make it over the fence line into the farmyard.
- #15 plays along that same creek, but essentially with a park road as your entire fairway, until about 200 feet out. Which is fine, but the sign lists the road as OB. Which is fine, but with the creek on the left, you then must play right...with puts #16 tee directly in play. I doubt anyone plays the road as OB. Just a bit funky.
- I played early in the year, with the prairie grass short and lying down. I can see this being a VERY frustrating course with the grass tall. I had a hard enough time with the amount that was there, lying down. I honestly don't know that I'll want to play this course mid-summer if the grass is high. Especially #9, which is completely blind over the hill, with a teeny tiny mowed path for a fairway. Almost knocks my rating down 0.25 itself.
- Probably the worst thing for me on this course was getting to #17, a super long bomber that I could see coming up...only for the basket to be completely missing. What a bummer.
- On #18, they are pouring the foundations for something essentially right in front of the tee pad. I don't know if it's for horseshoes, or for some statues, or what. But it will be an issue for any RHFH drivers, and most left handed players, BH or FH. I hope it's not anything taller than a couple feet.
Other Thoughts: - This is probably better than a 3.5 course, but it's just not a 4.0. Not with a missing basket, no signs, and the rough. Course layout is great though, with some really neat holes. I hope to visit again sometime, with the course in tip-top shape, and hope to increase my rating.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Great course in a small town
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: *Excellent variety of wooded and open holes. *Good use of elevation.
*Two open downhill bomber holes.
*Course is in a small town and never crowded, in fact if you see more than 1 other group there I'd be surprised.
*Only about 3 minutes off of I-80 so if you're going through Iowa on I-80 stop by for a round.
*My favorite holes:
Hole 1: Pretty simple hole from tee to putting area but the basket is placed on a severe hill that slopes down from right to left making most putts pretty scary. I've had many roll away putts on this hole.
Hole 2: Relatively tight tunnel shot with o.b. on the right and trees on the left.
Hole 4: Nice easy 240' straight shot although if you're off too far left, right, or long you'll find yourself in the creek.
Hole 6: Fun, long hole that plays downhill over rolling hills. O.B. fence on the right that doesn't come in to play for righties much but as a lefty I've been over it a few times.
Hole 7: Short uphill hole over a creek. Many trees in the creek area so you have to avoid them or wind up looking at a bogey or worse.
Hole 8: I call this the "question mark hole" because of its fairway shape. Tight wooded hole that goes straight, curves right, then comes back left at the end. Tough hole for a lefty to get close.
Hole 10: Fun downhill shorter hole that is a lefty hole. O.B. on the right but a wide open lane on the left.
Hole 12: WIDE OPEN downhill bomber, I guarantee you'll throw more than one disc and maybe even empty your bag here.
Hole 17: 2nd wide open downhill bomber, you'll probably throw more than one disc here too.
Cons: *The course is most fun for me to play in the fall or spring. In the summer the rough gets to be around 4' high which is a real hassle if you throw into it. The long rough is in play on holes 3, 5, 6, and 9-14. I probably won't play this course in the summer again even though I love it and I'm only 15 minutes away, the rough is that bad.
*Very dangerous crossing area on hole 7. You have to make a small jump of about a foot and a half from a grassy area to a large chunk of asphalt. The jump itself isn't a huge jump but it is about a 15-20' drop to the creek so if you miss it (I haven't heard of anyone missing it) you will more than likely be messed up pretty good. *EDIT - There is now a very sturdy bridge that was placed here right before the tournament late July 2013.
*Hole 15. This hole is almost impossible for a short throwing lefty. It's about 270' with a heavily wooded creek on the left and o.b. road on the right. The hole is on the left side of the road, same as the teepad. The line to the hole is a big righty hyzer that glides over the road and comes back. If you're a lefty without a 270' anhyzer shot your best play is to throw a putter 80' ahead and then try your luck from there. I absolutely hate this hole.
*Holes 13, 14, and 16 aren't all that exciting but they're still okay.
*Course signs show that most of the holes have an alternate basket position but they've been in the same place every single time I've played there so I'm pretty sure they don't change them. Not really a complete "con" I guess since I like the basket positions.
*There is a shelter for gatherings not too far from the basket on hole 12 so if there is something going on you more than likely have to skip that hole.
*There is a playground that can come in to play just to the left of the fairway for 17, a long downhill hole.
*Homemade baskets that aren't the best at catching. My friends and I call spit outs "getting Colfaxed" now no matter what course we're at now.
Other Thoughts: A very fun course. If you live in the Des Moines area and are in to disc golf you've probably played this course but if not you need to. Might not be the best course for someone just learning, they could possibly lose a disc or two or at least spend a ton of time looking for discs. I've taken a friend who is relatively new though and he does just fine. The course record is 43 by Tanner Duncan (discwrangler on DGCR) during the 1st round of a 2012 tournament. That was a 1076 rated round so good luck beating that score. **Update** New course record is 42 by Matt Fausch during the 1st round of the 2014 tourney. That round was part of a 1080 rated round (there were two temp holes added but he played the original 18 holes in 42 shots).
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Favorite Course in Central IA
Pros: Brilliant setup, uses the space very well. Has a wide variety of shots that utilize some great changes in elevation. Lots of big risk/reward type shots and blind tee shots. Accuracy is a must. There is a creek winding through the whole course that adds to the difficulty. Beautiful tight fairways that are always well kept, and long grass on either side that proves a good obstacle. The course had good concrete tee pads and a layout that is fairly easy to follow. One of Iowa's best kept secrets. I rarely encounter more than a few other disc golfers while playing here. This really is a first rate course, and by far my favorite in this part of Iowa.
Cons: Not a lot of cons. The baskets are single chain, (which doesn't bother me that much) and some of the hole signs are broken or missing, which kinda sucks. The brush in the creek is really thick with with a lot of thorns, so don't throw OB!
Other Thoughts: Just a great course that doesn't get played enough. It is a little bit "out there" but it is more than worth the drive!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: This is a fun course in a sprawling park. Most of the holes bring elevation into play, with some big downhill bombers where you'll want to empty your bag and some long tough uphills. You really have to think about how the hills and elevation will affect disc flight to be successful here. A few pins are on slopes and offer tricky rollaway potential.
There is nice length variety, especially with some playing longer or shorter than their measured length due to the hills. The holes that play through the more wooded area offer some nice line shaping challenges, and a few others have enough mature trees in the fairway to have similar challenges. The rough lining many of the fairways adds an element of risk if you miss your shot placement, you can easily add strokes in the ravines and thick brush in some areas.
Cons: There are some areas with long grass rough, I'm not a big fan of that as an obstacle on disc golf courses. It adds time and frustration without adding much challenge to your next shot if you end up off the fairway. This is worst on a couple blind holes with prairie grass in the landing zones, making spotters a necessity if you don't want to be searching. Too many of the holes feel pretty open for my tastes, the elevation is a lot of fun but I like to have to hit tighter fairways and more defined lines than what this course offers for the most part.
Other Thoughts: Beginners will find the rough and the creeks a bit daunting, and there is some length here. More experienced players will find some nice challenges and will definitely enjoy the couple downhill bombs. This course isn't one I would play all the time, but it's a fun stop that I would recommend if you're in the area.
4 of 9 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Wide variety of shots - including long downhill shots, steep, wooded, uphill shots, short precision-based hazard challenges, etc.
Mowed fairway - adds structure and challenge.
Trash cans throughout course.
Cons: No bridge across deep ravine for one hole - dangerous to cross.
Missing signs at some holes.
One long, downhill shot has a small playground within range that can make driving dangerous if kids are playing.
Other Thoughts: This is my favorite course to play. If it wasn't for the few minor drawbacks, this course would be an easy 5.0. The shot variety is amazing, and will require you to use every aspect of your game. The course is usually very quiet, well mowed, and clean.
NOTE: Located within a drug free zone (2x penalties) - if that applies to you.
1 of 4 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: This is one of the best courses I've ever played, and its much more than I expected. I was playing with 4 buddies on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, and virtually no one else was playing. The entire time, we only saw two other guys and that was at the end of our game. This course offers a ton of variety. It includes multiple downhill bombers, tight wooded shots, long winding fairways, short open shots, and hazardous shots with a creek, thick rough, and an electric fence along the property line. The care taken to this course is immaculate. Every hole had a defined, well-mowed fairway (a rare dg feature). The fairways were approximately 80' wide on average, ranging in size. Lining each fairway is semi-thick rough. Its not too bad as far as finding your disc... its just terrible footing for your next throw to go in the rough. The typical rough was nothing more than 2' weeds. I just can't believe the care taken:people playing ratio. It's like no one knows this amazing course is here!
Cons: The electric fence is kinda uncool on hole #2... it kinda throws ya off cuz you don't wanna throw over the fence so badly. Too bad the other property owner has to be a dick
Other Thoughts: This was my favorite course on my recent "disc golf road trip" in which I hit up Maytag Park (Newton, IA), Grandview Park, and Ewing Park (Des Moines, IA), and this one.
6 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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