Rockin' By The Rock River
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Good shot variety, course will test every aspect of your game by the end
- Gorgeous park setting is a pleasure to play through
- Good course equipment with occasional benches by some tees
- Elevation change is used to great effect on many fairways and greens
Cons: - Middle section of the course can be a bit repetitive
- Identifying the current basket position can be difficult on several fairways
- Odd routing towards the end of the course
Other Thoughts: Sinnissippi Park in Sterling is a gorgeous park overlooking the Rock River. This is a multi-use park with multiple walking paths, playgrounds, and pavilions, but disc golf is the focus for much of the park, and opportunities for conflict with other park users is fairly limited. A few fairways play along or over roads or walking paths, but traffic has always been low during my rounds, and any waits for other park users to move out of the way were minimal. The course is well maintained and a pleasure to walk through.
Over its 24-hole layout Sinnissippi will challenge just about every aspect of your game. Low ceilings are frequently a defining feature, and being able to have your disc finish both left and right without high hyzer/anhyzer routes is important. Those with a strong roller game will find many holes to their benefit. Elevation change is present on many holes, with baskets frequently placed on treacherous greens, speed control and placement is just as important as being able to throw for distance to score well here. The course starts and ends great, but a run of fairly typical, flatter, parks style fairways in the middle of the course can get a bit repetitive. That said, I don't think there are really any bad holes, with the possible exception of the completely open Hole 9. Hole 5 is a fantastic signature hole downhill over a creek to an island green.
Routing can be a bit odd after Hole 18, so much so that a recent tournament changed the order of the last 6 holes as well as using an alternate, temporary Hole 21. So, maybe bring a picture of the course map your first time through. The baskets on the last 6 holes are also a bit odd with lighter chains, though I didn't experience any issues with chain-outs or spit-throughs. The rest of the equipment is in good shape, a few more benches would be nice, but not a big deal. As many other reviewers have noted, however, a system for indicating which basket locations is currently in use would be great. Even when you are able to see the basket, telling which position it is in is not always easy. This is partly a result of there being 3+ positions not all that far from each other, and partly due to the signs being slightly unclear in their depiction of the fairway.
Sinnissippi is a great course with enough variety and challenge to appeal to a wide variety of disc golfers. It won't beat down recreational players too badly, and won't bore more advanced players, with several holes that are fun to throw over and over again. I've enjoyed each of my rounds here, and the pleasant scenery is a great bonus.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Sinfully Delicious Course
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: The course is more than modestly wooded, the front 9 highly technical and challenging. As open as many fairways might appear from the tee, the middle of those fairways will contain well places trees and the greens will be very well guarded. You are going to have to bring your 'A' game for approaches (and it won't hurt to be long and accurate off the tee). My personal favorites are the blind 3rd and the highly technical 8th, which comes to an elevated pin mounted in the stump of a dual trunk tree. Stunning.
The back 9 appears more open, but again the trees are well integrated into the fairway and green design and each hole is well protected. Any sense of sameness on the back 9 is mitigated by the wide variety of distances that alternate nicely, and by the variety of left, right and straight shots you will have to make.
Cons: The course is extremely flat.
This old guy is a little put off by SIX holes in the extreme distance range (400-520), but I guess that's part of the challenge when you get older: making pars on the holes that even the bombers will have difficulty with when the design is so guarded.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Good for a fun round
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: - A great multitude of pin positions, particularly on the front 9, and then also through #18. Very different lines for all. I used multiple drive-types the whole round.
- Great distance variety throughout the course. Hole to hole, and even within holes on different placements.
- Good tee pads. Three obvious generations, front 9, back 9, last 6. Front 9 are deteriorating a little, but serviceable.
- Good baskets on the first 18. Older, well-loved, but definitely in serviceable condition.
- #5 - this is definitive hole of the course. 300 ft downhill shot to a shallow brook, which creates a natural peninsula "island green" 5 feet below on the opposite side. Wide variety of great pin locations, all great. Actually kind of a shame this comes so early in the course.
- #21 - great rolling fairway along a hillside peppered with mature trees. A couple lines to take here, with the more direct route having a greater risk for rollaways. Love that design fundamental.
- #22 - short hole, but picturesque, requiring you to pass a tree gap in a gully 50 feet out. Nice.
- #23 - certainly one of the more scenic and better hole designs on the course. Great approach and green alongside a natural limestone wall. Relatively a short hole, but difficult enough to make up for it.
Cons: - Flow of the course is not very good. (Although thanks to good tee signs, navigation is just fine. Note my differentiation between the two.) Just not very intuitive, quite a few long walks in the 2nd half of the course and final 6.
- Quite the long walk from #24 back to parking at #1. I'm sure this was better than re-numbering the entire course for better flow (which could be done), but with such and old course, usually best not change it up.
- Relatively repetitive middle of the course, #9 - #20.
- A number of safety hazards concerning fairways and walking/biking paths. #2, #3 (big time), #5 (big time), and #23. #23 is a great looking hole, but holy cow could you nail a walker or biker. Probably not with a straight on drive, but a bad tree kick or knockdown can fall right onto the path below you, 80 feet in front of the tee. Plus players finishing this hole have to walk back up to the next hole via this route. I did not see any warning signage for non-players. The roads throughout the park are also in play on many holes.
- No markers for pin placement, which was a huge pain on the front 7. With so many options, and all of these holes being essentially blind, it amounted in a huge amount of frustration for me. While frustrating for a first-timer, I'll bet it's annoying to locals when basket positions are changed as well (if ever).
- Not a huge fan of the Disc Nation baskets installed on 19 - 24. Certainly is a sudden change after the first 18, with the lighter chains. Did have 1 spit-out.
Other Thoughts: - I threw a lot of rollers in the middle of this course, which was repetitive for me. I don't even have the best rollers in my arsenal. But I'm just not a good enough player to feel confident in hitting the lines around all the mature trees for good distance. Some very low green ceilings as well in this part of the course.
- I think it's pretty obvious to see the evolution of this course, which is neat. The front 8 is probably original, with the old #9 tee pad still in place, which obviously sent you back to the parking lot and #1. Then the back 9 was added for a full 18, and then these final 6 recently.
- The front 9 itself would be one of the best 9-holers I've ever played, if it was stand-alone. The addition of the next 9 was a good addition, but not a great one. The last 6 are a solid addition that really end the course on a high note, particularly from a visual/scenic perspective! Great job.
- I'm very torn on rating this course. 24 holes + some good visuals + signage + multiple pins...all fantastic stuff. But over half of the holes are very bland, and only a few holes that I found grand in their design. In general, avoiding mature trees is the name of the game, as it is in most community park courses. This is probably better than most 3.5 park courses, but it's unfortunately just not quite a 4.0 for me.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
A regional standard
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: 1) The first 8 and the last 5 holes are the highlight. As has been mentioned, Hole 5 is probably the standout, though I think I like the tee shots on 7 and 18 more and would play these holes all day if I could. Holes 20 through 23 can all produce big scoring swings as they are relatively short but require tight lines and pose major hazards to errant shots.
2)Probably the biggest plus for this course is that it can be played and enjoyed by players of all skill levels--a tough feat to pull off from a design standpoint. I would rate its difficulty as intermediate, but presents enough length to give the stronger players places to stretch out their arms, but it is not so punishing that it will be frustrating for the rec players.
3)It's a well-maintained course. And because it's mostly open, it doesn't become overgrown with poison ivy and nettles during summer like some of the other good courses in the area.
4) Pin placements keep the course fresh. I don't know how often they are changed, but it seems to be every couple of months.
5)I feel the length is appropriate, and most of the longer holes play downhill
Cons: In spite of everything good about it--and there is a lot-- this still feels like a city park course to me. There are a lot of unique, exciting holes, but they are mixed with an equal number of the mundane flat, straight holes where you throw around a tree or something that are prevalent in city park courses.
-A concealed walking path cuts across fairways in a couple places. (5 and 23 are the most glaring examples) On 5 in particular, a low laser-beam type shot could really hurt someone.
-Hard to know what placement the pin is in (see other thoughts). A lot of the pin placements are similar to one another, maybe 30-50 feet different and since the course is relatively open it's tough to gauge distance. Even as many times as I have played the course, I still choose the wrong disc 3-4 times when playing a new layout. Also, on the back 6 the pins will occasionally be in positions not indicated by the signs
Other Thoughts: Simple solution to helping players identify what position the pins are in: update the bulletin board whenever the layout is changed.
I always have a good time playing here, and I plan to keep coming back.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Well manicured park, beautiful landscape
- Baskets were aged but all kept in good condition(didnt notice any unattached chains or bent baskets)
-Tee pads were aged but all worked perfectly fine
-Tee signs were very nice
-Multiple pin placements, this is awesome if you frequent this course regularly.
- Course design forces you to use many different shots.
-Short and long technical holes but also has plenty opportunity to launch some drives on more open fairways.
-Fair amount of garbage cans
-Fair amount of benches/picnic tables
Cons: -walkpaths cutting through fairways on some holes
-no tape on baskets or anything to direct you to the next hole AFTER you finish a hole.(there were arrows on the tee signs but i suffer from severe short term memory loss so by the time i'm finishing up a hole i can barely remember what par it is)
-mulitple pin placements were confusing at times and made the round take a bit longer than expected. some sort of indicator on the tee signs and this is definitely a 4/5 course
Other Thoughts: We had a great time playing this course and will definitely be back. If you're playing this course from out of town as we were, definitely check out Air Play Sports in downtown Sterling. Very nice selection of discs and accessories.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 5 Not
LOVE this course!!!!!
Pros: 1. Great mix of distances...short, medium, and long holes
2. Manicured city park...guys were cutting and weed-eating the day I played...super beautiful!
3. Holes 5 and 23...you want to throw them over and over and over...
4. You have to throw several shots...hyzers, anhyzers, straignt, uphill, downhill, spikes, ceilings...
5. Choices...multiple lines with varying degree of risk and reward on most holes
6. Multiple pin locations
This is easily in my top 5 courses played!
Cons: This course is 900 miles from Denver...wish I could pick the whole thing up and drop it where I live!
Other Thoughts: Highly recommend this course!
2 of 7 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The best thing I can say about Sinnissippi is that its a course that will make you a better player. It forces you to throw a lot of different shots: long bomber shots, low ceiling shots, rollers, sidearms, putter shots, etc etc.
The course is truly a fun course that really tests every aspect of your game. Its a mostly open park but the obstacles are placed well to really make you think. You can stand on a hole and think that a certain shot is the best shot and realize there are two more options off of the tee.
The course has many different alternate pin locations. This is both a pro and a con. See below for the con. Some holes have between 4 and 6 alternate pins. There are so many different options with this course that it truly is mind boggling. The difference in the amount of strokes between the hardest setup and the easiest setup could easily exceed 8 to 9 shots.
The course features 24 holes and that's a good thing here because the extra 6 holes are nice holes. Hole 23 in particular is just a fun hole to throw. Its straight downhill with a huge rock cliff to the right. Hole 20 is also one of the more interesting and scary holes you will throw, as it dives straight downhill from the teepad to one of the fastest greens you will ever play. Hole 5 is probably the signature hole, a blind, downhill hole to an amazing island green.
You can really tell that a lot of effort has been put into the course. The tee-signs are phenomenal, the maintenance of the course is great and the alternate pins really show a lot of hard work and dedication.
Cons: There's not a lot of bad things with this course but there are a few things worth mentioning:
While the alternate pins are great, they are maddening in one regard: you just don't know what you are playing on any given day. When I played the course my buddy and I were beyond frustrated that we had to continue to walk ahead (sometimes walking nearly 3/4 of the hole) just to find the location of the basket on that day. In particular, the first half of the course really had some blind shots and required a lot of searching for what position the basket was in that day. This could easily be fixed by a simple "washer" system on the tee signs, along the lines of what Highbridge Hills features. Simply place a screw on the sign for each pin and place a washer next to that day's pin. We spent a lot of time walking up the fairways to location the position of the basket and it was frustrating. I will say that the back half of the course was fairly easy because most of the holes were not blind shots.
The baskets are beginning to wear and are showing their age. We had a few putts go right through the chains and you can tell by looking at the baskets that they are older.
Other Thoughts: This is an area of Illinois with not too much in terms of disc golf, and having a course like this is a huge bonus. This is a phenomenal course with a great setting. Kudos to the area for putting in and maintaining such a nice disc golf course!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Sinnissippi seems to be one of the area's more popular courses, and I made sure to stop by on my way home from Iowa this past weekend. Here's what I liked about the course:
*Decent golf, particularly toward the beginning of the round. Hole one was a blast.
*24 holes! If you are looking at this review then you probably like disc golf, which means that more disc golf is viewed as a good thing :)
*Nice mix of shots demanded. There are short holes and long, hyzers and anhyzers. Everything that a good disc golf course should have without the intensity of a super wooded course.
*Beginner friendly... as mentioned above, this is not a super wooded course where a beginner can lose their discs or get thorns in their leg etc. If you are the type of person who is considering taking a girl disc golfing on a date, then this may be the course for you!
*Signs and teepads seemed to be in good condition.
*Scenic views of the Rock River surround the course, so make sure to take some time to walk around the park and enjoy the view before or after your round.
Cons: I had heard quite a lot about this course prior to my round here and everything I heard gave me reason to have high hopes. I'd even heard golfers proclaim that this course was among the best in Illinois.
Unfortunately, this course did not live up to the hype, and I would NOT consider it to be in the top 15 courses in IL. Here's what led to my disillusionment:
*Safety... This is a very dangerous course that interacts heavily with park traffic. The best golf holes on the course are holes 1-5, but these holes cross walking paths, go near pavilions, and in general make no attempt to isolate themselves from the rest of the park. Many pins are either next to streets or in line of fire from other holes.
*None of the holes here blew my mind. They were slightly above average for a public community park but after the first few holes there was no elevation change, and most holes are fairly open with just a few trees separating the tee pad from the pin. I would consider the golf slightly above average
*There is no indication at the teepad of which pin position the basket is in... This caused some frustration as most of the holes have between three and five drastically different pin placements!
Other Thoughts: It may not be worth a special trip on its own, but be sure to hit up Sinnissippi on your way to or from the Quad Cities.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Play This Course!
Pros: Sinnissippi Park is a large park on the Rock River offering a great place to host a disc golf course. There are two baseball diamonds, two shelters with bathrooms, and a playground. However, the bathrooms close for the winter season.
The park is light to moderately wooded by mature trees; in the fall and spring time, the fallen leaves can densely blanket the ground. Be prepared to watch your disc disappear. Signs at every hole show the different basket placements, tree locations, and next tee box. I really appreciated the signs, as it made it easy to navigate, even for my first time. The different basket locations offer a wide variety of shots. The tee pads are long and narrow, but big enough to complete a full X-step on. On the original front nine, there is good use of elevation change, but the remaining are relatively flat. The fairways use the large trees, and there is a degree of difficulty to each hole.
There is a bike/walk path, and some holes play near to the path. During the winter months, there is a large hill that sledders utilize, and one or two hole(s) use the same hill. If playing during a Ice Bowl (or winter months), this could cause some delays. One hole plays down into a small creek area surrounding the basket, creating a island so to speak, and is a joy to play. A footbridge paves the way for dry access to the basket.
There is a great view of the Rock River and the new addition of holes 20 - 24 play along bank's edge. If you're not too careless, there isn't a big risk of losing any discs on this course. The worst spots being by the cemetery, and by the river. The cemetery has a large chain link fence surrounding it, but would require a big arm, and a bad line to end up on the wrong side of the fence. Along the new holes, a rolling disc could end up in the river. The new holes have different baskets from the rest of the course, but are great baskets as well. Holes 20-24 have only one basket placement.
Cons: -Bathrooms close
-Minor inconvenience of pathways
-Leaves hid my disc a few times.
Other Thoughts: I drove from the Quad Cities, and feel that the hour drive it took to get there was worth it.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
decent, but some design limitations
Pros: This course has several holes which are long enough to test the big arms, and some holes which are more technical with elevation and woods in play. I liked the downhill island hole (#5) and there were a couple of other really fun holes on the front 9. Hole 22, having a wooded cliff 10ft to the left of the basket really tests the skill in landing a backhand shot flat with no skip (I thought I had a solid shot for an easy deuce, but failed the landing and ended up with a 4).
Big trees, nice tee pads, good facilities, ample parking. The park is clean and well-maintained, very little garbage on the course.
Cons: There were problems with course flow, a couple unnecessarily long walk between holes. Especially on hole 23 where you have to backtrack the entire hole to get to 24. Finding the next hole in holes 21-24 are not straightforward if you have not been on this course before.
Holes 22-23 play along a very steep cliff and I think there will be some erosion issues from people bushwhacking down to find their discs. One year in, and there were already a lot of trees damaged from people using them to pull themselves up the hill. I played on a dry day but if that was mud it would be very tough to get up and down to find an errant disc.
There are many holes which play across or along walking paths, and usually its a minor safety hazard because at least there is a view of oncoming walkers. The basket on hole 23 is right next to a walking path and I would be shocked if there are not injuries to pedestrians here because it is a keyhole shot down a cliff toward the walking path, and the trees block the views so there is no way to tell if pedestrians are about to step into the path of a shot.
There is a lot of redundancy on this course. It is 24 holes but a lot of them are similar.
There are too many holes that are purely a test of distance drives. For most people they will be be an easy 3 and rarely a 4. Too far for most people to have a birdie chance, and no real obstacles to cause any 4s. (Edit: Note that many holes have more than one placement but only one hole length is listed on here.)
Other Thoughts: I saw a red fox stop in front of my car as I was driving into the park. It just stood there and looked at me.
This is a decent course, but at the time I write this the average DGCR rating is 4.15 and I think that is overrated.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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