Fun Suburban 9er
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Great equipment: tee pads, baskets, signage all of good quality and in good repair.
- Nice, multi-use park is well maintained and pleasant to play in
- Land is used well, a number of fun, if not overly challenging, holes
- High voltage towers are a unique obstacle feature
Cons: - While the difficulty level here is not trivial, most players beyond novice level will have little trouble getting within the putting circle on their drives.
- There are a few locations where people on walking paths, houses, or other park users could be impacted by thrown discs, and not necessarily only on bad shots.
Other Thoughts: As far as Chicago area 9-hole disc golf courses go, Castaldo tends to keep up with the best of them. Playing no small part in that is the quality of the park and equipment. The baskets catch well, the tee signs are clear and informative (though the distances are a bit questionable, especially on holes 2 and 3) and the concrete tee pads are large and surrounded by a bed crushed stone. It was a very pleasant disc golf experience.
I played a couple hours after a storm had rolled through, and while the ground was wet, and a couple of paths across low lying areas were muddy, I was surprised how well the course handled the water. It doesn't seem like wet weather will negatively affect the course much, and certainly not for very long.
There isn't really any shot shaping here, which isn't great if you are a more experienced player looking for a challenge, but for newer players, and those just looking for a casual round or to work on a particular shot, this works just fine. Even if you are not limited to a particular shot on any hole, there are still mature trees, occasional brush, and the imposing power line towers you must navigate around to earn your birdie on most holes. If you have about 300' of controllable power you will have a good chance of birdying every hole (hole 3 is nowhere near 400').
This is a great course for its location in the middle of a neighborhood. It's a great course to learn on, and more experienced players can still have fun hunting for birdie on every hole. If you are in the area, stop by and play a quick round, it won't take you long, and even if you won't be much challenged, you can still have fun in a nice park.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The course makes good use of the available land. It's a small community park in the middle of a subdivision. There are seasonal portable restrooms near the first teepad. There's a small shelter in the middle of the course by the playground and water fountain. The teesigns and teepads are nice. The teepads are the elongated trapezoid design that taper toward the front (i.e. / ). I liked the usage of the electrical towers as obstacles on the early holes (think metal trees). You do get some elevation changes, which is unusual for Chicagoland courses, though they are not big changes.
Cons: This course suffers from the typical Chicagoland par ratings. Par is far, far too easy here. I was missing putts for double eagle on some holes and only threw par or worse a couple of holes, mostly due to a bad drive combined with bad putting. Most of the holes feel like par 3, with 1-2 par 4, but most are listed as par 4 and one at par 5. The teesign for #8 is non-existent. Park traffic wasn't bad the day I was there, but I was there on a weekday afternoon right as school district's were starting for the year, and I can see park traffic becoming an issue for some holes.
Other Thoughts: The relatively short distances involved combined with the easy par ratings make this a good beginner course. I would definitely recommend bringing new players here without much worry about lost discs or huge frustrations over it feeling too hard. I don't recommend this to any seasoned players, though. It's far too easy, unless you're wanting to work on your short game or go for ace runs. I think this would be a good place to run an Ace Race, though.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Dead man walking
Pros: Castaldo is a pretty OK 9-hole recreational disc golf course. The property has some gentle rolling hills that create some elevation change. The first few holes are located under power lines mounted on massive gray metal towers that create some obstacles to shoot around, and the remaining holes make good use of the trees on the property. The tees are concrete and there is good signage. The course has pretty good flow and was easy to navigate. It rates pretty well in fun factor and makes a great place to shoot a quick 9-holes.
Cons: The park isn't all that large so the area the course has to work with is not optimal. The shots are on the short side, holes #5-#8 are pretty close together and you throw over and around a walking path that could create a conflict with other park users. #9 doesn't take you back to the parking lot; we played a safari hole from the #3 tee back to the practice basket to get to the car, but if the course was busy playing a safari hole that cuts across two fairways wouldn't really be very cool. It looked like there had been a wooded area the forced you through a gap on #3 and created a shule to the right on #9 that was cleared out. Both holes would have been better if those woods were still there. In the end it was a fun course, but there wasn't much variety or challenge to it.
Other Thoughts: I'm a pretty old guy, but evidently I had managed to live my life without standing directly under high voltage power lines until I teed off on #1 at Castaldo Park. The sound of electricity was unnerving. I immediately checked to make sure there wasn't a wet sponge on top of my head.
If you yell CASTALDO!!! in some phony Italian accent whenever someone hits a tree, it will either a) make your round more enjoyable or b) make the other players in your group want to strangle you, possibly both.
Speculation on the inspiration for the shape of the slide on the play system by #8 can reveal a lot about your playing partners.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - This suburban park is located not far from a small electrical sub-station, with enormous grey power line towers occupying the first few holes' fairways before marching off into the distance. The course is nice enough despite the power lines, and the huge metal structures are actually pretty neat to scope out and play around. Giant iron trees, in the disc golf scheme of things.
- Decent use of elevation. Nothing dramatic but there is enough gentle roll to the grassy park to prevent utter flatness. #'s 3, 7, and 9 all have a some degree of elevation loss/gain, with #3 playing down and then back up a small depression, which looked to have been recently cleared of foliage.
- Good use of the available obstacles: trees and towers alike.
- Good concrete pads, decent signage, and a practice basket all help to give this course a polished feel. The practice basket even serves as a good "#10" after finishing the 9-hole layout.
Cons: - The crackling of the electricity overhead is a bit jangly on the nerves, but otherwise kinda cool. I can definitely see how it would detract from the experience for those who enjoy a more natural vibe.
- Castaldo does well with what it has to work with. Unfortunately, in the end it's still just your typical Chicagoland niner.
Other Thoughts: - Castaldo is fun to play, and actually, fun to say, too...Ca-stal-do. Try it. Castaldo. Say it like you're a passionate Spaniard. Castaldo. Women cry into the night: Castaldo! Throw your disc into the trees and yell in a voice ripe with vengeance: Castaldo! Clench your fist and swear that justice will be served and birdies shall be slayed: Castaldo!!!
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Castaldo is a nice, above-average Chicago 9'er with pretty good elevation and sparse trees which are sufficient to shape lines off of the tee. The designer has done a nice job of working in a wide variety of shots (uphill/downhill, right/left fading, etc.) to keep things interesting and has even worked in a few holes which allow for more than one reasonable route to the pin which gives players the choice of what fairway to attack based on personal strengths and current conditions (wind, grass cut). The park has a very clean and friendly feel to it and the course amenities match this with nice signage, baskets, and tees.
Cons: As I alluded to in the Pro's section, Castaldo is very nice in comparison with other Chicagoland courses because it has elements that most others lack (decent tree coverage/elevation). However, Castaldo still lacks the challenge in design that most other parts of the country are currently utilizing. There are no multi-par holes and really no holes out here that should be seen as "challenging" birdie two's. Because of the single tee/single pin setup, this course will probably lose a bit of its luster after players have more than a few rounds through. Finally, because the park is fairly well used by other park users and because several holes are in somewhat close proximity to walking paths, you will likely have to wait to throw on a couple of tees during the busy summer months.
Other Thoughts: One of the better courses in the area and a great place to take beginners or families to try out the game without risking thorns or water hazards. More experienced players will also enjoy a round or two here but will probably want to move on after a couple of rounds.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Short but fun
Pros: - Easy to navigate, good tee signs
- A fair variety of elevation changes and lines.
- Good use of obstacles, including large power lines on the first 2 holes.
- Holes 3 and 9 stand out as the most fun and challenging. Both offering good distance and elevation change.
- The course is generally in good condition, clean. And you can normally play 9 in a short amount of time.
Cons: Shot and easy, that basically sums it up.
You can basically take any line you want to get to most of the holes.
Fairways can overlap on the back and the walking/bike path can come into play in a few spots.
Other Thoughts: This is fun course to get in a quick 9 if you are in the area. It's also a great place to boost your ego and your ace count.
Although it's not particularly challenging it's an enjoyable 9 holes and worth playing if you are in the area.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Course has a few different obstacles to navigate, in power line pillars, thick forestry, and mostly a grove of old trees.
- Minor elevation change on some holes, including a small valley. Makes a difference on some holes in the grove due to low branches.
- Patch of forest only in play on one hole, but a good blind right upshot makes decent use of it. Some players may have to lay up to go through a small clearing.
- Power line pillars are big, but still only take up one spot in the fairway. #2 could trouble some RHBH shots.
- Grove of old trees with branches everywhere does provide some challenge, a lot of different lines to choose from above and around the canopy, or low and straight.
- #4 is a small tunnel shot, but still a tunnel shot. Have to dodge two small trees right away, and some forest on the back end.
- Good baskets, great tees. Signs are nice, but 1-3 are slightly off due to the redesign.
Cons: - Course suffers in length due to the small amount of area to work with. Only two holes are over 300', many around 250'.
- Cramped layout in the grove, lots of discs flying around from hole to hole when crowded.
- Walking path through a corner of the course doesn't help an already crowded park.
Other Thoughts: - I think this course could be a very, very good 9 holer if it had some more length. The holes are set up well, but it is usually a short drive and a putt for an experienced player.
- While there are a lot of different lines to the basket, I feel a few holes are much easier with a RHFH shot. Might be tougher for those who only have a RHBH shot.
- Park has a Georgia O'Keeffe slide.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Castaldo is a solid course and is fairly unique compared to most 9-holers in this area. The first three holes of the course play underneath some massive powerlines, the bases of which serve as obstacles for holes #1 and #2. #3 is the course's signature hole -- a blind left to right shot that requires a you to throw over or through a narrow gap in a thick 15 ft high wall of hedges.
The next section of the park is a series of par 3 type holes with some elevation changes along tree-lined fairways. Most of these shots are fairly easy for more experienced players, but dueces are still prety rewarding.
The little things are all present at this course... concrete teepads, nice signs, bathrooms spring through fall, and parking right next to the first tee.
Cons: The big knock on Castaldo is that it can begin to feel a little repetitive, especially from 5-9. The land provides for just enough space to fit these 5 holes, and it still feels a little cramped. If the course is busy you will need to keep an eye out for stray drives when on these fairways.
Overall, this is not a difficult course for experienced players. Only #3 and possibly #9 require a driver.
Another inherent problem with the land provided is the bike path that runs through this "back 5" area. A bad drive on #8 could easily land on the bike path and #9 literally throws over the path, so you will often times have to wait for bikers to pass before you drive.
Another minor complaint is with #4. This kind of seems like a throw away hole... it's a little 150ft ace run with a ton of poison ivy to the left of the tee, and a duece doesn't even feel rewarding for an experienced player.
The removal of the hedges that come into play on 3 and 9 make this a much easier course, and turn #3 into an ordinary distance drive. This will definitely help newer players, but the course just isn't as interesting with this change. I've changed my rating from a 3* to a 2* for that reason.
Other Thoughts: While it may not be the most impressive or challenging course, Castaldo rates above most of the suburban multi-use park 9-holers I've played. The power line shots and the seclusion in the back half of the course give Castaldo a unique feel, and the technical aspects of the course hold up well enough to deserve 3 stars.
As far as directions go, this place is easy to find if you're coming from Rt 53. You can only turn one way onto 71st, so just take that until you see the powerlines. The parking lot and first tee are right off the street.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: -One of the better Chi-town 9 holers
-Odd mix of power-line towers on the first few holes and sparse old growth forest for the remainder
-Some elevation (which is rare for the area)
-Nice concrete teepads
-Hole 3 requires you to throw blindly over 15-20' high scrub trees to an open, grassy fairway
-Hole 9 is a fun shot from the top of a valley to the top of the other side with a choice of routes through the old growth trees
Cons: -Often crowded
-The clear cut that was done on the scule on 1 & 2 made those holes boring
-Not very challenging
-Some fairways are close to others (and the course has its share of totally inaccurate noobs)
Other Thoughts: One of the better after work choices in this area. Also check out the Oakbrook course, not much elevation change, but challenging with fairways cut out of fairly dense woods.
Update: Due to significant tree/brush removal and a general realignment of my reviews, I'm dropping my rating to a 2.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 8 Not
C+ = As average as the come for 9 holers
Pros: What I personally like and how this course stacks up:
1) Holes with good risk/reward -- C
2) Holes that have rewarding birdie opportunities -- B+
3) More wooded than open - lots of variety of shots required caused by hole shape and topography -- C
4) Natural beauty (Appalachian beauty preferred) and seclusion -- B-
5) Multi-shot holes with defined landing zones, good risk/reward and multiple options to play them -- NA
Other Thoughts: I ranked this course subjectively based on my own personal enjoyment factor...more accurately my "personal addiction factor". Since I have played a decent number of courses (115 18-hole, 50 9-hole as of early 2009), my hope is that players/explorers who have similar tastes will find my ratings list helpful as they chose courses to play and explore.
Over time, I expect to fill some of my reviews in with more descriptive verbiage...if what I say adds anything to what has already been written. For now, my list is more important to me than the verbiage of my reviews.
I fully expect others with different tastes/philosophies to disagree with me. See my profile for my rating philosophy.
2 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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