Best Sequel Ever (read in comic book guy voice)
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Camden II is the second 18 hole course to be installed at Camden Park in Milan and oh what a sequel it is. We're talking Godfather II here. The original course is a solid park course with plenty of elevation, but Camden II is a treacherous, wooded beast. The course is nicknamed "the other side" and as compared to the original course this is a perfect description. This is no walk in the park. Camden II features mostly grassy fairways cut out of the woods, a ravine that winds it's way through the course (sometimes running parallel to the line of play, sometimes perpendicular, and sometimes snaking every which way), and the kind of elevation changes perfectly suited for disc golf. There is one hole that begins in an open field, but otherwise this is a totally wooded course. The course is laid out with one tee and 3-4 basket locations per hole. Not all positions on a given hole are given the same par, so the potential variety here is off the charts. The tee signs are some of the best that I've seen and do a good job of showing the locations of all pin positions. A color coded washer mounted on the sign post let's you know which location the basket is currently in. Due to the wide variety of basket locations, the concrete tees are way oversized and square. The Mach III baskets, while not state of the art, catch just fine.
If you want a warm up, start with Camden I, Camden II throws you right into the fire. You step up to the first tee and have to choose whether to try to clear a fairly deep ravine mid-fairway or try to lay up just short without rolling into said ravine. The hole can be parked with a pure drive, but the potential for disaster is high. The fun and challenge only get better from here. Many (if not the majority of) holes require risk/reward decision making, and I stepped up to the box on many holes only to completely rethink my strategy and rummage through my bag to grab a totally different disc for a totally different shot than I had intended to throw. This is not the norm in my experience and I greatly appreciate the added challenge.
There are too many potential "signature holes" to list here, and the pictures don't do the elevation changes any justice. I came here expecting a challenge, and while I wasn't disappointed, I was amazed at how much fun this beast of a course was. The layout I played featured some of the tougher holes I've played interspersed with others that while not easy, were certainly birdie-able with good execution. I only came across one potentially unfair fairway (a shorter, uphill hole on the back nine), every other hole had a reasonably line (or two).
In my experience, it's a truly rare course that combines challenge and fun to the degree that Camden II is able to pull off. It was hard to wipe the smile off my face (even when I followed back to back deuces with a double bogey).
Cons: It's hard to find much wrong with this course, but I'll give it a shot. The below complaints are complete nit-picky, whiny BS, but no course is perfect and I feel I should address any shortcomings.
While the fairways are plenty wide, the rough contains copious amounts of poison ivy. Since I don't get an allergic reaction, I generally end up doing all off-fairway disc retrieval for the group when playing courses infested with PI. At Camden II, I saw poison ivy on most every hole where I (or my son) ventured off of the fairway. Most fairways are very fair. If you are able to place your throws where you intend, you will probably not encounter any PI, but that doesn't describe most of us.
The course lacks a long water carry. I'm sure during rainy times, the creek at the bottom of the ravine gets much higher than what I witnessed, but it isn't quite the same as a >200' water carry when it comes to pucker factor. Granted, I chose to lay up short of the ravine on a few holes, but it is an easy pitch across after the layup.
It was dry when I played, and the excellent bridges and steps here must have been a huge undertaking, but footing is going to be baaad in places when wet. The nature of the course with the excellent use of elevation and the ravine means that there will be slippery slopes when wet. You can't expect stairways and terraces in every possible landing spot.
Other Thoughts: The ever changing layout due to the multiple basket placements (this isn't an all long or all short scenario; the course stewards use the multiple sleeves to create many different combinations) could be a pro or a con. On one hand, it provides ultimate variety and replay-ability, on the other, you may have to wait quite a while to replay a favorite position on a particular hole. This also makes it hard to chart your progress against previous rounds, when you may not see the same layout again for years. I loved the layout that I played and walked by plenty of fun and plenty of brutal positions.
Prior to playing Camden II, Maple Hill was the only course that I considered a 5. As hard as I tried, I couldn't convince myself that Camden II was a tier below. If DGCR had a more granular rating scale, I would probably call Camden II a 4.75 and Maple Hill a 5, but it doesn't, and Camden II is closer to a 5 than a 4.5 in my book. I've traveled a bit and played a decent variety of courses, and from what I've seen Camden is about as good as it gets.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
A thing of beauty
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Easy to get to. GPS takes you right to the course. Plenty of parking and its easy to find hole 1.
- Potty in the parking lot
- The course flowed pretty seamlessly. Find the next pad was pretty simple thanks to the course being beat down over the years and the signs they put up pointing you the right way.
- Great concrete teepads. They were nice and long and nicely raked. Grip was great.
Teesigns were pretty good. They have the pin location on each sign which is nice to see and the maps are pretty clear.
- Lots of elevation change. It was so much fun playing up and down the hills here. Its not something you see everywhere and even when you do see it its not always done right but this course was definitely designed by a proficient designer and they did a great job.
- Basket placements were great. There was never a time when I looked at a hole and scratched my head in wonder why a basket would be there.
- Lots of trash cans and awesome custom benches that were as unique as each hole was. Stadium bleachers were the best by far.
- Very very tight fairways and tons of trees but there were not any holes where there wasnt a fair way to get to the hole.
- Winding creek through the course with OB making a lot of simple shots seem a lot harder then they are. Just adds to the fun.
Cons: - Bugs, the gnats here were terrible when I played. It just slightly took away from the experience but not from the golf.
- At times the baskets kinda camouflaged into the woods. Not terrible but it happened.
Other Thoughts: I loved this course. It was a ton of fun and had pretty much everything I look for in a course. Some of my favorite golf comes from playing a wooded course with some rolling hills and this is exactly what this course is. The course was challenging but not too challenging that beginners will want to stay away. Its very refreshing to see a heavily wooded course that is fair and has all its trees in the right place. My hats off to the designer. Thank you for this gem in Illinois. Its so hard for me to choose a favorite course in IL now between McNaughton, Dellwood and Camden 2. Great job. Ill be back.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
A Midwest Destination
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Where do I begin? This course has the most character of any I have ever played. From the well-thought pin locations, to the engraved trees throughout the course: Camden II will leave you smiling even after beating you up.
Camden II is in a dense thicket of woods, carved into an extremely challenging course with several rolling hills that provide a unique challenge. The course is extremely well maintained by the locals and they are always striving for improvements. Perhaps the most memorable hole at C2 is Hole 4 in the C pin location, a Par 5 that really captures the epitome of the course: elevation drop, tight fairway, treacherous ravine right where your drive would want to land, all the way back up to the same elevation you teed from.
Another trait this course carries that really sticks with me is the serenity felt on the course itself. C2 is not very beginner friendly, so it doesn't garnish a ton of casual play. It is usually pretty quiet on the course.
Benches, garbage cans, course/hole info etc. are easily available and easy to locate. Each hole has a colored washer on the tee sign indicating pin location.
Cons: This course is in a thicket of woods. Do not come here expecting to air out a bunch of sky shots - you will need your technical game here for sure.
Other Thoughts: This course is one of the gems of the Quad Cities Disc Golf scene. This course is 100 miles from my home and it is always on my radar of possible weekend courses to visit. Make sure to pay a visit to one of the best courses in the Midwest!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -best tee signs i have ever seen. pics of hole, distance to every basket placement. colored washer indicates which basket in play.
-best tee pads i have ever played on, extra width allows for ability to attempt the line YOU see rather than the designer.
-incredible, incredible layout hole after hole.
-elevation changes aplenty.
-tight course, but multiple lines on most holes.
-incredible attention to detail.
-benches, trash cans, brooms.
-every shot in the bag will come into play.
-incredibly well cared for, clearly loved course.
-very fun to play and potential to score around par if you have "A" game going, under par is doable but will require "A+" game. i am an advanced player, but really far from pro.
-steps, ropes, everything in excellent repair.
Cons: can get buggy, muddy, but soooooo worth it.
not cart friendly (so what!)
Other Thoughts: i have only seen one course with a better layout (wildcat bluff) but only because 2 holes there are so blow away, the rest are extremely comparable.
this course is more fun because it is a little more forgiving, but not much.
spoke to a couple locals who told me that mondays are work days and the dg community in the area spends time caring for the course. for example, there are new slats on benches that have either rotted or broken, there are ropes tied to trees to help you get out of creeks or ravines where steps would be pointless. this place is super duper cared for. it looks like everywhere your disc can land, someone has been before and given you a reason to be less frustrated after an errant shot by helping you out.
you get out of the car and jaw drops on the first tee. this course is LEGIT.
i would not recommend this course for the casual round with your girlfriend (unless you are dating paige pierce😁) but the beauty of that is there is another course on the same property that is perfect for the beginner or the date night.
do yourself a favor and make a destination trip to northeast iowa/ nw illinois and play here, wildcat bluff (urbana ia) and shaver park (cedar rapids ia)
to have 3 courses in this level all within about 2 hrs of each other is truly incredible.
DO NOT MISS Camden Park II!!!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Amazing course ... thanks for all of the hard work
3 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: This course is absolutely amazing. It is carved (probably the best way to describe it) out of a very dense forest in the hills of Camden Park. Some holes you have to hit a very tight line through the trees. Some holes you have a little bit more generous fairway, but it is still a forest course. Elevation is used marvelously where the holes have such a wide variety of shots you have to throw. When you do have a steep incline up or down, volunteers have put in stairs to assist you, as well as bridges and other terracing. You absolutely won't believe the amount of work that has gone into making this course and great terrain playable and user friendly. Truly one of the best courses I have played.
Cons: Not cons ... but be warned this course is not beginner friendly, and you do need to be in shape to play it. It is built in some rather demanding terrain with steep ascents and descents required.
Other Thoughts: Amazing course ... thank you for all of the hard work making this beauty possible.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
ADV REVIEW. IGNORE IF YOU SHOOT >930
0 Helpful / 9 Not
Pros: Again this in advance styled review.Very technical ,a lot demanding left and right hand throws, flick ability for both left and right backhand is almost required to score low. Oh... and ability to throw An-hyser's with power was fun, and not something I usually get to contribute in the woods when it's this tight, in some spots.
Cons: Only that I can't play it everyday.
Other Thoughts: None. Perfect course, could use bathrooms that are closer. #1stworldproblems
0 of 9 people found this review helpful.
The best that only gets better
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I have played CII twice so far, the first was for the rumble in April. The course is in the "Meat Grinder" layout. All long pins. What a challenge! Par 3s, 4s, and 5s all over the course! A lot of tough decisions to be made with regards to risk/reward and at the outer limits of the park the OB really challenges your shot selection. The second time the course was in a slightly easier layout, with a few shortened pin positions. The shorter pin positions still provide unique challenges that are not any easier to conquer!
-Tons of elevation. Downhill shots, uphill shots, shots that go downhill and then uphill.
-All sorts of shots required. Every hole poses a new challenge whether it's a unique line or pin position that is 2-3 shots away.
-Different pin positions on each hole. The layout we played the second time was a little easier than the rumble layout. But every pin position poses a new/different challenge than the others.
-Amazing Tee signs! Every tee sign has a washer to tell you the pin position. There are also points where they show you pictures of the blind fairways on the par 3s and 4s. Finally, photos of the "Camden Crew" are shown on the tee signs from the courses earlier days. Gives the tee signs some character!
Cons: -Not Cart friendly (is this really a con?)
-The ravines (don't throw into one, or prepare to get muddy)
Other Thoughts: My favorite course in "Illinois," a must see if you are visiting the quad cities to golf. The crew that made and works on this course is amazing and is constantly making changes to improve the course. Compared to my home courses in Northern Illinois CII provides a variety of challenges and golf scenery that is almost alien in its nature.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Don't be scared off by the "wooded course" reviews that you see. In my opinion, this is not a wooded course, rather, it is a course in the woods. When I think "wooded course" I think 10' gaps, thick underbrush and being frustrated for most of the round. Camden II is not that.
It has everything you need to have fun and at the same time to be tested. Every hole has a fair way in the truest sense of the word. You don't need to thread a needle 100' away at any time. There are landing zones that put you in good positions or there are aggressive shots that can yield birdies or bogies.
Plenty of elevation without feeling like you need an oxygen mask to finish the round. However, lots of elevation usually mean lots of awful roll aways. Not here. The stewards have put in an unbelievable amount of time manicuring this place to include logs to stop those rolls in the most strategic locations.
Cons: This isn't a "con" per se but rather an observation. Because they are constantly improving the course, there are always areas that are being worked on. I can see the things that were installed 6 months ago and I can see the things that will be great 6 months from now.
There is one tree that I dislike and Sprague knows which one!
Other Thoughts: I was hosted by the course designer so I got to hear the stories of each hole; what they used to be, what they have changed and what they will be doing next.
This place is incredible and it made me want to be a part of this disc golf community.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 6 Not
Gem Of A Course
Pros: Phenomenally crafted fairways with little to no chance of losing discs. Course flows very nicely. Not once did we get lost the first time playing. Seems like they're enhancing the course everytime I'm there. Overall a great course through and through.
1 of 7 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 3 Not
Don't miss this one
Pros: Love a good hike in the woods? This course is for you!
The ever-changing bridges and decorative features are great.
The course is a challenge with several pin locations, it's rarely the same thing twice.
The maintenance crew for this place are creative workhorses who have gone out of their way to add directional signage to keep you on course.
Cons: The underbrush gets thick in summer. Discs are easily lost. Wear some pants if you plan to go digging for yours or you'll meet up with the poison ivy and itch-weed.
Other Thoughts: We are lucky to have this place so close to us!
1 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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