Pros: This course sits on rolling hills next to Lake Decatur and provides a surprising amount of elevation. There are a couple fairly open uphill throws that will challenge even very strong arms.
The baskets aren't new, but they catch well enough.
Variety of throws, obstacles, hole layouts is good.
Signage is barely a pro... at least there's something there.
The course was pretty well groomed but a local told me the grass can get tall before they cut.
Big fairly open course with a couple tricky corridors to navigate.
Cons: Tees are nice, BUT...the signage at each tee is on the rear right corner of the tee...which for me anyway is right in my walk up/run up line. Poor sign location.
Could use some more trash cans.
Three holes in a row on the back 9 are practically the same throw with slightly different scenery.
I feel this course is prime disc golf real estate, and it's good, but maybe it could be better with some tweaking. Also, there is a lot more great looking park space that could be another 9 or even 18 holes.
Some resident in the neighborhood was walking his dog on the back nine (along the edge of the park) and he was carrying and shooting a small crossbow. Slightly disconcerting when you are introducing your girlfriend and a friend of hers to the game of disc golf.
Other Thoughts: Great use of public park space. A credit to Decatur. Keep it up. Maybe put a little more effort in and it could be fantastic. I will play it again.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Old ball golf courses are fun
Pros: - In a nice, large, old city park down by the lake in the middle of town.
- Large parking lot, servicing a large dog park as well. Part of a 'lakefront revitalization' project. Just north of a marina, and putt-putt course. Brand new putt-putt course is currently being constructed in the park NE of the disc course.
- Huge tee pads, sufficiently rough (except for #14, see cons)
- Signs on all holes (save #13). Primitive kit-type signs, but it has the basics.
- Nice baskets, in good shape.
- Course on an old ball course, provides lots of elevation changes and interesting holes. Big rolling hills and valleys.
- Course designer used the timber and thickets between the ball course holes to create some variety and more narrow/wooded holes with obstacles. Very nicely done with the land.
- #3 is a long bomber hole that's lots of fun.
- #7 is a very scenic hole, teeing off from an old ball golf tee box, down a hill and up to the pin. Par 3 that plays longer if you end up only at the bottom of the hill after your drive.
- #9 plays similarly, only straight ahead and via a very narrow fairway.
- #12 is a unique hole that looks scarier than it is. The pad is directly in front of a large pine tree. You must pick left or right, and drive along a row of three trees to the basket, which is hiding behind the 3rd tree. Never really seen any hole like it before.
Cons: - Finding #1 is probably somewhat difficult your first time to the course. No course sign or map at the beginning of the course. If you didn't see the baskets, you probably wouldn't notice the course was there.
- Just a porta-john near the dog park on the other side of the parking lot.
- No benches, and just two trash cans on the whole course. #1 and #8.
- During the summer, the poison ivy is very thick in the timber and brambles on this course.
- #11, 12, and 13 are somewhat repetitive, in that they are similar in length, and you can pretty well use the same drive for all 3. Even #14, really.
- TIP: the leading edge of #14 tee pad is a bit slick. Can throw you off if you step wrong.
- #15 is a very intimidating hole, with only the strongest arms able to clear a tall stand of trees on an up-slope that leads to the pin. The path through the thick stand of trees is only 10 feet wide, 250 feet out. Landing in the trees is extremely punishing, and for those unable to drive the pin, the hole becomes a little boring and frustrating. Rec players consistently play this hole being satisfied with a bogie-4.
- Tee pad on #16 installed in a direction that was not intended. Unfortunately, the intended path is a blind, right-turning shot with a fairway only 10 feet wide. It is lined by a very dense thicket. Finding and retrieving discs from the thicket is disastrous. Especially with the poison ivy everywhere.
- #18 is a shorter par 4 finishing hole, with the basket perched on an old ball golf tee box. It has a weird feel to it, with no obstacles until a row a trees on the left about 100 feet from the basket, and one big tree guarding the right side. Just feels kind of clunky. That's right, clunky.
Other Thoughts: - You will find windy conditions on this course from time to time, but it's slightly unpredictable. While a predominant wind may be from the west or north, at the same time wind may be swirling off of the lake from the south side of the course.
- This IS my hometown course, and I've avoided reviewing it for some time because of that. I love playing this course, and it's hard not to love all the intricacies you get to know on a course you play so often. Great mix of wide open bomber holes, as well as narrow fairways asking for precision. The hole layout itself could be a 4.0, but the course lacks the standard creature-comforts that a 4.0 course would have, including regular upkeep and buy-in from the park district that manages the park. Would absolutely love to upgrade my rating with future upgrades to the course.
- Definitely worth a play if you're in Decatur for one reason on another!
- Also, FYI, many locals play the course by starting on #2, which just seems to flow better, and end on a better finishing hole with #1.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 4 Not
Not on my favorite list
Pros: Many holes are wide open. Those fairways are well mowed. Baskets are in good condition.
Cons: There are a few holes that the fairway is either not well maintained (branches totally obscure view) or just put there as an after thought.
Other Thoughts: I am glad I got to play here but not sure when I will do it again. I shot my handicap on this course but I could have done better if it wasn't for holes that I had to guess where to throw.
0 of 4 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: First of all, Happy 1st Birthday to this course!
This course is set up on an old ball golf course, and it is a perfect piece of property for a solid disc golf course. The land is semi-hilly, semi-wooded, and very nicely taken care of. It has great flow and is a pleasure to walk and play.
The baskets are new, shiny, and catch great. While the tees are slightly smaller than I'm used to, at least they're concrete. The signs show distances, par, and give a rough idea of what the hole looks like.
What I liked a lot about this course is that there are no easy 2s, but getting a 4 is usually a smack in the face. It's a very fair but challenging course with a good variety of distances mixed in. There's usually more than one line to the pin, which makes choosing a shot a little difficult sometimes, but that definitely adds to the fun!
Cons: I was on the edge between 3.5 and 4.0 for this course, and ended up falling back on the 3.5. Here's why:
While there are several good holes (most of them), there isn't really a signature great hole that has massive elevation changes, a super cool line, or over water throws.
This is usually a pro, but there's a ton of land still available that should have been used to make this 24, if not 27 holes. The course could be a huge destination if it's expanded and takes advantage of this potential. I would say it's definitely possible for this property to have a 4.0, if not 4.5 rated course in the near future.
Other Thoughts: If you're in the area of Decatur, this course is a lot of fun to play and I'd honestly recommend it. The park is very nicely taken care of and the course is a pleasure to play. Luckily, I only live an hour away and I could see myself coming back here.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Pros: This course offers great training for windy conditions, as at least 75% of the time that I am there it is over +10 mph wind. some time over 25 mph wind.
It offers newer players a great exposure to the game with plenty of distance to expand thier driving game. I know it did for me, as my most experience coming to it was no wind and all technical wooded shots.
Again, a new tihng to me was the elevation changes that the course offers.
Cons: If you are a well experienced player who can crush the drives, then you will be driving with a mid range on 50% of this course. Who knows, that may be a good practice op for you.
other than woods and pathways, there are no other obstacles causing OB (water).
Would eventually like to see either alternate pin locations, or short tees (which will be hard to place on some. Some may need to have longer ones placed instead.).
Other Thoughts: Fav holes: 1,3,8,9,12,14,17.
I too would like to someday see 9 more holes added to it. Possibly for all the long bombers, have them all longer for a 9 hole section of grip it and rip its.
1 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: The rolling hills make for a some shot shaping. The elevation changes are a definite pro for this course. Nice view of the Decatur lake. Was back to the course when it was grown in it was a much better course takes a decent player to make it around this course with a par round. Easy to navigate a great addition to the Decatur area.
Cons: It is definitely not long nothing to test a long hucker. To many shot in the 300 range and under needs to be stretched out some. I was thinking that this being a reused ball golf course it would be longer. But that bring said you have to be on your game when it's grown in. I have shot under par both times here but I shoot more than most.
Other Thoughts: The course is a must in the middle of the state. I am sure with longer pin placements this will be a great course in time. I will be looking for the new placements when I go back up and play this course again!!
1 of 6 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Another Solid Central IL Course
Pros: This course is an excellent addition to a central Illinois area that is rapidly becoming a great disc golf destination. Pros of this course:
* Unique. Mostly open holes mixed with a lot of well thought out lines and obstacles that are rare on courses in similar terrain.
*Elevation: Pins are placed in the perfect spots to make the most of this feature. Makes putts tricky.
*Long... let the bombs fly!
*Loved holes 3, 8, and 9
*Lots of hole where you wonder "can I make that throw???"
Cons: *Non-woodsiness of the course means there are no holes that demand a specific line...reduces the overall challenge of the course
*Lots of places to potentially lose discs... the elevation at the course hides a lot of sketchy spots that you would steer clear of if you knew they were there.
*Hole 10 is pretty plain. No real exciting features other than a lot of distance
Other Thoughts: The day that I played this course, there was a TON of wind. Adds to the challenge of the course, but also to the frustration.
Overall a great course. Highly recommend!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Love having a course in Decatur!
Pros: This course has a lot of fun holes. It rewards distance more than accuracy - in general it is very open. There are two holes I would consider technical - #9 and #16.
The course opened during a drought and now the leaves are coming down - I think it will be a very different course in the spring. Overall it is challenging and I like the elevation changes. If you can place your distance drives accurately you will do well - if not, the course will eat you up. And as I said above, it will play differently in different seasons so it will stay "fresh."
My favorite holes are #1, #4, #8, and #15 - all four really force you to throw your best to stay out of trouble.
Cons: As Noah said, some of the holes are a little too close together. Hopefully the city will accommodate suggested modifications (particularly 8-9-10).
Also - no water hazards and not enough trees. This is not a knock on the course designers, they did a great job with what the land had to offer. Trees can and hopefully will be added - water not so much.
Other Thoughts: The conflict between the hyzer option on #16 and the basket on #3 could be resolved by moving #3 basket under the tree just north of where it is now - I don't think it would significantly change the strengths of #3 and would eliminate the conflict with #16. #4 tee would be protected by the tree and because it is farther up the hill.
Also agree with Noah - if the city will let us we could easily fit another nice 9 or 18 in this park. Come out and play and support disc golf in Decatur!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Let's Recycle MORE Ball Golf Courses
Pros: **>>I LOVE seeing Ball Golf Courses getting recycled into Disc Golf Courses. They tend to have manicured, roller-friendly Fairways. This is a fairly long course, Like Brett said..."7 holes 340ft or more", unless you can really crush it, you'll need a roller and/or multiple shots to reach the longer holes.
**Since this course sits right on Lake Decatur there is LOTS of wind. 25-30mph the day we were there. Will definitely affect your disc/shot selection...
**Well thought out holes (with the exception of 18/1 (see-cons...))
**Good mix of lefty-righty holes.
**LOVE some of the pin placements on the edge of hills, will make you think twice about "going for it".
**several signature holes out there.
**Several sneaky holes (IE. man that's farther than it looks...)
GREAT JOB GUYS...
Cons: Hole #18 basket is 40-50ft to the right of #1 tee. #18 basket is behind a large tree begging for a big righty hyzer shot right over the top of #1 tee. You can see #18 tee from #1 so you can watch to see if anyone is teeing if you are aware of this.
Other Thoughts: The rough is, rough..., but, that's to be expected on a new course. It will get beat down in no time with some play
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Big D in Decatur
Pros: Nelson Park is located on an old ball golf course. The land has rolling hills, scattered trees, and some thick rough in places. Make sure you print the course map to find hole #1.
Brand new shiny Mach 3's.
Tee signs and quite a few garbage cans.
This course is pretty long. There are 7 holes 340ft or more.
Concrete tees that were installed correctly except # 16. See con.
I've played quite a few ball golf courses. This course has more interesting features than others that i've played.
There are a few fun downhill holes. I don't usually throw my mid range disc on a 350ft hole.
Cons: Currently the parking lot is not complete. Finding hole #1 will be very difficult.
The tee signs are blank right now.
Being on a ball golf course it lacks a true par 5 and has only one par 4. There are several holes that are tweener holes unless you can absolutely crush.
Depending on which way the wind blows you'll find out quickly how bad the Staleys plant smells. It's rough!
Hole #16's tee pad was installed facing the wrong direction. The hole was meant to be played down the left side.
This is a good addition to a large town that did not have disc golf.
Go Big Blue! Millikin University Rocs!!!
Decatur is the original home of the Chicago Bears.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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