Not Idle. Very Wild!
25 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: + Splendid venue with immaculate upkeep. Hills, water features, breezey fields and dense woods are all present here and without so much as a discarded candy wrapper.
+ Trash cans and benches are common sights here.
+ Practice basket, lost disc box and a driving practice net nearby hole1.
+ Colorful and clear tee signs, but...
Cons: - ...Some of the tee signs were damaged or missing.
- Temporary baskets?
- No 'next' indicators except from 2to3, 12to13 and 23to24.
Other Thoughts: Holes14 and 15 were my favorites to look at. With their hills and shadowy tree cover, those were both dark and quiet examples of an ideal disc golf setting to my mind. Hole22 was my favorite to play because of that winding creek. I love water features in the middle of the woods, and that serpentine stream is just what the doctor ordered. If I had to pick a least favorite, I would say hole9 because it throws kind of close to a walking path & road. Plus, there are picnic benches not too far from the fairway.
As for the course as a whole, Idlewild is famous in the disc golfing community. Most everybody reading this likely already knows about its prestige and reputation. This review will serve as little more than reinforcement that, yes, Idlewild is still just that great, and it doesn't show any signs of stopping. If, however, you are unfamiliar with this course, then do yourself a favor and add it to your wishlist. All of the reviews before and after mine aren't inflating the rating. It's truly that magnificient, and you MUST play here.
The grounds are a treat. On more than one occasion, I caught myself standing still with eyes closed and just listening to the sounds of nature around me. There are no obnoxious freeways or intersections nearby. All of the elevation challenges both ascending and descending paired with the multiple waterways and tree densities make this course a big-name must-play. An easy example of this is hole17. From atop a hill, the player must avoid a few devious trees while throwing down a woodsy valley with a stream at the bottom. Combining all three factors like that is a common occurrence here.
Offering twenty-four holes instead of the typical eighteen adds just a dash more to the experience. I'm sure you've played at courses that have made you say, "I wish this course had a few more holes." Idlewild has you covered. It makes sure your appetite for disc golf has been satiated before you leave. A lot of care has gone into making this course approachable to all skill levels with multiple tees. Naturally, you'll extract more enjoyment out of it if you're already experienced before coming here. But there is something positive to be said for "earning a bogey."
One example of Idlewild doing that? Hole12 is around six hundred feet of watching out for bark and branches. In my course notes I had this to say about hole12: "Tree Dodge City!" Be careful on that one.
It's not all tough as nails. Hole18, for example, is a fun throw of around two hundred feet from the open into a wooded corridor.
But briefly, I'd like to enter criticism mode (and explain/defend my 4.5). I feel like I caught Idlewild during an off day. Almost as if Idlewild was in the middle of a makeover when I played it. What was with those temporary baskets I threw into? Where were the 'next tee' signs? On my visit, holes1 and 11 - 14 were the ones I remember having simple commercial-grade portable baskets, which threw me for a loop. On a course this good, that was shocking to see. (Can someone explain that to me?) Also strange was the lack of 'next' signage. Once or twice I felt lost, which bummed me out slightly. I know that it's a sprawling course, but can nothing be done in that regard?
Despite those observations, though, let's be real. Idlewild is still, unquestionably, one of the best courses that a disc golfer can play. Everything that most disc golfers might want is here. Wide open hills? Densely forested hills? Check. Wide open water hazards? Tricky wooded water hazards? Check. Straight fairways, curved fairways, slanted terrain, bounding hills, dark corridors and much more await the player here. So many of the greats have set foot on this very soil as well. It felt like a shared communal experience just to have played here once.
The question should be not 'if' you will play it but 'when.'
25 of 25 people found this review helpful.
Preaching To The Choir
31 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Not sure what I could say about this course that hasn't already been said. It is epic in nature with awesome woods, fair water hazards, and lots of elevation changes. I don't think that there was a flat spot on the course. Some holes featured multiple elevation changes. Looks like the course is constantly improving as there is evidence of nice new large tees on several holes and new pin placements. There are nice descriptive tee signs and plenty of benches to take a break on.
We played mostly from the short tees (some of the long tees were just too cool to pass up!). Looked like each hole had at least two pin placements. The course is certainly challenging but never felt overwhelming. The course is scenic and a blast to play. The course is very serene and peaceful once you move away from the roads and starting area. Being able to throw straight and hit tight lines will be a plus as there are some tight lines in the woods. I couldn't imagine throwing the DGPT layout, but it will be fun watching the pros get tested.
Cons: Not many cons here. Navigation is a little tricky in a couple of spots but with the map and your intuition, it shouldn't be too bad.
There were a couple of minor mud spots here and there. The water hazards probably increase in difficulty after a good rain.
Other Thoughts: The course is very well maintained for a course this rustic. There is a big tournament coming up so the course was in near-perfect shape while we were there.
This course will put a big smile on most disc golfer's faces and of course, comes highly recommended. The short tees have never been easier, but I would caution brand new throwers, low-level recs, and those with a weak constitution as the course is all hills and a long walk around. Plan on spending 3-4 hours here, or more if the course is busy. It doesn't hurt to take a break once in a while on a course like this. I have to admit that I was a little intimidated at first but found the course to be quite enjoyable, as long as you don't mind the high score at the end, lol. Play it, enjoy it, breathe it in!
31 of 31 people found this review helpful.
Love having this in my backyard
30 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I've been sitting on this review for a good while, mostly because I felt I had nothing to add to what has been said and because I'd not played enough variety of courses to have perspective, but I finally decided it was time. For perspective, I am a local player fortunate enough to have Idlewild as one of the closest courses and I've played it multiple times. Also, I'm a complete amateur who barely throws 300' but loves every minute of it. All that said, Idlewild is the best course I've ever experienced. The course is thoughtfully designed, well maintained, and challenging to all skill levels.
-Options for all skill levels: Pros and newbs alike will find a challenge on this course. There is an 18 and 24 hole option. Several holes have 2 baskets or teepads. Worried about a long water carry on holes 2 or DGPT 4? 2 has a basket short of the water while 4 has a short teepad parallel to the water. A few of the extra (no pro tour) holes run to the right of hole 3 or you can go to the left to pro tour hole 4.
-Unique greens: Holes like pro tour 5 and 16 are placed in wooded areas surrounded by a creek. They have a built up green that uses turf for a scenic setting.
-Bomber holes and ace runs: Hole 16 runs nearly 1000' with a mowed fairway. Keep it on the fairway or you'll likely be in knee high grass searching for a disc. Meanwhile hole 9 and 11 offer vary reachable baskets that have been aced multiple times on tour stops.
-Practice basket and net by hole 1
-Portable bathroom near hole 1
-Tight, wooded lines with a clear but challenging fairway: Keep it in the middle and there will always be a fair line. Get off the fairway and you're stuck with a poke and hope or a pitch out.
-Huge risk reward pars: Hole 8 has fluctuated from a par 4 and 5. At just 638' this feels like an eagle waiting to happen, but error off the tee and you could be fighting trees your entire way.
-Surprisingly not crowded: You'd expect such an iconic course to be packed, but it's challenging enough that players get spread out quickly and many local casuals end up at the nearby (and much more family friendly) Boone Woods.
-Plenty of parking
-This course seamlessly weaves in and out of the woods, keeping the course flowing smoothly. Just when you get fed up with the sound of the disc hitting trees you find a nice clearing where you can open up a bit more.
-DGPT layout is always in place
-Much of the course is away from other park activities
-Wide open field after hole 18 to practice drives
There's not really anything I'd change but a couple things to note going in:
-This is definitely a pro level course. The pro tour layout is around 9000'-1000' feet with plenty of hills to climb, bring water and a snack.
-There is a definite lost disc potential. The water is in play on holes 2 and 4 of the pro tour layout as well hole 6 of the full 24. High grass is also in play on hole 16 of the tour layout.
-Walking path and road come into play on holes 3, 4 and 6, though it would take some effort to get there.
Other Thoughts: Idlewild comes by its reputation honestly. I am not skilled by any means but I love playing the shorts and, if I ignore the huge number on my scorecard, it is one of the most relaxing courses. This is a destination course in a great disc golf city and is worth planning a trip for. I'm very fortunate to be able to go 20 minutes up the road anytime I want the most enjoyable frustration anywhere.
30 of 30 people found this review helpful.
Classic, Beautiful, Fun
33 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: An iconic course that's as good as you've heard.
-Amenities: Posh. Big concrete tees, excellent signage, sometimes multiple tees, baskets or pins per hole, numbered DISCatchers, some next tee gravel paths. Adding to the manicured appearance of the course are golf greens under some woods baskets and log walls outlining some of the creeks in play.
-Maintenance: Top notch. Kudos to the park. Everything is in great shape and fairways were clear in a mid-Autumn visit.
-Natural Beauty: One of the draws. Idlewild has good elevation and great forests, but also a pond, streams, and some open views as well. Though it's definitely not a secluded wonder like some other top courses I've played, it's still a heavy dose of beautiful nature.
-Shot Shaping/Gameplay: Wow. What a collection of holes. It runs the gamut from sub-200' ace runs to almost 1000' bombs. The pacing of the various lengths/pars is nice, with a good cycle of par-4s to par-3s. The front 10 feature more of the open holes, where multiple ways of throwing 350' will prove valuable. After that, most of the course is in the thick woods, where narrow fairway accuracy is a must. The variety of shapes and elevations is a huge plus. Most of the holes have curves to throw, but they're refreshingly different from each other and satisfying to hit. If I were to list my favorite holes, it would be a long paragraph.
-Challenge: Not an easy layout. Though I'm not sure it's quite as hard as the course promoters make it out to be (consider the availability of eagles on the course to pros), this is still easily an advanced challenge from the longs. I enjoy, though, that it's not just a distance dimension, so that a player with less of a drive could still do well by virtue of accuracy.
-Loops and Routing: The way these holes fit together is pretty incredible. I lost my sense of direction, but there were several points at which the course crossed itself with no issues. This also allows for some abbreviated round arrangements. You can skip from (3) to (7), and hole (12) ends near the parking to create a 12&12 variation on the classic two halves layout.
Cons: Scarcely few and very small.
-Navigation: Nothing terrible, but there are several points at which it is unclear. A few well-placed signs, or UDisc, would clean these scant spaces up.
-Tees: A little narrow. They were probably standard when the course started, but could use expansion to match modern technique.
-Disc Loss: The lake is a disc risk. However, the holes that include it are much better for its presence.
Other Thoughts: Idlewild is amazing. It's at the top of my courses along with Harmony Bends - I'm not sure I can give the clear leg up to either one. Idlewild has a few more park-style holes at the start, but the extra six more than make up for it. It also has more character than Harmony, with manicuring and a certain ageless quality from the old trees. I love it, and there's no doubt that it's a 5.0 for me.
33 of 33 people found this review helpful.
Simply one of the best.
26 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Where does one even start, this course has nearly everything that one could ask for.
1) The variety and quality of the course design on this course is almost unmatched. Almost every hole is unique, not only from the others on the course but from almost every other hole I've ever played. Nothing is repetitive (unless you count the amount of trees you will probably hit!) and every hole will keep you on your toes and needing to throw your best shots.
1.1) Shot variety is among the best I've ever seen. While the course certainly leans towards tight and technical, you have a little bit of everything you could ask for. There are a couple big bomber holes, some short and highly technical woods holes, long and technical holes, and a few mixed holes. On top of that, the elevation is something special. Especially on a few of the later holes. It's much, much more drastic than any of the pro coverage would have you believe. Hole 20 (DGPT 15), specifically, almost feels like trying to throw up a cliff. Hole 11 (DGPT 7) plays down a steep hill over the creek and then back up another very steep hill and down a wildly narrow tunnel that requires you to throw into a very specific landing zone on your tee shot for a chance at birdie. Hole 12 (DGPT 8) goes up then down and then up and down again, all down a tight and twisty tunnel. The rolling hills on 21 (DGPT 16) are beautiful and difficult to deal with, leaving you a blind second shot if you don't land in the perfect spot or have the distance to clear the first valley. Then, unless you have pro level power, your third shot will be steep downhill into the green protected by the edge of the tree line and surrounded by easy to find OB. The full 24 hole layout adds a couple shorter, more technical, holes and a couple more open holes of varying distances when compared to the DGPT 18 hole layout which just adds to the variety from what you see on pro coverage.
1.2) The design is also greatly varied and unique. As mentioned above, no two holes feel alike, especially on the DGPT 18 hole layout. There are a few par 3s, a lot of par 4s, and then two par 5s which are the exact antithesis of each other. The DGPT par 3s are mostly very long and difficult, but gettable if you have the distance. A couple are shorter, probably in the range of almost all players, but demand very tight lines to be hit. The full 24 adds six par 3s, four of which are pretty short and should be birdieable for most players. But don't mistake birdieable for easy, because most of them certainly are not. The par 4s range from quite short where even lower level players can get great birdie looks if they stay in the fairways to long pro level holes where any mortal is just playing for par without doing something magical. Then the first of the par 5s is short...extremely short for a par 5 at less than 600 feet, but it is still all of a par 5. One of, if not, the most technical holes I've ever played. Tight gaps, elevation, multiple blind shots, sloping green, thick rough...this hole has all of it. Almost anyone could birdie this hole just by staying in the fairway, but they could also take one of the biggest numbers of their lives by being too aggressive and getting off the fairway early. The second par 5 is almost completely wide open and long over rolling hills. The fairway is massive, but OB is still definitely findable on the drive with the distance you are trying to push. The hole narrows up and OB closes in by the green. A great driveable two shot par 5 for the pros and three shot par 5 that gives a pretty good birdie opportunity if you stay in bounds for the ams.
1.3) The OB creek that winds through many of the holes is used very well. Many times small creeks like this play as more nuisance than a hazard, but that is certainly not the case here. Every hole where the creek is present interacts with it in a different and unique way and (with the exception of maybe 22 (DGPT 17)) it's never annoying or feels like it's out of place. Along similar lines, the rough here strikes such a perfect balance between being very punishing but not unfairly thick. As one would expect, I found myself in the rough quite a bit but for the most part I found it to be manageable. While pitching out back to the fairway is probably the best bet most of the time, there was almost always some creative way I could have attempted to get myself out of the mess I found myself in that could make forward progress along the hole. There were also no thorns to worry about cutting up your legs on or super thick rough to really worry about losing a disc in that I came across which is a massive plus to any woods course.
2) Difficulty. This course is hard. Very hard. But I didn't find any gaps or lines unfair. Everything is doable. Most holes should be birdieable for many players if you can hit your lines and land in the right spots. Then if you have the distance every hole is birdieable, even eagleable in spots, But, if you miss the lines and find trouble bogey, or much worse, is in play on almost every hole as well. The gap off 9 is much tighter than the pro coverage would have you believe. The tunnels down to the pin on 11 and 12 are among the narrowest I've ever seen, but certainly still fair given the context of the holes. There are plenty of tight doglegs to make short par 4s, but none of them feel awkward or out of place like this hole shape often can. The only gap on the course I thought might be too tight or awkward was on 18 (not a DGPT hole), but the hole is so short that saving 3 is almost always possible anyway. Hole 22 (DGPT hole 17) is quite ridiculous when playing strict OB, but I don't think it's too unfair as long as you play within your means. Unless you are a very high level am or a pro, your expectations must be tempered while playing here...The average player won't even be sniffing a round that's under par. But difficult doesn't mean unfun, as long as you know what you are getting into, I think almost any player can enjoy the course and have a fun time. The DGPT layout has par at just under 1000 rated and the 24 hole layout maybe plays just a tick easier than that, probably between 970-980 by my best guess. Play smart and have a good time, or try to play above your means and possibly shoot the worst round of your life. For reference, I, about 910 rated, played what I felt to be pretty good and shot +8 on the DGPT 18 hole layout, minus hole 3 being in the short location.
If these sections didn't make it abundantly clear, unless you are among the best players in the world you WILL need your backhand, forehand, and maybe some rollers or overhands to even entertain shooting well here. It's very hard, but not unfair and I think almost anyone can have fun here if they go in with the right mindset.
3) There is a full practice area near tee 1 and the parking lot. You have a practice basket and some netting set up to warm up your putting, approaching and drives to your heart's content.
4) The tee pads are large, concrete, and all in great shape. Though, there is, mostly, only one pad per hole. A few holes do have two pads and the long pad on 15 (DGPT 11) is turf. Some more short pads could make the course more enjoyable by lower skilled players, but as mentioned above many of the holes rely on technicality much more than distance so even lower level ams have a good chance of birdeing many of them if they hit the lines. So other than a couple holes I don't think shorter pads would be much of an improvement anyway.
5) Tee signs are top notch. They contain basically everything you would need to know and are accurate. The only thing missing from them is elevation, but that's not even approaching what could be considered a con as it's a thing I've only seen a handful of times.
6) Benches to rest and buckets for trash on nearly, if not, every hole.
7) Baskets are all Innova Discatchers. They are visibly getting a bit old but they still catch great and are all in good shape. No rust, no bent cages, no missing chains, etc. Holes 2 and 19 (DGPT 14) have two permanent placements and a few others have multiple placements that rotate a single basket. As far as I can tell the combination of the holes with to baskets and the most common pin placements you can play the DGPT layout (or very close to it, hole 3 was in the short position when I played) almost any time you visit the course.
8) The landscaping/anti-erosion measures and bridges on the creek holes are great. The walls along the creek are quite picturesque and make the course feel professional. The green matting/astroturf type material on some of the creek side greens is just simply iconic of Idlewild. The bridges are well built, sturdy, and plenty wide enough to get carts across.
9) Speaking of carts, if you don't mind hills, the course is quite friendly to them. No stairs to deal with and no rocky terrain that is a pain to get over/around. The only place a struggled at all with my cart was the very narrow path between 21 and 22 (DGPT 16 and 17). Everything else was smooth sailing.
Cons: 1) Navigation can be a little confusing in a couple spots. Paying close attention to the 'next tee' indicators on the tee sign or having a map (printed from here or UDisc) can save a little bit of time your first time through. The walk from 9 to 10/11 (DGPT 6 to 7) is a bit of a backtrack down the walking path to the left. The walk from 12 to 13 (DGPT 8 to 9) goes right past the tee for 15 (DGPT 11) and it's very easy to accidentally skip 13 and 14 (DGPT 9 and 10) if you don't check the tee sign. The walk from 17/18 to 19 (DGPT 13 to 14) is an unmarked walk up the hill through the prairie. Take the left path from 18s basket up the hill and then down a small path into the woods. This was the only spot I had to stop for a second to check the map to figure out where to go. Then the walk from 22 to 23/24 (DGPT 17 to 18) goes 'across' the fairway for 17 (DGPT 13), though well below the tee elevation wise so not really a safety issue, and up to the left. Just a handful of arrows or other directional signs of some sort would do wonders in these spots, but the navigation is still very good compared to many courses and it shouldn't be too much of an issue for most to find their way around. It definitely doesn't detract from the experience at all, even if some of the walks are a little long.
2) There is some very minor interaction with walking paths on a couple holes, though the only place that I could ever see becoming a safety issue is hole 9 (DGPT 6) for people who have the power to push into the circle off the tee. Other than that one spot, there is basically no apparent safety issues and the course stays pretty well away from other park users.
Now on to the complete nitpicks that don't mean much of anything.
3) I played in the spring and even after a decent dry stretch it was a little bit wet in some spots and the grass was pretty tall on a few holes because of the wet areas where they couldn't get lawnmowers into yet. Holes 16 and 24 (DGPT 12 and 18) were the only ones where I had to dance around some wet/muddy spots but my feet stayed dry through two rounds. Then the area near the long pin on 2, hole 12 (DGPT 8), 16 (DGPT 12) past the dogleg right, and 20 (DGPT 15) all had pretty tall grass. Every local and other person that I talked to that has played the course has said this is only an issue in the spring so it's a very very minor knock. If these issues were a permanent fixture of the course I would have to have a long hard think about bumping it down to a 4.5. The rest of the course was immaculate and in perfect condition.
4) All of the DGPT pins aren't in place at all times. It's not a special layout and they don't have special pin locations that break the flow or would cause backups on a busy day so for such a high caliber course that certainly gets many players coming into town just to play the course that the pros play (that's why I came to town!) it'd be cool to have that layout available at all times; either by getting one extra basket to keep in the long spot on 3 or moving one of the extras from another hole that has two permanent placements. Though, this is just the one hole that has this issue, so it's really just the nitpickiest nitpick of all time.
5) No on site pro shop? Not very much of a con (or like at all, really), as there is a very nice shop in the Cincinnati area over at Mt. Airy but it's definitely something that some people expect from a top course. But given the location, pretty much out at the edge of the Cincinnati suburbs, and what I heard form many locals that a lot of people don't play the course super often due to its difficulty the town would probably be pretty hard pressed to financially justify putting a shop up at the course anyway.
Other Thoughts: Idlewild is, almost with no doubt, the best course I've personally ever played. Topping the (at the time of my review) other top 10 courses I've played; Rollin Ridge and Järva, which I played when it was still in its former glory with the full 27-hole layout. The atmosphere and the experience of Järva was definitely superior to Idlewild, but the actual golf was better at Idlewild, in my opinion. Though, that could simply be down to my preference of more heavily wooded and technical courses but that's no knock on Järva at all, as it's still, at worst, my number 2. Idlewild was, again in my opinion, better than The Ridge in almost every aspect except for the fact that there's no pro shop or other extra fancy stuff at Idlewild.
Either way, Idlewild 100% lives up to the hype and I think is truly deserving of a 5.0, even despite the minor navigation and springtime drainage issues. This is a course that anyone who has the opportunity needs to play. And, if you are the of weirdo like me who plans travel around playing disc golf courses this is definitely a course to build an entire vacation around. Hands down.
Tl;dr: The hype is real, folks. Go play this course at any chance you get.
26 of 26 people found this review helpful.
Just the best, that's all.
24 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Idlewild is truly a destination disc golf course. Don't let the fact that it is in a public park, and FREE to play, steer you wrong. This is an absolute world-class course. If you are traveling from overseas, I would put this on your short list. It's that good. BTW, don't be scared away if you are not a 900+ player. Can you throw a disc 250' in the general direction you want it to go? Great, come play Idlewild. You have to be REALLY good to score under par, BUT you can be really bad and still have the most enjoyable round of disc golf in your life. That, more than anything, is why this course deserves the ultimate, 5 stars. It is one of only two courses that I have played (Maple Hill is the other) that warrant being 5 stars, IMHO.
There is a nice course map, putting green, and driving net next to hole one as well.
>Tremendous shot variety, best I've seen
>Long concrete tees in great condition
>Baskets and tee signs very good
>Many special or unique holes, no two holes are anywhere close to similar
>Very pristine park type setting
>Woods holes are challenging but do offer quite fair fairways, unless you bite off too much
>Several island greens with nice felt. Gives course a special feel.
>This is a world-class course, and is FREE. Come play.
>No water on course, and only bathroom is near hole 1 (hole 12 comes close to this as well).
>Almost two hours from my house.
>Course navigation can be tricky without a map.
>Not a con, just a warning--this is a long, grueling course. Have plenty of water and maybe an energy snack with you.
Other Thoughts: .
>Teepads--Extra long, concrete, great condition.
>Baskets--Discatchers, good condition
># holes--24, 18 of which are used in the DPGT Idlewild Open Event each year.
>Setting--290 acre England-Idlewild Park. Amazingly enough, this is a public park, operated and maintained by Boone County. There are some locals who do extra work to the course itself, especially around tournament time, but even in early May, this was a well maintained park and course. In addition the course, this park boasts a well-stocked fishing pond, hiking and mountain biking trails, a very nice playground, baseball, soccer, and basketball courts/fields, a dog park, shelters, picnic tables, a very nice stream, etc, etc. It stays very busy, but the course itself not so much, believe it or not.
>Elevation--For being in the Midwest, this course boasts some very nice elevation changes, owing mostly to its proximity to the Ohio River. There are longer gentle up and down gradient shots, and a few more severe ones as well. Elevation plays a key role on this course.
>Distance of holes--This is a long course, make no mistake. But with many of the holes being par 4's, par really is a reachable figure on just about every hole if you can throw it straight. Birdies are tough if you don't have 350' plus distance, but par is a really good score on many of these holes. The longest hole is nearly 1000 feet, lined with O/B on both sides down a generous fairway. There are a couple sub-300 holes, even on the Pro Tour layout, but you have to hit a pretty tight window to get to the dance floor in one.
>Ease of getting to--Quite easy, it is just past the County Fairgrounds.
>Parking--Abundant parking on hole one. One can also park near hole 8, but who doesn't want to start this course on the famed hole 1?
>Bathrooms--Port-a-john on hole one. Pretty accessible from hole 12 as well. Seems like I have seen one near hole 8 teepad but can't be certain.
>Water/food nearby--No water on course, Burlington and Hebron are 5-10 minutes away.
>Trash cans--Buckets on every tee, though they were mostly filled.
>Tee signs--Great, with distance, but not elevation change.
>Next tee direction/signs--Tee signs show next, but nothing at or after basket. Map is very helpful, almost necessary.
>Wheelchair/cart friendly--very much no, somewhat.
>Shot variety--Best I have ever seen. Bring every disc you own and borrow some from your friends. A great mix of RHBH and FH drives, great use of elevation so your approaches have to consider slopes of greens and fairways. There are a few tight gaps, longer medium wide fairways, very long very wide fairways, uphills, downhills, throwing through trees, under them, over them, over water, etc. I used both BH and FH rollers, and some scramble shots I don't even have a name for. You WILL have to scramble. There are open holes as well where the wind, even on a milder day, comes into play.
>Layout, long walks (inc back to car), loops--This is a long course, but the distances between holes are actually quite short overall. But 24 holes, some approaching 1000 feet, do add up. The course plays as one long loop, with a 200 yard walk back to your vehicle from the last basket, and you can cut back after hole 12, which plays right alongside hole 1's fairway.
>Total distance walked--The 24 hole complete course was 3.8 miles. The 18 hole DGPT layout is about 3.5 miles. The only real difference distance-wise is holes 4-6. The DGPT layout skips these. They make a small loop between holes 3 and 7. The other three 'extra' holes are right along where you would be walking anyway to get the next DGPT hole.
>Ease of finding next tee--You will need a map, either picture of it on your phone, or online. There really are no next tee signs to speak of.
>General difficulty--Very, but it is also a very fair course. Stay in the fairway, and par is reachable on every hole.
>Mud/water issues--Hole 3 had some issues, both at the teepad, and the green area, in fact the basket has been moved 75' closer to the pin, I am guessing because of high water (it was fine on the green when we played, and I've never seen water issues on this course before). I didn't check if this was permanent or not. If so, it's a much easier hole now. Some muddy spots throughout, but nothing impassable.
>Water or O/B to contend with--Pond on holes 2,3,5 (long), 6, and 7. The creek or other O/B is present on nearly every other hole. It is NOT marked except for tournaments, but there are caddy books online if you really want to play the official O/B.
>Difficult rough/lost disc risk--High. The pond on holes 3 and 7 (and another one on 6 if you play it) likes discs. Especially aggressive throws. Hole 6 is easy to lose a disc if you play the mando, which forces you through a fairly small gap left to right over the water, where two tall skinny dead trees rise up to grab even a well-thrown disc. It's a nasty and murky pond too, you will not be able to retrieve it without a full scuba suit. The creek is shallow enough to not lose plastic in, the rough is mostly fine, though it makes shots difficult. A real grip-locked drive though could get lost in the woods.
>Scrape/scratch risk--Medium. Some of the rough areas are 'well-worn', but many are not, as the fairways through the woods are long and some are fairly narrow. Unless you jump your way through the round, you will find some rough.
>How busy was course/park--Park was very busy, course itself not so much, I think people read reviews or see the length of the course and get scared off. Don't. Come play, you will love it!
>Fun/enjoyment factor, would I play again? Every chance I get--it is about 2 hours away or I would play it more often than I have, which is 5 times in the last 18 months.
>Who will this course challenge? Everyone. Only in the last couple tournaments have top level pros even begun to tame this course a little, and some of those still shoot over par rounds here and there. But again, one doesn't have to have a 4 digit rating to ENJOY this course. Unless you lose a disc, you will have a lot of fun and challenge yourself like never before.
>Is it worth a drive? It's worth a flight.
>Anything unique? I agree with those who say most of these holes would be the signature hole at most other courses. If you just let that statement sink in, you can begin to get a sense of this course. In addition to the variety mentioned already, three of the greens have the putt-putt green felt, and are island type greens, bordered by the creek and/or O/B woods.
>Would be a half star higher with--Free food, beverages, caddy, and being two hours closer. Just kidding, it's about perfect as is. Maybe some 'next tee' directional signs. Of course, it can't be 5.5 stars can it?
Just to encourage everyone to play, here is a REC player's guide to Idlewild (just the 18 holes used in the DGPT event--the other 6 holes are somewhat easier, and most are birdie possibilities for someone with 325' power. For the main 18 holes, every hole IS actually par-able, and several are birdie-able for rec players (including those with a max distance around 275' or so), But saying it and doing it are two different things. All descriptions below are for a RHBH player.
1: Fairly open, plays about 575' or so downhill. Two straight placements (fairway is very wide and forgiving) gets you to circle one for a birdie look, one of the few available to a rec player.
2: Need a FH or turnover shot, preferably to the gulley (the low point of the hole). A little right is OK, as left plays OB. 2nd shot should be very close to or past the walking trail, but that pond comes in hard from the left, know where it is before you throw. 3rd shot needs to be gentle, as the hill slopes right toward the water. Match your angle to the slope of the hill. The slower speed disc you can throw here, the better.
3: Slight flex or a long straight low throw. This green IS reachable in one with a good pull. The creek is OB, and there is water and OB left, so stay right. A fairly routine par 3 if you avoid trees.
4: Par is very good on this hole, even pros mostly lay up. Watch for people fishing. The hill again slopes toward water, so be careful. Basically only two trees to worry about, but they can be right where you want to go...
5: Par is a great score. If you can get to or a little past the big tree on the bottom in two--right where the slight forest starts--you have done well. A good lie will get you a toss to the green and possible par. The creek of course is O/B, but the hill behind the basket can be a backstop.
6: A very difficult par 3 for a rec player without power. Quite a bit uphill. Most pros don't reach this in one either, so don't worry. Getting to the two small trees about 275' in front of you is a great shot, and leaves a 150' FH to the green.
7: The first really small gap you have to hit. The creek again is O/B. The hole plays uphill quite a bit as well. A FH through the gap (you'll see which one) that lands in the open is great. A good open lie is MUCH preferred to extra distance on this one. A good lie is far more important than distance. Stay in the fairway and get your par. Birdie is out for most rec players.
8: Another possible birdie with 3 well placed shots that stay IN the fairway. There are scattered trees, but the lines are fair if one isn't trying to crush 300' shots on this one. One bad lie or getting off the fairway and you will be struggling for par. Again, placement much more important than distance here. Don't follow a bad shot with a dumb one...
9: FH or turnover from tee (FH slightly preferred so disc fades INTO slope instead of down it, where it can skip quite a bit). There is one small gap to hit here too, hit it and you could have a birdie chance. Miss it, or get a tree kick, and you could easily be scrambling for bogey.
10: A VERY tough par 3. Forget birdie, par is great here. Frankly, be happy with bogey on this one. Just a very narrow fairway with many many trees, and an extremely tight flight path to the pin,and it plays uphill almost the entire way, with lots of bad lies and rough awaiting a bad shot. Good luck.
11: Possible ace run and definite birdie chance (the last realistic one for a rec player). Just throw straight. Banging into the wall in front of the basket works well. Miss your line though, and bogey becomes not just possible, but likely if you end up with a bad lie.
12: Stay IN the fairway! A dead center 250'-275' works well. Trying to cheat the corner more than likely will leave you in the rough or a bad lie. A 2nd shot about 250'-275 into the field, as close to the left treeline as possible leaves a short pitch to a well-protected green. That is why being closer on the 2nd shot is best, but you need a clean 1st shot to have that look. You can launch a long overstable driver on your 2nd shot if you have a clean look, and hope for a good skip close to the green, but most rec players don't have that distance.
13: The 'KY' hole. I don't believe the mando is technically still in effect, but it doesn't really matter cause you still have to hit that gap to have a good hole. Landing safe, with a good lie, is paramount. The creek and all its meanderings are O/B, and bogey is usually best case scenario then. Just get through that gap and land safe. The hill behind the green is safe, so use it and slide down to green.
14: A long gliding FH or turnover that hits no trees is best, but pretty difficult. Many trees on this hole. Again, placement over distance. If you get your 2nd shot down to the flat area in front of the creek, par is very possible. Birdie IS possible, but it would take 2 perfectly executed gliding shots that hit no trees, and landing in the creek on the 2nd shot is very possible if going for the green in two.
15: Another very difficult hole--narrow fairway, many roots and trees everywhere, plays significantly uphill, and basket ends on the right, so a FH or turnover approach is needed. Bogey is frankly a good score here.
16: This hole plays very different depending on whether you play official O/B (off the fairway), or no O/B except the creek at the bottom. Without O/B, just grip and rip and try to get down to the bottom in 3 for a long circle 2 putt. The tee sign says par 4, but tournaments seem to always play it as a par 5. Maybe McBeth has ruined another hole for us by getting too many eagles. If you play off the fairway as O/B, then the wind becomes a big part of this hole. The last several holes you have not seen much wind, and may not feel much on the teepad, but it is there. If you can throw 275' and stay in the fairway, par is possible for sure. You need about 350' straight distance to really get a birdie chance here. The strokes can add up REAL fast with O/B, because a big RHBH hyzer will that doesn't come back in bounds becomes stroke AND you lose most of your distance, so it's basically a 2 stroke penalty. Also, the green is an island, and the hill behind is O/B as well. Easy to skip off that green so mind the long approaches.
17: The creek meanders all through the fairway, and while a birdie is possible, that O/B can make luck a big factor if playing for birdie. There are several ways to easily get par, mostly involving 200'-225' putter type shots that don't challenge landing in the creek at all. The green is another island, almost surrounded by the creek.
18: Par 4 is an excellent score here, pros average a 5 here, even though the only O/B is beyond the fence near the green. Why? Because there are many small trees on the fringe of the fairway which basically take an entire stroke away. Landing dead center perfect in the fairway is VERY important to get your par. You want to be within 75' of the gap out of the woods to have a chance at par. The hole plays uphill quite a bit too, so unless you can throw dead straight 350', forget birdie.
I think for a rec level player, 3-6 over par is a great score and job well done. As mentioned, every hole IS par-able, and several birdie-able as well, but to hit all your gaps AND have good lies every 2nd shot AND make all your putts is quite a tall tale. Don't be scared to play this though, it's a beautiful course. If you don't like, money back guarantee.
I am in my 50s, 80 or so courses played, 875ish.
24 of 24 people found this review helpful.
38 Helpful / 0 Not
A Masterpiece That Deserves To Be On Every Disc Golfer's Bucket List
Pros: Idlewild is a championship-level 24-hole disc golf course that resides 21 minutes from the I-71 Bridge into Cincinnati over the Ohio River. This is the same Idlewild that is in the top 10 of all 4 lists on the front page of DGCR, including the top spot of all courses in times played and favorited. You may have also seen this course featured in online coverage of The Idlewild Open.
Idlewild's location is in Burlington, Kentucky. Burlington has a nice town center, and most disc golfers will be directed to Idlewild via I-71 to HWY-18. There are plenty of restaurants and gas stations nearby, among other stores, so you will be able to grab whatever you need before or after your round. The course is also a reasonable distance from other courses if you want to make a day out of disc golf, including other Cincinnati staples like Mt. Airy and Lincoln Ridge. Cincinnati's primary airport resides just to the west of Idlewild, and is the 4th largest cargo airport in the US. With runway 9/27 being lining up just north of the park, you can expect to see and hear multiple aircraft during your round, a nice bonus for those of us who enjoy plane spotting.
Park amenities are robust across Idlewild's 290 acres. The park has water fountains and plenty of port-o-potty locations, though not all of the wooden structures had one (I'm assuming they add more for big events). At the front of the park, you will find a nice playground, basketball courts, and one of two soccer fields. A 4-acre dog park is also near the front of the park and has its own entrance, along with a community garden. In the back of the park, you will find 5 baseball/softball fields. At the back of the park is also a bike park, and 11 miles of mountain bike trails. Throughout your round, you will also come across the 3-mile paved trail that goes around Idlewild. There are also 3 reservable shelters around the property. The disc golf course can be found at the parking lot that is at the end of the driveway that goes to the left after entering the park. You will also find the start/end of the paved trail and the second soccer field next to the disc golf course start. Luckily, there's a decent amount of parking in this area, so finding a spot shouldn't be too much of an issue for you. I also noticed AEDs around the park - something I haven't really noticed anywhere else I have played, but a sign that this park has thoughtful folks overseeing it. Other than all of that, you will likely countless park goers walking, fishing, or enjoying one of countless picnic tables around the park. It was a sunny and 44 degrees during my round, and plenty of folks were taking advantage of the clear weather.
The course equipment at Idlewild is top notch. The DISCatchers were all in great condition, and have those yellow bands that are easy to spot from a distance - a real plus on some of the holes here. The signage here is fantastic, with each tee sign presenting a great graphic of the hole layout, as well as locations and distances for all pins and tees for that hole. There's also a full course map by hole 1. The tee pads are all concrete, and vary in size throughout the course (I never felt like a tee pad was too short here). Some tee pads have rougher surfaces than others, but they were all grippy and nice to throw from. There's a bucket at each hole, I'm assuming for trash. Between the buckets and the trash cans around the park, garbage is not/should not be an issue here. At the start of the course, you will find a practice basket with ample space to practice longer putts, as well as a net for warm up throws. I wish more courses had a net like Idlewild does; warming up your arm without having to go retrieve your disc is a huge plus. If you want to air some shots out, the soccer field next to the practice basket is a great option if it's not in use.
Idlewild's course design truly has everything, and is the reason this course has the reputation that is does. You will use every disc in your bag, every shot in your arsenal, and every trick up your sleeve during your round. If you watch disc golf tournament coverage, you may on here that Idlewild has 6 additional holes the tournament does not use. Holes 4, 5, and 6 branch off to use additional land by the park entrance, while holes 10, 18, and 23 are short par 3s that break up longer walks. If you want to just play the tournament 18, holes 3 and 7 transition really well, and you'll just have a little longer of a walk for the other holes. As a whole, Idlewild varies between open park hole, tighter wooded situations, and holes that provide a combination. The course also loops back to the parking lot after hole 15 which is nice for if you need to grab something out of your car or get a bathroom break. Navigation is pretty straightforward at Idlewild, and I didn't find any spots that were confusing and didn't need to pull out a picture of the map once.
Variety is the name of the game on this course, and every hole has risk/reward to it, whether it be the par 5 hole 12 or the 214ft ace run on 18. The first 10 holes of the course all primarily provide park style play, with gaps and placement shots to make in order to secure a good score. After that, you have 10 mostly wooded holes that vary in length and difficulty before coming to the behemoth that is hole 21. To conclude, you have 3 holes of varying length that all require precise throws to find success. You have ace runs that can kick your disc into the shadow realm. You have genuine multi-shot par 4s. You have both wooded and open par 4s. You have 2 completely different par 5s. And elevation variety all over the course. If you can think of a shot you'd like to see on a course, Idlewild has it.
Idlewild, as you probably would expect, is challenging. This is not a course for new players, and intermediate players will be tested on this course. That being said, this course feels very fair, and not overly punishing. Safe golf will be rewarded here, while misplayed risky shots will likely give a poor result. The rough around the course isn't so rough that you are at risk of losing a disc, but it will likely require a pitch out. That being said, with a bad enough kick in the woods or a bad enough shot into the prairie around 21 (especially when it's at full height), make sure you watch your disc for the whole flight. While the ponds around hole 2 and 4 can eat your disc, the creek that runs through the middle of the course is forgiving enough to not make it too hard to get your disc back. Intermediate players will find this course to be an amazing but difficult test of skills, while newer players may not have a good time on a lot of the holes here. If you don't have a lot of distance on your drives, 21 will be a slog, and if you don't have great accuracy, the wooded holes are going to eat you alive.
Course highlights are plentiful here; ask multiple people their favorite hole at Idlewild and you'll likely get a variety of answers. So many of the holes here, including just about every hole used in the Idlewild Open, are incredibly picturesque and would be a high point if placed on a different course. It's hard to begin to narrow down a favorite hole on this course. Hole 1 starts you off with a rolling hill, slightly downhill shot that is incredibly deceptive in its difficulty. Hole 8 requires a long shot to the right into woods with a fast, artificial turn green surrounded by a creek. Hole 15 is a short, ~200-foot, beautiful ace run with plenty of small trees that can punish you. You have hole 17 with the Y tree and a long RHBH hyzer down the hill. Hole 21 is 1,000 feet into a guarded green. Hole 24 finishes the round with 500 feet worth of tight, straight fairway. Take your pick. It's all here.
Cons: Course length at Idlewild will be a plus for some, but a negative for others. My relaxed pace with playing disc golf is still relatively quick, and I was only held up by one group on my round, and it took me over 2 hours to play all 24 holes. If you want a full round at a relaxed pace, give yourself the time for it; I'm sure this course can get much busier than it was when I played.
Accessibility may prove challenging for some players as well with all of the elevation changes and the footing in some of the wooded holes. If you have any sort of trouble with mobility, this course may be a slog for you.
I felt that this course was respectful in terms of interference with other park uses, but it's not 100% perfect. The one hole I found to be unsafe was hole 9, which has the pin placed uphill just past a pathway. On other holes that cross paths, it's pretty easy to spot pedestrians and wait. Hole 9 has a harder sightline from the pin, which I'm sure is exponentially worse when all the leaves are in. Other than that, be aware of surrounding when around the ponds or walkways, as other park goers get a lot of use out of the paths, as well as the pond on hole 7 for fishing.
The extra 6 holes at Idlewild stand out when compared to the tournament 18. They aren't going to blow you away. That being said, I think they only stand out because of how great the tournament layout is. 4, 5, and 6 make the most out of some extra land, and the other 3 break up otherwise long walks. These 6 holes would contribute positively to most other disc golf courses, and still provide some fun shots. That being said, if you want to only play the best of the best, stick to the tournament 18.
There were some minor upkeep related things I noticed on my round, all of which I'm sure will be addressed. Erosion didn't seem to be a huge issue on course, but some tee signs and spots are showing some signs of it. Considering how muddy some other courses in the area were on the same day, I was impressed over by how relatively dry Idlewild was. That being said, some spots seem to hole water and mud for a while, especially on 24.
Course difficulty makes this course less accessibly to newer players. If you're a newer player and really want to check Idlewild out, know what you are getting into, and don't be afraid of throwing shorter shots that you know will stay safe.
Other Thoughts: If you weren't a disc golfer and went to England Idlewild Park in Burlington, Kentucky, you'd probably never know that the course there was regarded as one of the best in the world. The course has a modest vibe to it. It has the same kind of DISCatchers as many other courses. The tee signs are pretty, but I've seen others with more information provided. There're nice features, including the artificial greens, bridges, and cement cylinder walls around the creeks, but none of that calls attention to itself. Going into a round at Idlewild, you may expect it to feel like staying at a Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons.
Idlewild isn't like a Ritz Carlton. It's like a nice B&B. It doesn't call attention to itself, and doesn't have flashy decorations around. But what it provides is 5 stars. A course design that is among the best of the best. Course maintenance that isn't in your face, but helps elevate the quality of your round and the course as a whole. Challenging shots that feel fair. Par 4s that really make you think about how you're going to line up for a birdie attempt. You won't leave Idlewild happy because it had the world's greatest amenities, flashy signage, or any other factors to call attention to itself. You'll leave happy simply because this course provides some of the best disc golf you will find anywhere, all while still feeling accessible, like this course be your home course. I love fact that this course in a way feels like any other course in how it's presented, and that it's free when most disc golfers would happily pay to play here. There were higher level players on course when I was there. There were also high schoolers enjoying the clear day. This course blends perfectly into the rest of this gorgeous park, which to me is beautiful and fitting.
I haven't said anything you haven't probably already read about Idlewild. This is the 192nd review of this course, and the 134th 5-star rating it will receive. In a way, I guess this review is also a thank you to Idlewild. I drove 10 hours round trip to play a few courses in Cincinnati and Louisville over 1 weekend. I would drive further than that just to play this course again if that's what it took. This course did not meet my expectations I had of it after watching tournament coverage and scrolling through reviews on here; It somehow exceeded them. I didn't feel like I was expected to be in awe during my round at Idlewild. Instead, this course gave a vibe that it wanted me to feel at home there. This course is over 11,000 feet long and is a genuine hike, but at no point did I feel like it was dragging on. I was left at the pin of hole 24 wanting more.
This course is currently wish-listed by 1,327 people on DGCR, and is likely on the bucket lists of countless other disc golfers. It should be on yours too. Come home to Burlington, Kentucky. Great disc golf is awaiting you.
38 of 38 people found this review helpful.
30 Helpful / 1 Not
Epic. Iconic. WILD!
Pros: Design: 5
My Overall Score 5. Best of the Best!
Let me preface this by saying, I have been playing this course or watching the pros play this course once or twice a year for the past 8 years that I've been playing. It holds a special place in my heart. This is the standard in my mind for what a Champiomship course should be. It is the Masters for Disc Golf in my opinion. My review is particularly for the DGPT layout.
Design: Where to even begin? This place has it all! Open par 4s, check. Wooded par 4s, check. Ace run, check. Difficult par 5s, check. There are fast greens (turf). There is difficult OB everywhere, natural and man made. There are holes that really pay to FH dominant, or BH, or left. There are holes where birdie or even eagle is obtainable, but risk of super bogey is the other side of the coin. Each hole is fair, yet difficult.
I dont think there is a Better example of great course design on the pro tour. Every tree has a place and reason to be there.
Beauty: I mean look around you. You are in By God Kentucky! Home of Bluegrass, bourbon, racehorses... and the most perfect disc golf terrain! Rolling hills. Ponds. Green pastures. The only drawback, maybe, is the busy international Airport sending huge planes overhead the entire round... and I like that too!
Tees: These are all in great shape. Level to the ground. They are all large enough for everybody except James Conrad. The 1000 footer even has an extension to it. Im not sure what more you could ask for here.
Amenities: Just to name off the top of my head, this course has a practice driving net, practice basket, restroom access through at least the first 6 holes of the course, Discatcher baskets typically with 2 placements on many of the holes, benches on every hole, great new tee signs, the only course with astroturf greens, and much much more! The only thing missing is a great Kiosk with a huge beautiful map to showcase the course.
RePlayability: if you are glutinous for punishment, this course is very replayable. Unfortunately, it is nearly a 3 hour drive for me. If you are at least 900 rated, and the friends you take with you are the same OR You play doubles... this course could easily be played twice in one day. Granted, you better take extra discs or keep them puppies in the fairway.
Other Thoughts: Honestly, I'm not sure how anybody could rate this less than a 5 star. I wish I had access to the courses they are playing. This is the best of the best. The only course I rate higher maybe is Flip City. The only thing I would add would be a giant kiosk and maybe some avenues on the 1000 footer to make searching for discs easier. Great job guys! Thanks for the great design, and for showing everybody what a course SHOULD look like!
30 of 31 people found this review helpful.
52 Helpful / 1 Not
Nati Ice, But 200 Proof And Tastes Like Lemonade
Pros: (4.763 Rating) Buckle-up and be ready for an adventure like none other.
- UNIQUENESS - Standing on tee (1) and looking down fairway was an instant realization that this course was going to be epic. The course has everything design wise. There are big elevation changes in the 60 to 70 foot range. The fairways go up, down, left, right, across valleys and over ridges. There's a herculean 1000 foot open bomb-it hole and long multi-play technical fairways. Water danger is ever present, from terrifying water clears to paralleling meandering creeks. There are also several big dogleg rights and even a few technical ace runs. I found the hole to hole variety here, to be best I've ever played, including Flyboy Aviation, which had held the top spot for me, until here.
- SIGNATURE HOLES - There's like a dozen of them! My favorite three holes keep changing and I expect them to continue to change. As of this review post and also my 4th revision of this, it is holes (8), (16) and (19), which are all well designed placement par 4s. I do not know how this translates to before Idlewild's hole renumbering.
- CHALLENGING - I believe the new tee signage indicates a par 81?, but even if I go by the old numbers, the challenge here is top tier. Players will need a lot of distance and precision to score well. That said, it's likely that smart game play will be the biggest key. Gun slinging it, getting greedy or attempting miracle recovery shots is just asking for punishment. Overall I scored the difficulty as Pro level and into my personal top 5 toughest places to play along with IDGC Jackson, Jack McLean, Roy G and Oldsmar Gold. For the record, I played to the long baskets on (2), (19) and (22) and the long tees on (7), (8) and (20). By accident, I missed the long tee on (5). I shot 99 as an Intermediate level player.
- RAW BEAUTY - I did not play at an ideal time of year, December. Even so, the immense beauty of this property very much shined through the gloom of the leafless trees. I envision this place being drop dead gorgeous from late spring till mid fall. As noted above, lots of water elements. The fascinating zigzagging creek which makes its first significant appearance on hole (8), comes into play on six holes. I loved the use of concrete cylinders to line the creek bed. It's hard to fathom the amount of volunteer work and passion it took to create this truly unique element. Overall I scored Idlewild into my top ten for beauty. The amount of dead trees took it out of my top 5.
- CHARACTER - The amenities and extras at Idlewild are better than 85 percent of the courses out there. However, this is the one area that the course could improve upon. The concrete tees are of a variety of sizes. The bigger tees are generally where you'd expect them to be. The baskets are DISCatchers. There are a four holes with extra tees and three holes with extra baskets. I wish this occurred more often. Benches are at almost every tee which is needed on a course like this one. The course also has a course map and practice basket by tee (1).
- NAVIGATION - Good, but not perfect. As noted above, course map. I'd take a picture before a first play. Tee signage is appealing and has next tee direction. What's missing often are navigational cues at the baskets or at paths leading to the next holes. Maybe I caught a bad day, but it was very surprising that a course this acclaimed, wasn't at excellent level for navigation.
- NOT PAY TO PLAY - How is this course not pay to play?
Cons: Mostly a list of catch 22s that come with this style of course and personal preference things.
- FORGIVENESS - Straying off course in some spots will be unforgivable. My group of three would have lost 3 discs if it weren't for 1/4 inch thick ice on the ponds the morning I played. In addition to the water, several fairways are cut through thick heavy woods where retrieving a disc could take a while to find. Also, hole (21) is an absolutely brutal long prairie style hole. Shoulder tall grasses with pockets of briers on each side of the fairway. Had it not been for late fall conditions, everyone in my group could have lost a disc on this hole. This course is not for the faint of heart. The disc loss potential will be much higher than on a normal course.
- BEGINNER FRIENDLY - This course is an absolute beast. Beginners that come here will curse the course out. 2 discs newbies will likely be going home by hole (7). I'd recommend having 200 rounds under your belt or being at minimum an 850 rated player.
- TERRAIN - Lots of elevation change. In a few spots, the slope angle is greater than stairs. I could not recommend this course to those with bad knees or ankles. The course is listed as somewhat cart friendly, but I'd go with barely cart friendly if it were an option.
- TREE DEATH - There are hundreds of what I presume are mostly ash trees marked with an orange 'X'. Including an 'X' on the iconic 'Y' tree.
- MANDOS - I personally wasn't a fan of any of the mandos other than the safety one on hole (4). The course shines absolutely just fine without the gimmicks.
- TIME PLAY - I joined a quick twosome at tee (1) and spent nearly 3 hours on the course.
Other Thoughts: The most exhilarating course I've ever played. Idlewild is a full throttle disc golf experience. I dropped my bag in awe many times on this course because of the challenge in front of me. From what I had read and what I had heard, I was expecting great things. Idlewild did not disappoint me. The intensity reminded me of several of the courses in my personal top ten as of this review (Inverness, Flyboy, Jackson and Wilderness), but amped up even more. I made a last minute detour to finally play here and I'm thankful that I did. Not every player is going to love this course, in fact, some will hate it. But for those that thrive on epic game play and that can handle wicked difficultly, I can think of no better course than this one. I loved it.
52 of 53 people found this review helpful.
22 Helpful / 0 Not
~Well planned layout and design
~The best maintained & groomed course I've played to date
~Large concrete tees
~Informative signs w/ trash buckets on each hole
~Extremely challenging, but fair
~Outstanding flow and navigation
*Nitpicking to say the least, course has little to minor flaws.
~A few of the "non-tournament layout" holes aren't overly exciting
~A short set of tee's could be added for more casual players wanting a less challenging layout
Played a casual round with two friends a week before the Idlewild Open. The course was in immaculate shape, very clean and well groomed. First and foremost as challenging and demanding as this layout is, I found the holes to be extremely fair for above average play. If you can throw controlled shots and hit decent lines you will remain in play. No need to bite off too much. The key here is staying reasonably within the fairway and forwarding the disc on every throw, if you get off the beaten path there will be many strokes lost.
The course is beautiful, with mild to moderate hilly terrain and ample trees. The layout is more compact than expected, but if feels very secluded and vast. What impressed me most are the details to each hole design from tee pad placement, sign posts with trash buckets, to the retaining walls, basket structures, and handful of turf greens. The trees are trimmed appropriately and the brush is maintained.
I found the variety exceptional throughout the course in both distances and technicality. The design has a similar feel throughout, but you never feel like any two holes are repeated. I relied mostly on fairway drivers and midranges along with occasional distance driver. Confidence in your throws and lines is a must to have an enjoyable round.
Idlewild is worth the rating, it is the most enjoyable course with this caliber of difficulty that I've come across so far. Kudos to the locals who maintain this beauty, it is truly impressive how good of shape this course remains in.
22 of 22 people found this review helpful.
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