Fun and very challenging
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Beautiful scenery and very challenging course design. This is my personal top choice for the Cincinnati / Tri-state area. The grounds are always well kept and every few years the benches and signage are refreshed. This past year during the Bluegrass open, all of the baskets were replaced with new ones. This course also provides a "short game"; so you will play 18 baskets instead of the regular 24 that Idlewild has to offer (some of the fairways have shortened lines and alternative baskets). Great place to expand your game and push your skills to the next level.
Cons: Some of the fairways further into the wooded areas can get pretty messy when rainstorms come through. Also, in the latter half of the course, there is a bell that you ring to alert anyone behind you that you have just finished putting that basket. This bell has been broken for a couple years, so just be on the look-out for rouge discs. The only other design problem, would be on the famous Kentucky "Y" fairway; it actually intersects one of the paths between baskets, so it's not uncommon on busy weekends or tournament days, to have passerby's (another place to watch for rouge discs).
Other Thoughts: I absolutely love this course. If you're serious about disc golf you need to add this to your bucket list. If you do visit, play all 24 baskets as well.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
25 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Idlewild is every bit the fantastic disc golf beast I was led to believe it would be. The variety in design and terrain is outstanding: this is fantastic land used to great and memorable effect. Open to tight, birdiable par 3s to brutal par 5s, rolling hills, steep slopes, water hazards, island greens, daunting mandos, it couldn't get more varied than this. These elements are often used in interesting combinations to create unique scenarios, like moving from the open rolling hill down into the tree-guarded island on 15, or 11's (in)famous triple mando laced with a small creek that takes a sharp left into slightly more open terrain approaching a guarded pin. There are so many multifaceted holes here.
The definitive Idlewild holes seem oversized, lengthened to add stages or make second and third shots as intensive and critical as your initial drive. Strategic placement is huge, as is your handling of risk versus reward: the par 4s and 5s here have so much that can go wrong on a given shot that you really need to approach them judiciously and be prepared for contingencies. This makes for a challenging mental game, but there are so many variables in play that things will go wrong at some point regardless of your intent. Idlewild is thus equally about damage control, finding ways to get back on track when a playthrough of a hole takes a turn for the worst. Holes often allow for these recovery shots, with thinned-out rough and many possible lanes available, so while you may feel down you are rarely out. The course is as challenging as they come, but that challenge is well-executed and refined.
Grooming is excellent, the concrete tees are great.
Cons: Several of the lettered holes are underwhelming relative to the high standard the original 18 set. They are generally mellow par 3s that offer a nice change of pace from the skill-intensive par 4s and 5s, but they definitely stick out a bit in relation to them. Getting them in one large chunk near the course's beginning, before you've really been exposed to the challenges of the original 18, lessens their ability to provide a largely-needed reprieve.
The course is very hard, no way around it. I wouldn't even argue if someone considered it unfair. Much of it is thus not beginner friendly and requires an appreciation for highly-technical courses. It's a physically intensive round too with lots of hillside walking and long holes. Bring water and snacks, and be prepared to have this round be the focus of your day.
Other Thoughts: Idlewild is one of the very best courses I've played, and should be high atop anyone's bucket list. Its prestige is well-earned. I will be back!
25 of 25 people found this review helpful.
Challenging, No Time To Relax Here
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Many Hills, Valleys, Beautiful Trees, Big Tees, New Baskets, Open Holes, Wooded/Tight Holes, Some Water, Some Alternate Tees And Baskets, Nice Grassy Fairways With Bridges Where Necessary, Some Island Greens With Astro Turf, Well Maintained, Usually Not Crowded, True par 3's, 4's, and 5's, Nice parking. Plays Like A Tough, U.S. Open Type Ball Golf Course, Where Even Pros Are Challenged To The Extreme To Shoot Even Par.
Cons: No Pro-Shop, No Permanent Bathroom Buildings, No Food Shop. Just a few water fountains.
Other Thoughts: Idlewild was designed for advanced and pro players. The sheer distance of this course is challenging, then, considering the elevation changes, water, trees, thick rough, and varied fairway geometry/angles, it may be the most demanding course in the world. Every hole is a unique test of players' abilities. Patience rather than frustration is in order here, more so than other courses, due to the exacting shot making required to traverse the course. Most of the holes demand players to execute at least two solid/accurate throws before they have a putt for birdie. It takes about 4 hours to complete a round. Watch the 2017 Idlewild Open on youtube for a great, detailed look at top pros playing this course. Playing this course will make you a better player.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Tough on the Novice Player
10 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Some buddies and I took a two-hour road trip to play Idlewild and we were very excited. It didn't disappoint. This course has everything a talented, experienced player could ask for. It's visually stunning and extreme thought was clearly put into everything from the landscaping to the pin placements.
Cons: I probably didn't enjoy my round as much as a player with more skill would have. Many of the fairways are extremely long and narrow with dozens of trees to negotiate and woods on each side. My shots frequently ricocheted off trees and ended up in the woods or just got knocked down. Players also throw at a steep uphill angle off a number of the tees. With limited power, I had trouble getting much distance off the tee on the uphill drives. I racked up my share of double and triple bogeys on the way to a 16 over round.
Other Thoughts: For better than average players with plenty of power and accuracy this course is a must play. If you're a weekend warrior like me, you might find it a little frustrating, but it's still worth making the trip at least once!
10 of 12 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 1 Not
I am not going to write a long review, there are plenty to read here.
Cement tee pads on all the holes, the original 18 are larger than the newer added holes
Some holes have short Tee's
Some holes have multiple pin locations
Some holes have multiple pins installed.
Tee signs were good condition.
Pretty easy to follow, specially with the map.
Cons: I honestly can't think of any. This course was as close to perfect as you can imagine. Took about every shot I had and had several risk reward shots.
Other Thoughts: I booked a B&B for a quick trip. When looking to see what courses were nearby, WOW, .7 miles away, in fact you drove by the B&B on your way to the course.
I played the championship layout with just the 4 discs I brought with me, Putter, Roc, Wraith and Wave.
I really enjoyed the multi shot holes, I usually don't like super long holes but the ones on this course were very good and well laid out.
What the local club has done as far as landscaping is incredible and really is what puts this course to a perfect 5 for me.
As far as "sign par" I was actually under going into hole 18 and for some reason, threw off the fairway more than once and hit just about every tree, including the one in front of the basket, not just once, but twice. Not knowing where the baskets were helped. I was playing for "par" just throwing layups on most of the longer holes trying to stay out of trouble.
So, would I play here again?
Does a bear poop in the woods? HELL yes I want to play here again. I could not have asked for better weather when I got to play, but I want to play the course again with all my bag instead of just a few due to traveling.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 23 Not
Pros: -Stunningly beautiful area, lots of wildlife
-Well designed, lots of variety in layout
Cons: Although well maintained, it could use some money put into it. Some of the baskets are rough.
1 of 24 people found this review helpful.
Good, but didn't love it
4 Helpful / 18 Not
Pros: Lengthy course, perfect for a pro looking for a challenge. Variety of holes going in and out of the woods with solid elevation changes. Not too busy, even on a Saturday.
Cons: Tough, physical effort just to walk and play the course. Can be a little tricky to navigate, at times.
Other Thoughts: While many of the holes were unique and interesting, they just weren't quite as fun as some other courses I've played.
I didn't see the sign to detour for the additional 9 holes, (but I was pretty wiped out after the normal 18 anyway)
4 of 22 people found this review helpful.
An Ass Kicking I Can Take with a Smile
11 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: I had time to play one course on my trip to Cincinnati, and I decided to venture south to play the 8th ranked course in the country!
-Just about every hole on this course would be a signature hole on most courses.
-First course I've played with turf "greens".
-Lots of variation in shots, distances, etc.
-Multiple sets of tees.
-Course was in immaculate shape.
-Surprisingly not as crowded as I thought it would be, easy going and fun to play.
-Beautiful park with tons of wildlife.
-Tee signs are some of the best I've seen, very descriptive.
-This course is really tough, and I like it.
Cons: -Baskets are kind of beat up, but I've definitely seen worse.
-A few holes could have issues with pedestrians.
-I'd like to see a better kiosk at the first tee. Missing that "wow" factor for the entrance of a Top 10 course.
Other Thoughts: It's hard to come up with things that haven't been said about Idlewild. This course beat me up in every way possible, but I'm okay with it because of how beautiful this gem is. It lived up to its expectations, this is a must play course if you love the sport of disc golf!!
11 of 13 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: I mean, it's friggin gorgeous.
Some holes have multiple pins and the lettered holes are a nice change of pace bonus.
Excellent shot variety; to do well, you need a bevy of forehand and backhand lines, and a thumber doesn't exactly hurt either.
The "island" greens with the creek are just awesome; the astroturf isn't exactly necessary for the greens, but man does it make them feel special. The edging done with wood also adds to the awesomeness of the greens.
The holes here mostly require excellent shot linking; several of the par 4's require two nearly perfect shots to get a birdie. There are also holes where the tee shot is a bomber shot and the second shot is more of a layup or go for it option to the green, and others the tee shot is all about placement with the second shot as a let er rip tater chip shot.
The KY gap (Hole 11) is so friggin cool. The mando doesn't really matter, as if you don't hit the mando gap, you'd still be screwed regardless, but it's a super fun shot and the green is gorgeous (you'll notice that word is a theme).
Course has outstanding flow to it; every hole is extremely different from the one you just played, with a good mix of bomber shots, tight lines, gotta get em birdies, and punishing par 4's where a 4 feels like an accomplishment in and of itself.
All the holes with multiple pins have baskets in both sleeves, which is mostly a pro, but also a slight con if the basket gets in your way. The only hole this really happens is 16, and even then it isn't a big deal.
There is a practice basket, a handy-dandy map, and all the course signs are clear and super informative.
There are a few water fountains throughout the park, most notably in the parking lot by one, the picnic shelter by hole 3, and up by the ballfield backstop way off to the left of hole 15's tee. That one isn't the most convenient, but hey, it's there and it works well.
Cons: EDIT: Brand new Pro-28 Discatchers (including practice basket), catch perfectly. Also some new benches installed, lovely.
Ticks are abundant out here, so please be careful and check yourself on every tee and also after wading in any of the tall grass.
The rough is super rough, and can be shoulder high in some spots (I'm a half inch shy of 6'). If you shank a shot into that stuff, just wave bye-bye to your disc. It's only really a major problem on holes 12 and 15, but can come into play on a few other holes. Also, the woods off the fairways are super thick, so you can barely miss a shot and be boned. Not necessarily a con for everyone, nor do I want to come off as complaining, but having a 3-5 foot strip on either side of the fairway that allows for a recovery opportunity isn't the worst thing ever.
Other than hole 11, none of the mandos are marked very clearly at all, so it can be difficult to figure out where exactly they are. Just use the tee sign and your best judgement; they're mainly there to make sure you play the hole in the spirit it was designed to be played, so it's pretty easy to play by them.
Between the super tall grass on 12 and 15, a wetlands pond on hole D, and several other ponds and things, it can be easy to lose discs out here.
Walking trail throughout some of the holes; be extra careful on hole 4, and if it is possible, send a spotter out.
Not exactly a con, but a negative observation: some of the benches, wood trimmings around the greens, and other aesthetic/ancillary things are showing their age. While the course is still a marvel, you can definitely tell that it isn't exactly the newest course in the world either. It's not really a reason to not play, but it makes you wish you could have played it when the course was newer and slightly better kept. They are working to change that and refresh the course though.
Course is in killer shape for the DGPT event, should be great upkeep in the future as well hopefully.
Other Thoughts: Idlewild is definitely one of the sport's gems, although it can also be a brutal place. The baskets and rough are honestly the only real cons out here, everything else is just gorgeous. Every hole is fun to play, although they can also be super frustrating and make you want to pull your hair out. It is a bit of a longer course, but the hike is definitely worth it, and the land is so pretty, it's not really much of a complaint either.
This is not really a pro/con, but just an observation. While par certainly seems right for the course, there are a few holes which I feel could go up or down in par. Specifically, hole 1 doesn't really feel like a par 3 when it's in the long, but hole 14 doesn't really feel like a par 5 either. In the end, it doesn't really matter, but it's still kinda weird.
Definitely keep a look out on yourself for ticks; there are plenty of deer out here (including one that likes to bed down not 30 feet into the woods from 18's tee) and the grass is long and thick, so they're everywhere. Just be vigilant though and you'll be fine.
Hole 3 is probably my favorite hole on the course. The tee shot is a huge RHFH flex to hyzer shot or RHBH turnover shot down a gradual hill, with lots of trees guarding the way to the green, which is on a peninsula surrounded by the creek. There is plenty of space between the trees to navigate to the green, and presents you with a choice of whether to lay up and try to run a long putt, or go for the green and a good chance of three. Great risk/reward hole.
Another favorite is hole 11. It plays in a similar fashion to hole 3, although it's more of a RHBH/LHFH straight to fade shot. It also plays through the woods, although the paths through the trees and types of shots are different. The lay up zone is also much closer, and the green is a tiny strip of land, so it's much more of a lay up on the second shot, then run the putt or lay it up, again, similarly to hole 3. However, it's so much different beyond the basic premise that they are both unique holes in my mind.
Overall, this course is something you must experience at least once in your disc golfing career. The cons are super nit-picky and don't really detract from the overall experience. If I could, I'd give this course a 4.75 rating, but as it sits, I just don't feel like it has enough to bump up to truly 5 stars.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Idle-Wild and Wonderful
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Idlewild is one of the most highly regarded courses in the United States, and even the world. You have most likely read reviews, looked at pictures, or had dreams about Idlewild. I will proudly say that I was one of those people.
When I pulled in, I will honestly say, it didn't look exactly "special." There was a bulletin board, and a random looking practice basket on the other side of the small patch of green.
But then... wow. The first hole is a 640' rip through a tree lined fairway, with a few trees down the middle. It is by far one of my favorite opening holes I have played, with a few star-studded courses on my played list.
You then have a long walk through the beautiful park that contains this beast of a course. You travel over hills, through valleys, in fields of grass and dense forest. You throw over creeks (and often in them) and through trees shaped like the letter Y.
You are forced to throw every shot that is inside of your bag, and even forced to try shots that you are not capable of, as I found out right away. It was not easy to accept the fair spanking I got from Idlewild.
Par threes were tough, Par fours, tough, par fives, tough. You will not shoot under par on most days no matter how good of a golfer you are. That could be a con, but I really enjoy shooting 20 over par. It is really easy to become comfortable with shooting even par or better.
Amenities, the tee pads were nice. Tee signs were a little rough looking/wore out, but did their job just fine. Nothing to really complain about with quality of course design.
Cons: Cons... huh. Not easy. This course is truly a gem, which is evident by the slew of 5 disc reviews that have come in the years past, but there are a few things that keep me from rating this a perfect 5.
Baskets- what? The baskets on the course are a single row of chained, weird green color concoction. I am not saying they are dysfunctional, but I have played on much better baskets at far worse courses.
Navigation- The extra holes on the course were probably awesome holes. I wouldn't know, because I completely missed them. As far as I could tell, there were no signs pointing to the extra holes, and they were out of order. (F comes first!) Print a map, or take pictures of the map. It helps on every course you play.
Unnecessary Obstacles- Some holes were almost great, but had maybe an island green, or a large tree planted in the middle of the fairway. Without these, you could easily make them tough, but fair.
Difficulty- I did say I liked hard courses, but this course is pretty much impossible for Ams playing the regular tees. Just be aware of this before you show up with two discs and expect to play well. You won't. I won't take any points away from the course for this, but a shorter tee pad, or an easier pin position here and there could go a really long way.
Other Thoughts: This course is amazing. If you are within an hours drive of Idlewild, go. Stay the night, and play the other fantastic courses that Cincinnati has to offer. The club here does an amazing job with keeping up the courses and running great events. Can't wait to come back!
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
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