Epic. Iconic. WILD!
24 Helpful / 1 Not
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!
24 of 25 people found this review helpful.
Nati Ice, But 200 Proof And Tastes Like Lemonade
44 Helpful / 1 Not
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.
44 of 45 people found this review helpful.
16 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.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful.
22 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I joined this site in 2008. Over the past 11 years, I've watched courses come and go from the top 10. I've played more of them than not. But Idlewild has always been around, always waiting, always tempting me. And finally the day came to play it.
The terrain here is terrific and none of the features are wasted. Rolling hills, meandering creeks, lakes, woods, and pastures. And lots of distance.
The first 10 holes are more open and give you a chance to air it out. Hole 1 is a blast and reminds me of the long downhill bomb at Highbridge Gold. Hole 8 is a fun windy shot over and along a lake, reminiscent of Hole 5 at Winthrop Gold.
Then the course transitions into the woods and hills. Hole 16 was one of my favorites. There is a clear toss to a dogleg landing zone, turning to a gentle downhill with the opportunity for a huge throw to a basket tucked into a grove of trees. Hole 17 is a throw through a Y-shaped tree that is a double mando (I missed it) before turning around a bend and approaching a dangerous island green. I wanted another crack at this.
The signage is excellent, which is really a requirement when you have holes this long.
I played the course with several friends that introduced me to the game, and there were several lead changes. It's fun to have a course with the potential for a great score or a big number on any given hole, depending on how you execute.
Cons: On some of the creek holes, it's tough to tell where OB begins and ends. I don't mean in the creekbed, but there are parts of "over the creek" that are OB and parts that aren't, and it wasn't always clear where one began and the other stopped.
A couple holes had fairways surrounded by very tall grass. I lost one disc, although it was on an atrocious throw that would have been lost on a wooded hole, too. This wasn't a deal breaker but tall grass in play isn't my favorite element to a course.
This isn't a con, but I'll mention it here: if you're not throwing straight, Idlewild will eat you alive. I had a great time here, but I could see this place being a real beatdown if you're off your game.
Other Thoughts: At one point I was thinking about how to rate this course and a friend I was playing with said, "Wait, what's wrong with this course?" I didn't have an answer. Not much, as it turns out.
One theme runs through every course I've given a 5.0 rating: you can't stop replaying the holes in your head. You think about the long grass rough when you mow your lawn. You think about the narrow fairways when you're in a tight hallway. You think about the dog legs when your puppy is upside down next to you on the couch. You think about the safe landing strips when...well, never mind.
I can't stop thinking about Idlewild, and I'm glad it exceeded my expectations. This one's a classic, and it is definitively the best public course I've played.
22 of 22 people found this review helpful.
A Must Play
10 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Where do I begin? This course has everything and is one that needs to be on everyone's bucket list. It has so many shots that challenge you on multiple levels. Several holes allow you to open up and stretch for big arms but has many holes that require that touch shot required for birdies.
The course opens up with a wide open downhill shot that is so iconic and then moves to a winding shot through the woods and over water. The variety of shots and scenery is amazing and really shows off the beauty of northern Kentucky.
Great tees and tee signs. Multiple pins and tees on most holes. Garbage cans on all holes. Good course maintenance with minimal brush off the fairways (unless you go WAY off the fairway).
Cons: This course is a great course however do not plan on playing in a hurry. Not so much a con but a warning if you plan on getting in a quick round while in the area.
Other Thoughts: So much has already been said about this course that it is hard to review. The iconic holes such as 1, 7, 8, 11, 21 are just amazing! The scenery is unparalleled. Everyone should play this course.
10 of 14 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 3 Not
Lot's of wild, little idle
Pros: Idlewild is one of the most popular courses in the world, and it's not that hard to see why. There are so many epic holes here, on the beautiful rolling hills of Kentucky (though just a few feet away from Ohio). This course has the reputation of chewing players up and spitting them out on the other side, and it earns that reputation.
I went out of my way from St. Louis to Johnson City to get this course in and it was worth it. There are plenty of epic, memorable holes on the docket.
With great challenge comes great reward. There are opportunities for hero-shots a plenty. If you want a good score, you're going to have to make some. You'll probably have to make many just to stay at par. I got lucky and played in November when the leaves were mainly on the ground and not in the trees, which made this course only somewhat difficult and not gruelingly punishing.
Tee signs are great, and needed because you often cannot see the basket from the tee. There are two pins or two tees on some of the holes, so decide early whether you want to be challenged, or super challenged.
Cons: It was pretty slippery and muddy the day I was there, but that's probably not as bad most days as it was then.
There are 24 holes, not every one of them is spectacular. Some are a little forced, but really I'm not a fan of the super-OB heavy in the first place, much less when you add a scattering of trees to plinko through.
Other Thoughts: Idlewild's normal 24 hole set-up includes some of those signature holes you expect (if you've watched video of the Idlewild Open). But this isn't the same layout, there are a few extra holes thrown in. Those are the ones not as memorable.
This course is awesome, and I loved the feeling of history on this course, not in the same sense as the IDGC, but just knowing that this course has been a huge part of the game for so long, and is an experienced shared by hundreds, if not thousands of other disc golfers. Sometimes it's hard to travel and meet players you can talk to about courses you've both played. Idlewild is not only a shared experience, but for some of us, a shared trauma! Jkidding it was great
14 of 17 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 1 Not
Wow, what a place and what a course!!!!!
Pros: I visited Idlewild one day before the annual Idlewild open. So my review is taking into consideration the immaculate condition of the course in preparation for this Pro tournament. The course seemed perfect to me. I will break down item after item of what I was impressed by, but it's deserving of a 5.0.
Nearly every hole has its unique character. Idlewild combines trees (a lot of trees), with rolling fairways and water. The brushed concrete tees are excellent as well as the detailed Tee signs. The Innova Disc Catchers are great.
There is crushed gravel spread all over the course: around the tees, the bridges, and creating pathways.
My three favorite water holes were two, six, and seven. On number 2 you're throwing up a hill and you can't see the water. I just skipped over the crown and went into the water. Fortunately I recovered that one, then threw over the water to the peninsula basket. The tee on number 6 was intimidating to me, but it was not included in the Idlewild Open this weekend. There's a little gap in between two trees that have Mando arrows and on the other side of those trees is a little swamp. If you have good control this is no problem. I suppose for the better players this is too easy so it got excluded from the Open. Unfortunately I nicked the tree and my disc ended up in the water. I'm not the only one, since I saw two other discs floating in the water.
There are two tees on number 7 and I took my chances on the long tee, which throws over the water, if you favor a RHFH like me, to a basket sloping down into the water. Unfortunately my disc ended up in the middle of that pond. So I lost two discs in the three water holes that I like. Next time I'll tee off from the short tee on number 7, which easily avoids the water from the right side.
There are many OBs created at Idlewild to challenge your technical skills. There are several doglegs where you are throwing blind down a hill, into a wood, then avoiding an island or peninsula green.
Number 15's tee sign says it is only 197 feet, but the basket is perched on a raised green, across a valley that is full of trees. Yet it is straight ahead with no elevation change. Normally I consider a 197' target that is straight ahead as an ace run, but I looked at that basket and considered it one of the hardest looking 197' shots I've ever seen. With good technical skills, and a little luck, this should be a birdie.
Another common experience at Idlewild are the tunnels you must navigate on your drives. If you don't the forest roughs will punish you.
Cons: Maybe there's too many trees, if that's possible. And maybe there's too many OB creations, if that's possible. But I can't discount a course for trees and OBs since it only requires better technical disc golf skills.
I could see how some of the steep dirt fairways would be difficult after a rain and no gravel, but when I was there it was a beautiful sunny day with blue skies. And there was fresh gravel everywhere in preparation for the Open. Unfortunately the next day the first round of the Open was delayed due to thunderstorms. The weather here can change quickly.
Other Thoughts: I talked to a friendly guy putting down the gravel who said he's been averaging 20 discs a day in his water rescue efforts. Since it's a Boone County Park I suppose he's the official park diver.
The park does not open until 7am and the day before the Open it is not open to the public. Since I was traveling through the area and I was only around there for that one day I started at 6am when the sun came up. I pretty much had the course to myself, which I'm sure is not common for such a great course.
Idlewild has a good vibe. How do you put into words that feeling of being outdoors in a spacious park with mature trees on rolling hills with rivers and ponds?! I live in Southern California and I think that we SoCal disc golfers rate our courses too highly because we've never experienced the really great disc golf courses around the country. If I get a chance to review the other courses I played on this trip (Moraine State Park in PA and Orange Crush and Seth Burton in WV) then I'll expand on this comment.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 1 Not
A thing of beauty
Pros: - Simple and easy to get to. The drive up to the course is beautiful and then once you are in the park its simple to find the first hole.
- Potty in the parking lot.
- Discatcher baskets are always awesome to see. Best basket out there imo.
- Nice concrete teepads. Most of them are big enough to land a plane on so thats pretty awesome.
- Lots and lots of benches.
- There was a bunch of crushed gravel out on the course as walking paths and it made finding the paths to the next holes easy.
- The course flowed pretty seamlessly. There was only maybe 1-2 times where I wasnt sure if I was heading in the right direction. Otherwise it was pretty simple.
- This course will test you mentally and physically. There are a lot of trees here and a lot of distance making for a battle thats fun to play.
- This course has pretty much everything. Short wooded, Long wooded, long open bombers, rolling hills, water, OB, Mando's. You need pretty much every shot to be able to score well here. The only shot that I didnt throw is a big hyzer. Every other shot I threw.
Cons: - There are a few holes out here where they do need to take some trees out. Just a hand full of holes needed fairer fairways. On a course this caliber I shouldnt have to knowingly throw a shot of the tee and just hope and pray that I dont hit a tree. Not a lot of fun when it takes more luck then skill to complete the hole.
- One of the concrete teepads had astro turf on it. Not sure why this is but its pretty terrible. I slipped and fell off of the tee because of it. Im sure it was done because the concrete below is beat to death but turf is not the way to go.
- Not really a con but I havent lost a disc in a few years and I lost 2 here. The rough is really rough in some places which sucks but that just means I shouldnt have thrown my disc there.
Other Thoughts: This course has been on my hit list for years and it felt so good to finally get to play here. The course was beautiful and a lot of fun to play. Reminded me of the great courses we have in WI. I played the 24 holes so I could get the full experience but the next time I go back I would like to just cut it down to the 18 used for the Idlewild Open. Overall I would recommend this course to every one. This is a place that every serious disc golfer should look into going at least once in their lives. This course is a thing of beauty.
17 of 18 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 18 Not
Best of the best
Pros: Top 3 coarse in the world IMO I found out about this coarse like 2 months before 2017 Idlewild open and I freaking love this coarse even when you're not shorting well it's fun as heck just amazing landscapes and nature must play
1 of 19 people found this review helpful.
The Midwest's Mecca
33 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Idlewild is a mecca. I made a 1,100-mile, 50-hour round trip from Charlotte specifically to play here. It was worth the drive.
- This fantastic voyage starts with one of the best opening holes I've seen. An open, 640-foot downhill layout. You get to pull out driver and test the arm right off the bat. A solid par 4.
- #2 & 3 are excellent in their own rights. The challenge on #2 is how aggressive do you want to be off the tee. Long and straight leaves you a simpler shot over the water. Shorter or off-line and you should lay up. My third shot wasn't more than 140 feet, but it's a nerve-wracking throw. Despite landing 5 feet from the basket, I never felt good about the throw until it came to a stop.
- #3 has water on the left, with the fairways sloped downward towards the water. It's a hole, when standing on the tee, where you may be left wondering, where can I safely & smartly land my disc. Don't worry, you'll have that thought off, most notably on #11 & 22.
- In terms of beauty, you'd be hard pressed to top #7. The pond runs the entire left side of the fairway for the 430-foot, slight uphill layout. The further right you go, the longer your approach is going to be, and the more your playing downhill back towards the basket. It takes two solid shots to get to the basket here.
- #8 is your first taste of the woods. If you want one hole to sum up the Idlewild experience, I think this is the layout. A 530-foot dogleg right that starts in the open, before having the trees become a factor the final ¼. You also get one of the artificial green surfaces, which only serves a purpose as defining OB. Another hole where players should appreciate a well-earned par 4.
- Tremendous risk/reward factor throughout the course. The key is to know when to be aggressive and when to be cautious. Holes #11 & 12 aren't ones to be aggressive on; just keep it in the fairway and take your pars. Holes #13 & 15 are your birdie chances, with #15 being a legit ace-run. If you played #11 & 12 smart, you may end this five-hole stretch (including #14) under par. Poor shots on #11 & 12, and you're needing birdies just to get your round back on the right track.
- Tee signs are your lifeline on the course. So many holes where you can't see the basket from the tee. Other than possibly #16, I felt they were spot on.
- Possibly what the course did better than almost any other I've played is the approach shots. I felt I was time and again throwing to the basket from 200 - 250 out. The course is receptive of long tee shots, often having upslopes behind the basket allowing your shots coming in hot. Case in point is the 1000-foot hole, #21. Yes, there's OB, but there's plenty of room to land on the green.
Cons: The course has a fantastic 18 holes. It does take 24 holes to achieve that. Other courses I've played had a higher success rate.
- There are a couple filler holes. #19 serves no purpose whatsoever. Even #20, which is a fine hole, was just part of the long walk to get to #21. Once you decide to blow past the 18-hole mark, maybe 20 or 21 holes would have been better. I'd get rid of #6 & 19 tomorrow.
- There's a decent walk from #24 back to the parking lot. I didn't like the way the course ended with the final basket right behind two large trees. My thought: no matter where you are, when you're coming out from the shoot in the woods, aim for the two large trees. Let them knock your disc down and take your chances with a 15-20-foot putt. It's what I did, and it saved me a stroke. After everything you've been through on a par 90 course, having that be your final challenge was a major let down.
- Course comes too close with other park activities at times. On #9, you're throwing across a heavily used walking trail. I had to wait almost a solid two minutes to let a handful of people walk on by. Then I throw and discover I nearly hit a person with his dog, who was just hanging out in the dip in front of the basket.
- Pace yourself here. Course is nearly 11,000 feet. Even if you play fast, as I do, you're not getting out of here much under 2 hours. I'm a very fast player, and this took me right around 1:40 to play. Expect 3-4 hour rounds if you're with a group.
Other Thoughts: This course's best attribute is its depth of outstanding holes. Just by looking on here, you can see how many different holes have received multiple votes as the course's best. I could argue for five different holes as the best one here.
- Other than the stretch of #11 - 15, any three hole stretch on this course had at least one great hole in that stretch. #11 - 15 'only' featured the course's toughest hole (#11), another tough, long layout (#12), and two legit birdie chances/the first chance you've had to catch your breath in awhile (#13 & 15). And that's the 'worst' stretch on the course.
- I wanted to check this place out for myself, so I made a quick road trip, leaving Charlotte Friday afternoon, stopping for the night, and getting here Saturday morning. This was assuredly worth the trip, the hype, and the energy. I got to play 12 other courses in six total states before pulling back home 50 hours after I left.
- I pictured this course as being something grandiose. It was in the sense of its small tributes to disc golf with commemorative bridges and what not. That said, it's weird having a new, start-up neighborhood directly across the street. It's weird thinking having an internationally known disc golf course across the street and probably most them wouldn't have a clue.
- This is an absolute must-play. All the frills that other top-rated courses don't impress me as much as what the course offers between the ropes. This is right up there with some of the best I've played.
33 of 33 people found this review helpful.
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