Tough on the Novice Player
5 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!
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Good, but didn't love it
4 Helpful / 15 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 19 people found this review helpful.
A Great course that needs some TLC
11 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: As has been stated, a very challenging course that will test your mettle. Long holes, short holes, technical holes, open bombers and elevation changes throughout make for a course that never seems to repeat. While playing all 24 holes will wear you out, it will be physical and you will leave wanting more. One of my top 3 in the area.
Cons: Not a course for beginners or those with a tendency to throw off course. Water can and will eat discs, the grass on 15 especially is a source of heartache for many (although a goldmine for those willing to suffer some shin-destroying search missions) and there is no water or restrooms on the course except for at #1.
Be also aware that this is a community park and other events occur there. When we played the local Fire and Police departments were there doing a deal and the kids blew the horns on the trucks for 4 solid hours. Also there was a high school cross country meet there and there were groups running on the course. That was interesting.
Other Thoughts: As noted on the conditions, this course needs some attention. The concrete core retaining walls are falling down around the unique tee islands, the foot bridges were pretty bouncy and rickety, the signage was ok but showing signs of wear/damage. The grass on 15 was 4' high and a disc in there is literally a disc in a haystack. Very tough to find- our group lost two there but found 6 others...
A Saturday mission of volunteers should gather and revamp the course. I'd like to know who to contact to try to get this done. It's a great course but with the conditions starting to degrade it could lose its status as one of the best. But I'll be back, many times...
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Very nice course that could be amazing
4 Helpful / 27 Not
Pros: Beautiful surrounding area
Very nicely mowed
Difficult with some very long holes
Fairly easy to find flyaways
Many very nice holes
Cons: Very Narrow fairways through the woods
Many trees in the middle of the fairways
Small gaps you have to hit from 300 ft.
No real opportunity to shape shots
Takes a long time
Other Thoughts: This course is very good. There are some extremely difficult holes that are also extremely gorgeous. But maybe a third of the holes cause you to think the course may be laughing in your face. Through the woods the fairways are maybe 15 feet wide with trees in the middle. This makes for a few holes that are just plain not fun. For example, Hole E's teepad is behind a lake, which is fine, but the reeds are 6 feet high... good luck throwing any line that will end up on the right side of the pond. I'm not amazing and I've only been playing for just over a year, but I'm pretty alright and every one of my shots hit a tree.
Also plan for this course to take a long time. it took me and a friend over 3 hours to play this course, and it seemed like every one of my shots was from the rough due to the large number of trees in the middle of the fairway.
With that said it is worth the try if you've never experienced it. The park is very beautiful, the course is hard, and it's rated among the top in the country. I like the course alright, but since it's more than an hour and a half from where I live, if I come to the area again for disc golf I'll go to lincoln ridge.
4 of 31 people found this review helpful.
Tough. Tough. Tough.
29 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Idlewild is a 24 hole course set in a super nice, multi-use park.
Concrete tee pads, in decent enough shape. Some could use some work, but no big deal. Most holes have one tee, some have two.
Mixture of baskets, but they all worked well enough. Some updates on these wouldn't be the worst thing. One pin position per hole, for the most part.
Distance. Everywhere. If you like long, winding holes, this is the place for you. You'll get open bombers, uphill hucks, tight tunnels, and anything else you can think of. There's a few shorter holes, but for the most part, you can expect plenty of legit par 4's, with placement being key.
Good use of elevation. There's not any top o' the world shots, but just about every hole has some sort of rolling hill incorporated.
Some holes have water as an obstacle, which is nice. No gigantic water carries, but several places where, if you get knocked by a tree, you could be in trouble.
Really nice landscaping, and tee signs. It's not quite country club nice, but not too far off. Navigation was relatively easy and the course has good flow.
Cons: I'm not a big fan of turf greens. I understand why they're used here, but they felt out of place and weird. Probably just a preference thing.
Idlewild is certainly not the most "accessible" course around...meaning new players, or players without bigger arms are going to get frustrated easily here.
Idlewild is a great course, especially if you're a top level player. I get it. What I don't like, is that as an Int player, I felt like I could go out there with a mid and putter, and score just as well as I could with my whole bag. In fact, I might score better just dinking and dunking my way through the course. There's places where it feels hard just for the sake of being hard. Of course, this is totally a personal feel, and will be different for every person.
For a course of this caliber, there should be at least two tees on every hole, and more than a single pin position. There's certainly plenty of space to do it.
Other Thoughts: Idlewild is a fun, tough, long course. I just didn't leave it feeling like I HAD TO come back and play it again, even though I'm glad I got the opportunity. Personally, I'd rather head up the road and play Lincoln Ridge.
Definitely a course you want to go play if you're in the area and make your own conclusions.
29 of 35 people found this review helpful.
35 Helpful / 21 Not
As an outlier, I guess I'm just not (that into) championship calibur enough for this course.
Pros: Lots of variety here - yes with this many holes you still get variety out of a predominantly long wooded course. There are a wonderful mix of uphill/downhill/crosshill/rolling hills, insanely wooded/wide open, water hazards including longer water carries, etc.
Risky greens. I love the risk associated with many of the greens and approaches which are right on the creek or one of the ponds. Many of the wooded holes also have greens that are
Balance. Good mix of long/short, and left/right/straight/s-curves.
Water hazards. Personally I love water hazards. I love forced crossings with bail out zones that accommodate lack of distance. I love the 'tight off the tee' semi-hidden muck hole on the lettered loop. It's nice to have a water hazard that generally makes a disc un-recoverable - that type of challenge really changes the mindset of some players and I love to see how they react and change up their selection.
Beautiful physical terrain with sweeping views, huge majestic trees, sharp drastic elevation along creek bed ravines, and lots of woods and waters style beauty. Definitely the physical type of terrain ideal for a disc golf course.
Multiple tees and multiple pins. I love the variety this introduces and allows players to mix up the skill levels needed, as well as allow groups of varying skills to play and enjoy together.
Cons: The biggest downer was the shear repetitiveness of the wooded holes. I am the kind of player who LOVES wooded courses, but I was completely taken aback at how much this course started to wear on me. I wasn't necessarily on my game, but not throwing too bad. After eyeing some of the almost ridiculous lines off the tee, I stepped up and ripped drive after drive down the tunnels, watching and oohing and ahhing, only to get kicked into the brush by one tree or another. So, that brings up a secondary supporting con - the rough (and course in general) has a big poison ivy/oak problem. I've stated in my reviews before that I am a travelling player. I take time out of business trips and family vacations to play what appears to be superbly enticing courses. Idlewild did look superbly enticing, but when playing through with the family while on the way to Florida, worrying about quarantining our shoes and clothes due to poison ivy is a huge turnoff. Back to my original frustration regarding the layout, it just became too much and it took me far too long to admit the defeat. After a while, I began throwing a buzzz or other straight midrange disc anywhere from 2-3 times on the long wooded holes, then plunking in an easy putt for a 4. I found no real reward in ripping a driver down the fairway to achieve the perfect s-curve and maybe take a 2 or 3. To the contrary, the risk was high and punishment became awful as we tip-toed through poison ivy and thick brush.
The turf greens looked really neat in the pictures and were actually part of the draw to play the course, but in person they look REALLY tacky. The ugly bright green turf applied over a flattened green, and lined with ugly concrete bollards was just that - UGLY. I'm a fan of natural courses, so not having the natural sloping banks along the stream, keeping them really risky, was a turnoff. I'm sure with the number of players at the course, erosion was a concern, and I give the crews credit for addressing it though.
No huge downhill bomber. Yes, you may argue that you can really rip a disc down hole #1, and I agree, I'm talking the ski hill style downhill hole is missing.
The signs were nice but I didn't feel they really depicted the hole or the pin placements. With the number of pins and long blind holes, I found myself very often walking a few hundred feet down the fairway to get a better look.
Despite touting multiple tees, this really isn't the case as many holes have just one finished tee. I personally find this frustrating in trying to play a certain type of round at a specific skill level. Say I'm playing with my wife who is throwing the short tees, and I'm playing the long tees - when they're shared or often just one tee, or jump around from one to two to three tees, it's frustrating and not at all a consistent skill based complete round - calling a single tee both a red and a white/blue level tee and hole design is nonsense and a copout.
There is also a mix of basket types out here and some were just plain old junk, homemade (looking) with single rows of chains. 24 common baskets would be much nicer.
1001' across a field. Let me tell you again, with super tick grass off the runway, throwing a buzz three times down the middle, then going for a 40' putt, missing and taking a five, is WAY better than the minimal amount of reward in ripping two 450' drives and MAYBE making a 100' putt for a three!!!
Other Thoughts: Overall, I was thoroughly excited to play Idlewild, and as the round started, that excitement kept building for the first few holes and as I looked around at other holes. Then we got to the letter holes and half of them were completely passable. The first downhill hole was nice, the mucky watering hole was great, and the carry across the pond was great - the others were bland and useless, including the one (or two?) after original hole 3 which are entirely boring.
After getting the lettered holes out of the way and entering the woods is when things picked up again because I love watching discs sail wonderfully through the trees. But as we kept getting beat down by the fortress of trees, and searching through discs in thick brush and poisonous plants, the wonder began to wear and even the ace run wooded holes on the unique a neat ridges and valleys couldn't raise my spirits much. Eventually I accepted the beatdown and threw straight down the middle for an uninspired and lackluster round. All the shiny polish wore off and Idlewild became a chore. We were happy to leave and continue on our way.
So, all the hype and all the enticement still exists, however playing the course fails to live up to the hype and hysteria. I understand the appeal completely, and I get the references to "Championship Calibur". It takes a GREAT player to concquer this course. Unfortunately with 400-600' holes playing s-curves through the woods, some luck is bound to play a role in any round. My luck was bad, I was far from championship style, and I decided to play lame-duck golf to avoid the punishment, and I still scored decent (deaming 4s and 5s decent enough compared to penalty of kicking deep into the brush and taking 6s and 7s). Idlewild was beautiful, challenging, decently balanced, and full of variety - it just wasn't fun!
35 of 56 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 15 Not
Top Notch Challenge
Pros: Tight and technical, to include a long arm challenge. The rolling hills along with the trees make this a sweet venue. Super well maintained, with some excellent lines. A true test for anyone no matter what level of player. Great use of the creek, with the OB challenge.
Cons: Having a course map available for players on site would be helpful. I was quite confused about how par was defined until I got home and checked DGC review. Had some confusion about what was OB. A bit tougher for the first timer, I'm sure having a local guide, or being local would be advantageous.
Other Thoughts: I'd suggest a donation box, so that the local club and community can continue to improve this venue. I sense that the sport will be pay to play in the future - a small investment in a donation box could bring in some serious revenue.
5 of 20 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 16 Not
Beauty of the Beast
Pros: I'm new to this course review thing. I'm bored at work and have decided to start reviewing some of my favorites. We stopped here on the way to Am Nationals last year. We got caught in a torrential down pour after 14 and didn't finish. Here are some thoughts:
-Beautiful park, very big, and well maintained.
-Options galore. You can play this course aggresively or lay up and take what it gives you. There are plenty of chances to score well, but if you miss your line trouble awaits.
-Designers and course keepers have an obvious love for there course. The amount of work that has gone into this place is second to none. Kudos to those involved with keeping this place nice!
-You need every shot in your bag, not just to shoot well, but to navigate the course. You're required to throw an arsenal of different shots out here.
Cons: Recreational players beware. This course is not for the faint of heart. With that said, it may beat you to death for a while, but I can see well groomed players being molded by this course on a regular basis. It may not be fun for newer players to start with, but eventually you will learn the lines and this will be mecca.
Grass was a little high, but I imagine we probably got there the day before it was going to be cut. Park is to beautiful to no be maintained on a regular basis
Other Thoughts: Heading for Am Nationals again in early June. We will definitely be stopping by for anothe crack ar Idlewild. Can't wait!!
8 of 24 people found this review helpful.
24 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: The pro's of this course are numerous. First it is on an absolutely gorgeous piece of land with lush grass, what looks like a hay field, thick woods, ponds, creeks and gently rolling hills. Perfect disc golf terrain. The course itself sprawls over this terrain and offers you a little bit of everything and occasionally all of it on one hole!
The design goals of this course seem to be twofold, aesthetically pleasing and friggin challenging. Kudos, cause you nailed it. This is one of the prettiest and hardest courses I have ever played on. Each hole is individually breathtaking and distinctly unique from all the others with a wide variety in length and elevation.
Over the course of 18 holes if played correctly you will use pretty much every shot possible. FH's, BH's, long bombs, putters off the tee, hard hyzers, soft touch shots, pin point landings, and the bane of all novices laying up. This course definitely emphasizes hitting the available lines with accuracy and makes you put a lot of thought into where you want your disc to land.
This course also seems designed to mess with your head during putting. When playing the long pins you really need a steady putter due to the trouble near (or surrounding) some of the pins.
The tee pads are very large and kept in very nice condition. The tee signs were beautiful and very helpful. Plenty of benches and trash buckets available.
Elevation is used very effectively and is present on all but maybe 2 holes.
One of the main things I appreciate is how much work/love was obviously put into this course. Every bridge and walkway really stands out. Literally on every single hole you can see the work that was put in. Thanks to all of you who put in the time to make such a great course.
A couple of memorable holes for me without doing the entire hole by hole rundown since they are all memorable: #15, which after being mostly constrained off the tee allows you to bomb a drive finally, then you do it again! Open for about 900ft and then down a nice little hill back into the woods with a creek guarding the front of the basket. Really you get it all on this hole. #18, a great hole to finish on. Requiring straight shots through the woods and ending in the great wide open to a pin defended by two very large cypress trees. I also like #3 a lot, a downhill drive into the woods and the first hole where the stream becomes a factor. Once into the trees there are plenty of available lines to the pin. #3 is a very beautiful hole.
Cons: First off I realize that there are a lot of people who do not feel that Idlewild has cons and any cons I list should not detract from the amazing amount of work put into this course.
The day that I played this course was in late October and the course looked very run down, with debris all over the course. I felt like I extended my round by 45 minutes just clearing branches and debris off the fairways. A lot of the nice white bricks along the creek (which was completely dry) had fallen out and garbage was overflowing from the buckets and on the ground. Although the course was still very pretty it did not even come close to what I had seen in pictures.
I felt that the amount of OB on this course was very gimmicky. Hole #16 is a very interesting looking hole but really it is just a crap shoot whether you go OB or not. Hole #11's narrow green for the long pin is silly. It gives you pretty much no chance at running a putt longer than 20 ft without the fear of going OB. All in all just too much OB and a lot of it is manmade. If the OB was just the water (creek/pond) itself I think the course would play better, no need to add manmade OB.
A good portion of the course is just too tight, so many of the holes are just narrow paths that force you to throw very specific, short placement shots without any chance at all of going for the pin. I prefer wooded courses over open but these woods felt too limiting with low ceilings and close growing trees. On a hole like #5 where you throw to the landing zone (the only one) then up the hill and make your long putt or layup your approach, everyone does the same thing. It feels very forced and doesn't seem to allow for creativity, #6 is the same way, I threw a putter 3 times missed a 30 ft putt and walked off with my 5. Oddly enough my playing partner did the same thing.
Even though I enjoyed being on this pretty course I did not feel like it was very much fun. When I was done I felt a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction for shooting pretty well but no real sense of anticipation to play it again. Challenging yes, fun not so much.
Also as mentioned in previous reviews after finishing hole 16 you need to cross 11's fairway to get to 17's tee. Crossing fairways are never a good idea.
I would also have liked to see some water available on the course since it is a very long grinding course.
Other Thoughts: I was very glad that I had an opportunity to play Idlewild. I completely understand why it is held in such high esteem. I would love for Idlewild to be my home course because I think it can make a player better and forces more thought into a lot of shots. Although I did not have a lot of fun on the course I appreciated the challenge and the time that went into the development of it.
Although we did not see any Idlewild locals on the course every disc golfer we met in the Cinncy/KY area was super helpful and nice. On the day (a weekday) that I played, there were no other groups anywhere else on the course and the parking lots were empty which was pretty cool since it meant we got an awesome and popular course all to ourselves. By contrast we played Banklick earlier in the morning and there were probably 5 groups on the course at the same time as us.
I think that I am going to try and come back to play in the Bluegrass Open next year. I think it would be great to see the course in tournament shape with all the trees and grass in full bloom. I think that I will revisit my rating after that but as of right now I feel like it is a 4 disc/excellent course
24 of 28 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 39 Not
Keep It Real
Pros: As Randy would say, just keeping it real now. It is a wonderful course with well maintained fairways and a beautiful setting. There was generally a good mix of open and tight holes.
Cons: Some of the holes were too open, and some of the holes were too tight.
0 of 39 people found this review helpful.
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