An Ass Kicking I Can Take with a Smile
4 Helpful / 1 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.
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!!
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
10 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: First, the baskets. They definitely don't fit the rest of the course. Most are groddy and rusted, with the paint chipping off all over them. Hole 13 doesn't have the bottom ring anymore, but a couple twists of baling wire instead. They're also Mach IIIs, which, while not a reason to skip the course, are still, shall we say, not the best. It's not that you can't play disc golf on them, but there are still better options out there which still require you to actually make a good putt (Discgolfpark baskets, in my mind, would be perfect). [Aside: I've heard a rumor there will be new baskets out here in time for the Idlewild Open, so if they get out here, this will change].
The practice basket is some kind of homemade contraption, but I guess it does get you ready for the Mach IIIs.
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.
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.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Idle-Wild and Wonderful
10 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!
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Everything that has been said previously by others pretty well covers the pros for this course. I would add the parks have been doing a better job in mowing, picking up trash, and keeping the greens on holes 3,11,15 clear of debris in the past couple of years.
Some of the holes now have somewhat easier lines to the basket due to trees and branches that have been cut due to age or weather.
Cons: Some concrete cores that surround the peninsula greens need to be stacked and fortified. The torrent of water after a big storm does a number on them and they wash down into the creek bed.
Other Thoughts: I have played this course a couple of hundred times and I still don't mind the beat down I get each time.
I have seen good players quit after the sixth hole in frustration and one day watched a Japanese family with about 14 people aged 6-80 with all kind of discs play all 18 holes in the same group... It took over 6 hours for them to finish, but they played all of the original 18 holes. After each throw, as a collect group, that would ooh or ah. You could here them throughout the park. It was pretty funny. Fred Salaz and Bob Herbert were the brains behind Idlewild and with the help of others made this course what it is today. I was told that a lot of times the workers had to park their cars outside the gates because the park was closed and they had to carry all their equipment to the course. There are a lot of dedicated people who make disc golf what it is today.
14 of 16 people found this review helpful.
A must-play in the midwest
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -Wide variety of holes including water hazards, mandos and some multiple tee and pin positions.
-some heavily wooded holes and some wide open holes.
-Actual island greens with artificial turf and brick borders.
-Some very long holes, but not field-like.
-Each hole offers different routes to take with opportunities to get aggressive and play conservatively.
Cons: -Very long course, around 2 miles worth of throwing.
-Very difficult course would not be advisable for beginners
-"Next tee" signs are vague and holes are sometimes hard to find.
-Some long rough on back nine makes it difficult to find discs.
-Water hazards are murky and discs lost in water are basically lost.
-Some steep elevation change and length of course can be tiring, bring lots of water and some food.
Other Thoughts: I played Mt. Airy one day then made my way over to play Idlewild and Lincoln Ridge the next day. Idlewild is my new favorite course. It offers a very professional feel because of the manicured fairways, brick-lined O.B. creek, and some turf island greens. This course is very long though with many holes over 500 feet and hole 15 being 1001 feet. Definitely not a course for any beginners or inexperienced throwers. Mount airy has a great pro shop that is worth the drive and Lincoln Ridge is a beautiful shorter course with lots of trees and elevation. Idlewild however became my new favorite course even though i lost 2 discs there. There was a lot of variation in hole type and length. I found myself taking pictures of each hole just because I couldn't believe the how maintained and beautiful the course is.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Beautiful and challenging, but sometimes a little too challenging
17 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Idlewild is a huge and beautiful course in the Kentucky countryside that offers every challenge imaginable. I'll try to be concise with my thoughts:
-Idlewild is a champion level course with a sprawling, hilly layout with lots of elevation changes, doglegs, and tree-lined tunnel shots to utilize every shot in your bag.
-There are multiple tees and pin placements that give even more variety and challenge to this already difficult course
-Idlewild obviously has a lot of care put into it. There are nice man-made greens that play over creeks, as well as different rampart constructions that come into play. Bridges and walkways abound through the woods. It's a really nice change of pace from the average disc golf course.
-There are many signature shots that are just beautiful. Everyone points to the 1000' hole but I think the shot on hole 11 has to be one of the best in the business. You tee off through a Y-shaped tree mando, which is just amazing. Also hole 11 plays to one of the man-made greens I mentioned, which is a nice touch.
-The land has been used very well and creates a challenging and picturesque course at every turn. Over and around creeks, zig-zags through trees, up and downhill blind shots, every kind of shot is here.
-There are amenities on site such as a water fountain and porta potties.
Cons: -There are no scorecards and the only course map is at the start where it instructs you to take a picture with your phone in order to navigate. This can be confusing as next tees are not always obvious and you play from hole 4 to hole F.
-The baskets don't match the quality of this course. The practice basket is some strange old thing with one row of chains and the course baskets are pretty beat. It would be nice to have some updated baskets to put the cherry on top.
-Idlewild is HUGE and it is TOUGH. It is a very long hike with lots of elevation change and the course is unforgiving. There are not many chances for birdies unless you make a miraculous distance shot through the woods. On some holes you don't even see the basket until you've thrown ~3 drives. Most people can expect to score 5 or more on almost every hole. Averaging a 4 per hole would be good here. There are very few chances for ace runs. It's very difficult to score low on this course.
-There aren't many wide open holes where you get to really rip a drive. The challenge comes from distance-placement shots which can get a bit old.
Other Thoughts: Idlewild is definitely not a course for beginners and even the most experienced players will find difficulty. It is a great course and a nice change of pace, but I feel like its size and difficulty negatively affect it.
There are very few chances for birdies and many wooded shots have no other options except for rollers. Combined with long, uphill hikes to throw shot after shot trying to get to the basket, this course can be extremely tiring and aggravating. That shouldn't dissuade you from a beautiful afternoon in the park, but by the end I felt that it was just not fair. It can be unnecessarily difficult.
Idlewild is definitely one of the nicest, most well designed courses I've ever played. It is extremely tough and beautiful at the same time. However, be prepared for a long hike that will take all afternoon. This course will work you as much as possible. It will make you throw every shot in your bag whether you like it or not. Idlewild is a great course but it can't be a daily driver. It's just too daunting for a regular round of disc golf. This is one of those "special visit" courses where there is a fine line between pleasure and pain.
17 of 18 people found this review helpful.
Idelwild Put A Comfortable But Serious Butt Whippin On Me!
27 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: I played Idelwild the morning after playing Mt. Airy. The difference, to me, was that I just felt a little more pressure free playing Idelwild. Idelwild allows you to relax for a hole here and there. Now part of this might be because my local host Jeff (Sisyphus), had our group of four playing what they called Idel MILD. Apparently when playing Idel MILD you:
1. Don't play the extra lettered holes, only the original 18.
2. Are allowed extra mulligans as you see fit.
3. Aren't real concerned with established OB lines, especially those on or around the greens.
4. Play from the "shorts".
Idelwild has solid, but not overwhelming awesome, amenities, as a destination should have. Everything is fine but it's the course and it's challenging but fair lines, that are the drawing card here. Playing from the "Longs", this course would be world class challenging.
I llove the amount of engineering that has gone into the course. Only Bryant Park in Minneapolis ranks higher in terms of overall landscaping, bridges, elevated and creative tee pads, stairs and basket area landscaping.
I think the smallish carpet greens on # 4 and 15 with surrounding OB have to add almost a stroke to everyone's score. Is there another hole with these carpet greens that I'm missing?
# 15 is a classic hole with it's 1000' length, fairly narrow fairway with the tall grass on each side and then the long sloping hill to that miniscule landing area. I found the entire hole rather intimidating but it would be great television to watch the top pros tackle it.
What I like about Idelwild is that, if an old few player such as myself, can actually hit his lines, he can enjoy playing this incredibly challenging course. I probably should clarify that by pointing out, I'm talking about playing from the "Short tees". From the "Longs", forget it, I shoot 100 over par. It wouldn't matter what lines I hit.
Cons: The Saturday morning that our group played, they were in agreement that the course was in the worst shape they had ever seen it. And Jeff has played it close to 100 times. There was a big ole branch down over the bench on one hole, lots of smaller branches down in other places and the course was in need of a mowing. Personally, I thought it was in great shape. My standards are greatly affected after playing dozens of mediocre courses on this road trip.
Idelwild has world class holes, challenge wise. What it lacks is that hole that people want to empty their bag on, the awesome top of the world shot. I can't see players wanting to empty their bag on 15? Can you say, how many will end up in the prairie grass?
My other con is personal but for me it can affect my rating. Although Idelwild is in a pretty park, it's scenery is not stunningly, take your breath away, magnificent like many of my favorite courses. Two that come quickly to mind are, Beaver Ranch in Colorado and Whistler's Bend in central Oregon. Both have incredibly, beautiful long downhill throws that you love to watch your disc sail away on.
Other Thoughts: I really enjoyed the relaxed round I had here at Idelwild. From the "Shorts", the playing can be comfortable, certainly not easy, no, never easy. Easy is not a word that in any way describes Idelwild.
Thanks to Jeff for putting group together and also to Troy and Steve for their insight and humor.
Like Mt. Airy, I have struggled with my rating for Idelwild. I'd be very comfortable (there's that word again) giving it a 4.75, if I could. But because of the less than impeccable grooming of the course and the lack of that one incredible hole, I'm taking .25 off for each and forced to bestow a 4.5 rating on Idelwild.
27 of 28 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.
My new favorite
11 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: It's not shocking that Idlewild is my new favorite course; by the looks of it, Idlewild is A LOT of peoples' favorite course. What is unusual, however, is that I knew it would be my new favorite course after only the first 5 or 6 holes.
The course is serene, clean, and most importantly, fair. It is certainly challenging, but not so much that the course becomes a grind. Every time I made a bad shot, my first instinct was to go back and try again, because there weren't any shots that were so silly difficult that I didn't feel I had a chance. (This is a huge plus for me. The shots that I felt would be good out of my hand usually were, and the same was true with the bad; I felt like I got what I deserved either way. On some exceptionally tough courses, it almost feels like luck is as big of a factor as skill; who gets the good bounce of the tree, who gets kicked OB, etc.) Other positives:
Despite the huge expanse of the park, navigation is not an issue.
Despite all the water hazards, prairie, and forests, it's hard to lose a disc (especially compared to courses of similar difficulty).
Despite how much other activity goes on in the park, it never interferes with the course.
Favorite holes: probably 3, 11, and 16. All of the ones that run along the stream, actually. All in all a great course that I wish I could play every day.
Cons: I honestly can't think of any. Alternate tee pads maybe?
Other Thoughts: I am re-scaling all of my ratings to account for Idlewild.
11 of 13 people found this review helpful.
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