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.
7 Helpful / 0 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.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 22 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 23 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.
An Ass Kicking I Can Take with a Smile
9 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!!
9 of 11 people found this review helpful.
11 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.
11 of 12 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
10 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.
10 of 10 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.
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