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.
22 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Idlewild is set in a beautiful multi use park, but with the exception of a walking path on a few holes, the course is away from all others activities. There are 24 holes here that range in difficulty quite a bit. This is not a course for beginners and will be extremely challenging for even experienced players (like me). The baskets are DISCatchers with the yellow bands on them. These are all in really great shape and catch well. The yellow band really helps with spotting them in the woods. The tee pads are all plenty large enough and grip just fine. This is a must have on a course of this caliber. The elevation here is extreme. some of the most up and down variation I've seen to date. The majority of the holes are mostly to heavily wooded with elevation changes throughout. A couple ponds come into play as well and the stream that runs through the property is used fantastically on a ridiculous number of holes. The creek plays OB on most making shot and placement control even more vital. There are a number of beautiful astro turf greens that really add to the aesthetic of the place. Multiple bridges to cross the creek on every hole it winds through. You'll need every trick in your bag to do well (or even ok) here. There are left turning, right turning, dead straight and multiple combinations of each. The distances are all over the place as well. They range from around 200 feet to almost 1000 feet. The tee signs are very nice too. They all have a great looking map of the layout of the hole, hole #, par, next tee arrow, and distance. Really everything that you need on a tee sign. The flow of the course is actually pretty intuitive considering the vastness of it. Only a couple slightly confusing spots but with the next tee arrows on the signs and the course map on this site not too big of a deal. The course is free to play too, which is shocking for a course of this caliber. The course was not busy when we played although that was on a Monday morning so I can't say what it's like during peak times. The course was very clean and serene when we played. This is just a beautiful piece of property to have a course on. There's ample parking and a practice basket by hole 1 as well as a portable toilet.
Cons: Not too much for cons here. One thing to mention right away is that the course is not very cart friendly. It can be done but it's not going to be easy. As mentioned above the navigation can be a little odd in a couple spots. Just download a map and you'll be fine though. Not that there is really anything they can do about it, but the rough off the fairways can be ROUGH. It can get thick and sharp. Just be very cognizant of where or about where your shot landed or you'll be in a world of hurt. Or lost plastic.
Other Thoughts: As has been said many, many times before, this course is NOT for beginners. This is easily one of the top 2 to 3 hardest courses I've played to date. Really probably only the bear at Highbridge was harder, and barely. This is definitely a course to go out of your way to play if you are a decent to above player. It tests every aspect of your game and punishes you in any area that you lack in. I only gave it a 4.5 out of 5 because I've never given anything a 5. I can't say it's "the best of the best" because I haven't played nearly enough of the top rated courses to say for sure. But with that being said I would bet that this is probably top 5. I'd give it a 4.75 if that was an option but it's not. Amazing course. As has been mentioned many, many times before this is a grueling course. It WILL take you around 3 hours to complete. If not longer depending on your group size and how busy it is. I've been waiting years to get the chance to play it and it was totally worth the wait. Highly recommend this place.
22 of 22 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 6 Not
One of a kind
Pros: Incredibly challenging and it's the best course I've played. If you can conquer this course, or just play it without loosing control, you can play anywhere. Lots of accurate reviews already. Just a phenomenal course.
Cons: It just needs some work getting cleaned up and some minor fix ups.
Other Thoughts: If you haven't played this course and you are within a 2-3 hour drive, make a weekend trip out of it cause it's a must!!! You can visit some other really awesome local courses too.
3 of 9 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 0 Not
See What It Takes To Be a Pro
Pros: Much has been said about this gem in the rolling hills of Northern Kentucky, and it lives up to the hype. 24 holes that vary from monster bomber holes (900+ feet), to throws over water hazards, to following a winding line through a tree-lined fairway, to threading a tiny needle through a forest tunnel.
The hole variety and quality here is unparalleled. It doesn't feel like any two holes are the same, and this course demands you to use every throw in your arsenal. The elevation is well utilized, the woods are trimmed perfectly, and the fairways are clear. Additionally, the "wow" factor is high here, as there are several beautiful holes that provide fantastic shot opportunities.
The course is extremely well marked. It should be noted that this course used to be numbered 1-18 and A-F, with A-E being between holes 2-3 and F occurring later (I think after 6). Now, the course has been relabeled 1-24, making navigation easier. There are also signs designating where the next hole is to aid in navigation when it is not explicitly clear.
I've mentioned this in reviews before, but I will again: this course is beautiful. The mixture of wooded and open areas, all enclosed in rolling hills, makes for several stunning views.
Cons: Not a con, but rather a warning: this course is NOT for the faint of heart. It is long. It is hard. It is probably not the best for a hot day without carrying some water. You may lose a disc on an errant throw, especially when the fairways are bounded by high grass. If you are coming here, get ready to engage in a long, arduous battle.
There are many areas on this course labeled OB here. Normally when I play, I disregard these because most of them seem to just be there for the sake of being there. The course is already hard enough, so it feels weird to increase the difficulty by having extra OB areas.
There are also some teepads that felt extremely short. This seemed to be a problem for some of the earlier holes, especially #1 (which was over 600', requiring a massive drive).
It should be noted that I would give this course a 4.75 if it were an option, and would raise that to a 5.0 if these couple issues were taken care of.
Other Thoughts: This course is a masterpiece, probably the most professional course I have ever played. The designers did a fantastic job of capturing the beauty of the park and creating a course that meshes well with it. Every serious player who is in the area should give this course a try to see where they are at and how they can improve. It is worth a long trip to play.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Fun and very challenging
Pros: Beautiful scenery and very challenging course design. This is my personal top choice for the Cincinnati / Tri-state area. The grounds are always well kept and every few years the benches and signage are refreshed. This past year during the Bluegrass open, all of the baskets were replaced with new ones. This course also provides a "short game"; so you will play 18 baskets instead of the regular 24 that Idlewild has to offer (some of the fairways have shortened lines and alternative baskets). Great place to expand your game and push your skills to the next level.
Cons: Some of the fairways further into the wooded areas can get pretty messy when rainstorms come through. Also, in the latter half of the course, there is a bell that you ring to alert anyone behind you that you have just finished putting that basket. This bell has been broken for a couple years, so just be on the look-out for rouge discs. The only other design problem, would be on the famous Kentucky "Y" fairway; it actually intersects one of the paths between baskets, so it's not uncommon on busy weekends or tournament days, to have passerby's (another place to watch for rouge discs).
Other Thoughts: I absolutely love this course. If you're serious about disc golf you need to add this to your bucket list. If you do visit, play all 24 baskets as well.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
26 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Idlewild is every bit the fantastic disc golf beast I was led to believe it would be. The variety in design and terrain is outstanding: this is fantastic land used to great and memorable effect. Open to tight, birdiable par 3s to brutal par 5s, rolling hills, steep slopes, water hazards, island greens, daunting mandos, it couldn't get more varied than this. These elements are often used in interesting combinations to create unique scenarios, like moving from the open rolling hill down into the tree-guarded island on 15, or 11's (in)famous triple mando laced with a small creek that takes a sharp left into slightly more open terrain approaching a guarded pin. There are so many multifaceted holes here.
The definitive Idlewild holes seem oversized, lengthened to add stages or make second and third shots as intensive and critical as your initial drive. Strategic placement is huge, as is your handling of risk versus reward: the par 4s and 5s here have so much that can go wrong on a given shot that you really need to approach them judiciously and be prepared for contingencies. This makes for a challenging mental game, but there are so many variables in play that things will go wrong at some point regardless of your intent. Idlewild is thus equally about damage control, finding ways to get back on track when a playthrough of a hole takes a turn for the worst. Holes often allow for these recovery shots, with thinned-out rough and many possible lanes available, so while you may feel down you are rarely out. The course is as challenging as they come, but that challenge is well-executed and refined.
Grooming is excellent, the concrete tees are great.
Cons: Several of the lettered holes are underwhelming relative to the high standard the original 18 set. They are generally mellow par 3s that offer a nice change of pace from the skill-intensive par 4s and 5s, but they definitely stick out a bit in relation to them. Getting them in one large chunk near the course's beginning, before you've really been exposed to the challenges of the original 18, lessens their ability to provide a largely-needed reprieve.
The course is very hard, no way around it. I wouldn't even argue if someone considered it unfair. Much of it is thus not beginner friendly and requires an appreciation for highly-technical courses. It's a physically intensive round too with lots of hillside walking and long holes. Bring water and snacks, and be prepared to have this round be the focus of your day.
Other Thoughts: Idlewild is one of the very best courses I've played, and should be high atop anyone's bucket list. Its prestige is well-earned. I will be back!
26 of 26 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Challenging, No Time To Relax Here
Pros: Many Hills, Valleys, Beautiful Trees, Big Tees, New Baskets, Open Holes, Wooded/Tight Holes, Some Water, Some Alternate Tees And Baskets, Nice Grassy Fairways With Bridges Where Necessary, Some Island Greens With Astro Turf, Well Maintained, Usually Not Crowded, True par 3's, 4's, and 5's, Nice parking. Plays Like A Tough, U.S. Open Type Ball Golf Course, Where Even Pros Are Challenged To The Extreme To Shoot Even Par.
Cons: No Pro-Shop, No Permanent Bathroom Buildings, No Food Shop. Just a few water fountains.
Other Thoughts: Idlewild was designed for advanced and pro players. The sheer distance of this course is challenging, then, considering the elevation changes, water, trees, thick rough, and varied fairway geometry/angles, it may be the most demanding course in the world. Every hole is a unique test of players' abilities. Patience rather than frustration is in order here, more so than other courses, due to the exacting shot making required to traverse the course. Most of the holes demand players to execute at least two solid/accurate throws before they have a putt for birdie. It takes about 4 hours to complete a round. Watch the 2017 Idlewild Open on youtube for a great, detailed look at top pros playing this course. Playing this course will make you a better player.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 2 Not
Tough on the Novice Player
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!
11 of 13 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 1 Not
I am not going to write a long review, there are plenty to read here.
Cement tee pads on all the holes, the original 18 are larger than the newer added holes
Some holes have short Tee's
Some holes have multiple pin locations
Some holes have multiple pins installed.
Tee signs were good condition.
Pretty easy to follow, specially with the map.
Cons: I honestly can't think of any. This course was as close to perfect as you can imagine. Took about every shot I had and had several risk reward shots.
Other Thoughts: I booked a B&B for a quick trip. When looking to see what courses were nearby, WOW, .7 miles away, in fact you drove by the B&B on your way to the course.
I played the championship layout with just the 4 discs I brought with me, Putter, Roc, Wraith and Wave.
I really enjoyed the multi shot holes, I usually don't like super long holes but the ones on this course were very good and well laid out.
What the local club has done as far as landscaping is incredible and really is what puts this course to a perfect 5 for me.
As far as "sign par" I was actually under going into hole 18 and for some reason, threw off the fairway more than once and hit just about every tree, including the one in front of the basket, not just once, but twice. Not knowing where the baskets were helped. I was playing for "par" just throwing layups on most of the longer holes trying to stay out of trouble.
So, would I play here again?
Does a bear poop in the woods? HELL yes I want to play here again. I could not have asked for better weather when I got to play, but I want to play the course again with all my bag instead of just a few due to traveling.
14 of 15 people found this review helpful.
2 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.
2 of 24 people found this review helpful.
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