20 Helpful / 1 Not
An Isolated Challenge
Pros: I'm not going to do too much rehashing of the bests of this course, other reviews have covered it very well. It is a great course with plenty of elevation changes with both long and precision throws. There are some open holes but this is primarily woods, so basically your classic wooded Appalachian course in terms of scenery. The winding streams through several of the holes offer challenge and visual appeal. Just about every hole has multiple pin positions that are rotated regularly and some have permanent hard positions in addition to the normal ones, like #2 and #16. The course is well maintained, not much litter, plenty of trash cans, and does not have interference from any of the other areas of the park.
The course is *extremely* challenging, almost to the point of frustration many times. But, the risk-reward is wonderfully satisfying when you your game is on and you pull off a laser of a shot or some loop around the trees. A couple holes have shorter tees or shorter baskets to alleviate some of the difficulty, but you shouldn't really play here unless you're a solid player and looking to truly test your game. If you can't throw fairly straight, work the disc left and right, and throw both back- and forehand don't bother here. It is also helpful, but not really required, to have some of the specialty shots like the tomahawk. If you aren't careful it is easy to be well behind on a hole. Bring lots of discs, lots of shots, and lots of time. Even when I've had a bad round here--and they are easy to have!--I always feel like my game has improved and I'm ready to go back any time. Additionally, the course has never been crowded and the few people you do meet here, because of the difficulty, are good and courteous players.
#11's Y tree is definitely a signature of the course.
Standout holes for me are 1, 3, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, and 18. 1 is a great starter, long but fun, and not penalizing while you are still warming up. 3 is a fun hole, starting to give you a feel for the precision required and introduces you to the streams and islands for which the course is known. 8 is fun just because of the uphill basket and it being well guarded by two trees that have just enough of a gap between them to make you want to go for it. 10, as another reviewer said, is simply epic because of its challenge, length, and shot variety. 11's Y tree is fun. 13 is a challenge but is a nice downhill hole with a picturesque green area. 15 gets a mention simply because it's 1001 feet, longest hole I've played. 18 is a great closer, plenty of length with a tight couple of shots from the tee then opening up into a field with a basket guarded by two clumps of trees. A great closer hole, probably the best I've seen.
Cons: My biggest gripe about Idlewild is the prevalence of Out of Bounds (OB) areas. While OB does have purposes, many of the times at Idlewild I feel that it is completely arbitrary and/or unnecessary. Worst of all, the OB is in common throwing/landing areas, rather than the "you're too far off the course" style of other courses. You'll throw straight down a hole, have your disc fade a little at the end putting it a little off your aim line and BAM you're sitting in OB. The stream holes seem to be the worst offenders here. #11's green is a laughable little area completely surrounded by OB and the stream.
Unlike some I do not appreciate #5. The tee off isn't anything special and then it's an uphill slog where the risk-reward skews more towards annoying. Following it is #6 which is a lot like #5 for me: slightly less uphill slog that just keeps going because, again, you don't really have the opportunity to get a long tee shot to knock off the distance. Like many others, I find #12 to be rather boring in the sense it is very much of a pitch-and-pray hole. For a double whammy, the way to the #13 tee is not obvious from 12's basket (for directions see the Other Thoughts).
Assuming a RHBH thrower, you'll be doing a lot of either forearm/sidearm or turning over unstable discs here because the vast majority of the shots go to the right. The course could have been better balanced in this respect.
Other Thoughts: Many people are unaware of the alternate tee pad for #14, especially if you play the standard version of #13 where you play the longer B/C basket instead of A. From A, assuming you're facing back towards 13's tee pad, go left through the field and you'll find the tee along the next wood-line From B/C on 13 you can either go back up to A and follow that path or walk up 14, skipping the obvious tee, go all the way up to 14's basket, and as you approach look sharply to your right, the tee is down the hill over the little ravine.
If you're even slightly off your game you'll be hitting trees, and plenty of them due to the tightness of fairways lined by fairly dense woods. Bring some discs you don't mind banging up.
To get from 12 to 13, stand at 12's basket looking back at the tee pad. Head back towards the tee pad along the right-hand side of the wood-line (there should be a path cut in the grass). About halfway down 12's hole there should be a path that cuts to the right through the grass, take it and when it ends at the next wood-line head right. It should then be easy to find the tee, which will be on your left. If this "cut through the field" path is overgrown simply keep walking alongside #12 and follow the curve of the wood-line as it veers rightward away from 12's tee pad. This path will do a U here and you'll head back up to where the "through the field" path ends onto this one.
20 of 21 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: -This course has 14 of the best holes that I have ever played.
-The course will make you use every shot in the book, and now that it's fall and the brush is less dense it's even better.
-Almost get lost on each individual hole and there are times when I don't even see any other players. Really, have never ran into any of your rift raft at Idlewild, and I have played it well over 30 times!
-This course is the Ultimate risk-reward course. There are so many different ways to play the various holes that you just don't get at any other course. Is going over the top better than trying a roller through the trees, etc.
-Hole 15 is Epic
-Hole 10 is even more EPIC
Idlewild has 14 of the best holes that I have ever played bar none!
Cons: -Definate Pro Caliber, and can get frustrating at times.
-Hole 12 is just not that good of a hole. Know the purpose of it, etc but just more luck than actual skill on that hole.
Other Thoughts: Really gave it sometime before I rated Idlewild. When I started out I couldn't make it 200 feet down hole 1 now that I'm coming close to 450 - 500 and reaching the first tree, I now finally feel like I'm worthy to judge this course. Honestly, two months ago I would have rated Lincoln Ridge better than Idlewild just for the fact that the landscaping is usually a little better, the aesthetics and baskets are newer, and I generally have more fun at Lincoln Ridge, but now that I'm starting to get a more complete feel for the game and am getting better I cannot say that any longer. The thing that I love so much about Idlewild is that every shot you have to think about, and visualize. There is no just run up and chuck and let the disc do the work.You have to setup your shots to shoot well at the course. When I par hole number 6, that is more gratifying than any other eagle, or birdie that I have ever shot just because I had to use a strategy to get that par. The course just presses you to become a better golfer in every aspect of the game. Also, the course is just so nice to get lost in. The course is highly respected for very good reason, and after playing various other courses, I can honestly say that Idlewild is above all others that I have played thus far. Idlewild is not a rec friendly course by any stretch of the imagination and when i'm practicing roller, anhyzer, and other shots I'm not going to play this course, but when I wanna press myself and lose 3 hrs of my day with just me, my thoughts, and 15 discs that I have to use nearly every single one on this course than that is why I rate it higher than any other course that I have played thus far.
17 of 19 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 23 Not
Pros: Very hard and fun course.
Cons: 15 of the 18 holes turn to the right.
1 turns to the left.
2 is straight.
So its very forehand and lefty friendly.
Other Thoughts: You better be able to throw dead straight and curve to the right very well.
3 of 26 people found this review helpful.
33 Helpful / 3 Not
Best course we've ever played
Pros: Idlewild is beautiful on a grand scale - with attention given to the vistas from the tee, the fairway grass, the landscaping of the creek banks, and the construction of the various island greens. Idlewild is like the best real golf courses - people who know the game and visualize shots in their head can enjoy Idlewild simply by walking the layout. Even the paths through the woods from basket to tee are enjoyable.
My son and I are experienced players with novice skills. We had some brutal scores, but just about every hole was fair for us. This isn't a course for beginners - it's the longest course we've ever played, and #6, #7 and #12 pushed our shotmaking limits. But you don't have to be an expert to have fun here. With that in mind, here's my favorites.
#1 - A fantastic way to open a course. A legitimate long par 4, but no perfect shotmaking required just yet. Gradual downhill for the drive to instill some optimism. A wide green and rolling fairway with just a few trees in the line of play. Two full shots for a shorter thrower like me to get in a good match mindset.
#2 - Another downhill slope from the tee. We played the long basket, back uphill and beyond an arm of the lake. It can be an intimidating crossing, but simple enough for any player to execute, as long as you match the length of your layup/approach to your ability.
#3 - The first hole where a creek comes into play, and my favorite island hole. The designers have combined ball golf-style beauty with disc golf size and strategy. The downhill shot into the woods may feel more pinched than it really is.
I had wondered whether the island greens would feel like gimmicks, but that wasn't the case at all. The supporting walls are well-built and maintained. The bends of the creek seamlessly define the green areas, and limit any sense of artificiality. The crossings and island landing areas were challenging without being too difficult.
#5 - Another down and up design, dogleg right. A creek crosses the low point. It's a moderate, satisfying drive to clear the creek bed and work back uphill.
#11- Another island hole. I like the way the forked tree in the fairway is identified as a target on the tee sign. Shoot through the Y and your approach to the island basket on the left will open considerably.
#15 - It's long and open, which tests my limited driving. But the small valley off the tee encourages a little more distance, and makes the opening view more scenic. The final long downhill to the island green is set perfectly against the base of the slope that climbs back into the woods.
#16 I loved every island green, and this is one more. We played the short basket - that was challenge enough.
Cons: Idlewild is too great in too many ways to be worth less then 5 stars, but that doesn't mean it's perfect for our game.
#6 seemed never-ending. Very tight and uphill, and it felt at least 700 feet. We would have welcomed a shorter tee, if we could have found one.
Then we hit #7, where the line was even tighter. Still early in the round, so we had a good laugh at the arrow straight shot that was expected of us. Not a huge problem, especially because the hole is short.
#12 For me, this one crosses the line from challenge to gimmick. Only 142 feet, with a near impossible flight path through trees to the basket. We just threw as best we could and watched our discs bounce. If the rest of the course compares with resort ball golf, this hole is putt-putt.
This leads to another mild complaint. #12 ends in a field with three wide paths cut through the high grass. We couldn't find any sign to indicate which path to take. Our first walk, maybe 200 yards, took us to the middle of the 15th fairway. More directional signage would be welcome - in part our fault for neglecting the 12th tee sign, or finding a course map before we played.
Other Thoughts: We were one of only four groups we saw on the course. Early Friday summer afternoon - overcast. The sheer size of the layout adds to the sense of seclusion, but if Idlewild is often this empty I'd be surprised.
33 of 36 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.
29 Helpful / 3 Not
Lived up to the hype. Unreal!
Pros: I am a 980 to 990 pro golfer who likes to take a beating. I don't throw far. 350ft consistently with occasional 400ft power. I played the longest possible tee and pin on every hole.
This course is absolutely sick! The design is fantastic. You need every shot to score on this course. Distance helps on a few holes but plain and simple, if you cannot control a disc, you are going to be destroyed out there. I love the mental aspect of this course. It makes you think about what you want to do. You can play agressive, conserative, or somewhere inbetween. If you make a mistake you are going to pay the price and the strokes just add up. Keep the disc in the fairway! You will have the opportunity to throw every disc in your bag.
The park that the course is located on is very nice. It was very easy to find and get to hole #1.
The land is as good as it gets. Open, prarie, trees, hills, and water. The work that has been done is impressive. I have no idea how many bridges are on the course but it's unbelievable. It also has some of the best greens i've seen in disc golf. The grass was cut and the course was looking great. I was blown away.
The tee signs are the best i've seen at a course. Very descriptive. The tees are HUGE! There are several holes with multiple tees. There is a bench at every hole that my wife enjoyed on a super hot day. The baskets were in fine condition. Some holes have 2 baskets in at the same time.
Starting on hole 1 you just get to drop a bomb drive on a nice downward slope. It's a good 3 if you can get it.
Hole #2 is one of the best holes i've played. The toss across the water and the sloped green make a spectacular finish to the hole.
From there the course just gets better. Every hole is unique. After thinking about each hole I don't think the course favors a righty or lefty. It's pretty neutral in that area. Even the 142ft hole #12 is a challenge. Usually I don't like the 1000ft open holes but #15 is pretty good. I could see some of the longer arms getting a possible 3 look. The 250ft thrower can take a par 5 if they play it right. The prarie lining that hole is really cool looking right now with the flowers.
Hole 11 is just sick! You have to see it to believe it.
I printed a map. For the most part I found my way around the course with no problems.
This is the true golf I wish I got to play all the time. True golf with multiple par 4 and 5's. In between there are several really good par 3 holes.
Just reaed the reviews. I could go on and on and on!
Cons: There are quite a few blind holes. The first time playing might get frustraing walking holes to find pins. It will take some time to play this way. Once you play the course this is not an issue. Play it twice, it's worth it! I finished 18 on a super hot day. The wife was in the car cooling off. I went back and played 1 thru 6 in half the time it took me the 1st time thru. I just wanted her to leave me!
Other Thoughts: I've played some pretty darn good courses in the midwest and this immediately goes to into the top 5.
This golf is not for everyone. I could see some low skilled golfers not liking this course.
29 of 32 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 13 Not
Bestest of the best
Pros: It has all been written in the 80+ reviews. If you are a serious disc gold player you MUST play this course. It is diabolically evil, long, butt kicking most awesome fun!
Cons: 5 hours from my house
Other Thoughts: I could wax eloquent about Idlewild for paragraphs, but as I wrote above, it has been said. Hands down my favorite course. Combined with Lincoln Ridge (Banklick) for one heck of a day/weekend of disc golf.
Thanks to all the folks that keep Idlewild up and running.
5 of 18 people found this review helpful.
20 Helpful / 2 Not
Beautiful and Challenging!
Pros: What a great course! I played Idlewild while on a road trip from Fort Worth to Chicago and absolutely loved it. This course is very well maintained and is truly one of the premier venues in our sport. The layout is fantastic and challenging with several true par 4s and 5s. There is a great deal of variety here with a wide range of distances and some holes that are open while many are technical. The course plays in and out of the woods beautifully. Good placement and hitting your lines will be required to score well here. Those that like to let her rip on a big drive along with those that like to have to hit lines in tight, narrow fairways will all have their appetite quenched on this course. Elevation change is an element that is common throughout the course that adds a great deal of fun, challenge, and visual appeal to the course.
Some of the great features of this course include quality Mach3 baskets, level and long concrete tee pads, descriptive and good looking signage that offers par, distance, and an idea of what the layout of the hole is as well as pin location. There are benches and trash cans throughout the course. Multiple tee boxes and pin locations on several of the holes. There are wooden bridges, retaining walls around the winding creek near several pins, and islands around some pins. The woodwork and stonework add greatly to the aesthetic appeal of the course. Idlewild is very well maintained and clean.
There are several truly amazing holes here. Hole 15 was my favorite. There was something very inspiring to me about walking up to that tee box. The risk/reward on the drive over all of the tall rough on the sides of the fairway made it a thrilling hole to play. Two accurate drives are required to get near the pin and then the basket is on an island tucked into the trees. Awesome hole. There were several other inspiring holes as well. Holes 3 and 5 were two others to come quickly to mind for me.
Cons: If you do not have a map with you for your first time, there are a couple of tricky navigation areas where the next tee box is not easy to locate. There are a few blind holes that take extra time walking to scope out on your first time to play the course or to see which pin placement the basket is in.
Other Thoughts: Lincoln Ridge is another awesome disc golf course and it is within 30 minutes of Idlewild. Truly a great area for disc golf!
Idlewild is an amazing course and is a must play for any disc golfer that has the opportunity to play it.
20 of 22 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: -Challenges you to throw accurately. Very high risk/reward.
-This is the best maintained course I have ever played. I live a couple miles away and play it all the time, and there are constantly workers mowing and trimming the fairways.
-You will probably use every disc you have in your arsenal.
-There is a wide variety of holes, varying in length and direction.
Cons: -None really, other than the fact that the course beats me just about every time I play! The weeds on hole 15 on each side of the fairway will grow to about 6 or 7 feet by the end of July, so if you throw it in bring a machete.
Other Thoughts: If you are in the area and want to play a truely challenging round, this is the place to go. Give your self a couple hours to play, 3 if you are with a larger group or if you are not as experienced. It is frustratingly difficult at times, but it is very, very fun as well.
12 of 18 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 19 Not
Pros: -The course was in fantastic condition, I was most impressed with their signs at each tee box that laid out the hole and showed where to go for the next whole when you were done
-The course, even though very challenging, was so much fun
-Longest hole I've ever played on #15, 1001 ft..whoa!
Other Thoughts: I had to travel about an hour and 15 minutes to get to this course, and it was definitely worth the drive. I will be going back and playing very very soon.
2 of 21 people found this review helpful.
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