The City Course
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Willmore is among a number of 18 hole courses to be established in the St. Louis area over the last decade. Unlike the other new courses, Willmore finally checks a box in the area by providing a course within the St. Louis City limits. It's on the edge of those city limits, hugging the River Des Peres, but it provides another solid option in South City/County alongside the established JB, a redesigned Unger, and the new and upcoming Bunker next to the original JB 18.
Willmore's park entrance is on Hampton between Gravois and Jaimeson, making it pretty accessible. The disc golf course starts relatively deep into the park, but is right off the main drive. Willmore is perhaps the busiest park you will find in the area that holds a disc golf course, making for a lively environment to play a round in. This park includes lakes that see regular fishing, numerous walking paths, a selection of ballfields and pavilions, a large playground, a roller hockey rink, and a dog park, with disc golf being one of if not the newest addition.
Willmore's disc golf course snakes around the park, utilizing various fields and gaps between walking paths. The start of the course includes a bulletin board and practice basket next to hole 1. There's also enough room next to hole one to practice some midrange or fairway throws. There's a bathroom on the other side of the parking lot, and you pass by 2 other bathrooms as you traverse the course.
This course has some of the largest concrete tee pads you will find anywhere in the area. Keep in mind that the front section of the pads is actually a foul area. There are also plenty of trash cans along the course, limiting litter on the course. The tee signs are nice, including pin locations, a small picture of the hole from above, the direction of the next tee, and a bolt showing the current pin location. A couple of bolts were missing in my last round, but this wasn't an issue as those pins were visible from the tee. As the course is in the city limits, the addition of the St. Louis flag design is a nice and unique touch. The Gateway Titan baskets are not that old, and are in great shape.
It is obvious that the disc golf course was designed in a park that had every other amenity and activity already established, but for the most part the designers did what they could with what they had to work with. The course has enough elevation to make for some interesting lines, and some of the holes on this course make for some of the best opportunities to air out a bomb in the area outside of Sioux Passage or the neutered Creve Couer Lake. This course has a nice mix of shorter holes that have just enough trees or hazards to keep things interesting, and longer holes that either allow for bombs or require 1 or 2 shots to the pin.
The variety of shots is highlighted throughout the course. Hole 1 is a short uphill shot guarded by some trees. This is followed up by hole 2, which is a downhill fairway of 450 to 600 feet depending on the pin placement. After another relatively long hole uphill in hole 3, hole 4 is shorter and flat, with only some trees in the way. This variety continues throughout the course, and keeps things interesting.
While there isn't a lot of chances to really lose a disc on this course, there's some risk/reward to be found here. Hole 6 is the shortest hole on the course at 184 or 225 feet, but the pin placements are next to a creek that runs along the right side of the fairway, which makes this hole a chance to see everything from an ace to a bogey. Hole 14 is wide open for 350 feet until the pin placements that are at the edge of a tree line, but the drop off right behind the pins can make approaches and putts tricky, and leaving you with a long uphill recovery shot.
Overall, the design of this course makes it a solid option for players of all skill levels. Brand new players will find the open fairways forgiving to less accurate drives, while more advanced players will find plenty of fun birdie opportunities that still provide a little challenge. I would say that this is among the friendliest 18 hole courses to new players in the area.
Cons: I think most folks who play this course will agree that the main issue with this course is the flow. Since the course was the last amenity to go into this park, the design is limited to where there is room for holes so that they do not interfere with other park goers or activities. As a result, this course includes a number of long walks from hole to hole. The most significant walks would be from hole 5 to 6, and hole 13 to 14. For both of these walks, the next tee is not visible from the pin, which can leave first timers at this course guessing and wandering. Other walks like from 3 to 4 and 17 to 18 are also awkward. The tee signs make note of the direction to the next tee, and it can be critical to make note of this if you are new to the course. Looking at a map before your round or having one with you is even better. Some holes also have markers next the the pins, but I think actual signs noting the direction of the next tee would make this con significantly better. Watson Trail, for instance, has added directional signs, and it makes the course significantly easier to navigate. Willmore could use the same treatment.
As other reviewers have noted, Willmore Park was donated to the city by an old and prominent developer in the area, as the land served as a floodplain for the River De Pere. Although the River Des Peres was lowered and serves mainly as a large drainage ditch, you can still find some areas of this course that hold water after some rain. This isn't unusual for a lot of courses in the area.
In addition to occasional standing water, this course is less consistent with grass length than other courses in the area. It could make for a tricky time finding you drive if you catch this course right before the next round of mowing. Overall, this doesn't result in a drop in score for me, but you'll want to keep an eye on where your drive lands on some holes if the grass is long. This tends to be at its worst on hills, like on the left side of hole 7.
As a popular park, there is a lot of activity not far from many of the holes on the course, especially during weekends. I haven't had issue with this other than a couple of times where other park goers passed through a fairway from the street, but it is something that many others note as a point of concern.
Most of the holes are reasonable in their use of paths are OB lines, and I think that certain pin original pin placements are not used at all to help prevent incidents (the long placement on 6 comes to mind, as I have never seen it in use). Especially errant throws can find paths through, so make sure to be aware of your surroundings. Hole 11 also runs along a street, and while it is a good distance to the right, an errant RH anhyzer or forehand can find asphalt (a younger me may or may not have hit it with a roadrunner once). Just be careful, as the street sees a lot of traffic.
Other Thoughts: Willmore is a solid option in the area, especially once you know the layout. I can imagine there would be red tape to navigate to add courses in some of the other large parks in the city limits, so overall I think Willmore fills that hole nicely. This is a course that players of all skill levels can get enjoyment out of, and provides some enough variety that you will likely use most of your discs at some point. It's a beautiful park that makes for a nice setting to play some park-style golf. Some additional directional signage and small adjustments would take this course to a higher rating for me.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
City Park Course
0 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Beautiful park, water features, quick play. Once you understand the layout it can be fun. It is a typical city park layout, not a great deal of obstacles to throw around and there are several routes to the targets.
Cons: This course is not marked well at all and can get a bit confusing even with the map. The grass is taller and not as well kept. Transitions from hole to hole can be long walks.
Other Thoughts: Be prepared for low lying wet areas and taller grass.
0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Open air city park course
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I played this course after a series of harsh storms hit the Saint Louis area , so I will be as objective as I can. I understand that this is really the only disc golf course actually in Saint Louis . Disc golf in Wilmore Park is shared by walkers , picnics , runners and pet owners alike . It's not a bad thing , since disc golf takes up a decent chunk of the park . The distance on the course is just over 6800' . Plenty of space to park , bathrooms are not far away . Cement tees and Titan baskets . Some markers telling you generally where to go . Some elevation to this park and pin placement is okay since there is not much to work with because of the lack of trees and bushes . Bring a map , because you will need it and may STILL get lost with it . I lucked out and found 2 of the area disc enthusiasts to tag along with . Hi , Matt and Scott . The course starts with a 240' slightly uphill toss , then goes right into length ( 595' ) . The course retained a lot off water so I was unable to play maybe 3 of the holes . This is clearly an air it out , work on your putts into the wind type of course . Excellent for newbies and casual players . You will not lose your disc unless you throw it up into the wind and forget to pay attention where it blew to . Signature hole : Not sure , but I think it was #14 , where there is a big dropoff behind the basket , which could cause you to roll down and away ( mine did ) . Big risk and reward approach and putt .
Cons: Several cons . #1 . The long walks ( to 4 , to 6 , to 14 , to 15 , to 18 ) can leave you confused even with the map . #2 . No signage . In a large park , there is little way to tell which tee is which . #3 I know that there were a series of storms hitting Missouri , but the grass shouldn't be that high . #4 The course's ability to retain water . There were 3 baskets encircled by water . Several fairways were also affected .#5 wind . This park is so wide open , that winds will be prevalent most of the time . You will just have to deal with that part . #6 Lacks a good flow to the course .#6 is along a path to the right of #5 basket behind a row of high bushes . #6 The population of the park goers , mostly on the weekends , may force you to give up on a couple of the holes . Also , bring bug spray on hot days .
Other Thoughts: I know it looks like I bashed this course a lot , but I wanted you to be prepared so you won't be disappointed. The course is what it is . A long open air , city park style course that let you work on your driving length and you approaches and putts with different types of wind variances . And it's Saint Louis's claim to have it's own disc golf course . My recommendation : Don't go way out of your way to play this course , but if you are in the Saint Louis area ,come give this course a try.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Though I know the river is dry
Pros: Willmore Park Is located essentially on the City/County border in South St. Louis. It's actually the youngest City park (established in the late 40's) and has a suburban park feel. The disc golf course is retrofit into the multi-use park and takes advantage of the rolling elevation to provide a nice variety of shots. All of the shots are park-style with a variety of trees in the way to complicate your path to the pin. The course has good concrete tees, good signs, multiple pin placements and Gateway Titan baskets. Most of the shots are pretty straightforward. Hole 11 in the long is over 900' and your approach has O.B. walking paths on either side and long of the pin, and hole 14 has a dramatic dropoff pin placement for some memorable shots. The course is on the longer side with some room to air it out, which makes it attractive to Advanced-level players. It sets up decently for lower skilled players because there aren't a lot of spots with a high danger of losing a disc and it's not a punishing design or one that forces you to use a variety of shots. All-in-all, it's a solid disc golf course.
Cons: Willmore suffers from the dreaded "McCormack flow" problem which plagues so many St. Louis courses that the locals don't even notice it anymore. You can easily get lost at 3 to 4, 5 to 6, 13 to 14, 14 to 15 and 17 to 18 as there is long, golfless walks at all of these spots and inadequate (or nonexistent) signage to help get you from one hole to the next. If there was signage to help direct you, I'd chalk it up to the limitations of designing with a "good shots first, flow second" approach in a multi-use park and not ding the rating for the course at all. But there is no signage. Adding to the frustration is that in some of these long walk situations, there seems to be room for some golf holes. Overall the flow is so bad that I'd say it's impossible to play this course the first time without a map or guide as there is no way you would find hole 6. The hole 5/6 transition beat out the hole 9/10 transition at West City Park as my personal "most impossible to navigate without a map" hole transition.
There is in some cases a little concrete circle next to the basket with an arrow to direct you to the next tee. Oddly, I've never noticed one at 3,6,13,or 17, which are holes that really need directional signage.
The grass grows so long here that the locals actually take pictures when the mowers are out and post them to social media. In the spring and summer months the mowing schedule can't keep up with the grass, which makes just finding your disc in the fairway a challenge.
The course is a park-style design which doesn't really force you to do much. You can pretty much throw the same shot over and over here and get away with it. It's a plus when talking about beginner friendly, but a con when you talk about the challenge presented by the course design.
The park is really busy on the weekends, and there are walking paths close to a lot of the holes. You really have to be aware of the other users in the park. On my last trip I hit a woman with my putt on #2, there was a painted white line running down the fairway that I didn't pay much attention to. It turned out to be a cross-county path and it ran right by #2's basket. I never heard her approaching and she popped into my line of vision right after I released the putt. The disc hit her in the arm as she ran by.
The neighborhood to me seems safe, but cars get broken into here a lot. The "river" Des Peres runs right by the park; it's a glorified drainage ditch that can smell bad and can have a healthy mosquito population, between it and the long grass some bug spray can make the difference between a fun round and a really long day.
Other Thoughts: Back in the 90's when I lived in St. Louis all of the courses were in St. Louis County. There was a desire to have courses in St. Charles County, the Illinois side and in the City of St. Louis. After Quail Ridge and Woodland were installed in '02/'03, the City was the last "want" on that list. It took another decade, but Willmore is finally the "City" course players had been asking for. It's a very popular local destination for players despite (in my opinion) there being several better courses in the area.
The park itself was donated by the developer of the St. Louis Hills neighborhood as at the time the land was floodplain for the River Des Peres. A lot has changed over the years, but the park can still hold some water in the right conditions. It's really not enough of an issue to be considered a con, though.
Willmore is a good course, so if you know your way around it's a good option for a round. It doesn't strike me as anything special, but it's a good solid course that makes for a fun round. Probably the decider for a lot of people is that some of the holes have really healthy distances to them. It kinda replaces Creve Coeur as a St. Louis course with some long holes and the space to air some shots out, except it adds in elevation changes that Creve Coeur never had. If you like to air stuff out, Willmore is a really good option. If you lean to the more technical golf, there are better options.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 4 Not
One of my favorites
Pros: Wide open shots with a few holes tucked into the woods
Great concrete tee boxes.
Excellent course for beginners and intermediate players
18 Holes. Good mix of difficulty
Cons: Can be a decent amount of foot traffic, but nothing crazy (track practice, people jogging through, etc)
Some holes can be surrounded by puddles of water after it rains
0 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
I Love This Course!
Pros: -Awesome course with a good variety of shots.
-Has a lot of elevation which makes for a challenging day especially if it's windy outside.
-Very large Tee Pads, and in my opinion the best around.
-It's a great course to work on your all around game.
-Located in a very nice park, and is always a nice relaxing place to play.
Cons: -Hole 14 has a pin placement that is just plain dumb. Luckily it's often changed. I'm sure you will figure it out once you experience it.
...that's the only complaint that I have. I would of probably rated it a 5 if not for this pin placement.
Other Thoughts: As I stated, I love this course. it's located in a very scenic park, and is a fun and challenging course that will indeed help you improve your game.
There isn't a whole of of woods play, but there are a bunch of big trees to navigate through.
Another positive thing about this park is that your discs are usually very easy to find. There are potential water hazards, but can be easily avoided without hurting your score.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 2 Not
The Best Tee Boxes Around
Pros: --Review title? They're larger than most concrete tee pads in all St. Louis and even have a red foul zone on the end. You will land most of your drives the way you intended. Good footing and plenty of run-up space. Just absolutely fantastic.
--Some of the best navigation around, considering the tees aren't all the easiest to find (some of them absolutely are, then a few tell you to scale a hill or cross a distant bridge) but if you can't get a map, take a picture of the one at the front and look for the nice arrow stones near each pin that will point you exactly where you need to go.
--Despite the grass being way too long (and seemingly flattened but not cut?) the place is still pretty beautiful; lightly wooded with tall trees and some man-made ponds that you will hug at times on your trek, but they will never become an obstacle.
--Variety, the thing I value most in a disc golf course, and it's here. Some holes will be at a 185' and the next will be at either 492', 590' or 924' so that's something. Elevation changes are average but they're there.
--3 chain gateway titants. Not bad, you can see them pretty well on this course.
Cons: --Long grass that seems like someone attempted to cut it but failed and merely flattened it.
--Bugs galore, spray up.
--Park definitely smells like butt throughout thanks to the river des peres running down the west side, and I'm not so sure the water being sprayed out of that awkward pipe spout into the ponds is doing any favors for the fragrances you'll endure.
--I'm not sure if there used to be trash cans at every tee but they are definitely not at every tee at this point in time. More like a select few, that was frustrating when you're emptying water bottles every 5 holes.
--Some of these holes are very forgettable, none are truly awful but despite the variety in distances, many of the flight paths require little technical shot placement and pins often seemed set up in somewhat random spots.
Other Thoughts: Overall this is definitely a great course to have if you're near the downtown St. Louis area, but for those of us in West County or far North County this is too much of a drive to frequent a visit. Courses like Quail Ridge, Sioux Passage, or Jefferson Barracks (which is not far at all from Willmore) all merit regular visits as well as the lengthy trip, but not Willmore unfortunately.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The location of this course is my favorite thing about it. Located in the heart of St. Louis, there aren't any other courses this close to me.
A few bigger par 4 holes are fun, and are birdie-able even for newer players.
The layout is easy enough to follow and every pin has a concrete marker nearby pointing to the next tee. Most holes still have their course markings, although some are pretty faded.
Variety of hyzer and anhyzer lines.
Trash can at every tee
Cons: No really unique/memorable tee shots.
No back woods holes.
Other Thoughts: Simple and elegant would be how I describe the course.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Large Concrete Tee boxes - never felt like I'd slip off the end
Fairly easy to navigate thanks to arrows on ground next to the baskets at each hole pointing towards the next tee box
Well maintained landscape
Cons: Could use permanent signs at each tee. Signs were laminated paper put up with a staple gun, but many had fallen off, blown away, or were ripped down by kids. I suggest bringing a scorecard so you know the distance to the basket until they get better signage.
Other Thoughts: Overall a great place! Good mix of long and shorter holes. Some water in play, but most can be easily fished out of a shallow creek if you miss your mark. Enjoyed it thoroughly!
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 4 Not
Great Practice Course
Pros: Many elevation changes
Nice variety of short/long holes
A fair mix of righty/lefty holes
Long, wide concrete tee pads
Cons: Navigation issues, particularly after holes 3, 13, 14.
Grass goes unmowed for long periods of time in the summer
Other Thoughts: Great design for a course. Most of the cons are due to the park that it's located in; things the designers could not avoid.
0 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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