Infiltrate at the Fort
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: 1) Initial Impressions: Quick easy dip off I-24 to a very well maintained park style property. Plenty of restrooms, parking, covered pavilions, a pond for fishing etc. The grass is well maintained, Ft. Massac building sitting on the hill watching over you, a camp grounds on site, great views of the Ohio River, trash free, mowed grass, and well maintained. As this is government owned property, I was expecting it to be well kept, but we actually ran into two maint. crew on a golf cart changing out trash, restocking the bathrooms and they even stopped to chat with us asking how we liked the course. Though I had played here many times, it was a solid first impression for my friends in my group playing for the first time.
2) Concrete tee pads in good shape, a little on the narrow/small side (I'd say 3 feet wide by 6 feet long) but they are flush with the ground and allow for longer unimpeded runups. Discatcher baskets that show their age but still caught well for us.
3) I would consider this course moderately wooded, with clever hole design that make use of the existing trees on nearly every shot. There is very little in the way of underbrush that comes into play as most of the course is immaculately kept, cleared out, and just covered in large mature trees.
4) Solid use of elevation change where it was available. There is a section of the course this is an enormous bowl shape and though it makes 4 holes very similar throwing back and forth across this bowl, the course manages to vastly change the distances required and use trees to force different angles off the tee to provide enough variety that you remember each hole on it's own for its unique characteristics.
5) There are some (at first glance) holes that look like there is no clear line and just a jumble of trees. Holes 2 and 15 get a bad rap for this. It's only after you walk down the fairway and look back at the tee do you see all the openings, or play those holes a few times. In my opinion they are difficult yes, but not impossible, and not designed without a lot of thought put in.
6) This course caters to both big arms and noodles. There are multiple holes where the distance requires a big arm to reach the basket, but the mature trees and low hanging branches make the lines for big power very difficult. Whereas if you play the safer shorter placement shots, you won't make birdie, but you will ensure an easy par.
7) The course further doubles down on trying to be a course for the mass spectrum of skill level by containing some very long and shot technical par 3's but also including some shorter risk/reward par 4's and even a Par 5 in the 800 foot range. There is a solid mix of birdies to be made here and fun and challenge can be had by all levels.
8) There are a couple ace runs on this course (Hole 3 and 4 by the campground) a pair of holes down by the riverside, and 16 and 17 (though much harder to ace, the distance is there).
Cons: 1) Course signage does exist but is very lacking in execution. Utilize U-Disc or take a picture of the course map at Hole #1, you will need it. Tee signs are nothing more than Hole # and distance, and there are several occasions where the tee sign isn't oriented in the direction you should be throwing. There is no "next" hole indication or signage anywhere on a course that twists and zags all over the property with several switchbacks which leads to my next Con.
2) Navigation is dreadful on this course without a course map handy or U-Disc. And even then, there are so many blind tee shots and decent length walks between holes that (even for me who'd played here multiple times) you will be scratching your head on where to go.
3) Some holes on the course are close together. There are a couple holes that play very close to each and you have to cross over their fairways to get to where you are headed. There are a couple occasions where you can see multiple baskets, and coupled with the lack of information on the tee signs, it is difficult to know which basket you are supposed to throw to.
4) This course is prone to flooding. There are 3-4 holes on the backside of the course near the riverside that show obvious signs of high water, driftwood, sand/silt, etc So it might be a good idea to see if the River is in flood stage before venturing to play here.
5) Safety. This is a well loved and massively utilized park. It seems like everywhere you go on this course there is a risk of hitting a park goer, from birthday parties in the open pavilions, to bikers and joggers on the trail and main road, to cars parked at the Fort or driving along the road, to campers in the camp ground, dog walkers, other players on the disc golf course, etc This course is busy, and while serene and mostly beautiful, you will spend a considerable amount of energy making sure the fairways are clear before throwing.
Other Thoughts: This course excels and is hurt by the same thing, being government property. It means that it is well maintained, but it also means that as a historical site, little can be changed. I'm sure signage could be improved but I've heard the local club had to petition to get a giant tree cut down and removed that had fallen across a fairway making the hole unplayable. This course does get a lot of play and I'm certain any complaint beyond the design itself the local club has heard and is trying to address, and some I think their hands are tied on. This is almost a destination course level, but slightly misses the mark unless you want to piggy back camping here, are a history nut and want to tour the fort or love watching barges go down the river. Otherwise, pair this course with Paducah's Stuart Nelson just a few short miles down the road across the Ohio on the KY side and make a day trip out of it.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Challenging 18 hole course that uses a large area of the park. Concrete tees and yellow Discatchers. Par 62 with several par 4's. Park style with frequently mowed grassy fairways, many large trees, creeks. Some holes flat, others used the hills very well. I needed to shape shots in all directions, plus many holes provided options of how to attack. Good mixture between open and moderately wooded shots.
Excellent variety of distance with holes ranging from 205'-615' and much of the course is on the longer side of 350'+ with a balance of all distances. Plus, the trees are large with lots of low hanging branches which make the course play longer because you just can't throw bombs with no regard to where the disc is flying.
This is not a technical tight woods course, but accuracy is definitely required to score well. Lack of control will almost guarantee your disc getting knocked out the air by a branch much sooner than you intended.
An added challenge is that many of the baskets are blind or at least really hard to see from the tee. Once you scout it out or play it one time, you have to trust your memory as you make your shot to a spot you picked out down the fairway.
Great job on the design working the course over to where hole 9 is! Great view of the Ohio River and the Fort Massac that sits on the hill overlooking everything. I even took a few minutes between 9 and 10 to cross the road to view the scenery and watch the tugboats push the barges.
Easy on/off from I-24. No fees to enter or to play. Plenty of restrooms, parking, covered picnic pavilions. Near hole 1 was a kiosk with course map (take a picture, you will definitely need it!).
Cons: NAVIGATION. I like that the course is spread out, but there is no obvious path from hole to hole, and many times from tee to basket. I did a lot of wondering around even with the course map, and without I am not sure I would have found all the holes. You also don't come close to your car once you begin, so be sure to carry water and snacks. (A previous reviewer mentioned a renumbering at some point, which helps explain a lot. Parking and starting on 6 would make a lot of sense.)
Tee signs- were small and only a hole # and distance. Some were missing. Many were placed not near the tee, but in an attempt to sort of be in view from the previous basket and get you close to where the concrete tee that sits below the grass line might be. Could definitely use an upgrade in this area and then throw in some next tee guiding arrows and signs.
This course really needs a map of the hole on each tee detailing which direction to throw. So many baskets are blind due to length, hills, and being blocked by tree leaves in the summer. Even on short holes I had to scout most holes not having a clue if the basket was straight, left, or right.
6,7,8 were a little tight running parallel to each other. Only one bridge to cross the creek, so there could be some issues if there were groups on each hole. When playing 8, you have to cross 7 to get to the bridge. Those 3 holes also seemed to play about the same just criss-crossing the same area.
Some non-natural eyesores: dumpsters on hole 3, outhouses on hole 13, views of the main highway, Sonic and other businesses/restaurants on 15-17 does not wholly give this course a secluded vibe.
Some others have complained about hole 2, but I thought it now had a defined path. But 15, which is 615' either has no path or a million depending on your point of view. Lots of trees, lots of places to throw, but you really have no clue as to the best route until you play the hole a couple times.
Other Thoughts: I really enjoyed the holes here and the challenging, yet reasonable, layout. Tough enough for experienced players, but manageable for newer players since most of it is void of nasty rough.
Finding tees and baskets was a bit annoying on my first round. But knowing where they are now, I know I would enjoy future rounds even more (and could probably shave off a few strokes.)
Due to proximity to the Ohio River, I believe this course can become unplayable when there is major flooding.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Nice park & atmosphere with most creeks & ditches with very little water even after the hard rains.
Cons: a few hard to locate tee boxes due to vandalized or missing signs. The signs themselves have no graphic or map to locate basket for planning shots.
Other Thoughts: Long holes through lightly spaced trees over & across wide ravine type terrain. A few holes have signage missing making it difficult for players new to the course. However if you go to the state park visitor center they have excellent map & score cards.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Lets start with this is the best course south of I64 in Illinois not counting Waterloo IL which I would count as a Metro STL course.
Well established course inside a park with a lot of old stand trees. Baskets in great shape, Tee pads every hole. Parking right by hole one. Restrooms on sight (some closed for winter). Play does not interfere with park traffic, foot or road. (unless you grip lock one like I did). Many valley shots with large drainage beds that you must take into consideration for placement. Many long holes, that will challenge recreational plays like myself and let big guns air one out, but they are well done so not to discourage you either (with one exception).
Cons: The one exception, I believe it is hole 15 a 600+ hole through trees. No real line just lots of trees, there is no under brush so that is a plus but not a great hole.
Then there is hole 17 which is flat, and open with a few trees that really do not take to much effort to avoid. Kind of a let down towards the end of the course.
Other Thoughts: I think some alternate pin locations and/or tee pads could get this course a higher rating.
I do recommend this course one. I still have a couple in Southern Illinois to play but so far this is the best. Plus you have the historic Fort to see and down town Metropolis has some nice pubs, eateries and a giant Superman Statue! Great destination course.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Really tough lines to the holes, no easy way at at lot of the pins, and many holes over 400 and a couple over 600. Nice playing without poison ivy and stickers for once.
Cons: Bit of standing water on the course. Pins tough to find on the first time playing the course as many pins are on the other side of a hill or not in a normal line.
1 of 4 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
The lost city of Atlantis
Pros: Before I review I need to make a disclaimer that this course was extremely flooded. The flooding made some dull holes amazing and some holes unplayable. I am reviewing the course in this condition because the water was knee high in many spots, chest high in some areas. This is not a short term problem.
Parking lot just for disc golfers, Course map at the start.
Nice concrete tee pads
Best pro was the arrows after every basket to guide you to the next hole.
Good variety in challenge level. Hole 2 is a legit par 4. Recreational players could easily score a 6 or 7. Where hole 3 is a simple par 3 for nearly any skill level.
The flooding on hole 5 added a water hazard that made a mediocre hole a very exciting and aesthetic hole.
Plenty of drinkable water wells and bathrooms scattered all over the course.
Very nice camp sites right off holes 4 and 12.
Cons: Flow gets a bit awkward at times, just look at the map to see some confusing spots. Confusion on baskets 5 and 14. From tee 5 you see basket 14. on tee 14 you see basket 5. Crossing fairways make this hole confusing.
Holes 6-8 were flooded. I had to play barefoot and play casual water. Water was knee deep as long as you stay near the bridge. If you wander too far from the bridge the water will go waist deep.
Hole 10 was 90% underwater. The tee pad was under over a foot of water and water extended 430 feet of 460 feet.
Holes 1,2, and 9 had road in play. These were only minor safety hazards, not terribly dangerous
Tee signs were just hole number and distance
The small stream on hole 12 is actually chest deep.
Other Thoughts: I was excited to see the water. I thought it was going to add a new element of challenge, instead it took 4 holes out of play for the average player.
Without the water issue, I still found some confusing flow issues, I tried to not let the flooding sway me too bad
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Championship caliber course in a beautiful setting. Fort Massac is a breath of fresh air in an area where most courses are designed by the same person and all have a similar "feel." The disc catchers are easy to see and catch well. They are new so the chains have that orgasmic sound when they are hit. The teepads are long and grippy. You always know where to go next with all the next tee signs. This course rewards distance and accuracy and punishes errant or bad throws. There is a good mixture of holes that requires you to have every shot in your bag. The design was well thought out and provides a well needed challenge in the area. Long mostly open holes, ace run holes, hidden baskets, long tight holes - everything is here.
Cons: Only con I can think of would be the drainage by 18's basket. Other than that this course is AWESOME!
Other Thoughts: This is a true disc golf course that rewards distance and accuracy and punishes bad throws. In regards to hole 2 - it requires an accurate drive about 325-350' and then a good upshot to score a birdie. With an errant drive there is still chance at par but requires a good "get out of trouble" shot. Love this course, best in the area.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Few holes away from greatness.
Pros: This course is set along a wooded flood plain. Granted, the water does not make it up as high as what it probably used to with all of the dams and flood gates along the river. This course really provides some well placed trees right near the tee, and in the fairway. Some of the holes even resemble a ball golf course... like hole 9. Just a beautiful hole overlooking the river and the fort replica. The course even offers some nice up and down shots. There are a few holes with some awesome rollaway potential.
Cons: Just a few cons here... Hole 2.... somthing has got to give there. There is zero defined fairway. Either you play plinko through the trees.... or you play along the outskirts of the road. This is a major con for such a long hole. Otherwise, there are about 3 or 4 holes in succession that are basically the same shot (I am thinking of the 5, 6, 7, 8 combo). Would really have liked to have seen some type of sidehill shot in there somewhere. I know that you can only work with what parks gives you, but seems like there would have been room in there somewhere. Some of the fairways play rather close to another (5 and 18, 6 and 7). Not sure that it is possible to fix that now... just be careful out there. When I was there yesterday, hole 18 was surrounded by 1 foot deep of water. This is an easy correction that would be nice to change... add some fill dirt or make some drainage.
Other Thoughts: Overall, this is a great course. Probably the best in the area that I have seen for practicing. I was really impressed with how well most of the course drained (except hole 18 see above). I would definitely recommend this course for anybody just travelling through. It is worth the stop. This course has potential in the future to bump up to a 4.0 rating for me with fixing the hole 18 drainage problem and doing something with hole 2... anything. It is definitely the largest issue with the course from what I can tell. I would like to see many of the small ditches sprayed off for a tournament. I am really thinking the ditch between 4 and 14... maybe the ditch along 6,7,8.... and definitely the ditch that crosses 10. This would definitely boost the SSE/difficulty. Would definitely make a difference in point spread for the course without being gimmicky. I am thinking of how Idlewild sprays off their ditches for their tournaments. Really enjoyed playing this course.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
a must play course
Pros: Fort Massac DGC is a very beautiful and challenging course. A good mix of par 3's and 4's. I think it was played out perfectly and will improve with age. One of my personal favorite places to play.
Cons: Very few cons, but hopefully some will get straightened out. Hole number 2 is overly wooded and needs a few trees cut. You have to park at the far end of the course and if something came up and you have to leave your in for a long walk. Don't let that keep you from playing this fantastic course
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Very challenging course. There are lots of lines, but if you don't hit them, you will hit a tree. Elevation changes, hidden baskets, very nice view of the river at the turn, tricky hillside placement for a few baskets, tight lines, long and short holes - this course has all of that.
And, what it doesn't have is Sticker bushes, Nettles, Poison Ivy. Probably about 90% of the course is free of these pests, and so long as you don't have an errant shot, you won't hit that stuff even on the holes where it's close.
It's also in a pretty busy park, but the folks in the park don't ever really get in the way. I played on Labor day weekend and we never had to worry about playing into a group of people that were there for grilling, etc.
If you park in the right spot (near hole 6, more on that in the 'con' section), you are near your car at least 3 times, which is great for those hot summer days or a quick run through a few holes at lunch.
Cons: The parks guy decided he didn't want DGers parking at one of the most popular pavilions, so he renumbered the holes. If you start at hole 1, which is near the trout pond, you are actually outside the park when you leave your car. You won't see it again until hole 18, and it's a long walk if you decide to quit after 9 - across the entire park! If they make this a mandatory parking spot for disc golf, they just wasted a bunch of money, 'cuz a lot of locals are already up in arms about it.
There are so many trees on some of the holes that there really is no line at all. Hole 2 is probably the worst offender. They are supposed to cut some down, however (not just for us, these trees were set to come down already), so that should help some. But for now, 2 is a TLS - total luck shot. No amount of skill can purposely wind thru trees like that!
Locals don't know much about the sport yet, and they might grab your disc. This is to be expected though, and as the course ages, this problem should go away.
Other Thoughts: This course reminds me of Jefferson Barracks in St Louis. That is high praise indeed, because that is among my favorites in that area. But, the layout, long drives, rolling hills, and the general look of the park are all very reminiscent of JB. I'd recommend a stop here if you're near....or even if you're not!
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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