17 Helpful / 0 Not
Awesome Park Course
Pros: Maintenance: This course was well groomed. The city parks department must cut the grass regularly. Their efforts show in the immaculate fairways at Pickard Park.
Elevation: Even though this is Iowa, the course designers here did an excellent job of utilizing the elevation with which they had to work.
Water: Water comes into play on a number of holes here. Each time it is used very effectively, most often as the basket is placed on the side of a pond with water to the right and a tree or trees to the left. This causes the RHBH player to play there shot over the water and use the fade to bring it back to the shore as the left is blocked by trees. This is used on #5 and #18. There is also a meandering creek that protects the back of the green on a hole toward the middle of the course.
Variety: Elevation, shot-shape and distance are all varied extremely well throughout this course. No two holes are even remotely similar. There are some really long holes as well as some potential ace runs. If you are a moderately skilled player like myself, there are opportunities for birdies...but you better take them when you see them.
Cons: Pickard does not loop back to the parking lot at any point during the round. As hot as it gets in the summer, coupled with the relatively "open" course makes a mid-round pit-stop almost a necessity. There is also no drinking water available on the course once you start your round. In short, bring a lot of water...you will need it.
Rough schule: This is one of my big pet peeves. The rough is supposed to be punishing. This is definitely the case at Pickard Park. However, at least clear some of the brush out around the fairways. We spent probably an hour looking for discs at this course, most of which were about 2-3 feet off the fairway. One of our four even lost a disc that looked as if it landed in the fairway. After coming over the hil and looking at where it should have been, it could have been no further than 5 feet off the faiway...and we never found it. Again, rough is there for a challenge, but it makes for a cumbersome roundd when you are looking for 10 minutes for any throw that skips off the fairway. It wouldn't take much work with a weed-eater to rectify this situation.
Hole #18/Flow: Hole #18 does not fit this course. I don't mind having a long hole. I understand that in tourneys, this hole is important because someone could make up a couple of strokes on the final hole. However, the flow leaves you so far away from the parking lot after #17, that #18 has to be long simply to get you back to he parking lot. It has a tricky pin placement by the water, but other than that hole #18 is just boring.
Other Thoughts: Pickard Park is the home of an excellent disc golf course. There are a number of great holes here. Be prepared for a long round as you will likely be looking for a few errant shots,and the course is long. Make sure to stay hydrated as the course seems like a strenuous walk due to length and hilly terrain...or maybe I was just really out of shape when we played here. (It was pushing 100 degrees that day)
If you happen to be in the Des Moines area, make the 30 minute drive south to Indianola and pley this excellent course. It is a fantastic course and worth driving slightly out of the way to play. Give yourself plenty of time and enjoy the terrain. It is a beautiful area. At many public parks, disc golf courses are relegated to the land that simply cannot be used for anything else. Pickard Park breaks this mold. This land is excellent for disc golf and the course is well-suited for the terrain.
Additionally, I lost a disc on this course and was called back two days later by the guy who found it. I add this because there are some really classy people in this area who play disc golf. I travel and play quite often and have found that people in other areas of the country call numbers on found discs much more often than they do in Tennessee. Kudos to the Iowa disc golf scene for encouraging player courtesy.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Very nice, very LOOOONNNNNGGGG
Pros: Excellent baskets and tee pads, good mix of shots, definite pro level challenge as the average distance is probably 450-500 feet on each hole with the monster coming on 18 at 950ish feet, every type of obstacle,
Cons: Long, I've only played it once but I remember I was ready for the round to end, can take a while to play, lots of chances to lose a disc,
Other Thoughts: I definitely want to play this one again sometime, it's one of the "crown jewels" of central Iowa among the disc golf community so I suppose I should play it more than once, solid course
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Pickard is a scenic and challenging course set in a nice park just a short drive south of Des Moines. The land given for the course is extremely generous and includes open and wooded areas, a pond, a creek, and lots of elevation. The course has 2 sets of tees with nice signs at both and good baskets.
Hole design is interesting, challenging, and diverse. Hole length is quite diverse ranging from deuce chances to legit pars of greater than 3. You will need to throw shots up, down, level and left, right, straight. Basket placement is the real strength of this course. Many of the holes require a carefully planned and executed tee shot to give yourself a chance at par. Poor tee shots may not find the punishing rough, but may still cost you a shot if you find yourself approaching from the wrong angle.
The park itself is well-kept and appeared to be very safe. Parking was abundant. Near the parking area were restrooms and a picnic pavilion.
Cons: The fairway grass was green and full and pretty, but it needed mowed badly the day I played.
For some- the rough was super thick making it hard to find discs and providing a good chance to lose one.
I did not enjoy #18- super, super long (even from the shorts) for being the final hole. The design did not seem well thought out at this point realizing that there was only 1 hole left to get back to the car. The basket placement was great by the pond, but the hole just seemed long for long's sake. This could have easily been made 2 solid holes, and then to avoid the long walk back to the parking lot there could have been another 1 or 2 holes added for 21 total holes. Or maybe just eliminate #1, which was pretty boring or could be made a practice area. Just a thought, but others may love 18.
This course can get really hot in the summer. There was very little shade, it does not come back to the car until after 18, and the walk after 18 was very long to get back to the car and needed a sign because we ended up taking the wrong trail.
Other Thoughts: We saw a snake on one hole by the creek. In fact, my friend actually put his bag down on it unknowingly and when he reached for his disc he kind of freaked out!
Overall, this is an excellent course that has a lot to offer to players of all skill levels. Advanced players should enjoy playing here, especially from the longer tees. However, the shorter tees provide a good test as well. If you are near Des Moines this course is definitely worth the easy drive out of town.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: This course has everything. There is water that comes into play, elevation, wooded holes, and LONG holes. It's been mowed every time I played it.
Cons: The woods are very thick and eat discs. I don't knock points off for this because it's part of the game.
Other Thoughts: This is one of the best in the State of Iowa and should be played if your coming through.
1 of 8 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 9 Not
Nice long course
Pros: Excellent course for long distance accurate drives. Lots of ups and downs wide open fairways. Very fun to play.
Other Thoughts: Played course on a very windy 15-25 mph and cool 52 degrees day. Still one of my favorite courses ever played.
0 of 9 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
is this heaven? no its pickard
Pros: great course in a nice big park... two pads for almost every hole. good variety of left to right uphill,and down hill shots. elevation was used to its fullest, and water holes.... good par 4 and 5 holes, i played the longs and felt this was the better layout for the overall course
Cons: not enough trashcans, the coures dint loop back to the lot til the end.
Other Thoughts: this is my top course to play when in the des moines area. great design and beauty are seen throughout the course. loved it cant wait to get back
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 2 Not
The Gem of Des Moines
Pros: Great risk and reward; Great selection of shots
Good mix of long and short - open and wooded - You get to shoot over water!
The layout good; there's never a walk from hole to hole that seems reeeeally too far
Signage is good - Teepads are good - Baskets are great
Fun use of elevation on many holes.
Cons: The OB and rough can be thick in places.
It was pretty wind the day I played and it made a few holes really challenging.
I didn't have to go into the water, thank God, which was very scummy.
I'm not sure of the chances of pulling a shot out of there.
Other Thoughts: I wish I would've known just how many blind shots there are here,
you really need to spot your shot carefully.
There were many times when I had no idea where I was supposed to throw.
This course plays pretty well in the fall.
I ended up in tall grass and woods plenty and found my wayward throws pretty quickly.
Having played Blue Ribbon Pines and the Highbridge Complex I can comfortably rate this course as highly as I did.
There isn't a better disc golf experience in the DSM area.
6 of 8 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: -Very long tees and good baskets
-good variety off shots (up hill and down hill)
-good variety of open and wooded holes
-long and challenging holes with a mix of easier shorter holes
-multiple tees so that it can be played by people with all skill levels
-there were some really fun holes because the layout was really well done
-score cards and maps by the hole one tee
Cons: -the holes around the pond leave the pond in play (It is a very gross looking pond and I would never want to go swimming there)
-The course was a little too long and I think that it would have benefited from having more short skill shots.
-many holes that the only obstilces are weeds which open up all sorts of opportunities to lose a disc and only make the course more frusturating
Other Thoughts: If you play from the pro tees all day then this course becomes a little long and the end starts to drag out. But overall this is a very good course.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 1 Not
An absolute Iowa masterpiece
Pros: Probably the most complete layout I've ever had the pleasure of playing. Pickard has everything. Disc golf dedicated land, multiple tees with great distance variation, a nicely jumbled mix of long and short holes, tall grass rough, dense trees, tucked pins, forced layups, several risk/reward opportunities, water hazards, unforgiving woods, uphill, downhill (sometimes in the same hole), even some ace runs from the short tees. True Par 4 and 5 holes. Terrific signage showing the hole layout at both tee boxes. Its in small town Iowa, so you can count on there not being a lot of traffic.
Cons: Probably not the best course to bring your kids or newbies to. Even the short layout here is challenging. Only a single pin position on each hole. Plenty of places to lose a disc, so I'd recommend using a spotter. Hole #1 is a tad dangerous with the parking lot in the line of fire. On the woodsier holes, the Chainstars do blend into the scenery a bit, and I wish they could be made more prominent with color or flags on top.
Other Thoughts: I thought long and hard before doling out the '5' here, my first in the 66 courses I've reviewed. I was impressed by Pickard when I played it on my recent trip, but wanted to get a couple of the gem Twin Cities courses (Bryant Lake & Blue Ribbon Pines) under my belt to test as a comparison, to see which of the three stacked up best, and while I enjoyed them all, Pickard IMO, made me think about my shot selection the best, and punished me for mistakes. I've heard the legend of this course for a number of years now, and have played the Des Moines area courses on several occasions, but due to Pickard's out of the way location, never made my way down to Indianola to play it. I'm glad I finally made the trip.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
The Best of the Best
Pros: How do I begin to describe the beauty of playing disc golf in Pickard Park...Lets start by reminding folks it was designed by the Woman's World Champion Julianna Korver...Trust me when I tell you she knows how to design a top notch course...
The flow of the course is what stands out to me when I try to compare this place to other courses I've played...It starts out with an opportunity to warm up your arm with two should be birdie holes...Then the course starts stretching out, a trend you'll find on a number of holes out here...
The flow moves from short, position type shots to longer par 4's and 5's in places...this constant stretching and shrinking really keeps you on your toes and keeps you thinking about each shot...There are no real gimmies out here (hole 2 is possibly the only one)
Hole 14 stands out in my mind as the most picturesque hole on the course...looking down the fairway to a basket tucked into the woods and behind a ravine is hard to describe...but once you step up to the tee pad you'll know what I'm trying to describe...There are plenty of other places for photo ops out there but this is one hole I'll never forget...
Amenities are top notch
Huge course with variety of shots
Gorgeous Iowa prairie and rolling hills
Never very busy as its about 25 minutes from Des Moines
Cons: NONE WHATSOEVER
(no smoking in the park but that's only a con if you smoke)
Other Thoughts: Play it if your ever in the area...you will not regret the decision...and bring plenty of water in the summertime...I think there may be a spigot or two out there but water will keep you moving up and down the hills
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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