Solitude in the Polklands
Pros: The course is well maintained and I have never seen a piece of garbage. The lines to the holes have no obstructions in the way and navigation of the course is no problem. The holes that border the lake are beautiful. The solitude and cool Iowa breeze make up if you have a bad day of golf. New trees planted and brush looks like it was recently cleared. You don't have to have a big arm to score well here.
Some of the baskets are hard to see from the tee, but I'm old. Hole #11 at over 800 feet not really a con but it seems that every time I leave that hole I'm singing "Frosty the Snowman" not because its that cold, but I took an 8 or in golf terms a SNOWMAN. OB to the left, trees in the middle of a tight fairway and a basket that resides somewhere around Polk City.
Other Thoughts: I have never played the course in summer or when it is in full bloom. Looks like they are getting the course ready for the Masters in September. This course will make an excellent addition to the variety of courses that will be used for the tournament.
0 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: While the description of it as mostly flat is correct, this is a densely wooded course that requires highly technical shots and has balance between left, right and straight. The 'fairways', such as they are, are incredibly narrow and you will have to execute perfect tunnel shots quite often, even though the distances from the short tees are not extreme (there are a far amount of putter and midrange holes, and the course opens up slightly for the driver later in the round, and even those holes are well designed, with mature trees lining the fairways at inopportune points). There are a fair amount of blind holes with exceptionally well protected greens.
The signs and pads are decent. It's beautiful and well maintained.The flow of the course is excellent, which makes up for average signage.
Cons: The lack of elevation and the fact that the dense foliage can cause long searches for discs can make it a little wearying (that is a minor quibble, because the course is fair and rewards good shots while punishing bad shots).
Those two elements drop it a half point each for me, but this is one of the most highly recommended courses in Central IA for me.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Top 5 in the 515
7 Helpful / 0 Not
- Sweet location! Set in the small town of Mayberry...er, Polk City on Saylorville Lake, this course is small enough to stay on the down-low (read: not busy) but close enough to the amenities so you can grab a quick bite, a pack of smokes, or some fashionable adult beverages within a few minutes. No traffic noise either provides a really secluded feel for those wanting to contemplate the mysteries of the universe during a quiet, solitary round - or makes the Five Finger Death Punch playlist on your $20 Bluetooth speaker sound like a IMAX theater sub-woofer.
- Good equipment. The Mach 3 baskets catch well and the concrete teepads are grippy even in the mud and rain and snow and sleet for which Iowa winters are so well known. (Okay...maybe they're not so grippy in snow and sleet, but solid footing is always a plus no matter what the weather.)
- Awesome layout! Set in a large park in well-established woodlands, this is a pretty technical course. It offers both tight lines and open lanes with enough kick to give your accuracy and your power a run for their money. The alternate tees give both beginners and advanced players an opportunity to enjoy this course without either being overwhelmed or giving enough of a challenge. They keep the fairways mowed pretty regular in the summertime too, which is unusual for a state park so far off the beaten path.
- Well rounded! If you're wondering whether or not your upshots and short game can hang with the big dogs, Big Creek will tell you that story. A tough, mostly par 3 course (there are only four par 4 holes), you're going to need a deft touch and a metric butt-load of accuracy to tame this bad boy. Some of the fairways are fairly tight so errant shots often end up buried in the woods, while the subtle elevation changes on these tight fairways can cause off-the-mark shots to roll long enough to turn a birdie attempt into a double par bogie. However, like an ISIS initiation, a few bombs ARE required. The technicalities aren't limited to mid-range upshots; your drivers on many holes need to be deadly accurate too if you're truly aiming to play under par. In short, if you're one of those who's questioning whether or not you should move up from Rec to Intermediate or Intermediate to Pro, Big Creek can provide your answer: If you can par this course consistently or your scores on this course are improving exponentially, you're ready for the next level.
- Easy navigation. Defined fairways off the tee gave enough of an idea of where you were throwing to keep you on track and the paths to the next hole are worn down to the point that it's almost impossible to get lost on almost every hole.
- Beautiful! A very scenic park that is not only clean, but picturesque. Seriously, Ansel Adams missed out when he didn't paint this back 9.
- No gridlock! There is usually ZERO traffic on the course. There might be a few cars in the parking lot, but the course is large enough and spread out enough that the chances or running into anyone and waiting is slim. Great atmosphere all around.
- Signage. There are tee signs on every tee (both long and short), but they're pedestrian to the point that they're almost useless. Thankfully, the natural flow of the course makes up for that and allows for relatively common-sensical navigation, but you may find yourself walking up the fairway on a few holes in deciding which disc to throw because the signs don't paint an accurate picture of the actual pin locations when throwing blind.
- Trash receptacles. There are VERY few. If you plan on eating or drinking, please be prepared to take your trash with you.
- Poison Ivy. It's a woody course, so some nasty foliage is to be expected; however, it's not just vanilla woods and your standard, run-of-the-mill bushes; it's straight up atmospheric Armageddon. The thorns, bugs, spider webs, and the God-forsaken ivy are something straight out of a Harry Potter movie. Got into some ivy last summer and I was swoll up like a blood tick at fat camp for about three weeks. The Dark Forest takes no prisoners. I can't recommend highly enough wearing long pants and Amazon-grade, 98% DEET if your accuracy leaves something to be desired.
- No topless Hooters girls frolicking along the #8 fairway.
Big Creek is a relatively older course, but it has aged REALLY well and has earned a place in the Top Five of courses in the greater Des Moines area. It may not be one of the longest, loveliest (I call it "The Leanist") courses around the Iowa state capital, but it certainly gives Ewing, Grandview, and Walnut Ridge a run for their money. Sure, it's not perfect, but I've yet to run into a course that is. Bottom line: there isn't much NOT to recommend about Big Creek, so if you find yourself near Des Moines and want to give your game a run through the gauntlet, you could do a LOT worse. Big Creek is worth the trip out of your way.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Favorite Fall Course
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Great course in great shape.
Lots of different shots,
Disc eater in the Summer, but man I love it in the Spring and Fall!
Cons: I appreciate the signage to keep the course clean, but a couple of garbage cans would sure make that a lot easier!
Other than that there are no cons.
Other Thoughts: Great course to work on those shots with a mid-range or a putter...it has improved my play elsewhere that is for sure.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Must play in Des moines
Pros: This is a great woods course that forces you to throw straight. I was surprised with the 4 par 4 and 1 par 5 type holes that require placement and good shots to get a good score.
Cons: Confusing layout in a couple spots with a lack of signage.
Off of the highway 8 miles.
Other Thoughts: Was going to pass on this one on my trip, very glad I made time to play it!
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: Good baskets, multiple tees, very challenging tight fairways, Nice scenery, mix of short and long, Accuracy is the name of the game on this course!
Cons: Walk back to car after 18, no trash cans, very dense bushes
Other Thoughts: You either throw a great round or you just get beat down. Stay on the fairway as lots of poison ivy and sumac.
0 of 5 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 2 Not
When Being Dense Is Good
Pros: Dense woods make this a great little course. Accuracy is the key here. There is water, lots of trees, and some great pin placements, all with left and right shots. Some of the early holes were rather similar, but this place has some real nice looking holes. The lake plays right next to a couple of them. This course is rather clean and well maintained. Navigation is fairly easy here. Concrete pads and tee signs are on each hole. Bathrooms and water fountains were at the end of hole #12.
Cons: No par was listed, but the par 3 on each hole is close enough for this course. The tee signs did have footage but that was about it. Most of the holes on this course are under 300 feet so not much variance. There was lots of Poison Ivy, Sumac and so forth. There is kind of a long walk from #18 back to the #1 parking lot. There were no trashcans, so you have to haul your trash out.
Other Thoughts: The fun factor for this course was very decent. The difficulty but fair holes made for a great round. I would certainly play this course again. It is a bit of a drive from Des Moines, IA, but I would say it is worth it.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Nicely laid out course! You will need accuracy to stay within the fairways! A lot of mixes of Lefts and Rights! Also watch out for hole 11 its LONG so have a good arm!
Cons: Dense woods are hard to get out of! Very think and narrow otherwise no complaints
Other Thoughts: Great course to play at and is not very busy! Giving you all the time in the world to think thru your shots!
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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