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.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: - Well maintained course. Immaculate, really.
- Bathrooms halfway through the course around #13.
- No trash cans, take out what you bring in.
- Huge tee concrete tee pads, 4' x 15'.
- Dual tees.
- Good signage at each tee with distance and shot line.
- Last third of this course is much different from the beginning. Old, mature trees, rolling hills, and prairie grass. Very nice but still challenging, unlike the front 2/3 of the course.
- Water in play on #13 if you lose a shot long, and #14 if you lose a drive left.
- #18 nice window shot from the back tee.
Cons: - This is not "wooded" disc golf. This is "French hedgerow-lined" disc golf. Not really many obstacles in the middle of fairways, but what makes you shape your line is a 15 foot wide fairways.
- When you do miss, there's not even room to stand when you miss, let alone find your disc.
- Course flow mostly ok, but not the most intuitive from 12-13, and 15-16.
- No warm up basket, or space.
- No course map, or any sort of sign to show where there course starts, except seeing #1 tee pad.
- Very long walk from #18 basket back to the parking lot.
Other Thoughts: - I implore you to never take a beginner to this course. They will straight up quit the sport.
- I'm definitely a rec player, but this course is very unfair, and has a very low fun factor. Sure, you could plod along the first 12 holes 75-100 ft at a time, but that's really not fun, or why anyone plays the sport. Just overly punishing for missing your line.
- Love 13-18. Just a shame that you have to contend with 1-12 to get to them.
- This course is worth a stop, just be ready to be cut down at the knees!
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Nice technical course
Pros: The course is cut through dense forest with cedars and nice brush. It's thick enough off the fairways that you'll pay for missing your line but there are some opportunities for creative recovery shots. There is a pretty good mix of hole shapes, the layout forces a balance of left and right turning shots.
From the longs, there's a nice mix of shorter reachable holes and a few that allow you to throw a longer drive. A couple are open enough to let you rip one, the rest will punish you for trying to bite off too much at once. The shorts are a nice alternative for newer players, and still have some nice variety without quite as much challenge. The concrete tees are in nice shape, and the tee signs have hole length for all tee and pin combinations.
Cons: The alternate pin positions are a nice touch to add variety, but the signs don't indicate which position is in use. There are a handful of blind shots, so not knowing where to throw can add some extra walking to scout the course. The walk back to the car after the last hole, and without the course map you might not immediately figure out where to go. There are a couple holes that feel a little repetitive, the shorter holes all run together a little with similar lengths and basic hole shapes.
Other Thoughts: Beginners will find the short tees approachable, with reasonable lengths but tough rough. More experienced players will find nice challenges from many of the long tees, you'll need a pretty good mix of skills to score well and shaping 250-300' lines is key. I would definitely recommend a stop here if you're in the area.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Very challenging course. Lots elevation changes on the back 9. Very manageable on the back 9 short and very hilly. I like that they switch up the long and short tee pads and catchers.
Cons: The beast was a little rediculous. Could have cleared out alot of the holes a little more. There is a lot of really low ceilings. Too low.
Other Thoughts: Be prepared to throw a lot of straight tunnel shots. You will use your buzz a lot
0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Tight & Technical
Pros: Challenge -The course is a great challenge and really forces you to hit lines and keep the disc in the fairway. The long tees provide a hefty challenge for even the seasoned pro.
Tee's - The tee pads are in great shape and there are two per hole. They have a great texture, and when we played the course it was raining and we didn't loose our footing once.
Fairways - The fairways are grass and appear to be nice a mowed. As long as you stay in the fairway you should have no problem with losing discs.
Design - The course flows really well and it is easy to follow. At times it seems like you are in a hedge maze as the fairways are nice, short grass and they are boarded by a wall of trees/shrubs. The paths and holes are clearly marked.
Cons: Tee Signs - The tee signs are very vague and don't provide much information. Many times a straight line is shown from the tee to the disc, even though the fairway may dogleg right or left.
Rough - I am all for punishing bad shots, but the rough here is pretty ridiculous. If you go off the fairway at all (and most fairways are no more than 10 yards wide) you are going to be spending a lot of time looking for your disc. A 2 or 3 could easily turn into a 5 or 6 if you go off the fairway.
Short Tees - The short tees are very easy, most are under 300 ft. I understand that public courses have to accommodate all skill levels, but they are easy even for most rec players.
Other Thoughts: Overall this is a pretty solid course. Even though the course moves around a large lake, water doesn't really come into play. It is kind of out of the way, but if you want to work on your short game or work on the technical aspect this is the course for you.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 5 Not
ALL HAIL HYPNO-TOAD
Pros: course is very technical, i think the worlds were partly held here in whatever year it was. couple bombs from the longs, shorts were 8-10 strokes easier, some very nice holes on the back nine along the lake
Cons: the rough is very young and treacherous- dumpster shots may be necessary - rude cross country skiers are common
Other Thoughts: its pretty nice
0 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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