2 Courses provide Fun and Challenge for players of all skill levels
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Two 18 hole courses (White and Gold)
- some holes are shared between courses, but have either 2 teepads and/or two baskets
- baskets are banded with White, Gold, or White+Gold depending on which course they are part of
- Concrete Tee pads
- Very easy to Navigate, small signs pointing to trails to the next teepads
- Signs at each hole with distance to Pin
- Good variety of holes, (open & wooded, long & short, right/left/straight(It's all there!!))
- Well marked OB lines
- OB are areas that at some point in the year do become quite marshy, but can also be dry during other times
- Good use of elevation and water
- Rough doesn't have a lot of ground cover so it is generally easy to find discs thrown deep in the woods
- 2 practice baskets
- Course map on site (usually scorecards too)
- a Few benches on the course (plenty of logs)
- Extra hole (gold X) is nice to warm up on
- Course is laid out so you can skip holes pretty easily to either avoid crowds or just repeat your favorite holes
- flags on some of the more hidden baskets
- Concrete Drop Zones
Cons: - A few of the holes can get pretty muddy (hole 8 worst offender)
- Because the White and Gold courses share fairways for the first 9 holes it will be crowded through these holes on nice days
- Not enough Garbage cans (though I've never thought the course had a garbage problem)
- Only a seasonal port-a-potty
- Gravel Parking lot can get messy
- Walking/Biking Path interferes with a few holes
Other Thoughts: This facility does a phenomenal job of using the land to its full potential. It provides two well thought out courses that can provide entertainment for any skill level of disc golfer. The parking lot for the course is also a nice indicator of how much you might expect to wait at tees, when full you'll probably have to wait at most of the tees until the courses split around hole 9. The white course seems to be much more popular to casuals because it is a lot easier, but back-ups are infrequent after hole 9. I usually played in the mornings (like 9 or 10) and never had to wait. Peak hours are probably around 12-4. Also I'll give some commentary about each course.
Gold Course 4.7/5
The course really is very well designed and fun to play. The worst designed holes are probably the first 3, but they do what they can with the prairie by using elevation and distance to still provide a challenge (on a windy days these holes can be much more challenging). The 4th hole of the courses is where things start to get interesting. After this, the course starts to close up and become much more wooded. In the woods the fairways are a challenging and reasonable width. The fairways are well manicured and the trees in the fairway require hitting your lines and avoiding landing in certain areas. The OB and water hazards are well thought out. The holes are designed to encourage you to play over most of them, and can easily be cleared with skill (luck is not a factor). The course ends on an iconic hole requiring a skilled drive to carry over the OB.
White Course 4/5
This course is a great course for beginner players learning to play in the woods. The first holes are open and allow them to get comfortable with throwing. As you transition into the wooded white holes, they become shorter. They also have wider and less cluttered fairways than the gold holes to accommodate lower skilled players. The OB on the white holes is less punishing and generally situated in places you would already not be throwing. I do find the middle of the white course gets a little tedious, a lot of shorter wooded holes that are mostly straight with varying obstacles. My biggest gripe is hole 17. A 900 ft hole needing at least 300ft of power to cross OB doesn't really seem appropriate for the course. A simple solution would move the white tee to the drop zone. This is the course where I taught my parents and siblings how to play. They enjoyed it enough that everyone bundled up on Christmas and played in the snow. This definitely is an enjoyable course for low skill players and this white course is better than all of the nearby courses I have played.
A few things that I think would help this course achieve a perfect rating:
- permanent bathroom (a club can't really get this to happen though)
- Paved Parking lot
- Tee Signs could also show shape of hole and basket locations (really only useful on the longer wooded gold holes)
- A few more benches
- A better trail, or something to stop the erosion on the hill near 7 white's Tee pad. That hill is very slippery.
All said, this course is incredible and I make a point to play it every time I go home
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Very Good, but not tops in CHI
3 Helpful / 9 Not
Pros: Much nicer than the old layout. I've been competing for 38 years, now a senior grandmaster, played hundreds of courses, and this was my closest good course about 10 years ago, I wasn't impressed with the old layout, so this is quite an upgrade.
Cons: Still some rough edges and sloppy wet areas from rains, open holes uninteresting. Also I am not a fan of Innova baskets.
Other Thoughts: Major upgrade and well worth playing, but this course is not even close to being in the same league as the Canyons in Lockport. Canyons has 3 new holes, 27 total, new long tees on many, now with 4 top of the cliff tee shots, new on site pro shop, food cart, real bathrooms, paved parking, etc... I also really like Highland Park in Joliet now that new Chainstar baskets and pin positions are in.
3 of 12 people found this review helpful.
The Gold course
0 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: hole 4 is the first really notable hole to me ,open with down hill elevation curving around a small swamp to a cool elevated basket. hole 5 has a large open area before a gap in the woods up hill ,and hole 6 is a very funky downhill with a evil green . Then comes a river with trees and a truly messed up fairway to follow hole 7 you will remember . there is a pond shot in the next two holes with some nasty treedirection if your not on point . probably my favorite hole on the course is 11. its a beautiful long fairway with huge trees and a marsh to one side ,a little bit hilly too. hole 15 seems to curve forever im lefty and love throwing turnover shots so it amuses me. hole 16 is a fun elevated shot back over the river. this course has great content .
Cons: limited land space . [used well mind you] its got a couple safty issues that make me uncomfortable involving a bike path . some features used to design hole 13 are invasive species like buckthorn and honeysuckle.they make a sick fairway currently but they also change fast and are not good for the better trees around them[root space ect.] that being said you gotta work with what you got.
Other Thoughts: this is a well loved course with a huge local scene.For good resond ,it has something for everyone, the white course is a great beginner course that still is interesting enough to make advanced to open players want to play it. lots of work has gone into it.Designed by the best . Its the real deal . a bit over rated ,in the top 25 list i expect geographical grandness that you do not have this close to chicago .IT is however a huge asset to chicago area discgolf .Latest word is Bret the course caretaker is going to be planting some trees on the open holes that start the course . expect this location to only improve threw time
0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
White + Gold = #1 in Chicago Must Play
Pros: Round Lake was developed by a true professional designer and it shows. It's one of a kind and you won't see this at any other course. There is a shorter White layout that is more casual friendly while the Gold layout will absolutely bust your chops. The front 9 flows perfectly in unison. The back 9's split off with 6 of the Gold holes playing separate from White.
Prairie courses can be frustrating but they do a great job mowing wide fairways in the front. You get to start out by letting some rips in the open.
There are a ton of really good wooded holes. The White holes are more of deuce or die while the Gold course has a ton of par 4's and 5's. While the White course is much shorter it's still really fun to play.
The land is really good in the back. Very wooded with water and elevation coming into play. The slight elevation was used wisely and water hazards make it very interesting on several holes.
If you play both courses you'll throw every single disc if your bag and every type of shot possible.
Cons: My only issue is lack of great tee signs. The signage is very good to navigate and has vital info though. It's just missing descriptive tee signs. The kiosk has great color maps that offset this.
This is more of a heads up than anything. I did not deduct any points as I believe it's part of the game.
In the Spring the course can be wet and muddy in spots. While many courses are closed this time of year it's a bonus to be able to play it. You just have to deal with the mud.
In the Summer mosquitos can be an issue. This is Lake County and lots of water around. Be prepared with bug spray.
Other Thoughts: Keep in mind that the disc golf course was there prior to the path/bridge being installed. The designer did a great job utilizing the land while making it safe to play. The line of sight is very good on all the holes playing near the path.
If you are visiting for the first time play White 1-9, Gold 10-14, and White 10-18. This will allow you to see every hole on the course except #15 Gold.
The park district does a great job of maintaining this course.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Hard to improve
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Just about everything!
Great 2 course park White & Gold (advanced)
Cement Tee Boxes properly placed here with plenty of long holes to let em rip. Some wooded holes to keep your finesse game working too. A few Baskets have flags for wind direction or to make locating baskets behind hills or vegetation easier to spot.
All holes are well groomed by Park District and bolstered by local players. The first 6 either course are all grass with wood hips under baskets. Accept Basket 4. Then enter wooded section for both courses. Fairfield white shorter tosses Sqwaw Gold long game holes both in tree lined holes with a few fairway trees. A few over water tosses on both courses; a Creek (Sqwaw) and a couple small ponds. Then finish on open wide holes with clearly marked outta bounds wetlands. Oh yes wear water tight shoes or if weather permits wear sport Sandler or play barefoot if you're into earthing.
You should see lots of wildlife: deer squirrel chipmunks birds and Hawks are common as well as garter snakes crawdads and snapping turtles
Cons: Can be wet on fairways if it's rained recently. Come warmer season bring your favorite bug spray. And Tick check often especially if you are in the rough often.
And this place is popular so expect many other players on those nicer days especially when nicer days are rare
Other Thoughts: I can't say enough great things about this park. I should lie and say it's horrible to keep it all for myself.
In summer there are map/score sheets at kiosk by parking lot.
A few pdga tournaments every year as well as some local organized tourneys
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 13 Not
Pros: Some good holes, well marked easy to follow signage.
Cons: Boggy conditions on quite a few holes when we played.
Good thing it didn't rain for a few days before we went.
Other Thoughts: I was a bit disappointed in the overall course partly because the course was rated so high. I expected more. There is no way it should be rated higher than the canyons course in Lockport
1 of 14 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Course features two distinct course layouts (Gold and White) arranged in a way I've never seen before. Some holes are shared but a half-dozen holes (from roughly Hole 8 through 15) are in different parts of the park, resulting in two distinctly different disc golf experiences. Some shared holes have two tee pads; others have two baskets. Course diversity on both courses is excellent with wide open holes at the beginning of the front nine leading into woods bordering Squaw Creek, and back out into the open at Hole 17 (White) or 18 (Gold). The Gold course has enough challenge for the most-skilled players, but is within reach for intermediate-level play. The Gold course has particularly good if somewhat difficult wooded holes, such as Holes 7, 11 and 13. Hole 5 has an undulated grassy fairway leading to a protected basket on a small hill that is entertaining. Nearly all tee shots are fair with lines for various shots.
Though the White course is about 40% shorter, it retains nearly all of the entertainment factor of the Gold course. Hole 4 is my favorite of the meadow holes on both courses, with a very wide mowed-grass fairway that gently fades to the left with rough on both sides, leading to an elevated basket. Hole 15 on the White course has a great tee shot over the creek to a nice grassy park fairway, and has a longer but more obstructed Gold tee (Hole 16). Course has a practice hole (not just a basket), marked Hole X, along with two practice baskets. Has a few amenities, including excellent signs for navigation (which mitigate potential navigation issues), several benches, and large trapezoidal cement tee pads. Appears to be a free course, which is notable considering the amount of course maintenance. Huge areas were mowed to near perfection, and many muddy areas were detailed with tree bark.
Cons: Though this course is very nice, the available land doesn't quite make it to the best of the best. The surrounding area is very flat, though some holes do have some elevation changes. The meadow holes have tall grass bordering the fairways rather than an actual physical border, with some disc loss hazards present. The brutal Hole 17 (White)/Hole 18 (Gold) is an 800-plus foot hole with treacherous out-of-bounds areas both in and around the fairway. From either tee, you will need a 350-foot RHBH shot to make a landing zone. Though this is somewhat fair for the Gold course, it seems unreasonably painful for intermediate-level drives, putting it out-of-phase with the rest of the White course. No bathrooms on site, and definitely bring sunscreen for a daytime round, along with bug spray for the wooded holes.
Other Thoughts: A great course with good challenge and rewarding play, with the White course being an excellent 90 minute round one could enjoy playing over and over again, even after work during the week.
As a post-script, a pair of Sandhill Cranes were seen walking in tandem near Hole 3, adding to an already-rewarding experience.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Long, challenging course
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Two courses in one: golds and whites. While a lot of courses have 2+ sets of tees, Fairfield has some holes with 1 basket and 2 tees, some with 1 tee and 2 baskets, some with 2 tees and 2 baskets, and some where the gold and white are completely separate holes. I haven't yet played the whites, but it seems like for a lot of the course they offer a much different perspective and additional variety from the golds.
- A bit of water, a good bit of elevation and some well placed OB areas make for some great holes with interesting shot variety.
- Challenging! The golds have a LOT of holes over 500 and 600. There are several 600+ holes with very tightly wooded fairways and crazy dog legs. If you can't throw a solid straight control shot 200+ down a tight fairway, you're going to have a long day. However, there are also some very beautiful birdie holes, though mostly when playing the whites.
- Good variety. The course starts and finishes on some very open holes but the middle is very tight. There are some nice birdie holes and some very tough par fours (and probably fives).
- Amenities: Good pads and very helpful "next tee this way" signs. It made finding the next white or gold tee very easy on every hole (though as mentioned below in cons, hole maps would have been nice on the signs). On the blind holes, there are big, tall flags that make the pin placement visible from places where you'd normally be shooting blind.
- Very well marked OB areas, some with clearly designated drop zones
- Dual practice baskets by the parking lot. Makes for some perfect putting practice before or after a round
Cons: - Mosquitoes... bring some strong bug spray. Yesterday I had some run of the mill spray and we got eaten alive. You for sure want a good amount of DEET for this course.
- Lack of maps on hole signs. There are a few blind holes where a map would be nice. There are also many with 2 baskets so a map showing where each is would be helpful. Hole 7 is totally blind from the gold tees, and on my 2nd shot I played to the white basket I could see and then afterwards realized there was a gold basket hiding behind it so I had to go back and re-throw my 2nd shot. A map would have been nice here.
Other Thoughts: I have heard this course gets very busy during peak hours. I've played twice and there were virtually no crowds either time. The first was late Feb, so I wouldn't expect to see anyone but the other was a Sunday afternoon in early August. For me, the lack of crowds would be a "pro" but I feel I may have gotten luckly based on comments by others so I didn't want to claim it.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Fairfield Park has a lot to offer. The gold tees think big, with lots of distance that plays out in a variety of environments from wide open to lanes through the woods, and all manner of gently rolling hills to further mix things up. The whites reign in the distance but still offer a solid round for players of all skill levels, playing through the same kind of varied environment. Beginners can learn on the whites (though are likely to experience some rough patches), whereas more experienced players can get a quick but engaging round on them. The two layouts are distinct enough to be virtually two separate courses; they even completely diverge for a few holes.
Shot variety is a requirement here: having both a forehand and backhand is pretty much mandatory if you want to comfortably play all 18. Many lines are well enough defined to make it difficult to adapt if you don't have such versatility, meaning having a complete game is rewarded while lacking one is (fairly) punished. Big arms will get some chances to benefit from their distance, but can easily be punished if they get too sloppy with their line or landing. This variety means having a complete bag is a must. If there are gaps in your game, this course will find them.
It's a technical course in every sense of the word, with tight lanes, a variety of kinds of elevation to manage, and OB/rough/water hazards that really punish poor placement. All this is nonetheless implemented very fairly, with little to no stray branches to unfairly snatch your disc - essential for this kind of wooded environment.
The course is well broken in. Fairways are well-groomed. The concrete tees are great, parking is ample, and the course is easy to find. The course is a comfortable drive from downtown Chicago, with lots of other courses in the immediate vicinity.
Cons: I find the design to be pretty straight forward: lines are clearly defined and there isn't much chance for playing them multiple ways. This means there isn't a ton of problem-solving, a quality I find essential to a top tier course: you see your line, you throw your line, you either scramble out of a bad position in an effort to get back on track or you stay in the lane you started on. The course really tells you how to play it in its straight aheadness, whereas I prefer my courses to give me riddles and force me to make tough choices. Fairfield really just asks you to execute the shot you're given; there isn't a lot of give-and-take.
Navigation is largely fine, but I was at times confused at the difference between the white and gold courses. Sometimes they are different tees playing to the same basket, sometimes they are same tee playing to different baskets, and sometimes the holes are in completely different locations. At times, this took a bit more sussing out than it probably should have.
The starting and ending holes include some poor to average ones, in an effort to get an effective in and out in the layout. These more open holes feature some tall grass serving as rough, which can hide your disc and result in some prolonged searches even if you track its landing well.
A few of the wooded holes feature blind shots. I accidentally threw on a group as a result, even though I was scouting ahead a bit and generally being mindful. New visitors should keep this in mind on their visit.
Other Thoughts: Fairfield Park is a great course with lots of variety that is well taken care of. I can see why locals would take pride in it, and would love to have a course of this caliber in my area. I think its straight ahead design doesn't stack up against the very best courses I've played (Selah Ranch, Moraine State Park, Sugaree), but that doesn't mean I wouldn't return here in a heartbeat the next time I have the chance.
11 of 13 people found this review helpful.
A beast of a course
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The course is set in a large, very highly maintained park. The course is free to play. The baskets are Discatchers. The metal bands around the top are either white, yellow or stripes of each color dictating which course this is for. Awesome idea here. They also have the hole/holes # on each band as well. There is a mix of different setups which is cool. Some holes have 2 pads and one basket, some have 1 pad and 2 baskets, etc. The tee pads are all brushed concrete that are plenty long and grippy enough. The tee signs are basic but all are color coded white or gold and have hole #, par and distance. The O.B. is clearly marked throughout the course with a couple well marked drop zones which is always cool to see. There is an excellent mix of elevation with a nice mix of tightly wooded and wide open prairie. The shot selection here is also very diverse requiring all different types of shots to score well. There are a ton a directional signs to guide you in what would otherwise be some potentially confusing areas. There are a few water carries and even an elevated basket on hole 4. This is an awesome course that really reminds me of some of the tough northern Wisconsin courses I've played. It ranks right up near a few of these. I wasn't expecting it to be this great judging by a number of other courses I'd played in IL but this is the real deal here.
Cons: Not much to say here. Apparently it can get busy though it wasn't on a beautiful July friday afternoon. This isn't any fault of the course, it just shows it's popularity. I could see the bugs getting bad as there is some standing water and a creek on the course, but again nothing can be done about that, just be prepared.
Other Thoughts: This is definitely a destination course. We had a blast playing this even though the gold destroyed us. The white is definitely more for intermediate players but is fun for advanced players as well. This is an awesome course and I'd suggest if playing here to start with the white then playing the gold. Plan on probably at least 3 hours, probably 4 if it's busy though. Very awesome course.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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