Strike Gold At Squaw Creek
17 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: (4.316 Rating) A multi-layout course with astonishing variety and refined beauty.
- DESIGN - This is the second Chuck Kennedy designed course I've played, (both within a months' time) and he has quickly moved up on my list of favorite course designers. One fabulous designed fairway after another. I would snap a photo thinking this must be the signature hole, only to be outdone again on the next hole. Starting on Hole (7) the gameplay goes epic. Several long technical multi-play holes where a slight misfire will have players scrambling to make par. Chuck makes players use every disc and throw in their arsenal. Plus, there's a constant pre-throw analysis to decide which play will provide the best possibility to score well.
- RAW BEAUTY - This course has two distinct portions to it. One is the open fields and the other is heavily wooded areas. Both sections look spectacular. The open field portion was done far better than I ever could have hoped. Crafted, but wide cut fairways with adjacent tall grass rough areas. Lots of wild flowers were blooming in the rough areas and watching the tall grass gracefully move in the wind was delightful. As for the wooded portion, a constant secluded feel with rolling elevation changes. In totality, I gave Fairfield very high marks. It's in my top thirty for beauty with 311 courses played as of this review. The course maintenance was also superb on my appearance.
- UNIQUENESS - Described in some detail in my previous two pros, but I did want to add a few additional thoughts. I am a fan of both heavily wooded holes and openish holes when designed right. The mix and design on Fairfield is among the best I've ever played and I'd put the course in my top ten for hole variety as of this review. Long, short, left, right, up down, twist, pocket, clear, dogleg and avoid like the plague areas. I think there will be some that just quickly write off a few of these open holes as uninspiring, yet I found just the opposite. Due to the nice breezes on the open holes, I had to carefully plan launch angles, speeds and disc selection immediately prior to poorly executing a throw. Perhaps the open holes look a lot different in spring when the rough grasses aren't waist deep to diabolical tall.
- CHARACTER - Fairfield has just about all the extras one would find on a well-established top tier course. Walking up to the course is a nice large community board with big course map. There's a box for what I assume are for scorecards, but it was empty on my appearance. There's a porta-potty, shelter and practice basket. Getting onto the course there is seating on about half of the holes and garbage cans as well. The tees were excellent being concrete and 4 feet by 12 feet with a tapper to 6.5 feet in back. Baskets are DISCatchers. A few holes have multiple tees and several holes have two baskets in the ground. If there was one thing I would have liked to have seen more of it's alternate basket placements.
- CHALLENGING - The Gold layout is an Advanced level course no doubt. I played well here and shot 4 over with a couple mullies and I'm an Intermediate level player. The course requires equal mix of Advanced level power and precision, but also course management and risk reward analysis. The bomb on (18) requires a 350 plus clear with likely howling wind and OB left. If this seems like too much, there's always the option of throwing the White layout. The White layout looks to be comprised of Recreational level challenges. The combination of these two layout in one, makes Fairfield a very skill level friendly course.
- NAVIGATION - Although the tee signs were sub-par (see cons) getting around this layout was a walk in the park. Lots of informative directional signage and well beat in transitional pathways.
Cons: A well designed top tier course with very little to complain about.
- TEE SIGNS - This is really the only sub-par item. They are just a hole #, distance and par designation. It would be nice to have a graphics designer make some signs with an artistic description of the fairway line. I constantly found myself running up the blind holes to check the lone basket placement or the landing area.
- OVERGROWTH - I loved the tall grasses on the open holes, but man, a miss meant walking around a good bit to find a disc. The grass on the left on (4) was epic. Seriously it was 15 feet high with blades the size of my wrist. I could not tell which species it was but it looked awesome and terrifying. I'm glad I didn't go in it.
- LAYOUT FLOW - The two distinct layouts use 12 of the same lanes but then break off from each other starting on hole 10. This has the possibility to cause some odd convergences of groups as the two layouts merge on White (12)/Gold (16) and then again on White (16)/Gold (17). Somehow my loop through these two holes caused no issues on a busy day.
- DISCONTINUITY - There are few elongated walks on the Gold layout. However, all the longer transitions between holes were well marked with navigational cues on my appearance.
- PARKING - A gravel parking lot without defined parking stalls. Thus you can tell I grasping for thinks to complain about.
- TIME PLAY - I could have bagged three short 9 niners in the area in the time it took me to play Fairfield, so not a course bagger's friend. Fairfield took me more than 90 minutes to play solo and I only spent a few minutes trying to skip other groups. I could see foursomes playing the Gold layout in about 3 hours. Perhaps a foursome can tackle the White layout in about 135 minutes.
Other Thoughts: Fairfield is an All-star course that excels in all the aspects I enjoy when traveling to courses. Its offers an inspiring challenge, stellar variety, exceptional amenities and basics, exquisite beauty and is a blast to play. This is only the third time I've scored a course above a 4.0 in all five of my key rating areas. (Inverness and Hobbs are the other two) This course should be able to please just about all levels of players too, although it probably won't be everyone's favorite, especially for those that dig the fully wooded courses as this is not that. From reading reviews of all the top courses in the Chicago Metro area, Fairfield is definitely considered among the top courses in the area if not thee top course. Only Canyons seems to be getting similar exceptional praise among the locals. Regardless, this is a must play course for those that live within a 4 hour drive and possibly beyond. It put a smile on my face the entire time while out on the course.
17 of 18 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: I have only played the gold course because I like to challenge myself at all possible times, but that being said,
This park has two 18-hole courses. White (easier) and Gold (challenging).
The teepads are great and baskets are well kept.
Flags on top of hard to see baskets to make them more visible.
signage at every teepad telling you distance to the basket.
Cons: The only con I have is that the signage at the teepad does not give you a diagram of the hole so you have a better idea of where the basket is without having to run 100 yards and back to see the basket.
Other Thoughts: I love this course and if it wasn't a pretty far drive for me, I would play it at least once a week.
It is fairly easy to lose your discs here because of the forests. I would not play here if you aren't confident in your abilities to throw your disc accurately.
There is a reason why they have tournaments here and it is the highest rated course in Illinois. It absolutely deserves it.
2 of 6 people found this review helpful.
2 Courses provide Fun and Challenge for players of all skill levels
11 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
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Very Good, but not tops in CHI
4 Helpful / 10 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.
4 of 14 people found this review helpful.
The Gold course
1 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
1 of 4 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 1 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.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Hard to improve
6 Helpful / 1 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 7 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 16 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 17 people found this review helpful.
11 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.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Long, challenging course
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.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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