22 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: (4.482 Rating) A breathtaking course that indeed plays through a canyon.
- RAW BEAUTY - It's absolutely stunning in spots. Thus I found myself pulling up the thesaurus several times to write this review. This course plays up, down and through a 50 foot deep gorge that was created by an offshoot creek of the Des Plaines River. Some of the canyon walls are basically vertical rock faces. Thank the lord that these fantastic features were intertwined into the layout. There are 4 or 5 blow you away tee shot views on this course and all of them could be the signature hole on over 90 percent of the courses out there. The tee view from white tee (4) and (6D) both make my all time top twenty out 6000 plus unique holes played! Overall, I scored this polished beauty a 4.875 out of 5. Which is in my personal top ten as of this review (421 courses.)
- UNIQUENESS - This course has incredible hole type variety. Several 40 foot plus down shots, One nice up shot, water clears, parallel water plays, big open bombs, crafty wooded lines, hooking lines and several par 4s. If I were too nit-pick and compare this course to just my other 4.5 scored courses, I'd say that the multi-play holes here are sub-par in that acclaimed grouping. Regardless, the other variety elements on the course are knocked out of the park and overall the diversity here would still make my top 20 as of this review.
- 6A THRU 6E - Players that have time, need to play this 5 hole loop. It's exquisite. I probably added a good two tenths of a point to the score just because of these holes.
- CHARACTER - Normally when a course has this nice of equipment, kept grounds and a bunch of extras, it's a pay to play course. Shockingly, this one is not. When arriving and walking down to tee (1), there's a nice course map of the original 18 hole course. The tees are concrete and the signage is aesthetically pleasing. There are picnic tables at just about every concrete tee and this is the most I've ever seen of them on a course. Such a great feature to have for a course that's as hilly as this one. Most holes now have two paved tees. Baskets are DISCatchers and there were six holes that had two baskets in place on my appearance. The alternate new basket placement on (4) is just as flip'n awesome as the original placement. Off the course there are restrooms, shelters and a pro shop.
- NAVIGATION - Really good. Informative tee signage with next tee direction. Lots of extra navigational signage. As noted above, a course map, but it needs an update to include the 9 extra holes from the 2 loops. I'd also like to see cues at the baskets.
- CHALLENGING - I played the White tees and thought they were upper Recreational level. The Blue tees probably amp the course difficulty up to lower Advanced level. The course requires a good mix of technique and power, but not to the extent of Championship level. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but Pro level type players will be underwhelmed by the challenges.
- SKILL LEVEL FRIENDLY - The Canyons is going to appeal to a very wide swath of players. I predict that Novice players through Advanced players should all overwhelmingly enjoy the course.
- MAINTENANCE - Incredibly well maintained grounds for my appearance.
Cons: The pros for this course far far far, overshadow everything I've listed below. Several listed below have no effect on my score and are listed for information purposes only.
- STAIRS - First time players, (me), could make some traversable errors. I nearly wiped it three times getting up or down the canyon on holes (4), (6D) and (18). Pretty sure (6D) and (18) had better options had I looked harder, but it would great if there were some better navigational aids or some more stairs located at ideal locations.
- TERRAIN - I could not recommend this course to those with foot or knee pain. The (6B) to (6D) loop and (8A) to (8D) loop require hopping large stones in the creek. These loops are thus not cart friendly.
- LAYOUT FLOW - There's some significant jumping around on this course. Getting to (6A) requires a bit of back tracking. Hole (12) to (13) and (13) to (14) are both over 500 feet apart basket to tee. There are several other plus 200 flow gaps as well.
- LACK OF TOUGH PAR 4s - One thing that Chicago's Fairfield course has on the Canyons, is the multi-play hole. The par 4s at Canyons are too light on the cerebral challenge in my opinion. From the Whites, I was inside the circle for birdie on all of the par 4s except (13) placement b, which was in a new alternate location 200 feet further down fairway from the original (13) b location. The Blue tees here are not championship course caliber like the Gold's at Fairfield
- RED TEES - It took me till hole (15) to finally spot a red only tee. (note, I wasn't looking too hard for them) These tees use red painted concrete test cylinders driven flush into the ground. The paint is nearly all peeled off, there is no sign and the tee surface is natural. Good luck finding them on first play.
- WATER HAZARDS - I could see some lost discs if the creek water level is high. On my appearance, It seemed like that if any disc went in, it could be retrieved by a long stick. I added substantially more score for the water features than took away.
- BEGINNER FRIENDLY - I'm sure beginners have been brought here before, but I think this course is too unforgiving in spots for new players.
- OUT OF PLACE HOLES - I don't like using the term filler as every hole between first and last hole on every course are technically fillers. Anyways, holes (3), (14) and (15) just seem out of place on this amazing course. These holes are just run of the mill park style shots.
- TIME PLAY - I spent 108 minutes on this course as a solo with an empty course at the break of dawn in December. I could have bagged 3 nearby niners in that time.
Other Thoughts: One of the better courses I've ever had the pleasure to play. I was skeptical coming in that this course was in the same league ratings wise as Fairfield. Overall, I felt it was. In fact, I thought it was slightly better overall, but for strengths in different aspects. One reason I feel this way is the sheer quantity of bombshell views from the tees. I visually relived some of these tee shots for weeks after. I just wasn't expecting this type of terrain in this part of the country. Anyways, visiting disc golfers that find themselves in the Chicago area need to find a way to get in a round here. I personally would mark this as the anchor destination on any road-trip to the Chicago area.
22 of 22 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The Canyons is a course that has been on my hit list for years now. I was supposed to play it a year ago but got rained out on my last day back from Idlewild. I was pretty disappointed to say the least. I made it a priority to play it this year. Everything I heard about it was great and I seemed to keep hearing about it. I had played Fairfield park probably 5 or so years ago. Could it be better than that.
The answer is an overwhelming YES. This is by far and away the best course I've played in Illinois. This is a destination course in fact. The course consists of 27 holes through a beautiful park that is immaculately maintained. The course is well mowed, has gorgeous mulched walking paths and greens, plenty of benches and trash cans, next tee signs, etc. There is a very nice, well stocked pro shop by the parking lot as well.
Now onto the golf itself. This is as well a rounded course that you'll find anywhere. There are uphill, downhill, blind, dogleg left, dogleg right, you name it it's here. There is a great deal of elevation throughout and a creek that meanders all over the place it seems. The holes play as 1 through 6, then 6A through 6E, then holes 7and 8 before crossing the creek for 8A to 8D then back across the creek again for 9 to 18. This may seem confusing but it's not with how well marked it is. The baskets are DISCatchers that are all in great shape and catch well. A few holes have 2 per hole. The tees are all large concrete pads. All are level and well done. Not all but a lot of them have 2 per hole. The tee signs are some of the nicer ones I've seen in quite awhile it feels like. They consist of a nice looking topographical view of the hole with a flight path to the basket from the tee. It shows red, white and blue tee locations with it being split colored red/white, for example, designating a dual pad location. On the left of each sign it shows the distance and par in a color coordinated box for the tee position. The hole number is big and bold on each as well. Some of the better signs I've seen anywhere. The flow of the course is actually really intuitive even with the 2 lettered hole loops. It's hard to get lost or turned around here.
I don't know if I can pick a signature hole. There are so many awesome ones here, but hole 4's downhill shot through a tight gap to a pin position right next to the creek is a good one. Hole 6A is epic too. I loved 13 with the 2 basket locations. But 16 is a killer downhill throw and then you understand the name the canyons, it makes sense now. And I don't think there could be a better finishing hole than 18. Pucker factor, risk reward. Oh 6E is stellar...I mean, they're all pretty awesome really.
Cons: The first con I can think of is that there is no bridge crossing the creek for the 2 bonus loops. There has been a lot of rain this spring so the creek was more like a river when we played. There are nice large rocks for the crossing for 8A-8D, not so much for the 6A-6E loop. They're there but if the creek is high it's sketchy to say the least. Not cart friendly! I have a cart and I wasn't going to be denied this year so I threw my shoes across both spots and portaged my cart across. It was fine I guess but even 1 small bridge between the 2 spots you cross would be fine. The course is going to be busy during peak hours and conditions. This is not a con per se but is worth noting for the fact that it will take a few hours to play minimum depending on your group size and speed of play. The only other thing I got as far as cons is that a walking trail does wander through parts of the park so you have to watch for pedestrians in a couple spots. And a couple holes play a bit close to each other and almost overlap. This is stupidly nitpicky I feel on my part but is worth noting. The downhill throw on 16 for a RHBH player will tend to fade into 17's fairway. Just be smart and it's not really an issue.
Other Thoughts: This is an absolutely magnificent course. How this is not rated higher is beyond me. It has to be due to it's relative infancy compared to some other top courses. This is a course any serious disc golfer should play. It's worth a trip, even extensive trip to play and if you're anywhere near here or when traveling through...just play here if you can. The Joliet/Lockport or whatever you want to call it area seems to have some good to great disc golf. I'll be back here for sure in the near future for this course plus I haven't even scratched the surface on the other courses but there are some high rated ones very nearby.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
#1 Course in Illinois
12 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: The Canyons at Dellwood Park is a must play, as simple as that. This is one of the most scenic, picturesque multi-use parks I have ever seen. With a historical background to the park itself (the parts of the course between the canyon walls used to be a lake!), a feeling of serenity comes upon you as you enter the Canyons and you haven't even thrown a tee shot on hole 1 yet.
This course has it all, and then some: absolutely stocked pro shop on site (packed with some incredible folks), several practice baskets to allow for warming up, an abundance of parking, bathrooms, benches, garbage cans, you name it. The amenities offered by the LTPD and Dellwood Disc Golf are second to none.
Getting into the course itself. 27 holes with numerous loops available to construct a convenient 9 or 18 hole round for your enjoyment. Holes 4, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 18 offer two basket locations in at all times for you to select which pin to play. Almost every one of the original 18 holes have a long tee pad. The options are endless and the course can be configured to suit all levels of play.
I think the coolest aspect of the Canyons is that you will argue with yourself when it comes to identifying a signature hole. There are multiple. From the hole 16 Canyon shot, to Hole 4 offering a quite unique and scenic downhill death shot. One of my favorites is Hole 6A, a dog leg right Par 4 with a colorful mandatory in the middle of the hole, playing along a creek the entire 480' of tree infested fairway with the basket perched on a mound.
Cons: No real cons to speak of here. The park district is the most responsive and proactive group I have EVER seen. They address issues before they are even problems on the course.
The only thing I can think of to add here is the famous Yogi Berra quote "This place will never make it, it's too busy!!!"
Other Thoughts: If you live in the Chicagoland area and have not made the trip out to the Canyons, PLEASE venture out and play the best course Illinois has to offer, however YOU want to play it. Be sure to buy something from the shop and say hi, they are very friendly people!
12 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Best I've Seen in Illinois
17 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: - ample parking
- pro shop on site
- not one, but THREE practice baskets
- concrete tees, mostly (some alternates are not)
- multiple tees and basket locations for some holes
- meticulously maintained and continuously being improved
- picnic tables and garbage cans at most tees
- excellent tee signs
- some very nice permanent stairs on a few holes
- incredible elevation change for northern Illinois
- some water hazards with creek
- great technical challenge on mostly wooden shots, but still a few long bomb holes too
- transition areas between wooded locations turned into long open holes
- wood chips around most tees generally keep the area dry even when it's a little damp
Cons: - a few rather treacherous descents that could use permanent stairs
- a few long walks between holes
- navigation to 8A-8D is a little odd since you hit hole 9 first
- 1-2 holes unplayable during certain special events
Other Thoughts: This is one of those courses where pictures just don't do it justice. It's the best course I've played in Illinois and probably one of the top 5 I've played altogether. It has that intangible wow factor the best courses have. Yes, the elevation change and natural beauty is amazing, but there's even more to it. You have to play this course to see how awesome it is.
It is clear that the course designers/maintainers are continuously improving this course and maintain it very well. There are a few cons to this course and it isn't QUITE on the level of "5 disc" courses I've played, but it is pretty darn close. I think this is about the best that could ever be achieved in Illinois with the terrain we have to work with.
The main cons I have are mostly nits - there is lots of parking, but it definitely fills up (though I doubt it would run out) and the course can get very busy in the middle of the day. I started playing before 8 AM and it was pretty dead at that time but by the time I left it was quite busy. This is to be expected on a course of this caliber. Sometimes, it is confusing where some of the alternate tees are, since they don't all have clearly marked concrete tee pads - though most do. As the maintainers continue to improve this course, I suspect they may add more concrete tees anyways.
The course has alternate baskets on some holes but often these aren't marked on the tee signs.
The walks between 4 and 5 and between 13 and 14 are a bit long, but it's not that big a deal. Some navigation for the 9 holes added after opening the course is slightly confusing, but the course does a great job of using next tee signs to make it clear. I really appreciate the extra 9 holes too - all too often I see 24-27 hole courses that just added "filler" holes to have more. This is not the case here - all of the additional holes are fun, technical and challenging.
There are about 2 long holes in wide open spaces that sort of connect different wooded areas - in principle I don't love wide open "arm tester" type holes, but I don't mind a couple like this - if you have to walk, why not be playing disc golf? It adds some variety to the course and was only used where necessary.
On the Sunday I was here, there was some sort of classic car show going on in Dellwood Park- this didn't affect most of the course, but it made hole 14 absolutely unplayable - I would have been throwing directly over all of the vintage, classic cars with their proud owners standing right there - nope. Hole 3 likely was also unplayable by that point, but since I played it closer to 8 AM, nobody was really set up yet. This likely will rarely be a problem, but it just happened to be this day.
Some specific hole tips/comments...
The descent on hole 4 seems like it could use some permanent stairs - just a place to exercise a bit of caution.
Watch out for the steep drop off on the left side of the Hole 6 fairway - otherwise there's a pretty steep and sometimes muddy climb down and a tough shot back up.
6D was one of my favorites - somewhat of a bomb you can throw from high elevation, but you have to watch out for the creek if you throw too far and it's still a bit wooded at the tee.
Hole 16 was another throw from high elevation, and the permanent stairs to go down to the fairway are excellent.
The pro shop on site is excellent - not the best one I've ever been to, but it's rare to have one of these at the course. The selection is just so much better than any general sporting goods store. The hours are a bit limited, but it's great to have a location onsite to buy discs. They also have accessories, apparel, and some drinks and snacks too.
All in all, I loved this course and would like to play it again. As a first time player it took about 2.5 hours, so allow some serious time. This is a definite destination course and is worth traveling some distance for. It is challenging, but a lot of the holes aren't all that long and while technical, won't completely destroy newer players. If you can accept some higher scores and some challenge, I think anyone could play The Canyons - I give it my highest recommendation.
17 of 20 people found this review helpful.
It's got everything I need, almost.
24 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: One of the sad realities of disc golf is that the game has evolved into something that doesn't fit very well into multi-use parks. You get people walking dogs, having picnics, riding bikes, playing softball, all peacefully coexisting and then BAM! Somebody chucks a Boss into the middle of it. We just don't fit in. To make us fit takes some work. Usually to make it work, you have to compromise the golf. Dellwood Park is a great example of how you can make it work AND have great golf.
The Canyons has the advantage of having some great terrain for disc golf. The site has some epic spots for elevated tees and tough uphill shots, a nice mix of park-style and wooded holes, a couple of long open holes to crank on, and the Fraction Run creek provides some water hazards. The designers took full advantage and created some great golf shots. 2 Blue, 4, 6A, 16, 18...over and over the course delivers memorable shots. The pin placements are set to create some treacherous approaches. There is a variety of distances to the shots, and the variety helps sets the course apart. For great golf, this course delivers.
But...it's a busy, multi-use park. To accommodate these shots, there is some wandering around that needs to be done. The flow isn't very intuitive. The park accommodates this weakness with copious amounts of directional signage. Despite the weird flow, it's actually hard to get lost out there (except for the confusing number/letter thing.) On top of that, the park has two sets of concrete tees per hole (white and blue) and both have good tee signs. The baskets are Mach X. A large parking lot was created and paved for the course with a directional sign on 171 to the disc golf parking lot. A park building has been converted to a pro shop. A lot of resources were used to create the course, and the park is investing resources to maintain the course. The upkeep here is top-notch. It's a great course in a great park.
Cons: My complaints are nit-picky, but here they are:
There are three holes that IMO don't fit with the park. Hole 3 plays too close to an amphitheater-type structure, which is a wrist roll turnover gack from people being thrown at. Hole 14 feels like a filler hole to get you to hole 15, but hole 15 is a contrived OB shot stuck between a building parking lot and a road. You walk a long way to get over to 14's tee to play those two shots, and they just don't deliver. All three of the shots could easily be eliminated, the flow would be no worse if you went from hole 2 to hole 4, and it's just as easy to walk from hole 13 to 16's tee as it is to walk from hole 13 to 14's tee.
Those shots could be eliminated because there are 27 shots here. The course plays holes 1-6, 6A-6E, 7-8, 8A-8D, 9-18, The letter holes have been added and making them letter holes means you don't have to renumber and replace all the tee signs, but every time I have been there I've run across confused golfers on the letter holes, not sure where they were supposed to go. It would be nice if they were all numbered 1-27, but I'm not volunteering to buy 54 new tee signs so...
Hole 5's pin is really too close to a set of stairs where pedestrian can walk down into the shot, and the visibility there isn't great for golfers to avoid them if they do. It's already a short shot, but that pin really needs to be moved up away from the stairs. Holes 7, 12 and 13 shoot over paved walking paths and hole 17 has a walking path running down the right side of the fairway, but there is better visibility in those places so attentive golfers shouldn't have any issues in those spots.
The white and blue tees here are paved. The sign mentions red tees, and in a couple of spots I saw something that might have been red tees. Maybe. Don't quote me, though. I'd imagine that if you are a red tee kind of golfer, trying to find the tees would be frustrating. Some work could be done to make those easier to find.
Other Thoughts: Dellwood Park has a cool history; it was created by the Chicago and Joliet Electric Railway Co. as an amusement park in 1906. The idea was to get urban Chicagoans to ride out for a day of recreation, and the attractions were there for around 30 years. Fraction Run Creek was dammed to create a small reservoir; the lower area where 16-17-18 was the site of that. The ruins of the dams are behind 17's blue tee and where you walk out after playing 18, and some bridges in the park are from that era. It gives the park a cool historic vibe.
Dellwood Park is the south border of Lockport, butting up against Joliet. Just minutes south on 171 is Joliet Correctional Center. You can literally pull over at the spot where Elwood was standing when Jake was released from prison in The Blues Brothers. With an extra five minutes out of your life, you and a buddy can recreate the scene (although hugging in the middle of 171 might be a trick.) Why this isn't mentioned in every Canyons review is beyond me. After I found out, I told the guy I was meeting at the course about it and he was all "Oh, everybody knows that." Uh...dude. I don't know what Father's Day was like in your family, but I don't know where any prisons are. That this information was not disclosed to me in any previous review makes me ashamed to be a disc golfer.
Joliet used to be a good spot for disc golf when Channy was the best course in the area. Now with the Canyons and Highland, Joliet really is a top-notch place for a day of disc golf. Fairfield Park probably is the best stand-alone Chicago course, but J-Town has a lot of good disc golf courses. The Canyons is the best of those. I don't think any disc golfer is going to be disappointed with the experience of playing this course.
24 of 25 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: -makes good use of the creek that runs through the property
-wood chips in non-grassy areas and paths
-good mix of open/long vs. shorter/wooded
-short pins/tees as well as intermediate and longs
-some very memorable/signature holes
-lots of extra facilities like bathrooms/water/clubhouse
Cons: -2 parts of the course (9 holes?) are only accessible via standing rocks in running water. I guess these are low-water condition holes? This design is mind boggling to me. Have to assume that bridges are in the plan but maybe not budget
-course navigation doesnt make sense at times; runs you back and forth to get to some holes
-safety can be an issue with holes over paths, tees behind other,shorter tee positions. Park is busy with non-disc golf traffic
Other Thoughts: This is a 3.75 course currently, and with some changes would be 4. I think sometimes 20+ hole courses could be a greater 18, as is the case with this 27. Course seems very new and manicured, but am curious what will happen over time with a lot of foot traffic and erosion. Some holes may not be built to last.
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Far and away the best course I have ever played. Everything that is so great about this course has been said already. I cannot imagine the amount of time and effort the people who maintain this course put into it. I cannot wait to go back.
Cons: Only complaint...the walk from 18 back to the parking lot. And that is nit picking. Because all we could talk about on the walk back is, how playing any of our home courses is going to be so underwhelming now.
Other Thoughts: If you plan on playing all 27 holes, do not take your cart. You have to cross a creek a couple of times on some big old rock steps through the water, and there is no real easy way to get the cart across. I started with my cart, and after going up and down some pretty nice wooded hills/hiking trails to get to the Blue tees, I dropped the cart off before hole 6 because it was more work than it was worth to have the cart.
5 of 11 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The Canyons offers a great and varied set of 27 holes with a surprising level of refinement for a city park. The grooming, amenities, and navigation signage are all excellent, and the golf itself keeps plenty apace of the fluff. There's great variation of terrain, some wonderful elevation both dramatic and subtle, and the multiple tees do an admirable job of allowing players to calibrate a hole's playthrough to their skill level.
The many variations in the level of tree cover present on a given hole really helps mix up the course's feel. There are bomber shots, tunnel shots, and all manner of in-between levels of technical challenge. The course rarely repeats itself over its 27 holes. While focused on par 3s, distances vary tremendously and there are a few true par 4s to further mix things up. Lots of attention to creating variety here. Having a well-rounded game is certainly rewarded.
Parking is plentiful and there's a well-stocked, reasonably-priced pro shop on site.
Cons: The Canyons features a few too many par 3s for my taste, especially given the excellent terrain the course sits on and the apparent freedom to both sprawl across and modify the land. The design could be more ambitious in how it works through the varying tree cover and rolling hills, making for more frequent challenging second and third shots. At 27 holes, the propensity for tighter par 3s becomes more noticeable and undermines the otherwise-excellent variety. The design feels unnecessarily conservative in a few spots in this fashion.
The red tees were not always easy to find on my visit in July 2017, though they may be better marked now as I was told signage was coming. New players will appreciate easier access to the shorter tees on many a hole.
Other Thoughts: The Canyons made for an impressive surprise during my summer 2017 tour of Chicago-area courses. It was one of the very best kept courses I've ever played, and that is saying something. It provides an interesting contrast with Highland Park, which I found to be more interesting in design but much rougher around the edges. Canyons makes for a worthwhile visit and is very accommodating to all manner of skill levels. Definitely recommended and one of the Chicago area's best.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 8 Not
Pros: Great mix of holes. 27 holes and counting.
Top-notch condition, even in bad weather.
Pro shop on site (fabulous).
Great use of elevation and water hazards.
Other Thoughts: Go play it!
4 of 12 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 15 Not
Easily one of the best courses in the area
Pros: Very well maintained, great course design, great signage, pro store, varying difficulty with each shot, High tees/drives. Creek and beavers to avoid on some holes
Cons: Some areas are a little slipper when wet, especially around the basket at hole 1.
2 of 17 people found this review helpful.
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