11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -- As well maintained as any course I have ever played, which you would expect from a golf/country club setting.
-- All of the amenities: Restrooms, pro shop, etc. There is a snack bar.
-- Excellent use of the land. Water is in play, big time. It would take a pretty bad throw on a few, but water is in play to some extent on 9 of the first 12 holes. You've got multiple water carries (one likely on your second or third shot). The trees (somewhat sparse; it's a golf course) are well used as are the rolling hills. No giant uphill or downhill throws, but elevation is in play.
-- Between OB and sloping greens, risk-reward is excellent.
-- Distance variation is HUGE. The shorter tees offer three holes under 300 feet and five longer than 500 feet. From the golds, one hole under 300, two others in the 300s and six holes longer than 600 feet.
-- Signature holes abound: Nos. 4-6 all have water carries, but 6 is an epic 712 foot hole with a water carry near the end with the basket about 20 feet on the other side of the pond. No. 13 is an uphill shot (280/309) that forces you to hit a fairly narrow gap to an "island" surrounded by bushes.
Cons: -- Making good disc golf holes on a property with a golf course is a challenge. While the holes themselves are well done, there are a lot of long walks (or golf cart rides) between holes.
-- In any shared space (think of a multi-use city park), there will be conflicts. The same holds true here. However, in a city park you are unlikely to get hit by a golf ball, which my playing partner nearly experienced. Most of the ball golfers we encountered were courteous and accommodating, however.
-- There are some holes where there are few trees and length is the only challenge.
-- Navigation is not the most intuitive. You'll find yourself checking the map several times on your first visit.
-- Availability is somewhat limited. There are times when a ball golf event will preclude you from playing disc golf. Call ahead before you make the trip.
Other Thoughts: -- $5 greens fee. I think it's a bargain, but some people simply object to paying, no matter the cost. Carts are available for $10. I prefer walking, but there are a lot of long walks here because of the ball golf.
-- There is a lot of OB. Some of it (water, private homes) is obvious and almost everyone would agree with. Others (putting greens, sand traps, and marked long grass) is more questionable but likely a necessary compromise when sharing space with a ball golf course.
-- This is the best I have seen integrating disc golf with ball golf. Rather than DG hole 1 following ball golf hole 1, etc., the disc golf was designed separately from the ball golf course.
-- Other than the water holes, risk of disc loss is low. However, there is enough water to overall make the risk medium to high.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
DG on a golf course done right
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Golf clubhouse w/ bar & restaurant on site.
Concrete pads (upgrade from prior rubber mats), tee signs, Discatchers in good condition. Multiple tee pads on some holes.
Hole variety in length, shape and landscape. Elements of the golf course, elevation, water, tree lines are used well to craft a great mix of holes.
Golf carts available for rent during play.
Cons: Overall difficulty limited by length and mostly open design.
Other Thoughts: Sunset Hills is an example of an excellent DGC on a golf course. In recent years with the growth of the Ledgestone Insurance Open and hosting Worlds it has transformed into a top notch track.
Hole variety is a strength here as shots are not simply along the golf fairways. The overall length of the course keeps it from a 4.5 or higher rating, but with that comes a very high fun factor. Compared to the tight punishing holes of McNaughton, Megiddo, Northwood and Wildlife, this sprawling mostly open course can be a welcome change of style.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
The Hills Have Baskets
Pros: - Manicured golf club setting is a pleasure to play through, and a different style of course than just about anything else in the area.
- Risk-reward play is highlighted with OB and sloping greens tempering aggressiveness on what is a more open course.
- Good variety for this style of course. Enough trees to force some mild shot-shaping, and fairway lengths are reasonable for most skill levels.
Cons: - The sprawling layout results in some long walks between holes, and areas of difficult navigation for first-timers.
- Front 10 holes that share space with ball golf course can lead to potential conflicts.
Sunset hills is an excellent example of a disc golf course done well on a ball golf property. Its more open style of play complements the wooded courses in the Peoria area (Megiddo, Northwood, Lake Eureka, Wildlife Prairie) quite well. However, being more open does not mean this course is devoid of challenge (or fun shots). OB takes the form of ponds, putting greens, sand traps, and marked long grass, and provides excellent risk-reward decisions throughout the round. Water carries are not oppressively long, and recreational and above players should be able to attack the greens, but there is always a chance to lay-up if you don't have the distance or don't want to risk losing plastic. The majority of greens are either sloped (some significantly) or have OB looming nearby to give putting and approaching some extra challenge. The limited elevation change is also used well with many fairways playing up, down, or across hills. Most holes allow for a variety of different shots off the tee, but accuracy and angle of approach is still very important.
Distance variety is very good with lengths filling the range between 230 and 730 feet. Players with >350' will definitely be at an advantage here, but I don't think nearly as much as at many other open courses. The risk-reward here plays a big part of that. Many of the longer holes that players with bigger arms are more capable of reaching have OB looming near the green. You can't simply bomb the disc out there and hope for the best, and dissecting the fairways into more manageable portions is often a great strategy.
The course equipment at Sunset Hills is pretty good. DISCatchers are always a good target choice, and the tee pads (whether concrete, pavement, or textured rubber) are adequately large and grippy. I realized, having played all my most recent rounds during the Ledgestone Insurance Open, that I do not recall the permanent tee signs, as the temporary tournament signs are of such high quality. Hopefully they are left in place as long as possible, but if not, the Caddy Guide from the Ledgestone tournament website is a great resource: http://lisopen.com/courses/
. There aren't any benches by the tee pads, which would be a nice addition for those walking the course, as it is on the longer side. Of course, if you are able to use a golf cart for your round this isn't an issue. On that note...
I have never used a golf cart for a round here, and don't think they are at all necessary. However, I can see how they would definitely improve your round, especially on your first time out. I don't think anyone in even decent shape would have a problem walking this course, and it is certainly less taxing to navigate than the more hilly courses in the area like Megiddo and Wildlife Prairie. However, there are some quite long walks between holes, and navigation can be tricky in a few spots. I would definitely recommend checking out the map in the Links/Files tab before your first round.
This is a mixed use course, and conflicts with people playing ball golf are certainly possible. I have never played while ball golfers were on the course, but my one attempt to play this course outside of a tournament setting was limited to the back 8 holes, as there was an event currently in progress on the golf course. Of course, a respectful attitude and calm head should be enough to deal with most situations.
Sunset Hills offers a different style of play in a great setting, and is definitely worth checking out during a trip to the Peoria area. It makes a great companion to the more prevalent wooded courses, while still providing a great challenge and fun golf.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Good, but missing the details to make it great
Pleasantly surprised by the thought and effort put into this "conversion" course as it played better than any of the temporary courses Ive played on golf courses. This course has a lot of nice views, challenging holes, birdie opportunity holes, and fun holes. It has a Disc Golf Country club feel as you are reminded of the golf course on most of the holes, by either playing near or around the same water hazards and the very well manicured grass. Tee pads are either cart paths (only a few) or a very well done hard rubberized material. They are diamond plate molded which seemed to give great traction. Most holes were easy to determine the fairways and desired lines. Quite a bit of choice in shot style as most holes are open off the tee and either shot style would work. Baskets are easy to spot on most holes. Carts are a blessing at this course, as several holes are far apart and being a ball golf course the holes are spread out quite a bit. Especially after walking the other course earlier, the carts were really nice for the 2nd round of the day. Water features are very nicely used and add a very picturesque feel to the course while playing. While daunting in look, most were very easy to avoid, or throw over without much worry or effort, mind you it was very little wind when we played. We ordered food before heading out and they were more than happy to accommodate us with to-go containers and cups for our adult beverages. We met 2 really nice guys before heading out who sent us a really cool interactive map for the course found here.
Cons: Some holes are insanely long (1st hole 740ft both tees) and look even longer due to the wide open spaces of the golf course. A few of the really long holes are hard to follow the desired path so the map is a necessity. Tees can be a pain to find as well, some follow the flow of the golf course, others don't, but there is no directional signs from basket to next tee in 95% of the time. Signage is, well, decent. They are stuck in the ground about 2ft high, very hard to spot in most cases as a bush, tree stump or even elevated golf tee can obscure your view of them. While the signage was pretty detailed and gave you a good visualization of the hole, unfortunately this is your best clue to where the next tee pad is, and its difficult to spot in many cases. We usually just referred to the map when we had to and drove in the general direction of the tee and finally found the sign. Some baskets to tees are crazy far. I would not want to walk this course more than once in a day, and maybe never. Add the total distance (7200+ ft from short tees, 8400+ from long tees) with the walk from basket to next tee, Id bet its close to 12000+. One basket to tee is probably 1500-1800ft alone. This would be killer if you were not prepared or trained to play and walk that much in one round. No course map provided by the pro shop when you pay, just some instructions on finding the first tee. Kind of disappointed in the fact that it seems they started to treat and design the DG course as a valued part of their golf complex, but then fell short in the details like tee signage, directional signage, course maps. Being a golf course, Id love to see some extra amenities that they tend to offer the ball golfers, such as disc washers or towels on some holes, since it is pay to play, not just for the carts. Pro shop does not sell any discs! This amazed me that they didn't have even a few base plastics for folks to purchase before their round for the water holes.
Other Thoughts: I would play here again for sure, as the pros out weighed the cons for me. I would get a cart for sure, and probably would prefer to play it only once in a day, and definitely as the 2nd round if playing a multi-round day as you want to be warmed up playing this course as the distance will test your arm from hole 1.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
OK, saved best for last...
Pros: Generally, I look at ball golf conversions and shared spaces with some degree of skepticism. Might be my limited arm. Might be the feeling we sometimes get that 'those guys' look at us as interlopers. But Sunset Hills had an amazing vibe at this year's Ledgestone Open. Tweaked a little bit since the pictures I see on DGCR were taken, this course now has beautifully landscaped tees made of either concrete or grippy rubber mat material. Obviously, compared to most disc golf courses, the grounds are pristine. With the longer hole distances (even from the short tees), I found myself wishing I'd learned to throw an accurate roller before coming to this event.
Played with tourney OB's (paths, bordered woods edges, sand traps, greens and ball golf tees, as well as ponds), I expected some difficulty staying under control on these holes, especially on a slightly breezy day. Even when you pay to play here, it poses the best challenge if you follow the tourney OB guidelines (and you absolutely never want to spike a disc anywhere near their greens anyway).
The DisCatcher baskets were mostly very visible (12 is hidden by the crest of the slope and the prairie grasses that define its island green, 13 is nicely guarded under a trio of trees, in the shade, and of course, 14 is far around the back of the mando/OB thicket), and the tournament signage was excellent. The only thing needed may be better 'next tee' signage for first timers, but if you're coming to enjoy this for a casual round, I'd suggest going big time and renting a golf cart. My buddy and his wife did, and they had a blast. If they weren't sure of a hole, they drove forward to scout it out before they threw!
But what makes the course design so good is that they've set up such a truly challenging and variety laden disc golf course out here. Big arms will like airing it out on the first hole, as well as working for the dream second to the green on hole 6 (over the pond). Precision upshot guys will enjoy hole 3's pin placement between three sand traps (after deciding the best line around the trees off the tee), and they'll especially like the approach and green on hole 17: it has nasty rollaway potential in a breeze-funneling bend after the open fairway. I liked the downhill pond-clearing chance on hole 4: depending on conditions, do you really go for it, or risk a duck splash?
Overall, this was a fun course, even for a mediocre arm like mine. Intermediate players and above will really have blast here
Cons: The course is pretty large, and without a cart, constitutes a considerable walk. In the heat of a humid summer, you'll need to pack some fluids in your bag. The ponds are kind of murky (even a little smelly down by 4 & 5). As mentioned before, I'm not sure if the traditional golf community is really ready yet to share space with disc golfers, but we'll have to see how that evolves (especially if groups of both sports are sharing the space at the same time - for the Ledgestone, they had to play a limited set of holes we weren't using, so there were no issues...for us).
Other Thoughts: This course is a great addition to a really nice area for disc golf courses. Peoria has done itself proud.
Reviewer Background as of this writing: played 281 courses and written 265 reviews, with skills hovering around a 900 rating, I started playing at 50 and am now 55. I don't throw far (300 footers feel like success), but am addicted to DG, and have played with folks ranging from age 7 to 87, so I try to write reviews helpful to all.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 1 Not
Great Addition to Area Course Lineup
Pros: I've never had so much fun at a 9 hole course! No doubt that a big reason for the high fun factor is that you can rent an electric cart. Playing faster plus conserving your energy equals more rounds played. We played four times with a nice lunch at the on site sports bar after round 2. Having four cracks at the same holes really helps you learn the course and improve on your strategies and scores.
As for the course itself, it uses the terrain well. Two holes involve water and elevation is a factor in five of the nine holes. The layout is fair: there aren't any holes that rely on luck and no "throw away" holes that are just too darned easy. The distances are not overly long and there are good risk-reward opportunities.
I would highlight holes 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 as being especially interesting and challenging. The first hole forces you to hang an approach shot (or a drive for big arms) out over the water and hyzer in to the hillside basket area. It's a fun shot. The second hole features a downhill drive with two lanes to the basket and water to the left. Seven and eight are longer, hilltop holes that allows you to air out your drivers. Nine is a fun shot across a valley. If you like to watch a disc glide, you will likely want to empty your bag on this last hole.
Since it's part of a "ball" golf course facility, the course maintenance is fantastic. It is "pay to play" but we played all afternoon in a rental cart for a total of $10 per player.
Cons: Hole 3 is not my favorite. The basket is in a mowed "target area" surrounded by unmowed grass that is OB. I'm not a fan of such artificial OB areas and it seems kind of gimmicky to me.
Other Thoughts: The Peoria area just keeps getting better as a DG mecca! To have this course and Megiddo both added this year to a lineup that includes great courses like McNaughton, Northwood, Lake Eureka and Bradley tells me that Peoria is starting to rival Quad Cities as a Midwest destination. What's a great way to finish up your day after getting beat up by McNasty and Megiddo? A rental cart and a beer at Sunset Hills!
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
New Course that will keep you coming back.
Pros: Very well maintained course. Many risk reward shots and 2 sets of tee's for each hole. Fun and challenging to play, with elevation changes, out of bounds and water. Very reasonable season pass can be purchased, that includes a towel, dry-fit shirt and a bag tag pass. Carts are available and a nice bar with food on the premises. A must play!!
Cons: This is a new course and some of the pads are not poured yet. Not really a con, because it takes time and a lot of work to get a course like this together.
Other Thoughts: Great layout of the course, and bring a water disc. Hole #1, if you dare to throw over the lake, has claimed many disc. Many disc have been returned to the club house and the locals at this new course has done a great job of finding and getting disc returned to their owners. If your phone # is on the disc, and it has not gone too deep in to the depths of Sunset Lake, there is a good chance of getting it back. Great job guys.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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