Where's the Hieroglyphics?
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Pharaohs Way is a quick and concise 18-hole course. It doesn't try to do anything flashy, but it doesn't fail to provide some challenge with its woods.
The amenities are well cared for. Tee signs with distances from both pads, serviceable (but not brand new) Gateway baskets and yes, two concrete tees on each hole (except Hole 2). Two pin spots on each hole add re-playability to the course
Challenge is added by the mature trees on the back half. Shaping lines through the trees on 14 and 15, zipping down the tunnels of 11 and 13, and trying to crash the hillside perfectly on 12, 16, and 18. There's also a hole punched in the trees on 4 that makes a nice dogleg left once you get through, and the tree ceiling off the tee of 6 makes that a tough 2 to get.
Mild elevation throughout is the other good feature of this course. 1, 6, 8, and 11-13 all have some slight up and down movement, and 17 and 18 have the starker changes, dropping away from and then climbing back to the parking lot.
Cons: Much of the front half just does... nothing. 2 is a flat hole with the only thing going for it being a double-mando. 3 is an easy right-finisher with a creek behind to deter the rhbh play. 5, 7, and 8 can all be easily beaten with a righty forehand, and 1, while I liked it, is just a simple downhill blast. One or two holes is excusable in a city park, but a whole tray of nothingburgers is hard to swallow.
None of the alternate tees change the hole much at all besides 1, 7, and 10. Very disappointing.
The baskets of 4, 5, and 10 all play dangerously close to the back fences of properties. 6 has backyards all the way down the left side, but the only way those will come into play is with a really bad tree kick.
Hole 10 is either a tunnel blast with an impossible left skip at the finish, or an impossible high right finishing line. Basically parking 10 is nigh on impossible.
The only interesting holes: 14 and 15, are board flat and have their pins out in the open instead of protected by the abundance of trees. Decent tee shots, but once that's accomplished there isn't a lot to the second half of the hole.
Other Thoughts: This course seems like it had potential and just fell flat on its face. The front 9 alone would be an even lower score, but the woods redeem some points for the course. However, the distance in the woods is diminished so that challenge is weakened. Nothing is done to try to extract major challenge from any of these holes, so at the end of the day we must accept that this is a course that is made to be simple and easy.
A quick stop off as you make your way through Southern Illinois isn't the worst choice you'll make, but if you're pressed for time go ahead and pass this one by. Or just go and try to find the Firebird I dunked in the creek on 3.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Good teeboxes and baskets
Good back nine
Cons: Front nine could be very crowded if baseball fields in use
Front nine a little boring
Other Thoughts: Back nine is a solid layout and would play less crowded
Decent park course overall, no real complaints
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Disc Like An Egyptian
Pros: (2.723 Rating) A park style course with a second set of tees for added length.
- NAVIGATION - Yea! Scorecards in the scorecard box by the first tee and there's a map on the scorecard! Great posted course map too, although it's a bit off for holes (2) and (3). Well-marked tees using blue and red to effectively distinguish between the two layouts. Nice signage showing all the appropriate info. My only suggestion here would to have chosen a different color for next tee direction on the tee signs, as yellow is going to fade away soon.
- CHARACTER - In addition to solid navigation, The course has a lot of extras. Nice sized 4 foot by 12 foot concrete tees for both layouts. Adequate chains on the baskets and lots of extra pin placements. There is also seating on a few holes and there are shelters with picnic tables. Apparently, I didn't look around well enough, but I am certain there is a restroom somewhere along the layout.
- CHALLENGING - I personally played the short tees on a cold November morning a found the challenge to be roughly middle Recreational level. There are some simple lines to hit and places to avoid. The back tees add a little bit of length to the course and likely gets the difficulty up to a tweener between Rec level and Intermediate level. In my travels, I'd say the course is a touch more challenging than the average course.
- QUICK PLAY - Time to complete is about average for an 18 hole course. Figure 50 to 55 minutes for a solo and an hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours for a four-some.
- MAINTENANCE - The course was in great shape on my visit. Seems like there's an active club and/or great park's department looking after the course.
Cons: A nice course with only minor issues or inadequacies compared to courses I've rated higher.
- MULTI USE HAZARDS - For a course built around a lot of other park activities, I thought the designer(s) did a great job balancing risks and delivering fun holes. That said, park activities still come into fringe play and players will need to wait to throw on occasion when other park users mindlessly stroll around. A walking path comes into play on a couple holes and so does a ball field fence on a few other shots. Again though, really not that bad.
- UNIQUENESS - Mostly park style shots that are lightly wooded requiring minimal thought off the tee. There is very little elevation change. Perhaps 3 or 4 holes change by more than 10 feet in grade. Other than hole (14), the hole length variation is minimal. I liked the two water shots on (2) and (3) and also (14) and (15) which are removed from the multi-use park area. I graded the hole variety a touch below average out of 326 courses played as of this review.
- EXTRA TEES - I love it when a course offers two concrete tees on every hole, it really makes a course more user friendly to a wider swath of players. I increased my rating score a bit for Pharaoh's Way due to the two tees, but it could have been even more. The issue, not much of a difference between the two tees on most holes. Many of the pads are separated by less than 30 feet on the same line.
- NATURAL BEAUTY - Meh. Hole (3) is a cool shot over a mini-creek and along a wider creek the whole way on the left. (14) and (15) have some appeal being more secluded. The rest of the holes just have too many man-made objects in view. From backyards, to chain-link fences to parking lots. It's less than ideal. I scored the course a 2.125 out of 5.
Other Thoughts: Any player that's played at least 10 courses has thrown a course similar to this one. I'd stay this style of course is the most common type out there, a lightly wooded park style course with a few cool holes and a bunch of simple shots between 250 and 325 feet. I liked the water shots and the bomber par 4 to mix things up on the course. However, a few too many shots had a similar feel to it, to set it apart from all the other courses I've scored in this range. I'd give the course a 2.75 if I were allowed to do so as it doesn't fit in with my 2.5s or 3.0s. Not destination level, but definitely worth a spin to a player traveling along I57 or within an hour's range.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Course has had updates
Pros: New pads and baskets
Nice blend of required shots
Tee signs with hole layouts and directions to next tee at each hole
Multiple pads and basket locations
Whole course map on tee one
Score cards one tee one
Cons: Could use a few more trash cans
No practice basket that I noticed
Other Thoughts: Well designed course within a city park that also houses a skate park, softball fields and a playground. This course has just installed new baskets and dual tee pads on each hole. Great par 54 right on the towns edge, will play for sure the next time I'm in southern Illinois. Nothing too long or over wooded so great for all skill levels. Red vs blue tees can add difficulty for those at different skill levels as well. Seems there might even be bathrooms available at certain times.
The new pads and baskets really make this a course to check out.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 1 Not
Nice new course
Pros: Great new course in Marion.
Let me start this off with "I love city park courses". I love the use of mature trees as obstacles, the elevation changes that may be there, how they wind around ball fields, creeks, and anything else the park has to offer. That said, this course did not disappoint.
Two sets of tee pads, two potential basket placements, great signage and flow, use of lots of mature trees and elevation.
Numerous memorable holes:
#1 Line of trees on left side of fairway with basket tucked in.
#2 and #3 Creek flowing on the left side of the fairway.
#4 Dog leg left after clearing a tunnel of vegetation about 80 feet out
#'s 6, 7, 9, 11 and 12 either solid tree protection or low hanging fairway branches
#17 down into a valley and
#18 back up the hill across the marsh
Cons: Holes 14 and 15 were under water due to recent rains... locals said that next step of development was to add drainage to that area....
No concrete pads. While tee areas weren't bad, they may be come so over time without the concrete pads.
Other Thoughts: Through the first 13 holes, was ready to rate this as a "4".... then hit the under water holes as well as the last three that were just ok....
This was course #3 of a 6 course trip through So. Illinois and was by far the best of the group. Couple of Mt Vernon players told me about this new course which altered my agenda for the day. So glad they did!!
Would like to revisit same time next year and see what improvements are made. Add concrete pads and clean up the marshy areas... Has 4+ potential written all over it..
Even as it is now, definitely worth the stop!!
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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