Illinois’ Best Disc Golf Courses: Disc Golf in the Prairie State

The best disc golf courses in Illinois are hidden among 342 courses and a state that holds the #10 ranking in the US for being the best state for disc golf. Lately, I find myself pouring over eco-regions when looking for the best courses to play.

What do eco-regions have to do with anything? Well, eco-regions are geographically defined areas, and I don’t know about you, but I love to play courses with an extraordinary view and with unique course designs that take advantage of the surrounding topography. 

In other words, it’s not just a matter of a pretty hill, though that’s nice, but it’s also a matter of how that dogleg fairway uses the hill. The disc golf courses that made my list feature fantastic design strategies with no gimmicks. Exactly how they should be. 

My Picks for the Best Disc Golf Courses in Illinois

Illinois is a fantastic state for disc golfers, so this was no easy challenge. Finding the best disc golf courses when there are so many good ones is always a tall order—plus, everyone has their own opinions as well. As always, I stick to my guns. 

A course needs to be well-designed and challenging, without the gimmicky and unprofessional fairways that simply have trees right in the middle because the designer thought it would be cute. I also gauge my decisions based on levels of challenge, so beginners can find the perfect course for them as well. 

  1. The Canyons – Lockport (Best Course Overall)
  2. Anna Page Park – Rockford (Runner-Up)
  3. Camden Park – Milan (Best Challenge)

I always try to throw in a beginner-friendly course in my list of 8, so be on the lookout through the “Features” bullets if you’re new to the game and looking for something that isn’t going to slap your discs into a river every time you mess up a drive. With that being said, let’s dive right in (pun intended). 

Best Disc Golf Courses in Illinois

With all of that being said, here we are with an overview of the best disc golf courses I could parse from an insanely larger subset of disc golf courses. Disc golf is an ever-growing sport, and courses are going up as we speak all over the country. As great as many of the disc golf courses in Illinois are, in the end, there can be only 8. 

The Canyons – Lockport (Best Course Overall)

Features

  • 27 holes
  • x8 water holes
  • 6,632’ to 8,720’ course length
  • Multiple pin locations
  • Pro, intermediate, and amateur tee pads
  • Concrete tee pads
  • Mach X baskets
  • Beginner to Advanced

The Canyons tops the list thanks to its ‘little bit of everything’ approach. While the course is beginner friendly enough to up your game, the numerous water holes may be a bit of a turn-off. The course is mostly wooded though it offers several open holes, along with a variety of approaches to all 27.

The Canyons is the kind of course that demands a very diverse game and a bag with a variety of over and understandable disc options. Every basket features three options—red, white, and blue, offering a unique approach for beginners to advanced players. 

There’s a good deal of innovation and adaptability required as well since the course effortlessly flows from technical shots to wide lanes, to wide open shots, and back again. This is also one of the best-maintained courses on the list. Everything is well-marked, and you never have to play this course the same way twice. 

Anna Page Park – Rockford (Runner-Up)

Features

  • 36 holes
  • 5,033’ to 7,600’ course lengths 
  • Mach II Baskets
  • Concrete tee pads
  • Multiple pin locations
  • Single tee pads
  • Beginner to Advanced

Anna Page Park was very nearly my numero uno choice; however, its single tee pads and less advanced baskets held it back by a hair. That lack of versatility is recovered a bit when you consider the massive variety here, including three distinct courses and multiple permanent baskets at each hole.

That’s right, you can choose what basket you want to go after on each tee box, and that’s very helpful for beginners while still offering more challenging options for veterans of the game. Keep in mind that the stats above are for the West Course. 

Every course offers separating characteristics, from heavy elevation changes and deeply wooded, narrow lanes, to wide open grip-and-rip slingers with a monstrous 600’ hole. The East Course is the heavily wooded course, with a more sparsely wooded and varied West course and a more technical, wooded South Course.

Camden Park – Milan (Best Challenge)

Features

  • 18 holes
  • 4,888’ course length
  • Mach III baskets
  • Concrete tee pads
  • Multiple pin locations
  • Elevation and wooded combo challenges
  • Best for Intermediate and Advanced players

This is the kind of course where you don’t bring your friend (the one you’re trying to get into the game) to. It may be enough to scare them off the game for good. The course is well-designed and clearly made for advanced players. 

While it begins in an open fashion, it quickly descends a hill into heavy woods with elevation changes throughout. Tight fairways and doglegs that require finesse, thought, and carefully molded shots that only come from experienced technique become the norm for the rest of the run. 

Despite its difficulty, the course still manages to include a solid level of variety. Expect some wide-open shots, shots through narrow tunnels, and elevation changes neatly combined with well-laid-out fairways. Discs with high fade and turn numbers will excel here, as well as some more balanced options for careful, finesse shots

Fairfield Park – Round Lake

Features

  • x9 water holes
  • 30 holes 
  • Concrete tee pads
  • DISCatcher baskets
  • Multiple pin locations
  • Pro and amateur tee pads
  • 5,020’ to 8,075’ course length
  • Beginner-friendly white layout

Fairfield Park features a short and long layout, with 9 water holes (yup, you heard that right) throughout. The White layout is the choice to make for beginners, though intermediate players will get something out of it as well. 

The Gold course, if I judged it alone and separate from the others, would have made the most challenging course on the list. While the White course is a pretty straightforward affair, the Gold features super long, dogleg fairways in heavy woods, along with tunnel shots in a straight line. 

Whether you choose the White or Gold course, you’ll find plenty of variety, just on drastically different skill levels. One of the other drawbacks is the lack of signage. The park features a layout map in the beginning, but it’s easier to get lost once you get into the middle portion of the course. 

Northwood Park – Morton

Features

  • 18 holes
  • 6,197’ to 10,499’ course length
  • Concrete tee pads
  • Mach X baskets
  • Pro and amateur tee pads
  • Single pin locations
  • Blue and Black Course
  • Intermediate difficulty

The greatest challenge of this course is the straight, tunnel-like fairways. Beginners may question that assessment until they try it for the first time. The blue course is better for a beginner to get their head in the game, while the black course is fairly brutal.

The area features moderate elevation changes, some of which play into a number of holes. While there are some open shots throughout, most of both courses feature moderate to heavy woods. 

Prepare yourself for a lot of doglegs left and right, uphill and downhill shots, tunnel shots, technical shots, and even a few grip-and-rip opportunities. While that sounds pretty wild, it’s well organized and laid out, so you feel like every shot is a brand-new experience. 

Sinnissippi Park – Sterling

Features

  • 27 holes
  • x2 water holes
  • 7,587’ to 9,977’ course length
  • Concrete tee pads
  • Mach X baskets
  • Multiple pin locations
  • Single tee pads
  • Includes a driving range
  • Intermediate difficulty

If you’re a beginner stepping into the game for the first time, Sinnissippi will send you home feeling pretty beat up. That’s not because I don’t recommend Sinnissippi for beginners, but because it’s right on the edge of being a bit much while also offering beginners a huge opportunity to up their game. 

While you could separate the course into an 18 and 9-hole course, most players approach it as a full, 27-hole course. Regardless, you’ll be on the course for quite a while, so bring plenty of water along for the ride. 

A lot of experienced players will point to Sinnissippi as the perfect course for learning rollers, and it’s probably because the topography is perfect for it. The trees are moderately spaced in most areas, so there are plenty of opportunities to chuck a tomahawk or two as well. 

The Oaks – Mokena

Features

  • 27 holes
  • 7,185’ to 8,840’ course length
  • Mixed tee pads
  • Mach V baskets
  • Pro and amateur tee pads
  • Single pin locations
  • Very cart-friendly course
  • Solid newbie challenger

While the Oaks is relatively flat throughout, it’s still a fantastic course when it comes to shot variety from beginning to end. The course has everything, including heavily wooded shots, tight lines, open shots, and some that are everything in between. 

The course also features a couple of practice baskets for those who prefer a little warm-up time before starting hole #1. Though the course has kind of a wild feel to it (you’ll often spot plenty of wildlife), it’s highly maintained.

Even the areas that are known to get muddy during rainstorms are covered in heavy piles of wood chips. While there are no water hazards to speak of, there are a few long shots that will challenge intermediate players and may confound beginners. 

Indian Oaks – Marengo

Features

  • 5,746’ course length
  • Chainstar baskets
  • Concrete tee pads
  • Pro and amateur tee pads
  • A single water hole
  • Single pin locations
  • Nearly perfect split open/wooded
  • Playable for beginners

Variety is definitely an important attribute, and even though this course is perfectly split into open holes and wooded holes, it’s surprisingly varied. The front nine and back nine are not completely divided, but it’s close. 

The wooded areas are a bit between heavy and moderate woods, while the open areas still manage to avoid being a straight north and south throw. It’s also a well-maintained course from start to finish, with plenty of signage.

New players will find plenty of challenges, while intermediate players will still struggle to dominate the course. The fact that you can’t quite grip and rip makes this more of a technical shot, kind of course. 

Final Putt

Illinois just squeaks into the top ten in terms of state disc golf rankings, and it shows. The top eight on this list don’t even begin to encompass the number of excellent courses throughout Illinois.

If you’re looking forward to some of the best disc golf courses in Illinois and aren’t close to any of these, you’re still in luck in a state that’s full of top-quality courses.

Be sure to let us know what your favorite Illinois disc golf course is in the comments!

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