Iowa’s Best Disc Golf Courses: Top Throws and Thrills

The best disc golf courses in Iowa are relatively easy to find. As the number 8th ranked state in the country in disc golf, the Hawkeye State is a utopia for the sport, rife with excellent courses, professional designs, and amenities. 

Iowa may not be the most renowned of the 50 states, but it’s far from obscure when it comes to flinging plastic down the fairway. Most of the best courses are concentrated in the center of the state, with courses spreading out from the center, becoming few and far between in the south and the central west. 

However, even if you live in those areas, you don’t have to travel very far north or east to find excellent pickings. Iowa exemplifies the midwest disc golf scene, and as the sport continues to expand, expect Iowa to continue leading the pack with excellent courses.

My Picks for the Best Disc Golf Courses in Iowa

I appreciate a well-laid-out course design, and Iowa has many. This, of course, makes my job a lot more difficult. Some of the courses on this list are so close to each other that they’re nearly interchangeable as far as the descriptors I use to define them.

  1. Pickard Park – Indianola (Best Course Overall)
  2. Wildcat Bluff – Urbana (Best Challenge)
  3. Coralville DGC – Coralville (Best Beginner-Friendly)

As a side note on Coralville—while it is beginner-friendly, it’s by no means a walk in the park. Iowa is full of beginner-friendly courses. However, I like to stick with the most popular courses among residents of Iowa residents. At the same time, the most popular ones shouldn’t chase off aspiring disc golfers. Coralville fits the bill nicely. 

Pickard Park and Wildcat Bluff are both enormously popular disc golf courses in Iowa. With Wildcat Bluff being more of a technical course, however, it meets the criteria for “challenging courses.” Pickard is genuinely loved by professional and amateur disc golfers alike, a hard claim to make with such varying degrees of experience at the game. 

Best Disc Golf Courses in Iowa

One thing that really boosts Iowa in the “best disc golf courses” list is the overall beauty of the state. A part of what makes the game so fantastic is the sights and sounds. Disc golf has a natural atmosphere that the regular game of golf simply cannot match. 

Of course, beautiful surroundings don’t make a disc golf course, but it certainly helps, and you’ll see a lot of that here as well. 

Pickard Park – Indianola (Best Course Overall)

Features

  • 5,615’ to 8,244’ course length
  • 18 holes
  • Multiple pin locations (36 baskets)
  • Concrete tee pads
  • x6 water hazards
  • DISCatcher baskets
  • Single tee pads

One of the best aspects of Pickard Park is the versatility factor it brings to the game. Each hole has two baskets which are all permanently ensconced (they don’t move around). So, although you don’t have amateur and pro boxes, you have three options to throw at on each hole.

The options are only a small part of the versatility, as each basket can feature a number of approaches. This allows for a bit of forethought as you’re standing on each concrete tee pad throughout the course. 

There are a number of water hazards throughout the course, and some of them present a head-on challenge. Be careful what discs you decide to go with, and if you’re still in the learning stages, consider laying up and playing it safe. 

Wildcat Bluff – Urbana (Best Challenge)

Features

  • 5,287’ to 7,925’ course length
  • 21 holes
  • x2 water hazards
  • Multiple pin locations
  • Pro and amateur tee pads
  • Mach X baskets
  • Concrete tee pads

While it’s not the most brutally difficult course a standard player could face, Wildcat Bluff is made for seasoned players who know how to toss tightly molded lines, hyzers, anhyzers, forehand, and backhand throws. 

Since it’s mostly a heavily wooded course, knowing how to throw tomahawks and rollers will certainly help. Though the elevation changes aren’t extreme, they are abundant, and there is only one wide open hole on the entire course. 

One of the standout features of this course is the signage. Every sign for each hole features a full layout for you, including the elevation changes across the fairway. Every hole you approach, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting into.

Coralville DGC – Coralville (Best Beginner-Friendly)

Features

  • 5,098’ to 6,239’ course length
  • 18 holes
  • Single pin locations
  • Pro and amateur tee pads
  • Concrete tee pads
  • Mach X baskets
  • x4 water hazards

This isn’t the most beginner-friendly course in Iowa, but it is the best beginner-friendly option in the Hawkeye State. It toes the line between what constitutes a beginner’s course and a challenging course for more intermediate players. 

There are frequent elevation changes throughout the course, though they aren’t the massive elevations you see on some mountain courses. Coralville does a good job of making each hole feel unique and memorable. You won’t find any long holes here, but you will find variety.

Expect a lot of up-and-down shots, and there are a few potential ace runs scattered throughout. The water hazards (small creek winding through) are there, but nothing vicious—mostly an issue if you let a drive get really out of hand. 

Peninsula Park – Iowa City

Features

  • 6,350’ to 7,716’ course length
  • 18 holes
  • Multiple pin locations
  • Pro and amateur baskets
  • Concrete tee pads
  • Mach III baskets

Peninsula Park is a highly technical course, especially in the meaty heart of the 18 holes the course has to offer. Large trees bar throwers from really letting loose from the tee. This is the kind of course that demands a number of different molds, from flippy to overstable, depending on the situation.

Early on and after hole 13, there are some open shots to let loose on, but the course design still forces you to think before you let loose. Elevation changes aren’t as dramatic as the previous courses on the list, but they are represented here as well. 

Each hole has a pro and an amateur tee, so if you’re really struggling on the pros, you can take things down a notch until you really get a handle on the course. Some of the middle holes are a little questionable as well, with some tree and fairway placement that doesn’t make much sense on the whole. 

Grandview Park – Des Moines

Features

  • 4,489’ to 6,161’ course length
  • DISCatcher baskets
  • Multiple pin locations
  • Pro and amateur baskets
  • Concrete tee pads

Grandview Park is a beautiful little course in Des Moines, Iowa, with a single par 4 and a unique and versatile course design. It’s also a course that caters to all skill levels. The pro and amateur tees are set up in sensible locations.

If you’re a beginner, this is the perfect course to grow your skill sets and dramatically improve your game over time. The elevation changes are not huge, but they are well-integrated into the course design.

This is one of those courses that really flows from beginning to end, and if you play it often enough, it’s easy to get that “one with the course” feeling. Though the course only features a single par 4, some of the par 3s are pretty extensive. 

West Lake Park – Davenport

Features

  • 7,101’ to 10,372’ course length
  • 24 holes
  • Multiple pin locations
  • Single tee boxes 
  • Concrete tee pads
  • DISCatcher baskets
  • x9 water hazards

If you enjoy the thrill ride of slinging your favorite plastic around water, this is the course for you. Water hazards are extensive and persistent throughout the course, and they play a role in your game to one degree or another for most of the game. 

There is a little bit of everything on this course, including the water hazards mentioned above, open throws, heavily wooded, tall grass, and narrow lines. Bring your A-game because nothing else will suffice. 

It’s not the most challenging course in the state, but it will ruin your day if you let it. Also, be sure to bag a versatile range of plastics because you’ll probably need every one of them. This course features a number of mid-range drives or even putter drives while mixing in a healthy dose of fairway and high-speed drivers. 

Walnut Ridge Recreation Area – Johnston

Features

  • 5,775’ to 7,554’ course length
  • Multiple pin locations
  • Pro and amateur tee pads
  • DISCatcher baskets
  • Concrete tee pads

Walnut Ridge is one of the quietest courses in the state, which will appeal to a great many disc golfers. The key to success at Walnut Ridge is the approach. Of course, to get the best angle on the approach, you have to have a good drive as well. 

Birdies are easy to come by, but only if you get nearly perfect shot placement. You don’t have to worry about water hazards here, but there are a couple of cliff edges near enough that an errant disc might make its way over. 

The course features a handful of tunnel shots and enough overgrowth on the boundaries to make your mistakes costly. Even though the course is situated in a park, its design keeps players well away from park activities, which is always a nice perk. 

Stable Run DGC – Ames

Features

  • 18 holes 
  • Multiple pin locations (permanent)
  • Pro and amateur tee pads
  • Concrete tee pads
  • Mach X baskets
  • Technical front 9 with an open back 9

I’m finishing off the list with a half-and-half at Stable Run DGC. I call it a half-and-half because that’s exactly what it is—a front 9 with highly technical shots and a back 9 that’s more open and leisurely. 

Beginners may want to simply start on the back 9, though technical shots are where the learning and skill growth is at. Each hole features two tee pads for pro and amateur shots and two baskets to go for. 

That lends an excellent sense of variability on the course. No one play-through will be the same as the next. Though it’s neatly divided in half, the course features an excellent and natural flow to it—a difficult accomplishment in terms of course design. 

Final Putt

There you have it, my picks for the best disc golf courses in Iowa. The Hawkeye State is what I would call a premium destination for disc golfers. If you’re a disc golfer and an Iowa resident, count yourself very lucky. 

For those on vacation or just passing through Iowa, you owe it to yourselves to find one of the above eight courses (or many, many others) and play a round. Maybe play two just for good measure.

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