Review/photos by Jacob Arvidson
Where is it? 1620 Summit Dr, Pekin, IL 61554 directions
Who plays here?
Friday, Aug. 6 - Pool B (FPO), Pool C (MP40), Pool D (MP50/60), Pool F (MA50)
Saturday, Aug. 7 - Pool B (FPO), Pool M (MA1a)
Sunday, Aug. 8 - Pool N (MA1b)
Cart Friendly? Yes. Well-manicured grass makes even the elevation changes easy to navigate with a cart.
Practice schedule notes: The course is restricted for FPO players only from 8am to noon on August 2, 3 and 4 with no restrictions in the afternoon. A Flex C Tier will be held at Sunset Hills on Thursday, August 5.
Course breakdown: Par: 61. Length: 7,539 feet. Baskets: Innova DISCatcher Pro.
The course plays through and around the Sunset Hills Golf Course. It features open, manicured fairways over rolling hills. The layout makes use of many cart paths to establish out-of-bounds lines, but also employs some artificial OB to keep players out of neighboring yards. Being on a ball golf course, there are numerous sand traps on the disc golf fairways that play as a hazard, while the greens and tee boxes play as regular OB. Seven of the holes also feature water hazards and sloped greens to add to the difficulty. The first 11 holes meander through the golf course, while the back seven have their own separate plot of land next to the golf course and bring more natural barriers into play using long grass, mature trees, and guarded greens.
Course History: The pre-established Sunset Hills Golf Course welcomed the 18-hole disc golf course in 2014. It has been a part of the Ledgestone Insurance Open since 2017 and was heavily featured during the 2019 PDGA Professional Disc Golf World Championships when Paige Pierce claimed her fifth title.
Signature holes (and holes to watch out for):
Hole 1 - While the tee shot isn’t too demanding, there is some OB trouble on the left. The main difficulty on this hole comes on the approach onto the green. The fairway starts moving right to left toward the end of the hole and drops down into a sloped green with a few guardian trees. More worrisome is the pond 45 feet directly below the basket. Water is very much a factor on this green and any shot moving too fast or beginning to roll will push directly down the slope into the pond.
Hole 6 - This is the signature hole at Sunset Hills. At a par 5, this hole has the ability to change the trajectory of an entire round for FPO players. The first two-thirds of the fairway slope down from left to right toward the cart path which serves as an OB line. The real challenge is getting to the green. A pond stretches out for the final 160 feet of the hole, coming as close to the basket as Circle 1 at its farthest point. Instead of a gentle drop into the water near the green to bail out an iffy shot and keep it in bounds, a 25-foot long brick wall forms a formidable cliff straight into murky water. Even a successful approach that reaches the green and goes long of the basket will be faced with a death putt directly back at the water.
Hole 15 - This L-shaped, right-to-left par 4 is flanked by OB on both the left and right sides for the entirety of the fairway. Tall trees make cutting the corner all but impossible and a cluster of mature guardian trees just around the bend force precision on the approach. Anything fading out early or pushing long off the tee is going to find the OB. Only well-placed drives followed by perfectly executed approaches will have a look at birdie on this hole.
Fun Fact: Valerie Jenkins, Jessica Weese, Paige Pierce and Catrina Allen have all won the Ledgestone Insurance Open since Sunset Hills’s incorporation in 2017, but no FPO player has ever repeated here as champion of the event.
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Hole 5 is only 246 feet, but encourages hitting a tight gap off the tee followed by a daunting water carry.
Hole 6 features 160 feet of water carry on the approach of this signature par 5.
Hole 9 sits atop a stump, adding an elevated pin challenge to this already difficult green.
This narrow approach on the par 4, hole 15 has thick rough on the right and OB along the tree line down the left side.