7 Helpful / 1 Not
Should be a 24 hole course.
There are easily birdied holes, and holes which will strain par for many. Being very close to Lake Charlevoix (and in turn Lake Michigan), there can be very high winds and it's almost always gusty somewhere on this course.
I cannot say this park is ever trashy, or in disrepair (aside from the tee signage). Overall, it is very pleasant, and when the wind is blowing and the leaves are in bloom, it is extremely challenging. Don't let the short distances fool you. The elevation coupled with the trees make you need to hit specific lines on most holes, and one false move will mean double-bogey at best..
The scenery here is quite impressive, especially during fall colors. While it is unfortunate that the course follows the main road access for the majority of the round, it means that surrounding animal habitats have remained intact. Less common birds like woodpeckers can often be sighted.
There are two nice observation decks at the top of the hill, so you can chill and look at the bay when you finish. Lots of pleasant locals use this for all sorts of training. Local kids hang around the front 9, while the back 9 is usually less crowded.
The tee signage has been destroyed on the later holes and the old 18th hole, which used to end opening to a dead shot of the lake, was removed and rerouted to the side of the summit. I guess people sitting on the deck got hit, as it was a blind drive. (don't people know what FORE! means?)
The long (and I mean long) distances between many of the back 9 holes severely disrupt any rhythm you may have developed, and you spend a lot of time wondering as you walk and look at the land, "why isn't there a hole here...or here...or here?" There is sooooo much more room on the back 9 to easily add another 6+ holes, that I cannot conceive an acceptable reason for this to be only an 18 hole course.
There are no water holes, but if you bring your dog, that is sometimes a plus.
The tees are dirt/gravel, in rather poor condition, and can be very loose after rain. The majority of the baskets are old rusted single chain design, but a few new Chainstars are on the back 9.
This course is close to my home, and although it isn't my Local course, I have chosen to drive and play this one dozens and dozens of times. I started playing frequent rounds on defunct ski hills, and really like the elevation changes and workout. Although there is not a big bomber down the hill to end the course (it is EXTREMELY steep. There is a reason there are hundreds of stairs down), this is my favorite course in the area. And after you finish the stairs, there is still a respectable place to stop and empty your bag.
Note: when I searched for courses in my area, this was categorized by DGCR as "moderately hilly" rather than "very hilly" like Hickory Hills. I must disagree, as the back 9 is a long hike up a big hill. Be prepared to work.
There is another hole that has been installed after #9 to replace the old missing hole #3, returning the course to 18 holes total.
If there were 6 more holes installed on the back 9, this course would immediately improve to a 3.5 rating. The blantant waste of perfectly usable land is quite unforgivable.
Further adding a practice basket to warm up at the bottom, adding concrete tees, and replacing the tee signage would elevate Avalanche to a 4 rating, without hesitation. The core of the course has a sound fun/challenge factor, but the execution of the course is underwhelming.
This course is 5 minutes from Boyne Mountain which houses another nice 18 hole course. Playing both is a fantastic workout. However, if I have limited time, I choose to play Avalanche. Although it is roughly the same workout, climbing Boyne Mtn just to get to hole 1 always makes me choose Avalanche.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: You get a great workout while playing this course. The scenery is really something special. The course can be rather unforgiving, given that there are trees througout the fairways on a few holes, but mostly that just made it more challenging and competitive. The holes are marked well in about the first 2/3 of the course. Its also really easy to find this course as opposed to the Boyne Mountain course. Hole 7 was awesome and I almost aced it and if you've seen that hole then you know how lucky I almost got.
Cons: No signage for the final holes. The pads are treacherous to say the least. Long hikes between holes at times, but was worth it. If you're out of shape big time like me, this course will kick your butt. Long downward hill behind basket on hole 18 made me nervous. Also, no hole 3 so don't go looking for it. We just played hole 18 twice to make up for it though.
Other Thoughts: There are many pedestrians hiking through the woods so you should watch out for them because the trails sometimes run through the course fairways. No big deal, just a heads up. Also, no bathrooms anywhere so keep that in mind until they unlock the building in the parking lot for the summer. I will definetly go back to this course despite the 400 some stairs you have to walk down to get off the mountain. Tiring course, but you'll sleep well the night after playing ;)
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: The view from hole 18 was just breath taking. This course had a little something for everyone. You have holes with short little dog legs that have ace possibilities, then there are some wide open bombs. There are holes that have you weave through tight lil fairways through the trees aswell. The signs that are there are pretty good with the hole layout, the distance, and hole #. Navigation for the most part wasn't a problem. You did have a long hike on the trail between a couple holes, don't worry you didn't miss it just keep following the trail. With the wide veriety of hole layouts, the cool hole placements, and beautiful scenery this course is a MUST PLAY!
Cons: There is no hole# 3 :( The signage was great for the first half of the course, but after a certain hole the rest of the signs were either stolen or vandalized. The pads were just basically a pile of gravel.
Other Thoughts: Even without hole 3 and with the missing signs, this course is still one of my favorite courses. You will be hiking up the mountain and it is a work out, but for the most part you really didn't have to navigate through anything too steep.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Fantastic variety of holes. Picturesque hiking followed by a jaw-dropping view of a massive lake stretching off into the horizon.
Cons: About 4.5 miles of mountain hiking from basket 1 to 18. Then 450ish stairs down to parking lot. Follow a local group if you have not been here, hole signage is less than adequate.
Other Thoughts: Great local players. Super friendly attitudes. Groovy artwork. Hell-of-a-hike!
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 2 Not
What can we do with a Hiking trail?
Pros: I tend to play the same 3-4 courses all the time, so something a little different is always a plus. This course was a little different. There are some very nice and fun holes that are easy to visualize the perfect shot for, but difficult to actualize. I like those kind of holes because they give you a lot of satisfaction when you pull it off.
Cons: The "park" has a couple small fields at the bottom of a huge hill ("mountain") and the main attraction of the park is its hiking/biking trails that make a giant circle up and back down. The course seems like it was added as an after thought and simply follows these paths for almost all of the course.
It would seem then, that you could just follow the paths and find the next hole most of the time, and most of the time this is true, but there are a few holes that randomly veer off the path with out being marked. Other places you will continue to follow the path for 10 minutes of hiking wondering if you've missed the next hole (you didn't).
Other Thoughts: Having played it last year, I would like to play it again, having a better idea of the lay out, but my friends keep rejecting the idea.
It is quite a hike, but I didn't think it was much, if any, more than Hickory Hill's in TC where I regular.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Some pretty impressive views, especially 18 where you overlook Lake Charlevoix. A technical course; takes a variety of shot types to complete and features some holes that are very fun because of their challenge and originality.
Cons: The course can get confusing; irregular distances between holes, hard to find tees, missing signs and the lack of a third hole. Many blind shots that are made truly blind by missing tee signs. Pin placements are challenging but odd. Not a course for a first time player.
0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Beautiful. Challenging. Haphazard?
Pros: Very picturesque course. More challenging and technical than courses I typically play in the GR area (Riverside, Brewer, etc.).
Navigating the woods is both infuriating and satisfying when you choose/execute the right throw.
Not crowded, except a couple joggers.
Cons: Not sure whether the pin placement was out of my league, or if they just weren't trying very hard.
I was surprised we didn't tee off down/up more of the hills.
Inconsistent and confusing length/direction between holes.
Dirt tee pads pretty well eroded.
Overall, course design falls short of great potential.
Other Thoughts: Most of your first throws will be blind. Generally, a fun challenge, except most of the signs on the back nine are gone, so you're blind in the strictest sense.
Quite a hike. I enjoyed the walk, felt like a work out, but I imagine this could be a detterent to some.
Would've really liked to play again. I think I would've enjoyed it more the second time, knowing what to expect.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 8 Not
Pros: not bad of an course
Cons: there is to much hiking involved inbetween holes where at some spots of hiking their could be alot more holes putt in on this course not very well mapped since most of the course tee pad instructions are gone dont know any distances or how the hole runs
Other Thoughts: course isnt bad nice and clean not alot of trash laying around on the course so its a nice clean course with alot of hiking
0 of 8 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 1 Not
Coulda, woulda, shoulda!
Pros: All the holes on this course were interesting and challenging with holes ranging from short little doglegs around trees to wide-open big-arm shots that required missing isolated trees and bushes in the fairway on the front 9. One hole (#8) was a veritable pinball fest with the tiniest straight fairway to the basket. Holes from #11 on are mostly wooded until you on reach #17. Both #17 and #18 are back to being mostly open, with a really nice view from #18 and 2 large decks for resting before slogging down the 400+ stairs back to the parking lot.
I felt that this course required not just a full range of shots, but also some serious consideration of "the best" shot combination for any particular hole. Bad drives on a couple of holes on the back 9 could mean chasing your disc rolling down some very large hills.
The remaining etched slate tee markers were beautiful and well constructed, although at least one (#6?) was etched backwards making it look like the hole was a dogleg right when it was actually a left. With the exception of crossing the No Trespassing signs at the now defunct hole #3, navigation was simple since the course follows the main hiking trail and Next Tee signs were installed on the longest hikes and other areas where required. The terrain was varied and amazing, and the entire park was spotless as far as trash. The restrooms at the parking lot are also quite nice.
This park is waaay under-utilized for disc golf, with huge pointless uphill hikes between several holes, stunning terrain changes that weren't incorporated in the course, and shots along and across the main hiking trail. Huhn??? At least twice we almost hit hikers on the trail. In addition, I really can't figure out why they make you walk down 400+ stairs at the end instead of installing a signature hole with a beautiful downhill glide. This course could easily accommodate an additional and completely unique 12-18 holes without changing the basic course routing or interfering further with the hiking or biking trails.
Vandalism has robbed the course of any tee markings after hole 9, and the dirt tee pads with nice rock edging, while beautiful and perfect for this rustic setting, were not well tended, with dangerously rutted loose dirt.
Other Thoughts: This course coulda, woulda, shoulda been an amazing experience (on a par with Myles Kimmerly), but a serious lack of planning during course design and deficient continuing course upkeep makes this merely a strenuous uphill hike with some discing thrown in.
Once we were back at the parking lot, locals told us there are three alternate holes in the build process, accessible by hiking back up the trail from #18 toward #17, then a right turn and follow the new trail. We didn't feel like clambering all the way back up, so we skipped them this time, but I'll report back on them next time we go.
If you're a mountain biker, definitely take your bike. The bike trail parallels much of the DG course and it looks to be quite a ride with big climbs, plenty of off-camber and side-hill stuff, whoops, switchbacks, climbs, and rockin' downhills......riding the bike trail should offset the disappointment of the DG course (oh, and I didn't see any obvious sand pits!).
10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: Has a nice variety of different holes. Nice Chainstar baskets. A fairly private park, but does have a few other players and pedestrians. Has some great meadow holes on the front nine such as Hole 5, 6 and 9. Higher fun factor than other Northern Michigan courses, with slightly more elevation changes than River Road in Petoskey. Hole 13 is a woods hole that is worth the upwill walking effort needed to get there, with a mini-ravine buried in the side of a hill and diagonal path for drives. Hole 17 exits back into the open with a well-maintained fairway with the basket perched at a scenic spot. Hole 18 takes a light touch to keep from rolling into severe rough.
Cons: Very hard to navigate on back nine, with a tough uphill walk between several holes. Iffy tee pads and signage; Some holes on the back nine could be missed because of the considerable distance between holes 11 and 12, 14 and 15, and 16 and 17. Though not a major fault, players should be prepared for a long day of walking. Those expecting a big downhill Hole 18 will be disappointed.
Other Thoughts: Slight improvement would make this course first rate. However, it does need a little more work to make easier to follow on the back nine. If they could cut out the long walk between some of the back nine holes, that would be an improvement.
1 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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