Very Good Short to Medium Length Technical Course
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The holes are interesting and varied in terms of open and wooded terrain and shot selection. You won't notice the lack of elevation on this property because of the complete lack of boring holes.
The property has excellent Disc Golf arability (despite being flat) with open areas containing lots of clusters of trees of all sizes, plus a tightly wooded area (with those WPA-style rows of pine trees) for several consecutive holes.
During my first round, I found myself saying this a lot after finishing a hole..."A-ha! Next time I'm going to throw a _______ instead," or, "I'm going to try a different angle," etc. That's a good sign.
Good shots are rewarded and bad shots are punished on almost every tee. That's also a good sign.
A premium is placed on precision for much of the course. If you enjoy that sort of Disc Golf...where holes are sometimes a puzzle to solve, but not necessarily a place to pull out your big driver and throw bombs all day...much of this course will be right up your alley.
Nice new cement tee pads for all 18 holes... Adequate DGA New Mach II baskets. It appears as though there are some alternate pin placements in use since I discovered some sleeves in the ground. That's always a plus.
I imagine this course won't see a ton of foot traffic due to its remote location, either.
Specific exceptional holes...Right off the bat at Hole #1, you're playing a 2-shot hole with several small, tight, challenging but fair windows from which to choose at the tee. This hole is a sterling example of playing "Puzzle Golf."
There's another unique one I liked (its # escapes me, but it's the one right before you enter the "WPA" or "Kimble Pines" portion of the course) where you choose between a very sharp anhyzer (that's more or less a layup for par) or you can play steeplechase with a row of pine trees at mid-length.
I actually did like a lot of the Kimball Pines/WPA style holes, at least the first 3/4 of their lengths. One of them that's notable is #12 (and perhaps the signature hole on the course?). It has you teeing down a long, long narrow and straight tunnel (maybe 350-400'? It feels like it, anyway...) that you can par if you execute two consecutive straight drives (perhaps with a midrange Disc) with no margin for error. The pin placement is a little wonky (see below in the "con" section), but other than that, it's fair and tough...especially if you nick a tree and veer off course crazily. I took a six once, and I parred it once. Not boring. None of the Kimball Pines/WPA holes are boring.
Finally, at long last, you get to grab your best long-distance driver and crank one on Hole #18. It was a legitimate full-out drive for me plus a lengthy upshot, and it had purposeful, small clusters of obstacles at several intervals throughout the hole, including a couple of small trees near the tee where you have to uncomfortably "buzz the tower" on them. The pin is tucked behind a nice cluster of trees (including a big one) near the parking lot. A good hole in its own right, and I'm not just saying that because it's the only truly open hole on the course and I was as relieved to play it as a thirsty person lost in the desert getting to drink a glass of water.
Cons: If you're looking for a more open course where you can take out your biggest driver and throw bomb after bomb after bomb, this isn't for you.
It seems to come with the territory of this brand of Disc Golf, but there are certainly instances of pin placements where blind luck is a factor for the second half of a hole. At least when that happens, the short game is more interesting. I found myself playing Twister with a lot of trees and branches to attempt putts after having executed good drives. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but good drives do indeed crash through stuff you can't see or plan for from the tee on a majority of the course, and a few of the pin placements are flagrantly bad in terms of this. (Some of them are in alternate placements. I saw empty basket sleeves in easier locations...)
Hole #14 is the poster child for this phenomenon. Located in the "WPA" portion of the course, it's reminiscent of the second half of old Cold Brook #9 when it was newer, but with added length. (I'd say it's 250'?) You do have a window and a direction through which to take aim, and once you execute it, you're playing "Plinko!" from the Price is Right after the hole's midpoint. Heck, probably earlier than that. It's a legitimate...and very tight and tough...little anhyzer hole with the removal of just two small trees, in my opinion. Still...It's not boring. :-)
The issue of signage and logistics has been addressed and noted from earlier reviews of this course. I don't pay much attention to those variables so long as the course isn't crazy. That's the case here, although I did have a couple of local people familiar with the course acting as my personal Sherpa. The trickiest point might be after finishing Hole #1. You have to almost double back from it to find Hole #2's tee which is in the direction of the southernmost boundary of the course. In most cases, you can look for where foot traffic has left paths, and in some cases, there are even crude arrows pointing you to where you're supposed to go. In any event, when courses don't have good signs, that con evaporates after a round or two and you've found where you need to go.
Lastly, I didn't notice any official place to relieve yourself...
Other Thoughts: The cactus!! I thought Shore Acres Park in Saugatuck had neat Michigan-style prickly pear, but this place takes the cake, especially in the first half of the course. It's all over the place. There was even evidence of it fruiting in a couple of clusters. Incredible.
The areas of the course not in the WPA pine woods reminded me of the terrain of the shorter holes in the sandy areas of Oxbow Park (Goshen, IN, my first-ever course). You've got that, and then you've got a flat version of Kimball Pines' tight holes (R.I.P.) for about 5 holes toward the end of the course.
About 15 years ago, I predicted that every small town in America would have a Disc Golf course, just like they have basketball and tennis. It's coming true. This, for God's sake, is <italics>Orangeville, MI</italics>. It makes nearby Martin look like an oasis of culture and bustling activity. I was surprised to not see someone playing a banjo on their porch.
And finally, this is a little gem of a course off the beaten path...on CHURCH property. There are scumbags leaving beer bottles and other trash strewn about. I even saw a whiskey bottle smashed to bits in one conspicuous location. I know a lot of people like to often flaunt public park rules and drink alcohol where it's verboten, as if they couldn't wait an hour to start drinking after the round. If that's you smashing whiskey bottles on a church Disc Golf course, would you please consider participating in other endeavors? Perhaps there's a Monster Truck rally in Grand Rapids you can go watch? ...
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Let me first start out by giving a huge thank you to all who were involved with the development of the course. It's great to see new courses around the area being developed that clearly have smart people behind the wheel. For anyone interested, this course is now a full 18 with baskets. Anyways.
-Very nice shot variation required here. It would've been very easy to make this course a throw and go, but nearly every hole requires at least some thought process before throwing. Basket placement is very good with the exception of one hole (I think 8 or 9).
-Very well maintained (so far), nice setting and scenery. TONS of cacti. You wouldn't expect it, but look down and its very possible that you'll be standing near some.
-Course maps available on site. The maps are a little weird, to be honest, but navigation isn't too bad, generally there are signs and paths to mark the way, although sometimes scouting the hole ahead is necessary to even know where to shoot.
-Could very possibly become (or maybe already is) camping friendly. There are more than a couple areas around the course that are out of the fairways that could definitely house a campsite. I will look into it.
-Nice hole variation going from front to back 9. Completely different courses almost.
Cons: -Dirt tee pads, I expect something else will likely be put in, as they were just recently able to afford the full 18 baskets. Something for the future.
-When I played this in the summer, it was unbearably overgrown in some places, ESPECIALLY on the back nine. I played the full 18 on 11/3/2011, and it was much much better. Hard to tell whether or not it was because of the season change or maintenance that had been done, either way, wear pants and shoot straight.
-(Opinion)Back nine gets old, quickly. This is one of those courses that will evolve over time and become more friendly, but as of now, some of the holes on the back nine are simply lane-less. The first few aren't too bad, very tight and low fairways, but it just keeps going.
Other Thoughts: All in all, I really really like what has been created here and I do recommend for anyone in the area to check it out. I have heard that a few tournaments were held here recently, which I also like to hear.
I live about the same distance from this course and from Robert Morris, and while I enjoy Robert Morris a lot, I will likely play this course much more often, not only because it is free, but because the difficulty level is slightly lower. It may not have the elevation changes like RoMo does, but it certainly makes you vary your shots and has everything even a seasoned disc golfer would enjoy.
With teepads and a couple changes to the back 9, this course becomes a solid 4 for me.
Disc Golf in Michigan lives.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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