110 Helpful / 1 Not
Flyboy visits Flip
Pros: See Cons
Cons: See Pros
Other Thoughts: Making a trip up north to play the legendary Flip City course has been on my to-do list since long before I ever dreamed of building my own disc golf course. With the Atlanta summer heat index well into the miserable 100's, the time seemed right, and fellow disc golfer Brad Meier and I headed north on a spur of the moment combined trip to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Mecca of sport aviation, and Flip City, Shelby, Michigan, Mecca of disc golf. Oshkosh: been there done that before. Flip City: epic.
Having heard so many great things about Flip over the years, our expectations were high, and neither of us got much sleep the night before our visit, as the anticipation of playing one of the best disc golf courses on the planet had us all keyed up. We'd given Bill, creator of Flip City, a courtesy call prior to the trip just to make sure we were good to go, he gave us the green light, and the trip was on. Airline flight Atlanta to Detroit, and rental car drive Detroit to Shelby dragged on forever, but as we finally got to within 10 minutes or so of Flip, the pavement faded to gravel, time seemed to slow down, and the beautiful landscape gave us a hint of what was to come.
I wasn't sure what to expect pulling into Bill's driveway...giant flashing neon Flip City sign?...big asphalt parking lot?...wrong end of the spectrum. The place is quaint and understated with only a few initial subtle hints of disc golf. The faint word "Flip" was mowed into the grass in the front yard. Nice touch. Stepping out of the rental car, we were the only sign of life on the property, aside from the swarm of seasonal deer flies buzzing around our heads (we were in season). Near the parking area, a small faded wooden sailboat sits on a pedestal, and around the corner of a shed is an old mailbox nailed to the wall with scorecard/course maps and pencils. There's a donation lock box labeled "$1". $1...are you kidding me...to play this legendary private course? My first insight into the kind of guy Bill is.
The #1 tee pad, around the shed, is marked by a diminutive white post and points out towards Bill's front yard. No tee signs, huh. "Must be that-a-way", over the hill between those trees? Our hunch was confirmed with a few steps up the hill to get a visual on the basket. I almost aced #1 with my trusty Road Runner. Let's see, next tee...no next tee signs either, huh...there it is...over there, and the pad points "that-a-way", basket must be over there somewhere. We continued working our way around the first five holes using the "must be that-a-way" method, noticing the increasingly beautiful scenery, swatting deer flies, and certainly enjoying but not blown away with the course...until we found the #6 tee. Wow...now I get it! Absolutely beautiful. After putting out, we followed a meandering path we hoped would lead us to...Holy Cow!...#7...even more picturesque off the tee than #6. Ok, officially blown away now. And so it went.
And then we stepped up to #11. The scene unfolds below and in front of you like stepping into a wonderland. Curious rock sculptures sprout up randomly around the manicured grass fairway, loosely bordered by knee high wild flower spattered rough areas, serrated by ribbons of artistically mowed pathways. Mesmerized, we grab for our cameras with no thought of grabbing for a disc. Finally, oh yeah, we gotta tee off don't we. I managed another decent Road Runner pull, but "niced" Brad's Wraith just as it turned over and headed for the rough. Finding it was a breeze though, thanks to the accommodating mowed paths in the knee high wild flowers.
As we continued around the course, learning to spot the subtle pathways to the next tee, and realizing the lay of the land is all the tee sign you really need here, we began to appreciate the "experience" of playing Flip, as one beautiful fairway after another eased into view before us. Somewhere along the way, without mention, we stopped keeping score, ridding ourselves of any additional stress. Our fun meters were pegged. Even the Deer Flies seemed to cut us some slack, or maybe we just quit noticing them, as we became fully immersed in the incredibly beauty of this special place. A wind chime played some faint background music. Brad and I respectfully added our own small touch to the Flip City tapestry, stacking a couple of small stones on one of the many rock sculptures, and writing a thank you note in sharpie to Bill on a picnic table, already covered in countless signatures, musings and hieroglyphics from 30 years of disc golfers. Another insight into Bill's psyche, inviting his guests to become a part of his creation.
As we progressed through the layout, I began to understand and respect the "feel-good" nature of Flip City. Having played Flyboy hundreds of times, with it's heart-pounding lake challenges, every trick in the bag required, and mental and physical endurance demands, it was a welcome relief to be able to totally relax and enjoy a completely different realm of disc golf. With nary a par 4 or 5 to worry about, my "Nut Sac" of four trusty discs was plenty to play Flip (Oh. The "Nut Sac" is a small travel bag I use on the road). Remember, Bill built this course 30 years ago, when a 250-foot drive was a pretty good rip. To choose between Flip and Flyboy...well, they're two entirely different animals. Brad and I, both pilots, mused it'd be like trying to decide whether you'd want to fly a vintage WWII P-51 Mustang, or a supersonic, high tech F-22 Raptor, each sexy fighter planes in their own right. We'd give both our arms to be able to fly either.
It is understandable to me now how Flip City, one of the very first private courses in the sport, has stood the test of time, and in fact become part of the history and lore of disc golf: one word...Bill. We were able to meet and chat with him after the round, because he gave up his afternoon at the lake to wait for us to finish the course. Bill has dedicated about 30 years of his life to his dream, and I really do mean major sacrifice...in his personal life, the enormous amount of work he's done not only creating this jewel, but meticulously maintaining it on a daily basis. And financially...how many thousands upon thousands of dollars of his own money has he invested over the years to make this course one of the best in the world? The mailbox nailed on the side of the shed says "$1 to play". C'mon Bill.... you kidd'n me! One dollar won't even pay to back the mower out of the shed! But that's Bill's way, quietly motoring along, almost apologizing for asking that you please not bring your dog to crap around the course, or throw your cigarette butts down, or donate $1 to play. I urge you to ignore the ridiculous "$1" sign and donate as much as you possibly can afford to the Flip City cause. And if you insist on throwing your cigarette butts on the ground, just wait and throw them down right at Bill's feet when you finish. He's the one ultimately going to be picking them up, might as well save him walking around the course to do it. Don't forget, this is a private venue. There's no grounds crew to mow and clean up after you, there's no public funding coming in to build, maintain, and improve the course, there's just Bill.
If you wanted specific hole-by-hole details about Flip City, read some of the other detailed, well-written reviews. To me, this course is so much more about experiencing something very special in our sport, than about the mathematics of a perfect disc golf hole, the stats on the course, or even your score. It's about enjoying a once in a lifetime, unique disc golf experience, and well worth the time, effort, and money to come up here to "Mecca", and experience it for yourself.
110 of 111 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 19 Not
A great wow factor.
A place to camp if needed.
Cons: Not close enough to me to play more often.
I just cant see any major or minor falt with this course.
Other Thoughts: Bill is a great guy who has done a terrific job.
3 of 22 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Well taken care of
Nicely groomed fairways
Broom at almost every hole
Great use of elevation
Unique, but nice tee pads
Great variety of shots
Maps and scorecards at #1
Amazing rock structures
Cons: None that I can think of
Other Thoughts: Oh my god, where to even begin. This course is definitely one of the best in the world. It just puts together all of the things needed for a perfect course. I couldn't imagine a course any better than what this one has to offer. It is an all in one course. Some holes are short and narrow, while others are long and wide. It just makes you use every shot imaginable. It makes you think harder about one shot than you ever have. I just loved the diversity here.
Bill, he is a great guy. He definitely knows how to put together a perfect disc golf course. I came up on a mini vacation and camped out here. He made the experience a thousand times better. He just wants you to be satisfied by the time you leave the course. I know for a fact that I was very satisfied when I left here. He's a great guy and if any of you go, for sure say hi to him. Without Bill here the course would be no more. He loves this place like no other. So keep it clean.
Just overall this course gave me the expierence of a lifetime. I am from Ky and I live 5 minutes away from Idlewild. I don't know what course that I like better. They are just both magnificent. They both are perfect courses. When I came I was surprised how it was in the middle of no where. Regardless of where it is located, it is still on top of the world. The one little complaint I had was the tee signs. I know the give you a map at the beginning, but it could use to have better tee signs. The only other thing was the bugs. I know they can't control it but the bugs are everywhere. Just bring bug spray and you'll be good to go. Come here for a great time with Bill and the rest of Flip. Enjoy
12 of 15 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 10 Not
Pros: WOW! I loved this course easily one of my favorites. THe first few holes don't seem real spectacular, but when you get to 5 and on I was just mind blown away. I loved the use of the rolling hills and rocky terrain. The rock structures throughout the course added a touch of class. Fairways were clean of garbage, clearly marked and fun just to look at. There are plenty of blind shots and not knowing the course made shot selection diffictult at times. If I had to pick a favorite hole it would have to be them anything from hole 5 on.
Cons: 2 things would be nice, a proshop on hand with water and discs and making it more stroller friendly. I pushed my son ina running stroller and parts were a bit difficult.
Other Thoughts: Having played Highbridge Hills Blueberry Hill course the day before and Blue Ribbon Pines early in the month this course beats them both. Blue Ribbon comes close but lacks in elevation change. Blueberry lacks mostly in grooming, but also just the feel of the course. THIS IS A MOST PLAY COURSE!
6 of 16 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: A beautiful course with a wide variety of shots and varying elevations.
Perfectly laid out, easy to follow path with signs.
24 hole course including 6 alternate holes so you can play a quicker round of 18 or get the full experience with 24.
Great pin placement and challenging distance on many holes.
Isolated location and elegantly carved through many acres of rolling land.
Pretty forgiving on many holes.
Cons: *[*not really a con, but*]* Not beginner friendly as it is a long course utilizing a wide variety of shots.
Other Thoughts: With a good arm and decent aim, it is fairly easy to make par (3) on most holes and birdies are a viable option for a good portion of holes. Speaking as an amateur with a lot of different courses played and 8 years of experience, this is definitely my favorite course due to the amount of fun it is just to just play the course and experience the game of disc golf in pure Shelby nirvana. The course is amazingly kept and laid out and the sense of serenity and karma of the course is unmatched.
If you can make a trip to play a round here, DO IT!
9 of 11 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: This course offers many different shot selections. Not overly long and all holes have obstacles. (Long 500' holes without any obstacles, in my opinion, are a complete waste.) Elevation changes were very nice and quite surprising as I wasn't expecting to hump it as much as I did. While many of the holes are short, they are not easy. Great fun factor, but also challenging. Brooms at almost every hole made it nice to be able to clean them off. Others playing the course were very nice. We arrived during leagues on Wednesday and got to meet many of the "locals". A lot of these guys are driving 45 min. - 1 hour to play each week! I think that says a lot about the course. Everyone we met was very cool and they offered good advice. Trash cans at almost every tee and awesome, conveniently placed "rest areas" along the way. Many shots require hitting your line, but you're not punished too badly on most holes if you miss that line. There are some tunnel shots though. The stacked rocks add to the mystique of the course.
Cons: Too far of a drive from Independence, KY (but it certainly was worth it.) Cell phone reception is spotty (try the tee on 18)
Other Thoughts: If you camp, watch out for the racoon. He's probably about 20 lbs fatter after eating our bacon, goetta, peanuts, etc... Bill was an awesome host. Got to enjoy a few drinks with him and learn the history of Flip. This course was very clean too. While talking to Bill, I learned a little bit about the time commitment to keep this course up and it takes a LONG time just to mow, not to mention emptying the trash cans. We spent 3 days at Flip and while it rained during the morning on 2 of the 3 days, it was still awesome and well worth the 7 hour trip. Bill has a beautiful course in his back yard and we are all very fortunate that he is willing to share it with us.
12 of 14 people found this review helpful.
26 Helpful / 5 Not
Fun for EVERYONE
Pros: - Course is set in a large piece of property that has an abundance of hills and forest. This is the definition of an area devoted to disc golf, no interference and no distractions. Holes are pretty much split between open with obstacles (trees, bushes, rock piles) and forested with defined lines. There are also those that enter/exit or play next to denser forest.
- Holes in the open provide some different looks; #1 is a blind shot over a hill and around a tree, #6 forces a wide shot either way, #11 is a nice valley shot, #4A has a semi-protected basket, each one has something to think about. Very few are truly open.
- A lot of other holes are in semi-open areas, meaning there are a ton of obstacles between you and the pin. This is usually in the form of large, wide trees that double as leafy death up top and trunk danger on bottom. With a lot of elevated tees/valley shots, the entire tree can be a hazard in different ways. Other holes have more trees off the teepad, to force a line right out of the gate. Others have lots of trees near the basket to force good shot placement. A large range of shots here - pictures do the justice.
- Good amount of holes in the woods as well, which demand a ton of accuracy and distance control. Multiple blind shots over hills to a sloping green, with huge punishment for going long, left, or right. Scattered trees also force some line control; having some trick shots or a good OH can be a lifesaver. Some other holes with straight up tight fairways or approaches, like #2's second shot (for most),and #3A and #18 off the tee.
- Hilliness is a constant factor here, on almost every single hole, no joke. #2 is kinda flat, maybe #9 and a few others, but it is the exception. Lots of valley shots for downs and ups, and some smaller hills for ups and downs. Elevated teepads on many holes, a pure uphill basket on #4 and #6, a steep downhill on #18, etc. etc.
- Great variety in holes distances, with 5 under 200', 7 over 350', with 4 over 440'. Lots in between as well. At the very least one par 4 (#2A, 670' double valley fairway with trees and bordering forest), with #2 a close call (502', into a low forest with lots of trees).
- Good teepads, baskets. Posts with hole numbers for signage, navigation is pretty straightforward. Everything is perfectly manicured and well taken care of.
Cons: - Biggest con here in my book is some repetetiveness. This is especially true for the smaller forest holes, throwing it straight and not too far is really about it. With super short lengths, a birdie usually just means you didn't screw up. Some of the valley shots feel similar as well, even after playing the course three times they still blend together a bit.
- While there are some hazards in the form of rock gardens and some rollaways/trenches, there is indeed no water and not many truly dangerous spots to go. Staying out of trouble in general can be very easy, playing it safe is always an option.
Other Thoughts: - Wow, what a course. Fun factor is off the charts, for the multitude of reasons listed above. The shorter hole lengths in spots reflect the age of this course, but the longer ones will make even the big arms bust out the drivers. Lots of fantastic, memorable holes that have a ton of challenge and character. The entire atmosphere, with camping, glow, hanging out with the designer and other peeps, is truly an experience. No doubt.
- Even with all the reasons above, Flip is just a tad one-dimensional to warrant a full 5 stars. The lack of deadly hazards, some similar holes, and dearth of par 4 holes hurt the rating. But what it does, it does magnificently. Everyone from beginners to experts should love it start to finish.
26 of 31 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 7 Not
king of kings
Pros: 24 holes maximizes your time on this serene disc golf oasis.elevation change make this fun and challenging for this ohio boy.stone piles make for fun and interesting obstacles..fairways are nicely maintained and ruff has angles path to facilitate in finding lost discs...a+++
Cons: too far away from me...thats pretty much it
Other Thoughts: this is my ultimate summer vacation spot for every summer in the future..u can litterlly feel the history on the tees.keep up the good work and happy huking
3 of 10 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The beauty of the surroundings is the most obvious thing that makes this course special. The course flows through acre after of acre of gorgeous forest and rolling hills, which offer very scenic views from several spots on the course.
The lay-out of the course is the most important thing to me and the lay-out was great. Every hole offered some type of challenging drive and/or elevation change. Every hole had trees to avoid and landing zones to shoot for, with a steep price to pay for missing your line. Many of the baskets were set on steep hills for even more risk/reward opportunities.
The fairways are devoid of stumps and holes and are well-mowed (which must take forever) making for easy traversing.
The multitude of picnic tables, benches and gazebos placed throughout the course allow plenty of neat spots to take a break.
There are plenty of trash cans throughout the course.
The rough actually has paths mowed through them so you can search for your disc without having to walk through many weeds. I have never seen this before and I can't express how much easier it is to find a disc because of it, saving time, energy, and frustration.
Cons: The only bad thing about this course is that it isn't closer to my house.
Other Thoughts: This course is a four hour drive for me but it is worth every mile.
If you plan to camp, contact Bill ahead of time.
There is no electrical or running water for campers, so plan accordingly. There is a grocery store: fifteen minute drive through gorgeous forest for any supplies you might not have. Thank you Bill, you provide a special place for a lot of people.
Make the trip.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 12 Not
Pros: This is by far the best disc golf experience that i have had. Because of the peaceful environment that Bill has created, this place cant be beat by any public course. I was allowed to play day and night golf, camp, cook out, and most of all relax....thanks. I am from Texas and i will be back with another group garunteed! Thanks again Bill
Other Thoughts: When it comes to the overall picture...Bill you rock!
5 of 17 people found this review helpful.
Join Disc Golf Course Review
for free to add your review. Have an account already? Sign In
to add a review.