High potential, but many drawbacks
2 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Beautiful scenery in a nice wooded area of the park.
No real rough to speak of. Lots of trees, but the undergrowth around them has been removed so discs are easy to find.
Technicality of the course makes up for it's lack of length
Ability to play 9 or 18 holes easily is a great idea, and should be done by more course designers.
Navigation was flawless and easy!
Cons: The bugs! Holy crap! Bug spray won't cut it with these things, take long pants and sleeves and consider a beekeeper's headcovering!
The tees! They're too short, not always level with the ground, and slippery. Carpet turned upside down and staked to the ground is both cheaper and grippier.
The baskets are nice and new, but you'd better hit them dead center. Off center hits spit out due to the design of the Arroyo basket. Not the courses fault, but it did get frustrating.
Short and shorter holes.
Poor signs where present, and frequently missing both times I've played.
Other Thoughts: SMASH Park has the potential to be a 3.5 to 4 star course, but needs a little work to get there.
First, the good: The course is beautiful, with tons of mature trees, virtually no litter, and thoughtful challenging pin placements that strive to make up for a lack of length with somewhat artificial difficulty. The fact that there is a well marked transition where you can loop back to the parking lot is a nice feature I've not seen anywhere else. There are transitions, but they're usually only known to locals and not this well marked. Well done!
Now the bad. I wish I'd taken the transition the last time I played here. It would have kept me away from the "water hazards" which are actually just low lying stagnant swampy areas that breed an absurd number of mosquitoes. After reading the course conditions on this site I was prepared with 2 different insect repellents in my bag. One with 30% DEET, and the other with pyrethrum as the main active ingredients. Not only that, I'm usually the last person mosquitoes go after. I'll tell you right now, these suckers must be starving to death because they attacked me like a pack of starving hyenas, and went after my wife even worse. I'm really not sure what you could do to avoid them if the precautions I took didn't work. The city of Belding needs to consider treating these low-lying areas with something to kill mosquito larvae. Doing so would improve the course immensely.
One final negative is hole length: I could have played this baby with an Envy and a Zone, and done just fine. There are only 2 holes most players will NEED a driver on, and even those you might be better served to play a more controlled shot. I realize that this is partly a design choice, and partially a constraint enforced by wanting 18 holes on a limited piece of land, but I'd personally rather see 9 really good holes here.
For all the grief I'm giving it, SMASH Park really does have potential. The two longer holes show what the entire course could be if reduced to only 9 holes, and are totally amazing. However, the shorter length and more technical holes are definitely loved by some. Despite the bugs, my wife can't wait to play here again. She feels like this course puts us on much more even footing as it robs me of my major distance advantage over her. Kill the mosquitoes or at least reduce them, and get better signs and teepads and this is an easy 3-3.5 star course. The locals seem committed to improving it, so hopefully that trend continues.
Lots of hate from the locals. 3 stars was a fair, objective, and in fact generous review of this course, and 2 people voted it down? Seriously, go play Deerfield or the Vines and tell me your course is even in the same league...
2 of 6 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Onward and Upward
Aesthetic-- plays through the east end of a small city park. Other facilities include hiking trails which DO NOT interfere with disc golf. Disc on!
Teesigns--nice for what they are. shows directionality of the hole if not a map along with distance. I like the aesthetic of the small piece missing to symbolize the guy the park is dedicated to? not sure if this is intentional or not.
Baskets-- ARROYOS!!! Super bright and visible in the woods. Love the added confidence of arroyos with regards to bounce outs.
Routing/nav-- easy easy. not a chance of getting lost here. next tee signs on every hole and branches/logs to guide the way
amenities-- garbage cans and "benches" are plentiful. Bathrooms are near the parking lot. though they were locked when we were there.
Challenge-- this course is extremely short. it can be played with one or two discs, no drivers required at all. I threw mostly a gator and a putter.
Variety-- meh, it's pretty bland honestly
Teepads- Honestly they weren't bad, the long turf provided some grip. would strongly prefer concrete in the future.
Other Thoughts: I am overly impressed with the amount of work that has gone on at this course in the last month or so. The improvements are amazing.
I honestly liked this course, very reminiscent of a longer Rycenga park.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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