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Pentwater, MI

Fairway to Heaven - Main

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Fairway to Heaven - Main reviews

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DFrah
Gold level trusted reviewer
Premium Member
Experience: 6 years 235 played 233 reviews
4.00 star(s)

And she's buying a Fairway to Heaven!

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:May 4, 2024 Played the course:once

Pros:

Too easy, just had to use that title. But if I hadn't, I would have probably come up with some title like "Great new course on Lake Michigan!".

"Fairway to Heaven" is located near Pentwater, MI on the property of a religious camp. Zooming out a bit, it's the latest addition to the plethora of great disc golf options near Ludington, MI - a catalog that includes Flip City, the 2 1/2 Mason County Park courses, Whiskey Hills, and many more solid options. Even with that tough regional competition, this course manages to shine.

This new 18-hole layout is highly technical and plays at what I'd judge as "advanced rec" to intermediate level. You'll need to shape shots at least to an extent on every hole here. A couple of holes get very tight, although I personally still felt that they were fair. There is a nice range of distances from a couple of very short throws that I'll get to in a second, to four par 4's in the 500'-550' range.

The middle 1/3 or so of this course (closest to Lake Michigan) is incredible. The elevation changes on these holes range from significant to extreme. I'm resisting the urge to write in detail about every hole from #7 to #14.
- #9 is a great 500' dogleg left playing in a steep valley between two wooded sand dunes the whole way. In addition to sloping up on both sides throughout, the fairway itself also goes appreciably uphill and back down over the course of the 500'. This would be the signature hole on many courses, but here it is bested by...
- #10 is a 300' throw where you have to choose one of two lines to clear some small trees off the tee. Then, the rest of the fairway plays down a sand dune, back up another dune, and down again to the basket. The basket is next to a large solitary pine tree. Behind all this (too far back to be in play, but in plain sight) is Lake Michigan. This hole had an emotional impact on me personally, having grown up near these sorts of environments on the Great Lakes. I have a short list of "favorite individual holes" on my profile and this one made it on there. Just a really, really cool throw.
- I have to mention #12 and #13 too. These holes are both listed at only 105'. #12 plays straight ahead up a steep, tightly wooded hill. #13 plays down an equally steep hill onto a small island green. Per the tee sign, it goes 30' downhill in the 105'. It took me a while to figure out how I even wanted to throw my putter at this one. After ricocheting my initial attempt off the top of the cage (and fortunately staying in the island), I threw a second disc and clanked off the front of the cage. Many memorable aces will be recorded here. I also noted and appreciated the rope setup on the hillside (to hold on to for safety purposes).

The baskets are red Chainstar Pros, which are seemingly becoming the standard in this area. Most holes have concrete tee pads framed in wood. The exception is holes 10-14, which have high quality turf pads mounted on wooden frames instead (possibly due to the sand, or difficulty getting concrete out there?) Maybe these are all going to be concrete eventually, but I didn't need it on those holes. Picnic tables sit behind most tees. There is one pin and tee position per hole.

The tee signs are temporary looking yard-style signs, but currently in great shape. They show an elevation profile in addition to the rough line/distance/par. There are more of these simple signs for navigation and to mark a couple of OB areas. The only spot where I could have used another directional arrow was after hole 10 (where there's a fairly long walk to hole 11's tee - back near hole 9's basket).

There is a kiosk with course map, and porta potty at the parking lot. The kiosk also mentions a welcome center further into the campground, where snacks and full restrooms are apparently available (I didn't check this out). There are several practice baskets, but...

Cons:

The practice area is next to hole 2 - not the most convenient to (or pointed out from) the beginning of the course.

The beginning 1/3 and ending 1/3 of this course are almost perfectly flat. It's not that this 2/3 of the course is bad by any means, but it's just way less memorable than the middle 1/3.

With the exception of the latter part of hole 10 plus one other hole (I think it was #4), this course is entirely wooded. I wouldn't have minded a couple more open holes to balance it out a bit more. Maybe another hole out in the dunes to eliminate the long walk from #10 to #11?

The yard-style signage is going to go missing and/or get beat up pretty quickly. More permanent signage would be a nice upgrade.

The longest holes are mostly stacked up at the end of the course. Of the five longest holes, four of them are #14, #16, #17, and #18. I took a beating on these holes, which is on me. But in an ideal world I would love to see the longest holes spread out a little more around the course.

Other Thoughts:

The only trash can I saw was at the parking lot. No problem for me, but worth noting.

This one costs $3/person/day to play (payable in a cash drop box at the kiosk). Your fee covers both this course and the 9-hole Pines course on site. Also, if your group has 4+ people the whole group is $10/day. The course is open seasonally from April until "first snow". In the shoulder season, you may want to check other places like Facebook, etc. to confirm course availability.

Cell phone service is spotty here - plan accordingly.

I really liked this one - enough to add it to my Favorites. It reminded me of my childhood throwing Ultimate Frisbees at made-up object "holes" - a significant amount of which happened at another campground on Lake Michigan about 45 minutes north of here. Anyway, I settled on a 4.0 rating. The middle 1/3 of the course is about a 4.5 in my eyes, and the rest is a solid but not particularly special 3.0-to-3.5 kind of course. I'd definitely recommend adding it to your itinerary if you're visiting the area to play all of the other great courses around here. Kudos to the course designers and owners on a job well done!
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