Challenging but underwhelming university course
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Ferris State University is located in Big Rapids, MI which is about an hour's drive north of Grand Rapids. A new 18-hole disc golf course plays in an underutilized area on the south end of campus. With the exception of holes 8-9, other campus buildings/amenities are never in play - and often not even in sight.
The course flows between wooded and more open terrain. For a campus layout, this one is surprisingly lengthy. From the long Blue tees, there are three par 4's that are each over 500'. The longest hole is #14, which plays 700' down an incline, then turns right to cross a low-lying area and climb back up a different hill to the basket. The short Red tees offer a 4570' par 3 layout that is still plenty challenging for recreational players.
Rolling elevation changes are present throughout the course. It's nothing extreme, but enough to make quite a few holes more interesting. The higher areas also seemed to be pretty exposed to the wind.
The wooded holes had a good mix of left turns/right turns/straight fairways. It seemed like most of the lines were similar when playing Blue vs. Red tees, but I only played one round from the Red tees so that comment is only based on visual observation.
The baskets are red banded DISCatchers in mint condition. One per hole. Hole 17's basket is raised on a stump.
Cons: Navigation is very difficult. I did not see any signs, tape in baskets, etc. You will need UDisc or a guide, especially between holes 2-3 and 10-11.
The tee areas leave much to be desired. The two teepads per hole are gravel and were very uneven when I visited. The tee signs are small and basic, simply showing the hole number, distance, and par when not 3. The signs at the long tees are blue and those at the short tees are red. With many baskets not visible from the tee, hole maps on these signs would be nice. For some reason, each sign also has the word "CHAMPS" written on it in capital letters. I believe this is a reference to the fact that the university's disc golf team has won multiple national championships in the past decade. Congrats to them - but quite honestly, having this pasted on every one of the 36 tee signs (especially when the signs could use more other information and the adjacent pads are sorely lacking in quality) felt tacky to me. A nice kiosk at the front of the course (which doesn't currently exist) would be a better place to display that sort of information.
Other extras like practice basket, porta potty, benches, and trash cans are also missing. There was quite a bit of trash on the course when I played.
Course maintenance in general was very poor when I visited. The course still had the feel of the underutilized/abandoned area that it was built in. The fairways could have used a mow throughout, with grass reaching my knees in a couple of places. The rough throughout the course is still very, very rough. It often consists of thick brush and grass that is very good at hiding discs, without actually adding much challenge. During one particularly bad stretch, I looked for my tee shot for about ten minutes each on holes 11 and 12 before finding it - and neither shot was more than 10' off of the fairway. Then my luck finally ran out on hole 13. My throw here was not great, but I believe my disc still likely landed within about 20 feet of the fairway. I dug around in the weeds for over 30 minutes before giving up. Largely due to the time spent searching for discs, it took me 2.5 hours to get through a solo round with no one else on the course.
Hole 9 plays near a tennis court, that was busy when I visited on a Friday afternoon.
The course plays near a river. Water never comes into play, but certain areas of the course are relatively close to it and likely to be soggy for much of the year.
Other Thoughts: Be sure to park in the signed "Disc Golf Parking" area at the far south end of lot 4 to avoid a parking ticket.
Overall, Ferris State University DGC is not awful for a "campus course" - but I think it could easily be a lot better. Concrete tee pads, more complete signage, regular maintenance, and some thinning out of the rough would all be welcome improvements. As is, I honestly couldn't wait to finish my round and leave by the time I reached the last few holes. In its current state, I can't really recommend this one to anyone but students at the university and course baggers - especially with two nice courses just up the road at Northend Riverside Park.
13 of 13 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.