A hilly, unique disc golf experience!
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I have to start with the elevation change. It is intense. There are uphill holes and downhill holes. There are holes along the hillside. There are holes where the tee and basket are both high up but you have to throw across a steep valley in between. All of this elevation change is used well and never starts to feel repetitive.
The pin placement is great, with a variety of hyzers, anhyzers, and straight shots. Many pins are not visible from the tee. Several pins are located on the edge of steep inclines making for a great risk/reward factor. This course is on the shorter side but provides many technical challenges with tight fairways and plenty of trees to contend with on most holes. And did I mention the elevation???
The infrastructure is in great shape here. As some other reviewers have mentioned, the course was renovated a few years back. I never played it when it was a pole hole course but now there are 18 yellow DISCatcher baskets in great condition, plus a practice basket. There are large cement tee pads and color tee signs for each hole showing the distance and path to the basket. There is a map posted at the front of the course and another one at the top of the valley where several tees and baskets kind of converge (the maps are pretty small and can be mistaken for generic signposts from a distance). Even with the maps, most holes have "next tee" signs or it is otherwise clear where the next tee is. You won't get lost on this course.
This portion of the park is disc golf only, so there won't be any other park users to contend with.
It's honestly just a pretty park. Taken as a whole, the course plays up and down a steep valley in a relatively quiet area. From the top of the valley you can see the Grandville Castle in the distance (locals will know what I'm talking about here). Some of the tee pads have nice wooden fronts for decoration. There are also several benches throughout the course to sit down, take a break, and enjoy the view.
Cons: As mentioned above, the overall length is pretty short. The only hole above 400' is #18, a wide open downhill bomb to end your round. Definitely not a "grip it and rip it" type course.
There are some holes where the fairways are a little close together. The separation distance would be sufficient if the course were flat, but because it's so hilly sometimes the combination of an errant throw and wind can push your disc onto an adjacent fairway.
Some of the holes have so much elevation change that it can start to feel a little treacherous walking up and down the hills. I'm not saying to bring your rock climbing gear, but make sure you wear shoes with good grip and walk carefully.
Some of the rough is pretty thick. It isn't particularly unpleasant to search in, but it's still possible to lose a disc.
Other Thoughts: My signature hole is #13. It's short (194') but angles sharply to the right through thick trees, and steeply downhill (so much so that you have to walk down some switchbacks to get to the pin from the tee). If you can avoid the trees and get the right flight path it's probably an easy birdie, but I haven't managed it yet.
With the recent improvements this course is significantly better than the ~3.0 average rating it currently holds on here. This is a must-play course if you are local or visiting the area. I wouldn't quite call it a destination course, but there is no other course within a 20 min drive of Grand Rapids that offers this much elevation change and arguably none that offers this much technical challenge. Play it!
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
The hills have baskets!
Pros: I played this course years ago with poles and was impressed by the elevation change and unique challenges presented by the dramatic changes. At the time I was super happy to have played it and was confused why other parks had baskets while this gem seemed to be neglected. Fortunately this conundrum no longer exists. Thanks to a number of sponsors this park is in tip top shape.
Brand new innova disc catchers. Brand new cement tee pads. Brand new tee signs. All the equipment is in great shape, no gripes.
I believe a few of the holes went through a re-design in the process of building this course. A lot of the holes I remembered from my first trip out and seemed familiar but I believe there may have been a few changes as well but the time in between my two rounds was long enough that I can't be sure beyond saying that a handful of the holes play the same.
Elevation change is used in a variety of ways. Two shots crossing ravines to hillside baskets one of which that forces a left to right hook. One straight uphill fairway that makes a 180 foot hole play like 300. Hard left hooks going uphill, soft left going downhill. Hills that drop off precariously behind baskets that force distance control. The long straight uphill fairway followed by the nearly 500 foot downhill bomb in holes 17 and 18.
Hole 18 is a super fun way to end your round. Certainly a tee that you can stand at and empty your entire bag and wish you had brought more discs to huck. From what I can remember every single course I have played that features significant elevation change seems to end with a big downhill hole to end the round. Maybe this is an unwritten rule of course design? Make us forget about that putt that rolled 60 feet down the hill after hitting the cage by making us feel like we can drive 500 feet. Is that it?
A couple of shots have blind baskets which I think adds to the desire to play a course over and over again as it rewards familiarity.
Cons: I felt as though a few of the holes would benefit from some more foliage. A couple of them just seem like the only real obstacle was the elevation and since every hole pretty much deals with elevation in some manner it seems kind of like a filler hole when that is really the only challenge.
A little bit heavily weighted on RHBH throws. Can only think of two instances that really favored a anhyzer line.
Some tough par 3's but no true par 4's on the course. The land is certainly there and I think throwing in a couple holes that require multiple drives to reach the pin would be great.
Other Thoughts: I wish I lived closer to this course. Super enjoyable round through all the ups and downs (see what I did there?). Thanks again to all the sponsors that made the restoration of this park a reality, great job.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
One of my Favorites
Pros: - Great crazy level hills through-out the park - in which one hole you go down a steep hill just to go up another steep one.
Cons: - Hard to find for new people. The first time I've went to this park - even with my car - I couldnt find where to go for at least 20 minutes, and even got sidetracked walking into the forest lands. I even asked a few locals with no help.
- Can get really hot during the middle of summer being up top of some of these high level hills, so best to bring a drink.
- Can get confusing trying to find some holes, as it seems a couple have dissapeared - but it should be expected since as the park is old.
Other Thoughts: - In order to easily reach the park, just continue down past the local park until you feel you have reached a gravel drive way to your left - of course though most people come from that direction.
- The last time I've took a bike ride to, there were two strange kids, and my brother swears one had a axe in his pants, so be careful around this park, as it may be a good idea to bring a back-up knife.
- Theres only poles, no baskets.
- No concrete tee pads, mostly dirt
- Despite some of the cons I have put down, this park is still one of my favorites cause of the crazy terrain - gotta give the park credit for uniqueness.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 4 Not
Go early or late
Pros: Great terrain and post layouts. Beautiful landscape with rolling hills and fantastic skylines. This is where I learned to play and this will probably always be my favorite course.
Cons: NO BASKETS. Stupid kids ruined them a few years ago so now we are stuck with posts for now. Also, avoid raining, humid days. Bugs and mud will be plenty. I suggest wearing high socks if you plan on wearing shorts because there are pricker bushes galore if you land in the rough. I personally thrive in this atmosphere however. This is the "manliest" course in the Grand Rapids region.
Other Thoughts: If this course had a bi-monthly mowing and baskets, it would earn a 5 without a doubt.
0 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
used to be good
Pros: I'll give it a 4 because it used to be a really fun course before a bunch of scumbag lowlifes stole baskets and gutted the course. A cool mix of shots with good elevation changes. Hole 18 is a blast!
Cons: Last I knew no baskets remain--just pole targets. Some throwers will consider it too short
Other Thoughts: 97 Am Worlds course
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Great views of Grand Valley(great spot to watch Grandville's 4th of July fireworks,can see radio tower by Brewer park from here as well).It has a very unique layout playing accross valleys and up and down hills.Lots of elevation changes,extreme hyzers,and risk reward putting.Could be compared to Flip City or some of the northern MI courses for the amount of elevation changes and views.
Cons: No baskets,no maintanance,no cement tee pads,no cares for the park by the local league or the township.
Other Thoughts: I started playing disc golf in 1994 at this course.There used to be a rope swing in the woods and I seen that they installed baskets.I had no clue as to what they were until I have seen people playing.Around this time there was 18 baskets and the park was very busy,almost as busy as Brewer Park.I took up the game there and have not stopped playing since.I guess I could say that Johnson park made me fall in love with the game.Through the years I have seen the baskets disappear but never stopped there playing for a while.A couple of friends and I took it upon ourselves to replace with what there used to be a basket to a 4x4 post.We would also during the game,fill in the tee pads with dirt or move the tee pads slightly because of dense foilage growing over them.I even took it upon myself to move the pins on #12 and #13 because of erosion and personal issues.After #12 don't walk up the hill to play #13,go to the left just downhill from 11's post and play it flat toward the post.I am sure anyone would find this helpful if they don't want to walk up the same hill twice.If you have a portable basket and a couple of willing friends I suggest lugging it around this park.It breaks my heart to see this park gone to hell,it is the best next to Flip City I have ever played.I wish now that the sport has grown so much since the good old days that someone would take the initiative, like I have, to get baskets back here.After there was 3 baskets stolen in one weekend I got fed up and stopped caring for it or playing it.I live in Florida now, but Johnson Park will always be in my heart and at the top of my list.Johnson Park is where I learned the game.
10 of 13 people found this review helpful.
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