Surprisingly Scenic But Challenging Course
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: See the directions for parking from my West review . The kiosk says it all . The blue area on the map constitutes the East side . I had forgotten to mention on the West review that right next to the kiosk are the TWO putting baskets . Finding the first hole to start the East course is a little trickier than the West course . There is a cement path to the right of the West course #1 tee pad and across the street from where you parked . Follow that to a hill in front of you and climb the hill and turn right . You will see the first tee pad . The East course has the same cement tee pads ( some a little short ) . the Yellow banded Discatchers that are good for course , especially in the woods or when it is dusk. The signage is maybe the best I have ever seen . Metal , partly cut out at the top to signify that you are on the East course and hole # . You can read that part from the front or back of the sign , keeping you on the right path . The signs from the front also give a picture of the hole and the length . This course is the shorter , not quite as hard , but better looking counterpart to the West Course .Something that I had never seen in a course before were the same large course maps tat you see on the kiosk , stationed in selective parts of the course . They will show you where you are , and if you want to peel off for a shorter 12 hole round by taking a different path or extending to a longer round by taking another path and adding 6 holes from the West course that runs alongside of the East Course to make a 24 hole round . Unbelievable ! There are some NEXT tee signs on the course to help navigate you , too . You might not have to print a map to navigate this course , but for the sake of losing focus on a bad hole , you don't want to wander off and enter the West Course . Even though the East Course distance is shorter than the West Course , it still has great basket placement and an aesthetically pleasing environment . Lots of nature's creatures abound in this part of the park . The course is situated far enough away from the park's many other activities , that you should only encounter other disc golfers . There seem to be remnants of a shorter course that coincide with this course , designated by knee high red wood posts in the ground showing a crude flight path and toe boards at the natural tee pads . Lots of fun holes on the East side . Ones that stand out in my mind right away are #5 , which you throw your drive from just inside the woods , out in the open , hyzer to the basket , which is nestled in the same woods you just threw out of ( 280' ) . Your next drive at 6 , you throw out of the woods again , across an opening , anhyzer to an opening in the woods across from you and slightly downhill ( 300' ) . #7 is a 270' basket sandwich in the woods . The basket sits between 2 sets of large trees directly in front of the hole and behind it . Throw too far and you are down the hill , fighting for an angle in which to throw a putt . #10 is the longest hole , sitting at 540' through the woods . It will punish you if you stray off the fairway . #13 is a cool hole with OB to the left of the tee . #15 has the best tee box , slightly elevated with a wood paneled front #18 had one of the better finishing holes that I have seen . A left turn wraparound drive only about 250' or so , but with large trees set to take your drive out of the air . I can't figure out from standing on the tee pad how you can make this drive carry to the basket , unless you can throw over huge trees . Anyway , the basket has some of the dirt dug out of the front of it , and has a wood paneled elevated basket set out in the open . I chose #18 as my signature hole for the East Course . Good balance of left and right handed holes . I don't know where the players were , but I felt I had the course to myself . I was playing at 10:30 on a Sunday morning .
Cons: You could make an argument that the course is not as competitive as the West side , and that some good ams or pros would play this course under par for sure , but I don't consider that a con , since they have the choice to be over on the West side , anyway . Lack of trash cans on the course .Carry out what you carry in .
Other Thoughts: It must be nice to wake up on a weekend morning , drive to the park , and your only dilemma would be which course to play . A well designed 18 hole course on the East side offers you the lighter more beautiful side of Northend Riverside park . It looks like the course has undergone major changes since last being reviewed in 2015 . I am really impressed by how much effort and finances have gone into making this course what it is today . If I lived within 40 miles of this course I would be here most weekends . Thanks, Northend Riverside Park Board for making these courses a reality .Your park will have the notoriety of having one of the best places to play disc golf in the state , and the area businesses will also reap the benefits and not even know it . I stayed overnight at Holiday Inn next to Ferris State ( College Disc Golf National Champions 2017 ) , Ate at BW3 across the street and ate lunch at Wendy's the next day . ( friendly town )
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
SO. MANY. HUCKERS.
Pros: - Located in a small multiuse park but the disc golf is a good ways away from the remaining activities. A big plus.
- Well laid out. No significant design flaws other than #17 and maybe the #3 fairway- more on that later.
- The front 9 and some of the back nine have nice little "next tee" signs that are engraved 4x4's low to the ground. Very helpful. Too bad they weren't every where.
- Tee signs are also 4x4's with the hole information engraved and painted on them. Very rudimentary but get the job done efficiently.
- Really enjoyed the baskets on #3 and #18. While not technically elevated baskets in the strictest sense they are up on a landscaped mound making for a challenging approach in both cases.
- The long tees all have well constructed concrete pads.
- Baskets seem to be newer Discraft however I don't know which model. They're in great shape and catch well with the multi layers of chain.
- Now it appears there is an active project going on at the moment to replace many of the benches. There are 4x4 stubs sticking out of the ground at most of the holes so since this seems like a active project going on I won't deduct anything from my evaluation. Just shows that someone is attempting to take good care of this course.
- Sandy soil. I know this is a really weird pro but there is some erosion issues here. Without the sandy soil I have to believe after a rain this place becomes a muddy muddy mess.
- Really thought the left vs. right holes were balanced out quite well.
Cons: - The #3 and #2 fairways are a little close to each other. Use caution on these holes for errant throws.
- The short tees are just 4x4's laid in the ground. Concrete pads for the shorts would really spruce things up. Right now, it's just a anckle twisting dirty rut in the ground.
- This course gets A LOT of traffic presumably from Ferris State. The main issue with that is erosion. It's high time for preventative measures before things get uglier.
- While the design for the most part isn't flawed and each individual hole on its own is great the course as a whole seems like a variations on a theme. Just one hole after another cut through the woods. Your typical Michigan discgolf right here. It isn't bad just nothing unique.
- The biggest con of all is the sheer number of huckers on the course. There's just so many of them.
- Really didn't like how you have to walk up the #17 fairway from the 16 basket to get to the 17 tee. With all the woods available it would be nice to have a more direct path between the two.
Other Thoughts: Admittedly, I am completely jealous that people get to have a course like this so close to where they live. So don't take my criticisms wrong way. There's nothing lackluster about Riverbend but there just isn't anything spectacular about it either. The tee markers are sort of an indication of this. They work - but just. Nothing special.
Not sure I'd advise anyone to come here while school is in session at Ferris. That school is loaded with huckers a plenty. Some are cool, some are just clueless while others are just plane rude. Just goes to prove one of my life sayings; "Huckers, you can't live with 'em, you can't shoot 'em." Just show up when schools out and you'll have a great time.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: -Course conditions you for being able to maneuver between trees and in tight gaps.
-Makes all other fairways seem wide-open.
-No water traps.
Cons: -Lots and lots of trees.
Other Thoughts: Great area, feel free to hop on a tube and the float river back to campus!
0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: Variety of shots are required to get through the varying amounts of trees/shrubs. It is well maintained. Nice outdoors experience.
Cons: Trees will try to get in the way of every shot they can. It messes with some people.
0 of 5 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: -Tough narrow technical shots and lots of dog leg right shots.
-Very easy to follow
-Pro and Woman/Rec tees, all tees have signs and posts to show where next tees are.
Cons: Only if you're playing solo then there are some blind shots.
Other Thoughts: Go ahead and knock me for the "piss-poor" review, but I like to keep is short and simple! ;)
1 of 6 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Tough course due to the fact that more than half is heavily wooded, but is also very fun. Always clean nicely taken care of. Cement tees for the pro, and sand for the beginner is nice. Decent amount of signage to lead you through the holes.
Cons: Some of the beginner tees seem to be actually more difficult than the pro ones. Other than that there really are no large cons.
Other Thoughts: This is a great course which is really fun to play and has many fun sights, such as the multiple bottle cap trails and the entire 17th hole is very fun. All in all, a very fun course. I defiantly recommend a play.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Riverside is the cure for the Traveling Blues
Although this course is located in a popular park, the majority of the patrons congregate along the river. While the lot is often packed, the traffic on the course is mostly DG patrons.
Beautiful wide cement tees in fantastic condition.
Secluded feel through most of the course. Paths are well worn and navigation is effortless.
Great course character with bottlecap-tiled paths, log art, and an "Anhyzer Alley" that replaces irritation of similar holes with an 'opponent' to beat, even in solo rounds. Benches wisely placed at key points during a round.
Length. Courses often consider reduced distances a fair trade with more trees. Here you get both. 11 of 18 holes > 300' and there are trees everywhere.
Lackluster signage. 4x4 posts, unless jazzed up considerably, are a dreadful signage choice. Tee signs convey the least amount of information possible (length and vector representation of path). Many baskets are obscured from the tee, and some more info on the drive would be appreciated.
This course was listed as 'moderately hilly' on DGCR, and I found myself wondering why. There is some undulation that is certainly pleasing to the eye, but very little of it impacts your shot choice. I would say it is flat with bumps.
I was very disappointed that a course with "Riverside" in its title had not one water hole.
While I cited course character as a significant pro (and it is), the majority of my complaints deal with things (signage, specifically) that would be considered 'course character'.
I could see the care and time that was taken to design and maintain this course, but it depressed me that the signage was so lazy. An investment in signage would definitely increase my rating.
I'm hard pressed to have much more to complain about. I played this course again rather than playing a new one on my way home. I very much like this course.
For some reason, thinking of this course always causes me to hum Led Zeppelin.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: First course I ever played on. I love it! This is the course that got me addicted to Disc Golf. I like because its not like normal parks where people are just all over. Its in is own region. The holes present a different aspects of the game. I have yet to master this course but I played some amazing games on it. I do find myself going back to this course when ever I have the time because everything you play it is a new experience.
Cons: College students need to take better care of it. There needs to be more trash cans around and a better place to dispose of waste products. Respect nature!
Other Thoughts: The bottle cap ally is alot of fun! Hole 17 is alot of fun as well as hole 11! I recommend using a putter on some holes its a good way to practice that skill!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
This is an excellent course. After playing it well over 100 times, I'm still challenged to finish under scorecard-listed par (59). The holes vary in length, width, ceiling height, use of terrain & obstacles, and line. Playing other nearby courses like Newaygo, Cadillac, Holland, CMU, Deerfield, & Bramstrom seem easy[ier] in comparison.
As someone who throws both backhand and forehand, (and overhand) I would say the course favors righty forehand players (or lefty backhanders) but any style player will be challenged in distance and accuracy in a variety of landscapes. You can't finish even or better without reliable hyzer, straight, and anhyzer shots. (or with throws with similar effects) While many fairways are dirt and allow for rollers, there are also fairways of thick grass. Similarly, there are holes that allow for big and little overhand throws and others with very low ceilings and/or dense & tall trees. Having a big arsenal of shots is helpful and trains players for many situations.
All long tees are cement, large, and in new condition. The Discraft baskets seem slightly shallower than Innova's, have good thick chains and a higher, much thiner top rim. Signs are very clear and the flow natural; no holes require any backtracking from the basket back down the fairway. There are very easy 9 hole and 18 hole loops. (9 holes plays #'s 1,2,3,4,5,6, 17,18,19) All holes have a post with distance and a general line representing the fairway. (par is not listed - all par 3 except #'s 2,5,8,10,11 which are par 4 according to scorecards)
While wildlife is common and varied, I have never been affected by or even seen any poison ivy or oak. There are a variety of fruits that grow wild in the rough as ground coverings that are good to eat. I was stung by ground-dwelling bees on hole 14 (30-40' down, 20' right in a pile of sticks) but such nests rarely last. There was also a family of skunks that was disrupted after they realized their den was in the middle of a fairway. I saw a fawn a few afternoons ago about 20' from me and the basket. Many different species of birds can be seen on the course if you have a keen eye for them.
There are benches and trash cans on many of the holes. The views from benches on holes #4, #9, #11, #13 are very nice. Holes #6/#7 & #15/#16 intersect at a circle of stumps and a bulletin board where league and event information is often posted. I don't know why the board is where it is, but it does defend against random park vandals and also offer a sort of meeting spot where passing disc golfers nod heads, tip caps, and exchange stories, tips, and information.
There are restrooms in the park. (accessible from #1 & #18) There is a working water pump near the river in the park. There is usually ample parking spaces available, 8 or so very close to tee #1 and many more not much further. When the park gets really packed, (many people go 'tubing' down the river from this park) people get creative and make their own parking spaces. While the course can get crowded at certain peak times (usually somewhere around 5-dusk) an early enough start usually moves along with little to no waiting. I play regularly finish the course alone in an hour or so (I'll take my time if I got it and also throw 2nd & 3rd drives to experiment so my time in/out varies between 45mins -1 hour 45)
There is Summer and Fall league play here with information posted to www.discgolfscene.com.
There are usually a tournament of some kind here every year. I think there is an intercollegiate league that plays here occasionally. There are a good number of skilled locals that play here regularly as well as a good number of players of all skill levels that pass through. Most people here are friendly and knowledgeable.
Cons: Large seemingly oblivious groups may not let you play through for many holes at peak hours.
Litter - the city mows the fairways that need it and pick up trash from cans, but many people leave their trash deep in the woods.
No water hazard risk
May frustrate some players
Traffic includes people who have: cut down important trees, cleared some once difficult roughs, break important limbs and trees.
Other Thoughts: Hole by Hole Detail Analysis
Hole #1, despite the blind of the bend, is one of the easiest holes to birdie on the course; it's well under 300 feet and caters to a righty forehand shot but doesn't present a difficult righty backhand anhyzer for anyone with a litte experience. Failure to drop a stroke on this first hole will be regrettable after a good round. A lucky or natural first time player could easily par this hole. However, the road bordering the left edge of the fairway is just close enough that the wrong decision on a windy day will result in an OB.
Hole #2, though vastly open for the first 200 feet, requires a very well aimed 300'+ drive to penetrate the 20' gap between dense trees and shrubs for full distance and an open lie. A large tree stretches 20 feet over the basket, which can stop overthrown discs as well as stop-short well aimed shots from a distance. Many players will happily put this hole behind them in 4 throws. Very skilled players will wish they made the 60' putt to finish in 2 shots after their very technical distance drive. The road is barely present on the right , as is the paved path on the left, so OB is possible, but unlikely
Hole #3, under 300' and catering to a righty backhand, seems like a good chance for another birdie, but the combination a short tree close to the tee, a large tree half way down on the left, and a basket atop a 12' sandy ridge require a precisely thrown drive to land for an easy-in. A skilled disc golfer might run the basket, a novice might be frustrated to fail par.
Hole #4 presents the biggest downhill shot as well as one of the most open and wide fairways. The hill is long and of medium slope, turning down and left. The basket is guarded in a small glen of trees nearly straight from the tee.. The wind here is always a big factor off the tee. A paved trail on the left is OB and easily crossed if the wind is misjudged. This, like on Hole #1, acts like a painfully forgiving water hazard. At 360' in length, OB on left and a wooded basket location, this hole is a tough birdie for skilled players and easily a bogey for novices.
Hole #5 adds distance, many more trees, and a 100' of fairly steep uphill approach. That said, a narrow lane gives righty backhand anhyzer shots a chance, while righty forehand straight hyzer fade shots can often manage a wider path. The second of five par 4's on the course, players tend to shoot the hole in 3 more often than on Hole #2. Personally, this is the first of 2 holes post-marked par four I want to finish in 3 shots every round, occasionally getting eagle chances from 50' or closer.
Hole #6 is one of the few holes that caters to a righty backhand hyzer. A sandy hill rises for the first 100' and then falls away for another 200'+ around a wide fairway sprinkled with saplings. The rough on both sides is densely wooded, but there are also forgiving lanes if one is lucky enough on a bad drive. This hole can be birdied by a skilled player, but will require a well placed long drive to do so easily. It's a hole that will challenge righty forehand players to finish in 3 shots. The use of the rise of the hill requires good height while the fall requires power and a good line.
Hole #7 is one of the few straightaways and also the shortest. However, the fairway gently rises about 10' in the last 100' of the fairway. From the beginning of this rise in elevation a dozen trees spaced about 6' apart will stop or deflect many throws that might otherwise have landed for an easy birdie shot. The basket hides behind a multitrunked tree making many long shots to finish in 3 shots more difficult. Backhand and forehand throws righty and lefty have an equal chance here, and all will want to finish in 3 shots or less.
Hole #8 is arguably the easiest scorecard-listed par 4 to finish in 3 shots, partly due to the very large tree that originally blocked the middle of the fairway that has fallen and been removed. There's a slight jog uphill about 100' down the fairway, which will stop a low shot short. Thick trees both mature and young line both sides of the 30-40' wide straight fairway. There are trees in the middle of the fairway 250-300' down that will stop or deflect even well thrown big distance drives. The basket is guarded by a sapling and sits on a downward slope; the tree will stop shots just short enough to challenge while overshooting will put a par for 4 shot 20-30 feet away with a good chance of a challenging rough. This hole can be easily finished in 2 shots by a very/lucky skilled player, 3 shots by a skilled player, but a bad deflection can make even a well thrown drive result in a very difficult par 4.
Hole #9 may be the most difficult right backhand anhyzer drives as well as the easiest right forehand shots. Trees on both the right left are as if placed by god, rendering what looks like an open fairway much more challenging. Like other holes at this course, a dozen or more trees are scattered 10-50' near the basket to give an extra challenge. Skilled players hope to finish this hole at -2 to -4 overall, having finished holes #1 & #7 in two shots and/or finished holes #5 & #8 in three shots as the most challenging holes are still remaining.
Hole #10 is the longest hole on the course at 540' and while there is a 20'deep x 80' wide dip about 300' down the fairway, the elevation drop at the end of many players' throw doesn't add much if any distance. Reaching the far side of this dip would give a 100'+ look at the basket. Trees large and small are well placed for the first 350'. The rough is very thick on both sides, but the fairway is very wide and often presents high ceilings. Righty backhand players will need a reliable 50-150' anhyzer shot while righty forehand players will need straight shots that fade at the right time and arching hyzers. A tee-off stopped by trees 50" down the fairway will make finishing in 4 (scorecard-listed par 4) shots a triumph. Novices may be disheartened by the distance. This is the first of 3 holes in row that will challenge every part of any players game.
Hole #11 is the last scorecard-listed par 4. 400' of righty backhand gentle "s " - the first 200 feet are narrow and thickly wooded by big trees. Another wall of trees scattered 6-20 apart grant lucky lanes as well as thwart. Low righty thumbers are a common 'safe' shot. The ceiling is about 60' A good roller can finish it in 2-3 shots. Even a straight forehand shot can give a great lie. But the density of the trees, the gentle shift from left to right punctuated by an impossibly thick rough can easily ruin an otherwise good round. Skilled players will shoot to finish in 2 shots from 30'+ out.
Hole #12 is arguably the toughest hole on the course. I've seen people that often finish this course in 55 shots quadruple bogey this hole. 360' straightaway, 30' ceiling off the tee, narrow to wide to narrower dirt fairway stretches slightly up hill. The basket, 20' to the right and behind many close large trees and under a large and low overarching tree, taunts any drive short or long on the straightaway. It doesn't matter what style throw you use, only that you can make it go straight for 320'. Though I know people who have finished this hole in 2 shots, I've never seen it done.
Hole #13 is a 360' righty backhand hyzer run. After an open ceiling and generously wide fairway for 60-100', the turn left runs through a gauntlet of of tall thin trees. A good throw will disappear around the bend and the thrower can only listen to know they lie. This is a sort of relief after the previous three holes, but still a good distance with little room for error. The rough here is very thick on both sides, but the fairway is wide.
Hole #14 caters to a righty forehand hyzer or hyzer fade with an overstable frisbee. It's the first hole under 300' since #9 (290') and there are viable options for most styles. A skilled player will run the basket and easily finish in 2 shots.
Hole #15 is the straightest fairway, with an open ceiling and 40-50' wide. There's a brush-pile fence marking a private property line (OB) on the left, but a fairly thick and tall rough stops many errant throws from straying impossibly far from the fairway. A skilled player with power to make the distance will run the basket, but the disc that manages to find a gap in the rough on either side may be lucky to finish in 4 shots.
Hole #16 is wide, very densely wooded by large, tall trees and 330'. There's a lane running straight along the right all the way down to the basket that most people I know usually try to take. There are many narrow gaps to make, but a shot that makes it through will run the basket. Skilled players will come to expect at least a chance for birdie. Novices may be disgruntled by the obstacles.
Hole #17 makes the end of the need for power. Instead the fairway is short, with a very narrow 50' off the tee into a middle section of dense trees and a rising hill. Before and over the basket a large tree limits the ceiling to 15' and a wall of saplings block approaches and long birdie putts. Players of all styles need accuracy and finesse here.
Hole #18 looks a little odd from the tee but offers good shots for both righty backhand and forehand players. It's well under 300' and though the basket is well guarded the par-post lists many Ace claims. A skilled player can run the basket and will expect a good birdie chance. Novices often find this hole difficult despite it's mostly open fairway, short distance and variety of shot options off the tee.
About the Short Tees
The short tees are well marked and though shorter, rarely less and often more challenging in finesse. These 'tees' are marked by a distance post with a rough line engraved like the regular tees. Unlike the regular tees, there is only a 2x4" post sunk horizontally to mark a point behind which the throw should be begun. While some may complain about the difficulty of these tees, there are many of them that are not only shorter, but a completely different fairway for 50% of the distance. Unlike many courses with short/alternate tees, the two tees offer enough variance to warrant consideration as a shorter but separate and very complex course.
Some may argue that the difficulty of the short tees to too high a difficulty for novices without the power to get distance or the finesse to get a workable lie. While there may be some truth in that, I would argue that this is mostly a leisure sport and anything new will always prove at least a little challenging. This course demands consistently accurate shots and in return offers equal challenge and reward whether playing from the short or long tees.
Also, the lack of a cement tee pad seems appropriate, at least to me, considering that the short tees require less power/distance and offer a loosely defined area to give novices and skilled players alike ample room to throw from. As there are a good number of alternates far away from the regular tees, I can't speak to trash receptacles on those holes, but I do recall at least 1 shot tee bench and believe the short tees will rapidly improve anyone's game.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Signage--huge amounts of signs out here, there is absolutely no way you're getting lost out here.
Variety--decent amount, There were a lot of the same fades (right or left) in a row however
Dual tees--some helpful, some, not so much
Location--in one of my favorite parks in big rapids.
Originality--bottle cap path, cool looking trees, anhyzer alley, the bulletin board about half way through.
Cons: some supid holes--18 comes to mind. go left, then right, then left again. boo! there is also a hole with an uphill, hard right about 50 feet off the tee pad, very little room for error here. Also, there was a big garter snake here. :)
Erronious measurements--There is no way that some of the red tee lengths (compared to the blue tee) are accurate. There is not 60 feet that is equal to 15 feet ever.
A bit repetitve in some places, a lot of the same types of holes in a row, plus, tired of trees about halfway through.
Other Thoughts: I went to Ferris so this is a bit sentimental for me. I enjoyed this course, harder than hell but a great time none the less.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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