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.
4 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: This course is put together very well, lots of tight fairways, and the amount of holes in the woods makes this a very challenging course. Cement pads, as well as marked signs and trails make it very easy to find your way. Lots of friendly people on this course but a fair amount of litterbugs as well. This is a course worth playing.
Cons: Pin locations are never changed, it would be kind of nice for those of us who play this course on a regular basis.
Other Thoughts: There is room for more. The course could expand by at least 6 holes if the manpower could be found. Trash cans have been put on the course, but more couldn't hurt.
4 of 7 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: the markings for where to go next are well positioned, the cement slab is nice because their new and level. there are benches all around so you can sit for a minute and all the people I have met are friendly.
Other Thoughts: good course, waiting for the new addition so it can go national.
1 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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