Disc Golf is Better by the Lake
12 Helpful / 0 Not
- some of the best elevation change in the midwest
- numerous challenging wooded/technical holes
- several open shots to change things up
- large variety of length on holes
- minimal undergrowth made locating discs easy
- practice basket
- benches at nearly every hole
- whopping 24 holes, almost all of which were really cool
- decent baskets in good repair
- some protective barricades built in, such as for Tee 3 to protect from overthrows on Hole 8
- some mandos/drop zones add to challenge and help protect walking path
- concrete tees
- signage is easily the worst part of this course, with very basic wood posts lacking detail
- navigation is doable with course map but can be challenging, especially on newer holes
- length may be a con to some players
- multiple baskets are poorly labeled and can add to confusion
- potential for heavy lake wind
Shore Acres Park is a beautiful disc golf course located within (or at least partially within) Saugatuck Dunes State Park. Having now played 3 disc golf courses in Michigan in a few different parts of the state, I've found all of them to be spectacular to this point. I love these sandy dune courses near Lake Michigan, which give some of the best elevation change in the Midwest. Hardly a single hole here was flat, and at about 1.5 miles distance over 24 holes, you'll get a decent workout in.
This course was all but deserted on a Friday morning in January when I played, but indications are it can get quite busy. The ice and snow didn't stop me, and as long as you have a sturdy pair of boots it shouldn't hinder you too much either. There was absolutely no wind while I was there, which surprised me a bit. I expect it could be a factor on other days with the lake so close.
Many of the holes on this course are wooded and technical, but fair. I played one of the best rounds of my life here, and hitting the lines is absolutely doable with intermediate skill. There are some longer, open holes to open up on, and the course flowed well for the most part.
The biggest con, as many people have mentioned, is navigation/signage. It's the issues around this alone that kept me from rating the course a 4.5 - it really is that good. The signs are wood posts with generic lines drawn for the yellow and black routes to the basket. Often, more than one hole's baskets are in view, and this can get confusing. The Chainstar baskets are ok, but only some are labeled with the hole number, and worse, a few have the WRONG hole number on them (such as one of the baskets for 12 labeleld as 11). I can't help but think Innova DISCatchers with the bright yellow bands (or black, for the secondary baskets) and numbers on the rim would go SO far towards improving this. The course maps on DGCR are good, but dated, so only the original 18 holes are included. Holes A-F you are on your own, which was a challenge. I never did find the right basket for hole D. Still, this course was a ton of fun. With improved basket labeling, tee signs, and next tee arrows, this could easily be a 4.5 course. About the only other thing it's missing is a water hazard.
I highly recommend coming to play this course if you are in the area. You won't be disappointed if you love disc golf and love playing in a beautiful natural setting. The concrete tees are not huge, but are in great shape, and with benches on almost every hole, you can take a break after trekking up the hill. There are walking/biking paths, and while deserted during my round, you'll definitely want to watch out for pedestrians. Most holes don't interfere, and the mandos help push for throws away from walking paths. The flow of this course is also very good (once you figure it out) and while some holes are nearby/go back and forth, they generally avoid each other quite well.
I really enjoyed some of the uphill and downhill shots, which start out early, with Hole 3 throwing strongly uphill and then Hole 4 throwing downhill again. This up and down action is everywhere due to the dunes, sometimes forested, sometimes not.
After your round, you can continue to check out the state park by utilizing the area trails if desired.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
If there was good signage, it would point to a near-destination course!
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Shore Acres Park is located on the grounds of the historic Felt Mansion, which is now a wedding/event venue. The first tee is behind a small chapel building, across the parking lot from the mansion itself.
The course plays over rolling hills. I would not say that the elevation changes are extreme here, but they are enough to have an impact on almost every hole. The pin placement takes advantage of the elevation changes, with some baskets on slopes to provide nice risk/reward putts. The ground covering here ranges from mowed grass to tall grass to woodland and even sand on a couple holes - the course is less than a mile from Lake Michigan.
There is great variety here not only with the elevation but also with the shape and length of holes. From 200' throws through tight woods to 500'+ downhill bombs, and meandering left turns to sharp dogleg rights, this course will test every shot in your bag. I believe it would provide significant and interesting challenge to even a professional/very experienced DG'er.
There are cement tee pads in good condition on every hole. Some of the pads even have patio-style bricks lining the front of them which is a nice aesthetic touch.
The Chainstar baskets are in fine condition. There are also a couple of practice baskets.
There are 24 holes here, so if you are looking for more than 18 holes this is a great option. Many of the holes also have alternate baskets, and where this is the case the baskets are usually located to provide significantly different experiences playing the hole. The "yellow" baskets are generally a bit closer to the tee than the "black" baskets, but there are a couple of exceptions to this rule.
Cons: In my view this course really only has one con, but it's a big one for me so I'm going to spell it out in a lot of detail...signage and navigation.
As mentioned above, this course has 24 holes and many (but not all) of them have alternate baskets. The primary basket on each hole is signed as the "yellow" basket, and where there is an alternate basket that is the "black" basket. The tee signs currently are just wood posts with information routered in:
a) The hole number.
b) The yellow basket distance and rough flight path.
c) In theory, when applicable, the black basket distance and rough flight path.
With that in mind, the gripes I have (some of which I know are a bit subjective) are:
- Some of the black baskets were not labeled on the tee sign, or did not have a distance shown.
- The course has a kiosk, but there was no map posted on it when I played. Both of the maps posted on this site do a decent job of capturing where the YELLOW tees and baskets #1-18 are. Of the red lines on the second version map, a couple are accurate for the black baskets I think, a couple of them are no longer present, and several are missing. Before writing this review, I scoured the Internet (PDGA, UDisc, Facebook, etc.) and could not find a map other than what is posted here. So...not shown on any map I can find are many of the black baskets, and also any of the holes a-f.
- The additional six holes a-f are placed around the course as follows:
- Hole a is between holes 6 and 7.
- Holes b-d are between holes 15 and 16.
- Holes e-f are after hole 18 (or before hole 1).
These holes are nice, mostly shorter throws that I probably would have enjoyed more if I hadn't spent so much time trying to find them. There is absolutely no signage pointing to these holes and they are positioned off to the side of the rest of the course (it's pretty clear they were added more recently) so they are easy to miss if you are wanting to play them.
- There are many tee pads where you can see baskets that aren't for the current hole. In a couple of places, you can't actually see the correct/current baskets (because they are behind trees/hills/whatever) but you can still see incorrect/not current baskets. This in itself isn't an issue, but I think with multiple baskets in view AND multiple baskets per hole the tee sign should point out all baskets that are in view (i.e. with a color mini-map). Looking at the photos here, it looks like the course used to have nicer tee signs like this. I'm not sure why they were downgraded.
- The baskets are not color-coded with yellow or black in any way that was apparent to me. The hole numbers on them are very small - you basically have to be standing right next to the basket to read them. I'm pretty sure that some holes even had the wrong number labeled on the basket. The lack of a visible color code adds to the confusion when baskets for other holes can be seen from the tees.
- Where there isn't a second (black) basket, there isn't a black basket distance on the tee sign. I think it would make more sense to router in the black basket distance as the yellow basket distance and/or explicitly show in some other way that there is no alternate basket for the hole in question. I understand it's kind of implied, but especially given the other problems above I firmly believe it would be better to have something explicitly spelled out on the tee sign.
- No Next Tee signs. There are several places where there is a bit of a walk from basket to tee and/or the course crosses itself between holes.
- There are a couple of practice baskets at the front of the course which is nice, but I think there were also a couple of other random baskets around the course that weren't for any of the current holes. This just adds to the general confusion about which basket to throw to. I should say, there is a small chance that I was so confused and irritated with the signage by this point that it's possible this last bit isn't actually true.
Other Thoughts: With better signage the course immediately jumps to a 4.0. Throw in color-coordinated new baskets to match the signage and I would give it a 4.5 for sure.
What I would really like to see in addition to a nice map and tee signs and next tee signs is, add the alternate/black basket for every hole (or at least the standard 1-18). My personal preference would be to play to 18 yellow or 18 black baskets - even if a couple of them are pretty close to one another - vs playing to some yellow baskets and some black ones when playing "black" tees.
I know it looks like I ripped on this course because of the Cons...this is honestly a fantastic course and I had a lot of fun here despite the navigation issues. I understand that if you come play this course a lot, you learn where the baskets are and navigation is easy. But for this to really be a destination level course IMO, it has to be easy to navigate for a first timer or infrequent visitor.
Could the course be a 5.0 with all the upgrades above?? Honestly, maybe! I would have to play it again after those upgrades were made. I will be back either way, but I am hoping I don't have to re-read this review to remind myself where all of the holes are.
TL/DR? Come play this course!!! BUT:
- Download the version 2 map that is currently on here, and note where I said the extra holes are if you want to play 24 (if you use DGCR to track your round, the hole order should also help).
- Be prepared to spend a little extra time finding holes, and don't be surprised if you throw at the wrong basket once or twice.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Well designed 18 hole course. Well maintained park as well as course. Love the 2 basket option depending on skill level.
Cons: Challenging for beginners or recreational players. Chance to lose discs in wooded or tall grass areas. A bit frustrating for time visitors to move from hole to hole (minor con) but gets easier after playing course 2+ times.
Other Thoughts: Bring mosquito spray and wear long pants (in case of trying to find your disc in tall grass areas). Imagine it could be busy during the tourist season in Saugatuck.
Good way to enjoy nature while playing disc golf.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Lots of potential
Pros: The variety of shots types is excellent; uphill tunnel shoes, downhill wide open bombs, tight tunnels through the woods, naturally forced shots over the top, etc. Large tee pads are also a plus.
Cons: Signage is extremely minimal. No indications of where the next hole is. Course is essentially unmaintained, so fairways are essentially short wild grass mixed with weeds and occasional cacti (yes, there really are cacti). Nearly impossible to find your way through the course on your own for the first time and find all of the hole options. Two baskets on most of the holes, which sounds nice, but not when they're 30 feet apart and don't change the way the hole is played.
Other Thoughts: If they reduced to 1 based per hole, improved signage with a metal sign on each hole with accurate distances and pars, make it clear where the next hole is, and generally cleaned up the park this would be a phenomenal course. That being said, it is still a good course, but nothing like it could be with some elbow grease.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Fun and different!
Pros: Very cool course. Has an excellent mix of wide open throwing and woods. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed playing this course and I believe it will become a must play anytime we visit the west coast from now on.
Cons: Could use slightly better signage to direct you to the next tee, only on a couple holes.
Other Thoughts: Great mix of trees, open shots and elevation changes. Very fun, even for a beginner.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Shore Acres Provides Challenges For Better Players!
Pros: Shore Acres Park is a large park next to the mansion. The parking for the course is in the lot in front of the little church. There is a kiosk and benches at the start. Almost every hole throughout the course has at least one bench and oftentimes two. # 3 has a protection wall built to protect players from long throws on 7. The concrete tee pads are nicely long (like 14' long), many are extra engineered with extra support and some have bark in front for follow through. Many holes have two baskets which I find a little confusing since it's not consistent. The tee signs show routes for both white and gold. I think the gold have Chainstars and the whites ????
The course probably plays at an intermediate level. There are lots of solid holes but no one hole really got me excited. I couldn't pick a signature hole. There are five extra alternate holes. The group I was following played these three after # 15 and then the last two after 18 including the tepee hole.
# 12, plays 277' to a basket set among three large Oak trees. It's just a very pretty hole.
Cons: I happened to begin my round just as a group of locals were beginning a doubles round. So I was able to follow them. I would not have liked to navigate this course solo.
Many solid holes but none really memorable.
Wind could be a factor.
I'm not a fan of putting in alternate holes and of having two baskets on 2/3 of the holes. I found the whole operation a little confusing.
Other Thoughts: This is definitely a challenging course providing excellent competition for intermediate and advanced players. I think it's a little overwhelming for beginners and recreational players.
Shore Acres has a wonderful mixture of hole types (uphill, downhill, Ace runs, open bomber and tight and technical) and also changes from open to wooded and back to open. There is so much great golf here to be played. I
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Intermediate to Advanced level course. Shorter baskets could cater to beginners. Could is challenging for all skill levels. Course is set in a multi-use park where bikers and walkers are present.
Baskets - Most holes had 2 Chainstar baskets per hole. 3, 6, 7,9, and 17 did not have a second basket. There is a long (pro) short (intermediate). Baskets caught great and provide extra variety. There was also a practice basket as well as an extra hole alongside of hole 17.
Tees - One large concrete tee per hole. Even though many had sand on them, they were grippy. Hole 2 had an alternate rubber tee.
Signs - Nice billboard at start of course listing rules and had a map. I printed one out before coming. Each hole had a wooden post that listed the distances of each basket, as well as a directional map for the basket locations. Accurate for the most part.
Variety - Everything from short and tightly wooded holes to long downhill bomb throws. Every hole had some sort of obstacle (elevation, trees, fences, etc). There were only 5 holes that were truly flat (5, 7, 11, 12 and 15). Every other hole on the course had an elevation change that added to the challenge. Great mix of hole types: Technical holes blended well with long bombers. Accuracy and approach shots are key here. Course went back and forth from being open to wooded to open and ended with an uphill wooded shot. Every hole at this course was different which really stands out.
Elevation - I will give this a separate category. I am from Indianapolis where elevation changes at courses are not very common. This was an added bonus.
Wind factor - Being so close to Lake Michigan, wind can make or break your day. Be prepared.
Navigation - With the exception of a few holes, course flowed pretty well. Without a map this may have been a challenge.
Extremely scenic course. Leaves were changing color when I played and it was very peaceful. Brought my fiance and she spend the whole time taking pictures.
Well maintained - There was a bench, if not 2, at every hole listing the group or person who sponsors the course. Most holes had buckets for trash/cigarette butts. The entire park was clean and well maintained.
Started and ended on a positive note. The iron course sign sets the tone and hole 18 completes it.
Not too far from the highway/town. There are food/beverages options not too far away if needed (especially during the summer when a few of the holes lack shade).
If in a time crunch, it is possible to play a 9 hole loop. 1, 2, 8, 13-18.
Cons: Not many cons for this course. Pretty much had everything except water hazards!
Course was very crowded when I played (2 PM on a Sunday). There were several groups of 4 or more players. Had to wait at several holes. Fortunately the folk were friendly and let me play through!
Navigation was tricky at a few spots. Some of the longer baskets are closer to different holes. From 2-3: I first saw the tee for 8. From 8-9: I first saw the tee for 13. Having a map helped. Improved signs as well as signs pointing you towards the next tee would greatly improve the course.
A few of the baskets are close to the next tee. I was standing on the tee for hole 3 and someone overshot hole 7 and went right over my head. Long basket for hole 14 is close to the tee for 15. A small safety issue but a con none the less.
Other Thoughts: This was a very solid course. There is not much I would change. Normally I prefer if courses have 2 tees per hole to cater to different skill levels. Having 2 baskets per hole took care of that. If the course had improved signage and alternate tees (concrete, rubber, or natural), course could easily be a 4.5 out of 5.
With the course being as busy as it was, a second course in the Saugatuck area would make this course less crowded. There are several courses within a 30 minute drive.
I was in town for a vacation and this course really hit the spot. I would definitely recommend it to anyone in the area or anyone visiting Saugatuck (a nice town if you have never been). I don't often get up into Michigan but would love to come back to play this course (as well as some of the other courses in the area).
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 1 Not
Great Course on Michigan Dunes
Pros: •Great Layout
Very good use of elevation, wooded and open areas, guard trees, left-to-right and right-to-left holes, short and long holes.
•Very Well Maintained
Local DGC performs upkeep, signage, pads, baskets and very nice hand-made benches at each hole. All baskets were in great shape and most holes had a second basket (they are currently about half way through building a second 18 hole course)
Tightly trimmed fairways, some tall rough, but not overbearing, heavily wooded holes still maintained and playable. Clean, textured concrete pads in good condition.
Map and scorecards at the 1st. Good signage at each hole with most holes having two baskets - both marked at the teepad.
•Trash Cans on Every Hole
No trash to be found at this park whatsoever besides the occasional cigarette.
Ran into two locals from the DGC cleaning benches, picking up trash, cleaning tee-pads and removing graffiti. Both invited my girlfriend and I back for that night's Glow Round while we were in town on vacation
Cons: Very few and very minor cons;
For as much room as this park uses, there are multiple overlapping holes. Pin 7 shoots within feet of pad 3. Pads 4 and 10 are on top of each other causing some crowding. Nothing bad by any means, but, a bit crowded.
•5-6 VERY Tight Woods
3, 4, 7, 11, and 18 are wooded, but have good paths for a challenging line. Holes 5 and 6 are so tight that there is no way through the trees without pure luck. Could use a couple trees removed to create a hard line in from one side or the other.
We did get lost on two holes trying to find the next pad. Didn't lose much time, but, a couple more signs could help newcomers.
Other Thoughts: Overall, in my top 5 Michigan courses. Challenging, but, not discouraging - great variety of hole types (L/R, R/L, Elevation, Open, Wooded, Long, Short, Grass/Sand) - VERY well maintained - Trash Cans/Bench on every hole - Good community in the area, lots of players cheering on players on other holes and grouping up to speed rate of play.
I really enjoyed this course for the layout, challenge, scenery (small cactus, sand dunes and a '20s mansion overlooking the course) and the upkeep performed to this park.
Would definitely recommend if you're able to get out to the south Holland area.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Great variety of long and short holes, with excellent use of trees and open fields, located near Lake Michigan and the Felt Mansion. The local league looks out for both the course and the mansion, keeping the area well groomed with newer signs, benches, and now alternate hole locations to boot. :)
Cons: Being near Lake Michigan usually means you'll be dealing with significant gusts of wind from time to time, but don't let the practice basket's environment scare you off. It gets a little less windy as you go.
Also, Tuesday nights are league nights, and the league is HUGE!!! They start around 4:00 PM and will go far into the evening, and though the league is pretty nice in general, they will consume the course with over 80 members. So if you're looking to squeeze in a quick round on a Tuesday night, I'd suggest heading to Macatawa Greenspace in Holland, MI.
Other Thoughts: This place only gets better with time, and with the dedication of the Shore Acres League. I currently live an hour away from the course, but my wife and I drive up to it for league night every week because of the love and care the league members show for the course. If it wasn't for them, we'd probably head over to Kalamazoo.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: A number of well-designed holes makes this course a bit above average. It contains a nice balance of woods (precision) vs. fields (power & control). A bit of elevation change on a couple of holes was nice as well. Kind of cool teeing off on hole #1 on the lawn in front of a mansion.
Cons: Pretty, but not amazing. The way it's named and where it's located gave me hopes of tee pads with stunning Lake Michigan dune views. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen. Also, they need a course map at the start, or paint a bar of each basket to point the way to the next hole.
2 of 7 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.