Utica, MI 
River Bends Share
Uploaded By: Zinc_Alloy Hole #5 (Taken 11/2014)
3 / 430ft.   3 / 430ft. Par / Distance:
Hole #5 Tee

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 Under construction but certainly playable

5+    12/30/2014   1/2/2015
Review By: Zinc_Alloy
Played: 5  Reviewed: 5  Exp: 19.1 Years
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Good mix of tight and open fairways. Well thought out and timed course in terms of shot making execution. Has a handful of severe elevation changes mixed throughout the round. 27 holes. Decent but mixed baskets overall. Great parking. Majority of holes measure over 300 feet. Hole 13 is played from atop a twenty foot cliff overlooking a river and bridge. 360ish to the basket.
Cons: Missing signs throughout and three teepads. Potential to lose a disc on many holes if not careful. Terrible bug problem at certain time of the year and will be under water during heavy rains. Poison ivy can be a serious concern if you are not throwing from the fairway. Hole 11 is borderline unfair but fun...
Other Thoughts: this course is almost completely under construction, at the moment. Do not go there expecting to play 27, if you have never been there previously. Park in the north east corner of the park to locate hole one. The course is half old/half new for those who have played there previously. Not too much has changed since the 90s. I like this course. You must be accurate and throw for some distance to score well. Played as a par three course, any round under par would be applauded by me(unless you throw over 400feet).

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.

 "Home Course" for nearly two decades

5+    8/27/2012   3/11/2013
Review By: Michael.Christian
Played: 53  Reviewed: 2  Exp: 23.4 Years
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: --Very wooded and bucolic setting; it is very common to encounter hawks and deer during rounds. The course is rarely crowded.
Cons: The entire course seems to be located in a flood zone and so early spring, late summer and soon after rain the course has poor playing conditions.Also, many of the baskets are old and in disrepair

1 of 2 people found this review helpful.

 A great course screaming for some TLC

5+    9/3/2010   9/4/2010
Review By: BogeyNoMore
Played: 242  Reviewed: 150  Exp: 13.4 Years
This review was updated on 1/29/2014
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Great design and plenty of shot variety in a pleasant park setting.

Plays in and around the scenic Clinton River Valley, making nice use of elevation changes. Features five holes that have you throwing either down into the valley or up and out of it, but otherwise plays fairly long and flat. Mostly open fairways, with some light to moderately wooded holes, and a few densely wooded stretches. Several Ace/Birdie runs, many over 300' and a couple over 450 including a 700+ bomber that'll stretch your arm out. The mix here lets you use every disc from the tee: putters, mids, fairway and distance drivers. Great use of the river to ratchet up the challenge and eye appeal, with 2-3 holes over water (depending which tee you play 15th hole from) and another fairway running parallel to the river. Signature hole has you throwing through a tight window, nicely framed by trees, way down into the valley below. Throw in some nicely tucked pin locations and a few baskets located in a clearing off the fairway and Riverbends offers a little of everything.

Concrete tees with dual pads on quite a few holes, including safer alternatives on the water holes.

Although there are other visitors to the park, the land the course is on is all but dedicated to disc golf, not too many other folks come down in the valley where most of the course lies.

Nice pavilion with picnic table/benches near the first/last hole.
Cons: Course maintenance is truly a crying shame. Due to budgetary constraints, infrequent mowing means grass in the fairway can exceed 3 feet. Check course conditions - if grass has been recently mowed, course plays well, otherwise, it's probably not a great idea to play a round here when the grass is so high that shots right in the middle of the fairway can take 10 minutes to locate.

Maintenance nightmares extend beyond mowing: Pro tee on 15 has literally collapsed and fallen into the river. At least 4 different types of baskets employed on the course. Most are in decent shape, but some are ancient, and have really seen better days. Many have been stolen over time and replaced with whatever was available through the local club, but the hodge-podge of basket types only adds to the bastard child feeling of neglect this course has.

Navigation: Can't argue with claims that it's tough to find your way around here - can be quite tricky if you're not familiar with the place. The spray-painted rocks for tee markers idea is OK, but completely useless when the grass is 3' tall. Any type of vertical, numbered, tee marker along with some next tee signs would make things a LOT easier for new visitors. However, once you learn your way around, the course actually flows quite well from basket to next tee (17th being the sole exception).

Because it plays through a river valley, some holes can get flooded after a hard rain, and take a while to dry out - makes the local mosquito population quite happy.

Some of the tee pads are on the small side and area around many looks bare.
Other Thoughts: Riverbends is a truly great course that is dreadfully in need of help. Playing here is hugely dependent on the current conditions. If recently mowed, it's a great place to play (3.5), but if the grass is high, or it's rained hard recently, it's simply miserable (1.0). The low lying ground means it retains moisture and the grass really grows well.

When I first played here years ago, I was thoroughly impressed, and would have given this a 4.0, but this place has been sadly neglected. I'm certain it's because the tax base has eroded, and there's simply not enough funding to go around, but regardless of why or how understandable it is, the fact is the course upkeep sucks, and most definitely affects play. Never seen a course that could benefit more from pay to play than this one, but I'm not sure the local Parks and Rec agency thinks it's feasible.

That being said it's still a good round if the grass isn't too high.

Update 10/26/11: Course looking a lot better:
fairways getting mowed regularly
fresh coat of bright orange paint on tee marker rocks
no missing baskets ( most are old, but all are OK).
Still litter scattered about and 15's Pro pad is non-existent, but overall course is in much shape than I'd seen it towards the end of last season.
Rating bumped from 2.5 to3.5...great place to play (except after it rains or when the grass in the valley hasn't been cut).

4/1/12: Still looks like it's being kept up.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful.


5+    6/20/2010   6/28/2010
Review By: Red Wings Fan
Played: 15  Reviewed: 10  Exp: 12.5 Years
0 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Tough Water Holes, clean, cement tee boxes. has some tough holes that make you feel great what you blast your drive down it. Has one of my favorite hole there. good variety
Cons: Hard to get your disc once your in the water, some tall grass. could have more upkeep. low elevation. very little elevation change but still has some.
Other Thoughts: if it rains you will be skipping some holes for sure unless you have some big boots and a bunch of towels

0 of 1 people found this review helpful.

 It be a good course

5+    5/5/2010   5/7/2010
Review By: jamal_jumpstart
Played: 4  Reviewed: 4
0 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: The whole thing dont seem very big, but it do

You get to throw over rivers and down big hills

There is a boat available if you lose your disc in the water
Cons: Sometimes there are bugs but if you been had bug spray or just come earlier in the day they aren't too bad

Creepy guy living under the bridge on hole #8

First few holes are crowded since there is other stuff going on in that area, after that it's all good
Other Thoughts: Bring a cooler and floating disc!

0 of 5 people found this review helpful.


1    12/8/2009   12/15/2009
Review By: rscd20
Played: 85  Reviewed: 13  Exp: 14.4 Years
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Large and wide, space seems to be pretty devoted to disc golf except for one walking path.
Variety of shot, uphill, downhill, wide open, tight pins, water, blind pins, left and right curves. I really can't say enough about this. It really makes for a variety of challenges and makes every hole feel different
Well maintained, cut grass and bright tee signs (orange painted rocks)
Cons: Course map a little misleading on where pads and pins are
Pad signs indicate hole number and distance, but not location or direction of pin. Requires a little scouting ahead as many holes are far, and around curves
Very fast water flowing through the course, and apparently easy to throw into
Occasional alt pads, but not always
Multiple pin types, means you have to adjust your puts hole to hole
Other Thoughts: Just a little better with the signs (next tee signs at least) and it would be a lot more enjoyable. Occasional holes just seemed like they were tossed in to add more and not really to help the design, but just fill the massive expanse of space. I would love to play a 27 hole tournament here.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.

 Good course, BUGGY!

1    8/27/2009   8/27/2009
Review By: rcd1649
Played: 11  Reviewed: 11
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Great layout. Mostly long holes with a few tight wood shots. Not sure if this is a recent addition but there are signs pointing to the next tee and without having played here since 98 we had virtually no problem navigating the course.
Cons: Unbelievable bugs, some of the worst I have ever seen. The grass is not mowed at all, this means no skips. There is also a lot of standing water.
Other Thoughts: Good overall course design, could really benefit from some maintenaince but still definetitly worth playing, especially in the fall when the bugs die off.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

 river bends- land of water

5+    3/17/2009   3/17/2009
Review By: dputt88
Played: 8  Reviewed: 4  Exp: 11.7 Years
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: very open lay out, definitely not cramped. will take at least 2 1/2 hours to play alone, but don't let that discourage you, its a really fun course for all skill levels. very clever water holes!!! watch out for the little kids pulling discs out of the water, they WILL steal your discs. also a very clean park.
Cons: mostly flat, too many holes going back and forth with the same shots over and over again. also a ton of boring holes in the open fields.
Other Thoughts: change it up a bit, make it 18 holes if you have to because shooting the same terrain over and over again is boring.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.


5+    11/6/2012   12/17/2008
Review By: donnyv
Played: 39  Reviewed: 14  Exp: 20.4 Years
This review was updated on 1/30/2013
0 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Riverbends Park is a large park within an even larger park network in Shelby Township Michigan. The land inside the park is rich in history dating back well into the 1800's and was part of the infamous Clinton-Kalamazoo Canal Project.

Riverbends DGC was built in 1988 and was one of the hosts to an AM and PRO World Championships in the early 1990's. The course was one of the largest in this area at that time and was the staple of what was to come. I had my first taste of DG at the Bends back in 1997 and was instantly hooked.

The course has gone through numerous design changes since its original layout 25 years ago. While some parts of the original courses remain, most have been altered or changed altogether due to other park activities/projects that sprung up over time in the area where the course was. Projects such as the paved walking path and pedestrian bridge made it difficult to avoid user conflicts since it weaved in and out of the courses fairways. With the parks dept already busy running a large network of parks, the course could not get the attention to be maintained as well as it should have been. Soon enough, rumors of the course being pulled were also becoming more common. I contacted the parks director to see what they were going to do with all the baskets if the course closed and he replied that it was not true and that there was still hope for the course.

Thanks to the local disc golf club, MCCG, starting in late 2012, the course is undergoing yet another layout change but this time with major improvements and an expansion to 27 holes to be completed by the end of 2013. Since my last visit in Nov 2012, they were already making the improvements to the course.

If the parks dept. can maintain the course and allocate money for course improvements (signage, benches, nicer tee pads, etc.), I believe the course can once again return to its heyday.



VARIETY ~ The only thing missing from the course are heavily wooded holes. Other than that, Riverbends has everything else a course could want with a good mix of holes types. Hole length is appropriate for experienced players but there are a few longer holes with multiple tees for the beginner. There are equal opportunities for lefties and righties. Fairways are wide-enough to enable some movement with your discs, with mature trees dotting the landscape and still offering a challenge to the holes. You can count on using your entire arsenal of shots and discs on the course. Seems fair enough to Lefties and Righties.

RIVER IN PLAY ~ The course also plays along, over and around a river. There are not many courses around here that feature this much of a water hazard. While also a con in some eyes, it really adds to the experience. Even though the course has changed and some of my favorite holes are gone, the river holes really set the course apart from other courses. The danger of losing a disc in the river adds that extra difficulty that drives the experienced players to keep coming back. Too bad some holes had to be removed because of safety issues with the river banks collapsing from the undercutting currents and seasonal flooding. Hopefully the re-design can bring back some of the extinct holes.

LARGE COURSE ~While the original courses in the late 80's and early 90's had pretty much the entire park to utilize, today's Riverbends DGC still has a foothold on a large portion of the park. The bike/walking path does cut through the current course, but with a small re-design of a few holes that problem will be fixed.
Cons: CONS:
SIGNAGE ~One of the two biggest cons for Riverbends is the lack of signage directing and informing players where to go. Vandalism and numerous redesigns are most likely the culprit for why there are no signs at the park. I get to play here a half dozen times a year and even I get frustrated when I find out the design was changed and I'm playing the wrong hole/basket. Newcomers will most likely lose their way to the correct tees and end up walking across other fairways while they search in vain for direction. Hopefully this can be addressed in the improvements for 2013.

MAINTENANCE ~ The other big con is the lack of maintenance the course receives. The grass is rarely cut because of the course being located in the lower floodplains. Water does not recede very well and ponding occurs constantly. Fallen trees on the fairways are an ongoing problem and are not cleared very often. To be fair to the parks dept, they do have their hands full with all the other parks they take care of. Just don't expect a manicured golf course when you get here because that won't exactly be the case.

Other issues to consider...
TEES ~ A few tees have been damaged, washed away, or are too small for the current hole. These are being fixed in 2013 by the MCCG.
BASKETS ~ Some of the baskets on the course could be the originals, but after 25 years of use, the course has become a hodge-podge of INNOVA, DGA, and DISCRAFT baskets. Some have been damaged or stolen over that time and replaced with what was available. The plan in 2013 is to move baskets around to and from other courses to make each course have its own model without a mixture of different targets.
Other Thoughts: River Bends is a real fun place to play and it's free. It does need some work to get a higher rating though. Still, you should give this older course a try.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful.


1    6/13/2008   11/13/2008
Review By: NEWBY1151
Played: 94  Reviewed: 39  Exp: 13.4 Years
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This is a really fun and challenging course I definitely will play again,most fairways are relatively open for a michigan course,some nice elevation changes,good variety of shots and good pin placement will require you to bring everything you have,24 holes,water in play on a few holes,practice basket,
Cons: When I was there the half the course consisted of walking through 3-4ft. grass I would not recommend wearing shorts,kind of muddy/swampy be prepared wear junk shoes or boots,some of the holes were a little hard to find but worth the time once I figured them out,holes marked by big orange rocks some hard to see through grass but on the other hand it's hard to vandalize a rock,could see losing a disc in the high grass,course is pretty long could use some benches or a picnic table for resting,bring bugspray,bike course going through fairway could be a problem be careful,river is deep discs can not be easily retrieved unless your swimming,
Other Thoughts: If this course was better maintained I would up may rating to a 4

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.

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