Down By The River
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: River's Edge provides a solid technical complement to big brother Devil's Den, making Burchfield Park a well-rounded disc golf destination. While Devil's Den borrows its design style more from ball golf, River's Edge is all disc golf, comprised of chiefly wooded holes of varying lengths and difficulty levels. Split into two distinct halves, the front 8 serves up lots of elevation change and more traditional park-style holes (the best of which is Hole 2's drive down the toboggan run), while Holes 9-18 play long and mostly flat along the scenic Grand River. These back fairways are the heart and soul of the course, with deceptively tight lines that are juuust open enough to tempt a distance driver off the tee. Most of these holes offer multiple routes to the pin, some of which are sneakier than others. As a result, bombers who struggle with accuracy are at a disadvantage to noodle arms who can hit the right gap with consistency.
In preparation for this year's USWDGC, River's Edge has gained short pin positions on nearly every hole. Interspersing these short pins with the classic long positions should give some much-needed flavor to the back 10 in particular, breaking up some of the design monotony in that portion of the course.
River's Edge is typically less trafficked than Devil's Den, but that could change with the addition of the short pins, which make this course a lot more accessible to casual players (~5100 ft for all short positions vs. ~6800 ft for the classic longs).
Despite clearly being the second fiddle course at Burchfield Park, the maintenance is still good to great. You won't find much to gripe about in the mow and trim department.
Concrete pads play to Chainstars in good repair. Most (if not all) holes have a bench at the teepad.
Cons: There's a troubling lack of design variance on the back 10, with very few features distinguishing the par 4's from one another. With any luck, the new short pins should help break up some of this monotony by at least providing a greater variety of hole distances.
That said, almost half of the new short placements on the back 10 are at awkward "tweener" distances relative to the tightness of the fairways - four holes play between 337 and 381 feet. For most skill levels, having a look at birdie will rely a lot more on luck than skill.
Holes 7 & 8 are frustrating "path golf" that force a single line to the basket along a tight fairway that jogs at odd angles. The best plays are a backhand and forehand flex, respectively, with greater margin for error on Hole 7. Hole 8 is short but merciless, with a dramatic rollaway green potentially punishing even the most perfectly executed shot. These two holes taint an otherwise fair design.
The majority of the course plays in a lowland on the banks of the Grand River, quite literally at the river's edge. At worst the course is prone to flooding, and at best it carries a near-omnipresent squishiness. The worst parts are off the fairways, but close enough that you'll probably find yourself throwing an upshot from the swamp at least once per round. Hole 11 is especially marshy to the left of the fairway.
Mosquitoes on the back 10 can be thick enough to carry you away. Don't leave home without bug spray, even when the weather has been dry. I'd recommend "deep woods" varieties (40% DEET and above).
Other Thoughts: Although the short basket positions are a welcome addition to the course, the 100% short pin layout feels a bit underwhelming. Mixing A & B positions for daily play after USWDGC would give the back 10 some much-needed variety of length while making the course enjoyable for a wide audience.
Burchfield Park is pay-to-play ($3 entry fee for Ingham County residents, $5 for non-residents, plus $4 per player), but you'll definitely get your money's worth between the two courses on-site. This ranks up there with Mason County Park, Hudson Mills, and Kensington as a great Michigan destination complex.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
One of my favorites
Pros: Many great two shot par 4s. Tight gaps to hit off some tees, but fair. Hit the line get rewarded, miss it and pay the price. Good baskets and cement pads. Cool shot down toboggan run. River in play on several holes. Hole signage is good, plenty of next tee signs.
Cons: Main, and about the only, complaints with this course are the walks from 7 to 8, and 8 to 9 and 16 back down 16 fairway to 17.
Other Thoughts: Played this course when it was pretty dry. I can see flooding may be an issue at certain times of the year. Park is one of the best county parks I've seen. Lake, river, picnic areas, plenty of trees, etc. Devil's Den on the property is supposedly a better course...can't wait to play it (didn't have time this trip). (Did play 18 on DD, just so we could play the landscaped, fountain basket placement...very unique.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Teepads and baskets (chainstars) in good repair
Front nine with more elevation and open (ish) shots
Back nine with long, challenging wooded shots
1 of 2 permanent courses onsite
A few holes close enough to the river to keep things interesting
Very balanced for FH and BH players
Cons: As recently stated, flooding can be a serious issue and render over half the course unplayable at times
With water/ flooding comes the bugs, which have been on the excessive side most times i've played here
Navigation- for first timers, the walk between 8 & 9 can be confusing. Additionally, #18 finishes quite far away from the lot which makes for more time to beat yourself up if the round didn't go smoothly
Other Thoughts: I really like the contrast of this course compared to Devils Den. It has the best elevation factors between the two courses as well as the tough and tight wooded shots that are lacking at Devils Den. Most of the lines off the tees are fair, except I thought #8 was a little weird as is. Also, #18 always throws me for a loop; I think i've shot a different line off the tee every single time.
Like I said, its so different than Devils Den that its a perfect compliment. I would definitely qualify Burchfield as a great disc golf destination, and it's one of the best 2+ course parks in the state.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Woodsy, Hilly, Challenging and Fun
Pros: Nice course in a nice park - well thought out and well executed.
• Variety: Pretty good, but not outstanding. Nice mix of fairway shapes, dogleg left/right, short/long. Very well wooded for the most part, there are a couple of holes you can let loose on - but even those require some control, else you're following up from a bad lie.
• Challenge: Plenty, as there are several well wooded holes that seem pretty long for as wooded as they are. Dares you to find a line and hold it for a decent distance to score well. Doing it a couple of times is one thing, doing it consistently takes skill. Tight as they may seem, they were quite fair for the most part (perhaps with one exception, noted below). Every bit as much fun to play as it is challenging.
• Elevation: Lots of it, and effectively employed in a number of different ways. At least 3 holes (1, 2, 6) feature major hills to throw up or down, with many other holes draped over moderately rolling terrain, and some playing flat or close to it. A few pins placed to create serious rollaway potential - makes you think twice about going for it; 4,5,8 come to mind as well as a few holes where the river looms intimidatingly close behind the pin. Risk Reward? It's in there!
• Equipment: Excellent. Nice cement tees, Chainstars with green flags to help you find them in the woods. Tee markers and next tee signs - not as nice as those on Devil's Den, but quite sufficient to keep you moving along well. Navigation is pretty decent overall (my gripe has more to do with layout than navigation).
• Signature Hole: No lack of quality holes, but the signature hole is a real winner! A 670' bomber that tees off atop a toboggan run with a steep drop (maybe 50' or so?) immediately off the tee down to a fairway that gradually ascends up to the pin - interesting in that the farther your tee shot goes, the less distance you're robbed of on your upshot. Flanked on either side with trees, so you can't throw a shot that takes a lot of L-R space to get well down the fairway. The green itself is fairly flat, but rolls away to the left, right and behind it, so approaches that aren't reasonably accurate (and long putts that miss the mark) have that element to contend with as well. I defy you not to smile as you stand at the tee and look out over the fairway. My only beef is that I wish this hole came later in the course...which is totally plausible without much effort.
• Aesthetics: a pleasant walk through the woods that's easy on the eyes (especially with fall colors), with several nice views of the river.
• Extras/Amenities: Scorecards w/map (in a box on the way from parking to 1st tee), clean bathrooms with running water located near 1st tee, as well as near 4,5,6, between 9 & 10, plus excellent maintenance and upkeep only help to establish the feel of a top notch course and facility.
Cons: Way more right than there is wrong here, however...
• Offers decent variety on the whole, but I see where others feel that wooded hole after wooded hole starts to feel a bit repetitive towards the end of the round. Technically a shortcoming for this course, it's nicely mitigated in that Devil's Den offers plenty of what River's Edge lacks. The two supplement each other so well that it's somewhat forgivable, and perhaps even intentional.
• Layout: Long walk across the playground from 8 to 9 isn't too bad, and we never spent long figuring out where to go, but the way 18 ends up about as far away from the starting point as you could be is simply annoying - I prefer my long walks to be down a fairway. Seems the same holes could be renumbered in such a way that takes you out and back, finishing with that beautiful signature hole taking you back to the parking lot. While I find it irritating, it doesn't really affect disc play, so it didn't factor into my rating.
• Maybe it's just my lack of ability, but 14's Z-shaped fairway forces a lay-up that seems like more of a score equalizer than a score separator.
• Not always obvious how the river can come into play off the tee, but you should notice it on your 2nd shot. Keep in mind that river's threat can vary greatly depending on the seasonal water level: higher in the spring than it is in the fall.
• Mosquitos on the back 9 can be insane in the summer - spray up.
Other Thoughts: River's Edge is a fun course that's more than solid enough to stand on its own - anywhere. Although I had difficulty choosing between 3.5 and 4.0, I ultimately felt that:
1) how well each course compensates for the other's lack of variety,
2) the funky layout doesn't affect disc play,
3) a fun factor matching the challenge,
4) the overall quality with which everything was executed here,
... were sufficient to tip the scale closer to 4 than 3.5.
The fact that it's part of a great facility featuring one tremendous course (Devil's Den) plus a 2nd great course (River's Edge) means you need to plan a full day here. You can easily play 3 - 4 rounds in the park and not get bored. Among the very best multi-course destinations in the state (this from a guy who plays Hudson Mills regularly, has spent some time in Ludington and recently played both at Deerfield).
Caveat: While neither of Burchfield's courses may individually be as complete as some of the best courses, it truly is a classic example of the whole being greater than the sum of it's parts. That said, since they are better as a pair than they are independently, I can see how someone who only has the time to play a single round at Burchfield could come away feeling a bit underwhelmed.
Should you disagree with my assessment, feel free to vote that way, but at least I've explained how I arrived at it.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Fun course, but not perfect
Pros: - AWESOME 2nd hole from the top of the toboggan hill
- several other signature holes make for an exciting round
- great wooded change of pace from the original course
- Even though it is wooded, plenty of room to air it out on long holes
- tough water hazards, variety of forehand/backhand challenges
- Great signs so far, could be more permanent
- the tees that are poured are great, they'll finish the rest next season
- ANOTHER WHOLE COURSE in the same park!!
Cons: - a bit of monotony by about 14 holes or so, the back 10 feels like it needs one or two changes in the middle to break it up
- odd break between holes 8 and 9, make playing "front 9" impossible
- dangerous water hazards on the last 3 or so holes, if the river had been at spring levels I would have lost a disc or two this fall
Other Thoughts: I think this course needs a minor layout change, you could take hole one, and then head over to where roughly hole 7 (I think) is...play through 6,7,8 and then figure out a new (shorter) number 9. Play 10 through about 15 and cut out 16 (the long one that ends in the corner of the river causing a long walk back with nothing to do). Then work it out where you play 3,4,5 that we skipped before...and end with hole 2 off the hill. This rearrangement of the holes will get rid of all of the long walks, and end you at the parking lot where you started with the best hole on the course.
The park is awesome, and there are now two AWESOME courses here. Well worth the drive and worth playing both of them repeatedly to get the full flavor of the park. This is a must-play in Michigan, and the best place in the Lansing area.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Some Outstanding Character Holes, Questionable Logistics
Pros: This layout features several fun "character" holes, their existence here making the round more than worth my time even with the awesome original course just across the park beckoning me to play it some more...
The course is pleasantly challenging to this former mediocre AM-1 player. The lack of fully-wooded holes on the other original course is reversed here.
The setting is beautiful, tranquil, and features some elevation (where that is also mostly lacking in the original course across the park).
It is a treat to play during fall leaf season.
Cons: The walk from #18's basket back to your car is among the worst logistical blunders I've ever seen on a good course; it ends almost 2/3 of the way to the very back of the layout, and you even traverse a few other holes' fairways to get back!
There are at least two other long walks that seemed unnecessary. The denser wooded area essentially enables you to design anything you need, and yet there were another couple of huge hole-length walks out there. I would understand if those areas were chock-full of world class character holes, but they were merely adequate.
The woods holes, although welcomed due to their presence lacking in the original course, seemed to get repetitive after awhile. A bizarre "Z" shaped hole later on didn't cure that, though, because it's all layup and no risk. Maybe it's a work in progress?
While some welcome the presence of a ubiquitous water hazard, I'm not a fan of a large river with strong currents running parallel with lengthy wooded holes, even if it is beautiful. There was a basket placed in such a way that I chose to pick up my 40' putt for birdie and just called it par instead. Had I missed my putt, my putter likely would've been gone. I'm only a fan of water hazards if you can reasonably fetch your Disc.
Other Thoughts: The excessive walk from #18's basket back to the car took off major rating points just on its own.
I LOVED the first several holes, especially #2 from on top of that skiing hill (or whatever it is). #1 was wonderfully challenging too with its narrow window at tee-off, side-sweeping elevation, and punishing evergreens on the right. I know you've got a good hole when I take a six and smile about it.
The back portion of the design is all wooded, and for the first three of them or so, I loved being in the tight woods after being out in the open all day...but it did get repetitive.
I hope they continue to work on the weird "Z" hole. It has potential, but as it stands, it's not a good golf hole. You basically can only lay up conservatively along its entire length. I have faith that some risk/reward elements will be devised for it since it's so new.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This Place was a ton of fun. I played my first time in a tourney in the rain. This added for a lot of challenge. lots of really longholes with tough shots.
The course is very good on the eyes. A lot of nice wooded holes, with water in play to. Although I played in the rain, I am sure when dry looks a ton better.
They have baskets here which are very nice and easy to see.
The Teepads lead to both a good and a bad here as they have nice teepads on most of the holes.
Both Tee signs and next tee signs, make it easy to find the holes(when blind) and get to the next one.
Cons: Not all teepads are cement yet.
Water it's here and although normally I am not a fan, when used right, most of these are just if you over throw or have a bad throw you will hit it. I think the last water hole has a real chance of actually getting in without having a horrible throw.
In the back there is a lot of the same thing going through the woods, and hole 14 (I think it's almost Z Shaped) could be the worst hole ever.
Other Thoughts: I played this in the Rain in a tourney for the first time, and really enjoyed it still.
This place needs a little more work, but I think it could be one of top in the area with just a little bit of work.
The Toboggan hole was the first time I played one which was a lot of fun.
It's also Pay To Play but with two courses on the same part of land that are both very good it's worth it.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Awesome potential with some small flaws
Aesthetic-absolutely beautiful course in a beautiful park. on the same property as the original course but completely and distinctly different.
Challenge-this course is a helluva challenge. B3nder and I both got our asses handed to us compared to the original course. hugely long holes through dense woods with plenty of risk v reward.
Baskets-Discatchers, new and grippy (powdercoated) relatively visible in the heavier woods on this course. probably need some reflective tape in the future to increase visibility.
Originality-the toboggan hole (#2) is mind-blowing. stepping up to the pad the first time is awe inspiring.
Teepads-when all of them are installed, they will be nice concrete wide and long.
Routing/navigation-SUPER EASY!! I can easily say, there are more "next tee" signs here than are necessary.
Teesigns-temporary I'm sure but they are descriptive and easy to use!
Teepads- where concrete is not present, there is turf which is uneven and a bit wonky in most places
Repetition- the back 9 or 10 is very repetitive and I feel that the available property isn't used to it's full potential. Very LHBH and RHFH friendly.. RHBH, not so much.
Risk v Reward- yep, here too. the river on the last few holes isn't really used very effectively. it's there and it's very "in play" but it feels like it should be more utilized.
Other Thoughts: When we first hit the second hole, we though this course was epic! as we went along, it was very repetitive and uninspired. Very strong start but a very weak finish...
Excited to see where this course evolves to.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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