Hidden Gem in the Making
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: • Scenery: SMASH is laid out through a nice wooded park in Central Michigan. Beautiful walk through the forest with plenty of elevation and wildlife to enjoy.
• Baskets: Arroyo Vortex Baskets. Best of the best. Bright colors for visibility, 20 outer chains, interlaced inner chains, ZERO chance for cut throughs, however they require firm putts.
• Variety: Plenty of elevation, left-to-right holes, right-to-left holes, wooded tight lines, a few more open holes, bunkers, water, only a few repetitive shots.
• Challenge: Pick a line and hit it! This is a densely wooded forest with tight lines. They are most definitely there, but there are several holes that you have to nail a gap or three. Not a poke-and-pray course, but certainly not large openings. Hit your line and be rewarded, get off your line and risk some great punishment and additional strokes.
• Maintenance: Plenty of trash cans, very little garbage on the ground, brush has been cleaned up and tee signs are on point.
• Layout: Several great walking paths that do not at all interfere with the disc golf course! Always great to see. Very easy to follow the course from hole to hole, no confusing "where's the next hole" moments.
• Extras: Nice pavilion and picnic tables at the entrance, plenty of parking even for good sized local tournaments, and a solid practice putting area with a good basket and some small trees/elevation to practice different putts.
Cons: • Stumps: The crew did a good job of clearing out lines and making a challenging wooded course, however, there are lots of small stumps left for you to trip over and/or break a toe.
• Short: The dense forest requires you to hit your gaps, however, this is mostly a mid and putter course. Most holes require accuracy over bombers. Not the worst thing in the world, but some long open holes are always fun to air out. There is open land to the west of the main course that could be utilized. (more in the "Other Thoughts")
• Bugs: No surprise in Michigan and not a lot can be done, but be prepared and bring some repellent.
• Tee pads: They aren't horrible, but they are artificial turf. Good grip, but not always smooth and some are a bit short.
Other Thoughts: While I do greatly enjoy the course, there is room for improvement. With a few stumps trimmed closer to the ground and a few (few, not many at all) trees removed, this would easily bump my rating up. I would love to give this a 4-star or more as it's one of my favorite courses, but it's not quite there.
For a few local tournaments, they have used the very open sandy field area to the west of the main course for alternate holes. There is a GREAT opportunity to add in some more challenging signature holes (super narrow tunnels through low fir trees, downhill sandtrap shots) and also allow for 3-4 bigger air shots without any forest. I would absolutely love to see this area used for some open bombers to make this into a 24-hole course! That would get me up to 4.5 stars and make this my top course in the Grand Rapids area.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Get ready to get smashed
3 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Plenty of trash cans and stumps to sit on. Not much trash or vandalism. A couple really good two shot holes on the back nine (13 & 15). Overall good design and flow.
Cons: Too many trees. Challenge and hitting lines is a part of a good course, but too many "poke and hope" shots here. Removal of a few trees would bump this course up to 3.5, maybe 4. Carpet teepads are okay, didn't like 'em, didn't hate 'em.
Other Thoughts: Not sure what I expected at this course. Like a lot of things about it. Baskets look cool, but not thrilled with the way they "catch".
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Mix of short and long holes for all skill levels. Clean park with picnic tables! Option for quick 9 holes or full 18!
Cons: Few water hazards if that scares you! Bring bug spray and a spotter for some holes! Very wooded for a nice challenge.
Other Thoughts: Great course! Can't wait to play again.
2 of 6 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 8 Not
my favorite course
Pros: holes range in difficulty, great pads, amazing scenery, a great course for beginners and for the most avid disc golfers.
Cons: only real con (and I know it is not Mr. McCarty's or any of the designers faults) is the vandalism on the picnic tables and trash cans.
Other Thoughts: this Is the first course I ever played on and I definitely recommend it to anyone who loves the sport of disc golf. my favorite course by far.
1 of 9 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 6 Not
Smash Park Is a piece of heaven
Pros: Smash is a great switch up to the other courses in the area. It has a great layout, and the up down elevation provides excellent aerobic activity for those looking to shed a few. I encourage others to take advantage of this park before it becomes a popular destination, and all the holes have groups waiting, like the others in the area.
Cons: As for any cons i would have to say mosquitoes are an issue, as with most Michigan parks and my backyard. Bring your preferred method of insect control.
Other Thoughts: Come have a good time and leave your review.
5 of 11 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 5 Not
major local bias
Pros: New baskets
Hole 13 is a quality hole
Very little poison ivy (which is unusual based on the handful of Michigan courses I've played).
Cons: Course is totally unfinished. Stumps,lumpy faux turf tees, no real line on several holes etc.
As others have said, mosquitoes and horse flies are out in FORCE patrolling the low lying areas.
Other Thoughts: I played this course in the middle of a 3 ccourse tour east of Grand Rapids (I played Fallasburg first and Bertha Brock last) and it was the most forgettable of the three. The course isn't bad, but there is a lot of work to do. I don't want to add fuel to the fire, but even for a native Texan the bugs were thick. But since that seems to be a sensitive subject, let's talk about improvements totally in the control of the designer.
The tees should be torn out. Natural tees would be an improvement over these. I know concrete isn't in everyone's budget and try to not grade down too much for that, but these are bad.
There is brush everywhere. I almost got the impression some of it was deliberate, but it was never 100% clear.
Clear the stumps, please!
And while y'all are at it there are many holes that need some trimming/clearing to define a line.
The course has the potential (as currently laid out) to be average to good, but doesn't come close to living up to its potential. I'm fairly sure if drive to Fallasburg even if I lived in Belding, and judging by the relative amount of traffic at both courses I'm not alone.
7 of 12 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 10 Not
Good technical course
Pros: Tight lines, nice baskets, very clean, tee signs, great scenery, friendly locals, always improving, variety of shots
Cons: No open holes, stumps in the fairways, bugs,no practice basket
Other Thoughts: My favorite course. I think this is a hidden gem of west Michigan
5 of 15 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: SMASH Park, unlike any other park that I have been to, has an incredible following of volunteers who are always willing to put forth their efforts into making this course better. There will be very few times that you will find a piece of trash on the course and odds are that if you do it will be picked up within 24 hours. The course has a nice flow of short, long, backhand/hyzer, and forehand/anhyzer shots. It is very technical and will challenge even the most experienced players. The designers are working on changing a few holes to increase the distance as well as add "placement shot" holes. The astro-turf in the beginning was the only route that we were allowed to go. The city did not want concrete in the park and they accepted the turf. If you read about this kind of material it is easier on the knees, durable, easy to maintain, and is increasing in popularity in courses all over the world and especially in Europe.
Cons: Mosquitoes. They are thick as ever, but if you can find a course in Michigan (read up on your history as why it took so long for the settlers to come to Michigan...it's a mitten-shaped swamp) that doesn't have a problem with Mosquitoes I would be glad to visit. There are also several brush piles that need to be moved. Because the construction and maintenance was all done by volunteers there was confusion as what was going to happen to the brush. This problem is being addressed currently and should change by the end of 2015. Other than these two things I think the MDGE club that frequents SMASH is doing an excellent job with the projects that need to be done.
Other Thoughts: As one of the designers of SMASH Park I want to first take a second to recognize and applaud the few golfers on this site who take time from their day to give some "pros and cons" to the course I feel very attached to. Criticisms and critiques are what will keep the course moving forward and progressing to become one of the best courses in the area and hopefully a "must see" attraction for Michigan and the Midwest. That being said, I do not appreciate reviews like the one that was submitted by "TywinL". This type of person likes to hide behind a screenname and give pointless criticisms to something that is completely unavoidable. If he has played several different courses throughout the United States he would know that trying to treat an area of over 220 acres of public park land that is densely wooded is an impossible and fruitless effort. I can come to some sort of common ground TywinL. The mosquitoes are very thick and sometimes it makes it a little difficult to play. When times like these happen I sit back and think about why the park was built.
Cody "SMASH" Moore (You remember the sign at the beginning) passed away unexpectedly in 2012. He lived down the road and used the area to create his own mini courses. We thought it would be fitting to place a course there in his honor. So I cannot say that I appreciate your comment that this memorial should be "burned to the ground." Many people put in hours, days, and weeks to make this course a reality. You probably wouldn't know anything about that because you're probably the type to not actually help make a course better, but a bystander waiting for the work to be done so you can complain about it. I'm sorry that your experience at SMASH was unpleasant, however, if you ever expect this sport to move forward you have to be productive and not hide behind your keyboard. Have something constructive to say. Players who claim to be experienced should take into account the age of the course and where it will be when it does reach maturity. The courses that are being compared to SMASH are much older and have the luxury of being maintained by local or county government. Here at SMASH we do not have that luxury. I have talked to several professional players and course designers that have some of the problems that other players have had (length and elevation) however, they also comment on the age of the course 100% of the time. Please give us something to work with. If you have things that you think could change then please make them clear and we will discuss and potentially address them. If we want disc golf to move forward and succeed we need to work together.
9 of 14 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 17 Not
Never again unless I'm conducting Lyme Disease research
Pros: Nothing at all. This should be burned to the ground and the baskets sacrificed as an apology to the disc golf gods.
Cons: Between almost breaking an ankle on the ridiculous Astro-Turf Teepads, never needing anything other than a Judge, and almost being drained of every ounce of blood in my body by the voracious bloodsuckers that inhabit the TWO swamps this course was designed around this was the WORST disc golf experience of my life.
Other Thoughts: This was the second course I played during a weeklong visit with family in Greenville MI, and after the Greenville course and this hellhole I was ready to write Michigan disc golf off as totally over-rated. Fortunately my cousin took me up to Flip City, Fallasburg, and Mason County Beast a couple days later and changed my mind. I won't bother reviewing most of those courses, as I feel like the reviews are spot on for them. However, I think there is a lot of local bias around this course and wanted to put in my two cents.
Honestly Belding, either fix the mosquito problem by treating the swamps or remove the course and put in a malaria research station. The choice is yours..
Sorry to all the locals who I offended. I realize you all worked hard, and if you think I enjoy tearing down all the work that went into the course you're incorrect. However, I stand by my statement. I've played all over the US, and NEVER had a worse experience on a course. To say you can't treat for mosquitoes is sophistry at best. Major metropolitan areas do it all the time. Simply say you can't raise the funds to do it. In fairness, I agree that there will be bugs at any course you play. It's simply part of being outdoors. However, I've never seen mosquitoes ignore bug repellent and swarm people the way they do at your course.
You claim you can do nothing about the mosquitoes, but I've got an idea. Build the course elsewhere. It's great that a kid from your town used to play jungle golf in those woods. Seriously, it is. But I'm not sure you've done his memory justice with what you've done. Sometimes a measured approach is best. Do 9 holes well (concrete teepads, room for expansion ie second pads someday, clear lines cut, etc) and then add 9 more. SMASH feels like it was hastily thrown together with little foresight for growth or expansion, using the cheapest materials possible, and put in the wrong location. Just one man's opinion of course...
5 of 22 people found this review helpful.
Take a pass.
6 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: Beautiful scenery in a nice wooded area of the park.
No real rough to speak of. Lots of trees, but the undergrowth around them has been removed so discs are easy to find.
Technicality of the course makes up for it's lack of length
Ability to play 9 or 18 holes easily is a great idea, and should be done by more course designers.
Navigation was flawless and easy!
Cons: The bugs! Holy crap! Bug spray won't cut it with these things, take long pants and sleeves and consider a beekeeper's headcovering!
The tees! They're too short, not always level with the ground, and slippery. Carpet turned upside down and staked to the ground is both cheaper and grippier.
The baskets are nice and new, but you'd better hit them dead center. Off center hits spit out due to the design of the Arroyo basket. Not the courses fault, but it did get frustrating.
Short and shorter holes.
Poor signs where present, and frequently missing both times I've played.
Other Thoughts: SMASH Park has the potential to be a 3.5 to 4 star course, but needs a little work to get there.
First, the good: The course is beautiful, with tons of mature trees, virtually no litter, and thoughtful challenging pin placements that strive to make up for a lack of length with somewhat artificial difficulty. The fact that there is a well marked transition where you can loop back to the parking lot is a nice feature I've not seen anywhere else. There are transitions, but they're usually only known to locals and not this well marked. Well done!
Now the bad. I wish I'd taken the transition the last time I played here. It would have kept me away from the "water hazards" which are actually just low lying stagnant swampy areas that breed an absurd number of mosquitoes. After reading the course conditions on this site I was prepared with 2 different insect repellents in my bag. One with 30% DEET, and the other with pyrethrum as the main active ingredients. Not only that, I'm usually the last person mosquitoes go after. I'll tell you right now, these suckers must be starving to death because they attacked me like a pack of starving hyenas, and went after my wife even worse. I'm really not sure what you could do to avoid them if the precautions I took didn't work. The city of Belding needs to consider treating these low-lying areas with something to kill mosquito larvae. Doing so would improve the course immensely.
One final negative is hole length: I could have played this baby with an Envy and a Zone, and done just fine. There are only 2 holes most players will NEED a driver on, and even those you might be better served to play a more controlled shot. I realize that this is partly a design choice, and partially a constraint enforced by wanting 18 holes on a limited piece of land, but I'd personally rather see 9 really good holes here.
For all the grief I'm giving it, SMASH Park really does have potential. The two longer holes show what the entire course could be if reduced to only 9 holes, and are totally amazing. However, the shorter length and more technical holes are definitely loved by some. Despite the bugs, my wife can't wait to play here again. She feels like this course puts us on much more even footing as it robs me of my major distance advantage over her. Kill the mosquitoes or at least reduce them, and get better signs and teepads and this is an easy 2-2.5 star course. The locals seem committed to making excuses instead of improvements though, so I've moved on to other courses. This will never be anything but short, boring and hazardous to your health.
Played the course again, still not a very good course. Lots of locals have been trying to inflate the reviews, but this simply is not a great or even a very good course. It's better than nothing, but not a course I'd play again.
6 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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