Can't throw in the woods? Then you'll rate this course low...
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Fairly well marked fairways and paths in between. The navigation wasn't perfect but wasn't terrible either.
- Baskets are Mach-somethings and in pretty good shape.
- Nice use of elevation. Lots of ups, downs and everything in between.
- Variety was refreshing. All sorts of left, right, sharp turns, straightaways and such. While there are holes that are very long and difficult there are a few that are true ace-runs. #1, #7 and #14 come to mind.
- Some of these holes I felt were true par 4s that even pros might struggle to par. I am thinking holes like 17 possibly.
- There's a lot of risk/reward strategy here. #7 is a good example. Miss the fairway to the left and wow...there's a LONG way down a steep slope. So this course really rewards good placement rather than long tee shots.
- Concrete tees are in fantastic shape. Good and grippy even in the wet.
- I dragged a cart around here just fine by the way. It is pretty hilly - not like Johnson Park in Grand Rapids hilly - so cart-owners ought to find this place manageable.
- The course is pay to play but I mean come on...$2 is not at all unreasonable.
- There wasn't a bench at every tee box (I think) but there were a lot of them and I sure appreciated that.
- Not sure if this is a product of the time of year I played this course (early spring) but there wasn't a lot of trash on the course. There were trash cans throughout.
Cons: - There are alternate tees here and in some cases the really added nothing to the course IMHO. These "AM" tees were merely slightly shorter versions of the "PRO" tees in most cases.
- Really did not care for the gimmicky "signature" hole #14 with its absurdly narrow double mando. I get the concept of the hole...I guess but it really did nothing for me. I was here when the course was particularly wet and there really is no place to lay up in conditions like that. Had the 50' or so feet in front of the basket been completely dry and could be practically used as a layup zone then it wouldn't bother me. With the flooded fairway though this hole unnecessarily tough to play.
- While some of the navigation was good some of it really needs improvement. Not a lot, just a few more next-tee signs or something like that would be handy.
Other Thoughts: Reading through some of the other reviews I am having a hard time understanding some of the hate for this course. This isn't an easy course and I don't think it is meant to be so maybe those ratings are from folks who can't throw in the woods too well. As stated this is a hilly course so IMHO good footwear is a must more so than your average course.
One thing to keep an eye on is there is a walking path through the course and like a lot of parks of this nature, walkers are often oblivious to the disc golf so they occasionally stray onto the course I noticed when I was there. The park does have signage indicating to the walkers where the course is but not everyone pays attention.
Expect to have this course kick your tail and enjoy every moment of it.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Clean and Fun!
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: A very nice, very clean and well marked course! Mix of some open and wooded holes. Allows you to throw and has some technicality to it. Some of the holes are a bit short, but it definitely is challenging to find the right touch.
Cons: Going off the fairway on a few holes can mean you spend some time searching. Not all the rough is actually "rough", just a little thick in places.
Other Thoughts: I really enjoyed this course, especially the gated/guarded hole over the pond (15 I think). At first I was going to skip it, but then I sacked up and threw a stable mid-range at it. I'm really glad I did. This course will really give you a confidence boost when you need it. I will definitely be playing this course a lot more!
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
sweet new course
0 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Great design on great plot of land , love the mando over the swampy spot . lots of crazy fairways .makes you think before you throw . nothing to long or extreme , great course for a teck thrower .
Cons: the rough needs a little time to get beat down but again its new
Other Thoughts: seems like a place that will grow into more as time goes on ,was my sons favorite course in the area .
0 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 4 Not
One of the best in the area
Pros: Great variety, starts off with a few long shots, and then makes it's way into some tightly wooded areas, then finishes with some longer holes. The holes are marked great, and there are multiple tee pads on most of the holes. The fairways are kept nicely, and there is hardly any trash. You can tell it's a well maintained course.
Cons: The rough gives no mercy for the most part, if you lose track of a disc, good luck locating it. Not really that much a con, but worth noting. Also, definitely bring bug spray, as most of the course plays through wooded area, and near swamps.
Other Thoughts: Great course, wish it was there when I lived next to Merrill Field. One of my top five in the area, which includes both Hudson Mills courses. I enjoy the challenge of having to make some accurate tee shots, but it feels great when a hyzer makes it through the trees and 10 feet from the pin. Hole 14 is the mando hole, which is interesting and not for everyone. I don't care for it, but I wouldn't call it a con. It definitely is a challenge, and one of these days I'll be able to birdie it.
2 of 6 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 10 Not
Pros: Great elevation and variety of shots. Signs help guide if new to course.
Cons: Disc golf course could use a few more signs out on road side as entering park from other entrances.
Other Thoughts: Tee signs are very informative including information as elevation up or down from tee elevation.
1 of 11 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 6 Not
A Well Thought-Out Course
Pros: Creative design - the practice basket allows for varied wind play - well-marked 10m bricks, painted blue&white - Nearly every single hole has a sharp difference - plenty of elevation changes - emphasis on accurate placement over distance - I love Chainstar baskets - The Ace Pole on 13.
Cons: I'm not a fan of thick summer brush - long drivers can only appreciate hole 17 - a few teepads could use a slightly longer run-up, excluding the tees limited by possible erosion - hole 15 tee sign isn't accurate, it's a straight hole.
Other Thoughts: I'm sad to see that someone vandalized the Ace Pole - it is $2 per round (I see it as money well spent) - you'd better be straight & accurate on 7 because the left rough is a sharp downhill - water levels can fluctuate quite a bit on 11 and 14.
1 of 7 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 2 Not
Not worth the drive
Pros: -Creativity and flow of the layout is near perfect minus the two brief walks down the pedestrian path
-Teepads are good size
-The park itself is very nice
-Great use of elevation
Cons: -Longer drivers/discs not really needed and seem impractical on at least 75% of the holes
-Some of the signage depicting the layout of each hole was misleading
-Awkward throwing angles and lanes
Other Thoughts: I can't knock this place for what I perceived as a product of much creativity and effort. With that said, I ultimately agree with the lower rated reviews. The course felt monotonous and gimmicky with many short, awkward shots off the tee. I wasn't a big fan of the gulch shot, which requires a perfectly dead straight shot if you truly want to make the prescribed mando area. #17 really was a sort of question mark shape; I'm not against holes that are essentially tough 3's, but that felt way too gimmicky.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 7 Not
A mediocre course
Pros: Easy entrance & exit of park
Course has a variety of different lengths
The mando hole is a nice touch
10m marks placed around baskets
Cons: Poorly designed course:
most holes cannot be seen from the tees
Too many holes that require impossible angles
Trees are common and tree knocks often result in an unplayable lie
some holes are next to an extremely steep valley.
Some signs are not correct (worst being hole 15, a blind shot where the sign says its a dogleg left and its actually a dogleg right)
The few holes that arent punishingly challenging are laughably easy.
Other Thoughts: Its a shame that this course didnt meet its potential. The land is nice and there was a lot of potential for a really fun and interesting course.
Its entertaining enough to play if you are a local but I wouldnt drive far to visit.
6 of 13 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Public with a Private feel
Pros: + Pleasantly laid out over hills, through woods, bordering a big park
+ Mixed, but balanced hole lengths and layouts
+ Balanced between tight and technical and fairly open (still technical)
+ Fairly easy navigation with necessary signage
+ Tee signs: #, distance, AM/Pro, and elevation change listed
+ Permanent blue 30' putting circle markers in ground
+ Other signage: ace post, nice course sign, #14's fences
+ Some good benches
+ Wood chips around baskets and in other needed areas as well
+ Nicely cleared fairways and walking paths
+ Pea stone, some gravel, and logs at tees to hopefully reduce erosion
+ Very clean and nicely groomed/mowed
+ No stumps left over from clearing
+ Some very scenic wooded areas, especially the last couple holes
+ The surprisingly steep hill bordering the left of #7's fairway helped me gain a few strokes on my competitor
+ Wind came into play on several holes
+ Practice basket
+ Lots of trash cans held in place by metal rods
Cons: - No par levels on tee signs
- Walking/biking trails nearby
- Hole #8 is a a beast: 350', heavily wooded, very rough on the edges, narrow, curving, with the basket tucked away
- Signature hole #14 was fun, but it would SUCK to retrieve discs in The Gulch - wonder if beginners will skip this hole
- #17: just a basket in the middle of an aesthetically pleasing bit of forest
- No signage directing visitors from the park's main entrance to the DGC
- Not a fan of tee signs with semi-accurate carved fairway shapes and pin locations - still requires looking ahead a lot
- Thorny bushes, a little poison ivy, and overall roughness is still bad
Other Thoughts: Two intermediate throwers played this course for the first time on a nice, warm fall Sunday morning. We threw from the Pro tees where available and felt very challenged since we thought the course was all Par 3's. FYI, it really isn't (see the Course Map/Rules under Links/Files). Regardless, we both threw 65.
The course is aesthetically pleasing because of how groomed it is and how nicely preserved they kept the grounds around the fairways. The amenities are everywhere and in great condition. While the rough is really rough in spots, the fairways are appropriately clear and there aren't any stumps to trip on. The forest isn't destroyed by discs yet, but I could see this being a popular option in the area as pay to play isn't enforced. Regardless, right now it's a very nice place to play disc golf.
The course flows from open with mowed fairways, then into some tight woods, and then back out into some longer, open wooded spots. Overall, I think The Gulch balances challenge well by mixing terrain/elevation with different hole lengths and curving fairways. Several holes were a frustrating combination of length, tree coverage, obstacles, and sometimes pin placement (#8). Some fairways are intentionally shaped oblong to force different kinds of shots (#4). A couple holes aren't rewarding to throw and can be quite frustrating (#17). A couple short and sweet holes felt a little lackluster (#10-14). Put me in the camp who thinks The Gulch hole (#14) is gimmicky, but I still enjoyed it. Overall, the mix of holes may be balanced, but the layout/design itself just doesn't qualify as 4.0/Excellent.
The Gulch has only been open a few months, so it came with a lot of pleasant surprises and some unpleasant disappointments. In terms of challenge and design, the course itself is a 3.5 out of 5.0. My rating of 4.0 out of 5.0 takes into consideration the obvious and much-appreciated efforts to maintain the course and elevate its quality with many amenities. A 0.5 disc boost is appropriate and well-deserved. Hopefully you can take a look at my Pros list, play the course, and consider the rating justified. If not, just trust that 4.0 is the most honest assessment I can give The Gulch.
Thanks for reading!
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 5 Not
Two Track Disc Golf
Aesthetic--Wraps through a large park, intermingled with walking trails. Area is NOT disc golf exclusive so keep your eyes open.
Teepads- Nice, long and appropriate for the hole lengths, brooms on every pad.
Teesigns- Nice, basic, little carving of the hole layout on the teesign. Unfortunately, I think a LOT of the distances are grossly exaggerated.
Routing/nav- not bad, easy to move about with the "next tee" signs
Ace "pole"- between the two ace runs, it's a distractor for people who like to write on things.
Elevation- nicely used.
Variety- there is a nice balance of holes here.
Teesigns- some of the distances seem GROSSLY exaggerated. I played the short tees and one was listed at 220' and was well over 300' long. also, the elevation changes were awkward and seemed wrong.
Poison Ivy- I know this course is new BUT, the amount of poison ivy here is rediculous. There are aerial roots EVERYWHERE with no warning of it being there.. CYA folks.
Challenge- I used three discs here and never anything faster than a fairway driver. I honestly could have played this course with a mid and putter. The challenge here is to avoid getting poison ivy I suppose.
Rough- crazy rough, poison ivy, thorns, you name it, it's here.
Hole 14- Don't get me wrong, I parked it... but it was so out of place... I can't imagine crossing the fen when it is wet though... the drop-zone for 14 is ridiculously tight tunnel shot with a very low ceiling.
Hole 17- like a big inverted question mark. stupid stupid stupid.
For those of you who are comparing this course to ludington(?) seriously, they are NOTHING alike. there are many courses just like this in michigan. hell, it reminds me of some of the metroparks nearby. get off your high horses, it's a brand new course, it's not the top of the mark yet!
7 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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