Underwhelming (for now?)
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: As other reviews have mentioned, Riverside Park is large and mostly open. The course plays around and near two large lagoons at the center of the park. Several of the holes use these lagoons to create significant water hazards.
There are 18 DISCatcher baskets that look brand new (new since the photos on here were taken). A few of them were in very interesting locations that added to both the degree of challenge and my enjoyment of the round (read: near the water).
There is a new-looking practice basket, which also aided me in finding the beginning of the course (see Cons).
Cons: There is a kiosk, but the "course map" on it is a faded 8.5" x 11" piece of paper that didn't seem to be fully accurate (the pin locations seemed correct, but not all of the tee pads).
Speaking of tee pads, I could not find a couple of them. The ones I did find were dirt.
Only a couple of the tee pads had tee signs, and the ones that were there were very old and didn't seem accurate.
The beginning of the course is difficult to locate within the park. The location pin on here is accurate, but to get there you have to enter the park at the Guild St roundabout, then immediately turn north along the drive to a small parking lot next to Monroe St.This entrance to the park is marked "Disc Golf" which is helpful, but don't be like me and miss the sharp turn north. If instead you continue west and park in the lot that way, you will find a kiosk with a map for an old pole hole course on it (this map is in better condition than the basket hole course map). I thought that this pole hole course map was the basket course map and had to do quite a bit of walking to figure it out. The old pole hole course also plays in the same area as holes 14-18 of the basket hole course, which at best doesn't make any sense and at worst could be dangerous. Anyway, I finally got back in my car and spotted what turned out to be the practice basket from the road. Once I parked and viewed the correct kiosk, it was still a walk north across a field to the first tee as other reviewers have mentioned.
This place is flat as a pancake with few obstacles other than the water.
Would definitely be largely flooded in the spring.
Errant throws could find a busy walking/jogging path on several holes (it was pretty well populated, even on the very hot day I was there).
I read about the geese and their feces in other reviews, but you really have to see it to believe it. I did not finish one hole because there were about two dozen geese in the 100' or so between me and the basket, and I would likely have hit one of them with my approach shot.
Other Thoughts: The hole info on here is inaccurate as of this writing. If I was certain where the tee pads were I would try to go back and update it.
From experiencing everything I have described above, I came to the conclusion that this course might be in the process of being renovated (new baskets currently, new tee pads and other infrastructure to come later?). With renovations this course would be closer to the 3 or 3.5 score it currently sits at on here, but right now IMHO it definitely falls well short of that. I can't recommend it as it is now unless you are a local who really enjoys water hazard holes. I live nearby so if I hear it is renovated, I will probably play it again and will update this review.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
My Fourth Riverside Park Course Played!
Pros: This Riverside Park is a large sprawling, flat park in Grand Rapids. The course is predominately open lawns with some scattered mature trees to provide obstacles to throw around as well as, some water hazards and the street coming into play on the first few holes.
The amenities are basic with trapezoid shaped concrete tees and there are simple little faded, wooden signs with the information routered in. Some signs are missing or haven't been changed to account for the revised layout. At the start you'll find picnic tables. The baskets are new Discatchers which are easy to spot on the longest holes.
Holes 1-5 are pretty standard issue. Of these, only # 4 plays longer than 300' and you always have a few trees to try and shape your line through. The navigation got confusing here. My on-line map is out dated and I had to scout around to find my way.
# 10, although treacherous, is a great hole. The basket is 500' away and hysers around the water and set about 20' feet from the water. One option would be to lay up and then throw across the water on your second shot which would be mighty scary.
Then # 11 is 280' throwing across the corner of the lagoon is another great tourney hole.
The # 12 basket is currently set right next to the water and the wind, distance and water makes this a "pucker up and throw hole". These three holes in a row must have seperated the men from the boys in the recent Senior's Tournament held here.
Cons: Lots of geese and their droppings.
Lots of holes with little in your way except a few trees.
First tee pad is difficult to find.
Navigation is difficult. I wasted a lot of time wandering about.
Other Thoughts: Players with big arms will at appreciate the bomber holes here and better players will enjoy the challenging water holes with their tricky basket placements. Intermediate players and above probably won't feel challenged except for the water holes. Recreation players will be intimidated by these water carries.
I think the course is lacking a true identity. Besides it's water holes, it's probably a little too mundane for better players. Recreation players will be OK with the more open holes and probably skip some or all of the dangerous water holes. In the end, I'm not sure what player is completely happy here.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: * Challenging but not too bad
* Tees are all concrete or mats
* Good, new Innova baskets
* Great scenery
* Great shade
Cons: * Geese crap everywhere
* Some holes have needless water (peninsula hole)
* Map hasn't been updated as of 9/1/17 since they redid the course spring '17
* Can be confusing where you're going
* Pedestrians come into play if you're not super great
Other Thoughts: I loved playing this course, and just skipped the water holes. The PDGA released a map for the '17 Masters, but it's not entirely accurate for the standard player (they moved some tee spots, etc.). Wish there wasn't so much geese crap.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 1 Not
Good course when water levels are down
Pros: Tee Pads
Cons: Flooded fairways and baskets (early-mid season)
Can be crowded/lots of pedestrian traffic
Other Thoughts: I live very close to this course and play here frequently, especially when the water levels come down.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Pros: - Easy navigation
- Open layout to test actual flights of new plastic
- Water holes to test the mind
Cons: - Busy park
- Lots of trees have died and made some holes point and shoot
- Goose poo
Other Thoughts: The course I learned to play on forever ago. Still fun to go throw a round at especially if bringing players new to the sport. Its dated and the city neglects it for the most part but they do replace baskets when stolen. Not quite worth traveling to if youre from way out of town but if you're visiting or a local, you'll enjoy it
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Nice open field prior to the first tee, I love warming up here for nice open drives. The cement tee pads are all fairly decent lengths, and the disc catchers are all in good condition. There are usually lots of people playing, it is always fun at Riverside!
Cons: There are water hazards on a few holes. Around these water hazards there are also lots of geese, where there are geese there is lots of goose crap. This is particularly bad especially on the hole that goes out on a little peninsula, there is so much crap out there that the grass does not even grow.
Other Thoughts: Most average players skip the water holes on this course. As I find myself getting better I challenge the water here more and more. I really enjoy the big trees and playing near the water! There are also lots of people in the area that sell used discs if your in the market for one.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Nice Layouts, but Lacks Difficulty
Pros: This is a nice-looking park for disc golf and it offers a decent variety of layouts. The grass is mowed, there are trees scattered on each hole, and water comes into play on quite a few holes. A few holes encourage you to use backhand drives, and a few others forehand drives. Two of the baskets are located on peninsulas and are two of the more unique holes you'll play in the Grand Rapids area.
Cons: First of all, it's kind of hard to find the first hole for this course. The tee box is a long walk from the parking lot, and it's not clear which parking lot you're supposed to go to if you want to play this course (and this is a giant park that consists of multiple parking lots, baseball diamonds, two disc golf courses, and many other things). Finding the last hole is also kind of tricky. Overall, this course is a little too easy for advanced players. Most of the holes are too open because they don't have many trees or other obstacles to worry about. The holes next to the water can be real muddy and can also have a lot of goose poop (apparently the geese really like this park). Those holes are also close to a walking path, so on a busy day you'll want to be careful not to throw your disc too far to the right (though that will seem like a safe option with the pond being on the left of those). You might even have issues with people fishing along the shore on some of these holes. I've seen some fishing near some of the baskets. The signs throughout this course are in really bad shape, and the ones that are still intact don't include much information about the holes.
Other Thoughts: For the most part this kind of feels like a beginner-friendly course. There are some tricky holes, but the rest are a little too easy, especially for more advanced players, to get low scores on because of how open they are. The water does encourage you to be more careful with your shots throughout the back 9, especially on the two peninsula holes. Just watch out for goose poop when you play here; that crap is all over this course.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The course plays through a flat, grassy park with scattered mature trees. Most of the holes have enough trees that you have to pick one of several lines and hit it to score well. Water comes into play on several holes, with a couple water carries (offering safe routes for shorter arms) and a few tricky pin placements that offer nice risk. The peninsula hole is a great risk/reward shot, plenty of room to lay up and leave a long putt with water behind, or go for the park job and risk getting wet on the drive.
When I played, the course was mowed and in pretty nice shape, the baskets show some age but catch fine and the concrete pads are grippy and a decent size. The course flow is obvious and easy to follow. There is a good mix of hole lengths to keep it a little more interesting, with a couple that let you air out a driver.
Cons: The only tee I had trouble finding was the first one, it's a long walk from the parking lot and hidden behind a bush. A little signage at the parking lot with a course map would go a long way. Several of the signs had distances that didn't seem to match what we were throwing at. There was a lot of mud and standing water on the holes near the water, seems like flooding is an issue and the course holds water for a while after. The later holes have a lot of goose crap, a bit gross and unsightly.
The course feels pretty wide open and flat, there are trees on most holes but not enough to force tight lines or make you pay for inaccuracy off the tee. There are a few spots on the back 9 where holes can potentially interfere with other park activities on a nice day.
Other Thoughts: Beginners might find the water shots a bit daunting, though otherwise it's a forgiving course with only moderate length. More experienced players won't find their line shaping skills tested here, the only real challenges are on the water shots and a couple longer holes.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 5 Not
Watch where you step
Pros: ***FREE TO PLAY***
• Located within a large, city park with plenty of other activities going on (baseball fields, multiple playgrounds, jogging/walking/bicycle paths) The park itself is rather flat and grassy, and plenty of older trees, and with an addition of some new saplings that are strewn about (Hole 2, Hole 3) There are multiple holes with water hazards that come into play (13,14,15,16) so there is some risk/reward options there to test your accuracy and driving.
-Specifically hole 15 which is a Peninsula Hole, or better yet called "Goose Sh*t Island" would be definitely considered the Signature hole of this course, if it weren't for the insurmountable piles of goose mines everywhere. This is a more challenging hole, focusing on placement as not to overshoot and go in the swamp water behind the pin. I want to say this hole is a "Pro" for the course and not a con...but I'm not too sure with the amount of goose crap everywhere.
• Another Pro to this course would be the large open field that is between the parking lot you'll pull up in, and the first hole. You can use this area for warming up some drives, or just tossing a disc back and forth to work on accuracy.
- I have brought my DGA M-14 portable basket to this field as well to warm up and practice putting on nicer days, as there is no practice basket here.
• The upkeep here in terms of mowing and trimming is usually pretty good, with the grass and weeds never getting out of control.
• The baskets here are DISCatchers, and for the most part are still in decent shape.
• Concrete tees are always a plus and most are in decent repair.
- There are a usually a few trash cans at the course (Hole 1, Hole 7) and also a few picnic benches to rest on (Also Hole 1, Hole 7 and a few others)
• Navigation here is easy enough to follow, as the park wraps around the disgusting swamp water in the middle of the park, and as soon as you finish up on 18 you'll be within a few minute walk of the parking lot where you started.
• With most of the first half, and some of the second half, the holes are open throws with obvious lines and just a few trees to avoid. Perfect for beginners as well as more familiar players to practice their drives/line shaping. Nothing TOO complex however. Shot variety exists, but is at a minimum.
• Course is definitely cart friendly, as long as you don't mind doing your best to avoid goose landmines.
Cons: • First major con is the fact that the first hole is difficult to find if you don't know where you're going. I've been asked multiple times by new comers where the first pad is. The parking lot that you park in has a field next to it, and you have to go across the field to a large bush on the right hand side by the road. The first pad is there behind that bush, as well as a trash can, and picnic table.
- This park would benefit from a map located up front to at LEAST inform people where the first hole is located, as well as maybe some updated hole lengths etc.
• Seems they have been making some changes at the park lately, trees have been being cut down in some spots (Hole 9 used to be an awesome Risk/reward chance, with multiple lines to choose between trees, but now is a barren and extremely boring open shot at a basket, YUCK) and some new saplings have been planted around as well. (Hole 2, 3)
• The teesigns are AWFUL (that is if they are even still there) most of them are either gone, drawn all over or just plain unsightly. It seems that most of the distances are way off too, not really sure how they got that far off track.
• People seem to like to leave trash all over, even with the amount of trash bins around. Bottles are usually at every pad, as well as left on the top of the basket. If you brought it in, bring it out as well.
• As I stated, Geese like to hang out at this park due to the swamp water that is in the middle of the land. So you have to be weary where you step as it is pretty much a guarantee you'll step on a nice pile, or your disc may land in it.
• Flooding is a huge issue here as well, and can sometimes make it impossible to play the first couple of holes, as well as Holes: 13,14,15,16. Also, it seems like the water will sit for days and days and take forever to evaporate. Likewise, sometimes the river water and pond will dry up significantly, and stay gone for extended periods of time. It all depends on the season.
-Bugs here are terrible in the summer months around the water holes, BRING BUG SPRAY!
• Advanced players just won't find this course an overall challenge, as it is more suited to beginners/intermediates.
Other Thoughts: This course definitely has potential, however just the sheer amount of goose dump everywhere just really drags this place down. Some of the holes have been getting changes made to them indirectly, as trees have been getting cut down and some new ones put in. I think taking OUT obstacles here is a bad call, as wide open shots with nothing to challenge you is just no fun.
This place is generally FULL of chuckers on the weekend, so if you are looking to get a more serene, calm round in, come early morning or even during work hours to avoid the shenanigans.
All-in-all a good course to get practice in at, as well as some meeting some decent regulars. I pretty much only played this course as much as I have because of how close it is to my house, but given the option to play elsewhere, I would take it. There is also a pole course (Riverside South) located in the same park that is worth a quick play through as well.
14 of 19 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Riverside = Sure IS!
Pros: - A very challenging course
- Not too many terrain changes, but it makes up for that with the challenges of the trees, water hazard and the road along holes 1-5.
- A great 18 hole course in the Greater Grand Rapids area.
- Hole 15 is the most memorable hole on the whole course. The Peninsula!
- Tees are great and baskets along with posts are in great condition.
- Good anhyzer and hyzer shots course
- Bathroom right by the parking lot to hole one.
Cons: - Goose poop around holes 14-16 are so caked up that most stray away. 15 is the only one worth walking through to play.
- During the early part of the Spring and later parts of the Fall the water rises and most of the back 9 are flooded, making it inaccessible to play.
- The bog along most of the course is discouraging due to the fact that it stinks, is mucky, and if you lose a disc in there, chances are its gone.
Other Thoughts: Overall, I loved playing the course, even with the above aforementioned cons. Just remember to bring water and crappy discs/shoes for most of the course.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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