Ruff Ruff at Paw Paw
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Paw Paw Park is a large, low-lying area located a couple miles away from downtown Holland, MI. The eastern part of the park used to be a ball golf course, but is now Macatawa Greenspace DGC.
The park has interesting terrain and flora and it is used well to create a fantastic variety of challenging holes. This park has a lake, a river, and several other low-lying areas, creating several bona fide water holes (there are six listed on the hole info page, but depending on the time of year several other holes can be damp). There isn't a ton of elevation change but it's kind of rolling throughout the course, and the designers placed a couple of baskets near steep drop offs to create nice risk/reward opportunities. The amount of tree coverage also varies throughout the course. In general, this is not your typical Michigan wooded course - yet the scattered trees still provide well-placed obstacles on many of the holes. There are wooded dogleg lefts, open dogleg rights, tight straight shots, and everything in between.
There is quite a bit of length here. Officially only three of the holes are par 4 (and all of these exceed 500'), but additionally there are two par 3s that exceed 400' and only one hole is shorter than 250'. A few good tests for larger arms.
The infrastructure here is solid. The baskets and concrete tee pads are in good shape. Each hole has a large, color tee sign with an artistic but spatially accurate representation of the hole showing critical obstacles, the distance, and par. The tee signs also have two other less common features that I really like: They show nearby holes on the map that may come into play, and they show an elevation contour map of the entire hole. The latter feature allows you to determine the lay of the land even on those holes with blind tee shots. I think there is also a bench at every tee, or at least most of them. There is a course map/kiosk posted at the first tee.
The fairways seem to be well maintained, and are very well defined.
Vault toilets adjacent to the parking lot, and the course loops back to the parking lot after hole 11.
Cons: The biggest issue with this course, by far, is the rough. The rough, as I stated in the title of this review, is rough. It mostly consists of thick grasses and marsh weeds that can often grow to 4 ft. or higher in the summer months before they get trimmed by park maintenance. When they are finally trimmed, they are left where they fall - making an undergrowth layer that a disc can dive into. The rough is also full of those briars that stick to your clothes and disc bag. The density and height of the rough makes it incredibly easy to lose sight of your disc, and incredibly difficult to find it. Adding to the issue, the fairways are very narrow in spots with this rough on either side. In the summer months it is almost impossible to play this course and not lose a disc, unless you have a spotter or can consistently hit a 10'-15' wide fairway from 250'+ with high accuracy. I have had throws that I knew were less than 5 feet off the fairway and had an approximate visual location, but still took 20 minutes to find. This really takes away from the experience, at least for me.
The course is open enough that wind can be a significant factor, further exacerbating the issue with the rough.
On a couple of holes the layout of the water/rough areas make it basically impossible for a novice DG'er to lay up, forcing him/her to either skip the hole or very likely lose a disc. In particular, on water hole #9 if you cannot carry your tee shot roughly 225'-250' over the lake to a relatively small grassy area, you will have to skip the hole or lose a disc. Between the length, challenge, and high probability of lost discs I cannot recommend this course for beginners or for anyone looking for a casual solo round.
Although the navigation flows fairly well, there are a few spots where "Next Tee" signs would be helpful.
This area of Paw Paw Park does not have other attractions away from the parking lot besides disc golf. However, pathways snake between many of the holes and in my experience these pathways are popular with walkers and runners. Errant throws could easily find these pathways, and because of the rough some of those throws could be blind.
No practice basket.
Other Thoughts: Neither a pro or con really, but due to the longer length and higher difficulty this course takes a long time to play relative to other 18 hole courses - even if you don't spend a ton of time looking for discs in the weeds or trying to fish them out of the lake.
I have heard there is a guy who regularly goes swimming in the lake and pulls out lost discs to sell. That guy may make more money than I do.
When the rough is cut down this is honestly a whole different course. In my opinion, with cut down rough this course is a lot of fun and a solid 4.0. In the summer, the rough knocks it down to more like a 3.0 hence my 3.5 average. In the summer I tend to avoid this course like the plague, other than maybe #11-18 where the disc eater weeds are generally less of an issue. My verdict? This is a well-designed, challenging course regardless of skill level BUT if you are playing solo, you may want to look elsewhere - especially during the summer months.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 5 Not
Excellent visiting course!
Pros: Great lay out. Challenging holes without being too unfriendly. Very clean and well kept.
Cons: Wish I lived closer so I could play it all the time! (Not really a con)
Other Thoughts: Loved playing this course. Instantly one of my favorites!
0 of 5 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Course Is Best Played By Players With Skills!
Pros: I hear that Paw Paw Park was once the site of a golf course. It surely is pretty enough to have once been a course. What makes this course so challenging and interesting just might be the same things that keep many players away. Some of Paw Paw's fairways are narrow strips of lawn lined with areas of nasty rough. No-one will avoid this rough all the time and in some places it's filled with tall grass, thistles and these really annoying plants which seem to throw their burrs on you, even if you just pass close by. At times, my shoes, shoelaces, legs and towel were thick with these pesky burrs. Fortunately, they are not the small ones which are really difficult to remove. These are bigger and relatively easy to pull off.
Also, there two over the water shots that many of us should just avoid. # 9 is 420' which takes about a 380' throw to carry the water. You can play it safely by throwing to a landing area on the right side. For better players, this seems like a fairly safe play. For recreational players, this would still be scary.
# 10 is 262' with the water on the left and also behind the basket. Once again, not a difficult shot for intermediate players and above but rec type players will definitely drown a few discs here.
I started off my round playing solo and trying to play extra cautiously. The one time I attempted to throw over the rough, I choked and went deep into it. After spending much time hunting for my disc and collecting burrs, I served as a spotter for the two guys following me, and they both needed my help on this hole. On the next hole, we were all in the rough and a fourth player teed off, into the tough. We kind of reached a mutual decision to play together and have four sets of eyes. And together we did spend ample time looking for discs.
The course is intermediate level challenging. I guess the two water holes would be considered the signature holes here. Nothing else really stood out. For my own personal favorite, I liked the first hole a lot. It's 364' but here is a enormous Weeping Willow tree sat right in he middle of the fairway with it's branches all hanging down to about four feet high. This makes for a tricky tunnel shot here.
Cons: Smallish fairways combined with some nasty, disc eating rough is a recipe for disaster for less skilled players (like me). And it's really not fun for better players to spend time searching for discs.
The last two holes were pretty pedestrian like. They felt a lot filler holes.
Navigation can be tricky.
Not a course to play solo.
Not beginner friendly and many rec players will suffer here.
Other Thoughts: Would be a lot more fun here if you could throw 400' or even 350'. One really needs that distance here and accuracy is probably just as important. For me, constantly hunting for discs that are just a few feet off the fairway is aggravating. And here because the fairways are so narrow, it's easy to throw a relatively good shot and have it be in the rough.
This is a very nice, challenging course. Better players will like facing those challenges head on while us stinky players will probably turn tail and run back to our mommies or perhaps to the nearest, easy recreational course like Winstrom Preserve or Discfunctional Acres.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Gorgeous tee boxes and signs. Baskets are in good shape
Cons: Fairways are no wider than 10-15 feet in most places
Rough is unmanageable, exceedingly easy to lose a disc
Not worth throwing a driver
Really needs some additional areas mowed down
Other Thoughts: I was visiting from Texas and threw my discs in so I could play with my father in law. This was his first time really out playing and we quit after the first 5 holes. We spent over 30mins searching for our discs. The fairways are so tight that it's near impossible to play and the rough just eats discs whole. Has amazing potential if the county would keep the rough trimmed down and widen the fairways.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Nice Design - But Mother Nature Adds Too Much
Pros: Aesthetic - Like the description, it plays on an old ball golf course, which has aesthetics. Especially the front half of the course, but if you rush thru and don't stop to admire you'll miss some, like the boulder waterfall in the river just beyond hole #3. Some of the most gorgeous holes I've seen in a while are in the middle of the course, 8, 9 and cap'ed at 10 on the peninsula. Once you get past those, it does get a little drab.
TeePads/Baskets - Teepads were in great shape, and basket were as well. If the baskets had better markings to be seen a bit easier that would help, but they were fine.
Signage - these were very nice, telling you all about the hole, and where, and trees on the course (of sorts). Very nice signs indeed.
Variety - so much variety, dogleg left-right, uphill, downhill, blind drives, open, technical, tunnel, water, tight placement water. Someone took a lot of time designing this.
Congestion - We went during the week, in May, during the day. Not a soul in sight, and foot traffic didn't look high. Some fairways didn't even look traveled and some approaches looked untouchedl. Not sure how many people come here.
Locatability - Great maps, good signs, easy to follow, yes, all good stuff for this.
Maintained/Bugs - No bugs for us in May, I am guessing it will get there though, with the marshy/muddy areas. Most of the fairways seemed well kept, but some had almost knee high grass making trouble for even a good drive to be found. But I still have to say this is good. No garbage, maybe because of no visitors.
Cons: Challenge - There is a lot of challenge on this course. You have to come back to risk versus reward. Perhaps we came at a bad time in May, so some areas of the rough were new creeks / marshes, which isn't very fun and added more risk to holes. And some of the rough was a bit too rough. Plus, this area was designed for a ball, so it was really and wind doesn't affect a ball as much as a disc. We saw winds howling on some holes, and other times I played the wind and a sleeper set of trees blocked the wind and left my disc out to dry. So I would say the weather bumped the challenge up way too much, wind, additional water beyond the water, the course was designed to be hard, this put it way too extreme, especially 50mph swirling gusts that actually knocked the disc out of my and I'm trying to drive with water all around me.
Fun - I am putting fun as a CON, because I think more people would not like this course than would. The biggest thing in fun is the challenge, and you read what I said on that. Perhaps it was the day we went, but with the wind, the additional water hazards, first time and not knowing exactly where to throw especially on the blind drives, not that great. My wife, she didn't play more than half the course.
Other Thoughts: Whats holding it back from higher rating - I am just not a big fan of the design, and maybe this is like Novocain, just gotta give it time, keep going (but I don't want to). How do you stop the wind on the open areas, or clear up the rough some... I think it is what it is. All the rest of the course that could have been easy to fix is already in great shape, like I said, I think the design is really good.
Kid Friendly - It's a pretty long course to get thru, with not much else to do for kids. With all the water hazards and then add some wind, this may not be the place to take them
Older/Less Active Player Friendly - Definitely no, way too long, too much elevation changes, thick grass, and exits back would be too long.
Rookie & Average Player Friendly - Do NOT go by yourself, need a spotter for too many holes, or to look around for where the basket is or find your disc. But if you have some buds, there is plenty to work on, and seeing an old ball golf course, and seeing some of the aesthetics could be good. But not tops on the list.
Pro Player Friendly - If you scoped out the course first, I think Pro's could have a good time here. There are a lot of things to work out, good challenges and the risk versus reward is a good payoff and I think the obstacles would be as great for you.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Very fun, but stay out of the rough
Pros: - Very pleasant park setting
- Great equipment: baskets, tee pads, signs, benches etc.
- Streams, ponds, and rolling hills make for great risk/reward play
- Decent hole length and shot variety
Cons: - Long grass will eat your discs if not careful
- Mostly open shots, few tight fairways to force lines
- Lackluster finish
Other Thoughts: Macatawa Greenspace is a delightful park that turned an old ball golf course into a very fun disc golf course. The rolling hills, sporadic trees, and prairie grasses provide enough shot shaping to make the round interesting, while still allowing you to play your game. The stars of the course though, are the ponds and creeks that run through the course providing a great level of risk/reward.
The water holes are designed such that you can choose exactly how much danger you are willing to put your disc into. All of the water carries have lines for you to bail out if you can't reach tho other shore, or just don't want to risk it, and you can always stay clear of the creeks.
The equipment is fantastic, with spacious tee pads, well catching baskets, nice benches, and informative tee signs. Some of the signs have started to fade already. Hopefully this is remedied because they are really quite nice.
The big con for this course is the long grass. It adds another risk/reward aspect to the course, but one most people find more irritating than adding of any real merit. It isn't overly hard to stay in the fairways most of the time, but if you mess up your shot, you could be looking for a long time. The rolling hills don't help this aspect since they can prevent you from seeing where your disc finishes. Mowing additional paths in the rough, widening the fairways, or just keeping it all mowed to a lower level, would really help keep frustration down.
The course ends with a handful of holes (15, 17, 18) that don't quite meet the same standard as the rest of the course, which is too bad. In general there is something interesting to think about for each hole.
This course makes for a very fun, pleasant, if not overly challenging round, and could be even better if the long grass is beaten down a bit more. Send spotters if you can, particularly if playing with less experience players to help avoid frustration.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 6 Not
Great Ball Golf - Bad Disc Golf
Pros: *Great Signage*
Very nice big sign at the parking lot showing full layout of pads and baskets, bike paths, walking paths, intersections, bridges, water, ect. As well as beautiful signs at each hole. Honestly some of the best signage I've come across.
Good mix of long and short hills, good use of elevation and water to mix things up. Very rough off from fairways punishing errant throws (more on that later)
*Well Groomed Fairways*
When I was there this weekend it looked as if it was just mowed. The fairways were very clean.
*Long Concrete Pads*
No worry about 4' shorts, these are nice full-length pads in good shape.
Beautiful course (obviously an old ball golf course) with plenty of woods, a couple nice streams, a good sized pond and well maintained benches and bridge
Professional feeling ball golf course, but, I do not feel this lends well to discing...
While a golf ball is intended to fly straight, a disc (as we know) must flex right to left/left to right to achieve max distance. This course is laid over an old ball golf course meaning that the fairways are usually 20-25' wide with 3' tall grass, thistle, thorns, burrs and rhubarb to hide your disc. I appreciate rough punishing errant throws, however, this is overboard creating a very unsatisfying round for players new to the course. Two accurate players that usually average 3-5 below par (everything as 3 pars) we still spent more time looking for discs than actually playing on the front 9.
This is in serious need of a brush-cut down from 36" to around 8-12" to allow for rate of play and less frustration.
While the signs are plentiful and beautiful, a few show a recommended flight path or pin placement that do not reflect the hole (shows dogleg left on a straight hole)
*Lack of Trash Cans*
Leads to a lot of cans, wrappers and papers around the course, harming what is truly a beautiful sightseeing walk.
Other Thoughts: While I didn't lose any discs, it was very frustrating to have to play ULTRA conservatively or else search for discs that skipped off a fairway into very dense overgrowth. This lead me to rate what I feel could EASILY be a 4-4.5 star course as a 1.5. There is no excuse for grass that is past the knees, filled with thorns, burrs and large-leaf rhubarb to encourage losing discs.
This has the potential to be phenomenal, but, due to the Raptor Grass it takes even very experience throwers to a level of annoyance that I do not enjoy.
I would never bring a newer player here and if I were to play again, I would not throw anything more than a midrange on the front 9.
8 of 14 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 1 Not
Unique and Punishing...Huckers Beware!
Pros: - Beautiful landscaping throughout the entire course.
- Very different feel to it over your typical Michigan wooded course. Imagine playing through a marshy area with rolling hills.
- Really cool elements adorn the entire course like all the water hazards, the cool little itty bitty waterfall behind the #3 basket.
- The design is for the most part brilliant and will challenge players of every skill level. A number of design elements really stand out. #7 has a crazy fast green. #3 dares you to make an aggressive approach with a nasty little water hazard behind it. #9 is 420' where almost all of it is over water. YIKES! #12 is interesting because you toss into a circle of pine trees through a small gap.
- #8 to me has to be the signature hole at over 500' and a double dog-leg AND a water hazard. Just redonkulous.
- The tee signs are - for the most part - gorgeous and do a great job outlining the hole and illustrating hazards. I've never seen tee signs so nice.
- Not hucker friendly. (Yes this is a pro) If you're the type that carries warp speed drivers in dx plastic with your Red Bull and pack of smokes you're probably not going to have anything to throw after hole 6 other than your can of go go juice and cancer sticks. If this is you, just stick to Winstron Preserve.
- New baskets, great concrete tees and benches on some holes.
- Very little trash and some cans throughout the course.
- I'm not sure I've ever seen a course with this many scary water hazards.
- And if you haven't already guessed this course really rewards accuracy over distance with it's narrow fairways and abundant water hazards. You might be able to toss it 400' but if you can't do it accurately, the Greenspace is going to punch you square in the mouth and then as you're laying on the canvas there'll be some kicks to the ribs while you're down.
Cons: - The most glaring con is some design issues that IMHO probably out to be addressed. This is what in my standards holds this course back from what should be 4.5 to a 3.5:
1. The 6 basket is practically in the 7 fairway. While hitting players on the 6 green is unlikely because the 7 tee is so much higher this just shouldn't happen with all the space on this property. If I am teeing off on 7 and someone is on 6 green that's going to be distracting as all get out.
2. With the water on 9 players are going to be tempted to cheat to the right to avoid the water on the left side. This puts you right in the line of fire from the #2 tee.
3. I really did not care for the blind over the hill shot on #11 because you miss the fairway to the left a little and you are whizzing discs right over the #12 tee.
4. The course ends on what I feel is a rather odd pair of holes compared to the rest of the course. 17 is a wide open flat shot and then 18 has the basket between a shed and pole barn. Sort of weird and anticlimactic for a course like this.
Design issues aside...here are some more minor thingys:
- The fairways are lined with long grass. A.K.A. prairie disc golf HELL. When this stuff is in midsummer form and growing thickly bring spotters. Or figure on spending copious amounts of time searching for discs.
- While this course flows really nicely from hole to hole there are a few spots where a next tee sign would be nice. 7 to 8 is a great example. You have to go back over the bridge to get to the #8 tee.
- Some of the gorgeous tee signs are not weathering so well. I think it was either #7 or #6 where a lot of the graphics are wearing off. Hate to see that happen to the rest of them.
- This course is brutal for those learning the game. I think newbies are going to be frustrated with a course like this where the potential to loose expensive plastic is pretty high. To me, this course desperately needs some short tees.
Other Thoughts: So it seems I've beat this course up pretty good. Maybe it's just my reaction to being abused by the Greenspace so mercilessly. Regardless, the Greenspace did not find the kind of favor for me like it did the other reviewers here. It is a fantastic course no doubt but it does have it's issues. With the amount of space that is apparently available it could be better - much better. This should be a 4.5 course all day long and maybe a 5.0 in my book but alas I would not be able to sleep well at night giving it any better than a 3.5.
Worry not lovers of the Greenspace because I will say this: This to me is a must play course. If you are anywhere near here - play it. It's probably the most unique DG experience in this part of Michigan. I never thought such a lightly wooded course could be so good. But be careful, because if you aren't careful with your game here expect a kick right square in the family jewels.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 9 Not
Great Holland area course
Pros: Very nice use of a old country club. Nice long fairways, well maintained and with cement tee pads. Very challenging with a mixed use of elevation, distance and hazards to add to the mix.
Cons: I really have no cons to list for this course what the did with this place is actually amazing. Some areas of the course can get a little wet so play well.
Other Thoughts: A great addition to the ever growing list of great West Michigan courses.
2 of 11 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 1 Not
A Phenomenal Course
Pros: This is a spectacular round of disc golf. This course is a very accurate depiction of what would happen if disc golf and ball golf had a love child. It's a very professional feeling course, which is largely in part due to the fact that it's set on an old ball golf course. The course is well manicured, the fairways are very well defined, and the rough truly is rough. The rolling hills, mature trees, ponds, and creek make this a really gorgeous piece of land.
The design of this course is amazing. The course flows very, very well and there is never any doubt where the next hole is. The tee signs are fantastic, the tees are concrete, and the baskets catch well. Excellent equipment. The map at the beginning of the course is great, too!
What I love most about this course are the 3 water holes in a row, 8, 9, and 10. They are very memorable, fun, risky and challenging holes. However, there are also options to play it safe on all of them, which increased the fun factor. There's not much worse than losing a disc.
That being said though, every hole is a lot of fun. There are no "filler" holes, which is why I feel it justifies a 4.5. Literally every hole is unique and a blast to play. Every single hole has a unique obstacle that the player has to overcome. It's a fun round for sure.
I highly recommend checking out this course (potentially on the way to Flip City???). I loved it!!
Cons: There is a tremendous amount of land still left untouched. I think it could easily be turned into a 27 or 36 hole complex and become another major destination in Michigan. If this were the case, I feel that reviewers almost have to give this place a 5.0.
The biggest con is that the rough here is straight up terrible. You'll definitely need a spotter, especially since some holes are blind.
Small con. The bathrooms smell terrible, but not a big deal.
Other Thoughts: I was amazed and very impressed by this course. I highly recommend it. The design is a blast, the land is wonderful for disc golf, and I would bet you'll have a wonderful time playing here! Check it out for sure!
10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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