I hoped for better...
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: What a great course with so much potential. I would not hesitate to play it again, if and when I'm back in the area. (Despite some of my cons)
Cons: 1) Of course, grass tees are a definite negative. Sure, you may be installing concrete tees in the future but I can't put intentions into my rating. Not sure why you'd go to the effort and expense to build #17's 'island tee' and still have grass tees. 2) Wild rose bushes!!!!! This is my all time, hard to do worse than this, negative for a course. In my mind, there is no excuse for leaving them growing and I am convinced it is a serious safety hazard that is totally avoidable. You might as well just leave bundles of barbed wire around the course. I can not imagine that the planners purposefully left them growing. Perhaps there are future plans to remove them? Also, it was appalling to see that one hole (was it #7?) was apparently designed to dog leg left around a big clump of rose bushes!!! Who in their right mind designs such a hole? 3) Hole #3 is the worst hole on the course. A throw over a black water bog of a hole. You just know you'd need hip waders, not boots, to retrieve a disc. And there is that tree in the middle of the bog that you have to shape your throw around. That in itself isn't bad but it has all of those small limbs growing up into the available flight paths. Put on your hip waders and trim them away. Then you have a fighting chance not to be knocked down into the mire. Of course, you can throw a big RHBH hyzer over the parking spots which isn't safe if people are parked there.
Other Thoughts: I realize my cons overwhelm my pros but this IS a nice course and I hope someone will care enough to see it finished and polished. It really seems like once installed everyone decided that a mediocre course was better than no course at all. (Of course, I know nothing of its history and the attitude of the parks department or of any local DG club)
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Nice Course. Total Quagmire
Pros: Short but challenging. Many low ceilings and a nice mix of doglegs left and right and a few straight holes. I played at 7:30 AM on a Sunday in July and it was like my own private course but that is maybe because the locals knew it was mostly unplayable. Would be a great course if it were dry. Never played a course with the Prodegy baskets before and I really like them. The baskets seem brand new on this course.
Cons: Could not have played without my waterproof hiking boots and even with them my feet were wet. Mosquitos are BLANKETING the course. Standing water all over the course. If a disc goes more than 10 feet into the rough it is gone. Buy insect repellent in containers marked in fractions of a gallon. Really wish I could have played when the course was dry. Sadly, it the standing water near the baskets on holes 2 & 17 there were water plants growing so the water must be there most if not all summer. Grass tees, but I understand the course is new.
Other Thoughts: If you are a lefty bring an over stable putter. Need control not power on this course. Having a forehand & backhand game helps with this course. A lot of people vacation in this area and if you are one of them and play DG, give it a go, the potential here is great. The location presents many challenges for players of all levels.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Playable and Enjoyable Now. Will Upgrade Rating with Cement Tees.
Easy location and access to I-94
Nice park with lots of St. Joseph River frontage
Outstanding Prodigy baskets: very visible and catch great
The most open hole of the course is Hole #1. I always love that. It's easy to limber up for the round that way.
The layout should appeal to a wide range of talent.
I used most of my bag to play the course.
It has a nice balance of open v.s. tight holes.
Some good quality Disc Golf holes with risk/reward and choices to make from the tee. Great job on Hole #3, especially #6, and #18 in this regard. Also some holes separate the scoring even if there aren't risk/reward options from the tee: Holes #4, #8, #9, #11 and #16. Basket placement on #2 and #15 should separate scores when errant upshots hit trees and leave 40' or 50' putts.
There are three good risk/reward holes here with perpendicular-to-the-fairway decisions to be made. Hole #3 has an open less risky area to the right that is safer (but flirts with OB) or more risky tighter lines up the middle that could get you closer to the basket but you risk hitting obstacles earlier.
I really loved Hole #6. There were at least three tough but fair choices to make from the tee: a tight one up the middle, a wider window to the right...but the trees are closer to the tee, so you risk hitting an obstacle early if you go that way, or a tasty "S" shaped line between those other two lines that I hit 1 out of 2 attempts. You could maybe attempt it from the left side too. We need more holes like this everywhere. Bravo.
Hole #18 also presented me with a dilemma from the tee. I like dilemmas from the tee. There's a window to the right that'll take you straight to the basket with a low, well-executed RHBH hyzer line drive (but you risk hitting those obstacles early in the hole), or you can play it safe to the left where it's more open for most of the hole's length (but OB looms to the left) and you are less likely to predict where your drive will enter the line of trees to the right. I played two rounds today and used each strategy once based on what my score was.
There are grass tees with toe boards. I'll add 0.5 to the score when this is upgraded to cement. They're not in bad shape yet but probably won't take long to be.
Some holes could use a little tweaking to give them much needed scoring separation but not distract from the apparent mission of appealing to a wide audience:
The best hole on the course (#6) is surrounded by two holes, #5 and #7, that are almost identical RHBH hyzer holes and will result in lots of routine 3's but not many birdies or bogeys for everybody who can lob a 250' RHBH hyzer. I'd tweak these two holes. There appears to be room to do something more creative on both #5 and #7. There are two trees near #5's tee not in use right now, for example, and a tee behind them (maybe a back "pro" tee?) would make it so a skilled drive gets a good chance at a 3 and one that hits those trees will probably end up with a 4.
As advertised, Hole #10 is way too easy and out of character for this course. It's maybe 150', almost no obstacles, and moderately uphill. I had two terrible drives with an Aviar Putter that still ended up being easy deuces. I would do something different with this basket. Maybe move it further up on top of the embankment and/or move the tee back after some clearing? Maybe have a "long" tee and keep the one there as a "short" tee? You could still have a 180'-200' ace run filler hole here but it would be more worthwhile to play.
I think Hole #14 could be improved a lot with just a minor basket placement tweak to the left and maybe 30 or 50' deeper. It's wide open for most of the length of the hole leading to an entry point in the woods. So far, so good. Instead of the basket being far enough into the woods to reward somebody going for it, it's actually not that far into the woods, surrounded by fairly dense trees, down a sharp embankment that also has an OB stream right behind it. As it is, an easy 240'ish lob to the end of the open field leads to an ugly trick shot with a putter into these trees and probably a 3 almost every time. But if you go for it from the tee and execute a drive going right where you'd want it, it's going to bounce around randomly and possibly go OB without it being your fault. I can see that it floods a lot down there, but could the basket be moved to the left and maybe extend the hole another 50' so good drives are rewarded?
Nice work. This should be great for the area.
I'm torn on a rating. It's easily a 3.5 ("very good") with cement tees, and I will be back here to revise it to 3.5 when that happens. A 4.0 course ("excellent") would need to be at least a little more challenging for my tastes, or have some added superlatives (like more diverse elevation) to go with this challenge level. Maybe if the issues with #5, #7, #10 and #14 are addressed it could be a 4.0 with cement tees?
UPDATE: I was informed the pin placement on #14 was an error by the park staff and it was indeed supposed to have gone further and to the left. They can't move baskets very easily because they welded them to the sleeves to prevent theft, so I guess #14's pin placement will have to be a little fun quirk. Enjoy!
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Fantastic, just what the Dr. Ordered!
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: This course is a great mix of challenging and beginner friendly. Great use of the property, the flow and variety is great. This course definitely has something for everyone. Short ace runs, long bombs, up hill shots, downhill shots, open shots, wooded shots, hyzer shots, anhyzer shots, water in play testing mental fitness.
Baskets are great prodigy T-1 baskets and they catch well outside of soft putts.
Signs are accurate and bright. Easy to navigate course.
So happy to finally have a good course near home!
Will be even better when water issues are addressed and tees installed.
Cons: Since installation, this course has been flooded early and often. Talking with the parks guy he says they are working on it and I have seen improvements, so they are not just talking about ti which is nice.
Other Thoughts: Play this course if you are in the area. Bring waterproof boots until further notice.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Best in Berrien County By Far
Pros: Full disclosure: I am admittedly a bit of a course homer here so PLEASE take this review with a gigantic grain of salt. I am just extremely excited to have a decent 18 hole course within 15 minute drive of my house. Believe me, I will make every effort to be impartial but I guarantee nothing.
- Course set in a beautiful multi-use park on the Saint Joseph River away from the other activities.
- Very well thought out course design. Nice balance of doglegs and nice variety of long vs. short and open vs. wooded. The variety is refreshing.
- Prodity T1 baskets. These are awesome.
- #16 is far and away one of the most scenic holes I have ever played. The position of the basket with the river in the background is absolutely breath-taking.
- Pin placements are brilliant on a lot of holes. #9 is a good example where its a tightly wooded anhyzer downhill shot. Such an unusual shot and the risk vs. reward is absolutely huge as a kick off the trees can be devastating. #12 is another great example with it's deceptively easy uphill shot along with #14's slight downhill green that is absolutely diabolical OB creek right behind it. #16 basket is just borderline absurd but completely fair IMHO. Discs will be lost to the river here.
- Foot bridges. Seems silly but this really is a huge plus. This park is subject to a minor amount of seasonal flooding and the Township has done a great job installing foot bridges over the ditches that occasionally fill with water.
- Navigation is easy peasy. Pay attention to the newly installed signs and you'll never get lost.
Cons: - Grass tees with a toe-kick. This will be changed in the near future and I will adjust my score and review accordingly as this happens.
- Misc amenities are missing but in the works. Benches are going to be installed soon and like the tees I will adjust this review and score when they are installed.
- While I LOVE the design I do think one hole needs adjustment and that is #10 simply because it is just too easy.
Other Thoughts: When installing a disc golf course in a community where no real disc golf scene exists I think it is important to make the course easy enough for newbs. The danger is making it too easy so that once the newbs become intermediates they will loose interest in the course. River Park however, does a brilliant job of balancing those two factors. While this isn't going to impress any top tier pros with 1000+ foot holes it will be interesting enough for most, if not all, Ams. Personally, its a course I could play over and over...or at least until my pain meds wear out...
It is a course in development and it definitely has quite a raw feeling to it. That said, Benton Township parks along with volunteers organized by Larry Leonardi have done a great job carving this course out of the woods. If you ever meet any of these folks be sure to thank them profusely.
Now, like every other course in this corner of Michigan there are a few irritants out there every dg'er ought to be prepared for and does not affect my score. I have seen rather large poison ivy plants off the fairway so be sure to know how to identify this bit of nastyness. While Larry has done a great job keeping the holes away from the really swampy areas (which is why there is a long-ish walk between 14 and 15) you are still going to be the target of bugs and lots of them so come prepared. Also, flip-flop huckers are not going to enjoy this place with its hilly nature and in spots, a little muddy.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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