Grizzly Oaks course challenges newbies and professionals alike

For local disc golfers, the courses at Stony Creek Metro Park and River Bends are often at the top of the rotation.

But now, there’s one more to add to that list — Grizzly Oaks on the campus of Oakland University.

Originally expected to open around Thanksgiving 2008, its grand opening celebration Sept. 10 was much anticipated, especially with the wet summer that plagued River Bend’s with mosquitoes and the new $2 entry fee at Stony.

The course is sure to attract the sharks, with its tight corners, narrow fairways, abundant landscaping obstacles and rough terrain. It’s not an easy course whatsoever, and good sneakers are a must.

The tee pads are rubber, set on wood platforms. Almost every one of the 18 holes has an obstruction in front of the basket, usually a bush or cluster of bushes.

The rough is rough and the fairways are well-groomed, much like Stony. But if there was one word to describe this course, it would be variety.

There’s an extra element of class — with well-defined walking paths, painted rocks indicating the direction and the cross country trail winding throughout the course. Even better, there’s also a feeling of venturing through uncharted territory in some of the wooded holes. In particular, hole 12 appears to be more of a hiking trail than a fairway.

Some spots, like hole 2, are ridden with thorny apple trees that serve as death traps for high-flying discs.

The course requires a degree of accuracy, but it will likely wear down within a year or two. The on-campus location will surely attract newcomers — as evident by the hundreds of Frisbee-style discs that were handed out by the Student Congress at the course opening — they are clearly not suitable for competitive play. I would recommend that first timers use a disc or free Frisbee of sorts that you’re not worried about losing.

The first tee is located off the upper athletic field, and ample parking is usually available in parking lot 11. There are many things that set this course apart from others in the area, most of them good. However, two of the common things associated with throwing disc, drinking and dogs, are not allowed on the course.