Disc golf course to close

Disc golf enthusiasts will soon have their last fling on the fairways at Rycenga Park.
Marie Havenga
Aug 20, 2012


The township has decided to remove the 18-hole course that was installed in 2005 because of ongoing vandalism, beer cans, profanity and people parking along Hemlock Drive. The disc golf equipment is expected to be removed within the next week.

“As far as I'm concerned, the Rycenga Park disc golf course has been a problem since it started,” Township Supervisor John Nash said. “There are beer cans, destruction, concerns by the neighbors.”

Disc golf is an activity in which players throw a Frisbee-like disc toward a wire basket several hundred feet away. Each throw counts as a stroke.

The township has posted signs warning players that if bad behavior continues, the course may be closed.

“We've tried a lot of different things — like putting up signs — but they either write on them or rip them off,” Nash said. “We tried to encourage the people who are positive disc golfers to monitor the ones who are acting inappropriately. Nothing has changed. I would like it to end.”

Nash said the last straw came when someone poured gasoline in the parking lot, spelling out profanity, then ignited it. According to Nash, the word was visible in the asphalt about 100 feet from a playground.

“They had so much fun doing that the first time that they did it a second time,” Nash said.

Nash said disc golfers have been cutting down and twisting saplings on the course and leaving beer cans and trash behind “almost continuously.”

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.



Sounds like Mr. Nash wanted this gone before it ever started...just curious as to how he knows that the gasoline profanity was the work of a disc golfer? I understand the beer cans and broken branches, etc. I also am aware of how some disc golfers can act, but then again some regular golfers as disrespectful too, so are some basketball players, etc. My point is that it appears that Mr. Nash had his mind made up about disc golfing long before this happened. My solution would have been to have someone patrolling the area. You could even add a small service fee to use the course. I doubt many would mind paying it and it would be added peace of mind. I do think however that this is a mistake by the township.

DAVE 288

EXACTLY!!!! If Mr. Nash, or the elected officials, used their brains, they could reason that a profane word written in gasoline and set on fire is something that would be done when it is DARK. Disc golfers DO NOT GOLF WHEN IT IS DARK!!! What is wrong with the city officials over there? It is a very beautiful course with friendly players.

Go Blue

There are video surveillance signs in a couple of areas in the parking lot...I guess that is just a ploy to get people to act right. If you don't want people to park in a certain area then do more than put up a sign. If you don't want people to cut trees, take care of the course. If you don't want people to liter then put a trash cans at the beginning of every hole. Putting the course in residents backyards probably wasn't the best option. People do get upset at there play and swear. Whoopee. I hear profanity everywhere I go. Last I checked there was a 10 cent deposit on beer cans, so people are actually leaving money for the course. I hope people still play here without the baskets. Clever people will come up with something to use. And just cause something happened in the parking lot doesn't mean a disc golfer did it.


The way to handle such problems is NOT to close the course. How about having the area watched more closely by the sheriff?
Mr. Nash often has his mind made up about issues, and is seldom challenged. Why don't the people of the township find a new leader who is responsive to residents?


A few minor adjustments could make the environment at the course a lot more desirable. The township just doesn't want to put forth the effort. There have been no improvements made since the last time they threatened to close the course besides the "surveillance cameras" that they claim to have installed. Closing the park is taking away an activity that many people enjoy. A lot of younger people spend their time disc golfing instead of engaging in harmful and illegal activites. The township needs to take into consideration that this is a safe and healthy alernative for the youth to spend their time. It is not only a sport for younger people, I would say that a majority of the players are of older generations. MOST players are respectful of the course and it's a shame that a few bad seeds get to ruin this for the rest of the people.Someone needs to petition the township and come up with a realisitic solution to keeping it open. John Nash cannot just do whatever he wants without being questioned.

Disc golf is my life

I have exchanged emails with Mr. Nash before outlining his issues with the park, like i explained to him, course maintenance was never done so we as a group cleaned up the park trimmed broken branches raked fairways etc. And the litter issue, I have personally brought out the garbage cans that are in use now paid for by our golf club "Rat Pack Disc Golf of West Michigan" the 5 gallon buckets at several of the holes were also donated by us to curb the littering, and again we as a group dump these buckets into the garbage cans. 'the cans we supplied' and sit full for weeks before they get dumped by park maintenance. and the parking on hemlock is a park issue not just disc golfers, the last three cars that i saw park there were dog walkers... so uhoh lets ban dog walkers also! I play there almost every day, in the last two years Ive only saw two sheriff cars drive through, not much of a presence....and now the soda can issue is a joke the cans may sit for half a day then there are several local retired people that walk the course and pick them up. as for the twisted saplings yes some immature golfers do move stuff out of the way which is a stroke in tournament play. alot of younger saplings etc get damaged by flying discs and also from the drought we are in has them drooping over baskets etc. As for Nash to say "nothing has changed" is nonsense! there is a strong community of positive disc golfers out here trying to keep this place nice. again he states "we have tried alot of different things, all the did was one, they put up signs... they way the signs read was far from friendly, I was embarrased to have new golfers come here and read these. there is a reason this disc golf course was built is was built for the community to enjoy. The last straw was vandalism in a public parking lot used by anyone whom can get there not just disc golfers, wow Mr Nash have you ever been to the course and talked to golfers? yeah I doubt it. The emails i recieved from you were very unpleasing to read I am glad I dont reside in your township.
Now lets tak about the funds you will be losing out of, weekends @ rycenga park see around 100 golfers per day , i know you dont believe it but take note they are there and by noon monday there was 30 plus people out there .. get that 30 plus on a monday morning, add the gas it took to get there, the sodas and snacks bought from local convenience stores. soon to be gone to other cities like Muskegon and Holland, because apparently they have a better parks and rec. program.that do care about the citizens. I will be working my hardest to get a course installed in the tri-cities area, definitely without the help of Mr. Nash and Spring Lake twp. just gonna put this here as well, the young gentleman that unlocks the bathrooms and then sits in his car for hours not doing anything needs to lose his job, maybe he could dump trash, just saying! sorry about the novel I am just fed up with Mr. Nash and his anti- Disc golf campaign, "as far as I'm concerned Mr. Nash has been a problem since he started"


I too, have witnessed several spring lake employees simply sitting in their city vehicles, with the A/C running, for hours on end playing games on their phones or taking an 'extended' lunch. I have also witnessed overflowing trash cans that have not been emptied by the city for weeks.


Well said Disc. Mr. Nash is the issue and the "good ole boys" don't want anything new showing up in their township...you darn thugs with your loud music and hippie hair aren't welcome here (joke obviously)! NEWSFLASH Mr. Nash...you have a GREAT group of people trying to help you and you simply close JUST DISC GOLF because you don't like it. Thank you for that post Disc...I hope that the township reconsiders this...meanwhile I was in Ludington this weekend and their school owns some property outside of town that has a real nice (and fairly new) disc golf course...maybe SL or GH schools would consider this option...hey I bet Mr. Nash would give them the nets just to be rid of it all!


We need to figure out how to get rid of this guy.... He was the only one on the ballot during the primary. We have had run in's with him also over proposing to get a variance. We knew it was a long shot but, thought we would ask about it, his behavior was really unpleasant and unprofessional. He came across as a power monger and was happy to have us go hire an attorney if we wanted to go further as his side would be defended at our taxpayer cost anyhow, so it would just be hurting ourselves in his opnion... classless act, fire him.

DAVE 288

Dear "Disc golf is my life", Thank you for the wonderful job your club, "Rat Pack Disc Golf of West Michigan", has done in keeping the Rycenga Park course nice and enjoyable! It has been clean and beautiful every time we have been there in the last month!

If the poor decision is made to take away the family friendly course at Rycenga, may I suggest the Coopersville area? I have no location in mind, but I am sure we would appreciate all the dollars the Rycenga Park community is going to give up!


You are dealing with someone who thinks he is was put in office to dictate - not listen and then legislate. There used to be a website about his behavior regarding OV high school. He does not have a great reputation where he was a gym teacher either.


Seriously guys, you had a good thing and you blew it. You let it get out of hand and you know it. I'm sure many of you saw some of the things people were complaining about but chose to do nothing. It wasn't your problem was it? Your solution is for the police to make more patrols in the area. How about policing yourselves? Best of luck finding a new place to play your disc golf. Better yet, buy a set of clubs and play real golf.

DAVE 288

Your disc golf course at Rycenga Park is the closest course to my home in Coopersville.

My 2 sons(19 & 21) and I just started playing disc golf about a month ago and have played several courses. Yours in Ottawa County, a couple in Kent County, and one in Muskegon County.

The first course we played when we got our discs was the wonderful course at Rycenga! In the last month, we have been there at least 3 times a week. My wife has tagged along to have a good time with us and get a little exercise as well as my son's girlfriend. Last week, my 21 year old got a hole in one! An accomplishment we will remember for years.

Every time we have played your beautiful course, we have met the nicest people. Everyone has been very courteous and either allowed us to play through, or thanked us for allowing them to do so if we were struggling.

We have stopped at the Speedway in Fruitport for gas, the drugstore on the corner for pop/water/and Blue Bunny ice cream, as well as a couple of the restaurants.

If there is no disc golf course at Rycenga, we will drive right by Fruitport to Muskegon and spend our money and disc golf at McGraft Park or drive to one of the several courses in Kent County and spend our money and share good family times there.

It is a shame that what sounds like one disgruntled citizen can take away what is such a draw to the area. During the many times we have been to Rycenga Park in the last month, we have not seen the mess that this Mr. Nash seems to think is a problem.

The "last straw" with gas being lit in the parking lot is something that I can make an intelligent guess was done at night, when it was dark. Mr. Nash, DISC GOLFERS DO NOT GOLF AT NIGHT!! I did see some soccer "hooligans"...maybe it was them. Realistically, I think it was someone who drove back there at night to party because the parking lot is well hidden and it sounds like it is not patrolled either.

to tartarus12: We each DO own a set of clubs, but prefer to disc golf because of the expense of "real golf." We choose to spend our dollars on local businesses, which will NOT be in the Rycenga Park area if the course is taken away from the community.

Sorry to go off on a rant here, but I have enjoyed the times our family has gone disc golfing after church, after dinner, or just to get out and get some exercise. It is a real shame that a few extremely vocal poor sports can ruin it for so many nice families and individuals.


Disc golf is my life

we blew it? the hundreds of respectful golfers out there or the one or two bad seeds.sounds like your a great candidate for the Spring Lake Twp board. good luck going through life being an idiot.


This is really too bad that they want to shut it down. Why not just shut the whole park down since the parking lot has been set on fire.


i'll bet Nash has a membership at the Spring Lake yuppie golf club! Some of his comments are Unspeakable...spring lake local government has it's head in the sand...yet again.


The main issue here is that Mr. Nash and his employees refuse to help maintain the course. I also always notice garbage overflowing and not taken care of. The township has employees that are at the park all the time but for some reason they seem to feel that maintaining the disc course is not in their job description. There is a lot of traffic on the course, and of course overtime you will need to do some maintaining. I know a ton of golfers who take care of that course and its a shame to ruin it for them. If people are breaking the law and ruining the park, well Mrs. Nash use the hidden survilence cameras that you supposedly have out there.

Disc golf

I have started an online petition to get the nets put back in at rycenga. I would love for anyone reading this to sign and spread the word!



King Nash has in recent years become increasingly arrogant and rude to his constituents. Even his fellow board members feel the wrath if they disagree with him. It is unfortunate he ran unopposed. Get political young people. Save the names on that petition and GET OUT AND VOTE the next time he is running. Field your own candidate. Mr. Nash recently wrote a letter to the ed about being tired of people bashing SL TWP. Does he not realize that we all love the TWP but it is his leadership - or lack of - giving us a bad name?!


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