As a one-mile walking course, Red Arrow provides low-cost, high-value golf as a community service. It plays quickly and offers a great variety of short-game skill practice. The par 29 riverside terrain is a pleasurable recreational opportunity only minutes from Kalamazoo’s central business district. With ample parking and the ability to rent clubs on-site, this versatile layout supplies challenges to time-crunched experienced golfers, yet adapts well to juniors, novice golfers, and mobile seniors.
Red Arrow added Foot Golf in 2015, and Disc Golf in 2016, helping attract more people from all backgrounds and keeping with Red Arrow’s mission of being a downtown recreational destination for all families.
Red Arrow is a downtown community greenspace established in 1937 as part of the WPA’s Depression reconstruction efforts when workmen earned $15/week, although the first City Commission began acquiring land along the south bank of the river in 1885. Later foresight by succeeding commissions and the demise of the Michigan Buggy Co. in the 1920’s added remaining acreage.
Aerial mapping now shows a green triangle of city parkland, forever commercially undevelopable to serve recreation needs of residents, organizations, and businesses. What began as a putt-and-pitch course in 1937 is now a gem of downtown Kalamazoo.
One of many volunteer projects, a memorial flagpole was dedicated in 2013 to commemorate Red Arrow’s 75th anniversary of community recreation in Kalamazoo and to the men and women who served their country in the armed services. Red Arrow Golf Course is named after Col. Joseph Westnedge’s division in WWI. Eagle Scout Chaz Shugars raised the funds from veterans’ groups and community businesses and organizations, arranged volunteer labor, and opened the golf season with appropriate ceremony. Red Arrow has a special appreciation for veterans.
Committed volunteers from all over the county have rejuvenated Red Arrow in the past four years as a casual, walk-on course for all ages. Scores of residents drop in to tell of learning to play golf as children on this course. With a casual dress code and no reserved tee times, this walk-on ready course is focused on the game of golf, rather than the business of golf, and provides high value with every swing.