Never heard of sporting clays? I wasn't familiar with them myself, but Russ and Amy at Blendon Pines filled me in on everything I needed to know! The sporting clay course is a series of twelve stations that are set up in their 80 acres of woods. Every station has two launchers set up, which will each send a bright orange clay disc (or "clay pigeon") flying into the air or running across the ground. You'll bring a shotgun to each station, and attempt to hit both of the discs. This was my first time out, so we opted to set off one clay pigeon at a time, but for the pros out there, you're able to launch them both at once!
You're welcome to bring your own shotgun to use on the sporting clay course, but they also have ones available to rent. Rental guns are $10 each, and can be shared by two people out on the course (more than two people firing off the same gun causes the guns to overheat). They set me up with a low power shotgun to use for my first time on the course, and I appreciated the very light kick-back!
It did take me a couple tries to finally hit one of the clay pigeons as they flew by, but I managed to knock a fair number of them out of the sky by the time I was done! I went in not expecting to accurately hit any (Me, shoot a moving target? Not a chance!), but once I was comfortable with the gun, and with some guidance on my aim from Russ, it turned out to be a very successful (and fun!) round!
The sporting clay course is open year-round, and really is perfect for groups. There's lots of time for chatting (and for friendly competition!) as you walk from station to station and watch as your group takes turns in the shooting stand. The woods were just starting to show their fall colors on my visit, and the area will soon be ablaze with vibrant leaves! In the winter, they have fires going by a number of the stations, letting you warm up during your trip through the snowy woods. If you decide that you'd rather not walk the course, they do offer golf cart rentals for $10, with a gun rack on the back! The course takes about an hour to and hour and a half on foot (varies depending on the size of your group).
Safety is a priority at Blendon Pines, and they make sure to walk you through everything you'll need to know to have a fun and safe time on the course. They require you to wear both eye and ear protection on the course, and do have some available if you don't have your own. If it's your first time out, they'll walk you through a demo on how the guns work, as well as a safety briefing.
The attached gun shop boasts an amazing range of offerings. They stock Browning, Beretta, Benelli, Weatherby, Ruger, Smith & Wesson, Glock, and Springfield guns, as well as optics, clothing, and accessories. They sell pistols as well, and offer CCW (carrying concealed weapon) classes right on site. As well as the basics, their instructor also guides classes in a number of "real life" exercises on their pistol range, such as shooting from the hip and running while shooting. Their next CCW class will be held on November 1st at 8am, $110 in advance or $120 at the door.
Although the sporting clay course was all that I tried my hand at on my first visit, they do offer even more. There's their five person stand that will release a flurry of discs for the group to aim at, as well as wobble trap (the clay pigeon launcher "wobbles" so you have no idea where the next one will launch) you can try for $8 for a 25 rounds.
current hours posted on their website, Make sure you follow them on Facebook as well, to keep up to date on upcoming events (such as Couple's Shoots) at the gun club.
Click here to view more pictures from my visit to Blendon Pines Gun Club.
Blendon Pines Gun Club
8455 88th Ave. Zeeland, Mi 49464
Telephone: +1 616 875 7000