Newaygo State Park is not free to play ... you have to pay to park or you will get a ticket.
Did this change it the last year or two? We have always parked right by the picnic table before hole one in the little parking lot and never got a ticket. We even chat with the person in the little booth/store sometimes and they have never said anything about paying. Though I did have a state park thing on my plate for a couple years so that may be why.
No it hasn't changed. It's always been that way. But sometimes people get away with it.
That is a state park requirement, you do need the sticker to enter the park, and the course is within the park. You can just get an annual pass then you're all set.