From the Rec Player Perspective
10 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: • Awesome setting. Vermont's Northeast Kingdom is almost a fantasy world in any season. Expected to see hobbits and elves at any time. Though I saw a hobbit over by the covered bridge... keeping the troll at bay, no doubt.
• The owner has lovingly extracted a disc golf course out to of the land while preserving its natural beauty.
• Hand carved steps on the hilly sections, plank walkways in the swampy areas blend in to the surrounds.
• Creature comforts (outhouse, drinking water) available
• Nice water features, some just for show, some (18th hole) come in to play, though mostly avoided if you play the "REC" level silver to silver layout
• Clear and accurate handmade signage fits the rustic nature of the place
• Two Tees, Two baskets on every hole makes for 4 different layouts to challenge any skill level
• Silver to Silver layout is a nice challenge for a "REC" player... Every hole had a clear "PAR" line if you could hit it, but lose concentration or make an errant through and bogie or worse is possible with the dense woods looming. I didn't play other layouts, but I'm sure they will challenge more advanced players.
• Makes good use of elevation changes...and many throw lines have the high tree canopy to deal with for "tunneling" effects.
• Variety of holes... mostly open, pretty tight, good balance of left turning, right turning, mostly straight...
• Practice basket near parking. The "main" parking area is limited to just a few cars, but lots of places to park within a short walk to the first tee
• Course owner lives on site and has discs for sale and is a fount of disc golf wisdom. Tips on places to stay, where to eat dinner, other great courses in the area.
• The Gold baskets are bright DISCatcher Pro's
Cons: • Some of the tee boxes a bit scruffy and smallish...
• The Silver Baskets are DISCatcher Sports though the course owner has added inner chains so they catch well.
Other Thoughts: DGCourseReview.vom had this course as #15 in the world. Heading up to the course I was pretty skeptical. How could something this far out be just a few ticks below Maple Hill? I've played some other fabulous destination courses that don't make the course top 25: The IDGC courses in Appling, GA, Sabattus up in Maine, and The Blockhouse in Spotsylvania, VA. Would Black Falls exceed these courses?
After playing a few holes at Black Falls I felt that maybe this course was a bit over-rated... but as I played along I started really enjoying the natural beauty of the place, and appreciating the details that the course owner lovingly put in to the place.
Is this course one of the top 15 in the world? I'll let the law of large numbers determine this one, but I had a great time and it was well worth the 4 hour drive for me. Black Falls may be rustic and un-refined, but this place certainly captures the heart and soul of what disc golf is all about. There is Vavaldi's Four Seasons, then there is Earl Scruggs Foggy Mountain Breakdown. Which is a "better" piece of music? I guess it depends on the listener. With Black Falls you can almost hear the banjo solo...
My wife also enjoyed our "Northeast Kingdom" Vermont experience and enjoyed the great vistas and exploring small towns. This is so close to Canada half of the radio stations were French language stations from Quebec. Montreal is Southwest of Black Falls. We came in on the "shortcut", Rt 58, which turns into a gravel road for much of the way coming in off I-91. Spectacular scenery, and I was amazed that when it seemed like we were in the middle of nowhere I'd suddenly get 4 bars and a 3G connection on my cell phone. (NOTE: Road can be closed in snow/mud season)
10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Crown of Northeast Kingdom
8 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: I recently got the opportunity to hang out in Montgomery, VT for a week with nothing to do but play this course. It was an amazing week. The first few rounds I was in awe. Every hole feels completely different. There are two courses overlaid on the same land. Silver and Gold. I played mostly silver the first few rounds with a few golds sprinkled in. My last few rounds were gold only. Not only does each hole feel different, they play differently as well. To do well here you will need a variety of shots. The course is well maintained by the very dedicated Johnny Betts. His love for the course is visible at every turn. The thought that went into the layout and balance astounded me.
If I had to pick out highlights I would have to go with gold holes 4,5 and 18. Four has a long tight stream lined approach to the base of a big steep hill which has the basket perched on it's peek. Don't overthrow of you will go down the equally steep back side of this ridge. Five plays back down the hill through a wicked tight gap. Eighteen requires a straight throw over water. Gets the blood pumping every time.
Cons: I typically like to play in sneakers. My time playing this course was in peek Spring with lots of rain. Boots were required to stay dry during the off fairway trouble I often got myself into. I would add that I played the course in pouring rain and still had a blast. It's that amazing a course.
Other Thoughts: This course and the area of Vermont it's in are beautiful. I didn't get tired of the course even after playing it almost exclusively for a week straight. The fairways are laid out such that if you can shape the shot, you can make the shot. Every hole is very playable. Most are challenging. Like.Michelangelo with marble, Johnny has carved this course out of the Northeast Kingdom. He found the course that was "in" the land. I don't know what perfect is so I leave my rating at a 4.5.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 2 Not
Run towards the border!
Pros: - Excellent layout. The holes use the terrain really well to create an excellent variety of holes.
- Challenging to all skill levels with two tees and two baskets on every hole.
- Convenient and classic outhouse.
- Discs available for purchase on site
- Well defined and maintained fairways.
- Not crowded
- Beautiful location in northern VT
- Super clean
- The owner is a super guy that is totally passionate about disc golf, and his course.
- Tasty wild berries all over the course in the right season (mid-late summer)
Cons: - Getting in the rough on some of the holes can be ROUGH. It is supposed to be rough, but watch out for wild blackberries that will cut you up.
Other Thoughts: This course really is worth the run towards the Canadian border! Such a beautiful spot and a wonderful course!
8 of 10 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Get here to play
Pros: Variety: Each hole feels quite different from all the rest without any tacky addtions to attempt to create unique holes. This is achieved through tremendous use of elevation, excellently shaped fairways, and difficult but fair basket locations.
Signature Holes: This course has multiple! #4 plays downhill toward the base of a ridge, across a stream, and then to the top of the ridge. #5 is a shorter but exciting tunnel shot back down the ridge. #10 is a 500+ tight tunnel downhill into a more open field with the basket at the far end. #18 shoots over multiple ponds that are easily accessable to retrieve splash downs.
Options: 2 sets of tees + 2 sets of baskets = 4 layouts.
Scenery: Northern VT, in the mountains, enough said.
Tee pads: I prefer cement tees, but I can't dock Black Falls because their crushed stone tees are very level, dry, and more than large enough. Honestly, cement tees would detract from the pristine beauty of the course.
Baskets: In great shape.
Upkeep: Clean fairways, grass mowed, signage present and accurate.
Owner: Didn't personally meet him, but I have heard nothing but compliments.
Cons: Location: Not very close to anything. I understand that many people would find this a PRO since the course is never crowded.
I will add more here if I can ever think of any.
Other Thoughts: This course has an unpolished feel to it, which is different than most of the destination courses in New England. But it works! A very relaxed setting, quiet and beautiful. The respect for the course is obvious because I did not see a single piece of trash or empty can/bottle.
Super fun course to play, and it challenges your game both mentally and physically.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 9 Not
Two tees and pins per hole
Great diversity in hole lengths, elevation and tree density.
Challenge for pro's and easy for beginners.
Very well taken care of. Always mowed and tees are kept flat and solid.
Outhouse, and water available on course.
Good tee signs for easy navigation.
Cons: Parking can get tight if it is crowded. This is usually not an issue as you are more than likely to have the course to yourself
Other Thoughts: A true destination course especially paired with sister course "Cherry Hill" next door. You could play here for a week and not get tired of the golf.
3 of 12 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Great mix of holes with a good balance of long and short as well as fh/bh-friendly shots.
2 Tees & 2 Pins for every hole, course difficulty ranges from easier/beginner (Silver>Silver) to very challenging (Gold>Gold) so you can show up with a group of beginners or pro's and have a great time.
Always well maintained.
Discs and more available for sale at the shop.
Good signage to help navigate around the course.
Cons: Tee pads are crushed stone which is fine, but a couple could be a tad bigger.
Other Thoughts: Beautiful location, camping is available.
Not a con, but be aware that the course plays near/over the house/garden. Watch your language.
I really love the balance of this course with tight & technical to go with a few bomb shots.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Make the trip...
Pros: Two sets of tees and baskets makes 4 unique ways to play, challenging beginners and pros alike. The hole diversity is also outstanding with a good balance of forehand and backhand friendly lines, tight wooded alleys, open fields, orchards, streams and ponds. Lots of well-utilized elevation adds to the challenge and enjoyment of many holes. Good signage and easy navigation make it very friendly for first timers.
Gravel / natural tee pads are in good condition. Discatchers at every hole.
Cons: The only gripe I've ever had in a dozen visits is that the rough can be rough! Leave the fairway at your own peril, particularly in the spring. It helps a lot to use a spotter, particularly in the overgrown spring months.
Other Thoughts: Owners are super-friendly and Jonny's shop has a good selection to top off your bag or take home a BF-stamped disc as a memento (they just fly better).
There's always a defined fairway so no "throw and hope" shots. At the same time even the field holes are bounded with treelines and OB so you have to hit your line to stay safe.
While some quality courses lack a "signature hole" this one has at least 4! Holes 1 (especially from "tournament golds"), 4, 10, and 18 are particularly beautiful, challenging, and unique. There are no gimmes or filler holes here.
This is a great destination course. Bundle it with nearby Cherry Hill, Brewster Ridge, Wrightsville Beach, or Center Chains and have yourself an unbeatable golf road trip. Its fun any time but the autumn is gorgeous at the Falls.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 7 Not
A Hidden Gem in Vermont
Pros: A disc golf experience to remember for a lifetime. This is a hidden gem. On private property, with an awesome, super friendly owner. Played gold tees. Perfect distance to tees, with just tight enough fairways to challenge. great signage. Can see most baskets from tees. Innova baskets, on all 18, which I love. Throw over water on 1 and 18. Best time I might have had playing disc golf, ever. 20 years.
Cons: none. zero.
Other Thoughts: If you can play this course in the fall season, it is a heavenly experience....the colors and views are out of this world.
3 of 10 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Incredibly challenging, beautiful, well-marked, not crowded, and run by a very nice family.
Other Thoughts: Living only 30 minutes away, I did not want to review this course because I wanted it to stay a secret as long as possible. But the family who runs this course is too nice and the course is too beautiful to sit on my hands any longer.
3 of 9 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 3 Not
Challenging & diverse
Pros: - Very balanced for RHBH & forehand players
- Excellent balance of wooded holes & open holes
- 4 different ways to play
- Extremely well thought out
- Very specific signs @ tee-boxes
- Several long tee-boxes
- Jonny will sell you discs at a reasonable price in the garage (Innova & Discraft)
- Hole 10 is a dream
- New outhouse in the middle of the course
- Silver to silver is great for beginners
- $5 gets you in all day
Cons: - Easy to lose a disc if you have wild throws
- Wild throws on 17 & 18 could end up in the pond
- Very limited parking
Other Thoughts: This course is challenging, but incredibly fun to play. Since I've played there this year, Jonny has switched up some of the tee locations (#4) which makes things pretty interesting. Totally worth your $5 and long drive. Bring a beer and a lunch and play all day!
4 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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