8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: What an experience it was to play Maple Hill the day after the 2014 Maple Hill Open. When you drive up to the course you know you are walking into something special. A lot of private courses get inflated ratings simply because they are private but Maple Hill is just not one of them. I would rate Maple Hill as the number two course in the world just behind Flyboy Aviation. Here are my reasons:
1) Greatest opening hole in all of disc golf. You walk up to the Gold Tees and get to throw a shot 480 feet over a pond to a protected green with Christmas trees all around. Its also slightly downhill, which gives you a wonderful view of area. I am not sure it gets any better than this when it comes to starting off with a bang.
2) Multiple options to play the course - I was amazed at the various "courses" within a course that Maple Hill entailed. We played the Gold to Gold design but I had a chance to play some extra holes afterwards and it was truly a joy. The Red design looked like a nice, relaxing and fun round while the Gold design offers one of the most challenging tests in disc golf. I was able to shoot a 60 but if I was slightly off my game I could have easily been over 65.
3) The usage of water hazards was perfect. In my opinion, to be a "5" you need to have water on the course and it needs to come into play. Maple Hill offered some of the most breathtaking shots over water that I have ever played. I already mentioned hole 1 and the shot over the pond but many other holes incorporated water, including the tight downhill number 4, the big flick number 5, numbers 8 and 9 and of course number 14.
4) This course has MULTIPLE signature holes. Its not often that hole 1 sucks you in right away with a signature hole but it truly does the trick. Hole 14 is probably the signature hole at Maple Hill and honestly a signature hole in all of disc golf for me. Throwing 420 feet over a pond, downhill with a tight green is truly an amazing shot to throw. Nearly the entire drive is over water from the Gold tee so it just makes it fun. Hole 11 doesn't involve any water but throwing that drive out over the Christmas Tree farm down the hill is one of the most fun shots you can throw. The green at hole 18 also makes this one of the most memorable holes on the course and a definite signature hole. With a sharp left to right, uphill fairway to navigate followed by the ultimate risk/reward second shot to an island/brick wall green, it truly is an amazing hole.
5) The clubhouse at the course was a nice little addition. Anytime a disc golf course has a clubhouse and pro shop they get points in my book. They also had gatorade and some snacks for sale.
6) The course was extremely fair, even from the long tees. There was only one part of the course that maybe was a bit unfair (see below in cons) but honestly that's just being nitpicky. The course didn't have any poke and hope holes and the OB lines were very clear.
7) The baskets were out of this world. Not only were the long baskets orange powder coated but they were deep and caught very well. These baskets were some of the best baskets I have ever played on.
8) While some courses have filler holes here and there, this course did a great job of not having holes that were forgettable. There were only a few holes that were average while the rest of the holes ranged from above average to purely phenomenal.
9) The course had a ton of variety and challenged every part of your game. There were tight holes (3 and 4), long holes (1 and 11), anyhyzer holes (18), option holes (5), straight shots (7 and 16), uphill holes (8), downhill holes (13), hyzer holes (14) and everything in between.
Cons: There's not much bad you can say about one of the best courses in the world. Here are just a few things:
1) Navigation was a little tricky after hole 14. Hole 15 Gold was actually Hole 16 red (to different baskets) and because every hole has multiple baskets and multiple tee pads it was a little tricky to navigate in this one area. With that in mind, the course was marked very well with flags (gold, blue, white, red) and the navigation was easy besides this area.
2) This is not a major con for me, but the teepads are rubber and not concrete and I could see this becoming an issue on wet days.
3) A few holes from the long tees could have an issue of penalizing a good drive by being in the middle of the Christmas Tree farm. This is not a huge con because there are areas around the farm, but on holes 1 and 17 I could see a great, long drive penalized because if you throw a straight and long drive on these holes you could seemingly have an open line but may be right in a Christmas Tree.
Please don't take these cons the wrong way - this course is a 5 all the way!
Other Thoughts: There's not much else to say. Make sure to support the pro shop when you are here. The $10 greens fee per person is more than worth it and I didn't think twice about paying it.
PLEASE NOTE: The Gold to Gold layout is not for the faint of heart. I would not recommend playing this layout unless you are above a 935 rating. It is challenging and there is a great chance to lose discs. This is why Maple Hill is so special - it gives you multiple options for multiple skill levels.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Choose Your Own Adventure
12 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Gold 3. What a magnificent beast. I don't even have to throw it. I just want to watch that hole parade around. A tee overlooking the same area that 1 traversed but it throws into the woods, down and then up a hill that climbs to the left and away from you to a high pin that you can see from the tee.
Maple Hill is a true destination course. I'm not breaking any news by telling you that there are four layouts here but I have two things to mention about the layouts. First, it's impossible to tell from the course maps just how different these layouts are from each other. Vastly different. Tees, baskets and fairways are everywhere. What makes it all work is the professionalism of the complex. Tees and baskets are marked with large colored flags indicating which layout or layouts use that particular feature. Playing whites, look for the basket with a white flag. Finish the hole, follow the white arrows until you see a tee with a big white flag over it. Additionally, the different layouts do an amazing job of providing opportunities for players of all different skills. Personally, I found the whites fun and the blues challenging. The reds looked very boring at times and the golds were a bit too daunting for me but both clearly appeal to a different player. Very impressive since the difference between layouts is often not just a harder tee. It's a completely different hole that happens to use the same plot of land.
A ton of variety. I'm not going to detail all the incredible holes here. They all bring it. Wooded holes, open holes. All the water you can handle and tough carries on the longer layouts. Elevation changes on most of them. It all mixes together in an incredible package. The factor that lessens some destination courses in my mind is that they aren't everyday-playable. That isn't an issue here, largely because of the different layouts. If I lived here, I would save the golds for special occasions. The blues and whites, I could play those all the time. Do you want an epic experience or a solid round that gets you home in time for dinner? You can get either here.
The picture is made clear as soon as you survey the terrain that the first hole covers. The white tee is midway up a hill. You will need to throw over the hillside and then a picturesque pond with the basket perched on the edge of the far shore. Awesome throw. One of my favorite on the white course. The gold tees off from the top of the hill, with well over 300 feet to cross the water in one. From there it's almost as long again to the basket which hides behind a rock wall. Choose your own adventure.
Cons: I have to say, I don't love the carry-a-bunch-of-low-scrub holes. Challenge-wise, they are no different than water-carries. Experience-wise, they bore me quickly. One is a change-up. More than two? I want real obstacles. Not a test of how far I can throw. And it's not really like water. If you land in water, you lose the disc, go to a drop zone and have to take a stroke. That's what makes a successful throw so rewarding. If you land somewhere in the scrub, you find your disk and likely have a simple approach shot, as long as you have an idea where the pin is. Much less risk. Much less reward. Over the Christmas trees is awesome on the first hole but not interesting after that. And 16, man, that belongs on a much worse course than this.
Other Thoughts: I think each of the layouts here on their own would merit a 4.0. (Except red) Probably. Being generous to white. All four together, with potential for repeated play, and the almost unparalleled capability to accommodate different skill levels, the whole thing is a 4.5 for me. If Maple Hill isn't my all-time favorite destination, it is certainly close.
12 of 14 people found this review helpful.
Disc Golf Mecca
9 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: -Gorgeous property with rolling hills, woods, lakes and open fields filled with christmas trees.
-4 course layouts. Beginners will enjoy the red course, while the gold course can challenge touring pros. The whites and blues fill in everything in between.
-Baskets, tees and signs are impeccable, and the maintenance is the best I've seen.
-Great variety and design. Uphill and downhill shots, left and right doglegs, wooded hallways and open bombers this course has them all, plus a few thrillers over water to test your nerves. Plenty of risk/reward decisions as well.
-Wooded holes have tight gaps but they are fair, no "throw and pray" holes.
-Proshop, practice baskets, disc lost and found, scorecards, and water coolers out on the course are nice amenities.
-Only $10 to play all day. I know some people don't like pay-to-play but for this course 10 bucks is a bargain.
Cons: -No real cons
-Heard it can get crowded on weekends.
-Groups playing different layouts could have the problem of throwing into one another on the wooded holes.
Other Thoughts: This is disc golf at its finest. You will not forget your day at Maple HIll.
Also, Bushel and Peck, the deli in town a mile or two away, is a good place to grab grub between rounds.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
A National Treasure
14 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: - Located on a beautiful piece of property. Lakes, trails, and Christmas trees make up the landscape, and it's just an amazing place to experience visually.
-Pro shop right on the property, so if you lose a disc in one of the many water shots, you can easily get a replacement. Marshall Street is right next door too if they don't have exactly what you're looking for.
- 4 distinct layouts for every type of player. Very cool to visit this place different times, play different courses, and see yourself improve. Even beginners have the Reds available to them.
- A teaching course. You need to be able to hit your lines and throw a variety of shots, and it forces you to learn how to shoot those shots or it'll be difficult to make par.
- Every hole requires a different unique shot. Each hole is memorable too - you'll be talking about the shot you had weeks later.
- Excellent use of elevation change.
- Mix of open and tight wooded holes. Even on the open holes if you miss your spots you can find yourself in the Christmas trees, but everything is very fair. You never hit a tree you didn't see.
- Lines on the wooded courses are very well established, so you always know where to shoot. There are no unlucky bounces here. If you hit a tree, it was user error.
- Incredible lost and found. They have a scuba diver that finds discs and returns them to the pro shop, where for a very reasonable dollar fee you can get your disc back.
- Incredibly maintained. Everything is manicured to perfection, and a hardworking staff works to keep it that way.
- Really cool scorecards which you can keep as souvenirs of your trip.
- #1, over a lake, is probably the best opening hole in disc golf. You need to throw about 330 to carry the lake, but some elevation helps.
- #11 on the whites and the blues is an awesome hole. Big bomb over the Christmas trees.
- #13 is extremely challenging, but very rewarding downhill shot to a pin tucked just behind a dried out river.
- #18 is an epic finish to an island green, and is always a very fitting way to finish a round.
- Mach X baskets are brand new and in great shape. Flags on the baskets, as well as their bright orange color, make them easy to spot, even in the woods.
- Color flags direct you to where you need to go next and to where you're throwing, so there's never any doubt of what you're aiming for.
- The $10 day is an absolute bargain for how much work these guys put into this course. The $10 fee keeps out people who you wouldn't otherwise want on your course.
Cons: - Never was a problem for me, but I could see it getting crowded on weekends and having to wait in between holes.
Other Thoughts: - Bushel and Peck, an awesome sandwich place, is right down the street. Great for taking a break in between rounds, because lets be honest, you're playing like 4 or 5 rounds when you're here.
- If you live within a half hour of Maple Hill, you should definitely get a membership, which pays for itself after 15 trips, in addition to other member benefits.
14 of 15 people found this review helpful.
Discovered My (Non-Blueberry) Thrill
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Has, in abundance, the two core features I like in a course - options, and variety. With multiple tees and multiple baskets per hole, everyone from beginners to professionals can find a challenge appropriate for their level of play. A great mix of open space, scattered trees, woods, water, and various types of elevation changes are blended together to create a wide variety of hole-types, requiring a well-stocked arsenal of throws to overcome.
Maps, scorecards, tee areas, signage - all top-notch.
The on-site store - hard to imagine any better.
The options come at a potential negative cost - some tees are blind from other tees playing the same hole, a few fairways cross, a couple baskets are located near next tees - so there's an increases chance of players, especially when following/followed by players playing a different configuration, accidently throwing on somebody/being thrown on. The day I played, I was both thrown upon, and threw upon! Karma, I guess. :-)
Basket-18's location is too close to the main path from the parking lot to the store's entrance. Meandering pets, straying children, roaming non-players and landloping players all conspired to delay my approach shot for an inordinate amount of time!
As stated in the "Pros" section, this course has options (I played two rounds - red/white), and variety. From the Reds, this course averages ~255', and only quite errant throws have the possibility of finding water. From the Whites, this course averages ~335', and the two water carries were just right for my level, as I barely made them!
The site has a great blend of openness (~1/3rd of the holes), and wooded challengers (~2/3rds). The open-oriented holes are not bland, as they usually include some combination of elevation change (up or down), parallel treelines, slopes, water, scattered trees, or protected baskets. The wooded holes avoid pinball, but require you to throw a variety (early/middle/late, sharp/middling/subtle, left/right) of turning-shots, while also dealing with elevation changes.
Speaking of elevation, you will face not only steep/gradual gains or losses, but also valley-crossing and up-and-over - the entire spectrum.
Find an excuse - any excuse - to be in the vicinity of this course, and come play the course - multiple times. You will find a wide-variety of challenges to exercise your entire game.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Versatility and beauty
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Huge variety! Distance bombs, tight, technical woods shots, water carries, and everything else in between. You won't be bored or miss out on throwing your favorite shots.
- 4 distinct layouts to challenge every skill level. Even those who dislike throwing over water have at least one layout to cater to their tastes.
- Meticulously maintained. The course is kept in wonderful condition, and there are obvious efforts put in to keeping it not only functional, but also aesthetically appealing.
- Signage is fantastic and highly descriptive. In addition, there are few if any areas where navigation is an issue.
- Amenities are plentiful, with a full pro shop on site (to replace all that waterlogged plastic) and Marshall St. Disc Golf Shop (and another decent course) less than a mile down the road.
Cons: -While there's a lost and found log kept, don't expect much in the way of returned plastic. Between my buddy and I we've lost 8 discs there, and the only one I ever got a call back on was found in Connecticut...
- Personally I found hole 18 to be a bit of a letdown and a gimmicky way to end the course. To each their own however.
Other Thoughts: The pinnacle of Disc Golf in New England. I held off on reviewing Maple Hill until I had a chance to play all 4 layouts, and I'm glad I did. Don't think that just because you're an open level player that you won't enjoy the easier layouts. Every setup has a unique perspective and challenge. From the Gold layout designed to humble all but the best, to the red layout set up to avoid all the water hazards, each has something to offer. The $10 fee (high for disc golf) feels like a steal when you consider the amount of effort and thought that has gone into designing and maintaining the course. While personal preferences may keep some from loving EVERY hole, the course is so varied that there's no way to not enjoy it as a whole, even for the pickiest discers around. There are likely better courses out there, but with 31 courses in 6 states under my belt I have yet to find one myself, and until that day comes, this will hold my sole 5 disc review. Truly a course on which to model others after and one that has fully earned its current top ten placement on DGCR.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Best Course in the Area
1 Helpful / 17 Not
Pros: Straight up beautiful views. Best of the best. Four course lay out for all different levels. Water, distance, shorties, midrange shots. Pro shop with drinks, snacks, and all disc stuff. Super friendly staff, and over feel there. Plenty of baskets for practice putting.
Cons: none really.
Other Thoughts: plenty of awesome courses in central massachusetts...but this is the must play in the area.
1 of 18 people found this review helpful.
#1 in My Book
15 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Maple Hill has it all; for all skill levels. Using 2 tees and 2 baskets per hole, along with excellent signage; Maple Hill has 4 different, skill level appropriate, layouts (red, white, blue, and gold) overlaid upon one another. Even though there are 4 layouts, it is always clear where to go, and which basket to play to, due to the color-coded flags on both the tee signs and the baskets. I played the white layout, but scouted many of the other tees, as we somehow were one of only a handful of groups on the course on a beautiful day in May. This course had everything that I look for: Variety in terrain and shot type; elevation change; adequately sized, level tees with good footing; excellent signage; multi-throw holes; water carries; "Appalachian beauty;" challenging, technical greens; and bonus points (as if they were needed) for the proshop onsite. This is a great, wooded course that forces you to hit lines, and punishes you when you miss them. The shots are fair, but challenging for the intended skill level. The water carries are age appropriate (red has none, white is playable for someone who drives 260, and so on.)
Cons: There really isn't anything that this course is lacking. While I prefer concrete tees to the rubber mats used at Maple Hill; I did not have any issues with the tees when I played.
Other Thoughts: This is my #1 course out of 101 played and counting. I will be revaluating my previous course rankings to adjust for what I feel is the closest to disc golf perfection that I have seen. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Maple Hill and need to invent an excuse to return.
Pay to Play -$10/person/day - I'm don't really consider this a pro or a con. I unfortunately only had time for one round, but was fully satisfied with the money spent.
I can still remember almost all of my drives, more than three months later. Don't miss this course.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful.
White course with mild wind.
1 Helpful / 11 Not
Pros: The course has multiple tee and basket positions with
Easy to identify flags. Very challenging but has excellent variety in terrain.
Cons: Costs 10 dollars to play all day but no format to pay per round. So water hazards are difficult to avoid, but the red tees look like they avoided most of it.
Other Thoughts: Best course ive played. Good pro shop.
1 of 12 people found this review helpful.
First time playing disc golf!
0 Helpful / 17 Not
Pros: Staff was great - patient and helpful! Course was well marked and had challenges at every level.
Cons: Only course I have seen listed that has a fee ($10). It's not a lot, so really hard to call it a 'Con' but maybe only charge the fee during peak hours?
Other Thoughts: Only drawback possibly is the parking lot was small, dusty and full of holes.
0 of 17 people found this review helpful.
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