19 Helpful / 1 Not
Make it or Lake it
Pros: Without question this course is amongst the most unique I have ever played. Plenty of high risk/reward water holes, 6-7 true water holes over various lakes on the property. Elevation changes throughout course. Tight wooded fairways that play fair and big open drives uphills and over valleys! Not one poorly designed hole on this course. Tees are often built on decks and are ample. Multiple tees and baskets. Truly appreciated the big tables to place bag on as well as the informative tee signs. Some things not mentioned earlier are the holes that incorporate terrain change....such as from an open area into a wooded fairway (#13), over a lake into a wooded fairway (16)or my favorite up and down over a woodsy hill to a unique lakeside green (#9). The sheer fear that hole #1 put into me was more/so than any course I have played.....staring downhill at a huge pond with the basket a few feet from abyss on the other side....do I lay up, go left, right or go for it? Or do I attempt a perfect anhyzer over the lake or try the more wooded hyzer route (#5). The wooded holes are really nice with great pin placements that reward skill over luck. Combines big arm blasts with technical approaches and tomahawks over evergreens. Never did a fairway seem impossibly tight or unreasonable. Most of the water holes allowed for some wimpier bailout option if I wanted it. Great views from the Christmas tree valley on tees for #11 and #13. The pictures do not express how steep and challenging that uphill drive is for #10. Basically all of the holes are memorable and will challenge you in a variety of ways. It's close to nearby Pyramids DGC and the Marshall Street disc store as well.
Cons: Maintenance was an issue IMO. I payed to play the course and was very disappointed in the amount of branches down, heavy stick piles, high grass, and general sloppiness of many of the woods holes. I realize there was a horrendous ice storm here a while back, saw the shredded forrests on the drive in....but I counted 10 players on a monday at 5 bucks a piece...do the math! Over a month and I am guessing busier on weekends theres some cash on hand! I think the course could AFFORD some more maintenance. I really got upset searching for my rhino in a huge stickpile just a few feet from hole 16. This course can be a real disc thief with the thousands of Xmas trees alligned in uniform rows, (where the hell did that drive go), the deep lakes that encourage you to drive over often hundreds of feet over deep black water with the pin often just feet away from shore, there are woods with the aforementioned maintenance problems, and lastly there was a lot of high grass ON the fairways of the open holes and between all those Xmas tree rows. If the course pulls cash every day why can't they keep up with the mess. I know of many small volunteer crews who maintain just as large and epic free courses much better than this one and with no funding outside of weekly doubles.(maybe $100 a month) It's also closed during Xmas month.
Other Thoughts: This is definetely a destination course and should be on everyones wish list. If the maintenance was improved I would give it a 5 but I was often frustrated by searches of my discs on non errant throws. The course plays roughly 1/3 in woods, 1/3 throughout Xmas tree groves, and 1/3 over water. just to give people a better mental picture. Deserves it's high rating but easily could be better. I would love to see Ice Bowl pictures and see if anyone just skips across all that ice to the hole...could be fun!
19 of 20 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Great Mass Course
Pros: This is a wonderful course set in the leafy woods of central Massachusetts on land that holds several water reservoirs and is host in part to some Christmas tree farms. There is an old barn at the entrance that sets a nice tone for the feeling of the place. This is the best marked and signed course I've ever seen, period.
There are 3 courses set in the same places: Red, White, and Blue for novice, intermediate, and advanced, respectively. Sometimes the Red and White share the same tee pad and a different basket, sometimes the White and Blue share the same tee and a different basket or different tees and the same basket, and all sorts of other combinations. A player with a year or two experience could probably shoot under par 3 per Red hole without too many problems (but watch out for tree deflections and water hazards!) once they are familiar with the layout, which offers hole lengths of around 250-350 ft. White offers more challenge with holes that are about 50 ft longer on average than the Red, and the Blue course has some very long distances for big arms or small arms that would like a good workout.
The first hole really gets you in the spirit, playing downhill through a Xmas tree grove (there is a decorative, but real, basket on top of a water hoist that looks great), and across a pond for a distance of 400 ft or so (I don't recall exactly). A sign says "get over it." The group in front of us was fishing out one of their discs in a boat provided for that purpose. Very cool.
The second hole goes back up hill to connect with the 3rd hole, which gets you into some nice wooded holes that require right and left turns, some elevation shots, and some of the narrowest fairways you'll ever encounter.
Subsequent holes play around a couple reservoirs past the sound of bull frogs and then into the back of the property for a couple really long holes over a juvenile christmas tree field and then another back through a long right turning wooded corridor. Then you get to play some great hilly holes through woods and over some smaller ponds on the way back to the front of the property.
All-in-all, this was a great course. There is a nice variety and character on each hole. This character of each hole, that you really remember each hole because of its particular challenges, and can easily pick out your favorites, is what (imho) makes for a truly great course. There are some great spots where you can really get psyched out, so these holes have teeth. Love it! I would say this course ranks similarly to several in the top 10 I've played in California.
Cons: Mosquitoes and humidity. Bring some effective spray, and plenty water if you're there in the summer.
Other Thoughts: I live and play in Northern California and I heard a lot of hype about this course in central Massachusetts, and did not allow the opportunity to slip away when my wife and I went to a meeting in western Mass in which we rented a car and drove out from Boston airport. We were not disappointed. If ever you are in the area, check it out. Without having experienced them all, I would guess that this is probably the best course in the region.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 10 Not
I love you
Pros: Multiple Tees & baskets per hole. Beautiful layout. Variety of elevation, terrain. Nice Vibram tee pads and great signage. Nice People running the show. It does not get crowded. Very organized lost & found system. Practice basket. As others have said good Risk/ Reward factor. If you play smart (not necessarily big arming it), you'll do well - over the course of three outings I shot ten strokes fewer than each previous round.
Cons: It's easy to lose discs.
Other Thoughts: The Ice Storm created a huge clean up job.
1 of 11 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 8 Not
A good course
Pros: I liked this course because it challenged me to throw long, and with both hands. A real pet-peeve of mine is the tendency of some courses to favor RHBT (the basket is somewhere off to the left or the fairway curves); Maple hill has a pretty even mix, which was quite enjoyable.
Some of the holes were just plain fun. There really is no comprable feeling to throwing over a lake(8) or bombing it down over a christmas tree forest (11).
As a pay to play, it was great having the entire course to ourselves. Occasionally we could hear other groups whooping, but mostly it was conducive to a pleasant walk through the woods. While it may not appeal to others, I thoroughly enjoyed looking into the ponds and watching the frogs, tadpole, fish, and newts swimming around. We also ran into a turtle, booking it across the 13 fairway, which was odd, because we weren't really near any water.
Cons: Not many birdie opportunities. This course was really designed with distance in mind, so if you can't throw very far (or spent the last 6 months locked in your office finishing your master's thesis, as your muscles slowly atrophied and your skin turned a ghastly shade of white from lack of sunlight), its going to be a long day. Of course, that's also a Pro, but the occasional birdie feels good (I got 1).
While I'm sure others will disagree, I didn't find the course to be particularly well-cared for. I realize there was icestorm damage in december, but no one hole was taken care of the way some public courses are when they get adopted. Sure, there were piles of logs and sticks everywhere, and someone was running the woodchipper near 2, but some of the paths and fairways were pretty well overgrown, and the whole "lets throw some 2x6's in the mud some people can walk through" is good as a stopgap measure, but looks pretty ugly when you find it on almost every hole, and there isn't actually any mud (just dirty lumber).
Amenities: maybe I missed it, but water and a bathroom are on my expectations for a course, especially if I'm paying. The empty water coolers in the entrance barn(garage?) crushed my soul in desolation after promising the sweet elixer of life for a dehydrated and exhauster golfer.
Other Thoughts: Finding discs in even rows of christmas trees is not exactly fun, since they all have thick low branches that you can't see around (duh). I would also love to fish some of these ponds.
12 of 20 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 31 Not
Pros: this course is world class. With the ICE STORM they had THIS WINTER (2009) they have come a long way from the damage. this course makes you think about every shot, great risk reward course.
Cons: Closed from Thanksgiving to Christmas while they sell Christmas trees.
1 of 32 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 20 Not
not sure what the fuss is about
Pros: Nice scenery, 3 difficulties to chose from, mix of long and short holes, a technically challenging course. Several very memorable shots which is something that I really appreciate.
Cons: Several holes are basically in the woods with no fairway.
Other Thoughts: I drove 2.5 hours to play here with the expectation it would be a world class course and I was a little let down. The overly wooded holes I mentioned above soured what would have otherwise been a good overall experience. I would give it another chance except it is so far away.
10 of 30 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 2 Not
The best I've played
Pros: This is one of the most complete courses I've seen.
1. Configurations. There are four configurations, newly revised in the past year. The red course no longer requires any shots over water, so you can finally bring a true beginner to the course. The newly installed gold course is similar to the old blue course but with some new kinks, and the new blue course is only slightly less challenging. There is really a course for everyone. Every hole has 2-3 tee pads and 2-3 baskets to accommodate.
2. Variety. It's rare to find a course with this sort of elevation, shots over water, open holes, and wooded holes...and Christmas trees!
3. Fairways. I've never thought of this as a pro, but the course creators have done a great job with fairways. A lot of the holes look fairly straightforward, and if you can throw 300 feet with accuracy, they are. Holes 3, 4, 6, and 7 are good examples. You really need to focus on the succession of your shots, and if you end up off the fairway, you probably won't be looking at par. The open holes, like 1 and 11, force you to hit the landing zones. If you end up in the Christmas trees, you'll need a creative escape shot. There are some serious distance holes, but you may be better off discing down to make sure you have a good second shot.
4. Signage. The signs clearly show birds-eye views of every tee and basket location and the paths to the basket. Not the best I've seen, but close.
5. Manicuring. There is some obvious love that went into this course, from the bridges over the swampy areas to the impressive"castle hole" on #10.
6. Risk/reward. Can I make it over the pond on #1 or do I bail out? Do I trust my forehand/anhyzer on #5, or should I just take the safe route through the woods for the bogey? Can I really hit the island green on #18, or do I need to lay up? Lots of this sort of thing. I don't think you can have a great course without it.
Cons: 1. The ponds. The risk of losing a disk is very real, especially if you are really testing the risk/reward on holes 1, 5, or 8. I lost two, one on a poor shot in the wind, another on an unlucky shot that clipped a tree and splashed into the cold shallows. The ponds can get in your head, which I think adds to the game (you know you can throw 250 feet straight on dry land, but do you trust yourself over water?). The good news is they send divers down periodically to retrieve discs, and if you order something from Prime Discs, they'll send you back your lost discs. I've gotten back several.
2. It's in the middle of nowhere. This is also a pro, since the course is never crowded. I was there on a Sunday, and I only saw three other groups. It does take some effort to get to.
Other Thoughts: This is the most well thought-out course I have played. The four configurations play pretty seamlessly, and it's cool to see how the fairways intersect and give completely different looks to the same hole.
There is a new sap house just off of the 18th hole where you can buy discs or equipment and pay for your round (yeah, it's $5) and chat with Steve Dodge.
This course was devastated by the ice storm in late 2008. It's cleaned up now and is a testament to the volunteers that care about this course. But it was a mess for some of 2009, so bear that in mind when reading reviews from that period.
There is a real sense of serenity here when you have the place to yourself. The ponds are placid, and there is something pretty special as you stare out over a valley of Christmas trees on #11 and think, "Huh. Well this is different than my local course." Don't miss the chance to play here.
I played the course again on the busiest day I've seen on the course (maybe 5-6 groups out there). I will say that the various configurations can get confusing around holes 10-16. We played through one group that was on the reds (we were on the whites) and then had to play through them again around 16 and couldn't figure out when it was fine to tee off since the red 15 and 16 overlay the white 16. Not a big deal at all, but it could be rough if the course ever gets really busy.
That said, I have played dozens more courses since I first reviewed Maple Hill, and it is still the best I have played.
13 of 15 people found this review helpful.
20 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Oh my. This was my 1st course I've played out of my home state, and what a beautiful course to do it on. The course offered multiple Tee/Pins for levels of difficulty with red/white/blue layouts. From what I could see the red looked like a realistic course for beginners. The blue course layout had me in awe of the arms needed for it. I played the White and found it a good middle ground of the other two levels. The course makes excellent use of the natural land scape with a variety of elevation changes and multiple water hazards. Plenty of variety of wooded and open shots, doglegs, and risk reward shots. The tee pads were the nicest I've ever played from in both form and function. The signage was very nicely done and made it easy for me to find each hole and identify the red/white/blue layout for each hole.
Cons: My only complaint on this course is one I hate to make, as its not the course or owners fault. It looks like the course took some major damage this past winter. Many many blow downs. However most of the blow downs in the fairways have been delimbed and sectioned up some. There was a crew out working on this problem with saws and a chipper, but they have a lot of work ahead of them, and I hope lots of locals are pitching in. Once this work is done I would rate this course a 5.
Other Thoughts: I was rushed for time while I was there, and will definitely go out of my way to get back to this course and play it again. It was fun, challenging, scenically beautiful and its clearly well maintained. Whats not to love?
20 of 23 people found this review helpful.
B+ = Be too long for me to fully enjoy
10 Helpful / 23 Not
Pros: What I personally like and how this course stacks up:
1) Holes with good risk/reward -- A-
2) Holes that have rewarding birdie opportunities -- C+
3) More wooded than open - lots of variety of shots required caused by hole shape and topography -- A-
4) Natural beauty (Appalachian beauty preferred) and seclusion -- A+
5) Multi-shot holes with defined landing zones, good risk/reward and multiple options to play them -- B+
Other Thoughts: 7/3/14 - updated rating. Might update review verbiage later.
I ranked this course subjectively based on my own personal enjoyment factor...more accurately my "personal addiction factor". Since I have played a decent number of courses (115 18-hole, 50 9-hole as of early 2009), my hope is that players/explorers who have similar tastes will find my ratings list helpful as they chose courses to play and explore.
Over time, I expect to fill some of my reviews in with more descriptive verbiage...if what I say adds anything to what has already been written. For now, my list is more important to me than the verbiage of my reviews.
I fully expect others with different tastes/philosophies to disagree with me. See my profile for my rating philosophy.
10 of 33 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 19 Not
My favorite course
Pros: Very beautiful course. All different types of holes. Good for beginners and experts. You have to play smart like another person said in there in there comment. So it is a nice place to help you advice your game.
Cons: There are none!
Other Thoughts: You have to play it!!
1 of 20 people found this review helpful.
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