Brewster Ridge Rules, Smugglers Notch is Nifty
9 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The scenic beauty of the region rivals or exceeds any other place I have been. Driving through the mountains of Vermont is a great way to spend a day. The highways were full of people taking advantage of the wonderful Saturday afternoon in late August, biking, hiking, fishing, and of course, disc golfing. I did not catch any trout, but I did play a really good course on Brewster Ridge. The pro shop furnished a scorecard, and I was on my way. The course had picked up rainfall recently, but was still very playable. You can tell course is maintained impeccably, grass was mown, some mulch had been put down recently to improve paths, and zero litter. There are four sets of tees, ranging in difficulty from easy to very technical, and really nice DISCatcher bastkets. Rubber pads on the gold tee boxes were expertly installed, roomy and level. I played the longest set, and was 6 over par (66). There are 3 par fours on the front nine, and 3 par fours on the back nine. I made four of my six bogeys on the par 4 holes, so it is safe to say the long holes gave me the most trouble. I think the subtle to moderate elevation change along with the extra distance makes them very tricky. I did not make any birdies, but the chances are out there, with 5 holes under 300' from the gold tees. Pin locations are tucked into some great spots, near large rocks, or underneath or behind clusters of trees. There are signs in between holes that point out transitions fairly well, and a map on the scorecard. The ratio of open to wooded holes is good, and none are flat out, wide open boring. There is usually elevation change, up or down, but gradual slopes that affect play, but are not extreme. Layout changes directions and mixes lines well.
Cons: There are trails for walking or cross country skiing that cross over the course in several places. I did get confused and lose the way once or twice. There are streams running near a couple of holes, but no big threat.
Other Thoughts: Brewster Ridge is a challenging, professional caliber course in the gold layout. The equipment and amenities are super. Excellent is the least you can say about it. Every hole is good or great, but none stood out as a signature hole. I did not play the Fox Run 9, or the beginner level Village 9, but it can only make the resort that much better.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 2 Not
Gem of the North
Pros: +Amazingly well maintained.
+Wooded nature of course is beautiful from the fruit blossoms of spring, thru the verdant green of summer and right into the explosive colors of fall.
+Despite the proximity to the thousands of guests of Smugglers Notch Resort the course never feels crowded and wildlife sightings are common.
+Surrounding area provides numerous secondary reasons to visit including; restaurants/bars, breweries, distillery, winery, outdoor recreation, stunning natural beauty of Smugglers Notch.
+Separate tees allow for players of different skill levels or ages to be competitive.
+While course is well established, subtle things change from year to year and even within the season creating new and fun challenges.
+Multiple basket locations also keep things fresh week to week.
+Well stocked and knowledgeably staffed Pro Shop ensure that you will always have the disc or snacks you need for your round.
+A diversity of holes and challenges keep a player on their toes.
+After 18 holes, the option of another 9 awaits across the road on Fox Run Meadows. Its open meadow shots provide a different experience and can be played a little later in the day as fading light makes the wooded Brewster Ridge to dark.
+Finally when it comes to events Brewster Ridge starts off the season with the Brewster Ridge Open in the spring, and sets the bar with the Green Mountain Championship in September. Not to be missed, either as a participant or spectator!
+Best $5 you can spend, a "Must Visit".
Cons: -In the early spring before the course opens mud can be an issue.
-On occasion I have had to either wait to get the maintenance crews attention while they had hearing protection on and were working on the course or had to skip a hole do to more serious course work.
Other Thoughts: Don't feel like I can deduct points for my Con's so 5.0 it is!
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Brewster Ridge was a fun course well worth our drive from Maple Hill. Here are some of my thoughts:
1) For the most part navigation was very easy. I don't remember too many confusing areas and to me navigation is a big deal when playing a new course.
2) The course had four distinct set of tees ranging from beginner (think 110' holes) to gold level tees. I thought this was awesome as it really gives beginners and pros alike the chance to enjoy the course.
3) The scenery was absolutely stunning. The drive to the course was beautiful for the last 90 minutes and the Green Mountains didn't disappoint. There were plenty of amazing photo opportunities.
4) The elevation was really a great feature to the course. The front 9 felt like it played uphill most of the way and the back 9 played mostly downhill. The back nine had some super fun downhill shots to throw.
5) The course had some distance variety, even from the long tees. A lot of times hard courses (Iron Hill, Nockamixon) have no chances for deuce but this course actually offered some nice chances for scoring. Even though this course was nearly 7,000 feet there were 5 holes under 300 feet that offered a chance for deuce. Its actually refreshing to play a long course and have a couple mental breaks and have a shot at birdie. Iron Hill is a great course to play but this course succeeds in giving you a few, nice opportunities to score.
6) This course had a pro shop...need I say more? Any time a course has a pro shop you know they are doing something right.
Cons: Honestly this course doesn't have a lot of cons for me. Just a few things worth mentioning. Keep in mind I am rating this course "Excellent" and that's a deserving rating:
1) Honestly this is probably the only major con for me on the course. The teepads were pretty rough the day we played. Some were just gravel and the guy I was playing with slipped a few times on the pad. I understand why this course wouldn't have concrete teepads but if concrete teepads were installed I would immediately raise my rating to a 4.5.
2) This is a minor con but on some of the longer, uphill par 4's we found that the landing area was very distinct and sometimes a bit lucky. A few times I threw what looked to be a great drive and my partner threw a bad drive but his disc ended up getting lucky and being in a correct landing area/lane to get to the basket. This course may just need a few landing areas for some of the uphill par 4's on the front nine to make sure that good shots don't get punished. As I said this is a minor con but just a small design preference.
3) This is also a minor con but a few of the holes had walking trails that did intersect with some of the holes. There was one hole when we threw our discs and then saw hikers at the last second. An errant shot could have hit them as their hiking trail went right across our fairway. Not a huge con but just worth nothing.
4) Finally, I thought the course had some really great holes. All in all it was a very SOLID course. However, besides hole 10 I didn't think the course had any amazing signature holes that made this course worthy of being the "best of the best". As I said, this course had a lot of good holes but nothing that was spectacular. There were a few times when we walked past a nice stream or I could hear water rushing in the background. If the course designer could have somehow brought some water into play on some of the holes I really think that would put this course over the edge and give it at least a 4.5 rating. This is not a knock on the course at all - it was well worth our 4 hour drive!
Other Thoughts: NOTE: This course is literally in the middle of nowhere. We were starving by the time we had finished our four hour drive from Maple Hill and couldn't find anything to eat around the course. The pro shop had a few candy bars and that did help! I would recommend getting drinks and food well before you hit the course.
I also like to always point out nice amenities and views for those that travel to play courses and have a wife that maybe doesn't like disc golf - this course has PHENOMENAL views of the Green Mountains. Very picturesque! This is a course that you can bring someone along with and they will enjoy the walk.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Great informative guy working in the shack
Nice variety of holes
Fresh woodchips on many paths
Flypads for golds
also has blue white and red tees
Reds were highly advantaged so my wife really enjoyed staying on par
Played in the rain but the canopy lets very little rain through in the woods
Well marked and easy to follow
Cons: Temporary type signage - some missing or laying on ground.
Maybe the fee because I live in a free to play area but it is very well maintained. 5 bucks very reasonable.
Best tees at golds - usually seen at the whites in my experience
White tee boxes a little short
Other Thoughts: Discs for sale and rent
Thanks for the loaner umbrella
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 4 Not
Very, very good course
Pros: Lots of variety, in the woods but plenty of open space and lanes to throw. We'll kept, up to four different tee boxes at each hole, very nice landscaping, great pro shop
Cons: Maybe the pay to play but you can really see your money is being put to good use
Other Thoughts: I have had a membership for the past to summers and have yet to find a better course in Vermont. Well kept and every time i come they have done improvements. Wish hole 11 was still where is used to be but I can see why it was moved
2 of 6 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Wow. Manicured tees. Diverse terrain. Excellent amenities. This mostly-woods course looks beautiful and offers different tee boxes on each hole. You'll really love this place if you've never been here.
Cons: Cons? Sorry, I can't think of any. It is pay to play, but it's worth every penny.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Beautiful location, excellent and consistent course work. The layout provides plenty of challenges and variety. The length usually means you won't see many other players during your round. The Pro Shop is a great resource for plastic and accessories.
Cons: Could benefit from better signage/directions from the resort and within the course.
Other Thoughts: Fantastic course that sets the bar for the region.
3 of 9 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Firm, fair and fun!
Pros: The first thing players notice about Brewster Ridge is the maintenance. The first hole plays through a nice wide fairway with cleanly mowed grass to a pin surrounded by wood chips and picturesquely nesteled under a lone tree. From there, signs guide players along a wood chipped path to the second tee. The next 17 holes play throughout a series of snowshoe and cross-country ski trails. And new for 2014, the "Fox Run 9" has been added as a permanent addition to the course. This gives players an additional 9 holes in a more open setting with tight OB lines to punish errant shots. The nice manicured feel of the course continues through all 27 holes. The resort employs a pair of maintenance workers who keep the course looking great throughout the season.
I use 3 F words to describe how the course plays: firm, fair and fun. Tricky pin locations create the challenge at Brewster Ridge. I was really struck by the fact that the course never gives players a chance to relax and make a lazy shot. Short upshots that can be mundane and boring at many courses are still very challenging at Brewster, with trees, bushes and elevation all looking to wreak havoc on a lazy throw.
These tough pins are fair though. A good tee shot will set up a much easier upshot or putt. The tees themselves are fairly open, giving players the flexibility to choose their own lines off the tee. This also cuts down the frustration (and use of a certain other F word) of having tee shots cut down early.
And that's where the fun comes in. Players of all skill levels will have plenty of chances to see their discs really fly off the tee. Rather than getting cut down early, bad tee shots will find tough lies that force players to scramble and find creative ways to get to the pin.
OB is used well. In the woods, rock walls provide some nice, intuitive OB lines along tree lines. With thick woods beyond these walls, shots that cross those lines are going to be punished harshly one way or another. At least by making those areas OB, players aren't forced to try to play out from there.
In the Fox Run 9, the OB lines serve a very different purpose. They help to create some interest risk/reward opportunities and turn otherwise boring field holes into interesting challenges.
Cons: The course can get very muddy. The muddiest areas are kept out of play, but walking between holes can get very sloppy.
It would be nice to see a bit more variety from the different tees. Currently, each layout plays very similarly, with the major difference being the change in distance. A little more variety in the layouts would help to create more repeat playability.
Some of the wooded par 4s (2,4, and 8) could benefit from better defined landing areas. Currently, they require a good tee shot and a bit of luck to line up the second shot just right. Taking out a couple trees to open up the lanes a bit could help take the luck factor out.
Other Thoughts: Smuggler's notch is quickly becoming one of the top disc golf destinations in the northeast. You can even book a condo at the resort or camp at one of the nearby campgrounds to turn a visit to the course into a family vacation.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
One of the best
Pros: This course is nestled in the green mountains. The best course close to Burlington that I have played yet. Its about an hour drive from Burlington.
- Excellently maintained: Great benches, woodchip paths between holes.
- Easy to navigate. Good signage.
- Hole variety, I'm a LHFH and it has some holes that play into the lefty flick and some holes that turn the other way.
- Staff, the person who works the front desk is positive and knowledgeable.
- 27 holes!
Cons: - A drive from anywhere, unless you live in one of the small hamlet towns in North Central Vermont.
- If i am really reaching, there can be some wet ground between 9-10, but they usually put boards down. Nothing boots can't handle!
Number 7 can be tough, not much of a fairway. Pray to the tree gods and huck!
All in all this is a beautiful course I would recommend driving up to 2 hours to play at.
Other Thoughts: Check out the surrounding area! There are some other courses nearby that could make a good disc golf vacation!
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 2 Not
Meticulously maintained course
Pros: - Extremely helpful staff & well stocked pro-shop
- Staff is always making improvements to course
- Large variety of wooded holes; balanced play
- Gold adds significant difficulty over blue
- Red & white tees are perfect for newbies
- Excellent signage; it's easy to navigate
- As much time as we've spent in the woods there has been no sign of poison oak/ivy
- Course never feels unfair
- The new 9-hole course that was installed for the August tournament really emphasized placement and distance; a different feel for sure. Hopefully this will be back in 2014!
- $5 to play is more than fair considering the quality of this course.
Cons: - Can get extremely muddy during spring (due to being at the base of the mountain)
- Some hikes between holes can be a bit on the longer side
- Original 18 is missing large open holes to really air it out on (however the new 9 really makes up for this!)
These complaints really are negligible though!
Other Thoughts: Brewster Ridge is my favorite course to play in Vermont. It's not the most difficult (Black Falls is), but playing the golds will significantly heighten the challenge (I average -2 on blue and +8 on gold!). Takes me roughly 60-90 minutes to play through a round with a friend.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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