Rec Player Perspective
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -Tee Boxes are great. Level, Rubber Pads, size appropriate to the hole length
-Nice Baskets... two on many holes
-Variety... up, down, left, right, open, wooded... and wooded, and more wooded.
-Very clean (exception is behind the parking lot)
-Practice Basket near parking lot / Kiosk
-Very pretty in all seasons. 18th hole especially in Spring and Fall
-Plenty of parking
-Has enough play to be vibrant, but rarely is "crowded"
Cons: -Lacking some amenities like bathroom or even a port-o-potty, trash cans
-Very challenging for a recreational skill level player. This course can be very frustrating for a beginner, and and can make for a long day for even an experienced rec-level player. But this is a Pro NOT a con for better players.
-Signs rotted away a few years ago. The old signs were nice. But Navigation really isn't too bad for first timers, just print the course map on this site before hand or look for the arrows on all of the baskets.
Other Thoughts: This course gets a wild variety of ratings, and I tried to be objective in my ratings. I'm an "older" (almost 60) player, and I can't throw more than 200 feet with much consistency.
I think some of the problem with this course is it's really set up to be a challenge to tournament players. REC players like me see the course this way:
1- Straight and open, but to par it I'll probably have to nail an 175' approach shot, then a putt in the windiest part of the course.
2- Some trees to negotiate, a long mostly open par 3.
3- Short but tight. Almost impossible to keep a drive in the fairway, which makes the approach fraught with danger from numerous trees
4- Where is the basket? OK if I don't roll down the hill
5- A decent 200' drive will leave a short approach, but you might have to bend a putter or a mid to get close.
6- Downhill to the "easy" basket. Not a bad par if you can avoid trees.
7- Short uphill. Good par chance if you can avoid an early tree.
8- Another downhill. Just avoid the early trees
9- Cool benches and Tee area, short basket reachable if you can avoid the trees... creek will eat an overshoot
10- Par 3? Really? Not for a rec play. No way I'm getting a drive where I can have a look at the basket unless I get a really lucky roll.
11- Downhill, but a tough Par 3 for a Rec player... trees will eventually grab a drive, and the approach will need to bend and curve just right.
12- OK, a half way decent drive and a "smart" touch approach will lead to a make-able par putt.
13- New short straight basket helps, but the tree in the middle of the already narrow fairway is intimidating. My best percentage is to throw at the tree in the middle... which means a good drive gets punished. Can the mando be ignored on the short basket since there is no advantage to "cutting" the fairway? Another hole that should be a par 4 for a rec level player
14- Hey, a "birdie-able" hole with a nice touch drive, though it's certainly easy enough to hit a tree and be down in the gully.
15- A tough dogleg right even to the short basket. Really a four is the best I can hope for.
16- The hole I fear most in Western Mass/Northern CT... Long and a narrow tunnel and even the "short" basket is a long way out there. Feels like a par five to me and will to most rec players.
17- Fun hole after the 13/15/16 gantlet.
18- Beautiful hole, and I have made par here, but it takes my best drive and then some kind of big hyzer approach to get around the apple trees to have a par putt.
I respect that this is a challenging course that rewards players that can throw long and accurately, but I understand how it can frustrate others. Course Designers need to remember there are more rounds played by us "hackers" than by good players. That said, I understand why the better players in the area love Crane Hill.
Bottom Line is this course while lacking in some amenities, this course holds its own with the better courses in New England.
Random Closing Thought: Until today, I hadn't played this course in over a year. Last time I played it one of the "locals" chewed me out for driving too fast in the parking lot (10 MPH instead of the posted 5 MPH). I thought the guy was just being a jerk, but now I know he was just being protective of a course he loves... neighbors had complained to the town about the dust. Since then the road has a coating of some fresh cinders, today the driveway/parking lot didn't seem to be any dust issue. The local core of players may not be all that warm and fuzzy, but they are not as scary as I once feared.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Diverse and fun
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Great variety of open versus wooded, elevation change and left versus right finishing holes. Basket placements offer diversity of holes where you need to play it safe, complemented by a number of holes where you aren't afraid to go for it. Hole 14 is a gem, it may be short but you better pick the right right disc and the right line. You could easily warm up by playing a hole 1 to hole 18 loop a few times if it isn't busy. Two baskets for each hole offer a couple different layouts. Locals were friendly and helpful.
Cons: Confusing layout for those who aren't familiar with the course. Because of lack of signage, sometimes need to walk up the fairway a bit to find baskets and figure out your lines. Not always immediately clear which layout a basket is for.
Other Thoughts: I don't usually write reviews, but felt Crane Hill deserved a recent one. I really enjoyed this course. Although the lack of signage could be frustrating the first couple of times you play it, I think after a couple of rounds you'd have no problem. Install some picture signs with the alternate basket placements and better signage from basket to next tee and there would be no cons here. Definitely will go back as often as I can.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Open and wooded.....
Cons: Muddy driveway, No Trash Cans or picnic tables by by Tie box 1. The practice basket is in a mud pit. Some tie boxes are too short. Grass in open area's is long.
Navigating this course was very difficult being there are no markers or signs. You have to guess by following what looks to be a path or white paint on trees.
In the woods a lot of smaller trees could be cut down. It is obvious this course is not maintained very well.
Other Thoughts: About 20 volunteers, a couple of weekends, a few chain saws, a couple donated picnic tables and trash cans would make a world of difference. Not to mention the town of Wilbraham picking up the trash on the weekends would be the icing on the cake.
0 of 6 people found this review helpful.
A Local Gem
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: There is a practice basket right by the parking lot so you can warm up before your round. Well kept teepads and very few spots to lose a disc. Fairways are fair and the rough can be punishing but you very rarely feel cheated. Overall, this course provides a nice amount of challenge and makes you use a bunch of different shots to do well.
The course starts you off with an easy hole 1 to get you warmed up, open 300 or so foot shot. This is followed by a more challenging hole 2 that is still comparatively open. After you've had this chance to get warmed up, it's into the woods where you will be challenged to make good shots. Compared to other courses in New England, the fairways are not super tight, and they are definitely fair. As the course is currently laid out (see other thoughts for alternate pins), 3 is a straight shot down the tunnel, 4 is up hill about 200-250 then turning right and up the hill for another 150 or so, with plenty of rough on the sides. Hole 5 can be played with a turnover or flick down the left side of the fairway or there is a tight line down the right for a hyzer or straight shot.Hole 6 is downhill and to the right protected by some trees, both midrange hyzer and anny ficks work well. 7 brings you back uphill with an easy hyzer shot. 8 is a turnover or flick down the hill (sort of a longer, mirrored version of hole 6. Holes 9 and 10 really challenge you to hit the right line with the right disc and the right angle to get that birdie. Both are basically long shots down a narrow fairway with plenty of rough to punish you if you nail a tree. Hole 9 also has an OB stream behind the basket and down the right side of the rough. Holes 11 and 12 are shorter, both deucable, but 12 is a very tight tunnel shot that it's easiest to try and play a disc that will skip straight. 13 is an awesome and challenging shot, shooting out from the woods to the field then back into the woods, curling towards the left with a mando at the entrance back in. Then you've still got about another 150-200ft of work to do. Playing big skip shots, anny flicks, or sharp hyzers is important here. 14 is the hole everyone wants to deuce, incredibly short, but if you go long you are staring at a death putt down a huge hill. Also just enough trees to knock your disc down into the pit and you're looking at a put that is about 20 feet straight uphill. Hole 15 is just cruel, if you get into the rough, just pitch out and do not try to be a hero, it never works. 16, 17, and 18 all have you back in the open with 16 being a short placement drive then another drive to the basket (big turnover if you are playing to the long position). 17 is a turnover or flick and 18 is a great hole to finish on with a wide open slightly downhill shot about 350' away.
Cons: Bad signage, and going from hole 3 to 4 might confuse some people (hole 12 is right next to the end of 3 and many new players could easily end up skipping half the course).
Hole 15 will kick your ass. This is the only hole I really dread at this course.
Other Thoughts: There are alternate pin positions on holes 1, 3, 6, 8, 9, 16 and there were shorter positions (though I'm not sure they are used anymore) on 4, 12, 13, 15.
Random doubles league on Thursday evenings and a great community in general make this one of my favorite local courses for sure.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Tee pads are flypads that are done well, no lumps and they are not slick, some are a little short but they are manageable.
Cons: There are NO signs at all. Only can find the next hole by followings paths and some had a rock under the basket pointing you in a general direction.
Other Thoughts: This is my first review. This course has a rating of 3.42 at the time of this review and I was like that's just way to high. The lack of signs and directions are the first thing you notice. It was hard to find the holes and if you did you did not know if you were playing them in the correct order because they aren't even numbered. Most baskets are blind and you have to walk up the fairway to see them. The OB is not marked by rope or anything you just have to guess whats OB. The fairways on a couple of holes start out fair but then like hundred feet to the basket its a crap shoot no real lines. There are a couple holes that have broken limbs and branches hanging down in the fairway. You throw a great shot the right line and boom branch hit right in the fairway they need to be trimmed up. This courses only saving grace are the tee's which are solid. A mix of open and wooded hole I like. and some I could do with out. Played 2 rounds here and they will be my last two.
0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Nice terrain..nice scenery...nice day of disc golf a lil of everything wood shots wide open shoots up hill and a interesting 14 th hole
Cons: Signs..almost none but I emailed the course layout out I found here to my phone and was relativly easy...and when we got a lil lost a local helped us right out and we were back on course
Other Thoughts: If you go down the road a lil to Springfield famous daves BBQ is not far and we ate there and it was excellent lunch..plus there's a lot of other places for lunch right around
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Rubber Tee Pads
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: As of October 29, 2013 the course has alternate baskets at every hole. 36 holes total now! Nice variation of wooded and open shots. Nice use of elevation. Good flow to holes.
Cons: Lack of signs. Muddy parking late winter and early spring.
Other Thoughts: All Tee Pads are rubber now.(since fall '11) This has not been changed on the course review yet. It has improved the course quite a bit. New signs are going in this year! Nice course
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 2 Not
Great course with experience
Pros: Great changes in elevation
Nice mix of open and tight holes
A challenge on every hole
Cons: Tee boxes need help
Navigation can be a problem
Other Thoughts: Many reviewers post that navigation is a problem, and I can see why. The signs are non existent and the little yellow arrows on the ground pointing you in the right direction are getting buried, however on Saturdays and Sundays there are usually plenty of locals who enjoy playing with new comers, myself included. Thursday nights the course hosts a random double's league. If you know where your going and aren't too picky about footing on drives, this course is a gem.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 1 Not
Good location but a Navigation Travesty
Pros: The holes are challenging and fun, even though I was the caboose of our foursome. Nicely cut fairways, challenging inclines and declines and it's hard to lose your plastic which is a definite plus if you're a novice or intermediate frolfer.
Cons: The navigation is impossible. Faded signs at the tee's, if there are signs at all. The confusion can be very frustrating for everyone, stories of people leaving without playing the full 18 are circulating.
Other Thoughts: We went on a lovely spring day, very minimal bug issues. Also, there was only one other group out there on a Saturday, which is very nice.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pristine, natural course
FOR COURSE MAP AND SCORECARD:
I have played 8 different courses, in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Texas, and Florida (including Cliff Stephens, home of Ken Climo), yet Crane Hill is the most beautiful course I have ever played. The designers have done a fantastic job preserving dramatic natural elements of the property and incorporating them into the course. A few examples come to mind: The old-growth oak on 8 has a huge branch that hangs low over the fairway, forcing a low flick or turnover drive from us RHBH throwers. Another, even bigger oak shades the 9th tee, which has a ring of benches around it. A stream gurgles its way down the hill next to the tee (it's a downhill drive), following the fairway its entire length, making for a beautiful spot to take a break. Here the RHBH-friendly fairway follows an old footpath, and at 350+ feet in the middle of the woods, this hole requires both power and precision. The new hole 14 (aka "The Ravine Hole") is my favorite on the course; the ravine itself leads down to Twelve Mile Brook, which forms the northern border of the course. At the 14th tee, the ravine is less than 200 feet wide; it's short but kept interesting by a narrow driving window framed by 2 tree trunks. The basket is perched just on the far edge of the ravine, so an unlucky landing may well roll to the bottom, 30 feet below the rim (oh yeah - don't fall off the tee!). Watching people drive from the bottom of the ravine reveals the genius of this hole - while the net elevation change is ~0, the fairway is 30 feet up in the trees! Finally, your round will end with a wide-open, slightly downhill 380' drive across the field to the pin, which is nestled in a stand of low (apple?) trees. It's a lot of fun to really let loose with a driver on this easy hole, especially after taking some bogies on 15 and 16 (which will probably happen as often as not).
Cons: Crane Hill is a tough course! Forget about driving the pin on most holes; shooting even par requires a proficient shot every time, and in the woods, you'd better be darn near perfect - or better yet, lucky. Some holes like 6 and 11 have no clear route to the basket, so luck will often decide between birdie, par or much worse. Other holes have only one realistic route to the basket, so it's hard to get creative, especially after an errant drive.
Many people have complained about navigation on the course. There used to be nice plywood signs, but they didn't last more than a year or two. At the beginning of my review I posted a link to the original course map, but 13 and 14 are slightly different after some recent changes.
People have also complained about the natural tee pads, but I have been told by the course designer that cement pads are in the works.
Other Thoughts: For more info about course changes and EVENTS (i.e. doubles league, monthly tourneys), check out New England Flying Disc Association: nefa.com
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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