Bring a Machete
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This course is tucked away in the woods west of Smith College in what is the rather charming town of Northampton, MA. The course weaves through walking trails where locals bring their four-legged friends for some exercise. The basics of the course are all present and in workable condition. The baskets catch, the tee pads work, and there is some signage. There's a good mix of hole distances ranging from 150-463 feet. There's also a nice mix of tight wooded shots and more wide open field shots. The course is designed in a nice loop with 18 bringing you back to the trail head. I also like the contrast of a tight technical front 9 with the back 9 which emphasizes distance wide open shots more. The tight woods, tricky basket placements, variety of lines, and long distances make this course a challenging undertaking. Some very friendly locals helped me find a bad drive. There's plenty of parking , the area is beautiful, and it's very close to downtown Northampton where there are many places to grab a taste or a libation after a round. The course is also a good road trip stop being just a short jog off I-91.
Cons: The biggest problem here is foliage maintenance. The grass was so high at the head of the course that I didn't actually find the proper tee pad for the first hole. There was overgrowth throughout the course and if you land off the fairway, you're in for a task. There are prickly bushes and stinging nettles that will conspire against you in your hunt for an errant drive, and it's very possible to loose a disc. You'll also want to do a thorough tick check after around here, especially since the grass is so high. The pictures suggest that the weeds get cut back occasionally, but it clearly doesn't happen often enough.
Some tee pads could be longer. Maps on the tee signs would be a huge help, since several baskets are blind shots from the tee. Navigation can be tricky in a few spots, so some signage could help with that too.
I would have liked to see better use of the elevation here too, as only a couple holes really used it. Generally, the elevation is something to be avoided as a drop off from the fairway. There was little change in elevation on the fairways here, which is something that makes a course fun for me.
No holes really stood out as being particularly innovative. Mostly standard shots.
Other Thoughts: I've played in some thick woods before, but this course had beastly foliage. After the first few holes I got my wife to spot for me and that helped move things along much better. All in all it was an enjoyable round, but the heavy woods did put a damper on things. Come prepared with your most toxic bug spray and this will be a great place to play. Definitely worth a stop and the town is definitely worth hanging in for a while. I'll definitely be back.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Not quite what I expected
Pros: There is lots of elevation change throughout the course. This also makes the risk/reward pretty amazing on several holes. There is a great mix of holes: wooded, open, uphill, downhill, dogleg right, dogleg left and a mixture of all. The fairways are clearly defined which helps you in the woods immensely. The open fields have recently been mowed so it's almost impossible to lose your disc. It also makes for some nice approach shots. This course if great to work on your all around game; most notably your mid-range. Most holes have assorted sized rubber tee pads. The holes in the woods have brooms on the tee pads to clear the leaves. Porta-potties are also located in the large parking lot.
Cons: There are tee signs, but they don't show the fairways: only the hole number and distance is labeled. There are several steep holes and none of them have steps to help you descend or ascend the hills which make for some super slippery footing. There is a dog walking trail and a separate cross country trail that intersect the fairways and make it crowded at times. It also makes an errant throw that much more dangerous. All of the next tee signs are laying on top of the baskets not pointing anywhere in particular. This makes navigation complicated.
Other Thoughts: The underbrush on the course is full of vines and thorns which cut me up pretty good. So make sure to wear pants. There is four different kinds of baskets so you can practice on multiples. It looks like there was a dumping ground for scrap metal between holes 3 and 4 so be extra careful to not step on any loose metal.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Look out for the dog walkers
Pros: Nice terrain. Starts out with some very interesting gully shots on 2 and three. The first half of the course seems to be a bit more technical. The woods are beautiful. Giant grape vines. Second half of the course opens up for the arm a bit more.
Cons: Way too much brush. The shots are nice but mess up and your spending time hunting for the disc. Even on the shorter holes its really thick just outside the shot zone. Get spotters for the field shots and some dog legd, especially hole 13. A lot of dog walkers, I mean a lot. The smell is there but I haven't stepped in any there. There is almost a kennel aroma from the parking lot until hole 2, you'll smell it. The owners do a pretty good job of cleaning up after their dogs, though.
Other Thoughts: Overall I like the course. Hole 2 and 3 can be hell. The angle is steep enough that rollers seem to be common. The course seems to favor the flick but very playable for backhanders. It needs some brushing work and maintanance in some critical areas. I'll go back but far from my favorite.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 1 Not
Needs a little more up keep, but good.
Pros: Great course has a lot to offer any player! The baskets are wide open and are well marked, pointers to the next tee box are out there and help find the next tee. The lay out is nice, open fields, tight woods and a few elevation shots.
Cons: I found the fields to be a little over grown and the woods need to be cleared a little more. Walking around there are stumps, branches and tall grass everywhere. Some times it made it hard to find a disc. But not everyone can work on these courses all the time. It is a large course and I can see how hard it is to keep it up. It would also cost a bit too.
Other Thoughts: This is a good course for the area, could use a little up keep but its good. In the fall I bet it is wonderful! I really enjoyed hole one, To start off it has great dynamics, you need to be on top of your throws to get what you want for a score. No lucky shots in this course! The maps/score cards are a great addition! This makes for a great keepsake and helps you find where you are going. I like the rubber mats at the tee's and there are brooms around too. Chairs at most of the tee boxes to sit and rest and at the end a lost disc box! I placed two that i found looking for my lost one! Again a great course in the works it looks like, I think it would just need two or three people to really up keep this course!
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Second best free course
Pros: Free, Good mix of holes- Long 720 and short 150, Mostly wooded but a few wide open spaces to rip 'em in. Pretty technical overall, requires a little more finese than you might first think, Nice tee pads(black rubber), Best free course lost disc set up ever! (Its the little shed after 18)
Update- the 720 is shorter now, and the brush has recently been beaten, the dog walkers seem to be better but I still avoided a few landmines, the maps and scorecards are free and available at the bulletin board halfway along the first fairway-not the one in the parking lot.
Cons: Can be muddy or even flat out flooded when it rains, Dog poops abound on the first few holes (near the walking path), When the weather is nice can be hard to throw first tee and thirteen for the sake of not hitting a dog walker or starting a game of dog grabs disc, Tees are hard to find first time out, handwritten signs on wood fall down and such...A few holes feel a bit ghetto- #3 and the dead fridge spring to mind , found the basket on #13 "unstable"
Other Thoughts: Good free course, When dry a lot of fun, but as has been said lot of potential here. There is a leauge there too I think, info on the bulletin board
Update- much brush clearing has taken place this spring, The course is in good shape, 15 was still a little wet, but thats the woods! glad to be back!
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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