A Beautiful, Enjoyable Course
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This course adds some nice diversity from the mostly moderate to heavily wooded courses in the area. This a fairly lengthy course. They have made it even longer over the past year by moving the tees on hole 9 and 14 further back and they have moved the basket further away on hole 8.
The Barre Falls Dam Disc Golf Course is the closest course to where I live so, I'm here more than any other course that I play at. I find it very enjoyable to play a round here multiple times a week. The landscape is beautiful and serene. It's a nice hike walking around on the course while enjoying a round of disc golf.
The course is pretty easy to navigate. Hole 1 and 18 are right off the main parking lot. From last basket to next tee there's not much walking. The course isn't usually too crowded. There's bathrooms, a decent size parking lot, picnic area in the shade with grills and trash cans.
The tee pads are all rubber and in good shape. There's tee signs on every hole that are pretty accurate, not top-notch but pretty solid for a free to play course. The baskets are in good shape and are Innova DISCatchers.
The course starts with an ace run on hole 1 going downhill where the basket sits a bit up from the river depending on the time of the year that you are here, as the water levels can get very high after a snowy winter in early spring. A short hole 1 helps to get you warmed up along with a slight uphill, sloping left to right fairway on hole 2. The basket sits just past a few trees with a bit of a death putt if you go long which can send your disc down the hill and towards the river.
Your first of many big drives will be needed to move you across the fairway of a par 4, hole 3 which has you throwing a good distance over a bit of a ravine. Make sure to track your disc well as the ravine can have some long weeds in the summer. For RHBH's, if you turn your disc over too much off the tee you can end up in the river that's off to the right. Also, this hole can have some big headwinds from off the tee. Your second throw should have you up into an open, flat fairway or even closer into a stand of trees with the basket behind them.
Hole 4's tee is tucked into some trees and has you throwing into a flat open field. Your second throw will have you going either left or right of a stand of trees with the basket on a slight uphill from behind the trees into an opening.
Hole 5 is a par 5. Once again you start your throw from the woods and throw into an open, sloping field that curves left to right most of the distance up the fairway until you reach a rock wall where the basket sits just beyond.
Hole 6 is a pretty straight throw to the basket over a flat field with the basket tucked a little bit into the woods.
Hole 7 starts you in the woods throwing out into a downhill sloping field with a road and parking lot on the right. The basket is slightly left of the tee and on windy days the difficulty of putting to this basket can increase along with a downhill slope behind the basket.
Hole 8 is an all open field and is a long downhill throw with a rock wall and trees to the right going down the entire fairway with some overhanging trees that can knock down your disc if you go too right and high. The basket is just over a rock wall and to the left of a dirt roadway.
Hole 9's tee is tucked into a corner of trees with a downward sloping field with a mando area to the right because of hole 10's fairway being there. To the left you have hole 3's fairway coming up from the ravine by the river. The basket finishes past and right of the ravine and onto an open flat with bushes and a small stream behind it.
Hole 10 gets you out of the field and has you throwing in a pretty tight tunnel that gently slopes up with trees to your left and mando on the right to avoid hole 9's fairway. A straight throw will keep you on a dirt road that's usually gated. If you end up left you have to make a throw through some scattered trees to get up to the basket which sits amongst those trees to the left of the dirt road and over a rock wall that follows the fairway on the left side of the road.
Hole 11 can be aced with a good left to right throw. This is the shortest hole of the course. You have trees on both sides lining another old dirt road that is rarely ever driven on. The basket is basically dog leg right and sits in a small opening in front of the paved road.
Hole 12 gives you another possibility for an ace with a pretty short, straight, open throw. From the tee you have to get past a few small trees that are not much of an issue. You have OB right which is a rocky slope next to the road and woods on the left of the basket which slopes down from the basket so you can end up fading into the trees here or rolling down into them with a missed putt.
Hole 13 puts you into the woods where you have another shot at an ace if you can make it through the small tunnel that slopes down from the tee toward the basket which finishes into the open. If you hit a tree and kick out hard right there's a chance of going over a chain-link fence down into a wet field near hole 15.
Hole 14 is a downhill throw with woods to the left and a scattered stand of trees to the right with a fairly tight gap to throw through to get down the hill. The basket sits on an open flat after a small hedged choke point with trees on the right and bushes on the left at the bottom of the hill.
Hole 15 has an open look at an uphill throw over a chain-link fence. There's a flat, wet field to the right and to the field's left is a steep ledge with the fence going up along the top of it so, you definitely want to get over that fence and land on the hill. Also, you have to watch out for your disc fading too much left or you'll end up in some pretty thick trees to the left. The basket sits atop the hill.
Hole 16 starts fairly deep into the woods. You have to throw through a tight gap and then the fairway drops downhill and into a large field which slopes left. The basket is angled out slightly to the right from the tee. You can't see the basket from the tee and it's a pretty big throw to the basket. A solid, slight anny throw can get you there. If your disc fades back too early you can end up left and away from the basket for a long putt or a short approach shot up the slope. The river and dam at hole 3 is a bit behind the basket.
Hole 17 is a blind, uphill throw to an open fairway from the tee. To the left you have some thick hedges that block your view. To the right is a steep slope which is OB, with the paved road above it. Both of these two things line the fairway all the way up to the basket at the top of the hill. Behind the basket is the parking lot.
Hole 18 which is a par 4 plays across a long, left to right, downward sloping fairway with the parking lot on the left, along with a sand volleyball court and scattered pines that you'll need a tight throw to make it through into an opening that shows you the basket. Beyond that on the left is a rocky slope which is OB and the road above that. Along the right of the fairway at the bottom of the slope lies trees that continue down the fairway. The basket is at the end of the narrow field. If you miss a putt that goes long from the roadside of the basket you can end up down a very steep hill that goes off into the woods and can be slippery after rain.
Cons: A fairly big con during the summer is that the grass and weeds can get very long in a few of the open fairways. They only cut those sections of fields maybe three times during the spring and summer. Because of this you can easily lose track of your disc in the tall grass and spend quite a bit of time looking for your disc or your friend's discs. It's also a good possibility that you can outright lose your disc in the grass. Use spotters when available or just skip those holes until it's been mowed. Hole 5 can be the worst as it's a long uphill, curving from left to right fairway close to 600 feet with tall grass all along the left of a very narrow mowed fairway. Hole 6, 7, and 8 can be pretty bad as well.
Also, it can get pretty buggy during May with the small black flies. Then in June the greenhead flies can start becoming a nuisance. I'd recommend wearing a hat for these times. It won't cure the problem but it can help alleviate some of the irritation.
In my opinion, it would be really nice for beginner level players who are just getting into disc golf or are the very casual type, like families to have a second tee position that would have shorter distances. I think this would be a great course for beginners with the open fairways it has if it had some shorter tee placements. Not every hole would need alternate tee pads though. The ones that might be able to use them are holes 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, maybe 14 and 15 but they could probably get by without them and hole 16, 17, and 18. I'm aware that this is a free to play course so it's probably not going to happen but, I think it would add so much to this already great course if ever it did.
It can get very windy here at times but, that can add to the fun if you are prepared for it and don't mind adding a couple more strokes to your round here and there from missing some usually easy putts that the winds can affect.
The course does feature some pretty big throws so it can be tough on new players and players who can't throw quite so far. For more advanced players the layout on the majority of holes might become a bit redundant with many open approaches to the basket and big, straight throws on a number of them off the tees.
There's only a few places to sit on benches and only a couple of trash cans on the course. No pro shop but it's free to play so that's expected and no big deal.
Be wary of bikers, walkers, joggers in and around fairways as there are trails for these things around the course and sometimes rarely, there's just random people in the fairways hanging around that don't realize that they might be in the way of disc golfers throwing.
Other Thoughts: If I were to be able to rate certain aspects of this course separate from other things I would do it something like this:
Course Design(diversity of holes, use of existing landscape, basket placement, enjoy-ability): 4.25 out of 5
Landscape(the quality, beauty and diversity of the land itself, elevation, water, scenery): 4.75 out 5
Amenities(parking, bathrooms, pro shop, multiple tee pads, condition of baskets and tees, signs, warm-up baskets and nets, easy to find): 3.75 out of 5
Replay-ability(Is it fun and enjoyable but challenging enough to want to play again?): 4.50 out of 5
If I could, my rating would be closer to a 4.25 overall probably which is very solid in my opinion.
I've noticed over the last 3 years of playing here regularly that they continue to work on removing some trees and bushes so you can see the baskets from the tee. They have also worked on improving the small bridges and added steps in certain areas along with maintaining some of the tees and updating tee signs. Also, in the winter a few of the baskets on certain holes have winter placements making it safer for players. It's good to see that the course is continuing to receive attention.
One last thing, if you find a lost disc you can leave it at the Ranger Station so at a later time the player who lost the disc can retrieve it. If they have a number on the back I text the owner of the disc that I dropped it off there at the station and they are always appreciative as I know I would be.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Barre Falls is one of the four Army Corps of Engineer dam site courses in MA/CT, along with Buffumville, Tully, and West Thompson.
Barre Falls features the most elevation of any of them, and it is used well in conjunction with distance variations. Hole 1 is downhill but only about 190 feet with water behind. Holes 8 and 9 are downhill bombs over 450 feet each. Hole 5 is a brutal 600-foot uphill left-to-right beast with the basket tucked beyond a quintessentially New England rock wall.
As mentioned, the variety of distances is great. There are plenty of aceable holes, but numerous multi-throw holes as well.
This is the most open of the dam site courses. Courses this open can lead to boring designs, but they did a good job of bringing all the trees (don't worry, there are still plenty; it's still New England) into play. Hole 4 throws out of an alcove of trees into an open space with a cluster blocking the center of the fairway, so your drive needs to set up your approach. Not a revolutionary concept, but these aren't a succession of grip-and-rip holes.
The beauty here is my kind of beauty. The hills sweep into one another, with firs dotting this hillside, leafy trees covering that one, and a gurgling river bisecting all of it before it disappears into the spillway. Beyond it all are the shadows of more forests and hills.
All tee pads are concrete. Tee signs are good enough and serve their purpose (they are the same type as used at Borderland).
Navigation was pretty easy. I never consulted the map and only got lost once (after Hole 4, go to the right).
Cons: You can definitely get away with errant shots on a few holes. This course will favor distance throwers more than most courses in this part of the country, but it's nice to have a little variety.
The course is pretty busy in spite of being pretty far off the beaten path.
You could lose a disc in the water on a few holes, but it would require some bad shots.
Other Thoughts: On what looks to be one of the last nice days of fall, I was very happy to get out to a part of the state I'd never been to. The pictures don't do it justice. This is really an attractive, enjoyable course.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 4 Not
BARRE FALLS DAM
Pros: ALTHOUGH THE LAYOUT OF A FEW HOLES HAVE CHANGED. IT'S STILL A GOOD COURSE TO PLAY. IT'S MARKED WELL, SCENIC, AND A GREAT CHANGE FROM OPEN HOLES TO WOODED HOLES
Cons: GETTING BACK TO THE HOLES THAT HAVE BEEN CHANGED A BIT. HOLES # 6,7 AND 8 ARE NOT AS OPEN AS THEY COULD BE. YES I KNOW IT'S A SPORT THAT REQUIRES ACCURATE SHOT MAKING. BUT ON THE ABOVE HOLES MENTIONED. EVEN SEASONED PLAYERS WILL NOTICE DIFFICULTY FINDING THEIR DISCS IN THE HIGH GRASS ON THESE HOLES. THE MOWED FAIRWAYS ON THESE HOLES SHOULD BE MADE A BIT WIDER TO AVOID SLOW PLAY REGARDLESS OF ONE'S ABILITY. ON A BUSY DAY, YOU WILL WAIT.
Other Thoughts: WITH THAT SAID, JUST GO OUT TO BARRE FALLS DAM, PLAY A ROUND, HAVE A COOKOUT AND COUPLE OF BEERS, THEN PLAY ANOTHER ROUND
0 of 4 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Mostly Open Early, Mostly Tight Late
Course has a nice blend of open/wooded/mixed holes, elevation changes, distances (ranging from 158' to 691', averaging ~355').
5'x10' rubber mat tees. Good teesigns. Next tee arrows at baskets. Good online map.
Scattered remnants of stone walls along/amidst the treelines.
Single tee/basket position.
A few baskets/tees/fairways are a bit close together - be prepared to "fore!"
From the top of the dam, you can see the near entirety of the course in front of you - the open space immediately below you, running down to the water and stones, which separate holes 1-2 and 17-18 (number-18 is in the treeline across from, and running parallel to, the parking lot) from the remainder of the course. Past the water/stones, the open space begins to gain elevation and widen, with a patch of woods nearby to the left, bordered by the road you (likely) came in on, Trees farther back/to the right border the open space on the far side.
For those who like their disc golf mostly open and long, the front half of the course (includes the three longest holes) will provide opportunities to let loose - but still needing some control, as the water looms nearby on the early holes, and some tees and/or baskets are tucked inside treelines or have chokepoints to pass through.
For those who prefer more of a control game, the latter half will provide the majority of these type of challenges, with the trees creating fair-but-challenging throwing paths, some alternate risk-reward options, lefts/rights/straight needed from the tee, and elevation change added into the mix.
Favourite hole: #14. A mixed hole, starting in the woods, requiring a moderate right-turn at the optimal mid-fairway window to have a clean run to the basket. Loss of elevation, beginning at roughly the midpoint, too, adds to the challenge The basket sits in the open, with a small window cut in a not-overly-tall hedgerow providing the most direct path to it.
Good course, enjoyable play, decent variety. While it was fine when I played in mid-October, it appears it could be quite susceptible to dampness.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Barre Falls Beauty
Pros: Beautiful course. the course is well laid out with a good selection of open and technical holes. One some you have to have a good long drive and on others you have to use finesse and control. Overall one of the better courses i have played.
Cons: No real cons to speak of.
Other Thoughts: If this course were not 80 miles form home I would enjoy playing this course a few times per month.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Layout: Great layout. Excellent use of not a ton of elevation change. Some holes felt uphill the whole way, others allowed for enormous throws downhill. Great change from the largely wooded courses found in NE. A few wooded holes, and almost ever hole had some little intricacy, some group of trees or otherwise to throw around.
Tees: Most tees are rubber mats. Some felt a little short.
OB: Several holes have OB/Mando rules. (water, roads, narrow fairways. This adds some excellent technical aspects to a few holes on course.
Cons: When I went, the fields were completely mowed (tournament play). I heard this is not always the case, and that the grass gets pretty high, making discs hard to find in the many holes in the fields. The park has many benches, but not really set up around the disc golf holes. Imagine a bench or picnic table half way down the fairway for other park-goers.
Other Thoughts: Don't park your car by hole 18. Errant drives are dangerous. I got lucky and it only hit my windshield for no damage.
Bring sunscreen/hat/sunglasses if you need it. Lots of open field walking to get burnt on.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Pros: Really open and roomy by Massachusetts standards. Most of the wholes had well defined and maintained fairways, and they required a good variety of shots (hyzer bombs, turnovers, short & sharp anhyzers, etc).
Most of the baskets had arrows pointing to the next tee pad, and most of the tee pads had good signs.
A really beautiful property with great views, and a scenic windy road on the way there.
Cons: Holes 4 through 7 need some upkeep - we spent a lot of time searching for discs, because the fairways weren't maintained at all (in sharp contrast to the rest of the course). Hole 4 didn't even have a fairway! Unless you can park a 420 foot anhyzer around a blind corner, you are searching in 3 foot weeds.
Some of the baskets had rusty chains that don't catch the disc as well as I'd like.
Other Thoughts: My gripes about four holes are sincere, but they shouldn't discourage you from playing an otherwise great course that is accessible for beginners, and still a great skill workout for intermediate players.
A moderate amount of maintenance (mowed fairways, signs on every hole, replace a few chains) could raise this to 4.5 stars in my book.
Fun course that I will surely return to.
Another Great Stop on Our Tour!
Pros: A driver's course for sure, Barre Falls is a course I wish I had 5 minutes from home instead of 85. The course covers a lot of property, so be prepared for good exercise. The property itself is beautiful and the course personifies it. The signs are easy to read and the holes are clearly marked with their distinctive yellow tops. Some holes are challenging for those still developing a good drive, but if you have a decent approach game, you'll do fine and have a good time.
Cons: I thought the only tricky thing we encountered was midway through the course, there were a few holes in the woods that were unmarked and hard to identify. After watching a group play through, we were able to figure it out. These tee's and baskets kind of overlapped each other, oddly. I've concluded the reason for not having signs at these few tee's was because they've would've obstructed the tee drives of each other.
Other Thoughts: This course reminds me of Tully Lake in Royalston, MA which makes this course one the tops in New England. A very well-kept course for intermediate novices like ourselves who love the game and aren't nit-picky about tee's being level or clearly defined fairways (even though this course has both). Have fun! Go early!
2 Helpful / 0 Not
A Beautiful Blast!
Pros: I REALLY wanted to give this course a 4, because I had more fun playing here today for the first time (and the second) than I have had on any other course (Muldoon Park, Crane Hill, Devens...) in a very long time. That is because Barre Falls is a driver's course, where I could let my long discs rip without much risk. All the holes are open - not just by New England standards. Actually Barre Falls feels a lot like courses do in Florida or Texas; most holes are long (320+ feet) with one big obstacle or "main idea" to get around, usually with a drive. This might be a water hazard as on hole 3, a stand of trees, or a curvy line to the pin, etc., most of which can be almost always be handled with a solid drive. Truly crappy drives are hard to come by; most fairways are so open that you usually have a look at the pin on the par 3s with the second shot, though it may be far. Furthermore, the long holes really let you stretch out your arm, and the multitude of elevated tees give you a chance to reach those long pins that might be out of range on a flatter course.
As far as technique goes, Barre Falls will put your driving skills to a rigorous test. As a RHBH player, I found myself chucking big hyzer bombs, long distance lasers, a couple hyzer flips, and a flick or two. My Roc even came out on a few tees.
The amenities at the park were solid: rubber tee pads, generally decent tee signs, and bathrooms/outhouses. The mowed fairways and greens looked just like a ball golf course, and were a great change of pace from the typical wooded New England course. I also think no course is complete without some water hazards, and the Ware River gets that job done nicely. The scenery was beautiful (also due to the river), and the dam was simply impressive - it reminded me of the movie Goldeneye.
Cons: My biggest gripe with the course is the simplicity of the holes. Yes, there were some stunning open holes on this course, and like everybody I love a nice downhill bomb, but on too many holes the technical game ended after the drive. In two rounds, I threw 6 - 8 technical midrange shots. On all others I was either punching a straight approach at the pin, or putting. The combination of open fairways, scarce mandos, and unthreatening OB results in holes that are very simple after the tee, where you are your own worst enemy. That is, if something is going to go wrong, it will be because you over/under threw your disc, not because you hit a tree or something.
In terms of course design, the layout of holes 3, 10, and 11 is such that the tees, fairways and baskets of these holes all seem to be right on top of each other. There was a bit of a traffic jam at this spot on our first round, and we had to be very careful where we threw, and even where we walked. Also, the grass was very long on some holes, and we nearly lost a couple discs which drastically slowed our progress. Some tee signs lacked distance to the pin, and none of them were labeled with elevation change, which would have been very useful, as this is a very hilly course. Navigation was tough, but between my friend and I, we managed to complete the 18 without too much wandering around. Just keep your eyes open, and ask the locals - they're friendly!
Other Thoughts: Barre Falls course would easily be a 4 if the tee signs were fixed and the grass mowed more thoroughly. I think it has the potential to be a 5 star course, but this would require extensive and expensive redesign; wooded holes, more technical fairways, and concrete tee pads. The ingredients are all there, though; a huge property, great terrain with very interesting woods and water, and some great tee locations. As it is, Barre Falls DGC is a beautiful and above all FUN, open course - a great change of pace here in New England. Get out and play it!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: long tees shots
large course w/ no cross holes
easy to stay in order
Cons: tall grass
sometimes extremely windy
Other Thoughts: good for large groups
no traffic and its quite
my personal favorite.
2 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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