All The Way Up!
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Spectacular 18 hole private course featuring dual tees and baskets playing through a beautiful Vermont forest with moderate elevation changes, boulders, rock walls, a creek and couple ponds providing a unique experience. Well defined and nicely manicured fairways that give you great diversity hole-wise turning left/right and straight.
As a traveling player I was a bit leery playing here because there is no map, however the signage is good and navigation is very easy. Two loops of nine holes back to parking lot.
Cons: It's all the way up to the Canadian border, but totally worth it. Tiny parking lot and not much amenity wise. Hole 1 gold tee seemed a bit close for comfort to the house. Have to cross a fairway or two in navigation. Some slippery footing in the woods - I took a spill on hole 3. Not really a con, but I wish the basket on hole 10 wasn't blind from the Gold tee and there were a couple holes to unleash a drive. Potential to lose discs in the rough. Biting flies and bugs.
Other Thoughts: The Black Falls journey starts off visually with one of the most serene backdrops driving up to the course with Jay Peak and its rivers flowing along the way in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom - I'm pretty sure I've seen it in one of those pretty motivation posters. While playing the course I felt like I was in New Zealand with all the ferns and moss covering stones, it's no wonder why Vermont is the green mountain state. I was expecting some more dramatic elevation on the course given the setting, but what elevation it has is plenty and used well.
I played the Gold layout and the course plays fair to the course manager and punishing to the shot maker that doesn't make it. I would have liked to see a few longer holes and more par 4s or even a 5 or two, but I think the course is maxed out on it's limited property as the layout feels a little squished already. The front 11 was totally awesome and diverse and then got a little repetitive switch-backing the slope on the back 8 sans hole 16 playing directly uphill slight anhyzer while hole 17 played like an "open" hole and a chance to air one out a little, and hole 18 finishing nicely with the triple ponds and pretty mountain top in the background.
Overall I had a great experience playing even despite the on/off rain conditions. I'd highly recommend to any traveling players that enjoy playing some great wooded control golf in a beautiful setting.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 1 Not
From the Rec Player Perspective
Pros: • Awesome setting. Vermont's Northeast Kingdom is almost a fantasy world in any season. Expected to see hobbits and elves at any time. Though I saw a hobbit over by the covered bridge... keeping the troll at bay, no doubt.
• The owner has lovingly extracted a disc golf course out to of the land while preserving its natural beauty.
• Hand carved steps on the hilly sections, plank walkways in the swampy areas blend in to the surrounds.
• Creature comforts (outhouse, drinking water) available
• Nice water features, some just for show, some (18th hole) come in to play, though mostly avoided if you play the "REC" level silver to silver layout
• Clear and accurate handmade signage fits the rustic nature of the place
• Two Tees, Two baskets on every hole makes for 4 different layouts to challenge any skill level
• Silver to Silver layout is a nice challenge for a "REC" player... Every hole had a clear "PAR" line if you could hit it, but lose concentration or make an errant through and bogie or worse is possible with the dense woods looming. I didn't play other layouts, but I'm sure they will challenge more advanced players.
• Makes good use of elevation changes...and many throw lines have the high tree canopy to deal with for "tunneling" effects.
• Variety of holes... mostly open, pretty tight, good balance of left turning, right turning, mostly straight...
• Practice basket near parking. The "main" parking area is limited to just a few cars, but lots of places to park within a short walk to the first tee
• Course owner lives on site and has discs for sale and is a fount of disc golf wisdom. Tips on places to stay, where to eat dinner, other great courses in the area.
• The Gold baskets are bright DISCatcher Pro's
Cons: • Some of the tee boxes a bit scruffy and smallish...
• The Silver Baskets are DISCatcher Sports though the course owner has added inner chains so they catch well.
Other Thoughts: DGCourseReview.vom had this course as #15 in the world. Heading up to the course I was pretty skeptical. How could something this far out be just a few ticks below Maple Hill? I've played some other fabulous destination courses that don't make the course top 25: The IDGC courses in Appling, GA, Sabattus up in Maine, and The Blockhouse in Spotsylvania, VA. Would Black Falls exceed these courses?
After playing a few holes at Black Falls I felt that maybe this course was a bit over-rated... but as I played along I started really enjoying the natural beauty of the place, and appreciating the details that the course owner lovingly put in to the place.
Is this course one of the top 15 in the world? I'll let the law of large numbers determine this one, but I had a great time and it was well worth the 4 hour drive for me. Black Falls may be rustic and un-refined, but this place certainly captures the heart and soul of what disc golf is all about. There is Vavaldi's Four Seasons, then there is Earl Scruggs Foggy Mountain Breakdown. Which is a "better" piece of music? I guess it depends on the listener. With Black Falls you can almost hear the banjo solo...
My wife also enjoyed our "Northeast Kingdom" Vermont experience and enjoyed the great vistas and exploring small towns. This is so close to Canada half of the radio stations were French language stations from Quebec. Montreal is Southwest of Black Falls. We came in on the "shortcut", Rt 58, which turns into a gravel road for much of the way coming in off I-91. Spectacular scenery, and I was amazed that when it seemed like we were in the middle of nowhere I'd suddenly get 4 bars and a 3G connection on my cell phone. (NOTE: Road can be closed in snow/mud season)
16 of 17 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 2 Not
Crown of Northeast Kingdom
Pros: I recently got the opportunity to hang out in Montgomery, VT for a week with nothing to do but play this course. It was an amazing week. The first few rounds I was in awe. Every hole feels completely different. There are two courses overlaid on the same land. Silver and Gold. I played mostly silver the first few rounds with a few golds sprinkled in. My last few rounds were gold only. Not only does each hole feel different, they play differently as well. To do well here you will need a variety of shots. The course is well maintained by the very dedicated Johnny Betts. His love for the course is visible at every turn. The thought that went into the layout and balance astounded me.
If I had to pick out highlights I would have to go with gold holes 4,5 and 18. Four has a long tight stream lined approach to the base of a big steep hill which has the basket perched on it's peek. Don't overthrow of you will go down the equally steep back side of this ridge. Five plays back down the hill through a wicked tight gap. Eighteen requires a straight throw over water. Gets the blood pumping every time.
Cons: I typically like to play in sneakers. My time playing this course was in peek Spring with lots of rain. Boots were required to stay dry during the off fairway trouble I often got myself into. I would add that I played the course in pouring rain and still had a blast. It's that amazing a course.
Other Thoughts: This course and the area of Vermont it's in are beautiful. I didn't get tired of the course even after playing it almost exclusively for a week straight. The fairways are laid out such that if you can shape the shot, you can make the shot. Every hole is very playable. Most are challenging. Like.Michelangelo with marble, Johnny has carved this course out of the Northeast Kingdom. He found the course that was "in" the land. I don't know what perfect is so I leave my rating at a 4.5.
12 of 14 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 2 Not
Run towards the border!
Pros: - Excellent layout. The holes use the terrain really well to create an excellent variety of holes.
- Challenging to all skill levels with two tees and two baskets on every hole.
- Convenient and classic outhouse.
- Discs available for purchase on site
- Well defined and maintained fairways.
- Not crowded
- Beautiful location in northern VT
- Super clean
- The owner is a super guy that is totally passionate about disc golf, and his course.
- Tasty wild berries all over the course in the right season (mid-late summer)
Cons: - Getting in the rough on some of the holes can be ROUGH. It is supposed to be rough, but watch out for wild blackberries that will cut you up.
Other Thoughts: This course really is worth the run towards the Canadian border! Such a beautiful spot and a wonderful course!
9 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Get here to play
9 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Variety: Each hole feels quite different from all the rest without any tacky additions to attempt to create unique holes. This is achieved through tremendous use of elevation, excellently shaped fairways, and difficult but fair basket locations.
Signature Holes: This course has multiple! #4 plays downhill toward the base of a ridge, across a stream, and then to the top of the ridge. #5 is a shorter but exciting tunnel shot ace run back down the ridge. #10 is 500+ downhill into a field with the basket at the far end. #18 shoots over multiple ponds that are easily accessible to retrieve splash downs.
Options: 2 sets of tees + 2 sets of baskets = 4 layouts.
Scenery: Northern VT, in the mountains, enough said.
Tee pads: I prefer cement tees, but I can't dock Black Falls because their crushed stone tees are very level, dry, and more than large enough. Honestly, cement tees would detract from the pristine beauty and natural feel of the course.
Baskets: In great shape. They catch discs. None are broken or missing.
Upkeep: Clean fairways, grass mowed, signage present and accurate. No issues with navigation. I get up to Black Falls only once each year and notice course improvements every time.
Owner: Johnny Betts took time off from work to play doubles with a big group of us in the area for GMC. Such a great experience, we made the trip from Smuggs twice that week rather than seeking some casual rounds elsewhere.
Cons: Location: Not very close to anything. I understand that many people would find this a PRO since the course is never crowded.
I will add more here if I can ever think of any.
Other Thoughts: This course has an unpolished feel to it, which is different than most of the destination courses in New England. But it works! A very relaxed setting, quiet and beautiful. The respect for the course is obvious because I did not see a single piece of trash or empty can/bottle.
Super fun course to play, and it challenges your game both mentally and physically.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Great mix of holes with a good balance of long and short as well as fh/bh-friendly shots.
2 Tees & 2 Pins for every hole, course difficulty ranges from easier/beginner (Silver>Silver) to very challenging (Gold>Gold) so you can show up with a group of beginners or pro's and have a great time.
Always well maintained.
Discs and more available for sale at the shop.
Good signage to help navigate around the course.
Cons: Tee pads are crushed stone which is fine, but a couple could be a tad bigger.
Other Thoughts: Beautiful location, camping is available.
Not a con, but be aware that the course plays near/over the house/garden. Watch your language.
I really love the balance of this course with tight & technical to go with a few bomb shots.
4 of 7 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Make the trip...
Pros: Two sets of tees and baskets makes 4 unique ways to play, challenging beginners and pros alike. The hole diversity is also outstanding with a good balance of forehand and backhand friendly lines, tight wooded alleys, open fields, orchards, streams and ponds. Lots of well-utilized elevation adds to the challenge and enjoyment of many holes. Good signage and easy navigation make it very friendly for first timers.
Gravel / natural tee pads are in good condition. Discatchers at every hole.
Cons: The only gripe I've ever had in a dozen visits is that the rough can be rough! Leave the fairway at your own peril, particularly in the spring. It helps a lot to use a spotter, particularly in the overgrown spring months.
Other Thoughts: Owners are super-friendly and Jonny's shop has a good selection to top off your bag or take home a BF-stamped disc as a memento (they just fly better).
There's always a defined fairway so no "throw and hope" shots. At the same time even the field holes are bounded with treelines and OB so you have to hit your line to stay safe.
While some quality courses lack a "signature hole" this one has at least 4! Holes 1 (especially from "tournament golds"), 4, 10, and 18 are particularly beautiful, challenging, and unique. There are no gimmes or filler holes here.
This is a great destination course. Bundle it with nearby Cherry Hill, Brewster Ridge, Wrightsville Beach, or Center Chains and have yourself an unbeatable golf road trip. Its fun any time but the autumn is gorgeous at the Falls.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Incredibly challenging, beautiful, well-marked, not crowded, and run by a very nice family.
Other Thoughts: Living only 30 minutes away, I did not want to review this course because I wanted it to stay a secret as long as possible. But the family who runs this course is too nice and the course is too beautiful to sit on my hands any longer.
3 of 9 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Greatness in VT
Pros: Very secluded wooded course. As you drive up the dirt and gravel roads you get a sense of what the course will be like. You are in the secluded hills and woods in Vermont. There is beautiful forests and streams running everywhere. Think covered bridge country.
- 2 sets of tees and 2 baskets for each hole
- Well defined fairways. Path to the basket is obvious, but not always easy.
- Navigation is easy. No long walks. Paths are worn in, and easy yo locate.
- Walking stones, trees stumps and logs used to help traverse creeks and low areas. Some nice steps built in to hill sides.
- Impeccably maintained. Especially for a private course.
- Seclusion. Nice quiet, wooded atmosphere.
- Pro Shop on site. Decent selection of Innova and Discraft discs available.
- Variety. Course has a nice mix of lefts, rights, ups and downs. Elevation is not huge for the most part, but it is used well. There are some very tight shots, and some open shots with room to work with.
- Tee pads maintained well. Flat and smooth.
Cons: - Natural tee pads. They are in great shape, but I always like big concrete.
- Basket positions. On several holes the two basket positions were fairly close to each other. Not a significant difference in the shot.
- Some of the Silver tees and Gold tees are simply different in length by a small amount, and don't change the angle or line of the shot too much.
Other Thoughts: Overall this is a phenomenal course. It is a blast to play, and offers a great mix of challenge and opportunity. My cons are probably a little picky, but hopefully it simply motivates the owner to keep making this course better.
Black Falls plays as a mostly technical wooded course so be sure to bring you putters and mids. There is a lot of holes in the 240' to low 300' range. There is also a tight 188' shot as well as a 537' down hill bomb. By my unofficial Sloppy count the were 5 holes I thought were well above average or very well designed. Simply holes that looked differentnor cool as I was playing them. No top of the world shots or 350' water carries, but there is just a bunch of solid disc golf holes here. I can wait to play Cherry Hill down the road.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Absolutely without a doubt the nicest all around course I have ever played. Very good mix of short technical holes, along with a few nice long holes. Great use of elevation, elevation comes into play on almost half of the holes. Having 2 sets of tees and baskets makes for plenty of combinations of play, enough options to play the course all day and never play the same set-up twice. Course is very well maintained by the owner, big props to Jonny for keeping this course in fantastic shape practically all by himself. If you ever get the chance to play this course, DO IT! Well worth the almost 2hr drive it takes me to get there. I plan on making the drive at least once a month to experience this amazing course the most I can.
Cons: The course could use better signs showing you to the next teepad. There are trails to follow, but I had trouble locating the silver tees on a couple holes. I think installing more signs throughout the course would really help new players find their way faster.
Other Thoughts: Like I said earlier, this course is amazing. Excellent design and a must to play. The owner also has a nice selection of Innova and Discraft for sale on site, and he also usually has a good selection of used discs. Big thanks to Jonny for making this course what it is today. Very great job, keep up the great work!
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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