13 Helpful / 0 Not
From The Rec Perspective: Maple Hill Reds
Pros: I'm a rag-armed "old guy", middle of the pack Rec Player who loves the game of disc golf and has traveled enough to have played some of the best courses in the United States. Full disclosure, I volunteer at the Vibram / Maple Hill Open annually and enjoy watching the pros compete over the Maple Hill Gold, a breathtakingly beautiful and challenging layout. But most "average players" can't hope to carry the ponds and navigate the perils on the Gold or even the Blue course. I've tempted fate and played on the White Course, but I know I truly belong on the Red Course. So the big question is if "Maple Hill Gold" is truly one of the "Best of the Best", how does the Maple Hill Red Course hold up? For the Rec Player, is Maple Hill still worth the drive/expense and still hold up to that "Best of the Best" rating?
In a word, YES! I'll get to my hole-by-hole description below, but the Red design stands on its own to be a memorable and fair challenge to the Rec skill level player.
- The signature 18th hole pretty much plays like the Gold, albeit with a 200' shortcut. Plays at 455 feet from the reds, still a challenge to hit the "island" and make birdie.
- The Red course takes most of the water risk out of play unless you really grip-lock or get too aggressive on a birdie putt.
- Holes manageable by a Rec skill level player, with lots of Risk - Reward decisions. Play safe, throw it well, a par is likely. Screw up or take a risk and miss your line and bogey or worse is possible.
- Professional baskets, well maintained. Maybe not upgraded to state-of-the-art every few years like the Gold, but the Red baskets, like everything else at Maple Hill, are first class.
- Greens are fair and not gimmicky. A few may flirt with water, and OB, but not so scary that a rec player can't "lay up" and take what's there. Get greedy and you might have a birdie chance, but you also risk bogie on some of the holes.
- A mix of tee pads... seems to be still evolving. Some rubber, pavers, cement... but all provide solid footing and are adequately size.
- Signage, navigation, scorecards first class.
- Portopotties, benches, trash cans.
- Not necessarily the place I'd introduce new players to Disk Golf (after all, almost anything else after this will be a disappointment), it's pretty newbie friendly. The undergrowth is fairly clear, not too much time searching for lost discs.
- The Maple Hill Pro Shop is well stocked with discs, drinks, snacks, and other goodies. (Marshall St. just down the road along with the excellent Pyramids courses). For a real treat, rent of the Sap House for a party and enjoy the games upstairs!
- Several practice baskets between the Sap House and the first tee. Even a net cage to loosen up (it's up by the Gold #1 Tee).
- Great places to grab food nearby, even a pizza delivery (order on your mobile phone, sign on the 17th tee.) Annie's Hot Dogs is local legend not far down the road.
- Mix of open holes, left turning, right turning, wooded, up, down, up-and-down, down-and-up, favors no particular style. Easy to say "use every disc in the bag" but I only carry five so that's not really saying anything.
- Beautiful New England forest, stone walls, glacial kettle ponds, some interesting wild life. That big black snake on the dam is pretty friendly, don't harass it.
- A good vibrant environment. Even during the week there will be people playing the course if the weather is nice. Busy weekend might fill the main parking lot, the there is more parking just down the road. Seems to be tournaments, "Birdie Bashes" and leagues, and various other activities, not just for pros!
Cons: - Can be crowded in nice weather on weekends. I once got behind an entire college baseball team there for a season-ending celebration. But hey, this is Disc Golf, make friends with the group ahead or behind you, relax, and enjoy the vibe. Everyone (mostly) is friendly out here.
- The four courses (Red, White, Blue, and Gold) are a bit of a mash up, the holes share fairways, tees, and/or baskets with each other and occasionally diverge and re-merge. This means a group you were two holes behind may block you (Red 12 is between Gold 13 & 14, for example). For the most part, things flow remarkable well, if you do cross paths just enjoy the company.
- Most dangerous thing out there is the deer ticks (carry Lyme disease), mosquitos, and poison ivy, but Maple Hill is no worse than any other New England woods course.
- Overshoot or grip-lock and you can find water on several holes, even on the Red Course. Some holes equipped with retrieval devices. The ponds are occasionally cleaned out and notification of found discs seems pretty good.
- Drains pretty well, but in early spring or after a heavy rain a few places need a little extra time to dry out and can be muddy.
- Red Course not available around the time of the Maple Hill Open, and the whole place closes during the "Christmas Tree" season. If you get there and the Red Course is closed, just go across the street and play Pyramids Silver, not a bad consolation.
-No golf carts. OK, I got spoiled by Selah Ranch. If they were available I'd gladly pay $40 to motor around Maple Hill and maybe get in 36 or even 54 holes on a long summer day. I suppose there would be some logistics to getting carts around Maple Hill, over the streams, up and down the hills...
Other Thoughts: - Easily in my top five, along with Selah Ranch Lakeside, Creekside, Frost Valley, Nantucket, and Black Falls. Hey wait, that's six?
Hole - by - Hole for a Rec Play:
1) Stand at the White Tee on the first hole. Marvel at the beauty as you stand under the old windmill tower. Look for fish jumping in the pond ahead of you. Now do the math. Figure out that you need a 300' carry off the tee to clear the pond. Remember that you barely throw 250 with any consistency. Slink over to the Red Tee. Tell the rest of your group you're just watching out for them.
Now stand tall on the red tee. You've got a nice straight downhill shot at the basket just 265' away. But before you card that deuce you're going to have to negotiate some bushes and small Christmas trees and depending on the recent rain a dry ditch or a small stream. If you make your birdie say loudly that "I usually play the Whites...".
2) A 265' version of an interesting second hole for the pros. OB stone wall along the right, a grove of trees short and to the left, along with a stream bed. Takes some courage to shoot for the gap between the stone wall and the trees, I always seem to need to scramble out of the grove to save par.
3) A big dogleg right with through a moderately tight gap. Pretty well treed the whole way. Try to cut the dogleg at your peril, those threes are unforgiving. "Only 260'", but still a par is a good score for a rec player.
4) Downhill straight through a very tight gap on a 300' downhill adventure. Some other lines to the basket available too, but you'll need to be either good or lucky. Too aggressive with your approach could easily roll down the hill into water.
5) This is one of my favorite holes to spot at the Maple Hill / Vibram open, as the pros have to come over water for any chance to get close to the basket. For the Red Course, the basket is shorter and pulled way to the "wooded" side of the fairway, taking out that terrifying water carry. Still 195' and heavily treed is no easy birdie.
6) Again, the Red hole is a shortened (240') and easier version of a classic, with a stone wall OB on the right, a well treed fairway, and the basket tucked away on the left with water and OB lurking off to the left.
7) Uphill, well treed, but a reasonable fairway. 240'
8) The Red tee is pretty far up the dam taking the water carry out of play, but the basket is well protected by some trees up the hill from the edge of the pond. You can get wet with a bad throw (yes, by personal experience)
9) Start off of the platform tee box, up and then down, short 260' par 4 with lots of trees and water if you roll one past the basket.
10) The famous castle hole, always well landscaped in summer. A generous shortcut for the Red course, uphill and straight. Plays much longer than the 230' listed. A wide fairway but don't get too far off line. Many times I seem to end up with a short par putt... to a basket 15' above me! Another one of the Signature holes that translates well to the Reds
11) A nifty 290' bomb downhill, in and among some Christmas Trees. Just a few feet can make a difference from having a straight look at birdie or having to bend something to get close.
12) Downhill across a swale, 250' and reasonable open, though the area around the basket can get gnarly if you are off target. From the tee you get a good look at one of the classic holes on the Gold Course, the big carry over the pond to the basket on the isthmus, and you can be thankful that you are playing the Red course.
13) Short (190'), but very tight and uphill. A missed birdie putt can easily end up further away than where you started.
14) A long and wooded par 3, down then uphill. At 270' one of the tougher pars on the red layout.
15) A moderately tight line, the reds get a generously shorter basket at 255'.
16) Short, and some out-of-bounds changes makes this a bit easier than the old days. At 225' you can get a birdie opportunity if you can avoid the trees.
17) Uphill and 200', nothing like the signature "over the Christmas Trees" bomb on the golds. A birdie opportunity if you can bend it around the big trees guarding the basket.
18) Ah, the signature hole, shortened considerably for the rec player, but still, you might have a gallery watching you and you play to the same "island" basket that the pros play. It's a par four, an uphill drive to an open fairway, but way left is some trees that can be trouble, and the stone wall looms on the right. Many ways to play this hole, for the conservative rec player you might want to throw your second shot up toward the right edge of the Sap House laying up short to minimize your throw into the virtual "stone wall" island. If you make the island you should have a short putt for par.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Four different layouts to accommodate all skill levels.
Each layout is challenging in it's own unique way.
Most tee pads are in great shape.
Baskets are all brand new (as of spring 2018) MVP Black Hole baskets.
Course is always in great shape and free of trash and debris.
Each hole has a unique challenge and wow factor that sets them a part from the others on the course.
Great blend of hyzer,anhyzer, uphill, downhill, tight and open shots, with enough water carries to fill up your day.
Lot of new stone wall projects going on. The green for hole 9 looks amazing.
Friendly staff and great community of players.
Nice system for lost n found discs. Got a lot of plastic back from this place in the past and recently as well.
Lots of practice baskets around ground.
Warm up net.
Porta pots on site.
Pro Shop with lots of goodies.
Nostalgic factor that seeps into your mind set, attitude, and enjoyment.
Cons: A few tee pads could be redone, especially on blue layout.
Layouts that circumvent the "castle". (If a second castle could be built for the new pin placement, the top of the hill would look like a "fortress" from the new fairway below)
Closed for over a month each year.
(I really had to think to get three cons up here!!)
Other Thoughts: You can spend a whole day here, and you should.
This course brings Dics Golf to a higher level of play.
It will challenge you to step up your game, tighten your lines, and trust your arm as you navigate the variety of difficulty that covers the course.
If you are throwing over the water carries, become comfortable with the idea of losing a disc o two (or three, or four).
I love playing here, and love watching the pros throw the golds during the Maple Hill Open.
$10 a day during the off season and weekdays is a steal. I have no problem paying $20 on the weekends for a course like this.
Put it on the list and check it off ASAP.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Elevation, water, O.B, mix of wooded and open holes, multiple pads and baskets on every hole, mach X targets, pro shop on site, accurate signage and distances, suitably challenging, accessible location.
Cons: Objectively speaking, the forced carries over water from the gold tees can really lighten up your bag after playing a round. I personally DO NOT see this as a con because I love courses with water like this. However, I am a little sour after underestimating and not clearing the pond on hole one from golds on my first try. Leave the ego locked in your car or Maple Hill may crush you before you realize it!
Other Thoughts: I had one chance and limited time to play Maple Hill while passing through Mass on the way to Boston. I played the gold tees while my less skilled companion played the whites. As an advanced played with good BH and FH capabilities, I found the golds to be a phenomenal challenge while still being fun. He is an occasional player and found the whites to match his abilities as well.
My sample size for top dgcr critically acclaimed courses is admittedly low, but I feel well-traveled enough to say Maple Hill is and/or should be a top five course in the U.S. I feel confident in that assertion even after only being able to play the gold layout once. I was sure to at least check out the lines and baskets of the other layouts; the blues and whites definitely seemed just as fun and challenging but at more suitable distances for frequent play.
This won't end up being my best review. Maple Hill was just at such a high caliber in every aspect that I am having trouble attempting to do it justice with typed words. The recent tournament videos of the Maple Hill Open do a pretty good job of giving you a preview but you need to play it in order to really appreciate the massive elevation, water, beauty, creativity, etc.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 9 Not
Pros: Maple Hill has everything, but you already know that if you read any of the other reviews. There's a lot of fun to be had here, but there are also a lot of butt clenching moments too. Holes 8, 14 and 5 will test your nerves but they are not impossible to birdie.
Cons: not a fan of pay to play. when the money is used to create and maintain a place like this, p2p isn't as annoying. the annual membership is a bargain if you're a local
Other Thoughts: I can't find anything wrong or missing from Maple Hill, so I guess I have to give it a 5.
2 of 11 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 9 Not
Wow, wow, wow...
Pros: Even with high expectation before I went there, this course didn't disappoint at all. Beautiful and opened layout for Red course, or very challenging / intimidating for the other colors. We almost lost 4 discs but managed to find / retrieve them all (mostly from water). What an amazing day.
Cons: Directional arrow to next tee can be better displayed. Please use Pelham (NH) course colored arrow on basket as reference, so far that's the best / clearest indicators for next tee. Also, for Red course basket 15, there seems to be TWO red baskets. Which is the real one?
Other Thoughts: The big opened water with baskets on the rim is for the most daring and advanced players. I would imagine that most will lose a lot of discs even attempting. This is not for novice players. Otherwise, this is a world-class disc golf course that we New Englanders should be proud of. Gladly paid the $10 fee.
2 of 11 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 4 Not
Maple Hill Yeah!
Pros: Where to begin? Top notch, from the street signage to the flower gardens planted throughout the course to the excellent pro shop (not as good as Pyramids) to the excellent 4 course layout. Buchasjs1's review says it all, really, as far as the course goes
Cons: disc loss potential is high
traffic (but, like a top roller coaster, it is worth the wait if you have one)
Other Thoughts: Visited while up from Atlanta and staying in Providence - 70 minute drive. Worth every minute of it. Got there around 11 am. Luckily, it was slow day. Was met at the pro shop by the property manager, who was very gracious and helpful. Knowing I was visiting and didn't have all my discs, he let me use some of their practice discs. He even suggested a plan of action for my day (play the red tees first and then blue or white) with lunch in between at Bushel and Peck's deli 5 minutes down the street. I took his advice, for the most part. Didn't do the white or blue tees completely as I had enough fun playing red tees 3 times. The last round I mixed a few other holes in so I could see the entire course.
Lunch place was awesome! Took my sandwich back to the course and ate at a picnic table. By 4:00 pm, there were about 15 people on the course. It is a world class place and I would go back again and again!!!
2 of 6 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Although I have played many courses that I consider to be five star courses, this one trumps them all.... This truly is what the rating I have given it states, the "best of the best."
Overall variety- This course has a tremendous amount of variety. Between the 4 distinct layouts that the course has to offer and the variety and challenge that each hole entails, I could not ask for more. Each and every hole is well thought out, and there is not a single tweener hole, or hole that I would change. A player certainly needs every shot to score well at this immaculate course.
Water Features- This course offers a variety of water features, all considered lakes or ponds, that are incorporated beautifully into the challenging layout. If you cannot clear the water feature, the course offers other tees on all water carries so that one does not risk losing plastic if they do not want to.
Navigation- For the most part, navigation is made easy by numerous next tee signs, and easy to follow paths.
Amenities- This course boasts the new Mach X baskets, which are very good at catching discs, and make for very few spit outs. The course has a world class pro shop just down the road, and a very good pro shop on the property. The course also has great signs, which display distance, hole maps, and desired flight lines well.
Scenery- This is the hilly area of Massachusetts, which allows for some great views, and especially during fall foliage. The ponds and lakes on the property also allow for some quality views. The landscaping and large stone walls found in abundance throughout the course also add to the beauty.
Elevation- The property contains quite a few separate hills which make one execute both downhill and uphill shots to score well, also adding to the variety.
Cons: High chance of losing a disc- With the many water carries, even from the short tees, the water surrounding fairways and baskets seems to have an appetite for discs. For those that are intimidated by water carries, head down the road to Pyramids, a great course just down the road.
From what I have gathered and seen, it seems as if the place gets crowded, especially with multiple groups playing different layouts, there could be a problem
Other Thoughts: Disclaimer: I only played the gold layout that this course has to offer, and every single shot was unique, demanding and beautiful. This being said, I am not judging this course on the other layouts, just the variety that the complex provides with having 4 distinct layouts.
This course honestly trumps all that I have played and I can not wait to come back to experience all of the complex's layouts and shots that are available.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 2 Not
What every private course should strive for
Pros: Private course on a great piece of land, elevation well utilized in the design, great use of the natural ponds and allowing players to choose risk/reward shots.
Three sets of tees designs for specific skill levels (White, Blue, Gold) allowing players to choose how hard of a layout they want on any particular day, and just outstanding for tournament play!!! Can't say enough how much I love the three separate layouts, played them all and each one feel different, uses many different lines/fairways to the baskets.
Baskets, new Mach X baskets, orange makes it easy to spot through some of heavier wooded holes. Catch well, they do have a slightly different feel as a soft putting style might not be as well received as a hard push putter. (Just my opinion).
Pro shop, great disc selection, great people working there, snacks available also. They pull lost discs out of the pond and hold them for you too!
Beautiful views throughout the property, great scenic shots looking down over some of the ponds, no trash, and super well maintained course.
Cons: Not much to say here, they close for Christmas tree season...
maybe could knock the lost discs, but they get them out of the pond and hold them for you in the pro shop, so nope this is a pro also
Other Thoughts: Thank you Steve for allowing us to come play on your property!!
Been coming up to Maple Hill for over 10 years, and have seen it just grow and grow. Used to be two sets of tees and a drop slot in the old barn, just an amazing amount of growth over the years!!
11 of 13 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 45 Not
Pros: Long fairways and challenging holes; decent pin locations but no more so than some other courses in New England
Cons: Poor/non existent markings to next tee box; extremely annoying overlap of RWBG courses / 4 diff tee boxes for each hole leads to throwing into other players; poorly groomed - hadn't been mowed in weeks
3 of 48 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: There is nothing Maple Hill could do to improve the quality of the disc golf course. Dictionary definition of a perfect 5. Only way it could of been better is if I got an ace, or they invited me to live in the pro shop. There are 4 layouts, and tailored scorecards for each at the shop. Different layouts may shared tee boxes or baskets on different holes, but they are all clearly identifiable. The very nice rubber tees are marked with color coded signs, and multiple baskets with colored flags. There is all of the stuff required for a stellar course. Trees ranging from high density, to open and spread out, to evenly spaced rows. Large changes in elevation on several holes. Water on a few of them, too. Everything maintained beautifully. No weak links here. One through eighteen will challenge you to make smart accurate throws, no matter what your style of play, or which layout you're playing. My favorite hole, if I were forced to pick one, would have to be 11. Tees on peak of a hill, and over a number of small trees that are planted in a grid laid out to the left, scattered more randomly to the right and beyond the white basket. Long and open, but landing zone is small enough to require good accuracy over the lengthy downhill drive. 4 was a fairly steep downhill with narrow gaps in the trees and water looming behind the baskets. Also really liked 6, downhill and wooded, with a stone wall the length of the right side, OB on the other side of the wall. Perfect drive gave me a 2 for a birdie. 13 was another fun, downhill bomb. The uphill holes are no joke. 10, 17 and 18 will test your arm and get the blood pumping.
Cons: Paying admission is worth it, even just for one round. Throws over water on multiple holes, loss of control may result in loss of discs. Saw two large non-venomous snakes. Not a con to me, but I'm reaching for something to list under cons.
Other Thoughts: The Maple Hill DGC is truly among the best of the best. Scored a 4 over par, 63 on my one and only visit here. Would love to be able to play it on a regular basis. A must play if you are going to be anywhere close and the weather is favorable.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
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