Tilly Lake in Royalston, Ma
0 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: -Fun for beginners/intermediate and advanced players
-Not a huge challenge but still keeps your attention
-Not as wooded as other Western Mass courses
Cons: -Tee pads are small and rough
-Lots of walking
-Tee signs can be more descriptive
Other Thoughts: -I like courses that do not utilize the same hyzer bomb ever hole
-This course i diverse and fun even after your 20th trip there
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Classic Western MA Course
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Tully Dam DG course was played by my brother and me in September, 2016, three days, three 18-hole rounds, in one week (plus a couple bonus tie-breaker holes). This review is based on observations during that time.
Pros: The free course is beautifully placed along Tully Lake (although only hole #1 takes advantage of the lake itself) and the woods surrounding it. There is plenty of parking in the lots atop the dam. The course is well-kept and fairly clean. It has benches at most all tee boxes, and the tee pads themselves are brick pavers in square wooden forms, raised (ankle twisters if you come off the pad); a couple holes, notably #6 and #10, have no tee pads (likely to allow vehicle access as one tees from the access road). The wooded fairways and "putting greens" around the Innova Discatcher baskets are cleared of weeds, poisonous plants, undergrowth, and leaves, making the location of an errant throw manageable with some dedicated hunting. There's a nice practice basket alongside hole 1 / 18. The holes are challenging, but fair (although, admittedly, if I had a chain saw in my golf bag, my score would be improved).
Cons: Cons: The largest con is that the course signage on nearly all holes is grotesquely inaccurate for distance and pin location. Reading the reviews here, it seems this has been an issue for years; the unwillingness of the Army Crops of Engineers to paint new signs is unconscionable (hand paint them during the long cold winters instead of just petting the cats and eating canned beans in the white administration buildings, for God's sakes! Have some pride! The cost would be little more than a can of paint, as you're already sitting there "on the company clock". Paint one sign a week and you'd have the entire course done by next spring!). So inaccurate are the signs--from having you select drivers when a mid-range would do, to suggesting the pin is on the deep right when it's actually on the deep left--that they cannot at all be relied upon for the new player of this course. Some have attempted to use magic marker to correct the signage, which, although helpful, only makes their derelict appearance point more squarely to the laziness of the Army Corps of Engineers. Add to the poor signage that there's nary a single arrow or painted basket rung to point to the next hole, and play can be significantly delayed for all using the course while the "new group" up ahead snakes around in the woods looking for baskets and the pads.
Other Thoughts: Other Thoughts: The course's signature hole is, as others say, the first hole, which plays off the dam and requires a low, downhill throw to prevent a wind-driven hyzer that will fade your disc into the drink. It's a fair par 3 if one can simply get the thought of skinny-dipping in the cold water out of their consciousness. Many, like myself, lack the mental fortitude and strength of character to accomplish this; I lost a favorite red Discraft Nuke and still see it--in my mind, each and every time I close my eyes--splashing twenty feet offshore into the lake at that awkward angle that makes your guts churn. Replay image, try to sleep, replay image, give up on sleep.
Other memorable holes include hole 3, which is a pretty little, short downhill mid-range play across a brook and over a classic New England rock wall. It is quintessential western Massachusetts.
Hole 6 will stay in your head as not having a formal pad when played long (there is a recreational pad closer to the pin, but pros will tee off in the dirt just beyond the rocks in the road), having you drive straight up an access road to a left sided basket that is no more honestly located the listed 360 feet than is my honest ability to maintain an erection my professed 15 minutes. I'd estimate the basket at 250 feet, at best (but feels longer due to the uphill shot, so put your back into it just the same).
Hole 8 is a par 4, 663-foot doozy that will teach you how to play disc golf. The tee pad is far left of the road, giving you no look at all to the crumbled asphalt road fairway ahead. So, one tends to hyzer the shot and wind up on the forested banking to the left of the road. Having a spotter on the road to sight your disc is mandatory for anyone other than Paul McBeth; play alone and you might as well say "sayonara" to your driver as you'll not have a clue where it went into the woods. It's a great hole, nonetheless, with a challenging paved fairway opening up to the dry field bed of the coffer dam, and a basket placed right alongside it. Beautiful.
Hole 9 displays the lovely Route 32 arching bridge over the dry creek bed, and the twin shoulder rocky walls where a young high schooler by the name of Danny Murphy, about thirty years ago, jumped his muscle car off Route 32, from the east wall to the west wall, at nearly 100 mph, leaving little more than a windshield on the far rocks to show for it. I always say a respectful prayer for Mr. Murphy--with whom I studied freshman arithmetic merely two seats away (the irascible Larry Wheeler between us) under Mr. Donnie Ferrari, at Athol High School--when I play Tully Lake DGC hole 9. I call it his memorial hole. RIP Danny.
Hole 10 is, oddly, a favorite of many, and yet it's one of the jinkiest layouts in disc golf, as though planned by a man that had not in his life thrown a Frisbee. There's no tee pad, but the area one is expected to tee from is, literally, about 95 feet from a ninety degree, sharp dogleg left to a looong straight road. So, put any "arm" at all into your initial shot and you will either go straight into the far trees, or hyzer into the deep ditch on the left of the roadway; that is to say, there's no good way to play the tee shot other than a counterintuitive putter shot to lay up at the "joint" 95 feet away, and then have a stab at the 300 foot perfectly straight downhill to the pin on your second shot. Anything off the road on either side will force you to use the ropes to climb into the steep ditch, and will score you a triple bogey in less time than it takes to soil yourself when you spy what you're up against from the bottom of the roadside trench. I favor this hole about as much as I favor ants at my picnic.
Holes 11 and 12 are in the darkest hollows of the course, dim even in broad daylight due to the closeness of the trees, and the eeriness of these holes is intensified by a wolf (perhaps a dog, for those less imaginative) that seemed to be barking in the distance regardless of the day or time that we played these holes. The signage is so wrong for these holes that a new player will have to walk the fairway to get a gander at the baskets before tossing. Frankly, if playing alone at dusk, when your errant tee shot thunks a tree deep in the darkness--and that beast is howling off where you can't see him, and its at least ten degrees colder in those damp woods, and your skin feels like that of a refrigerated turkey--you'll wind up poking around the forest floor for your pretty pink Discraft Mantis when you seriously ought to be watching your back. It'll put hair on your chest. If the boogeyman exists, and he's intent on malice, these are the holes to unleash his mayhem. You may not get a memorable score on these short but difficult holes, but I guarantee you a memorable case of the "willies" that will have you telling your grandchildren about it around a campfire someday.
Hole 15 is a personal favorite as you once again come into the wide open, to the generous meadow below the dry coffer dam, and you can air it out for an unobstructed 500-footer that plays toward a guarded basket, deep left. In the far distance you can see the basket of hole 1 (if you squint, you'll typically make out the small figure of a disc golfer next to basket 1, shading his eyes and scanning directly into the lake about twenty feet offshore). 15 is a gorgeous hole.
I highly recommend Tully Lake Disc Golf Course, despite its shortcomings. It truly represents the woods and water, topography and trees, and the haunting beauty of north central Massachusetts. Play it with your brother, and a soft cooler full of beers, and it'll mean that much more. Enjoy!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 2 Not
very nice mix
Pros: very nice mix of long and technical holes, hole one is for lefties just amazing...
excellent signs, easy to find next tee
Cons: no cons, really, if you play the course the 1st time, like we did, go and see, where the basket really is, the drawings at the tees did not not always show, what we thought where the basket is
Other Thoughts: if you are in the area, stop by !
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Gotta Love Tully
Pros: Great tee pads, all brick and well maintained.
Beautiful landscape, hole 1 is such an amazing site.
Best of everything, long bombs, short straight, strategic, and just plain difficult.
Never gets old no matter how many times i play it
Cons: Hole 1 can be tough for beginners and even takes the occasional disc of good players.
Some of the signs don't match up with the new layout.
It's a free course so you get a lot of people who dont understand etiquette or play in really large groups.
Can get pretty soggy during a rainy season
Other Thoughts: This is my home course and play it regularly. I never get tired of it and love some of the stunning scenery during sunsets. It continues to challenge me.
Such a benefit to have so close to home!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 7 Not
One of my favorites
Pros: Very well maintained, fun course for all abilities. Good mix of shots and use of terrain. Elevation and water come into play too
Cons: signage is dated and incorrect.
Other Thoughts: boating, swimming, hiking and a sweet campground too
0 of 7 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: This is the perfect course to bring new players, because it forces shot variety without being too tight and technical, and because the scenery is spectacular. There is a great variety of long and short, uphill and downhill, hyzer and anhyzer routes, etc.
Cons: My wife complains about the abundance of poison ivy, so watch out for that.
Advanced players might find this course too easy for repeated play, although it's perfect for me.
Need to update the signs on holes that have been moved.
Other Thoughts: If you're coming from the east (Boston/Metrowest), this course pairs very nicely with dinner at the Gardner Ale House.
4 of 7 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Tully Lake was complete variety. You have up/downhill, open/wooded, right/left/straight shots, and distances ranging from 183-663 feet.
- risk/reward with water
- shorter holes are more technical
- homemade benches
- clean and scenic
- several garbage cans
- most tee signs are adequate
- super easy to navigate
- porta-potty at 1st tee
Cons: You are playing next to a dam so it can get soggy.
Other Thoughts: My favorite hole was #1, a 400+ foot shot downhill, to the left is the water, straight ahead a big tree. I admit I played that hole about 5 times because I wanted to try a few different lines. I got quite a workout running back up that hill. Great course, check it out!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Best in Mass, so far...
Pros: I highly recommend this course to a novice or more advanced player. Gorgeous setting, amidst backdrop of scenic reservoir. Thorough mix of baskets; Short, steep baskets over water, although primarily winding, shifting dog-leg bends in forest clearings. Sturdy, patio-style tees. Basket 1 and 3 are memorable for steep elevation changes and water threatening on left. Basket 9 can be nerve-racking, as just beyond the fence on the right of the fairway is a 50 foot drop to floodplain (a tedious recovery, but adds to the excitement). 4 and 5 play quickly and intuitively. Alcohol permitted, although course is very clean and players are respectful. Have made 2 hour trek to play here before, will continue to do so (enough said?).
Cons: I have no major gripes with this course, although I would probably have done a few things differently had it been my design.
First and foremost, the maps at each of the tees are misleading. Tee 8 reads a distance of 373 feet, outdated and inconsistent with distance on scorecard (670+). Tee 17 has misleading map; one really needs to go right harder and earlier (nearly lost a disc on this one because I put too much faith on the map). 8 and 10, while favorable to big arms, can seem tedious at times. The first half of the back nine are unremarkable; I would get into detail, but frankly, I can't remember anything interesting about 11-14.
Other Thoughts: While not perfect, Tully Lake is very, very, very good. The front nine are slightly more scenic and interesting than the back nine, but this is nit picky. Great course for all styles of play, although a nice contrast is to head into town to Flat Rock after a round at Tully for something more technical and woodsy. Should host a tournament someday.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 8 Not
Pros: Terrific mix of long drives and also some real woody sections not to busy on weekdays and good mix of holes
Cons: can be busy on weekends, trees can cause some anger, can be pretty wet depending on when you go
Other Thoughts: Overall great course and one i really enjoy
1 of 9 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
One of my favorites
Pros: Beautiful setting, good variety includes elevation up/down, water, open holes for driving, tight lanes, very tight wooded holes, long and short, enough length to make it a challenge but not ridiculous, almost all holes are fair (even the tight ones that challenge your ability to hit narrow lanes).
Cons: Front nine and back nine don't both end at parking area so you can't play just 9 easily (though there is a 10 hole "loop"), kinda in the middle of nowhere (and not near me), no practice basket but 18 is right by the parking area
Other Thoughts: For where my game is right now this course offered me a great challenge but was totally reasonable. Many holes in the 300-400ft range are great because they let me test my range in a real-world situation, plus a few longer holes that are par 4s and make you exercise course management skills. Well worth the 1 hour drive for me, wish it was closer.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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