Big Park - Big Views - Big Challenge
West Thompson Lake is a big beautiful course, in a big beautiful park with big beautiful views. This is not a city park, this is the natural land that surrounds the lake operated by the Army Corps of Engineers. I played this course as part of a road trip playing 12 states in 12 days. This was the only disc golf course I played in Connecticut. This course was beautiful, with a real fun vibe that challenged me to play my best. There was no fee to enter the park or play the course.
I used bullet points for those that don't want to read the entire review.
This course covers a variety of terrain. It starts out in the thick woods and moves into wide open fairways that bring the wind and elevation into play. Except for Hole 1, most of the wooded fairways were fair and had ample routes to the pin.
Each tee sign clearly shows the direction to the next tee. I am happy for that as I forgot my map in the car...again! I did not get lost once or have to backtrack to find the next tee. I really love courses that are easy to navigate.
Concrete tees on all holes. These tee are wider in the back and narrow in the front, effectively pointing the way to the target. They were framed and level with the surrounding area. I personally prefer the wide area in the front and just a little more length. The tee signs had great graphics showing hole information as well as that all important arrow to the Next Tee! There were a few picnic tables and trash cans along the way, but plan to carry out your trash.
All 18 in a row
Once you leave the parking area for the first tee, you do not return until after you play Hole 18. Be prepared for a big hike. Even though I play fairly quickly on my own, this course took well over 2 hours to play and I didn't get lost or backtrack.
There was a well maintained portable restroom in the boat ramp parking lot. There were no other restrooms on the course. However, since the course is in the wilderness, there are plenty of opportunities for privacy.
Kids, Carts and Strollers
For golfers, a cart is probably a great idea as this course covers a lot of ground. However, I would say no to kids and strollers as it is just too long and the terrain is not suitable for strollers with kids. The course is far too long for young kids to walk along. You have to play all 18 before you get back to the car. The only restrooms are in the parking lot and I didn't recall seeing any running water.
Except for a couple of missing tee signs, the course is in fantastic shape.
I am not sure there are really any cons for this course, but I do have a few suggestions. The tee pads could be a little longer. Maybe the course could use some alternate pin placements or alternate tees for a few holes to add some variety. It might be nice if there were more holes close to the water to bring the big beautiful lake into play. Seems like a lot of land available for another 9 holes. Again, these are all suggestions, not really cons.
I only had time to play one course in Connecticut and I am glad I played this course. The course was right off the interstate making it easy to reach. Again, this was big and beautiful and worth the stop.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Solid, scenic 18 holer
Pros: Set in extremely scenic park around West Thompson Lake. Good signage leading up to the park, and finding the parking was pretty easy. Hole 1 is just off to the side.
DGA baskets were in good repair and caught well enough. No issues here.
Solid mix of wooded and open holes, with some using both, which creates a nice mix and never leaves you feeling like you've "played that hole before".
Good use of the available elevation here. No drastic changes, but nothing is really too flat on this course, which is nice.
Solid tee signs with plenty of information about distance and topography. Intended lines would be nice, though.
Cons: The tee pads here are concrete and trapezoids, but they're about six feet too short. Also, there's only one set of pads at each hole. This course could REALLY benefit from another set of tees, as some holes are a bit short.
Speaking of that, there's quite a few short holes here. With the open lines on most wooded holes, there's not a ton of challenge on many of them. **edit** Just to explain this a little more...the course itself isn't crazy short, but a few holes really skew the average here.
The water on a couple holes is pretty scummy, and you're really not going to want to go in and grab a disc in those spots.
It's too bad there aren't more holes bringing the lake into play. Would add a lot of challenge and pucker factor.
Other Thoughts: This is a pretty fun course, even if it's not the most challenging thing around. Completely scenic, and even running along a highway for a couple holes, it feels like you're out in the middle of nowhere, for the most part.
If you're in the area, this is definitely a course worth playing once or twice, and would make a pretty decent home course. More of an intermediate course, but advanced players should still find some fun here.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
A "Dam" Good Time
Pros: Thompson Dam... er 'West Thompson Lake' course has some seriously scenic moments with the lake in the background.
Variety in the type (wooded/field/water/rock) and distance (200+ to 600+) of holes and direction (left to right, right to left)... You'll never get bored on this 18 hole course.
New signs clearly provide the particulars of the hole you're about to play.
Level concrete tee boxes.
The water doesn't dominate play, although it adds to certain decisions. If you're not packing a floating disc have a friend spot you on hole 16... you'll thank me later.
Picnic tables along the course.
It's free to play.
It's free to park.
Cons: West Thompson Lake (can I just call it Thompson Dam?) has short, plenty wide but short, concrete tee boxes.
Occasionally could use an arrow pointing to the next tee.
Grass is a little tall on some holes... causing occasional disk searches - in fairways!
Lacks a real signature hole - I think it's supposed to be 16 because you could put an errant throw off the 10'x10' peninsula and into the lake fairly easily... there are better holes, and the whole place is pretty scenic.
Actually the first place I've played where trash along the course is something of an eyesore, if not a small issue.
There are quite a few people doing other things in the park... so don't be surprised if you have to wait a few minutes to make a throw a few times.
Other Thoughts: It's scenic, it's beautiful, and it's a Dam Good Time...
Technically speaking, (that's from a technical course standpoint) in Connecticut all I hear is Wickham, Wickham, Wickham... and that's halfway between myself and a good friend so we play there often. West Thompson Lake (seriously just call it Thompson Dam) is amazingly comparable just short of a little grooming, a little longer or nicer tee pads, and a little more elevation change (but seriously... it's a flood plain and there is some decent change).
Follow the road signs on the east side of the dam that say DISC GOLF COURSE... to the parking lot by the boat launch... don't turn in until you see them.
I drove by this for years on my way to work... never stopped... I no longer drive by it for work... I do, however, now drive THOMPSON DAM specifically to play.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
West Thom in East Conn
Even amount of open/wooded, "pyramid" (~half 200'-300', ~third 300'-425', ~remainder up through 650') of distances, and blend of right/left/straight off the tee, creates a varied course which should appeal to a broad spectrum players - something for everyone, without too much of anything.
Single tee (a bit on the short side)/basket (a bit of the old side) position.
Course is set in the partially wooded (smaller, thinner trees, for the most part), partially open, flood control plain (so not too much elevation change available) of West Thompson Lake, which forms the eastern border of the last few holes. The water potentially comes into play on 14-17, especially on numbers 14 (sits behind this downhill basket) and 16 (basket practically surrounded by it!). Riprap flows along the entire right-side of uber-long #10, at times squeezing the fairway, with woods and marshy area to the left. You'll even have a mini-swamp to throw over on #12. For the wooded holes, some have scattered trees, creating a number of small throwing lanes, while others tend to form a single/wider tunnel.
Cement tees (plenty wide, but a bit short), and teesigns. Scattered picnic tables and trashcans. Between the map and the well-worn paths, navigation was simple enough for this first-time visitor, but some comments include:
• the map suggests a gentle right-turner for #3, but the left-turner I threw led to a birdy.
• from basket-8, walk straight ahead, into the woods to find tee-9 (you'll pass tee-14 on the way, to the right)
• Basket-9 is NOT in the open, as the map indicates, but is now in the woods, to your left.
• From basket-12, into the woods to your left to play number-13, then back out into the open for tee-14.
Favourite hole: #16, despite the chance of a wet disc!  A long (400'+) open hole, with a gradual loss of elevation, and a bit of a squeeze (bushes/tree) at approximately the midpoint. Basket is located towards the end of a small peninsula which composes the last ~1/3rd of the hole, making one definitely pause for thought before making one's approach shot.
A very solid course, requiring a well-rounded game, offering several challenging greens - definitely worth a stop if passing nearby.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Frankly I do give a dam
Pros: West Thompson Lake is another course set along the shores of a New England dam site. It's also a rare New England course that has a pretty even split of wooded and open holes.
The wooded holes are all fairly short, under 300 feet, but pars are not gimmes. Most of the holes have a tight line for birdies and a safer, less direct line. The open holes have several long par 4's that require some thought about where your drive and approach end up. Unlike Buffumville (its dam cousin to the north), the rip rap rocks only come into play on one hole, which is nice for the health of your discs.
The signature hole is probably 16, a 419-foot downhill hole onto a peninsula. A clump of trees and thick bushes split the fairway about 225 feet from the tee. A well placed short drive can leave you a good look at 3, but if you got for the birdie, you can easily end up in the water or in some thick rough. I do wonder if the tee should be moved up a bit, as the chances of getting a birdie on this hole see so low that few would go for it (but then again, I'm not very good).
Hole 14 is the only other one where water comes into play. It's a 220-foot downhill shot that is technically an ace run, but you'd never got for the ace because the lake is 10 feet behind the basket. I like this hole for the most part, but I could see a missed putt rolling quickly into the water (which apparently isn't very clean).
Another good hole is 7, a pretty open horseshoe-shaped hole. This is one that tempts overconfident players to throw a huge anhyzer or forehand to go for the birdie, but doing so can leave you behind a grove of trees protecting the basket. I like when a designer can take a wide open hole and wring some risk/reward from it.
Navigation is good. I only needed the map once or twice. There are no "next tee" signs, but the trails are broken in pretty well. Tee signs show distance and the general fairway contour, but they could be better in showing where the basket is relative to the tee and the fairway(s).
Cons: There is a bit of elevation here, but not much. It is too bad that the dam could not have been used for a good downhill bomb.
Most of the holes are perfectly good, but not particularly memorable. There are worse things in the world than that, though.
There is just one set of tees, and it doesn't appear there are alternate basket locations, so I could see the course getting slightly repetitive.
I played on a beautiful early November day, but I could see the grass getting long on field holes during the summer.
Other Thoughts: This course ate me alive on my first round because my accuracy wasn't there (no complaints there). So in spite of the shorter holes in the woods, they are no cakewalk.
The scenery, design, and terrain don't quite match Buffumville (the most logical comparison given the nearby location and the dam-oriented design), but this is a solid course where big arms and technical players can compete on an even field, and where the chances of a lost disc are low.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 3 Not
Great all around spot!
Pros: Short technical holes mixed with long distance wide open holes, a great overall diverse course. Great views and lots to see as far as natural beauty goes.
Cons: Next holes are easy to get to but not clearly marked at the pin. Found a few "Next Hole" markers on the ground.
Found some of the tee pads a bit short for a running drive. Gravel was added to some for this reason I believe!
Couple more trash cans would be nice also.
Other Thoughts: Lost a red Valkrie at around hole 2 or 3 or 4...Idk!
0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Great Place to Play
Pros: Nice flow and feel to the course.
Great mix of shots.
Nice variety of holes.
Water comes into play, but doesn't dominate your game.
Good risk/reward choices on most holes.
Free to play and park!
Cons: Needs directional signs to next hole.
A few of the baskets were bent.
Cement section of tee pads are a bit short.
Other Thoughts: A really nice course to play a challenging, yet very laid back round.
Had a great day here and will be making the hour drive more often.
It is well worth it.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
I "Lake" This Course
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: 18 holes of challenging yet fair disc golf. Good mix of open and wooden holes with some elevation mixed in. Baskets are a little older, bu still easy to see from almost every tee and still in good shape for the most part. A small pond comes into play on 5 and 6, and the main lake comes into play on the 16th. Fairly well maintained. Concrete tees with a little gravel room beforehand to allow for a run-up or cross-step. Friendly locals are always a plus. Signature 16th with the peninsula green is a challenge and the best hole on the course. Pin locations are challenging and do incorporaate some additional thinking on your part to score well.
Cons: If you're not a fan of water courses or water holes, then play it safe and stay away from those holes. I happen to like water courses so long as I'm not stupid enough to go near it to risk losing a disc. The tenth hole is the longest hole here, but if you have trouble staying left, you could easily score very high and that could be frustrating for some people. Other than that no additional complaints.
Other Thoughts: Nice course with a short drive off I-395 and not far from the spectacular Worcester, MA area courses, so if you have a couple of days, swing over from Worcester to this gem in NE CT. You'll be glad you did.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Easy to follow layout. New metal signs with great graphics and info. generous tee pads that are flush to the ground. warm up basket. picnic tables spread every few holes through out the course. benches and garbage cans on many others. great mix of open, tunnel and wooded holes. it does not seem to be left or right hand bias, as i played with a lefty today. well behaved dogs can run freely. free to play, camping onsite during summer.
Cons: the rough can be very rough at times of the year in between mowing, however, the fairway seems to stay short and matted down. there are several holes that can be sloppy muddy in the spring or times when there is three day rain storms ect. ive seen 16 not be playable at times due to water blocking the path to the peninsula. dogs, can be a distraction to some people. walkers also use the park and can sometimes slow progress down in the summer.
Other Thoughts: there is a good cummunity of players here. even when i go alone i end up playing with some locals. the place seems to stay free trash. it is great piece of property for disc, terrain and scenery wise. the designers used the lay of the land quite well. i feels all levels and throwing styles can enjoy this course. There is 5 wooded holes, 8 open holes and 5 that are somewhat tunnel shots but without being overly tight. the course is not overly technical but there is some water and OB which gets you thinking about shot placement. overall im very pleased to have this course somewhat close to home and feel it is worth a lengthy drive to play.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Favorite course in CT
Pros: My favorite course in the state, with some of the most unique and memorable holes that I've played so far. Very fun and challenging, a mixture of wooded and open holes, creative pin placements on a few, and some great use of water OB. Incredibly scenic and free to play.
Cons: Can be a little busy at times but that's a minor detraction. Some of the rough is rough, and can make disc retrieval of errant shots a process. Hexagonal shaped tee pads were an odd touch. I feel like there's room here for alternate tee pads and loops, too. Some more maintenance (especially lawn) would be nice. Would've liked a scorecard/map but navigation wasn't difficult.
Other Thoughts: Warmed up for 9 at Pomfret Center before coming over and felt like that was the right way to do it, as another reviewer had suggested. Lost a disc to the lake here but had a great time anyway, and would definitely make the trip again. Playing this course is a pleasure, it's truly an obscure gem.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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