Devens General Deserves General Deference
16 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: + Two practice baskets and a lost and found before the path that leads to the welcome kiosk and donation bin.
+ The baskets are numbered and have orange flags on top for visibility and 'next' clips on their spokes.
+ Tee signs have detailed diagrams, distance, par and elevation difference from the tee pad to the basket. As an extra bonus, they feature the names and birth/death years of some famous U.S. generals.
+ The whole entire course plays in a rugged, hilly and quiet forest. Players enjoy a vigorous hike on a literal mountainside! But...
Cons: - ...It's on a literal mountainside. Safety hazards abound in the forms of rocks, steep slopes, roots and holes covered by leaves. Wear sturdy footwear and double-knot your laces. Put the phone away until you're standing still.
-/+ Tee pads are rubber anchored to wood. Most are flat and functional, but a noticeable few are damaged and/or lumpy.
- It's monotonous, kind of.
Other Thoughts: What a delightful adventure.
A fun hole to play is hole12 because of its bumpy texture with a nice uphill finish after an accommodating wide tunnel. Pretty much the entire course is nice to look at for its foresty beauty, but one standout is hole11 because I love the aesthetic of a wide tunnel of healthy evergreens and a nice floor of brown pine needles to softly walk on. If I had to pick a least favorite, that would be hole1 because of how relatively flat and straight forward it is.
Barring that, the player quickly understands what they're getting themself into as they approach the courses at Devens. The big entrance sign, visible from the parking lot across the street, guides players deeper and deeper into the hilly woods. One look at the forested hillside, and there is no mistaking the challenge that awaits you.
Although, it was kind of a challenge to find the first hole of the Generals course. I had no idea that there were two disc golf courses on this property. Without realizing it, I played the first three holes of the Original course before seeing a sign for the Generals course. I felt silly, but it was a good warm-up. I wish I could have played both, but I had somewhere to be under a time limit.
Anyway, Devens General as a whole is a nice example of forested specialization. Every hole has trees. Every hole has at least a little elevation. So, in other words, it is exactly the kind of course that I tend to favor. However, that doesn't mean I would automatically love it. Such a course needs to fend off the tedium and/or irritation that all those trees can create, and Devens General mostly succeeds.
Hole7 is a perfect example. The disc golfing on that hole is a generous downhill glide with a gradual left curve and some trees to consider throughout. But what sends it into transcendant status for me is its setting. The tee pad is tucked away in a secret corner of the forest. It feels like the perfect spot to sit, relax and watch the world turn. The silence and tree cover surrounds the player like a cozy blanket.
But a few holes, despite all of the curves, boulders, trees and hills, can't disguise the fact that they're mirrored copies of other holes here. I get the feeling that the designers were having so much fun putting the course together that they forgot they had to send players back towards the beginning, so the last three or four holes are just straight and mostly flat. But by then, the player is (probably) already having such a great time that it hardly matters. In addition, it isn't hard to imagine that the combination of trees and a mountainside lead to more than a few agonizing rollaways and/or nigh impossible shots. Plus, keep both eyes on your disc after it leaves your hand because of the dead leaves here. I mostly throw orange discs and had a few scares at this course.
In conclusion, Devens General is a great time. If you're looking for open holes to test your long drives, play somewhere else. But if you are in search of that adventurous course with hills, huge rocks, impressive trees, nice views and a general chill vibe, then this place ought to be your next stop.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Maybe not for everyone, but beautiful and strenuously difficult
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I love hiking in the woods, climbing small mountains, etc. I only started picking up DG over the past few years. I live about 40 minutes away from here, but it's been worth the drive every time to play at Devens.
I only played the Hill before; this was my first time on the General. I found it a bit more strenuous and difficult, but it gave me plenty of practice trying to thread overhand throws through thickets of trees. Also: nobody behind or in front of me the whole time, on a Sunday late afternoon.
Great signage, and fun facts about the history of the area are sprinkled throughout them.
You will be exhausted, but it's well worth it. The trees keep it from getting too much sun, which is a plus in my book.
Cons: You will be exhausted! Even moreso than playing the Hill. And there can be tons of bugs especially after it rains. The moss on the rocks is beautiful, but it also means the rocks can be slippery--in fact, this year we got so doused in July, the course was very slippery and muddy--but not marshy at all; my shoes stayed dry.
Other Thoughts: It had just rained, so the petrichor smell was amazing. All the rock outcroppings are beautiful, even if you have to guess where your disc landed knowing you had to throw over one.
I'd definitely suggest this to anyone who doesn't have a problem climbing hills, regardless of DG expertise--I'm still a relative newb, but I would choose this over any course that's more closeby.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Strong Technical & Hilly Course
Pros: Parking in a flat area , then walking across the street to what looks like a mountain was something to see . Walk along the path and keep a chain link fence to your immediate right ( you should be able to touch this fence ) . There is a large kiosk about 100 yards from the road . The General starts in an odd space . You have to go to where #4 on the Hill course is , stay right and follow a path ( hoping it is the right one ) to #1 which , if looking at the hill from the lot , would be very far right .Plenty of parking next to the soccer field and a Port O Let in view . There were no rest rooms once you cross the street .
The Equipment - There are large rubber mats for tee pads . The Baskets are nicer than The Hills course . They are Yellow banded Discatchers with american flags on the tops . There are plenty of Next Tee signs on some trees , but you will still have to look for a tee or 2 . Print a map . It might come in handy , later . The Tee signs are very good , telling you the necessary points ,the flight path and the elevation change on the left . There are some benches here , too .
The Landscape . The elevation on this course is crazy . The General occupies the back half of the hill that the first course ( The Hill ) sits . Add in the fact that the course is all woods holes , and that there are rock formations and boulders everywhere , then you have a technical nightmare for the grippers and rippers . The rock features make this course somewhat scenic .This course was clean and the tee pads were cleared when I came to play here on a Thursday morning .
The Highlights - #1 , 378' , starts you off . Don't let the distance fool you . Throwing this long narrow fairway to the left and you wind up in a tree line , the right send you off a steep hillside . #8 is a nice uphill 274' that plays much longer , to a basket hidden and up on a 2nd boulder . #11 is a downhill drive through a keyhole fairway , the basket will eventually show up on the right . #17 snakes rt to lft , back to rt with a boulder in play . Tought to do with a limited sized fairway .
Signature Hole - # 10 408' . It is a long downhill sloping drive breaking slowly right to left . The last part is an uphill finish over a large rock guarding the small green .
Disc Risk - If no autumn leaves are clogging the fairways and just off of them , then disc risk is low . Other than your disc hitting one of them many trees here , or clipping a fairway rock and standing up , your biggest chance will be a rollaway .
The Time - It took me about 75 minutes to play this course . A group of 4 will get through in just over 2 ours and 15 minutes .
Scenic -The woods is kind of quiet on weekday mornings , and the large rock groups enhance the decor of this woods course
The course had several on it . I think that the course can be very popular during peak times .
Make sure you bring plenty of water to the course . The constant elevation changes will take it's toll on both your legs and your hydration .
If you want to shed pounds and have fun , play this course 3 times a week .
Cons: #1 Safety - It will be a handful to stay upright on The General after a rain , snow , ice or even the leaves o these hillsides . One of the holes has a long rope to help lead you down to the bottom because of the steepness . Wear Hiking boots if you have them so you don't turn or break an ankle .
#2 Navigation - Even with the map and the next tee signs , I was wandering around a couple of places early in the round . maybe 3-4 and 6-7 . If not playing with a local , be prepared to hunt for some of the tees .
#3 Same obstacles - The fairway alleys change , and the rock formations are cool , but there are the same likenesses in the holes here . If you were to play all 36 holes on this hill , you would have tight fairways , with noticeable elevation changes , rocks and/or boulders in play . Nothing breaks this pattern up . Not slamming it , just pointing it out .
Make sure you use bug spray . They get tough on you after you start to sweat .
Other Thoughts: If you climb this hill , and play The General , then play the Hill , you should at least get a salute , then a cold beer . 2 Courses off of the same large hill , and they don't even overlap . Don't rush through these courses . Take your time and enjoy the nature , the woods and the rocks . It's a scenic course . The General is a bit longer than the Hill course , and a bit more difficult . I'm not sure about a lot of variety , but The General gives you plenty of challenge to your round . Ken Gary , the course designer , should be commended for his work . It's hard to believe that this course is free to play and is run solely by volunteers and the local Disc Golf Club . Thanks . There is a donation box near the kiosk , if you would like to drop a few bucks in there . I'm sure it goes right back into the course . Hawks Nest is a local disc golf pro shop on the other side of this hill . They organize a lot of activities , so check out the store while here .
Also , make sure you check the course facepage so you don't waste a trip coming here . From spring thru fall , the have singles on Wednesday evenings and Sunday morning doubles .
My Recommendation - Too long and hilly for dates , intros and families . Depending on their playing strength , locals might play here . Intermediates thru pros will prefer to play the General over The Hill . This is a good place for the traveler to get in a round , since it is close to highways , right in Devens , and on the way to/from Boston and Salem . The Course Collector will like the fact that it is just off of Rt 2 and in between I-190 and I-495 , and you can grab 2 courses in the span of 1 morning here . It's rocky , it's challenging , and a fitness walk + . PLAY IT !!!!
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Good course & great people
Pros: Well thought out design, utilized some great land features very well.
Elevation on the property is awesome and hole are rather steep up, down, and come cross hills.
The shot shapes are there, most every hole can be birdie and bogeyed by playing a clean line, or not. I like courses that have very few tweeners holes, and this one delivers in that area for a Blue level golfer. Very solid Blue level course, and getting under par is a very well executed round.
Good level tees, despite the hilly rockey terrain, the locals have put in the work to make the tee areas flat, level and easy to play from.
As a LHBH dominant player, I felt the layout was fair and even to all types of throws as well. SOme might say its righty friendly, but the lines are there for solid annys, and I played some of them very well as a result of a line being available.
Good baskets, really good signage.
Easy to navigate, even without playing with lcals I would have easy found my way around.
I have to give shout out to the volunteers up there. The course has many walking paths, stairways, etc all built into side hills, up and down traverses - all of this takes a keen eye for trail building an some experience to make paths that hold on a hillside. This was done excellently, and will help to keep the course from eroding and becoming dangerous over the long haul - serious Kudos.
Lastly, this is about the people up there and not so much affecting my course rating, but it needs to be stated. I travel for work a lot, this was my 300th course played. The crew up there welcomed me with open arms and got me in a group for Wed night league, and we had a blast. Very genuine people and what I would hope our locals act like towards graveling golfers! I'll be back whenever work brings me to your area again.
Cons: The course started a bit far from the parking area. Little bit of a nit-pick here as I understand this course was put in after the other one, so you get the land that is available and left. Glad I had some locals to show me where to start.
The elevation might beat some people down a bit, your legs and your game had both better be in shape. This is not a con for me personally, but some might have a tougher time with the hills and rocks. Again, small nit-picky stuff as there really aren't cons here.
Other Thoughts: I would have loved to see some par 4s, its only 5 years old and I feel that is the present and more so the future of the game. Not sure how much land is out there, or if it would have been possible, just a wish list of mine for newer courses.
A very good course, one of the better par 54-56 courses I've played in a long time. Despite the 6 hour drive, I would come up for a tournament here, so that speaks to the quality of the layout and upkeep!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -Thoughtfully designed course that continually has me using a bunch of different discs. Takes most players out of their comfort zones
-Great elevation changes
-Many different options for lines. Continues to be more fun each time I play it. I'll often think about the holes when I'm not playing and asking myself, "why don't I try that line next time?"
-Well-kept holes, enough trash bins etc. and a really active local contingent that seems to have good vibes. I wish I could be more active in the DG community here but I have to drive from Boston to play
-Slightly superior to its neighbor (the Hill) in that there is a little more variety and, of the 36 holes in Devens, I'd say 6-7 of the 10 coolest are on the General.
-Teepads and baskets are all in good shape
-There's another course right there so it doesn't usually get crowded at all.
Cons: -I am a RH player and have found I am driving BH on 17/18 holes. There are some which give you both options, but even though I consider my FH stronger I have learned that only hole 12 makes sense for me to throw sidearm.
-A few of these holes my buddies and I basically consider Par 4s, especially Hole 1 and Hole 10. Hole 5 can be brutal and a 4 there feels like a victory. That being said it doesn't really bother me -- everyone's playing the same course! And you can be way over par and still have a 900-plus round.
-You can throw a shot that's virtually perfect and then be slapped down by a tree. Buuuuuuut that's Devens. Makes it fun.
-No water, no/not much OB
Other Thoughts: Of the numerous courses just over 45-50 minutes from Boston with normal traffic, the General is one of my favorites! It's really hard and I hated it the first time I played it, but it ages like wine. Now it's one of the courses I play most often.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Great Course, Worth Playing
Pros: - Challenging Woods course that makes you use multiple shots.
- Well defined fairways and lines to the baskets.
- Some memorable lines and shots.
- Better of the 2 courses in my opinion.
- Discs are easy to find.
- No shot is level, it brings out the technical side of your game with still having to make long shots.
- You will need to turn your discs right/left/no turn/right then straight then left......... All shots needed which makes for a good time.
- Quick to get through the course.
- Hiking is not as bad as stated. a lot worse not he hill course I thought.
Cons: - Signage to first hole was not great, you have to go past the tee box on hole 4 I think, that took too long to find.
Other Thoughts: - Tee pads were not perfect but well above average to some of the best non concrete pads I have played on that were not brand new.
I would play this course 10 times again before I played The Hill again unless I started throwing lefty.
Truly enjoyed the lines and shots on holes 4-8.
I throw my drivers around 400ft for reference.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 3 Not
The Hill’s meaner bigger brother
Pros: It is the opposite of the Hill, the other course on the same property (you get two different courses in one trip), which you can play through the first three holes to get to hole one. It is a longer, more technical course requiring a variety of shots. There is a mix of holes that make it challenging from long tight tunnel shots to valley shots with a low ceiling to hyzers over rock out-croppings this course delivers. It has all the same amenities as the Hill does; ample parking, porta john, restaurants, practice basket, throwing fields etc. Tee signs are informative and have all the info you need. Tee pads are 5 x 12 fly pads and mostly flat. Walks in between holes are well defined and easy to follow. You could also park down at the shopping plaza and start on hole 12 and play through that way. There are a few really challenging par threes that make you hit your line and punish you if you don't. Having another course on the same property is really nice and allows you to make a day of disc golf. (Coggshall Park is less than 10 miles away as well).
Cons: It is a newer course that needs some tweaking and minor cleanup. Some of the tees need to be leveled again. The walk to the first tee is long.
Other Thoughts: Once this course beats in it will be mint.
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: True test of your control game. Very tight. Very technical. Each hole has a 20 foot drop or incline, at the least. Gorgeous sylvan setting. Tee boxes are brand new & excellent. Several blind tee shots. Not a single level hole. Lots of benches at almost all of the tee boxes to rest and chill. Brand-new DiscCatcher baskets. These two courses at Devens shows that the disc golf scene in Boston is quite healthy. The folks who put this incredible complex together deserve huge respect. They love the games and these two courses demonstrate that as a fact. That's a big pro.
Cons: No cons really. I guess this course is brand new, having just recently installed the tee boxes. I had no problem finding my way around but some more pathway signage and fancier hole maps would enhance the shine on this already awesome course. I wager that the designers & builders have that in the pipeline already because the existing signage & hole signs & maps looked temporary.
Other Thoughts: Love this place. I live in LA and am only in town visiting my folks who live in Newton. I played The Hill on Wednesday and The General today. Other reviewers seem to think that The a General is longer than The a Hill. Didn't seem that way to me but it could be the case. If The General is longer, it's not by much. These two courses are very similar in quality. The General might be a shade more technical - maybe. Other than that I view this Devens complex as one awesome 36 hole course. Each hole on both courses is tight & technical and each has elevation elements and each hole is unique. This entire complex engages the player on every hole. Not once did my attention stray or my concentration wane and that's down to the quality of the holes specifically and the complex in general.
Well done, designers & builders. Well done.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: I really wasn't expecting too much. I thought it would be an afterthought. I'd just played The Hill and I figured it would be similar but with less elevation. I played the first two holes, confirming my expectations. They were well laid out but not especially memorable. Three and four were more interesting, with steep sideways drops that forced you to hit a landing zone or suffer. Then I stepped onto the fifth tee. I found myself staring into the mouth of a beast. I thought, "Can I even throw this hole?" 520 feet and a slow climb to the basket. Not a lot of room for error in any direction. From there the course began to show its character.
The General doesn't feature holes that are sharp climbs or steep drops, like The Hill. It has holes that go up and down, over and around and all over the place. That's just hole seven. What a cruel bastard that one is. A narrow gap before a sharp drop then a leftward turn as the disc passes over the low part of the fairway. Then it climbs back to a guarded basket.
The rest of the holes don't disappoint. Incredible pin locations. Numerous tees that make you pray for salvation. It's a hell of a layout. Perhaps the most difficult that I've encountered. Eleven is another screamer. With the tee in the raised location and the arch of the fairway, it would be a tough, technical par three if the basket was 280 feet down the fairway. This particular basket is 467 feet away.
I didn't get to play the entire course. The rain had steadily picked up since hole and after twelve, the thunder was approaching. I had a choice. Play another three or so and risk getting caught out there. Or jog the rest of the fairways and at least get to see all of the holes. I chose the latter. My decision was partly impacted by the fact that my arm was falling off. Eighteen holes on The Hill and twelve on The General had me feeling like I had played five rounds that day. But as I saw it all and made it to my car just before it really broke, I'm happy with the choice.
I will say, that standing on each tee, that wow factor is present a lot here. Perhaps nowhere as much as on the eighteenth fairway. From the tee, it's a gradual uphill with a central bank of tees. Players can go right or left. I've played many holes like that, with the basket where the two paths meet. Not here. It's that point, where I would expect the basket, that The General snagged my breath for the last time. It's a long straight downhill, with a boulder guarding the hyzer route. Great end to a fantastic layout.
Cons: It still needs some work. There are some fairways that need to be weeded or those things are going to ruin the course eventually. It's new, so I'm not worried about the things that are likely on someone's to-do list. There is some stuff that needs to be moved, and some paths are not yet lined the way that most of them are. I'm assuming that those will get done in the near future.
One issue that new players will find difficult is getting to the first tee. There are no navigation issues once you are on the course but I would like to see some arrows pointing towards, "The General," from the first tee of The Hill. Yes, there are directions available, but arrows would be better.
Like, The Hill, The General does not work well as an everyday course. Whereas many will find the older course strenuous to walk, more will find the young gun tough to throw often. It's very demanding and not suited for inexperienced players.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 8 Not
The General is For Real
Pros: Longer, more challenging, but overall better than the hill. A true wooded New Englad course with a lot o variety in distances and good elevation chanes.
Cons: Could use more garbage cans and better signage on how to navigate to the course from parking lot.
Other Thoughts: Bring your Hiking Shoes!
1 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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