Full Contact Disc Golf
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This is the longer and (much) tougher of the two courses in the complex, playing at 6300 feet for the 18 holes, at least according to the provided scorecard. This gives an average hole length of 350', with individual holes varying from 185' to 600'.
While not as polished as some of the disc golf complexes in this area (Sabattus, Augusta) they do have a nice clubhouse with friendly staff that checks you in and describes the property and the courses to you.
The course is heavily wooded and relentlessly hilly. The ups, downs, hills, valleys and sidehills define this course. The fairways are fair and there are always lines to the basket, but if you turn a little early or fade a little much the resulting tree hit will often skid you off into a very difficult position.
Hole 5 is a great example. The tee and basket are on a similar elevation but you play across a deep depression. The gaps in the trees are reasonable, but if you miss the line even a little you'll get dropped to the bottom and face a daunting uphill second shot to the pin. This seemingly simple 185' par 3 hole turned into a bogey really quickly.
Other holes play on sidehills where seemingly minor tree bumps might find the disc sliding/rolling 100 feet off line. Many of the greens are sloped as well, and the ground play with the slippery pine needles will slide you much farther from the pin than you anticipated. Overall this is a demanding course with fair lines but severe punishment for missing them.
Decent concrete teepads and acceptable laminated tee signs on most holes. Innova Discatchers show up well in the shadows and catch great. Plenty of next tee signs were in place and necessary as the course was in its "alternate configuration" (see cons).
Cons: What course did I play?? I played this course last year in the "standard" configuration and is was brutal. I was frustrated and tired at the end of the round and decided not to review it before playing it a second time.
This time (a year later) I was told that "some of the baskets had been moved" but was given the standard scorecard and sent on my way. It turns out that half of the baskets were in shorter/different positions and the course itself was significantly modified. Things started out ok, but when I reached the 495' par 4 Hole 7 (scorecard) and found a 237' par 3, I knew something was up. From there on was pretty much chaos as far as scorecard vs. course.
A couple more examples of the changes: The original tough 350' uphill Hole 12 was bypassed completely and the 570' finishing hole was broken into two separate holes.
The scorecard turned out to be virtually worthless in terms of hole lengths and pars, and with a couple of the laminated signs missing I had to walk practically all of the way up to figure out a few holes.
I think that a $7 pay-to-play course could develop a scorecard for this (seemingly common) alternate course configuration and have it available, at least to non-familiar faces like myself.
Other Thoughts: Bittersweet Ridge is one of the reasons that UDISC ranks the Lewiston/Auburn area as #1 in the United States. With two solid 18-hole courses, an active league and tournament scene and owners who keep the courses in good condition, this is a worthy stop for any disc golfer.
But beware, while the South Course (aka Sweetside) will lull you into thinking that you might be pretty good, the North Pro Course (especially in the original configuration) will slap you right back to reality.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
I don't know what I'm hungry for. I don't know what I want anymore.
Pros: This is how you build a big course. Wow. The first hole starts off with a 250-275 drive over a parking lot to the semi-wooded fairway on the other side, and after that the course is all up and down through the woods.
There are some gorgeous, clean fairways with mouthwatering drives. Hole 4 is a great downhill sweeping turnover shot.
Hole 6 is a straight fairway that exhibits one of the best traits of Bittersweet: the degrees of rough. If you can throw far with minimal fade, you're in the clear. A moderate fate puts you in lightly wooded rough. Big fade puts you in some deep, thick stuff.
Unfortunately I can't remember all the other hole numbers (and there are no pics or map on the site), but about every third hole was a big-time, immaculate fairway with multiple lines. The variety of lines is emphasized here, maybe just a bit less than the South course. You can choose your poison with varying risk/reward. One of my favorite holes (13?) is a steep downhill shot that follows the left-to-right slope before rebounding back up to the left. Anything less than a big drive here is really disappointing, but there is an early tree that will get in your head. Oh, and there were signs warning of a beehive and about 20 orange flags with two signs where the hive is. I've never seen such care taken.
And while there are some epic throws here, there are plenty of deuce-or-die holes that are great. They are generally tighter. Hole 2 is a fun steep downhill hole that invites a thumber or a low forehand, but going over the next ridge could leave you with a rough comeback shot. Hole 17 is a downhill hyzer that practically begs you to go for an ace and regret that you didn't just settle for a shot a birdie.
Tee pads are brick and look nice. Navigation was easy.
I mentioned the elevation changes, right? Be prepared for a hike. You won't mind it.
Cons: Tee signs are tacked on the trees, just laminated signs that are okay.
It sounds like short tees are coming, and that would be a nice addition. I think this might be the only thing this course needs to bump my rating up to a 4.5
Other Thoughts: On a warm October afternoon, this round reminded me of everything I love about New England. The fall foliage and a quiet walk through the woods with some serenity that is harder and harder to find on the disc golf course as the sport becomes more popular. While the South course was pretty active, the North had only two other people on it.
Good for whoever built this complex. I can't wait to come back.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 5 Not
New Tee pads. Amazing elevation
Pros: Brand new Large concrete tee pads! Great length and amazing use of elevation changes, Many very unique shots on this course and its a great compliment to the other shorter course.
Cons: Its a new course so it needs to be polished a bit, signage can and will be better, and only a few spots to sit on such a lengthy course.
Other Thoughts: Bittersweet Ridge is quickly climbing the charts as one of Maine's premier disc golf locations. Some of the best owners around and a unique terrain in a prime location.
0 of 5 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Perfect counterpoint to South
Pros: - An amazing variation of shots and scenarios
- Elevation used to full effect
- Breathtaking beauty
- Engaging and rewarding design that rewards players for professional caliber shots while still allowing less skilled players a reasonable path to the basket in par
Cons: - Teepads are still dirt and in rough shape
- Fairways are a bit overgrown, especially on the back 9
- Bottles and other refuse litter many of the later teepads
- Signage is lacking in some spots, particularly hole 4 which is unmarked (though the spot is pretty intuitive)
Other Thoughts: On my second trip to play the wonderful little course that is "sweetside", I decided to give the new course a try to avoid the crowds. Sweetside is fun, but challenging it is not, so I was hoping for something a bit more difficult in the North course. I was not disappointed. While the first hole looks a bit rough (it shoots over the back corner of the parking lot) it's still a really cool, two drive hole. Thinking the course would probably be a lot of fun, I stepped up to hole 2's teepad and knew I was in for one hell of a round. Foreshadowing what will become a recurring theme as the round goes on, hole 2 is a short but beautiful downhill shot through the woods that appears simple until you appraise the green. About 40ft short of the basket, the ground rises sharply, leaving you shooting downhill but still across a deep valley. This makes for an ace run that manages to be challenging without the old standby of sticking some OB behind the pin. The front 7 or 8 holes vary in length, but tend towards longer, technical par 4s. Every hole had at least two clear paths down the fairway, with some sporting at least 3 unique options. While heavily wooded, the fairways were always wide enough to allow a full power drive where necessary, and the rough, while prevalent, always seemed to have a few escape routes hidden in the most common landing zones. While I definitely lost a few strokes from going off of the beaten path, I never felt like I was trapped without a method of moving down the fairway at all.
The middle of the course, while still fun, is a little less epic than the first 7 or 8 holes. Going from long par 4s to a string of 200ish foot long ace runs was a bit of a letdown, but don't let the distance fool you! These holes are still demanding tests of accuracy and judgement, and the designer still managed to ensure that each one offered at least 2 unique paths to the basket.
Once you get out of birdie alley, the course enters an intense series of holes traveling up and down a steep crevasse. In addition to turning the distance back up, the trees remain in evidence and the multiple elevation changes per hole force precise aim and nose angle management to get through in the least throws. It was in the back 7 or 8 holes that my course management skills were most tested, as I had to make constant judgment calls as to whether I should take the safe path or try and push beyond my limits. I generally took the safer option and felt that it paid off, but better players than me with more confidence in their distance shots may feel otherwise.
Considering how close to a pitch and putt the sweetside course is, I can certainly see why there are a lot less players on this beast. The teepad situation was the only real disappointment, but even for dirt pads I've seen much worse. Even when the pad was a little rutted, there was still enough room for a drive if I was careful. My friend who has a much more space intensive shot than I do felt a bit cramped.
It was clear that the course isn't getting the upkeep that the sweetside is by the fact that there were many deposits of bottles and cans near the teepads. The litterers at least tried to keep them in piles, and it was clear that folks had taken the hike out there without realizing there would be no place to drop their refuse.
That brings me to another point. This course is not the quick round that the sweetside offers. A group of 4 enjoying a competitive round and not rushing would likely take about 3 hours to complete the course. There are intersections and areas where you come close to the clubhouse, but aside from hole 4 you never quite get back to the parking lot. Hole 4 by the way, is the only hole without a marked teepad. We found a packed, sandy spot on the edge of the parking lot that looked like a teepad, and the locals confirmed that it was, but we were definitely doubting ourselves for a second.
Overall, I fully believe that this will be one of the best courses in Maine for a serious player. The lack of teepads and some general maintenance issues are both big hits to the course currently, but they weren't enough of an issue to stop me from wanting to go back. Once those issues have been remedied, this will be a premier course and I will likely upgrade my review to a 4.5. The course is that good. So if you're in Gray, Maine but don't want to play another round of short, easy holes, don't despair! The North course understands and is more than happy to help.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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