Unsatisfactory layout ruins a pristine setting.
Pros: The setting by the dam is spectacular. Topography, woods, open shots, trees, water...it's truly a potential disc golf paradise. With a professional course design, this land could easily rival The Hollows, even Maple Hill, etc. It could host A-tier pro tournaments.
Cons: The holes are simply unsafe and unprofessional. The tee signs are atrocious, and no basket direction indicators or additional direction signs makes flow for new players an issue, especially on hole 5.
Hole 1: straight downhill short, few trees, water behind that varies with seasonal height of river. Not spectacularly bad, but nothing epic for a first hole that could have played diagonally (like to hole 2 basket) and longer.
Hole 3: epic bomber, perhaps the best hole on current layout, play-wise. That said, poor grooming of tiered levels and tree-line right makes disc location dicey. The traffic jam of intersecting holes and players descending the wooden stairs from the oncoming downhill drives makes disc hits possible, so it's unsafe.
Hole 4: uninspired tree island hole, no grooming to allow alternative lines, right side line down a road used by hikers is not ideal for safety.
Hole 5: poor signage. Play into open field, long just for the sake of being long as hyzer bomb right field for eventual tucked basket. Uninspired.
Hole 6, 7: Uninspired field holes, not memorable, made worse by a field mowing that occurs three times a year if that. Imagine a cow pasture with Baskets along the edges....that's 5,6,7 Barre Falls. In addition, about a dozen birders spyglassing in the parking lot by hole 7 makes safety an issue when a skilled player pops a huge downhill bomber to basket 7 in the wind. Someone will eventually lose teeth or a windshield here.
Hole 8: redesigned from past, it is in every way a moderate length, challenging and fun hole.
Hole 9: great danger to those coming at you on hole 3, especially as the hole 3 players can be hidden by the tiered topography. Additionally, drives can easily cut through the tree line and wind up near the tee pad of hole 10, or in the kisser of a player teeing from home 10. Our Nuke landed right on hole 10 tee pad, in fact, and this is perfectly in the playable line of our hole 9...it was not an errant shot! The entire 3,9,10 jumble is a cluster buck waiting for someone to get maimed, and jamming any tournament flow.
Holes 11,12,13: redesigned and tweaked unsuccessfully, these are nothing like the current photos on DGCR. Holes 11, 12 in particular are short, throw to road, making automobile and jogger hits probable. They are not fun holes, they are sad uses of trying to squeeze too much in too little space. Hole 13 is fun and great, short length, trees fair but challenging, except its closeness to the fence allows tree hits to ricochet into the marshy mess beyond the fence.
Hole 14: throw downhill, then return between narrow bush opening in the fairway and across a wet patch/river in direct line of fire for others playing the same hole? This was designed by someone who has no clue as to how to prevent tournament traffic jams and personal injury.
Hole 15: fine hole, scenic, fun to play and great visual of High basket position, but a skip shot will land on the tee pad of 16. Safety issues. People scrambling from shots short of the fence in the rocks may fall into the ravine. Safety issues.
Hole 16: a fun hole with no longer the pictured backhand route as in the current DGCR photos. Suggest opening the backhand line so that the basket can once again be visualized, thereby saving a putting frolfer from being decapitated by a tee shot.
Hole 17: blind basket, slippery rubber mat half way up stairs, completely blind shot to a welcoming to babies and picnicking families grassy area right by the parking area and road. A teeing player can easily tumble down the stairs, or an up-fairway player or child simply flying a kite will someday get hit by a driver disc, trust me. This hole design is, in a word, atrocious.
Hole 18: one directional play toward road (especially if forehand), then walk back up the entire fairway to return to one's car? Players using carts have no chance to scramble up the rocks to the roadway to exit this hole. Almost everyone walks directly back up the entire fairway to exit, which is patently unsafe. The hole plays fine, except again, the basket is blind and putting players might get hit by discs.
My description sounds like I'm a zealot for safety, but I'm not....I'm just a guy who's played many courses (now at nearly 35) and who has never seen one designed so poorly, to be honest. And with such potential to the surroundings! Oh, it's hard to bear witness.
Other Thoughts: It is with great sadness that this course design, which has been tweaked over the years, remains sub-par. The current architects seem to not have a grand vision for this course, and they adjust it every couple years, likely on their desktop software in the dead of winter. The architects are clearly not professional designers, and as such have committed the two most heinous mistakes in DG course design: not taking full advantage of the topography and land, and placing players and non-DGing park users at physical risk. I would pray that the Army Corps. of Engineers would hire a pro designer and, like Eric McCabe from Dynamic Discs has done for the wonderful The Hollows in NH, make this course safe and spectacular. It would be money well spent, and recouped dozens of times over with large tournaments that could have a park fee built into the registration fee.
2 Helpful / 2 Not
attack of the mosquitos and tall grass
Pros: Beautiful scenery of the dam and woods!!! This is a very beautiful course and at least worth playing at least once to say you've been there and enjoyed your surroundings. Interesting layout on some holes and creative uses of nature to tie into play.
Cons: The grass was waaaaaaay too high and not enough area was cut to have a fun time. We spent more time looking for lost discs right next to the fairway than we did actually playing on several holes. The mosquitos were quite attrocious, they seemed to just come from everywhere and especially when trecking through the tall grass, you have them all on you eventually. We did not find any ticks amazingly, which was interesting given how long we were in the tall grass. Pin placement could have been better on some holes. They did move a couple of holes from what we heard (#2 for example) so you had less of a chance of throwing into the dam. It also woul dhave been nice for some markers to be put down so 1st timers to the course would know where the next tee was. A few of the tee pads and baskets looked in rough shape and were deteriorating or pretty much broken.
Other Thoughts: For what it's worth, Barre Falls is an OK course. I'm glad that the Army Corps of Engineers allow us disc golfers to play on their space (here, Buffumville and elsewhere) With just a little bit more mowing on some holes and maybe some trash bins put around, Barre Falls could easily become one of my favorite courses to play. Try it and judge for yourself.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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