Amazing Backyard Course
4 Helpful / 0 Not
18 hole course set on a private property with two sets of tees and two targets on every hole. Course plays over ponds, through the woods and up and down and across grassy meadows. While not a Championship level course, Black Falls will provide plenty of challenge for most players. The compact design makes excellent use of the elevation and the natural features. I played this course as part of a disc golf road trip playing 12 states in 12 days.
I used bullet points for those that don't want to read the entire review.
Two Targets for Double the Fun
There were two targets on every hole. There are traditional yellow DISCatchers for the "gold" pins and the second set of targets were DISCatcher Sport targets that were spray painted silver. I was amazed how well the Sport targets were holding up as they are not designed to be left out in the elements. This was a very well designed two target course. On some of the two target courses I have played, it seems like one set of targets are the afterthought or somehow squeezed into the design. However, this course does a great job of installing two targets so that they really do provide different playing experiences. Extra target locations are thoughtfully designed. Black Falls is one of the better two target/tee courses I have played. I played one round from the Gold tees to the Gold Targets as well as an extra nine holes of mixed tees/targets.
Two Tees for Quadruple the Fun
Every single hole had two sets of tees. The Gold Tees were always longer and more challenging than the short tees. The Gold Tees to Gold targets is the most challenging layout on the property. This would be the most challenging layout on the property. That first Gold Tee is quite a challenge and I passed on that one as I would prefer to warm up before taking a blind shot over a pond. Even though I am not a high rated player, I do have years of experience and I had no problems playing from the Gold Tees. The Silver Tees are not always shorter, and try employ a different fairway to get to the pin(s). Most of the tees were natural and developed with crushed rock. Both tees on the signature Hole 18 had bricks/pavers.
Fun vs Challenge
The course makes great use of the wonderful natural features of this property. The course takes the player over ponds and down into the woods. It winds along a couple of small creeks. There are some fun downhill shots as well as several uphill treks. Target placements take advantage of natural features to add challenge. Even with the wide variety of terrain, most holes only require players to have a controlled straight shot. The wider fairways still require a straight shot and good placement to stay out of trouble and score well. While the silver tees to silver targets are easier than the Gold targets, the course still requires some amount of skills to stay in the fairways. I am not sure this would be a good course for kids or beginners.
The drive to get here is just as beautiful as the destination. Amazingly beautiful property with tranquil ponds, lush greenery and colorful flowers. This course has the requisite New England rock walls complete with moss and ferns. I visited in late September. with abundant sunshine and mild temperatures. The foliage was just starting to change. This course is twice as beautiful in the fall. The spring photos here really don't show the true beauty and challenge when foliage is the fullest. The garden off Hole 9/10 was overflowing with flowers and pumpkins.
Signs on every Gold and Silver tee showing both pin placements. There were directional arrows to the next silver or gold tee throughout the course. The hand-painted tee signs included all the information for each tee and target including, distances, OB areas and mandatories. The tee signs are color coded with Silver or Gold bands across the top, so there is no doubt which tee you are playing. While these are not super glossy computer generated signs with full color graphics, the home made signs are a perfect match for such an informal backyard course.
Clean and Maintained
All the tees, signs and targets were in great condition. The property was clean and free of garbage, butts and grafitti. There were well placed stones, bricks and boards to traverse the terrain. The holes along the grassy hillside were getting a little shaggy, but that would be expected so late in the season. Please do your part when you play and keep the course clean and free of garbage and butts.
I love the fact that the course loops back to the parking area after Holes 9/10. It is a great opportunity to get more water, drop off a jacket or pick up another disc. It is nice when I don't have to lug all the water needed to play 18 holes in a row. While you do have the option to play either nine first, I would recommend playing 1 to 18 as designed on your first time. I really enjoy the progression of the course as designed. Besides 18 is a perfect finishing hole since there is that chance to lose plastic to the pond.
Rustic and Casual
Nothing fancy here, just good disc golf fun. This is a laid back and casual disc golf course in someone's yard. This rustic homemade disc golf course provides plenty of fun and challenge for the average player. I am not sure this is a good course for new players. It does require the ability to control a disc to stay in the fairways. This course is a diamond in the rough compared to the well polished Smuggler's Resort courses.
There is a tee shop on site. It was not open on the day I visited so I can't comment on the disc selection. There is an honor box to pay when the shop is not open. I don't know if the pro shop sells any water or snacks. Stock up on those items before you come in case it is closed.
This is not a very big property, so you don't cover a whole lot of ground to play the entire 18 holes. The walks between holes are very minimal. Plus the course loops back to the parking area after nine holes. The compact design meant I had enough time and energy to play another 9 holes and experience some different tees and different target combinations before I had to leave.
How amazing to have two full sets of targets and two full sets of tees. As it is a rustic course, one would naturally expect rustic amenities like natural tees There are hand painted signs on every single tee. There are thoughtful uses of steps, stones and boards as bridges to navigate the terrain. There is an on-site pro shop. There is a practice basket by the house and the very small parking area. There was an outhouse after Hole 1. However, I don't know if it was functional or not. The course could use more benches to allow time to relax and enjoy the experience.
Regardless of the layout you play, water does come into play at least once. 18 Gold pin is across the ponds but, even if you play safe on 18, the Silver pin is still close enough to the water for worry should you get unlucky. I played when all the creeks were dry, but the creeks would provide additional hazards after a rainfall. There is the possibility to lose discs in the rough. You could also lose a disc on some of the blind tee shots if you don't have a spotter, which is exactly why I declined to play Hole One from the Gold Tee.
Kids, Carts and Strollers
I would say yes to kids and yes to all-terrain golf carts. I am not sure I would want to push a stroller up some of the uphill fairways. It is not so steep, and the design is pretty compact, and the holes are not that long so a disc golfer shouldn't really need cart. By the same token, youngsters should be able to tag along and older kids with skills would be able to play along. The course plays back to the parking lot at Hole 9/10 so, there is opportunity to stop or take a break. There was an outhouse after Hole 1, but I don't know if it was operational. I don't know if the pro shop sells any water or snacks, so stock up before you come.
I don't recall if there were any bugs or biting things. However, I always spray for ticks and mosquitoes BEFORE I play on courses near ponds or in the woods.
A Long Drive
Here is the proof to the saying: "If you build it, they will come." This course is quite a drive out to the country and this is some extremely beautiful country to drive through. While it is scenic and fun, it will be up to you to decide if it is worth all the extra effort required to get here to play.
It is possible to lose discs in the water regardless of layout you play. If you don't have a spotter, it could be possible to lose a disc on some of the blind drives, I guess there are some rough areas where you could lose a disc, but only if you are unlucky.
The owner has graciously shared his private land to disc golfers. Be respectful of everything here and remember you are a guest. Please pay your fees, before tee off and be sure to pick up your trash and take it with you. Don't be "that guy" that leaves your trash and butts behind and cusses at the top his lungs. Please do not bother the people that live in the house.
Vermont is awesome
Vermont is beautiful from top to bottom. I started my 12 States in 12 days road trip in Vermont. I am so glad I took the time to spend several days here before heading to the other 11 States. Playing disc golf and driving across Vermont was one of the highlights of my 12 day disc golf adventure - actually probably in my life. One of the things I love most about disc golf is it gets me out into the woods and close to nature. Getting to experience the nature of Vermont up close and personal was amazing.
When I played Black Falls, it was the highest rated course in Vermont at DGCR. While Black Falls was absolutely wonderful, scenic, enjoyable, challenging and unique, I did not think it was the top rated course I played in Vermont. I would give Black Falls five disc rating for Vermont Beauty and that awesome New England vibe. It earns a five disc rating for great execution of dual tees and dual targets. It earns five discs as a fun course for skilled players. Black Falls just needs to offer a little more challenge, polish and variety to be considered the best course in Vermont.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Black Falls is a true destination course. It is the gem of VT disc golf.
Secluded in the northern reaches of the state, Black Falls takes players on a tour of the beautiful plot of land. It starts with a big downhill past the natural spring. From there it winds into the woods to a nice wooded creek before returning back to the field at the start. From there it crosses over for a few wooded and orchard holes before ending over a pair of small ponds.
The layout is fair, without any strong favoritism towards one throwing style. Most tee shots present multiple options, allowing players to be creative and play to their strengths.
The two pins and two tees on each hole create four distinct layouts. The silver to silver layout offers a beginner friendly deuce-or-die course while the gold to gold layout will challenge the most experienced players.
Cons: Tee pads and signage are sub-par. They serve their function okay, but don't help to elevate the status of the course.
Hole 18 gold requires about 300' to cross both ponds. The only "safe" option is to go wide of the water on an equally risky (tight wooded) line that forces players to go the long way. So smaller and less confident arms will likely lose 2 or more strokes here.
Other Thoughts: The combination of Black Falls and Cherry Hill up the road makes Montgomery, VT a top disc golf destination. While Black Falls is still a little rough around the edges, it presents a fun challenge for all levels that will not disappoint.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This is a private course set along a slope transitioning from lightly wooded yard into the woods.
Every hole has two tee pads and two baskets. I wish more courses were like this. It makes them very tough to get tired of and is a very efficient use of the land. I played the silver configuration, which is pretty short (170-270 feet, generally) with a few ace runs, but most of the holes require hitting a line or could leave you struggling to get par. I didn't get to play the gold tees, but as you would expect, they force tougher lines with longer distances.
The signage is all hand-made and shows nothing but the line to each basket and the distances. But given that crude simplicity, they're not bad.
Navigation wasn't too bad. Walk to the gold basket, and the path from there is usually pretty intuitive.
Most holes here had some elevation change, and several even incorporated the two small ponds. Hole 18 holds the possibility of losing a disc if you land in the middle of the pond, although it is avoidable.
Cons: The tee signs were not always consistently located at the tee, so at several holes I approached the pad and could not tell which way I was supposed to throw. On some of them I had to walk about half the fairway so I could tell if the basket was the right one (fortunately the baskets are numbered).
Tee pads are all natural. I don't mind this too much, though.
Parking was a little tight. I was a little surprised to see other people playing the course on a Thursday afternoon, but I can't blame them at all.
If you are going to play from the gold tees, make sure you know what you are doing. The first hole forces a cool turnover shot, but if you don't turn it, you might be putting a hole in the owner's bedroom.
Other Thoughts: Some of the best courses take you to places you would never bother to visit otherwise, and you are better for it. Nowhere is this truer than Black Falls. The winding highway through the imposing Green Mountains past covered bridges and high steeple churches...it's all very Vermont. I'm sorry I was only passing through. I would have loved to play the other configurations. Some day.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 3 Not
Worth the Effort
Two tee locations and two baskets per hole, a configuration I like, as it provides options for various skill levels, and re-playability, too.
Owner/designer Johnny, who was very friendly to me and my non-playing wife when we visited the course in October, 2011, coming out regularly to check on us and see how we were enjoying the course.
Pro shop on site. Quite near to very different but equally excellent Cherry Hill course.
Some of the tee and/or basket locations on a hole were not very different from the other.
Because there are two tees and two baskets on a not overly large piece of land, the flow can be a bit awkward in places:
- Re-tracing your steps near fairway-4 after throwing to basket-5
- Crossing fairway-1 when moving from basket-8 to tee-9
- From basket-11, most obvious tee is #14 - tee-12 is uphill and to the right
- Crossing tee-11 when moving from basket-12 to tee-13
- Basket-16 near entrance, which, on the other hand, makes for an easy way to identify the course, if you miss the "Black Falls" sign
The course resides on a very nice piece of land, a continuous but gradual slope from the dirt road at the top of the course to the creek at the bottom. On this land, in addition to the small, shallow creek near baskets 4 and 5, you'll also find:
- A small pond sitting prettily in front of a basket-18
- Remains of a stone wall, near baskets 8 and 11, and along fairway-13
- Thick trees forming a dark canopy, where challenging, twisting holes 2-8 and 13 are located. Plenty of moss-covered stones, logs, and stumps in this fern-populated area - slippery when wet, with boards and logs placed at strategic problem areas
- Grassy, mostly-open fairways for holes 1, 10, and 17
- Generous-to-tight throwing lines defined by a mixture of less-dense trees (i.e. you can see the sky above your head) for holes 9, 11-12, 14-16, and 18.
For this review, I played the course from the short tees, playing to both the short and long baskets.
- Short-to-short, this is not a long course, with only two holes (open, down-slope 1 and 10) over 300', and an average of ~220'. Playing to the long baskets, the average is ~310', so this course is more about control, and not about bombing
- A few holes play down-slope, and a few back up the slope, and a few more with very modest elevation changes, but most holes play relatively flat
- Even the few holes that are primarily open have the occasional obstacle to avoid, and don't permit you to swing a disc extremely wide. While #13 was extremely thick with trees, the throwing lanes on the majority of the holes fit into the challenging-but-fair category.
- Throwing steadily-straight will serve you well on most holes. There were several holes that required a very accurate and controlled right turn, while the left-turning holes were longer and had a bit more leeway available
Favourite hole: #7. A moderate-sized fairway is cut into the densely-treed forest. Gently up-slope in its near entirety, with a moderate right-turn needed after ~250'. After the turn, a straight run to the basket, framed by trees behind, and large rocks and moss-covered stumps scattered about in front.
The crushed-stone teepads were a wee bit small, but served sufficiently. Plenty of signage directing you to both the long and short tees - a fairly easy course to navigate.
An excellent course in and of itself, even a better option considering quite different but also excellent Cherry Hill is just down the dirt road. Although a bit off the beaten path, it is worth the effort to visit if even remotely in the vicinity.
9 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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