As disc golf becomes more popular, there are an increasing number of courses available. Here are the best ones in Vermont.
Games incorporating flying discs became popular in the 1960s and ’70s, leading to the first Disc Golf World Championship 32 years ago — in 1982. It took a while, but its popularity growing quickly in recent years.
Similar to regular golf, players use discs of varying weights and designs — for long distance or shorter precision throws — to reach the disc pole, which rises 32 to 51 inches above the ground with chains and a basket where the disc lands.
It’s a summer/fall sport in Vermont, which now features a growing number of disc golf courses. A few public courses have no fee, but most private courses charge a small fee up to $6 per person. Discs can be rented for up to $4 a day. Here are a few of the better-known disc golf courses around the state. For directions, reviews and guides, visit www.discolfscene.com, or the Green Mountain Disc Golf Club, www.gmdgc.org.
Brewster Ridge Disc Golf Course at Smugglers Notch
Smuggler’s Notch offers three courses: The Village 9, Fox Run Meadows and Brewster Ridge 18. The latter course is ranked among the top 20 in the country. The main Brewster Ridge course offers 40 acres of slightly hilly, wooded terrain with a mix of open grassy meadows and technical shots in the woods. With four tees on every hole, this course is accessible to all ages and ability levels.
Fox Run Meadows, a nine-hole extension to Brewster Ridge 18, is one of the most picturesque walks on the Smugglers’ Notch property, offering views of Sterling Mountain and Mount Mansfield. This extension has narrow boundaries, challenging the player’s control.
The Village 9 course is designed for those new to the game, while still offering plenty of challenges. Trails wind in and out of the woods with uphill, downhill, and side hill shots. Discs are available for sale at 3 Mountain Outfitters and for rent at the resort’s activity desk, both located in the Village Center near the start of the course. www.smuggs.com
Sugarbush Disc Golf Courses, Warren
Designed by Dan Doyle and Steve Brinster, the Base course features rolling terrain, beautiful vistas and a wide variety of shots on these 18 holes. Challenging, yet accessible, it’s offers a good introduction to all the sport can be. The Peak Course requires a lift ride on the Super Bravo and plays downhill from there. The scenery at the top is spectacular, the course is tough and pushes the limits of participants, but a wonderful day on the mountain — just like playing a challenging course in golf. Both the Base Course and Peak Course end adjacent to the Lincoln Peak Village. The Peak course is the more difficult of the two 18-hole courses and offers breathtaking views of the valley in the late summer and fall. www.sugarbush.com
Killington’s Disc Golf Course, Killington
Killington’s disc golf course offers a view of the mountain mixed with challenging obstacles and unique features. The course starts at the K-1 lodge and plays across Snowdon Mountain, looping around the back nine start, working its way toward Snowshed before descending back to the K-1 Lodge through the woods. Many of the holes are farther apart and, combined with a variety of incline and decline shots due to the ski-resort setting. www.killington.com
Okemo Resort Disc Golf Courses, Ludlow
Okemo Resort offers 27 holes of disc golf arranged in and around the Jackson Gore area at Okemo Mountain Resort. The Maples course features 18 holes and starts in front of the Jackson Gore Inn. The course winds around the property, across the Inn Bound ski trail, over the Coleman Brook and through trees, while the newer Saplings course is an easier nine holes constructed entirely of maple sugaring equipment, located well within the wide open Inn Bound trail.www.okemo.com
The Quarries Disc Golf Course, Websterville
This public course offers 18 free holes, with options to shorten it if time is limited. Designers have figured out eight configurations that allow folks to circle back to the parking lot from various baskets. The course includes a signature hole that plays over a quarry with a distance of 130 feet.
Hunter Park Disc Golf Course, Manchester
Hunter Park DGC, on the grounds around Riley Rink in Manchester, features three long, open holes followed by shorter, tighter holes as the course enters the woods behind the rink. Holes 8 and 9 open up again, but be warned – basket placements on holes 6-9 will punish overthrows. www.rileyrink.com
White River Disc Golf Course, Randolph
This is a mostly-flat and heavily wooded course with a technical shot over a river. www.gmdgc.com
Base Camp Outfitters Disc Golf Course, Killington
With a course length of 5,273 feet and a variety of fun and challenging obstacles, this course is a must for all disc golf enthusiasts, says our resident disc golf enthusiast. This advanced level course winds through wooded Nordic ski trails and hilly forests with well-maintained fairways and tee pads. Discs and tips on how to get into the sport are available at the nearby Base Camp Outfitters store at the base of the Killington Mountain Road at the junction of Routes 4 and 100. www.basecampvt.com
Center Chains Disc Golf Course, Waterbury Center
One of the oldest courses in the state, the Waterbury course is composed of a mix of open and lightly wooded holes against the foothills of the Green Mountains. Elevation changes, a mountain creek and plentiful trees all add to the challenge. The course also hosts the yearly spring Sap Bucket Open and the annual Fall Platter.
Black Falls Disc Golf Course, Montgomery
With 36 holes and two course options of either 6,750 feet or 4,356 feet, these courses offer technical and diverse challenges. The Black Falls course includes two man-made ponds located on a hilly, wooded landscape along with manicured fairways for open shots and beautiful surroundings. The shorter course, Cherry Hill, is located close by.
Trapp Family Lodge Disc Golf Course, Stowe
This 18-hole course starts and ends at the Trapp Family Lodge brewery with a practice space just outside of the beer garden. The first tee is on the large rocks above the practice basket. From the first tee you will drop down into the field and move counterclockwise around the two ponds. The course takes you in and out of the woods and finishes again at the DeliBakery/Brewery — a perfect way to end with a brew on the back deck overlooking the Stowe valley. www.trappfamily.com
Craftsbury Disc Club, Craftsbury
The Craftsbury Disc Club is located on 30 acres around the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. There are three tees per hole with hills, fields, trails and pine forest terrain. Some very artistic baskets were added in 2012. Regular players are encouraged to become members of the Center (info at the Center store), which has food, beverages and discs. www.craftsbury.com
Pittsford Disc Golf Course, Pittsford Recreation Park
The Pittsford Town Recreation Park is host to an 18-hole course that favors the short-to-midrange player. The holes are tightly wooded with a quick elevation changes. Two sets of tees make it a fun choice for any level of player.
Willow Park Disc Golf Course, Bennington
This is a nine-hole course that is moderately hilly, lightly wooded and winds its way around natural features in the park. Sidewalks in the park are used as tee boxes. It is an excellent course for beginners.
Johnson State College, Johnson
This 18-hole course winds around the Johnson State campus. The first nine holes are in the woods and the second half is in the open for some long distance throws.
Lyndon State College, Lyndonville
Located a short drive from Burke Mountain, the Lyndon State course features very close trees and lots of elevation. This is one course not for the faint of heart.
Wrightsville Beach, Middlesex
This is a fun disc golf course with lots of variety featuring 18 holes on a well-maintained course with four tees per hole. The park has ample parking, bathrooms, drinking water and a beach. Come by on a Sunday at 3 p.m. for the Sunday disc league. www.wrightsvillebeachvt.com