Disc Golf: Fun is Par for the Course
- David Ginisi
Try to imagine a golf course with no expansive fairways, meticulously-maintained greens, or devilishly-placed bunkers.
Visualize, instead, a wooded hillside, with trails carefully carved out through the underbrush, and “greens” situated atop large rocks, with spectacular country views.
Got the picture? You’re ready for a round of disc golf — and North Central Massachusetts is the place to be when you want to play a socially-distanced round or two. Or more. Forget the heavy bag of clubs; grab a lightweight set of discs and you’re on your way.
Here’s a bonus: You can play any time of the year! Stay cool under the leafy forest canopy on a hot summer day. Bask in the beauty of fabulous New England foliage in the fall. Crunch through a crust of snow on a wintry afternoon. Enjoy the magical greening of trees and unfolding of flowers in the spring.
Where can you find these super sporting spots? They’re tucked away in communities throughout the region, as diverse as the Royalston Fish & Game Club in Phillipston, where the course winds through an old wooded hunting ground, and Coggshall Park, a popular municipal park in Fitchburg known for its summer concerts on the shores of Mirror Lake. No matter where you play, the scenery is bound to be beautiful, with meadows and cliff faces, streams and forest glades.
Although there are a few nine-hole courses in Massachusetts, all the current local courses are 18 holes, with pars ranging from 55 to 59 — and are easily played in under two hours when you head out with a friend for a sociable round. With the rising popularity of the game — especially in these COVID-challenged days when some fresh-air time is so welcome — it’s great to have a variety of courses to play. You won’t break the bank, either, since course fees range from free to somewhere under ten bucks for a full day of play. And once you get hooked, stick around, join a league, and sign up for a tournament to put your skills to the test.
Need some gear? Not a problem! Rising local interest in the game is being met by Disc Golf 978 in Fitchburg, which quickly found a niche in supplying equipment for courses and players alike, but has also taken a lead in supporting area courses and events.
Okay, it’s tee time! Check out these local courses:
Coggshall Park Disc Golf Course, South Street, Fitchburg. This 18-hole course winds through the heavily-wooded park that covers 250 acres in the heart of the city. Along with the relatively new course, the city-owned park includes a playground, softball field and lake. 5,278 feet, par 56.
Devens – The General, and The Hill, Exit 37B (Jackson Road) off Route 2. There are two courses at the former Fort Devens Army base. The Hill, the original course at the site, was created on an old military training hill, and is a wooded, rocky par 55 course of 4,645 feet. The General, built in 2013, has longer holes, and is very hilly and very wooded, so be prepared for some exercise! 5,689 feet, par 56.
Flat Rock Disc Golf Course on Flat Rock Road in Athol was established in 1999. It’s billed as “a tight and technical course which showcases the natural beauty of the land,” which is mostly flat and wooded. 6,078 feet, par 59.
Royalston Fish & Game Club Disc Golf Course, 49 Main Road, Phillipston. A hidden gem north of Route 2, the course features primarily tight wooded holes, a ”great deal” of elevation change throughout its 18 hole layout, and some baskets perched atop small, scenic cliff faces. Par 59.
Story by: Pat Gale