I stumbled across the Ring Homestead Camp a few years ago while trying to locate a field close to my cousin's house in Monroe. The two of us traveled up there on a beautiful Saturday morning (I live in NYC so the drive took a little longer for me), and had a great paintball experience.
Since then, I've gone countless times with large private groups and small public groups; veterans and rookies. Everyone always loves it. The staff is usually friendly as is Eric, the owner (whenever he's around).
The last time I went, however (8/12/06), things changed:
The staff was inattentive and spent more time horsing around with each other than reffing the games. On several occasions, we were stuck waiting up to 20 minutes to start a game because our ref was MIA and no others were available to watch us. We ended up just playing on our own until the ref was kind enough to join us.
At one point during the day, I found myself yelling "PAINT CHECK" to our refs who were busy having their own shoot out at the other end of the field. Not cool.
The paint cost $65/case. Reasonable, right? Not when it's no-name WalMart paint that's sold in bags that look like the leftovers from past games (HotSpot). The balls were covered in pock marks, seems, and bulges. When I complained about it at the front desk, they told me I always had the option of buying the more expensive Evils for $85/case. How convenient.
Ring's paint policy is that you can only use field paint that was purchased at Ring within one year of purchase. "Thank God," I thought. I brought two bags of premium paint that I purchased from them only two months prior. After buying a case of the garbage paint, I thought I would first use up my old paint, then crack open the case if I needed more. No sooner did I fire the first few shots (my fill was blue while everyone else's was white), did the ref stop the game to check everyone's hoppers for illegal paint. We got into a tiff on the field and he eventually let us continue playing.
At the end of the day, I tried to return the SEALED case of garbage paint that I didn't need, and they gave me a hard time about returns. They said I could leave the case there and use it next time I come. Ha! I told him if I'm going to be muscled into using crap, it might as well be new. I didn't leave until they reluctantly refunded my money.
A message to the owner
I spent A LOT of money on my milsim A-5; more money than I care to admit. I enjoy paintball very much and I expect the field I play at be professional with their attitudes and their prices. Eric, if you read this, get a tighter grip on your people and stop skimping on the paint. When I started coming to your place, I was able to get a case of yellow Evils for $45. I realize prices will always go up, but let's be reasonable.
I'll be visiting Ring Homestead Camp again this Sunday (8/27/06). If things have improved, I'll make the necessary amendments to this review. Otherwise, I'll take the 40+ people that I usually play with, and we'll find another field to call home.
EDIT made 8/30/06
The Return to Ring 8/27/06
Our next trip back to Ring Homestead Camp was a productive one. The rain was falling in sheets but we braved it and headed out to the fields, regardless. To my surprise, Eric read my original review and had the staff call him when I got there so he could discuss the issues I raised (he was at work and unable to make it in person). We spoke at length; the following is a summary of what was said:
He admitted that my gripe with the conduct of the staff was justified and would see to it that it never happened again. I believe him since we've never had less than 100% service during our prior visits.
He assured me that he never had any complaints about the paint, but judging from the comment left by sinter, I'm inclined to believe that it's more of a case of no one speaking up about it. Seeing as how it was raining so hard I considered buying windshield wipers for my goggles, we bought the HotSpot paint again. Water/humidity will ruin any paintball so there was no point wasting the money on premium paint. I'll wait until the weather is nicer before puting this stuff to the test again.
At the end of the day we marked the case we didn't finish (although we did open it), and gave it to the staff so they could store it for us for next time.
The service this time around was definitely better and I was glad to see that my comments weren't written in vain. The staff was attentive and we had a good time, notwithstanding the rain. We will certainly come back to Ring but might try a few other fields first to see how they stack up against Ring's high standards.
I changed my Field Rating from a 6 to an 8.
EDIT made 4/22/08
It's been quite a while since my last update but I'm happy to report that Ring Homestead Camp is probably the the nicest and most accomodating woodsball field that I've played at in a long time. Since my team (Brooklyn Raiders) started playing there, we couldn't be happier.
The staff is attentive and creative; contantly working with us to develop new and innovative ideas for scenarios and team exercises. We have intuitive conversations during the breaks and they are always willing to help when a marker needs repair.
The paint is now reasonably priced and always top-notch. During the past two years, none of us has had any complaints at all.
Excellent work, Eric. Thanks for providing an exciting and safe environment for us to enjoy our great sport
I changed my Field Rating from an 8 to a 10.
Last edited on Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008 at 4:28 pm PST
I was up at ring homestead on the same Saturdays as you. In fact I might have played with your group. I have to agree with most of what you said. I've been going to Ring Homestead almost every other week for the last six to eight months. That particular Saturday was an aberration. I agree with you, that the refs were out of control. Every time I've been to Ring Homestead I've always tipped the refs on the way out. This was the first time since I've been there that I didn't tip the ref. As far as the paint goes, I've spoken to Eric about it and he's looking into other brands of paint than the Hot Spot. He came up to me unsolicited and asked me about the paint because he had heard there were problems. I truly believe he's doing his best to try to resolve the paint issue. I've been to Ring Homestead at least 20 times, and that Saturday was truly an out of the ordinary experience. I urge you to not give up on them as I've had 19 out of 20 good experiences there. For the most part the refs are great and truly try to do a good job.