Now I know what "Very Hilly" looks like!
16 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This course is located on an exceptional piece of land. The topography and elevation really make it special.
This course takes full advantage of a tall circular bluff by running holes up, down and along the steep face. The first six holes (I played the Red Tees) start off in the "bowl" below the bluff, but still offer significant elevation changes. Not much in the way of trees down here, but the holes are challenging.
Starting at Hole 7 you go up the bluff, and start encountering more trees. The terrain is very rugged, and you need to closely watch where your discs land or you may not find them.
Depending on which holes you play at the top, you'll either be up on mostly flat ground, or playing holes which drive across canyons to baskets perched on the other side. There are a couple of amazing basket placements on the left (east) side.
The final Hole on each side is an epic drive from the top of the bluff to the basket below. Watch where it goes, because it will take you a while to get down there!
Teepads are natural, but were surprising good. For the most part they were flat and even.
I played just a few days after a weekend B-tier tournament and many of the additional signs and flags leading to the next tees were still in place, so navigation wasn't bad.
Cons: This course will work you physically. If you are not in shape it will beat you up. My wife finally gave up and went back to the truck at Hole 8.
The permanent signs are very small and mounted low to the ground. I was able to take advantage of additional taller signs left over from a weekend tournament. Without those signs I would have been hard pressed to locate several of the tees.
Other Thoughts: I would generally rate a course down for dirt tee pads, poor signage, and difficult navigation, but this one is so special based on the terrain and basket placements that I didn't use my normal criteria.
Wear boots, take water, and a spotter would be useful on a few of the holes. This would be an easy course to lose a disc or two on.
Arranging to play with a local might save you some looking around.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 5 Not
A Rough Little Diamond
Pros: Fun, diamond-in-the-rough course. Some tees were hard to find, but the course is beautiful, rugged, playing in a bowl with some small sandstone cliffs. Fantastic place to play. Some great holes off the hill, some with drop-offs, around trees. One of the tee boxes is a big slab of rock. Fun course. Watch where the discs go, though, if there is tall grass they can be hard to find.
Cons: You'd have to be pretty picky to find a con beyond the difficulty finding some of the tee boxes and baskets. I had a printed map which helped. Part of the problem is that it's just a rugged course with lots of rocks and shrubs that can make it hard to find the next tee or basket.
4 of 9 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: 1-Views......this is a breathtaking course with unbelievable views. My phone died after about 5 holes so I didn't get near the photos I wanted.
2-Physical challenge......this course is like mountain climbing meets disc golf. It is a great workout and requires some cautious planning to reach your disc for the next throw.
3-Elevation change.....extreme elevation changes makes shotmaking a blast, even on "flat" holes, there's the fear of a shot going errant and falling off a 300 foot ridge!!
Cons: The only con I have is it was difficult to know where the next hole is. When you could follow the path, it was easy, when you got into the rocks, I ended up lost, wandering around looking for any teebox.
Other Thoughts: This was a great experience for me, I had a great time but this is NOT a course for a beginner, or an out of shape moderate player!! It was extremely windy the day I was there as well, making it even more challenging but if I'm ever in Billings again, I will RUN not walk to play this course again!!
14 of 15 people found this review helpful.
26 Helpful / 1 Not
Feeding the Chipmunks
- Unique Destination Course. How often do you get to play up and down a mesa, where baskets are bolted into the side of a boulder, perched on the edge of cliffs, and hidden behind huge rocks? I guess if you're a local at Diamond X the answer "all the time". But if you're like the rest of us, this crazy concoction of basket placements is a unique disc golf playground, and destination. The uniqueness of the course made the 6 hour drive worth it for me, as well as the ability to bag another state... but, I'm weird like that.
- Talk about Top of the World Shot. That's how you finish a course! So many disc golf courses have ho-hum finishing Holes... Not Diamond X. A huge 500+, cliff shot with ~100' of elevation loss. It takes 5+ minutes to walk to your disc... that's how big it is. I wish I could have enjoyed it more (see below).
- Hole 9. The infamous Hole with the basket bolted to the side of the boulder-cliff was all that I hoped it would be. A gorgeous little shot with extreme consequences. I threw two discs at it and birdied it with both of them (one with a 20' putt from on top, and the other with a 20' steeply up putt from the bottom). Both putts were hard and had major consequences for missing. Definitely one of the most memorable holes I have ever played.
- Two Course, 1 Spot. I didn't have near enough time, or the stamina, to go for the second loop. It appeared as if both courses were extremely similar. I played the left side (as seen from the parking lot). It seemed as though this was the better side (since that's the side I saw some locals finishing up on when I was starting).
- Lots of Wildlife and Scenery. You wouldn't think it, standing in the parking lot, but there is an abundance of wildlife out there. My buddy wasn't golfing, he was instead taking pictures. He got a bunch of different birds and insects... and some wonderful scenery shots.
- How Many Blind Baskets is Too Many Blind Baskets? I didn't count, but there must have been 14 blind basket locations on the course. I have two issues with this at Diamond X. 1. You have to walk nearly every fairway twice... a strenuous task. And 2. With so many blind pin positions, navigation becomes rough.
- Navigation. Because of the number of blind pin positions, and natural tee-pads, navigation for a first timer is extremely difficult. (And, I had a MAP... AND, I've played tons of courses, in a lot of places, by myself). Here's how the course goes:
You have to locate the natural tee-pad (small signs help you know you're arrived when present). But, since the pin is blind, you have to go scout for the pin, climbing up, over and around rocks... then you have to walk back and throw your shot... turn around and climb back up, over and around the rocks to find your disc... finish out. Then, usually, you have to go scout for the next tee-pad. (repeat process).
Usually I wouldn't get irritated at this sort of thing, but the strenuousness of the scouting takes it toll... scouting, combined with the heat, and some nasty ass Taco Bell lunch, let's just say that I fed the chipmunks when I...
- Puked My Brains Out on the tee-pad of 18. I had been feeling woozy since about the 5th Hole, after my 5th scouting mission... bit I guess my brain told my body to hold off so I could finish out the course that I had driven so far to bag. Literally, seconds after I threw my drive (the amount of time it took my disc to hit the ground), I let 'er rip. It was amazing! (the vomit, not the shot - the shot was decent).
- Breweries. Billings had several breweries in a nice little downtown area. We went to Carter's Brewery... 12 different beers on tap and in a little hole-in-the-wall location. My beer tasted good... even though I had puked my brains out in their parking lot ten minutes prior (still a little wore out from Diamond X... or was it the Taco Bell???).
- You Could Die. I mean... you could easily fall off a cliff and die. Or, you could suffer from heat exhaustion and die. Or, if you're out of shape (like I guess I am now), you could go into cardiac arrest and die! Or, you could get bit by a rattlesnake, go into cardiac arrest while suffering from heat exhaustion and fall off a cliff and die. But, FUCK IT, It's Diamond X... a great destination course.
My Score: a miserable -4.
26 of 27 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Epic and Extreme
Pros: This is absolutely a one-of-a-kind course. You will never play anything like The X anywhere else in the world. You start in the bottom of a large valley with cliffs gradually steepening to vertical 270 degrees around you. Both of the front 9's play up the valley and up and down the cliffs themselves. Then the back 9's follow along the edges on top of the Rimrocks.
There are numerous shots that you will never see anywhere else. Up cliffs, down cliffs, over giant boulders, around trees, over ridges...there is a little bit of everything.
The two 18's play from opposite sides of the valley from the top of the cliffs. One is a 520' shot and the other is nearly 800' with both having roughly 250' of elevation loss. There isn't really anything like these shots anywhere I have ever played.
Hole 16 on the Black course is called "Scare Tactics" because the only real line is a 320' RHBH hyzer that you start out over a 300' drop-off and bring back onto the top of the cliff.
Cons: This course has a few problems. The first is that several of the holes have teeboxes that could be termed...precarious. I don't like needing to have to conquer my fear of heights to throw a drive (25 foot cliff on the right side of the teebox with a tree on the left side).
You also need to know that there are several holes which it is possible to throw a shot and have it land hundreds and hundreds of feet from your intended landing zone down 200' of cliffs.
Other Thoughts: Make sure you bring your hiking legs. You will be climbing up and down cliffs, over huge rocks, and into large cracks. There is no water on site, so make sure you bring your own and get ready to have an extreme round.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -Holes unlike any you have ever played
-2 full 18 hole courses
-DISCatcher baskets. Some don flags when they are blind
-A different and unique challenge from anything you have ever done
Cons: -Navigation is an issue without a map or guide
-Tee pads are often just a 2x4 on the ground
-Some challenges got old, like baskets on the side of cliffs. Fun for a while, but not on every hole.
-Might break a few players
-As one local put it "Did you lose any discs or find some?"
Other Thoughts: Diamond X is the definition of a destination course. It is not something you would want as your only home course, but damn is it fun to play. The desert like rocky terrain is unforgiving, challenging, and wicked fun. The variety is immense and not found at any other course I have played. Obstacles vary from large boulders, trees, sage brush, and bottomless pits.
We did not have a guide, but we were able to find every hole on the 'left' 18 hole course, which is the only one we played. The 'right' front 9 is not on the map so a guide would be essential for that. We lost our map at one point and this is one of those courses where you stop playing until you go back and find it. Simple as that.
All holes present a challenge, and we felt that the front 9 was a lot more 'fun' than the back 9. These holes wind up and down the side of the cliff, with baskets perched on top of rocks, behind house sized boulders, in crevasses, under trees, and even bolted to the side of a 15 foot cliff. While exhausting, each hole was really really cool and an absolute pleasure to play.
The back half of the course is where we started having less fun. I realize that this place wants to be 'the most extreme course ever ever' but it became a bit ridiculous. None of the holes require you to follow any lines or have intuitive design, you can generally throw however you want to, just make sure you don't go over the cliff. There are few obstacles other than the looming abyss. In addition to the already inherent challenges, high winds are not uncommon at the top.
Many of the holes on the top of this ridge have baskets very close to the edge of precarious cliffs. I'm not just talking a small cliff either, if your disc sails off the edge, provided you can find it, it will take you at least twenty minutes round trip to go get it. These holes provided no other challenge other than not tossing your disc over the edge. Hole 11 could have had a play it safe option, instead of tossing over a 75 foot deep crevasse, except for the wall of pine trees preventing that from happening. I guess what I am trying to say is that 1 or 2 holes with this challenge would be fun, but it got old by the 7th occurrence. Imagine a course with a lake that just shot back and forward across the lake. Kind of the same idea with this cliff.
A couple of LONG open shots exist on top of the mesa, and these are cool, but the 3 foot tall sage brush makes finding any toss a challenge. Eye very closely where your disc lands and do NOT forget where it is.
The back 9 of the course on the 'right side' of the property was a more enjoyable round, purely because there was less risk. Some of the holes had some considerable risks when it came to driving, but it was nice approaching the pin and seeing that it was not a 'make it or die' shot. Like I said, a couple are fun but not the whole course. The 'top of the world' hole 18 shot is much longer than the other side of the course, and not nearly as fun. That being said, it rates up there among the most badass shots I have ever played. All in all, I think your typical amateur player would enjoy the 'right' option for the back 9. Note that holes 16 and 17 are not where the map say they are.
Hole 18 (left) is the really the most amazing downhill shot you will ever play. 724' with about 150' loss, off the side of the mesa. Chuck a few, provided your willing to look for them. This hole shoots over a couple of holes in the front nine; look for people, because if your disc goes rogue, you may just kill somebody. No joke.
A guide could really help you play this course safely, although route finding is possible with a map and some common sense. Maps are available to print here at DGCR, and Base Camp in Billings will print one up for you if you don't have access to a printer. They have a great selection of discs, too.
I really feel the profile here should be split into two separate courses to allow for different reviews, as there are actually 2 courses here (or 4 separate 9's, however your brain sees things).
I don't know if my review comes off as complaining, but my intent is more to warn players that you WILL probably lose some plastic. And hey, you might find some too. Bring LOTS of water in the summertime. A gallon per person is not unreasonable for each round played. Realign your schedule, change your plans, and find a way to get out here to play this truly remarkable course.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Breathtaking scenery. I would have a good time climbing and hiking all over this place even if I wasn't playing dg. Very challenging overall. Very unique basket placement. Easy to spot baskets due to the bright yellow tops. I love how some tee "pads" are just the edge of a cliff.
Cons: Very poor signage. Even with a map I printed out before I got there, we couldn't really find our way around. First day we played the first nine. Last day we managed to find all but one hole on one of the back nines. Needs signs on tee boxes and directions to the next hole. Very easy to lose a disc here. Lots of bushes and brush to lose them in.
Other Thoughts: I will never forget this course. Where I live in MN, there are dozens of great courses, but none are anywhere as unique as Diamond X. It's almost ridiculous when you play the first time. Seems impossible to keep going up, and then you're at the top throwing off the edge of cliffs. Safety be damned, but that's what makes this park so awesome. Don't even think of playing this course if you're not in shape, because you need to rock climb your way to your discs and to the next hole. I played in early October, so it was too cold for rattlesnakes and I didn't need tons of water.
A couple things I'll never forget:
One the hole with the basket bolted to the side of the cliff, I landed directly under the basket. below the cliff. It was crazy-windy that day, so I measured the wind and tossed my disc standing on edge straight up. The wind caught it like a sail, and slammed it "chink" right in.
Then on one of the holes traveling to the left along the top of the bluffs, my friend threw a terrible hyzer shot when he didn't mean to. The second he let it go I knew we'd never see it again. It sailed up and way left on its own, then the crazy wind grabbed it and sent it way, way , waaaay off the cliff to the left and continuing to turn left all the time. When it finally landed, it was about 200 ft below us, 200 ft to the left of the cliff wall, and 400 ft BEHIND us. We looked for half and hour but never found it. I did find two other discs I gave to him, so you know other people have done the same thing.
I would gladly give this course a 5-star rating if it had signs with maps at each tee and something to point to the next hole near the baskets.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful.
21 Helpful / 0 Not
I was wandering, thirsty, lost, and amazed
Pros: Scenic Vistas. Wonderful views from above on the cliffs looking down on the valley below, cool looking up at those Wile E. Coyote cliffs from below, and gazing out across the endless Montana plains/desert from the high plateau above. Unparalleled elevation changes. Often throwing straight up as if mountain climbing and then dropping straight down as if repelling. Throwing across the cliffs with true danger for errant throws. Diabolical but beautiful basket locations; tucked behind huge boulders, perched on cliffs, bolted to tops of boulders and mountainsides. Never have I seen/played anything like it. Disc golf park mostly. An access trail intersects the course but is barely traveled, does not interupt play and those who use it are familiar with disc golf. The chance to throw off a real mountain to a wide open desert below. Home of the 726 foot ace! There are no man made structures to impede the wide open throwing experience. No power lines, poles, ski lifts, wires, highways, water towers, pipelines, etc that usually accomodate such wide open elevated terrain back east. Woodsy Easterners know what I am talking about.
Cons: I played in July. It was hot and dry. There is no water. No water to play over, no water to drink, no water period. I ran out of water 9 holes in. Do not underestimate the effect this can have on your enjoyment factor. Running out of water was my fault. Being Lost most of the day was not. The course is poorly marked and with 2 back nines rather than a 27 hole loop it is very confusing to a first timer. Since there is only low scrub brush and it is everywhere there are no defineable fairways to give you a hint. I more or less scanned the horizon for a basket then aimlessly walked around and stumbled upon a teepad and guessed perhaps they went together. I was wrong a few times. I know I did not play the course properly. Oh well. The hard rocky surface induces shots to skip and beats up your discs and body. With the open sky I would have enjoyed some huge bomber type holes other than the dream off the cliff throw. Not real technical outside of the difficult approaches.
Other Thoughts: Despite all of my previous whining, I played on. I was inspired by the dramatic scenery and the almost comical extremeness of this course. I was deliriously dehydrated and laughing to myself......"theres a basket up there bolted to that cliff..hahahaha".....Whoever dreamed and dared to create this course, Thank You! Many of the holes would never be built where I come from. They would say it was too ridiculous or too hazardous. Not here, it seems anything goes and I loved it. I can't forgive/forget about the frustration about being lost. That kind of gnawed at me all day and spoiled my fun. This should be no reason to not play this course. If your in Eastern Montana, bring a map, lots of water, plenty of premium discs, your sense of adventure and be prepared to leave with a skyful of memories!
21 of 21 people found this review helpful.
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