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.
5 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Almost every hole is a one of a kind! Almost every hole is attainable for a thrower with a 325' arm. Truly an amazing experience. Creates an "adventure" in disc golfing more than a simple stop by experience.
Baskets in, on and hidden by giant boulders. Throwing along a ledge on the side of a cliff, Throwing off the side of a giant butte, Throwing from the side of a cliff, throwing across a 300' (down) ravine, - all some of the wild highlights.
Cons: This course is truly a hiker's dream. Beyond the first few holes, the rest were set into the side of the butte (bluff) that rises hundreds of feet upward. Some holes were poorly marked, and someone with a fear of heights would have problems at times. Wind was daunting at times and YOU WILL LOSE A DISC (or more) THE FIRST TIME.
Other Thoughts: A must play for anyone in the area, traveling through the area, or is willing to drive to the area. ABSOLUTE MUST PLAY.
First - The positives.
Amazing hole shots... Off the side of a mountain, across impossible to retrieve lost disc ravines, up craggy rock faces, etc. Truly a rustic "day hike" masquerading as a disc golf course. I have a 350' FH/BH with a Teebird and i used it a lot. Nearly all of the holes were within this range. So many memorable teeshots i am still blown away.
the negatives -
on the day i came, the wind got to make the course almost unplayable. A lot of shots where an average skilled player would make (across an impossible ravine, etc) became "throw your hardest into the 30mph headwind and hope you dont lose your disc."
- warm and dry. You WILL need to bring water, none on site.
- if it's hot: fear rattlesnakes, they will be around!
Print out the map, but understand it's more of a "suggestion" than a map. Follow the worn footpaths, (usually) they lead you to the next hole. Sometimes, i had to "guess" at a teepad, no all were clearly marked.
As a travelor, for the first time, 3-5 discs would be ok. Dont really focus on precision and getting a good score, just focus on finding the next hole, and "surviving" the course. Most holes will be a "challenging" 3, but still a 3 (or 4). Once you have played once, it will get a lot easier and less awe inspiring. I would NOT bring any disc you dont want to lose. Playing with a "local" or someone who has played the course would make a HUGE difference!
For the first time, i'd recommend waiting for a local (if they show). I spent a lot of time "searching" for the next teepad (even with the map).
For the locals, it would be a lot nicer if you painted one of the inner spokes of the basket and used it to point to the next hole (maybe a few words on directions?)...the first time around, i spent as much time searching for "the next hole" as i did playing. (4 hours total).
If the heat subsides, the wind calms down and i get time, i will surely play again. The first time was a wild "experience" of figuring it out, surviving the quest, and throwing in situations you've (probably) only dreamed of. The next time it will be a lot more fun as the "experience" will fade and i can spend more time actually playing DG and focusing on it's principles.
in regards to the "hike", we played with a heavy set girl (maybe 50-60lbs heavy) and she managed. She was more worried about being "top heavy" and slipping more than anything else. She was tired at the end, but she made the hike up and down the giant butte. She WAS breathing heavy, tired, dehydrated, and her feet hurt, but she survived...
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Playing this course does for disc golf what Alice and Wonderland did for movies...provides an amazing journey. Elevation, tee boxes on the tops of boulders, throwing up the sides of cliffs, long throws, short throws and a final hurl off the ledge of a 200' cliff to end this epic journey.
Cons: It can be extremely hot in the summer and it's possible to lose your disc in a crevice/crack. The terrain seems like the perfect place to find rattlers on a nature hike so be careful (we didn't see any).
Other Thoughts: I travel a lot for a living and would fly back to Billings, MT again just to play this course...and to indulge in the many local breweries this area has to offer after completing one of the most challenging courses out there.
4 of 4 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.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
EPIC, EXTREME, MEMORABLE
Pros: Absolutely ridiculous! This is the most extreme course you will ever play. Located in the beautiful and scenic middle of nowhere Montana, DA X is the epitome of extreme disc golf. You will be challenged in ways you never would think of when playing 90% of courses. Let's first begin with the design of the course. The course plays in between two canyons where you will play on a desert like ground area for a warm -up of this treacherous course. You will then play (climb) your way up each hole to you are at the top of the canyon/cliffs. From there you are able to play shooting up and down this canyon as well as shoot shots with 100 ft drop offs next to you. (I did have the privilege to throw a disc off the cliff, well worth losing it though). When you approach hole 18 you must jump to a stand alone rock face (don't fall in the crevasse). From there you shoot 200ft up to a hole 725ft away. This IS the most epic hole I have ever played. Your disc will stay in the air and sailing for what seems days. It can be a pain to climb all the way down and find your disc, but well worth it.
Most of the basics have holes have flags so you will be able to see the basket. The course is extremely natural which really adds to the experience. The elevation on this course is unlike any other you are shooting up and down the side of a cliff in a canyon….need I say more. When it comes to epic holes, they all are. As explained before 18 has it all, and if I had to add a second epic hole. #9's basket is attached to the side of a cliff which offers a great risk reward shot which you will find on many holes throughout the course.
The variety of hole distance ranges from 200-700 feet as well as a variety of shots required to get through this rugged terrain. The mix of technical and open holes is amazing. The technicality of the holes is an experience in itself that most people can't really be prepared for.
Cons: Now comes the con aspect of the course. It really hurts me to have to put in any cons to this course, because I think its difficulty, fun level, and uniqueness puts this course in a category of its own. The main con of this course is navigating through the course. A course map is a must or you will not be able to navigate past hole 3 guaranteed. The problem with the map is that it can be confusing when trying to find all 36 holes. If you have a way to play with someone who has played there before, do so. There are tee signs which are very simple, but do the job. Some would say the absence of tee pads is a con, but I didn't mind it at all on this course. I think it added to the natural aspect of the course, although there a few tee pads where a tee pad would have helped with my grip when I was shooting on the side of a cliff. Also be aware of the two color baskets because on the ground level there are two sets of 9 holes.
Other Thoughts: This course is in a league of its own. The natural beauty, crazy views, and gorgeous landscape alone make for an amazing experience. Then you add an amazing course that as a difficulty of a 5 and you are in heaven. There is plenty of parking at the front of the course. There are people also using the area of horseback riding, hang gliding, and hiking so be aware of them, but feel free to talk to them because all of the locals were very friendly. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes and able to climb. It is really hard for me to not give this course a perfect 5, but there are a few minuscule things that deduct from it a little. If you are in the area of Billings, heck, any states surrounding Montana you NEED to come and play this course. Also after a very long round 3hr easy, go to downtown Billings and grab a burger from Hooligans, there amazing.
11 of 11 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.
12 Helpful / 1 Not
CAUTION - Great Course, Not for Everyone
Pros: Redefines the category of what a disc golf course can be.
Let me repeat that:
Redefines the category of what a disc golf course can be.
Great hole designs
Diamond X truly reflects the state of Montana. This course is Montana in a nutshell: rugged, big, dangerous, challenging and super gnar. Oh, and fun.
Cons: Teepads are dangerous.
Do not attempt to play this course if you are afraid of heights and you are unable to navigate steep terrain and boulders.
The course is not well marked, play your first round with a local, if possible.
Other Thoughts: Some basic climbing skills are necessary to enjoy your experience.
This course is sick, twisted, dangerous, challenging, amazing, beautiful and fun all in one. I am a relatively fit and extreme sports loving individual so this is my ideal course. If I could only play one course for the rest of my life this would be the one.
The only thing it needs to do better is have more consistent tee pads.
For the weak at heart I suppose some rails, walkways and other safety measures could go in, but I personally don't need that stuff.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful.
18 Helpful / 0 Not
A Unique Experience
Pros: - an exotic environment that you won't get from any other course
- two front nines and two back nines make for 4 different 18 hole layouts
- some beautiful pin positions and very creative holes
- lots of wind on top of the canyon makes the Original Back 9 and New Back 9 very challenging
Cons: - if you throw and DX or X plastic, the rocks will destroy your discs, so don't use them
- some of the tees are hard to locate because the signs are just plastic covered pieces of paper left over from the Montana State Championships in July
- lots of wind on top of the canyon can make for lots of lost or unretrievable discs because they simply fly to places that you cannot get to without climbing equipment
Other Thoughts: It can get VERY hot and dry during a round out here, especially if you're playing all 36 holes, so make sure you bring a Camelbak or a water bottle of some sort.
Make sure you wear good shoes and socks because the Original Front 9 is a hike! You'll be up and down the left side of the canyon for 9 holes, over big rocks and shale, and occasionally you need to climb a little bit too.
The New Front 9 is longer than the Original Front, and doesn't play with as much elevation as it progresses along the right side of the canyon.
The Original Back 9 is longer and plays back along the top of the canyon, above the Original Front. Be careful on about half of these holes because you're forced to throw out over the open air and let the wind push your disc back onto the top of the canyon. Make sure you give yourself enough clearance or you won't see your disc again.
I think the New Back 9 is much more fun than the Original Back, because its not as dangerous as far as losing discs, and it allows you to be a little more creative with your shots. Both hole 18s throw off the top of the canyon to the same basket in the bottom of the canyon.
Diamond X is simply a disc golf experience that you won't find anywhere else, and an extremely quality course to boot. Worth a road trip and going out of your way for, this course is easily in my Top 25.
18 of 18 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 5 Not
should be double diamond x
Pros: Everything you want and more! Scenery, challenge, fun; it's like Michael Bay make a folf course!
Cons: Difficulty of holes and just finding holes can be exasperating for first time players. Beware the rattlesnakes!
Other Thoughts: The best course in the state by far! If you're not up to the adventure stay in town and play the course by Billings Senior High School. Going with a local is advisable.
3 of 8 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Spectacular scenery,a most challenging course utilizing the natural terrain.Unique pin placements and tee areas above,below and alongside the rimrock of a butte in Montana.An absolute must for a disc golf fan when visiting the Billings area
Cons: Since it is not necessarily a "walk in the park" type course it is difficult to follow the first time
Other Thoughts: This course offers a special challenge which is a must for the avid disc golfer.Prompted by an annual flyfishing trip to the area I look forward to this course as much as I do the fishing.
6 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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