10 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: *DISCLAIMER- I am the Ausable Chasm Recreation Manager and DGC Designer.*
CONSTANT COURSE IMPROVEMENTS- Regular maintenance such as thinning trees in dense areas, raking, shoveling pads in winter and garbage pickup as well as work on the future holes shows that admission fees are going back into the course. Course went through a major cleanup and some slight hole redesigns in October 2012 (not reflected in any of the previous reviews).
PRO SHOP with snacks, drinks, camping supplies and a large selection of DGA discs.
MOTEL, CAMPING AND THE CHASM- Lots of other non-dg stuff to do here (hiking the scenic Ausable Chasm trails, rafting, tubing, rappelling, mountain biking...) makes this a great DG camping destination. Motel and cabins for those that don't like to rough it.
NIGHT GOLF- Every Saturday in the summer months we put LED lanterns on the baskets for glow golf (disc lights for sale and discs with light pods for rent at office) and offer complimentary guided rounds for those that don't know the course well.
ACTIVE CLUB- The Adirondack Disc Golf Association has over 75 members, many of whom play regular bag tag rounds here. Post on the ADKDGA facebook page if you want to hook up a round with the locals or check out the almost monthly tournaments the club puts on including the extreme "Steady Ed Safari" tourney with holes that play over, through, up, down and around the 150 foot cliffs in the actual Ausable Chasm Natural Attraction.
LAYOUT is easy to follow with no long walks between holes and the next tees easy to find.
TEE SIGNS are fairly detailed showing shape of hole along with distance for all tees. On front 9 TEE SIGNS ARE ONLY AT GOLD AND BLUE TEES so if you are playing white or red be sure to stop and look at signs as you walk by gold or blue.
SCORECARD WITH MAP available at Pro Shop and at sign-in kiosk.
18 BASKETS, BUT PLAYS LIKE 3 DIFFERENT 9'ers - I recommend playing 27 holes while you are here, 2 different loops on the full-length front 9 and one on the shorter back 9 (soon we will be adding 9 more long holes to connect to the front 9 and the current back 9 will be a numbered as a separate shorter 9 hole beginner/warm-up course).
4 TEE POSITIONS on the front 9, with most of the holes having 2 distinct fairways to the pin. Red (short) and blue (long) tees are on the wider fairways and white (short) and gold (long) are on the narrower fairways. Be warned: the gold tees are really difficult with long, skinny fairways that force very specific shaped shots and sometimes the landing zones cannot be seen from the tees. On the other side of the spectrum, I tried to design the short red tees to NOT force specific kinds of shots. I usually recommend the blue and white tees to most average players.
VARIETY OF TEE SHOTS- The double fairways were designed to look like Y's, V's and U's to make playing from different tees feel like playing different holes. On "Y" fairways the tees have different angles off the drive, but similar looks at the approach and putt (holes 1, 2, 7 & 9). "V" fairways have different drive and approach angles, but similar putts (holes 5 & 8). "U" fairways have different drive, approach and putt angles (holes 3, 4 & 6). While many courses boast a variety of shots from hole to hole, this course has variety from tee to tee! Hole 1 for instance is a RHBH anhyzer S-turn from gold, a RHBH hyzer-flip from blue, a RHFH from white and a simple straight shot from the red. Many players have said that the course favors RHFH but I disagree. The course punishes those without a good flick (RH or LH) but would equally punish someone without a decent backhand. Several of the tee shots that favor RHFH simply don't give you enough room for RHBH anhyzers, but there are just as many tees that favor RHBH that would be very difficult to flick.
DENSE TREES IN THE ROUGH- The course is built on a pine tree plantation with trees that were planted very close together. The fairways have been widened to give enough room for fair flight paths but if you go off the fairway the trees are so close that the pockets between them are very small. This makes for very difficult recovery shots. Some of the tree jails are more like maximum security prisons! Many who have played here see this as a con but from a designers standpoint it is a huge pro because it rewards those that stay in the designed fairway and punishes bad shots and those that try to sneak around dog legs through the woods. Players with great accuracy will enjoy the challenging recovery shots but those that can't thread narrow shots back to the fairway may have a difficult time. Also the obstacles are large tree trunks not branches that can be broken or saplings that can be trampled.
GOOD USE OF THE LITTLE ELEVATION- A small portion of the course has elevation change of about 10 feet and I incorporated it as much a possible. Hole 1 plays downhill, hole 2 plays up, hole 3 plays down and back up the little dip in the land and hole 6's basket has a little slope off behind it that makes for a slight uphill putt if you go long. Much more elevation to come in the future expansion.
NO UNDERBRUSH- The tall pines choke all the sunlight from hitting the ground in this forest creating almost no underbrush (the exception being off the fairway on hole 2). The only discs that get lost here are ones you forgot you threw or overhand shots that get stuck in the tree branches.
LITTLE WIND- The thick layers of trees that surround the course really buffer the wind so that even on really gusty days you see the trees swaying here but the wind doesn't penetrate into the course enough to have much effect on discs. Obviously some people love the challenge wind presents but this course is challenging enough without it.
SHADE- The branches on the pines in the plantation are way up above normal flight paths and form a canopy over the fairways, which is great on hot summer days.
ACE RUNS GALORE- The back 9 (soon to be a separate course) is great for beginners, campers trying dg for the first time, kids, warm up rounds, speed rounds and for your ace count. This 9 has only red and white tees with the white being a little longer (avg 192 ft) and more technical than the red (avg 166ft). The holes are short enough that I consider the red tees to be challenging par 2s for blue level players and the white tees to be challenging par 2s for gold level pros (not on scorecard as such but it makes it more mentally challenging to think of it this way).
TEE VARIETY- Most of the white tees require completely different shot choices and lines to the basket from the red tees.
PROGRESSION- As a true warm-up/learning course should, the holes gets progressively longer and more challenging. The first couple holes are super short (red tees only 126 & 148ft) then the next few holes get a little longer (160's reds/170-200 whites) with added challenges like the uphill "S" shaped fairway and elevated basket on 12, the blind downhill dogleg on 13 & heavily tree protected green on 15. Then the last 3 holes are more legit lengths (218, 198 & 270 ft from whites) to get you ready to move on to the full length course.
Cons: TOO FLAT- This will be resolved when the next 9 holes go in as they will feature significant elevation changes.
TEE PADS- Pads are all natural for now. The newer pads on back 9 are a little uneven still, but front 9 pads are fairly flat and smooth. Some sort of pads (probably crushed stone) will be added soon.
LANDSCAPING still needs some work. You can tell the course is still a work in progress when you play here with some brush and log piles off the fairways that are in the process of being cleaned up. We are also working on woodchipping the greens and lining paths to next tees with logs.
Other Thoughts: LOOKS & FEELS TIGHTER THAN IT IS- The way the pines were planted so close and the way the branches are way up overhead gives the course on almost claustrophobic feel. There is plenty of room to make the shots but even the widest of the fairways don't feel like open golf.
RATING- I did this review to give the designers perspective not to influence or inflate the rating. As the designer I tend to see the course through the veil of my vision for its future rather than how other golfers see it on their first round here. I'd like to give it a 4 because I truly love playing here, but I rated the course a 3.5 based on the average of the others that have reviewed it so far.
FREE FOR CAMPERS- Day guests must purchase admissions/parking permits at Campground Office (mid-May thru mid-Oct) or at the Ausable Chasm Welcome Center (mid-Oct thru mid-May).
MORE PLAYERS = MORE EXPANSION! The more disc golfers that visit, the more the company will put back into the course(s). I have a master plan with 3-18 hole courses mapped out (and room for more), utilizing hundreds of acres of some really unique and currently unused terrain, but we need to see more traffic to continue expansion.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Tactical and Precise
Pros: This course requires accuracy and finesse, rather than brute strength. Leave your 'grip it and rip it' style at home when you come here. The heavily treed course requires you to look at your discs potential entire flight path, rather than just where your disc will land.
Update (7/19): The biggest Pro to this course, it is 9 holes inside the Adirondack Park. And, again, right now, any poleholes in the park are a good thing.
Cons: The course is still a work in progress and there are many obstacles, that, once cleared will prove to enhance your game here. There are a couple of holes that are hard to navigate if you are not familiar with the course.
Update (7/19): There are two holes which need to be... finished, for lack of a better word. Holes 6 and 8 both need some work at the basket area. Each of the two holes approach is heavily laden with trees... so many that it is hard to pick a line into the basket at points.
Other Thoughts: I played with the Recreation Manager who also co-designed the course, giving me a unique opportunity to see not only where the course has come from, but also where they want to go with it. This is a definite 'must play' course if you are in the area.
Update (7/19): My favorite holes would probably be Holes 3 and 7. Hole 3 is a 355' dogleg left shot from the white box. Perfect for my RHBH Champion Wraith. Hole 7 is exactly the opposite, A really nice turnover shot (for me)... Perfect for leftie LHBH or a RHFH player... Me, I turn over my Star Mako for the 223' Par 3.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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