Sometimes a gimmick is cool and sometimes a gimmick is just a gimmick.
27 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Disc golfing in a cave sounded weird and different enough that without hesitation I knew I wanted to try it, which basically makes this the definition of a "destination course." After that? I guess it depends. I did have a really good time; we got a bunch of friends together and spent a night playing a goof course in the dark laughing at discs ricocheting off cave walls and people falling down mounds of sand. The fun factor was really high (the bar on site admittedly was helping with that.) There were a couple of cool golf shots. One was an ace run with a basket on top of a mound of sand with a cave wall right behind it. When you ran it and missed, discs bounced around crazily. The rabbit hole shot on #17 was cool as well. On one hole (#13? #14? They all ran together) my disc got stuck up on a ledge. From the tee I was bumming, but once we walked up I found out there was a ladder there. I was able to retrieve my disc and take my second shot off a ledge 15' up in the air, and that was cool.
Cons: Other than the basic idea that we were playing in a cave, I pretty much hated everything about the golf. The place was marked with light bulbs in barrels, but they kept going out and leaving us searching around in the dark with flashlights. The dirty plastic barrels with numbers sloppily spray painted on them wasn't doing much for the aesthetics of the course. The cave isn't really a "cave" but asymmetrical tunnels left from a sand mining operation. There are no cool cave features here. It's just tunnel after tunnel, all of which basically looked the same. It was easy to get turned around; the flow was hard to follow in some places. In some other places you can see more than one basket and it was hard to figure out where to throw. There were some safety concerns as well; with discs bouncing around you can end up in odd spots. On hole three there was a guy in the fairway throwing his shot and we almost teed right at him. He saw us by the lighted barrel and assumed that we saw him, but he was in the dark throwing a disc with no light on it and we couldn't see him at all. You have to communicate well with the other groups on the course, something that the bar and general party atmosphere of the place doesn't help with. The tees are just sand and could have been marked better, maybe some rocks painted with fluorescent paint with some flags with reflective tape or something? We just threw by the barrel a lot of the time since we couldn't actually find a tee. There were a couple of long shots, but basically the shots were pitch 'n putt short. The shots got pretty boring pretty quick. With the right group of friends you can have a good time, but take the basic design and stick it in a park with trees in place of cave walls and there just isn't much to the golf.
Other Thoughts: There was sand everywhere and the sand got up under the tape and made the lights taped to the discs fall off over and over. You have to tape the bejeezus out of the lights to keep them on there.
I got really tired of not being able to figure out what bag was mine and where the disc I wanted to throw was in my bag. The "standing around in the dark" thing got pretty old.
We used some weird GPS directions that made us wander around a residential area up above the cave and took us down a crazy/steep gravel "road" to the parking lot. If you get directions that use VFW Drive and River Hills Road, DO NOT go that way. As dicey as the old bridge is when you tun off of Crystal Avenue, you should use it.
The courses are in flux; things get moved around fairly often. The day I was there the South course was pulled and people who had been there before said some of the North course shots had been moved. Since nothing is mounted permanently, these courses will probably change often.
As I was down in the cave, I had an epiphany: I love disc golf in part for the fresh air, chirping birds, beautiful foliage, and sights and smells you find in natural areas. The cave had none of these things, which goes a long way in explaining why I didn't seem to enjoy it as much as others have.
This course is hard to rate since it is very unique. In the end I figure the design out of the cave would be around a "2" so I'll give it a .5 for fun factor and call it a day. That is just an arbitrary number, though. Everybody who gets the chance to play this course should try it once.
UPDATE: This course is moved around a lot. When I played here in the Spring of 2014 the cool over the water shot and the rabbit hole shot at #16 & #17 were gone. All of the shots were putter/mid distances except two. It was pretty disappointing from a golf perspective.
27 of 27 people found this review helpful.
65 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: The obvious pro is that this is the 1st and ONLY subterranean disc golf course in the world. I was very fortunate to be the first ever player to tee off at this courses first public opening. It was a huge and exciting honor.
There is nothing else like it and it is seriously the coolest disc golf experience I've ever had. I'd like to get these out of the way too: "Too cold outside? Not a problem. Too hot outside? It's cool in here. Oh man, it's raining outside... oh, we can go to the cave. There's never enough daylight in the winter to get in a game after work... oh wait, CCUDGC is open until after 11pm!" Thanks, I just had to do that.
There are so many great things to say about this course, it's hard to figure out where to begin... how about with a couple of my favorite perks, "bank-shots". There are plenty of opportunities to get the angle or lay you want by just banking off a wall or the ceiling. I got a really sweet birdie on my first game by banking off the wall and into the basket. There is no wind down here, the air is thin and the humidity is really ideal - so your shots will fly long and true.
I had my doubts at first about how much variety one could get in an old sand mine cave, as these are usually cut out very symetrically. Crystal City Underground is actually very "A"symetrical and has many twists and turns through the random maze of columns. There are several places where 3-6 ft. channels have been dug to allow water to run through and these act as some pretty scary water hazards that you simply do NOT want to step in (think about being up to your waist in wet cement). There are also several places where a 4-7 ft. tall shelf has piled up in a dead end, so the basket has been placed up there (very neat). Really, just tons of variety on this beta version course and even more potential for expansion around every corner (there's room for at least 4 full length courses down here).
A few "signature holes" have started to be recognized and for a good reason. Example: A new hole came into play last night that everyone was talking about, "Down the Rabbit Hole": you have to throw about 110' from the tee into a 4' diameter shaft hole. Once you make it through the shaft hole, it is a short put to the basket.
EDIT/UPDATE 5-30-14: With only one course, this is a big improvement over the disasterous courses left after the 2012 redesign. It's not as repetative, longer and some of the signature holes are back.
Cons: EDIT/UPDATE 5-30-14: Overall though, lighting is pretty good and you shouldn't need a flashlight unless you get really off course.
EDIT/UPDATE 5-7-12: Navigation might be an issue... attempts have been made at making nav markers using lighted barrels, but they don't do a very good job.
The walls can be a little rough on DX and other weaker plastics, but weren't a problem for the star and cfr plastic (minor scrapes). I've played about 25-30 rounds down here and my discs haven't got any worse than they were after 3 rounds. They don't get dinged, just roughed up around the edge.
The current layout isn't bad. It's not as good as the first 9 or the first 18... but it's a huge improvement.
Prices for LED's has gone way up from 3 for $5 to $4 a piece. Beverage prices have also gone up a little bit. None of it seems completely justifiable and I feel a compromise between the new and old prices would be more appropriate. The drastic reduction from 80 players on a Friday night to 25 players per night the last two weeks shows that I might be right...
Please remember that this course is on private property and is NOW OPEN ON FRIDAY NIGHTS 7PM TO 12AM, ALSO OPEN ON SAT. AND SUN. FROM 1-5PM. At any other time, you are trespassing.
Outside drinks are not allowed, but drinks are available at the bar (both alchoholic and non) - this is also where you pay the entry fee. It is very, very important that players display the highest standards of behavior and courtesy at this course: No smoking inside, no smoking inside, please keep foul language to yourself and keep noise at a respectable level.
PLEASE, DON'T LEAVE YOUR TRASH/BEER CANS/BOTTLES/FOOD WRAPPER/ANYTHING ANYWHERE but INSIDE of a marked trash can. There's are trashcans at just about every hole.
For the love of all that is good and right in the world, USE THE Porta Potty BEFORE YOU START YOUR GAME. It is REALLY UNCOOL to do your business in the cave!
We must set a good example all the way around at this course.
Just driving into the property for this course is half of the fun. I won't spoil the fun by giving you details, but it is awesome.
The CCU caves are also used for beach volleyball, air-soft, private parties, concerts, football game parties on the big screens, underground lake "party barge" tours and much more to come. Check out the website and more pictures at http://crystalcityunderground.com
EDIT/UPDATE: 5-30-14: So, while the awesomeness of the first 9 and 18 layout is still gone... the current layout is actually worth playing. I'd still love for them to get their act together down there and put in some pads, actual tee signs, improve the lighting and get some people in who can really set the layout up right... but I'm done spending any energy on it. You should definitely go check out this most unique of disc golf experiences!
65 of 67 people found this review helpful.
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