20 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: You've never played a course like this before, it's a unique venue for disc golf and makes for a really fun experience. Having a hard ceiling overhead really changes your approach to some of the shots, as does having hard walls lining the fairway rather than traditional trees and rough. You can plan ricochets off the walls and ceiling, another really unique feature to the play here.
There's a surprising variety of shots here for how regular the pillars and gaps are that make up the space. Some holes offer multiple routes to the pin, a couple holes have an easier route that doesn't really offer a chance for a deuce or a tighter/trickier shot with more risk but also more potential reward. The layout I played had a lot of ace runs and a couple longer shots, the upcoming permanent layout will be a little longer and tougher.
I played on temporary baskets, but now that permanent baskets are ordered I'm sure they'll be in good shape and catch well. Rope lights on most of the baskets help with navigation and give you a target to shoot at (as well as looking cool at the end of a dark tunnel!). There is some lighting at many of the tees as well, and the ambient light throughout is enough that I only needed to pull out a flashlight to find discs twice. A couple water hazards come into play, adding some nice risk to those holes.
Cons: The tees are the same soft sand as the rest of the course, it's not a huge deal but it makes for pretty treacherous footing. On the shorter layout I played, a standstill drive was just fine, but if they stretch things out most players will want a better surface to do a runup that doesn't shift underfoot.
The signage is still a work in progress, simple numbered cardboard at each tee tells you what hole you're on but no distance or hole layout. Navigation can be tricky at times, some directional signs will go a long way once a permanent layout is established. The course has limited hours of operation, make sure you check the hours before making a trip.
Other Thoughts: This course is worth a trip for sure. Beginners will find it approachable, not much risk of losing discs and reasonable lengths. More experienced players won't find this to be a real test, but it scores really high on the fun factor. I can't imagine any disc golfer not enjoying a round here.
The fee is really reasonable, $5 for unlimited rounds on this cool a course is well worth it. The snack bar has drinks, snacks and beers, always a nice bonus. I had a really hard time rating this course. If I rated it on fun factor alone this would be an easy 5, but based on my traditional rating scale that heavily weights the challenge and variety of shots I felt I had to be consistent.
20 of 20 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 8 Not
An Experience not soon forgotten
Pros: As every other post points out, it is in a man made cave. Now this is a repetitive thought, but let me try to explain what this really means:
Driving around a property with 10' high fence with barb wire over the top, you get the feeling you are going into a compound. A exclusive place, and, you really are.
As you drive through the first cave getting to the property, you can not help but just look and go, wow. At the end of the bridge, a little sign says, 'Not responsible for injury/accidents", and now a sense of danger comes into play. As you walk to the entrance, security is there to meet you and check your bags, amplifying all paranoid thoughts going through your head. Then as you enter, you see projections of tv on the cave walls, you see the potential for a legendary place to have a party.
This alone makes the course worth playing and a 3.5 at least.
Other pro's, lots of garbage cans, a few bathrooms, and a place to buy a drink or some chips in the middle of the course.
There is great flexibility in using portable baskets, you can set up anywhere.
The cave walls and ceiling is high enough to bomb in. No excuses found in that issue.
Cons: You can tell whoever has the course is really not a disc golf person. Maps are pieces of paper with a line and 2 dots. The scorecard and map was like reading a chinese newspaper. Getting around the course was a nightmare.
Lighting - First, I can understand that lighting can run into big energy $. But not if you plan and use the lighting wisely. Using little lights to find your disc may be cool on a midnight round on a course you know, but NOT when constantly throwing into the unknown. I got so sick of walking with a flashlight looking for the basket before I got to tee off. The tee, fairway, and baskets should all be well lighted, while the rest can be shaded and dark. You would still need a flashlight, but you wouldn't have to worry about the light taped to your disc will fly off, and you will lose your disc.
Course Design - If someone, like a David Mac, was brought in, the place would become legendary. Right now, finding the next tee is an unwanted adventure. Signs are paper and sharpie. Not much class in the design of the course, and a lot of confusion.
Tee Pad - There is none. Rubber mats would make a world of difference in A - Giving a tee and B - Defining the true location of the tee. Rubber mats would be movable, to change things up.
Baskets - While the baskets are in decent shape, they are far inferior to say, a Titan portable by Gateway. Far inferior. A move to Gateway Titan Portables would not only increase the quality, but would allow for tournament play.
Lack of Imagination - While a few holes are unique, mostly, you are just throwing around pillars of rock in the dark. It would not take a whole lot of thinking for this to be a unforgettable course.
Other Thoughts: It really looks like the course is just... there. Not much behind it except the novelty and making a little $ off of that. If the cave owner was more of a DG player, It would be a LOT different. I never got to play Flyboy, but if the owner of that place had this place, wow, what it could be.
Sadly, that is all this is right now, a mound of potential, LARGE mound of potential, but right now, barely deserving the 3.5 I am giving.
This 'could be' great, but I worry that it is what it is probably always going to be, not great.
14 of 22 people found this review helpful.
18 Helpful / 1 Not
Fun for EVERYONE
Pros: - Course is set underground in a cave!!! There are a few other activities present here, and things are still being moved around, but as long as the place is open, there shouldn't be any interference.
- Fifty foot columns, spaced fifty feet apart, provide a one of a kind landscape for disc golf. Alcoves in the walls provide for some good basket placements, and creative tee placements lead to some solid hole designs. There are straight shots, blind hyzers and anhyzers, some s-curves, a solid mix overall.
- Rabbit hole on #17 is a fantastic, unique shot that can't really be replicated anywhere else. I wish I had another shot at it, a RHFH laser right in there would be perfect. I would look forward to that opportunity every round.
- A few elevated baskets on sandy hills, definitely allows for some uphill putts, or danger or going long if shooting from behind the basket. The underground pond on #16 is a good hazard as well; probably a 200' carry or so to stay dry.
- Baskets are well lit, and tees are marked well. Navigation a little tricky, plenty of signs to help you out.
Cons: - Sand teepads aren't horrible, but tricky. Minor issue at most.
- Shorter hole lengths overall, and the layout is cramped in a few spots. Felt like there was juuust enough room to fit the course in. Definitely want to keep an eye out for stray discs.
Other Thoughts: - Nearly impossible to come with any more cons. What more could you ask for in this setting? Playing the walls and ceilings for the skip or stop was absolutely hilarious, for lack of a better word. Just an absolute blast to play. Not extremely challenging for an experienced player, but a MUST PLAY for anyone who enjoys the game.
- This place is something else.
18 of 19 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 1 Not
Deep digs here
Pros: -The course was easy to find
-There is enough light if using LED or glow to find your disc. (keep in mind they have a power bill to pay)
-smoke free environment
-beverages provided at course entrance.(please dont smuggle things in to drink for the sales pay for the course lighting)
-the fairways are easy to follow
-The cave has enough cieling hieight to avoid it around 60-70 feet
-The cave stays a constant 68 degrees or close to it.
-you can play this course barefoot
Cons: -Portable baskets= equal poor catching and variable target size
-tee pads poorly marked
-no scorecards provided yet you pay
-signs going down to course once entering the cave not posted.
-sand is wet in areas and kills a towel with mud quick
-LED dont stay attached well with tape in sand so its best to throw glow. So bring your own black light to charge them which would be awesome if they put black lights as tee pad markers so you can recharge on the course.....hope this happens
Other Thoughts: Its a cave. bring a flashlight. Never seen so many people come un prepared. It's a fantastic experience and just like a carnival you have to wait in line to ride. So stop getting irritated that your backed up on tee pads. Support the cause for the course and dont be a cheap skate. No whiners when your disc get scuffed on a cave wall, throw better. Chill and relax.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
21 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Let me get the most important message out first: THIS IS A MUST PLAY COURSE!
The course is so early in its development, that pros and cons aren't particularly helpful right now -- see "other thoughts" for the substantive bits of this review, as well as some insight on the future of the course.
* It's underground.
* Terrain is unlike anything you've ever played
* Awesome sand volleyball to be played
* Hosts are incredible
* Unbelievable potential
* Easy to find your discs (no underbrush)
* Even without underbrush, there are enough obstacles to force you to shape your lines.
* $5 cover charge is a STEAL for a place like this. If I lived in St. Louis, I would be here every weekend for disc golf, volleyball and watching games.
Cons: Again, see "other thoughts" for details:
* Course experiences some inherent repetition -- all the caves are of similar scale -- approx. 20-25' high and 25-45' wide.
* Limited elevation change (elevation is limited to some raised baskets and a couple of sand mounds)
* Weak signage (course is in progress, so this isn't a surprise)
* Flashlight/disc lights required (for now)
Other Thoughts: It's hard to rate this course. The course itself is in beta... when my brother and I were there recently, it was 9 holes, down from 18 for a recent college event. But that doesn't change the total and utter THRILL of the experience. I'm a tough critic on courses, and if this course were above ground and considered finished, it would probably get 2 stars from me in the incarnation we played.
That said, this is NOT above ground, and NOT finished yet. The most amazing thing about this course is its sheer potential, and the enthusiasm and vision of its creator. There are MORE THAN 200 ACRES of caves, and the owner is committed to turning as many of those acres as possible into an underground entertainment complex. This means volleyball (already there), pole vaulting (already there), wall-sized sports (already there), a 5,000-10,000-person concert venue, a 7+ acre scuba diving lake, one or more 18 hole disc golf courses underground and one or more 18 hole disc golf courses above ground, cave-running events, and countless other possibilities.
As someone who spent several years as a diehard sand-volleyball player, seeing these in-cave courts made my heart leap with joy. This is utter beauty.
Just walking/running in these caves is thrilling. It's that sense of being a little kid again, enthralled with possibility. This course would get 10-stars from me for the sheer thrill of being there if I could rate it 10 stars.
That said, this place has so much potential, it is unbelievable. I can't wait to come back, and in the meantime, am encouraging everyone I know to pilgrimage here. It's only going to get better.
One recommendation I would make to the owners is to stock at least one or two mid-range beers... even a Guinness or Sierra Nevada would help, but it would be even better to support one of the local St. Louis craft breweries, like Schlafly (decent) or 4 Hands (excellent!). I'm enough of a beer snob that if Bud Light and its ilk are all that's offered, I'd rather go without.
The other option that would be a possibility is to allow golfers to bring in their own beer, but pay a "cork fee," so they can bring what they want.
Anyway, I'm going to close by reiterating the most important message in this review: THIS IS A MUST PLAY COURSE! Hope to see you there.
21 of 21 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 9 Not
Pros: It's in a cave.
Cons: Baskets - some cloth, some metal, kind of a variety
Tee Pads - sand, hard to get footing
BUSY = backups
Other Thoughts: There really isn't much to say about this. How often do you get to play a round of DG in a cave! If you're in the St. Louis area and have time, it is worth it just to play in a cave. I wouldn't bring my tournament bag because the walls will tear a disc up. Again, it's disc golf in a cave, until I see other places to do this, I have to give this a pretty decent review.
2 of 11 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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