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Intense Disc Golf Experience
Pros: The R.I.D.G.E. (Real Intense Disc Golf Experience) Agoura Hills, CA
Established in 2011, The RIDGE is exactly what it is defined as... Intense. The idea of disc golf is put to the limit with this new course. The climbing alone would challenge the best of hikers with steep peeks awaiting the most incredible drives.
Be sure to have played for several years before attempting this course. Even the most advanced players will be spending time in the brush searching for their discs. Unfortunately my buddy, Tim Grey, lost his drive on one of the longest bombs of the day.
Now people have rating systems when it comes to reviewing a course. I respect that, but in some circumstances, the obvious ratings have to be thrown out the window, especially when it comes to the RIDGE. The course as of now has only 12 baskets, 6 are shared between multiple tee pads to complete the 18 hole layout. That being said, a guide is quite necessary when playing here. Actually, a guide is mandatory because the course is private.
Hole one is the introduction to what may be an incredibly hard day. Out in the distance, on the crevice of a canyon lies a set of chains. The throw is about 300 feet, but if you miss your spot, you may be throwing an up shot 100 feet below the chains. Try to stay on top, because you will already be doing a lot of climbing, why add more?
Hole two is the first bomb off the ridge. A short mid range or maybe even a putter; I like throwing putters of steep ledges for the stability. The basket has a dirt fairway and sits atop a slight incline (slight compared to the canyon the tee sits on top of.) The left to right winds from the canyon design force you to keep your disc higher than one typically likes, otherwise you have the potential of landing in the thickest of brush.
Hole three throws back up the ridge to the same basket as hole one. Remember, only 12 baskets have been donated so far, so 6 holes share baskets. The shot forces an uphill climb, with those winds now right to left. I throw a driver, which is too much disc, to ensure landing on the ledge rather than face the potential of sliding down the steep face . There is thick brush to catch your overthrown shots. This is a birdie opportunity, (as are most of the holes if your game is precise.)
Hole four is a bomb off the canyon to chains about 280 feet out and 100 feet below. From this tee pad, one can view most of the canyon the RIDGE is laid out across. A steady flick or a deep heizer is a great shot here. The basket is in the middle of tall brush, so keep an eye on those discs.
Hole five is one of the few up hill shots. The distance is not too far, but the incline requires a large throw. Make sure you land slightly left of the chains or you may slide down a short ledge.
Hole six is an ACE run. Shortest hole on the course, and only a bush stands between you and the chains less than 200 feet away.
Hole 7 is the greatest climb you will face at The RIDGE. Start making your way up as you finish 6. Once you reach the top, you will see the greatest view this course has to offer. Down below a good 150 feet and 260 feet out lies the basket. If you look even further, you will notice the hanging basket in the brush. That awaits you later.
Hole 8 is below the pad and throws to a giant oak tree. I threw a ROC and was a branch away from scoring an ace. Ce la vie.
Hole 9 is up behind the basket of eight. The tee pad is below number 4's tee pad and is marked by a red chair. The basket is the same as hole four. Now you are lower, so throw a decent heizer with slightly more arm.
Walk left and cut across the 7th hole's basket to approach hole 10, the hanging basket. This is a narrow ally throwing up a rocky ravine. The chains are high hanging from a small tree about 220 ft. away and 30-40 ft. up. I throw a DX Leopard that is extremely under stable. Throwing up allows this disc to be thrown high and still have a chance to work right before it dives left. Be accurate, nothing but a ledge of steep thick brush on both sides awaits your bad drives.
Hole 11 is the signature throw at the RIDGE. The tee pad sits up in the canyon about 300 feet to the left of 10's basket. As you approach this tee, make sure you watch for rattlesnakes, this is their country, not ours. The shot is about 300 feet out across two ridges filled with 8 ft., brush. The basket lies in the middle of the canyon just before it starts to go back up, so if you over drive, you have a 100 ft., back stop. Trust me, you WANT to over drive, because a weak throw may never be found. Tim lost is drive here. I throw a stable Tee Rex and barely kiss the tall brush on a large heizer down the ravine. The disc flies for what seems like an eternity while visions of misery wait with the slightest change in wind. Once across the thick, and if you held the line, a dive a the basket awaits or in my case, a crash about 10 feet above the chains awaits with soft dirt for your disc to stick in.
If you come out clean, hole 12 will be a breeze. Playing in the center of the canyon about 250 feet out with a slight decline in elevation. The basket sits under the oak across from the oak at hole 8's pin location.
The RIDGE is not a perfect layout, and my guide was slightly confused when we approached holes 13 and 14. For 13, we played 5's teepad to hole 6's basket. Then we played 6's teepad to hole 8's basket. This was more sharing, and the throws were challenging. I am still unsure if this was the originally intended layout.
Hole 15 throws up the ravine slightly the opposite direction of hole12. You share the same chains as the 11th hole. This throw requires some arm going slightly uphill, however it is quite easy to overthrow here with no backstop to catch your drive.
Hole 16 throws with a sharp incline from the center of the ravine to the what now seems like a steep incline of Hole 2's basket. The challenge is the left to right throw and having to clear extremely tall brush. If done successfully, a birdie is in sight.
Hole 17 throws back toward the entrance you have no forgotten about. Typically I am disappointed when approaching the final two holes of a course, but this day, I was relieved. It was hot, and I had not sufficiently prepared for the brutal hike the RIDGE had to offer. The 17th throw is uphill slightly, but allows for hard throws sitting in the lower corner of the canyon. Run the basket because even a miss with hit the dirt wall surrounding the hole..
Hole 18 makes you climb one last time to the same ridge hole one is atop of. Once up, look back towards hole one's basket and you will find the chains 10 feet below. There is wind on this hole that I did not experience anywhere else and I suspect it is because the canyon is narrow here. What looks like a simple throw can give you trouble if you miss your line. A flick or backhand can suffice for your final shot.
So, as for ratings go, and this is something I don't typically do, I would give the ridge close to a 5 if it had 18 baskets. Without, I give it a 3.5, because of the lack of tee signs the dirt pads. Once it is complete this rating will rise because I have a throw that is meant for several of the shots required here. Also, with so many steep canyon throws, one gets to watch their plastic glide for days on 7 different holes. The RIDGE is intense. Show up Friday nights for doubles, otherwise, you have to ask around for a private invitation.
Cons: -Only 12 baskets for 18 holes
-Dirt Tee Pads
-Throwing over other fairways
-Thick brush, desert, no green otherwise... HOT
Other Thoughts: Play in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the blazing hot sun. Watch out for rattlesnakes and be sure to go with a partner if it is your first or second time, a spotter is necessary.
More pics and video and more of my course reviews can be found at discgolfblog dot tumblr dot com.
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