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Crystal City, MO 
Crystal City Underground - South Share

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 The quality went South, but still unique.

1    11/24/2012   12/14/2012
Review By: harr0140
Played: 975  Reviewed: 480  Exp: 8.9 Years
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The first pros are unique to the South Course . . . are also a repeat from the North course. They all are the same on both courses because it is more about the experience than the individual course.
1) This course seemed to be much longer. There are no hole distances on the page so I cannot say how far the holes are but it sure felt longer. It might have been the water carries, but I think that it is considered more of a pro's course. The owner did say that not that many people play the south course, almost like he was discouraging me from playing it. I will not bypass a chance to play a new course, apparently he didn't already know that from the fact that I drove 7 hours that morning just to play this course.
2) The water on this course is much more difficult. It isn't just canals to allow water to drain out. These are massive expanses of water that create really extreme water carries. I would guess they range from 150' to 300' carries. This is a positive because this course is clearly designed for pros and better players.
3) Distance variety was really good here. There were a lot of short holes with single throws to try and get near the basket and then there were a couple longer ones to force you to execute lines blindly through the dark. Then the extreme water carries that force long shots over water. You really had to be on your toes on this course.
4) The bridge at the front entrance to the tunnel that takes you to the course. The bridge is narrow (it looks like it is one way) and apparently certified by an engineer as they say on their page and the DGCR page. How unique is it to drive on a one way wood/metal bridge that apparently needs to have a sign posted it has been certified by an engineer. I am glad my wife was asleep at this moment . . . because I woke her up when we were in the middle of the tunnel o announce we were there. She woke up, opened her eyes and was shocked at our surroundings. She knew we were going to be playing in a cave but apparently that was not enough to keep her from feeling like the drive through the tunnel was strange . . . I blame it on being awoken in a tunnel.
5) Quite possibly the most unique concept for disc golf I have seen yet. Go underground, turn out the lights (except for the baskets and garbage cans with lights inside of them to mark the tees) and go throw your discs around.
6) Baskets are lit up with string lighting . . . it sure helps in the cave where it is pretty dark.
7) Tees are indicated by a 55 gallon barrel with a light jammed inside to light it up. Some tees have boards across the front to indicate the location, some have carpet to throw from.
8) There are plenty of garbage cans to throw your garbage into. I don't think I saw any user generated garbage on the entire course.
9) The sand in this cave is one of the signatures of this course. It might be hard to walk through but it is a surface not played on anywhere else really. It is all loose and dry sand and it takes some effort to walk through it all day. It also takes a little bit to adjust to how quickly your disc will sit down when it hits the sand. Low skips are certainly an interesting shot also.
10) There is a bar in the cave . . . how weird does that sound? You can ride a barge in the cave somewhere, while I didn't check it out it sure looked like fun (by the signs of all the people walking out of the cave with quite a buzz going and beer in hand). I even gave a couple of them a tutorial on disc golf. I told them I was going to ace just for them. I do not remember which hole it was, but I set it all up, told the one lady I would make an ace for her and then I hit the basket on a somewhat blind shot. I could see the light from the basket but not the basket itself. She asked me where I was throwing and I pointed and said "There". She still didn't get the idea of where I was throwing until she heard the metal and saw my disc sitting 2 feet from the basket.
11) Signature and unique holes abound. There are things you can do in a cave you cannot do in a park. Shelves of rock forming perfect locations for baskets . . . baskets tucked against a solid formation as opposed to a thicket or a bunch of mature trees.
12) This course has a ton of water. There are multiple holes with 150-200' carries over water. The best part of the water is it is only a few inches deep so you can easily retrieve your discs. If you use LED's in the cave it will actually help you find your discs in the water also. You just better be sure to be using a really good clear duct tape or water will get to the lights. I had 3 or 4 discs in the water and everytime I was able to find the disc and the light still worked afterwords because the clear duct tape does such a good job sealing the light.
13) Is this the best disc golf you will ever play? NO, but it is still an experience I do not think anyone should miss. DO I recommend that at 9PM you decide to drive to St. Louis just to play these courses . . . well no, for most people, but if you are like me and you absolutely cannot get enough of the game and continuously wanting to see more and unique holes . . . then yes. That is why this goes in the pros as well as the cons. It is simply put one of the most unique things I have encountered in playing this awesome game, despite it not being the most incredible disc golf you will ever play.
14) The cave temperature was moderately cool. I have heard all caves stay at about 55 degrees all year, but I assume that some variance ocurrs depending on the opening into the cave. Either way I assume this is playable year round. Some people want indoor disc golf well this is sortof the solution. I saw someone said the temps were always 68 degrees . . . completely not true as I could see my breath at time and knew it was under 60 degrees.
15) Lights for sale at the front counter . . . smart thinking from a marketing standpoint.
16) Disc golf until midnight . . . and a bar . . . how awesome. Might as well throw in some live music . . . oh yeah they do that too. I wonder what it is like to play disc golf while the live music is playing. I imagine it would raise the spook factor a bit.
17) While I would consider this a con sometimes . . here I consider it a positive. This course exposes so many new people to the game of disc golf. . . even though it is not totally representative of our game . . . so many more people will try this than simply a friend inviting them along. This is an experience, one that you cannot deny might be fun even if you dislike the idea of the game of disc golf and even if you look down on the sport. I guarantee my round caused 2-3 people to give it a shot. Had they not met me at that moment in time they might not have ever given it a chance but when they heard we drove from Milwaukee for the "Experience" yes The Disc Golf Experience of a lifetime . . . they had to figure well we have this place in our backyard we should probably give it a shot.
Cons: 1) There were far fewer tee signs available on the South course. This really made the course tough. Coupled by the fact hardly anyone plays the south course there was no way to watch people in front of me.
2) There seemed to be a lot of strange walks on this course too. There was even less intuitiveness to the routing.
3) Lots and lots of garbage or at the very least unused items like lights, tables, scaffolding, etc. I landed in some of these areas and the disc was hard to find, but I also saw places all over where you could end up in a pile of debris that was simply annoying. I respect that they are still planning the use of the cave, but I would have recommended not opening the South course until those areas could have been clean and free of this debris. It just felt like they threw 18 baskets on that section of the cave and said this is our new course. 1 bad experience can turn into hundreds of people not wanting to play the course but if the experience was comparable to the North course, there would be people lining up to play the South course . . . especially the more discerning and better players. I hope it does not come back to haunt them and they can get the debris cleaned up sooner rather than later.
4) You can get a map of the South course . . . but they have no distances listed, yet all of the distances are already on DGCR? They should really take a look and put that info on their sheets. I am actually going to send them an email with the info to help them out.
5) Lots of holes where multiple baskets are visible. It is so hard to figure out what is normal because simply playing in a cave is not normal. You have to walk up to find the basket and that wastes a lot of time . . .time that could be spent playing another round and spending another $5.
6) Talk about one of the most inconsistent places for marking, directionals, and such. They try to help guide you through the course, but the inconsistency leads to confusion in multiple places.
7) Navigation is tough on the North course in a few locations, but the good news is there are a lot of people playing so it would be best if you catch up to someone and just follow their lead.
8) Lots of blind holes which is especially hard in a cave. If a hole is blind behind a tree or section of shrubs . . . you can often find the basket anyways. Here you cannot see the baskets behind walls of rock so you need to walk up to see where you are throwing first.
9) Some of the holes are not executable throws. They have shots that just are not reproducible with a disc and it shows.
10) The rocks (cave walls) definitely will eat up your DX discs. It is unavoidable that you are hitting walls so bring discs you don't mind damaging. Honestly, I would recommend a completely different set of discs that can take the abuse.
11) One of the benefits to this course actually ends up a con . . . the sand you walk through give your legs a workout for sure . . . however, two rounds through this sand would be too much for a lot of people. Your calves will be burning for sure. It is a benefit that your muscles get a workout, but it is a little annoying how much it takes to play both courses through this sand.
12) While there are a lot of unique and signature holes . . . the holes also become very repetetive because there is only so much you can do with sand, rock formations (or what is left after rock destruction) and darkness.
13) Is this the best disc golf you will ever play? NO, but it is still an experience I do not think anyone should miss. DO I recommend that at 9PM you decide to drive to St. Louis just to play these courses . . . well no, for most people, but if you are like me and you absolutely cannot get enough of the game and continuously wanting to see more and unique holes . . . then yes. That is why this goes in the pros as well as the cons. It is simply put one of the most unique things I have encountered in playing this awesome game, despite it not being the most incredible disc golf you will ever play.
I can only settle on the 2.0 disc rating to be fair to both sets of criteria. I love innovation and I love uniqueness, but I also play the game to play the game. This is like the game but on a whole different set of criteria. I feel like the disc golf rating is higher on the South Course maybe a 3.0 for overall layout, design, and shot making . . . but the flow, amenities, and enjoyability are lower . . . perhaps a 1.0. That brings me to the 2.0 rating I have given this course. Either way. . . I say everyone who plays the game should play this course.

I am pretty sure that playing this course over and over would get old. Perhaps if you are not an avid disc golfer though, this course would become an experience to do over and over and over. I just do not see many avid disc golfers wanting to do this repeatedly. I gave it one shot, I'd probably give it another shot, and perhaps revisit it once in a while if I was passing through, but I doubt I would hit it up weekly if I lived in the area. However if a bunch of my buddies said . . . hey let's go back to the cave for a weekly league or something . . . I would probably go.

How awesome is this? Well for me it is so awesome, that I decided because a friend was in St. Louis for the night and part of the next day I would drive down to play the courses with him. Had we not just bought a new car this trip may not have happened, but I am so glad I have a new car and so glad I made this trip happen. Apparently even after I made the comment on facebook that we were for sure coming . . . my friend still didn't believe it until he woke up and saw we were already on the way and almost to St. Louis. It is about a 6 hour drive and I was operating on 4 hours of sleep after spending a big chunk of money on a new car. We bought the car because we love to road-trip in the winter when we have more spare time (landscape off-season). Well I guess we figured that we better test the new car out since it was also purchased with the thought that our dog would be more comfortable in a CRV than the old Honda Accord we have. If things went well we thought we might be able to take our dog on our month-long road-trip. While things went just fine I am not sure I am willing to bring my dog on a 30 days road-trip, but it sure would be nice if it does work out. I feel so bad leaving him at my in-laws for a month considering both my in-laws as well as my dog's feelings. Normally when we return . . . he holds it against us for a few weeks at least. Although he loves my in-laws as much as I do . . . I think he just doesn't like the change and adjustment.

Anyways . . . I think I abused the Other Thoughts section enough . . . but if I was willing to do all of the above as well as spend this much time writing the Other Thoughts section, you have to realize this was a pretty significant adventure which was created by such a unique experience.

I forgot . . . one more thing . . .since some people might read my review and think that I am blasting this place. I am not. It is the most unique thing I have ever encountered in disc golf and they did just about everything they could to make this fun. Now all we need are silk trees to go around or I (as a horticulturist) have to find a way to grow trees in the sand in a completely dark cave.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.

 Fingers crossed for a better future

2-4    8/4/2012   9/4/2012
Review By: stubborn puppet
Played: 48  Reviewed: 27  Exp: 6.8 Years
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: >
>The pros are obvious:
This is "IN A CAVE", which is still the coolest thing ever. No matter what the weather or temperature outside, it's perfect underground. See my review of the "North Course" for more details on some of that.
>I love the vibe, love the possibilities for bank shots and the moist, still air allow for long, true shots.
>For a pay-to-play course, the price is fine... even if they are getting a little too fussy about making sure players are paid for the one of the two courses they could be playing.
>There is a good amount of variety, some very unique shots and some worthy challenges.
>The lighting is fine, in my opinion, and you shouldn't need a flashlight. (I think you're a dummy if you don't put the LED's on your discs and you will hold other players up while you look for something that could have been instantly spotted otherwise)
Cons: >
>The layout and navigation are terrible. Not to say there aren't a few good holes, but they are just that, "few". Mostly, it goes like this, normal/good hole, followed by an impossibly unforgiving water shot (which requires you to throw 300' from tee to within 8' of the basket over the frigid underground lake - there is NO solid ground to land on between the tee and the basket and, if you miss, your disc is gone... you will never get it back.), followed by 3 holes in a row which are 120' flick shots around a pillar into a basket (should be labeled par 2)... and repeat. It's so lame. The design is inexcusable.
>I don't think anyone will argue that having 6 holes out of 18 less than 120' in length is acceptable. If this course is designed for children and "family" play, then why are there those holes that go over 300' of water? In the 3 plays through this course I've had, I saw dozens of places that a tee or basket could have been relocated that would have fixed or, at least helped make it a decent play.
>The tee/basket marking is more confusing than it is helpful. You can rarely figure out which direction to throw without walking around for several minutes trying to find the right basket. There are many times when two or three baskets can be seen at one time and they aren't marked (map is not helpful).
>There are distinct safety concerns here. Many holes throw too close together, blindly and there are lots of random non-players just wandering about this part of the cave, "just exploring". This is, in my opinion, unacceptable - not like in a park, where you can see them up front, it's all blind corners.
>I cannot find justification for all the junk that has just been left lying around; car pieces, tires, sheet-metal, cable wheels, pvc... just junk. This would take a few people less than a days work to haul out of the cave (or to an unused location), but the owner seems content to just leave it. It looks horrible, like a junk-yard.
Other Thoughts: >
>Because there are no permanently installed baskets or tees, I'm still optimistic that tragedy can be averted... if the owner agrees to let somebody else redesign the whole thing. New signage would be a snap to create, the baskets could be easily marked (but wouldn't need to be if the layout made sense) and the junk could be hauled away.
Since there is nothing else like this course, it's still worth playing. If you currently have to choose one of the two, north course or south course (this review), play the north. It's not as challenging overall (no impractical water shots), but at least it's a little better for actually playing.
>NO outside drinks (a special thanks to those that abused the no outside liquor policy). NO smoking inside (duh). Use the porta-potty, you are just a huge jackhole if you pee where we play (even out of the way is gross because you can smell everything down there).

14 of 14 people found this review helpful.

 It's just going to get better!

1    6/20/2012   7/29/2012
Review By: eupher61
Played: 97  Reviewed: 13  Exp: 15.6 Years
0 Helpful / 12 Not
Pros: Longer than the North course. A little more variety, including 2 holes across water and 1 alongside water.
Cons: Water holes don't allow for easily bypassing the water. 200' isn''t that long, but some avid players don't throw that far, AND, in the dim light, it's difficult to judge distances.

0 of 12 people found this review helpful.

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