I drove to Festus, MO. today to play West City Park, kind of a secret disc golf course since it is not on the PDGA Course Directory. The City of Festus actually has an 18-hole course in West City Park and a 9-hole course in Jokerest Park, neither of which are on the PDGA Course Directory and there is no mention of disc golf anywhere in their parks and recreation literature. I’m not sure what is up with that, but I digress…West City Park is supposedly Dave McCormack’s second-best course, a notch below the 18-hole course in Foundation Park in Centralia, IL. The rumor I heard is that the round that has a freakishly high SSA compared to other rounds at Jefferson Barracks for the 2006 Gateway Open was that high because it was actually played at West City Park.
http://www.pdga.com/tournament/course_r ... urseID=379
So I had high hopes as I drove an hour and 45 minutes one-way on $3.69 gasoline to play the course. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm ended quickly. West City Park is a decent sized park, and it has a lot of paved drives and directional signs on how to get to ball fields, pavilions, etc. None of these signs mention disc golf. So I had to drive around aimlessly at 10 MPH on a narrow park road filled with speed bumps looking for any signs of disc golf. After driving around the entire park I spotted the tee for #1...just as I drove past on a one way street. So I got to do the whole loop again at 10 MPH. When I got back to # 1, there was a picnic in the pavilion and nowhere to park. I ended up circling AGAIN at 10 MPH and parking off the side of the street near a “NO PARKING” sign and hoofing it about 1,000 yards to get to # 1. Once I FINALLY got there, there was a little kiosk with the Plexiglas cover open. No map, no scorecards, no nothing. # 1 turned out to be a dink shot over the path leading to the pavilion. There were cars EVERYWHERE…no chance to play # 1. The picnic was not that big, the parking area was just pathetically small. I’d guess on a lot of Saturdays and Sundays # 1 would be unplayable.
So I started looking for # 2. There were no arrows, no signs, no wire of the basket attachment painted a different color to give me a clue which way to go. About 1,000 feet away I spotted the next-closest tee I could see, so I walked over there. It was the tee for # 18. I played 18 since I was there, and when I holed out I could see another tee up a hill about 300 ft away. I hiked up there, and it was the tee for # 2. I played # 2 and found # 3’s tee. The fairway for # 3 was flooded, but I managed to shoot over to the basket. Once I holed out, I was in no-mans land. No path, no signs, no nothing. I trail blazed for about 50 ft and still saw nothing. I figured the path to # 4 must be flooded out, so I headed back where I came from and found the tee for # 8. Since I had found # 8, I figured I could back-track to 7,6,5 and maybe even 4, so I started hiking. I found the basket for #17 and the tee for # 17 and # 16, but no sign of # 7 anywhere.
I was getting a bit tired of hiking and NOT playing disc golf, so I went back and played # 8. One I holed out I looked around. The closest tee I could see was # 18. WAAAYYY over on the other side of a pavilion was another tee, which turned out to be # 9. The tee was right next to the pavilion, and the locals having a picnic made me feel at home by trying to hit me with fungoes. As a baseball whizzed by my head one yelled “Come hit ‘ya a Frisbee freak!” I would not mention it except hole # 9 was 1,100 ft. They could have shaved a couple hundred feet off that hole and moved the tee away from the pavilion.
Anyway, after I shot the 1,100 ft hole, I was kind-of in the middle of the park. The only holes I could see were #1 and #18. Again, no sign of which way to go. I wandered for 10 minutes before I found #10, the tee for it was up a slight hill on the other side of the road, a good 600-700 ft from # 9’s basket and completely hidden by the slope of the hill. I shot 10 & 11, then again…no sign of #12. I started walking in the direction away from the holes I just played. I walked. And walked. And walked. Just as I had decided I had had enough and was going to the car, I saw a tee down the hill in the woods below me. I backtracked and found a tiny path leading down the hill, and the tee sign said #12. # 12 was a cool longish heavily wooded shot., but again…NO sign of # 13 ANYWHERE. I wandered down the path. It forked, and another path crossed it, so you just had to guess which way to go. Just about the time I had decided to turn around I spotted # 13. 13 and 14 played back toward the tee for #12, but when you holed out on #14 you hit a dead end. I climbed up to the nearest path and started walking. About 500 ft down the path you walk out into the open.
Now I don’t know if you have ever noticed, but when you walk anywhere your natural instinct is to turn right. If you ever want to open a gift store in a building, insist on the space next to the door on the right-hand side, and people will instinctively wander into your store. When you design a building and you want people to come past the office first, the office is always on the right hand side. Basic design 101. So I walked into the open and veered to my right. To my left was the park road anyway. Way down the hill I saw a tee. I had forgotten that I had already been there and it was #16, and since I didn’t see anything else I figured it must be #15. It was at least 1,500 ft from #14’s basket, but nothing would surprise me at this point. About 700 ft down I spotted a basket. It was 15’s basket. SOOOO, I started backtracking UP the hill looking for the tee. When I found it, it was in a little section of grass between the road and the opening of the path I walked out of up against the woods. To have seen it, I would have needed to defy human nature and turn left when I walked out of the path like I was a NASCAR driver or something. The hole was freaking 700+ ft, they could have shaved off 100 ft and put the tee to the right where you would see it!
So at that point I was about 700 ft away from # 15’s basket and about 500 ft away from my car. Goodbye, West City Park!
I actually played 10 of the 18 holes. I walked enough to have played most 18 hole courses four times! I actually have to be pretty pissed off to drive an hour and 45 minutes and not play the course, but this place did it to me.
The shame of it was, the actual shots were good. A nice mix of tough wooded shots and long open shots with a couple of tricky pin placements. The holes I played were righty friendly, but maybe I missed the lefty holes. It just flowed horribly and was terribly marked. I needed freaking Sacagawea to guide me around that damn place!
Some double-strength Zoloft might have helped, also.
Maybe I’m getting old, but we put up with too much crap from parks departments. They need to mark that damn course if they want people to play it. If some of the holes are flooded, put up a damn sign and close the holes. Put up a map of the course in the Kiosk and actually LOCK the freaking Plexiglas door so it stays there. Really, is this too much to ask? Is it really too much to expect to be able to spend 2 ½ hours in a park and be able to find more than 10 of the holes? It was a beautiful Saturday, and I was the only person I saw in the entire park playing disc golf while I was there. Does that tell you anything about how well their course is doing?
In other words, why the hell would you spend the money to have a disc golf course, and then not do ANYTHING to make it so a normal human being could play it? That along with the fact that the course is two years old and it has not been publicized AT ALL have me pissed off. What a waste. It is probably as good a course as I was told, but I’m not going back.
P.S. Sorry for the JR-sized post.
P.P.S. Sorry to JR for making fun of your long posts.