This is our third visit to the Crystal Springs mega-resort complex in northern New Jersey, having played the tranquil Black Bear, and the tricked up Crystal Springs courses.
The nine-hole Cascades course is the newest addition to the Crystal Springs golfosphere; it brought the total number of golf holes onsite at this resort to an obscene 117. I mean obscene in the best possible way, of course.
This is the first time I've picked a nine-holer--willingly at least. But it's a big course with a 132 slope, plus I'm liking the idea of playing the same nine twice. As a beginner still wrestling with the basics of ballstriking, Ms. L will hardly notice any repetition from playing the same nine twice. And maybe I'll have a chance to pick up some local knowledge and then go low(ish) on the "back" nine.
The cart boys are forced by management to dress like Payne Stewart. That's fine for Payne Stewart or any golfer trying to make a statement, but I feel bad for these kids making a measly few bucks an hour, probably getting stiffed all day by cheap-ass resort goers.
Now what in the samhell is this?
Turns out, Cascades doubles as a "FootGolf" course. It seems like a fun enough diversion, though I do wonder how golfers and FootGolfers could possibly coexist on the course. Luckily we didn't have to find out today.
3rd hole I hit what I thought was a good pitch to an elevated green. It rolled toward the flag then disappeared. Hmm, there must be a drop off in this green...
Damnit would you get a load of this. Cascades is actually doing triple duty here--regular golf, FootGolf, and Hack-Golf--a certain manufacturer's botched attempt to create an easier, more mass-appealing version of golf. I guess this is some kind of proving ground for alternative golf-based games.
Not surprisingly the oversized holes have a way of interfering with the playing of old-fashioned golf. First time around my pitch shot got lost in the big hole; the second time on the same hole, I had to take relief again because the thing was in my putting line.
Seeing two holes on a green feels unnatural, like seeing the dual suns on Tatooine for the first time.
Listen, frankly I am not down with these mutated, watered-down versions of golf. Don't get me wrong, they seem like okay games, and I would probably experience some fun if I were forced at gunpoint to play them. But just like New Coke, Crystal Pepsi, or peanut butter Twix, they're all inferior to the original flavor, any way you slice it. So who needs em?! Is my question to you.
Nevertheless, Cascades is a nice set of holes. Plenty of length, sufficient room for misses, some sophisticated looking green complexes and enough challenge to keep things interesting. I had a middling first nine. Ms. L's was rather disappointing by her own standards. We both swore to shoot a better score on the second loop around, which made for a fun challenge, and we agreed there was nothing boring or repetitive about going round a second time. True to my prediction, I had a much better back nine score of 39, to make up an 82 total, which should good for my current pre-teen handicap index.
Nine holers, the wave of the future perhaps.