A Joy to Play
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: (3.738 Rating) A beautiful course in the middle of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.
- UNIQUENESS - The thing I found best about this course was the course layout and the uniqueness of the holes themselves. Although there was a bit of repetitiveness to weaving in and out and threw the trees, the direction to angle my shot and shot style seemed different on every consecutive hole. From pocket left to pocket right to sweeping angle. Slight ups and downs, and a bunch of blind baskets to name a few. Most players will really have to visualize every shot they take. Advanced players will definitely feel challenged by this course. Unfortunately no water elements in play to force a line.
- NATURAL BEAUTY - The beauty was the second biggest thing I took away. Most courses I've played it's just an afterthought... not here. The park as a whole is just absolutely amazing. I've never played a course with such stoic trees. Perhaps it's a California thing.
- CHARACTER - The course has a lot of the character items that you'd see at an older established course. There's two picnic tables at the junction of holes 1, 9, 10 and 18, - the ideal setup in my opinion. There's seating at every hole, and all the tee areas are shaded well. There's a course map and community board at tee #1 as well as a practice basket. There's probably about 50 total pin placements and well designed tee signs with a pin placement location wheel.
- DIFFICULTY - The more challenging of the two courses I hit on my California trip. I think as a whole, it will definitely challenge the game for everyone but pros. You'll have to tactically attack each hole differently and be willing to settle or scramble for par when things don't go your way.
- SKILL LEVEL FRIENDLY - Although not necessarily a beginners course or a pro level course, the course somehow manages to provide a prefect middle ground. the odds of losing a disc is low, great for beginners. The fairways are tight enough to provide a challenge to upper advanced players and lower tier pros.
- SIGNATURE HOLE - Without a doubt hole number 11, I won't spoil it.
Cons: Really all the cons below (except the first one) I'm nit picking a bit.
- TIME WAITING - This course appears to get heavy use. I had read a bunch of previous reviews regarding waiting being an issue. So I took the tip and played on a Monday morning. The course still had several groups already playing. In addition, I ended up waiting several times for walkers in park "just staring down at their phone". I can't imagine what kind of delays would be expected on Saturday and Sundays.
- NO BOMB IT HOLES - If you're the type that likes to bomb it 500 foot down the fairway, this isn't your course. Most holes require a controlled low trajectory technical shot that bends at the end.
- TEE BOXES - During my visit there was damp silt/sand on many of the tee boxes which caused me to slip a few times. It would be nice to have brooms at a few holes where the issue is more pronounced.
- SPACING - Slightly below average. a couple of hole combinations get awfully close together. Holes 6/7/8, 15/16 and 17/18 specifically. Be sure your aware of other groups teeing off on these holes. Thankfully 8 and 18 tees are protected by nets.
- ELEVATION - A surprising lack of Elevation on this course. It's by no means flat as a pancake, but it probably varies by no more than 40' on the entire course. I was expecting a lot more. There are some holes that probably slide down 30 feet or so. I'll also add that the elevation that is there is generally worked into the layout of many of the holes.
- ACEABILITY - Very few, if any gimme holes. Aceable holes are few and far between for everyone but pros.
Other Thoughts: One of the top 10 courses I've played to date (68 as of this review) Highly recommended to everyone visiting the Bay area. Just be prepared for a long round if playing on prime times.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
A nice course in a beautiful park
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - The course requires a variety of tee shots, making the course interesting to play. I had a lot of fun here.
- The tee pads are in good shape and had plenty of space for a typical run-up.
- Each tee pad has a sign with basic information about hole placement, helping to locate the baskets.
- The course has a lot of elevation changes but nothing too extreme. I was able to walk the whole course without much effort.
- I think the lined "paths" were a nice touch, although it seems they're rarely used.
Cons: - Finding the next tee pad can be tough without a map or someone to show you the way.
- The course feels a little cramped at times but I realize this is due to limited space.
- Several of the holes are blind shots, which can be frustrating if you're not familiar with the course.
Other Thoughts: This course is located in the Golden Gate Park, which is an amazing park with lots to see and do. I met several of the regulars and all of them were friendly and helpful. As others have mentioned, this course is located in a busy public park and you will definitely cross paths with non-golfers here. The course was a bit muddy when I played, due to the watering effort going on. The course had more dirt than grass, which is a little sad considering how nice the rest of the park is. I'm sure this is due to the amount of traffic this area gets, so I can't really fault the course maintainers.
I think the SFDGC and others have done a great job with the course and they seem to take a lot of pride in maintaining it. If you're in the San Francisco area, I definitely recommend checking this one out.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Prepare to be underwhelmed
10 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: I make this review understanding that I will obviously get several hundred thumbs down by the local bros. Let's begin with the positives, shall we. This is one of the largest and most beautiful parks that I have ever had the pleasure to walk through. It is unfortunate that more of it wasn't alotted for the disc golf course.
The trees on the course are amazing. Just really a beautiful collection of trees on this course. It really makes the place feel majestic.
For such a frequented course, they have done a great job with compaction and erosion. The elevation of this course was used almost perfectly.
I enjoyed the several elevated baskets, and it didn't even really feel "overdone" in any sense. The pads were each sufficient for this course IMO and had plenty of grip. Great pads considering the amount of moisture that has to be there everyday.
My favorite hole was probably hole 18 honestly. Just a great finishing hole.
Cons: Here is where my tone changes quite a bit. Like I said previously, this course was not given enough space. I feel like if 12 holes were put in the same space that it would have flowed better. Granted pads would get backed up even more so, but at least it would be safe.
The entire time that my wife and I played this course, I was either ducking for cover from people playing behind/in front of us... or I was babying shots because I didn't want to be the first person to cause accidental death with a disc. There are nets behind most of the tees to help protect, but this does nothing if you are in the fairways.
The proximity to other park users is very, very close. This happens at many parks, but I have never quite seen it like this before on purpose. Normally, it is due to just overflow from the park... this park seems to have planned it this way.
Layout of the course had you constantly walking back up the fairway that you just threw in order to get to the next tee. Not only is this poor flow... but again it is DANGEROUS.
Other Thoughts: If you are only in town for a few days... I would recommend going to Muir Woods to behold the beautiful Redwood forest instead... or to book Alcatrez. If you have a week or so... then I would recommend playing here if you absolutely have to get a California Course on your list (like I did). Overall, this course could have been the BEST 12 hole course in the world. Instead, it was maybe the most dangerous course layout that I have ever seen... and I was underwhelmed.
10 of 16 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Fore Tee Nine
Tee areas: 4'x10' flat, concrete, often with extended walk on/off. Teesigns showing all/current position. Benches.
Overall ambiance - tall trees providing plenty of shade, rolling, grassy terrain, mulched, log-lined paths leading to/from tees, playing in but mostly hidden from the urban environment.
Two nine-hole loops/ Practice basket.
Perililous to non-players. Pedestrian path alongside some of the front nine, and another path winding through part of the back nine.
Perilous to other players. While nets have been erected to protect some of the tees from drives on neighbouring fairways, there remain several areas where adjacent tees/fairways/baskets are dangerously close to others.
Multiple times backtracking (and sometimes crossing fairways) is a requirement to reach the next tee - make sure you move from basket-6 to tee-7, as you'll pass tee-8. Moving from basket-16 to tee-17 (essentially, walk back almost the way to tee-14, then look right) is not obvious - you'll definitely need a map or local to play here as a visitor!
Disc golf is just one of many activities to be found in this famous park, so any non-players ought to be able to find something to entertain themselves while players take on the course. On the front nine, elevation change is present but typically subtle, with the large trees forming fairly generous throwing lanes. The day I played, I had to throw a number of right-turning shots on the front, typically needing a moderately-sharp turn mid-fairway, with the baskets being 250'~350' away.
The elevation on the back nine is more pronounced/varied, but nothing extreme. While the tightest hole (#13) is found on the back, the back nine is actually more open, with the trees not coming into play as often, and/or for not as long a duration. Unlike the front, the throwing lanes aren't so much defined/enforced by the trees, as the odd tree or three needs to be missed as the disc travels from tee to basket.
Lots of nice, pretty holes, but as a favourite, I'll go with number-18 - a fine finishing hole, downslope in its near entirety, the scattered large trees creating an elongated S-shape as the optimal form.
Fun course with lots of good holes - just too many trying to share the same space!
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
My favorite bay course, crowded
Pros: - Beautiful setting
- Varied but not frustrating holes
- Great use of the terrain
- Dedicated volunteers who help maintain the course
- Pretty good signage
Cons: - Gets pretty crowded with people, especially weekends
- A few spots where there could be better instructions to get to the next hole (14 to 15, 16 to 17)
- pedestrians sometimes get lost in the course, though not as often as I would have guessed given the location
Other Thoughts: I live in Berkeley, but would choose this course over berkeley's course every single day. The beautiful location, the variety of holes and signature holes (11, 15, 18) make me wish I could play here all the time.
The only problem is just how crowded it gets. Disc golf is great, but I wish there were some way to make it less crowded all the time. I mean, berkeley is never crowded, but that's because it's a terrible course. The Bay Area could use another course like this in the metro parts (McLaren, Tilden, Marin somewhere?).
Anyhow, I digress. If I were you, I'd find some way to play on a weekday. I haven't tried weekday, daylight evenings, but I imagine they are not as bad.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Corey and SpringOne 2GX 2013
Pros: This course is set in magnificent Golden Gate park. The course is merely 5% or so of the overall park. There are so many other activities in the park.
This course is beautiful; many of the holes have very mature trees. The tees are concrete, in good shape. The baskets are very good. And the signage is good - distances and pin locations shown.
Most holes have 3 or 4 pin locations, and I consider that a good thing. Navigation wasn't too bad considering that was my first time to play the course. I played with a good friend who lives in the area, but hadn't played the course before.
There were some really unique holes: holes 3, 5, 11, 12, & 17 were some of my favorite. Elevation was definitely used in a good way.
The park is maintained very nicely; bushes and trees were manicured nicely. And given lots of traffic - there was little no trash or debris. There were benches and many of the holes.
Wonderful weather year round.
Cons: The combo of layout plus crowd is the #1 drawback here. The GGP is so big; there's so many other people that aren't disc golfers. It's the largest green space in SF - so it's understandable. There were several trails on the course for walkers and bikers who clearly have the right of way.
Aside from lots of people, the hole layout compounds the problem for the actual play of DG. Several baskets are close to another tee, so you had to wait on another group to finish two holes before you can play your one hole.
Neither the crowds nor the layout would be a problem if the other didn't exist.
Other Thoughts: This was a trip to see my friend Corey and attend a conference in Santa Clara the following week.
SF is an interesting and unique city. The course was very fun and fairly challenging. I wanted to play a second time early Monday morning, but it was too wet. The fog and mist has sprayed the course. The course has a sandy, dusty top layer, and when it gets wet is pretty sloppy. I just wasn't prepared for that on my trip.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 3 Not
When visiting San Francisco...
Pros: Located in a beautiful park
Concrete tee pads
Multiple pin locations
Cons: Can be kind of busy
Fairways go right by other hole tees which can be dangerous
Watch out for other park goers
Other Thoughts: This course is definitely out of the way from Santa Clara where I was recently visiting for business, but is a great place to go play if you ever are in SF doing the tourist thing or killing some time before a redeye flight back home. The course is in the middle of a huge public park complex in SF. It is a very beautiful park and super well maintained and clean. Every hole has at least 3 pin placements that change once a month. The holes are relatively short with no real huge holes. Several of the holes ran pretty close to one another, so you have to pay attention here and call your "fore's". Most holes are under the canopy of the forest. There are lots of trees to hit, but even under the canopy there are no real super tight tunnel shots. This was by far the most aesthetically beautiful course I played during a recent trip to Si Valley. It was also one of the easiest. Maybe the other pin locations are more difficult. None of the holes really stand out, but it was a very nice course to play. Also, being in the middle of a really big city, there are a lot of other people in the park so be careful and respectful to other visitors.
4 of 7 people found this review helpful.
18 Helpful / 0 Not
Lots of fun
Pros: The course plays through a very nice piece of Golden Gate Park, full of mature trees and some scattered brush. The majority of the holes here are wooded enough that you really have to hit a line to score well, with moderate punishment for missing most fairways. I liked the variety, the setup I played had a great balance of hole shapes and lengths that called for most of the discs in my bag throughout the round.
There are multiple pin positions, and they looked like they'd change up the course nicely. It seemed like they're changed reasonably often as the wear around the alternate positions was similar to the ones in use when I played. The tee signs are basic, but show the hole layout and distances, and have a nice indicator for current pin position. The tees are older, but in fine shape. A lot of work has gone into the landscaping here, and it really shows.
Cons: There are a lot of safety concerns. Way too many of the holes play right on top of one another. This issue is magnified by how popular the course is, especially with a lot of newer players who tend to miss the fairways more often. A walking path is also in play on a couple holes, and errant shots can find a busy street along one edge of the course.
There isn't a whole lot of distance, that's the only real test lacking here. Navigation is a little funky in spots, I almost skipped holes a few times and there are some awkward walks between holes that could be better marked. If you don't like crowds, play this course on off hours, it's one of the more popular courses I've seen.
Other Thoughts: Beginners will find this course tough but approachable. It's reasonably technical but not overly long or punitive. More experienced players won't need their distance drivers, but it will test a lot of different line shaping skills. I definitely recommend a stop here while you're in the Bay Area, this course is a lot of fun.
18 of 18 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Glad I stopped!
Pros: - felt like I was on a real "golf" course. Some of the dirt areas were raked. All the landscaping, disc golf specific paths (felt like cart paths), etc are awesome. There are benches, tree stumps to sit on at all holes, garbage collection at most.
- pretty good mix of shots, decent elevation use,most holes have some sort of challenging aspect to them (in the layout I played).
- great signs, shows which pin position,direction to next tee, distance.
Cons: - course was a little cramped - I understand this is an urban setting, so relatively speaking, it's a great green space, but could see it being tight. Also, some of the holes cut back to the next teepad, or have cross fairways to get to the next tee. It doesnt always flow in a natural manner. To someone who plays this course all the time, I'm sure it's not noticeable. They have made the most of what they have, I don't have suggestions to improve it.
- there are a few holes where walking paths come into play (as in, you better watch for people, or you might injure someone).
- crowded - played late morning on a weekday, and there were at least 9 groups on the course
- street navigation to course is tricky. If you miss your turn, you can't make left turns on any of the other streets you want to (not a local, please don't hate!)
- to nit pick a little, relatively short course (see other thoughts section)
Other Thoughts: I flew into SFO for business trip that takes me into Sonoma county. Based on reviews, I made this the course to hit, and am glad I did. I brought a coworker who was new to DG, and had a reduced bag. Played a terrible round, but had a good time. This park is great. The few locals I ran across seemed pretty cool. Being from NC, I don't quite agree with the heavily wooded description - but there were a lot of trees to shape your lines around. Don't know if it was the pin layout (they seemed to be mostly Bs) thst was short, I don't think there were any holes over '400 ft (maybe11, don't think it was though). For me to give a 4, IMO, there should be some longer holes. If I lived local, it would be a great home course. If you're passing through, I would whole-heatedly recommend it.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The locals have done a phenomenal job improving and maintaining this course. There's plenty of great ammenities: copious benches and trash cans. The tee signs make everything about the hole clear: the layout, distance, and current and other pins positions. There are at least three pin positions for each hole. The course has been impresively landscaped with walking paths, ledge walls, elevated baskets, and the like. There's also big fence walls to protect many of the tees -- a great idea given the close proximity of some holes, and one I hadn't see elsewhere.
This course is also right in San Francisco, very accessible to a lot of people.
Cons: The course is really crammed in. Many of the holes play right next to each other. There are mandos, OBs, guard fences, etc. to help. But it is both something of a safety concern, and limits the hole design. There isn't enough room to have multiple routes or big epic holes. It also means that many holes feel similar -- either very straight, or a generic dogleg.
The course is also quite crowded. Even on a weekday morning there are plenty of players out. And given the cramped nature of the course, you always need to be alert for errant throws.
Other Thoughts: This course feels like the opposite of many other good California courses, which have awe inspiring scenery but mediocre maintenance. Golden gate park is one of the best maintained courses I've seen anywhere, but fails to inspire awe in the way great courses do.
Because the course is high traffic, there is a lot of work done to reduce erosion. Stay on the walking paths when possible.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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