23 Helpful / 1 Not
City by the Bay!
As it states in the course description, this is San Francisco's first disc golf course which happens to be located in Golden Gate Park. It is a tightly wooded 18-hole course, which was officially opened in March 2007. This course is a wonderful addition to what already is a world famous park. With so much culture and beauty, it will take at least a day to visit if not an entire weekend! With ample parking throughout the park, finding a spot near the course should not be an issue. Plus, it is free unless you park in the main parking garage about a half mile away.
Growing up in the bay area for over 20 years, I had yet to play this epic course due to moving to the Pacific Northwest in 2000. Because of this, Golden Gate Park has been on my wish list for quite sometime. From the first moment I pulled up to the last putt on 18, this course didn't disappoint me for a second. Designers Ross Hammond and Leonard Muise did a phenomenal job with the land they had to work with, capitalizing on elevation, pin and tee placements, and course difficulty. With three pin placements per hole, locals are given variation to keep things interesting. Tee pads are large cement slabs that are well maintained and provide plenty of grip on those cold and rainy days. Many of the pads are reinforced for stability and to prevent any kind of erosion. Colorful tee signs were created on wooden stumps, showing the multiple routes, pin positions, and major obstacles. The baskets are all Mach III's, are clearly labeled, and are well maintained.
What sets this course apart from so many other courses I have played is the countless hours that have gone in to installing and maintaining this course. Even though many other course have had tons of work done by loyal locals, there usually is still a lot of work to still be done. In three years since being installed, this course is spotless for the most part. Everything from the eradication of underbrush, logs along the walking trails guiding players from one hole to the next, the immaculate tee pads and fairways, to the protective nets on particular tee pads, every hole was well thought out and unique unto its own . Much of the course has players throwing down tight fairways, requiring not only distance but accuracy to obtain birdies. With the towering Eucalyptus trees and other native foliage, as well parts of the city in the distance, this course truly is breathtaking! The course seems to have a fair amount of hyzers and anhyzers, as well as plenty of holes dead straight, allowing for no one player to have an advantage over another. This course will make players well balanced, and challenged in ways most players may not be used to. Because of this, it is easily one of my favorite courses, and if I had it my way, it would be my home course. It may not be the best course I have played, but very challenging for even the best of players.
Although I could not find much, I could see how on crowded days this course could become a bit dangerous. With such tight fairways next to one another, I could see the occasional deflection sailing across one fairway and right toward another. So just please be mindful of others when throwing.
Also, at times it was a bit confusing trying to figure out where exactly some of the pins were since some of the washers were on the correct position and others were not. Fortunately, even though my wife and I had to walk ahead to locate the pin position, there were not others behind us. I could see this becoming a big issue for first timers so if it is crowded, just make an educated guess and keep it moving. Make sure though that you print off a map to make navigating easier.
This is just another example of a stellar course in northern California. Like Stafford Lake, De LaVeaga, and Parque de la Raza, Golden Gate will keep you on your toes, and have you wishing you could have it as your home course. The locals do an amazing job with the upkeep, and the local club does a nice job hosting some great tournaments including the Safari Open. I feel very fortunate to of had the opportunity to play this course and hope that anyone nearby has the same chance. You will learn a lot about your game and truly feel blessed to of had the chance to play one of the better courses in the state of California!
23 of 24 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Extremely well kept and maintained. The group of volunteers have done a great job of setting up paths on the fairways, steps, safety nets, etc.
Very tight fairways in some places and cool distance shots in others. Very well laid out and organized.
The maps on the tee pads are some of the best I've seen. The indicators in the upper corner clearly show what basket is in play.
Great course in a great park. Worth the effort to get here and play if visiting the city!
Cons: A couple places where an errant shot could have some pretty dramatic traffic consequences. It is in the middle of a city after all.
I can see how this could get crowded on a nice weekend (I was playing early on a Thursday morning and only ran into 1 really cool local who gave me some good tips on campgrouds along the coast for the rest of my roadtrip).
Other Thoughts: This was one of my destination courses on a long road trip. It did not disappoint. There is lots of variety in the terrain and challenging holes. The course is really well maintained and pretty simple to navigate with good signs pointing to the next tee.
There are a few spots on the course where the fairways cross a path or get pretty close to a main street.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
19 Helpful / 0 Not
A San Francisco Treat!
Pros: Beautiful, classic course set in a lovely park with rolling terrain. This area of the park is mostly dedicated to disc golf so you're not overwhelmed with other park users. One can readily see that many volunteers have spent many a hour here engineering steps, tee boxes, pads, signs, trails, safety nets and much more. I applaud you all for your efforts. You and mother nature together have created a wonderful little disc golf course for the rest of us to enjoy. The course was easy to follow. The signs were great. Some wonderfully engerineered tee boxes. I liked the fact the the average Rec player could come out here and really play an enjoyable round but yet this course could provide challenge for the advanced player as well. Spotters are advised on a couple of holes. I felt there was a nice contrast of left-right-up-down-technical and open holes.
Cons: I guess those blessed with the really big arms will say there are no holes to really air it out on. Other than that, we couldn't find any flaws.
Maybe if Alex who found my Leopard, reads this, would you call back again, and this time, leave me a call back number.
Other Thoughts: This is a great asset to the San Francisco disc golf community. I can't imagine anywhere in the country that wouldn't like to have Golden Gate included as one of their daily choices to play. I know I sure would.
19 of 19 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: Nice layout, with trees and vegitation. I played this course with my wife (her first time ever) and found it to be alot of fun. The tee boxes where nice and the pin placement made the course challenging.
Cons: Ground vegitation makes finding misplayed discs hard. There are a couple of baskets that are close together making knowing wich pin you are throwing to hard. If you never have played here, make sure you print out a scorecard with a map.
Other Thoughts: Never play this course on the day the Bay to Breakers race is going on. Made that mistake and saw some sweet drunk chick puke shots from the tee box.
4 of 11 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 6 Not
Great Morning in Golden Gate
Pros: There is a wide range of difficulties to maneuver thru when playing this course. The first 9 holes are inside a forest of trees that will be happy to knock down any type of shot you think you can blast past them.
The back 9 is differing altitudes and lengths to test your drives and deep putts.
The par 4's saved my life my second time thru when I was keeping score, although they should have been farther in distance for actual par 4's.
Great donation tee pads and hole maps (which I absolutely love!!)
Cons: This course gets very busy so need to play it early.
Par 4's are kind of short (which works out sometimes too)
Other Thoughts: How many PDGA Tournaments have been played at this course?
4 of 10 people found this review helpful.
19 Helpful / 1 Not
a midwesterner's take on GG Park
Pros: -course is set in a massive park surrounded by activities but the area is almost exclusively dedicated to dg (hiking path comes into play on some holes but not many, and the holes it does come in play on, the path and over is OB).
-Nice signs indicating current pin placement, route, and length set on stumps by the adequate concrete pads.
-A lot of mandos and OB, the mandos seem to be cautionary, but enhance the course play forcing the more extreme shot generally.
-Shot variety was OK, some rhbh anhyzer shots but more straight ahead or rhbh hyzer shots.
-Course flows nicely given the small space, there is a lot of overlap of fairways where a hole starts midway down the previous fairway, but these are protected by sweet mesh back stops or log jams (only one place where this is a con).
-The course is a very wooded, pretty course with a lot of old eucalyptus trees, the course is semi technical, just technical enough to make you think twice about the shot and add to the fun factor but not difficult technical or unfairly technical.
-A place to throw away trash at every hole. I was expecting a trash, recycling and composting can at each hole (it is in SF after all) but beer boxes work too :)
-Decent elevation change at this course a lot of slight downhill shots and a steep downhill shot, but not a lot of uphill shots ( this partially has to do with the fairways overlapping slightly).
-friendly locals who showed me around
-Hole 10 was a great signature hole. A downhill mando rhbh hyzer with the pin placement on top the tree stump, not super complex but a lot of fun.
Cons: -A major con for the course is just the sheer amount of people using the course, I had to wait a bit at each hole, which is fine, especially in a cosmopolitan area, but given that the course overlaps so much it's a bit dangerous ( I was almost hit a few times).
-I also almost a hit people waiting at the next pad a couple times, but the thing was that although I didn't hit my line, I still had a putt at the basket, so some of the pads are a bit too close to previous pins, just be warned
-A couple of the concrete pads were a bit short, but most were adequate for the length of the hole.
-Course was a bit short to set it apart from other similar courses I've played.
-A bit lacking on shot variety, course favored rhbh players.
-A couple spots where the rough was out of control and tough to traverse, the hill on hole 11 stands out, not only is is it hard to get up and around the hill, it is tough to find a disc. I realize that it is for erosion control, but a possible solution would be to terrace the hill.
Other Thoughts: Overall this course was one of the funnest I've ever played. There are a lot of great ace and birdie runs with a couple longer technical par fours mixed in for good measure. I had a blast here and would recommend it to anyone. I think the course probably caters to intermediate players but adv nd rec players alike will enjoy it.
19 of 20 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -Beautiful setting. In one of the most beautiful parks in the world which is in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
-Very well maintained
-Nice large tee pads
-Top notch technical holes
-has some nice elevation change
-easy to navigate
-Some great downhill holes
-very well thought out holes with nice basket placement
-Love the paths that are created with logs on the fairways directing you to the basket
-has some nice dog legs
Cons: -Gets very crowded, especially on weekends. I don't recommend playing this course on a weekend. My buddy and I ended up waiting 20+ minutes just to tee off on a couple of the holes.
-Some holes are a little ontop of one another. This wold be almost impossible to avoid however given the amount of space the course designers had to work with
-Would be awesome if this course could take you out of the trees into some wide open bomber holes
-An uphill hole would be nice
Other Thoughts: -World class destination course. A must play in Northern Cali.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 2 Not
Beautiful and challenging
Pros: The disc golf park is situated within the beautiful Golden Gate park right in the midst of urban San Francisco. The course is very well-maintained with nice signage and equipment and boasts several pin placements on each hole which create unique shots (not just longer shots) off the tee. It mostly plays through moderately to heavy woods but many holes offer several options off the tee, something that is often lacking from tightly wooded courses. The large elevation changes are utilized well with up/downhill shots, fast greens, and tricky basket placements.
I think one of the best things about this park is that the design is such that it will challenge players at all skill levels. Gold to silver level caliber players will be looking for tough birdies on most, if not all of the holes out here, its more about hitting the right line through tight woods and touch on fast greens that the top players will have to worry about. Most holes are well within the reach of even modest arms, but there are a couple of holes where bigger distance is necessary for a birdie. Lower silver to beginner level players will still be challenged hitting lines off the tee and then likely face further challenge in trick shots and approaches for pars. True beginners may find the course a bit too tough off the tee, so be warned - birdies aren't going to fall in your lap here. As mentioned earlier, all of the holes that I played were par 3 but there were only a couple "gimme" birdie holes out there which made each birdie on the tougher holes quite memorable.
While the holes are somewhat tight and next to each other, tree coverage for the most part keeps you separated from other golfers but truly errant throws or bad kicks will land you on an adjacent fairway.
As mentioned before, I checked out the multiple pin positions on each hole and I would guess (because I've only played here once) that they would add some really nice variety to the course. They aren't just longer versions of the same shot, in many cases they completely change the route off the tee. The baskets, tees, and fairways are all in great shape - you can tell people really care about this course.
Cons: I absolutely loved the design, the only thing I felt was missing from the course to make it truly a championship caliber or 5 disc course was the absence of par 4 or 5 holes. Space limitations probably prevent this from becoming reality and the designer(s) have done an excellent job. Despite the exclusively par 3 design, it really is a superb course and worth the trip even for the most veteran course reviewers/players.
Busy - Even early in the morning on a weekend day (around 8am) the course had bunches of both casual and regulars out on it which made for somewhat slow going. My guess, along with mentions from other reviewers, is that the course is packed on fair weather days.
Navigation - Only a slight con because there are a couple sections, especially towards holes 14-18 which pose problems to navigation but check the tee sign before moving on to the next hole because it will often give you an indication of where you should be heading next.
17 of 19 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Gorgeous course, good for practicing highly skilled shots. All holes have signs and at least 3 different tee placements. A very hilly course with plenty of elevations challenge.
Cons: So many trees you might go crazy. Tee boxes slightly small and surrounding area usually muddy. Some tee boxes hard to find but friendly local will point you in the right direction. Holes cross alot and are narrow so watch for flying discs and please yell four when you throw a disc at me.
Other Thoughts: Had an awesome time and shot just over par my first time at the course. So I feel lucky because my friend who is way better player than me hit every tree in that forest.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Fun challenging hole design throughout the course.
Solid use of the available elevation changes.
The cool variety of trees with a pretty solid canopy creates a nice secluded feel in this large park near busy streets.
Great tee pads with nice surrounding box enclosures.
Beautiful tee signs with permanent pin location indicators.
Three pin positions on just about every hole add variety.
Fun for all levels of play, nothing too hard but very few easy birdies even for high-level amateur players.
Safety nets are a nice addition on a fairly high danger course.
Cons: Course can get very crowded, even playing on a weekday in January I saw 3 separate groups of 6 holding up traffic.
Lots of fairway overlap and some of the C positions were downright scary to throw at with any groups nearby.
Just a few of the holes feel very luck based with trees everywhere and no real strategic lines.
A number of holes where there are numerous trees or bushes within 15 feet of the hole adding to a rather fluky feel to a few holes.
Some tricky navigation areas where some next tee signs might help out.
Other Thoughts: Golden Gate Park is a very fun disc golf course, not overly challenging or hard to walk it's a great course for all abilities, which you definitely see on most days. Honestly the course is a real mixed bag, many of the holes standing alone really feel like a top notch course, then other places on the course feel like two holes could just be combined. If anything it feels like the course would have fit about 14 or 15 holes perfectly but of course everyone always wants that 18 hole number. What I did really like was how professional the course felt, the signs and pads as well as minor navigational signs were very cool, the defined walking paths and overall lack of extraneous brush had a very clean feel to the whole course. If you're stopping in the inner bay area I'd definitely reccomend stopping at Golden Gate Park, but if you only have enough time for one course passing through I'd probably have to advocate making the trip to the more secluded Stafford, or famous De Laveaga courses.
13 of 15 people found this review helpful.
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