Prepare to be underwhelmed
9 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.
9 of 15 people found this review helpful.
Best Course for 100 miles...
6 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: I live near Sacramento but this is easily one of my Top 5 courses and has been a must to play any time I am in the City for the past decade. I remember being the last to play a few years back when they put in the new tee boxes....playing the course once and then coming back through and all of the baskets were gone (!).
It can be super technical (#4, 5 and 6) or up hill challenging (#12) or relatively wide open (# 3, 10)....but most are potential birdies with just the right drive/putt for us decent players.
Just like the rest of GGP, you lose yourself in the beautiful trees and smell of eucalyptus and forget you're in the middle of a huge City.
Truth be told....the City and the Bay in general NEED MORE COURSES. Berkeley/Alameda is just a frustrating place to lose discs in water and De La Vega is too far. That said, the saving grace is this amazingly beautiful course in the middle of a beautiful park in the middle of a beautiful City!
Cons: Crowds can be an issue....especially in the middle of a weekend day but I've been there early on Saturday mornings and had no problems/waiting whatsoever.
The challenge of non-players wandering through the course is worse than the challenge of other players wandering around in some of the holes on the front 9 that run right next to each other. The netting set up to protect the tees is good but they just put too many holes in too small a space (specifically #s 6/7/8). Not an issue if you know how to keep your discs in the fairway but not everyone is so skilled.
Be careful poking around under bushes in some areas as I have come across some resting local park residents.
Other Thoughts: Lots of great work has been done to clean up the tee boxes, signs and baskets over the years. It used to be that you chanced a twisted ankle with some of the dirt boxes they had years ago....not any more.
I know space is at a super premium in SF but there has to be somewhere else that they can add courses that doesn't require you to drive and drive and drive... (pun intended!).
6 of 10 people found this review helpful.
my new favorite
2 Helpful / 12 Not
Pros: Large mixture of different style, difficulty, and length holes. All tee boxes are well kept, fairways are well marked, spread out course. A few really sweet elevated shots
Cons: Large redwood trees, quite a few hard dog leg holes. Can get crowded on weekends.
Other Thoughts: Would play everyday if I could.
2 of 14 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 0 Not
An absolute thrill!
Pros: This course is easily one of my favorite courses to play. It offers all of the challenge of a wooded course, yet in the middle of a large metro area. You'll lose yourself when you're out here and forget your in one of the biggest cities in the U.S.
As for the course, it has large concrete tee pads for each hole, as well as 3 pin positions. You'll find the signage to be adequate and the course is so tightly packed that you shouldn't have any trouble navigating.(but that does present another problem, in my cons)
The hole variety is adequate for a 4.0 rated wooded course, but far above that when you consider where it is. I certainly didn't expect to have so many tight technical shots in a large metropolitan park. Being my first time to SF, I half expected open fields like Central Park in NYC, but was pleasantly surprised.
You'll have a good variety of distance, but you won't have the opportunity to really air one out. The course doesn't favor RHBH or RHFH, which is nice as well. Additionally, despite being close to the coast you'll have an ample amount of elevation changes as well (you are in SF after all!)
There are also some neat pin positions and elevated baskets that will add to the challenge. I always enjoy one or two holes that aren't simply buried in the ground.
Seating was never an issue as there seemed to be and ample amount of places to rest along the way. Despite the course not being overly long, with the amount of traffic it gets, you'll definitely need to sit and wait at times. I suggest bringing a stool to assure you'll have a place.
The fairways and paths are well marked, usually with mulch inside of tree limbs. The overall manicured look of the place adds to the experience.
Cons: The course gets extremely crowded at times, which should be expected. Combine that with the nature of the layout and you'll find yourself being cautious in order to avoid hitting people with discs, or being hit yourself. There are screens up at several tee pads and trouble spots in order to catch those rogue screamers, but you'll still find yourself looking over your shoulder.
There isn't a place to really open up a big arm. The park has some spots that perhaps could have been used for such a shot, but I'm sure the logistics of using the greens for a dg course would have been complicated and probably impossible.
You'll need to pause and let pedestrians and non-golfers pass on the numerous trails and such while you're there. Please double check before throwing.
There isn't any water in play, which takes away from the challenge a bit.
You'll have a decent chance of losing a disc. While the park gets trampled down pretty well, there are still a fair amount of trouble spots with underbrush you could lose one in.
When I was there, despite the cities efforts to keep it clean, there was still a fair amount of trash and debris on the course. I know this is extremely hard to keep control of with so many users of the park, but was a touch upsetting.
Other Thoughts: This course is one of the more enjoyable I've ever played, but not necessarily for the reasons you'd expect. It doesn't challenge you as much as others, doesn't have the variety of others, but the overall atmosphere of the place just cultivates good disc golf and overall vibes.
I can't imagine not having a good time while playing Golden Gate Park, thus it easily makes it into my favorites list. If you're in the bay area, you should definitely make a trip to play a round!
16 of 16 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Lots of pros here, central remote location, plus always great weather. Every person I ran into here was extremely passionate about the sport. The locals are very friendly and inviting, and extremely helpful if it is your first round here. Immediately off the bat I could tell the sense of pride and creativity that went into the design of this coarse, and the hard work of the people that keep it nice, which I was told by someone that a group of people do regularly. The baskets are in good shape, almost like brand new, and the paths are mostly lined decorative wood logs to mark where you walk, also the signs are fully intact and non damaged. There is a very helpful coarse map at hole 1, if you take a picture of it with your I Phone, you will be good through the coarse on navigating it. there is concrete tees and trash cans so the place stays non littered. tricky shots involved (at least for someone with my small skill set). Some incline and decline shots along with interesting pin placements, one of which was on tops of cut logs like stepping stones about six and a half feet in the air.
Cons: Probably the only cons I found was that the coarse was difficult to navigate and so that might propose a problem, but most likely no because they have the map, and people always carry their cell phones with them now every where we go. Another con is that the park isn't just used for disc golf which obviously that means pedestrians walking causing you to wait, also people don't always wait for you to pay attention that you are blocking their shot so pay attention for flying discs. One last con on the day I went was that they were getting ready for Outlanders, which I think was a concert going on, so I can't hold that against the coarse itself, but with the fencing they put up, around the park, and completely blocking off hole ten's basket it was a challenge to get around, but we did not let that stop us
Other Thoughts: I will definately be back when I can. It was awesome even with the 3 hours of driving one way it took us to get there from home.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Signage at all holes. Tee pads standard sized with a few that had been extended. With the course laid out in two, nine hole loops, there's the great break to just run the front or back nine.
The course is very well landscaped, clearly marked paths, with signs that the course is consistently being worked on (piles of leaves waiti to get picked up, and what looked like a stack of bricks for extending more tee pads.
The course requires a good variety of shots, necessitating well shaped shots.", making for an extremely fun round.
Cons: This is definitely a multiple-use park, but throughout the round when others were near by, they were pretty respectful of the fact that this part of the park was for disc golf. There were some people who were just Iivious, but even with signs posted, stating "Entering Disc Golf Course: Watch for flying discs," you can't really expect everyone to read, right?
There are probably a few spots where fairways get closer than I'd have liked but the course isn't anything new and probably just means that I need to have better control. For those few holes that they can see the distinct possibility of discs getting near other fairways there are netted fences ( so a positive from what I was trying to note as a negative, which the folks who run the course have already noted and made the improvement).
Other Thoughts: This is an amazing course when it comes to fun holes, difficult shots, and in a gorgeous park full of 100ft+ trees (providing shade and cover from rain), through much of the course.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful.
7 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!
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Move over Rice A Roni!
Pros: Golden Gate Park DGC is one of the better 'urban' courses you will ever play. I love the large trees in play with slight elevation changes that make you throw a moderately tight line while also choosing your landing area (and the way in which your disc lands) carefully in order to get birdies.
The course has nice long concrete tee pads and the tee signs are screwed or bolted in to tree stumps next to each tee pad. The tee signs show all three basket locations (A, B and C) with large trees as landmarks. I played mostly the 'C' positions which were a little more challenging due to being longer or more treed but also presented a few more blind basket locations. There is a good mixture of 'lefty vs. righty' holes on the course as well. I feel the challenge here is right for most amateurs and probably a little too easy for gold players.
Cons: The holes are designed right on top of each other but not really any crossing fairways. The course gets really busy however and this exacerbates the problem and makes you look over your shoulder constantly for incoming discs, luckily they have put disc catching nets surrounding the tee pads and benches to protect you from incoming speed 13 drivers gashing up your face.
The majority of the holes are moderately tight lines with shorter holes, so no open 450+ foot hole for those players who can really throw. It challenges a specific type of skill set and driving isn't one of them.
Other Thoughts: There was a hot dog/snack/drink vendor near hole one who looked like he was making bank because the course was full the day I played. Also near hole one was a lady selling basic Innova/Discraft discs and looked like there were 5 or 6 large boxes of discs to go through.
Golden Gate Park (Not the DGC) is a truly wonderful and very large park with many things in there to see. If you decide to walk around in between rounds look for the nice lady selling organic ice cream and frozen yogurt with homemade cones in the taco truck, best ice cream I've ever had! Strawberry ice lollie was amazing as well and cheaper than Baskin Robbins.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Close to perfect
5 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Good variety of shots and hole length(s) considering this course is set in a urban park with plenty of trees. Every hole has at least three pin placements and some have four or five (!). These get mixed up a fair bit and makes the course interesting.
The best free, public course I have played. Patrick Brown and the local crew put in a ton of effort here and it shows. Leaves are raked, grass is seeded, trees are planted, pathways are reinforced, retaining walls are built. Truly a feat to keep this course looking as good as it does!
My highlight holes: 3, straight down the pipe. 5, pick your line carefully! 11, on the pyramid. 15, fun valley to shoot across. 17/18 are good, too, depending on pin placement.
Cons: Can get very crowded on weekends (even some weekdays). Slight fairway overlap (6/7/8, 15/16, 17/18) but it's not usually an issue, even when crowded. Just be mindful of your fellow golfers and wait til you hear "clear!" or you see them on the next tee.
The city recently took down some trees on 15/16 which is a bit of a double-edged sword (more open vs. tougher/tighter shot).
Other Thoughts: If you're passing through, a great time to tour the course with locals is at the Sunday morning weekly (8am-10am).
The course is closed during Outside Lands and Hardly Strictly.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Fun, technical and scenic course
Pros: Cam to SF for a conference and HAD to get in some disc at Golden Gate Park. It did not disappoint!
- Park is accessible from many parts of the city via public transportation.
- Many holes have a technical element such as a tight fairway, blind shot, elevated pin. I didn't bring nearly as many discs as I should have for the number of shots required.
- Course is fairly clean for a free public course in the middle of a city.
- Makes excellent use of the land and elevation.
Cons: - Although there are some tough shots, there aren't very many over 350' and many in the 200 range. Understandable given the limitations on space.
- Erosion is not out of control, but it looks like it has been a problem.
Other Thoughts: This course has that tough to quantify good vibe to it; I left feeling like I wanted to spend the rest of my time there. Highly recommend if you are anywhere in the Bay Area.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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