Father’s Day Trip #5: Bigfoot’s Home Course
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Creekside Park is a small city park located at the end of Willow Rd., right off highway 299, amidst the trees and natural beauty along Willow Creek just a short hike from where the creek enters the Trinity River. The area of course is well known for its multiple Bigfoot sightings starting with the Ray Wallace footprints in the 50's and of course the infamous Patterson-Gimlin film of the 60's that was filmed a little north of here on Bluff Creek. All of this has made Willow Creek ground zero for Bigfoot hunting, obviously witnessed by the fact that every store and business in town is named after him. In fact Creekside Park sits almost directly behind the Bigfoot Museum. The park consists of a little tots playground, a BBQ and picnic area, and an outdoor classroom and nature area. There are portable bathrooms on site as well. Depending on the time of year you can choose from a variety of fresh fruit while you golf--the course contains apples, pears, plums, grapes, and the ubiquitous blackberry for your dining pleasure. Excellent swimming in the Trinity River is just a short hike away. I have actually played this course before, but it has undergone many changes over the years. Today it is a full 18 hole disc golf course that gives plenty of challenge while still managing to feel like an older style recreational course. Although all the challenges are here, you have uphill, downhill, water holes, thick rough, and heavily forested areas, most of the holes play short and are fairly easy to throw. While everyone complains about the dreaded 6/7 combo, I find that even though yes 6 is quite steep its only about a 150 foot hole and only about 25 feet in elevation, and as for 7 as long as you can keep your throw in the middle of the tunnel, you're biggest obstacle will be not overthrowing the hole as it's a 300 foot easy downhill ace run. As for hole 9, although you play out and over the water, the distance to clear is not all that much maybe 100 feet pushing and from an elevated tee no less and any good hyzer is going to keep you safe. Hole 8 is probably going to be the most dangerous throw as the creek is just left of the basket, but still at only 200 feet its easy work. The infamous blackberrys that everybody keeps whining about are still here but have been cleared significantly, making for much easier recovery of an errant disc.
Cons: Holes are a little on the shorter side, but it lends to the very relaxed feel of the course along with the natural beauty. Fairways cross road and parking lot and if there was any one else in the park you would probably be waiting or carrying on quite a few holes. Tees are natural and a little rough but hole distances make them manageable. Ground tends to get very soggy and flooded during wet seasons.
Other Thoughts: While Willow Creek doesn't offer some of the more intense challenge of other courses in the area, this is still a very beautiful and relaxing place to throw and highly recommended. There is pretty much a hole for every one to enjoy whether you like elevation, tight fairways, or open fairways it is all here. Add to the fact that this is yet another great course along the 299, rapidly becoming CA's disc golf highway, it makes Willow Creek that much more fun to play.
Our next and final course for the day is one of Eureka's infamous unlisted courses so we will pick up tomorrow with playing and reviewing after a nights sleep in Crescent City.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Pros: *Trying to give an honest review that is up-to-date on the course. I've only played the current 18-hole layout.
-easy to find course off the highway set in a nice riparian area with lots of technical play.
-good use of elevation change throughout including the already mentioned uphill/downhill combo of holes 6 & 7 (watch your step). The elevation change not only adds to the technical aspect of the course, it also creates different playing environments from creekside thickets of blackberries to open, sunny grasslands, to cool, shady oak woodlands.
-good technical design on the holes giving plenty of opportunity to use different throws.
-great signage on most every hole (9 was missing the sign, 10 is slightly inaccurate as the pin was moved deeper from its former signed location).
-all newer Mach 3 baskets, hole 4 has a pole sticking out the top so you can see it.
-benches on a few holes, including 9 which puts you kinda high above the creek and gives a nice view to enjoy.
-park, trails, and other recreation opportunities available for non-disc golfing friends and guests.
-camping and river nearby
Cons: -lots of overgrowth in many areas of the course...blackberries, willows, poison oak; mainly seen from 5-10 but there's a good amount on the fringes of other holes.
-hole 12 can be horrible during/after wet periods. A good amount of the fairway gets flooded and boggy, and hides many thorny plants and poison oak. *Do not go in barefoot looking for discs!
-hole 13 plays across a parking area that can easily take the hole out of play if there's enough vehicles there.
-other holes cross or parallel park areas and can be mildly inconvenienced by other users but nothing too bad.
-lack of trash cans throughout course but there's plenty in the park...pack in, pack out and dump when you get to 13.
-could use more benches throughout the course.
-not hard to find trash and junk on the holes down by the creek but it's no dump.
Other Thoughts: Definitely worth playing if you're in the area. The setting is beautiful and the place is great even for non golfers. There is a bit of grounds work going on to improve the place, not specifically for the game but it helps. Seems to get a decent bit of maintenance, many of the holes/fairways were recently cleared up of winter/spring growth, however there are still a lot of patches of thick blackberries & willows. It can get pretty warm on a clear day making a mid-game dip in the creek sound nice. Watch out for ticks. Wear long pants and sturdy shoes to avoid getting messed up by the local flora.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
The Fire is Melting
Pros: Personal Rank: 107
A prime example of Adventure/Extreme golf, the likelihood of leaving this course bruised and bleeding is fairly high. Steep hillsides, decent elevation, unique holes, nice views, and a very secluded rugged feel make this a DG experience to remember. Not for beginners, the out of shape, or the faint of heart. If you enjoy a physical challenge to go along with your round of disc golf, this course is for you.
If you're traveling through the Humboldt area and you have some free time after hitting the Arcata area courses, this one is definitely worth the drive, I know I'll make time to play this one any time I'm in the area.
And if you're lucky enough to get on the area's private courses, this one is no longer out of the way.
Other Thoughts: After playing 1000 courses, I'm excited to share my opinion on some of my favorites. My top 100+ list can be found on my blog, my favorites list is at 110 of 1020 as of writing this review. Of all courses played, the top 1.5% receive a rating of 5, down to 6% is a 4.5, and 15% is a 4.0 creating a bell curve distribution. I apologize that my reviews are not as detailed as they have been previously. I have included the details as to why this course stands out to the best that my memory serves.
My personal criteria is very subjective, a gut feeling:
~Physical beauty stands out, both scenery and the beauty of each hole.
~Amenities don't mean much to me, it doesn't much matter if there's benches, concrete tee pads, or garbage cans.
~Technical design - How well designed are the fairways/airways and landing areas? Are there unique holes that stand out? Variety of holes - distances, shapes, elevation, tree density, rough thickness. Pars 4 and 5?
~I love extreme/adventure golf. Rugged and secluded courses stand out more than park style courses. In general I prefer more technical over more open.
~Local Scene. If I was involved in a tournament or league or met up with some locals and played the course multiple times I appreciate different aspects of a course.
Thank you, enjoy my reviews and if you don't find this information helpful, please let me know what I can do to improve.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
I certainly enjoyed it.
Pros: -Secluded. When I played I was the only person in the park. Didn't even see another vehicle until I was leaving.
-Near the 299, great stop if you are traversing between Arcata and Redding. The course in Weaverville is also good.
Cons: -Blackberry bushes. Also rumors of poison oak (I didn't see any but I don't think it was quite the season for it yet).
Other Thoughts: Whoever designed this course is insane. The first couple of holes are easy to average. Then out of nowhere it becomes a beast that wants to eat your discs and destroy you. I think it is hole 6 where you shoot straight up, hole 7 you shoot down the cliff you just played up maneuvering between a creek and blackberry bushes (there is a rope to assist you down the cliff on this hole), holes 8 and 9 require exact precision or you'll be romping through blackberries...not to mention the creek that comes into play moves fast enough to wash away your discs. The back 9 are more consistent and not as intense, but can keep you on your toes. Personally, I loved every second of it, but I can think of plenty of valley people who would go home crying after playing here. If you like rugged and unique courses you'll enjoy it. However, if you are more into mellow relaxing courses with low risk, it may not be your cup of tea.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 3 Not
18 Hole Willow Creek Course Review
Pros: 1) Not busy
2) Good baskets
3) Beautiful setting
4) Creek close by
Cons: 1) Poison oak
3) Great chance of losing a disc (bring some you don't mind losing)
4) Criss-Cross shots on holes
5) Difficult trail
6) Minimal fairway
Other Thoughts: I liked it better when it was a 9 hole course.
Keep in mind that this course became an 18 hole course in 2010. Many of the reviews from other players are based on the "old" 9 hole course. I can appreciate the effort to make 18 holes, but some of them were so "crazy" to release a disc on, I decided to skip much of the course. Good luck.
0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The Steelhead DGC sits along the Trinity River in Willow Creek, CA. In addition to creating a great setting, the river also comes into play on a number of tee shots (5b and 6).
The course was recently increased to 15 holes and now presents an even better variety of obstacles and difficulty levels (some technical/short, some open/moderate distance, some with quite a bit of elevation change, some just plain easy).
All baskets, good signage and decent layout (you can find your way around this course without a guide).
There is a nice BBQ/Picnic area with plenty of shade for those hot summer days. While this area is sometimes be occupied, from my experience the course is generally empty.
Cons: Hole 5a short but very steep (you're basically scrambling straight up) and it may inhibit some people form being able to play holes 5a and 5b.
Practice basket is now the basket for the last hole.
Other Thoughts: Keep an eye out for Poison Oak. Weather can get pretty hot in the summer.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Beautiful weather in the summertime. Good variety for a small park.
Cons: Watch every shot, there are a ton of places for your disc to just disappear. Lots of poison oak and berry patches around.
Other Thoughts: This course makes a great little practice round if you are heading up to Ammon Ranch to play a REAL round. Consider this just a little appetizer to get your putter warmed up.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Breaking up the drive...
Pros: -Good mix of holes, Lefts, Rights, and Straight shots
-Multiple paths to choose from on some holes
-Beautiful Willow Creek flowing right next to hole 6 adds both to the beauty and challenge of the course.
-Short walk down a path between holes 5 and 6 to get to the river
-Some very challenging holes to get a 3 on.
-Some ace opportunities
-Playground for children
-Good for making a stop off the 299 while you're traveling through
-Easy to find, there's even a sign in town pointing you towards it
-Secluded and usually empty
Cons: -Poison Oak gets pretty bad on a couple holes
-Some holes too short and open.
-Only 9 holes* (10 if you know the extra hole)
-Blackberries can eat a disc or two on some holes
-Lefty favorable* (only a con in my book because I'm a righty)
-Slippery tee pads
-People going to the river sometimes park in the fairway of the new hole 9
Other Thoughts: I've played this course a bunch of times, and almost never ran into any other golfers out there, the only times I have, they have usually been people I know. It's a fun little course that makes good use of the land given. They had to move one of the holes recently, and though they made it harder, the fairway will sometimes have cars parked in it, which can be dangerous. This course was designed by one of the local disc golfers, Mike Belchik, a lefty, so the course is one of the few courses out there that is lefty favorable. That in and of itself could make the course worth a visit for any left handed golfers out there. On a hot day there's nothing better than a dip in the river, follow the trail between holes 5 and 6 to get there.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
- This 9 hole course makes you work for what you get. A few of the holes are easy; but, the rest are serious golf holes. The pins are well guarded by either brush, OB, river, 'cliffs' and/or a combination of the bunch. Great tee-shots are required for realistic birdie oportunities on holes 4,5,6 - definately not gimmies.
- The tee-sign distances didn't match the actual on ground distances. One sign said 320 and the hole had to be at least 450 - I had 160' upshot and I threw a decent drive.
- Dirt tee-pads were slippery - gravel on top of hard pack.
- Poision oak on a few holes - not a con for me, just letting you know.
- Could be tough to find your way around. I had locals guiding me, but I think I could have done it without them.
- This was a cool course I had to cross off my checklist before I left Humboldt. Living in Arcata, I wouldn't drive out of my way to play this course again, but would play it if I was traversing Hwy 299 again.
- This is one of the better 9-hole courses you could come across; but, if you are on a DG vacation and are wondering if you should drive out to play willow creek or play more rounds at the Redwood Curtain/Area 74... I would say, save the gas! You'll have more fun in the redwoods anyway.
My score: -2
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: 1. beautiful setting and variety of shots
2. you will likely have the place to yourself
3. nice creek/river and some picinc benches to make a party of it
Cons: 1. berry briars cover much of the course
2. such a nice and secluded course you wish it was 18 holes
Other Thoughts: It was pretty far away from any other course, but we had tons of fun here. there are many opportunities to misfire a disc off into some very thorny brush, so bring your A game... and some long pants if you don't like scrapes...
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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