11 Helpful / 0 Not
Grand Dame of local courses showing her age
Pros: Easy to get to off freeway and by city streets;
Can play front 9 or back 9 first;
Challenging array of holes
Just about zero signage to navigate course;
Tee pads are here and there but never consistent;
Lots of pedestrian traffic along the main walking path...which leads me to...
Main walking path used as tee pad for several holes;
Variety of locals like to "hang about" in this park...can be interpreted as you wish, but this is an urban park next to the train tracks...and this is Berkeley;
Long holes are not necessarily a CON, but with the narrow "fairway" corridors and the ever present pedestrian traffic, it can make for some edge of seat tee shots;
Many locals are unaware that there is a disc golf course here and don't understand what "FORE" means in this context-they remain blissfully ignorant until that disc comes whizzing by!
Other Thoughts: Ah the course that once was...this old girl is showing her age and everyone is bashing the old girl like she is a has been. She probably is, but the potential is there for a re-worked 18 hole or smaller course that takes advantage of the park terrain and pedestrian traffic patterns.
Yes, there is no navigation/signage left from once abundant signage; yes, the tee pads are concrete only here and there and yes, it can be sketchy at times. But, keep in mind that this is an urban park and if you walk there alone at nite, then duh, it may not be safe. I have played here with my kids many times and always felt safe. We even wade the shoreline from time to time looking for plunked discs and negotiated with the local "disc fishers" for recovered discs. It is all part of the Aquatic Park experience. Too bad there is not a dedicated local club to take on the maintenance of the course in the wake of city budget cuts. That is the real tragedy in the saga of Aquatic Park.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 2 Not
Worth a round
Pros: interesting use of limited space. The in and out layout is nice for parking at the front or back, The water hazards forces confident shots. Getting some needed love finally
Cons: Most of the cons are just part of the game sometimes, except the last one. Some holes can be soupy after the rain. First time some of the tees can be a pain to find when grass is tall. Wind is brutal sometimes. Any hole can end with a wet disc if you arent careful. Creepy guys sittin in cars at the back parking lot.
Other Thoughts: For where the course is, im surprised the baskets are still standing. Some would say its a con, the baskets are older and kinda shallow .The city has done a good job of clear up the trackside, planting a few trees and some flower/ shrubs here and there.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Better with a guide
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: NOTE: This is an update from an earlier review which I first made in 2010, where I rated Aquatic Park 0.5. Since then, I have played the course with locals to guide me, and my impression has changed more positively.
-Tight fairways, throws over water, and wind, provide fun challenges and gut checks, forcing you to bring your A-game.
-There is plenty of variety, and some of the holes are simply fun, and unique to this course. You have many throw options on every hole to choose, and each with their own risk/reward. This would be a great place to play doubles, and split the strategy between throwers.
-The course has a bathroom.
-Impossible to navigate without a guide. Don't even try to go and play if you will be going it alone. There is no chance by yourself that you will come anywhere close to playing the course the way it is meant to be played.
-There are many crossing fairways, since the course is on a thin strip of park and plays both ways.
-Walking/bike path is in play on most fairways.
-Constant pedestrian/bicycle traffic on fairways. On some holes, the incoming path is blind off the tee and you won't see them coming until it is too late for them to avoid being hit by the disc.
-Homeless camping on some fairways, making them unplayable, or requiring you to badger them off to the side.
-Rusty baskets, rusty chains. While they are not completely frozen, it changes the basket dynamics. (One positive is that the disc sticks to the chains better.)
-The signage is terrible. I would encourage the locals to step up and take better care of their course.
-Mix of tees from dirt, cement, walking path, broken cement, etc.. Some of the tees are severely degraded, and you should be cautious about throwing from the tee (or throw from beside it if needed).
-The holes are mostly short, at least for a moderately skilled player.
Other Thoughts: If you do play this course, do not go without a guide. If you do play this course, do not go without a guide. If you do play this course, do not go without a guide. If you do play this course, do not go without a guide. If you do play this course, do not go without a guide. If you do play this course, do not go without a guide. Have I said it enough times? Seriously, if you do play this course, do not go without a guide.
Bring a few discs you really don't care about losing, because you will lose some plastic (not just in the water, the swampy weeds are also very high in places and very efficient disc eaters). This is not a good beginner course. There is a dude who finds and sells lost discs for $5.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 2 Not
A Few Fun Holes, Mostly Crap
Pros: - fast access from the freeway
- not too crowded
- baskets in good shape (some rusty chains, but all are attached, none missing)
- decent cement tees, grippy
- trash cans are scattered around the course/park
- there is an outhouse by tee 1 if you need a bathroom
Cons: - it's an out-and-back course, meaning you play 9 holes in one direction and then play 9 back toward where you came from (tee 10 is at the opposite end from where you park)
- one lane on hole 1 has you throwing directly THROUGH the practice basket. poor placement.
- tees 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17 are all very difficult to find without someone to point you in the right direction. I think these are all spray painted (very faintly, might I add) on the sidewalk, but I didn't find them all.
- the layout is extremely poor with many crossing, or very close to crossing, fairways (like tees 2 & 18 throwing directly at each other)
- difficult to follow because the signs have either been ripped off or graffitied over, the give no helpful information
- the grass is not mowed anywhere in the park, and many places are waterlogged to the point where you sink up to your ankles in the mud
- the risk/reward level is too high on many holes, where the best lane is over the water, even from the rec tees where a player might not have the experience /technique to make that shot. they're more apt to lose a disc and dislike the sport, poor design element.
Other Thoughts: Honestly, I think this course sucks. With the exception of a couple of cool, well designed holes, you're either throwing out over open water (which not all players can do), or directly down the walking path that runs the length of the park and a plethora of people constantly using the aforementioned path. This results in a few things that I dislike a lot: one, lost discs in the water for any player with a small arm or low accuracy on 1/3 of the course (3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 18), and lots of waiting or skipping holes because there are just too many other park users to throw around.
Aquatic Park is just a jumble of misplaced holes that can be dangerous to play, either by throwing at other disc golfers on tees, or at all the walkers/joggers/bikers that use the path that runs the middle of the course. It rewards accuracy with many low ceiling shots and teaches you good risk vs. reward play.
I think this park is not big enough to accommodate this disc golf course and the high amount of traffic the park gets on a daily basis. Pull these baskets and make a second course in Golden Gate park, or use another larger park around Berkeley. Aquatic Park isn't worth anyone's time until the park gets some regular maintenance, and the course gets a proper redesign with some safety in mind. But really, there isn't much hope for that because there just isn't the room to do it correctly, so take these baskets and use them elsewhere.
10 of 12 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 1 Not
1 part fun, 1 part excitement, with 3 parts annoyance
Pros: First off, its difficult to rate this park because it is just such a strange place for a disc golf course. The plot of land is extremely long and skinny, often only 50 feet wide in places through which two fairways, park benches, and a walking path often have to share. It all makes for an odd experience of not knowing whether you are disc golfing or throwing Frisbees around at a crowded beach. That said, the designers were, quite miraculously, able to fit in 18 holes at a park which, on first glance, probably didn't look like it could have worked. But it all comes at a price as most holes have somewhat odd angles and often throw directly down pedestrian pathways or opposing fairways.
The main pros of this course lie within a few fun holes that play mostly over the water. 18 in particular made this course worth a quick trip for me - it's only about 280' or so feet and a well placed tree on the right shore pretty much forces a moderately long over-water left to right shot. Any RHBH shots that don't hold their turnover or worm-burners will definitely find the drink here, which makes the birdie pretty rewarding. The bay to your left showcases a nice view of the city and a nice pond/lake (although its somewhat ruined by the noisy highway running right through it). After recently playing Trojan Park in Oregon, I would agree with others who have said this hole is very nearly identical to the first water hole (6 I think) out there.
Cons: Challenge - The course has a pretty narrow window of player skill levels who will find it enjoyable. Those who can consistently throw around 350-400' will find most of the water holes relatively simple high hyzers back to safety and won't find much else in the park which requires too much thinking or shot-making off the tee. Newer players likewise probably will find the course frustrating because its too difficult to make the water shots and forces rather annoying safety routes along the shoreline.
Busy - Even if you are the only golfers out on the course (which we pretty much were), with all the walkers and picnics, its still a zoo. I'd only recommend playing this course early in the morning or late evening if you are headed there on a weekend.
Navigation - Navigation out here is really tough. It looks like the course has had some design changes over the years and you'll definitely be guessing at some points for the next hole or potentially playing to the wrong pins. Tees and/or often list the incorrect hole numbers, adding to the confusion.
Maintenance - Neither the baskets nor tees are in great shape and often signage is damaged or non-existent. The park itself is in kind of a tough area so likely has little support to prevent vandalism and maintain the hardware.
Other Thoughts: If you've got a thing for quirky or unique courses, Aquatic is worth a play but if you want more traditional high quality golf, best to head elsewhere.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 4 Not
• Easy to find
• Warm-up basket
• A 'just OK' park overall with bathroom and leisure amenities (although the bathroom was locked when we were there and the water fountains were barely dribbling)
• Parking might be a challenge as it gets busier
• Extremely narrow/tight course
• Water water everywhere!
• People people everywhere!
• Tees are a little erratic and can be tough to locate/navigate
• Bring a map.
• Bring a spotter.
• Go someplace else. =P
Wow. I had avoided this course for quite some time besides being in close proximity to it, because of prior reviews and comments. My gut was correct. I liken this course to playing down the center of an indoor tri-level shopping mall (Sun Valley for instance) with all of the obstructions (including people) only with water running down one side. I've never been so tense playing a course before. The holes are tight, treacherous, and have some of the smallest landing areas I've seen thus far, and that's before you factor in the people, bikers, kids, dogs, birds, penguins, dolphins, etc… It's one thing to demand that amount of precision, but to do it with that many distractions and timing challenges, man…my hat's off to you folks who enjoy this course. We actually had to skip probably 6 holes because it was just too dangerous to throw. And the park itself is…interesting. I can't say it's dirty but it wasn't quite clean either.
Bottom Line: If you're not an advanced player or above, and a patient person, don't bother. Even if you are you might find your day hijacked by the other park goers.
7 of 11 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The course itself and the different shots are pretty cool. Cool bay breeze. Very green.
Cons: People everywhere, horrible signing or directions to baskets. Some tee pads not marked. Kinda just pick what looks fun. Great chance of losing a disc or two. Some local hoodstars or girls with short hair and Birkenstocks may distract you.
Other Thoughts: the 3 Amigos are out there retrieving discs from the water and re-selling them 5 for $20.
This guy at my local course found there stash, recognized names on discs and snatched up like 15 of em. Brought em back and gave me my Champion Wraith back.
Damn it feels good to be a Chainster.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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