7 Helpful / 1 Not
Unique, challenging, and a must play for any serious bagger
Pros: Uniquely challenging. The drives on baskets 3 & 4 made my heart freeze for a few moments after release going over water. Given the space available, it's quite amazing that course builders fit a legit 18 in. Some really nice variety of tee shots with varying wind conditions. Hippy Golf is alive and well in the Hippy capital of the world!
Cons: The teeshot for #10 is seriously intimidating. Must carry the water into a very strong headwind.
Other Thoughts: I've lived in the East Bay most my life, and have driven by "that long looking lake" countless times on Hwy80. I even have customers very nearby in Berkeley, and today was the first time I ever set foot on this land! Thank you Disc Golf! "Margarito" is currently the local source for selling previously lost discs for $5 bucks each. He had about 15-20 on him with at least half being Stars or Champs. Local guy I played the last 7 baskets with mentioned that park maintenence recently cut down all the bushes and overgrowth just below the train tracks, where homosexuals previously would be "hanging out". So, my experience was quite pleasant without any of the shannanigans mentioned in older posts. Yes, many joggers and bicyclists, but nothing to complain about. I chucked a roller into the lake on the approach shot to 18, but waited about 20 minutes until it finally came back to shore. I highly recommend playing with floatable discs (Wahoo, Dragon, & Hydra was my set up for the day).
Uniqueness: A (tee shots that force you to go over water...yikes!)
Difficulty: A (you need guts to play this through; narrow; windy)
Fun factor: B+ (rewarding are the shots you can pull off; agonizing are the ones you want back)
Aesthetics: B (seen better days; pretty waterfront; nice little pier in the middle)
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
21 Helpful / 0 Not
Does Any Course Merit More Controversy?
Pros: Check the ratings distributions. People have given it everything from a 0 to a 4. Every Pro is probably someone else's Con. I hated the typhoon force winds blowing off the water. My advanced level playing partner found them challenging. I wouldn't chance throwing any of my plastic over the bay. He launched his hysers way out over the bay. There were some lovely views of the city but they were cancelled out by the freeway noise. We both disliked the old beat concrete teepads. The signs were old, graffitti covered and hard to read. A never ending parade of pedistrians often had him waiting long periods waiting for a window of opportunity in which to tee it off. By then, I had given up the course as a lost cause.
Cons: Navigation was a nightmare. The wind was a bitch. Pedistrians were clueless. I was extremely brave or stupid or both and actually used the public restroom. Quickest leak I ever took.
Other Thoughts: We did happen to play on the exact date of the 30th anniversary of the opening of the course, August 20th, 1980. This is one of the quirkest courses I've ever attempted to play. My conclusion is: If this was my home course, I believe I'd switch to badmitton or bowling or porn or something. I couldn't afford the disc bills or the aggravation of playing here. I think I'd need a therapist! I think I need a therapist after just attempting it. I might well be scarred for life.
21 of 21 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Location - beautiful backdrop with great views of the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate, easy access with ample parking
Course - Baskets are in decent condition, there's bathrooms, a decent mix of long and short drives, and for the most part a nice park.
Weather - Being in the Bay Area is a great way to beat the Nor Cal summer heat...
Cons: Water - a handful of drives that require sending your disc out over the lagoon, making a bad day an expensive one
Pedestrians - On a busy day this park would be a nightmare to throw due to the bike / pedestrian trail that splits the front 9 from the back 9.
Also - a couple of the baskets were ankle deep in mud on the back 9 as well (though we did play during the rainy season...)
Other Thoughts: It's linear design make it easy to navigate the course and there are some excellent drives that made it worth the trip. Losing one of my better discs in the drink left me with a bit of a bad taste, but I would definitely play this course again. I would recommend playing it earlier on a weekday as opposed to the weekend due to non-DG related traffic, and I definitely wouldn't recommend it to a beginner....
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: The course is located in Berkeley, California!
There are several picture post-card holes with pretty water shots. These holes do have some pucker-factor challenge.
Cons: I think the previous reviewers have nailed it pretty well. I'll just point out the low-lights:
Extremely dangerous: There's a walking path that is on the left of almost every fairway. The path is always crowded. There's really no chance to ever throw a "safe" shot on this course, all you can hope for is to wait for the opportunity to throw the least unsafe shot possible.
The water shots will claim too many newbie discs. Discs tend to walk away from the course.
General park sketchiness, particularly close to dark.
All par 3's with many non-descript, boring holes.
Directional signage is lacking is several key spots.
Other Thoughts: It's hard to believe that this course is still in the ground. So many bad things can happen for the sport in a place like this.
NO COURSE is better than a DANGEROUS COURSE.
Remember: Don't be a dirty disc golfer. If you pack it in, pack it out!
6 of 12 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.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
some like it wet
Pros: - tests your golf game with a variety of hazards: wind, water, and plenty of trees/schule.
- easy to get to being right off I-80 near the bay bridge
- stellar views of the city and the bay
- not too crowded most of the time
- great locals/scene/awesome doubles tourney each year
- cheap eats are nearby
- an easy walk for those less mobile
- the city and disc golfers are cleaning up the park
- sweet playground for the kids
- restrooms and water available
- plenty of parking
- cheap discs available from "fishermen" in the lagoon
Cons: - too many pedestrians/cyclists who have no idea what disc golf is
- small linear park forces waiting during crowded play/tournaments.
- 27 year old gay pick up spot still has some life, though the clearing of bushes has helped make it more family friendly
Other Thoughts: This course is an absolute challenge for players of any level. The wind can be nasty, making the water shots even more butt clenching. I can understand why some may choose not to play here, but if you get here on a nice sunny morning, there may not be a better place to play. All players coming through the bay area should check it out as it provides a great contrast to any of the other courses around: Dela, Golden Gate Park, Stafford, Napa, La Raza are all great, but none have the wind and water combo that Berkeley has. This course is well loved and cared for, but unfortunately overlooked.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Berkeley Aquatic Park Course
Pros: If you like long holes over water, this is the place for you. The Park is right up against the Bay, and has a great view. It was built 29 years before I had ever heard of Disc Golf.
Cons: See above, I lost a disc in the water. too cold to go get it.
Other Thoughts: There are a couple locals with bags of discs fished out of the Bay for sale there.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Join Disc Golf Course Review
for free to add your review. Have an account already? Sign In
to add a review.