1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: When you arrive at the course you will notice the information board and the massive amount of parking that's available. Area is dedicated to disc golf only so you don't have to worry about lots of non DG traffic. Well maintained framed rubber tees, benches at almost every hole, and nice next tee indicators helping to direct us not too familiar with the course. The course show the work and effort that go into maintaining it and presenting a great place to play. Great brand new baskets too.
Cons: No running water! All of the tee signs were wrong and don't have any indicators for the alternative placements but I was told that the signage was for the worlds layout and was left over. No practice basket, we used the basket closest to the kiosk but the basket was in play for other golfers and we needed to move over and over again as groups would play through.
Other Thoughts: I held off on reviewing this course mainly because when I last played it the course was very new and did not quite need a review until the work was completed. I am very impressed with the course, club, and golfers on the course. I can't say enough about how this place has turned 180 degrees around with the work put in for the worlds. I will be going back soon to play the monthly which had a great turnout.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I've really enjoyed playing Ryan Ranch. They've done a ton of work in preparation for the Worlds. Most notably the clearing of rough and the removal of a good portion of the poison oak. This course can giveth and taketh away. You'll need every shot in your bag to conquer it but even if you don't, you'll enjoy the battle. I believe the 27-hole layout averages about 400 feet per hole. So you better bring your big boy pants.
It offers a good balance of short & technical and long & strategic. Risk and reward is the prevalant theme. There is a good balance of left, right and straight holes. Along with some really fun elevation shots
Wear good hiking shoes. I've never stepped in more gopher mounds in my entire life but it didn't take away from my disc golf experience. There is a donation box on hole #1. Make sure you support all the hard work the club has done. Right now I rate the course a 4 but with the coming installation of new tee signs and some more clearing of rough, it could become a 4.5.
Cons: There was no bathroom or water so make sure you bring the appropriate items. The poison oak has been cleaned up a lot but it's still there so bring some Clorox wipes to clean off your discs. When I was there last the tee signs were in transition but I saw evidence of some new ones that I believe will be in by the time Worlds begin, if they're not in already.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This is a serious, serious course. Excellent variety of holes, elevation change, etc. There are quite a few bomber holes, technical holes, tight windows, up, down, whatever you want! I am very glad that I made the trip down to play this course. I think that the pros will have an awesome time here during worlds.
The rubber teepads are all pretty level and decent length. Some have clearly been put in very recently (the whole course is a work in progress... but appears near completion!). Baskets are in good condition.
Cons: Coming from a home course where there is little to no wind, the wind had a huge effect on my game here. Though I estimate it was fairly mild compared to what it could be (I have visited Monterey several times before, not playing DG), the wind was constant and definitely impacted my disc and shot selection. However, if you are used to windy courses it shouldn't be a big issue.
As other reviewers have mentioned, the poison oak is borderline ridiculous. Though almost totally confined to the gully that contains holes 3-5, it is extremely widespread in that area and very, very juicy this time of year. Let me say it again - there is an abundance of it all around those holes to the point where on my return trips (and there will be several!), I think I might skip those holes altogether. The wind just makes it very tricky to land safely (especially on 3).
The grass can get extremely high here... think waist to chest high. Most of the first 18 is pretty clear of tall grass, but the final 9 seems to be way more overgrown. I know this course is a work in progress and it takes an enormous amount of effort to clean that all up, so it gets a pass for the most part. Beware though, it is a nightmare to search for discs in grass that thick and tall at this time.
Other Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed myself here and will definitely be back! Apart from the oak and the tall grass, the course is AWESOME.
Thank you Stinging Jellies (the local club) for putting together such a nice course.
It is definitely NOT a course for beginners. The wind and length on some of the holes can be borderline demoralizing if you aren't at least intermediate level.
Also -- since it was my first time here, I didn't play any of the "alternate" holes (playing from one tee to a different hole's basket)... many of which were 700+ feet. If you are a very skilled player, they seemed pretty intriguing and challenging. Definitely something to check out if you know what you're doing.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Solid Bomber Course
Pros: Out of all of the courses being used for the 2011 Santa Cruz World Disc Golf Championships, I think that Ryan Ranch will probably go down as the Open Men's favorite. Ryan Ranch is prime territory for the big gun who knows how to manage the wind and has the power to clear the low lying trees and bushes that dominate the landscape here. This isn't to say that there aren't holes where deadly accuracy (hole 9) or a few tricks (hole 4) aren't going to come in handy, but this course won't pretend to hide its bias towards the big bombers. As soon as you show up to the course, you know right off the bat that the locals really care for this park. Tee one has a pristine and well secured and totally leveled rubber flymat with its very own broom for sweeping off the frequent blowing dust and dirt. I'm sure that this care and maintenance is only likely to improve with the coming of Pro Worlds to Santa Cruz. The final loop of holes seems like it may have been added on a bit later than the front 18 because it does look like it needs more work to catch up to the cared for feel of the front, but again, I'm sure this will soon be rectified this summer. For having such low tree cover, I did feel compelled to use a variety of shots off the tee, most often going with big sky or long range hyzers but also some controlled straight fairway drives and a forehand or two. Also, the course utilizes bushes fairly well in order to create areas that you need to avoid - they don't quite reach the level of adequately punishing errant shots because most pro players are going to be able to get up and down even from poor drives on most of the open holes, but the designers have made great use of the available coverage.
Cons: You might get the picture from the opening thoughts but this course definitely plays to those who can reach at least 400' in golf distance pretty consistently. If not, many of the 400' and even higher 300' holes which play slightly or very much uphill will feel pretty boring because you'll be left with a putt that has only a very outside chance of going in but an approach that is too short to miss. My girlfriend who is an open women's player played this one with me and could have passed on it for the most part for just this reason. Most of her throws off the tee were with the same disc, same line, just trying to achieve as much distance as possible. Nearly all of her upshots then consisted of medium range putters or spike hyzers for easy threes on most holes. This aspect will not play as a con for the Pro Worlds because most of the top players will be able to reach the vast majority, if not all of the holes on the drive. But it should be noted for those at different skill levels who may have a vastly different experience of the course. Something I would do differently if I returned to this course in the future would be to play the last loop of holes FIRST before the other loops because after playing the first 18 holes, these extras just didn't offer the same variation and felt like a bit of a boring way to finish. Starting off with this loop to warmup, you'll save the best for last and finish on a more positive note!
Other Thoughts: Overall Ryan Ranch is a really solid course that is only going to get better with the coming of Pro Worlds. The big guns like Avery are going to eat this course up while the snipers will probably have to play catch up on courses like DeLaveaga and CSUMB. Those who are up for an open air challenge are going to love coming out here to crush, while those who like more technical courses will probably be better off at the nearby Southern courses like the front 9 at Pinto Lake or Aptos High School.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Oak Grove on steroids
Pros: Setting: Rolling coastal hills, sweet ocean breeze (some may think this is a con - not me), excellent scenery / views, lots of places nearby to park non-playing family members while you go out and chuck a few. The terrain is typical for the area and features lots of oak trees (there are NO windows in oak trees) and dry (in the summertime) yellow grass (choose your disc color carefully or be prepared to spend some time looking for your plastic).
Layout: Out and back for 18, out and back for another 9. The whole course plays over varied terrain that seems to be on two levels - this means plenty of flat shots and plenty of elevation changes, sometimes both occuring on the same hole. Taking the land as a unit, I'd be hard pressed to find a better place to put a course.
Holes: As others have stated, #3 is the signature hole here. It's a long downhill bomb that just begs you to throw everything in your bag at it. Just freakin gorgeous. Other than that, I was very impressed with the variety of challenges presented. Every hole was a puzzle to be figured out and each one had its separate satisfaction, doled out to you if - and sometimes it was a VERY elusive "if" - you made it go right.
Other "pro"s: I could tell that the local club has put a whole lot of work and love into this course and I'm sure that by the time the 2011 Worlds rolls into town, it'll be a venue that the pros will remember for a long, long time.
Cons: The main "con" in my book was the large flat area where most of the third nine plays, more or less. I don't mind large flat areas, but large flat areas where heavy equipment has left ruts in the ground means a significant risk of twisted ankles, which is an automatic safety ding for me. Run a roller over this area once or twice and it should be fine.
Other Thoughts: This was my first time playing this course (October) and I had the disadvantage of not having a guide to help with navigation and a bum knee that let me down after 18. Plus, the course was still in the "tourney" layout, which evidently does not match the map here on the site. Again, I'm not familiar enough with the course to speak about its various layouts, pin positions, etc., other than as I found them today.
Oh by the way, the course is directly under the approach pattern for the local airport, so if sounds tend to distract you, be prepared to wait until the occasional Learjet, crop-duster, or ultralight moseys through the local airspace.
All in all I had a tremendous time here and look forward to coming back again and again to play this central coast jewel. I'd recommend it to anyone in the Monterey area.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Compares Favorably To Cali's Best!
Pros: Check out the course rating distribution on Ryan Ranch to see the controversy about rating this course. What other course has as many 5's (2) as 1.5's (2)? The ratings and opinions are over the board. We played it in late August when it was brown and parched and the grass was fairly short. Others write of playing it when the grass is green and two feet tall and finding your disc is impossible.
All I know is that is a wonderful piece of land for a course. The local club seems to working hard putting in the proper signs, teepads, garbage cans, benches and everything else that finishes off a course. It all takes time. This is a large sprawling park. Volunteer labor only works so fast. The baskets are PGA Mach 5's. The teepads that are finished so far are very well done rubber mats, grippy and extremely level. The terrain is rolling hills with plenty of open space, patches of mature trees, plenty of up and down throws, some extremely fast and tricky greens and basket placements. # 3 kind of stands out for me as it's signature "Top of the World" throw. It's not quite the epic throw toss as DeLa's but you'll want to throw more than a few here. This course has some really pretty vistas of the surrounding area and the low flying planes preparing for landing at the nearby Monterey Airport kind of add to the ambivence. The course will easily challenge the advanced to the pro player while bringing us recreational players to tears at times. There is a Kisok at the beginning with a little shaded bench to relax after a grueling 27 hole marathon. Somewhere between 8 and 10 holes play over 400' depending on which tee you're throwing from. There's a little box for returning lost discs at the beginning.
Cons: There's lots of poision oak here. Long pants/gaiters are a good idea. It's a long/hot hike. Bring water and sun protection. A spotter is good idea on many of the holes. Navigation is currently a little dicey. It's not a beginner/family friendly course. I'd like to see the trash/pile of wood cleaned up on the # 1 fairway, it would look a little better.
Other Thoughts: I think this course compares very favorable to Napa's Wilderness Park. Same kind of rugged terrain, same feel to it, same challenge, same frustration level. Also pretty similiar feel to Stafford Lake, although not quite as epic. We're not quite there with DeLavegea. They've had many years to improve their course. Another course I see similarities with is Lake Casitas down in the LA area. The one thing it has over Ryan Ranch is a little more in the scenic beauty department. This is a great piece of dirt for a course. It's only going to get better and better with time. If you played it earlier, I'd suggest coming back and giving it another chance. I hope I get another opportunity for it to kick my behind!
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: its a huge course with a lot of different shots required. huge distances, hole 3, the fact that i rarely have to wait for anyone.
Cons: huge distances. it needs a few more technical short holes. should have more signs with pin position and distances.
Other Thoughts: i think the course could be redesigned to go by the parking lot sooner. the first 18 feel like 27 sometimes. this course is really coming along, its bittersweet i love the fact you never have to wait but having a popular course brings tounaments and other cool stuff.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 1 Not
Slopes and drop-offs add challenge
Pros: Not crowded, easy to get to from Hwy1, challenging pin locations
Cons: Kinda hot at noon when it's sunny. Bring sunscreen! Some paths to tee locations criss-cross with other holes, so it was good there weren't many golfers out while we played.
Other Thoughts: I enjoyed the change in elevation. Some really long holes (500+ feet) and trees come in to play.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Diamond in the rough....
Pros: Ryan Ranch has tons of variety as far as length and elevation. It is a great course for accurate long arms. The local club, the Monterey Stinging Jellies, has done a ton of work clearing out fairways (including poison oak). The scenery is awesome and the adjacent airport has landings every few minutes that provides come cool effects.
Cons: Had a tour with the course designer last week... if not, it would be somewhat difficult to navigate. Discs can easily get lost here with some thick grass, bush, etc.
Other Thoughts: It really helps to be able to throw accurately past the 400ft barrier here. However, there are also some easy birds if you can throw precisely inside of 300ft. Make the trip to Ryan Ranch! Once this course is broken in, I can see Monterey hosting Worlds in a few years.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Ryan Ranch DGC
Pros: Beautiful landscape with serious potential. Still in it's first year, this course is evolving. And with alot of work from the local Monterey Stinging Jellies DGC it's really starting to take shape. The land provides an expansive view of the Ryan Ranch area with many elevation changes. Stands of oak trees line the valleys and grassy fairways. This is a BIG course! It will challenge all skill ranges and has long holes at 500'+ and the shortest one is around 180'.There are rubber tee pads with tee #'s and distances posted on most holes. The baskets are DGA Mach V's.
Cons: Being a brand new course (1 year old ) there are still a few kinks being worked out. First time visitors are encouraged to use a map or hook up with a guide. Sign's, trash cans, benches and other amenities are showing up on the course more each day.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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