3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The course plays through a sprawling park with no interference from other park uses. The course makes good use of nice elevation changes, nothing drastic but you will have to throw some uphill and downhill shots. There are a couple pin placements with some rollaway potential as well.
A number of the holes play through the trees on the property. You'll have to shape some lines and avoid the mature oaks to score well on these holes. I felt like they offered a pretty good balance of hole shapes with some nice low ceilings for added challenge. The rest of the course is open and longer, offering plenty of chances to bomb a drive and some scattered rough to punish some errant drives.
Cons: The grass was long on a lot of this course. I find it a bit frustrating when you have to search for a disc in the middle of the fairway, and I don't think prairie grass provides a great disc golf challenge as the rough off the fairway. The course is a little open for my tastes.
With a lot of holes where there just isn't a ton of punishment for throwing an errant drive I didn't feel like I had a ton of pressure on most of the tees. Navigation is a little tricky in spots, some next tee signs would go a long way here. The third nine feels added on and doesn't have the same level of challenge or fun as the other 18.
Other Thoughts: Beginners will find this course pretty long, with a lot of holes that are out of range to reach on a drive but are open enough that it's easy to card a boring three. More experienced players with a longer arm will enjoy the chance to air out some drives, but technical challenges aren't the main focus of this course at all.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Monterey Mandatory Play!
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: 1. Tee Pads - Hard rubber mat with enough length for confidence in footing for almost any throwing style.
2. Cages/Pins- Ryan Ranch "Originals" cages created for the 2011 Pro Worlds which are in pristine condition. Multiple pin locations for each hole rotated regularly.
3. Layout- Great use of the abundantly available space with a logical layout that is pretty easy to navigate and starts and finishes in the same area. The design makes great use of the trees and elevation both up and down.
4. Variety of shots- This course does require a degree of skill that could border on intermediate. You will be challenged to try a variety of shots if you want to score low.
5. Scenery- Nice clean scenic DG park with wildlife sightings and elevated views of the peninsula.
6. Signage- There is ample signs scattered throughout to help an out of towner. Pay attention as some are small, but very helpful!
Cons: 1. Course Maintenance- Tall grass in some locations could cause a lost disc. Not a huge problem unless you're REALLY bad. Some people said you need a spotter, I didn't have a problem.
3. Amenities- Trash cans at start, but would be nice throughout, although the park was NOT trashed. No bag holders if you're into that sort of thing. No "pro-shop" or disc purchase/rental in the area, but at the group meet up days a guy comes with TONS of stuff.
4. There isn't any real water hazards to speak of if you're into that kind of challenge.
5. I only played the first 18 where the tee pads were good, but it would be cool if there was both AM and PRO tees.
Other Thoughts: This is a fun course that has a hole for every type of thrower. Most holes are technical with lots of trees, but there are some fun open bomb holes too. The locals are very friendly and can definitely help you with how to play each hole. Of the courses in the area I'd suggest this course 1st if only in Monterey for one day.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Shades of Ryan Ranch of old
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: + Changes of elevation. There are very few flat holes.
+ Mix of terrain, both wooded and meadow. Beautiful walk through rolling CA hills.
+ Mix of short and long holes. I love the short tech shots.
+ None of the crowds of DeLa,
+ For those who are good in the wind, some great chances to sky out your discs later in the course.
+ When it's groomed, it is my favorite spot in the area for a slow, strolling, casual game.
+ Apart from the tall grass, the course is in amazing shape. Beautiful tees and baskets, signage, etc.
Cons: - As stated on the main page, the rough is seriously rough. You would think that the woods would be the tough terrain for keeping an eye on your disc, but it's the grass that is getting out of hand again. You can carefully watch where a disc goes into the grass, and not find it for 30 minutes. It is so thick with stinging nettles, PO, and thistles. So, if you ever miss fairways, especially in the wind, consider throwing with a spotter, or just going elsewhere until it gets cleaned up again.
- I know this is generic, but it's the easiest of the better echelon of local courses. While some holes require technical throws, probably 2/3 can be tackled with a nice, lengthy, straight shot. In many ways, this simplicity is actually a positive, but for folks coming in from well out of town, you may want to skip Ryan.
- No standout signature holes might steer some out of towners away too. #3 is a neat hole, but it is the least difficult incarnation of that hole around (Think TOTW, Stafford, and even the Snowman at Aptos). It's a fun shot though, and it feels great to get a birdie from that high in the air.
- The last set of holes are a bit repetitive.
Other Thoughts: I write this review with a heavy heart. Ryan always had a bit of a bad rep due to the thick, tall meadows. It was groomed up beautifully for the 2011 worlds, and quickly became my favorite place to play when I visited my folks in that neck of the woods. I took a group here for my bachelor party just four months ago, and the course was still amazing (a strong 4.0). Since then, despite what looks like very hard work from the disc club, it has once again gone to seed.
I am far from a professional, but I'm good enough to sit just under or over par at most courses, depending on the day (2 under at Ryan today). I'm not good enough to play this course in its current shape without losing discs (including my OOP 171g, rainbow die, rainbow foil Beast...if you find it...). I found a Nuke today one foot off of the fairway, so well hidden in the grass, that it had been there long enough that there was no grass growing under it. One foot off the fairway.
Hopefully with the Jelly Jam coming up, the mowing will continue. Until then, the course is off of my list.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Premier Course on the Central Coast
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: -True pro disc golf course
-Variety variety variety
-Innovative tree protection
-Fantastic use of land
-Amazing course flow
-Framed rubber tees
-Cool port-o-potty shack
Cons: -No dedicated practice basket
-Proximity to office buildings is a little bizarre
-Crazy huge gopher holes...watch your footing!
(really stretching for cons here)
Other Thoughts: Ryan Ranch is a wonderful course set on an inland ridge of Monterey Bay. It truly is a quintessential California disc golf experience with field shots, elevation, and technical woods. Oak trees and various forms of underbrush create the technical parts of the course while elevation keeps the more open shots interesting. Poison Oak existed behind tee pads here and there but was a non-issue while playing.
The course starts off unassuming with a straightforward first hole down a slight hill. By hole two though, you quickly realize that this is not 'just another disc golf course' with its well defined tunnel to another downhill situated pin. Three holes in and there is no way not to be in love with it; this wonderful downhill mid-range shot is usually something you run into much later on a course but here you start right off with it.
You then continues through the woods, where you encounter large black screens to protect the oak trees. They actually add an artificial challenge because if you hit them, you are not going to bank off and still have a possible good shot. Your disc will just fall and leave you with a likely difficult upshot. We really liked this effort to protect the old trees.
After 5 holes, you head into the meadows for a few open shots, but all still have some kind of protection on either the tee, fairway, or pin. They require a solid long drive but will also demand precision to score well. Hole 7 wrapped around an active office building which was kinda weird to see while in the middle of a round. The course quickly heads back into the woods after a few open shots. The course continues moving back and forward between woods and meadows several times for the remainder of the first 18.
The final 9 were really some great holes, as well. More than a few incorporated tee + pin protection with a wide open fairway, which you don't see very often in this state. It called for some long distance line shaping and made you think hard about where you wanted your shot to land. Combined with some pretty solid elevation, these generally longer holes all presented very specific and different challenges. Keep in mind that this is where we encountered the most gopher holes, they are large and often covered by grass so keep your eyes open and be ready for unstable footing in the meadows.
I know everybody loves to say that a course has a ton of variety, I know I do it all the time; but Ryan Ranch truly had it all. Each of the 27 holes was unique with very few forgettable moments. Most courses have a bunch of wooded shots, then a bunch of meadows, then you work your way up for 3 holes, etc etc. Ryan Ranch mixed all of these aspects up so you never get used to the current foliage and situation, making it incredibly fun for all skill levels. We all agreed that Ryan Ranch is the most re-playable course in the Monterey / Santa Cruz area, and naturally our favorite (yes, more-so than DeLaveaga). It is one of those rare gems that makes a great destination course and would be awesome to have as a home course as well. Congratulations to the local club for creating this wonderful adventure.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This course is looking amazing! 27(or 29?) holes
Every kind of shot in the book! Left and right, short and long, wooded and open. Chances to open up and rip your biggest bomb, as well as dialing back the power and carefully picking your technical line to the basket.
Great teepads, great teesigns, and great baskets.
Lots of spectacular elevation changes
Beautiful views of surrounding hills and rigde (locals say Clint Eastwood lives up there)
Plenty of awesome downhill bombs
4 par 4s and plenty of long holes requiring strategically placed drives with the second shot in mind.
Lots of great pin locations, some with serious roll away potential.
Donation box, benches, local disc golf club info board, trash cans and plenty of parking.
Just installed, a new bathroom! Making this great course even better.
Cons: This course can be very windy at times, so bring your overstable plastic.
Some poison oak here and there, mostly off the fairway or near trails to the next hole, really a minor issue.
Other Thoughts: This course is completely unrecognizable from the first time I went there. First time there was tons of poison oak, tons of overgrowth and I lost 2 discs on the first 3 holes. I didn't have fun there my first time, but I did see the potential for a sweet course, so I held off on my review.
Then the Pro Worlds came to the Monterey bay. Ryan Ranch was mowed, cleared, and painstakingly improved otherwise. Ryan Ranch went from a diamond in the rough, to a diamond. The brilliance of this property now shines brightly. It is truly stunning to see what it looks like now compared to only 1 year ago. So bottom line, this is a great course with lots of fun shots that will challenge any player. Go play it!
7 of 7 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.
Pro Worlds 2011 Layout
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Land dedicated just for disc golf.
Lots of elevation change
Prevailing winds create extra challenge. Bring your wind game!
Lots of hard work has been done by local club - Stinging Jellies - and it is evident. There is a nice kiosk next to parking area and first tee with information and lost & found. Well-constructed and maintained tee pads consist of framed boxes filled, leveled and prepared for rubber tee pads. Benches on most holes.
The course is on a rugged piece of property just a few miles from the ocean. Typical California coastal desert vegetation. Oaks, grasses and foxtails are abundant. Some of the moss covered oaks are protected with netting, creating additional challenge while preserving the trees.
There is a great variety of holes using the elevation and vegetation for challenge. You will need all the shots in your bag. There are tight holes, and wide open holes, uphill holes, downhill holes and everything between. Then you get to add the wind. Chances are you will need a "get out of trouble shot" for when you end up in the oaks.
Final nine holes are on the upper part of the course. They are more wide open, but longer and make good use of elevation changes. High grass lines a couple of fairways.
It was easy to navigate course with Pro Worlds 2011 online map found on this site. There was temp signage in place with new permanent signs to be installed soon.
Cons: As with all courses in this area, Poison Oak is abundant! Be well prepared if you have a problem.
No restroom facilities of any kind on my visit. Although there are ample opportunities to rough it.
Not recommended to play alone. Lost discs would be a concern. Oaks are thick and rough meadow areas with tall grass make finding discs difficult.
For World's layout, I didn't care for the uphill walk from 26 basket to 27 tee as I was fairly well exhausted by this point in time.
Other Thoughts: Again, this is course in on rugged western terrain. Combined with elevation changes, this is a demanding 27 hole course. You are not likely to play any more disc golf later in the day after playing this course.
Recommend sturdy hiking shoes. Wear long pants and/or gaiters to protect from the abundant stickers and fox tails.
Good idea to use spotters.
I played the World's layout, but there are multiple pins on the holes. Other layouts may not be quite so challenging or long, but players will still have to cover the same amount of terrain.
12 of 12 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.
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