16 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.
16 of 16 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.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Huckin at the Ranch
Course is relatively easy to find
Nice location with some interesting scenery in the valley area
Baskets are in good shape and seem to all have hole number markers
A nice variety of shot shapes
Most of the tee pads on the first 18 are in good shape (rubber mat type)
Most of the holes have tee/distance makers, although some are inaccurate or contradictory where there are two markers.
Multiple basket positions and pads throughout the course
I like the Karma Box for lost discs
Not the easiest course to navigate. Could use some more "Next Tee" signage.
Signage is a bit inconsistent overall
Tee pads on 19-27 are practically non-existent.
Poison Oak around the back part of the course is thick. (Holes 3-5ish)
No restrooms/water that I could see.
A map or course guide/friend is an extremely good idea. We got lucky that we got in behind a friendly group that knew where to go. Thanks guys!
A spotter is not a bad idea, although not quite required. There are a couple holes where you may wish you had one though.
Pack out your trash people! Although there's a dump nearby, which incidentally provides a sparkling aroma on #2, so it's hard to say how much garbage is blown in from there versus dropped by naughty discers.
Bring water and use the restroom before you go out.
Ryan Ranch is an interesting course, in that, almost every basket is dead straight ahead, but yet, on each hole you're presented with new challenges on how exactly to get there. It also seemed quite long to me with many holes over 350 feet (which I like), and the short one's being quite nasty. Speaking of which, this site has every hole listed as a par 3. Ouch! I personally believe in the ~400 foot par 4 and ~500 foot par 5, but that's just me. With those set of rules, I threw +3 for the full 27. Without them, I probably threw +8.
Additional random thoughts on the holes:
#1 is a great starter hole because it's wide open and long thus allowing you to get a bit warmed up.
By #2, your warm-up is over because you're presented with a left to right that is unforgivable if you go right and not particularly nice if you go too far left.
#3 is this course's 'Top of the World' shot. It's a beautiful deceptively long downhill bomb into the valley with planes coming in for a landing overhead. Very cool.
#4 is an OK slightly uphill shot but #4A is one of the meanest holes I've ever seen. Straight up hill through the trees and hard right with Poison Oak all over the place. Yowza!
#5-#8 is where you can open 'er up a bit but do pick your landing spot somewhat carefully.
#9 & #10 will absolutely make you pay for going left. Don't go left. Really.
#11 almost got me my first ace thanks to a friendly ricochet off a nearby tree. Disc ended up UNDER the basket. Good times.
#12 is a very difficult hooded forest shot. Stay low or dive bomb it I guess. I don't have that shot in my bag though.
#13 & #14 I can't recall much about for some reason. Brian freeze apparently.
#15 & #16 you can open 'er up again. #15 basket is tucked into the hollow on the left.
#17 is an elevator up and out shot.
#18 you'll want to steer clear of the reedy area to the right. Nasty in there. Tip: #18 basket is the one on the left.
#19 is all about the landing spot off the tee.
#20 is trying hard to take the title of meanest hole from #4A. There is an extremely narrow spot between the fenced parking lot and the tree line that you'll need to hit on your first throw. So yea
I had to climb the fence. If you don't see #20s basket in the open, it's past the tree line and to the left. I mistakenly thought the pole marking one of the baskets positions was an object pin. Figured it out later.
#21 and #22 are fairly straight forward.
#23's tee position is tricky. I'm guessing there are two. I found the one in the tree grove thanks to a large arrow dug into the ground. Never found the one on the map.
#24 LET FLY!!!
#25 Barely found the tee area. Only found a pole. Perhaps there's a basket somewhere. I also saw another tee pad nearby. Maybe #23's?
#26 LET FLY AGAIN!!! Just don't go left. Yea
I went left.
#27 Looking back, I'm pretty sure I used #26A tee area for #27, so I'm not too much help here. I didn't realize 'til later I should've walked way right to find it. But hey, it was a tougher shot and I parred it, so there.
I sense a lot of love in this course. The baskets are all in great shape and numbered. There are nice benches around the course, as well as trash cans. You can also see progress being made on the tee pads and signage. Unfortunately, that progress is a bit uneven as you move through the first 18, and 19-27 still feel a bit like a work in progress. With that said, I suspect over the next little while that the love will finish things off nicely and this course will really shine. Overall, this is a very fair and fun course that I would probably slot in the intermediate skill level zone depending on your feelings about par. I also suspect that in the winter months this course gets a lot tougher as water flows and grass grows. But don't let all this stop you from going because we had a good time out there and quite enjoyed the scenery. I look forward to going back and seeing the progress. Good job Jellies!
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
12 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!
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Potential to be great
Pros: Distances varied tremendously which is great, plenty of ace runs, never anybody there (good and bad/sad), lots of open room on most holes to work with. FREE
Cons: Hard to find where to park the first time there and could definitely use a dg sign off the main street if the city allows, overgrown tremendously if you don't have someone else with you don't bother playing, I spent close to two hours of my round looking for two lost discs, definitely leaves a sour taste in your mouth for the course. Lots of holes don't have cleared out set fairways, sign distances aren't entirely accurate, hard finding where the next tee box was, basket #'s weren't entirely accurate, lack of trash containers around which led to trash all over the course especially hole 3.
Other Thoughts: Even though I had a disappointing first round at this course I can see potential. If the club really worked on this course, clearing out, signing the course better and cleaning up it could be one of the top courses in the state, whoever designed the course you could tell knew what they were doing and made the holes a lot of fun with a mixture of tough and easier holes. Good luck guys!
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: wow i loved this course what happend, so many great shots long throws short throws , no lines or wait times,
Cons: overgrown beyond belief, dont waste your time,i love this course and had some friends in town and was so embarresed that i said this was a good course, tees grown over baskets too , signs to next tee wernt there
Other Thoughts: hopefully the do there spring cleanup soon i really enjoy this course especially if you can see over the 6 ft grass
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 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 5 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 2 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 2 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: Excellent course up to 18. moderate mix of challenges. Great course for a group of friends to spend a day playing quite long and open. Bring some water and if your out of shape what a great way to get back into it!
Cons: After 18 the course just was back and forth in a field, sort of lame. holes not well marked even with map it was quite difficult.
Other Thoughts: The rough was pretty rough so long pants and or gators for those darned wild grass burrs that lined my boots. If your at DeLa and want to sample some other courses add this to your list but skip the last 9.
1 of 6 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Best Course in the Bay
Pros: + Amazing views
+ Good variety of shots and lengths (200 - 600)
+ Benches and trash cans on most holes
+ Local club is improving it every day
+ Good use of the elevation changes
+ Course loops back to parking area half way through and also ends there
+ Never crowded
+ City mows regularly
Cons: - Poison oak in the more distant rough (being taken care of)
- Without a map or guide it's really difficult to navigate
- Tee pads are still absent from some holes
- No signs yet
Other Thoughts: The main reasons I enjoy this course more than DeLaveaga is because the course is almost always empty and there are no crossing fairways. Some people worry about ticks but I've never seen one out there. Most of the previous reviews were written before the local club did a major overhaul on the course to make it what it is today, although there is still much work to be done.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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