2 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: A great course with a new challenge at every hole. Ups downs and valleys are just a few of the holes types up in the santa cruz mountains. The man that runs the shack i the parking lot is nice and always gives a nice deal on all his discs. The trademark hole, Top of the world, is a great hole with a lot of challenge for all but the best golfers. It's a semi short hole that can be birdied by any player that can get their disc down the ill without hooking it.
Cons: There's only a few bad things on the course, mainly just holes that eat up discs and a few badly placed trees but overall a great course.
Other Thoughts: Mainly a awesome course but a fe disc eating holes,enough holes to play a full 2.5-3 hour match if you play all 29. every player on the course is helpful and nice.Play the course if you're staying anywhere in santa cruz, and stop by at dj's mini mart, it's on the way and has every kind of disc. overall a 8-10 course.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: What I really like about this course is the specific type of skill it challenges and lack there of it exploits. There aren't a ton of courses (where I come from at least) that challenge spot placement and landing angle. On most of these greens if you throw a disc not being careful of the landing angle you will be putting uphill and forty feet farther than you thought you were. Almost every hole on the course challenges you in this way and with the different lines and type of shots you are forced to use here if you aren't proficient at this you're not going to score well so you may want to re think that spike hyzer near the basket on every hole.
Good variety here between open and slightly wooded; nothing I would call super tight lines though. Punishment off the fairways is usually moderately severe with a few giant 'sand traps' full of sticker bushes or brush. Saving par on bad throws is difficult or on discs that rolled away.
Cons: Some may say that having 27+ holes is awesome and while I don't totally disagree with that I have to question multiple crossing fairways on a piece of land this large with this many holes on it. In my opinion the crossing holes are some of the worst on the course and only play in that direction in order to get to the next hole. A few of these holes could be taken out or maybe re worked, I'm not sure but as is there are dumb holes in the middle of the course crossing each other. Going in that same thinking there are no par four holes here and I see no reason why some of the more questionable holes couldn't be scrapped or extended to create a difficult par four here and there. This would be a better use of the land with fewer holes (number of holes doesn't matter) than trying to just get more holes in play if you ask me.
'Top of the world'. I've been hearing about this hole for years before ever playing it and finally seeing I was incredible underwhelmed and disappointed. Not only is this is a relatively easy downhill (not even that far downhill) putter throw but you are throwing into no less than three other fairways and the road and parking lot. I can see someone getting hit in the head with a disc or breaking the window on a car, not exactly the safest hole.
Other Thoughts: I went with some friends that have played the course multiple times so I didn't have to worry about navigation. I don't think it should be that difficult seems pretty straight forward except for a few areas but the course is always busy so I'm sure you could just follow the group in front of you or ask someone nearby.
I liked the course for a few great holes and a bunch of good/decent holes but like I said there are still some really bad holes and issues here. The course has held up well over the years it seems and still hasn't gave up it's difficulty even to new technological advances in plastic, though there is signs (or lack there of) of vandalism and heavy use. Overall this is a great course to play if you are in the area but don't get overly excited about playing a legendary course and the top of the world because it's slightly over blown.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Worth the drive!
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Multiple pin placements
Varied hole styles
Concrete tee pads
Lots of poison oak
"pro shop" not open when I was there
Runners and Mt. Bikers riding down some fairways.
Other Thoughts: On a recent business trip I had the chance to drive from Si Valley to play here. It was definitely worth the trip! You guys have seen the videos and read the reviews. It's a pretty awesome place. All holes are par 3's. The holes on one side of the street are essentially all along a hill side, while the holes on the other are mostly on a plateau. The ground was basically devoid of grass when I was here so rollaways (I'm looking at you hole 25) and skip always were common so plan your approaches appropriately. The trees in this part of CA are much different than what we have where I am from (New England). For the most part, in N.E., maple and oak trees can sometimes be punched through with a hard throw due to the volume of the leaves and the way the branches grow. The trees in CA are very gnarly and very random how the branches grow in all directions. They grab discs. If your disc goes into a tree, it will not come out the other side, it likely will not even drop down. So stay out of trees. Also, there are ravines and cliffs everywhere at DeLaveaga. There is also no shortage of death putt opportunities. If you miss a putt, you better hit something and land pancake style. Most holes demand a very precise placement of your drive for a chance at par with lots of opportunity to lose discs on errant drives into ravines. There are several tunnel shots here that require really straight and precise drives, otherwise you're playing pinball the rest of the hole. All the teepads were textured concrete.
The scenery was pretty cool with a huge variety of trees and occasional views of the ocean. It wasn't quite what I expected being almost the Mecca of CA disc golf, but it was definitely awesome. The holes tend to criss cross one another somewhat so listen up, watch out, and call out "fore" especially on holes like 27. this was the most challenging of the three courses I played. It was also the busiest. Even on a Wednesday afternoon/early evening there were people everywhere. It must be a total madhouse on weekends.
The ball golf course down the street sells discs. Which is good for me because the "shop" at the course was not open while I was there and I needed a disc. I would have loved to have purchased some logo discs, but the hours are sporadic according to my playing partners.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
An oldie but a goodie
17 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This course has been around a while, but a lot of the design elements were ahead of their time. This course plays like a newer course, and still offers great challenges 30 years after it was first installed. The terrain here is great, with tough uphill shots, the obligatory top of the world bomb, and lots of fun elevation in between. Several of the baskets are placed next to dropoffs or in spots that make you really think about whether going for the pin is worth the potential punishment. It's always fun to have that kind of challenge in the short game.
There is great variety, both in hole length and hole shape. Some ace runs are mixed in, though generally going for that ace has lurking danger around the pin, and there are some chances to open up and throw a driver as well. Most of the course plays through scattered trees or denser woods with just a couple open holes mixed in for variety. I felt like I needed to throw a great mix of lines to be successful here, and the shots never felt repetitive.
The alternate pin placements looked like they would add to the variety, and it's always really nice to have the current pin position marked on the signs. The tees are nice concrete pads, and the baskets are in good shape.
Cons: There are some major safety issues here, and with how popular this course seems to be (crowded on the Thursday morning I played) that only magnifies those problems. There are multiple spots where holes cross one another, and even more areas where fairways overlap and errant shots can easily end up on other holes. The top of the world shot is a really fun way to finish the course, but it also sprays discs onto several other holes as well as the street and parking lot.
Navigation is fairly easy, but there are a few spots where the directional arrow to the next tee on the tee sign isn't quite enough. Print a map or pull one up on your phone and it's easy to figure out where to go. There are some major issues with compaction and erosion, tough to avoid with a dryer climate and a ton of foot traffic over the years.
Other Thoughts: I really wanted to give this course a 4.5, the individual holes deserve that rating and I would play here again if I were in the area. The safety issues are the big thing bringing my personal rating down here, especially since they seem to be avoidable with how much room there is around the course.
Beginners might find this course a little daunting, with some distance, lots of tough lines and moderate punishment on many holes for missing the fairway. Experienced players will find some great tests here, you'll need a complete game to score well and even then you're likely to have a blow up hole or two.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
Lives up to its reputation
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Featuring a massive 27 hole layout (which was 29 for me due to the Masters Cup), I was amazed that most of the holes were very unique with no repetition. This course has a variety of extreme elevation, open shots, tight shots, canyons to punish mistakes, and did I mention all the gorgeous trees everywhere? Yah, they will punish you too!
There's absolutely no chance to sit back and relax here. This course will get into your mind because it forces different shot-making decisions on every hole. I would say it's mostly a finesse course, because there is so much danger from errant throws (canyons on the edge of fairways that are very steep and wooded), and from sloped greens that go (you guessed it) into those canyons. You will have to play smart at times, because the course will easily serve up bogeys when you make an errant drive/approach/putt. This is discin' at its best!
The folks here are pretty friendly and two separate groups allowed me to join them (I did not want to play through, due to a million people playing).
Cons: Crowds are prevalent here. It is a part of life at Delaveaga from what the locals tell me. (I turned this into a pro, by asking to join a group I'd just met. Way better than cutting through groups all day long. Adding holes probably wouldn't improve this situation. As a matter of opinion - I think they could cut down the amount of holes to make the course a little safer.
I would not take a newbie here, (we had one in my group). They will be hiking those canyons all day long and may get a little discouraged. If they had alternate tee pads, that may help a little....
Many of what I would normally list as Cons, I will list in Other Thoughts this time. The reason? The things that normally would be considered bad course design didn't seem to be a big problem here.
Other Thoughts: The numerous intersecting holes (5 & 6, 13 & 16) would normally be really bad, but all the people here were patient and knew where to look for danger.
Your drive from The Top of the World shot on #27 can easily end up on holes #1, 2, 5, 6, 25 or the parking lot. Once again, the locals yell out the affected Hole # and "Fore", and everybody in that area knows that somebody is sending love from the Top. Everybody seemed to take this into stride and if they can run a World's tournament with this "hazard", then I see some symbiosis here.
Bring your own water, as there's none here, and I hear it gets quite hot in this area.
Minor nitpick, but I would still print a map - the signage is really good, but there are some long walks to some tees, and an arrow can be vague sometimes.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Scary but great
0 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: Each shot on it's own is pretty unique and amazing. There are shots that you'll dream about for a long time. Shot's you wish you had to play on a daily basis. I love having a donation box. Great view, Top of the World is awesome.
Cons: Scary, good place to get hurt. The crossing fairways are no bueno! Some of the greens need loosening to provide a putt to reward a good drive. Terracing is badly needed for erosion control. Roll a ways are to prevalent.
Other Thoughts: I would have loved to have seen/played this with pretty grass fairways in the 80's. Seems like it needs to be reduced to a 21 or an 18 hole course.
0 of 7 people found this review helpful.
20 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: One of the most unique aspects of the course at DeLaveaga is the use of superfast 'greens' which put a premium on distance control (and good putting for those having to make come-back putts). In combination with the midrange distance of many of the holes (~300-350), definitely exploited one of the major weaknesses in my game in that I do not have a reliable slow, straight midrange shot. I can throw KC Aviars all day to the upper 200's with precision but these shots were just barely out of that range. Needless to say, my next disc up (beatup Star TL's) did not make the cut on the faster greens with a lot of skip aways and shots that went far beyond the hole. Any time a course can exploit such a weakness in my game (and do it multiple times during a single round!), I have major respect for the designer/course. As other reviewers have gone over in detail, this course also maximizes challenges associated with elevation. You will rarely find a hole that doesn't incorporate a large uphill/downhill grade or a sidehill that, in combination with fast greens, forces you to think about where you want to land your disc (as opposed to finally end up).
Cons: While we were visiting, the course was in a bit of transition and one of the traditional holes which plays near the big gulley had been relocated because of erosion to the top of the hill right before the top of the world shot. While there was great signage in getting us to the additional hole, there wasn't any indication that the traditional hole had been pulled so we walked around for quite awhile trying to find the pulled basket. Other than this really minor problem though, we were able to find our way through the course with few major problems. The local players were always more than happy to guide us noob's around and show us where the following holes were. My main con with the design of the course had to do with several holes in which the major obstacle to achieving a good putt was placed directly near the hole - In my opinion this is a poor plan, not because it makes the shot too hard, but in fact that it takes away rewards for accuracy. To be more clear, the problem is when players can use obstacles as distance control instead of their own finesse. As an example, when I played hole #23 I believe, the most probable shot for birdie as I saw it was to land a big sky hyzer IN the large bush that covers the pin. If I were to recreate such a hole (with no pre-existing limitations), I would either place the bush IN FRONT of the hole so as to ensure punishment for shots that were in nacurate or place the bush far enough BEHIND (at least 40') the hole as to punish players who did not properly manage the fast green. In this way, players would be unable to 'game' the hole by using the designer's obstacle as a backstop. As other reviewers have mentioned, the criss-crossing fairways were a bit surprising to find on a course that is 1) so highly acclaimed and 2) so highly utilized. During our round though, it was little more than a surprise, not causing any major inconvenience.
Other Thoughts: Playing DeLaveaga definitely fufilled a DG dream for me (as I guess it does for quite a few golfers). Growing up in the Midwest, I'd heard rumors of "the course" since high school and was so excited to finally get out and play it. While I can understand why this was such an exceptional course for such a long time, I wouldn't go so far as to say that today it is 'best of the best'. At the same time, I'd highly recommend all types of golfers to take the trip out because DeLa has been the benchmark for many golfers of what a great course should be. This along with the storied history of the course and the aura of legend that surrounds it is reason enough to make the trek out!
20 of 22 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 9 Not
Pros: Course was excellent! A lot of disc golf in a big park! No two holes were similar, and you need a lot of different shots in your arsenal for this one. The lines were well thought out and you could definitely see where you should be throwing it, even if you couldn't get it there. Overall was a tough course that was very enjoyable.
Cons: Even though it was only $2 to park it's still sucks paying to dg., taking a local is a necessity as the holes can be tough to find on your own. Could use a few easier holes, I know you don't want to make it too easy, but there's really only one hole on the front 9 that's an easy one. Tee pads for most holes are way to short and need another 5 foot added on.
0 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Best in NorCal? Hmm
24 Helpful / 5 Not
The following was originally written on 12/22/2009. A 09/26/2014 update is below.
Easy to find
Secluded course - No real walk-through traffic
26 holes (26 you say? - more on this later)
Beautiful scenery in a few areas
Some interesting hole layouts
Far and away the best retail disc shop I've seen thus far. They have just about every Innova disc in each plastic as well as some other brands. Every disc I was looking for was in this shop. There's also at least one person selling quite a few used discs out in the disc course parking lot.
Has its own parking lot although it is normally $2 to park. It's free through the holidays though.
Warm-up basket near the parking lot
There's a sign by tee pad #1 dictating a mandatory $1 donation. Normally I don't mind giving a donation (and did); it was just odd to see a "mandatory" sign.
Very difficult to navigate. You must take a map or a guide, and even with that, some of the holes are so close together and so woodsy that it's very easy to be throwing at the wrong hole, which we did three times, and very easy to walk to the wrong tee, which we did twice.
A few holes have cross traffic with fast moving discs
Quite crowded even on a weekday
Erratic tee pads. Most are quite small requiring you to start from behind the pad and the surface itself is a bit rough. Fortunately, most holes aren't too lengthy so it's more about accuracy than distance. Maybe this is done on purpose to make it harder? I don't know.
Inconsistent signage - more on this later
Most holes are various blind tunnel shots through the trees. This, combined with some nearby cliffs (i.e. rollaways) can rack up some frustration points quite quickly, not just with trying to get your disc 'in the clear' but in trying to find it. It can also get a bit dangerous getting to your disc in a few areas.
There are rest rooms in a couple places near the road by the 'ball' golf course, as well as in the clubhouse. I didn't see any at the disc course.
Do stop in the clubhouse to check out the disc store.
Although I still consider myself a beginner-intermediate player, and I did manage a half dozen pars and almost aced #21, this is NOT a beginner course. Bring a spotter, maybe two, particularly in the areas where there are cliffs/ravines nearby (and that's quite a few spots), and think hard about skipping a couple holes (#12 and #15 come to mind).
Bring water/snacks, parking/course fees (parking is paid at a kiosk in the center of the parking lot) and a map! I can not emphasize this enough.
Watch the ball golfers as you drive through the course. The road is practically on the course and I have to believe a few cars have been whacked.
As I slip into my internet flame retardant suit, let me first say that I was REALLY looking forward to playing here. I had put it off for a while because I wanted to make sure I felt comfortable with my disc control first, and it's 90 miles away from my home base. But last week, we decided it was time to check it out, and with a break in the weather and finding all the discs I was looking for in the shop, it was turning into a good omen/gorgeous day. But
I'm forced to admit that I was quite disappointed in this course. For being 25 years old and one of the most highly rated courses in Northern California, I was expecting it to be the best of the Bay Area. I was surprised to find that wasn't the case. Starting with the course conditions: from the tee pads being small, inconsistent, and somewhat hazardous, to the signage being difficult to read, missing in some locations, not showing the next tee pad, etc
, to the holes/baskets themselves being difficult to find and in some cases the numbers on top of the baskets were pointing the wrong way, thus adding to the confusion, and we were quite frustrated by the mid-point of the round. Had we not met a nice group on 17 (BIIIIG thanks to Rick and Mikey!) we would have only grown more frustrated. Fortunately, they had played there many times in the past and helped us navigate the rest of the course. One of the first golden nuggets of wisdom handed out was that #17 has been removed. Of course, there's no sign stating that
so I pointlessly launched my disc down into the ravine (and it was a decent throw too). But, as I said, thanks mostly to Rick and Mikey, the final 9 holes finished up much better: the tee pads seem newer, and they're also a more balanced mix of shots, finishing, of course, with the legendary 'Top of the World' shot, which is quite a beautiful shot and view. I have a video, which I might figure out how to post, but I'm sure there are more out there.
Bottom Line: Maybe I just caught this course on a bad day, but if this course were just 18 holes, I really wouldn't understand what all the tremendous hype would be about. Yes, it demands some serious disc control to get through the trees and makes you pull out every shot in the bag, including the ones you may not own or have mastered yet, but you can get this same type of challenge at Golden Gate or Stafford Lake or even Skyline, and get much better course conditions to boot. So for me it comes down to how much those additional 8 holes are worth, which is not insignificant. 26 holes is nothing to sneeze at (and no I didn't see the rumored 28th hole). But having said that, even considering those significant 'pros', I just can't rate this course higher than the ones I just mentioned. It would be a disservice to the tremendous work the folks have done at those courses (if there were a 3.9 rating it would own it but for now it'll be my benchmark 3.5). DeLaveaga is a very nice course and has the potential to be fantastic, but it needs some care and feeding. Definitely check it out but you may want to ratchet the expectations down a notch.
Well, it's been a loooooong time since I've played this course but I have walked it a few times (watching tournaments) since the above review and I definitely felt like I needed to give it another shot to see what's been improved. I'm happy to state that almost everything has been improved. There's a restroom out on the course now. The parking lot has been redone. The 'disc guy' now has his own stall. A lot of the tee pads have been redone (although not quite all of them). The signs have been vastly improved, although a couple need attention and the basket indicators are still a bit spotty for various reasons (missing/loose connections so you're not quite sure what position it's supposed to be on). The baskets are all improved and they are the fantastic 14,000 chain variety, which is great for catching discs, although I still managed to spit one out (ARRGH!). The course has been slightly reconfigured in spots, and for the better. You can see the lines clearer now and it's a bit easier to navigate, although you still need the map (next tee signs would be awesome). All holes (all 29!) are in place and playable, although Mother Nature took out basket #9 (falling tree, ouch) but you can still play it. All in all, it was a much better experience for our little group this time around. The only downside is that despite a pretty good throw, my precious Beast is resting at the top of a pine tree in The Kitchen. Hopefully a good sport will ring me up one day
But despite that, we had an enjoyable day and I was finally able to experience this course as the designers intended (I'm guessing). I can state that I do fully appreciate the skill-level involved in conquering this course. It is not for the timid. You really have to think your way around this course. I used every shot I had today and played pretty well, but still got bit either by a tree or (far more regularly) the hard flat ground around the baskets, and because the baskets were in the long positions, that meant they were usually near OB or a cliff/drop-off of some kind. Consequently, small misses are punished severely. Having said that, I actually bagged three birdies. Yowza! But
still left with a healthy + number. Chalk another win up for the course.
Wrapping things up, I've increased my rating a half disc to support the great amount of improvements that have been made. I still think there are other courses that are better cared for, but this course is now very much in the conversation and from a pure skill perspective, it's top notch. I'm now looking forward to the next trip.
24 of 29 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Mostly lives up to the hype
Pros: 27 holes, and most are good if not great
course flows well
active disc golfer community at the course
Cons: a few holes cross over each other
some holes are confusing
Other Thoughts: I'm keeping this one short and sweet, the other reviews sum it up. It's a great course, and was very cool to see an active disc golfer community at the course.
All the locals were very friendly when I was there. Was great to see DGers of all ages out there playing, and just about all of them knew what they were doing.
There was a bit of confusion on some holes, and hole 17 was removed (although it seemed a killer hole) so that will throw you off a bit. One time through and you'll have it down.
Hole 27 "Top of the World" is indeed a great hole to throw. We even hiked back up to throw again just for fun.
Have to say this is in the top 3 for sure. I'm a big fan of wooded, slightly technical courses and this one was a dream for that factor. You'll need every disc/throw in your bag/arm for De LaVeaga.
I didn't find the course littered as a previous reviewer mentioned. Nor was it overcrowded, but I was there on a weekday afternoon.
I have to go with those who say the course lives up to the hype -- glad I made the trip down to Santa Cruz with my brother while visiting him in San Fran. We both had a blast and agreed it was a great course.
Update 2010-09: Played this course again and wasn't as enthralled with it as I was the first time. Forgot how much of the front nine hugs the main road. Dropping my score to 4.0 from 4.5. After playing Coyote Point at Lake Casitas, there was no way I could give DeLaveaga as a high rating as I did previously.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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