Famous for a reason
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: 29 holes that will really test every aspect of your game. Some holes are more exciting to par than many other holes are to birdie. Maps and concrete tee pads on every hole. Multiple pin positions on most of the baskets, with some than can turn the easiest hole of the course to an absolute nightmare (I'm looking at you, "The Kitchen"). Lots of elevation changes and a wide variety of shots. The final shot, hole 29, is the (in)famous "top of the world" shot and will probably be one of your most memorable disc golf experiences. There is a van that parks in the lot that sells nearly every disc on the market for a good price. You can also trade in used discs for cash.
Cons: The popularity of this course is the source of most of its problems. Expect to get stuck behind other groups multiple times if you play during peak hours. Most players there are experienced and courteous, but on occasion you will find yourself stuck behind huge bunch of idiots who won't wait up to let you play through while they trash the course. The first 6 holes cross over each other a lot, so keep your head up and your ears open for other golfers calling FORE! (Make sure you call it yourself too!) A lot of the course is well worn & packed down, so discs tend to keep on rolling. This poses a problem for the numerous holes that drop off on all sides to a steep ravine. Expect to spend extra time looking for lost discs while avoiding poison oak. Also, this isn't the course's fault, but many people who play here seem to ignore the trash cans so there are often cans and cigarette butts everywhere. When you play here, please please PLEASE pick up your trash!
Other Thoughts: Parking is $2. Bring cash!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
An oldie but a goodie
20 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.
20 of 20 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Very Challenging, you need every shot in your bag.
Varying pin layouts get changed pretty often and the overall feel of the course is altered significantly.
Cons: Crowded during the weekends and afternoons, but it's Dela so it's somewhat expectd: get there early.
Other Thoughts: What else can be said about Dela. It is my personal favorite course because of all the shots that are necessary to get through it. The tournament layout is especially difficult, but that only adds to the challenge and fun of the course. If you are in the Monterey/Santa Cruz area, then you owe it to yourself to go play this course.
1 of 7 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 13 Not
Pros: I consider this the best course i have ever played. Everyone knows about Dela, huge distances, unique layouts, Top of the world. Like i need to say more
Cons: Its Dela, so huge crowds, its something you have to deal with, so you might as well just sit back and enjoy the experience.
Other Thoughts: Better pay the parking, they will ticket you
0 of 13 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.
0 Helpful / 21 Not
Pros: De Laveaga Disc Golf Course is one of the most highly rated disc golf courses in the world. It is famous for its inspiring natural setting, as well as for its uncompromising challenge
Cons: You will get a few overpar strokes if you don't pay attention to every shot.
Other Thoughts: Scenic , Beautiful course.
0 of 21 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: + You need every throw that exists
+ Perfectly maintained all year long
+ Perfect baskets and tee pads
+ Perfect signage, especially with the addition of untamperable pin placement markers
+ Every shot all day is risk/reward: drives, approaches, and especially putts.
+ Pro shop on site
+ Constantly shifting pin placements mean a fresh look
+ Portable bathroom on site
Cons: - Crowds
- Crowds of families throwing lids 20ft at a time who would have had a better time at Aptos
- Crowds of tourists that don't know course rules, some of which are there for safety
- If you are a beginner, expect to waste a good deal of time pulling discs out of ravines, or bring cash to buy extra discs in the parking lot
- Central coast poison oak (PO)
- Brutal, occasionally sneaky, difficulty
- Only a couple spots for the wide open big bombs...you'll never get to relax and just throw
-$2 to park, which makes it the only pay-to-play for many miles (though I wish it were more expensive to cut down on #1, #2, and #3)
- Um...no water fountain on site, I guess. I'm really reaching.
Other Thoughts: Notes:
I have put off writing this review for a while now. DeLa is DeLa, ya' know? It's not like it needs me shilling for it. Considering all factors, it's clearly the best course in this part of the country.
The important points are listed above, so I'm just going to talk about the course a little bit. I don't need to talk you into trying out DeLa. If you're a disc golfer and you're visiting the area, it's a no-brainer. If you're a disc golfer and you're living in the area, you've played DeLa. If you're not a disc golfer, you're not reading this.
Delaveaga has always been my home course. I started out playing there in the late 90's with nothing but a Shark. A few hours at DeLa meant at least three beers and three hours, often without seeing another set of golfers. It was just a part of living in SC, like jogging along West Cliff, or not remembering how you got home from the Red Room.
I didn't begin playing DG with a purpose until summer 2011. As my distance crept up, so did the amount of time I spent searching for discs in ravines. In my opinion, this course is toughest on low intermediate players with the arm to put the disc far into trouble. Thinking back, during that phase of my development, I actually avoided the course for quite a while without really realizing it. I was spending more than a half-hour per round clambering, and a few times repelling, through PO.
Every hole at DeLa is a par 3. This doesn't mean that 3 is the average number of strokes it takes people to put the disc in the basket...just that the par is always 3. A pattern I've noticed with many courses is that designers try to make sure that one of those three shots is tough; at DeLa, unless you truly park one of your first two, every shot is likely to be difficult, making it one of the great risk/reward courses. On most of the holes, the only way to park the shot is to mix a little bravery in with your skill. Most of the fairways are full of obstacles. Most of the greens are guarded and are fast/sloped/littered with roots, making even simple upshots nerve-racking. I promised myself that I wouldn't write this review until I started to put together regular par or better rounds--it only took 14 years.
Celebrate your pars, take your birdies where you can get them, and when you do get a bogey, smile and remember that you're in Santa Cruz, playing disc golf at one of the greatest courses in the world.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 7 Not
Scary but great
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.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
I <3 DeLa
Pros: This is a fantastic course with all kinds of shots. Depending on what pin position the baskets are in there can be quite a bit of diffrence in how you have to shoot the hole. The greens are fast and dangerous, but that makes you think about your shot that much more. There are 27 holes here and none of them seem the same. You will need to bring your A-game to shoot well out here.
Cons: Paying to park kinda sucks, but it helps keep down the jerks out there. The top of the world shot while fun is dangerous as it plays over a few other holes, and if it's overthrown bad enough you can end up in the parking lot. The course also gets prety crowded on the weekends, especialy in the summer.
Other Thoughts: There's a guy in the parking lot who sells discs sometimes, I've gotten some great deals from him. The shop as you are coming in by the ball golf course sells discs as well, but their prices are much higher.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
18 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Upon arrival at Dela I was very excited to play this course I had heard so much about. My wife and I were met on hole 1 by a gentleman named Jacob. Jacob offered to give us a tour through the course. This was valuable in navigating the course. He was also a very good disc golfer. He could throw further than me, even though he had left his prosthesis at home and played on crutches. He didn't slow us down. If anything it was the opposite. I did enjoy the terrain and most of the holes were well conceived. The terrain was not as brutal as all the hype and the greens were not as cruel as all the hype. Make no mistake, if you missed bad you were going to pay, but somehow my mind and all the years of talk had created much more of a monster in my minds eye. The disc golf experience there was worth more than a 3, but there were cons for me.
Cons: With all the property this course sets on I don't see why there are crossing fairways. With all the property this course sets on I don't like how shots from the last hole, Top of the World, can fly wildly in so many directions that people on at least 4 other holes are in jeopardy. I heard this a lot, "Fore on 1", "Fore on 2", "Fore on 4" or Fore on 5". I am not exaggerating. I had a wonderful talk with Marty Hapner and friends after playing the course and I heard it while playing and I heard it after playing. It may sound odd coming from me, a designer who likes tight fairways, but there were holes that had large brush/bushes in the fairways line of flight and branches of trees above them. There were many places where I had really low branches obstructing a putt and the 10 meter green invaded by bushes. The course seemed to me to need a lot of love and attention and erosion control. The soil is soft and there is a lot of play there. I played on Wednesday around noon and probably half the holes had players on them. Tough to keep up with that kind of foot traffic without some terracing and erosion control plans.
Other Thoughts: In my opinion, and I realize that many others will not agree ( and I do not begrudge them their opinions), this course should be reduced to an 18 hole course in an effort to negate the conflict that exists between the current holes.
18 of 21 people found this review helpful.
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