Santa Cruz, CA 
DeLaveaga Park Share
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 Disc golf the way it should be

2-4    5/28/2011   6/9/2011
Review By: badams
Played: 64  Reviewed: 9  Exp: 25.9 Years
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Excellent variety of shots
Fantastic use of elevation and terrain
Easily located close enough to town.
Helpful and friendly locals.
Multiple places to purchase plastic on site.
Cons: Trash on course (most notably lots of broken glass on the fairway of 2.

Top of the world is a fantastic hole but the group I played with placed one in the parking lot and turned one over into a group on the tee of one. I was informed that the parking area seems to catch quite a few, mostly from those not accustomed to playing on extreme elevation.

Course can be a little difficult to navigate at times, highly suggest printing a map, following a group or playing with locals
Other Thoughts: This course lived up to it's reputation: physically demanding, requiring every shot in the bag, distance, technical, accuracy.

While on paper the course does not seem long it plays long due to holes that play uphill. number 1 starts it out with a hole that appears to be very reachable but always seems to demand an approach shot unless you have a big arm.

there were two new tee pads installed for pro worlds 14 & 15 I think ( maybe wrong) that make the holes more demanding, not through distance but by point of attack and shot selection.

The course demands the best of your game and physical endurance in order to score well so be prepared. I played 2 rounds in one day and knew I had been to DeLaveaga.

On a personal note if you happen to see a local with his dog on a leash (black bulldog terrier type mix), do not go near it it! It bit me on my thigh as I was invited to play through and walked past it. just a little blood.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful.


1    11/22/2010   3/25/2011
Review By: cefire
Played: 667  Reviewed: 134  Exp: 16.9 Years
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.

  DeLa is a classic

5+    12/26/2010   12/27/2010
Review By: scdg888
Played: 1  Reviewed: 1  Exp: 9.9 Years
3 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: Creative design, beautiful scenery, great community! DeLa is one of the most challenging courses. I have played it hundreds of times, spent hundreds of hours on it... still mastering every hole. New pin positions pretty frequently. Also, no uniformed cops.
Cons: On weekends the course is slow with college kids and families, nothing wrong with that; its just a more relaxed game. Also, no water facilities or city support. Watch out for undercover cops!
Other Thoughts: For beginners, take a local to learn. People shouldnt complain about the parking fee, it is how we stay open. If you dont want to pay the fee, ride a bike and save the environment! Also buy discs once you get to the parking lot, the ball golf pro shop is NOT for disc golfers.

3 of 10 people found this review helpful.


2-4    9/7/2010   9/7/2010
Review By: akoenig
Played: 46  Reviewed: 7
7 Helpful / 9 Not
Pros: - 27 holes
- Great length for intermediate to advanced players
- Variety of shots required over the length of the course
- Signs for each hole
- Barkmulch around many of the baskets act as a great green
- You can buy discs on site
Cons: - Other than the Top of the World hole, I thought the surroundings and view were rather harsh.

- Too many blind holes. I think having a few holes on a course where you can't see the basket is fine, but here there's just too many. I would guess at least 18 are blind. Couple that with the fact that each hole has multiple pin positions and the indicators for what pin position each is at isn't always correct, and you're never really sure where to throw.

- One group of locals was really rude to us. They were a group of 7 older guys that were taking forever and backing up the course. We skipped two holes to pass them and were almost finished teeing off on hole 8 when they arrived to the tee box and were rude about how we should have skipped one more because they now had to wait for a minute. We were playing very quickly and it was a little uncalled for on their part, seeing how we were playing 2 holes for every one they did.

- Fairways cross each other in several places

- The last hole is pretty cool, but it's also a crazy hazard. I saw about 4 shots that were near hits

- Not a lot of signs to point you to the next hole. We screwed up a few times.
Other Thoughts: Overall, I just didn't have as much fun at this course as I would have thought for a course that's been developed so well. It was tedious to have to run and look ahead for so many of the baskets. Only once did I think to myself that the tee off was a really cool shot. And the bad experience we had with the group of locals combined with the above makes me not like it as much as I should have.

7 of 16 people found this review helpful.


1    6/28/2010   7/2/2010
Review By: CubbieBlue
Played: 54  Reviewed: 6  Exp: 14.3 Years
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.

 huge change of heart. BOO dela veaga

5+    5/21/2011   6/25/2010
Review By: chipper408
Played: 7  Reviewed: 7  Exp: 11 Years
This review was updated on 7/3/2011
7 Helpful / 21 Not
Pros: beautiful scenery and views, totally different shots on every hole- up, down, left, right, wide open, narrow hallways, technical, power throws, etc... good signs, very easy navigation, waiting benches on most holes, pro-shop onsite (but thats really a con to me)
Cons: short tee pads on some holes, some shots are deceptive, quite a few baskets are not viewable from the tee pad, either re-open #18 or fix all the tee sign #'s from #8/#8A on forward, must pay to play, pro-shop taking up parking space(s)- not cool, a few holes have some cross path stuff going on (not only by discs, but by players as well), limited parking is a HUGE DOWNFALL, only 1 "bathroom". and this whole cop/security sh*t NEEDS TO STOP!! it is very bogus. very uncomfortable to golf there. and FU*K the "mandatory donation" -how stupid... you already SNAKED $2 for me to park in that tiny ass 7-11 parking lot! BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO dela!!!!!!!!!!
Other Thoughts: they should remove the handi-capped parking spaces... last time i was there some regular guy with NO problems had a placard and parked and started playing. thats BULLSH*T!!!!! they need to extend the parking spaces somehow. its too busy and too popular for 30 or so spaces. really, i will NOT be returning to this place ever again...

7 of 28 people found this review helpful.


1    6/13/2010   6/14/2010
Review By: ChillyWilly
Played: 5  Reviewed: 5
3 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: -Lots of gentle slopes that make your drives feel just a little longer than they really are.
-Reasonably wide fairways. This is nice given how much poison oak can be found in the wooded boundary areas.
-In general, all the holes are pretty reasonably designed so you don't have to make too many throws blind.
-Peaceful setting with impressive scenery and views.
Cons: -Lots of drives end up in the parking lot so bring your hooptie, not the lexus (or bike there better yet).
Other Thoughts: Like this course really needs another rating, but yes, I can confirm that it's pretty awesome. I just wish there was a camp site in the park so you could camp and play the whole weekend.

3 of 7 people found this review helpful.

 disc golf mecca

5+    6/2/2010   6/2/2010
Review By: there4iluv2thr0w
Played: 34  Reviewed: 5  Exp: 34.2 Years
0 Helpful / 13 Not
Pros: what can you say one of best courses in country, every shot possible, disc on sale in pro shop and at course,
Cons: be prepared to wait and wait
Other Thoughts: we need more santa cruz courses, best course i have ever played, be polite ,pass when appropriate,have fun shot for 3's

0 of 13 people found this review helpful.

 True destination course

1    2/18/2010   3/6/2010
Review By: Countchunkula
Played: 130  Reviewed: 48  Exp: 9.8 Years
16 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Where to start? I have looked forward to playing this course for a long time, and was not disapointed in any way. Being a flatlander (Chicago area), I love courses that take advantage of elevation changes. Dela delivers in this department in spades. Uphill, downhill (including the famous "Top of the World" hole 27). Some pluses:

-Elevation (steep uphill holes to challenge and nice downhills for fun)
-Multiple pin placements
-Wide variety of shots required
-27 holes
-Good variety of hole distances
-Good signage
-Pro shop on site (kinda pricey, but where I come from pro shops are nonexistent)
-Friendly locals (the guys behind us were patient with out of towners needing occasional guidance)
-Beautiful NorCal foliage
-Steep dropoffs and dense underbrush punish really offline shots
Cons: I had a lot of fun playing this course and would die for something like this close to home. My cons are very minor and shouldn't disuade anyone from playing this fantistic course.
-Missing basket on one hole. Too bad, it looked like a fun one (Downhill moderatly wooded right turning hole in a ravine)
-Crowded (not surprising, its an awesome course)
-I would have liked to see a larger tee pad on 27 (I'm streching for these cons)
-Erosion issues on hills
Other Thoughts: One thing that I did not expect was having ball golf and disc golf on the same property. It was funny walking into the proshop, past the bolfers, thinking about the difference in cultures and participants of two very similar sports. I ended up throwing RHFH on 27 because I need a run up for my BH to be effective. I would have liked to have a larger tee pad on this hole, but I guess I just need to learn how to drive from a standstill. I played this course on a winter vacation so my game was a little rusty (we have had a lot of snow on the ground in Chi-town all winter) but I still had a blast. I would recomend this course to anyone.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful.

Best in NorCal? Hmm…

2-4    9/26/2014   1/2/2010
Review By: Magiken
Played: 46  Reviewed: 46  Exp: 6.7 Years
This review was updated on 9/26/2014
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.
Other Thoughts:
• 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.

Random Thoughts:
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 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.

UPDATE 09/26/2014:
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...ahem...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.

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