Fun Course with New Targets!
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Unique Beauty.
First and foremost, Pier Park is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. It has a unique personality that is unlike any other disc golf course. The towering firs provide an amazing shade covered backdrop for your disc golf experience. This is a must play course for visitors to Portland. I have had the pleasure of playing Pier Park numerous times on my visits to Portland. I have played short and long layouts in PDGA events and as a casual player.
NewTargets were installed in advance of the 2014 Pro Worlds. They have bright neon chain tops and are much easier to spot in the shady environment than the old targets. The park was clean and in excellent condition for Pro Worlds.
I used bullet points for those that don't want to read the entire review.
Not your ordinary park
Holes One and Two look like most any urban park in America. They are next to some soccer fields and baseball diamonds. However, once you take the walk to Hole 3 you get your first taste of the amazing beauty of Pier Park. This initial view of the third tee takes your breath away as you scramble for your camera. Only this view doesn't fit in the frame. The towering firs line the grassy fairway and create dappled lighting everywhere. And now the bright neon basket is easy to spot from the tee, even on a super gray day.
Easy to Play
While the course was used for the 2013 US Women's Championships and the 2014 Pro Worlds, don't let that scare you. It is fun and easy to play. Pier Park is a great place to take beginners. If they don't fall in love with disc golf here, they likely never will. There is very little underbrush, so it would be nearly impossible to lose a disc here. Even though there are not any super long holes, (like Milo and Blue Lake) Advanced players will still be challenged. Pier is a technical course where players need accuracy and a good putt to score well.
There are ample concrete tees on every hole. These are in great shape and are level with the surrounding area. Some of the tees had benches. Every tee sign post had hooks for holding bags off the ground just in case it is muddy. There were trashcans and recycle containers at several spots along the course.
Multiple Pin Placements
Variety is the spice of life. There are alternate pin locations for several holes. All locations are marked on the tee sign graphics. The shorter locations make the play fun for newer players. The longer placements will provide some challenge for advanced and pro level players. If you are playing the shorter layout, be sure to bring that putting game.
There are signs with great graphics on each tee. The signs include all the pin placements. The quality signs are mounted on wooden poles near each tee pad. Each sign pole also has hooks for holding bags off the ground (for when it is wet and muddy). There was also sponsor information on many of the signs. If you do visit a sponsor, be sure to let them know you saw the ad at Pier Park and thank them for supporting disc golf.
Kids and Strollers
Go ahead and bring the tots and strollers. It is a pretty compact course and is stroller friendly. There are a couple of hills to climb up and down, but it is not difficult terrain. There is a "splash pad" and a playground near the tee for Hole 8 as well. The restroom at the first tee was pretty scary. The restroom by the splash pad on Hole 8 was a little better. There is also a playground by the spashpad. There is also an outdoor pool at one end of the park.
Poison Oak and Ivy
As far as I could see you don't have to worry about Poison Oak or Poison Ivy in the park. There really isn't a lot of rough here.
Pier park is popular. Plan to play weekdays or early on weekends to avoid the largest crowds. Otherwise, there will likely be some waiting.
Even though it does offer a variety of shots and elevation changes, it eventually feels like you are playing the same hole over and over. Even for players that don't throw far, it comes down to missing trees and trying to make big putts. Even the alternate positions don't really change the fact you are still throwing through tall trees to targets.
Routing and Backtracking
Sometimes the next tee is not that easy to find as you walk past other tee areas on the way. There is a long walk from Hole 18 back to the parking area by hole One. You actually walk by the tees for holes 3, 2 and 1 on your way back to the parking area. Even if you were to park on the street by Hole 8, you will still have the long walk from 18 to 1. I am sure there are reasons for this and it doesn't appear to be easily fixed.
The restrooms at Hole 1 are pretty scary and the sink was not working on my last visit. The only other restroom is a short jog from Hole 8. It would be nice to have some more facilities as there really isn't a chance for privacy on the course.
Pier Park looks like the kind of place where fairies and pixies live among the moss and ferns. It is no wonder they film scenes from the TV series "Grimm" here. There are a couple of old buildings with moss growing on the roof. The dappled light shining through the trees creates and a really cool look during the day. However as a female, I would not feel super safe in parts of this park after dark, and not because of goblins or gnomes.
Portland is a disc golf destination and offers several must play courses for any serious disc golfers. If you only had time to play one course on a visit to Portland, choose Pier Park. While it is not a Championship level course with extra long Par 5 holes like Milo and Blue Lake it is pretty quick to play if there are not a lot of players. It is certainly the most popular course in Portland. Stop by and find out why. You will not be discappointed.
I had the pleasure of staying very close to Pier Park on Hayden Island at the Jantzen Beach Holiday Inn Express. I stayed here on two separate visits to Portland and was happy each time. The hotel is located on an island in the Columbia River between Portland and Vancouver, Washington. It has a pool and offered free hot breakfast. It is close by Pier Park and right down the river from Blue Lake. Except for some sucky rush hour traffic, it will provide easy access to all the courses around Portland. FYI, when the traffic sucks in Portland , it sucks real bad. I am from So Cal and thought it was excruciating.
Support the Sponsors
There are sponsors listed on the awesome tee signs. Please stop in and let them know where you found out about them. Thank them for supporting disc golf at Pier Park. I visited the Huk Lab store right down Lombard street from the park. They have an awesome selection of discs.
This must play course is filled with awesome beauty. There is a smart use of the elevation and hitting a line is more important than raw distance. In addition to the brand new bright green targets, I love all the extras such as bag holders on every hole, nice tee signs with up-to-date graphics. There are alternate placements and benches on many holes. Pier can be enjoyed by players of every skill level. This must play Portland course earns a 4.0 rating.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
A great course that shouldn't be missed.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
I started playing Pier Park about a year ago, and I've played regularly through all four season (about 2-5 times per week). The course is moderately long, and when busy will take a group of four about two hours to play. There is an open field and a warm up basket near the parking circle.
- The course is beautiful, and most of the holes are well situated with regard to the walking paths that crisscross the park. It's pretty rare to have random park goers cross into fairways, and on only a few occasions is there the threat that your disc will fly over a path.
- Variety between holes is fantastic with elevation change being an element on at least half of the holes. You'll have to use most or all of your shots to play well at Pier.
- The course signage is generally pretty good. Each hole has a sign showing the multiple pin position locations, and the distance for each.
- During the winter months the course layout changes to accommodate the additional rain and mud. Certain holes are taken out of play, and others brought into play. The course signage also changes to reflect the switch, which is nice.
- The course is used for multiple tournaments and league events throughout the year.
- Walkouts between holes can be confusing for first time players, but there is a map at the hole 1 kiosk for those who need help. The biggest trouble seems to happen between holes 2 and 3, 6 and 7, 9 and 10, and 17 and 18 (summer layout).
- The city doesn't seem to maintain the course as well as it could be. The grass can get quite long at times, and it's not uncommon to find tree debris littering the course.
- Winter layout pin positions often turn into muddy messes that could be easily fixed by the city spreading out some wood chips. Holes 3 and 10 are most notable in this regard.
- Tee pads also get quite slick and muddy in the winter, and many have big puddles right beyond the end of the tee pad. Test your grip beforehand, and prepare to get your feet wet if you step past the edge.
- Garbage cans are present on the course, but are too few and far between. Often times people leave garbage under the benches near tee pads. Additional garbage cans are sorely needed.
- There is a large dream catcher hanging high in the trees on hole 15 (summer layout). I looked for ages, but couldn't find it. A more experienced player eventually pointed it out to me. It's worth looking for if you have the time. It's waaay up there!
- If you're playing on weekdays after work it's often times best to get there around 6:00. There seems to be a rush at about 5:00-5:30 that really slows things down.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: This is a very scenic course inside the Portland city limits, although it is not 'close in'. Last week a pair of Bald Eagles flew through the course! Dogs are allowed on course (w/ leash) and many people bring them. Lots of garbage cans and open till midnight.
Cons: It would be nice to have a four par mixed in somewhere, or perhaps a hazard. While the course is a blast to play, none of the holes are really 'memorable'.
Other Thoughts: Please pick up your garbage on this course. The signs and pads are not mini-dumps.
1 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Tough on Beginners
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Great challenge - Moving back to Portland in 2010 brought me 3 blocks away from Pier and thus started my journey into disc golf. Having you first and home course as Pier Park is quite a challenge to overcome. My drives have increased in distance, but the woods keep you humble.
Beautiful woods - you cannot deny it is nice to be walking around in the middle of a pine forest for an hour.
Uphill, downhill, dogleg left and right, Pier has some great variety. It even draws you in with nice straight lines to the basket, but those trees are just in play to mess you up.
Nice full size tee pads and great signage. It would be an improvement to get some kind of marker for knowing which placement the basket is in.
Cons: Graffiti and vandalism of signs and benches has been a problem.
Unfortunately I cannot get through one round without smelling someone on the course smoking pot.
Trash can pile up over the weekends thanks to people's empty beer cans/bottles.
Mosquitoes can be a pain during the warm summer.
Bathrooms are few and in serious need of repair and care. I wish Portland Parks & Recreation would put some love into the facilities.
Other Thoughts: Even though I don't have the "big arm" for driving the distance on this course, it has been great to learn here. My confidence is really boosted when I take my game to a "shorter" course and can drive the basket because of my experiences practicing at Pier.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 7 Not
Other Thoughts: Just wanted to submit a bit of an update...
The winter layout has changed holes 3, 4, 5, and 18.
There is really good signage though to show the new layout.
Other than that what more to add? For a free course in a city park this is one of the absolute best courses anywhere.
0 of 7 people found this review helpful.
I forgot I was in the city....
0 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: All types of shots, long, short, technical, up hill, down hill. The course plays in beautiful 200'+ trees. Friendly locals if you get lost or confused. Good tee boxes and signs.
Cons: Some pedestrians that are out hiking. litter at most holes. Can get busy and backed up. Honestly though, these are VERY minor.
Other Thoughts: This is one of my favorite courses I have played. I loved the layout and use of the landscape. Wish I lived closer so I could play it regularly. I will be coming back to this course again for sure.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Course is set in a fairly large city park that has a few other activities present. There are some tennis courts, and a walking path, but there shouldn't be too much interference from non-disc golfers. Pedestrians at worst, most likely.
- Lots and lots of fir tree trunks here to define the hole shapes. The vast majority of the course plays in the wooded areas, basically starting with #3 and continuing through #16. There are some pretty generous fairways, like a slight anny on #3 and #4, a downhill shot with trees by the basket on #6, and a fairly straight shot on #12. Other holes are a lot tighter, like the hallway shot on #15, a sharp hyzer on #7, a long RHFH flick shot on #9, and a very low ceiling anny shot on #16. Much more punishment off the fairways on those holes due to a ton of trees.
- A few other holes have less trees to worry about; more rough/brush to contend with. #1 is the most open, a long downhill shot with a low ceiling. #2 is a sharp RHFH hyzer downhill around thick woods, with a blind pin position. #17 is a lot rougher, with low ceilings and nasty schule in the fairway. Can try a straight shot or a wide hyzer. #18 finishes it off with a fairly open downhill hyzer, with more trees near the pin.
- Good mix of shots needed to navigate the course, with some sharp hyzers and anhyzers or flicks, as well as some more gradual ones. A good collection of holes that require a straight shot as well. Should be pretty fair to righties or lefties; having a good anny, flick, or offhand throw goes a long way.
- Very good elevation changes present here. It starts off with three downhill shots, with #2's elevated teepad the most pronounced. #5 is a pretty steep uphill shot through some trees, while #6 shoots all the way back down the hill. #16-#17 all play fairly downhill as well, and #18 is a big downhill bomber shot. #15 is a long, low valley shot as well.
- Lots of length to this course, with an average hole length of 378'. Many, many holes to rip long drives through the trees. Some of the holes take a bomb to reach, on top of navigating through all the tree trunks. A handful of holes are under 300', but are still no picnic.
- Good signs, pads, and baskets throughout. Navigation can be a little tricky without a map, like #1 to #2, or #14 to #15, but it shouldn't be a big issue.
Cons: - The landscape of the woods here doesn't really vary that much; once you get amongst the tree trunks you are in there for a while. Can feel a little repetitive as some of the holes look very similar. The lines are different, but the feel is the same.
- Long walk back to the parking after hole #18, with hills no less.
Other Thoughts: - Solid course, start to finish. Lots and lots of distance, with lots and lots of trees. Also some more open holes on the front and back to mix things up. Good elevation changes here and there as well. Definitely suited for experienced players who can easily clear 300' of distance, any shorter and you'll be scrambling for par on most holes. Still, there aren't too many hazardous areas to frustrate beginners.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Great signage
Concrete tee pads
Every hole was different and required a different shot
Tree coverage was nice and made for added challenge
Cons: Busy, even very early, just after dawn
Some directions were confusing for 1st timers
Other Thoughts: Great overall experience!
My favorite hole was 18 with the huge drop off
Definitely one of the best I've played!
0 of 4 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: Loved the tee signage! All courses can learn from these signs. Great use of the natural ups, downs, and side hill-lies of the land. Which forces you to have many a shot in your bag. Like courses with multiple basket placements.
Cons: Would have liked the baskets to have some type of mark to help guide you to the next tee pad. Most were easily spotted and/or close enough to find. But a couple were more difficult. But thats really a minor flaw, for first timers.
Other Thoughts: 17 & 18 seem to be the same hole. Kinda sad after playing thru with all the different hole layouts to end with 2 holes that are the same. Possible idea- make 18 hole 17 and run 18 up the access road to the top of the hill near tee 3. A totally different type of hole.This also would also make the long walk back to the parking lot shorter.
4 of 9 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 4 Not
Best inside of PDX proper
Pros: - Well maintained
- Always entertaining
- Always a challenge
- Hot Dog / Sausage dude in summer
- Regular pro visitors (selling discs)
- Amazing trees
Cons: - Crowds
- More crowds
Other Thoughts: I've played this course more times than I can remember or count and the best compliment I can bestow upon the course is that every time I play it, it provides a challenge.
The variety of the holes (distance, orientation, throw options) never cease to bore me. When I decide that I am getting bored is when I throw something I know I shouldn't. And when that happens, the course can throw you for a double bogey. Fast. I love the 6th hole so much. I always look forward to throwing there and it always gives me a thrill.
My friends and I have started to show up early on weekends and have found that doing so weeds out the larger groups and the crowds in general. If you can avoid the crowd, you can move through the course relatively quick and get a very satisfying game out of it. I wish we had more courses like this inside of PDX but since this is it, I take advantage of it.
Love the new tee markers too. Well done and well maintained too.
2 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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