A great course that shouldn't be missed.
4 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.
4 of 4 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.
Best inside of PDX proper
2 Helpful / 4 Not
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.
11 Helpful / 1 Not
An absolute gem in the Northwest
Pros: Where to start? The beauty of the park would earn this course at least a one disc rating even if it had one pin and two teepads. Luckily for us, there are 18 teepads, most (if not all) of which have multiple pin placements. The final 16 holes play through an old growth pine forest, and 1 and 2 play across a field with guarded pin placements from the tee. The variation in holes is perfect. There are uphill and downhill shots, right and left turning ones, and there's a good variation in distance as well. It's worth the drive to Pier Park for hole 15 alone. There is minimal undergrowth, so losing a disc should be impossible... Although it clearly isn't, because I found one and they don't have a lockbox there for nothing. Also, it's free to play, but there's a donation box there for park upkeep that I highly recommend adding to.
Cons: Although this isn't a con for me, I at least have to point out that there are no holes that let you air it out. Holes 1 and 15 seem to be the longest, but they're both heavily guarded by trees (especially 15).
The locals that I ran into were rather standoffish, but a few of them were friendly enough that I can't really judge the park based on a select few. I did have to give up on my second round after being stuck behind two groups for a roughly 5 minute wait on each tee (with another group waiting behind me). We also were thrown on on hole 3 after being told that we could play through.
Although there is ample signage on the teepad (which is extremely helpful), the navigation can get confusing if you're here for the first time. A few wood numbers have been nailed to the trees, but I didn't notice those until about hole 15, so they aren't that noticeable.
Other Thoughts: Definitely worth a stop if you're in the Portland area. I hear that it gets very crowded in the summer and muddy in the winter, but it's just too gorgeous to pass up. I would liken it to a longer NAD Park or Lake Stevens. The locals are lucky to have this course and should work hard to keep it as nice as it was when I was there. If you aren't going to give a donation, the least you can do is pick up some of the (minimal amount of) trash that you find in your round.
Also: If you get distracted easily by sudden noises that ruin your shot, you might have trouble here. The trainyards nearby sounded roughly like a WWII bombing at times. It didn't seem to bother anyone's game, but I could see it being an issue if you were totally focused on that birdie putt and expected total silence.
Speaking of putts: The practice basket placement is one of the best that I've seen. You get your standard flat shots from as far out as you need, but can also throw uphill or even from down on the baseball diamond to work on many different types of shot placement.
All in all, this course is a winner and was the best that I played in the Portland area. I recommend it as your first stop, especially if you don't have time to drive out to Horning's Hideout.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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