Fun Course with New Targets!
14 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.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
Among the region's finest
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Varied holes: The open routes have trees you need to throw around, and the tight routes have reasonable openings.
- Elevation: Some subtle changes in elevation is very much welcomed.
- Trees: Most of this course takes full advantage of very mature trees, with very little underbrush.
- Teepads: Concrete, large, in good shape.
- Signage at teepads: Very clearly illustrates where the basket is.
- Baskets: BRAND NEW. Amazing baskets, with woven inner chains that catch discs consistently.
- Ambiance: Nothing beats playing under 100-foot trees. Just incredible.
- Difficulty: Good shots are rewarded, and bad shots are punished. A decent mix of easy, average, and hard holes.
Cons: - Trash: Needs more garbage and recycling cans
- Length: A little short for my taste. Some of the holes are very easily ace-able by above-average players.
- Course signage: While signs at the teepads are good, there aren't enough wayfinding signs to help new players along.
- Water: From what I can tell, there's only one nearby water fountain, near the start of the first hole. Considering the park has a wading fountain in the middle, a drinkable water fountain there would be a nice touch.
- Benches: In a perfect world, there would be a sitting surface at every hole. But that's a minor gripe.
Other Thoughts: For my money, this is the best disc golf option for Portland residents who don't want to travel too far, or may need to travel by bicycle. Takes about an hour to bike from downtown PDX, and it's a nice ride.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Most PNW like
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Very scenic with mature trees throughout.
We'll maintained (played during worlds)
Worlds signage was there so that was very good.
Very good incorporation of elevation with several downhill and uphill shots.
Huk Lab signs were present to show direction for blind shots. (Not sure if they are always there)
Good mix of of technical and open tee shots.
Cons: Biggest con is the repetitive nature of the holes. Most of the other players and myself found that we threw the same disc (or two) on the majority of the holes. I literally threw one of two discs on 14 of the 18 holes.
Most holes were generally straight, with a slight turn at the end.
There could be a shorter hole or two to mix in a putter or midrange.
Other than recovery shots, a mid-range was not necessary at all.
Greens were generally flat, but fast based on the dry conditions we played under.
It was quite dusty, also attributable to the dry conditions.
Navigation had a couple of non-intuitive routes: hole 6 to 7, hole 9 to 10, and hole 13 to 14.
Also, it's a real long walk back after 18.
Other Thoughts: After playing it the first time, I really liked Pier park, but after playing it three+ times I found it to be repetitive.
That said, it does give you the portland feel, and it was the only city course in the worlds rotation.
If traveling in portland I would still say its a must play, just for the PNW feel.
Also, it's right down the street from huk lab. Stop there before or after.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
1st Rate Course in PDX
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Great new baskets with lime green/yellow metal for easy viability.
Creative holes, use of elevation, great use of trees for challenge, greens are well situated and thought out.
Signature Hallway hole through a long pass of trees with a narrow opening
No issues with parking even on a Saturday with softball games and other park activities
Well manicured and landscaped.
Concrete Tee Boxes
Cons: Sometimes next hole isn't immediately obvious - could use signage pointing to next tee.
1st two holes play around a softball field which was in use during our round
Other Thoughts: All in all, a great, challenging, fun course with elevation change, dense tree lined holes, state of the art baskets and the name to seal the deal. Play at will.
1 of 3 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.
0 Helpful / 9 Not
Pros: One of the most fun courses in the Portland area! Variety of hole lengths and shapes and elevations make this one a lot of fun to play more than once! Great scenery, park is well taken care of!
Cons: Can be busy, which is not a problem with the course just something to be aware of. Gets muddy in the spring/fall, again like any course in Pdx.
Other Thoughts: A must see if you are a PNW disc golfer!
0 of 9 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.
1 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Giant trees in a densely populated cited. Trees that are easily 100ft. Good signage. Easy to find all holes with the exception of 7 and 10, but with the map it was not a problem. Challenging holes; some left, right, uphill, downhill, tunnels. While the rest of the town was mid 80's, almost the entire course is covered in shade making it mid to low 70's. Friendly locals.
Cons: The only thing that was kind of a con but not necessarily controllable was that there were quite a wait at 4:00 on a Tuesday afternoon, but that just shows that this is a top notch course.
Other Thoughts: Talks of expanding or another course on adjoining property sounds promising.
1 of 7 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Tough on Beginners
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.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Great city park course
Pros: Great course in a city park. Very enjoyable and has all the city park amnenties such as trash cans and bathrooms. I really like the throw on #2 very possible ace hole with a great bender shot. Pads good, two pin placements and once you realize which one it makes it easy with your map. Enjoyed it!
Cons: On busy times I'm thinking parking would be in short supply. Need signs pointing the way from one basket to next tee pad. #12 basket to #13 tee pad was hard to find even with the picture on our cell. The group in front of us never played 13, 14...they went just like we did to 15 tee pad. Yes...the sign said 15 so we started looking. Not much of a con, huh. #18 tee pad was a little hard to find. Long walk without directions back to parking and you walk right along side of #1 fairway which causes players on hole #1 to hold up until you pass through.
Other Thoughts: Very popular course, best to play it weekdays in the morning. Take a picture of the course layout on your cell it will help you find of a couple of tees. Need to watch for runners and dog walkers, there are just as many of them as golfers and some paths are out of sight but in range!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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