7 Helpful / 4 Not
Portland's Peerless Pier Park
-Multiple pin locations
-Location, location, location
-Good mix of left, right, up, down
-Good mix of long and short
-Beautiful park setting with cathedral tree vibe
Pier Park is peerless in Portland in that this is the only course within the actual City limits. It's also peerless in Oregon for a City Park setting featuring the kind of majestic trees you'll normally only find on Pacific northwest courses in the woods. This course is manicured like a City Park but gives you a classic Pacific northwest forest feel under the trees. In the space of several holes you can go from feeling like you are alone in the woods to facing a stark reminder that you are smack dab in an urban/industrial area with a busy road, train tracks, and dense housing in the surrounding area.
The course is very well designed to take advantage of the ups, downs and side slopes of the hills in the park as well as the many trees. There are lots of different lines and shots on this course from short downhill left-to-right to blind uphill right-to-left to straight down a narrow fairway lined with soaring conifers. You need distance as well as accuracy to score really well at Pier, but even a just okay player can have a lot of fun and shoot in the vicinity of par. It is a fun, fair course that rewards accuracy as you negotiate the trees, but doesn't punish you with dense underbrush for errant shots.
Pier Park is basically everything you want in a City Park disc golf course, and that means it's what everyone else wants too, which is really the only drawback to Pier. It can be very hard to get through a round at Pier without having to play through or wait for large groups of casual golfers. I try to hit it up early in the morning when I am in Portland and have left mid-round more than once when I have had enough golf to be satisfied and lost my patience to wait for or desire to hurry through slow groups. That's a testament to the fun and challenge of the course overall, but does make for a Con in the overall experience of playing there. But it doesn't stop me and it shouldn't stop you. When in Portland, you should play Pier Park!
7 of 11 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.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Huge trees protect this haven of a course from all the harsh wind that punishes Oregon daily, while still leaving it open enough to make your disc easy to find. The first time I played I remember remarking on how gorgeous it is just to walk through, and that is probably why it gets so much traffic.
Beautiful and simple signs give you a good idea where the baskets are, so those blind holes aren't too difficult to figure out. Lots of good variences between left and right shots within the set up, as well as some major elevation changes.
Also the devision between difficulty within the 18 hole course is very even, making all holes easily pared with a 3. The lay out is very stretched out so you don't come in contact with too many people on other holes, though a couple teeboxes coincide with each other so you still get to meet up with lots of the other players.
Sometimes if your lucky, there's a concession stand that sets up with discs for those of you starting out, and snacks if you forgot to stop by the store. I've only seen them out there once, but it was a nice surprise seeing as how I had forgotten the drinks.
Lots of placing to sit down and take a break and enjoy the scenery.
Safe location within the city limits, near a residential area, and fairly close to the free way.
Beginner friendly, as well as a challenge for more seasoned players.
Cons: Uhhh..... lets see.... there was a lot of trash out there, although it wasn't after I passed. I make it habit to contribute to the courses as much as I can so everytime I come by something unnatural to the area, I add it to the bag.
Lots of traffic, but really for a leasurely day of disc golf, when has that ever been a problem? Everyone was very courteous as well, I didn't have to request to play through once.
Yep.... don't have much else to say.
Other Thoughts: Not yet have I ventured to all the courses that Portland has to offer, but so far this is at the top of the list. It's well maintained, offers all the essentials for a long day outside, and it gives you a good idea of what disc golf is all about. This is definitely a course that needs to be on your list if your passing through or you live in the surrounding area. You won't be disappointed.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Beautiful course set in a forest of trees that tower over you. On my 3-day trip to Oregon I played Pier Park by chance (because it was closest to downtown), and returned to play it two more times before leaving I liked it so much. Good mix of left turn, right turn, and tunnel shots. Almost no underbrush, so losing a disc is next to impossible. Good signs show pin positions with diagrams. Some hills to shoot up and down. Disc lost & found / recycling bin at hole #1. Sausage Guy sells sausages and Innova discs on weekends at park entrance. Permanent bathroom (not a port-a-potty).
Cons: Not much to complain about here. No water in play. Dog walkers. cyclists. There could be more open bomb shots.
Other Thoughts: All baskets were in the "B" (far) position when I played this course. Had they been in the "A" positions, it would look more like an Ace Race course, or have a lot of birdies.
Overall, this course was super fun. I loved being in the trees and playing this technical course. It's a must play for anyone in Portland. I liked it way more than McIver Riverbend.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 2 Not
Fun Public Course
-Trash cans almost every other hole or more.
-beautiful setting in a park that makes you feel like you aren't anywhere near the city.
-Good mix of required shots. I think I used every shot I know for this course.
-Good baskets for catching the disc (not so much for visibility).
-Concrete tee pads, pretty good lenght as well (get a little slippery and muddy when it's wet).
-Some good elevation changes.
Cons: The map from this site sucks. The course signs are not too helpfull for placement either as they don't have actually dictation of object that are on the course (like if there is a big bush in the middle of the fairway in front of the basket, it wasn't on the sign).
The layout is a little scrambled, as a first time player I was very lost right of the bat... got some help at hole 2, then he had to go and I made do with a little serching about hole 11, luckily I met another disc golfer who helped me find my way the rest of the time.
Baskets are a little hard to see. The whole course is mostly under large trees and is therefore in the shadows, there are not really any bright marking on the baskets to see from a distance.
Even with all the trash cans, there was a lot of trash on this course... didn't make any sense.
Other Thoughts: I liked this course, it was very nice to play the long and short, left and right mixtures of holes.
The trees were so big that they seemed to make the basket look further than it was, but at the same time they were far enough apart that they are able to be avioded, but not easily all the time.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: An amazing experience to play this course. One can't help but feel like he is playing in the middle of a National Forest. Immense trees cover the course and make for outstanding obstacles throught the course. These trees also make for a shady and consistent throwing environment. The holes have been well thought out and the tee signs are helpful. With such massive trees, minimal underbrush means you won't spend much time searching for discs.
Cons: Seems to have been in a rough part of town.
Other Thoughts: Only wish I had had more time to play the course 5 more times!
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Your city doesn't have a park like this.
Pros: If you go to your neighborhood park, you'll probably find some grass, some picnic tables, and maybe a rusted jungle gym. If you're lucky, there might be some mature trees to provide some shade. You probably don't go there often. So you may be in for a surprise when you enter Pier Park. Giant Douglas firs tower over the landscape and make for much more interesting obstacles than the trees you're probably used to. There are national parks less interesting than Pier Park.
After two decent holes out in the open, the course enters the heart of the park. There is some elevation here, and the course makes pretty good use of it. On hole #4 there is no elevation change but you are throwing around a couple mounds that poke into the fairway. On #5 you're throwing over a sizeable ridge to a hole on a hillside. And #6 might be the signature hill, a downhill drive to a hole just inside the tree line.
There are some pine trees and normal leafy trees dotting the course, but the Douglas firs play differently. There are virtually no branches that you could hit, no ticky tack leaf deflections. Many holes really don't punish you if you throw too high, which can be kind of fun.
The new tee signs are very good, showing pins positions and distances. This helps navigation, which used to be tougher and now is okay. At least you can see where the next tee sign is. The tees are concrete.
There is very little undergrowth here. It would be tough to lose a disc here.
Cons: The proximity to Portland can make this course pretty busy (which isn't altogether bad; I'm told the neighborhood is safer with the disc golf traffic that the park has attracted). We went in the evening before sunset, and it wasn't bad.
I'd like to see more baskets situated on slopes. Other than #5, I don't remember a lot of baskets with dangerous putts. In a lot of ways this course makes your drive very interesting but your approach and putt more mundane. That's a little nit picky, though. You won't be bored during this round.
Other Thoughts: It's difficult to describe (without sounding corny) the sense of awe you get playing here. It even smells nice. This is a really fun place to play.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
AHH Pier Park..
Pros: Absolutely beautiful course. Great layout with great flow even when busy. Killer canopy of trees to play beneath when the rain comes. Only got a little wet on hole 1. Mixed throws with choices. Clean and well maintained. Severals holes to open up on with several requiring skill and precision. I'll never pass this one up when I'm in the area...
Cons: Only two that I can think of. Parking can be tough when it's busy. Also, it is a busy course with it's location and the lack of other courses nearby. I'm sure the popularity plays a BIG factor as well.
Other Thoughts: Don't EVEN think about skipping this one if your in the area. If you do, you'll regret it.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
A championship level course
Pros: This is a beautiful, championship-length course. It is easy to navigate, almost completely shaded, with little undergrowth to lose discs in. The pads, baskets, and signs are all in great shape. It is nearly impossible for a non-open caliber player to shoot under par on due to its length.
Someone was near tee 1 selling discs for reasonable prices on the Saturday afternoon I stopped by. It was busy, but not insane. Everyone I met was pretty friendly.
The best part about this park is it is huge. The designers took advantage of this to make every hole pretty epic. There are no filler holes here. That said, you occasionally have to walk a bit between holes, especially from 18 back to the parking lot.
The locals tell me there will soon be 12 more holes added into the park next door and the two parks will be connected by a bridge. That would make for a sweet 30 hole golf tournament.
Cons: Not a lot of variation on hole length. Nearly every hole is 350-450. The "birdie holes" are 300 feet long and there aren't many.
There was also a strange phenomenon of a pile of beer cans and gatorade bottles next to every tee. There were no trash cans, but every one went to the trouble to put the cans in one big pile. There weren't any between tee pads, but every tee pad had a pile. It was like they were waiting for some homeless guy who comes by every afternoon to pick them up and recycle them or something. I cannot believe how much effort has gone into this course to not have a few trash cans on it.
Other Thoughts: I wouldn't miss this course if you pass within 100 miles of it. It is better than the best course in dozens of states. Add in trash cans and a little more variety in hole length and it would get the illusive perfect 5.
P.S. I only made it to first base on hole 19. Home plate would be an impressive drive.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 2 Not
Perfectly Pleasant Pier Park
Pros: Few cities can boast of having a serious dg course within city limits. Pier Park's proximity to civilization has not resulted in short gimmicky holes. Nor has the design been left to amateurs.
Many challenging holes offer problems for lefties and righties alike. There are good tee signs and tee pads. And though an occasional jogger or dog walker interlopes, they usually seem aware of the flying plastic.
Winter and mornings aren't crowded. Local players range from the homeless bottle collectors (yes they were playing) to former world champions. Everyone I've run into (in my four or five times here) was pleasant.
Most of the challenges of this course involve finding a route around a gigantic early tree(s). But what great trees they are!
Cons: Most of the hole lengths are similar (many around 320, or downhill but playing 320) and quite a few of the holes present the same problems. (3 and 4 for example. Or 17 and 18.)
There isn't really that much elevation/gain or loss despite what previous reviewers say. (visit Horning's Hideout, Stafford Lake, Lake Casitas, or Dela for a taste of elevation gain/loss). That said, the holes that involved elevation were fun.
All of the greens/basket areas are pretty easy. There's never really a price to pay for blowing by a basket. And there's never that one little annoying branch to alter your otherwise easy putt. (some may view this as a pro, i prefer the challenge.)
Other Thoughts: -Easy Parking
-good warmup/practice area
- donation box
- barely good enough bathroom.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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