Novato, CA
Stafford Lake County Park Share
Uploaded By: timg Hole #5
3 / 349ft. Par / Distance:
Hole #5 Tee



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Great elevation

1    5/15/2013   6/6/2013
Review By: mashnut
Played: 747  Reviewed: 747  Exp: 12.1 Years
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The main feature of this course is the big hills. Nearly every hole has some kind of elevation, and that adds a lot of fun and challenge. You have to control your disc up and down steep hills, and lots of landing zones are sloped enough to encourage roll-aways if you're not careful. Add in some wind, and this course really rewards understanding how your discs fly when you're not on flat ground.

A handful of the holes (mostly the added letter holes) offered some nice wooded shots. It was a nice change to need to shape some interesting lines in contrast to the mostly open holes on the rest of the course. There's great distance variety, from reachable holes to some bombers including some multi-drive holes.

There are some fantastic views here, and I felt like every time we wanted to stop and catch our breath there was something nice to look at. The tees were perfectly fine, even the natural tees on the added holes weren't too rutted out yet (though that could become a con if they don't get permanent pads in the near future).
Cons: There are some navigation issues, especially with the added holes. Some of the signage was out of date or inaccurate, and that was a little frustrating in the spots where multiple baskets were visible. A little work on tee and navigational signage would go a lon way for first time players here.

The grass was a bit long when I played, making for some frustrating disc searches in the middle of the fairway. Prairie grass is my least favorite type of disc golf rough, especially when it's full of fox tails that you never fully get out of your shoes and socks. There's a ton of poison oak in the more wooded sections of the course. There were a couple places where I felt that holes played too close to one another, especially when elevation is added in to make bad shots even less predictable.
Other Thoughts: Beginners will find this course a bit daunting, with lots of length and some nasty rough in spots. More experienced players will find some great challenges here, especially with the addition of the wooded letter holes to test a different part of your game. Be prepared for a hike, there's a long walk back to the car, and the walk to play the course is reasonably strenuous.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful.

 A Challenge

1    2/17/2012   2/18/2012
Review By: jhkovac
Played: 24  Reviewed: 4  Exp: 23.9 Years
This review was updated on 2/19/2012
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Very scenic course. Rolling hills remind me of scenes from the movie Braveheart.
All of the holes have great signage, and it is mostly clear how to navigate your way around the course. I think that an arrow pointing to the next tee location could have been useful on the signs (after playing Delaveaga I always notice this on every course).
The holes are long and challenging. You have to scope out some of the holes before throwing just to know how the hole is laid out; so you don't lose your disc after teeing off. I like that part. I want a course to challenge my drive & approach accuracy, and most of the holes on this course are no slackers in this dept.
There are a lot of uphill holes on the course; makes you feel like a real chump with your drives. But what goes up must go down, and the elevation loss holes are worth the up!!!
Definitely a great course, play it if you have time. Worth the short ~20min drive off 101.
Cons: Very long-holed course. Bring your best drives, and make sure to stretch beforehand. My arm was killing me afterwards, but I'm a bit of a puss.
The uphill holes, but as I said before, you've gotta get up to get down!!
Hole 9 is just a give up. 1000' hole? Really? Just make 2 holes out of it and call it a 19 hole course. It wouldn't be the end of the world.
Drive a ways down the dirt path after the paved parking lot, it'll save you some time walking. We enjoyed the walk on the nice day, gave us some time to relax & adjust to the surroundings.
Other Thoughts: The hawks circling around are a great nature touch. The views of the lake from the vistas are wonderful. The thing I liked most about this course is that I came from playing the Golden Gate Park course in San Fran, which was fantastic, but this was total transformation to a remote, quiet, rural land. I needed my clock reset with some nature after the traffic jams of the city!
The course itself was a great change too because it is a true long wilderness course, perfect excuse to cover a lot of ground in one day!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful.

 Top Notch Disc Golf

1    10/22/2011   10/27/2011
Review By: Norcal
Played: 56  Reviewed: 2  Exp: 17.6 Years
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Stafford Lake DGC is located in bucolic northern Marin County. The park is part of the Marin County Regional Parks system and offers picnicking, nature trails and fishing. From time to time, it hosts concerts or other local events. For the most part, however, the park provides a quiet and undeveloped setting. Benches, tables, gazebos and large grassy areas are situated close to the water. Perched above the lake on a large hill, the course is set apart from other park activities. There is an approximate one quarter mile walk from the parking lot to the first tee. Payment is required to enter the park- $5 to $10 depending on the day of the week and time of year. Yearly passes are also available.

The park provides a beautiful setting for disc golf. The terrain is rolling grass hills, dotted with dense clusters of oaks, bays and madrones. As you climb up the hill, you will be rewarded with great views of the lake below and the surrounding open space. Wildlife is abundant- jack rabbits, deer, ground squirrels, turkeys and bobcats make their home here. This is a great spot for birding. Red tail hawks, black-winged kites, turkey vultures and great horned owls hunt these grounds. Migratory birds stop off at the lake and rails hide in the surrounding reeds.

Stafford is a championship level course. Tee boxes are cement and expansive. Signage is good, providing layouts, distances and elevations; pin placements are noted by a spinning washer on the sign post. Approximately half the holes have alternative tees, although some are dirt and can be difficult to find. Every hole has multiple pin placements, some with as many as five. The alternatives provide a lot of flexibility and can significantly change the nature of a given hole. For example, the short tee on hole 3 to pin A is 369', while the long tee to pin C is 639'.

The course will test your strength and control. Generally, the holes are long, although there are some exceptions. Hole 1 offers a rough introduction. From the long tee to the long pin, the hole length is 478' with 100' of elevation gain. To make matters worse, inaccurate throws can easily end up at the bottom of the hill. Be prepared to climb! At 435', Hole 6 represents the other side of the coin with a 135' elevation drop. Here, the emphasis is on control rather than power, as an errant shot can sail a long way off target with the extreme tee elevation.

Despite its long length, the course is technically demanding, requiring a variety of shots to score well. In addition to some wide open rips, be prepared to throw over stands of trees, under low- hanging canopies and through tight windows. Poor shots off the tee will have to deal with tough sidehill and downhill lies. The pervasive slopes insure that bad shots will be harshly punished. There's hardly a flat, straight shot on the whole course.

Perhaps as a counter-balance to the long length of the rest of the course, the local club (United Flyers of Sonoma) has added 3 "letter holes" in the dense woods above hole 4 (4A, 4B, and 4C). These three holes play very short and technical, with heavily wooded fairways and radically sloping greens. The tees are dirt and the holes are not signed. The area can become overrun with poison oak and can get very wet in the winter because of a nearby spring, so it may not be playable depending on the time of year. However, these are fun holes that present some of the best deuce opportunities on the course.
Cons: During the summer, it is hot, windy and dry. As there has been fires in past, no smoking allowed. Dogs are also prohibited. If the grass is high, there are lots of burrs and it can be difficult to find discs. There is lots of poison oak, although it is avoidable. There are several blind shots; a spotter is highly recommended. There may be some minor navigation issues for first time players. There is an entry fee to the park of up to $10. The course is not beginner friendly, even in its most benign settings.
Other Thoughts: Stafford Lake DGC is a top-notch northern California disc golf course. It is a long and technically demanding course in a beautiful natural setting. Bring your hiking boots, binoculars and "A-game" and be prepared to have a great walk ruined.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful.

 Getting Out of the City

5+    7/17/2011   8/25/2011
Review By: Gigantomachy
Played: 2  Reviewed: 2
1 Helpful / 9 Not
Pros: -Challenging, long, diverse
-Beautiful scenery
-Never too many people
-Lots of animal sightings
Cons: -Pay to park
-It can be very hot, bring water
-Large possibility of losing discs. Use a spotter!
Other Thoughts: Absolutely worth the hike in.

1 of 10 people found this review helpful.

 Nor-Cal's Finest

5+    4/10/2011   5/26/2011
Review By: BENFTS
Played: 76  Reviewed: 26  Exp: 20.1 Years
7 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Amazing views of the surrounding foothills and lake coupled with the seclusion from the masses are my top pros for this course. Some of the best shots in nor cal disc golf, ranging from some small downhill drives to long bombs. Tons of elevation to play with allowing for tons of angles to approach. Despite the big elevation changes the fast greens seen at De La are not here. Great signage with overhead views, basket and tee indicators. The newer concrete teepads are massive and more than accommodating. Never crowded and tons of fun.
Cons: Pay to play, only because the vast majority of DG is free. The long hike to get to the first tee from the parking lot and the additional weight in water you need to pack in the summer. Sure there is poison oak out here but keep it in the fairway and you have nothing to worry about. Most of the PO is not too thick and will allow you to get a disc with stick if needed.
Other Thoughts: I love this course because it is simply just perfect for the place it is in and the fun I have being there playing it. I would say this is some of the best disc golf out there not the best but hard to even think of forgetting. Leaving the course I really wish it had a true tunnel shot to complete this course but I am not complaining.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful.

 scenic and very challenging

2-4    8/27/2010   8/30/2010
Review By: DutchViking
Played: 46  Reviewed: 17  Exp: 8.1 Years
This review was updated on 3/11/2011
4 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: Championship Caliber 18 challenging holes in a beautiful park with big hills and plenty of wildlife (we saw squirrels, many types of birds and a few deer!) Plenty of tee shots require a good grip-n-rip and your maximum distance. Never Crowded. Large Concrete tee pads are very nice, as is the signage at at each tee pad. This course also has tons of variety, throwing uphill, downhill, over and around trees. Some long holes and some short holes. #6 is a very fun hole!
Cons: Very windy- the wind will mess with your shots, unless you can use it to your advantage. I'm never a fan of paying for disc golf (or for parking). The 2 most frustrating things about playing at Stafford lake is that you will probably need a guide to get through all 18 holes and there are many blind pins where if no one is spotting your drive it can be very hard to find. Lastly, this course can play like a ghost town most of the time, with rarely anyone else playing the course at the same time.
Other Thoughts: Although this truly is a very cool course, it falls short of the great De Laveaga in Santa Cruz. De La has more holes and you can play it in the same amount of time. This course is recommended and very interesting, try to go with or find a local when you are there, and bring your wind-fighting discs!

4 of 9 people found this review helpful.

  Outstanding Course

1    5/19/2010   5/20/2010
Review By: CrazyUncleDave
Played: 1  Reviewed: 1
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Challenging, diverse holes. Great elevation changes. Excellent place to work on your big distance throws.
Cons: Ticks. Some blind shots that require a spotter unless you absolutely know where your disc is going to land (and even then, it may roll from where you heard it land) $8 to park on the weekend if you don't have a season pass-ouch.
Other Thoughts: This course was my introduction to the game. As my buddy who brought me here realized that despite a decidedly poor performance on my part, I was not put off by the experience, he suggested I come out to this course in particular regularly. It was great advice, because if you can play this course well, you'll be handle any other course in the bay area with a reasonable degree of confidence.

Nothing feels quite like putting everything you got into making a disc go as far as possible, and Stafford gives you plenty of opportunities to do just that-and right from the get-go! Hole 1 requires your first throw to be massive, regardless of the pin position. And if you read through all the reviews to get to this one, you've heard more than enough about hole 9.

I finally got to play the course for the first time after they did some serious mowing, and oh, what a difference that makes! The grass gets really tall, and it's a given that at some point, you'll be disc-hunting. This course claimed 2 of my Katanas (one, the day after I bought the $%&# disc!!)

I HIGHLY recommend this course, and when going for the first time, try and go with someone who has been there before. It'll make the experience much better!

2 of 5 people found this review helpful.

 Worth the trip...

1    8/23/2009   10/17/2009
Review By: Taino
Played: 17  Reviewed: 14  Exp: 4.8 Years
5 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: HUGE. Biggest course I've played, including some in Canada. Big arms can really stretch. Great tee boxes (concrete). Major elevation changes, challenging hole positions. Similar to the Black Rose in Kamloops, but definitely not the same. Holes are well-supplied with hole information.
Cons: Very little signage between holes; finding your way without a map would be difficult. Barely adequate signage from parking area to course. Incessant wind up to 40 mph on the day we played.
Other Thoughts: In all, this course is excellent. Every hole is different, requiring lots of varied shots. Tees not really long enough for the distance on each hole; adequate, but I'd prefer more. No water anywhere. You must be in good shape to do this course - definitely not Golden Gate Park, play in your sandals course!

I don't think this course was designed with the beginner or intermediate player in mind. It's obviously a big guns, advanced course with one hole reaching over 1000' and several over 500'. That said, it's a great course on which to challenge yourself.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful.

 Very Cared For

1    6/29/2009   7/3/2009
Review By: TalbotTrojan
Played: 86  Reviewed: 86  Exp: 5.6 Years
6 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: This course had great tee signs taht were super accurate and helpful, there were great maps at the first tee that helped explain things, and trust me you will want to read this and adhear to the directions that it gives. The course itself had a great mix of distances that included the insanely long 1000 ft hole 9. There was not a lot of people there when I was there and the course itself is in a part of the park that will only get used for Disc Golf. There are some great views. This course is super challenging. There is a place to fill up drinking water at a picnic area just before crossing the bridge to the first tee.
Cons: There were no good tunnel shots on this course, it was alway over or around something. There are a few holes when it is easy to loose a disc. You have to hike to the first tee and you have to pay $5 a car to get into the park. It got really hot while I was there and with all the up and down hill you will need plenty of water. This course is defiantely not for beginners. The tee pads are not consistent, some dirt and some concrete, but they do appear to be working on this. There is a claim that there is some poison oak on this course.
Other Thoughts: The first thing that I thought when I got to the first tee was that there were some good disc golfers who put this course in to be a standard for what should be done. I loved the tee signs and how helpful they were. At the same time I was slightly disappointed by the layout of this course. I think they could have done a lot better in design, while at the same time keeping the challenge level where it is at. You will not want to play this course by yourself as there are a couple of holes when a spotter is almost necessary. I nearly lost a disc on hole 2 I think it is but was able to come back before playing hole 17 to find my disc. Be prepared for temperatures to be hot and the wind to provide little relief.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful.

 Top Notch DGC

5+    2/5/2009   2/13/2009
Review By: RedC
Played: 4  Reviewed: 4
2 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Beautiful Marin County park landscape with mountainside and open field play. An epic "Top of the World" hole and long monsters. Well maintained. Never been there on a crowded day. A good course for exercise. It's size and diversity makes you have to play your whole game. Lots of local wildlife to see. Zero non-golfer interference. Hole placements changed frequently to change it up.
Cons: $5 to park, but worth it. Few tees are cemented, but are boxed with level soil for the most part. Some poison oak to watch for. Little signage makes it tougher for those unfamiliar.
Other Thoughts: I love this course. Glad I found it and you will be too. Bring the right footwear a snack and some water and you're fine.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful.

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