Napa on Steroids
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Extreme elevation/danger
Variety of open shots and wooded ceilings
New pin positions have been added, including #9 "Sinclair Highway". This hole is typically 1000ft, yet they've added a "New Long" position, which is probably 1200.Insane.
Accurate tee signs
Two sets of tee pads on various holes
Tons of wildlife including Bobcats
1000' hole! Sweet!
The newly added 4 holes add a nice "Santa Cruz" feel through the trees.
Cons: $10 to enter the park
The lake does not really come into play at all
Very high grass in the spring, weeds in the summer
Windy almost on the daily
A few holes have long walks in between
Other Thoughts: One of the true "Championship" courses in Nor Cal. Be prepared to deal with elevation, wind, and the stunning beauty of the park. The course welcomes you with one of the longest 350' holes you will ever play; straight up the side of a hill. If you can control your drives and stay focused, you will feel extremely rewarded at the end of your round.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
A true gem!
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Set in a beautiful spot along a twisting rural road that could be seen in a luxury car commercial, the course starts out with ample parking, bathrooms and water, a nice practice basket area, then a warm up walk for 5 - 10 minutes to the first teepad. The 60 foot elevation hike in the last 50 yards to teepad 1 let's you know right away you're in for a workout.
A detailed sign map of the course with a stash of tri-fold glossy brochure scorecards greet you there, along with the nice concrete teepad with tee sign pointing out all the pin positions and current position, along with elevation change for each.
The course is very well maintained, and the scenery and wildlife is top notch. Mature oaks are everywhere, along with wild turkeys, jackrabbits, deer, ground squirrels, mice, vultures and hawks, etc.
The variety of holes gives the feeling of an adventure, wanting to see what's next, rather than just playing a bunch of non-descript holes. Combined with the multiple pin positions (up to 5 on some holes) that are changed around regularly, the course plays differently every time, so each trip back is a new experience with new challenges.
Every hole has its own character, with a great mix of hyzer, anhyzer, uphill, side of hill, downhill bomb, roller, and open and wooded holes. Hole 6 is one of the coolest downhill bombs anywhere, with the lake and hills backdrop that is postcard material.
Other than occasional bad luck roll-aways, the course is very fair and rewards precision placement shots and good drives, and can punish errant throws pretty badly, with a few OB's sprinkled in to keep you honest. Your putting game will be tested, with many steep hillside placements that can make or break your round.
Baskets are all Mach III's in good shape, fairways and greens are all well defined, and the hike to play the course will test your physical endurance as well as your mental game.
Cons: Not beginner friendly due to rugged hilly nature of the course and the challenging holes.
As with most Northern California courses, it can get very hot and dry in the summer which results in some bad rollaways. Bring lots of water!
Wish it were 27 holes since there is plenty of land for it. Maybe someday...
Other Thoughts: This is a must play destination course for anyone looking for what CA disc golf should be.
The mature oaks in rolling hilly terrain with abundant wildlife, combined with the beautifully laid out course with good signage, great teepads, and nice baskets make this a great time, no matter if you're throwing well or having a tough round.
An absolute gem that is rarely crowded and that I try to play a few times a year.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: -variety of hole type, length, and elevation change.
-mix of open, trees, hills, shrubs, creeks.
-fairly easy to find the next hole
-challenging, but playable. (Im rated at 850 for the PDGA I shot 6 over)
Cons: -the first tee is hard to find, its approx. 1 mile from the parking lot. (Follow the gravel road, across the bridge, up the hill)
-It was very wet (I played at the beginning of Spring, wet was expected)
-You'll need to be able to throw kinda far (I average 300')
-Throwing straight also helps
Other Thoughts: Simply magnificent! What a beautiful course. Great design. I only played here once, but it is was awesome. I played in the clouds with a heard of 20 deer. If I am ever close to this course again, I'll be there!
3 of 9 people found this review helpful.
19 Helpful / 4 Not
Cream of the Bay Area Crop
Pros: The Stafford Lake course is located at the back of a huge semi-wilderness park which offers hilltop views of the surrounding landscape and quiet solitude (at least on the winter day we visited). You might think you are in a backcountry area through much of this course; wildlife abounds here - we saw many little critters roaming the fairways along with a herd of deer (& a young buck!), wild turkey, and several large hawks up above.
Holes range from completely open to moderate woods and shots off the tee are extremely varied - this course won't "make" you throw a particular type of shot, the multiple options on the tee usually allow the player to play to his or her strengths. However, there are holes where particular shots are really going to maximize your opportunities for birdie and holes which require some planning before tee-off. You'll also find several really challenging par 4's and a par 5 and even a 'gimme' par 3 or two depending on pin locations.
Hole 3 is a prime example of the kind of great golf out here. You tee from high on a sloping hillside across a small depression and down into a large undulating field. There isn't much to get in the way yet so you can really open up and launch one. If you've put some muscle behind your drive and have landed somewhere within the landing area, you will be looking at another 300-400' slightly uphill approach through moderate woods which force you to throw one of three approach lines. The really huge arms may be able to launch a huge spike or tomahawk over the protecting tress. The rest of us will be looking at a low ceiling RHBH turnover, long sidearm, or roller to avoid the guard trees while still working up the slight incline towards the pin. Snatch a birdie 3 here and you'll have something to remember no matter how the rest of the round treats you.
Pros: Skill level - The course has definitely been designed with the elite/gold player in mind. Many of the par 4 holes require placement shots of 400+ feet (equivalent flat distance) and then approaches which range from 200-400 feet depending on elevation and tree coverage. This all creates a course where gold level players will rarely find themselves wanting for situations where their skill will be adequately rewarded. Several holes require planning not just off the tee but also into 2nd drives and approach shots and many holes offer multiple distinct routes (with unique risks) off the tee. Those at mid-range skill levels will still find plenty of opportunities to test their skills, although some birdies will probably be out of range due to the sheer distance of a few of the multishot holes.
Navigation - Even for first-time players with no guidance, we very easily were able to find our way around this course. The flow is mostly very natural and logical. The one hole which we were initially baffled by and I'm sure many others before us was hole 2. The teebox here is elevated and faces a massive wall of trees, you would expect a basket at the bottom of the hill, but a quick check of the tee sign told us that the hole length was much too long for this. After a bit of scouting we found that the hole throws directly over this intimidating wall to the pin out in an open hillside past the line of trees. A very unique and memorable hole to say the least.
Maintenance/Baskets/Tees - Nice grippy concrete (even when a little wet) and Mach III's which were all in great shape. The course was pretty much trash free and while not "groomed", it looked as good as I think you would ever expect with a course so large. Stafford is definitely well cared for!
Aura - We played on a somewhat drizzly winter day and were able to really enjoy the solitude that the course has to offer. With the quiet and calm, it was almost like hiking rather than a regular disc golf round. I'd be interested to see how the feel of the course changes on a busy summer weekend.
Cons: Some might consider the walk from the parking lot to the first hole as a con but I think this probably helps keep the park less crowded and also allows disc golf to be the sole activity in this area of the park. That said, you'll probably want to be at least a little in shape to enjoy the course and score well here because of the hills and walking required.
I would probably not bring a true beginner to this course unless they were generally very patient and already excited about the game. It is mostly open which helps for beginners, but the hills, hole distances, and a couple of holes (e.g., #2) will probably prove very frustrating.
Other Thoughts: This course is definitely a must-play and qualifies as a destination course in my opinion. Add in Golden Gate park which is not very far away and you've got the cornerstone of a really nice disc golf road trip. Out of the nearly 400 courses I've played thus far, Stafford Lake earns a spot in my top 15.
19 of 23 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: This course has so many jaw-droppingly stunning holes, at least 4 or 5 holes would be signature holes anywhere else.
Tremendous variety in distance with holes ranging from 200' to 1000'.
Course pushes you to use every shot in your bag, dog legs, places for overhead shots, holes where you need pinpoint accuracy as well as a few wide open holes to really let loose.
The changes in elevation made every drive exiting.
Multiple tee pads that really change the flavor of each hole.
Many holes have as many as 5 different pin placements, often spanning as much as a 200' range in distance.
Great new concrete tee pads on every hole, very level, large and with nice ridges at the end of the pads for extra traction.
Maps on the first tee, as well as an informative kiosk and great tee signs diagramming tees and different positions, there were also wheels on each sign showing the current position.
Course is kept in great shape, paths were good and I didn't see any trash anywhere on the course.
Hole #6 from the extended position is a fantastic top-of-the-world hole from the extended tee, #17 comes up as a close second also playing 60' down the side of a large hill.
Amazing natural beauty, just walking the course would be a great visual experience.
Cons: Walkout from the parking lot to hole #1.
The course could have used a few holes with some thicker foliage.
Other Thoughts: Playing Stafford Lake for the first time on my trip through California was one of those truly breath-taking disc golf experiences. The first thing that you find is some really intense natural beauty, nestled in giant rolling meadows with towering Bay Oak trees, the course would be a pleasure just to walk let alone disc golf. The course has clearly been taken care of well by the local disc golf club, everything from the tee signs with the pin position indicators to the kiosk at the parking lot and on the first tee just exuded professionalism. I tried to find any real issues with the course but I wasn't able to find any, most of the problems I read in previous posts seem to have been fixed, like the spacious new concrete tee pads in place. With all the variation in pin positions and tee boxes I can see how a course like Stafford might never get old for local players. I would heartily recommend this as a must see stop on any disc golfing trip through California and my only regret was not playing this course sooner.
10 of 12 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 2 Not
A slice of heaven
Pros: Set on the inland side of a coastal range in Marin county, about 30 minutes north of San Francisco, Stafford Lake is the kind of course that makes one hopeful for future county park/disc golf collaborations. The course has sweeping panoramic views from almost any place your disc may end up, and ample wildlife - the turkeys in particular make for a great "gallery."
The sheer size of the park area dedicated to the course allows for lengthy, challenging holes, several of which qualify as pro par 4/5s. From hole to hole players will be challenged by elevation gain/loss, sharply left and right-turning fairways, and side-hill pin positions that demand focus and attention to upshots and putts.
New cement tees on all 18 holes are the icing on the cake, as for many years players had to deal with natural tees while trying to execute max distance drives. Great signs on every hole feature Google Earth images with all pin positions listed, including distance and elevation differential. Most holes have at least 3 pin positions, and in some cases each selection can dramatically change the nature of the hole. Several holes also have "MONSTER" alternate tees, which are not recommended for beginners, but worth a look for folks who can bomb it off the tee.
While most holes are on the longer side, there are still a handful of shorter par 3s that allow those players who are more accurate but have less distance to compete with the big arms.
Finally, the course area is pay-to-play - more accurately, pay-to-park - which for me is always a plus, as it contributes to the rangers who help patrol the area and perform maintenance on the park.
Cons: There's some low-lying, sticky, nasty tarweed that can junk up your shoes and socks. Certain times of the year, the grass can get tall and make it possible to lose a disc on an otherwise good shot.
A little bit more foliage/fairway obstructions would add a bit more accuracy requirement to some shots, but most folks will be plenty challenged as is.
No water/bathrooms/amenities at the course area itself- they're back at the parking area, which is a 5-10 minute walk away. As you can tell, I'm struggling to find downsides here.
Other Thoughts: Stafford is worth the trip if you find yourself anywhere in the greater Northern California area. Bring water and be prepared to be humbled; the pain starts on hole 1, which plays anywhere from 430-480 ft, straight uphill with an elevation gain equal to a 10 story building.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the first 5 holes comprise arguably the hardest stretch of golf on the entire course. You'll then be rewarded by the "top of the world"-type shot on Hole 6... make the hike past the regular tee to the new long tee, the view and shot are completely worth it!
9 of 11 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 11 Not
All Tees Are Concrete!
Pros: We are happy to report that all 18 holes have at least 1 concrete tee pad now. #3, #7, #11 and #18 have two concrete pads.
Cons: If you are lazy, out of shape or cannot throw it over 200 ft., you will not like this course.
Other Thoughts: Stafford is Avery Jenkins favorite course. What else do you need to know?
1 of 12 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 11 Not
Pros: This course is disc golf heaven! Course design is first class. Big arms can let it fly. Hole #6 is the best in Northern California.
Cons: Locals are picky Marin jerks who think they own the course. Hole #9 is ridiculous at 1000 feet. Could fit another eighteen in all the available space.
Other Thoughts: There is no comparison to this gem in Northen California. Delaveaga gets the hype, but Stafford is the jewel!
1 of 12 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
I miss Apple
Pros: The people, scenery, and the course are all top notch. I would play there every day if I lived in the north bay, it's just that good. Almost all cement tee pads now, bathrooms, drinking fountain, picnic tables, benches, and a practice basket. Hungry fish swimming in the lake.
Lots of room to warm up on the walk to #1.
Maps and scorecards available at 1st tee.
Cons: Maybe the parking fee, but it's worth it. Most people pay more to go hit a bucket of balls at the driving range.
Other Thoughts: Bring some food and water. The round will take at least 3 hours and it's not an easy trek. We usually stop at the Moylans spot next to the 8th tee and eat something. You will be tested physically on this course even if you are in good shape.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 2 Not
-unique course. mostly open with good use of the scattered giant trees there, and big open meadows.
-loooooong holes seem perfect for the area. its cool to watch your disc sailing over the rolling hills. you can choose whatever line you please and let it fly most of the time.
-the view from almost anywhere on the course is awe inspiring.
-we were one of 2-3 groups out there on a beautiful weekend day in april.
-our first time through we spent little extra time searching for tees.
-top of the world (#6) is right up there with Whistler's top of the world shot now that its been moved farther uphill, 3, 9, 14 (monster tee) and 17 (long) are huuuuge too... 600+ with plenty of wind all 4 trips i've made.
-pay to park, but you can park up the road a couple hundred yards and walk in if you forgot cash or whatever. then ask the guy at the gate for directions. they were cool with parking outside and walking in.
-small amount of trees makes some of the holes feel redundant due to lack of obstacles. mostly trees with grass. i prefer accuracy to distance, though.
-this is a truly incredible course. from the setting, huge distances on the holes seem to reflect the expansive views. we saw deer, wild turkeys, hawks, a fox. an epic experience. This course has more open bombs than wooded shots, but thats what the landscape calls for and the course was integrated perfectly into it. I can't imagine any way to improve this course.
-i had this course rated a 4.5, but have since vastly improved my distance and control when driving in windy conditions, which makes me feel more in touch with what the course calls for, bringing it to a perfect 5.
-it has been pretty windy every time i've been there. missed lots of 15 footers :/
-all nice concrete tee pads now of satisfying size, contradictory to the pictures you see here.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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