7 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Extremely scenic course that is on and surrounded by oak covered rolling hills with a view of Stafford Lake nearby. It is completely isolated from the rest of the park and is quite peaceful. This place is all about tree-lined fairways with elevation on every single hole. The variety of shots is outstanding and a good majority of pins are placed on slopes which will cost you a stroke if your missed putt stands on edge and rolls away. People with cannon arms will have more opportunities for birdies but there are enough short holes to please a noodle arm like me.
The signature holes to me are (as others have mentioned) - #6 - Staffords version of "Top of the World", #16 - a hole that is framed by the arm of an oak tree, #18 - a seemingly short simple open shot, but you find as you approach the pin, that it's perched on a rock cropping that drops very steeply on the right (glad I didn't throw my RHFH or I would have been far below the pin on landing).
I would say that this course caters to a more advanced player (for good scoring opportunities), but the average player should find it enjoyable.
The signs were great and the nice washer on those signs indicated the current pin position - awesome!
Cons: This being the only time I've played, it was frustrating that about half the pins were not visible from the tee. I don't have a problem with blind pin positions - except when the already physically challenging terrain is compounded by having to hike ahead on so many holes to confirm the pin position.
A few tee pads were in dangerous places which were on the edge of fairways
Other Thoughts: Bring plenty of water. It's a long walk to any facilities in the park.
I will play this course again when I return to NorCal. I'm wondering if it will have more of a "Wow" factor than it did my first time (I guess I expected a lot more from the course design).
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
When you are ready for the big leagues
4 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: All this course needs is a beverage shack or a cart girl! (not being sexist)
Love/hate this course
As a new player, I come here to measure my progress. Then I go to Crane Creek to fix my game.
The first 3 holes are tough, long, uphill, over trees. Hole 6 is epic downhill drive
8 is my favorite with a resting spot under a killer oak tree. This is a great place for a break. I always envision Robert Plant/Jimmy Page jamming out under this tree.
I try to break 40 on the front 9 and 35 on the back 9.
Cons: A bit of a walk to the first tee pad.
Price for parking goes up on Fri-Sun
Watch out for animals, alive and dead
And giant rabbit(?) holes dug into the sides of hills.
Hole #18 is a mean SOB
Other Thoughts: Bravo UFO's and all of the other folks that take care of this course!
I have yet to play, (or find) the extra tees above 4. I have seen some pins but not the tee boxes.
Such a great course. Really pretty and a real workout.
I hope to play here at least 20 times this year.
4 of 8 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Tough course for a beginner like me.
Clean. Well kept. Thanks Dave !
Cons: I can't think of any.
Other Thoughts: If I hadn't had a "Guide" I would NEVER have found the 5 extra holes. Not sure I could find 'em now. This course makes you use all the shots. Techniques I have not learned yet, too. It's UP hill and DOWN hill then, UP again. Great hike. And DG'ers make great company.
1 of 7 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: The experience of the hike was the high point--great vistas, a classic CA coastal mtn. landscape, and everything from wild turkeys, turkey vultures, hawks, crows, deer, and scampering lizards underfoot.
The layout will appeal to pros and advanced players who want to challenge themselves with elevation change, blind shots, and distance.
Cons: The course itself was terrifically challenging, in part due to our not knowing the course route. The greatest issue was howling wind, gusting 25 mph. and making shots nearly impossible to control.
The long grass ate my favorite disc on hole 7. For recompense, I came out with about 4 lbs. of barbed stickers in my socks.
Other Thoughts: For a summer round, wear long pants and watch out for poison oak.
Don't expect many birdie opportunities. Pars will feel like an accomplishment on most holes.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
10 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.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 12 Not
Pros: This is a really well thought out course with some great pin placements. There is some great change of elevation throughout the course to add an extra element of difficulty. I really like how well marked out everything was. Our first time playing there, we had no trouble location all the holes.
Cons: Not much negative to say about this one. One of the best courses I have ever played.
2 of 14 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Great map pamphlet at the first tee!!!
Too many to list, please see lion's review.
Cons: See above...
Other Thoughts: Sorry, I know that this is a lame "review" and I don't blame you for voting this one as "not helpful" but it's hard to beat the elaboration that 'lion' did in the previous review. To sum up, this is an ever expansive course, probably one of the largest I've played so far. When I played it it was over 90 degrees (BRUTAL dry heat) after playing at Golden Gate earlier in the week at only 68 degrees. I thougth I was well prepared but after climbing up and down the first 7 main+5 or more extra baskets on the hill and reached the bottom high desert tees I had to quit (both due to time and lack of water/energy). I had some amazing blind shots over trees (basket 3 I think) and around bends (basket 4?). Some were more frustrating in some of the thick trees. All in all an extremely impressive course but the distance and guidance to the starting point from the parking lot and back was pretty tough in the heat. I was completely filthy and sweaty by the time I got back to my car and had to go straight to my flight. I was not prepared for this course physically. I recommend bringing extra water and/or rationing what you take. An amazing drive out to the course from SF and spectacular views await. Definitely try to make it out to this one if you're in the area but like lion said, plan on it being an all day event with plenty of water and nourishment. Otherwise the fun of the course may be stifled a bit.
4 of 10 people found this review helpful.
24 Helpful / 0 Not
I miss not playing this course
Pros: 1. With the new hole additions that were made in the last year the course is actually on its way to probably being a future 27 hole course.
2. I liked the fact that there was a practice basket close to the parking area. This gives you time to practice if your waiting for others or just wanting to chill and putt a little before hiking to the course.
3. The course is located in a certain area of the park that is only used for disc golf. Since that's the case you don't have to worry about picknickers or sunbathers or anything non disc related that might slow you down, unless a cow or wild turkey herd get in your way.
4. The views are stellar and top notch. Views of the lake, wildlife, rolling green hills, and the entire course. The view from the some what hidden upper tee on hole 6 is where it's at. Check it out.
5. Wildlife on the course is cool. I've played here in November and have seen huge wild turkeys all over the course. Just made it really cool.
6. The tee signs for this course are really detailed with hole numbers, distances, where the other tee boxes are located, multiple basket locations, next hole tees and the graphics were good. No complaints over signage.
7. Tee pads are well done and with multiple pads on most holes it's great to see the love that was put into this course by the locals. Some of the teepads are hard to get to and to have concrete pads there only means they hiked in with the concrete. So kudos to the people who put it in. Good grip on pads aswell.
8. There are trash cans around the course and that's speaks highly for the park staff who drive those all terrain golf carts picking up trash. Speaking of trash, I didn't see any trash on the course. The course was super clean. Well kept.
9. The layout is always changing with the multiple pins per hole and every layout is very respectible. I've always felt challenged here and everyone I have played with really knuckled down to stay afloat on the course. It's no push over.
10. Stafford also allows you to empty your bag and throw every type of shot. The course isn't lefty or right friendly. It's nuetral ground and fair.
11. The course isn't flat. There is a ton of elevation to deal with. More then half the holes have elevation. hole 6 has an upper tee pad installed around Thanksgiving 2008 that has a 100 elevation drop to the deeper pin placements that rivals any top of the world shot.
12. Signature holes. This course has a few but holes 6 and 9 are amazing. Hole 6 for the huge elevation/top of the world throw and hole 9 for the 1000+ foot hole named after a highway that's honest and challenging.
13. I won't give a breakdown of every hole but just know there is a lot of length on this course. If you cannot huck the disc 400 feet then you will be required to play the long holes smart and look for your birdies on the shorter holes when they come in patches like holes 10-12 or 6-8.
14. The course is growing and after hole 4 up the hill, new holes have been installed. I image cement pads will come. So look for them and be prepared for more then 18 holes.
15. All baskets on the course were sound, no dents or faulty components were noticed. They were also all easy to spot. Tape and color on baskets made for good visibility.
16. The course is well laid out and finishes were it starts. Hole 1 and hole 18 meet at the end without intersecting at all. Always nice when a course does that.
17. No crossing fairways. All the holes are given tons is space and choices for all of its pins. I'm glad that the expansion on the course didn't alter the existing layout. A lot of people always say they want to shorten certain holes and add more with all the land. Well I say that's a terrible move. The fact that the local club left the orginal holes in tact is awesome.
Cons: 1. First con is that it's a pay to play course. 5 dollars during the week and 10 on the weekends. 2 dollars to walk in. Walk in from where? Maybe park right across from the entrance at the home that's closest to the park. I parked there once when the park was closed. If your local I would look into a seasonal pass and bring lots of exact change for the machines or a credit card. If there isn't anyone at the main office you have to pay at one of the pay machines and they don't give change I here.
2. Closed for certain holidays. I showed up on Thanksgiving when the weather was beautiful and the park was closed( gate was closed). Always call ahead or check the site if your from out of town.
3. Park hours, any course that is only opened for certain hours is a con. If the park is closing and there is still daylight I want to be able to still play.
4. I don't remember any bathrooms on the course. Just some bathrooms near the park entrance and near the parking lot close to the practice area.
5. To me the walk to the course from the parking lot wasn't bad or a con but to some a quarter mile plus walk is a con. After a long drive to the course the walk actually warmed me up and got me blood flowing. Download a map because if there isn't any golfers there when u show up and you don't know where the course is it might take u awhile to find it.
6. Hole 5 is a great hole but the slope and brush hugging the fairway, plus if its in the blind position make it easy to lose a disc on the hole. Best to have a spotter on the hole.
7. Watch out for wildlife and try not to hit any. Please be patient if they roam into your shot and enjoy the majestic nature of the animal.
8. As for the course I cannot think of anything wrong with the orginal 18 holes, but with the new holes the teepads should go to concrete and not just be marked with stakes. They will get muddy and hard to play in the winter.
9. The lake doesn't come into play in the course, but near hole 12 if you throw deep there is some marsh lands and thick brush/ Bambo area you need to watch out for. Also just watch out for the ravine near basket 17. Try to stay out of it and use the bridge down below.
10. Since you park so far away, you really have to load up your disc bag with drinks and snacks for the entire round or rounds. If you don't and have to walk back to the car it's an easy 30 minutes out of the way and 30 minutes of lost disc golf time or relaxing between rounds. This also sucks because the course involves a lot of hiking. A heavy disc bag isn't recommend. This course isn't friendly to beginners just figuring out the game or to anyone not able to really hike over a mile of course in the hills.
Other Thoughts: I have played nearly 250 courses in the state of California and Stafford is my favorite. It's worth spending the entire day at playing. All the pros make it spectacular. Also as an added bonus there is a brewery close by and plenty of stores within ten minutes of the course to stock up on snacks and drinks while you play. The surrounding area is gourdgeous. Stafford is like a central hub between golden gate park and Skyline wilderness in Napa. The area has plenty of courses around a few of the best in the state. I would always recommend playing in groups here or pairs. If your a tourney player, multiple tourneys are held at Stafford throughout the year. So if you want an excuse to play the course, sign up for a tourney. There are hotels and camping nearby aswell.
24 of 24 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 5 Not
Beautiful course, excellent play
Pros: Beyond gorgeous. Even if you are playing terribly you can have a great time. The course is a hike in and of itself and there are rabbits and deer all over the place. The holes vary greatly in approach and difficulty which is a blast to play and can be very challenging and rewarding.
Cons: If it weren't for the poison oak, I would award 5 stars to this stellar course.
Other Thoughts: I will definitely be playing the next tournament that rolls through here.
0 of 5 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 4 Not
Water, water, please give me water.
Pros: Okay, I did my initial review late at night. Bad time to review. Paid $5 and parked. There is a practice basket to warm up on and plenty of room to throw some warm up drives before beginning the hike to the first tee, perhaps a couple thousand feet or more, to the first tee. I was a tad out of breath by the time I teed off from the walk up the incline to the tee. This sets the tone for the physical test of Stafford Lake. You will work your way up and down hills that will challenge your knees , ankles and stamina. What a test of endurance. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed the beat down. The designer created a great balance of shots. The holes were well conceived as my skills, or lack thereof, were severely challenged by uphill shots, downhill shots and sidehill shots. I especially like the sidehill shots that make the thrower land the disc at the proper angle to negate the chance of a rollaway. Left, right, up, down, breathe deeply and execute well or be punished when you disc glides down the serious terrain away from the pin. Even the shorter holes used terrain well to create the illusion of baskets being closer to you than they really were. This set up putts that were further from the basket I thought I should have been and created the opportunity for roll aways and fly by putts. There are some really cool trees on this course and some panoramic views that helped enhance the disc experience.
Cons: I had difficulty following the flow of the course in a number of places and spent some time walking around searching. I didn't need the extra walking on this course!. It needs more "Next Tee" signs. ( I feel like a chump saying that because a lot of my courses need them too.) Some of the greens really needed some trimming, as the 10 meter putting zone was greatly encroached by branches and bushes. I loved the long downhill 1000'ish hole. I didn't like that there was another basket and tee in the "kill" zone from incoming play on the long hole. I think that could be easily remedied if somebody energetic agreed with me. While I appreciate that most of the tee signs have distances shown on the signs, not all were shown in the correct positions. It was a bit difficult to figure out which position and how far to throw on some holes. I recommend wearing 2 pair of socks and perhaps some sock covers to keep out burrs and sharp grass seed. They were pesky indeed.
Other Thoughts: This course definately would be a 4 or more in my book if the "cons" were addressed. Bring plenty of water in the summer.
8 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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