9 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.
9 of 13 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Just Awesome.....But pretty hard
Pros: only 2 $ if walk in or park offsite
restrooms near parking
had drinking fountain near benches before hole 1
amazing elevation shots
great scenery and wildlife
not busy(sat afternoon)
very informative brochure at hole 1 with map and individual hole descriptions
Cons: showed up saturday(paid 10$ at kiosk-does not give change for 20bill had to use credit card)
sometimes hard to find way(map helped a lot)
Other Thoughts: I loved this course. I am a beginner but still had a great time. Bring water and get ready to hike.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Napa on Steroids
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.
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.
2 Helpful / 10 Not
great course! but not 4.5*
Pros: The course scenery is amazing the views of the lake and the surrounding wilderness is breathtaking. Hole six is amazing a massive downhill blast that is more fun than i can express watching the disc fly is awesome. you have to throw a variety of shots hyzers, a lot of straight shots, anhyzers. a lot of throws require a high throw to clear an obstacle then an abrupt stall with not a lot of fade(hole 2). You will want to look around for a "local's" route on a lot of holes, they are there. That is something I have always enjoyed doing. You can't throw lazy putts on this course if you don't make it and it lands on edge then you will be rolling a long way. You don't necessarily have to have a big arm on this course I can see the very accurate throwers eating this course up. Hole 13 is a well designed hole imo. Long hole with a small elevation gain on to a plateau then at about 375 ft off the tee it drops off to a semi guarded pin along the tree line. Hole 18 has an awesome route out to the left, there is a good rhbh route, but if you risk the small gap out to the left rhfh it's more direct to the pin. I don't mind pay to play if it keeps the jerks out. Bring your camera, the views and wildlife are worth the entrance fee alone, then you get to play a great course to boot.
For how much land is out there some of the holes are sandwiched together. it's no doubt to take advantage of tree clusters, but again there is a lot of land out there. Some of the holes are a little too easy. Hole 1, 2, 8, 9, and 10. I'm not implying I'm so feaking good or anything I'm a good am2 player, for example hole 10 is supposed to be a tunnel hit you gap type hole. The tunnel is quite large and the hole plays about 250. Tap in bird the first day and missed a 40 ft the second. There is a lot of Not A Golf Shot Holes here. Hole 4 short hole trees to the left and right. There is a gap up the Center the hole is up to the left under a large tree. im guessing most locals just throw a thumber over the first set of trees hit the tree the basket is under and hope there token plinkos its way to 10,000. I threw a steep fh anhyzer flex low and hard with a flat top fb, i was able to hit the gap flex out under the second tree and hit a deuce, but that would work maybe 20% of the time if that. There is a lot of luck involved on this course. it seems that the hardest holes also have the slanted greens. i hate having a great drive on a difficult hole then getting a roll away. also im a smoker and while all the signs say no smoking i still did, but i dont walk and smoke i smoke put the cig out then pack it in my bag. With all the signage why Am I picking up all the locals butts next to almost every teebox?
*don't bring a jacket you can't carry in your bag, some of the ground was frozen but had to take my jacket off by hole 5 from hiking.
*sorry to all the nice locals but the players we ran into were either the college kids with a backpack and more beers than discs or the arrogant top pro locals(in their minds) who wouldn't even give us the time of day. I'm not asking for a reach around here, just look me in the eyes: hows it going?, first time out here?, watch out for hole X the right can be tricky, have a good round. This didn't affect my rating of the course I could care less about the other people on the course, but you have to advertise you course and show some hospitality. Also be careful, I had my own lack of courtesy on hole 6 I was shooting from the higher pin a someone by himself was finishing out. I saw him walking out to the right past a teebox so I threw my drive he had left either his bag or a disc down the hill and was now coming back towards the teebox which is only about 100ft from the pin of 6. Just from seeing that my disc wasnt turning over as much as I wanted it to. I knew it was heading for that teebox. I yelled fore until it hit he saw it, but was still shocked by how close it was (about 15ft) you have to take your time on this course dont rush even if there are people behind you. Some tee boxes are too close to other pins and some pins are too blind to not take you time. All in all this course is a must play. In my limited experience this is one of the few courses that has the combination of space, elevation, scenery, local club (even though I didn't see them it's evident that a lot of people are taking a lot of time up keeping this course) to reach 4.5 stars. I gave a 3.5 which Is generous by my ratings If I could it would have been a 3.25 but it's closer to a 3.5 than a 3. I rate my home course a 3.5. Stop giving courses 5 stars. 5 is perfect and that doesn't exist! A good reworking of some of the holes i feel needs to at least be looked at. Finally get out to Stafford lake!
2 of 12 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
A true gem!
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.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
a must play. one of the best
Pros: -long and short distance tees
-good mixture of tee length and elevation changes
-grills for BBQ and making a fun day trip with family and friends
-some tricky shots but nothing too crazy that you feel like you might lose a disc
-amazing scenery and great weather
-plenty of "green bowl" holes
-close to a great grocery store
-no waiting to play, its far enough to where it keeps large amounts of people off the course.
-multiple hole locations
Cons: -not enough garbage cans
-can be pretty muddy well after a rain
-pay to play
-last time i went the hole numbers on the baskets were all facing the wrong direction
Other Thoughts: remember to use your phone to take a picture of the map so you can refer to it to navigate the course. the couse is pretty straight forward but first or second timers might want to keep this in mind.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Thank you, Stafford Lake!
Pros: -Layout. Wonderful use of space that NEVER felt repetitive.
-Views are amazing.
-Elevation, flora, and landscape give the impression that a great deal of thought went into this course. No tee or basket feels accidentally or awkwardly placed.
-Parking and a nice walk in. Be thankful for the walk. You'll want to be warmed up to get up #1!!!
-$ to play. Yes, I was happy to pay for this experience. It was that good.
-Multiple tees used to good effect. They do more than simply make the holes longer.
-Two fun steep downhill midrange ace runs. Although, go to far and your walking 100 feet downhill.
-1000 foot hole #9 that plays alongside a ball golf hole.
-The tree and tee pad area on hole 10 are a landmark. Beautiful and creative tee placement.
Cons: -Muddy pathways a little slippery.
-Water not in play as much as it could be.
-Occasionally tricky to navigate. Not a problem the 2nd time around.
-Some blind tee shots. Normally, this is fine. but driving blind to a sidehill with the potential for a 250 foot roll away isn't my kind of fun.
Other Thoughts: I haven't been to the bay area for 4 years. This course will have me flying west to the Nor Cal. area much sooner than that. Thanks for a wonderful experience to the park, local players, and sponsors. We found one of the sponsors (Moylan's Brewpub) after the round for lunch and very good beer to repay them for their generosity.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Foremost, Stafford has the fantastic hole design. Every hole is very different and interesting. There's steep uphill and downhill. Throwing into, out of, through, and over trees. There's long bomber holes, and tight technical holes. The course is not overly wooded, but the trees are used effectively.
The landscape is also stunning. Views of the lake and hills are gorgeous. There's plenty of wildlife. The course is well maintained. There are cement tees, benches, and useful tee signs. The pins move regularly between substantially different positions, and are indicated accurately on tee signs. Many holes have multiples tees. There's bathrooms and a water fountain. I've never seen it super crowded, and the course doesn't get any non-DG traffic. Unlike the very crowded Golden Gate Park and DeLaveaga, Stafford is playable on a Saturday afternoon.
Cons: For some players, price will be a big negative. The fee is variable. It's worst on summer weekends at $10 per car. This fee undoubtedly keeps the course from getting super crowded.
The course flows pretty well, but navigation can be slightly confusing your first time. The easiest place to get lost is getting to the first tee, a 1/3 mile walk from the parking lot. A next tee sign would be helpful after hole 7. On 9, it's easy to accidentally throw at the pin for 11 if it is in B position.
Some holes are blind and a spotter is helpful.
Other Thoughts: Play from the long tee on 14. It's up the hill near the left tee for 7, and it's worth the hike up.
How to get here on public transit:
Use Golden Gate Transit to get to/from downtown Novato (Redwood & Grant). Schedule an appointment with Novato Dial-A-Ride (415-892-7899) from downtown to Novato Boulevard & Fire Road. This is the absolute western edge of the Dial-A-Ride service area. From here there it's a little over a mile walk to the eastern entrance to the park, and another mile to the first tee. Pay attention to Dial-A-Ride's hours, and schedule your trip ahead of time.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Championship level course
Pros: -Championship level course with multiple tee pads and pin placements
-Signage is great (you still need to walk out to see many of the baskets before you shoot though).
-Tee pads are in good shape and well made
-Optional if you want to play the course long or short (use the short tee pads for a shorter, easier round).
-Good variety of long and short holes. This is one of the most flexible courses in disc golf as far as distance and shot changes. All depends on what tee you use and what position the basket is in.
Cons: -Pay to play
-Long walk to the first tee
-Hole#1 is a rough start. Huge elevation change.
Other Thoughts: This is considered by many to be the "big arm" course for the San Francisco Bay Area. The next closest course to rival it is DeLaVeaga in Santa Cruz. I highly recommend this course if you are a Pro or a seasoned Amateur player. I make a point to visit this course at least twice a month.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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