5 Helpful / 2 Not
Worth the trip...
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.
1 Helpful / 12 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 13 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.
15 Helpful / 2 Not
Scoresheets and brochure available at course, course homepage at http://www.staffordlake.com/,
and map available on this site provide loads of information about the course. Portion of larger park, scenic hillside running down into a small lake, area dedicated to disc golf - plays up, down, and across the hillside, with lake in constant view, and near a few basket locations. 2-5 basket positions per hole, most with 3 or 4. Multiple tee positions on about ½ of the holes. Most teepads are concrete. Signs at each teepad which indicate various baskets positions, current position, and even the elevation change from teepad to all basket positions! Fantastic variety in length and shape. Bathroom, water fountain, and practice basket near parking lot.
Costs up to $8 to enter the park. Bit of a walk from parking lot to first tee/last basket. Some baskets not easily visible - flags, coloured poles, and/or bright coloured bands on the top of the basket would help. Signs didn't indicate if it was the primary or alternate tee location, which wasn't always obvious.
Variety - most holes are very different from each other. Elevation - major/minor/no change. Shape - left/right/S/no turning, some opportunities for tomahawks. Distance - just over 200' to just over 1000', a few legitimate par 4's/5's. Approach shots - due to some holes being extremely long and/or steep, your second (or third) shot will also often require some shape/touch to it.
The day I played - and given the topography of the course, I imagine this is a rather common occurrence - there was a steady breeze coming from the West. This meant I had a tailwind about 1/3rd of the time, a cross-wind 1/3rd of the time, and a headwind about 1/3rd of the time, so the typical flightpaths of your discs could vary greatly from what you normally experience. Since I was on vacation, I only had ten discs with me, and at one point, I could only trust my heavy Firebird to fade as expected - my other lighter, less-overstable discs were turning like Roadrunners!
Many of the baskets are fairly open, but don't let this lull you into a sense of security - most are on some type of slope and/or have a steep drop-off nearby, and when combined with the steady breeze, this increases the level of difficulty on many seemingly "easy" shots.
Favourite Holes: #3A from the long tee, a blind, long right-turning initial drive around the side of a hill will leave you with a long approach across a small depression and through a gap between to small treelines to the basket; #6B/C, just under ~400, a major downhill bomb to a basket with a drop-off and woods just a few feet behind the basket, with a view of the lake and neighbouring hills in the background.
This course is certainly worth the effort to visit if in the Bay area - to make it worth the entry fee, try to allow enough time to play two rounds! Given the extra length and walk to/from the parking lot, allow an extra 30-45 minutes than you normally take to play a typical 18-holer. Adding more alternate tees, making them all concrete, and adding a bit more signage would make this already very strong course top-notch.
15 of 17 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 2 Not
Very Cared For
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.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: This course is very challenging & humbling. It will make you a better player for sure. There are lots of elevation changes and interesting shots. Never crowded. Some wildlife
Cons: It can get very hot. Poison Oak in places.
Other Thoughts: Don't go alone. It's a long hike in & out and not heavily traveled.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: This course is a game changer. Hole 1 sets the tone right away. Hole 3 long is major. Awesome scenic beauty, pay to park makes money for the county park system, which in turn makes disc golf more viable as a sport (and it keeps jerk-offs away). Moist-Tee (hole 6) is the most epic shot I've played in California, though it makes me wonder if it should now be played to 7's pin. Facilities are great, tee pads are looking good. Wind gets challenging in the afternoons. Awesome wildlife, especially the wild turkies!
Cons: not too many. I wish there had been a few more tightly wooded shots, but the designers did an amazing job with the landscape.
Other Thoughts: I wish there were another 18 on the premises.
2 of 5 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.
2 Helpful / 2 Not
Top Notch DGC
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.
13 Helpful / 1 Not
Incredible Course: Must Play
Pros: This course rates a 4.5 for me, even considering all the substantial cons (see below). That should illustrate how incredibly the pros outweigh the cons, and how good this course's best traits really are.
Set on a large northern facing mountainside south of Stafford Lake lies some of the best disc golf holes ever devised. The mountainside exhibits multiple alluvial fans that accumulated by ancient erosion, were then uplifted by tectonic motions (the San Andreas fault is nearby to the west) and subsequently incised by creeks and rivulets to form multiple staircases, mini-valleys, and protrusions to play on, over, and through.
There are a wide variety of holes to play. The holes are mostly open, however, the tree stands that do exist are well incorporated into several holes that play around and through them. Some of the mountainside holes like #2 offer interesting and unique challenges for lofting high shots with the danger of runaway fade down slope.
What makes this place special for me is that there are some holes that simply could no exist in many other courses on Earth. Examples are the super long hole 9 with its beautiful open fairway, or the long dowhill shots at holes like 6. Simply beautiful in a pure disc golf way, these epic holes will be burned into your mind forever.
A course map is available online, and with this in hand I had no problems whatsoever in finding my way around the course. The markings are often very nice, and you can certainly tell that a lot of love has been put into this place.
Cons: Mud tee pads are present on some of the holes. It is impossible to get foot traction for your drives on these holes, so you just have to shoot for par instead of going for that birdie. Be careful not to slip and hurt yourself on the wooden sides of these mud pit tees.
The hillside can be muddy and slick on some of the holes. Hole 1 is a great example, where you have to throw up a steep slope to the basket on an unstable and slick slope, making par almost completely impossible. You might want to skip these holes if it is particularly wet (e.g., for several weeks after any rain).
Lack of facilities near the course itself make it less desirable, especially for women to play long rounds where full bladders might be inevitable.
Pay to park. OK, it's only $5 and that money goes to park upkeep and maintenance and all that good stuff, but if you played here often it would probably become annoying.
There is a modest walk from the parking lot to the first tee, about 10 minutes. Not a bad walk, by any means, but the course is definitely set away from the more civilized portions of the park.
The ranger shoos everyone out of the park well before sunset. This is kind of annoying since daylight is so precious to us disc golfers, especially in the winter months.
Other Thoughts: Hole #6 is simply incredible. No power is needed to throw down this steep slope, just put a good little snap on the disc for stability and let it sail down the mountainside toward the basket which lies on the peninsula-shaped protrusion and flat area that juts out the side of the mountain about 150 ft below the tee. A mature tree line backs the basket, but treeless steep slopes lie along the sides so a great run at the basket may well skip down yet another hill.
We found a nice gem just down the road from Stafford Lake: Tagliaferri's Delicatessen 2051 Novato Boulevard, Novato, CA 94947. Stop by and pick up a sandwich for you round, or some homemade pastas or raviolis for dinner on your way out. You'll notice some Stafford Lake stamped discs on the wall near the bathrooms.
People will naturally be interested in comparing this course to DeLaveaga in Santa Cruz. They both come out as phenomenal in my rating. While Stafford Lake simple has some of the best holes in all of disc golf, DeLa has a better situated property, better maintenance, and a more consistently designed course. Play them both and decide for yourself!
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
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