24 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Lake Casitas is Ventura's water reservoir, and is tucked back in the picturesque hills and mountains that rise to the north from the coast. The landscape offers big hillsides and deep valleys (at least several hundred feet of elevation change over the entire course), along with spectacular views of the surrounding region. Plant life exhibits the typical SoCal variety, from beautiful shade trees, to ice plants, to salad weeds, to mowed grass, to chaparral, some mesquite-like shrubbery, etc..
This is the best maintained and equipped 18 hole course I've played thus far. There are up to four basket locations at every hole, and all are well-marked and sighted. Nice picnic tables are situated at every tee (and bonus picnic spots can be found elsewhere around the course). Clean bathrooms are available, and even hot coin-operated showers near tee 15. The tee signs are fantastic: each displays a photograph looking from the tee down the fairway, and lines/arrows are drawn on top of the photos to show the various basket locations and distances. There is no way that you can mistake the position of the basket, even on the first play. The course flow is also very nice, with few long walks between tees (8-9 is probably the longest and most awkward, but the placement of 9 makes it worth it), a front and back 9 loop coming back to the parking area, etc..
Like all truly great courses, there are tight steep downhill throws (hole 5), big downhill tosses (hole 16), medium to long fairways over gently down-sloping terrain (holes 6, 7), medium to long fairways over gently up-sloping terrain (hole 8,12), blind throws (hole 3), holes over (sometimes water hazarded) valleys (hole 1,9), holes into tight corridors or gaps (holes 9,10,11,13,14,17), big uphill shots/climbs (hole 15,18). But I was very impressed with the creativity of the holes at this course. Several holes (e.g., 4 and 10) are very short, but have added challenges. For example, hole 4 is only 150' or so up a bumpy hillside, but it is a right-turning fairway that ducks under a mando low-arching tree branch of a shade tree whose flank is guarded by a 2' tall fierce-looking wooden warrior statue. (I also enjoyed the palm frond art displayed on hole 13.) Hole 15 is probably the most difficult by my assessment, with a grueling, 300'-ish feet slight uphill and then 100'-ish+ feet up a very steep hill into a nice hillside oasis enveloped by a beautiful tree and a shaded old picnic table where we ate lunch. Some of the holes are also more psychologically challenging, such as 14, where a low-hanging tree branch is just in front of the tee but the hole requires a strong uphill left-turning throw. I have played a large variety of courses, but never have I seen the kind of variety on display at Casitas, especially while maintaining a high level of challenge. These aren't gimmicks, they are genius!
There is a small pro shop and camping supply store on the way to the course, though I didn't buy anything. As far as we could tell, alcohol is permitted in the park.
Cons: No real cons. This is as close to a perfect course as I have ever seen. Reading through some of the previous reviews, it seems some people don't like some of the holes because they are different or challenging, but I see all these as pros, rather than cons.
OK, one nit-pick: the $10 day use fee is a bit steep. But still very well worth it. We camped out overnight, so we didn't pay anything extra beyond just the camping fee itself.
Other Thoughts: This is the very first time I'm rating a course as a 5 out of 5. And I mean it: so far this is my top-rated course, and it exceeded all my expectations in every possible category. Hats off to the Ventura Disc Golf Club and the sponsors for putting together such an amazing course!
24 of 25 people found this review helpful.
29 Helpful / 1 Not
Awesome DG course!!
Pros: -Most variety you will find in Southern California.
-Starts off with a BANG! Long downhill throw across a typically dry section of lake.
-Camping literally right next to the course on both sides ("I" and "M")
-Very informative signs at all the tees, and full color score cards available at the beginning of the course.
-There were at least three 'top of the world' tees.
-Basically DG exclusive, had no problems with other people.
-Was not busy.
-It is legal to drink in this park.
-Snack shop providing discs, drinks, food, and camping supplies is about halfway to the course from the entrance. Stop by here before you find the course if you plan on doing so, its a good 5-10 minute drive from the course.
-Flat & Grippy concrete.
-High flags on open pins to make them more visible.
Cons: -Some shots go into some pretty terrible brush that can make disc finding a fun group bonding experience.
-Weeds making their way into the socks became annoying after a while. If it is not too hot, pants are a good idea. Hiking boots too...no joke.
-Some long walks between baskets and tees, but it is all worth it. Keep a map handy the first round or two.
Other Thoughts: Lake Casitas's course covers a huge area, and contains every kind of hole imaginable. The terrain varies from heavily wooded to wide open, with the ground mostly being dirt and weeds (complete with fox-tails).
The extremely helpful course maps describe in detail what the course provides. Almost none of the holes are really flat; large hills are found throughout the course.
Plan for a round of 18 to take a bit longer than at your usual course. Many cover a good amount of distance, tees are far, and it is inevitable that you or one of your buddies will need to spend some time looking for discs. In one full day, we only had the time/energy for two rounds.
Some of the more unique holes are 3 and 4. Three throws from underneath an oak tree with a low hanging branch, then over a hill, and behind a large tree. 4 is a short uphill shot that throws through a small tunnel like mandatory tree branch (tee sign explains it).
While mostly DG exclusive, Lake Casitas also considers the area a cross country running area, so there are roads and there are occasionally people using them.
Seriously: Tight holes. Epic downhills. Long uphills. Busy areas. Desolate areas. Across the hill. Through a tree. On the side of a hill. Over the hill. A park like hole. Risk/Reward shots. It's all here. And it even loops back the parking lot for 'refills' after 9.
Practice basket is on the hill to the right of the tees. Having this on a slope is great because you probably will not be putting flat very often here, so its appropriate to let you practice for that.
If you are within 100 miles, you owe it to yourself to check this place out. It covers a huge area and is one of two courses in the area that feels 'epic' to me.
Campground Info: We found the best campgrounds for disc golfers are M20-M28; M22, M25, and M28 are the best; and K1-4. The "I" campground is primarily for use by RV's (Little shade, hook-up boxes, and parking spot shaped sites).
29 of 30 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Big Disc Golf
Pros: This is one of my favorite disc golf destinations. I love the elevation shots, the variety of holes, the broad spectrum of shots required and the locals. Fantastic scenery, serenity and fun is what Lake Casitas is all about.
One of the best tournaments and tournament courses around is at Coyote Point every year.
Cons: I think the layout is kind of screwball in some spots because I think it was designed with shots and holes in mind not necessarily flow. Also you have to pay to enter the park.
Other Thoughts: Not for the out of shape or non-adventure types. If you like throwing discs off big hills and watching them fly and fly then you'll have fun. If you like throwing through tight windows and up hills then you'll have fun. If you like playing in natural environments with laid back locals then you'll have fun. If you think a DG course requires park-like grass and perfectly manicured greens then you won't like it much.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: This course has it all. Short, technical holes and long downhills where you can really rip it....some of the most creative holes you will find. Tees and baskets are easy to find since they give you an excellent course map and every tee has a picture of the hole with all possible basket locations and flight paths clearly marked. Every tee has a place to sit, most had picnic benches, if you need to wait on the group ahead of you or just want to relax a bit. Wasn't hard at all to find a friendly local to help out with anything you needed.
Cons: Fee to enter park raised to $15 fee per car. Lots of hiking up and down hills may be considered by some to be a negative, but for a guy not super fit, it wasn't that big of a deal.
Other Thoughts: Very fun course, and worth the drive. Was my first time out and we played the whole course twice and a few of our favorites we played a 3rd time until we ran out of daylight. Met a few of the guys that designed the course and you can tell they really care about making this course the best around, and they've done a great job. This is a MUST play for all CA residents.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: Seeing as this was the first time for both myself and my husband playing DG we can't find any cons. We had a blast! The first tee off I thought OMG, I can't do this...but after warming up on the first two I thought different. I can only imagine what my arms going to feel like in the morning. =0/ The view of the lake is beautiful and while the course is challenging we didn't find it discouraging. It was great to be able to rest in the shade under oaks to catch your breath after hiking to the next tee off. Can't wait to go back and do 10 to 18. Wind is a factor but you can compensate for it. We played in the AM so I'm sure by the PM it's a whole different disc game. All I can say is we're hooked!
Other Thoughts: Make sure you take plenty of water. It's a real good workout.
6 of 13 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 13 Not
Pros: beautiful views nice park camp grounds many variations per hole it is super fun
Cons: high winds in the afternoon many spots to loose plastic look out for rattlesnakes on hot days $8 day fee $10 on weekends
Other Thoughts: this is a great place to take the fam some bros the boat a tent and stay a couple of days
2 of 15 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Crazy elevation (holes 1, 9 and 16 were my favorites), beautiful natural setting, well-marked and maintained course with multiple pin placements that are rotated regularly.
Cons: There is a fee per vehicle to enter the faciility - bring a carful of friends to make it more cost effective. Pretty far from the interstate along a windy, twisting two-lane highway into the mountains. Wind, particularly in the afternoon, is a serious problem, and make many of the holes extremely difficult. Loss of discs is highly likely. There is a real possibility of running into rattlesnakes and mountain lions. Sunscreen and water are absolute musts. Wear good shoes and bring a hat.
Other Thoughts: A magnificent DG experience. There is camping and lots of other outdoor recreation there (including a kiddie water park) - imagine taking the family camping and getting in 36 holes every day you're there.
9 of 13 people found this review helpful.
19 Helpful / 2 Not
Worth seeking out
Pros: Beautiful location
Exellent use of natural terrain/obstacles
Great elevation changes
Multiple pin placement
Camping on site
Great variety of holes--hyzers, anhyzers, very long, technical, water hazards, driving over valleys, elevation drop drives, and a couple of the most unique tee off challenges I've ever seen (Hole 3 for example...CRAZY!)
Not very crowded
Excellent downloadable map
Cons: Can get very windy in the afternoon
A few of the holes have blind placements and some were a challenge to locate before teeing off
Deep brush to lose a disc if you have an errant throw (definitely have someone ready to spot for you)
These "cons" are not a result of "faulty design"--just a fact of the area/terrain and you should be aware of it so you can plan properly
Other Thoughts: This is a great destination course as part of a DG road trip...
As said in other reviews...be prepared with water, snacks, sun/brush protection
This course is well worth the effort to seek out and drive to...
19 of 21 people found this review helpful.
18 Helpful / 2 Not
Great Layout (Front and Back Nine End at Parking Lot)
Great Elevations Changes
Multiple Pin Placements (Four Per Hole)
Camping Right Beside Course
General Store in the Park
Nearly Every Shot in the Bag Will Be Used
Amazing Tee Signs (Some of the Best I have Seen)
Best Mandos in the Game (Only One I Have Like)
Restrooms and Fountain near First Tee
Pin Positions Are Changed Regularly
Benches at Nearly Every Tee
Trashcans and Recycling Bins on Course
*There aren't really any cons, but these improvements would make it a truly 5 disc course.
Longer Tee Pads
Some "Next Tee" Signs In A Couple Of Places
Some Fairways/Path to Next Tee Cross Each Other
This course, located near Ventura, CA, in Lake Casitas Recreation area, is probably the best course that I have played so far. Very challenging, but even if your score is awful, you won't care. The scenery is beautiful and the layout is amazing. The great elevation changes, well placed tees, mature trees (that seem to be perfectly placed), and water hazards are just some of the things that make this course the best I have played.
Once you get to the park you will need to go to the entrance booth and pay the entrance fee, it was $8.00 per car when we were there, that was in January. This may seem expensive to some, but trust me it is well worth it. I would have very well payed double just for myself to play the course. There are also many other amenities in the park as well, making the entrance fee justified. Once you get through the entrance station take the road to the right, and follow it until it dead-ends into the large parking lot, about 2 miles. The first tee is located near the back of the parking lot, the side furthest from lake.
The course is challening right from the beginning. Hole 1 is a long downhill shot, over a little cove of the lake. This was dry while we were there, but I could see it being a real issue if the water level was up. For the terrain that you are playing through I would say that the course is fairly easy to navigate. There is a great course map, so with that you should have no problems getting through the course.
Each hole has only one tee pad, but multiple pin positions. Not only does each position change the distance, in most cases can change the hole drastically keeping the course fresh each time you play. The locals change the positions pretty frequently and have a great washer sytem on each tee sign indicating which placement each hole is in.
I mentioned the terrain above, it can really be a work out. There are steep elevation changes, and the course can be very hot, dry, and dusty, so bring plenty of water, and snacks, and be prepared to hike. The course also has some undergrowth, bushes, and trees, all can easily hide discs. Your best bet is to try to have someone spotting for you when you throw. This would be especially helpful on some of the holes with huge elevation changes, the discs can get into the wind and fly what seems like forever, if you don't keep an eye on it, you could be looking for a while. All of that said, don't let any of that deter you, this really is an amazing course.
The park itself has many other amenities. There are multiple campgrounds in the park and you can camp literally right next to the course. Obviously there is also a lake, Lake Casitas, so fishing and boating is available, but being a source of drinking water they do not allow swimming or pets in the lake. There is also a general store up the park road from the course, and they have just about everything you could think of and some you can't, from camping supplies to discs to snacks.
As I stated before this is the best course I have played so far, and the only con that I can really think of is that it's completely across the coutry. I can't wait to get back to the west coast to play this course, its a must play, even if you have to drive 2400 miles to play it like I did.
18 of 20 people found this review helpful.
20 Helpful / 0 Not
Tough and scenic course
Pros: This course makes fantastic use of the terrain and foliage on the land here. Holes play up and down hills that range from easy slopes to very steep shots. The course was designed with a great variety of shots, and will make you pull out every shot in your bag. There is a nice mix of holes where accuracy is key, and holes where you pull out a driver and rip it, and this keeps the round interesting throughout.
The tees are nice concrete and seemed well maintained. The signs are well-kept, and easy to follow to the variety of pin positions. The various placements seemed designed to really change up the holes, rather than simply adding length to a very similar shot.
This course is very tough, but very enjoyable. It is clear that there is a significant amount of maintenance done, but that care is taken to preserve the wild vegetation and the natural beauty. Many holes have excellent views of the lake and the surrounding hills.
Cons: This course can get hot and dusty, make sure to bring lots of water. There are a few places where losing discs was a strong possibility, especially near the water (no swimming allowed). A couple holes play too near a campsite, and sometimes campers wander onto the fairways. The cost is a little high if playing solo, but not too bad if you split it up with a group (all in one car).
Other Thoughts: This is a beautiful course with myriad challenges. One of the most scenic courses I've played, and also one that really made me think about every shot. The variety of different types of holes and different pin positions make this a course that will present new challenges every time you play. Make sure to wear sturdy walking shoes, and you'll definitely enjoy this course!
20 of 20 people found this review helpful.
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