Orland, CA

Black Butte Lake DGC

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3.945(based on 27 reviews)
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5 0
sansho
Experience: 13.1 years 63 played 6 reviews
3.50 star(s)

Crazy Hot – Lots of Potential 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 3, 2020 Played the course:once

Pros:

Beautiful landscape/scenery - rolling hills and oak trees
Concrete pads
Yellow DISCatchers with practice basket
Good fairway design
New bathrooms at site at hole 1/10
1-9 loops around back to the start for a quick 9
Out of the way - my group were only ones in parking lot for entire round
Lots of elevation change

Cons:

Tee signs give no information
Navigation is subpar
Multiple tee pads/pins can be seen at one time
Out of bounds = crossing barbwire on several holes on front 9
HOT. Not much shade
Mostly short holes

Other Thoughts:

This is a cool course near a campground/reservoir off the I-5. No real parking lot, just in the dirt along the road. Short walk to hole 1 where there is a map, bulletin board, practice basket and bathrooms. Solid amenities for the start/end of the course.
The fairway design is pretty solid throughout the course. Gives players an opportunity for many different shots. A few holes along the front 9 play along the barbed wire fence line which is definitely not ideal, and going OB here can be pretty easy.
I can see this course playing a lot differently in winter/fall. We played in early June and man, the heat was pretty brutal. Also all the leaves on the trees were in full play, which definitely adds some enjoyment to the challenge of the course.
I with they could have somehow used the water as well. I know it's not always easy to do everything a course designer wishes, but when you have some water right in the area I always wish it's incorporated somehow.
There are two main issues I had with the course that leads me to mark it lower than I previously thought I would.
1) The tee signs. All you get is a hole # and a distance. Nothing else, no next tee, nada. This became pretty frustrating, even when having the map on hand. Either there was a blind shot, or you could see multiple pins at once so there was a bit of a guessing game. It also wasn't clear if there were multiple positions from the map alone. If not I wouldn't think it would be that tough to tape a laminated piece of paper with a map for each hole. As a local this probably isn't an issue at all, but as a first timer it wasn't the most fun always trying to figure out where to shoot in 100 degree heat.
2)14 of the 18 pin positions were all on serious roll-away hills. And not 20-30 foot rollaways. 100'+ down back into the ravines/creek beds that run through this course. I am all for extra challenge and to make holes harder, but this was more of just an inconvenience to our group. A very low speed chainout for par turns into a 5+ cause your disc went 120' away and is 50' downhill. I could see a couple of these, but it was practically every hole. There seemed to be plenty of other options to put the pins with still lots of risk/reward. Or if you throw some woodchips in a ~5' radius around the basket or a couple big logs ~35' away to act as some sort of green. It reminded me of ball golf trying to chip onto the green if the green was made of stone.
Overall I would definitely play this course again, preferably when it's not boiling outside. I think if they added some tee maps and had some different pin positions I could rate this course much better.
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3 0
PapaRick1959
Experience: 7.6 years 27 played 7 reviews
4.00 star(s)

Scenic, Challenging and Hot 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Mar 8, 2018 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

Black Butte is a great course with many positive attributes:

1) Variety of pin placements makes the course always interesting and enjoyable.
2) High level of risk/reward pin locations. Lots of potential rollaways that bring thought, strategy and execution into the approach and putting game.
3) Easy course to navigate. Can see most teepads from the previous basket.
4) Disc only park so you can play uninterrupted.
5) Variety of tee shots needed. Not just a BH Hyzezfest.
6) Lots of benches.

Cons:

1) No water on site so make sure you bring lots because it can get really hot, especially in the summer afternoons.
2) Hole 18 as a par three is laughable. No chance at ever making a birdie unless your first name is Simon.

Other Thoughts:

Definitely one of the two best courses (Lava Creek in Paradise) in the North State. Definitely worth the drive to play. Also a great little nine hole course (Vinsonhaler) close by to use as a warm-up.
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1 1
miknrita
Experience: 8.3 years 3 played 3 reviews
4.00 star(s)

Best in Spring! 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Feb 20, 2016 Played the course:once

Pros:

I like the varied terrain. up and down hills and across ravines. Awesome views of the lake and surrounding hillsides. Beautiful colors in the late winter/early spring

Cons:

Can be hot and dry in the summer! Rattlesnakes, spiders and who knows what else lurk in the high grass and bushes. Some holes on the edge of big drops, challenging but could send discs into areas difficult to retrieve.

Other Thoughts:

Love it. Cannot wait to play it again. Bring water.
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2 8
Biagi
Experience: 14.1 years 4 played 3 reviews
5.00 star(s)

New alternate locations 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Nov 18, 2014 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

Amazing course!!

Cons:

None

Other Thoughts:

Wanted to update on the new alternate hole locations. Hole 11 is further up the hill to the left between two oaks. Visible from tee.
Hole 13 is now further and left about 70 ft from original location. Not visible from tee so take a walk.
Hole 14 is similar to 13's layout but further left and will be a hanging basket soon. Not visible from tee.
Hole 16 is now further and right of original location, not visible from tee.
Hole 17 is further and right from original, behind a wall of oaks, visible from tee.
Hole 18 is way further and very visible from tee, also visible from 1's tee. Enjoy the new locations, fairways on new holes and greens are not mowed yet but will be shortly.
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1 3
samartin
Experience: 10.9 years 10 played 7 reviews
4.00 star(s)

2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Sep 8, 2014 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

Surrounds the Black Butte Reservoir, lined with small oaks (30-40' tall) and very scenic. Most holes feature a bench to take a breather, but not always shaded. Dog friendly. The early spring time is a great time to time to play because the grass is green and short and the trees don't have their leaves yet. In the summer of 2014, fairways were mowed/trimmed to provide guidance for in/out of bounds. From Willows, this is the best course you can play!

Cons:

Some holes are situated at the end of small ridges which require careful/technical thought. Bad decisions will send your disc far downhill with a high chance of loss. Be aware of rattlesnakes in tall grass areas.
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3 3
chain-saw
Experience: 2 played 2 reviews
5.00 star(s)

Top 5 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 1, 2014 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

THIS IS ONE OF MY ALL-TIME FAVORITES!!!
I used to play out here all the time when I lived in these parts. Why do I love this course? Let me count the ways...

The park is amazingly beautiful, right alongside the black butte reservoir.
Elevation changes up and down the Oak Tree-covered hills is scenic and provides great challenges.
The bright yellow baskets are very visible.
Great variety of shots.
The layout is logic and easy to follow.
Multiple pin positions (although the only change ever so often)
You almost always have the entire course to yourself. Dogs love it here.
Great teepads, benches, and signs.

Cons:

Words of caution:
Not a beginner course or for those who can't hike elevation and off-road.
The roll-aways can be pretty bad but it's all about having the soft touch baby!
NO WATER FOUNTAIN! Be prepared

Other Thoughts:

This course is challenging, beautiful, and serene. Come out here with some buddies and you can be alone in nature and leave the worries of the world behind as you chuck some disc. This course will test you with a high degree of difficulty, so capitalize on those birdies when you can. This course is out of the way for most but a MUST PLAY if you get the chance.
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4 0
mashnut
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Experience: 22.2 years 831 played 777 reviews
3.50 star(s)

Nice elevation 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 28, 2014 Played the course:once

Pros:

The course is set on rolling hills with scattered mature oaks. There are enough trees to make you shape some interesting lines, with a pretty good variety of left and right turning shots mixed in. The tees are placed near trees for the most part, and the low hanging canopy makes it so you're forced to take the intended shot, I thought it was impressive how many holes managed to take away the easy hyzer shot with how open the land is. The tee placement also does a really nice job of providing shade at each pad which is a great perk on a hot summer day out here.

The course is mostly pretty short but there are a couple longer holes mixed in that will make most players pull out a driver. The front 9 is fairly flat, but the back brings a lot more elevation into play. There are some fun downhills and tough uphills mixed in with tricky sidehill lies and valley shots with big punishment for coming up short. There are lots of opportunities for rollaways around the greens if you're not careful how you place your upshots. There are some nice views of the lake and the surrounding buttes from a lot of spots on the course.

Cons:

The signage could use an upgrade. There are numbered 4x4 posts but nothing indicating hole layout which would be nice on a couple blind shots. The course is pretty short, there was enough land for some bigger shots and some use of the bigger elevation that would have added some fun challenge. There is some long grass, but the fairways are mowed plenty wide so it only comes into play on really terrible shots. There are a couple spots where a next tee sign would come in handy.

Other Thoughts:

I thought the design did a nice job given the limitations in foliage density. It's a fun course for beginners, though the rollaways could be tough for players without a lot of control. Experienced players won't find this one all that challenging, but there are some enjoyable shots and some nice views that make this worth a stop if you're driving through.
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1 2
Timbercrushers
Experience: 11.9 years 18 played 3 reviews
4.50 star(s)

2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 13, 2014 Played the course:once

Pros:

This is a great course. Nice mix of open shots and strategically placed trees. Great views of the mountains and the lake. This is one of my favorite courses I have played to date.

Cons:

Lots of hills!! Expect to get a work out.

Other than the hills, this course is awesome!

Other Thoughts:

I'm from the Midwest, so seeing the scenery was incredible. I wish I could play this course everyday!
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1 3
bigflick
Experience: 10 played 3 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Favorite NorCal course! 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Feb 9, 2014 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

This course is amazing! I got really lucky too, played it on a friday and then again on the following sunday and all the pins were moved to there alternates. Fun technical shots all over the place with alot death putts. Then big open huck shots too. I believe this may be one of the best courses I've played since I moved to Nor Cal.

Cons:

Hardly ever see anybody else out there when I play it, which is weird cause next to Peregrine point I feel like this is the best course in the area, you would think there would be more folks playing it, but the weather was also kinda gross.

Other Thoughts:

Looks like a great course for an event, cant wait to play one here.
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2 3
FatBrad64
Experience: 13.2 years 37 played 2 reviews
3.50 star(s)

Tons of potential at this place 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 8, 2013 Played the course:once

Pros:

- Concrete tee pads on all 18 Holes.
- Multiple pin locations on most holes.
- Many birdie opportunities, without too many gimmies
- Easy to follow layout, flows similarly to ball golf layout
- Good variation between short and long holes

Cons:

- Very dry course
- Weeds were a bit tall w/ star thistle beginning to grow
- Not sure how accurate the marked out distances are, they seem a little off
- Extremely windy (20+mph)
- HOT (110 degrees)

Other Thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed this course. The front 9 is open, and considerably easier than the back. The layout is very entertaining. I don't exactly know where water would come into play on this course, as there was none to be found. I would recommend this course to anyone traveling through the area.
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5 1
Wayne Disqus
Experience: 2 played 2 reviews
3.00 star(s)

Good course, but not great. 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jan 16, 2013 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

A good mix of shots at this course. Varies from technical ace run opportunities to open elevation changes with death putts. Nice in the spring and fall. Good for both novice and advanced players. Double loop design implemented. Doesn't favor RHBH. Well maintained.

Cons:

Tee "pads" are terrible rubber mats that serve little to no purpose. Very slippery when wet. Natural tee pads are better IMO. Especially with the hard pack ground in that area. There's very few alternate pin locations. No stores anywhere near course and no running water. Hot in the summer just like all other courses in this area code.

Other Thoughts:

I really like going out to this course a few times a year for the change of scenery. I feel it's a little short when the weather isn't scorching hot. Which can be good and bad depending on if you want to throw two rounds to feel satiated or not. I think the course could have been designed much better with the space that's available. My review of three discs is based upon looking up highly rated courses on this site and comparing them to this course.
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4 3
xjsnowbum
Experience: 2 played 2 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Great Risk, Great Reward 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jan 3, 2013 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

Beautiful scenery
Camping for part of the year
Very rare to see any other groups on the course
Wide variety of shots that challenge in different ways
Lots of elevation changes
Lake nearby
Course maintained by Army Corps of Engineers

Cons:

Rubber teepads (doesn't bother me, but they are deathly when wet)
No tee signs
Zero stores within 10 miles
Little parking, but little necessary as it's never crowded
Only 2 trash bins on the course

Other Thoughts:

This is a great course that can be very challenging to anyone. It can frustrate even the best of players with roll a ways that happen from a miscalculate shot, or especially, a hit of the top of those Yellow Innova baskets. I would travel out of Chico any day to this course to get the extra challenge, beautiful views, and lack of people. Plus, this was the site of the 2010 Norcal Championships! That's definitely saying something...
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9 0
Philbert
Experience: 12.2 years 41 played 8 reviews
4.00 star(s)

Black Butte DGC 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:Nov 3, 2012 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

- Several holes now have multiple pins.
- Good signage.
- Benches at most holes.
- Lots of good technical shots and risk / reward.
- Amazing views.
- Course is very dynamic through out the year.
- Quiet and away from it all.
- A great feeling of accomplishment after playing a solid round.
- Concrete Tees -- Ohhhh Baby!

Cons:

- Occasional rollers can be painful.
- During the summer it does get hot. Bring enough water for not just a round of disc. But a pretty good hike as well. Black Buttes rolling hills is not a metaphor.

Other Thoughts:

Black Butte is one of the more challenging courses in the Butte/Glenn area. Set on the rolling hills on the East side of the Black Butte Lake Reservoir. The front nine plays out to the lake edge along one of the access roads, then comes back along one of the arms of the lake. The back nine plays out along the other side of the arm, then comes back across the top of the spine of the hill. The water only comes into play during the time of year that the reservoir is fairly full. Most of the holes playing near the water have a slope leading straight down to the waters edge. Playing on top of the spines leaves you vulnerable to the wind and possible bad rolls or skips. More new pin positions have been installed for several holes. This course just keeps getting better and better.

Update: Sadly after playing a few more courses, I needed to adjust my rating to be more inline with my new perspective on the numbers.
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3 1
nelsofthewoods
Experience: 12.9 years 39 played 15 reviews
4.50 star(s)

A favorite. 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Feb 22, 2012 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

-Secluded and beautiful.
-Lots of elevation changes.
-Constantly challenging.
-Discatcher baskets, rubber tees.

Cons:

-I imagine it gets overgrown and hot in the summer.
-Unfortunate rollers going down the hills can be frustrating.
-Somebody told me that it's nearly impossible to play when it's windy.

Other Thoughts:

One of my favorite courses. The only time I've seen more than 7 people out there was during a tournament. There is a campground across the road AND within 20 minutes of I5, making it great for if you're traveling. The course itself is a workout with the hills. I think pros and beginners can both enjoy playing here.
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11 0
MikePinchico
Experience: 19.6 years 124 played 19 reviews
3.50 star(s)

Beautiful Black Butte DGC 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:Mar 25, 2011 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

Black Butte DGC is a free, beautiful, secluded 18 hole course just outside the town of Orland, CA. Laid out along the hills surrounding Black Butte Reservoir the course is lined with oaks and is quite beautiful. There are plenty of ace opportunities at the innova chainstar baskets throughout the course. The tee areas have signs and bag holders and most have a bench to take a breather. Cement tee pads have been installed as of 4/27/13. The course is dog friendly and will most likely be all yours. The early spring time is my favorite time to play because the grass is green and short and the trees don't have their leaves yet.

Cons:

Bring water because there is none for you out there. Wind and heat can be a factor at certain points in the year. Hole 11 is a filler hole, but what can you do. The grass can get high but it is regularly mowed. Too far from my house in Chico to regularly play. Make sure your shots land flat because you can get some nasty rollers (this is not a con rather on of the unique hazards associated with the course). Water does not come into play unless you really mess your shot up. The oak trees on this course will catch your plastic better than Buster Posey, just to let you know.

Other Thoughts:

This was the site of the 2010 Nor Cal championships and annually holds the Banging Chains for Charity C-tier event. There are proposals to make the course 27 holes. Camping is available right near the course during the summer months.
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3 6
Dirt4dinner
Experience: 17.3 years 72 played 17 reviews
4.00 star(s)

LOVED IT! 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jun 14, 2011 Played the course:once

Pros:

This course was awesome! It was tough, and had it's fair share of pucker shots with the water in play, as well as some good open ripper shots. It had everything...except a water fountain!

Cons:

It was HOT, it was in the middle of NOWHERE, and it was LONELY!
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4 2
Joe_Maumy
Experience: 14.1 years 36 played 26 reviews
3.50 star(s)

Great Course 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Apr 13, 2011 Played the course:once

Pros:

Close to I-5. Excellent mix of holes. Clean. Well laid out. Easy to find your way around. Hole # signs at every tee. Plays out and back front 9 and back 9. Plays near water but its only a factor if you over throw one hole on the back nine. Clean course

Cons:

I am sure in the summer its a no go due to weeds, heat and snake hazards. Otherwise its a great course!

Other Thoughts:

played on a weekday had the place to myself. Campground across the street, taco bell, gas station and more just over 5 miles away back at the I-5 exit. If your traveling 5 make the stop you will be glad you did. Some killer holes. Cool ravine shot on 9 and a killer across canyon shot on 18.
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5 0
wildrivers
Experience: 14.7 years 19 played 19 reviews
4.00 star(s)

Try a challenge 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jan 14, 2011 Played the course:once

Pros:

Great course to test your skills. There are lots of holes over 300ft. Lots of backhand and some forehand shots. This is truely a great course! This course is clean, challanging and beautiful. It is a very quiet place in the winter and early spring, as there are not many power boats on lake. There are nice benchs to take a rest at most tees. All tees have signs and each tee is easy to find. I wish every course could be as clean and quiet as this place. Everyone playing this day respected the place. If you show up on a weekday you are likely to have the place to yourself! The soundtrack out there from all the birds is fantastic!

Cons:

Summer time heat, snakes, bugs and noise from boats and campgrounds. If you are not in good shape dont go to this course, lots of hills/draws through out the course. Other then that no cons, superb course.

Other Thoughts:

Everyone should play this course. Thanks Army Corp!
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10 1
Peterb
Silver level trusted reviewer
Experience: 31 years 81 played 32 reviews
3.50 star(s)

Potential Championship Courses 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Sep 30, 2010 Played the course:once

Pros:

- great terrain for disc golf. Lots of nice oak trees, rolling hills, potential water shots, great views of a stark but beautiful landscape.

- incredible potential for championship caliber disc golf

- a nice set of A pins are currently utilized for some fun and slightly challenging tee shots with plenty of risk/reward.

- nobody out there, meaning that you can get a round finished in about an hour and a half.

- easy access off I-5.

- nice campground for tournaments or for those who'd like to chill for the night or two.

Cons:

- course was a little too easy for my taste. With all of the potential out there for championship quality disc golf, it was a little frustrating that the course designers didn't do a little more (written with the caveat that I don't know if the Army Corps placed any restrictions on the course design). No hole was over 400ft.

-To further expand on that point, course plays near the water, but water doesn't come into play. It would be pretty easy to make that happen by creating some nasty pin positions that come closer to the reservoir's shoreline as well as to create a hole or two that plays over one of the arms of the lake.

- tee pads are a bit rough, but that's to be expected on a new course

- boiling hot in the summer, and long grasses if it isn't mowed. The course is probably awesome in the spring, winter, and late fall.

Other Thoughts:

To reiterate, this place has the potential to be one of the top courses in California if it gets the following:

- next tee signs/hole maps at each tee
- fly pads/concrete
- consistent mowing
- championship pin settings
- a second course may be in the works, making 36 holes a true potential.

As for now, a 3.5 rating seems pretty accurate for now. It's a nice place to chuck some discs just 5 miles off the long boring ride on I-5. The potential for having a par 60+ course with fun water hazards is there, and my guess is that the local club will get there sooner than later, forcing me to come back to enjoy the realized potential of the course.
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1 4
guido
Experience: 3 played 3 reviews
4.00 star(s)

Wow...Gotta Play 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Mar 20, 2010 Played the course:once

Pros:

Great, just great coruse. Good and long. It is a challenging course. There are a lot of hills and several trees on some of the holes.

Cons:

Can't play during the summer, weeds and thorns are every where and over grown during the summer.
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