Quirky urban park course - fun but with safety issues
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Ralph Williamson Memorial DGC (a.k.a. Lakewood Disc Golf) is a 20-hole course that sits in a multi-use park, in the Seattle sprawl south of downtown.
For a park in the middle of an urban neighborhood, this course has a lot of character and a unique feel! There are lots of holes with rolling elevation changes, and a few holes where the hills are pretty steep. Holes 11 and 13 are each 250'-300' throws that feel like about 100' further due to the steep upward incline. Hole 12 plays about 250' down the same hill, and it feels like you could throw a putter off the tee. In good weather, you can see the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges in the distance from the top of a couple of these hills. There is also a pond lurking behind the basket on holes 5 and 7, and if you start your round on hole 1 you'll have to throw across it right off the bat. The hole is only about 200', but there isn't really anywhere to lay up if you can't throw that far (I don't consider some weeds with the parking lot right behind them a viable option).
Hole variety is solid here. There is a good mix of technical holes vs. more open ones. The vast majority of holes at least have a couple of trees to work around. Distances are mostly in the 200'-300' range, but there are a couple of longer holes. Although it isn't signed this way, the finishing hole #20 should definitely be a par 4 (it's about 600'-650' long) and holes #15 and #19 could be par 4s as well. Generally speaking, I would say there is enough here to challenge DG'ers up to an intermediate level.
The baskets are DGA models. They have definitely seen a lot of discs over the years, but are still in decent shape. Same story for the concrete tee pads. The tee signs looked like they had been recently refreshed. Each one has the hole number, map, distance, and par that I was looking for. Many of them show multiple pin positions, although there is only one basket installed per hole and it didn't seem like the current pin position was indicated on the sign in any way. There are several blind holes and I found myself walking up fairways on more than one occasion to identify the correct basket location.
There are at least two practice baskets near the parking lot. A couple of trash cans, benches, and porta potties are scattered around the course.
Cons: This course has a lot of safety issues. The park appears to be very popular with both DG'ers and non-DG'ers. During my visit (late afternoon on a Monday), I believe I played past four different groups within the first ten holes (thanks to those groups for letting me play through!). The reason this is a problem is that several fairways are quite close together, and/or baskets are close to an adjacent fairway (e.g. #10/#11, #12/#13) - so I had discs thrown by golfers playing other holes land close to me on several occasions. There are also many throws (both blind and otherwise) towards non-DG amenities that could be in use. Walking trails are very much in play on several of the holes. The most egregious safety issue may be hole #19, which has a walking path running basically directly down the fairway, and a picnic shelter right next to it maybe 2/3 of the way down. Another unsafe one is #14 which plays downhill off the tee and has a walking path defining the left side of the fairway.
Navigation is also a big problem here. There is a kiosk next to the parking lot, but no map was posted on it during my visit. The map that was uploaded here was out of date. I dug around the internet and eventually found a map from a 2019 event which seemed to be pretty accurate (that is now the map uploaded here). I would never have found all of the holes without that map. There are arrows pointing to the next hole on most tee signs and hanging from the bottom of some baskets, but some of the walks between holes are long and it isn't always intuitive which way to go. I think the worst was #13 to #14 and #14 to #15, although #1 to #2 and #3 to #4 were also tricky. I'm pretty sure that some of the hanging arrows were also pointing in the wrong direction when I visited, which didn't help anything.
There is a long walk back to the parking lot after the finishing hole 20.
There are a couple of holes that just play straight across open grassy areas with no obstacles.
I don't think the course is long enough or challenging enough to keep better DG'ers interested.
Other Thoughts: There is a separate parking lot located between holes 16 and 17. Between this extra parking lot and the way the course is laid out, you could mix it up and play all kinds of different hole combinations. During my visit, there was at least one group doing just that. They let me play past them around hole 8, then again on hole 19.
Many of the distances shown on the Hole Info page here are incorrect. I think the overall distance listed for the course might be a slight overestimate, and some of the individual holes are off by over 100' if I am recalling correctly. I started to gather the required information to fix the distances, but entirely forgot after about the fifth hole due to how many groups I was playing past and other park users I was working around. Or blame vacation on the brain. :)
Overall, this course is fun but the navigation issues and safety concerns (the latter of which I think I weigh more heavily than most reviewers) pushed my rating downward to a 2.5. Even if I were to cast aside the safety issues, I feel like this course is a bit overrated at its current ~3.75 average. This is a fine option for locals - so long as they are being very careful and observant of their surroundings. For those visiting the area and short on time, I would recommend the nearby SeaTac course over this one. If you do play here, maybe try to visit on a weekday morning (when I assume the park is less busy)!
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Fun course, definitely worth playing
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: * Good tee signage, but could be more helpful.
* Green--grass everywhere, picturesque.
* Decent concrete tee pads with benches at most of them.
* Fun obstacles, elevations, doglegs, trees.
Cons: * No indication of pin positions, leaving one to guess where to drive to hidden baskets.
* No flagging of baskets, leaving grey baskets sometimes difficult to see or find in the grey, overcast climate.
Other Thoughts: Excellent course, a lot of fun. Low down is, there are lots of elevation shots, wooded areas but no tunnel shots, nice signage, clear paths, benches, and beautiful scenery. Not beginner friendly. Yes, can be cart friendly, but there are some places where you will be pulling up a steep incline.
Now for the deets...
You will need UDisc to navigate this course or play with a local. The signage at each tee is nice, but does not tell you which pin position the basket's in. Many of the baskets are not visible from the tee, so you end up guessing where to drive. It would be nice if the signage showed the pin position. On most baskets, there are directional arrows pointing you to the next tee. And on some of the signage, it also show what direction to take for the next tee. That said, on many tees, you could spend some time looking for them. Use UDisc.
I played in a drizzle and hardly anyone was in the park, so I can't comment on safety or how busy the park is. However, the baskets are DGA Mach 5 baskets, so 24 strands of lighter heavy duty links. These baskets have no colored band and so are grey. In a grey, overcast Seattle drizzle. Good thing it isn't very overcast here many days. [sarc] Therefore, it is difficult to see the basket. Pink, red streamers hanging from the basket would help immensely. On a few baskets, putting a fiberglass pole with a red triangle flag would be helpful as you cannot see the basket at all from the tee due to elevation, or a hill in the way.
This is not for beginners, at least if they do not want to become frustrated. It seemed like most of the throws are long due to the elevations. For example, #9 is "only" 251' but you are driving up a 40'-50' hill. Many throws are like that. There are a couple, like #10, I think, that throws you off because even though there was only slight wind, there are clearings in through some trees where you have a head wind, and of course, sends your disc upward. This happened twice.
This is a very clean park. There was no trash of any kind that I saw. A very pleasant outing in a picturesque park setting. There is a playground with minimal playground equipment. There is also a neat bike/tricycle track for little kids at the park. Brick restrooms are open in the spring and summer, port-a-potties otherwise. Benches behind most of the tees.
I would give 4.5 disc rating if they would improve visibility of the baskets and indicate pin positions. There is supposed to be a pro shop on site, but I have no clue where that is.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
What I look for in a course!
3 Helpful / 8 Not
Pros: This is what I look for in a course! Very good pads and pins. Great variety in length, openness/woodedness, one true water hole and a couple fun bonus holes. Good parking, chainbangers at the course, good practice hole area, good facilities. Loads of fun!
Cons: Not much to nitpick, each hole offers something fun. Don't like the walk from 13 to 14 that goes through hole 10 though.
Other Thoughts: Lots of buildings around, try not to lose one over a fence!
3 of 11 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Great in town course.
Pros: This is my first time in Seattle and my first time in the PNW. I'm in town for work from Atlanta and brought my bag. I'm bouncing around the west coast for a week and decided to try to play every day.
Very fun layout playing the 27 hole Ace run course. Udisc is 100% mandatory. Without it I would have been lost. I was lucky to talk to some locals after the pond on hole one and they let me know which layout to follow. If this hadn't happened I would have been hosed. Playing 27th holes, all of which are aceable is a lot of fun.
Cons: Playing this course without Udisc and knowing what the layout was would have been completely impossible. Fortunately, it seems like there are a lot of locals out at any point in time and they are more than willing to help you out.
Other Thoughts: Playing this time of year (mid July) where I'm from in the south is always brutal. Even when starting in the late afternoon. Here locals were complaining about the heat, but to me, low 80's and low humidity felt GREAT. Locals were super welcoming and more than happy to point the way or burn you down. Highly recommend.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: One of the prettiest courses I've ever played- lots of rolling hills, with some steep climbs and a pond to play over. Open enough to really open up on distance drives, but plenty of trees scattered around to keep it challenging.
There was a great map at the beginning, but no signage after that, so I recommend taking a picture with your phone and referring to it as you go. There was also a pro shop, with a big selection of discs.
Three practice holes right at the beginning are great for warming up!
Cons: There are sign posts at all of the tees, but no signs on them. It'd be nice to have at least numbers, but hole maps would be even better.
Other Thoughts: Playing over a pond on hole #1! Warm up on those practice holes first, or risk a wet disc and wet feet. Unless you can bribe some of the ducks to retrieve your disc for you.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Some really cool holes, baskets are nice. Some memorable shots. however see other thoughts stardoggy review pretty much is exactly what I would say to a tee about this place
Cons: The layout is hard to follow and there is no signage. Thankfully I played with a local or I would have thrown hole 1 wrong from the start. It's not the short one you see right away over pond. The course is nice but layout is impossible to follow without map
Other Thoughts: Love this course and everything about it. However playing without a local would be a nightmare. No navigation and playing without a local you can easily play some of the holes wrong or become lost. Once you learn the layout this course is amazing, put a couple signs in and my rating would immediately go up
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 2 Not
Little bit of everything
Pros: I used every type of shot I know on this course, it is challenging on some holes, fairly easy on others, each hole is an entirely different challenge which makes this very fun to play. The rough is pretty forgiving. There is also a good amount of open space to get creative. Hole 1 is an awesome start hole over the water, builds you confidence with a small water gap. A few holes with space to let one loose, some holes need touch shots.
Cons: No signage at all, find some regulars and follow them. There is a great map at the start but after that it is hard to find your way.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 1 Not
You take the good, you take the bad, you take them all and there you have....Lakewood Park.
Pros: 18 hole course fit snugly into Lakewood King park. The park also has other amenities, including baseball diamonds, tennis courts, etc.
Concrete tees for each hole, one per hole. They're sized up just fine and are grippy enough. Several of them are showing age, though.
DGA baskets, all mounted well enough and in good repair. One pin position per hole. Pin placement was pretty solid for most of the course, with several rollaway opportunities, along with tucked pins that force you to get creative on drives/upshots.
Nice use of elevation, which is on display through most of the park. This was probably the most pleasant surprise here, as most city park type courses don't generally support this feature. Lots of up, downs, and arounds.
While there aren't a TON of trees in your way, there are plenty to keep you honest. Definitely not a ton of what I'd call "tight lanes", but you're not going to be tossing hyzer after hyzer, either.
Nice distance variation, with holes ranging from 215-630'. You'll get opportunities to throw many different discs. The hole designs are solid and enjoyable for the most part.
The fellas at the onsite disc shop were a joy to talk to. You can tell they love their courses and were more than happy to help. Lost a disc in the pond because of the jerk tree on hole 1? No problem, they've got a great disc retriever to help out (trust me, you don't wanna go in that water). Some discs for sale, a lost and found, etc. Nice to have.
Cons: So I generally rate/review courses through the eye of a traveling player...and with that in mind, the navigation here is an f'ing nightmare. No signage. None. No distinguishing features on the tees. Zero. Zilch. Even with a map handy, traversing this course is close to impossible. I was fortunate enough to latch onto a local, or there is no possible way I would have figured this course out.
To add to the confusion of this navigational nightmare, many players play "tournament layouts" or "old layouts"...which basically means you've got people bopping in and out of the traditional design. There were times it felt like a college frat party at midnight, with all the kids bouncing around with no seeming intention other than sticking something in a hole. Oh Seattle, why do you hate signage so much?
Some definite safety hazards, with walking paths and baseball diamonds directly within throwing paths. While these would be great OB obstacles during a tournament, they're pretty treacherous during casual play on a busy weekend day...and this park is busy.
Other Thoughts: This is a very enjoyable course if you know your way around and play it early in the day. A good number of fun shots and scoring opportunities, especially once you get a handle on a few of the lines.
This can also be a very un-enjoyable course if you show up and have no clue of the flow (even with a map, it would be rough) and people are playing ten different layouts.
Put some navigational tools in this place, and it automatically bumps up .5 for me. Definitely worth a spin, just be prepared to be slightly frustrated.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 1 Not
Popular Neighborhood Park
- free course
- free ample parking, although basket one may be a little close to the lot
- friendly knowledgable pro shop on location with a great inventory, great course information hub
- lots of elevation variations throughout the course
- updated map on course scorecards located in pro shop
- big wide open fairways are well suited for all skill level
- tee pads are flush with the ground, easy to run up from any direction
- a few ace runs
- a few holes use extra distance to create difficulty
- benches/seating areas were quite accommodating.
- no tee signs
- lacks multiple tees per hole
- poor directional signage between holes
- obstacle free fairways
- too many non disc golfing park enthusiasts walking throughout the course
- a couple pins were in close proximity to the paved pedestrian path, baseball fields
Lakewood DGC of King County is a hilly public park that primarily uses changes in elevation and variations of distance to create most of it's difficulty. The forgiving obstacle free fairways are beginner friendly, but have enough distance to entice bigger arms. It's nice to play a course that can keep my interest and at the same have fairways forgiving enough to not chase my wife away. Initially, we had a hard time with navigation until we decide pop in to the pro shop. They did a great job squaring us away.
Being a public neighborhood park, it can get crowded with park patrons and players alike. Some holes bordered a paved walking path, other ran along the edges of two baseball fields. Neither are a great look from a safety standpoint. I had to navigate around moms pushing strollers on the first half, then canoodling teenagers on or around most of the second half of the course. This didn't exactly come as a surprise, when you show up at 3 on a week day. Still, it took a little enjoyment out of my round having to wait for people.
Overall, I think this is a great beginner to intermediate course. Players can hone in their skills without fear of losing a disc or being batted down by branch filled fairways. The trade off is that the fairways are a little bland, even if there's ascending and descending fairways.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Every City Public Park Course Designer Should Play This Course
Pros: - Best-designed public park course I've ever played in terms of creating challenging holes while minimizing the impact/interference of other park goers. You'll still need to wait in spots when the park is busy no doubt, but really a masterful job of utilizing the space without bringing the public into danger. Still need to be careful, but so much better than a lot of city courses in parks.
- Surprisingly good distanced holes that offers the chance to open up on a few drives. Nice mix of forehand and backhand shots.
- Really liked the concrete tee pads, interesting design and long enough for a good run up, plus they brushed them for traction.
- Not a lot of places to lose discs on this course, other than in the water. Pretty open understory in the wooded areas.
- Decent bit of elevation to the course, makes for some enjoyable tee offs.
- Chainbangers has a disc golf shop in the park there, as an out-of-town visitor it's great having a local resource like the owner of chainbangers to chat with. Found a couple of good used discs there and got some good info about the Seattle DG scene and what courses to check out.
Cons: - Hole signage is pretty much non-existent. Take a picture of the course map at the beginning of the round.
- Even with the course map, can still get a little confusing on the back half of the course.
- It was pretty busy when we were there early (2pm) on a weekday afternoon. Shop owner said it's almost a problem for playing how busy the park is getting with disc golfers at times.
- As good of a job as they've done designing the course, it still is a fairly well utilized public course and there are spots where you need to be careful because of the length.
Other Thoughts: - Not a lot of easy ace runs. Rec/Novice players might find this course a little too challenging for them. Nice challenge for an Intermediate player, however. Not a cake walk by any stretch.
- This course wasn't on our original list, we were just trying to find the Chainbangers shop, but we're sure glad we found it. Anyone designing a city course in a public park should check out how the course designer here has utilized space. Kudos!
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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