Novato, CA 
Stafford Lake County Park Share
Uploaded By: timg Hole #1
4 / 453ft. Par / Distance:
Hole #1 Basket

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Reviews: 76
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1    1/3/2011   3/7/2011
Review By: LethargicMind
Played: 46  Reviewed: 4  Exp: 10.5 Years
3 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: -variety of hole type, length, and elevation change.
-mix of open, trees, hills, shrubs, creeks.
-fairly easy to find the next hole
-challenging, but playable. (Im rated at 850 for the PDGA I shot 6 over)
Cons: -the first tee is hard to find, its approx. 1 mile from the parking lot. (Follow the gravel road, across the bridge, up the hill)
-It was very wet (I played at the beginning of Spring, wet was expected)
-You'll need to be able to throw kinda far (I average 300')
-Throwing straight also helps
Other Thoughts: Simply magnificent! What a beautiful course. Great design. I only played here once, but it is was awesome. I played in the clouds with a heard of 20 deer. If I am ever close to this course again, I'll be there!

3 of 9 people found this review helpful.


5+    2/14/2011   2/15/2011
Review By: djjeremiahj
Played: 7  Reviewed: 7  Exp: 10.4 Years
6 Helpful / 11 Not
Pros: Great Challenging Course.
Long and Tricky
Concrete pads
Well laid out
Designed for the more advanced of the group
Great use of the space. Elevation changes, etc...
Beautiful California rustic / high desert scenery.
Cons: Long
blind shots
(can be) very hot
(can be) very windy


MUD (GO after the rains... bring mud paddles)
VERY easy to lose discs.

This course makes for a long, exhausting 18 holes.

Other Thoughts: After the first dozen or so times, you get good at this course and it really does become amazing.

it's not a beginner course. A long drive (400' at the least) is necessary to be competitive.

If you are "good" and in town.... probably a must play. It's hard to say as Nor Cal has so many amazing courses.

FEAR the POISON OAK! No joke!

6 of 17 people found this review helpful.

 scenic and very challenging

2-4    8/27/2010   8/30/2010
Review By: DutchViking
Played: 46  Reviewed: 17  Exp: 11.6 Years
This review was updated on 3/11/2011
4 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: Championship Caliber 18 challenging holes in a beautiful park with big hills and plenty of wildlife (we saw squirrels, many types of birds and a few deer!) Plenty of tee shots require a good grip-n-rip and your maximum distance. Never Crowded. Large Concrete tee pads are very nice, as is the signage at at each tee pad. This course also has tons of variety, throwing uphill, downhill, over and around trees. Some long holes and some short holes. #6 is a very fun hole!
Cons: Very windy- the wind will mess with your shots, unless you can use it to your advantage. I'm never a fan of paying for disc golf (or for parking). The 2 most frustrating things about playing at Stafford lake is that you will probably need a guide to get through all 18 holes and there are many blind pins where if no one is spotting your drive it can be very hard to find. Lastly, this course can play like a ghost town most of the time, with rarely anyone else playing the course at the same time.
Other Thoughts: Although this truly is a very cool course, it falls short of the great De Laveaga in Santa Cruz. De La has more holes and you can play it in the same amount of time. This course is recommended and very interesting, try to go with or find a local when you are there, and bring your wind-fighting discs!

4 of 9 people found this review helpful.

 Stafford Lake-One Of Cali's Finest!

1    8/20/2010   8/26/2010
Review By: The Valkyrie Kid
Played: 1167  Reviewed: 1115  Exp: 39.4 Years
11 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Stafford Lake is a county park ($6 week day, $8 week-end) located in the foothills of Marin County about a 30 minute drive north of San Francisco. This is a large sprawling park with a lake/reservoir which is often visible in the distance from locatuions on the course.
From the far parking lot, it is about a 1/4 hike slightly uphill to the # 1 tee box. There you will find a kiosk with great maps and other pertinent course information. Bring lots of water, snacks, sun protection and sturdy shoes. This is no walk in the park! We played in probably the ugliest time of the year here, late August, when everything was the driest and brownest and the hottest. # 1 plays up the side of the hill probably 300 feet requiring the afore mentioned massive arm which I don't have. The brown grass was incredibly slippery and hard to even walk up. I start with a double bogey. # 2 is one of the many holes requiring a spotter. Probably having a spotter on 10-12 holes is a good idea. I would say this course plays to an elite/gold player level. The tee pads are extra long for that extra long run off required. # 6' s "Top of the World" shot is great fun. The previously mentioned 1049' long # 9 is actually, IMO, a fairly managable par 4 seeing how it is fairly wide open ( a tree or two) and slightly downhill all the way. # 17 is another great downhill bomb 534' with a hyser to a basket visible in the trees. There is a great variety of shots required. Often you need to be planning your second while throwing your first. This is not the course to bring your girlfriend for her first experience (disc golfing that is).
Cons: The $6 or $8 it cost to pay although this keeps the casual players off the course. Probably the distance from the population centers. The high grass in season. The elevation, the wind, the general difficulty and challenge (both physical and golf) being greater than the skill and physical capibilities of many of us. The many blind holes. That trudge back to the parking lot at the end of the round.
Other Thoughts: Although beautiful in it's own right, in my humble opinion, it doesn't quite match Lake Casitas in the natural beauty department. I also don't feel the design and challenge are quite up there with De La and Lake Casitas either. Don't get me wrong. I think it's a great course, I just rate it a hair behind those two great Cali courses with Ryan's Ranch coming on strong. They all play to the same type of big armed type advanced players.

11 of 15 people found this review helpful.

 Scenic, Long, Rough

1    7/30/2010   7/30/2010
Review By: RayRay
Played: 118  Reviewed: 24  Exp: 13.3 Years
5 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: - Epic Elevation Shots
- Beautiful scenery
- Length (1000 footer!!)
- Detailed Tee Signs
Cons: - Extremely rough, high sticky grass with no real fairways, bring a spotter or you'll lose some discs
- Blind holes (12 holes from the pro tees)
- Wind, part of the game but kills the long holes
- Difficulty: I wouldn't recommend it for a casual player.
Other Thoughts: I liked this course but think it's a little overrated. The shots are fun but the wind/elevation/vegetation/blindness make things very risky. If you have a big game and want to play on some CA hills, go play it but be ready for some rough grass and some wind.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful.

 Needed a guide for sure

1    7/17/2010   7/22/2010
Review By: IAMGT
Played: 24  Reviewed: 21  Exp: 10.4 Years
6 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Beautiful setting. The course is completely separate from the rest of the park. The course gives you plenty of challenges and requires you to use each disc/shot in your bag. It is always fun when you need to be able to throw a tomahawk or forehand in order to play a course. The course gives you beautiful views of the mountains and the lake as the course is set up on the side of a hill with a decent amount of elevation. The tee pads on this course were probably one of the nicest sets of tee pads I have ever played on. They had plenty of run-up space and gave you a lot of grip. When you entered the park, you were given a scorecard and a brochure from the guard as to where you should go, but the scorecard and brochure was something I thought was really cool. It was also kind of neat to see a variety of wildlife on the course such as deer, turkey vultures, and rabbits and such. Number 6 was definitely my favorite as it is a beautiful shot straight downhill from close to the top of a big hill.
Cons: $10 is ridiculous. Now, I imagine that if I had a guide with me, or someone who has played this course, I would have enjoyed it a lot more. Having said that, this course was incredibly difficult to follow in my opinion. My wife and I couldn't even find where to go for the first hole. If some people didn't come by that were also going to the course, we would have been clueless. Once we arrived to the first tee, we saw that each hole will basically have a couple different sets of tees, and that there could be up to four different pin positions. I wouldn't mind this, except on the first few holes where you couldn't see the pin, the spinning thing which told you where the basket was, was incorrect and it was frustrating. I know not everyone will agree with me on this, but when the course states that there is a no smoking policy, people should probably follow it, but of course the three guys that come up behind us were all smoking, and drinking, and just had a lack of respect for the game/course. Considering Cali's fire permits and burn bans, I would expect a little more.
Other Thoughts: I think that this is a great course, and would definitely play it again if I'm ever out that way again in Cali. I finished two over par for the day with it being the first time I ever played there. I think that with a little better signage as to where you should go for the next hole, and a better way to distinguish were the pin is, it would be a 4 or 4.5 course.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful.

 Magnificent Monster.

1    5/22/2010   5/22/2010
Review By: sloppydisc
Played: 201  Reviewed: 147  Exp: 8.9 Years
14 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: I won't re-hash too much of what has already been said of this course, but there are few things DG tourists like me shuld know.

First great thing to know if that you are in the hills of CA and it is beautiful. The small lake at the base of the course doesn't hurt either.

Second thing to know is that the course is well separated from the rest of the park. You will be in your own world.

Great variety of shots needed, and great use of elevation. After all that's why you go to Stafford. There is also some excellent basket positions in the trees. This isn't just a course with hills. Basket positions are used to add even more difficulty to the course.

Nice concrete tee pads. Multiple tee pads and/or multiple basket positions. Good maps at tee pads, and they even use the screw and washer system to indicate current basket position.

I played a Saturday morning and virtually had the course to myself. Nice surprise for such a well known course. I did see one other group show up as I was about half way through my round.
Cons: Several blind shots. Due to the elevation and trees there are some tee pads that you either need a spotter, or need to walk down the fairway to figure out the shot. Probably becomes less of a con as you learn the course.

Grass. This Spring has been wet in NorCal so the grass is high. Budget cuts also mean that it doesn't get mowed as much. There was 1-2 feet of grass over most of the course. Plan on spending some time locating your discs. I played solo, but you'd be much better off playing with a buddy and helping each other locate the discs.

Long walk from parking lot to the course.
Other Thoughts: Great course. I was not disappointed even after the hype. Tough, long holes. You throw uphill, downhill, over trees, under trees. You even have a couple holes that let you air it out. All in all there isn't much to complain about with Stafford. This is definitely a destination course. Just remember it gets hot in CA in the summer, and this course has some decent climbs.

I guess my only other thought as a noodle-armed Easterner is that they had the basket in all the long positions since some guy named Schultz was showing up to play tomorrow. I don't know if it's Sgt Schultz or the guy that has signed a few of my discs, but those long positions just plain kicked my backside. Thanks for that Schultzy! If you want a nice challenge both physically and golfwise then get to Stafford while the basket are long. You aren't going to get many birdies, but it will humble you, and let you see how good you really are.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful.

  Outstanding Course

1    5/19/2010   5/20/2010
Review By: CrazyUncleDave
Played: 1  Reviewed: 1
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Challenging, diverse holes. Great elevation changes. Excellent place to work on your big distance throws.
Cons: Ticks. Some blind shots that require a spotter unless you absolutely know where your disc is going to land (and even then, it may roll from where you heard it land) $8 to park on the weekend if you don't have a season pass-ouch.
Other Thoughts: This course was my introduction to the game. As my buddy who brought me here realized that despite a decidedly poor performance on my part, I was not put off by the experience, he suggested I come out to this course in particular regularly. It was great advice, because if you can play this course well, you'll be handle any other course in the bay area with a reasonable degree of confidence.

Nothing feels quite like putting everything you got into making a disc go as far as possible, and Stafford gives you plenty of opportunities to do just that-and right from the get-go! Hole 1 requires your first throw to be massive, regardless of the pin position. And if you read through all the reviews to get to this one, you've heard more than enough about hole 9.

I finally got to play the course for the first time after they did some serious mowing, and oh, what a difference that makes! The grass gets really tall, and it's a given that at some point, you'll be disc-hunting. This course claimed 2 of my Katanas (one, the day after I bought the $%&# disc!!)

I HIGHLY recommend this course, and when going for the first time, try and go with someone who has been there before. It'll make the experience much better!

2 of 5 people found this review helpful.

 WOW, what a course

1    5/10/2010   5/13/2010
Review By: Curty
Played: 18  Reviewed: 2  Exp: 29.4 Years
3 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Challenging, long, elevation changes, beautiful, scenic, wildlife. Many options of strategy on many holes. Did I say challenging?
Cons: Middle of nowhere. Grass was super long this time of year, too much time looking for discs. It starts you off uphill for the first few holes and they are challenging, don't get discouraged though, there's alot you'll love later in the round.
Other Thoughts: Absolutely need to run down the trail to check terrain and location of many holes. I thought I had a good idea from the very helpful descriptions for each hole but once I went to look for my disc I was suprised by what I hadn't seen from the tee. If I had it to do over again I'd play it twice the first visit. It's that interesting...

3 of 5 people found this review helpful.


1    2/19/2010   5/12/2010
Review By: Countchunkula
Played: 156  Reviewed: 50  Exp: 11.3 Years
This review was updated on 9/2/2013
15 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: What a beautiful park! We played in the late winter/early spring, the grass was green and lush and the park was gorgeous. The course plays on a ridge/mountainside, providing tons of elevation change both up and down hill. Great views of the lake/reservoir from up on the hillside. The first tee is a good quarter mile hike from the nearest parking area, this helps to isolate the course in its own section of the park. I was impressed with the serenity of the park, we played on a Friday morning and for most of our round we had the course entirely to ourselves. The only time you encounter non-DGers is alongside hole 9, where the course butts up against a ball golf course. Very secluded and very beautiful. I know I haven't said anything about the course itself, but the setting is just that fantastic.

This is a long, mostly open, very hilly course. The challenge comes not from narrow, tree lined fairways, but from distance and elevation change. That's not to say that there are no trees, far from it. A few of the holes have enough trees to force you to shape a particular line, but most give you the option of multiple flight paths. This course can play very long (hole 9, for example is over 1000' and basically flat). The length plus the massive elevation changes make playing this course feel more like a hike in the mountains than a stroll in the park (this is definitely a plus in my book, but be prepared). This course features multiple tees on many holes and multiple basket sleeves on all or almost all holes. The tee signs are some of the best that I have seen, with a overhead map plus distance and elevation gain/loss for every combination. With that being said first timers should print out a map and scorecard from the links/files tab. Stafford Lake features one of the most famous "Top of the World" holes ever, the monster hole 5 long. It's a steep hike up, and the tee isn't perfect (all the other tee pads are big concrete, but you will quickly see why this one is still natural), but the payoff more than makes up. Seeing pictures of this hole is what made me want to play this course in the first place. The short tee is a nice downhill shot, but the long is just awesome. It feels like you could hit the lake in the distance, you are that high up. Stafford is by no means a one trick pony though, the rest of the holes are varied and for the most part fun.
Cons: There isn't much negative to say about this course. Hole 9 seemed a bit excessive in the length department, but I don't throw much more than 300' so big arms will have a different point of view. It's not a course for beginners. Although there isn't a whole lot of rough to lose a disc in, the distances of some holes will quickly frustrate noobs. The only thing that I think this course is missing would be a true tunnel/alley shot.
Other Thoughts: While in Novato stop at Moylan's for a beer, its right off the 101. They have good in house brewed craft beers with a decent variety of styles, the food was good to, kinda pricey though. After playing this course I started checking out real estate prices in Novato, its that good! Prices are not in my ballpark unfortunately. I can't wait for my next trip to the bay area so I can play this gem again.

15 of 20 people found this review helpful.

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