California’s Top Disc Golf Courses: Unleash Your Inner Disc Golfer

The Land of Milk and Honey, the Golden State—whatever you want to call it, the best disc golf courses in California are some of the best in the country. California is beautiful, from east to west and north to south.

One of the things I, as a disc golfer, genuinely enjoy about the sport is the opportunity to get out, challenge myself, and find challenging courses—all while enjoying the great outdoors. However, a well-designed disc golf course is just that, no matter where you are. 

Parsing through the vast number of reputable disc golf courses in a state as large as Cali was no easy feat. On top of that, we’re upping the ante here and coming up with even more courses per state. California has a lot, but when it’s all said and done, you get ten of the best disc golf courses in the Golden State. 

My Picks for the Best Disc Golf Courses in California

As the third biggest state in the country, California is home to 467 disc golf courses. That may sound like a bunch, but when you consider the 100 million acres of real estate, they’re pretty spread out. Also, California is large enough to contain just about every ecoregion you can imagine.

  1. DeLaveaga Park, Santa Cruz (Best Course Overall)
  2. La Mirada Disc Golf Course, La Mirada (Best Mixed Course)
  3. Golden Gate Park, San Fransisco (Best Urban Course Setting)
  4. Sky High Disc Golf Course, Wrightwood
  5. Shady Oaks Disc Golf Course, Orangevale
  6. Stafford Lake Park, Novato
  7. Ryan Ranch, Monterey
  8. Hellyer Park, San Jose
  9. Oak Grove Disc Golf Course, Pasadena
  10. Black Mouse Disc Golf Course, Felton

Best Disc Golf Courses in California

Disc golf, as a nationwide sport, is exploding in popularity. California is no exception to the rule, quickly closing in on 500 courses throughout the state. Whether you’re flinging plastic for the first time or you’re a seasoned veteran, these courses have something to offer everyone. 

DeLaveaga Park, Santa Cruz (Best Course Overall)

Features

  • 9,100’ course length
  • Multiple pins and single tees
  • Multiple course guides throughout
  • 29 holes
  • Mach X baskets
  • Concrete tees

Delaveaga started as an 18-hole course all the way back in 1984 (yes, disc golf was a thing 40 years ago). And it’s considered to be one of the highest-rated disc golf courses in the world. The elevation changes here are insane—it’s one of the hilliest courses you can find. 

Delaveaga is one of those courses that emphasize variety. Every type of shot you can think of is here, including technical shots, long and short, the opportunities for rollers and tomahawks, and extreme anhyzers and hyzers.

Before you approach this course, your pack should be loaded with a variety of discs. Be sure to include your meat hooks and distance drivers as well. 

best disc golf courses in California needs different types of discs

La Mirada Disc Golf Course, La Mirada (Best Mixed Course)

Features

  • 5,600’ to 9,045’ course length
  • Multiple pins and single tees
  • 2×18 holes
  • Concrete tees
  • Includes course guides throughout
  • Great for carts

The La Mirada Disc Golf Course is a part of the La Mirada Community Regional Park in Los Angeles. It’s a beautiful park in a sea of the metropolis and an excellent place to go to improve your game and get a little escapism in for the day. It’s also one of the older courses in the country, established in 1976. 

The course is moderately hilly, more like rolling elevation than anything else, and there are some water hazards. However, the water hazards are set up in such a way that they aren’t hazards. There is certainly water there, but it’s only a threat if you have a wildly errant toss. 

If you’re looking to improve your disc arsenal, there’s also a disc golf store onsite with racks and baskets full of used and new discs in a variety of disc golf brands

Golden Gate Park San Fransisco (Best Urban Course Setting)

Features

  • 4,786’ to 5,945’ course length
  • Concrete tees
  • DISCatcher baskets
  • Multiple pins and single tees
  • Lightly wooded
  • Beginner-friendly

While it’s not one of those actual urban courses, with concrete fairways and asphalt approaches (man, that would be hard on a disc), it’s San Fransisco’s first disc golf course, made permanent in March of 2007.

Almost the entire course features trees to some degree or another. Fortunately, for beginners, it’s not dense by any means. The lines are well laid out, and the undergrowth is cut back around all of the trees. There are a few tight lines, such as hole #9, but they are few and far between. 

The Beautification Project keeps everything clean and cut back, and they’re pretty darn good at it, so you can experience this course at its best all year long. 

Sky High Disc Golf Course, Wrightwood

Features

  • 8,400’ course length
  • Multiple pins and single tees
  • DISCatcher baskets
  • Rubber tee pads
  • 27 holes/three, nine-hole courses
  • Located in a National Forest

The Sky High Disc Golf Course will bring out the hiker in you. Set against a backdrop of snow-capped mountain peaks, Sky High is a beautiful course located north of Los Angeles and San Bernardino. The course is at 7,000’ elevation, so expect your high-speed drivers to have some added zip and distance. 

The elevation changes are numerous and drastic throughout the course, and it’s set up so disc golfers can play their choice of three, nine-hole courses. You can always hit them all up if you’re of a mind for it, however. The course difficulty is in the intermediate to expert range, but beginners will find it a learning challenge. 

There are a ton of amenities here as well, especially since it’s also a ski resort. There are no water hazards to worry about, and you can grab snacks and drinks at the on-site lodge or camp out overnight. 

Shady Oaks Disc Golf Course, Orangevale

Features

  • 9 water hazards
  • Mach X Baskets
  • 5,652’ course length
  • Concrete tees
  • Multiple pins and single tees
  • Cart friendly with restrooms on-site

Shady Oaks is a good all-rounder, challenging to veterans and beneficial to beginners looking to up their game quickly. It’s fairly wooded, though not overly so, and nearly flat throughout the entire course, with some slight elevation changes here and there. 

For those who have an eye for it, it’s also a very pretty and laid-back course—short for the most part, with only one hole that’s over 400’. One of the best features of the course is the well-laid-out, artistic renderings on the hole navigation signs. You’ll know the exact feet and the precise line, from the tee, throughout the fairway, to the last few yards of approach. 

It’s a bit of a sandy course, with winding fairway lines that will require you to lean on your finesse a bit, finding the exact emphasis on each throw for your disc to fade and settle on the fairway. 

Stafford Lake Park, Novato

Features

  • 6,625’ course length
  • Very hilly
  • Multiple tee and pin locations
  • Concrete tee pads
  • Mach III baskets
  • Rugged, extreme elevation

If you love elevation changes, you’ll get far more than you bargained for at Stafford Lake Park. On the bright side, this is a stunning course, and though the elevation changes might drive you a bit crazy from time to time, the surrounding eye candy will more than makeup for it. 

The wide-open shots are all rolling hills, like something out of a Hobbit movie, and the wooded shots are not overly dense, with a few tight lines throughout the entire course. Each tee has navigation signs which are well-illustrated and laid out, though you’ll have to pay attention to any potential pin movements.

All of the tees feature professional and amateur tee boxes and up to six, possibly pin locations. This is an excellent place to test your release height, and don’t feel too bad if the very tip of a hill smacks your disc down. You’ll get the hang of it quickly. 

Ryan Ranch, Monterey

Features

  • 30 holes
  • 8,500’ to 9,000’ course length
  • Rubber tees
  • Mach V baskets
  • Multiple pins and single tees
  • Course guides on-site

The Ryan Ranch Disc Golf Course looks like something straight out of a spaghetti western, with low sage brushes, a lot of sand, and arid weather. The course closed down in 2018 and, to everyone’s delight, reopened in 2022. 

The entire course sits on a private ranch, and it’s the highlight of the town. If you aren’t a disc golfer in Monterey, you’re missing out on all the fun. This moderately hilly and occasionally wooded course is fantastic for beginner disc golfers while still offering a challenge to veteran and intermediate players. 

You don’t have to worry too much about tight-line fairways here, and there isn’t so much as a water puddle to constitute a hazard. Some of the larger, head-tall bushes can present problems and are just enough to force disc golfers to maintain their discipline on each throw. 

Hellyer Park, San Jose

Features

  • Multiple pin and tee locations
  • 9-hole course
  • Concrete tees
  • Mach III baskets
  • 3,966’ to 5,549’ course length
  • Pro and amateur pads

Don’t balk at the fact that there are only nine holes at the Coyote Creek DGC in Hellyer Park. Since they have pro and amateur tees at each hole, you can simply run through the course twice. The two tees drastically change your approach as well. 

Plus, there are multiple pins, and the course developers frequently come out and change the locations of the basket. The course is light on the trees but features several elevation changes amongst the rolling hills. This is a fantastic course for practicing your game in the wind since it’s open and windy virtually every day. 

There are also two practice baskets alongside the lake, so you can get a little warm-up while having some breakfast or just enjoying the view. 

Oak Grove Disc Golf Course, Pasadena

Features

  • DISCatcher baskets
  • Concrete tees
  • Single tees and pins
  • 4,353’ to 5,115’ course length
  • 23 holes
  • Cart friendly layout

If you step foot onto Oak Grove Disc Golf Course in Pasadena, you will be standing on the first permanent disc golf course in the world, opened in 1975. Though there are 23 holes throughout the course, there is a winter layout and a summer layout, with the winter layout including all of them. 

This is a very challenging course, which makes sense, considering it’s the first. You can walk through, from beginning to end, fairly quickly since it’s a pretty short course. However, you will notice some of the tightest lines in the game. This is a course designed with technical shots in mind. 

Beginners will struggle with it, though it will eventually temper them and make them better at it. There are no water hazards to speak of, but even seasoned, veteran players can have a bad day on this course. 

Black Mouse Disc Golf Course, Felton

Features

  • 3,820’ course length
  • 20 holes
  • Mixed tee types
  • Mixed basket types
  • Camping available nearby
  • Heavy woods and elevation changes

There is a lot packed into this course. As you can see in the above features, there are 20 holes here, all densely packed into a nearly 4,000’ course length. Though the woods are dense, the undergrowth is well-maintained and, for the most part, restrained. 

You won’t have to worry about bringing any sunblock since you’ll be in the shade the majority of the time. However, you will need to bring your best game for elevation changes. Discs with high glide ratings may be your best choice unless you can zip right over the crests of the hills. 

This is a tough little course as well. It’s not quite in the same league as Oak Grove, but it’s pretty close. There’s also not much in the way of accommodation. Once you enter the park and make your first toss, you’re on your own. 

Final Putt

There’s a strong mix and match of everything from beginner-level to expert, along with varied terrain, technical and grip-n-rip shots to finesse gameplay. All of which is great for newbies and challenging for intermediate and veteran players alike. 

Some of the best disc golf courses in California may be some of the best in the world, a topic we’ll cover at a later date. The state is immense, and the course count is ever-growing. If you’re looking for new challenges in one of the most beautiful states in the country, look no further than Cali. 

Leave a Comment