San Francisco disc golf is relatively new. Local volunteers have created a fun and challenging disc golf course in Golden Gate Park.
Disc golf is an odd hybrid, golf crossed with frisbee. The course is laid out like a golf course, with players starting at a "tee", then throwing their discs down a long narrow stretch between the trees, and ending with the disc being thrown into a basket at the flag pole.
Players keep track of the number of throws they make throughout the game; the lowest score wins.
This 18 hole disc golf course was created entirely by volunteers in 2007 and is maintained solely by volunteers as well. I talked to some of the regulars and they told me that it's a very friendly group of people playing here and they welcome newcomers.
This is the only disc golf course in San Francisco at the moment, but another course has recently been approved for McClaren Park.
The woodland setting is delightful. The course winds through the tall forests of Golden Gate Park, which also makes it rather exacting for beginners.
If you're a decent frisbee player, disc golf shouldn't be too hard. It is tricky, though, to keep it straight down the fairway; plenty of trees are waiting nearby to snag your disc!
For those of us not so hot at frisbee, we spend a lot of time fishing the discs out of the bushes. I think it's a 2-stroke penalty to move your disc back to the fairway. Rats. But it's still a lot of fun.
Practical Tip: Bring more than one disc per person; my son lost his disc around the 6th hole, so that was the end of the game!
There are no fees! It's always free to play disc golf here.
The course is open whenever Golden Gate Park is, which is dawn to dusk every day. The course is closed occasionally for maintenance, usually on the first Saturdays of the month during morning hours, but check their website for more information, www.sfdiscgolf.org.
This is a bring-your-own-equipment course. Fortunately, all you need to bring is one or two discs per person. Disc golf has become more popular recently, so the discs are easy to find in most sporting goods stores and run around $8 to $20 each. We got the cheapest ones and they worked just fine.
The plastic discs are like frisbees, just a bit thicker and heavier.
You can download a course map and scorecard from the official website, www.sfdiscgolf.org.
This is played a lot like regular golf. Players start at the tee for each hole, then throw their disc towards the "hole", which is a suspended metal basket at the other end of the fairway. You make your next throw from where your disc landed.
Golf etiquette applies; the player furthest from the hole throws first. Don't throw if another player ahead of you is within reach of your throw. Remember to shout "Fore!" if it looks like your disc may go astray and get too near another player. There are more details posted at the first tee.
The course runs between JFK Drive and Fulton Street, just east of 30th Avenue in the western half of Golden Gate Park.
There is plenty of free parking on JFK Drive, where the course begins at the first tee at Marx Meadow.
COVID-19 Status: at midnight on Monday, March 16, San Francisco was placed under a "shelter-in-place order.
All residents were ordered to stay home, except for necessary trips to grocery stores and essential medical visits, and solo outdoor activities like hiking.
The city had been gradually reopening of many businesses and activities, but in December, came under a strict, stay-at-home directive, due to a sudden increase in infection and hospitalization rates.
Since then, Covid numbers have dropped significantly.
Big changes coming June 15 (assuming the Covid numbers stay down). California is scheduled to fully reopen, meaning all business sectors will reopen to full or almost full capacity, including concerts, stadium sports and festivals.
Most recently, March 23, 2021, SF has moved to a somewhat less restrictive status.
Public transportation options have been cut back. See SF transit for more info.
See COVID rules for current SF status.
Mask rules: everyone in SF is required to wear a mask when they are outside and within 30 feet of other people.
Masks must be worn in stores and places of business and people not within the same household must stay 6 feet apart.
SF Curfew has been ended.
What is open? Muir Woods, the Botanic Gardens, Golden Gate Park, Japanese Tea Garden, Pier 39, SF beaches, Golden Gate Bridge, and Twin Peaks (car access on Portola, main parking lot open) are all open.
Parking lots for SF beaches, Twin Peaks, and the Golden Gate Bridge are open. But the Welcome Center lot and Merchant Road lot at the bridge are closed.
Restaurants can now be open to 50% capacity for indoor and outdoor dining, and many restaurants are open for take-out or delivery.
Bars that serve food can serve customers indoors.
Businesses can allow customers inside, on a limited basis (grocery stores 50%).The SF Zoo is open again.
Alcatraz is open. Day Tour tickets only. See Alcatraz.
Hair salons, and open air tour buses and boat cruises can now operate.
Indoor museums are open, including the CA Academy of Sciences.
Travel to SF: non-essential travel to SF is discouraged but the quarantine requirements are no longer in effect.
Hotels are accepting reservations, up to 25% capacity, but travelers are urged to limit contact with others in the hotel.
Exploratorium: still closed.
Indoor swimming pools are open to 25% capacity.
Schools: many private schools are open. SF public schools will start in person learning for elementary students April 12. Older grades: negotiations are ongoing. Hopefully will open for fall classes.
Limited opening: indoor gyms to 25% capacity and indoor movie theaters to 50%.
Indoor concerts, live theater, and sporting events, are scheduled to open April 12 at 35% capacity. Proof of vaccination or negative Covid test will be required. See more info on indoor events.
Some venues are waiting until June 15 because capacity limits don't work for those businesses.
Napa and Sonoma county wineries are open.
For a handy list of what's open or closed in SF, plus info on what's open in other cities and counties of California, see California reopening schedules.
See coronavirus news in the SF Chronicle for details and updates.
See SF closures timeline.
Most recent Bay Area stay home order.
Also see site and parking lot closures for the National Park Service (Alcatraz, Muir Woods, etc.)
Plus helpful info on which parks and hiking trails are open in the Bay Area.
Get the latest tips on visiting San Francisco.