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 Updates: as of midnight Monday, March 16, San Francisco has been under a "shelter-in-place order.
The city has released a reopening schedule (tentative) starting June 1, 2020, with successive changes at later dates.
All residents were ordered to stay home, except for necessary trips to grocery stores and essential medical visits, and solo outdoor activities like hiking.
Now, there is a gradual reopening of certain businesses and activities.
See COVID rules for current SF status.
Highlights of changes: everyone in SF is now required to wear a mask when they are outside and within 30 feet of other people.
Parking lots for SF beaches are now open (as well as the beaches).
Starting June 15 customers can enter retail businesses (with a mask), religious services can resume, and restaurants can offer outdoor dining.
Opening dates for indoor dining, hair salons and barbershops have been postponed until an unknown date.
Mid August: gyms, playgrounds, swimming pools and indoor museums can possibly open.
For 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.
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.