Course Info

Top 10 Course In The World (2020)

UDisc wrote an article going through the Top 100 courses in the World, and our little slice of paradise was featured as one of the Top 10 courses in the World. Today, we received a little mail from UDisc, and we wanted to share it with you all. Below you will see the letter they sent us, along with a framed certificate commemorating our courses achievement.

Course Ground Rules

  • All Holes: The 2 meter rule is in effect. If your disc comes to rest in a tree or any other kind of object, such that its lowermost edge is more than 2 meters above the ground (measured along a vertical line, parallel to gravity), then the disc is considered OB. A penalty throw is added to the score on a hole for each 2 meter rule violation. The lie for the subsequent throw shall be marked directly below the disc (following procedures as if the disc were projected onto the ground).

  • All Holes: Inner edge of all bounding road and beyond is OB, except on holes 20&22. OB edge may be defined by rope during tournament play; if no rope, edge of pavement is OB.

  • Hole 1: Double mandatory, must pass between 2 large Monterey pine tree (red arrows are fixed to the trunks). Drop zone is located just left (about 10′ downhill) of the mando tree on the right.

  • Hole 6: The ditch to the right just before the road is OB. The edge of the OB is defined by a rope.

  • Hole 20&22: Surrounded by pavement is OB, but it is OK to throw across the road. The road plays like a river.

  • Hole 24: Mandatory, must pass to the right of the small oak (an arrow is fixed to the tree). The drop zone for a missed mando is behind a line drawn to the right of the mando (perpendicular to the line between the basket and the mando tree).

  • Hole 26a: Rope along the left edge of the fairway defines OB. This OB line applies only to 26a, and is not in effect on hole 26. There is no drop zone.

  • Hole 27: For a lost disc, use the drop zone located beneath the olive tree at the corner of the tree stand behind tee 25. If a disc goes OB, the player has the option to throw from this DZ or from where the disc went OB.

Course Etiquette

Every course has a set of local customs, including regular rules of play and etiquette, and DeLaveaga is no different. Following is a partial list of customs observed at DeLaveaga:

  • Please limit your group size to 4 or less. Overly large groups cause traffic jams on the course, and negatively impact upon the rounds of dozens of other people on the course.

  • Please allow smaller and faster groups to play through at the earliest opportunity. This benefits everybody, and prevents traffic jams from forming on the course. Don’t wait for them to catch up to you on the tee pad, instead anticipate when a group behind your group has to wait for more than a few minutes at the tee while your group is finishing a hole…wait for them on the next tee and allow them to play through.

  • When throwing from top of the world, hole 27, please be sure to call out “fore” loudly when the disc is heading toward other holes. Even better, call “fore” plus the relevant hole number so that people who can’t see the tee of 27 know where the disc is flying. Getting hit by a high speed disc from top of the world is no fun for anyone.

  • Please call out "fore" on any throws that could be heading towards other players on the course, call out out hole and area if possible.

Parking Info

The city of Santa Cruz requires a $2 daily use fee for those using the parking lot in Upper DeLaveaga Wilderness Park. Please pay at the iron ranger in the parking lot to avoid a ticket. Free parking is also available around the (ball) golf course for those wishing to walk in and avoid a fee (e.g., above the pond to the right, just before the disc golf course).

If you plan to play the course regularly, a $40 annual parking pass is available from the Parks and Recreation department. You may either send the form by mail, or you can go directly to their office and obtain a permit at the following address:

Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation

323 Church Street (across the parking lot from the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium)

Santa Cruz CA 95060

Hours: Monday-Thursday 8AM-5PM

Phone: 831-420-5270


Course History

Historically, disc golf was first played in the Santa Cruz area utilizing object courses. Certain trees, posts, or other objects were defined as the target for completing a hole. Much of the early disc golf activity in Santa Cruz took place on the campus of the University of California, Santa Cruz. Disc golf had also been played informally using objects in DeLaveaga Park, some in the same area that is now part of the DeLaveaga Disc Golf Course.

DeLaveaga Park itself is part of a complex land trust donated to the government for recreational and educational purposes, near the end of the 19th century. The legal status of the trust long remained uncertain owing to laws restricting the allocation of private estates to the public. The branch of government that utilized the DeLaveaga park land most was the California National Guard, for purposes of training and readiness. During World War II the ridge that now hosts hole 27 (Top of the World) was used by the military as a lookout post (note: the trees were not so tall back then, so the view of the sea was much more expansive). In the early days of DeLaveaga disc golf, it was not uncommon to see tanks or other tracked vehicles making their way through parts of the park property.

Many residents of Santa Cruz had a different relationship with DeLaveaga Park. Prior to the foundation of the DDGC, the property had been used as an unofficial garbage dump for particularly large items (appliances, cars and car parts, etc.) that could not otherwise be easily disposed. Many portions of the park had also become completely choked with undergrowth, including poison oak. The park grounds were full of squatter camps and refuges for all kinds of outcasts. After World War II, Top of the World became the top destination in Santa Cruz for local teenagers to hang out, make out, and party hard. There is a road that goes up to Top of the World that used to be open (now it is controlled by a gate), and what is now the fairway of hole 26a was the parking lot…it used to become completely filled with cars on weekend nights. It was a common tradition for local teens to throw their empty bottles below, onto what is now the fairway of hole 2. So much broken glass accumulated that it is now part of the very soil on the hillside, and impossible to clean up. Some also threw bottles down the hill to what is now the fairway of hole 25.

In 1984, Tom Schot received permission to build the first official 18 hole disc golf course in Upper DeLaveaga Park as part of the 1984 World Disc Championships. The task was not easy. Many tons of garbage, debris, dense underbrush and poison oak, old cars, etc., had to be cleared out by the original club members. Under their combined effort, they were able to pitch in and help develop DeLaveaga DGC into one of the world’s finest disc golf courses. The original course used 4×4 wooden posts as targets; these were replaced a few years later by pole hole targets. The map of the original 18 holes, as published in the 1984 World Disc Championships official program, is shown below (click on the image for a larger resolution version).

The introduction of disc golf into Upper DeLaveaga Wilderness Park completely transformed the property. The presence of regular park users drove away unwanted elements and discouraged bad behavior. Hundreds of truck loads of refuse was removed to proper dumps. Soon the teen parties on Top of the World, which had been growing more dangerous and out-of-control with increasing weapons and gang activity, was pushed entirely out of the park. The taming of Upper DeLaveaga Wilderness Park by the DDGC also substantially increased the value of real estate surrounding the park, creating value for neighboring property owners as well as offering effective buffers against crime and wildfires.

Today it is estimated that DeLaveaga Disc Golf Course serves approximately 200 users every day, on average. There is no fee for playing the course, although the city of Santa Cruz now requires those using the parking lot to pay a $2 parking fee (annual parking permits are available from the city for $40).