You may know Butte County for its obvious treasures: the Sierra Nevada brewery, the wide open skies, the almost endless supply of natural beauty. What you may not know is that it’s also the perfect destination to find a wealth of treasures for the avid disc golfer, so if you’re looking to up your game, Butte County has you covered.
One of the newest additions to Butte County’s lineup of courses is a project of Magalia Community Park (a 501c non-profit) called the South Pines course in Magalia, at the site of the former Paradise Pines regular "ball golf" course. This new disc golf haven has already proven popular not only for its beautiful location, but for its reasonable price and friendliness toward disc golfers of different skill levels. It’s a long 18-hole gauntlet put together by up-and-coming local designer Jacob Bates that will nicely stretch any user’s $5 entry fee, and it includes a variety of tee types, generally flat terrain, and even a few par 4 holes.
Perhaps nicest of all, Izzy’s Too Sports Pub (conveniently located past the 18th hole) has patio dining with a great view for tournaments, and a Pro Shop is now open just below it, with rentals available. Since the course is varied and friendly to a variety of players, from beginners to more experienced players, South Pines is a perfect recommendation for just about any group of aficionados, or for bringing along the whole family.
Get There: Take Skyway Drive north of Paradise towards Magalia. Take a left at the first stoplight in Magalia at South Park Drive, and find the parking lot on the left. The Pro Shop will be on the right.
One of the most popular courses in Butte County is situated in Upper Bidwell Park’s beautiful Peregrine Point, an 18-hole course of over 5,300 feet over rocky terrain with stunning views of the valley below. This challenging course will require more robust equipment due to the rocky terrain, so make sure you leave your weaker discs at home (and bring good walking shoes). The course is also closed during wet weather, so plan ahead if you’re not coming to play at the height of summer. Also be aware that there are no tee signs, so it may be helpful to check a map online prior to setting out or have one accessible on your phone, and garbage cans are not available, so come prepared to take any refuse with you when you leave.
This more advanced course isn’t so challenging that upper beginner players can’t enjoy it, but the terrain and location make it one best enjoyed by those setting out for the purpose of golfing. It’s less ideal for family groups, unless of course those not planning to play want to take advantage of the beautiful scenery and hike the Point while their companions play. The Sherwood Forest kids’ course below is also less than ten minutes away by car.
Get There: From Highway 99, head east on Highway 32. Pass through the light at Bruce Road, continue past Humbolt Road, and continue on for 1 mile until you reach a small paved entrance on the left. Signage is minimal, so look for cars parked in the area or for the wooden entrance sign with yellow letters stationed at the Peregrine Point trailhead.
This beloved local classic isn’t just for kids. For beginners or those looking to practice their short game, anyone who doesn’t feel like walking a great deal, or those who haven’t yet graduated to more advanced courses, Sherwood Forest Kids’ Disc Golf Course at Hooker Oak Park is great for practicing shorter throws. While it’s only 9 holes, and it gets some thorns and occasional snakes during the hotter months, it’s a perfect location for families. All 9 holes are under 300 feet, making it an ideal spot for groups with kids or seniors especially. Everyone can have a good time here, not just the disc golf fans who play every weekend!
If your mixed-level group wants to split up afterward, the Peregrine Point course is also close by, making it an ideal next stop for a group of stronger players after warming up with friends and family at Sherwood Forest.
Get There: From Highway 99, head east on Highway 32. Turn left onto Bruce Road, stay on to Chico Canyon Road, and go left at the bend to Manzanita Avenue. Go through the roundabout at Vallombrosa and stay on Manzanita, then take a right at the next roundabout to enter Hooker Oak Park. The first tee is to the left of the parking area.
Located on the Kelly Ridge ball golf course, this course will take you through 18 holes and 6,800 feet of a moderately challenging, nicely varied disc golf experience. With mild hills, scenic views, and a good mix of longer and shorter holes, this course should appeal to a range of players at different skill levels. Tees are not well marked, but a map can be picked up when paying the fee (though some hunting around will likely still be required). An energetic group can certainly walk the entire course, but a mixed group may want to pay the extra $10 for a cart, especially if no one in the group has played the course before. There is a public bathroom available around hole 6.
Overall, the Kelly Ridge course sports a better-than-average layout for courses that share space with traditional ball golf courses, offering a pleasant environment and a good amount of play for the money. If a family group has graduated from Sherwood Forest and wants to play on a more robust course that even has a few challenging par 4 holes, Kelly Ridge is a perfect choice.
Cost: $6 (walking), $16 (cart)
Get There: From Highway 70, exit onto Oroville Dam Boulevard/State Highway 162. Head east on CA-162 E/Oro Dam Boulevard E, then turn right onto CA-162 E/Olive Highway. Turn left onto Canyon Drive, then right onto Royal Oaks Drive, and find the Kelly Ridge Golf and Event Center on the left.
This is the first of two 18-hole courses located at Oroville’s Riverbend Park. Always a nice place to walk, the combination of open spaces and rolling hills makes for a somewhat varied course that’s friendly to beginners, and makes a great warm-up to the more challenging South course. Some landscape obstacles and slight elevation changes offer a bit of variety without raising the difficulty. Visibility without good signage can be an issue, so be prepared to do a little walking around (or asking a friendly local player) to get to the next hole, especially when getting from the front of the course to the back 9.
This is a great course for families, as many of the holes are shorter, and young kids or others in the group who may not want to actively play can find plenty of other diversions in the park itself. Older kids will be able to have a great time on the course itself, though around 5 of the holes are close enough to water that less skilled players will want to be careful—many a disc has ended up at the mercy of the Feather River! Public restrooms, garbage cans, and water fountains are also available in the park, and it’s situated close to Oroville’s downtown restaurants and businesses.
This secondary course at Riverbend Park is significantly more challenging than its northern counterpart. With narrower shots and more terrain challenges to contend with (watch out for losing your discs in the long grass!), this more technical course will appeal to an intermediate or advanced crowd. Most seasoned players consider this to be the superior of Riverbend Park’s two options, though many will still choose to play through both simultaneously, and the North course is considered by many to be a good warm-up.
It shares Riverbend Park’s lovely environment with the North course, which means that it’s still a great outing for families, with public restrooms, garbage cans, and water fountains, and many players will want to make a fuller day out of doing both courses simultaneously. Riverbend Park’s proximity to downtown Oroville’s array of restaurants also make this an appealing location, both for locals or those just passing through for the day.
Holes: 18 per course, 36 holes total
Get There: From Highway 70, exit Montgomery Street in Oroville. For the the North course, go west into the first parking lot on the left, where you’ll find a practice basket and the first tee near the clubhouse. The back 9 is across the entrance road from the parking lot. For the South course, take the dirt road on the left near the park entrance and follow about a mile to the bridge, where you’ll find parking and the first tee on the right toward the river.
Whether you’re making the rounds through all the area courses, or just doing a little disc golfing in between excursions into any of Butte County’s gorgeous natural environments and hiking areas, you’re sure to find no shortage of options to interest you and your fellow disc golfers.