Santa Cruz: Disc Golf’s St Andrews

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Those of you who think frisbees are the preferred toys of slobbering dogs and those annoying guys in college who always insisted that "Ultimate is a real sport, dude," think again. This pastime is so legit it even has its own upscale offshoot: Disc golf dates back to the 1960s, and replaces putting greens with targets like flagged baskets and trees. Though there are over 3,000 courses across the world, the De LaVeaga Disc-Golf Course (343 Soquel Ave #45) in Santa Cruz is the sport's St. Andrews. Built as an 18-hole course in 1984 by Tom Schot, basically the Tiger Woods of the game minus the sex scandals, it now boasts 27-holes spread over challenging and undulating terrain that's all tucked within a corner of its 1,200-acre namesake park (take a digital tour here). The Masters Cup, which is Disc golf's equivalent of The Masters (though we suspect anything green comes in the form of a dime bag rather than a ceremonial jacket), descends upon De LaVeaga annually, but you can visit any day of the year, and better yet, it's free. Just remember to pay the $2 parking fee, lest you want to incur the ticketing wrath of the park ranger, and be sure to take in views of shimmering Monterey Bay at the famed final hole, whose cement topped tee box stands some 600 feet away and 100 feet above the "pin."

While Santa Cruz is over five hours from LA by car, the laid-back beach community is well worth the trek. Named one of the best cities in America by Outside Magazine in 2007, its 29 beaches and the surrounding 3,000 foot mountains make it ideal for surfing and mountain biking, so why not spend the weekend? Since the De LaVeaga Park is, by law, alcohol free, leave the six pack at home and save 19th hole celebrations for Soif Wine Bar, then bunk up for the night at the affordable Santa Cruz Dream Inn, a retro-styled boutique hotel and the only beachfront property in town. [The Feast]

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