Disc golfer Sullivan makes most of Upper Hutt home ground advantage
Jackson Sullivan liked Upper Hutt's Harcourt Park disc golf course so much he moved from Levin .
Two years and plenty of "home ground" practice later, the 27-year-old is set to represent New Zealand at the sport's world championships in Canada in August.
Encouraged by his father, Sullivan took up disc golf six years ago after giving up in-line hockey, a sport where, for three years, he was an age-grade national player.
His sister Gemma also took up disc golf and will also be in the eight-player New Zealand side in Vancouver.
"My dad played in the odd tournament but mainly did it as a muck-around."
The trio improvised at local parks as best they could but regularly travelled from Levin to Harcourt Park to the nine-hole circuit set up there in the early 2000s.
"It's always been my home course, all my training has been done there," the storeman said.
"I moved here, to Totara Park, with my girlfriend. She was going to shift and I felt like a change of job too but I knew perfectly well I'd be handy to Harcourt."
Harcourt's nine wire-basket "holes" can be played as 18, with tee-off options giving different length holes and terrain.
While largely unheralded, Sullivan said disc golf continues to grow.
"It's one of those things where you get hooked."
The sport follows the discipline and terminology of golf, with the average hole at Harcourt Park about 70 metre from the tee, Sullivan said.
Three discs are used — all heavier than a frisbee. The driver is for distance off the tee, the mid-range for the follow-up throw and the putter for sinking the hip-high basket.
Sullivan's selection follows a 15-event national season which involved plenty of travel.
"So there's a cost to that but it's a sport you can just play with friends socially."
Fundraising for Sullivan's Canadian trip includes a $20 night-glow game at Harcourt Park on Saturday, May 14, from 6.30pm.
"We'll put LED lights on the back of the discs and play 18 holes at shorter distances. It's real fun and everyone is welcome."
- Upper Hutt Leader