Christchurch's alternative sports: Disc golf is bigger than you think video

DAVID WALKER/Fairfax NZ

Jellie Park is home to the Christchurch Disc Golf Course, a variation on normal golf played with flying discs, and it's not as easy as you would think.

Over the summer break Stuff is taking a look at Christchurch's most unusual sports. Today we take a look at disc golf.

Disc golf is bigger than you might think, just ask Chris Davies.

He played his first game in Queenstown in 1989.

Chris Davies lines up his next disc golf shot at Jellie Park.
DAVID WALKER/FAIRFAX NZ

Chris Davies lines up his next disc golf shot at Jellie Park.

"It was only three years later, at the end of 1992, that a guy arrived in Queenstown carrying a bag of golf discs," he said.

"That was before the days of the internet, the only way we could buy discs was through a newspaper catalogue."

More than 20 years on you will still find Davies driving discs at Christchurch's Jellie Park.

Phil Botha, 15, launches a shot.
DAVID WALKER/FAIRFAX NZ

Phil Botha, 15, launches a shot.

"We put the course in for just the general enjoyment of Christchurch people," he said.

"They don't have to take it seriously and if they play four rounds a year with a single disc, fantastic, if they want to play 40 a year, brilliant, if they want to play 400 a year, even better.

"If it's not raining and it's not too windy then you will find at least one group on the course all day long."

Hunter Harrill shoots for par at the Jellie Park Disc Golf Course.
DAVID WALKER/FAIRFAX NZ

Hunter Harrill shoots for par at the Jellie Park Disc Golf Course.

The sport, he said, has taken off since his first game in the late 1980s. In 1994, the Queenstown Lakes District Council granted permission to make the course Davies started playing at official.

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"That became New Zealand's first official disc golf course, in June of this year they had their millionth player," he said.

Worldwide there were about 6500 courses and more than 6.5 million players.

The aim of the game was the same as regular golf.

"You count the number of throws it takes to get in the basket and you add them all up at the end," Davies said.

"The lowest number wins."

It was "hard to know" what the level of interest was in Christchurch, he said.

"It's like trying to herd cats, getting disc golfers together, because they do it for so many different reasons.

"Disc golf is a pastime, a recreation, a family activity, some fun with your drunken mates, all the way through to an actually competitive sport."

He called the game a "sport for life".

"I've seen kids as young as three, and I think the oldest player I've ever played with is an American guy who was on tour here.

"He was 79, he was still playing some bloody good disc golf."

THE DISC:

The smallest a disc golf disc can be is 21 centimetres in diameter.

They can be as big at 30cm, but most are between 21cm and 22cm wide.

They are no thicker than 1.5cm.

The world distance record is a throw of 308 metres.

A "good" disc golf shot is 150m.

The discs have a "tiny amount of drag", Davies said.

 - Stuff

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