Frisbee golf not so tree-mendous

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A tree expert has recommended removing the frisbee golf course from Queenstown Gardens because it is damaging trees. 

Arborist Frank Buddingh says the course has two major negative impacts – the frisbees damage bark and players walk over root systems, compacting the soil. 

His tree health report to Queenstown Lakes District Council comes on the eve of Saturday’s 17th annual Queenstown Classic Disc Golf Tournament. 

Parks officer Gordon Bailey says some hard thinking needs to be done about how the activity is managed. 

But Queenstown Disc Golf Club founder James ‘Jaguar’ Smithells – who established the course in 1996 – believes a solution can be found. 

“It’s not like we’ve just been out there bashing the place up and not talking to anyone. 

“For 16 years we’ve maintained good liaison with council and parks staff about the impact. 

“The course has been extensively modified over time to try and minimise any damage to trees, plants and flower gardens,” Smithells says. 

“If there are things that need changing, we’ll change them. We value the environment. But I would suggest the problem has been overstated.” 

Photos in the report show significant damage to a young tree from frisbees. 

“Things don’t need to go as far as removing the course. It is a very valuable community resource.”