Winding up for champs challenge


Seventy disc golf Davids hope to conquer one Goliath in Queenstown this weekend.

The New Zealand Disc Golf Championships begins at the par-61 Tucker Beach course tomorrow.

And the par-five hole six is a doozie - a 255-metre hole nicknamed after the giant biblical warrior.

“Top players would be able to drive 150 metres, so it’s a challenge,” tournament director Hemi Te Awhitu says.

“Tucker Beach is our championship course, so it’s a lot longer and has more challenging features than the Gardens.”

The niche sport is now played by an estimated 20 million people worldwide, and those at the top of the pro tree can take home $200,000.

In Queenstown, the sport’s generally more about beers and bonhomie than prize money and sponsorship.

But that relaxed approach takes a competitive turn when the nationals come along.

Te Awhitu: “It’s one of those sports where everybody’s on the same wavelength - good spirits, everyone’s there for a good time really.

“But there’s also a competitive edge. I’ll be looking for a win.”

Top local Te Awhitu travels the country playing in many of the 16 events on the national tour.

About 30 tour competitors from elsewhere in NZ are expected to travel down for the championships.

The same number of locals, and a smattering of internationals from Germany and the US, will complete an expected 70-strong field. Locals include 2015 junior champ Ben Wiel-Lake.

Players can contest eight divisions - open, masters, grand masters, senior grand masters, women’s open, women’s masters, women’s grand masters and juniors.

They’ll all play together with the doubles tournament from 10am tomorrow, followed by two rounds on Saturday, a final round Sunday, and a six-player playoff on Sunday afternoon.

Entry fee is $75 which includes lunch on Saturday and Sunday, a sponsored player pack with disc, hat and towel, complimentary water, tea, coffee, and sunscreen, and a free beer from Altitude Brewing.

Anybody can register on the day.