A visual flying feast

Tauranga disc golfer Dazz Switalla gets in a few practice shots ahead of next weekend’s extreme tournament at McLaren Falls Park. Photo: Bruce Barnard.

Next weekend lining up at the pars at McLaren Falls’ disc golf course could get a little squishy – with the country’s keenest disc golfers flying into town for an extreme tournament.

The Tauranga Disc Golf Association’s 66 Xtreme Disc Golf Tournament 2017 is on April 29-30 at the park – and promises to be a visual feast of flying frisbees from New Zealand’s best.

TDGA member and tournament director Dazz Switalla says it’s his 12-strong club’s annual tournament and is called the 66 Xtreme for one reason.

“Because we have one of the hardest courses in the country. And people come from all over the country for it because it is also part of the National Disc Golf Tour put on by the NZ Disc Golf Association.

“It’s like golfers who go on a pro-tour – people travel all around the country playing every month,” says Dazz, who has been playing disc golf for about 20 years.

“The sport has been around awhile but it’s only now that most cities have their own course.”

So how does it work? Disc golf is played much like traditional golf. Instead of a ball and clubs, players use a flying disc, or frisbee.

A golf disc is thrown from a tee area to a target, which is the ‘hole’ – usually an elevated metal basket.

As a player progresses down the fairway, he or she must make each consecutive throws from the spot where the previous throw has landed. Trees, shrubs and terrain changes provide challenging obstacles for the golfer.

So essentially it shares the same joys and frustrations of traditional golf, whether it’s sinking a long putt or hitting a tree halfway down the fairway.

But Dazz says the appeal for him is it is affordable and “good exercise out in the open”. You don’t pay a greens fee, you don’t need a cart, and you never get stuck with a bad ‘tee time’.

And he says disc golf is more visual. “You can see the frisbee flying.”

Dazz says you can get special golf discs, which can travel a lot further, but for recreation you can also use normal discs. “And you don’t need hundreds of them – you can play with one or two.”

He’s looking forward to the next weekend’s tournament – saying his club’s permanent base at McLaren Falls will be action-filled on Saturday, April 29 and Sunday, April 30.

“At these tournaments you just gather points and travel round the country trying to be the top Frisbee thrower.”

Has he made it to the top yet? “No, I’m ranked about 80th – so we’re getting there.”

TDGA’s 66 Xtreme Disc Golf Tournament 2017 is at McLaren Falls on Saturday, April 29 and Sunday, April 30. The public is welcome to view the competition from Pinoak Flat from 10am-4pm both days.

To find out more, see: www.facebook.com/Tauranga-Disc-Golf