Disc golf for Dolamore

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Letting it go... Disc golf course designer Zack Horrell tees off at the first hole to start a game of disc golf at Dolamore Park, while brother Zeb, who helped him design the course, and Hamish McDonald wait their turn. Photo: Sandy Eggleston

A disc golf course being laid at Dolamore Park will be an “epic showcase of the park” organisers say.

The course has been laid out by brothers Zack and Zeb Horrell of Riversdale, with friend Hamish McDonald organising the funding of the $30,000 project.

Zack said the sport is very similar to golf, with an 18-hole course, except players throw a plastic disc the size of a small dinner plate down a fairway and end up landing the disc in a basket.

“You’re trying to get the object, which in this case is the disc, into the target, which in this case is a basket, in as few shots as possible and then you are looking for a minimum score,” Zack said.

“Throwing things at other things is really the essence of it but it’s the joy of that, that’s what it’s about for me.”

Dolamore Park was a very good venue for the game.

“It has a lot of really beautiful different terrains. It has the big open area and then you get into the pond and some hills and some rougher areas and it’s got the creeks.

“It really is an epic showcase of the park.

“If you walk around the whole disc golf course you are getting a really cool showcase of the property here.”

He said he especially enjoyed “getting out and enjoying nature and interacting with nature”.

“It’s a great way to discover new areas that you wouldn’t go to otherwise and explore them.

“It’s like going out on an expedition of an area.”

The brothers have been playing disc golf for about 10 years and Zack had visited courses throughout the world.

Anyone could play the game and all levels of skill could play together.

“You’re really just competing against yourself and it really is a matter of how well can I execute what I know I can do.

“It’s a very social game you can play it super casually with friends.

“If you can throw something you can play the game.”

The course was about 2km in length and the fairways were between 50m to 150m in length.

“The course here is mostly par threes with a couple [of] par fours.”

Disc golf was growing in popularity.

“There’s four new courses in Christchurch alone in the last year,” Zeb said.

The game had educational benefits as well.

“It’s such an incredible way to learn biomechanics,” Zack said.

Biomechanics is the science of how the body moves. Zack had learned biomechanics at school but did not really understand the subject until he started playing disc golf.

“To get a full power throw the mechanics have to be perfect.”

All that needed to be completed was the installing of pads to provide a place for people to tee off, signage and the baskets.

However, funding would be needed before this could happen.

The baskets cost about $760.

In the meantime players would hit a marker with the disc to finish the hole.

Mr McDonald had approached the Mataura Licensing Trust for funding, but had been turned down.

The activity would be free to play at Dolamore Park, but people would need to bring their own discs.

A map had been prepared to guide people around the course.

The group had been working with Gore District Council parks and reserves manager Ian Soper and Dolamore Park staff for the past two years to set up the course.

Mr Soper said when the council updated its reserve management plans disc golf was one activity that was flagged as a possibility in the future.

“Disc golf will add in another dimension for recreational use of Dolamore Park.

“It can be played by a wide ranging age group and will get people out into the open spaces which will offer health benefits as well,” Mr Soper said.

The planned course has been designed to minimise conflicts with other park users.

“We look forward to seeing progress with their funding endeavours and will be proactive in helping them achieve their goals in respect of funding and installing the infrastructure required.”