No-one has a rough day at disc golf

Oops: Finn Holden couldn’t quite keep to the disc golf course in Ashburton, his shots often ending up in the rough or, embarrassingly, in the bushes.


He’s played table tennis for New Zealand, but no way on earth was Finn Holden going to try another “oddball’ sport like disc golf. Then the Ashburton disc golf course came calling.


Do you remember that oddball kid at school who seemed to specialise in the most ludicrous and laughable sports imaginable?

Well, that was me.

Now, don’t get me wrong, because I’m extremely thankful about getting introduced to a wide range of sports by Dad.

But sometimes I just wish he had pushed my six foot four and 90kg frame down the rugby path rather than encouraging me into chess, table tennis and pickleball.

So when I found out that Ashburton was hopping on the disc golf bandwagon, I chuckled and convinced myself that I wouldn’t try it.

No way, Jose.

That I wouldn’t let another farcical sport infiltrate my oddball life.

That I wouldn’t give in to the booming craze of arguably (so they say) one of the quickest growing sports globally.

But only a few weeks later, my moral code got the better of me and I felt the call of disc golf duty.

For the uninitiated, disc golf is like regular golf, except there are no clubs and balls. Just a disc (think frisbee) that players throw and aim for wire baskets instead of holes.

If you’re good, you’ll throw your disc in the metal basket every time.

If you’re like me, you’ll need a weed eater, a flame thrower, six golden retrievers and two Sherpa guides to find your lost disc in the bush, trees and overgrown grass, or even across the road somewhere completely out of bounds.

Hey, but at least I looked the part when I fronted up, because I already had a disc golf starter pack.

It was purchased at a Boxing Day sale a few years ago without ever having been used.

Starter pack at the ready, I headed off to the EA Networks Centre to find out about it, get a map of the course and a copy of the rules to see what the buzz was all about.

Boy, I’m glad I did.

Smiling faces, scenic landscapes and sinking putts are what dreams are made of at the Ashburton disc golf course, which opened late October last year.

All 18 holes – yes, they call them holes – sit amongst trees and bushes in a tight layout on the Smallbone Drive reserve near the EA Networks Centre.

There’s not a lot of distance between each hole so it would take less than an hour for most disc golfers to complete the course.

Oddly, none of the holes are numbered and the grass and course terrain needs to be shown a bit more love by those responsible for its upkeep.

Still, it’s hard to grumble because, as a poor university student it almost brought a tear to my eye when I found out that it cost nothing to play.

Yes, zilcho.

God bless Ashburton. Because these days it’s virtually impossible to find anything that’s free, especially a fun and family-friendly activity as engaging as disc golf.

That’s surely one reason why so many are getting involved and why there are apparently about 20,000 recreational disc golfers in the country and 18 affiliated clubs.

So, listen up to those of you who have never tried any sport, to those who live and breathe sport and even to those who play weird sports like me.

Disc golf.

It’s everywhere and it’s for everyone. Go check it out in Ashburton. You won’t be disappointed.