Celebrating discgolf in New Zealand - the land of the Great Long Drive
This is part of our '2004: The Year That Was' feature click here to go to the current www.discgolf.co.nz website.

Results will be available here soon, along with the NZ Tour Points to date. Meanwhile, enjoy this report by discgolf.co.nz journalist Sadie Werds and pics from cameraman Len Skap.

September in Wellington (Upper Hutt to be specific) can be a testing time for any disc golfer. And as the players gathered for the annual Faultline Fury at Harcourt Park, it looked like they were to be tested with heavy rain and those familiar 'light' 80 knot winds.

Several greens and tees were looking good for a bit of wake boarding as the casual doubles round commenced on the Friday. Delightful Des was sure that he and Brutal Blair would hold the Taumarunui Gumboot advantage; "You'll have wet feet by 10 o'clock," remarked the grizzle faced freak, "I'll be testing my Skellerups with a couple of practice rounds in the morning."

Sure enough, as most players roused from their beds at the local Holiday Park (just metres from the course), Des was heating up Baked Beans after three full rounds of practice from 6am!! Surely there must be a penalty...

But Des' predictions were to be unfounded as the weather held back to greet the field with slightly overcast conditions. And as far as the wind was concerned, it was as if Gandolf had strode through on his stallion and waved a wand of magic protection upon these throwers of round plastic things to keep back the gales.

Tournie Director Dylan Cooper had done a sterling job motivating a strong field for the 2004 running of The Fury. We were all missing the creator of this fine disc golf facility, Mark Dakiv (missing The Fury for the first time) and you could see a tear in Dylan's eye as he introduced himself and welcomed everyone along. Play started promptly (Fijian time that is) as the various groups teed off in a shotgun start.

With this being the sixth round of the New Zealand Tour for 2004, players were wary of this possibly being their last chance to consolidate positions or even make a run for glory. With tour favourite Simon 'Big Arm' Feasey sunning in Rome, a few players saw this as an opportunity to stake a claim as a Kiwi Force t'be Reckoned With. None so much as The Scarb, who promptly fired off an impressive round of 6 under 48 for the first round.

The Closest to the Pin competition was of major focus to most players, as they knew that just about anyone could take that one. The comp was held on the middle distant hole of the 14th with the basket tucked under a smal grove of trees. Pundits could see that this was a job for a nice S-bend of an Eagle and sure enough the Greek Mexican Juan Unda has proven himself to be the Eagleman and he promptly laid an early claim with a nice birdie in the first round.

By the end of the day Steve Scarbrough had cemented his position at the top of the field with anther fine round of ??. All the players settled back after a fine day's golf for a pint or two, some getting together for a Harcourt BBQ that evening. Lies were told, stories were shared and the odd comment was made about the expected bad weather for Sunday. Was the Wellington Met. Office to be any better at predictions than the rest of the country?

The answer was no. Players woke up Sunday in various states of disrepair, opening their curtains to bright sunshine and very little wind indeed. And so it was with much delight that the field (if somewhat smaller than the previous day) congregated upon the Harcourt stage to await the arrival of the illustrious Tournie Director who was still on Fiji time.

Dylan informed the crew of the placings after two rounds and sent everyone on their way to see if they could improve on their Saturday efforts. The sun continued to shine and everyone made sure they placed themselves outside the shadows of the trees so as to enjoy the best that the Upper Hutt skies offered.

At the lunch break before the final round, most people thought The Scarb would have it in the bag, but most were impressed to see a fantastic round from the Gumboot Guru, Basher Blair, who had fired off 8 birdies for an impressive 46. If he could do that again, he might just have a chance...

The final round can often bring out both the best and the worst of players. The enthusiasm of firing of a top round fights against the nagging pain of tired muscles and feet. The sun had decided to hide behind the clouds, leading to colder conditions and it was a sturdy few who actually scored their best rounds that afternoon.

There were a few new players in the field that really should be congratulated for surviving 4 full rounds of golf. Local boy Si Squonk Butcher was playing his first tournie ever and hadn't thrown a disc since the inaugural Freaky Styley Classic in Auckland 3 years prior. He fought the urge to disappear and partake in his number one sport, mountainbiking, to complete the full 4. Down in the placings, but points on the board - well done Squonk.

And then there was Squonk's MTB mate, the Northern Lunatic Spankie McFarland. The Spank was also playing his first tournie and had to shed his reputation for beating himself up when doing well. Sure enough, after a couple of fives in the 3rd round, he was trying to convince Squonk to go riding, but Squonk would have none of it, forcing Spankie to play on through to the 4th. It must be said that the scrawny youngster did very well - enough to take out Freaky Styley's own Dakar Trophy.

And then there was Debbie Natural, reputed partner of the Iranian Cypriat Juan Unda, in the Womens Division. She was very new to the sport, but did have a reputation for being the complete athlete. She survived 72 Harcourt holes to take out the title for 2004 and was presented with an enormous box of Roses chocolates for her efforts.

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Ballistic Blair battled back from an eight shot deficit to come very close to taking out his second National Tour event this year. Here he pots a 20 foot putt for birdie on the 9th hole.

The nickname of Grande Master applies more to Bob Gentil's overall knowledge of the game rather than his division. Using his smooth walk-through technique, the GM rips off a fearsome one on the eigth. And he threw his disc too!

With the fine Disc Golf sign board that the famous Canadian Mark Dakiv erected in the foreground, fellow Canadian Candace makes a bid for birdie on the short first hole.

Candace certainly showed the sporting know-how that she uses in her role as coach of a Vollyball team. This was a fabulous putt into the basket on the 11th.

Whilst players revelled in the opportunity of a birdie on the short 16th, they had to contend with water leading up to the basket. Here Dylan stands motionless as Candace fires a confident putt at the chains.

Harcourt Park is popular for more than just Disc Golfers. At one stage, players were treated to a dressage show...

Julian was caught here making the Vulcan greeting salute as he drove on the tough 11th. Put off by Devious Des running through shouting for a pen, Julian has referred the incident to the judiciary.

Watch out Open Division - Quan Weston is coming your way. Taking any bad luck in his stride, the Taumarunui Titan showed ever improving technique.

A bit of moisture don't bother big Quan and his favourite blue Birdie disc on hole 16. Kaching! Another birdie.

He led from beginning to end - here with an effortless stroke towards the basket on hole 1, The Scarb does it easy for another birdie.

Hole 18 and Steve delicately places the disc up by the basket to secure yet another winning round at Harcourt Park.

Spanky the Athlete just about runs alongside his disc as he hurls his disc and himself at the 4th target.

After a couple of last second pull outs on the tee due to low pedial grip, Spanky finally fires off a fine drive despite Gabb warning him that if he pulled out again, he would be disqualified.

He's lucky to stay in bounds next to the glorious stone wall, but Spanky still has a lot of work to do to even recover a bogie on the difficult eight.

What a story - in the top group Saturday only to start Sunday with 3 quadruple bogies due to a late start, Tom showed extreme skills both days despite compounding distractions.

Discgolf.co.nz reporter Rita R Takool caught up with Natural after the event and asked her a few questions.

R: Debbie, congratulations on your win, particularly with this being your debut. What would you mainly attribute your win to?

D: Thank you. Well, mainly it was due to the fact that the other female competitor, Candace, never showed up on Sunday!

Debbie Natural
A disc golfing beauty.

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Chris 'The King' Kingsnorth shares a laugh with his group before attempting the ace on 16.

Caught on our Freaky Styley Pan Cam, Quan watched in awe as Chris attempts the unthinkable birdie on hole 8. In fact 'The King' did manage a 2 on the even harder 17th.

He hasn't been playing Disc Golf for long - perhaps that's where the confidence comes from. Leftie Dave threatens the chains yet again on the difficult 12th.

Trick photography? No - just the zoom effect as Delightful Des delicately drives determined to defeat Dave, Dylan, Des, Dan and Don for the closest to the pin on hole 14.

Same bloke (Des), same hole (14). Different shirt, different day, different sytle. These Lost Tribe fellows have more tricks up their sleeve than Jim the Cardshark.

The pressures of tournie director countered the local knowledge for Dylan Cooper, resulting in what he considered a disappointing tournament for himself. Here he tries to recover from some bad luck on hole 7.

Having warmed up, Julian hit his stride on the back nine. He also hit a car, two fences and an old woman.

You'd be forgiven for thinking an ol' Pirate had entered the fray. But nay, it's good ol' Pete Boyle throwing his usual consistent style to take out the Grand Masters division. Onya Pete.

The uphill 18th looked so inviting for the big arm. Here Pete 'The Meat' Boyle has a go.

Muscles rippling, Quan 'The Maun' Weston can do it both ways. Throw, that is. Here he rips off a fine drive on the difficult 2nd.

It might be a putt on hole 9 with no background, but that don't stop The Scarb from forcing it in at high speed. With a technique like this, you gotta stay focused.

The sun is shining and all is well. Until Spanky fires wayward on the second...

The tee at Hole 13 could beat you up psychologically with the soggy tee, but the Spankster was not going to let that hold him back after a cup of his own soggy tea.

Some of the little pockets of bush could play havoc to a player's score. Here Spanky is brought to his knees as he plays his forth shot as a lay up on Hole 18.

Hole 4 could hurt a round badly as what wind there was seemed to come right across the green. Combined with a scary open backdrop saw many weak kneed players laying up from 3 metres! But not our Spanky...

R: Nevertheless, you made it through a gruelling 4 rounds of disc golf. What do you think was the toughest part of the whole affair?

D: Deciding which coat to wear. Green is so in at the moment, but I didn't want to look too trendy for my first tournie. I was up all night Friday contemplating this decision before deciding upon my peach coloured jacket with matching thermals. I did nod off during a few crucial putts, but at least I looked good.

R: And the conditions - did the wind affect your game?

D: Most certainly. At just about every hole I had to work on my hair just in case the cameras were about. I can remember getting warned about slow play at one stage, but there was just no way I was going to putt without adjusting my locks.

R: Many players put good performances down to their choice of discs. I see you carry only two in your bag - you must place a lot of trust in them. Would you care to let us in on what discs you used for The Fury?

D: Sure - I make those big throws with a blue one and try and hit those hanging chain thingies with a pretty orange one.

R: Uh huh, but what make are they?

D: I don't know! They are what Bob G gave me - he's such a nice man, despite his extraordinarily hairy back. He gave me some tips before the match and despite that, I played pretty good I reckon.

R: And where to from here?

D: Well, there's a nice café in town that I'm told will do a triple shot latte with chocolate buttons. After that I may hit the Wellington night life, which is certainly going off these days...

R: No, I mean your golfing career.

D: Oh that. Well, Juan Unda has offered me a lucrative contract to model discs for his exclusive website, www.discgolf.co.nz. I'm not sure if I'm ready for this kind of thing, especially as he has mentioned I shall have to pose in his own home studio in my birthday suit with nothing but three mini discs. But he is kinda cute...

Harcourt Park, Upper Hutt - 9 baskets 18 Tees. A National Tour course.

Great use of a small park. The two tees for each basket works real well; pretty much 1 through 9 is quite different from 10 through 18. A great course to introduce someone to the game for the first time. This course is a lot more about placement than length, someone with a medium drive but good accuracy should be able to compete with a long driver.
Special acknowledgement should go out to Mark Dakiv, the fine young Canadian who has lived in New Zealand for some time (and travelled back to Canada to take his own National title) and spent many hours lobbying the local council and securing the support of local residents and schools to make this Disc Golf Park a reality. Mark is overseas again and Dylan Cooper is doing a sterling job keeping up the profile of the game. He's always keen for a round so why don't you when you know you'll be in town...

The Faultline Fury is now an annual tournament with a fabulous trophy.

The man to thank for it all
Harcourt Disc Golf Park's creator Mark 'Knuckles' Dakiv.

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