About Vortica Disc Golf
Vortica is Martin “Meerkat” Galley of Wanaka (PDGA 60364), and Chris “Dingo” Davies (PDGA 58184) of Christchurch, as well as a lot of friends and associates who do things for us and with us, up and down the length of New Zealand.
Both Martin and Chris have had other Jungle of Fame* animal names over the years, and both suffer from Multiple Animal Disorder, or MAD, for short. They are also both PDGA sanctioned Tournament Directors, right handed, and throw backhand, predominantly.
Both Vortica partners also serve as directors on the board of New Zealand Disc Golf - the governing body in NZ. Martin served a total of five years as National Tour Director beginning early 2016, while Chris was elected in October 2020 as Communications Director. Both partners are certified PDGA Rules Officials.
Vortica was formed primarily to grow the game in New Zealand, and because we love golf discs so much, we quite liked the idea of having a few thousand to choose from. :)
Initially, the company was formed as a way to cut the price of discs for us and our friends, because buying low volumes, and paying normal shipping rates made the price of discs in NZ outrageous as far as we were concerned.
All the profits are returned directly to the sport, or go back to the company. We return significant portions of our revenue to disc golf by sponsoring events all over the South Island, the Nationals, our Worlds Teams, and now from 2017, individual players of remarkable talent and character.
Vortica has close ties with New Zealand’s only golf disc manufacturer RPM, and are the South Island Master Agents for RPM Discs, and RPM Helix baskets. Simon Feasey is one of our favourite people, and we love his products, having had a powerful influence on the appearance of modern RPM golf discs.
Chris was introduced to “Frisbee Golf” using Ultimate Frisbees waaaay back in late 1988, by some of his ski instructor buddies who played in the Queenstown Gardens. “We had no idea it was an actual sport, and we had some very strange rules and targets back then. You had to land on a park bench, and stay there, or hit a bronze plaque – and if you hit a duck, you got to take a stroke off!”
“It wasn’t until James Smithells arrived in 1993 with honest-to-goodness golf discs that we discovered Disc Golf was an actual thing. We were instantly hooked. Did I mention we really sucked?”
The following year, James, Chris, Andy Cooper and Dave Laurent installed New Zealand’s first official disc golf course, in Queenstown Gardens. Chris’s course tour video is available here:
In 1994 Chris introduced his new British best friend Martin Galley to disc golf in Queenstown, and a life-long friendship began.
Chris won the Open and Overall at the Queenstown Classic in 1997, his only NZ National Tour victory, but it was the first of many Masters and Grand Masters wins since.
Martin moved away, and with some new friends in Twizel, helped to install a new course there, in the green belt adjacent State Highway 1.
In 2000, Chris moved to Christchurch, and played object disc golf for many years until the tragic death of his close friend Peter “Coyote” Crowther, who had been the driving force in Christchurch Disc Golf – hosting in combination with Mario Cerniar, the Christchurch Fling every year, for many years. Chris attempted to pick where Pete left off, and shortly before Pete’s disappearance in June 2013, was approached by the Freemasons of Christchurch, to install a course in Jellie Park, which he duly did, along with the help of local Christchurch players . Since then, Chris has held the annual Peter Crowther Memorial tournament, which is part of the NZDG Tour each year.
The original Christchurch Fling has since been resurrected by local player David Rose.
In 2015 Chris completed the design for Jellie Park, and the course was installed in may of that year. Jellie Park is not the most-played DGC in the southern hemisphere according to uDisc.
In 2016, a 9-basket DGC design by Martin was installed in Caroline Bay in Timaru, south of Christchurch.
Early that same year, Chris invented the Mobius Line Pulling Machine, which has been praised by Jay “Yeti” Reading as the best thing he’s ever seen for developing a straight pull.
In early 2017 Chris was approached by the Youth Alive Trust, to install a DGC in Rawhiti Domain in New Brighton, a lower socio-economic area, which was devastated by the Christchurch earthquakes. In 2021 Vortica Associate Paddy Caffell has taken on board the responsibility of raising funds for the installation (via the New Brighton Police) and to get permission from the local commnity board to install it.
Martin was instantly addicted to disc golf when he first played with Chris back in 1996, and since that time, his interest has become a driving passion. Not content with installing Twizel’s DGC when he arrived there, he was instrumental in forming the Wanaka Disc Golf Club in 2011 and the subsequent design and installation of the brilliant and popular Lismore Park disc golf course, when Vortica loaned money for baskets to the club.
Since that time Martin has established and run two annual National Tour Events: ‘The Lords And Ladies Of Lismore’, and more recently ‘Moonbase’ in Twizel. He was co-organiser of the massively successful 2017 and 2021 NZ National Champs at Paradise, spending over 1,000 hours on each project.
Martin played in the NZDG Tour in both islands very keenly for a few years in the early 2010s, and began to get an inkling of where Disc Golf was heading.
As a result, in 2012 he formed Vortica Disc Golf. Or Vorticasport as it was known.
In 2017 Martin along with the Wanaka club gained permission and full funding to install the 9-hole course at Eely Point, less than a kilometre from Lismore Park.
In 2020, uDisc stats showed that over 41% of all disc golf rounds played in NZ were on courses designed by Vortica, or on courses we had a hand in.
If you made it this far, it should be fairly obvious by now that we’re absolutely mad about disc golf, and we give a lot to the sport that provides us so much joy, and passion, and relaxation, and camaraderie.
We are passionate, dedicated, and long-time friends of disc golf in New Zealand, and we look forward to becoming friends with you in the future.
Thanks for your time,
Chris & Martin
* When you are inducted into the Jungle of Fame during the annual ceremony at Paradise, you will adopt your own spirit animal, and from thence forth, you shall be known by your Jungle Of Fame name. Below is a disc commemorating some of the famous animals on the 2017 Nationals disc.