Last weekend 50 very lucky people got to play the newest and perhaps the best disc golf course in New Zealand; Waiora Scout Camp in the Silverstream Valley tucked into the native bush in the hills just west of Dunedin city.
And WOW – what a weekend it was. I suspect many players now have a new favourite DGC on the National Tour – Hole 8 notwithstanding!
First off, a resounding shout out to the incredible Dunedin crew, lead by Tom MacKay. Everyone put in a staggering amount of work to prepare and install the temporary course for the event. They are to be congratulated most sincerely for the outstanding course design, and the unmatched venue.
Waiora Scout Camp was created in 1948, and 70 years of work has gone into making it the simply amazing place it is today. Carved straight out of the Manuka and Kanuka bush, with a beautiful river running through it, many holes are reminiscent of famous holes and courses you have seen online.
The fairways are fair, and the rough is… very rough indeed! And walking up some of the fairways, I thought to myself, “It just doesn’t get any better than this”.
With wood pigeons, Tui, Morepork, Bellbirds, Piwakawaka, and small German owls, the woods are alive with birds, and the hum of bees harvesting Manuka nectar is ever-present when the sun is out. Lovely forest fragrances waft across the course.
The fairways are often beautifully shaded in the wooded sections, and in the open areas, the artificial and natural OB requires a player properly strategise for good results.
With brutal rough, and several elevated teepads, the chances of going wrong are very high indeed. In many ways it reminds me of Simon Feasey’s Bella Rakha; it has fantastic challenges for all levels of players, while still being accessible (if rather difficult) for the less skilled player.
It is the type of course, which if it were permanent, would become a disc golf Mecca in New Zealand as no player could resist the temptation to try to get revenge on the course, which will do unto you, many things you did not want to happen.
I can’t recommend next year’s event highly enough. Not only is this location better than Paradise; the course is better, the management much more friendly, the accommodation cheaper, and of much higher standard, coupled with excellent facilities.
It seems that TD Tom had only thought this would be a one-time event – but he has been thoroughly disabused of this notion, and he has been told in no uncertain terms that he absolutely must hold the event again. And when he does, you would be crazy to miss it. This year had 50 entrants, and I find it very easy to believe that next year, Tom will have to turn players away.
So, set aside a weekend next year for it, and if you are in the North Island, then I can assure you that will not be disappointed you travelled south for it.
I am really struggling now, to decide if Twizel, or Dunedin is my favourite stop on the National Tour. And it is likely I need to finish this piece in a wishy-washy way, telling you I just can’t make up my mind.
Suffice to say, there is only a very short list of things which could possibly stop me attending next year. On that list are things like “Global thermonuclear war”, “Can’t escape from Her Majesty’s prison” and “Hell Freezing over”.
Vortica sponsored players did well at the event, with yours truly taking the GM win after a crowd-pleasing, 3-basket playoff with arch-rival and good buddy Dom Hayden. Hayley Flintoft took out the Women’s Open division, while Vortica-sponsored TD Tom kicked off the TD’s Curse and maintained his 10th place on the tour, to take 4th overall, with Cameron Hubbard matching me in 5th= overall. I was able to hold 9th on the tour for the year, for the second time.
Congrats to Latitude64-sponsored Ben Wiel-Lake on another NT win, and to Innova-sponsored Hemi Te-Awhitu, whose 2nd place in the Open catapulted him from 8th to 6th on the National Tour. Wanakan Kyle Martin played very well to secure 3rd place.
Full results are found here: http://teepad.org/nz/events/2017/dunedin
Check out Photographer Matt Corbett's Facebook page, with a bunch of other photos he took at the tournament. Thanks a lot for that Matt!