The finishing touches have only just been put on Blenheim’s first disc golf course, but it already has plenty of regulars.
The nine ‘hole’ course next to the River Taylor came out on a flyer towards the end of last year when the targets – which catch the discs – were laid out, but now the artificial turf ‘tees’ have come down to complete the 833. -course of the meter.
Like golf, the disc version (because they’re discs, not Frisbees) shares terms like “birdie” and “ace”, and each hole is assigned a “par”. All holes on the Blenheim course are par 3 except for the par-4 ninth.
A Thing journalist took to the fairways last week to find out more about what Chris Corbyn of Marlborough Disc Golf calls ‘the fastest growing sport in the world’.
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Hole 1, ‘Home away from home’.
The types of discs used in disc golf vary depending on the type of shot you are making, with some being slightly thicker and heavier than others. Corbyn gave me a driver, a fairway driver, a mid-range and of course a putter to use for the afternoon.
To get some initial distance off the tee, I selected my driver, which was the thinnest and lightest disc of the bunch.
My very first disc golf pitch went pretty much as expected; straight in the air and far to the side, but I always blamed the wind. I finished the first hole 5 over par.
The artificial turf “tees” were finally completed at the end of March, although the specially designed targets that caught the discs were installed in November 2021.
Hole 2, ‘wild side’.
It is the shortest hole in the park at 57m. It was probably too early to talk about massive improvement, but I managed to double the average score this time and finished 3 over par.
Hole 3, ‘Gully of glory’.
The third hole was indeed a ravine, and required me to skillfully cascade my disc between two rows of trees. Although I was up to the task, my weapon of choice disagreed and decided to hover far to the left. I had to go around the trees rather than straight ahead which cost my account. Another 3 over par.
Hole 4, ‘wild side II’.
I got an “OB” or “out of bounds” as my drive veered off the public walkway, but luckily no jogger was around. This added an extra point to my score of 4 over par.
Corbyn said watching over the public and making sure it was completely safe to throw was paramount in the sport as “the majority of courses across the country are located in multi-purpose parks”.
Hole 5, ‘Oh so signature hole’.
I had to be careful not to overturn on this hole, because right behind the target was a steep slope that led down to the edge of the river. I was pretty happy with 3 above par on this one.
Hole 6, ‘Let’s rock’.
Spoiler alert; I got my best score of the day on this hole, a 2 over par. I was still much, much worse than Corbyn.
Hole 7, ‘Treehuggers’.
I quickly saw that this hole was named after him, as Corbyn and I stuck our discs in one of the hole’s infamous trees. His record was easy to get, unlike mine.
Luckily, it turned out that Corbyn was also a skilled rock thrower, which was obviously due to a background in the sport of object throwing.
My disc finally fell off the tree after at least a dozen direct hits, and the game continued. Another 3 over par.
Hole 8, ‘Back Pedal’.
After learning how to have a good run, I was much more confident in my discus throwing abilities.
Although I needed a little “more power” in my shot, Corbyn said my first shot at hole 8 was “good”, and I meant it too.
I felt cheated with a score of 3 above par for this one, but at least I was consistent.
Hole 9, ‘Driving range’.
Dun, dun, dun – this is the only par 4 on the course. I couldn’t even see the target from the tee, as it was 160m away.
But, after 3 throws, I was much closer than expected and Corbyn assured me that I had improved “significantly” over the last hour.
That feeling disappeared as soon as I switched to my putter. After missing the basket 3 times at close range, I was overwhelmed with a sense of frustration that I had only felt in mini golf. I came away with a 4 above.
I finished the afternoon on 30 over. Corbyn said his best score on the Taylor River course was 6 under par.
“The learning curve is so shallow that you constantly feel like you’re improving every time you play,” he said.
People interested in buying records from Blenheim can contact Corbyn via the DiscShop Blenheim Facebook page. Marlborough Disc Golf League days are on Sundays, and Corbyn also sells records there. Alternatively, there are several online retailers.