Champ wants to slip discs into city park
On Terry Pratchett’s Discworld it sort of makes sense that a game called disc golf would exist.
When you are three times New Zealand women’s disc golf champion, it makes even better sense that the game exists right here, right now.
Not only women’s champ for the last three years, but Gemma Sullivan is a member of the first New Zealand disc golf team to be sent to a world championships. The six player ‘‘black discs’’ (kidding – they have no such name) are off to compete in Vancouver, Canada in August.
Gemma is fundraising for the trip, and selling raffle tickets for a prize pack that is on display where she works in the Wattyl Valspar paint supplies store on the corner of Campbell and Walding St.
The shop is also where she’s known to her workmates as ‘‘Gemma Ko’’.
The metal sculpted thing with chains set up nearby is a disc golf hole or target. Examples of the three different weighted and edged discs used to play the game – a driver for distance, a midrange ‘‘iron’’, and a smaller rounded edge putter, are also displayed.
‘‘It’s just the same as golf, only we use discs.’’ Players even yell ‘‘Fore!’’. The game in some form or other has been around since 1926, but got a reboot in the 60s when the frisbee flying disc came along. It is still known as frisbee golf, and has been featured on SkySports and Prime’s The Crowd Goes Wild.
‘‘It’s the second fastest growing game in the world and it’s really easy to get hooked on.’’
There’s even a bid to see disc golf included in the Commonwealth Games.
It was Gemma’s father who got her and her brother Jackson playing when she was aged about 12. Her father still competes; her mum caddies. ‘‘It’s a great scenic walk.’’ So keen is the 25-year-old Kiwi ‘Game of Throwns’ queen to see the all-ages family-friendly pastime achieve greater profile, she has submitted a comprehensive proposal to the City Council to set up a permanent eight hectare, 18-hole course, one she and her brother would design, as part of the development of the Linklater Block.
The nearest courses for Gemma to practise on are in Upper Hutt and Petone.
‘‘It’s huge in Queenstown - where there are two courses. Everywhere people there are walking around with frisbees.
‘‘If there was a course in town,’’ she says, ‘‘I would be spending all my spare time on it.’’
‘‘‘It’s the second fastest growing game in the world and it’s really easy to get hooked on.’’ – Gemma Sullivan
Aiming for the disc golf world champs in Canada, New Zealand women’s champion Gemma ‘‘Ko’’ Sullivan wants to set up a course in the Linklater Block