In which I give you the lowdown of frisbee golf in Queenstown
A surprisingly popular sport in Queenstown, the frisbee golf course can be found in Queenstown Gardens, just minutes away from the centre of town. There’s not that many rules that I know of or have played with and basically, if you understand the game of golf, this is much the same except with a frisbee.
However if you don’t know the aim of golf, I’ll explain the rules for frisbee golf here:
The course has a “par” score – this is the mean amount of throws you should complete the course in. Each hole (which is actually a basket in frisbee golf to catch the frisbees in), has its own par score which you’ll find at the beginning. For example, you’re playing a par 3 hole, you have 3 throws to get the frisbee in the basket to make a par score; if you do more throws, say 4, then this would mean your score would be 1 over par, basically, one more throw than the mean score.
To win, you need to have the lowest score after 18 holes, simple!
Now, a handy step-by-step instruction guide so you can get your first ever game of frisbee golf underway!
1) Get hold of a frisbee
In Queenstown you can grab your hand on a simple frisbee in pretty much all of the shops from NZ$10. You could also hire one, but it’s almost cheaper to just buy one outright. “Professional” frisbees (yes, there is such a thing) cost from around NZ$25 and are usually slightly weightier than anything you might throw for your dog or get free in advertising. They fly pretty well however once you’ve got your arm in!
2) Make your way to the start of the course
Queenstown is so into frisbee golf that it’s hard to miss the beginning of the course. It’s well sign posted and gives you a map and run down of where the course goes. It briefly outlines some safety rules, as obviously there are many people walking around in the park who don’t especially want to be hit by a wayward frisbee!
If ever you’re in doubt on the course however, there’s usually loads of people to ask for help and everyone’s really friendly.
3) Make your way to your first tee
The tees are really easy to spot. They’re well marked with concrete slabs to stand on whilst you throw. At each tee, there is the par information for that hole, as well as a pictorial description of where the frisbee basket is, so you can aim accordingly. There are always fewer trees on the picture than there are on the actual course, however!
4) Play to the basket
Next you just need to throw the frisbee! To be honest, there is probably some skill and power needed, but I lack both. It is very fun however and very satisfying when you *eventually* get your frisbee in the basket for the first time.
5) Make sure to keep your own score
I’m hopeless with numbers, but you need to be on the ball to make sure you keep your score correctly. Remember, anything more than the par will be “over par” and if you’re lucky enough to get a par or even a birdie on a hole (1 shot under par) then you’re doing well!
Some of the tees have further information on them, so you need to keep an eye out for that, as well as passers-by oblivious to your antics with a flying disc!
6) Carry on with your round
There are 18 holes so you need to be prepared to play them all. Each has its own set of obstacles for you to negotiate, usually a lot of trees, so don’t be surprised if your frisbee hits trees quite a few times.
7) Enjoy the scenery
Queenstown is ridiculously stunning. Hole 9 finishes at the furthest point away from the town centre and looks straight out on Lake Wakatipu and Cecil’s Peak. Not a bad view, eh?
8) Relax and get the frisbee into the basket by any means necessary
Frisbee golf can ultimately be a frustrating game, just like any sport. You’ll make great shots without trying then all of a sudden blow it in one go. The most annoying is when you hit the basket but the frisbee doesn’t go in – as demonstrated below, you need to keep a cool head even to make the short distance!
9) Finish the round with a smile on your face and maybe even treat yourself to a nice beer afterwards!
10) Repeat the above as necessary/if light allows
Queenstown frisbee golf is really fun and I’m glad I’ve had the chance to experience something new. The round here takes up to an hour and a half, although that’s with two people playing with a fairly low skill level. I’ve seen some people go and just blitz holes so quickly, so they may even play 2 or 3 rounds at a time!
Bennett’s top tips for a great game of frisbee golf:
- Don’t carry a big bag with you. All you need is your frisbee (and an opponent!) as you’re going to be doing a lot of walking.
- It’s perfectly acceptable to take a couple of beers with you on your round, however make sure you dispose of them appropriately – littering is NOT cool
- Always check if there are random people walking over the course before you throw – there are so many tourists in Queenstown who have no idea that there’s frisbee golf going on, better take care of them!
- Don’t play under pressure. If there are people who look better than you waiting to play, let them play in front of you.
- Above all, enjoy it! No-one is fantastic on the first go, or their second, or their tenth if you’re like me. Just enjoy the chance to be outside in the glorious Queenstown scenery.