Benchmark is set at titles
DISC GOLF: Fifty disc golfers from four states and four countries travelled to the Granite Mountain disc golf course near Applethorpe last weekend for a Queensland Championship tournament that set new benchmarks in the growing sport.
It was the first Queensland titles held outside the Brisbane metropolitan area and the largest ever field for the event.
"It's been our dream to host the Queensland Championship ever since we put the course in four years ago,” course owner Nathan Lee said.
"Some of the disc golf community thought that it'd be a tough battle to encourage players to travel three hours out of Brisbane,” he said.
"But eventually the Brisbane guys realised that what time they spent in journeying out here was more than paid back with the convenience of having everything close and in-house when they arrived.
"We persisted, and it's paid off.”
Lee estimates that the visiting players and their families would have spent $25,000 in the region over the weekend.
The sport is similar to golf, played over a course of 18 holes, with competitors throwing frisbee-like discs distances of up to 150m, aiming for a metal basket with hanging chains.
Disc golf participation has been growing steadily worldwide in the last 10 years and is verging on being a mainstream sport in countries like Finland.
Australia has gone from a handful of courses to more than 60 in the past decade.
Visiting New Zealand professional Simon Feasey was impressed with the hilly and technical Granite Mountain Course.
"It has a whole different demand to it than wide open courses,” he said.
"You need a greater variety of shots to succeed here.”
It was Brisbane player Darnley Pearson however, who triumphed at the two-day event, claiming his first Queensland title and his first Australian A-Tier Tour win.
"You can't win in one hole on a course like this,” Pearson said before the final. "But you sure can lose it in one.”
This prediction proved apt as the three throw lead held by US player Aaron Fain evaporated with seven holes to play after an errant drive.
Pearson then played steadily to pull away and win by three throws.