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  • Writer's pictureChris Davies. Edited by Martin Galley

Vortica launches NZ’s newest Disc Golf Course: Lake Tekapo

Updated: Jun 24, 2020

At the crack of dawn two parties set forth from Christchurch and Wanaka to install the new course’s basket receivers, in anticipation of the RPM Helix baskets arriving by truck on Thursday morning, on a large pallet weighing just over half a ton.

It’s amazing what you can fit into an old 911: a full-length permanent basket pole to align the receivers with, a post hole borer, a Slammer – an NZ invention, basically a very heavy slide hammer with a hexagonal cutting blade, plus 18 basket receivers and a bunch of other stuff besides.

Lake Tekapo, centre of image. The colours are not enhanced.
Lake Tekapo, centre of image. The colours are not enhanced.

So, I hit the road with high spirits, a loaded car, and some of NZ’s best twisty bits in the 250 klick journey ahead. I timed it almost perfectly arriving 2 minutes after the Wanaka crew, consisting of Vortica stalwart Andy Klun, Martin, and Vortica’s newest sponsored player, Grand Master Dom “Silver Fox” Hayden.

Don’t ask me how Vortica ended up sponsoring my old arch-rival. I must be nuts! :P

Dom (left) and Andy, making easy work of the holes on the Family 9.
Dom (left) and Andy, working on the Family 9.

Martin and I stomped off with spray paint in hand, and a pile of receivers, marking out the exact locations for tees and baskets for both 9-basket loops, leaving Dom and Andy to lug the heavy stuff, dig the holes and concrete the receivers into place.

My ancient post-hole digger made ultra-fast work of the “Family 9” holes, and I happily departed after lunch, heading back to Christchurch.

Sadly, moving along just a few hundred metres to the eastern end of the lake was not so easy, with the holes for the “Advanced 9” being mostly rocks and not much soil. The going was so tough that a Slammer actually broke, something that is almost impossible to comprehend. If you have ever seen or used a Slammer, you know what I am talking about.

So, when I was just 100 klicks from Christchurch, Martin made a desperate call to me, to return with my Slammer, as there were none available in Tekapo and Twizel Hardware had just sold out. I reluctantly turned around, and ended up meeting Martin just a little short of Fairlie. I hasten to add that the broken slammer had been abused for many years, doing the hardest of tasks - and it is being repaired under warranty.

Now, an old 911 is fun to drive, for sure, but challenging when completing 764 klicks, in the rain, in a car with one working heat vent and one working cold vent, and with windows that howl at ear-piercing volumes above 70mph requiring one window to be open an inch – well, that isn’t so much fun. Especially when your feet are freezing, and you have to wrap your legs in a jacket to try to keep warm.

But hey – I got to drive the twisty bits between Geraldine and Fairlie a total of four times in one day – and those roads are an awful lot of fun, in the wet, in a tail-happy 50 year old Porsche. :D

Basket 7 on the Family 9
Basket 7 on the Family 9

Suitably re-armed, the gents in Tekapo battled the glacial moraine and lake sediment until late in the evening and were up first thing to finally finish the concreting of all the sleeves by 2 pm Thursday.

Thankfully at 6 am on Thursday morning the baskets duly arrived and then began the process of unpacking and trailering the baskets, to get them down to the reserve.

Basket 5 on the Advanced 9
Basket 5 on the Advanced 9

At around 32 kilograms each, they are not light, but they do sit lightly in the environment, as the shiny new galvanising surface quickly fades out to a grey colour very sympathetic to the broken schist mountains which pierce the big skies of beautiful Lake Tekapo.

They all slid into place eventually, and the teepads are being installed for the Family 9 in the next few weeks if all goes to plan.

We’d like to take the opportunity to thank Billy Kerr from Tekapo Regional Park who was a major driving force in this project. For their support and funding for this most gorgeous of disc golfing locations, right next to the main highway.

We hope you will take time out to enjoy NZ’s newest disc golf course the next time you are travelling through the MacKenzie Country, Big Sky Country, Disc Golf Country!

With the addition of Lake Tekapo, the South Island of New Zealand now has 13 basketed Disc Golf Courses, with Vortica being involved in 8 of them to date.

So, only 192 more Vortica courses to go then!

 Basket 5 on the Family 9
Basket 5 on the Family 9

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