The Australian Disc Golf Championships in Brisbane were held over the weekend of the 15th-17th of November. This created a great opportunity for the Disc Golf community in Brisbane to participate and run a number of clinics with schools and community groups prior to the event.
Jay Reading and Des Reading were in attendance from America, they have made a living from promoting Disc Golf to younger audiences for many years now. Jay is a 4x Putting world champion, and 4x Disc Golf Doubles World Champion, Des is a 3x Women’s World Champion and 3x United States Champion.
This is the first of a 2 part story written by Brisbane’s very own Nate Lee and his experiences of being involved in the Educational Disc Golf Experience, or EDGE as it is otherwise known.
Less than two months before and just over 100 meters away from where the final EDGE event would take place, I stood with two of the most influential people in Australian Disc Golf, Chris Finn and Bryan Motley. It was decided that if the PDGA was willing to back our plans to grow the sport in South-East Queensland, then our first step would involve hosting Jay and Des Reading along with their EDGE clinics that had proven a success two years prior in Tasmania.
Here was I thinking that I was just there to give Motley a ride into town.
After much work and submission of a Marco Polo PDGA grant, a few weeks later we had our answer. The PDGA had approved our application, Jay and Des were booked to come to Australia, and the planning began. Over the course of one weekend, a list of schools located next to both current and proposed courses was generated.
As soon as the clock ticked over to 9am the following Monday morning I dialled the first school eager to promote the heck out of Disc Golf and EDGE.
Little did I realise, that Monday marked the first day of school holidays….
The original 7 week window to work with the schools and organise the schedule had just been trimmed to 5 weeks. Now if anyone has ever dealt with schools on any level, asking them to schedule an event they have never heard of, featuring a sport they have never heard of, featuring two stars they had…you guessed it…never heard of, was already challenging enough. Asking them to do so in a mere 5 weeks time, was a tough ask.
The list we had generated meant that we never expected to visit every school, or even half of them. We only needed 1-2 schools a day for the duration of the clinics, ending with 4 schools at the final event, the Inter-school event hosted by Moreton Bay Council.
One by one the schools starting coming on board, first with emails, then with phone calls, and more emails and more calls. Soon enough, schools in Logan, Ipswich, Brisbane and Moreton were lined up and the schedule was looking good. We wanted to achieve as much as could though, and whilst good is a start, we wanted GREAT.
So with an idea from left field, I approached Jay. One of those ideas that I knew he would either love or hate…and he FREAKIN’ LOVED IT! Roma, a small country town, 6 hours west of Brisbane has a disc golf course. This was my chance to make up for a previous event I had to cancel in the town, and the council extended an invitation for us to come immediately. The council put us in touch with the head of PE at the main school, and right away they were on board for a Friday afternoon clinic. The council was excited to promote a public event at the course the following day.
All of a sudden, the last minute addition to our plans became the biggest and best part… Jay and Des in the outback!
The schedule for the clinics was nearly complete and the Readings were only a few weeks away, but there was still two days just before we left for Roma that we needed to organise. We were having trouble in getting significant interest from the Logan area, so a decision was made to roll both events in Logan into one day. That way we could plan something else for the day before Roma, or heaven forbid take a rest day. Perhaps resting might have been wiser in hindsight, but where is the fun in that!
Another inspired idea came to me, as a few months earlier I had spoken to a New Zealand Disc Golfer named Andy. He had set up shop (literally) in Kooralbyn, and was looking to promote and grow Disc Golf in the town. Kooralbyn is located in the Gold Coast hinterland, about 90 minutes west of Surfers Paradise. Kooralbyn is primarily known as the site of what many believed to be the best Golf Resort in Australia (Ball Golf), however this had been closed for a number of years now.
So after a couple of days correspondence, Andy had lined up two schools, lunch and a block of land to start planning a brand new 18 hole Disc Golf course on.
Rest, who needs rest!
So, we had a schedule that involved schools in many different areas, now all we needed was a Yeti…and a Des-troyer!
To be continued…
Written by: Nate Lee