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Queensland, beautiful one day, two brand new courses the next

Disc golf in Queensland is about to change in a big way. We had a chat with Queensland Disc Golf president Aaron Moreton about the huge weekend they’ve got coming up in Brisbane.

Picture – Bradley Adams

So this weekend might just be the biggest weekend in Queensland Disc Golf history. Tell us about what is happening.

We are celebrating the completion of two new disc golf courses in the Brisbane City Council catchment (BCC). A 12-hole course in Rocklea and an 18-hole course in Carindale. Both courses with large teepads and signage. No doubt it will be a weekend that we will look back on with a smile.

Take us back to the beginnings of the new courses. How did the process start?

Two courses, two completely different stories…

The Rocklea course had been in the pipeline for some time. We were hoping to upgrade the existing course at Fehlberg Park, Yeronga, which had been our home ground for 13 years. Council however had flagged that course as unsafe due to population growth and increased foot traffic. As sad as it was, we did acknowledge this growing concern. Simply put, Fehlberg Park was to be removed entirely once we identified a suitable replacement location. After a bit of ‘back & forth’ we ended up with a 12-hole course in a beautiful park only 5kms away.

“Strike while the iron is hot”…..

During the final design stages at Rocklea I received a phone call from a lady at Brisbane City Council. She worked in a different department with a different purpose – to activate parks in Brisbane to promote a healthy lifestyle. She had heard of me through her dealings with others at BCC who were involved with the Rocklea course. I’ll never forget that first conversation with her, “we might want to install another course or two, could you meet me to explain what exactly Disc Golf is”. At that point in time she knew nothing about our sport, but after a 15 minute meeting with me at Yeronga, she was onboard.

The process of getting a disc golf course in the ground is never smooth. What hurdles did you hit on the way?

Obviously COVID-19 played its part and at one stage threatened to derail the Carindale course entirely.
As expected there were numerous ‘robust’ conversations around public safety, course design, flora and fauna protection, hardware quality and available space. Hurdles that were slowly overcome but took considerable patience and effort.
Most recently we have had complaints from residents – people by nature are resistant to change.
On the other hand, we have had complaints from residents that the existing course at Yeronga is being removed – sometimes you can’t win!

What lessons can you share for other people who are keen to get courses developed in their area, in how to overcome some of the common hurdles?

If you plan to go down this path put your marathon shoes on, this ain’t a sprint. I have been ‘running’ for some 200+ hours and can only just see the finish line. My tips include:

Communicate professionally in all its forms – you and the sport will be judged on your early interactions

Stay positive and pivot as needed – a ‘no’ today doesn’t mean a ‘no’ tomorrow

Be reliable – no one likes having their time wasted

Show flexibility and open-mindedness – you’re probably not going to get everything exactly how you had originally envisioned

Respect the process – slow progress is better than no progress

Respect the people – and there may be a lot of them to respect!

Patience is critical – even the slowest stream can cut through rock over time

Diplomacy is really important. Smile and say thanks – people are more likely to help us if we show gratitude

Oh, and learn to explain what Disc Golf is in under 20 seconds – you will be explaining it more than once.

What personal lessons did you take out of this long process? What would you do differently next time?

As it stands, I am proud of the outcomes I have achieved. Some things I can control, and other things I can’t. Where possible, I have gotten what we wanted.
If I had my time over I would like to get everyone in the same room at the same time so we can iron out all potential issues from the start – easier said than done though!

What overall attitude, or spirit, does the sport need, particularly in how we approach local government to tell them about the sport?

I think as a collective we are quick to sell the sport, but slow to sell the benefits. We must not forget that 99% of people do not know what our sport is. Nor do they care about learning about it. So, we should inform them of what our sport can ‘give’, rather than what we ‘deserve’.

What do you think the two new courses mean for disc golf in Queensland? How will they help the game develop?

Massive would be an understatement. The sport is already booming locally, and these new courses will only add fuel to the fire. I dream of 1000 regular players within 12 months across South-east QLD.

What is the feeling for you now? Having been the point-man for the development of these courses and having been through the ups and downs of getting them in the ground.

Initially when I heard they were going in it was excitement. But as I have had time to reflect and dealing with delays due to the pandemic it is more relief.

I’m sure you’ve had some help in all of this too. Who would you like to thank for that support?

Three key areas of thanks:

The Councillors who bought into the sport and my vision. Without their approval the courses would not proceed.

Internal BCC employees, namely Sarah and Dean for being the voice of Disc Golf within the council chambers.

Bruce McNaughton and Stephen Kearney. My go-to minds throughout the journey.

For more information, go to Queensland Disc Golf

2020 Australian Disc Golf Championships Cancelled

After a few long chats with the ADGC Tournament Directors from Geelong Disc Golf, we’ve reached a mutual decision to cancel the 2020 Australian disc golf championships. Once the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the restrictions followed, it was clear that, if it were to run at all, the nationals would be severely impacted: there’d be a much smaller field, no (or very few) interstate players, no major sponsors, none of the communal gathering of disc golfers that have come to symbolise the nationals, and very little connection with the Inverleigh community.

This last issue became the tipping point for the decision. For the Geelong Disc Golf Club and Inverleigh, it would have been an opportunity missed. One that wouldn’t come around again for at least seven years. We reached a point where we feel that disc golf in Australia would be better served by running an alternate event this November and holding the next Australian championships in 2021 in Inverleigh.

Planning is now underway for a nation-wide event involving tournaments run in different places across the country simultaneously. We will not be crowning any Australian Champions in 2020, but we’ll still have a day that celebrates our sport.

COVID-safe Return to Play Guidelines

Effective: May 28th 2020                                                     

All Australian disc golf competitions including local leagues and national tour events have been cancelled since March. However, as government restrictions on participation in recreation and sport are currently easing, it is now time to prepare for the resumption of competition.

Given that Disc Golf is a non-contact sport played outdoors using a player’s discs and that play occurs in small groups of 3-5 players per hole, these guidelines outline the steps needed to start leagues and tournaments again. As each state is easing restrictions at a different rate, the main requirement is that events are run in accordance with local government orders.

Sanctioning the event

ADG is considering application for event sanctioning in areas where restrictions have been eased to allow sport to resume. Sanctioning will not be approved until restrictions are lifted in the area the event is to be held. TDs wishing to run an event should follow the steps outlined in the Checklist for TDs in order to have their event sanctioned. Where sanctioning is provided for an event it is important to still be prepared to respond to changes in your area due to the need to manage a local outbreak. The event proceeding will depend on restrictions in place on the day of the event.  

Requirements for Participation

Players, officials and spectators must not attend an event if they:

  • have a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19
  • have been in contact with a known or suspected case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
  • have been told to self-isolate by a medical authority
  • are unwell or had any flu-like symptoms in the last 14 days.

Participants must be:

  • ADG members with up to date contact details recorded.
  • willing to work with contact tracers should they be diagnosed with COVID-19 following the event.

Before attending the event, participants should assess their own risk considering their age, medical conditions, situation and contacts.

Strategies to minimise the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19

The following strategies are to be followed by participants (players, officials and spectators) at the event. TDs can also download our social distancing rules for disc golf and distribute this to all participants prior to the event.

  • Maintain group size below limits set by State Government directives. This includes before, during and after play.
  • Take a “get in – play – get out” approach
  • Practice social distancing of 1.5 m
  • Wash or sanitise hands on arrival and departure from event.
  • Keep a record of who you play with.
  • Minimise physical contact with the Disc Golf Basket
  • Avoid touching other participants equipment including but not limited to discs, minis, towels, drinks, food, stools, bags or prams (sorry, carts)
  • Remove your disc from the basket prior to other players holing out.
  • Ensure tee box is clear before entering.
  • Follow hygiene measures- cover mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with tissue or elbow, wash hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer, avoid touching your face, avoid touching others eg no high fives and avoid touching others things.
  • Carry your own hand sanitiser, water and food. Public water fountains and shared water coolers should not be available.
  • Check event website or facebook site to keep up to date on how the event will run
  • Review PDGA COVID recommendations and best practices.

Running COVID-Safe event

Some changes are needed to the way events are run to ensure they are safe.

  • TD to retain a record of names and contact details of all participants (players, officials and spectators), including player groupings eg via Disc golf metrix.
  • TD to have hand sanitizer available for players to use when they arrive and prior to leaving.
  • Use Tee-times, flex start or ‘go straight to your hole’ shotgun starts to avoid entrants gathering.
  • Avoid gatherings of participants
    • Move players meetings to an online format (eg facebook live) where practicable.
    • Post tee times, hole assignments and scores online
    • Move award ceremony to an online format where practicable.
  • Use electronic scoring systems.
  • Collect payment and registrations online
  • Consider using electronic vouchers as prizes and doing payouts by electronic transfer.
  • Ensure any toilet facilities have soap or sanitizer available.
  • Minimise spectator numbers
  • Align with PDGA COVID recommendations and best practices, unless the State Government is more onerous.
  • Communicate with players about how the event will run, using the event website, facebook page or mailing lists. TD’s may wish to use our social distancing rules of play to spread this message.

As a self-refereed sport disc golfers are experienced at knowing the rules and playing by them. We expect these new steps to be upheld in the same way in order to protect our diverse community.

Please contact us at if you have any questions.