The 12th Annual Queenstown Classic
Queenstown, March 10-11 2007
Click here to drop to the Results | Click here to drop to the Pics
The Queenstown Experience - by Bob Gentil
I love heading south for this event. The anticipation, the flight down, the welcome from James and the Queenstown locals and a chance to catch up with old mates, who like me make this New Zealand Tour event a high priority on the things you must do list.
Our Queenstown virgin for this trip was the one and only Auckland Freaky Stylist Marty de Haas, after a couple of last minute manoeuvrings and a temporary change of name he had managed to make the Friday lunchtime flight for a weekend he’ll never forget. No Sleep Pete had also once again found himself on a sales trip that saw him winding up appointments in Queenstown at 4 O’clock on the Friday afternoon. It’s amazing the way that works out! The other Auckland representative Simon Feasey was also on the same flight south. Bugger!
When we got up to the gardens for an afternoon practice round the Waiheke Island contingent of Paul Cohen [and wife], Nigel Barnwell and Woody Inwood were already playing the course along with 30 or so locals. [It’s great to see how much the Queenstown Gardens course gets used, mind you you’ll have to book a tee time in the not to distant future.]
The St James Apartments are a great place to stay when you’re in Queenstown, fantastic outlook and right in downtown with easy access to the pubs, clubs and eateries and just a short walk to the gardens disc golf course. Thanks to Debbie and David for upgrading the Auckland crew to a two bedroom executive suite, it was much appreciated.
Saturday, 7:00am. Just as No Sleep and Marty are about to rest their wary heads on their pillows, the alarm goes off, it’s time to sort ourselves out for the trip up Lake Wakatipu to Glenorchy and on to Paradise. Sunglasses at 7am were the order of the day. Not to mention something to settle the stomach and the throbbing heads.
The drive up the lake is one of the great 1 hour Alpine scenic trips you can take I reckon, even through dark glasses and slightly blurred vision the boys tell me it’s still spectacular.
After the usual stop for the ‘on the way to Paradise picture’, No Sleep selected a piece of music to put on and turn up once we hit the Beech Forrest and the surreal arrival at Paradise, just to give Marty the total experience. It truly was a great drive in.
The usual suspects were there to meet us, the beaming James Smithells, Regan and Nathan from Queenstown.com, Neil Hardey from Dunedin, the Christchurch rent a crowd including Pete Crowther, the newly married Sammy Neilson, Craig Mc Nab and Dave Sanders and Martin Gulley from Twizel. There was a new crew from Invercargill, Kyle & Philip Murray and Gareth Dyker, and it was great to see some internationals as well, Andreas and Camilla from Sweden who I had done the sell job on in Wellington, and Mel Kunz from Switzerland.
Doubles in the morning got away right on time, Wakatipu time that is, and saw Simon and his partner equalling the course record of 40, pretty to watch, and this coming from his playing partner.
After a break for lunch and the usual disc games, in this case a MAC line, we were in groups of 4 and heading to our starting tees for the competition proper. Round 1 for the tour players, plus Paradise plates and the awesome Dart River Safaris trips were on the line. [If ya going to do a Jetboat ride in the area this one is to me by far the most spectacular.]
As the light dimmed the groups came in with Disc Golf stories to tell and some strange Ultimate player’s game to be played, which saw contestants kneeling in a row bum-on to the opposite team waiting to be hit with a 180 gram disc??????
Simon Feasey surprise! surprise! Had the best score for the Paradise round with your’s truly a couple of shots behind.
As we headed back towards Glenorchy that evening, towing the Swedish couple who had car problems, the boys were feeling a tad the worse for wear. Mind you dinner and a few bevies at the Glenorchy Pub seemed to bring us round. It was a subdued drive back into Queenstown that evening.
We arrived with just enough energy to down a couple of Marty’s legendary ‘Bacardi Marmalade Cocktails’ before hitting the sack.
Sunday and there’s a good crew in the Gardens for 12th annual Helicopter Lines Queenstown Classic. As always the sun is shining and every body is keen to get started. The new baskets are looking a treat and should make things just a little harder, as most of them replace tree targets, some if which were around two metres wide.
After round 1 in the gardens Simon had increased his lead by another 2 shots and by the end of the afternoon he had extended it to 9. Is there no stopping this man? With him turning 40 this year a few of the Open players had tried to encourage him to enter the masters division but he stuck with Open, much to the delight of Marty de Haas who took out the Masters trophy and 4th over all. The Woman’s went to a delighted Camilla Jernberg from Sweden, who incidentally beat half the men as well. The Locals and 13th over all went to Dave Sanders, he’s got skills with an Ultrastar, and the Grand Masters and second over all went to your’s truly.
It was going to be a great crew who took the Helicopter flight the next morning!
Can’t wait till next year!