The New Zealand Disc Golf board sends its members Christmas greetings, and brings you joyous news of the divisional winners of the New Zealand Disc Golf Tour for the 2021 season.
The official presentation of the annual awards will be held at Berhampore, during the National Champs in 2022. The trophies are being sent out now, and the top 16 men and women will receive a commemorative and numbered NZDG Tour keepsake bag tag.
The NZDG Tour attracted a record-breaking 509 players this year. This is especially significant considering the influence of COVID-19 and the fact several Tour events were adversely affected. Past years numbers are shown in graph form below:
The New Zealand Disc Golf Tour continues to grow at a rapid rate, with membership growth of 427% over the past decade. And so each year it becomes more difficult to win individual events, and more difficult to win or defend a title on the Tour. The board is pleased to note female membership is growing strongly at almost 12% of members (59 players) in 2021. Pleasingly, the NZDG Tour has players from four generations regularly competing.
COVID-19 and the NZDG Tour
The board would like to acknowledge the effect COVID-19 has had on the Tour for a second year in succession. It has great sympathy indeed for all those who were unable to compete in Tour events – and for whatever reason. However, the board wishes to express its satisfaction with the outcome of the tour, and extends its unequivocal congratulations on behalf of all its members to our 2021 divisional and award winners. The 2021 NZDG Tour was a collection of 20 highly successful events, spread throughout the year, from one end of New Zealand, to the other, in a year of record attendances. And so this year’s victors have overcome significant competition – just as in every previous year of the NZDG Tour.
Men’s NZDG Tour Winners
Juniors (U18) and Overall: Levi Stout
Open: Jackson Sullivan
Masters (40+): Mikey Yu
Grand Masters (50+): Dom Hayden
Senior Grand Masters (60+):Chris Sinai Legends (70+): James Smithells
NZDG is delighted to see one of our youngest members win the Overall title in 2021. We often say youth is the future, and in 2021 Invercargill’s Levi Stout left us in no doubt of the maxim. Levi’s outstanding performances saw him drop an event of 47.16 after his seven events. Most of us can only dream of such a thing, and yet Levi is a mere 15 years old. The numbers are truly astonishing. In the Open, Auckland’s Jackson Sullivan again showed his dominance over this division, with another convincing Tour title – over 12 points ahead of second place Ben Wiel-Lake from Queenstown. Two familiar names feature in the Masters division; Mikey Yu with his second Masters Tour title on the trot, and Dunediner Tom McKay in second. These fine gentlemen were 3rd and 9th overall on the Tour.
In the Grand Masters, it was Wanaka’s Dom Hayden who took it out, preventing Auckland’s Simon Feasey from taking a 15th (maybe a 16th?) national title. Dom was 20th overall.
For the Senior Grand Masters, Chris Sinai was able to secure yet another outstanding Tour title with this being his fifth consecutive win. Amazingly, Chris secured 28th overall on the 2021 Tour.
Legendary golf course creator and saviour James “Jaguar” Smithells won the Legends division (70+) this year, and because NZDG does not yet have an official Grand Legends division (80+), Monty Westrup, last year’s winner could not prevail despite playing a highly noteworthy four events this year.
Women’s NZDG Tour Winners Open: Liene Krastina
Masters (40+): Liz Moka
Grand Masters (50+): Robyn Agnew
Senior Grand Masters (60+):Jennifer Joynt
Juniors: Abigail Strydom
2021 sees a new entrant onto the Wall of Fame at the NZDG website, with NZDG’s Secretary, Liene Krastina, winning the Women’s Open Tour title. New champion Liene was able to defeat our triple-champion Hayley May Flintoft by just 1.43 points to take the Tour title.
Liz Moka defended her Masters title in style, with runner-up Nicola Stout just 2 places overall, and 4.25 points behind. Women’s Grand Masters was again won by Robyn Agnew, and NZDG notes Robyn’s dedication to the National Tour, with her playing six events in 2021.
Phenomenal long-time supporter and participant of the NZDG Tour Jennifer Joynt won the Women’s Senior Grand Masters Tour, her first national title.
Juniors NZDG Tour Winners
Players 18 and under compete in the Juniors division of the Tour, and this year Levi Stout not only took out the Men’s Junior title, but managed an astonishing overall Tour win, taking the Junior and Overall title. Last year we warned the Open division to watch out for Levi, who was 13th overall in 2020.
Women’s Junior Tour title winner for 2021 is up-and-coming Christchurch player Abigail Strydom, in just her second year appearing on the tour. We hope it is the first of many wins for her.
Most Improved Players
Players climbing up the Tour results each year is not a surprise. But what is a surprise is when a player climbs from two events and 129th to nine events and 7th in the overall rankings, and 5th in Open. In 2021 Ashton Clark of Christchurch showed his clear intentions for the future, and is duly awarded the Most Improved Male Player’s trophy. On the Most Improved Female Player’s side, and also from Christchurch/Otautahi, Stephanie Strydom climbed her way from 169th to 141st overall in 2021. Abigail’s mother, Stephanie climbed from 6th in Women’s Open to 3rd, and her doubling of events played to eight demonstrates her dedication. Congratulations to Stephanie. Matchplay championships Matchplay is often the most enjoyable form of the game, and at the recent NZDG Matchplay Champs held at Inglewood, Trevor Williams (1st), Brian Rawlins (2nd) and Jason Packer (3rd) took the honours, while The Plate (9th) was won by Samuel DenHartog. Jenny Joynt (WSGM) was the only female competing, and won a very laudable 10th place.
Contribution to Disc Golf Award
Each year, the members of NZDG compete for a number of annual trophies based purely on their performance on the Tour. However, there is one award which can’t be won no matter how well you perform: The Contribution To Disc Golf award.
Winning it is one of the most significant awards which can be granted by NZDG. It is the ultimate annual recognition of selfless efforts made throughout the year. Winners of this award can be rightfully proud of their achievements, and are encouraged to continue in their disc golfing endeavours, as it can be won more than once.
In 2021, there were a number of worthy candidates considered by the board. However, it is the actions of a non-member we have chosen to celebrate. In a life-or-death situation at the Taupo Classic this year, an off-duty ambulance officer was nearby when competitor Aaron Watt suffered a potentially fatal heart attack. Jonathan King of St John Ambulance was able to respond with sufficient rapidity and skill, that Aaron was able to be transferred to hospital for a successful recovery. Saving a member’s life during an event is an act worthy of recognition and celebration. And so NZDG deeply thanks Jonathan and his life-saving care and attention on behalf of all 500+ members.
Christmas and the New Year
A busy disc golf calendar continues after the holiday season. We wish everyone a truly Merry Christmas, and a brilliant 2022 season.
The NZDG Board