We got there 2 days before the event so had time for a few practice rounds. The first night it was pretty windy and our tent blew down around midnight 😬 (we bought a new tent after that). Check in was very well ran and had a sweet players pack! The players meeting was really cool as there were over 1000 people!
Day one I shot -4 and was tied 24th. We went mini golfing after which was fun! Day two smoke delayed the entire event, around 4:pm, all play that day was officially cancelled, so we met up with some friends and played a fun doubles round! Day three the smoke had mostly cleared so we were able to play again. The first round that day went smoothly, then the second round was delayed for a few hours because of a tornado watch, and severe thunderstorms, but we got in the second round eventually! I was now tied 13th with 2 rounds to play! Day four we had a lighting delay after playing 6 holes, but it only lasted for around a hour, I shot -5 that day and was tied 13th.
Day five was the last day of play, I shot -4 which finished me tied 14th! After the round, we went to the pro shop and met teammate Levi Stout, and his brother Ethan! I feel like I left a lot of strokes out there and could have done way better, but I’m happy with how I finished. The Kotare was doing amazing in the strong headwind! The Tara iti was also in MVD contention! I met lots of great people throughout the weekend, and I have to say, playing with other juniors is a lot more fun then playing with adults all the time!
What was it like to go to the World Championships? It was a long, long trip to get there. We flew into Houston and then drove up to Peoria. On the way, we went to Emporia Country Club and Jones Supreme. We also went to Des Moines to watch my friend Kona play in the Des Moines Challenge, and we managed to sneak on and have a throw from hole 3. I didn’t think the courses looked too hard, but the hills were a lot bigger than they look on YouTube.
Everywhere we went, there were chances of thunderstorms. After one round, we were driving and ended up at a Walmart. When we came out, we saw a green sky, not a touch of blue. We wondered if that was bad. We were trying to get out to find shelter. We found a gas station to shelter in. Dad had to run out of the car to get petrol. In 5 seconds, he got soaked. There were tornado warnings in place, but luckily, we never saw one.
I was very excited and nervous at the same time to play. I thought I felt butterflies partying in my stomach. Once I teed off, I was alright and ready to go.
My favorite course of the three I played was probably Goodfield. They were all quite hilly courses with chances of rollaway. I played Northwood in the final. There were a lot of trees, but it wasn’t scary. I shot even par, and Dad said that was probably my best round ever. Dad tells me there were lots of people watching and cheering me on, but I didn’t notice them at all. On the last hole of the tournament, I did probably my biggest drive ever. The hole was 82m long, and I drove pin high.
When they presented the trophy to me, I felt happiness and excitement. It felt unreal. I had done it.
I really relied on my takapu for putting and upshots. I also used my magma putter to try and limit the rollaway. The kea and kotuku were great for getting around the trees and forehand shots. I carried all my discs, well, Dad did, in my Tahi Nui bag, and it was awesome. It had so much room for everything.
I loved playing people of around the same age as me. They were all really fun and really kind to me.
To go to the World Champs, you will have to work hard and try your best but always remember to have fun. There are lots of activities. They had a pool party, we went to a baseball game, and they had a flymart where all the disc manufacturers were selling. I met lots of people there who knew who I was, and we also met Mum’s secret boyfriend Ricky Wysocki, who was there signing discs.
It was so cool to wear RPM when playing disc golf and tell people all about the discs.
I can’t wait to get back to New Zealand and share the trophy with everybody.
A parent’s perspective:
Coming to the World Disc Golf Championship is a massive undertaking for anyone from New Zealand. The sheer distance aside, the cost and logistics mean vast amounts of planning.
Once you arrive at the Championship, you really feel part of something big. The event has its own app that spits out all the information you will ever need. Signing in is very easy and includes the collection of the players’ packs. Each night, there are activities to keep everyone entertained after a round at the various awesome courses.
Bringing Sarah to this event has been so good for her development as a player. Wearing the RPM brand has been akin to wearing the Silverfern, one to be immensely proud of. We spoke with so many people about RPM and introduced it to many more.
Watching Sarah play on courses such as Emporia Country Club, Jones Supreme, Des Moines Challenge, and Northwood, and seeing her game continue to improve was amazing. Her final round at Northwood was the best golf I have seen her play, as she laced lines through the trees to finish the round even and then hoist the World Champion trophy.
The gallery for the 8-year-old girls and boys at the final continued to grow with every hole, and at the final hole, the noise as these kids peppered the pin was surreal.
Sarah’s victory is for all New Zealanders. It showed, along with Levi, that the talent pool in New Zealand is as good as anywhere, and we will be hoisting more trophies in the future.
A huge thanks to RPM for all their support and guidance. Within minutes of Sarah’s victory, I received a message from Simon which meant so much. We share this with all the RPM family.