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Targeting in on disc golf at the Keppoch

James Broesch lets his disc fly during June 16 play at the Keppoch Mountain course.
James Broesch lets his disc fly during June 16 play at the Keppoch Mountain course. - Richard MacKenzie
KEPPOCH, N.S. —

James Broesch stops on a trail near the lodge on Keppoch Mountain. He turns his attention to a clearing in the wooded area just off the trail or, more accurately, to a metal post in the distance, with a chain near the top constructed to catch a flying object if thrown close enough. He lets his disc go – it’s on target.

Broesch is a disc golf veteran who is trying to build the sport in the area and has the perfect venue to do so; a fun nine-hole course set-up on picturesque Keppoch Mountain.    

“I’m relatively new to Antigonish; moved here a little over a year ago … my wife is from town,” Broesch said, after completing the hole in a couple of arrow-like throws – a par for experienced players, birdie for less.   

“I started playing disc golf almost 20 years ago now. For me, it really came out of; I played golf when I was younger and then, when I went to college and couldn’t really afford it anymore, a friend of mine introduced me to disc golf and it was everything I loved about golf and way cheaper.”

Broesch talked about the course at the Keppoch and the every-second-Sunday outings where everyone is invited out to give it a try.

“It’s set-up right now to be very friendly for beginners; they’re relatively short holes,” he said of the course, noting, for him, he usually goes around the nine-hole loop a couple of times.  

“We’re going to work on some improvements in terms of marking the baskets with numbers, the tee spots, that kind of stuff.

“And right now, it (the bi-weekly activity) is posted on Keppoch’s page; it’s every other Sunday at noon,” he said during the June 16 session (next would be June 30).

“Just come on out; I have all the equipment, people just need to bring themselves. I’ll have discs on hand and everything like that. We usually meet at the lodge at noon, and just head out and play a couple of rounds. People can play as many holes as they want, and take off whenever.”

He noted for members of the Keppoch it’s free and for others they would pay the $5 Keppoch day-pass and that would include the use of all other facilities at the site.

“It’s a great way to get out, get active,” he said. “The learning curve is not as steep as it is for golf. You can have an enjoyable time your first time out and some people really take to it.

“I work in public health too and there are a couple of things about disc golf I think about, which are great. One, it’s very low barrier; the cost - ongoing maintenance for the course as well as personal equipment - is very minimal. The first five years I played I, basically, spent $30 on my first three discs and that was it.

“And two, it’s pretty much for any age. I have my kids out here with me sometimes; my son was playing with me before he was five. The club I was part of out in B.C., we had people playing who were over 70. So you get a whole mix of ages, mix of incomes and backgrounds; it’s a really great opportunity to meet other people, build connections in your community, and get out and active.”

James Broesch with his second – and last throw – as he completes the hole.
James Broesch with his second – and last throw – as he completes the hole.

Growing sport

Broesch talked about disc golf being one of the fastest growing sports in North America.

“And it has really exploded in the Maritimes in the last five years,” he said.

“Last year, the Maritime Disc Golf Association hosted the Canadian national championship. We had professional players from multiple countries, including the U.S. and Finland, who came over to play; as well as, I want to say, close to 200 players from all over Canada.

“It went so great with these two courses which are open over on the Island (P.E.I.), everyone had such an awesome time, they decided they’re going to host it again this year. It’s a big event there the first week of September and we have even more pros coming in from all over the world.

“There are three courses on P.E.I. and one of them, Hillcrest Farm, is probably one of the best, if not the best, in all of Canada … it’s absolutely gorgeous.”

And he sees potential for the Keppoch course.

“With the space here at Keppoch, it’s something we could do here too,” he said. “Make a really fantastic, amazing destination for people who want to play disc golf.”

For more on the sport and the outings at Keppoch, contact Broesch at james.broesch@gmail.com or through Facebook.

James Broesch’s disc settles into the chain completing this hole in two throws.
James Broesch’s disc settles into the chain completing this hole in two throws.

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