Bruce Richards putts a disc during a game of disc gold at Nelson Memorial Park over the May long weekend. Richards was one of a handful of serious players of the sport on hand for an information session and demonstration. Raissa Tetanish photo

A new sport was floating around Tatamagouche over the May long weekend.

Ben Smith, with the Maritime Disc Golf Association, was on hand at Nelson Memorial Park for an introduction to and demonstration of disc golf.

“It’s the greatest sport ever,” said Smith, laughing. “No, it’s the perfect game for the Maritimes. It’s free, you can play it all 12 months of the year, and it’s gender neutral. You name it.”

But at the same time, the sport, he says, is accessible. People can play it as little or often as they want.

“There are professional who play and practice every day, however 90 per cent of the people who are going to play are going to play casually.”

It was 2001 when Smith came across a course in Colorado.

“One throw in, I knew I would play forever. That’s what it felt like,” he said.

Six years later, he moved to Amherst. There wasn’t a course available so he created one. A move to Pugwash happened shortly thereafter, and he created more courses.

Much like a golfer has different clubs, players can use a variety of discs, each doing something different. One curves left, one curves right. There are even putters. During the stop at the park, Smith and other regulars were teaching anyone interested how the different discs fly, and why.

“Those who are serious about the game will carry the more complex discs, but most will start with one disc and they’ll stay with one for most of the time,” he said.

While there isn’t currently a course in Tatamagouche, Smith said the climate is right.

“It’s a younger town, there’s a good feel to it, and the park is beautiful and a big green space.”
He said there are 10 public courses throughout the province, all set up how he had seven baskets in place for the day at the park. There are two free courses and one private in Pugwash, with another one coming.

Throughout the past three years, Smith has been doing as much as possible to promote the game. He’s hosted a series of tours, and over the past nine years, he’s taught thousands of students in the Maritimes.

“You can take it as serious or not as serious as you’d like,” he said. “I like the simplicity of it. You can play solo or with a group. It’s so easy to grasp and yet it’s virtually impossible to master. It’s one of those things that you get as much out as you put in.”

For Duncan Dixon, he spent the past 18 of his 20 years of playing trying to make it to the world championships. This summer, the Sackville, N.B., resident will do just that, travelling to Grand Rapids, Michigan.

“Even after 20 years, I’m learning something new and I’m playing better,” he said. “I’m at the top of my game, but you can do whatever you want with it.”

Pugwash resident Ben Smith, with his children Kadence, left, and Avery, is hoping to spread the interest in disc golf and hosted an information session at Nelson Memorial Park over the May long weekend. In Pugwash, there are three courses – one private and two public.
Raissa Tetanish photo