By Chris Istace, Mangy Coyote Media for Ace Runners
A family that plays together stays together. When members of that family do and say anything in their power to crush each other on the field, court or course, it is guaranteed they’ll get good fast.
In the summer of 2018, Ian McKay used a few belittling remarks to defeat his adult son Gage in a game of ball golf. Ian was losing and needed an edge to even the score, but when it worked, Gage was not impressed with the loss. A cousin who was playing with them that day suggested they try a game of Disc Golf to help cut the tension. Balcarres, Sask.’s McKay family has not looked back since.
Five years later, the McKays have collected a provincial Disc Golf championship, more than a dozen podium finishes and are two-time World Bush Disc Golf Championship of the Universe doubles title holders. They also constructed a course on their home reserve of Peepeekisis Cree Nation.
Called “Sasquatch Alley,” the Peepeekisis Disc Golf course a nine-hole track first created in 2019 with five-gallon buckets for targets.
But that’s about to change. Through the efforts of Ian, Gage and Disc Golf Saskatchewan, the First Nation community is preparing to host the 18th Annual Saskatchewan Open provincial disc golf championship in August. Another nine holes are being added to Sasquatch Alley with permanent, PDGA-approved baskets. It will be the first Saskatchewan Open on First Nations land in the events history.
Competition is a McKay family tradition
Ian and Gage do not make up the entire family Disc Golf team. All six of the McKays are involved in some way. Younger brother Triston of Calgary, Alta. works his way into the family’s gritty game whenever he is home. Eighteen-year-old Chase will pull out his whipping forehand for tournaments on occasion. And sister Reegan, 14, plays recreationally.
The Disc Golf bug hit mom, Tammy, in 2021. She just completed her first putting league season in Melville, Sask. where she finished first in the women’s division.
“Ian and the boys kept bugging me to go play a round with them,” she said. “After playing, I realized how much I enjoyed it. I only really play for fun and I’m not too sure about joining tournaments just yet. We’re trying to be healthier these days, so doing something that I enjoy while getting exercise is a bonus.”
Despite their jovial competitive spirit in anything they do, the McKay family’s primary intention is to enjoy each other and their friends. Any gathering with the crew includes plenty of laughter.
“I come from a competitive family in every aspect of the word,” said Gage. “But there is nothing better I can think of than taking an afternoon to spend time with them doing something we all love.”
When asked if there was anything he’d like to add, Gage was succinct.
“I’m better than my dad and Triston.”
What’s in the bag?
Ian McKay – Discraft Nuke ESP
“I love how it feels in the hand and they have some of the best stock stamps. I bag three of them.”
Gage McKay – Innova Firebird
“I throw so many forehands, it’s a disc I know I can rely on.”
Tammy McKay – Dynamic Discs Warden Classic Burst
“I like the feel of the plastic in my hand. Honestly, I used to pick discs for the stamps, but I’m starting to get pickier.”
This article was written by Mangy Coyote Media, a multi-media venture covering disc golf, its culture and community in Canada. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram and at mangycoyotemedia.blogspot.com. Mangy Coyote seeks submissions from creators wanting to write about disc golf in Canada. DM them on FB or IG for more information.