ALBERTA NATIVE, NOAH HIGGINS, JOINS TEAM AND GAINS LOCAL RECOGNITION
Article by Idris Garcia
After many summers on the baseball diamond and winters in the hockey rink, Noah Higgins decided to shift his focus to the disc golf course. The transition has been smooth for the 14-year-old native of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Higgins, a new member of Team Prodigy, was recently named Junior Male Athlete of the Year by the Lethbridge Sports Council. He received support from his local club, the Bridge City Gunners, including a nomination from the club president and letters from disc golfers around Alberta.
“It’s a great honor,” he said. “Mom picked me up from school and told me I’d won. It’s been a really cool experience with all of the support I’ve gotten.”
Higgins first picked up a disc on a walk with his dog, when his furry friend ran into some brush and emerged with a disc. His collection grew from there, along with his interest in the sport.
I like the creativity aspect of it,” Higgins said. “I like being able to shape different shots. In regular golf, you can slice the ball, but you basically have to hit it straight down the fairway, where in disc golf you can shape all sorts of different shots. It’s all about you, and it’s creative.
“Just this last year I decided to go full-time into disc golf and dropped out of hockey, which was kind of tough, but I’m enjoying it.”
Higgins drew attention from club members as he spent more time on the course, and that attention spread to media outlets when he was set to compete in the 2017 PDGA Amateur and Junior Disc Golf World Championship.
It’s all helped Higgins grow in to a disc golf ambassador throughout Alberta, and continues with his recognition as Junior Male Athlete of the Year, an award usually reserved for more mainstream sports in his area.
The young player hasn’t been shy about the spotlight, embracing his role in growing the sport.
“I feel like I’ve played a really big role in it,” Higgins said. “Last year, I had a ton of media interviews, and I’ve had a lot of new people approach me on the course and say, ‘hey, you’re that kid!’ I feel like I’ve done well with that and want to keep growing it.”
He even caught the eye of Will Schusterick on his trip to Amateur and Junior Worlds.
“Will Schusterick approached one of the guys from BC that I went with and told him that he wanted me on the team,” Higgins said. “I didn’t know this until I got my very last putt in—and that guy was caddying for me for the tournament—and he was like, ‘I didn’t want to get in your head or anything, but Will wants you on the team.’ So we went the next day and talked to him about it and talked about details.”
Higgins plans to continue competing in Advanced in his first year with Prodigy, already notching a win in the division. He will make a return to the Junior Disc Gold World Championships in Emporia, Kan., in June, hoping to improve on his strong 12th place showing from last year.
Higgins said he also wants to compete in the Canadian National Championships in Bonshaw, PEI, Canada, in September along with other tournaments in Alberta throughout the year.