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BOYS GOLF: Family ties, Bemidji golf legacy bind Brandon and John Loch

“It's fun watching them play,” Brandon Loch said of watching his sons. “They learn the game and you see them coming along. Pretty soon, they start beating you. It gets hard to keep up.”

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Bemidji junior John Loch, right, chats with his father Brandon Loch on hole No. 17 during a home triangular on Thursday, May 26, 2022, at the Bemidji Town and Country Club.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI – Brandon Loch has spent a lot of time at the Bemidji Town and Country Club.

Since his youth in Bemidji, he’s spent about 45 years around the course in various roles, including as a caddie at the Birchmont Golf Tournament.

But these days, he spends his time at the club watching his son John maneuver the course with the Bemidji High School boys golf team.

“It's fun watching them play,” Brandon said of watching his sons. “They learn the game and you see them coming along. Pretty soon, they start beating you. It gets hard to keep up.”

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Bemidji junior John Loch, left, talks with his father Brandon Loch on hole No. 17 during a home triangular on Thursday, May 26, 2022, at the Bemidji Town and Country Club.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Brandon managed to keep up with John on Thursday at BTCC, following his son diligently in a golf cart as John navigated the course on foot.

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He captured video of John’s efforts on multiple holes, then dissected it with him after the round was complete. But the main thing was that they were out there together, which hasn’t always been the case the past few years.

“(We don’t get out) as often as we'd like to, that's for sure,” Brandon said. “The past couple years, my back has been pretty bad. I haven’t been able to golf much. But we used to golf a lot together when (the boys) were younger.”

John appreciated his dad making the trip, as he knows it’s not always easy for Brandon to come out to his events.

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Bemidji junior John Loch tees off on hole No. 15 during a home triangular on Thursday, May 26, 2022, at the Bemidji Town and Country Club.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

“It was awesome,” John said. “I'm really glad he came today. Like he said, he has been having some back issues lately. He's waiting to get surgery for it, and it (keeps him) from being able to go golf. But it was really nice for him to come out today. Even though some shots he didn't like how I played them. But he's always been a great coach for me. He always helps me. Compared to anybody else, he knows what's best for me and for my golf game.”

John carded a solid 81 on Thursday, helping Bemidji finish second of three teams at Thursday’s triangular with Roseau and Fergus Falls.

Other scorers for BHS included Nick Yavarow (75), Ryan Daman (77) and Eli Tuomala (80). Yavarow shared medalist honors with Roseau’s Marcus Nelson and Max Wilson.

Simon Fredrickson (82) and Carter Fish (84) also competed for the Lumberjacks.

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Bemidji junior Nick Yavarow chips toward the pin on hole No. 17 during a home triangular on Thursday, May 26, 2022, at the Bemidji Town and Country Club.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Roseau had the best team score with 308, with Bemidji (313) and Fergus (321) following behind.

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“They had a good day,” BHS head coach Seth Knudson said of the Jacks’ effort. “I know there's a couple of kids that are grumbling walking off at the end because they know they left a couple of shots out there. And I've told them for a couple of weeks now if they break 310 at a meet that I'll buy them Dairy Queen. And so 313, they're right there.”

Sounds like a pretty good inducement to improve, especially with the section tournament right around the corner.

“They know what they need to do,” Knudson said. “They're very close. We're trending in the right direction. Scores are coming down right about at the right time. So that's what we'd like to see.”

For Brandon Loch, it was simply satisfying to watch John compete.

“It's one of the biggest things we have in common,” Brandon said. “Hopefully, we can continue to do it throughout the ages.”

Next up for the Lumberjacks is the Section 8-3A Tournament starting on Thursday, June 2, at Park Rapids.

Team Results

1-Roseau 308; 2-Bemidji 313; 3-Fergus Falls 321.

Christian Babcock is a sports reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer. He trekked to Bemidji from his hometown of Campbell, Calif., after graduating from the Cronkite School at Arizona State University in 2021. Follow him on Twitter at @CB_Journalist for updates on the Lumberjacks and Beavers or to suggest your favorite local restaurant.
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