After a long, hard week of work, the first undertaking for the Paul McBeth Foundation in Europe is complete with the installation of Trebjesa DiscGolfPark in Nikšić, Montenegro.
Entering into Europe was a major milestone for us as an organization, but this project was so much more than that. In this case many hands did not necessarily lead to light work, but it did lead to something very special that will live on for years to come.
One of the elements that made this project so memorable was the number of organizations that contributed to it. What started out as a partnership between Discmania and the Paul McBeth Foundation quickly grew to include DiscGolfPark, the Disc Golf Pro Tour, JomezPro, and the Disc Golf Network. Add to that support from individuals from Canada, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic, and this project became a global labor of love.
Our project partner and location could not have been better for our first European experience. Vukasin Baosic is a great man who is well loved and well connected within his community. Getting the local government on board to endorse a brand new sport for Montenegro was no easy task, but once installed the course was immediately embraced by the community and local authorities. With a beautiful setting and accessible location, the set up was perfect not only for a great course, but for widespread use.
“This course is an amazing gift to our city and citizens,” Baosic said “We are grateful to have been able to finally bring disc golf to our small country. This project has enriched our world of sports and our community.”
Despite the incredible amount of work, the team had the opportunity to teach people of all ages through the week, with the first day seeing kids as young as five and adults in their 70s out and eager to learn the sport. Hannah McBeth joined for the trip and spent time educating these new players. Suffice to say, she was moved by the experience.
“I really enjoyed teaching publicly in the park in Montenegro,” McBeth said. "Kids would wander over to learn to throw the discs, but once I started a lesson their parents or grandparents would watch and wanted to throw as well. By the end of the week we were teaching families how to play and how to teach their children, and Paul and I also taught a few serious learners about UDisc and keeping score. The amount of people who will be introduced to the sport because of the location is so exciting to me.”
The course itself was designed by 2009 PDGA World Champion and esteemed course collector Avery Jenkins. It was completely outfitted with turf pads, 18 baskets, and 18 tee signs thanks to Discmania and DiscGolfPark. While the design is beginner-friendly, Jenkins was able to use some unique landmarks throughout the course to make it one that anyone would enjoy.
“It was truly an honor to work with the Paul McBeth Foundation in the creation and development of the Trebjesa DiscGolfPark in Nikšić, Montenegro,” Jenkins said. “That was absolutely the most fun that I’ve ever had working that hard.”
While this is just the first course in the country, the bar has been set very high with this project, and it will be fun to see how this impacts the future growth of the sport.
“It’s most certainly the best DiscGolfPark throughout the entire country of Montenegro,” Jenkins joked, “and I’m fairly confident saying that."
Throughout the week the team worked morning to night knowing the city of Nikšić had planned a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony to close out the week. Even the Vice President of Nikšić got in on the action, throwing the first tee shot after the ribbon cutting ceremony officially opened the course to the public.
"It brings me great joy that this sport can be played both by kids and by our oldest fellow citizens,” said Mitar Goranović. “I hope the people of Nikšić will take to this sport and that it will become one of their favorite recreational activities."
Sustainability is very important to us as an organization, and we left Montenegro with a high level of confidence that this course is set up for success. Our project partner has had multiple opportunities to appear on local television to share about the new sport, and he has officially joined the PDGA in preparation for planning the first event in Montenegro. We look forward to continuing to support the growth of disc golf not only in Eastern Europe, but around the world!
The generosity of many people made this project possible. You can help make the next course a reality. Take action today and be a difference maker.