It is so exciting to sit here and reflect on the completion of our first Paul McBeth Foundation project in La Paz, Mexico. As an organization we feel this first course could not have gone much better, and we are excited for what comes next!
But to say the lead-up was as smooth as a Paul McBeth drive, though, wouldn’t be telling the truth.
As you can imagine, there is a lot of planning that goes into any type of international project. Oftentimes they are mapped out for a better part of a year, but we felt that the pieces were in place to move much more quickly. We knew we had a great team; the disc golf community had responded generously after the initial announcement of our goals; and we were very confident we had found the right partner in Rancho El Camino, who had both a built-in audience of youth to utilize the course and a strong name in the city of La Paz. With all of that in mind we decided to pull the trigger and plan the trip for a very rare week off for Paul – just a few short months after the Foundation was created.
The rapid pace and tight schedule were already, admittedly, enough cause for stress. Sure, we expected some hiccups, but even for someone experienced in international projects the run-up to our travels were enough to make anyone a bit anxious.
First, there was a bit of red tape to cut through. We were a mere three weeks out from the trip and Paul’s passport had not yet arrived. Like I mentioned, we had a great team in place, and in reality we could have pulled this off even if Paul was stuck in the U.S. At the same time our team knew the importance of the Foundation’s namesake playing an integral role in our first project. Needless to say, it added some concern.
And even if we could install the course without Paul, we definitely couldn’t do it without baskets. So when days turned into weeks of watching our shipment of nine Dynamic Discs Veterans and discs stuck at customs in Tijuana, the concerns started adding up. Maybe we needed to take a step back and look at our schedules to make sure we could really pull this off. With lofty long-term goals for the future, we surely didn’t want to stumble out of the gates.
Luckily, all of those stressors melted away while in Emporia, Kansas. Both the passport and the baskets made it to their destinations near the end of the Dynamic Discs Open, and everything was in place for the project to move forward. Now it was time to take our incredible team of individuals representing Dynamic Discs, Jomez Pro, and the Paul McBeth Foundation down to Baja California Sur.
Going into this project we relied on drone footage and pictures to determine the ability to put in a course, as another side effect of our truncated timeline was that it did not allow for an advanced scouting trip. When we arrived, though, we quickly concluded what we had seen in advance: The Ranch, as we’ve been calling it, set up perfectly for a scenic, unique nine-hole course that could easily be expanded to a full 18 in the future.
After being warned to keep an eye out for rattlesnakes, plants that would draw blood, and ground that would be very challenging to dig holes in, we set out to design and install the course.
We could not have asked for a better partner in Rancho El Camino. They used some of the funds raised to hire neighborhood youth who attend their programs, which allowed Paul to not only design the course, but also to train the very people who would be using it regularly on how to adjust and expand it in the future. Throughout the week we were able to design and install the course, teach the staff and community clinics in the evening, and identify how and where to grow the course in the future. There was so much excitement around the prospect of adding disc golf to the Ranch that the 10-12 hour days in the desert working with their crew flew by.
With a project like this there is always the risk of investing in something that won’t be received well, but any of those concerns were eliminated very quickly. By mid-week we were finding discs everywhere throughout the course and facility, including on the roofs of buildings. In addition to those who regularly use the Ranch property, we were contacted throughout the week by La Paz locals who heard about the project and were eager to come play. We even had someone find out about the project and drive more than an hour each day to come help and participate.
It was clear the decision to go to La Paz was a good one, as the community could not get enough disc golf.
Now, we reflect on the experience and express the gratitude we have for the entire disc golf community and its support for this project. Dynamic Discs went above and beyond, providing the equipment and the resources to get it to La Paz. JomezPro committed valuable members of their team to come and document the project, and disc golfers from around the world have donated and supported us through auctions and merchandise. As a result of all of these contributions there is now a course in La Paz that will not only support the local area, but will be a place where kids will find opportunities to play, experience nature, compete, and maybe even find a job.
Thank you so much to everyone who played a role in this project, and everyone who has supported the Foundation in one way or another. We have some great media about La Paz on the horizon, and we also look forward to announcing future projects soon.
As Paul has mentioned, creating this foundation has been on his mind since 2013, but we only started talking about making it a reality a year ago. As we first talked, the thought was to start in 2022 – maybe get our feet wet with a project or two that first year.
Instead, the first install is already in the rear view, and our team is dreaming about all the possibilities before us.