Many of us have struggled through trying to explain disc golf to friends or family members who have had no exposure to the sport.
Now imagine you were trying to introduce disc golf to an entire country that had never played before.
That was the task Tyler Franklin set for himself when he teamed with Tierra Alta and The Rawlings Foundation to build a disc golf course in the Dominican Republic. And when Tyler was looking for materials, supplies and design advice for his new endeavor, Dynamic Discs and 2010 PDGA World Champion Eric McCabe proved to be the perfect partners. In this interview, Tyler discusses working with Dynamic Discs and McCabe, as well as the challenges of installing a course outside of the United States and the benefits of Dynamic Discs’ Veteran Basket, which was the basket of choice for his new course.
Q: Why the Dominican Republic?
A: “I had lived in the Dominican Republic for eight years before I moved to Texas to go to college at Hardin-Simmons University. I loved Dominicans and knew that the sport would be well accepted. I also know about a camp called Tierra Alta with the Rawlings Foundation that would be a great place to set up the course. George and Herb Rawlings have a great passion for sports and about giving people the opportunity to experience things that aren’t easily accessible to people living in the third-world. Without them, this would have never happened. The camp has a lot of land, well kept green grass, a couple of obstacles and safety. It was the perfect location for a new disc golf course.”
Q: What was the process like working with Dynamic Discs?
A: “The way I started developing my relationship with Dynamic Discs was through Johne McCray. I met him in a tournament that was being done in San Angelo, Texas. He was really friendly and I ended up going to one of his disc golf clinics and then participated in a tournament that he directed. I took him and his wife out to lunch and he was able to give me some information about how to design [my course] and told me to give Dynamic Discs a call. I gave them a call and they directed me toward Eric McCabe. I gave him my ideas and told him of my desire to build a disc golf course in the Dominican Republic, and he proceeded to send me an invoice for equipment I would need to get it set up. He also gave me his opinion on what discs to buy since it would be for very new players. He then introduced me to the hot stamp program and he got the Dynamic Discs designers to give us a cool design with our camp logo on the disc. Everything went really smoothly and the team continues to help us with tee box signs. Hopefully, the camp will be ordering more baskets and discs in the following months.”
The customer service of Dynamic Discs was outstanding. [Eric McCabe] not only gave me some really good deals on the baskets, discs, and bags, but also gave me great advice on the best way to install and promote the course.
Q: What were some of the challenges you faced installing this course, considering it was outside of the U.S.?
A: “The camp that the course was going to be on had a lot of good resources. They had a way to handle the shipping of the baskets, and a labor force to dig the holes, pour concrete and build stairs to that the course would be comfortable. The challenge for me was not setting up the disc golf course, but getting the word out to the public that there was a place to play. Dominicans don’t know a thing about disc golf and since I am the only person that can teach them I try and play as much as I can so that they have a rudimentary knowledge of the rules, different types of throws and different types of discs. Hopefully, the people that I have left this knowledge with will put it to good use and tell others about the sport.”
Q: What were the goals you were aiming to accomplish through installing this course?
A: “My goal was to make a good foundation for disc golf so that it can easily grow to other parts of the Dominican Republic. The first step was to have a ready supply of disc golf equipment that would be accessible to the Dominican Republic. I did this by having the camp buy disc golf equipment from Dynamic Discs at a wholesale price. Then the camp was able to eliminate high shipping cost by having a company called Agape deliver the equipment to the Dominican Republic. I also gave the camp course designs to put in another nine holes so that when people are asking for more the camp can take action. The third thing I did was give resources to the program coordinator to have disc golf clinics for the kids that come to the camp. Tierra Alta had around 12,000 kids come to the camp for free last year and this year they are aiming for 24,000. I am also hoping that groups in the United States feel free to come down and go to the schools and churches and have their own disc golf clinics. This course is also open to people visiting the Dominican Republic. The camp is located in Boca Chica, which is very close to the capital and has some tourism.”
Q: Why did you choose the Dynamic Discs Veteran Basket?
A: “The Dominican Republic is a very humid country, and one of the main concerns was the possibility of rust deteriorating the basket. I was very pleased to hear that the Veteran Basket was galvanized with a powder coated finish, which can stop the rust from damaging the basket. Dynamic Discs also gave us a Limited 10-year Warranty, which was icing on top of the cake. The basket was also very affordable.”
Q: What advice would you give to others looking to install a course?
A: “My advice to people who want to install a disc golf course in their area would be to have good relationships. Because of my relationship with Tierra Alta, Dynamic Discs and The Rawlings Foundation, I was able to have a great experience in designing and building the course. Those three organizations were able to give me the knowledge, labor, equipment and funding needed so that the goals I had set were met.”
Contact us if you are interested in having Dynamic Course Design design a new disc golf course or re-design an existing course.
By Blake Bacho