Reno’s disc golf course, known as The Ranch, has been a work-in-progress for the Reno Disc Golf Association for several years. The nonprofit organization has raised money to install 15 of 18 baskets as well as the signage that assists players through the course.
The association is receiving help improving the course from 17-year-old Reno resident Jared Jacobus, who is working on his Eagle Scout badge. Jared’s project aims to raise $2,900 to install nine benches around the course on the west side of the Reno Sports Complex.
“I was trying to think of a project to benefit the community, as all good projects should,” Jared said.
On Saturday, the Reno Disc Golf Association will hold a tournament beginning at 10 a.m. There is a $20 entry fee and the proceeds go toward Jared’s Eagle Scout project. There also will be prizes, including lift tickets from Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, tickets to 2011 Reno Aces baseball games, gift certificates and deals with Cold Stone, Cadillac Ranch and Mimi’s Cafe. Radio station 100.1 The X will be there doing a live broadcast.
“It’s a real sport, and people love doing it and there is even a pro tour,” said Michael, who is Jared’s father and the founder of the Reno Disc Golf Association.
The Jacobus family became involved with disc golf after a woman at the Nevada Tourism Commission said she could not help Michael with an ad for his Geocacher Magazine because she was on her way to a disc golf tournament. Curious, Michael took his family to the course in Truckee and the family fell in love with the sport.
Wanting to play closer to home, Michael started the Reno Disc Golf Association, received the go-ahead from the county to use land at Rancho San Rafael Park and began building a course.
Although Michael has spearheaded the movement to install the disc golf course, Jared explained that his project could not help just one organization by raising money — in this case to finish installing three baskets — the project needed to be a long-lasting contribution to the region.
“We are still fundraising for the course too,” Michael said. “But when Jared started working on his Eagle Scout project, it had to be a separate thing.”
Although the land is owned by Washoe County and is maintained by the Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space, The Ranch has only one bench for players, hikers or joggers who might use the facility and trailhead.
“Once the course was installed it became the second largest community-used facility in the county, next to the (Rancho San Rafael) dog park,” Michael said. “The county came out and put in split rails and also installed one bench.”
Jared said his fundraising efforts have so far enabled him to buy three or four benches, but nine is the goal.
“The price for each bench is $264,” Jared said, adding that there is also a shipping fee of $50 per bench.
The county suggested Jared, who is a member of Troop 10 in south Reno, use the same company it does for its benches. That company, Sierra Winds, worked with Jared to give the scout a discounted rate.
Jared initially thought about building and installing wood benches, but the county expressed concern for the longevity of the project.
“The county said we don’t want wood benches,” Jared said, adding that the vinyl-covered rolled steel benches that will be installed can withstand the harsh northern Nevada weather. “These benches will be here in 20 years.”
Nearly as soon as Jared’s project was approved, the Reno Disc Golf Association put up a donation button on its website.
“Almost immediately we received donations,” Jared said.
Many of the donations came with words of encouragement and support from the scouts. Michael said the amounts varied from $5 to $100 but that they are grateful for every cent earned.
“We even tried fundraising at First Thursday (at the Nevada Museum of Art),” Jared said. “We put up a (disc golf) basket and let people try to get the disc in it. We raised $62.”
Jared, who is a Life Scout, which is only one rank below Eagle Scout, said doing something to help the community also helps him.
“It is humbling to accept the (Eagle Scout rank),” Jared said. “But it is less important than the community project. The best Eagle projects are ones that last.”
Jared is looking for volunteers to help install the benches on Oct. 9 at The Ranch. For more information about Jared’s project and the Reno Disc Golf Association, visit www.renodiscgolf.com.