Another month of essentially being unable to hit the course collecting trail, and another month of working on physical conditioning and mental toughness around my hometown.

I set personal bests for miles walked in a day (20.42 miles), as well as miles walked in a month (361.18 miles). People around Springfield were joking that I amGump, Forrest Gump.” Only instead of running for hundreds of miles? I’ve been walking hundreds of miles. 🙂 But I am usually doing it while wearing either DGA or UDisc shirts. All while saying hello to hundreds of people and carrying a trash bag with me, picking up whatever litter I encounter along the way.

It is a lesson I learned while working as a Community Organizer in South Minneapolis back in the early 2000s, and my reason for sharing the George Floyd mural at the top of this post. While working as a Community Organizer, in a neighborhood that had a lot more crime and violence to the North, and a lot more prosperity to the South, we were sort of the “buffer.” The City wanted peace and prosperity to push to the North. Some of the gangs and other folks committing crimes wanted to push their turf to the South.

The northwest corner of our neighborhood in Minneapolis was 38th and Chicago, feet from where George Floyd was murdered by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. I’ll never forget one day, working in the neighborhood, walking to a meeting up on 38th and Chicago, trash bag in hand. I was heading to a meeting with the owner of a small phone and electronics store. A former gang member, he had left the gang and was trying to get his life together.

As I neared the business, three members of his former gang came up to me, in my khakis and button-down shirt, and started to harass me. Not threatening my safety! Just making me feel incredibly unwelcome in “their” turf. After this went on for a minute or two, steadily escalating, a fourth member of the gang jogged over and told the other gang members: “Leave him alone, man….he’s cool. I’ve seen him picking up trash off my grandma’s front yard.”

I get a little misty even thinking about that to this day. How that simple gesture of picking up a little litter as I walked (ALWAYS walked, never driving, so I could make sure and have lots of impromptu conversations with lots of people) might have averted a potentially dangerous situation. While building just a tiny bit more trust, respect and safety in the neighborhood.

Map of roads outside of Springfield, MN where I have been picking up litter.

As I’ve been walking my hundreds of miles during this pandemic and Stay at Home executive orders, I’ve been carrying a trash bag with me. Criss-crossing every street in Springfield, as well as miles of rural township roads. One afternoon, southwest of town, I was cleaning up ditches on a VERY remote road, when I saw a tractor come toward me. Probably wanting to check out who this stranger was with a bag in his hand.

The tractor kept getting closer, and closer. And then when it got within about twenty feet of me, the driver put it in park, hopped out, and walked toward me. The first words out of his mouth were: “These are MY ditches!” My first thought was “uh-oh…someone doesn’t want me here…where they are literally the only house/farm on this road for more than a mile.” But then, as I felt a little uneasy, his next words were: “I’ve been watching what you’re doing, and I just wanted to say thank you. Picking up this litter helps me by not having my livestock injured when we are feeding bales to them after we bale the ditches.”

I not only felt relieved (that he wasn’t mad, or thinking I was trespassing…even though it was a public township road). But it immediately reminded me of that encounter with those four gang members at 38th and Chicago in Minneapolis. How such a little gesture as picking up a bit of litter along a city street (or township road) is noticed by others.

It is too late for George Floyd. Nothing can bring him back, and I feel so sick/sad for his family and other loved ones. But I certainly hope that we all can try and find ways to make our world a little better, in his honor. And of course, I’ll continue to carry trash bags with me when I do get back out on courses. Because you never know who will be watching…or how that simple gesture might make the lives of others around us just a tiny bit better. Hopefully helping to start a series of dominoes falling in a sort of positive Butterfly Effect.”

Magic Number = 452 (1,548 Courses Played)

How it All Got Started: Tonn’s Travels >>A main purpose of this blog will be to share information, helpful tips and tricks (everything from health and fitness to methods for saving money while you’re out “bagging courses” of your own), and ideas for better, safer course design. But I am also hoping to inspire others with my passion for the sport, via the stories I can share about all of the interesting experiences I have. All of the interesting people I meet. All of the amazing courses I am blessed to have the opportunity to play. If I can inspire even a handful of individuals to get off the couch, get “out of their bubble” or “security blanket” and explore more of this big, beautiful planet we all call home? Then I will consider this effort a success.

About Derek

Derek Tonn is a member of the DGA’s Ambassador Team. His company, Mapformation, LLC, has been DGA’s partner in the development of disc golf tee signage since 2012. The longer our two companies have worked together, and the more Derek has gotten to know all the great folks at DGA, the more he has wanted to formally sing the company’s praises. The more he has realized that “Steady” Ed the father of disc golf and the modern day Frisbee vision for the sport and his company perfectly describes his own interests and priorities related to disc golf, and the more Derek has recently been encouraged to share his story.

DGA | Disc Golf's Founding Company

I had to laugh. Being ordered to stay at home (and hotels and restaurants being closed) roughly two months after FINALLY regaining my driving privileges after seven months. 2019-2020 have been conspiring against me, to keep me from continuing my march toward 2000 courses played. Though I have been doing what I can to make sure I am ready to hit the course collecting trail hard, once I can get back out on the road.

For most disc golfers, who worry about competition and ratings, April has been an ideal time for them to work on their short games (DGA’s Putt in Place contest has been tremendous in that regard). But for us course collectors? We don’t need a better rating, or to make 5-10% more of our putts from 20-30 feet. We need the physical and mental conditioning and toughness to be able to grind-out 72-100+ holes in a day. The ability to walk 8-10+ miles in a day.

So for the entire month of April? I’ve been focusing on physical and mental toughness. Training my body and mind to deal with pain and my body telling me to stop. Not because I can’t do more! But rather because it would rather be lying on a couch, binge-watching shows like Better Call Saul or The Walking Dead. 🙂

Miles Walked During the Month of April 2020

I wasn’t sure how much my body could take per day in April, but I thought I would try and find out. Hoping I might be able to average at least 7-8 miles walked per day. My body would usually tell me it was time to rest after 4-5 miles, but I thought I would work to push through that. And I pleasantly surprised myself, just shy of 50 years of age (I turned 49 today, in fact). I smashed any goals I had set for myself in March, totaling 342.62 miles walked during the month of April. Averaging 11.42 miles walked, per day, EVERY day. Through rain and snow (Easter was NOT fun to be out walking here in Southwestern Minnesota). Through wind where I had to lean forward to keep from winding up on my back. I got it done, every day, with only three days where I didn’t walk at least ten miles.

I won’t lie. I have 7-8 body parts that ache, saying: “What the heck are you thinking? You’re not 25 anymore!” 🙂 But for all the aches and pains, I feel proud of myself. Feel as though I am ready to go out and hit the course collecting trail, HARD, once it is again safe and feasible to do so.

I’m not sure how the rest of you have been dealing with this pandemic, especially related to your physical and mental health! But for me? Dropping a few “extra” pounds and proving to myself that I can still get after things, HARD, when I set my mind to it has given me an extra spring in my step. And a bit bigger smile on my face.

Stay strong! You can do this (deal with whatever else the pandemic might throw at you). And as one of my grandparents always used to remind me: “This too shall pass.”

Magic Number = 452 (1,548 Courses Played)


About Tonn’s Travels

How it All Got Started: Tonn’s Travels >>A main purpose of this blog will be to share information, helpful tips and tricks (everything from health and fitness to methods for saving money while you’re out “bagging courses” of your own), and ideas for better, safer course design. But I am also hoping to inspire others with my passion for the sport, via the stories I can share about all of the interesting experiences I have. All of the interesting people I meet. All of the amazing courses I am blessed to have the opportunity to play. If I can inspire even a handful of individuals to get off the couch, get “out of their bubble” or “security blanket” and explore more of this big, beautiful planet we all call home? Then I will consider this effort a success.

About Derek

35 Days Into Minnesota’s Stay at Home executive order – Tonn’s Travels

Derek Tonn is a member of the DGA’s Ambassador Team. His company, Mapformation, LLC, has been DGA’s partner in the development of disc golf tee signage since 2012. The longer our two companies have worked together, and the more Derek has gotten to know all the great folks at DGA, the more he has wanted to formally sing the company’s praises. The more he has realized that “Steady” Ed the father of disc golf and the modern day Frisbee vision for the sport and his company perfectly describes his own interests and priorities related to disc golf, and the more Derek has recently been encouraged to share his story.

DGA | Disc Golf's Founding Company

I will admit it. My heart is telling me to hit the road and start collecting more courses played. And it was devastating, talking with two friends of mine and collectively deciding to postpone our course collecting trip down to Omaha earlier in March. But “adulting” can be hard sometimes. And I need to set a good example for others, particularly my two daughters. So I have resisted the urge to make the fun-but-selfish decision to do what I want to do, safety and poor example to others be darned.

Not being able to drive for seven months in 2019, due to my epilepsy diagnosis in the Spring, might have been a blessing in disguise, in the sense that it could not have been better training for “sheltering in place.” I went three weeks in December 2019 without even leaving my small community or 2,100 or sitting in a car! Talk about cabin fever! 🙂 And now, listening to a few people threaten to jump out of tall buildings because they haven’t been able to go to Starbucks or the mall in three…entire…weeks (sigh) makes me realize the mental toughness I was able to develop last year.

Miles Walked while in the midst of Shelter in Place and Stay at Home executive orders by the Governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz.

Course collecting requires both physical health and financial health. But course collecting also requires mental health, mental toughness. The more courses you play? The more expensive it becomes, playing further and further away from home. And let me tell you, as a person who has played more than 100 holes of disc golf in a day more times than I can remember? It isn’t just you (reading this) whose body and brain are telling you to stop because you are tired after 36, 54, 72 holes. 🙂 To this day, I still don’t know how I managed to play 165 holes of disc golf one long Summer day across Southern Michigan and Northern Indiana a few years back! So instead of setting a poor example for others during this pandemic, I am using this time to work on my physical health, my financial health, and my mental health. Working on the mental toughness needed to power through the aches and pains to play a lot of holes in a day. And with one day left in the month of March? I am on pace to average well-over five miles walked per day, every day (rain, snow, ice or sun).

I have also been using this time to try and improve my course collecting experience in other ways (once I can get back out on the course). During my course collecting in Iowa and Nebraska earlier this year, I suffered through wet, cold feet just about every round I played. Standing on two frozen blocks of ice instead of feet doesn’t exactly make the experience a pleasant one, so I set out researching better socks and shoes that I could wear to make playing in the ice and snow less miserable, and came across a company in Steamboat Springs, Colorado named Point6.

Point6 makes base layers, accessories and socks, and has primarily marketed their products to hikers, runners, skiers and snowboarders over the years. I decided I would reach out to them and politely ask: “What about us disc golfers?” Two of their staff quickly responded to my inquiry, saying: “Yeah…what about disc golfers? That’s a good idea!” So I got three pairs of their crew-length socks, and I have to say that they are probably the best socks I have ever played in! Helping to keep my feet both warm and dry in the snow and ice, as well as reducing odor while being incredibly comfortable. Who knew there was such a thing as sock technology?” But whatever Point6 does, they do it incredibly well. So I feel as though I can check finding good socks off my coronavirus To Do List! Now I just need to find better shoes that can hold up to the constant pressure placed on them near the metatarsals and the heel…

To everyone reading this, I wish nothing but a happy and healthy 2020! We’ve gotten off to a rough start, but “this too shall pass.” So I guess I would ask all of you to be smart, and be patient. We ALL want to get out and have life get back to normal. But the less patient/smart we are? The longer and worse the effects of this pandemic will probably be. But while we cannot enjoy some of the things we like? Let’s cross a few of those other To Dos off our respective lists.

Stay safe!

Magic Number = 454 (1,546 Courses Played)


About Tonn’s Travels

How it All Got Started: Tonn’s Travels >> A main purpose of this blog will be to share information, helpful tips and tricks (everything from health and fitness to methods for saving money while you’re out “bagging courses” of your own), and ideas for better, safer course design. But I am also hoping to inspire others with my passion for the sport, via the stories I can share about all of the interesting experiences I have. All of the interesting people I meet. All of the amazing courses I am blessed to have the opportunity to play. If I can inspire even a handful of individuals to get off the couch, get “out of their bubble” or “security blanket” and explore more of this big, beautiful planet we all call home? Then I will consider this effort a success.

About Derek

(Not) Course Collecting during the Coronavirus Pandemic – Tonn’s TravelsDerek Tonn is a member of the DGA’s Ambassador Team. His company, Mapformation, LLC, has been DGA’s partner in the development of disc golf tee signage since 2012. The longer our two companies have worked together, and the more Derek has gotten to know all the great folks at DGA, the more he has wanted to formally sing the company’s praises. The more he has realized that “Steady” Ed the father of disc golf and the modern day Frisbee vision for the sport and his company perfectly describes his own interests and priorities related to disc golf, and the more Derek has recently been encouraged to share his story.

DGA | Disc Golf's Founding Company

I had a fun surprise this morning, when a great guy I am getting to know here in my hometown, Scott Gartner, asked if I might want to head down into Iowa to play a course or two. We’ve talked about playing disc golf together for months, but just haven’t found the time. Though with today’s high temperature forecasted to be 64F? I was dying for an excuse to get outside on a course and play. So I checked with my wife to see if she would mind me playing hooky for an afternoon, then Scott and I made our way down to Iowa.

View from the Hole 12 tee at Camp Okoboji LCMS in Milford, Iowa.

As we were heading for Iowa, Scott asked if there were any courses down that way that I hadn’t played…seeing if I might be able to add to my course collection. I said there was one seasonal course that I hadn’t yet played, Camp Okoboji LCMS, but I had no idea if it was open and playable. He said we should check that one out, then if it wasn’t playable (or if we weren’t allowed to play on that private religious camp), we could check out Okoboji Gold or another course or two in the area.

We arrived at the camp, and we saw lots of Mach III baskets, as well as clearly marked tee areas. That said, we went into the building where the administrative offices seemed to me, trying to ask if it was okay for us to be on-site. Finding no one, we walked around the grounds a bit, looking for other staff to speak with. Three people in pick-ups gave us smiles and friendly waves, and a fourth man in a camp vehicle smiled and waved at us too, so we decided that it must be okay for us to be there. Then we headed for the Hole 1 tee and proceeded to play.

I was nervous, as #1, I wanted to represent “The Shield” well and not grip lock tee shots or chunk any putts with an audience. [sarcasm] Not have Scott go home and tell his other disc golf friends: “Who is this clown, thinking he knows how to play disc golf?!” 😀 [/sarcasm] And #2, it was the first round of disc golf I had ever played in glasses.

Earlier this week, I picked up the first pair of glasses I have owned in my life from my optometrist. Related to Mayo Clinic diagnosing me with brainstem and cerebellar dysfunction, I was told I needed something called “Yoked Prisms.” The executive summary of what I’m experiencing is “stereoscopic vision.” I see three of everything (a central image, as well as the same image a little to the left and a little to the right). Related to disc golf? It has never hindered my playing ability on the tee or in my approach game. But specific to putting? I’ve seen three of every chain…making focusing on one link of one chain almost impossible. So while I told Scott to prepare for me to not put on a putting clinic for him (ha!), I actually putted pretty well! I chunked one ~15-footer in the wind on the second to the last hole we played on the day (at Lawcon Park in Mountain Lake, Minnesota). But other than that? I actually putted well (for me). And I was amazed at how much easier things were only seeing one link in one chain instead of three. 🙂

The wind was very strong, but I stll managed a -9 (45 – 972 estimated round) at Camp Okoboji LCMS. I was smacked back to Earth at Mountain Lake, only managing a -3 (25 = 903 estimated round). But in the wind and us slip-sliding on ice and mud, I was just happy to have a full bag of discs and no injuries as we made our way home to Springfield.

Course #1 in Glasses – Tonn’s Travels
A map of my unplayed courses in the region as of March 8, 2020.

Now having played Camp Okoboji LCMS, it gets a LOT more difficult for me to find new courses to play! There is one Winter course in Minneapolis-St. Paul that I am hoping to play when I get my taxes done on March 17, if it is still in the ground and playable. But other than that? It is slim pickings in my region until a few new courses open for play in Lakeville, MN, Woodbury, MN and Rose Creek, MN in the Spring/Summer. A couple friends are coming to the rescue, “kidnapping” me and taking me to Omaha, Nebraska from March 20-22 (weather permitting). But other than that, I’ll need to see about having work “force” me to head outside Southern Minnesota in the weeks/months ahead.

Magic Number = 454 (1,546 Courses Played)


About Tonn’s Travels

How it All Got Started: Tonn’s Travels >> A main purpose of this blog will be to share information, helpful tips and tricks (everything from health and fitness to methods for saving money while you’re out “bagging courses” of your own), and ideas for better, safer course design. But I am also hoping to inspire others with my passion for the sport, via the stories I can share about all of the interesting experiences I have. All of the interesting people I meet. All of the amazing courses I am blessed to have the opportunity to play. If I can inspire even a handful of individuals to get off the couch, get “out of their bubble” or “security blanket” and explore more of this big, beautiful planet we all call home? Then I will consider this effort a success.

About Derek

Course #1 in Glasses – Tonn’s TravelsDerek Tonn is a member of the DGA’s Ambassador Team. His company, Mapformation, LLC, has been DGA’s partner in the development of disc golf tee signage since 2012. The longer our two companies have worked together, and the more Derek has gotten to know all the great folks at DGA, the more he has wanted to formally sing the company’s praises. The more he has realized that “Steady” Ed the father of disc golf and the modern day Frisbee vision for the sport and his company perfectly describes his own interests and priorities related to disc golf, and the more Derek has recently been encouraged to share his story.

DGA | Disc Golf's Founding Company

After yesterday’s productive day, I needed to make the approximately 300-mile trip back home. And with four additional courses I had yet to play between me and “the 56087?” Well, you know what I had to do. 🙂

View from the Hole 5 tee at Mill Race Park DGC in Atkinson, Nebraska.

My first stop on my trip home was at Mill Race Park DGC in Atkinson, Nebraska. A fun course, plus I got to say hello to a very old, very friendly dog as he wandered over to me on Hole 6, looking for a little love. The only thing I didn’t like had nothing to do with the course itself! Rather, it was the wind. The wind was HOWLING, as it had been all weekend. And even a simple 8-10 foot putt could be an adventure. So you can imagine how I felt as a LHBH player on the Hole 5 tee (pictured above). I think I threw my tee shot at LEAST forty feet to the left (East) of that water…to make sure I wouldn’t be leaving any of my discs behind in Nebraska. I only managed an even par 27 (estimated 896 rating on the round). But playing in what felt like a hurricane?! I’ll take it…along with a full bag of discs.

Four More Courses in Nebraska and South Dakota on my Way Home – Tonn’s Travels
Course welcome sign at Stuart DGC in Stuart, Nebraska.

After Atkinson, it was on to Stuart, Nebraska to check out Stuart DGC. It was a pretty typical/average course (as 75+ percent of the courses I come across are). Not awesome, not terrible. But my main memory from that course is sinking a long deuce putt on Hole 7 into a fierce headwind, standing ankle-deep in water. I just cannot seem to keep my feet dry on the course in 2020, darnit! Anyone know of any great stay-dry sock manufacturer who is looking for a middle-aged redhead to help rep their great products (so said redhead doesn’t die of hypothermia or pneumonia)? 🙂

Four More Courses in Nebraska and South Dakota on my Way Home – Tonn’s Travels
View from the Hole 2 tee at Wagner DGC in Wagner, South Dakota.

After Stuart and nearly an hour of blasting the heat in the car on my ankles/feet to dry them out, it was on to Wagner, South Dakota, to check out Wagner DGC. South Dakota’s longest nine-hole course at 4,972 feet, and another course (along with Hillview DGC that I played yesterday) where I got to design their tee signage. I was excited to play the course and see how our signs were holding up. The signs looked great! But the course was a bit of a disappointment. Basically, a big open field with several criss-crossing fairways, with the longest hole in South Dakota (Hole 3, at 1,080 feet) running adjacent to private property. With Hole 4 running adjacent to a fenced-in area that one needed to throw their disc around (at a right angle) once you near the basket. Three dogs barking at me the entire time I was on the course, one of whom ran hundreds of yards over to me to make sure I knew I wasn’t welcome, took what I had hoped would be a fun experience and made it feel like a bummer. Which is too bad, as if that is how most locals feel while playing the course? Most locals won’t play the course.

Four More Courses in Nebraska and South Dakota on my Way Home – Tonn’s Travels
View from the Hole 7 tee at Weigand DGC in Crofton, Nebraska.

After leaving Wagner, it was back into Nebraska along the Southern shore of Lewis and Clark Lake to sneak in one more course: Weigand DGC in Crofton, Nebraska. I liked this course too…it was a good one to finish my trip on. Though I have the nagging/gnawing memory of taking a bogey-four on my last hole (Hole 9), after screwing up my approach. It wasn’t a complete choke-job, as the wind was HOWLING! But approach shots are the best part of my game, so to send my approach shot sailing 8-10 feet into the thick brush to the right of the circle made me frustrated with myself. Giving myself no chance at the par-three. Needing to settle for a safety from deep in trouble to 7-8 feet from the basket, to make sure I at least got my bogey-four.

So with that, I called it a course collecting weekend! Ten courses over two days. Two in Iowa, seven in Nebraska, and one in South Dakota. The trip went about as well as it could have, and the only thing better would have been someone turning off the wind machine. Now I will go back to sitting in my office in Springfield (Minnesota). Day-dreaming about my next trip and courses I can play…

Magic Number = 455 (1,545 Courses Played)


About Tonn’s Travels

How it All Got Started: Tonn’s Travels >> A main purpose of this blog will be to share information, helpful tips and tricks (everything from health and fitness to methods for saving money while you’re out “bagging courses” of your own), and ideas for better, safer course design. But I am also hoping to inspire others with my passion for the sport, via the stories I can share about all of the interesting experiences I have. All of the interesting people I meet. All of the amazing courses I am blessed to have the opportunity to play. If I can inspire even a handful of individuals to get off the couch, get “out of their bubble” or “security blanket” and explore more of this big, beautiful planet we all call home? Then I will consider this effort a success.

About Derek

Four More Courses in Nebraska and South Dakota on my Way Home – Tonn’s TravelsDerek Tonn is a member of the DGA’s Ambassador Team. His company, Mapformation, LLC, has been DGA’s partner in the development of disc golf tee signage since 2012. The longer our two companies have worked together, and the more Derek has gotten to know all the great folks at DGA, the more he has wanted to formally sing the company’s praises. The more he has realized that “Steady” Ed the father of disc golf and the modern day Frisbee vision for the sport and his company perfectly describes his own interests and priorities related to disc golf, and the more Derek has recently been encouraged to share his story.

DGA | Disc Golf's Founding Company

I saw earlier in the week that temperatures in the Sioux City, Iowa area were supposed to reach 58 F this weekend, and that my favorite United States Snow Cover Map showed that the area had little to no snow on the ground. So with planets aligning (my daughters were going to be gone at a Speech meet all day Saturday, with my oldest then leaving for Decorah, Iowa first thing Sunday morning)? I decided I would sneak down into Western Iowa and Northern Nebraska to get a few more courses played.

View from the Hole 9 tee at Hillview DGC in Hinton, Iowa.

My first course on the day today was Hillview DGC in Hinton, Iowa. And what an amazing course it was! I don’t hand out high praise too frequently, but I think Hillview is now my favorite nine-hole course in Iowa. Excellent, excellent job on the course design, Kevin and Kyle Huggenberger! The course has a bit of everything. Long and short holes. Wide-open holes and tight holes in the trees. Water and elevation changes. If I lived in that area, I might never need to leave the area to enjoy disc golf! So it is probably a good thing I don’t live in the area, so I don’t call it a course collecting career…ha!

Wearing My DGA Sales Hat – Tonn’s Travels
View from the Hole 2 tee at Horse Shoe Park in Tilden, Nebraska.

After coming down off my amazing experience at Hillview, I snuck over to Moville, Iowa to check out Moville DGC. A let-down compared to Hillview, but I think almost any course would have been. After Moville, I then spent the rest of my day in Nebraska, playing at Brink Park, Laurel Football Field DGC, and Horse Shoe Park.

Wearing My DGA Sales Hat – Tonn’s Travels
View from the Hole 4 tee at O’Neill DGC in O’Neill, Nebraska.

I noticed early in the week that a new course popped up in O’Neill, Nebraska on my UDisc unplayed courses map. I called the number associated with the course, and spoke with a nice man named Devin. He said he has been working with the local school on the course design in an area between the school and a soccer complex. Baskets and tees were not yet in the ground, so he’s been playing it as an object course. That said, with me coming to the area this weekend, he said he would add a map (in UDisc) of the course, so that I could play it too! Really, really nice of him to do.

After Devin added the map into UDisc, and after I had a chance to play the course, I asked him if he wanted feedback on the design from a fellow course designer. He said to fire away…so I offered a few suggestions on how to make Holes 5 and 6 safer. I also asked him about his plans for buying and installing baskets and tee signage. He said those plans were still pending (no baskets or signage ordered yet), so I teased him about how I was going to put on my DGA Ambassador hat and tell him all the wonderful things he could expect from buying either Mach V, Mach VII or Mach X baskets for that course. I also told him all-about DGA’s tee sign products, and that I have an in with the redheaded designer in Southwestern Minnesota, if he wanted to create something extra-special for their course! 🙂

I hope that leads to a sale for DGA, as well as more tee sign design work for Yours Truly, but we’ll see. It felt good to be hundreds of miles away from home though, offering positive, constructive feedback on a new course design. Along with promoting DGA’s fantastic products.

Magic Number = 459 (1,541 Courses Played)


About Tonn’s Travels

How it All Got Started: Tonn’s Travels >> A main purpose of this blog will be to share information, helpful tips and tricks (everything from health and fitness to methods for saving money while you’re out “bagging courses” of your own), and ideas for better, safer course design. But I am also hoping to inspire others with my passion for the sport, via the stories I can share about all of the interesting experiences I have. All of the interesting people I meet. All of the amazing courses I am blessed to have the opportunity to play. If I can inspire even a handful of individuals to get off the couch, get “out of their bubble” or “security blanket” and explore more of this big, beautiful planet we all call home? Then I will consider this effort a success.

About Derek

Wearing My DGA Sales Hat – Tonn’s TravelsDerek Tonn is a member of the DGA’s Ambassador Team. His company, Mapformation, LLC, has been DGA’s partner in the development of disc golf tee signage since 2012. The longer our two companies have worked together, and the more Derek has gotten to know all the great folks at DGA, the more he has wanted to formally sing the company’s praises. The more he has realized that “Steady” Ed the father of disc golf and the modern day Frisbee vision for the sport and his company perfectly describes his own interests and priorities related to disc golf, and the more Derek has recently been encouraged to share his story.

DGA | Disc Golf's Founding Company

If you want to generate hours of discussion and some occasional (albeit always respectful and friendly) debate among course collectors around the planet, simply ask them one question: “What counts as a course played?!”

For some players out there? Anything that locals say is a course counts as a course. From object courses and tonals to courses that only exist for 2-3 days in their history (temporary courses at events) are included in their course count. For other players out there? Only courses that have targets with chains and catchers count. No object courses, no tonals, no cones! How can folks not have MAD love and respect for cones and all the cone-heads that LOVE to play them to this day? 🙂

For me? I’ve tried to keep it as simple as I can: If DGCourseReview.com and/or UDisc say it’s a course? I count it as a course. If they don’t? I don’t. Although UDisc is much more liberal in what it allows into its directory (temp tourney courses and more “backyard” courses than I could count), so tie for me has always gone to DGCourseReview.com in determining my OFFICIAL course count.

View from one of two baskets at Okabena Practice Area in Okabena, Minnesota.

Why do I mention all of this on a cold, sunny, windy February afternoon? Because this morning, I had the opportunity to sneak down to tiny Okabena, Minnesota to try and verify if a two-hole Practice Area truly exists. And it does. So I marked it as being played, promptly added two photos from the area into its Media section of the practice area’s record, and DGCourseReview promptly adjusted my Courses Played count from 1,534 to 1,535.

Now, before folks think that is cheating and throw a yellow hankie on the field, I think of my 1,535 courses played in my collection, and only approximately ten of those Courses Played have been practice areas. Meanwhile, I have probably played at LEAST 30-40 courses that I do not count as Courses Played in my collection, while almost every other course collector I know puts an asterisk next to their DGCR Courses Played number, artificially adding dozens (and dozens) of courses not found in the directory to their collection. I think it all evens out in the end! But for my own Courses Played number? I want every single place I’ve played to be listed in DGCR…no asterisks! So that is what you will find in my Courses Played total on their site. With my UDisc Courses Played total lagging behind, due to a few dozen courses I had played being extinct prior to UDisc existing.

It did make me laugh, however. The irony of seeing a sticker from The Barbarian’s​ Sanctuary Disc Golf Club (BSDGC) added to the top of one of the baskets (in my cover photo for this post). There you have a fun nine-hole disc golf course located about as far from me as Okabena, only I cannot count it in my official Courses Played count, because the owner of that private property has not wanted the course to appear in DGCourseReview’s directory! So a practice area in Okabena? Is a course. While Tyler Helmke’s fun course on his private property is not. It doesn’t make a lot of sense! But at least I don’t have “Courses Played* in my official collection. 😉

Oh, and before I forget, Tyler: I found a BSDGC stamped Wraith without a name or phone number on it in Okabena. [sarcasm] I’ll trade you one round on your course and you (or me) adding your course to the directories in exchange for said Wraith! Ha. [/sarcasm]

Magic Number = 465 (1,535 Courses Played)


About Tonn’s Travels

How it All Got Started: Tonn’s Travels >> A main purpose of this blog will be to share information, helpful tips and tricks (everything from health and fitness to methods for saving money while you’re out “bagging courses” of your own), and ideas for better, safer course design. But I am also hoping to inspire others with my passion for the sport, via the stories I can share about all of the interesting experiences I have. All of the interesting people I meet. All of the amazing courses I am blessed to have the opportunity to play. If I can inspire even a handful of individuals to get off the couch, get “out of their bubble” or “security blanket” and explore more of this big, beautiful planet we all call home? Then I will consider this effort a success.

About Derek

What Constitutes a Course Played?! – Tonn’s TravelsDerek Tonn is a member of the DGA’s Ambassador Team. His company, Mapformation, LLC, has been DGA’s partner in the development of disc golf tee signage since 2012. The longer our two companies have worked together, and the more Derek has gotten to know all the great folks at DGA, the more he has wanted to formally sing the company’s praises. The more he has realized that “Steady” Ed the father of disc golf and the modern day Frisbee vision for the sport and his company perfectly describes his own interests and priorities related to disc golf, and the more Derek has recently been encouraged to share his story.

DGA | Disc Golf Association

As I have been open about sharing in previous blog posts, I was diagnosed with epilepsy back in June 2019. However, what I have not shared as of yet is a recent battle with vertigo, along with additional tests with Mayo Clinic that uncovered what they describe as brainstem and cerebellar dysfunction that has made life a little “extra interesting” since December. I think it sounds a lot more serious than it is! That said? My combination of epilepsy and brainstem and cerebellar dysfunction makes me one of approximately 400 individuals in the United States who are dealing with both conditions. And if you factor in the number of individuals who are experiencing both conditions AND who are left-handed (important, as the brains of us left-handers are often wired a bit differently than our right-handed counterparts)? Let’s just say that we could charter a bus and head down to Phoenix or San Diego…preferably from November 1 to March 31! 🙂

I have experienced mild dizziness, along with a chronic headache, every day of my life since Thanksgiving Day 1991. The day I suffered a severe concussion playing football. Being knocked unconscious, only to awaken with my nose under my left eye (with a horrified look on the faces of approximately ten people standing in a circle above me). That said, my dizziness has been much worse since suffering two days of severe vertigo back in December. So I was told I needed to see the “dizzy doctor” in neurology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. But before my visit with the doctor? I had to try and squeeze a couple more new courses played into my course collection!

View from the Hole 6 tee at Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau Middle School in Galesville, Wisconsin.

My first course on the day was at Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau Middle School in Galesville, Wisconsin. Some really short holes, and a few longer holes. Though from the perspective of safety? Holes 1, 3, 4 and 5 were a bit concerning. Throwing over a parking area, and throwing along walking trails and that same parking area. My guess is that it is a course that does not get played much outside of evenings, weekends and the Summer…as there were no signs of anyone playing that course since there has been a snowpack! Though I enjoyed my quick round. Minus having to play a bit of “Where’s Waldo” when trying to locate the Hole 4 basket from the Hole 4 tee. Shot a -7 (20) over nine holes.

Disc Golfing Before Seeing the Dizzy Doctor – Tonn’s Travels
View from the Hole 1 tee at Melrose Ball Field in Melrose, Wisconsin.

My second round on the day was at Melrose Ball Field in Melrose, Wisconsin. If I had some concerns about safety at the course in Galesville, my concerns were unfortunately magnified about ten-fold in Melrose. Lots of tight fairways throwing immediately next to ballfields, fenced-off private property, throwing over picnic shelters, etc. Holes 4 and 7 MIGHT have been holes I would consider to be “safe!” But on a windy day and/or with a player lacking skill or accuracy off the tee? Even those two holes might have been iffy. If those ballfields and shelters are used on a regular basis, and people drive/park along the road adjacent to Hole 9, I think that course might eventually be pulled from the ground. I didn’t even try to run chains or set up deuces on Holes 1, 3, 8 and 9…as it wasn’t worth the risk. I think I managed a -3 (24) over nine holes, which sounds terrible for another short course! But I really didn’t want to be representing DGA, hopping into people’s backyards (over their fence) or explaining to people why my disc damaged their car. 🙁

After sneaking in those two courses, it was time to meet with the dizzy doctor! And after 8-10 tests, he said my problem is entirely related to my eyes, not my inner ears. My vision is fine! It’s just that my eyes aren’t working in sync with one another…making things blurry and intensifying the strength of my headaches. A bit more therapy in my future! And if you see me wearing glasses this Spring? Now you’ll know why. Even though I still have 20/20 vision.

Magic Number = 466 (1,534 Courses Played)


About Tonn’s Travels

How it All Got Started: Tonn’s Travels >> A main purpose of this blog will be to share information, helpful tips and tricks (everything from health and fitness to methods for saving money while you’re out “bagging courses” of your own), and ideas for better, safer course design. But I am also hoping to inspire others with my passion for the sport, via the stories I can share about all of the interesting experiences I have. All of the interesting people I meet. All of the amazing courses I am blessed to have the opportunity to play. If I can inspire even a handful of individuals to get off the couch, get “out of their bubble” or “security blanket” and explore more of this big, beautiful planet we all call home? Then I will consider this effort a success.

About Derek

Disc Golfing Before Seeing the Dizzy Doctor – Tonn’s TravelsDerek Tonn is a member of the DGA’s Ambassador Team. His company, Mapformation, LLC, has been DGA’s partner in the development of disc golf tee signage since 2012. The longer our two companies have worked together, and the more Derek has gotten to know all the great folks at DGA, the more he has wanted to formally sing the company’s praises. The more he has realized that “Steady” Ed the father of disc golf and the modern day Frisbee vision for the sport and his company perfectly describes his own interests and priorities related to disc golf, and the more Derek has recently been encouraged to share his story.

DGA | Disc Golf Association

I won’t lie…my 48-year old body was telling me to stay in bed, drinking (and eating) out of a straw and whining about how much my __________ hurt after yesterday’s 9+ mile expedition in the snow! 🙂 But being in a land of unplayed courses, I found my way into a nice hot shower, got dressed, and talked myself into another 45 holes of disc golf before heading for home.

View of the course welcome sign at Becky Zallek DGC in Des Moines, Iowa.

My first course on the day was Becky Zallek DGC in Des Moines. What a fun course! I’ve been told that the course is prone to flooding, so Winter would be the ideal time to play it. And the course did not disappoint! I managed to shoot a -3 (53) on the round, for an estimated round rating of 945. I’ll take it, considering the slippery footing! Several risk/reward shots off the tee too, which made the course fun to play.

After my round at Becky Zallek, I headed over to the Des Moines VA…to see if I could play the nine-hole course on their property. It was interesting, as UDisc said the course is permanently closed, while DGCourseReview said the course is available to play for the general public, so long as players are respectful on the course, which is located on Federal property. I arrived at the course and saw a lot of construction fencing near a lot of the baskets. That, and the course was very difficult to navigate, so I played it as a sort of “safari round,” not being 100 percent sure of the flow from hole to hole.

After playing at the Des Moines VA, I headed over to Grandview Park, what I was told is the most heavily-trafficked course in Des Moines. The course lived up to its reputation, as I think I saw more people on the course than I saw on the other eleven courses I played on the weekend, combined. I started my round by hooking up with a recent transplant to Des Moines from Los Angeles, as well as a guy whose grandparents own a resort in Northern Minnesota. They were very nice, and showed me how to play the front nine. Then after Hole 9, I was on my own (as most locals play the course 10-18, then 1-9). And by Hole 12, I had caught up to a “sixteen some” that had started on Hole 10 when I teed off on Hole 1. 🙂 They let me play through on Hole 14, and I finished very strong…deucing 6 of the final 7 holes on the course.

I thought about seeing if I could muster the energy for one more round at Ewing Park (7,488 feet over 18 holes)! But I was already exhausted, hurting, and hoping to make it home before dark. So I decided to leave Ewing for another trip. After starting the weekend with 14 unplayed courses in the Des Moines metro, I headed for home with only three unplayed courses in the metro. I felt good! I mean mentally good…as my left shoulder, bicep, and elbow were on fire (from 147 holes of disc golf that were almost entirely played with my upper body, since an X-Step was impossible via all the snow). But that is the type of GOOD pain I will take any chance I can get it.

Thanks for a fun weekend, Des Moines! We’ll be seeing you sometime in the future, to knock out those three remaining courses I didn’t get to.

Magic Number = 468 (1,532 Courses Played)


About Tonn’s Travels

How it All Got Started: Tonn’s Travels >> A main purpose of this blog will be to share information, helpful tips and tricks (everything from health and fitness to methods for saving money while you’re out “bagging courses” of your own), and ideas for better, safer course design. But I am also hoping to inspire others with my passion for the sport, via the stories I can share about all of the interesting experiences I have. All of the interesting people I meet. All of the amazing courses I am blessed to have the opportunity to play. If I can inspire even a handful of individuals to get off the couch, get “out of their bubble” or “security blanket” and explore more of this big, beautiful planet we all call home? Then I will consider this effort a success.

About Derek

Thanks for a fun weekend, Des Moines! – Tonn’s TravelsDerek Tonn is a member of the DGA’s Ambassador Team. His company, Mapformation, LLC, has been DGA’s partner in the development of disc golf tee signage since 2012. The longer our two companies have worked together, and the more Derek has gotten to know all the great folks at DGA, the more he has wanted to formally sing the company’s praises. The more he has realized that “Steady” Ed the father of disc golf and the modern day Frisbee vision for the sport and his company perfectly describes his own interests and priorities related to disc golf, and the more Derek has recently been encouraged to share his story.

DGA | Disc Golf Association

Aah…today was EXACTLY the day I’ve been needing! Eighty-four holes of disc golf on seven new courses in the Des Moines, Iowa metro area.

View of the course map near the parking area at Heritage Park in Ankeny, Iowa.

My day started at Heritage Park in Ankeny, Iowa. A 21-hole course that got my feet good and wet, crossing a flooded creek before Holes 6 and 12, along with calf-deep snow. Fun course! I just wish I could have played it in shorts and a t-shirt in the middle of Summer. The highlight of my round was hitting an 80-foot deuce on Hole 17. A terrible tee shot, followed by a lucky second shot. I had to give the Mach 3 a little hug after bestowing good fortune upon me. 🙂

Course Collecting in Des Moines – Tonn’s Travels
An interesting sculpture at the entrance to the parking area at Waterford Park in Urbandale, Iowa.

After Heritage Park, I headed to Big Creek State Park, my favorite course on the day. Lots of technical shots off the tee, a fun course! I then proceeded to play Kiwanis Park (2 holes), Waterford Park (13 holes), Southwoods Park (9 holes), Windflower Park (12 holes) and Peter Crivaro Park (9 holes).

Course Collecting in Des Moines – Tonn’s Travels
A photo of me teeing off on Hole 10 at Windflower Park in Norwalk, Iowa.

My favorite memory from the day was at Southwoods Park. I threw my tee shot on Hole 1 down a big hill. Then a 7-8 year old boy promptly raced down on his sled to retrieve my disc. I was about halfway down the hill when he worked his way over to me, proudly holding my disc. I said: “Thanks!” Then quietly snuck down to where he picked it up and threw my approach while he fought his way up the rest of the hill…so it wouldn’t hurt his feelings.

9.41 miles of trudging through ankle to calf-deep snow on the day had me feeling exhausted. But it was a great feeling, as it had been too long since I’ve been able to do that. We’ll see how much gas I have left in the tank before I need to head for home tomorrow.

Magic Number = 471 (1,529 Courses Played)


About Tonn’s Travels

How it All Got Started: Tonn’s Travels >> A main purpose of this blog will be to share information, helpful tips and tricks (everything from health and fitness to methods for saving money while you’re out “bagging courses” of your own), and ideas for better, safer course design. But I am also hoping to inspire others with my passion for the sport, via the stories I can share about all of the interesting experiences I have. All of the interesting people I meet. All of the amazing courses I am blessed to have the opportunity to play. If I can inspire even a handful of individuals to get off the couch, get “out of their bubble” or “security blanket” and explore more of this big, beautiful planet we all call home? Then I will consider this effort a success.

About Derek

Course Collecting in Des Moines – Tonn’s TravelsDerek Tonn is a member of the DGA’s Ambassador Team. His company, Mapformation, LLC, has been DGA’s partner in the development of disc golf tee signage since 2012. The longer our two companies have worked together, and the more Derek has gotten to know all the great folks at DGA, the more he has wanted to formally sing the company’s praises. The more he has realized that “Steady” Ed the father of disc golf and the modern day Frisbee vision for the sport and his company perfectly describes his own interests and priorities related to disc golf, and the more Derek has recently been encouraged to share his story.

DGA | Disc Golf Association

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