Today was one of those fun opportunities I get to have a few times per year, presenting a disc golf workshop to approximately twenty Parks and Recreation professionals at the 2019 Annual Conference of the Minnesota Recreation and Park Association. A friend of mine, who has had me develop a few different sets of tee signage for the courses in his town, who also had me re-design one of the courses and help him replace older homemade baskets with some great new DGA Mach Xs, asked if I would be willing to present a 45-minute talk about the sport of disc golf to his colleagues at the MRPA. Being a perfect opportunity to sing the praises of the sport I love, as well as the company I love to represent? I very quickly and happily said yes. And the session I offered at today’s conference went about as perfect as I might have hoped.

Cover of the 2019 Conference Guide for the Minnesota Recreation & Parks Association annual conference in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.

My presentation was entitled: Introducing and/or Improving the Sport of Disc Golf in Our Parks,” and we covered lots of basic concepts for creating safer, more enjoyable courses for users of city, county, regional and state parks to enjoy. My session was supposed to last 45 minutes, and I came in at 46 minutes…just about perfect. And session attendees seemed to really enjoy (and learn from) the content. My favorite comment came from one particular Parks Director in the Northern MSP Metro. After the session, he told me: “I had never considered safety to be as important of an issue when designing and installing disc golf courses into parks until this session…and I really appreciated you passing around examples of disc golf discs to look at. It was the first time I had ever held a disc in my hand, and now I have lots of good information I can use when we’re considering the creation of a new 18-hole course in one of our parks next year.” EXACTLY the type of outcome I had been hoping for…though now I hope I’ve also sold him on how that potential new course needs DGA baskets in it! 🙂

Talking Disc Golf…with a little Course Collecting on the side – Tonn’s Travels
View from the Hole 6 tee at Windrose Park in Elko, Minnesota.

Before my presentation at MRPA, I also took the “long route” to the meeting by going through Elko, Minnesota, so I could check out a new tiny nine-hole course that opened in that community a few months ago: Windrose Park. Weighing in at only 1,340 feet over nine holes, every hole is essentially a “par two.” But a course is a course is a course, so I was FINALLY able to add course #1520 to my course collection. FAR too long since my last new course! But not being able to drive since May 29 has made course collecting so difficult. Thank goodness my “chauffeur” for the day didn’t mind swinging through Elko on our way up to Minneapolis.

Magic Number = 480 (1,520 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

Talking Disc Golf…with a little Course Collecting on the side – 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

Heading over to South Dakota for an extended family get-together with my in-laws today, I found out that we would be within 12-13 miles of a very small, unique course in the community of Madison, South Dakota. So after asking my wife nicely if she minded having my discs come with us on our trip to visit her family, as well as asking my oldest daughter nicely if she would mind driving me over to…

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After having a few weeks to try and adjust to my epilepsy medication, I thought it was high time I get back in the saddle and get back to course collecting today! Particularly since a course I helped to design, Seven Mile Lake Park in Fulda, Minnesota, recently opened to the public. So after asking a few family members nicely if I could “hitch-hike” down to Fulda this morning…

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DGA Re-Play: Course Giveaway

Win a free course of Mach 7 Baskets!

  • Is your course in dire need of some freshening up?

  • Are you aware of an opportunity to continue the growth of our sport by planting a new course, but adequate funds are lacking?

As the company that has been helping to grow the sport of Disc Golf since day one, DGA is well aware of the problems facing disc golf communities and we are here to help. DGA is happy to announce the DGA Re-Play: Free Course Giveaway!

Here’s how it works:

RePlay Course Giveaway

1.) Fill out our survey

Tell us why your course is the right choice for a DGA Re-Play.

RePlay Course Giveaway

2.) Recycle your existing baskets

In the survey, tell us how you plan to plant a new course with your existing baskets.

RePlay Course Giveaway

3.) Win a free course of new Mach 7 Baskets

Submit your entry by September 1st, 2019 and we will announce the winner of a new course of our latest Mach 7 baskets during the week of September 9th!

DGA Re-Play: Survey Questions

DGA | Disc Golf Association

The 2019 DGA Summer Special is here! This is a great time to purchase a DGA disc golf course and get a free practice basket or nine free tee signs*

DGA Summer Course Special

An extra basket for your course provides a place where players can warm up while waiting for their group to start playing. Course owners often overlook an extra practice basket. This summer special provides a great opportunity to add value and player satisfaction to your course at no additional charge.

Tee signs provide important information for your course and serve as a map for new players to the course. DGA Basic Color Tee Signs are attractive, durable and provide areas for course branding, par, distance, hole sponsors, etc.  Take advantage of this opportunity to add some free tee signs to your course purchase.

take advantage of the DGA Summer Special!

DGA | Disc Golf Association

After playing in cold, wet conditions most of yesterday here in Wisconsin, today I got to work most of the day designing what will be the 12th disc golf course I have helped to create over the years. And in addition to today’s steady rain (heavy at times)? I got to work on a particularly interesting challenge: designing a disc golf course on a property that does not have a single tree!

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DGA | Disc Golf Association DGA | Disc Golf Association – The Founding Company of Disc Golf!

Today was my first chance in quite a while to play and study some of the course designs created by H.B. Clark. A world-renowned course designer who has designed a number of courses in Kentucky and Tennessee. My first stop on the day was at Airport Park in Clarksville, Tennessee. One of H.B.’s designs from 2010. I thought it was quite a shame while playing the course, as it isn’t being maintained very well.  So I am sure that your average player who plays that design gives it a low rating.  Due to maintenance, rather than H.B.’s vision for the property.

View from the Hole 4 tee at Calvert City Old Park DGC in Calvert City, Kentucky.

After finishing up at Airport Park, soaked in cold water from my feet up to my knees, I was able to play two additional H.B. designs. The first at Old Park in Calvert City, Kentucky. The second at Doctor’s Park DGC, also in Calvert City. Two nine-holers that I thought were a lot of fun to play! Old Park was shorter, weighing in at 2,500 feet over nine holes. But Doctor’s Park had a bit more teeth to it…measuring 3,145 feet over nine holes.

H.B. Clark Day: Tonn’s Travels

View from the Hole 6 tee at Doctor’s Park DGC in Calvert City, Kentucky.

Hole 6 at Doctor’s Park gave me a laugh, as I had an older couple shout: “Did you mean to do that?” after I put my approach shot under a big branch and through 3-4 trees on its way to landing about ten feet left of the basket from around 240 feet away. I said, “Yes, I meant to do that.” And then they both said: “Well then, you must be pretty good!”  Ha!  It’s always nice to have other people see and appreciate some good shots, as so many of my rounds are played when I am literally the only person on an entire course!  I can shout and pump my fist into the air, and not a single person would know I am there.

After Doctor’s Park, I drove up to Marion, Illinois to check out Pharoah’s Way DGC, an eighteen-hole course that I had not yet had the opportunity to play. A neighbor’s barking, very aggressive dog ruined my mood in the middle of the round, but I quickly got my head back in a good place and managed to post a -7 (47) on the 4,562 foot course.  It sounds easier than it actually was…as there were several holes where OB, water, and rough to avoid came into play. And with me needing to cover hundreds of miles on the day?  Let’s just say that if a hole looked as though I could lose discs and/or waste a LOT of time searching for my drives? I would usually lay-up and throw a safety.

H.B. Clark Day: Tonn’s Travels

View from the Hole 4 tee at Paul A. Schroeder Park in Manchester, Missouri.

After Pharoah’s Way, I played a quick nine holes at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, then made my way over to the West side of St. Louis, Missouri to catch a quick nine holes at Paul A. Schroeder Park in Manchester. I enjoyed that course, though I ran out of daylight to try and get one additional new course played in Iowa. It would have been a chance to say that I had played disc golf courses in five different States in a single day!  Oh well, I needed to settle for six courses played across Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri.  I’ll knock a few more courses out in Iowa tomorrow, as I make my final push for home.

Magic Number = 528 (1,472 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 our “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

H.B. Clark Day: 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.

Subscribe to our newsletter and follow Derek Tonn on his Travels.

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H.B. Clark Day: Tonn’s Travels Derek Tonn

DGA | Disc Golf Association DGA | Disc Golf Association – The Founding Company of Disc Golf!

After waking up with the sun and sneaking in a quick eighteen holes of disc golf at Cornwallis Road Park in Durham, North Carolina, I made my way to Virginia Beach, Virginia ahead of the 2018 NACIS Annual Conference. I did this in order to play the one course I absolutely had to play on this trip: Bayville Farms Park. This eighteen hole course was originally designed by the one and only “Steady” Ed Headrick back in 1977, and locals tell me it is the second oldest remaining disc golf course on the Atlantic Coast. The course has changed and evolved quite a bit over the past 41 years! Not the least of which was the replacement of the original DGA baskets with Innova DISCatchers (BOO!  Ha!). But Ed’s fingerprints are still on that course, via the short tee and basket positions.

You can tell from the short tee and basket positions how much the sport has evolved over the past four decades!  I only wish I would have had my old 141g World Class Frisbee to throw those holes.  Experience those holes as Ed had intended them to be played. But after my round, I couldn’t help but have a personal moment of silence. Looking around, breathing in the air, and smiling.  Seeing another bit of history, and one of the VERY early places where our sport got its start.

View from the Hole 4 tee at Poplar Hall 9 in Norfolk, Virginia.

After finishing up at Bayville, I had just enough time to sneak in one more nine-hole course before I needed to shower and get ready for the opening sessions at NACIS. So I decided to check out a relatively new course: Poplar Hall 9 in Norfolk. A fun little course that plays fast. And I got to meet two nice locals and help one of them find their lost disc on Hole 6. They told me a couple of times that I didn’t need to spend all that time helping them, but I said: “Leave no disc behind.”  🙂  And we didn’t. I eventually found the lost driver, about 8-9 feet off the ground, wedged between two branches.

That will likely be it on the disc golf front for the next few days. But getting to play Bayville, and the bit of nostalgia and history that comes along with it, should hold me over until I am back on the road.

Magic Number = 540 (1,460 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 our “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

Enjoying a Bit of History: 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.

Subscribe to our newsletter and follow Derek Tonn on his Travels.

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Enjoying a Bit of History: Tonn’s Travels Derek Tonn

DGA | Disc Golf Association DGA | Disc Golf Association – The Founding Company of Disc Golf!

Another day, another seven new courses played in the rain and wind. Today felt more like a “job” than a hobby or fun…as I needed to slosh around in wet, muddy ground while keeping my discs low to the ground in strong wind conditions. That said, I got to learn a lot about how NOT to design disc golf holes, as well as meet one incredibly nice, passionate person who loves disc golf!

View from the Hole 4 tee at Felderman Park in Bellevue, Iowa.

Felderman Park was my first stop on the day, and I was a bit stunned to see just how much the design of that course forces discs to fly over paved walking trails. Hole 4 (above) is a perfect example. Unless you go very wide to the left, which few/no players would do on the tee? That hole essentially has two, even three, points where your disc will be flying directly over the paved trail. And if someone using the trail is running or riding bike? Your disc could be on them before you ever saw them coming. Before they ever knew someone was using the disc golf course, much less the fact that a disc is flying at them. I’m not sure who designed that course, but it seems like a prime potential candidate for several safety improvements.

After finishing up at Felderman Park, I played three quick rounds in Illinois: Old Mill Park, Point Rock Park, and Merema. Shortly thereafter, I had the privilege of playing Lowell Park in Dixon, Illinois on the day it officially opened to the public. As I pulled into the parking area, I was greeted by a smiling, friendly Nora Balayti. Nora was one of the people who was instrumental in getting disc golf installed at Lowell Park, and after a brief conversation, she offered to play my round with me.  She was such a ray of sunshine on a cold, rainy day!  I really enjoyed the ~30 minutes we got to spend talking and playing together.

Course Collecting in Iowa and Illinois: Tonn’s Travels

View from the Hole 7 tee at Lowell Park in Dixon, Illinois.

Lowell Park was actually a topic of conversation at 3DISC recently, as other course designers were critical of the design work (completed in part by Eric McCabe from Dynamic Discs), citing several safety issues (tees for holes in other holes’ fairways, flight paths for discs off the tee running too close to roads in the park, etc.). I mentioned how that course had at least a few things I would change, for safety purposes. But I also mentioned that the course might not have even made the top three “least safe” courses I had played that day! And that before folks are critical of said design, it would help to speak with Eric, speak with locals in charge of the project, to gain a better understanding of how often those roads in the park are used for vehicular traffic. Not to mention learn more about any other constraints or parameters (set by park staff) that designers needed to adhere to.

After thanking Nora for her hospitality, I continued heading East…playing additional courses in Minooka and Frankfort Square (Illinois), before calling it a night in Northwest Indiana. Another good day’s “work,” playing another seven new courses!

Magic Number = 575 (1,425 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 our “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 Iowa and Illinois: 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.

Subscribe to our newsletter and follow Derek Tonn on his Travels.

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Course Collecting in Iowa and Illinois: Tonn’s Travels Derek Tonn

DGA | Disc Golf Association DGA | Disc Golf Association – The Founding Company of Disc Golf!

Today was a big day for me, as both a course collector and a stats/numbers/quants “wonk.”  The day I became the fourth player in the history of the sport to reach 1,400 disc golf courses played.  It always makes me a little reflective, sentimental, nostalgic.  Thinking about the thousands of hours, the thousands of miles behind the wheel, spent to see and play courses across every corner of the United States.  Along with portions of Canada, France and The Netherlands.  How the journey, the experience, has changed me for the better.  I am SO blessed, having been able to play some of the world’s best courses, as well as meet thousands of nice people along the way.  Hearing all their stories.  Hearing their passion for the sport, and how they are evangelists.  Spreading the “Good News” as frisbetarians.  🙂

View from the Hole 7 tee at Duncan Park in Savannah, Missouri.

My day started at Duncan Park in Savannah, Missouri. A nine-hole course with some teeth…weighing in at 3,716 feet.  Roughly 410 feet per hole.  Put a 27 on the card.  Not bad, considering how I don’t have the arm/drive to get out there more than about 350 feet off the tee.  But with water coming into play on the final three holes, and the fact that my shoulder was just about done after a LOT of disc golf on the trip, I was pleased with that effort.

1,400 Courses and Counting: Tonn’s Travels

View from the Hole 9 tee at NW Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri.

After Duncan, I made my way up to Maryville, to play the 18-hole course at NW Missouri State University. Had my ups and downs, trying to protect my left shoulder off the tee. But I managed to still shoot a 49 on the course, for an estimated round rating of 957. I didn’t like how a few of the holes ran parallel to roads and campus drives (a “theme” I seemed to encounter during my drive back home from Kansas City), but there were at least a handful of fun holes on the course.  And for students looking to enjoy a recreational round or two? It is literally the only place for people to play within 27 miles in any direction. Kind of interesting…how there are SO many places for people to play in Southwest Iowa, but not nearly the quantity of courses available to enjoy in Northwest Missouri.

1,400 Courses and Counting: Tonn’s Travels

View from the Hole 8 tee at East Union School DGC in Afton, Iowa.

East Union School in Afton, Iowa was my next stop on my trip toward home. Perfect timing, with it being Sunday and the course being located on public school grounds. Okay/decent for a K-12 course, though I didn’t want to mess around with running chains on a few of the holes that had tall/thick rough.  As I REALLY didn’t want to waste time searching for lost discs. Managed a 26 on that 3,081 foot course.  Fine for a quick rec round.  Though if I would have had spotters and/or been playing in an event, I would have done more to try and set-up deuce putts on Holes 2, 4 and 8. After East Union School, I played McKinley Park in Creston.  Officially my 1,400th disc golf course played. Though I had no time to celebrate, as I was still trying to work one more course in before the skies opened up and some storms arrived in the area.

1,400 Courses and Counting: Tonn’s Travels

View from the Hole 11 tee at Southwestern College in Creston, Iowa.

My final round on the day was at Southwestern College in Creston, Iowa. It was fun being on campus, as today was the day that freshmen were moving on to campus. All the arm-fulls of clothing and school supplies, all the dads helping carry in furniture while the moms did their best to triple-check the 124 items on their “To Do Lists,”  doing their best not to cry and give their babies just ONE MORE hug!  🙂  I joke, of course.  As joking/laughing keeps me from thinking about sending my oldest off to college in less than three years.  It might be “Dad” nervously running through 124 items on a To Do List, asking for just ONE MORE hug, before Libby disappears into her dorm to begin life away from home [sigh].

After finishing the 18th hole at the College, a nice man named Joel Wires came up and asked me what I thought about the course. Turns out he works for the College’s Marketing Department, spending time on-campus photographing students and their families as they are getting ready for the start of Fall Term. Joel also is an avid disc golfer, playing numerous courses in the area, as well as helping with the design of the College’s course. And after telling him about Tonn’s Travels, along with my designing eleven courses in Southwest Minnesota and Southeast South Dakota, he asked me for feedback and ideas on their course’s design.

It was fun, talking design with the designer of that course!  And most of the ideas for improvements (safety, challenge) that I shared with Joel are things he had already been thinking about. Or in a few instances, a few of the current holes were the result of “making lemonade,” after losing numerous trees to a tornado a while back. Along with needing to re-configure a bit of the course to accommodate new construction on campus in recent years. Hopefully my ideas on a few things I might improve on the course were useful.  Nothing too crazy!  Just trying to have roads and campus drives come less into play on Holes 2-4, along with some changes to the way Holes 7, 12 and 13 are maintained.

Tomorrow I should push for home! I hope all goes well.

Magic Number = 599 (1,401 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 our “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

1,400 Courses and Counting: 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.

Subscribe to our newsletter and follow Derek Tonn on his Travels.

1,400 Courses and Counting: Tonn’s Travels Derek Tonn

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