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

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

After 220 days without driving privileges, the State of Minnesota finally restored my right to drive on January 4, 2020. Once I could prove that I had been seizure-free for 90+ days, with a little help from Neurology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. And once I had my driving privileges restored? My first order of business was to try and figure out a way to make planets align and get 10+ new courses played in a weekend.

Between work, family activities and poor weather, it took a few weeks to make it happen! But this weekend I FINALLY had the opportunity to sneak away for a few days to disc golf. I essentially had three options:

1. Fargo, ND and Moorhead, MN 2. Sioux City, IA (and courses to the West of Sioux City) 3. Des Moines, IA

I thought Fargo-Moorhead would be out, due to deeper snow pack and colder temps. And with the courses in Sioux City and the small towns in Northern Nebraska, I thought it would be very risky…gambling on driving 40-50 miles, only to find that a town had pulled its baskets for the Winter. So Des Moines, Iowa it was!

View from the Hole 9 tee at Watertower Park DGC in Osage, Iowa.

After spending my morning working on some scanning work for my day job at mapformation, I hit the road for Iowa. My first stop on the day was at Watertower Park DGC in Osage, IA. A fairly simple, open course with homemade baskets (numbered 10-18), this was the only of three courses in Osage that I had yet to play. So it wasn’t necessarily something I was looking forward to, particularly walking my way through calf to knee deep snow. Rather, it was my attempt to add a new course played to my collection, in an area where there wasn’t another new course for me to play within 50+ miles in any direction.

For the conditions, my -1 (26) wasn’t a terrible score, with an estimated 922 rating. But I wasn’t there to impress anyone with my score, as much as getting a “+1” in my course collection. So, mission accomplished. 🙂

After a quick stop in Osage, I headed for Ankeny, IA, which would serve as my headquarters for the weekend. I booked a room at the local Super 8, just looking for a cheap place to crash. But I came away pleasantly surprised at the cleanliness of the rooms, the comfort of the bed, the quality of the food at breakfast, and how friendly and helpful hotel staff was. If you’re ever in the neighborhood and need a room, I would check them out!

Back in the Saddle – Tonn’s Travels
View from the Hole 4 tee at Faith Baptist Bible College DGC in Ankeny, Iowa.

After I pulled into Ankeny, I still had about 45 minutes of daylight, so I decided to roll the dice and see if I could play a quick nine holes at Faith Baptist Bible College. When you arrive at the course, there is a large sign that clearly states that the course is only available to students, faculty, staff and invited guests. Though I decided to find staff at the college and see if I could beg my way on the course, since I was the person who designed their tee signage. Upon finding staff in an administrative building, they couldn’t have been more nice or helpful! They made me feel welcome, even calling Security staff to let them know the guy in the blue DGA sweatshirt, with red hair and sideburns, was to be considered an “invited guest.” Which was a good thing, as Security officers drove by me a couple times while I was playing, just to make sure they knew what was up.

It was starting to get dark after I made it back to the car, so I headed back to the Super 8 to relax before dinner. Here’s to hoping I’ll get to knock a bunch of new courses out tomorrow!

Magic Number = 478 (1,522 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

Back in the Saddle – 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

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

It’s been a rough couple of months. 🙁 Health-wise, my side-effects of my epilepsy medication have made me feel extremely tired and sick to my stomach. The irony of which has been the fact that the type of seizures I experience only make me feel sick to my stomach. No shaking or convulsions. No loss in cognitive ability. Just nausea. With the medication prescribed to treat said nausea (seizures) making me feel nauseous. [sigh] That pleasantness, along with my continuing to not have the ability to drive (four months and counting), has made course collecting all but impossible.

Sample 8×11 tee sign from Nicollet DGC in Nicollet, Minnesota.

That said, the planets aligned this weekend, as a new course opened recently at a K-12 school about forty minutes East of me. A course DGA recently asked me to develop tee signage for (above). And with me expected to attend an event in Mankato, Minnesota earlier this morning, that my oldest daughter also wanted to attend? I asked if she would mind stopping in Nicollet and letting me play a quick round.

Nicollet DGC – Tonn’s Travels
View from the Hole 3 tee at Nicollet DGC in Nicollet, Minnesota.

The course in Nicollet was student-designed, so there are several holes that play parallel to adjacent streets. That, and a few of the holes come uncomfortably close to some adjacent softball and baseball fields. Though the school plans to keep close watch of things, not allowing play on the course when there are scheduled events on the adjacent fields. That, and they are planning to pull the baskets each Winter, making it a seasonal course only available for play in the Spring, Summer and Fall.

I struggled on the course, managing a -3 (26) over nine holes. In my defense? It was WINDY…with sustained winds over 25+ MPH and even stronger gusts! That said, the rust on my game was pretty thick, as my performance on several tees left a LOT to be desired. But it was good to get out on a course again, even if “the struggle was real.” 🙂

My favorite part of the round was bumping into a young father with his wife and preschool-aged son. I assume they lived a few blocks from school, as their son rode his bike to the course while the mom pushed a stroller. The dad asked me if I knew how the course played, since tee signs haven’t yet been installed. So I brought up a map of the course on my phone, and showed him where to tee off on each of the holes. Fortunately, I made good tee shots on Holes 8 and 9 while they watched, so as not to embarrass myself TOO much in the wind.

Magic Number = 481 (1,519 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

Nicollet DGC – 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

Top