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

Today I once again had the honor of playing a disc golf course that does not exist.  Or rather, two of the three major disc golf course directories (PDGA.com and DGCourseReview) say that said course is either extinct or is merely a figment of my imagination.  But since UDisc recently added (back) in Northwest Park DGC in Madison, South Dakota to their directory, a course that was first installed in 2003 but was labeled as “extinct” years ago?  I thought I would make the 100+ mile drive over to Madison and put any confusion about the status of that course to rest.  And, thankfully (so as to not completely waste seven gallons of gas and four hours of my life), I was rewarded with a very short, recreational course to add to my course collection.

View from the Hole 1 tee at Northwest Park DGC in Madison, South Dakota.

All but one or two holes are essentially par twos, well-under 200 feet in length.  But there were just enough trees and a touch of water (and a place that looked like prime habitat for ticks) that it kept me honest on the tee.  Carded a 20, which I thought was okay.  Two rock solid tee shots on Holes 4 and 7 should get most good players a score of 18 on this short course!  But since my name is not “McBeth” or “Lizotte?”  A 20 was solid.

I’ve played probably 40-50+ courses over the years that “do not exist.” They absolutely DO exist, of course!  But either nobody has taken the time to add their information to PDGA.com, DGCR or UDisc, or property owners purposefully lie about the course no longer being there.  So as to try and discourage players not affiliated with their property/organization from attempting to play said courses.

I’ve never liked that.  Property owners lying about a course not existing.  When all it takes is one player who has seen or played said course, making one social media post and/or telling a couple friends about seeing baskets on a property to create ten-times the confusion and trouble. I think a much better, more honest approach is to add said courses to the various directories out there.  With said directories then making it painfully obvious as to whether the general public is permitted to visit said property and play the course.

Church or YMCA camps are a common problem in this regard.  People can see baskets from the road as they are driving by a property, or others who have been permitted to play the courses in the past…adding them to the various directories.  Only the church or YMCA camp will later decide they don’t want non-campers or non-employees playing.  But instead of being clear in the directories about who is and is not allowed on the property?  They will simply ask to have the course labeled as “extinct.”  Or have the course record removed altogether.  But in the weeks and months that follow?  More people will see those baskets as they drive by the property.  More people will post/share about playing disc golf on said property.  So more players will visit the property…not knowing that their presence is not desired/allowed unless someone on-site alerts them to that fact.  A hassle, both for landowners/employees, and for players who did not know they weren’t supposed to be playing disc golf on the property.

This was not the case in Northwest Park in Madison!  My guess is a previous version of a course had been pulled from the ground a few years ago…only to have disc golf re-introduced to the park in 2018, with new baskets (very nice DGA baskets, I might add).  But it has been an ongoing problem in all of the major course directories for as long as I have been volunteering to help scrub them for accuracy (around the past decade or so).  I think the solution is to list all courses in all directories, then flag the ones that are not open to the general public with crystal clear instructions and information about permissions attached to their directory listings.  But until that day?  I guess I will just keep playing more “courses that do not exist.”

Magic Number = 636 (1,364 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

Playing Courses that Do Not Exist: 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.

Playing Courses that Do Not Exist: Tonn’s Travels Derek Tonn

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

After playing 1,300+ disc golf courses across North America and portions of Europe, you develop a feel, almost a “sixth sense,” for how course designers of varying levels of skill and experience will often approach the position of tees and baskets on a property.  That comes in handy, as many courses out there have no numbers on their baskets.  No tee signs or marked tee areas.  No course map. In those instances, one tries to channel their best inner Robert Redford and know what the horse…I mean COURSE (designer) was thinking while technically enjoying a “safari round.”

Poster from the movie The Horse Whisperer, starring Robert Redford and Kristin Scott Thomas.

It sounds a bit silly, but when I encounter courses such as these while out on the road, one of the first rules of thumb I generally apply to the likely flow of a course is: “What would a right-handed player/designer do?”  For a left-hand backhand player such as myself?  It becomes painfully obvious that if 93% of the planet is right-handed, then approximately 93% of the people designing disc golf courses are right-handed as well.  And since many/most designers like to design holes that they personally like to play?  That best suit their particular strengths as a player? You’ll see 2-3+ fairways that go from right to left, for every one fairway that goes from left to right.  And when it isn’t clear how a course will play, from basket to basket?  One can usually figure out a lot of holes by understanding that many (most?) designers won’t put water, O.B., buildings or other potential hazards, left of a fairway. Most course designers will also choose to begin and end a course near the parking area most players will use.  And combining these two typical characteristics of many/most designs on the planet?  Can help you at least make an educated guess as to how a course will play.

I needed to put these skills to use earlier this morning, traveling to Worthington, Minnesota to play a new nine-hole course at Minnesota West Community and Technical College.  Using UDisc to successfully guide me to the course, I could see nine baskets spread across the Southwest end of the campus.  However, none of the baskets had hole numbers on them.  And there were no tee areas defined (not even simple flags or spray paint to mark the tee locations).  So I thought: “If I were a right-handed player, one who probably has not designed a lot of courses, where would I likely want the tees to be located in order to make nine fun shots off the tee?”

The Course (Design) Whisperer: Tonn’s Travels

The fifth “Safari” hole I played at Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Worthington, Minnesota.

It was actually more difficult to try and figure out than other similar courses I’ve played.  Though I finally decided that the designer must have established a clockwise flow from hole to hole, based upon the fifth, sixth and seventh holes I played. Notice the position of a fenced-in ball field to the left of the likely fairway on the fifth hole I played (above). Most right-handed players I know would not like having a fenced-in ballfield (O.B.) to throw a hyzer over off the tee, if the course played in the opposite direction. There was a remnant of a football goal post right of the fairway too! But that should be far enough away from the tee area where it would be easier for right-hand backhand players to avoid.

The Course (Design) Whisperer: Tonn’s Travels

The sixth “Safari” hole I played at Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Worthington, Minnesota.

Follow that hole with the next logical tee area, with all-sorts of trouble (and private property) left of the tee.  This has “righty hyzer bomb” written all over it…versus coming at the previous basket from my next basket (requiring righties to either throw an anhyzer off the tee or throw over private property, O.B.).  I highly doubt that, unless the course designer was left-handed, they would have 93 percent of players throwing anhyzers or throwing over private property.

The Course (Design) Whisperer: Tonn’s Travels

The seventh “Safari” hole I played at Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Worthington, Minnesota.

The only thing that gave me pause, related to a potential clockwise flow to the course design, was the seventh hole I played (above).  An inflatable building on the left, with water (O.B.) on the right. I hope that inflatable building is temporary (commencement?), as if it is not, I could write a few paragraphs about how concerned I would be about safety on this part of the course.  But that issue aside, I finally decided that a course designer (93% chance they were right-handed) would probably prefer throwing over the water to dry land (right to left), punishing us lefties via throwing over dry land toward water (left to right). Facing South, with the campus experiencing moderate to strong wind from the South or Southwest a majority of the time throughout the year? This presents a scary shot for left-handers, at least with that inflatable building in the way of a hyzer line. [sarcasm] But we’re used to it…sigh. [/sarcasm]

I will be curious to learn how close to the actual flow of the course I got while playing my safari round on campus today. But regardless of that, I was happy to add one more new course to my bag/collection this morning. One of fewer than ten new courses close enough to home to not require a night in a hotel.

Magic Number = 637 (1,363 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

The Course (Design) Whisperer: 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.

The Course (Design) Whisperer: Tonn’s Travels Derek Tonn

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

After calling it a night in Chillicothe, Missouri, my plan was to drive into Southern Iowa today.  Playing 5-6 courses, finding a hotel, and then playing 3-4 more courses tomorrow on my way home.  However, I woke up very sore from the previous three days of disc golf.  And being sore, combined with the fact that the wind was absolutely howling out of the South (making disc golf not even fun, if one can believe it), I decided to wave the white flag of surrender and push for home a day early.

As folks who know me will attest to, however, I am stubborn.    And I was not going to miss playing at least a couple more courses on the way home.  Trenton, Missouri was my first stop, and considering the wind?  I played it well.  -6 (48) over 18 holes.  I thought: “Maybe I can still gut it out…wind be darned?”  However, any thought of fighting through the pain and wind was quickly beaten out of me on my second course of the day: Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa.  7,460 feet over 18 holes, and even a 7-8 foot putt was an adventure in the wind.  My score of 60 wasn’t actually that bad, all things considered!  But it was the polar-opposite of a fun experience.  Not because of the course, but because of the wind. And if “the player who has the most fun wins?”  Copyright: Steady Ed Headrick?  I lost.  So I decided to call it a day.  Although not before putting on my private investigator hat and checking out one more rumored nine-hole course in Iowa, to confirm it actually existed (different course directories had different information): Cedar County Park near Creston, Iowa.

Heading Home: Tonn’s Travels

View from the Hole 1 tee at Cedar County Park Disc Golf Course near Creston, Iowa.

I was expecting a typical “prairie golf” course at a county park in Iowa: short, mostly open, few challenges apart from the wind.  However, the course was a pleasant surprise!  Right out of the gate, you’re asked to carry water off the Hole 1 tee.  Holes 2 and 3 were fairly boring/typical of other courses in the region.  But then the rest of the course was surprisingly wooded/technical.  With water coming into play again on Holes 5 and 9.  A fun little recreational course…and a nice way to finish my disc golf for the weekend.

As I was getting ready to tee off on Hole 5, I heard grunting and “oink, oink” behind me.  I turned around to see a pig walking up to me, nudging my leg with its wet snout as if to say: “hello…will you be my friend?”  I’ve seen a LOT of things on disc golf courses over the years, but this was my first pig.  I told it “hello” and gave it a friendly pet on its head.  And it proceeded to grunt and oink, keeping within 15-20 feet of me the rest of my round.  Giving me a sad look when I finally got in my car and left the park.  Thanks for the company and friendly “conversation” during the last half of my round, Mr./Mrs. Pig!  You shall forever be remembered via being the featured image for this post.

Magic Number = 638 (1,362 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

Heading 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.

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

Heading Home: Tonn’s Travels Derek Tonn

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

Photo by Erika Witzke, CTA City of Columbia (Missouri), Parks and Recreation.

Well today was a day to remember at A Grand Disc Golf Experience in Columbia, Missouri. Getting to rub elbows with some of the most influential people in the sport (including John Houck and Dee Leekha) at a C-Tier commemorating Mike Harrington playing his 1,000th course, as well as wrestling with some of my own competitive demons. And, in effort to get the less fun stuff out of the way first:

THE UGLY

  1. My putting.  In short, it was embarrassing. I missed five putts inside of 20-25 feet during the 18-hole event.  One of which resulted in a roll-away that created a SECOND missed 18-20 footer, for my first three putt in longer than I can remember.  Not sure if it was nerves, as today was my first sanctioned event in years!  But it was brutal.

THE BAD

  1. My 79 on the blue (long) tees at Harmony Bends, the world’s top rated course, was about 20-30 rating points lower (922) than I am used to shooting (940s-950s).  Though one of the local players, after he asked for my score, said that he knows very few players who can crack 80 off the long (Blue) tees.  Still, all I could think about were the five missed putts being the difference between not only shooting my “typical” rating…but being the difference between third place and winning my division (four off the lead).

THE GOOD

  1. I had an absolute blast playing with Mike Harrington, Steve West, and Ted Keith.  Such a great group of guys, who made the experience a fun one.  And I had such a good time talking with John and Dee…even taking a few minutes to take some selfies with Dee.
A Mixed Bag: Tonn’s Travels

Dee Leekha and I having a little fun after the C-Tier celebrating Mike Harrington’s 1,000th course played at Harmony Bends disc golf course in Columbia, Missouri.

  1. For how bad my putting was today, I was consistently running gaps with my Undertows, Hurricanes and Squalls that showed that I do actually know how to play this game!  A Mixed Bag: Tonn’s Travels  Including an impossibly tight alley with my Squall that just missed the Hole 18 basket from a couple hundred feet out that John Houck caught on film.
  2. After the round, folks added up the scores and showed that I finished fourth in the MA40 division.  A testament to just how difficult the course’s long tees play (that a 79 over 18 holes could place).  But after Mike (Harrington) re-checked scores, it showed that his 77 should have actually been a 79…putting us in a tie for third in the MA40 division.  But with the incorrect score, he said he needed to assign himself a two stroke penalty, which would technically give me third place in MA40.

  3. I got my “couple seconds of fame” on Columbia’s ABC news affiliate after the event, as they were at the tournament interviewing Mike on his big day.  Look for me about 23 seconds into the news story here: http://www.abc17news.com/sports/disc-golf-extraordinaire-makes-history-at-columbias-harmony-bends/736378603

  4. I was able to play another one of Steady Ed’s designs in Columbia from 1979 after the tournament with Steve West (Albert Oakland Park – Upper), as well as two other courses as I headed toward my hotel for the night.  63 more holes played today.  Though I was feeling it, even before Harmony Bends, having played 238 holes over the past 72 hours.  Anyone have a Rascal Scooter or hospital bed I can borrow?  Only half-kidding.  Ha!

Magic Number = 641 (1,359 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

A Mixed Bag: 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.

A Mixed Bag: Tonn’s Travels Derek Tonn

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

Today was the day I have been waiting to have again for over a month.  106 holes played across seven courses in Iowa and Missouri.  Five LONG, tough 18+ hole courses.  And I played strong, with five rounds with an estimated round rating of 970 or higher.  Hear me roar!  Or, if you happen to be a fan of the Detroit Lions?  “The roar has been restored.”    I think it is safe to say that I am now recovered from my bout with pneumonia.

Getting Back to Normal: Tonn’s Travels

A photo of the location of my most lucky, ridiculous shot on the day. A spike hyzer with my Flex Squall on Hole 19 in Memorial Park that found chains over/behind a wall of brush.

I started the day at Memorial Park in Ottumwa, Iowa.  Played it strong, and finished with a ridiculous deuce on 19 that had no business going in.  I put my Squall on a steep spike hyzer line, just trying to get over a ton of brush in front of me.  And wouldn’t you know it?  The disc found chains.  Better to be lucky than good, I guess.

Getting Back to Normal: Tonn’s Travels

Course Welcome Sign and Map at Lake Fisher Disc Golf Course in Bloomfield, Iowa.

I then quickly played a six holer in Ottumwa (Franklin Park), before heading out to play Wildwood Park in Ottumwa.  A fun course, and I managed to shoot 49, which was good enough for an estimated round rating of 985.  I then snuck down to play Lake Fisher DGC in Bloomfield, Iowa.  A course I have driven past before, and I wasn’t going to drive past it again.  Managed a 50, Which was good for an estimated round rating of 984.

I finished my day with three new courses in Missouri.  Sever Lake in Hurdland (which DGCourseReview.com says is an 18 hole course, but I only found nine holes), and then the two toughest courses I have played on this trip: Rothwell Park East and West in Moberly.

East was one of those magical rounds where I could do no wrong.  I was rattled on Hole 2, losing one of my Hurricanes within 40 feet of the basket (looked for 10-15 minutes in deep leaves, with no luck), but I stuck every drive, just about every approach, and made every putt I needed to post a 53.  You could offer me $1,000 if I could shoot another 53 (or better) on that course, and I am not sure I could.  It was an amazing round I wish I could put in a bottle.

West wasn’t quite as strong of a performance.  But my 55 was good enough for an estimated round of 970.  I was very, very happy with those two rounds.  Particularly since I already had 70 holes under my belt on the day before I arrived.

Finished the day having dinner with Mike Harrington of The Disc Golf Experience.  All in all, a great day.  With the anticipation of meeting John and Dee Houck of Houck Design tomorrow morning.

Magic Number = 645 (1,355 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

Getting Back to Normal: 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.

Getting Back to Normal: Tonn’s Travels Derek Tonn

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

After nearly a month without being able to play disc golf due to a bout with pneumonia and a sinus infection, I finally got back on the road course collecting today, playing 69 holes on six new courses across central Iowa.  It was a chance to try and get my energy and endurance back (today was a tough challenge, particularly with 25-30 MPH sustained wind) …as well as clean-up my map of unplayed courses in areas I had previously completed.  I can now say that I have played literally every course between home and Des Moines, Iowa.

View from the Hole 4 tee at Chautauqua Park DGC in Sac City, Iowa.

I enjoyed the recreational courses in Sac City and Breda (Iowa), and I had a great conversation with volunteers out at Orion 9 South of Coon Rapids.  But Edgewood Park in Madrid was a bit scary.  Throwing at/over playground equipment and areas where families like to picnic.  I had to throw safeties off the tee on three holes just to make sure I didn’t come anywhere close to a dangerous situation.  A few holes definitely need to be re-designed out there, to prevent injuries.  I then finished on a better note by playing two more courses in Huxley and Maxwell.

I am en route to meet John and Dee Houck of Houck Design on Sunday, along with helping Mike Harrington of The Disc Golf Experience celebrate playing his 1,000th disc golf course (an early “welcome to the club,” Mike).  I’ve talked with all three of those great folks on several occasions, but it will be my first time meeting all three in person.  I cannot wait!

Magic Number = 652 (1,348 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

On the Road Again in Iowa: 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.

On the Road Again in Iowa: Tonn’s Travels Derek Tonn

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

After 28 days, 86 new courses, and nearly 6,500 miles behind the wheel to/from California and Nevada in February and March, I’ve been laying low the past few weeks.  Recovering from a nasty sinus infection and a bout with walking pneumonia that I developed on the last leg of my road trip.  That said, even though I’ve been sniffling and coughing at home behind my monitor and keyboard for a few weeks, it hasn’t stopped me from planning my next trips.  Continuing my slow-but-steady march toward 2,000 courses played as I am out trying to promote DGA (the company, their baskets, their discs, etc.) as best I can.

My next trip will be a much shorter one, but incredibly special to me.  A fellow course collector, Mike Harrington of the Disc Golf Experience, is organizing a small tournament in Columbia, Missouri, celebrating his reaching 1,000 disc golf courses played.  The event is being held on April 29 at Harmony Bends Disc Golf Course, the world’s #1 rated course.  With John Houck from Houck Design (who is widely regarded as one of the world’s top disc golf course designers, and who was the designer of Harmony Bends) in attendance.  I’ve gotten to know John and his wife Dee a bit over the past several months, and to have the opportunity to meet Mike, John and Dee and play one of John’s designs with him present will be quite an honor.  And of course, I’ll need to drive to/from said event…hopefully adding another 20+ courses in Southern Iowa and Missouri to my own “collection.”

After that, it will be time spent at home getting on top of work until June 1-3, when I will head to Rochester, Minnesota for three days.  Not a disc golf trip!  But my discs will be with me, so I can hopefully play the final 5-6 course in Southeast Minnesota that I have yet to play.

I may need to spend a few days in Chicago this Summer, which would be great for my course collecting efforts.  There are 127 courses within approximately 70 miles of Chicago, and I have only played 16 of them.  Fertile ground to add numerous new courses to my collection in relatively short order!  I will also likely be spending at least a long weekend in Southern Wisconsin in July, helping to design my first disc golf course in the land of Badgers and Packers.  I won’t say where yet, as I want to respect the privacy of the land owner…waiting until they are ready to announce a course opening on their property.  But that will be an interesting and special project for me to work on.

In mid-August, I’ll be in Kansas City.  Wearing my Disc Golf Foundation Board Member hat for a long weekend.  Again, driving to and from, so I can hopefully play an additional 20-25+ courses in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri before, during and after conducting Foundation business.  With a likely return trip (for work) to Grand Rapids, Michigan in late September and early October, along with a possible mid-October work trip to Norfolk, Virginia.

Trips for my work at mapformation have been, in large part, the reason why I have been able to play literally hundreds of courses across the United States and portions of Canada.  And driving to said clients or conferences, loaded down with computer/scanning equipment or display materials for our exhibits, has been the only reason I have had the opportunity to play hundreds of courses in rural areas of the country.  I love a good road trip!  Love seeing what is around that next corner or past that next mountain.  And UDisc has been such a blessing in my efforts!  Not only showing me where courses are located, tying in with Google Maps to give me turn-by-turn directions to thousands of courses on the planet!  But allowing me to filter out (of view) all of the courses I have already played.

Sometimes, driving through different parts of the country after having played more than 1,300 courses, I forget whether I have played a course in the past.  All but the REALLY good (or sometimes really bad) courses can start to blur together as memories over time.  That said, UDisc allows me to filter out courses (from view) that I have previously played.  All while allowing me to immediately record my rounds in their app (which I also later enter at Disc Golf Course Review, along with uploading photos from the tee areas for any courses that did not previously have photos).

If any of you reading this are located in any of these areas (South of Des Moines, IA, Columbia, MO, Southeast MN, Chicago, Southern WI, Grand Rapids, MI or Norfolk, VA), and you’d like to throw a round or two while I’m in town, please feel free to reach out to me.  Playing with locals who know courses is SO much more fun than playing new courses alone!  And if you wouldn’t mind having me tag along, maybe even writing a bit about you or adding a photo or two from the experience, I would welcome the opportunity to meet and check out the courses you call home.


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

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.

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

Planning My Next Trips: Tonn’s Travels Derek Tonn

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

Today was another interesting day, with over 400 miles driven across the entire State of Wyoming.  Not a ton of time for disc golf, though I did make sure and sneak three rounds in.  My first stop was at Spring Creek DGC in Laramie.  I was not prepared for the ankle deep snow, and I almost lost one of my DGA Hurricanes under the snow pack.  But I survived the round with my entire set of discs in tact.

View from the Hole 10 tee at Romero Park Disc Golf Course in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Next it was on to Romero Park in Cheyenne.  A fun course, though after Hole 1, I struggled until the back nine.  I think 80+ new courses played in less than a month is starting to catch up to me!  Wyoming: Tonn’s Travels Then to wrap things up before sunset, I got to check out nine more signs that I had created for Laramie County Community College’s course called Screaming Eagle.  The signs looked great, the course was crawling with players, and minus some temporary fencing that obstructs one’s tee shot on a couple of holes?  It was a fun course to play.

Those three courses got me to ten total courses played in Wyoming too, my 26th US State where I have played at least ten courses.  Pretty cool.

Magic Number = 663 (1,337 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

Wyoming: 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.

Wyoming: Tonn’s Travels Derek Tonn

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

Every time I am blessed to spend a little time in Utah, I am continually amazed at what a beautiful place it is.  The mountains, the rainbow of colors in the soil and stone, the interesting streams and occasional waterfall.  Anyone who refers to places such as Utah as “fly-over country?”  Hasn’t yet experienced the natural beauty of the State.

That said, I had the fortune today to be able to play a total of six new courses in Utah.  I started my day at Bloomington Hills North Park in St. George.  Designed by scouts, it was a fun course to play.  A few holes that introduce dangerous situations for pedestrians and pets, and uncomfortably close to neighbor’s fences and yards.  But I had a good time, albeit throwing a few safeties.

Next up was a fun nine holes at Nephi DGC.  Saw a grounds worker there who saw my license plates and asked if I knew where St. Cloud (Minnesota) is.  Where his son currently lives.  After that, I headed to Orem to check out an 18 Hole course at Utah Valley University…or so I thought.  UVU makes finding visitor parking an exercise in patience.  And when I did finally find a legal parking spot (that I needed to pay for, while hundreds of empty parking spaces surrounded me, sigh), I only found twelve of the eighteen supposed baskets.  Played it as a 12-Hole course, then explained the situation to a disc golfing couple I noticed trying to figure out those “missing” holes as well.

View from the Hole 5 tee at Scera Park in Orem, Utah.

But things were looking up after that, as I got to play another course where we created tee signage, Scera Park.  Those were actually some of the first tee signs I produced for DGA several years ago.  Fun to see another set of signs in their native environment.  Utah: Tonn’s Travels  And South Field Park in Heber City, along with Valais Park in Midway, were a great way to end my day.

Utah: Tonn’s Travels

View from the Hole 8 tee at Valais Park in Midway, Utah.

Today more than doubled the number of courses I have played in Utah (11).  And Utah becomes the 25th US State where I have played at least ten courses.  Now it is on to Wyoming!

Magic Number = 666 (1,334 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

Utah: 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.

Utah: Tonn’s Travels Derek Tonn

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

After hearing the jets rumbling across the Nevada desert the past three days while exhibiting at a conference for work, today I was given the very rare opportunity to enjoy a round of disc golf as a civIlian at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada.

I had to use a little DGA “in” or pull to get permission to play on the base, as I was the person who designed the course’s tee signage.  But personnel at every level of security were extremely welcoming.  And Jennie Chance, who works in Outdoor Recreation at the base, walked the round with me while asking for my thoughts on making the course safer and easier to play and navigate.

View near the Hole 5 basket at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The course starts out easy, then gets more difficult as you work your way toward the ninth hole.  But it is not about the course design itself, as much as how great it is that the US Military is beginning to install more disc golf courses on its facilities.  And Nellis does a great job trying to introduce new players to the sport.  Even allowing personnel to check out camouflage backpacks stocked with a variety of discs!  That impressed me, as they really do want folks stationed there to enjoy disc golf as a fun hobby, at minimum.  With talk of creating leagues and occasional tournaments.

Thanks again to Jennie and to Michael Romijn, for helping me get a temporary pass to be on the base.  And thanks to all the personnel who are stationed there for your service to our country.  Our entire DGA family appreciates all you do to help ensure that we all live in a free country where we are allowed to enjoy a wonderful recreational activity such as disc golf.

Nellis Air Force Base: Tonn’s Travels Derek Tonn

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