Today I hit the road for my first truly “disc golf” trip in 2020: heading to North Carolina to offer a basic skills clinic for kids ages 8-18 at a disc golf fundraising event for Epilepsy Alliance North Carolina in Winstom-Salem. The first leg of that trip was to cross as much of Minnesota and Iowa as I could…calling it a night somewhere along the Mississippi River in Southeastern Iowa.

Starting the day at 1,596 courses played, all I knew is that if the weather and my health would cooperate, I wanted to lay my head on a pillow having been the fourth player in the history of the sport of disc golf to have played at least 1,600 disc golf courses. If I needed to skip meals, push myself to the limit? That was just going to need to be the way it was.

1,600 Courses Played and Counting - Tonn's Travels
View of the Course Welcome Sign and Map at Central College in Pella, Iowa.

My first stop on the day was at Central College in Pella, Iowa. I had been in Pella 2-3 times before, but always at the wrong time of day, or needing to hussle to/from work (not having time to play the courses in the town). So stopping at Central with plenty of sunshine and dry ground made me smile, as I felt as though I was FINALLY crossing a “To Do” off my list after years of criss-crossing Iowa.

Central was fun to play…a nice start to my trip! My second course on the day, however, was terrible. Big Rock DGC in Pella. About the only nice thing I would have to say about the course is that it had good baskets. Other than that? It was knee-to-waist high weeds (in snake country). Weeds that itch and cling to your clothes (I was still picking little seeds off my socks, shorts and shirt hours after leaving the course). I am sure the course is a work-in-progress! But until even a tiny-bit of effort is put into creating something closely resembling fairways? I’m not sure it should be considered a course. After Big Rock, I headed over to Dutch DGC in Pella. A much more pleasant experience than itching and pulling hundreds of sticky seeds off my clothes! 🙂 And after Dutch? It was time to play course #1600.

I chose Edmundson Park in Oskaloosa, Iowa as the site for my 1600th course. Partially because it was 18-holes (always try and play bigger/better courses for those “milestone” events when I can), partially because it had a bit better reviews. And the course didn’t disappoint! I shot a -3 (54), for an estimated round rating of 977. A good way to enter the 1600s. Though it was only my second-favorite course on the day.

After Edmundson, and with daylight burning fast, I quickly headed over to Mammoth Park DGC in University Park for nine more holes, then with the sun getting very low in the Western sky, I half-ran my way around the course at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa for my sixth course on the day. Indian Hills was a lot of fun…one of the better courses I have played in that part of Iowa. Though a local group of four players saw me speed-walking behind them by around Hole 6, asking if I was trying to play all eighteen holes before dark! I said “yep,” trying not to drip sweat on them as I raced by (lol). And by the time I was putting on Hole 18, the sun had been down for several minutes. I wish I could have taken my time playing that one though, as I hate racing through good courses! But course collecting is as much “business” as it is “pleasure,” so I got ‘er done. 🙂

Tomorrow I’ll eventually head into Illinois and Indiana. Hopefully the weather cooperates, and I get a bunch more courses played…

Magic Number = 398 (1,602 Courses Played)

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

About Derek

1,600 Courses Played and Counting - Tonn's Travels

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