Today I did something that I have only done twenty times before on a disc golf course: I got an ace on a hole! But before I talk a bit more about that, I thought I would talk about one of the better nine-hole courses I have played in a long time: Norris DGC in Norris, Tennessee.

As we started the push home this afternoon, from Asheville, North Carolina to Springfield, Minnesota, I was able to talk my wife and youngest daughter into two “stretch breaks” in Tennessee and Kentucky. And after consulting UDisc? Norris DGC seemed to be a logical place to stop. I had played just about everything else North of Knoxville, Tennessee, except for that 1,882-foot course that had popped up in the past year.

Ace #21 - Tonn's Travels
View from the Hole 9 tee at Norris DGC in Norris, Tennessee.

When we arrived at Norris, I truthfully wasn’t expecting much. Roughly 200 feet per hole, and some course descriptions that made it sound as though the course was still a work in progress. But that course was probably the most fun I’ve had on a nine-hole course, from a design perspective, this entire trip! Elevation changes. LOTS of trees. Numerous different shots required to have any prayer of a deuce. So much fun!

I managed to shoot a -6 (21) for an estimated round rating of 1018. I missed deuce putts on Holes 2, 8 and 9. Two and eight I could understand. But Hole 9? I was probably only 17-18 feet from the basket, so that one made me feel like my round ended with a thud. Still? If I am ever back in this area of Tennessee in the future, I will HAPPILY sneak another round or two on this course.

Ace #21 - Tonn's Travels
View from the Hole 5 tee at Lake Mingo DGC in Nicholasville, Kentucky.

After playing in Norris, it was a race against the sun. Trying to make it up into Kentucky to a Goodwill store that Ellie (15) wanted to visit before dark, which was less than 2-3 miles from a nine-hole course I had not previously played. And after some white-knuckle driving along some narrow, winding roads through some of the prettiest scenery in Kentucky? We pulled into the Lake Mingo DGC parking lot just after the sun had dipped below the Western horizon.

I was on a mission to get around those nine holes as quickly as I possibly could! Getting one final “+1” in my courses played collection before we found a hotel somewhere around Lexington or Louisville for the night. So when I got to Hole 5, all I was thinking about was getting my ProLine Squall out of my pack as quickly as I could, stepping onto the back of the tee, exhaling, then letting ‘er rip.

Ace #21 - Tonn's Travels
My Squall in the Hole 5 basket after getting my ace at Lake Mingo DGC in Nicholasville, Kentucky.

I threw my Squall on the 157-foot hole, the same Squall that I nearly left behind in the “toxic pool of mystery” in Angier, North Carolina, and after a second or two, thought: “Hey…this one’s got a chance.” And after another second or two, the Squall slammed into the chains and stuck. My 21st ace in my life.

Right after the disc smashed chains, a guy in a big red truck sitting on an adjacent street on the North side of the course rolled down his window and yelled: “WOO! WOO! I seen it! I seen it! I seen it!” 😛 I think he was more excited about the ace than I was, ha! But I played it cool, calmly said: “Thanks!” …and acted like I’ve been there before. Thinking about how just about every ace I have ever hit in my life came without me really trying. The basket just got in the way of a shot I threw a little harder/faster than I wanted to off the tee.

Daylight was disappearing FAST, so I refocused my efforts to try and quickly play the remaining four holes before dark. And after racing through to the point of putting on Hole 9, I managed to finish with a -6 (21) and an estimated round rating of 1013. Well, POSTED PAR for the course was 36! So I could claim a rather studly -15! 😀 But that course should not have been anything more than a par-27. So we’ll stick with a “-6.”

Pretty cool…my second ace of 2021! Though after getting my ace in North Dakota, I promptly tested positive with COVID-19. Here’s to hoping I do better on the health front after ace #2.

Magic Number = 135 (1,865 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

Ace #21 - 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’s (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.