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.

Course #1 in Glasses - Tonn's Travels
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

Derek Tonn Profile PictureDerek 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.