After completing some work last night and this morning, I was lucky enough to find myself with a “surprise” day of discretionary time, in an area with courses I had yet to play. And we all know what that means to a course collecting aficionado… 🙂

Course Collecting on the Iron Range - Tonn's Travels
View from the Hole 1 tee at Eveleth DGC in Eveleth, Minnesota.

My first of four stops on the day was at Eveleth DGC in Eveleth, Minnesota. The course is actually located just to the West of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum, but I was disappointed to find that it hasn’t been maintained very well in 2020. Wet calf/knee high weeds made me think more about footing (injury), ticks and wet feet than it did about my form and shot selection, with me limping back to the van with an ugly -3 (28) and an estimated round rating of 828.

Course Collecting on the Iron Range - Tonn's Travels
View of the Course Map and Welcome Sign, along with the Hole 1 tee, at Pine Grove Park.

Things got much better at Pine Grove Park in Aurora, Minnesota. It was a lot more fun, and much better maintained, than the course in Eveleth. My play responded accordingly, with an improved -8 (24), and an estimated rating of 944. I left at LEAST two deuces out there on the course though…which was frustrating. It’s not about ratings! But chunking putts can be the opposite of fun. 🙁

Course Collecting on the Iron Range - Tonn's Travels
View from the Hole 6 tee at Gnesen Community Center in Duluth, Minnesota.

Things didn’t get much better for me at Gnesen Community Center, a bit North of Duluth! That course was one of the few I have played over the years where I felt as though my chances of making a good shot would be about the same if I shut my eyes and prayed. What is the saying that players use….“spray and pray?” 🙂 The holes on this course were short! But several of the holes here had more narrow deer/human walking trails than fairways. So while my score of -1 (26) looks terrible on paper, with an estimated round rating of 895? I think I only made one mistake during my round. And good/great shots off the tee left me with zero chance at deuces…even on holes under 225 feet in length. Though in all fairness, they say the course is still a “work in progress” in UDisc, so I’ll cut them some slack. Actual fairways would be good on several of those holes, however. Versus shutting our eyes and praying to not hit a tree. 🙂

I thought Gnesen would be my final course on the day, but we managed to get to Cloquet, Minnesota a bit earlier than I thought. So after checking into our hotel and leaving my traveling companion to get settled in, I quick snuck off to Hilltop Park for one last round.

Course Collecting on the Iron Range - Tonn's Travels
View from the Course Map and Hole 1 tee at Hilltop Park in Cloquet, Minnesota.

Playing fast, trying to beat the setting sun, translated into an underwhelming -5 (22) on this very short course. For an estimated round rating of 891. But I need to keep reminding myself that the only “rating” that matters is “1594.” As in my total courses played in my life. Still, I ALMOST stayed to play a second round, to feel less embarrassed with my previous score. But then I thought about how I would feel even worse if I happened to lose one of my discs (as daylight was dwindling fast). So I swallowed my pride and called it a night.

We’ll see if I can get any more courses played tomorrow, as I begin the 6+ hour march toward home…

Magic Number = 406 (1,594 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

Derek Tonn Profile Picture

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.