I’ve been radio silent with this blog for a couple months. I feel terrible about that…as in my role as Ambassador for DGA? Writing this blog is one of my important responsibilities. That said? I suppose I have an excellent excuse: The week after my course collecting weekend in North Dakota, I tested positive for COVID-19.

I was fortunately one of the lucky ones who has tested positive for the virus, as I did not require hospitalization! But I experienced several days of high fevers and tremendous fatigue. What made it even worse was the fact that the day after doctors think I likely would have tested positive, I received my first of two Pfizer vaccinations (vaccination #2 occurred on April 7). So while I thought I was simply experiencing the side-effects of the vaccine?! My body was actually reacting to BOTH having COVID-19 and the vaccination. 🙁 But like I said, I feel lucky! As nearly 600,000 Americans are no longer alive to read this…as a direct result of having the same thing I had.

If I am completely honest (I hope my wife and mom aren’t reading this…ha!), I haven’t felt right since testing positive for COVID-19. I feel like I’ve aged ten years or more in a matter of weeks. I don’t have the drive/stamina I had pre-COVID. And the pain in my lower back and right hip has been intense, along with my right leg feeling “weak,” for a lack of a better way of describing things. But I continue to fight the good fight. I’ve never let a few aches and pains keep me down, and I’m not about to now.

And with that in mind? After two more doctor’s appointments this morning, I hit the road for North Carolina. Working with more kids with epilepsy and their guardians in teaching them the basics of disc golf. Last year’s experience at the Electric Disc Connection in North Carolina warmed my heart, and I told them that I would do everything in my power to come back again this year. And while I am more than a little nervous hearing about gas shortages in North Carolina? Today I got as far as Iowa City, Iowa in my effort to return.

Of course, I had to try and play a few courses this afternoon and evening before calling it a night in my hotel! There honestly isn’t much between home and Iowa City that I haven’t already played. But I did find two new courses to try not to embarrass myself too badly while limping and hobbling around.

Course Collecting Post-Covid - Tonn's Travels
View from the Hole 4 tee at Fairbank Elementary School in Fairbank, Iowa.

My first stop on the afternoon was a tiny, quick four-hole course at Fairbank Elementary School. I think it honestly took me less than five minutes to play the course, as it is super short! Safety issues abound on this one too, though if people are good about playing it outside of school hours, it is a quick chance at four ace runs. I unfortunately had to settle for four deuces…so DGCR’s estimated round ratings said that I suck (827, LOL). But I wasn’t there to impress anyone with my score! I was there to add a +1 to my “course collector rating.” 🙂

After Fairbank, I attempted to check out a nine-holer at the Mental Health Institute in Independence, Iowa. It looked like an absolutely amazing place for a disc golf course! However, I scoured those grounds (safely…as I didn’t want to accidentally wander into areas where visitors were not allowed), and there were no baskets to be found.

Course Collecting Post-Covid - Tonn's Travels
View from the Hole 6 tee at Alburnett DGC in Alburnett, Iowa.

Disappointed, I left for Alburnett, Iowa, to check out the nine-hole course in their sports complex. When I arrived, there was a huge junior high track meet happening in the park. The course was also incredibly difficult to navigate. But after several minutes, I eventually figured it out. I managed an even par 27. Another sub-par round, but another +1 in my courses played. That, and I had a kid on Hole 7 shout from a bus window: “Wow, that’s a great shot with your Frisbee, dude!” 😛 I laughed, then thanked him for the compliment.

That was about all the daylight I had today, so two courses will need to be good enough. But we’ll hit the course collecting trail again tomorrow.

Magic Number = 295 (1,705 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

Course Collecting Post-Covid - 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.