After over 1,100 miles behind the wheel since Friday morning, I FINALLY rumbled into Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Getting ready to start a hard but rewarding week of work for a government client. Though I had to sneak in four more rounds of disc golf before getting to my hotel.
I’ve found things to love about disc golfing in all fifty states in the United States over the past few decades. That said? I have a particular love for disc golfing in the woods and/or in the mountains of Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia. Absolutely amazing natural beauty! And there isn’t much better than teeing off in the mountains, needing to snake a tee shot down a narrow, very precise flight path up/down the side of some hill. Hoping, PRAYING that your disc doesn’t catch an edge and wind up dozens of feet away from where it landed. Some people think that is “spray and pray.” Entirely about luck. But to me? It is just about the ultimate test when playing the conditions. Needing to hit a very precise landing zone with your disc…a very specific type of disc. A tremendous test of skill.
I started my day at Rotary Park DGC in Clarksville. Another course I had tried to play in the past, only to not have luck on my side specific to daylight and/or weather conditions. But today was going to be the day I got to play the course, and it didn’t disappoint. I couldn’t stop smiling, as I kept thinking: “I’m baaaack” (in Tennessee). 🙂 I didn’t play great, to the tune of a -3 (51), for an estimated rating of 925. But I was happy.
After Clarksville, I went to cross another course off my “need to play” list: Cedars of Lebanon in Lebanon, Tennessee. One of the oldest courses in the State of Tennessee (1979), it is still one of the more popular places for area players to play. I think I encountered three “eightsomes” during my round! All tremendously friendly folks worried more about a fun time with friends than their score or ratings. One of the eightsomes let me play through on Hole 7, and with an audience, I came SO close to acing that 260-foot hole! Caught metal and then came to rest about ten feet long and right of the basket. Then as I was getting ready to tee off on Hole 8, I heard: “CHING!” and watched as one of the eightsome’s tee shots hit chains, grazed the pole, hit chains on the backside, then fell to the ground, about a foot behind the basket! All nine of us shouted, then groaned…as I still have no idea how that disc didn’t wind up staying in the basket for the ace. Played “The Cedars” better, to the tune of an estimated round rating of 969 (-2, 52).
My next stop on the day was Southwest Point Park in Kingston. I had to play through a disc golf lesson a pro player was giving to two young women…showing off my lack of distance on the tee. 🙂 I later caught up to a guy from Michigan who happened to also just be passing through…and we decided to brave Hole 8 together. Disc Golf Course Review lists that hole as being 250 feet…but we both agreed that the hole must be at least 285-290 feet, entirely over water. Into a headwind besides (walking uphill both to and from school in a blizzard, I know I know…ha!).
My new acquaintance from Michigan teed off and it looked as though he was going to JUST clear the lake. But the wind knocked his disc down at the last moment and…splash. 🙁 I got out my trusty Undertow and let ‘er rip. It looked like it would JUST sneak on to shore and cozy-up to the basket…but at the last minute dropped in the wind and…splash. Thankfully, we were both able to retrieve our discs, and both saved our circle-3 pars! But that was just about the first time in months that I had to leave one of my trusty discs behind.
My last course on the day, all 18-holers, was The Mounds in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. I played a mix of longs and shorts on the course, then scored everything as if I was playing the shorts. I was tired, so I probably should have just stuck to playing the shorts. But for most of the courses I play, it will likely be the only time I will ever get to play the course! So I like to try and play the toughest holes those courses present. Maybe not the wisest decision in this case, however, as the weather went from sunny and hot to thunder and lightning, by the time I made a run for my car after finishing the 18th hole.
I did also need to play “professional photographer” for a few minutes, after coming across a friendly turtle as I was getting ready to putt at The Mounds. I thought for sure the turtle would quickly hide in its shell as I approached! But it just sat there, and sat there, and sat there. So I slowly got out my camera and was able to capture the photo (above). My favorite photo on a disc golf course in quite some time!
Tonight it is about rest and checking hardware for tomorrow’s work. Then hoping I’ll have time in the late afternoons and evenings to disc golf this coming week.
Magic Number = 438 (1,562 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.
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.