After not being able to sneak in any new courses played during my last ten days in Oregon (being without a vehicle), then after returning to Minnesota and spending the past four days working two full-time jobs, packing, cleaning and downsizing, I had the planets align on my calendar this morning. Bright sunshine (albeit very windy conditions), my wife and oldest daughter going to the Twin Cities without me (and my youngest daughter not at home), and me desperately needing a break from work resulted in me spending the afternoon driving to play the two closest unplayed courses to our home in southwestern Minnesota. Since I will only be living in Minnesota for another eight days? I thought that today might be my last realistic chance to play those courses in the future.
After a 92-mile drive to the Southwest, I arrived in Luverne, Minnesota. A property I had been to twice before. Once for my youngest daughter’s cross country meet (where I commented to other parents who were attending the race what a GREAT property that would be for a disc golf course…ha). Once after UDisc said there was a course on the property, only to have me arrive and find no signs of disc golf anywhere. But today?! Today I finally got the chance to enjoy a little disc golf on the property.
Luverne DGC is a good nine-hole course! I don’t like how Hole 5 encourages players to flirt with placing their tee shots into a ball field to the right (North) of the basket. And Holes 3, 8 and 9 introduce a bit of a safety issue with an adjacent walking trail. But as long as disc golfers yield to pedestrians on the trail, and as long as people are careful while throwing off the Hole 5 tee? What a fun nine holes!
Between all the mud immediately adjacent to the bit-undersized concrete tee pads and the HOWLING wind, I struggled my way to a +2 (29) and an estimated round rating of 892. Oof. 🙂 But I did have one absolutely beautiful drive on Hole 2 to remember fondly. That, and Luverne became my 339th course I have played in Minnesota. I might be stuck at 339 for quite a while now. But there are probably fewer than ten people who have ever played that many courses in Minnesota…so I can hang my hat on that as I move 1,400+ miles to the West.
After the beating I took in the wind at Luverne, I was a little scared of what would be in store for me at Lutheran Lakeside Camp in Spirit Lake, Iowa. But I must say that is one of the better courses I have played in northwestern Iowa. And not only that, but I played my heart out on that course. Everything that wasn’t clicking in Luverne was finding chains in Spirit Lake, to the tune of a -2 (54) and an estimated round rating of 993 off the main/long tees.
My best memory on the round was Hole 10. 348 feet off the tee, with a 20+ MPH tail wind, I threw my tee shot with my ProLine Tempest to within ~55 feet short and right of the basket. And with that type of distance and wind? I normally would decide to lay up, happily settle for my par three and live to fight another day. But for some reason, I decided that I was going to go for it. I threw my Steady BL fast and about four feet higher than the basket in that heavy tail wind. And as it neared the basket? My putter fell off a cliff…and right into the chains for the deuce. I let out a yell that scared the large group of white-tailed does that had been following me around the course! 🙂 Though they then followed me the rest of my round. Seeing what this strange human was doing…throwing plastic in a howling wind.
If that is my last round of disc golf in the Upper Midwest for quite a while, it was a great way to go out. It was surprisingly cold and WINDY! I was thankful that I had decided to wear my base layers from Point6 before I left home. And that became my 284th course played in the State of Iowa. There isn’t much I haven’t seen/played North of Interstate 80 in Iowa! Though I assume after I’ve been out in Oregon for a couple years, there will be a dozen or more new courses that will have popped up since I left.
I’ll still get back out to the Upper Midwest from time to time, to visit family! And I will certainly have my pack of DGA discs in-tow! 🙂 But today sort of felt like saying goodbye to disc golf in the region. A bit sad, but also exciting. Knowing my future lies out along the Pacific Coast.
Magic Number = 52 (1,948 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’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.