At the risk of having my own George W. Bush “Mission Accomplished“ moment in the world of disc golf course collecting, today was a day I have been waiting for the past several years: A chance to play more than two courses in the GIANT State of Montana! I’ve passed through Montana several times over the years. But circumstances have generally prevented me from having the health, time, daylight and weather to get a few courses played. Which has resulted in me playing only two courses in the State over the years. But today? Today that FINALLY changed, with me adding three new courses to my courses played collection.
I always feel a little guilty though, playing shorter recreational nine-hole courses during my march toward 2,000 courses played. It feels a bit like “cheating,” ripping through nine-hole courses in 20-25 minutes. Barely a bathroom break and a bit of time to stretch some legs for my traveling companions! But the part about having traveling companions is key…as I don’t want to push my luck by having them bored, waiting around in a course parking lot while I try and work my way through 18+ holes. So whenever I am traveling with my wife and daughters?! Well, let’s just call it an opportunity to see more of our shorter courses around the planet. 🙂
My first stop on the day was at Emmanuel Baptist Church DGC in Billings, Montana. A course that was listed as “EBC DGC” in UDisc prior to my requesting an edit, I thought it would be better to have the full property name in the course record. So people know it is at a church, and hopefully avoid trying to play on Sunday mornings (or any behavior that might not be acceptable to the staff and parishioners). I managed to shoot a -4 (23), for an estimated round rating of 948. I also chatted-up two police officers in their parking lot…making sure it was okay for me to be on the property.
After grabbing a quick lunch in Butte (our daughters giggled the last time we drove through in 2016…looking at all the “Butts” out our van window, ha!), I talked my wife and daughter into a quick “stretch break” at Arrowstone Park in Deer Lodge, Montana. A flat, short, open nine-hole course, I got confused on which basket to throw at on Hole 6! But otherwise, it was mostly a series of “must deuce” holes where my ProLine Squall did its job…to the tune of a -7 (20) and an estimated round rating of 990.
I thought that would be it on the day…two courses played. But after failing to spot the giant “M” as we passed through Missoula (something I had hiked to with my friend Hans Van Der Maarel and laid on top of several years ago, during a mapping conference), my wife and daughter took pity on me, allowing me to sneak in ONE MORE NINE before we called it a night in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho: Alberton Town Park DGC in Alberton, Montana. What seemed like a great idea at first quickly turned into a grueling struggle to survive, LOL! 🙂 Okay, okay, I am grossly exaggerating. But knee-deep snow, Rocky Mountain heavy, hard, wet snow? It was all I could do to just make it from shot to shot. I managed a respectable (under the circumstances) -3 (24) for an estimated rating of 943. But truthfully, I was just happy to be back in the van. Breathing heavy from the cardio workout in the snow I had just endured.
Tomorrow morning will be all-about finding a couple quick courses in Idaho to add to my collection! But after today, I can finally know that I’ve played more than two courses in Montana.
Magic Number = 95 (1,905 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.