After wrapping up my official duties as a course designer this morning, I took the LONG way home, so I could hopefully knock out as many as five new courses played on my way. And today, my mission was clear: After well-over a year of staring up at the player who was third overall in the history of the sport in courses played? Today, if all went well, would be the day I would finally catch and pass him.

On The Podium - Tonn's Travels
View from the Hole 1 tee at Henning City Park DGC in Henning, Minnesota.

My first stop on the day was a little over an hour West of my home for the weekend: Henning City Park DGC in Henning, Minnesota. A long nine (3,129 feet), it played even longer due to the howling wind. 25+ MPH winds, sustained. With gusts of 30+ miles per hour. It made the wide-open holes (without trees) an adventure, and I struggled my way to a -2 (28) and an estimated round rating of 920.

After the course in Henning, I headed over to Lutheran Island Camp to check out the nine-hole course on their property, affectionately referred to as the Island 9.” It is another course where I wasn’t sure if I would have permission to play. I reached out to the Camp Director about a week ago, seeing if it would be okay to visit on Sunday. I also called the camp yesterday, not reaching anyone and leaving voicemail. To no avail.

When I arrived at the camp, it was empty, quiet. I didn’t see another human being. I walked into the building with the main office, and no one was there. I headed up to the Chapel to look for staff, and no one was there. So I decided to use the advice of my last supervisor: “Do what you think is right/best, then ask forgiveness later, if necessary.” I played a quick round. Half looking over my shoulder the entire round, to see if I would be visiting with local authorities (ha), I limped my way to a -1 (27). And my one deuce was entirely luck…as I couldn’t see where the Hole 9 basket was from the tee. I guessed where I would have put the basket, if I were the designer, and walked over a hill to find my disc sitting five feet from the basket. 🙂

On The Podium - Tonn's Travels
View from the Hole 3 tee at Campbell Busy Bees DGC in Campbell, Minnesota.

After making my get-away from the camp before I might get into trouble, hehe, I then made my way to tiny Campbell, Minnesota to check out Campbell Busy Bees DGC. By the time I made it to Campbell, the wind had picked up even more! Thank goodness about half of that course is in the trees, shielded a bit more from the “tropical storm” (winds) happening around me. I managed to shoot a -4 (23), for an estimated round rating of 933. But then the wind decided it had enough of me…as I crossed the border into North Dakota.

On The Podium - Tonn's Travels
View from the Hole 9 tee at Fairmount DGC in Fairmount, North Dakota.

By the time I made it to Fairmount, North Dakota to check out Fairmount DGC, the winds were now howling at 29 MPH, sustained, with gusts up into the lower 40s MPH. It was one of those rare times when disc golf and course collecting felt more like a job than fun. 🙁 But I was not about to leave that course unplayed, especially since it was only the fifth course I have ever been able to play in North Dakota. So I got out the heaviest, most overstable discs in my bag and played to the pain,” a la the movie The Princess Bride. It wasn’t pretty, a +2 (30) and an estimated round rating of 884. But it was a course played.

On The Podium - Tonn's Travels
View from the Hole 4 tee at Central Park DGC in Ortonville, Minnesota.

After a loud “ARGH!” to get the frustration out of my system, as well as a pit-stop for gas and a restroom, I then headed down to Ortonville, Minnesota, to play the closest course to home I had yet to play: Central Park DGC. And, mercifully, either the wind had died down a bit by the time I got there, or there were enough hills and trees to shield me from the full force of that wind. Either way, I actually had a fun final round on the trip! Shooting a -5 (22) for an estimated round rating of 951. And by the time I got home? I received a call from the Camp Director at Lutheran Island Camp, hoping I had the chance to play their course while I was passing through! I joked with him about needing to “ask forgiveness later,” and he said they were happy to have me play that course. So I won’t be appearing on any “Most Wanted” posters in Otter Tail County. [whew]

And with today’s courses played? I officially moved from #4 in the history of the sport (1,677) to #3 (1,682) in courses played. Scott Keasey, General Manager at DGA, had teased me that being #4 and not being “on the podium” (a reference to medals at the Olympics) is a bad place to be! So today was dedicated to you, Scott. I am now OFFICIALLY “on the podium.” At least until the guy now in fourth place as a course collector decides that being off the podium is no fun. 🙂

Magic Number = 318 (1,682 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

On The Podium - 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.