My family had been having a couple of hard weeks the past few weeks. Lots changing in our little family, with our oldest about to turn eighteen in September and head off to Minneapolis St. Paul for her senior year of high school at an arts school. Our youngest working to recover from an injury in time for the cross country season to begin (practice starts this morning). All four of us still adjusting to life in masks and needing to check if things are safe and okay before we head off to anywhere. So we decided that we needed a break as a family, finding something fun to do before our youngest needs to adjust to life as an “only child” at our house.
We told our daughters to plan the weekend. Something fun we could do that wouldn’t bankrupt us (ha), where we could make it back to southwestern Minnesota by Sunday evening. So my wife and I anxiously waited to learn where we would be going during the weekend. Minneapolis? Duluth, Minnesota? La Crosse, Wisconsin?
After a few days of deliberations, the verdict was in: We would be heading to…Chicago. To visit a tree. The Gec Tree. “What the heck is a Gec Tree?” …is what a lot of you are probably asking, if you were like me. But it wasn’t for my wife and I to question the planners of our weekend itinerary…so we packed our bags and headed to Chicago.
My family knows me too well, saying before we left: “This trip is *NOT* about disc golf!” 🙂 But with 110 courses in the Chicago metro that I have yet to play, they agreed to allow me to bring my discs along, in case the opportunity presented itself for me to sneak in one or two courses. ONLY one or two courses…or I might have been hitchhiking home (ha). So it was off to Chicago, to visit a tree, enjoy a little deep dish pizza, and say “hi” to Lake Michigan.
On Saturday morning, I woke up with the sun, while my three roommates were still sound asleep. So I quickly opened my UDisc app to see what courses might be near us. There was one within five miles, Community Park West DGC. So I quickly-but-quietly got dressed and headed out to feed my course collecting addiction. 🙂
I was surprised, as it was one of those courses that isn’t long, but can create an amazing amount of trouble for players if they are not careful off the tee. Thick, tall rough. A bit of OB close to roads where you might never get your discs back. Etc. So I did what I always do: played the tee shots cautious, safe…then attacked baskets on the tee when I had the opportunity to attack.
I screwed up my tee shot on Hole 1, the first hole of disc golf I had sadly played in over a month. With a low tree canopy, I threw a worm burner and left myself a 35-40 foot putt on a hole that should normally be an easy deuce. But the rest of the course I played exactly how I should have…hitting 100% of my fairways and never leaving myself a putt longer than fifteen feet. Deucing holes 9 and 10 to wind up at a -3 (28) for the round. The estimated round rating looks poor (915), but for how tight some of those fairways were, and for how rough the rough actually was? I felt pretty good with my score. As only ONE mistake on the tee on Hole 1 kept me from shooting a round with an estimated round rating of ~935-945. Not bad, after not having the chance to play disc golf in thirty-six days.
We’ll call that round a warm-up for what will be my first true disc golf trip of 2020…as well as my third state where I will be able to say that I have played a sanctioned tournament. But if you want to learn more about that, you’ll need to keep reading in the coming days… 🙂
Magic Number = 404 (1,596 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.