One of the both cool and occasionally frustrating things in my course collecting travels is to constantly see new courses popping up in areas where I have literally played every course there is to offer. Maybe it is my fictitious OCD kicking in, but I like a nice, clean Unplayed Courses Map in UDisc to know that for hundreds of square miles, I’ve done all that I can do as a collector across a large region.
It can be frustrating, seeing lots of courses the general public can never play and/or courses that only exist (and are playable) for a few days/year (or a few days, period) cluttering up the UDisc directory! But after knowing which courses on that map folks like me can/will never be able to play, I like keeping large areas open/empty if I can. As it is cool to know that I have played LITERALLY everything a region (i.e. Southwestern Minnesota) has to offer.
With that in mind, three courses had recently popped up on my unplayed courses map in UDisc that would stare at me every morning (yes, my course collecting addiction has me reviewing my unplayed courses map in UDisc every morning…dreaming of new areas to play while seeing what new courses might have popped up in the past 24 hours):
- Lions Park DGC in Stewart, Minnesota
- Jordan High School in Jordan, Minnesota
- Cedarcrest Park DGC in Bloomington, Minnesota
At 56.5 miles from my home, Lions Park in Stewart was, by far, the closest unplayed course I had available to play. A short five holes, I wasn’t sure what to expect. And after a “gimmicky” Hole 1 (a tree that was just in the way versus there to really add challenge to the hole), and a Hole 2 that would have RHBH/LHFH players throwing their tee shots out over a ball field? I was feeling underwhelmed. But Holes 3-5 were much better (although “big arms” running the basket on Hole 3 could also wind up over a fence onto private property). I was playing it safe. Dialing it back to make sure and not waste time searching for (and/or retrieving) discs. I shot a -1 (14). Probably an estimated rating of under 925, but I don’t know, as we didn’t have hole distances for that course.
My second course on the day was Jordan High School in Jordan, Minnesota. Listed at only four holes, I was feeling lots of guilt pulling into the parking lot, considering four holes to even be a course to add to my courses played collection. PARTICULARLY after just playing a five-hole course about an hour earlier! But when I did a little exploration on the property, I found five more baskets in the trees just to the Northwest of the supposed Hole 1 tee.
I put on my “course designer hat” and did my best to determine the overall flow of a NINE hole course on the property. I also did my best to not come home with lots of ticks and spots where my skin had broken out from all the poison ivy! 🙂 And after walking that land for an additional 20+ minutes, really thinking about the position of baskets in relation to one another, I think that Jordan High School plays as Hole 1-4 in the trees, Hole 5 just outside the trees to the South, leading up to what is now called “Hole 1,” with the existing Holes 1-4 actually being Holes 6-9 to finish the round. I could barely find what appears to be a remnant of one of those five additional tee locations, so I can only speculate on tee positioning! But in seeing the position of all nine baskets, it almost has to be that way. I only wonder if the high school (and/or local players) tell people it is a four-hole course, because maintenance inside of the wooded area is more than a little lacking?
After playing a NINE hole course in Jordan (even though UDisc and DGCourseReview.com call it a four-holer, darnit…LOL), I headed up to Bloomington, Minnesota to check out Cedarcrest Park DGC. What a fun little nine-hole gem tucked stealthily within a couple miles of the MSP International Airport and Mall of America! If I lived in the neighborhood? I would be playing that course all the time! One chance to throw a fairway driver, a little bit of elevation change on a couple of holes, even a bit of water on Hole 3 if you are extremely sloppy with your tee shot! 🙂 I didn’t get my deuces on Holes 2 and 8, but otherwise managed to get my 2s for a -7 (20) and an estimated round rating of 959.
Playing a 5, a 9 (that is currently shown as only having four holes) and a 9 on the day (23 holes total) almost feels like cheating! Cheapening one’s course collection number. But I can’t help the unplayed courses that are in front of me on my path to wherever I am going. I try and keep my unplayed courses map as neat/clean as I can. 🙂 And just like I tell my girls: “Pennies, nickels and dimes add up to dollars!” They cannot all be 18+ hole courses that are 6,000-7,000+ feet in length! So I do my best to try and play everything that is out there.
Speaking of pennies, nickels and dimes, it was cute as I stopped at a Bloomington Jimmy John’s for lunch after my round. A little girl, probably 3-4 years old, was sheepishly looking at me, then looking at the floor in front of me. Looking at her dad, then looking at the floor, then looking at me (several times over). In front of me on the floor was a shiny dime that a previous customer must have dropped. Anyway, I think she was waiting for me to finish ordering so that she could pick up that dime. But the person in front of me was taking a long time.
I looked at her dad, then looked at the little girl and asked her: “Do you see that dime in front of me? Do you want to pick it up?” She gave me a shy “yes” nod, then ran over to get it before sitting back down by her dad and little sister. The dad gave me a little smile and “thank you” nod after she made it back to the booth. All those little types of experiences. Those types of opportunities to brighten someone else’s day, even ever-so-slightly. Being out on the road affords me those types of opportunities…which is SO much better than spending days/weeks sitting behind a keyboard at home.
Magic Number = 194 (1,806 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.