Greetings from Grand Blanc, Michigan! After another long day of driving, I finally made it to the home of Paul Carlstrom and Cristina Palaganas Carlstrom, to meet with Cristina and Mike Harrington as a part of our duties on the Disc Golf Foundation board of directors. But before I arrived, I was able to get a total of six new courses played in the State of Michigan.
My goal before leaving Minnesota was to play a minimum of eight courses on my way to Paul and Cristina’s home. To give myself a good chance of playing my 200th new course in 2021 with Cristina and Mike. Mike will be playing his 1,300th disc golf course tomorrow morning in Ann Arbor, and we had talked about me potentially playing my 1,900th course on this trip as well! But I was just too many courses shy of 1,900 to have a realistic opportunity to get there this trip, so playing my 200th of 2021 would be a good “consolation prize.” And by starting the trip with 1,870 courses played, I needed to get to at least 1,885 courses played to accomplish that goal.
My first course played on the day was at River Park in Benton Harbor, Michigan. I had driven past this course twice before, on my way to Grand Rapids, Michigan for work…and I made sure the third time was the charm. The course was pretty wet, especially around the first and last couple of holes. And Hole 16’s basket was perilously close to the fast-moving river! I played the course pretty cautious/conservative as a result (not wanting wet feet the rest of the day), so I managed only a -1 (53), for an estimated round rating of 943.
My next stop was at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, Michigan. A nine-hole course with a bit of everything (i.e. holes between 93 and 655 feet in length), I was a little nervous the whole time I was there. A campus security vehicle took “great interest” in me and my car the entire round. The parking lot near the course was 95 percent empty, and there were no signs saying that I wasn’t allowed to park there. But that security officer acted as though I didn’t belong on campus. And if you can make out the cars in the photo above, he sat within ~100-150 feet of my car while I played about half the course. Only to roll slowly past me, staring at me, as I putted out on Hole 9 and walked back to my car. I managed a -4 (27) and an estimated round rating of 938 on my round! But I was just happy I didn’t have a parking ticket (or wind up in campus security jail…ha!) when I walked back to my car.
After LMC, it was on to Kimball Pines in Battle Creek, Michigan. Feeling a little pressure, specific to time (not wanting to arrive at Paul and Cristina’s place too late in the evening), I reluctantly played the short tees on the course. I HATE doing that, as I would rather see the best/toughest the course has to offer! But I knew I didn’t have time, so I snuck in a quick nine, shooting a meager -2 (25) and an estimated round rating of 938. It was a fun, quick nine! Though even now, I regret not playing the longs. 🙁
To add to the theme of feeling as though I was “cheating” by not playing the longs at Kimball Pines (ha), my next stop on the afternoon was Ketchum Park DGC in Marshall, Michigan. A six-hole, 721-foot course, it went about as quick as a new course can go. I shot a -6 (12), deucing every hole. Though DGCourseReview.com only estimated that round at a 906. I guess an MA40/MA50 player needed to shoot at least one ace in order to get an estimated round in the 940s-950s? 😉 Though I did get to enjoy some older, “tear in my beer” twang coming from the radio of a teenage boy who was at the adjacent skateboard park, teaching another younger boy how to pull off a few more tricks on his skateboard.
After Ketchum Park, it was on to Lansing, Michigan to play two more quick nines…putting me in position to get my 200th new course of 2021 played on this trip. My first stop was at Whippets Run. Another short nine, only measuring 2,064 feet in length, I played the course in about fifteen minutes. To the tune of a -6 (21) and an estimated round rating of 1044. Well, probably more like a round in the 940s/950s! But I’ll take the bit of an ego boost after my perfect round in Marshall was rated a 906! 🙂
My final course on the day was at Valley Farms Park in DeWitt Township. This one came at the recommendation of Mike Harrington, who said I should be able to play it in 15-20 minutes (it was starting to get dark). I did play it in about that much time, carding a -5 (22) for an estimated round rating of 999 (again, MUCH higher estimated rating than it should be in reality). Though I got to spend another 10-15 minutes picking off all of the one-seeded joints from a desmodium cuspidatum in the car. 🙁 Dozens of seeds on my sweatshirt, on my shorts, in my HAIR (after bending down to pick up my disc)! Oh well…at least it wasn’t poison ivy.
Eight new courses played on this trip so far! Now we’ll see how this weekend goes…
Magic Number = 122 (1,878 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.