Today was a day I had been looking forward to, as we got to pick up my oldest (18) from school in Golden Valley, Minnesota to have her home again for the next three weeks. I’m sad, as I know she would be happier being in the Twin Cities full-time for her senior year of high school! But I am also selfishly happy, having her home for more of this year than we expected…due to the coronavirus and school being one week on-site, two-plus weeks at home. She means the world to me, and I love having her around to groan at my lame dad jokes.

Since we needed to head to Minneapolis-St. Paul anyway, I was also looking forward to checking out one more of those “cross ’em off the list courses:” Apple Valley High School. Less than a mile from my daughters’ latest favorite hang-out, Savers for vintage clothing, they could shop for clothes while I quickly took care of business as a course collecting DGA Ambassador. 🙂

Sometimes It's Better To Be Lucky Than Good - Tonn's Travels
View from the Approximate Location of the Hole 4 Tee at Apple Valley High School.

A location that had been listed as a Practice Area on the website, UDisc had an actual course map for the six-hole course for players to enjoy. So I thought I would check things out for myself, adding a plus one to my course collecting “player rating,” hehe.

Hole 1 in Apple Valley was straight-forward enough, a slightly uphill shot with some trouble if you put your tee shot left of the fairway. But things quickly went downhill after that. Hole 2 was a blind tee shot down a hill, with the basket next to a paved walking trail that was fairly busy, even on a Saturday when classes were not in session. Hole 3 played over said trail, though at least you had sightlines to see if anyone was coming on the trail while on the tee. But then there was Hole 4 (above).

Hole 4 is a tee shot over/around two locked, fenced-in athletic facilities on the campus, with the walking trail once again coming directly into play. And in the image above, the basket is tucked behind the smaller fenced-in area behind the dugout. Ugh. Not hard to get your (par) three on a day when few other people were around! But with any type of practice or game happening on the field? This hole is all sorts of problems waiting to happen.

After shaking my head on Hole 4, I got to play the 815 foot monster: Hole 5. Hole 5 also crosses that walking trail, with the most direct route to the basket having you throw directly over another ball field and football practice facilities. Again, this is NOT a place to play when there are any types of outdoor sports happening after school or on the weekend. Hole 6 was pretty good…safe! But apart from Holes 1, 3 and 6? This is mainly a place to avoid.

Thinking I was done for the day, crossing off the last course in MSP that is available for me to play, I hopped back in the van, recorded my score in UDisc, then noticed another icon had appeared in my map of unplayed courses. Literally in the time I was playing at Apple Valley High School! Living Waters Church, eight miles to the South in Lakeville. So after heading back to Savers, and begging my three companions for the day if they minded getting lunch while I checked out ONE MORE COURSE?! It was off to Lakeville. Skipping yet-another meal, in the name of having a bigger courses played number.

Sometimes It's Better To Be Lucky Than Good - Tonn's Travels
View from the Hole 10 tee at Living Waters Church in Lakeville, Minnesota.

I got there, and was almost immediately greeted by one of the staff at the church. “How’d you hear about the course,” he asked. I told him it had just popped up on UDisc, and he said: “The course is on UDisc already?! It just opened this morning!” 🙂 But 7-8 players were wrapping up on Hole 1, while that staff person and one of the course designers were getting ready to jump ahead of that big group on to Hole 3…so I headed for Hole 1 to add a surprise second course played on the day.

I think Living Waters is the second course I have played, that I didn’t design, on the day that it opened. And both were completely by accident, where I just happened to be in the right place, at the right time. It was a lot of fun to play! For all of the shortcomings and safety issues at Apply Valley High School? Living Waters Church was almost its polar opposite.

Sure, it had a few safety issues. I didn’t like the fact that Hole 2’s fairway plays right across the main driveway in/out of the church. And a few of the holes play more than a little “snug” to one another (i.e. the Hole 7 tee throws out from behind a couple of trees toward the Hole 6 basket…where tee shots will often fly inside the Hole 6 basket’s ten-meter circle. But on the whole? I thought Living Waters Church was well-designed, with good use of available topography and trees. It was a lot of fun!

Coming home with two courses played, on a day where I had only expected to play one, has me feeling a sense of accomplishment tonight. But I can’t get over how lucky I was…being within eight miles of a course that literally opened a couple hours after I happened to be in the area, roughly 85-90 miles from home. A fun story to share!

Magic Number = 329 (1,671 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

Sometimes It's Better To Be Lucky Than Good - 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.