Even though it was wet and raining out this morning here in Asheville, I couldn’t resist the “siren song” of sneaking just a couple more courses played in the area before we leave for Minnesota on October 8. I wasn’t thrilled about going out in the rain/slop, as if there is one thing I hate, it is playing with wet feet. Thank goodness for my Point6 socks, as that helps keep my feet more dry and comfortable! But my shoes? Well, let’s just say you wouldn’t want to be downwind of those shoes…as “wet, muddy, dry” repeated on a cycle for weeks on end can make those shoes a little “ripe.” 🙁
My morning began in Etowah, NC, checking out nine holes at Tom Mantsch Memorial DGC. It was wet, though I managed a -6 (21) for an estimated round rating of 936. But that said? I had a sort of sad experience on Hole 8 (shown above), with the nicest woman who was out enjoying the paved trail adjacent to the hole.
On the 8th hole, I saw a woman in her early 70s with an umbrella, walking on the adjacent trail…looking at me nervously. I eventually held my disc behind my back (so she knew I wasn’t throwing), and as she got closer to me, she said (in a VERY thick British accent) that she was afraid I might hit her with my disc.
I told her that it is my job to make sure that everyone around me is safe…and that I could not throw my disc until I knew she was safe from potential harm. She said: “You are a kind gentleman,” then proceeded to tell me about an experience earlier in the year where a disc golfer on that same course was yelling at her from a few hundred feet away while she was walking on the trail. Too far away for her to understand what he was saying, then she said she was struck in the small of her back by his disc.
Instead of apologizing and asking her if she was okay? She said he yelled at her for her not “getting out of the way of his shot.” ???? Ugh. But hopefully, I helped convince her today that most of us disc golfers are kind. Considerate.
After finishing up in Etowah, I continued on to Brevard, where I could check out nine more holes at Brevard Church DGC. Even with a course map via UDisc, the course was VERY difficult to navigate! I did the best I could. I think of my -2 (25) as more of a “safari round.” As I cannot be 100 percent sure that I played the course exactly as the designer intended. Though even if I didn’t get that one played exactly right? It was still nine more holes of disc golf, and a +1 in my courses played collection.
Thinking I was done for the day, I headed back to the house and got busy working on more tee sign designs. But not long after I got back to Asheville, I had a message from Ken Tyburski, a friend of Eric Vandenberg‘s and a member of Team Discraft. Asking if I might want to drive over to the school where he teaches and catch a round together with him and some of his students on another “course that doesn’t exist.” 🙂
Rain or no rain, I hopped in the van as quick as I could and headed over to “a campus” in “some town in North Carolina.” 😀 Traffic was gnarly, plus I ended up going to the wrong parking area on the campus…making me 10-15 minutes late to meeting with Ken and his students. But we eventually connected, and after talking a little disc golf in his classroom, we headed out on to “the course that doesn’t exist” for a quick nine holes.
“Team DGA” didn’t embarrass himself, carding a -5 (22)! But I am (jokingly) sad to report that “Team Discraft” beat me by 2-3 shots…as Ken is MUCH longer than I am off the tee, AND a better putter! Though in all fairness to me, Ken DID win the Amateur Masters World Championships in 2014…so I was thrilled to just hang within 2-3 shots of him on his home course.
I hope Ken doesn’t mind me sharing this story, but my one funny thing to hang my hat on during the round was Ken putting his ~270-foot Hole 2 tee shot 8-10 feet right of the basket. All his students oohed and aahed (as they should, as it was an excellent shot). Then when it was my turn to throw, I started out left of the basket. And right when I needed it to, my ProLine Undertow stalled and gently drifted right…landing 5-6 feet right of the basket. About 3-4 feet inside Ken’s disc.
That was fun, as I got “CTP” on at least one of the holes. And the students were quiet, as they probably haven’t seen many other players be able to do what Ken can do on that course. Though a couple of those kids? If they keep practicing for a few more years, they’ll probably be showing BOTH Ken and I how things are done. A few of them had a lot of natural ability off the tee and in their approach game. They just need to practice, practice, practice.
Magic Number = 137 (1,863 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.