Today wound up being the last day I will have access to a vehicle on this current trip to Oregon. A LONG story that I won’t bore any of you with…but where it means that today was probably my last chance to get some new courses played for the next couple weeks. So upon learning that bit of unfortunate news this morning, I very quickly shuffled my priorities around for today and tomorrow, spending a majority of today checking out four new courses up near the Columbia River.
The closest eighteen-hole course I had yet to play in the Greater Portland area was Trojan Park, up in Rainier, Oregon. Honestly, all I knew about it before I arrived was that it had eighteen holes! I did zero intel-gathering before playing, so I was more than a little surprised to see just how much water players need to contend with. I think as many as 11-12 of the eighteen tee shots presented easy opportunities for less-skilled/-disciplined players to go OB wet! And a few of the tee shots presented chances of OB wet even if you made a good/smart shot! I was very, very surprised at that, as it has been rare to encounter any courses in Oregon (so far) where water came into play.
I made it through the first eight holes unscathed…sitting at two under par. But then my luck both ran out AND continued on Hole 9! 🙂 I ran out of luck, because my tee shot with my ProLine Tempest clipped some small branches and dropped in the water about ten feet from shore. But my luck continued, as you MIGHT be able to make out in my photo a guy in hip waders. He was standing literally five feet from where my disc dropped in, and was quickly able to fish it out and return it to me. He also had fished out about another dozen or so discs before mine, though not the one he was REALLY after (a driver of his). Still, going OB wet and getting my disc back was a lucky break.
To illustrate just how difficult Trojan Park can be, I wanted to share the above photo from Hole 15. Your tee shot needs to go over water, over a thicket of 3-4 foot tall thorns that have already claimed about a pint or two of blood from me on other courses this trip, to a narrow fairway (30-40 feet wide?) that plays at a sort of “10 o’clock to 4 o’clock” angle from the tee to the basket. With water also right of the fairway and beyond the basket. Sooo…miss off the tee short, long, left OR right?! And you’ll either be bleeding or you might never get your disc back. 😉 Such is Trojan Park, and I was thrilled to escape with my -1 (56) and a full pack of discs. Even if it did only generate an estimated rating of 929.
My next stop on the day, after a LONG wait for a train to stop being parked in such a way as to block the entrance into and out of the park for at least 10-15 minutes), was Rainier Riverfront Park in Rainier, Oregon. I read before I visited that baskets 3, 4 and 5 were missing from the park (which was the case). I couldn’t play Holes 3 and 4 as a result! But where the Hole 5 basket was supposed to be was probably within fifty feet of the Hole 8 basket…so I just played at the Hole 8 basket from the Hole 5 tee (still getting my deuce on the hole). I shot a -5 over the seven holes I played (16).
Next it was time to visit some tee signs that I hadn’t seen in probably 6-7 years! 🙂 Roy Morse DGC in Longview, Washington is one of our DGA tee sign clients that we have worked with over the years, so it was fun to see those signs, that started their life in southwestern Minnesota, installed well over 1,000 miles away. Still doing their job after all these years. It was funny on Hole 8 though. That particular sign was missing, so I asked a couple of locals for confirmation of how to play the hole. One of them looked at me, smiled, and said: “Well that depends…are you a [word that means “to wash or soak”], or are you cool?” I said: “I guess it depends upon who you ask.” 😀 Which made him laugh and say: “Okay, you’re cool.” Then he said that the COOL players respect the mando and throw the hole left-to-right. While the, ahem, “not cool” players say “mando be darned.” I then told him that I am a LHBH player besides, which made him suggest that I must REALLY be cool. Ha! And for what it’s worth? I followed the mando on the hole design. Wound up shooting a -6 (21) on the course, for an estimated round rating of 1007.
My last course on the day was Tam O’Shanter Park in Kelso, Washington. A disappointing way to finish my day, as the course was all but impossible to navigate on 4-5 of the holes. 🙁 I found several more baskets than I did tee signs, and the course map (physical sign at the course) and the course map in UDisc still couldn’t help me be sure I played every hole correctly. Figuring out things as best I could, I shot a -4 (23) for an estimated round rating of 937. But that gets a giant asterisk next to those numbers, as I cannot be 100 percent sure I played every hole as designed/intended.
So that might be an abrupt end to my course collecting here in Oregon for this trip. I’ve played 45 new courses since I left Minnesota in January, so it is nothing to hang my head over. Still, I wish I would have had next week to sneak a few more new courses played before heading back to Minnesota to pack, clean, and downsize.
Magic Number = 54 (1,946 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.