After taking a bit of a break from work this morning, to cruise around the course directories of UDisc and DGCourseReview, as I do a few times per day…partially as part of my efforts to try and keep the various disc golf course directories current, partially as a chance to day-dream about the new places I might try and play in the months and years to come, I noticed something new at DGCR: Two new courses with fewer than nine holes in Olivia, Minnesota…about a 45-minute drive North of me. And upon further exploration, I was able to confirm that Olivia has recently opened six-hole and three-hole courses in two different city parks, designed by Cale and Paul Leiviska.
Olivia has been talking about installing disc golf for at least the past decade. Always rumors, or “maybe next year.” So I was surprised to see that disc golf had finally been introduced into the community. Surprised that I (and a few of my friends) hadn’t yet heard anything about it. But with my wife and daughters still away from home for most of the day today, I thought I would make the trip North to check out said designs.
When I saw that Cale had designed the course, I was excited, as I know he did a terrific job with the Afton Alps course in Hastings, Minnesota, as well as with a handful of courses up on the Iron Range in Northeastern Minnesota. But the courses in Olivia were “garden variety” recreational courses, at best. With a few suspect hole designs, at worst.
Hole 4 in Henton Park, for example. A right-to-left flight path, with the basket tucked in the trees behind the left field fence in an adjacent ball field. Any lefty (like me) or a RHFH player is going directly over center field and left field from that tee position…and if you miss short, and there is any type of ball game happening on that field? It’s a problem. I suppose they could make the light pole (visible in the photo) a “mando” right of said pole! But even then, a LHBH player is still going to be tempted to throw an S-curve to cut that corner (what I did off that tee) …while a RHBH player with a big enough arm, who misses their line a little high or short? Is going to land their disc in the outfield.
There were several holes in the two parks where the design just felt a little unnecessarily close to potential trouble. A good, smart player? They’ll never land their disc in a neighbor’s yard, or into a ball field, or ??? But the designs seem as though a significant number of discs will be flying over fences, into neighbors yards, etc. Hole 9 out at Sunrise Park was a little like that (the three holes in that park are numbered 7, 8 and 9). A good player? Won’t come close to the neighbor’s yard on the North, or the shelter to the basket’s West. But less skilled players? Players who might be playing under the influence of a few beers with their buddies? Let’s just say I didn’t like it. The hole SHOULD be safe! But I can think of numerous situations (wind, player skill level, players “under the influence,” etc.) where there could be problems.
That said? I will happily add two more “surprise” courses to my course collection on a sunny Sunday morning! Two more new courses than I thought I might be able to sneak in before I head down to Kansas City in a couple weeks, to take part in Board meetings with the Disc Golf Foundation.
Magic Number = 623 (1,377 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 our “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.
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