It has unfortunately been two weeks since I have been able to touch my discs, much less attempt to add any new courses to my course collection. Busy times at work, coupled with bad weather and a bit of an illness, have done me in. That said, it hasn’t stopped me from researching and dreaming about all the great places around the planet that are still out there to play. And this time of year, my thoughts and dreams head South…to warmer climates.
One of the major barriers to playing a large number of courses around the continent/planet is the time and expense required to reach said courses. As best I can estimate, there are a total of seven new courses I can still play that will not require an overnight stay in some campground, on someone’s couch, or in a hotel. Seven new courses, when I need over 500 new courses to ultimately reach my goal. That means a LOT of potential nights away from home! When I need to stay in a hotel, I usually will stay somewhere cheap (think Super 8, Days Inn or Microtel), via a membership with Wyndham Rewards. And my active PDGA membership has allowed me to save hundreds of dollars per year on the cost of said room nights, via one of the PDGA member perks that has been available.
Even with those discounted room fees? Hotel costs add up quickly. Particularly since just about every town out there has some type of lodging tax that adds $8-$10/night on top of a hotel’s nightly rates. That said, I learned a few years ago how to secure FREE lodging for several days or even weeks on end, via a housesitting service I use called TrustedHousesitters.
TrustedHousesitters is a site that pairs homeowners looking for people to watch their homes with people looking for cheap/free places to stay. Most of the housesits involve looking after a pet or two, along with the occasional watering of plants or bringing in the daily mail. But for free? Those chores can literally be completed in minutes per day. And it is honestly nice to have the occasional dog, cat or other pet to keep me company after a long day of course collecting. But the best part of housesitting? Being able to spread out in an actual home versus living out of a hotel room for days on end. Having a full kitchen to cook meals, and a washer and dryer to do my laundry. All for only the cost of looking after a few pets, or watering a few plants.
If any of you reading this like to travel, are looking for ways to reduce the costs of traveling and playing in lots of new locations, give TrustedHousesitters a try. And if you use the following link: https://www.trustedhousesitters.com/su/zbBxVWeL, or if you enter the following code when you sign up for the service: RAF492 …you will save 25% on your membership fees.
I would estimate that I’ve played at least 250-300 new courses in recent years, as the direct result of me having free lodging in different cities around North America for weeks at a time. My family and I have enjoyed housesits in Boston, MA, Houston, TX, Portland, OR, Washington D.C., San Francisco, CA, Sacramento, CA, Monterey, CA, and Parksville, BC since 2014. Wonderful memories and experiences with my wife and two daughters. And hundreds of new disc golf courses I otherwise would not have been able to afford to play.
Magic Number = 514 (1,486 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.