After 28 days, 86 new courses, and nearly 6,500 miles behind the wheel to/from California and Nevada in February and March, I’ve been laying low the past few weeks. Recovering from a nasty sinus infection and a bout with walking pneumonia that I developed on the last leg of my road trip. That said, even though I’ve been sniffling and coughing at home behind my monitor and keyboard for a few weeks, it hasn’t stopped me from planning my next trips. Continuing my slow-but-steady march toward 2,000 courses played as I am out trying to promote DGA (the company, their baskets, their discs, etc.) as best I can.
My next trip will be a much shorter one, but incredibly special to me. A fellow course collector, Mike Harrington of the Disc Golf Experience, is organizing a small tournament in Columbia, Missouri, celebrating his reaching 1,000 disc golf courses played. The event is being held on April 29 at Harmony Bends Disc Golf Course, the world’s #1 rated course. With John Houck from Houck Design (who is widely regarded as one of the world’s top disc golf course designers, and who was the designer of Harmony Bends) in attendance. I’ve gotten to know John and his wife Dee a bit over the past several months, and to have the opportunity to meet Mike, John and Dee and play one of John’s designs with him present will be quite an honor. And of course, I’ll need to drive to/from said event…hopefully adding another 20+ courses in Southern Iowa and Missouri to my own “collection.”
After that, it will be time spent at home getting on top of work until June 1-3, when I will head to Rochester, Minnesota for three days. Not a disc golf trip! But my discs will be with me, so I can hopefully play the final 5-6 courses in Southeast Minnesota that I have yet to play.
I may need to spend a few days in Chicago this Summer, which would be great for my course collecting efforts. There are 127 courses within approximately 70 miles of Chicago, and I have only played 16 of them. Fertile ground to add numerous new courses to my collection in relatively short order! I will also likely be spending at least a long weekend in Southern Wisconsin in July, helping to design my first disc golf course in the land of Badgers and Packers. I won’t say where yet, as I want to respect the privacy of the land owner…waiting until they are ready to announce a course opening on their property. But that will be an interesting and special project for me to work on.
In mid-August, I’ll be in Kansas City. Wearing my Disc Golf Foundation Board Member hat for a long weekend. Again, driving to and from, so I can hopefully play an additional 20-25+ courses in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri before, during and after conducting Foundation business. With a likely return trip (for work) to Grand Rapids, Michigan in late September and early October, along with a possible mid-October work trip to Norfolk, Virginia.
Trips for my work at mapformation have been, in large part, the reason why I have been able to play literally hundreds of courses across the United States and portions of Canada. And driving to said clients or conferences, loaded down with computer/scanning equipment or display materials for our exhibits, has been the only reason I have had the opportunity to play hundreds of courses in rural areas of the country. I love a good road trip! Love seeing what is around that next corner or past that next mountain. And UDisc has been such a blessing in my efforts! Not only showing me where courses are located, tying in with Google Maps to give me turn-by-turn directions to thousands of courses on the planet! But allowing me to filter out (of view) all of the courses I have already played.
Sometimes, driving through different parts of the country after having played more than 1,300 courses, I forget whether I have played a course in the past. All but the REALLY good (or sometimes really bad) courses can start to blur together as memories over time. That said, UDisc allows me to filter out courses (from view) that I have previously played. All while allowing me to immediately record my rounds in their app (which I also later enter at Disc Golf Course Review, along with uploading photos from the tee areas for any courses that did not previously have photos).
If any of you reading this are located in any of these areas (South of Des Moines, IA, Columbia, MO, Southeast MN, Chicago, Southern WI, Grand Rapids, MI or Norfolk, VA), and you’d like to throw a round or two while I’m in town, please feel free to reach out to me. Playing with locals who know courses is SO much more fun than playing new courses alone! And if you wouldn’t mind having me tag along, maybe even writing a bit about you or adding a photo or two from the experience, I would welcome the opportunity to meet and check out the courses you call home.
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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