After being named as a State Delegate for one of Minnesota’s political parties back in February, learning that their Convention would be held in Rochester, Minnesota the first weekend of June, I was excited to hopefully have the opportunity (health and weather permitting) to check out a few new courses in Southeast Minnesota. The only region in Minnesota, South of Fargo-Moorhead and Duluth, where I have yet to play every course available (apart from two new courses that have recently opened in Southwest Minnesota). And, after months of looking forward to the dates that were circled on my calendar, my health and the weather did not disappoint this past weekend!
I started my weekend checking out a newly re-designed and re-opened course in Kasson, Minnesota: Lion’s Park DGC. DGA sold the City great new baskets, and we also had the privilege of producing the tee signage for the course, so it was fun to see all those signs and baskets in action. The course provided an interesting mix of long and short holes in two different park areas with short (mowed) grass. However, miss the fairways and you might be searching for your discs for quite a while. I say that as a good thing…as it takes a relatively tame recreational course and gives it some teeth. Keeping you honest, and making you think about if you REALLY want to go for those chains or parking your disc off the tee.
I then drove from Kasson to Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch, just West of Stewartville, Minnesota, where I was greeted by Bob Bardwell and given the grand tour of the Ranch. Bob is doing amazing things with Ironwood Ranch, providing a great space for kids and families who are dealing with cognitive and physical disabilities to just have fun. Upon our arrival at the Ranch, staff made me feel at home while I waited for Bob to finish-up another project. And after Bob drove me around the the property, showing me the layout of the disc golf course and some of the other spaces they’ve developed over the years, they invited my last-minute travel companion to lunch while I made my way around their course. Sending us home with nice coffee mugs.
Ironwood is doing SO much good, touching SO many lives in positive ways. For example, they will be hosting the National Wheelchair Sports Camp this coming weekend, a camp that encourages “youth and adults with physical challenges of all levels to participate in a variety of sport-themed activities in a supportive and inspiring team environment. Campers are challenged to look beyond their disability, while being coached and mentored by world-class Paralympic athletes. Campers will be amazed and encouraged to things they felt never possible, while building relationships with others who face similar challenges.” Thank you, Bob, for all you are doing! I hope my sharing a bit of information about your ministry might touch the lives of a few others out there who were not previously aware of the amazing work you do.
After our political convention adjourned on Sunday, I snuck up to Mazeppa, Minnesota to squeeze in one more course that was designed by Steve West, a friend of mine, at Herb Vik Field. Upon arriving in Mazeppa, I was greeted at the park by an incredibly friendly man, who asked what brought me to their town (maybe they don’t see a lot of red-heads with bushy sideburns around Mazeppa? Ha!). I told him that I was there to check out their new disc golf course that Steve West had designed, so I could tell people about it as a part of my role as DGA Ambassador. He then rolled out the red carpet, sharing lots of information and thanking me for making the trip up from Rochester before heading back home.
What a fun little course! Less than 2,200 feet over nine holes. I wasn’t a big fan of Hole 1, a wide open “prairie golf” shot off the tee, and Hole 7 was a bit scary as a lefty…throwing down a hill at a fenced-in ballfield left of the basket. But the rest of the course put a big smile on my face. It honestly reminded me of playing other fun recreational courses in Northeast Iowa and Southwest Wisconsin. It’s hard to explain, but I felt as though holes such as 2, 6 and 9 were paying their respects to other fun nine-holers I had played in the greater region. Nice work on that course design, Steve! Folks around Mazeppa should enjoy that course for hopefully many years to come.
Magic Number = 633 (1,367 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.