DGA Ambassador Team Member Derek Tonn Bio
- Division: Men’s Am
- PDGA#: 35462
- Rating: 914
- Playing Since: 1977
- Home Town: Springfield, Minnesota
- Home Town Course: The Links of Springfield
- Most Current Player Stats – PDGA
- Facebook Page
- Disc Golf Courses Played
- Disc Golf Tee Sign Projects with DGA
- Tonn’s Travels
Favorites: Gear | Courses | Tournaments
- Favorite DGA Disc: My favorite DGA disc to-date has been the Squall (SP line). With a -1 HSS (slightly understable) and a 1-1.5 LSS, I can make that disc do just about anything I need it to inside of ~200 feet. Gentle anhyzer lines, straight alley/tunnel shots, even gentle hyzers. It is easily the most versatile disc in my pack.
What are your 5 Favorite Disc Golf Courses?
- Maple Hill (Leicester, MA)
- Selah Ranch – Lakeside (Talco, TX)
- IDGC – Steady Ed Headrick Memorial (Appling, GA)
- Wildcat Bluff (Urbana, IA)
- Chains Edge – Red (Ogilvie, MN – work in progress…but it will be amazing)
What is your favorite disc golf tournament?
Cedar Creek Open (Fairmont, MN) Trevor Boehne is easily the best TD in Minnesota!
What about being a part of Team DGA excites you the most?
Being a part of the company that started it all, and doing my best to honor Ed’s legacy. Disc golf has given me SO much over the years! DGA has been amazing to work with the past several years too, having our two companies collaborate on the creation of tee signage for well over 100 courses around North America. And to have the opportunity to more-formally sing their praises as an Ambassador, focusing on the recreational benefits of the sport (versus competitive aspects) is a dream come true. Every player dreams of playing disc golf under a manufacturer’s banner. But to do it for DGA? I still have not quite come to terms with how lucky I truly am.
What is the strongest part of your disc golf game?
My mid-range/approach game has always been what allows me to hang with players who are MUCH stronger than I am off the tee or inside the circle. My distance and accuracy off the tee has greatly improved over the past five years, and my putting is usually “good enough” (though I would cite it as the weakest aspect of my game). But if I am inside of 150-200 feet with a decent line toward the basket, I am usually close enough to the basket after my approach that I don’t need to sweat the putt.
What is your best tip for a disc golfer that has just started playing?
Patience, grasshopper. 🙂 Translated: Don’t try and do it all at once. Most beginners see experienced players throwing drivers 350-400+ feet off the tee and think that is what makes a good disc golfer. But throwing far is just a tiny piece of the overall puzzle. Start by getting very good at making ten foot putts in different temps and wind conditions, then take a step back and throw lots of putts until you’re money from 12-13 feet. Keep repeating that process until you are confident in your ability from at least 20-25 feet. And in the fairway? Same thing. Take your mid-range/approach disc and practice in different temps and wind conditions from 50 feet. Once you are consistently landing your disc within 10-12 feet of the basket, back up ten feet and do it again. Keep repeating that process until you are confident you can get your approach shots within 10-12 feet of the basket from 150-175+ feet out. Once you’ve done that? THEN (and only then) is it time to work on learning to throw drivers and adding distance off the tee. Accuracy > Distance.
How do you prepare for a big event both mentally and physically?
I think it all starts with sleep, diet and conditioning. Playing tired will often mean making mistakes (in decisions or form), and in most events, the player who makes the fewest mistakes wins. I am also a firm believer in the power of fruits and vegetables. It is hard to go wrong enjoying a piece of fruit or carrots before/during said event. And avoiding heavy, greasy foods for breakfast and lunch will likely translate to better results on the card. As to conditioning? I make a habit of regularly playing 54-72+ holes in a day when I am out “course collecting.” And I think that gives me an edge over other players who might typically only play a maximum of 18 holes/day. Since in tournaments, you are often playing 36+ holes/day, multiple days in a row.
Most memorable tournament win or moment in DG?
My favorite (sanctioned) tournament win (Intermediate division) was at the 2009 Memorial Day Melee at Maiden Shade in Morristown, Minnesota. Though my favorite disc golf memory was from Golf Island Disc Park on Pender Island in British Columbia (Canada). Hooked up with two locals to play a round on that 27-hole course in June 2015, and as luck would have it, my tee shot found the target on Hole 18 for the ace.
Took a brief break, then played a second round with those same two locals. And on Hole 6 in that second round, I got my second ace on the day. An amazing location for disc golf, and two aces in the same day. My only aces in Canada to-date, and the only time I have ever hit two in the same day.