August 12th, 2020

We’ve reached the dog days of summer and fall is right around the corner...I once heard August described as the Sunday of Summer.  So let’s take advantage of our last fading moments to get in a few quality rounds.  

It’s said that everything balances out, and for as dry as June was, July evened it out quickly.  Over 8 inches of rain in 15 days left us pretty sloppy.   While brown and dry may not be aesthetically pleasing, it beats the heck out of wet and soggy.   Wet conditions lead us to the dreaded “cart paths only”...and while CPO can be a four letter word around the golf world.  I really wish that golfers would understand that I, as well as, many other golf course superintendents don’t do this lightly.  No one wants to put carts on paths, especially us, crews work tirelessly to provide the best playing surface as possible.  We want to show off the course in it’s best light, however sometimes it’s just absolutely required with the soggy conditions.  The fairways here tend to hold water, it comes from a combination of the lack of sand in the root zone combined with heavily clay and rocky soil.  Surface drainage and catch basins are our only option which leads to heavy wetness around the basins.  Heavy cart traffic would lead to hours and hours of damage repairs, plus a poor fairway product.  It’s with that in mind that we choose to go CPO, when we do.  

While we are hitting the tough subjects, let’s go ahead and grab onto the third rail of golf course maintenance...greens speed.  <Too slow!!>  <Too fast!!>  <These pin locations are terrible!!>  Ever since Johnny Miller uttered the now infamous word, “stimpmeter,” golf maintenance has never been the same...and while I’d venture to say that most golfers don’t know what a stimpmeter looks like, it certainly is a huge topic of conversation.  We’ve all heard on TV that greens are running (pick a number) and that is the main determining factor to the greens condition or quality for that matter. The thing that Johnny (and others)  never talked about, is that you have to have a “number” that fits with greens design, condition, and most important, the clientele.  While I’ll be the first to admit we came out of the gates a little slow this spring (pun totally intended), we have really started to settle in on a good, smooth, and quick putting surface.  A surface that fits the major contours of these greens as well as the amount of play and the resort golfer looking to enjoy a nice 4:20 hour round.  There are many who will disagree and we can discuss this until the snow falls.  

(Whoosh) that, that is behind us.  Let’s talk about some fun things.  July saw our first “Pizza and divots party.”  The staff worked until dark filling fairway divots and eating frozen pizza.  We tried to answer the age old question, which is better Dave’s frozen pizza or Lotzza Motzza...speaking of which, I don’t think we ever came to a conclusion

This month we recognize a true gentleman...the OG himself...the longest continuous Wilderness Maintenance employee, Dave Pike. Pikester to his friends, Mr. Pike to many.  Mr. Pike has been with the Wilderness for 15 seasons.  Dave Pike grew up here on the Range, born in Ely and graduated from Babbitt.  Mr. Pike has impacted many lives in his 34 years of teaching elementary for Gilbert and Eveleth. Not only in the classroom, but on the hardwood and baseball diamond, Mr. Pike was there for the kids and head coaches alike.  One fate filled morning in 2005, Mr. Pike, looking for something to do in the summer, stopped by the golf course.  While the plan was for just one season...we all know ‘the best laid plans”.  15 years later, Mr. Pike is still enjoying working outside and comradery that comes along with working with a small group of people.  Courses like the Wilderness don’t get to where they are without people like Dave Pike.  We thank him and if you see him, you should too.  

WOW!!...a lot to digest there.  Labor Day is quickly around the corner...and the end of summer will be upon us.  Let’s get out and enjoy our last few days of summer.  

As always, we look forward to seeing you on the 1st tee and keep it between the trees.  


Give us a follow on the Wilderness Golf Maintenance Twitter Page @WildernessGCM