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Course Super's Dirt

August 2011

Fall is fast approaching and first and foremost we would like to thank all of you who have taken the time to play at our facility this summer. Looking back at the season so far, I am very pleased with how the golf course has performed during these summer months. Rainfall amounts on the golf course have been minimal-we are the only part of the state that has been spared the excessive rainfall that has plagued much of Minnesota. This has been a good thing for the golf course and its playability-contrary to what many think most superintendents would take drought-like conditions over excessively wet ones. While dry conditions can require more work, attention, and skill to keep turf alive, having this kind of control over the golf course’s playability is something that we value.

Starting the week of August 22, we will begin the methodical process of aerifying our fairways. This is not a cause for alarm as we only do one fairway at a time and have the areas cleaned up and playable by the time our players arrive. We perform this work both first thing in the morning and in evenings to avoid disturbing our customers. This process has worked very well in the past and I am confident that we will be able to perform this necessary process without any effect on how the golf course plays.

On a final note, I would like to thank those golfers who take the time to replace their divots and utilize the sand mix on the carts. Sadly, while we were seeding divots on 5 fairway last week we must have removed over 70 perfectly usable divots that were never replaced. Not only do the divots lying on the ground interfere with the playability of the golf course for other players but if they had been replaced promptly they would have had a chance to knit themselves in and result in a better playing surface for everyone. Remember that golf is a game of courtesy and that by respecting the golf course you are respecting those around you as well. Having worked on the golf course now for over 27 years, I have noticed that this part of golf etiquette-along with repairing ballmarks-has been lost somewhere along the way for many players.

Hope to see you out there.

June 2011



Things are finally settling down after the hectic work that goes with spring. The month of May and the first half of June were drier than usual which led to very good playing conditions even if it does put a little more strain on our staff. A common misconception by many is that rain is what makes a golf course the best it can be. This may be true with golf courses with little to no irrigation system but for us dry conditions are ideal. Control over the playability of the golf course is much more possible when rain does not interfere with our plans. While an occasional rain event might be helpful in relieving stress, I would very much prefer dry conditions over wet conditions any day. Most superintendents would say the same thing. At the moment we are dealing with some heavy rains on the golf course but I am confident that the golf course will be able to soak up most of this excessive water considering how dry we have been keeping the golf course in the month leading up to these rains.

Moving on to the staff, I would like to offer a sincere thank you to the entire group that we have working on the crew this season. Nothing is possible without them and I often think that they are overlooked by our players because they are less visible than the outside service and pro shop staff. This is by design since we know that most players do not want to be disturbed during their round and so we try to complete most of our work before the golfers even arrive. That being said, I hope that our players understand and appreciate the amount of work that goes into making a golf course enjoyable.

This month’s winner of the employee peer evaluation was Lorna Winger-a golf course veteran who has been working with us close to eight years. Lorna continues to be a steadying influence for both experienced and new staff members and it is great to see how much her efforts are appreciated by her peers.

Vince 46

Lorna Winger 6-22-2011

On a final note, I would like to include a picture of something we often see in the summer months-turf damage from insect repellent. In the picture you can see where the golfer’s footprints were as they sprayed their legs with bug spray. The material that hit the turf resulted in a burning of the turf. As a consideration for other players it would be much appreciated if we took the time to spray ourselves on a cart path instead of turf to avoid this problem in the future.

Vince 47

Footprints on Putting Green 2011

Caused by insect repellent

April 2011

We started our core crew members today with the first task being removing covers from the practice tee and the putting greens. It certainly feels very good to finally get this season underway.

Inspection of the golf course over the past few days (the snow is finally for the most part gone) revealed that we came through the winter in very good shape. Greens and tees are very clean while fairways had some snow mold damage but nothing severe enough to warrant much concern. Considering we had a heavy snow year with the golf course being completely covered for over 150 days we are very happy with the golf course and its condition. We are confident that we will be able to deliver a decent layout by the time we open in the next three weeks or so.

Setting a solid opening date at this point is not so easy with the weather being so unpredictable. While the early part of this week was very warm the forecast shows colder temperatures moving in which could make preparing the golf course more difficult. The best we can hope for at this point is for warm temperatures and no snow.

This month’ picture was taken today of the tenth hole from the tee. A quick look at this photo will give you a pretty good idea of how the golf course came through the long winter. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Vince 4

See you on the golf course.

Vincent Dodge


March 2011

This month’s article is short and sweet-the snow is melting finally and we hope to be outside preparing the golf course for opening as soon as possible in the spring. This is the time of the year that people begin to ask, “When are you opening?” and my answer is always the same-we do not really know. Last year was record breaking for the Wilderness as we opened on April 16th. I can say with confidence that this will not happen this year.

I was hoping in this article to give everyone an idea of how the golf course fared over the winter but unfortunately there is still too much snow coverage on the golf course to get an accurate assessment. My gut feeling is that we will come out of the winter in fairly good condition and should be ready to offer our players the conditions they have come to expect as soon as possible.

I wish to thank all of you for your continued patronage of the golf course and look forward to seeing you when we open. Have a great Easter season.

February 2011

I am probably not alone when I say that the winter gets a little long on the golf course though as I write this article I can feel a little bit of spring in the air. Snow is actually melting at this time. That being said, we are hoping for the best this spring and that the golf course gets through the winter with minimal injury.

We have been receiving a few calls this year in regards to greens aerification this year. The plan is to aerify greens this year on May 17th weather permitting. If the weather does not cooperate then we will perform the work on May 24th. We have decided to aerify a few weeks earlier than usual this season in order to better work around our players.

Recovery time depends greatly on the weather conditions at the time that we aerify. Warmer temperatures in the spring will make for a quicker recovery. Cooler temperatures will delay recovery. It is as simple as that. Rest assured that we will do everything in our power to make the process as painless as possible for everyone. I have listed below a few interesting facts about aerification:

  • Aerification is a short-term disruption that has long-term benefits for golf courses.
  • For grass to grow at 3/16-inch, they need to have deep, healthy roots. Good roots demand oxygen.
  • Aerification is a mechanical process that creates more air space in the soil and promotes deeper rooting, thus helping the grass plants stay healthy.
  • In most cases, aerification involves removing 1/2-inch cores. The spaces are then filled with sand "topdressing" that helps the soil retain air space and makes it easier for roots to grow downward.
  • Other aerification techniques use machines with "tines" or knives that simply poke holes through the soil profile. A photographic example of the process is shown below:

Vince 27    Vince 28

                                               Pulling Cores                                                                                                            Removing Cores                                                

Vince 29  Vince 30

                                     Topdressing Heavily                                                                                                    Dragging in Sand                                     

Vince 31  Vince 32

                                Rolling to True Surface                                                                                                       Finished Product                               


Vincent Dodge