Course Super's Dirt

January 2011

We hope that the winter season is going a long well with everyone and that 2011 has started out as a great year for everyone. Work proceeds indoors on the golf course with winter preventative maintenance on golf course equipment.

One of the most common questions asked to me is “What do you do in the winter?” A good question and the most common answer is maintenance work on equipment. The golf course has a great many mowers and other equipment that needs thorough preventative maintenance in the off months. Particular attention must be paid to some of our older equipment with high hours. Sometimes these units require a very thorough inspection and extensive repair. Pictured below are both Trevor Rintala (Assistant Superintendent) and Jori Hughes (Mechanic) performing some of the typical jobs that we perform in the winter months. Work in the shop in January equals more time spent on the golf course for Trevor and less mid-season emergency repairs for Jori. This type of work will continue throughout the winter months until the snow is gone in the spring.

Have a great day and hope to see you in 2011.

Vince 36        Vince 37

Trevor Rintala performing brake work on             Jori Hughes grinding bedknives for use on

                       rough mower                                                                      tee mowers

December 2010

First and foremost, the crew here at the Wilderness at Fortune Bay would like to wish everyone Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. As I reflect back on this year I find myself feeling very thankful to have such as excellent group of people to work with. I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to our entire maintenance crew as well as everyone else in the golf course operation. In addition, I would like to extend a sincere thank you and Happy Holidays to our players for making the 2010 season a successful one. Without you none of this would be possible and we look forward to seeing you in the spring.

A wintery picture of the golf course seems to be appropriate at this time. This picture of hole number 4 was taken a few weeks ago while grooming cross country ski trails. Feel free to come out and try out the trails-they are free for use by the public.

Vince 24

October 2010

2010 was, all in all, a very good year for the golf course and we are all very pleased with how the entire year progressed. Like any other year, 2010 presented its own set of challenges in the form of greater than average disease pressure and times of persistent rain that made times a little difficult for both staff and players. We thank you for your patronage.

The busiest times for the golf course maintenance crew are the weeks before opening and the weeks after closing. At the present time, we are preparing the golf course for winter-in fact at the moment we are covering putting greens to protect them from what can be very stressful winters. In addition to this, we made numerous improvements and additions to our cart paths and are performing drainage work on holes 15 and 16 to improve playability in wet conditions. This is the time of the year where we perform work that would be very disruptive to our customers if we were to remain open and we will continue to work outside until the weather makes it impossible. The bottom line is that hard work after closing makes for a better product for our customers when we open in the spring.

This month’s photo is of the 18th hole and shows how work indeed can continue when conditions get unfriendly. Note the trusses in the background that would become a part of our present clubhouse.


 Vince 76   Vince 77


                                                                                November 14, 2002


November 2010

As of the writing of this article, snow is falling on the six inches of snow already on the ground. Very nice weather throughout the entire month of October and into the early part of November made it possible for us to perform some much needed brush clearing on the golf course as well as some bunker drainage. Combined with the early start this year in the spring, this entire year has been probably one of the most productive seasons on the golf course in the eight years of its existence. I think that everyone will be happy with the improvements to both golf course’s visibility and playability.

Now is the time, after some long overdue relaxation, to begin to focus on indoor work on the golf course. Every year we are asked, “What do you do in the winter?” An apt question considering the weather outdoors. The primary function in the winter months is to prepare equipment for the coming season. When one considers that we have close to twenty separate mowers each with from one to seven cutting units that need rebuilding and sharpening, there is a substantial amount of work involved. Add to this the work we perform cleaning up and repairing golf course accessories as well as the other tractors and utility carts that we use throughout the entire season, and one can see that the work is never really truly done and gives us productive work to perform in the winter.

The depressing snowfall outside inspires this month’s golf course picture. I think we can all use a more upbeat picture taken when the golf course was looking its best.

August 16, 2003 Hole #1

Vince 69

September 2010

August was another excellent month for the golf course with a substantial amount of our efforts being focused on the Minnesota Club Professionals Championship on August 29, 30, and 31. Preparation for that event began weeks before the tournament and fortunately on the days of the event weather was extremely cooperative. For the event, putting greens were rolling a true 11’ on the stimpmeter and many of the best players in the state were pleased with course conditions. The course played extremely firm and fast and yielded a low score of 67.

Many of you may have noticed the change in course conditions in the weeks before and after the tournament and may wonder why we do not keep the golf course like that year round. Rough was longer, fairways were firmer, and greens were faster. There are primarily two reasons for this:

  • Most low-handicap players enjoy these sorts of conditions-they present a sterner test of golf. Most players, however, tend to struggle to score under these conditions and the experience becomes less enjoyable for most golfers. Pace of play issues in particular become more of a problem as well.
  • The golf course is less able to withstand heavy wear from golfers when maintained under tournament conditions. Greens in particular are more vulnerable to traffic when both their mowing heights and fertility are low (necessary to achieve fast green speeds). At the Wilderness in particular, the severe undulations on greens limit the number of pin placements on many holes. This in turn funnels the traffic into the same areas over and over again-thinning turf and decreasing quality. When one considers that the Wilderness hosts over 23,000 rounds of golf a year in a 5 month golfing season, golf course wear is something that we really have to manage-even if it means that the golf course cannot be tournament ready for the entire year.

We thank all of you for your understanding.

For this months construction picture, we will have a look at before/after pictures of hole 4 to help illustrate just how rough a site this was to work with (note boulders and ledge rock).

                         Vince 83  Vince 84

       August 14, 2002                                                                                            July 16, 2003

See you on the golf course,

Vincent Dodge

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