July Newsletter

Hope everyone had a great 4th of July!  I wasn’t sure 4th would turn out to be a good day or not considering how our day started.  Our morning consisted of 2 storms going through and dumping a lot of rain and even some hail.  However, the weather did clear up and ended up to be a nice afternoon!  Rain has definitely been a hindrance throughout June and now into July.  Hopefully we can start enjoying summer with a little less precipitation from now on.

The course has been healing nicely from the damage we experienced from our long winter.  Of course this takes time and patience.  The maintenance staff has been putting in a lot of extra time and effort to help the course get back into tip top shape.  I would like to thank those who have visited us already and the understanding you’ve shown during this rough patch.

We do have a few fun events coming up that may peak your interest:
Chip & Sip Event – July 19th
5:00 pm Chipping Clinic
5:30 pm Shotgun Start – 9 holes
On course events and wine samples
9 & Stein – Aug. 9th
5:30 pm Shotgun Start – 9 holes
On course events and beer samples
Call the golf shop for to sign up or for more information!
If golf is not your thing, Fortune Bay has a few outdoor events in July that is worth checking out!
July 22nd – Classic Car Show from Noon – 4pm
July 29th – FORTUNEBAYNIA - Love wrestling?  You don’t want to miss this show!
Check for more event information
As the above events are held outside in the golf course parking lot, we will have temporary parking across from the RV Park throughout the day.  We will shuttle all golfers to and from the clubhouse for each of the above event dates.  We appreciate your understanding and patience during these entertaining events. 
See you at The Wilderness soon!
Happy Golfing!
Ryan Peterson

As I reflect on the 34 years of golf course maintenance experience on the golf course, I can think of three years where I truly was relieved when they were over.  The first was the summer of 1988 in Aurora, Illinois (I was a crew member then) dealing with a hot and extremely dry summer where we simply could not get enough water on the golf course.  I remember hand watering fairways for days on end.  Tough year.  The next year I remember was the summer of 1995 in Itasca, Illinois (my first Superintendent position).  That summer was hot with extremely high humidity.  Too much rain.  Many lost greens-or came close to doing so-at the height of that summer.  A tougher year.  The final year that makes this list as the toughest year is 2018 in Tower, Minnesota-and not due to a stressful summer but rather a halacious, long winter followed by a brief, cold spring which was immediately followed by a storm producing early summer that washes out bunkers, knocks down trees, scatters debris everywhere, and makes it too wet for us to do much of anything on the golf course.  You do this job long enough, this kind of stuff is going to happen.  All whining aside, I have, in a sick kind of way, enjoyed the challenge of driving a recovery.  This has been a nice break from the humdrum routine of golf course maintenance and while sometimes it gets old dealing with the complaints, I also know that we are almost out of the woods and will be able to put most of this mess behind us in the next few weeks.  Moving on to specifics:

7 Green June 7, 2018

7 Green July 6, 2018

While still not quite there yet, 7 green is, believe it or not, in much better shape now than it was a month ago.  Note how much more grass there is on the playing surface (do not let the green pigments fool you in previous photo).  Believe me when I say that this is not easy to do when we are open for play on an undersized green-as the picture below shows:


July 6, 2018

The area where the flagstick is installed for the first time this year was completely and thoroughly dead 6-7 weeks ago.  The upper tier in the foreground was looking good initially but the inability to distribute the wear on the green to multiple locations has made recovery tough-you can see where we seeded but there is just too much foot traffic to have as good a recovery as we have had on the other greens.  In addition, the design of seven is such that all traffic is funneled to the same side of the green over and over again.  The plan is to use a combination of sod and hex plugs on the weaker areas of this green over the next week to move it along.  Number 7 is and always has been our problematic golf hole.

Most golf courses have one of these.  It could be a green with too much shade.  It could be an area with terrible drainage or poor soils.  In the case of 7, it is an undersized green with a sub-optimal traffic distribution design.  My intention here is not to complain about the design-when building a new course it is often not possible to foresee all problems that may develop over time.  Construction deadlines and budget limitations sometimes make it difficult to do everything perfectly.  What is important is to try to make improvements for the future.  For this reason, in 2014 I asked our original architect-Jeff Brauer-to put together a set of plans to improve this hole’s performance and he came up with this plan:

Making this change would turn a weakness on the golf course into a strength.  The setup options for this hole would be exciting with a great deal of variety.  The ability to distribute wear on a green three times the size of the current one would be very helpful.  While I do not see this happening anytime in the near future, I do think that this is certainly something that deserves some serious consideration.

During this entire golf season, I have made great efforts to be completely honest about our condition.  I have made a point to show the most troubled parts of the course and explain the causes and remedial actions.  Rest assured, most of the golf course is moving rapidly toward tip top conditioning.  I can say with confidence that our condition has improved with the passing of every day.  We are in the process of bringing down our cutting heights to their normal height while improving putting surfaces with sand topdressing.  Already, the trueness and speed on greens is improving and will continue to do so as we move away from growing out of damage and into techniques that improve playability.  As I have mentioned before, this is a process that takes time and requires patience.

The entire crew appreciates the patience you have shown for this recovery.  This season has caused an increased workload for everyone.  We are just as happy as you are to be moving away from this chapter in the golf course’s history and into a time of routine maintenance.

See you on the golf course,

Vincent Dodge

I hope everyone had safe and fun 4th of July. 
The Sun is shining!! Honestly, I am tired of watching the radar, and the next set of storms roll in.  Hopefully we have a ton of sunshine in the forecast.

Speaking of storms, on Wednesday, June 27th, our Night on the Patio, featuring a Pig Roast with The Diva’s for our music, we had a crazy storm go through and knock out our electricity!  Of course this happened just before we were getting the buffet put out for our FULL dining room.  No power, no computers….CRAZY!!  We did the best that we could.  Our chef’s stood in the pouring rain heating up the food on the outside grill!  We finally were able to get the buffet set and everyone was able to enjoy a free yummy Pig Roast Buffet.  Thank you to all our guest that were very patient.   It was crazy listening to the Diva’s when the power went out…and they did not miss a beat! Rosie, Shannon and Sharon just kept right on singing!

We got new patio furniture!!  It looks great! 


July 19th will be our second Chip–n–Sip.  You will play nine holes of golf and enjoy some refreshments on the course. When your round is over, stop in at the club house for a free glass of wine and our appetizer special for $9, brie en croute, sauce melba, seasonal berries and crackers prepared by Chef Doug and his team.  It is a night of great fun!

Looking ahead to our Night on the Patio,
July 18th – Steak and Shrimp Kebabs, Rice Pilaf and Green Salad – Music by Bittersweet
July 25th – Barbequed Chicken, Roasted Red Potatoes and Grilled Summer Squash – Music by The Diva’s
Will not have our Night on the Patio on August 1st, we are closed for a Private Event.
August 8th – Pork Chops, Au Gratin Potatoes, Red Beans and Rice – Music by Mel Annala
I would like to encourage you to make reservation for dinner.  They are not required, but it is helpful and will ensure that you will be seated.  I hate to turn guest away, but we have had to, reservations are very helpful. 

Again, thank you for being our guest here at The Wilderness Grill. See you soon!

Darlene Simonson & Doug Sperry

Director of Sales & Marketing

The Wilderness offers more than just golf. We offer an experience unlike anywhere else with an award-winning golf course, superior customer service, the Best 19th Hole Bar/Restaurant in MN and the Fortune Bay Resort Casino. 173 room resort offers a variety of room types, RV Park, full service marina, several dining options, shuttle, casino, pool and more! I am going to touch on a few amenities on our property.

  • 80 Slip dock – Boat in and call the Pro Shop for a pick up for golf, dining or both!
  • Rent pontoon and fishing boats
  • Rent non-motorized watercrafts: Kayaks, paddle boards paddle boats, hydro bikes, road bikes
    • ​All complimentary for resort guests
  • Fish cleaning building
  • New - Grill to cook up your fish from the day’s catch
  • Wide assortment of tackle and live bait, rods and reels
  • Off sale beer and wine coolers 


Activities for kids

  • Golf before 2pm for $35 with tax and after 2pm for FREE with a paid adult. (Juniors: 17 years of age and younger)
  • Pool, kiddy pool, patio
  • Arcade
  • Non-motorized watercrafts as stated in the marina section
  • Fishing off Fortune Bay’s docks – all accessories available at the marina 

Activities at The Wilderness Click here or on any of the photos below

Hope you are having a great summer!

Rachel Indihar