October Newsletter

Another golf season has come and gone! It sure goes by pretty quick. As much as I look forward to a few winter activities (ice fishing & hockey), I do hope it goes by quickly as am already looking forward to 2020.

It was a pretty good year overall outside of some not so perfect stretches of weather. The course came through the winter really well and was in great shape throughout the season. I have been here for 12 years and the beauty and enjoyment of playing this golf course never gets old! A new addition this year were the Golf Cycles and feedback from those that had a chance to use them said had a blast. Check them out next season!

As we button things up for the year we always take a moment to reflect on the season and find ways in improving the guest experience. Feedback from you is key in helping us achieve that goal. I would like to thank you for your patronage and look forward to seeing you next season!

Don’t forget to look for future e-blasts on our holiday golf shop sale and gift card promotion!

Happy Golfing!

Ryan Peterson


Winter preparations are well underway on the golf course.  In addition to the usual tasks of bringing in accessories, installing snow fence, edging, cleaning up leaves, giving the golf course its final mowing of the year, and applying fungicides for winter diseases, we have been especially busy on giving putting greens a thorough treatment before buttoning them up for the winter.
After final mowing and cleanup, we over seeded putting greens using an implement called a Maredo Over seeder.  The unit, which is something we just acquired this past year, does an excellent job in efficiently spiking and metering bentgrass seed.

18 Green 10-18-2019

Note the small spiker holes around the keys.  These holes provide the perfect seedbed for the application of bentgrass seed and the unit uniformly meters the bentgrass seed-which can be difficult to work with due to it being as fine as dust.  This is what is called a dormant seeding-this seed will not germinate this fall due to cold temperatures but will instead overwinter and be in position to germinate in the spring.  This is a new practice that we will be implementing as part of our winter preparations in the future.  This practice is mostly an insurance policy in the event that we have winter turf loss but introducing bentgrass seed into the putting surface is never a bad thing and will assist some of the weaker areas on greens next year.  After the overseeding, we applied what are commonly referred to in the industry as winter chemicals with a spray rig.  This mix consists of fungicides for the control of snow mold diseases and a calcium supplement to add to the turf’s winter hardiness.  Winter chemicals are applied to greens, tees, and fairways.  Once we allow this application to set up for a day, we then move on to topdressing greens with a layer of sand.

17 Green 10-18-2019

Sand topdressing as part of winter preparations is an age old practice that offers many benefits including protecting the turf from winter exposure and smoothing out any old ballmarks or any other imperfections in the putting surface.  Adding topdressing sand to a turf surface also allows us to continue to dilute the thatch (old stems and roots) layer so that greens can remain firm and drain well.  A relentless topdressing program also allows us to get away from core aerifying which is, frankly, a labor intensive mess that, while necessary at times, is best minimized.  We do, however, aerify using solid tines.

Olaf Walkky 5 Green 10-18-2019

We aerify immediately after topdressing putting greens.  Aerifying after topdressing allows us to avoid creating ruts from running a heavy topdressing on top of a soft, freshly aerified putting surface.  The vibration created by the aerifier also helps to work the sand into the putting surface. 

5 Green 10-18-2019

This year we used our Toro 648 aerifier with 5” long 3/8” wide solid tines with 2” by 2” spacing.  We are very pleased with the result as these tines did a great job in alleviating compaction in the top end of the soil profile with minimal disruption.  An added benefit to this process is that in the event we get excessive rains (which we will), these holes should provide an abundance of channels for water to leave the putting surface before freezing.  We are doing what we can to avoid the accumulation of ice on putting surfaces. 

Solid tines-Pre and Post Aerifying 10-21-2019

The wear that these tines exhibit is pretty cool after we made an estimated 6,272,640 holes on putting greens (I did the calculation).  Note the new tine compared to the tine that just participated in the making of 261,360 holes.  In retrospect, we probably should have replaced that tines after the first 9 greens or so but the old tines were still penetrating to 3.5” on the last few greens which was adequate for what we are trying to do.  Something to keep in mind for next year. 
Having open holes going into winter can be a little scary since we do have the potential of subjecting greens to desiccation (drying out) in the event we have a dry winter with no snow cover.  We mitigate this risk, however, by covering greens as the final step in our winterizing process.  And, honestly, we rarely if ever have a winter without snow cover.  My experience, after 17 years on this site, is that ice damage is a greater likelihood than winter desiccation-and is more damaging.

The final step before covering greens is a thorough rolling of putting greens.  This helps to smooth out, firm up, and work the topdressing sand into the turf surface.

Kevin Lynch 3 Green 10-18-2019

All in all, a pretty thorough process that should help to ensure good putting surfaces for the 2020 golf season.

Vincent Dodge


Our 2019 Wilderness season came to a quick end! Cold temperatures, rain and snow brought our season to a halt. We did have a few hearty souls golf the last couple of days!!

I want to thank everyone for your support this season. There are two things that are most important to us, here at The Wilderness: our guests and our staff that take care of them. I do hope that you were able to sense this. 

The great thing about the food and beverage industry is that we make people smile for a living. Whether it’s smiling at a plate of food, smiling at a cocktail, smiling to the live music on our Night on the Patio nights, or meeting someone at The Wilderness. It is making people smile and providing a great social experience. I’m proud to be a part of it.

I want to also thank Mitch Kerfeld (Executive Chef) who came in to help us out this season. Mitch is a great guy and an amazing Chef. Thank you Mitch.

I hope everyone has a great winter, wherever you are. Perhaps enjoying warm weather and sunshine or braving the cold and snow!

Thanks again for a great 2019 season here at The Wilderness. 

Darlene Simonson
As our 15th Year Anniversary has come to an end, I would like to express my gratitude to all of you who either golfed, dined, stayed overnight and/or shopped in our Pro Shop this season! We would not be able to provide this amenity to Fortune Bay and northern Minnesota without all of you and our wonderful staff who work long hours throughout the summer to give you The Wilderness experience.

As I reflect back on the season, I take a look at all that we accomplished to better our facility and of course what needs improvement. As we all know, there is always room for improvement. We began our first happy hour, had weekend dinner specials, won Best Dessert at Flavor of the North, had more local golf specials, received our brand new electric golf cycles, gave away$10,000 for a hole-in-one, had excellent course conditions, good summer weather (but I cannot say the same for the fall) and we cannot forget about the Sunset 9 Special for $20! We hope we can bring you another great season in 2020, with help from Mother Nature of course. Thank you!

If any of you find your way to our neck of the woods in the winter, we have an abundance of snowmobile trails and lakes to explore. Plus, Vince grooms our very own cross country ski trails on our course. Once we get enough snow, typically end of December to middle of January, trails will be regularly groomed. Additionally, Fortune Bay has fish houses for rent! These are popular so make sure to reserve yours early!

Fortune Bay on beautiful Lake Vermilion is your perfect winter getaway. Bring your gear and hop on our trails any day of the week for FREE! More information may be found here.

Rachel Indihar

P.S. 'Click' on the photos below for more information.