April Newsletter


While the state of Minnesota and the US are in lockdown mode in regards to COVID-19, we continue to move forward in the hopes of having a golf season. How that will look? I do not know. However, I am optimistic that we can still enjoy our golf season, even with restrictions, and make the best of what is in front of us. The great thing about golf is that you have the ability to get outdoors, be active and still have those social distancing measures in place. For many people, golf is their escape and the social distancing is what they are looking for. Let us all stay positive, help one another out when can, and keep moving forward!

The big question we get this time of year is; when will we open?  In a normal year, I would say our planned open date is May 8. However, this is not a normal year and the only thing I can do is wait and see as many things are out of our control. If I were to be a little selfish, I would say not until July 1. That way I could get in as much golf as I could at The Wilderness!  Imagine having the golf course to yourself, not a soul in sight, just the sounds of nature, and a green manicured golf course. The only other sound heard would be the golf ball making contact with the golf club and then watching it fly into the woods or in a bunker or in the water. My luck, I would get a hole in one and no one would be there to witness it!  

All kidding aside, I truly hope we will be able to open, as close to normal, so everyone can enjoy the beauty of The Wilderness. When we do open, the health and safety of our guests and staff will be our highest priority. Once we are able to determine an opening date, we will be sure to pass that on to you along with any safety measures we have in place. With things changing every day, we will follow the CDC guidelines when it comes to your safety so you can get out on the golf course and have some fun.

Stay tuned for another e-blast later this month on the status of our opening date.

Happy Golfing!

Ryan Peterson

Hello…to all the golfers out there, my name is Ryan VerNess, new Golf Course Superintendent here at The Wilderness.  Periodically, I will be writing to you from our little slice of heaven, the Golf Maintenance Shop, to the right of 18, and discussing and explaining a few things that are going on here at the course.  For my first segment, I wanted to introduce myself and talk to you about maintenance staff and the hard work they do.  

First, I’d like to say how fortunate I am to be here and excited I am to be a part of this organization.  After 16 years in California, I finally found my way back home.  Growing up in southern Minnesota (Stewartville) I’ve been around golf my most of my life.  Started gripping clubs at the golf store my father worked when I was 12 and by 16 I advanced to grounds crew at Meadow Lakes GC.  I can still remember my first day of pumping standing water out of the fairways.   I went onto college at UW-River Falls, where I was introduced to sports turf and the Kansas City Chiefs.  I spent 3 summers working at their training camp, then upon graduation, I went to work for the Chiefs in Kansas City.  After a year in KC, I was offered a job with the Pebble Beach Company (Spyglass Hill).  Ascending to assistant superintendent, led me up the road to Bayonet & Black Horse Golf Course, where I spent 3 years as construction superintendent.  In 2014, I took over as Director of Golf Course Maintenance, then in 2017 I returned to sports turf with the San Francisco 49ers.  After 6 years, Super Bowl 50, College Football Championship, and numerous other major events, it was time for this Minnesota kid to come home.  I am extremely excited to be here.

As I said earlier, “new” Golf Course Superintendent, I was very fortunate to start this March, taking over for the only superintendent The Wilderness had ever had, Vince Dodge.  Vince spent 17 years here, from dirt to glory and poured his heart and soul into this golf course.  I would be remiss not to take a moment and acknowledge all the greatness Vince did here.  Hopefully, I can carry on the torch that he not only lit, but maintained for all those years, and wish Vince best in his new adventure.  

Vince Dodge 2019

The Dodge Family on Hole #2 - 2003

I want to take a moment to point out the real backbone of the Wilderness GC, the maintenance crew.  Many have been here for the better part of 10 years. They start their day at 5:00 in the morning, so that they can be done with our basic everyday activities (mowing greens, tees, and fairways, raking bunkers, cutting cups, and setting tees) before you start your round. While our intentions are to provide each and every one of you the best golfing experience possible without noticing we are here, sometimes we are forced to work amongst the golfers.  We use little tricks of the trade to minimize the impact of maintenance on your round, such as working 18 back to 1 so that you only see them once or pulling off to the side while you are playing. So I hope that you can understand that my staff and I have your best intention in mind while still trying to produce the best product that we can.   

Grounds Crew 2019

It’s hard for me to really express how excited I am to get going and it seems like Mother Nature is an early fan of me too.  Looks like we will have greens cleared in the very near future. Now let's just hope that we can all do our part to kick this virus and get back to playing golf.  

Hole #18 - April 6, 2020

Well, I hope you have found this helpful and I look forward to seeing you on the tee soon, remember to keep it between the trees.  For any other questions or comments, feel free to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Ryan VerNess



Hello everyone! My name is Kendra Swanson, the new Dining Room Manager here at The Wilderness. Most recently, I worked at Fortune Bay Resort Casino for 5 years. As a local iron ranger, I am very excited to be taking on this new role in my community and hope to continue the excellent standard of service you have all come to experience while dining with us.

In light of the COVID-19, we are staying optimistic by getting everything in order to open on May 8th. There have been some changes made in the dining room the last few months. The old waterfall/clothing display was removed, which makes room for one additional table in the restaurant. There is brand new carpet throughout the building giving it a fresh look. The music for Night on the Patio has all been set. Pat Surface will be our first performer on June 10th.  All performances may be found in our calendar of events on our website. We are all looking forward to having you with us in the near future!

Waterfall feature removed and new carpet.

Stay healthy and hope to see you soon!

Kendra Swanson



Greetings to people who enjoy good food. My name is Bryan Morcom the new chef at The Wilderness. Some of you may know me as I am from our home town here in Tower, MN. I have been working on finalizing the menu along with planning my garden for the upcoming season. You can look forward to chef grown fresh ingredients. I have started the process of calling back past employees as well as new hires. The snow is melting fast and soon opening inventory will be coming through the doors. Before you know it you will be hitting balls, walleye fishing, and dining at The Wilderness.

I look forward to getting to know you this summer. 

Bryan Morcom



2020 is testing all of us. I hope you all are staying healthy and positive through this difficult time. You will see several changes at our property to ensure the safety of our guests and employees. More information on these adjustments will come in our May newsletter.

As of today, we have started our first Win-It-Wednesday of the year! If you would like a chance to win FREE rounds of golf at our beautiful course check out our post on Facebook today. We will be announcing the winner this Friday. We will be giving rounds away every other Wednesday on Facebook so give us a like to stay up to date!

Hopefully things will lighten up closer to summer so we all can enjoy some of our normal summer activities. Bring on that warm weather!

Rachel Indihar

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