August 2023 Wilderness Newsletter

From the General Manager’s Desk
Wow, how the summer has been flying by! I blinked and we were driving to Kansas to drop our oldest son off for his freshman year of college and watching him play college golf from afar on the Golf Genius app.  Many of our younger staff members are heading back to college and high school as well. Thank you for all of your hard work this summer! 

One thing is for sure; there’s nothing better than Minnesota’s autumn for golf, as many of you are fully aware based on our bookings for September.  With that, just think the Ryder Cup is just around the corner September 25, 2023, through October 1, 2023, at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, Rome, Italy. Who fills the final six spots on the US team? Do the LIV Golfers get any of the US captain Johnson’s picks? Does the US retain the cup or does Europe win it back on home soil? I’m sure we'll all be watching!  

Additionally, with the autumn winds come football season and hockey tryouts, so I’ll be excited to see if the Chiefs can defend the title, UMD get back to the frozen four, our cap-strapped Wild get out of the first round of the playoffs and my youngest son stopping pucks for Rock Ridge PeeWees.  Yes, I’m a goalie Dad, so it’s high stress at the rink most days! I’m much better at sinking a 3-foot par-saving putt than watching Lucas face a breakaway or shutout.

Our staff at the Wilderness Grill wants to thank all our guests for coming out and enjoying Chef Mitch’s breakfast, lunch and dinner features throughout this summer. We look forward to enjoying your company a few more times before the grill closes on October 7, 2023.  Due to limited space, please call 218-753-7804 to make your dining reservations and enjoy our breath-taking views from in the clubhouse or outside on the patio.

Here are some words of wisdom to help lower your scores and make your rounds more enjoyable, gleaned from 31 years of being a golf professional with numerous students on the practice tee.

Stay Steady on Short Putts:  Think from the ground up, not from the top down. 
You’ve probably been told to keep your head still on short putts, and that’s good advice.  Here’s another way to stabilize your body so the putter face remains square through impact:  Put pressure on the instep of your front foot before you begin the stroke.  This allows your shoulders, arms, and hands to work on a consistent track. 
If your weight moves back toward your front heel on the down stroke, your whole body is twisting open, causing the putter face to close.  This common problem is often a product of turning to see where the ball is going.
Concentrate on keeping weight on your front instep throughout, and you’ll have a stable base to make more three and four footers.

As Always Fairways & Greens,

Joe Wisocki, Certified PGA Professional

We'll close out the newsletter with an update from Wilderness Superintendent Trevor Rintala

The crisp morning air is starting to bring a slight nip to the dawn breeze which warns us that summer is starting to recede, I almost recall which day the big beautiful wave that is summer finally broke and rolled back… August is nearly behind us now and our tireless efforts at The Wilderness are starting to pay off, our bunkers are the priority as we move forward with our eyes on some larger renovations in mind for next season. Old age and years of neglect have been the theme for this season from the irrigation system all the way down to the sand traps. As I have mentioned our focus starts at the putting green and radiates out with our bunkers unfortunately being one of the last aspects of the golf course to receive attention. After a few short weeks of inspecting the state of the bunkers prior to opening I knew we had to have an agonizing reappraisal of the whole course. The prognosis is not promising, the 68 sand traps are in need of a vast renovation.

The origins of bunkers are rumored to have stemmed from sheep taking shelter from ocean winds while grazing in the fields where golf took its first steps. Sheep herders would challenge each other to hit stones with their herding neck crooks while trying to avoid hazards. While still in its infancy the sport gained in popularity and courses were constructed further inland and artificial bunkers were a part of the design.

Now hundreds of years later we find that the technology used to construct these playing hazards has made huge advancements from days past. Even the equipment used to maintain the traps has come a long way from simple rakes to mobile multifunctional units. So, we find ourselves in possession of 20-year-old sand traps in desperate need of some modern upgrades and that will be our uphill battle in the following season.

So, we began chipping away making repairs where necessary and reclaiming as many of the bunker as possible in the little time we had. But we soon realized the old liners were just too brittle and far gone to be salvaged. Attempts to patch our current bunkers have been slow going but we have definitely made some headway. Rest assured we are on top of the situation and making plans to remedy all aspects of our sand traps next season.

This season our decision to make all fairway bunkers naturalized and rake free was to speed up pace of play and make an easier round for our guests. Next year we shall continue with a freshly edged and well-manicured sand trap that should last for years to come, imported sand is currently being brought in to replenish depleted reserves. Seems like an awful lot of effort for a hazard we are supposed to avoid but like B.C. Forbes said “Golf without bunkers and hazards would be tame and monotonous. So would life.”

See you all out there on the short stuff! 

For more information, call the clubhouse at 218.753.8917.

The Wilderness at Fortune Bay
1450 Bois Forte Road; Tower, MN 55790
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