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Category Archives: Recreation

Tips, advice, and interesting stories about resort recreation

Madden’s Golf Course Maintenance Sustainability Program

Our program was started out of a desire to promote bent grass vs. annual bluegrass on our golf courses. Bentgrass is a grass that requries less inputs from fertilizer, water and pesticides and is hardier in times of weather related stresses. It also provides a firmer more consistant playing surface than annual bluegrass.

The bent grasses originated in the sandy seaside of Scotland where golf began. The grasses grew and thrived in this sterile sandy environment where crops would not thrive. This fact is a big part of the changing paradigm of growing a crop versus creating a surface to play on.

Our program does not go to the extent of starvation programs that are common in Scotland where both climate and golfer’s expectations and perception allow for brown golf courses. We strive to reach a happy medium where we can still provide a green golf course, but one that is lean and promotes bentgrass over annual bluegrass.

We accomplish this primarily through the use of iron sulfate to provide green color. This in combination with judicial use of fertilizer and pesticides coupled with growth regulators helps us accomplish our goal of growing the grass very slowly. As we grow the grass more slowly we have less issues with thatch and organic matter development which translates into less inputs from pesticides and cultural practices such as mowing, core aerification, pesticide and water usage. A very important aspect of this program requires us to reduce compaction through the monthly use of “solid tining” and “venting” which can be accomplished with minimal disruption to the playing surface.

So far we have seen a dramatic increase in bentgrass populations on our East and West course greens where we went from 30-70% annual bluegrass to almost 90% bent grass. The Classic being newer was seeded to bentgrass and had much less annual bluegrass to deal with but we were starting to see encroachment. We have been able to stem the tide and are keeping it at around 5-10% of the population.

Allowing natural fescues to grow on our golf courses reduces inputs like mowing and fertilizing

Our fertilizer and pesticide budget has been reduced by about 25%, but more importantly we are growing a healthier turf with far less inputs that  provides a superior surface to play on.

This year we have also initiated a program on our Pine Beach East golf course to bring back some of the fescues on mounds and out of play rough areas that is more in keeping with the original golf course built back in the 1920’s. Although a bit controversial to the crowd that like to see everything manicured on a golf course the majority of players have loved the “look” of the wispy fescues and have commented that they provide a nice contrast and definition to the golf course. It has allowed us to take about 6 acres out of our regular maintenance of mowing, fertilizing and watering.

Scott, Director of Golf at Madden’s

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Sustainability at Madden’s: A Way of Life

At Madden’s sustainability is a daily way of life. Ask any employee from our golf course maintenance to laundry staff and from front desk to food and beverage staff; they each could tell you at least a few things about our green initiative. Built from a “seed” of an idea by President Brian Thuringer in 2008, our green program covers all aspects of resort life.

The initiative is led by a Green Team made up of staff volunteers who want to help make the world a little greener. The team is made up of members of Madden’s management team and seasonal employees. There are representatives from all departments on the resort.

Having representatives from all departments on the resort is essential to the success of the program as each department plays a role in its success. Here are some specific things departments are doing:

Food & Beverage Department:

Our horticulture team works on our newest herb garden at The Classic Grill

Herb Gardens: On-site vegetable and herb gardens reduce shipping costs and our carbon footprint while providing our guests with fresh produce and herbs.

Wine selection: Since the incorporation of the green program we have begun to serve more wines from vinters who practice sustainable or organic viticulture. Sustainable viticulture: wine produced with the goal of producing the finest and healthiest grapes while conserving resources, maintaining the environment, and cultivating positive relationships with employees and surrounding communities. Organic viticulture: Wine produced based on local organic regulations with the standard premise of avoiding all chemical fertilizers and chemical pest controls.

Placemats replace table linens and flowers are fresh cut from Madden's gardens.

Dinnerware: All outdoor bars and dining areas utilize reusable glasses and dinnerware.

Placemats: Placemats replace table linens to reduce laundry energy and water consumption.

Fresh Cut Flowers: Flowers used in dining areas are fresh cut from Madden’s gardens. This reduces our carbon footprint by minimizing transportation costs.

Property Management

Vending Energy Misers: Recently installed vending misers help save energy daily by automatically monitoring the lighting and temperature in vending machines. If no one is around the vending machine, the lights will shut off. It also montiors room temperature and runs the cooling system when neccessary.

Faucet Aerators: Faucet aerators have been installed in all of our guest rooms to help save water.

Light Bulbs: Energy efficient lightbulbs have been installed throughout the property to reduce energy usage.

“Exit” Lights: Emergency Exit lights have been converted to LED light bulbs.

Efficiency Assessments: We have examined areas where heating and air-conditioning efficiencies may be improved with additional insulation.

Air Conditioning Units: We have phased out older air conditioning units to upgrades that will improve our energy efficiency.

Grounds & Golf Department:

Allowing natural fescues to grow on our golf courses reduces inputs like mowing and fertilizing

Transitioning to Bent Grass: Bent grass on our golf course allow for less maintenance expenses with a slower growth rate.

Natural Fescues: Allowing fescues to grow on mounds and out of play rough areas has decreased input costs like mowing and fertilizing while adding to the pristine natural view of our golf courses.

Reduced fertilizer and pesticides: By increasing our bent grass populations and adding fescues we have reduced our use of fertilizers and pesticide use by 25% with lower inputs in maintenance such as mowing and venting.

Look for a post later this week to learn more about our sustainability effort on our golf courses.

Laundry Department

Ozone Laundry System: Our property’s overall carbon footprint was significantly reduced with this new Ozone system. We greatly reduced our natural gas consumption and improved sewage water quality by 30-50%.

Staff Training

Staff members can "bust" a co-worker for not being green

“Cut the Juice:” Staff are trained on our green program in their orientation and are expected to follow our guidelines at work and for our live-on seasonal staff, at home as well. We encourage staff to “Cut the juice when not in use.”

Green Award: We take nominations for a monthly Green Award recipient. Madden’s staff are recognized for going above and beyond when it comes to being sustainable.

“Busted:” We’ve implemented programs for a staff to add a little fun to staying green. When an employee catches another employee not being green (like not shutting off lights or computer monitors) they can post a “Busted for not being green” sign on that staff member’s desk or light switch.

All Around Green

Karen's little red recycling wagon is towed by a red FarmAll tractor

Daily recycling: Karen Enberg is well-known around the resort as the recylcing lady. Her full-time job is daily pick up and transference of recyclables including cardboard, paper/office waste, plastics, steel, aluminium, and glass.

Purchasing Green Products: All new room amenities are made of recyclable plastic. All new appliances and equipment carry the “Energy Star” seal when available. All restrooms have been converted to using Green Seal Certified soap and paper towels made from 100% recycled material, made by using a chlorine-free process which reduces water usage by 80%

Guest Rooms: Guest rooms contain informational signage for sheet and towel changing program. Each room also has a recycling bag with a card encouraging guests to recycle plastic, glass, aluminum, and newspapers. Finally there is signage to encourage guests to shut off lights and air conditioning when not in use.

Signage in Guest Rooms Encourage Guests to Recycle

Reduce, Reuse, Donate

All guest room amenities are made with recylcable plastic bottles. Leftover amenities are dontated to local charities.

Green Range Renewable Energy: All used fryer oil is locally recycled to make biodiesel fuel.

Guest room amenities: Leftover guest room amenities like soap and shampoo donated to local charities.

Furniture: Mattresses and other furniture items are donated to local Habitat for Humanity and the Bridging Organization serving families in transition.

Batteries: All AA batteries from guest door locks are reused to completion in resort paging system.

**Check back throughout the week for more posts about the sustainability effort at Madden’s. Thanks for reading, Elizabeth**

 

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Bagpiper Rings Out the Golf Season

For 6 years now, Madden’s have taken on the the Scottish tradition of putting the golf course to sleep by playing bag pipe music. We don’t “tuck in” the golf course every night, but twice a year we use the signature sounds of a live bag pipe. Once to open the golf season in April and again in October to close the season.

The idea stemmed from a visit to Pebble Beach golf resort in Pebble Beach, California. President Brian Thuringer enjoyed their tradition of the Scottish bagpiper playing every evening to put the golf course to sleep. He loved the idea and so we have incorporated it into our opening and closing traditions.

Opening the golf courses: At 7:30 am Saturday morning of Opening Party in April, the bag piper walks across the Pine Beach East golf course (playing the pipes), comes into the lobby, plays for about 15 minutes, then walks down the hall into the hotel lobby and magically disappears.

Closing the golf courses: At high noon of our closing day in October (typically Sunday), the performance is reversed.  He starts in the lower lobby of the hotel, plays in the lobby, then walks across the Pine Beach East course and disappears into thin air.

The bagpiper in the photo is Michaeal Breidenbach. He is the Director of piping at Macalaster College.  and is the Pipe Major of their Grade 3 competition band. He has been a full time bagpipe teacher and performer since 1999. Click here to learn more about Michael and his Bagpipe Associates.

Brian Solum, of Bemidji has also piped for us in the past. He started piping in 1993 with the Macalester College Pipe Band in St. Paul, MN.  After relocating to Bemidji in 1999 he formed the 1st City Pipe Band, which eventually dissolved in 2005, and simultaneously assisted the Fort Frances
Highlanders in Ontario, Canada.  These days he is back touring and competeing with Macalester’s G3 Band under Michael Breidenbach (our other piper!).

What you need to know:

What: The Bagpiper putting the course to sleep for the winter.
Where: Pine Beach East golf course
When: October 23, 2011, at 12 pm.

 
 

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Simple Fishing Tips for Northern MN Fishing

For our final fishing post of the week, I wanted to offer some tips for helping you improve your fishing experience. I gathered information from various websites and experts. Please let me know if you have any more advice you’d like to share with your fellow readers!

Fishing on your vacation…

“One tip that I have to offer is to hire a guide for a half day during the early stages of your vacation so you can learn some tips  and techiniques..and spots!  We normally don’t stop the boat unless we are marking the fish on our Lowrance electronics.” – Dan of Walleyedan’s Fishing Guide Service

Fishing for Walleyes…

“Use Light Line Light (4- and 6-pound-test), thin-diameter lines offer less drag, or resistance, on a lure. This lets a walleye suck it in more easily.

Bounce the Bait When you’re using live bait, McClelland recommends also using a bottom-bouncer rig. Bouncers are L-shaped wires that have a lead weight molded to the shaft. As an angler retrieves the rig, the weight bounces off the bottom and creates slack in the line, which allows the fish to inhale the bait more easily.

Shorten the Stroke Many jig fishermen pump their rods too vigorously, using long vertical strokes that can pull the bait out of a fish’s mouth. Use short lifts instead and you’ll hook more walleyes.

Offer a Bigger Bite Adding a plastic body to a jig also helps by increasing the surface area to which the fish’s sucking force is applied. It may seem counterintuitive, says McClelland, but a slightly bigger bait is easier for the fish to inhale.

Pump a Crank With crankbaits, steady retrieves may hook aggressive walleyes, but a stop-and-go technique is better for deliberate feeders. Once the lure achieves proper depth, lift the rod tip, reel in the slack, and repeat.

Troll With the Flow When the water has a chop, trolling with the waves imparts that necessary slight slack in the line. Also, keep a close eye on your inside planer board as you make a turn; it will give you that small amount of slack that allows for more solid strikes-and more walleyes in the boat.”

-Retrieved directly from: http://www.fieldandstream.com/articles/fishing/more-freshwater/2006/04/walleye-fishing-tips-how-stick-em

Fishing for Bass…

“My favorite and most successful method is the crankbait. Others will argue, but I love crankbaits. I have fished all other baits and lures but crankbaits have helped me catch the most fish. It is a simple means of fishing that requires minimal skill. This suits a beginner fine and provides him with the confidence to fish. Fishing mostly with crankbaits has provided me with plenty of experience. Here are some tips:

The simple throwing and retrieving method can become very monotonous and boring, so I played with the crankbait in the water. I did this by varying its speed and how deep it goes by reeling faster or by lowering or raising the pole. I found that in calm clear water the bass preferred a regular steady retrieve with no sudden movements, and in choppy murky water they loved an irregular fast and slow retrieve. You must also experiment with this and see what suites you.

Bass love colorful lures and they seem to hit them more often. I think these lures bother them and so they get mad and attack. I find that casting over and over into an area with bass will always produce an attack. They don’t like the lures bothering them.

Using bait scent has always improved the strikes and I am a firm believer in them.

When you fish with these lures, always try to make them look good in the water and make the bass come after them. You can do this by making them swim as real as possible. This can be frustrating but if you get the skill you will catch big fish. And believe me, practice makes perfect.

I have found that using bright colored lures in muddy water and more natural ones in clear water works well. My biggest bass hit a bright yellow and white crankbait in dark water. I guess he was the bully of the area because the bigger bass always seem to grab these lures.

Bumping these lures against objects in the water attract fish, but you run the chance of getting the lure stuck. This will cause many terrible words coming from your mouth and could cost you money in the end. Be careful where you throw or you will loose your lure. Getting lures into little places is difficult so keep practicing it and you will get it right.”

-Retrieved directly from: http://www.bassresource.com/beginner/beginning_bass_fishing.html

Fishing for Northern Pike…

Pike like to follow. If you will fish for them in shallow waters, you can see where to put your lure. Bring it from behind the fish, slowly, to draw its attention. Watch the way the fish reacts to the lure. Take this reaction and decide from here how to get the fish to strike. Pike will follow right up to the boat, so don’t take your lure out too soon.

Wear polarized sunglasses. Most folks fish for trophy pike in shallow waters… Polarized glasses do more than protect your eyes from the sun’s glare off the water or ice. They allow you to see into the water you are fishing,
making it easy to see which fish you want to try to catch.

Use a strong rod. You need a rod that is medium to heavy action to get the biggest and best Northern Pike. You don’t want one that is a broomstick type; this type will not let you feel the movement of the fish, thus, you won’t know which way best to fight the fish into the boat.

New, heavy test weight line. This should be obvious, but you don’t want to use last year’s line that you used for river trout on a big trophy Northern Pike. You need strong line that is not dry rotted, tangled or damaged by a
season (or more) in your tackle box.”

Retrieved directy from: http://pike-fishing-tips.com/

Fishing for Perch, Crappies, & Sunnies…

Not every fish you catch has to be a “trophy fish.” Perch, crappies, sunnies are great fun. Actually my favorite fishing memory was catch baby sunnies and throwing them back at an unheard of rate. These three fish, sometimes referred to as panfish can range in size though. You may even snag a “trophy” sunnie if your doing well.

Live bait is the best for panfish like perch, crappies, and sunnies. You can use bait easily found at local bait shops and convenience stores like leeches, night crawlers, wax worms or minnows.

And don’t forget to get your fishing supplies at Mills Fleet Farm!  Walleyedan

Enjoy your outing! Elizabeth

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2011 in Fishing, Recreation

 

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A Look into the Life of a Professional Angler

Dan Eigen has taken the name of Walleyedan as he pursues his fishing guide service business.

At Madden’s resort we are fortunate to have a local fishing guide service we can refer our guests to when they are looking for some fishing fun: Walleyedan’s fishing guide service. Walleyedan has written a few guest posts on fishing conditions for us this summer (June 14, July 8, July 15) and now for our week of fishing blog posts, we decided to do a little interview with Walleyedan himself to get a look into the life of a professional angler.

When did you first start fishing?
I started fishing around the age of 5. I grew up in Eden Prairie when it was still somewhat the prairie and I was within walking distance of Round Lake. I spent countless hours there fishing, catching frogs (to use for fishing) and just being a kid. The outdoor living just progressed by the day, week and year and it became my life. I am now 43.

How did you become “Walleyedan”?
I was given the name Walleyedan by a co-worker when I was working in the parks department for the city of Baxter. I had been out fishing (and caught a load of walleyes) with Bud and his son a week or so prior to setting up and email account at the city. I asked him what my address should be and he, without hesitation said “Walleyedan”. The rest is history!

I enjoy hunting for walleyes but I just like to put people on fish period, no matter what the species.

What is your favorite part of your job as a fishing guide?
The best part of my job is being outdoors and meeting every type of person on the face of this earth.  Of course there are pressures with the job but most days I can handle them and as the years march on it seems to get a
little easier to handle the “tough days.”

What fishing opportunities do you provide to Madden’s guests and the Brainerd Lakes area?
Whether you are a first time fisher or a veteran angler we will provide you with the trip you are looking for.  We do fish with a lot of families and will cater to what they are looking to get out of their trip.  We can start with the pan fish and try to graduate to the bass, pike and even walleye if that is the plan.  If our guests want to only pursue the elusive walleye we are totally game for that.  During the summer months, the best approach seems to be to fish for walleye’s for a couple hours and if the “bite” is on, great if not we will just try to get the rod bending.  Gull Lake does offer a wide variety of game fish and there are days you might catch a few different species.  If the guest would like to keep some fish we will clean and package them up.  The walleye “bite” seems to pick up in mid-August and run right through ice-up (with a slow period mixed in around the fall
turnover).  Turnover usually occurs in mid-October when the cooler (more dense) water sinks and mixes with the rest of the water column. I have open water guided as late as December 13th!  But two weeks later we were
ice fishing.

Thank you Dan for your service to Madden’s guests and for sharing your story! Elizabeth

 

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Fishing in the Brainerd Lakes Area 101

A the name implies, the Brainerd Lakes Area is home to many lakes. And when there are lakes, there are fish. This week in our blog, we are happy to tell you about the many fishing opportunities available around the Brainerd Lakes area including our friend and fishing guide, Walleyedan. But first, how to get started fishing.

What you need:

Earth worms are great bait for this area's fish. You can purchase them from local bait shops or dig up your own!

  • Minnesota Fishing License. Fishing licenses are available at Madden’s Marina and Tennis & Corquet Club. You can also purchase them at many convenience stores, gas stations, and at Mills Fleet Farm.
  • Fishing pole. Fishing pole rentals are available at Madden’s Marina. Or you can purchase your own at local retailers or bait shops. Prices for purchasing a pole can begin as low as $10 or $15.
  • Bait. Fishing bait varies. It will depend on many factors including the type of fish you are trying to catch, whether you want live bait or synthetic bait, and your experience level. For first timers, I suggest using earth worms from a bait shop. If you are not up for hooking a worm, try using a simple bait recommended by a sales associate or frozen corn.

Fishing Locations

The great thing about fishing is that you don’t have to own a boat to do it. Fishing is a pastime that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. Here are a few ideas for locations to get you started.

  • A Bridge. Often times in small towns, bridges become a hotspot for fishermen and women. You will get to enjoy the view of the lake as you cast off from the bridge.
  • A Dock. Many public docks allow visitors to fish from them. Or if you have a friend with a dock, you can pull up a lawn chair and sit back and relax while you fish. Madden’s resort has several docks available for our guests’ use.
  • On a Boat. Whether you own or rent a boat, fishing can be great fun on a boat because you are able to maneuver into different areas of the lake. I suggest dropping anchor in a spot surrounded by weeds or grass. The fish like to hide there! Be careful though to not get grass in your boat’s propeller.

Good luck anglers, Elizabeth

**Share your favorite fishing hotspots with all of our readers by commenting below**

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2011 in Fishing, Local Tidbits, Recreation

 

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The Hole in One that Wasn’t

This summer is my fifth summer back working at the Pine Beach East Course at Madden’s Resort on Gull Lake in Brainerd, MN. Against the ideals of the managers and the assistant managers at the course, a common closing shift tradition is to hit a ball or two off of the first tee near the very end of the afternoon shift. While this isn’t the best use of our time, it is a nice one to two-minute reward from the busy day on the course. On my first day back I met and worked with a first-year intern from Ferris State. Traditionally, the interns here at Madden’s are exceptional golfers in their own right. Tyler—the intern—was holding down the pro shop on this given May afternoon, while I was working outside service. Washing carts, cleaning clubs, and carrying bags are the traditional job descriptions of this job; not hitting balls onto the first green.

Quick tangent, I had noticed in a few driving range sessions that I was struggling to hit my mid-irons with any significant distance. All my irons seemed to top out at about 150 yards. (Note: I’m a baseball player, I try to break 100 at our 69-rated par-72 course. I’m not good.) What I also noticed at the range was that I hit my 4-hybrid about 200 yards.

As is tradition with the outside staff at the East course, 8:30 p.m. rolled around, one cart was on the course, and all my closing tasks were complete for the day. The two Top Flite golf balls that I found during the day were starring at me like the dessert line at a buffet. So I decided, “Hey, I’ve been struggling with my mid-irons, why don’t I try and hit a ¾ 4-hybrid to bounce and roll up onto our 160-odd par-three first hole. On paper, a great idea that held the possibility of little to no embarrassment. Oh was I wrong…

As I stepped onto the tee-box—hybrid and Top Flite in hand—I looked back and saw Tyler watching me through the window in the pro shop that overlooks the golf course and cart staging area. The pressure mounted. While I don’t know the exact quote in my head, it was along the lines of, “I want to impress this Golf Management Intern with my golf game.” I took my swing… As I made contact with the ball it started on a common path of mine; straight, then a gradual cut to the right. This time it took off and wasn’t so gradual. For those that aren’t familiar with the Pine Beach East course, the par-three hole ten runs parallel with the first hole. With the tenth green about twenty yards in short of hole one, and about 70 yards to the right of the first green. The ball continued to cut, and cut, and slice. Then hit the fringe on the left side of the tenth green, and with the spin from this drastic slice the ball bounced directly to the right. It rolled, and rolled, and rolled…

My heart sank, and a pit grew in my stomach. I knew what was going to happen next. Finally, the ball disappeared and fell into the cup on hole ten. A hole in one… sort of. I looked back and Tyler, and in a sense of shock and excitement he had his hands in the air in the East pro shop and began laughing hysterically.

I had my first hole-in-one, from the 180-yard unintentional hole that is the tee box from hole one to the green on hole ten.

Top right is the tee box for the first hole. At left is the green for hole ten where Brett scored his "hole in one"

**True story of Brett Cloutier’s experience at Madden’s as told by Jonathan Larsen, Assistant Golf Professional at Madden’s.

Do you have any unique golf stories? We’d love to hear them! Comment below or email us at blog@maddens.com**

 
 

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