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Category Archives: Golf

Golf advice and tips from seasoned professionals

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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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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Owner Challenges Golfers to Beat Par on Pine Beach West

How often can you earn a free round of golf?

At Madden’s you have the opportunity to do just that each and every time you golf the Pine Beach West course. How? All you have to do is beat par. Par on our West course is 67.

Are you up for the challenge? We dare you. Beat par on Pine Beach West and your round will be paid for by our President, Brian Thuringer.

Read about it in the news: http://brainerddispatch.com/sports/2011-07-04/area-golf-calling-all-golf-phenoms-west-course-calling#.ThNEfquPQJQ.email

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in Golf, Local Tidbits, Recreation

 

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American Heart Association Fundraiser “Go Red” Golf Tournament Results

Last week we posted a photo of the “Go Red” gals gathering prior to their fundraiser golf tournament. The ladies gathered at Madden’s for a fun golf tournament and banquet/raffle last Tuesday. All funds raised were donated to the American Heart Association.

The Go Red gals gather before teeing off

Results from the 9 hole event:

1st place (score of 32): Pam Musielewicz, Rox Thompson, Bunny Caughey, and Carol Pierzinski

2nd place (score of 34): Susan Finley, Nancy Schmidt, Maxine Riches, and Jane Guild

Closest to the Pin on hole #8: Nancy Gulbrandson

Longest Putt on hole #3: Cathy Gray

1st place team in 9 hole "Go Red" tournament

2nd place team in 9 hole "Go Red" tournament

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in Golf, Local Tidbits, Recreation

 

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3 Golf Pointers for Playing Fescues on the Pine Beach East Course at Madden’s

The other night I stood over my ball on the 16th tee getting ready to “Grip It and Rip It.” It had been awhile since I had played the back 9 at the Pine Beach East course at Madden’s, and the 16th is one of my favorite holes because it is a shorter par 4 that is reachable with a good drive. As I lined up my shot, I glanced out towards the green. Unfamiliar thoughts came into my mind, “Don’t go right, but don’t go left either. Don’t go long, but don’t be too short!”

If you haven’t played the East course this year, you’ve got to come see the new look. The shimmer of golden brown fescue exaggerates all of the mounds on the course aligning the fairways and greens. The tall grass looks great, but will force you to play more defensively and will surely be penalizing for any golfers who’s ball strays.

If you do hit into the fescue, here are a few important keys to remember:

  1. Swing Steep – this is one of the few shots that actually favor higher handicappers because you have to swing at a steep angle. Keep the ball positioned in the middle of your stance, but pick the club up quickly by hinging your wrists in the back swing. On your downswing unhinge your wrists and deliver a sharp crisp blow at the ball.
  2. Open the Club Face and Grip Tighter – the club face will try to close and twist as it gets caught up in the grass. Opening the clubface at address will help keep the ball from going left.
  3. Bigger Swing – you can develop feel the more you hit these shot, but generally speaking you will need to make a bigger swing (sometimes even a full swing) to get the ball out. Your main priority with this shot is to get the ball OUT. Getting your next shot on to the green and close to the hole is a bonus.

The next time you’re out, try a couple from the tall grass. If nothing else it makes for a fun shot that you don’t always get to try.

Good Luck! Glenn, Head Golf Professional at Madden’s

 
 

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