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Category Archives: Resident Bloggers

Messages from various employees at Madden’s resort.

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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8+ Ways to Be Sustainable at Home and on Vacation

We know being sustainable and “going green” is on many people’s minds these days, but sometimes it can be hard to act on your desire to help our Mother Earth. Need some fresh ideas to get you started? Look no further.

Sustainability on Vacation

While on vacation there are ways to engage in earth friendly practices.

1. Consider chosing a vacation spot that engages in sustainable practices. Just by choosing a resort or hotel that is “green” you are making an impact. At Madden’s sustainability is a big priority. Our friends in Naples, FL also practice what they call “Good Earthkeeping”

2. Keep up your habits of recycling while vacationing. At Madden’s we provide friendly reminders to recycle as well as many recycling receptacles around the resort.

Signage and recycling bags in guest rooms allow guests to keep up their recycling habits from home.

3. Consider walking or biking rather than driving. A brisk walk or bike ride isn’t just good for the environment, its good for YOU! Madden’s offers bicycle rentals for moving around the resort and for using local trails. Stop by the front desk or the Tennis and Croquet Club for trail maps.

4. Flip the switch. While on vacation we sometimes forget about the lights or air conditioning because we’re distracted with some many fun things to do. Just flipping the switch before leaving the room can make a big difference. Plus by shutting off the air at night and cracking open the windows, you can often take in the local sights and sounds–our favorite at Madden’s are the loon calls at night.

Cut the juice in the evening. Loon calls are much more relaxing to listen to than an air conditioner!

5. Reuse your towels and sheets. Consider using your towels and sheets for more than one day. If you choose to reuse your towels let your housekeeper know by hanging them rather than leaving them on the floor. For sheets, look for a note card or sign in your guest room to place on the bed.

6. Take home your in room amenities. You can reduce waste by taking home opened bottles of shampoo, lotion, etc. Use them at home to feel like you’re still on vacation. Then recycle the bottles when you’re finished with them for a doubled helping of sustainability.

Sustainability at Home

1. Saving fuel helps both the environment and your pocket book. Here are some tips to improving your fuel mileage:

  • Avoid “jack rabbit”starts and aggressive driving. Flooring the gas pedal not only wastes gas, it leads to drastically higher pollution rates. One second of high-powered driving can produce nearly the same volume of carbon monoxide emissions as a half hour of normal driving.
  • Think ahead. Try to anticipate stops and let your vehicle coast down as much as possible. Avoid the increased pollution, wasted gas, and wear on your vehicle created by accelerating hard and braking hard.
  • Follow the speed limit! Driving 75 mph instead of 65 mph will lower your fuel economy by about 10 percent, and can dramatically increase tail pipe pollution in man yvehicles.
  • Plan your trips to avoid rush hour. Stop-and-go driving burns gas and increases emissions of smog-forming pollutants.
  • Combine trips. Warmed-up engines and catalysts generate much less air pollution, so combining several short trips into one can make a big difference.
  • Take a load off. Carrying around an extra 100 pounds reduces fuel economy by about 1 percent. Take a few moments to unload your cargo area.
  • If your vehicle has it, use overdrive gear at cruising speeds. When driving a manual transmission, shift up as soon as possible. Running in a higher gear decreases your rpms and will decrease fuel use and engine wear.
  • Try using the vents and opening windows to cool off before you turn on the air conditioner. Air conditioner use increases fuel consumption, increases noxious emissions in some vehicles, and involves environmentally damaging fluids. Note: At higher speeds, using the air conditioner can actually increase milage compared to leaving windows open. So in town open windows and on the freeway go with the AC.
  • Carpool. Riding with others both keeps you in good company and saves multiple cars from being on the road.

2. Reuse plastic grocery bags. If you haven’t yet converted to canvas or other types of reusable grocery bags, try using unique ways to reuse your plastic ones. Here are a few ideas to get you started

  • Small garbage bags
  • Doggie Do Bags
  • Homemade bubble wrap for packing or storing
  • Travel bag for wet swimsuits and towels
  • Cover smaller stored items in the garage or attic to protect them from dust
  • Wrap around paint brushes to keep the brush from drying out while you take a break
  • Ball up bags and put them inside purses to help them keep their shape when not in use
  • Line litter boxes with them
  • Did your favorite antique vase break? Line the bottom with a plastic bag to keep it from leaking so you can keep using it

For more super fun and creative ways to reuse plastic bags, visit http://blog.craftzine.com/archive/2007/08/plastic_bag_crafts.html

**What do you do to help out Mother Earth? We’d love to hear your tips! Comment below or email us at blog@maddens.com**

Your green friends, Madden’s Green Team

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2011 in Resident Bloggers

 

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Summer Fun Wines

Is it too late to talk about summer wines? We don’t think so! There’s still time for you to enjoy them. Plus when you’re feeling just a bit too cold in the winter, you could always drink them to remind you of summer. Here are some reccommendations off of Madden’s menu from our wine steward, Daniel. To summer!

Getting outside, poolside wines:

Summer white wines:

Perfect for a midday treat– the “Ca da Medicci” Lambursco. Served in a champagne flute with a strawberry garnish, it is like a strawberry creamsicle with bubbles and has one of the lowest alcohol content of wines we sell by the bottle.

Fun addition this year is the novellum chardo. A unsual European chard. Crisp and refreshing, awesome fruits.

A versatile white, by the bottle only– the Kurt Angerer. A Veltliner from Austria. Unusual with a white pepper finish. Is great with fish and grilled meats as well.

For the sweet wine lovers, don’t forget the Prosecco with its apple, honey, peach and melon flavors.

Take it up a notch with the Caymus Conundreum– a maritage of four white grapes, sold in the smaller 375 bottle. Perfect 2-3 glass bottle for those who want to be refreshed without drinking a regular sized bottle of 4-5 glasses.

Summer red wines:

Pinot Noirs are always a good choice. I love the addition of the El Portillo, a great South American red pino. Awesome black cherry and strawberry fruit on the front end with an equally brilliant finish.

**What is your favorite summer wine? Share with us by commenting below or emailing blog@maddens.com**

Daniel, Madden’s Wine Steward

 
 

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Confessions of an Assistant Event Coordinator

Most guests don’t realize how much work is done “behind the scenes” to prepare for groups of guests coming into the resort.  Most of the behind the scenes stuff that I deal with is for corporate meetings and conferences. We coordinate everything from where the group will stay on the resort to what kind of beverages are served during their functions.  Functions usually include, but are not limited too, meetings, social receptions, dinners, award ceremonies, team building, recreation, and of course golf! Keep checking in on our blog as I plan to write about some of the fun behind the scenes things I help Madden’s Event Coordinators with.

Madden’s does do several weddings in the summer that I help plan as well: we usually average 7-10 weddings a season.  And with weddings the work can be surprising; we really never know if we’ll be doing basic planning tasks, like seating charts and menu assignments or if we’ll be hanging paper lanterns and setting up centerpieces. I have assisted with 5 weddings this season, all of which were beautiful, but as different as night and day! More to come on that in another post!

One of the most important things I have learned about the hospitality industry in my short time in this position is that the small details tend to be the ones that please guests most.  In a world where many other hospitality businesses have thrown detailing out the window, offering sloppy service with little room for flexibility, I am incredibly proud to be an employee at Madden’s: a place where everyone understands that cutting corners
is not the way to our guest’s hearts!

As Ever, Sarah Schultz

 

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Simple 6 Step Process for Wine Tasting at Home

This week on our blog is dedicated to food and wine; specifically our upcoming Food and Wine Weekend (August 26-28). To get you in a wine tasting mood, I suggest hosting your own wine tasting party. Here are some simple steps to hosting your own party from our own wine steward, Daniel:

A great way to enjoy a bottle or two of wine with friends is to host a wine tasting. Put a nice spin on the tasting by making it into a food pairing test: pairing the right wine with a good meal will always enhance any future dining experience.

Even for the novice wine drinker, this simple test should prove helpful, fun, and no doubt great for conversation. To get started here’s what you’ll need:

Wine (of course!)
Fruit
Cheese
Chocolate
Water

Apart from the wine, water is key as it is important to clear your palate between tastes. Bananas and mild white cheeses are usually best for this simple test. Try this test with a bottle of white wine and a bottle of red. For the best results, start on the light end–moving from white to red with your wine, and from fruit to cheese to chocolate with your samplings.

1. Start with a bite of the fruit. Then follow with a sip of wine. If the flavors don’t seem to clash and they compliment one another then it should pair well with most fish or any light fare.

2. Be sure to drink the water between each sampling.

3. Move on and get a bite of the cheese with a wine. If these flavors seem to compliment each other and don’t clash, the wine should pair well with milk sauces and cream ladened dishes.

4. Again water before you go on to the chocolate.

5. After the taste of chocolate and a sip of wine, if the flavors compliment one another then the wine should pair well with most grilled or spicy dishes.

6. Finish off the bottle of white before going through the same process with your red wine.

Of course there are no absolutes as individual tastes are subjective. Make sure to share with your tasting partners the flavors that you do taste. If you find that you enjoy a particular property of the wine, take note and look for it when considering future wine purchases.

Enjoy, Daniel, Madden’s Wine Steward

**Let us know how your home wine tasting went. Comment below or email us at blog@maddens.com**

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2011 in Food & Beverage, Resident Bloggers

 

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Summer Heat is Great for Your Perennials

Greetings friends of Madden’s!

I know I am not alone when I say our extreme weather conditions have made this a  challenging summer in the garden. But while the wind, heat and continuous rain may slow down your annuals, its great weather for perennials.

Perennial hostas line the stairs to the beach from Wilson Bay

Maintaining Healthy Perennials

Perennial plants such as Hosta, Daylily, and Iris should be dug up and divided every three years to keep them healthy and at a desirable size. To do this, dig up the  entire plant with a spade shovel. This is an easy job if the plant has been maintained; however, a friend’s help may be needed if the plant has become overgrown. Once the plant is out of the ground, use a hand saw to ‘saw’ the root ball into two or more clumps, depending on the original size (some plants may provide ten clumps or more). Next, plant a nice clump back in the original spot, water, and fertilize. I prefer a slow release, granular fertilizer, such as Osmocote 20-20-20, which can be found at any garden center. It is simple to apply and because it is a slow release, you only need to fertilize once a year. And, finally, find homes for the new plants! If you are unable to use them in your own yard, try selling them at a yard sale or give them away to friends and family – they will love you for it!

Enjoy, Julie, Madden’s Horticulturalist

 

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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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