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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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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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Closing Party at Madden’s

Fine dining. Fine Wine. Adult-focused. Evening bonfires. Beautiful fall colors. Adult Olypmics. Golf Scramble. Lawn bowling, croquet, and golf clinics. Wine glass painting. What more can you ask for in a fall getaway?

Each year at Madden’s we send off the season with a closing party. This year is our 82nd annual closing party – what a tradition!! The closing party is a weekend of fine food and wine geared toward adults. Imagine yourself enjoying a cool night sitting around a bonfire each evening.

Have you been able to join us for it yet? Why not try it this year! We have all of the same great amentities and services as social season and it is at an incredibly low rate! This year the dates for closing party are October 14th through the 16th. And we’ve dropped rates not just for closing party, but are offering the same prices as early as October 9th with our Fall Colors Getaway!

Fall Colors Getaway, October 9-14
Closing Party Getaway, October 14-16

The closing party weekend package includes breakfasts, dinners, a complimentary welcome reception, and golf on Pine Beach East. Rates begin at $82 per person per night. We welcome you to give one of our reservation specialists a call to learn more.

What you need to know:

What: Madden’s 82nd annual closing party
When: October 14-16, 2011
How: Call 800.642.5363 to speak with reservationist or reserve online at Maddens.com

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Family Time, Madden's Events

 

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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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Quota: The Golf Game for Three

What game can you play with three players?

I’ve always been stumped when trying to come up with a game to play with just three players.  The other day one of my starters recommended we try “quota.”  You can play it with any amount of players, but it’s one of the few games that work well for a threesome.

How to play:  Everyone subtracts his or her handicap from 36. For example, my handicap is 6 (36-6 = 30) my quota is 30.  Then points are awarded after each hole.

Eagle = 8pts
Birdie = 4pts
Par = 2pts
Bogey = 1pt

Double or higher can be decided based on the skill levels.  The way my starter plays, double bogeys or higher are “0.”  When I play with other single digit handicaps we go into negative points.

No handicaps are applied to the points awarded.  The winner is the person who exceeds their quota by the greatest number of points. Play or quarters, dollars, or lunch afterwards, it makes for some fun competition.

Enjoy your round, Glenn, Madden’s Head Golf Professional

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2011 in Golf, Recreation, Resident Bloggers

 

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