by Dennis Meyer | August 15, 2006
Last Friday, Minnesota National officially opened the
back nine of its championship golf course, just in time for the August Men’s
League Tournament. Prior to the start of the tourney, a few groups had an
opportunity to be the first to try the new layout.
The day had been much anticipated for almost ten years,
ever since Wayne and JoAnne Alden announced their plans for the course formerly
known as Savanna Golf Club.
Friday was a beautiful day to ride around the new course,
even if the golf clubs were never taken out of the bag. The layout and scenery
on these nine holes is an absolute joy, and as with all new golf courses, the
playing experience will only get better with the passing of years.
Prior to heading out on the course, golf pro Kent Baril
weighed in on the opening of the back nine. Kent has labored long and hard on
this project for several years. Kent feels “cautiously optimistic.”
“I think Jason [Mel, golf course supervisor] and I could
both be called perfectionists,” he said. “We really would like to see the
course be perfect before we open, but we know that is not possible. In this
building process we have always wanted to be able to keep holes open. The
members have been patient and very supportive, and we wanted to open this up
for them at this time.”
This is Jason’s
first year at Minnesota National. Jason spent the past three years as an
assistant superintendent at Jewell Golf Club in Lake City. This is his 14th
year of golf course management after graduating from Penn State University with
a degree in Turf Course Management.
“Joel [Goldstrand, course designer] did an amazing job
with the layout,” Jason said. “This is such a great project to be able to work
on. The drought has made it a bit more difficult for us this summer, but we are
confident that the golfers will find a good playing surface.” He further added,
“Golfers may have to use their foot wedge a few times this season, but the
course will only get better and better.
I hope they all see the potential that is here and enjoy playing on it
as much as we enjoy working on it.”
This article first appeared in the August 15 issue of the