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2019 Spring Newsletter

2018 Recap

It’s tough to look at a golf season in the rearview mirror and not talk a little about the weather. We had some major swings throughout the year. The, spring was wet, especially on the weekends. The summer was dry with only 1.5” of rain from July 4th through the end of August. Then we ended the season with a short, cool fall.

2018 seemed to be the year of drainage. We installed approximately 150 yards of drain tile at the bottom of 6 fairway, allowing us to significantly reduce ropes after a rain. Another area we had good success with is the left of 1 green. This area had many embedded balls after a rain event. This season we will continue to other areas that drain poorly. Fourteen and 18 fairways will be high priority on our list.

During this past season we also healed from our bentgrass removal from our fairways. It was a great undertaking that will pay dividends in the future. Removing the heavy thatch producer will allow the fairways to play more uniform and provide us a healthy longevity. The playability of the golf course is our upmost priority and need to have great plant health to accomplish that.

Spring Outlook

With the rollercoaster weather we have received this winter many golfers have been asking how this may be impacting the golf course. It isn’t a secret that ice is one of the archenemies of northern climate golf course superintendents and the rainstorm we received on December 27th gave us just that. Much of the golf course was covered in sheets of ice, especially low areas. It was apparent with our “guess the opening day” Facebook post, most didn’t expect this sudden warm up. As I write this, all of the greens are exposed as well as the vast majority of the golf course and everything looks great! I think I can speak for the majority of the golf courses who had ice from the rainstorm and everyone would be glad we didn’t have the cold spring we had last year with the April blizzard.

2018 Pioneer Creek Collegiate

This past year was the first year of the Pioneer Creek Collegiate. Formerly the Gopher Individual, the University of St. Thomas wanted to co-host with the University of Minnesota more than doubling the field. It proved to be a great event for everyone that showcased great golf. The tournament featured Oklahoma’s Patrick Welch who was a member of the 2016 Junior Ryder Cup team as well as Quade Cummins who went on to win the Marathon Sun Bowl All-America Classic. It was Michigan State’s Devin Deogun who shot a final round 67 and birdied 3 of the last 4 holes to win by 3. Also, congratulations to the Tommies who edged Gustavus by 2 shot to win the team title. We would like to thank Gopher Coaches John Carlson and Justin Smith and Tommies Coach Scott Proshek for organizing a great field.

Dave Axland and Rodney Cole Consulting

We are honored to announce the partnership with the distinguished architects. Dave and Rodney have been out to the golf course many times. While there aren’t any large-scale projects in the immediate future, we are utilizing their guidance to ensure that as the golf course matures and ages it is doing so in a fashion conducive to the best golf possible. In the upcoming season, you will see us continue to experiment with mow lines.

In the coming year we are also going to experiment with the length of the 9th hole. It is almost unanimous that 9 is our most challenging hole. Players have the opportunity to cross the creek in two shots have a much more enjoyable experience than those who are forced to “lay-up”. If we can move the tees forward, to get players who are currently landing in the red area (on the diagram) to advance the ball to the black area, then they should be able to navigate the creek and the remaining portion of the hole more effectively. We are going to begin the year with the Gold tees up with the Red tees and the White tees on the Gold tee box. The Black and Blue tees will remain the same. We look forward to hearing your feedback!

9design ideas

Pheasants Forever

We are in the early stages of discussions with Pheasants Forever to convert some areas on the golf course into pheasant and pollinator habitat. We have mapped out areas on the property, approximately 20 acres well out of play or out of bounds, which could be more productive for wildlife. Currently the protocol is to treat these areas with herbicide for weeds. By implementing a blend of CRP grasses and wildflowers we will effectively eliminate the need for this while providing pheasants and pollinators with exactly what they need. It would be a win-win for the golf course and a wide variety of wildlife.



2018 Collegiate Invitational Tournament

We welcome the 2018 Collegiate Invitational Tournament hosted by the University of Minnesota and St. Thomas University on Saturday, September 8th and Sunday, September 9th, 2018.  This is our 3rd year hosting the University of Minnesota Gopher Individual Tournament and added this year is St. Thomas University hosting their MIAC Invitational. The field of individual competitors will be comprised of approximately 35 Division 1 players and approximately 50 Division 3 players.  A few of the schools represented are U of Oklahoma, San Diego State University, Michigan St. University, University of Washington, New Mexico State University, Costal Carolina, University of St. Thomas,  St. John’s University, Gustavus, Bethel and Augsburg College.  The field will play 18 holes starting with a 2pm shotgun on Saturday, September 8th and 36 holes starting with an 8:30am shotgun on Sunday, September 9th.  Admission is free.  Spectators are welcome. Come out and watch competitive college golf and see who the 2018 Individual Champions will be!

2017 Gopher Individual Tournament

We would like to welcome the 2017 University of Minnesota Gopher Individual Tournament to Pioneer Creek Golf Course this weekend!  Good luck players and coaches.  Come out and watch some Division 1 Collegiate golf!
2017 Gopher

2017 Message from Superintendent - Kyle Kreklow

First and foremost thank you to all of the golfers who made the 2016 season a great success. It is hard to believe that we are talking about the 2017 golf season already. It is even harder to believe that we have already been open for three brief stints. Please give me this opportunity to highlight some moments from last season and inform you of upcoming projects and improvements.

2016 Gopher Individual

September of 2016 was the first of a now annual University of Minnesota Gopher Individual Golf Tournament. Teams who competed in the tournament were New Mexico, Kent State, California, Southern Methodist University, Iowa, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Washington, Arkansas and Pepperdine to name a few. The field also welcomed a few local schools such as St. Cloud State, St. Thomas, Gustavus Adolphus, Concordia St. Paul and Macalester. The two day, 54 hole tournament was won by Bjarki Petursson of Kent State who shot an impressive cumulative score of eight under par.

Fast and Firm and Healthy

At Pioneer Creek Golf Course we are committed to providing the firmest, fastest and healthiest playing surfaces possible. During this past season, we used a record low 5.5 million gallons of water on the golf course. This is less than half of the water consumption of previous years. Studies have shown that deep and infrequent watering results in healthier turf with deeper rooted plants that are much more efficient in terms of nutrient and water updtake. 

You may also have noticed some of the sand that we have applied to the greens as well. This topdressing material is essential to breaking down thatch and aids in firmness and ball roll. According to the USGA, without regular top dressing and aereation, excess organic material will create soft, spongy putting surfaces that hold too much water. 

The combination of deep and infrequent watering with a light topdressing will help minimize pock marks and provide the truest playing surfaces possible.

As we implement these practices, we will be sure to do this in minimally disruptive ways. We understand how important course conditions are to you as a player and are committed to consistently providing the kind of conditions that will make your experience at Pioneer Creek Golf Course a special one.

Mow Lines

We have begun modifying mowing lines to provide more strategy and options to the golfer to play each hole in the fashion which they desire. Holpcgce 17, which is pictured, originally had rough surrounding the entire green. If the golfer missed the green short, they were left with a limited number of golf shots available to choose from. Now that the area is mowed at approach height, you'll find you have more shot options including; bump and run with a lofted iron or hybrid as well as the option to simply putt the golf ball. The ground game that is now created should add more enjoyment and opportunity for players of all skill levels to play the option that is suitable for their game. Look for more changes to areas similar to this both around greens and fairways.


Tree Removal

Over the past two off seasons we have completed a fairly extensive amount of tree removal. Tree removal can be received with the most polarizing of results. pcgctreeSome patrons can’t thank us enough, while others would rather tie themselves to the tree in order to keep them from being removed. With that being said, it may be helpful for us to explain the goal and the purpose to help ease some of the concern of some of the removal. The goal of the tree removal covers a few different items. The first is to simply improve the golfing experience. Golf can be a great enough challenge to the majority of players without having a goalie in the way. The second is to improve pace of play. One of the biggest challenges when hitting a tree is trying to track where the ball ended up or even if the ball came out from hitting the trees. The tree pictured had over two dozen golf balls within to hollow trunk. Would anyone like to claim a few? Lastly, trees are extremely well suited for out competing turf, making it very challenging to have healthy turf beneath trees.


In closing, thank you for taking the time to read this update and thank you for golfing at Pioneer Creek Golf Course. 

I look forward to seeing you on the course!

Kyle Kreklow


Pioneer Creek Welcomes Kyle Kreklow!

Pioneer Creek Golf Course would like to welcome Kyle Kreklow back, as course Superintendent, beginning this year.  Kyle brings a wealth of education and experience with him. 

Read up on his qualifications, below. Welcome back, Kyle!

Kyle Kreklow: Golf Course Superintendent
Kyle returns to Pioneer Creek Golf Course as the golf course superintendent. While working at Pioneer Creek Golf Course all through high school and even middle school he developed a passion for the golf industry. He went on to receive bachelor degrees in Golf & Turf Management as well as Business Management at the University of Minnesota, Crookston. While at the University of Minnesota, Crookston he played basketball and was the president of the Turf Club. Over the years he completed internships at Friar's Head, Crystal Downs Country Club, and Sand Hills Golf Club. Upon graduating college he went on to be an assistant superintendent at the Maidstone Club and Sand Hills Golf Club.  While at the Maidstone Club and Sand Hills Golf Club he worked first hand with Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw on complete bunker restorations. He has gained a great deal of experience working side by side with some of the best superintendents in the world at some of the best courses in America.

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