Keski’s Kolumn – April 2010

Hi everyone,

Welcome to the start of the 2010 golf season. I hope everyone’s winter was as enjoyable as winter can be. The start of spring has come upon us faster than expected this year, which is keeping everyone in the area busy getting ready for the summer to come. I know I’m looking forward to the upcoming season.

I’m very excited to bring my experience in the industry to Wildflower Golf Course. During high school I had a summer job at Blueberry Pines Golf Course in Menahga, Minn. After graduation I studied at Rutgers Golf Turf Management School in New Brunswick, N.J. During the summer months between school years I continued to work at Blueberry Pines and completed an internship there. After completion of the Rutgers program, I moved to Castle Rock, Colo., and completed a second internship at Castle Pines Golf Club, which formerly hosted The International Tournament. After my internship, Castle Pines promoted me to one of the crew foreman positions. The course eventually lost the tournament and I decided to go back to my home state.

When I returned to Minnesota, I was hired at Boulder Pointe Golf Club in Elko, Minn., as a spray technician. At the end of the summer I was hired as second assistant superintendent at Woodhill Country Club. The two years I spent there were very unique. Woodhill has a rich history and its members demand nothing but the best. During my time at Woodhill I volunteered for the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open at Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minn. After my time at Woodhill, I moved closer to home and I worked as assistant superintendent at Wildflower last season. Over the winter I became the new superintendent.

Right out of the gates this March the snow was beginning to melt. The greens came out looking really nice this spring. Our fungicide timing last fall turned out to be excellent. The aerification holes still remain from last fall, but we are topdressing and trying to get the turf growing so we can provide you with a smooth, speedy and playable putting surface. With the ground temperatures rising the plants will start to use energy and the greens should heal quickly.

We are also going to be over seeding the greens with a more disease resistant, drought tolerant, and faster spring recovery variety of bentgrass this year. This variety also handles lower mowing heights compared to the older varieties. As a result, we will be able to keep the green speeds slightly faster and more consistent. We also plan to follow a strong agronomic program that includes regular verti-cutting and topdressing to keep the greens more consistent. This year we also plan to roll the greens with a triplex roller to help plant health and increase green speed.

I hope everyone is enjoying the early golf season. Summer will be here before we know it. If you have any questions, please stop by my office anytime or contact me. Thank you and good luck out there!

Chris Keskitalo
Course Superintendent
218-439-3358
keski@wildflowergolfcourse.com