7 Minute Miles

Round 14 – Majestic Oaks Crossroads Course

Posted Monday, July 27th, 2009 04:39 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 4:39 PM

I’m not sure when I was first played Majestic Oaks in Ham Lake, but it must have been a tournament. This facility hosts many tournaments on their two regulation courses (there is also a nine hole executive course), so that’s not much of a surprise.

When I was here last, the two bigger courses were called the Platinum and the Gold, but now they are the Signature and the Crossroads. We played the shorter Crossroads course, which is 6,396 yards from the gold tees (tips), with a rating of 71.8 and a slope of 131.

The course gets its name from the two roads you cross – holes 1-3 and 18-18 are on the same side as the clubhouse, while a tunnel connects you to the others. Getting to holes 11-14 also involves crossing another street.

While there are a few long, difficult holes (like the 433 yard par four second), there are many shorter, easier holes throughout. I had six pars during my round of 88 – all of them coming on those shorter holes. The conditioning was fine, although I think the Signature course gets more attention.

I thought I took photos while I was there, but I can’t find them anywhere – sorry!

Originally published by DK on July 27, 2009 at 4:39 pm

Round 13 – Troy Burne Golf Club

Posted Saturday, July 25th, 2009 01:47 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 1:47 PM

Even though this is Golfing in Minnesota, the western Wisconsin region near Hudson is practically part of the Twin Cities. Next week we’ll be visiting White Eagle north of town, while last month we played Troy Burne on the south side.

This 1999 Tom Lehman signature course has matured into one of the top courses in the region. Managed by past champion and friend of the Tapemark Pro-Am, Dave Tentis, everything about this course is top-notch. My only real complaint is that I can’t afford to play it as often as I’d like ($100+ on weekends with half cart).

The Lehman tees play to 7,034 yards with a rating of 74.3 and a slope of 136, but those tees aren’t even out most of the time. We played the “Players Combo” tees, which stretched to 6,774 yards (72.9/135). I wouldn’t normally play those tees, but I was joined by a Troy Burne card holder and league member who was practicing for an event. Still managed a 95, but 455 yard par four holes into the wind are a bit much for my game.

I almost forgot about the great Panino sandwiches they serve in the clubhouse – are those restaurants even open any more?

Originally published by DK on July 25, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Metro Meals on Wheels Golf Tournament

Posted Thursday, July 23rd, 2009 03:30 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 3:30 PM

The second annual Meals on Wheels Golf Tournament will be held Monday, September 21, 2009, at Prestwick Golf Club in Woodbury.

From their event flier PDF:

Support the work of local Meals on Wheels programs in the Twin Cities community while enjoying 18 holes on a beautiful, award-winning course! The day will also include raffles for great prizes, course contests, a silent auction and delicious dinner.

All proceeds from this golf tournament will help Metro Meals on Wheels provide grants, volunteers, training and other support to its 40 local Meals on Wheels program members.

Through your support, our elderly and disabled neighbors will receive the nourishment and connection they need to continue living independently.

Cost is $500 per foursome (or $150 per individual golfer) and includes lunch, practice facilities, cart, 18 holes of golf, hors d’oeuvres, dinner and program. Corporate sponsorships are also available, starting at $100.

For more information on this event, please contact Kathy Dougherty at 612-623-3363 or via e-mail at Kathy@meals-on-wheels.com.

Originally published by DK on July 23, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Hacker’s Guide Book Review

Posted Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009 12:30 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 12:30 PM

When Minneapolis Golf Examiner Kyle Anway first mentioned a new Minnesota golf guide, I felt a sense of deja vu. Then I saw my local library had a copy, so I checked it out.

The Hacker’s Guide is written by Minneapolis resident Bruce Stasch and covers 87 metro area courses. It was introduced at the 2009 Minnesota Golf Show at the Metrodome and retails for $14.95.

It was hard for me to read some of the promotional material for this book, as it brought back painful memories of my Minnesota golf guide, Minnesota Golden Links. I also was unhappy with the state of golf guides back in 1998 and I also introduced a product at the Metrodome that didn’t sell as well as I had hoped. Been there, never want to go back again.

Mr. Stasch has had more luck than I did with distribution, though, and it’s always fun to read different prospectives about Minnesota golf. The Hacker’s Guide rating system is a proprietary formula that gives a course a final score on a 1,000 point scale, based on five categories:

  • Hospitality
  • Playability
  • Usability
  • Facility
  • Value

Each of those areas are given a score of 0-10. There are reportedly 40 individual items included in a course rating, which are done by volunteer raters. It’s not explicitly stated, but it seems that the courses are providing the rounds free of charge.

This system produces top ten lists very different from traditional ratings. Their overall top three courses are The Refuge, River Oaks and Deer Run, for example.

I’ve always had issues with ratings, which is why I’ve been reluctant to do them on this site. In the case of the Hacker’s Guide, a great course that gets visited on a day when something bad happens gets dinged forever. That will improve over time as courses get revisited, but a print book will be on shelves for a long time.

The Hacker’s Guide sometimes takes a tone similar to the Dummies series. Just because I can’t break 90 on a regular basis doesn’t mean I don’t like upscale, challenging courses or appreciate the traditions of the game. I may be a bit of a golf snob, but personally that’s part of the appeal to me.

A few other thoughts:

  • Since reviews are written and edited by multiple people, there is inconsistency between writing styles from course to course.
  • Some of the written reviews say a course is a good value, yet their value score is low. With the rating formulas secret, it’s hard to tell why.
  • Personal pet peeve: referring to the forward tees as the “women’s tee.”
  • A portion of the proceeds from each book are donated to Audubon International.
  • A second book, Hacker’s Guide to Minnesota & Western Wisconsin Golf Courses, is in the works, as is an updated web site.

Anyone who is brave enough to start a business involving Minnesota golf deserves support – check out the Hacker’s Guide in your local pro shop or book store.

Originally published by DK on July 22, 2009 at 12:30 pm

2009 Grandma’s Marathon

Posted Monday, July 20th, 2009 05:03 pm GMT -5 in Marathons,Running at 5:03 PM

My fifth Grandma’s Marathon turned into quite a scorcher towards the end. I found out later that the medical director actually came close to calling off the race, but I didn’t think it was that bad.

I had stayed overnight Friday in Grand Marais and got dropped off in Two Harbors early Saturday morning. The temperature when I left Grand Marais was 45, but by the time we got to the start, it was 67 and humid. The sun stayed out for most of the morning and there was very little breeze. I think the bank sign said 84 when I reached downtown.

Personally, my race went OK and I felt fine the whole day. I tried to stay with the four hour pacer, but she slowly faded into the horizon around the 11 mile mark. My final result was a 4:21, which I was perfectly fine with, given the conditions.

Here are the top three finishers in the main race:

2009 Grandma’s Marathon – Men

  • 1, Christopher Raabe, 30, Washington, DC, 2:15:13 (5:10 pace)
  • 2, Charles Kanyao, 33, Nairobi, Kenya, 2:18:36 (5:18)
  • 3, David Tuwei, 30, Coon Rapids, MN, 2:19:49 (5:20)

2009 Grandma’s Marathon – Women

  • 1, Mary Akor, 32, Lomita, CA, 2:36:52 (5:59)
  • 2, Alina Ivanova, 40, Albufeira, Portugal, 2:36:58 (6:00)
  • 3, Robyn Friedman, 36, Lambs Grove, IA, 2:38:03 (6:02)

Registration for the 2010 marathon, which will be held Saturday, June 19, 2010, is already open. Get $10 off the regular $85 fee if you sign up before September 7.

Originally published by DK on July 20, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Mizuno Wave Rider 12 Running Shoes

Posted Monday, July 20th, 2009 02:02 pm GMT -5 in Running at 2:02 PM

My running log at Runnersworld.com says that I’ve gone over 1,000 miles, most of which were probably on my old pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 10s that I bought last year. I’ve had some shin pain in my right leg since Grandma’s Marathon, so I did some research and decided that a new pair of shoes would be cheaper than going to the doctor, so I’m trying out this theory first.

The Wave Rider line was first recommended to me as a stable, light-weight shoe. I’ve really liked the old pair, but the 12s are now the current version. I picked them up at the new Run-N-Fun store in Burnsville, using a 25% off retail coupon I got from one of my recent races.

The new store is much roomier than the one in St. Paul, which I’ve shopped at for years. The staff has always been very knowledgeable and friendly and we had an especially good experience there with the kids last time I stopped in. Little things like that make me want to come back and spend more money.

Originally published by DK on July 20, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Round 12 – Willingers Golf Club

Posted Monday, July 20th, 2009 09:22 am GMT -5 in Golf at 9:22 AM

Last month I made the trek down to Northfield with a friend to play one of my favorite courses in the state, Willingers Golf Club.

I’ve written a lot about Willingers in the past, so I’ll just mention a few new things here. The club was selling a new item in the pro shop: Willingers themed poker chips for use as ball markers. They were $2.50 each and came in a variety of colors. Nothing earth-shattering, but I thought they were unique and very nice:
WillingersChip
Not much new to report on the course – it is still a great test of golf with little to distract you from the task at hand. The housing plans seem to be on indefinite hold and the gun club next door wasn’t active during our visit.

We played a very quick round, as we were followed by a not-quite-fast-enough-to-play-through, but always-on-our-tail threesome. Turned out one of them was the club champion, which I imagine helps to cut down on search time for lost balls…

Originally published by DK on July 20, 2009 at 9:22 am

Round 11 – Town and Country

Posted Thursday, July 16th, 2009 05:39 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 5:39 PM

Way back on June 3, I finally got to cross off one of the Minnesota private courses I’ve wanted to play for a long, long time – Town and Country Club in St. Paul. Thanks to the Minnesota Golf Course Superintendents’ Association turfgrass fundraiser, I was able to tee it up with three friends on the course I’ve driven by my entire life.

Several people that I told about this outing couldn’t wait to hear my opinion of the course. I’ll say this – Town and Country is a very interesting golf course. I didn’t dislike the course, but the tight setting (around 100 acres) creates many unique hole situations that you don’t usually see around here.

For example, there are back-to-back par three holes on the front nine, while the back nine finishes par three, par five, par five, par five, par three. The par four seventh and eighth holes run parallel to the busy Cretin Avenue on the left, which made me way too nervous.

The course oozes history, though, and there are a number of great holes throughout the layout. Established in 1888, Town and Country is the oldest course in the state and one of the oldest in the country (when reviewing courses still in the same location). Conditioning was perfect throughout.

We played from the 6,092-yard white tees, which have a course rating of 70.0 and a slope of 128 (par 72). I didn’t play a particularly great round, but did birdie the 526-yard, par five twelfth hole.

Originally published by DK on July 16, 2009 at 5:39 pm

2009 Heart of the City Half Marathon

Posted Thursday, July 16th, 2009 05:04 pm GMT -5 in Running at 5:04 PM

Continuing the trend of races that happened long ago, here is a post about the 2009 Heart of the City Half Marathon, which took place May 30, 2009, in Burnsville.

This was the sixth running of this race and I’ve been able to participate in all six. This year I was joined by my neighbor, who was running her first half marathon. The weather was very nice and we finished in 2:10.

Other than the first year fiasco of having the last mile go back up the hill (and running out of water), the Heart of the City has matured into a well organized race. The field is still relatively small compared to other half marathons, but the addition this year of the new Burnsville Performing Arts Center as registration headquarters might help improve race numbers in the future. Too bad the people working on race morning wouldn’t let people use the nice new bathrooms…

Here are the top three finishers this year:

2009 Heart of the City Half Marathon – Men

  • 1, Josh Schoen, 28, Northfield, MN, 1:10:48 (5:24 pace)
  • 2, David Thompson, 31, St. Paul, MN, 1:12:22 (5:31)
  • 3, Scott Roby, 26, Minneapolis, MN, 1:15:49 (5:47)

2009 Heart of the City Half Marathon – Women

  • 1, Michelle Lilienthal, 27, Minneapolis, MN, 1:20:23 (6:08)
  • 2, Laura Roach, 21, Lakeville, MN, 1:25:19 (6:30)
  • 3, Angie Voight, 32, Minneapolis, MN, 1:26:21 (6:35)

All proceeds from this event go to Safe Haven to help homeless youth.

Originally published by DK on July 16, 2009 at 5:04 pm

CMK Birthday Trip to LA

Posted Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 12:50 pm GMT -5 in Family,Food,Travel at 12:50 PM

It was almost a month ago, but I never got around to writing a post here about Colleen’s 40th birthday trip to Los Angeles. Some of the pictures have been up on Facebook for a while and now there are a bunch in the 7MM photo gallery too.

The kids spent the week in Grand Marais with my parents, so it was just Colleen and I on this one. We flew Sun Country to LAX, arriving late Monday night. The usually wonderful Emerald Aisle at National had only mini-vans available at that hour, so we spent the week driving around in this thing.

We stayed at the wonderful Belamar Hotel in Manhattan Beach the whole trip and had a great third-floor room with a balcony overlooking the pool. Even for a boutique hotel, their prices were very reasonable and the service was top-notch.

Each day of the trip started off with breakfast at the incomparable Uncle Bill’s Pancake House in Manhattan Beach. I’m pretty sure I could start the day there for the rest of my life and be happy about the decision. Make sure and try the potatoes stroganoff…

Tuesday was Hollywood day, which included stops at the Grove, the LA Farmer’s Market and an afternoon taping of the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson show at CBS Television City. It was really interesting watching them tape the TV show, as everything happened out of sequence in a studio that seems much, much smaller in person. Jeff Foxworthy was the guest that day. We stopped for dinner at the Hollywood branch of Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles, then drove by the Columbia Records building before driving down Sunset Boulevard through Beverly Hills and Bel Air on the way back to the hotel.

Wednesday was beach day. After breakfast at Uncle Bill’s, we walked along the Manhattan Beach pier and the Strand before driving down to Hermosa Beach. We did a little shopping and had lunch at the Good Stuff restaurant located across from the pier. We spent a little time in the hotel courtyard before driving down to the Redondo Beach pier for dinner at Kincaid’s Bayhouse.

We checked out of the hotel early on Thursday and had breakfast at the usual spot. From there, it was a relatively painless freeway commute to Anaheim for a day at Disneyland. My brother and his wife (who work for Disney in Florida) were kind enough to get us two tickets to the parks as a birthday gift for Colleen. The main park was open from 8AM – 9PM and we were a little worried about crowds when we found out it was both Laker’s Day and Grad Night. Everything turned out fine, though, and we got to do almost everything we planned on.

Colleen got a birthday button from City Hall when we first arrived and people wished her happy birthday all day long. We tried to get dinner reservations at the Blue Bayou, but they were booked. We ended up waiting for cancellations and did get in after waiting about an hour. That secretive Club 33 door tempted me the whole time we waited, so I asked for membership info at City Hall when we left.

We hit all of our favorite rides and popped over to the California Adventure side to go on the new(ish) Monsters, Inc. ride and the Tower of Terror. Other new things on the Disneyland side included the Finding Nemo submarine ride and new Mark VII monorails. There were some changes in It’s A Small World (that we didn’t much care for) and the Tiki Room was back to the original version (which we loved). We caught the fireworks, which started while we were on the Matterhorn, then drove back to the airport for a red-eye flight back home.

Welcome to 40, Colleen!

Originally published by DK on July 15, 2009 at 12:50 pm

2009 Stillwater Marathon, 20-Mile, Half and 12K

Posted Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 03:05 pm GMT -5 in Running at 3:05 PM

Decided that it’s better late than never, so here is a post about the inaugural Stillwater Marathon, 20-Mile, Half Marathon and 12K that was held on May 24, 2009. The next edition will be held on Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 7AM.

My friends from Texas visited to run the half with me and they were a little upset with the hills (although they were fine with the weather, which was much drier and cooler than Houston).

All races started just south of downtown Stillwater on highway 95. The various distances broke off at different points, but the half marathon course went south about five miles before turning west, then north and back into town. There were large hills at the southern most point of the course and when we crossed over highway 36, but they weren’t too bad. I heard the biggest hill was on the second half of the full marathon course, which also looped north of town.

The half and the full had two different finish lines: the full marathon finished in Lowell Park, which is right next to the river downtown, while our race finished on the top of the hill overlooking downtown (Pioneer Park). We had to walk down the hill to get to the busses that took us back to Stillwater High School, but that wasn’t a big deal.

Speaking of the busses, there was no parking allowed in downtown Stillwater, so you had to ride a bus from one of the designated parking areas located off of highway 36. I thought this would be a pain, but this part of the inaugural year was well planned and operated very smoothly. In fact, the only things that didn’t really go well were the start of the expo (people just weren’t ready) and the actual start of the races (people didn’t know where to go and it started late).

Our group of three ran together and had a good run (2:25). This was the first half for my two friends and aside from the “last mile was worse than childbirth” comment, I think they enjoyed it. Future races are already being planned by both, so I think it was an overall positive experience.

Here are the top three runners for this year’s full and half:

2009 Stillwater Marathon – Men

  • 1, Pete Hoyem, 28, Stillwater, MN, 2:50:32 (6:31 pace)
  • 2, Steve Kalina, 28, Andover, MN, 2:51:46 (6:34)
  • 3, Collin Anderson, 21, Mahtomedi, MN, 2:53:00 (6:36)

2009 Stillwater Marathon – Women

  • 1, Jessica Mike, 26, Minneapolis, MN, 3:09:06 (7:13)
  • 2, Kristi Trussell, 25, St. Paul, MN, 3:22:39 (7:44)
  • 3, April Cole, 24, Roberts, WI, 3:23:04 (7:45)

2009 Stillwater Marathon Stats:

  • Number of Finishers – 461
  • Number of Females – 142
  • Number of Males – 318
  • Average Time – 4:14:30

2009 Stillwater Half Marathon – Men

  • 1, Andrew Boldt, 23, Stillwater, MN, 1:13:06 (5:35)
  • 2, Bart Johnson, 23, Minneapolis, MN, 1:14:04 (5:40)
  • 3, Daniel Carlson, 47, White Bear Lake, MN, 1:14:38 (5:42)

2009 Stillwater Half Marathon – Women

  • 1, Susanna Emond, 25, Minneapolis, MN, 1:23:47 (6:24)
  • 2, Terri Emond, 25, Madison, WI, 1:27:44 (6:42)
  • 3, Katie Morrissey, 23, Fridley, MN, 1:28:32 (6:46)

2009 Stillwater Half Marathon Stats:

  • Number of Finishers – 898
  • Number of Females – 534
  • Number of Males – 364
  • Average Time – 2:06:44
Originally published by DK on July 14, 2009 at 3:05 pm

2009 Wild Prospect Camp Photos

Posted Sunday, July 12th, 2009 11:58 pm GMT -5 in Hockey at 11:58 PM

I made it down to the X for the first half of the scrimmage. Couldn’t stop laughing at “Coach Burns” and how he and Clutterbuck kept going back and forth. Classic.

There are a bunch of pictures I took that I uploaded to the Hockey in Minnesota photo gallery. This was the first time I was allowed to bring in my 80-200mm lens, so I wasn’t really sure how well it would work. Still need more practice, but there are a few OK ones in there.

Another funny note – I thought I saw Boogaard sitting in the stands behind the bench, but after reviewing my photos, turns out it was Russo:
Don Russo
I’m not sure who will find that funnier – Russo or Boogaard… 🙂

Originally published by DK on July 12, 2009 at 11:58 pm

St. Paul Performances of Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza

Posted Friday, July 10th, 2009 08:42 pm GMT -5 in Concerts at 8:42 PM

Earlier this week, Colleen and I were invited to a free blogger night at the latest Cirque du Soleil touring show to visit the Twin Cities, Kooza. If you’ve visited here in the past, you may know that Cirque shows are one of my fetishes.

I actually had purchased four tickets to see this show when it was originally scheduled to make the U.S. premier in St. Paul a year ago. After they announced the re-scheduled dates, I purchased two tickets to take my mom next week as a mother’s day gift. These free tickets were a nice bonus surprise that gave me the chance to take Colleen as well.

The Grand Chapiteau makes its first appearance on my side of the river and fit in nicely off the corner of Kellogg and Broadway, overlooking the Mississippi River. Parking was easy and inexpensive at the St. Paul Farmer’s Market lot ($5) and traffic in and out of our midweek 8PM show was almost non-existent (even with a mostly full crowd).

Reviews of this show in both main newspapers were good (although I just read the headlines to avoid spoilers), so I had high expectations going in to this one. I won’t spoil anything here either, but will say that this is one of the best Cirque shows we’ve seen and is well worth attending.

The St. Paul run has been extended through August 9 and discounted tickets can be purchased for selected shows via this link.

As I recently wrote about Robert Cray, watching masters perform their craft is one of the most rewarding experiences for me. Kooza is full of masters – catch them if you can…

Originally published by DK on July 10, 2009 at 8:42 pm

Fourth of July in Luck

Posted Tuesday, July 7th, 2009 02:05 pm GMT -5 in Family,Travel at 2:05 PM

As we’ve done the past few years (could it really be 9?), the family packed up the car early on the Fourth of July and drove to my aunt and uncle’s cabin, which is located just outside of Luck, Wisconsin, on Bone Lake.

The crowd was a little smaller this year – our immediate family, mom and dad, grandpa Smith, my aunt and uncle and their daughter (who just got married last month). Add in three dogs, fireworks, lots of great food, jet ski rides and perfect weather and you get a very enjoyable holiday outing.

The lake had more boats on it this year (around eight) and the water levels were really low – I’d say maybe down a foot overall. The neighbors across the bay launched really loud mortar shells all day. That was fun at first, but the novelty quickly wore off. I’d love to hear one of those suckers go off in the city, though.

Traffic through Lindstrom, Taylors Falls and St. Croix Falls was decent and we stopped at Eichten’s Cheese shop, Rainmaker Fireworks and the Milltown Drive-In in Milltown, Wisconsin, on the way up.

The drive home was uneventful – no speed traps this year. We got home in time to set up a bonfire in the driveway, watch the Eagan fireworks and set off our own display that we purchased at Rainmaker.

Pictures are now up on Facebook and in the private section of the 7MM photo gallery (the password has changed – email or call me if you’d like it).

Originally published by DK on July 7, 2009 at 2:05 pm

First Annual Friends of HSRA Golf Tournament

Posted Tuesday, July 7th, 2009 12:02 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 12:02 PM

The High School for Recording Arts in St. Paul is holding their first ever golf tournament fundraiser on Saturday, July 18, at Majestic Oaks Golf Club in Ham Lake. The shotgun scramble event will begin at 1PM on the Crossroads Course.

The $100 registration fee includes use of the driving range, 18 holes of golf with cart and dinner. Mulligans and on-course games hosted by HSRA students will be available for an additional charge. Online registration is available at golf.hsra.org.

For more information, contact HSRA development director Tony Simmons at 651-717-5646 or tony@hsra.org.

Originally published by DK on July 7, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Robert Cray at the Cabooze

Posted Friday, July 3rd, 2009 12:00 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Music at 12:00 PM

Last night Colleen and I got to see something you don’t normally get to do – watch a masterful musician perform in a very small club. The Robert Cray Band was performing at the Cabooze in Minneapolis and we were up close and personal.

It only took me 40 years of living in the Twin Cities, but I finally made it to the Cabooze. It was smaller than I expected and the layout was sort of goofy for live music, but the sound was good. I thought parking was going to be a problem, but we read the sign about free parking at AIOIC and all was good.

We’ve now seen this band play at the Minnesota Zoo, the Minnesota State Fair, the Fitzgerald and maybe one or two other places. Last night’s concert included a few new songs from an album Mr. Cray said is coming in August. Two songs in particular, Chicken in the Kitchen and Love 2009, were great and fun to hear. Other highlights for me included Right Next Door (Because of Me), Back Door Slam, Time Makes Two and The One in the Middle. I don’t think he played anything from Twenty this time – sort of hoped to hear Poor Johnny.

Overall, though, it was a great show and this continues to be a group I’ll see whenever they come to town. One final note: Jim Pugh on the Hammond organ is a sight to behold. Go Jim, Go!

Originally published by DK on July 3, 2009 at 12:00 pm
 

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