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Round 27 at Southview and Mendakota Guest Day

Posted Wednesday, September 30th, 2009 10:35 am GMT -5 in Friends,Golf at 10:35 AM

My last two rounds of golf have been all about the social aspect of the game. Last weekend I was invited to play Southview Country Club with Tapemark Charity Pro-Am president Phil Callen, while Monday was guest day at Mendakota Country Club, hosted by my friend and former Northwest Airlines colleague Phil Keeney.

Saturday afternoon at Southview was a perfect day for fall golf – sunny skies, cool temperatures and a very light breeze. I was surprised to find the course so empty – we played 18 holes in about 3 hours. I played the front nine well, shooting 43 with two doubles and four pars. I also hit the purest five-iron I’ve ever hit on the ninth hole. Too bad it flew the green, bounced across the putting green and almost hit the parking lot fence…

The back nine was much tougher for me, but also included a few bad breaks. Phil played well, especially considering he just opened a new play the night before (Bill W. & Dr. Bob at the Illusion Theater in Minneapolis). I ended up with a 92 from the whites (6,121 yards, 71.0/136), while Phil had a 97.

The weather Monday at Mendakota was straight out of the British Isles – winds gusting to 45mph, temps in the low 50s and a spot of rain here and there. There were a lot of cancellations, but I was ready to play in multiple layers of clothing. We were joined by two other former Northwest revenue people – Gary Zehnder (refunds) and Mark Bodurtha (agency sales).

This was the first time I’ve played Mendakota since the changes on the back nine. The par five thirteenth hole had major changes that I really liked (removed trees, new target fairway bunker, green-side updates), as did the par four sixteenth hole (lengthened, green pushed back towards pond). Changes were also made to the par three fourteenth (new back tee) and the par four eighteenth (tees moved). I didn’t take my camera with due to the weather, but I’ll get shots of these changes soon.

My former pro-am partner (and Mendakota head professional) Dale Jones wasn’t in the shop Monday, but the rest of the Mendakota staff was very friendly and the food service before and after our round was superb. Despite the weather (and getting my butt kicked in the two-man scramble), it was really fun visiting and recollecting old NWA days in building B.

Thanks again to Phil and Phil for the invitations.

Dan Wilson at the Dakota

Posted Monday, September 28th, 2009 09:18 am GMT -5 in Food,Music at 9:18 AM

This past weekend Colleen and I visited the Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant in Minneapolis for the first time to see Dan Wilson (of Semisonic and Trip Shakespeare fame). Ben Kyle of Romantica was the opener. We parked in the Target ramp and walked down Nicollet Mall until we found the place (it’s right across the street was from where Let It Be Records used to be).

I didn’t really know how seating or tickets worked, but we had a 6PM dinner reservation and they seated us on the main floor about four tables from the small stage located in the middle of the room. Music was scheduled to start at 7:30PM, which is about when our dessert arrived.

The food choices ranged from simple bar menu items like chicken wings and cheeseburgers to a three-course tasting menu. Our waiter asked us when we first arrived if we would be eating or just drinking during the show, so they really seemed to offer a lot of economic choices – a sign of the times, to be sure, but nice to see.

Colleen ordered from the tasting menu, choosing several of the specials:

  • Blue Hubbard Squash Soup – maple-cracked pepper croutons, brown butter, sage
  • Pekin Duck with Duck Confit – swiss chard, wild rice, blue cheese
  • Smokey Dark Chocolate Cake – earl grey, pecan praline, port
  • Wine – Szeremley, Kekfrankos, Hungary
  • Apple Cider with Apple and butterscotch schnapps and whipped cream

I ordered off of the club menu and had the Steak and Fries – a 10 ounce Sirloin steak poutine “Tall Colin Style,” with tabasco-molasses sauce. The fries had poutine-style cheese curds, but replaced the usual gravy with the tabasco-molasses sauce. It was good, but the tabasco really overpowered the molasses and was very spicy.

Ben Kyle did a nice solo acoustic set, which really worked well in the space because almost everyone was dead silent and paying rapt attention to the stage. There was about a ten minute intermission, then Dan Wilson came out to play with just his acoustic guitar (although he switched to piano for a few songs too).

I don’t have a set list, but he did say they were recording the show for a future album. Some highlights for me included FNT, Baby Doll and All Kinds (each with great audience interaction). Ben joined him back onstage during the encore to play the Gram Parsons song To Love Somebody, which was incredible. Dan also gave a shout out to Neil Young, saying he draws a lot of song-writing inspiration from him. That was followed by a lovely cover of Long May You Run on piano.

The show wrapped up around 11PM and both guys stayed to sign CDs. Dan was selling his new Live at the Pantages 2-CD set that was recorded last winter and attended by Colleen and our youngest daughter. I also got to talk to him about his support of ARC of Minnesota. He performed at their annual gala and his daughter is a recipient of their services. ARC is one of the primary benefitting charities of the Tapemark Charity Pro-Am, which is a 7 Minute Miles client.

The cover charge for the show ($20 per person) was just added to our dinner bill. The service all night was wonderful, with our very knowledgeable waiter magically appearing whenever we needed him. I’m not sure how they assign tables when you make a reservation, but ours was in a perfect spot. My only regret was that I didn’t get down there a few weeks ago to see Suzanne Vega during her three-night stint.

Apple Consultants Network Southdale Meeting

Posted Friday, September 25th, 2009 06:03 pm GMT -5 in Technology,Work at 6:03 PM

Yesterday I was invited by my long-time friend and Apple employee Paul “Pash” Pashibin to a meeting of the Apple Consultants Network that was hosted by Apple retail. Pash used to support the national sales channel and now is a business manager for the four Minnesota Apple Stores (Mall of America, Rosedale, Ridgedale and Southdale). Managers from all of the stores were on hand to introduce themselves and hear ten-minute presentations from local ACN members.

I went with the intent of doing a “test-drive” of ACN to see if 7 Minute Miles, LLC should apply for membership. In order to become a member, I need to pass at least one Apple certification test, obtain business insurance and pay the membership fee ($60 application fee and $395 annually).

Apple currently offers three primary levels of OS X certification:

  • Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP) 10.6
  • Apple Certified Technical Coordinator (ACTC) 10.6
  • Apple Certified System Administrator (ACSA) 10.6

There are all new classes, training materials and exams for Snow Leopard and currently only the first test is available (the others should be available next month). I think I can pass the first two tests without taking any classes, but I do need to study before plunking down $150 per exam.

I met a number of talented consultants at the meeting, but I was especially pleased to finally meet Charles Edge in person. Charles is the Director of Technology for 318, Inc., author of multiple books, prolific technology blogger at and a prominent speaker. Charles had asked to be my friend on Facebook a while back, but I was pretty sure I hadn’t met him before (although we share a number of friends). He recently moved from Los Angeles to Minnesota and we had a very nice conversation after the meeting.

Here are some of the other ACN members who attended:

I was impressed by the Apple Store staff who spoke, as well as the ACN members. If I apply for the program, the local Apple Stores would stock my business cards and sell sheets, which I think would be very beneficial for future growth. I could also use the stores for client demos and other presentations. All of this means more business for Apple, so it seems like a win-win to me…

Spare Key Golf Benefit at Willingers

Posted Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 02:57 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 2:57 PM

Yesterday I played in the Spare Key Golf Benefit at Willingers Golf Club in Northfield. Spare Key is a Bloomington-based non-profit organization that “provides assistance to Minnesota homeowners with critically ill or seriously injured children by making a mortgage payment on the family’s behalf, allowing them to spend time with their child.”

The driving range and silent auction for the event opened at 10:30AM, with a shotgun start at 1PM. The club was selling food for lunch before and a buffet dinner was included afterwards (that I had to skip out on). The silent auction has some nice items, including rounds at Hazeltine and Legends Club, a signed Y.E. Yang flag from the PGA and a diamond pendant from Tiffany & Co.

After nine years of working with the Tapemark Charity Pro-Am, I always find it interesting to see how other charity golf events are run. This event was a more traditional, one-day golf scramble with a shotgun start, so it’s not really an apples-to-apples comparison.

I’m not a big fan of scrambles for several reasons: 1) I like to play my own ball, 2) play is always so slow and 3) we never score well when handicaps aren’t used. Our round took a little more than five hours and we played terrible, finishing with a tournament-worst 73 (+1). That included bogeys on six, eight and sixteen and birdies on nine and thirteen. Not all the scores were in when I left, but 58 was leading (-14).

The volunteers were all very nice and the organizers did a great job with the sold out event. I took a peek at the silent auction table before I left and it appeared Spare Key raised a lot amount of money for the cause.

Special thanks to Jeff Miller and his wife Deb for the invitation.

15th Annual Tapemark Women’s Golf Event

Posted Monday, September 21st, 2009 07:43 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 7:43 PM

Today was the women’s edition of the Tapemark Charity Pro-Am at Southview Country Club in West St. Paul. The weather forecast didn’t look great, but the rain broke up before it got to the metro area and the sun peeked out for most of the afternoon.

A record 142 golfers teed off for the 1PM shotgun start, which was proceeded by a nice buffet lunch prepared by the excellent Southview staff. Following the round, golfers gathered in the St. Andrews room for dinner and the awards ceremony. Here are the winners of the various flights:

  • Championship: White-Beutel, 73
  • First: Bixby-Shivers, 80
  • Second: Hynan-Jeannette, 86 (tie breaker)
  • Third: Begich-Swenson, 86
  • Fourth: Hauff-Scheffler, 91
  • Fun: Britton-Megan, 83

Round 26 – Highland National Golf Course

Posted Monday, September 21st, 2009 09:58 am GMT -5 in Golf at 9:58 AM

Golf is such a fickle game – after struggling to break 100 a few weeks ago, I visit Highland National in St. Paul last week and shoot a lifetime best score for 18 holes.

Granted, the 6,204-yard white tees, with their 70.3 rating and 128 slope, isn’t quite the same as playing from the tips at Hazeltine. The new design does have a fair amount of water, though, and you still need to hit the shots.

My favorite hole this time was the 405 yard, par four seventh hole. I pushed a drive to the left, with a large tree blocking my approach shot to the green. I hit a nice iron shot, but it clipped the top of the tree and dropped straight down. Still about 100 yards out with some branches in the way, I hit a low 7-iron shot that landed short of the green, then rolled up and in the cup for a birdie three.

Even with a three-putt on the par three fourth hole and a double on the par five twelfth, I shot a 40-41-81 (+9) to beat my previous best by one stroke (82s at Crystal Lake in 2000 and Hidden Greens in 2008).

The weather was perfect, with fog rising from the ponds during our early morning start. It looked like the greens had a deep tine process done recently, which didn’t effect putting nearly as much as normal aeration with top-dressing. The grounds crew was applying a lot of chemicals on each green in front us all morning, though.

The clubhouse had a power outage the previous night, so we weren’t able to pay until after the round. The weekday walking rate is $30 now, which we decided is just about right.

Wild Preseason – Havlat, Hawks and Fisticuffs

Posted Sunday, September 20th, 2009 10:45 pm GMT -5 in Hockey at 10:45 PM

Tonight I was invited by my uncle to the second Wild pre-season home game against the Chicago Blackhawks. Normally, these early games that no one wants to pay for (or attend) are devoid of most entertainment value. This game was an exception to that rule for me.

Martin Havlat seemed intent to make an impression against his former team, scoring 86 seconds into the game by burying a nice pass from Pouliot. He added a second goal in similar fashion in the third, this time from Clutterbuck. His buddy “Siki” scored the third and final goal of the game with 2:57 left. I hope Havlat and Sykora stay healthy all year and get to play on the same line – seems like good chemistry there.

Chicago stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews were scratched, so you can’t take too much from the shutout part of the game, but Backstrom seemed strong in his two periods of play. Khudobin got some work in the third and made me feel a little better in the event we lose Harding this year to the trade pool.

There were five (!) fights in this game, and all were fun to watch:

  • Dowell vs. Smith
  • Bois vs. Scott
  • Lalonde vs. Cuma
  • Fraser vs. Sifers
  • Johnson vs. Kassian

Attendance was never announced (that I can recall), so I wonder if the streak is over. The first 5,000 people received the magnetic season calendar (pictured above), but it doesn’t indicate which games will be in HD. Food seemed to be the same – the Davanni’s stand sold us two garlic cheese bread orders and two regular soft drinks for $15.50.

Should be an interesting season – Go Wild!

Round 25 – Meadows at Mystic Lake

Posted Sunday, September 20th, 2009 03:15 pm GMT -5 in Food,Golf at 3:15 PM

Last week I decided to take my wonderful friend and lawyer Kevin Johnson out for a round of golf. When he said he had never played the Meadows at Mystic Lake, I called them up and booked a tee time right away. Wednesday also happened to be the first day of their fall “spin the wheel” promotion, so our rounds were a great deal too (although they replaced the old wooden wheel with a computerized version that just isn’t the same).

I’ve already written about the Meadows course this year, so I’ll just add that the new waterfall behind the seventh green is fully functional (see above) and they just aerated and top-dressed all of the greens. The wild flowers around the course were beautiful and we practically had the course to ourselves. We both played OK and had a wonderful lunch at the Meadows Grille after the round. I think the Grille is one of the best kept secrets in the whole complex – great food and great service.

Round 24 – Stillwater Country Club

Posted Saturday, September 19th, 2009 11:50 am GMT -5 in Golf at 11:50 AM

Last weekend, the Miller family and I were able to visit another Minnesota private course thanks to the Minnesota Golf Course Superintendents’ Association and their annual turf grass research fundraiser. I actually purchased the tee time for Stillwater Country Club during last year’s event, but was unable to make our scheduled day and time. Stillwater professional Mike Tracy was kind enough to let me re-schedule this year.

I had never been to this course before (even to take photos) and wasn’t sure what to expect. Charley Walters recently wrote that “A Stillwater family that applied for membership at Stillwater Country Club 13 years ago now is No. 30 on the waiting list.” Was this another ultra-exculsive country club or something else?

Turns out that the waiting list is long because it’s such a good value. I wouldn’t call anything in Stillwater “blue collar,” but SCC is very down-to-earth, with friendly members, low prices on food and drink and a relaxed, no tee times policy.

The golf course had many holes with unique character, particularly the par three thirteenth hole with a dramatic downhill approach over a mini-forest and the par four ninth hole with multiple tee boxes located at various points around a pond.

Course conditions were very nice, with beautiful flowers and landscaping all over. We played the 6,451-yard white tees (71.5/124), which included four par fours over 400 yards. The front side was also unique in that there is only one par three and one par five among those nine holes.

Despite a minor meltdown towards the end of the round, I shot a decent 46-47-93. There are a number of holes I’d like to play a second time now that I’ve seen them once, but overall we had a very enjoyable time.

Round 23 – Willingers Golf Club

Posted Saturday, September 19th, 2009 01:37 am GMT -5 in Golf at 1:37 AM

On Labor Day, my friend Brad and I travelled to Northfield to play one of our favorites, Willingers Golf Club. Unfortunately, it wasn’t one of our better visits.

It started out on the wrong foot in the pro shop. We were informed upon checking in that tee times were running behind because of course maintenance (not sure exactly what that meant). Then they told us the full walking rate was $51 – I guess I haven’t played there at regular rates in a long time. I love the course, but $51 to walk is getting to be a bit much.

There was no starter on the first tee to keep the already delayed start in order, so that took longer than it should have. We were paired up with a friendly father-daughter twosome that were a little overmatched by the difficult Gill Miller design and ended up dropping out at the turn. This course can be hard for me, too, as I struggled to break 100. I did par one of my nemesis holes, though, the par three third hole.

The economy continues to delay the addition of houses to Willingers, but the shooters at the gun club next door were out in full force.

Despite all these issues, Willingers remains one of my favorites and I’m sure we’ll be back again soon.

Welcome to 7 Minute Miles, LLC

Posted Friday, September 18th, 2009 01:18 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Technology,Work at 1:18 PM

As some of you may have noticed, there have been a few changes here at

  • All of my former .mn sports sites now re-direct to this site. New sections have been created for golf, hockey, running and skiing. Archived posts from each site have been consolidated on 7MM and separate RSS feeds are available for each category.
  • Photo gallery images from the old sites have also been consolidated in the main 7MM gallery.
  • Links to other sites we like have been consolidated in the 7MM blogroll area in the sidebar.
  • I added page anchors to the fetishes page, along with a drop-down selector so you can jump down to the exact section you’d like to read.
  • A new 7 Minute Miles, LLC services randomizer box replaces my personal “to-do” bucket list section, which has moved to the footer.
  • Information on the contact page has been updated to add the new 7MM PO box mailing address and the return of my iChat/AOL account name.
  • Minor updates to the about page and the biography sections.
  • A new company page has been created to describe services the new 7 Minute Miles, LLC, organization is now offering.

Speaking of the LLC, I decided at the end of the summer it was time to start a new company. With the help of Doug Podolak and attorney Kevin Johnson, I founded 7 Minute Miles, LLC, on August 28, 2009.

The legal framework is now in place and I opened new business checking and savings accounts with U.S. Bank earlier this week. A former co-worker from Northwest Airlines, Mumtaz Walli-Ware, will be providing small business accounting and tax services and I will be purchasing business insurance from Tapemark Charity Pro-Am presenting sponsor, Anderson Agency.

The new company is a technology consultancy that specializes in WordPress web publishing and Apple system administration and management. Our first two new clients are the Tapemark Charity Pro-Am and the Macalester College Relations department. With are in negotiations with several other organizations and hope to have more news to announce soon.

Please take a look at the services we offer and contact us for a free initial consultation today!

Reflections on Spring Hill Golf Club

Posted Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 10:07 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 10:07 PM

I remember when I first heard about Spring Hill Golf Club in Wayzata, three things jumped out: 1) Tom Fazio’s first (and still only) Minnesota design, 2) Michael Jordan buying a membership and 3) the reported $150,000 initiation fee. The plain and somewhat hidden entrance added to the mystique.

This week’s Gopher Invitational was the second time I have visited the course. I believe the first time was for an MGA Players’ Championship a few years back, but I only followed groups that day through part of the course. A caddie I met on Monday said if I hadn’t walked holes 14-17, I was missing the best part. I thought the first 13 were pretty spectacular, so I made sure to walk the entire course this time.

The championship tees measure 7,042 yards, with a rating of 74.7 and a slope of 147. Holes 1-6 and 14-18 are on the south side of highway 6, while the other seven holes are on the north side, connected via a tunnel. The first tee, practice area and eighteenth green are all located near the clubhouse, which sits on a bluff overlooking Long Lake. Google Maps has a decent satellite view of the layout.

As reported by many of the collegiate players, the course conditioning was perfect. I was impressed by the variety and character of all the holes, particularly the ones with major elevation changes. Many of the greens are elevated and several holes have tee shots that fall majestically to valley fairways. I was told the fall colors are breathtaking and should arrive in a few weeks (witness Peter Wong’s excellent Spring Hill photography here).

Spring Hill is a playground most people will never experience, which is a shame. Even at the Invitational, there were signs on the clubhouse and pro shop announcing only members, players and coaches were welcome inside. The members I met were all very nice, however, as were the staff (caddies, a food server and head professional Jeff Kringen).

I visited with several Minnesota golf friends during the Invitational: U of M golf director Brad James, head mens coach Andrew Tank, instructors Dee Forsberg-Voss and Gerald McCullagh, past MGA president Cal Simmons and MGA tournament director Doug Hoffman. The people are really what makes golfing in Minnesota so special.

Round 22 – Bearpath Golf and Country Club

Posted Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 12:15 am GMT -5 in Golf at 12:15 AM

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to cross another private Minnesota golf course off of my life “to-play” list: Bearpath Golf and Country Club in Eden Prairie.

A very generous Bearpath member donated a round of golf to a charity auction, which was purchased by my friend Bob Klas, Jr. Bob was kind enough to ask Tapemark Pro-Am president Phil Callen and I to join him and the race for the course record was on…

This 7,030-yard, Jack Nicklaus design is located in a gated community that is rumored to be the home of a certain new Viking. The housing was impressive, but got a little too close to the course for my game. A lucky Boxer on the second hole now owns at least two of my golf balls.

We played the member tees, which measured 6,274 yards (71.1 rating, 137 slope). The course record was safe after the front nine, but I did manage to play the last five holes at +3.

The only other time I had visited Bearpath was to cover the 2008 Minnesota Golf Champions tournament, which moved from Minneapolis Golf Club for one year while that course was being renovated. I followed the lead groups on the front nine that day, so it was nice to see the whole course.

The clubhouse area is amazingly nice, with beautiful views of the ninth and eighteenth greens and a wonderful practice area. The pool and tennis courts looked great and the landscaping was lush throughout.

Course conditions were perfect and I enjoyed many of the holes (even if I had trouble scoring that day). I don’t recall which ones they were now, but a few holes on the back nine didn’t have as much character to me as the others (15?). I really liked the closing holes on each nine, however.

Thanks again to Bob, Phil and Bill for the great afternoon.

Twin Cities Marathon Participant Guide

Posted Tuesday, September 15th, 2009 04:31 pm GMT -5 in Running at 4:31 PM

The participant guides for the 2009 Twin Cities Marathon are now being mailed. If you’d like to take an early look, you can download the 44-page, 15.6MB file here.

This will be my sixth TCM and fourteenth overall marathon. I’ll be running with my friend and training partner Gina, who is competing in her first 26.2-mile adventure. She says she plans to burn her shoes after the race, but I think she’ll like it.

After the last few hot races in Duluth and the rain here last year, my fingers are crossed for decent weather on October 4th.

Only 19 days to go!

SMU Wins 2009 Gopher Invitational

Posted Monday, September 14th, 2009 10:59 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 10:59 PM

Kelly Kraft of Southern Methodist University set a new course record at Spring Hill Golf Club Monday, as he lead the Mustangs to a dominating team victory in the 2009 Gopher Invitational.

Kraft opened his round with a tap-in birdie on the first hole, followed by two pars, then a disastrous double bogey on the 192-yard, par three fourth hole. His tee shot found the left bunker and he bladed the sand shot over the green and down the hill into thick rough near a tree. The chip back towards the flag hit the surface of the green and rolled back into the original bunker. He was able to get up and down for a double bogey, but proceeded to go eagle-eagle-birdie on the next three holes.

The first eagle was on the 570-yard, par five fifth hole, where Kraft hit a blind pitch shot from the fairway that landed on the elevated green, hit the stick and dropped in the hole. The tees on the par four sixth hole were moved up to 288 yards and Kraft’s tee shot landed on the hill beyond the green and rolled back to the middle of the green. He sank the long, twisting putt for an eagle two.

After the eagles, Kraft birdied 7, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16 and missed a three-foot birdie putt on 17. The only other blemishes were a bogey on fifteen and a missed green on eighteen, where he was able to chip up for a tap-in par.

So to summarize, one double bogey, one bogey, seven birdies and two eagles gives you a course record 64. This broke the previous course record of 65, set a day earlier by Gopher Ben Pisani. Crazy good golf.

Scoreboards: Individuals | Teams

Round 21 – Ridges at Sand Creek

Posted Sunday, September 13th, 2009 03:01 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 3:01 PM

After a three-week break from golf, my friend Brad and I drove down to Jordan to play the Ridges at Sand Creek. We were paired up with another twosome and had a nice day on the course (although our scores weren’t anything to write home about). I must have been too tired that day as well, since my back nine score was about nine strokes higher than the front.

I don’t recall what the green fees have been the past few years, but this time it cost $43 to walk 18 holes on the weekend. That’s still a decent value, but it’s starting to get close to being on the high side for south metro courses. Then again, it seems like a great deal compared to courses like Legends Club ($79) and The Wilds ($80).

The course allowed a charity to set up a contest fundraiser on the the par three fifth hole. There were flags all over and you could make a donation where you could win prizes for hitting the green or making a hole-in-one. I normally encourage support of charity golf, but these unannounced weekend promotions sort of rub me the wrong way.

We had a little excitement at the end of our round, too – a wedding party was having a reception in the clubhouse and the entire group was out taking pictures on the deck (and being a little rowdy). I think a lot of them were wishing they were out on the course playing instead.

That reminds me – the only service issue we’ve had with this course lately was in the clubhouse. Brad and I stopped in at the turn and the person working the bar basically ignored us. If you don’t want to serve us, at least have some vending machines available.

On the flip side, the friendly rangers on the course have been wonderful, keeping the pace of play moving and offering rides to walkers from the valley holes back up to the prairie holes. We also haven’t seen any fivesomes on weekends lately (one of our previous pet peeves at this course).

Ridges at Sand Creek – Joel Goldstrand’s finest?

Round 20 – The Summit in Cannon Falls

Posted Sunday, September 13th, 2009 02:03 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 2:03 PM

Early last month, I played one of my favorite south metro courses, The Summit Golf Club in Cannon Falls. My round of 86 (five pars and one birdie) from the 6,471-yard white tees was one of the best of the year, so my thoughts on the course are understandably skewed. I even parred one of my nemesis holes – the 393 yard par four seventeenth hole (pictured above).

Head Golf Pro and General Manager Jack Baker said the year has been pretty decent, all things considered. The weather has been better this season and people seem to be staying close to home during the economic downturn (and still playing golf).

The weekend walking rate for 18 holes on the Championship course is $38 and the nine hole par 3 course is still a great deal if you have kids ($10 per adult and kids 16 and under play free).

2009 Blubber Run 5K

Posted Saturday, September 12th, 2009 09:43 pm GMT -5 in Running at 9:43 PM

Today, Colleen, Gina and I ran our first ever James Page Blubber Run 5K Run, Walk or Whatever race in Minneapolis. This event has been going on for a long time (18 years!), but I’ve never made it there until this year.

What a great deal – $35 gets you a T-shirt, two drink tickets (James Page root beer or craft beers), lunch, finishers medal and post-race snacks (apples, bananas, chips and salted nut rolls). They also have prizes for people running in costume and for the fastest runner.

Some of the costumes were really creative. I especially liked the baby running on the grandma (who might have also been the fastest), the patient in the bed (with multiple doctors), the Mario Brothers family and the shark with the legs sticking out of its mouth.

I was running this race to set a new 5K PR and I have to say, this was different from any other race I’ve done. Most of the people were there for the beer, so I ran with a small lead group that was running for time. I’ve never been with a lead group before, so that was weird. I finished in 23:12 (7:30 pace) all by myself and was maybe in the top 15.

After I finished, I walked back to the on-course beer garden near mile two and met up with Colleen and Gina. We all walked to the finish, had lunch, then headed home. Fun times…

Round 19 – White Eagle in Hudson

Posted Saturday, September 5th, 2009 10:22 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 10:22 PM

I’ve known the new general manager of White Eagle Golf Club, Matt Vandelac, as a longtime Tapemark Charity Pro-Am participant and jumped at the chance to play a round with him and course co-architect Garrett Gill a few weeks ago (even though it technically is Golfing in Wisconsin).

White Eagle opened in 2000 just north of Hudson, and I recall playing with owner Bill Block a few years after the opening. The original plan was to sell real estate around the course, and a number of lots were sold before the sector hit turbulence.

We ran into Bill again this time and he remains committed to the development. The hope is that a new river bridge will revitalize the economy in that area and the course will be maintained and upgraded until that happens. For example, their last newsletter touts that the waterfall behind the 18th green has now been completed.

Bringing in an experienced leader like Mr. Vandelac is also a sign they are committed to service. Matt was most recently at Big Fish Golf Club in Hayward, Wisconsin, and also helped open StoneRidge in Stillwater. Sign up for their eClub newsletter and you will get a sense of all the programs and specials Matt and his staff have implemented.

Even though I played poorly that day, White Eagle is a beautiful course. There are many holes that will remind you of the Brainerd Lakes region, with dense trees and vistas reminiscent of the north woods. It was fascinating listening to the pro and the architect discuss ideas for future updates as we played, but any changes will depend on funding.

2009 rates are $59 weekdays and $69 on weekends and holidays (plus tax). These prices include carts with GPS, which really are needed on the sprawling, hilly layout. Many specials and discounts are also available – give Matt a call at 888-465-3004 or email him at for more information.

Round 18 – Baker National

Posted Friday, September 4th, 2009 04:16 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 4:16 PM

I’ve always liked Baker National in Medina – no houses, nature abounds, interesting holes, the big red barn, etc. One of my best rounds of all time was shot here (83) and now, unfortunately, one of my worst (99).

There must have been something in the water that day, as our entire group played poorly. The weather was fine, the course conditions were good and the staff was as friendly as ever. I can’t even find the scorecard now from the round – must have been torn up and trashed before I reached the car.

Maybe next time will be better…

Canadian Culinary Creations

Posted Thursday, September 3rd, 2009 04:13 pm GMT -5 in Food at 4:13 PM

First, it was the Eggs Montreal at Jensen’s Cafe in Burnsville (“two farm-fresh eggs are poached and rest on smoked sausage patties, then smothered in sausage gravy, $8.45”).

Then came the Royal Mounted Bacon Poutine (see above) at Burger Jones in Minneapolis (“hand-cut fries smothered in a rich beef gravy with chopped bacon and Faribault Creamery cheese curds, $8.99”).

Throw in some Bob and Doug McKenzie back bacon and you can safely say I love Canadian cuisine…

Round 17 – Meadows at Mystic Lake

Posted Thursday, September 3rd, 2009 12:42 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 12:42 PM

Way back in July, I met with course co-architect Paul Miller for a round on the wonderful Meadows at Mystic Lake golf course in Prior Lake. Course superintendent Pete Nolan joined us, along with his first assistant, Andy Keyes.

We’ve written many times about the Meadows and I must say it is maturing into one of my favorite courses in the state. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community continues to make improvements to the course and the facilities, creating a top-notch golfing experience. Combined with the excellent lodging, dining, entertainment and gaming facilities, Mystic Lake is really becoming a destination resort.

Changes on the golf side of the operation this year include new leather seats on all power carts (with a nice Mdewakanton logo design), a new waterfall structure behind the par-3 seventh hole and some changes to prairie grass management. The web site this year is also new and features much more information than before.

The course has matured nicely and feels like it’s been there for ages. Conditioning on the day we visited was amazing, especially considering the lack of rain up to that point in the season. We played from the blue tees, which are 6,668 yards on the card, with a rating of 72.3 and a slope of 142. The tips stretch all the way back to 7,144 yards (74.6/146).

The normal $85 green fee includes a golf cart, tees and unlimited driving range. There are usually many specials and offers available, though, so it is a good idea to call ahead and ask (952-233-5533).

25th Annual State Fair Milk Run 5K

Posted Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009 01:21 pm GMT -5 in Running at 1:21 PM

My daughter and I ran our third straight Minnesota State Fair Milk Run 5K last Sunday under blue skies and perfect temps. Our unofficial “chip time” was 34:34 (according to my watch), but the official time was 35:24 (11:23 pace).

The 25th edition of the Milk Run had 1,327 total finishers (569 male, 758 female).

Here are the top three male finishers:

  • 1, Daniel Murray, 22, Blue Earth, MN, 16:17 (5:14 pace)
  • 2, Travis Hoover, 27, St. Cloud, MN, 16:27 (5:18)
  • 3, Thomas Tisell, 42, St Paul, MN, 16:30 (5:18)

And the top three female finishers:

  • 1, Kim Magee, 26, Bloomington, MN, 17:37 (5:40)
  • 2, Amy Lyons, 24, Mounds View, MN, 17:52 (5:45)
  • 3, Laura Roach, 21, Lakeville, MN, 18:14 (5:52)

7MM 2009 Milk Run Photo Gallery

Round 16 – Eagle Ridge in Coleraine

Posted Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009 11:17 am GMT -5 in Golf at 11:17 AM

Finally emerging from our PGA stupor – here is a northern Minnesota course we visited earlier this summer. Eagle Ridge Golf Course in Coleraine is my favorite Grand Rapids area course, stretching to 6,772 yards from the tips, with a rating of 72.1 and a slope of 132.

Course designer Garrett Gill made the most of the terrain, with holes four through six being my favorite stretch on the course. I guess it helps that I played them one-under-par, missing an ace by four inches on the 154-yard par three fourth.

The course wasn’t very busy when we were there, but was in good condition. The 18 hole walking rate is $29 weekdays and $32 on weekends and holidays.

Sign of the times – you can now become a fan of Eagle Ridge on Facebook.

Boogaard Modeling at the Fair

Posted Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009 10:42 am GMT -5 in Hockey at 10:42 AM

You know it’s almost time for hockey hibernation in Minnesota to end when you start seeing Wild players at the state fair. This year it was Derek Boogaard modeling the new third jersey and signing autographs last Sunday in the new Fan Central building.

Much has been written already about the new design and I’ll just say that I think it will grow on me, but it doesn’t knock my socks off. There are so many font styles battling that it seems a little disjointed (and that capitol “M” seems…weird). I guess I was just a big fan of the original Wild logo (that now only appears prominently on the white jerseys).

The new season is only 13 days away – let’s play hockey!

Minnesota State Fair 2009

Posted Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009 10:21 am GMT -5 in Concerts,Family,Food at 10:21 AM

Last weekend was my favorite annual tradition – two days at the Great Minnesota Get-Together in Falcon Heights. This was the 40th year in a row for me and was the most crowded visit yet (although I guess it was not a record).

We had tickets to the Saturday night grandstand show, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Kid Rock, so we decided to get there in the early afternoon. Our usual secret route to the parking lot across from the coliseum was totally backed up, but we did get a spot. Lines at all of the food booths were 10-15 deep and the streets were jammed with people.

The concert itself was entertaining. “Fake Skynyrd” was OK, the people watching was great and Kid Rock was an awesome performer. After the show, we watched the nightly dance party at the corn booth, then said hi to our friend Art, who performs every day at the Cafe Caribe stage.

Sunday was the 25th annual Milk Run 5K, which kid one and I ran together in 34:34. We saw a few neighbors out running too and my mother-in-law stopped in at the finish. It always amazes me how many people we run into at the fair each year.

The kids used up their Kidway tickets in record time and we hit most of the buildings and food stands we planned on, then left around 3PM. I spent a lot of money and ate a lot of food, but didn’t seem to gain too much weight this time. The stomach did need a few days to recover from the grease onslaught, though.


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