April 2020 — Course Conditions Update

Brandon's Course Updates

April 6, 2020 —

Director of Agronomy: Brandon Arens

Pines Superintendent: D.J. Shallenberger

Dunes Superintendent: Jeff Wrage

At long last, winter’s hold has loosened its grip. 

In fact, we’ve been experiencing spring — verging on summer — temperatures for the better part of a month down here.

Last fall, we mentioned that weather is the “x” factor. Over the past 30 days, we’ve seen temperatures in the 20s and 30s, then temperatures in the 70s. One day, it even climbed into the 80s. We’ve had snow, sleet, rain, and sun as Mother Nature has flexed for us. 

It’s been a roller coaster for weather in northern Nebraska and our local members can attest. 

Snow on March 20
“3 Dunes approach and green with 4 in the background. These 2 days of 75+ degrees really greened up the Dunes.” — Brandon Arens

Despite the forecasts, our entire maintenance team is absolutely thrilled with the turf conditions that have emerged from the snow-covered slumber. The property is actually greener than it was last year at this time.

This was due to charging our irrigation systems so early (March 4-5) and applying water before the warm temperatures struck. 

See these photos of 11 Pines from earlier last week. This fairway, due to the darker soil along the canyon rim, has won our “first out of winter, best looking fairway” award on the property. 

Our Greens

We’re happy to report that the greens property-wide have emerged from winter in fabulous condition, as well. So much so, that we’ve already mowed for the first time.

Over the fall, we spread almost 350 bales of mulch on our greens for protection. It’s proven to be wise investment, yet again.  

Last year, March 19 was the first day we started spraying mulch off our greens. This year, we were all done with the job by April 5, pruned fingers and all. 

This definitely put us ahead of pace for the season, which is good. 

We’re aerifying all of the greens this month. They’ll be fully recovered come early May. 


Our goal with the bunkers this winter was simple: keep them. 

As evidenced by our photos below, our 1,200 bales throughout the property were successful! 

We have nothing else to add. That’s a win. 

Course Updates

We didn’t make any foundational changes to the courses over the offseason. However, we are happy to report back that the new tee box on 18 Dunes came out of winter in lovely condition. 

Take a look at the vantage point of the new Green tee (Women’s) and White tee (Men’s).  

Reminder of the look from the tee box (apologies, we have a new photo coming soon):

In other course updates, we’re always looking to find ways to make the course more playable while not interfering with the intent of the designers. 

One way we did this over the winter was by thinning out tree lines on the Pines Course. We were focused mostly on 16, 17, & 18, but did some thinning on Pines 5, as well.

If you’re able to play your ball from the base of a pine tree on any of these holes this summer, send a thank you letter to D.J. 

As a final note, we have a new team member in our maintenance building. His name is Shawn Hamling and he joins our staff as a full-time mechanic for all of our property’s dozens of machines.

Sometime this year, we’ll get a picture of Shawn on the job to introduce you to him. Shawn is a Valentine local and started on-site in April. We’re happy to have him on the team.