Still putting at 81 years old
A lot of moving parts are necessary to run the Blooming Prairie Country Club and those parts have been in motion since the clubhouse opened on Thursday, March 31.
Warmer temperatures late last week brought more golfers to the nine-hole course, one of the more popular courses located in southeastern Minnesota. The BP Country Club was founded in 1935, thus this year marks the 81st opening for the course. The clubhouse was built in 1976.
“We try to make the course look nice and better every year,” says Kurt Blome, president of the BP Country Club Board of Directors. The board met on Tuesday of last week to address golf club business and meets monthly.
Board members include Kurt Blome, president; Tony Motl, vice president; Melody Benson, treasurer; Lori Lysne, secretary; Aaron Ressler, club pro; Jeremy Doerhoefer and Kyle Strunk.
Barb Waggie is clubhouse manager in her third year and Roger Hanson is grounds manager in his sixth year. Hanson directs a crew including Ken Behnken, Alan Benson and Andrew Hardecopf. The crew has been working on the course since early April. “Their work is critical and they do a great job,” said Blome about the grounds crew’s work.
“The course survived the winter very well but a cold spell in early April set us back a bit,” said Hanson.
Behnken mows the roughs and Benson takes care of the greens, tees and fairways. “Anything and everything” is how Hanson describes his duties at the golf course. Prior to joining the BP Country Club crew six years ago, Hanson worked 10 years at the Green Lea Golf Course in Albert Lea and logged five years at the Austin Country Club.
The country club is open from 8 a.m. until sunset. Opening will be an hour earlier at 7 a.m. beginning in mid-May, says Waggie.
The club has a roster of 140 members and always encourages new members including younger golfers to join, says Waggie and Ressler. Golfers come from Blooming Prairie, Owatonna, Austin, Albert Lea, Medford and from other surrounding communities.
A special new member package is offered to adults at $19.99 a month for 10 months. These memberships require a cart to be rented. Youth memberships for BP residents are available at $50 for the season. College students can also take advantage of a special membership at a cost of $125 for the season.
Ressler says he plans to run junior camps again, ages five and up. He also gives private lessons for adults. Ressler will give lessons at the course and also at the site of his simulator range downtown.
“Many people are threatened by golf and many be embarrassed by their play but golfers should realize they don’t have to hit every shot,” Ressler said. “It’s a sport that people can carry with them the rest of their lives,” Ressler added. “Golf is time consuming but also very rewarding,” Ressler said.
Men’s League play begins at the BP Country Club on Monday, May 2. Women’s League action starts on Wednesday, June 1. A special pancake breakfast is planned for Sunday, May 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. A three-person scramble begins with a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m.
Other season highlights include: Tuesday, June 7, KC/Masons Dinner; Saturday, June 18, 4-Person Fun Tournament; Saturday, July 2, 2-person scramble; Wednesday, July 20, Chamber outing; Saturday-Sunday, July 23-24, Men’s/Women’s Junior Club Championship (members only); Wednesday, Aug. 3, Women’s Cancer Tournament; Sunday, Aug. 7, Couples Tournament; Saturday, Aug. 13, Calcutta Tournament, 2-person scramble and Sunday, Sept. 10, 2-person 6-6-6 Tournament (best ball, scramble, alternate shot -- flighted -- end of year prizes with discounts on food and beverage
The BP Country Club is well known for its quality food. “It has the best food ever,” says board member Lori Lysne. A complete bar menu is offered with appetizers, burgers, sandwiches and Friday night specials (Memorial Day through Labor Day).
The club, available for private parties including graduations, offers 3.2 beer sales and byob.