2019 Marks The Golden Anniversary Of Dahlgreen Golf Club – You Have Come A Long Way Baby!
By R.J. Smiley
Fifty years ago, the old Tessman Farm sat on the edge of the small community of Chaska. With a vision in mind to transform the farm, Bill Tessman, along with his brother-in-law Paul Stans, decided to build a golf course. Over the past 50 years, the town has grown, Dahlgreen has matured and the course has stayed in Tessman family, managed by David and Steve since 1998. With the approach of the Golden Anniversary of Dahlgreen, plans are in place for a series of specials to celebrate.
A best seller could be written about the family owned golf course operation. The Dahlgreen Golf Club story is a classic American business success story.
With no experience in the golf business, but a burning desire to succeed, the Tessman Family quickly developed an unwritten business philosophy based on two basic principals: First, give the customers a continually improving product. Second, treat the customers like family and let them know they are appreciated.
Over the past 50 years the Tessman’s have made regular improvements to their golf operation. Once the tees and greens had been defined, a vigorous tree planting program begin. The saplings, that were spade transplanted, were never intended to create obstacles to frustrate golfers. The trees were intended to give each fairway definition on rolling but barren farm fields. Much like placing that golf hole in a picture frame. The mature trees now provide an avenue to play down and serve as windbreaks in the surrounding prairie.
To combat the additional length created by hotter balls and golf club technology, Dahlgreen has added new championship tees on several key holes. The added length has kept the course challenging for better players who hit it farther, while Dahlgreen maintains several sets of tees on each hole to allow golfers to find a tee to fit their game.
In addition to visible improvements like trees and tees, management has spent thousands of dollars on invisible improvements upgrading the irrigation system and improving drainage. The goal is perfect turf. Many golf courses continue to add bunkers to make their course more challenging. At Dahlgreen they have done the opposite. They have removed several fairway bunkers as trees now provide the definition necessary to have a quality hole.
In 2007 the restaurant and banquet room were upgraded and remodeled. With comfortable seating for 230, Dahlgreen can now accommodate large tournament outings and special events. Dahlgreen is unique in the fact that management will accept large golf outings on weekends. In an effort to give their golfers a better experience, the basement area including restrooms and locker rooms were modernized.
As a testament to the quality of the golf course, over the past 25 years the various MGA, PGA, Public Golf Association and High School League have selected Dahlgreen as a venue for championships and tournament qualifying site. Dahlgreen is well known as the public golf course with the private club quality greens. Longtime superintendent, Keith Faltebo, loves his 19 babies (18 greens on the course and the putting green) and it shows. Always tightly mowed, the greens are fast and smooth. But the greens are kept soft enough for average players to enjoy.
Peer Finstad, Director of Golf, keeps a finger on the pulse of the golf industry, uses advanced technology to allow golfers to book tee times and access special offers like “in house hot deals,” which are found only on their website. Peer is working with others as they bring area golf operations together in co-op marketing efforts that benefit golfer and golf course operators.
As the count down to the 2019 golf season and the 50th anniversary of Dahlgreen continues, golfers will see a variety of promotions at Dahlgreen Golf Club. Peer and the Tessman brothers want to thank all the golfers who have made their golf course successful. This fall, as those trees that once were hand planted saplings, frame each hole with a vivid fall mural with splashes of red, gold and orange, golfers will receive special promotional pricing and fun events. The remodeled clubhouse will be the site of festive activities celebrating a half-century of golf excellence.
You HAVE come a long way baby!