When my father Harold Haugejorde led a group of community leaders to establish the Little Crow Country Club in 1965, it was nicknamed “Hal’s Folly”. Most current residents are grateful to the Commission for persevering. US Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman came because it was the largest such project funded by the Farmers Home Administration, bringing more than 50 years of positive impact to the community.
“A REPORT OF THE LITTLE CROW COUNTRY CLUB 1965-1968” subtitled “A RESOURCE CONSERVATION DEVELOPMENT PROJECT”, lists on page 3, secondary benefits to the recreational aspects of golf, as follows:
- Serve as a community social hub, a gathering place for activity.
- Provide job opportunities.
- Improve opportunities for promoting greater understanding and cooperation between regions.
- Aid in the development of our rural community.
- Increase the chances of retaining young people.
- Demonstration of the cooperation of individuals and government agencies for the public good.
- Better use of resources to produce greater benefits.
- An attraction for the industry.
- Decrease in crime.
- Increase property values.
What a model of mission! Kandiyohi County does not require another public golf course, so number 1 does not apply. For numbers 2-10? The performance of Tepetonka Club will be measured accordingly.
What about the environmental effect at Little Crow Golf Course?
When Minnesota’s Highway 23 was expanded, the water was tested entering and exiting the Little Crow course. The water came out cleaner than it went in. The reason ? Golf courses are a natural filter for sediments and other materials that otherwise move downstream. Fifty-five years later, the evolution of the ecological impact of golf courses has been tremendous.
As former general manager of the Jack Nicklaus International Golf Club, I was a shareholder in a company that designed over 400 golf courses around the world. My job was to align the Nicklaus brand with top partners including Visa, Citi, American Airlines, Ticketmaster and Microsoft. We have had success and my relationships with the industry are now in the fourth decade.
Tepetonka’s story begins with the right team. We apply best management practices throughout design, engineering, construction and operation. The team of experts is very experienced and we all have a lot of fun!
- Shakopee Creek is an incredible resource that requires heavy investment now.
- Shakopee Creek flows from Lake Andrew, it does not flow into Lake Florida.
- Our shoreline specialists have identified 19 erosion sites
a) There are 1,323 feet of eroding banks; five sites are classified as “Extreme Stress”
b) The worst (with fallen trees) produces 89 tons of sediment per year)
c) Total sediment per year from the 19 locations: 377.8 tonnes in total. That’s the equivalent of 27 dump truck loads every year.
- Working with the Kandiyohi Soil and Water Conservation District, Tepetonka is committed to investing in the protection and restoration of Shakopee Creek and hosting an annual fundraising event for farmers to help preserve and protect the banks of Shakopee’s waterways.
In addition to the banks, there are significant areas of invasive plants,
shrubs and trees that can be replaced with native species, creating habitat for pollinators, wildlife and increased species diversity.
- The expansive fairways of Tepetonka Golf Course meander between glacial moraines. The more than 100 acres of bromegrass will be replaced with native grasses, providing a nice ecological improvement for wildlife and conservation.
- In the early 1900s, the Tepetonka Hotel had Tepetonka Gardens to supply its guests with fresh fruits and vegetables. The new Tepetonka Gardens will span over an acre!
- Technological advancements in equipment, water management and nutrient use for course maintenance are now automated and tightly controlled to replace much of what was once a guessing game.
- In 1968 there were 55 resorts within 15 miles of the Little Crow course; today there are less than 10. Lakeshore has been developed with private residences.
- The economic impact of tourism is a big issue in Kandiyohi County, and the Tepetonka Club will become an important county asset.
a. 3% tourist tax on accommodation
b. Ad valorem (property) and sales taxes
vs. 20 to 30 well-paying full-time, part-time and seasonal jobs
D. Scholarships available for students, including a focus on trades
e. We buy local, wherever we can. Butcher, Baker, Candlestick.
F. We support first responders and schools.
g. We recommend to our members and guests where to dine and shop!
Tepetonka will continue its commitment to transparency and respectful communication to the community.
Finally, a few notes on real estate acquisitions:
- Cedar Hills Century Farm, Inc. owns the land – not 3 siblings. The siblings are shareholders, governed by the company’s articles of association.
- The negotiations were simple and straightforward. We made an offer based on a recent comparable sale of 80 acres located nearby. The offer was not accepted.
- We increased our offer by 20% and the offer was accepted; we now have a binding purchase contract. We have obtained an appraisal of the property for financing purposes and this demonstrates that our purchase price is fair.
- We have purchased two other plots which will be used for the clubhouse and accommodation
campus, plus a short course, plus rounds of a few holes of golf. Development costs on either side of the creek are about the same, as are land purchase prices. This land is much more suitable for vertical construction, including the Kandiyohi County Route 40 entrance.
With our recent Environmental Assessment Worksheet submission, updates will be provided as required.
Our pillars are Community — Fellowship — Charity. We build all three, thank you!
It’s good to be home in Kandiyohi County!
Mark Haugejorde is the manager of Tepetonka Club, a golf club development in northern Kandiyohi County.