Life on the Links

July 7, 2020

Golfer, employee – and patient

By Dave Berggren

Most of us have played with Luke Haug from Team Shankapotamous. Luke, a quality engineer out of Rice Creek, is a two-year veteran of MDT Golf. He can rip his driver, is a Wisconsin Badger, and has been with the company since his graduation 5 years ago.

He’s also a Medtronic patient.

Luke recalls being sick when he was 13. “It was worse than the flu,” he remembers. “And I was almost in a coma.”

Doctors diagnosed him with type 1 diabetes. And he’s been using a Medtronic insulin pump ever since.

“It’s just a part of me,” says Luke. “And it’s something that I need to manage.”

His pump rarely limits him. It’s allowed him to participate in activities just like anyone else. It’s also had a hand in informing his career path.

“It got me interested in engineering and medical technology,” he says. “And being a patient has brought more meaning to my work.”

Luke is a pleasure to play with and he’s open to talking about his disease. Unfortunately, as advanced as his pump is, he admits there’s still not a feature to help with 3-foot putts.

Life on the Links

May 11, 2020

More than a Golf League?

By Dave Berggren

It turns out, we’ve all been duped. This isn’t just a company golf league.

It’s a weight loss program.

“Get your steps in,” chuckles League President Jim Dawson.

When the MDT Golf Committee decided to leave Bunker Hills for Victory Links, many of us agreed – it was simply time for a new venue. In reality, the Committee wanted to whip us into shape.

“We were getting too soft,” says Dawson. “We don’t need a casual round of golf, we need a workout.”

It’s working. Victory Links has us all hoofing it out there. There are approximately 4,000 extra steps at Victory Links compared to Bunker Hills. And if it wasn’t for “courtesy carts” some of us wouldn’t make it to the first hole.

Some are even suggesting paramedics should be standing by.

“Don’t forget to drink lots of water and eat lean protein,” says Dawson. “We’re here to pump (clap) you up.”

Someone stop him before he requires mandatory weigh-ins.

Life on the Links

April 27, 2020

MDT Golf is back. And it feels so good.

By Dave Berggren

Despite waiting for a range stall and learning to putt with a small-engine plane flying over you, Monday provided a smooth start to the 2020 season.

Brent Larson, captain of “I Like Big Putts,” showed up with a new look – and it perfectly summed up the situation we’re all in.

“I figured better safe than sorry,” he said after showing up to the course in a facemask. Turns out, Larson was in a sticky situation.

“My wife made it for me, I had to wear it,” he said. “Plus, now we can rename our team to ‘The Unabombers.’”

Aside from facemasks, it turns out, social distancing golf is better than no golf at all.

“It’s therapeutic to be out here,” said Barry Thompson. “And what a perfect weather night!”

Indeed. And Victory Links delivered, too. The fairways were green, the courtesy carts were a nice touch, and the free bucket of balls helped to shake the rust off.

As always, keep checking back to for stats, standings, and pairings – Jim Dawson continues running the best golf league website in the country. Additionally, this blog will be updated with league news, rumors, and anecdotes.

Capture something cool on the course? Send it my way:

Life in the Bunker

July 29, 2019

Birds, Beers, and Bogeys

By Dave Berggren

The 2019 season continues to be one for the ages.

On July 22, we met for a "10th Hole" round at Kendall’s Bar and handed out first-half awards. The crowd erupted when Darrin Dickerson took home a "Low Gross" honor. Congrats Darrin! Thank you to all who could make it out!

On that same night, Dave Kelly snapped a great shot of a hawk perched in a tree on Hole 1 West. Turns out, this is the same hawk that Bunker Hills purchased this year to ensure MDT Golf players weren’t cheating. It should be noted that the hawk followed Kelly all nine holes.

Here’s to a great 2nd half of the season! Let’s play well and commit to not letting Grass Destruction beat us by 25 points. They’ve proven to be the best bogey golfers we’ve seen in a long time.

Life in the Bunker

July 8, 2019

Young and Restless

By Dave Berggren

From the mouths of babes, the MDT Golf League's youngest players are speaking – or crying – out. Turns out, they're having a ball this season.

"I'm so glad I signed up," says Tanner Viegut, from I Like Big Putts. "At first, I thought it would be me and a bunch of old guys."

Tanner, 22, is a contract engineer at Rice Creek and the second-youngest player in the league.

"There are guys at Rice Creek who've been there a long time," he says. "But everyone has been great at work and in the league."

The League's youngest player is Willy Jahner. The 21-year old is a student engineer at Mounds View and a member of Putter Nonsense.

"I go back to school at the end of the summer," he says. "I've gotten used to playing with the older guys and I'm really enjoying it."

Both players are thankful for the opportunity to play in the league and get to know other employees at Medtronic.

But just to confuse them, feel free to bring up the original Nintendo, rotary phones, and floppy discs.

That's for calling us "old guys."

Life in the Bunker

June 10, 2019

Golfers Make Wrong Turn, Reported Missing

By Dave Berggren

The Medtronic Golf League has called Bunker Hills Golf Course home for nearly 10 years. But that doesn't mean every golfer knows where they're going.

According to multiple sources, four golfers somehow got lost on the course during Week 5's match. Sources say, golfers from "Putter Nonsense and "Fairway, Together" were supposed to tee off on Hole 9 on the North Course. Instead, they teed off on Hole 2 on the East Course and chaos ensued.

"We got really turned around," said Tom from Fairway, Together. Tom – who did not want us to use his last name – says the group played several wrong holes before finally figuring out what happened.

"Nobody noticed until we found ourselves in the middle of ladies night on the East Course," he said.

The golfers were found safe after being reported missing by Bunker Hills staff. Officials are encouraging all golfers to double check tee signs and follow course maps.

Perhaps laying bread crumbs may be an option, too.

Life in the Bunker

May 13, 2019

A hat with history

By Dave Berggren

For those paying attention on Monday, you may have seen a piece of Bunker Hills memorabilia. Jeff Helstrom, a member of Shankapotamous, wore a hat that has course officials opening up the history books.

"It's hard to find a hat that fits well," says Helstrom. "This one just fits well and makes sense on Monday nights."

But it might be more than a just a hat. Helstrom, a longtime member of MDT Golf, purchased the cap from a sale bin 10 years ago, but it's the logo that has people talking. City historians and Bunker Hills staffers believe the logo – which features a leaping raccoon – was only used for a brief time in the mid-80s.

According to sources close the course, the 30-year old hat was packed away in storage and intended for the city's history center, but somehow wound up on the sales floor. The hat might be worth hundreds of dollars.

"I've hit some great shots in this hat," says Helstrom. "I've also hit some shots I'd rather not talk about."

Helstrom says he has no intention of selling the hat.

Life in the Bunker

May 6, 2019

We're Underway

By Dave Berggren

Week 1 is in the books! It was a cool 52 degrees – some of you even wore shorts. It's a bold move to show off your legs in early May, so bravo to you. The fairways are far from lush, but according to course officials the "winterkill" is due to a rain-thaw-ice-repeat mix in December. They should be back to normal in a month or so.

I played with two new league members from "I Like Big Putts." (HR has been notified) Lorny and Barry were a joy to play with. Let me just say this. Barry has a HOT PUTTER. Watch out for this guy. (see photo) But ultimately, this is what it's all about – connecting with new guys and forming relationships. I hope this is what your Monday night looked like, too. Onward to Week 2.