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Rugged Spruce: the place for golf and music

Jim and Colleen Myhre purchased what was then 29 Pines golf course just before Labor Day 2020, renamed it Rugged Spruce and - though Jim had just retired - life got very busy.

The purchase wouldn't have happened without timing and a certain inspirational phrase, said Jim, who had just retired. The saying came from a story a friend told Jim about hiring someone to cut down a tree right next to his house.

"The professional eyed up the tree and agreed that it was going to be a tricky fall," Myhre said. "He started up his chainsaw and made the cut. The tree fell just as planned and the house was not touched. He then turned to my friend Kurt and said, 'God hates a coward.'"

While Jim has been learning all about golf course management, Colleen runs the bar and the music, with live bands from 7-9 p.m. nearly every Saturday night from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Neighbor Sheila Buell stepped into the food side of the business and - with help from B&B Market - has remade the menu.

They renamed the golf course to avoid confusion with the nearby Pine Hill, run by friends. After a few hours of brainstorming with others, they landed on "Rugged Spruce." They thought the name would send a message.

"We wanted to give people the idea that we were not a prim and proper establishment that frowns on outsiders and golf hacks ... and make sure everyone felt welcome," Jim said.

They've come a long way in three years.

In the beginning, they didn't have a single piece of working lawn equipment. "What parts of the greens that weren't completely dried out were steeped with clover overgrowth," Jim said.

Then old and new friends and community members came to the rescue.

Local businessman, Brian Olsen, also lent his expertise and hard work from Day 1.

"He dedicates his summers to all sorts of capital improvements at the Rugged Spruce," Jim said. He listed many others who have helped make the course into a destination for golfers and music lovers alike. That included Paul Brigan, Dave Templeton, Dale Calverley and Mike Watson, who helped mow down grass that was over a foot thick on the fairways. Jim Kunze volunteers for just about everything, Jim said. Mick and Cindy Geary have been a huge help, as Mick built all of the clubhouse dining tables and outdoor planter boxes while Cindy plants and maintains flowers throughout the course.

"We simply couldn't be where we are today without all of these fantastic human beings," he said.

They redid the patio in the first year and named it after the John Prine song "Blue Umbrella." This unique vantage point gives a view to seven different golf holes.

In year two, they partnered with Rusty's Construction to build The Long Iron Stage for weekly outdoor music, and more rooms for parties, tournaments and other occasions.

"Colleen books the best local professional artists and musicians for our stage including herself," Jim said. "Last Saturday, we broke a Spruce record in sales as Boss Mama (Colleen) and our two sons, Saul and Luke, performed a two-hour set for over 200 people."

They use the golf carts for seating.

"People just love the fact that they can sit down in a comfy seat with shade and enjoy such great music," Jim said. "It's really become a staple in our business model."

Jim said the support of the local community has been vital in making Rugged Spruce a destination for golfers and music lovers, or folks just looking for a different place to socialize.

"We have regained relationships with old friends and have created a bunch of new ones," he said. "We want our place to be community friendly and oriented towards good folks."


Rugged Spruce Course Schedule

Monday: open golf

Tuesday: 6 p.m. Open co-ed league

Wednesday: 6 p.m. Women's league

Thursday: 3:30 p.m. Men's league

Friday: 10 a.m. Senior League.

All over 50 welcome.

Saturday: Blue Umbrella Patio Music Series at 7 p.m., weather permitting. Earlier start times in the fall.

Grill summer hours: 11 a.m. to

9 p.m. seven days/week.

Closing times may vary.

For more information, call 218-389-9754 or visit http://www.golf-

ruggedspruce.com or find them on Facebook @TheRuggedSpruceGolfClub.

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