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Artist Patrick Dougherty is creating an earthy outdoor castle at the Arboretum

Out of willow twigs, branches and saplings, an earthy castle is being constructed at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen.

Artist in residence Patrick Dougherty started work with teams of volunteers and Arboretum staff May 6. The “Big Build” takes three weeks to erect an installation that will last two years.

It is the second sculpture he will have built at the Arboretum. The first was back in 2010 with “Uff da Palace.” Dougherty is still amazed by the structural integrity of the palace when heavy snow fell during its run.

“The Metrodome roof fell that winter, and ‘Uff da Palace’ stayed up,” he said. “I have to say it might have been a miracle.”

Already, volunteers were organizing stick piles Monday morning as Dougherty assessed the given space. His starting plan is to assemble five towers with a walled-in walking area, and possible labyrinthine design.

Though each sculpture is different, he always strives for a similar effect.

“My main instinct in sculpture is to have the effect on the audience to make somebody come running and look at the thing,” he said. “You know, I like using space in exciting ways.”

Lara Bockenstedt / Photos by Lara Bockenstedt  

Artist Patrick Dougherty has started phase one of his “Big Build.” The sculpture will be named at some point during the building process.

INTERPRETATION

Dougherty enjoys getting to know volunteers and talking with visitors. How the public interprets the sculpture is an essential part of the building process for him.

“I’ve gotten lots of good starting points for work by having the viewer as part of the equation. They count as much as the sculpture,” he said. “In other words, their interactions, and their thinking about it, and their discussion ... tends to serve and quicken my spirit and make me work in more fruitful ways.”

The environmental artist has made more than 300 stick sculptures around the globe since 1982. Averaging 10 sculptures a year, he books far enough in advance that he is looking at scheduling sculptures in 2021.

PHASES

The sculpture will come together in three phases of work. The first phase is structure through creation of the sculpture’s “exoskeleton.” The surface of the sculpture, and its aesthetic, are built in the second phase. The final phase is cosmetic as details are fixed and the structure’s integrity is checked.

Daugherty is sympathetic to weather in designing his sculptures. In Minnesota, this means snowfall and wind will influence how the towers are built.

Staff at the Arboretum said his work is “perfect” for the space.

“The twists and turns — the turrets — are really so cool to look at and visitors can experience the structure by going inside, taking pictures and making memories,” said Media Specialist Susie Hopper. “His work has a charming personality, is beautiful and evokes a sense of wonder.”


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Hazeltine prepares for golf championship this summer

The best women golfers from around the world will descend upon Chaska to compete for the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship trophy in just over a month.

Course preparations at Hazeltine National Golf Club began this week, according to Championship Director Renee DeLosh. Tents to accommodate thousands of volunteers, workers, players and attendees will be erected on the site within the next six weeks.

There will be a fan zone, hospitality tents and concession stands for the major, set for June 18-23. Hazeltine’s pro shop will serve as the merchandise shop.

The behind-the-scenes prep work began nearly two years ago, when DeLosh was named director. There are currently seven people on staff, who work out of a makeshift office on Hazeltine grounds, off of Pioneer Trail.

They work closely with those working at the PGA’s headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

“It’s a two-year runway that we’ve been on site planning and preparing,” she said. “We’ve gradually built our team here, we have several people on staff and we’ve been working diligently.”

Interest in the tournament has been strong so far, DeLosh added.

The 1,500 spots open to volunteers during the tournament have already filled up. Those volunteers will be hole marshals, provide media center services, daycare for the children of athletes and more.

“Some of them do their work before the event, most will be during the championship. We’ve seen tremendous support for volunteers,” DeLosh said.

Volunteers themselves are a key part of the tournament.

DeLosh, who lives in Minnetonka, started her career at the PGA by volunteering for the 2002 PGA Championship at Hazeltine. Most recently, she worked as the corporate hospitality sales director for the 2016 Ryder Cup.

DeLosh said the job is a perfect fit.

“I’ve played golf since I was 5 years old. I am a personal fan of the sport, too, and it’s a bonus for me that I get to work in the industry.”

Residents can expect to see cars, bikes and even people walking to and from Hazeltine during the six-day tournament. Weather permitting, there will be onsite parking.

However, if it rains, there’s a backup plan that involves buses, DeLosh added. Attendees will be free to walk onto the course or use a ride-sharing app.

“We are in record pace in tickets and hospitality. Minnesotans are hungry for golf tournaments and we’ve seen good support.”

Grounds tickets are as low as $20 for practice rounds and $30 for competition play.

“I’m incredibly excited for June. It can’t get here fast enough,” PGA of America President Suzy Whaley said, at a May 6 media day event at Target Field.

“What makes this so special is the unique collaboration between the LPGA, KMPG and PGA of America. One that is so unique that comes together to really elevate women on and off the golf course, to get them on network television, and to showcase some of the best women athletes in the world in a way we feel they are deserving of,” Whaley said.

WELCOME BACK

Hazeltine is one of only two golf clubs in the country to have hosted every premier championship offered by the USGA and PGA of America and the only club in the country selected to host the Ryder Cup for a second time.

The 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship is the first major women’s event at Hazeltine since the U.S. Open in 1966 and 1977. In total, this is the fifth major women’s tournament hosted in the state of Minnesota.

“For us at the PGA of America, we always take our championships to highly contested, traditional, amazing venues. And that includes women,” Whaley said. “We’re very proud to have put women on courses where traditionally male championships were played. ... We couldn’t be more excited to be on a venue like Hazeltine.”

With the addition of the KPMG sponsorship in 2015, the championship event has seen an improvement in courses. Olympia Fields near Chicago was host in 2018.

At Hazeltine, golfers will experience fast greens, with the rough and fairways similar to previous men’s majors.

The course layout will resemble its normal order, with the signature hole along Lake Hazeltine at No. 16. Holes five through nine and No. 14 through 18 were flipped during the Ryder Cup.

“To move this event to such great venues, specifically here in Minnesota, it’s such a remarkable thing for this event. The way this community has supported the game of golf, it has given me some of the most most memorable moments in my career, specifically the 2016 Ryder Cup,” said famed PGA champion Phil Mickelson, a KPMG endorser. “I will never forget the feeling of being on the golf course. Being a part of the most exciting coming together of a crowd I’ve ever witnessed or been a part of. Something I will always cherish.”

Mickelson said the Minnesota community has come together with incredible support for every event he’s played in dating back to the 1991 U.S. Open at Hazeltine.

Stacy Lewis, an 11-time LPGA Tour winner, said she’s never played at Hazeltine, but after watching the course on TV for the Ryder Cup, she’s excited to get out and find out what she can before the tournament begins.

“That’s long. But I’m OK with that,” said Lewis of the 6,800 yardage for the championships. Like Mickelson, Lewis was at Target Field for the media event. “The harder the better. You want a championship that tests all aspects of your game.”

And Lewis and the other players hope for big crowds.

“You ask most players, this is the best tournament we have. When you show up on the grounds it feels like a major tournament. ... It feels like a major when the fans show up,” Lewis said.

The best in the world, back again at Hazeltine National.

“Every year we see a magnificent event elevated even further,” said LPGA Chief Brand and Communications Officer Roberta Bowman. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to see, not just the best players from NCAA, and the LPGA, but the folks who qualify for this event are the best in the world. It’s the Olympics coming to your community.”

“It’s a place where dreams come true,” she added.