Rising Sun Golf Course

Emigrant, MT

Mike Peterson became aware of the DAKOTA Peat product through his golf course construction and the grow-in experiences. “On the first course construction project that I was involved in,” he says, “they used a different peat product. We didn’t have very good results and had to spend the next year doing mitigation just to get it to grow the right way.”

“With the second course that I did, we had the opportunity to use DAKOTA. That was a long time ago, now. Through that grow-in, I saw the benefits of DAKOTA and moving forward, I have used DAKOTA in all four of the construction and grow-ins that I have been involved with since then.” 


Peterson labels himself as a golf course superintendent with an asterisk. The asterisk is to indicate that he has become involved in recent years with projects in which he could manage the construction and do the grow-in. “I probably do more construction and grow-in than most guys want to,” he jokes of that role.

His current job is with the Rising Sun Golf Course at the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch at Emigrant, MT. That golf course, which is strictly for guests of the ranch and has magnificent view of Paradise Valleyon” runs from about the last week in May until about the second or third week in September.

“The course is in good shape, although it is extremely dormant right now,” he says of the now fading winter season. “It looked really good when we put it to bed last fall. We have been a little short on moisture, so we had to run around and do some watering. I can’t prove it scientifically and don’t know how you would, but I know the problems that we could have had if DAKOTA hadn’t have been in the greens mix. Things would have been a lot worse if the greens would have been built with straight sand.”

“We have high winds and low humidity,” he says of the southwestern Montana weather. “The wind can blow for five days straight at 25-30 mph day and night. That was one of the reasons why I pushed so hard for DAKOTA; to have some moisture-holding capability in the greens. The contractor that had been hired to construct the course had been looking at using just straight sand before I came on the job and was able to change their minds.”

“We’re really looking forward to opening this spring. We’re expecting an exciting season. The quality that we are trying to provide will be right up there with the best of the golf courses. We have a fantastic owner. The course was built just to serve the guests who come to ranch in the summer months. He went out of his way to make sure that the end product is world-class that it will be something that the guests will really enjoy.”

The 9-hole layout has 15 greens. In addition to the 9 holes on the course, there are three practice hole greens, two target greens on the driving range and a large practice putting green. The ranch is located 23 miles west of the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park, or about 50 miles from Bozeman or about 100 miles from Billings. 


“Over the years, I have had extraordinary success, both with the high-end courses that I have built and with the one before we came here that was lower-end,” Peterson says. “One of the things that I have been adamant about is the use of DAKOTA in the greens mix. Over a 20-some-odd-year career, I have had fantastic success with establishment and then long-term maintenance by having DAKOTA in the soil.”

“Over the years, I’ve have had every snake oil salesman and bug-in-the-jug guy come my way. We’ve tried some of what they’ve had but I haven’t seen anything that makes my job easier than to be starting out with DAKOTA in the mix. It has worked great for me and I have gone out of my way to tell whoever will listen among my piers about the advantages that I see in the product.”