1-23-2022

Good Morning,


This past week I was on vacation for the majority of the week.  Upon returning from vacation I continued to work on the golf course budget and Capital Improvement Plan for the 2022/23 fiscal period.  I will be having a couple of meetings this coming week to discuss these figures.


Saturday was a busy day in the clubhouse with a bridal shower in the morning and a Christmas party starting in the evening.  It was nice to have the clubhouse used during the off season.  The clubhouse hours will continue to be in operation on a limited basis this winter.  We have several events that are scheduled in the coming weeks.  


Each Sunday, for the past several months, I have recorded turfgrass data and a photo of our practice green for a study being conducted by the University of Minnesota.  The past two Sundays it was nice to have snow included in the photos.  This study has participants all over the world gathering information to help the golf industry better understand how winter weather affects turfgrass.  It will be very interesting to see the data once it’s completed.  


Enjoy the remainder of the weekend.  Please contact me with any questions or comments.  

Brian C Mohr

Director of Golf Operations
City of Spencer

101 W 5th Street

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 51301

712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com

1-16-2022

Good Morning,


We had some beautiful weather earlier this week followed by an actual winter weather snowstorm.  The snow cover acts as an insulation blanket for the turfgrass.  It provides protection from the colder temperatures and blowing winds.  It also provides moisture for the plant once it starts to thaw.  The precipitation is much needed for the golf course.  


Conditions had become very dry with high winds, up and down temperatures, and no snow cover.  I have continued to monitor the course conditions in preparation for hauling water to the greens if necessary.  The current snowfall will definitely help.  I’m probably one of the few who prefers a lot of snow in the winter because it’s necessary for the golf course.


On Wednesday there was a controlled burn conducted with coordination between public works, the golf course, and Spencer Fire Department.  We burned off the retention area to the east of hole #12.  We also burned the retention pond behind #12 green.  The cattails were too wet to burn so we didn’t have as much success as hoped.  We will give it another shot at a later date.

 Controlled Burn 2.jpg
 Controlled Burn 6.jpg

I have been working on small repairs to the reels off the units we use to mow greens, tees, and fairways.  There are a few rollers with bearings that are starting to fail along with some other welding to reinforce some of the bolts holding the rollers in place.  Both of these types of repairs are extremely important to keep the reel mowing at the proper height of cut at a high quality.  I will continue to work on equipment in the upcoming weeks.


I have completed my Capital Improvement Plan and will be reviewing it with our city manager, Dan Gifford, and Finance Officer, Brian Weuve.  Turf equipment is difficult to purchase just like everything else in these challenging times.  Most equipment is not available until 2023 and prices increase on a regular basis.  Equipment quotes are only good for 30 days if we’re lucky.  


On Friday morning I started a continued education conference for my NREMT license.  This conference will end later this afternoon and will include a total of 26 hours of training on EMT skills necessary to keep my licensing up to date with the National Registry for the SFD and City of Spencer.  


The upcoming week I will be taking some vacation time away from work.  I will be available through email if necessary.  2022 golf course fees can be paid online at our website or at city hall.  You can also make plans to pay them in the clubhouse starting January 24.  Enjoy the remainder of the weekend!


Brian C Mohr

Director of Golf Operations
City of Spencer

101 W 5th Street

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 51301

712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com

1-9-2022

Good Morning,


The up and down temperatures, high winds, and a lack of moisture creates a very stressful environment for our turfgrass at The Muni.  Snow cover is an invaluable insulation blanket offering the best protection considering our available resources.  I continue to monitor the health of our golf course greens on a regular basis.  At some point water might be necessary to haul if conditions don’t change.


The crown of the turf plant is what we worry about the most during the winter.  If it dries out too much it can cause turf loss in the Spring.  Foot traffic is definitely an added type of stress that can have an adverse effect at this time of the year.  With above normal temperatures in the forecast I ask that you please stay off the golf course.      


The windy conditions continue to wreak havoc with our sand traps.  In the Spring we will use a large blower to see if some of this sand can be moved back into the traps.  We will also plan to haul more sand to the traps at a later date.  Below is a picture of the sand trap by the chipping green on the driving range:
 Chipping Trap.jpg


I have been working on the new order of scorecards with NW Printing.  I have added our policy on group size to the scorecard along with a couple other small changes.  The scorecard inventory usually lasts close to four years and two sponsors offset the cost.  This year Weasy’s and SMU will be sponsoring our scorecards.  I thank them both for their support at The Muni.  I’ve added a couple of photos:
 Weasy Card.jpg
 SMU Card.jpg


This weekend I was able to complete the reel sharpening for this off season.  There were 24 total reels sharpened along with the bedknives.  This coming week I will go through each reel and adjust the height of the cut accordingly.  There are also some small repairs to make on some rollers and welding.  Otherwise these units are ready for another season.


We accumulated a lot of tree branches and other debris after all the pruning and removal this fall.  The Street Division will be hauling away some of the large stuff and I will run the smaller stuff through the wood chipper.  In the future we will run the debris through the wood chipper at the time of pruning and removal to save time with clean up.  


Enjoy the remainder of the weekend.  Please contact me with any questions.  2022 fees can be paid online or arrangements can be made to make those payments in the clubhouse or at city hall.  Cheers!

Brian C Mohr

Director of Golf Operations
City of Spencer

101 W 5th Street

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 51301

712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com

12-2-2022

Good Morning,


This past week I started working on the off season reel sharpening process.  Some equipment is a rotary mower, such as your home lawn mower.  There are also quite a few reel type mowers at the golf course.  This type of mower completes the process by a reel rotating and ever so slightly contacting a bedknife.  The cutting of the turfgrass is a result of this process.  


These reels are kept in adjustment on a daily basis.  It is imperative to keep the adjustment correct to create a clean cut of turfgrass.  When the reel falls out of adjustment there is more of a tearing effect when mowing.  This causes stress to the turf and can result in more disease and higher stress levels.
Each winter I sharpen the reels and/or sharpen/replace the bedknives  This week’s update is going to walk you through the steps in the sharpening process.


The reel is removed from the machine.  Next the bedknife is removed from the reel.  The reel is checked for any mechanical issues or necessary repairs.  The reel has to be uniform when it is mounted and leveled on the sharpening machine.


The grinding stone is guided across each reel individually.  Our machine is extremely outdated but it is still effective for our needs.  Over and over and over again until a new edge is established on the reel and the correct bevel is on each blade.  Below is a photo of this process:

 Reel Sharpen.jpg
Next the bedknife is mounted and leveled on a separate sharpening machine.  This grinding stone creates a sharp edge on the bedknife.  This process doesn’t take as long as the reel sharpening but it is just as important.  Below is a photo of this process:

 Bedknife Sharpen.jpg

Lastly, the bedknife is attached back onto the frame.  The reel and bedknife are adjusted until there is slight contact that is uniform all the way across the bedknife.  The reel will cut a piece of paper all the way across when it is properly adjusted.  The height of cut is checked and now the reel is ready for the new golf season.

 Adjusted.jpg
If the reels are not kept in close adjustment, on a daily basis, there will be visible imperfections in the turf following a mowing.  Proper adjustment and sharp reels allow for a more attractive and healthy cut of turf.


I have also spent time working on the 2022/23 budget and Capital Improvement Plan.  Turf equipment is in very high demand and the wait period for out of stock equipment is well into 2023.  That is just a crazy thought to try and process for me.


I would like to thank Councilman George Moriarity and Mayor Kevin Robinson for their contribution to the City of Spencer during their tenures.  You both have been a pleasure to work with each day.  I look forward to the next phase as Mayor Steve Bomgaars and Councilman Brian Balk start their terms.


Please let me know if there are questions or more information needed on any topics related to the golf course.  I will see the golf board and city council at the respective meetings on Monday evening. 

Brian C Mohr

Director of Golf Operations
City of Spencer

101 W 5th Street

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 51301

712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com

12-26-2021

Good Morning,


This past week had more above normal temperatures which allowed me some time to pick up branches from around the golf course.  We were pretty fortunate to not lose any large trees or branches.  The majority of our damage was only small branches.  There are still some that need to be removed from the course, but quite a few were removed.  


I spent a lot of time working on a Best Management Practices (BMP) manual for the golf course.  This is through the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).  It is a program that focuses all management aspects in an efficient and environmentally sustainable manner.  It’s a 140 page document that provides a lot of information to help us become better environmental stewards.  It’s a great guide to follow as we look ahead to the future of golf at Spencer Municipal Golf Course.


The 2022/23 budget was also a large part of my week.  These preliminary figures are due to be completed in the next week in preparation for city council review.  I plan to have the rough draft completed in time for the next golf board meeting.


Lastly, I have been working on new scorecards for the 2022 golf season.  Our inventory of scorecards lasts about four years.  This year the scorecards will be sponsored by SMU and Weasy’s.  I am currently waiting for a second proof of the new cards and hope to have them ready for print by the end of the coming week.  


I hope each of you had a wonderful Christmas and holiday season with your loved ones.  Happy holidays from my family to your’s!  

Brian C Mohr

Director of Golf Operations
City of Spencer

101 W 5th Street

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 51301

712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com

12-19-2021

Good Morning,


A wild and crazy week has come to an end.  Last Sunday we had seven inches of snow covering the ground and I was feeling comfortable with the insulation blanket on the turf for the winter.  A few days later we have 65 degree weather with 70 mph winds and half an inch of rain.  Not so comfortable anymore. 


What a chilling weather pattern that was Wednesday night.  The warm temperatures removed the snow from the golf course mid afternoon.  The heavy rain and melting snow filled our irrigation pond and waterways from the surface moisture.  Then the high winds dried the moisture out of the top of the soil profile.  Moisture is so important for the golf course during the winter months.


We lost a lot more of the new sand and quite a few tree branches during the high winds and severe thunderstorm.  It was such a great project to finish hauling sand to all the traps then have it affected by Mother Nature.  Scary weather but nothing major in the scope of things.  Staff and I will plan to haul more sand in the spring.


Tuesday I attended a seminar sponsored by the Minnesota Golf Course Superintendents Association.  This event was held in Marshall, Mn.  Eric Watkins, U of Mn professor in the turf department, covered some great topics ranging from germinating bentgrass in colder spring temperatures, irrigation monitoring, and a winter turfgrass study.  
The Spencer Municipal Golf Course is one of the sites for their winter turfgrass study.  The majority of golf courses participating are in the upper midwest of the United States, but they stretch into Canada and as far east as Finland.  The study consists oft a submission of data and pictures every Monday around 1:00 PM.  The data will be used to better understand how turfgrass is affected by ice, snow, and colder temperatures.


I have continued to work on cleaning and organizing the clubhouse.  Both of our ice machines have been cleaned and sanitized in preparation for the upcoming season.  C&D Refrigeration was on site to complete some preventive maintenance as well.  Floors and bathrooms have been scrubbed, cleaned, and sanitized.  Walls, cupboards, and cabinets have been organized, cleaned, and sanitized.  It’s a lengthy process but it’s making a big difference.


Reels were removed from all the mowers and preparation work is being done to start the sharpening process.  The old bedknives are removed from each reel and a new one screwed onto the bracket.  Next week I will start the reel and bedknife sharpening process.  This is done annually to produce a uniform high quality of cut which helps limit turfgrass stress.


The clubhouse will remain open the upcoming week, so golfers can purchase gift certificates or pay their 2022 dues.  If I am not in the clubhouse get in touch with me and we can make arrangements to meet or I can assist with an online payment.


I wish each and every one of you a joyous and happy holiday season!  


Brian C Mohr

Director of Golf Operations
City of Spencer

101 W 5th Street

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 51301

712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com

12-12-2021

Good Morning,


The past week the main priority was beginning to thoroughly clean the clubhouse.  This process will continue into next week as well.  Everything is being cleaned from the floor to the ceiling.  It’s nice to smell the cleaning products in the air.  I will also set up a time to clean the carpets sometime in the future.  


Last Sunday night we had extremely high winds in Spencer.  I was nervous sitting in my living room listening to objects bounce off the windows.  I arrived at the golf course to discover a lot of the new sand blown out of the traps.  The areas on the south end of the golf course were affected most severely.  Sand was blown across several greens with some still remaining in the traps.  We will plan on hauling more sand before spring.
 #4 Green & Sand.jpg


I sprayed the greens Wednesday afternoon with a snow mold application.  This application will help reduce the disease pressure once the snow starts to melt in the spring.  We also ask the golfers to respect the closing of the golf course for the 2021 season.  Foot traffic can compromise the chemical application.


Equipment maintenance and service is also on the agenda this time of the season.  Oil changes, new filters, and repair work lead the list of shop duties.  Also preparing the reels for the off season sharpening process.  We have been addressing oil changes and documenting necessary repairs at this time.


The 7″ snowfall will hopefully stick around and provide some insulation for the turfgrass and a blanket for the remaining new sand in the traps.  The above normal temperatures really dried the course out the past few weeks.  Not many people enjoy a lot of snow but it’s necessary for the golf course.  I’d be in favor of one large snow storm that covers the ground until spring with no additional snow. 


I spent time updating information on our website www.spencermunigolf.com.  The 2022 events have been listed as well as new photos added to the gallery and home page slider.  All of the information should be updated and current for the new year.  Please let me know if anyone sees anything I might have missed.  Additional events will be added as they are confirmed.


I will continue to have the clubhouse open for gift certificates and 2022 fees due.  Enjoy the remainder of the winter wonderland weekend and enjoy the holiday season!


Brian C Mohr

Director of Golf Operations
City of Spencer

101 W 5th Street

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 51301

712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com

12-5-2021

Good Morning,

It has been a very busy fall season at the golf course.  Unseasonably warm weather has allowed us to complete many projects.  This week I am providing you a run down of the past couple of months at the golf course:

Our greens were aerified during the month of October.  This process helps reduce compaction in the soil, allow deeper root penetration, and helps move water through the soil profile.  After aerification I noticed quite a few of our greens need to be mowed back out to their original size.  I documented these greens as well as the tee boxes.  These areas will be mowed shorter in the spring to achieve the original shape of these greens and tees.  It is normal for these areas to become smaller over the years and this practice needs to be done every five or so years.

The irrigation system was blown out and winterized mid November.  The process went smoothly with no issues.  I documented about a dozen small repairs that needed to be completed prior to the 2022 season.  There are still a couple of small repairs to complete that don’t affect the operation of the system. 

We were able to complete those repairs late in November.  I also submitted the 2021 irrigation report to the Iowa DNR.  We irrigated 118.97 acre feet (out of a maximum 121.5 acre feet) and pumped 70.23 acre feet of water (out of a maximum 81 acre feet) from the well April 1 thru November 10.  An irrigation permit was received to irrigate in the month of November.  An acre foot of water = 326,000 gallons of water.

This fall we pruned trees around the entire golf course.  Trees were pruned to make maintenance easier around each tree without affecting the integrity of the natural shape of the tree.  We also removed multiple dead or damaged trees around the golf course.  The only part to complete is the stump removal.

tree pruning.HEIC

The past couple of months we spent time addressing our sand traps on the golf course.  We went through each trap several times to remove rocks or debris present.  Then we pushed sand from the bottom of each trap to the face.  Over time the sand is washed down by rainfall, irrigation, and wind.  After pushing the sand to the top of each trap we were able to measure how much sand was present and calculate the amount of sand to add.  

#5 trap finish (2).jpg

The next part of this process was repairing damaged areas around the perimeter of the traps.  We removed soil and added new sod to bring the sand traps back to their original shape.  The front right sand trap on #14 was another large project for us.  We cut three feet of sod away from the face of the trap toward the green.  Next we added 12” of soil to this area and replaced  the sod.  By raising this area it will help limit how much surface drainage goes into this trap in the future.  

#12 trap repair.HEIC

14 bunker project 8.HEIC

Finally, we hauled 132 ton of sand to the majority of traps around the golf course.  Several of the sand traps had minimal sand present and they received a total of 6”-8” of sand throughout.  The street division hauled the sand to the golf course 12 tons per truck.  We used our loader and one ton dump trucks to haul the sand to the traps.  We leveled the sand evenly with our trap rakes.  We tried to leave the sand compacted so the wind will have less influence on it moving into the winter months.  There were only five traps not receiving sand (#2G, #11F x 2, #11G, and #14F x 1).  

#3 new sand.HEIC

The tile area behind #12 was not functioning properly a few months ago.  Cemetery staff used a small track hoe to dig up the area and expose the tile in the damaged area so it could flow properly.  The repair process was on hold until this fall when the water flow in the tile slowed down.  This tile had over five feet of tree roots plugging the line and impeding the flow of water  This caused saturated soils across #5 and #13.  Probing the soil would produce water shooting several feet into the air.  On December 3rd we finished repairing this tile and added a couple of valve boxes which will allow us to clean it out easier in the future.  The tile was functioning during these months, it simply needed to be put back together and buried.

tile repair.jpg

Friday, December 3 was the last day for golf in the 2021 season.  There were quite a few players taking advantage of the beautiful weather in November which extended into December.  Early next week I will be spraying the greens with a fungicide and wetting agent.  This application is done to help prevent “snow mold” on the greens.  This fungus is dark gray or pink and leaves very unsightly turf in the spring.  The fungicide application is always the last golf course procedure on the grounds.  Golfers will compromise the integrity of the application so the course is closed until the 2022 season.

snow mold.heic

The clubhouse will still be open as we move forward.  I will be completing a thorough cleaning of the facility.  Patrons can also stop in to purchase gift certificates or pay any fees that are due for 2022.  Please contact me with any questions so I can provide further information.

Brian C Mohr

Director of Golf Operations
City of Spencer

101 W 5th Street

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 51301

712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com

11-28-21

Good Morning,


This past week allowed us to complete the remainder of our fall tree pruning at the golf course.  Staff was able to cover the entire golf course and remove any low hanging branches without disrupting the integrity of the natural tree shape.  Tree pruning is essential for the health of the tree, ease of turfgrass maintenance, and allows the golfers to have a safe swing.  We still have one dead tree to remove as well as our stump removal at a later date.


The clubhouse was open several days for golf.  We had approximately 24 golfers on multiple days during the week.  Most of the golfers were members for the 2021 season but our receipts were still worth being open.  The golf course will be open all of next week for golf and closed for the season after Friday, December 3.  Gift certificates will also be available for sale in the clubhouse for your holiday needs!


I was able to complete the equipment, small assets, and clubhouse inventories this past week.  These inventories are used for our annual insurance premiums at the golf course.  Up to date records help us keep accurate documentation of all contents in our buildings and ensure we have the proper coverage for all areas of the golf course.  


This upcoming week Mother Nature is giving us some more great weather.  One of our focal points will be irrigation repairs.  During the irrigation blowout we noticed several small repairs in a dozen of the stations.  These range from a faulty irrigation head, cracked lateral line, or compromised diaphragms.  The warm weather will allow us to complete these repairs at this time when we would normally wait until spring.


The other project will be hauling sand to the traps around the golf course.  The street division will assist us with delivering the sand.  My current plan is to have the trucks drop the sand at the designated trap on the golf course.  The backup plan will be to dump the sand at the maintenance facility and haul it onto the course with smaller trucks.  


Once the sand has been delivered to the traps we will use our trap rakes and loader to distribute it evenly throughout and maintain the original design of the trap.  Hopefully this process goes smoothly and can be completed in an efficient manner.     


I hope each of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.  Enjoy the sunshine coming our way and contact me if you have questions or need additional information.

Brian C Mohr

Director of Golf Operations
City of Spencer

101 W 5th Street

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 51301

712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com

11-21-2021

Good Morning,
We continued to work on sand trap maintenance on the golf course.  There were quite a few traps with damage around the edges.  Some areas are due to leaving the sand traps in the same place after machine raking on a daily basis.  We cleaned these areas out and added new sod to bring the bunker back to its original shape.  The end result was excellent.

 #12 trap repair.HEIC
 #13 trap repair.HEIC

There has also been sand traps with surface drainage issues causing erosion and leaving the trap filled with water for extended periods of time (some traps fill with water due to a high water table).  The right sand trap on #14 green is the most significant problem area with surface drainage.  We removed the sod on the face of this sand trap at a distance of three feet toward the green.  Fill material was added to raise the area approximately 12 inches then the sod was laid back in place.  Here is a few photos:

 14 bunker project

2.HEIC 14 bunker project 5.HEIC 

14 bunker project 9.HEIC

Earlier in the fall we went to each sand trap and pushed the sand from the bottom of the trap up to the face and high parts of the sand traps.  Rainfall and irrigation causes the sand to naturally wash down to the low spots of the sand trap over time.  Going through each sand trap allowed us to return the traps to the original shape and document which ones need sand added late this fall.  Here is a picture of the end result on #5:

 #5 trap finish (2).jpg

Landscaping clean up, minimal tree pruning, as well as one large cottonwood tree to remove will start off the week ahead.  Sand trap work and sod will also be scheduled.  Equipment maintenance will also start soon.  Our last project will be adding sand to quite a few of the traps, once the ground firms up substantially.    


High winds really helped out with leaf removal this past week but also caused some issues.  There are several areas around green mounding where the leaves have accumulated in deep piles.  Heavy piles of leaves can eliminate sunlight to the turfgrass and smother the plant.  This can lead to turfgrass diseases or even lost turf.  These areas will be cleaned up early in the coming week.

Brian C Mohr

Director of Golf Operations
City of Spencer

101 W 5th Street

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 51301

712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com