10-14-18

The weather has been very poor all week.  The golf course is closed today due to the snowfall and low temperature.  This has definitely limited our outdoor activity but has allowed quite a few projects completed inside.
The clubhouse closed early every day this week.  There were a handful of golfers out and about braving the elements.  Next week looks a little better.  We also have a tournament scheduled for the 21st.  It looks like the long range forecast is 60 and sunny for next Sunday.
The new simulator is pretty much ready to go.  It has taken a lot of time working with Solutions and SMU to get the proper modem installed and getting the connection through the firewall.  The golf courses still need to be downloaded but the range is up and running.  The yardages and ball flights are very accurate.  It is quite impressive.  I’m excited to get the courses downloaded and people can start golfing.  It requires a laptop, ipad, and a lot of patience to get this thing to where it will be functioning properly.
I spent time working on our chemical inventory for the maintenance facility and clubhouse.  The city is starting an online SDS database to make it easier to track all our chemical sheets in case of an emergency.  I have completed over 200 different products and set them on a spread sheet.  The company will attach the online SDS sheets to each product for all departments.  They will be accessible from computer, tablet, or phone.
Again, there was minimal outdoor work completed due to the weather.  This coming week the south of #16 green will be shaped for mounding.  Both of these new mounds will be sodded in the next two weeks.  We will continue to remove dead pine trees from around the course.  More plugs will be added to #17 green.  Lastly, we will continue to repair and sod areas in the fairways.
Please contact me with any questions or comments that might arise.  I always prefer to address them in a timely manner instead of waiting for the council or golf board meetings.  Also share these updates with others or direct them to the blog on the website.  I try to educate everyone as much as possible on a weekly basis or more.

10-7-18

Good Morning,
It’s been a very busy work week at the muni even though the golf traffic has slowed down, as it always does this time of the season.  The entire year has been a challenge dealing with the weather.  We had the wettest June and September on record.  The other months were nothing short of poor weather either.
The well ran for seven days the entire year.  This amounts to 18.55 acre feet of water pumped from the well to the irrigation pond.  Our DNR limit is 81 acre feet from April 1 to October 31.  This is by far the lowest total ever pumped annually from the well.  The irrigation system is not far behind record low totals either.
The abundant rainfall does not slow the grass down from growing on a daily basis.  This all adds to the extra man hours on the equipment plus the additional labor dollars spent to maintain the golf course.  All the rain reduces our revenue options.  Final result of the equation is too much money spent and not enough revenue hitting the cash register.
This past week I fertilized the greens and tees with a fall granular application.  The warm temperatures mid week and the rainfall made a direct impact on the health of these turf areas.  They look great as we finish the week.
We also started our fall tree removal process.  Each year we cut down at least a dozen pine trees that continue to die.  Four trees were dropped and the debris was hauled to the maintenance surround for future removal.  We still have six more trees to remove in the upcoming weeks.
I spent an entire day with a tutorial from Rainbird learning the new software system for the irrigation system.  I remapped the course and programmed each individual station, on the map, to give us spot on control of each area of the golf course.  Each station has been mapped based off the location of every valve that operates on the course.  It is extremely impressive and makes the whole process work like clock work….considering everything functions properly on the course.
We started the process of filling in the sand traps on #16.  The south sand trap has been filled and I shaped the new mounding.  The north sand trap has all the fill material added but the rainfall, Thursday afternoon, made it difficult to finish the shaping process.  I hope to do some shaping on the north trap this morning.
We used all the old fill material piled around the shop to start our base layer in these traps.  The remainder was hauled from the south end of the golf course.  This material was all stockpiled from the water quality project.  This upcoming week we will be adding sod to complete the repair process in this area.
I’m excited to finish this process and eliminate some of our drainage issues while we wait for the future tile project to be completed.  It is not the answer to the drainage problems, but it will eliminate quite a bit of the standing water problem.
I used a personal day, on Friday, to mow at the Country Club.  They are currently in between superintendents and have one employee trying to keep up with maintenance practices.  I feel it is vital to continue building this working relationship that has been established over the past few years.
I would like to emphasize that my help at the Country Club or time spent responding to medical calls, at the fire department, have no effect on my job at the muni.  If I am gone from the golf course, for a short period of time, it is made up later in the day.  I always make sure that 100% of the work is completed at the golf course on a daily basis.  The golf course is always my first and foremost priority.
This morning we are hosting our annual chili open.  It is definitely going to be chilly or chili however you want to interpret the title.  We have close to 120 golfers registered to play.  Not all will show but it will be an awesome day for the golf course.
Please contact me with any questions or comments.  I am always available to provide further detailed information not provided in the weekly updates.  For now, I’m going to work on 16 green surrounds and look forward to a great day!

9-30-18

The past week gave us a chance to let the golf course dry out after the recent flooding.  I am shocked how well everything rebounded after close to 10″ of rain.  There are very few wet areas around the course which allowed us to have everything in great shape by the end of the week.
A few weeks ago, we repaired a lot of areas in the fairways and the roughs.  These spots had fill material added, a clean edge cut with a spade, and finally fresh sod laid to complete the repairs.  We were finally able to remove the flags from these areas and start mowing them at a normal height of cut.  They have turned out very nicely.  In the coming weeks we will continue to address other areas.
The trees from the soccerplex entrance are too big for the city tree spade to move.  I tried multiple angles with no success.  I have inquired about a tree spade and the estimate is $250 per tree.  There is no room in the golf course budget to support this expense.  We will need to rely on private donations or let the soccer group cut them down.  I was disappointed to be unable to move these beautiful Oak trees.
Our tiling project, on number 16, has been delayed for quite some time.  The contractor is still on another large project where the heavy rains have put him behind schedule.  I have decided to fill in these two sand traps around the green.  We will add fill material followed by nice topsoil.  The area will be graded to establish a couple of nice berms.  These areas will be sodded and mowed as rough.  This will eliminate some of our standing water issues.
The shed on number five has been completed to almost 90%.  The only thing left will be to complete some additional trim work.  The shed looks very nice and once the trim is completed it will be a finished project.
This past week I prepared and end of the year report which concentrates on some of the issues we have dealt with during the season.  There is also a spreadsheet that shows different totals since 2003.  This chart definitely shows a downward trend in our golf population.  I have included these two reports as attachments listed below:

Please let me know if there are any questions or concerns so they can be addressed in a timely manner.  Again, direct people to the website for automatic withdrawal, credit card payments, and to the golf course blog.  I will see each of you at the respective meetings Monday evening.

9-23-18

Good Morning,
The past week might have been the one to forget for the year.  Ten inches of rain, over two days, caused very high flood levels across the golf course.  I posted a couple videos on our facebook page that show a lot of detail.  Here are a few photos from around the course:
This photo is the maintenance shed parking lot.

This photo is the 15th hole.

This photo is the 12th hole.  Notice the bridge and red tees underwater.
The heavy rains and flooding gave us some  time to continue working on equipment, cleaning the shop areas, and organizing inventories.  The inside work is always important and was the main focus of our past week.
 There hasn’t been a lot of mowing since Tuesday evening.  This will leave us playing catch up this coming week.  With rain in the forecast, at the beginning of the week, will make it quite a challenge to get everything caught up by the weekend.  I am confident we will get there though.
The new simulator arrived the middle of this past week.  I will start setting this unit up the upcoming week.  We have also applied for the year long liquor license, starting November 15, to accommodate our new winter golf season.
The new advertisement agreements have been distributed to all the new businesses taking over open tee signs.  The ads will be created by Southwest Monuments prior to being attached to the tee signs.
Here is a photo of the 15th tee sign advertisement.

Brian

9-16-18

Good Morning,
The first week in quite some time with no rainfall.  The amount of golfers has lessened as we move through the month of September.  This is a problem dealt with every season once the golf leagues end.  It’s a hard adjustment to get used to especially when the weather is so nice.
We will be starting our $25 golf with cart on Monday.  There are a lot of people that take advantage if the discount fee.  City employees and elected officials are also allowed to play free golf for the rest of the season.  Cart fees will be $5 per seat as well.
Equipment repairs have been non stop each week.  This has caused me to spend a lot of time, in the shop, working on repairs.  One of the John Deere units is still in Omaha being repaired.  This machine should be back mid week.
All of the yardage markers have been cleaned, old paint removed, and new paint added.  Nine holes currently have the markers back in the ground.  The markers have been placed in the center of the tees instead of the side.  This will eliminate the tires constantly running over the markers.  Here are some pictures:

Irrigation problems continue to be a major issue.  This past week the irrigation computer stopped working.  The Rainbird Global Service Plan covers our computer as well as other irrigation electronics.  The new computer arrived the following day and we were back in business.

Tomorrow will be the makeup date for the police outing.  Today we are holding a couple’s tournament with around 40 golfers.  Last Sunday we held the Carl Spacklar golf outing.  There were 142 participants.
Hopefully there are quite a few beautiful golf days in our future.  Enjoy your finish to the weekend.  Enjoy the sunshine and share a smile.  Please contact me with any questions so they can be addressed in a timely manner.

9-9-18

Another week starting off with plenty of rainfall causing a saturated golf course for another week.  There was no possibility of any mowing practices until Wednesday.  We spent a lot of late hours getting the course under control by the end of the week.
Wednesday was very wet as rough units drove through the wet turf trying to get the tall grass cut.  Thursday we double mowed fairways to get them back under control.  By Saturday, the golf course was in better playing condition, after everything had been mowed.  The course still was plenty wet.
The 17th green was overseeded a couple of weeks ago.  We have only mowed the center portion of this green since the overseeding.  The grass has been filling in nicely with the aid on continued hand topdressing.  Saturday morning, the 17th green was mowed back to the regular boundary, excluding the back right corner.  I’m pleased with the progress this area is making.
We have completed a lot of sodding in traffic areas the past two weeks.  This heavy rainfall has once again created more cart damage around the golf course.  These areas will continue to be repaired and sodded as we move into the coming week.  The revenue we gained far exceeds the expense of labor repairing these spots.
The first of the seven new advertising sponsors was installed this week.  There were business advertisements, on our tee signs, where the business is no longer in operation.  These holes have been sold to local businesses and will be installed by the end of the year.  Here is the first advertisement plaque installed on hole 15:
The yardage markers, on all four sets of tees per hole, are nearing the end of the refurbishing process.  Fifteen of the 18 holes have been completed here is a picture of the majority of the tee markers that have been finished:
The annual police outing was rained out Tuesday morning.  This event is postponed until Monday, September 24.  One of our biggest golf events is taking place this morning.  We have close to 150 golfers playing today.  The weather looks perfect for a fabulous day of golf and a solid day of revenues.
At the beginning of the upcoming week, I will be moving five oak trees from the entrance to the Spencer Soccer Complex.  These trees are currently blocking the soccer sign and have been requested to be removed.  I have touched base with all parties involved, locates are clear, and the trees will be moved when the school traffic is at a minimum.

9-2-18

The week started off with rain hitting us Monday afternoon and most of the day Tuesday and finished with rain today.  This really put us behind on our mowing schedules, but it also gave me time to do a lot of equipment work in the shop.  Equipment repairs continue to join the long list of everything that needs to be done.
I spent all day Tuesday working on equipment repairs.  The head mechanic, from Van Wall Turf in Omaha, was on site to help me with some repairs to one of the John Deere 1600’s.  The other unit was sent back to Omaha to complete the repairs necessary.
It was a very educational morning, Tuesday, learning a lot of preventative maintenance.  I also learned how to troubleshoot the computer on these John Deere units.  Going through a lot of the smaller repair processes was really helpful to gain a thorough understanding of things to look for and how to make repairs.
An extremely wet golf season has left us with quite a few damaged areas in the roughs and fairways.  Cart traffic, going through low areas where water is constantly puddling, has created quite a mess.  We did a lot of hand work followed by adding sod to fairway and rough areas around the golf course.  These areas are currently flagged to try and eliminate cart traffic damaging the repair work completed.
Early in the week several greens were spiked multiple times, overseeded, then top dressed to begin the recovery process in the winter kill areas.  Obviously #17 green is the most damaged and only the center of the green will be mowed to green height.  The remainder of the green will be allowed to grow so the new grass will establish and fill in the damaged areas.  I am very happy with the progress this green is making.
The tiling project, on #16 green surrounds, is still on hold.  The rainfall has put the contractor behind schedule on another project.  Once time allows, he will be on site to complete this work.  He and I are both optimistic this will eliminate the standing water issue in this area.
There are currently seven advertising spots, on our granite tee markers, of businesses that no longer exist in our area.  This advertising was sold, during the construction phase of the golf course, to cover expenses on all amenity items for each individual hole.  In the past couple weeks, all of these advertings have been sold to six local businesses.  I am thrilled to have these businesses become a part of SMGC moving into the future.
The golf course has made a lot of progress, this past week, considering the difficulties Mother Nature continues to throw at us each week.  I am thankful for the hard work of the grounds staff and the continuous dedication by our clubhouse staff.  We are very fortunate to have staff that genuinely care about this golf course and the work they do each day.  The pride definitely shows in their work.  Thank you staff.
That is a wrap on another week at the muni.  Please contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns.  If there are people with questions, or just wondering “why?” please direct them in my direction.  I am always available to listen or provide people with information to the best of my ability.

8-26-18

This past week I continued to work on the irrigation system wire connections in the valve boxes.  I was able to complete three entire holes.  There are four connections in every valve box including the main electrical source, the decoder, and the solenoid.  The computer sends a current to the decoder on a specific valve which sends a current to the solenoid, which pops open the valve and the irrigation heads throw water.
The majority of the old DBR’s (this is the tube that seals around the wire connection)  are filled with water inside where the wire connection is supposed to be protected.  This causes the wire shortage once the computer sends the signal to the decoder.  It is a lengthy and time consuming process but I will make it through all the valve boxes by the end of the season.
The 17th green has almost 400 plugs added in the poor winter kill areas.  We have continued to topdress this green every few days during the week.  The topdressing helps give the bentgrass something to grow into and eventually cover the bare areas.  This coming week we will be spiking this green multiple times followed by an overseeding.  We will then top dress the green again.  We will not mow this green for a while in order to allow the new seed to establish.
We have also continued to topdress the collars on several other holes.  The worst area is number eleven on the back side.  This coming week, this area will be removed with a sod cutter and new sod will be cut from our chipping green and placed in this area.  We will address some of the other collar areas as well.
There are a number of beaten up areas, from cart traffic going through standing water during the season.  Staff and I will be addressing these areas in the upcoming week as well.  We will cut sod off the practice tee to fill in the damaged spots.
Crabgrass has been a major problem this season.  I will be spraying tee boxes and some of the worst fairway areas this next week.  A broadleaf herbicide will also be added to the tank to control other weeds present in these areas.
Another project we have started is the refurbishing of the yardage markers on the tee boxes.  We have removed the markers on five holes and brought them into the clubhouse.  They are cleaned, the old paint is stripped, and the correct lithochrome paint is applied to give them a brand new appearance.  Once completed, they will be returned to the appropriate tee box, placed at ground level, and sand added around the perimeter.  This will give them a beautiful new sharp looking appearance.
Equipment repairs have been plentiful these past several weeks.  There has been so many repairs necessary it has made it very difficult for us to stay on top of the mowing patterns.  It has also kept me in the shop playing the role of mechanic a lot more than I would like to play.  We have pushed through and the majority of the equipment is operating again.  We still have a couple of rough units that need some work.
There have been several complaints from some of our golfers at the course.  If you have phone calls or conversations with people please ask them to call me so I can provide them with the proper information.  These email updates are meant to inform each of you of what is going on at the golf course each week.  If you don’t know the answer to someone’s concerns please direct them my way.  I am more than happy to have a conversation with our golfing public rather than let them speculate.

8-19-18

The end of the men’s golf league season is upon us at the muni.  Today is the Wednesday and Thursday men’s league golf tournament.  The weather looks pleasant for the day and good times should be had by everyone.
We have hosted several golf outings this month and the weather has been great for all of them.  Yesterday we hosted the American Legion golf outing with 72 golfers participating.  It was a great day for golf and the outing went great.  We even had the greatest shotgun start in the history of golf events:
The past week we have continued to work on hand topdressing areas on the greens and collars.  We have also added 300 plugs to the 17th green to fill in some of the poor areas of turf.  I have seen a lot of progress in these areas and am eagerly awaiting the overseeding process coming up at the end of the month.
I continued to work on irrigation repairs this past week.  To date, almost 1/3 of the valve boxes have been addressed.  It is very time consuming, especially since there are 300 valve boxes to tend to on the course.  This will be a continued process as the year moves along.  I plan to have all the connections redone in every valve box by the end of the season.
Equipment issues have continued to be the main topic this week.  All three of our rough units have been down and need parts ordered.  It really put us in a bind.  Thankfully Ryan borrowed two rough units to us for the weekend.  Tiffany and I mowed rough all day, on Saturday, to get everything cleaned up for the busy golf schedule.  We are touching up a few other areas today before we return the mowers to Ryan.  I’m glad we have a great working relationship between us.

8-12-18

The golf course irrigation electrical repairs have continued during the entire past week.  I was able to get through 71 valve boxes making new connections and installing new tubing.  There have been boxes with broken valves, bad solenoids, and dead decoders.  These 71 valve boxes represent the worst areas on the course.  The irrigation system has been running close to zero issues this week.
We started plugging some of the bad areas on #17 green.  This process will continue this upcoming week.  In the next couple of weeks this green will be aerified and overseeded.  We will also continue to hand topdress the greens and collars.
We had a very successful golf outing on Saturday and are just getting ready to start our annual Special Olympics golf event.  The Special Olympics event is one of my favorite golf outings of the year.  I have participated in this event for the past five years.  It is a very rewarding day.
The pond on number ten has been treated, throughout the season, with copper sulphate to control the algae problem.  The past couple of months have been prime algae growing weather.  The pond is currently clear and I will continue to treat it as we move into the fall months.