5-31-2020

 

Good Morning,
The past week was quite challenging with the heavy rainfall, high humidity, and warmer temperatures.  It took a few days for the golf course to dry out to perform quality maintenance practices.  The spring fertilizer application put the grass into hyper mode.  It was a huge challenge for us to get the golf course under control.  Long shifts of mowing every day over and over was the story of the entire week.  Mow everything and start over.  And over and over and over.
The fairways were so wet we could not mow until Thursday late morning.  We hit the fairways hard and were able to mow 14 of the 18 holes.  We mowed each fairway three or four times.  The other four were still too wet to mow.  Some that were mowed were close to being too wet to mow.  Friday we mowed 12 of the 18 fairways four more times.  They were all looking pretty darn nice by the end of the day Friday.
The tees were mowe quite a few times on Tuesday and again on Friday.  We used the buckets to catch the turf clippings which really slows the process down.  The tees looked very nice by the end of the day Friday.  The 130 acres of rough was definitely a challenge as well.  We mowed on Monday and Tuesday in the rain but covered the majority of the course.  Friday through Saturday we mowed all the rough again.  This morning we have a few hours left to cover the remainder of the course.  It was a long week but looking at the course last evening is such a rewarding view.
We sold advertising signs to local businesses when the golf course was built in 1999.  The initial sale covered the cost of all the amenity items on every hole.  Last year we sold seven new advertising signs for vacant signs.  On Wednesday, I worked with Ken Sandvig to install those new advertisement plaques on the tee markers.  Below is one of the signs:
We have dealt with tile issues for many years around the Stoneybrook addition as well as other areas of the golf course.  So much earth has been moved in the past 20 years which results in damaged tile issues arising.  The past few years we have addressed areas on the golf course north of Stoneybrook and some of those homeowners have dealt with repairs on their property.  We have also dealt with issues in other areas of the golf course.
The south side of Stoneybrook is seeing many of the same issues.  The short story is the tile runs from farm ground, south of the golf course, onto golf course property, into the Stoneybrook development, back onto golf course property, and finally exits to the west of 4th Ave SW.
This tile issue has caused extremely saturated soil on the homeowners property and golf course property around the 15th tee area.  I have met with some of the homeowners to listen to their thoughts and concerns.  The damaged tile is on private property but it all needs to be rectified.  Staff discussions are planned for the coming week and we will continue to work with the neighbors to remedy this situation.
Saturday allowed us to spray all the weeds in our landscaping areas after they were mowed around and trimmed.  The herbicide application will eliminate all the weeds in these areas.  Some landscaping areas are still under water and will be managed in the near future.  The next plan, for the landscaping, is to add flowers.  This will be happening in the next couple of weeks.  We might need to move to an “adapt a bed” concept because we simply don’t have the staff hours to give this the attention it deserves.
Spraying of weeds is definitely one of the highest priorities as we head into the next week.  Greens also need a foliar fertilizer application with a fungicide included.  I will also be treating the ponds for algae control.
I hope you all enjoy the remainder of this beautiful weekend.  The golf course was an absolute zoo on Saturday which was so amazing to see.  Maybe we’ll see some of you today.  See you at the golf board meeting or city council meeting tomorrow evening.



Brian C Mohr
Director of Golf Operations

City of Spencer
Spencer Municipal Golf Course
Spencer, Iowa 51301
712-260-5370

5-26-2020

Good Afternoon,
The past week we spent the majority of our time trying to stay on top of our mowing practices.  It was non stop mowing all last week through the holiday weekend.  To make matters worse one of the 11′ rough units had a hydraulic leak on Saturday.  This really dropped us behind schedule trying to keep up with things.
All the rainfall and high humidity has kicked the fertilizer applications into high gear.  We mowed through the rain trying to catch up as much as possible today.  I spent multiple hours replacing the hydraulic line on the John Deere rough unit.  I am thankful for Justin, at the Street Division to take a little time to educate me on these tightly positioned hydraulic lines.  He was able to provide the necessary tools and some insight to assist me with a problem that never goes away with these units.  In the future I will be able to go pick up the necessary wrenches and take care of the problem in a timely manner.  I have a lot of respect for equipment engineers, but one thing is for certain, they never have to repair this stuff.
The high humidity and rainfall made it very difficult to mow today.  The grass is clumping everywhere.  Mowing tees and collars took us the entire day since we had to use the catch baskets to remove the clippings while mowing.  The baskets were dumped on average five times for all 72 tee boxes.  A lot of getting on and off but we kept the tees and collars looking pretty good.
We will continue to mow rough until the rain hits again this afternoon then go back at it in the morning.  Fairways are still too wet to mow and the projected rainfall tonight will make it difficult tomorrow.  We will try and concentrate on all the rough by the end of tomorrow then mow fairways multiple times on Thursday and Friday.
There is a lot of tall grass and scattered dandelions amongst the blades.  The spraying will probably not happen this week unless things go really well the remainder of the week mowing.  Broadleaf weeds will be addressed as soon as I get caught up and have some sunny days with no wind.
I have met with Amanda and Mark White to discuss some tile and drainage concerns the neighbors on the south side of Stoneybrook are feeling.  We will be meeting with them this week to try and find a remedy.
A new pond maintenance program has been implemented for 2020.  I have applied one application of copper sulphate to the south side of the irrigation pond and have several more scheduled.  Hopefully this extra effort will help subside the algae blooms.
The part time clubhouse staff is working out pretty well.  We have a couple new faces that have been trained and are falling right into the groove.  Nice weather will hopefully bring out the golfers as leagues are slated to start this week.
Please contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns so they can be addressed in a timely manner.


Brian C Mohr
Director of Golf Operations

City of Spencer
Spencer Municipal Golf Course
Spencer, Iowa 51301
712-260-5370

 

5-17-2020

Good Morning,
The past week was filled with crazy golf weather.  Early in the week it was cooler keeping our customers away from the golf course.  A few individuals stopped in to pay fees or a couple holes of golf before giving up.  Thursday and Friday brought some beautiful weather along with tee times filled mid morning straight through to late evening.  Saturday was steady in the morning and tapered off in the gusty afternoon winds followed by rain leading us into this morning.
The irrigation system has been the main focal point all Spring.  We spent a lot of time cleaning valve boxes, fixing lateral irrigation lines, and working in the pumphouse in preparation for the contractor.  All the irrigation work helped limit the amount of time and money to be spent on the upgrade.  It also eliminated quite a few problems we had been dealing with for some time.  Here is a quick recap:
The irrigation upgrade has been completed plus all the repair work to the irrigation lines.  A new pump was installed plus a replaced foot valve on the lead intake. A transducer was installed in the pumphouse computer control panel including other electrical repair work.  Finally, the new computer programming was installed in the office followed by a couple weeks of adjusting valves and heads.
Fast forward through these past six weeks of work and the irrigation system has been working great.  An occasional head will stick on once in a while but it is working very efficiently and worry free.  The irrigation time frame has been lowered to nine hours and five minutes distributing 475,000 gallons of water in a night.  It’s a great feeling and a lot of stress has been left behind.
Other projects have included sod work on several fairways to eliminate sand trap washouts, grading and sodding of the #16 tile area, fertilizer application of the entire golf course, landscaping clean up, parking lot and cart path repair/grading, equipment repairs, along with daily mowing schedules.
We have been very busy on the grounds as well as in the clubhouse.  The staff has been so dedicated and committed to making each day as great as possible.  Overall this crazy start to 2020 has gone about as well as we could expect at the golf course.  I’m thankful to the staff for their hard work and commitment.  Please thank them when you see them at the golf course.
The next big project will be the broadleaf herbicide application to the golf course.  I treat the golf course in the Spring and in the Fall each year.  I plan to complete this process over the next couple of weeks.  I always start spraying along the homeowner side of the golf course and work my way to the middle.
Our golf leagues will be starting in the next week or two.  Please visit our website to see what provisions are currently in place.  We have updated the cart policy to allow two individuals to ride together if they choose.
Brian C Mohr
Director of Golf Operations

City of Spencer
Spencer Municipal Golf Course
Spencer, Iowa 51301
712-260-5370

 

5-15-2020

Good Morning,
I would like to share an updated COVID 19 operations guideline.
Starting today, Friday, May 15, we will allow golfers to ride two in a cart if they so choose.  They will still be encouraged to social distance at the golf course.  This change will allow people to make their own choice that stays within their comfort level.
The holes on the greens will be returned to normal depth.  A pool floatie has been added at the base of the flagstick.  This will keep the ball from dropping into the bottom of the hole.  The flagstick will remain in place at all times.
Tee markers, yardage stakes, OB stakes, and hazard stakes will be returned to the golf course.  These amenity items are very rarely ever touched by the golfer during a round.  These items will allow the golf course to be set up as close to normal when golf leagues start resuming.
There are no other changes to the operational provisions at The Muni.  We are not allowing indoor seating.  Customers are in and out in a timely manner.  These changes will not place anyone in a position where they should feel uncomfortable golfing.  Social distancing is still the main part of the equation.  We are simply allowing golfers to make a personal choice on the golf cart situation.
Golf Course staff is required to wear a mask at all times while working in the clubhouse.  This is not an option for employees.  Employees do have the option to choose to work or not to work at The Muni.  That is their decision.
I have attached the COVID 19 document with changes highlighted.  Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.


Brian C Mohr
Director of Golf Operations

City of Spencer
Spencer Municipal Golf Course
Spencer, Iowa 51301
712-260-5370

5-10-20

Good Morning,
Happy Mother’s Day to each of you special women.  I hope the day is special for you filled with love and kindness.  You have been the foundation for your loved ones.  Enjoy your special day that should be celebrated every day.
This past week we accomplished quite a few projects and continued to move forward with others.  The irrigation system continues to be at the top of our list.  The new pump was installed on Thursday.  We also replaced a foot valve on the lead intake line.  It was so refreshing to listen to that beautiful new motor hum and the water move through the lines.
I have continued to run irrigation cycles fine tuning things station by station.  Periodically a station will stick on and a couple of tweaks have to occur before it will shut down.  It’s generally a plunger sticking, the IC unit is screwed on too tight, or the diaphragm has a little debris inside.  Overall, things are miles ahead of where the irrigation system has been the past few years.
Our golf greens were fertilized on Monday morning.  This is the spring granular application.  I ran the irrigation stations for 15 minutes Monday afternoon to work the fertilizer into the soil profile.  The weather has been cold but the color change has still been noticeable on the greens.
The tees and fairways were fertilized on Thursday morning.  This application will carry us into the month of August with plenty of nutrients available for the plant.  This fertilizer has been irrigated as well trying to move the pellet down to the crown of the plant.
We also started adding sod to the tile area on #16.  The fairway portion was leveled and sod was cut off the practice tee.  Sod was ordered from Del’s Garden Center to cover the area in the rough.  We were able to sod about 75% of the entire tile area.  The remainder will be seeded.
This coming week we will start to focus on getting caught up with the mowing schedules.  We limited the mowing duties due to the fertilizer applications.  There have been a lot of accomplishments already this early in the season.
Please contact me with comments, questions, or concerns so they can be addressed in a timely manner.  Enjoy the remainder of your weekend.

 

5-3-2020

 

Good Morning,
It’s been a very busy week at The Muni.  The irrigation upgrade is working very nicely outside of a few tweaks here and there.  The new IC unit replaces the old decoder and solenoid on the valve.  Some of the new IC units are sticking on during the irrigation cycle.  Either the plunger is getting stuck or the unit is too tight on the valve.  Either way it’s not a big deal to adjust.  I’m very happy with the new system and the ease of operation.
Our second pump will be replaced this coming week or early the following week.  There was too much damage to the old pump to justify paying the high repair amount.  The new pump will come with a warranty and twenty less years of use.  Once the new pump is installed we will be back to full operation with the irrigation system.  Currently I am irrigating at 50% capacity.
The tile project on #16 has been an ongoing situation since last fall.  I used the tractor and loader to level the area on Friday.  The ground has dried substantially since the new tile was installed but the soil is still very sticky.  It has been graded fairly well for the first go round.  Next week I will add some additional black soil, finish leveling the area, and add grass seed.  The area in front of the green will also be leveled and sod added.
By the time Thursday rolled around we were pulling mowers in and out of the shop to get the entire course mowed.  Three of us spent a lot of time on equipment and were able to get the entire golf course mowed by late morning Saturday.  The irrigation system had been such a priority it caused us to fall behind on normal maintenance.  This weekend the golf course looks pretty darn nice for an early May morning.
I sent a couple updates earlier in the week documenting the progress with the irrigation system.  Check your email or visit our blog on the website if you missed those two emails.  Please let me know if there are any questions or comments.  The golf board will not be meeting tomorrow evening due to the COVID 19 restrictions.
Enjoy the day and grab yourself some sunshine!

4-29-2020 #2

Good Evening,
We finished the last steps to the irrigation upgrade a few minutes ago.  There was a little bit of field work to repair and make a few tweaks but it is working great.  The Rainbird representative was onsite to transfer all the information over to the new software and install the new control panel in the maintenance facility.  The initial voltage check showed low voltage on the #13 green station number two.  The contractor and I went out to the field and replaced a small section of wire from the original installation in 1999.  The new splice eliminated any voltage issues.  The voltage reading through the entire field was strong with above normal readings.  The system has been fully charged since early this afternoon and the fairway irrigation program was started with total success.  I will be running fairway irrigation for the next couple of hours then move into covering greens and tees overnight.
We still have the issue of the damaged second pump.  This pump is 20 years old and the repair cost outweighs the expense of a new one.  I am getting a price quote from Pixler Electric and the irrigation contractor for a new pump.  After the new pump is installed the irrigation nightmares should end.  I’m crossing my fingers and hoping everything is operating well in the morning when I go back to work.  Right now I feel happy, relieved, excited, and my blood pressure has dropped significantly.
Enjoy the evening!

4-29-2020

Good Morning,
I thought I would share some information in regards to the irrigation upgrade at The Muni.  It’s been a very busy week already.
The contractor was on site early yesterday (April 28) to start the installation of the new IC units.  The process consisted of removing the old decoder and the solenoid from on top of the valve (the decoder is the control unit from the computer and the solenoid opens and closes the valve).  The new IC unit screws into the valve where the solenoid previously was seated.  After installation there are now two wire connections instead of the previous four connections in every valve box.
We finished installing all 244 IC units and 15 additional ground rods for surge protection at 8:30 last night.  Aaron Feeley and Mark Lawson also helped out tremendously with a lot of the hand work on valve boxes so the contractor could concentrate strictly on the installation process.  It was a great first step to complete.
I have gathered and tagged the majority of the old decoders from the system.  I will finish the last couple of holes this morning.  I plan to sell the decoders to another golf course.  They aren’t worth a lot to us but could be of great benefit to somebody else.
We completed more irrigation repairs as we worked on the irrigation update.  The majority have been small items such as a leaky valve, damaged diaphragm, cracked lateral line, and a couple of valve replacements.  We are going to double check a few of these areas and start cleaning up these repair areas shortly.
After the remainder of decoders are picked up, the irrigation repairs are inspected, and a double check on all the valve boxes, I will charge the irrigation system with full water pressure.  The contractor will be on site later this morning to finish the work inside the control panel in the maintenance shed and make any necessary changes in the field.  The Rainbird representative will be on site this afternoon.  The two of us will complete the transfer of new information into the computer system and check all the electrical currents in the field.
We still have a fair amount of work ahead of us but the majority of the field work is completed.

 

4-26-20

Good Morning,
Another week is in the books at The Muni.  There were a lot of golfers each day enjoying sunshine and beautiful golf weather.  Our season pass totals are behind normal as are many of our revenue line items.   All things COVID 19 considered, I think things are going about as well as we could expect during this difficult time.  The vast majority of customers are understanding and have been very cordial.  You always get a couple of “special souls” who leave you scratching your head, but my hat’s off to the staff and our golfing community.
The golf course maintenance staff is operating with less employees so far to start the season and the clubhouse is functioning with a bit more staff than normal.  The maintenance work has been kept to a minimum with the majority of focus on the irrigation system.  The clubhouse staff takes an extra set of hands to accommodate the golfers and keep everything sanitized properly.  Again, I am very thankful to the staff for their hard work and going above and beyond.
I sent out an email midweek touching on some of the irrigation challenges we have been facing that forced me to operate the irrigation system in manual mode.  With the second pump no longer in operation I was still able to get the system primed and operate at 50%.  I irrigated greens and tees during the afternoon hours and started on a couple holes of fairway stations at the same time.  Then I went back through the green and tee stations overnight and continued to cover the remainder of the fairway stations.  Twenty one hours later the course irrigation was completed.
The damaged motor, on the lag pump, was removed from the irrigation line on Saturday and a new transducer was installed in the control panel.  The transducer is what reads the pressure setting and reports it to the computer.  This allows the pumps to run in automatic mode.  The power panel was able to be wired from the bottom of the control panel and is now functioning properly.  The top of the wiring board had a bad solder connection.  I left the course mid afternoon on Saturday and returned in the evening to irrigate overnight.
We have completed a lot of irrigation repairs the past several weeks in preparation for the installation of new hardware in the field.  We still have a handful of small repairs to make in the valve boxes that have minimal impact on operations.  The contractor will be here Tuesday morning to start installing the new components in every valve box.  Hopefully we will have progressed with our pumphouse problems as well.
Some days never go the way we would like them to in this crazy world.  The COVID 19 only enhances all those issues for each one of us.  At the end of the day a person can only push forward as much as time permits and pick back up the following day.  Keep yourselves safe in “the year of ‘Rona!”  We will succeed.
Enjoy the sunshine and keep on moving forward golf friends!

 

4-23-2020

It has been a busy week at the golf course as far as golfers.  It has also been a busy week with a lot of irrigation problems.  I know, I’m just as shocked about this as the rest of you.  The pumphouse had a power supply panel that died which caused no automatic control over the pumps in operation.  I was able to water the greens in manual mode overnight Tuesday.  I monitored the irrigation system through the night and was very happy to get some much needed water on the greens finishing stations about 8:00 AM.
Last night I went back to start the irrigation system and the second pump arced a bright blue light and tripped the breaker switch.  Next, the pet cock bleeder valve on top of the other pump started leaking.  The night ended very poorly with no irrigation.
This morning, the irrigation tech was on site to repair the faulty control panel and assist with several other problems in the pumphouse.  The second pump is going directly to ground on all three lines which tells us the motor is shot.  This pump has been eliminated from operation.  The other pump was repaired this morning and by early afternoon there was water flowing.  However, I can only run the pump in hand mode and 50% capacity.
I have been watering greens and tees this afternoon and started on a couple of fairways a short time ago.  I hope to get through the entire course by morning.  It’s frustrating but nothing that I haven’t dealt with before.
We will be pulling the bad pump tomorrow and get an estimate from Pixler Electric.  The current thought to this happening is a mouse chewed on the wiring and shorted the pump to ground.  Once they have a chance to look at it then we will see if insurance covers that scenario.
The good news is the irrigation contractor will be here on Tuesday to begin installing the new hardware for the irrigation system.  Some days it feels like the irrigation system has been exposed to the COVID 19 for many years.