6-18-18

It has been a very busy past couple of weeks at the golf course.  Weather conditions continue to throw every surprise possible at us.  Fortunately we did not receive any hail damage at the muni.  There were some slight indentations and puffiness on our greens but nothing major.  I borrowed any possible equipment necessary, to Ryan Lux, to help repair the hail damage they received at the Country Club.
Next thing you know, our water quality project is tested to the maximum with the heavy rainfall.  I could not have been happier with the success this project on the golf course.  The water was contained, slowly subsided, and caused minimal flooding.  Number 10 fairway and the driving range received a lot of flooding, but that is nothing new.
​All of the sod and seeded areas, from the water quality project were fertilized with another starter fertilizer application.  This application will help these areas continue to develop in a healthy state and speed the recovery process.  We are still slated to get some sod this coming week to finish repairing the remainder of the washout areas from this project.
The irrigation system continues to be a challenge this golf season.  We received another​ electrical hit during one of the storms.  I worked on the repairs most of the day Sunday.  Fortunately, Ryan Lux was able to help me finish the repairs late in the evening last Sunday.  I watered again last night and there were no issues.  Fingers crossed for more success moving forward.
The tile project is still on standby in the 16 green surrounds.  Matt Hagedorn has us on his list and we will add more tile as soon as his schedule permits.  The water has subsided rather quickly after all of the rains but that is not the solution we are accepting.
The 17 green and surrounds will be aerified this coming week.  We will also aerify some of the other green surrounds where turf was lost coming out of winter.  With the irrigation issues and crazy weather patterns it has definitely been a battle maintaining turf this season.  I hope everyone can be patient with the repair process to 17 green.
To add a little more spice to the golf course life, I continue to deal with equipment repair issues on a daily basis.  Most of them are small and not terribly complex, but they take a lot of time.  A couple of the more serious ones have been passed on to the street division or out of town to the company.  It continues to be a learning experience and hopefully I will soon have the knowledge of a master mechanic.
There is so much going on and we are winding down the fiscal period in less than two weeks.  This has been the most difficult budget I have ever closed out due to the horrible spring conditions.  Currently, the golf course is slightly ahead in revenues over finances.  I cannot promise that is how the month will end but I can tell you I am very proud to get the budget this close to being a successful fiscal period.
I am going to stop talking today and get back to enjoying the morning sunshine and birds chirping.  Happy Father’s Day to all of you men on my emailing.  Be proud and love your family each and every day.
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June 4, 2018

Good Evening,
I just finished repairing the irrigation line on 12 tees. This damage was caused by the haul road during the water quality project. These irrigation heads are working well now. I will be hand watering these tees and number six tees tonight.  Seventeen green will also be hand watered in the next couple hours.   This will be followed by heavy irrigation cycles on the greens, tees, and approaches. The fairways will be watered at 60% overnight.
The damaged areas on 17 green surrounds will be spiked and hand watered this week. There will also be an overseeding completed. Most problem areas, from the irrigation system will be under control soon.

June 3, 2018

The wacky weather continues for another week in NW Iowa.  Very high temperatures have created a decrease in the number of golfers.  We are still plugging away trying to finish strong as our budget ends June 30.  End of May 2017 financials were $344,707 revenues and $325,113 expenses.  ​Our 2018 figures, for the same time period, are $301,508 revenues and $315,527 expenses.  Staff and myself are doing everything in our power to close the gap and work toward breaking even with the budget.
Purchasing the golf simulator will definitely help our future revenues.  I am still working with two different companies to choose the best product for our situation.  I am hopeful to have the simulator in place by the end of September.  The simulator will either be located in the sun room or the SE corner of the clubhouse.  It will be very exciting to have this option for our patrons.  It will also help promote other clubhouse sales.
This hot and windy weather is always a challenge when it comes to maintaining the golf course turf.  The irrigation issues, that were finally repaired a couple weeks ago, left some of our turf areas very susceptible to damage.  The most noticeable is the area around #17 green and a couple of tee boxes.  These areas will be heavily spiked with some overseeding to help with the recovery process.
I was able to spray a foliar fertilizer and wetting agent late Wednesday evening.  This application also included a fungicide and insecticide.  I allowed the fertilizer until about 4 AM and then irrigated the greens to work the fungicide and insecticide into the root zone of the plant.  The wetting agent and foliar fertilizer will also help with the recovery of these turf areas and provide a healthy turf moving forward.
Friday morning I sprayed tees with a wetting agent, foliar fertilizer, and insecticide.  The wetting agent helps hold moisture in the isolated dry areas.  You can notice a much darker green color on the tees and greens along with some moist footprinting.  This is a result of the wetting agent.  The insecticide will help control the ant problems we see on some of the tee boxes.
Over the next two weeks, I will be teaming up with Ryan Lux to spray weeds at the muni and the Country Club.  This process always works out very well.  We can generally cover both courses over a few days as long as the wind is down and the sun is shining.  We will also be fertilizing fairways with the spring application.  This will provide our turf with the proper nutrition as we move the summer months and provide a healthy turf.
We will also be repairing some of the water quality areas where we experienced some erosion.  Between five green and six tees would be a perfect example.  The pumphouse surrounds also needs some repair work completed.  This process will consist of smoothing out the areas and applying sod.  The sod will be hand watered with a starter fertilizer application in order to establish the sod quickly and eliminate these erosion areas.
The tile areas around 16 green is still on the agenda and will be addressed when Matt Hagedorn has the time to help with this project.  The area has dried substantially during the week or so when the rain stopped.  The storm on Friday night returned the area surrounds to a saturated state once again. It will be a huge relief to have this project completed.
There is so much unmarked tile throughout the Stoney Brook property and the golf course, it makes it very difficult to assess all the repair needs.  There have been some concerns from the Stoney Brook homeowners in regards to tile.  I have no idea where this tile is located or runs to in most areas.  It is most likely the majority of this tile was damaged when that property was being shaped for housing way back in the day.  I will work with the homeowners and do whatever i can on our end to work through some of these problems.

May 27, 2018

The golf course is starting to see some signs of an official golf season beginning.  Our league nights have been busy.  Open golf is increasing.  People are smiling more frequently.  It’s been a very difficult start to the season, but it’s always in mother Nature’s hands.  It’s difficult to complain about times being tough for a recreational sport when the weather affects our farming community harder than anyone else.
Our golf course is starting to become very dry.  I definitely did not think I would be uttering those words this season.  Thankfully the irrigation system repairs have all been completed and we have water for the course.  I have been watering tees and greens early every morning this week.  Tonight I will water the entire course for the first time in 2018.  What a crazy season this has been.
Our season pass totals are about $20,000 short of our annual average.  Cart storage fees are $11,000 from being paid in full.  All of our revenue sources are behind schedule and it’s a difficult feeling to deal with each day.  This has definitely been the most challenging spring in the 24 years I have worked at the muni.  It is what it is and the sun will come up tomorrow……I hope.
This coming week we will be addressing some of the water quality project areas on the course.  Some of these areas were washed out with the spring rains.  Sod will be laid in these areas to speed up the repair process.  This will entail a lot of hand watering to keep the sod alive and flourishing.  However, I love laying sod to bring new life to a previously bare area.  My body might not feel so confidant by the end of the week.
Some of our green surrounds, especially 17, have some turf loss from the off season.  These areas will be over seeded this coming week.  This will consist of spiking the areas multiple times followed by grass seed and multiple irrigation cycles.  Hopefully everything will be back to normal quickly.
I would like to congratulate our SHS boys golf team, and coach, on their 4th place finish at State.  What a great accomplishment.  Good job to all of you.  Enjoy the remainder of your holiday weekend and also take a few moments to thank our veterans and current military population.  Because of them we get to enjoy our freedom every day.

May 20, 2018

We have cruised through another week at the golf course.  The start of the week was very wet and a challenge to keep all areas maintained at a high level.  We survived all the muddy tire tracks and saturated soil to have the golf course looking pretty nice by the end of insanity of this spring will end.
As I continue to keep a close eye on the budget, it definitely remains a high concern.  The weather has been the most unpredictable and compares to nothing I can remember.  In my estimation, we are close to $30,000 behind where we were last year at this time.  My six week goal is to stay as calm as possible, and try to get the budget as close to even as possible.
Equipment issues continue to push their way into my weekly work schedule.  The majority of these issues have been electrical related.  It is part of the job and keeps me on my toes.  The staff and I have fortunately been able to work around these issues and stay on top of our mowing schedules.
Speaking of electrical, the irrigation system has continued to be the most problematic daily issue, besides the weather.  I have repaired close to 60 electrical connections in the irrigation field.  This long repair process has been very time consuming over the past month, but I finally finished the electrical repairs.
Now, time to fill the irrigation main lines and see what other surprises lie in store for me.  I have been welcomed with quite a few broken bleeder screws on the valves throughout the course.  These screws break off on top of the valve knob and eliminates the ability to shut the valve off.  I hopefully have fixed the last of these issues as of this morning.
I have two copper lines to replace in the pumphouse and hopefully all my irrigation problems are in the rear view mirror.  I will finish these repairs later today and start filling the main lines once again.  Hopefully, by nightfall, I will have irrigation flowing to some of the greens.  The rest of the course is not in need of irrigation.
Outside of a few dry greens, all the irrigation issues, and the budget scenario life is great at the golf course.  I am trying to stay optimistic because I know it can always be worse.  The staff and I will continue to work hard and control what we have the ability to control.
Have a great Sunday and remember to laugh and smile a few times.  Please let me know if you have any comments, questions, or concerns so they can be addressed.  Also, huge congratulations to the SHS boys golf team on their qualification for state.  That is awesome.  Good job Coach B and the boys.

May 13, 2018

The past couple days have been a little cold and dreary.  However, today looks like we will have some great golf weather.  The course is very wet and very green from the rain this past week.  Overall, everything is holding up and I am pleased with the course condition.
The heavy rainfall on Thursday night really gave us an opportunity to see how the water quality project functioned.  This was the first time the water reservoirs filled up, to the east of the golf course, and overflowed through the culverts.
Our small pond, behind twelve green, was filled to capacity and the overflow helped hold the water in place for a longer period of time.  The irrigation pond was filled close to the concrete overflow behind the green and was draining at a controlled pace.  I’m impressed with the total water quality project.
My only real issue continues to be on number ten fairway.  This small pond and waterway need to have some work done on the east side to keep the water from flowing onto the course.  It will be a nice project for the grounds staff to complete this season.
Grass seed is really starting to take off in the areas we repaired.  New sod is transitioning wonderfully into the new season.  We still have some washout areas that we will repair and add some new sod.  We will address these areas as soon as we can order sod from Del’s Garden Center.
My biggest accomplishment of the week has been the electrical repair process on the irrigation system.  This has been very time consuming as well as frustrating.  There were a total of seven electrical shorts around the course, two bad solenoids, and four bad decoders.  I’m not an electrician but thank God I drive by a Holiday Inn Express everyday.
I can never reiterate how positive the working relationship is between Ryan Lux, at the Country Club, and myself.  I was able to help mow rough at the Country Club in preparation for the sectional golf meet on Thursday.  I was so fortunate to have Ryan come out to the muni and help me with the electrical issues on the irrigation system.
I will be filling the irrigation system on Monday.  Also, the last of the few electrical replacement parts will be installed.  Hopefully there will be a minimal amount of irrigation leaks around the course.  What a crazy spring to be opening the irrigation system in the middle of May.
Lastly, our 2018 yardage books are being handed out to all season pass holders.  I am currently working through some billing issues with this company out of Arizona.  I am advising any local advertisers to make no payment at this time and to please contact me with questions.  I hope to have it resolved on Monday.
It’s time to put the winter clothes on and go mow the greens.  Please get in touch with me if you have questions, comments, or concerns.  A very Happy Mother’s day to you wonderful ladies.  Behind every good man, there is a great woman!

May 6, 2018

Rainfall has still found its way into our daily golf schedule but things have really picked up at the muni this past week.  The sunshine and warmer weather have provided some great golf weather for all to enjoy.  The upcoming days continue to look great.
Over the past week, the golf course has really come to life.  The grass is turning a beautiful shade of dark green, new seed is sprouting in the water quality project area, and our sod is flourishing.  I am very pleased with the course condition right now.  This coming week our mowing equipment will be going full throttle.
The irrigation system has been one of the high priorities of my work week.  The pumphouse has been put together but I am experiencing electrical issues around the course.  This repair process can be very time consuming trying to find the faulty decoder or solenoid.
I have spent about 16 hours on this repair process with no results.  I will continue to work through the field and eventually I will find the faulty area causing the short.  Fortunately the rain has reduced the need for the irrigation system at this time.
The delayed golf season has really put a damper on the 2017-18 budget.  In comparison to the end of April 2018 to 2017, our revenues are down $39,000.  The slight positive is our expenses are down $22,000 for the same time comparison.  We will not likely be able to make up the $17,000 difference but I am optimistic we can still balance the budget before the fiscal period ends.
This past week I was able to finally sell two of our old Toro fairway units.  I have held onto these for several years refusing to sell or trade them to a vendor for next to nothing.  The wait paid off and we received $5000 from Fonda Golf Course for the units.
I was back and forth on whether to sell them because we could actually still use the mowers if necessary.  However, I hope to use this money to purchase a golf simulator for the clubhouse.  This money spent will pay off big dividends in comparison to keeping the mowers.
There has been continued discussion with Matt Hagedorn in regards to adding tile around the 16th green surrounds.  There is also some damaged tile in Waterway Park that needs to be addressed.  We will have Matt tend to both of these projects in the near future.
I am happy to report we have new spot-o-potties on the golf course.  This might not be a big deal to most reading this update, but the golf course customers will be very happy with this news.  The old ones had been at the course for five years and were showing some age.  Ladies league will most likely be the happiest of all our guests.

4-30-18

I apologize for the lack of an update on Sunday.  It was a hectic morning as we held our postponed tournament from the prior week.   There were 18 teams that participated in the 45 mph winds throughout the day.  It was definitely not the most favorable golf weather but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.
I have been working very diligently on the irrigation system.  It never felt like we would get to the point of needing its use, but we are definitely at that point.  There are several electrical issues that have not been resolved yet.  We also had to remount the pumps and outlet line due to the modifications of the pumphouse during the water quality project.
By the end of the week I hope to have everything running smoothly and plenty of water available to the golf course.  This is a very touchy time coming out of the winter months.  The plant is not very strong and drying out to a point of excessive can be fatal to the grass plant.  We are hand watering and making repairs to stay on top of things.
Missing the entire month of March and almost all of April is an experience I have never dealt with in my 24 years at the muni.  Things are starting to pick up with folks paying for season passes and cart storage fees.  Currently we have received just under half of our annual revenues for these two accounts.  That is better than I expected.
The golf course is in very nice shape considering winter lasted almost through the month of April.  The light rainfalls the past two nights, along with warmer night time temperatures have really jump started the grass.  Things are turning around very nice.
​We have been able to mow the golf course a couple of times.  There are not a lot of areas of concern that I see around the course.  Outside of the irrigation troubles, I am feeling very comfortable.
The water quality areas are still being addressed as we come through the winter months.  A few areas have washed out and we need to place some sod as soon as those are leveled out.  I also dormant seeded the remainder of these areas last fall.  This was done in order to get a jump on the recovery process.  Well, the majority of this grass started germinating and the cold snaps last week did a number on this new grass.  I will be seeding again very soon.
I have talked to Matt Hagedorn, in regards to the problems around 16 green.  We have discussed adding more tile to help eliminate the issue completely.  The past snows have really disrupted this process.  Now, he will be in the fields quite a bit before he is able to get to us.  The area is much drier than it was last fall.  There was no standing water on Monday.​
​This has been a lot, and again I am sorry for the missed update Sunday.  Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.  Have a great week!​

4-15-18

This past week has been another wild and crazy seven days.  We were able to get outside and accomplish some of the “to do” list.  Sitting here looking out my window, I don’t think outdoor work will be high on the list.  Day by day and step by step…..or simply one shovel full at a time.
The most important issue I would like to touch on would be the tiling on hole 16.  As you all know this area was given a temporary repair last summer which at best was a light bandage.  I have spoken to Matt Hagedorn about additional tile being laid around this area and tying it into the plastic line running off the course.
I want the situation resolved as much as anyone else.  The result needs to be affordable and make the most sense so we no longer have this issue and the golf course returns to normal playing conditions.  Matt and I will be meeting, on a nicer weather day, to discuss more details.
Our parking lots are still very messy with standing water.  Once the frost is gone, the parking lots should dry out and we will be able to add more material and have them graded.  Staff has worked on some of the worst areas this past week by spreading crushed concrete in heavily foot trafficked areas.
Several cart path areas were also repaired around the golf course.  The new bridge, on number twelve, was also finished with crushed concrete on the south side.  We will continue to address some of these areas in between blizzards this spring.
The biggest challenge ahead will be our budget over the next three months.  It will be a huge process to try and finish with the revenues exceeding expenses.  I’m always up for a challenge but this one might be a little daunting.

4-8-18

As I sit here this morning, I’m trying to determine if we are waiting for the golf season to start or is 2018 already winding down to the winter months.  This is a very difficult wait for myself and all the golfers in our community.  Patience will eventually pay off.
This past week we have continued to work on the remaining equipment repairs and set up.  Touch up painting and cleaning of other amenity items.  Obviously there has not been much of an opportunity to get outside to accomplish projects.
I have all the part time staff hired for the season.  Now, it’s just a waiting game to provide them the chance to train and understand the business.  I am very happy with all the staff and have the utmost confidence in their abilities and commitment.
Please contact me with any comments or questions.  I’m going to grab my shovel and play in the snow.