9-15-19

Good Morning,
It was a very difficult work week with the rain and windy conditions and short on staff.  The golf course received steady rainfall most of the day Monday.  Early Thursday morning we had a strong thunderstorm dumping over 2″ of rainfall.  With all the dormant turf in non irrigated areas the heavy rain drained to all the low spots on the golf course.  Standing water was all over the place with several greens 50% under water.  The next three days were very challenging.
We had our mowing practices to complete in a short period of time as well as being short staffed.  Huge thanks to my maintenance staff for grabbing the bull by the horns and moving in high gear.  We mowed all hours of the day and had the majority of the golf course mowed in two days.  The sand traps were repaired and raked by noon on Saturday.  There is still some water in a few traps but the sand has been pushed back to the faces of the sand traps.  By the end of the week the golf course was back in very nice condition.
Repairing washed out sand traps is a very time consuming process.  The heavy rainfall washes the sand to the bottom of the traps leaving the top part down to clay.  The sand is pushed from the bottom of the trap back to the face and spread evenly throughout.  Afterward they look just like new.
My personal work week consisted of office work, mowing, irrigation repairs, equipment repairs, repairing sand traps, and clubhouse shifts.  Wherever we were short staffed I emphasized my work for the week.  The staff did a great job in the clubhouse as well as the maintenance employees going above and beyond.
Skunk damage has started over the last week or two.  The skunks come out at night and dig up the grubs in fairways on the north half of the golf course.  These varmints can do a lot of damage over one nightfall.  I have spot treated insecticides to try and control the grub population and it looks like next year I will need to spray the entire north set of fairways to try and eliminate this issue.   “Hopalong” Mark Lawson turned a couple of these trespassers into hats early Saturday morning.
On Friday, I finally resolved the lightning damage to the clubhouse AC unit with the insurance company.  The process was very difficult with the adjuster since he was out of the office for several weeks.  There was also problems with Hanson’s P&H getting all the information.  In the end, the adjuster informed me he will be approving the claim and be in touch early next week.
I was able to spray greens with a scheduled treatment on Saturday morning.  The rainfall and high winds made it impossible to complete the application any earlier.  I applied a fungicide for the control of dollar spot.  This fungus really became apparent on #6 green.  This is the only green where it showed up in full force.  I also sprayed a wetting agent and a foliar fertilizer application.
I drove out of town for a few hours on Friday to pick up an irrigation part for the pumphouse.  The lead intake is a 6″ PVC pipe that feeds the pump from the wet well.  The 90 degree angle fitting has a crack in it and is leaking water causing the pump to work well below capacity.  I want to repair the intake now before it breaks when the irrigation is necessary with the upcoming heat.  I will be completing the repair this morning.
Several fall projects to be completed in the upcoming weeks:
-tile the area around #16 green
-sod collars damaged from irrigation issues
-dead tree removal
-fall herbicide application to course
-spray vegetation in irrigation pond
I will provide more information about these projects as they begin.  Please let me know if there are any questions or concerns.  The golf board will meet Monday at the clubhouse 5:00 PM.

9-8-19

This past week our main focus was general maintenance practices around the golf course.  We had a short work week due to the Labor Day holiday which was followed by the police golf outing on Tuesday.  That leads up to one of our biggest golf outings of the year happening today.
The maintenance staff has been working one employee short in comparison to the past few years.  This is being done to help offset the lower revenue dollars we have seen this year.   We worked some evening hours in order to get the golf course in nice shape by the end of the week.  It was challenging to get everything mowed down in a timely manner.
This upcoming week looks like more rain headed in our direction.  We will continue with normal maintenance practices and most likely start removing some of the dead pine trees around the golf course.
Spraying the fall broadleaf weed application, fertilizing, spraying greens, and sand trap maintenance are some of the items on the list in the coming weeks.  It is helpful that so much of the rough is dormant from the lack of rainfall.
The golf board meeting is moved until September 16th.  We need to have a full attendance in order to vote on officers for the upcoming year.  If there are questions, comments, or concerns please get in touch with me so they can be addressed in a timely manner.  Enjoy the remainder of the weekend.

9-1-19

This past week has concluded the 2019 golf leagues at the muni.  This time of year seems to always result in a drop in play at the golf course.  Starting this weekend golfers can purchase 1/2 of their 2020 season pass and play the remainder of 2019.  Then make the final payment in April of 2020 and play all of that golf season.  Hopefully we see some additional interest in this promotion this year.
Mid week I finished the process of lining up a glow ball event that will be held on Saturday, October 5th.  The event will be limited to the first 104 golfers and sponsored by the After Five Kiwanis.  There will also be a chili cook off between Spencer Fire Department and the After Five Kiwanis.  This event will be held annually, moving forward, and will benefit children in our community.  The exact charity has not yet been determined.
Thursday afternoon we hosted the Spencer High School cross country meet.  This is an annual event that falls on the Thursday after men’s league is completed.  We host this event in order to be a positive partner with the school district.  We don’t make any money during the day but it does give folks from outside our community to see our beautiful golf course.  It’s very impressive watching all the young athletes compete in this event.
Irrigation continues to be on the agenda the past weeks.  I repaired multiple valves and wiring issues around the golf course.  There are only a few small repairs left to complete.  Overall, the irrigation system is working about as well as a person could hope.  All of the areas of poor irrigation coverage have been addressed.  The repair hours have been quite substantial over the past couple of years.
The staff and myself have spent time cleaning sand traps during the mornings when we rake traps.  There have been quite a few rocks that have worked to the surface and contaminated the sand.  We have removed approximately three gallons of rocks from around the golf course.  We will continue to work on this process each week.  The vast majority of rocks have been removed.
We spent some time dragging the parking lot, filling in potholes, and doing the same to the cart paths around the golf course.   The Street Division helped us out by adding road gravel a couple weeks ago.  We will continue to drag the parking lot in order to keep the potholes and other low spots to minimum each week.
Another task has been the removal of sucker branches around a lot of the smaller trees around the golf course.  These branches grow at ground level and show up every year.  It usually takes us a handful of hours to address this issue.  We have also been trimming some of the low hanging branches on the golf course and in Waterway Park.
Our regularly scheduled maintenance practices have taken up the remainder of the work week.  Overall the golf course is in really nice shape as we head into the Labor Day weekend.

8-25-19

Good Morning,
This past week we spent a lot of time on our regular scheduled maintenance programs.  The irrigation system has been running steady every night and the irrigated areas of the course are still growing rather nicely.  The non irrigated areas have become dormant and only need to be mowed once in a while.  We are down a staff member so it has made some evening mowing as well.  By the end of this past week I was very pleased with the condition of the golf course.
Irrigation repairs continue to be a steady part of the work week.  I repaired several more electrical connections, replaced some damaged heads, and adjusted irrigation schedules on the computer.  I still have a couple of irrigation heads that are not working correctly (#5 white tee box) but will get those repairs completed on Monday.  The repair process is not extremely difficult it is simply very time consuming.  I have gained a lot of ground the past couple weeks and I feel good with the operation of the irrigation system.
The rainfall totals really reduced the irrigation needs the first half of 2019.  The well was never turned on until this month and has only run for 144 hours.  Six days of running the well for the entire year to date has never occurred.  The golf course is irrigated with over 450,000 gallons of water each night on a full program.  The well pumps 432,000 gallons of water in 24 hours.  Our water permit allows the well to pump over 26,000,000 gallons of water into the pond each year and irrigate over 39,000,000 gallons of water onto the course.  We have only used a fraction of these totals in 2019.  Probably the lowest totals ever in 20 years.
We had a few greens with damage that occurred back in March from the heavy rains and rapid snow melt.  These areas have been plugged earlier in the year and we topdress them on a regular basis.  They have filled in very nicely.  This past week we added some smaller plugs to help speed up the repair process.  These areas are low areas on the greens that drain very poorly.  We will continue to topdress them until they are no longer noticeable.
The irrigation pond has been treated on the west side (#5), the north side (#11), and the southeast side (#12) for algae control.  The copper sulfate crystals have removed almost all the algae in these areas.  There is still other aquatic vegetation that will need to be removed this fall with aquatic herbicides that prohibit irrigation for 72 hours.  I have done some research on this chemical and feel pretty comfortable I will be able to make a difference in controlling these weeds.
Tuesday we hosted the morning and evening league ladies league end of the season tournaments.  Friday we hosted the Clay County Pork Producers at the golf course.  There were 49 golfers that played nine holes of golf, ate a great meal provided by the CCPP, and enjoyed some social time as well.  Today we are hosting the season ending men’s league tournament.  The golf league season is coming to an end but there is still plenty of time to play golf with beautiful fall weather.
We have had three straight golf seasons with very poor weather.  The rainfall was the worst this Spring than the previous two years.  This weather has really impacted our revenue at the golf course.  Our season pass totals were the lowest they have ever been since the 18 hole golf course.  We need some nice weather moving into 2020.  I have been operating the grounds maintenance with one less staff member to attempt to help the budget we are currently operating.  When it rains there are no golfers but staff still needs to maintain the golf course.
This concludes another week at SMGC.  Please contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns so they can be addressed in a timely manner.  As soon as you let me know I am able to take your comments and move toward correcting the situation.  Last weeks comments I received were addressed within 24 hours.  Enjoy the remainder of your weekend.

8-18-19

Good Morning,
The past week was spent making a lot of repairs and adjustments to the irrigation system.  I went through about 32 valve boxes.  Some of these areas had bad valve diaphragms, lightning damage, or bad solenoids.  There were several valves that stuck on overnight as well.  These valves get debris that lodges under the valve diaphragm and it will not shut down and the water continues to flow through the sprinkler.  By the end of the week I completed almost every irrigation repair on the course.
I have been running the system at full capacity every night this past week.  The dry spots on a couple of greens are due to a broken irrigation head or poor performance by the head.  All of these sprinkler heads have been replaced.  There will continue to be more areas that need repair as I continue going through the course station by station.  Overall, the system is keeping up nicely with the dry conditions.
I have treated 1/3 of the irrigation pond for algae control.  The algae has been controlled on the north and west sides of the irrigation pond.  I will continue to work my way around the remainder of the pond this coming week.  The pond on #10 has also been treated and the algae has been totally removed.  This will be an ongoing process to try and control the remainder of the aquatic vegetation as we move into Fall.
The clubhouse parking lot was graded by the Street Division on Wednesday morning.  I had previously leveled some of the damaged areas Tuesday morning.  On Friday, they brought multiple loads of road gravel and covered almost the entire parking lot.  The thunderstorm last night had minimal impact on the lot.  I will continue to drag the parking lot weekly moving forward in the future.
I received the invoice for the lightning damage to one of our AC units.  They also sent me an estimate to replace the damaged unit.  I emailed this information to the insurance adjuster and will proceed once I have talked to this individual.
We have been very busy with our normal daily grounds maintenance schedules.  The golf course is in pretty nice shape as we head into our weekend.  Open golf was very busy on Friday and Saturday.  This morning we are hosting our second couple’s golf tournament of the season.  It should be a beautiful day for some golf.  Hopefully everyone enjoys their time on the course with their partner.
Lastly, we removed a damaged Ash tree next to the maintenance building entrance.  This tree was damaged from a previous wind storm.  The tree was cracked over two feet right down the middle of the tree trunk.  It was definitely a liability issue.  It was tough cutting it down since it was planted by my oldest daughter and I when she was in fifth grade.  We will start removing dead pine trees in the upcoming weeks.

8-13-19

A couple topics that were discussed at the golf board meeting were addressed this morning.
The first was the condition of the parking lot at the clubhouse.  I used the loader and dragged as much material as possible to the low spots by the cart sheds and along the west side of the clubhouse.  It is only a temporary fix since the cart traffic will eventually create these holes again.  I will continue to drag these areas on a weekly basis to help with the rough driving conditions.  The Street Division will be on site Wednesday morning to take the road grader over the entire parking lot.  These bad areas will be coned off so no vehicles can park and the grader can address the situation.
The parking lot condition has been a hot topic all year long.  The water table is so high in this area of town that the frost boils have never fully recovered from late Winter.  The Street Division has been on site many times trying to grade the parking lot and help alleviate the problems.  The soft spots have never recovered from the boils and it has been very difficult to maintain the entrance and nearing the cart sheds.  The entrance was filled with larger rocks and crushed concrete last week.  This has helped tremendously in this area.
The second topic was in regards to the air conditioning unit that was struck by lightning.  As mentioned last night I have called Hanson’s Plumbing & Heating multiple times in regards to this problem.  I just got off the phone again this morning with Lisa.  They will be emailing the information needed for the replacement and an invoice for work done previously.  I will forward this information to the adjustor and we will proceed forward.
Lastly, Following my job evaluation last week made me take a different look at the public perspective of my response to fire calls during daytime hours.  It prompted me to have a conversation with Chief John Conyn.  I will no longer be driving the SFD car and will also limit myself to any daytime hours covering medical shift.  My work commitment is first and foremost at the golf course.
As I mentioned, during the review, I have a daily journal that I keep on my Google Drive.  This journal documents day to day activities at the golf course.  Since we changed payroll software, I started recording my hours at the golf course and fire station on Google Drive.  I am going to share this document with Amanda in case you have questions moving forward.
Please get in touch with me when there are concerns, questions, or comments that need to be addressed.  I always try and deal with them as quickly as possible.  I try to provide as much information as possible in the weekly updates.  If there is a question that arises I am more than happy to take a phone call or respond to an email.

8-11-19

Good Morning,
Another week has passed us by rather quickly.  The golf course was busy with our normal weeknight golf leagues, 72 golfers in the Veteran’s tournament on Saturday, and 31 athletes this morning for the Special Olympics.  Yesterday was a great day to help raise money for our veterans and the weather was perfect.  Today is a special day to be able to participate in the Unified Golf event.  We are scheduled to host the Lakes Area Seniors in the morning, but it looks like strong thunderstorms.
The warm and dry weather has really started to turn the golf course a brownish hue in the non irrigated areas.  There are also some annual dry spots in fairways, greens, and tees that are always an issue.  The main reason for a lot of these areas is poor sprinkler head coverage.  The other reason would be issues with the valve on that particular station.
I have been working on the irrigation system all week.  There are several stations that have electrical issues from a lightning strike during a past storm.  One of the valve boxes looked like it simply exploded from the lightning.  This fries the solenoid and the decoder which are both necessary to run each irrigation station.
There are also valves that get a small rock or other debris caught in the diaphragm which allows the water to continuously pass through the valve and into the irrigation head.  This is particularly obvious in #14 fairway where the first sand trap is completely full of water from a leaking head.
Also, there was a section of pipe on #16 tee that broke.  When the station was programmed to run the broken pipe would not allow the water to get to the sprinkler head but it did allow the water pressure to fill the pipe with mud which has now made it impossible to run this station.  We are going to use a trencher from SMU on Monday to cut in a new line for these tees.
I started the irrigation system last night around 5:30 PM.  This was done in order to apply more irrigation time to the fairway stations.  It takes over 12 hours to irrigate the golf course at 100%.  Since there was minimal golf traffic and the temperature was much warmer than predicted I decided to start the system early.  I did receive a couple of phone calls inquiring why I was watering and how were people supposed to play golf?  It was one irrigation station at a time, per hole, and with a run time of 15 minutes.
The street division was on site to work on our parking lot this past week.  They hauled some 2″ rock to the north entrance of the clubhouse parking lot.  This material was packed into place and should eliminate the very soupy entrance to the golf course.  I guess we will see what will happen after all the rain tomorrow.
I treated the west end of the irrigation pond for algae on Wednesday.  This is a copper sulfate crystal application.  It kills algae by binding to it, which damages the algae cells, causing them to leak and die. Copper sulfate is highly soluble in water, and copper is a natural, essential mineral. Too much copper is toxic to plants because it prevents photosynthesis.  I will continue to work on the algae control of this pond in the coming week.

8-4-19

What a beautiful week weather wise.  This could be the first time we have gone had near perfect golf conditions for a seven day stretch.  The wind has been minimal, plenty of sunshine, and the temperatures have been pleasant.  It has all added up to a very busy week at the golf course with leagues, golf outings, and open golf.
We have been short staffed on the golf course grounds crew and will continue to be until the end of next week.  Everyone has pitched in and maintained a very nice golf course for everyone to enjoy.  This is a busy month at the muni filled with lots of golf events and closes out with the end of the year league tournaments.  Then we prepare ourselves for the Clay County Fair.  Is that even possible?
This upcoming week will include spraying greens with a fungicide and foliar fertilizer application.  I will also start working on spraying herbicide in some of the areas where clover and other broadleaf weeds are present.  Some of the low areas have started to finally dry up and I will be able to spray.  One of these areas will include along the south property line of Stoneybrook.
The irrigation pond will also be treated with copper sulphate to control the algae that is present.  The copper sulphate will be applied as a granular and will remove the algae in a couple days.  This process will take me a few days to complete.  I can only treat part of the pond every couple of days.  If too much algae is killed at once it will remove too much oxygen from the water and possibly create a fish kill.  Over the next two weeks the majority of the algae will be removed from both ponds.
Our parking lots have been a continuous problem all year.  The street division was on site late this past week to do as much work as possible on both lots.  They will add some larger rock to the entry of the clubhouse parking lot where we still have cones set up.  We will continue to do everything we can to keep the parking lot presentable.  The water table is so high it makes it very difficult.

7-28-19

Good Morning,
It has been a very busy week at the golf course.  The cooler weather has really helped with the stress on the turfgrass as well as on staff.  It has also allowed us complete a lot of projects around the golf course and complete all of our scheduled maintenance practices.
We hosted Brenda Conyn’s Realty Group and CAASA on Saturday.  The theme for the day was flamingos and there were a lot of creative outfits.  So much fun watching all of them enjoy the day.  This was a great event that helped raise money for CAASA and the participants had a lot of fun.  The weather was perfect and we look forward to hosting them again in the future.
The golf course was fortunate to gain some of the sand from the berm project constructed around West Leach Park.  We used the sand to fill traps on holes #8, #9, and #17.  These traps now have adequate sand in each.  We will continue to add more sand in the near future until we address all the sand traps on the course.
We see isolated dry areas year after year when we experience the high heat for extended periods of time.  These spots first started arriving when the control panel went down in the pumphouse a couple of months ago.  Once they arrive it is very difficult to fully recover.  I have sprayed more wetting agent than any previous year.  This product helps hold water in the upper portion of the soil and move extra water through the soil profile quickly.  It’s like a magic potion for turfgrass.
There are some spots on the practice green and several other greens where I sprayed for the control of moss and algae.  Moss appears on greens when they are under a lot of stress, saturated soil conditions, and low on nutrients.  The majority of nutrients, in the soil, have not been present due to rainfall flushing them through the soil profile.  Damaged areas then become a breeding ground for the moss.  The majority of the areas are silver dollar size but the practice green and #12 had larger spots that are now black and cracked.  We will plug these areas out in the near future.
The damaged areas on holes #3, #8, and #10 have all been plugged and continually hand topdressed.  We will add some smaller plugs when we address the moss areas.  Otherwise they are starting to fill in nicely.  Hand topdressing provides a sand mixture for the bentgrass rhizomes to spread into and fill in the areas more rapidly.  We will continue the topdressing schedules moving forward.
I applied a fungicide, insecticide, foliar fertilizer, and wetting agent to the greens and collars on Wednesday morning.  The fungicide helps control dollar spot which shows up as tan lesions on the greens and collars.  The insecticide will help eliminate the presence of cutworms that were rearing their ugly head.  The crows dig the cutworms out of the greens and leave quite a mess.
We were able to mow all the park property and public works areas we have maintained for the past several years.  The extended periods of rain make it difficult to stay on top of the lower areas but we have them all mowed and trimmed.
The golf course has been string trimmed and mowed with everything looking very nice as we head into the weekend.  Sometimes it’s a battle to stay on top of it all but we try and work different hours to mow during dry conditions to provide the highest quality of cut on the fairways and tees.  I’m pleased with the condition of the course right now.
I treated the pond on number ten with copper sulphate which will eliminate the algae present.  This was done on Wednesday and the majority of the algae is gone.  I am also exploring options on how to treat the irrigation pond for other aquatic vegetation.  It becomes difficult when the chemicals require a 72 hour time frame without irrigation.  The chemical can contaminate the irrigation water and have an adverse effect on the turfgrass.  There is also the threat of fish and the fact that our pond overflows through the course and ends up in the river.  There are a lot of variables that come into play and regulations that must be followed.
The previous week I interviewed for the Recreation Director position with the City of Spencer.  On Monday I met with the City Manager and was informed they hired a new individual to fill Delray’s position.  Amanda said the new hire will be filling the Park and Recreation position and there will be no change to my position as Director of Golf Operations and the golf course will remain separate.
I appreciate the opportunity to be considered for the position and I look forward to working with the new hire.  The golf division will continue to interact with all city departments whenever the need for our assistance arises.  I also look forward to being able to 100% commit myself to the golf course on a daily basis.
 
This concludes another week at the muni.  Please contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns.  I will do my best to provide answers and address situations in a very timely manner.  Enjoy the remainder of your weekend.

7-21-19

Good Morning,
Every week is like Groundhog Day.  It has been hotter than one would like and then add in a bunch of thunderstorms and high winds.  It’s a difficult situation for our farming community and extends into our own yards where we deal with wind and hail damage.  I guess there really is no such thing as “normal” anymore.
The high temperatures really take a toll on the golf course.  Our greens and tees are sand based so the top of the soil profile dries out quickly and can go through the day at 110 degree temperature.  The rest of our course is clay based and drains poorly.  It all adds up to difficult grass growing conditions due to all the stress the plant receives during these conditions.
I have increased my foliar fertilizer applications and wetting agents on the greens to try and provide more nutrients and water holding ability within the plant.  This has caused our greens to grow rapidly through the heat and also limit the isolated dry spots.  The greens might be putting a little slower but it is for the benefit of plant health and overall quality of the golf course.
Our tees and fairways were fertilized one week ago and they have responded beautifully.  The color and health are wonderful right now.  We have some isolated dry areas on our tees which is a result of some poor irrigation coverage.  They are in a very healthy state right now.
I have continued to struggle with some irrigation issues.  Not that you would think irrigation is a necessity right now, but it is important to keep the greens cooled down during these high temperature nights.  I keep gaining a little more ground with the issues and will eventually get it all resolved.
We have some busy weeks upcoming with golf outings and tournaments.  Then it will all hit us with part time staff going back to school, leagues ending, and people talking about the Clay County Fair.
Each week goes by so quickly and we deal with a lot whether it be personal or work related.  Remember to take a step back once in a while and realize all the great things we have in our lives.  They are so much more important than what causes us stress.  Enjoy the remainder of your weekend.  It looks like a beautiful day!