We have entered the month of March and surely we are all ready for the expiration of Old Man Winter.  There will continue to be a lot of snow melt this week prior to the arrival of some fresh flakes early next week.  I am very pleased with the condition of the golf course right now.  The snow cover has helped protect the greens and course the majority of the winter.  Hopefully we will be golfing later this month.  My prediction is March 19 for the opening date.
Pixler Electric was on site to analyze the new foundation of the pumphouse and assess how they will connect the new electrical for the pumps.  The SMU transformer was moved to the SE corner of the pumphouse and the main power line enters on the east side.  Pixler Electric will be back on site next week to complete the work and the pumphouse will be ready to roll when the weather permits.
Ryan Lux and I have continued to work together on equipment this off season.  All the sharpening work has been completed at both courses.  We were able to go through the Toro rough mower and our sprayer this past week.   Replacement parts have been ordered for multiple pieces of equipment.  Once the parts arrive, we will finish the thorough off season maintenance and repair of equipment.
The Fire Chief has been gracious enough to allow a burn permit, to the Country Club, this coming week.  I will take a truck to the site and monitor the controlled burn of their brush pile.  This will take most of the day and we are currently shooting for Wednesday.  This will allow the Club to save quite a bit of money on hauling costs and also be a controlled situation.
I am looking forward to the coming season and the strong working relationship between Ryan and myself.  We have discussed multiple maintenance practices we can complete together at each course.  The end result will be a huge positive for both golf courses.
The automatic withdrawal form has been added to our website.  It can be found as a link on the course schedule page.  There have been a handful of golfers taking advantage of this new payment form.  Also, the Five Year Business Plan has been added as well to provide as much information as possible to the general public.


This past week has been one filled with education.  I am required to complete a certain level of continued education to retain my Class A GCSAA Golf Course Superintendent status.  Fortunately, one of the benefits of this membership is the ability to watch webinars to receive education points.  I am able to choose which videos appeal to my needs and our golf course and watch them for no charge.
I have viewed approximately 1080 minutes of continued education the past few weeks.  These range from bunker management and maintenance to developing quality maintenance program.  There is always something positive to take away from each speaker.  It also allows me to refer to our Business Plan and the Quality Standards Manual.  These are definitely the framework for how our golf course is managed and the cost of doing business in each category of golf course management.
There was also a couple of personal days I missed work in order to complete clinical hours in the Emergency Department at Spencer Municipal Hospital.  This is a requirement for the EMT class I am currently attending.  It was invaluable training time and I am excited to continue moving forward to graduation.  I am currently scheduled to take my National Certification at the end of March.
Tomorrow, I will be back in the shop with Ryan Lux to finish the last little bit of reel sharpening maintenance we have scheduled.  We will also be working on some of the equipment, at both golf facilities, in order to better accomplish our maintenance needs.  This has been a wonderful work relationship and I know we are both excited to expand on the benefits in the future.
This is the end of another week at the golf course (more like classroom this past week).  Please contact me with any questions or comments that might arise.  Have a great day everyone!


It is another frostbite type of morning in NW Iowa.  I would rather have this weather take place now instead of happening in March.  When the golf course is able to open in mid March it helps increase our season pass totals for the season.  If the weather is not favorable until April, there is a noticeable decline in passes.  Bring on the March sunshine!
I spent the past week working with Ryan Lux sharpening reels at the Country Club.  This has been an extremely smooth process for both of us.  I hauled all of my reels to the Country Club and we have worked together sharpening and repairing reels for both golf courses.  We are almost completely done with a job that normally takes more than a month individually.
Our next plan of action is to start working on some of the equipment repairs together.  We are both responsible for our own equipment repair and maintenance which can also become very time consuming.  With two “semi professional” mechanics working together it will make repairs easier and less time consuming.
In the golf department there are many different hats to wear on a daily basis.  I am the business manager, clubhouse supervisor, grounds supervisor, spray technician, irrigation technician, mechanic, public relations director, human resource director, and the list goes on.
When any area of the golf course “breaks down” that becomes my first priority to get it up and running again.  A lot of projects are placed on hold to deal with situations.  It takes a great team to run the golf course successfully.  Ryan and I are going to use one another’s experience to ease the day to day curve balls in 2018.
I updated the website with our 2018 list of events.  There are a few new additions of golf course sponsored events, later in the season, to help boost revenues during this normally slow time of year.  Past events take precedence on reserving the same date annually.  Some of these events might also change in the near future.


The warm weather has left me feeling energetic for the new golf season to approach.  If the weather cooperates we should be hitting golf balls in a couple of months.  I am hopeful for a mid March opening date.  Time will only tell.
Ryan Lux and I agreed to work on our equipment together this off season.  This past week we completed the sharpening process on 32 of my 37 reels.  This process consists of sharpening each blade on the reel (the reels have between 8 and 14 blades), adjusting the cut, and setting the height of cut on each reel.
The sharpening process consists of mounting the reel on a machine with everything being level.  You run the grinder across each individual blade until you create a new sharp edge.  The bedknife is the part the reel spins against creating the cutting process.  This bed bar is sharpened on a separate machine with a horizontal grinding stone.
When you put the reel back together, it spins lightly with an even cut all the way across the bedknife.  There is adjustment knobs on the reel that help move both sides to the correct position.  Once it is precisely set, you can cut a piece of paper across the entire spinning reel.
The height of cut is different for all types of mowers.  I set the green mowers at 3mm, tee reels are 8mm, and fairway units are 14.5mm.  A digital measuring device allows me to create the exact same height across each and every blade.  Now they are ready for the mowing season.
We started the process on Ryan’s reels on Friday.  We will have limited time this upcoming week but plan on completing his reels in a very timely manner.  This process usually takes us both about a month to complete it alone.  Less than one week was spent to complete my reels and the same amount of time will be necessary for Ryan’s reels.
This coming week, I will be working on finishing my last five reels and begin setup for Ryan’s reels.  I will also be working an EMT shift at the fire station on Monday and a 12 hour shift of clinicals at the emergency room.
I completed the 2018 Five Year Business Plan and assembled my first copy Friday evening.  I will make enough copies for the mayor, golf board, city council, staff, and other interested parties.


One more week of winter is in the books and we are moving toward the golf season.  I feel pretty comfortable with the moisture on the golf greens at this point of the off season.  The small amount of snowfall along with slowly melting snow has left me feeling much more comfortable than last week.
This week I was able to complete the maintenance program on two sets of tee mowers and two sets of green mowers.  These four units all remain in high quality condition and will function in the inventory for many years.
I met with Ryan Lux, at the Country Club, to discuss our reel sharpening programs for this off season.  We have decided to work together and sharpen the reels for both golf courses together.  This will make the process run very smoothly as well as speed up the process.  We are also going to work together for any large maintenance repairs on equipment for both courses.
The 2018/19 budget has been completed with the exception of a couple insurance line items.  Once these figures are provided I will put the new 2018 five year business plan in print for the council, golf board, and city staff.  The golf course is looking at a 1% increase in the budget with no scheduled rate increases.
I am currently researching golf simulators to potentially purchase one unit for the 2018 off season.  This would allow us to create a golf league, during the winter months and increase our revenue dollars.  I am still working on the numbers to make sure this would be profitable for the course.
As I have previously mentioned, I am currently taking an EMT class at Iowa Lakes Community College.  This will place me on call with the fire station for first responder calls as well as a volunteer firefighter.  I was able to spend some time, running some EMT shifts, at the fire station.  It is at times an overwhelming experience but I am looking forward to passing my national certification.


The past couple of weeks have been the farthest we can be from golf weather.  This is always a worrisome time of year when there is minimal snow cover on the greens.  This snow cover is necessary for the insulation it provides the bentgrass.  The warmer upcoming temperatures will hopefully provide some snow melt giving the greens a little bit of moisture.
The past couple of weeks I have finished work on the new budget and 2018 Five Year Business Plan.  I will present this plan during the January 26 finance and personnel meetings.  I am excited to move forward and continue the success at the golf course.
I have been preparing my end of the year documents which help me track employee hours.  The policy is to limit part time staff hours to 1500 hours from April 1 to the end of March the following year.  This can be very challenging, since I am the only full time employee at the golf department but it has been accomplished.
Here is a list of January 1-December 31 hours for the past three years:
Golf Course Grounds- 2015=4895, 2016=4567, 2017=4700
Golf Club House- 2015=4272, 2016=4036, 2017=4051
Brian- 2015=2673, 2016=2563, 2017=2567
As you can see, the annual hours are pretty consistent from year to year.  Weather is definitely the number one factor closely followed by how busy is the golf course.  I am very fortunate to have a staff that love working at the golf course.  They are definitely the key to our success.
In the upcoming days, I will start the reel sharpening and equipmentance maintenance schedule.  I will go through each machine and make the necessary repairs, service, and sharpen.  This is a very thorough process in order to have each piece of equipment ready for the start of the 2018 golf season.
​The water quality project is pretty much finished at the golf course.  It has been a success and I am excited to see how the surface drainage works this coming spring.  The tile work has also been an improvement.  The main tile, coming from the south farm property, is still running water as of this morning.  That is just crazy.​


I was on vacation for the majority of the past week.  I used this time to help Ryan Lux remove dead trees at the Country Club.  I helped remove close to 30 trees during the past two weeks.  Ryan was able to remove 61 trees since Thanksgiving weekend.  The majority of the tree debris was hauled to the tree site.

​DeLoss was on site midweek to finish the foundation work on the pump house.  They hauled fill material around the entire area to raise the topography near the new foundation level.  This will help divert surface drainage from the facility in the future.

SMU also moved the transformer further south of the previous location.  The utility entry into the building was also moved from the north side to the SE corner.  We previously received several ground shorts when the entry was on the pond side of the building.  It should all be a benefit moving forward.

​I​ would like to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday season, and a bright New Year moving forward.  Enjoy your family and friends, the most important parts of our lives.


This past week Ryan Lux came out to the golf course to help me with stump removal.  In total, we removed 24 tree stumps and hauled the debris to the tree dump.  These areas will be filled with soil and covered with sod in the spring.  These trees were removed from the golf course over the past two years.
Thursday and Friday I helped Ryan remove eleven large poplar trees at the Country Club.  The weather was great and we were able to remove these problematic trees and haul the debris to the tree site.  I plan on using more vacation days to help him remove as many trees as possible before the bad weather arrives.
The great part of a strong working relationship, with the Country Club, is the cost saving we can provide for both golf courses.  The going rate for stump removal is $75 for each one.  The going rate for large tree removal is about $500 per tree.  The math definitely shows the savings for both courses.
In my opinion, it is most important to remove the dead or damaged trees from the course in a timely manner.  This eliminates the liability and safety concerns these trees present.  The stump removal is very time consuming.  If the stumps are cut off at ground level they are not such an eyesore and minimize the safety issue.
DeLoss was on site for a short period of time this week.  They set the pump house on the new foundation and secured with bolts.  This area will be back filled with topsoil bringing the topography up to the new foundation.  It will be dormant seeded yet this off season.  They are very close to finishing their work on the golf course.


I will be taking some vacation time to help Ryan in the next couple of weeks.  I will still be available for meetings or by cell phone.  I will also finish up any work on my end for the water quality project.  Please contact me with any questions or concerns.  Have a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones!


Monday morning started off at 55 degrees and a few golfers taking it to the course one last time.  By noon, the cold front was replacing the sunshine and warm temperature.  The golfers finished their last round just as the wind started blowing strong and cold.
For me, Monday was the day to spray the greens with a snow mold fungicide.  This fungicide application helps reduce the odds of this fungus forming under snow cover on the greens when the spring temperatures arrive.  I finished about the same time as the golfers.
DeLoss was able to finish the bridge work on number twelve as well.  They excavated the area, added an extension to the county tile, added the large limestone, and placed the bridge about two feet further south than previously located.  The project looks amazing.  They did an amazing job.
The railings will not be installed on the bridge.  This will allow us to take all of our maintenance equipment across the bridge speeding up transport time.  Here are some photos below:​



Tiffany continued to work on painting the interior of the clubhouse.  It is unbelievable how much the paint has faded over the past eight years.  The areas painted look great and I am anxious for the new clubhouse facelift.
I was off on vacation the remainder of the week.  I use the term vacation very loosely, since it actually meant staying home and studying the EMT handbook all week.  The fireplace and coffee were both warm!
This concludes another week at the golf course.  As we approach the holiday season remember your loved ones and take advantage of the time you spend together.  I feel like family is the most important part of this joyous time of year.  Enjoy your weekend.