11-11-18

This past week I was in Iowa City for several days.  My brother in law received his second liver transplant in a two week time frame.  As of Saturday morning, he is in stable condition and the doctors are very happy where everything is at with Todd.  He has a long road ahead of him and obviously circumstances can change daily.  We are very optimistic and praying for a full recovery.
The weather has not been the best but we did complete one of our large fall projects.  Mounding around #16 green was completed in the area where sand traps previously sat.  There were 119 loads of material to complete both of the new mounds and eliminate the sand traps.  I finished grading the area early this past week.
Late in the week, we received 12 pallets of sod, from Del’s Garden Center.  The sod was laid over the two new mounds and will be watered in prior to the irrigation system being winterized.  Here are a few pictures of the finished project:

 

 

 

The golf simulator is programmed into the wifi and working quite nicely.  I had planned on downloading the new courses this week, but the family medical issues took precedence.  I will get the software downloaded this weekend and indoor golf will be available next week.
The majority of the seasonal staff is finished for the off season.  Some employees will still work part time in the clubhouse during the indoor golf season.  Outdoor staff is down to only Mark Lawson.
The irrigation system will be winterized this coming week.  This is usually a two day event to ensure all lines are completely free of condensation.  In the past, we have dealt with the issue of melting snow draining back into the heads and causing some broken elbows in the spring.
Almost all of the electrical connections were repaired throughout the golf course.  This was a very tedious process, but I feel confidant the majority of the issues should be behind us moving forward.  Listen closely….you can hear me knocking on wood.
The golf course is pretty much closed for the season.  We do have the Iowa League of Cities coming this Thursday night.  There will also be a golf simulator party scheduled for Saturday night.  I am looking forward to the simulator and hoping it increases our revenues.
Please contact me with any questions or comments.  My goal is to always address everything in a timely manner.  Stay warm today.

11-4-18

The week was pretty nice for golfers to enjoy the sunshine and warmer weather.  The amount of play was decent, for this time of year.  It was also a nice work week for our outdoor projects.
We removed all our perennial plant debris from landscaping areas around the golf course.  This is the growth that bites the dust once the heavy frosts hit the area.  The landscaping grasses were left alone and will not be trimmed back.  This will allow them to go to seed and also provide some visual effect during the off season.
Trees have continued to be at the top of our list.  We still have all the stump work to grind from over a dozen trees removed this fall.  Tree pruning has also begun around the course.  We also removed several dead trees from the Public Works property SW of #15 tees.  This debris was hauled to the golf course.  The Street Division will eventually haul the debris to the tree site.
 Drier weather allowed us to finally get back into the green surrounds on #16.  Previously we hauled 76 loads of fill material into these two sand traps.  This past week another 35 loads were added to these areas.  I used the loader to level and shape both mounds.  Lastly, eight loads of black topsoil was hand raked into the uneven areas in preparation for sod early next week.

 

The tiling project has still not been completed in the area of #16 green surrounds.  Eliminating the sand traps will help with the majority of the problem around the green.  I plan on adding more tile to the north of the green and tying into the tile that is present between #17 tees.  This should eliminate the majority of the issues.
Much of Wednesday was spent working on the simulator.  Solutions was on site to help install all the software and get everything working through the WiFi.  I was able to download a 30 day demo golf course in order to get the feel for the operations.  New software will be purchased to install close to 20 golf courses on the simulator.
This golf simulator will be open for play in the next week or two.  The cost will be $20 per hour and the machine can be reserved through normal tee times in the clubhouse.  We will be open around 11:00 AM on weekdays and 9:00 AM on weekends.  This will be a trial basis to see what kind of demand there is for the simulator.

10-21-18

This past week has seen a continued decrease in the part time hours worked by staff.  There has been very little golf activity, due to the cold weather each day.  The heavy frosts, on several mornings, has slowed the grass growing around the golf course.  Maintenance practices have turned to fall levels this past week.  Mowing has been limited and focus is on some of the projects on the agenda.
We have continued to remove dead pine trees from around the golf course.  This is a statewide problem and will continue into the future.  We have planted more than 200 trees the past two years to try and prepare for the future of our golf course.  It will obviously take time for these trees to mature, but we need to focus on future generations and create a solid tree diversification around the golf course.
The extremely wet soil conditions have not allowed us to work on the 16th green surrounds renovation.  The sand traps have been filled with black soil but only the south trap area has been shaped.  The north sand trap area still needs to be shaped and more material added.  This will hopefully happen this coming week.
I irrigated greens and tees, early Wednesday morning, since they were starting to dry out from the excess winds.  They all received plenty of moisture and will be in good shape through the weekend.
I plan on eliminating our mowing schedules earlier this season than years past.  This will allow the grass to grow a little bit more and provide additional insulation heading into the winter months.  The later than normal fertilizer application, on greens and tees, should also provide more turf strength prior to the winter months.  All of these steps should help reduce the possibility of more winter damage.
Our revenues are $10,000 behind for the month of October.  This is followed by a decrease in revenues from September and August.  The weather has not been favorable for more than 14 months.  This has been a very frustrating time as we try to control expenses and hope for more revenue days.
Even if the weather is nice, during this time of year, the amount of golf drops off considerably each season.  It has definitely been an uphill battle.  I feel fortunate that our financial position was prepared, with excess reserve dollars, prior to this poor time period of golf.  I can only be hopeful as we move forward.
My focus, right now, is to complete our fall projects and move into the simulator golf season.  I continue to deal with issues getting past the firewall and eliminating the possibility of arising issues before I open the simulator for play.  It is getting frustrating, but I would rather deal with it now than when the snow is on the ground.
We are holding our first ever Rocktoberfest four person best shot golf tournament today at the muni.  There are not a lot of teams preregistered, but maybe we will get some walk ins since the weather looks favorable.  It should be a good revenue day either way, compared to the first three weeks of the month.

10-14-18

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

10-7-18

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

9-30-18

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

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

9-23-18

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

This photo is the 15th hole.

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

Brian

9-16-18

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

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

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

9-9-18

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

9-2-18

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