4-21-19

What a beautiful past couple of days at the golf course.  The golf course was packed on Friday and Saturday.  We rented out our entire fleet of rental carts during one stretch of Saturday.  The weather was perfect and the golfers were enjoying the warm weather.
Our Season pass revenues are 70% of what the entire calendar year 2018.  We are off to a much better start than the previous two seasons.  We still had snow on the ground last year at this time.
The warm weather really kicked in the green grass.  The course looks better than I could have expected this early in the season.  It normally takes a long time for our variety of bentgrass to come around.  There are some areas in the fairways, on tees, and greens that received some ice damage.
This occurred during the fast snowmelt during the rain storms.  The grass became exposed during the massive surface drainage creating standing water in the low areas all over the course.  The cold spells caused ice formation and stunted the grass in these areas.  I am optimistic with several spots on greens, but the fairways and tees will be seeded sometime in the next week.
Saturday evening we hosted a surprise 50th wedding anniversary party.  The event was for Ted and Jeri Wurth and the surprise was the pleasure of their children.  This was a great event where the best part was the actual surprise.
Most of the early week was poor weather but we still had a lot of revenue due to league meetings held Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings.  I was able to speak to the leagues to address a few issues we have had in the past and answer questions.  I also directed everyone to enter their email address on our website to receive the same update I share each Sunday morning.
Our parking lot has been a mess the entire Spring.  The warm weather on Friday and Saturday definitely helped to an extent.  I also had a couple of friends, Bo Woodall and Kris Lindsey, come out with a drag and skid loader to help smooth the parking lot as much as possible.  By mid afternoon the difference was huge.  We still have a long way to go but there is progress.
I spent a lot of time working on the irrigation system late in the week.  I ran electrical tests and started the set up in the pumphouse for the season.  I will start filling the main irrigation lines on Monday and then run through station by station to address any issues.
Equipment repair was also a priority.  I had quite a few electrical issues that needed attention.  One John Deere green mower had a reel motor replaced and some electrical connections addressed.  One Toro tee mower had electrical issues with the raise/lower switches that were addressed.
It was much easier to work on the electrical end of equipment after getting some education from the Street Division mechanics.  Tom and Justin spent some time with me to run through schematic diagrams and they ordered some additional materials to make the process easier.  It was definitely invaluable and much appreciated.
It was a late night in the clubhouse last night and an early morning today.  I wish each of you a very Happy Easter and hope your day is filled with joy and laughter.  Stop on out to the golf course for some sunshine or a drink if you’re looking for something to do.  Keep on smilin’!

4-14-19

It looks like we might have survived the cold stretch from Mother Nature.  The coming week is returning to great golf temperatures.  Bring on the golfers!
The parking lot is still a mess.  We have set up a safe route for people to come in and then leave through the north maintenance parking lot.  It’s working well.  Mark White and street division staff have all agreed any attempt to grade it will only make it worse.  We have to be patient and wait for the frost to leave.  Then hopefully somebody comes up with some magic money to pave have if it this fall. And the other half next year.
This past week allowed us to get a lot of indoor work accomplished.  We did a ton of spring cleaning in the clubhouse and redecorating.  We added a ceiling net to the simulator and opened up a lot of space in that room.  Most of the plants have been moved around the building to bring out a little touch on indoor nature.
The coolest thing I am excited to showcase is a couple pieces of old tile from the old golf course. One piece is concrete and 6″ while the other is 4″ clay tile.  These are both old pieces of farm tile that run through the golf course and were salvaged during repair processes.  I thought it would be cool to build a shelf and add some literature in the clubhouse.
We also cleaned and organized the office area and started hanging wall art and advertising pieces.  The pool cue holder has been hung next to the table and looks great.  I am still waiting on a few more signs but the clubhouse looks a lot more welcoming to the eye.
We hosted our first private event last night in the clubhouse.  It was a birthday party and it went very well.  I think I was finished with cleaning by 1:00 AM.  Today we’re back to normal and ready for some golfers.  I’m trying to open and close a little bit more to save some labor hours.
The maintenance facility has received the same level of TLC.  All of our scrap metal was rounded up and hauled to the bin at the Street Division.  We tore apart all of our old reels and salvaged all the useable parts.  The rest was sent for recycling.
Next, all of our garbage was hauled out and sent to sanitation.  Things really accumulate over the years and this year we are cleaning house.  I always stress to my guys that the appearance of the maintenance building is the first impression that a new visitor takes away from that stop.  Let’s it clean and organized leaving a great impression on how we run our ship at Spencer Muni.
Equipment repairs were also a big part of the week.  I repaired at least a dozen rollers for different reels.  It’s a lengthy process but goes pretty smooth once you get in the flow.  For $40 a roller can be rebuilt and almost as good as new.  A new roller is in the range of $200-$300.  We still have a few new rollers in our inventory but will also have quite a few rebuilt spares.
Our first tournament was on April 7.  This tournament is scheduled every year and weather allows us to have it about every four years.  There were 80 golfers for the day and everyone had a good time.  It was nice to get that first tournament under our belt.  The next event is April 28th.  It will be a four person best shot with two holes on every green.
Every year we get stray cats that have babies in our maintenance facility.  Normally they run off soon after birth an we never see them again.  Last fall we had one kitten that stuck around and we kind of took her under our wing by feeding her and giving her warmth through the winter.  She is free to come and go in the maintenance facility.  I took her to the vet and had them give her a rabies shot just to be safe.  Her name is Caddy and I have no idea how long she will stick around before she moves on down the road.
Lastly, I hope everyone knows how passionate I am about my job.  It started at a very young age chasing my dad around the Country Club as early as I can remember.  I always knew I wanted to be in the golf industry.  Here is a picture from August 1976 that hopefully lets you know about my love of this golf course:

This is my brother Mark and I going to work with Dad to help get some work done.

Everyone have a great remainder to the weekend and keep smiling.  It’s a beautiful world out there if you look at it the right way!

4-8-19

The past two weeks have been pretty crazy and I have not sent out a weekly email update.  So, I thought I would drop you a line right now.
Our golf course is looking great right now.  We have mowed greens several times and they came through the winter very nice.  I’m very happy we removed the majority of the snow as soon as we were able to get our loader on the course.  This helped eliminate a lot of snow mold on our greens.  You can still see some snow mold around the collars and mounds where the snow last left the course.
When you spray greens for snow mold, a fungus that comes to life when the snow starts melting, you only have so many days of coverage.  It is a constant worry as to whether or not you will become victim to this disease.  With the massive amount of snow we received I felt it was necessary to remove it manually instead of waiting.
The course is still very wet in some areas.  Not nearly as bad as I would have expected.  There is still frost in some of our low lying areas which does not allow the water to leave the area.  The parking lot included.  Once the frost is gone these areas will all be attended to and rectified.
Our course has been very busy on most days, especially the nice days.  I’m pleased with the amount of fees that are being paid on a daily basis.  We are making progress.
The grounds staff is operating one man less this year and the clubhouse staff has been a little short handed as well.  I’m trying to work shifts in the evenings in the clubhouse as well as all day on the grounds.  Anything that can be done to help our budget is my current goal.
The next few days do not look favorable at all.  This will give us some time to work on some more of our shop items.  I have finished sharpening the reels and bedknives and started repairing damaged rollers.  Roller damage is a constant battle each year.  This year we are going to daily clean our mowers with compressed air in an attempt to prolong the life of our bearings.
There have been new ball washers ordered for the blue tees on the course.  The stands have been painted and the installation of these ball washers has begun.  There will be no water added until the threat of frost is gone.
Warm weather has started to show a lot of green grass all over the golf course.  It is the most beautiful part of spring.  Mother Nature comes back to life in a beautiful form.  The staff and I are all excited.
Irrigation was a huge battle last year.  Hundreds of electrical issues presented themselves all year long.  I was able to replace close to 300 connections and install them in new tubing.  I ran an electrical test today of every station on the course.  There were two stations that failed the test.  Both of these areas were problematic late last fall.  I’m beyond thrilled the hard work last year has paid off.
I’m calling it quits for the day and will touch base again this Sunday.  I have attached the final copy of the History of SMGC if you care to do some reading:

4-6-19

This past winter was one to never forget.  With all the snowfall up to our ears, March thunderstorms, and tons of flooding will not soon be forgotten.  Unfortunately the troubles are not finished at the golf course.
The main parking lot has experienced frost boils the past several springs, but this year it is the absolute cake topper.  The entire parking lot seems to be a frost boil.  Sioux Central buried their van trying to leave after practice last night.  Not a good feeling all across the building.
A frost boil happens when you have the wet fall season, then cold temperatures, then warm temperatures, finally followed by cold temperatures again.  This creates a stratus of frost down deep, moisture above the frost, and finally more frost above this moisture.  Come into Spring and we have rainfall that thaws the top part of the soil profile.  The top layer of frost leaves the ground and exposes the middle layer of moisture to the surface but the lower frost level is still present and does not allow the moisture to leach through the soil profile.
Our parking lot has been worse each Spring over the past four years.  Mark White is working with me to get project estimate from Kruse, Cate, and Nelson to pave the parking lot.  With us being open year round and also trying to provide parking to our golfing public, I think it is a great idea.  Not gonna be cheap….right Mr. Weuve?
Anyway, Mark and I are meeting this morning to try and find a temporary fix for the parking lot so we don’t miss out on our scheduled tournament tomorrow.  I appreciate his time and professional advice he is always willing to share.
The bottom line is……the parking lot is out of our control, but we are still trying to control it.

4-6-19

This past winter was one to never forget.  With all the snowfall up to our ears, March thunderstorms, and tons of flooding will not soon be forgotten.  Unfortunately the troubles are not finished at the golf course.
The main parking lot has experienced frost boils the past several springs, but this year it is the absolute cake topper.  The entire parking lot seems to be a frost boil.  Sioux Central buried their van trying to leave after practice last night.  Not a good feeling all across the building.
A frost boil happens when you have the wet fall season, then cold temperatures, then warm temperatures, finally followed by cold temperatures again.  This creates a stratus of frost down deep, moisture above the frost, and finally more frost above this moisture.  Come into Spring and we have rainfall that thaws the top part of the soil profile.  The top layer of frost leaves the ground and exposes the middle layer of moisture to the surface but the lower frost level is still present and does not allow the moisture to leach through the soil profile.
Our parking lot has been worse each Spring over the past four years.  Mark White is working with me to get project estimate from Kruse, Cate, and Nelson to pave the parking lot.  With us being open year round and also trying to provide parking to our golfing public, I think it is a great idea.  Not gonna be cheap….right Mr. Weuve?
Anyway, Mark and I are meeting this morning to try and find a temporary fix for the parking lot so we don’t miss out on our scheduled tournament tomorrow.  I appreciate his time and professional advice he is always willing to share.
The bottom line is……the parking lot is out of our control, but we are still trying to control it.

3-24-19

Last week there was two feet of snow covering the course which was followed by two inches of rain.  Everyone saw the amount of flooding and problems this caused.  The golf course was no exception.  The entire golf course had more flooding than ever before.  A few days of sunshine and no precipitation has made a huge difference.
Winter is a very difficult time to figure out what is going on with turfgrass.  Ideally snow cover makes a big difference and acts as an insulation barrier.  Two feet of snow can stick around for a long time and cause some headaches.  I went out everyday this past week to remove as much snow as possible from the greens.  This was done to eliminate the threat of snow mold.
Snow mold is a fungus that grows underneath the snow on bentgrass.  Once temperatures start to rise the snow begins to melt and creates a warm climate underneath the snow.  This becomes a perfect environment for this fungus to thrive.  By removing as much snow as possible definitely lessened the presence of this disease on our greens and collars.
You treat your greens with a fungicide treatment as late in the year as possible.  This is normally done in November.  The treatment has a limited life expectancy which generally decreases after 100 days.  With all the snow accumulations I was very nervous about the threat of snow mold.  Fortunately by removing the snow it left only a few areas of damage.  Below is a picture of snow mold on #1 collar.
The driving range opened on Friday and there were a fair amount of patrons hitting balls.  Saturday was also a beautiful day with more folks practicing on the range.  The simulator also had some good use.
This week the snow is almost completely gone from the course.  I toured the course on Friday afternoon and everything is looking very nice.  The frost level is down about 12″ on most of the greens.  I’m hoping the weather is nice the next few days and I can open the golf course on Wednesday.  Only a few days later than the March 20 date I predicted.

3-17-19

Good Morning,
It has been an extremely difficult week, to say the least, for most of Spencer and many other communities.  The flood waters hit our city with blow after blow most of the week.  Water damage is definitely a personal issue that can wipe out one person’s livelihood.  It has been a battle that is still causing many problems.
I was able to work with Public Works on Wednesday when they were trying to gain control of the flooding waters around the golf course.  The water was flooding all around the golf course property threatening Stoneybrook, homes on 4th Ave SW, and the business district in South Spencer.
The water was 12″ deep going down 4th Ave SW.  When you glanced to the west, the water in the ditch was almost at your eye level.  The water coming onto the east section of the golf course was over the bridge on #12.  The entire golf course was being bombarded with melting snow and surface drainage from every angle.
The Street Division, SMU employees, DeLoss employees, and Craig and Mark did an amazing job controlling this problem.  I watched the teamwork and communication first hand.  It was truly an amazing work environment where everyone kept plugging along.  I was impressed and definitely, in my opinion, these guys saved a lot of homes in this area.
 The shop area is currently under a full makeover.  The office is being cleaned, painted, and organized.  The work area will soon follow under the same steps.  A clean shop allows us to work on our equipment in a safe environment and also allows for a good first impression to guests.
The simulator was used a few times early in the week.  On Saturday, the simulator was reserved from the time we opened until 8:00 PM.  It was pretty cool to see so many different faces in one day.  Everyone had a great time and expressed their desire to come back.  Success!

3-10-19

First off, I’m going to take a step back and admit my concern about meeting the March 20 opening date I predicted.  I’m finally coming to terms with the fact it is not going to happen.  However, the clubhouse will be open for simulator golf that day!
There is always concern about the golf course whether there is snow or no snow cover during the winter.  Right now my worry is if the chemicals applied in November will provide enough control to eliminate the possibility of snow mold on the greens.
This is a fungus that grows under the snow cover when temperatures start to rise.  The ground temperature starts to warm under the snow and creates a perfect environment for this fungus.  At some point, I plan to remove some of the heavier snow on several greens as a precaution against this disease.
The past week has included a lot of preseason orders and housekeeping activities.  The shop area is currently going through a thorough cleaning.  Everything has been removed from the office and recycling efforts are taking place.  The entire shop area will be cleaned, organized, and inventoried.
Our golf simulator has continued to be fairly active.  It is never as busy as I would like it to be but it has been beneficial as a revenue source.  There are a few reservations for this coming week and we generally get some walk ins during the week.
Please pass the word for golfers to enter their email address on our website for golf updates and other information.  I have also included a new photo gallery on the website.  Fees can be paid any time even though there is snow on the ground.

3-1-19

It has been a busy week at the golf course even though the snow drifts are deep.  I ordered our pro shop supplies, new range balls, logo baseball caps, and other merchandise available for sale.  We don’t stock a very large pro shop selection.  The main focus is on “what does the golfer need right now?”  All of this merchandise will start arriving next week.
Part time staff is currently going through the process of being hired back on the crew.  All the maintenance staff is returning except one individual.  I am planning on absorbing his hours into the staff and myself in order to save some budget dollars.  Almost all the clubhouse staff is returning plus a couple of new faces.  The staff will be ready to roll as soon as the snow is gone.
I spent a lot of time working on our website.  Our database was lost and I am starting fresh to accumulate an email list.  This email list is used to reach out to everyone about events at the golf course and I will also be including my weekly email updates to these subscribers.  I want to reach as many people as possible to share the weekly activity at the golf course.  Everyone has questions and I want to provide them with as much information as possible……if they read it!
Our tournament schedule has been completed on the website as well.  I have added a photo gallery to share pictures of projects or issues at the golf course.  Information.  That is what I am trying to share with everyone to help educate and understand the how?, what?, and why? of everyday at the course.
I am close to completing the final draft of the SMGC history.  I want to thank Robyn and Kirby for the editing and final touch ups.  It is currently shared on our website.  I will finish it by formatting it into an online book form.  I am sharing it below if you want to give it another read:
This is going to wrap up another week at the golf course.  I am beyond excited to get this new year started.  Come on sunshine and warm weather.  I will see each of you at the respective meetings Monday evening.

2-24-19

This week has really unleashed the beast with a lot of snow and wind.  This is quite the change from February the past few years.  The good news is this is what the weather is supposed to be like in February.  The bad news is we have to deal with it.
I feel quite optimistic about the upcoming golf season.  This type of weather is more like what an early golf season feels like to me.  The past couple of years it has been late April before we have been able to play golf.  I’m predicting March 19 for this golf season.  It might seem a little crazy as you look out your window, but I feel confidant in an early season.
This past week I have worked on punch cards, tournament schedules, information packets, the website, and employee hires.  I also met with Joe Hopper, from the Daily Reporter, in regards to a story on the history of SMGC.
The history of SMGC has continued to be a priority for me.  I have the rough draft that is still in the process of being corrected and updated.  I’m going to leave a final copy of the history that will include all the dates and information.  This version will be about 30 pages and focus on the historical importance.  I will also complete a shorter final version that will focus on all the information in a more compact form.
I think the history of our golf course is extremely important for past, current, and future generations to enjoy.  Below is the rough draft I have shared a couple of times:
We have continued to have golfers on the simulator each week.  It is not as busy as I would like to see it but it is getting used.  Our monthly income for January was $4313.  That is quite an improvement from where we would be if not open.  I have not used a lot of part time hours to work in the clubhouse.  I try and work in there as much as I can each week.  It will continue to grow and be more positive as we move forward.
The new clubhouse policies were adapted last Monday night at the City Council meeting.  This will give us an opportunity to use this facility more with the general public.  I already have about five dates confirmed for events to be held in the clubhouse.
This concludes another week at the muni.  Please contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns.  Be safe today and enjoy the comforts of your own home is you don’t need to go anywhere.  It’s nasty out there.