1-17-2021

Good Morning,


The week has closed with a wonderful winter wonderland.  We had such warm temperatures the majority of the snow melted off the greens and tee areas of the golf course.  Rainfall of .25″ arrived early Thursday morning and provided the golf course with plenty of moisture.  It soaked into the greens then developed a very this layer of ice on top of the turfgrass.  It looked beautiful leading into the blizzard conditions.  Overall the golf course is in very nice shape at this time of the off season.

The Street Division was on site to remove the pond material near the pumphouse surrounds.  This is the material that was removed during the pumphouse intake repair process.  It doesn’t look like a lot of material until you start hauling it away.  We were able to complete about 2/3 of the process before the ground condition became too soft.  The material is being hauled to the south end of the golf course where it will be leveled and seeded in the Spring.  The project will be completed at a later date.

I visited Public Works and asked to remove our dumpsters until the Spring golf season arrives.  It is a constant issue of people coming over from the storage units and dumping their trash in our dumpsters and giving no regard to contaminating our recycling.  On Wednesday I caught an individual dumping his garbage and approached him for a conversation.  He agreed to discontinue dumping his trash and also paid a small fee which I invoiced at the transfer station.  


I was unable to work on the welding project due to my time frame and the Street Division using this room for repairs.  The snowfall also caused a conflict at the end of the week.  I hope the guys have some time to finish this for me in the next couple of weeks and I will then complete the reel sharpening process.


Golfers, please visit our website to make payments for your season passes, cart storage spaces, and punch cards.  The golf course will only be allowing single payment options once the clubhouse is open.  If you need to make multiple payments your only option is to sign up for the automatic bank withdrawal.  This can be completed on our website.  All other fees can be made in a one time credit card payment on the website.  Please help share this information to the public.


A couple of changes this season are the elimination of corporate season passes and punch cards are raised to a price of $250.  Both of these golf options have been abused in the past.  The original intent of the corporate pass is no longer working.  A single season pass will be your option now.  The punch cards are also abused by not checking in to the clubhouse.  This is going to be the last season for punch cards if this problem persists.

There had been discussion of exploring a full time clubhouse manager/parks department programmer.  After analyzing public feedback, conversations among city staff, and reviewing the success of changes in clubhouse operations I felt like it was in our best interest to put this on hold and gather more information.  I would like to go through an entire golf season to see what the total effect of the clubhouse operational changes have on our budget.  So far they have made a significant difference.


Lastly, I attended more online education this past week.  I have attended over 50 hours of online training this off season.  It’s wonderful to have access to so much online education through my Golf Course Superintendents Association of America membership.  With the elimination of live conferences and training opportunities it’s allowed me to still gain continued education training and gain a lot of valuable information.  
I will be going on vacation shortly after you receive this email.  I will be gone for three weeks but still available by email and sometimes phone.  Otherwise I hope to get some rest and relaxation and recharge for the start of the 2021 golf season.  Please contact me with any comments or questions.  Enjoy your weekend.


Brian C Mohr

Director of Golf Operations
City of Spencer

101 W 5th Street

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 51301

712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com

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1-10-21

Good Morning,


The past week I continued to work on equipment in the maintenance facility.  Our five year Capital Improvement Plan will eventually replace the majority of our equipment over the next five years.  If the plan is approved we will be adding ten new rental carts to our fleet this season.  This addition will help us accommodate more golfers during events and busy times of the season.  This past season our 20 rental carts were rented out by noon on the weekends and golfers were waiting for carts to come in off the course.  This will definitely be a helpful addition.


Our rental cart revenue, from July through December 2020 was the highest it has ever been.  Twenty plus years ago we leased our cart rentals on an annual basis.  After a lot of research the decision was made to purchase our rental carts and discontinue the lease option.  This decision has proved to be an outstanding financial investment for the golf course.  Our rental carts get a lot of use during the season. 


The golf course budget is close to being finished for 2021/22.  There will not be much change in the bottom line of the budget.  One change will be the wage of our part time employees.  Part time wages have been adjusted to show consistency throughout all the departments.  This will be a nice adjustment for the staff that puts in the hard work on the grounds and in the clubhouse.  The budget will be shared with the golf board then presented to the council in early March.


In the upcoming week I will complete the reel sharpening process and continue to work on equipment.  I will be leaving for vacation on January 17.  I’m looking forward to time away and I’m also excited for the great things 2021 is going to bring to our golfers. 

Brian C Mohr

1-3-2021

Good Morning and Happy New Year!


This past week I spent time finishing the 2021/22 budget.  There are still a few line items left that need some work from the finance office but otherwise it is ready for presentation.  The overall budget is fairly similar to the current budget.  Some changes were made to part time salary pay scales along with updated insurance premiums.  The overall bottom line should end up being very close to 20/21.


It’s difficult to foresee what 2021 will bring to the golf industry.  We had a successful 2020 even though we spent the entire season under COVID 19 provisions.  There were changes made in the clubhouse mid season that really had a positive impact on the golf course operations.  We finished the last half of the year with the highest revenue totals in a long time.  It was extremely promising.  Thank you to the golfers and our staff!


As we move forward into 2021 the golf course Capital Improvement Plan and 2021/22 budget will be presented to the City Council.  The CIP has already been shared with the Committee of the Whole but needs final authorization by the council to accept the five year plan.  The budget approval will follow shortly after this process.  Both of these presentations will set the framework for the golf course as we move forward.  


The past week I spent time at the Street Division learning how to use the acetylene torch.  The torch comes in very handy with the removal of damaged bearings and races in turf equipment rollers.  It was a very educational process and I felt like I really grasped the concept quickly and was able to get through a dozen damaged rollers.  It’s a great skill to develop and I will definitely be able to utilize this on future equipment repairs.


I also had Justin show me some of the beginning techniques with the welder.  There are some repairs that need to be completed on seven of our fairway reels and it’s been hard for the Street Division to fit it into their schedule.  So, I decided I should learn how to weld.  It was actually a fun experience but I need to continue practicing a little more before I start on the fairway reel repairs.  Both of these learning moments will help complete repairs in a timely manner.  Kind of exciting!


The rest of the week was spent working a little bit on equipment and I also watched a couple more webinars on welding basics.  The upcoming week will allow me some more practice time on the welder and hopefully I can graduate to the level of making repairs.  I will also finish rebuilding rollers that had damaged bearings removed.  


I hope each of you had a nice and relaxing time bringing in the New Year.  I will see the golf board members and city council at the respective meetings Monday night.  Have a great day everyone! 

Brian C Mohr

Director of Golf Operations

City of Spencer

101 W 5th Street

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 51301

712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com

12-27-2020

Good Morning,
I hope each of you had a Merry Christmas and a very happy holiday season.  It’s been a long year with the pandemic so it’s not easy to spend time with all our families.  This is a season for giving and sharing and everyone could use a little bit of that on a daily basis.  Whether it was in person, phone calls, or video chatting I hope everyone was able to share some time with loved ones.  I hope 2021 is a little easier on all of us.


The past week at the golf course was spent working in the clubhouse and the maintenance facility.  I worked on fairway mowers in the shop and returned phone calls in the clubhouse.  There were not nearly as many gift certificates sold this year but hopefully the golfers that received one were happy with their present.  We look forward to seeing you in 2021.


The fairway mowers are probably the units that receive the most wear and tear during the season.  These units are from 2012 and have quite a few hours of service accumulated.  The rollers on the reels have a high amount of force placed on them every day while in use.  The rollers keep each reel level, mowing properly, and play a large part in the quality of cut. 


There are two rollers on each of the five reels per machine.  They have bearings and seals on each end along with grease fittings.  They are prone to get a lot of moisture and debris into the bearings.  Daily maintenance is a priority during the season to prolong the life of each bearing.  In the off season the repair process starts by removing the old bearings and seals and rebuilding them with new parts.  


We have a dozen spare rollers to go along with the actual rollers in use.  I have rebuilt a handful of rollers and torn apart the remainder of the rollers.  The roller repair will continue into next week and hopefully will be completed by mid week.

There are still some welding repairs to be completed on seven of the 15 fairway reels.  Once these welds are complete then I can finish sharpening the fairway reels, add the rebuilt rollers, and adjust the cutting height on each one.  They will then be ready for the upcoming season.


The snow storm on Wednesday started off with rainfall then the high winds and blowing snow.  The majority of the snow is behind any mounding on the golf course.  There is very little snow on the greens but at least the rainfall helped provide some moisture.  It is very important to have the greens protected during the winter months.  Especially since the drought conditions, leading into winter, left the turfgrass under a lot of stress.  


I toured the golf course on Saturday and everything looks to be in pretty good shape right now.  There is a very thin layer of ice on the greens which will help protect them from the high winds and colder temperatures.  Hopefully we get a snowfall that stays in place and provides a blanket for the greens the rest of the winter.


The year is winding down and we will be ringing in 2021 at the end of the week.  I hope each of you has a safe New Year and we can all eventually get back to a little bit of normalcy at some point.  Until then stay safe and healthy.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to each of you and your families! 

Brian C Mohr

Director of Golf Operations

City of Spencer

101 W 5th Street

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 51301

712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com

12-20-2020

Good Morning,
The past week involved a lot of time spent on the 20/21 golf course budget.  It’s very difficult to be precise because of the COVID 19 and dry conditions.  We saw a lot more golfers than we have the past few years and no events were rained out.  For the calendar year we had over $77,000 in green fees and over $61,500 in cart rentals.  The green fees is the highest total in four years.  The cart rental is the highest we have ever received.  Attached is a Google Sheet showing revenue information dating back to 2003: 

season comparisons 12-15-2020


As you can see from the figures on the document revenues vary year to year.  There has been a gradual decline over the past 20 years.  Seeing the positive 2020 calendar year has me very optimistic.  The 20/21 budget is sitting at close to a $60,000 increase compared to the previous year during July thru December.  A solid spring start will put us in a lot better financial shape than the past three years.


The budget can fluctuate substantially depending on the weather.  2017 thru 2019 the weather was high precipitation all season.  This causes the grass to grow more rapidly, the entire course needs to be mowed frequently, and events get rained out.  This leads to higher labor expense, more hours on equipment, and less revenue because of rain days lost.  A dry season results in the rough going dormant, less mowing frequency, and more golf days.  2020 was a perfect revenue season.


Please enjoy the upcoming Holidays and take some time to make somebody’s day a little more special.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to each of you and your family!

Brian C Mohr

Director of Golf Operations
City of Spencer

101 W 5th Street

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 51301

712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com

12-13-2020

Good Morning,
The past week ended the golf season for 2020.  I worked in the clubhouse most of the week with Wednesday being the last day for golfers.  There were close to 50 players out enjoying the beautiful weather that day.  It was nice to see how happy each person was to be playing golf this far into December.  Caddie was the last player off the course that evening.  She told me she got a “birdie!”


Thursday morning I sprayed greens with several fungicides, transfilm, and an optimizer.  This application is to protect the greens through the winter and help eliminate fungus from growing under the snow when it starts to melt in the spring.  The fungus is coined “snow mold.”  It was the final part of the outdoor maintenance practices.  


More time was spent attending webinars when time allowed.  It’s truly amazing to have the option to do all continued education hours online during the trying times of 2020.  The room is quiet, nobody’s phone is ringing when the speaker is talking, and there is no line for the bathroom.  Plus it’s a very short drive.  The best benefit is I am able to choose the topics that pertain to me and our golf course.  


If individuals are interested in purchasing gift certificates they can be paid for on our website www.spencermunigolf.com.  Season passes and other fees can also be paid for online.  I will have the website updated this morning with the directions to pay by credit card online.  Just look under the News and Announcements on the home page.


I will be working on equipment and sharpening reels the majority of the time now.  I will finish the golf course budget for 20/21 early next week.  I will also be attending the Capital Improvement Plan meeting Monday evening to discuss the future needs of the golf course.  


Enjoy the remainder of the weekend and please take the time to share a smile with somebody that might really need it this holiday season.  Stay safe everyone.

Brian C Mohr

Director of Golf Operations

City of Spencer

101 W 5th Street

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa

51301712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com

12-6-2020

Good Morning,
This past week consisted of a lot of shop work and continued education hours for my GCSAA Class A certification.  I attended 20.5 hours of webinars online to gain 2.5 CEU’s toward my education points.  It was nice to attend the webinars on my own time and at no cost as a GCSAA member.  I will be watching a little over ten more hours of education this coming week.


The inventory was completed in the clubhouse and the maintenance facility.  I also reviewed the City of Spencer insurance policy line items for all departments to update everything in our department.  I had several conversations with Jeff Bohnenkamp during this process to get a good understanding of what each area of the insurance policy meant for the golf course.  This information was updated and shared with city management.


I started the reel sharpening process this past week as well.  I spent some time with Chief Lawson educating and training him on the process.  I completed the sharpening process on eight fairway reels and Lawson was able to sharpen 15 bedknife blades.  We also completed the sharpening of the majority of the rotary blades.

The rotary blades are sharpened on a special grinder where the degree of the blade is adjusted to provide a straight angle.  Once completed the blade is balanced to ensure it functions properly.  The reels are mounted on a machine, balanced, and each blade is individually run across with the spinning grinding stone.  This process eventually develops a brand new edge on each blade with the proper bevel.  The bedknife is mounted on a special machine, balanced, and sharpened to produce a straight edge for the reel to spin against producing the cut of the turfgrass.


Seven of our fairway reels are at the Street Division to have some welding repair completed.  I hope to get these reels back this week and finish sharpening the remainder of the fairway reels.  There are also roller repairs that need to be completed during this process.


The coming week is bringing in some more nice weather for all to enjoy.  I will most likely have the clubhouse open several days.  Golfers will be allowed to stop in and pay then go play golf.  There will be no seating or congregating allowed in the clubhouse.  The golf course will be closed for the season at the end of this week.  I think this will be the third time I’ve made that statement….


The golf board and city council meetings will both be attended in a Zoom meeting on Monday evening.  I will “see” each of you at that time.  Enjoy the remainder of the weekend.

Brian C MohrDirector of Golf Operations

City of Spencer

101 W 5th Street

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 51301

712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com

11-29-2020

Good Morning,
This past week the golf course opened on Friday and Saturday for golfers.  There were only a few brave souls on Friday but Saturday brought quite a few players out for one last time.  It’s not too often we can golf after Thanksgiving, but it is 2020.


On Monday morning we arrived at work to find the walk in door, of the maintenance facility, forced open.  We did a search through the building and found our cordless impact, batteries, and charger were missing.  The Spencer Police Department was contacted and a report was filed.

On Tuesday morning two individuals were questioned by SPD and one of the stolen batteries was observed inside their vehicle.  After further questioning the other items were found inside the vehicle as well.  I want to thank the SPD officers for their efforts in this matter.  I never imagined we would see those tools again.  It was a relief and also a feeling of sadness.


Equipment maintenance, beginning inventories, and completing some final outdoor work completed the last week of November.  


This coming week I will be applying the snow mold fungicide application to the greens and the course will be closed for the season.  It’s been a year that is like no other we have experienced in our lifetimes.  I pray we are all safe and do our best to social distance until things change toward the new normal.  Staff and myself all appreciate the people that chose to play golf at The Muni this season.  See ya in 2021 golfers!


Brian C Mohr

Director of Golf Operations
City of Spencer

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 51301

712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com

11-22-2020

Good Morning,
This past week brought some beautiful weather which allowed us to continue working outside on projects.  It also extended the golf season a little bit longer for our players.  There were a few golfers on the course every day with Thursday being the busiest day of the week.  It was great to see people out enjoying themselves on the golf course this late into November.  We never know when it will be the last round of the year.  The weather forecast looks like we might be finished golfing.


Tuesday, the golf course went back to the early season COVID 19 provisions.  We removed all seating inside the clubhouse and did not allow anyone to congregate inside the facility.  Golfers were allowed to enter the clubhouse to make payment in a timely manner prior to playing golf.  This worked very well each day we were open for golf.  Once the outdoor golf season comes to a close, the clubhouse will be closed to the public until December 31, the same as other city facilities.

I would like to once again thank the golf course staff for working through the COVID 19 provisions set in place at the golf course for the entire 2020 season.  We held the golf course to more strict provisions than were set in place by the Governor.  It helped us remain open all year long and provide a recreational environment for people to “get away” during the strange times we are living in right now.   


We finished removing the dead trees from the golf course and also pruned quite a few other trees.  There were about a dozen pine trees removed this year.  That has been about the average every year as we see more and more of this species disappear across the state of Iowa.  The debris was moved to three different areas and will eventually be removed by the Street Division to the tree site.  I want to thank them for their assistance in finishing this project for us.


More irrigation work was completed as we inch closer to the end of the season.  There were four valves that were replaced, several diaphragms were replaced, and quite a few valves were opened to clean the diaphragms.  We had a lot of sludge and debris make its way into the system when our intake issues started back in October.  There will probably be more stations to clean out in the spring, but the remainder of the problem areas have been addressed.  


I would like to extend a very Happy Thanksgiving greeting to everyone this week.  As we inch closer to the day to give thanks let’s all appreciate everything we are given on a daily basis and be thankful for family and friends.  Please be safe and sanitary as we continue to move through these difficult times.  Share a smile.  It just might change somebody’s day!

Brian C Mohr

Director of Golf Operations
City of Spencer

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 51301

712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com

11-15-2020

Good Morning,
The past week was definitely a change in the weather and shut down the opportunity for any golf to be played.  There was a golf tournament scheduled for today that was cancelled for the season due to icicles.  It would have been nice to host one final event at The Muni for the season but Mother Nature decided differently.  It appears we will have one last nice week of golf weather approaching then it might be time to shut the course down for 2020.  The end of one crazy year throughout the world will end early at the golf course.


It has definitely been a crazy year.  I never imagined we would make it through the entire golf season with extremely minimal effects of COVID 19.  We chose to stick to the provisions set in place early in the year and never wavered from those guidelines.  It is a testament to the employees and the golfers that chose to spend their recreational time at the golf course.  Everyone adapted well and the employees created a sanitary environment for people to try and escape for a few hours and enjoy the beautiful outdoors.  Thank you to all our golfers and the employees that made it all happen.  You all made the SMGC a place for one and all to enjoy.

Monday we finished blowing out the irrigation system.  The main lines were blown out over the previous weekend and the plan was to start before bright and early working on the lateral lines.  Things didn’t go as planned right off the bat.  There was no internet to the maintenance facility.  After contacting Solutions, I was informed the connection was lost shortly after midnight.  A little bit of trouble shooting found the line connected to the antenna had been cut.  An extra special thanks to the kind soul responsible.  By 9:00 AM we had the internet repaired and water and air blowing in the wind.


The entire process went very smoothly.  The late season irrigation cycles along with the compressed air helped remove the majority of the debris in the lines from the intake issues.  Once we had finished the blowout process there were only four problematic valves on the repair list.  Those will be addressed this coming week.  


On Wednesday we finished the winterization of the pumphouse.  The intakes were removed from the wet well for the final time of 2020.  Those things are so heavy and a huge undertaking to get out of the wet well.  The staff and I removed them at least a dozen times this year as we dealt with irrigation issues.  It was a good feeling to know it was the last time of the year.  The rest of the pumphouse was broken down and winterized step by step until the door closed one last time in the 2020 season.


The last task has been the continuous removal of the dead pine trees around the golf course.  I believe we removed ten trees total from the golf course.  The stumps still remain and will be removed at a later date.  We will continue to add nursery stock to replace the lost trees each season.  It’s sad to see them come down after we spent so much time and energy transplanting a lot of these trees in 1999 during the construction.  The trees lived a lot longer than all of the “experts” predicted.  


We’re half way through November, the golf days are numbered and the nice weather will become a thing of the past.  With that being said you don’t know the time or what Mother Nature will bring you or even what will happen in the world but you do know that all good things will eventually come to an end.  We just never know when.  


I hope each of you enjoy the remainder of your weekend.  Hopefully you spend time with your family, you’re warm, and healthy.  Cheers to all of you golf fans!

Brian C MohrDirector of Golf Operations

City of Spencer

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 51301

712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com