11-17-19

Good Morning,
This past week concluded the majority of outside projects planned for 2019.  The weather still looks nice for the next few days and that will allow me to finish a couple other small items prior to the frozen tundra arriving.
Projects that were completed this fall include:
  -removal of the dead trees on the course
  -cutting stumps down to ground level
  -tree pruning
  -algae control in both ponds
  -aerification of the greens
  -sod repair on fairways
  -fertilization of greens, tees, and fairways
  -tile addition on #16
  -tile repair Waterway Park
  -irrigation blowout
  -winterize the pumphouse
  -change oil and filters in all equipment
Projects I will continue to work on early this week include:
  -back filling the tile area on #16
  -marking stumps for removal
  -measure landscape areas for 2020 plans
  -continue to research a tagging system for 2020 daily fees
I would like to thank the part time staff inside the clubhouse and outside on the grounds for all their work and dedication.  Inside staff are all working at the golf course as a part time second job.  They do a great job meeting the needs of our golf clientele.  I’m thankful for each one of them every day.
The outside staff worked tirelessly trying to constantly get caught up with daily maintenance fighting the rain and other poor weather.  Irrigation issues, equipment problems, and crazy work schedules made it especially difficult.  They worked very hard with a lot of pride in the golf course.  There work is never ending and often goes unnoticed by the public.
It has been a very challenging year.  I look forward to the off season preparation and implementing some of the discussed changes for the 2020 golf season.  I hope the weather cooperates for golfers, farmers, and others.  The clubhouse will be open this off season for events and the golf simulator.  Hopefully the public will utilize our beautiful clubhouse.
Enjoy the remainder of the weekend.  Please contact me with any comments. questions, or concerns so they can be addressed in a timely manner.

11-10-19

Good Morning,
The irrigation system has been winterized for the 2019 golf season.  I finished blowing out the system Friday evening around 7:30.  Saturday morning I finished the wiring of the new circuit board, completed work in valve boxes, and winterized the pumphouse.  Today and Monday I will finish working on the irrigation issues with the MDI and the main computer.  These issues are covered under our warranty plan.  I simply need to figure out what needs replaced and what is working correctly.
Power surges are not uncommon with golf course irrigation systems.  However, they are a major issue that can wreak havoc on a person.  I plan to have some additional discussion with our irrigation contractor who installed the system during the expansion.  Lightning surge protectors are definitely a necessity when it comes to protecting the system.  Maybe adding more of these to the layout will be helpful.  I will pursue this during the off season and keep you posted.
We still need to remove the intakes and screens in the pumphouse wet well.  These intakes go about ten feet down the wet well and connect to the irrigation pumps.  The water is drawn from the irrigation system through these intakes by the pumps and goes into the field.  The cattail debris will be cleaned from inside the screens and the bottom of the intakes.  They will be stored in the maintenance shop during the off season.
We have removed all the dead trees from the golf course.  I believe we have 17 tree stumps to remove.  It is so disappointing to see how losing these trees affects the visual aspect of the golf course.  It’s part of Nature but is still frustrating to accept.  Pine trees are not native to Iowa and once they reach a certain stage they become very susceptible to pests and disease.  Pine Wilt is a disease that is seen through the entire Midwest.  Attached at the very bottom is a pdf for your reading pleasure.
This coming week the remainder of the tree pruning will be completed, the last couple of tree stumps will be cut off at ground level, tree stumps will be staked for removal this winter, and hopefully the majority of our muskrat population will be eliminated.
Over the past few weeks, the golf board and I have been working on plans for the 2020 golf season.  We will be implementing a tag system that will be issued at check in prior to a round of golf.  We require every individual to check in prior to golf but that does not always happen.  Season pass holders will have a visible bag tag for the season.  Daily fee players will be issued a daily tag for their bag.  This will allow staff to visibly see if somebody has checked in or possibly not even paid.  This is still in the early stages but I look forward to the implementation.
The golf course numbers have declined over the years.  Our golf leagues no longer have waiting lists and operate barely over 50% of the “good old days” numbers.  Our cart storage spaces allow for 178 carts to be stored on site.  We used to have 20 carts on a waiting list.  Today there are 46 open cart storage spaces at the golf course.  Numbers are definitely going down as our population ages.  Attached is a spreadsheet for you to look at the numbers over the past 17 seasons:
Each of you enjoy the remainder of the weekend.  Extra special thanks to all the veterans who allow us to live the life we choose in this great country.  Please contact me with any comments or questions.

11-7-19

Good Morning,
There are more irrigation issues as golf course staff is trying to winterize the system.
I started the irrigation winterization process early in the week.  We brought in an air compressor from the Street Division to blow out the irrigation lines.  The first step to the blowout process is clearing the main lines around the golf course.  The second step is opening each individual station and removing the water from the lateral lines.
I was having a difficult time keeping the psi (pressure) high enough in the lines to open valves.  The main lines were finished by the end of the day on Tuesday with quite a bit of difficulty.  The Street Division prepared another air compressor for us to pick up on Wednesday morning.
The process resumed around 4:30 AM Wednesday morning trying to get a head start prior to the second compressor arrival at 8:30 AM.  I soon noticed there was no power to any of the stations around the golf course.  I checked the amp draw going out into the field and discovered it was at 18 and it should be functioning at 170.  The low amp reading shows a problem either in the field with a grounded wire or with the irrigation controls from the computer room.
Approximately five hours was spent checking wire splices around the golf course separating the field into three sections.  This would determine where the issue is on the course.  Eventually I called Rainbird tech support, which is an insurance system paid for annually.  We went through volt testing and many other tests in the field.  After a couple hours they finally agreed the issue is with the MDI (this is the main power source to all the field decoders which control the irrigation).
A new MDI, separate circuit board, and surge protector will be arriving today around noon.  I will assemble all of these components this afternoon and check the electrical wire path.  We plan to continue the irrigation blowout starting Friday and I will continue through the weekend until it is complete.

10-26-19

 

Good Morning,
This past week gave us the opportunity to complete a lot of outdoor projects.  We mowed greens and some other low mowed turf for the final time of the 2019 season.  We will still mow rough and mulch leaves as the weather permits.  The cups were also changed on Thursday, ball washers removed from the golf course, as well as the remainder of the amenity items in preparation for the cold temperatures in the near future.
Colder morning temperatures allowed us to continue maintenance and continue to service our equipment.  There has also been a list created of repair work that needs to be completed in the off season.  Since we are done with reel type mowing the reels will be removed from each machine and prepared for the off season sharpening.
The largest project we have going on right now is tree pruning and removal.  There have been several trees removed from the golf course and about 20% of the pruning has been completed.  This project will continue next week.  The tree stumps will be addressed at a later date.
We will also start removing the plant material from all landscaping areas of the course.  The landscaping grasses will not be pruned back for the Winter.  I will also be developing some new flower designs for the landscaping beds starting in 2020.  I would like to explore the possibility of adapting flower beds for some of our golfing public to help manicure.  We already have a few holes where this takes place.
As I stated last week the new tile was installed around #16 green.  We completed some clean up work in the area this week.  The soil was pushed back into the trench and piled high in order to settle over the winter months.  The area with tall grass has definitely dried out significantly but we haven’t been able to push the majority of the soil back into the trench.  This process will be completed by the Street Division in the coming days.
Sod work was one of our priorities with this nice weather.  We finished off the tile drain area in front of #16 green and repaired an irrigation head in the area.  Next, we added sod to the area in front of the green where water always puddled.  The remainder of the area will be finished in the Spring once the tile repair areas have settled.  Then sod will be laid to repair the turf damage.
We also were able to complete sod work on #10 fairway and #14 fairway.  The area on #14 was a large wet spot about 40 yards in front of the green.  The areas on #10 were mostly pot hole type areas (more work will be done on #10 on Monday).  We cut the sod from the front of the driving range tee box, added fill material to the low spots, leveled the areas and placed the fresh sod to complete the project.
I set the 2020 tournament and event calendar.  Adam Coates and I visited to ensure there were no conflicting dates between the Country Club and the muni.  You can visit the website to see the list of future events.

10-20-19

Good Morning,
Early in the week we completed the fertilization of the greens, tees, and fairways with granular products.  These applications will help provide a healthy turfgrass heading into the off season and provide the essential nutrients in the spring.  It was a very nice process to complete with no issues.
At the end of the week we completed the tile repair work in upper Waterway Park.  Also, the new tile was added to the green surrounds on #16.  There is still some clean up in the park as well as some additional work to be completed “in house” on the golf course tile.  The tile is in place and the majority of the back filling has been completed.  The wet soil conditions decreased noticeably within hours of the tile addition.
The golf course tile addition also exposed some damaged clay tile directly north of #16 green.  This damaged tile is the cause of the extreme saturation in this area.  There will be pea gravel added in this section of new tile to easier allow this damaged area to drain into the new tile.  We also need to add a drain in front of the green where the tile begins.  This work will be completed this coming week.
The irrigation issues reared up and gave us some challenges again at the start of the week.  The pond level was much higher than normal due to some debris in the outlet of the irrigation pond hindering the overflow.  This caused the intake screens, in the pumphouse, to be under water and allow debris into the pumps.  This caused a plugged lead pump impeller and some plugged irrigation heads on the course.
We removed the pumps, cleaned them out, and cleaned sprinkler head screens in the field.  This eliminated the debris and allowed proper flow from each pump.  The debris was mainly from muskrats chewing up cattails.  The muskrats will be removed from the golf course next month.
Once the overflow was cleaned out the pond overflow went into our streams and waterways at a very high volume.  This caused some high water on hole number 10 all the way to the driving range.  After irrigating that night and the drains had time to catch back up, the water levels were all back to normal by the morning.
Our irrigation technician also came down from Wisconsin to complete some updates with the software in the pumphouse computer.  The computer kept rebooting itself and providing false information causing the flow and pressure to be inaccurate on the control panel.  This resulted in nothing working correctly in the field.  The trip was covered under warranty and the computer is working properly at this time.
I attended continued education training in accordance with the aquatic portion of my pesticide license.  This training is held annually and usually provides great information to assist in pesticide applications.  I was able to learn a little more about aquatic vegetation and also gathered some online links to learn even more this off season.  I will keep you posted on plans for controlling aquatic vegetation in our ponds in 2020.
More equipment maintenance and as much mowing as time would allow completed the remainder of our work week on the grounds.  We are hosting a makeup golf tournament this morning.  The number of participants dropped significantly from the original date but we’ll make sure those who play today have a great time.
Please contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns so they can be addressed as quickly as possible.  Enjoy the remainder of your weekend!

10-17-19

Good Afternoon,
The tile contractor arrived on site this afternoon.  They are currently working on repairing the tile in upper Waterway Park.  The tile damage has been located and they are digging in this area and will replace the broken tile.  It is too early to tell how long this portion will take to complete but they feel confident it will not take all afternoon.
Once they finish in Waterway Park they will move to the golf course and add new tile around the 16th green.  We have located our irrigation lines and wiring and have hand dug these areas so they are exposed.  We plan to add a drain in front of #16 green and wrap the tile around tying in with existing tile.  This will help eliminate the standing water issue in the area.
One concern is the water table is naturally very high at this current time.  The addition of tile will definitely help remedy the situation moving forward into the future but it won’t control the high water table issue 100%.
Also, the golf course was entirely fertilized yesterday and I started filling the irrigation system early in the afternoon.  We found some contamination in the wet well that plugged the impellar on the lead pump.  There was also computer issues in the pumphouse.  I worked over the phone with the technician until the end of sunlight yesterday.
Early this morning I started working on the issues with the contamination in the pump.  We removed the pump and cleaned out the impellar along with a couple irrigation heads that had debris in the screens.  Everything was back to normal on our end outside of the computer issues.
The contractor flew in from Wisconsin and updated the programming and corrected the issues on his end.  The software was updating itself and plugging in the wrong settings.  As of now the programming is working properly and the system is back functioning 100%.
The computer repair process was covered under warranty so there is no bill for services on this end of the process.  Our end of the process cost us $10 for a new gasket and a lot of my time.  It was a very inexpensive fix in the end considering.
Enjoy the remainder of your day and keep a smile on your face.  I’m still smiling and look forward to irrigating the entire course heavily overnight.

10-13-19

Good Morning,
The weather has definitely turned for the worse as we close out this week.  The clubhouse closed early on Friday and remains closed through the weekend.  We will be open for regular business hours starting on Monday.
The past week staff and I played catch up trying to complete all our daily maintenance practices after battling rain and saturated soil conditions.  The golf course received around 5″ of rainfall during the various storms.  This left our sand traps and golf course looking like one big lake.
The high winds helped dry out a lot of the standing water issues.  Now the weekend temperatures left a thin coat of ice over any wet areas on the golf course.  It’s definitely been a golf season filled with poor weather conditions from start to nearing the finish.
By the end of the day on Thursday, we had the sand traps repaired and raked and the majority of the golf course mowed and in nice shape.  We also started our tree pruning and removing some of the smaller dead trees.  Add in a lot of equipment maintenance and it was the end of another week.
The golf course was very busy on Wednesday as everyone tried to squeeze another round of golf in before some flashes of Winter arrived.  The 2019 golf season has seen the lowest total of season passes sold as well as a decrease in the amount of green fees sold.  I’m hopeful for an early start to the 2020 golf season and some busy clubhouse activity this off season.
The temperatures look to warm back up next week.  Staff will be concentrating on mowing practices, fertilizer applications, herbicide applications, tile work, and starting to remove some of the larger pine trees.
Enjoy the remainder of your weekend.  Please let me know if you have comments or questions that need to be addressed.  I will see the golf board members on Monday evening for our monthly meeting.

10-6-19

Good Morning,
A week that started off with a high of 89, followed by cold temperatures, lots of rain and high winds has finally come to a close.  The clubhouse closed early a couple of days and the Glow Ball tournament had a lot of cancellations Saturday night.  But in between all of it we had some die hard golfers.
Last night the After 5 Kiwanis held their first glow ball tournament.  The weather was not very nice to start off the evening but soon after dark the wind died down and it was pretty decent outside.  There were only 24 golfers participating but they all had a great time.  The course was lit up very nicely outlining the tees, fairways, hazards, and greens.  We plan to meet and evaluate the plan for the event in 2020.
On Thursday the staff and I completed the aerification of the greens.  We partner with the Country Club on this project.  They use our tractor and their machine to do their greens and then we complete the same process at the muni.  The greens were aerified to a depth of approximately 9″.  This helps with the elimination of compaction, better water penetration, and deeper root growth.  The greens were double mowed after the aerification was finished.
Root depth is a very important part of turfgrass maintenance.  This year has been very difficult to achieve much root depth due to the heavy rainfall in the spring.  The heavy rainfall makes it unnecessary for the turf roots to grow in search of water since it is so available right at the surface.  Lack of root depth develops a weaker turf plant that becomes susceptible to high temperatures and disease pressure.  You could see some of this evident on our collars and a couple spots on some greens this year.
There was also a lot of equipment repair and scheduled maintenance tasks completed.  We serviced a handful of mowers by changing oil and filters, flushing the radiators, and greasing each machine.  Also, small repairs were completed at the same time.
I have spent a lot of time working on the irrigation system the past couple of months.  We have definitely not needed the system much as of late, but it is working the best it has in a couple of years.  The majority of electrical issues have been addressed, damaged valves replaced, and other PVC issues addressed.  There will still be a few small issues to deal with but overall it is night and day compared to earlier in the year.
The tile project was scheduled to be completed this week.  For two plus years this has been an ongoing problem and the rain never seems to give us a break when it is finally set up and ready to happen.  I am hoping to have Matt Hagedorn on site sometime in the next two weeks to add more tile around #16 green and make some repairs in upper Waterway Park.  Stay tuned.
Mowing has been a never ending process the past month at the golf course.  The grass has been growing at a rapid rate.  It was extremely challenging getting the course mowed by the time the weekend arrived.  Thankfully the staff and I were able to work some longer shifts to get everything under control just in time for the storm on Saturday morning.  The course is looking very nice outside of all the additional water features.
Next week I plan to start the Fall herbicide application.  This will be more of a spot treatment as compared to the Spring application covering the course wall to wall.  I will also treat Waterway Park with herbicide.  This will help control the weed population when the 2020 season arrives.  We will still battle dandelions that show up from all the surface drainage on the course but it will be better than if no application was made this time of year.
We will also be fertilizing greens, tees, and fairways with a granular application.  This will help take the turfgrass into the winter months with some health and hopefully make it less prone to stress.  The past few winters the biggest issue has been ice damage in the low areas of greens and around the golf course.
Also the removal of dead Pine trees and tree pruning will be conducted in the upcoming weeks.  There are about 15 trees that need to be removed from the golf course.  If time allows we will also removed the stumps left behind.
This concludes another week at the Muni.  Please contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns.  I will see each of you at the Golf Board or City Council meetings on Monday evening.

9-29-19

Good Morning,
The month of September has come and gone very quickly.  It has been another month filled with rain and rapidly growing grass.  We have been mowing the entire course multiple times each week trying to stay on top of all maintenance practices.  As the week comes to a close, I’m very happy with the condition of the golf course and thankful for all the work by maintenance personnel.  If only the rain would ease up a bit and more golfers would play.
I talked to Matt Hagedorn at the end of the week and we are expecting him on site next week to start the tile work around #16 green and also complete some repairs in Waterway Park.  I have flagged or spray painted all areas where work will be performed.  The irrigation lines have been marked in hoping we can do some hand work to eliminate trenching through pipes or wiring.  I plan to install a drain in front of #16 green and run the tile to the NW and tie in to the line they installed a couple of years ago.
Equipment maintenance has been a time consuming process as of late.  I completed repairs on multiple rental carts and several mowers.  One rough unit was taken to the Street Division for some hydraulic repairs.  I am generally able to complete the majority of maintenance repairs but once in a while I need some assistance.  Thankfully the Street Division can usually fit us into their schedule and complete the necessary work.
We started some of our fall tree pruning over the past couple of weeks.  Most of the trees we addressed were smaller varieties that have “suckers” or branches that are in the way during mowing practices.  A branch whipping you in the face when you are looking the other direction usually leaves a lasting memory to grab the “loppers” to remove some branches.  As we move forward we will start concentrating on the larger trees and removing dead pine trees.
A couple of weeks ago we loaned our tractor to the Country Club so they could complete the aerification process on their greens.  I’m planning to aerify our greens sometime in the next couple of weeks.  The aerification process will punch holes down approximately 10″ into the greens and help with the health of the bentgrass.  I have not set an exact time frame yet and the process will minimally disrupt golfers.
The greens were sprayed with a fungicide, foliar fertilizer, and wetting agent on Thursday morning.  The fungicide application helps control the present of dollar spot while the wetting agent aids in the movement of water in the soil profile.  This will be our last foliar fertilizer application on the greens this season.  In the next couple of weeks there will be a granular fertilizer application on the greens, tees, and fairways.
Skunks continue to damage several areas in the fairways digging for grubs.  We have eliminated five do date but there are still a few more on the property.  The past week we have also dealt with crows digging at the practice tee area for grubs.  Next season these areas will be sprayed with an insecticide to eliminate the presence of grubs in the Fall weeks.
The pumphouse repairs were completed last week and there was some work done around the golf course.  I ran the irrigation system Friday night and the system ran better than it has in a long time.  The pumphouse is holding pressure and all the stations are running properly.  There are still a couple valves that need repair work but nothing that affects the performance of the system.  I’m excited to have the irrigation system running so well.  There has been a lot of work to get it to this point.
That’s a wrap on another week at the muni.  I’m hoping for no rain today as we are hosting our annual Chili Open.  Please contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns so they can be addressed in a timely manner.  Enjoy the remainder of your weekend.

9-22-19

Good Morning,
The past week the maintenance staff and I spent the majority of our time mowing.  All the rainfall and warm temperatures caused the grass to be growing out of control.  We mowed the rough three times during the week.  It was necessary to mow several evenings into the dark.
Equipment maintenance is usually at the top as we complete each work week.  The reel type mowers need to be kept into adjustment in order to get the proper cut on the greens, tees, and fairways.  These adjustments keep the reel in correct contact with the bedknife on the bottom of the reel.  The reel spins across the bedknife and completes the cut of the turfgrass.  If it is out of adjustment then the quality of cut is poor and causes stress to the plant as well as a non uniform cut.
Other equipment repairs were completed during the week.  A hydraulic hose broke on a rough unit, the traction cable broke on a tee mower, and several other small items popped up on other equipment.  Most of the down time was short and we were back mowing right away.
Our irrigation system was actually started on Tuesday evening.  The high temperatures and winds were starting to dry everything out quickly.  Surprisingly enough there was a thunderstorm early in the morning.  I shut the irrigation system down about 3:00 AM and discovered the other intake line had a crack in the elbow as well.  This repair was completed the following day and everything should be working properly if it stops raining.
The amount of play has really dropped off at the golf course.  We had very slow days during the majority of the Clay County Fair as well as the past week.  It’s frustrating to see the number of golfers decrease each year.  I don’t know what the answer is but I can assure you raising prices will only decrease the amount of play more.