7-7-19

The weather continues to hit us from all directions week after week.  Several storms early in the week followed by Thursday night rainfall of over 1″ at the muni and nothing on the north end of Spencer.  Friday morning we were hit with another storm early in the morning which put a halt to our mowing.  We still have standing water in all of our problem areas along with an extremely high water table.  Both of these issues makes for a mess.  We have mowed several evenings to try and have the course in nice shape this morning for our Couple’s tournament.
We have some damaged areas on greens #3, #8, and #10 from ice early in the year.  These areas are low areas on these greens that drain very slowly.  They were seeded back in the spring but the constant rainfall has set back the new seed.  Early this next week these areas will be plugged with turfgrass followed by a light topdressing.  This is the same way we repaired #17 green in the past.  This project will be complete by the end of the upcoming week.
I sprayed greens, on Wednesday, for the control of moss present on a lot of the greens.  Moss appears on greens when they are under a lot of stress, saturated soil conditions, and low on nutrients.  The majority of nutrients, in the soil, have not been present due to rainfall flushing them through the soil profile.  Damaged areas then become a breeding ground for the moss.  The majority of the areas are silver dollar size but the practice green and #12 have larger spots.  The greens will be sprayed again in two weeks and the problem will be eliminated.
I have sprayed our greens with foliar fertilizers and wetting agents more often than in the past.  The wetting agent helps eliminate the isolated dry areas when soil becomes dry and it pushes it through the soil when they are saturated.  The fertilizers are absorbed through the leaf of the plant and become readily available.  The greens look very nice right now and are in a very healthy state.  We will repair the damaged areas and continue topdressing small areas until they are 100%.
Our parking lot continues to be an issue that doesn’t want to go in the right direction.  The Street Division ran the road grader through the lot the middle of the week.  It is still so soft and they got stuck right at the NW entrance of the lot.  The water table is so high it is making it difficult to do much with the surface of the parking area.  If the old clubhouse was still in place there would be several feet of water standing in the basement.  I will continue to pursue options to remedy the situation moving forward.
Weather conditions always make or break you in any agricultural related field.  Mother Nature can create conditions that are perfect environments for deadly turfgrass diseases, flood you with rainfall, or crack you with severe drought.  The disease conditions are what we are experiencing right now.  We have been very fortunate not to experience too much disease.  I am spraying preventative applications to lessen the pressure for disease to appear as quickly as overnight.  It might be necessary to spray during times of play, which I normally try an avoid.  Communication will be very key as we move forward through the next couple of months.
Please share these email updates with others that have questions.  Get in touch with me if you have concerns.  I try an provide as much information as possible so everyone is aware of what is going on at the muni each week.  I cannot make people read the updates but I can try and make them readily available to those that want to stay up to date on happenings.
Enjoy the remainder of your weekend.  I hope everyone had a save and enjoyable Independence Day.

6-30-19

Good Morning,
We have definitely arrived to the season of Summer.  This is the time of year when we depend on the irrigation system working at a high level and providing good coverage throughout the course.  I irrigated greens and tees early this morning to help prepare them for the hot daytime hours.  There have been a lot of problems with the irrigation system and I’m hopeful they are all behind us and the system works properly.
The high temperatures have started to impact our non irrigated areas of the golf course.  These grasses are starting to turn to the dormant stage.  This process has not occurred for multiple years at the golf course.  It is beneficial to our maintenance schedules and the budget since it lessens the hours spent on our rough mowers and also reduces the labor expense since we are mowing these areas less.
Heavy storms, on Thursday, were not as damaging as other areas of town.  We lost three trees and received minimal hail damage.  The high winds left thousands of small twigs covering the golf course.  We have cleaned up the majority of the golf course and are moving back into normal maintenance mode.  I’m thankful to the staff for going the extra mile to get these areas cleaned up in a timely fashion.
We were able to clean up some off property areas this past week.  The waterway running east of the Prime Rib was string trimmed and some hand mowing completed.  This area was created during the 2017 water quality project.  The golf course agreed to include this area in our maintenance schedules.
Also, the area between the waterway and field on 4th Avenue SW was finally mowed.  We have maintained the area off the street up to the waterway in the past and now include the area on the west side of the waterway.  We will keep both of these areas maintained as we move forward.

 

6-16-19

 

Good Morning,
It has been a very busy week at the golf course.  The course is finally drying out and the battle to get everything under control continues on a daily basis.  We spent some long days, early in the week, to get all of our trimming caught up.  Then it was busy days getting everything mowed and up to our standards on the grounds.  By the weekend everything was in good shape.
The irrigation system has been a never ending battle for more than just this year.  I dealt with technical issues along with irrigation leaks all week long.  The 6″ intake, to the lead pump, blew on Thursday morning.  I was getting some extra irrigation time on the greens when I lost all pressure.  A short trip to the pumphouse showed water forming a small swimming pool.  About 250,000 gallons of water filled the pumphouse.  Fortunately it all went back down the wet well with minimal waste.
I glued a new flange on the intake and let it set overnight.  Early Friday morning I assembled the intake and got some much needed water on the course.  I also spent a few hours, Friday evening, adjusting the control settings in the pumphouse control panel.  Thankfully the technician was able to provide technical support.  The weekend has consisted of a lot of water applied to the golf course.
With so much rainfall this year, the root structure of our turfgrass is very shallow.  This causes an issue when the wind blows and the top part of the soil starts to dry out and get crispy.  The root structure is so shallow it needs more moisture on the surface.  You can see lots of dry areas throughout the golf course and probably even your home lawn.
There are currently two large irrigation leaks on #11 and #13 fairways.  These problems happen when there is damage to the snap ring and surface water flows back into the head down into the pvc line.  It occurred during the heavy rainfall in March.  We have the areas exposed and will replace the pipe early this coming week.
I would like to wish a very happy Father’s Day to all of the men out there.  Each of you has been influential in shaping lives in this beautiful community.  Enjoy your day and cherish your family every day!

6-9-19

Good Morning,
Another week is completed and the weather has been above what we have experienced this season.  Staff and I have been very busy trying to catch up with our mowing and weed control.  I also lost one of my part time staff members due to health issues.  We are currently two people short since Tiffany is at the hospital, in Iowa City, with her brother.  It has been a busy weekend.
The irrigation system has been challenging again this year.  There were technical issues with the new pump control panel as well as an electrical short Friday morning.  The electrical short has been repaired and the pump technician was on site Friday morning completing programming for the computers in the pumphouse.  The system worked quite well the past few nights with only one irrigation line break in #11 fairway.
This is the first time in a couple of years the irrigation system will be functioning at full capacity.  I will be able to leave the pumps in automatic mode and the system charged during the day.  I will also run all programs with my phone from any location.  Once I go through a few nights with everything operating correctly I will rest a lot easier.
With the technical issues, it was necessary for me to irrigate the greens manually during the night on Tuesday and Thursday.  I was able to keep the greens saturated and in pretty good shape until the rest of the problems could be resolved.  I monitored the irrigation cycles during last night’s programs and everything appears to be functioning properly.
Our herbicide applications have been going smoothly.  Over 95% of the course has been sprayed and the broadleaf weeds are dying.  The dandelions and clover have been the biggest weed issues.  The dandelions are dying rapidly and the clover is either dying or completely suppressed.  Any clover that is not dying will at least be suppressed to the point where no white flowers will appear.
We still have a lot of string trimming to complete as well as stay on top of normal mowing practices.  The warm weather has really kick started the grass.  The good news is we are finally starting to dry out.  Even the parking lot has firmed up with no signs of water.
Last Sunday we hosted 154 golfers in the June Carl Spackler golf outing.  We also hosted our annual two gal triple treat on Tuesday morning.  Both events had great golfing weather and went well.  These events are not only fun for our golfing community but a big part of our success at the muni.  We have had league golf and open play the remainder of the week with good numbers.
It has been a very difficult start to the season for a third year in a row.  The weather has really wreaked havoc on us and it seems to be the worst this season.  Our season passes and green fees are down.  Currently I am setting up lists of fees that are due for cart storage and season pass payments.  It gets tougher each year trying to collect these fees in a timely manner.
Enjoy the remainder of the Flagfest weekend taking in some of the fun activities and enjoying the sunshine.  Please contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns so they can be addressed in a timely manner.

6-1-19

I am sending the golf update one day early due to a large tournament in the morning.  I will be busy trying to get everything organized prior to the 9:15 AM shotgun start.  156 golfers will be teeing it up tomorrow morning to have a great social gathering with some serious bragging rights on the line (the only people who actually care about the bragging is the winners).
The weather has turned for the better as we enter the month of June.  All of the rain and changing temperatures has negatively affected our budget and course condition.  Some days the rainfall puts us on the borderline of whether or not the course should be open for golf.  This is a very serious situation that I think about a great deal.  The majority of the time the course is saturated but still playable with minimal damage done by carts.
Also, the revenue part of the equation weighs very heavy in this decision making process.  I don’t ever want to have the golf course open if there is a risk of damage done by carts.  Some days it might not seem like the course should be open for play, but the total damage done to date is very minimal from these days.
Herbicide application has been my top focus of this past week.  I promise you I hate the dandelions a heckuva lot more than you do.  It has been very difficult trying to find weather conditions to spray these pests which makes me dislike them even more.  The entire town is covered in these weeds and it makes for some very ugly topography.  Well, I have been working diligently to remove them from the golf course.
I started spraying on Thursday morning and made it to mid afternoon.  Early Friday morning I was back in the seat of the sprayer adding hours onto the hour meter.  By Friday nightfall I completed 17 applications of herbicide to the course.  This amounted to 136 acres of turf sprayed.  I sprayed tees, fairways, and rough (everything but the greens).
Saturday morning I completed holes #5, #12, and #13 with two tank loads of herbicide.  The remaining areas are the rough between #5 and #6, #13 tees and surrounds, #14 south rough and fairway, and all of #15.  I will be spraying more this evening once the traffic dies down.  I hope to complete the majority of the remaining areas.
There are only a few holes left to treat before I start hand spraying around trees, bushes, etc.  I will return in the fall to make another broadleaf weed control application.  There should be very few weeds left on the course after a week or so.
Our maintenance schedules have been very difficult with the heavy rainfall and standing water.  We hit it very hard the last couple of days this week to get things as caught up as possible.  This creates a lot of work hours and not enough hours in the day.  I am happy with the condition of the course as we prepare for one of our largest tournaments this morning.
Our parking lot is finally starting to come around.  We have been dragging it multiple times every week trying to speed up the healing process.  The base is finally starting to firm up.  We had a difficult time moving much material around on Friday.  I take that in a positive light and hope the wet spots are history.
Our air conditioning units were not working at the end of the week.  Hanson’s Plumbing and Heating is on site this morning correcting the issues.  We will have air in the clubhouse by late morning.
Enjoy your weekend and soak up some sunshine.  We never know when it will turn into rain.  I also hope our farming community has great weather to get their crops planted removing this burden from their shoulders.

5-29-19

Good Morning,
The weather has obviously been less than favorable since the golf course opened in March.  It is hard for me to complain too much since the golf course provides a recreational atmosphere for our community and surrounding golfers.  The weather has a major impact on our rural farming community where people’s lives are affected.  When the farming community struggles with Mother Nature it has a negative impact on the golf course, specifically our revenue.
The staff and I have worked very hard to maintain the golf course through all the rain, wind, and below normal temperatures.  Even when the conditions do not allow people to play golf we still have to maintain the golf course.  It’s not always enjoyable working in poor weather or delaying our maintenance practices until evening hours but it is necessary.  I’m proud of the dedication the grounds and maintenance staffs give to our golf course.  It’s definitely not taken for granted.
Outside of equipment and irrigation maintenance along with normal grounds tasks, weed control ranks right up there at the top of the list.  It has been very difficult to spray at all this season.  The only spraying completed has been for crabgrass and broadleaf weed control on our tee boxes.  The rest of the golf course is saturated with dandelions.
Surface drainage and high winds are the main result for providing us with the not so pleasant dandelion population.  This year is the worst I have ever seen.  I treat broadleaf weeds in the spring and fall every year and usually have a very high level of control.  This year will involve multiple applications to control the heavy weed population.
Dandelions seem to be the highest conversation topic at the golf course.  I hear it daily and try my best to educate individuals with concerns.  I always start spraying along the property owners and golf course property.  This helps control the weeds that affect their view as well as the golf course first.
It is impossible to spray during windy conditions or when rain threatens the area.  The herbicide needs to stick to the plant for a minimum of six hours to have any control.  The last day this was possible was Sunday morning when the golf course was booked solid with tee times.  That does not provide an environment that is safe to spray.
Our weather forecast calls for a chance of showers yet this morning and overnight.  After midnight the chance of rain is almost zero (however it can change in a blink of an eye).  I plan to start spraying at 5AM and going until the wind picks up late morning.  This will allow me to cover a lot of territory with little impact on golfers.  It takes me approximately 24 hours to spray the entire golf course which amounts to three eight hour sessions.  I’m hopeful to get as much sprayed as possible before the end of the weekend.
Enjoy the remainder of your week and hopefully we have plenty of sunshine for golfers and our farmers.  Also, keep councilman Rich Prentice in your thoughts and prayers.  “Swing easy when it’s breezy!”
BCMohr

5-25-19

Good Morning,
Another week filled with rain and poor golf weather.  Our revenue has suffered more this year than in the previous two years.  We opened the golf course earlier than the previous two golf seasons, but the rain and cold weather have really limited us financially.  I continue to hope for seven nice golfing days in a row.
Our season passes are at a little over 80% of last season.  Punch cards are also down in comparison to years past.  We still have a little over five weeks left of our current fiscal period.  The weather has to eventually cooperate.
Expenses are also increased in comparison to last year.  There were close to $19,000 in equipment repairs from last fall to two of our rough units.  One of these units was a damaged computer which amounted to a lot of the repair expense.  The good news is our equipment is all functioning properly as I prepare this update.
Irrigation issues have been ongoing the past two seasons.  Last year I replaced around 300 electrical connections in the field to eliminate the wiring part of our problems.  This year the control panel needed several repairs and the 20 year old panel is obsolete.  This amounts to a $5000 control replacement which was completed early this past week.  Also, the lead pump was damaged and bearing replacement is currently being completed.
During repair work on Tuesday, I discovered fishing line and a package of lures caught in the pump impeller.  This is a result of someone illegally fishing on the golf course during non golfing hours.

 

 

I have also repaired quite a few valves these past couple of weeks.  When I filled the irrigation system on Monday, after the control panel replacement, everything was working properly except for a handful of valves.  These valves have been repaired and function properly as of the end of the week.  Irrigation is not a major concern, due to the heavy rainfall, but it will be once the rain stops.  The irrigation system repairs are now complete and we are in great shape when the weather turns around.
The heavy rainfalls have been hectic with our maintenance schedules.  Staff and I mowed until dark a couple days this past week to stay on top of everything.  There has also been extra mowing completed this weekend to keep everything upkept.  Even when golf gets rained out it does not mean the course maintenance stops.
The next major task will be tackling the dandelion population on the golf course.  There have been questions when this will happen?  The weather has not permitted for a lot of time to spray.  My plan is to complete the broadleaf applications this coming week.  I always spray along the property owners first to try and accommodate their concerns with weeds present.  Next, I move to the rest of the course.  It generally takes about three days of quality weather to complete this process.  It will be done in a timely matter when the weather cooperates.
Lastly, my job does not consist of 9 to 5 Monday through Friday.  It consists of a lot of early mornings and late evenings seven days a week.  I am the equipment repair technician, spray technician, irrigation technician, clubhouse manager, and golf course superintendent.  My hours fluctuate on a daily basis.  My part time staff hours also fluctuate on a daily basis.  We work during the necessary time slots to get our jobs done and provide a quality golf course for the public.
These golf updates are the easiest way to communicate with public officials, city staff, and the golfing community.  This update is available to our email database, on our website blog, and can also be forwarded to interested people you visit with each day.  I cannot make people read the emails.  I can only provide as much information as possible and try making it as accessible as possible.  I always welcome phone calls or face to face questions at any time.
Please enjoy your Holiday weekend.  The golf course staff and I will be busy trying to provide you all with a quality municipal golf course every day of the week.  Be safe and remember all those who we memorialize this weekend.  They are the heroes that make our day to day life possible.
BCMohr

5-19-19

Good Morning,
I have experienced control panel issues, in the pumphouse, since last fall.  The issues cause the control panel to not function in automatic mode.  The control panel is obsolete and parts can no longer be found.  A new control panel needs to be installed in order for the system to function properly and not require so many night time hours spent visually monitoring in hand mode.
The computer in the maintenance shed is connected to the control panel in the pumphouse.  It controls all functions in the pumphouse.  I am able to operate the irrigation system from my phone through the office computer.  If the system is run in hand mode the computer has no control over shutting down the pumps or controlling the pressure.
I currently must operate in hand mode which causes a threat for damage if the internet goes down.  The pumps would continue to operate with no stations running on the course.  This will cause pump damage and possibly blow up the 6″ intake line.  We lost one of the intake lines last fall and had to replace it early this spring.  The options are replace the control panel for $5000 or pay $1500 to patch it together now and still pay for a new control panel down the road.  The replacement is scheduled for this week.
Additional irrigation work has included multiple valves around the course.  The bleeder assembly snaps on top of the valve and causes the water to flow through the valve and run the irrigation station with no way to shut it down.  I repaired about a dozen of these issues this past week.  There were also several diaphragms replaced on valves.  I will finish a few more stations in the morning and recharge the system.
The greens were fertilized Friday morning with a granular application of 18-9-18.  This is a quick contact fertilizer that breaks down with a 15 minute irrigation cycle.  The timing was perfect with the rainfalls we experienced this weekend.  This will really get the bentgrass growing and improve color.
There are some damaged areas on the greens from surface drainage during the latter part of winter.  With the rainfall and snow melting the surface drainage gathered in low spots on greens and fairways.  These spots have been overseeded and we will continue to monitor the progress.
I have also been completing repairs on several pieces of equipment.  The majority of the issues are small but they still take the machine out of service until the parts arrive.  Our sprayer is one of those items.  I replaced the drain on the bottom of the tank and also ordered new spray nozzles to provide better coverage on the course.  I will finish part installation on the sprayer, one green mower, and two fairway units in the morning.
This is a wrap on another week at the golf course.  Enjoy the remainder of the weekend.  Best of luck to the SHS boys golf team as they compete at state this coming week!!

5-14-19

A quick update at the ol’ golf course on a Tuesday morning.  I have experienced control panel issues, in the pumphouse, since last fall.  These issues are causing the control panel to not function in automatic mode.  The control panel is also 20 years old (I cannot believe we have had the 18 holes for almost 20 years now).  It is obsolete and parts can no longer be found.  A new control panel needs to be installed in order for the system to function properly and not require so many night time hours spent visually monitoring in hand mode.
I currently am only able to operate in hand mode, which causes a great threat for damage if the internet goes down.  The pumps would continue to operate with no stations running on the course.  This will cause pump damage and possible blow up the 6″ intake line.  We already lost one of the intake lines last fall and had to replace it early this spring.  This will be about a $5000 hit to the budget.  Replacement is scheduled for next week.
Until then I will irrigate greens and tees starting around 3 AM as needed.  This will allow me to be on site and monitor the system to ensure there is no damage caused if the computers shut down.  Rainfall has currently eliminated the need for a lot of irrigating.  I did irrigate in hand mode Saturday morning to water in the herbicide treatment on tees for crabgrass prevention.
Also, we are at the time of year when the dandelions start popping.  I will be spraying for broadleaf weeds as time and weather permit.  It will probably be necessary to spray in the late evening into the night if conditions are favorable.  The material needs to be on the plant for at least 6-8 hours to make sure it is absorbed to provide proper control.
The greens are coming along pretty nicely with the warmer temperatures.  The color is improving.  We will be fertilizing greens with a granular application yet this week.
I felt like this information needed to be shared prior to the regular weekend update.  Enjoy the remainder of the week and keep on keepin’ on!   Good luck to the high school boys Thursday.  They are playing districts at the Country Club Thursday morning.  Hopefully the boys all golf well and make it to STATE!

5-12-19

 

The week started off great with 86 senior golfers enjoying a late morning lunch followed by 18 holes of golf.  This was the first senior golfing date of the 2019 golf season.  We provide lunch and golf four times a season for two different men’s senior groups.  Thankfully the weather cooperated and the day was a success.  This was the last nice day until Friday.
Yesterday we hosted 24 high school seniors in the morning and 24 more in the afternoon.  They played for two hours during each session.  This date is the annual senior skip day for the high school.  They line up activities for the kids to participate in throughout the day.  The great part of this day was a silent donor paid for the golf and cart rental for each of the high school students.  That was such a great act of kindness and the students really appreciated it.
Our parking lot continues to be a weekly discussion.  We used a drag from the park department to address both of our parking lots.  Tuesday was the first day and it worked great.  The clubhouse parking lot looked as close to normal as possible.  The Wednesday rainfall brought us back to reality.  On Friday the parking lots were dragged again and seem to be drying out.  This will continue to be addressed multiple times each week.
We continue to hand topdress several of the greens.  The main area is #17 where we experienced lost turfgrass at the start of the 2018 season.  Last year we added 450+ plugs throughout this green.  Overseeding was also done four times with limited success due to the heavy downpours.  It is finally looking really good and the topdressing is helping fill in the small areas that remain.  This topdressing is applied several times during the week.
Our greens still remain an off color and don’t look real good.  The cold temperatures really zap the life out of bentgrass especially the Providence variety we have at the muni.  The warm weather and a granular fertilizer application will help bring them back to life this coming week.
I sprayed all the tee boxes with a herbicide to control the presence of crabgrass.  i also added a herbicide to control the dandelions and other broadleaf weeds growing on the tees.  The broadleaf weeds need to absorb the herbicide and the crabgrass control needs to be irrigated into the upper part of the soil to eliminate the germination of the crabgrass.  I started the irrigation system around 4 AM to get these tees watered before we start getting golfers.
You’re receiving this email one day early due to my dad’s Christmas present.  My brothers and I bought him two tickets to the NASCAR Kansas race last year.  This year we planned on the same gift but he said he wanted all three of us to go to the race with him.  So, we are leaving in about an hour to drive to Ankeny to meet both my brothers followed by a drive to Kansas City.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the ladies that keep their households running smoothly.  You are all appreciated and honored more than one day a year.  Being a mother has to be the hardest job in the world.  Not only do you take care of your children but us men need to be guided as well.  Enjoy the weekend ladies and thank you for everything you do!