7-5-2020

 

Good Morning,
It’s a beautiful morning at The Muni.  The irrigation system has about 45 minutes left to finish the night watering.  We’ve been busy getting the golf course ready for golfers this morning and the air is perfectly calm.  A light fog fell over the course early this morning along with a light chill in the air.  This is the best part of the day.  The wildlife is running around the golf course and the hummm of the mowers is the only noise in the air.  The course looks beautiful and there’s a peaceful feeling in the air.  We’re all waiting for the golfers to kick us into full swing.
This past week we completed the spring start up of the waterfall on #10.  The ladies morning league had quite a few volunteers stop out and add some new plant materials to the area.  We sprayed the weeds, installed the pump and water line, and added some fresh new mulch.  By Tuesday morning it was operating nicely and the light sound of water running filled the air.  Thank you to the ladies who helped us get this project completed.
We have added water to the new flowers just about every day and they are adjusting very nicely after being transplanted.  We started adding mulch to some of the other landscaping areas by the tee boxes.  We will complete these landscaping areas this week.
The irrigation system has been working great every night.  I turned the well on July 1 for the first time this year.  The well will pump about 432,000 gallons of water in a 24 hour period.  The irrigation system will use roughly 500,000 gallons of water in a night.  The non irrigated parts of the golf course are starting to turn dormant which will cut down on some of our mowing moving forward.
Fortunately the wind has not been blowing as strong as it did last month.  We are still doing a lot of hand watering each day and applying a lot of wetting agent weekly.  I think the majority of the isolated dry spots have been eliminated.  I’m very happy with the condition of the golf course and thank my staff very much for their hard work each and every day.
Our sign placed at the Walmart intersection was removed a little over a week ago.  It was in very poor shape and was also a safety concern with the new safe route to school sidewalk installed in the area.  It is currently being stored at the maintenance shed.
We also replaced our old Spencer Municipal Golf Course sign at our parking lot entrance.  The new sign ties in with the Park signs that have been installed around the city.  It was a large improvement over the old sign that stood for about 25 years.  I would like to thank Jared Elbert, Park Director, for his assistance with this process.
The golf course clubhouse has been operating with quite a few new procedures over the past month.  Everyone has adjusted quite nicely and have worked together as a team better than ever.  The main policy changes are printing a receipt after every transaction, counting down the till during a shift change, and having two sets of eyes on all transactions.  We have had zero issues with transactions.  It has gone smoothly and the difference is night and day.
Enjoy the remainder of your holiday weekend.  Thank you to all those who have served or are currently serving our Great Country.  God Bless America!!


Brian C Mohr
Director of Golf Operations

City of Spencer
Spencer Municipal Golf Course
Spencer, Iowa 51301
712-260-5370

 

6-27-2020

Good Morning,
Another week has come and gone at The Muni.  Some of the cooler temperatures, a lot of hand watering along with wetting agent applications, and a lot less wind has allowed the turfgrass to be a little less stressed out.  The only green that is still showing some signs of isolated dry spotting in #7.  I have experienced some issues with one of the stations on this hole.   We will continue to hand water this area on a frequent basis.
The wetting agents help hold the moisture in the upper portion of the soil profile and make it ready available for the plant.  It also eliminates the drying out of the soil leaving the spotty light brown areas.  It’s always a challenge and requires a lot of manual labor to stay on top of it.
I also sprayed greens on Wednesday applying a fungicide, foliar fertilizer, and wetting agent applications.  These applications are scheduled between 10-14 days.  The warmer temperatures have made the disease pressure lessen a little but have required more fertilizer and a lot more wetting agent.
Some of our Tuesday Ladies League members have been kind enough to adapt some of our flower beds on the golf course.  This past week they tackled the waterfall behind #10 green.  Their amazing work has helped bring this area back to life.  We were also able to get the waterfall running by the end of the week.
There is an issue with the drainage line we are trying to repair this morning.  We have a lot of debris stuck in the line.  After that the waterfall will be up and running regularly and the new flowers will brighten up the area.  Thank you ladies!
Tile work has continued in the area of #15 tees.  The contractor was able to install the new tile line going across the road on 4th Ave SW.  The remainder of the work will consist of installing new tile from this area and moving east.  We will tie in the four existing tile lines and eliminate the saturated soil conditions on the golf course and in the Stoneybrook neighborhood.  This project will be complete this coming week and then work will begin in Upper Waterway Park.
I attended a training session Wednesday morning for new city employees.  This training covers employee right to know, bloodborne pathogens, and a whole lot of other safety topics.  Since the majority of our part time staff have full time jobs it is not easy or convenient for them to make it to a training session during city hall hours.  With this training I will be able to train each employee individually as it fits their schedule.   It is mandatory for all new employees.  I will be working on this the next couple of weeks.
The clubhouse is down several staff members at the conclusion of this week.  I have worked a couple of closing shifts at night and will continue to work more in the clubhouse in the next couple of weeks until more staff can be added.  I spent most of yesterday revising the current schedule and trying to piece together a schedule for the next pay period.
I very much appreciate the hard work and dedication being shown by the handful of part time staff we have working in the clubhouse.  Everyone is trying to adapt to new policies and change.  It’s not always easy and some days we get a little frustrated but everyone keeps persevering and trying to provide great customer service.  I’m very thankful for them and quite proud of them as people.
The maintenance staff has been doing an amazing job on the golf course.  We’re definitely short handed when it comes to outdoors as well.  But, the staff is really showing how much pride they have in our golf course.  Some of these guys have worked here for more than 25 years.  I definitely am thankful for their dedication, attention to detail, and strong commitment to providing a beautiful golf course.
 The golf course has been very busy this past week.  Our season pass totals are down but we still see a lot of golfers out enjoying themselves every day.  That’s a great feeling inside.  It’s an even better feeling when I hear someone tell a staff member the golf course looks nice.  It does look nice because we’re fortunate to have a few people who take care of the golf course like it is their own.


Brian C Mohr
Director of Golf Operations

City of Spencer
Spencer Municipal Golf Course
Spencer, Iowa 51301
712-260-5370

 

6-21-2020

Good Morning,
The past week brought us some much needed rainfall and a decrease in the hot temperatures and high winds.  When the wind blows at high speeds during the day everything dries out rapidly.  Night time winds can wreak havoc on the irritation system blowing the water from the sprinklers.   It has been next to impossible trying to keep up with enough irrigation on the golf course.  There were dry areas showing up on collars and on parts of greens.  Staff and I spent a lot of time hand watering and adding extra run time to irrigation in these areas.
I was able to aerify the greens with needle tines early in the week.  This aerification process gave us about 5-6″ of depth and helped move the water down into the soil profile.  The majority of the isolated dry areas have recovered very nicely as the week has moved along.  Early the coming week I will be applying a foliar fertilizer and wetting agent to the greens.  The wetting agent helps keep the moisture toward the top of the soil profile and helps control isolated dry areas.  Lots of water, wetting agents, and more water are the only way to combat isolated dry areas.
During these extreme conditions I reduced some of our mowing practices to help with stress on the turfgrass.  For example, we might not have mowed greens on a day when the wind was forecast at 35 mph or skipped a fairway mowing schedule to give the grass a break.  Mostly small changes trying to protect the grass as much as possible without changing the day to day playing conditions.
The tile issues continue to move in the right direction at Stoneybrook and Upper Waterway Park.  Public Works officials and I met with the tile contractor Thursday morning to discuss moving forward with repairs.  The road will be opened up, near the 15th tees on 4th ave SW, to install tile across the road into the waterway.  The road repairs will then be completed and tile will be installed moving east.  We will tie in the four existing tiles south of the waterway on the golf course.  This repair should eliminate any more standing water on the golf course or in the neighbor’s yards at Stoneybrook.
Upper Waterway Park will have tile exposed on the far east end where repairs were completed last year.  The tile will be evaluated moving west through the park.  We are hopeful tile repairs will take care of the issue but also prepared to install new tile through the park onto the golf course property and tie it into the drain by the 9th green.
Happy Father’s Day to each of you!  Hopefully you have some family time in your plans for the day.  Please contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns.
Brian C Mohr
Director of Golf Operations

City of Spencer
Spencer Municipal Golf Course
Spencer, Iowa 51301
712-260-5370

 

6-14-2020

 

Good Morning,
Another week is coming to a close and it looks like the heavy winds are going to blow in the 90 degree temperatures again next week.  Last weekend the foot valve went out in one of the itake lines of the pumphouse.  That was repaired on Monday and we were back to full strength on Tuesday just in time for the downpours.  The course definitely needed the rain and a break in temperatures.
Toward the end of the week I tripped a circuit breaker in the pumphouse two nights in a row.  This really limited the amount of irrigation time the past two nights.  Last night I only irrigated the greens, tees, and approaches on high schedules.  I could not diagnose the electrical problem yesterday.  I could not take a chance of the system shutting down again overnight.  I will explore repair options tomorrow.
Irrigation issues have not helped some of the dry areas on our practice green and a couple others on the course.  These areas experienced some valve problems and have since been fixed.  Day to day hand watering is helping the turfgrass slowly work back to normal.  Also the application of wetting agents aids in holding moisture in the upper part of the soil profile.
Tomorrow I will be aerifying many of the greens with needle tines.  This will help open up the greens and allow water to penetrate deeper into the soil.  I will spray some wetting agents on the greens tomorrow evening followed by heavy nighttime irritation.  Daily hand watering will help us get through the heated days next week.
The staff did a very nice job staying on top of our daily maintenance procedures keeping the golf course looking nice.  Everyone has put their best foot forward, battled through the weather conditions, and kept the golf course in pretty nice shape.  It’s been a difficult year with all our provisions and being short staffed along with fighting the great Mother Nature.
This past week we have changed some of our clubhouse policies as far as staffing relates.  There will now be a cash change out during the daily shift change in the clubhouse.  The drawer will have two employees count the money down, record all daily receipts, complete documentation, and return the register to starting totals.  The same process will take place at closing.  I will then compare all the figures from staff and complete the deposit.  Everything will have a receipt for verification by more than one individual.
Beer carts will have an inventory list made of all products leaving the clubhouse and a record of all transactions made on the golf course.  Returned excess inventory will be recorded on the sheet.  Another employee will verify the totals and enter the cash amounts into the register with a receipt.  The beer cart will no longer function in a manner that some of our league members are used to seeing.  It will be cash payment on the course at the time of purchase.
The tile issues at Stoneybrook South and Upper Waterway Park continue to be part of conversations.  The four tiles were exposed on the south side of Stoneybrook last week.  Elevation readings and other estimates are being put together for discussion.  Tile measurements have been made along with cost estimates in Upper Waterway.  We will continue to move forward with these areas.
It’s been another busy week and COVID 19 continues to remind us to be safe and sanitize.  Please be safe friends and enjoy the remainder of the weekend!


Brian C Mohr
Director of Golf Operations

City of Spencer
Spencer Municipal Golf Course
Spencer, Iowa 51301
712-260-5370

6-7-20

Good Morning,
It has definitely been another busy week at The Muni.  The maintenance staff has spent a lot of time trying to stay on top of mowing schedules.  It never seems to end. We finish mowing one day and start back over again the next.
The high temperatures and wind have taken a toll on the turfgrass.  I sprayed a wetting agent, foliar fertilizer, and fungicide application on the greens Saturday morning.  The wetting agent will help hold the moisture in the top of the soil profile.  A lot of drying out is occurring on the collars and some greens.  I plan to aerify the greens very soon with needle tines to help move the water into the soil profile through the surface.
Last night I had issues in the pumphouse with the lag pump intake.  I worked on it for close to two hours but could not get the line to stay primed.  This forced me to operate the system at 50% overnight.  I irrigated the greens and tees heavily and made it through the cycle for the approaches as well.  I’m still running some irrigation now and plan to remove the intake shortly to check on the foot valve.  The problem most likely will only be resolved with a new foot valve.
We hosted the first day of the Carl Spacklar golf event yesterday.  We are hosting day two this morning.  This event was moved to a tee time format over two days because of operating provision.  This is not a muni event.  It is a private event that generates a lot of revenue each year.  We look forward to another smooth day with staff and golfers.
We have dealt with some equipment issues this past week.  One of the rough units was transported to the Street Division on Friday.  They have not yet resolved the issue.  I was able to make some necessary repairs to the sprayer yesterday.  All of our equipment has been overheating with the extreme temperatures.  We have to blow the radiators out frequently and sometimes pull to the side and let them cool down in the shade.  It’s been a battle but we are pushing forward.
I hope each of you enjoy the remainder of your weekend.  Please let me know if there are any comments or questions?  “Swing easy today ’cause it’s gonna be breezy!”


Brian C Mohr
Director of Golf Operations

City of Spencer
Spencer Municipal Golf Course
Spencer, Iowa 51301
712-260-5370

 

5-31-2020

 

Good Morning,
The past week was quite challenging with the heavy rainfall, high humidity, and warmer temperatures.  It took a few days for the golf course to dry out to perform quality maintenance practices.  The spring fertilizer application put the grass into hyper mode.  It was a huge challenge for us to get the golf course under control.  Long shifts of mowing every day over and over was the story of the entire week.  Mow everything and start over.  And over and over and over.
The fairways were so wet we could not mow until Thursday late morning.  We hit the fairways hard and were able to mow 14 of the 18 holes.  We mowed each fairway three or four times.  The other four were still too wet to mow.  Some that were mowed were close to being too wet to mow.  Friday we mowed 12 of the 18 fairways four more times.  They were all looking pretty darn nice by the end of the day Friday.
The tees were mowe quite a few times on Tuesday and again on Friday.  We used the buckets to catch the turf clippings which really slows the process down.  The tees looked very nice by the end of the day Friday.  The 130 acres of rough was definitely a challenge as well.  We mowed on Monday and Tuesday in the rain but covered the majority of the course.  Friday through Saturday we mowed all the rough again.  This morning we have a few hours left to cover the remainder of the course.  It was a long week but looking at the course last evening is such a rewarding view.
We sold advertising signs to local businesses when the golf course was built in 1999.  The initial sale covered the cost of all the amenity items on every hole.  Last year we sold seven new advertising signs for vacant signs.  On Wednesday, I worked with Ken Sandvig to install those new advertisement plaques on the tee markers.  Below is one of the signs:
We have dealt with tile issues for many years around the Stoneybrook addition as well as other areas of the golf course.  So much earth has been moved in the past 20 years which results in damaged tile issues arising.  The past few years we have addressed areas on the golf course north of Stoneybrook and some of those homeowners have dealt with repairs on their property.  We have also dealt with issues in other areas of the golf course.
The south side of Stoneybrook is seeing many of the same issues.  The short story is the tile runs from farm ground, south of the golf course, onto golf course property, into the Stoneybrook development, back onto golf course property, and finally exits to the west of 4th Ave SW.
This tile issue has caused extremely saturated soil on the homeowners property and golf course property around the 15th tee area.  I have met with some of the homeowners to listen to their thoughts and concerns.  The damaged tile is on private property but it all needs to be rectified.  Staff discussions are planned for the coming week and we will continue to work with the neighbors to remedy this situation.
Saturday allowed us to spray all the weeds in our landscaping areas after they were mowed around and trimmed.  The herbicide application will eliminate all the weeds in these areas.  Some landscaping areas are still under water and will be managed in the near future.  The next plan, for the landscaping, is to add flowers.  This will be happening in the next couple of weeks.  We might need to move to an “adapt a bed” concept because we simply don’t have the staff hours to give this the attention it deserves.
Spraying of weeds is definitely one of the highest priorities as we head into the next week.  Greens also need a foliar fertilizer application with a fungicide included.  I will also be treating the ponds for algae control.
I hope you all enjoy the remainder of this beautiful weekend.  The golf course was an absolute zoo on Saturday which was so amazing to see.  Maybe we’ll see some of you today.  See you at the golf board meeting or city council meeting tomorrow evening.



Brian C Mohr
Director of Golf Operations

City of Spencer
Spencer Municipal Golf Course
Spencer, Iowa 51301
712-260-5370

5-26-2020

Good Afternoon,
The past week we spent the majority of our time trying to stay on top of our mowing practices.  It was non stop mowing all last week through the holiday weekend.  To make matters worse one of the 11′ rough units had a hydraulic leak on Saturday.  This really dropped us behind schedule trying to keep up with things.
All the rainfall and high humidity has kicked the fertilizer applications into high gear.  We mowed through the rain trying to catch up as much as possible today.  I spent multiple hours replacing the hydraulic line on the John Deere rough unit.  I am thankful for Justin, at the Street Division to take a little time to educate me on these tightly positioned hydraulic lines.  He was able to provide the necessary tools and some insight to assist me with a problem that never goes away with these units.  In the future I will be able to go pick up the necessary wrenches and take care of the problem in a timely manner.  I have a lot of respect for equipment engineers, but one thing is for certain, they never have to repair this stuff.
The high humidity and rainfall made it very difficult to mow today.  The grass is clumping everywhere.  Mowing tees and collars took us the entire day since we had to use the catch baskets to remove the clippings while mowing.  The baskets were dumped on average five times for all 72 tee boxes.  A lot of getting on and off but we kept the tees and collars looking pretty good.
We will continue to mow rough until the rain hits again this afternoon then go back at it in the morning.  Fairways are still too wet to mow and the projected rainfall tonight will make it difficult tomorrow.  We will try and concentrate on all the rough by the end of tomorrow then mow fairways multiple times on Thursday and Friday.
There is a lot of tall grass and scattered dandelions amongst the blades.  The spraying will probably not happen this week unless things go really well the remainder of the week mowing.  Broadleaf weeds will be addressed as soon as I get caught up and have some sunny days with no wind.
I have met with Amanda and Mark White to discuss some tile and drainage concerns the neighbors on the south side of Stoneybrook are feeling.  We will be meeting with them this week to try and find a remedy.
A new pond maintenance program has been implemented for 2020.  I have applied one application of copper sulphate to the south side of the irrigation pond and have several more scheduled.  Hopefully this extra effort will help subside the algae blooms.
The part time clubhouse staff is working out pretty well.  We have a couple new faces that have been trained and are falling right into the groove.  Nice weather will hopefully bring out the golfers as leagues are slated to start this week.
Please contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns so they can be addressed in a timely manner.


Brian C Mohr
Director of Golf Operations

City of Spencer
Spencer Municipal Golf Course
Spencer, Iowa 51301
712-260-5370

 

5-17-2020

Good Morning,
The past week was filled with crazy golf weather.  Early in the week it was cooler keeping our customers away from the golf course.  A few individuals stopped in to pay fees or a couple holes of golf before giving up.  Thursday and Friday brought some beautiful weather along with tee times filled mid morning straight through to late evening.  Saturday was steady in the morning and tapered off in the gusty afternoon winds followed by rain leading us into this morning.
The irrigation system has been the main focal point all Spring.  We spent a lot of time cleaning valve boxes, fixing lateral irrigation lines, and working in the pumphouse in preparation for the contractor.  All the irrigation work helped limit the amount of time and money to be spent on the upgrade.  It also eliminated quite a few problems we had been dealing with for some time.  Here is a quick recap:
The irrigation upgrade has been completed plus all the repair work to the irrigation lines.  A new pump was installed plus a replaced foot valve on the lead intake. A transducer was installed in the pumphouse computer control panel including other electrical repair work.  Finally, the new computer programming was installed in the office followed by a couple weeks of adjusting valves and heads.
Fast forward through these past six weeks of work and the irrigation system has been working great.  An occasional head will stick on once in a while but it is working very efficiently and worry free.  The irrigation time frame has been lowered to nine hours and five minutes distributing 475,000 gallons of water in a night.  It’s a great feeling and a lot of stress has been left behind.
Other projects have included sod work on several fairways to eliminate sand trap washouts, grading and sodding of the #16 tile area, fertilizer application of the entire golf course, landscaping clean up, parking lot and cart path repair/grading, equipment repairs, along with daily mowing schedules.
We have been very busy on the grounds as well as in the clubhouse.  The staff has been so dedicated and committed to making each day as great as possible.  Overall this crazy start to 2020 has gone about as well as we could expect at the golf course.  I’m thankful to the staff for their hard work and commitment.  Please thank them when you see them at the golf course.
The next big project will be the broadleaf herbicide application to the golf course.  I treat the golf course in the Spring and in the Fall each year.  I plan to complete this process over the next couple of weeks.  I always start spraying along the homeowner side of the golf course and work my way to the middle.
Our golf leagues will be starting in the next week or two.  Please visit our website to see what provisions are currently in place.  We have updated the cart policy to allow two individuals to ride together if they choose.
Brian C Mohr
Director of Golf Operations

City of Spencer
Spencer Municipal Golf Course
Spencer, Iowa 51301
712-260-5370

 

5-15-2020

Good Morning,
I would like to share an updated COVID 19 operations guideline.
Starting today, Friday, May 15, we will allow golfers to ride two in a cart if they so choose.  They will still be encouraged to social distance at the golf course.  This change will allow people to make their own choice that stays within their comfort level.
The holes on the greens will be returned to normal depth.  A pool floatie has been added at the base of the flagstick.  This will keep the ball from dropping into the bottom of the hole.  The flagstick will remain in place at all times.
Tee markers, yardage stakes, OB stakes, and hazard stakes will be returned to the golf course.  These amenity items are very rarely ever touched by the golfer during a round.  These items will allow the golf course to be set up as close to normal when golf leagues start resuming.
There are no other changes to the operational provisions at The Muni.  We are not allowing indoor seating.  Customers are in and out in a timely manner.  These changes will not place anyone in a position where they should feel uncomfortable golfing.  Social distancing is still the main part of the equation.  We are simply allowing golfers to make a personal choice on the golf cart situation.
Golf Course staff is required to wear a mask at all times while working in the clubhouse.  This is not an option for employees.  Employees do have the option to choose to work or not to work at The Muni.  That is their decision.
I have attached the COVID 19 document with changes highlighted.  Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.


Brian C Mohr
Director of Golf Operations

City of Spencer
Spencer Municipal Golf Course
Spencer, Iowa 51301
712-260-5370

5-10-20

Good Morning,
Happy Mother’s Day to each of you special women.  I hope the day is special for you filled with love and kindness.  You have been the foundation for your loved ones.  Enjoy your special day that should be celebrated every day.
This past week we accomplished quite a few projects and continued to move forward with others.  The irrigation system continues to be at the top of our list.  The new pump was installed on Thursday.  We also replaced a foot valve on the lead intake line.  It was so refreshing to listen to that beautiful new motor hum and the water move through the lines.
I have continued to run irrigation cycles fine tuning things station by station.  Periodically a station will stick on and a couple of tweaks have to occur before it will shut down.  It’s generally a plunger sticking, the IC unit is screwed on too tight, or the diaphragm has a little debris inside.  Overall, things are miles ahead of where the irrigation system has been the past few years.
Our golf greens were fertilized on Monday morning.  This is the spring granular application.  I ran the irrigation stations for 15 minutes Monday afternoon to work the fertilizer into the soil profile.  The weather has been cold but the color change has still been noticeable on the greens.
The tees and fairways were fertilized on Thursday morning.  This application will carry us into the month of August with plenty of nutrients available for the plant.  This fertilizer has been irrigated as well trying to move the pellet down to the crown of the plant.
We also started adding sod to the tile area on #16.  The fairway portion was leveled and sod was cut off the practice tee.  Sod was ordered from Del’s Garden Center to cover the area in the rough.  We were able to sod about 75% of the entire tile area.  The remainder will be seeded.
This coming week we will start to focus on getting caught up with the mowing schedules.  We limited the mowing duties due to the fertilizer applications.  There have been a lot of accomplishments already this early in the season.
Please contact me with comments, questions, or concerns so they can be addressed in a timely manner.  Enjoy the remainder of your weekend.