2-10-19

Another week has passed us by and we tip toe closer to the start of the golf season.  There was plenty of snow cover prior to the blizzard, but the high winds blew all the powder to the next county.  Still, the golf course is looking pretty good right now.  I will continue to monitor it every few days.
I have been working in the clubhouse with Solutions and SMU for the majority of the week.  There is an internet issue that has not been resolved yet.  The signal is strong then drops drastically and kicks out the wifi.  After 30 seconds it will kick back into action.  Solutions has replaced the Watchguard firewall modem with no luck.  SMU has attempted to diagnose the issue as well.  We will continue the process Monday.
The good news is the internet wifi issues don’t always affect the simulator.  The breaks are short enough they don’t cause the golf to be interrupted.  The main issue is when the break lasts for longer than a minute or two, then the simulator needs to be restarted.  Frustration.
I spent part of the past week working on equipment in the maintenance facility.  This coming week, I will finish the reel sharpening process and start organizing and cleaning the shop.  This will help me update my replacement parts inventory.
The history of the muni has become a passion of mine these past few weeks.  I went through the Park Board minutes dating back to 1975.  The Golf Board was initially formed for the November 8, 1984 meeting.  I have gone through the minutes of every Golf Board meeting as well.
A lot of information has also been gathered through phone interviews, newspaper articles, and social media.  I have also researched pictures and other items to add with the narrative.  I have completed all the narrative up to the year 1986.  Below is the notes I have accumulated so far.  Please feel free to read through them and reply with any information you might remember that is not listed.
Have a great day and remember we could be golfing outside in a little over a month if Mother Nature cooperates.

2-3-2019

February is always a stressful time of the winter.  The constant changing temperatures really cause a lot of issues when it comes to turfgrass.  The snow cover has now melted off the majority of the course and there is standing water in all the low spots.  With upcoming cold temperatures there is the threat of killing the grass in these spots.  The good news is there is plenty of moisture for the turf plant.
Our simulator was busy by the end of the past week.  There was quite a bit of activity on Friday and Saturday.  Early in the week there was minimal indoor golf played.  There have been a lot of repeat customers and several new faces playing golf.
I am continuing to work on gathering information from the history of the SMGC.  I have gone through quite a few park and golf board minutes dating back to the beginning of the purchase in 1975.  There is so much information that brings more questions by myself.  Several phone interviews have been competed as well.  This is a time consuming project that I don’t want to rush.
Also, I have been working on equipment in the shop.  The reel sharpening process along with bedknives is my priority right now.  It all takes time.
Last week I included the golf course budget in an attachment.  We will discuss the budget at the golf course board meeting tomorrow evening.

1-27-19

This past week I met with city staff to discuss the 2019/20 golf course budget.

The budget is almost the same as the 2018/19 budget as far as the bottom line.  Our revenues have been so poorly affected, due to terrible weather, the past two season it is difficult to make a normal projection.  If the weather is more cooperative, we should be in good shape with the proposed budget numbers.

You can look through the line items established in the attachment.  This is the 2018 Five Year Business Plan, but has been updated to the current date.  The estimate for the current budget is included along with the future budgets.  
 
I have also been working with Amanda on rewriting the clubhouse policies.  Since we have the golf simulator it creates a different use for our clubhouse.  These policies will be completed by the early part of next week.  They will be shared with the golf board and city council for discussion and future approval.
 
The golf week was a little slower on the simulator the past week.  On Saturday, we hosted the SFD Christmas party.   There were close to 50 individuals at the party playing pool, bean bags, cards, and the simulator.  It was a great success and everyone present had a great time.
 
I have continued to work on the history of the Spencer Municipal Golf Course property.  I conducted phone interviews with several individuals, read through Park Board and Golf Board minutes, and searched city records.  It is very interesting reading and finding new information.  I plan to complete this information, in the future, and create a narrative available on our website.
 
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

1-20-19

This past week there was an increase in reservations for the simulator.  We had golfers every day except for Monday.  It was nice to see the clubhouse being utilized every day.  The more the word spreads the busier the clubhouse will be moving forward.  I’m happy with the increase in the simulator.
I have continued to work on the equipment maintenance program this off season.  This includes all repairs, service work, and reel sharpening.  Normally, I work in the shop in the morning and the clubhouse late morning until the evening.  During the evening part time staff works in the clubhouse.
Our Street Division was on site, Tuesday, to remove four Willow trees behind our cart storage buildings.  These trees were in the waterway that runs between Nielsen’s and the golf course.  The clean up in this area will help the surface drainage move off the property more quickly.  They did a nice job with the project.
This coming week there are budget meetings to discuss the proposed 2019/20 budget for the golf course.  The proposed budget amount will be very close to the current budget amount.  I don’t foresee any raises in line items moving into the future.

1-13-19

The simulator golf season saw a fair amount of activity this past week.  There were a few golfers during the week days as well as a large group on Saturday night.  It has slowly been gaining more support as more and more golfers hear about it.  I wish it was busy every day but that has not been the case.  The revenue has supported the part time staffing in the clubhouse, however.
Since the golf course has the golf simulator and will be open during the off season, moving into the future, I have been looking at our clubhouse policies.  I have shared this information with Amanda, for review and presentation to the city council.  This will be coming in the near future.
I toured the golf course three separate days, during the past week.  I’m still comfortable with the turf conditions but the lack of snow cover is definitely a concern.  There is still adequate moisture in all the greens that I checked.  The course will continue to be monitored and any manual watering will be performed as it becomes necessary.
Equipment maintenance is always a huge off season process.  Each piece of equipment is completely gone through making necessary repairs, cleaning, and servicing.  It also includes sharpening the reels and bedknives on every machine.
The reel sharpening and bedknife grinding began this past week.  The reels and bedknives must have a true edge, on each, to perform a high quality cut on the turfgrass.  If there is not a high quality cut, it causes the grass blade to be torn off rather than a clean cut.  This causes a lot of stress which can lead to disease or even turf loss in an extreme instance.
Lastly, I have spent some personal time working on the history of the Spencer Municipal Golf Course.  I’m not just talking the golf course since the City purchased it, but the land as it dates back beyond the years.  I am a committed member of the Historic Preservation Commission and I feel the golf course is a huge part of the history of Spencer.  This is going to be a lengthy process and I look forward to sharing it with our community in the future.

1-6-19

Good Morning,
Over the past two weeks I have spent time with my family in Iowa City and Ankeny.  My brother in law, Todd, is progressing quite nicely.  He will be released from the hospital this coming week.  He was scheduled for release on Friday, but there was an infection in his chest causing an infection.
Once Todd is released, he will live with my wife, at my Aunt’s home, in Iowa City.  Tiffany will help Todd with his daily medical care through training from his hospital staff.  Todd will do outpatient rehab multiple days a week and have a home healthcare professional stop three days a week.
This has been a very long process for Todd and our family.  Taking time away from work is never ideal, but spending as much time with my family is my priority right now.  Todd’s health has improved and it’s a miracle he is still with us today.  Thank you all for the thoughts and prayers during this time.
I have started the reel sharpening process, the past couple weeks.  There are a lot of reels to get through as well as a lot of bedknives to sharpen.  The bedknife is bolted to the reel frame while the reel blades spin, slightly touching the bedknife.  This action is what causes the grass to be clipped.  If either of these is dull or out of adjustment, you get a very poor quality of cut.
Winter weather is always a major concern of mine.  It’s four months of the “unknown” I try to monitor on a regular basis.  The warm temperatures are definitely a concern.  The majority of snow has melted off all the greens leaving some standing water in low areas as well as exposed turf.
With frost in the ground, the melting snow causes a lot of surface drainage with no place for the water to go because the ground is frozen.  Now this standing water will freeze in these low areas, possibly causing turf damage in the spring.  It’s not an alarm going off, but it is always a possible concern.
The golf course looks very nice right now.  There is no sign of damage to any of the greens or other turf areas around the course.  This is only January, but these warm temperatures can really cause some issues.  Our newly sodded mounds, on 16, look great.  I will continue to monitor the course conditions each week and haul water if necessary to any dry greens.
The golf course experienced a lot of electrical issues over the course of 2018.  These were mostly connections that had melted due to moisture in the old connection tubing.  I was able, this past week, to check on some of the areas most affected last season.  They all appear to be in great condition.
Public use of the golf simulator has started to pick up the past week or so.  We have had golfers calling and reserving tee times for an hour or two.  It’s nice to see a little more traffic in the clubhouse.  There are several groups renting the simulator over the next two weeks.  I would love to have the simulator booked every day, but the increased use will be a positive for now.
I have updated all of the information on the website.  The event schedule has also been updated with our 2019 dates reserved.  The events will be updated as dates are requested for golf events.  Fees and other areas have also been updated on the website.  Any 2018 reservations have first choice on their date again for 2019.

12-24-18

Good Morning,
The past week was a little bit busier at the clubhouse.  Our simulator received play on five of the seven days during the week.  Each day was for an hour or two but it was nice to see the public stopping in a little more frequently.
I filmed a “Chalk Talk” session with SMU, in the clubhouse, discussing the golf simulator.  This piece will air on the SMU cable channel.  I have also advertised on Facebook, The Daily Reporter, and the radio stations.  Once more and more people hear about the simulator, I think it will really take off and be a huge success.
Currently, the amount of revenue we receive from the clubhouse and the simulator is more than the expenses we pay in labor.  I have worked the majority of the daytime hours along with some evening hours.  There is part time staff working in the evenings as well.  I’m trying to keep the clubhouse open on set hours to keep a schedule for the public.
I have experienced some issues with the simulator, but it is currently working great.  The tech support, from SkyTrak, had me delete the previous 64 gb software and reload it in 32 gb.  This has eliminated any of the errors we experienced and made the simulator operate more efficiently and accurately.
The 2019/20 budget has been one of my top priorities the past couple of weeks.  I updated the 2018 Five Year Business Plan during this process.  Some of the line items such as payroll, salaries, insurance, etc will be entered by Brian W during the budget process.  I have entered them as close estimates in this form.  It is attached below along with our annual season pass information on sheet 2:
We have lost a lot of our snow on the golf course.  I have toured the course a couple of times and everything looks to be in fine shape.  The sod on #16 looks great and will continue to be evaluated.  The greens had plenty of moisture heading into the cold season and still look nice.  I will continue to evaluate the course every few days.  Water will be hauled to any areas in need during these evaluations.

12-9-18

Good Morning,
The past week I have completed the inventory of the maintenance department and the clubhouse.  This inventory consists of small assets, irrigation, chemicals, and equipment.
The equipment inventory falls under inland machine for insurance purposes.  This is the cost to replace the equipment in case of a fire.  It is not necessarily the value of the equipment, but simply the price to replace that machine.
Irrigation parts, chemicals and fertilizers, and small assets are recorded for replacement value at the depreciated cost.  These records help us pay a realistic insurance premium and provide a detailed spreadsheet of inventory.
I have also been working on the 2019/20 budget.  This process always requires a review of what past history has shown in the golf course.  I would like to share some figures from the past three years as a comparison.
2016, July through November: revenues = $144,339.15, expenses = $194,245.60
2017, July through November: revenues = $135,116.89, expenses = $177,648.15
2018, July through November: revenues = $126,942.09, expenses = $208,926.81
Our reduction in revenues, the past two years, has been due to poor summer and fall weather patterns.  The higher expenses, this year, is mainly due to equipment repairs on two rough units.
There are challenges each year, with the weather, as well as other unforeseen situations.  The off season is a chance to catch up from these issues and limit our expense line items.
The majority of the equipment repairs have been completed already.  I have inventory, on hand, for the reel sharpening process.  There is excess inventory for our fertilizer and chemical applications, in 2019, which helps tremendously.  With any luck our simulator will take off in popularity and an early golf season will be in the forecast.

12-2-18

Good Morning,
The past few weeks have consisted of winterizing the irrigation system, equipment maintenance, and simulator setup.  I have also taken personal time, away from work, to spend with my family in Iowa City visiting my brother in law.
Todd is currently doing very well.  His new liver is doing great and the rest of his body is healing slowly.  It has been a very long six weeks, but seeing the gradual improvement really brings much hope to everyone.
The irrigation system was winterized during the middle of November.  This was completed on Friday, November 16.  I started the process on Thursday and worked into the night trying and was able to finish 14 holes.  The other four holes and driving range were finished the following morning.  There was freezing rain and snow accumulation on Friday afternoon.
During the blowout of the irrigation system, I was able to record any operational errors with each individual station.  There are five valves that need to be repaired or the solenoid needs replaced.  Several other stations were adjusted for run times due to the heavy moisture in the ground.
One irrigation pipe was already frozen.  This lies between the white and red tees on hole #17.  This line will be removed from service in the spring.  Two of the three irrigation heads lie in the high water table area and are not necessary.  The last head will be utilized on the red tee after it is removed from the remainder of this line.
Equipment servicing and repairs has also been started since the middle of the month.  This consists of oil and filter changes, small repairs, and removing reels or blades from each machine.  I will do a detail run through of each piece of equipment and complete any other repairs necessary prior to the spring start up.
We have experienced a lot of equipment repair expense with two of our rough units this season.  We are close to $15,000 over normal equipment repairs due to these repairs.  As we move into the future, I would like to look at combining some of our larger equipment with Park Department purchases to try and minimize some of the expense for both divisions.
To control some of our expenses, I have adjusted some of my spring maintenance practices.  The fall fertilizer application was not applied and will now be used as the spring fairway application.  Several other chemicals and fertilizers were purchased in bulk, in 2017, and will not be an expense this off season.  In total, the chemical line item is about $7,000 less than normal.
I always make every possible attempt to limit expenses in the budget.  The next seven months will definitely provide me a challenge to see where adjustments can be made.  I’m hopeful we will see a positive turn through the remainder of the budget.
Our revenue side of the budget is in short numbers compared to the average revenues recorded each season by the end of November.  We are $25,000 behind this average amount.  The weather has not been favorable for extended periods the past two seasons.  I can only be hopeful for an early spring and a lot of excited golfers.
There has been a lot of time spent setting up the simulator in the clubhouse.  We have hosted one birthday party and have a small get together scheduled for this afternoon.  It has been a slow process and I hope the interest level picks up soon.  It is a pretty realistic experience and a lot of fun.  The simulator is working very well and is always available for rental at $20 per hour.
Last month, there was discussion about moving five trees, from the soccer complex entrance, to the golf course.  The city tree spade is not large enough to move these five Oak trees.  It took me some time to find a contractor that might be interested in moving them, but I think it will happen in the spring.  I am currently negotiating an estimated price of $250 per tree.  I am looking for private donations to help cover this expense.
As I previously stated, I have taken some time off with my family situation taking priority.  I will be back to work, with a normal work schedule each day, starting on Monday.  Please get in touch with me in regards to comments or questions.  I will be unable to attend the city council meeting on Monday and the Golf Board meeting has been moved to December 10 due to the Grand Meander.
Brian C Mohr