11-22-2020

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


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

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


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


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


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

Brian C Mohr

Director of Golf Operations
City of Spencer

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 51301

712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com

11-15-2020

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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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

Brian C MohrDirector of Golf Operations

City of Spencer

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 51301

712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com

11-8-2020

Good Morning,
What a beautiful week we experienced for the month of November.  It would have been a great week during any month.  The golf course was busy and saw the most golfers on Wednesday.  Today looks like the last nice day for some golf as long as you don’t mind the windy conditions.  The suns already out and the temperature is a warm 55 degrees.


Several more pine trees were removed this past week.  You really don’t have any idea how large a tree is until you cut it down and start hauling it away.  There was one pine tree between #17 green and #18 tees that felt like a dinosaur.  You can see the trunk in a picture below.  We have removed half a dozen trees and still have four left to cut down.  The process has gone about as smooth as we could ask for including nice weather. 


I received an irrigation permit extension on Monday afternoon which allowed me to run the system all week trying to get plenty of water on the greens and tees.  Saturday morning was the last day for irrigating.  I started around 5:00 AM and went until the golfers started showing up around 8:30 AM.  Then I started blowing out the main lines of the system finishing late morning.  The lateral lines will be blown out starting Monday morning.

 Final Irrigation.jpg
 Main Line Blowout.jpg

Once the irrigation system has been blown out we move our attention to the pumphouse winterization.  The intake lines and screens are removed from the wet well first.  Then copper lines that prime the pumps and register the pressure to the computer are disconnected.  The pumps are disconnected from the main line and drained.  All electrical controls and monitors are disconnected and removed.  We move all of these items to the maintenance shed to be stored in warm temperatures until 2021 Spring start up.


Staff and I were able to continue going through irrigation stations to clean out any debris and ensure everything is working properly after the intake problems contaminated the system with some sledge.  We are down to only four stations that continue to stay open and will not shut down properly.  This is most likely due to damage to the IC unit plunger.  We will tear these valves apart if we have a couple nice days in the future.


Our water permit totals stayed within the limits of our Iowa DNR water permit for 2020.  The irrigation system ran for 106.50 acre feet of water out of a maximum 121.5 acre feet.  The well ran for 68.92 acre feet of water out of a maximum 81 acre feet of water.  The extension allows 5 acre feet of water used out of the pond and zero water pumped from the well.  


Enjoy the remainder of the weekend and soak up some sunshine.  Please contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns so they can be addressed.  “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

www.spencermunigolf.com

11-1-2020

Good Morning,
This past week the golf department was able to complete our fall fertilization applications to greens, tees, and fairways.  This application was applied a little later than normal due to the irrigation issues we experienced last month.  The fertilizer will be available to our turfgrass right away in the spring and last into the month of June.  It was a great project to be able to complete prior to the winter weather arriving.

We also started removing our dying pine trees throughout the golf course.  There have been two large pine trees removed to date.  Staff cuts down the trees and the debris is hauled off the golf course.  The Street Division is a huge help to us by hauling the trees off property at a later date.  

We have averaged 10-12 lost pine trees each year.  These trees are not native to Iowa and become very susceptible to disease and pests later in life.  This is a problem that is being experienced across the entire state.  It will continue to be an ongoing problem that has a large impact on the golf course layout.  Replacing these trees with smaller trees will take a long time to fill the void created but that is our due diligence for the future golfers at The Muni.

The colder temperatures have allowed us time to start servicing our maintenance equipment.  This includes oil changes along with filters and grease.  During this process each piece of equipment is recorded with type of service completed, hour meter reading, and repairs needed.  The repairs will be completed during the off season.  

The irrigation pond is approximately at 50% capacity following the intake repairs.  I was able to run through all the stations and make notes of any stations with issues.  There are about a dozen stations that will not shut down properly.  We have been looking at each one of these stations trying to make the necessary repairs.

Our irrigation permit with the Iowa DNR expired on Saturday.  This morning I sent an email requesting an extension into the month of November.  In the past they have granted us five acre feet of water out of the irrigation pond only.  We have not been allowed to use our well past the expiration of the annual license.  Hopefully they will grant us this extension and we can irrigate greens and tees.  It would also allow us to continue the repair process to stations that are not shutting down properly.

Mark White, Jared Elbert, and I met with the tiling contractor to make a game plan with the tiling issues in Upper Waterway Park that travels to the area behind our ninth green.  We are hopeful to complete this project yet this year.  More information will be provided as we move forward.

This upcoming week will provide some nice golf weather for our customers.  I’m sure the warm weather will include windy conditions.  That’s where the hope for an extension to our irrigation permit comes into play.  Staff will also have an opportunity to continue working outside on projects.

Enjoy the remainder of the weekend.  I will see the golf course board tomorrow evening to discuss the clubhouse manager position.  Afterwards I will attend the city council meeting.  Enjoy the day!

Brian C Mohr

Director of Golf Operations
City of Spencer

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 51301

712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com

10-25-2020

Good Morning,
A little taste of Winter has put a cease in golf activity at The Muni.  The cold weather gave us time to start servicing our rental cart fleet.  This consists of changing oil and filters, greasing zirks, and completing repairs.  There were four golf carts with bent tie rods on the front on the cart.  This happens when a customer hits something hard with the front of the cart.  There is a small metal bracket that is designed to bend to limit the amount of damage to the cart.  This small piece is straightened, installed back on the cart, and the front end is aligned.  Then you shake your head about why somebody would do that with a cart.
The well ran for five days to fill the pond to a level of 8″ over the top of the new 90 degree intake attachment.  We were able to run through all the irrigation cycles on Wednesday to see if there are any problems with debris in the valves.  There were approximately 12 stations that would not shut off.  I was happy there were not more and the water coming out of the irrigation heads was very clear.  We will look at these valves and IC units to check for debris and run the system again late next week.  It doesn’t take much to make a valve or plunger stick open.
On Wednesday, I attended continued education for my Category 10 portion of my pesticide license.  This category allows me to treat our bodies of water with the proper chemical control and not harm any wildlife or contaminate the irrigation water.  This is the last year I will be able to take continued education for this category.  Next year it’s required to take the test every three years at the time of renewal of my license.  In two weeks I will be attending the Turf and Ornamental continued education for my license.
Also on Wednesday, we hosted the district cross country meet.  It was a decent day for the athletes to run for a chance to make it to state.  The clubhouse was once again closed due to COVID 19 provisions.  It’s always enjoyable watching the runners participate in these meets and it’s a privilege to provide the golf course.  We look forward to working with the school once again next year.  

This coming Monday I will be meeting with the tile contractor to discuss the repair process in Upper Waterway Park.  This project has been on the agenda most of the summer and he now has time to address the issue.  This tile was repaired on the east end last year but we have discovered further damage moving west through the golf course waterway.  I will keep you posted on the situation.
I have been working with Tyler Vaudt, Harris-Lake Park golf coach, to establish an off season junior golf program on the golf simulator.  It will be a great opportunity for Tyler to work with small groups of kids to help them learn and develop the basics of golf.  We are still in the early planning stages but Tyler and I are both excited to provide this option for our future golfers.  
As we move forward the golf course and clubhouse will be open dependent on the weather each day.  We were closed yesterday and will be the next couple of days.  However, we did have five extreme die hard golfers play 18 holes on Friday.  The golf weather should return later in the week.
Please enjoy the remainder of your weekend.  Cross your fingers for no snow accumulation and contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns you might have in regards to the golf course.  I’m always happy to talk.  Stay warm!

Brian C Mohr

Director of Golf Operations
City of Spencer

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 5130

1712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com

10-18-2020

Good Morning,
It definitely feels like Fall has arrived.  Some of the brisk morning temperatures remind you that the warmer temperatures are soon behind us.  That means the conclusion of the golf season nears.  It has been a successful year at the golf course as we battled through “The 2020 ‘Rona” with everyone else.  Our golf numbers were up and we were able to provide a safe recreational atmosphere for people to get away from everyday life for a few hours to have some fun.
Maintenance practices were a challenge at times and the clubhouse staff went above and beyond to welcome our golfers to a sanitary environment accompanied by a smile or two.  I would like to thank each of the employees who treat the golf course as much more than a part time job.  Each of them truly care and take a lot of pride.  Please take the time to thank them when your paths cross.
The pond nightmare has ended one chapter as of Saturday.  The new 90 degree intake was installed on Saturday morning and will definitely help eliminate issues in the short term.  The long term solution will be to dredge the pond down the road.  Here are a couple photos of the project:
 New Intake.jpg
 Rip Rap.jpg
The pond had to be drained further down after the rainfall last Sunday night.  It raised the water level by a foot.  We had the pond down by mid morning on Monday pumping about 2500 GPM of water down the stream.  
This allowed Adam DeLoss to remove the sludge and silt around the existing intake that was completely covered in muck.  They had to build a dam out of clay and concrete in order to keep the “soup” from running back over the intake.  Eventually all the debris was excavated and the crushed concrete was added to protect the entire intake area.  
Over the past week our main focus has been to take the tops off valves and clean out the debris in the diaphragms.  This will continue to be our focus the upcoming week as we wait for the pond to fill back up.  There is some debris in quite a few of the valves and they continue to stick on because the diaphragm won’t close completely.  This will also be a long process.
The debris has been removed back down to the original clay surface.  It definitely reminds me of the results of the soil tests in 1998.  Those results stated it was the highest level of clay soil possible.  Standing on the bottom of the pond Saturday morning felt like a parking lot under my feet.  Here are a couple more pictures from the bottom of the pond.:

 #5 Pond Bottom.jpg
 10-17-20.jpg
It’s going to be a cold one today but the sun will still be shining.  The clubhouse will be closed today due to the cold weather.  Enjoy the remainder of your weekend and please get in touch with me if you have any questions.


Brian C Mohr

Director of Golf Operations
City of Spencer

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 51301

712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com

10-12-2020

Good Morning,
The rainfall last night was a great relief for the golf course.  It was definitely a time saver for staff and myself in regards to hand watering.  The rainfall did bring the pond level up higher than I had hoped.  We started the pump again this morning to draw the pond down to an acceptable level and not harm any fish.  
I met with Adam DeLoss yesterday to discuss the excavation process.  He is going to start on Wednesday to remove the silt in the intake and over dig the entire area.  The material will be stockpiled and removed at a later date.  He and I also agree there needs to be rock added around the area after he finishes to help limit the amount of future silting in this area. 
Staff and I are going to start the process of cleaning valves on greens and tee stations to remove any debris trapped in the diaphragms.  The wet well will be cleaned out with the Street Department’s jet vacuum once Adam is finished with his work.
It is not a pretty picture but thankfully a lot of people stepped up and helped us proceed in the right direction.  Also a special thanks to Mother Nature for the rain last night.  I will keep you posted as we move forward. 

Brian C Mohr

Director of Golf Operations
City of Spencer

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 51301

712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com

10-9-2020

Good Afternoon,
The pond was finally pumped down to a level where we could evaluate the 24″ intake going into the pumphouse wet well.  The outcome is not good at all.    The around the intake area has completely silted covering the line.  The wet well has muck over two feet deep in the bottom.  

Mark White and Craig Poulsen met with me this morning to discuss how we proceed forward with the problem.  After lengthy discussion and many different scenarios we all agree the pond needs to be pumped down to a minimal depth.  We moved the large trailer pump from Viola out to the golf course to start the process.  It is being set up and ready to start pumping as I type this email.  
The pond is currently 3-4 feet deep and needs to be dropped 2-3 feet to expose the entire intake line.  The pump will start running now and go until the pond level is dropped.  Sunday I plan to meet with Adam DeLoss to discuss excavating around the 24″ intake line in the pond.  We will have a visual on the intake and be able to make a game plan.

We need to drain the pond and excavate around the 24″ intake in the pond.  After excavation we will have more discussion and make a long term decision and not a short term quick fix.  It’s been 20 years since the construction and we want our decision to think at least that far into the future.

This has been a day that goes far beyond stress for me.  This was an extremely difficult decision to make but there is no other option.  I know this is the Spencer Municipal Golf Course but I frequently refer to it as “my golf course” because that’s how much I care about the place.  It feels very helpless right now but thankfully some great people have helped start the process on a Friday afternoon so we don’t have to wait until Monday.
Having no irrigation is extremely scary and literally makes me want to cry.  My staff and I will need to find access to water tanks with pumps so we can water greens by hand through this process.  The rest of the course will not be irrigated obviously.  Once the repairs are completed it will take at least five or six days to fill the pond to a level where we can irrigate.  
Please be patient with us and also contact me if you have questions.  

Brian C Mohr

Director of Golf Operations
City of Spencer

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 51301712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com

10-4-2020

Good Morning,


The cooler temperatures and heavy frost Friday and this morning definitely brought the season of Fall to us.  What a difference from the hot and dry summer days.  It  has made  our maintenance practices less hectic and given us a lot of time to work on the irrigation system.  It also has placed us a couple hours behind our outside work schedule this morning.  But the chili has been finished!
I continued to monitor the pumphouse during irrigation cycles and lowered the pond level a few feet over the course of ten days.  One of us has to watch the intake screens and scrub the sides with a long broom when the debris starts to build up.  It’s been less than ideal but we are doing what we have to do to keep the golf course irrigated and continue to lower the pond level.  On Monday we will venture out to locate the line that runs from the pond into the pumphouse wet well.
With the pumphouse problems there was less irrigation and the well ran less frequently for the month of September.  The well ran for five days totalling 2,160,000 gallons of water which equates to 6.63 acre feet of water.  The golf course was irrigated with 4,500,000 gallons of water or 13.80 acre feet.  
This brings the year to date totals to 62.9 acre feet (20,505,400 gallons) for the well total and 103.52 acre feet (33,747,520 gallons) of irrigation water used.  We are allotted 81 acre feet for the well and 121.5 acre feet for the irrigation.  October is the last month we can run the irrigation within our permit requirements.  
Today we are hosting our annual Chili Open golf tournament with 12 golfers signed up by early entry.  It’s gonna be a bit chilly but the wind is calm and should turn into a pretty decent October golf day once the frost has disappeared.   It will be a fun day for all of the participants.  
This coming week the temperatures will warm back up to great golf weather.  Hopefully the golf traffic picks back up and we see a lot of friendly faces.  The warmer temperatures will also make it a little more bearable to start the process of dealing with our pumphouse problem.
Please contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns so they can be addressed in a timely manner.  I will see the golf board tomorrow evening at the clubhouse followed by the virtual city council meeting.  Enjoy the day friends!

Brian C Mohr

Director of Golf Operations
City of Spencer

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 51301712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com

9-27-2020

Good Morning,
This past week we completed the aerification process of the greens.  We used needle tines (about 1/4″) that penetrated the soil to a depth of around 6-7 inches.  The aerification will help with root development, soil compaction, and water movement through the soil profile.  It will help control localized dry spots when wetting agents are applied regularly.  We double mowed the greens after aerification and they were in great shape ready for play.  It was a two day process to complete.
I have continued to work through difficulties in the irrigation pumphouse.  The screen on the line in the pond that runs to the wetline has failed.  There are a lot of weeds in this area of the pond due to silting and lower pond levels this season.  The pumps run and pull parts of the weeds and other debris into the wet well and it plugs the screen.  This eliminates the ability of the pumps to pull enough water from the wet well and the system shuts down due to low pressure.  
Here are a couple photos of the line running into the wet well during construction back in 1999:​ Pumphouse 2000
I spent Thursday night cleaning the wet well screens, with a long broom, during the night to make sure the system ran through the night.  With the higher temperatures and windy conditions it was necessary to soak the golf course.  I need to drop the pond level several more feet so we can access the intake line, remove the weeds, and apply a new screen.   It will take some time but the cooler temperatures will allow less watering time and we will also be able to irrigate some fairways during the day.
The other option would be to pump the water out of the pond and expose the intake.  The problem with this option is our water permit has a maximum water allotment from April through October.  We are down to less than ten days to pump water from our well and we really need the water in the pond to irrigate.  It will be a hassle for a while but we will work through it and eventually find resolve. 
Last night we hosted the Kiwanis After Five glow ball event.  There were 38 teams of two participating in a lit up night time golfing wonderland.  Everyone had a good time. It just turned into a very long night or some would call it morning.  But, it was a great fundraiser for their service club and we appreciate them choosing The Muni as their host.  
We hosted the Spencer High School cross country meet on Monday evening.  The golf course closed early due to safety concerns to protect the runners and fans.  The clubhouse also closed to follow our COVID 19 provisions.  I was on site to assist the school however needed and also provide access to the clubhouse in case of an emergency.  The event went very well.  We will be hosting the District meet on October 21.  
Lastly, we are now into our fall golf rates.  Players can come to the course and play golf all day long, with a cart, for $25.  They can also pay their 2021 season passes now and play the remainder of this season as well.  There have been quite a few people taking advantage of the season pass special.
Please contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns so they can be addressed in a timely manner.  Next Sunday we will be hosting the annual Chili Open golf event.  Enjoy the remainder of your weekend.  I think a nap sounds pretty good.


Brian C MohrDirector of Golf Operations
City of Spencer

Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Spencer, Iowa 51301

712-260-5370

www.spencermunigolf.com