The beautiful weather, for the majority of the week, allowed me to accomplish a lot of outdoor activity.  A big project has been the golf guide development.  I was able to measure the start of the fairway through the middle of the green on each hole along with green depths.  These yardages will be used by Direct Fairways for the golf guides.
I sent the golf tip information out, for feedback, earlier this week.  I have updated the changes and will send this attachment, to Direct Fairways, early this next week.  Below is the updated version for your viewing pleasure:

Spencer Municipal Golf Course playing tips for golf guide:

#1.  Leisurely Stroll.  The opening hole is a short par four slightly up hill.  A tee shot leaving a lofted iron from the green, in the left center of the fairway, will allow your approach shot to expose the pin.  The green slopes slightly from right to left.  Front pin placements can be very difficult if you end up long and to the right of the hole.

#2.  Oak Trail.  This par five is straight away off the tee, then dog legs to the right down the fairway.  The best tee position is to keep your ball down the left side of the fairway next to the oak trees.  Longer hitters can try and carry the fairway bunkers.  After the tee shot, placement of your second shot down the right side of the fairway is key. It will allow your approach shot to eliminate the greenside bunker and open up a very narrow green sloping from left to right.  Try to keep your ball on the right side of the hole for an aggressive birdie putt.

#3.  White Birch.  A relatively short par four that is wide open with two bunkers protecting both sides of the green.  Place your tee shot down the middle to right side of the fairway.  This angle leaves little trouble with the sand traps and allows a perfect view of the pin. The green gently slopes from back to front.

#4. Double Trouble.  The longest par three, on the course, is often described as the toughest hole in NW Iowa.  It is a deep two tiered green protected by a large sand trap directly in front.  This hole always plays longer than you think, so grab an extra club.  The ominous green can be very challenging from the tee box. If you want to play it safe hit your tee shot to the landing area left of the green.

#5.  Bullseye.  This par five is straight away to a small green protected by a sand trap on the left, a gently flowing stream behind the green, and an alluring pond along the front and right side.  Place your tee shot down the left side of the fairway to set up your second shot into the landing area short of the pond.  The proper lay up will allow for an easy shot into a green that slopes slightly from back to front.

#6.  Autumn Blaze.   A straight par four with a deep green protected by a sand trap on the right side.  The perfect tee shot is in the left center of the fairway.  Approaching the green from this angle will give you the best chance of getting close to the pin.  However, the approach shot can be deceiving and requires a little more club than you anticipate.  

#7.  Shady Maple.  A long par four traveling straight north can play very long based on the wind direction.  Play your tee shot down the right center of the fairway to open up the green as much as possible.  The green is shadowed by two large maple trees on the back left corner and a small bunker front left.  This green never allows as much break on the putt as your eyes want you to believe.

#8.  The Trap.  A very large green that seems a shorter distance away than the yardage book reads.  Two sand traps hover on the left side which normally causes the golfer to go to the right.  Take a little extra club and be confidant in your swing to the middle of the green.

#9.  Whispering Pine. The last hole, on the outward nine, is a short distance but can still create trouble with a wayward tee shot.  Playing from the tee to the range of a short iron will allow you to attack the pin and eliminate the two sand traps protecting both sides of the green.  Approach shots landing on the right side are going to roll toward the middle of the green.  Choose your target and take dead aim.

#10.  The Waterfall.  The opening hole, on the inward nine, is a very challenging par four measuring as long as 400 yards.  There is a stream rolling down the left side with OB a little further east.  The right side is protected by mature trees which all adds to the prevailing south winds.  Any tee shot in the fairway is a favorable stroke setting up an approach shot to a green guarded by a pond on the left and sand trap covering the right.  The center of the green is a great target.

#11.  Starboard.  A dog leg left with OB and fairway bunkers along the left side.  The right side gives way to a large pond that definitely comes into play off your drive.  A tee shot down the left middle of the fairway will set up the most favorable approach shot with a shorter iron.  The back to front sloping green is wide open with a sand trap short left.  

#12.  Beauty and The Beast.  Our shortest par three looks so beautiful from the tee yet can leave you scratching your head once you finish the hole.  The direct carry over the pond always plays longer than expected.  The challenge also lies with a small stream running down the left side, as well as OB, a small pond behind the green, and greenside bunker to the left.  This green has a lot of slope on the right to left and off the right front.  Keeping your ball below the hole is a success and allows an aggressive birdie putt.

#13.  Green Mile.  This is the longest par four on the course and generally plays into the wind with OB along the left side.  Keeping your tee shot down the right side of the fairway will cut down on the yardage and also take the sand trap on the right side of the green out of play.  The deep green has a lot of slope from back to the front and is very narrow.  Keeping your ball below the hole gives you the best chance at making birdie.

#14.  The Tower.  A par five that dog legs to the left around two fairway bunkers with OB down the left side and behind the green.  Take aim at the tower in the far distance for a tee shot down the middle of the fairway.  This position sets up an easy second shot to the landing area just short of a small green protected by bunkers on both sides.  This green has a little more slope from the back than you originally think and it’s easy to let your downhill putt get away from you.

#15.  Precision.  A big dog leg to the left with OB along the entire left side of the hole will require some thought before hitting your tee shot.  The fairway bunkers can be carried off the tee but the narrow fairway ends quickly and can leave you in the trees.  A tee shot in the middle of the fairway sets up perfectly to eliminate the front left greenside bunker on your approach shot.  The green slopes to the front and often tricks you into allowing for too much break on your putt.

#16.  The Drum.  The final par three has one of the older greens protected by two large sand traps on each side and OB to the left.  This green requires a very high tee shot to help your ball hold otherwise it will release and carry to the backside.  It plays to the listed yardage and a shot in the middle of the green is perfect.

#17.  Longest Yard.  A dog leg left par five plays as the longest hole on the course with OB along the houses.  The left side of the hole features two fairway bunkers to ensure tee shots are played down the center of the fairway.  Your next play is to the right side of the landing area which eliminates the trouble of both greenside bunkers.  The green is only 20 yards deep and requires a high approach shot to get close to the pin.

#18.  The View.  The finishing hole is a short par four protected by OB and several large Poplar trees down the left side.  A tee shot down the middle, leaving a short iron from the green, is perfect and eliminates dealing with the greenside bunkers on your second shot.  A high approach shot, into this large green, will enable you to attack the pin and finish the round with a birdie.

The golf course was in absolutely great condition prior to this blizzard.  The frost was eliminated to a depth of 15-18 inches on all the greens.  There was minimal standing water on the course which eliminates a lot of worry.  The grass is healthy on greens, tees, and fairways.  Once the snow is gone, again, it will speed up the opening process.
I was able to spray greens, Monday evening, with a fungicide to prevent the dreaded “snow mold” fungus.  This disease appears once the snow starts disappearing during warmer temperatures.  The warm weather will heat the snow and create the perfect growing conditions for “snow mold”.
It appears as gray, tan, or pink lesions on the bentgrass and recovery is very time consuming.  There were some small areas where this fungus appeared as the last of the ice and snow disappeared.  This application will eliminate any further threat of this fungus.
Trees were also on the work schedule during the nice weather.  I was able to water some of the trees we transplanted last fall.  They all appear to be doing very well.  Time will tell once the spring bloom begins.  I also removed a lot of branches and sticks from the course.
Lastly, I worked in the clubhouse cleaning and arranging everything in preparation for opening day.  Organizing pro shop items, stocking supplies, and ordering items were also on the list.  Once the snow is gone we will be ready to play some golf.
I traveled to Sioux Falls to attend a turfgrass seminar on foliar fertilizers and the contents of granular fertilizers.  It was a good meeting that helped refresh some of the chemistry, biology, etc, of foliar fertilizers.  The granular aspect was interesting to see other organic alternatives for the filler portion of granular fertilizer.  Overall, it was a positive experience.


What a beautiful week!  These WARM temperatures bring a lot of spring fever to people but they are a very scary situation.  I was even lucky enough to ride my bicycle to work on Thursday and Friday.  I can honestly tell you that has never happened in February.
Turfgrass follows the pattern of Mother Nature 365 days out of the year.  The grass feels these really warm temperatures and thinks it’s time to start off the spring days.  The turfgrass starts to “wake up” from the cold winter months, then the temperature can drop drastically and wreak all kind of havoc.  Ugh.
The golf course looks great right now.  Most of the ice is gone from the greens and remainder of the course.  The top 1-2 inches of the ground is thawed but the frost is very solid below that depth.  This creates a very sponge like upper surface that has no give to it when traffic is present.  Too much traffic can cause huge issues with the turf in this state.
It is always everyone’s hope that the golf season starts as soon as possible.  People have been asking me all week when we will open.  My response is, “please be patient and it will be here when the course is ready for play.”  The threat of turf damage or loss cannot outweigh the ability to allow golfers.  When it does it is definitely not an intelligent decision to open.
I met with a newly developed company, here in Spencer, in regards to some aerial recordings of the golf course.  These can be used for advertisement, on our webpage, or other marketing opportunities.  I am in the early stages of discussion but I will keep you all up to date on the plan to utilize their drone capabilities.
I have also been working with Direct Fairways, out of Tempe, AZ, to develop a yardage book for our facility. I discussed this with the golf board in early February.  I signed a one year contract so I could make sure everything works satisfactorily moving into the future.  The book will contain photos and information for each hole as well as showcase our clubhouse.  The company will contact local businesses for advertising.
IGL has a new partner in their facility called Golf Ball Country.  I met the owner and also toured their facility.  It is located in the new IGL building NW of Spencer.  They specialize in used golf balls, overstock gloves, overstock new golf balls, head covers, etc.  There was a very nice article in the Saturday Daily Reporter featuring this business.
There is a great opportunity for SMGC to sell their used golf balls in the clubhouse and make a lot more revenue than dealing with strictly new golf balls.  I will still sell our jar balls but these near mint condition used balls will be sold in 1 to 2 dozen containers.  I am also exploring the option of selling them some of my used range ball inventory.
Lastly, I completed three online courses through FEMA.  These online classes will help prepare the golf course, police, fire, as well as the rest of the city, for any type of natural disaster.  The classes were very informative and helped open my mind to the need for thorough chain of command and unity of command during any event.


This past week I have been busy continuing to work on a tree grant for kids through the Iowa DNR.  This grant will also include an educational session to better inform our youth of the many benefits of trees provide to our community.  Tree diversity, proper planting, utility benefits, storm water runoff, and other environmental benefits will be covered.
I am planning on getting a group of middle school students to participate in the planting and educational session of this project.  I have been in discussions with Laura Wagner, with the Iowa DNR, to choose a date that fits both our calendars.  It will most likely fall in the early part of May.
There is still a lot of work to complete on this grant.  It includes a completed site map, i tree design, and application covering all aspects of the proposed planting date.  I am currently waiting for a response from the middle school.  If there is minimal response then I will move up to the high school and pursue one of the athletic teams.  In the end, the golf course will benefit from a diverse addition to our tree inventory and the youth in our community will gain in a rewarding experience.
My off season maintenance program has continued for yet another week.  I was able to service the sprayer and completely go through the unit completing all the necessary repairs.  I need to order new nozzles then calibrate the sprayer and it will be ready for the season.
I will also be applying a snow mold application to the golf course greens in the near future.  The snow mold application is a fungicide application that protects the turf, on the greens, from this fungus that thrives under the snow when temperatures start to rise.  The temperature change in the snow acts as an electric blanket and creates an ideal environment for snow mold.
This fungus shows up in the early spring in pink or grey patches that ultimately kill the turf grass.  There is minimal snow cover on the greens but still a fair amount of ice is present.  Hopefully some of the sunshine and warmer temperatures will help eliminate the majority of the ice and allow me to spray very soon.
Lastly, I spent a lot of time working in the clubhouse ordering inventory for the upcoming season and doing a lot of cleaning.  Our pro shop inventory has been ordered along with new embroidered beanies.  We will have Bridgestone and Titleist golf balls, Foot Joy socks, logo clothing, and the hats for our customers.