1-21-18

The warm weather has left me feeling energetic for the new golf season to approach.  If the weather cooperates we should be hitting golf balls in a couple of months.  I am hopeful for a mid March opening date.  Time will only tell.
Ryan Lux and I agreed to work on our equipment together this off season.  This past week we completed the sharpening process on 32 of my 37 reels.  This process consists of sharpening each blade on the reel (the reels have between 8 and 14 blades), adjusting the cut, and setting the height of cut on each reel.
The sharpening process consists of mounting the reel on a machine with everything being level.  You run the grinder across each individual blade until you create a new sharp edge.  The bedknife is the part the reel spins against creating the cutting process.  This bed bar is sharpened on a separate machine with a horizontal grinding stone.
When you put the reel back together, it spins lightly with an even cut all the way across the bedknife.  There is adjustment knobs on the reel that help move both sides to the correct position.  Once it is precisely set, you can cut a piece of paper across the entire spinning reel.
The height of cut is different for all types of mowers.  I set the green mowers at 3mm, tee reels are 8mm, and fairway units are 14.5mm.  A digital measuring device allows me to create the exact same height across each and every blade.  Now they are ready for the mowing season.
We started the process on Ryan’s reels on Friday.  We will have limited time this upcoming week but plan on completing his reels in a very timely manner.  This process usually takes us both about a month to complete it alone.  Less than one week was spent to complete my reels and the same amount of time will be necessary for Ryan’s reels.
This coming week, I will be working on finishing my last five reels and begin setup for Ryan’s reels.  I will also be working an EMT shift at the fire station on Monday and a 12 hour shift of clinicals at the emergency room.
I completed the 2018 Five Year Business Plan and assembled my first copy Friday evening.  I will make enough copies for the mayor, golf board, city council, staff, and other interested parties.
Advertisements

1-14-18

One more week of winter is in the books and we are moving toward the golf season.  I feel pretty comfortable with the moisture on the golf greens at this point of the off season.  The small amount of snowfall along with slowly melting snow has left me feeling much more comfortable than last week.
This week I was able to complete the maintenance program on two sets of tee mowers and two sets of green mowers.  These four units all remain in high quality condition and will function in the inventory for many years.
I met with Ryan Lux, at the Country Club, to discuss our reel sharpening programs for this off season.  We have decided to work together and sharpen the reels for both golf courses together.  This will make the process run very smoothly as well as speed up the process.  We are also going to work together for any large maintenance repairs on equipment for both courses.
The 2018/19 budget has been completed with the exception of a couple insurance line items.  Once these figures are provided I will put the new 2018 five year business plan in print for the council, golf board, and city staff.  The golf course is looking at a 1% increase in the budget with no scheduled rate increases.
I am currently researching golf simulators to potentially purchase one unit for the 2018 off season.  This would allow us to create a golf league, during the winter months and increase our revenue dollars.  I am still working on the numbers to make sure this would be profitable for the course.
As I have previously mentioned, I am currently taking an EMT class at Iowa Lakes Community College.  This will place me on call with the fire station for first responder calls as well as a volunteer firefighter.  I was able to spend some time, running some EMT shifts, at the fire station.  It is at times an overwhelming experience but I am looking forward to passing my national certification.

1-7-18

The past couple of weeks have been the farthest we can be from golf weather.  This is always a worrisome time of year when there is minimal snow cover on the greens.  This snow cover is necessary for the insulation it provides the bentgrass.  The warmer upcoming temperatures will hopefully provide some snow melt giving the greens a little bit of moisture.
The past couple of weeks I have finished work on the new budget and 2018 Five Year Business Plan.  I will present this plan during the January 26 finance and personnel meetings.  I am excited to move forward and continue the success at the golf course.
I have been preparing my end of the year documents which help me track employee hours.  The policy is to limit part time staff hours to 1500 hours from April 1 to the end of March the following year.  This can be very challenging, since I am the only full time employee at the golf department but it has been accomplished.
Here is a list of January 1-December 31 hours for the past three years:
Golf Course Grounds- 2015=4895, 2016=4567, 2017=4700
Golf Club House- 2015=4272, 2016=4036, 2017=4051
Brian- 2015=2673, 2016=2563, 2017=2567
As you can see, the annual hours are pretty consistent from year to year.  Weather is definitely the number one factor closely followed by how busy is the golf course.  I am very fortunate to have a staff that love working at the golf course.  They are definitely the key to our success.
In the upcoming days, I will start the reel sharpening and equipmentance maintenance schedule.  I will go through each machine and make the necessary repairs, service, and sharpen.  This is a very thorough process in order to have each piece of equipment ready for the start of the 2018 golf season.
​The water quality project is pretty much finished at the golf course.  It has been a success and I am excited to see how the surface drainage works this coming spring.  The tile work has also been an improvement.  The main tile, coming from the south farm property, is still running water as of this morning.  That is just crazy.​

12-24-17

I was on vacation for the majority of the past week.  I used this time to help Ryan Lux remove dead trees at the Country Club.  I helped remove close to 30 trees during the past two weeks.  Ryan was able to remove 61 trees since Thanksgiving weekend.  The majority of the tree debris was hauled to the tree site.

​DeLoss was on site midweek to finish the foundation work on the pump house.  They hauled fill material around the entire area to raise the topography near the new foundation level.  This will help divert surface drainage from the facility in the future.

SMU also moved the transformer further south of the previous location.  The utility entry into the building was also moved from the north side to the SE corner.  We previously received several ground shorts when the entry was on the pond side of the building.  It should all be a benefit moving forward.

​I​ would like to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday season, and a bright New Year moving forward.  Enjoy your family and friends, the most important parts of our lives.

12-17-17

This past week Ryan Lux came out to the golf course to help me with stump removal.  In total, we removed 24 tree stumps and hauled the debris to the tree dump.  These areas will be filled with soil and covered with sod in the spring.  These trees were removed from the golf course over the past two years.
Thursday and Friday I helped Ryan remove eleven large poplar trees at the Country Club.  The weather was great and we were able to remove these problematic trees and haul the debris to the tree site.  I plan on using more vacation days to help him remove as many trees as possible before the bad weather arrives.
The great part of a strong working relationship, with the Country Club, is the cost saving we can provide for both golf courses.  The going rate for stump removal is $75 for each one.  The going rate for large tree removal is about $500 per tree.  The math definitely shows the savings for both courses.
In my opinion, it is most important to remove the dead or damaged trees from the course in a timely manner.  This eliminates the liability and safety concerns these trees present.  The stump removal is very time consuming.  If the stumps are cut off at ground level they are not such an eyesore and minimize the safety issue.
DeLoss was on site for a short period of time this week.  They set the pump house on the new foundation and secured with bolts.  This area will be back filled with topsoil bringing the topography up to the new foundation.  It will be dormant seeded yet this off season.  They are very close to finishing their work on the golf course.
​​​​​

​​

I will be taking some vacation time to help Ryan in the next couple of weeks.  I will still be available for meetings or by cell phone.  I will also finish up any work on my end for the water quality project.  Please contact me with any questions or concerns.  Have a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones!

12-10-17

Monday morning started off at 55 degrees and a few golfers taking it to the course one last time.  By noon, the cold front was replacing the sunshine and warm temperature.  The golfers finished their last round just as the wind started blowing strong and cold.
For me, Monday was the day to spray the greens with a snow mold fungicide.  This fungicide application helps reduce the odds of this fungus forming under snow cover on the greens when the spring temperatures arrive.  I finished about the same time as the golfers.
DeLoss was able to finish the bridge work on number twelve as well.  They excavated the area, added an extension to the county tile, added the large limestone, and placed the bridge about two feet further south than previously located.  The project looks amazing.  They did an amazing job.
The railings will not be installed on the bridge.  This will allow us to take all of our maintenance equipment across the bridge speeding up transport time.  Here are some photos below:​

​​

​​

Tiffany continued to work on painting the interior of the clubhouse.  It is unbelievable how much the paint has faded over the past eight years.  The areas painted look great and I am anxious for the new clubhouse facelift.
I was off on vacation the remainder of the week.  I use the term vacation very loosely, since it actually meant staying home and studying the EMT handbook all week.  The fireplace and coffee were both warm!
This concludes another week at the golf course.  As we approach the holiday season remember your loved ones and take advantage of the time you spend together.  I feel like family is the most important part of this joyous time of year.  Enjoy your weekend.

12-3-17

The weather has been great this past week at the golf course.  This has allowed the water quality project to move forward rapidly.  We are finally nearing the completion of the project.  I was anxiety ridden at the start of this process with the thought of so much destruction on the golf course.  As we near the finish line I am excited about the project and very pleased with the entire process.
DeLoss removed the bridge on number twelve early in the week.  The bridge was placed in the fairway in order for them to complete the necessary work in this area.  The old foundations were removed and new pads were poured.  There was a lot of material removed from the area and a new tile outlet was added to the existing county tile that feeds the pond.
They have finished the removal of the excess material to create a clean flow path from the culverts, under the bridge, and into the pond.  This area has been covered with rocks to control the erosion process.  The bridge will then be set on the new foundation.  It will be placed 2′-3′ further south than the previous placement.  This will allow the water flow underneath the entire bridge and not compromise the new foundation.
SMU has been on site moving the transformer and running the power into the building off the SE corner.  Previously the power entered the building on the north side next to the pond.  We experienced a couple different issues, in the past, with the power shorting itself into the ground.  The new area will make the transition much smoother and keep the transformer above the water level.
DeLoss has raised the pump house foundation over two feet from the original height.  The building will be placed back on this foundation to eliminate the threat of water entering the pump and mechanical areas of the building.  This will be completed very soon.
Mark White stopped out Tuesday evening and disced the main haul road coming off the Asher blacktop.  Wednesday I was able to use the Rotadairon to till the entire area.  This was followed by hand raking, overseeding, and packing the area.  It went from an area compacted at a two foot depth to a perfect seedbed.  Bring on the spring.
The warm weather allowed Mark Lawson to water our new sod on two different occasions this week.  The sod looks great and should go into the winter in a healthy state ready to flourish in the spring.
Also, Tiffany has started the clubhouse painting project.  The paint is eight years old and slightly faded.  It has been impossible to match the colors because of the fading.  So, she is giving the clubhouse a new facelift.  This will cover all the nicks and gouges and keep the building looking new.
I finished the inventory in the clubhouse, maintenance facility, and inland marine.  These are updated annually and used for insurance purposes.  The inland marine consists of maintenance equipment replacement costs not the depreciated value.
This concludes another week at the golf course.  I will see each of you at the respective meetings tomorrow night.  Please let me know if there are any questions or comments that need to be addressed.

11-26-17

The past week has seen more progress with the water quality project.  I finished seeding the majority of the repair areas.  These included the surrounds of five green, surrounds of 12 green, the surrounds of the small pond on 12, and 75% of the area on the south end of the course.  I still need to seed the main repair haul road once it is prepped.
The pump house building was removed from the foundation and set off to the side.  They prepared wall forms and the concrete was poured Friday morning.  This process will raise the pump house 24″ to protect the pumps from the higher pond levels in the future.
DeLoss still has some work to do around our bridge on number 12.  Our staff removed the railings and posts early in the week to enable them to work around the structure more easily.  Their work will consist of digging out around the foundation and adding erosion control.
We discussed resetting the bridge during this process.  The main concern is the minimal number of welds to the steel frame of the bridge.  Moving the bridge or trying to push the frame down could result in the bridge completely breaking apart.  Discussions are still ongoing in regards to this process.
Initially we planned on building a small berm on number five fairway during this project.  As it moved toward completion we have decided to wait on the berm addition and see how the whole process works out in the spring.  If it appears the berm is necessary, it will be constructed at that time.
It has been a long process but it is also nearing the finish line.  For the most part it has gone extremely smoothly.  I am excited to see the results play out when the spring rains arrive.
I still have a couple part time staff members that will work as necessary in the weeks ahead.  These hours will consist of painting in the clubhouse.  The clubhouse is receiving a fresh coat of paint on the interior to keep everything looking new.  The paint scheme will remain the same in each area of the clubhouse.
The golf course is officially closed for the 2017 season.  I have allowed golfers to play the past few days but once I spray my final fungicide application I will ask everyone to stay off the course.
As we bring another week to a close I would invite any comments, questions, or concerns so they can be addressed in a timely manner.  I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving weekend.

11-19-17

Another week has passed us by and the golf course is officially closing on Monday for the 2017 golf season.  Friday was a nice day and golfers were able to enjoy the course.  The staff and I have almost completed all the preparations for putting the course to bed for the winter.  The final step is to spray the greens with a fungicide to prevent snow mold.
Monday will be a free golf day to anyone signing up for a tee time.  No green fees and 55 degrees to end the golf season at the muni.  Our liquor license has expired and the revenue dollars are very minimal.  Maybe we will pick up a couple cart rentals and hopefully there are individuals that come out to play.
The first topic is the completion of the new yardage books that were sponsored by many local businesses in our community.  I am very thrilled with the finished product.  We have received the first 250 books while another 500 are currently in print.  I would happily provide anyone interested with a book.  There are a couple in my city hall mailbox available for viewing.  Very cool!
It has been a very busy week with the water quality project.  DeLoss has been putting the final touches on their work plan.  The area behind number five green has been completed with the addition of a new 24″ pond outlet tile.  There is also a 36″ emergency overflow concrete structure in this area.  Also an 8″ tile was added to the west of number five green draining to the same area as the other tiles.
The pond behind number 12 green has been transformed to a depth of five feet.  There are four farm tiles that were repaired and now open into the pond.  There is one 8″ tile outlet that exits on the NW corner of this small pond and runs underground to the irrigation pond.
The remainder of the stockpiled clay and topsoil has been spread in the area south of the golf course.  DeLoss leveled the area with a bulldozer.  I will dormant seed this area yet this fall.
DeLoss has finish graded the majority of their work areas.  Two main haul roads still need to be addressed.  Once these areas are cleaned up they will also be dormant seeded.  I have chosen a summer fescue mix that does great in drought tolerant conditions.
We spent the majority of our work week laying sod in the construction areas.  The area has been sodded from the edge of number five green to the edge of number eleven fairway.  We also sodded the repaired tile area in front of 12 green.  The tile outlet behind 12 green was sodded almost the entire way to the irrigation pond.  In total, 35 pallets of sod were laid this week by Mark Lawson, Aaron Feeley, and me.
I focused on placing the sod in the highest traffic areas of the construction project.  We have irrigated all of the newly laid sod a minimum of one time.  The majority was covered twice.  The remainder of the construction areas will be dormant seeded and/or sodded in the spring.
This has been a very stressful project.  I am happy to say it went much smoother than I ever anticipated.  DeLoss has been great during the entire process.  They have treated the golf course with great care and done a fabulous job overall.  I am very impressed with their professionalism.
This ends the final golf week at the ol’ course.  Please feel free to contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns so they can be addressed.  Remember to visit our website www.spencermunigolf.com and go to our blog.  This area has all the golf updates listed and is perfect for the public to possibly find answers to questions.
Here are some photos of the water quality project at the golf course:
I like the green sod much more than the bare ground!