8-19-18

The end of the men’s golf league season is upon us at the muni.  Today is the Wednesday and Thursday men’s league golf tournament.  The weather looks pleasant for the day and good times should be had by everyone.
We have hosted several golf outings this month and the weather has been great for all of them.  Yesterday we hosted the American Legion golf outing with 72 golfers participating.  It was a great day for golf and the outing went great.  We even had the greatest shotgun start in the history of golf events:
The past week we have continued to work on hand topdressing areas on the greens and collars.  We have also added 300 plugs to the 17th green to fill in some of the poor areas of turf.  I have seen a lot of progress in these areas and am eagerly awaiting the overseeding process coming up at the end of the month.
I continued to work on irrigation repairs this past week.  To date, almost 1/3 of the valve boxes have been addressed.  It is very time consuming, especially since there are 300 valve boxes to tend to on the course.  This will be a continued process as the year moves along.  I plan to have all the connections redone in every valve box by the end of the season.
Equipment issues have continued to be the main topic this week.  All three of our rough units have been down and need parts ordered.  It really put us in a bind.  Thankfully Ryan borrowed two rough units to us for the weekend.  Tiffany and I mowed rough all day, on Saturday, to get everything cleaned up for the busy golf schedule.  We are touching up a few other areas today before we return the mowers to Ryan.  I’m glad we have a great working relationship between us.
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8-12-18

The golf course irrigation electrical repairs have continued during the entire past week.  I was able to get through 71 valve boxes making new connections and installing new tubing.  There have been boxes with broken valves, bad solenoids, and dead decoders.  These 71 valve boxes represent the worst areas on the course.  The irrigation system has been running close to zero issues this week.
We started plugging some of the bad areas on #17 green.  This process will continue this upcoming week.  In the next couple of weeks this green will be aerified and overseeded.  We will also continue to hand topdress the greens and collars.
We had a very successful golf outing on Saturday and are just getting ready to start our annual Special Olympics golf event.  The Special Olympics event is one of my favorite golf outings of the year.  I have participated in this event for the past five years.  It is a very rewarding day.
The pond on number ten has been treated, throughout the season, with copper sulphate to control the algae problem.  The past couple of months have been prime algae growing weather.  The pond is currently clear and I will continue to treat it as we move into the fall months.

8-9-18

I have worked solely on the irrigation system every day this week.  There are approximately 300 valve boxes on the course, with control valves inside.  These boxes hold the valve, solenoid, decoder, and the wire connections.  I have completely gone through 51 valve boxes replacing all the connections, installing new tubing, replacing damaged valves, solenoids, and decoders.
The tubing, which houses thest the connections, has a petroleum jelly inside to protect these connectors from water.  The old tubing has dried up and the groundwater penetrates the tubing, which is unprotected, and shorts out the station.  The system passes the electrical test, on the computer, which consists of a short electrical charge to the decoder.  When the computer turns on the station, during the night, the electrical charge is constant and shorts out because of the water.
I’m very happy to have completed the most severe problem areas on the course.

  I irrigated the course heavily last night and only one valve failed.  This caused a lot of standing water in front of 17 green.  Everything else worked great.  Today, I have continued to work on the system.  I’m starting at hole number one and replacing every connection in each valve box.
There are so many other areas of the golf course that require my day to day attention, so the connection replacement will be done as time permits.  The major repairs have all been completed and the new connections will be completed by the end of the season.
Our 17th green is improving quite a bit from all the hand topdressing.  We are going to start plugging the worst areas tomorrow.  With the continuous topdressing and plugging the green will continue to heal at a good rate.  The greens will be aerified and overseeded later this month.
Matt Hagedorn and I are planning on getting together tomorrow (Friday) to discuss the tiling issues on 16 green surrounds.  I would like to add new tiling through the entire area to eliminate the ground water issue.  Since he is the professional, I am anxious to hear what his proposed solution will be for the area.

8-7-18

Here is what I have been dealing with running the irrigation system.  The water table is so high, the valve boxes are full of water. The water penetrates the old direct burial tubing and shorts out the connection. It will pass when I run the electrical test but fails when the station turns on from the computer. The only way to find the electrical issues is to go through each individual valve box.  There are approximately 300 valve boxes on the course.  I’m going through the wettest fairways starting this morning and replacing all the connections and installing new direct burial tubing.  I have made it through 14 valve boxes so far today.  There are four connections in every box.  Of the valve boxes gone through this morning, three were completely fried and are now working.  I hope to complete six holes this week.  It’s time consuming but will take care of the issues.
Once the irrigation system repairs have been completed, we will start plugging and sodding the bad areas on greens and collars.  This will be followed by aerifying and over seeding in a couple of weeks.

8-5-18

The rainfall, the past few days, has really been a blessing.  Irrigation issues have made it very difficult to apply an adequate amount of irrigation to the course.  I have repaired several of these electrical issues as well as the main line on hole 17.  All of these issues have been addressed in the last couple of emails I have sent out this past week.  Below is a link, for you reading pleasure, from the state explaining turfgrass conditions.  Simply copy and paste in your web browser.
Repair of the irrigation system will consist of going through station by station, hole by hole, replacing the connections and new direct bury grease tubes.  The old tubes are allowing water in and shorting out the connections.  This will be a time consuming process but needs to be done to correct the electrical issues.
I have received new lithichrome paint to touch up all the yardage markers and tee signs.  This is a special paint used for granite markers.  The stone will be cleaned with glass cleaner, dried, and the new paint applied.  This is much needed as these markers have received a lot of wear over the years.  This project will start sometime this fall.
Starting at the end of August, we should have the online form completed to allow people to sign up for automatic withdrawal for ten months to pay their 2019 passes.  This option will allow our golfers to make monthly payments at an affordable rate.
Lastly, I will be ordering the new golf simulator this coming week.  It should arrive the following week and we can begin the setup process.  I’m very excited to have this new option for our golfers.  It should be a huge success for the golf course.

8-1-18

The golf course experienced a serious irrigation problem early this morning on hole #17.  The main line going down the fairway blew out and has created quite a mess.  The staff and I have spent the majority of the day trying to repair this issue.  I hope to have the repair completed late this evening.  There is a possibility I will be without water for tonight.
The irrigation system continues to be very problematic on a daily basis.  There are also lots of electrical issues affecting several of our fairways.  The system is 20 years old and the electrical connections and plastic coverings continue to leak groundwater into them and create a short.  The solution is to replace all of these connections.  This will also be a time consuming process.
Right now my main focus is to keep our greens and tees adequately watered and try to maintain the other holes not experiencing electrical issues.  It is very stressful for staff as well as the turfgrass.  The heavy precipitation, the first half of the year, has created a very shallow root system in the turfgrass.  This places the plant under a lot of stress under normal conditions.  With the irrigation issues, it is so stressful on the plant that it goes into dormancy quicker than normal.

7-30-18

The irrigation system continues to be a challenge as does the stressed turf from all the flooding and saturated soils.  There are many electrical issues that keep arising due to so many valve boxes filled with water.  The majority of these issues happen on number three, five, six, and ten fairways.  Valve boxes are filled with water on all of these holes and periodically short out the irrigation system.  The only real solution is to go through every box, on the course, and replace all the wire nuts and protective tubing.  This is my planned project for this fall.
These same fairways are the most stressed from the high moisture content all year long.  The constant rains have stressed the turfgrass and also left the root systems very shallow.  There has been plenty of moisture in the soil so the root system has not expanded leaving the plant very vulnerable for stress.  The latest fertilizer application will help alleviate some of this issue, but it will take a little time.
With all the irrigation problems, it creates a lot of manual operating of the irrigation system during the night hours.  Last night I was able to get this pump up and running to about 80%.  I have spent more time running through stations manually, due to electrical issues.  I feel just about as stressed out as the turfgrass with weather patterns for this season followed by nonstop irrigation issues since opening day.  It has been a long year and hopefully there are good days ahead.

7-29-18

We have made it through quite a few days without a thunderstorm hitting us hard.  For the first time of the season it has been necessary to irrigate overnight for multiple days.  Running the irrigation system with warm temperatures and no precipitation shows the areas where there are problems with the system.
I continue to deal with electrical problems throughout the course as well as valves not functioning properly.  This has required a lot of hours manually working through the irrigation system at night.  It has been time consuming and very frustrating.
Several fairways have experienced a lot of damage from the flooding occuring the whole season.  Five and ten fairways are probably the worst areas stressed by the water damage.  You can see plenty of cart tracking throughout.  This is happening due to the stressed turf and the wet soil after irrigation.  These areas will recover eventually.
The past few weeks we have been aggressively hand topdressing the damaged areas on all the greens and collars.  I have also sprayed the greens with foliar fertilizer and a recovery treatment.  There has been quite a bit of recovery in these areas.  We plan on continuing the hand topdressing and will eventually aerify all the greens followed by an overseeding.
I was finally able to apply a granular fertilizer application to the tees and fairways.  We also used the rotary spreader to fertilize around all of the green surrounds.  The fertilizer application has been delayed due to the constant thunderstorms throughout the year.  This fertilizer application will help with the recovery process.
The weather patterns of 2018 have made this one of the most difficult years to grow grass.  The turf has been under constant stress prior to the opening of the golf course.  The grounds staff has done a great job staying on top of the work schedule each week.
Our clubhouse continues to do a great job working with the golf customers on a daily basis.  I appreciate the job they all do and the leadership by Bob Cody to help keep the day to day running smoothly.
The golf simulator research has been completed.  I have chosen the new machine and will be placing the order this coming week.  I’m very excited about this addition to the golf course.  It will allow us to accommodate our golfers year round and also generate another revenue source.

7-22-18

We appear to be on a record stretch of sunshine and beautiful golf weather.  It has been one of the most difficult golf seasons I have been a part of in 24 years at the muni.  We have definitely put the last fiscal period behind us and are moving forward to have a great second half to the 2018 golf season.  So far so good.
The wet and windy weather has made it nearly impossible to spray our broadleaf weeds or apply our fertilizer applications to the fairways and rough.  With the beautiful weather upcoming, I will be focused on spraying the entire golf course for clover and broadleaf weeds.  I will also apply a granular fertilizer application to the fairways and tees.
There was no spring fairway fertilizer application applied, due to the extreme weather conditions.  If there is a heavy rainfall, after the application goes down, the odds are the pellets will all wash to low areas or even end up in our water features.  The fairway turf is definitely deprived of nutrients and you can see the signs of dollar spot appearing.  The one positive from all this, we will save about $4000 from missing the spring fertilizer application.
Our broadleaf weeds were controlled last fall, so there is not a lot of weed presence on the course.  The most prominent weed is the clover on the south end of the golf course.  Clover generally takes a couple of treatments to really get it under control.  I plan to spray these areas this coming week.
We started hand topdressing 17 green and some of the other damaged areas on other greens and surrounds.  This has helped the grass recover slowly.  The topdressing helps the bentgrass grow horizontally into the bare areas.  I have seen a lot of improvement in the 17th green.  These areas will be overseeded next month followed by routine topdressing.  We will also be aerifying all of the greens on the course.
Lastly, I’m still researching golf simulators to ensure we get the best product for our situation.  There are lots of side by side comparisons on Youtube that help answer many questions.  I plan on having a product chosen prior to the next golf board meeting.  I’m excited to add this feature to our facility.