We have closed the golf course for the 2022 season. Warmer temperatures have sparked the golf bug amongst our golf fans, however, traffic is not good for the golf course at this time of the year. The colder temperatures have driven the frost past 7″ in depth on the greens. Foot traffic can cause turf damage once the ground becomes frozen. There is no protection for the crown of the plant since it is dormant.
The warmer weather will cause the top portion of the soil to thaw and become wet while the soil profile is still frozen solid. This can also be a stressful time for the turf. Foot traffic on the wet turf can cause a lot of foot printing on the greens. Your footprint can sink into the wet area of the turf until it reaches the frozen part of the soil profile causing damage. It’s in the best interest of the golf course to avoid winter play.
This past week staff finished cutting off stumps from trees that have been removed from the golf course. These stumps have been cut off at ground level in preparation for using the stump grinder to completely clean up these areas. Once the entire removal process has been completed we will add fill material and dormant seed the areas. Below is a picture to show the stumps at ground level:
The past couple of winters The Muni has participated in a turf grass study through the University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Michigan State University, University of Massachusetts, Iowa State University, Oregon State University, Rutgers University, and the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research.
The overall goal of this multi-institutional and international project is to understand winter stress damage of turfgrasses better so that we can develop winter stress prediction models to help turfgrass managers and also create new turfgrass cultivars with superior stresses to winter stresses.
To achieve this objective, the U of M needs to deploy environmental sensor nodes on about 80 golf courses this offseason. These nodes will take data on soil temperature, soil moisture, carbon dioxide, oxygen, light quantity, relative humidity, etc. throughout the winter. Each node consists of a box that sits on the green, and then sensors are attached to the box. Sensors are installed into two adjacent cup-cutter holes. A small solar panel is mounted next to the green for power. They have been improving this system since the winter of 2019-2020 and golf course superintendents have stated it is generally easy to install and manage throughout the winter.
I have started the off season reel maintenance program. Each reel has been taken apart and cleaned. The bedknife is sharpened on one machine to produce a smooth sharp surface for the reel to spin against resulting in cutting the turf. The reel is mounted and leveled on a separate machine and each individual blade is sharpened to produce a new relief and sharp edge. There are 34 reels to complete this off season.
Starting Monday, staff will be pruning bushes along #3, #14, and #15. Last year we pruned these bushes to approximately 18-24 inches in height. The new growth has reached three to four feet in height. By pruning these bushes it makes maintenance a lot easier during the season. It also provides a better aesthetic appearance to the golf course.
Stump removal will begin with using the Street Division skid loader and grinding attachment. There are 18 tree stumps that need to be ground down below the surface of the turf. It should go pretty smoothly once we get the process started.The interior clubhouse painting will also begin on Monday. This will consist of repainting some of the walls to cover up any cosmetic issues. We will use the same colors in all areas of the clubhouse. It will result in a fresh look inside the facility.
I hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving. We will have the clubhouse open most of the coming week for 2023 payments to be made. Enjoy the remainder of the weekend!
Brian C Mohr
Director of Golf Operations
City of Spencer
101 W 5th Street
Spencer Municipal Golf Course
Spencer, Iowa 51301