This update has been prepared for the December 5 Golf Board and City Council meetings. It’s an overview of the past month activities at The Muni and some of projects targeted for the near future.
1. Golf Events/Website
- The 2023 Course Schedule is listed on the website. The events listed have already been confirmed or they are currently reserved from the 2022 event date. This list will be updated as we move forward.
- I have made some updates to the current website. Photo albums will soon be updated. Our online credit card payment is currently not working. The portal is not responding to the 2023 rates page. I hope to have this resolved soon. The automatic withdrawal option is currently optional. Our home page will be adjusted to show the payment options and tournament scoring for the 2023 events. Golf Board input is appreciated for the website as well.
- Arts of Grand will be holding their Fall Gala in the clubhouse on Friday, December 9. This event will be in the evening. There are several other events scheduled for the month of December and January.
- Campbell’s Tree Service will be back to this off season to remove three more large ash trees with EAB. These trees are located on the west side of #17. There is no set time for the removal process. They removed seven ash to date on holes #16 and #17. #11 cottonwood removed.jpg
- Staff recently removed five additional small ash trees on holes #2 and #17. The maintenance staff has removed ten small ash trees this fall.
- Staff cut the remaining stumps down to ground level around the course. There are a total of 17 tree stumps that still need to be ground, fill material added, and seeded.
- Staff has completed pruning the bushes on the golf course. Pruning is done to keep the plants at a manageable height which provides a better visual appearance and allows us to maintain the areas to a higher level.
- Greens were fertilized with a granular fertilizer on Wednesday, November 9. This fertilizer application will help the turfgrass enter the off season with plenty of nutrients and create a healthier plant that can withstand stress to a higher degree.
- The golf course has a permit with the Iowa DNR which limits the amount of water that is pumped from the pond for irrigation purposes. It also limits the amount of water pumped from the well into the irrigation pond. The permit runs from April 1 through October 31 annually. I applied for and received an extension to use the irrigation system during the month of November. The well was shut off for the season on November 1.
- The 2022 water report has been submitted to the Iowa DNR. Our totals were substantially lower than normal due to the well and irrigation issues.
- The pond on #10 has maintained the water level since repairs were completed and the pond was filled on October 25. The area south of the pond was repaired, fill material added, and sod will be placed in the spring
- The irrigation system ran on a daily basis from November 1 through late morning November 10. The golf course responded with a lot of green grass appearing in areas where irrigation had been limited for so long. The golf course was in really good shape, at this time, considering we had such limited irrigation for several months.
- We opened the irrigation drains and started the air compressor on Wednesday afternoon, November 10. By late evening the main lines are cleared of water and blowing only compressed air. Early the following morning of the 11th, we started going through each lateral line with the winterization process. By 2:00 PM we were finished. The pumphouse was winterized on Friday, November 12.
- I made a detailed list of all irrigation issues with each station around the golf course. Staff and I worked on these issues all the way up until the end of the day on November 11. We replaced damaged irrigation heads and broken canisters around the golf course. There have been repairs completed on lateral lines, valves, and diaphragms.
- There is still a long list of necessary repairs but we completed quite a few before the weather changed for the worse.
- Staff has been changing oil and replacing filters in all equipment, including rental carts. During this process a documented list of necessary repairs is completed. This list will allow for proper off season maintenance to be completed prior to the 2023 season.
- Reel sharpening has also started. Each of the reel type mowers needs the reel and bedknife replaced and sharpened. This process involves proper leveling and adjustment to produce a perfect edge established to provide a high quality cut on the turfgrass plant. A high quality of cut helps reduce stress and limit unnecessary stress on the plant. Adjusted.jpg
- The street division will be completing some maintenance work on a couple of the rental carts in regards to the engine.
- We started painting interior areas of the clubhouse. Most of these areas involve trim and heavier traffic areas in the building. This process is strictly cosmetic to keep the building looking as new as possible.
- There were a couple of tv’s replaced inside the building. SMU completed some updates which outdated some of our television sets. We had some monetary donations to help offset these costs. We still plan to replace a couple more moving forward.
- The new TPAR computer software will be installed during the month of February. This will allow us to iron out any glitches or issues. Golfers will be able to update their contact information and register with the use of a coded identification card for the 2023 season.
- The golf simulator will be available for appointment only during the winter months. Myself or part time staff will operate the clubhouse this off season. The simulator will be up and running mid December.
- Part time staff will still work certain hours in the clubhouse to be determined by the number of events hosted.
8. Fall Projects Completed
- Aerification of the greens was completed on November 3. For the 2023 season, greens will be aerified with needle tines on a monthly basis during June, July, and August. Using needle tines creates a hole a little bigger than a pencil to a depth of 8-10 inches. This process will not disrupt play and also help us control isolated dry areas. #9 aerify 11-3-22.jpg
- The cart path removal was completed in late October. We did add additional millings to these areas to keep the surfaces level while settling. #12 cart path millings.jpg
- I completed my 2022 continued education hours for my pesticide license. This license certifies me in the application of products to turf, ornamentals, and aquatic areas of the golf course. I am the only licensed applicator at the golf course.
- Staff has moved the majority of private carts out of the north half of the east shed. We still have a couple of carts left to move from this shed. All cart owners have been notified of these plans. This will allow us to park all 30 rental carts each day and not interfere with private carts.
9. Offseason Projects
- I set up the turf sensor and nodes underground on the practice green for the University of Minnesota winter turfgrass survey. This study is shared amongst multiple universities in the United States as well as the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research. It gathers winter data from over 80 different golf courses to better understand how winter weather affects turfgrass. This data connects directly with the university. I also gather weekly information, every Sunday, to provide photos and feedback. This is the second year we have participated in this research project. Turf study data.jpg
- Sand will hopefully be added to the traps on the golf course this winter or early spring. We need to find a more coarse sand that is not affected by the wind so severely. 15 green 3-19-22.jpg
- Ash trees with EAB will be monitored in the spring once leaf tissue starts appearing. If the tree has an evenly distributed tree canopy, then water movement has not been disrupted throughout the tree and chemical treatment can be done in May. EAB 11-10-2022.jpg
- Barn Swallow control is still planned for a couple of the cart sheds. We will add a mesh type material around the rafters. The time frame has not been established.
- Inventory for the maintenance facility and clubhouse has started and will be completed later this month. Inventory is shared with our insurance provider to provide a replacement cost in case of an emergency situation.
- The 2024/25 budget and Capital Improvement Plan will be started in the month of December. Final approval should take place in late January.
10. Golf Leagues/Handicaps
- Currently each golf league is in control of how they record and adjust handicaps for each league member. There were some noticeable differences when the Wednesday and Thursday evening leagues competed in a Ryder Cup format this past summer. This has led to the discussion of scoring and handicap apps for the leagues and the golf course.
- Currently the SMGC is a member of the Iowa Golf Association which recognizes the GHIN handicapping system. The IGA charges each one of our registered golfers $22 for their annual handicap. This handicap is adjusted no matter which set of tees a golfer plays from on any given round of golf. Being a member of the IGA allows us to use the Golf Genius software for scoring and handicapping events, if the players all have a GHIN handicap.
- There are other forms of scoring and handicapping that could be less expensive for each league to use. There are Google spreadsheets that could calculate your league scores and establish handicaps through a particular scoring formula. There are a lot of options and the final decision will be up to the golf leagues and which they choose. I will work with each league to try and assist them during the process.
The month of November was not quite as warm as in 2021, but we have been able to complete a lot of projects at the golf course. Our outdoor activities have most likely come to a close. There is still a lot of inside work moving forward.
Brian C Mohr
Director of Golf Operations
City of Spencer
101 W 5th Street
Spencer Municipal Golf Course
Spencer, Iowa 51301