9-4-17

We have entered the month of September and we continue to operate short handed with staff.  I am proud to say that everyone keeps stepping up and making sure we get the maintenance end done to a high level.  Also, the clubhouse staff continues to rise to the occasion each and every day to provide great customer service.
I was able to fertilize fairways and tees last Friday.  This eliminated a couple of fairway mowings in order to move the fertilizer prills down to the crown of the plant.  Light rain and heavy irrigation cycles helped with that process.  Lawson and I mowed the majority of the fairways Sunday evening.  They were so long that mowing them dry would really improve the quality of cut.  We are finishing the last five holes this morning.  They will most likely need to be mowed again this evening.
The greens were sprayed with a foliar fungicide and foliar fertilizer on Saturday morning.  This was a scheduled spraying that happens about every 14 days.  The fungicide eliminates the pressure of dollar spot disease and other patch type diseases.  The foliar fertilizer gives the bentgrass the necessary nutrients to provide a high quality putting surface under stressful conditions.
Earlier this week, I shared the rough draft of the yardage book for the muni.  This should be going to print by the middle of this week.  I am excited to have this available to our golfing customers and I thank the area businesses that sponsored the book.
The tile area final repair process has taken a slow halt due to the dry clutch needing to be replaced on the machine.  The part has been ordered and after arrival will be replace the damaged clutch.  Then we will start cleaning these tile areas following with grass seed.  I will also be repairing an area on West 7th street with some assistance from the street division.
The final drawing is completed for the new shelter by five tee area.  I will start making the proper cuts to bring the existing trusses to the dimensions of the new shelter.  I know this has been a long process but the money we save by using old materials is going to be substantial.  Total materials is estimated at $1500 to complete this project.  I think that is pretty darn good.
We will also be working on the water quality improvement plan in the upcoming weeks.  This will be the addition of a berm on five fairway and a berm on hole eleven.  This will allow the irrigation pond to retain more water for a longer period of time helping ease the flooding process on the south end of town.  The past 3″ rain was nowhere near as problematic as in past years.  That is a good sign.
We had the Clay County Pork Producers hold a golf outing last week.  Also, Noteboom Implement had an outing on Thursday.  Both of these events went great and everyone appeared to have a great time.  These type of outings are very important for the success of the muni.  We have a few more upcoming this week.
Advertisements

8-27-17

Rain and some more rain makes for little activity at the golf course.  Several days this week ended with very minimal revenue due to the weather.  The cross country meet was rained out on Thursday and will not be rescheduled.
Our golf leagues have officially ended and it starts the slow decline to the golf season.  We still have quite a few tournaments and outings schedules over the next two months that will help with our bottom line.  Basically our revenues are right on pace from last year during the same period.
We have been short handed on the grounds and in the clubhouse but everyone is making it work out in a positive fashion.  We are still keeping the golf course in beautiful shape the the clubhouse staff is accommodating all of our customers to the highest degree.
I am still working on collecting late payments and getting everyone settled up with the golf course.  Each year we have about a dozen or so individuals who are late on their payments.  It takes a little time but they all get collected at some point.  I think we are down to about a total of $2500 to collect from different people.
I have ordered the materials for the new shelter and will start preparing the existing roof to fit the new shelter dimensions.  This will be the removal of four tresses and some of the other material underneath.  The final cost for new materials is roughly $1500.  It has taken a lot of time but we will get it completed soon.
The most difficult part of projects and unplanned situations is the limited staffing we have at the golf course.  We have just the right amount of staff to take care of the day to day operations, but when we have extra projects that arise we have to fit them in accordingly to our work schedule.
This is one of the reasons the muni is a successful operation.  Nobody is ever standing around with nothing to do.  We have daily schedules and plans for the work week that allow everyone to get those things completed during the course of the week.  The extra projects will always take us longer because I have to find time to make them happen.
I am out of town, in Denison, for fire training this entire weekend.  I am so excited to be learning more and more about this new volunteer aspect of my life.  I feel it is so rewarding and I am very proud to be a member of the Spencer Fire Department.  I am also proud that my staff can be left alone for a couple days and succeed at what they do.
Please contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns so they can be addressed in a timely manner.

8-20-17

Last Sunday we hosted the 9th annual Special Olympics United Golf Tournament.  There were 29 athletes, along with their sponsors, playing a fun filled nine hole round of golf.  This event is so amazing and truly shows a person how great life is for each and everyone of us.  There is only one feeling in the air….unconditional love.  I had an absolute blast playing with my partner, Patrick Smith.  Everyone should consider volunteering for this event next year.
Today, we are hosting the annual men’s league golf tournament.  This marks the end of the golf season for a lot of our golfers which saddens me quite a bit.  Fall is such a beautiful time to play golf.  Our leagues are a big part of the success at the muni and I appreciate each golfer taking the time out of their schedule to spend some time with us each week.
The staff continues to operate short handed in the clubhouse and on the grounds.  Each one of the part time employees is doing a great job to step up and ensure we continue to operate successfully each and every day.  It is challenging and creates some long odd hours of work but we are all determined to provide the best playing conditions with great customer service.
Being short staffed always creates a challenge with our day to day practices but it makes it even worse when there are mechanical issues.  I have spent a lot of time working on equipment repairs.  I have found that very early AM and late PM hours work the best since nobody is around to demand my attention.  I have also had a little help from the street division which I appreciate very much.
I have met with Consumer Lumber to develop shelter plans in the area of five tees.  We will be using the existing trusses to build a new shelter about 33% smaller than the old building.  There will also be a fold out table top constructed on the north side of the building.  This will allow us to use the shelter as a snack shack during events and tournaments.  The exterior will have the same type of siding as the clubhouse.  I am very excited to start working on this project in the near future. Below is the drawing of the proposed shelter:
Earlier in the season, I started working with Direct Fairways to produce a yardage book for the golf course.  This has been a lengthy process with them contacting local advertisers to offset the cost of the product.  I created the narrative information and pictures of each golf hole.  The book is getting very close to completion.  I will share this proof with all of you when it arrives.
I was able to aerify the damaged areas of number seven green followed by seeding.  These areas are a result of two irrigation heads not working properly.  The evidence does not appear until you see the dry areas once they have developed.  We will add light topdressing applications to speed the recovery process.
The tile repair project is scheduled to reach the final part of the clean up process.  I am going to try and till these areas this morning to prepare the seedbed and level all the areas from the process.  The weekly rainfall has left the area saturated and I am not sure how successful this process will be but I am going to give it a shot.
That is a wrap on another week at the golf course.  Please contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns so they can be addressed in a timely manner.  Cheers to sunshine and great golf weather moving forward!

8-13-17

It has been another week short staffed on the maintenance crew as well as the clubhouse.  With short staff we do our absolute best not to diminish the condition of the course or the level of accommodations in the clubhouse.  But, we aren’t always able to operate full strength.  It also makes for very odd work hours for me throughout the day and night.
With that being said, I am very happy with the condition of the golf course and the way the clubhouse is operating.  I believe we are offering the public a beautiful golf experience for a very affordable price.  I am sometimes told otherwise…….
I would encourage anyone who has questions, complaints, or simply needs more explanation to contact me directly.  I try and provide each of you with as much information possible each week.  This same information is on my blog on www.spencermunigolf.com.
Some people like to complain just for the sake of it, but I always look forward to an opportunity to educate someone on the operations of the golf course and my job.  So, please direct them my way if you are unable to help meet their needs.
This past week I have been busy getting past due payments collected as well as sending certified letters for bad checks to be collected.  I would seriously like to look deeper into the possibility of automatic withdrawal for our pass holders.  I will delve further into that possibility with Mr Weuve.
The plans for the new shelter are starting to come together.  The trusses have sat on site because I plan to use as much of the material to construct the new unit as possible.  This will save us a lot of time and money in the long run.  The new unit will be smaller and also have a snack bar area for drinks and such during events.
Next week I will be completing the finish work on the tile areas by 17 tee surrounds.  This has taken a lot of time in order to ensure the soil is finished settling and the project is working properly.  Now that we have reached the time frame of seeding I will complete this work next week.
The month of August has been very busy to date.  We are on pace for great revenue totals.  The month of July revenue was $52,500 and expenses were $44,500.  In comparison to last year, we were $4000 in the hole at the end of July.  Things are looking very positive for the start of the new budget.
As always, I look forward to seeing or hearing from each of you at any time.  Please let me know if there are questions, concerns, or other so I can address them in a timely manner.

8-6-17

The time of year has arrived where we start losing staff at the golf course.  There have been several ground staff on vacation and the clubhouse staff is starting to lessen in availability.  It definitely makes it a challenge but the rest of the staff has gone the extra mile to keep things running smoothly.
We have some busy days upcoming as we begin to complete our share of the water quality improvement grant.  This will consist of building a berm in five fairway and another on eleven.  These will allow the irrigation pond to hold a higher volume of water for an extended period of time.
I would also like to add some small berms along the stream on number ten to help keep the overflow off the fairway.  During the heavy rains, the stream ends up in the fairway and through the rough.
The construction of the new shelter by number five tee needs to be completed.  This process will be starting in the next couple of weeks and will be addressed as we have time available.
The damaged tile areas, by 17 tees, will be addressed very soon.   These areas will be tilled and seeded.  By using the Park Department’s Rotodairon it will create a level surface and perfect seed bed.
Lastly, we have several dead trees that need to be removed from the course.  There have been several trees already removed but a half dozen or so remain.  This project will be worked on during our spare time throughout the remainder of the season.
​Throw in our normal maintenance practices and tree watering leaves us with a pretty busy schedule.  Please share any comments, concerns, or questions so they can be addressed quickly.  I will see the golf board and council at both respective meetings tomorrow evening.​

7-23-17

The precipitation was welcomed with open arms on Friday.  The golf course was really drying out and it was difficult to irrigate adequately each night.  Each night there has been close to 440,000 gallons of water applied.  I have also been running our well for a period of 12 straight days, at a rate of 426,000 gallons per day, to keep our irrigation pond at a high level.
The Iowa DNR controls all irrigation practices on golf courses.  Our permit allows me to irrigate 126.5 acre feet of water from the month of April through October.  I am also allowed to pump 81 acre feet of water from our well during the same time period.
An acre foot of water equals 326,000 gallons of water.  The DNR permit well total equates to basically 62 days to run the well and 94 days to irrigate at the 440,000 total.  So, as you can see the irrigation planning is very critical when it comes to maintaining the course and complying with our permit.  Fortunately the system was hardly used prior to the month of June.
Outside of our normal maintenance practices, there have been several pine trees removed from the course.  There are still several other trees we will remove as time allows.  The pine tree population has really taken a hit the past five years.  We have removed about 12+ pine trees each year.
These trees were not native to our area and that creates a level of stress to begin with.  As they age 30-40 years, they are even more susceptible to disease and insect pressure.  The majority of these trees are succumbing to pine needle wilt.  There is no cure other than the chainsaw and a few man hours.
The private tile work has been completed at Stoney Brook and I can already see a difference in the area.  Between our work and the private repairs, the area has dried amazingly well with little sign of standing water.  We will till the repair areas, next month, and follow with a seeding to complete the process.
They have completed the retention area to the east of number twelve.  The next step will be for golf course staff to construct the berms on five and eleven fairways.  I hope to start on these over the next two weeks.  This will be followed by reconstruction of the pond outlet in late fall with the addition of some new tile.
The material spread on the south end of the golf course has been leveled and covered with topsoil.  It is a very heavy soil that will be seeded with a native grass seed much the same as the previous grass type.
I am also working on establishing new shelter plans on the SE corner of the golf course.  We are going to use the existing trusses on the new unit.  The plan is to build an outdoor bar, on the shelter, to use during golf events.  It will also be constructed with normal size doorways so golf carts can no longer be driven through.  I will keep you posted as we get closer to construction.
Quite a bit of our equipment has been in the shop with minor repair work necessary.  It is time consuming since I am the mechanic, along with many other titles.  I have been spending a lot of time keeping everything operable with some help from the street division mechanics.
I replaced the electric clutch for the pump in our sprayer this past week.  I have sprayed greens twice this week, and will start spraying the remainder of the clover this coming week.
That should cover the past two week period at the golf course.  Please contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns so they can be addressed in a timely manner.  Let’s all pray for a safe and smooth 24 hour period of RAGBRAI.
The staff has been working very hard to keep everything in nice shape.

7-9-17

Another week has passed at the golf course.  The weather has been great and we have been busy just about every day.  Today we are hosting our annual mixed couples tournament.  The sign up is down quite a bit from years past.  We have about 30 teams participating.
The maintenance staff was short two employees this past week.  This made it a challenge to complete all the maintenance practices.  I am very proud of the guys for staying on top of all the work assignments leading up to the tournament.  Overall, the golf course is in very nice shape.
I was able to clean up the tile area around 16 green and 17 tees.  The soil was leveled with the loader and lightly compacted in the trenches.  We were also able to mow the majority of these areas.  These areas will eventually be tilled and seeded next month.
I started spraying the remainder of the course on Wednesday but experienced some electrical issues with the sprayer.  There are also electrical issues with a utility cart, fairway mower, and rental cart.  Also, one of the rough units has a hydraulic leak.  I do believe I will be spending a lot of time in the shop.
Please feel free to contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns so they can be addressed in a timely manner.  I will see the golf board members tomorrow evening at 5:15.

7-4-17

Happy Fourth of July,
I didn’t have time to send an update this past weekend and was also unable to attend the council meeting last night.  So,  here is an update from the past nine days at the golf course:
The rainfall has definitely made a difference of the condition of the golf course.  A lot of non irrigated areas were starting to turn dormant but have now started getting back to growing conditions.  I actually prefer the drier conditions simply because it cuts down on labor dollars and hours on equipment.
I am very pleased with the condition of the golf course right now.  There are still several holes I need to finish spraying clover and the obvious repair work in the tile area of #16 and #17.  These areas have been on hold because of the past rainfall.  However, I will be spraying the remainder of the course and start cleaning up the trenches, from the tile repair, this week.
The tile repair is keeping the area dry but is still not the final answer to this problem.  The damaged clay tile was temporarily fixed by tying into an existing plastic tile.  There is a 6″ rise to the plastic tile so it doesn’t quite flow properly.  My idea is to add a riser to this tile and construct a french drain below the rise.  This should help improve the overall quality of the tile.
As you all know, the shed on #5 tee was dropped to the ground several weeks ago.  I have delayed the removal until I could make a decision on moving forward.  I have finally made that decision.  We started removing the shelter piece by piece down to the trusses.  The trusses will be salvaged and used to construct the new shelter.  This will greatly minimize our expenses for the new project.  I am currently working on developing these plans.
The budget was completed last Friday morning.  The final postings are not complete yet, but it looks like the golf course will operate at a profit of close to $8000.  I am very happy with that final result, especially considering how poor the months of March and April were for golf weather.  The later the golf course opens in the spring, the lower our revenues will be that budget.  It was into April before we were open compared to March 11 last year.
Another project we have started is removing dead trees and shrubs around the golf course.  We still have a handful of mature trees to remove and will continue to work on this process weekly, as time allows.  I hope to have them all removed by the end of the month.
It has been very busy at the golf course over the past six days.  Our entire rental cart fleet was out three of those days.  It is great to having a successful start to the new budget.  It seems like the stress and anxiety of one budget ending transfers over into the thoughts of the new one.  I am looking forward to another budget at the Spencer Municipal Golf Course.
I would like to thank the staff on the grounds and in the clubhouse for always doing a top notch job.  It gives me a lot pleasure to have employees that take pride in their job and the golf course.  That can’t be said for most work places but it definitely is the case at our golf course.  Please take the time to thank these folks for taking so much pride in their part time job.
Please feel free to get in touch with me about questions, comments, or concerns so they can be addressed in a timely manner.  Have a wonderful 4th of July evening.  Hopefully it plays out as a safe one.

6-25-17

This past week the staff and I continued to work on the tile areas around 16 green and 17 tees.  The majority of the tire tracks have been filled to temporarily level the damage.  The areas where tile was exposed will be addressed this coming week.  The damaged areas will eventually be tilled and seeded.
The rest of our time has been spent with regular maintenance practices.  The cool weather has helped with some of the dry areas from the previous hot weather.  The golf course is in pretty nice shape as long as you overlook the damaged areas from the tile project.
The retention area is moving along very nicely to the east of #12.  The fill material stockpiled on the south end of the course will eventually be leveled and black soil added to the surface.  I will seed this area with a native prairie mix.  I will be getting together with Jim Thiesse soon to set the grade stakes for the work that needs completed on #5 and #11 that ties into this project.
We finished planting the last five white pine trees from our tree grants.  This gives us over 100 trees added to our inventory through the Trees Forever and Trees for Kids grants.  These are two great programs that help add a diverse tree inventory to our City.  Thanks to SMU, Black Hills Energy, and the Iowa DNR for sponsoring these grants.
I am going to wrap this weekly report up since my hands are still freezing from mowing greens this morning.  Please contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns so they can be addressed.  A reminder, the golf board will meet on Monday, July 10 instead of  July 3.  Have a great rest of your weekend!

6-18-17

Another week is in the books and we work closer to the end of the budget.  Late last week our revenues totaled $373,757 and expenses equaled $351,413 for the year.  Both are lower than the previous budget but we still look to be in good shape to finish the budget year.
The water quality project has started east of the golf course.  They started hauling the fill material out of the retention area and unloading it on the south end of the golf course property.  This material will be leveled and raise the area by several feet once we are finished.  The material will be covered with soil and then seeded with some prairie mix.
We hosted the Chamber golf outing on Friday.  The numbers were down from normal but everyone had a very nice time.  This event was previously held in mid August but has been moved to June the past two years.  I think the date will be discussed at the next Chamber golf committee meeting.  This event alternates between the Country Club and muni each year.
The high temperatures have really taken a toll on the non irrigated areas of the golf course.  The rough and out of play areas are really starting to firm up and take on a dormant color.  This light rainfall will help a little bit but not much.  The irrigated areas look great on the course.
Our irrigation system has been working overtime lately but I have been able to keep up with everything.  There are still some repair issues that I deal with on a daily basis but we are gaining.  Number seven green had a sprinkler head that was not rotating which has caused some dry spots on the top half of the green.  I repaired the problem this morning and heavily hand watered the green.  It will improve quickly.
The tile area is going to be our focus this upcoming week.  The street division was on site to remove the damaged cart path and use crushed concrete for the repair.  My staff and I will start filling in the tire ruts with some of the material from the retention pond being constructed.  We will also begin working on clean up in the tile areas.  Eventually the damaged areas will be tilled and seeded.
I am very pleased with the condition of the golf course right now.  I still have a few holes to spray for broadleaf weeds and hope to have those finished this coming week.  The staff has worked hard to keep everything high quality and I am very appreciative of their hard work.  Clubhouse staff has also done a great job catering to our customers.  Our goal is for you to have fun!
That concludes another week and another golf update.  Please contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns so they can be addressed in a timely manner.  Have a great day!