5-3-2020

 

Good Morning,
It’s been a very busy week at The Muni.  The irrigation upgrade is working very nicely outside of a few tweaks here and there.  The new IC unit replaces the old decoder and solenoid on the valve.  Some of the new IC units are sticking on during the irrigation cycle.  Either the plunger is getting stuck or the unit is too tight on the valve.  Either way it’s not a big deal to adjust.  I’m very happy with the new system and the ease of operation.
Our second pump will be replaced this coming week or early the following week.  There was too much damage to the old pump to justify paying the high repair amount.  The new pump will come with a warranty and twenty less years of use.  Once the new pump is installed we will be back to full operation with the irrigation system.  Currently I am irrigating at 50% capacity.
The tile project on #16 has been an ongoing situation since last fall.  I used the tractor and loader to level the area on Friday.  The ground has dried substantially since the new tile was installed but the soil is still very sticky.  It has been graded fairly well for the first go round.  Next week I will add some additional black soil, finish leveling the area, and add grass seed.  The area in front of the green will also be leveled and sod added.
By the time Thursday rolled around we were pulling mowers in and out of the shop to get the entire course mowed.  Three of us spent a lot of time on equipment and were able to get the entire golf course mowed by late morning Saturday.  The irrigation system had been such a priority it caused us to fall behind on normal maintenance.  This weekend the golf course looks pretty darn nice for an early May morning.
I sent a couple updates earlier in the week documenting the progress with the irrigation system.  Check your email or visit our blog on the website if you missed those two emails.  Please let me know if there are any questions or comments.  The golf board will not be meeting tomorrow evening due to the COVID 19 restrictions.
Enjoy the day and grab yourself some sunshine!

4-29-2020 #2

Good Evening,
We finished the last steps to the irrigation upgrade a few minutes ago.  There was a little bit of field work to repair and make a few tweaks but it is working great.  The Rainbird representative was onsite to transfer all the information over to the new software and install the new control panel in the maintenance facility.  The initial voltage check showed low voltage on the #13 green station number two.  The contractor and I went out to the field and replaced a small section of wire from the original installation in 1999.  The new splice eliminated any voltage issues.  The voltage reading through the entire field was strong with above normal readings.  The system has been fully charged since early this afternoon and the fairway irrigation program was started with total success.  I will be running fairway irrigation for the next couple of hours then move into covering greens and tees overnight.
We still have the issue of the damaged second pump.  This pump is 20 years old and the repair cost outweighs the expense of a new one.  I am getting a price quote from Pixler Electric and the irrigation contractor for a new pump.  After the new pump is installed the irrigation nightmares should end.  I’m crossing my fingers and hoping everything is operating well in the morning when I go back to work.  Right now I feel happy, relieved, excited, and my blood pressure has dropped significantly.
Enjoy the evening!

4-29-2020

Good Morning,
I thought I would share some information in regards to the irrigation upgrade at The Muni.  It’s been a very busy week already.
The contractor was on site early yesterday (April 28) to start the installation of the new IC units.  The process consisted of removing the old decoder and the solenoid from on top of the valve (the decoder is the control unit from the computer and the solenoid opens and closes the valve).  The new IC unit screws into the valve where the solenoid previously was seated.  After installation there are now two wire connections instead of the previous four connections in every valve box.
We finished installing all 244 IC units and 15 additional ground rods for surge protection at 8:30 last night.  Aaron Feeley and Mark Lawson also helped out tremendously with a lot of the hand work on valve boxes so the contractor could concentrate strictly on the installation process.  It was a great first step to complete.
I have gathered and tagged the majority of the old decoders from the system.  I will finish the last couple of holes this morning.  I plan to sell the decoders to another golf course.  They aren’t worth a lot to us but could be of great benefit to somebody else.
We completed more irrigation repairs as we worked on the irrigation update.  The majority have been small items such as a leaky valve, damaged diaphragm, cracked lateral line, and a couple of valve replacements.  We are going to double check a few of these areas and start cleaning up these repair areas shortly.
After the remainder of decoders are picked up, the irrigation repairs are inspected, and a double check on all the valve boxes, I will charge the irrigation system with full water pressure.  The contractor will be on site later this morning to finish the work inside the control panel in the maintenance shed and make any necessary changes in the field.  The Rainbird representative will be on site this afternoon.  The two of us will complete the transfer of new information into the computer system and check all the electrical currents in the field.
We still have a fair amount of work ahead of us but the majority of the field work is completed.

 

4-26-20

Good Morning,
Another week is in the books at The Muni.  There were a lot of golfers each day enjoying sunshine and beautiful golf weather.  Our season pass totals are behind normal as are many of our revenue line items.   All things COVID 19 considered, I think things are going about as well as we could expect during this difficult time.  The vast majority of customers are understanding and have been very cordial.  You always get a couple of “special souls” who leave you scratching your head, but my hat’s off to the staff and our golfing community.
The golf course maintenance staff is operating with less employees so far to start the season and the clubhouse is functioning with a bit more staff than normal.  The maintenance work has been kept to a minimum with the majority of focus on the irrigation system.  The clubhouse staff takes an extra set of hands to accommodate the golfers and keep everything sanitized properly.  Again, I am very thankful to the staff for their hard work and going above and beyond.
I sent out an email midweek touching on some of the irrigation challenges we have been facing that forced me to operate the irrigation system in manual mode.  With the second pump no longer in operation I was still able to get the system primed and operate at 50%.  I irrigated greens and tees during the afternoon hours and started on a couple holes of fairway stations at the same time.  Then I went back through the green and tee stations overnight and continued to cover the remainder of the fairway stations.  Twenty one hours later the course irrigation was completed.
The damaged motor, on the lag pump, was removed from the irrigation line on Saturday and a new transducer was installed in the control panel.  The transducer is what reads the pressure setting and reports it to the computer.  This allows the pumps to run in automatic mode.  The power panel was able to be wired from the bottom of the control panel and is now functioning properly.  The top of the wiring board had a bad solder connection.  I left the course mid afternoon on Saturday and returned in the evening to irrigate overnight.
We have completed a lot of irrigation repairs the past several weeks in preparation for the installation of new hardware in the field.  We still have a handful of small repairs to make in the valve boxes that have minimal impact on operations.  The contractor will be here Tuesday morning to start installing the new components in every valve box.  Hopefully we will have progressed with our pumphouse problems as well.
Some days never go the way we would like them to in this crazy world.  The COVID 19 only enhances all those issues for each one of us.  At the end of the day a person can only push forward as much as time permits and pick back up the following day.  Keep yourselves safe in “the year of ‘Rona!”  We will succeed.
Enjoy the sunshine and keep on moving forward golf friends!

 

4-23-2020

It has been a busy week at the golf course as far as golfers.  It has also been a busy week with a lot of irrigation problems.  I know, I’m just as shocked about this as the rest of you.  The pumphouse had a power supply panel that died which caused no automatic control over the pumps in operation.  I was able to water the greens in manual mode overnight Tuesday.  I monitored the irrigation system through the night and was very happy to get some much needed water on the greens finishing stations about 8:00 AM.
Last night I went back to start the irrigation system and the second pump arced a bright blue light and tripped the breaker switch.  Next, the pet cock bleeder valve on top of the other pump started leaking.  The night ended very poorly with no irrigation.
This morning, the irrigation tech was on site to repair the faulty control panel and assist with several other problems in the pumphouse.  The second pump is going directly to ground on all three lines which tells us the motor is shot.  This pump has been eliminated from operation.  The other pump was repaired this morning and by early afternoon there was water flowing.  However, I can only run the pump in hand mode and 50% capacity.
I have been watering greens and tees this afternoon and started on a couple of fairways a short time ago.  I hope to get through the entire course by morning.  It’s frustrating but nothing that I haven’t dealt with before.
We will be pulling the bad pump tomorrow and get an estimate from Pixler Electric.  The current thought to this happening is a mouse chewed on the wiring and shorted the pump to ground.  Once they have a chance to look at it then we will see if insurance covers that scenario.
The good news is the irrigation contractor will be here on Tuesday to begin installing the new hardware for the irrigation system.  Some days it feels like the irrigation system has been exposed to the COVID 19 for many years.

4-19-2020

Good Morning,
The heavy snowfall last weekend was finally put behind us yesterday.  The golf course was filled up with tee times for people anxious to get out of the house and recreate.  The most challenging part of operating with restrictions is the limit of golf carts we have available with only one seat being used.  All rental carts were on the course by 1:00 PM yesterday.  It took some shuffling and scrambling but we were able to get carts sanitized and sent back out after a small wait.  Yesterday was very busy.
I had several conversations with the irrigation contractor and the distributor this past week.  The contractor plans to be on site in a couple of weeks.  The distributor will be on site prior to help organize the installation process.  All the materials arrived this week and the majority of preparations have been completed on our end.  It should be a fairly smooth installation.
During the process of cleaning out valve boxes, I was able to document necessary repairs in the field.  There are a dozen valve boxes that need our attention.  We started that process on Friday.  This consists of digging up the valve box, cleaning out the excess soil, finishing repairs, and placing the box back to ground level.  We will continue this project this coming week.
I attended several online training opportunities during the Spring snow recovery.  One of the most educational was training with electrical repairs in the turf industry.  I’ve never been very good when it comes to electrical repairs, but this past week I gained quite a bit of ground possibly bringing myself up to average.  I was able to diagnose a golf cart and make the repairs along with bringing a cart charger back to life.  I was pretty pleased with the results and look forward to learning more.
This coming week we will be mowing quite a bit along with other daily maintenance practices.  We will finish the irrigation repairs in the valve boxes and begin the spring start up of the irrigation system.  Also, the tile drain will be installed in front of #16 green.
We continue to take COVID 19 one day at a time.  The majority of our golfers are understanding and thankful to have the opportunity to play golf.  The staff is also working diligently to stay on top of our sanitation measures.  Day by day, swing by swing, the staff and golfers will keep working together.
There are no tee markers placed on the golf course at this time but in the future I hope to return to normal golf conditions.  At that time there will be a new set of tee markers placed on the course bringing our tee options to six.  These will be hunter green in color and allow golfers to play some holes ahead of the current red tee markers and behind the yellow short course.  This will be a benefit to the golfers that need a shorter course than the red tees but don’t want to play the yellow course.

4-12-2020

Good Morning,
I would like to wish you all a very happy and thankful Easter Sunday morning.  This is a day to reflect and put into perspective exactly what life is about for each one of us.  These are challenging times and with faith we will all push forward and become better people in the end.  Cheers to you and your families!
Last Monday the city council agreed to move forward with the upgrade to our irrigation system.  This will include replacing the current decoder system with the new IC system.  This system is the most updated irrigation system available by Rainbird.  The replacement includes all the electrical components in every valve box and a new control in the office.  Piping, irrigation valves, and the hard wiring will remain in use.
The original estimate for parts to arrive was two to three weeks.  The Rainbird representative contacted me on Thursday and informed me everything was in their warehouse and should arrive early this coming week at the muni.  This will work out well for us to have everything on hand so the contractor can arrive and complete the installation in a timely manner.  He is estimated to be on site at the end of the month.  Unfortunately the weather arriving might push that time line back a bit.
This past week we went around the course and cleaned out over 250 valve boxes.  The valve box is where the irrigation system update will be completed.  The turfgrass eventually grows over each box and they are difficult to find at times.  With the boxes cleaned out, the contractor will be able to access the wiring easily and quickly complete the change out in the field.  There will also be some small repair work to be completed in about a dozen valve boxes.  It was a big project to have completed.
The Street Division was able to help us out with grading both our parking lots.  They did a great job and both parking lots are in very nice condition starting the season.  It is a tremendous change from the frost boils of 2019 we dealt with most of the year.  I appreciate their help when the need arises.
Some time was spent cleaning up our tree stump removals from last fall as well as addressing the new tile area on #16.  These areas are a work in progress.  Sod or grass seed will be included in the next steps as we move toward established turf in these areas.  The tile area on #16 has been a huge improvement and helped remove our small “swamp” from the golf course.
Last spring we received lightning damage to one of our heating/cooling units outside the clubhouse.  There was also damage inside of the mechanical room to the indoor portion of the system.  After a long process dealing with the insurance company, adjustor, and the contractor the repair has been completed.  It was a long process that I’m very happy to be crossed off the “to do” list.
We continue to operate on a day by day basis with the COVID 19 provisions in place.  I’m proud of the staff for all the extra work they are putting in to help us stay as safe as possible and provide a recreational atmosphere for our community to safely take a break from quarantine time.  We all need a little bit of an escape from time to time and golf is a great release.
As I look outside it gives me a moment to reflect.  Some time to think.  The understanding of what we can control and what we cannot.  I feel grateful and thankful for our wonderful community and the support we give to one another each day.   Everything will change, we will push forward, we will rebound.  The word that really needs to be emphasized is SAFE.  Let’s all do our part each day.

4-5-2020

Good Morning,
We have finished our first week of opening at the golf course under COVID 19 provisions.  It has gone fairly well with most of our golfers understanding it is necessary to follow the set provisions or there will be no opportunity to golf.  It’s a day by day process that staff and golfers are all adjusting to and making necessary changes.
On Monday, we mowed greens, tees, and collars for the first time of the season.  They look very nice coming out of the winter offseason.  There is no turf loss and very minimal damage from snow mold fungus.  I would say this is the best condition the golf course has been in at the opening date for several years.  No winter damage is a huge bonus when spring time rolls around.
In preparation for the opening, the cups were changed on each green and left over an inch above the putting surface.  The flagstick was placed in the hole in a normal fashion.  Simply hit the cup with your golf ball and it is considered “in the hole.”  There are no other amenity items on the course.  Tee markers, yardage stakes, scorecard holders, benches, ball washers, water coolers, etc. have all been removed.  There are no items for golfers to come into contact with while playing.
Our sanitization practices consist of letting a rental cart sit for a short time after use then it is sanitized and returned to the rotation.  Clubhouse surfaces and contact points are cleaned over and over again during the day.  Portable toilets are sterilized periodically during the day.  We are doing our best to constantly sanitize every contact point in the clubhouse.  COVID 19 definitely brings a person’s mind into confusion between sanity and sanitary.
The irrigation pumphouse has been a large focal point this past week.  Every fall we winterize this building and take everything into the shop for inspection and repair.  It also eliminates the possibility of freezing.  In the springtime we put it all back together.  Screens, intakes, pumps, clay valves, copper lines, fittings, piping, etc.  As of Saturday, the pumphouse is ready for operation.
It is essential to get the system prepared and operational early each season.  The weather conditions have been perfect as far as starting irrigation systems.  With warm temperatures, minimal precipitation, and windy conditions the greens can dry out rapidly and turf can be lost.  This coming week I will begin filling the system to begin adding water to the greens.
Recapping the week, the driving range has been getting a lot of use and tee times have been pretty decent on the golf course.  There are quite a few tee times booked for today and the coming week looks to be busy as well.  Golf course staff will continue to operate day by day in a safe and sanitary manner.  Enjoy your day!

4-2-2020

We have been open since Monday with provisions for COVID 19:

 

 

 

Our staff has been doing a great job staying on top of sanitization and following the set provisions.  We have experienced a couple of individuals violating the cart policy but everyone has been receptive for the most part.  It’s a tall task and the staff and golfers are all aware this is a privilege that can be removed on a daily basis.
Golf events and league meetings have been cancelled for the month of April.  There will be no meetings in the clubhouse.  The two tournaments on the calendar are cancelled.  We will continue to monitor COVID 19 on a daily basis and keep in communication with elected officials, the city manager, and key employees throughout the community.
Golf has been an opportunity for folks to get outside, grab some fresh air, and remain safe.  The only items on the golf course are the cups and flagsticks on each green.  The cups are raised 2″ above the green level so nobody has to reach in the cup or touch the flagstick.  All other items have been removed from the course.  We are sanitizing the portable toilets throughout the day and encourage anyone on the course to not use restroom facilities on the course.
Please contact me if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.  Also know we are doing our part to exercise social distancing and keep a sanitary environment.  Be safe and enjoy the day.


3-29-2020

Good Morning,
This past week I spent a lot of time working in the maintenance facility.  I finished the reel sharpening and almost all repair work on equipment.  All the golf course amenity items were cleaned and painted.  It almost felt like a normal spring work week at the muni.
Enough of the small talk for the week.  The moment all golf fans have been waiting for is going to happen tomorrow.  The Spencer Municipal Golf Course will be open for the 2020 season.  There are provisions in place with the opening and we are not asking you to do your part.  We are telling you to do your part and follow the provisions.  It is imperative we all continue to follow social distancing, wash our hands for 20 seconds, and keep our space from one another.
The golf course will open at 11:00 AM tomorrow morning.  Please call ahead for a tee time.  You must check in prior to playing.  The provisions are for the safety of all staff and our golfing customers.  We will remain open under these guidelines unless something changes with the Governor, our City Manager, or elected officials.  Be safe and remember six feet.
Enjoy the remainder of your weekend. Please contact me with any questions or comments.  See ya soon!
Brian