10-26-19

 

Good Morning,
This past week gave us the opportunity to complete a lot of outdoor projects.  We mowed greens and some other low mowed turf for the final time of the 2019 season.  We will still mow rough and mulch leaves as the weather permits.  The cups were also changed on Thursday, ball washers removed from the golf course, as well as the remainder of the amenity items in preparation for the cold temperatures in the near future.
Colder morning temperatures allowed us to continue maintenance and continue to service our equipment.  There has also been a list created of repair work that needs to be completed in the off season.  Since we are done with reel type mowing the reels will be removed from each machine and prepared for the off season sharpening.
The largest project we have going on right now is tree pruning and removal.  There have been several trees removed from the golf course and about 20% of the pruning has been completed.  This project will continue next week.  The tree stumps will be addressed at a later date.
We will also start removing the plant material from all landscaping areas of the course.  The landscaping grasses will not be pruned back for the Winter.  I will also be developing some new flower designs for the landscaping beds starting in 2020.  I would like to explore the possibility of adapting flower beds for some of our golfing public to help manicure.  We already have a few holes where this takes place.
As I stated last week the new tile was installed around #16 green.  We completed some clean up work in the area this week.  The soil was pushed back into the trench and piled high in order to settle over the winter months.  The area with tall grass has definitely dried out significantly but we haven’t been able to push the majority of the soil back into the trench.  This process will be completed by the Street Division in the coming days.
Sod work was one of our priorities with this nice weather.  We finished off the tile drain area in front of #16 green and repaired an irrigation head in the area.  Next, we added sod to the area in front of the green where water always puddled.  The remainder of the area will be finished in the Spring once the tile repair areas have settled.  Then sod will be laid to repair the turf damage.
We also were able to complete sod work on #10 fairway and #14 fairway.  The area on #14 was a large wet spot about 40 yards in front of the green.  The areas on #10 were mostly pot hole type areas (more work will be done on #10 on Monday).  We cut the sod from the front of the driving range tee box, added fill material to the low spots, leveled the areas and placed the fresh sod to complete the project.
I set the 2020 tournament and event calendar.  Adam Coates and I visited to ensure there were no conflicting dates between the Country Club and the muni.  You can visit the website to see the list of future events.

10-20-19

Good Morning,
Early in the week we completed the fertilization of the greens, tees, and fairways with granular products.  These applications will help provide a healthy turfgrass heading into the off season and provide the essential nutrients in the spring.  It was a very nice process to complete with no issues.
At the end of the week we completed the tile repair work in upper Waterway Park.  Also, the new tile was added to the green surrounds on #16.  There is still some clean up in the park as well as some additional work to be completed “in house” on the golf course tile.  The tile is in place and the majority of the back filling has been completed.  The wet soil conditions decreased noticeably within hours of the tile addition.
The golf course tile addition also exposed some damaged clay tile directly north of #16 green.  This damaged tile is the cause of the extreme saturation in this area.  There will be pea gravel added in this section of new tile to easier allow this damaged area to drain into the new tile.  We also need to add a drain in front of the green where the tile begins.  This work will be completed this coming week.
The irrigation issues reared up and gave us some challenges again at the start of the week.  The pond level was much higher than normal due to some debris in the outlet of the irrigation pond hindering the overflow.  This caused the intake screens, in the pumphouse, to be under water and allow debris into the pumps.  This caused a plugged lead pump impeller and some plugged irrigation heads on the course.
We removed the pumps, cleaned them out, and cleaned sprinkler head screens in the field.  This eliminated the debris and allowed proper flow from each pump.  The debris was mainly from muskrats chewing up cattails.  The muskrats will be removed from the golf course next month.
Once the overflow was cleaned out the pond overflow went into our streams and waterways at a very high volume.  This caused some high water on hole number 10 all the way to the driving range.  After irrigating that night and the drains had time to catch back up, the water levels were all back to normal by the morning.
Our irrigation technician also came down from Wisconsin to complete some updates with the software in the pumphouse computer.  The computer kept rebooting itself and providing false information causing the flow and pressure to be inaccurate on the control panel.  This resulted in nothing working correctly in the field.  The trip was covered under warranty and the computer is working properly at this time.
I attended continued education training in accordance with the aquatic portion of my pesticide license.  This training is held annually and usually provides great information to assist in pesticide applications.  I was able to learn a little more about aquatic vegetation and also gathered some online links to learn even more this off season.  I will keep you posted on plans for controlling aquatic vegetation in our ponds in 2020.
More equipment maintenance and as much mowing as time would allow completed the remainder of our work week on the grounds.  We are hosting a makeup golf tournament this morning.  The number of participants dropped significantly from the original date but we’ll make sure those who play today have a great time.
Please contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns so they can be addressed as quickly as possible.  Enjoy the remainder of your weekend!

10-17-19

Good Afternoon,
The tile contractor arrived on site this afternoon.  They are currently working on repairing the tile in upper Waterway Park.  The tile damage has been located and they are digging in this area and will replace the broken tile.  It is too early to tell how long this portion will take to complete but they feel confident it will not take all afternoon.
Once they finish in Waterway Park they will move to the golf course and add new tile around the 16th green.  We have located our irrigation lines and wiring and have hand dug these areas so they are exposed.  We plan to add a drain in front of #16 green and wrap the tile around tying in with existing tile.  This will help eliminate the standing water issue in the area.
One concern is the water table is naturally very high at this current time.  The addition of tile will definitely help remedy the situation moving forward into the future but it won’t control the high water table issue 100%.
Also, the golf course was entirely fertilized yesterday and I started filling the irrigation system early in the afternoon.  We found some contamination in the wet well that plugged the impellar on the lead pump.  There was also computer issues in the pumphouse.  I worked over the phone with the technician until the end of sunlight yesterday.
Early this morning I started working on the issues with the contamination in the pump.  We removed the pump and cleaned out the impellar along with a couple irrigation heads that had debris in the screens.  Everything was back to normal on our end outside of the computer issues.
The contractor flew in from Wisconsin and updated the programming and corrected the issues on his end.  The software was updating itself and plugging in the wrong settings.  As of now the programming is working properly and the system is back functioning 100%.
The computer repair process was covered under warranty so there is no bill for services on this end of the process.  Our end of the process cost us $10 for a new gasket and a lot of my time.  It was a very inexpensive fix in the end considering.
Enjoy the remainder of your day and keep a smile on your face.  I’m still smiling and look forward to irrigating the entire course heavily overnight.

10-13-19

Good Morning,
The weather has definitely turned for the worse as we close out this week.  The clubhouse closed early on Friday and remains closed through the weekend.  We will be open for regular business hours starting on Monday.
The past week staff and I played catch up trying to complete all our daily maintenance practices after battling rain and saturated soil conditions.  The golf course received around 5″ of rainfall during the various storms.  This left our sand traps and golf course looking like one big lake.
The high winds helped dry out a lot of the standing water issues.  Now the weekend temperatures left a thin coat of ice over any wet areas on the golf course.  It’s definitely been a golf season filled with poor weather conditions from start to nearing the finish.
By the end of the day on Thursday, we had the sand traps repaired and raked and the majority of the golf course mowed and in nice shape.  We also started our tree pruning and removing some of the smaller dead trees.  Add in a lot of equipment maintenance and it was the end of another week.
The golf course was very busy on Wednesday as everyone tried to squeeze another round of golf in before some flashes of Winter arrived.  The 2019 golf season has seen the lowest total of season passes sold as well as a decrease in the amount of green fees sold.  I’m hopeful for an early start to the 2020 golf season and some busy clubhouse activity this off season.
The temperatures look to warm back up next week.  Staff will be concentrating on mowing practices, fertilizer applications, herbicide applications, tile work, and starting to remove some of the larger pine trees.
Enjoy the remainder of your weekend.  Please let me know if you have comments or questions that need to be addressed.  I will see the golf board members on Monday evening for our monthly meeting.

10-6-19

Good Morning,
A week that started off with a high of 89, followed by cold temperatures, lots of rain and high winds has finally come to a close.  The clubhouse closed early a couple of days and the Glow Ball tournament had a lot of cancellations Saturday night.  But in between all of it we had some die hard golfers.
Last night the After 5 Kiwanis held their first glow ball tournament.  The weather was not very nice to start off the evening but soon after dark the wind died down and it was pretty decent outside.  There were only 24 golfers participating but they all had a great time.  The course was lit up very nicely outlining the tees, fairways, hazards, and greens.  We plan to meet and evaluate the plan for the event in 2020.
On Thursday the staff and I completed the aerification of the greens.  We partner with the Country Club on this project.  They use our tractor and their machine to do their greens and then we complete the same process at the muni.  The greens were aerified to a depth of approximately 9″.  This helps with the elimination of compaction, better water penetration, and deeper root growth.  The greens were double mowed after the aerification was finished.
Root depth is a very important part of turfgrass maintenance.  This year has been very difficult to achieve much root depth due to the heavy rainfall in the spring.  The heavy rainfall makes it unnecessary for the turf roots to grow in search of water since it is so available right at the surface.  Lack of root depth develops a weaker turf plant that becomes susceptible to high temperatures and disease pressure.  You could see some of this evident on our collars and a couple spots on some greens this year.
There was also a lot of equipment repair and scheduled maintenance tasks completed.  We serviced a handful of mowers by changing oil and filters, flushing the radiators, and greasing each machine.  Also, small repairs were completed at the same time.
I have spent a lot of time working on the irrigation system the past couple of months.  We have definitely not needed the system much as of late, but it is working the best it has in a couple of years.  The majority of electrical issues have been addressed, damaged valves replaced, and other PVC issues addressed.  There will still be a few small issues to deal with but overall it is night and day compared to earlier in the year.
The tile project was scheduled to be completed this week.  For two plus years this has been an ongoing problem and the rain never seems to give us a break when it is finally set up and ready to happen.  I am hoping to have Matt Hagedorn on site sometime in the next two weeks to add more tile around #16 green and make some repairs in upper Waterway Park.  Stay tuned.
Mowing has been a never ending process the past month at the golf course.  The grass has been growing at a rapid rate.  It was extremely challenging getting the course mowed by the time the weekend arrived.  Thankfully the staff and I were able to work some longer shifts to get everything under control just in time for the storm on Saturday morning.  The course is looking very nice outside of all the additional water features.
Next week I plan to start the Fall herbicide application.  This will be more of a spot treatment as compared to the Spring application covering the course wall to wall.  I will also treat Waterway Park with herbicide.  This will help control the weed population when the 2020 season arrives.  We will still battle dandelions that show up from all the surface drainage on the course but it will be better than if no application was made this time of year.
We will also be fertilizing greens, tees, and fairways with a granular application.  This will help take the turfgrass into the winter months with some health and hopefully make it less prone to stress.  The past few winters the biggest issue has been ice damage in the low areas of greens and around the golf course.
Also the removal of dead Pine trees and tree pruning will be conducted in the upcoming weeks.  There are about 15 trees that need to be removed from the golf course.  If time allows we will also removed the stumps left behind.
This concludes another week at the Muni.  Please contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns.  I will see each of you at the Golf Board or City Council meetings on Monday evening.

9-29-19

Good Morning,
The month of September has come and gone very quickly.  It has been another month filled with rain and rapidly growing grass.  We have been mowing the entire course multiple times each week trying to stay on top of all maintenance practices.  As the week comes to a close, I’m very happy with the condition of the golf course and thankful for all the work by maintenance personnel.  If only the rain would ease up a bit and more golfers would play.
I talked to Matt Hagedorn at the end of the week and we are expecting him on site next week to start the tile work around #16 green and also complete some repairs in Waterway Park.  I have flagged or spray painted all areas where work will be performed.  The irrigation lines have been marked in hoping we can do some hand work to eliminate trenching through pipes or wiring.  I plan to install a drain in front of #16 green and run the tile to the NW and tie in to the line they installed a couple of years ago.
Equipment maintenance has been a time consuming process as of late.  I completed repairs on multiple rental carts and several mowers.  One rough unit was taken to the Street Division for some hydraulic repairs.  I am generally able to complete the majority of maintenance repairs but once in a while I need some assistance.  Thankfully the Street Division can usually fit us into their schedule and complete the necessary work.
We started some of our fall tree pruning over the past couple of weeks.  Most of the trees we addressed were smaller varieties that have “suckers” or branches that are in the way during mowing practices.  A branch whipping you in the face when you are looking the other direction usually leaves a lasting memory to grab the “loppers” to remove some branches.  As we move forward we will start concentrating on the larger trees and removing dead pine trees.
A couple of weeks ago we loaned our tractor to the Country Club so they could complete the aerification process on their greens.  I’m planning to aerify our greens sometime in the next couple of weeks.  The aerification process will punch holes down approximately 10″ into the greens and help with the health of the bentgrass.  I have not set an exact time frame yet and the process will minimally disrupt golfers.
The greens were sprayed with a fungicide, foliar fertilizer, and wetting agent on Thursday morning.  The fungicide application helps control the present of dollar spot while the wetting agent aids in the movement of water in the soil profile.  This will be our last foliar fertilizer application on the greens this season.  In the next couple of weeks there will be a granular fertilizer application on the greens, tees, and fairways.
Skunks continue to damage several areas in the fairways digging for grubs.  We have eliminated five do date but there are still a few more on the property.  The past week we have also dealt with crows digging at the practice tee area for grubs.  Next season these areas will be sprayed with an insecticide to eliminate the presence of grubs in the Fall weeks.
The pumphouse repairs were completed last week and there was some work done around the golf course.  I ran the irrigation system Friday night and the system ran better than it has in a long time.  The pumphouse is holding pressure and all the stations are running properly.  There are still a couple valves that need repair work but nothing that affects the performance of the system.  I’m excited to have the irrigation system running so well.  There has been a lot of work to get it to this point.
That’s a wrap on another week at the muni.  I’m hoping for no rain today as we are hosting our annual Chili Open.  Please contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns so they can be addressed in a timely manner.  Enjoy the remainder of your weekend.

9-22-19

Good Morning,
The past week the maintenance staff and I spent the majority of our time mowing.  All the rainfall and warm temperatures caused the grass to be growing out of control.  We mowed the rough three times during the week.  It was necessary to mow several evenings into the dark.
Equipment maintenance is usually at the top as we complete each work week.  The reel type mowers need to be kept into adjustment in order to get the proper cut on the greens, tees, and fairways.  These adjustments keep the reel in correct contact with the bedknife on the bottom of the reel.  The reel spins across the bedknife and completes the cut of the turfgrass.  If it is out of adjustment then the quality of cut is poor and causes stress to the plant as well as a non uniform cut.
Other equipment repairs were completed during the week.  A hydraulic hose broke on a rough unit, the traction cable broke on a tee mower, and several other small items popped up on other equipment.  Most of the down time was short and we were back mowing right away.
Our irrigation system was actually started on Tuesday evening.  The high temperatures and winds were starting to dry everything out quickly.  Surprisingly enough there was a thunderstorm early in the morning.  I shut the irrigation system down about 3:00 AM and discovered the other intake line had a crack in the elbow as well.  This repair was completed the following day and everything should be working properly if it stops raining.
The amount of play has really dropped off at the golf course.  We had very slow days during the majority of the Clay County Fair as well as the past week.  It’s frustrating to see the number of golfers decrease each year.  I don’t know what the answer is but I can assure you raising prices will only decrease the amount of play more.

9-15-19

Good Morning,
It was a very difficult work week with the rain and windy conditions and short on staff.  The golf course received steady rainfall most of the day Monday.  Early Thursday morning we had a strong thunderstorm dumping over 2″ of rainfall.  With all the dormant turf in non irrigated areas the heavy rain drained to all the low spots on the golf course.  Standing water was all over the place with several greens 50% under water.  The next three days were very challenging.
We had our mowing practices to complete in a short period of time as well as being short staffed.  Huge thanks to my maintenance staff for grabbing the bull by the horns and moving in high gear.  We mowed all hours of the day and had the majority of the golf course mowed in two days.  The sand traps were repaired and raked by noon on Saturday.  There is still some water in a few traps but the sand has been pushed back to the faces of the sand traps.  By the end of the week the golf course was back in very nice condition.
Repairing washed out sand traps is a very time consuming process.  The heavy rainfall washes the sand to the bottom of the traps leaving the top part down to clay.  The sand is pushed from the bottom of the trap back to the face and spread evenly throughout.  Afterward they look just like new.
My personal work week consisted of office work, mowing, irrigation repairs, equipment repairs, repairing sand traps, and clubhouse shifts.  Wherever we were short staffed I emphasized my work for the week.  The staff did a great job in the clubhouse as well as the maintenance employees going above and beyond.
Skunk damage has started over the last week or two.  The skunks come out at night and dig up the grubs in fairways on the north half of the golf course.  These varmints can do a lot of damage over one nightfall.  I have spot treated insecticides to try and control the grub population and it looks like next year I will need to spray the entire north set of fairways to try and eliminate this issue.   “Hopalong” Mark Lawson turned a couple of these trespassers into hats early Saturday morning.
On Friday, I finally resolved the lightning damage to the clubhouse AC unit with the insurance company.  The process was very difficult with the adjuster since he was out of the office for several weeks.  There was also problems with Hanson’s P&H getting all the information.  In the end, the adjuster informed me he will be approving the claim and be in touch early next week.
I was able to spray greens with a scheduled treatment on Saturday morning.  The rainfall and high winds made it impossible to complete the application any earlier.  I applied a fungicide for the control of dollar spot.  This fungus really became apparent on #6 green.  This is the only green where it showed up in full force.  I also sprayed a wetting agent and a foliar fertilizer application.
I drove out of town for a few hours on Friday to pick up an irrigation part for the pumphouse.  The lead intake is a 6″ PVC pipe that feeds the pump from the wet well.  The 90 degree angle fitting has a crack in it and is leaking water causing the pump to work well below capacity.  I want to repair the intake now before it breaks when the irrigation is necessary with the upcoming heat.  I will be completing the repair this morning.
Several fall projects to be completed in the upcoming weeks:
-tile the area around #16 green
-sod collars damaged from irrigation issues
-dead tree removal
-fall herbicide application to course
-spray vegetation in irrigation pond
I will provide more information about these projects as they begin.  Please let me know if there are any questions or concerns.  The golf board will meet Monday at the clubhouse 5:00 PM.

9-8-19

This past week our main focus was general maintenance practices around the golf course.  We had a short work week due to the Labor Day holiday which was followed by the police golf outing on Tuesday.  That leads up to one of our biggest golf outings of the year happening today.
The maintenance staff has been working one employee short in comparison to the past few years.  This is being done to help offset the lower revenue dollars we have seen this year.   We worked some evening hours in order to get the golf course in nice shape by the end of the week.  It was challenging to get everything mowed down in a timely manner.
This upcoming week looks like more rain headed in our direction.  We will continue with normal maintenance practices and most likely start removing some of the dead pine trees around the golf course.
Spraying the fall broadleaf weed application, fertilizing, spraying greens, and sand trap maintenance are some of the items on the list in the coming weeks.  It is helpful that so much of the rough is dormant from the lack of rainfall.
The golf board meeting is moved until September 16th.  We need to have a full attendance in order to vote on officers for the upcoming year.  If there are questions, comments, or concerns please get in touch with me so they can be addressed in a timely manner.  Enjoy the remainder of the weekend.

9-1-19

This past week has concluded the 2019 golf leagues at the muni.  This time of year seems to always result in a drop in play at the golf course.  Starting this weekend golfers can purchase 1/2 of their 2020 season pass and play the remainder of 2019.  Then make the final payment in April of 2020 and play all of that golf season.  Hopefully we see some additional interest in this promotion this year.
Mid week I finished the process of lining up a glow ball event that will be held on Saturday, October 5th.  The event will be limited to the first 104 golfers and sponsored by the After Five Kiwanis.  There will also be a chili cook off between Spencer Fire Department and the After Five Kiwanis.  This event will be held annually, moving forward, and will benefit children in our community.  The exact charity has not yet been determined.
Thursday afternoon we hosted the Spencer High School cross country meet.  This is an annual event that falls on the Thursday after men’s league is completed.  We host this event in order to be a positive partner with the school district.  We don’t make any money during the day but it does give folks from outside our community to see our beautiful golf course.  It’s very impressive watching all the young athletes compete in this event.
Irrigation continues to be on the agenda the past weeks.  I repaired multiple valves and wiring issues around the golf course.  There are only a few small repairs left to complete.  Overall, the irrigation system is working about as well as a person could hope.  All of the areas of poor irrigation coverage have been addressed.  The repair hours have been quite substantial over the past couple of years.
The staff and myself have spent time cleaning sand traps during the mornings when we rake traps.  There have been quite a few rocks that have worked to the surface and contaminated the sand.  We have removed approximately three gallons of rocks from around the golf course.  We will continue to work on this process each week.  The vast majority of rocks have been removed.
We spent some time dragging the parking lot, filling in potholes, and doing the same to the cart paths around the golf course.   The Street Division helped us out by adding road gravel a couple weeks ago.  We will continue to drag the parking lot in order to keep the potholes and other low spots to minimum each week.
Another task has been the removal of sucker branches around a lot of the smaller trees around the golf course.  These branches grow at ground level and show up every year.  It usually takes us a handful of hours to address this issue.  We have also been trimming some of the low hanging branches on the golf course and in Waterway Park.
Our regularly scheduled maintenance practices have taken up the remainder of the work week.  Overall the golf course is in really nice shape as we head into the Labor Day weekend.