4-1-18

This weather pattern has not been cooperating much to start a golf season.  This will officially be the latest I have opened the golf course in a  long time.  The upcoming days don’t show too much improvement either.  My hope is to open the course for our scheduled tournament next Sunday.
The clubhouse has been open this past week.  We have had a fair amount of people stopping in to pay their fees.  Thursday evening men’s league held their annual meeting this week.  The Wednesday evening men and Tuesday evening ladies will be holding their meetings this upcoming week.
Grounds staff has been busy putting the reels back together on the mowers and working on other equipment.  The majority of the equipment repairs have been completed but there seems to always be small things that need to be addressed.  We will continue to work on equipment this next week.
Pixler Electric was on site most of the week.  They have completed the work in the pumphouse.  The pumphouse was raised two feet as part of the water quality project.  SMU also moved their transformer to higher ground.  This required the building to be rewired from the transformer and throughout the building.
The building was previously removed and concrete forms were set to eliminate the higher pond level from damaging the pumps.  The pumps will continue to set on the pumphouse floor in the same place as prior.   This left the wiring two feet short running to the pumps and made it necessary to replace the wire instead of making a bunch of splices.
The building was placed on the new foundation and soil was added around the surrounds.  I still need to add some sod and seed the area to complete the process.
This coming week I will be meeting with Dave at Golf Ball Country to purchase pro shop items.  We started selling used golf balls last year and it worked out very well.  I am going to add golf shirts and some other options to our inventory.  This will allow us to offer more while costing us much less in overhead.
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3-25-18

This has been a very confusing week for Mother Nature.  The course was getting very close to being ready to open.  The frost levels were down close to 9″ prior to the snow.  The nice rainfall should have driven the frost even deeper even though the snow blankets the turf.  Once the snow melts we should be about ready to golf.
The course is in very nice shape coming out of the winter months.  I toured the golf course a couple of times this past week.  The greens look great and there is no puddling in any low areas.  We have experienced some erosion in some of the water quality improvement areas.  These areas will be cleaned up and sodded once time permits.
Our pumphouse is completed as far as the structure of the building.  A new door and stairway inside the building were completed by DeLoss.  I cleaned and organized the interior of the pumphouse in preparation for Pixler Electric to finish the electrical work.
Also, the plant materials, in the clubhouse landscaping, were all cut back and cleaned up to allow the new spring growth to come through (once the snow melts again).  Staff and myself will be adding mulch to the entire clubhouse surrounds this coming week.
Equipment maintenance has continued to be a work priority at this time.  I have gone through the majority of the equipment making repairs and adjustments for the mowing season.  The new week will also include more equipment maintenance.
I have two seasonal employees starting work on the grounds tomorrow.  We will be able to get a lot of shop work completed as well as outside work later in the week.
The clubhouse and cart sheds will also be opened during daytime hours starting Monday.  We have league meetings starting this Thursday and into next week.  Our liquor license is in effect and inventory is starting to arrive.  It was an exciting week even though the snow put a damper on the mood.
As the years go by in continues to be a creative way of thinking to gain more revenue in the golf industry.  I have already mentioned the fact I’m exploring a golf simulator for the next off season.  I am also looking into the golf course buying a used pool table to give our patrons another recreational option during rain or bad golf days.
The more opportunities we can provide to keep the crowd coming in, the more revenue we will produce.  The key is to gain revenues with minimal expenses.  Both options should lead to a crowd favorite in the clubhouse.
I was also able to complete the controlled burn at the Country Club on Tuesday.  Chief and I were on scene to ensure a safe and effective burn process.  I stayed on site with one truck for most of the day until the pile was down to smoldering.  Ryan Lux was also on site with a loader in case of a need for fire control.  It was an all around positive process.

3-18-18

This past week I was able to attend the annual Golf Course Superintendents Association of South Dakota turf conference.  There is always excellent educational opportunities along with a great trade show to see what is new in the industry.  The networking is also a valuable part of the event.
I was able to discuss financial information with quite a few golf course superintendents.  I am very proud to announce we are one of the very few golf courses that operate at a profit.  I also potentially have our two old fairway units sold to a golf course in Minnesota.  It was a great conference.
The remainder of the week was spent continuing to work on equipment.  There is so many small repairs that need to be completed.  It is very time consuming and doesn’t always feel like there is progress being made.
Unfortunately it appears I have missed my opening date of March 19.  I am still optimistic that we will be playing golf this month.  The course looks very good coming out of the winter months.  Once the frost level goes down I will set an opening date.
Pixler Electric has been on site working inside the pumphouse.  The foundation was raised two feet and the SMU transformer was moved during the water quality project.  This required a new electrical entrance into the building and new lines run to each of the pumps.  They should be finished this coming week.

3-11-18

This past week was another successful week of shop maintenance and preparation for the start of the new golf season.  Part time staff is currently in the process of filling out final paperwork so they are ready for the start of the season.  I might need to discuss the projected opening date if things don’t cooperate soon.
​Equipment maintenance and repairs have been the main focus this past week.  There is always a never ending list of maintenance repairs that build up as the golf season rolls along.  The off season is the time of year to spend a lot of time going through each machine with a “fine tooth comb.”
I am currently replacing all of the hoses, fittings, and nozzles on the sprayer.  This unit treats our fungicide, insecticide, and foliar fertilizer applications for the greens.  It also herbicide and insecticide applications for the remainder of the golf course.  Over time the hoses and nozzles start to wear and accumulate residue which compromises the effectivity of the sprayer.  The new hoses will allow me to receive the most effectiveness from each application.
The clubhouse painting project is also coming to a close.  The original paint scheme has been changed in a few areas in order to tie the entire building together.  I am very happy with the final product and confidant everyone will agree it looks great.
This coming week I will be in Sioux Falls attending the South Dakota turf conference.  This is a great educational opportunity in the classroom and through networking with other professionals in the industry.  We are never too old to learn.

3-4-18

We have entered the month of March and surely we are all ready for the expiration of Old Man Winter.  There will continue to be a lot of snow melt this week prior to the arrival of some fresh flakes early next week.  I am very pleased with the condition of the golf course right now.  The snow cover has helped protect the greens and course the majority of the winter.  Hopefully we will be golfing later this month.  My prediction is March 19 for the opening date.
Pixler Electric was on site to analyze the new foundation of the pumphouse and assess how they will connect the new electrical for the pumps.  The SMU transformer was moved to the SE corner of the pumphouse and the main power line enters on the east side.  Pixler Electric will be back on site next week to complete the work and the pumphouse will be ready to roll when the weather permits.
Ryan Lux and I have continued to work together on equipment this off season.  All the sharpening work has been completed at both courses.  We were able to go through the Toro rough mower and our sprayer this past week.   Replacement parts have been ordered for multiple pieces of equipment.  Once the parts arrive, we will finish the thorough off season maintenance and repair of equipment.
The Fire Chief has been gracious enough to allow a burn permit, to the Country Club, this coming week.  I will take a truck to the site and monitor the controlled burn of their brush pile.  This will take most of the day and we are currently shooting for Wednesday.  This will allow the Club to save quite a bit of money on hauling costs and also be a controlled situation.
I am looking forward to the coming season and the strong working relationship between Ryan and myself.  We have discussed multiple maintenance practices we can complete together at each course.  The end result will be a huge positive for both golf courses.
The automatic withdrawal form has been added to our website.  It can be found as a link on the course schedule page.  There have been a handful of golfers taking advantage of this new payment form.  Also, the Five Year Business Plan has been added as well to provide as much information as possible to the general public.

2-18-18

This past week has been one filled with education.  I am required to complete a certain level of continued education to retain my Class A GCSAA Golf Course Superintendent status.  Fortunately, one of the benefits of this membership is the ability to watch webinars to receive education points.  I am able to choose which videos appeal to my needs and our golf course and watch them for no charge.
I have viewed approximately 1080 minutes of continued education the past few weeks.  These range from bunker management and maintenance to developing quality maintenance program.  There is always something positive to take away from each speaker.  It also allows me to refer to our Business Plan and the Quality Standards Manual.  These are definitely the framework for how our golf course is managed and the cost of doing business in each category of golf course management.
There was also a couple of personal days I missed work in order to complete clinical hours in the Emergency Department at Spencer Municipal Hospital.  This is a requirement for the EMT class I am currently attending.  It was invaluable training time and I am excited to continue moving forward to graduation.  I am currently scheduled to take my National Certification at the end of March.
Tomorrow, I will be back in the shop with Ryan Lux to finish the last little bit of reel sharpening maintenance we have scheduled.  We will also be working on some of the equipment, at both golf facilities, in order to better accomplish our maintenance needs.  This has been a wonderful work relationship and I know we are both excited to expand on the benefits in the future.
This is the end of another week at the golf course (more like classroom this past week).  Please contact me with any questions or comments that might arise.  Have a great day everyone!

2-11-18

It is another frostbite type of morning in NW Iowa.  I would rather have this weather take place now instead of happening in March.  When the golf course is able to open in mid March it helps increase our season pass totals for the season.  If the weather is not favorable until April, there is a noticeable decline in passes.  Bring on the March sunshine!
I spent the past week working with Ryan Lux sharpening reels at the Country Club.  This has been an extremely smooth process for both of us.  I hauled all of my reels to the Country Club and we have worked together sharpening and repairing reels for both golf courses.  We are almost completely done with a job that normally takes more than a month individually.
Our next plan of action is to start working on some of the equipment repairs together.  We are both responsible for our own equipment repair and maintenance which can also become very time consuming.  With two “semi professional” mechanics working together it will make repairs easier and less time consuming.
In the golf department there are many different hats to wear on a daily basis.  I am the business manager, clubhouse supervisor, grounds supervisor, spray technician, irrigation technician, mechanic, public relations director, human resource director, and the list goes on.
When any area of the golf course “breaks down” that becomes my first priority to get it up and running again.  A lot of projects are placed on hold to deal with situations.  It takes a great team to run the golf course successfully.  Ryan and I are going to use one another’s experience to ease the day to day curve balls in 2018.
I updated the website with our 2018 list of events.  There are a few new additions of golf course sponsored events, later in the season, to help boost revenues during this normally slow time of year.  Past events take precedence on reserving the same date annually.  Some of these events might also change in the near future.

1-21-18

The warm weather has left me feeling energetic for the new golf season to approach.  If the weather cooperates we should be hitting golf balls in a couple of months.  I am hopeful for a mid March opening date.  Time will only tell.
Ryan Lux and I agreed to work on our equipment together this off season.  This past week we completed the sharpening process on 32 of my 37 reels.  This process consists of sharpening each blade on the reel (the reels have between 8 and 14 blades), adjusting the cut, and setting the height of cut on each reel.
The sharpening process consists of mounting the reel on a machine with everything being level.  You run the grinder across each individual blade until you create a new sharp edge.  The bedknife is the part the reel spins against creating the cutting process.  This bed bar is sharpened on a separate machine with a horizontal grinding stone.
When you put the reel back together, it spins lightly with an even cut all the way across the bedknife.  There is adjustment knobs on the reel that help move both sides to the correct position.  Once it is precisely set, you can cut a piece of paper across the entire spinning reel.
The height of cut is different for all types of mowers.  I set the green mowers at 3mm, tee reels are 8mm, and fairway units are 14.5mm.  A digital measuring device allows me to create the exact same height across each and every blade.  Now they are ready for the mowing season.
We started the process on Ryan’s reels on Friday.  We will have limited time this upcoming week but plan on completing his reels in a very timely manner.  This process usually takes us both about a month to complete it alone.  Less than one week was spent to complete my reels and the same amount of time will be necessary for Ryan’s reels.
This coming week, I will be working on finishing my last five reels and begin setup for Ryan’s reels.  I will also be working an EMT shift at the fire station on Monday and a 12 hour shift of clinicals at the emergency room.
I completed the 2018 Five Year Business Plan and assembled my first copy Friday evening.  I will make enough copies for the mayor, golf board, city council, staff, and other interested parties.

1-14-18

One more week of winter is in the books and we are moving toward the golf season.  I feel pretty comfortable with the moisture on the golf greens at this point of the off season.  The small amount of snowfall along with slowly melting snow has left me feeling much more comfortable than last week.
This week I was able to complete the maintenance program on two sets of tee mowers and two sets of green mowers.  These four units all remain in high quality condition and will function in the inventory for many years.
I met with Ryan Lux, at the Country Club, to discuss our reel sharpening programs for this off season.  We have decided to work together and sharpen the reels for both golf courses together.  This will make the process run very smoothly as well as speed up the process.  We are also going to work together for any large maintenance repairs on equipment for both courses.
The 2018/19 budget has been completed with the exception of a couple insurance line items.  Once these figures are provided I will put the new 2018 five year business plan in print for the council, golf board, and city staff.  The golf course is looking at a 1% increase in the budget with no scheduled rate increases.
I am currently researching golf simulators to potentially purchase one unit for the 2018 off season.  This would allow us to create a golf league, during the winter months and increase our revenue dollars.  I am still working on the numbers to make sure this would be profitable for the course.
As I have previously mentioned, I am currently taking an EMT class at Iowa Lakes Community College.  This will place me on call with the fire station for first responder calls as well as a volunteer firefighter.  I was able to spend some time, running some EMT shifts, at the fire station.  It is at times an overwhelming experience but I am looking forward to passing my national certification.