5-21-17

The past few days have come to a complete halt in the revenue category for the golf course.  The cold wet weather has made it impossible to operate as normal.  I am sure I am not the only one who is tired of the rain and 40 degree weather.  It has been very disappointing since the first half of the month was so positive and we were getting back on track.
The budget is currently at a break even point.  As of Mat 17th, the revenues were at 321,248 and the expenses were 320,183.  These expenses are right on track in accordance to last year.  The revenues are well behind last year’s pace.  Hopefully the remainder of the month will be successful.
The tile issue on #16 green surrounds and the Stoney Brook housing is still at a stand still.  I have reached out to a different contractor to help us resolve the issue.  Matt Hagedorn has agreed to look at the problem and see what he can do to resolve it.  I will keep you posted on the progress.
There have been several irrigation issues that have mostly been resolved.  I blow the irrigation system out each fall spending extra time on every station to remove all the water from each line.  This past winter with all the freezing and thawing along with many rainfalls, unfortunately the standing water flowed through the irrigation heads back into the lateral lines.  This caused a lot of broken irrigation lines in low areas.  We are currently down to one leak, on 16 tee, remaining to repair.
The shelter on number five tee area was knocked down earlier this week.  It was becoming a safety issue and I felt taking it to the ground was the best alternative at this time.  The only part remaining is the roof.  I will explore new options in the upcoming days.
Out Trees for Kids grant was successful this past Monday.  I completed the paperwork to complete the grant and sent it in to Laura Wagner at the Iowa DNR.  I am very happy with the addition of 103 new trees to the golf course.  Between the Trees Forever and Trees for Kids grant, we added a total of 14 different tree varieties to the golf course.  They will be a beautiful addition.  One positive, they have not needed water these past few days.
Monday will be a very busy start to the week.  As the temperatures rise again, we will be hard pressed to catch up on our mowing.  I also plan on spending a day spraying the remainder of the broad leaf weeds on the course.

4-16-17

What a beautiful week at the golf course.  We dodged the major thunderstorms yesterday and still received some excellent rainfall.  The golf course has erupted with green grass growing everywhere.  I cannot believe how fast the grass is growing even with the lower soil temperatures.
Everything is really shaping up around the course as we move deeper into the spring calendar.  The ice damaged areas are starting to slowly recover and eventually will be in good shape.  There might be some light overseeding in areas but for the most part I am very happy with the progress.
The irrigation system is up and running.  We made some small repairs and also completed the work in the pumphouse.  I have made it through the majority of the stations and see minimal issues.  I knock on wood as I speak those words.
We completed some sod work on hole #12 and between the clubhouse and practice green.  Number 12 was the result of a bad irrigation leak late last fall.  The clubhouse surrounds was due to heavy cart traffic outside the east door.  I plan on eliminating cart traffic in this area to prevent future damage.
The largest part of our work week has been mowing.  The fairways, greens, tees, collars, rough, etc. have all been mowed.  We covered the fairways twice this past week.  The greens have been mowed multiple times and are getting closer to the daily mowing schedule.  Tees are being mowed once or twice a week right now.  And the rough is starting to take off and will require more attention.
Several upcoming projects will be addressing the appearance of the south shelter, mink and muskrat damage east of number five green, tile issues on number 12, and tile issues on number 16 green surrounds.
That should do it for another week at the old golf course.  Please stop by and say hello sometime.

4-23-17

Our current budget numbers show the expenses slightly lower than last year at the same time.  Our revenues are quite a bit lower in comparison to last year.  The main reason being, the golf course opened March 10 last year and we were extremely busy that entire month.  The later the golf course opens has a very strong influence on the bottom line.  I am confidant the golf course will finish the current budget in good shape.
The week started with a lot of rainfall which left the golf course extremely saturated.  This created difficult maintenance schedules to get caught up on all our practices.  A lot of late evening mowing and sometimes even headlights were involved but we survived.
With the wet conditions we really see areas where tile is an issue around the golf course.  The situation on #16 is still in the works for a repair solution.  Denny Stevenson was on site Thursday to begin the process.  I will keep you posted as the process moves forward.
The other bad tile area is in front of #12 green.  This is a result of a tile being compromised during the construction process and it finally came to surface.  The tile has not stopped running for over a year.  instead of setting pylons out we constructed a landscaping waterfall to clean the area a bit.  It is definitely not the solution but it will work until the problem can be addressed properly.

4-30-17

The weather has really put a damper on the 2017 golf season.  In comparison to 2016, our revenues are down a little over $20,000.  On a positive note, expenses are down about $12,000 this season.  As everyone knows, the weather is the one piece of the puzzle we have no control over when it comes to golf course revenues.  I am confident we will finish the last two months of the budget on a strong note.
​We were able to mow the majority of the golf course the first couple of days this week.  Then the weather made it difficult to complete a lot of outdoor activities.  So, we moved to interior projects.  These included cleaning and organizing the clubhouse office, maintenance shed, and shop area.
Our equipment lift was moved to the south half of the shop floor.  This allows us to utilize the entire shop area in a more effective manner.  We also went through the entire shop inventory and completed some inventory control.  The guys caught me in a week moment and I agreed to throw out more garbage than my mind normally would allow.
All in all the cleaning process was a huge success.  It almost feels like we moved into a new house.  Now we will do our best to keep everything organized and clean as we move forward into the golf season.
Monday does not appear to be much of a change in this weather pattern.  I plan on addressing the cart traffic between the clubhouse and practice green by planting ornamental grasses along the cart paths.  This will give us an attractive as well as affective solution.  We will cut back some of the yardage grasses on the course so there will be no expense for this project.
It looks like Tuesday will bring us some favorable golf weather.  Our men’s golf leagues will be starting this coming week.  I hope the weather cooperates and we can kick off the leagues with a bang.  Part time staff is all in place and we are ready for some busy days at the golf course.

5-17-17

The Trees for Kids grant and Trees Forever grant have both been completed.  Volunteers helped plant trees on Saturday morning and the Trees for Kids was completed Monday afternoon.  There were six middle school students, 28 high school students, four golf course employees, three teachers, and Laura Wagner (Iowa DNR).
This project went pretty smoothly considering it is the end of the school year and the students were pretty amped up.  And by excited I am not referring to planting trees.  They did a good job and we finished the project in relatively good time.
Staff has been watering all the new trees, 103 total, on a daily basis.  There still needs to be more mulch applied to some of the trees we planted on Monday.  We ran out and had no time to get another pallet load.
These 103 trees consisted of 14 different varieties, of which six are varieties we did not currently have on the course.  So, we have increased the overall total number of varieties we have in our inventory.  A diverse inventory will help with future insect threats to the ash and maple trees.
The tile issue continues to be building on the 16th green surrounds.  I am still waiting on Denny Stevenson.  His health has not been well and I really hate to constantly bother him about the topic.  I plan on touching base in the morning if I hear nothing today.  I will keep you posted.
Lastly, our shelter near the 5th tee has become a safety concern.  After evaluating the condition and the severity of the safety issue, with Mark White, I have decided to remove the structure.  We will be dropping the shelter tomorrow and plan for removal as time allows.
I will start the planning stages for a new structure which will be completed as time allows.  The new shelter will be smaller and also consist of a bar area for us to use during tournaments.  I will seek volunteers to help with the construction process.
It has only been a couple of days, but as I said there is a lot going on out here at the muni.  The predicted thunderstorms will only make it more challenging to get caught up prior to the weekend.  Fun in the sun sounds more like it.
Have a great week friends!

5-14-17

What a crazy week it has been.  The weather has been beautiful, the golf course very busy, and the days are going by quickly.  In the words of the great Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it!”
We hosted 81 senior golfers on Monday.  This was a very nice turnout for the Lakes area group.  We fed them a light lunch at 11:00 which was followed by golf at noon.  They were pleased with the meal I cooked and were very complimentary about the golf course.  First day of the week in the books.
I have about six irrigation leaks that are wreaking havoc with my patience.  Several have been repaired but there are still a few remaining.  I have been able to irrigate the golf course on a nightly basis, however.  Several of the problem areas are not on the main line so these areas are bypassed nightly.  Early morning irrigation cycles has allowed me to keep the greens and tees satisfied with moisture.
The greens are really starting to come around.  I was able to fertilize greens, with a granular 18-9-18 fertilizer mid morning Wednesday.  This was a great application that is starting to create a very healthy green surface for the golfers.  Very happy about that being completed.  I followed the application with ten minutes of water on each green.
The dandelion population is out of control this year.  I am sure I don’t need to mention that to anybody.  I was able to spray for eight hours on Friday from early morning until early afternoon.  I covered all the rough on the perimeter of the golf course that is bordering housing.  These areas include from 14 green, clockwise around to twelve tees.  Approximately 54 acres were treated.  Believe me there is still a long way to go, but I will keep plugging away.
I met with Denny Stevenson mid week to discuss the tile issues on 16 green and 17 tee surrounds.  After the locates were all complete we decided to start this process Monday morning.  The plan is for him to be on site and we start the process of finding the problem.  He has not been feeling well which has slowed the work.  Wish us well please…..
The Trees Forever tree grant came to fruition on Saturday morning.   I labeled each tree, according to our master tree plan, and drilled the holes late in the day on Friday and picked up the trees in preparation for planting the following morning.  It worked out very nicely.
There was a small turnout of volunteers to help plant the 53 trees supplied with the grant.  It went very smoothly and we were finished after about an hour and 45 minutes from start time.  I would like to give a huge thank you to Delray for helping the golf secure the Trees Forever grant.  It was a very nice addition to our beautiful golf course.
On Monday, we will be having another tree planting made possible through the Iowa DNR and Trees for Kids.  There will be 50 more trees planted mid afternoon with support from middle school and high school students, along with adult volunteers.

4-9-17

The weather has been so nice and traffic is picking up at the muni.  There has been a steady flow of golfers coming and going each day.  The season passes and cart fees have been steady each day as well.  Things are looking good right now.
Our golf course came through the winter very nicely.  However, there is turf where ice damage occurred during the crazy winter months.  It will be interesting to see how these areas react to warm weather and rainfall.  We will most likely need to do a bit of overseeding in some spots.
The past week included assembling the pump house and charging the irrigation system.  I was able to water the greens very early Saturday morning.  One of the foot valves, in the pump house, has an issue that will be further investigated on Monday.  There are a few other small issues that need to be addressed but overall irrigation system is functioning well.
I attended the pre construction meeting with Barry DeLoss Construction and all other involved parties on April 4.  The retention pond, east of the golf course, will begin in mid May.  Some of this fill material will be stockpiled on the south end of the golf course.  We will use this material to construct the berms on holes #5 and #11.
DeLoss will be on site in the fall to complete the drainage, tile, and retention work around the golf course pond.  I will coordinate the time frame to be as least disruptive to our golfing patrons as possible.  I will keep you informed as I know more about this project.
Lastly, I am exploring the standing water area around #16 green and #17 tees.  There is a lot of old farm tile that flows through the Stoney Brook development and onto the golf course.
Years ago, I had Denny Stevenson on site to repair some damaged tile and add the drains by #17 tees.  Mark White has helped steer me in the right direction to try and remedy this situation the best possible way.  Currently, I am waiting to have Denny Stevenson visit the golf course to get his professional opinion.  My staff and I are willing to help with the labor portion of the project.
It has been another busy week at the golf course.  They continue to go by so fast.  I guess sometimes a person needs to slow things down a bit in order to enjoy everything around them.  Take some time today to enjoy everything you love in this world.  Have a great day!

4-2-17

The golf course traffic has picked up this weekend.  There was a lot of golf played yesterday and many individuals stopping into the clubhouse to pay their fees.  All of our rates and fees are posted on our website http://www.spencermunigolf.com.  Things are picking up and hopefully the weather remains friendly.
With the opening comes all the part time staff hired for the season.  There are quite a few part time staff that return year after year and I thank each of them for their hard work and commitment to the success of the golf course.  This season there are several new faces hired in the clubhouse.  I welcome each of them to the team!
The return of staff also means time to train each individual upon their arrival to work.  There are some new procedures this year, which takes a little adjustment.  Each employee is trained on the job description, day to day activities, safety issues, and expectations.  The goal is to provide a great golf experience to our customers in a safe work environment.
As the golfers stop in to pay their fees and fill out paperwork, it provides me with their information to update onto 2017 spreadsheets.  I track every type of seasonal fee on a Google spreadsheet along with contact information.  This is a timely process but it allows the golf course to keep contact information up to date.
Grounds work has consisted of mowing greens, repairing traps, changing cups, placing amenity items on the course, and finishing equipment maintenance.  It is such an exciting feeling to be out on the course preparing for the daily activity.
The extended forecast looks very nice.  This should keep the traffic level at a constant.  Training staff will continue this following week along with additional mowing practices.  The irrigation system will be charged for the season as well.

3-26-17

The time has come and the golf course has opened for the season.  Only to have Mother Nature switch up the weather forecast.  Temperatures predicted to be in the low 50’s ended up quite shy of that goal.  There were a few golfers this weekend and people were able to start paying fees.  So, I will still call it a positive start to the golf season.
Part time staff is beginning to enter the work schedule and I am continuing to receive a lot of new applicants.  I think the clubhouse will be in very good shape as far as quality employees go.  I plan on handling the managerial duties in the clubhouse and setting the work schedule each week.
The golf course has changed the procedure for making deposits each night.  I have been working with staff to make the transition successful.  The golf course will also be switching to a POS (point of sale) system in the next two weeks.  This will allow inventory and sales to be documented at a higher level.
I am almost finished creating a spreadsheet of pricing for every detail in the clubhouse.  This has been time consuming and is the most tedious part to the POS transition.  I will email this information today or tomorrow and the company will start things on their end.
The golf course pays a monthly fee for the system.  In return we have 24 hour seven day a week customer support and higher success rate of revenue tracking.  It should be up and running in a couple of weeks.
SMGC has successfully received two tree grants for the spring of 2017.  The first is through Trees Forever and the second the Iowa DNR Trees for Kids grant.  I have been working with Delray on both of these grants and I appreciate his help in making these a success.  I will need volunteers for both dates.
Trees Forever is funded through Black Hills Energy and SMU.  There will be a short presentation during this event and we will plant approximately 50 trees.  I am working on this flier right now with the help of Delray’s past success.  It will most likely be at the end of April to support Earth Day.
Trees for Kids will add 44 trees to the golf course property.  This will also include a presentation by the Iowa DNR and needs to include youth volunteers to honor the grant.  This coming week I will reach out to the athletic director to see if there are approximately 50 high school athletes that could help, in early May, with the tree planting.  The youth volunteers are critical in meeting the criteria of this grant.
The weather looks like it is on the upswing starting tomorrow.  This will bring more traffic to the golf course and really get things moving for us.  I am excited to see people out golfing again and working toward another successful year at the golf course.
Last week the condition of the SE shelter was brought to my attention.  I have inquired if there is any interest from the Boy Scouts to complete an Eagle Scout project to replace the current shelter.  There is repair work that needs to be completed early this spring.
The current shelter does lean to the east slightly and needs a few boards replaced.  The integrity of the shelter is still strong.  The wet soil has caused the concrete foundation to shift over the years.  I will address any work to be completed very soon.

3-19-17

Hopefully this past week is the end of the winter weather.  The golf course looks great and once things dry out a bit we will be ready to go golfing.  The clubhouse will be open later in the upcoming week.  The parking lot needs to dry out some before we open the doors to customers.
I have continued to work on refurbishing the aluminum cups and working on equipment.  I finished sharpening one of the fairway units and making repairs to the rollers.  Several bearings were replaced and some other small details completed.  Equipment maintenance is a constant process.  Proper maintenance programs will focus on preventative maintenance and not just corrective.
There has been a lot of painting completed in the clubhouse.  This process consists of touch up painting to keep everything fresh and new in appearance.  Obviously we have a beautiful clubhouse and my goal is to always keep it that way.
A lot of the part time staff have completed their paperwork and all other necessary steps are being covered in preparation of opening.  There will be new staff training in the clubhouse this upcoming week.  A few new faces will be in the clubhouse along with the majority of past staff.  I am excited to get things rolling!