9-9-18

Another week starting off with plenty of rainfall causing a saturated golf course for another week.  There was no possibility of any mowing practices until Wednesday.  We spent a lot of late hours getting the course under control by the end of the week.
Wednesday was very wet as rough units drove through the wet turf trying to get the tall grass cut.  Thursday we double mowed fairways to get them back under control.  By Saturday, the golf course was in better playing condition, after everything had been mowed.  The course still was plenty wet.
The 17th green was overseeded a couple of weeks ago.  We have only mowed the center portion of this green since the overseeding.  The grass has been filling in nicely with the aid on continued hand topdressing.  Saturday morning, the 17th green was mowed back to the regular boundary, excluding the back right corner.  I’m pleased with the progress this area is making.
We have completed a lot of sodding in traffic areas the past two weeks.  This heavy rainfall has once again created more cart damage around the golf course.  These areas will continue to be repaired and sodded as we move into the coming week.  The revenue we gained far exceeds the expense of labor repairing these spots.
The first of the seven new advertising sponsors was installed this week.  There were business advertisements, on our tee signs, where the business is no longer in operation.  These holes have been sold to local businesses and will be installed by the end of the year.  Here is the first advertisement plaque installed on hole 15:
The yardage markers, on all four sets of tees per hole, are nearing the end of the refurbishing process.  Fifteen of the 18 holes have been completed here is a picture of the majority of the tee markers that have been finished:
The annual police outing was rained out Tuesday morning.  This event is postponed until Monday, September 24.  One of our biggest golf events is taking place this morning.  We have close to 150 golfers playing today.  The weather looks perfect for a fabulous day of golf and a solid day of revenues.
At the beginning of the upcoming week, I will be moving five oak trees from the entrance to the Spencer Soccer Complex.  These trees are currently blocking the soccer sign and have been requested to be removed.  I have touched base with all parties involved, locates are clear, and the trees will be moved when the school traffic is at a minimum.

9-2-18

The week started off with rain hitting us Monday afternoon and most of the day Tuesday and finished with rain today.  This really put us behind on our mowing schedules, but it also gave me time to do a lot of equipment work in the shop.  Equipment repairs continue to join the long list of everything that needs to be done.
I spent all day Tuesday working on equipment repairs.  The head mechanic, from Van Wall Turf in Omaha, was on site to help me with some repairs to one of the John Deere 1600’s.  The other unit was sent back to Omaha to complete the repairs necessary.
It was a very educational morning, Tuesday, learning a lot of preventative maintenance.  I also learned how to troubleshoot the computer on these John Deere units.  Going through a lot of the smaller repair processes was really helpful to gain a thorough understanding of things to look for and how to make repairs.
An extremely wet golf season has left us with quite a few damaged areas in the roughs and fairways.  Cart traffic, going through low areas where water is constantly puddling, has created quite a mess.  We did a lot of hand work followed by adding sod to fairway and rough areas around the golf course.  These areas are currently flagged to try and eliminate cart traffic damaging the repair work completed.
Early in the week several greens were spiked multiple times, overseeded, then top dressed to begin the recovery process in the winter kill areas.  Obviously #17 green is the most damaged and only the center of the green will be mowed to green height.  The remainder of the green will be allowed to grow so the new grass will establish and fill in the damaged areas.  I am very happy with the progress this green is making.
The tiling project, on #16 green surrounds, is still on hold.  The rainfall has put the contractor behind schedule on another project.  Once time allows, he will be on site to complete this work.  He and I are both optimistic this will eliminate the standing water issue in this area.
There are currently seven advertising spots, on our granite tee markers, of businesses that no longer exist in our area.  This advertising was sold, during the construction phase of the golf course, to cover expenses on all amenity items for each individual hole.  In the past couple weeks, all of these advertings have been sold to six local businesses.  I am thrilled to have these businesses become a part of SMGC moving into the future.
The golf course has made a lot of progress, this past week, considering the difficulties Mother Nature continues to throw at us each week.  I am thankful for the hard work of the grounds staff and the continuous dedication by our clubhouse staff.  We are very fortunate to have staff that genuinely care about this golf course and the work they do each day.  The pride definitely shows in their work.  Thank you staff.
That is a wrap on another week at the muni.  Please contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns.  If there are people with questions, or just wondering “why?” please direct them in my direction.  I am always available to listen or provide people with information to the best of my ability.

8-26-18

This past week I continued to work on the irrigation system wire connections in the valve boxes.  I was able to complete three entire holes.  There are four connections in every valve box including the main electrical source, the decoder, and the solenoid.  The computer sends a current to the decoder on a specific valve which sends a current to the solenoid, which pops open the valve and the irrigation heads throw water.
The majority of the old DBR’s (this is the tube that seals around the wire connection)  are filled with water inside where the wire connection is supposed to be protected.  This causes the wire shortage once the computer sends the signal to the decoder.  It is a lengthy and time consuming process but I will make it through all the valve boxes by the end of the season.
The 17th green has almost 400 plugs added in the poor winter kill areas.  We have continued to topdress this green every few days during the week.  The topdressing helps give the bentgrass something to grow into and eventually cover the bare areas.  This coming week we will be spiking this green multiple times followed by an overseeding.  We will then top dress the green again.  We will not mow this green for a while in order to allow the new seed to establish.
We have also continued to topdress the collars on several other holes.  The worst area is number eleven on the back side.  This coming week, this area will be removed with a sod cutter and new sod will be cut from our chipping green and placed in this area.  We will address some of the other collar areas as well.
There are a number of beaten up areas, from cart traffic going through standing water during the season.  Staff and I will be addressing these areas in the upcoming week as well.  We will cut sod off the practice tee to fill in the damaged spots.
Crabgrass has been a major problem this season.  I will be spraying tee boxes and some of the worst fairway areas this next week.  A broadleaf herbicide will also be added to the tank to control other weeds present in these areas.
Another project we have started is the refurbishing of the yardage markers on the tee boxes.  We have removed the markers on five holes and brought them into the clubhouse.  They are cleaned, the old paint is stripped, and the correct lithochrome paint is applied to give them a brand new appearance.  Once completed, they will be returned to the appropriate tee box, placed at ground level, and sand added around the perimeter.  This will give them a beautiful new sharp looking appearance.
Equipment repairs have been plentiful these past several weeks.  There has been so many repairs necessary it has made it very difficult for us to stay on top of the mowing patterns.  It has also kept me in the shop playing the role of mechanic a lot more than I would like to play.  We have pushed through and the majority of the equipment is operating again.  We still have a couple of rough units that need some work.
There have been several complaints from some of our golfers at the course.  If you have phone calls or conversations with people please ask them to call me so I can provide them with the proper information.  These email updates are meant to inform each of you of what is going on at the golf course each week.  If you don’t know the answer to someone’s concerns please direct them my way.  I am more than happy to have a conversation with our golfing public rather than let them speculate.

8-19-18

The end of the men’s golf league season is upon us at the muni.  Today is the Wednesday and Thursday men’s league golf tournament.  The weather looks pleasant for the day and good times should be had by everyone.
We have hosted several golf outings this month and the weather has been great for all of them.  Yesterday we hosted the American Legion golf outing with 72 golfers participating.  It was a great day for golf and the outing went great.  We even had the greatest shotgun start in the history of golf events:
The past week we have continued to work on hand topdressing areas on the greens and collars.  We have also added 300 plugs to the 17th green to fill in some of the poor areas of turf.  I have seen a lot of progress in these areas and am eagerly awaiting the overseeding process coming up at the end of the month.
I continued to work on irrigation repairs this past week.  To date, almost 1/3 of the valve boxes have been addressed.  It is very time consuming, especially since there are 300 valve boxes to tend to on the course.  This will be a continued process as the year moves along.  I plan to have all the connections redone in every valve box by the end of the season.
Equipment issues have continued to be the main topic this week.  All three of our rough units have been down and need parts ordered.  It really put us in a bind.  Thankfully Ryan borrowed two rough units to us for the weekend.  Tiffany and I mowed rough all day, on Saturday, to get everything cleaned up for the busy golf schedule.  We are touching up a few other areas today before we return the mowers to Ryan.  I’m glad we have a great working relationship between us.

8-12-18

The golf course irrigation electrical repairs have continued during the entire past week.  I was able to get through 71 valve boxes making new connections and installing new tubing.  There have been boxes with broken valves, bad solenoids, and dead decoders.  These 71 valve boxes represent the worst areas on the course.  The irrigation system has been running close to zero issues this week.
We started plugging some of the bad areas on #17 green.  This process will continue this upcoming week.  In the next couple of weeks this green will be aerified and overseeded.  We will also continue to hand topdress the greens and collars.
We had a very successful golf outing on Saturday and are just getting ready to start our annual Special Olympics golf event.  The Special Olympics event is one of my favorite golf outings of the year.  I have participated in this event for the past five years.  It is a very rewarding day.
The pond on number ten has been treated, throughout the season, with copper sulphate to control the algae problem.  The past couple of months have been prime algae growing weather.  The pond is currently clear and I will continue to treat it as we move into the fall months.

8-9-18

I have worked solely on the irrigation system every day this week.  There are approximately 300 valve boxes on the course, with control valves inside.  These boxes hold the valve, solenoid, decoder, and the wire connections.  I have completely gone through 51 valve boxes replacing all the connections, installing new tubing, replacing damaged valves, solenoids, and decoders.
The tubing, which houses thest the connections, has a petroleum jelly inside to protect these connectors from water.  The old tubing has dried up and the groundwater penetrates the tubing, which is unprotected, and shorts out the station.  The system passes the electrical test, on the computer, which consists of a short electrical charge to the decoder.  When the computer turns on the station, during the night, the electrical charge is constant and shorts out because of the water.
I’m very happy to have completed the most severe problem areas on the course.

  I irrigated the course heavily last night and only one valve failed.  This caused a lot of standing water in front of 17 green.  Everything else worked great.  Today, I have continued to work on the system.  I’m starting at hole number one and replacing every connection in each valve box.
There are so many other areas of the golf course that require my day to day attention, so the connection replacement will be done as time permits.  The major repairs have all been completed and the new connections will be completed by the end of the season.
Our 17th green is improving quite a bit from all the hand topdressing.  We are going to start plugging the worst areas tomorrow.  With the continuous topdressing and plugging the green will continue to heal at a good rate.  The greens will be aerified and overseeded later this month.
Matt Hagedorn and I are planning on getting together tomorrow (Friday) to discuss the tiling issues on 16 green surrounds.  I would like to add new tiling through the entire area to eliminate the ground water issue.  Since he is the professional, I am anxious to hear what his proposed solution will be for the area.

8-7-18

Here is what I have been dealing with running the irrigation system.  The water table is so high, the valve boxes are full of water. The water penetrates the old direct burial tubing and shorts out the connection. It will pass when I run the electrical test but fails when the station turns on from the computer. The only way to find the electrical issues is to go through each individual valve box.  There are approximately 300 valve boxes on the course.  I’m going through the wettest fairways starting this morning and replacing all the connections and installing new direct burial tubing.  I have made it through 14 valve boxes so far today.  There are four connections in every box.  Of the valve boxes gone through this morning, three were completely fried and are now working.  I hope to complete six holes this week.  It’s time consuming but will take care of the issues.
Once the irrigation system repairs have been completed, we will start plugging and sodding the bad areas on greens and collars.  This will be followed by aerifying and over seeding in a couple of weeks.

8-5-18

The rainfall, the past few days, has really been a blessing.  Irrigation issues have made it very difficult to apply an adequate amount of irrigation to the course.  I have repaired several of these electrical issues as well as the main line on hole 17.  All of these issues have been addressed in the last couple of emails I have sent out this past week.  Below is a link, for you reading pleasure, from the state explaining turfgrass conditions.  Simply copy and paste in your web browser.
Repair of the irrigation system will consist of going through station by station, hole by hole, replacing the connections and new direct bury grease tubes.  The old tubes are allowing water in and shorting out the connections.  This will be a time consuming process but needs to be done to correct the electrical issues.
I have received new lithichrome paint to touch up all the yardage markers and tee signs.  This is a special paint used for granite markers.  The stone will be cleaned with glass cleaner, dried, and the new paint applied.  This is much needed as these markers have received a lot of wear over the years.  This project will start sometime this fall.
Starting at the end of August, we should have the online form completed to allow people to sign up for automatic withdrawal for ten months to pay their 2019 passes.  This option will allow our golfers to make monthly payments at an affordable rate.
Lastly, I will be ordering the new golf simulator this coming week.  It should arrive the following week and we can begin the setup process.  I’m very excited to have this new option for our golfers.  It should be a huge success for the golf course.

8-1-18

The golf course experienced a serious irrigation problem early this morning on hole #17.  The main line going down the fairway blew out and has created quite a mess.  The staff and I have spent the majority of the day trying to repair this issue.  I hope to have the repair completed late this evening.  There is a possibility I will be without water for tonight.
The irrigation system continues to be very problematic on a daily basis.  There are also lots of electrical issues affecting several of our fairways.  The system is 20 years old and the electrical connections and plastic coverings continue to leak groundwater into them and create a short.  The solution is to replace all of these connections.  This will also be a time consuming process.
Right now my main focus is to keep our greens and tees adequately watered and try to maintain the other holes not experiencing electrical issues.  It is very stressful for staff as well as the turfgrass.  The heavy precipitation, the first half of the year, has created a very shallow root system in the turfgrass.  This places the plant under a lot of stress under normal conditions.  With the irrigation issues, it is so stressful on the plant that it goes into dormancy quicker than normal.

7-30-18

The irrigation system continues to be a challenge as does the stressed turf from all the flooding and saturated soils.  There are many electrical issues that keep arising due to so many valve boxes filled with water.  The majority of these issues happen on number three, five, six, and ten fairways.  Valve boxes are filled with water on all of these holes and periodically short out the irrigation system.  The only real solution is to go through every box, on the course, and replace all the wire nuts and protective tubing.  This is my planned project for this fall.
These same fairways are the most stressed from the high moisture content all year long.  The constant rains have stressed the turfgrass and also left the root systems very shallow.  There has been plenty of moisture in the soil so the root system has not expanded leaving the plant very vulnerable for stress.  The latest fertilizer application will help alleviate some of this issue, but it will take a little time.
With all the irrigation problems, it creates a lot of manual operating of the irrigation system during the night hours.  Last night I was able to get this pump up and running to about 80%.  I have spent more time running through stations manually, due to electrical issues.  I feel just about as stressed out as the turfgrass with weather patterns for this season followed by nonstop irrigation issues since opening day.  It has been a long year and hopefully there are good days ahead.