Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Golf Season 2016 in the Rear View Mirror

It has been 2 weeks since we closed doors on the 2016 season. The golf year goes by very quickly and if it wasn't for cell phones with cameras, it might all be forgotten. So without any further explanations, here is the year in review.
Back in March, we hired out some tree pruning and broken branch removal.

We got some Jr muscle from the high school to help in the clean up.
Updates to the clubhouse included this new railing, along with stairs,lighting, plumbing, floor tiling, grille area, kitchen upgrades, parking lot crack sealing and painting, and new HVAC.
We did some fairway expansions on holes 10, 14, and this on 17.
New cart paths were installed at the driving range and on holes 7 and 14. Cart paths were resurfaced on holes 3, 4, 5, 6, 11, and 18.

This fall, we started to open up the area behind 14 green and to the right of 15 tee.
And finally, we got a good start to building the forward tee on hole 2. This picture doesn't show the additional fill that was hauled.  We will let it settle over winter and finish first thing in the spring.

With that, everybody enjoy the off season. I will update this blog when the woodcutters begin their work on holes 14 and 15.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Course Improvements Continue

I apologize. It's been awhile since I've updated the goings on at the course. No excuses, being too busy is part of everybody's life. We all need to put balance in our lives. It is just easier said than done.

We have completed these 9 repair projects around the clubhouse: replaced hand and deck rails on the upper deck, installed drains upstairs in the kitchen and in the Men's bathroom, purchased a new ice machine, purchased a new gas range for the upstairs kitchen ( I need to sell the old one ), corrected all of the lighting in the main clubhouse area, tiled the hallway from the bathrooms to the main area, replaced/repaired all of the outside stairs, purchased a new grille and installed a small patio on the north side of the clubhouse, and we had our parking lot crack sealed and the lower lot striped. All of these items were well needed.

Our last 2 projects are currently under way. We are installing new HVAC on the bar side of the upper level. The current unit is nearly 30 years old. We will plan to upgrade the dinning room side in the near future. The other project is adding 3 new path areas and then remove and install new asphalt to several existing paths. Taylor Paving began on Wednesday and dug in the new paths on the Driving Range Tee, 7th green, and the right on 13 green. They were also able to install the gravel base material before the heavy rains came.
This is the path extension by the green on 7.
This is the path to the right of the 13th green.
This is the wet spot at the beginning of the 2nd fairway. We hauled all of the excavation to raise the area so it will drain naturally. We will bring in some more material to shape a new green tee. Just killing 2 birds with one stone.

Stay tuned for more timely updates, I promise.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Clubhouse Improvements

The golf season is moving along as well as several planned upgrades. Almost all of these improvements will be noticed right away. Back in February and March, we installed drains in the bathrooms and upstairs kitchen to correct some plumbing issues. At that same time, we upgraded all of our inside lighting to ensure all lights work. Before we opened, we replaced the carpeting in the hallway with tile that looks wonderful.

Now that it has warmed up, work was done to outside projects that were indeed needed. The railing on the upstairs deck was removed and a new one installed using aluminum spindles. We have received many compliments.
We finished 3 stair projects. The first one was to remove and cement the top step on the west stairs coming up from the parking lot. A new hand railing will soon be installed there as well. The second project was to replace the steps on the south side of the 10th tee with a new one along with a railing.
The third stair project was the removal and replacement of the stairs going down to the cart staging area. It was completed this week and is outstanding.

We had a small patio built on the north side of the clubhouse so we can grille away from customers. Also included in this was the purchase of a new commercial grille.
Meanwhile, back inside, a new ice machine was installed by Bernicks Pepsi. The old machine will reside in the maintenance building ready to go for backup or on heavy use days. A grille was purchased for the upstairs to replace the old one. Currently the grille is in transit.

And finally, improvements to the lower parking lot were done by crack sealing and line painting for organized car parking.
Overall, the needed repairs and improvements went very smoothly. The new feel will not only add to the customers' experience but the safety aspect was accomplished.

Thursday, April 28, 2016


If you have been able to get out and play, you probably noticed some bronzed colored grass. What this is really, is the turf being mowed at a lower height of cut. Over time, mowing patterns change and edges seem to wander away from normal. In other cases, it is a playability issue as we strive to provide a user friendly approach.

There are several approaches shown here that we expanded to allow greater ball roll toward the green. This also allows a different chipping technique or putting stroke to get on to the green.
                                           This shows us widening the approach to 17.
                                           The back collar is larger on green 6.

We also moved the fairway on 14 to the right of the tree. This gives a bit of forgiveness on tee shots.

 Part of the winter work is still evident as there is a brush pile to the left of the landing area. This will be burnt as soon as the burning restrictions are lifted.
Later in the summer, we will finish cleaning out the remaining brush to the OB stakes and plant grass. Not only will this make the playability better it will also speed up play.

This is a small part of our efforts to make Luck Golf Course the best it can be.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Ready to go

We're waiting on the weather to cooperate so we can begin our golf maintenance. This is one of the few years where we are ready to go but Mother Nature is delaying the beginning. As I write this, the temperature is 10 degrees. Forecast is for 60's by Wednesday and continuing for a while. The equipment is prepped as well as the accessories. There are a few benches in need of fresh paint and I will see to that they get done. As I stated previously, the course is mostly cleaned up. A day or two with the blower and mulching mowers should finalize the clean up. We will begin mowing this week and slowly get back to regular maintenance practises. A little patience this time of year helps as doing nothing to the turf is actually one of the best things when there are extremes in temperatures as we have experienced the past few weeks.

Stretch yourself out and get ready to play!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Final Clean up

With some help from some "Jr. Muscle" aka Luck-Frederic Baseball Team, we were able to remove branches and rake up debris along holes 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8. The boys did a great job for us which lightened up the workload for the maintenance staff.

On Tuesday, 6 "Sr Muscle" volunteers showed up to help our staff clean up the branches along 11, 17, and 18. I would insert pictures here and mention names, but my phone stayed in my pocket and thus the omission. Thanks to Roger Swanson to initiate and lead the charge.

The staff is working diligently to remove the final trees and branches this week despite the not so spring like weather.We will blow off the course and mulch the remaining leaves and branches next week. The course will open tomorrow April 1, no fooling! See you out on the links!

Friday, March 25, 2016

So Close

The title of this blog tells the story of several events that have taken place recently. The snow storm that hit this week was so close to dumping snow on us. Fortunately, we stayed clear of the wrath. But, if it had hit, we would have burned the last of the brush. We will have to wait until green up before that happens now. We may remove it from site or leave it until later. It all depends upon the weather and work load. So close to finishing that project.

We got real close to finishing all of the tree work. There is one oak left of 4 green that will have to wait until next winter. There is a chance that it could fall on the green. With it being soft, even if it does miss the green, a good chance there will be significant holes made. Waiting is our best option. So close again.

We are currently having Cal Haines do the hanging branch removal from several of the trees. These broken branches occurred over the past few storms. When they are on the ground and we will clean them up.
This is the tree behind #1.

Cal is also doing the trimming of several trees along 11. His bucket truck is very turf friendly and is not making any tracks. Now standing on the the 11th tee gives one a feeling of openness.
We will begin the final clean up next week. I have the baseball team out here on Monday for a few hours and on Tuesday I have some "Senior Muscle" coming out to lend a hand. Cal will also start stump grinding. This years project won't be near as big as last year. I'm thinking there are less than 50 to eliminate. The course accessories will come out of storage and after some cleaning and painting, they will be distributed accordingly. We will blow and mow greens, tees, and collars and then be ready to open. Yes, we are so close!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Work On

Good news is that the tree crew will be back to finish all the tree work next week. With the weather warming considerably, I'm thinking they will be working mornings until it is too soft. Cal Haines was able to drop the tree on 18, barely missing the rain shelter. My guys have burnt and cleaned up most of the limbs. I went back to my email from last fall when we toured the course, and I forgot about the tree on 13F to remove. There are also 2 dead oaks left of 17 by the pond that I will have taken down. I'm hoping that Dan Siefert will be able to leave a 6 foot stump on the pine right of 12 green so we can explore the possibility of having a chainsaw carver build us a logo man to oversee all those missed putts! As weather permits, we will get after the clean up and course prep promptly.

There maybe some courses opening in the Cities this weekend but we still have a solid 4-6 inches of snow covering us. I still anticipating opening around April 1. Gwen does start back on Monday and has a lot of things to get ready for the season. The grind continues in the shop and the equipment should be ready to go by then.

The golf season is coming!

Thursday, February 18, 2016


The days are getting longer and the temps have moderated. These are great signs that the end of winter has started. How long will that take? It's different every year. I always plan my winter work to be completed by April 1.

Last week I was able to attend the Golf Industry Show in San Diego. Yes the weather was warm but they did have the air conditioning on for us in the convention center. Over 12,000 people from around the world attended this event. It is always great to renew friendships and catch up with others in the industry. Even casual conversations lead to exchange of ideas and information.
With a large event, one must have a game plan to attack the needs that you are looking for. The first 2 days I spent in the classroom. I listened to talks on DIY Projects including bat house construction which would reduce the mosquito and flying insect problems. There were several short presentations on equipment modifications that could be useful. A longer presentation on Labor Management from The National Golf Course Owners Association was next. There were several management companies that gave their ideas on managing the largest line item of the budget.

The afternoon seminar I attended was The Business of Golf. They presented their ideas on emerging trends in the industry. The #1 trend they see and we are doing a terrible job is promoting women at the golf course. Europe is doing very well with this and we should follow. I highly recommend that we make a better effort in this area. The good news from this seminar is that we are doing the right things to keep our golfers and attract new ones. They are: 1. Great Course Conditioning. 2. Great Customer Service. Gwen and her staff do an amazing job. 3. Priced Right. The Golf Commission has helped in setting the bar to have a great value to their experience. Other tidbits I'll discus later.

The next 2 days were spent on the trade show floor. With over 5 acres of displays, my game plan was to work on our needs. I spent a lot of time with the tee sign and marker folks. By implementing some new accessories will help bring a fresh feel. I also spent time looking at the fairway mowers as this is our #1 priority of equipment needs. The last main focus area was that of irrigation. The need to upgrade our system is great and we need to start gather information to help decide how we proceed. This is a year or two away.

It is always fun to look in all corners of the show to find those unique items that can help out our needs. I'll comment on two that I saw but there were more. First is a product called Vinyl Guard. It is a vinyl product that when heated shrinks to conform to the object. I have used it before and I will buy some this year to cover our rake handles. Instead of replacing handles, simply cover them to look new again. There is a significant cost savings by covering instead of replacing. Second is a hot item that golfers are talking about are Golf Boards. These are individual boards to stand on to travel around the course. They have a handle bar to grab and and to turn you must lean to one side like a snowboard. I was able to test drive one and they are very safe and fun. This could be another avenue to increase revenue. I will be getting a demo this spring and allow golfers to use and get their feedback on the potential use. I will let people know when that happens.

For now, back to the grind stone.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Work Continues

A short walk on the course yesterday yielded the following pictures:

A pile of lumber logs from the 18th tee.
The willows between 17 and 18 are gone. Need to finish burning the brush. We will discuss this summer what trees to plant in this area.
There is still one more oak to remove to the north of the red tee on 18. I should have a much better chance to produce quality turf.

The 4 oaks behind 11 green and the broken white pine to the right will finish the main tree removal. The ob lines on 14 and 15 still need to be cleaned out but should not take too long.There is still plenty of winter left to accomplish our goals. Meanwhile, several brush piles will be cleaned up next week.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

While the Cat's away, the guys keep working

I am coming to you from sunny southern California. Ia m currently attending to some family matters at a time when the weather cooperates in my favor!

While I am gone, the tree cutters have continued their winter work upon snow landscape of the golf course. All the trees that I marked along the left of 2 and right of 8 have been removed and burned. Some minor cleanup will occur in the spring. Yesterday they attacked the trees on 5 and burned the pile that has been there since summer. Their journey will next lead them to left of 14 and left of 15. Their final destinations will be the oaks by the 11th green and red tee on 18, along with the willows between 17 and 18, and end up removing the broken white pine right of 12 green.

Today's technology makes it possible to work remotely with use of smart phones. My guys have made physical contact to assure everything is going fine while I can be tethered via cell phones. Now if I could do this and make sure the reel grinder was still working, I might stay longer.

Pictures to be posted next week when I get back providing I can get re acclimated to winter!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Winter Work

Winter has finally arrived as there were golf courses opened around the Twin Cities as late as the week before Christmas. I kept myself busy in November and December by refurbishing the employee break area in our shop. Everything on the walls was taken off and all lockers were removed and put out in the shop area for painting. The ceiling was scraped and repainted. The walls were washed, repaired, and painted from leftover paint from the clubhouse. The rug was removed but did not paint the floor yet. I had some vacation time to use up so that will wait till next winter. The cabinets were painted and the lockers were repositioned back in place. I had some pictures but they have seemed to disappear from me.

The tree crew was able to make it out for a day last week and begin removing more trees. Our game plan this year is to thin/open up the areas along our boundary lines. They were able to start along the left side of hole 2 and finished up that area. Some brush was burned but still more to clean up.
Next week, after this cold snap, they will venture over to the left side of #8 and continue on with more of the same. Stay warm.