WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
GOLF OPERATIONS COMMITTEE MEETING
Date: September 14, 2013
Place: Golf Course Clubhouse
Time: 8:30 am
Commissioners: Chair James Brault, Bryan Abbott, Amy Wolfe
Staff: Wilson, Bowen, Eppelheimer, Matchen, Locke
Topics of Discussion
1) Meeting Called to Order
2) Approval of Minutes
a) July 13, 2013
3) Recognition of Visitors
4) Communications and Correspondence
5) Managers Reports
6) Capital Improvement Projects Review
7) Old Business
8) New Business
1) The meeting was called to order at 8:30 am.
2) The minutes from the July 13, 2013 Committee meeting were approved by general consent.
3) Recognition of Visitors: None
4) Communications and Correspondence: None
5) Under Managers Reports, Assistant Manager Jamie Locke reported the driving range is still doing fairly well and people are even golfing this morning. He added that we are close to 3,000 more golfers this August compared to last August in terms of the driving range so it’s nice to see people are still coming out to the course. However, they are still playing at other courses as well but several of them have indicated they miss playing in Wilmette. In the meantime, lessons are still ongoing, Kim McCombs is conducting quite a few private golf lessons, and the camps will still be playing through September 22.
Jamie also reported he has been meeting with vendors in regard to buying items for next year as well as receiving credits for items he still has in stock. The course currently has 194 followers on Twitter which is a pretty good number and Jamie sent out a “tweet” yesterday for our golf shoe sales. He also met yesterday with a vendor and we will be sending back about 40 pairs of shoes for credit. Staff is also working on the budget right now and starting to put everything together for next year.
Golf Manager Mike Matchen reported that on the driving range we have noticed we have had quite a few golfers from Winnetka but he is not sure if they have closed yet. They also saw a lot of beginners coming out which may mean that they feel more comfortable and not as intimated when there are a lot of regulars on the tee, including more adult beginners which is great.
Jamie stated that when staff had first talked about the Jumbo Bucket of balls we thought no one would ever purchase them but now it appears to be a big seller. The bucket itself holds 150 balls. The regular buckets hold 65 balls and each bucket costs $7 and the Jumbo bucket costs $14. AS a result, Jamie thinks we will continue to do that even after construction. Also when someone charges their fob, they can recharge it for $50 per bucket and this has been working out really well.
Mike reported that the focus remains on the construction activity. He also reported that there is a particular supervisor name Mario Solaz who has worked at Medina and other golf courses and who has also done a great job of finishing up our detail work on the tees, greens and traps. We have also been very fortunate with the weather. The reconstruction crew continues to work mostly 10-hour days and sometimes 11 hours during the week and 8 or 9 hours on Saturdays. They’re currently up to a crew of 27 or 28 people since their prep crews are now on-site preparing all of the areas that we are going to seed. This is also the same crew that did all of the greens before they did all of the drainage. All totaled, they have probably laid more than 14,000 feet of mainline drainage, another 5,000 feet in green drainage, and they’re probably up to 2,000 feet in sand traps.
In regard to irrigation, the 14, 15, 16, 13, 12 and 11 areas have been completed and 10 is almost and will be tested soon. On 14 and 15 everything is seeded with the exception of 15 green which should be done shortly. After that, all of 14 and 15 will be seeded and our crew has been watering them since yesterday morning. The plan is to take the areas around 14 and 15 and all the way around the corner by the flood plain and flood way areas. As a result, they are going to seed those areas first and then do the complete hole since there is potential for that a lot more flooding in that area so we want to get the grass up as soon as possible. We’re also placing matting on all of the slopes in those areas. In addition, all of the bioswales have been completed. Once they finish that stretch we will be going to the green complexes and doing the whole area around the green and out 50 yards. They will then finish those first before going back to the fairways and the roughs around them will be the last thing they do. If we run into bad weather, that’s when we will apply our dormant seeding but we first want to get the green complexes completed.
Also, the 14 green have been rebuilt as are the finishing touches. All the shaping, sand traps, mixes in place, and the 4” of gravel are all being rolled right there. With the bluegrass we have been using we should see germination within a week. Mike added that when he experimented with it the grass germinated within 4 or 5 days which means all 20 of the greens will be the same.
As soon as the Tiny Aces program is over, staff will be spraying Rough Up on that area and then will be overseeded. In the meantime the crew will be working on all of the other ones. Not only will the greens be 8-4 but also they will be all USGA sand-based greens. On 14 and 15 and on any of the fairways, he has taken the fairway traps which challenged the better golfers and will have them make a decision.
Chair Brault asked if we were in line with the budget on this project. Mike replied that considering the weather we are very close and that there have been no major issues or consequences. However, there have been some additions to the irrigation since we had to rip out more than anticipated but we saved money in other areas like drainage. As a result, we are within $1,000 of budget so far.
Chair Brault asked if there had been any change of scope and Mike replied no. Director Wilson asked if there was change made on one tee box that we had talked about before. Mike replied no, just the ones from the contract. Commissioner Abbot asked if there was a project contingency and Mike replied that total was $60,000 and part of that amount was for the straw in the amount of $20,000.
Mike also stated that the major moving of any major drainage work may be done within a week if we have dry weather. They are also spreading the top soil on one of the last locations and that would be followed by finishing the work which takes time in certain areas. The next step would will be to finish off several of the tees and get them ready for seeding starting from the driving range and moving west.
Commissioner Abbott if we were ahead of schedule and Mike replied they are moving along well but we are probably not ahead of schedule in terms of opening. Chair Brault asked if we would be able to get the seed in within the next two or three weeks and Mike replied it would take longer than that to get all of the fairways done since they have to prep them. However, if there are a couple dry weather weeks they should be able to roll through the holes fairly quickly and then start on the green complexes. But then there will still be the fairways to do which also involves the process of prepping them for seed as well as using a couple of machines to clean all of the debris and to make sure it’s draining properly. At that point we can determine where everything stands.
Director Wilson stated he received a phone call from the Executive Director at the Glenview Park District who wanted to expand our current agreement with us in regard to usage of the golf course. It appears he was getting a lot of pressure from one of Glenview’s commissioners who wanted to have free golf when they play at Wilmette. I mentioned to him our commissioners have been paying all summer at his course so they are a little late in asking but we will discuss it. After contacting one of Glenview’s superintendents, we informed Glenview that our commissioners have to pay to be a part of the lottery which then ended the discussion.
6) In regard to Capital Projects, Superintendent Bowen stated that main project is of course the golf course which is ongoing and the numbers are looking good right now. There are also a couple of other projects that are pending and a list of deferral projects. Commissioner Wolfe asked if those projects that are pending will be done this year and Superintendent Bowen replied yes and at the very lease we will be running the pipe for the conduit going to the greens fan. In addition, Mike would also appreciate the addition of the leaf blower since it would result in some labor cost savings.
Chair Brault asked that in terms of our ongoing projects was the $600,000 just a deferral. Superintendent Eppelheimer stated we are a month behind. Superintendent Bowen added that the estimate to complete this year’s budget was a percentage provided by the architect and we don’t expect the total cost to go over that amount although it may fluctuate a bit. Superintendent Eppelheimer stated that we also deferred quite a bit of money for this project and we might not have placed office bills in this account. However, there is a series of documents that we need to have in hand before we release a check.
Chair Brault asked staff if they thought we would still need the fan on 14 and Mike responded yes since what we’re going to do is get the pipe in so that whatever fits into the capital budget we can install. However, we would like to get the pipe in now during construction. Chair Brault asked that if 14 had been redesigned maybe we wouldn’t have had the same problem. Superintendent Bowen stated that the 14 green had not been redone or moved but was re-grassed. Added that it is an older USGA green and is re-grassed but it’s still tucked back into that corner which means when it’s hot and humid, the soil temperature will be higher. Director Wilson the reality is Mike has been the positive benefits of having the fan on #6. Mike added that the fans are ugly but they are not that loud and our golfers love them. However, we don’t need them all over the course and even though we were running them 24/hours a day last summer and there were no complaints from the neighbors.
Director Wilson that also included for the meeting today is that we rearranged the columns in the chart in an attempt to hopefully make the chart more user-friendly and the Committee agreed it was easier to follow.
In regard to deferred projects, Commissioner Abbott if we figured out when they were deferred to. Superintendent Eppelheimer stated that the deferred projects will be shown in the capital plan and Director Wilson added that staff is currently in that process. He added that we have also looked at the five-year capital plan and decided to almost $1 million out of 2014 because if you took all the deferred projects in 2013 and put them on top of 2014 items we were at $3.5 million which meant the target fund balance was never going to be achieved. So we reviewed the numbers and spread the cost around to other years or eliminated them altogether. For example, the standby generators sound like a good idea at the time in case of a facility power outage as was experienced at the ice rink facility. However, when looking at the costs they were significantly higher than originally thought which meant the payback wouldn’t have made economic sense. In addition, the one concept that came out of that was that we should look at purchasing a portable trailer generator so that if there’s another community-wide outage we would then be able to determine who would get the generator.
7) Under Old Business: None
8) Under New Business: None
There being no further discussion, the meeting was adjourned at 8:28 am.
MINUTES APPROVED ON WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2013.