Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Employee Spotlight: John Temme

Superintendent John Temme is a West Des Moines native and graduate of Valley High School.  He began his golf career as a teenager working at Willow Creek Golf Course.  John then attended the University of Kansas where he earned a degree in History.  He followed his studies in Kansas with a degree from Iowa State University in Horticulture.  During his college years John worked at Alvamar Country Club in Lawrence, Kansas and at Glen Oaks Country Club in West Des Moines. 

After college John worked as assistant superintendent at Loch Lloyd Country Club in Kansas city.  John has been working at Wakonda Club since 1998.  He started as the assistant superintendent under Dave Radaj and was promoted to superintendent in 2000.

John resides in rural Cumming with his wife of 15 years Megan, sons Jack (9) and Charlie (6), and dog Norman.  John enjoys Jayhawks Basketball, attending his sons' soccer games, and bird hunting with Chris Coen -supt. Glen Oaks.  John's current project at home is to refurbish a 1930's era dairy barn.  He hopes to create a "clubhouse" for his kids.

John is most proud of developing talent among members of his grounds team.  He is also very proud of progress and renovations made at the club through the years.  John enjoys sharing his experiences and advice with other superintendents throughout the Midwest who are grappling with various course renovation projects.  John enjoys working with the Wakonda Club staff and with member committees to solve problems for our membership.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Employee Spotlight: Jaret Vasey

Our second longest tenured employee in the grounds department is Jaret Vasey.  Jaret has been employed at Wakonda Club for nearly 16 years.  Through the years Jaret has gained a wealth of experience and knowledge of all facets of golf course maintenance.  Jaret's main responsibilities include maintenance of our irrigation system and of our mower fleet. 

Jaret resides in Altoona with his wife of 14 years ,Tiffany, and sons Braeden (13) and Deacon (4).  Jaret is a hard- core Iowa Hawkeye fan and enjoys attending football games with his family.  Jaret's sons keep him busy.  He has coached football and basketball and spends many weekend afternoons attending football, basketball, and soccer games.  Jaret is also a home improvement guru and is continually working to improve his castle.  When Jaret does have some spare time he enjoys playing golf.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Employee Spotlight: John Phillips

In the coming weeks, we are going to introduce you to the full-time maintenance staff employees. These full-time maintenance employees are the reason this course remains in pristine condition. Each person is extremely knowledgeable with all course operations and takes pride in the job they do every single day.

We will introduce each employee one-by-one, in order of seniority; therefore, first up: John Phillips. John has been with Wakonda Club longer than any other maintenance employee, 25 years. His wealth of knowledge is very beneficial for maintenance operations. During the winter months, he services many of our mowers and large equipment, which is a very time-consuming and delicate task. During the playing season, you will most likely find him on his John Deere tractor mowing rough.

Living only a few doors down from the maintenance shop, John is the only maintenance employee who lives within walking distance from the shop. John is the proud owner of one of the manliest garages you'll ever see. Inside you'll find three, large flat-screen TVs, along with comfortable furniture, which is sure to satisfy any viewer. Most of the time, these TVs are tuned into Nascar, football or the Iowa Hawkeyes. John's favorite thing to do is watch Nascar and racing. During the racing season, he also likes to attend most of the races at the Iowa Speedway. His all-time favorite Nascar driver was Dale Earnhardt, which led to his purebred pug's name, Dale, who has an Iowa Hawkeye nametag.

Home Sweet Home

Another winter month has come and gone, and we continue our preparations for the new season. This past week, we began construction and assembly of our bird houses and bat boxes. One of our planned improvements for obtaining our Audubon Sanctuary certification was to construct nest boxes and place them at strategic locations throughout the course to enhance the local environment and natural habitat.

Bird houses were constructed first using natural cedar wood. Below, you can see Assistant Shawn Fopma cutting the cedar wood down to size.

In all, ten bird houses were constructed. Each bird house has a side door that pivots open, which is essential for cleaning out old nests and monitoring the nesting birds. We hope to see various bird species using these boxes this coming year.

In addition to the bird houses, bat boxes were also constructed. Also made out of natural cedar wood, these bat boxes provide a safe, undisturbed home for bats. Bats are essential because they feed on moths, mosquitoes, beetles and other insects. These bat boxes can hold approximately 100 bats; however, it is unlikely each box will reach full capacity. Inside each box is three wooden baffles with rough sides to give the bats something to cling to.

Since bats favor warm conditions, each roof was darkened with stain to increase heat absorption. Five bat boxes were constructed.

Interesting fact: a typical summer colony of 100 bats feeding 200 days will consume more than 2200 pounds of insects or approximately 600,000,000 bugs!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

IPM Planning Guide

Another environmental project we recently starting working on is an IPM (Integrated Pest Management) Planning Guide. Developed by the Environmental Institute for Golf, the IPM Planning Guide helps us in the development and implementation of IPM plans that meet our facility's environmental, agronomic, and budgetary goals.

An IPM Planning Guide improves our ability to predict turf quality problems. We used historical weather records, such as average monthly air temperatures and average monthly precipitation for our location, to plan management strategies to optimize turf growth. This helps us explain turf performance at different times of the year.

The course was broken down into the following management zones: greens, tees, fairways, and rough. Each management zone was given its own comprehensive IPM strategy and plan to predict how they will function throughout the year. These management zones help identify areas of high risk of damage by pests; as well as, aiding in reduction of pesticide usage.

Implementing a successful IPM plan will help us provide greater protection to our environment and help us continue to achieve our environmental goals.

Audubon Update

This winter, one of our goals was to continue efforts on our Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program. The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program helps golf courses enhance wildlife habitats and protect natural resources for the benefit of people and wildlife.

The program begins with a planning stage, which we completed last spring and received a Certificate of Recognition in Environmental Planning. The second step is the action stage, where we implement the environmental measures and goals which were decided upon during the planning stage. One of the action steps golfers will notice on the course is the addition of bird and nest boxes, which will be strategically placed on the property this coming spring. You may also notice the grass height around shorelines is raised to reduce chemical and mineral inputs into the water. We will also be conducting water tests to analyze our water inputs.

Our main focus this winter has been on the third, documentation stage, which we use to achieve certification. We are in the process of filling out numerous forms to verify our accomplishments and progress. In addition, we are also providing pesticide records and photographs to illustrate our stewardship activities.

Once all of our plans are implemented and documentation has been completed, we look forward to achieving designation as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. We hope to receive certification within this coming year.