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April 2008

In the near future the STA Board of Directors will have their spring meeting. Among items that will be discussed is the proposed 2009 Conference and Trade Show, the 2008 Research Tournament at Jackfish Lodge Golf Club August 12th and upcoming Educational Sessions throughout the summer and fall. Highlights of this meeting will appear in the May newsletter.

Dr. John Ball didn’t disappoint us February 19, 2008 at the Willows. His “Managing Golf Course Trees” seminar was well presented and very informative. I believe everyone went away with much knowledge on the value and importance of trees on Golf Courses and in Parks and Towns.

The second presentation by Provincial Pesticide Investigator Allan Bakke
was also very interesting. One extremely important note that came from his presentation was that the a Club’s Board of Directors has a duty to make sure their green superintendent has a Pesticide Applicators license. If something happened, such as a spill that got into a water supply or river, and the superintendent didn’t have a license, the Board of Directors would be held liable.

One way to produce, not procrastinate, is to make a list!
Getting started on any large project is the difficult part. To help motivate yourself at the beginning, write down everything that needs to be done to complete the task. Then, and this is the important part, pick a starting point!

Here is a basic rule when using water
to clean your equipment after use. Never spray water on a hot machine. A blast of water could fracture hot parts, especially very expensive engine parts like cylinder heads and intake & exhaust manifolds. It’s better to have a dirty machine than one that’s destroyed. Many machine problems are caused by water getting into places it doesn’t belong.

Something I didn’t know is that there is a hidden risk
when chemically killing tree stumps. Roots of adjacent trees frequently form natural grafts permitting herbicides applied to one to move through an unseen root graft into its neighbor. Thus, root grafts have been known to cause the sudden and “inexplicable” death of a neighbor’s prized tree about a week after the stump next door was poisoned.

Did you know many exercise programs fail because they are discontinued – not because they are ineffective. Golf, as a recreational sport, has a high rate of compliance and appeals to all ages and both sexes. Under a physician’s guidance, walking on the golf course can even become a valuable part of an exercise recovery program for cardiac patients.

I like this one, which was a forward in his book on Turf Management
, authorized by Dr. James Beard. The quote originated from a speech given by a Past President of the United States Golf Association. “Golf is unique in many respects. Certainly no other sport requires so many skills for the development, preparation and maintenance of the surface on which it is played. Consider, for example, what the golf course requires as compared to a football field, a tennis court, a baseball diamond, or a bowling green. There is no other sport in which effective maintenance matters more than it does in golf.”

A typical 18-hole golf course produces enough oxygen
to support up to 1,000 people. It’s too bad people don’t dwell on this instead of condemning Pesticide use.

They go up and come down, so you don’t have to be a physicist to classify golf balls as flying and falling objects. If you agree with that – and you work on golf courses while hacks like me are at play – then you should be wearing a hard hat. If you are not wearing a helmet on the course, you could be cited for breaking the rules in the eyes of Worker’s Compensation. Having said that, I don’t think many workers will be wearing hard hats.

Roller chain is often found as part of the drive system of machines used on and around golf courses and parks. The chain and sprockets form one of the most subtly complex power transmission systems commonly used on machinery. It is also one of the easiest to repair, maintain and replace. The biggest threats to chain drive systems are dust and rust. Laurie Unruh of Oakcreek Golf and Turf was very pleased with their service seminar school held in mid March at the Willows in Saskatoon. The event was well attended with good quality speakers who knew the equipment on display.

Gardenscape 2008 – This show recently held in Saskatoon has evolved into Canada’s third largest horticultural show. Only Vancouver and Toronto have larger garden shows than Saskatoon. I attended two of the three days and took in most of the speakers in both the Speaker and Demonstration theatres. All topics were interesting and well presented. Gardenscape exhibitors totalled about 130.

After you receive this newsletter, and more importantly in mid April, you’ll receive a membership letter and membership invoice for 2008. Please present this invoice to your Club for immediate payment. Last year we had 185 members – this year I would like this number to increase to 200. With more members we can continue to support Turf Research on a greater scale and also offer continued education throughout the season.

There is no scientific evidence that golfers face any chronic health risks
from the pesticides used to maintain courses. Once a liquid product is applied and the turfgrass is dry or the product has been watered in, there is very little chance of exposure to golfers or others who enter the area. It is worth noting that a small percentage of people may be allergic to a particular product just as some people are allergic to house hold cleaners, soaps or perfumes. Signs should be posted at the 1st tee telling golfers what products are being used and the ingredients in that product. This will make you a responsible Superintendent.

Here is a tip from Dr. John Ball about transplanting trees by bare root, container or balled and burlapped – it is important to construct the planting hole so that is wider than the roots. The planting hole preferably should be 2 to 3 times wider. It is, however, important not to be deeper than the top of the roots. Make sure the top roots are just covered. Planting the tree too deep is the number one killer of transplanting trees.

Flipping through television channels the other night, I stopped long enough at the comedy to hear this quote from the comedian: “Never have so many poorly skilled people spent more money on an activity that makes them swear and hate themselves. This is probably true at every golf course in North America”.

The start of the golf season is right around the corner and I’m sure everyone is excited about starting a new year. It brings to mind a comment I heard from an old and respected green superintendent: “Tee areas are an opportunity for a golf course to make 18 first impressions. With a little time, effort and a minimal amount of money, superintendents can make these initial impressions a round full of good ones and also make the superintendent look good.

Hopefully opening day will be sooner rather than later.
I hope everyone has a great spring start-up with little or no winter injury. More importantly, I hope everyone is successful in being able to find and hire enough staff for the season!

More in this category: « March 2008 May 2008 »

About the STA

  • Saskatchewan's Turfgrass Association, founded in 1979, is a non-profit organization. The S.T.A. was organized by a group of Turfgrass Professionals which has grown to include people from Parks, Golf Courses, Sod Growers, Cities and Commercial Companies.