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April 2009

The 2009 Saskatchewan Turfgrass Conference and Trade Show is now history. All in all it was a good show with an excellent turnout in spite of treacherous driving conditions throughout the province. All areas of the province were well represented. By all accounts the educational component was well received and by the number of superintendents I heard discussing the speaker presentations, I believe there was something each took away from the conference.

Trade Show people told me they had excellent interest in their products. Our Commercial friends always support the STA in all our endeavors and go out of the way to make sure each is a great success. My thanks to Oakcreek’s Laurie Unruh for his efforts on organizing the trade show. People I spoke with liked the idea of having lunch within the trade show area.

The delegates liked the idea of registration, coffee and lunch breaks, educational sessions and the trade show all being on the same floor. The attendance at each shows that this did indeed work well. Previous conferences has the trade show downstairs and speaker sessions up 2 ½ flights of stairs.

There are a number of people that deserve a big thank you! Among them, Kevin Bloski, who acted as Chairman of the event and did a ton of work to organize everything from attendance to the meals and coffee. Doug Campbell for organizing the speakers and the programs. Ron Dagert helped in every area and spent a ton of hours working before and after the event.

The highlight of the Conference in a lot of the delegate’s minds was the social Monday night at Joe’s Sports Bar. Laurie Unruh organized this extravaganza and deserves a huge thank you. Also appreciated are again our Commercial friends who sponsored the evening. They were responsible for the complimentary drink tickets and the food. While we had the most fun, the management and employees enjoyed serving us. The manager is eager for us to return. I was responsible for the waitresses!

This tidbit troubles me. There is a ton of money in foundation grants to support environmental activists in their complaints, but there are only a few dollars available for turf research grants to explain to the activists why golf course maintenance practices are safe.

Later on in the week I attended Gardenscape in Saskatoon. This huge show compares with similar shows in Toronto and Vancouver. Over 26,000 people attended the show. A lot of the Trade Show people participated in the STA show as well. I spent considerable time at the SOS Elms Coalition Booth. The Coalition is a non-profit citizen’s group dedicated to the preservation of American Elms in Saskatchewan. While they promote the appreciation and management of urban trees in our province they emphasize the prevention of Dutch Elm Disease.

Another Gardenscape Booth I visited was the Saskatoon School of Horticulture.
The curriculum has been designed to ensure graduates have mastered the skills required by the industry. Qualified instructors guide students through courses on plant propagation, pest and disease diagnosis, golf course management and more. For more information call 931-4769 in Saskatoon or email  growyourfuture@gmail.com.

In our newsletter you’ll read about the “Seven Deadly Sins to a Golf Course”. The list was composed by Gordon Witteveen and Mike Bavier in their book “The Magic of Greenkeeping”. The prose part was written by Mitch Davidson who spoke to us at our Conference and is Mike Kupchanko’s assistant at the Wascana Country Club in Regina. Mitch saw the list posted on the wall in Kupchanko’s office. By the way, the Magic of Greenkeeping is a great book for the Superintendents in Saskatchewan and is available at Early’s Farm and Garden Centre in Saskatoon.

Saskatoon superintendent Paul Voykin has retired after 47 years at Briarwood Country Club in Chicago. I grew up with Paul here in Saskatoon and have seen him often at various turf conferences throughout North America. Although Paul has been away from Saskatoon for more than half a century he has never forgotten where he was from. He has always promoted Saskatoon as a wonderful city in Canada and also speaks highly of all his friends back home. Having said this I’ve tried to get him as an STA member for last dozen years to no avail. As his brother Andy once told me he is a cheap screw and would rather feed a horse than pay Don Campbell $80.00 for a year.

I just recently read an article on the importance
of attention to detail on your golf course as it appeared in the magazine Turf and Recreation. Mark Kuhns, one of America’s top certified superintendents, gave his presentation to the Manitoba Golf Superintendents Association. Mr. Kuhns is currently superintendent at the famed Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey and is a 32 year veteran of golf course management. He walks his golf course, seeing what the golfers see, and makes to-do lists. He says nothing is more important than putting green details. He also emphasized the importance of continued education by attending professional conferences and seminars and taking classes online.

The golf industry should be concerned the real problem
with respect to pesticide use may be overlooked, namely a lack of consumer education and compliance with label instruction. Controlled products should only be used by those who are suitably trained in their safe use and handling. Licensed applicators are a must, particularly in parks and golf courses.

This one is from Guertin Equipment’s Brad Konecsni –
Why do full-length golf courses have 18 holes, not 20, not 10, or an even dozen? During a discussion among the membership board at St. Andrews in 1858 one of the members pointed out that it takes exactly 18 shots to polish off a fifth of Scotch. By limiting himself to only one shot of Scotch per hole, the old fellow figured a round of golf was finished when the Scotch ran out!

This one is from Dr. Kevin Frank. He suggested to me that superintendents need to get active in their communities to educate golfers and citizens in the important role they play in protecting the environment, wildlife protection and providing a facility where people can have fun playing a great game. It is also well documented by turfgrass education “that grass and other plants help to modify air pollution, absorb particulate matter and carbon dioxide and prevent soil erosion. They also help supply oxygen while filtering ground water”.

Look at our website for further STA news and particularly, the date and location of the STA’s annual Research Tournament. Plan on bringing a team so we can continue our support of turfgrass research and above all to have some fun!

More in this category: « March 2009 May 2009 »

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.