April 2010

  • April 3, 2010
  • Written by Don Campbell

Finally spring is here and everyone is in all likelihood getting ready for a busy season. Some golf courses in Saskatoon are open while others are still waiting for the flax straw to thaw out. The golfers, as always, are getting anxious to start playing and are ignoring the practice facilities that are open.

Most turf managers I talked too had excellent off seasons. Some went to warmer climate, others just took it easy in their home towns, resting up after a hard summer. Still others attended educational conferences south of the border and in various locations on Canada.

Personally, I haven’t had a very good winter. My old mother, almost 100 years old, is in palliative care here in Saskatoon. They keep her pain free and as comfortable as possible. She lies peacefully, which is good, and above all is ready to go to a better place. I’m lucky to have had her for such a long time.

Enclosed with this newsletter are the results of a survey we distributed in December. I was disappointed in the response, especially from the 9-hole courses. I only heard from seven. It makes me wonder if they are getting their mail.

Shortly after you receive this newsletter you will receive an invoice for your 2010 STA membership fees. When you submit your club’s cheque please return the invoice with the important information. I would especially like your cell phone number, your email address and where you would like your mail to go. The reason for the email address is I want to keep our members up to date on any STA news as it happens. Your membership is important to us.

Do properly applied chemicals pose a threat to groundwater, lakes, or streams? The answer is NO. Studies consistently show that a well managed golf course can actually improve water quality on and around the facility. Research also shows that when pesticides and fertilizers are used properly, they do not tend to seep into groundwater or run off in surface water. Modern products and pesticides allow superintendents to manage turfgrass so efficiently that there is little chance of harm to our precious water resources.

Saw this on television recently - golf courses in Great Britain are modest and simple, yet some of the best in the world. Very few had water hazards. Three-hour rounds are the norm and most golf is match play. Intelligent design by architects will give us pleasurable courses to play and won’t cost us an arm and a leg.

To all golf course superintendents this season - a big box of tolerance to deal with golfers who don’t have the common sense to repair ballmarks and divots, and act responsibly while on the golf course. Remember, if you talk to them, take a deep breath and count to 10 before hand. That tidbit is something that took me a long time to learn.

When I had my first heart attack I had to change my lifestyle completely.
Not only did I have to take classes in diet but in stress and worrying. We all worry to some degree, but worrying causes more problems - not solutions. Worrying is a negative emotion and a destructive habit with no place in our lives. Worrying occurs when you assume certain disasters are bound to happen. It is the helpless feeling of inability, and it leads to a perspective of impending disaster. So worrying causes problems instead of solutions. It leads to procrastination instead of action. Does worrying help your operation run more smoothly? No, so don’t worry ... just be concerned.

We are planning the 2010 Research Tournament at Kachur’s Golf Course (Pat Kachur and Don Best) with the “Skins” game at Cooke Municipal in Prince Albert (Pierre Vezeau). This tournament promises to be the best ever with the largest turnout. We encourage each superintendent to bring his or her President, Greens Chairman and Manager to participate in the event.

I was unable to attend Eddie Konrad’s Seminar and haven’t talked to anyone who attended. There were 45 plus delegates there, but some clubs sent 3 to 5 people. The attendance disappointed me, particularly since the STA subsidized the registration fee substantially. I expected we would have had close to 70 people attending.

A note to all golf club governors and members: Remember, Greenkeepers are well trained individuals who continually upgrade their turfgrass education through seminars and provincial education programs. We at the STA help Superintendents with many timely tips through our newsletters. These people are the number one asset at any golf club. Managers and Superintendents work together to attain a common goal which is; “The best possible conditions within the parameters of the golf club’s financial plan.”

According the Rick vanDuyvendyk,
now is a good time to prune trees and shrubs. Prune Elm trees only in the middle of April and dispose the wood at your local landfill. Don’t transport it as firewood. Don’t prune evergreens at this time of the year.

Golfers who belong to Country Clubs value having a famous architect designing their golf courses and also want nothing but the best quality and service in the clubhouse, golf shop and restaurant. This service also has to be inexpensive too. They abhor recently aerated greens and cart restrictions. This isn’t really a surprise. High on their list of aggravations are dry ballwashers and over-filled trash containers. This seems to make their blood boil, or they are happy that they have something to complain about.

How many people remember Moe Norman? Moe was a golfing legend in Canada. I knew Moe fairly well and he was always good for an interesting conversation. I once asked him if he had a good memory. He said his memory was perfect and could tell you what was wrong with every course he ever played and how he would fix it. After about half an hour I offered him some advise. I said “remember Moe that you are a good golfer, not a golf course architect.” That nailed him good and every time I saw him after that he greeted me with “I’m a golfer, not a golf course architect”.

Each year people throughout the United States plant millions of trees through the National Arbour Day Foundation’s Tree for America program. These new trees provide the following vital benefits to the environment:

  • Fresh, clean air to breathe
  • Pure water in our rivers and streams
  • Protection from soil erosion
  • Shade in the summer and wind breaks in the winter
  • Homes for birds

Most golf courses have a tree program as well as parks that provide for the above.


Our population benefits from the use of pesticides in everyday life without even thinking about it. Examples include fungicide in our wall paints (in many cases, the same ones used on our golf courses) to protect against mildew and moulds. Insecticides in our flea and tick collars to protect our pets from aggravating insects; the use of insecticides to maintain health standards in our homes, restaurants and work spaces; chlorine in swimming pools; and finally, the use of insecticides to protect our population from diseases such as West Nile Virus.

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About Don Campbell

Don CampbellG. N. Don Campbell,
1933 –2016

S.T.A. Executive Director, 'Turf Tips' writer and editor of our 'TURFTALK' newsletter, Don Campbell has been an asset to our industry for decades!
 
A member in the turfgrass community for more than 57 years, Don started his career at Riverside Country Club in Saskatoon as a caddy, eventually becoming the course Superintendent. He finished his career as the General Manager at the very same course.

In 2004, Don was awarded the CGSA John B. Steel Distinguished Service Award, recognizing his lifetime commitment to turf care.
 
Don is survived by his wife Marie have three children: Sherril, Glen and Doug. 

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.

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