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August 2009

The STA Research Tournament on August 10th is here. The Royal Regina Golf Club promises to be an excellent venue and an excellent opportunity to play on a well maintained private golf club.

The Skins game at Wascana Country Club was sold out almost immediately. We have a waiting list and have been able to move some people up as Wascana opens up more spots for us. Originally we had room for 32 players and since there was such a demand we were able to go to 48. This is the best turn out for the skins that we’ve had.

Please remember Royal Regina and Wascana have a strict dress code policy – No jeans of any kind. Not adhering to this policy will prevent you from playing these private golf clubs.

I’m told the Royal Regina is in fine condition with lush fairways and fast greens. This comes from a friend who is a long time member of the club. Besides his passion for golf he is also passionate about the “Roughriders” and suffers great emotion when they don’t play to his expectations. It’s also the course’s fault when he has a bad golf game. A pain in the butt, but a good friend!

An upcoming date to remember is the CGSA Fall Field Day, September 21, 2009. Kerry Watkins, superintendent of the St. Charles Country Club in Winnipeg, Manitoba, will be hosting this year’s event. Register early to avoid disappointment. For more information, please visit www.golfsupers.com.

The STA Board of Directors met July 28th at the Davidson Golf Club. Main items on the agenda were the Research Tournament and the skins game. As I previously stated, the skins game has a waiting list. Every previous year we had close to 30 players. One year I had to play to make it an even 12. It’s good to be in this position but I feel sorry for those on the waiting list. I will keep them posted via email as to their chances.

After the Directors meeting and a beautiful lunch the Directors adjourned for golf.
They told me Lach Reeve and Laurie Unruh were the big winners. There is some argument if their victory was legitimate because of some fancy stick-handling near the trees on not one but two fairways. By the way, Lach Reeve had a career round of 67 recently, playing with Mark Mohart who said he lost so much money that his wife and kids will be barefoot until the middle of August.

Just read a great article on the Rolling Pines Golf Club located between Nipawin and Tobin Lake. It’s fairly new and looks like it is a nice layout. It’s family owned and they’re also members of the STA. Larry Arnst and Kurtis Shamrock are the members. I believe the greenkeeper is Dave Leslie, formerly of the Hudson Bay Golf Club.

Not all spark plugs are created equal, so always follow the engine manufacturer’s recommendations for a replacement plug. After installing a new spark plug look at the old one to get an indication as to the engine’s health. Wet, oily deposits suggest a problem – usually an engine that is showing wear.

Most of you will be using a chain saw this summer and hopefully you know the safety issues with regards to chain saw use. Always wear protective pants or chaps when operating a chainsaw. Other protective items include a hard hat, ear muffs, safety glasses and safety toed footwear.

I just read another real gem the Saskatoon Health Region came up with recently. They say they are protecting their patients’ health by banning herbicides on all the grounds of Saskatoon Hospitals. They do this and I still have to walk through a wall of smokers to get into the hospital. To the Health Region, you have more to do than worry about something you know nothing about.

It’s been a stressful year for some greens superintendents in our province. Remember that successful working relationships between you as the superintendent, your executive and golfers are the result of quality communications and hard work. It is also important that executives, including the manager, give their superintendent their utmost support and above all, encouragement.

At our last Board Meeting in Davidson, a discussion was held regarding the STA selling logoed shirts, vests, hats, etc. The point being that it would be an excellent way of promoting not only the industry but our association in the province. Two things that are being studied are the availability of the apparel and the cost to the members.

I’ve met some wonderful people in the Turf Industry,
but none are finer than the Davidson Golf Club’s Roy Kenny and his wife. These two wonderful hosts made us feel at home, served us a great lunch and allowed us to play a fine golf course. It’s a real pleasure to go there.

Congratulations to Darin Wrubleski,
Terry McNeilly’s assistant at the Saskatoon Golf and Country Club. Darin was the recipient of a scholarship awarded by the CGSA. His thank you included looking forward to being a long time member of the CGSA and increasing his involvement in the association. Darin will be a real asset to the STA and CGSA.

This summer and summers past I see a lot of golf courses. One thing that really jumps out at me is having long grass around sign posts and trees. To most, it may be a sign of incompetence but it is probably due to lack of manpower. Regular trimming is probably the most appealing but some superintendents use occasional applications of growth retardants that cut trimming by 60%. Try it – it will work for you and make things look a lot better.

Our Fall Wind-up and Annual General Meeting will be held at the Lynbrook Golf Club in Moose Jaw in late November. The format has been changed with the Banquet and Awards being held after the seminar. The AGM will follow the banquet which will allow members to leave for home earlier.

It has been said about 40% of all workers in the US call in sick each year, even though they feel fine … some more than once. Some of the excuses are real pips, like “I was sprayed by a skunk”, “I couldn’t find my shoes”, or “I eloped.” These are just a few examples. The best one I’ve heard was “I got engaged last night I think, but I have to look for the girl to know for sure” … the fellow that tried that one is now an Anglican Arch Bishop.

With the dry spell we’ve had, we also have an abundance of bugs.
It is a good idea to remind golfers to use the bug spray near the clubhouse or at a non grassed area such as a cart path. Bug spray kills grass!

A tip on hydraulic hoses – most superintendents in the US and Canada replace hydraulic hoses every two years regardless of their condition. This applies to high use turf equipment like fairway units and tri-plex mowers. You should at the very least, however, check all hoses and lines on a weekly basis.

String trimmers are important tools on your golf course. If you are buying one the first consideration should be availability of parts and service. If you rely on outside service and parts sources, it’s best to select from trimmers at a nearby dealer. Remember, you’re going to need fuel filters, recoil cords and springs, replacement blade shields, air filters, etc.

Pesticides help to limit the damage caused by insects, weeds and plant disease. Whether it is an insecticide for controlling termites or fleas in your home, a herbicide for ridding your lawn of dandelions, or a fungicide that keeps plants alive during a disease outbreak, pesticides are analogous to the medicine we use to preserve our own health. Personally, I take Warfarin to treat my heart disease.

Further to the above, careful and planned use of lawn care products, proper mowing and water practices, healthy turf offers many benefits. These benefits include increased property value, reduced allergens and the likelihood of insect bites and stings, controlled dust and pollen from weeds or grasses and absorbed pollutants from the air just to name a few. A well kept 50’ x 50’ lawn creates enough oxygen to meet the needs of a family of four every day.

Do you know a typical gasoline can emits nearly 8 pounds of hydrocarbons through spills and evaporation each year? Trust me when I say that hydrocarbons are bad. Compare this to a new car and a portable fuel container (jerry can) emits twice the amount of hydrocarbons that a car does annually.

And finally, I must pass on some sad news in reporting the sudden death of Glen Trentini, superintendent and founder of Deer Valley Golf and Estates. Glen was a past president of the STA and Saskatchewan representative on the CGSA, as well as a Director of the Canadian Turfgrass Research Foundation. Glen is survived by his wife Sherry and daughters Izabella and Sophia. The Saskatchewan Turfgrass Association extends our deepest sympathy to Glen’s family. May he rest in peace. Donations in Glen’s memory can be made to the CGSA Scholarship Fund, 5520 Explorer Drive, Suite 205, Mississauga, Ontario, L4W 5L1.

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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.