August 2012

  • August 7, 2012
  • Written by Don Campbell

Just one week until the Research Tournament at Valley Regional Park Golf Course in Rosthern. To date, I have 2 entries, and that I think is terrible. Help us support turfgrass research in our province by faxing me your entry form as soon as you can. I can’t afford to lose more hair worrying about a poor turnout. My fax number is 244-0513.

Media reports say West Nile Virus is here with one confirmed case in Regina and about four in Winnipeg. The cool spring meant a slow start for the mosquito that carries the virus, but they thrive in the hot weather that is with us now. Everyone should take precautions by wearing long sleeves, use insect repellant containing deet, and avoid mosquito laden areas, especially at dawn or dusk.

Many golf courses are beating the summer’s heat by syringing their greens. Remember not all turfgrass varieties are created equal when it comes to syringing. For instance, bentgrass greens don’t require as much syringing as Poa greens because they are more drought hardy and have more root masses.

Many years ago while in Florida, I attended a regional turf seminar in Tampa.
The key note speaker was a Florida golf course architect whose name I’ve forgotten. He was trying to spread his belief that the golfing industry needs smaller venues to promote the game. I remember him saying that the golfing industry is going to lose players who enjoy the game but don’t want to be brought to their knees by a 7,000 yard course that costs $75 to play. Fifteen years later, less people are playing golf and a lot of courses are in financial trouble. Looks like this guy was right. Some courses, however, have corrected the problem by adding multiple tees.

With the recent winds we’ve had, now is a good time to inspect the trees on the golf course. There may be broken limbs high in the canopy which could fall to the ground and severely injure an employee or a golfer. I say this because at a recent visit to a golf course in Saskatoon I saw two trees (Northwest Poplars) that were severely damaged.

Just returned from a trip to Alberta, driving through a region where Golf courses were hard hit with winter injury on their PoaAnnua. All have recovered and are in excellent condition. Same is true for some courses in our province. Everything has come back and superintendents are feeling better. Reward yourself for all the hard work this spring, take a day off and play in our Research Tournament, August 20th.

In the early days of golf, judging yardage was considered a skill and was an integral part of the game. There weren’t any yardage aids in those days and greens were purposely built without backdrops to provide a greater challenge in judging distances. This is, however, a forgotten skill with the addition of yardage markers on sprinkler heads and backdrops behind greens. The great golf course architect, Allister MacKenzie once said that a golf hole should look tougher than it actually plays – backdrops usually cause the opposite.

You can pay your entry fee in the Research Tournament by credit card or cheque or the STA can invoice you. If it is impossible for you or your club to participate in the tournament, please consider a donation to Turf Research in Saskatchewan. We will be grateful for any donation amount. We hope to see a large number of golfers at Rosthern.

The popularity between golfers and their motorized carts is leading to numerous injuries, not only on the golf course, but on public streets, on the farm and even while buzzing around hospitals and airports. Carts have more power and can go faster, leading some, especially golf courses to install governors on them to hold the speed down. Falling or jumping from the golf cart was the most common injury for both kids and adults.

Here is a quick fix to improve the playability of your golf course. It’s cheap too, so golfers should like it. Focus on fairway contours by avoiding straight lines. This doesn’t mean you have to make your fairways look like they came off a landscape architect’s drawing board. Trust your artistic instincts by incorporating some gentle curves preferably creating contours that accentuate ground features and hazards. Avoid covering interesting humps and bumps in the fairway with rough because few hazards are more appealing that a tightly mown lawn.

Do golfers know that every par-three hole in the world has a secret desire to humiliate golfers? The shorter the hole, the greater it’s desire. And sand is alive. If it isn’t, how do you explain how it works against you?

I wonder if this holds true in Saskatchewan? Agriculture worldwide is the biggest user of water. They say golf courses and parks are one of the smallest, but still get hammered through the media and by the public. Turf managers manage water much better than the public. As an example, the public sector in Florida use 30% of the water available. Golf courses and parks use a little over 3%. I would suggest it’s about the same in our province.

With 4 stroke engines, you should check the oil every time fuel is added. Equipment owners who have the lowest repair cost per hour of equipment operation often report that they buy the highest grade engine oil available. They contend that the few cents per litre difference in cost between cheap and premium oil simply helps ensure more trouble-free operating hours. Another is use the right amount of oil. Overfilling the crankcase results in hard starting and possible engine damage. Keep dirt and moisture out of oil containers, and use only clean funnels if oil cannot be poured directly in the engine.

The medieval Dutch word “kolf” or “kolve” meant club. It is believed that word passed to the Scots whose old Scottish dialect transformed the word into “glove”, “gowl”, or “gauf”. By the 16th century the word “golf” emerged. Now you know how golf became the game’s name.

I continue to read articles about Superintendents pay tribute to their Mothers for their success and crediting them for helping with their chosen profession and how they have shaped their lives. I’m missing something here. I say what about their wives? No mention was made about the sacrifices the wife has to make if she is married to a golf course superintendent.

Just recently I sprayed my lawn to get rid of the clover that was beginning to take over. I also had an excellent crop of chickweed. Using ¾ of the recommended rate of Killex I had great success with almost 100% kill. The only area that’s left is about ½ meter from my flower beds. I did it at the crack of dawn with no wind and it was easy to see what was sprayed because of the dew on the grass. Doing it at the crack of dawn left me alone with no neighbors giving me dirty looks.

Again, I please with you to fax your entry in the Research Tournament as soon as possible.
Take a day off to play a great golf course which is in wonderful condition. The good people at Rosthern are going out of their way to accommodate us.

My grandson who lives in Calgary recently spent 5 days with us. At thirteen years old he is already an avid golfer. His uncle, Doug Campbell, arranged for him to play, practice, and practice some more at Riverside Country Club. Practice for him is spending five hours on the practice range. They also got him a game with Tyler Frank, the Saskatchewan Amateur and Mid-Amateur Champion. This was a wonderful highlight for the little guy, and had an eighty one from the forward tees, but more than that, he was treated royally by Tyler who, in my mind, is a wonderful champion and a credit to golf in Saskatchewan and to the Riverside Country Club.

A wonderful thing just happened to me as I was putting this Newsletter together.
I am being inducted into the Saskatchewan Golf Hall of Fame on September 15, right at the Club where I spent 47 years. Golf has been awfully good to me and this is an honour that I will always cherish. I thank the induction committee, the Riverside Country Club and, of course, my family, especially my wife who encouraged me all the way.

Superintendents should take a Rules seminar or a workshop every couple of years,
and apply the Rules to course marking and maintenance. Use the proper terms – flagstick, not pin (despite the continued errors of television commentators); bunker, not trap; through the green, not waste bunker or grass bunker. Play the course you maintain once a week, if possible. Make it known that you understand how to play the game and that you appreciate the Rules.

Dennis Jeanneau will like this: good Turf Technicians are becoming members of the endangered species list. How many have a hands-on understanding of small engines, sophisticated mowers, tune-up procedures for your trucks, inventory management, reasonable computer literacy, as well as the ability to perform superhuman repairs to keep your rolling stock in service. A good mechanic is the ultimate “go-to guy”.

In closing I remind everyone – we need your entry in our Annual Research Tournament August 20th at the Valley Regional Park Golf Course in Rosthern, Sask. Start time is 8:30 am. We need your entry to meet our Research Grant for 2012.

More in this category: « July 2012 September 2012 »

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.