August 2014

  • August 4, 2014
  • Written by Don Campbell

Playing in the Research Tournament and Skins game gives each of you an opportunity to play the two first rate golf courses in the northern part of the province.  Superintendents are urged to bring their green chairman, president, and their manager to this event.  You won’t regret participating in this tourney as the Nipawin Evergreen golf course wants to make this Research Tournament one you’ll remember.

Our homepage includes the entry form for the Reseach Tournament.  You can fax it to me at 306-244-0513 or e-mail it to soupyd@sasktel.net.  If you wish to pay with your credit card I can get the information in Nipawin.  Turfgrass Research needs your support, so make every effort to enter.

Don’t discount the danger of West Nile virus.  The cool spring weather meant a slow start for the mosquitoes that can carry West Nile virus, but the hot weather loving insects can thrive in the days and weeks ahead.  Medical health officers recommend you take precautions by wearing long sleeves, use insect repellent containing DEET, and avoid going to mosquito laden areas, particularly at dawn or dusk.  As far as insect repellent is concerned, it should be supplied by the employer.  I noticed this at 2 golf courses I visited this past week.  An ample supply was on hand.

Many years ago when Laurie Unruh was the boss man at Oakcreek, he was totally confused about paying a certain invoice.  After much pondering he decided to ask his secretary for some mathematical help. He called her into his office and said “You graduated from university with a commerce degree and I need your help.  If I were to give you $30,000 minus 14%, how much would you take off?”  His educated secretary thought for a moment, and then replied “Everything but my earrings”.

The STA 2014 Research Tournament will be Wednesday, August 20th, hosted by Ken Lintott.  It will be a shotgun start at 10:00 am.  Supper and prizes will follow golf starting at approximately 2:30 pm.  Again I say enter a team as soon as possible.  It will be a fun day.  To date I have four teams entered.

Take a cool spring, add a ton of moisture and then get a hot spell—Presto! It’s slap and swear time.  Conditions are ideal for mosquito development.  The City of Saskatoon is working hard to keep the population in check, spraying standing water.  I’m sure other cities in our province are doing the same thing.  However with the increase in standing water we are still going to get an invasion.

Brian Gibbs, a Saskatoon veterinarian isn’t sure why there is an increase in the tick population this year.  He says it’s not the weather.  Ticks normally like dry conditions and moderate heat.  However he says, like mosquitoes, ticks sometimes stay dormant for a season then reappear.  By the way, these tiny blood-sucking insects can carry Lyme disease, also Rocky Mountain Fever, and other tropical blood diseases similar to malaria.  One of the ways you can protect yourself is use insect repellent with plenty of DEET.

A phone call last week told me about Manchurian Elm trees sprouting all around a putting green next to the clubhouse.  The seeds are coming from a tree not far away.  The caller wanted to know how to get rid of them.  We suggested delay cutting the infected area for about a week, and then cut every second day for about 10 days.  The green wasn’t affected, probably because it was cut every day.  I don’t know if I would use Killex or similar, it’s too dangerous.

An email came in on what to do with a family of foxes who are digging holes on a green next to the cup and a recently installed turf plug.  How do you get rid of them? - lead poisoning would be the quickest. There has to be a reason on why they are doing this.  They perhaps have found a food supply—grubs?  Once it’s determined what they are after, the problem can be rectified.

In 2000 while spending the winter in Florida, I attended a regional turf seminar south of Tampa.  The guest speaker was a Florida golf course architect by the name of Bill Amick.  He was trying to spread his belief that the golfing industry needs smaller venues to promote the game.  He said 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 and a $75 green fee.  Fifteen years later, less people are playing golf and a number of courses are in financial trouble.  It looks like Mr Amick was right.  Here at home weather has a lot to do with decreased rounds.

Why are bunkers an essential part of golf?  They definitely add challenge to the game.  They provide contrast and accent.  They frame and define golf holes.  On top of all these niceties, they drive a green superintendent nuts!  If a player misplays a sand shot, it’s never his fault, it’s the green superintendent because the sand “lacks consistency….” the most popular of all blames.

When I used to speak to golfers at, say, Golf Saskatchewan meetings, I used to tell them no other practice but top dressing has such an immediate and positive impact on the health of grass, whether one topdresses with straight sand or with a mixture of sand, soil and peat, the grass responds almost at once.  As the topdressing particles filter down between the grass blades, the plants get a welcome reprieve from the pounding feet of golfers and the shearing action of the mowers.

It’s amazing how many greenkeeping practices of today originated with Old Tom Morris at St. Andrews in Scotland.  Aerification practice can be traced back to St. Andrews.  From topdressing with sand to rolling greens to increase smoothness and speed, old Tom Morris pioneered many modern practices during his nearly 40 year tenure at St. Andrews, the home of golf.

What can golfers do to help control the pace of play?

  1. Hit a half bucket of golf balls to warm up before playing
  2. Reduce, or better still, eliminate practise swings on the course
  3. Eliminate “honours”
  4. Practise continuous putting.

These simple suggestions will help your foursome play a less than 2 hour (9 holes) or 4 hour (18 holes) round.  Try them!

Goose droppings are more dangerouse than thought.  Research done at the Medical College of Ohio have discovered that Canadian geese may pose a  more public threat than previously believed.  A goose will produce a half pound of fecal matter per day.  This is where the danger lies.  These droppings often contain parasitic microorganisms that cause gastrointestinal illness.  A belly ache for younger people, but very dangerous for the elderly and those people with a weakened immune system.  I’ll find more about this on the internet.

Providing the right practice facilities for all golfers and focusing programs to aid beginners is paramount.  Golf facilites should market lesson packages for beginners that include unlimited use of practice facilities.  Simple ideas, such as a special place on the practice tee for “beginners only” are important.  You help new players with their game and provide them appropriate practice facilities, and they will continue to play golf.  The studies show if players stay in the game for five years, they will play for a lifetime.

There are a number of things that baffle me.  When Graham DeLeat wins a tournament or even makes the cut, he’s from Saskatoon.  If he doesn’t make the cut or doesn’t play well, he is from Weyburn.

Just read an article that hair spray causes more health problems than pesticides.  They say hair spray has a role in causing certain types of brain cancer.  My Uncle Jake doesn’t believe any of the above.  For one thing, old Jake doesn’t have any hair, and he doesn’t drink it—he only drinks home brew, breakfast, lunch and supper.

We need your entry in our Research Tournament in Nipawin.  Ken Lintott and his assistant Marc Ancerson are anxious for us to see his golf course.  It will be in fabulous condition and a real fun day.  Send me your entry by fax or email immediately.  I would advise everyone to make hotel reservations right away also.  Two hotels in Nipawin are:

1. Northern Greens Resort - www.northerngreens.sk.ca - 1-866-862-2686

2. Tobin Lake Motel  - www.tobinlakemotel.ca - 1-306-862-4681

The skins game will take place on Tuesday, August 19 at Rolling Pines Golf Resort.  Tee times start at 3:30 pm.  $30 includes 9 holes with a cart and a burger supper will follow.  To register call the Rolling Pines Pro Shop to register in advance.  1-306-862-9600.  LarryArnst owns this property and Kurtis Shamrock is the superintendent.  Both are solid STA members.  They tell me the golf course is in excellent condition and a fun challenge to play.

Just visited a golf course near Saskatoon which wasn’t in the best of condition, due to lack of funds.To make matters worse, the mosquitoes were brutal.  I saw one instance where golfers sprayed themselves on a green.  The person was liberal with the spray because around the persons footprint there was a damaged area about 3’ in diameter.  There were 3 areas like this on the green.  Signs weren’t evident at the 1st tee indicating how insect repellent damages the turf and suggest to the golfer where to spray.

If, for some reason you can’t attend the Research Tournament in Nipawin, consider making a donation on behalf of your club or company and help support Turfgrass research.  We would appreciate this.

Speaking of donations, Josh Seibel, the very good superintendent at Mainprize Golf Club in Midale, SK sends us his $100 donation as he is unable to attend.  Josh is getting married just before the tournament.  Congratulations Josh from all of us at the STA and thank you big time for your donation.

I recently visited Doug Campbell’s Riverside Country Club where some renovations were done last August.  What got my eye was the extensive renovation done to the 9th hole.  The green and approach was redone along with bunkers.  This July they were playing the hole.  You couldn’t tell work had been done.  This holds true for other work done to modernize areas of the golf course.  Presently they are installing a new irrigation system.  This will be completed this summer.

Also at Riverside, the little blood suckers are at work.  Doug and his staff are treating areas of standing water, hoping this will help keep the mosquito population down.  Members are urged to spray themselves on cart paths or pavement.  The turf will thank you—remember Bug Spray Kills Grass.  The signs with a picture were nicely done and attract members attention.

With warm weather this summer, golfers get thirsty and the nearest watering hole is always welcome.  Make darn sure you have a clean water container with fresh water in it.  These coolers can easily become contaminated which could lead to severe illness.  If you have a beer cart with bottled water on it, you could probably get rid of the water coolers.  Then you create additional problems because water in the coolers is free.

Just received Bruce Klaasen`s team entry in the Research Tournament.  Bruce is the long time superintendent at the Royal Regina Golf Club.

That's it for me guys.  I haven`t any more paper, sore fingers and have to go to the washroom.  I hope to see most of you at the Research Tournament in Nipawin.  Send me your entry form.

More in this category: « July 2014 September 2014 »

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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