August 2015

  • August 2, 2015
  • Written by Don Campbell

To date, entries for the 2015 Research Tournament are non-existent.  The STA needs your support for this event so we can fulfill our commitment to turfgrass research in our province.  I know some people will not be able to attend due to important club functions, so please consider making a donation on behalf of your club or company and to help support turfgrass research.

The Research Tournament is being held at the Lynbrooke Golf Club in Moose Jaw on August 18th, a Tuesday.  Start time is 9:00 am, and is a shotgun start.  The banquet and prizes will take place after golf.  On Monday, in late afternoon, the Skins game will take place at Hillcrest Golf Club starting at 4:00 pm.

This past week a massive hail storm hammered parts of the province.  One of the worst hit was Kerrobert with extensive damage to the town and golf course.  The golf ball sized hail did some real green damage.  Along with this, trees suffered big time damage.  The clean-up will take some time, but will get done sooner than later.

Recently, the City of Saskatoon Parks Department found the first case of Dutch Elm Disease in the city.  It was quickly removed and taken to the dump.  This city continues to look for other infected trees.  The city suspects the beetle that causes D.E.D. came with firewood.  The parks department deserves a big pat on the back for their quick action.

The province lets us know that the West Nile virus is here.  This despite the lack of mosquitoes in a number of Saskatchewan areas.  Use spray containing DEET – spray yourself on cart paths or any other non-turf area.

Talked to the people at Rock Creek Golf and Country Club the other day.  They tell me their golf course is in great shape.  They’ve had some very timely rains which certainly helped.  Rock Creek Golf Course is Shaunavons’ pride and joy.  Andrew Burch is the superintendent there.  However, there are some golf courses in that area that are suffering because of a lack of rain.

Golf courses in Saskatoon and many areas in our province are in excellent shape.  Sadly there are others that are having a tough time.  Winter injury and the lack of rain are the main culprits.  With the lack of rain turf managers have to manage their use of water.  It’s been a struggle, but things will get better and 2015 will be ancient history.

The STA and, in general golf clubs across the province have an obligation to turfgrass research.  Without research we wouldn’t have any of the benefits we as superintendents have today.  Jim Ross of the Prairie Turfgrass Research Centre in Olds, Alberta does tremendous research work for our benefit, but he struggles with the funding he gets.  He speaks to us at our seminars without cost.  The STA needs your participation at our Research Tournament at the Lynbrooke Golf Club in Moose Jaw.

It is generally recommended the pin on a green be located at least five paces from any edge of a green.  If a bunker is close to the edge or if the ground slopes away from the edge, the distance should be greater, especially if the shot is more than a pitch.

I received an e-mail from a couple of former STA members now in south western Alberta asking about my Uncle Jake.  Old Jake is still kicking and pretty happy actually because he was able to get rid of his long underwear the 1st of July.  To wash it he soaks it in gasoline with a touch of lye, lets it dry and then brings it to a laundromat in Saskatoon.  Good as new he says.

Good to see former STA member Bud Johns has been elected to the Saskatchewan Golf Hall of Fame.  Bud was a very good greens superintendent at a number of golf courses in the province.  He made each one of the courses better with his efforts.

Another reminder about our Research Tournament.  How about convincing 3 other people at your club to join you in Moose Jaw August 18?  The more entries we have, the better our chances of reaching our commitment to Turfgrass research.  Research will benefit all of our golf clubs.

It’s a stressful time of year and often very discouraging.  It’s important the Executive give the superintendent their utmost support and above all, encouragement.  It may be wise to get away from your course for a couple of days and perhaps visit a colleague down the road.  The Research Tournament is a good idea to discuss your woes with your peers.  I say this because the more you look for improvement on your course, the worse things seem.

With drought conditions throughout most of the province it’s important that you don’t cut greens, tees and fairways too short.  Cut your greens not lower than 3/16 inch, tees at ¾ inch, and fairways at 1 ¼ inch.  This will leave lots of leaf or blade to feed the roots.  You may get some complaints about these heights, but in the long run, your turf will be much healthier, especially if you have a water shortage.

Just picked this one from the internet.  Greens are much faster today on the average than they were say, fifteen years ago.  Regrettably, the demands often become unrealistic and they greatly increase the likelihood of turf loss.  Too much emphasis is being placed on the value of having ultra-fast greens and the damaging effects are being ignored.  More emphasis needs to be put on consistency and smoothness – where it belongs.

Golfers are often surprised to find most superintendents have college degrees in agronomy, horticulture or a related field.  Because it is important to keep up-to-date with new information and technologies, the majority also attends continuing education programs offered by the CGSA and the STA.  All, by the way, belong to and contributed to a local association.

I hear this one a lot, especially from my gardening friends.  Why do golf courses use pesticides?  Pesticides help limit the damage that can be caused by insects, weeds and plant diseases.  Insecticides, herbicides and fungicides are used very selectively to protect the health of turf, trees and other living things on the course.  Fertilizers provide much-needed nutrition for the courses’ plant life.

Some STA members are not getting the newsletter.  It’s usually sitting on the secretary’s table or kept by the person picking up the mail.  Send us a note by email, soupyd@sasktel.net on your preferred mailing address.  Your mail is usually better sent to your home address, this will ensure you get the mail promptly.

I haven’t heard too much about the presence of ticks.  I know they are out there, but no one is complaining about them.  Maybe the hot, dry weather has kept them at bay.  There aren’t an over-abundance of mosquitoes either.  As said earlier, West Nile Virus is still a threat.  Spray containing DEET will look after ticks and mosquitoes.

Again, another reminder to participate in the Research Tournament at Lynbrooke Golf and Country Club in Moose Jaw.  Take a day off fellows and participate in this event.  Enter by emailing me your team at soupyd@sasktel.net.

I learned this one the hard way.  I completely emptied my fuel can into my just about out of gas lawn mower.  It started, but soon quit.  Gasoline draws water out of the air and it’s wise to never empty a fuel can.  I had to clean my mowers gas tank as well as the fuel can.

You probably know this – the water on our planet moves in a continuous cycle called the “water cycle”.  Surface water is evaporated by the sun and rises into the air as water vapour.  The water vapour eventually falls back to earth as rain or snow.  Most of this moisture falls into the ocean, but some will fall on land.  Water that falls on land will form into rivers and slowly makes its way back to the ocean.  About 97% of the world’s water is in oceans.

September 22nd is the Annual CGSA Fall Field Day with a nine-hole tournament on September 21st.  The CGSA invites members to attend and celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Golf Club.  The host superintendent is RJ Cloutier.

I have little time for those people who disregard the elm tree pruning ban between April and August.  This is illegal – illegal because this is the period when the elm bark beetle is most active.  It is also illegal to use, store or transport elm wood.  Dutch Elm Disease is high in the news in Saskatoon where an infected tree has been found.  There are probably more.

Now the Saskatchewan Roughriders are 0 and 6, there has been here in Saskatoon at least, a name change.  They are the Regina Roughriders.  Similar to Graham DeLaet – when he plays well he’s from Saskatchewan, when he struggles, he is from Weyburn.

To date I have six teams entered in the Research Tournament.  I hope they come in steady until tournament day.  Swift Current always sends teams even if the tournament was in Meadow Lake.

My fax machine, being about as old as my Uncle Jake, isn’t working that well.  Come to think of it, neither is my Uncle Jake.  It would be an idea to forward your team to me by email.  If I’m well enough, I hope to see everyone at the Research Tournament in Moose Jaw.

If you can’t attend please consider forwarding a donation to aid in Turfgrass Research.  Your effort will be appreciated.

More in this category: « July 2015 September 2015 »

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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