December 2007

  • December 4, 2007
  • Written by Don Campbell

The Wind-up seminar was well attended with 65 people total. This is one of our better attended wind-ups. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Laurie Unruh, Ron Dagert, Darren Crilly and Doug Leavins for their efforts in calling members to come to Dakota Dunes Casino for a tremendous day.

Another highlight of the day was presenting the Drew Smith Member of the Year award to Peter Semko. Later, Mr. Semko was presented with a Life Membership in the S.T.A. for his dedication and commitment to the game of golf in Saskatchewan. Mr. Semko just recently sold his golf course (The Greenbryre Country Club) and is retiring. We wish Peter all the best for a happy retirement.

Techlife magazine joined Superintendent Debbie Amirault of the Royal Mayfair Golf Club for a tour of the golf course prior to the practice round of the C.N. Canadian Women’s Open. Debbie is the Alberta Director on the C.G.S.A. and has been the longtime superintendent at the Royal Mayfair. If you ask longtime members of Mayfair, they’ll tell you Amirault’s dedication is a big part of what makes the Mayfair worthy of hosting the caliber of golfers who play in the Canadian Women’s Open.

A golf course in Australia has been slapped with what is believed to be the largest environmental fine ever against a golf operator. The Land and Environment has ordered Warringah Golf Club to pay more than $400,000 in fines and related court costs from a pesticide spill that killed nearly 10,000 fish, ducks and birds more than two years ago. The greens superintendent who was fired was also fined $35,000 and had to do 250 hours of community service. The sprayer lost pressure, was taken to the shop for repairs where the pesticide was allowed to drain into a lagoon. What made everything worse was the Club distanced itself from any responsibility, blaming a member of the greens staff for a stupid mistake. “Wrong thing to do” said the Judge.

A major disappointment at the Fall Wind-up was the absence of people who could have benefited by David Doherty’s seminar. I heard this from more than one of the delegates. We did, however, have a strong representation of Turf Managers from all parts of the province – North, South, East and Northwest.

The odd zones were up for election as was Commercial South—Gord Moore (Zone 1), Pierre Vezeau (Zone 3), Doug Leavins (Zone 5), Mark Morhart (Zone 7). The Commercial South Director is Laurie Unruh. All were elected for a two year term.

A note to all managers: Remember, Greenkeepers are well trained individuals who continually upgrade their turfgrass education through seminars and provincial education programs. We as an Association 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 Clubs financial plan.”

Quick Facts on Pesticides:

  1. On a weight for weight basis, caffeine is between 25 to 50 times more toxic than some of the most commonly used lawn herbicides. I wonder when the campaign to ban coffee will start, along with chocolate and soda pop.
  2. On average, only one in 100,000 active ingredients makes it from discovery in a laboratory through to full registration.
  3. Many of the pesticides used today biodegrade rapidly, in some cases as quickly as several days.
  4. It can take up to 10 years to complete and can cost in excess of 100 million dollars to develop and register a single active ingredient.
  5. And finally, the entire development process for any active ingredient consists of up to 120 different tests before it may be registered.

When tending to two-cycle engines, always use the recommended spark plug with the correct heat range for that particular unit. Refer to the operator’s manual for each model to verify the correct spark plug. Spark plugs considered “hotter” may take a unit past its heat limits and cause major engine damage.

And this from David Doherty – When soil becomes impacted it must be aerated. There are no shortcuts or painless remedies. There is a price to pay for postponing the inevitable. It may be summer stress or injury. Greens, tees and fairways must be aerated on a regular basis according to a well thought out program. Healthy turf is the result of hard work based on a plan and that plan always includes aeration.

How many turf managers have taken time to create a standard operating procedure manual? If developed properly, the manual can be a real eye opener for most golfers and boards to see what you do during the course of a week, a month and a season. It shows a level of professionalism and planning that also explains what procedures you are doing and why you do them. Two of the very best I’ve seen were developed in Saskatoon.

Golf Clubs, Towns, Parks and Cities are advised to start a tree maintenance program and replacement program. If the turf manager of superintendent doesn’t take control of the process someone else will … usually with disastrous results. By having a tree program in place, you can minimize the emotional debate that often takes over a discussion regarding tree maintenance.

It was nice to see so many people at our Fall Wind-up. Not only did they come from all over the province but from Alberta and British Columbia as well. David Doherty was the draw. The CGSA was well represented with President Terry McNeilly, Saskatchewan representative Darren Crilly and Tim Kubash, the B.C. representative.

The S.T.A.’s next event will be in mid-March in Saskatoon. Our Seminar will feature Dr. Ball, a tree expert from South Dakota. This should benefit golf courses, parks, tree movers and maintenance people, cities and towns. Having attended a Dr. Ball seminar previously, we know everyone will benefit from this seminar.

President Doug Leavins and the Board of Directors along with myself and Justin Scarfe wish all S.T.A. members and their families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! May 2008 bring you much happiness and above all – good health!

More in this category: « November 2007 January 2008 »

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.