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December 2009

We had a great Fall Wind-up and Annual General Meeting at the Lynbrook Golf Club in Moose Jaw. The Social the night before was most enjoyable with old friends, mostly talking about the year they had. Joel Simmons’ seminar was informative and educational.

A big thank you to the Lynbrook Golf for their hospitality! Staff and the membership did a great job preparing the food that was enjoyed by all. The Cornerstone Pub and Grille provided us with a fun filled evening.

Did we ever have a great November, weather wise. People were playing golf at least to November 24th. Most courses were put to bed, but people still liked to get out, hit the ball and play to temporary greens.

While I liked this time of the year as a green superintendent and club manager,
I sure don’t like it when I’m preparing a newsletter. I haven’t a clue on what to write about. I think I’ll hit the internet and browse for some tips … let’s see what I can come up with.

We are looking for venues for next year’s Research Tournament and Skins game. It will be in the north for sure and a couple of courses have been approached. Hopefully we will have a strong turnout and raise much needed money for turf research. Last year’s event raised $4,000.

The Saskatchewan Golf Association will have one Annual Meeting this year.
It will be held in the spring at which time they will present us with a cheque for $1,500 to be forwarded to the Research people of their choice.

When soil becomes compacted it must be aerated.
There are no shortcuts or painless remedies. There is a price for postponing the inevitable. It may be summer stress or winter 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. It is important your board and membership are aware of the plan. Communication will help you with this one.

At the Annual Meeting in Moose Jaw I asked everyone to fill out a Compensation Survey.
One of the questions I asked was “Should the survey be mailed to all STA members?” The response was almost 100% yes. With this newsletter I’m enclosing a questionnaire for you to fill out and mail back to me. If you did so at the AGM don’t send me another. I will publish the results in the March newsletter.

The spectrum of plant diseases caused by insects is very complex and requires a continuous stream of information from colleges and research centres. Add to that weed infestations and nutritional deficiencies and it quickly becomes apparent that superintendents, their assistants and key personnel need to constantly update their knowledge of pesticides and their applications. The winter season is ideally suited to go back to school to refresh one’s knowledge and keep up with the latest information. There is so much to learn and it is important your club knows and supports their superintendent financially with his or her continuing education.

It was really nice to see Jim Cote at the Fall Wind-up in Moose Jaw. After, and still facing, some serious health issues, Jim looks good and his positive attitude is an inspiration to everyone. Jim loves the golf business and, although he is basically retired, he still does some consulting work and is available to anyone who may have some problems on their golf course.

If ever there is a case for the need of further education on the part of the greens staff, a seminar on the rules of golf as they affect maintenance should be highest on the list. Superintendents need to know the rules as they apply to their operations. They need to be able to advise the golfers on what rules apply and what type of relief is permitted. Superintendents need to work with golf professionals to make sure that the course is marked correctly and consistently, so that all golfers’ play is enjoyable and still within the rules. Another winter project for you.

Cucumbers are amazing plants but their fruit is even more amazing.
Want to avoid a hangover or a terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, vitamin B and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache. Pierre Vezeau swears by this remedy.

I know this one works because a couple of neighbours and I have tried it
. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices of cucumber in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminium to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy an make them flee the area … it’s true!

I’ve read numerous articles on how superintendents pay tribute to their mothers, crediting them for helping with their chosen profession and how moms shaped their lives. Perhaps I’ve missed something here, but 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. There are plenty, and a wife has to be tolerant in keeping not only the marriage but the family together.

Congratulations go to Mike Kupchanko on receiving this year’s Dr. Drew Smith Award as Member of the Year. Mike is the good superintendent at the Wascana Country Club in Regina. Mike plays an active role in the turf industry and in the STA. Not only does he set a good example for his own staff, he’s willing to help his fellow superintendents and shows the utmost in professionalism. Mike was elected to the STA Board of Directors at the 2009 Annual Meeting.

Researchers in Japan have found that alcohol consumption
appears to attract mosquitoes and increase the likelihood of bites. Ken Lintott told me if you knock off 15 or 20 beer, you likely wouldn’t give a damn if the pesky little suckers bite you or not. Larry Palmer agrees. Pierre Vezeau would not comment.

And this one from Denis Jeanneau - always clean zerks before greasing because grease is a grit magnet. Grease left on top of the zerk holds dirt that can be pushed into the bearing surfaces during the greasing process. Armed with the proper grease and clean zerks, the skilled mechanic, or Denis in this case, uses his eyes, ears and sense of touch to apply the proper amount of grease to the various fittings found throughout machinery. The true technician knows that a little grease everyday in each joint is the best strategy.

And speaking of grease zerks, I wish I could have one installed in each of my knees. I could then give myself a shot each morning so I could walk pain free each day. I would certainly feel better and wouldn’t swear as much. Because of heart disease, they will not replace them so I have to suck it up and learn to live with it. My wife has had both her knees done and feels wonderful, walking pain free and can kick me in the butt at will.

When I started this newsletter I didn’t have a clue what I was going to write. I’ve done it in just under 3 hours. With this, I’m gone and I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year! May you get many presents under your tree and please look after your wives and children. They deserve much kindness this holiday season.

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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.