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December 2012

  • December 2, 2012
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The STA’s Fall Windup and AGM was successful according to numerous emails I received. We had 54 members in attendance who took home lots of information from Jim Ross’ seminar. A highlight of his presentation was his talk about “Take All Patch”. I presume those in attendance will be looking for this disease next summer now that they know the symptoms.

I believe our attendance would have been even greater if the weather hadn’t been so nice. Some people who intended to come had to bow out so they could finish their fall work putting their courses to bed for the winter. We missed them, but can’t blame them for doing what they had to do. I hope they had enough nice weather to get everything done.

Lots has been written about fast greens both pro and con. I recently read an interesting article by Tim Morgan that superintendents should think twice before listening to those players who have a need for speed. These people are typically low-handicap players. Speeding up greens takes away good-quality hole locations. That makes the game easier for the better player since most holes will eventually end up near the middle of the green.

Rudolph Diesel developed the idea for the diesel engine and obtained the German patent for it in 1892. His goal was to create an engine with high efficiency. Gasoline engines were created or invented in 1876 and especially at that time, were not very efficient. This is from an article written for the Sept/Oct 2012 issue of the Green Master by Eddie Konrad. The entire article “Engines 101: The ABC’s of Diesel” is an excellent one and a must read.

January 25-29, 2013 is the date the CGSA is putting on the Canadian International Turfgrass Conference and Trade Show in Toronto. The theme is Growing for Golf. Toronto 2013 is the best opportunity for turf and golf managers from all parts of the country to develop the skills needed to help grow the game of golf. The golf sector needs leaders that are well prepared to help the golf business thrive. Growing for Golf has been designed to ensure that superintendents and turf managers from across Canada are in a position to lead golf’s charge.

Sixty percent of the interior pine forest in British Columbia has been killed by the Pine Beetle. It is now into the forests in northern Alberta. The pine beetle burrows into the bark of pine trees, cutting off the plants’ nutrients and causing it to slowly die. The pines will turn reddish in colour when they finally die.

May 2013 is a long way off, but remember this one as this is the month ticks will be showing their heads.
A school nurse is passing on what a pediatrician told her about the best way to remove ticks—apply a gob of liquid soap to a cotton ball. Cover the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball and swab it for a few seconds (15-20), the tick will come out on it’s own and be stuck to the cotton ball when you lift it away. The nurse says this technique has worked every time she used it (and she says this was frequently).

I received an interesting article from Karen Paisley, co-owner with her husband Bill, proud owners of Paisley Golf Oasis in Regina. The article is called Tee It Forward and written by Teresa Zamboni. The forward reads “If you are interested in having more fun on the golf course, you might want to determine whether you’re playing from the tees best suited to your game. You may need to TEE IT FORWARD. This initiative is designed to have golfers determine the right set of tees to play from based on how far they drive the ball of the tee.”

Parkland College, in conjunction with Dennis McKernan of Lifeworks Design and Consulting Ltd.
are pleased to offer the Turfgrass Management for Golf Certificate programs. Level I will be 2 days (18 hours including 4 hours of pre-course study), March 4th and 5th, 2013 in Moose Jaw SK. Level 2 will be 2 days or 18 hours which include 4 hours of pre-course study. This will be March 6 and 7, 2013 again in Moose Jaw. These courses are a must for every turf manager so watch future Newsletters and our website for more information. Ron Dagert was telling me about a lawn weed killer called Fiesta that controls broad leaf weeds, algae and moss on turf. It’s been approved for use in Ontario, is made with iron, it hasn’t any unpleasant odour and people, including children and pets can enter the area when the spray dries. Also thoroughly spray the weeds and uniform coverage is important.

Everyone has heard of oatmeal. Some like it, others hate the stuff. But it is good for you. One bowl of oatmeal can keep the doctor away. It’s full of fibre and just one cup contains almost 26 milligrams of folate and more than 10 grams of protein. It has many more amazing health benefits. Among them it lowers cholesterol, prevents arteries from hardening, it stabilized blood sugar and it gives the immune system a boost.

Earthworm casts create a serious management problem in turfgrass on golf courses, particularly under cool moist conditions. Cultural methods do not adequately control the earthworms or their casts, and no chemicals are currently approved for earthworm control even in the US. There is hope however, Chinese tea seed meal pellets, made from the seeds of the tea tree, have been shown to be effective in expelling earthworms and suppressing casting on playing surfaces. The pellets may irritate the earthworms skin.

I always read Turf and Recreation Editor Mike Jiggins column. He says it as it is, pulling no punches. He says home owners are largely to blame for the ban of pesticides in Ontario. He says home owners, neither properly trained or licensed in pesticide application tend to share the same mentality that a little is good, then a lot must be better. They generally don’t follow the label instructions when mixing the product, they’ll measure amounts by the “glug”. I like that. Way to go Mike.

Only a few golf shots are played from bunkers during a game of golf, but nowhere are golfers more critical of the course conditions than when it comes to the sand in bunkers. When players mis-play a shot from a bunker it is never the fault of the guy swinging the club. There is a multitude of things wrong with the sand, but nothing is wrong with the guys swing, ability as a player, concentration or what have you. They become quite unreasonable when discussing sand and even bunker placement.

Had an email recently from a member of a small club close to Saskatoon
who wanted some material on how to build a green at his facility. This is a very dangerous undertaking and very seldom works out. The Club would be much better off if they called in a professional golf course builder to do the job. It may cost more, but in 2 or 3 days the job will be done, and members will be happy with a job well thought out.

This past summer I had a real battle with slugs in my perennial garden. I sure didn’t win the battle trying lots of tricks obtained from my fellow gardeners. Here is one I hadn’t tried which was sent to me from a friend. It says place a few slices of cucumber in a small pie tin and my garden will be free of these pests all season. It seems the chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans, but drive garden slugs crazy and make them flee the area. I suppose it’s worth a try.

How many superintendents in our province know about a consulting service provided by the Prairie Turfgrass Research Centre? This program assists superintendents with Turfgrass problems and deficient areas within your management program. This practical and impartial information has helped many golf courses and turfgrass facilities to develop long term solutions to technical problems that have existed for some time. These long-term solutions will help to improve turf quality which will, in turn, have an impact on the bottom line.

I miss Laurie Unruh. He’s the guy that told me the old two dollar Canadian bill, the flag flying over the Parliament Building was an American flag and also peanuts are one of the ingredients in dynamite. So if you eat a lot of peanuts, drink beer and smoke you’ll———I’m not going there! One thing I do know, Laurie had hair at one time, but didn’t learn to talk until he was 12.

Here is a good one you can use. We derive benefits from pesticides because pesticides have provided a fresh,
abundant food supply at low cost. These economic and health benefits have contributed to overall human health. While we enjoy the benefits we must use pesticides with caution. Just about everything is toxic in the right dose, including salt, coffee, sugar, etc.

This appeared on the internet bashing those that use golf carts. It says these are the lazy or the hurried golfer. People who only rent carts because they can tote four six-packs, 10lbs of ice and an oversize golf bag. Often these are the very people who could benefit the most from walking. A long walk in pleasant weather produces a sweet feeling of fatigue, enhances sleep and improves the appetite. One leaves the golf course with a sense of a “job well done” regardless of score and a healthy respect for the athletic requirements of the walking game. It goes on to say golfers who walk score or play better than those able-bodied players who ride.

Another from the internet—when golfers by the thousand walk upon a green every month,
the traffic causes the soil near the surface to become hard and compacted. The soil particles are pushed closer together until water and air have a difficult time moving to the miles and miles of small root hairs on every grass plant. When this happens, the roots decline, the turf becomes weaker and diseases and other problems appear. Aerification pulls plugs from this compacted soil, allowing for an infusion of air and water that brings a resurgence of growth.

The following was written by Bob Brame for the USGA Green Section Record. It says there are 51 references containing the word “grass” in the Bible. These references cite conditions that range from flourishing to withering. When studied more closely, the Biblical references to grass underscore something we all know, but don’t like to think about. Like grass, our days are numbered. In 1 Pete 1:24 we find these words “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flower in the field: the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” Truly, life is a precious gift!

Very recently I met up with one of my old night watermen who was with me for 2 years in the early 1970’s. He was attending University and became an Electrical Engineer, retiring in 2009. We did a lot of reminiscing particularly about an accident he had operating a West Point Aerator. He slipped underneath the machine, both legs getting caught in the tines. They had to disassemble the drum to get him out. He had over 100 stitches in his leg and was off work six weeks. It’s a distant memory now, but was the one ugly incident I had in the golf business.

Michael Hurdzan, a golf course architect out of Columbus Ohio,
tells me good 18 hole golf courses should have 5 sets of tees: a professional set of tees placed at 7,000 total course yards, advanced amateur tees at 6,700 yards, normal amateur tees at 6,300 yards, intermediate at 5,700 yards and novice tees at 5,000 total course yards. Tee size should be proportional to the amount of play they receive.

A recent study found the average golfer walks about 900 miles a year.
Another study found golfers drink an average of 22 gallons of beer a year. All this means, on average, that golfers get about 41 miles to the gallon of beer. This would make golfers, especially those who walk feel proud, or maybe just happy.

Allen James, president of the Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment,
says this on the importance of pesticides “Our products are vital to public health protection and property protection. Sometimes the public tends to forget that.”

Here are some important facts for you. A human body is about 65% water.
Also, the average person will consume more than 10,600 gallons of water by the time they reach 50. Further, the average person in North America uses about 100 gallons of water each day for activities such as bathing, cleaning, cooking, drinking and that all important and certainly necessary exercise called “flushing”.

On a weight to 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. When I quit drinking coffee many years ago I suffered from caffeine withdrawal with a headache worse than any I had with a severe hangover.

Here is a nursery rhyme I found among my many notes I have all over the place. I found this one in an old day timer.
  • The hydraulic oil killed our green in streaks
  • The damage could be visible for many weeks
  • The golfers want the green fixed fast
  • That putting green nursery will save my…...green!

The mountain pine beetle which we talked about earlier, have become so widespread that they’re not just benefiting from global warming, they’re starting to contribute to it. This appeared in a recent edition of the StarPhoenix.

On behalf of President Reeve and his Board of Directors,
we wish all members and their families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May you all get lots of presents and Christmas Cheer. Stay safe and have a great 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.