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December 2015

The 2015 Fall Wind Up and AGM is now behind us.  People who were there tell me it was a success in terms of educational value and meeting with peers in the industry.  However the attendance left a lot to be desired and in fact it was disappointing.  For the record we had 53 attending; 22 superintendents; 11 greenkeepers; 5 speakers and 15 commercial delegates.  We have to do better and at the STA’s first meeting the two-day event will be reviewed.

A big thank you to the Saskatoon Golf and Country Club for hosting the Fall Wind Up.  The staff went out of their way to serve all our needs.  Also we thank our speakers for a job well done.  Most of them were contacted prior to my hospital stay.  With that we managed to fill the slate one week prior to the event.  All speakers cooperated with us despite the late notice.

The social the first night was enjoyed by all, especially the toonie bar.  It was a night with old friends discussing events at their club over the year just past.  The speakers also enjoyed the evening mingling with the delegates freely.  They enjoyed each other’s company so much the party continued at another local watering hole.  All made it to the sessions the next day fortunately.

Here is something I’ll bet nobody knew:  If a statue in any park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle.  If the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died because of wounds received in battle.  If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.  Now you know!

Pat Jones, publisher of Golf Course Industry had this to say at an Ontario Golf Superintendents Association conference.  He remarked that the golf course superintendent is easily the most valuable employee at a golf club, pointing out a club can function without a pro or a chef.  He goes on to say a golf clubs’ primary product is the course itself, and everything else are mere accessories.

Every year I remind members that they are welcome to invite their managers, green chairman or president to attend the Fall Wind Up.  So far, after many years I don’t think we have had one show up.  Superintendents are different however because a number bring their assistants or other employees to the event.

My Uncle Jake comes out with some good ones.  He can’t figure out why do you have to “put your two cents in” but it’s only a “penny for your thoughts”.  Old Jake can’t figure out where’s that extra penny going to.  He’s got another one also, wondering how many parking spaces do you need to make a parking lot.  Is it just a few or a lot?  Home brew will do funny things to you.

I wasn’t able to visit any golf courses outside of Saskatoon this past summer.  The courses in Saskatoon were in good condition.  This condition has carried right into November.  My old golf course was in the best playing condition I’ve ever seen.  That was right from the start of the year and a tribute to Doug Campbell and his staff.

Golf Course Technician Eddie Konrad says doing scheduled maintenance and adjustments will prolong the life of all golf course equipment, help prevent expensive down time and give the best possible quality of cut and performance.  Problems developed over time can be prevented by adjustment, lubrication or other required maintenance.  Proper training of operators helps to keep equipment running without repairs.

Most everyone knows Jim Ross as retired as the Executive Director and Research Manager at the Prairie Turfgrass Research Centre at Olds College in Olds Alberta.  Since taking this position in the early 1990’s Jim turned Olds College into one of the most respected turf research centres in North America.  Jim was responsible for business operations and the planning of various research areas.  Jim was the recipient of the 2014 John B. Steele award.  The above information came from Greenmaster magazine.

The CTRF, a charity supporting turf research across Canada has a great poster out showing some of the environmental benefits of turfgrass.  One especially caught my eye “Turfgrass Regulates Temperature”.  The process of transpiration has a cooling effect that lowers the temperature of the air around the turf grass plant.  With the high density of the plants transpiring within a stand of turfgrass, the need for air conditioning can be significantly reduced, conserving energy for other uses.  Studies have shown that the amount of heat given off by bare land or poorly maintained turf is substantially more than that of healthy, well-maintained stands of turfgrass.  The STA supports the CTRF each year.

2016 STA Board of Directors

President - Lach Reeve – Weyburn Golf Club

Zone 1 – Gord Moore – City of Regina

Zone 2 – Doug Campbell – Riverside Country Club

Zone 3 – Pierre Vezeau – Cooke Municipal Golf Course

Zone 4 – Kyle Kellgren – Jackfish Lodge Golf Club

Zone 5 – Richard Berg – Elmwood Golf and Country Club

Zone 6 – Dean Hildebrandt – Wakaw Regional Park Golf Course

Zone 7 – Leo Skaluba – Deer Park Municipal Golf Course

Zone 8 – Lach Reeve – Weyburn Golf Club

Commercial North – Kevin Bloski – Early’s Farm and Garden

Commercial South – Brandon McCormack – Oakcreek Golf and Turf

Past President – Doug Leavins – Chinook Golf Course


A special thank you goes to Kirt Blatz for his efforts while Commercial South Director on the STA Board.  Kirt was always ready to help out in any way we asked him, attended and helped organize all events and above all believed in the STA.  I know he will continue to help us whenever asked.  A first class guy!

Golf continues to lose some of its popularity.  This has been going on for several years, not only in our province, but across Canada as well.  What is the reason?  Some say the booming economy  people are too busy; it takes too long to play – people who want to spend more of their free time with their family; it is too expensive – this may be true in the bigger centres, but I don’t think it’s the case at small courses or centres.  What is the answer – nobody seems to know.

Here is something you should think about this winter.  During next years’ golf season when you are making a daily tour of your golf course, be on the lookout for little things that can be repaired for little or no cost.  Something like a sprinkler not turning or a leaking irrigation pipe.  With just a little effort, these problems could be rectified.  Don’t lose sight of the fact of other problems you might have such as diseases on greens etc.

There are times when superintendents have wonderful opportunities to leave living legacies.  Letting the grass grow in out of play areas and planting trees and wildflowers are examples.  Such havens of tranquility, where birds make nests and rabbits scurry are proof of the superintendents role as an environmentalist.

Superintendents shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes.  Your critics will be disarmed if you readily admit to having made a mistake.  Just the same, try not to make the same mistake twice.

I like this from the late Gordon Witteveen who, along with others, say that Greenkeeping is mostly “housekeeping”.  Never mind your college degree, here, in a nutshell, is the essence of the superintendent’s occupation.  When you make your rounds on the course, never pass by a piece of any trash.  Pick it up and put it away in a trash container.  There may be a valid reason for some strange disease that’s attacking your turf, but there is never an excuse for a messy golf course.

There are some very good superintendents in our province.  These people are active professionally.  They serve on their professional associations.  They attend meetings, conferences and seminars.  They stand up and speak when called up.  Their Golf Club encourages them to take part in the above and happily pay for their professional education.

Just returned from a visit with my doctor who seemed pleased with my recovery thus far.  I still have to stay quiet and will undergo more tests for a while longer.  There seems to be some problems with my medications, so consequently I’ll be doctoring for a while.  A big downer is I’m not allowed to drive.  Things will get better I’m sure.

A few green keepers do this, but I think they are few and far between.  Prior to commencing cutting a green, inspect it by walking and scanning the putting surface.  Look for stones and debris and repair ball marks in the process. Remove the flagstick and put it beside the green.  Some fast operators believe that they can remove the stick as they pass by, but this isn’t a very good idea, and quite often leads to accidents.

This one comes from a paper Dr. Drew Smith wrote re turf disease, especially on greens.  On mornings when greens are not to be cut and there is dew on the turf, it should be removed for not only the benefit of the golfers as well as for the health of the grass.  Wet turf provides an ideal breeding ground for fungus disease, and drying the grass early in the morning either by means of dew whipping or simply by cutting the green is an essential part of disease prevention.

Important Notice

There will not be a mailed newsletter in January, February and March. Turf Tips will appear on our website (www.saskturf.com)  If you would like a mailed copy, email me at soupyd@sasktel.net


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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.