January 2008

  • January 5, 2008
  • Written by Don Campbell

The S.T.A. Spring Seminar will be held March 18th & 19th. The C.G.S.A. Seminar will be held March 19th. The topic – Managing Trees in Parks, on Golf Courses and in Towns. The speaker will be John Ball from the University of South Dakota. March 18th will include two 2-hour sessions, followed by a reception. Around this time Oakcreek is hosting a service school.

2007 is history and a promise for an even better 2008. Premier Brad Wall has promised a wonderful year with an early warm spring, beautiful summer days with timely rains and an open fall. All this will bring a multitude of people to our parks and golf courses.

Did you know “links” golf causes headaches? It denies players optimal playing conditions. True, the turfgrass is tightly cropped and allows for crisp contact on the clubface, but the ball is often sitting in a cuppy lie. More times than not the golfer’s feet are slightly uneven. Uncertainty reigns. The ball lands on the ground that has some slope or pitch to it. The sandy playing surface is usually rock hard, so that the angle of approach the ball takes continues after it touches down and kicks and bounds along the ground. North American golfers have acquired the contrary view that, somehow, golf should be “fair”. They’ve grown accustomed to a very different game, and this creates a different set of expectations about proper architecture, maintenance and playability. This could be the reason the popularity of golf in North America is declining. “Links” golf is more fun!

Whatever has happened to Bill Radke?
He was the S.T.A. President prior to Kevin Bloski. Radke and his wife owned the Candle Lake Golf Course which they sold to the current owner.

The PGA Tour Driving Distance average in 2001 was 279.4 yards. In 2006 it jumped to 289.6 yards. Are the players that much stronger or is it the equipment?

My daughter recently visited New Zealand where she found sheep grazing on golf course fairways. That reminded me of an article I just read about golf courses in Grenada. They aerate the greens with pitch forks and topdress with compost.

Many, many years ago at a National Turfgrass Conference, a well respected and elderly green superintendent told me there are two things a superintendent should never be without. One was to have a putting green nursery for testing new products and equipment and for making repairs to existing greens. The second was to have a long-range plan or a strategic plan. This can boost superintendents’ credibility with Boards and provide continuity when Boards or Bosses change. This plan should be reviewed each winter. I thought this was great advice from and old superintendent who was at a private club in Winnipeg for over 40 years.

I can remember many years ago when I used to attend Turf Conferences and Seminars as my winter holidays. That was a long time ago but as I looked around the room I’d say to myself: “Look at all the old farts”. At our Fall Wind-up and A.G.M. at Dakota Dunes Casino I looked around and mentioned to Ron Dagert “there sure are a lot of young guys here”. I guess that makes me the “Old Fart” now.

Just recently I celebrated my 74th birthday
… a big bonus because I thought I was 75. When I started getting the Old Age pension I kind of forgot about birthdays. My mother, who is 96, set me straight.

Golf course builder Sid Puddicombe told me this one. While a green superintendent at a private club in Edmonton, a member asked him: “How many inches do the greens sink each year after aerification?” My all-time question while I was a superintendent at Riverside in Saskatoon was: “The new water coolers are nice but why does the ice water have to be so cold?”

Just before Christmas I had a call from a member who suggested we reprint some tips on how to get the most out of a seminar or an educational session… and here they are:

  1. Listen attentively and take brief but accurate notes.
  2. Share your relevant experience with friends.
  3. Ask questions if you don’t understand. The only bad question is the one not asked.
  4. Give and receive feedback, when requested, in a positive and constructive manner.
  5. Be considerate regarding the needs and opinions of others.
  6. Enter discussions with enthusiasm. You will gain from the program only as much as you put into it.

Green superintendents often say the most irksome problems on the golf course are not replacing divots. In 1920 a New York Parks Commissioner charged a group of golfers by appointing them to the honorable position of divot officers. They were to warn other players about replacing upturned turf.

Did you know a typical 18 hole golf course
produces enough oxygen to support up to 7000 people. It’s too bad people don’t dwell on this, but they’d rather condemn pesticide use.

Every turf manager should name his chainsaw “Lightening”. When a person, golfer or member asks what happened to the beautiful poplar that used to be behind #4 green (never mind about the roots sucking everything out of the green) you can look him or her square in the eye and say: “Lightening got it.” Works every time.

Most oil seals are trouble-free for the life of the machine. Seals that fail often give advance warning in the form of dripping oil or seeping from around its edges. Seals are too cheap to take shortcuts with. It often takes a lot of labour to disassemble a machine’s main drive train to get at a leaky seal. Don’t risk having to redo the job by trying to save a few pennies on the oil seals. It’s smart to use the original equipment parts or get seals from a reputable supply-house. Most seals carry a manufacturer’s numerical code to help ensure the proper replacement is used.

The S.T.A. Spring Seminar will be held March 18th & 19th. The C.G.S.A. Seminar will be held March 19th. The topic – Managing Trees in Parks, on Golf Courses and in Towns. The speaker will be John Ball from the University of South Dakota. March 18th will include two 2-hour sessions, followed by a reception. Around this time Oakcreek is hosting a service school.

After playing 54 holes with NBA star Michael Jordan, Tiger woods had this to say: “Let’s just say he made a very nice donation to the Tiger Woods Spending Fund”.

Ken Lintott wants to know if anyone knows the difference between a whiff, a fresh air shot and a practice swing. Barry Carpenter, the big boss at Oakcreek, says golfers don’t swear after a practice swing. Carpenter also wants to know “Who was the guy that invented golf and said it was fun?” Laurie Unruh came up with the answer: “The same guy that invented bag pipes and called it music.”

Just before Christmas I talked to Wayne Berry who has spent some time working with Clarks Supply and Service. Wayne really enjoyed his second career but is retiring again. He promised to keep in touch, saying he was going to keep busy honing his golfing skills.

Recently I made arrangements to visit our daughter
and son-in-law in North Carolina. After this, we’ll head to Hilton Head Island and visit Savannah and Charleston South Carolina. After returning home, my wife is off to Australia with her sister and friends. I’m staying home to promote our seminar March 18th & 19th. Have a great 2008!

More in this category: « December 2007 February 2008 »

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.