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July 2008

The STA is holding its Research Golf Tournament at Jackfish Lodge Golf Club in Cochin, Saskatchewan on Tuesday August 12, 2008. Entry is $70 per person or $280 per team of four. The Shotgun Scramble will start at 11:00 am sharp. Included with this newsletter is an entry form which I hope you fill out immediately and send back to me by fax (306-244-0513) or email me your entry at  soupyd@sasktel.net . Please enter and help fulfill our commitment in supporting Turfgrass Research in Saskatoon.

If you are going to participate in our skins game on Monday August 11th, starting at 4:00pm, I would like to urge you to reserve a room at the Jackfish Lodge. Call 1-306-386-2800 – mention the STA Research Tournament and you are set. I’d do this as soon as possible ... they’ll only hold the rooms for so long.

You can pay the entry fee by Credit Card or cheque or the STA can invoice you. If it is impossible for you to attend please consider a donation to Turf Research in Saskatchewan. We will be grateful for any donation amount. By the way, entry forms will be available on our website at www.saskturf.com as well as with this newsletter. We hope to see a large number of golfers at Jackfish Lodge.

After a slow start attributed to cool weather, golf courses in the province are getting better. With the warm weather conditions will improve dramatically. So far it’s been a difficult year for a number of green superintendents.

The popularity between golfers and their motorized carts is leading to numerous injuries, not only on the golf course, but on public streets, on the farm and even while buzzing around hospitals and airports. Carts have more power and can go faster, leading some golf clubs to install governors on them to hold the speed down. Falling or jumping from the golf cart was the most common injury for both adults and kids.

The Ontario provincial government says it will introduce legislation to ban the sale and use of lawn and garden pesticides. Exempt from the legislation will be farms, golf courses and managed forests. This despite a scientific study conducted in 1997 by the National Cancer Institute of Canada’s Advisory Committee on Cancer Control. They established a panel to examine the link connecting pesticides and cancer. What did they find? No association was found between pesticide use and cancer.

Now may be a good time to think seriously about what precautions can be taken to minimize the risk of West Nile Virus for yourself, your staff and the golfers. Measures include:

  1. Eliminating areas of standing water.
  2. Applying insect repellent to your skin and clothes.
  3. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever necessary.

Saskatchewan leads the country in West Nile Virus cases, the consequences of which are severe. A large number of golf clubs in the province make sure their employees are well protected by supplying the “bug” spray.

I notice that more and more golf clubs are back to walk-behind mowers. Here are some safety guidelines for you that apply to greens mowers and small rotary mowers:

  • Never mow wet grass. You may slip, plus the grass is likely to clog your mower.
  • Mow across a slope and watch your footing. By mowing across the slope you will be less likely to slip under the mower. Also, the mower can’t roll back on you.
  • Don’t overreach – keep the proper footing and balance at all times.
  • Always push the mower. Never pull it towards your feet.
  • Keep the mower flat. Don’t lift the front over tall grass or weeds.
  • Immediately stop and turn off the mower after hitting an object. Inspect for any damage.

Until the 1950’s bunkers or sand traps didn’t have rakes.
They were true hazards prior to that and didn’t have to be consistent throughout the golf course. Bunkers were groomed by hand twice a week. Now the cost of maintaining bunkers is as much as any other maintenance on the course.

Here is one I heard on the Golf Channel. You will enjoy your game if you play from the set of tees that gives you the best chance to reach the par 3’s in one shot, par 4’s in two and par 5’s in three shots. You’d be surprised to know that many golfers aren’t aware of that.

A tip for you – Make sure water coolers on your property are cleaned regularly… at least on a weekly basis. Clean up the area around the cooler, especially discarded cups every day. Also, it is a good idea to check ball washers regularly and change the water. I say this after visiting a golf course near Saskatoon whose house keeping practices left a lot to be desired. Forgetting isn’t an acceptable excuse.

Did you know we are included among 50 million golfers in the world? The average score is 107 and 80% of all golfers do not achieve a handicap of less than 18. STA member Jim Cote agrees. He also says I’m the only guy he knows, probably in the world, who has an unplayable lie when I tee it up.

Our Research Tournament at Jackfish Lodge
is a good time to discuss with your peers the problems that you may have encountered this year. It promotes an exchange of ideas coming forward from superintendents who come together to help each other. The idea of the Research Tournament is to raise money for research but just as important is the exchange of ideas to help solve problems superintendents may encounter at their course.

Let’s go back to a time before most of us were born,
Larry Palmer being the exception of course:

  • Each Club Professional had to double as a greenkeeper or at least have a working knowledge on how to maintain a course. Much has changed since this was the norm.
  • In July 1895, on how to have good grass on putting greens: Putting greens should be relaid with plenty of sifted road grit and old soot, well mixed. Soot will be found superior to artificial manure, for the soot produces a rich green grass.
  • In October 1932 a serious drought hit the United States and many of the larger and richer clubs had decided to install sprinklers throughout the golf course. Roughly speaking, an expenditure of $10,000 to $15,000 would be required to water an 18-hole course.
  • Also in 1932 greenkeeper W. Prichard of Thornhill Golf and Country Club came out strongly urging his peers in Ontario to use arsenate of lead for their greens. He said the effect will be lasting and there will be no damage to the greens or even ill effects. How long did the members last?

I’m out of here – One last reminder to enter in the STA’s Research Tournament at Jackfish Lodge Golf Club. We’ll tee it up August 12th!

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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.