July 2009

  • July 4, 2009
  • Written by Don Campbell

The first part of July and we are all busy. Despite the spring that left a lot to be desired, things in the turf industry are going pretty well. While some golf courses had some issues as a result of the colder than normal winter and spring they are rebounding. This doesn’t happen overnight but is the result of some very hard work by green superintendents and their crews.

The courses in the south of the province are, in most cases, in very good condition. Play in the province is down somewhat primarily because of the cool spring. Rounds played are up with a change in weather but you can’t catch up for lost days in late April and May.

Membership fees are coming in fairly well.
If you haven’t paid for your 2009 dues, please submit them now so I can concentrate on a truckload of other issues the STA has on its plate. We seem to be getting busier each year or maybe I’m getting older. People tell me I’m getting grumpier also.

Recently I went for an early morning tour at my old golf club. Early as 5:30 am, the time I used to start work at Riverside for over 45 years. I loved the early mornings on the course. No golfers … just the odd rabbit, song birds keeping me happy, maybe the odd deer or fox running across the fairway. That made all those early mornings worthwhile. That all ended with retirement about 15 years ago.

The tour was great. I took in all the changes to the golf course and the new clubhouse. Riverside Country Club is also a beautiful property. Since I left the course, in my estimation the facility is 60-70% better because of the changes made. Better maintenance and unbelievable landscaping. Every hole is unique. The new clubhouse is 100% better than the old one … consequently the service and food quality is better. Riverside has a substantial wait list and is a well run golf club.

The Research Tournament will be held at the Royal Regina Golf Club
Monday August 10th, 2009. It’s an 8:00 am Shotgun start, followed by dinner at 1:00 pm and prizes at 2:00 pm. The entry deadline is August 3rd, 2009. The Skins game will be held at the Wascana Country Club on Sunday at 1:00 pm. This event is limited to 40 players and will cost $35.00 per person for golf and a golf cart.

Playing in the Research Tournament and Skins game gives each of us an opportunity to play first rate golf courses in the southern part of the province. Superintendents are urged to bring their greens chairmen, president and their manager or professional to this event. They won’t regret participating in this tourney as the Royal Regina wants to make this Research Tournament one we’ll remember.

Enclosed with this Newsletter is an entry form, so fill it out immediately. You can fax it to me or email everything (  soupyd@sasktel.net ) to me, including your credit card information. Turfgrass Research needs your support and your entries.

Just spoke to Jim Cote,
the retired superintendent from Willow Bunch Golf Club. Jim recently had his lower spine rebuilt and is pain free. He is now waiting for heart bypass surgery. When that’s done he says he will be like new. Ron Gross, who had heart problems last fall, is doing well so I’m told. I can’t get a hold of Ron to hear firsthand how he’s doing. Ron is the superintendent at Watrous. I’m also told that Brad Konecsni, who suffered a recent heart attack, is back at work on a limited basis. I wish all them the best of luck and good health in the future. I have suffered with heart disease for twenty years and I say to each that there is lots of life after a heart event. Just take it easy and change a few things in your life style.

The condition of some courses this spring caused a lot of worry among turf managers. Remember this worry causes problems instead of solutions. It leads to procrastination instead of action. After my first heart attack some 20 years ago my doctor gave me some solid advice which was: “Instead of worrying about everything, be concerned. By being concerned you will go into corrective action much quicker and more effectively”. This was great advice and I follow it to this day and urge everyone to do the same.

With the drought conditions throughout the west of our province it’s important that you don’t cut greens, tees and fairways too short. Leave lots of leaf or blade to feed the roots. As an example, cut greens at ¼”, tees at ¾” and fairways at 1 ¼”. You may get some complaints about these heights but in the long run your turf will be much healthier, especially if you have a water shortage. Make sure your Executive is informed as to why everything is a little longer.

For most superintendents this is a stressful time of the year. It’s of the utmost importance the Executive give you their positive support, with an abundance of encouragement. It may be wise to get away from your course for a day and perhaps visit a colleague down the road. I say this because the more you look for improvement on your course the worse things seem. Remember what I said earlier … “Don’t worry, be concerned”.

Don’t discount the danger of West Nile virus. The cool spring weather meant a slow start for the mosquitoes that can carry the West Nile virus, but the hot weather loving inspects can thrive in the weeks ahead. Saskatchewan chief medical health officer Dr. Moira McKinnon recommends you take precautions by wearing long sleeves, use insect repellent containing deet and avoid going to mosquito laden areas, particularly at dawn and dusk. As far as insect repellent is concerned it should be supplied by the employer.

Laurie Unruh was confused about paying an invoice so he decided to ask his former secretary for some mathematical help. He called her into his office and said “You graduated from University with a commerce degree and I need your help. If I were to give you $20,000 minus 14% how much would you take off?” The educated secretary thought for a moment, and then replied “Everything but my earrings”.

Greens superintendents, greens chairmen
and other club executives would do well to enter a team in the STA Research Tournament at the Royal Regina Golf Club, August 10th, 2009. This is a chance to play one of the elite private clubs in Regina. It will also be a good time to interact with fellow superintendents and executives, plus have a whole lot of fun!

If you plan on staying over Sunday night (August 9th) when participating in the Research Tournament at Royal Regina Golf Club, I advise you to book early to guarantee accommodations. Regina is hosting many events in the month of August and hotel rooms will be at a premium. I’m booked in at the new Holiday Inn Express.

I just heard Glen Pilling, superintendent / owner of the Spiritwood Golf Club, has had some recent health problems. He is feeling better and my sources tell me he’s recovering back, where else, but at work.

Please make every effort to participate in this year’s Research Tournament. Fax or email your entry forms to me as soon as possible. To all those members who have health problems – hang in there and get well. And remember to be concerned … don’t worry.

More in this category: « June 2009 August 2009 »

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.