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July 2011

Our next big event will be the 2011 S.T.A Research Tournament held this year in Swift Current. With this newsletter you will find an entry form. Put a team together and fax it to me as soon as you can. We need your entry to raise much needed funds for Turfgrass Research.

Our first Summer Field Day was successful if you exclude the weather that rolled in about noon preventing people from playing golf. We had just over one hundred registered which included the commercial people. Out of that 84 delegates wanted to play golf. A big thank you to Wayne Sundstrom and the Willows for hosting the event. Everyone I talked to ejoyed themselves, meeting with old friends and exchanging spring problems especially with too much water. We were represented by all corners of the province.

West Nile virus is here guys and Health regions in the Province tell us to use caution by protecting ourselves using good repellent and by wearing long pants and light coloured, loose fitting shirts. Remember mosquitoes are most active in the real early morning and at dusk. Recently I visited a golf course in Saskatoon and saw two machine operators wearing protective netting from head to toe. I think they said you can purchase the outfit at Canadian Tire – On the same tour I saw where golfers had sprayed their legs on a fairway(‘s) killing the grass. I’m sure they got enough on their legs by the size of the kill spot. A sign at the first tee might move them to a cart path would eliminate killing the grass.

A big thank you to Kevin Bloski for organizing the Summer Field Day. Kevin spent many hours working on this event. Also, a big thanks to Ron Dagert for talking the Field Day up to all his customers. Another who went out of his way to ensure good attendance was Clark’s Supply and Service Kirt Blatz. Kirt is also an S.T.A Director.

What is the biggest factor contributing to lapses in player etiquette? Number one is lack of respect for the game, followed by lack of knowledge of the game. At the bottom of the list are first time golfers new to the game.

Was nice to see Jim Cote at the Summer Field Day. Jim is suffering from some serious health issues but he can still laugh and I thought looked pretty good. Jim will have major surgery this fall to help correct his problems. Jim always has been a big supporter of the S.T.A.

Hitting the ball into the cup is the purpose of the game of golf. It may take one player 120 strokes or a mere 67 for another, but in the end they both need the ball to go into the cup. Cutting a hole for a cup has changed very little in the past 185 years. Laurie Unruh tells me the golf balls go further, clubs are better and clothing is nicer, but scores stay the same. Laurie suggests they make the hole bigger.

Many years ago a tournament Director with the Royal Canadian Golf Association (now Golf Canada) told me when responding to those that say your greens are too hard and they won’t hold a shot, remind them that the green is not supposed to hold the shot, the shot is supposed to hold the green. I liked that!

Let’s talk a little more about the West Nile virus
with the abundance of water around fields, ditches, etc. make a prime breeding area for mosquitoes. Take the necessary precautions – use “deet” based protectant – Listerine doesn’t work that great although it may ease the mosquitoes sore throat. Don’t take chances.

At the Summer Field Day I was taken on a tour of the Willows Golf Course.
I was very impressed with its condition and especially how it was maintained. I also saw how important the course accessories can be on a golf course. At the Willows they blended in perfectly with the surrounding area. Flower beds were beautiful. All bedding plants were purchased at Mother Earth Greenhouses, owned and operated by S.T.A member Patti Cunningham. Wayne Sundstrom and his crew are doing a tremendous job for the Willows clientele.

If a superintendent has a blueprint or measuring stick for course set up it would appear to work to a superintendent’s advantage. A document spelling out the goals for a course, as agreed upon to course officials and their superintendent puts everything on the table. It also establishes the greenkeeper as a vital member of any decision making team and not simply a beleaguered recipient of a greens chairman’s opinions.

Golfers will tell you bunkers are always “too” something
– too hard, too soft, too dry, too shallow, too deep etc. Patrick Gross WSGA green section says “too bad”. Bunkers are hazards. Something is seriously wrong when courses are spending more time and money maintaining bunkers than greens.

It is very important to note that pesticides and fertilizers are not used primarily for aesthetic reasons. First and foremost, they are tools that help ensure a healthy playing surface for the game. Furthermore, they help protect a valuable and ecologically important piece of land. Golf courses are tremendous economic assets, as well as vital green spaces for communities. They employ hundreds of thousands of people, enhance local economics through tax revenues and tourism and provide many ecological benefits. The source of this information is the G.C.S.A.A Resource Centre.

Back in the old days, around 1928 and you were around as was Dean Hildebrant and played golf at Waterton Lake Parks, you would have putted on square “browns” (sand greens). They later converted them to square “greens”. I got this important information from Mr. Wakaw himself.

Bill Gates, the extremely wealthy computer guy,
gave a speech to some high school graduates about a dozen things they didn’t learn in high school and probably won’t in College either. Among them is this one which is probably worth remembering “Before you were born, your parents weren’t as loving as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.”

Every turf manager should concentrate on this one way to produce instead of procrastinate—is to make a list. Getting started on any project, particularly a large one, is the difficult part. To help motivate yourself at the beginning, write down everything that needs to be done in order to complete the task. Then pick a starting point. It works – believe me.

When buying gas to fill your car or truck do so in the early morning when the ground temperature is still cold.
Remember that all gas stations have their storage tanks buried below ground. The colder the ground, the denser the gasoline. When it gets warmer, gasoline expands making your litre not exactly a litre when you buy it in the afternoon or evening. This is why we get better mileage in the winter, especially if your vehicle is stored in a warm garage.

In 1744 the first record of payment to a green keeper by the Royal Burgess Golfing Society
amounted to 6 shillings per Quarter and a change of clothes mainly to cut new holes – 267 years later pay at some courses isn’t much better and the greenkeeper buys his own clothes. And this one – 183 years ago a fellow by the name of Edwin Budding invents a machine for cutting nap off wool carpets. This machine becomes a lawn mower and is patented in 1830 or 181 years ago.

Just recently while visiting a couple of golf courses (trying to recruit members) I observed lots of poor cutting quality, not only on greens but tees and fairways as well. When cutting greens check the basket for clippings – they will tell you a story uneven distribution within the basket means the cutting unit is set improperly. Also empty the basket before it becomes too full. A heavy basket affects the height and quality of cut.

It’s summer and golf courses are dangerous places during a thunderstorm. A lightning bolt will take the shortest route between the cloud and the ground which means that a golfer standing in the middle of a fairway or huddled under a tree is a prime target for a strike. The best practise is to get the hell off the course seeking shelter. That great round you were playing could be your last.

Every year I get asked what I think a golf course can do to speed play
or how they can educate golfers on how they can play more quickly. “Increase your pace of play without rushing.” Your pace of play depends more on your readiness than on the number of shots you take. No one likes to be considered “a slow player” nor do they want to feel rushed while playing a round of golf. Hit when ready!

Some people think that all man made substances, such as pesticides,
should be removed from our food supply and that everything occurring in nature is beneficial. To sell nothing except foods untreated by pesticides would not only leave shop keepers with rotting food but would fail to protect the consumer against moulds that, in high enough concentration can be lethal. This is from her Everett Koops surgeon general of the W.G.A from 1981 to 1989.

Did you know on a weight to weight basis caffeine is 25 to 50 times more toxic that some of the most commonly used lawn herbicides? I wonder when the campaign will start to ban coffee, chocolate and Coca Cola.

I would like all members to consider playing in our Research Tournament August 22nd
at Richard Bergs Elmood Golf Course in Swift Current. It helps us to reach our goal to support Turf Research in our Province. The skins game will be August 21st.

That’s it for this month – I’m out of here.

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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.