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June 2009

The start of another season, a cold one that hinders green superintendents and golfers. Golf courses in the province started up in pretty good conditions. As always, some are in mid-summer condition while others are struggling a little. With some warm weather, particularly warmer nights, everybody will enjoy first class conditions.

The STA Annual Research Tournament will be held at the Royal Regina Golf Club on Monday, August 10th, 2009 … shotgun start at 8:00 AM. Your $75.00 entry fee will include cart, green fees, prizes and banquet. Superintendents are asked to bring a team of players, such as your assistant, green chairman and President. Enter your team as soon as possible.

The STA Skins game will be at the Wascana Country Club starting at 1:00 PM on Sunday, August 9th. This will be a cross over. The after golf reception will be at the Wascana. All players must be pre-registered to participate in both these events. Also, everyone is reminded both golf clubs have a strict dress code. Jeans are not allowed.

On May 27th the STA had a Board of Directors meeting at the Davidson Golf Club in Davidson, SK. STA member Roy Kenny is the superintendent, while his wife runs the new clubhouse. We were treated superbly, the lunch was awesome and, despite high winds, the golf after the meeting was great. The STA appreciates Davidson’s hospitality in making our visit a real happy one.

I just received my May/June edition of Greenmaster, the CGSA’s official publication. In the last 2 or 3 years this magazine has been a great read, certainly equaling other golf publications. The publisher Robert Phillips and editor Leslie Wee along with their staff deserve credit in sending out a tremendous publication. The contents are of great interest to all of us in the golf business.

Ken Cousineau, CGSA Executive Director, writes the following in the latest Greenmaster: “The main issue for the CGSA is that Governments make decisions based on science and not on emotion or an inaccurate or invalid interpretation of scientific research.” Well said!

The STA membership invoices are out to members who didn’t include fees with their Turf Conference registration. If you’ve sent us your cheque we thank you. I remind those I haven’t heard from to submit payment as soon as possible. Remember, it’s to your advantage to belong to the STA.

Still with the Greenmaster’s 2008 future Superintendent of the year winner, who writes about his dream trip to the United Kingdom. I’m referring, of course, to Mitch Davidson, an assistant superintendent at Mike Kupchanko’s Wascana Country Club. Mitch spoke to us at our March Conference and was well received by those attending. The article in Greenmaster has qualified to win the Gord Witteveen Superintendent Authored Article of the Year award.

Did you know the growth of trees around your golf course causes profound change over the years? Playing strategy, sun and shade relationships, air movement, frost problems, drainage and exposed roots also emerge as factors as trees continue to grow and expand. Tree maintenance as an ongoing management practice is slim to none at most golf courses. Don’t forget to inspect your trees this spring. There may be some issues that make them unsafe and if a limb falls and hits a person the golf course or park could be liable.

Applying chemicals may seem like routine work
for anyone employed in any type of grounds care. Yet some applicators may be overlooking the need to wear the right personal protective equipment to reduce exposure to contaminants. Choosing the right type of clothing, gloves, footwear, eye protection and respiratory protection is a necessity when using chemicals with any toxicity level. Disposable wear is available.

This winter while going through numerous newsletter topics I ran across an article where Edward Kennedy, the US Senator from Massachusetts, compared pesticide use to chemical and biological terrorism. He says the USA has been gripped by the fear of biological and chemical attacks, but everyday children in schools are exposed to dangerous pesticides that could very well make them sick. This article was written prior to Mr. Kennedy suffering a stroke. Anyway, I doubt Senator Kennedy know the difference between pesticides and an all day sucker.

Saskatchewan’s representative on the CGSA is Kyle Kellgren, who is on the STA Board and the superintendent at Jackfish Lodge Golf Club at Cochin, SK. Kyle reported to the STA Board of Directors that the CGSA is studying the concept of National Standards for the Trade Show. While this may not affect us in Saskatchewan the CGSA is asking provincial associations how they feel about eliminating Provincial Trade Shows at their conference and have one large show at the yearly conference. This may have some merit.

The STA will again contribute funding to the Canadian Turfgrass Research Foundation.
Turf research is important to all golf courses and our donation comes from a portion of your membership fees. The Annual Research Tournament supports Jim Ross’s Prairie Turfgrass Research Centre in Olds, Alberta.

The CGSA Fall Field Day will be at the St. Charles Country Club in Winnipeg, Manitoba September 21st. They are hoping for a large contingent from Saskatchewan. Some of the Board Members are exploring the idea of acquiring a bus to take STA members to Winnipeg. It would start in the north of the province, go through Saskatoon, Regina and over to Winnipeg. The cost of the trip is, of course, dependent on the number of people going. This idea will be posted on our web site. If you are interested, use the contact us form on the site or contact Don Campbell. We would have to know your intentions by July 15th. Please give this consideration.

Another favorite publication of mine is the Turf and Recreation magazine, Canada’s Turf and Grounds Maintenance Authority. It’s published seven times a year and its editor, Mike Jiggens, is very capable. Subscription rates are $33 per year or $43 for two years, plus GST. To subscribe, you can send a cheque to Turf and Recreation Publishing Inc., 275 James Street, Delhi, Ontario, N4B 2B2. This is a very informative publication and a must for every superintendent’s library. Put simply, it’s a wonderful read for anyone in the turf industry.

I’ve always said that golf tournaments are not only good for golf but are good for golf courses. Tournaments always seem to bring course maintenance to a higher level. Members or players see this and want the same conditions. The trick is to sell them on the idea that stepped up maintenance costs more. But remember this - more people want to play a well maintained golf course, making the extra cost a moot point.

Eight or nine years ago while in Florida I attended a regional turf seminar south of Tampa. The guest speaker was a Florida golf course architect by the name of Bill Amick. He was trying to spread his belief that the golfing industry needs smaller venues to promote the game. He said the golfing industry is going to lose players who enjoy the game but don’t want to be brought to their knees by a 7,000 yard course and a $75.00 green fee. Ten years later, less people are playing golf and a lot of courses are in financial trouble. It looks like Mr. Amick was right.

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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.