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June 2010

I suppose the big news for May was the relentless rain we've had in most of the province. It certainly would be a hardship for public and municipal golf courses as revenues would be almost non-existent. Here in Saskatoon, it has been a long time that I've seen some golf courses closed on consecutive days.

Membership dues are coming in slowly each day. Take a minute and make sure your Club has forwarded me a cheque for this years fees. We want to improve on membership numbers from a year ago.

With the wet weather I would guess we are going to be attacked by those nasty and mean mosquitos. Players as well as maintenance staff should protect themselves with insect repellent to ward off West Nile Virus. Now that Saskatchewan government in their wisdom has cut the grant to control mosquitos as a budget cutback individual people must be careful by using the proper repellent. An important thing to remember is to use the spray on a non-turf area such as a cart path.

Looking through some old notes I came across this with regards to on course water coolers.
When we get warm weather, which is coming soon believe me, most golfers will get thirsty and the nearest watering hole is always welcome. Make darn sure you have a clean water container with fresh water in it. These coolers can easily become contaminated which could lead to severe illness and even death. If you have a beer cart with bottled water on it, you probably could get rid of the water coolers.

I remember years and years ago when I was a young greenskeeper we had 3 different formulas of chemical fertilizer to work with. The most popular was 27-14-0. Then Melorganite came along. I tried it on six of the worst greens at Riverside in Saskatoon after aerating with a pig of machine called a West Point Aereator. Following the application instructions on the bag the results were outstanding and led to a program that lasted into the 1970s.

Motivating people is one of the most important challenges a golf course superintendent faces each day. The successful management of a golf course cannot be accomplished without the combined talents and skills of the golf course maintenance crew. The daily challenge is to inspire others to achieve the goals of the organization.

Some sad news – my predecessor as Executive Director of the S.T.A Ed Maginnis just recently passed away. Ed had battled heart disease for a number of years and the last two years suffered from brain cancer. Ed was a great guy who had a keen interest in the culture of fine turf. A full obituary appears in the newsletter.

Good advice is never cheap and cheap advice is never good. Outside consultants are very helpful, especially with issues related to winter injury, tree problems and special projects. The Prairie Turfgrass Research Centre offers a consulting service to deal with the above problems. It also is important for the superintendent to actively maintain continued education activities and certifications.

Almost all superintendents over-water and under-fertilize. I first heard of this about 40 years ago at a turf conference in Phoenix, Arizona. In my notes from this event just recently found they talked about water having a memory like an elephant, it tends to go where it has always gone and this one Mother Nature is no lady.

I recently read an article written by an equipment tech who says
Turfgrass equipment get treated worse by operator than any other equipment in any field. It says golf course people operating the machinery are usually young and are poorly trained. This is not the case at every Club because some training programs are intense and ongoing.

How important are sharp blades on your mowing equipment. Sharp blades reduce the load on equipment. The engine doesn't have to work as hard and the bearings and belts don't have to transfer as much power. The result is a longer lived machine that needs less-frequent crisis repair. A mower with sharp blades can also maintain a higher ground speed while producing a high-quality mowed surface, which means less time spent mowing.

Just received word that Hillcrest Sports Centre in Moose Jaw is looking for a Greens Superintendent. If anyone is interested or knows of anyone available, call or e-mail me as soon as possible. Professionalization of the Superintendent – raising standards of knowledge and conduct so others in the golf industry will view greens superintendents with the respect they deserve. Over the last 10 years, no profession in golf has raised its profile, better explained its crucial role or become more professional in the eyes of golfers, owners, greens committees, pros and architects.

And I like this one – Whatever happened to the saying, “Hit it, go find it, and hit it again?” Isn't that what the game of golf is all about. You often hear the question “What can we do about the condition of our rough.” When my ball lands there I can't play a recovery shot. Doesn't the lie of the ball dictate the type of shot that is to be played? Where does it say there shouldn't be a penalty for hitting one into the rough.

Do you know a golf course is the fifth most likely place where cardiac arrests
may occur; almost 20% of all golf facilities will have a cardiac emergency and it is now number 1 cause of death at golf facilities world wide. When you consider hospitals and home are number 1 and 2, the golf courses number 5 ranking is surprising.

With the extremely wet weather this spring we notice a lot of turf damage done by power carts. Requiring carts to stay on paths at times like this is the dream of most golf superintendents. It is frustrating to get the course in good condition, only to see widespread damage done by out-of-control golf carts. This drives superintendents nuts.

Some say it's an unappealing chore,
but most will tell you that cup cutting is one of the most important tasks in golf course maintenance. Nobody from golf course superintendents to golfers wants to see a flagstick tilting like the leaning Tower of Pisa. I suppose next to keeping up the greens it's one of the more important maintenance tasks.

Please make every effort to participate in the S.T.A research tournament August 16th, 2010. It's at Kachur's Country Golf Club and it will give you a chance to see Don Best's golf course and the outstanding job Don and his staff have done. Tee time is 8:00 am – a shotgun start. The Skins game will be in Prince Albert at Cooke Municipal the day prior. Support the S.T.A's mission to finance Turfgrass Research on the Prairies.

The “Case O Beer” golfers are a serious concern of golf courses, particularly public courses. Usually more impressed with the adult theme park, they've discovered on the golf course, complete mine high-ways and a lack of DUI roadblocks. They rocket their golf carts all over the course, they are dangerous to themselves and others. It gets worse in the later rounds. At the end they'll slur, “Boy what a fun day.”

Agree or disagree, golf requires the ability to think, feel and observe before going through the physical motions of striking a golf ball. Visual aids such as 150 yard markers and multicoloured distant flags on greens eliminate a portion of the game that is still practiced in Scotland, Ireland and other countries.

Do you know many exercise programs fail because they are discontinued – not because they are ineffective. Golf, as a recreational sport, has a high rate of compliance, and appeals to all ages and both sexes. Under a physician's guidance, walking the golf course can even become a valuable part of an exercise recovery program for cardiac patients.

Consider the following when training or explaining tasks to staff.
Adults usually learn and retain 10% of what they hear, 15% of what they see, 20% of what they both see and hear, 40% of what they discuss with others, 80% of what they experience directly or practice, and 90% of what they attempt to teach others.

I'm done until next month – Remember the Research tournament Monday, August 16th.

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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.