March 2009

  • March 9, 2009
  • Written by Don Campbell

Back from Florida into cold weather again. It wasn’t that warm in Florida, but did get warmer as time went on. A bigger issue was the economy – strip malls were closed, houses for sale or rent, crime way up and there sure wasn’t as many people there enjoying warmer weather.

Our big event, The Saskatchewan Turfgrass Conference and Trade Show is around the corner. It will be held March 22nd, 23rd and 24th. Entries are coming in and we continue to sell booth space to our commercial friends. This will be a great educational experience for you and your attendance representing your golf course is a must. Make an effort to be there.

The President’s reception will take place on Sunday evening, commencing at 6:00pm. This is a wine and cheese reception with STA President Doug Leavins front row and centre. He will also have a registration table set up. This is a good time to renew old friendships and find out how everyone spent a less than ideal winter.

The Canadian Golf Superintendents Association will hold an educational seminar on Sunday, March 22nd. This is separate from the STA Conference and Trade Show. We have included a registration form in this newsletter. The fee, payable to the CGSA, is $195.00 for STA and CGSA members. The speaker will be Dr. Kevin Frank and the topics are “Winter Kill: Courses, Prevention and Recovery” and “Cool-Season Turfgrass Nutrition, Fertilizers and Programming”.

I got thinking not too long ago about the Maple Leaf
tainted meat problem this past summer. Before that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a public warning not to consume nine varieties of Green House brand canned organic beans. They said the product may contain the bacteria responsible for botulism in humans. This only goes to prove that there are much larger issues in food safety than the use of pesticides by licensed applicators.

My daughter supplied this to me from a class she took at university. The water on our planet moves in a continuous cycle called the “water cycle”. Surface water is evaporated by the sun and rises into the air as water vapor, eventually falling back to earth as rain or snow. Most of this moisture falls into the ocean but some will fall on land. Water that falls on land will form into rivers and slowly make its way to the ocean. About 97% of the world’s water is in oceans.

As well as presenting the CGSA seminar on Sunday,
Dr. Kevin Frank will give us a presentation March 23rd on golf course presentation and playability. Dr. Frank is an associate professor and extension turfgrass specialist at Michigan State University. He attended the University of Wyoming, earning a B.S. in Agronomy. He went on to earn a Master’s (1996) and Ph.D. (2000) in turfgrass physiology and management from the University of Nebraska. He is also a scratch golfer.

When inspecting your greens first thing in the spring you may notice they have lost some of their shape and curves. Spring is the time to cut into the apron and re-outline the green to its original configuration. Prior to cutting the apron it would be wise to mark the new outline with a paint gun. Cutting into the apron should only be done first thing in the spring because the grass plant will have the inner drive to recreate and is able to recover from the severe scalping. Any other time of the summer and this exercise will result in instant death of the grass plant.

At a number of golf courses I visited this winter
I noticed a lot of courses were missing ball washers at the tees. Some had a club washer installed on the back of the cart. Other golf clubs had ball washers at the 1st and 10th tees. Private Clubs had a ballwasher at the club storage area with a club cleaner and a foot brush for golfer’s shoes. The Pros I talked to say it works just fine.

This is a definition of good players and good golfers.
Good players have low handicaps, usually hit the ball a mile, and occasionally post very low scores. Good golfers fill divots, repair ball marks and practice good etiquette each and every time they are on the course.

More about the Turf Conference – Monday afternoon, commencing at 4:15pm there will be cocktails in the Trade Show area. This will last about 1 hour and thirty minutes and then we’ll make our way to Joes Sports Bar about 2 blocks away. STA members will enjoy Beef on a Bun with salads, and drink tickets at Happy Hour prices will be for sale. If we have a full slate of 14 sponsors up to four drink tokens will be supplied free to each person attending. If you bring a guest who isn’t a STA member there will be a $25.00 charge.

Spend as much time as you can with the Trade Show people. They will be happy to answer your questions about their product. It’s also a good place to renew friendships and cultivate new ones. We will have lunch in the Trade Show area.

Most courses I visited this past winter in Florida had signs directing golf carts to stay on the cart paths. Some had signs which said “Avoid wet areas, stay off greens and tee banks and follow directional signs, ropes and lines.” At the bottom it said not to drive on half the path, as it is unnecessary and causes damage to high-visibility areas.

The 2009 Turf Conference has put together
a Mechanic’s and Irrigation Session for Tuesday morning. John Benton, East Penn Canada will present his topic on Battery Care and Maintenance; Paul Payette will speak on Pump Technology and Greg Buchanan, Oakcreek Ltd will give us a talk on general irrigation. These morning sessions will be worthwhile for your assistants and technicians.

I’m really sick of this winter,
the snow, the cold and especially the shoveling. Even with the six week break in Florida I’m tired of winter. I for one will be happy to see the snow melt and spring arrive.

The very good superintendents are active professionally. They serve on their turfgrass associations, not necessarily as a zone board member. They attend meetings, conferences and seminars. They stand up and speak when called upon. We have a few of these kinds of individuals in our association but, unfortunately, not nearly enough.

In these troubled economic times,
affordable golf is what is going to attract people to the game. There will have to be some belt tightening which undoubtedly will fall on the shoulders of the green superintendents. Whatever the case may be, golf courses and their superintendents will work through this period.

Green Superintendents, Green Chairmen
and other golf course Executives would do well to attend the Saskatchewan Turfgrass Association’s Turf Conference and Trade Show. The educational sessions are ready to go and the Trade Show booth space continues to be spoken for. It’s going to be a first class event so plan on attending. You can’t miss it.

One good thing about our Conference and Trade Show
is everything is going to be presented on the same floor and in close proximity to the Trade Show area … great for the lunch and coffee breaks! I’ll see you there!

More in this category: « February 2009 April 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.